Monday, December 15, 2014

Virtual Book Tour & Giveaway for Once Upon A Highland Christmas by Lecia Cornwall

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Welcome to my stop on the Virtual Book Tour,, presented by Tasty Book Tours, for Once Upon a Highland Christmas by Lecia Cornwall.  Please leave a comment or question for Lecia to let her know you stopped by.  You can enter the tour wide giveaway, where Avon is giving a $25.00 Amazon or B&N eGift Card, by filling out the Rafflecopter form below.  You can click on the tour banner above to visit other stops on the tour.  The more stops you visit, the better your odds of winning.  Lecia will also be giving away a Signed Print copy of one of her already released books to one random commenter at this stop.  Please be sure to leave a meaningful comment to be included in the giveaway.  

THE (other) CHRISTMAS LIST…by Lecia Cornwall

Every year at Thanksgiving—that’s Canadian Thanksgiving in October—I start nagging my family for their Christmas lists. I can think up surprise gifts, of course, but there’s always something people want or need. I usually get lists of uninspired items, like socks, or a brown belt. Of course family complains that I’m just as bad, and all I ever include on my own list is books (Now I ask you, dear reader—can anyone ever have too many books?)

Christmas is the season for lists of all kinds—lists of errands, party invitees, gifts (and all the places you’ve hidden them), shopping lists, recipes and ingredients, and lists of the hundreds of things that must be done before the big day. It takes a list just to keep track of all the lists—or Christmas magic.

ONCE UPON A HIGHLAND CHRISTMAS is a story about magic, a Christmas fairy tale, in fact. It starts with a wee love spell gone wrong—or right, perhaps—that brings snow, unexpected visitors, mayhem, and merriment to Craigleith Castle just in time for Christmas in the Scottish Highlands. Fortunately, love and magic—especially at Christmas—have a way of transforming everything and everyone, even the most stubborn and duty-bound hero and heroine I’ve ever written.

Alanna and Iain needed some magic in their lives, believe me! But we all need magic at Christmas, even if sometimes we have to give magic a helpful push in the right direction. This year, amid all the other lists I’m making, I thought I’d start a different kind of Christmas list—one that includes all the things I treasure about this time of year—the memories, the fun, the food, the music, and the magic. Thinking of the things that really matter (aside from new socks, books, and brown belts) slows the pace, offers time to savor and enjoy amid the chaos—and isn’t that the very best kind of Christmas magic? This is the kind of list I’ll pass on to my children to continue.

So here’s my list so far, dear reader. What would you put on your list?

My favorite Christmas movies:

Love Actually
It’s A Wonderful Life
White Christmas
The Santa Clause I and II
The Bishop’s Wife

My favorite Christmas memories:

1981: when my husband slipped a ring on my finger and proposed on Christmas day
1991: Driving from Ottawa to Toronto with my 3-month-old son. He cried all the way, only quieted down when we played the same bad Christmas CD over and over for four hours (Something by Bing Crosby with buttered rum in the lyrics)
1994: My 7-week-old daughter’s first “perfect” Christmas, complete with snow on Christmas day
All the school Christmas concerts, pre-school Christmas parties, and caroling with the Cub Scouts (I was a Cub leader)

My favorite traditions:

Officially staring the Christmas season with eggnog and the first batch of homemade Christmas cookies while we watch the annual Toronto Santa Claus parade (now the kids are grown ups, we add rum to the eggnog!)

Picking out the tree as a family, bringing it home and decorating it with decorations old and new.

Receiving Christmas cards, and family Christmas letters

Seeing extended family for Christmas dinner, promising that this year we’ll see each other far more often

Boxing Day (December 26)—we stay in our pajamas, read our Christmas books, eat, nap, and watch White Christmas.

Ice lanterns—fill buckets with water, and leave them outside overnight. The outside of the ice freezes, but the inside doesn’t. Carefully remove the ice block from the bucket (over the sink), chop a hole in the thin ice on top and pour out the water. Set it outside in the snow with a candle inside—magic!

Christmas breakfast—my family is Ukrainian, my husband’s is Scottish, and we’ve added our own traditions—Quiche (French), my homemade Ukrainian Christmas bread, Kutya (wheat cooked with honey and poppy seeds), shortbread, champagne cocktails, and my husband’s delicious fruit salad. There’s no need to eat again until Christmas dinner. If you’d like the recipe for our Christmas morning Quiche, it’s part of this year’s Avon Authors Holiday recipe ring, staring here:

Scottish breakfast on New Year’s Day—the full fry-up, with Ayrshire bacon, tattie scones, black sausage, sliced sausage, eggs, tomatoes, toast and marmalade, and lots of strong tea. Now that’s a meal you have to train for over the holidays!

My Favorite Christmas music

Loreena McKennitt’s To Drive The Cold Winter Away CD (In honor of all the snow in ONCE UPON A HIGHALND CHRISTMAS, here’s ‘SNOW’ from the CD

Frank Sinatra’s J-I-N-G-L-E Bells
The Pretenders 1000 miles
Ella Fitzgerald’s What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve
The Nutcracker Suite
Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite
Ruby Murray’s The Very First Christmas of All (a favorite from my childhood. I recently found it on YouTube and it made me cry)
Alabama’s Christmas In Dixie

I hope you start your own list, and share it with the people you love, and it grows in the years to come! Wishing you a very merry and magical Christmas, dear reader, with family, friends and joy, and a New Year that’s filled with Happily Ever Afters!

I’ll be dropping by today to chat with readers, so please leave a comment for a chance to win a signed copy of ONCE UPON A HIGHLAND AUTUMN. Tell me—what’s the first thing you’d put on your Christmas list?

You can also drop me a line by e-mail at or visit my website to learn more about all my books. 

Once Upon a Highland Christmas
By Lecia Cornwall
Once Upon a Highland Season, Book 3

Publisher:  Avon Impulse (HarperCollins Publishers)
Release Date: December 9, 2014
Genre: Historical Romance
Length: 384 Pages
ISBN:  978-0062328496

Buy Links:  Amazon | Barnes | iTunes

Add to GoodReads

About the book:

Lady Alanna McNabb is bound by duty to her family, who insist she must marry a gentleman of wealth and title. When she meets the man of her dreams, she knows it's much too late, but her heart is no longer hers.

Laird Iain MacGillivray is on his way to propose to another woman when he discovers Alanna half-frozen in the snow and barely alive. She isn't his to love, yet she's everything he's ever wanted.

As Christmas comes closer, the snow thickens, and the magic grows stronger. Alanna and Iain must choose between desire and duty, love and obligation.

But it's Christmas in the Highlands, and there are bound to be a few surprises.

Author Info

Lecia Cornwall lives and writes in Calgary, Canada, amid the beautiful foothills of the Canadian Rockies, with four cats, two teenagers, a crazy chocolate Lab, and one very patient husband. She is hard at work on her next book.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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  1. It's nice to be here today to visit with you—thank you for having me, Maria! If you have any questions, fire away—I'll drop by throughout the day to visit.

  2. Let's see, I'm not much of a list person really, but a carrier of all the little memories that matter to me during any given day. The holidays just happen to be a time that bring about a more acute awareness of family and friends from the present and past and bring those memories to the surface. The memories that stand out the most through the years are usually the most joyful ones, but it is always the littlest things that make them stand out the best. Whether it be a small one on one chat with my Pop-Pop who is no longer with us, or the family getting together in my Grandfather's garage/poker room for Christmas another that is no longer here, or it be a simple smile and a hug from a precious angel of a niece that left us too early. I know this sounds a little bit down, but these are the memories of the loved ones past that I hold dear and cherish all the time and especially during the holidays. As for the rest of the family, each and every one of them has a little thing/piece that will and does hold dear in my heart.
    As for traditions, we as a family always decorate a tree together and everyone has special ornaments that have special meanings for them to put on the tree themselves.
    Another tradition is to pass on the family baking recipes and love for baking at an early age. One of my fondest memories as a child was baking cookies with Mom for Christmas and decorating them to give as gifts to the family.

    I can't forget one of my best memories of all!
    My husband's proposal was just before Christmas, but meant as an early Christmas surprise. That was 19 years ago now, Wow how where did the time go!

    Hope you all enjoy all the little things that the holidays bring you and hold them dear to your hearts! Happy Holidays!

  3. What a lovely post, Amy! My wonderful Scottish mother-in-law had a toast she always gave at Christmas dinner "To absent friends" To remember those who were gone. Now my husband gives that toast. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas filled with new memories!

  4. I think of Barbra Steisand's song, "Memories," whenever I think of Christmas...because that's what it's all about for me. I, too, remember fondly the Christmases we had growing up because my Dad's parents and two brothers and their families all lived in the same small town and we got together for every single holiday...rain or shine. We played games together, board games if it was too cold or wet outside...and sometimes we'd watch a Christmas movie together. We didn't have TV so we'd have to bundle into cars and drive into town to the small theater there to see a Christmas movie. We were all so full after the main Christmas meal in early afternoon that we waited until Christmas evening to eat dessert. Regarding Christmas movies, I watch all the old classics as well, but I bought a new one (to me) this year called "The Bishop's Wife," which author Regan Walker and now you, Lecia, mentioned on your lists of "must sees" during the holidays. I'm looking forward to watching it. And I'm going to hunt for the songs, Ruby Murray’s The Very First Christmas of All and Frank Sinatra's J I N G L E Bells. I don't think I've ever heard either one. Thanks for your memories and lists, Lecia! A very interesting post indeed. Continue to have fun on your tour.

  5. Big families make Christmas so much fun! My dad had six brothers and sisters, and one of my aunts had a family reunion every New Year's Day. I loved it! My in-laws used to have 14 or 15 people for Christmas dinner, and my father-in-law was a little sad that this year he's only having 9 people. When I found Ruby Murray on line, I bookmarked it. Here's the link:

  6. Your blog post really got me thinking about Holiday Memories. My first thought is always to focus on our family traditions, the things we do every (or almost every) year. But there are so many wonderful memories that I have from years when things didn't fall into place. Like the year my father, who was a home builder, replaced the windows in our house, but didn't get the walls repaired. Our Christmas tree went in front of one of the windows, but the wall looked terrible. So my brother and I taped aluminum foil around the window. When the lights of the tree were on at night, the sparkle reflected in the foil was so beautiful! I need to add that story to my scrapbooks so it's not forgotten.

  7. I love that story, Judy! My dad was convinced that some year one of our cats was going to climb the Christmas tree. He nailed it to the floor with a complicated system of heavy wires. No cat every even tried to climb the tree. The nail holes were still in the floor when my mother sold the house, a memory of many wonderful Christmases.