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Tuesday, 2 December 2014

12 Days of Christmas ~ Meet Romy Sommer

Christmas in Westerwald

I love Christmas. I love the carols, the food, the decorations, the Hallmark movies, the gifts, the excuse for a week at home with the family without having to take leave days.

But if you’re anything like me, you’re also Christmassed-out long before the Big Day finally arrives. By then the decorations in the stores have been up for more than two months and you feel like throwing up if you have to see one more advert trying to sell Christmas shampoo or toothbrushes decorated with red ribbon. No, that’s just me?

So to keep my sense of humor, in this post I’m going to imagine I’m spending Christmas in the fictional nation of Westerwald, where the characters of my books get to have the kind of Christmas my dreams are made of.

Image courtesy of Creative Market
It’s a couple of weeks before Christmas and it’s snowing…
In the capital town of Neustadt, the market stalls line the banks of the Wester River, their lights reflecting in the water. Wrapped up warmly against the winter weather, Christian and Teresa browse between the stalls, hand-in-hand. They stop for hot chocolate and lebkuchen biscuits, and watch as a street performer juggles fiery torches.

A few blocks away, the young Archduke Max and his fiancée Phoenix attend a Carols by Candlelight concert, where a choir of angel voices sings accompanied by a full orchestra. In a moment Max will switch on the main street Christmas lights, an annual tradition that massive crowds have turned out to watch.

Max’s brother Fredrik is all the way across the ocean in the Caribbean. Though it’s sunny and warm, there’s a festive spirit here too, as Rik and Kenzie have thrown open the doors of the royal villa for the underprivileged children of Los Pajaros. There’s a Christmas tree decorated with lights and shiny baubles in the double volume entrance hall, and Rik is dressed as Santa, handing out gifts to the children.

It’s the night before Christmas, and it’s still snowing…

The family have gathered together in the royal apartments at the medieval castle of Waldburg. The apartments aren’t as impressive as an outsider might expect, nor is the Christmas tree. It’s a real tree, cut down just a few days earlier in the forest outside of town. The decorations on the branches are family heirlooms, some made by princes and princesses of generations past. The castle’s steward, Claus, is busy lighting the candles on the tree.

Breathless from the excitement of building a snowman in the old jousting yard outside, and from the snowball fight that followed, the family head indoors, stripping off their scarves and hats and coats. Claus’ wife Rebekah has made a pot of glühwein, and the scent of mulled wine and spices hangs rich in the air.

Tonight they will enjoy a private family dinner and exchange gifts, because tomorrow will be a busy day.

Colmar Christmas Market
Max and Phoenix will walk down to the town’s cathedral and attend the Christmas service. There will be press to pose for, crowds of well-wishers to greet, then they’ll tour the local children’s homes. At the end of the day, Max will go live on television from the castle with the traditional Archduke’s Christmas broadcast.

Teresa and Christian, Rik and Kenzie, are headed back to Neustadt where they’ll be preparing Christmas dinner for the homeless at the monastery soup kitchen.

And Claus and Rebekah will be curled up on their sofa in front of the television, in their pajamas and wearing the new Christmas sweaters that were gifts from her mother, feeling very grateful that they aren’t royal and have nowhere else to be but home.

I’d love to hear your ideal place to spend Christmas. Do you have a family tradition that means a great deal to you? And what is your favorite Christmas food?

The image of Colmar Christmas market comes courtesy of Check out their post on Europe’s Top 10 Christmas markets.

To Catch a Star

The third book in Romy Sommer’s Westerwald trilogy, To Catch a Star, is available now.

Set in the winter wonderland of the city of Neustadt, this is the story of Teresa, the ultimate Ice Princess, and heartthrob movie star Christian, who is way too used to getting everything he wants.

To Catch a Star is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play and AllRomance eBooks.

Come back tomorrow for a post by Rebecca Hamilton
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