I am ecstatic to welcome to Book Lovers Inc today one of my favourite urban fantasy authors, whose series I discovered this past year and I loved every single one of the books to pieces. Please give the warmest welcome to Sierra Dean, fantabulous author behind the Secret McQueen UF series! 🙂 (If you don’t know this series, trust me it is great time for you to finally discover it! It has everything: unique worldbuilding, laugh out loud humour, strong and well developed characters, steamy smex (but if you want to see for yourself check out my reviews of Book #0.5, Book #1 and Book #2.5). Read on to discover how Secret and co. celebrate Christmas and if you share one of your own holiday traditions you could win a copy of Secret Santa, the perfct holiday UF story! 🙂
A Very Secret Christmas by Sierra Dean
We all have Christmas traditions. Okay, maybe some of us have Festivus traditions, or Kwanzaa traditions, or Hanukkah traditions, but come the holiday season, even the humbuggiest of Scrooges has something they always do.
In my family, they’re pretty consistent: new pajamas on Christmas eve, French toast on Christmas morning, and generally lots and lots of wine. Now that I’m older I appreciate that last tradition a lot more than I did in my youth.
So, when I was writing Secret Santa I had to think about what the Christmas traditions of my characters would be. I know how I celebrate the season, but how would Secret do it? Or the Alvarez brothers? What about Lucas, Mercedes and Detective Tyler? I give a glimpse into the holiday routines of a few characters in the book, but I thought I’d take a moment to ask them all how they usually spend the holidays. (After all, the events of Secret Santa are hardly what I would call typical).
With no further ado… the Christmas traditions of the Secretverse characters!
Sierra: All right, Holden, since you’re the oldest we’ll start with you. You’re over two hundred years old and were born and raised in the UK. That’s got to give you a lot of time and history to build some great traditions. What do you do over the holidays?
Holden: You mean, since I have no family or loved ones and I haven’t seen my home town since the 1800s?
Sierra: Um, I didn’t think about it like that, I guess. But… sure?
Holden: Typically, on Christmas, I find the most hideous dive bar I can. I wait until some sad sap has drunk all his sorrows away, then I follow him out and drink his blood. Christmas brings out the real misanthropes. They taste a little bitter, but the booze mellows it.
Holden: Not the answer you were hoping for?
Sierra: I wanted to hear about chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Or how you maybe read some Dickens this time of year.
Holden: A man’s got to eat. ‘Tis the season for easy pickings.
Sierra: Wow. And with that in mind, let’s find out what our local werewolf king does with his Christmas. Lucas, your parents have passed away, but you are close to your younger sister. What do the Rain siblings do in the snowy season?
Lucas: Given how busy my year is with running a real estate empire and being the king of a quarter of the werewolves in America, I don’t get a lot of time to myself. Kellen and I used to go on vacation with our parents every year at Christmas. Usually to Europe, but we’ve been to Asia, Australia, South America and even one very misguided trip to the South Pole. Kellen was appalled, she thought we were so far from Santa he would forget all about us. After my parents passed, Kellen and I continued the tradition. Every Christmas we pick a destination and just the two of us go.
Sierra: That sounds lovely.
Lucas: Sometimes you find something good in life. You try to hang on to those things whenever you do find them. I’ve learned that much.
Sierra: What a lovely thought to segue us into asking our favorite NYPD detectives what they do over the holidays. Mercedes Castilla and Tyler Nowakowski, what traditions make up your Christmas.
Tyler: My grandmother was from Poland, she didn’t have a lot of joy based traditions to pass on, but she did start a family trend of spending a Christmas eve together by candle light. She said it reminded her of home. I think if she had it her way she would shut off the heat, too, but she was 85lbs and only five feet tall, so she didn’t get to force that on us.
Mercedes: I am the odd one out in my family. The sole only child where all my aunts and uncles had at least four children. Christmas day at Grandma Castilla’s place is a madhouse. But the grandparents always seemed to feel bad for my parents because they only had one baby, and gave me extra presents. Now that I’m of a “marriageable” age, they give me extra gifts because they want to soften me up to introduce me to single men. At church. Always at church.
Tyler: Yea, praying was a big part of my holidays growing up. I think I spent most of the time in church praying for better gifts. I’m sure Babcia would say there’s a special place in hell for greedy little boys like that. [grins]
Sierra: Church and scolding grandparents, that sounds nice and classic.
Tyler: I guess so.
Sierra: To round things out, let’s ask our resident half-vampire/half-werewolf assassin what kind of traditions she had growing up. Secret, you spent most of your youth in Canada with your Cajun grandmother, that’s got to create some interesting traditions, right?
Secret: Well, Grandmere is a witch, so we actually celebrate Solstice. She wanted me to grow up as normal as possible, so I still got gifts, but she would give them to me on the night of the 21st. Then she would try to convince me it was totally normal to dance naked in the snow under the moonlight.
Sierra: That sounds… well, I’m Canadian, so I’ll be frank. That sounds-
Secret: Really. Bloody. Cold.
Sierra: Yes, exactly.
Secret: It was. And I’m not really prone to the shivers, if you know what I mean.
Sierra: I do. But you had family, so that had to be nice.
Secret: I had no complaints. Grandmere was the best parent I could imagine having. I never wanted for anything. And after the naked moonlight dancing there was always hot chocolate.
Sierra: A perfect Christmas treat if I ever heard one!
So there you have it, some Christmas traditions from some of those who populate my little imaginary world. Secret Santa is out now, so why not make a new Christmas tradition and read it for the holidays!
’Tis the season for ho-ho-homicide.
Secret McQueen, book 2.5
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The season for mistletoe, Christmas lights…and a killing spree. When Secret’s friend, Detective Mercedes Castilla, asks for help to solve a series of murders longer than a string of lights, Secret resigns herself to the fact her holidays will be anything but peaceful.
It seems someone is killing New Yorkers in an unusually gruesome way, and as the bodies pile up faster than presents under the tree, the police are no closer to finding the killer than Secret is to finding the perfect present for one of her boyfriends, Lucas.
Tracking down a monster in Manhattan the week before Christmas is almost as difficult as shopping for her ever-expanding collection of loved ones. When tragedy strikes close to home, Secret must do everything in her power to put an end to the horror in time for Santa to come down the chimney.
Warning: Contains a less than merry McQueen with a sword and a reason to use it; a festive new use for mistletoe; and a promise that will haunt Secret like the Ghost of Christmas Future.
Sierra has generously offered an ebook copy of Secret Santa, her holiday urban fantasy novella to a lucky commenter!
All you have to do is leave a meaningful comment regarding the characters’ Christmas traditions or tell us about yours!
(You can read our full giveaway policy here)
Please leave a valid email when placing your comment so we can inform you if you win.
This giveaway is open worldwide!
Giveaway ends on Saturday 7 January 2011; and we will announce the winner on Sunday.