Tag Archives: Italian/American Culture

Why I love a #holidayRomance

So. There are probably going to be hundreds of blogs written in the next month by romance writers much more talented than I am about why we all love a holiday romance.

Be it a Hallmark movie, or a new theatrical wide-release Holiday RomCom, or even the plethora of new Christmas love stories that invade our Netgalley listings and Amazon review sites every year.

 

But, just why do we love a Holiday Romance story sosososo much? Valentine’s Day is the day devoted to Cupid and love. And yes, there have been a few movies and books devoted to that amorous day.

HeeHee – shameless plus!

But by and large, a Christmas themed romance book or movie just does — overall- better than any released at Valentine time.

Why?

I’m sure there are any number of reasons, but I’ve got a few of my own that I’d like to share.

First, the holidays tend to bring out the best in most of us. Oh, I know there are crabby, grumpy Scrooges out there – some I even know personally! And I’m not negating the people who suffer from depression, which can be heightened at this time of year. But overall, we collectively are happier during the holidays. And because we’re happier I think that tends to open our hearts up to the possibility of finding love. A Happy heart is an open heart, as a famous jewelry company keeps telling us!

Second is the Christmas Wish/Gift list. Most adults don’t physically write this list down on paper like they did as children. They tend to construct and keep it in their heads. And I just bet on every single man and woman’s mental wish list is a dream to meet the person of their, well, dreams. The guy or gal who will become their life partner. Their soulmate. And books and movies postulate that wishes and dreams DO come TRUE, so….

Third, Christmas Romance stories and movies all end HAPPILY. Like any good romance writer or romantic scriptwriter will tell you, you’ve got to make your characters go through hell and high water to achieve that everlasting love. As a romance reader myself – and not just a writer – I know that the more angst, turmoil, and tragedy the characters are put through, the more I root for them to wind up together in the end. I know what the ending will wind up being when I go it. It’s the journey I’m there to watch and read. And who doesn’t love a Happily Ever After ending?? Especially during the holidays!

Lastly, I always view the holidays as a time of rebirth. Sure, it’s Jesus’ birthday, and we should celebrate it like one, but for me, spiritually, it’s a time of rebirth, reorganization, and recognizing all the gifts I have. And  those gifts – the most precious ones – are the loves of my life! So, a holiday love story – whether it’s a finding a new love , or a retelling of an everlasting love, warms our hearts and make us just feel good.

I know there are oodles more reasons why Holiday romances sell well and touch our hearts, but to me, finding love and keeping it is the best!


I encourage everyone to see a new holiday love story this year and to read a new Christmas Romance novel. And as another shameless plug, I’ll offer mine up, here:

A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

With Christmas just a few weeks away, Gia San Valentino, the baby in her large, loud, and loving Italian family, yearns for a life and home of her own with a husband and bambini she can love and spoil. The single scene doesn’t interest her, and the men her well-meaning family introduce her to aren’t exactly the happily-ever-after kind.

Tim Santini believes he’s finally found the woman for him, but Gia will take some convincing she’s that girl. A misunderstanding has her thinking he’s something he’s not.

Can a kiss stolen under the Christmas lights persuade her to spend the rest of her life with him?

 

Click here for a preview: A Kiss

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Of #Christmas, #Cookies and #The7Fishes

So, my Christmas book A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS is about a large, loud and loving Italian/American family. They love hard, eat even harder, and at Christmastime the women in the family – led by Nonna Constanza – bake, bake, and bake some more. Christmas sugar cookies topped with nonpareils,  cinnamon rolls made with the special ingredient Francesca San Valentino shares with no one but those she gave birth to, yards of sweet breads, and the aroma of rising yeast fill the spacious kitchen almost to bursting, all made fresh daily.

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Warm Christmas cookies on cooling racks fill every line of counter space. Pizzelles made with sweet almond extract; chocolate chip layer cookies filled with cream; colorful and tangy seven layer cookies topped with melted chocolate. And Nonna’s favorite – biscotti topped with royal icing.

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The reason their kitchen resembles a cookie factory assembly line is easy to explain: everything gets eaten every day. There is no such word as leftovers or extra in this household because the family consumes it all. Many times Gia, the youngest San Valentino at 24, wonders why they all don’t weigh five hundred pounds considering the amount of food they eat. The answer is simple, really. Francesca cooks old school, and by that I mean: she makes everything fresh. No processed meats or jarred sauces; pure butter and olive oil, fresh eggs and real milk ( not skim or even 2%!) and cream; real sugar never a substitute. The vegetables come from their massive backyard garden in the summer and the fresh greengrocer in the winter. The meat is purchased from a local butcher, not a commercial superfood store.

In all, eating this clean and fresh promotes health and wellbeing.

The tradition of Christmas cookie baking culminates on Christmas Eve when the family all gather for the Feast of the 7 Fishes.

san3La Festa Dei Sette Pesci, also known as The Vigil ( La Vigilia), is a celebration of eating  fish and other seafood, and yes, there will be a minimum of 7 courses all with one special seafood hightlighted per course. Francesca’s Shrimp Alfredo( gamberetti Alfredo)usually starts the feast. Hundreds of  freshjumbo shrimp purchased from the local fishmonger ( and yes, they still do exist!!) The fish are cleaned, peeled, cleaned again and then boiled in just a hint of salted water until their beautiful pink color emerges. Francesca’s Alfredo sauce is made – of course – from scratch, slowly whisked to creamy perfection. The pasta – usually farfalle ( bow ties) has been hand made and cut using the pasta machine Nonna brought with her to America 75 years ago. When the pasta is cooked al dente, the shrimp and sauce are combined and everyone sits to enjoy this truly delectable dish.

The rest of ethe evening is spent singing carols by the fireplace, playing cards, remembering Christmas’ and family members of the past, and eating another fish/seafood inspired dish every hour.

By Midnight, stuffed, sated, and happy, the family will travel en Famiglia to Midnight Mass at the church of St. Rita de Armada , the family parish.

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The littlest San Valentinos will fall asleep in their parent’s laps long before the last blessing is given to be carried home and tucked into bed, awaiting the arrival of Babbo Natale and his bag of gifts.

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In all, The San Valentino family is the type of clan you would love to be a part of. You’d never go hungry, you’d never be at a loss to laugh, and you’d always be loved totally, unconditionally, and loyally. Buon Natale!

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When I’m not eating cookies and devouring fish you can usually find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// 

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