Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Kate Emerson, Author of "Secrets of the Tudor Court: By Royal Decree", Guest Post and Giveaway!

I am delighted to have the very talented Kate Emerson join us today on Confessions and Ramblings of a Muse in the Fog! Her latest novel, Secrets of the Tudor Court: By Royal Decree, is the third installment in her Secrets of the Tudor Court series.
Cover Image
And now, without further ado, I hand it over to Kate.

Merry Christmas from Henry VIII’s England

As Kate Emerson I write the “Secrets of the Tudor Court” series set in Henry VIII’s England and although the most recent entry, BY ROYAL DECREE, doesn’t have any particular connection to the Yuletide season, I’ve done a fair amount of research into how the holidays were celebrated. I knew that Christmas trees were a Victorian invention, but the one thing that did surprise me was that mistletoe wasn’t yet in use either. So much for using a kissing ball to get my characters together!

Even without those two traditional parts of Christmas, sixteenth-century England still had plenty of Yuletide customs. Revelers would get the season off to a good start by going into the woods to find a Yule log, which they’d drag home, singing about the holly and the ivy. The holly was used to decorate the interior of the house; the ivy adorned the outside of the door. The Yule log itself was set ablaze with a fragment of the previous year’s log, saved just for that purpose.

At about the same time, in many communities, the parish hogglers came calling to solicit contributions for the local church. This tradition is probably a variant on wassailing, where groups singing carols were invited in to sip a special Christmas punch called wassail.

The Great Hall of a typical Tudor manor house would be decorated with boughs of holly—and yew, bay, rosemary, and box, too. In another room, flowers might be twined around and through the spinning wheel in the corner—it would not be used again until Plough Monday, the first Monday after Twelfth Night. During Yuletide, all but the most necessary work—cooking and caring for animals—was forbidden.

On Christmas Day, there was feasting, with a Lord of Misrule to act as master of ceremonies in the largest houses. Even lesser gentry celebrated with minced pies made with dried fruits and spices and mutton (in remembrance of the shepherds). Each pie contained thirteen different ingredients, one each to represent Christ and his apostles. There was brawn, too, with mustard. And bread and cheese and fruit and nuts and spiced ale that had roast apples floating in it. But the much-anticipated centerpiece in many households was carried in on a huge platter. It held a large pastry case surrounded by jointed hare, small game birds, and wild fowl. Inside the pastry was a turkey that had been stuffed with a goose that had been stuffed with a chicken that had been stuffed with a partridge that had been stuffed with a pigeon.

New Year's Day, not Christmas, was the traditional time for the exchange of gifts, and in some rural communities it was also the day on which everyone went out into the orchard to wassail the trees. I think this is my favorite tradition, and it is still carried on in some areas of England today. To ensure a good crop for the next year's cider, villagers turn out to wish the trees good health and abundant crops. The celebration begins shortly after sundown, in front of the oldest tree in the orchard. A crust of bread is fished out of the bottom of a large wooden wassail bowl and placed it in the crook of the tree. Then loud noises fill the air—drums and horns and people banging on pans with ladles. Someone pours mulled cider around the base of the tree as the crowd begins to sing: "Old apple tree we wassail thee, hoping thou will bear."

I wassail thee, dear reader. Happy Yuletide.

     Kate Emerson (aka Kathy Lynn Emerson and Kaitlyn Dunnett)

Thank you Kate for stopping by and sharing with us this delightful post! A very happy Yultide to you as well!

And now for some exciting news! Kate had been gracious in offering a signed copy of Secrets of the Tudor Court: By Royal Decree to one lucky winner!
Publish Date: December 2010
Format: Paperback 353pp

Synopsis: (From the Publisher):
Charming. Desirable. Forbidden. Brought to court with other eligible young noblewomen by the decree of King Henry VIII, lovely Elizabeth “Bess” Brooke realizes for the first time that beauty can be hazardous. Although Bess has no desire to wed the aging king, she and her family would have little choice if Henry’s eye were to fall on her. And other dangers exist as well, for Bess has caught the interest of dashing courtier Will Parr. Bess finds Will’s kisses as sweet as honey, but marriage between them may be impossible. Will is a divorced man, and remarriage is still prohibited. Bess and Will must hope that the king can be persuaded to issue a royal decree allowing Will to marry again . . . but to achieve their goal, the lovers will need royal favor. Amid the swirling alliances of royalty and nobles, Bess and Will perform a dangerous dance of palace intrigue and pulse-pounding passions.
Brought to glowing life by the talented Kate Emerson, and seen through the eyes of a beautiful young noblewoman, By Royal Decree illuminates the lives of beautiful young courtiers in and out of the rich and compelling drama of the Tudor court."

Giveaway Guidelines:

~10 possible entries~

+1 entry for posting a comment and leaving your e-mail. (no e-mail = no entry) 
+5 entries for becoming a Follower, or already being a Follower. (if possible, please follow through "google friend connect" so I can verify) 
+ 3 entries for posting about this giveaway on your blog or adding a link for it on your sidebar. (please post link with your comment) 
+ 1 entry for tweeting about this giveaway. (please post link with your comment) 

~Please post all your entries in one comment, thanks :)
~This will be an international drawing!
~Giveaway ends January 7th

Copyright © 2010 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.


Blodeuedd said...

I like the wassail of the trees :) I don't think we have ever had anything like that here.

Pst, Svea, is it open to all? If so then I am in
blodeuedd1 at gmail dot com
1 email

buddyt said...

What an interesting post about the Christmas customs of Tudor times.

I would like to be entered in the giveaway.

+1 for comment
+5 Old Follower via GFC (buddyt)


Carol T

buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

Jenny Q said...

Oh! Please enter me! JDQ1175@aol.com and I'm an old follower :) Let Them Read Books.

Ammy Belle said...

This looks too good!:D

+1 apereiraorama @ gmail.com
+5 Follower: Ammy Belle

Thanks! :)

Rachel said...

I'm a follower! Thanks for the giveaway!


Joanne said...

What a delightful and informative post! Thank you for this timely glimpse into the Christmas celebrations of the past. I would love an opportunity to win. (I am already a follower.)

Curling up by the Fire said...

I have been wanting to read this for quite a while. Thank you for the giveaway!

Old follower +5

icewoman96 at gmail dot com

Unknown said...

These covers are absolutely gorgeous! Please enter me in the giveaway. My e-mail is ruthellenanderson (at) gmail (dot) com and I'm already a follower. :)

Shanna Sandmoen said...

Ooo! Well I loved her first book, and just got the second one from the library. What a wonderful contest. ssandmoen(AT)yahoo(DOT)com

I am a follower, I tweeted it @toriphile81

Elysium said...

I'd love to enter if this is worldwide!

I'm follower (Elysium)


Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

Her covers are always so gorgeous!! thank you for the contest!!

inthehammockblog at gmail dot com

+1 comment
+5 follower

Vivien said...

GFC follower

total 6

I love this series.

deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

Amy said...

I love Kate Emerson! Thanks for the awesome giveaway!
I am an old follower. :-)

tiger_fan_1997 AT yahoo DOT com

Daphne said...

I'm interested in reading this one. I"m a follower!


Taylor said...

I would love a chance to win this one! I'm all ready a follower!



Tales of Whimsy said...

These covers are truly splendid.
(not an entry)

Shannon said...

Thank you for including me.

I'm an old follower. =)

tiredwkids at live dot com

Lisa Richards/alterlisa said...

+1 I find the Tudor era totally fascinating.

+5 I follow on GFC.
+1 http://twitter.com/#!/alterlisa/status/17807810662240256

alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

Aik said...

I'd love to enter! This book sounds awesome!

+5 entries for already being a Follower - Aik

+ 3 entries for adding a link on my sidebar.

+ 1 entry for tweeting about this giveaway.

aikychien at yahoo dot com

deltay said...


fs1 said...

Thank you for this one. Sounds great

fairy dot morgaine at gmail dot com

+5 entries for following :)

Melissa @ Confessions of an Avid Reader said...

+1 - I'd love a chance to win this book. Thanks for the opportunity to enter.

+5 - I'm already a follower (pretty sure I did this through GFC).


Devon said...

I love to win a copy of it,,

hanna_563 at msn dot com

post a comment +1
I became a follower +5

Shy said...

Always enjoyed reading anything related to the Tudors. Please count me in =)


+1 Comment
+5 A follower
+3 Post on sidebar (http://bibliophiles-journal.blogspot.com/)

Total entries: 9

Thank you!

Darlyn said...

+1 I love the cover and I would love to read it. I don't read much of this genre but I'm planning to go out of my comfort zone

darlyn225 at gmail dot com

+5 already a blog follower

+3 link to blog sidebar at http://darlynandbooks.blogspot.com

+1 twitted here http://twitter.com/darlyn5/status/21180698081624064

thanks for the chance!

Anonymous said...

I would love to read this book!

+5 I am a new follower!

Thanks so much!

ang_vaughan at yahoo dot com

mamabunny13 said...

I would love to read this series!
mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

mamabunny13 said...

(I am a new follow or of your blog and I didn't catch your request to put all entries in one post)

+1 I would love to read this series
+5 follow via gfc
+1 Tweet @mamabunny13 http://twitter.com/#!/mamabunny13/status/22131570236198912
mamabunny13 at gmail dot com