Please welcome back my friend and fellow MuseItUp Author, Meg Amor, with a new release and a new anthology. Just in time for the holidays, a heartfelt sensual story Saint Nicholas, and Meg's story Dark War is also part of MIU's: Red Hot Wild Women Writers: 6 HOT Romances Bundle
Meg has once again generously submitted to, this time, what I refer to as a Christmas themed interview...
Fav Christmas Memory as a child / toy / or a memory that really brought home the feeling of the season or made you believe in the magic or the spirit of the season.
My favorite Christmas memory as a child is mum’s beautifully laden table. Mum really knew how to set a table. We always had candied ginger, fresh black plump cherries, cashew nuts and dried apricots in wee dishes. All treats in New Zealand. One year mum and dad had also invested in a couple of bottles of Wild Duck fizzy red wine. LOL. I commandeered a bottle and helped myself to it. I was probably about eight. Actually, my memory only seems to be of the first part of the day… Not sure why that is.
Same question Memory as an adult / a special gift? Or something that happened that you’ll never forget.
One year, here in Modesto, I invited people to simply pop in for hors d’oeuvres and champagne. I also had a crock pot of my families lamb curry that people could have if they wanted something a bit more filling. I had the fire going and the house was cozily warm. I’d made lots of bite size hors d’oeuvres and the champagne flowed. It was a lovely friend filled day, ending with my best friend Kath and twin soul Donnie there. It was quite magical.
Share a family tradition with us. There are many in my family, one’s that we started when I was a child and some that my husband and I have adopted and cultivated with our own children. We get to open one gift on Christmas Eve—Christmas pajamas.
I like that tradition H K!! Very fun. As a kid, we didn’t really have any of note. Christmas is not as BIG in New Zealand as it is here in the States but I have a couple of small things. Whether because it’s summer and if we’ve lucky, jolly hot, not remotely how the Christmas image is, I’m not sure. But if we were up at my Gran’s in the North Island, they would string an enormous Norfolk Pine tree that sat at the entrance to their driveway with large colored light bulbs. (this was a big deal back in NZ in the sixties and seventies. No one did stuff like this back then.) LOL. On Christmas Eve, when I was asleep, they took all the pressies outside to put under the tree. But it looked like rain (yes, New Zealand weather is quite unpredictable) and they had to bring them all inside again.
The other thing I always loved was decorating the tree. And my parents used to wrap a 50 cent coin in Christmas paper and hang it on the tree in secret. Then I’d have to find it. 50 cent pieces were the size of half dollars when I was growing up and were worth an untold fortune to a small child. I had a suitcase record player and was music mad. I could buy a 45 for .99 cents, so I was half way there with the ‘found’ 50 cent piece. Or a quarter of the way to an album. Solid Gold Hits – Volume 3!! LOL. It was excellent. :-)
As an adult, I have instituted the watching of the Christmas Movie, Love Actually.
When I am decorating the tree, each ornament seems to have a memory attached. Whether it was my grandmothers or my dad’s or something one of the kids made when they were young. Everything seems to bring a smile or a tear. Do you have a special ornament that comes to mind?
I don’t have anything from my childhood. I do collect ornaments now though. I have a huge Hawaiiana collection. And absolutely LOVE the glass ornaments from Europe. I do have things I got with my late husband which are full of memories too. Our love of France and the fleur de lys we got in Vegas, plus the pink VW beetle. The baseball things. An ornament he had made in Honolulu that has his, mine and Leo Ray Jr’s name on it (our cat.)
The Christmas Quickies
Favourite Christmas Movie
I don’t have one sorry. It’s not as big a deal in New Zealand as the US. And reading these questions, I realize how different it is to here in the States. Christmas time in NZ was when the strawberries, fresh peas and cherries came into being in a big way for a few weeks. There was an air of holiday time (as in hot days, wearing shorts and jandals, (flip-flops) going to the beach or camping and lazing about.)
The week between Christmas and New Year used to be wonderful, because the whole of New Zealand practically shut down. LOL. The dairies (local 7/11 type stores) and supermarkets would be on limited hours. A lot of the businesses closed their doors. Things like lawyers, non-essential businesses etcetera would be closed until late January. Everyone had a holiday mood to them. Many of the local takeaways, the malls and general shops were shut. Industrial factories, shops and the like were all closed.
This produced a real ‘holiday’ relaxed feeling throughout the whole country. The news featured fun things only. People had Christmas Day at home or they went camping. It was wonderful really. I can’t inject the carefree laidback feeling of it into this writing. But having a whole country on holiday produced this rarified atmosphere of complete relaxation. It was gorgeous.
Often people didn’t go back to full time work until after the first week of January. All paid for. Schools were all off for the Christmas holidays which run from mid-December approximately to the end of January. Trust me, this is about the length of our summer anyway. LOL. Er sorry… this wasn’t a very quickie answer. LOL. I just realized how different my Christmas’s were growing up compared to the States Christmas’s.
Fav Christmas Carol or Hymn
Again, sorry, I don’t have one. We’re a secular country so hymns are out. And we never had Christmas music at home. I now associate all the songs from Love Actually with Christmas time. LOL.
The fat red or black cherries. I loved the candied ginger and salty cashews too. Such sweet treats for me as I have a savory tooth. I’m trying to think what we had for Christmas dinner. Mostly it was a roast of some kind. Lamb or chicken. I never had turkey until I came to the States twenty odd years ago. All the roast vegetables, parsnips, kumera (NZ sweet potato), yams (different to the ones here. Small bright orange grub like looking tubers—hard to explain. I’ve never seen them here. But are called Oca’s in the rest of the world.) Potatoes and pumpkin, all roasted with the meat. Fresh peas, fresh picked, shelled and eaten by us until we were green.
A trifle for dessert. A layer of sponge cake, spread with strawberry jam and soaked in sherry. Then a can of Watties Fruit Salad thrown over the top—pear cubes, peaches and pineapple, with the cherries that looked artificial, but you felt lucky if you managed to get one. LOL. On top of that was homemade custard, then oodles of whipped cream. Yum!
I always make a Pavlova too for Christmas. It’s our national dessert. (and the Aussies, but we won’t mention them.) :) Pillowy meringue on the inside and crisp white shell on the outside, filled with whipped cream, cut up strawberries, kiwifruit and passion fruit topping. I love it and the Americans and Canadians I’ve made it for, do too.
Here’s the best recipe for it:
8 egg whites
2 cups of sugar
About 3 kiwifruit
A ‘punnet’ or small container of strawberries (I’ve also used frozen strawberry’s in the States and using them as a center ‘hash.’
Passion fruit pulp is available, but not necessary.
If all these are in short supply.
Use canned drained peaches, blueberries, or raspberries
Cut a 23cm round (about 9”) out of parchment paper and place it on a flat baking tray.
Turn the oven on to 250’ (120’C)
Separate the egg whites and beat with an electric beater until soft peaks form. Then start adding the sugar, a couple of tablespoons at a time. You will need to beat this for 12 minutes on a fairly good speed to get the height out of the egg whites. Don’t skimp on the time otherwise you won’t get the body you want to hold well.
Spread the mixture over the circle with a spatula. Make furrows up the side of the pav and smooth the top.
Bake for an hour and 15 mins to 30mins until dry on the middle shelf. When you tap it, it should sound hollow. Turn the oven off, leave the door open and let cool.
Then plonk lots of whipped cream on top and decorate with slices of kiwifruit and quartered strawberries. We often put passion fruit pulp on it too. Use an electric knife to cut it if you have one. It’s a wee bit messy, but sooooooooo good. It will only last for the day, but I’ve never had any left over. LOL. Decorate close to serving for best results, but you can keep the dry pavlova in an airtight container non-refrigerated until you’re ready to decorate it.
Tree—Real or Artificial?
Real!! Love the smell. Gorgeous!
Please tell us about your new release, Saint Nicholas
Because my brain has stopped working tonight, I’ll give you the blurb sorry.
A beautiful heartfelt, sensual erotic romance story—New Zealander, Daisy struggles with the death of her husband, her days become blurs of unreality. There doesn’t seem to be any light at the end and if there is one—it’s probably a train.
Life has become slightly surreal. Nobody told her death would be like this. That she’d feel so exhausted some days, even brushing her teeth would seem like the ascent on Everest without oxygen.
Her one bright spot is picking up a lotto ticket at the local store where the gorgeous Greek owner Nicky Constantine works. His dancing Aegean-blue eyes and jet black wavy hair are as attractive as his long fingers. She notices them every time. He’s flirty and fun—he’s probably nice to everyone. Good Greek Boy, she thinks in her sarkier moments.
But one day, Nicky touches her hand and she’s transported into another time and era—she sees a flash of a heavy sheepskin flight jacket and peaked service cap. In her confusion, she leaves her cash card at the store.
Unbeknown to Daisy, Nicky’s only flirty with her. He’s been watching her for months, concerned for this lovely, fragile woman.
Finding her card, he takes up her challenge that men aren’t romantic anymore. He arrives at her door with an invitation to drive down to the river.
He’s packed champagne and candles…
Christmas is right around the corner...has Saint Nicholas come early this year?
As many of your readers, fans and friends are aware, you lost your own husband in the past year, how much of you is in Daisy?
A lot. Most of what I describe in Daisy’s feelings, the isolation and surrealness has been what it’s been like for me over the past year. I wrote this book about the six month anniversary mark of Aaron’s death. And my feelings in Saint Nicholas pretty much accurately mirror that time. I always write from a very personal space and Saint Nicholas is no exception. I’m currently writing a new book in The Hawaiians series and part of Aaron’s death and our relationship is in that. Writing has always been a way for writers to express what’s often very internal for them. I’m no exception.
Was the writing of this story cathartic for you?
Yes, it was the opening up door for how I was feeling at the time. I am pretty isolated where I am without a great deal of in person support. So at times, I felt like I was going mad with feelings that just kept piling up and no one to really talk to them about. I wrote a blog about the six month anniversary which unleashed some of how I was feeling. It felt very vulnerable to do that and I wondered whether to do it at the time. But people were wonderful. Then I wrote the book afterward. It’s part of the healing process I think. That six month mark in a death is where you start to heal or sink badly in psych terms.
Also with the release of Saint Nicholas, you are also one of the authors in MuseItUp Publishing’s the Wild Darkness Calls themed bundle, which also comes out today featuring, Dark War. Double Congratulations. Give us a run down.
Thanks H K. Dark War was the very first book I wrote and had published by Muse. It features Henry, Izzy and Charlie who have a deep soul love for each other that goes outside the normal male/female relationship. I’ve always called them a committed poly-faithful relationships or ménage. But this usually indicates the men are bisexual. I actually think Henry and Charlie might be pansexual. You love who you love. Although, in this book, I made Charlie more bisexual. He’s the raunchier of the two men and more likely to experiment.
Henry’s an older black Southern Gentleman and the love for Charlie, his best friend is surprising, but also not…for both he and Izzy. Charlie’s simply part of them. When Charlie goes missing with some awful people from his Club, Henry and Izzy go to find him to bring him home. He’s in an old plantation house he owns, now falling into disrepair. There’s a storm brewing and when they arrive, a scene of debauchery and sex is happening.
Izzy’s a fiery New Zealander like me and throws a fit. She and Henry take care of Charlie, trying to convey how much they love him. A deep sensuous bath and sultry sex unfolds. And we see Charlie let his walls down for something he really wants in his heart.
There’s a lot of emotion in this story and deep soul yearning that people often comment on. I felt it when I wrote it. Charlie is a Creole like Henry. There’s a richness in their stories, all set in New Orleans. The love between them is very heart warming.
These characters also are the stars of the Troika Love Series. The first book comes out in spring next year with Muse. You can find the blurbs over on www.troikaromance.com. I darkened them very slightly for this book, but their personalities remain the same. We get to see Henry and Izzy’s relationship unfold in Henry and Isolde. Then in book two, The Chi Circle, Charlie comes into their relationship and we watch that develop.
I love these characters, they’re my heart and soul in many ways.
I have an excerpt for Saint Nicholas and Dark War on my website. Go and have a poke around if you feel like it. Thanks so much H K for having me here with you at this time of year. Hoping everyone has had a lovely Thanksgiving and wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas or holidays, as they say in the old and new country. LOL.
Thank you for being my guest today, Meg, congratulations on the new releases. I wish you a Merry Christmas and many blessings in the new year coming. You deserve them all. Aloha and Mahalo.