Nov 14 2013 2:15pm

Slowing Down, Delightfully, for the Holidays

The Scandal Before Christmas by Elizabeth EssexToday we welcome author Elizabeth Essex to Heroes and Heartbreakers to talk about how important it is to savor the moment—something the hero and heroine have no choice but to do when they're snowed in together in Elizabeth's new holiday novella, The Scandal Before Christmas. Thanks for joining us, Elizabeth!

I’m going to admit it right now—I love the holidays. I love knowing that as soon as I put away my big pointy witch hat from Halloween (which my sprigs argue is not truly a costume), the onslaught will begin, and my mailbox will start to overflow with holiday catalogues, and my regular magazines will feature gorgeous spreads on holiday decorating and entertaining where everything looks merry and bright. I love the fact that season that encompasses the wonderfully varied holidays of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Winter Solstice is now full two months long.

But let me make one thing perfectly clear: the reason I love the holiday season is because I think it is the perfect excuse to slow down, and take life at a more measured, contemplative pace. To do less.

I eschew the idea that I need to be busier. I turn a deaf ear to all pleas for urgency, or insistence on speeding up—to run out to catch that sale, or bake that extra three dozen cookies at the last minute. I refuse to do more. Instead, I give myself permission to do less—even to write less.

Which is not to say that I am entirely idle, but I give myself permission to do more of the things I love. I love to decorate the house. I pull out the wreaths and lights and ornaments, and I take my time. I put on music that makes me happy. I sip a little eggnog. Grown-up eggnog. I bake apple pies and pecan pies and brownie pies, and I ice Christmas cookies. And then I eat them. Not all at once, mind you, but I nibble a few with a spot of tea in the afternoon.

Because what I really love is finding a comfy chair where I can sip that tea or eggnog while I read a book. To me this is the very best thing about the holidays—re-reading all the stories that my children and I loved when they were little: the marvelous scene from The Wind in the Willows when the Christmas carolers come to Mole End and end up having an impromptu feast; the rolling rhyming cadence of Mr. Willoughby’s Christmas Tree coming by special delivery; the bittersweet joy of Toot and Puddles’ reunion in I’ll Be Home for Christmas, the ridiculous bliss of Whoville in How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Oh, my list goes on and on and on.

I read and I read and I read. I read all the romance holiday novellas that are out now, and that help to put me in a warm and festive frame of mind. I read old stories that I loved. I read new stories that have absolutely nothing to do with Christmas, but everything to do with reminding me of what a gift it is simply to be able to read.

And you know what? Despite the fact that I give myself permission to write less, I inevitably write more. Because all that doing less, and taking time, and simply enjoying the holiday fills me with love and with joy. And the way I express my love and joy is to write.

So my wish for each and every one of you is a long, long holiday season full of comfort and joy and eggnog and relaxation and love. And of course, hours and hours of reading!

Learn more or order a copy of The Scandal Before Christmas by Elizabeth Essex, out now:

Buy at AmazonBuy at Barnes & Noble



(And be sure to check out the entire collection of holiday e-novellas out from H&H and St. Martin's Press this season.)


Elizabeth Essex is the award-winning author of the critically acclaimed Reckless Brides historical series. When not re-reading Jane Austen, sipping tea or mucking about her garden, Elizabeth can be found writing, making up wonderful stories about people who live far more interesting lives than she. It wasn’t always so. Elizabeth graduated from Hollins College with a BA in Classical Studies and Art History, and then earned her MA from Texas A&M University in Nautical Archaeology, also known as the archaeology of shipwrecks. You can visit her web site at

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
1. Kareni
And happy holidays to you, too, Ms. Essex! Thanks for the very happy reading hours you've given me. I've enjoyed all of your books.
Barbara Bauschka
2. njoireading
Check out the link; there were several novellas that I want to read and it was easy to order there.
Elizabeth Essex
3. EssexRomance
Dear Kareni,

Thank you so very much! I am more than delighted that the books have given you pleasure. It's always my fondest wish that people will have at least as much fin reading as I had in creating the stories!

Wishing you lots of free reading time this winter! Cheers, EE
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