C.C MacKenzie’s Christmas Cracker

In keeping with Teatime’s theme of delicious holiday fare this month and giveaways, I’ve invited CC MacKenzie to join us in the tearoom. I first met CC during the 2011 HQN Mills & Boon New Voices Contest. She’s a fabulous author and a generous woman. Please welcome CC for tea and scones. Since she lives in England, she should feel right at home. (21 cannon salute!)

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When Katherine the great asked me to guest post on this awesome blog about food for the holidays I agreed without realizing exactly what it might entail.

My husband roared with laughter and said, ‘But you burn water!’

This is actually very true, I do and my culinary disasters are the stuff of legend. For example, my friends never ask me to ‘bring a dish’ for a dinner party. And don’t tell anyone but I have been known to pass off something purchased from a high-end supermarket as my own. My husband told me I had no shame. He’s quite right, I don’t.

Thinking of Christmas makes me all sentimental.

If you were to ask me, ‘Christine, do you like Christmas?’ I’d have no hesitation whatsoever in responding with, ‘I not only like it, I LOVE it!’

I love the singing, eating, peat fires (I’m Scottish), eating, drinking, the hugs, eating, and the drinking… I wrap my arms around the season with excitement and joy.

Each year, from about October, maybe September, I look forward to it enormously. In the UK we call Christmas, Chrimbo. And I love spreading bounty and joy in the glorious season of giving.

But the thing about Chrimbo is it tends to send people sort of loopy, even insane. I find certain family members more annoying than usual at Chrimbo, it seems to bring out the worst in them and they turn into the relatives from hell. I’m going to put my hand up and admit to a tiny bit of, shall we say, unusual behavior around Yuletide because at least 95% of the unusual behavior comes from The Mother. I’m not talking about your mother, but whoever happens to be ‘The Big Boss Organizer of All Festive Fun’ for that year, aka, Me. Do you notice how she ends up a wild eyed raving lunatic by the end of Christmas Day?

In this house we start off the day deceptively relaxed, and happily chilled in our pajamas opening our stockings stuffed with silly things – chocolate coins, packs of cards and jokey stuff like the miniature book of farts and burps. Always gets a laugh among the guys.

At this point I’m in a good mood. I’ve prepared ahead, I’ve ticked everything off the one hundred lists I’ve prepared ahead of time to make sure I’m in a good mood. But then it all starts to go downhill. Everyone disappears to ‘get ready’ for Chrimbo lunch and leaves yours truly in her pajamas to bin the tons of wrapping paper they’ve left behind on the carpet, turn on the oven for the turkey and load up the dishwasher with breakfast plates. By the time I’ve had a cold shower (they’ve used all the hot water) dressed, had a glass of wine or three; made the gravy, carved the bird, dished up the stuffing and tried to get every blessed thing timed right down to the minute my stress levels are through the roof.

Last year we didn’t have turkey because someone forgot to take it out of the freezer because someone had a deadline for her book. All the shops were closed. We had frozen pizza. And I had to endure two hours of my mother saying in a too loud chirpy voice, ‘I’ve never had pizza for Christmas lunch before. But it’s very nice. ’ She’s not coming to me this year; she’s going to my sister instead.Last week I was talking to my friend Mags about it.

‘It’s all in the organization and the timing,’ she said. I should point out that Mags is one of those people who’s wrapped her hand crafted gifts by the end of October. And her Chrimbo card drops on the doormat on the 1st of December every single year, without fail. If she wasn’t lovely I’d hate her. But I digress. This year Mags has me on a schedule. No more last minute gift-wrapping and panic buying. No more frozen turkey – it’s a fresh Norfolk Bronze – which I am told will ‘cook itself.’ Hmm. Not sure I trust something that cooks itself. My daughters are bringing deserts and my husband is preparing the vegetables.

What can possibly go wrong?

Have you ever had a Chrimbo disaster?

Do you have relatives who make you bite your tongue?

Do you love Christmas?

And if you’re wondering what the link with Teatime Romance and me is, my heroine Rosie Gordon is a pastry chef!

It just so happens my new contemporary romance novel came out on Wednesday. Run Rosie Run is the third book in The Ludlow Hall series. Rosie is a partner in Sweet Sensations, a wedding cake company. We first met Rosie in the first book of the series, Reckless Nights In Rome (which is free across all distributors) and she made such a big impact readers have been emailing me for months for Rosie’s story.

Here’s the blurb:

A wise man once said,

 ‘Be careful what you wish for because you might just get it…..’

Pastry chef Rosemary Gordon had worked hard her whole life to be successful… Now the wedding cake business she runs with best friend Bronte was winning awards life should be perfect…

But Rosie has a deep, dark secret…

And the steadily bubbling chemistry with Bronte’s brother, Alexander Ludlow, has suddenly become way too hot to ignore…

Thank you so much for having me and one lucky commentor will receive a copy of Run Rosie Run. The winner will be chosen by the wonderful Katherine!

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CC MacKenzie’s Blog: http://ccmackenzie.wordpress.com/

CC MacKenzie’s Facebook author page

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39 thoughts on “C.C MacKenzie’s Christmas Cracker

  1. I just loved your interveiw.. I always have a christmas mess myself because i never get gifts , I watch everyone else open their presents hum maybe that will change this year …

  2. I love Christmas, especially the cooking. My backup career was to be a personal chef or cater parties. I’ve done a few wedding cakes and catered a few parties and your friend is right; it is all about timing.

    As for disasters, there is always the turkey that would never get done. Or best yet, I almost burned down the kitchen with a blow torch caramelizing the sugar and spice mixture on a ham.

    Happy Christmas and thanks for stopping by!

    Amy

  3. Welcome to Teatime, Christine!!! So good to have you here with us!!! ❤

    Christmas disasters make for good memories, right? I'm led to think of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Muahahaha! Love it! Family get togethers are epic and I look forward to them. Sounds like your family is a hoot! 😉

    So Christine, while I have you here, what's your writing process? Are you a panster or a plotter? Do you use storyboards or notebooks? And where did your idea for The Ludlow Hall series come from?

    • My family are a nightmare, darling!

      And you want tips on my writing craft? Gotta month? LOL!

      I use notebooks and write first draft scenes in long hand somewhere quiet. I also use index cards for my vampire paranormal series since I’ve built an entire world in the future. The cards are for character archetypes along with hair/eye colour, build, any tics etc. My Vampyre Legal Chronicles are set in the present day and are the prequel to the main series beginning in Fall 2013.
      I’m a bit of a pantser and a plotter but it’s the characters who lead the way for me. When we have a great character to explore it’s amazing how a book powers along. A story needs to be fast paced with fantastically written characters that make me laugh and cry. And a good love scene is always a bonus too. (Hehehe)

      How did I come up with the Ludlow Hall series?

      This is a true story. One of my daughters has twice climbed out of a ground floor toilet to escape the blind date from hell. This was a number of years ago. She confessed the whole sorry debacle to a friend, her sister and I in a coffee shop and I thought we were going to be thrown out by the way we were howling with laughter and Bronte Ludlow was born. The series has sort of grown organically and may spawn another series. I’m mulling over which direction to take the stories at the moment. But I also love writing stand-alone stories and I’ve one which is an adventure/thriller/romance coming out early next year. Although it looks as if that one might spawn another. I’m working on them now.

      If you guys want me to do a writing post for you in the New Year, I’m happy to come along and talk about the end to end process as well as indie publishing and where it’s going. There are some exciting projects in the pipeline for me very soon and I’d be more than happy to talk to your readers/writers about how it all came together.

  4. Christmas used to be a big event in my house. lots of presents, 30 people sitting for a multi course meal and a busy, busy home. I used to take requests for deserts. I’d make whatever you want, as long as you took the leftovers home. No disasters at my house. Now? Nothing. nada. no how. LOL I’m going to my daughter’s for steak and lobster. We’re going to get together with my family on the 26th for turkey. Christmas is pretty simple in my home these days. I think I’ve earned the quiet.

    • Hello Louise!

      Lovely to see you! I agree with you completely. When the kids were little the house was chaotic on Christmas Day and I made my late mother-in-law lend a hand. She was a champion Turkey baster and took over the running of the kitchen while I did the lift and clean part. These days I like it quieter and I’ve one daughter moving to Europe for her career so this might be the last time we’re all together.

      Thank you for stopping by.

  5. Welcome to Teatime, Christine. The disasters to make the best memories, sometimes, don’t they? We’ve never had a Christmas disaster. Our fair share of Thanksgiving ones, though (like the year i discovered 1 hour before people were arriving that *I* was hosting dinner and making everything but the turkey). For us most of the danger isn’t in the cooking but in the travel to get to our families, given how far apart everyone lives. But it’s worth it to see everyone. Happy Christmas!

    • Hello, Jennelle, lovely to meet you.

      Yes, travelling can be a hassle too. I remember once travelling from Dundee to Oban in a mini with our brand new puppy in the back and the car breaking down in the middle of a blizzard. Those were the days! We were going to stay with my in-laws. We got there in the end and in one piece thank goodness.
      Happy Chrimbo to you too!

  6. Hi, girls. Wickedly awesome post! You guys rock! I totally love Chrstimas! I was spoiled rotten growing up, being the only girl and having five brothers. Putting up the tree was a family tradition and I had to wait a long time before my brothers gave it up and allowed me to take over. Ha, I kept that until I moved out. Some of the ornaments I have are over 45 years old and were sowed/made by my Mom.
    Our family gatherings for Chrstimas were legendary and we had lots of fun. My Mom has a gift for preparing sumptuos meals. Oh yes, I remember one time we had like a 30 lb bird and were prepping the stuffing and somehow this huge bird slid off the counter and you should have seen us trying to pick up this slippery turkey off the floor. We were laughing so hard. My Mom was horrified but we still put the darn thing in the oven and had a great meal.
    Merry Chrimbo, Christmas and love you guys.

  7. This is hilarious, Christine. I would love to come to your house to celebrate Chrimbo. I would even assist you with the preparations. 🙂 My husband often reminds me of the day I lined up him and our two youngs boys, and informed that just because I was the only woman in the house, they better not expect me to do all the “woman” stuff. Needless to say, I have three strapping men in my kitchen to help out with everything. Hmmm, perhaps you should come spend Chrimbo at my house. lol

  8. Pingback: Teatime Romance Blog’s 2012 Year in Review | Teatime Romance

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