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  • Writer's pictureAudrey Abbott

Welcome to Abbey Mead Vol. 17

Dear Friends of Abbey Mead,

The most wonderful time of the year! Hope that all of your holiday plans come together smoothly with joyous gatherings and safe travels!

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Official Book Release Date for The Lady’s Prayer announced:

January 22, 2020. This day fits perfectly with Valentine’s Day. Verra romantic!

You will find the book promoted on the following four websites (just click the name to open the web site):

4. The Ripped Bodice (a Romance Bookstore in Culver City, CA) This is a verra interesting website! You should check it out!

The Lady’s Prayer can be preordered on all four sites NOW!

BUT You Do NOT Have to Wait !!! There is REALLY GOOD NEWS! Hold onto your hats!!! I have already received several boxes of actual books via the publisher. Gee! I must have an IN!

So… If you live in or near Pittsburgh, and cannot wait for the “official” book launch event in February (see below!), I will be at the Brentwood Library in the South Hills (3501 Brownsville Road, Pittsburgh PA 15227) on Sunday, December 15th. From 1:00 – 4:00 PM. I will sign and sell the books (both the The Lady’s Prayer and The Lady’s Desire.) I look forward to meeting you then!

You can purchase either The Lady’s Desire and/or The Lady’s Prayer. Cash or Check only, please. We cannot accept credit cards.

If you cannot make that date, perhaps we can arrange another more convenient place or date to meet. I am somewhat flexible. Contact me at .

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Mark your calendars: The Official Book Release Event of The Lady’s Prayer in paperback / at Riverstone Bookstore / Friday, February 7 at 7:00 PM / Hope to see you there! Fingers crossed for good weather. Another local author, Gemma McKay*, will also be there. Gemma writes New Adult Romances set in Ireland! Will be a fun evening! And a great way to celebrate Romance and Valentine’s Day! (*AKA Stephanie Keyes!)

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And now for something seasonal: Scottish Christmas Traditions!

How would William and his family and friends have celebrated the Christmas holiday in the 1800’s? With feasting and gifts or with somber reflections? Read on…

For centuries, the Scots, like Christians everywhere, celebrated Christmas with food and family and friends. Early Scottish traditions included baking of the Yule Bread, made of unleavened rye flour, or in some places from seasoned oat flour. One was made for each member of the family. The person who found a trinket in his or her loaf would have good luck all year.

Another popular activity was sweeping the fireplace ashes and reading the ashes as a fortune teller would read tea leaves.

Many Scots would burn a twig of the rowen tree at Christmas as a way to clear away bad feelings of jealousy or mistrust between family members, friends, or neighbors.

The first visitor to a home on Christmas Day was called the First Foot. That person must arrive bearing gifts of peat, money, and bread to symbolize warmth, wealth, and lack of want. However, this later became a New Year's Day tradition (see below).

Placing candles in the window to welcome a stranger is a long-upheld Scottish Christmas tradition. By honoring the visit of a stranger in the night, you remember and honor the Holy Family, who searched for shelter the night of Christ's birth.

Unfortunately, these early celebratory and festive traditions were abandoned, beginning in 1547. With the arrival of the Reformation within the United Kingdom, Parliament actually banned the celebration of Christmas. Can you believe it?

Upheld for nearly 15 years, the ban was lifted in most of the kingdom, but not in Scotland. There the Scottish Presbyterian Church continued to discourage Christmas festivities for nearly 400 years. Believe it!

So for centuries, Christmas was somberly and reverently observed in Scotland by attending church services. Children received small treats and tokens. There would be a light Christmas dinner. Some families did place small evergreens in the home or decorated doorways with boughs of holly. Scots even worked on Christmas Day.

But finally, in 1958, Christmas became a recognized public holiday in Scotland. Hooray! And in 1974, the U.K. tradition of Boxing Day (the day after Christmas when the wealthy would provide boxed gifts to their servants) also became a public holiday.

Once the ban on Christmas was lifted, the Scots adapted many of the Christmas traditions observed in England and the U.S. Today, the Scots celebrate with festive Christmas trees and presents for all. Great dinners include Scottish shortbread, mashed turnips, and roasted turkey or venison stew.

In addition to Yule bread, families may also bake a Black Bun or Twelfth Night Cake. Similar to a fruitcake, it has thick pastry and is packed with spices, fruit, nuts...and more than a dash of whiskey!

You will hear more about Scottish Yule traditions in Book 3: The Lady’s Wish !

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Dear Friends of Abbey Mead, William and Anne join me in wishing you all a verra Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

As always, Audrey

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Random Fun Events in December:

December 4 / National Cookie Day

December 7 / National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

December 12 / Gingerbread House Day

December 16 / MY FAVORITE: National Chocolate Covered Anything Day / Let your imagination run wild!!! Chocolate covered cherries, coconut, nuts, pretzels, etc. What is your preference? Dark Chocolate or Milk Chocolate?

December 22-30 / Happy Hanukkah!

December 25 / Have a Holly Jolly Christmas!

December 31 / National Champagne Day!

December 31 / Happy Hogmanay! The last day of the year in Scotland! As in much of the world, many Scottish cities hold all-night celebrations on New Year’s Eve. Customs vary throughout Scotland, but they usually include gift-giving and visiting the homes of friends and neighbors. Special attention is given to the First Foot (see above) or the first guest of the new year. As we have seen, Christmas celebrations were repressed for nearly 400 years, so the Scots placed a much greater emphasis on celebrating Hogmanay! They let out all the stops! It is by far the biggest celebration on the Scottish calendar!

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PS: Past Abbey Mead newsletters can be found on my website blog: . Check it out…

PPS: If you liked The Lady’s Prayer, please consider writing a review on Amazon or Goodreads. Or tell a friend! Reviews – especially good ones – are verra much appreciated by William and Anne and above all by me!


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