Saturday, December 13, 2008

Wishes and Kisses gets cozy with Devon Ellington

Last post's winner was Rotti mom! Send me an email at stacy @ before December 31st, to claim your gift.

The Joys of the Yuletide Season
By Devon Ellington

I am kind of impossible when it comes to holidays. As far as I’m concerned, the holiday season starts on Samhain (Halloween) and goes right through until Twelfth Night, at which point Carnivale Season begins, and, well, you get the picture. I love to decorate, even though I’ve lived in apartments my whole life. Don’t worry – I’m house-hunting, and I really DO need that thirteen room Gothic Victorian house that looks like something out of It’s A Wonderful Life, because right now I’m paying more on my storage units than on rent. And no, I’m not throwing any of it out!

We always celebrate the Four Advents, the four Sundays leading up to Christmas Eve. The tradition is to put out a few decorations each Sunday, and then light the next candle on the five-candle wreath (the fifth candle is for Christmas Eve). Of course, I can’t stop decorating once I start, so I do it all on the First of Advent, and then keep adding things as I “rescue” additional items that look like they could use a good home.

Basically, it looks like a holiday truck threw up in my apartment. And that’s the way the cats and I like it.

Christmas/Yule/Solstice/Hannukah/Kwanzaa/You-Name-It-I’ll-Probably-Celebrate-It is one of my favorite times of year, and not just because I get to put up greenery and sparkling baubles (ooh, shiny! I’m worse than the cats), and pull out all the decorations that have stories behind them. Every piece in the house has its own story, and we tell those stories every year, like a kind of living history.

I also love the holidays because they are about light returning in the darkest hour, and about hope. In these trying times, that’s so important. It’s about making wishes come true, whether it’s a wish for snow for Christmas, or a new coat for a family member when you’re broke and on the street, or a wish for world peace, it’s a time for miracles, for possibilities, a time when anything can happen.

I’ve always been intrigued by tales spun specifically for this season. My ultimate fantasy is to get my act together to create a new story just for family and friends, print it beautifully, and give it as a gift each year. I have yet to be organized enough to start early enough to accomplish this. But it’s a nice fantasy. May Sarton used to write a Christmas poem for her family and friends. I love the idea of it, because we all love home-made gifts, and what’s more home-made than a tale from our own brains?

In any case, as I think about my characters, I wonder who would fit well in a Christmas/Yule/holiday-themed story, and for what would they wish? I took a poll earlier this autumn, and one of the top contenders was Aunt Doris and her much-younger Italian boyfriend about whom I’ve written about in the linked stories set in Congress Corners under the Ava Dunne name. Aunt Doris would wish for additional years on her life (although she’s not going anywhere for quite awhile), and Cassio wishes Aunt Doris would stop worrying about their age difference! Nina Bell, my protagonist from the serial Tapestry, the impulsive young woman living in 1990’s East Village, trying to survive a life in the arts as NYC begins its latest cycle of gentrification, got quite a few votes, too. In fact, we dealt with the holidays over several episodes of the series. Her desire to connect contrasted with her fear of being hurt make her an interesting character to dump into a holiday situation. She wishes for True Love, yet she’s notorious for sabotaging the Real Thing when it comes along and falling for The Wrong Thing. Perhaps she needs a sexy guardian angel to set her straight?

Most of the historical characters wouldn’t work, if they lived in a time where these holidays weren’t yet actively celebrated. Captain Kit Erskine and the characters of “The Merry’s Dalliance” could celebrate the holidays because they live in magical fantasy world, and I can have them celebrate any holiday that I wish! But Cutthroat Charlotte, who sailed the seas in the time prior to the American Revolution, would not have had a Christmas tree on the ship!

Jain Lazarus, my protagonist from HEX BREAKER and “The Possession of Nattie Filmore” poses some interesting dilemmas. She’s tough and fast-talking, yet also quite vulnerable. How would Jain celebrate the holidays? With hand-made and handed down objects, I imagine, although she might not have many of them. Unlike her creator, she is both tidy and not a hoarder. For what would Jain wish? Peace, on every level, not admitting that she wishes for love for herself. Wyatt stopped celebrating the holidays, for the most part, after his family was killed. He wishes people well, but doesn’t engage beyond that. He hasn’t allowed himself a genuine wish in a long time, so now’s the time to start. Billy Root is big on the holidays. That’s when he lets his inner child, never too far from the surface anyway, come out full throttle to play. Billy wishes everyone could be happy, warm, well-fed and well-loved over the season.

Although I’ve got a New Year’s tale planned for Jain this year rather than a Christmas one, mulling it over for this post excites me to the opportunity of exploring Christmas with Jain, Wyatt, Billy . . .and some paranormal entity who’s got its own agenda! Stay tuned . . . :;)

I've got a CD of HEX BREAKER to give away, as well as signed manuscript copies of both TOO MUCH MISTLETOE and THE RAMSEY CHASE. So leave a comment and we'll be picking names!

And my wish for all of you is for a joyful season and may we move into the New Year with joy, health, and friendship.


Devon Ellington publishes under a half a dozen names in both fiction and non-fiction. Visit her blog on the writing life, Ink in My Coffee:, Hex Breaker, the site for the Jain Lazarus Adventures:, and her main Devon Ellington website,


  1. Hi Devon!

    How cool is your name?! Hope everyone is having a great weekend thus far. I've been up since 5 am with my baby (8 months) who likes to wake up for the sunrise every morning. LOL So, I feel like my day is half over already.

    Good luck with the house hunting! I've been there and done that!


  2. Great piece; very entertaining.

    As two of your MySpace friends, Dave and I drop by often.

    Happy Holidays!

  3. Thank you for the insights into not only ourself, but your characters.
    Have a blessed day!

  4. Season Greetings, Stacy & Devon!

    Great article, Devon. I so understand your passion, as my decorating begins with the Autumn Equinox.

    Though I must admit to having trouble getting enthusiastic this season, when you have time, stop by Soul Echoes and read My Christmas Story. I thought I'd share a long treasured family tradition.

    Now, I already have Hex Breaker and will get back to it after the first of the year; what with NaNo and the Holidays interrupting my reading.

    But, I've not doubt I'd enjoy the other two manuscripts! (~:

    Blessings, Laura

  5. Hi Devon,
    Thank you for sharing a bit of yourself with us. While I love the holidays, I'm not much into the decorating - other than the Yule tree. I agree, though, that this is a great time of the year for hope and good wishes.


  6. Hi Devon - Thanks for the "interview." It is interesting to learn a little about you and watch how you think through your characters' backgrounds and actions!
    Best wishes for happy house hunting.

    Stacy - I stumbled on your site and this is fun! I enjoyed reading some of the earlier interviews too! Makes me want to get more books! If only I had more time!

  7. Wow Devon, half a dozen names! How do you keep it all straight? I love the sound of Hex Breaker. It's always fun to see how characters handle the holidays.


  8. I'm with you on the holidays! They really do start at Halloween and continue on through!
    Happy Holidays!

  9. I love Halloween and Christmas because it allows me to be a kid once again. What with decorating and singing songs, the ghostly and caroling ones, you can't help but jump back many years to your youth.

    Loved reading your inner thoughts, Devon.

  10. Cool blog. I've got a cat, too, that will not stay out of our christmas tree and packages. He thinks its all a big toy for him. :)
    Take care,

  11. Hey Devon

    I'd probably decorate more, but we have to travel 1300 miles to be with family over the Christmas holiday, so I don't really worry about it. Maybe when we get a house (we're in an apartment now) and my daughter is a little older :)

    Take care!

  12. Hi Devon, nice meeting you! I love learning about different traditions that people do for the holidays. I have some personal ones I do, such as adding a new angel ornament to our tree each year in memory of my mom. I loved reading here about yours! (And a Victorian house! I too would love one of those. I love reading Gothic romances! I always would imagine each room and even those halls to get to them! LOL). Your books sound good. Have a wonderful holiday too!

  13. My nephews name is Devin and I love this name as well as the variations. I love all the decorations at Christmas and one can never have to many. I feel like a magpie trying to collect all the shiny, pretty things available. Enjoyed learning more about you characters. Thanks

  14. Love reading about this. Thanks for the insight. Oh and yes doesn't everyone need a 13 room Gothic Victorian House lol!

  15. Good luck with the house hunting (I went through it myself last year).

    Happy holidays!

  16. Thank you for sharing yourself, your characters, and your cats, Devon.

    Yes, you need a sprawling house to store your stuff. Well, maybe just a big yard and a couple of P.O.D.S.

    May all of you and all of yours have a wonderful holiday season. The longer the better.

  17. May Sarton wrote a Christmas poem every year to her family and friends. Interesting. I have an Anthology of her Journals, Novels, and Poetry, and immediately after I read your note, I went to look in the book and found:
    "The Birthday"
    What shall we give The Child this day,
    On this shining day
    In a starving world,
    What gifts, what toys, for this, love's dearest birthday?
    .....[2 verses]...
    Now lay down thirst and hunger
    There in the lonely manger,
    And in the green saving grace,
    The bough without a thorn,
    For God in man is born;
    Out of all grief and pain,
    Love, be renewed again!" May Sarton P.117)

    And thank you for sharing your love for this festive Christmas season. I too, like to decorate our house and love the lights on the trees...and in the windows..

    Merry Christmas
    Ann W.

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