The Jaunty Quills are excited to bring back veteran author Vanessa Kelly. Vanessa’s new book is His Mistletoe Bride.

Shana: Welcome back, Vanessa. Tell us about His Mistletoe Bride. It features an American heroine. I love that!

Vanessa Kelly:  Hi Shana!  Thanks so much to you and the rest of the Quills for having me visit.  His Mistletoe Bride is a bit of High Noon meets the Regency.  My heroine is, indeed, an American – a Quaker from Philadelphia.  I grew up in a very historic Quaker town in New Jersey, and I’ve always been fascinated by Quaker history.  I thought it might be fun to take a young woman from that setting and throw her smack-dab into the aristocratic world of the Regency ton.  My hero, by contrast, is a soldier and a war hero.  Lucas is smitten with Phoebe, but he doesn’t quite understand her view of the world.  His world view and her world view really collide after their precipitous marriage—they’re caught in a compromising situation—when they encounter a gang of smugglers on their country estate.  Naturally, Phoebe wants to help the gang while Lucas is inclined to turn them over to the law.  Add in a Christmas holiday with a lot of parties and festivities and you’ve got what I hope is a very fun and sexy story.

Shana: Is His Mistletoe Bride set in the Regency or later? What are some of the historical Christmas traditions you included in the book?

Vanessa Kelly:  It’s a bit later in the Regency period, in 1817.  Although it’s true that many of the customs we take for granted didn’t really bloom until the Victorian era, the Regency folk did enjoy celebrating the holiday.  They decorated their houses with greenery, hung mistletoe, burned the Yule log, and of course they loved the Wassail Bowl—a really strong sort of punch or ale that was usually mixed up by the master of the house from an old family recipe.  Carol singing and games were a big part of the festivities, which concluded on Twelfth Night with a grand party.  Eating Twelfth Night cake and appointing a holiday king and queen were just a few of the traditions observed for that end-of-the-season party.  I’ll say one thing for those Regency folks—they knew how to have a good time, and I brought a lot of that merry-making into His Mistletoe Bride.

Shana: You are also a part of Rock *It Reads. What’s RiR and how can we get your RiR books?

Vanessa Kelly:  Rock*It Reads is a collective or “brand” of traditionally published authors committed to bringing high standards and professional quality to their self-published works. Whenever readers see the RIR logo, they can be sure they’re purchasing a book that is held to an excellent standard of quality.  Members include Monica Burns, Kris Kennedy, Mia Marlowe and Pamela Clare.  Right now there are twelve of us, and we intend to keep growing.  Readers can find our books on the web

Shana: What’s it like writing with your husband? What’s your process when working with a partner, and how is it different from when you’re working alone?

Vanessa Kelly:  Those are the contemporary romances and romantic suspense books I write with hubby as VK Sykes.  It’s actually not that different from writing alone, to tell you the truth.  Although we do brainstorm plots and characters in the beginning of the process, we tend to work separately.  Randy always writes the first draft and then I go in and revise—he leaves most of the love scenes and emotional stuff to me!  We keep passing the manuscript back and forth until we’re satisfied with it.  The process really works well for us.  Randy is great at plotting and characterization, and I enjoy writing the more emotional parts of the story.

Shana: Finally, tell us what you have coming next.

Vanessa Kelly:  Starting in December of 2013, I’ll be releasing a new historical series with Kensington Zebra called The Renegade Royals.  The heroes are the illegitimate, bad-boy offspring of the sons of King George III.  The stories will be released in two back-to-back trilogies, which I think is great for readers.  I’m really having fun working on this project, and the first book is essentially completed.

Readers, now it’s your turn. Do you enjoy picking up Christmas-themed books this time of year? Do they put you in the holiday spirit? What are some of your favorite holiday books? One reader who comments will be randomly chosen to win a copy of Vanessa’s last book, My Favorite Countess, and another reader will receive a digital copy of her VK Sykes book, Fastball.



When Major Lucas Stanton inherited his earldom, he never dreamed his property would include the previous earl’s granddaughter. Phoebe Linville is a sparkling American beauty, yes, but with a talent for getting into trouble. Witness the compromising position that forced them into wedlock. Whisked away to Mistletoe Manor, his country estate, it isn’t long before she is challenging his rules—and surprising him in and out of bed…

Phoebe has no intention of bowing to Lucas’s stubbornness even though he offers all that she wants. His kisses and unexpected warmth are enticing, but Phoebe is determined to show the Earl of Merritt what real love is all about. And if that takes twelve nights of delicious seduction by a roaring fire, she’s more than willing to reveal her gifts very slowly…


Buy links:  Amazon  Barnes & Noble  Books A Million


Vanessa Kelly was named by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, as one of the “New Stars of Historical Romance.”  Her Regency-set historical romances have been nominated for awards in a number of contests, and her second book, Sex and The Single Earl, won the prestigious Maggie Medallion for Best Historical Romance.  You can find her on the web at

Facebook; Twitter;

Vanessa’s Blog


41 thoughts on “Bring a Friend Friday: Vanessa Kelly Hangs the Jaunty Mistletoe

  1. Stefanie D says:

    Vanessa, first of all let me congratulate you on the cover of His mistletoe bride. I think it looks terrific!
    I do like Christmas-themed books. I just got Lori Wilde’s A cowboy for Christmas and I’m looking forward to read it. But I’m going to wait until I put my Christmas tree in the living room. :p

  2. Laurie G says:

    I love Christmas themed books at this time of the year. They get me geared up to face the upcoming holiday season.


    Debbie Macomber issues a hardcover book every year. Glad Tidings, On a Snowy Night (The Christmas Basket & The Snow Bride), Her Christmas Angel’s stories Shirley, Goodness and Mercy- The Trouble With Christmas

    She has one where a flight is cancelled at Christmas time and the heroine gives her seat on the bus to a soldier so that he could get home to his loved ones.

    Linda Lael Miller- McKettrick’s Christmas, A Stone Cold Christmas

    Nora Roberts Jingle All the Way anthology has a story with twins who try to get their teacher and dad together. The Gift

    Linda Howard’s Bluebird Winter

    I especially like Curtis Matlock’s Miracle On I-40 . scrooge like truck driver reluctantly takes a single, waitress and her 2 children back to Ohio to reunite them with her parents who she hasn’t seen in 10 years. She still believes in Christmas and love even though life has been a hard road traveled.

    Joanna Lindsay – The Present
    Eloisa James -An Affair At Christmas
    Sabrina Jeffries, Julia London= A Snowy Night With A Stranger

    Lori Foster’s anthology – Santa Baby
    Alison Kent’s Jingle Bell Rock with Sara Smiles

  3. Shana Shana says:

    I love them, and I already have your, Vanessa. I think it’s finally going to cool off this weekend, and I am ready for my Christmas read!

    Thanks for stopping by!

    1. Thanks so much for hosting me, Shana!

  4. I love Christmas books! Yours sounds lovely, Vanessa! I’ve also bought My Kind of Christmas by Robyn Carr…definitely gets you thinking about the season!

  5. Patsy T. says:

    😉 I love christmas stories. I tend to seep myself in them following the first snow. Thanks for writing them and especially this one which seems to have a heroine well worth her salt 😕

  6. Welcome, Vanessa! I’m so glad you could join us today! Your book sounds fabulous. I love holiday themed books. It’s a great way to ease into the Christmas spirit. On another note, I was fascinated by what you said about teaming up with your hubby to write the contemporary books. How fun! What a great thing for you to do together. 🙂

    1. Nancy, it is fun, although we can sometimes get into pretty, ahem, heated arguments on various plot and character points. Fortunately we always seem to work them out.

  7. Terri Brisbin says:

    Vanessa —

    Waving here and across the room (we’re both at the same conference!) –

    I LOVE holiday-themed stories, especially Christmas ones. I usually tend to read anthologies during the busy holiday times but always pick up some novels to read.

    Thanks for visiting with the Jaunty Quills today!

    1. LOL! That’s right, Terri!I think it’s time to hit the bar for cocktail hour!

  8. Dawn.T. says:

    Christmas stories always put me in the holiday spirit..Brings back the magic that most of lose as we grow older..not me I will forever be 29 hehe..My favorites are funny romancey books…so far “All I want for Christmas is a Vampire” by Kerrelyn Sparks is my favorite..always in the market for a new favorite 😉

  9. CateS says:

    I love Holiday reads.. and read them year-round.. goodness knows there needs to be a lot more holiday cheer and kindness all year long!

  10. I’ve been in a Christmas mood since September because that’s when my kids start planning their lestter to Santa. Unbelievable kids! I simply love Christmas themed romance novels, especially historical. Impossible to resist to the charme of a long-gone era of elegance with that extra sprinkle of warmth and positive feelings. Please don’t count me in the contest. I have my copy of My Favorite Countess and The Mistletoe Bride is right on top of my to-read book pile for next week.

    1. Mina, you are a peach – thank you!!

  11. Connie Fischer says:

    I gasped when I saw His Mistletoe Bride featured today. I have been wanting this novel so much. Just reading the excerpt made me go, “Mmmmm….” I think that Christmas themed novels are great. They seem to be lighter, warmer and more humorous. We all need a read like that now and then.

    The weather here in Florida is breezy and cooler today. It’s so refreshing and I’m hoping that it will finally get all of us in the Christmas mood.

    Congratulations on all of your successes, Vanessa. Your talents always come through in your novels.

    1. Thanks so much, Connie!

  12. I’m with the rest of you – love Christmas-themed stories at this time of year. I’m holding onto yours, Vanessa, until December. That’s when I’ll have the time to savor it!

  13. RobynDeHart RobynDeHart says:

    Vanessa, thanks for joining us today! I love Christmas reads. Can’t wait to dive into yours, but it will have to wait for me to finish this current book – deadline approaching! ACK! I must say I admire that you can write with your husband, I’m not sure that would work with my husband.

    1. Robyn, we do draw very careful lines around our mental work spaces – and sometimes the physical ones, too! Seems to work out pretty well, all things considered.

  14. Ann s. says:

    I just adore Christmas novels anthologies. Some of my favorites are A Bite Before Christmas by Jeanienne Frost and Lindsay Sands, The Gift by Nora Roberts, and An Affair before Christmas by Eloisa James. Thanks for the giveaway and I can’t wait to get a copy of The Mistletoe Bride.

  15. eap says:

    my Favorites:
    Once Upon a Christmas (Signet Regency Romance) by Diane Farr
    Twelve Days by Teresa Hill
    The Bridge by Karen Kingsbury (hardcover, very short so I recommend the library)

  16. Sue G. says:

    I love Christmas stories! I usually buy a few each year and save to read in December. Although, I must confess…I couldn’t wait and already read Vanessa Kelly’s His Mistletoe Bride. Great, easy read!

    1. Thank you so much, Sue!

  17. Leza K. says:

    I love to read holiday themed books. I can’t wait to read yours!

  18. catslady says:

    This is the perfect time of year for holiday books. I honestly haven’t read that many though. I tend to pick them up at the wrong time of year and put them aside and they get lost in my shuffle of books lol. I need to get them at the right time of year like now. I enjoy historicals and don’t believe I’ve ever read a Christmas themed story in your time period. They seem to usually be contemporaries. Or maybe I need to look into it more lol.

  19. Heather E says:

    Not until recently did I start reading Christmas books around the holidays. Maybe it is because I finally live in a state with four seasons and we actually have snow. That really helps set the tone for the holidays, especially when it is not 75 degrees on Christmas Day!

    I’m a big fan of VK Sykes! I’ve read all of her (their) books so far and will read the newest one this weekend. Up to this point, Fastball and Hardball are my favorites. I can’t wait to pick up His Mistletoe Bride as we get closer to Christmas. Thanks for having Vanessa here today!

    1. Heather, I’m so glad you enjoyed the VK Sykes books!

  20. Kathleen OD says:

    So many good Christmas books are comeing out right now. One I have just put on my tbr pile is A Fool’s Gold Christmas by Susan Mallery. Another that will be making it’s way there is My Kind of Christmas by Robyn Carr…
    Looking forward to some many more, but I can’t read them until Halloween is over…
    I had already put His Mistletoe Bride on my holiday TBR list. And Fastball will be making it’s way to my TBR list too..

  21. Cindy Kirk Cindy Kirk says:

    Fabulous cover….and the story sounds soooo interesting.

    Thanks for blogging with us.

  22. May says:

    Sounds like a great story! 🙂

    I love christmas stories. I like Jennifer Crusie’s Santa Baby. Lots of christmas gifts and happy ending!

  23. Ladies, thanks so much for having me on today. I’ve been running around a bit, which is why I’ve been a bit absent. And thanks for the great list of Christmas books – as if I really need more for my TBR pile!!

  24. bn100 says:

    I like to read Christmas books. Don’t have a favorite one.

  25. chey says:

    I like to read Christmas books in the summer. Don’t have a favourite.

  26. Sharlene Wegner says:

    I love to read Christmas books! Robyn Carr has had a few & has My Kind of Christmas out now. I read His Mistress by Christmas last year, by Victoria Alexander & really liked that one. Debbie Macomber had a good one – Cedar Cove Christmas. And Christie Ridgway’s Must Love Mistletoe was a good one.

    1. Really great choices, Sharlene!

  27. Janie McGaugh says:

    I do like to read Christmas-themed romances as Christmas approaches, partially because they do help me get in the mood for the holidays (watch lots of holiday-themed movies, too!). Last year, I really enjoyed Burrowes’ Lady Sophia’s Christmas Wish. Other favorites that come to mind are Sparks’ All I Want for Christmas Is a Vampire, Blair’s A Highlander for Christmas, and Basso’s The Christmas Countess.

  28. Quilt Lady says:

    Love Christmas books it helps put me in the mood. A couple of favorite are Five Golden Rings by Constance O’Banyon and A Highlander for Christmas by Sandy Blair. These are older books.

  29. Emily McKay says:

    Hi Vanessa!
    Thanks for joining us at the Jaunty Quills! I love Christmas stories and this one sounds fabulous! I can’t wait to pick it up!
    Also, I can not imagine writing with my husband, but he loves to think that he provides lots of inspiration. 🙂
    (I mean that in a totally non-creepy way.)

  30. Linda says:

    I’m not fussy about when I read Xmas themed books; anytime of the year works! I’d hate to tantalize myself to wait till Xmas before reading a Xmas themed book from any of my fav authors!

  31. Kirsten says:

    I really love christmas romances and must admit I’ve read my first one this year already 😀 I felt in need of cheering up & nothing does it like a holiday story 😀

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