11 Fun Facts about Trini Christmas + Giveaway!

I'd like to welcome author Roxy Wilson (my first guest blogger) on my blog today! She'll be talking to us about "Trini Christmas" and her latest release, The Right Kind of Love. Happy Boxing Day!
Hi, Lena.  It’s such a pleasure visiting with you today, especially during this festive season. Christmas. 

My debut novel, The Right Kind of Love, ends with a beautiful wedding in which, “orange mums were clustered together and arranged creatively in the pews, aisles, doors and altar of the church... The bridesmaids were adorned in oranges and browns, while each groomsman’s tie and vest complemented those cheery November colors.” 

But, let’s suppose, for one minute, Blake and Sloane decided to spend their first Christmas, as a couple, in the Caribbean.  Would that be a surprise?  No.  After all, even though Sloane is a New Yorker, Blake is always enthralled by the scent of her hair, which usually smells like “vanilla and coconuts, reminiscent of her mother’s tropical island home in the Caribbean.”  More specifically, Trinidad and Tobago.

I’m also a daughter of this twin-island state.  I’m a proud Trinidadian, a ‘Trini to de bone,’ and I’m almost certain, that Trini Christmas is the best!

So, let’s see what Blake and Sloane would have learned about Trini Christmas, as they immersed themselves in the festivities, while vacationing in Trinidad.
1. The History ~ Christmas was first celebrated in 1569.  It was observed by six priests of led by Fr. Miguel Diosdados (Reyes). 

2. The Commemoration ~  People honour the birth of Jesus by attending the midnight mass, in their churches.

3. The Duration of the Celebration ~ The Christmas celebration spans more than two months with laughter, liming (hanging out with family and friends) and letting your hair down.

4. The Preparation ~ Most people paint and make repairs to their homes, buy new electrical appliances and furniture, hang new curtains and adorn their homes with Christmas decorations.

5. The Weather ~ We in Trinbago, don’t have a white Christmas.  Instead, our Christmas, is warm, and may even be wet, like it is as I share my thoughts with you. 

Sorrel drink
6. The Paranging ~ Trinidadians love to hang out with friends and family, and there’s no better reason to do so than during this wonderful time of the year. People go from house to house for food and drink and to be merry. And here’s the best part, there’s no time limit!  This is the essence of paranging.

7. The Christmas Music ~ Radio stations play Trini Christmas carols, as well as traditional and contemporary carols from the USA.  Parang is a special Trinidadian music, using traditional instruments like wood blocks, maracas, cuatro, bass box, and so on.  Nowadays, other instruments are used such as the steel pan, flute, drum and electric bass. New musical hybrids include soca parang and chutney soca parang.

Parranderos (singers and instrumentalists) performing parang music
Daisy Voisin, Grande Dame of Parang

8. The Food ~Traditional Trinbagonian Christmas food includes sorrel drink, ponche-de-creme (a version of egg nog), ham, turkey, homemade bread, ginger beer, pastelles, homemade/local wine, Trinidadian Christmas fruitcake, sweet bread, stewed pigeon peas, just to mention a few.
 9. The Day after Christmas ~  It’s Boxing Day, but it has nothing to do with the sport, boxing, or the overwhelming desire to get rid of excess gift wrappings and boxes the day after Christmas.   The origins of today’s holiday can be traced back to Britain, where Boxing Day is also known as St Stephen’s Day.  It was the tradition that servants in Britain took boxes to their workplace, and their employers put coins in their boxes as a bonus, or special end of the year present.  It’s a bank holiday in Trinbago.

10. The Beginning of the Carnival Season ~ Christmas marks the end of the calendar year, and the beginning of the carnival season.
11. Ole Year’s Day ~ New Year's Eve is known as 'Ole year's day' in Trinidad and Tobago.  People attend midnight mass as a way to start the New Year right.  Of course, there are also lots of eats and drinks and fireworks to celebrate the coming of the New Year!

I’m sure Blake and Sloane would have had a wonderful time this Christmas. 

Roxy Wilson is a self-professed junkie whose excessive consumption of traditional and electronic books is legendary. As a graduate with a degree in Education, she writes blogs which help readers to think critically about and appreciate poetry. In July 2012, however, she decided to delve into the world of writing romance stories. When she is not reading or writing, she spends her time cooking, listening to music and visiting the various islands of the Caribbean.

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New Yorker Sloane Saunders has just about given up on love. She’s thirty-something and very single. A magazine article jolts her from her malaise and motivates her to do something she’s never tried before: online dating, and firstmeet.com is the website of choice.

Attending his brother’s bachelor party was the wake-up call Blake Morrison needed. Memories of a passionate relationship from his past drive him to return to claim his woman. Sloane. Despite the sizzling chemistry between them, it’s not as easy as he thought. With a family crisis and Sloane’s preconceived notions about love and relationships getting in the way, can Blake convince Sloane they have the right kind of love and that a love like theirs can last?

Prize: A copy of The Right Kind of Love
How to enter: Leave a comment, along with your email address, below
Deadline to enter: Tonight (Boxing Day) at 11:59 pm EST

“Why am I doing this, again?”
Sloane stared at the matchmaking website. Firstmeet.com. It promised to make falling in love easy. Then why was her chest so tight? Why did she feel like Atlas, with the weight of the heavens on her shoulders? Were these signs that her foray into online dating could turn out to be one of the horror stories she’d heard on the news? With her luck she’d end up meeting a catfish who created a false identity and made a complete fool of her. Not in a million years would she have believed she would resort to this.
Do I really need to do this? Is it worth the risk? No. Maybe I shouldn’t bother. I should just be content living alone, and using my Hitachi Magic Wand when I feel the need for some adventure in the bedroom.
“You know what?” Sloane moved the cursor to the Log Out icon. “Maybe this isn’t such a good idea after all.” Just when she was about to click on the icon, Harper’s words came swimming up to the surface of her consciousness—Open yourself up to new possibilities, and maybe, just maybe, you might get your happily-ever-after.
Sloane lifted her eyes toward the ceiling. “Harper, you’re not even here, and you’re messing with my head.” She looked at the monitor and saw she had a million questions to answer before she completed her profile.
She inhaled a deep breath. “Okay, here goes.”
The questionnaire was exasperating. She couldn’t believe it went so far as to ask her to select what she’d do if she won the state lottery. How about all of the above? Sheesh. Sloane used the Eeny meeny miny moe rhyme to choose an answer, since all of the above wasn’t one of the options.
Twenty minutes later, Sloane completed the online form and paid the subscription fee. She took her shower and was just about to wrap the bath towel around her body, when she heard the doorbell. She wasn’t in the mood for visitors. Not when she needed to get ready to head out in a few minutes. The NHL games attracted large crowds, so everyone knew how important it was to arrive there early to get the coveted seats. Whoever was outside continued to press the doorbell, making Sloane more and more irritated by the second.
“Enough already, I’m coming,” Sloane muttered. She dried her skin briskly. Who could possibly be disturbing her peace this early on a Sunday morning? Don’t people understand the concept of weekends? It’s Sunday, for crying out loud. She rushed to her drawer and grabbed some clothing, along with her under-things. It didn’t seem as if Sloane could put her clothes on fast enough for her impatient, unwelcome guest.
By the time Sloane reached the hallway, the shrill sounds of the doorbell seemed to touch the most sensitive part of her nerves. She barely restrained herself from shoving her fist into her mouth to prevent herself from screaming. Sloane opened the door, not too gently. Belatedly, she thought how foolish it was to not check the peephole before opening the door. When she saw the man standing before her, her last-minute fear vanished.
The first thing that caught her attention was the width of his shoulders. It was one of the things about a man’s physique that got her going. Sloane believed only other full-figured women would understand the rare delight she felt in the moment, to be standing next to a man with such broad shoulders. Sloane was sure she would feel protected, and oh-so-delicate, if he wrapped his arms around her. It was a sensation she didn’t often enjoy with the opposite sex. It would feel so good to be an elf, a dainty little thing, needing protection, in his presence. Sloane mentally shook herself out of the fixation on the man’s shoulders, and allowed her eyes to track upwards.
“What the—” Her voice trailed off as she peered into cyan-blue eyes. She felt like her eyes were going to pop out of her head, as she looked into the all-too-familiar crooked, dimpled smile of the man who’d haunted her naughtiest dreams for ages.

(At present The Right Kind of Love can be purchased at Secret Cravings Publishing. It will be available at the other outlets like Amazon, B&N, et al on 30 December.)


sharon b said…
Hi,Lena& Roxy

my name is Sharon Blount

it was nice getting to know more about Roxy My grandfather was from Trinidad my mom too it was nice to relive some of the traditions was use to do when i was younger..I read your first book hes so into you and loved it..cant wait to read more work from you..

Melissa Keir said…
Sounds like a wonderful way to spend the holidays. I'm glad to learn more about Trini!

Thanks for sharing. I love the simplicity of the cover!

daringzoey at yahoo.com
Anonymous said…
Happy Boxing Day, Lena! Thanks for giving me the opportunity to share with you and your readers what Christmas is like in Trinidad. Also, thanks for spotlighting my very first novel. What's more, I feel honored to be your first guest blogger!
Anonymous said…
Hey Sharon

It's nice to know your grandfather and mom are from Trinidad, and I'm happy my post helped you to relive your visits there.

I'm glad you enjoyed reading 'He's So Into You.' It was my first novella. I'm hoping to release a few more works in 2014.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Anonymous said…
You're welcome Melissa Keir. I'm you liked the cover! Thanks for stopping by!
Anonymous said…
You are a new author to me and I have added your book to my tbr wishlist though I would love to win it.
Enjoyed learning about the holidays from your home country.

panthers.ravens@yahoo dot com
Anonymous said…
Hello Patricia,

I'm happy you enjoyed learning about the way Trinis celebrate the Christmas season. What's more, I'm glad I was able to 'meet' you on this forum.

Thanks for stopping by.

Best wishes