St. Nick Re-Imagined
What if the jolly old elf had a gaggle of strapping sons? That’s the vision that inspired today’s guest, Penny Watson. She’s a native Pittsburgher whose love of romance started at the age of twelve when she discovered Gone With The Wind in the middle school library. This resulted in numerous attempts at a first novel involving a young lady with windswept hair who lived in a tree house.
A biologist by training, Penny has worked at various times as a dolphin trainer, science teacher, florist, and turfgrass researcher (don’t ask). Through it all she was a compulsive reader and collector of romance novels. After taking time off to raise her two spirited children, she decided to rekindle her passion for storytelling with the support of a wonderful writer’s group, The Quirky Ladies. Now she gets to incorporate her wide array of interests, including gardening, cooking and travel into her light paranormal stories. Penny lives outside of Boston with one fly-fishing crazed husband, two lively Filipino kids, and a wiener dog.
Penny and I had a little cyber-chat recently. You’re invited to listen in:
Mia: I enjoyed your newest release, Sweet Magik very much! I love your hero, Oskar. Tell me about how you decided to give him green spiky hair.
Penny: I’m so glad you liked Oskar. I knew Santa’s youngest son would be the “bad boy” of the family. So, in my mind I conjured up a punk snowboarder. Slouchy jeans, Doc Marten shoes, lots of tattoos, scruffy face, and spiky green hair to round out the portrait. And when he’s feeling especially naughty, a Dr. Seuss hat. :^)
Mia: Your Klaus brothers series is a delightful reimagining of St. Nick and elves and the whole Santa myth. Where did you get this idea?
Penny: I love stories that are a twist on a legend or old classic. One I enjoyed last year was Sherri Erwin’s Jane Slayre, a fun new take on Jane Eyre that combined zombies, monsters and humor with the Charlotte Brontë classic.
I thought it would be interesting to take the legendary Santa Claus concept…jolly old fat guy….and turn it on its head. Make Santa and his sons sexy, funny and irreverent, but still hold onto the basic premise of this fairy tale, which is about Christmas spirit, family and a generous heart.
Mia: I know you’re a sucker for a guy with facial hair. How long have you been attracted to beards and who’s your favorite bearded guy? (pic please!)
Penny: I LOVE beards. I think there is nothing sexier or more masculine than a guy with a luscious beard. Which is probably why I was attracted to the whole Santa concept in the first place. Santa’s beard is epic!
I have a lot of favorite bearded guys, but my all-time favorite is Hugh Jackman. He can really rock a beard!
Mia: Whoa! I so get it now! My readers would love to get to know you a little better. Can you share a bit about you?
Penny: Things I love ~1980s music, weenie dogs, lumberjacks, romance novels, gardening, anything with sequins.
Things I don’t love ~ Rap music, cats, metrosexual dudes, people who hate romance novels, cleaning my house, tube tops.
Mia, thanks so much for having me as a guest on your blog today. Merry Christmas to you and all of your readers!
Mia: Thanks, Penny. A very Merry Christmas to you and your fam too! And now a peek at
Oskar Klaus’ job is killing him. Not even his favorite hobbies (extreme snowboarding and browsing old bookstores) are enough to snap him out of his funk. It’s not easy living in the shadow of four successful older brothers and a father named Santa. Little does he know that a kiss on New Year’s Eve is about to turn his life upside-down.
Kiana Grant’s Manhattan life is a world away from her childhood in Oahu. She traded sunsets and surfing for a respectable career in library science, but Oskar Klaus is a temptation that’s hard to resist. Before she knows it, she’s in the midst of an outrageous adventure in the North Pole, dealing with mischievous elves, wicked demons, and a devastating attraction to Santa’s youngest son.
There’s just one problem…a bitter elf hell-bent on revenge threatens the future of everyone in the North Pole, even Santa himself…
Excerpt from SWEET MAGIK
He never heard the end of the countdown.
One minute he was leaning toward her, and the next he was lost in a tropical Eden. Sweet and lush, surrounded by warm breezes and the feel of sand beneath his bare feet. The scent of perfumed flowers filled the air, and he groaned as Kiana’s slender arms wound around his neck. She let out a breathy sigh just before her lips touched his. So softly, so gently, he wasn’t sure if it was real. He brushed his mouth over hers and she opened for him, tasting of tea and honey and paradise. Greedy for more, his hands slid under her baggy blouse, stroking the smooth skin of her back. He pressed her closer until he felt the pounding beat of her heart against his chest. Her fingers fluttered like a butterfly against the stubble on his cheek, finally resting there and tracing his jaw.
He deepened the kiss, pushing her back against the cushions of the sofa, devouring her mouth. Her leg hooked over his knee pushing the drab gray skirt up her thigh. A long expanse of soft skin rubbed against his trousers. Without thinking, he moved a hand to her leg and dragged his palm along the bare skin. He could swear he heard the sound of the ocean, waves crashing and returning to sea. He moaned and Kiana gasped in delight. He was having difficulty breathing, so he pulled back, nipping her lip on the way. The heat of a scorching sun bathed his body, and before his eyes finally snapped open, he heard the faint sound of a ukulele playing. Then, silence.
His eyes opened and he found himself sitting in the darkened corner of the living room, alone on the sofa. In his hands he held a pair of tortoise shell glasses.
Kiana was gone.
Mia: Love it! This story is full of magical happenings. Thanks for that little taste. Here are some important links:
And now a treat for you, my dears. Leave comment or question for Penny and you’ll be entered in a random drawing to win SWEET MAGIK. I’ll also do a drawing for winner’s choice of either A Duke for All Seasons or My Lady Below Stairs! (Contest limited to readers who can accept a download from Amazon.)
In keeping with Penny’s beard enthusiasm, I’d love to hear who your favorite bearded guy is.