Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thanksgiving Romances

Cindy Spencer Pape is an avid reader of romance, fantasy, mystery, and even more romance, she firmly believes in happily-ever-after. Married for more than twenty-five years to her own, sometimes-kilted hero, she lives in southern Michigan with him and two grown sons, along with an ever-changing menagerie of pets.  Author of more than 40 books, Cindy has been, among other things, a banker, a teacher, and an elected politician, but mostly an environmental educator, though now she is lucky enough to write full-time. Her degrees in zoology and animal behavior almost help her comprehend the male humans who share her household.

Thanksgiving is a holiday with a lot of history behind it in the United States, but also a lot of history that’s just…wrong. I get a kick out of that in a way. It shows the organic change and development in a society. With a government that’s only a bit over 200 years old and made of a hodge-podge of cultures, it really is kind of fascinating when you ask a handful of people what Thanksgiving means to them and get a dozen different answers,

Almost any school kid knows that the “first” Thanksgiving was celebrated by the pilgrims and the friendly Native Americans after the first successful harvest back in 1621. That much is true—the Plymouth settlers did have a feast with their new neighbors, but that was far from the first such celebration in the Americas. The Spanish had been doing it for a while, as had the Jamestown settlers. In a deeply religious era, this should come as no surprise. Many harvest festivals and days of giving thanks occurred in all the years to follow, but it wasn’t universally acknowledged for centuries. Washington proclaimed one in 1789, and again in 1795. After that, it was a sporadic thing, not taking hold on a permanent basis until Lincoln’s presidency in 1863.

The meal, too has varied over the years, and might not and many of the foods that would have been there—turkey, quite possibly, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and corn are still staples of our holiday fare today. Venison—well, not quite so much, unless you’ve a hunter in the family. Oysters? Only if you’re in New England, or put them in the stuffing. Eels? Lobster? Not so much. Potatoes hadn’t made their way up from Central America yet, and the custardy pumpkin pie wouldn’t come along for years. Thanksgiving traditions became largely regional, with large elements coming from whatever immigrant cultures made up a local population. The Thanksgiving dinner as we know it, really didn’t evolve until the twentieth century—helped along by Norman Rockwell and others who wanted to boost American morale and sense of community during the Depression and World War II.

Other traditions are even newer, but have become a vital part of the day. Football. Parades. The big gear-up for the Christmas shopping season. The religious origins of the holiday are important to some and not so much to others. Many see it as a day to get together and celebrate with family, others find time to relax with friends. Most folks I know agree that no matter your religious beliefs, it’s good to take a day once in a while to think about the positive things in life. While we all have our problems, taking one day to focus on the good can be a badly needed wake-up call.

My own Thanksgiving is low-key. My father will be here with a friend, but no other extended family, so it will just be a turkey dinner (cooked by my amazing husband) for six. There might be a parade, if I turn it on—the others will laugh. There might be football. There will be laughter and time spent together. And that’s all I need.

Thanksgiving romances aren’t all that common, but I’ve managed to sneak the holiday into a couple. One is my most recent release from Carina Press, Motor City Wolf. Another is one of my first erotic romances, a ghost story co-written with author Lacey Thorn, called One Good Man. In the spirit of giving, I’d like to share a free download of whichever of these two books the winner prefers. All you have to do to enter is comment below. I’d love to hear about your own holiday traditions, and if you’re from outside the US, what kind of autumn traditions do you practice? Wishing you all a great deal to be thankful for!


  1. Shawna, thank you so much for having you here today. I'm delighted to be sharing Thanksgiving with you and so many other authors!

  2. Hey Cindy,

    I have a big family so we all get together and have a party. We have the traditional foods but we also have a bonfire and do fireworks. Hope everyone enjoys their Thanksgiving or whatever you celebrate. :)

  3. Sounds like you have a great ole time, Cindy. I tend to try to watch at least some of the parade too, before we all settle down to the Thanksgiving lunch--where we, ahem, gobble down dinner and talk over one another, usually with a lot of laughter involved. :)Have a wonderful holiday!

  4. one of my fondest T-giving memories was celebrating in Japan. We invited all the "stranded" Ex-pats (it's not worth the effort to fly 13 hours for a few days) plus our new Japanese friends for a pot luck. Turkey and dressed with sushi and seaweed salad, plus traditional movies and card games for all!
    a GREAT time.

  5. Great post on the day itself, Cindy. T-day has always been a fun holiday for me growing up as it meant lots of family and lots of food.

  6. Thanksgiving Day is spent with my immediate family in Dallas. Its potluck and afterwards there is much football to watch. I don't go shopping over the weekend either. That is so not my idea of a good time. I might venture to the actual grocery store but that's it.

    Hubby has to work Friday and Saturday...which is a tradition. He gives his employees the weekend off.

    Parade watching is a must for me and our son. He loves the balloons.

    I'm grateful that I have my family and my friends. I'm grateful for the wonderful writers that keep me entertained and love what they do.

  7. Cindy,

    Interesting background information on the holiday. Yeah, and for me, shopping is not my thing, especially with the Black Friday chaos. I remember a Vietnam era Thanksgiving, our first away from home, as my husband was in the Army. (Ft. Bliss, Texas.) We had a few of the GIs who weren't going home for the holiday either. One was a cook who brought one fabulous home made dessert.

    The best part about your post was that your hubby cooks the turkey. Way to go with that one!

  8. Hi Cindy,

    Not a good day for my mouse to go wonky. I think a quiet dinner for six sounds wonderful. My husband and I were toying with the idea of doing just that this year. But we'll probably end up dining with his extended, and very large, family. There's benefits to both!

    Thank you so much for joining the Thanksgiving Buffet.

  9. And my internet went wonky and I couldn't pop on to say thanks to everyone for stopping by to comment.

    My winner is Harlie! Congrats!

  10. Hey, Cindy! My husband lost two family members a few years apart this time of the year so Thanksgiving is a difficult holiday for us. It is usually low key with just the three of us: hubby and kiddo and I. We are looking for a new tradition for the three of us and I'm having to give in to putting up Christmas decorations (I don't want anything Christmas till the earliest Dec 1st). Any ideas on other traditions?

    books4me67 at ymail dot com

    PS wish me luck...I'm cooking my first turkey this year!!! It has been thawing since Monday.

  11. Thanksgiving is the time when our family congregates at somones house & where an obscene amount of food fills our plates, then stomaches. After cleaning up & putting away the leftovers, we find a soft place to lay down & do what we call our "beached whale" impressions, while catching up on all the family gossip.

    drainbamaged.gyzmo at