Fall Under a Christmas Spell with author Barbara Monajem + Giveaway

by Barbara Monajem, author of Under a Christmas Spell (Harlequin Historical Undone, November 2013)

Sometimes I think the best stuff about history is what they don’t teach you in school. I was always a studious sort, so I enjoyed history class most of the time anyway, but I didn’t realize what I was missing until much later.

Like incubi and succubi, for example. Nobody talks about them in history class—I guess because of the associations with both sex and evil—but this is powerful mythology, and a lot of people used to believe in it. An incubus is an evil demon who has sex with a woman in her sleep. This was the standard explanation (or feeble excuse – I mean, just because people believed in demons didn’t mean they were stupid) in medieval times for a pregnancy that happened when the husband was far from home. A succubus is a similar demon in female form that preys on poor, unsuspecting, sleeping men.

This is fascinating stuff, but I ask you, why must the incubi and succubi be evil demons? I’m not crazy about good/evil dichotomies, and besides that, I assume the whole notion arose out of erotic dreams—an entirely natural, personal, and harmless phenomenon. It seems awfully unfair to label such enjoyable dreams as evil.

Anyway… One of the great things about writing fiction is that you get to make things up. I messed with the mythology until I got what I wanted: characters with a combination of seductive power and the ability to send erotic dreams. There’s plenty of room there for being good or bad or—which is far more likely—something in between.

From there it was a short step to a heartwarming Christmas Regency novella about two spies, about love and betrayal, and about a reunion during the season of peace on earth.

About Under a Christmas Spell:

Hampshire, 1815

Dissolute aristocrat Lord Valiant Oakenhurst hides a sexy, supernatural secret—as a powerful incubus, he is able to influence others through erotic dreams. At an exclusive Christmas house party, his latest mission is compromised by the beautiful but deadly succubus Lucille Beaulieu. Though still drawn to his former lover, Val cannot forget her betrayal….

Hoping to atone for her past, Lucie uses her seductive powers to help couples find happiness. But she is distracted from her task by her own delicious dreams of the dark and dangerous Val.

As the riotous festivities begin, their passion is reinvoked, but can a little Christmas magic restore their lost trust?

Giveaway! What would you dearly love to give someone for Christmas? The recipient can be anyone, dead or alive, someone you know or don’t know, and the gift can be anything you like.

Leave a comment with your answer by Friday at midnight EST for a chance to win a free download of Under a Christmas Spell!

Update: The giveaway is now closed; congratulations to the winner, Sarah Keller!

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22 Responses to Fall Under a Christmas Spell with author Barbara Monajem + Giveaway

  1. Ella Quinn

    I can’t wait to read Barbara’s latest book!! Tweeted and shared on FB.

  2. I’d love to give my sis a proper convection oven for baking. She has a small turbo broiler thingy which she currently uses but it’s not the same as a proper oven.

  3. Teresa Salvatore

    I’d love to give both of my daughters a new MacBook Air. They could both really use a new computer. One daughter has never had one, the other daughter had hers go kafluey!

  4. Hi, Ella! Thanks for stopping by. I can’t wait to hear what you think of the story.

  5. Hi, Linda. A convection oven is a great idea. I used to have one, and I loved it.

  6. Hi, Teresa. Great gift idea! Since I use a PC, I don’t know much about the pros and cons of Macs, but my PC is showing signs of giving up the ghost, so maybe I should learn. 🙂

  7. what a clever and incredibly interesting concept. Looking forward to this one!! A novel idea for a regency too.

  8. I would love to have a Christmas miracle and have my best friend be cancer free. He just did an experiment treatment a week ago and we won’t know until about Christmas whether or not it worked. Sorry to be such a downer but… wishes! Thanks for sharing 😉

  9. I would wish my daughter and sister free of health issues and a friend’s husband’s brain tumor gone.

  10. The gift of peace of mind that money brings to a friend who needs it.

  11. Hi, Mary R — Glad you like the concept! And thanks for stopping by.

  12. Hi, Erin — What a lovely wish. I’m sending good thoughts for your friend and hope the experimental treatment is a huge success!

  13. Hi, Mary M — I’m with you, Mary, wishing health to your sister, daughter, and our friend’s husband.

  14. Hi, Teresa N — What a thoughtful wish. I hope your friends gets the money, the peace of mind, and whatever else she or he needs.

  15. I would (and probably will) give my niece a bunch of my favorite books from when I was her age–some Eva Ibbotsen, some Lloyd Alexander, some Joan Aiken, maybe.

  16. Sarah Kellar

    I would love to give my brother a box set of his favorite series for christmas.

  17. Hi, Ru — It’s such a pleasure to introduce favorite authors to a younger reader, isn’t it? My mother introduced me to Georgette Heyer’s books, and one of her friends got me hooked on Arthur Ransome’s stories when I was a child.

  18. Hi, Sarah — That’s a great idea. It’s the sort of special purchase that many people won’t make for themselves but are delighted to receive as a gift.

  19. I would give my husband the motorcycle he has always wanted, but we could never afford.

  20. Christine L.

    I wish I could give my mother the renovated kitchen of her dreams. She’s been cooking in a tiny galley for nearly 40 years. The Formica counters could stand replacing and the cabinets could use a facelift (though I’d really love to blow out the whole kitchen/dining/living room into one large space but then who knows where my parents would watch TV). My mother cooks from scratch every night without any of the pretty, trendy niceties that so many non-cooks enjoy admiring in their own homes but don’t really use.

  21. Hi, Annwitch — Ooh, a motorcycle!! Awesome idea. Will you ride with him?

  22. Hi, Christine — What a super gift for your mom. A friend of mine grew up in a house where the kitchen/living room/dining/room were all one big space. It was gorgeous.