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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Guest Post: Christmas in a Foreign Land by Talli Roland

Fellow author Talli Roland, with two previously small-press published novels, is taking the leap into self-publishing with her latest release, Build A Man. Talli's previous releases have been fun-filled, creative events that made me in awe of her (and furiously taking notes). This round is no exception as she has created an online poll for people to vote on features to create their idea partner:
I'll have a selection of eyes, mouths, lips to choose from ... for both men and women. At the end of the day, I'll assemble the 'ideal' man and woman and do the big reveal.
Too. Much. Fun!

Before you hop over and join the fun, please check out this delightful guest post from Talli. One of the things I'm enjoying most about having a book "out there" is connecting with readers and bloggers "across the pond." Being an avowed anglophile, this just tickles my fancy ...

Christmas in a Foreign Land by Talli Roland

Can you really consider London, UK, a foreign land? Well, yes. The fact that it’s so close to the Canadian culture I grew up with – yet intrinsically different – makes any difference stand out even more. I’ve been here for almost eight years, and I’m still adjusting to the peculiarities of a British Christmas.

Let’s begin with the Christmas tree. Standing all of four feet (if you’re lucky) with intermittent branches, you can expect to pay the princely sum of anything from thirty to sixty pounds. Yes, POUNDS! With strangely thick, waxy needles that shower the floor at the hint of a draft, to me it looks like foliage from a different planet.

But hey, Christmas is about more than the tree. Thankfully, you can get over your shock by scoffing mince pies. I held out on these little delights for quite some time, very confused by the ‘mince’ moniker. But no worries: here, ‘mince’ refers to the sweet date and sultana filling inside the flaky pastry treats. You can choose from a frosted top, cognac infused . . . the list goes on!

One tradition I definitely don’t partake in is Christmas cake. Although recipes vary, it’s usually a fruit-type cake with marzipan frosting. The last Sunday before Advent is known as Stir Up Sunday in the UK, a time when Christmas cake is made. And, if you really want to make your dinner jolly, you ‘feed’ the cake brandy until Christmas Day. I’ve tried this dessert several times, and despite the alcohol hit, it just ain’t for me.

The sheer abundance of mulled wine during the holidays makes up for any pudding disappointment. From supermarkets to corner shops, shelves are laden with the spicy delight. Gently heated in a saucepan, there’s nothing better than coming in from a cold, damp London winter to a wonderfully warming drink.

Ah, Christmas . . .

Talli Roland has three loves in her life: chick lit, coffee and wine. Born and raised in Canada, Talli now lives in London, where she savours the great cultural life (coffee and wine). Her debut novel, The Hating Game, was an Amazon Top 100 bestseller and shortlisted for Best Romantic Read at the UK’s Festival of Romance, and her second, Watching Willow Watts, was selected as a 2011 Amazon Customer Favourite. Build A Man is her latest release. Talli blogs here and can be found on Twitter here.

Slave to the rich, rude and deluded, cosmetic surgery receptionist Serenity Holland longs for the day she's a high-flying tabloid reporter. Unfortunately, every pitch she sends out disappears like her clients' liposuctioned fat, never to be seen again. Then she meets Jeremy Ritchie -- the hang-dog man determined to be Britain's Most Eligible Bachelor by making himself over from head to toe and everything in between -- giving Serenity a story no editor could resist. 
With London's biggest tabloid on board and her very own column tracking Jeremy's progress from dud to dude, Serenity is determined to be a success, even going undercover to gain intimate access to Jeremy's life. But when Jeremy's surgery goes drastically wrong and Serenity is ordered to cover all the car-crash goriness, she must decide how far she really will go for her dream job.

Build a Man by Talli Roland on sale at Amazon or add to your Goodreads.

Don't forget to check out the party!


  1. Yay! Thank you so much, Susan, for hosting me and for the shout-out!:)

  2. LOL. I suppose the mince bit must be off-putting, Talli.

    As a Brit in Cyprus, my Christmas is very different. For a start the Turkey will not be in the shops until the week before the big day. When we first arrived I had to practically knock out the ex-pat eyeing up my bird! Well, they were rare to find. The island is full of pine trees, but not one for sale at Christmas! Still the village wine makes a great mulled treat. :D

  3. Thanks for the glimpse of Christmas across the pond ... It's always fascinating to see others' traditions celebrating the holiday ...

  4. Glynis, I can just picture you fighting someone over a turkey!

    Joanne, it is, isn't it? I love hearing about Christmas in other countries.

  5. Very interesting stuff! Always fun to hear about other cultures. The whole "pudding" thing always confused me. It took me forever to figure out it wasn't a literal pudding when I read HP! LOL

  6. Hee! I am also a committed anglophile.

  7. I dislike fruit cake. I think it tastes yucky.

  8. I love Tali's posts and this one is no exception! She has talent for making the ordinary fun. Her book will be on my list... right after your latest one, Sue!

  9. I grew up in England and now live in Canada. We didn't have the same issue with trees back then. I remember them being huge. But then I was only a kid, so what do you expect? :D

    It took me years to figure out mince pies because my mom referred to ground beef and minced meat. So I thought for many years that mince pies had ground beef in them. Sad huh, considering I was from England. But what do you expect? Mom only made mince pies once a year.

    Boxing day confused me too. I used think it meant they only showed boxing on TV. Yep, apparently my memory wasn't very good, because I kept thinking that until I was six. ;)

  10. I wonder if Santa drives his sleigh on the left side of the sky in England.

  11. I wonder if it is possible to build the ideal man with Santa's help?

    Well, in things that I CAN do, I've yanked my kindle version of Build A Man already. YAY!!!!

  12. Lisa, it took me ages to get the 'pudding' thing straight, too. Very confusing.

    Cynthia, I do love it here. London is a great city to live in!

    Michael, I'm with you!

  13. Margo, thank you so much!

    Stina, I KNOW! The mince thing is so confusing. I thought they had mince beef in them, too. Blergh!

    Jen, ha! I haven't stayed up late enough to catch sight of Santa over here, but if I ever do, I'll let you know.

    Angela, thank you so much! :)

    Thanks again to Susan for hosting me!

  14. As a Malaysian in London, I myself don't like Christmas pudding, mince pies or mulled wine! The hubster's family has a tradition of ordering a Chinese takeaway on X'mas eve! :)

  15. Thirty to sixty quid for a four-foot tree? London really is more expensive than the rest of the UK. We don't usually pay more than thirty, for a six-footer with plenty of branches. And if you use a stand that can be filled with water they keep there needles pretty well.

  16. @SuperHappy That comment is AWESOME!

  17. LOVE ACTUALLY is one of my favorite Christmas movies. Now I can get into the Brit Christmas spirit a little deeper.

  18. It's wonderful to see Christmas from another perspective. We're big on fruit cakes in Jamaica too - ours is dark and rich, both in terms of fruits and spices.

    Well done on Build a Man, Talli.
    Susan, thanks for hosting.

  19. Hi Susan and Talli .. Christmas in South Africa was the same as Christmas here - except it was desperately hot .. and we wilted - but we ate a full dinner/lunch - whatever time of day our meal was ..

    I used an aloe branch instead of Christmas tree at our house ..

    I love the traditions of Christmas - all the preparations and joining in etc .. great fun .. and I love Christmas cake - but only with proper home made icing and marzipan on first (also home made) - the bought stuff is yugh!

    Loved the read .. and 'Build a Man' is on my TBR list .. cheers Hilary