Thursday, December 8, 2016

Nuttycracker Sweet by Megan O’Russell Bewitching Holiday Extravaganza

Nuttycracker Sweet
Megan O’Russell

Genre: Sweet Romance

Publisher: Fiery Seas Publishing

Date of Publication: 12/08/2015

ISBN: 978-0-9904757-8-1

Number of pages: 64
Word Count: 17,000

Cover Artist: Jess Small

Book Description: 

Pointe shoes, tutus, and a snowy road trip with the man she hates. What could possibly go wrong?

The plan was simple. Get to Portland, dance The Nutcracker, and don’t murder your dance partner. And most definitely, do not, under any circumstances, fall in love with him.

A snowy road trip strands Elle Grant in a tiny cabin better suited for serial killings than rehearsals for two professional ballet dancers. With no one but the incredibly talented, excruciatingly handsome, and notoriously terrible Zachary Benson and a few taxidermy woodland creatures for company, Elle’s Christmas plans are officially ruined. Can she and Zach learn to like each other enough to dance together? And can Elle get home without losing her heart to the Christmas Cavalier?

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I’ve been an elf, a tap dancing
reindeer, a teddy bear, a showgirl, the Virgin Mary, and Mrs. Cratchit. All for
the joy of Christmas onstage.

I’ve spent my entire life
onstage. Not like every moment of every day, but it’s how I spent all my free
time as a child and how I’ve made my living as an adult. The stage is my home,
the lights are my sunshine, and the cast is my family, even if only for the run
of the show.

Life under the stage lights is
glamorous but hard. And it gets hardest around the holidays.

Just like retail workers and
plenty of other professions, the holiday season is crunch time for performers.
I’ve performed on Thanksgiving for I don’t remember how many years, and on
Christmas Day for five out of the past nine years, and always far away from
home. Don’t get me wrong. I love it. I spend my Christmas Day performing for
either people who have nowhere else to go or who have theatre for Christmas
ingrained in their holiday traditions. (Thanks for keeping me employed,

But when you go to the Nutcracker
and see a performer from New York City that is there to lead the local ballet
company, that means that performer packed up her life, braved the elements, and
is trusting in the world that the show will turn out well. That her dance
partner won’t be a terrible human, and that when it’s all over the paycheck
will clear. It’s a life of tiny Christmas trees in hotel rooms, hoping you get
to see your family before New Year’s, and finding someone nearby to make your
Christmas merry and bright. No one wants to be alone for the holidays, even
those of us who live our lives with dance shoes and glitter.

And that is where the holiday
showmance comes into the picture.

In case you’ve never heard the
term “showmance,” it’s a romance that happens during the run of a show. You’re
away from home, living and working with the same people, in a profession where
you are meant to touch your co-workers, and emotions are bared under the
spotlights. It happens all the time. Two people come into a show, play love
interests, get close in cast housing, and fall madly in love.
Sometimes they end up married.
Sometime there’s drinking and sobbing when they break up on closing night.
Sometimes the rest of the cast takes bets to see which way a showmance will go.

But add in the romance of the
holidays—fireplaces, snow, and warm fuzzy feelings—toss in a dash of the normal
human desire to be with those you care for the most for Christmas, and you just
might have the makings of a Christmas romance. Or devastating heartbreak.

From tap dancing soldiers to
beautiful Christmas ballerinas, whomever you watch on stage this Christmas just
remember they are far from home for the holidays so they can bring joy to their
audiences. But don’t worry. It is, in fact, a glamourous life, and while the
stage lights bring warmth and beauty to the show, they can also bring a little
holiday romance along with them.

About the Author:

Megan O’Russell is the author of the young adult fantasy series The Tethering, and Nuttycracker Sweet, a Christmas novella. Megan’s short stories can also be found in several anthologies, including Athena’s Daughters 2, featuring women in speculative fiction. Megan is a professional performer who has spent time on stages across the country and is the lyrist for Second Chances: The Thrift Shop Musical, which received it’s world premier in 2015. When not on stage or behind a computer, Megan can usually be found playing her ukulele or climbing a mountain with her fantastic husband.

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