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The 12 Days of a Jane Austen Christmas: The Muse Book Birthday Giveaway — 46 Comments

  1. Jessica your novel is one of my favourite Pride and Prejudice variations! I love the impeccable Darcy and the whole storyline. The ballet theme is a major reason I love your novel and it is wonderful that you used your own experience to tell this fabulous story. I’ve read your story at least 3 times already and due for another read soon 🙂 Your traumatic experience is understandable after all the rigorous practice you had to undertake! The clip is beautiful. I was lucky enough to see the Nutcracker at the Sydney Opera House with my daughter who plays a piece on the piano. Looking forward to many more stories in the future 🙂 x

  2. I love watching The Nutcracker at Christmas. My local cinema has a screen arts club and shows either a recorded or live broadcast from The Bolshoi every year in fact we are going at the weekend. It is a lovely time for me and my daughter to escape the pre Christmas mayhem.

  3. What a nice giveaway! As a child every
    Christmas we alternated years between
    seeing The Nutcracker ballet danced and
    hearing Hansel and Gretel sung at the opera.
    I much preferred the ballet as a child, although
    I later learned to love opera too.
    Happy Holiday Season!

  4. I only saw one ballet in my whole life Le lac des Cygnes from the St Petersbourg opera. It was wonderful. I just discovered how noisy the dancers are on stage. I mean you can hear when their feet touch the stage 😉

  5. That clip brings back so many fond Christmas memories. I saw a performance when I was five or six and didn’t appreciate it until years later. These days if I am lucky enough to catch a performance on TV, I sit raptly glued to the screen until it is over. Along with It’s A Wonderful Life, and A Christmas Carol, it is part of the holiday festivities for me. It isn’t Christmas unless I watch all three of those. The sheer wonder and beauty of this ballet sweep me away every time. My favorite performance was the one with Gelsey Kirkland. One year my husband found some stills from the ballet and painted me a gorgeous picture. It hung in our house for years until it was sadly lost in a move. I am still mourning the loss! Lucky you to have danced in that wonderful ballet. I never had the grace or talent to dance, but I have always admired those who do.

  6. What a great giveaway at Christmas! In the last year of our Mothers life my sister and I thought it would be nice to take her to see the Nutcracker with our daughters. She was very subdued and on the way home we asked if she enjoyed the show. Her response of “it was ok” was sort of a let down to us but she said she didn’t feel well so we figured that was why she was so subdued. Then as she slept in the back seat on the drive home we mentioned her favorite restaurant as we drove by it and she popped up in the back seat saying, “oh! I feel so much better, let’s go”! Suffice it to say that she indeed perked up enough to watch karaoke and have two maitais and dinner! We laugh about it every year when we see the ballet!

  7. Thanks for sharing your Nutcracker moment. My memory of The Nutcracker comes from when I was Clara in an elementary school production of The Nutcracker. It was a mostly narrated play with some dancing, but not ballet. That was the very first time I had every heard the Nutcracker story.

  8. I remember going to see The Nutcracker every year with my mother & sister. We loved getting dressed up to go to the theater & the performance was always beautiful.

    Thanks for adding your book to the giveaway. Have a wonderful holiday season.

  9. My sweet daughter was in a “recital” version of the Nutcracker when she was 6. They used the music and that was about all the resemblance to the Nutcracker there was. She was so cute….too long ago but it still makes my mother heart happy to think of it. Thanks for the giveaway and the beautiful Christmas present.

  10. I’ve never had the pleasure of seeing The Nutcracker in person, but I do love the music.

    My funny Christmas story….one year, when my kids were little, they decided to give their grandma some navel oranges. They put them in a box and wrapped them up. On Christmas morning, my mom opened the box to find a bunch of moldy, rotten fruit. She laughed until she cried. We all had a good laugh about it. 🙂

    Thanks for the great giveaway!

  11. Jessica, I can’t believe I have not read your story . It sounds wonderful. So If I am not the lucky winner, LOL, I will definitely head over to Amazon for a look see. Thanks for your post. Jen Red

  12. I remember taking my children to see The Nutcracker as one of my oldest daughter’s friends has a part. It was lovely. I have read your book but only have a kindle copy so would love to have a paperback copy as I do prefer that. Kindle is just so much cheaper and I get to read more books that way. Although my two daughters and my nieces took dance none preformed anywhere near this level so they didn’t under go stern and exacting demands which you talk about. I am thankful that they didn’t have that blow to their egos. Good for you that you endured it and also good luck that no one notices the mistake.

    Merry Christmas to all.

  13. I LOVE LOVE LOVE THE MUSE!! I followed every posting of its original birthing on-line and have reread it countless times. As a former dancer I was enthralled with the world you created. Darcy and Lizzy’s romance set against the grueling backstage world of a ballet company was like feeding guts to a bear with me as your audience. Thank you many times over for the treasure you created with The Muse.

  14. Seeing the Nutcracker was the first “big” date my now-husband (of thirty years) took me on. I had asked for a lovely trench coat in a lovely slate blue, and my mother let me wear it before Christmas for this special occasion. It was a lovely performance…and for our first Christmas my husband gave me a gorgeous ballerina stained glass window he had just finished making. We had known each other for fewer than three weeks that first Christmas!

    I would love to win a copy of your book since I’ve done a bit of ballet (mostly tap and jazz, though) in my early years. It sounds lovely!!

    Advent blessings,
    Susanne 🙂

  15. I’ve been fortunate to see Nutcracker several times over the years, from live to small screen tv to large screen with excellent speakers. It’s a once-seen, never-forgotten experience, a thrill for our entire brain. Several pieces of the music adapted for piano were such a joy to play, back in the day when I played piano.

    It is or is nearly also the anniversary of my enjoying Muse, for I ordered it as soon as I saw it was available.

    Of course, I would greatly appreciate winning a signed copy. Thanks for the opportunity, Jessica.

  16. I don’t have a story about ballerina or dancing or the Nutcracker especially , although I love to dance (no rule dancing). Lovely give away. I always love your story (or stories).

    • When I was in the then Soviet Union, in Moscow, on the day of my birthday, I was privileged to see the Bolshoi perform. Such an experience!

  17. I hope someday to be able to see “The Nutcracker” with my daughter. She lives in the city and has the opportunity to go. We live in the middle of nowhere with the closest Walmart being an hour and a half in any direction. Thanks for the give-a-way.

  18. I loved taking my granddaughter to see the Nutcracker every Christmas on Children’s Day when the ballet was shortened just a tad. She’s old enough now to go see the full version this year. Thank you for the giveaway. Loved “The Muse” by the way. Good story.

  19. I took my daughter, her best friend, and my mother-in-law to the ‘Nutcracker’ performed by the Toronto Ballet in the early 1990’s. It was absolutely amazing. I took ballet and tap as a child for a few years. I still remember the foot positions! It is just as well I didn’t continue because I never grew tall and willowy! Much to my disappoint. I had a colleague whose daughter went to the National Ballet school in Toronto. The competition and training was fierce and demanding. I can empathize with your ‘incident’ when performing your part. Watching the the Waltz of the Snowflakes, I can understand why know one one saw it. There was so much movement going. I have yet to read ‘The Muse’ but it is on my wishlist. Meredith from Austenesque Reviews loved it. Thank you for your generosity! Hope the wedding plans are falling into place too!

  20. I went with my sister to a trip to New York in 2002 and we saw the Nutcracker at the MET,RADIO CITY CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR and also Charles Dickens “Christmas Carol” Musical- these year there was even snow and the lighting of the christmas tree was terrific.

  21. Thank you for sharing your memories. I can imagine the difficulty such an addition could cause. I can’t remember repetitive steps to the simplest movements without getting confused, forget what you did. I wonder if anyone else had the same or similar difficulties to what you had. I’ve always loved watching the Nutcracker and even just listening to the music; the music is so much fun to listen to. My favorite musical piece is the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies. It is so light, energetic and happy feeling (not to mention a challenge to play on the flute). Thank you for the generous give away.

  22. The Nutcracker has always been my favorite ballet! For many years we took our daughter to see it, and she has returned the favor by bringing me to see the Boston Ballet perform it. Magical!

  23. Thanks for sharing your memories. I get to take my second-graders to see the second act of “The Nutcracker” next week. Each year one or two boys fall asleep, and pretty much every girl is mesmerized the entire time and comes back twirling around and around.

  24. My favorite Christmas memory happened more than 30 years ago. On a snowy Christmas Eve I was walking down our street when a piece of newspaper blew by. I ran to catch it and was surprised to see it had a children’s story on it. In fact it was The Christmas Birthday Story, by Margaret Laurence, who is very famous here in Canada. It’s a nonreligious telling of the usual tale, and it’s geared to a young audience. I read it aloud to my then-8 & -3 year old offspring. In the morning, when our family tradition was that the children were allowed to open their stockings but not wake us up, we heard a lot of commotion. When we called them for breakfast and presents, they announced they had a present for us first; it was a play they’d just then. made up from the story and they acted it for us. So charming! and such a surprise! They’d rigged up costumes and everything!

  25. I love to see the nutcracker ballet with my kids! What an amazing and terrifying memory! Thanks for sharing! I think your story is one of the most original variations I have read, so thank you for writing it. I wish you continued success!

  26. I love the Waltz of the Snowflakes, just the other day I was watching a Hallmark Christmas movie and that was playing. Loved it!

  27. Thanks for the story! Ballerinas work so hard to make everything look so graceful and effortless! I love watching ballet performances like The Nutcracker, and really anything by Tchaikovsky (adore his music!). Thanks for the giveaway!!!

  28. I have to say I’ve never really watched ballet but that was special and makes me curious about The Muse. I would love to read it 🙂

  29. I love the video. I have never been to the ballet but love watching it on the TV. I have this book on my (very long) wish list so I would be thrilled if I won a copy. Thanks for the opportunity.

  30. Some things are timeless, like the nutcracker and Jane Austen. It is amazing that every time we see this it is better than the time before. That is what makes things classic!

  31. I alwayss looked forward to seeing the nutcracker be performed at the theatre I work at annually. They stopped a couple years ago but i have fond memories of working the show

  32. I’ve always wanted to see the Nutcracker ballet performance live. I remember in elementary school one of our field trip was to a performing arts ballet performance, I can’t recall what the production was about, but just remember being fascinated with watching the performance and going home and dancing around the living room on my tipy toes thinking I was a ballerina.

  33. What is Christmas without seeing The Nutcracker? I have seen outstanding and not so outstanding performances but, hey, it is tradition. As a little girl, the music played on my 45 rpm every night as I went to sleep. Thank you for the giveaway – I haven been wanting to read The Muse.

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