by Megan O’Russell
Date of Publication: December 8th 2015
Publisher: Fiery Seas Publishing
Cover Artist: Jess Small
Genre: Sweet Romance
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?
Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/JtCwOu8QT58
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, theatregoers!)
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.
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.