Charades is a game I often dread playing with my family (both my daughter and my step-daughter have a maddening propensity to act out the same title over and over–or worse yet, make the rest of us act it out). But in an era before TV and movies, I probably would have resigned myself to acting out things at home on a regular basis. The game was apparently much more challenging back during the Regency era, at least in Jane Austen’s household. Her family played a version which involved writing out three riddles and acting out the answers. Each answer was a single syllable which, when put together, made a word which made it all fit together. Too much work for me!

Back in the day, the game of charades was popular at Christmas (Thanks to Linore Rose Burkard’s Regency House Christmas for sharing the Austen family version) and it’s one of the traditions included in the second release of the Cotillion Christmas Traditions series, “A Christmas Caroline,” by Vivien Jackson and Christa Paige.

On their own, they write paranormal and sci-fi and fantasy and suspense (with lots of hot cops). Together, they write in a different world entirely – it’s all about the cravats and Hessians. Polished, of course. Their story “A Christmas Caroline” comes out today. A Christmas Caroline

Here’s the blurb:

Lady Caroline Selwyn’s world centers on her father, so when she receives dire news of his health—two days before Christmas, no less—her first thought is to weep. Her second is to make this Christmastide the best he’s ever known. To that end, she rummages in memory for festive traditions, plans charades, purchases bean cakes…and acquires an affianced husband. Oh, not a real one—what she does is convince Papa’s physician to pretend an engagement, for just a few weeks.

Doctor Samuel Avery can hardly credit his complicity in this madcap deception. Whatever was he thinking? But it does seem to improve the comfort of the earl, and his own sisters are in alt at the idea of his impending nuptials. And he has admired Caroline for so long the role of her betrothed is easy to play. In fact, the scheme seems in every way perfect. Except that it is not true.

Click on the cover to learn more. And here’s the full schedule of releases for the Christmas Traditions stories. Because there are so many stories in the collection this year, they will be released as two separate print anthologies.

10/10/13: Twelve Days of Christmas, Barbara Miller

10/17/13: A Christmas Caroline, Christa Paige and Vivien Jackson

10/24/13: Festive Persuasion, Charlene Roberts

10/31/13: Lydia’s Christmas Charade, Saralee Etter

11/7/13: Snug in a Snowstorm, Cynthia Moore

11/14/13: Helena’s Christmas Beau, Aileen Fish

11/21/13: A Twelfth Night Tale, Susana Ellis

11/28/13: Sense of the Season, Kate Dolan

I’d like to think they’re saving the best for last, but as I said last week, I’m pretty sure I was the last one to turn in my manuscript! The first four books will appear in print as Cotillion Christmas Traditions and the second four, including “Sense of the Season,” will be part of the Cotillion Christmas Celebrations anthology.