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HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM LOUISE VAN HINE
Celebrating the first MAJOR four-star review of my gay historical novel “The Erotic Etudes” at Speak Its Name, as well as my fiftieth birthday, today’s topic is about the tradition of the German birthday celebration and the Advent tradition which has changed little from the time of my book.
I had to make sure I had some money set aside, because birthdays are celebrated by throwing a party at your own expense, with full multiple-course dinner, for all of your friends and family. Yes, that’s right – while gifts are brought to dinner, the dinner is paid for by the guest of honor!
Often these are done at Wursthauses or beer halls, or one’s favorite authentic local restaurant, and dessert is provided free of charge by the management. Cards and letters of good wishes are offered during the Geburtsfeier, along with gifts, during dessert and coffee. The song is the traditional one: “Fröhliche Geburtstag” (Happy Birthday.)
My first birthday in Germany, I footed the bill for American and German colleagues at a local German schnitzel house, where schnitzel, bratwurst and kartoffelbraten (roast potatoes with gravy)were the main attractions. Because Christmas is an ENORMOUS celebration that begins on December 1 with the start of Advent, we adjourned dinner to go to the local Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas market) afterward.
Here is one of the Weihnachtsmarkts I went to in 2002 in Ruedesheim (not my photo)
Traditional purchases at the Weihnachtsmarkts are Christmas gifts for the family, Russian nesting dolls, scarves, Italian lace, Christmas cider and the traditional “Glühwein” – a mulled fruit wine only made and sold during Advent. And then there’s the cuckoo clocks, the carved “Duftmännchen” – incense-burners in the form of nutcrackers, human figures or animals, as well as little Christmas houses where the “duft” – incense curls out of the chimney just like smoke from a fireplace.
Duftmännchen “Maus” – I got this for a German friend from the German store here in Minneapolis.
I am pleased to announce at the occasion of my 50th birthday, too, the preparation for publication of several titles by my firm, Threshold Publishing Company, in addition to the second revised edition of “Erotic Etudes” with color cover and new introduction, as well as the first ‘modern’ (1980’s era) gay detective book, “Tourmaline,” which will be produced first as an ebook in January 2010. “Tourmaline” is the first in an 8-book series that deals with the dawn of the AIDS epidemic in the gay community in the early 1980’s, set in rural Arizona.
In addition, I hope to be putting into ebook form my very first completed novel, “Princes of the East” about two brothers who are destined to share the leadership of an empire, but one of them is not what he appears to be, the first of a trilogy.
Other titles are slated for e-book publication in 2010, and I will make announcements as soon as I know they are definitely on the horizon.
Advent Calendar Giveaway!
Name your favorite piece of traditional Christmas music. The first prize will go to the most unusual! The prize is a copy of “The Erotic Etudes” first edition, signed copy 12. The first prize will also include e-book copies of the new titles released in 2010 by Threshold as they become available.
Second prize will receive e-book copies of new titles released in 2010 by Threshold Publishing Company (“The Erotic Etudes” ,“Tourmaline”, and “Princes of the East’) (all books are on themes of alternate sexuality).
And since I have a limited number of first editions left and would like to sell them off before producing the second edition, I am offering a special holiday price for anyone who orders it from my website(link http://www.zebratta.com/Books/Etudes/order.html) during Advent. $7.99 with free shipping. Price will be adjusted at order time.
And Frohes Fest!