Friday, December 22, 2006

Crunch Time

I’d be the first to tell you I have a lot of faults. I’ve never been able to balance a check book. I have a hard time staying awake past 10:30. I’ve been known to blow off party invitations because I’d rather be reading a book. But of all the things I am, I’ve never been one to procrastinate.

One day a week I work at a card shop. It’s my fun job. I get out of my basement office, talk to real people instead of made up ones, and sell all kinds of cute things. On most days, I really enjoy visiting with the customers. By and large they're always pleasant and fun. But yesterday was different…it was filled with all of the Christmas procrastinators, and what a frantic, wild-eyed bunch they were! People were combing the aisles like bandits in old westerns looking for holiday cards. And help. Oh my gosh--they needed a lot of help.

Those harried customers wondered where all of the pretty wrapping paper was, where the dated ornaments were…where the holiday specials were displayed. They raced in, their sweaters and coats all wet from the rain, darted around the displays, tapped their feet when they had to wait in line and quickly pushed their credit cards my way. My job was to help them as fast as possible, listen to their complaints, and smile. By four o’clock, I was getting pretty tired of being glared at! I was really missing my made up characters, as a matter of fact.

I’m not usually a procrastinator writer. I write steadily…five or ten pages a day, depending on my deadlines. Unfortunately, with my latest deadline, I’ve been pushed into unfamiliar procrastinator writer territory. I’ve found myself glaring at the keyboard, wondering why I hadn’t written more earlier this month. Wishing I could write faster. Wondering how the calendar could have snuck up on me like it did. Suddenly, I feel sorry for procrastinators!

I guess we all have our moments! Happy Holidays to everyone, whether you’re ready or not! Think of me on December 26 at 8:00 a.m. I’ll be helping all those eager early bird shoppers, anxious to get a good deal. Chances are, I’ll probably be wishing they wanted to put off things for another day or two. Or at least until I’ve had another couple of cups of coffee.

Shelley Galloway

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Permission to say no

The holidays are upon us. I'm finishing my second to last day of teaching before winter break, which starts this Friday.

I have set a goal for the holidays: giving myself permission to say no.

I'm going to start by saying no to buying those extra presents that will destroy my budget. No, I'm not being scrooge, but rather you know those last minute impulse gifts that you really don't need--you've already bought the perfect gifts and think that they aren't enough. They are.

I'm going to say no to all eating more than I should. If my goal is to slim down, I have to practice my resolutions now, not starting Jan. 1. I'm also watching my favorite movies while I walk on the treadmill, saying no to being a couch potato.

I'm going to say no to things that sap my writing time. I'm on deadline, and the week after Christmas I'm going to do three 12-hour days Monday-Wednesday to kick a lot of my November 2007 American out. I'm leaving my calendar blank and rewarding myself by doing fun things on Thursday and Friday. Thus, I'm also saying no to crowds, doing my returns a little later in the week.

The holidays are draining, and I'm usually sapped by the end of them. This time, I'm saying no to stress (somehow) and I'm going to enjoy them. That means catering a dinner (hello Honeybaked Ham) rather than cooking. I like to cook, but the goal is to see everyone, not have me over a hot stove. Catering will give me time to do what is most important, spending time with those I love. I'm saying a big yes to that.


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Count your blessings

The past week has been as rough one for Seattleites. On Thursday, December 14, a ferocious wind and rain storm rocked the area, destroying transformers, pushing down huge trees, and snapping power lines. For a while an estimated 1.5 million were without power. By lat Tuesday the number had decreased to 200,000—still far too many. Streets are without stoplights, some gas stations are closed, and in certain parts of town, grocery stores are giving away perishable food. It’s been cold here, too, making matters even worse.

We were lucky—only lost our power for 14 hours. For those of you snug and warm in your homes, count your blessings!

Speaking of counting your blessings, Winter Solstice is almost upon us (December 21). This year my husband and I have decided to usher out the shortest day of the year with a party, complete with a blazing fire, roasted chestnuts, lots of food and drink, and good friends. What could be better? If all goes well, we plan to make this an annual tradition.

There is one more wonderful piece of news. A few days ago I sold two more novels to Harlequin American. Hooray! Both stories take place on fictitious Halo Island, that is loosely (very loosely) based on San Juan and Lopez Islands, which are part of the San Juan Islands in the Pacific Northwest.

If anyone reading this would like to share their good news here, I’d love to read about it.

For now, whether you celebrate Winter Solstice, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanza and/or something else, I wish you warmth, love and joy.

Monday, December 18, 2006


It’s that time of the year. Oh, yes it is. Time to think of gifts to give your loved ones and friends. I firmly believe it is better to give than to receive. I love giving gifts especially if its something I know the person really wants. On the other hand, I sometimes feel uncomfortable receiving gifts especially if its something I would never buy for myself—like a pair of Mickey Mouse slippers with a head that actually bobs up and down. But I smile and remember it is the thought that counts.

Then there are the gifts that come out of blue that mean so much. I have a friend who works in a doctor’s office. She called to say she’d ordered ten copies of my latest book to give to the ladies in her office and her daughter's teachers. Those kind of gifts, to borrow a phrase, are priceless.

And I found out this week that The Christmas Cradle—a Nov 2004 American is now out in the United Kingdom. I received two emails this week. That was a really nice gift. I was able to tell the ladies about Once A Cowboy, a spin off of The Christmas Cradle, that comes out in Feb.

Sometimes the best gift is not a gift, but an act of kindness. I’m wishing all of you a special act of kindness this holiday season.
Linda Warren