Saturday, December 22, 2007

Moments To Remember

My daughter cut off most of her hair last Wednesday. She did it for a variety of reasons, but the main one was she cut that hair was she wanted to donate it to Locks of Love. For those of you who haven’t heard of this organization, this nonprofit accepts donated hair and makes wigs for cancer patients, the majority of them children. Yep, it’s a worthy organization, and I was proud of her willingness to make such a sacrifice.
But what was funny was that we didn’t know what a sacrifice it was until the hairdresser SNIPPED off her pony tail and presented Lesley with ten inches of beautiful brown hair that would never again be on her head. Well, Lesley took one look at that pony tail and let out a wail worthy of the most dramatic fourteen year old. “My hair!” Then, of course, she promptly started crying. Next thing I knew, I was crying, too.
Yep, it was a pretty big day.
It’s amazing how some things affect you way more than you ever thought they would. My husband and kids have the unique ability to either make my days or ruin them with one remark, smile, or smirk. A perfect fall day always lifts my mood. So does the first snow.
Other events are just as momentous as you’ve always dreamed them to be, such as a selling a book. When I sold my first Harlequin, I barely made it through the phone call with my agent, then as soon as I hung up, I sat on the stairs and cried. My husband was sure someone had died and ran up the stairs to comfort me. Nope, it wasn’t a crisis…just a dream turning into a reality.
Now, as we rush toward Christmas, where there’s always too much to do and not enough hours in the day, I’m going to do my best to take some time to appreciate all the moments that mean so much- like spending time with family and friends. Eating a really good piece of pie. Candlelit church services. Early morning squeals of joy. Quiet cups of coffee with only a brand new book for company. What are some of your favorite moments?
PS…I won’t be around much to answer today. Wrestling Meet…and concession duty!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Happy Holidays

Hello, and happy holidays to everyone. I just returned from our company's annual Christmas lunch. (My husband owns a company that sells school furniture, and I work there part time as the accounting manager.) We had a wonderful, warm time. As I looked around the table, I really felt as if we were one "family" despite our differences in so many ways. Two employees brought children, which we've never had as guests for lunch before, and that made the get-together even nicer.

Our family will be celebrating Christmas with our 20 month old granddaughter, who is just the age to unwrap presents and squeal about everything. Next Christmas, we'll have two granddaughters. I am so glad that I have children back in my life as they are constant sources of joy . . . and of course, writing inspiration. For example, I wrote the proposal for my June 2008 HAR when my granddaughter was the same age as the baby in the book, and I finished it just about the time my daughter announced that they would be having another baby. If you read the epilogue, you'll know what I mean!

In the meantime, again, let me wish you and your family the happiest of holidays. Even if you don't officially "celebrate," a long winters nap or a steaming cup of hot chocolate could be just the thing to lift your spirits. And, of course, curling up with a good book!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Happy Holidays!

For today, I'm not going to write anything too profound. It's the last day of school for the year--the kids return Jan. 3, teachers are back Jan. 2. I have one final to give, and then I'm done.

I just wanted to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I'll use my break writing--I have a book due 1/4.

I was also featured at the Motivated Writer. If you're curious about my office and my writing process, please stop by and check it out.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Not the usual holiday celebration

In two days it’ll be winter solstice, the darkest day of the year. If you happen to live in the pacific northwest (I’m in the Seattle area), that means it’s dark by 4:20 pm., and the sun doesn’t rise until nearly 8:00 am—a whole lot of nighttime!

My husband and I decided to do something to usher out the shortest day. Last year we hosted our first annual winter solstice party. We invited lots of friends, many whom we hadn’t seen in ages, and served great food. I even made a hot spiced rum punch. We lit candles in every room. It was great to see everyone and watch people who’d never met make friends .

Our winter solstice party was so successful, we’re doing it again this year. The party, held on December 21, starts as darkness falls, around 4:30, and goes until whenever. I plan to raise a glass of hot rum punch to everyone who makes writing this blog so enjoyable—readers, writers and all my Harlequin American authors/sisters.

Wishing everyone a Happy Winter Solstice and Happy Holidays!

Until later,
All I Want for Christmas, November 2007

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Holiday Wishes

Wow! Christmas is almost here and before we know it, 2008 will be, too.

Before I became a big time romance reader, I'd buy all the women's magazines at Christmastime for the short stories. Redbook, McCalls, Good Housekeeping. It didn't matter. I just loved those happily-ever-after stories centered around the holidays. They always put me in a holiday mood and left me with a smile.

The year my youngest daughter was born, I discovered contemporary series romance and bought every Silhouette Romance that had a Christmas theme. (Yes, 18 years later, I still have them!) I never dreamed that one day I would be blessed with the opportunity to write my own books.

I've been incredibly lucky to have joined the wonderful Harlequin American writers this year, and especially to have my first HAR coming out next month. That it has a Christmas theme only makes it that much better.

If you're like me and would like to extend the joys of the holiday, I hope you'll find that Family by Design does the trick and keeps those after-holiday doldrums at bay, for just a little longer. Single mom Becca Tyler is at the end of her rope when her old flame walks back into her life. Nick Morelli still bears the wounds she inflicted when they broke up, ten years before, but he can't turn his back on her or her three small children. Can he keep the secret that would drive her away and still protect his heart and Becca?

This is such a special time of year, no matter what holiday is celebrated, and families play such an important part of the season. I wish you and yours the most joyful holiday this year, with peace and love flowing into the new year!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Okay, time to fess up. I bet there are some of you, like me, who use the holidays as an excuse to eat what you want and not worry about putting on those few extra pounds because, guess what? New Year's is right around the corner and so are those resolutions. The first on the list--lose five pounds. So breakout the eggnog, bake those cookies and make that fudge and don't you dare feel guilty--I'm not going to!

Dieter's Night Before Christmas
Author Unknown

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all round my hips
Were Fannie May candies that sneaked past my lips.
Fudge brownies were stored in the freezer with care
In hopes that my thighs would forget they were there.

While Mama in her girdle and I in chin straps
Had just settled down to sugar-borne naps.
When out in the pantry there arose such a clatter
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the kitchen I flew like a flash,
Tore open the icebox then threw up the sash.
The marshmallow look of the new-fallen snow
Sent thoughts of a binge to my body below.

When what to my wandering eyes should appear
A marzipan Santa with eight chocolate reindeer!
That huge chunk of candy so luscious and slick
I knew in a second that I’d wind up sick.

The sweet-coated santa, those sugared reindeer
I closed my eyes tightly but still I could hear;
On Pritzker, on Stillman, on weak one, on TOPS
A Weight Watcher dropout from sugar detox.
From the top of the scales to the top of the hall
Now dash away pounds now dash away all.
Dressed up in Lane Bryant from my head to nightdress
My clothes were all bulging from too much excess.

My droll little mouth and my round little belly,
They shook when I laughed like a bowl full of jelly.
I spoke not a word but went straight to my work
Ate all of the candy then turned with a jerk.

And laying a finger beside my heartburn
Gave a quick nod toward the bedroom I turned.
I eased into bed, to the heavens I cry–
If temptation’s removed I’ll get thin by and by.

And I mumbled again as I turned for the night
In the morning I’ll starve… ’til I take that first bite!

Merry Christmas and best wishes for a safe, happy, and healthy New Year!

*Hearts of Appalachia*
For the Children Oct 07
In A Soldier's Arms Feb 08
A Coal Miner's Wife Aug 08