So, we're at the lake house ... again. I hope you don't mind me mentioning my new "toy." I'm a bit obsessed, trying to get the house ready for Christmas company. Here's a photo from this morning, facing west, about a half hour after sunrise.
The thing is, we've lived in the same house in Richardson, TX for 32 years. Now we've owned this place only five weeks and I've been here about seven times, some visits for the day only. I haven't gotten accustomed to it yet. There are different sounds to the blowing of the heating and air conditioning, the dull, slight roar of the hot tub, the steady hum of the heater on the porch. The mattresses are different and the furniture makes one pause when navigating in the middle of the night. The upstairs ceiling slopes and if you're not careful, you'll bang your head hard enough to see stars. And not those endless stars in the night sky outside, without the city lights.
These differences seemed minor at first, but this morning, I started to realize that they are shaking up my creativity. (At least, I think they are; we'll have to see when I write the next book.) I've started whole new "what if" scenarios in my head. My imagination runs amok when I hear noises in the night. While soundly sleeping I swear I felt the bed frame get bumped. Two night ago I thought I heard my car door open and close, but of course, no one was outside and the car was locked. Last night there was a mysterious low beeping noise coming from downstairs. I couldn't locate it or see any blinking lights, like a fire alarm battery going bad or some small appliance left on too long. When I finally turned on the overhead light, the beeping stopped. I still have no idea where that sound was coming from, but I'm fairly sure I'll hear it again.
Is my lake house haunted? I don't think so, but I can see where people come up with the idea that a house could contain mischievious or evil spirits. Since I've written paranormal romances before, I can certainly imagine all types of situations where my heroine (or hero) might feel irritated or in danger. I never felt that way in my own familiar home in the city, where the concrete slab doesn't shift and there are no footsteps overhead. (Just the occasional raccoon or cat running across the roof, taking a shortcut from one food dish to another.) In the city there are no pine cones falling from the huge tree outside, landing on the deck or roof, and there are no birds that sound like strange creatures wailing.
I went into the city of Mineola a few days ago, right around sunset. Many of the businesses were closing for the day. The darkening clear blue sky still held an orange glow. Christmas music played from speakers along the main street. Twinkling lights and decorated trees glowed warm in the flower shop nearby. All this atmosphere, and yet, I saw no other people around me for several minutes. I was only one street away from Broad, which is also US 80, but no car doors slammed or tires hummed on the pavement. I felt almost as if I were in a episode of "Twilight Zone," for those of us old enough to remember that series. I experienced a vivid reminder of how my heroine might feel when she arrives in Brody's Crossing, searching for her family.
So, I'm embracing these new experiences as much as I'm loving the lake and the trees. I think they will make me a better writer. At least, I hope they will. You'll have to let me know when the book finally comes out in 2011, tentatively titled Texan in Her Heart. I'll start writing it after Christmas. Have a very happy holiday. I hope you find joy in simple things and experience all the warmth of the season. I'll post a new recipe on January 4th, and when I do my next blog, I'll be well into the book and will probably have more updates from the lake. Best wishes for a wonderful new year!