Saturday, December 21, 2013

Whew - it's over

We had our family Yule celebration today. It's bare under the Yule tree except for the few gifts for family members we haven't been able to get together with yet. That'll change tomorrow. And I'm exhausted.

I got the first composites from the cover artist today, and I'm impressed. She sent two and, frankly, I'm going to have trouble choosing between. They're both very good. I'll have to choose one of them, and I'm not sure they even need any changes.

My partner is dealing with a hamstring injury, so the gym has been distant for me the last few days. I need to get back there and soon. I'm hoping that'll be the first of the week. Our son is here and he brought gym clothes with him, so I'm guessing we'll be taking him with us.

I'm looking forward to getting these two books launched. In the meantime, the other series are calling my name. I'll be glad to get back to work in earnest.

So goodnight. Have pleasant dreams of sugarplums and candy canes. Mine have already come true.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

I'd really like to work

Ohhhmurgurd. I've missed two days of work. All I've done for the last two days is shop for holiday presents. Gads. So here goes.

What I hate about the holidays:
The crowds at the stores when they're so bad that I can't even buy groceries;
Trying to find gifts for people who really don't need a thing;
Getting decorations out, putting them up, and then putting them away again.

What I love about the holidays:
The food;
Being with family and friends;
The food;
Getting just one thing that I never would've bought for myself;
The food;
Football games;
Did I mention the food?

And I'm trying to imagine what must be going on in my characters' lives right now.

I'm guessing Nikki has Anthony and Ella Jane in the kitchen, teaching them to make peanut butter cookies; Lizzie Kate's in the bedroom off the kitchen, sleeping through the racket like only babies can. When Tony comes in from the facility across the farm, the kids are squealing and chasing each other with marshmallow machine guns. Nikki grabs him, pins him against the wall, and kisses him - hard. Then he tells her how much he loves the grandkids and how glad he'll be when they go home!

Vic is having a ball - it's the first time he's ever had a Christmas tree in his house. He's always gone to Tony's for Christmas, but now he has someone to enjoy Christmas with. And if the dealership doesn't deliver that expensive Christmas present he's ordered for someone special, he's going to have a lot of explaining to do when there's nothing under the tree. Maybe he'd better go to the jewelry store, just in case . . .

For the first time in his life, Steve is having fun buying Christmas presents. His favorite destinations? The lingerie store in the mall! And the jewelry store. And the Mercedes dealership. Someone is going to have a VERY nice Christmas!

Molly's trying to figure out where her kids and their families are going to sleep when they come to visit her, not to mention how she's going to explain who's sharing her bedroom with. And a couple of people are having a really good laugh about that.

It will be a lot of work, but Kelly is determined to get the house in Louisville into shape so they can have a few other couples - well, spouses - over for dinner right after Christmas. She's already got invitations ready for the other three households, plus Doug, Jared, and Wendy, and anyone they'd like to bring.

Laura's been told that she has to invite her parents over on Christmas Eve for dinner. She's still not really crazy about the idea, but she's willing to try.

Peyton's begging his mom to make some Chinese goodies to share with his new family. She's still not too sure she likes his little family, but she is very sure that she likes how happy he is. His dad, on the other hand, thinks it's fantastic, even though he really doesn't understand either.

And Jose's thankful to be alive and to not be alone. He's just trying to get his feet back under him. But he will - they'll walk beside him every step of the way. They've ordered him to just take it easy and rest. He doesn't have to do anything else; they'll do all the work. But he's still determined to buy at least two very special Christmas gifts.

And when Clayton, Brittany, Annabeth, and Katie come in to pick up the kids from shopping, they're all almost in tears when they see what their new mom's done - she's decorated the gigantic Scotch pine that she and Tony picked out with the beautiful ornaments their Nonna Raffaella had used the year before when Nikki wasn't in any shape to do anything. It's the family's first holiday season without her, and it'll be tough, but they'll get through it like they do everything else, with help from each other.

And as for my family? The configurations have changed, but the theme remains the same - love and joy for us. Along with food.

After all, isn't that what the holidays are all about?

Monday, December 16, 2013

I got a susprise today!

I went to the mailbox today and guess what was there? A package.

From Thailand!

My file conversion company, BB eBooks, is in Bangkok. Several weeks ago Paul asked for my mailing address. I assumed I would get a Christmas card. But that's not what I got.

Instead, I got a Christmas card, complete with a photo of the staff, and the card was signed by everyone. They also enclosed a cute little bookmark and a beautiful little purse, metallic tapestry and turquoise. It was the first piece of international mail I've ever gotten, and I was more than thrilled. But even more than the surprise was the fact that they thought of me and sent me something so kind and lovely. They've been great to work with, and I'm looking forward to many more years of enjoyable collaboration with them.

As for work, I finished one of the new stand-alone novels, Adventurous Me, in the last twenty-four hours. I'll be farming the cover out. Frankly, this book took me by surprise. It almost wrote itself. But because of how easy it was, I've given absolutely no thought to what the cover should look like. I'll be contacting a cover designer, giving her the title and a few chapters, and waiting to see what she'll come up with. As soon as we agree on a cover, it'll be up and online for your enjoyment!

So watch for it. I'll share another excerpt sometime in the next week. Until then, keep moving toward the holidays and I'll be rooting for you to come out the other side unscathed!