Sunday, December 29, 2019

Time For New Beginnings

We're only a couple days away from New Year's Eve, and 2020 will be every bit as wild as 2019 turned out to be. While I don't normally make resolutions, since the couple of times I made them, I broke them almost before I wrote them down, this year will be a year of new beginnings, not resolutions. Here's my list:

My most important new beginning is personal. My brother-in-law had major health issues starting in August, and only came home from the hospital two days before Christmas. It's been a long, hard ride for him and he still has a ways to go. But he's out of the hospital, so we are counting our blessings.

Second, this coming year will see a new book from me for the first time in two years. It's the start of my Revolutionary War series and I'm loving this time period. It's made what's going on in our government today very personal since I have immersed myself in the streets of Boston and Philadelphia in the 1700s, and write about ordinary people rising to the challenge of creating a new country. I can't wait for you to meet my characters. There's Pippa and Daniel, Libby and Hawk, and an as yet unnamed woman from England who will become the new love of Patterson. Any help with a name will be most appreciated.

And last, after a health scare last year, I am going to get really serious about developing a more structured exercise program. I've been a member of a health club for over a year now, but it's so easy to let my three-times-a-week regimen slip in favor of meeting up with friends, or writing that next chapter.

In my area, we don't drop a Swaroski crystal ball from the roof of a skyscraper. No, here we drop an oversized pine cone from the ladder of a fire truck. And we don't wait until midnight. The cone drops at 8 pm. Much more laid back and sensible. I can barely stay awake until midnight on most nights.

So these are my new beginnings. What are you planning for the upcoming year? Whatever you have planned, and however you plan to celebrate, Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Happy Holidays!

I used my grandmother's collection of Christmas postcards on a recent post for History Imagined, a blog I contribute to once a month. What struck me as I was photographing the cards was how the word "Christmas" was abbreviated to "Xmas." We have been so shamed by this abbreviation in the past decades (Taking the Christ out of the holiday, etc.)  that it's fallen out of use. In fact, it's no longer fashionable to say "Merry Christmas." Instead, we should all say "Happy Holidays," so as not to offend other religions.

I realize that postcards didn't have a lot of room on which to print a message, but nonetheless, just like the Christmas postcard and, more recently, the proverbial Christmas card, the moniker of Xmas has fallen into disfavor. 

I'll keep these postcards as a reminder of Christmases past and will try to keep up with the e-card craze of today. So, however you celebrate, whether it's Christmas, Hanukkeh, Kwanzaa, or something else, have a happy holiday with friends and family, and a wonderful 2020. 

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Buffalo Plaid Time

This week marked the first day of the season when I had to haul out my heavy winter coat. If I were still living in Ohio, it would have been already in use for weeks. But this is North Carolina, where we just had a day when the temperature gauge got above 70 degrees. Now it’s dipped to the 40s, and it’s time to get serious about things. 

Fortunately, a few years ago, my sister bought me a jacket in my favorite buffalo plaid squares of black and red.

You could play a game of checkers on my jacket if you were so inclined. I have loved this combination for years, and would have it in every room in my home if I could. It’s available not just in clothing, but in pillows, dog beds, blankets, couches, bedspreads, draperies, etc. But I refrained from being a one-trick pony and only have the jacket. Although I did buy some wrapping paper this year that was buffalo plaid and the black squares were flocked, of all things. And I gave serious thought to buying a buffalo plaid sweater for Mary. Think of it­–matching outfits!

When I climbed into my new-to-me car today, and started it up, the heated seat and steering wheel automatically kicked in, because of the temperature, I guess. Wrapping my cold fingers around a warm steering wheel was an unexpected pleasure. So there are plenty of reasons to enjoy the occasional cold days this winter. 

I hope you can find reasons to enjoy the season, too! 

Sunday, December 8, 2019

The Stockings Are Hung

Any of you who follow this blog regularly will already know that I'd rather celebrate Thanksgiving than Christmas. Because we never had much growing up, my memories of Christmas are pretty bleak. So, during the last couple of years, when I didn't put up a tree or send greeting cards, it didn't bother me, even though it offended my friends for whom Christmas is the day they look forward to all year.

Which is why this year is such a marked contrast. Already, with weeks to go before THE day, I've got my gifts in the mail and the cards have all been addressed and sent. I purchased a little tree with fiber-optic lights and hung my special White House ornament collection on it. There's just enough room for these beautiful and unique ornaments, each of which have a special significance to the former occupants in the White House.

Why am I so ahead of the game this year? I asked myself that question as I sat last night watching my tree go through its light rotation. I came up with only one reason: My routine is back to normal.

I am a list-maker, as are so many of us. Each week, I prepare my list of what needs done in the next seven days and love being able to mark things off the list. I include things that are relevant to my work, and hold myself accountable for both my creative work and my side hustle job. But there are also things on the list like meeting up with a friend for lunch, going to my exercise class, and other mundane chores like swiffering the floors and taking my trash to the dump. If it needs doing during the next seven days, it goes on my list.

It's been hard this past year for me to adhere to my list, since life got in the way of my routine. But I'm happy that I was able to complete a manuscript that got picked up by a publisher, and I will have a new book coming out next year. And I'm happy that I've found a new and fascinating era from our past that I can delve into. The Revolutionary War affected every person, great or small, rebel or resistor, gun-toting farmer or Quaker pacifist. My work with this period of our past makes what's now going on in Congress especially memorable, and I marvel every day at the forward-thinking of the framers of our Constitution.

So, routine has been reestablished, the tree is up, the stockings are hung, and my little dog Mary and I are set to enjoy the milder climate of a North Carolina December. Wherever you choose to celebrate the season, stay warm and be happy.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Final Freebie Day

My publisher, Prairie Rose, has made the first books in these seven series, free for a limited time, as we celebrated Black Friday weekend. Today marks the final day these books will be free. Go to the following website to learn more about each of these great books:

When this giveaway began a few days ago, I made it my mission to get The Reluctant Debutante to number one on the list of Victorian Historical Romance. As of this writing, I'm sitting at number thirteen. Since I don't want to perpetuate the myth that thirteen is an unlucky number, I need you to add this book to your kindle reading list, if you don't already have a copy. This is the final day that I can try to get to the top of the list, for at least an hour.

And, while you're at it, take a look at the other offerings from Prairie Rose and help yourself. You just might find a new favorite author.

I hope your Thanksgiving was filled with fun, food, and family and that you're now ready for December. And that you'll now help yourself to a gift or two from Prairie Rose. If you're a fan of western romance, we've got you covered.