The Gift of Love

 

The holidays are many things to many people. For some, they’re a chance to reunite with friends and family. For others, they’re an opportunity to give of ourselves and to receive. I count myself lucky in that I usually get to do both. Yet I also find that I’m very reflective at this time of the year. I think of the changes I’ve seen in my three growing boys. I see the changes in myself as I age (sigh), and wonder if I’ve matured in equal measure. I remember both the happy memories of the past twelve months, and the sad. I think about what the coming year might bring.

And then after I’ve done my bit of soul-searching, and make promises to myself that I fully intend to keep, I give a gift to myself. Outsiders to our genre might not understand, but I think you will. I find myself a stack of holiday-themed romances, and I dive right in. Whenever characters are kissing under a sprig of mistletoe, taking sleigh rides in the snow, or linking hands together in front of a Christmas tree, I’m hooked.

I think it’s because romances are inherently hopeful, and especially at this time of the year, we are hopeful. Just like the heroes and heroines in the books that we read, we’ve come through everything this past year has thrown at us, and we’ve survived, right along with our capacity to love.

This year, that’s especially true for all those romances when a hero falls for a hero, and a heroine meets that one special someone in another heroine.

This is the gift-giving season, after all, and love is the greatest gift we can give to another person. Romance books aren’t afraid to acknowledge that. Indeed, they celebrate it, and it’s one of the many reasons I’m so proud to be a part of this industry. All of us are worthy of love, and as the new year dawns, the future is shiny, and full of possibility.

Merry Christmas!

Just for today, I was a runner again...

I  started running when my son, Max, was born, primarily because he had a wicked case of colic, and I needed to get out of the house. Only a few weeks out of childbirth, it left me tired and sore. But it also gave me time alone with my thoughts.

Eventually, I could run farther and faster. Instead of listening to music, I made up characters and stories. Sixteen years and thousands of running miles later, those stories have became novels.

But age and an aversion to stretching have a way of catching up with you. Gone are the days when I could grab a pair of sneakers, and go for as long and as far as I wanted. You need  to be flexible to run without injury, and my hamstrings are shot.  I'm as flexible a #2 pencil.  

But this morning was a beautiful one, sunny and crisp. The kind that begs you to go outside.

So I grabbed my sneakers, stretched as best I could, and gave it a go.  My  run had winding roads, rolling hills, and picturesque farm fields thrown in for good measure. 

And did it hurt? Well, on the whole, it wasn't particularly pleasant. But a brief stretch of it was like visiting with an old friend. I thought about the story I'm currently writing. I enjoyed the beautiful day. And for a little while, even my hamstrings cooperated.

It makes sense to avoid the things that cause us pain.  But sometimes, the pain is worth it. At least it was for me today. Ice packs on my hamstrings and all...

Looking back on the Summer...

As summer comes to a close (and where did it go, anyway?), I can’t help but look back on all the places I’ve been, the wonderful people I’ve met, and the adventures I’ve enjoyed. Not that there haven’t been bad times, as well. I count the 96 bug bites I received during a single walk in the woods as one of those (I won’t attempt that again without an ample supply of DEET), but as a happily-ever-after kind of gal, I’m going to focus instead on the positive. Here’s just a short list of the things I enjoyed best about the summer of 2015…

Best Concert: Mumford and Sons in Raleigh, NC
Most Awe Inspiring Site: The night sky over Blue Hill, ME
Most Fascinating Person: The man who hunted Green Mambas, Puff Adders, and Gaboon Viper snakes for their venom (!!!)
Best Eats: Given this summer’s several pound weight gain, it’s hard to pick a favorite, but Perry’s Lobster Shack in Surry, ME is definitely a contender.
Best Book: Edinbrooke by Julianne Donaldson
Best Eye Candy: Aiden Turner of Poldark (after my husband, of course :)

                                            Aiden Turner as Poldark

                                            Aiden Turner as Poldark

Best News: That Once Upon A Wager placed first in the Debut Novel Category of the Chatelaine Awards, sponsored by Chanticleer Books Reviews. Yay! And that Once Upon A Scandal is a nominee for the BTS Red Carpet “Rising Star” award, sponsored by BTS Magazine and Book Reviews. Double Yay!! Many thanks to my fabulous editor at Crimson Romance, Julie Sturgeon, who made both books so much better. She works magic!

And now I better get back to writing that next book, as yet untitled…

All the best,

Julie