UPDATE: The winner of a surprise book from Renee Bernard's backlist is Johanna R Jochum! Congrats! Please email your physical addy to Contests(AT)KnightAgency.net. :-) To win a surprise book from Renee Bernard's backlist, leave a comment. The winner will be announced Monday morning.
Things I'm Thankful For This Year
How can I not be thankful this year? This was the year of letting go and I’m always going to be grateful for all the wonderful lessons that invoked. Like a lot of people, when the economy shook like an earthquake, we just tried to hang on. And anyone living on the west coast knew better than to congratulate themselves on surviving too quickly. After all, what’s an earthquake without a few aftershocks? And sure enough, this has been a year of aftershocks—financial and personal.
But we simplified our lives, and I announced at the dinner table that instead of looking at it as “cutting back”, I wanted us to think of it as a real opportunity to “do better”. (Boy, did that meet with some blank stares! ;-) But I boxed up the stuff we didn’t need, cleared out the garage, sold it if it wasn’t nailed down and remembered all those old-fashioned skills I’d once considered hobbies for a rainy day. I discovered my inner homemaker; banished any illusions I was aiming for Martha Stewart perfection and just accepted that eclectic and colorful were going to be my mantras.
Life is too short to worry about matching flatware.
We’re eating together (whenever we can) and I’ve perfected my meatloaf. Our art projects cover the walls, and my girls and I have invented our own style of belly-dancing. We don’t go to the movies, but Fiona has a puppet theatre stage show that is always changing and I love the live performances. We don’t go shopping (this is one I’m very grateful to give up since it’s an activity I never enjoyed) but NOW, we set up our own “store” and take turns being the shopkeeper. My four year old is a ruthless bargain hunter and extremely savvy when it comes to selecting shoes.
I told a friend that your pride dies first when you land on your rear end, but strangely enough, once you’ve dusted your pants off, a person’s sense of humor just takes its place. I’m thankful to be able to laugh. If you can’t laugh, you can’t love. And if we gained any ground in my little clan, we ruled in the category of love. I’m so thankful to have this family and to be loved (despite mama’s odd hours at the computer keyboard).
I know the life of a romance writer is supposed to be about glamour. I should be describing how grateful I am for that trip to Europe or that wonderful vacation we took to the south of France or make something up about a second home in the mountains… Ah, the joys of fiction! But I think it’s more important to share how vital it is for me to escape in those books and pages, to allow those characters to insert themselves into my life and let me “pop out” whenever I have a few minutes to work at my desk. I’m grateful for the creative outlet that allows me to be productive with these voices in my head vs. heavily medicated and mumbling to myself in corners ;-)
Every Tuesday night, hosting “Canned Laughter and Coffee” on Reader’s Enterainment, I got to laugh and talk to other writers and I’m way past grateful for the giggles that reminded me each week that I’m: a) not alone in the craziness, b) lucky not to be powering my computer with a bicycle and c) not writing fast enough!
This was the year that my fictional world took off. My historical romances, the Jaded Gentlemen, kept me distracted, but I also managed a few other manuscripts while no one was looking (a time travel, a science-fiction/fantasy romance and even an erotic romance—keep your fingers crossed!!). Instead of being set back by events of the past year, the writing thrived and I thrived with it.
Most of all, I’m grateful to the readers that chose to escape with me. Of all the books they can read, they mystically and benevolently pick up mine, and I’m continually amazed by this miracle. I’m grateful for every email and note of encouragement and have vowed to answer every single one to make sure that those strangers realize the wonderful impact of their words.
Thank you, everyone, for a Wonderful Year!
Labels: guest blog, renee bernard, thanksgiving week