Happy Halloween! As far as I'm concerned, this holiday is all about costumes, candy and pumpkins. We live at the end of a long driveway that's gated, so we don't get trick-or-treaters -- well, other than family. From sheer force of habit I continue to set out a bowl of candy, although it disappears much faster than it should.
My personal favorite costume happened when I was big and pregnant with one of our kids. We attended our church Halloween party and because I was pregnant, I had limited options. So I wore my bridal veil and Wayne came dressed in overalls carting a toy shotgun. Shotgun wedding!
I'm a pumpkin sort of girl. Pumpkins symbolize autumn to me: the turning leaves, bundling up in a warm sweater, knitting and football.
I wait all year for Starbucks to bring back their pumpkin spice lattes and for pumpkin pie to be in vogue again. Truth is I'm a sucker for all squash (Okay it might have something to do with the melting butter and an unhealthy dose of salt and pepper). I enjoy sharing my passion for pumpkin with my grandkids too. We plant pumpkin seeds every year which net enough pumpkins for each grandchild. So bring on the pumpkins!
Recently I shared this delicious recipe for a pumpkin pie latte on Facebook. If you missed it, here it is again: http://www.atthepicketfence.com/2012/10/thanksgiving-pumpkin-pie-latte.html
My granddaughter Maddy and I share a birthday. Maddy is by far the best birthday gift of my life. The day she was born I was so excited I actually missed her birth! My daughter phoned to tell me she was in labor and I needed to get to the hospital if I wanted to be there when the baby was born. Overjoyed, I rushed out but remembered I had a nail appointment. So I stopped to cancel and let everyone in the shop--okay the entire complex--know I was having a grandchild on my birthday. Back in my car, I passed the bank where one of my best friends worked and I couldn't possibly not tell her, so again I stopped. Who wouldn't be thrilled? In retrospect, perhaps I should have redirected my excitement to getting to the hospital instead of stopping to tell everyone I knew!
I consider my readers my friends. Most every reader comments that they feel like they know me. The astonishing part is that you do know me. If you read my books, you know my heart, you know what's most important to me. I know that if I cry when writing a scene, you'll weep too. If I laugh, you'll laugh, and if I put my heart out on the page, it connects with yours. There's an invisible connection between us that links your heart with mine and to me that's a gift God has given me through you.
For those of you who have heard me tell the story of my first book sale, you'll immediately recognize that selling Heartsong had God's fingerprints all over it. Just a month earlier I'd received a devastating rejection from an editor I'd met at a writer's conference. She'd reviewed my proposal and had nothing good to say about it. I asked if she would read it again if I rewrote the story. She looked me directly in the eye and told me that no amount of rewriting would ever make this book worthy of print and that the best thing I could do was toss it in the garbage.
I loved this story. Without question there was room for me to grow as a writer (there still is!) but the gift God gave me is that of a storyteller. I refused to believe her and so I sent off a query letter to a different publisher. Then every day I waited for a response. One day, I could not stand to wait any longer. I didn't care if New York wanted to read that manuscript or not, I was mailing it off! I loaded the kids in the car and headed to the post office.
When we returned, I found the answer to my query letter in the mail. The editor had taken a Sharpie pen and written across the top in big black letters: DO NOT MAIL US YOUR MANUSCRIPT, WE ARE NOT BUYING AT THIS TIME. Three weeks later she called and purchased the book. If I had waited a half hour I would never have mailed off that manuscript.
I’ll always remember that day and am grateful every time I see God’s fingerprints on my life and the lives of others.
I think Alaska is one of the most romantic settings for a novel, which explains why I've used that locale a number of times through the years. Wayne and I have had the opportunity to travel to the Arctic Circle and to several of the major cities in Alaska, and we've enjoyed every minute and every adventure. And yes there have been adventures... some quite hilarious and others less so. I< >have incorporated a good many into my stories. Of all the books I've written using Alaska as a back drop, I believe Starry Night is probably one of the most romantic. For those familiar with my Midnight Sons series, you might even recognize a character or two in Starry Night. Starry Night was released for the first time in hardcover last October and was released this week for the first time in paperback.
From the time I can remember I've been fascinated with musicals. One of my favorites is The Flower Drum Song which takes place in San Francisco's China Town. It's about clashing of cultures, an arranged marriage and marrying for love. Romance is written all over it, which immediately endeared it to me. One of the songs that stuck with me is titled: A Hundred Million Miracles. Even now I can sing it.
What I enjoy most about that song, is the message: there are miracles all around us, all we need do is open our eyes and look. I want to keep my eyes wide open and I hope you will too.
It was just about this time last year when I started writing Mr. Miracle. Because the previous Hallmark Channel holiday movies adapted from my books were so well received, Hallmark wanted to bring Mr. Miracle to life on the screen for 2014. I know you're going to enjoy reading about an angel named Harry on his first visit to earth. Sent to watch over and help college-age students, Harry’s first assignment on earth finds him teaching literature at a junior college in the Pacific Northwest. There he meets the ready-for-romance French teacher down the hall who thinks Harry is hot stuff… ooh la la! Mr. Miracle will be on store shelves today and the movie starring Rob Morrow (from Northern Exposure and Numbers) will debut on the Hallmark Channel soon after Thanksgiving. Stay tuned and I hope you’ll love Harry's first mission to earth!
The air was crisp and cold when I let Bogie out this morning. He must have felt the chill of autumn because he didn't linger in the yard the way he often does. He went about his business and rushed back inside. I was the one who stood on the porch and took in the beauty of this fall morning, thanking God for this beautiful day. I've started a new book--the next in the Rose Harbor Inn series--and Jo Marie's story whirled around in my mind. I'm always happiest when I'm writing and am so very grateful I get to do what I love best.
I had the best time with my cousins and my aunt Betty this past weekend. Aunt Betty will be 104 years old this December, but she still managed to run circles around us all. We met in Omaha, Nebraska and boy, did we party!
One of the highlights of the weekend was all of us gathered together, munching on popcorn, watching my cameo on the Cedar Cove series. It was quite an experience being on the set and being part of a scene. What most people don't understand is what hard work that little bit of acting was. After about the fifth or sixth take (for different camera angles), I was ready for a nap! Frankly I'm much happier in front of a computer.
Here's one of many party photos from the trip: my daughter Jody, Aunt Betty, and me.