2013 Resolutions

Before I get to the real post, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for making me an Amazon Best Seller! A Season For Romance topped the charts as the #4 Best Selling Short Story Collection. We hit #2 in Germany!

And now, on to our regularly scheduled blog…

Hi, my name is Kim and I’m a Hallmark Channel Christmas movie addict.

It’s normal to watch the same Hallmark movies over and over, right? I mean, you’re all doing it too, right? Looking at each one and saying things like, Oh, it’s The Shop Around the Corner meets Shall We Dance? Right?!!?

I never used to do this. But this weekend I’ve read two Regency romance novels (thanks Sabrina Jeffries, for the lack of sleep) and tonight alone I’ve watched two Hallmark specials.

I’d say I need to step away from the remote, but the fact is, I’m sitting down in the morning and figuring out my next characters and plotting their story. So I’m immersing myself in romance.

I’m also plotting my own life. For the past several months I’ve been putting my life on hold while I tried to figure out where I wanted to settle down. But the thing is, that’s nine months I could have been doing things. And didn’t.

So, although my life is still up in the air, I’m not waiting any more.

Seems like the perfect time to go back and look at the 2012 resolutions and see how I did. If this were the Hallmark Channel, there would be happy music and a guy would wander into my living room, looking lovingly at me. Alas… anyway, here’s the list:

Lose 15 pounds: I gained 10. On the other hand, I’ve lost 10.5 inches overall in the past eight weeks because I finally found a workout that my back can handle. Special thanks to Regan Black for leading me to DDP Yoga. I was losing weight in December, but then went to California for Christmas, and I’m pretty sure I drank my weight in wine while I was there. So, losing weight, or at least getting into better shape remains on the list, but I feel better than I have in forever with this workout, so I’m on the road to success.

Getting more active on social media. Build a following. Adding pages to the website. Writing a book or two: I wrote a holiday novella and published a new book. I go with fits and spurts on social media. I figure if I don’t have much to say, I should keep quiet and not clutter your Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/blog feeds.

Conquer Italian: Not so much. I go back and forth with it, working at it for a few days and then getting caught up in life. Can’t decide if this one is carrying over into this year or not. I just can’t decide how important it is to me right now, which I guess says a lot.

So, for 2013:

Write books. Yes, multiple books.

Continue getting in shape and lose some of the weight. I’m not putting a number up here because the reality is if I dropped a clothing size, I’d be really happy and a healthy size. And since I’m working on building muscle (which weighs more than fat), I’m not sure what the number on the scale should be right now.

Get out more. Last year I joined a trivia team, which has been fun. I look forward to getting out of the house on Tuesday nights. But I need more going on in my world, so I’m going to try to find different groups to try activities with, one a month. We’ll see how that goes since I live in really small town America.

Either land a day job I love or become a communications strategy consultant. One way of the other, I need some steady income, because in case you hadn’t heard, the income stream of an author is not steady. It’s a check every six month sort of thing, which is hard to budget on.

So, those are my thoughts for 2013. 2012 was tough on a lot of us, but I choose to believe 2013 is my year. And yours too! So, what are you resolving to do next year?


Christmas in California

Special thanks to WordPress and their update for delaying this post.

I can’t even begin to tell you how wonderful it was to spend Christmas back home in the Bay Area with my family. Interspersed with wrapping all the presents I had shipped directly there (yes, I’m aware Amazon wraps, and had I thought about it, I would have had them do it), supervising my son baking gingerbread, and running errands with my dad, we also did tourist stuff.

We were supposed to go up to San Francisco while we were here and ride the trolleys, because although the kids have ridden the trolleys up and down the hills and smelled the wooden brakes burning, they were not old enough to have that momentary fear of what-if-this-time-the-breaks-are-too-thin-and-we-careen-to-our-deaths. Yes, I really do have those thoughts.

We made it into the city one day for a Girls Day of Culture, seeing the San Francisco Ballet’s version of The Nutcracker. If you ever get a chance to enjoy the ballet there, do it. Especially if your Not Wicked Step-Mother has taken the time and money to purchase box seats, and a bottle of champagne. The only thing missing from our Pretty Woman moment was Richard Gere. Who could have been there somewhere, but I wouldn’t have noticed because when not watching the dancing, I was checking out the French Horn section.

Photo of kids at Monterrey Bay Aquarium
Snarky Daughter and Scout Son take time to pose after checking out the wild otters.

So, anyway, we were supposed to go back up to the city with everyone, but that morning, we woke up to huge rainstorms. Which was actually fantastic because that meant we could lounge around the house and wrap 1,453,267 gifts (which are all now residing in an extra suitcase in the belly of the beast we’re waiting to board).

While we missed out on trolleys and Pier 39, and the really tacky touristy stuff of San Francisco, our first day in town was beautiful, exactly what winter in CA should look like, and we wandered around the Monterrey Bay Aquarium. This is a great aquarium. Among otters, sea turtles and a fantastic jelly fish exhibit, you’ll also find a sea horse exhibit (way cooler than you think), and penguins. Yes, penguins.

Photo of Monterrey Bay Aquarium Penguins
They’re not native to Northern California, but I love visiting them.

I don’t really know why the penguins are there since I haven’t seen the penguin feeding show in about 10 years. I just show up and watch them play. The funny thing about the penguins is, that they’re all tagged. To which you immediately think, where do they expect the birds to go? It’s not like they’re going to wander into the coral reef exhibit and not be noticed. But if you look closely at the tags, you learn they’re nametags. Of all the penguin names, the only one I can remember is Bee. Bee the penguin. She was hanging out with Penguin I Can’t Remember the Name Of, and they were having a lot of fun.

Then, there was the ultimate in touristy, walking on Carmel Beach at sunset. In addition to not remembering the trolleys, the kids also don’t remember that I dipped them in the Pacific at an early age. We ended up chasing Scout Son around the beach, trying to get him wet since he was avoiding the water’s edge.

Whatever. We had a wonderful time in CA, partying with family and playing with dogs. We can’t wait to come back, hopefully for good. In the meantime, I’ll be writing on the plane. As soon as they’re sure my laptop isn’t a threat to our ability to fly.

Really, we’re still thinking that’s a possibility during take off?


A Season for Romance Free this Weekend

A Season for Romance Book Cover
They say home is where the heart is…

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. And he’s brought you a free copy of A Season for Romance, today through Sunday! It’s currently #12 on Amazon’s Short Story Best Sellers list! Download your copy this weekend and enjoy it on Christmas after all the other presents have been unwrapped. Or if you have a little down time leading in to the big day.

This is our Christmas gift to you. Happy Holidays!


Posting at 30,000 Feet

So, we’re in flight, on our way to California. At least, we were when I wrote this. The plane has Wi-Fi. My computer is showing a happy little Wi-Fi sign. But can I post this blog when it’s written? That would be a big, fat no.

Damned if I know why. I think it’s because everyone around me is streaming movies on their various technologies. Apparently I decided to get online too late in the game. Which wouldn’t bother me if we had an in-flight movie. But no, apparently we’d rather pack a couple hundred people onto a plane for six hours and provide no entertainment.

Yeah, I know. See previous statement about all the people streaming around me. But that’s them, not me. How am I supposed to tell you about anything if I can’t get online? And yes, I am the last person on the planet to not have a tablet of some sort. Until this moment, I didn’t think I needed one. And if even one of you points out something like tablets don’t need Wi-Fi to connect, I’m going to scream. The guy two rows back is watching Animal House. The guy across from me is watching some sort of news. What’s up with that?

So I thought I’d hook myself up with a little TNT and watch last night’s Leverage. Alas, that’s not happening. Actually, now it could happen, if I’m willing to cough up $10 for an hour. The problem is if I cough up the cash, I’m going to post this blog because now I’m thinking about writing, so I won’t be able to watch the whole episode.

What I should be doing is plotting the next book. But I’m tired. Like all of you, I’ve been going all day and my brain fried itself somewhere in the security checkpoint. During which something popped up on my ankle. I’m still trying to figure out what that was all about and fear a doctor left something in my foot during surgery years ago.

The Billionaire Bachelor's Revenge Book CoverAnd in a moment of total stupidity, I agreed to guest blog today at romancebandits.com. Do not get me wrong. I’m all about an opportunity to talk to folks about Billionaire Bachelor’s Revenge. Or, in this case, what their favorite thing is about the holidays, and share holiday recipes (Butterscotch Shortbread!). But when I picked the day, it obviously didn’t click that I’d be basically incommunicado because I’d be packing 8,543 cookies in our carryon luggage, or traipsing through an airport. Oops. I’m a little ticked about that because it’s a great group over there and they’d make this trip more interesting.

Then I had Snarky Daughter flipping out because she wanted to download a book onto her Kindle. Totally shocked that she could do that without the use of my computer. Duh! I have done this in front of her. Not sure why this came as a shock. Anyway, turn the Kindle on. Immediately get a low power warning. Climb over all the bodies packed around the outlets to add one more plug, and charge said Kindle. Load the book while waiting in line to get on the plane.

Finally on plane, eating really boring airport wrap. It claimed to have chipotle in it, but I found no spices. Flight attendant asks me what I’d like to drink. I had seriously been considering this for about fifteen minutes. Brought out the In-Flight Beverage Menu and everything. One drink will cost about the same as 50 minutes of Wi-Fi. And what with the bathrooms being miles away, I’m sticking with water.

And that, my friends, is my rambling from 30,000 feet. Hope you’re having fun today. Stop by romancebandits.com and see what’s up. I really am going to shell out some cash so I can get online and chat with folks for an hour. It is, after all, a business expense. Oh, and I’m giving away one copy of Billionaire Bachelor’s Revenge to someone who comments over there — NOT here, over there — so come on over!


Reading = Housecleaning

So I was supposed to spend the weekend cleaning the house, addressing Christmas cards, knitting a Christmas gift and probably baking some more because after 15 batches of cookies (really don’t think I’m exaggerating) who doesn’t need to bake some more?

Instead, I read Faking It by Jenny Crusie for the 1,345,253 time. Maybe there won’t be a happy ending this time. OK, so yes, I need some new reading material, and no, I have no idea what author to try next. I’m open to suggestions as long as you understand that I like Light. And. Fluffy.

Last weekend, while knitting and writing and laying out the annual Christmas letter, I spent Saturday night and some of Sunday watching all those romantic Christmas specials on the Hallmark Channel. The living room was a little insipid by the end. But I balanced that out with the “oh no, I’m still without a day job and what am I going to do with my life” thoughts, so I think it was pretty much situation normal around here.

Last night, still wanting some Christmas cheer, and something funny to make me forget the horror of this week, I thought, “hey, I caught some of The Family Stone last weekend, that was pretty funny.” And it has Dermot Mulroney in it, and his photo was pinned up next to my computer while I wrote The Billionaire Bachelor’s Revenge, so yummy and funny. Sounded good.

The scene I caught was the spilling of the strata in the kitchen, which is, it turns out, pretty much the only funny scene in the movie. Oops. Spoiler alert (although why you’d need one since this movie has been out forever is beyond me): The. Mother. Dies.

Not so much on the Christmas cheer. I tried to go back to the Hallmark Channel after that in hopes I could cheer myself up, but it was no use. I watched this week’s Grey’s Anatomy instead. I was batting 0 for 3 last night.

Hence, picking up Faking It again. I’d picked it up the other night because I wanted something I wouldn’t fall into. It’s not like I can’t recite the story by heart at this point. So I figured I’d be able to put it down any time and do housework.

Yes, I totally lied to myself. I was able to put it down a lot, but I found myself taking very long meals so I could read while I ate. Or ignore my empty plate for an hour and read. It’s now 10:45, I’ve been up for three hours, and the only thing that’s been cleaned in the house is me.

But that’s OK because I have the house to myself. Just me, three cats, a dog and a fish until this evening. And during the holiday season, I think it’s important to have a little down time for ourselves. Don’t you agree? Besides, now I can put the book back on the bookshelf. That counts as housecleaning, right?


The Tree: Final Update and Miscellaneous Holiday Junk

Quite the title, I know.

photo of kitten stealing Christmas ornament
That’s Athena, stealing one of my favorite ornaments that my mom made 30 years ago.

So, you waited and wondered about the Tree vs. Kitten Saga and how the tree has fared. When last I shared, Rex was eating the ten year old plastic tree from Michael’s. I have to say, this tree still looks really good for ten years, and so far the kittens have not managed to rip off any of it. Although there was one small piece that fell off during the building process and Athena thinks that’s the Best. Toy. Ever. Since she’s keeping it under the couch, I really don’t care.

After a week, the cats have mostly given up on stealing the ornaments, because they have discovered curling ribbon. And they love them some curling ribbon. Don’t freak. They’re not eating it. Athena just pulls it off the gifts one piece at a time and lays it at my feet. Which is almost as cute (in a can I kill you now, that took hours sort of way) as when she took the bow of MY gift and brought it to the dog. Who immediately told her quite loudly where she could stick that bow. And I don’t think it was back on my present.

kitten with christmas light in his mouth
Yes, as soon as I took the photo I got the lights out of his mouth. You can’t really tell, but his mouth was glowing.

But by far, the best holiday memory so far with these two has got to be when I looked up and Rex’s mouth was glowing yellow because, yes, he was eating the Christmas tree lights. Rex, in case you’ve forgotten, only has three legs because when he was a few weeks old, be apparently decided he needed to investigate an outdoor folding chair and got caught in it. By the time someone found him (this was pre-me, so no bad pet owner letters, please), it was too late to save his leg.

You’d think that would be a learning experience and he wouldn’t continue investigating everything. But no. He’s currently plotting his escape back into the out of doors to catch a bird. Yes, I did put the cat tree right in front of the bird feeder so the cats would have entertainment. And so would I.

In other Christmas news, I am finally able to prove that the space-time continuum is messed up in Wal-Mart. When I walked in this morning to get a $5 Dirty Santa gift (seriously guys, $5?) for a Boy Scout dinner… OK, now I have to explain the Dirty Santa thing because otherwise this sounds really bad. You know the game where you can keep your gift or steal someone else’s? It has a name. Dirty Santa. I did not name it.

I digress. So, I walk in to Wal-Mart and they have some XX days til Christmas light up sign going. This must be for men because there isn’t a woman in the world who doesn’t know how many days she has left to pull the perfect holiday off again this year. SO, in I go. 16 Days til Christmas. Now that seems off to me, but it’s 8something AM, and I’m grumbling about being unemployed and still having to get up at 6:30 each day, and we’re lucky I know it’s Tuesday, let alone what the date is. I mean yesterday I posted something for the school that happens THIS Thursday and listed a date from last week.

OK, so 16. Seems off. I walk by a few minutes later, and now it’s 13 Days Til Christmas. Which also seems wrong and now I’m doing the math because I swear I’ve only been wandering around the store for ten minutes looking for a cheap gift someone would actually want. But this does prove that time has no meaning in Wal-Mart. And when I left, yes, some good soul had actually fixed the sign and we were at 14 days.

14 Days of Baking, Knitting, Christmas letter writing, baking, eating, singing carols…

Happy Holidays! Hope you’re staying sane as you face the season.


Ta-da! A Holiday Anthology and I’m Guest Blogging Today

A Season for Romance Book Cover
They say home is where the heart is…

Yes, that’s me doing the happy dance in the kitchen, while trying not to spill my morning cup of tea. No, I will not be sharing photos of me post-yoga and pre-shower. Even with the Dunkin’ Donut, it’s not a pretty picture!

So, here’s the exciting news of the day: my holiday anthology, A Season for Romance, is out!!! This is a fun collection of short stories that take place between Thankgsiving and New Year’s Eve.

If you ever wondered how Grandma Vi got her matchmaking start, you can watch as she tries her hand with Jessica’s parents, in Meddling with Mistletoe. You’ll remember Jessica from my first book, The Heiress and Her Fake Fiance. There was a throw-away line in there about how Vi locked Jessica’s parents in a wine cellar at a Christmas party. When the offer to participate in the anthology came along, I knew it was time to share their story.

Romantic Suspense author, VR Marks brings us The Sheriff’s Proposal. We meet Sheriff Cochran in her first novel, The Thief, but we don’t learn exactly how he feels about Ruth Williams, the owner of the local diner, until her annual Thanksgiving feast in The Sheriff’s Proposal.

When Ethan Myers, an award-winning photographer short on inspiration, leaves his studio for the road, he’s shocked to run into the one woman he’s never forgotten, in the contemporary sweet story, Finding the Focus, by Jay Keelan.

And finally, we have Snow-Covered Resolutions by Regan Black, a fantastic paranormal romance/fantasy/Young Adult author. It’s New Year’s Eve and all of the Pixie Chicks have someone special to kiss at midnight – except Austin. In this season of resolutions will she stick to hers, or will the snow-covered magic of Hobbitville sweep her up in a whole new adventure?

We’re guest blogging today at Romance Bandits, so stop by. I’ll be checking in throughout the day while I wrap presents and bake a ton of Christmas cookies! And did I mention there will be book giveaways?