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Friday Features

Sharing Excerpts from our series

The Turning Stone Chronicles

Often we are asked what is our favorite book or author. As writers there is another favorite that we have and that is certain sections of the books we have written. These favorite sections or excerpts become the lines shared to promote interest in the book. Today we thought we’d share some of our favorite lines from our paranormal romance series, The Turning Stone Chronicles Series.

Each of these books is a standalone in that there is a HEA in each. However, you will understand the continuing characters and their relationships if you start with the first book in the series.

With that said we will start our excerpts with the first book, The Promised One.


Tucking his gift under her arm, she started to leave.

“Hey.” He pointed at the other gifts. “Aren’t you going to add yours?”

“Nope. I’ll give it to you later, when we’re alone.”

“Ooh. Something special. Mineral or animal?” His right eyebrow raised, his smile growing.

Alexi laughed. “Just embarrassing.”

“For you or for me?”

“I’m not telling.”

Sidling close to her, he backed her against the wall. “Come on. Just a hint,” he said, a purr in his tone as he placed his hand on the wall next to her shoulder and moved into her personal space with the ease of a lover. One of his famous melt-the-girl looks smoldered in his gaze. The golden flecks in his green eyes lit up like fireworks. Hot fireworks.

Enjoying his closeness and the raw sensuality emanating from him, she lingered for a minute, then slowly moved away. Standing this close she could get burned, and she wasn’t ready to play with fire . . . not yet. She shook her head. “Not a chance.”

He crossed his arms, obviously irked that she hadn’t succumbed.

“My irresistible charms work on everyone else. Why not you?”

Oh, if you only knew. She had to fight to resist him. She flashed him a smile. “Because I’m special. And I’m your partner. Keeping your back safe is more important than getting you on your back.”

He laughed, a deep, throaty, and utterly sexy sound.

She locked her knees to keep from melting into a puddle.

“I like the sound of that.”

Of course you would. She felt her face flame.

Now for the second book, Blood Brothers, excerpt.


Sylvia Jordan Riley winced as Falhman dug into her shoulder and extracted a bullet. He dropped the bullet into the trash and swabbed the wound. “You want to tell me how you got injured?” he asked as he reached for the needle to stitch the gaping hole.

“Chasing Promised Ones.” And the man who murdered my ex-husband.

“I hope it was worth this.”

“It was.” She’d torn Baron’s killer to shreds, but that wasn’t the best part of her news. “I’ve found someone who shifted with me by using the power from my ring.”

Falhman stopped stitching and stared intently at Sylvia, his eyes glittering with undisguised interest. “Is he a rogue shifter?”

“I don’t think he’s any kind of shifter. He seemed startled when the shift occurred.”

“A non-shifter who can use the ring without the incantation? What’s his name?”

“Temple. Rhys Temple. There’s only one problem.” Sylvia paused then continued, “He’s in love with Baron Jordan’s niece, Alexi.”

“I thought that whole family was dead.”

“She’s the last one left, and I think she’s on track as a Promised One.”

Falhman went back to stitching Sylvia’s skin with practiced ease. “Get rid of her and get him. If we can control someone with that kind of power, we can control the world.”

Sylvia looked at her superior. He made it sound simple. Kill Alexi Jordan and lure Rhys to the dark side. Piece of cake? Not if a Jordan was involved. From her recent dealings with Alexi, she knew there would be one heck of a fight if she tried to take her man.

The third book in the series, Son of the Moonless Night, has some new characters but continues the underlying story. Here’s the excerpt:


A head of lettuce and a grapefruit escaped from the paper grocery sack as Katrina leaned sideways on tippy toes to get the topmost lock. The vegetables rolled across the small concrete patio at the bottom of the stairway well and stopped against a leg of the wrought iron café table. Whispering an expletive, she pushed the door open and placed her purse and grocery sack on the entryway table just inside the door. Then she swiveled to get the runaway vegetables.

A very pleasant and interesting sight greeted her. A pair of dark trousers caressed a toned posterior of the man bending over to retrieve her vegetables. She fought to rein in the path her mind started down. Been too long, Katrina, she said to herself as the vision straightened and turned around.

“Oh!” he exclaimed. “I thought you had gone inside.”

The way he held the vegetables out in front of him made her wonder what his hands would feel like if he held her breasts in that manner.

“Hello? Are you awake?”

“Ah, ah,” Katrina sputtered as she focused on his face to get her mind out of the gutter.

“Okay. Awake, but not here yet.” The corner of his lips started to rise.

“You,” she breathed when she recognized him. “Where’s my grandmother’s afghan and my Cleveland Brown’s hoodie?”

“Nice to see you, too, and thank you, I’m feeling fine.”

She crossed her arms tightly over her chest. “If you hadn’t run off I’d have known you were okay.”

The smile inched up the side of his cheek, lighting his electric blue eyes. “You worried about me. How sweet.”

“Sweet, my patootie. I just . . . You could have bled . . . Oh, crap. Where’s my stuff?”

He took another step closer to her. The deep blue ring around his amazing eyes seemed to darken.

She leaned back from him.

Without taking his eyes off her, he nodded to a brightly colored gift bag on the ground beside the door. “I got blood on the afghan so I had it cleaned. It wasn’t badly stained. The blood came out. The hoodie’s a different story. I couldn’t salvage it, so I bought a replacement.” Balancing the vegetables in one hand he lifted the gift bag to her. “Forgiven? Please?”

Book four, The Mercenary and the Shifters, gets more characters involved in the struggle. Here’s the excerpt:


Mike Corritore wheeled up the circular drive of the impressive house on Lakeshore Road and cut the engine on his motorcycle. After a quick glance around, he shouldered the bags containing his clothes, ammo, pump shotgun, and talwar sword. Then he headed for the carved front door. The doorbell echoed inside indicating the mansion had a cavernous entry hall. He searched the entrance stoop for security cameras and found none.

What the heck had he gotten himself into? A rich bitch, with no security on her home, mixed up with a bad syndicate spelled major trouble. With this chintzy level of security, it would take more time than he originally anticipated to make her house and business secure.

After a couple of minutes the door opened.

“Can I help you?” asked an attractive redhead.

“I’m Mike Corritore. Here to see Fiona Kayler. Will you tell her I’ve arrived?”

The redhead looked him over, then braced her legs shoulder width apart and crossed her arms over her curvy bust. “Do you have identification, Mr. Corritore?”

Mike returned her once-over. Her porcelain complexion blushed pink at his bold examination, and she tossed her mane of wavy, mahogany hair defiantly.
Damn, she was gorgeous.

If she thought her insolent pose enough to keep him, or intruders out, she’d better reconsider.

“Hugh sent me.” He stepped forward but she blocked him.

“A driver’s license for your very expensive motorcycle will suffice,” she said, wiggling her fingers at him. When he didn’t comply, she stepped back and reached to the side of the door.

The distinct cachung of a gun cocking sent him flying to the right of the doorway.

“Identification, Mr. Corritore. Please,” she said as she leveled a pistol at him.

Mike dug in his rear pants’ pocket. “Hugh lied,” he said as he held out his driver’s license. “You don’t need protection.”

After inspecting his identification, she lowered her weapon and waved him inside. “For my business, Mr. Corritore. I’m capable of protecting my home, but I can’t draw my gun just anywhere.”

“You should get a conceal and carry license,” Mike said as he entered.

She put the safety on the gun and stashed the weapon in the table beside the front door.

“I take it you’re not the help,” he said, glancing around the entry hall.

She held out her hand. “Fiona Kayler. Nice to meet you, Mr. Corritore.”

“Mike,” he said, taking her hand. Her palm, warm and soft, told him she lived a life of leisure. But her strong grip screamed, No patsy. He held her hand a bit longer than he should have. She wriggled free and waved him to the left.

“Ladies first.”

With a nod, she led him toward a sumptuously decorated room. He followed, his eyes taking in the soft curves of her rear as she sashayed across the marble-tiled floor. Mike’s body reacted to the seductive wiggle of her bottom. She walked as sexy as she looked.

Keep your mind on the job, Corritore. He shifted his gaze away from temptation, searching the ceiling and corners of the entry for security cameras. If she had them, they were well hidden.

The measured click of her high heels on the hard marble tile floor disappeared as they stepped on the thick, white carpet of the living room. This room appeared cozier than the entry. A huge gold, gilt-edged mirror hung over the fireplace reflecting the scene outside the oversized plate-glass window.

She motioned to a seat beside the fireplace. Mike chose a location less exposed to the exterior, where he could watch the entrance to the room. Fiona dragged a side chair across the room to where he sat, positioning it at a right angle to his seat. Two vertical furrows appeared in the carpeting, bisecting their shoe impressions and the vacuumed paths in the thick fibers. Apparently, she didn’t use this room much.

“So, Ms. Kayler—”

“Fiona,” she corrected.

“Fiona, exactly what do you need me to do?” As he said the words, he had a lurid vision of what he’d like to do to this lovely woman. He shook it off. She was Hugh’s friend and in trouble. He had no business screwing around with damsels in distress. They were needy. The last thing he wanted.

“A couple of years ago I had a problem with smugglers. They brought in some hazardous materials which got me in trouble with Homeland Security and the FBI. They cleared me, but my business took a pretty big hit. To keep things afloat, I’ve had to get in bed with some rough characters recently.”

At the phrase get in bed with Mike cocked his eyebrow at her.

“Not literally,” she amended quickly, as a dusky pink blush crept over her pale complexion. “I need my security beefed up so I don’t have a replay of two years ago.”

“Any good security company could upgrade you.”

“I also need someone I can trust implicitly. Hugh vouched for you, and I trust Hugh.”

“We should start with your home security. I didn’t see surveillance cameras at the door.”

“My home is perfectly safe. It’s my business I’m concerned about.”

Fiona crossed her arms over her chest, her body language closing off to further suggestions. Mike followed her motions. As he did, he spotted a red dot on her chest. The dot wiggled.

“Get down!” Mike shouted as he dove for Fiona.

They hit the floor as the pottery on the raised fireplace hearth exploded, sending shards across the room. Mike shoved Fiona behind the nearest chair then scrambled across the rug to the blown-out window. Removing his gun from his back-of-the-waist holster, he peered over the windowsill. Seeing no one in the driveway, he swiveled around to check on Fiona. The red laser point danced around the room, searching for a target.

We hope you enjoyed this look into some of our favorite lines from our books and maybe got a little interested to follow along with the story. Links for the books are on our book page under the menu or any of the links in the post.

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Friday Features

We think writing and Christmas have a lot in common.

Preparing for Christmas is like writing a book—not that anyone gets much writing done in the weeks before the holiday. The concept, however, is the same; start early and stay on target.

For an easy Christmas holiday:

  • Shop all year long, especially on vacation where you can get one-of-a-kind items, and avoid the mall rush.
  • Plan in advance. Knowing your menu weeks in advance and looking for recipes you can prepare ahead, freeze, or have on hand reduces stress in the kitchen and lets you enjoy the holiday too. Don’t want to cook ahead? Then remodel the kitchen (not before the holidays, of course) and get that second oven you’ve been wanting so all those green bean casseroles will fit in. Better yet, let someone else host.
  • Get familiar with your Christmas dishes. Start using your Christmas dishes at the beginning of December so you don’t have to get them out of storage at the last minute. That 24 piece place setting of hollies and Christmas trees needs to be used more than once at Christmas dinner!
  • Get next year’s Christmas cards as soon as they go on sale.  After all, you have a pretty good idea how many you will need for next year, and they never go out of style.
  • Begin next year’s Christmas letter now. Start in January and keep a running tally of the important things you want to include. If you bind the letters in a notebook you have a ready-made life journal. One stone, two birds.
  • Make a goal list. Shopping done before Christmas, house cleaned thoroughly by the first weekend in December, trim the tree the day after Thanksgiving (since you don’t have to shop on Black Friday), Christmas cookies baked by the second weekend (or cheat and just buy them), the guest room readied right before your guests arrive, and so on. Tweak the list to fit your needs.

For easy book writing:

  • Write all year long, every day. Then when you take all that time off in December to get ready for the holidays, you won’t feel so guilty.
  • Plan your book in advance. Some seat-of-the-pants writers claim too much planning takes the fun out of writing. We’ve done it both ways, and have found thorough planning and plotting keeps us out of those pesky writer’s blocks. You just have to be willing to let your characters speak to you even if they don’t want to go where you’ve planned.
  • Get familiar with your book and characters. Let the novel and your characters live with you daily. When you are thinking about the book all the time, the words come easily to the page and your characters’ voices sound more real.
  • Get your ideas as soon as they come to you. Carry a notebook, or use your phone, to jot down everything that comes to mind about your current WIP or ideas for new books. Even if you don’t use the ideas now, they may work, with some tweaking, for something in the future. Writers are always writing and we need to capture those ideas when they come.
  • Begin your next book now. Writers who don’t think about future projects while they are still working on the current one run the risk of writer’s block for their next book. A running log of ideas, thoughts, characters, or anything related to the next books will make coming up with the stories easier. We brainstorm when we drive places, capturing all our ideas, good or bad, in a composition notebook. In a single composition book we have at least 10 new ideas waiting to be developed. Will we write them all? Maybe not, but we have ready-made journal filled with possibilities.
  • Make a goal list. Set writing goals for yourself. Whether it’s 100 words a day, or 20 pages a day doesn’t matter. It’s the goal that counts. Tweak your goal list to fit your needs and you’ll be surprised how quickly those 100 words will turn into pages, and pages into chapters, and chapters into a book.

So this holiday season, when you are laying your gifts beside the nativity, under your Christmas tree, give a gift to yourself. Promise to start writing early in the New Year and stay on target. Who knows, with perseverance and a little luck, you could be tucking your brand new book under next year’s tree as a gift to someone else.

Happy Writing and Merry Christmas!
C.D. Hersh

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Tell Again Tuesday

A blog series where we shamelessly share posts from others that we have enjoyed.

 


 

Why Writer Friends Are Like Lighthouses The Closer You Get To Publication

By Lucy Mitchell


I am likening the process of getting closer to publishing my book to sailing a small boat across a violent sea at night.

It doesn’t matter which route you take to get to publication. From the tweets and blog posts I read from other writers and authors, we all end up in the same little publication boat; in total darkness, weary and desperately clinging onto something, a life dream of being an author perhaps, with no idea where we are going to end up and cursing ourselves for even thinking about setting off on a journey like this.

So, here we all are, alone in our boat, being tossed about by . . .

For the rest of the blog go to:

Blonde Write More’s blog

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My apologies to any of my followers who happened to follow this blog, which I share with my co-author husband, and my other blog I have as a solo author. Normally I don’t duplicate the material on my blogs but  this is  just too cool (in my opinion) not to share on both sites.

It started like this

and ended …

like this.

Are you wondering what you’re looking at?

It’s paperback stud cubby bookshelves, made by Donald, the carpenter-handy half of C.D. Hersh, to store Catherine’s romance novels and other paperback book collections, which were layered two deep in her office shelves. They now adorn the ‘library’ section of our basement family room.

Wall studs are the perfect depth for holding 4-inch wide mass market paperbacks. Donald installed an adjustable shelving system on the sides of the studs by dadoing a recess so the metal shelving system was flush with the wooden studs. Then he cut the shelves to fit, nailed trim around the openings, stained the surrounding wood and … instant bookshelves! Well, maybe not instant, but certainly a clever storage method.

If you don’t have any bare studs in your house you can still create these fantastic book cubbies by removing a section of drywall and installing the shelving systems between the studs. The shelving system can also be attached to the stud without recessing it. You’ll lose a couple of inches in storage, but won’t have to mess with power tools. Find your studs with a studfinder tool, make sure the space you’ve chosen is hollow, and be careful when you cut the drywall to insure you don’t hit any hidden wiring or pipes. Adding trim around the opening makes for a neater looking opening.

We’ve had these clever bookshelves in several of the homes we’ve lived in. They’re handy for books and other small items you want to display. Put a door on the surface and you’ve got some covered storage. We happen to like our book cubbies open; it’s easier to read the titles and adds color to the wall. Not only are they handy, but they make a great conversation piece when your guests visit. But watch out … with all your books visible you may become their favorite lending library!

There are quite a few empty stud cubby shelves downstairs since Donald created two whole walls using this creative storage idea. I guess that means a few more trips to the bookstore! Yeah!

Want to see more clever bookshelves? Go to http://bookshelfporn.com

What clever ideas do you have to create bookshelves in your home or office?

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photo from Microsoft Clip Art

An ordinary man can…surround himself with two thousand books… and thenceforward have at least one place in the world in which it is possible to be happy. Augustine Birrell

 

I don’t know about you, but the thought of surrounding myself with two thousand books makes me very happy. I love to read, I love books, and I love to surround myself with books of all kinds. Even if I haven’t read a book, I can rarely bear to part with it.

What about you? Does your passion for books border on the obsessive?

You might be addicted to books if…

  • You never leave a bookstore without buying a book.
  • You read multiple books at any given time.
  • There’s a book—or more—in every bathroom, by every easy chair, and on your nightstand.
  • There’s no such thing as taking out only ONE book at a time from the library.
  • The librarian knows you by name.
  • Your paperbacks are stacked two deep on your shelves.
  • You had to buy a Kindle AND a Nook because you’ve run out of shelf and floor space in your office.
  • Your friends think you are their personal lending library.
  • You get so lost in a book that you don’t hear your name being called.
  • You read while walking down the street.
  • You’ve actually created furniture using your books.
  • You have every book your favorite authors have ever written and eagerly await their next releases.

I have done all these things at one time or another, and I must admit …. I’m addicted to books. How about you?

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Time's Fugitive Author Jennette Marie Powell’s newest time travel Time’s Fugitive is now available. I read the first book of her Saturn Society series, Time’s Enemy, and highly recommend it. As soon as she published book 2, I downloaded it on my Kindle.

Jennette’s Beta Readers call Time’s Fugitive a  fast paced, rollercoaster ride that reads like a thriller. I opened the first pages on my Kindle and, boy, do they have that down right. I can’t wait to get back to the book.  If you love time travel you’ll love this series!

 Time’s Fugitive

Time-travel Romance – contemporary, prehistoric and early 20th century America

A past shrouded in mystery

Violet Sinclair remembers nothing of her life before the day she awoke several years earlier, drenched in blood that wasn’t hers. But since she met Tony Solomon, she’s been certain of one thing – sometime in her hidden past, she knew him… loved him… and did something terrible to him.

A present fraught with danger

Time-traveler Tony Solomon is sure he never met Violet before they were coworkers, yet she bears an uncanny resemblance to the woman he loved and lost decades before he was born. After an impulse encounter leaves Violet pregnant with his child, she becomes the target of killers from the future.

A future feared in jeopardy

Framed for murder, Tony will do anything to protect Violet and their child, even if their only escape is to jump into the past, something he swore he’d never do again. But when they jump back much further than planned, they find their troubles are only beginning—and secrets can get them killed.

Time’s Fugitive is available at Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Smashwords  Other retailers and print edition coming soon!

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Last week we blogged about our earliest writings. This week we’ll take a look at things that have led us into the paranormal genre.

Catherine’s mother loved good old-fashioned monster and horror movies. In fact, she got so scared watching a monster movie when she was pregnant with Catherine that she got goose bumps. Later, when Catherine developed what appeared to be permanent goose bumps on her arms, her mother said she had “marked” her by watching such a scary story during pregnancy. One could say, based on this story and the old wives’ tale her mother’s explanation came from, Catherine’s destiny to write about the paranormal developed in the womb. In reality, the steady diet of supernatural themed movies and television shows she viewed as a youngster had the biggest influence. Vampires, werewolves, things from outer space, Frankenstein, zombies and ghosts whetted her appetite for the paranormal and made her run like mad past the graveyard when she had to walk home in the dark, wear a cross at all times, and avoid going out alone on a full moon. Thanks Mom.

Her grandmother also contributed to Catherine’s taste for fantasy. Grandma’s favorite scary story, which she told to her grandchildren at nearly every visit, was about an old woman who accidentally dug up a monster’s big toe, while hoeing her potatoes, and ate it for dinner. (Why the toe was not attached to the monster is lost somewhere in Catherine’s memory, but the gist of the story remains.) The monster, naturally, was upset and haunted the woman every night, moaning, “I want my big toe.” The haunting drove the old lady crazy and the monster gobbled her up in revenge. Catherine also reread Mary Poppins and Grimms Fairytales, two of the books on Grandma’s shelves, every time she visited.

And of course, we can’t forget Walt Disney. His romanticized tales of fairy godmothers, men under curses who could only be released by true love’s kiss, and evil witches have primed children everywhere to love the paranormal. Catherine was no exception.

Aside from his science-fiction fantasy Tom Swift books, Donald’s other genre influences have been television shows like The Twilight Zone and comic books—a reading choice of many boys. His favorites included supernatural heroes like Superman, Flash Gordon, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Aqua Man, and the Justice League of America.  Lois Lane, with her unrequited love for Superman and inability to see the value of Clark Kent’s love, influenced his taste for romance. Donald also attributes his foray into the paranormal to Catherine. Having spent two-thirds of his life with her makes it hard to ignore what she’s interested in … and makes him a smart man for paying attention.

Can you attribute your love of the genre you write in or read to a childhood influence? If not, is there another instance you can point to that started you down a particular genre path?

Photo by Evgeni Dinev from freedigitalphotos.net   http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=1256

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First Books … First Loves

While rummaging through some file cabinets the other day I came across a worn notebook containing my first novel, written when I was in high school. As one might suspect, it is a romance—an angst-ridden story about a young girl who falls in love, marries, and lives happily ever after with the movie star teen idol she adores. Compared to my books today this is a poorly written book, but, hey, I was a teenager. It’s so bad, in fact, I won’t let anyone read it.

As I looked through that book I began thinking about the other stories I had written in my youth and the subjects I had chosen for school papers. The ones that stood out in my memory were the romance novel, which I kept; a short story called Bloody Buttons, about a witch; an outer space story featuring aliens; and a school paper on an Aztec myth about a magical feather.

Notice a theme here? Romance, supernatural elements, magic, and fantasy—the backbone of paranormal romances which my husband and I write. Wondering if my discovery about my basic writing affinities held true for my husband, too, I questioned him about his teenage manuscripts. His reply was as a teen he was too busy with sports to write, but he did have some old school papers, mostly about running and sports.

Since he hadn’t written much as a teen I asked, “So what did you read when you were younger?”

He pointed at the bookshelves on his wall displaying his childhood reading collections of Tom Swift (science fiction/fantasy), The Hardy Boy mystery series and Sherlock Holmes. Not exactly in the paranormal realm but science fiction could be considered in the ball park, and there’s usually a mystery of some sort to be unraveled in our books. A quick scan of his bookshelves revealed another set of fantasy/alternate-world series, written more for men, but definitely in the paranormal genre. If I could see his current e-library I know it would show scads of romance and paranormal romance. The books he has penned as an adult include a Sherlock Holmes story and a time travel adventure—both still within the realm of his early reading interests.

I found it remarkable that over the years our taste in home furnishings has changed. We started out Colonial and Country and ended up Southwest. My taste in jewelry went from gold to silver and turquoise. We used to window shop in the malls, and buy at Goodwill. Now we go antiquing. Rock and Roll gave way to Country music. Jeeps and sports cars moved over for more luxurious vehicles, although Donald is still longing for a Camaro. Apartments gave way to houses, and patios lined with flowerpots grew into a huge garden.

We have continually evolved in almost every aspect of our lives, sometimes even making 180 degree turns. But one thing hasn’t changed. We still love books, and we still love the genres we cut our reading and writing teeth on. Romance, fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction claim a big part of the bookshelves in our home, both paper and ebooks.

I guess what they say is true—write what you know … and write what you love.

What’s the earliest book you remember writing and reading? Are you still writing and reading in that genre?

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Christmas blog post

Preparing for Christmas is like writing a book—not that anyone gets much writing done in the weeks before the holiday. The concept, however, is the same; start early and stay on target.

For an easy Christmas holiday:

  • Shop all year long, especially on vacation where you can get one-of-a-kind items, and avoid the mall rush.
  • Plan in advance. Knowing your menu weeks in advance and looking for recipes you can prepare ahead, freeze, or have on hand reduces stress in the kitchen and lets you enjoy the holiday too. Don’t want to cook ahead? Then remodel the kitchen (not before the holidays, of course) and get that second oven you’ve been wanting so all those green bean casseroles will fit in. Better yet, let someone else host.
  • Get familiar with your Christmas dishes. Start using your Christmas dishes at the beginning of December so you don’t have to get them out of storage at the last minute. That 24 piece place setting of hollies and Christmas trees needs to be used more than once at Christmas dinner!
  • Get next year’s Christmas cards as soon as they go on sale.  After all, you have a pretty good idea how many you will need for next year, and they never go out of style.
  • Begin next year’s Christmas letter now. Start in January and keep a running tally of the important things you want to include. If you bind the letters in a notebook you have a ready-made life journal. One stone, two birds.
  • Make a goal list.  Shopping done before Christmas, house cleaned thoroughly by the first weekend in December, trim the tree the day after Thanksgiving (since you don’t have to shop on Black Friday), Christmas cookies baked by the second weekend (or cheat and just buy them), the guest room readied right before your guests arrive, and so on. Tweak the list to fit your needs.

For easy book writing:

  • Write all year long, every day. Then when you take all that time off in December to get ready for the holidays, you won’t feel so guilty.
  • Plan your book in advance. Some seat-of-the-pants writers claim too much planning takes the fun out of writing. We’ve done it both ways, and have found thorough planning and plotting keeps us out of those pesky writer’s blocks. You just have to be willing to let your characters speak to you even if they don’t want to go where you’ve planned.
  • Get familiar with your book and characters. Let the novel and your characters live with you daily. When you are thinking about the book all the time, the words come easily to the page and your characters’ voices sound more real.
  • Get your ideas as soon as they come to you. Carry a notebook, or use your phone, to jot down everything that comes to mind about your current WIP or ideas for new books. Even if you don’t use the ideas now, they may work, with some tweaking, for something in the future. Writers are always writing and we need to capture those ideas when they come.
  • Begin your next book now. Writers who don’t think about future projects while they are still working on the current one run the risk of writer’s block for their next book. A running log of ideas, thoughts, characters, or anything related to the next books will make coming up with the stories easier. We brainstorm when we drive places, capturing all our ideas, good or bad, in a composition notebook. In a single composition book we have at least 10 new ideas waiting to be developed. Will we write them all? Maybe not, but we have ready-made journal filled with possibilities.
  • Make a goal list. Set writing goals for yourself. Whether it’s 100 words a day, or 20 pages a day doesn’t matter. It’s the goal that counts. Tweak your goal list to fit your needs and you’ll be surprised how quickly those 100 words will turn into pages, and pages into chapters, and chapters into a book.

So this holiday season, when you are laying your gifts beside the nativity, under your Christmas tree, give a gift to yourself.  Promise to start writing early in the New Year and stay on target. Who knows, with perseverance and a little luck, you could be tucking your brand new book under next year’s tree as a gift to someone else.

Happy Writing and Merry Christmas!

C.D. Hersh

Khron Conservatory Crib. Cincinnati Ohio

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