Archive for December, 2011

30
Dec

Old and New

Posted under Bits & Pieces Fridays 6 Comments

Well, this is it. My last blog of 2011.

It’s been an interesting year, that’s for sure. One filled with memorable moments I wouldn’t trade for anything, and a handful of trials I wish I could delete. But, all in all, everything was/is good.

2012 and what, exactly, it will bring, is still a mystery–a mystery we all try to put a handle on via resolutions or promises for change or growth.

Me? I prefer to set goals.–things I hope to accomplish before the last blog of 2012 appears on this very page.

I did pretty good with my goals last year. I took each of my daughters on a Mom-and-Me weekend. I signed three new contracts (one for a romance, one for a 3-book extension for the sewing series, and one for a brand new Amish series). And I kept up on this blog. The only goal I didn’t do so well on was one regarding fitness (why is that always the one that’s hardest to stick to?).

For 2012, I have an all new batch of goals…plus a return of the fitness one I failed to achieve in 2011.

So how about you? Did you set goals/make resolutions for 2011? If so, how did you do? Any for 2012 you care to share?

~Elizabeth  

P.S. Be sure to stop by on Monday as I’ll be unveiling the cover of HEARSE AND BUGGY–the first book in my new Amish cozy mystery series which will debut on June 5th!!!!  It’s beautiful!

28
Dec

When Creative Meets Gift Giving

Posted under That's Life Wednesdays 5 Comments

There are some folks who are good at crafting–sewing, crocheting, stamping, you name it. There are some who are good with their hands–fixing things, building things, etc. And then there are those who are the master of the clever idea–visualizing something and seeing it through to the end.

As a writer, I guess I fall most closely into the third group. Painters probably do, too. And, year by year, I’m starting to see my Dear Daughter #1 does, as well.

For Christmas 2010, DD #1 made our blended brood a homemade game. She crafted a board, came up with the game pieces and rules, and packaged the whole thing in a decorated game box. We’ve played it several times over the past year and had a blast each and every time. The care and thought and time she put into making that game jettisoned it to one of my favorite gifts that year.  

 

As a wedding gift for my husband and I, she put together a “date jar” filled with slips of paper containing simple and clever date ideas. And, honestly, I couldn’t think of a better gift.

 

This year, she did it again, making a “Go Fish” style game for our blended brood once again–creating cards reflecting the various interests and talents of each member of the family (including, Angus the cat). The pictures make me smile…a lot. The game itself, brings family time. And as far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t get much better than that.

This picture was snapped during a round on Christmas Day night. I think I was winning at the time (see all the matches in the foreground where I’d been sitting?)!  🙂   🙂  

(Psst…Miss Clever, herself–a.k.a. DD #1–is sitting in the back right.)

I see these things she does and I can’t help but wonder whether this ability of hers will be one she’ll continue to use throughout her life (I hope).  

Do you know any clever/creative people? Anything they’ve done that really stands out?

~Elizabeth

P.S. Today is Dear Daughter #1’s birthday!

26
Dec

A Glimpse Back

Posted under Dreamer Mondays 2 Comments

Once again, another Christmas has come and gone, leaving in its wake a trail of special memories (a few of which I’ll share–via pictures–here).

 If you’ve been following my blog since I first started a year or so ago, you know that each Christmas Eve morning I present the members of my family with a new ornament that highlights something about each person’s year.

 This year’s presentation included (from the top, then left to right all the way down): a wedding cake for my husband (since we got married in April), a Mickey Christmas to represent the special weekend Dear Daughter #2 and I had to Disney a few weeks ago for the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, a driver’s license ornament for Dear Daughter #1’s accomplishment this year, a little girl with a violin for my step daughter, graduation cap and diploma for Step Son #1, a driver’s license and driver for Step Son #2, and a Minnie Christmas match of the first ornament for me! 😉 

Cute, huh?

 

 This next picture I took a few hours later while making cookies. Since Dear Daughter #1 and #2 had flour on their noses, we decided Angus should have some, too!

 In addition to the many other cookies we made (in all sorts of shapes),  here is the extra special cookies that were made for Santa.

 The green one was a reindeer with eyes and a nose but the facial features didn’t quite make the picture…

And finally, the moment Dear Daughter #1 and 2 came down the hall and saw the tree (and gifts) the next morning. Always love this shot each year…the smiles are always priceless!

 

So what was your favorite part of your holiday this year?

~Elizabeth

23
Dec

Pit Stop

Posted under odds and ends 1 Comment

Today I’m blogging at http://thestilettogang.blogspot.com/ about a simple gift we can all give to the people we love–one that will last far longer than any sweater or toy we could ever buy.

So come on over and check it out.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

~Elizabeth

22
Dec

A Catch-Up

Posted under Writing Thursdays 3 Comments

Today’s blog is all about the update on what’s been going on around my writing world lately…

*I just heard back from my editor (this morning, actually) that she thoroughly enjoyed the Sweet Briar Christmas book I turned in six weeks ago. Which, of course, makes my shoulders feel a bit lighter in response. This book–which will be #7 in the line up–will be out in time for the 2012 holiday season!! 

*A box arrived in the mail last week from Harlequin. Inside the box was the spanish translation of my first romance, KAYLA’S DADDY. So now that book is available in Germany and Spain. Very cool!

*The cover for my first book in my upcoming Amish Mysteries–HEARSE AND BUGGY, is final and I love it! As soon as I get the go ahead, I’ll post its first public sighting right here. 🙂  The book will release on June 5th and is written under my regular name, Laura Bradford.

*Now that I just completed first pass edits on book #6–REAP WHAT YOU SEW (release date April 3rd)–and copy edits on HEARSE AND BUGGY, my foreground attention turns to a romance due in January. It’s a special story to me as the heroine suffers from MS, too. It’s also a milestone book for me as it is my 2oth contracted book. Yay!

*Once the romance is written, book #2 of the Amish Mysteries will move from the background to the foreground. And with it, will come an overnight in Lancaster County, PA. Because the Amish world is so different than Sweet Briar, it helps to get in touch with it before my fingers hit the keyboard.

So that’s where I’m at (writing wise) these days. Any questions?

~Elizabeth

21
Dec

Ho-Ho-Ho

Posted under That's Life Wednesdays 2 Comments

As Santa goes through his list one final time in preparation for his travels on Saturday night, I’ve been making my own list and checking it twice, too. Only my list is more of a to-do list than a naughty/nice list. So far, despite vast craziness, things are getting done. Unfortunately, because of said craziness, the things are getting done but not in their usual fun, Christmasy way.

Which prompted me to slow things down just a wee-bit last night. I grabbed my newly purchased copy of Miracle on 34th Street (with both the colorized and black and white versions) and popped it into the DVD player. Sure enough, the movie that’s worked it’s magic on me every year for as long as I can remember, did it’s thing.

And now, today, despite the lengthy list of to-do’s still in front of me, I’m determined to infuse that Christmasy feel every chance I can. I will play my Haygood’s Christmas CD while I bake a caramel/chocolate topped shortbread this afternoon, I’ll tackle the cards I didn’t think I’d be able to do but am determined to send while it’s baking, and I’ll (hopefully) finish up the last of my shopping so the wrapping-while-I-watch-Lifetime-Christmas-movies can begin.

So how’s your pre-holiday lists coming along?

~Elizabeth

20
Dec

The Go-To Story

Posted under Reading Tuesdays 2 Comments

Today’s Reading Tuesday is an easy one. Maybe.

What is your favorite Christmas story (this can be as told in a book or via a movie)? You know, the one that gets you choked up every time or simply helps get you in the spirit?

~Elizabeth

16
Dec

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Posted under Bits & Pieces Fridays 2 Comments

 Today’s Bits & Pieces is all about gift-giving and gift-receiving…

1) What was the most creative present you’ve ever gotten?

2) Have you ever re-gifted?

3) What’s the strangest present you’ve ever gotten?

~Elizabeth

15
Dec

Did You Know?

Posted under odds and ends 5 Comments

Since I’ve yet to capture any pictures as of late (I hope to remedy that soon), I thought I’d do a “Did you Know?” about a potpourri of subjects.

Okay, ready? Here we go…

Behind the Scenes–Past and Present:

*Did you know that when I was just five years old, I got hit in the head with a door knob? That little incident earned me five stitches and a scar that you can still see today.

*Did you know that my first job was for the now defunct Northeast department store–Caldor? I worked in Domestics cutting fabric, placing curtains back in bags after customers ripped them open to “take a look,” stocking shelves, and generally having a great time.

*Did you know my second job had me ringing groceries at a Stop and Shop for a few months? A lobster stuck his rubber-banded claw through his bag and cut me not long after I took that job. I went back to Caldor pretty quickly. 🙂

*Did you know I’m a bit of a binge reader? I can go weeks without reading anything (usually because I’m too busy to think, let alone read) and then…WHAM! I’m putting away book after book.  Now, if I just had one of those ereaders, I could read even more and save my rapidly decreasing eyesight (The Fire looks SO SO cool).

*Did you know that I could look at photographs all day long if given the opportunity? They make me happy.

*Did you know I love smacking a candy cane into veritable dust and then sprinkling it over my hot chocolate at this time of year? Yum!

Writing Stuff:

*Did you know that HEARSE AND BUGGY–the first in my  new Amish Mystery Series written as Laura Bradford–will be out June 5th and is now available for pre-order?

*Did you know that if I couldn’t be a writer, I’d be a writing teacher? Which is why I’m excited to be doing my first classroom SKYPE this afternoon with a sixth grade class in Missouri!

*Did you know that my first-ever romance, KAYLA’S DADDY, has now been translated into German and Spanish?

Food:

*Did you know that I adore pizza? And that I detest vegetables (all except corn and spinach, anyway)?

*Did you know that my very favorite donut from Dunkin Donuts is a Bavarian Creme Donut? A gift of one of those guarantees a smile a mile long…

So there you have it. A few interesting facts. And who knows, maybe we’ll have a pop quiz in a few weeks to see who remembers a few of these facts (with prizes, of course).  🙂

Any comments?

~Elizabeth

 

13
Dec

My Latest Read

Posted under Reading Tuesdays 1 Comment

I love discovering new-to-me authors who so thoroughly enthrall me with their story, that I make a special trip to the bookstore to buy another one of their titles.

Barbara O’Neal is the latest new-to-me author to fit that bill. A few weeks ago, I told you about her book, HOW TO BAKE A PERFECT  LIFE. I liked it so much, I got in the car, drove to Barnes & Noble, and bought her first, THE LOST RECIPE FOR HAPPINESS. And, once again, Barbara didn’t disappoint. In fact, I think I liked this book even more.

Here’s a blurb on the book from Barbara’s website:

It’s the opportunity Elena Alvarez has been waiting for–the challenge of running her own kitchen in a world-class restaurant. Haunted by an accident of which she was the lone survivor, Elena knows better than anyone how to defy the odds. With her faithful dog Alvin and her grandmother’s recipes, Elena arrives in Colorado to find a restaurant in as desperate need of a fresh start as she is..

What captured me about this book was the opportunity for Elena to have a fresh start (as she’d had many times) if she finally got out of her own way and let it happen.

To get out of her own way, she had to make peace with the accident that claimed the lives of her sister, cousins, and boyfriend. But to do that, she had to a) acknowledge it and b) accept it and let go. Not easy things if you’ve ever been through something traumatic.

Accepting and letting go doesn’t mean you forget. Some things you can never forget. But learning to put it where it belongs–in something that’s now out of your hands–allows you to forgive yourself and heal.

So tell me…what are you reading now? What’s captivating you about the story that’s unfolding in  your hands?

~Elizabeth