December 16, 2017 @ 9:25 AM

Happy Holidays!
We actually had some snow after several days of above-average temps in the late 60s. What a  pleasant surprise!Just a dusting. But hey, it was snow! And it looked pretty for a short time before melting because the ground was still too warm.
This season also makes me think of an unfamiliar word I noticed was a trending hashtag on social media. 
What the heck is hygge?
I searched for the answer, and I found plenty of articles and even books on the topic. Talking about late to the party. I can't believe I just took note of it. Hygge, a Danish word, seems to mean enjoying life's simple pleasures at home or out-- with friends, family or alone. Some describe it as a "conscious appreciation" or in other words enjoying the moment or simple rituals.
This is my "hygge" to-do list for the holiday season:
Get comfy on the sofa after the day's work is done
Grab a squishy knit or crocheted blanket
Don the thickest, softest socks (Check out my Santa style)
Wear fun p.j's
Read holiday romances
Savor the scent of a fresh, twinkling Christmas tree
Sip the most delicious hot chocolate with loads of whipped cream
Switch it up with peppermint tea and honey from a cute mug
Enjoy holiday movies.
How's that for a start?
I try to watch a mix of classics, more recent theatrical releases and made-for-TV films.
The Shop Around the Corner, A Christmas Carol, Meet Me in St. Louis, Christmas in Connecticut, Miracle on 31st Street, It's a Wonderful Life... the usual. I'm all about keeping track of what's airing on the Turner Classic Movies channel. 
And of course I've never missed A Charlie Brown Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and Frosty the Snowman. They always make me feel like a kid again.
 
The modern-day films that have made my must-watch-each-year list include The Best Man Holiday, The Perfect Holiday, The Holiday... Notice a pattern here? LOL. I also enjoy Deck the Halls, The Family Stone, Elf, Home Alone, Love Actually, This Christmas, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, and Die Hard. (Yes, I consider it a Christmas movie, an action Christmas movie.)
I watch some made-for-TV Christmas movies on  the Hallmark Channel, but I wish they'd feature more diverse leads occasionally. Shoot, can we get just a couple of movies in  the rotation? Must the minority always be the sassy best friend or some secondary character doling out sage advice? (Sigh)
 
Speaking of getting into hygge or the warm and cozy stuff for Christmas, lately, I've also been indulging my love of yarn crafting. I've been crocheting --on and off--since grade school. My best friend would make the cutest single-stitched clutch purses. I fell in love! During our sleepovers, she taught me to make them. I continued adding to my skills over the years.
Later, as a single career gal with a spoiled cat, I got a hankering to learn knitting. I indulged my love for both yarn crafts, but when I was bitten by the novel-writing bug, yarn crafting took a backseat, especially when I was under contract with  publishers and had hard deadlines.
 
Yarn crafting also took a backseat when I got married and had a kid. (There are only so many hours in day.) But I always told myself I would get back to it.  Well, that day arrived this year after following so many yarn crafting accounts on social media.
One in particular, NeedlesNStash, (waving at you, girl), inspired me to pick up my hooks and knitting needles again. I'd almost forgotten how fun and relaxing it is. Now, I'm finding ways to squeeze more yarn work in my life because it's therapeutic. And it is actually helpful for  my writing. When I hit blocks, the meditative quality of yarn crafting clears my mind.  When I go back to my novel, I'm less frustrated and in the right headspace to find solutions. (It works much like running does for me. I had to sideline the running for a while due to a hamstring injury. That's another long story for another day. After about a six-month break, back to running again.)
 
Reon + yarn crafting. Reunited and it feels so gooooood (to the Peaches and Herb tune). I love it so much, I can't believe I gave it up for such long periods of time! 
 
Okay, enough with the randomness and on to business.
 
Update on my WIP, Book 3 of the Mistywood Lane series, One of a Kind Love Affair. I aimed to get Blaire and Julian's story out before the end of this year (2017). But alas, because of earlier bouts of writer's block (monster blocks) I had to change my original release date. No matter how hard I try, I simply cannot write more than one (85,000-100,000 word) full-length novel per year. Just not wired that way. And I'm not about to hop on the hamster wheel. I went through a ten-year bout of romance-writing burnout. Didn't think I had another one in me. Swore I'd never write another one. I was done. Too through, though I occasionally read and enjoyed some of my favorite romance authors. As a writer I chafed at many of the genre's constraints. Began writing chick lit/women's fiction  for fun. Self-published one of those efforts, The Mommy Group, which is still a top favorite of mine. All this backstory is to explain why I'm not pushing myself to be more prolific.  Also, I want to avoid another looooong bout of romance-writing burnout.
 
Anyhoo, I am rolling on revisions for One of a Kind Love Affair.  I'm shooting for an early next year (2018) release date. With each draft, these characters revealed more of themselves and the story changed quite a bit. I'd like to think it changed for the better. These two kicked my butt and forced me to take my time and dig a little deeper. And as Orson Welles used to promise in those old Paul Masson wine commercials, "We will sell no wine before its time."
 
Wishing you and yours the best...;)