Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Holiday Not On Ice by Leigh Riker



Happy New Year, everyone!

Last year was an especially busy one, professionally and personally, and by mid-December I was more than ready for a short—and rather unique—break.

My husband’s brother in southern California is a talented guitarist who had gathered a bunch of other musicians, including their third brother, a drummer, to make his new album. As a special treat we were invited to join them at the San Diego studio for their recording session, and you should have heard the amazing vocalists, too (well, you can, when the album comes out in a few months). A great time—great music—and great research for any writer!

We topped off this extended-family reunion with brunch the last day at the beautiful nearby Rancho Bernardo Inn. This is their spectacular gingerbread house (not on the menu). 



After that, my husband and I headed for Newport Beach overnight
 then on to Los Angeles. I’d never actually been in the city before, only at the airport between flights, but I quickly learned that, as a country girl these days, I’m not a fan of the famed bumper-to-bumper traffic! This—from our hotel lobby—is more my speed.    


Thank goodness, during the holidays we virtually had the city to ourselves so we could use the mostly empty side streets rather than the freeways. Our sightseeing, including Rodeo Drive (the shops were closed) and the La Brea Tar Pits, was fun, and of course, we also had to check out Malibu. 
 Wish I could afford a house on the beach!

I missed my kids and grandkids this Christmas, but that winter break certainly did recharge my batteries. I’m back home again in TN, it’s a brand new year and I’m ready to write.

After all, I have a ton of research information and some local color I can use—if not for the series I’m working on now. Just before my trip to California, I turned in the first book, Come-Again Cowboy, which takes place on a bison ranch in Kansas. It will be released next fall, and before that an unrelated story, Lost and Found Family, will be out from Heartwarming too in April. I can’t show you that cover yet, but trust me, it’s absolutely gorgeous.

In the meantime, what about the other Heartwarming books? We’re all so excited. They’re available in print starting this month at select Wal-Mart stores!

Looks like a good start to the New Year. What did you do for the holidays? What do you hope to accomplish in 2016?




            

37 comments:

  1. I enjoyed your holiday break. Went small this year but saw family and that makes it for me; don't do that often any more. Congrats on Walmart, Amazon, and B&N picking the books up in print, I am mostly and ebook reader but know many people who only read print.

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    1. Your holiday sounded lovely, Billie. I did really miss seeing my kids but couldn't pass up the opportunity to sit in on that studio session!

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  2. Thank you for sharing the highlights of your holidays with us, Leigh. Best wishes to your brother-in-law for the release of his album!

    I look forward to seeing your cover when you can show us!

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    1. You're welcome, Kate. Obviously that trip was still on my mind. 😀 Thanks for the good wishes. That album is going to be amazing. And Heartwarming does such terrific covers!

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    2. What are those question marks here? That was supposed to be a smile!

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    3. I'll interpret them to be a smile!

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  3. Great trip and well deserved! And beautiful pics :).

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  4. Looks like you had a great, and much deserved, trip. Happy New Year!

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  5. Sounds like you had a wonderful winter break. Mine was a long drive to Nevada with a friend, while we listened to one of John Sandford's mystery tapes.

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    1. Oh, Marion. That road trip to Nevada sounds divine! And with Sandford on tape? I am envious. Research, friendship, gorgeous scenery and a good book. What could be better?

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  6. Leigh, your vacation sounds lovely. It's been a while since I visited La Brea Tar Pits, but my kids loved it. And who wouldn't love a beach house on Malibu. I'm with you when it comes to L.A. traffic. I lived in Anaheim before it even got so squirrely. How great that you got to see a real recording happening. I did nothing of interest over the holidays. Nursed a rotten head cold.

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    1. Roz, I came home with that same head cold. My cough is still hanging on. Ah, the joys of travel. The Tar Pits were actually closed when we stopped there on Christmas Day but we did get a good feel for the site and were able to walk the grounds and take pictures. Would have loved to see the fossils in the museum. Another time.

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  7. What a fun way to celebrate the holidays!

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    1. It was, Mel. And the first non-family related trip in a while.

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  8. I remember seeing a few of your pictures on Facebook, Leigh. I'm happy you shared some here as well. What a wonderful way to close out the year...with family time. I look forward to reading your series.

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    1. Thank you, Jill. I had a chance on that trip to reconnect with family members I don't often get to see. And I'm excited about the coming books.

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  9. Thanks for the photos, Leigh. That's out old neck of the woods. We had a quiet holiday with most of the family out of town. Ron was deep into a book, so I glutted on Hallmark movies, knowing they'd be over soon, and we at goodies and drank champagne. It was great. That recording session must have been amazing to see. Looking forward to the book that tells us all about it. Happy New Year to you.

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    1. Never post with confidence before proof-reading. You think I'd know that after all these years. Please make that "our" neck of the woods, and we "ate" goodies. Though we've had so many, it is kind of where we're "at."

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    2. That's funny, Muriel. At least you weren't a victim of autocorrect. I didn't get to watch any of the Hallmark movies this past season, but I did see the annual White House Christmas special, which I love every year. It's amazing what they do with such attention to every detail. This time there were a lot of military-themed trees and decorations. Happy New Year!

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  10. I love the idea of traveling for the holidays. Don't think I have since I was a kid. We just had a nice, quiet day at home (streaming Netflix shows, LOL). Uneventful and peaceful. Looks like a wonderful trip! Gorgeous pics. :)

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    1. Thanks, Anna. Your quiet day at home must have been very relaxing and enjoyable. One of my favorite things normally is to watch the tree lights in the dark (and maybe with a glass of wine). The trip was great fun but somewhat tiring as we moved around here and there. I must say, though, all the trees everywhere were spectacular. I am binge-watching Longmire now!

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    2. LOVE Longmire!! Best show to bingewatch

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    3. Yes! Love it. Did you know he's Australian??

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  11. Your vacation sound wonderful except for the traffic. I don't do traffic, either. My holiday break consisted of Christmas day. But next year...

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    1. It was wonderful, Pat. We did adjust (somewhat) to the traffic there but it is intense. My little town in TN is much quieter. I can zip around almost anywhere. Here's to your next Christmas and that longer holiday break...

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  12. Sounds like a great holiday. Wish I could afford a house on the beach too.

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  13. Wow, what a great trip. Thanks for taking us with you! We were home, with kids and grands in and out.

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    1. Wish you all could have really come, Liz. Glad you were able to be with your family.

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  14. Sounds like a fabulous trip, Leigh! I can't wait to visit San Diego this summer for RWA. We spent the holidays in the chilly Midwest. I am ready for some warm sunshine :)

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    1. Me, too, Amy! It's cold here today. However. It wasn't warm in SD either. Hoping for warmer temps there in July.

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  15. Leigh, sounds and looks like a perfect Christmas break to me! Every year I dream of going away for the Holidays. No stress, no pressure, no cooking, no cold weather... One of these years I will make it happen.

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    1. Sounds like a plan, Carol! I didn't miss cooking, that's for sure.

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  16. I've never been to California, but those places are all on my bucket list, especially the La Brea Tar Pits. Lovely pictures. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. My pleasure, Beth. I actually have a tar pits pic but ran out of room.

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