Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Keeping Old Traditions and Creating New Ones

with Lee McKenzie and Janice Carter

Lee:
Merry Christmas, everyone! We had a different kind of Christmas at my house this year, but I’m happy to say it’s been a truly lovely holiday. So, what’s changed this year? I became a grandma! In the past, my son and his wife would divide their time between his family and hers, but babies do change things up! I didn’t want them to stress about having to do two family Christmases in two days, so this year we have postponed our big family celebration until New Years.

That said, I still prepared a Christmas Eve supper (Mexican-themed this year!), a Christmas Day brunch of BLATs (bacon/lettuce/avocado/tomato sandwiches), and a Christmas dinner of roast chicken with stuffing and all the trimmings.

How was your holiday, Janice? Did you focus on family traditions, or has there been something new thrown into the mix?

Janice:
Merry Christmas to all! I had a great holiday too, Lee, in spite of having to juggle preparations and revisions for my Heartwarming novel out in 2017. Somehow I managed, though at a cost of a few restless nights! Our Christmas traditions changed slightly this year too, though not—and I say this, green with envy—due to the arrival of grandchildren.

We have two adult daughters, one of whom has a ‘significant other’ (can someone please come up with a better euphemism!) and this year they spent Christmas morning with his family, but came to us for dinner. Although I missed having her around—she’s a huge help in the kitchen!—and pretended to cry when I handed over her childhood Christmas stockings, I thought it very mature and considerate of the pair to ‘share’ Christmas festivities.

Christmas at Janice's house, before and after
We had 12 for dinner, including some of my husband’s siblings and their offspring. After New Year’s, like you, I will host another dinner for my side, which thankfully is much smaller. In spite of disliking changes, I know next year will bring other, different ones and I’m ready for that. Now that the rush is past, more or less, we can take a breather. How do you usually spend this lull before New Year’s, Lee? And do you have any New Year’s traditions?

Lee:
Congratulations on your 2017 Heartwarming release, Janice! My next Heartwarming—His Best Friend’s Wife—will be available on January 3. Next week! More about that later.

I love your table setting! With Christmas behind us, I'm now planning a big New Year's Day dinner, which is something I've never done before. Will it become a new family tradition? Time will tell!

I’m not big on resolutions but I do have a few personal New Year’s traditions. The first is to transition from my current calendar/planner to a new one. I am still one of those people (some might say dinosaur!) who loves a paper calendar. I transfer my address book into the back of my new calendar. I page through the whole year, marking special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries. And then I page through my old calendar—my own personal year in review.

Out with the old and in with the new.

Next, I do some goal setting by jotting down the major things I hope to accomplish in the new year and then mapping out a quarterly plan. Another personal tradition is to organize and declutter my home office, which actually started yesterday. What can I say? It’s a big job!

I’m excited that we’ll both have a book out in 2017. Do you have a title yet, Janice? And can you share a little teaser about this story?

Janice:
Lee, as someone who likes to organize, I’m definitely a novice next to you! But I did get a start on putting away Christmas gifts on Boxing Day. My husband and I are not fans of New Year’s Eve and will likely get some good take-out, enjoy some Champagne and get caught up on our latest Netflix obsession. The entertaining will be on-going after New Year’s, but only with family and close friends. Besides, I cleaned our house really well before Christmas so….

I’m excited about my first Heartwarming (and my 12th Harlequin romance) but the release date is September, which seems almost out of sight at the moment. The working title is A Man, a Boy and a Dog which came to me in an act of desperate non-creativity. The man, an army captain seriously injured in an explosion in Afghanistan but inadvertently saved by a stray dog he had befriended. The dog is transported to the States thanks to the efforts of the captain’s squad and with the help of the heroine, a photo-journalist on assignment. Circumstances interrupt the handover of dog to captain and the heroine must return to her family’s farm with the dog. The boy is the heroine’s young nephew, who has refused to speak to any adult since the sudden deaths of his parents. The hero arrives to claim his dog and the rest is….well…romance plus the healing powers of love.

Speaking of romance…I’m looking forward to reading your January release Lee and am also wondering if you have other writing projects in mind for 2017.

Lee:
Janice, I can’t wait to read this book! I'm currently working on the third book in this series, as well as a proposal for a new series. Your comment about your title made me laugh out loud. I’m the worst at coming up with titles. That said, my next book is being released with my original working title. His Best Friend's Wife is the second book in The Finnegan Sisters trilogy.

A second chance for his first love
Paul Woodward has always known Annie Finnegan was the one. But when she married his best friend, he moved away from their tiny hometown to try to forget the woman he could never have. When her husband passes away, Paul is heartbroken and wants to be there for the love of his life—but how can he, given the way he feels? As he returns to take over his ill father's medical practice, though, it's clear that Annie and her son are the family Paul longs for. As Annie heals and their connection grows, Paul will wait to find out if love really gives second chances…
Happy New Year, everyone, and happy reading!

Lee McKenzie
His Best Friend's Wife (January 3, 2017)
www.LeeMcKenzie.com

Janice Carter
A Man, a Boy and a Dog (working title) (September 2017)
@JaniceGCarter

22 comments:

  1. Let me join the "paper calendar" club! I use them because I tend to lose things I record electronically, whereas when it comes to pen and paper, I only write it on the wrong date. :-)

    Loved the post. Happy New Year to you both.

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    1. Happy New Year, Liz! I love my paper calendar because I can tuck receipts and business cards into it, attach sticky notes to pages. Every week, though, I do have to sync it with my work calendar because everything at the office revolves around Outlook.

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  2. Thank you for sharing your Christmases with us, Lee and Janice. Lee, how wonderful for you to have a new grandchild to share it with, and best wishes for the release of HIS BEST FRIEND'S WIFE.

    Janice, I look forward to your first Heartwarming release in September.

    I hope 2017 is a happy and healthy one for you both!

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    1. Thanks Kate! My granddaughter is nearly six months old and getting to be so much fun! Wishing you all the best in 2017!

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  3. Ditto on the paper calendar. I use my phone a lot and keep losing my dates! I missed my doctor appointment and the time of a party. Very embarrassing. Congratulations on the release of HIS BEST FRIEND'S WIFE. That title is so intriguing! I can't wait to read. And though September seems a long way to wait, I look forward to reading your first Heartwarming. Happy New Year to you both!

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    1. Happy New Year to you, Catherine! I confess I still use a flip phone. I did mention being a dinosaur, did I not? :)

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  4. Congratulations on becoming a grandma, Lee! It's the best. For the first time in years, we stayed home for Christmas 🎄 and I missed the kids but thank goodness for FaceTime. I too use a paper calendar. And plan to organize my house in 2017. Already took a huge load to Goodwill. Best to you both on your new books.

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    1. Leigh, we used FaceTime on Christmas Day as well! My daughter was with us, and luckily she and my DIL both have iPhones. My father is in his late eighties and he was sooooo impressed!

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    2. That is sweet. I bet he thought it was magic.

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  5. LOL, I chuckled at the plea for a new term rather than significant other. I agree!
    I too use a paper calendar. It's too easy to ignore what's on the phone. I missed an important baby shower. ARg. On the other hand, I love the phone alert, so am now starting to use both.
    Like Leigh, I want to visit the goodwill to drop off half the stuff in my house. Wonder if they'll take the kid.

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  6. Pamela, I tried to declutter the entire house in 2016 but ran out of steam. I did a thorough kitchen clear-out. Almost a year later, that space is still neat and organized. Ditto for the linen and master bedroom closets. This year's project is to tackle the basement. Ugh!

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  7. Lee and Janice, I have too many paper calendars, one in office, one in kitchen, one in my purse. Trying to keep them all the same is mind-boggling. Lee, so wonderful that you have a baby to spoil like grandmother's should. I'm reading your book right now and enjoying it very much. Janice--you didn't say if your daughter and significant other were living together. A friend of mind called her daughter's significant other a: POSL'Q. She said, person of opposite sex living in same quarters. As you can see I never could figure out how to spell it. Happy New Year all.

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    1. Thank you, Roz! And Happy New Year to you. LOL at the acronym POSL'Q! As for multiple calendars, I'm afraid that would be my undoing. It's enough of a challenge to keep my personal paper calendar synced with my electronic calendar at work.

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  8. Congratulations, Ladies! Sounds like 2017 is going to be a great year for you both. Lee, I love that cover. I have a soft spot for border collies (I've had two and still miss them both.) I'm in organizing mode, too! Setting big "house" goals for the coming year.

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    1. I've never had a border collie, Carol, but I love the breed. The family in this book also has a geriatric golden retriever and coop full of chickens :)

      Have you checked out this year-long decluttering program?
      http://www.home-storage-solutions-101.com/declutter.html
      Good luck with your house goals in 2017!

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  9. Another member of the paper calendar club, though mine is on the wall in the kitchen. I do that transfer of old year to new year, too - usually while Ron's watching football on New Year's Day. Congratulations to both of you on your book releases - love both covers, but a dog always gets me. (Not that a gorgeous guy doesn't!) I'm trying not to think about clutter until Christmas decorations come down, and I don't do that until Epiphany. Mellow thoughts until then. Love and Happy New Year wishes to everybody!

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  10. Yay for dog stories. Looking forward to both of them. I'm vaguely making decluttering plans for my house. It's going to be a huge job. Much of my office is organized in what my dad called the compost method - layer it onto the pile. If it's important, you'll pull it out and put it on top when you need it. Otherwise, it sinks to the bottom and decomposes.

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    1. Yay for dog stories is right! And I especially like the composting method for paper. Prior to our renovation 3 yrs, ago, we really de-cluttered and I haven't regretted giving away (or tossing) anything except one bowl and my younger daughter's macaroni Christmas garland.

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  11. Here's another one for paper calendars, but like Muriel, mine is on the wall where I can see everything at a glance! I'll definitely declutter if I get my bathrooms and bedroom closet renovated...but until then, I'll just ignore all the clutter. lol Happy New Year to all!

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    1. I decluttered prior to renovating and was very glad I did but I still like to use a paper calendar. But now it's in a desk drawer (new, built-in oak) instead of hanging on the wall by my wall phone (which is also gone!).

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  12. I like paper calendars also. And this post reminds me I need to start thinking about New Year resolutions. sigh

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  13. Congrats on your upcoming books, Janice and Lee! I love the border collie on the cover and (having a chicken coop and flock) am considering one as our next dog in the far future :). I also love Mexican food, the table setting, and paper calendars. Call me a dino but I HAVE to have a paper calendar lol. I'm lost without them. The only thing I use my phone for is to send me reminders for appts, things to do etc...but those items are all on my regular calendar too. Happy New Year to all!

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