Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Happy Endings, New Beginnings by Leigh Riker



Wow, it’s January already! Where does the time go? The holidays are behind us now, and 2017 is here.

Show of hands: How many of you have put your wreaths, Christmas trees, and garlands away until next December? Not me. Here’s the little tree in my bedroom, still glowing every night. 

And the mantel, ditto, complete with flameless candles.

And on Christmas Eve, since I would be home to celebrate the holidays for the first time in roughly ten years rather than traveling, I finally decided to put up the big tree in the family room after all. But I don’t look forward now to “un-decorating” that tree or anything else. Maybe I'm feeling a bit nostalgic.

One year I put a string of lights on a tall century plant I had at the time, which resembled a cactus, and I liked the effect so much I kept it lit all year. Every night, even in summer, it looked so pretty I couldn’t bear to “undress” it.

I didn’t hang a wreath this season, though. Why? Because last year a pair of Carolina Wrens made a nest in it. In fact (notice a theme here?), I left that wreath up until spring not to disturb the birds that had decided to winter there. Who cared what the neighbors might think? The wrens were snug and cozy. Still. There might have been mites or other critters in that nest too so I finally threw it away. I just ordered a new wreath, pre-lit and cordless, for next season. Love those after-holiday sales!

While Christmas was happening, and New Year’s, I was also on deadline with my next book, which has a new title and pub date. Last Chance Cowboy, the second in my Kansas Cowboys series, will come out in May, and the book is now “in the can,” as they say in the movie business. Cover reveal soon. My heroine, Shadow Moran, gets her happy ending with Grey Wilson (Think Scott Eastwood).

And I’m working on the third book. Writing first draft is my favorite part of writing so I’m having fun! My working title is Cowboy on Call. I do love January when the sky is pearl gray here, the fog sometimes creeps up to the window and encloses me in a creative cocoon, and I can stay home to work in my own private world instead of racing out to buy last-minute gifts.

The first in this series, The Reluctant Rancher (October, 2016), is still available.

Love all these endings and beginnings. Which is your favorite part of a book or of the year? Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of my first Harlequin Heartwarming, If I Loved You, print or digital. Your choice. And, if print, some swag.

The happiest New Year to everyone!




37 comments:

  1. Happy New Year, Leigh! I finally took my trees down yesterday, and even though I'm relieved to have it done, I miss them. Congratulations on "in the can" and have fun on that first draft!

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    1. Thanks, Liz! Happy New Year to you too. You're way ahead of me in the undecorating department.

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  2. Best wishes for 2017 from me, too, Leigh! We still have our wreaths up outside and a few decorations still up inside. They will all come down some time between now and the end of the weekend.

    I love spring...because by then I have had more than enough of the snow and cold. (It would probably be fall, if not for the fact that winter is just around the corner!)

    Congratulations on finishing book two in your series and best wishes with book three!

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  3. I don't envy you the snow, Kate, although it's beautiful. Thanks for the congrats. Here's wishing you a happy, healthy New Year!

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  4. Happy New Year, Leigh! I think it's a great idea to keep your decorations up as long as you want. After all, it's your house and they probably foster creativity. I have a friend who left her Christmas lights up year round because her little daughter loved them so much. Her boyfriend complained about the Christmas lights staying up, although it wasn't his house. My friend finally dumped the boyfriend.

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    1. Love your story, Patricia. Good riddance to that boyfriend. Happy New Year to you! I'm all about the sparkle. Love the lights at holiday time--or any time, really.

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  5. Happy New Year, Leigh! I took our decorations down the day after Christmas, only because I'd put them up the first weekend in November. I love when the house is decorated and it's so much work, I like to enjoy it for as long as possible. Congratulations on finishing your second book!

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    1. Oh, well, no wonder yours are gone. You have a big head start on me. I was late getting everything up--and you know what? When that new wreath arrives--it just shipped--I just may hang it on the door for a few weeks. I won't tell the Wrens.

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  6. Leigh, I love having lights up! Ours are still up, along with a lighted glass brick kind of thing my daughter gave me several years ago that's wrapped in a bow. Our lights may stay up until the husband gets so tired of them he takes them down while my back is turned! :-) Congrats on finishing book two and being in the first draft part of book three!

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    1. Thanks, Anna. Love your plan to let hubby take down the lights. He doesn't have the emotional connection you do. 😌

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  7. Leigh, I agree that you have to do what makes you happy. As you may have seen from my truly "twig" tree, I didn't have much to take down. Decorations on kitchen and dining table and some outside. They're put away for another year. Hooray. I'm so looking forward to your book. And I love, love, Shadow as a character name.

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    1. Oh, thank you, Roz. Shadow came to me, insisting on her name. I still love your twig tree. It is now a holiday tradition, I hope. It needs to be loved. So cute.

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  8. I finally took my Christmas decorations down a couple of days ago... I desperately needed to vacuum under the tree. LOL! But the mistletoe is still hanging. I might leave it up all year. I have a little boy who just loves it!

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    1. You can never have too much mistletoe. Reminds me of Christmas Town's gazebo. I just vacuumed and will have to do so again. Do you also find needles, real or fake, everywhere for the whole year?

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  9. I just took my tree down this morning. Still have my outside wreath up--it's too cold to get outside today. lol. Fall has always been my favorite season, but Spring is a close 2nd. Wish you the best year ever!

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    1. And a great year to you too! Spring and fall are gorgeous here in TN. Congrats on getting your tree down. Until I do, I'll probably be stuck between last year and this new one. 😉

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  10. I'm not big on Christmas decorations and the few I had are already put away. It is unusually cold here in the PacNW, with periodic skiffs of snow. Just enough to make driving dicey and walking a bit hazardous. I"m ready for Spring. Congratulations on your series!

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    1. Thank you, Linda. The series has been fun to do. I heard about your unusual weather there. We had ice on the road to and from my little mountain in the Southeast and snow is predicted for tomorrow night. Guess who just went to the store to stock up? I am not a snow person.

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    2. The tree is down, but needs to be hauled to the recycling pile at the grocery store. I'll leave the nativity scene up through tomorrow, the 12th day of Christmas. Happy New Year. I'm looking forward to reading about those cowboys.

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    3. Hope you like them, Beth! I envy you your nativity scene. I gave one away and have yet to replace it.

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  11. Happy new year! My daughter was visiting her dad in OH unti 1/2 - so the tree had to stay up - but I am ready to declutter my house :)

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    1. Decluttering. That is music to my ears! I've made that resolution for several years now and have only scratched the surface. Maybe this time I'll actually do it!

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  12. I leave everything up until Epiphany, then I take down everything but the lighted garland and the wreath - all all, that's just wintery, right? For Valentine's Day, I have red paper hearts in the garland. I'm SO Happy that Ron and I are still here, that I love every season. I love planning a book - sitting in a corner somewhere with a yellow pad and staring into space as it takes shape in my mind. Making it all work is another matter. Happy Day, Everybody!

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  13. Muriel, I love your idea about the garland. Now I have an excuse to keep mine up and decorate for Valentine's Day. I too love brainstorming a new book. Discovered a good surprise for the reader in mine just last night. But you're so right! Now to make it work. 😍

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  14. Happy New year, Leigh! I spent most of yesterday taking down the Christmas stuff and putting up my "winter" decorations. So down go the Santas and up go the snowmen. They can stay out until February with no questions asked!

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    1. Ooh, the snowmen sound great! Happy New Year, Amy.

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  15. Happy New Year, Leigh! Love your decorations :). I usually take mine down after New Year's. This year I got those Stargazer lights (or star something) that make the house look all sparkly. I made sure to get them inside so that I wouldn't have the projector and extension cords buried in snow if we get any (we might get a bit tomorrow night)!

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    1. I've seen that star thing on TV. Now that's sparkle! Great idea to put it indoors. Hope you don't get that snow. We're supposed to have some tomorrow night. Have a wonderful 2017, Rula!

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  16. We got our tree down before the new year.

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    1. I wish I were that organized, Nicole! Good for you.

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    2. Nicole, you're the winner of my gift pack!! Leave your contact info here and I'll get that to you. Congratulations.

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  17. Happy new year, Leigh! I so enjoyed the glimpses of your lovely decorations. I finished taking mine down this past weekend. I'm always a bit sorry to see it all go!

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    1. I'm glad my decorations allowed you to feel that same nostalgia for the season, Britney. Happy New Year!

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  18. Hi, Leigh! Chiming in late. Your decorations are just lovely. Please don't spread it around, but I didn't have a tree this year. We are in the midst of a major "re-orgranization" and downsizing. It felt like too much. I had a gorgeous poinsettia and a few other holiday reminders out. My favorite parts of book writing are definitely the first three chapters and then I love revisions. Happy New Year.

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  19. Carol, I'm answering you even later! I won't tell about your no-tree holiday. My big one hadn't been out of its storage bag in at least three years. Good luck with your downsizing. We really need to do that too. In fact, I may start sorting stuff today. May, I said. 😉 Happy 2017.

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  20. Heart throbbing decoration party ideas!! I am glad that you shared all little details too. I have never hosted any house party. I always host parties at venues in San Francisco but your post is inspiring me to host a house party!

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