It's All About Me

By Shirley Hailstock

Today is what we call Sit-Down Saturday.  It's my turn and I've noticed people talk about the inspiration for their books or some aspect of that occurred to them while writing the book.  You've heard enough about me and the inspiration for my August book, Promises to Keep for the last few months.  I won't tell you again, except to say I hope you get a copy and read it.

Since I am the subject of this blog and when I asked my readers about what they liked most about my newsletter, the answer was the personal column that gave them a little about me and what I do other than write.  Heartwarming is a new place for me to tell stories.  You, as a new audience, might not be on my newsletter list or have received the Up Close and Personal column where I tell you a little about myself, so I'll do it now.

As the dog days of summer stare us in the face, I'll tell you I'm from Buffalo, New York where we know snow.  I wasn't born there, but I grew up there and I like snow.  I like winter sports (participating, not watching) and I like to be warm.  You might not think those two things go together, but when I'm ice skating, I'm not cold.  When I get cold, I go somewhere warm.  Looking out from the warmth of a fire with something hot in my hands is a scene I've played more than a few times.

I taught Accounting as an Adjunct Professor at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey for ten years.  I loved it.  I hated exams: administering them, correcting them and going over them, but the act of teaching I loved.  Two of my students eventually got jobs at the same place where I worked full-time.  It was gratifying to know that I'd done a job well enough that they got hired without me knowing it.

Other than writing, I love to sew.  I don't do it as much as I used to.  There was a time (before writing) that I made everything I wore (outwear only).  That included coats and pants.  I have a weird body shape and jeans (the uniform du jour) did not fit me comfortably.  When fabric prices went up to the point that making it cost as much as buying it already made, I bought more than I made.  Around Halloween, I usually make the outfit.  When I went to the Romantic Times Convention in Houston, I made my costume for the ball and won an award.  I also made a historical gown (in a size 14 -- none of these size 3's) and it's been used a lot by my local romance chapter for various events.

I also love to play tennis.  We have the Tennis Channel at home and it's a go-to station for me.  My daughter is in a program for committed athletes (Arthur Ashe) and I play with the adults.  In the spring and summer we're on the courts five days a week.

This leads into other things I do -- exercise.  Don't groan.  I walk 10,000 to 20,000 steps a day, most times in conjunction with the tennis.  I do it to maintain my weight and to ward off any weight related conditions.

What and who do I read?  I read everything from cereal boxes to bestsellers.  I like suspense, romance, (mainly contemporaries, but I get an urge for a historical now and then), science fiction (as long as it has some science in it - I was a Chemistry major in college), and time-travel.  There are other books I've read, but not enough in one category to say I read it.  I read a lot of mainstream too.  As to favorite authors, there was way to many to list.

You know more about me now.  There is much more, but let's dole it out a little at a time, the same way we give you character information.  Instead of information dumps, you get it fed to you in small doses.  This is your dose for the time being.

Enjoy and keep reading.


  1. Shirley - you're quite the multi-talented woman. I worked for an accountant for seven years between careers with Harlequin, but as a receptionist, not an accountant. And all the time I kept thinking, "What am I doing here?" But the people were nice. Your costume is gorgeous, and I love that you can move fast enough to play tennis. I'd be good at snail-racing. So nice to know more about you!

  2. It's nice to learn a little more about you, Shirley. Thank you for sharing!

  3. You are so interesting! I love sewing, too, but have given up garments for quilting. (I never have to fit anything--yay!)

  4. Thank you for telling us about the things you do and enjoy. You have many talents and abilities. I'm sure I'm going to enjoy your Heartwarming book that I purchased. I really like the cover of your newest one. ( :

  5. Hi Shirley, it was really nice learning about you. The sleeves on the historical gown are amazingly detailed and beautiful, they look so professional! It is sad that fabric prices are so expensive.
    I am a somewhat new HW reader but currently making my way through the line. I look forward to reading your books. :)

  6. Hi Shirley. I used to sew, too, although I haven't done much in the last few years. When my daughter was about five, The Swan Princess was her favorite movie, so I made her a satin Swan Princess dress for Halloween. I wondered about taking so much time on a one-night costume, but she played dress-up and wore that dress practically every day for a year.

  7. So good to get to know you better! I used to sew, made all my clothes, but like you, quit when fabric got so high! It's great that you exercise...and play tennis. Looking forward to your book!

  8. It's so nice to learn more about you, Shirley. For someone who can't even sew a button, I'm in awe by your sewing ability. I can never get the thread through that tiny hole. :) As for the photo of your property...stunning! I look forward to reading your book.

  9. Shirley, as someone who also likes warmth, I've got to say I go for the fire and warm cocoa and skip the ice skating:)

  10. Wow! I want to be Shirley when I grow up!

  11. That snow picture is gorgeous.

    Here, even though it’s pretty warm, it’s still officially winter, so at the moment I’m sitting next to the fire, burning the last of the old wood we “inherited”! It sounds weird, but this decades-old firewood weighs a ton and burns for hours!

    So, those are your own pieces you created? I grew up with a mother who ran wardrobe departments for a few theatres. Right now I’m trying to get back into sewing after years and years and years. You have some real talent!

    I’m starting off with cross stitch (so, not really sewing!), because I’m Ukrainian and it’s a huge part of our culture. Blouses, skirts, aprons, table runners etc.


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