Guest blogger: Anne Gracie
Hi all, Anne Gracie here in Melbourne, where it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. In fact I cooked my first Christmas dinner last weekend—I tend to have a few Christmas dinners in the lead-up to The Real Thing, mainly because I have a few different ‘families’ that I want to do something special with, but I don’t want to rush from place to place on the actual day.
Like most people, I have a long list of things to be done by Christmas, but in the interests of not getting stressed (stress is bad for you, I read it somewhere) I’m rewarding myself each time something major is ticked off, by reading for an hour … or two. Seriously, I’m limiting myself. Really, I am! Or I will from now on.
I lost a whole day yesterday because I started reading Juliet Marillier’s Heart’s Blood and then—with no willpower at all!—went straight onto her latest book, Shadowfell. It really wasn’t my fault. Juliet Marillier writes fantastic stories set in ancient Ireland. They’re exciting adventures with some paranormal elements and always with a great romance at the heart of the story. So she’s almost impossible to resist, and thank goodness I’ve now read everything she’s published and now can get on with the things that need doing!
One item on this morning’s list was to write in the important dates on my brand new calendar, transferring recurrent dates and adding in the new—I keep a big, old fashioned calendar in my study with all the important dates highlighted and the details written in the date square. I’ve just written in my flight details for when I fly to Brisbane for ARRC2013. And found myself grinning.
I am so looking forward to it. I attended my first AARC at Bondi and it was such fun. It’s such a treat to meet so many romance readers and to be in a huge room and find all the conversations around you are about books. Bliss! I came away having made a bunch of new friends and discovered a pile of new-to-me authors. Especially Cindy Gerard.
It’s the best present, isn’t it, finding a new author that you love—and then, finding they have a backlist! In preparation for AARC2013, I’m about to order my first Rachel Vincent book. I have a bunch of Kristan Higgins books but Rachel Vincent is new to me, and I’m hoping I get addicted. Books have always been my weakness. I don’t know how often I got into trouble when I was a kid because I was deep in a book and forgot about everything else.
So since I have no willpower, I’m not trying anyone new until after Christmas, so now, because I need to keep stress at bay (see medical justification, above) I’m re-reading a bunch of favourite Christmas stories—I love a good Christmas story—and I’ve made a little pile to keep me going.
I have Trisha Ashley’s Twelve Days of Christmas (contemporary, English, and one I’ve reread often. Not to be read if you’re trying to diet, though.) I have a pile of Mary Balogh books—Christmas Beau and Christmas Bride are out now in a reissue, though I have the original Signets. Mary Balogh does fantastic Regency-era Christmas stories—really intense and emotional—and she’s written a heap of Christmas novellas in collections with other people, also in the pile. Then there’s Lisa Kleypas’s Wallflower Christmas—I really enjoyed her Wallflower series. And I discovered a great list here, where I discovered that Nalini Singh had written two Christmas novellas, which I’ve now ordered for when the other books run out. (I know I said nothing new, but I’ve got all Nalini’s other books, so she doesn’t count as new.)
So there’s plenty to keep me going. I hope … I’m a very fast reader. Hmmm, maybe I need some recommendations…
Someone who leaves a comment will win a copy of the Christmas anthology Mischief and Mistletoe, containing stories by myself, Mary Jo Putney, Jo Beverley, Pat Rice, Joanna Bourne, Nicola Cornick, Cara Elliot and Susan King. Or if you have a copy of that book already, I’ll send you a copy of my out-of-print Christmas novella — ‘The Virtuous Widow’.