One of the things I loved about being a young couple starting out with a new family was making our own Christmas traditions, but as the years go by some of those traditions have started to grow a bit stale and I’ve decided not to feel guilty about changing them up.
Yesterday I made my annual pilgrimage to the Nanaimo ferry terminal to pick up my daughter and her friend who were arriving from Vancouver for Christmas. Unlike last year’s snowy Christmas (Have a Ferry Merry Christmas) it was a bright, crisp, sunny day. Like the scenes of people greeting loved ones at the airport at Christmas at the beginning and end of Love, Actually, the happiness of families and friends greeting each other as they roll out the terminal door is tangible in the air and never fails to bring a tear to my eye.
This year we are happy to have someone new in our midst–a friend who otherwise would be alone for the holiday this year. And tonight my Cuban American daughter-in-law, 3000 miles away across America from her family in Miami, is making a traditional Cuban Christmas Eve dinner for us all of pork (we don’t have a whole pig, but we do have the sour orange marinade flown in from Miami), rice and beans, plantain and flan. We’ll still have a turkey tomorrow, but we love this new addition to our Christmas traditions. So delicious, and change keeps the holidays fresh.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from writing the Fortune Bay books, whether it be old friends or new, husbands, lovers, children or extended family –your real family is made up of the ones you love.
I know Christmas is not all mistletoe and holly–in fact I’m making that a tag line for Louise’s Christmas book–so if you find yourself alone (or are looking for a little alone time in this busy season) feel free to join the big, messy, loving family in Fortune Bay and leave the real world behind, just for a while.
(Home for Christmas is half price until the end of the year at all the major online retailers. just click on the cover in the sidebar.)
So I encourage you to make your Christmas into the holiday you want. Whether you spend it with family, friends, or alone with a glass of eggnog and a good book, I hope your holiday season is a joyous time.
It was one of those middle-of-the-night revelations. I’d scheduled my Getting To Know You facebook party for the same date as my niece’s graduation and celebration dinner! I have to go–I want to go. And I knew you’d all understand, so
I’m changing the date to of the facebook party to Tuesday June 6th, the day before the original date.
Same times, same prizes. Just the day before. June 6.
To recap –
On Tuesday June 6th I’ll be posting and chatting with readers for an hour from 10 – 11 am PDT (1 – 2 am EDT) and again at 6 – 7 pm PDT (9 – 10 pm EDT), but you can drop in any time Tuesday June 6th and add your comments. If you comment, I’ll enter your name in the draws for:
- 1 autographed bundle of all 4 Fortune Bay paperbacks
- 5 draws for autographed single books
- and the 10 ebooks I’ll be giving away to participants.
If you haven’t already, please let me know if you think you can come by signing in here, on the event page.
Also – thank you to everyone who has filled out the 20 Questions Survey. I’m having fun reading the responses and I’ll be posting my answers to the survey – as well as the names of the prize winners – on June 8.
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Hope to see you at the party.
I wrote Lake of Dreams to give away. I imagined it as a fun little book – could see Colleen dancing on the dock in her cowboy boots – and was surprised at the personal, poignant themes that emerged as I wrote.
As a child, I went to cottages belonging to family and friends and always envied the kids whose families had cottages of their own. Eventually, I was lucky enough to marry into one of those families.
My husband’s family cottage was on a lake in Muskoka, in rugged, rocky northern Ontario. From the stories I heard, he and his four brothers and sisters ran wild there for two months every summer throughout their childhood and teens. Later, our own children got to experience the fishing and boating too for a few weeks every summer.
On the long weekend in the middle of the summer, the whole active, extended family would meet there for the annual regatta. (Watch for a regatta book to show up in the Fortune Bay series.) The cottage would groan but accepted us all in the grouping of small sleeping cabins around the central cabin. Our favourite place to congregate was on the screened-in porch, called a Muskoka room, a must at dusk to hold back the mosquitoes.
My father-in-law, the patriarch of the family, was a lawyer and eventually a judge, but up at the lake he was more like Alex’s grandfather than his father. There was a dock with a boathouse and a couple of boats, including canoes hung in slings against the far wall and a rowboat that we used daily. Early morning paddles on lake to the sound of loons were particularly magical.
The cabin on Fortune Bay is an amalgam of one of the cottages in the compound (the one with the washroom outside at the end of the porch), a cute white cottage down the lake that always seemed empty, and a cabin on the lake here on Vancouver Island. Like everything else I write, there is a touchstone of truth, although it is usually unrecognizable by the time it hits the page.
Eventually my in-laws could no longer manage the hill, and when the grandfather died, we were not as lucky as Alex and were not able to keep the cottage. A few years later I wrote Lake of Dreams, channeling fond memories of summers on that Ontario lake.
A weird thing happened after I published Lake of Dreams. I was checking the listing, I think it was iTunes, and although the cover said LOD was set in the Olympic Peninsula of Washington state, right beside the book on the online page was a listing for the Logging Chain Lodge. Looking closer, I saw that the lodge was set in the tiny village not 5 miles away from our cottage in Ontario. Coincidence? I think not.
Is there a place that is near and dear to your heart, where you can get away from your regular life and kick back? Or a place you remember where you’d love to return? I’d love to hear about it. Also any questions or comments on the book.
Although I’ve been hunkered down in my office everyday for months, only emerging for food and coffee, it’s only now that I’ve written the first chapter of the next Fortune Bay book (sorry, not even a working title yet) that I feel like I’m back to work.
I’ve been busy since publishing Home for Christmas November first. (Eek! 5 months ago!) Besides Cuba, Christmas and the dreaded annual family business year end, a final (I think) edit of my Mayan murder mystery (more about that in a later post) and endless publishing, promotion and general book-business housekeeping, I also wrote a sequel novella to the Murphy family trilogy, called Family Matters. At the moment, I am reserving this book for a group of supportive readers whom I know have finished The Good Neighbor and Home for Christmas because it really is a sequel to those books and should be read after the other two. (If you’ve read those books and reviewed them, just let me know at Judy@JudithHudsonAuthor.com and I’ll add you to the selected readers list.)
Then there was the nasty finger problem that involved 6 months with a splint on the middle finger of my right hand that made typing a challenge, and probably had something to do with the fact that I did not jump right into writing another full-length book. But, I’m pleased to say, the stitches came out today! break out the champagne! Let’s just hope the digit says healthy.
I’ve also started plotting another mystery (yes, it’s a series) and a new trilogy of books set down the shore of Majestic Lake. So far, I think of it as the three-sisters-who-have-never-met-before-inherit-a-very-funky-old-hunting-lodge-from-the-grandfather-they-never-knew trilogy. Here’s the photo that inspired that one. I don’t think it will materialize on paper though for at least a few months.
So I’ve been juggling the three books in my head for over a month, a very confusing stage to be at, and this week when I finally started typing page one, Lily’s book came out the winner.
Lily showed up in Family Matters, but you won’t have to read FM first to enjoy this book. She’s Max’s daughter who has run to Fortune Bay for reasons that are just beginning to reveal themselves. (I’m only on chapter two.) But I do know that Pierre, the new French-Canadian chef at the resort will somehow be involved in helping her working out her problems, and I’d hazard a guess that she helps him, too.
So, I’ll get to work, and keep you up to date on my progress. That’s all for now,