Dinner with a friend.

Last night I went to a friend’s house; we cooked dinner, played with her 21 month old daughter, planned Thanksgiving dinner, and shared favorite Christmas memories. Our hubbies were in NY for the Grand Opening of the Via Spiga Store in Soho. (If you find yourself in NY, stop in to see their incredible creation.) Our guys lead the team of talented people who created the vision and then brought it to life. All I can say is WOW!! (You can check out the website, too — www.viaspiga.com) Let us know what you think.

Christmas traditions vary from family to family, but our childhood memories were very similar … going to bed with barely anything under the tree, and waking up very early in the morning to see the mound of gifts left by Santa. I loved sitting in the dark and watching the tinsel glisten as it caught whatever light was available. My brother and I would look at all the tags and try to guess what was inside each package, then we would take our stockings into my room and play with all the goodies until Mom & Dad got up. (I have to give my parents credit – they knew just how to keep us occupied, so they could sleep in a bit.) We’d have croissants and cafe au lait before presents were handed out … and one by one, we’d take turns opening them until there was nothing left wrapped. Then it was play time … It was a huge deal for both of our families.     

We talked about how some of those traditions along with our husbands’ memories created our own family favorites. It brought to mind the “building memories” I mentioned in an earlier post. They have a little one, so they’re still building traditions … we, on the other hand, have cemented many of our special moments. Though I’m sure those will change when our son & daughter-in-law have children. One more set of family favorites will be stirred into the mix, building even more memories for the future. Ah – the Holidays, they make me feel all warm & fuzzy inside!

On the way home, I drove on empty streets listening to Bon Jovi’s Lost Highway – track three, (You want to) make a memory brought tears to my eyes. It is such a beautiful song and it tied up the end of the evening perfectly. I was thinking nothing could top this, when I pulled onto my street and looked up to see the moon – it’s huge, brilliant glow lighting my way. It looked like someone had taken a pair of sissors and cut it in half … I was so moved, I called my friend and told her to go outside to look at it. Amazing, isn’t it, how a moment in time touches you?

What are your favorite memories or traditions? Will you build new ones this Holiday Season? Who will you share them with? Happy Holidays, my friends – with love, Christine.


Moderating a PRO Bootcamp

I’ve had an awesome week – and it’s not done yet. I was asked to moderate a PRO bootcamp for RWA’s PRO-class. PRO’s in the organization are writers who have finished at least one manuscript and had the guts to send it out to agents and editors. Not yet, published, we have shown our tenacity that we mean business and plan to get published. So, what is a Bootcamp? It is a week-long lecture series conducted by a guest speaker (usually a published author) to help the PRO group learn about the publishing business. Topics vary, but they are always informative and there is an open forum for comments and questions, which the guest speaker replies to.

This week’s Bootcamp: “PREPARING FOR THE CALL: An insider’s Guide to Agents, Editors, Contracts, and the Publishing Process” with Guest Speaker: 2008 RITA Winner – Kristan Higgins. (Kristan won for Best Single Title Contemporary Romance – CATCH OF THE DAY is the book that won – congrats!)

What is a RITA, you wonder? Well, you know what an Oscar is, right? Think of that cute little gold statue in the form of a woman – in what looks like, the thinking pose. It is a prestigious award won each year by a published author in a specific category. BTW – the award ceremony is to die for!! Long gowns, lavish decorations, a spectacular show — mc’d by a famous author. (It’s a dream for many – and for some, it does come true! Kristan is proof of that.)

So – back to the Bootcamp. As Moderator, it is your responsibility to invite the guest speaker to participate. I was lucky enough to meet Kristan at the National Conference in San Francisco in July. She saved the day by agreeing to participate. (I owe her big-time!) You then post the lectures to the loop, manage the incoming questions and comments, and post the replies – oh my, what if I screwed up? I really was worried that I would somehow blow-up the cyber-world of our loop – but so far, so good! We’ve had tremendous participation with excellent questions — and much appreciation for Kristan, who took time out of her busy schedule to do this for us! I, for one, have learned quite a bit about once you get the call – what to expect from your agent and editors as your baby gets ready to hit the shelves. I will be forever grateful to know these things before actually going through the process.

I – like all the PROs who participated – hope for the day when we can put these little gems of wisdom to work. Until then, I’m off to collect more comments and questions — Kristan’s Bootcamp ends tomorrow (Friday) at 6 pm est. This has been such a thrill … Hugs, Christine.


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