Smart Girls Read Romance

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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Homemade Christmas by Kimmie Easley

Well, the holiday dust is finally starting to settle, and like most mothers/wives out there, this is the time when I finally get to sit back and reflect on the good old family Christmas. Yes, a wee bit backwards, but it doesn't change the outcome.

It was a special year for our family. Not because of any major feat, but because of a simple heart change. And not the kind of change that comes when the parents come up with something and drag the kids along kicking and screaming. No, this was an across the board heart change.

My children are older now, so naturally, the weight of Santa Claus has faltered. However, over the last few years, I've felt the need to "keep up with the Claus's" so to speak. It was costly, commercial, and lasted as long as a roll of wrapping paper would allow. Don't get me wrong. My children are kind, loving, and grateful - and I'm not just saying that. I am truly blessed where my children are concerned, but the as the holidays began to draw near, I found that I began to talk to my girls about the blessing of homemade gifts.

As mothers, we've all said it - "Oh, just make me something homemade" or "I'd rather having something you made yourself".

So imagine how my chin hit the floor when my daughter asked, why stop there?



As a family, we all agreed it was better to make our gifts this year with one common theme, it had to be thoughtful and geared towards the giftee. This allowed for each of us to actually learn more about the people we were giving to and better our relationships.

Here's the really cool thing, once we began to talk about it to our friends, they all agreed to do the same thing! A group of us all got together (about 5 families) and had an old fashioned, homemade gifting party. It was amazing to see what everyone came up with and the way minds were spinning thinking about their recipients.

I wanted to share a few of our gifts, both given and received.

     

One of the hand painted wine glasses I made for my girlfriends. 
A handmade God's Eye. 
An ornament with a photo of all of our kidlets from a previous birthday party. 
A sketch for my daughter. (I'd also like to add, this was made by a 13 year old teenage boy. One of my favorite gifts of the season!)



Like I said, it was a special Christmas for the Easley family. I look forward to seeing the years unfold as my children grow and develop traditions of their own. It's going to be a beautiful 2015!


What are some of your favorite holiday traditions? 


Sunday, December 28, 2014

“The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have.” ~Vince Lombardi

Lately, the wind has gone out of my sails. Here's some advice I'm giving myself and actually taking. If it encourages others, that's good.

When feeling flightless, find a new jump off place. Launching from the same spot and crashing 'is no even working,' to quote from my then 3-year-old grandson, Colin. Fresh wind will give you lift and the perspective to explore new ground. Inspiration can come from the most unlikely places. If you never deter from the path, you don't know what wonders may be hidden in the trees. Hold fast to your faith. If you don't have any, reach deep inside and find some. You're gonna need every last bit.
misty trees (2)An author once told me I'd need a second and third skin to be a writer. I was still working on the first one. I'm tougher now. That doesn't mean the barbs don't hurt. Just less. 

Every venture in life is a challenge. Some more than others. Writing has to rank way up there. I write because it's what I do, and put my heart into each story. The labor required to craft these creations is indescribable. The gratification must come from the journey, though. Nothing else is a given. Readers may or may not appreciate my efforts. Ultimately, I must write for myself, and I'm exploring new ground. The path's a little hazy, but I'll find my way.
Bird, Flying, Crow, Raven, Sky, Sun“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”
~ Maya Angelou
"Out of difficulties grow miracles." ~Jean de la Bruyere


"We know what we are, but know not what we may be." ~William Shakespeare

Friday, December 26, 2014

Happy Day After Christmas with Vonnie Davis

What can I blog about today that will remotely interest you? It's the day after Christmas. Your house is either a mess, you're a little blue the holiday is over--or thankful, depending--and maybe a tad miffed everyone got what they wanted, but you. Many of you might be on the road, traveling home from a family get-together. But almost all of you are tired. There's a sliver of wrapping paper under the coffee table you should get down on your knees to retrieve, but right now, you just want some quiet, something warm to drink and a few minutes to rest. 

I'm at the age where gifts aren't important. I have all I need. Send me pictures of the family. Call me. Talk to me on Skype. My kids are grown, so are three of my grandchildren. Calvin, my husband of 12 years only has one child and he lives in Berlin, an officer in a company there. So, for us, Christmas is connecting with our kids and grandkids who live in other states and countries. We don't shop; we write checks and let each family member have the joy of picking out what they really want or need. Some years we travel to one child or another's house. Other years, we stay in Virginia. Cal and I go out to eat our Christmas meal and go see a flick. It is the one day I do not write. For most, it wouldn't do, but for us, it works.

This year has been a fabulous, yet frantic year for me as a writer. I moved completely from a smaller publisher to the Big Five. A dream come true, but not without its issues. I've been writing for Random House Loveswept and HarperCollins Impulse, both eBook divisions. For Random House, I've been penning a series of Scottish contemporary bear-shifters. Book one hit number one on a few lists. It's something writers dream of happening, but when it happened to me, my nerves got so bad, I ate every piece of chocolate in the house--even those mini drops you put in cookies. I kept thinking I'm not that good of a writer. Wait until the buyers read this book! It's okay, but not THAT okay. I wasted more time hopping from Barnes and Noble to Amazon to see what my numbers were, my eyeballs got dizzy.



Book two of my HarperImpulse firemen's "Wild Heat" series releases on New Years Day. Ask me how happy I am about that. Couldn't they have scheduled it for release a day or two later? Or will people, hung over from New Year's Eve celebrations, be bleary-eyed enough to hit the BUY button?



 
On April 6th, I have manuscripts to turn into BOTH Random House and HarperImpulse. My book for Random House is about one-third written. My book for Harper? Ah...I know the title and the characters' names and general story, but beyond that? I'm in a world of fear, folks! Let's just say I'll be in full, frantic writing mode zeroing in on April 6th.
 
I won't be able to collapse from writing like a fool to make my deadlines for a few days though. Because I have book two of my bear shifter's series releasing the next day--April 7th--and I'll have to morph overnight into a marketing wizard. There won't be a minute to breathe and let my mind rest. I'll be holding a Facebook Book Release party, so brain-fried, I'm liable to give away the whole house. For a hand-held mixer, tell me the name of the first romance you've ever read. 
 
 
All joking aside, it's a life I love. My first book released four years ago and I've learned so much since then. More importantly, I've met the nicest people online--other authors and readers. This has been the best part of my writerly journey. Making online friends I'll probably never meet and yet care deeply for them all.
 
And if you'll allow me a moment of wifely pride, my husband's book, he wrote based on his year in Paris in 1968, is now in audio format. Click on the link, then click on the cover photo, not the title and you'll get to hear part of the beginning. Calvin taught English for 40 years and took a year sabbatical in Paris, writing at sidewalk cafés.
 
I hope you each have a wonderful holiday week as you zoom, slide or crawl into 2015.
Stay well.
Stay safe.
Stay in touch.
Vonnie Davis blogs and rambles on www.vintagevonnie.blogspot.com. Stop by!

 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

I'LL DO IT WHEN.....


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. It's amazing to think another year is almost over and my old friend, procrastination, is still haunting me. Sure, we make plans and resolutions to do better, get better or just be better. Then we feel guilty for not following through.

Sometimes, we need a good scare to set us on a new path. After some scary lab reports, I've made more of an effort to exercise and lay off the sugar. Both have been difficult, but the results are worth it. Shin splints, a pulled calf muscle and cravings for anything sweet not withstanding.

The exercise thing fits into the category of "I'll do it when the weather is nice." I live in Texas, we seldom have perfect outdoor walking weather. But, I have a nice recreation center full of machines and a covered pool. And cheap. No more excuses.

My writing had been another victim to the "I'll do it when..." excuse. For years, I was involved in our RWA chapter's contest. It consumed a lot of my time.  My writing took a hit because I told myself, I'll do it when the contest is over.This year, I turned it over to someone else so that excuse is no longer valid.

Thanks to my critique partners, my writing is progressing and, hopefully, improving. There are days when I think, I'll sit down and write after I clean the house or I'll do it when I'm not so busy.

All this means is that I'm stuck on a plot twist and avoiding the empty page on the computer. Time to say, I'll do it NOW!