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Monday, September 8, 2008

Hello friends--

I'll bet you wonder where I've been for the past week. Perhaps you imagine that I've been deep in my writing, or pondering how to begin the writing series I've promised you this month, and well, it's true that that's what I should have been doing, but...well...actually I've been on a fabulous and relaxing vacation. I know, I know, it seems as if I'm always going somewhere lately, and I can't quite figure it out. Normally I'm practically a shut in. Maybe it's the empty nest. These days, when someone starts a sentence with "Hey, can you and Ben go..." it's hard to find a reason to say no.
That's exactly what happened last week. One evening while we were watching what passes for television in the summer, we got a call from some old friends, who invited us to spend five days on their boat. Now, as you can see by the photos above, this is no ordinary boat. She's the Olympus, and she was built in 1929. For many years Harry Truman used her as the Presidential yacht. So while I knew I should say no (I'm halfway through the first draft of the book for 2010 and I'm trying to get a big chunk done before leaving next month, I've commited to saying something relevant about writing to my fireflies, I'm supposed to be working on the reader's guide for the back of the trade paperback edition of Firefly Lane, I'm traveling next week for work, and there's still a bunch to do for the trip), I was tempted. I mean, we all know that life is short; we're reminded of that every day. Opportunities and experiences--especially with friends--should never be taken lightly. So I said not only yes, but OH YEAH, and accepted the gracious invitation.
Everything about the Olympus is special. From the moment you walk on, it's like slipping back in time. Her owners, John and Diane, are wonderful hosts who know how to instantly make you feel at home. No one had any problem with the "crazy author" who, even while on this fabulous yacht, needed to work for a few hours every morning. Take a look at the photo above (not too closely please, that's me first thing in the morning with no makeup :) and you'll see a glimpse of what it was like: the flowers by the bed, the customized oh-so-soft robe, the fruit plate and tea beside me. Wow. Big thanks to John and Diane and the great crew of the Olympus for giving us such a special getaway. And Charlotte, if you're reading, it was great to meet you.
The other photo is an example of the kind of place we visited. I believe that picture is of Deer Harbor in the San Juan islands. Those of you who have read me before know that the San Juans are a very special place for me, almost spiritual. Perhaps that photo explains a little bit of the allure. That, and of course the fact that my husband's family homesteaded San Juan island in the days before the Civil War when this was really the wild west. For our part of the country, that's showing up early. :)
So that explains where I've been and why I haven't begun the writing series. Now that I'm home, though, my first job was to post this blog entry, and my second is to read your recent comments and get to work on the writing series. I'll shoot for Thursday or Friday to post the first one, so please, if you have thoughts, let me know. I really want to tailor this to your questions.
By the way, just as an aside, those photos are taken with my new camera---the one I bought to take pictures of animals in Africa. As I think I've said before, my expectations have lowered to photographing sleeping animals. I do not expect to be good enough to get anything that's actually moving, but I have to say that I'm happy with the camera. Hopefully I should bring home some great pictures of a life changing trip to share with my firefly friends.
Also, I was gone for the Stand Up For Cancer special, but watched it when I got home. As you all know, cancer is a particularly important issue for me and definitely one of my causes. My mom was only a year older than I am now when she died. I want us all to join hands as women and march for this fight. I am honestly surprised by how often I hear from women that they didn't know what IBC breast cancer is. I say bravo to all the organizers and celebrities and viewers who made that program a success. We all can help; even the smallest support matters.
On a lighter note: Prison Break has started up again. And I say Hallellulah! The summer tv drought is coming to a close. What programs are you all looking forward to? Anyone going to watch Fringe? Anyone watch True Blood on HBO this week? What did you think?
And what did you all do for the holiday weekend? Anything fun?
Will write again soon, so check back!


Blogger princessapr said...

That looks great! Sounds like wonderful fun.

I missed the special as well, but I was with a cancer survivor. My brother-in-law was diagnosed the year he graduated college and has been in remission since he finished his treatment. He has the misfortune of having a 9/11 birthday so we celebrated last weekend. Also, his father is going into surgery this Thursday so he wouldn't be able to celebrate for a couple of reasons.

I'm so glad tv is back! The husband and I watch Bones together. It's one of the few shows we both actually enjoy together. He watches some tv and I watch some tv separately though.

I caught True Blood. I thought it was a typical premiere for pay cable with a bit of language, sex and violence. I know at least one of those things turned someone off, but I'm going to give it a shot. I think Anna Paquin is doing a good job so far. I haven't read the books yet so I have nothing to compare, but I think that's a good thing as Alan Ball already mentioned he was interpreting the books. Um, I've also gotten into the 90210 remake. I never really liked the original, but nostalgia has me turning into the new one. It's good guilty pleasure fun. The cable show I really like is Dexter which begins at the end of the month. I was surprised that the show did follow the books fairly close during the first season. I actually think I like the books and characters better in the tv show which is unusual.

From this point forward, I'm a little nuts. Work is crazy. I'm trying to get into the city for the Jim Henson exhibit before it moves on. Plus, we're planning the baby's first birthday already! Seems like just yesterday I was lumbering around Dallas at RWA. :)

~ april

September 10, 2008 at 8:11 AM  
Blogger Kari Simonson said...

I don't have HBO, so I only watch network television. I know you guys feel badly for me.
By the way, I am excited to join the ranks.
I am looking forward to Grey's Anatomy, the FINAL season or ER, which I will watch this year due to Noah Wyle's return). I also watch The Closer (LOVE IT!).
That's about all I have time to watch...and usually watch on my computer as I don't have TIVO. (-:
If you want you can check out my blog...otherwise, I look forward to getting to know you guys.

September 10, 2008 at 9:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey you !! I was wondering where you were (smile). Your trip looks fantasic and you deserved it! I am also so excited about Prison Break. It, and House, are my favorites! House premieres next week. Another I didn't watch the premier season of last year, but plan to rent and catch up, is Private Practice. I never caught on to Grey's Anatomy, but this one has peaked my interest. Not sure why I didn't hear about it last year. Any input, fireflies?

Life is busy for me right now with work, but I'm good otherwise. Looking forward to several movie releases this month (Women, Burn After Reading, Nights In Rodanthe), and just trying to get motivated enough to start exercising again now that it's cooler in Texas. You know, high 80's. WooHoo !!!! =)

Take care to all Fireflies, and the Queen Mother Fly, Ms. Hannah!

Cheers! Lisa

September 10, 2008 at 10:50 AM  
Blogger Cindy W said...

Hey Kristin!

Oh it was so great to see your pictures. That yacht is so wonderful, boy the stories it could tell, I'm sure. I have 3 kids, and travel will be on my agenda when I have an empty nest.

I recorded Fringe and will let you know how I liked it. I will have to say that the ONLY reason I'm watching is because of Joshua Jackson, you know, Pacey from Dawson's Creek. I loved that show-although I am a little embarrassed to admit that, but I am among my firefly friends, so no judgements here, okay fireflies?

For the other shows, my husband LOVED Prison Break. I watched True Blood. I enjoyed it and am anxiously awaiting the next episode. I was a bit surprised with the language and nudity, but still enjoyed it.

I watched Nim's Island and it was an okay watch. It had Gerard Butler in it, but I'm not sure I can recommend it to you all. I have Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium up next for our Family Movie Night.

I would LOVE to do something for Breast Cancer, I think the selling of firefly shirts is a great idea. I'd buy one for me and a friend. I am also looking forward to Firefly Lane coming out in paperback to get for some of my friends that are out of town.

Looking forward to seeing sleeping African Animals.

Okay, that's enough for today.
Firefly Cindy W

September 10, 2008 at 11:54 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

What a wonderful opportunity and vacation! I am so glad you said, "OH YEAH!" Thanks for sharing those amazing pics!

September 11, 2008 at 11:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you're doing very well with the new camera - and that sure looked like a fun weekend trip!

I have no TV (broke college student), but I do get cheap Netflicks. I have no idea about current, local, or global news events. I'm rather sheltered in my world without TV. Actually it's kind of nice, less to worry about.

I will say I'm looking forward to Grey's Anatomy -- mainly because of Patrick Dempsey. Did you hear my little McDreamy sigh? So very handsome...

On another note I lost my copy of Mystic Lake during the move to school :*( and I'm pretty bummed. I stopped by the used store and got a copy of Angel Falls in the meanwhile for my bit of fun.

Oh, and you'll be happy to know the WSU Cougs are spreading the word about IBC. They had some announcements/info during a home footbal game recently. Talk about getting the word out to a big audience!

September 11, 2008 at 11:56 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...


You watch the most interesting mix of shows! I tried Dexter--i really loved the actor in six feet under--but I just couldn't handle the ick factor. Although, I did watch True Blood, also. Go figure. Did you watch Fringe??? Did anyone? I thought it was totally great and compelling. Freaky and strange but cool. It's from the creator of Lost and X files and you can tell.

But on to more important things. I'm really sorry to hear about your brother in law. It's impossible to ignore how often cancer touches all our lives. I think i mentioned last week that I had watched Stand Up 2 Cancer and I was really moved by it, so I'm going to donate to the cause. I really believe we are close to finding a cure and we can all help. Good thoughts to your brother in law.


September 13, 2008 at 11:59 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Dear Kari--

Welcome to the blog! I am sure the rest of the fireflies will make you feel right at home. We have a pretty cool group of women, talking about all kinds of things, so please join in. I went to your blog and loved it. Bless you for being a language arts teacher. What grade? Where do you teach?
It is such an amazingly important job to get kids reading. I admire you. It can't be easy. :)

My son is in his third year of college and taking his first serious English Lit class. Reading Beowulf and loving it. And who says movies can't help?

I'm sure we'll all be talking about Grey's anatomy soon. And I really love the closer, too. It's dark and edgy but with a real heart and soul. Much better than your standard fare. But more importantly, Kari, what are you reading now? Do you have any book suggestions for us? I saw your Shelfari books. What's that?

Anyway, welcome!


September 13, 2008 at 12:05 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...


I've been worried about your family. How's everything going for them in Texas? Are all your friends okay? A friend of mine called the other night to say that her 82 year old uncle had elected to stay in Galveston. By yesterday afternoon, there was six feet of water in his house. I'm praying he's okay...

so fireflies, how about a collective prayer? From all of us, to all of them...

Did you love to see Sarah Tencready come back on prison break?? Whoo hooo for romance!



September 13, 2008 at 12:09 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Cindy W--

You make me laugh with the sleeping animals comment. :)

And how could you even worry that the fireflies would judge you for Dawson's creek??? No way, we celebrate all the cheesy shows we each love, right fireflies? Not that I know if DC is cheesy, btw, just making an assumption because of your comment. :) I can't wait to hear what you thought of Fringe, though.

To be honest, I wasn't crazy about True Blood, but neither was I turned off. I'll give it a few more episodes, because I really like alan ball. LOved Six Feet Under.

And how funny that we were watching Nim's Island on the same day? My hubby is busy doing house maintenance, so I get to watch movies that he wouldn't sit through. I picked Nim's Island. Really, I'll watch anything with Gerard Butler in it (loved PS I love you), but this was tough to get through. I think I needed a child with me. :)

And what are you reading now?



September 13, 2008 at 12:15 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...


One more thing. How about if we all think about what we can do on the site, and as a group, to help fight cancer? It has touched so many of our lives, and you fireflies are smart, smart, smart. Let's put our heads together. T shirts are good. What else? Anyone?


September 13, 2008 at 12:16 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...


Thanks! It was really fun. Now I have to get back to work before I leave for the BIG trip. I have to say, I'm getting a little nervous. :)


September 13, 2008 at 12:17 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Dear Sheila--

Boy, do I remember the college days, when you are totally aware of what happened 200 hundred years ago, but blissfully ignorant of current affairs. Too much reading and not enough watching of the tv or news. I didn't do much reading for pleasure for almost seven years. But life is pretty fun at WSU so I'm sure you're not missing it much. My son was there a couple of weekends ago and had a GREAT time, and my brother is an alumni.

Glad to hear about the ibc. I guess it's in the cosmos right now. I like to think that Firefly Lane has done its own small part in spreading the word, too.



September 13, 2008 at 12:20 PM  
Blogger princessapr said...

Sheila, Angel Falls is seriously one of my all-time favorite books. I always thought Liam was just perfect.

As for my brother-in-law, he's doing very well. Well, he had a minor mix-up when a car hit him on his birthday (9-11), but he's ok. I'll see him in a few minutes. As for the cancer, he's in complete remission. I actually missed the tv special because I was out celebrating his birthday. It is a disease that touches everyone and leaves no one without influence. It would be great to do something as a group, our tiny step to make a difference.

September 13, 2008 at 2:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the prayers! My family is fine and back in La., however we are still waiting for word if they rcvd more damage from Ike today.

Cant type much today with one hand. I fractured my elbow in a fall at work yesterday. Ouch! Lots of reading time for me this weekend though. WooHoo!

Until next time, Lisa

September 13, 2008 at 6:08 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I'm all about Fire Fly t-shirts! My three year old daughter and I just completed the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure today in our home town. Well, actually she rode in the stroller and I pushed, but we finished just the same! We had matching team shirts and it was neat being "twinkies with my sweetie" today!

September 13, 2008 at 9:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I forgot, YAY for Sarah back on PBreak!!!!! We watched past TIVO'd episodes of HOUSE the other day and "Lincoln" was on an episode. Love it!!!!!

Also FFlies, although I stopped my Danielle Steele addiction years ago, I still pick one up every now and then. Read ROUGE today. It was really good, especially for anyone who has ever been a single mom! FAST read, especially with a broken elbow. HA! See ya :)

September 13, 2008 at 10:28 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...


So sorry to hear about your injury. It sounds like you're really having a rough week. :( Hope you can find a way to sit down and put your feet up and do a little reading.

Let us know how you're doing...


September 14, 2008 at 1:54 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...


Wow!! I'm so proud of you! Way to go. I sure wish I had started running back when my son was really young. How far was the race?

And I'm glad you're excited about the t-shirts. me, too! Just have to figure out what, where, when, and how.


September 14, 2008 at 1:56 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...


Tell us about Rogue! I still remember my first Danielle Steel novel. It was The Promise. I read it back in college and boy, did I love it. So, what made you pick up Rogue, and what else are you reading?


September 14, 2008 at 1:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My first DS novel was Daddy. I was a young teenager, vacationing in Florida and felt so grown up reading it. I was hooked! I read anything she wrote, until a few years back they started being too predictable to me. I liked the book jacket for Sisters and after reading it, felt that DS had shifted a bit from the fairy tale love stories, and I started reading her books again.

Rogue is a story of two people in love, yet divorced, whose children and their wonderful friendship, keep them in each others lives. They share challenges of their kids accepting new partners in their life. A tragedy in another country allows them the chance to work together and help those helpless. It's very good!

I've also been reading Get Out Of That Pit by Beth Moore.

And, working too much. =)

Best to all, Lisa

September 14, 2008 at 10:25 AM  
Blogger Verlee said...

Hey I am new here. didn't know you had a blog...I love your books Kristen...my favorite is probably Mystic Lake. I bought firefly lane a few months ago, but haven't read it...saving it for a special treat, when I have time to really enjoy it. silly, I know. I have lived in the Pacific NW for about 12 years, so really get into the cute little towns in the books. and I was just telling a few women at dh's work about your books. I was actually finding some of mine to take to them so they could read.

I watched Prison Break, just cause I'd heard Sarah was back. I love those two together. I also saw Lincoln on House. and I did see Fringe...kindof...I was working on the computer while it was on in the background. sorry, can't really give an opinion...didn't watch it enough. I will be watching Lost and ER also...well, and Heroes. Anyways, I just wanted to say hi.

September 14, 2008 at 9:23 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

It's been YEARS since I've read a DS book. My favorites were "Jewels" and "No Greater Love." Something about historical fiction and the monarchy just get to me (which was what those two books were about).

Kristin - this race was a 5K. Someone said that it was a little over three miles.

September 14, 2008 at 9:48 PM  
Blogger Chasing Inspriation said...

Okay, I think Blogger hates me. I've tried this post three times, lol!

On the long weekend my husband and I celebrated our 14th anniversary. The weekend was wonderful, the lake amazing and the weather perfect. It was relaxing and we took some time to really sit and talk. It hasn't always been an easy marriage, but I honestly can't see myself with anyone else. And for the ups and downs, it's a great relationship.

As for TV, we don't have cable so I'm always really behind with all the HBO and Showtime series. On network TV, I'm excited for Bones, Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, The Mentalist, The Eleventh Hour, and CSI/CSI: NYC. We're not big TV watchers at home.

Right now I'm getting ready to head to WV for a reader's weekend that's sponsored by Lora Leigh. It's a weekend where readers and authors can get together to hang out. No huge agendas. No workshops or writing as a focus. More a retreat weekend for women, lol! I love writing workshops, but this year I'm looking forward to just hanging with my girls. *g* I leave Thursday - which can't arrive soon enough. LOL!

September 16, 2008 at 11:09 AM  
Blogger Leen said...

Geez... I was so terribly behind on my blog reading and posting it isn't funny! Good thing I have nothing better to do at 2 AM on a Wednesday night than to catch up. Sleep? Nah... I've always been living in a Northern American time zone, really. Can't be too healthy, but then I can't help it if the stork dropped me in the wrong continent! ;)

Anyway... lots of stuff in this blog entry I can skip. Holiday weekend? We celebrate Labour Day (and I still prefer the UK or Canadian spelling, as you see) on May 1st, so I just spent an ordinary couple of days. No rest for the wicked. Even though we can't complain here: Belgians have lots of holidays and days off during the year. If I gave you a list, that would make my comment even longer than usual, so I'll refrain on that.

TV shows? I don't think you'd know what I was talking about if I told you about half the stuff I'm watching. I'm not too much into any series anyway: they broadcast stuff like 24, Prison Break and ER over here too, but other than going by the title, I wouldn't be able to tell you what they're about. Ok, so I'm weird. Who knew? ;)

What I do like to watch is mostly stuff related to music (the Idols, X-factor, ... kind of show), a good movie from time to time (drama, mostly) and detective/murder series. Used to love how old Mr. Matlock always found a way to impress the judges when I was just a teenager and my mom kept telling me "I don't like to watch that - he always wins anyway" and I can still enjoy watching one of the Agatha Christie shows with David Suchet as the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot.

Other than that (didn't I write a lot already for someone who had nothing much to say about the previous subjects?) I loved the pictures and the story about the boat trip, but it wouldn't be my favourite type of trip. I get sick on cars and planes, but Gravol (the best invention ever!) helps me with that, whereas boats still make me seasick. I can handle bigger boats on a calm sea, but other than that... keep me away from them!

What I love about this kind of blog entry, though, is that it shows me a whole different person behind the writer. I have a personal relationship (based on friendship rather than an idol-fan kind of band) with a couple of singers here in Belgium too, which has always given me the idea that a famous person is only as famous as they want to be, but most of the time it's really interesting to get to know what's behind that shell too. I have a tendency to treat famous people just like ordinary people and it seems that I often get rewarded with a clear view on how ordinary (or "normal") they really are, because of that, which I think is rather nice. :)

So Kristin... while I'm treating you like a queen firefly, don't expect me to not make fun of you when you're messing things up like every other human being does from time to time. Since I'm a bit of an amateur in photography myself (I don't claim to be a pro, even though I have enough expensive material for people to sometimes ask me whether I am) I find your goals concerning taking pictures in Africa rather amusing. The pictures above prove that you do better than my mom (I remember her taking a picture of me standing next to my bike, when I was a kid - the bike was in the picture, but I was nowhere to be seen), but sleeping animals? I'm pretty sure that all animals in Africa will be wide awake when they see the beaming personality of a Firefly passing by... So I expect you to at least bring home a couple of images of LAZY animals. Like an old lion that has been on a hunting trip the day before and now feels all stiff and sore... surely you'll be able to catch that?


September 17, 2008 at 8:37 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...


I'm sorry I missed your first post. I saw the second one on the True Colors cover blog. Anyway, welcome to the fireflies! We're so happy to have you, aren't we ladies?

I always especially happy to meet someone else who knows the Northwest. It's such a beautiful, special part of the country. Where did you live around here? And when?

Keep in touch!


September 25, 2008 at 6:13 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...


I'm so sorry it took you so long to post! I'd hate not to get your input, so I'm glad you stuck it out. Tell us all about the Lora Leigh weekend. Did you have fun? Learn a lot? Laugh a lot? One of the best things about writers conferences is the camaraderie. We writers are all living versions of the same life somehow, published and unpublished. It's all about stacking up sentences and world building. So much fun.



September 25, 2008 at 6:16 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...


Okay, girl, you're making me crack up again. LOL. I had just settled in to the lovely lowered expectation of sleeping animals and now you're pushing me to reach for lazy animals. Way to put the pressure on! AND you remind me that the animals are out there and DANGEROUS. Predators. Yikes. I'll definitely be staying in the truck. Would you accept a scanned postcard?


September 25, 2008 at 6:19 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Kristin,
The moment I saw the boat pictures, I knew instantly that it was docked in Victoria. Curt and I go there every year at least once. Usually it's for our anniversary, which is June 29th. We've been so many times (well, probably 20, counting our Christmas visits!), that we've noticed a sad trend of stores and restaurants we used to go to are going out of business. But still, we love Victoria and if you ever get a chance to stay there, the Hotel Grand Pacific (in one of your pictures) is a wonderful place. We also love the Delta Ocean Pointe Resort.
The Olympus is just beautiful and your pictures are great! Can't wait to see more!
Andrea Marshall

October 11, 2008 at 1:57 AM  

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