The last few weeks before Labor Day...

Friday, August 21, 2009


Hello everyone--



Well, here we are, coming to the last few golden weeks of summer. I'm not sure why, but it makes me think of the great week I spent with my family in Mexico at our reunion. I don't think I ever posted a photo of me with with brother and sister, who are totally cool. So here they are. Don't tell them I sent their picture worldwide. :)

I have to say that this is a time of year that always makes me feel a little nostalgic for motherhood. My son and I always had so many things to accomplish in these last few weeks; we spent so much time together, shopping and planning and getting ready for the start of school. We had some of our best conversations in the car, driving to the mall or having lunch in some crappy little food court restaurant. Now, of course, he's off on his own, getting ready for the start of his senior year of college. Man, how time flies. And one of his best friends, a girl who lives just across the street (in the way small towns measure distance), stopped by the house yesterday to tell us that she's leaving for her first year of college. She was all smiles and hope and nerves. It really makes you think of the milestones in life, the beginnings. It made me think, too, that we all should keep reaching for beginnings in our lives, even if we're mired in the middle. A new project, a new hobby, even a new way of looking at an old pursuit. That's my midyear resolution: tackled something new. Any ideas? Have you tried something new and found out that you have an unexpected talent or aptitude? I like to think I have a painter trapped inside, just dying to get out. :)

As you all know, one of the new things I'm doing these days is reconsidering the website. In the last year, I've learned a lot from all of you, about blogging and the website and becoming a community of women who have a surprising amount in common. I think there's a way to take all of that energy and turn it into something even more powerful and important. I just have to figure out how to take my grandiose ideas and translate them into internet-friendly possibilities. And I'm getting there. My webmaster and I are incorporating as many of your great suggestions as possible. So thanks, fireflies, for your input. As always, you are smart and generous and helpful.

Next week I'm going to finally have advance reading copies of Winter Garden! Pretty exciting, huh? So I guess we need to gear up for another contest for a giveaway. Any ideas?

Finally, I wanted to let you all know that I'm off to Honolulu over Labor Day weekend to speak at the Hawaii Writer's Conference, which looks like a humdinger of a gathering. Norah Jones is doing a private charity concert for the attendees! That's some kind of conference. I'll take pictures and post---this might even mean that I'll actually have make up on. :)

Talk to you all soon. I hope you enjoy these last precious weeks of summer and to those of you who are still school shopping (and probably dreading it), I'll just say try and enjoy it while you can. The school years fly past...

Aloha,

Kristin

31 Comments:

Blogger april said...

Siblings are special. My mom and I spent a lot of this week talking about ours - mostly how ours are crazy but underneath, we'd do anything for them. We also recounted the year my family invited the husband on our family vacation. My sister was not happy when I got a boyfriend because I was no longer on stand by in case her plans fell through. So, Day Two of our vacation, my sister threw everything the husband brought on the trip out of the house and locked him (and his stuff) out. They get along swimmingly now.

The conference sounds great! Have fun and travel safely. Can't wait to see photos.

I thought of the Fireflies today. There's Firefly Vodka. They make the sweet tea vodka which I hear is great, but I don't care for tea and I don't want tea messing with my vodka anyway.

I always liked the start of the Fall. The start of school was always exciting. Now, I look forward to seeing my bowling team again. We start 9/10, and I haven't seem some of them all summer (though I did see one at a work event).

I'd like to think I have many hidden talents, but I haven't tried anything new lately. I've been trying to make new recipes though.

No suggestions on contests especially as whatever is chosen will be impossible for me to win (I have the worst luck!). :) Look forward to the new book. I'm sure it's fabulous.

August 21, 2009 at 4:53 PM  
Anonymous Charlene said...

I just watched a movie On a Clear Day specifically about starting something new. It's rated PG-13 for language. I can't get it off my mind with all the characters of middle age and older seeking out healing and facing their fears by trying new things.
And the start of the school year always makes me feel a bit melancholy, however I'm also ready for routine again.

August 22, 2009 at 12:47 AM  
Anonymous Leslie said...

Hi Kristin - and all the great women here!

Thank you so much for maintaining such a great blog - it's amazing that you have such a connection with your readers! I read Firefly Lane and True Colours while I was away on vacation last March, and just finished Magic Hour this afternoon - and have really loved them all.

I'd love some advice from the girls about what to read next!

Anyway, thanks again and I'm looking forward to following your blog.

Cheers,
Leslie

August 23, 2009 at 6:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So I just finished reading Firefly Lane and am typing this with tears still in my eyes. Your book hits so close to home for me. I actually just got back from Seattle two days ago. I took my fiance to meet both sets of my grandparents whom he has never met, after being together for six years. My parents are both from Washington. My dad grew up in Warden which is in Eastern Washington and my mom was from Seattle.

My parents were married in December of 1972 after meeting in college at Eastern Washington in Cheney. They had me 4 1/2 years later in 1977. Two years after I was born my mother was diagnosed with colon cancer. She passed when I was three. My parents and I had been living in New Jersey since before I was born because my dad was in the Airforce.

Shortly after my moms death I had to go live with my dad's parents in Warden. Since my dad was in the Airforce, and we lived across the country, it must have been very difficult to be a newly widowed husband with a young daughter and no family close by to help. I lived in Warden for over a year with many weekends spent in Seattle with my mom's parents, until my dad could find a live in housekeeper/babysitter he could trust. My father at this point moved into the Airforce reserves and took a job as a commercial airline pilot. I remember Mrs. Carpenter was a the very sweet older, black lady that took care of me when my dad had to go on trips.

About a year and a half after my mother's passing my dad met my new mom, on an airplane at that. They had a long distance relationship for about six months before they were married. My dad and I then moved to NC where she was from. She is the most amazing women that I have ever had the chance to meet. She never tried to replace my real mother but loved me and raised me to be the strong, caring, independent woman that I am today.

So with this I am getting back to my recent trip to Seattle. My grandparents, my biological mom's parents, and my Fiance and I went to dinner at Anthony's on the water, the one in Shoreline. My grandmother gave me my parents wedding album along with a few stories that I had never heard before. The night that my mother passed away my father had been in Maine on a trip and was trying to return as soon as possible. He didn't make it in time and my grandparents couldn't figure out how to tell him. They met him at the airport in Seattle and my grandma said that my dad got off the plane with a look that he already knew. He had fallen asleep on the plane when suddenly he felt someone put their hand on his knee and it woke him up. It was 5PM when that happened and it was 5PM when my mother passed.

After reading your book it just brought forth so many emotions and I wanted to thank you because I thoroughly enjoyed it and related on many levels. I would never change my life as it is now after 32 years. I have the best parents and sister any woman could dream of as well as future husband. I just wanted to share my story with you and let you know how much your story meant to me.I also want to thank you for your postscript because I am am firm supporter of cancer prevention. You are obviously a wonderful author and supporter of great causes and I can't wait to read your next book, True Colors.

Jennifer B.

August 24, 2009 at 1:50 AM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

Hi Kristin!

I want you to know that I went to a little overnight retreat in Stillwater, PA. and I thought of you for a couple of reasons. The speaker, Connie Pombo, is a breast cancer survivor. She said this diagnosis changed the way she thought of things. She also has a writer's workshop that is therapeutic for cancer patients. She spoke of passion, and I got to tell her about Debbie's book Knit Together. And I thought of you because she said, "If you want to be a writer, you have to like spending large quantities of time alone. And you almost never get to choose your own covers unless you self-publish!" Have I heard these l'il tidbits before?

So I love the idea about finding new passions, new interests, new loves. Certainly, I feel like a new person!


Off to work, where I hope to be the Biggest Loser :)

P.S. Where oh where is my man!!!

August 24, 2009 at 11:21 AM  
Anonymous Caroline said...

Hi Kristin,

I just finished Firefly Lane, and I loved it. I couldn't put it down. I read the last quarter of it with a kleenex in my hand and tears streaming down my face. I think the interaction between Kate and Marah touched me the most.

I have a question though... what was it that Tully's grandmother did to Cloud? There were some references to it, but I don't think we ever found out. (Maybe I missed it).

August 24, 2009 at 11:40 PM  
Blogger april said...

Leslie,

What kind of books do you normally read? What authors do you like? That may help suggest recommendations. I feel everyone here reads a wide variety of books yet still have something in common. It's nice.

I mostly read contemporary romance though I dabble with the historical. I read a little Women's Fiction. For book club or curiosity, I'll read literary fiction and the very occasional non-fictional piece (mostly essays/memoirs more than dry non-fiction).

Have you read Jill Barnett? I'm a crazy fan and recommend her to everyone. I'd recommend Sentimental Journey. It's out in paperback. I loved it, but my mom and grandmothers all loved it too (and my mom hates fiction). It's historical fiction during WWII.

Right now I'm reading House at Riverton by Kate Morton. It's very long. It's for bookclub. I'm having trouble sticking with it, but it's only because I don't read a lot of long books and I get impatient.

August 25, 2009 at 12:30 PM  
Anonymous Leslie said...

Hi April:
Thanks for the advice - I will def. pick up Jill Barnett, she sounds great.

I'm a big bookworm, and read pretty much anything - I do love women's fiction, which seems to be my go-to choice. I've just started reading "The Position" by Meg Wolitzer...never read her before, but it's funny and sort of sad, about a family and their troubles.

Any advice abut any other of Kristin's books? Which ones have you read?

Thanks!
Leslie

August 26, 2009 at 8:55 PM  
Blogger Kieran said...

Firefly vodka comes from my hometown, Charleston, SC. It started out local but caught on nationwide really fast! And it's wonderful! But dangerous. It tastes exactly like iced tea!! A lot of people mix it with a little lemonade.

Well worth trying. :>)

August 27, 2009 at 7:06 AM  
Blogger april said...

Leslie, I've read all of Kristin Hannah's books, I believe. At one point, one of the short stories appeared in more than one anthology and I had both of those, too, but I may have given that away. My favorite is probably Magic Hour but I LOVE If You Believe. I've bought it for almost all of my friends.

Kieran, I haven't tried the Firefly vodka. I'm kind of a Grey Goose girl myself. I don't like tea which is why I've stayed away from it, but I've heard nothing but good things about it. I'll have to see if they have it in our local store for the husband to try. He's been doing the alcoholic Arnold Palmer a lot this summer.

Going on vacation next week. Haven't narrowed down which books I'm bringing, but I'm definitely not bringing my bookclub book (which has put me to sleep every night this week). I'm thinking Julie James, Victoria Dahl if my B&N shipment comes, maybe Suzanne Brockmann, Jill Shalvis, or Julia Quinn. I'll have to sort through and take a good assortment.

August 28, 2009 at 11:29 AM  
Blogger april said...

My shipment did come in! So, Victoria Dahl, Julie James and my bookclub book will make the trip. I have some historicals, contemporaries, literary fiction and I may throw in David Sedaris for something funny. I'd bring some others, but I'm trying to limit the haul to paperbacks.

August 28, 2009 at 8:14 PM  
Anonymous Ada said...

Thank you for writing such beautiful books. Greetings from Holland.

August 29, 2009 at 3:48 PM  
Blogger Leen said...

Hey there,

Finally back from Canada and alive and kicking again here. Been a tough couple of first days back, since I not only arrived a day late and missed my first exam (car trouble on the way to the airport), but I also had to get used to the rhythm of correcting till you drop again while recovering from jetlag. At the same time, I'm about ready to book my next trip too. Going to renew my passport in a couple of days and then I'm ready to fly back for more where that came from over the Christmas holidays. I guess I'm the perfect proof that you don't necessarily need a blood band with people to call them your siblings. :)

Life in Belgium in the mean time is back to its boring self. I cried my heart out when leaving "my people" behind because not only am I gonna miss them so much over the next 4 months (LESS than that by now, actually - let's remain positive!) but also I'm not so sure anymore whether I can find a way again to feel happy here too. I'm working too hard, not laughing enough and missing the simple pleasures in life, like hugs and friendship...

Oh well, guess the blues will be over soon and I'll get used to the pace of a working woman's life again in no time. When I can actually start teaching again, the new fall season of tv programs that I might like will start again and I'll learn how to divide my time off between preparing classes and doing all kinds of other things (concerts, books, chats with my Canucks, ...) again, I'll probably enjoy the fall for a while, until I'm totally for another break!

I actually succeeded in reading two books while I was in Canada too! I don't have them handy right now and I don't remember the titles or the authors, but the first was a romance novel and the second a thriller, which I both liked. Now I'm back to my Jennifer Crusie omnibus of which I'm reading the third book (called "Bet me" in English) as we speak.

Anybody order the new Dan Brown yet? I'm definitely getting that one too! Already ordered one copy for my friend's birthday also and I think I'll want a third copy for another friend. Next book I'll buy more than one copy of will then probably be "Winter Garden". Only trouble being I'll already be back to missing my friends in Canada by then. :(

Love,
Leen

PS. Quick update on my friend who had the stroke: I still haven't seen him, but I keep on hearing he's doing pretty good, all things considered.

PPS. Don't think I've actually talked about "starting new things" or "hidden talents", really, but after spending 3 wonderful weeks with my most favourite people in the world, it does kinda feel like starting anew. Also, given the time, there's one more thing I'm kinda passionate about trying some day, which is line dancing. I love country music and I always figured it would be wonderful to actually know the dances that go with the songs.

August 30, 2009 at 8:10 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

April---

I'm laughing at the idea of tea and vodka. Have to say i'm with you on not wanting those two drinks mixed together. :) So do you have any good recipes to share with us???

August 30, 2009 at 10:08 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Charlene--

thanks for the recommendation of On a Clear Day. It sounds like something we'd all enjoy. Has anyone else seen it?

August 30, 2009 at 10:09 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Leslie--

thanks for chiming in and welcome to the blog! you're right; we do have a fun and special group of women here. As for reading recommendations, I can chime in first--have you read Alice Hoffman's Skylight confessions? I really loved that book. I'd also completely recommend Jacquelyn Mitchard's new book, No Time To Wave Goodbye. Technically it's a sequel to The Deep End of the Ocean, but you don't really have to read one to enjoy the other. Anyone else have ideas?

What do you like to read?

August 30, 2009 at 10:12 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Jennifer B---

Welcome to the firefly blog. Your story has really touched my heart, and I'm sure I speak for a lot of us when I say that. You sound like a woman who has endured a great deal while maintaining your spirit and faith and optimism. Sometimes we truly are made stronger by hard times. You are really an inspiration.

August 30, 2009 at 10:15 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Michelle---

That sounds like a wonderful get together! And her writer advice definitely sounds familiar. :)

Are you saying that you really tried out to be on the biggest loser? That is one of my favorite shows--so amazingly inspirational--so if you did try out, let us know. We'll put out good thoughts for you!

August 30, 2009 at 10:16 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Caroline---

Welcome to the blog! No, you didn't miss the back story between cloud and Tully. In fact, I'm surprised that this question hasn't come up on the board before. :) That's actually the little secret I planted in the book to pave the way for a sequel. I hope someday to write a sequel to FL that will explain Cloud's story...

Thanks for reading so closely!

August 30, 2009 at 10:18 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

April--

I read almost everything except I'm not big on non fiction or biography unless it's for research. As many of the fireflies know, I love women's fiction, popular fiction, literary fiction, horror, thrillers, historical fiction, and YA fantasy. Recently, I really enjoyed Jonathon Tropper's This is Where I leave You, although fair warning--it was kind of crude and darkly comic. I also read House at Riverton (in Africa, in fact--I found it in one of our lodges) and I enjoyed it overall. I love parallel stories. And Jill Barnett is a great friend of mine, and I, too, adore Sentimental Journey. I'm looking forward to reading her new books...

August 30, 2009 at 10:22 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Kieran---

Firefly vodka!!!! I love it. We should definately include it in the official firefly cosmo. :)

And you all don't know this yet, but vodka (and Russia) figures prominantly in my next book, WINTER GARDEN. So, hmmm....firefly vodka could be book's mascot.

August 30, 2009 at 10:24 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Ada---

Welcome to you, too! I was in the Amsterdam airport last year, but that's as close as I've been to you. :)

August 30, 2009 at 10:26 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Leen---

So good to hear from you again! I am so glad you had a wonderful time in Canada. There's nothing better than vacation time with old friends to recharge our batteries. For me, if I can add a beach now and then, I'm really in heaven. :)

Sorry to hear that you're feeling so stressed about returning to your "real" life. All I can say is that so much of happiness can come from attitude. Take a chance. give up grading for a night and take a line dancing class and meet some new people. maybe a new face will lead to a new reason to smile. It's worth a try. Good luck and stay in touch!

August 30, 2009 at 10:29 PM  
Anonymous donna said...

Hi Leen: Suggestions for reading you might enjoy - Ice Trap by Kitty Sewell which takes place in Canada and all of the books by a Canadian author Louise Penny. Louise has a great blog which you might enjoy as she lives in a small town in Canada. It will give you a way to keep in touch with the area you love. Hope your sadness lifts - the time will go quickly. Remember to always make the most of each day as you never get the time back,
Regards to all Fireflies,
Donna

August 31, 2009 at 2:06 PM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

Luckily, I'm not "big" enough to really try out for the show. But at my work, for $40, (which goes to help feed the hungry), there's a contest to see who can lose the most weight in percentage.

Just heard that a really great pastor in my area is moving to NC. May follow him, not sure yet. But he used to live next door to my cousins which made for some EXCELLENT stories. So I'm bummed.

See you all later,

August 31, 2009 at 3:09 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Donna--

I was a big fan of Ice Trap also--especially the "past" story. I loved loved loved the Canadian setting. Was it Yellowknife? It makes me think of Ice Road Truckers--yet another reality show that I watch. :)

August 31, 2009 at 4:39 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Michelle---

What a great idea! Combining weight loss motivation with feeding the hungry. Very worthwhile. You go, girl! I'm on my own weight loss quest this week. I have a conference to attend soon and of course I can't quite fit into my good clothes. :) Wish me luck...

August 31, 2009 at 4:41 PM  
Blogger Leen said...

Kristin,

I had a much better day today already. I guess I'm a typical Cancer - I have great heights and depths in how I feel. I'm one of those people who can feel extremely happy and sometimes you'd think I'm in a deep dark depression.

I guess I'm also at the age (36) where people want to make something out of their life and they are kinda on a search for themselves - as if not sure which direction they wanna take, even though they already know deep down.

I've prolly mentioned how I like "story-songs" more than anything. Here's part of the lyrics to one song that always makes me feel like the writer was really talking about me...

"I am lost but I can see my destination
It's clear in sight
My heart's already there
With you I felt every sad emotion
But I still wanna trust and care"

I found out a couple of years ago that I'm supposedly "highly intelligent" (which is far from a blessing most of the time) and that most people who are, are also highly sensitive at the same time. I definitely feel deeply - which is probably why saying goodbye to the people I love, is like dying a little bit every single time.

It's nice to see people who care, fireflies spreading their little light which makes my dark world a little brighter already. My students once wrote about me that I could never be depressed, not in this life nor in the next, because I'm always smiling. Truth is I always do find something to smile about, even though I don't feel like smiling. So rest assured - even though I'm not just taking your advice yet, at the moment I'm smiling a genuine smile even though I'll be correcting over the next 2 days and I really hate correcting with a passion. Difference being I now see the light at the end of the tunnel again. And it's a really bright one too, like a million fireflies shinging together! :)

Love,
Leen

August 31, 2009 at 7:23 PM  
Anonymous Lisa said...

Kristin - your brother and sister are lovely. You guys look like a very close, and very fun, bunch! Thanks for sharing that with us.

I'm so excited for Winter Garden, and I've been trying to think of a contest suggestion, but I can't. It's hard, because naturally, I want to create one that I can easily win. HAHA. The selfishness in that must stump my thought process. =)

Update to all (and HUGE thanks for your prayers), my Dad is doing about the same, but not worse. That has become my beacon - as long as we don't go backward, every day is a gift. He is in so much pain, and it's hard to watch, but another surgery isn't an option right now. And, my aunt has made slight improvements, that honestly - we didn't really expect. She is breathing more on her own, and they even got her up out of bed. Big changes! Fireflies, keep praying. They sure are working!

Kimberly Fisk - where are you? =)

Leen - WELCOME BACK !!!!!!!!!!! I missed your entries.

Kristin - safe travels this weekend and have a great time.

Tata to all, lw

September 1, 2009 at 10:47 AM  
Anonymous Cindie said...

I have read quite a few of your books and just finished reading SUmmer Island... I laughed... I cried and was so caught up in this story.
My Mom and I have had a difficult relationship for years and she is now 89 and recently I have decided that I needed to forgive old childhood hurts and try to make our relationship better. What a wonderful reminder that life is indeed too short to let old wounds fester. Whether we like it or not the bond between mother and daughter is a very strong and powerful one.

September 2, 2009 at 10:44 AM  
Blogger Naomi said...

I'm late to the party, but loved your post and while I love my sibling deep deep down, we don't exactly talk and aren't close. Long story but let's just say that sometimes life is better because of distance. I do sometimes long for a closer relationship with my sibling but I have friends and a wonderful husband who fills in those spaces in my life very well.

I love September and autumn is my favorite season. This long weekend finds my husband and I installing a new patio door and a new front door. Renovations are never ending but at least I finally see the new kitchen/great room taking shape! It will be a while before there is drywall and flooring but the skeleton is there and I'm very excited.

I also hope to read this weekend. I've been on an urban fantasy/paranormal romance kick with some fun contemporary romances thrown in. I will read almost anything as long as it's well written or engaging. I love paranormals and urban fantasy because they take the best of horror and the best or relationships and blend them together in a wonderful way. I have no clue what's up for the weekend but since I have about 200 books in my to-be-read pile I don't think I'll trouble finding something. My name is Naomi and I'm a book-aholic. LOL!

September 4, 2009 at 1:54 PM  

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