Holiday Countdown

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Hey everyone--

Well, it finally happened. Winter came to the Pacific Northwest. Not a in a big, white snowstorm kind of way, but baby, it's cold outside. Cold and crisp and absolutely beautiful. It makes it easy to think about fun family get togethers. And as soon as I get my shopping done, I'm definitely going to start preparing for some family fun. I'm especially excited because this year--for the first time in forever--we're going to get to share Christmas morning with my dad and his wife and my brother and his family. Woo hoo! We're all going to spend about five days at a ski lodge in Northern Idaho. Hot cocoa, board games, sledding, skiing, and sharing memories. What could be better than that? Oh, and my son is bringing his beautiful girlfriend home from college for the first time. Honestly, I feel incredibly blessed.
The photo, btw, is from my bedroom window at the lodge. Can't wait!

Until then, of course, there's so MUCH to do. As you guys know, I've got books coming out in early January and early February, and that means that there are a million little promotional things to do. Honestly, I feel like I'm being nibbled to death by ducks. :) And you KNOW how disorganized I am. And worse than that, I'm obsessed with writing. I just love writing my books and I'd rather sit down and write pages than do almost anything else. So as I write, the cupboards and fridge slowly go bare, the laundry piles up, and the promotional ideas fade away.

But--and drum roll, please---I just finished the first draft of my book for 2011. Now, a first draft is a long long way from a finished book, but its still a certain kind of end. I can put that book aside for two weeks and focus on everything else in my life. Like...I'm going to make homemade pasta for dinner tonight...and I'm going to go see Brothers at the theater...and I'm going to send out a newsletter.

Thank goodness for my publisher, who has been great at picking up my slack. These parties that they've put together are looking SO fun. I really wish I could come to all of them. I'd love to be a fly on the wall to hear what women are saying. :) And hey, if you've been thinking that you want to host a party but haven't gotten around to signing up, I'd say you should do it quickly. They've had a surprisingly big response and spots are filling up fast. I think Dec. 15 is the deadline, so if you want to have a chance to win 12 copies of Firefly Lane, 2 copies of True Colors, and a hot off the press copy of Winter Garden, sign up now. Don't worry if you don't know eleven women--I'm sure it could be a great way to meet people. A sign at your local bookstore or library would probably introduce you to some other great women-readers in your community. And of course, if you have a party, or attend one, plan to send me photos!

And now, in another part of the forest, I say we come up with a Firefly Top Ten list for the year. What do you say? I'd love to hear your thoughts on the best books, movies, television shows, and fashions of the year.

Happy holidays to everyone. Let's keep up the thoughts and prayers for each other.




Blogger princessapr said...

Nice view! I'm spending Christmas here with the inlaws, but the day after Christmas, we're heading to my parents' vacation house in Western Maryland and they live on a ski resort. It's a tiny little place, but it suits them. Time with family is always nice (and nicer the older we get).

I registered for the party. I did it incorrectly the first time. Either way, can't wait for the new books.

I'm on the way to the movies tonight as well to see Fantastic Mr. Fox which was one of my favorite books growing up.

Can't wait to see what the Fireflies are doing for the holidays. I'm pretty much ready. I did mail out 105 cards a week ago and have all but a magazine subscription for presents done. I just need to buy some cards for the inlaws and maybe a new table cloth or napkins since somehow we got tricked into hosting Christmas Eve dinner. We spent all last weekend baking and cooking (we froze the pierogi) so Christmas Eve dinner is all done - just need to plop into water and buy some kielbasa from the Polish store.

December 9, 2009 at 5:02 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

Hey Kristin! Got the Newsletter! I'm so excited for the results of the contests! I always love seeing results, especially if someone wrote something, like for the Winter Memories if it does get posted, they're always so interesting!
I have some Top Ten ideas but for the books do they have to be from '09 or could you have just read them in '09?


December 9, 2009 at 8:36 PM  
Blogger Chasing Inspriation said...

Christmas shopping is no where near being finished. I'm not too worried. The nephews all asked for gift cards this year and we usually take the nieces out for brunch and shopping. It's a great way to build memories.

My husband and I go and see a movie on Christmas Day. We usually go in the morning and it feels like we have the theater to ourselves. Then we get together with my BIL and SIL and kids and we give the kids their presents and have lunch together. We try to call my BIL who lives in Japan at that time as well.

We don't travel over the holidays right now because we are under extreme renovations with the house and don't have the funds to travel but I hope this changes in a couple of years. It's also challenging to find a sitter for the dog. :)

As for top ten books in 2009, there are so many good books I've read this year. One that comes to mind is a historical romance by Jennifer Ashley titled The Madness of Lord Ian McKenzie. Lord Ian likely has what we now call Aspergers Syndrome. The book is very well done and treats the subject matter in a realistic yet hopeful way.

December 9, 2009 at 10:41 PM  
Blogger Patricia T. said...

What a beautiful photo -- how fortunate you are to have such a wonderful place to be with all of your family!

I am grateful I pretty much completed my Christmas shopping some time ago. Our Christmas letters and photos have to be changed, so I need to get busy and do something simple.

Will be fun to find out the contest results. Hope I am selected for a party, as I talked your books up to my daughter-in-laws, granddaughter and other riends in the past week. Would be fun to party with several generations! But, like April, I rarely win anything.

Best Fiction: The Lost Symbol, True Colors, Handle with Care
Non-fiction: Stepping Stones, Defy Gravity, and Soul Survivor
Children: Julie Andrews and Emma Walton's "Anthology of Poetry"

Best TV Reality: Finding My Family, America's Got Talent and Dancing with the Stars

Best TV Shows: Medium and Fast Forward

Best Movies: Blindsided, Invictus, Julie & Julia, Angel and Demons, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

Sorry, couldn't pick just one. Too many good books and movies this year. Tried to read a book a week, but they weren't 2009. Waited until the holidays to read "Comfort and Joy," and I love it so far!

I hope everyone enjoys the holiday season!

Blessings to all,


December 11, 2009 at 11:23 PM  
Blogger Bonzai Beadwear said...

What a gorgeous view, have a wonderful time!

Looking forward to your new books! :)

All that is coming to mind are books that were published before '09, will that count? lol oh, Im currently reading The Lost Symbol and enjoying it!

December 13, 2009 at 8:30 AM  
Anonymous donna said...

Hi Kristen - even though winter is not my favorite time of the year, the picture which you posted sure is beautiful! I envy you more when you are in Hawaii but I am fortunate here in Connecticut to be in a town on Long Island Sound and have free and easy access to the beach. I have two recommendations for books which came out in 2009 -
A Big Little Life by Dean Koontz - Dean Koontz is a wonderful writer of mystery/thrillers but this one is his true story about the dog which changed his life. Any animal lover will love it and anyone interested in the life of writers.
The other book is The Price of Love by Peter Robinson - Peter Robinson is a mystery writer who is great but this is a short story collection - some of which are mysteries and others that aren't. Very enjoyable and certainly shows what a talented person he is.
Hope all of the fireflies have a wonderful holiday and looking forward to Winter Garden in 2010.

December 14, 2009 at 3:02 PM  
Blogger Leen said...

Hey y'all,

Yes, I am still alive and kicking. And no, I haven't caught up on all the reading on here yet. Life is hectic, right now, but not in a really bad way. I'm trying hard to enjoy myself while the events speed by. Lots of Christmas concerts to attend, one to organize too and plenty of work on my regular job also. So no firefly time for me, at this point in life.

Still lots of fun, though! I'm leaving for Canada in less than 10 days again - my second winter holiday there in 2 years. And a very special one too, cuz the plan is to go to Vegas to go see Garth Brooks also! My very first Garth concert and one of those things I always said I wanted to do sometime.

Turns out even better, cuz I get to spend a couple days with just my best friend and I, and without her having to go to work, like she usually does while I'm there. And we're travelling back and forth together, which is a novelty too.

In each case: when I have another couple of minutes, I'll try to check in here again and I promise I'll try hard to even enter the contest tomorrow, but other than that I'll be busy for a while longer: making up exam questions, correcting, making sponsor booklets for the Christmas concert, writing Christmas cards, buying presents, trying to finish reading the 4th book in The Twilight Saga before I'm leaving on a jetplane. You name it and Leen can do it. Or at least I think I can. I'm living on some kind of adrenaline rush right now... and I can't say I dislike it!

Happy Holidays, fireflies!


December 14, 2009 at 8:07 PM  
Blogger princessapr said...

I can't remember half the books I read this year (though there is a list on my blog). I know I got into Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunter series. I really enjoyed The Help and am enjoying Bel Canto now.

As for movies, I did enjoy Where the Wild Things, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Blind Side. I'm going to see Up in the Air soon (maybe tomorrow). Oh, and The Hangover which I saw twice.

TV shows... I'll have to say I'm glad Friday Night Lights is back. I have been enjoying Castle. Our new favorite show this Fall is Modern Family. I think Supernatural has been at the top of its game and hopefully it's not its final season.

I think I finally linked my Christmas tree photos to my blog (though I'm not positive). So, the tree is up, cards are out, just have to plan dinner for Christmas Eve.

December 15, 2009 at 12:28 PM  
Blogger princessapr said...

YAY! In a little bit, I'm going to hear that I'm going to be an aunt again! Well, I'm going to be an aunt again, but it's the brother-in-law and his wife's first. It's very excited. I already bought a teeny tiny onesie present. :)

Of course, I had to skip out on movie night of Up in the Air because of the official coffee to hear the news, but it's worth it.

December 16, 2009 at 6:32 PM  
Blogger Kerry said...

I just got an email confirming me as a House Party Hostess! Yipee! I'm so excited. I've already invited guests and postd it to facebook. Thanks, Kristin, for the great opportunity.

Oh, and some best books that I read this year (they may not all be new): Sarah's Key, and True Colors. Best Movie: The Blind Side. I just saw it on Saturday and loved it.

Happy Holidays everyone.

December 17, 2009 at 4:29 PM  
Anonymous Lynn said...

I am bumming heavily! I was out tonight, came home and checked my email and I was a host finalist for the House Party. The email arrived in my box 1 hour ago, but alas, all the slots are filled and I missed out. Dagnabbit!

One would think they would have a waitlist just in case someone finds they cannot fulfill the host duties...kind of like the runner up in Miss America. ;-)

December 17, 2009 at 10:25 PM  
Blogger princessapr said...

Lynn, I think there is a waitlist because I hosted a house party for another organization and I wasn't chosen and then they did choose me later on. I know another Firefly who was chosen, but I'll let her share the news herself. I can't wait to hear if there are others.

Kerry, Sarah's Key is our next book club book. Glad to hear it was good!

December 18, 2009 at 7:47 AM  
Blogger Patricia T. said...

Well, I wasn't selected. Didn't know the notices were going out. I did receive a bright blue ad last night from "House Parties" but it looked like the many I received from them since I signed up to host a party. I deleted the e-mail -- it looked like an ad. Wished I'd looked more closely. Oh well. I am disappointed, but wondered when I signed up whether my age would play a factor -- I'm not in the 25-49 age group of Kristin followers -- just the wise ones. I was when I first began reading in the early 1990s.

I just hope that those who are selected have a great time planning, celebrating and making new friends! Will now give all my daughter-in-laws and grand-daughter "Firefly Lane" for Christmas. After all, we want to promote Kristin's books!


P.S. Kristin, sent a great video clip to your e-mail address promoting breast cancer awareness -- didn't know how to put it in my note on the blog. Perhaps you've seen it.

December 18, 2009 at 1:17 PM  
Blogger Kerry said...

You will love Sarah's Key. It is haunting and will stay with you for a very long time. Great for discussion too. I read it for one bookclub and now my other bookclub chose it for next month. Leave me with plenty of time to read Winter Garden! :)

December 19, 2009 at 2:52 AM  
Anonymous Lynn said...

April, I hope there is a waitlist. I knew you'd hosted for something else, so you would know. The site just said something like, "better luck next time" so that's why I didn't think there was a WL.

Are you socked in by this storm, or what? It's blizzard conditions in Fairfax County.

December 19, 2009 at 12:53 PM  
Blogger princessapr said...

Lynn, we're in Arlington County (but my parents and sister are in Fairfax). It got pretty snowy! We walked to the store yesterday (about 2 blocks) and it took like 2 hours. Fed Gov't closed tomorrow and, because the husband works for the gov't and my office goes based on its schedule, we have a snow day tomorrow! I'll work from home, but it's nice to stay home in my jammies. Stay warm where you are!

Kerry, I'm looking forward to Sarah's Key. Right now, I'm finishing Bel Canto which I'm enjoying, but it's a slow read for me.

If you did delte the House Party email, it should still register on the website under your dashboard or personal homepage when you log in. I had some issues physically signing up so it's doubtful my entry actually was entered so I wasn't too disappointed because I was pretty sure I wasn't qualified.

December 20, 2009 at 5:57 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...


Thanks for all of your insight on the house parties. It's cool having an "insider" among us. Honestly, I had never heard of the whole idea before. It's all very exciting. I'd love to know how many fireflies are hostesses.

Also, great book ideas. The Help is probably my favorite book so far this year.

Happy holidays!! And congratulations to your sister in law.

December 20, 2009 at 6:14 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...


I can't wait to read the entries, either. I hope you're planning to enter! I'll post a lot of my favorites. And definitely, tell us your favorite books for YOUR year. I often read books later than everyone else--ie: The Road is one of my favs of the year, but it was published quite a while ago.

What do you think?

December 20, 2009 at 6:15 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...


Extreme renovations during the holidays???? You poor, poor girl. Maybe the good news/bad news is that you can't do a lot of cooking??

December 20, 2009 at 6:16 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Patricia T---

GREAT top ten list. I agree with so many of your choices, although I must admit that I was afraid to watch Finding my Family. It looked like the sort of thing that would have me sobbing in a second.

Did you find out if you're a hostess?

December 20, 2009 at 6:18 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...


So glad you're enjoying the books. I, too, enjoyed Lost Symbol. It gave me a whole new view on Washington DC

December 20, 2009 at 6:19 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...


Thanks for the recommendations. I've been a fan of Dean Koontz for a long time--Watchers was one of my favorite books about two decades ago. That one had a wonderful golden retriever as the star of the book. Have a great holiday.

December 20, 2009 at 6:20 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...


Great to hear from you. We missed you!!! Have a wonderful time in Canada. It sounds like you're crazy busy between now and then. But isn't that true for all of us? Have a great time over the holidays...

December 20, 2009 at 6:22 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...


Congratulations on being chosen as a hostess!!! I hope we'll get to see some photos after the big event! And I loved Sarah's Key, too--

December 20, 2009 at 6:23 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...


Oh, no!!!! I'm so so sorry to hear that you're not a hostess. Did you find out if there is a waitlist? I did hear from sources at my publishers that over 6,000 people signed up to be hostesses. I'll keep my fingers crossed that you get another chance. If not, hopefully we can all "attend" via photographs in January.

December 20, 2009 at 6:25 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Patricia T---

I'm so bummed to hear that you aren't a hostess. Waaaaa. I hope you didn't accidentally delete an acceptance. Oh, well, I guess we'll all be waiting for photos from the parties in January. And I totally didn't know that my readership is between 25 and 49. I guess I just make it. :) I haven't seen the video, but I'll go check it out...thanks!

December 20, 2009 at 6:28 PM  
Blogger Chasing Inspriation said...

Kristin - yes, extreme renovations over the holidays does mean I don't do as much cooking. :) We're going to get Chinese take out on Christmas day and I did cook a ham last week and froze it so I'll make a casserole for the weekend with deli potatoes and steamed green beans. I do love the ease of planning this year!

In other news, I've been selected as a Firefly Lane House Party hostess. I've been inviting people and hope to have 8-10. I like a smaller group rather than a large one because I don't do well with larger groups. LOL! I started inviting some women I want to reconnect with and I'll invite women I know love to read and will enjoy the book and a time of connecting. I'm not a great party planner so we'll be low key and casual. :)

I was also thinking of a virtual party in a chat room or something as an option. Or via a conference call since I have so many friends all over the world. It kind of defeats the purpose of the House Party so I'll table that idea for now.

December 21, 2009 at 3:30 PM  

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