This last Saturday I went to the annual Christmas party for my local RWA chapter, the Tampa Area Romance Authors (TARA) at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, which is almost an hour's drive from where I live. Mr. Lucky drove me all the way out there, and after the party, all the way back. Why? Because that party is probably the only time all year that I drink alcohol.
This is partly because the special care and feeding of my Baby Bear, and the constant vigilance he requires, demand that I keep a clear head and a sober disposition at all times. That and I married a teetotaler for whom I also gave up smoking when we became engaged--but there is NO WAY Mr. Lucky will ever get me to give up coffee.
As a rule, I'm not a very outgoing person. I always tell people not to be fooled by my writings, which would strongly suggest otherwise. One glass of wine, however, will make me very sociable. I drank two on Saturday. I will leave it to my TARA sisters to say how I behaved, but I think I managed to stay off the tables and the top of the Christmas tree.
Fellow TARAn Vicki Lane does an excellent job on her blog explaining our ornament exchange and the drawing for our annual Book Challenge--which I won last year, and congratulations to Vicki's critique partner, Laurie Kapkowski, who won this year! And thank you, Vicki, for the clever bookmarks!
This was the first year I brought an ornament that was fought over and stolen multiple times. It was a large, faux Faberge egg to represent a historical romance I wrote years ago, that is set in St. Petersburg, Russia in the 1890's. Apparently the fake eggs are as highly prized as the real ones. I also included a box of chocolates and a signed copy of True Pretenses in my gift bag.
The always funny, exuberant, and bling-flinging Kathy Carmichael brought one of those fancy holiday tins that usually contain candy or cookies, but instead contained earrings that looked like those striped peppermint candies so popular this time of year. They even look sugar coated, all glittery and frosty, as if she picked them out of the snow--which I know she didn't, because we're in Florida. She offered them to all of us, and I noticed Erica Ridley wasted no time donning hers. Thanks, Kathy!
Wendi Christner gave me a wonderful surprise: A glass ladybug. At last month's TARA meeting, we'd been talking about our personal superstitions and the crazy, quirky things we do to conjure good luck. I told the story of how not one, but two ladybugs landed on me one day. I'd heard that ladybugs were supposed to be lucky, so I wondered if that was a sign something good was about to happen to me. Sure enough, Mr. Lucky proposed marriage to me the very next day--and I've believed in the luck of ladybugs ever since.
Fast forward fifteen years to 2002. We celebrated our wedding anniversary, and Mr. Lucky surprised me with a ladybug pin made of gold and crystals. "Maybe it'll help you sell a book," he said. Shortly thereafter, he was shipped overseas--and while he was gone, I sold True Pretenses.
Then last year, I forgot to remove the pin from my dress and it went through the laundry and fell apart. I'm very upset with myself for that. I still have the pieces, and can't help wondering if that's why I've been in such a rut writing-wise since then.
I'm hoping Wendi's beautiful gift will help change that. I'm so touched she remembered the story, and made this thoughtful gesture. Thanks again, Wendi.
I'm starting to see all sorts of signs that I might finally be getting out of that rut, and the ladybug is part of it. Even Mr. Lucky mentioned recently that he had a dream that I sold a book to a certain publisher whose name I haven't mentioned in months, but I would love to be published by. "It was a Cinderella type story," my husband said.
I love Cinderella, but if that's the next story I write, then she's going to have to be a very special Cinderella, because I don't want any more "pumpkins" in the form of unsaleable manuscripts rotting under my bed.
I have lots to think about--and lots to write.
Speaking of lots, did anyone notice I made lots of links? Let's hope they all work!