Here we are, the day before American Thanksgiving. Stately Bowling Manor is about as ready for the holiday as it’s going to get. This means that we have some form of the traditional foods, a table at which to eat them, and chairs in which to park our backsides, while we eat abovementioned foods, at abovementioned table. This will be a cozy holiday, with myself, Real Life Romance Hero, and, of course, Sebastian.

There’s not a lot of prep left to do, over here, which suits me fine, because, as great as Thanksgiving food is, it’s not the whole point of the day. I am thankful for my family, very much so, though the absence of a real-life fuzzy buddy does pinch. Next year, we hope to have one or two four-legged family members parked beneath the table, ready to take care of any food that may fall and/or be surreptitiously slipped to them.  Maybe we’ll station Sebastian nearby, to fill the gap.

This morning, I had my weekly breakfast with N. After the usual getting current on each other’s weeks, we turned our attention to how writing is going for each of us, and where we would like it to go. This year, I am very thankful for the fact that I am going into this holiday season, as a contracted author, once again. Complete honesty, I needed a “win,” and this definitely counts as one. The fact that I get to do it along with Melva, who has been friend and critique partner for coughty-cough years, makes it even better. Today, it means that I get to finalize (for now) a scene for Drama King, that cranks up the stakes, and leads into the next part of the book.

I am thankful that there is a next part of the book to get into, and that this is the second book in the series. I am thankful for the structure that comes not only with writing a series, with a partner, but for the structure that comes with the pre-publication process. This past week, Melva and I finalized the extra scene we needed, and the manuscript is now moving on to the next waypoint on our journey.

As I’m getting my bullet journal/traveler’s notebook ready for next year, I get to set things up for our progress along the road to release for Chasing Prince Charming. I get to set up a notebook to keep things straight with all things related to this collaboration; who’s writing what, and when it’s due, when edits are expected, what they are, and all of that good stuff. This is going to mean choosing and/or making notebook inserts, and accompanying pens, highlighters, and ephemera.

Though I won’t say I won’t be doing any shopping (especially Black Friday) for any of these items, because I have a decently robust collection of such items, I will say that I am immensely thankful for the huge boost this past year has brought me, in my love of all things pen and paper. For those who have been gently (and not so gently) suggesting I blog more about pen and paper, I will say maybe. The more I play with pens and paper, the more notebooks I fill and pens I empty, the more I want to write, and the more fun writing has become. If that means, along the way, that I pause every now and again, to pet a notebook cover, and stare off into the distance, it also means there is stuff going on in my story brain while I do so. I’ll take that.

I am thankful for my RWA family, fellow romance writers of all ilks, who have been supportive and encouraging, from the first day the new gal with the thousand-yard stare slunk into the business meeting and mumbled something about the time travel that was kicking her butt, to now friends, critique partners, and colleagues. I am thankful to be writing romance, because I get to fall in love every single day, and take a million different paths to happily ever after. Now and again, I get monies for it.

I am thankful for the writer friends I don’t get to see every day. Some, I have never seen as anything other than words on the computer screen. Still, we are family. I am thankful for the romance writers, whether or not we have ever spoken in actual conversation, written or verbally, whose books entertained and inspired me, from the day I first stole my mother’s then-new copy of The Kadin, to an overflowing TBR shelf. Those still keep me going, and are a great carrot on my stick.

I am thankful for the mistakes I have made along the way. As my mother often said, broken bones heal stronger. Would I change some of those, if I could? Probably so. Not all of them. Some. Today, after I get this blog posted, I get to have lunch with Real Life Romance Hero, and then I get to sidle into a too-small billiard room, where flirty banter pings off the walls. After that, I get to reward myself with a good cuddle under a warm, fuzzy blanket, with a good book, a cup of tea, and let a part of my brain drift toward tomorrow.

Not only the part of the day that smells like turkey gravy and hot buttered rolls, but the tomorrow that comes after that (okay, and after Black Friday) and means clearing the decks and making a new notebook for Her Last First Kiss, another for my work with Melva, and look toward the year to come. That’s the year when I will be able to measure the time since my most recently published novel, will be counted in months, not years. I am thankful for new chapters that await, on the page, and the writing life.

Also, pie.


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