Monthly Round-Up: January

The first month of 2019 is already over. How is it possible that Christmas was a whole month ago? All the excitement, the preparation, the lead-up…and poof. It’s gone. At least as a writer of Christmas romances it’s always Christmas in my head! On the advice of my writing partners, I’ve begun A Holiday Gift over again – from the beginning – for the third and what will hopefully be the final time, because I really feel like I’m going to get it this time. It’s so funny how books are like children. During the writing process my first Christmas book, A Holiday Wish, was the well-behaved, overachieving first child, while A Holiday Gift is the rebellious, mercurial second child. My hope is that by the time I start on the third child – A Holiday Hope – I’ll know how to handle anything they can throw at me and come out looking like the literary version of a Pinterest mom who bakes and decorates elaborate birthday cakes from scratch, whose living rooms are spotless shades of white and whiter, and whose kids always look like they stepped out of the pages of some clothing catalog where a pair of leggings costs more than my electric bill.

But I haven’t spent the entire month mourning the quick passing of Christmas and tearing my hair out over my writing. Here are a few other things I did:


Last winter I read and recommended the first in the Peridale Cafe Cozy Mystery series, Pancakes and Corpses, and loved it. The winter is the perfect time for these kinds of stories. They can be read in a day, they go perfectly with a cup of coffee and some cookies or other baked goods, and in my case, since I’m new to the whole cozy mystery thing, there are enough books still waiting that as soon as I finish one, I can buy the next. In the last few days I’ve read books 2 and 3 in the series – Lemonade and Lies, and Doughnuts and Deception. And seriously? These covers are drool-worthy.


Once the cold weather hits, I bust out the slow cooker. There’s nothing like curling up on the couch with a book (one of the aforementioned mysteries, perhaps) while something bubbles away for hours, filling the entire house with the fragrant promise of a delicious meal. This past weekend when we were supposed to be hit by an ice storm (which never materialized, thankfully), I went through all of my pins and chose Chicken Parmesan Pasta from Damn Delicious. I adapted it to fit the ingredients I already had, since I didn’t want to go out in an ice storm, no matter how imaginary. And the result was SO good! I’ll post my version of the recipe next Wednesday.


I know I’m not revealing anything groundbreaking here – this show premiered on Lifetime back in the summer, and has been on Netflix since Christmas – but I’m finally getting around to watching this show in its entirety and I’m loving it. I haven’t read the book, so I’m not among the people who were upset at what I’ve heard was an extremely different ending, but for me, just seeing Penn Badgley totally switch gears from Dan Humphrey has been well worth it. I never would have thought he could be so creepy and still so magnetic. In the era of #metoo this show has taken a beating  for seemingly glorifying abusive, stalkerish behavior, but I honestly don’t get any of that from it. Joe is certainly not presented as hero anywhere but in his own mind, and once that’s clear, I think most people will be able to enjoy this show for exactly what it is.

Valentine’s Day is approaching, and if you’re in the mood for a quick, sweet, romantic read, A Valentine’s Date: Scavenger Hunt is available for just 99 cents on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo

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