Sunday, November 30, 2008

Finally! A Press Kit!

A couple of months ago I sat in this chair and worked for hours putting together a press kit. What a very handy tool for members of the press to be able to download that from my website, thought I. Other authors have nifty press kits on their websites, thought I.

So I created it, made it into a pdf, and tried to figure out how to upload to the website. Hm. That was a bit of a brick wall, since I'm not very techy. Okay--next step, contact the tech guru. Over the phone he walked me through some of it, but since he didn't know what tools I had available in my website products, he couldn't tell me in.short.simple.words exactly which buttons to push.

So anyway, the tech guru is home from college, and yesterday evening after I showed him how to repair the ripped seam in his new T-shirt, he sat down with me and the website. Turns out I had somehow managed to upload the pdf, and all we had to do, really not sure on that, but it happened quickly. And now I have a Press Kit on my website.

This morning I got brave enough to look at it, and sure enough, it's already outdated. I created it before the Christmas stories became available. Daggone!

Do I ask for help again, or do I try to upload a new version myself?

*Sigh* Sometimes it takes a village to raise a romance writer.


Saturday, November 29, 2008

My cake is more popular than I am

This picture, of course, doesn't look like either of us. I haven't been blonde since first grade, and "my" cake recipe is not for a layer cake. Although sticking candles in it would be fun, we won't be doing that today. One is occasionally limited by the size of one's clip art collection.

That is a really cute apron, though...

At any rate, if you like cake but don't have a lot of time or inclination, this one is a winner everywhere I take it. Watch out for everyone's allergies, etc, of course. This has nuts and wheat, etc.

Swedish Nut Cake


2 c. sugar 1 tsp. vanilla

2 c. self-rising flour ½ c. chopped pecans

2 tsp. soda 1 20-oz. can crushed pineapple (DO NOT DRAIN)

2 eggs

Combine first 3 ingredients and stir in eggs, vanilla, pecans & undrained pineapple. Mix well. Pour into greased 9 x 13 pan. Bake 40-45 minutes at 350˚ (325˚ if glass pan). Check for doneness by inserting a wooden toothpick in the center; return to oven a few minutes if necessary.

Cool, then spread on Topping.


1 stick butter 1 tsp. vanilla

1 8-oz. package cream cheese ½ c. chopped pecans

1 ¾ c. powdered sugar

Cream together butter and cream cheese. Beat in powdered sugar, then vanilla and pecans. Spread over cooled cake.


Friday, November 28, 2008

Yikes. I overdid.

Oh. My. Word.

I took the Thanksgiving "feast" very literally yesterday. We went to my cousin's home, and I swear, I ate for five hours straight. AND she sent leftovers home with us, so I don't have to cook an actual meal today.

Which is a very good thing, since I can still barely move. Good grief.

I did manage to stumble my way through a post to the new Resplendence Publishing authors' blog this morning. Some of it even makes sense. I do think it's fun for the RP authors to do a blog together. What a neat way for readers to learn more about us and our books.

In my continuing journey through Christmas romance stories, last night I finished Debbie Macomber's A Cedar Cove Christmas. So good! I really enjoyed all the subtle references to the Biblical Christmas story. If you don't know that story, it doesn't take away from Debbie's tale, but if you do, you'll enjoy the way she worked them in. This book is part of a series, but again, if you haven't read those, you're fine to jump in with A Cedar Cove Christmas.

Now I will crawl off and groan for a while. But I can't slouch around long, because there's food to fix for the big family gathering at my aunt and uncle's tomorrow. I suppose I might be hungry by then.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Have a Lovely Thanksgiving

So very thankful this year, for the many blessings in my life.

I don't know if you've been following Susan Wiggs' Gratitude Project, but that has been a wonderful exercise in remembering to be grateful. I kept a Gratitude Journal a few years ago, but got out of the habit. What a lesson it is to list each day three things for which I am grateful.

I hope you can think of three things today. They don't have to be huge, though certainly they can be.

I'll start, okay?

1. Beautiful music.
2. Young people.
3. Sharing this video with you.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

National Day of Listening is this Friday

My dad died this summer. He was on this earth for 95 years, and I guess at some level I thought he would always be here. Now he’s gone, and my mother’s been gone for seven years. I certainly did not learn everything I could have—or should have—from them. Now I have lost my opportunity.

So I was intrigued when I heard about this on National Public Radio this week. StoryCorps is declaring November 28, 2008—the day after Thanksgiving—the first annual National Day of Listening. Some of the NPR personalities have already done their listening—and recording—and are sharing it here.

Here is a short explanation of the project, from the StoryCorps site: “This holiday season, ask the people around you about their lives—it could be your grandmother, a teacher, or someone from the neighborhood. By listening to their stories, you will be telling them that they matter and they won’t ever be forgotten. It may be the most meaningful time you spend this year… Set aside one hour on Friday, November 28th, to record a conversation with someone important to you.”

Interested? Here’s a link to get you started: StoryCorps.

Don't miss your opportunity... Happy Listening!


Tuesday, November 25, 2008


This morning, the remaining three novellas of A Legendary Christmas were released on Fictionwise ("the Amazon of ebooks"). Fictionwise is a neat place to buy ebooks, and I'll admit that since discovering it, I've been a frequent browser--and purchaser.

Take a look:

Home for the Holidays, by Maddie James
Santa's Kiss, by Jan Scarbrough
Christmas Collision, by - me!

Last week the first novella, The Christmas Gift, written by Janet Eaves, was released on Fictionwise.

Have a great day!


Monday, November 24, 2008

Checking my attitude at the door

Boy, throw a monkey wrench into my plans and watch my head spin around. No—I’m not asking you to throw a monkey wrench into my plans! Please, no!

Just saying, that happened yesterday. I overreacted. Change is fine, as long as it’s my choice. Unrealistic, I know.

So today, in spite of plans changed due to necessity, I shall check my attitude at the door and be cheerful and happy. I shall be pleasant to all with whom I come into contact. I shall be perky… Okay, that’s probably going too far.

Still, it’s all in the way you look at things, isn’t it?


Sunday, November 23, 2008

We got an award. Times two!

Maddie James and Taryn Raye both awarded "Welcome to Magdalenaville" the I HEART YOUR Isn't that exciting?!?

Unfortunately, I am freaked out due to an unexpected change in plan for my week. I guess I feel like someone just knocked my "writer hat" off my head.

I've tried to give you seven of my favorite blogs with links that you could click on and go exploring.

I have posted that twice, and, well, it hasn't quite gone as planned.

So let's punt: Take a look at the right column here. You'll see some of my favorite blogs. Pick seven of them, and go investigate.

Have at it--explore to your heart's content. Happy Sunday, and happy blog-hopping!

Oh yeah, at this point Sunday is almost over.

Magdalena (a bit frazzled)

Saturday, November 22, 2008


My copy of A Legendary Christmas arrived from Amazon yesterday afternoon. Here it is, next to my "reading" copy of Ladies of Legend: Finding Home. (Please pardon the pink sticky notes marking the passages I do for a reading of the first anthology. Not sure I placed things artfully enough to hide those.)

Resplendence Publishing is sending the author copies soon, but you know what? I'm not a patient person. I wanted to hold this pretty book in my hand. And take its picture in my chair.

Also yesterday I printed the blurb for A Legendary Christmas and attached it with ribbon to the book cover postcards. Kinda looks like a book, kinda looks like a Christmas gift. It was fun to do, too. So far I've only had opportunity to give one of these little cutie pies away, but more of that will happen today...etc...

In other news, I've updated the Appearances page of my website. I look happily busy next year.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Magdalena Newsletter, anyone? (cross-posted throughout the known universe)

Hi there.

I have an email newsletter. Did you know that? Yep, and I send it out whenever something important happens like a new book release, signing... You know, the stuff that would keep me awake at night if it weren't such a beautiful dream.

So anyway, I sent out a newsletter early this week to the people on the list. And this morning it occurred to me that there may be other people who would like to be on the list, except they don't know it exists. I sent out a bulletin to MySpace friends this morning, and posted a note on Facebook.

Please consider this your personal, engraved invitation to join my email newsletter list. Just go to my website and click on the email tab. Email me with NEWSLETTER in the subject line. If you do that, I'll send you this week's newsletter with its fancy pdf attachment (ooh, impressive, huh?)... and I'll add you to the list for future issues.

There's something exciting coming up in the next few weeks, and I'm going to send a newsletter to let as many people know as quickly as possible.

Thank you for reading!


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Getting the Word Out!

I'm not a salesperson. I flunked out of Girl Scouts because I didn't want to sell cookies. It bothered me when my son was expected to go door to door and sell things to support his school, so I just bought the stuff myself. We ate a lot of candy bars and frozen cookie dough.

But my books are different. I think they can make a difference in the lives of my readers, if only for a little while. A little while is enough.

So I'm into selling these books. I need to get the word out!

I've contacted a few independent booksellers and boutique venues, and will do more of that. These are places where the Legend books will do well, given the opportunity and appropriate promotion. I love these stores where the employees--even the owners--care about you, and about your product. I want to team up with them. So I'm working on...networking.

I sent out an email newsletter this week. I'm meeting new people on Facebook, and actually had a wonderfully important contact this week via MySpace.

Suddenly I'm not shy about selling. I want you to read these books. I want you to visit our imaginary town of Legend, Tennessee and have such a wonderful time there that you want to return again and again!

A Legendary Christmas is on Amazon. You can click the cover at the top right of this blog and buy it. Same with the first anthology, Ladies of Legend: Finding Home.

For those who prefer ebooks, all the novellas are sold separately at Resplendence Publishing. Janet's is now also on Fictionwise ("the Amazon of ebooks"), and each week one of the novellas will be introduced there.

Maddie's Murder on the Mountain, a separate novel, but also in the Legend series, is also on Fictionwise.

The books are available. I believe in them. I just need to let people know.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

E-mail Nightmare!

I had a nightmare recently. In it, I was e-mailing a contest entry. I had written it in Word, then pasted into the body of the e-mail.

After that (big mistake), I tweaked the content quite a bit in the e-mail. It was so much better than the original, and I was really excited...

But just before I hit SEND, the e-mail program suddenly shut down and I lost all that extra award winning content!

I woke up screaming. Literally screaming!

Thank goodness it was a dream. Nora Roberts was the contest judge, and I wouldn't have wanted to disappoint her.

Golly. The pressure in this business!


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Legendary Christmas - now at AMAZON!

You can buy the paperback version of our anthology, A Legendary Christmas, at Amazon! It went on sale yesterday, and we're just delighted.

I know gift giving will be tight for most of us this year. But in my humble opinion, this anthology would be a lovely gift. Lovelier still if you include the first anthology, Ladies of Legend: Finding Home.

Why not give the gift of a few hours spent in Legend, Tennessee, where the cares of the world fade away, and every story has a happy ending?

My current read is a Christmas novella. I'm not sure there's ever been a better time to curl up with some good fiction. It doesn't change reality, but might make it a little easier to deal with.


Monday, November 17, 2008

What a great day!

Gee, Saturday in my part of the world was a rainy, messy day. Bleah. The perfect day to stay home by the fireplace, drink hot tea, and read, or write. Yay!

But then, one has one's commitments. I'm secretary of my local Romance Writers of America chapter, Kentucky Romance Writers. This "local" chapter meets in Lexington, KY, about two and a half hours from my fireplace. Since I'm secretary, and since we were hosting a special speaker, I dragged my sorry carcass out of the house, and Liberty Ann and I made the drive. (Liberty Ann is my Jeep, and she loves drives like that, even if it rains. Or, in theory, even if it snows, but I'm not inclined to test that any time soon.)

We had a good time visiting over lunch at Cheddar's. (I didn't take pictures of lunch. There was spinach dip, and you know how that goes.)

Then we had our meeting in the Tates Creek Branch Library. Usually we have a room reserved, but this time we met in the study area. Worked out great. Our "guest" spoke extemporaneously--really more of a chat--and there was lots of discussion. What fun!

I think some of the library patrons were interested in what was going on. As they should have been--because looky who our speaker was! Kay Stockham!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Make new friends, but keep the old...

Remember this old song? Make new friends, but keep the old. Some are silver, and the others are gold...

These girls and I have been friends for a long time--Jenny since kindergarten, Connie, first grade, Beverly, third grade, and Jeannean, junior high. Since our high school graduation pictured here, everyone but me has moved out of our hometown. They are anywhere from four to twelve hours away from here now.

Sometimes it's lonely being the only one left. But sometimes it's a blessing, too.

Like yesterday, when I went to the funeral home to be with Jenny, whose aunt had died. Last night I delivered hugs from the girls who weren't present to deliver them in person.

Beverly and I both lost our dads in the past year. There are changes in all our families--additions, losses, graduations... We do what we can to support each other through it all.

I don't make new friends easily. But you know what? When I make one, it's for good. Lucky me.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Trying to Make Friends

It has been a lovely autumn in Southern Indiana. In spite of drought, and hurricane, and, well, economic miseries, the trees did their part to brighten our lives. So here is a picture I took in our back yard several days ago.

Most of the leaves are gone now. We've had rain--finally--and wind, and it's looking pretty bare. But these colors are kind of nice.

You know why I took this picture? Because of the new neighbor. She moved here recently, and although I've made some overtures, she seems hesitant and a bit reclusive. Not to gossip, but she seems a little obsessive-compulsive.

Whenever I see her, although she speaks briefly, she generally ignores me. Instead, she's paying attention to some of the other neighbors. Hurts my feelings some, but hey, I'm tough.

Who can compete with birds and squirrels? Evidently not me, and not a saucer of milk.



Friday, November 14, 2008

Out the Window!

A subtitle for this post would be, "The Story of my NONaNo 2008 experience."

But I really like the Out the Window imagery. And this is the cutest window, with its darling little pots of herbs.

So. Here's the thing.

I’m working on Betsy’s story. I had thought I’d hammer it out and then move on to a new novel to do for NaNoWriMo. Fifty thousand words, you know. But as it happens, I’ve had some surprises from Betsy and the people of Legend, Tennessee. No way am I going to tell them I’m taking a break.

So, since we’re near the middle of the month and I haven’t even begun a new story for National Novel Writing Month, or logged into the NaNoWriMo site except to register in October… Um, since all that, NaNo is out the window this year. Sorry. Not intentional, but there it is. To be honest, I’m glad not to have that to worry about right now. I’m not in the mood to write quickly and go back and polish.

I wish all the best to those who are diligently NaNo’ing, building up their word counts. It’s an awesome feeling! Maybe I’ll do it next year. Right now I have to follow my bliss, you know. I’m just that much of a rebel.

I am pleased to report that Betsy is happy with me, and that’s pretty much all that matters right now. By the time I type THE END, there’s going to be a lot of happiness going on in Legend. Funny how that happens.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Omigosh! Voices in my head!

I feel like a full fledged novelist, because as I was peeling potatoes and emptying the dishwasher, there was a conversation going on.

In my head.

Between the hero and heroine of a book I’m not writing…yet. It will have to come after the current wip (work in progress), because the hero is a secondary character in the current project.

Of course, I did write down their conversation, to use later. They might not get back into that particular issue later on without prodding. I'll be ready to remind them.

This is so exciting! Voices in my head, and I don’t even have a fever today!


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Random Musings from the Sick Couch

When my son was young, he was often ill. Allergies combined with asthma combined with early school years of a million germs to fight off each day. Back then we had a tradition of the Sick Couch. I would drape the love seat in the living room with a particular ancient tie-dyed sheet, he would lie there and be pathetic, and I would wait on him hand and foot.

There was always a TV tray for the tissue box and a glass of Sprite with a bendy straw. We'd hang out in the living room and watch the old Disney version of "Swiss Family Robinson"--the one in which James MacArthur was the older (extremely cute) son and John Mills was the dad. Other details of his sick days are just as well forgotten. There were lots of them.

Yesterday and today I've been on the sick couch. I haven't dragged out the nearly disintegrated tie-dyed sheet, but instead curled up under a blanket on the day bed in the sitting room. Lit a little scented candle too. And I treated myself to a movie--"Legally Blonde." Can you believe I'd never seen it before?

I think I contracted stomach flu from my cousin who had it recently. Fortunately for me I didn't get the full impact of the virus. But there was enough transmitted through our cell phones to make me, well, pathetic. I know that's not scientific or anything, but guess what? I'm sick so I get to say and do things that don't make sense.

Not feeling quite as bad as the woman in that picture up at the top, though. She looks to be pondering the possibilities of that facial tissue as a snack. Or maybe she already tried and found out it was icky. I'll stay away from that, and sustain myself on honey-sweetened tea.

Ooh! This is much better. Let's pretend I look like this. Let's pretend I'm wearing a pale blue cashmere robe and pearl earrings while I'm on my purple squishy pillow on the day bed. I can pretend it (the fever is in my brain)...can you? I am also going to pretend that my hair looks like that. So daggone cute. Maybe I'll get mine cut like that again. And get some big pearl earrings. Then maybe I can be clip art.

Should I get the thermometer out and re-take my temp?

You know the four novellas were released yesterday at Resplendence Publishing, right? They're on the front page. The novellas are for sale separately in e-book format, but of course I hope you'll want all four. Jan, Janet, and Maddie wrote great stories. I'm very happy with mine, too. I especially love the last scene...

Any day now I'll let you know when the paperback anthology, A Legendary Christmas, is available. I heard today that it's supposed to be on Amazon within a week, so that's exciting!

I've been reading that a lot of people are giving books for Christmas this year. Of course I think that's a great idea. Most books are not a huge expense, don't take up a lot of room, and can be enjoyed repeatedly. If you haven't considered it, give it some thought. There are so many wonderful books, and so many places to buy them.

Okay, this post is definitely random. I'm going to curl up again. I might take the laptop with me and book-shop, though...


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Merry Christmas from Legend, TN!

E-books will be released today, and Paperbacks later this week. Why not spend part of your holiday in Legend?

From the Ladies of Legend Authors and Resplendence Publishing...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Do you believe this?

“Every dreamer knows that it is entirely possible to be homesick for a place you’ve never been to, perhaps more homesick than for familiar ground.” --Judith Thurman, The Hand of Distance

I have this quote framed. Right now it's on the mantel in my sitting room. Although, having read it many times over the years, I know what it says, sometimes I have to read it again, to see if it is still meaningful to me. Almost without fail, it makes me want to cry.

I've shown it to some people with whom it immediately resonated. I have shown it to one or two who read it and looked at me blankly.

I think that, all my life, I've been homesick...


Saturday, November 8, 2008

Today we light candles...

Yesterday evening I composed a long post about my mother and her twin brother. Today is their birthday, and we're lighting candles to honor and remember them. They've been gone from this earth for several years.

But it occurred to me that, even though I got the okay from my cousins to post about this, you're probably not interested in hearing stories about the twins.

I'll just say that my uncle's daughters--Sandy in Oregon and Teri in California--and I are lighting candles today in remembrance of my mother and their dad. The three of us don't see each other, but thank goodness for e-mail.

Geographically we're so very far apart, but we're connected too, aren't we?

How blessed we all are to be family.

Happy Birthday, Twins!

Blessings on you, Sandy and Teri! Love you!


Friday, November 7, 2008


I'm posting this blog on Friday night, because I'm not sure I'll be able to move by Saturday. Today I spent about fourteen hours, off and on, "chatting" in a yahoo group that hosts live chats with authors. It was a group chat with Maddie, Jan, and Janet, but they all had to be at day jobs most of the time. So, hey, I thought I'd check in occasionally, post something here and there.

I got caught up in it. I was never away from this laptop for long the entire day. I constantly refreshed my yahoo page to check for new emails.

Finally we ended the chat a little while ago, and I must say I was okay with that. I'm so tired of sitting in this chair and, well, sitting in this chair.

Then why do it? Because maybe we got the word out a little bit today. Maybe new people heard about Legend, Tennessee for the first time, and fell in love with it. Maybe they liked what I posted about The Blank Book, too.

Maybe. You never know for sure exactly what it is that sells books. There are no exit polls at checkout, to my knowledge. You figure out what you have the time and patience for, and what makes sense to you, and you spend yourself there.

Of course I did no writing today. Nada. That's a trade-off. Promote or write? Today I did all of one and none of the other, which is probably not ideal. Definitely not what I planned.

For everyone who did the scavenger hunt, please check the SisterWriters Blog on Saturday to see if you won.

Have a lovely Saturday. I'll see you on Sunday morning. There's something special on Sunday.


Scavenger Hunt! Chat! Prizes!

Join me and my SisterWriters for some Friday Festivities to celebrate the upcoming release of A Legendary Christmas...

1. Scavenger Hunt. The prize is a big ol' "basket" of ebooks. All the exciting details are listed at the SisterWriters Blog. I wanna win, but pretty sure Maddie, Jan, Janet won't let me in as a contestant. :(

2. Chat at Romance Bistro. Most of the chat will be this evening, due to "day job" schedules, but there are already a few posts up there from this morning. If you're not a member of the Bistro, you can join the yahoo group here.

Just for fun--this picture was taken of Jan Scarbrough, me, Janet Eaves, and Maddie James earlier this year at the Lori Foster Readers and Writers Get-Together in Cincinnati.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

While we're on the subject of Christmas stories...

So, the other day I mentioned the Christmas story I recently read and enjoyed.

Next Tuesday, November 11, is a big Christmas story day! That's the day all four of the novellas of the anthology, A Legendary Christmas, will be released at the Resplendence Publishing site. Right now the book covers are patiently waiting on the Coming Soon page, but by November 11 you will be able to buy each novella separately in ebook format. The covers are similar, but slightly different, which I think is such a neat idea.

Paperbacks containing all four novellas will be available in November, too. What a great Christmas gift, eh? Here is what the print anthology will look like.

For lots of information about the Christmas stories, go to this page on the Legend website. While you're there, check out the other Legend series books. Start at the top of the right sidebar if you'd like to read them in order. Each book stands alone, so you can just jump in wherever you want, too.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Nice Christmas Story

A Town Called Christmas, by Carrie Alexander. Just finished reading it last night...well, really about 12:30 this morning. Yes, it was that good.

Surprises me that I've already read a Christmas story. I have several still in the digital TBR pile, too. Yay!

Monday, November 3, 2008


Yesterday we took a hike. Now, I try to walk for exercise several days a week here in town, but even though I take a hilly route, hiking in the rolling woods is a different proposition. I think there's an entirely different set of muscles involved.

And we had only a limited amount of time, so there was no lollygagging. About an hour and a half at a brisk pace. Definitely good exercise. And what a beautiful day, and gorgeous scenery!

Part of the time the trail was broad and smooth. Very nice walking, and you could look around at the trees. Of course with the noise of walking on leaves, we didn't see a single animal. I'm sure they were all sitting in their nests or whatever, holding their little paws over their little furry ears, waiting for the big noisy crashing humans to clear the area. I never expect to see even a squirrel on this type of outing because somehow in the woods I'm noisy. I'll look at squirrels from my kitchen window.

When the trail wasn't wide and easy like this, sometimes it was narrow, and slanted toward the downhill, with a huge steep drop off. I didn't look around at scenery on those portions. Um. No pictures of those areas either. I was just concentrating on breathing regularly, and watching my footing.

Part of the time on this hike, we sort of...lost track of the trail. That's rather typical of us, and so far we always eventually end up where we meant to end up. Or at least pretty close.

So instead of even a narrow slanted trail with an occasional white blaze, we were bushwhacking through stuff that looked like this. You don't walk too close to the person in front of you, because the little trees he just pushed his way through will slap you in the face. Been there, done that. But no slaps yesterday, and the pesky greenbriar couldn't hurt my old jeans. Fortunately I was wearing an old long-sleeved shirt too.

And a bright tie-eyed shirt over it, so I did not look like a deer. It's hunting season, so not looking like a deer is a really good idea. And yes, there was a red bandanna in my brown hair. So my hair would not look like a deer. So very sorry there isn't a photo of my hiking loveliness to share with you!

Here's the payoff! Look what we got to see when we emerged from the woods!

Wow. Have I mentioned I love autumn?


Sunday, November 2, 2008

I love this poem

The Mist and All

By Dixie Willson
To be read slowly and quietly

I like the fall
The mist and all
I like the night owl’s lonely call
And wailing sound
Of wind around

I like the gray
November day
And dead, bare boughs that coldly sway
Against my pane
I like the rain

I like to sit
And laugh at it
And tend my cozy fire a bit
I like the fall
The mist and all

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Welcome, November!

Come sit with me on this comfy bench. We'll brush off the golden leaves and talk about November.

I don't know of many people besides me who actually like the month of November. October is my favorite, of course. Gotta love the changing colors, and the beginning of sweatshirt weather. Gotta love that my birthday is smack in the middle of the month. Yay!

But I do think November has a lot going for it. Today is All Saints Day if you choose to observe it. I am, in a personal way, because my dad died this summer. We'll have a short but very meaningful ceremony in church tomorrow as well, lighting a candle for each member who passed away this year. We'll shed some tears, and remember to be thankful for lives well lived.

The leaves are pretty here now. I was afraid Hurricane Ike, which terrorized the Ohio Valley, had put the quietus on fall color, but I'm thankful to be wrong on that. The color is at its height this weekend. For the next several days the high temps are supposed to be 70-ish, then back down to sweatshirt weather in the evening, and cold enough at night to maybe light the fireplace. Perfect.

My cousin Shannon and I celebrate our birthdays together in November. Hers is in December, so we basically split the difference. We try to do something a little out of the ordinary when we get together. Sometimes that just means trying a new kind of food--last time it was Persian. (Interesting.) Doesn't matter a whole lot what we do, though, because a day with her is always fun! And at our November outing we both get to open presents!

My mother's birthday is the 9th. That is sad because she died seven years ago. But like All Saints Day, I try to be thankful for the time she was on this earth. More about that next weekend.

My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. I love that it is not hugely commercialized like most holidays. I love that it is about gratitude. It's also the only time of year I'm a big fan of leftovers. I almost like the Thanksgiving Dinner leftovers better than the first time around.

I even love the gray of November skies. As much as the ultimate October sky is an amazing blue, November's is this awesome shade of gray.

I've had my walk this morning in the cool, brisk air. The sun is going to shine. I feel grateful. Do you?