Friday, December 16, 2011

Date With Kate - Countdown to Christmas

So   are you ready for Christmas?   Are you one of those efficient people who’s made a list, checked it twice, planned  the perfect gifts, bought them – wrapped them? Have you written and posted all your cards? Decorated the house?  Bought in all the food and planned menus for meals for  the 5000 – well, the dozen or so  - visitors you’ll be having all over the holiday period?

You have? Well congratulations –  though I’m not sure if I believe you! And really, what would Christmas be like if it wasn’t for those last  minute dashes out to the shops for something you’ve forgotten, the replacement present for the one that you accidentally dropped, the ingredients for that special dish that your DH has said he’d love to eat . . .and while you’re out there, will you pick up a gift for his mother . .. ?     Christmas is wonderful but it makes for a lot of work – and  let’s face it,  most of the work is  done by the women in the family.

I was reading Trish Wylie’s Wednesday post before I wrote this  ( Welcome back Trish! It’s great to see a new book with your name on the cover) and I was nodding along at so many of the points she made. There are times when life just seems to run along so smoothly – and times when it turns into a mad whirling tsunami of events that turn you upside down and inside out and  leave you wondering if you have chance to snatch a breath before something else happens  to hit you in the face.   I’ve had one of those years – ill health  ( family, fear friend, myself) bereavement (we lost my Mother in Law suddenly and unexpectedly) the loss of two dear cats, including the wonderful Sid the Cat who has done such a brilliant  job of picking the winners of my prizes winners for so many years.  Every time I’ve thought that was ‘it’ – something else happened to prove it wasn’t.

So what has this got to do with writing romance (apart from the fact that it’s been a struggle to do much of that  ‘writing’ bit? ) Well, the thing is that thinking about this and about Christmas  reminds me of one of the most important reasons why I do what I do – why I write romance – why I read romance – why I love these novels that the late great Charlotte Lamb called those complicated little books.  It’s because they are  precisely what the critics often call them dismissively –  short, easy reading, aimed at a female audience. And they are about love.  Love that means something to everyone no matter what colour creed, age or  nationality you are. And isn’t that what Christmas is about too - about telling the people we love that we do love them, showing it with cards, gifts, hospitality . . .   And that is so important – believe me, having missed one last chance to tell someone very important in my life that I loved them – and just barely getting away with not having to do that more than once this year, I ‘m saying that with real feeling. 

At various points in this year the chance to escape into a book  - and particularly a romance novel – has been a vital, almost life-saving – certainly sanity saving  time in a stressful year.  And  there have been times when I’ve appreciated a that short, easy-reading nature of these novels when I didn’t know  if I wold soon be interrupted or  couldn’t concentrate on some long, complicated twisting plot. And most of all when I wanted the reassurance that in this book at least things would turn out all right and  there would be that happy ending that  we promise our readers. 

It gave me a whole new appreciation of what we offer our readers – and how great it is when we get it right – when we offer them that little bit of relaxation, of switch-off, of me time in the middle of  a year that seems to have had so much gloom and doom in the headlines every day.

So now, with the run up to Christmas in mind, I’ve been thinking about that – and about  a way that perhaps I can pass on that feeling to someone out there who might need a break  right now.  Over on my blog I’ve been running a Countdown to Christmas  with a  book giveaway every day . I’ve asked readers to come over and chat with me, tell them about themselves – about the way they’re celebrating Christmas.   So today’s PHS post is part of that -  but with a difference.

Today I have a copy of my 3 in 1 collection Claimed By the Sicilian to giveaway. It contains  3 of my bestselling novels with hot Sicilian heroes  -  The Sicilian’s Wife,  Sicilian Husband;  Blackmailed Bride  and The Sicilian’s Red-Hot Revenge.   And just as on my personal blog, I’m asking you to post in the comments to win – but  not to win this prize for yourself but as a special Christmas gift for someone else. Do you know someone who’s had a tough year? Someone who has spent more time looking after others rather than themselves ? Someone who just deserves a treat?  Well – let’s face it,  that just about describes most mothers .

So why not post and tell me about them – you don’t have to go into too much details if you don’t want to  - but tell  me  who you think you’d like to give this prize to. And then I might not have Sid the Cat to pick a winner – but  he did train up his apprentice, young Charlie the Maine Coon who will now take over this task in the future. Charlie has already put his training into practice by picking all the winners of my recent Big Blog Tour giveaways – and he will be picking all the winners in the Countdown to Christmas too if you want to join in with that.  And Charlie will pick a winner here today too –  though I'll have to get  him down from the Christmas Tree first!  - and I’ll send the book to you to give to your chosen ‘heroine’.

Happy Christmas  to all the Pink Hearters – and I’ll see you in 2012

Kate is Celebrating the fact that  her April 2011 novel The Proud Wife - has been nominated by Romantic Times  Reviewers' Award of Best Presents Extra 2011. Looking forward to 21012 she has  a new title coming out soon. This will be The Devil and Miss Jones and will be out in March (UK) and in Harlequin PresentsExtra in April. This will be her 60th title for Harlequin.

Sorry that I didn't get back to comment yesterday - it turned into one of those crazy too much to do days. I was so happy to see that there were these lovely nominations and as it's Christmas and as I have some spare copies of this book - and as Charlie was feeling particularly greedy! I'm going to send a copy to each of your nominees,   Mary, Rita and Kaelee. I think I have some addresses but please email me again kate AT kate-walker .com with the address to be sure


  1. I'm very organised with my lists, but you are right, there is always something I have forgotten. Something unexpected always happens. Today I had the plumber in. I had a very drippy tap & he managed to fit me in before Christmas. God bless the trades people.

    My Sister is amazing. My Father has been in & out of hospital for months now. My sister runs my Mother around to see him & takes so much of the weight on her own shoulders. He moves into a Nursing Home next week & my Mother into an Independent Living Unit - same complex. It was time.

  2. You are so right Kate, that is truly why I love reading romance novels - short or long. It gives me a chance to escape when things are blue as it definitely recharges me to hope and believe that things will get better! Thank you for giving me these special moments.

    The special person I would nominate is my big sister Teresa. Hope that 2012 is her year to shine - Love you sis

    Rita from South Africa

  3. I'm half organized but have very little ho ho ho spirit this year.

    The person I'd like to nominate is someone called JV on Harlequin and a few other blogs. I do know who she is and her address. One of her best friends passed away suddenly and her mother is on oxygen and needs to be taken to all kinds of doctor appointments. Her mom ended up in the hospital about a month ago and they weren't sure if she would be coming home. She's also foster mothering a cat and her four kittens in her garage as her two cats are neutered males and don't like other cats. She's planning on neutering all five cats soon and hopes to find homes for them. She also has a rental house whose roof got damaged and they have had to contend with all the problems that involved as well. She still managed to hold down a part time job and do numerous other stuff.

  4. Sorry that I didn't get back to comment yesterday - it turned into one of those crazy too much to do days. I was so happy to see that there were these lovely nominations and as it's Christmas and as I have some spare copies of this book - and as Charlie was feeling particularly greedy! I'm going to send a copy to each of your nominees. I think I have some addresses but please email me again kate AT kate-walker .com with the address to be sure

    Happy Christmas!

  5. Thank you Kate. I've sent you an email with JV's address in it.