Sunday, December 02, 2007

Counting down and looking forward - by Kate Walker

I love Christmas. I love the way that it brightens up the dark, cold (well, it's cold here in the UK) days of December with decorations and celebrations, I love the way that, when it's celebrated right, it brings together loved ones from near and far, puts you in contact with people you don't connect with the rest of the year, and brings friends and warmth into your life and home.

I just had my traditional early Christmas with a group of very special writer friends who all come to stay at my home for a long weeked. They've only just left, that's why I'm a little late writing this blog. We ate a lot, drank some wine, visited 'Christmas World' in a nearby village. We played silly games, laughed a lot, some of us had things they needed to shed a tear or two over as well. And we talked and talked and talked . . .

There were different generations gathered together too - one of my friends couldn't make it last year because the birth of her baby was very close. This year, her almost one year old son joined us for the weekend - hopfully the first of many such visits by him and other new members of the 'family of friends'.

For a time, for various reasons, I'd been feeling too stressed to think of Christmas without worrying but this weekend has brought home to me just what it's really all about.

It's about sharing. About reaching out to other people and letting them know that they are important in your life. And that includes my readers. Every year as Christmas approaches, I run several contests to involve my readers in my Christmas celebrations. To reach out to them and let them know how much I appreciate them and how grateful I am to all the readers who buy my books and so keep me writing and published next year and for years (hopefully) to come.

Like this post, I'm a little late with organising this but now I'm in the Christmas mood I'm organising my 12 Days of Christmas contest and the details will go up on my web site just as soon as I can get them there. And then here on My Tote Bag Leena will be running my 12 Days of Christmas contest. Every day for 12 days leading up to Christmas I'll be giving away a signed copy of one of my books and a little extra Christmas Gift to all the lucky winners. So why not check out my blog or my Contest page on my web site soon to see when the contest is starting?

The other thing I do is ask my readers to help me with my Christmas Charity Card. I would love to be able to send you all a Christmas card to wish you all the happiness of this special season, but the planning and organising of all that is just impossible - so I'm going to be doingwhat I did last year, and that is to give a real, practical gift tothose in need instead of cards. Last year's gift was a batch of essential medicines for a whole village - that was the choice voted for by most of the visitors to the blog. So this year I'll be running the poll again and I hope you'll drop byand vote for your choice of special gift that I'll be sending this year. It is, after all, in place of a card to say thank you to each and every one of you for your support for me all through this year.

And as I did last year, I will be posting up a special cyber card foryou all on my web site from December. I have at least got that organised and it's up on my web site from today so I hope you'll come by and see that.

And looking forward? Well when 2008 dawns, Lee and I have some plans that we hope will interest those of you who want to be writers of romance as well as readers. Today's blog is on the 12th of the month and from January 2008 I will be regularly posting on the 12 of each month and then I will be talking about writing - 12 points on the 12th. Because, of course, my award winning guide to writing Romance is called the 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance. And I hope to have some exciting news about that to tell you very soon. So I hope you'll come by and join me for that too.

And to celebrate Christmas with all the readers of this blog, and too look forward to those special posts, I'm going to offer a special prize today. I have 2 copies of the 12 Point Guide To Writing Romance to give away - and if you're lucky I'll put in a copy of my current Harlequin Presents title too, That's The Greek Tycoon's Unwilling Wife a book that's still riding high on the bestseller lists on and

All you have to do is to post me a reply to this blog - telling me what you're most looking forward to for Christmas and New Year. Let me know what you're hoping to write too - that would help me for the 12 Points on the 12th blog starting in January.

At the end of the week I'll get Sid the cat to pick a winner, as he picks all my winners and if you're really lucky you'll have those prizes with you in time to be an extra present for you.

And even though it's still a little early, I'd like to wish all of you a really happy, joyful, sharing Christmas. I hope it's everything you've ever dreamed of and leaves you with some truly special memories to treasure. And I wish you a fantastic New Year, with lots to look forward to in the next 12 months.

One of which I hope will be joining me here on the 12 for the start of those special posts.


Jill said...

I am looking forward to my parents visiting for Christmas. We have just moved to a new city so it will be the first time that they see our new home. This will also be the first year that my husband and I are hosting Christmas, so I am looking forward to it and nervous at the same time.
Gosh, I would love write Harlequin Romance. Harlequin Presents are great as well (of course!), but Liz Fielding, Sophie Weston, Lucy Gordon, and Jessica Hart are probably my all time favorite writers.

Lois said...

Well, we're going to see A Christmas Carol on stage on the 15th (at the same place I saw a stage version of Pride and Prejudice last year!) :)


Estella said...

I am looking forward to my family being together for Christmas.
As far as the new year---I want everyone to be well and happy.

Jane said...

I'm like everyone else. I look forward to spending Christmas with my family and having the big feast and the exchanging of presents.

anne said...

I enjoy the warmth of this season with my fmaily, altogether in peace and harmony. It is very meaningful and memorable to spend quality time with each other.

ellie said...

I look forward to being with all my family since time and life is precious and more so as we get older. I hope that we all will be happy and healthy.

pearl said...

I would love to spend this holiday time on a cruise with my family. Just to be together in a relaxing environment and catch up with no worries at all. For the new year best of health and happiness.

Donna Alward said...

There's nothing in particular I look forward to, because there's so much I love about the season. For me it's the little moments - like today, making ginger cookies with my girls and having my seven-year old present me with a mug of hot chocolate. :-) Or watching holiday movies with the family by the glow of the tree. And having friends over for good food and better laughs.

Jill - your faves are mine too - and a big reason why I felt the Romance line was for me.

And Kate, I already have your 12 point guide and it's my bible! Our rwa chapter doesn't have one though!

Lovely post, dearest!

mammakim said...

I look forward to my family being all together. We had a house fire on halloween night and I am just thankful none of us were home, so it is especially nice this Christmas season to be all together.

Georgie Lee said...

I enjoying going home between Christmas and New Years. Most of my friends are also home at Christmas so it is a great chance to catch up with everyone. It is also relaxing to just hang out with the family.

Maureen said...

I am looking forward to seeing my family for Christmas and for the New Year I have a list of things I want to accomplish. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday.

Cryna said...

I am looking forward to having everyone home for Christmas. The traditional dinner is the thing that is the best, when everyone is around. I also love the lights at this time of the year.

Nathalie said...

I am looking forward to relax a bit and eat a lot!

Lily said...

I am really looking forward to your contest - big grin!

Lily said...

I am really looking forward to your contest - big grin!

Cherie J said...

I am looking forward to spending Christmas with my mother this year. This will be my one year old daughter's first Christmas with her so she is so excited and so am I. My daughter and son are her only grandchildren so she spoils them rotten.

Kate Walker said...

Wow you've all been busy!
Sid's going to be so happy when he sees that he has lots of crunchies to choose from to pick the winners!

Jill - how great for your parents to see your new home. I hoep you have a very special Christmas there. You've named some of my own favourite Romance writers
Lois - I'd love to come to the theatre with you. A Christmas Carol is a great story.

Estella - I think that everyone would agree with you - family and happiness

And Jane - you too. I can't think of anyone who deosn't like the feast and those presents.

anne - family is what it's all about isn't it?

- specially as we get older, Ellie. I feel that too

Pearl - now there's an interesting thought - I wonder how I'd cope with my family on a cruise and no way to get away! I love my family but . . . I can think of lots of friends I could easily share a cruise with, though

And talking of friends . . .Hi Donna! You sound to have had a lovely day and I'm honoured that you consider the 12 POint Guide your bible

mammakim! How great to see you here! You poor thing - how horrible to have a house fire. I'm so glad that no one was hurt

Georgie your Christmas sounds like mine. I love cacthing up with friends like I did this weekend.

Maureen - you mentioned the New Year words. I daren;ty write down all I hope to accomplish in 2008 - it will be a long l-o-n-g list!

Cryna - even when I'm feeling cynical and tired, and fed up of the crowds and the rush, all the lights really brighten my days in more ways than one - I am so disappointed when they're gone

nathalie - I'm with you on that relaxation!
Lily - you won't have to wait long. There are some details posted on my blog today

Chrie - what a special Christmas it will be for you all with your mother and your new daughter together - as I said in my post, we had an almost one-year old visiting this weekend and he was so much fun - if a bit exhausting!

I hope you all get everything you're hoping for at Christmas!

Kate Walker said...

Sid picked a couple of winners -
So JILL and GEORGIE LEE can you pplease email me
kate at

and let me know your postal address and I'll get your prize on it's way to you!

Kate Walker said...

Sid picked a couple of winners -
So JILL and GEORGIE LEE can you please email me
kate at

and let me know your postal address and I'll get your prize on it's way to you!