Have you ever had one of those special experiences, the ones that come along so rarely we’re liable to think they only happen once in a lifetime? It might be big like a wedding in the perfect place to the perfect man just as you’d dreamed it. Or it something simple: a wonderful summer or a day doing something special with your friends that is so fabulous the memory of it lasts for years.
I’ve had some. There was the day Harlequin advised they wanted to buy my first book written for them (I remember the time, date, weather, etc in perfect detail)! On a smaller scale, recently with time running out before my daughter’s formal (a little like a prom) we ventured out after her last exams and found the ideal dress that made her look a million dollars, at a price I could afford, – within half an hour!
I’ve just been blessed with another ‘once in a lifetime’ experience, the sort I know I’ll carry with me the rest of my life. I spent December with my family travelling in Europe, visiting friends we haven’t seen in years, seeing familiar places we love and exploring new ones. It was the sort of trip you dream of.
We didn’t miss any of our connections. We didn’t lose either luggage or kids. We stayed on friendly terms through the whole month (which, let’s face it, can be a real test when travelling). Our hotels were terrific. Our friends as lovely as we remembered and almost every day brought a wonderful new experiences to be treasured.
As Australians who rarely see snow we were thrilled to have it sprinkle on us just as we walked into a walled, cobble-stoned medieval town to visit a traditional German Christmas market. We had a sparkling bright day in the Alps when we went for a horse drawn sleigh ride. We stayed in an oasthouse, a half-timbered hotel that was 550 years old, a castle perched high above vineyards and villages, and in rooms right next to the Seine in Paris. We got the last tickets to a Royal Shakespeare Company production in London, were invited to a Christmas concert in the private chapel of a German schloss and had a day in an old-style farmhouse in the Bavarian Woods.
Above all, we were welcomed, not only by our friends but by strangers as well. The woman in the incredibly upmarket chocolate shop in Paris who positively beamed when I sneaked in and used up my whole store of French (about four words) to buy chocolate truffles. The bus driver who circled back to drop us where we needed to be. The host of our tiny hotel in Bavaria who farewelled us with chocolates and a bottle of bubbly.
Being able to share it all with my family was the best thing of all. Sharing those smiles and those experiences was a tremendous gift. Plus, I have to say, I’ve now got one or two exciting ideas fermenting for future stories, inspired by places we visited. You can see how inspired I was, staying at a fairytale castle!
Have you ever had a special experience that has stayed with you ever since? Large or small, was it something you look back on with joy? I’d love to hear about it.
And, as I’m so thrilled because I’ve just seen the cover of my next North American release on Amazon, I’ll give away a copy of THE DESERT KING’S PREGNANT BRIDE to someone who comments.
The book will be in stores in mid April, or can be ordered from Amazon. A Romance Junkies review described the book like this: “Annie West captures her readers with a lure as magical as tales from Arabian Nights. THE DESERT KING’S PREGNANT BRIDE has all the magical elements of a good romance superbly woven into a timeless masterpiece. " You can read about the story on my website (where there’s also a contest running for more books).