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Thursday, July 01, 2010

Birthday celebrations

It was natural to blog about birthdays today as - you guessed it - it's my birthday today. It's also the date my latest US release: SCANDAL: HIS MAJESTY'S LOVE-CHILD is officially available in stores. It seems like serendipity. What a fantastic way to celebrate my birthday! I couldn't have timed it better.

Now, being past my twenties, I suppose I should be less enthusiastic about turning another year older. Believe me, I'm not that thrilled about the aging process. It seems harder than ever to shift that little bit of extra weight which just a little while ago seemed not a problem and now seems semi-permanent.

On the other hand, I've decided that birthdays can't be avoided. I might as well make the most of them. Not necessarily by demanding parties and presents but by treating myself, or planning with my family some sort of treat to celebrate the occasion. As my husband's birthday is the same month as mine, we've sometimes doubled up by having a weekend away with the family in the Hunter Valley vineyards. We don't do too much wine tasting but spend the time unwinding and getting to chat, as well as sampling some terrific food and going for country drives.

I have plans too, one year, to visit Paris on my birthday. I'm not sure I'll ever make it there to celebrate the date, especially as it means high season airfares from Australia, but that doesn't lessen the enjoyment of the dream. One day...just me and my husband...Sigh. It sounds fantastic.

In the past we've had memorable birthday celebrations, often when we had little cash to spare, but managed to organise a romantic celebration anyway. Picnics have featured from time to time. A surprise birthday dinner was another special treat (though at that time we didn't have a dishwasher, so there was a bit of dirty work to be done afterwards). A long leisurely brunch prepared by the family on the barbeque on a sunny day is another great memory, as was having my children bring in a tray of brekkie in bed.

Some of my other favourite birthday memories relate to other people's birthdays. My husband's grandma smiling at the head of the table on her 90th birthday. Making cakes for my children, with their help, in the shape of a rabbits or steam trains or castles. My daughter's 5th birthday visiting Longleat historic house and safari park in the UK. She was one very excited little girl!

I have a feeling this year's birthday will be memorable, especially as I have a soft spot for sheikh stories, and Tahir, my latest hero, is one of the most memorable heroes I've written. I can't wait to see what readers think of him.

Do you have a favourite birthday memory? Or maybe something you've always wanted to do either to mark your birthday or that of someone special?

To celebrate this special occasion, I'll give away a copy of SCANDAL: HIS MAJESTY'S LOVE-CHILD to one person who comments. Just check later to see who the winner is.

To find out more about this new story, pop by my web site. Or, if you want to buy it, (what a grand idea!) you can go to Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Happy reading! Annie

42 comments:

host said...

Happy birthday!!! Hope you'll have a morable one :)

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Annie, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I hope you had a wonderful day. I know all the people who picked up SCANDAL: HIS MAJESTY'S LOVE-CHILD had a great day too! It's one of your best - and wow, what a luscious hero comes over the dunes to meet our heroine Annalise! Yum!

Annie West said...

Thanks so much, Host. Yes, it's turing out to be a terrific day.

Annie West said...

Hi Anna,

Oh, aren't you sweet? Actually, I've had some great reader feedback on Tahir's story in the last couple of days. Very exciting! Thanks for the good wishes.

Kandy Shepherd said...

Happy Birthday Annie! And happy launch day for SCANDAL: HIS MAJESTY'S LOVE-CHILD. I love your sheik books and this really is one of your best--wonderful royal hero but also a sweet, admirable heroine with a unique and interesting background.
Another best seller, I am sure!
Birthdays? My brother was born on my first birthday so I never had a birthday on my own. As I grew up, I always had a close friend who had a birthday within days of mine. The celebrations were always shared!
My husband and daughter always make sure I have a celebration that is just mine. But it is a case of one after the other in our little family as our birthdays go January, February, March!
My birthdays may always be shared--but how lucky I am to have wonderful people to share them with!

Annie West said...

Oh, Kandy, you're so right. I've got a birthday that in my family is all my own but the best thing I find to celebrate is sharing with special family and friends. That's what makes all the difference. Good on your husband and daughter for making your birthday special. Mine are doing just that. In fact I've ducked out between a home cooked dinner and a gourmet dessert in the making to check the web!

I'm so thrilled you enjoyed Tahir and Annalisa's story. It's great to know that a book which was such fun to write is making friends along the way.

Vanessa Barneveld said...

Happy birthday, Ann! I'm glad you're making the most of your day. I dearly hope you'll spend your next b'day in Paris.

In our house, we treat ourselves to birthday weeks. One day just isn't enough!

Annie West said...

Ah, Vanessa, my parents in law are firm believers in week long birthdays too. What a lovely idea. Yes, I've got my fingers crossed for Paris. Hope it comes off!

Virginia C said...

Hi, Annie! Happy Birthday! Congratulations on your latest release! Say hello to Paris for me--you'll get there before I will : )

The Traditional American Thanksgiving Dinner, with all the trimmings, is my favorite meal, and I prepare it at random times throughout the year to give myself a treat. My birthday is in July, and years ago a family friend surprised me with a complete, "pull out all the stops" Birthday Thanksgiving Dinner. A very hot meal to prepare in the heat and humidity! It is my all-time favorite birthday dinner ever!

Sharon Archer said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Annie! Clever planning (g) to marry someone with a birthday close to yours so you can "combine" presents for a little weekend away in the Hunter Valley with your family! And a trip to Paris one day for a joint celebration sounds wonderful - whether it's for the actual days or not!

My birthday is close to Christmas which meant that it felt like it got lost in the Xmas hype - which as a child bothered me a bit. I envied my sister who'd been "clever" enough to have hers exactly 6 months after Christmas... of course I did eventually learn that it wasn't her doing! LOL
;)
Sharon

Laurie said...

My favorite birthday memory is turning 21 while I was in college... being legal... an adult! I wasn't much of a drinker but I still felt like I was a grownup. My roommates threw me a party with friends, cake and ice cream! I still remember it fondly.

I hate to shop so I'm not big on gifts. I would like the family to get together that's really all I need to be happy!

i do hope that you get to Paris!

Silvia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laney4 said...

Happy Birthday, Annie!
I'm celebrating your birthday with fireworks, as I live in Canada!
Even though it isn't my favorite birthday, it is my only birthday party as a child -- Grade 2 -- complete with all the girls dressing up in dresses and pretty shoes. We played hopscotch, rope, and bounced a ball on the garage. We clapped to Helen Had a Steamboat. My how times have changed in the past forty-plus years!

Lee Hyat said...

Annie, Happy Birthday!! Hope it's a wonderful one with lots of lovely memories and laughter. :)
Can't wait to read your new book!!
much love,
Lee

Pat Cochran said...

Happy Birthday, Annie! Hope you have a most memorable celebration.

For my 70th, my family and 75 of
my nearest and dearest surprised
me with a grand gathering! There
were speeches, music and a video
presentation! One would think a
memorial service was underway,
except that I was there, taking
part in the celebration!

Have a great day!(Early birthday
wishes to your DH!)

Pat Cochran

Annie West said...

Hi Virginia, my Paris plans are coming on well - at least the drooling over books stage is. My son just gave me a wonderful notebook filled with maps of the city. I think the planning and dreaming is almost as good as a trip there!

Love the sound of your Thanksgiving meal at random times and especially at your birthday. Now that IS a great way to celebrate. We've done something similar on occasion. Christmas is our hot season so some years we've had a Christmas in July turkey dinner with all the trimmings as an excuse to get together with friends. Hope you have another special birthday meal to enjoy soon!

Annie West said...

Sharon, I know what you mean about a birthday near Christmas. Several people I know are in the same boat. One of them used to celebrate her birthday several months ahead just so she had a special day. I'm glad you worked out your sister wasn't to blame for your birthdate! I'm sure your dh doesn't let the special day go unmarked now.

Annie West said...

Laurie, there's something about landmark birthdays like 21, isn't there? But best of all, as you say, is spending time with special people. That's what I find makes a difference. Increasingly I find that what makes a great birthday gift is doing something special with someone, rather than having a bought gift (though those are lovely too).

Annie West said...

Oh, Silvia, that's such a very special memory. As you say, your grandmother must have loved you dearly. What an amazing woman she must have been. No wonder you remember that birthday!

Annie West said...

Happy Canada Day, Laney! I love fireworks, so am smiling at the idea of your celebrations.

I love the sound of your party. I rmember going to some like that when I was young. And one year I had one too. I remember playing pin the tail on the donkey! Lots of fun. And the cupcakes tasted so great.

Annie West said...

Hi Lee,

Thanks for the birthday wishes.

I hope you enjoy SCANDAL. Tahir and Annalisa are faves of mine.

Annie

Annie West said...

Hi Pat,

Thanks for the good wishes. Sounds like your 70th was a terrific occasion - and much, much more joyous than a memorial service. How wonderful that so many of your special people could get together with you!

Leni said...

Happy Birthday and Congrats on the new release. I've thought about taking a trip to NYC for my birthday, then I change my mind and think about Washington State. The location varies from year to year.

lenikaye@yahoo.com

信豪信豪 said...

良言一句三冬暖,惡語傷人六月寒。....................................................................

chey said...

Happy Birthday and congratulations on the new release! My dream birthday trip would be to Austrailia.

Annie West said...

Hi Leni,

A trip away sounds like a great way to celebrate. Hope you make it to one or the other!

Annie West said...

Thanks, Chey. I like your thinking. Australia would make a great birthday destination - though you'd probably run out of time before you could see it all. Come on down!

Estella said...

Happy Birthday!
My friends? gave me a 50th birthday party. Lots of food, cake and gag gifts-----fun was had by all.

Annie West said...

Estella, that sounds terrific. I love funny gifts. We used to have a tradition of swapping gifts that cost less than a couple of dollars for our Christmases in July - it brought out some very imaginitive items. Always great fun. Your friends sound lovely.

Michelle Douglas said...

Happy Birthday Annie!!! Though I can't help feeling you've given us all a birthday present in Scandal: His Majesty's Love-Child. Ooh, I'm so looking forward to curling up with Tahir for a few hours :-)

One of my favourite birthday memories is when I turned 21. It was when I was at uni, and for some reason I'd gotten into the habit of making a cake whenever it was somebody's birthday. We'd put candles on said cake and sing happy birthday in the Uni Bar and then, of course, eat cake. My friends banded together for my 21st and cooked me 21 cakes. Needless to say the freezer was full for a very long time.

Annie West said...

Hi Michelle, what a lovely, lovely memory! Imagine having a 21 cake birthday! That's just marvellous. Hm, I'm wondering how big a freezer I'd need if I had a cake for every year on my next birthday...

stacey said...

Happy Birthday!
It's my birthday this month two on the 25 and I'm hopping that this will be a birthday to renember plan on getting a Nook been wanting a E-Read Forever and i may finly get one.Keep your fingers cross please and I hope you Have a great birthday two.

sasluvbooks(at)yahoo.com

Annie West said...

Hi Stacey! What a coincidence. My dh's birthday is on the 25th. Great month for birthdays! I hope yours is fun and that you get the present you're hoping for.

宛真宛真 said...

良言一句三冬暖,惡語傷人六月寒。.................................................................

Mary said...

Happy Birthday, Annie! I sure hope it was a great one.

One of my best birthday memories was one year when my daughter was only 8 years old she asked her teacher to help her buy me a present from the student store for my birthday. The teacher called my husband and he gave my daughter the ten dollars she needed to buy a necklace that said MOM on it. My daughter is 19 and I still treasure that necklace because she got it for me all on her own.

Christina Hollis said...

Happy (belated) birthday, Annie! Hope you can make Paris for the big day eventually - it's such an experience.

For our daughter's second birthday, we bought her one of those dolls that talks if you pull a string. She loved it - until it started to speak, then she ran away and hid!

Annie West said...

Hi Mary, that's a great memory. I love the fact that your daughter's teacher made the effort to co-op your husband and get something really special!

Annie West said...

Oh, Christina! I hope your daughter grew fonder of the doll as she got used to it. Poor little thing. I bet it was what she'd been wishing for too!

Annie West said...

Well, the time has come to choose a winner. As usual, it's far too hard, so it's a random draw.

CONGRATULATIONS, MARY!

If you email me at annie@annie-west.com with your postal address, I'll send you a copy of SCANDAL: HIS MAJESTY'S LOVE-CHILD.

Thank you everyone for sharing your thoughts and memories!

Dina said...

belated Happy Birthday Annie.

Mary said...

Oh my goodness! Wow, I'm so excited to read this book! Thanks! I'll send the email right now :)

Linda Henderson said...

Sorry I'm late to the party, Happy Belated Birthday.