I love January. I always have. Here in Australia it's summer holiday time. Children are out of school for a couple of months, Christmas is over and, if you're lucky you'll have a little time away from work to recuperate or take a seaside holiday with the family.
Most Januarys I'm busy, since writing doesn't stop just because everyone else is on summer vacation. However, it FEELS different. It feels like holiday time.
A sleep in is understandable in summer, even if most of the time you don't get a chance. It's hot, which means you need to conserve energy by sitting, or even better, lying in the cool shade and reading or getting beaten at a board game by the family. Any outside work is done early in the morning or after the sun goes down (evenings are terrific) and long cool drinks with lots of ice are the order of the day.
The fridge is still full of leftovers, there are mountains of summer fruit to be eaten, like cherries, raspberries and mangos. BBQs and salads are fine for dinner, as are leftovers, which means much less hassle wondering what to cook for everyone. We always seem to manage a picnic in there somewhere. Eating outdoors, preferably with a feast of lovely fresh food and treats left over from the Christmas/New Year round of celebrations is one of my favourite treats.
Of course, while we're lounging, others are busy. In Australia it's tennis season, which means multiple tournaments on tv where you can watch the world's best in top form. If you've got the energy you can go to some of the matches. I'm thinking of Sydney this year for a day watching others swelter and stun me with their talent. Maybe next year I'll make it to Melbourne for the Australian Open (a real treat). There's cricket too. Even if I'm not watching it, I love the sound of it in the background, whether you're outdoors or working at home while others watch it on TV in another room. The gentle pock of the ball, the roar of the crowd and the relaxed pace epitomise summer. What is it about knowing others are working hard in the heat when you're cool and relaxed, that makes you feel good?
Despite my focus on the joys of relaxing in summer (especially with a book, a cool glass and preferably lots of water to loll in) January is the month I feel energised to get things done. Sort out the photos I've been putting off for ages. Find out just what is in the bottom of the cupboard in the spare room. You know, the jobs you never quite find time for in the general day to day rush? It's also the time I like (if I can) to treat myself to spreading a massive jigsaw across the dining room table in the hope others will help me with the hard bits. I love the sloth of summer but I want to achieve something too.
How about you, how do you like to spend your January? Are you caught up in the New Year sales? Following New Year's resolutions? Lying low after a big celebration or diving back into life as normal?
This month Annie's looking forward to the release of her Harlequin Presents Extra: PROTECTED BY THE PRINCE in early February. It's a sexy Cinderella story. A recent Romantic Times review said 'this modern-day fairy tale delights from start to finish'.
You can read an excerpt and behind the scenes information about writing it, or enter a contest to win a signed copy on her website. You can order a copy from Amazon or The Book Depository (free postage anywhere in the world).