Friday, January 21, 2011

Lazy January - Annie West

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).


Vanessa Barneveld said...

Hi, Annie!

I'm looking forward to reading Protected by the Prince. I have a copy at my bedside; just waiting for a sloth day. Which should be any day now. Any day...

I now understand why spring is a great time to get those pesky cleaning jobs out of the way. Not to hot, not too cold. It's way too steamy to expend that kind of energy at the moment!

desere_steenberg said...

Hi Annie

Stunning post thank you for sharing it with us I cant wait to read protected by the prince it sounds wonderful !

All the best

Sharon Archer said...

Hi Annie

I love your pictures - they're so inviting that I feel like getting a good book and having a laze in that hammock!

I indulged in the January sales in a very small way this year - I was so good because I took a list and didn't let my head get turned... well, hardly at all!


Michelle Douglas said...

Lovely post, Annie. I think of January as the laid back month where one recharges their batteries for the rest of the year. How would we survive the rest of the year without January?

Catching up on my reading is always on the agenda for January. And I have to say I just adored Protected by the Prince!

Something your gorgeous pics are inspiring me to do this before the month ends is spend a gorgeous slothful day at the beach -- heavenly.

Annie West said...

Hi Vanessa,

I hope you enjoy 'Protected by the Prince', especially since it means you'll be enjoying a slothful day. Don't they sound nice? I was laughing about this post. I still haven't had many slothful days over the summer but still it's been lovely. Maybe I'll manage to fit one in soon...

Annie West said...

Hi Desere,

So glad you liked the post. I enjoyed writing it. Hope you have fun with Alaric and Tamsin's story! I certainly enjoyed writing it.

Annie West said...

Sharon, such control! The sales are always about buying those things you've craved but haven't needed enough to buy, aren't they? I applaud your restraing.

Annie West said...

Hi Michelle,

I hope you enjoy your day at the beach. The water always looks inviting at this time of year in Australia doesn't it? So glad to hear you enjoyed 'Protected by the Prince'. Must say I thoroughly enjoyed your recent 'Christmas at Candlebark Farm' too!

Anna Campbell said...

Ooh, what a lovely post, Annie. The other thing I love about this time of year is long, delicious wallows in the pool or a trip to the beach. As a family, we almost always had seaside holidays in summer. Congratulations on Protected by the Prince - it's a doozey. Such a lovely fairytale romance and Alaric is as hot as January in Queensland (which is pretty hot!).

Serena said...

Hi Annie,
Loved reading about your lazy days of summer. I'm a bit like Vanessa - summer is too hot to do too much especially if it's humid. I'd much rather read :) And I have Passion, Purity and the Prince (AKA Protected By The Prince) in my TBR right beside me. Maybe I should just sneak away and start reading now :)

PJ said...

Hi Annie! Your post is especially welcome this morning as I sit here bundled up against the cold of the Northern Hemisphere. Dreaming about bright sunshine and warm beaches sounds like a lovely way to pass the day. :)

For me, January is a good month to get the house back in order after the holidays. I organize the office, get all my papers in order to file taxes, clean out the closets and donate those clothes that I'll never lose enough weight to wear (no matter how much I think I will). ;-)

January is also a month for hanging out in the kitchen making lots of hearty soups and homemade bread. It's a comfort food kind of month.

Looking forward to your new book!

Michele L. said...

Hi Annie!

What fabulous pictures you posted! I especially like the hammock picture! It is in the single digits here today in Indiana. I am so ready for spring to get here!

January is the month that I say, "Ok, only 2 more months to go, until spring starts arriving." I count down the days until spring. Also, my hubby and I love cuddling on cold winter days. Snuggling under the covers is so much fun! We end up laughing and tickling each other!

Happy New Year Annie! Have a fun year with many blessings!

Annie West said...

Anna, I love the idea of Alaric being as hot as Queensland in January! Yes, seaside holidays are definitely the tradition here in January, aren't they? I wonder what percentage of Australians have spent holidays on the coast in summer. Gee, that brings back memories.

Annie West said...

Ah, Serena, you mentioned the down side. It can get too hot. I've seen the forecast for next week and it'll be over 100 degrees F by mid week. Not sure how the work will go then. No doubt I'll be drinking lots of cold drinks and wishing I could laze with a book. Hope you enjoy Tamsin and Alaric's story.

Annie West said...

Hi PJ, it's lovely to see you here! Love the sound of January in the kitchen, cooking up all that delicious food. I think it will be salads for us for a while. Good on you getting organised in the office and elsewhere. That was one of the things I'd hoped to do during my holiday at home but somehow I ended up not finding time between work and family commitments. Ah well, it gives me something to aspire to...

Annie West said...


I'm with you - snuggling under the covers on a cold night is perfect. It's one of the joys of winter! Good luck with that countdown to spring. I hope you get some lovely sunny days soon, even if it is cold!

Nas Dean said...

Hi Annie,

I love the photos you put up, it makes me want to laze around with PROTECTED BY THE PRINCE in my hands!

Annie West said...

Nas, that does sound like a great way to spend a day. I had lots of fun finding those pics to share. They relax me whenever I see them.

ev said...

I'm sitting here in Upstate NY. In January. With single digit and below temps being predicted. I have spent enough hours this week shoveling snow and breaking up ice that my arms might just rival The Hulks. (OK,so it's a good exercise regime and brings in the cardio part too). It's 60 days til spring.

So know that I say this with all the love I can muster...


Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Annie, yes to the beach, the relaxing and the catching up--no to the endless cricket on TV!
To me vacation is synonymous with reading and I do love the luxury of catching up with reading--there is no greater luxury than uninterrupted, reading time.
I can't wait to read PROTECTED BY THE PRINCE--especially after reading that glowing 4 and a half star review in RT Book Reviews!
January is also plum time and I have spent four days doing nothing but preserving the bumper plum crop from our wonderful old tree: jam, canning and stewing. Delicious but darn hard work. No wonder supermarkets were invented!

Annie West said...

Hi Ev,

So sorry to make life difficult when you're deep in snow and grey skies. Your turn will come when we're in mid winter. If it's any consolation, I'm not being slothful myself today but working instead, and looking at the pictures I posted just makes me wish I could have some down time.
Good luck building those muscles. You'll be very fit by spring!

Annie West said...

Oh Kandy, you're so industrious. You've made me remember I meant to buy some plums (we don't have a tree) for making jam. Home made plum jam is my fave and as my mum no longer makes it, it's up to me. You must feel so pleased with your achievement. Hope you find time to relax soon with a pile of books.

Kaelee said...

I'm from the other side of the world so January is a cold month. We try to stay warm and coincidently we do some picture puzzles. I read about the same all year long so just the location changes ~ in a hot bath or under the covers is my choice in the winter. I have stayed away from the sales so far this month.

Annie West said...

Kaelee, what terrific willpower, staying away from the sales! Oh, a hot bath on a cold night with a book is just perfect! Or sitting by a fire reading and sipping something warm. That does sound appealing. Enjoy!

Pat Cochran said...

January is not a big favorite with
me. We're in the middle of one of
the coldest winters experienced here.
Not much into the sales and not into
resolutions either. Am into resting
after the extra choir rehearsals &
carolling & our big Christmas Eve
Mass. Something tells me that I may
be nearing retirement-from-choir
time. Maybe I just need more rest!

Pat Cochran