Friday, February 01, 2013

What Makes You Smile? Annie West

 I've been thinking a lot recently about what makes me feel good and especially what makes me smile.

You see, even so early in the year it's been a little tough. Not so much for me but for a number of people I know. They have begun 2013 with bad rather than good news. That made me even more conscious of how lucky I've been that my new year has been so positive.

It also made me think about the things that lighten my heart. Not necessarily the big things, like health and having my family around me, but the little unexpected things that make you glad. I thought I'd share just a couple of those with you. I won't bother describing this series of photos as I think they tell their own story. But believe me, I was grinning from ear to ear as I snapped these shots.

As I write this I'm listening to the sound of rain on the roof. Not a thundering storm likely to damage anything but set-in solid rain that rejuvenates the garden after a blistering hot week (I live in Australia where it's mid summer). The sound is soothing and a wonderful relief after our recent scorching temperatures.

Last night I rang a friend of mine who's in an area where the weather is currently verging on dangerous. Despite that, we found ourselves laughing long and loud over a number of silly things that probably only we would find funny. The sound of her laughter was one of the best things I'd heard all week.

Last night too, as I worked on my current book, the aroma of roast lamb wafted in to me from the kitchen. Roast lamb that I hadn't cooked! Is there anything as decadently delicious to a woman than a meal she hasn't had to cook herself? Truly, having a man about the house who not only can but does cook from time to time (and cook well) is a treat that always makes me smile.

Of course I had to mention food, didn't I? One of my weaknesses. If I mention the fact that I've recently enjoyed both Lindt passionfruit chocolate and rich vanilla soufflé with a delicious tropical fruit sauce, I'm sure you'll realise I'm smiling as I write this.


I haven't just been working and eating. I've also been investigating a possible vacation. The sort of overseas trip that stays with you a lifetime. Recent news means it probably won't happen this year but I figure the planning won't hurt. In the meantime I've had an absolute ball checking flights, hotels and a river cruise where I'd have to do nothing but enjoy myself and stir occasionally to get off the boat and visit some of the places I've dreamed of seeing for years.

In between my writing I've also been fitting in time for more reading than usual, especially since my Christmas included a whole stack of fascinating books by new-to-me authors. Authors whose work I've discovered I want more of. Is there anything better than reading a new author and discovering you want more AND there's a whole backlist waiting for you to investigate? Sigh.

How about you? What are the little things in life that make you smile and feel better about your day?

I'll give away a signed book from my own backlist to one person selected at random from those who leave a comment here. Just check back tomorrow to see who the winner is.

One other thing is making me smile at the moment. Last year I wrote a book that grabbed me from the moment I thought of the premise. It swept me up in a lovely surge of excitement that didn't end till the story was written. That book, CAPTIVE IN THE SPOTLIGHT will be released in North America, the UK, Australia and New Zealand in March. In fact the American edition is released on 19 February and is available to order now, plus that edition includes free another of my full length romances: BLACKMAILED BRIDE, INNOCENT WIFE. Romantic Times gave CAPTIVE a wonderful 4 star review. For more details check out your favourite bookstore or visit my website.

32 comments:

  1. Hi Annie, a few things come to mind quickly that makes me smile... the feeling you get as the plane is zooming down the runway in prep for take-off because you CANT WAIT to get up in the air... when you survive the roller coasters at Movie World... my kids and Winter... because I can curl up and read a good book!

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    1. Tash, what a great collection of feel good experiences! Getting off a roller coaster makes me smile too - I think it's that feeling that you've defied death! It's wintry here this morning despite the summer season so I know just what you mean about curling up with a good book!

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  2. Aside from books and cats and not to mention sleep, I feel a whole lot better every time I finish my work ahead of schedule so I'll have time for myself.

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    1. Oh, Lory, isn't that a great feeling, knowing you've snaffled some time for yourself, especially when you don't expect it? Your treats sound blissfully relaxing.

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    1. Hi Mandip. Thanks for the kind words. I'm glad you enjoyed my post.

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  4. My children coming home for a visit, Friday afternoons, when friends and I go for drinks, the new bar man putting on a show as he mixes one of his special cocktails... Oh, sorry, I lost my train of thought for a moment! lol

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    1. Susanne, I can see you really know how to appreciate the important things in life! Smiling here at you being so very appreciative.

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  5. Hi Annie, your photos of the two dogs in the back of the truck certainly made me smile, thank you! And of course my own animals make me smile often. One of my cats is 21 and a half years old and each morning when I hear him loudly miaowing for his breakfast I smile and am grateful he is still with us!

    There is a lot to be said for when we are feeling a little down to follow that old adage to "count our blessings", it's amazing how beneficial it can be to count up what we truly cherish and are grateful for in our lives.

    I used to suffer from terrible migraine and the migraine specialist advised me to smile just for the sake of it. Apparently the mere act of smiling releases all sorts of feel-good hormones/chemicals that can help ease a headache. What a wonderful prescription!

    Good luck with the launch of CAPTIVE IN THE SPOTLIGHT, it sounds like another wonderful Annie West read!

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    1. Kandy, I'm glad you enjoyed the photos. They were taken in Blackheath, of all places. I bet your old cat brings you lots of joy and companionship.

      What terrific advice from your specialist. I'll have to practice. I love the idea of smiling instead of popping a painkiller.

      Thanks for the good wishes for CAPTIVE. I'm hoping readers love it as much as I do.

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  6. Hi, Annie! Love the pics of those dogs!

    Something that made me smile tonight was an email from the Book Depository telling me Captive in the Spotlight has been dispatched. :))) Congratulations on your new release!

    My cats' antics make me smile every day. They're real bundles of joy!

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    1. Vanessa - now that news from the Book Depository has made me smile too. How lovely to think of you ordering CAPTIVE in before its release! You've made my weekend, that's for sure.

      I think we take for granted how much better animals make us feel. What a lovely description of your cats! I enjoy watching the native birds that come into our garden to feed too. They're fascinating and always make me feel good.

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  7. Annie, what absolutely gorgeous pictures! Love the little Scottie in particular! Thanks for giving me a smile - we're having another storm which means I'm awake at a silly hour. But it's nothing like the absolutely foul weather we had last weekend. It was really scary to be sitting in the middle of a cyclone like that! Love your list of things to be thankful for. I think we get so caught up in our worries (and other people's worries) that sometimes we forget to count our blessings. I must say I like the idea of a Thanksgiving holiday - we don't celebrate it in Australia. But taking a day to think about all the things we should be grateful for seems like a really healthy thing to me (and all that food too, which perhaps isn't QUITE as healthy, LOL!). I'm just back from a couple of library talks at the Gold Coast that were so much fun - part of their celebration of the 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice. Met some wonderful people and confirmed my love for all things Regency including the fact that my mother got my hooked on Georgette Heyer at a VERY young age. Lots to be thankful for! Glad you've taken some you time for reading - that always refreshes my mind!

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  8. Hi Anna, isn't the Scottie gorgeous? But so too was the labrador. It was a misty morning and I couldn't quite believe what I was seeing when they emerged out of the fog in front of me.

    Sorry to hear you're having another storm. We've had one too and it feels like winter here this morning instead of mid summer. Hope the extreme weather up your way eases soon. Just having a roof over your head is such a blessing, isn't it? Yes, taking time to appreciate what we've got is important. Grinning though over your excuse for more food. Just what I don't need.

    The celebrate to mark the 200th anniversary of P&P sounds fabulous. Imagine a world without Jane Austen or Georgette Heyer! Brr. Both make me smile. Thanks for mentioning them.

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  9. I told a girlfriend that I could have been at our arranged lunch a few minutes earlier, but I was delayed at a thrift store. (I wasn't late, but I was only 1 minute early!) I explained that a friend was trying to find a cheap corner computer desk in his nearby town, so I figured I'd check the thrift stores in MY area. My girlfriend got all excited and said SHE had a corner computer desk she would GIVE to my friend! SHE is pleased to get it out of her garage; MY FRIEND is pleased to only have to invest in paint for his "new" desk (even if it isn't "perfect", he figures he can combine his current one with this one to make it "perfect"); and *I* am pleased to have helped make this come true. The desk is arriving this weekend....
    Another smile? I have been looking for a "Corningware Grab-It" bowl for over a decade. Last week I found one without a lid, but that was okay because (gasp!) I saved the lid from one that had broken. THIS week I went back to the same thrift shop and found another Grab-It. I can use two, but I won't be buying a third. Still, our entire family was glad to have them, as they are a great size (and have a cool handle) for heating up little bits of food that have been stored in the fridge.

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    1. Laney, how terrific that you made those connections between people you knew to such good effect. Serendipity is terrific, isn't it? As for finding the bowl you've been after for so long - twice! - that's marvellous. I love days like that when things just seem to go perfectly. Hope you have plenty more of them.

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  10. Just loved the dog pictures. They made me smile.

    Getting to take a walk outside makes me smile, going to a greenhouse/ garden center in the middle of winter makes me smile, Seeing orchids and flowers for sale when it's snowing outside makes me smile, and my two cats make me laugh all the time. The antics of the squirrels in our neighborhood are laugh worthy as well.

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    1. Hi Kaelee, I'm glad you got a smile out of the post.

      I can so understand the garden visits and plants making you smile. As for squirrels - absolutely. We don't have them here but every time I see them somewhere else I'm enthralled.

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  11. what makes me smile are my newphews and watching them running around and laughing.

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    1. Megblod. That sounds like such fun!

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  12. Annie,

    Things that make me smile:
    1. Children at play, in particular my grandchildren!
    2. Puppies at play.
    3. Seniors visiting together.
    4. Taking walks.

    Pat C.

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    1. Pat, what a wonderful list! I hope you do lots of smiling!

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  13. Awwww, fabulous pics, Annie! And I love your list of things that make you smile! They make me smile too!

    Something that's making me grin here at the moment (apart from some cooler weather!) is the baby kookaburras learning to laugh! it's such a raucous throttled sound! Every now and then the right sound pops out and then it's back to the squawks as though they can't quite control their vocal chords!

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    1. Sharon, it's good to get a grin out of the little things, isn't it? I know exactly what you mean about baby kookaburras. They're so cute with that gurgling half laugh they haven't quite mastered! I'm sure there's an art to a kookaburra's laugh.

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  14. Some of the simple things in life that make me smile are a baby's smile, a rainbow, the smell of fresh baked goods and seeing my teen daughters sitting side by side and giggling about something.

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    1. Lisa - thanks for sharing. I loved your list too. Those teenage giggles sound fun. We had my daughter home recently (she's studying elsewhere) and the sound of the laughter as the kids got together in the kitchen was fabulous.

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  15. thanks Annie for the fun post! I'd have to say my dogs. They are so cute and loving. Sometimes it lifts my spirit just to get a cuddle or see them play :)

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  16. Erin, I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I love your avatar. No wonder you get a smile from your dogs!

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  17. Oops. It's almost the end of the day, so it's time to draw a winner for my free book giveaway. I've so enjoyed chatting about things that make us smile. Thanks so much for sharing. I think I'll be coming back to this discussion from time to time. So many great things were mentioned! I'm so glad I decided not to choose a favourite answer as that's impossible, but simply go with a random smile.

    OK, so the winner of my giveaway is LISA W! Congratulations, Lisa. If you check out my website - www.annie-west.com you'll see my previously published books. Let me know which one you'd like to receive and I'll send you a copy. You can email me at annie(at)annie-west(dot)com

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    1. Hm - I meant 'random draw' not 'random smile' - but I do like the idea of a random smile.

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    2. Thanks! I like the idea of being a random smile. Now off to send you an email. :-)

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    3. Lisa - you're right - a random smile does sound good!

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