It’s the first of December – hard to believe because I’m sure that when I last blinked we were actually enjoying some sun shine in the last days of summer. But it’s the first day of December and I’m writing my last blog of the year – so the countdown to 2014 has started!
First there is the count down to the holiday season - whichever one you’ll be celebrating. Here, we’re counting down to Christmas and I’ve just come back from a weekend away in York where they have a special St Nicholas Fayre at the weekends between now and the big day. It was packed! But I did manage to get some special gifts to wrap and put away until December 25th.
These days I don’t have to tell my son that Santa/Father Christmas has brought everything he finds under the Christmas tree – not do I have to get him to write a letter to Santra to say what he’d like to find there. He’s in his own home with his partner now so they do things their way. But one tradition I know he keeps up – as do I – is the opening of the special advent calendar one day at a time as the days of December go by.
We’ve always had an Advent Calendar . Always opened one little door each day to find out what is hidden behind the numbers 1-24 on the brightly coloured sheet. In the early days of The Offspring’s life, it was a help to show him how it was getting closer to Christmas – but we weren’t there yet. Then it was just for fun, but we would always have a special moment together as he opened the ‘door’ after we’d first guessed what would be hidden behind it. We even had a special Advent Calendar for the cats - one sent by a special friend (to me and to the cats) Anne McAllister. Sadly there is only one cat around to see the countdown these days since we lostbeautiful Flora to cancer last month, but Charlie will be happy to have sole access to the cat treats in the little felt pockets.
My personal Advent Calendar also comes from Anne – in the form of a lovely animated design she sends me from the Jacquie Lawson Site and I really look forward to opening it every morning and seeing what delightful creation is there to enjoy.
Another Advent Calendar tradition I’ve always had is the one that I’ve opened on my blog each year. In the countdown to Christmas I ask visitors to the blog to come along and tell me about their preparations, or their hopes, their plans for the holiday period over the next 24 days. Every day I ask a question – one that’s so easy to answer, and there’s no right or wrong, you just tell me a bit more about yourselves. And every day Charlie the Maine coon picks and answer from one of the contributors and the chosen person wins a signed book from my backlist – it might be an older title. Sometimes it’s a 3 in 1 anthology where my book has been published along with a couple of others – I don’t quite know what title I have in my backlist titles collection these days. I have to go and sort things out before I can announce what books I’m offering.
But there will be 24 of them – and you can be in with a chance to winning one.
So because it’s my day to blog on Tote Bags today, I’m launching my Advent Calendar here today – and today’s book is the first one I grabbed when I opened my prizes box this afternoon –
So you can win a copy of The Return of The Stranger –
Standing high on the windswept moors, the lone figure of Heath Montanha vows vengeance on the womanwho destroyed the last fragments of his heart...
Lady Katherine Charlton has never forgotten the stablehand with dangerous fists and a troubled heart from her childhood. Now the rebel is back, his powerful anger concealed under a polished and commanding veneer.
When ten years of scandal and secrets are unleashed, with a passionate, furious kiss, Heath's deepest, darkest wish crystallises...
Revenge -- and Kat -- will be his!
And all you have to do – well, seeing as I’ve been talking about Advent Calendars – why not tell me if you have an Advent Calendar of not?
Do you have an old one that comes out year after year (like the one my Cats have shared and passed down from cat to cat for years)? Or do you buy a new one each year – perhaps with a little bit of chocolate behind the ‘doors’? Or perhaps one on your computer, like the one Anne McAllister sent to me? When do you open the special door – in the morning, first thing to start that day? Or perhaps in the evening to mark the fact that the day has passed and we’re now 24 hours closer to the big day? Or do you share the enjoyment of an advent calendar with your children/ grandchildren?
Let me know and I’ll put your name into the prize draw for Charlie to pick a winner when I open a new door on my Advent Calendar tomorrow.
And then perhaps you’ll come along and share in the new Advent Calendar days over on my blog for the rest of December – with a new question – and a new prize to give away each day for a new winner each time. See you there?
Kate Walker’s new title, A Question of Honor will be published in Harlequin Presents in June 2014. Her most recent title was A Throne for The Taking which came out in June 2013:
Alexei Sarova, the black sheep prince who has to face up to a new and unexpected destiny with his heroine Honoria Escalona (Ria) as the woman he wants as his queen.
A kingdom's safety...
Betrayed by those she loves, Honoria Escalona must now face the only man capable of bringing stability to the
Mediterranean kingdom of Mecjoria. A cold, hard man who once called her his friend... Alexei Sarova-the true King of Mecjoria.
In exchange for her happiness
But Alexei's tortuous past has changed him into someone she hardly knows. He blames Ria's family for his bitterness, and his help-when he offers it-comes with a price: he'll take his rightful place as King with Ria as his wife, until she produces a true-blood heir
A Throne For the Taking was published in the Royal and Ruthless miniseries in both Harlequin Presents and Mills & Boon Modern.
And I finally got Charlie to pick a winner - the name he's chosen is Jeanne M - Jeanne please email me kate AT kate-walker. com and send me your postal address and I'll organise the prize.