Sunday, December 21, 2014

Ho Ho Ho Merry Jenny Gardiner

    I’m a sucker for the Christmas season. Always have been. Don’t know if it’s the deluded optimism the holiday thrusts upon us, or just a strange affinity for otherwise maudlin songs dressed up as cheerful seasonal chestnuts. I mean, let’s be honest, at any other time of year, who would actually listen wistfully to a yawner like “The Little Drummer Boy”?
    Whatever it is, I have always ensured that my family gets into the holiday spirit, starting with finding the perfect Christmas tree.
    When I was a kid, the search for the ultimate yuletide tree took us to the nearest gas station: hardly a romantic venue from which to choose the centerpiece of our holiday decor. We’d pile into the station wagon for the three-block drive to Buck’s Esso station, spill out onto the oil-slicked parking lot, mull over three or four already-netted spruce trees, and then dad would haggle down the price. End of story.
    Ah, so I was determined to rewrite that tradition with my own family. Early in my marriage, we decided the most festive tree-acquisition could only be achieved by cutting down our own (plus you get the added benefit of the needles actually staying on the tree all month rather than littering the floor). Because we lived in citified Northern Virginia, the cachet of escaping to the “country”--i.e. the closest remaining patch of farmland untainted by greedy developers--only added to the allure.
    But one year, I found myself almost wishing for the chance to just pop down to the local gas station to buy a tree…
    That year, my husband and our three children, all under the age of four, trekked to the Clifton Christmas Tree Farm, where awaiting us were candy canes, hot chocolate, homemade wreaths and the typical abundance of forced holiday cheer that we craved.
    I had whipped my kids into a tree-chopping frenzy, and so they took their task quite seriously. For forty minutes, we foraged throughout the whopping half-acre “farm” until we found the perfect tree: seven feet of holiday splendor, as wide as it was tall, perfect to fill our cathedral-ceiling’ed living room and flood us with the Christmas spirit.
    The kids took turns on the ground with the saw while my husband supervised the chopping honors. Their excitement was palpable. We dragged the tree back to the cashier stand where the farmer’s son coiled the netting around our white pine. The kids stood by, sucking on candy canes, sipping hot cider and petting the farmer’s dog, who’d recently wandered over. I was just about to retrieve the car to load on the tree, when Fido lifted his leg.
    “No!” I shouted in what seemed like a frame-by-frame slow motion, as a steady stream was released onto our perfect tree.
    For a moment we stood stupefied, not knowing what to do. But we weren’t about to keep a tree covered in dog wee, so we grabbed the kids’ hands to head back into the wilds to hunt for a replacement one.
    Until our kids let us know in no uncertain terms, that this tree was the one, the only. They threw themselves on the ground, flailing and crying, thrashing and moaning, like something from a Greek tragedy. They wanted their special tree, and nothing else would suffice.
    Their wails did not subside until we relented, and agreed to load up the tainted tree.
    The farmer found a makeshift bucket, filled it from a nearby stream and doused the offending urine from the tree. We loaded it onto the roof of the car, and went home.
    I have admit, I sort of detached emotionally from the tree that year. Couldn’t quite get over the psychological hurdle of having a tree the dog peed on in my living room. Somehow it clashed with the whole festive notion.
    But for my kids, the tree was just about perfect, despite its incumbent flaws. And maybe that’s exactly why I like the holidays so much: because at this time of year, we’re all a little more likely to forgive the small things in order to see the bigger picture.

A few housekeeping notes to catch you up on what I've been working on...

I just got the rights back to my parrot memoir, seen way below in it's original incarnation as Winging It: A Memoir of Caring for a Vengeful Parrot Who's Determined to Kill Me.

I've always wanted to offer this as an affordable ebook, since my publisher charged a crazy amount for it the whole time they had the rights. So I changed the title to Bite Me: A Parrot, A Family and a Whole Lot of Flesh Wounds, and the cover, and it's now a reasonable $2.99, so I hope you'll check it out if you've not before. Here's the new cover:

So hopefully in the next week or so I'm also finally publishing the first in a new series, the It's Reigning Men series, with the first book, Something in the Heir --- it's a flip on the old Roman Holiday movie, which I love. Book two is Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow, and book three is Bad to the Throne. Here's a sneak preview of the covers:

 He's a prince with a problem. She's a commoner with a getaway plan…
Modern-day Prince Adrian of Monaforte has a most old-fashioned problem: his demanding mother wants him wed to her best friend’s daughter, the hard-partying Serena. When his refusal falls on deaf ears, Adrian decides it’s time for him to slip away from his gilded cage and figure out his life, all on his own. As luck would have it, event photographer Emma Davison, weary of a revolving door of lost-cause men and tired of her outsider-looking-in career, is in need of her own escape clause, just in time to help a wayward prince in need. And she soon discovers that sometimes a girl’s gotta sweep a prince off his feet.
For any girl that’s ever held out hope that some day her prince would come…or better yet, hoped that some day she’d come to him.

It’s all fun and royal games until somebody’s heart gets broken

In his line of work, royal heir Darcy Squires-Thornton has always been content playing second fiddle to close friend Prince Adrian, and happy, too, with whatever brief romantic encounters come his way. Especially one with carefree Caroline McKenzie, whose best friend is engaged to the prince. Fun-loving Caroline McKenzie's motto has always been "love the one you're with". But when the one she's no longer with is the one with whom she's fallen in love, what's a girl an ocean away to do?

Sometimes you can let your heir down a little too much…

When wild-child Prince Alexander goes on a naked bender in a Vegas swimming pool, cocktail waitress Andi McDonough decides to preserve a shot of those family jewels on her phone. But when she’s fired for capturing the royal treasures, she heads off to find herself. After backpacking the world-over on a dime and a prayer, she finds herself in Rome, where a chance encounter with the wayward prince only reinforces to her that Prince Zander is indeed bad to the throne. And more than likely to her fragile heart as well.

Lastly, I'm finally getting around to doing a newsletter! It'll be the first one in about 5 years! I'd sure love new subscribers, so if you'd like to check it out, please sign up here (and I promise I won't bug you all the time!).

Thanks and Happy Holidays everyone!

Accidentally on Purpose (written as Erin Delany)
Compromising Positions (written as Erin Delany)
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1 comment:

dstoutholcomb said...

lolol thanks for the laugh! Merry Christmas!