Saturday, February 13, 2021

Happy Valentine's!


I've built a life and my writing career around family.

This Hometown Hearts Wedding trilogy deals with families. Friends who become families. Families who are made through adoption. Families who are born...Family. Watching people come together, fall apart, adapt... It's a fascinating process. Every story comes at it from a new direction.

We've talked before about how my real life impacts my writing. In March's book,  Something Blue, I deal with dementia in an older loved one. It's a reality I know about. My grandmother slowly lost her battle with dementia over years. Then we adopted a neighbor who also battled that kind of loss. It's an awful process. And you might be thinking, Holly, that's too grim to read about.  But that's not all there is. My grandmother always knew me and my kids. We visited every day. Even after she couldn't remember our names, she knew she was ours and we were hers. The connection was still there. She knew she was loved and she wasn't alone.

We saw the same thing with our neighbor. The Minions owned her entire nursing home. We walked over regularly. The two littles would dress up in their superhero capes and ride their scooters (you can't ride a bike in a cape). Not only did she know we were hers and she was ours, the entire nursing home knew the Minions. They high-fived their way through the halls. Some days they were Batman and Robin, sometimes they were Superman and the Green Lantern... What I loved the most is how gentle they were with everyone. They didn't worry if our neighbor didn't know their names. They filled her in on their day and chatted away and she loved it. 

We missed those visits last year.

Someone once questioned why we visited if a patient didn't know us. I think that even when memories have gone, when someone is lost in their own mind, they recognize love. They feel it. It's a bright light in a dark place. So we visited. My kids and the Minions learned lessons on patience, empathy and love. And our loved ones learned no matter what they were never alone.

Those are the things I tried to put in Something Blue. Connection. Empathy. Love. I know I write romances and writing about love is obviously a part of that, but I really try to write about broader loves. About family. About all the ways they come together and all the ways they stand together.

I've built a life around family and I've built a career around it.

I am so lucky in both! And Valentine's Day seems like the perfect day to talk about that kind of love.

I hope you'll check out the entire Hometown Hearts series and Something Blue!


Crib Notes: Hometown Hearts #1

A Special Kind of Different: Hometown Hearts #2

Homecoming: Hometown Hearts #3


Suddenly a Father: Hometown Hearts #4

Preorder: Something Borrowed: Hometown Hearts #5
Available 1/5/21

PREORDER: Something Blue Available 3/21

Preorder Something Perfect Available 5/21


Tuesday, February 02, 2021

Two Steps Forward by Susan Sands

 So, I made a top ten list last month of all the 2021 goals for the coming year. Thus far, I've managed to do pretty well with turning off the news to stop obsessing over all the political noise. That was number one. I'm certain my blood pressure has come down several points.

But I bought a bread machine. One of the things on my list was to eat healthier. And stop baking so much. Um, the bread machine... So, a decade or so ago, I had a bread machine. I used it a lot at first, but my impatience for immediate gratification had me putting it away for the convenience of Fresh Market a half-mile down the street. So many delightful choices at my fingertips without the wait. 

I sold the old machine in my estate sale when I moved two years ago. My new place doesn't have Fresh Market or Whole Foods quite as close and I've stopped going out to shop and begun to order my groceries most of the time. Mostly because I'm lazy. But let me tell you what's nice about the new bread machines: Bread machine MIXES. Yes, they have yeast already in them and you add warm water and press a button. There's still that stinking wait time but OMG, the smell and the results are amazing and so not what I planned for my top ten list for 2021.

I ordered about fifteen different kinds so I could try a wide variety. Cinnamon rolls, pizza crust, English muffins. There are endless options. I will report back with my favorites.

As far as the rest of the list goes, well, that's still a work in progress. It's been especially cold here in Georgia, so getting out and walking more--getting out period--hasn't really happened. I'll just say, I'm looking forward to springtime. 

My eighty-four-year-old mother-in-law battled COVID here at my house a couple weeks ago and fortunately came through it like a champ. She was only symptomatic for four or five days. We were all still antibodied-up, thankfully, and no one else got sick. I went and got tested for antibodies again (seven months post-COVID) and was still positive. I needed to know how close I could care for my MIL. I say this because I know there are those of you who want to hear how others get through the virus. 

We've been very lucky, and for that I'm thankful. I'm still waiting for my mom to find vaccine availability in our area. She's seventy-five and still no luck in getting it. 

I've enjoyed our chat today. I hope you all remain safe and healthy. 

Susan Sands