Christmas Eve, Awesome News, and a Spine Tingling Book

It's Christmas Eve morning. My hubby is pulling the turkey out of the refrigerator so we can figure out how long it needs to cook and I'm strategizing my "kitchen plan" in my head. You know what a kitchen plan is, don't you? For me, when to make each dish, so they'll all be ready (and hot!) when it's time for our big dinner tonight, as well as how to keep the kids happy and out of the kitchen while I get it all done.   =)

I love Christmas Eve. Christmas Day is all about fun and playing together as a family, but Christmas Eve is full of all the anticipation, giggles and squeals, and teasing about what kind of presents we might get tomorrow. Sticks and rocks, mud scented play doh, and Santa just might bring a big box of coal, too. The kids enjoy the teasing just as much as we do, laughing and teasing us right back. Later this morning, we'll pull out a puzzle to work on and play a couple of board games. Then we'll pop on some fun Christmas DVD's for the kids while we cook up our turkey and all the trimmings.

My three-year-old just came up to tell me that our turkey is taking a bath. LOL! It's in the sink finishing it's final defrost before being put in the over. I'm drooling while thinking about all our yummy food for tonight. My hubby is excited about the apple cranberry pie I bought yesterday. It looks totally delish!

Aside from the food (I just love holiday food!), I'm also looking forward to telling the Christmas story tonight as a family. We get out my mom's ceramic teddy bear nativity and use the pieces to tell the story. The kids are old enough now that they each hold their own pieces and come in to play their parts at the appropriate time. After the telling of the Christmas story, we'll all sit on the couch together, turn off the lights (so much better to admire the Christmas tree), and sing carols. Then we'll have family prayer and get all the munchkins to bed (so much easier said than done!).

Yes, I love Christmas Eve and can't wait to dive into it today. Most of our munchkins are still sleeping, hence the opportunity to blog this morning.  =)

I also have some awesome news to share. My publisher, Cedar Fort, emailed yesterday to say that the release date for (dis)Abilities and the Gospel is May 2011. Horray! Only five months away! I'm so very excited. Lynn and I will have our very first book signing at the LDS Storymakers Writers Conference during Mother's Day weekend. If you're attending the conference, you'll get first dibs on the book as it most likely won't be on book store shelves yet.

I'm rather emotional about our first signing for a couple of reasons. The first of which is that the Storymakers conference is where my hubby sent me to get me back into my writing after many years of setting it aside to help our son with his autism therapy. It was at that first conference I attended when I realized that my love of writing could turn into the reality of a book selling in book stores. Each conference that followed continued to teach my the writing craft. The support of the Storymakers and friends I met at the conference nurtured and encouraged me all year long. This writing journey has been an incredible experience - and I think it's so neat that the organization who encouraged me to work to realize my dreams, is where I'll hold my book and sign it for a fan for the first time. Amazing how it's all working out, isn't it?

The other reason having our first signing at the Storymakers conference is because last year's conference was when my co-author Lynn Parsons and I met in person. Yes, we wrote a whole book together, but never once met in person. We talked on the phone, emailed and wrote through Google Docs. Our friendship was created and sealed through modern technology. I still remember how excited I was to wrap my arms around her for the first time at last year's conference. We even teased each other that we were both wearing similar outfits - which was totally not planned at all. It's fun to see how our writing journey together is coming full circle. We're both rubbing our hands in anticipation of the new year and jumping into the excitement of marketing, promotions, and our book tour. Wow. It's definitely a Merry Christmas for Lynn and I. 

My kids are starting to make appearances, so I just want to chat about one more thing. The book I read last night. Once the kids were in bed, I decided to take a nice hot bath and enjoy a good book. I picked up Cold As Ice by Stephanie Black, sunk into the bath tub and dived into the first chapter. So much for relaxing in my bath! There's a reason why Stephanie Black has won two Whitney Awards for her suspense novels. They pull you in, freak you out, and make it so you can't put the book down until you know how it ends. I was barely able to put it down after the water turned cold so I could jump out and get dressed for bed. But once I hurried through that, I was snuggled into my bed and right back into the book.

My favorite thing about suspense novels is trying to figure out who the bad guy is before the end. Cold As Ice is a book where I kept guessing. It's this person because of this, this, and this. Wait no - I think it could be this person because of blah, blah, blah. I went through this at least four times . . . and I was still wrong at the end! During those last fifty pages, I was so, so tempted to flip to the end just to see who the killer was. I seriously stopped a few times and fingered the pages, debating about whether to skip ahead or not. But I made myself read through. And yes, there were spine tingles and gasps and when the killer was revealed a "No way!" as everything sunk in together and got wrapped up. So, if you like suspense and spine tingles, I highly recommend Cold As Ice. Now I need to read the rest of her books - which are actually on my bookshelf but I've never read because, you know, I'm a romance chick. Well, I'm now a Stephanie Black suspense fan and will be reading all of her books as soon as they come out now.

Well, it's time to wrap up this post. I'm looking out our bay windows and see that it's started snowing outside. My kids will be thrilled if we have a white Christmas, so hopefully it won't all melt and go away.

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope your holiday is filled with family, friends, love, and thoughts of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Would you like to comment?

Unknown said...

Great post, Danyelle. And you're so right about Stephanie Black's book! Coincidentally, I just this morning added that same book to a Kindleboard post. Stephanie is an amazing writer. But I can't read her books at bedtime. They're way too scary! Merry Christmas to you and yours. And good luck with your new book in 2011.

Karlene said...

That's great news about your book!

And yes, I love Stephanie Black's books.

Nichole Giles said...

I love Christmas Eve as well. We already have our puzzle on, because we couldn't wait to get it started. And I'm making my kitchen plan as well.

Congrats about your book, and merry Christmas to you and your family.

Stephanie Black said...

Danyelle, thank you so much for the fantastic review! That was a great early Christmas present for me :)

(and thank you, Anne and Karlene!)

Rachelle Christensen said...

Merry Christmas! This was a fun post to read. Our kids are tucked in bed. And yes, Stephanie Black is an awesome writer--read her first book (I think) Believer--it's so cool!

Jordan McCollum said...

I've loved all of Stephanie's books! I think CAI is my favorite (but it changes every time a new one comes out, LOL).

Shanda said...

Oh, Danyelle, that's great news about your book! So glad to hear that things are moving forward with it. I remember being right there at the Storymakers when you and Lynn first met. It was awesome to be a part of that first meeting. :)

I just read Cold As Ice a couple of weeks ago and I agree it was amazing! I loved what Stephanie did with it. She just keeps getting better and better.

I hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas being together!

Shanda :)