by Barb DeLong
Are you one of those crafty types—you know, one of those creative creatures who swoon upon entering Michael’s or Hobby Lobby? Then you’ll have noticed that, starting sometime in July, Christmas project supplies elbow Halloween frights in an ever-growing mash-up aisle after aisle, week after week. You might have to ask where the Pilgrim hats are located. Disneyland famously combines Halloween and Christmas in its Nightmare Before Christmas-themed Haunted Mansion open in early September. Some retailers have begun sneaking in some holly among their scary zombie masks.
Christmas in July is a popular promotional tactic used by many businesses, not the least of which are authors of holiday stories. Be sure to read Ottilia Scherschel’s recent WSR post called “Love for Christmas” for insights into the possible origins of the Christmas-in-July phenomenon. And yes, Ottilia, I confess to watching some wonderful snowy Hallmark holiday romances this past summer and loving them with temps outside in the 80’s.
So, what’s my actual point here?
My Writing Something Romantic author group missed the boat—er—sleigh this past July for our Love for Christmas holiday romance anthology promo. Here it is September and we feel perfectly justified in doing so now, especially because the paperback version of the anthology will be available in October (the e-book is already up on Amazon under Love for Christmas, a Holiday Romance Anthology). Check it out. It’s never too early to get into the spirit of the holidays! In fact, it seems rather late.
My life has always been filled with learning to read and write in some language. I was born in Hungary and educated in Europe, Latin America and the United States. When my family settled in Southern California, I was introduced to English literature and got hooked on novels. My father and I used to read his favorites out loud together. He liked mystery and adventure—Sherlock Holmes and James Fennimore Cooper. I grew to love suspense, action, and brave warrior heroes.
As an adult, I worked in corporate communications for an international trade association. I did a lot of traveling. I had down time on planes and in airports and started to dabble in fiction by creating dangerous adventures for the people I saw around me. I turned businessmen into swashbucklers and tired mothers into FBI agents.
Before long, I produced a manuscript. When I read it, my head spun with the speed of the pacing that was like Die Hard on steroids and without the lovable wife for breathers. I put my first effort at fiction in the depths of my closet and asked myself what I knew about adding love, romance, to the page. The answer was I needed help.
A friend, who was an avid romance reader, invited me to a local Romance Writers of America meeting. I hit the jackpot—a place to learn.
I dove into the learning pool. (I could write a book about that pool but won’t bore you.) I took classes, added Elizabeth Lowell, Nora Roberts, and Jayne Ann Krentz to my reading list and re-read Daphne du Maurier and Jane Austen. I came away with a desire to work in the romantic suspense genre but with a wrinkle. I would set my stories in foreign places and include some of those characters I cooked up at airports.
My life today is still filled with writing and language. The difference is I’m working on my own writing and honing words on the page to create language I’m proud to share with my readers.
What do you write?