I love December. I love all the excitement and tinsel and exuberance of the Christmas season, even the tacky bits. (Though I do get a little upset when stores start putting out the Christmas goodies and playing sterile versions of carols before Halloween!) To go into a store smelling of spices and evergreen and see swags of lights and holly and ribbons – Heaven! To drive the darkened streets, oohing and aahing over the brilliantly lit homes and the clever lawn ornaments – how exciting! To enter a church hung with green for a ceremony of carols, both familiar and obscure – delightful!
I just wish it didn’t happen in such a rush. I always need about ten extra days to get ready for Christmas, no matter when or where I start. Maybe I could get everything I want to done, decorations, cards, etc., with enough energy left to really enjoy the holiday if I started earlier – say around July?
This year I have an excuse. Day before yesterday I finally wrote The End on what I have privately called The Book That Will Not Die. Days ago I estimated I had about 2,000 words to go. That was about 10,000 words ago. Some storylines just take longer to wrap up than others. It will need tightening and some good editing – all books do – I’m just glad the first draft is done.
Toward the end that book ate my life. The Husband resigned himself to take-out or frozen pizza more often than any spouse should have to. The laundry lies in ever-growing clumps on the floor and I have been reduced to wearing ancient sweats riddled with holes and indecipherable stains. I did make time to run a washer or two of The Husband’s clothes, as he has to go to work, but I’m lucky – the cats and the dog don’t care what I look like as long as their food bowls are filled on time.
But the book is done! I lifted my head after typing The End and was met by The Husband’s statement, “Maybe now we can start on the Christmas cards.”
“Christmas cards?” I asked in all innocence. “Why so early?”
Then he told me what day it was and how long we had until Christmas. I had been concentrating so hard trying to beat my self-imposed deadline (I write better under deadline, darn it) that neither days nor dates had had any meaning.
So – editing will have to wait until the New Year. I’m going to enjoy Christmas all the way to New Year’s Eve, and I hope all of you do, too. Whatever holiday you celebrate, it’s a magical time of year and deserves our attention and joy.
It would be better if we did have ten extra days to enjoy, though, even if we haven’t been on deadline…
By the way, in case you’re interested the book in question is a traditional Gothic romance. Some most perspicacious reviewer once called me the logical successor to Phyllis A. Whitney and I’ve tried to live up to it! The book is called CURSE OF THE EXILE, set in 1850s Scotland with a crumbling castle, a brooding laird, a prim and shy female librarian, lost gold, a ghost called Mad Margaret and a couple of murders. It is great fun, and I am keeping my fingers crossed it will be available somewhere, sometime, hopefully soon. Agents and publishers, feel free to contact me, but only after New Year’s!
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!
Janis Susan May Patterson is a seventh-generation Texan and a third-generation wordsmith who writes mysteries as Janis Patterson, romances and other things as Janis Susan May, children’s books as Janis Susan Patterson and scholarly works as J.S.M. Patterson.
Formerly an actress and singer, a talent agent and Supervisor of Accessioning for a bio-genetic DNA testing lab, Janis has also been editor-in-chief of two multi-magazine publishing groups as well as many other things, including an enthusiastic amateur Egyptologist.Janis married for the first time when most of her contemporaries were becoming grandmothers. Her husband, also an Egyptophile, even proposed in a moonlit garden near the Pyramids of Giza. Janis and her husband live in