Well I must confess that I was mistaken about this post. I *thought* it was supposed to be about our favorite holiday decoration, so I spent some time looking for pictures of my favorite holiday decoration through the years. Guess what? No pictures! What I discovered was that while I had plenty of family fun pictures, I had very few decoration pics. It was a happy mistake, however. Oh my, was going back through those photos fun, if a bit nostalgic.
Changes upon changes in recent years (don’t we all know about those) have changed the way we celebrate and the huge family gatherings of the last decade are simply no longer possible. And while I miss the joy and the togetherness, by going through the pics I discovered that the love is something that continues and every laugh, silly moment and, yes, even every selfie leaves sustaining echoes–joy that is then carried through no matter where and with whom the holiday is celebrated.
I couldn’t have actually written the post I was supposed to write (sharing my holiday decorations) because they aren’t done yet (!) but I’m glad I made the mistake, because as I decorate, images of Christmas past will be in my mind, adding to my joy.
Want to read about my fellow writers’ holiday decor?
Have you heard about the 2016 Historical Romance Readers Retreat in Spokane, Washington – September 22-25, 2016? The retreat is a dream-come-true for any lover of historical romance, and I’ll tell you why.
First, about the retreat:
Founders Renee Bernard and Delilah Marvelle envision a cozy event. Registration is capped at 300—3 readers to every featured author—which means, unlike other events where you wait in line to see an author only to find yourself crouched over an autograph table, rushing through a conversation about your favorite scene or character while the author looks up, straining to hear, they’ll be plenty of time to kick back and chat about the interests historical romance authors and readers share—history and books! By the time the weekend is over, you will have pictures galore, tales to tell, and plenty of new reads.
Did I mention the parties? Just take a look at the preliminary schedule. Soirees! Gaming! Even a ball! Who hasn’t dreamed of attending a ball? This is your chance to be a historical romance heroine! But not to worry, historical clothing is optional (but certainly celebrated if you choose to dress up).
Need another reason to treat yourself to the retreat? This won’t be a yearly event. The registration fee is $285 until December 31st, when it will increase to $345, and payment plans are available. The hotel rates—$150 in the Davenport Tower and $190 in the historic Davenport—are both far below what’s normally charged. Once registered, you can join a facebook group just for attendees if you’d like to find a roommate and share the cost.
Next, Spokane and The Davenport
Back in 2008, my husband and I took Amtrak’s ‘The Empire Builder’ from Seattle to Spokane. From the moment we disembarked, Spokane began carving a place in my heart. Having finished a Julia Quinn novel on the train, Auntie’s bookstore was naturally the first store I spotted. After perusing their large Romance section, I bought Elizabeth Hoyt’s To Taste Temptation, which was prominently displayed with a note of personal recommendation from a bookstore employee. Oh yes, my friends, an indie bookstore that celebrates romance…or, in other words, a slice of heaven. I loved Auntie’s so much, I made my husband pose for a picture out front. Not surprisingly, Auntie’s is an enthusiastic supporter of The HRR, and since it’s right downtown, it is well worth a visit!
And then there is the Historic Davenport…
I can honestly say the Davenport is the only hotel that has ever left me speechless. A more romantic venue Does. Not. Exist. A bold statement (cough), but true. And once you’ve stepped inside the ornate, two-story lobby, you will understand. I promise you that walking through the Davenport is as close as a historical romance lover in this hemisphere can come to time travel. I wanted to curl up in one of the overstuffed chairs and live there forever. But any hotel with a lobby like that has to have great event rooms, right? I did some sleuthing. To the right is my hastily taken pic of one of the lamps in the Isabella ballroom (the only ballroom unlocked that day, lol).
But back to Spokane…
My 48 hours there were not enough to enjoy everything the city had to offer. Spokane Falls lies in the center of town and the falls are breathtaking. Like the tourists we were, we took the SkyRide to get a birds-eye view. But my favorite stop was a visit to the Campbell House Museum. Two things I remember best from our house tour—the parlor clock that chimed 15 minutes so callers would not overstay their welcome & the tiny lace irons in the laundry room. The house is a true treat for lovers of history. Here’s a YouTube video featuring the Campbell House on Halloween:
After our stop at the museum, we strolled the streets, visiting local artisan shops and admiring turn-of-the-century architecture until we spotted a bar that was featuring jazz that evening. We ended our visit listing to live music and soaking up the creative atmosphere of Spokane. I remember wondering if I’d ever have the opportunity to see the city again. And now I know the answer—yes. Guess who just found out she is going to be one of the 50 featured authors?
I’m thrilled (and a bit awed) to be one of the featured authors, excited to meet readers, and looking forward to returning to one of my favorite “small” cities in the world.
I hope I’ve inspired you to claim your spot at 2016 Historical Romance Readers Retreat. It’s sure to be a dream escape… historic and—a-hem—one for the books.
Winners of The Duchess Decadence Dukes and Dice giveaway featuring Past Thrills Authors have been notified and have (hopefully) already received their prizes.
Congrats to Sue G. for winning The Grand Prize-signed copies of Lady Vice, Lady Scandal & Duchess Decadence with swag (compact mirror, 2 oz Lady Scandal Rose Bath Salts, and pens!)
And Congrats to the e-book winners:
The Accidental Duchess, by Madeline Hunter: Angie F.
Secrets for Seducing a Royal Bodyguard, by Vanessa Kelly: Yary S.
Good Earl Gone Bad, by Manda Collins: Glenda M.
The Dukes Daring Debutante, by Ann Lethbridge: Diane S.
The Love List, by Deb Marlowe: Elizabeth H.
I Spy a Duke, by Erica Monroe: Sheryl N.
Reckless Wager, by Christy Carlyle: Diana Michelle T.
Thank you to Danielle Gorman for organizing the tour, to the bloggers kind enough to host me, and especially to the readers who participated. It was the best one yet!
And if you’d like to revisit any of the tour stops, they can be found here:
Romancing Rakes For The Love of Romance romancingrakes4theluvofromance.blogspot.com Feature
Outrageous Heroes www.facebook.com/outrageousheroes Feature
SOS Aloha sosaloha.blogspot.com Top 5 Post
Book Obsessed Chicks www.bookobsessedchicks.com Feature & Review
What I’m Reading sillymelody.blogspot.com Feature & Review