June is here! And little Sheila is gearing up for fun and adventure. Off to Book Expo America next week, and I'm very excited about that. It will be my second time in New York and I'm looking forward to taking another bite of the Big Apple. The first bite didn't agree with me so hoping this time will be better! And how could it not, when I'm going to be around thousands of books, and as many booksellers and book lovers! And, speaking of book lovers, congrats to Stacy, who won a copy of Elsa Watson's DOG DAYS. My copy just came in the mail and I'm looking forward to reading it again. (Got to read this when it was a work in progress and laughed myself silly!) If you haven't picked up a copy I hope you'll do so.
Gerhardt, displaying our "bath towel for four".
Oh, the fun we had in Canada this weekend! Thanks to the Vancouver chapter of Romance Writers of America for allowing me to join you. I met so many nice women and had a great time.
Gerhardt, as always, was in charge of travel arrangements. This time around he didn't get a gold star rating though. Getting in touch with his inner Jack Benny, he opted for "cheap" rather than luxury ... or even semi-luxury. And while we didn't get bedbugs anywhere we stayed, we didn't exactly get the Ritz. Our first night was especially interesting. My other had half found a house that let out rooms. The house was lovely, and so was our little corner of it, but it was missing a couple of things we Americans have gotten used to having provided for us when we travel, like soap. And the towel, well as you can see in the picture, they were expecting much smaller guests. No, Gerhardt isn't doing the dance of the seven veils. He's displaying the towel that was left in the bathroom for us to share with the couple in the room next to us. Needless to say, we went out and found a mall and bought a towel.
One of the highlights of our weekend was taking a quick trip to Abbotsford, where ON STRIKE FOR CHRISTMAS was filmed. We enjoyed meeting Theresa, who owns Quilting Essentials, one of the stores where the movie was shot. She and her daughter made us feel right at home and her quilt shop is a feast for the eyes. She shared all kinds of fun details about the filming of the movie. I guess quite a few people wandered into the fake yarn shop, hoping to purchase yarn. I hope if there's another movie in my future I'll get a chance to visit the set and see some of the fun firsthand.
And, as always, we found our Canadian neighbors to be friendly and fun. I love Canada! Somebody make me an honorary Canadian.
One and all, I'm so happy to have my friend Elsa Watson guest posting for Mother's Day. Not only is she a sweet person (and a new mother herself), she is a wonderful writer, and her new book DOG DAYS, which comes out this month, is one of the funniest books I ever read. My copy is on pre-order at Amazon and I can hardly wait to get it! I know you'll love it, too.
In fact, let me order a copy to be shipped to you, too. Leave a comment here on the blog page and we'll pick one lucky winner to receive a copy of Elsa's new book.
Sheila, thank you so much for having me! I’m honored to be here on Mother’s Day, especially since I know this is an important day for all of us who love your books. You have plenty of great mother-and-daughter pairs in your charming little ski town, including the fabulous, candy-making women of the Sterling family in Better Than Chocolate (coming this October.) My very favorites are the dueling—and loving—moms and daughters in Merry Ex-Mas (coming November 2013.)
No one is more important to a woman’s evolution than her mom. This Mother’s Day, I’d like to thank my mom for being such a passionate reader—and for passing her love of books on to me.
I can trace my childhood through the books Mom put in front of me, starting with The Little Red Hen, a family favorite about a determined hen with a do-it-yourself attitude. Mom had a knack for getting me started on series of books, then leaving the rest in my hands. She read Little House in the Big Woods aloud; I read the rest on my own. Mom gave me Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild; I read all the other Shoes books (over, and over, and over again.) She read the first Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle book, Ruth Chew’s What the Witch Left, and Ramona the Pest, and I took over from there.
Not only was Mom a great reccommender of books—guiding me toward everything from Caddie Woodlawn to The Secret Garden—but she loved to talk about them. I remember discussions about Nancy Drew (“she’s a little prefect, isn’t she?” Mom once remarked) that led me to branch out and find my own girl-detective heroine, Trixie Belden. When I was struggling through The Red Badge of Courage, Mom read the book in an evening and the next day talked me through it until I figured out the theme. Later, in high school, it was Heart of Darkness and Wuthering Heights that we’d discuss until I’d found my way to a paper topic. But I don’t mean to imply that our talks were all academic. Rebecca, Gone with the Wind, and Jane Eyre were all books that I loved reading, but that really bloomed to life when I had the chance to talk them over, reveling in the delicious details with a fellow reader who thought they were just as marvelous as I did.
Today, Mom continues to put great books into my hands. Almost every time I see her, she has something new for me. Recently, when I was up for hours at a time feeding our newborn, Mom brought me a huge bag of books. “I don’t want anything sad,” I said. (It’s emotional stuff, having a new baby!) Mom understood and brought me Major Pettigrew Lives for a Day, Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, The Egg and I, and our old favorite, I Capture the Castle.
Mom’s own reading tastes are broad—as you’d expect from someone who’s interested in life in all its colorful variations. She’s read a little of everything, from science fiction and romance to Middlesex and Middlemarch. And recently, she finished reading the Twilight series—in Spanish, of all the wild things. I guess I don’t need to say that my mom makes me proud.
This Mother’s Day, I hope Mom and I will have time to wander through a bookstore, talking about the books we’ve read and the ones we want to read. And, later in the day, if Mom has passed me a book or two, I’ll go home feeling lucky, knowing that we’ll have something riveting to talk about the next time we meet.
Elsa Watson is the author of Dog Days, in which Zoe (a dog) and Jessica (a person) are struck by lightning and switch bodies, leaving Jessica trapped in a dog’s body—and giving Zoe thumbs and the chance to speak. (Coming May 22.) Find Elsa online at www.elsawatson.net.