And to All a Good Night

snoppy xmasThis will be my last post for the year–I hope to embark on a writing marathon over the holidays–and what a wonderful year it has been for me. Many new titles on the shelves, some new ground broken with the books written this year (watch out for the Captive Hearts trilogy next summer), and lots of new sites seen.

I’ve had sorrow this year too. My parents are in their tenth decade, and while that in itself is something to celebrate, their faculties are fading, and much courage is required of them to face each day.

old peopleMy daughter has been a particular source of pride, completing a demanding course leading to certification as a veterinary technician. She’s now pursuing a four-year degree and training for her first half-marathon. Beloved Offspring has overcome a lot early in life, and come through her trials with enormous heart and an excellent sense of humor. It’s tough watching my parents deal with extreme old age, but the early adult years these days aren’t any walk in the park either.

heather grad smallIf I had to cite one bend in the road this past year that I’m particularly pleased with, though, it would be my trip to Scotland in September with Beltane Tours, for several reasons. This two-week jaunt through Scotland was my first group tour, and committing to it was an act of trust. I agreed to share the company of strangers in a strange land, day in and day out, and even paid money for that privilege. For somebody who’s a Warp Nine Introvert, that was a big risk.

At Glencoe, enduring the awful weather and the dreary scenery...

At Glencoe, enduring the awful weather and the dreary scenery…

It REALLY paid off. Jim and Susie Malcolm have put together an itinerary that ensured I saw a lot of Scotland, got a ton of story inspiration, drank some delectable whiskey, and spent time with interesting people amid beautiful scenery. The other benefit of that trip was that I put myself in musical company for the first time in decades. I forget what a delight good live music can be, and forget even more what a joy it is to make music. I’m not much of a vocalist, but neither was Robert Burns, and that didn’t stop him from creating some of the most memorable lyrics ever penned.

So the second pleasure of my trip to Scotland was a renewed appreciation for music. One example: we sang this version of Auld Lang Syne, and for singingthe first time with this song, I bawled my little eyeballs out (this is wonderful). I’m trying to finagle the logistics so I can join the tour again in June (and yes, you all should do the same).

My third pleasure was in forming new connections with people who share some of my interests. Of course, not everybody on the trip became a great friend, but the blossoming of even one new friendship is cause for joy (waves her copy of “The Bard” at Carol K.)

So as we face the changing of the year yet again, I wish you beautiful new scenery, new friends, and new dreams to go with the old, because that’s what this wonderful year has given to me.

Christmas singingWhat blessings do you wish upon us for the coming year? What blessings do you seek?

My heartfelt thanks to all who make this blog the interesting and worthwhile discussion it has become. To the first fifty people who comment in the next week, I’ll send out an Amazon gift card.


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70 comments on “And to All a Good Night

  1. This has been a year of adjustment–still–to my new home in Pittsburgh. I’m a native Michigander and my husband and I moved here 3 1/2 years ago…and it STILL doesn’t feel like home. I don’t think it ever will. It has been a difficult adjustment, much more than I thought it would be. I am grateful for my health and for getting my finances in order. Historical romance novels have been a wonderful joy in my life during this time, in fact, I didn’t start reading them until November 2011. Yours are some of my favorites. Happiness and health in 2014!

    • Maria, as a kid I learned to attach to place rather than people, because I could, and because it was safer. I’ve emotionally camped here in Maryland for the past 25 years. I’m not proud of that, but it saw my daughter raised.

      Now, my home is in the writing, in enduring relationships, and in memories. I hope your true home finds you soon, regardless of where you live.

  2. Hope you have a very Merry Christmas, Grace. You have given me so much joy through the reading of all your books. I continue to strive to be a loving and caring wife, mother and grandmother. My family is my greatest joy and I wish only for them to have full, healthy and happy lives throughout the new year!

  3. I doubt I’m alone in having a difficult year and wondering what the new year might bring so I’ll wish for others what I wish for myself – PEACE, creativity, a passion that engages and nurtures through the easy and the difficult, answers in hard situations, and HOPE.

  4. Grace, I hope you are able to manage the trip to Scotland in June, and I hope it lives up to your expectations.
    For those who are unable to travel on a grand scale – I hope you find new things to explore in your own parts of the world.
    I hope to be blessed with optimism in the coming year. I want to be able to focus on the good in a world that increasingly seems to be a little bit crazy.
    I also hope for the courage to risk making new connections.

    • Courage–what a big word you use there, Amy. People think romance novels are about love, but they’re also about the courage that love inspires, and the change that comes from letting that courage free.

      I wish you joy in your new connections, and fun!

  5. Serenity, peace in your soul, contentment. These are all things for I wish for everyone. When the world is spiraling around with such insanity being able to not feel like its taking you down with it is a huge thing.

    For myself? I’m wishing for self control. My health and my bank account need this from me. πŸ™‚

    Oh, and I’m always pleased to hear that your bus tour was a success. I’ve considered doing that in the future (when my bank account has the benefit of that self control I need) and to know that it was a success makes me feel better about the idea.

    Have a wonderful holiday season, Grace. Hope you have the time to enjoy some down time. I’m planning to luxuriate in not turning the alarm clock on for the next two weeks.

  6. Happy New Year! I love this time of the year for many reasons including reflecting about the past year and planning/hoping for the next year so I especially enjoyed reading your blog this week. My new year will bring retirement–which I am referring to as “The Next Chapter” of my life. I am in a strange place of both excitement and anxiousness right now but I know this will pass. Till it does I will cope by reading.
    I wish you a delightful time writing in the next weeks. I’ll be reading the final stories.

    • Kathy, I admire that you’ve chosen to retire, not let retirement be inflicted on you. As much as you’ve traveled, as much as you have the gene and heart for teaching, I’m sure good things lie ahead for you.

      Good, FUN things!

  7. What an exciting year for you, Grace! You’ve had many great adventures! πŸ™‚

    My 2013, like so many others had both happiness and sadness but I would like to focus on the happiness rather than the sadness. Two things happened this year that changed my life and has taken me in a direction I never though I would go.

    First, I attended RT Convention hosted in Kansas City this past May and it was amazing. I even met you, Grace! It was exhilarating to meet soooo many of my favorite authors and other that love reading as much as I do. It was truly a wonderful trip and the people I’ve met have enriched my life.
    Second, My husband and I relocated to Arizona from Washington State. This was not a planned move but sometimes adventure are not planned and you must live within the moment. We located due to my husband landing his dream job and it would have been foolish to pass up. So here we are spending our first Christmas in the desert. I am still adjusting (I’ve been here for about six weeks) but in time I hope it will become home. If anything it will be an adventure.

    Of course there all the wonderful books I read. I couldn’t possibly name them all but they have made the rough moments of this year a little better.

    I am looking forward to 2014 being an excellent year and reading more wonderful books.

    Merry Christmas, Grace! Wishing you a fabulous holiday and New Year. Can’t wait to read what’s coming next.

    • Arizona had so much to offer, Lindsey! I could spend weeks up a the Canyon, use Flag as a writing retreat, and find the times of year when Sedona isn’t crowded… Hats off to you and Himself for grabbing the dream by the horns (and come January, you’ll have company from up north. Trust me on this).

  8. I am going to continue with my Good Things jar (a mason jar filled with reminders of the good things that happen throughout the year), enjoy and support my family, friends and corgis ( especially my Irish) and encourage my daughter to reach for the stars as she continues her second year of college.
    I look forward to 2014 and hope that I come home to a good book, a glass of wine and a corgi to two on my lap. Have a wonderful holiday season Grace!

  9. It’s so good to hear you’re going on a writing binge! I love your books. It sounds like you’ve got a lot of other things to be proud of this year, too. I’m ever thankful for my family, friends and church community. God Bless you, Grace. Merry Christmas.

  10. For me, 2013 was a year filled with highs and lows both personally and professionally, but I’ve learned that once you come out on the other side, you may be a little bruised but you are most definitely stronger. So my wish for others would be something my grandmother once told me: I wish you endurance for the storms of life, faith to see you through, love to guide you, journeys to help you see how far you have come, and family to welcome you home.

    May 2014 bless you with health and happiness!

    Best Wishes,

  11. This year I am grateful for my husband Terry. I am also grateful for your friendship and your wonderful books. Thank you for your talent and your wonderful friendship.

  12. You made me a little teary eyes with this post.
    What a year it has been. I would definitely say that 2013 was a big turning point in my life. I learned that it’s okay to do something just for me, that doesn’t involve my boys. I started finding my way back to things that I love and I hope it’s just the beginning. Attending RT was a big step for me and something I am so glad I had the courage to do.
    This was also a year of so many blessings. Just when I wasn’t sure that how a bill would be paid or groceries bought, I would be blessed beyond measure, it even happened again this past week. I need to remember not to stress myself out about such things because God uses people in my life in extraordinary ways and at just the right time.
    It has also been a year of amazing progress with my boys. All the little things throughout the year have certainly combined to make big accomplishments, especially with my youngest.

    My wish is that all people would be as blessed as I have been and know what it is to be loved and to love.

    Thank you, Grace, for being part of my year of blessings.

    • Sarah, you remind us that something as small as hearing your three-year-old call you “Mom,” is not small. It can be a long-awaited miracle.

      Please keep sharing the miracles with us, also the occasional morass. And if you look higher up in the comments, you’ll see that Lindsey has been plopped down in the middle of the dessert… and she also had a great time at RT!

  13. I have such hopes for the new year! The old year was pretty good, seeing the daughter off on her own adventures as a married woman. And we got hubby fitted with a new hip, so we hope that with his new mobility we will be able to do sooo much more this next year than we have been able in the past. So I second Grace’s wishes, for new scenery, new friends and new dreams. Who knows what will happen? May it be good for all who come here!

  14. Well, I am going to comment. I wish you the fortitude to finagle that trip again – I love that you reconnected with music, which is so good for the soul. I wish you music through the year. For all of us I wish for strength to be the people we can be, and joy in who we are when we are there.

  15. Dear Grace,

    Thank you for all your wonderful books. They have brought such enjoyment over the past year. Wishing you a wonderful New Year. (no gift card, please)

  16. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone. Looking forward to a successful 2014

    Congratulations Grace on an amazing year. I will say one thing-I, too, graduated in 2013 with my degree in Sociology. I went back to university (part time) when my children were in high school and had to take a few years off due to family illness but I wrote my final exam in April 2013 and I can finally say–I am a graduate (at 53 years old)…lol

  17. Let me start out by saying “thank you” for all of those great books that you worked so hard on for us to read. I read Darius first and I have read everything you have written since. So again, I thank you for my reading enjoyment. I hope that you have a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year. I always look forward to the new year because it gives me hope that there will be good things in store for me and others.

  18. Grace, your trip sounds wonderful! I did a group tour myself this fall (Rome to London), had a fantastic time and made some amazing new friends.

    I wish for my sister’s long-wished-for pregnancy to proceed uneventfully to a lovely end, to enjoy the company of my now-98-year-old grandmother, and for my father, sadly afflicted with Alzheimer’s, to be safe and to continue to recognize me and my family as long as possible.

    Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

  19. I wish there to be a greater understanding between all people ,ensuring a more peaceful world

    I wish for the continued love of my family and friends !

    Happy New Year Grace and to all your readers and may you have a succesful and Fulfilling writing year.

  20. My wish for myself for the coming year is better health, this whole past year has been a health battle with my breast cancer diagnosis in February. The whole year was spent in a battle, so I am hoping for a quieter year. I also have a dearly loved uncle who is fighting his own cancer battle, it is not going well and I am hoping for peace for him and for my aunt who is facing life without him.

    For my sons I always have many wishes. They are both very good students and smart boys, so I hope that they have a great many wonderful learning experiences. My youngest will be in high school is 2014 and my oldest who is a sophomore has been spreading his wings and being more involved in school activities, he will be in the upcoming school musical, Into The Woods. (He will be playing the part of The Steward. He was starting to explain what a steward was to me and I laughed, I read romance, I know what a steward is!)

    For everyone, I wish for happiness, good health and a great year ahead, for us readers I wish for many new great books to devour!

  21. I hope for myself to find new opportunities at work – I’m ready for some personal growth. For the country, I hope for a year with no school shootings and a government that can put the good of the people ahead of partisan politics. I hope the economy continues to improve and fewer children will love in poverty. I also hope for a year full of wonderful new books.

  22. I wish the old and wise – peace on earth and goodwill towards men (prefer people). And since you were talking of music – Vince Gill does a wonderful rendition of Let there be Peace on Earth.

    Thank you so much for your books, Grace, and your generosity. This blog makes me think like no other. You ask some hard questions but they are always very enlightening.

    Happy Holidays to all and I look forward to next year’s questions πŸ™‚

  23. I wish the blessing of time to us all – to step back and appreciate all that we have, to spend time with family and friends, to do the things we like to do. Time to do something besides work and worry about things we have to do. What I wish for myself is something I’ve been trying to do in my Yoga meditation – practice calmness and kindness. Try not to get excited about every little thing and be kind when the first instinct is to be annoyed.

  24. I hope to get myself together and accomplish some things next year – haven’t gotten much but the absolute necessities done over the last month or so. Maybe I’ll get to go on a fabulous trip like you did – let me know if there is any extra room.

  25. You have given me so much joy this year, Grace, with all your wonderful book releases. I’ve particularly enjoyed the last books of the Windham series (for now, but hopefully, there will be more?) And your latest, Andrew, really tugged at my heartstrings. Now I’m eager to read Douglas’ story as the way you portrayed him in Andrew makes me wonder how he can ever find true love. Happy holidays to you from the UK and heartfelt thanks for sharing your amazing stories with us. x

  26. I know it’s said all the time but I honestly wish for peace on earth as it seems that the fighting of wars is growing all the world over. So many are losing homes, family, friends, and lives that it’s scary.
    The blessings I seek are a new, better paying job for my son-in-law, as well as good health and happiness for my daughter and all her family. For myself I’m hoping for continued good health, despite my chronic health problems, and the continued love of family and friends. I also seek blessing on all out there, people and animals who can’t, for one reason or another, speak up for themselves.
    Grace I love your writing so much that whenever I get another of your books I put aside whatever I’m reading and dive right into your latest. I’m so looking forward to the ones you have coming out this coming year, I believe I’ve got them all on order through Amazon so I’ll get them without having to hunt for them. I started doing this several months back when I found that if I ordered the book before it’s release day it would be delivered to me that day and with Amazon’s “lowest price guarantee” many times I pay even less than I would if I was able to buy the same book at Walmart. Am looking forward to many more hours of wonderful reading of your stories. Thanks so much.

  27. We have had a year of ups and downs, especially with my parents. But we are all feeling blessed to be here and more fortunate than many.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    • And I plan on continuing to try to see the blessings instead of the bad in situations. It’s something I have a hard time with but I am definitely working on it.

  28. It has been a crazy year with finally finishing school and losing my grandmother after a five month battle where she was in and out of hospitals. I’m hoping that next year will bring wonderful new surprises and most of all a little peace. Wishing you and yours a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.

  29. Merry Christmas Grace!
    I am a relatively new fan of yours having only read 3 of your books. Loved them all. I feel blessed to have spent so many hours enjoying books by you and other gifted authors. Thanks for your wonderful writing and very best wishes to you and yours.
    Mary Anne in Ontario, Canada

  30. I’m praying for good health and good spirits in 2014. I am still struggling with my anxieties and have made major leaps but it is still a day-to-day struggle for me. ^_^

    Here’s to the promise of wonderful things in the next year!

    Merry Christmas, Grace! Happy Holidays, fellow readers!

  31. Congrats on your wonderful year–especially the Scotland part. Going to Scotland is on my goal list for 2014 and I can’t wait to go! I am so looking forward to your new trilogy!!!

  32. Sounds like you had a full and successful year Grace. I understand what you are feeling with your parents, but keep smiling and you will get through. Congratulations to your daughter. We have a son who is happily in the army and doing his “thing”. Unfortunately children grow up and it is our duty in some ways to see that they can survive in the coming years. Life goes on and we must make the best of it.

  33. I’m seeking for the good health and the right one in my life

    Seem like I already late.

    Congrts everyone and Merry Christmas

  34. Currently I wish for a generator so we can have heat and water again…or better yet, the power to come back for everyone in this Ice Storm!

  35. I found your books this season and wanted to learn more about the author who shares so much emotion and humor and captivates my imagination. My search led me to this blog. Thank you.

  36. Auld Lang Syne brings a tear to my eye each time I hear or sing it, so many dear memories of loved ones who have passed on are associated with that song.

    Now that my dear offspring is grown, I have time to do a bit more travelling and may finally take that art class I’ve always wanted.

    I hope 2014 brings inspiration and joy.

    Merry Christmas & Happy New year,


  37. Wishing a Happy Christmas to all from the West Coast!

    I wish sunshine, love, laughter and PEACE for everyone and their families.

    For those near and dear to me, I wish to see each other more in the coming year, especially Fave Nephie (who is a whopping 5-months old already!.

    For me, it is simple: to finish the blasted manuscript I’ve been working on and submit it to contests!

  38. I’ve always wanted to go to Scotland. Your trip sounds like it was fun, expansive, and interesting on many levels. Do you think a group tour is the way to go? Sounds like it worked very well for you, maybe one of these days I’ll be able to do the same.

  39. I just wanted to say that it was a treat to start following your blog this year! You give such a lovely perspective on things! πŸ™‚