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By: Anita Clenney

Christmas is upon us and the end of the year is fast approaching. What a year it's been for me. Making my first sale, achieving my dream. I've gone through revisions, edits, copy edits, and now it's in the capable hands of my publisher. I'm finished with my part of the creation so it feels like I've reached an end, but it really isn't. As all of you know, probably even better than me, there is still a lot of work to do. In fact, some would stay the work has just begun. Promotion, more writing, more promotion.

Endings are usually just a starting point for something else. Death is the beginning of eternity. Fall is the just the earth resting so it can blossom bigger and brighter next year. One day's end starts another. When I finish a book, I know it isn't the end for those characters. They'll be back, helping the current hero and heroine solve their dilemmas, so I can move on to the next hero and heroine.

I'm finishing the second book now,and it's great to see the characters from the first book alive and well, but the frightening thing is that each new book needs to be better than the one before. Exciting and fresh, but with a touch of familiarity.

One show that does this well is True Blood. The series has stayed brilliantly fresh. From season to season, I wonder what they can possibly do to top the last, and then they go and do it. They go in a different direction, same characters, add in some new ones, and it's fresh, exciting, shocking, but familiar at the same time. This is what I want to achieve in my writing. Fresh with a bit of familiar.

Tomorrow is Christmas. Many celebrate the birth of Christ, and we try to think of others a little more during this season of giving. But when Christmas is officially over, it doesn't really end. Christ is still alive and well. We still care and we still give. The holiday decorations just go the attic for storage, and if the Christmas tree is real, it goes off to be reincarnated as mulch or decompose and give nutrients to the ground. Nothing really ends. It only changes. Whether it's in our lives or in our books. For me, I want both to be fresh and yet familiar.

I hope this was a wonderful year for you all, and that next year is even better!!


  1. Oooh, I want my house to look like this! How warm and inviting! :) Very true! Merry Christmas Eve to everyone! :) Hope your family gatherings are joy-filled!

  2. Merry Christmas Eve, Anita! Hope you and all the Casa Babes have a magical Christmas!

  3. Merry Christmas, Anita! Can't wait for your release next year!

  4. Good luck on finishing your second book, and I look forward to seeing your new release on the shelves!

    Happy Holidays!

  5. Terry, I wish my house looked like this too. I saw the picture online and thought it was so warm and cozy. Merry Christmas to you and your wolves.

    Cheryl, hope your holiday is wonderful.Relax and enjoy lots of family and good food.

    Thanks, Shana. I appreciate the support. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

    Tracey, I'm working like mad to fit in the last minute manuscript polishing with the Christmas parties. We're traveling and there are so many parties down here. Merry Christmas.

  6. OK, what I want to know is how you have time to decorate like that with all the writing demands? And yeah, book two is a worry, but I'm told book fifteen is the same worry, so let's just enjoy the dream coming true. Merry Christmas!

  7. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!!!

  8. Grace, I don't have time to decorate like that so I had to borrow a picture from online :) I hardly have time to clean. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

    Catherine, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas as well!

  9. Great post, Anita. I'm remembering being nine or ten and puzzling over why a graduation ceremony was called a commencement. It was my first awareness that at the end of every ending is a beginning.

    I've often pondered the symbolism in the fact that Christmas comes at the end of the year, and yet celebrates a beginning--the birth of a child, and for Christians, the birth of hope.

    As for the worry that the next book won't be as good as the last one--I know about that one, and I've found that that thought strips every bit of joy from my writing. All I can do it write the best book I can--now. And that's all I really want do.

    Here's to happy endings and hopeful beginnings!

    Merry Christmas everyone!

  10. Mary Margret, graduation is a perfect example of ending/beginnings. You're right about worry stripping the joy from writing. I've done that once, maybe twice, since I've been writing, and I had to go back to remembering why I love writing in the first place.

    I hope you have a great Christmas and New year!

    And good luck finishing that book! Like Mary Margret said, enjoy ... don't worry! We've all been there ... I'm still there ... am working on a Christmas book for 2011 and hoping it's as well liked as Honky Tonk Christmas!

  12. Merry Christmas, Carolyn. Thanks for the advice. I do have to remember to step back and enjoy the process. Good luck with the 2011 Christmas book.

  13. One phrase stood out to me in your post...Fresh but familiar. I will keep that in mind as I work on Book 2 in my series. Thanks for posting this!

  14. Hi Anita! Is that a pic of your home? It looks like a magazine cover, just lovely. Great to hear about your new beginnings!


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