I haven't done much writing lately except for ghost stories, but I did begin writing my annual holiday story for friends and family about a week ago. It's close to novelette length now and about 2/3 finished. I doubt I will have it finished in time for Christmas, so it'll be shared between Christmas and New Year's.
Yesterday was baking day. I don't usually make cookies for people for Christmas but this year, with John still unemployed (since February 2016 when MassMutual did another of their round of job eliminations) the gift budget is a lot leaner. For my sister & brother and their spouses, plus my co-workers and the staff of the local indie bookshop that sells my books, I broke out my recipe books and chose three of my Mom's recipes and then found a fourth in a vintage cookbook from 1954. I spent over seven hours chopping dates, walnuts and candied fruit and making double batches of everything. Kelly helped me with the tollhouse pan cookies and the rum/date/walnut drop cookies after dinner last night, for which I am grateful. With RA all the chopping and stirring left me with sore hands and wrists, but it's well worth the effort because I know my family will appreciate the tribute to Mom's holiday baking this year.
I read a new ghost story I'd written called Mouse in the Wall plus Kelly's short fiction ghost story, The Christmas Train at the December 16th Yuletide edition of Ghost Stories LIVE! at Blue Umbrella Books. Russell Atwood read Enoch, a vintage creepy tale by Psycho author Robert Bloch. And we had guest reader/author Alan Gordon who read his short story prequel to Where Werewolves Fear To Tread that was published in an anthology called Wolfsbane and Mistletoe. Three people then shared their true auditory ghost stories to round out the evening.
I've attended author events for Glen Ebisch who has a number of recently published books out including, The Accident, The Open Window, The Eye of Mumbai, and A Body in My Office. Glen writes great mystery, action/adventure, and suspense novels. He's also a WhipCity Wordsmith here in town. I also attended Alan Gordon's author event the afternoon of the 16th where he read from his new werewolf novel which is the first in a series. He's a terrific writer and was a pleasure to talk to!
I received a gift from Melissa Volker who mailed me a copy of her new book of stories and essays on writing, As We Go. What a amazing surprise that book is! She is such a wonderful writer, and her insights on writing are spot on.
Kelly and I arranged a meet up with author Judith "Sandy" Sessler at Starbucks on the 17th. She graciously signed copies of Fifty Shades of Green and Fifty One Shades of Green which I am giving to my sister-in-law. Sandy had gotten a copy of my Christmas With the Family holiday book.
I wish I could afford to buy more books, but the budget won't allow too many indulgences at this time.
Happy birthday to sister-in-law Michelle (Dec 21) and big sister and author Lynnmarie (Dec 23).
In closing tonight's blog I just want to note that the WhipCity Wordsmiths lost an esteemed member with the December 21st passing of Giuseppe Giucastro, the husband of Wordsmith Judith Foard-Giucastro. The Giucastros joined the WhipCity Wordsmiths in September 2017. He was a wonderful man and we will miss the pleasure of his company at future meetings.