Monday, December 17, 2007


by Christie Kelley

As most of you who read this blog know, my life has been in a bit of turmoil for the past three months. We’ve been under major reconstruction here, plus I’ve been trying to finish my second book under contract. I never expected that deadline to be looming down my head at this point. I was given more than enough time to have a first draft finished by now. But with everything else going on in my life, I’ve had trouble concentrating on this book and finding a quiet place to work.

So, now I’m only half-way through my book with two and half months to go. It took me
only about four months to write Every Night I’m Yours, my February historical release. Of course, it did take me two years to get it to final in the Golden Heart and another three months after that to sell it. I’ve written and rewritten my current manuscript about five times. Each time it gets better but I do believe this is my best version yet. And it’s taking me forever.

On to the house, it is now about 2/3 done. So in honor of all the work being done on my house here are the pictures. This is the way the house looked when we bought it three years ago.

It was a cute little 60’s split level with four bedrooms and two baths. The bedroom level had three bedrooms with no master bath, just a shared hall bath. The ceiling height just over seven feet and with ceiling fans it felt claustrophic.

The remodeled house will have a master suite with vaulted ceilings and its own bathroom!! No more sharing with two boys and a husband! We’re changing the entire look of the house to give it a Craftsman feel.

And best of all, I’ll finally have an office of my own...with a door. Now I can shut out the noises in my house and peace! This is my husband's current office and my soon to be office. Lot's of windows and a door!

Even with all the ruckus in my house, I still made Christmas cookies and here is one of my favorite recipes.

Eggnog Kringlas

4 cups of all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp nutmeg
¾ cup of butter (not margarine)
1 ½ cups of sugar
1 egg
1 cup eggnog
Sifted powered sugar and nutmeg (optional)

In a large mixing bowl beat the butter with an electric mixer for 30 seconds or till softened. Add the sugar and beat till fluffy. Add egg and beat well. Add flour, baking power, baking soda and nutmeg, alternating with the eggnog until well mixed. Cover and chill at least 4 hours.On a floured surface, roll one rounded tablespoon into pencil-like strips (6-8 inches long). On an ungreased cookie sheet, loop one end over the other making what looks like a ribbon (think breast cancer ribbons since I don’t have a picture)

Bake at 350 for 6-8 minutes or until the edges are slightly browned. Remove from cookie sheet and sprinkle with powered sugar-nutmeg mix, if desired. Makes about 60 cookies.

ENJOY and Happy Holidays!

How is everyone doing on their progress? How are the manuscripts going? How is the Christmas shopping going? Am I the only one not finished with shopping? Tell us what you’re up to now.

And in the season of giving, I will be giving away a signed copy of my coverflat for Every Night I'm Yours and a small box of chocolates to someone who replies to this message and tells me about your progress.


flchen1 said...

Congrats on your progress!! Still Christmas shopping myself, and haven't yet managed to start the cookies... You've got a lot to be proud of :)

terrio said...

Does this mean I get that GR thingy? LOL! Who knew having the stomach flu would come in handy.

That house is going to look great and I can completely relate with trying to get things done through distractions. I'm still working on my first ever WIP and after almost a year not reached THE END. But I've learned so much this year I'm hoping the book is better for having taken my time.

I know many authors have day jobs, families and lots of other obligations and I'm amazed at how you all keep it together and write such great stories.

terrio said...

Dang - I was sooooo close. *g*

Forgot to mention still not done with the shopping. I won't be finished until the evening of 12/24. *sigh* Total procrastinator.

flchen1 said...

Christie, I meant also to add that your house looks (and sounds!) lovely! How thrilling to have your own space to work and think!

We're almost ready to print our Christmas cards, so I guess that's positive progress of sorts :) And we've got the list going, so there's that... What a week this is going to be!

I guess the GR can come hide amongst some of the piles around here and help himself to some reading and Christmas goodies ;)

jo robertson said...

Congrats on the GR, flchen1. Oh, terrio, so close but no cigar!

Christie, the transformation of your house looks wonderful. I know it's been construction-hell, but will be so worth it when it's finished.

Sending speed-writing wishes your way for the second book.

And the cookie recipe looks delish. I'm a cookie monster maven, love the darn things!

I just finished my Christmas cards today, but it took 8 hours, BTW, 8 hours in which hubby watched TV. Arrrrggghhhh, so not fair!

Happy holidays everyone!

p226 said...

Christmas shopping progress? 100% thanks.

Of course, I only buy for one person. SHE buys for everyone else.

Yep... I'm just lazy like that.

Donna MacMeans said...

Congrats fichen1 on fetching the GH. Terrio - Wow - a scant 2 minutes from fichen1. Hope you're feeling a bit better soon. That stomach flu is no fun.

Christie - the house looks great - really spacious! You're going to love that master bath & your own office to boot. Exciting stuff!

As to progress, obviously I'm procrastinating or I'd be hard at work on book three *g*. It's hard to stay focused with so many things on the "to do" list this time of year. I haven't finished the christmas shopping, but the cards are out.

Thanks for the eggnog cookie recipe. I've been looking for a good one that has that eggnog taste. I'll have to give these a try.

Anna Campbell said...

Christie, loved the photos. Thanks for sharing. We've heard about your renovations for so long, it was wonderful to have a visual to go with all the verbal descriptions. You won't know yourself when you get an office. I sure didn't. Moving from a corner of my bedroom to a room dedicated to my writing really made me feel like I was a WRITER! Good luck on getting the second book done. As you know, I just handed book three in to Avon. The plan is I start torturing, uh, exploring a new hero and heroine after New Year. I have some reading to do before then. But before that, I still have some Christmas organising to do. I feel so slack this year. Usually people get letters in their cards but it's just Merry Christmas and a signature this year. Next year, I'll be so slack I'll pay someone to write them for me ;-)

Amy Andrews said...

Wow, the house looks incredible Christie! You've truly transformed it.

Haven't done any cards yet. Haven't finished the shopping and now I have to take the kids with me :-( Haven't ordered the turkey. Haven't started my next book - would like 3 chapters done by Xmas.

So not going to happen.

P226 - bah humbug!


Helen said...

Oh Christie the house looks wonderful it is going to be amazing for you all when it is finished.
I am sure you will get the time to write this book and it will be all worth it in the end.
As for where am I at this time I only have my hubby to buy for all the rest I have but I still need to wrap them all I have finished most of the cooking only have the pork to cook and that I will do on Xmas eve. I have 4 more days at work then I have 5 days off and I can relax.
I have posted the cards but I still need to write the ones out for my friends at work.
So I am starting to feel good about everything and I haven't even stressed to badly this year.
Keep being positive Christie everything will fall into place.
Have Fun

Jane said...

I've only got a quarter of my shopping done. I'm seriously thinking of just ordering gift certificates. The weather hasn't been cooperating, so I haven't done much shopping this past week.

Christie Kelley said...

Flchen1, Congrats on the GR!! And printing Christmas cards is definitely progress. I decided to forego them this year. There was no way I could get them out this year. Maybe I'll send a few e-cards.

Christie Kelley said...

terrio, sorry about the stomach flu. This is such a hard time to get sick.

With your writing, one thing I've always done with writing even from the first ms was to treat it like a job. I have to put x number of hours into my writing every week. That x is determined by how much time you CAN do each week. For me that time can change every week. Before I got into real estate, I would write on Mon, Wed, Fri while my youngest was in preschool. Now that I'm working, I plan out time depending on what else is going on. It's not working as well for me because I'm a schedule person and real estate doesn't always schedule well.

But keep at it and get to THE END! It's an amazing accomplishment to finish a book and you can do it!

Christie Kelley said...

Jo, thanks for posting this. My bedtime is 10:30. The cookies are great but if you want more eggnog taste you might want to reduce the nutmeg to 1/2 tsp. That's what the original recipe called for but I love nutmeg.

Christie Kelley said...

p226, I understand. My husband completely forgot about taking the kids shopping for my gift until yesterday. Did he even think about his sisters' kids? Nope, that was up to me.

Christie Kelley said...

Oops, Donna, read the post I left for Jo. I thought she was the one who wanted more eggnog taste.

Christie Kelley said...

Anna, I think you deserve a little time off during Christmas. Sit back and enjoy!

Christie Kelley said...

Amy, I hear you about the 3 chapters. But there's only a couple more weeks and then this wondrous season is gone for another year. So have a wonderful holiday and the 3 chapters will be waiting for you after Christmas.

Christie Kelley said...

Helen, thanks for the comments on the house. And I'm happy you haven't been stressing about the holidays. I'm not sure why but I haven't been stressed about the holidays either. Maybe it's because I have too many other things to stress about. Good luck with the wrapping and the pork! Happy Holidays!

Christie Kelley said...

Jane, gift certificates are a life saver. I bought more this year than any other year. And I love to receive them too.

Gannon Carr said...

I still have a little shopping left to do. But I think my Christmas cards are going to be New Year cards! ;) And of course, there's still baking and wrapping to do.

Christie, the renovations look great. Enjoy the new office and the master suite!

Buffie said...

Christie, I know that you are so excited about the changes in your house, but I also know that you are SO READY for it to be done :)

As far as organizing for Christmas, I am just about done with my shopping. I still need to pick up 3 or 4 things for stockings, but that's it. The cards have all gone out and everything is wrapped. Now I am just counting down to Friday -- my last day of work until after the new year. I can't wait to sleep in every day!!!

doglady said...

Christie the house looks lovely, but I know you are beyond ready for it to be done!! Congrats on the GR fichen1 ! Terrio, I am with you on the WIP. I did a quick and dirty finish to get mine in the GH and now I am going back and revising those last 8 to 10 chapters just in case! I am one of those people who has a full-time day job and it is really a pain to try and do that and write too. I actually have most of my Christmas shopping done, nothing wrapped and as I am off tomorrow I will be doing the Christmas cards then! Off to work now!

Christie Kelley said...


Good luck with the shopping. I still have two gift and stocking stuff to buy. Hopefully, I'll get them done today or tomorrow at the latest.

Trish Milburn said...

I know it's a long and frustrating road, but I bet you're going to love your house when it's done.

I have a couple of things left to wrap, but I'm pretty much done with the Christmas stuff. Got the cards and the last of the package shipping out last week. The post office should be a madhouse this week. I believe today is supposed to be the busiest shipping day of the year.

Christie Kelley said...

Buffie, I'm with you on the sleep thing. I'm every morning at 6 to get my kids off to school then on weekends my son has a newspaper route that can't be walked because of one main road he has to deliver. So while I'm up at my mom's, I can sleep in!

Christie Kelley said...

doglady, good luck cleaning up those chapters and I wish you the best of luck with the Golden Heart contest. Finally was a huge boost for me.

Christie Kelley said...

Trish, I have wrapping envy. I have nothing wrapped yet and I have to volunteer at school for 2 hours on Wednesday! I keep saying, maybe tomorrow...

Kate Dolan said...

The house looks very cool - I love what you've done to the outside (though the inside is ultimately more important and you will love your new office space!)
You are certainly not the only one not finished with Christmas shopping. I'm further along than usual (which isn't saying much) but only because I've been procrastinating from working on an edit that's due Dec. 31 (Hey, Christmas is Dec. 25 - an earlier deadline, right?)
I'm impressed that you've gotten anything written at all with all the work you've had going on! Congrats!

MsHellion said...

My manuscript is NOT going. My edits are NOT going. Nothing is going. Nothing.

I'm not even reading Harry Potter very fast...or what I mean, RE-reading HP very fast. I mean, obviously I know what happens, I can and should be doing something productive like, oh, WRITING, but I can't make myself. I'm convinced it's all tripe and codswollop. So I lay in bed and feel sorry for myself. And Harry Potter.

Maybe when the days are longer and I start getting more sunshine (this is an ironical statement since I'd have to actually GO OUTSIDE to experience it...and I don't go outside in the summer any more than I do in the Winter, so who cares...) and stop being so darned depressed.

MsHellion said...

Oh, and not anywhere close on the Christmas shopping either. Okay, somewhat close on shopping for friends; no where close on shopping for relatives.

Christie Kelley said...

Kate! Thanks for stopping by the Bandit Lair. I understand you're reasons for being a bit behind. Revisions/edits can be tough. So good luck getting them done! Happy Holidays!

Christie Kelley said...

Oh mshellion! I hear you loud and clear. I'm not sure where you live but the weather in Maryland hasn't been that great. Today the sun is shining but it's very cold.

I do agree that getting out in the sunshine helps. Sometimes, just getting out for a drive on a sunny day helps.

I hope you get back to you're old self soon!

Nancy said...

flchen1--congratulations on the rooster!

Christie, I'm glad your remodeling is nearing its end. The changes look fabulous, but it always seems to take longer than we expect! We print our cards, too. So far, we have enough that the dh has sent them to his family, who live in Colorado (He and his brother compete to see who can be first each year; we apparently win for 2007!). To say that we're behind would be a bit of an understatement.

Progress is a toughie. I've done the grading for all my students. I've written two (2!) Christmas cards, but the tree is up. The snow globes are still in their boxes, with their emergence looking iffy at this point. I've started shopping. The house is a wreck. My plan was to start my revisions as soon as I turned my grades in, but that notion presupposed having everything else done. *sigh* Now I'm shooting for Friday! Thursday if I get lucky.

Helen and Buffie and Jo and Trish, congrats on being so far ahead of things! You can just coast into the holiday and enjoy.

Terrio, I'm so sorry you're sick. Stomach flu is one of the worst! I hope it goes away quickly. As for the WIP, just keep plugging. Writing "The End" is still a kick, no matter when you get to it.

Amy, I'm with ya on not having done what you hoped with the book. If it helps, think of it as gestation time for your idea.

Jane, I've done a couple of catalog orders. Placed one today, and it just happens to be the last day they can guarantee pre-Christmas delivery. If the teenagers in our extended family didn't love gift cards, I'd be in trouble!

Doglady, good luck with those revisions! I think we've all been there, done that with the quick finish for a contest.

Ms. Hellion, I hope things will come together for you. Sometimes one good thing or one sudden idea will make everything click.

jo robertson said...

P226, check out the blog post tomorrow. I rant -- rave -- uh -- discuss that issue of women doing all the buying. Love to hear a male's excuse, uh, perception!

Thanks for the tip on the cookies, Christie. I'll certainly try them; they sound yummy! But thank Foanna for posting; she beat me to it!

And I should come visit you Christie and wrap your presents. Sick, I know, but I LOVE wrapping presents. My children get annoyed with me because I always put lots and lots of curly ribbon on the gifts, gift bags, presents, and all. Apparently, it's not conducive to little fingers LOL.

P.S. I'm the mean Jammy Jo

Jennifer Y. said...

Well, I have made progress with my Christmas shopping. I have mailed out all my Christmas cards and I have bought most of my Christmas presents...haven't wrapped them yet. I am seriously considering just using gift bags instead.

I can't wait to read your book Christie!

p226 said...

P226, check out the blog post tomorrow. I rant -- rave -- uh -- discuss that issue of women doing all the buying. Love to hear a male's excuse, uh, perception!

Well allow me to jump out ahead of this bus... er... discussion. *g*

Excuses? Hah. Any man stupid enough to make up excuses for the christmas laziness deserves what he gets. Or what he doesn't get, as the case may be. Regardless, it's best to just wise up, fess up, face reality and proclaim to the world (or at least your significant other) that you are indeed, a lazy pig. And that the reason we don't brave the insane crowds for hours upon hours is because we are weaker. We lack the self control required to refrain from getting into a brawl somewhere over in the sporting-goods section.

It's because we love our families that we don't shop. Because, the kids would miss us if we were incarcerated for the holidays. and, because bail would eat into the budget for the presents.

Yes, we're weaker. But, at least we're willing to face up to our limitations, and let the pros handle it.

Christie Kelley said...


As busy as you've been, it's understandable that you're not finished with everything yet. Take a breath, it will all get done. (so I keep telling myself)

terrio said...

Thanks for the well wishes. It's probably best the GR didn't come here since I might be contagious. But I've taken the day off, slept in, eaten some dry toast and taken a shower. I feel much better now. *g*

And I will get to THE END. Someday. Oh, and this is MsHellion's normal self. LOL! She's always this way, don't let her fool you.

Lily said...

Actually, I have not started decorating or shopping... I am too busy... I think everything will have to wait till this week-end!

Christie Kelley said...

Jennifer, gift bags are great! Since I still have kids who like the idea of ripping into packages, I don't use them much except for other gifts.

Christie Kelley said...

terrio, Glad you feeling better. I received a call from husband this afternoon when I was in the office saying he was picking up my high schooler because he sprained his ankle in PE. So, now I'm home nursing a 15 yr old.

Christie Kelley said...

lily, you're a brave woman. I hate being this far behind but the idea of not having any shopping would freak me out.

Cassondra said...

Wow, Christie the house looks TERRIFIC! It's so hard to get a good remodel--one that doesn't look like a "remuddle" instead. Nice job! It will look like it's always been that way from the outside, and that's a wonderful accomplishment. Yes, I'm a remodeling ho. We've been doing a restoration on our house (158 years old) since we bought it seven years ago. I LOOOOOOVE good remodel jobs.

Progress? Let's see. Only two more gifts to buy (husband's brothers) and they may get gift cards if their wives don't snap to and tell me what to get.

But the REAL progress.....I actually made headway through the pile that was our bedroom yesterday. The clothes are mostly put away (or thrown away or in the goodwill pile). I can see the floor in places and I'm about to vacuum and dust. The paper pile in the foyer that substitutes as an office is next.

I don't have a tree up yet. I guess we'll have a new year's tree, since I REALLY want a tree this year (we didn't get to it last year). I have to work all Christmas week through New Year's Eve, so we'll celebrate late. But that's okay. It'll feel good to have stuff cleaned up and put away. Then maybe we can get back to the crown molding and other stuff we've been procrastinating about.

flchen1 said...

Thanks, everyone! The GR is happily eating raw cookie dough and reading some books piled high in next to the tree in the living room.

I'm glad you're feeling better Terrio--stomach flu is SO no fun!

Jo, looking forward to tomorrow's post, although what would happen if women decided to take p226's stance on shopping? Would no one get presents? ;)

Beth said...

Christie, your house is looking fantastic! I can't wait to see pictures of it when it's all done *g* I love construction (probably because my father and two brothers are contractors) and my husband and I did a lot of the work ourselves when we built our house :-)

I'm finished with my shopping but am still working on getting cards/goodies in the mail. Oh, and I just received notes/thoughts/suggestions (her words) from my editor on my two book proposals so I'll have to fit that in this week as well *g*

The cookie recipe looks great! My older daughter adores eggnog ;-)

Wendy said...

I'm nowhere near done with Christmas shopping! But I refused to stress about it, I'll get it done soon. :)

Cherie J said...

Thanks for the recipe. I am done with my shopping but still need to finish wrapping gifts. Still have not mailed any Christmas cards.

Suzanne Welsh said...

hey Christie...I LOVE the look the renovations have created in your house. You'll have to post pictures of the inside when it's all done. If I could have a dream home, it would be a crafstman style. And you have my greatest sympathy. Just getting painting done here is a major effort!!

Well, progressing things, huh? The last WIP is done, but of course I'm editing and polishing it now, in hopes that requests for fulls will flood my door after the holidays! I've got a few Christmas projects left to complete, but I'm getting there. And of course we're on the baby watch front these days.

Suzanne Welsh said...

P226...I know a few men like that at my place, too! Of course, if you buy HER some really great presents, SHE won't mind doing everyone elses.

Okay...that's not exactly true, but it will be less painful. And you're lucky. Every other year I make my husband responsible for his mother's gift.

Christie Kelley said...

Cassondra, I feel your pain with the bedroom mess. The biggest problem for both my husband and me has been the constant mess. Plaster dust, disorganization, piles everywhere. I'm so sick of not knowing where something is.

Christie Kelley said...

Thanks, Beth. I don't adore eggnog but a couple of sips every December tastes good. And I do mean sip.

Christie Kelley said...

Suz, what's weird is my husband and I have such similiar taste in decorating. We were both into basic colonial for years and now we're sick to death of it. Craftsman fits our more comfortable, laid-back tastes.

p226 said...

P226...I know a few men like that at my place, too! Of course, if you buy HER some really great presents, SHE won't mind doing everyone elses.

Ahh, but Suzanne, all we need to do is change the emphasis a bit to make it a little closer to the truth.

Of course, if you buy her some REALLY GREAT presents, she won't mind doing everyone elses.

There we go. *g*

Anna Sugden said...

Oooh Christie - your renovations are definitely going to be worth all the hassle! Your house looks fab. And an office ... envious sigh.

The cookie recipe sounds great too - another one to pass on to hubby *grin*.

My Christmas stuff is done (having to get everything off to the UK kind of focuses the mind!). Writing? What's that? Oh, the stuff I'm going to start again after Boxing Day!

Oh and I do all the pressie and card stuff - but hubby does the baking ... works for me!

Anonymous said...

Christie, the house is amazing--not just a remodel, it's a transformation! And your own office, wow. :-)

I'm about done with presents and mailing, but just starting on the Christmas card craziness.

And the recipe sounds great--and it's one of the few I can actually eat, so I'm excited to try it. Thanks, and good luck getting through the rest of the remodeling mayhem!

jo robertson said...

P226, ROTFLOL. At least you're willing to do the "full disclosure" thing. I gotta admire that!

A Jane Austen Persuasion quote says, "If there is anything disagreeable going on, men are always sure to get out of it."

Same old, same old, nearly 200 years later :-D.

Keira Soleore said...

Woo Hoo, flchen1.

Christie, I'm so impressed that despite a total remodel, you're able to make holiday treats and get into the spirit.

We're having a cookie-frosting kid playdate going on right now in my kitchen. OMG! What was I thinking?!?! More frosting and sprinkles and M&Ms have gone straight from the bowls into little bellies than any gingerbread cookies. The giggles and general silliness level has been steadily rising...

Caren Crane said...

Christie, the transformation of your house is amazing!! My mother has a split-level, but it's a larger version, thank goodness, or she would have done the same thing you have. *g*

P226, I'm not speaking to you,! I have managed to almost complete the shopping, but wrapping is lagging sadly behind. No rest for the weary! (and no blogging either, thanks to the stupid DAY JOB!)