Monday, December 20, 2010

Tis the Season

Hi all, Renee Ryan here. I just finished meeting my latest deadline. The one I foolishly set for the middle of December. It’s for my September 2011 release, COURTING THE ENEMY (another WWII in the same vein as DANGEROUS ALLIES). And now that I have your attention, can I say…PHEW???

When I go into “deadline mode” everything else in my life falls into the not-now category, especially in those final days right before the book is due. To say that I become very single-minded would be quite the understatement. Laundry piles up, pizza is ordered for lunch and dinner, eaten cold for breakfast. My house, well, let’s just be honest here. Not a pretty sight.

If anyone takes a moment to look at their calendar you’ll see that the deadline for this book hit at a bad time—the Christmas Season! As I come up for air I realize how much I haven’t done. No tree, no decorations unearthed from the garage, no presents have been purchased. That’s right. I have done absolutely nothing. But before I despair, I remember my very most favorite Aunt.

Growing up, Aunt Kay was my idol. In my eyes, she was the quintessential mom. She was a leading volunteer at her church, a member of the junior league, and president of the local garden club. That was just the start, too. Something was always cooking in her kitchen. She baked everything from scratch. She carted us kids everywhere, knew all the neighbors by name. Oh, yeah, Aunt Kay was a perfect soccer mom before kids actually played soccer in this country.

Anyway, Aunt Kay was also perpetually late everywhere she went. Christmas was no exception. She never (and I mean NEVER) organized herself prior to a few days before the main event. The menu was planned ahead of time, but the groceries weren’t purchased until the day before. Often the tree was still being decorated at the very last minute. Best of all, no presents were purchased until Christmas Eve. Okay, maybe not completely true, but mostly true. I know because I remember getting banished from the room where she was still wrapping those last-minute purchases late into the night.

And yet, Aunt Kay always pulled Christmas off with elegant style and Southern panache. Honestly, there was never a hitch in the celebrations. All the presents made it under the tree while breakfast (Eggs Benedict) and Christmas dinner were always served on time.

So, as I write this blog I remember Aunt Kay. I remember that I still have five days to get everything done. I will not stress over the fact that I have yet to scale Mt. Laundry or clean my house. I will not beat myself up if I can’t locate all the proper decorations. After all, there are countless stores just down the street. Finally, I will not worry that I haven’t grocery shopped or picked out presents for my family. All I have to do is set my watch to Aunt-Kay-time and breathe.

What about you? Anyone else on Aunt-Kay-time like me? Any stories you want to share? I’ll check in periodically today, because well…I still have plenty of time. Plenty of time.


Lyn Cote said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lyn Cote said...

I have a Jan 3rd deadline. I had hoped to finish the book by Dec 15th. However, that didn't happen. And I am so not in the mood to write! But I'm plugging along. And I'm doing okay for Christmas, just a few more presents to go. The tree's up and I don't have to prepare the Christmas feast.
BTW, drop by my Fb page and view the animated Christmas card

Renee Ryan said...


Sounds like you're in a good place despite the deadline. You'll make it. Go, girl, GO! And looved the animated Christmas card.


Jenna Mindel said...

Congrats on meeting your deadline!! And now you'll be a new kind of busy - but hopefully it'll be fun. Loved the story about your Aunt Kay! My mom always made Christmas special in our family, no matter how modest, it was always memorable.
Merry Christmas!

Julie Hilton Steele said...

Whew! Glad you made it.

Christmas was remembered for my mom's Open House...the planning went on for months. We weren't allowed to have any of the goodies from our Nannie's Christmas box full of fudge and cookies until AFTER the Open House. Mom shopped through the year for our presents too.

Your Aunt must have had a special gift. I was premature and since then have done everything early or I would go nuts!

Blessed Christmas and may the new year be full of blessings both large and small.

Peace, Julie

Renee Ryan said...


You hit on one of the best part of the season, great memories with family. Hope this year is the same for you.


Renee Ryan said...


I love your story about your mother's open house. Kids just don't understand. ;-)

Have a blessed Christmas!


Rose said...

I love the story about your aunt.

Victoria Bylin said...

Renee, Congratulations on finishing the book. It's the best feeling in the world and even sweeter just before Christmas. I like your Aunt Kay's method. There's something joyous about Christmas exploding in a matter of days. All the chaos! All the excitement! It's right there.

My worst-ever deadline was December 15th. I was doing just fine . . . and then the galleys showed up for another book. They were due back 12/14 and the book was due 12/15. At least I saved $ on overnight shipping!

Have a joyous Christmas!