2020 has been a YEAR. I know I don’t have to go on and on about the trials and tribulations associated with it, but with the US Thanksgiving holiday next week, I decided to practice gratitude and think about the things I’m grateful for… some of these are silly, some are serious, and some are, of course, books.
Keurig K-Cafe Coffee, Latte, and Cappuccino Maker
This was one of our early pandemic purchases and it has made my life so much better. I’m not saying I stopped going to Starbucks, but having the ability to make delicious lattes at home with just a few pushes of a button has changed my life–and probably the lives of the two people I live with, who know I must be caffeinated to be remotely pleasant.
Harlequin Desire Category Romances
2020 will be the year of desire for me… Harlequin Desire, that is. Between the recent cover style revamp and the current crop of authors writing for this line, Harlequin Desire romance novels have saved my life this year. When things began in March, I was in a huge reading slump, and the comfort I found in reading about outrageously beautiful and unfathomably wealthy people is undeniable. Plus, it was lovely to read about people moving around in totally normal ways–if totally normal means private jets and luxury sportscars–without worrying about a virus or politics. I’m grateful for these authors and their storytelling, which helped me make it through this year! Here a few of my favorite covers:
Trust Fund, Fiance by Naima Simone
Off Limits Attraction by Jayci Lee
Marriage by Arrangement by Sophia Singh Sasson
Scandal in the VIP Suite by Nadine Gonzalez
Maybe it’s because we’re home all the time, but this year, I enjoyed walking around outside and finding new things to look at. We’re lucky to have a sizable yard and we’ve kept much of the landscaping as is since we moved in a few years ago. We’ve also added some new plants, invested in a new patio table with an umbrella, and spend as much time as possible outdoors. And while I love the Spring and watching everything bloom for the first time, this Fall has really knocked it out of the park with color. Chicagoland is about to be stuck in months of dreary, cold weather, so we are making the most of these last few days of natural warmth.
Virtual Bookish Events
The greatest silver lining of social distancing has been the ability to see my favorite authors from my own home. There have been so many amazing author events online and it has been a joy to visit with authors and fellow readers on a relatively regular basis. Among the highlights–Date Night with Alyssa Cole, hosted by Loyalty Books; a wonderful romance panel put on by the Milwaukee Public Library earlier this year; and all of the panels and chats that Love’s Sweet Arrow has broadcast through their YouTube Channel (you may or may not see me quite a bit there, tee hee). I am most grateful, however, to have a monthly “night out” with two of my #romancelandia gal pals, authors Angelina M. Lopez and Melonie Johnson. The Boozy Book Broads is a true highlight, and I love being able to check in with such amazing friends and authors. Every 3rd Friday of the month, we sit down, share a drink or two, and a ton of laughs while talking about our favorite things.
For more info, a free ticket (for a reminder), and book info, head to LSA’s EventBrite page to get the details about the next BBB event on Friday, November 20 at 7pm CT/8pm ET with Jackie Lau!
P.S. Want to know what’s happening day-to-day in Romancelandia? Check out romance superfan Linda’s Google Calendar, which has all the events listed!
Family, Friends, & Fun
While my family and I have been doing our best to stay at home as much as possible, we have safely opened our “bubble” to include our parents and a few close friends. Being a homebody and keeping to myself isn’t a challenge for me (fellow introverts… assemble!), but I am grateful for the friends and family we’ve been able to chat with via zoom or through socially-distanced visits. I’ve become great friends with people I only know via the internet, and the relationships I rely on every day have become all the more valuable.
What are you grateful for this year? Leave a comment below and a lucky winner will receive an Old School Romance Starter Kit from Love’s Sweet Arrow! US only–good luck!
Fresh Fiction Editorial Manager Danielle Dresser is an aspiring author, an avid reader, lackluster-yet-mighty crafter, and accomplished TV binge-watcher. Once upon a time, she was a publisher publicist and continues to cultivate her love of books and reading by chatting with the best authors in the business. She lives in Chicagoland with her very own romance hero husband, darling daughter, and two tempestuous cats. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram, @dj_dresser.