A few days ago I wrote about what every writer wants for Christmas: respect and support from family and friends. This year, my husband came through big-time on that score.
It's been a challenging year budget-wise. The kiddo is now driving, raising our insurance rates to somewhere between astronomical and the national debt, stuff at the hacienda always needs fixing/replacing, etc., etc. As I was looking out on the writing horizon, I could see that this year's RWA conference is in Dallas and RT is in Houston, both of which are close enough that is makes sense to try to go. But the conference I most enjoy, sponsored by RWA's PASIC (Published Author's Special Interest Chapter) is in NYC in March. It's a great opportunity to schmooze with other pubs in a smaller venue, meet with my editor on her home turf, and do fun stuff in the Big Apple. But budget-wise, it wasn't happening...
Until I unwrapped a Christmas card from my main man that contained a "Take a Trip to NYC!" coupon along with a list of how many overtimes he would have to work to make it happen. That was the gift that had me blubbering, because overtimes entail 24-hour shifts on some of Houston's busiest ambulances in the lousiest neighborhoods. These boxes (short for "meat boxes," which is what the HFD guys call the ambulances) run constantly, so the shifts are seriously grueling. Which makes this gift a heck of a lot more meaningful that running in to Helzberg Diamonds (not that he would; I've been boycotting diamonds for years, even though the industry is now taking steps to avoid funding bloody wars with them) and whipping out the old credit card.
The main thing I love about this gift (and the old man) is that he's once more validating what's important in my life. When scheduling his vacations, he's for years asked the dates of the national RWA conference and has often spent his first choice of times watching our son so I could attend. Before I'd published my first book, he drove me from the Houston area to Peshtigo, Wisconsin to research it on another vacation -- and didn't even look at me as if I were insane when I asked about it, nor have I ever caught him rolling his eyes over it with his friends over a beer.
No relationship is perfect, nor is any person, but I have to say that this support and respect make up for a lot of remote-hogging, snoring, and leaving huge messes in the bedroom. If he'd only pick up his damned socks. :)
While I'm waxing poetic about my wonderful Christmas gift, I have one more to share. My publisher, Dorchester, sent my the cover art for my July book, Head On. This novel deals with the aftermath of a terrible collision years before (wherein the local bad boy tragically killed all but one of a carfull of cheerleaders, his own sister among them) and its mysterious relationship to a present-day murder. I love the cover, which well conveys the book's eeriness, along with the barren landscape of the Texas plains. What do you think?