Thursday, November 4, 2010

Chilled But Cheered

Amanda, again. I just heard that my author (I call her mine but that's like a cat thinking she has an owner. It's the other way around) and her good friend who just happens to be Jillian's author are coming to Door County next week! I'm thrilled! Maybe I'll have a chance to meet her and ask her why she didn't make me thinner. Or less insecure.

Anyway, I hope the chill in the air right now scoots back to Lake Superior where it belongs while the authors are here. I'd so love them to see my beloved Door County at her finest--which reminds me. I may need a new outfit. A nice butter-yellow hooded sweatshirt.

So, my author Cynthia (I call her Cyn for short) and Becky Melby will be here in just a few days! They're stopping in at The Landmark Resort on Thursday night the 11th for a booksigning (Great! Now EVERYONE will know about my insecurities!) at the Comedy Dinner Theater. Then Friday afternoon, November 12th, from 1-3 they're greeting readers at the Cupola House right here in Egg Harbor. That'll be fun. I wonder if I can treat them to a gelato. On Saturday, they're driving back down to Green Bay for an author event at Lighthouse Christian Bookstore from 11-1 or whenever. On Sunday afternoon, they're back up here on the "quiet" side of the peninsula in Baileys Harbor at Novel Ideas for an author event from 1-3.

I hope they enjoy themselves while they're here and remember to pick up some more dried cherries for chicken salad. Nothing like Door County dried cherries. And I have a new recipe for those bacon-wrapped Medjool dates. Proscuitto. Yum. Salty and sweet in the same bite.

Jordan just called. He wondered if I'd like to have dinner tonight at the White Gull Inn. I have a dumb old tuna casserole in the oven already, but it can wait for some other day. You won't catch me passing up a chance to sit near that enormous fireplace, sipping hot cherry cider, and staring into...that mounded plateful of arugula salad with candied pecans. You thought I was going to say something sappy about Jordan's melt-your-heart eyes, didn't you?

Yeah. Those eyes.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Frozen Custard Addict

Joanna, here.

Amanda's thinking about lakes. She's such a romantic.

I'm thinking frozen custard.

This fall has proved warmer than usual, but is that relevant? Not for me, a lifetime addict. Not Licked Yet, my frozen custard mecca in Fish Creek--and the world--keeps a toes-toasty fire going on chilly days. It's the perfect place to snuggle with a fellow addict--in my case, Paul--and snarf down a sundae or two. Or three.

Today, will I go with my usual Door County Sundae, with its creamy, dreamy frozen custard immersed in hot cherries and hot fudge with mounds of whipped cream?

Paul swears by the Yankee Snickerdoodle Doo Sundae--frozen custard between two yummy cookies, covered with hot caramel. My author loves that one, too. Really, dear, you might have gone with the smaller size.
We'll all have to put a few dozen miles on our bikes to handle this treat. Is it worth it?

Oh, yeah. . . .

Thursday, October 7, 2010

What is it about water?

Amanda, here. I don't know what it is about water, but it's always soothed me. The look of it. The sound of it. Here in Door County it can be raucous and wind-whipped, goose-pimpled and timid, or smooth as a satin pillowcase and just as comforting.

The harbors in Door County have an uncanny voice. They say, "Come sit here by the edge of the water and we'll talk about what you're going through."

I suppose like a counselor who knows when to keep his mouth shut...or like the Lord, Who doesn't have to say ANYTHING to get His point across to me sometimes...the water listens.

Jordan listens to me.

In a way few humans ever have.

Except his mother.

Where is Lola? She'd love this view.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

And the Winner Is. . .

Sandee61 is this week's winner of an authographed copy of A Door County Christmas! Thank you to everyone who shared their favorite spots to enjoy the fall. We'll be doing another giveaway next week, so stop by and tell your friends.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Maddy's Thoughts

Fall. It’s that time of year. Crisp autumn mornings have me bundled up in a sweater clutched tightly as I help Hilde into the backseat. I find myself distracted as I maneuver the Town Car on to the Interstate.

Vestal thinks I’m hilarious. “Cold?” He laughed. “Maddy, girl, you ain’t seen nothing yet.”

And he’s right. In my Texas hometown, fall is barely noticed. Up here--it’s a palette of fiery reds and yellows. Maples and red oaks dangle their colors and toss leaves to the wind. I want to gaze out the car window, but must watch the traffic.

When the Grissoms are tucked safely inside their home, I promise to take a long walk and drink in the view.

It's not too late to get in on Jillian's book giveaway (posted September 24)! Lola will be drawing a name out of her swim goggles on Wednesday, October 6! To enter, leave a comment here about your favorite place to be when the leaves start turning.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Getting Acquainted in Door County

Joanna here, sharing photos of my author friends Rachael, Eileen, Becky, and Cynthia, who came to Door County to get to know me, Maddy, Jillian, and Amanda better. What a fun fall day--chilly, but gorgeous! How can the sparkling waves of Green Bay look so achingly blue?

Earlier, Jilli posted lovely outdoor scenes from the artist colony we all visited. Here's an inside view of one of the buildings. With the golden light, soaring ceiling, and magic windows, would there be any better place to write a novel?

Since a bed and breakfast figures prominently in A Door County Christmas, they had to explore rooms in the White Gull Inn. Nosy authors, but they were women on a mission. They were writing about Door County, and they wanted to get it right!
After only one day, Maddy, Jilli, Amanda and I felt like we had known them all our lives.

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Hint of Wood Smoke

I passed a farm field on my way to work this morning. Brown vines have surrendered to the ground, no longer camouflaging round, ripe pumpkins. I pulled my little red Hyndai off the road for a minute, just soaking up the scene.

If you live in a place where the change of seasons is dramatic, do you love this time of year? Do you relish the contrast of bright orange on weathered brown, of bronze and gold leaves against a background of stately pines? Do you smile as you wrap a bulky sweater closer to your body and savor the hint of wood smoke on crisp air? Or does the fading of summer leave you feeling sad, contemplative, nostalgic? Are you embracing every color-changing day, or simply bracing yourself for winter?

As for me, I'm counting the days to the Sister Bay Fall Fest in Door County. There's no place I'd rather be when the leaves start falling and fireplaces come to life again. Give me a mug of hot cherry-apple cider and a big, fat pumpkin-shaped sugar cookie with orange icing, and I'm a happy girl. Maybe this year the wonder of autumn in Door County will hold something special--an unexpected encounter?--to help me forget the last date I'll ever have.

I'm sharing a few pictures here of the Clearing, an artists' retreat in Door County. It's a place I've only heard about. . .but I have a feeling I'll be visiting soon.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this time of year. If you leave a comment about your favorite place to be in the fall, we'll put your name in for a chance to win a copy of A Door County Christmas. I'll ask Lola to pick the lucky name on Wednesday, October 6. Hope it's you!

Now slip into that comfy sweater and get out and smell the wood smoke! Thanks for stopping by,

Jilli (and Jolly!)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The People Who Created Us

Hi. Amanda here. I'm the one who was drafted into serving as innkeeper while Lola--the one who knows what she's doing...most of the time--is... Well, I'd better let you read about her adventure in the pages of A DOOR COUNTY CHRISTMAS, The Heart's Harbor.

I'm stopping by to let you know that those people with carpal tunnel and stiff neck muscles and cups of tea sitting all over the place--our authors--are being interviewed this week on Jan Newby's blog. You can find it here:

Please jog or snowshoe on over to Jan's blog. I learned a lot about the person who penned me. No wonder I have issues!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


What are you doing here, Maddy? What's this Texas woman doing freezing in Door County, Wisconsin?

Earning some money. Wait a minute. What scenic beauty. None like I've experienced before. Snow drifts, birch trees, a grand view of Ephraim. Like a picture postcard. And the sweetest elderly couple I've ever known. Their love for each other is amazing. Captivating. Contagious?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Counting the Days

I love my job. . .I love my job. . .I...rrrr. It's not like I'm not trying, but stuck in a sterile cubicle with a boss everyone secretly calls Napoleon paroling the perimeter is hardly an atmosphere conducive to creativity. “Faster, Jillian, faster.” I’m putting big black Xs on my calendar until I leave for a whole glorious week in Door and gold leaves, the smell of wood smoke in the air, watching the boil-over at a fish boil, the Sister Bay Fall Fest, and laughter, lots of laughter. Nobody makes them laugh like Uncle Buster and his comedy troupe. And best of all—I’ll be miles and miles away from the last guy I’ll ever date.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Love on Wheels

In the movies, two-in-a-canoe scenes are romantic. Horseback rides, too, in the brisk morning air as the heroine and hero eye each other adoringly. Do that on bicycles, and you and your honey may exchange longing looks across the emergency room from his-and-her body casts.
Still, cycling is a fun couple thing, especially in beautiful Door County, Wisconsin.

"Joanna, God did some of His finest work here," my late husband always said.

Now, my bike is buried under piles of unopened boxes in the garage of our dream retirement home. I don't like to ride alone. But the guy next door--the one with the awful haircut and the Goodwill flannel shirt--just pedaled off on a classic Raleigh.

Bad taste in clothes. Good taste in bikes. Hmmm.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Laugh Your Way to a Better Christmas

An early reader of "The Heart's Harbor" in A DOOR COUNTY CHRISTMAS novella collection commented that Harland's swim fins were a romantic gesture that showed the depths of his love for Lola. Only Harland and Lola could pull that off. It blessed me, Amanda Brooks, too. I'm the invention of my author--Cynthia--but you and I know better. Most of me is just like most of you. If you could have seen Harland flip-flapping on the hardwood floors of that beautiful inn, you would have reacted the same way I did. Good talking to you. I have to go now. Cherry pecan coffee cake's about to come out of the oven. That first slice with a shingle of good old Wisconsin dairyland butter...mmm! Oh, that reminds me. I'd better start the coffee maker. You never know who might drop by.

Q: Take a Beautiful Setting...

add four barren Christmas cacti, an innkeeper in swim goggles, a big hairy spider, a frustrated realtor, two water-damaged wisemen, and what do you get?

A: A teaser-taste of the ridiculous obstacles confronting the heroines of A Door County Christmas.
What you see to above is the needy Christmas cactus I just adopted. I'll post pictures of it's progress or lack thereof as we approach the holidays. May it blossom in time, just as innkeeper Lola Peterson promised the heroines of our stories. I'd love suggestions from green-thumbers.