Friday, August 21, 2015

Out of Season by Milou Koenings

Holidays have their dates on the calendar.  They also have their scents, their auras, their feelings – tactile and emotional – and their flavors.
gingerbread heartThink Halloween, and it’s the crunching of orange leaves beneath my boots that comes to mind, the crispness of the air and pumpkins, alight or in pies.  Fourth of July – the sulfur that hangs in the air after fireworks, mingling with the smell of barbeque, sticky ketchup fingers and grass stains on clothes.

Smells, tastes, feelings – they all have their season.  

It’s a strange way of living, though, when you’re out of season with everyone else.  As an editor for a magazine with a three-to-six month lead time, I had to become used to “living” Easter while the rest of the world was still Christmas shopping; planning May gardening issues, when the rest of the world was planning what to do on Valentine’s Day.   By the time Thanksgiving rolled around, it was so passé – I was already on to the New Year’s Day issue, discussing resolutions, interviewing psychologists about “the ten best ways to change a habit” or some such timely topic, and editing stories awash with hope of self-improvement.  Mention holiday to me then and instead of turkey and stuffing, I’d say, yes, I know, Saint Patrick’s is coming up, maybe we could do a “green” issue.

It’s even more pronounced when I’m writing, rather than editing.  Writing a story for me is like living it in a way.  I have to see it, feel it, breathe it, taste it before it reads well on the page.  So this summer, it’s been Christmas in July.  And August. 

I’ve been working on a Christmas-themed novella that I’m very excited about. So not only have I spent summer writing about the winter holidays, I just had to dig out my favorite Irish sweater, the one I love cuddling up in when spending an evening in front of the fireplace.  Even though the rest of the world outside my window was going through the worst heat wave in five years, with temperatures up to 106.7 degrees (41.5 Celsius), in my attic office, I was stranded in a blizzard, with the wind howling outside.   I had to hold in my own two hands that mug of hot cocoa my character longed for. I had to bake pfeffernusse, my grandmother’s Christmas cookie recipe.  

It’s probably a good thing my children were off for two weeks visiting their grandparents. They might have been a little confused.  If they’d been gone any longer, who knows if they mightn’t have come home to a tree in the living room!  

But now that the book’s done and soon to be released, and the rest of the world is heading back to school and ready for fall, I think that instead of racing ahead, I might try, for a change, moving backward in time and steal a day at the beach.  Even with pfeffernusse in my picnic basket, I might get lucky and catch a last lingering day of summer.

Milou Koenings writes romance because, like chocolate, stories with a happy ending bring more joy into the world and so make it a better place. 
Her sweet romance, Reclaiming Home, A Green Pines Romance, is available at Amazon

You can find her on her website,, on Facebook, or Twitter.
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  1. I always feel as if Californians are out of sink with the traditional seasons (I suppose those in the southwest probably feel the same way).We don't have the changing of the season like the east coast or northeast.

  2. I understand how you feel. I spend most of the year writing Christmas stories. It is rather strange to be writing about weddings in snowy country churches while it's sunny outside. Although this year in the UK the weather has been so bad one wouldn't know it was summer!

  3. Pfeffernusse! My mom used to bake a kind that had to air dry on cookie sheets. I loved how that meant Christmas was coming.