Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Hanging Their Hats at Our House

Tomorrow we are expecting the third wave of houseguests since spring began--third out of five expected groups. So far. And I'm thrilled, not only because it's great to finally be home long enough to host family and friends (we logged a buncha air miles last year!), but also because . . . I've always had a fantasy of running a Bed & Breakfast. Really--there is something in me that loves to make people comfy and happy. From the days when I was a new wife, first-time Mom, ER nurse (plumping pillows . . . adding a sprig of flowers to a food tray here and there) right up to now, when I can share our wonderful Hill Country home. And the guest room I've added such fun touches to: A huge arrangement of silk flowers--magnolias, stock, french lavender, native grasses--in colors that match the furnishings: salmon, a rich brown, sage green, splashes of purple. A fluffy comforter, down pillows--silky sheets; a large oil painting of Tuscany, soft lights, scented candles. And tidbits like a fanciful plush armadillo (a gift from a guest), stacks of Southern Living and Texas Highway magazines, local travel brochures, a carafe of spring water . . . and bowl of Dove chocolates, of course. The guest bath was a hoot to do too: walls painted a deep salmon, a bold striped shower curtain--fluffy towels in sage green, terra cotta, cream and eggplant, a framed poster of Greune, Texas, a rustic wall plaque of an armadillo (hey, do ya think I have armadillos in my yard . . . because they feel welcome in my house?), colorful scented soaps . . . enticing, don't you think?

And I'm tickled that our houseguests are coming in April, because that is when our famous Texas wildflowers are at their height of beauty--and before our Texas HEAT begins to make everyone . . . glow. (Okay, sweat--but in the South we are too genteel to say that). So we can take advantage of the mild temperatures to enjoy browsing in our artsty little town, eating "barbecue" at a famous Texas eatery, tapping our toes to country music in the Cowboy Capital of the World, Bandera, or just sitting out back (on my newly painted Adirondack chairs) and taking in the great, pastoral views.

The tough part of having company is saying goodbye. The visits always seem too short to do everything we want to do, say everything we want to say--eat everything we want to eat (can't miss those bison burgers!) For authors, it's much the same feeling when we are down to the last chapters of a book. The way that I am, with THE HEALER'S HEART. When our company leaves, I'll be back in the office finishing the last two chapters of this book. Saying goodbye to characters I've come to know and love over the past 6 months, tying up the loose ends, closing things down. It's kind of sad--even though the ending will be happy. The heartening part, however, is that since this book is the first in THE SHIFT IN FAITH series, I'll be "spinning off" one of the secondary characters to "star" in my second book (working title Heart's Hazard), so I'll already have a familiar face waiting for me--and for you readers!

Meanwhile, I'm going to iron some pillowcases, bake a batch of Morning Glory Muffins . . . and make sure hubby hasn't raided the guest room chocolates.

I'll check back in . . . when our guests check out.

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