Okay, so it's not bigger, but there's no longer a tree in it, and, even though the tree was in the corner, it was a tree in the house, and that takes up some room.
But it's all gone, now, and the tree is outside in a big, black can looking so much smaller than it did when it was in the house.
I think I managed not to clog up the vacuum cleaner with pine needles this year.
Of course, I thought that last year, too.
And the year before.
In some ways, it's a shame we have to start the year by putting away all of the celebrations and make everything plain and normal again.
Then, I remember the year that my mom left the tree up until well after my birthday, which is in February, and how it had almost just become this part of the house that we all just accepted and no one noticed anymore.
We have to have that discussion with our kids every year, about how it's a good thing that Christmas is not every day, because, if it was, they would stop enjoying getting presents. It would be one of those things that my daughter would try to get out of because she wanted to go out to play, and the younger boy would be too busy playing Minecraft to bother with.
So, yeah, today was the day of ending the big Christmas event and packing everything away. A sad day.
But not so sad. It's time to get back to regular life again. Time to do some more writing. Almost time for the kids to get back to school, and that will not be a sad day. At least not for me. My daughter's ready to get back, too, even if the boys are not.
Well... so that's that. 11 months to go...
In other news, I have some reviews I'd like to highlight. Mr. Alex Cavanaugh himself read The House on the Corner during the holiday and had this to say about it:
"Once it got to the Imagination Room and the troll, it was incredibly compelling."
I can't really argue with that, now, can I? His whole review, which is fairly short, is located here along with his four star rating.
One other thing that Alex said is that the he found the character of Ruth to be the "most annoying creature in the world." I take that as a huge compliment, because it means I really did the job I set out to do in creating the characters for the book.
I really love hearing from people which character was their favorite. Ruth tends to be favored more among the younger readers, but it's not younger female readers, just younger readers as the boys favor just as often as the girls. Adult males have tended to prefer Tom. Sam has a good spread among all ages. I find it interesting and can't wait to see what people think as the story progresses.
The other review I want to highlight is one left for Shadow Spinner by a fairly high ranked reviewer on Amazon. The complete review is posted on "The Tunnel," but let me just share this one little bit here:
"The thing that really distinguishes this book and elevates it to the category of very happy find, is the careful and realistic way that Mr. Leon builds up the tension, the dread, the reveals and the threat in this story."
Then, he adds:
"There is room, though, for a thinking man's fantasy-father tale. There should be signs and portents. There should be odd things happening around the edges. Mom should be a little damaged and a little mental. Suspicious things should happen and there should be a slow unfolding of what's going to happen and what might happen. That's what you get here.
And you get it with real style."
Getting good reviews from anyone is great, and there is something special in having a friend genuinely like your work. You know, that person you hand it to and say, "I hope you like it," because you really hope that person likes it, and, when that person does it like, it gives you a little glow inside. But there's something else entirely when someone you don't know at all leaves a great review for you. It's an entirely different type of gratification.
So... it may be the saddest day of the year (Thursday, January 3, as I write this), but, you know what? Maybe everything's not so plain after all.