Friday, October 24, 2008

Jack Frost nipping at your nose...

First, let it go on record that I am not responsible for the forecast of snow this coming Sunday, even though I worship the stuff and put the mojo out there with my current release. 

I was born a snow baby. I've lived in Minnesota all my life. I've had a love affair with snow since I could toddle about on my own. Love the white stuff. Used to spend all day playing in it as a kid. Most of my life I lived up north, about two hours south of the Canadian border, in Thief River Falls, home of Arctic Cat. My parents used to race snowcats. (Yep, the correct term is snowcat if you're from Thief River Falls, not a snowmobile or—shudder—snowmachine, as some Alaskans like to name them.) Each year we'd get outfitted head to toe in our new Arctic Cat snowsuits (Mine was purple; easier to find me in the snow.) Dad will shovel the driveway (no snowblower back then), which would leave drifts six to eight feet high lining the drive. Give me and my brother a shovel, or a plastic bucket and we'd start digging holes in those drifts until we had ourselves a cozy little snowfort. My Mom used to call us in when we were out playing in the snow after a few hours.
It's not that we were getting frostbite, or too cold (when you're nestled in a snowfort it's nice and toasty). She just wanted to see us, we'd been out for so long. Me and my brother would cast each other wary glances, then eye the door wistfully. "Can we go back out now, Mom?"
(I'm the one on the left in the pic with the rosy cheek kids gang.)

Yeah, snow. It's good. I think it runs in my veins. Flakes that is, not ice water. (Try to hold back the jokes, please.)

It's no surprise to me that I wrote a story about snow, frost and cold winter nights set in a cabin up north in Minnesota. It was inevitable. My hero? Jack Frost. A god/faery/shapeshifter who is made of frost, but when he touches human flesh, he takes on human shape and flesh.  He's just looking for some warmth.  My heroine? A self-described snowflakeologist. She photographs snowflakes because she's in love with snow (just like moi). I got the idea for her occupation from my collection of snowflake photography books by Kenneth Libbrecht. The dude takes pictures of snowflakes, people. And they rock. He uses colored lighting to enhance the fine details of the precious flake, and works swiftly (before his subject melts). So I decided to set my heroine on a quest to find those elusive two snowflakes that are exactly alike. Will she find them? You'll have to read the story to find out. :-)

A Kiss Of Frost is my novella in the WINTER KISSED duet with Vivi Anna. I wrote this story last winter when the snow blanketed the world and sparkled outside my window. Jack Frost had written all over my windows, enticing me to wonder what kind of love letters he was sending to me—and then it happened.

I fell out of love with winter.   Gasp!

Yep, you heard me. Been in MN for forty-mumble-mumble some years, and just last year it finally hit me. No love left for winter. Oh, don't get me wrong, I still love snow. I could park myself outside with my magnifying glass and study snowflakes all day long. It's the bone-searing, freakin' cold I don't like. Images of Floridian beaches and California sunshine have begun to haunt my winter nights. Each morning when I wake and tiptoe across the chilly hardwood floor to the bathroom where I know that toilet seat is just waiting to shock me awake with an icy touch, I wonder what it would be like to live in a Southern clime.

Hmm... How to have my snow and warmth too? I think I'd truly miss winter if I moved. But is it too much to ask for a few less months of cold? Let's push back winter until December and end it in March. Whatdaya say?

I saw WINTER KISSED in WalMart yesterday, so it's out there already! Tell me what your favorite season is, and why, and I'll pick one commenter to win a copy of WK, and announce it tomorrow.

Michele

34 comments:

AuthorM said...

When I was a kid, my bedroom was always so cold we had electric blankets, thermal underwear under our PJ's and I could still see my breath!

Much like Scarlett O'Hara, I vowed as an adult "I will never be cold again!"

I don't like tropical; I prefer the Fall to any other season, and in PA we get cold but not frigid. My husband lived in Alaska for awhile and talks about going back (he lived in Barrow...I used to say I'll never go to any place where I have to use a bucket for a toilet and set it out on the curb, but now I just tell him, sorry, too many vampires up there.)

I don't mind Winter if I can watch it from inside, next to the fireplace with my slippers on and my hot tea in hand!

M

Keri Ford said...

I have to go with summer. Where I live, if white stuff is falling, it's sleet or ice. And on the rare occasions we do get snow, it typically melts during the day and turns into sheets of ice during the night. Icy steps. What sweet little present to wake up to.

We did have about 2 days of snow last year. I put out my bowl and made ice cream. I also dressed my son warm as I could and took him outside. He fell down and that was the end of our snow escapade.

Dina said...

Even with the very cold weather and sometimes way too much snow, I love winter. Maybe it's because I was born in December near Christmas, it's a feeling.

Betina Krahn said...

Michele, I'm with you. LOVE that snow. . . especially the FIRST snow. An the second is usually a treat too. But after that, it starts to get a little old.

I do love the feeling of snow outside, fireplace inside-- especially at night. And cuddling up beside a glowing fire has to be one of the primordially satisfying experiences humanity can have.

Waaaaa. I miss winter. A little.

Michele, I'll pick up your book and relive it all again!

Kylie said...

Well maybe because I'm a teacher, but summer's always been my favorite. But I've often thought, if it didn't mean the return the school, fall would be my favorite because I love the crispness in the air and the colors.

My childhood was spent much like yours, Michele. No one can believe how warm it is in a snowfort. I tell my kids how high the drifts used to be and they roll their eyes. Yeah yeah. Last year was the first year in a couple decades that we had the heavy snowfall I recall from my youth.

Now keep in mind I don't have to blow the snow or shovel, but I love it. Love the looks and the sight of snow falling outside the window. What I don't appreciate is COLD! I'm often heard muttering, "There is no excuse for this!" I can take the snow but that bone chilling, can't get warm cold snap does it to me every time.

And I always vote for three months of winter--December through February. With one tropical vacation thrown in there to break it up!

FIONA said...

I can take any season when the sun is shining.

Sunlight on daffodils is happiness squared.
Sunlight on a lake peppered with baby ducks is renewing.
Sunlight on an orange and gold maple tree is a fire that doesn't consume.
Sunlight on new-fallen snow is a landscape of diamonds.

Today it is raining.

Michele Hauf said...

Oh, Fiona, you make me want to grab that sunshine from you and gobble it up! It's rainy and dreary here today. Give me some sun!

Kylie, I too spent a lot of time trying to convince the kids that snow can fall abundantly and be a wonderland. Here in Minneapolis we don't get huge amounts, so they were never snow connoisseurs as I am.

Keri, you made ice cream from snow? Do tell!

Dina, that winter 'feeling' is nice and toasty, even if it is frigid outside.

M! I'm so with you on everything. Go, Dean! :-)

Michele Hauf said...

Betina, you have the best of both worlds, you live in warm and can visit cold. Sigh...

Cindy Gerard said...

Michele - Congrats on the release of the Novella! it sounds amazing! And you make me long for winter with your beautiful post. Now that I'm working from home full time and don't have to commute to work an hour each way in the snow, I LOVE it. Love sitting at my desk in my office with a fire burning, the dog sleeping at my feet, the 2 cats curled up in various places around me and watching the beauty of winter swirl around outside my windows. Oh - and did I mention, I'm probably also in my PJs with a hot mug of Vienna Cafe International coffee cupped in my hands ... dreaming about those Florida beaches :o)

Playground Monitor said...

ARGH! Blogger ate my post. I said I blogged about autumn on Wednesday. It's a nice respite after a long, hot, humid Alabama summer. It's homemade soup time.

We don't get much snow here. We're long overdue for a big one, which will paralyze the town since we don't have equipment to deal with it. But why spend tax dollars on stuff you only use every 10-12 years.

Marilyn

Debra Dixon said...

Michelle-- Love the cover it just screams winter and snow in a pretty way. Love it.

I also love snow, but not winter. Here we get sleet and ice. Sometimes we'll get a little snow but never enough to be pretty for long. I'd love living in Montana in the back end of nowhere, snowed in and nothing to do but read, edit and quilt. Now there's a good gig. No deadlines that belong to me!!

Fall is excellent. I have huge trees outside my office window and I can watch them turn day by day.

Michele Hauf said...

Oh, CIndy, a fireplace in your office? Delicious!

Marilyn and Deb, I love Autumn. Sweater season, but not yet coat season. Although, I suspect we're going to breeze right through Fall here (as usual).

Helen Brenna said...

Michele, me too! The older I get the more I'm disliking the cold. Honestly, for me, winter lost a lot of the childhood glitter you describe as soon as I started driving. Yuck!

My fav season is spring, although those first few weeks of fall, when I get to put on jeans an a sweater for the first time or make chili are awfully nice.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy the warmth of summer and the crispness of an autumn day. I grew up in Minnesota and enjoy visiting the snow but don't really like living in it anymore.

But I love the spring. Everything new and reborn. New chances abound. Best of all the daylight is longer every day of spring. It just makes me feel good.

~TerryS

Vivi Anna said...

Well I'm Canadian, in Alberta, so I have to love winter, because we go through it for about 5 months every year.

But I confess to loving Spring and Fall. Not too cold, not too hot...just right.

Sean and Anna said...

I love autumn but the last few years it seems to have alluded me-- the AZ desert is staying hot... again. However, I live by the mountains so its just a quick drive and I can see all the trees change colors and enjoy the cooler weather. I also love Halloween and cooking for turkey day.

I envy all those that live where it snows because we don't get much of that here, or anywhere else that we've been stationed. I love being cold- winter clothes are just better, more cozy and comfortable.

catslady said...

Add me to the spring lovers. New beginnings after a cold winter. I purposely planned my children to be born in the spring (end of April and beginning of May).

Winter was nice as a kid - playing in the snow and a chance of no school lol. Now I have to worry about driving on ice and shoveling the driveway and digging out my car (sigh).

Arkansas Cyndi said...

I love snow. We don't get it much here in Arkansas. As Keri Ford said, most of our winter weather is sleet and/or freezing rain, which sucks (oops - can we say sucks on this blog?) But I love a snowy night, a fire blazing in the fireplace, a nice bottle of wine and either: my husband or a hot novel. Yes, I know that sounds strange (hubs v novel) but a true reader will get it! LOL One of my favorite memories is sitting in an outside hot tub with snow coming down around us.

BUT my favorite season is spring. I love to see things coming to life. I love the flowers that push through the hard ground to brighten my day JUST for me LOL

Since Vivi Anna is one of my favs (am reading Veiled Truth right now) I bet this set of novellas will be great!

Anonymous said...

love watching the trees change, i live in tennesse and its beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!
but i HATE being cold, hate, hate hate being cold
and its done getting down to 40 here at night
i would love to live some where that is always like 75 degrees



gypsywitch36@yahoo.com

Keri Ford said...

You've seriously lived up there, get snow EVERY year and you don't know how to make Snow Ice Cream???? You're missign out, girl.

We drool for it if it even starts looking a little gray outside!

Get a bowl full of snow. Not the first though, got all that ozone or something dangerous in it. A Big bowl of it. Dry snow works best. The kind of snow that DOESN'T make good snowballs. Wet snow makes it a little icy instead of fluffy like.

Can of Eagle Brand (depending on your bowl depends on how much you need). Add it to taste. If you like it sweet, add more Eagle Brand

Add little Vanilla. Again, to taste. Now enjoy! It's WONDERFUL!!

If you DON'T have Eagle Brand, you can use pet milk & sugar instead. But that will make it a little gritty.


Be sure to make it and eat it for those who are lacking on snow!

Lou Gagliardi said...

My favorite season is winter as well. It's just so..romantic. That's the only way I can put it.

Don't bother even putting my name in for contention; it was at Borders today and I snagged it up!

Sean and Anna said...

I just got back from book shopping (no Winter Kissed here yet) and was reminded again why I love the fall. As I was walking up to my door I was bombarded with butterflies- red ones, large orange ones, teeny white ones, and yellow ones. They were everywhere and you just have to stop and watch them flutter around. In a few more weeks they will be gone, or as my daughter says- they will be sleeping like the bears!

Helen Brenna said...

Sean/Anna - What state are you in? The butterflies are long gone from MN.

Estella said...

My favorite season is fall. I love the cooler weather, changing colors of the leaves and FOOTBALL!

Michele Hauf said...

Ohmygosh! I am so going to try that snow ice cream! I had never heard of that before.

and NEWSFLASH! For anyone who has been considering getting a Kindle (the electronic book reader from Amazon), you can get a coupon code for $50 off at Oprah.com, good for the next week.

I think...I'm headed toward Amazon. It's expensive, but I've been lusting after one of those!

Kathleen Eagle said...

I love the changing seasons. Early spring, summer, fall, winter. Spring green, early summer flowers and shorts/flip-flops weather, bursts of fall color, first snow. The weather I dread most is humidity.

Your post reminded me of my youth in New England. Very much like MN in so many ways. We had an ice skating rink that was 3 backyards long--lots of work for the dads, but what joy for kids.

Anybody remember snow cream? Mama grew up in Northern Virginia--back when it was still considered real Virginia--and I suspect snow cream was a Depression era kids' treat. I grew up in the 50's and 60's, back when snow was safe to eat as long as it was fresh and white. You mixed snow with milk, a little sugar and vanilla, and yum! Or you went up to Vermont for sugaring off and got maple syrup drizzled over snow after you took the tour. Do they do that here in MN?

Ah, childhood.

Kathleen Eagle said...

So I got here late and skimmed, missed Keri's recipe on first read. I wonder if they had sweetened condensed milk when Mama was a kid. Probably couldn't afford it. I've gotta try that. Except...I don't know if I trust snow these days, what with acid rain and all. I think I'll Google that question.

Kathleen Eagle said...

According to one source on Ask.com (you knew I would):
"Yes, unless it is yellow.

Snow is formed by water particles sticking to extremely minute particles (same for raindrops).

As long as you don't live in an acid producing community (lots of smoke stacks), snow is likely to be more pure than what you get out of your tap if eaten fresh.

I am a Professional Civil Engineer in Orlando, FL ( http://www.mckeonengineering.com )"

All the other comments were from geniuses warning us to stay away from the yellow stuff.

Michele Hauf said...

Kathy, we had an ice skating rink every year too. The whole front yard in our little city plot got iced by dad, standing there with the garden hose, then shoveling it smooth. When we moved to the country, we got a HUGE rink. Again, lots of work for dad.

flchen1 said...

I like spring and fall best, I think--I'm not too good with extremes in temperature! And we don't even live where it gets cold enough to snow! I would LOVE to have a skating rink in the front yard though! That would be awesome!

Sean and Anna said...

Helen- I am in Tucson, AZ and the butterflies are still here. They are about to leave, just a few weeks more, and they will migrate until next year. They sure are pretty to watch. My 6 year old daughter just told me (as we were walking in from school) that the butterflies are out dancing because they are trying to be nice to people.

ddurance said...

Fall...fall....fall

Did you guess it? LOL

Deidre

Kammie said...

My favorite is fall. I love the changing leaves and the cooler temperatures. I like winter, too. Especially when I'm inside cuddled under a blanket watching the snow fall outside. I don't like the snow covered roads and having to maneuver my way to work on them.

ArkieRN said...

My favorite season is fall. The weather is cool and the autumnal colors are wonderful. Plus, you got Halloween and Thanksgiving.