Anniversary recap

So Mérida was magical. No lie. It’s the most romantic city in Mexico so far as I am concerned. It’s not a tourist town, and since it’s not directly on the ocean, it retains its historic, colonial charm. However, Progreso Beach is only half an hour away, so this is more enticing than Cancun. All the tropical goodness, none of the tourists.

Onward to anniversary goodness.

First, we had a long, luxurious couples massage en suite. Then we went down to a private candlelight dinner under the stars on the patio. The meal was sumptuous: asparagus salad with pears and apple vinaigrette, baked salmon encrusted with mushroom, wild rice in celery sauce with grilled zucchini on the side, finished with a mango mandarin custard and accompanied by my favorite sparkling wine.

Conversation was lovely, and we had a private trio of musicians, two guitarists and a cellist, who sang to us while we ate. They offered classic Spanish love songs, including Besame Mucho, which Andres used to sing to me. He sang it on our anniversary, too. I cried more than once; I was so awed and overwhelmed.

I ran upstairs to drop off the chocolate bouquet in our hotel room and to check on the kids. They were fine with a movie and room service, so off we went to an incredibly romantic carriage ride, the first I’ve ever taken. The night was balmy and warm with a tropical breeze. Andres and I cuddled and talked, kissed and nuzzled. It was the perfect anniversary. I can’t imagine how he’ll top it next year, but he says he has plans.

To finish this post, here’s a little slideshow, though it doesn’t really capture just how wonderful the night was. But it’s one I’ll remember forever. Hope you enjoy the glimpse.

An unlikely love letter

First, I have a post up on Writer Unboxed that you may find interesting. Or not. true love

I’ve been busy writing, and as you can see in the sidebar, I’m nearly done with my SKIN DIVE draft. I also wrapped up the KILLBOX galleys, so that book’s in the bag now. Hard to believe Jax is rolling toward book four, right? Amazing. At the end of August — shortly after my birthday — that book will put the series at 4/6 (or 2/3) completion. That makes me incredibly proud; that I could start something and finish it. How splendid! It’s rather a milestone, too, I think.

Other than that, I have exciting RAZORLAND goodness percolating behind the scenes. I’m finalizing the agreement for my book trailer with the UK production company, and I’ve been working with the Feiwel audiobook department. As it turns out, they’re doing a special CD sampler with excerpts from the audiobook, which will be included in the galleys. Part of that CD? An interview with yours truly. I did the call today, and wow, I was nervous, but I think I did all right. So many exciting things are coming down the pike this year. Sometimes it’s hard to wrap my head around. For instance, in the next month, I get to see my Cliff Nielsen cover art. I. Can’t. Wait. Interesting (or maybe not?) sidenote, he has done art for Charles de Lint, too, as has my Jax artist, Scott Fischer. This makes me feel like I’m playing Six Degrees of de Lint, who totally friended me on Facebook — without any prompting from me, I might add.

Along with Walter Jon Williams and Simon Green, de Lint holds a special place in my esteem, as he’s wrapped up in my courtship with my husband. Well, not literally. Geez, people. But both Andres and I love books. I logged those recommendations as another woman might gifts of perfume or jewelry; see, we communicate by recommending books to each other, and the themes say private things. The first book Andres ever told me to read was Aristoi by Walter Jon Williams. The next was Imajica by Clive Barker. After that, it was Someplace to Be Flying by de Lint. And then, of course, we discovered Simon Green’s Nightside books together. To this day, shared reading is important to us. When I find an author I love, if I love them enough, I give the book to Andres, and I say, Read this. The subtext is, I want you to love what I love. Maybe it’s goofy of me, but I see each instance as a quiet renewal of vows — that the commonalities that brought us together initially bind us still, so many years later.

I could never have imagined I would end up here… on the cusp of seeing my own words in hardcover. I marvel. Andres, on the other hand, does not. You see, he fell in love with my words first, and then the person behind them. He always knew. He always believed, even when I didn’t. His patience means so much to me now, more than I can say. And so I post a love note for all the world to see on our anniversary, vaguely blog-shaped. Love is not perfection; it is understanding and forgiveness.

Thank you for these marvelous years, my darling. May there be fifteen more and fifteen more again, until you’ve no hair, and I’ve no teeth, and I have forgotten everyone’s eyes but yours. Happy anniversary.

Love, Ann

Happy anniversary: a love letter

Dear Andres:

If anyone had asked me whether we’d last this long, many years ago, I don’t know what my answer would’ve been. We loved; we leaped. Over the course of our time together, we’ve put each other through a lot. Harsh words, regrettable actions, but we always cleave to one another and offer forgiveness. If that’s not love, I don’t know what is.

I joke that my life turned into a Harlequin plot quite unexpectedly, and that’s certainly true in that you are my hero. By going to work every day, you make it possible for me to live my dream, being with you and the kids and writing my books. I am, quite possibly, the luckiest woman on the face of the planet. I know I can be difficult because I spend so much time in my own head, but whenever I come out of that dreamworld, I always find you waiting for me, and that means more than you can imagine. I appreciate you. I cherish you. Your faith in me buoys me up and makes me want to do better, be better and stronger than I ever imagined I could.

You bring me red and ivory roses for no particular reason. Sometimes you come home with Starbucks in hand, even though I know traffic is killer, and you hate the commute. But you do it for love, for your family, and because you’re a good man. I should say “thank you” more.

To be honest, I don’t believe in soul mates. I think people can make it work, if they try hard enough, if they keep fighting toward each other, make compromises, and remember why they wanted to be with this person in the first place. You? You fell in love with my writing, first. You were my first fan. The first person who believed I could do this. And you have believed all the way, all along, even when I had all but lost hope. You kept me strong, kept me believing in my dream. And even when I was ready to give up on myself, you weren’t. You’ve never given up on me, even when I didn’t think I was worth it. You’ve stood by me through fire and flood, an international move, and more. Though I don’t believe in soul mates, you are the one, the only one, with whom I want to share this journey. I want you beside me always.

For you, on our anniversary, a poem by Sara Teasdale:

It will not change now
After so many years;
Life has not broken it
With parting or tears;
Death will not alter it,
It will live on
In all my songs for you
When I am gone.

Happy anniversary, my love.

–Ann