Friday, December 25, 2009

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Our Christmas Letter

Every year we write a family Christmas newletter to send to family and friends with our Christmas cards. With the advent of facebook and blogs we really don't find a reason to send out letters to everyone. Really, how much information about what we're up to do you all really care about??? BUT, I do have a collection of these letters in my girls' baby books and in our family Christmas album. It's a way we can look back on where we've been and how far we've come. I imagine my girls grown up, sitting with their children and reflecting on their childhoods by reading the yearly summaries. Also, there are actually friends and family members NOT on facebook or really on-line for that matter. They always enjoy hearing what's happened to us throughout the year.

So, I continue to write the letter. This year it's a downscaled version. I wrote it in plain old letter format instead of the usual newsletter stories with photos. And I'll put it here on my blog for those of you who don't get the letter in the mail or maybe have missed a few things along the way and would like to know what we've been up to this year. :-)

Dear Friends and Family –

Hope this finds you all well this holiday season. 2009 went by so fast it’s hard to believe it’s already December.

This year was a sad one for us. I lost my dad in February to cancer. We had been in Florida, visiting Tom’s mother when we got the news and left from there to go to Kansas for the services. The line for visitation was out the door – some waited over an hour to shake our hands and give us their condolences. I met so many people whom Dad had touched one way or the other; either through teaching, insurance sales, church, Kiwanis, Gideon’s or prisoner ministry. The services the next day were another amazing tribute to him with guest after guest standing to speak about how Dad had inspired them.

Tom has been busy, constantly analyzing, re-configuring and experimenting to stay on top of this rough economy. He has stayed busy and continues to book future business and everyday I am thankful for what a great sense for business he has. The amazing photography doesn't hurt either! He is considering training for another marathon if he can stay injury free this winter. Keep your fingers crossed!

Melanie is thriving in 4th grade. She still loves school and loves her social life. She is involved in jazz dance, piano, Junior Girl Scouts and now is starting to play the flute at school (My mom’s old flute from her HS days!). She will be playing the role of Mary in the church pageant.

Kylie is a full day first grader now and has transitioned very well. She has made many new friends and is now 7! She has taken up ice skating this year and was a baby angel in the ice Christmas show. She also continues to take dance and is in Daisy Girl Scouts. There are so many more things she wants to try and do, but there are only 7 days in a week!

I am working more now that Kylie is in school all day. I try to get in 4 days of work a week if the facility is busy enough. I am still per diem so I have the flexibility to continue to have the same schedule as the girls. I am leading both the Daisy Girl Scouts and the Junior troop along with a friend of mine. The rest of the time I play mommy chauffeur. I still love to read, but have not written much this year. (Although, I do have some new books listed on that I have written in the past. Check them out if you’re interested. Just do a search for Kelli Mustard-Davis. Become a fan on facebook and spread the word!)

Any family updates and photos you would like to see can be found on facebook as well as on my blog. . . I have to say I love facebook and the fact that I have found so many of my friends from Kansas as well as how easy it is to stay in touch with relatives who live far away. Tom has booked a ton of business just from facebook as well.

We had a very nice Thanksgiving this year. Tom’s cousin, Robin from Australia and her husband Ian visited the states for a surprise for Ian’s 50th birthday. They started out in California and made their way East, eventually to Cape Cod for Thanksgiving where Tom’s dad and Donna were able to join us.

Merry Christmas to everyone! Miss you all!

Love, Kelli, Tom, Melanie and Kylie Davis

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Note For My Readers

I'm guilty of it whenever I read a book. I always imagine the author in the role of the main character, even if I have never met them. Stephanie Meyer is Bella, Margaret Mitchell is Scarlett (and a little bit of Melanie), Henry Winkler IS Hank Zipzer. I try not to, but can't help it. What they are writing is a window into their secret thoughts. Some of it is real, some of it is completely fabricated creation. I can imagine for those who read my books and KNOW me to find it difficult to separate fact from fiction as well.

I have written 9 books, 7 of which are on Lulu open for public viewing right now. Each book has a little part of me in it. Maybe there is one scene that mirrors something that happened in my life. Maybe it's dialogue between a mom and daughter that is similar to dialogue I have had or witnessed. But the characters are not me and all the occurrences in the book are strictly fiction.

Try to keep this in mind when reading anything I've written. One of my more recent books may be more difficult for you to do (When it Rains. . .) because the main character is an occupational therapist and she has two daughters. The thinking behind this. . . .I had just written In the Weeds which took a lot out of me. I was ready for something fun, easy and smooth.

Why an OT?

1. I had written about being an Olympic swimmer, a movie star, an investigative reporter, a minister, a mom, and teenagers. I was ready to include a profession that I actually knew a lot about and wouldn't have to research.

2. You never see stories about OTs in main stream literature. We get a little excited when we see what we do in print.

3. Most people I know have no idea what an OT does. Read the book and you'll understand. I am being faithful to my profession by writing about it.

And why two daughters?

1. Again I was looking for a quick, easy, fun book to write. With two energetic girls running around me as I write, how can I not include some of the crazy things they say and do?

2. A successful author once gave me advice. Write down everything your kids do when they are little. They will make great characters in a book someday and you will never remember the dialogue that made it perfect if you don't write it down.

3. My girls are not Izzy and Katie - their personalities/ages/interests are different than my kids, and there really isn't anything specific in the book that actually happened. But really, it's more of just a feeling of the kids. If I wrote about boys it just wouldn't feel as "real" to me.

Outside of the character being an OT, living in a fictional seaside community (in CT) and having 2 daughters, there are no other similarities to my life. Tom does NOT appear in this book at all (or really any for that matter). I make sure to keep him out - his privacy is important to me and him. Things said between us never appear in my books. It is all completely fiction. I have never met a sexy drummer in a band, a balding, debonair attorney or had an attractive co-worker/boss in my life. In fact 98% of the people I work with are women. And the other 2%? Well, they are not Rick. Fiction, fiction fiction. . .

So do me a favor. If you know me well, please as you would do with any book you read, lose yourself in the characters. Take me out of it. Otherwise it would be weird for you to read it. And if I knew you were putting me in the story I would feel weird about it. It's a novel written by someone you have never met before. K? And if you can't do it - skip reading When it Rains and read In the Weeds instead. There are NO similarities to me in that story other than the main character moving to a small fictional town in Kansas (again, you never see KS in main stream literature and we Kansans get a little excited about it when it does occur).

Happy reading!!!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

When it Rains. . .

Time for some blatant self-promotion. And time for you, my friends and family to dust off your reading glasses and catch up on some warm, cozy winter reads. I have updated my site and have a few new novels for your enjoyment.

For Fun: When it Rains. . .

Cali Kincaid is in a drought. A man drought. Ever since she threw her husband out three years ago she hasn't even kissed a man. Hearing the stories of the love lives of her best friends convinces Cali it's time to get back in the dating scene. Once the word gets out that she's looking, she suddenly has an abundance of men. Keeping her family, work and her new dating life straight leaves her overwhelmed and wishing for the quieter days. When it rains. . .it pours.

Oh and did I mention Cali is an OT?
And check out that cool cover photo taken by none other than Tom Davis. What a great team we make!

For inspiration: In the Weeds

Marti Mitchell is at the top of the paparazzi radar. After a life of alcohol, drugs and turbulent relationships, the actress can’t go anywhere without a camera in her face. So when her husband is caught cheating with a country music star and Marti is left abandoned, she decides it’s time to make some changes. She ends up in a small town under the assumed name of Becky Perkins. Here the media has yet to find her and she can live the life of a recluse. But before she knows it, she has started forming some relationships with some special people including a neglected six year old girl, a nurse who is desperate to have a baby and a roofer who can’t keep his eyes or his hands off of Becky. But the most important relationship is with the local minister, Blaine Thompson. She quickly learns that he can be trusted and is the one person in the world she can share all her secrets with. Blaine has secrets about his own past and together they form an unusual friendship.

Did I mention Marti's small town happens to be in Kansas? It's a fictional town based on the town where my grandparents lived and where my mom grew up, inspired by my trip there 2 years ago for my grandmother's funeral.

For the teen (but all women will like it too. . .you read Twilight right?): Boy Crazy

Crushes, boyfriends, first kisses, romance. . .16 year old Jenny Baker has spent her entire life daydreaming about guys, but has never actually accepted a date with one. She seems to find something wrong with every guy she meets and when she does happend to get close to one, she freaks! Now the pressure is on because Jenny's best friend's older brother, Chad is back in town from college and has suddenly developed an interest in Jenny. And Jenny can't find anything wrong with him. Along the way, Jenny's mother has started dating again for the first time since her divorce from Jenny's dad. And it just happens to be with Jenny's hot science teacher. At the same time, her best friend Erica is considering sleeping with her boyfriend for the first time. Jenny finds herself doling out relationship advice to both her mom and her friend when she herself has never been kissed....

Another for the teen: Butterfly Girl

Young adult version of Golden Rain. When 17 year old Jessica Martin attends an intense summer camp for elite swimmers, she finds herself immersed in the toughest competition that she's ever experienced. A novice coach, Brad Davenport believes Jessica's got what it takes to follow in his footsteps as an Olympic champion. They try to ignore a mutual attraction for each other as gossip begins to swirl around the camp about their relationship. Jessica struggles to fit in with all the girls and has to fight to prove herself as a powerful competitor to win the respect of her peers. Suddenly she and Brad are thrust into the spotlight when events beyond their control occur.

And some familiar favorites:

My best selling novel to date (and my Mother in Law's favorite!)- Crossroads

Corruption, scandal, murder - Anne Stone deals with these issues daily. She has run from abuse at the hands of her father to become a successful reporter. A call from her sister threatens to disrupt Anne’s career when she finds out that their mother has been diagnosed with cancer and is refusing treatment. Anne has to dig deep within herself to go home and find compassion for a woman who is in denial about the past. Anne tries to work on her relationship with her mother and often is tempted to give up. But something helps convince Anne to stay in Colorado and it has nothing to do with Anne’s family. Enter Kaylee - an imaginative six year old who is battling leukemia for the second time in her life and brings joy to their shared chemo room. Beside Kaylee is her dad Jake, a man whom Anne grew up with. As children they skipped rocks, climbed trees, teased siblings and skinny dipped. Jake knows all about Anne’s history and may hold the answer to being able to put the past behind her.

And a quick read: Cape Bounty

Maggie Baker has the perfect life - two gorgeous little girls, a devoted husband and a nice home on Cape Cod. In one tragic instant, her life is changed forever and leaves Maggie lost, alone and confused. Matt Bennett is the new doctor in town. Moving from New York City to become a family physician, he plans to work on his marriage and start a family with his wife, Judy. When old flames Matt and Maggie meet after 18 years apart, they are taken back to a time when life was not so complicated and remember what it is like to feel love from another person.

My first novel and the one that still holds a dear place in my heart. After all it did take me 10 + years to write the crazy thing. Once that was finished the rest came pouring out:

Golden Rain

Golden Rain is the coming of age story of young swimmer, Jessica Martin. When Jessica attends an intense summer camp for elite swimmers, she finds herself immersed in the toughest competition that she's ever experienced. A young, novice coach, Brad Davenport, discovers Jessica's hidden talent and takes her under his wing. Together they find a budding romance as they take the swimming world by storm. Brad believes Jessica's got what it takes to become an Olympic champion. A tragic setback turns Jessica's world upside down. She must find a will to survive and battle back against all odds. Along the way she meets Jon, someone completely different than anyone Jessica has ever known. Now she has many tough decisions to make including whether she wants to follow true love or follow her dreams.
Happy reading all my faithful friends!