Christmas, 1998
Dear Readers,

Boy, did I get sidetracked between newsletters. My husband and I have just got back from a ten-day sail in the Grenadines (a clump of reef-circled islands just north of Grenada down at the South America end). You're probably asking yourself, who can possibly find the time to go off sailing at the beginning of December? That's a very good question, one I asked myself every single day aboard the sailboat we chartered. I mean, it's such a great idea back in June, when you have to book that winter vacation. By December, you're thinking you must have been out of your mind to do it.

Despite the overload of guilt, it was a pretty good trip. We were happy (let's just say thrilled) that we could step aboard a strange sailboat after eight years of living on land and take it out in crummy weather (can you believe we managed to find crummy weather in the southern end of the Caribbean islands?) without getting shipwrecked, getting seasick, or being knocked on the head and swept overboard. Nothing broke, including our bones, and for that we give thanks.

The New House: We're feeling excited about moving from our beautiful but, alas, landlocked little town in Massachussets back to Newport, Rhode Island, close to the ocean where we belong. First, of course, we need to make our teeny tiny cottage there bigger (for all the new bookcases we've acquired in the past three years). The garden will be smaller, tragically; but the view of the Newport Bridge and Naragansett Bay from the rooftop deck will be exhilarating.

The New Book: Anyone want to see a sneak preview of the cover of KEEPSAKE, my April book? of Then click here. Isn't it gorgeous? Wendell Minor, the cover artist, is in a class by himself. I feel so grateful to have my work illustrated by him. I just proofread the final version of of KEEPSAKE this week, and, gee, I love it. No book I've written has made me more teary-eyed more often. Me! The Irreverent One! I'll be posting the first chapter on my website before long. Watch for it, won't you?
Christmas Cat(8K) Cat Tales: Tiki, our beautiful green-eyed adoptee (who throws up every five days, which is why she was returned repeatedly to the shelter in the first place) and Tommy, our little amber-eyed monster, were well cared for while we were away. Twice daily visits and lots of play time, but did they act grateful? Ha! They've been tracking me wherever I go (usually from a position between my ankles, which makes climbing stairs especially interesting). And heaven forfend that I zip or unzip a duffel bag. They freak out, convinced that I'm packing to leave again. Apparently we're going to have to stay home for the rest of our lives.
And just for fun: Even in this La Nina winter, it's still cold and dreary around the country. For those of you who don't live in the hot states, here are some photos to warm you up. One of these days I'm going to set a book in the Caribbean. Caribbean harbor(10K)
Antoinette by the fireplace(8K) And finally: It's Christmas. Despite the distractions and the weather and the chores and the shopping and the frenzy and the colds and the flu and worse; despite the stress and the traffic and the crowds and the deadlines and the sudden bouts of nostalgic sadness--despite all of it, and because of all of it, it's a season to love, and remember what was, and what might have been, and what may yet come. I wish each and every one of you a Christmas filled with peace and joy, and a year filled with good health and much happiness.

All the best to you,

Antoinette Stockenberg

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