Posted in Adventure, skiing

Hitting The Slopes

Sunday was my last day on the mountain this ski season. Despite not getting any significant storms until March, it was a great year.

I grew up in Tahoe but didn’t ski until recently. I went once in Junior High. My husband was a lifelong skier and he dragged me along a few times in college. I could keep up with his mother, but she broke her leg in 2000. My kids started skiing around age three and quickly outpaced me. Especially when I only went once or twice a year.

But last year I broke down and got a season pass. It’s so much more cost effective than buying a daily lift ticket. I had bought a pair of skis off the wife on one of the snowboard coaches. She was even nice enough to ski with me while our husbands coached the teenagers.

This year, I skied mostly with the ladies. We started out as ski team moms but soon became friends. You form a bond with someone when suspended dozens of feet in the air on a cable. I’m not completely over my fear of heights, but riding the lift over and over again every weekend helped. And last year, we had epic snow, so it wasn’t that far down.

My oldest son worked as a ski instructor this year. He was great with the kids. We would catch up with him and his group of 7-12 year olds and you could see the smile on all their faces, hear the enthusiasm in his voice when he we encouraging his students. And he was still smiling when he got of work. He loves his job.

Of course, it’s easier to learn a new skill when you’re only three feet off the ground. It was much harder for me to learn as an adult. Especially when I was one of those students who learned things quickly as a kid. Academic things. Not athletic things. I knew in my head what my husband was trying to tell me, but I couldn’t make my body do it. And he’d been skiing for so long, he couldn’t understand why I couldn’t just relax and stop snow-plowing.

Skiing almost ended our marriage a few times. But in the long run, it has made it stronger. At a time when many families see their teenagers and adult children less and less, we got to spend more time together as a family. The forty-five minute drive up at 6:30 am, and the hour and a half drive home were times to chat, sing along to Tom Petty, and stop off at Squirrels for our ritual snacks.

My younger son won’t ski with me, but he wears a bright, vintage ski suit, so I am able to spot him from the lift and yell embarrassing things to him. Sometimes he even acknowledges me in the lodge. Usually when he wants some food.

I can’t keep up with any of my boys, but they’ll wait for me at the bottom. And when I’ve made it down the slopes with the wind in my hair, or rather in my face, because I’m wearing a helmet, I feel a sense of exhilaration. Before it was mostly fear and fighting gravity. But most of the time, I feel like I can fly. But I also know I can stop, and most of the time I manage to stay upright.

So until next season, the skis are back in the rafters. Ohh, that means it’s almost rafting season.

 

Advertisements
Posted in Adventure, Baseball, Books, skiing, Whitewater rafting, Writing

What Season Is This?

Yesterday was Major League Baseball’s Opening Day. Every few years it falls during Spring Break, so I get to enjoy it as the National Holiday it should be. I watched parts of at least four games. I was very excited to see my beloved San Francisco Giants beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in a pitching duel that was somewhat unexpected. Oh, everyone expected a close, well-pitched game between top Lefties Madison Bumgarner and Clayton Kershaw. But when Bumgarner was hit in the pitching hand late in Spring Training, his Opening Day start went to Ty Blach instead. He outdueled the multiply Cy Young winner, at least on this day.

img_0058

And that’s what I love about baseball. It’s never what you expect. At least, the best moments never are.

But it’s also ski season. Finally. Here in California, Winter took her sweet time coming. December was cold but one of the driest I can remember. Several of the high school ski races had to be postponed or combined. The teams to the north of us had to come 250 miles or more to race on the last day of the season so they could qualify for the state championships. We finally got a lot of snow this month. The local resorts are calling it Miracle March.

img_0790

But now the weather is warming up and we’re torn between getting up early to hit the slopes before it gets too slushy or sleeping in and taking on the river. My sons did a midweek trip on the South Fork of the American River, so my oldest could sharpen his skills before he makes the transition from ski instructor to raft guide.

race horse bend 3 537

As an author, I’m often working on books that take place in different seasons. It’s always a challenge to try to get the details of sun-ripened blackberries on the river in July when I’m sitting in front of the fireplace in December. Or trying to describe the way the snow swooshes under my skis when it’s 98 degrees in August.

But that’s the wonderful thing about books. They can take you to another time and place, whether you’re reading them or writing them.

Posted in Romance, Uncategorized

An Apology To My Future Daughters-In-Law

rosedog

If you are one of those women who love Valentine’s Day, complete with hearts, flowers, and jewelry, I’d suggest you decline a second date with my sons.

Although I’m a Romance novelist, I don’t do Valentine’s Day. I’ve been married for almost twenty-five years, so I’ve experienced plenty of romance. But my husband has strict instructions NOT to pick up a dozen red roses on his way home from work today. Any candy, we’ll buy tomorrow when it’s 50% off. And the only diamonds I need are the one’s in my wedding ring, the baseball parks we go to on a date, or if we get more snow, I might be ready to try a black diamond on the slopes.

For me, romantic gestures should be personal. Not the same as everyone else’s. Drive by any street corner in America, and there will be a rose stand. Sweet, but hardly original.

11329945_1105315932815991_8364076000241919055_n
Custom-made roses with the titles of my first three books

Now, when my husband ordered roses made out of real baseball leather, with the titles of my books, that was romantic.

One of our more memorable anniversaries, was the time we’d booked a hotel in San Francisco and were headed to the San Francisco Giants game. My in-laws met us at the Little League park to pick up the boys after our oldest’s game. We were just about to throw the overnight bag in the car when the phone rang. The youngest had hit his head on the corner of the desk and they were taking him in for stitches. We met them at the hospital, and several hours later, we heard the first pitch on the car radio. The final out was recorded while we crossed the Bay Bridge. But there was a Prom in our hotel, and we still had a good time in the city.

More importantly, my husband showed what was most important, making sure our son was okay. Sure, his parents could have handled it, and we could have still made our date, but we had a good time in the ER waiting room, just spending time with our son.

Family is important to our Romance. We got married on his Nani’s 83rd birthday. Got engaged on our way to visit his parents. My niece recorded the backup vocals at our rehearsal dinner–she was three months old, but she’s going to be a star. We stopped off at our foreign-exchange brother’s house on our honeymoon.

We’ve taken the boys to many of the places we stopped on our honeymoon–Yellowstone, the Great Potato Museum in Idaho, Grand Tetons. We showed them the spot along the Silver Fork of the American River where we got engaged.  We’re hoping to do a family river trip on the Yampa this summer, if we can get the permits.

So, my boys have grown up seeing that romance is something you do over time. Not a certain way on a certain day. They will find their own ways to share their love that doesn’t include a box of chocolates, (especially from the one who’s allergic to nuts, he couldn’t kiss a girl after she ate most Valentine’s candies). Our son might buy a girl a new PFD to go rafting with him, or a new helmet to go skiing with him. Or maybe he’ll sing a love song.

I suppose there’s the possibility that my sons will rebel and go for more traditional expressions of Romance.

They might even get really creative and give their mother’s books as gifts to their sweethearts.

Posted in Books, eBook Sale, Romance

Winter Blues and Summer Love

In may parts of the country this winter has packed quite a punch. Those of us in California are still waiting for it to arrive. Either way, you can warm up (or start thinking about the next outdoor season) with the first book in the Swift River Romance series.

Get ready for whitewater, blue skies, and a golden opportunity for love.

Now only 99 cents for a limited time.

https://kristinamathews.com/swept-away

SweptAwayWinterSale

Carson Swift may look exactly like his twin brother Cody, but they’re as different as tie dye and camouflage. Reliable, responsible, and usually the designated driver, Carson is also over being his brother’s keeper, but suddenly his plans to break free are complicated by the woman they fish out of Hidden Creek . . .

Lily Price is not your typical damsel in distress. Infidelity, infertility, and downsizing provide a triple threat to her ego, but falling into the swollen river nearly ends her life. If not for the handsome stranger—make that two handsome strangers—she might not have had a chance at having a baby by any means necessary . . .

As Carson helps Lily overcome her fear of the river, she helps him save his rafting business from going under. She also saves him from abandoning all that is important to him in order to get a taste of freedom. Together they find that love is the ultimate adventure.

 

Posted in Books, Writing

A New Year, A New Hope

2018blog

At the start of a new year, a lot of people make resolutions, set goals, and reflect on the accomplishments of the past year. I’d like to reflect on a little more than just the last twelve months, as the years seem to fly by faster than I can type.

2017 wasn’t the year I had hoped for. I could write a whole list of things I hadn’t accomplished, but I don’t want to dwell in negativity, which is why there aren’t many blog posts from last year.

My day job is going well. It is very rewarding to know that I do make a difference in the lives of the children I work with. Especially for those kids I’ve worked with over several years. I get to see their growth from wide-eyed and wiggly Kindergartners just learning their letters and sounds to fourth and fifth graders who get out of their cars with a book they just can’t put down.

I got my first season pass at Sierra-At-Tahoe, the local ski resort that has become our winter weekend home. With my youngest son on the ski team, my husband a coach, and now my oldest is a ski instructor, I figured it’s the only way to see my family in the winter. I started skiing with a few of the other ski team moms and it’s actually more fun than terrifying now. I’ve learned to work with gravity instead of fighting it, so that helps.

We spent another summer on the river. It started out pretty intense, with the high water levels on the South Fork of the American River. We did a five day trip on the Grand Ronde in Oregon, but our oldest had to stay behind and work his second summer as a whitewater raft guide for ARTA and AO. We ended the summer taking a nice trip down the Middle Fork of the American with our oldest son and his friends. It’s a pretty good feeling to have your child not only take charge of organizing and guiding a great trip, but to invite his parents along.

I published my seventh book. Wow. Seven novels out there in the world that I wrote. Sometimes I need to sit back and let that sink in.

It was only five years ago that I was about to give up on my first novel. I had submitted Better Than Perfect to several agents and publishers who accepted un-agented manuscripts. I had found yet another rejection in my spam folder, with my name spelled wrong, so when I entered an online pitch session on Savvy Authors, I wasn’t feeling too confident. Even when I got a message that an editor wanted me to send my manuscript, I almost didn’t send it.

But I knew if I didn’t, I’d never forgive myself, always wondering if that could have been the one.

So when I got the email from Piper Denna at Lyrical Press, I almost didn’t believe it. I ran out to the driveway where my husband was about to drive off to work. (Well, not run,  actually. I don’t run. Ever). I had to show him the email that said she wanted to add me to their list, an ask him if it said what I thought it said. He said it did, so I signed my first publishing contract in May of 2013.

In January of 2014, Lyrical Press became an imprint of Kensington Books. I signed my second contract for Better Than Perfect, which came out in April 2014.

My second book, Worth The Trade came out in July of that same year.

Making A Comeback was published July 2015 and Earning A Ring, the fourth book in the More Than A Game series was released in January 2016.

I launched a new series, Swift River Romance, with Swept Away in July 2016. In Too Deep followed in December 2016. The third and final book, Diving In, was released in September 2016.

In 2018 I’m planning on attending the RT Booklovers Convention in Reno in May. It will be my first time at RT and I’m looking forward to meeting with other writers AND readers. I hope to have a new series ready by then and possibly get an agent to help me further my career.

Until then, I’ll just keep writing, and hoping that my next book will find its way to even more readers.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

Watching The World Series As An Almost Objective Fan

Wow. What a Game Five! What a series it’s been so far. Those of you who know me, know that my beloved San Francisco Giants failed to make it to the World Series for the third year in a row. But I still watch the games. Well, not every pitch, but I check out the score, walk a way if it looks like it’s going to be a lopsided game. And try not to get too emotionally involved.

IMG_0704
What both teams are hoping for. These were at Fan Fest in San Francisco in 2013.

I thought I was going to turn the game off last night when Clayton Kershaw entered the game with a three run lead. I mean, it’s Kershaw. Give him run support in the regular season and it’s pretty much lights out.

So I ate my dinner, worked on my book and when the Dodgers went ahead 4-0 in the fourth inning I grabbed my Kindle and took a bath. I was happily immersed in a make-believe world when I heard my husband’s excited shouts from the living room. Now, we’re Giants fans, so there is no love lost for the Dodgers. I came out to find the game was tied up.

Okay. I’ll watch. This could be good, but if the Dodgers take the lead again, I’m out. So they scored another three runs. But then so did the Houston Astros. A 7-7 tie, we’ve got ourselves a ballgame.

And what a game it was. Very exciting to watch, even for semi-objective fans like myself, who don’t care who wins as long as it’s not the Dodgers.

Oh, and to add to all the excitement, my publisher has put BETTER THAN PERFECT on sale for a limited time.

Only 99 cents on Amazon, Apple, Google, Kobo, Nook

Portrait of baseball player with bare chest holding bat

Posted in Adventure, Books, Uncategorized

Tales From The River, Part 1

Monday was the Labor Day Holiday in the U.S., a day in which we celebrate having a job by taking the day off. So, my hard-working son took a rare summer holiday off from his job as a river guide, to take his friends and his parents down the Middle Fork of the American River.

Wouldn’t it be great if everyone had a job they would do on their day off? Just for fun? But that’s a topic for another day.

So, back to the river. We mostly do the South Fork of the American River. It’s easy to just throw a trip together and make a day of it. We did the lower half on Saturday, which was our fifth or sixth trip this year. We got a late start this summer, due to high water in the early part.  The Middle Fork is a more technical river, with one rapid that is un-runnable, and one that is really difficult.

The first big rapid is called Tunnel Chute. Built in the late 1800s by miners, it’s well, here are some pictures of a group that went down before us.


The first boat flipped. The next one made it. 


Pretty intense. Here’s my husband sending our old school bucket boat down without us or the oars. Not so easy to flip. But it has other issues. 

The old girl fills with water and isn’t so maneuverable. Here’s a shot after sending it down the second rapid we couldn’t take passengers down.


The plan was to jump in and paddle hard to the next eddy. My son is used to self-bailing boats that are much lighter when they get to the bottom of Ruck-A-Chucky.  This is another man-made rapid where they tried to build a dam in the 30s. The river isn’t having it when man tries to control it.

So our son’s friend jumped in and tried to paddle to the next eddy, but he ended up going over the next rapid instead. Then we had to pull the boat back upstream so they could make the rapid after that, called Parallel Parking. You think it’s a challenge in a Buick? On the river, there is no driving around the block if you get the angle wrong.

But we all survived, and so did our boats. We lost two of our buckets, though. Oh, and when I spotted it downriver just above Texas Chainsaw, I rolled right on out of the boat. Then I rolled under the boat, kicked off the side of the wall, and had to swim over boulders to the other boat. I thought about staying with the kids. They did have bacon-flavored cheese in a can, but I needed to bail out the oar boat.

Stay tuned for more river stories over the next few weeks. I have a new book coming out September 19, and some of the river tales are based on real life events.

 

Preorder at

Amazon Apple Google Kobo Nook