Jaunty Guest


avon, Bring a Friend Friday, Fun, Historical Romance


GayleHello! Thanks so much to the Sisterhood of the Jaunty Quills for inviting me to be with you today. I’m Gayle Callen, author of historical romances (and also Emma Cane, author of contemporary romances—I get around). My newest historical, SURRENDER TO THE EARL, just came out this month. It’s about Robert, who needs to find redemption because of mistakes made during the war where men were killed, and Audrey, the blind widow of his fellow soldier, who accepts his offer of any kind of assistance—as long as he helps her escape her family who’s keeping her in seclusion. Whew, a mouthful!

But I’d rather talk to you today about our kids, the grownup kind that drift into their own lives and drift so easily away from ours. Oh, we talk/text on the phone, but when you only see them a couple times a year because they live so far away, it can be tough. The kids are having fun; it’s wonderful to see them blossom in their lives, but…I miss them. So here’s an idea to stay close: competition brackets. Yes, you heard me, just like the NCAA March MadnessSURRENDER TO THE EARL but not basketball (unless it’s basketball season, of course). I’m talking about a friendly competition over reality shows, the competitive kind: Survivor, Amazing Race, Iron Chef or whatever. This was my oldest daughter’s
brilliant idea, and boy do we have fun! It’s amazing how much you can enjoy a show when you’ve tossed $5 into a pot and you have a competitor you’re rooting for.

The show we compete over? The Bachelor/Bachelorette. My daughter has created a one-page form, with blocks for each week of the season, leading all the way up to the finals. We watched the first episode together (and in person, this year, which made it even more special), and then we spend the week filling out our brackets, due before the second show. Yes, you have to figure out the eventual winner, all from watching the first show. I’m not kidding, at one point we spent an hour or two slow-motioning through, especially the previews of the whole season, just so we could figure out which guys ReturnViscountBookshelfDesiree kissed, to see if we sensed chemistry. Turns out, she kissed them all, so it wasn’t so much of an indicator…

Here’s the fun part. Monday night rolls around, and we start texting, and even phone calling as we watch the show. There is moaning and gasping and gleeful bragging about who’s winning (this week, it’s me!). But really? I get to connect with my kids over something silly and fun and competitive. And in between, we talk about their lives and their friends and we stay close. I think that’s worth everything.

So let’s talk about ideas to stay close to our kids! How do you do it? One lucky commenter is going to win the first book of my trilogy, RETURN OF THE VISCOUNT, which came out last year. Not that you have to read the books in order, I swear… 😉

45 thoughts on “A Visit from Gayle Callen

  1. Hey, Gayle! So wonderful to have you here! Love the sound of your new book. And yes, I’d agree that TV is a great way to bond. Dearest Son recently discovered “Lost”; he can’t believe I didn’t like Charlie, and I can’t believe he didn’t like…well, you get the point. Thanks for joining us today!

  2. Hi Gayle! Congrats on the new release-going on the TBR list as we speak (er, write)!
    My mom and I both watch Chopped, and have fun dissecting the baskets and making up our own dastardly combinations. Love your brackets! Not sure we could do that with appetizers made of leftover fried clams, kale, and Cracker Jacks, but may have to give it a try!

  3. Gayle Callen says:

    Good morning, ladies! Thanks so much for chatting with me today. Oh, Kristan, my kids and I were big fans of Lost! Very addictive–and very easy to chat about. I swear, I went into mourning when that show ended. Jesse, so we’re not the only family who bonds over TV shows. 😉

  4. Hi, Gayle! Great to see you here and to learn about your wonderful books!

    The “how to stay connected” topic is dear to my heart, too. I love your idea about the reality show brackets, and I can’t wait to try it. So far, my grown children have remained in town–even bought their own houses here, hurray, hurray!–but everyone is so busy there’s never enough time to play.

    My daughter came up with an awesome idea rather similar to yours. She created a family fitness challenge, complete with spreadsheet, which we all access online. Each month, we tally our miles/hours of exercise, and deduct points for every junk-food indulgence. (Honor system! 😎 ) The household with the most points at the end of the month throws a party for all six of us and gets to choose the entertainment. The losers have to pretend to love Doctor Who, or board games, or Rock Band, or whatever the winners want to do.

    It’s so much fun. And you’re so right that the friendly competition part really gives the whole thing a spark!

    1. Gayle Callen says:

      Wow, the fitness spreadsheet is a GREAT idea! We do a fitness challenge in my husband’s family, before we hit the beach for our biyearly vacation together, but we don’t do spreadsheets! I bow to you.

  5. Hi Gayle! Love your historical romances, and am looking forward to this one! My 19 year old daughter and I bond over trashy reality TV. One of my finest mom moments was overhearing her talking to her friends telling them I was the cool mom who she could hang out with. That,and when her roommate friended me on Facebook and my daughter didn’t know it! 😆

  6. Gayle Callen says:

    Thanks so much, Nancy! Oh, being friended by your daughter’s friends? You really ARE cool! Yes, reality TV seems to be a great bonding medium. 😉

  7. Cindy Kirk Cindy Kirk says:

    Hi Gayle,

    Can you see me waving wildly in welcome?!

    Your idea sounds fabulous. My daughter lives close but I could definitely see the fun in your suggestion. My friend Renee Ryan and I used to text all the time during American Idol. It was like we were watching the show together!

    BTW the new book sounds great! Can’t wait to pick it up…and hopefully see you in Atlanta next month!

    1. Gayle Callen says:

      Hi Cindy! Yes, you’re lucky your kids live close. One of mine is still in college, but who knows where she’ll end up. Oh, yes, American Idol is one of those shows easy to share. And yep, I’ll be in Atlanta! See you there!

  8. Hi Gayle! My kids all live close by (yay!!) and we stay in touch pretty much every day by texting. They’re all into different things, so it’s hard to keep up with everybody’s interests (they don’t do TV much) but there’s dog-walking together, and picnics, family dinners together, and hopefully, grandkids some day . . .

    1. Gayle Callen says:

      Oh, Margo, how wonderful that your kids can get together with you a lot. Yeah, my kids don’t watch a lot of TV, because they have busy social and/or athletic lives, whereas I like to collapse after a day of writing, put my feet up, read the paper, and watch TV. 😉

  9. Laurie G says:

    My 4 children are all spread out in Florida and Wisconsin.

    We stay connected via Facebook and Google Chat.

    1. Gayle Callen says:

      Laurie, I have to admit, Facebook has been great for keeping in touch. It was my kids who first dragged me on to it years ago, saying that’s where they uploaded their pictures, if I wanted to see them. Ha!

  10. Eileen Dandashi says:

    My daughter lives a couple of hours away and in southern California traffic, it’s hard to see each other very often. My son is about 45 minutes away. Both of their lives are super busy and of course we parents don’t want to take their time from what they want to do. I keep in touch with my daughter through a software program on the computer called Skype. It’s the next best thing to being their. We can talk and see each other. She’ll show me what she is working on and I the same. Actually, we’ve grown closer since we talk non-stop for over an hour. It’s like visiting. My son is a little hard to corral, however he’s closer. So it’s phones and pictures. We share with what he’s doing through pictures.

    1. Gayle Callen says:

      Eileen, yes, Skype is wonderful! It’s how we talked to my daughter when she spent two weeks in South Africa. I have plans to Skype with grandchildren someday…

  11. eap says:

    I talk to my parents often.

    1. Gayle Callen says:

      Good for you! I do the same–and my mom hasn’t been the same since she got an iPhone. She loves it!

  12. Connie Fischer says:

    How wonderful that you have such a great relationship with your children. My husband and I always have had fun with our sons. We’ve joked and played with them and now that they are older with kids of their own, we are very close and love to laugh and tease one another. Open lines of communication with your children is so important. Congratulations on your success.

    1. Gayle Callen says:

      Thanks, Connie! Congrats on your own success with your kids!

  13. Sue G. says:

    My kids are only 20, 18 and 16. In the fall, two of them will be in college. The oldest called just about every day for just a few minutes to say hi. It will be interesting with the middle one. I don’t picture her being as sociable. All three are girls so they like to talk…A LOT! I can’t imagine yet when they are all older and gone, but we are such a close family I think we would be in touch.

    1. Gayle Callen says:

      Every kid is different, Sue. Maybe the second one will enjoy texting more! 😉 Any way to connect is a good thing.

  14. bn100 says:

    play online games with them

    1. Gayle Callen says:

      Now that’s something I’ve never tried, and I keep meaning to!

  15. Shana Shana says:

    Gayle, my daughter is 3. If she isn’t attached to my leg then she’s holding my hand. I don’t think we can get any closer! Thanks for stopping by!

    1. Gayle Callen says:

      Ha, Shana! Just give her some time, and soon you’ll be missing her concerts and sporting events, just like I do! Sadly, it goes by too fast…

  16. catslady says:

    So far I’m lucky enough to have my two daughters in the same area and I try to have Sunday dinner but of course depending on everyone’s schedule. My one daughter doesn’t watch TV (she’s an artist and works two jobs and never was that interested). My other daughter and I occasionally find a show we both like but it’s rare and she’s pretty busy too lol. There’s a chance my one daughter may move and not be as close but I’m hoping it’s not too far. We all do text each other though. And I play Words with Friends with them lol.And we’re all on FB.

    1. Gayle Callen says:

      Words with Friends! That’s the game I’ve heard of. I know what you mean about the kids being so busy!

  17. Kathleen OD says:

    I don’t have kids of my own, but I have lots of Nieces and Nephews and they all get together here at my house just before Christmas. Our city has our annual Sparkle in the Park and I have all the kids and their parents over for a pizza party and then go to the park to look at all the beautiful lit up Christmas and Holiday lights. Then it is back to my house for dessert and presents. I have been doing this for about 5yrs.. The kids of all ages enjoy it. And so do I..

    1. Gayle Callen says:

      Kathleen, you are an AWESOME aunt. What a wonderful idea!

  18. Donna D says:

    My children are 42 and 38, so they’ve been out of the house for a number of years. They lived about 1 1/2 hrs away until we made this last move, so now they’re about 2 1/2 hrs away. Daughter keeps a bit closer in touch than son does, but we do (or have) gotten to see them fairly often. Now, granddaughter on the other hand — now 21 and definitely wanting her own space. Her mother misses her terribly.

    Not sure TV is an option for us — but a move seems to be :). Daughter spent almost a week with us before the move; then after came and spent a week. Before she left, Son and his 2 teen-age boys arrived and spent nearly 5 days. And just before he left, Granddaughter came for a couple days. We’ve been here 2 weeks now, and this is only the second day we’ve been by ourselves. Loved it — and Father’s Day got stretched to over a week!

    1. Gayle Callen says:

      Donna, how wonderful that they’re visiting! You sure must have done something right!

  19. Sarah R. says:

    Gayle, Love your books and am anxiously awaiting my birthday in 3 weeks so I can get your newest book.

    As for kids, mine are all young (11, 11, 8 and 3) and still at home. My twins have autism so I am constantly looking for ways to connect with them. Most of the time it is done by being interested in the same things they are. When they were younger I knew way too much about Thomas the train and all the other engines. Now I know way too much about Pokemon and Hot Wheels, but it helps me relate and stay close to them.

    As for my parents, I see my mom (and sometimes my dad) every week and could not survive motherhood without them both. they only lives 10 minutes away and yet we still talk on the phone or online everyday, sometimes more than once.

    1. Gayle Callen says:

      Sarah, you are proof that parents and kids can still stay close. And it sounds like you’re doing a great job paving the way for your kids, too. Don’t we all love it when people show an interest in our favorite things?

  20. Janie Mason says:

    What a great idea! Problem is my only “reality” tv is HGTV. Having a daughter who can make my indie book covers is also a good way for us to stay in touch.

    1. Gayle Callen says:

      Hey, Janie, chatting over book covers is connecting over something you both love! That’s awesome! My friend Maggie Shayne has a daughter who’s a virtual assistant, and boy, they’re closer than ever! And I just heard about a show on HGTV, Love It or List It. Just started watching–love home makeovers!

  21. Michelle Fidler says:

    :mrgreen: No kids, but I think family movies are good for a family to watch. Heck, I like them, especially ones with animals in them.

    1. Gayle Callen says:

      Family movies are also cool! Then sitting around discussing them brings everyone together.

  22. Barbara Elness says:

    Well, I moved from California to Florida to be close to my son. 😀
    I keep up with him on Facebook and Twitter so I usually know what he’s up to, and we text quite a bit.

    1. Gayle Callen says:

      Barbara, I can see moving to be with kids, but my kids are in several different states! 😉

  23. Chelsea B. says:

    Don’t have any kidlets of my own, but I stay close to my mom quite easily– We live right beside each other, on the same road we both grew up on. :mrgreen: But, really, I’ve always had a great relationship with my mom– and my nana. We three are extremely close. I only hope it’s the same way when I have my own kids.

  24. Anita H. says:

    Hi Gayle, what a fun way of watching the Bachelor/Bachelorette! I don’t have kids, but while growing up, my mom always made sure the family ate dinner together every night when possible. That’s something I would definitely do with my kids.

  25. Stefanie D says:

    Hi Gayle, congrats on the release!
    I live close to my mom and we try to meet regularly to do some chopping fe. Monday my mom, my sister and I are going to have one of our shopping trips again. :mrgreen:

  26. Ada says:

    Hi Gayle, I enjoyed reading A Most Scandalous Engagement. I’m excited to see your new release is out. My family likes to attend sporting events together, especially hockey games since we’re huge fans! Thanks for the giveaway 😀

  27. Ann s. says:

    I am very close to my four 20+ year old children, they all still live at home, lol. One will be leaving in a week, she is getting married and have her own home. We will find a way of keeping close although she will ony be living a few miles away.

  28. Gayle —

    Sorry I missed your visit….My kids are older now, too, and it is hard to keep them close….And mine are boys, so I think that’s a challenge too…..

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