A Writer’s Holiday in Maine

by | Nov 29, 2017 | Gayle Lynds, The Writer's Life | 5 comments

By Gayle Lynds

We’re ready to welcome winter & the holidays.

Six years ago I left the gentle breezes and tall palms of Southern California for a forest in Maine where I live with my husband and books.  No, I’m not crazy.  I’ll get to that in a moment. 

Some things haven’t changed.  For instance, I write every day.  But another part of my life is dramatically different, and that’s due to the weather.  I mean Real Winter Weather – no more wimpy climate showcasing roses in bloom and beaches rife with short-shorts.  I’m talking about ice so smooth you can see your reflection day after day.  After day.  Snow tires that cost $500 each.  A garage full of snowshoes, skis, and items to slide down glistening white hills at speeds great enough to give you a high.  Or a broken neck.  I love it.

This month we Rogues are writing about favorite holiday gifts.  One of mine has been Maine – to receive, and to give. 

Our annual Christmas tree is at the top of the list.  We have a lot of white pines and hemlocks (great 

Finn, Kari, & John capture a Christmas tree!
Grandkids & me admiring our work.

for poisoning a character) and a scattering of cedars on our 14 acres.  Every year John leads the chopping-down party to select one.  Since the trees are ungroomed, they sprawl, but we have a high ceiling so they can also be tall.  The grandkids love climbing ladders to decorate them.  The only downside is, we’ve had to put screws into the wall so we can tie the trees to them so they don’t keel over.  But, oh, each of the trees has smelled heavenly.

Finn & Sophia on a snowshoeing adventure.

And there are winter sports.  The aforementioned snowshoeing is my personal favorite.  We keep all the accouterment downstairs by the door so we can sit on a bench outside to put on our rigs.  We have a lot of fun counting how many times I fall each season.  Snow is soft though, and I’ve perfected my scrambling-back-up-to-my-feet moves.  John never falls, and he never laughs at me.  He’s an athlete and a kind man.  I just write books in which people die horrible deaths.  I sometimes think about that as I’m snowshoeing.

In those short days and long nights of winter, we’re fortunate to live in a cocoon that seems timeless, reassuringly eternal.  When the winds roar and the snow dances, we have a private showing of nature at her theatrical best.  During the day, we write and work.  Evenings, we eat our dinner beside a roaring fire.  I count myself sane to have joined John in Maine.

Whatever you celebrate this month, may you find much joy in life.

Don’t Miss a Thing!



  1. Jamie Freveletti

    Love the photos. Maine looks gorgeous! Glad you like the snow, though I agree the ice can be treacherous. Happy holidays to you and yours!

  2. Karna Bodman

    The descriptions of your Christmas season certainly create a "warm" and wonderful setting. So glad you enjoy the whole Maine experience — though I have to admit that coming from Chicago, where the wind would blow off Lake Michigan at 10 below zero…I vowed never to be that cold again (thus our main home now is in Naples, FL.) However, I do (kind of) miss the scent of real Christmas trees! Your great post did bring back several memories of good times (especially indoors!) — and since the weather up there probably does force you to spend a good deal of time indoors yourself, that means you are super disciplined about writing your terrific thrillers (while I often have to force myself to ignore the sunshine and hunker down). Now, a very Merry Christmas to you and your family! Stay cozy.

  3. S. Lee Manning

    I love the description of Christmas in Maine. Much, I imagine, as Christmas would be in Vermont – except that we're usually in NJ (this year LA) for Christmas and then travel to Florida for a two month or so sojourn. You make me a little sad that I won't be in Vermont for the season. A wonderful description of the beauty of northern New England which I will miss.

  4. Stephanie Barron

    I am so desperate for snow here in Colorado, where it has been persistently 80 degrees this past week and the holiday spirit is difficult to summon. Thanks for reminding me what real winter looks like!

  5. Barbara

    Your post has finally tipped me over into the holiday spirit. Thank you! And it has made me want to go snowshoeing (one of my favorite activities). If only Colorado would get some snow! (I'm with you, Stephanie, as Colorado heads into another warm weekend.)