Personal Bests and a Holiday Giveaway!

I’m celebrating. I’ve just given myself one of the best Christmas presents ever, and the best thing is that it didn’t cost a penny!

You know how people talk about personal bests when referring to some work out or exercise related competition? They ran an 8K or ran a mile or, heck, even an entire marathon faster than they’ve ever run one before? Well, I had a personal best in writing yesterday.

Let me back up, though, for a sec.

I ran into some tough deadlines with my next 3 books coming out in 2011. They’ve increased the word count for Superromance, in case you haven’t heard, back up to 70-75,000 words for 2011. It’s a good thing for the line over all, I think, but I have three Supers coming out next year. That adds up to 30,000 of unexpected words I need to write, and I write very slowly. Normally, only about 1,000 to 1,500 words per day.

Anyhoo … I’m scrambling to meet the deadline for that third book for 2011. I’ve basically shut off my main office computer and have been writing on my laptop out in my four-season porch. Now, I’ll admit, I’m in the honeymoon stage for this book. Beginnings are always the easiest. But I wrote more pages – good, publishable pages – yesterday than I’ve ever written since I started writing more than 20 years ago.

3,877 words! 18, count ‘em, 18 pages!

The best part is that this is on top of having written 18,500 words the previous nine days. I’m a third the way through my new book and I just started it last Monday. The bad news—yes, there’s always bad news – is that I only have to keep this up for 5 more weeks and then I’ll be right as rain.

All the other Riders are chuckling at me, this babe in the woods, because they’ve all been there done that. And then some. But you have to celebrate every milestone in this career. This is a big one for me.

So, yay, I’m giving away a $15 gift cert to Borders today. I get to take off Christmas Eve and Christmas Day without the slightest bit of guilt.

We all have had milestones throughout our lives that we need to celebrate and I want to celebrate with you, not at you. So what personal best are you excited about?

Why do I have pics of Kyle Chandler, the coach from Friday Night Lights, plastered all across this post? I’m so glad you asked.

Well, for one, he’s just darned cute. For two, he’s my new hero. I look at his face and the words flow off my little pinkies. Thank you, Kyle.

Happy Holidays to all our readers!

Love you guys,



About Helen Brenna

Helen Brenna is the RITA award winning author of romances for Harlequin's Superromance line. Three more books in her popular Mirabelle Island series will be release in July, August and September of 2011. For more information, check out her website at
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53 Responses to Personal Bests and a Holiday Giveaway!

  1. WendyMT says:

    I agree … Kyle is cute and heck, you have to take inspiration any way you can! Thank you for sharing your inspiration 😉 …. Enjoy you well deserved days off and Merriest of Christmas wishes to you!!!

  2. Stephanie says:

    I get Christmas Eve off, but am back at work on Christmas… At least Christmas Eve is when my family celebrates, I think we’re up to 13 people for dinner, should be fun!!!

  3. infinitieh says:

    I remember Kyle from “Early Edition”. That was, what? Over ten years ago?

  4. kris says:

    he is really cute. thanks for sharing.

  5. hjoanbr says:

    It will be nice to take 2 days off! Sorry, Stephanie, that you’re back to work on Christmas. But, like you said, at least you have your family time off.

    I think I watched Early Edition only a couple times. Obviously, I missed out!

  6. MJ says:

    Hey, I don’t think 100 words a day is slow! But congratulations on that great output! And I love Kyle 🙂

  7. cindy gerard says:

    Goooooooooooooo Helen!!! You rock, girl! Enjoy your holidays!!

  8. karenk says:

    merry christmas….enjoyed the pictures 🙂

  9. Pam Keener says:

    What I am most proud of is completing my physical requirements to graduate from the Police Academy in 1978. It was the hardest thing I have ever accomplished. Then after 25 years I was able to retire and receive a good pension. Now I have to decide what I want to do when I grow up *wink*
    Love & Hugs,

  10. Michele says:

    Congrats, Helen! You gotta celebrate everything you can. And who wouldn’t let the words flow with those sexy eyes staring at them? I find I do my best stream-of-thought writing when I also have pics of hero/heroine on my desktop. It’s weird, but it’s sort of like you can jump into their head that way. Being visual, I think it helps.

  11. Marilyn says:

    Whoa! That’s some serious word count there. Congrats and keep up the good work.

    My personal best was actually two years ago when I finally stopped talking about writing a book and actually wrote one. I did it for NaNoWriMo and this summer I got a request from Superromance for it. Of course, I’m going to have to add those extra words if by chance they like it.

    I wrote another book for NaNoWriMo this year but it just plain sucks. I got the 50K words done and I guess the achievement in that is I didn’t slit my wrists when I read the junk I’d written. The heroine is a secondary character from the first NaNo book. When I went back and looked over this year’s book I realize I only have the H/h kissing once. And there’s not much romance at all. They just bicker at each other all the time. But I guess maybe it’s hard to write about romance when you’re going through a divorce. And I found out halfway through NaNo this year that the judge had signed the decree.

    Here’s to 2011, though, and better writing! I definitely have my work cut out for me if I want to pitch this new book at conference this summer. Or I may just pitch it in the trash can and start over. LOL!

  12. catslady says:

    Congratulations and well deserved. I’d be happy right now if I could just finish my Christmas shopping. Going out today and hoping for the best lol.

  13. Helen Brenna says:

    Hey MJ – there was a time when 100 words a day was a big deal for me, too. But now I’m doing this full-time, so I’d better be able to crank out some pages when needed! lol

    Thanks Cindy and Karen!

    Pam, that’s a big accomplishment and you should be proud of yourself. Nice to have options now, right?

    Michele – we’re both visual, so you got it. It’s exactly like jumping inside someone else’s head. I don’t watch Friday Night Lights, either, so while I knew who Kyle was I’m not familiar with his character. That might be helping. He’s just a handsome blank slate! lol

  14. Helen Brenna says:

    Marilyn, that is a big accomplishment. Congrats! And congrats on writing 50,000 sucky words, too! lol You can always make it better, and you will. I can’t imagine how hard it has to be to write about romance during a divorce. Maybe you’ll get some new “inspiration” this coming year!

    Thanks Catslady and good luck out there!

  15. Hellion says:

    I’ve loved Kyle Chandler since he was in that TV show called “Homefront”–he was sooooo pretty! *LOL*

    Good luck to your writing goals! I’m sure you’ll be able to do it!!

  16. Hellion says:

    Oh, and I don’t have a personal best right now. *LOL* I’ve only started writing again after basically not writing for about two years. And it’s still pretty slow–about 2-3 pages a day.

    Though my blog group has been blogging for over three years. We’ve been consistent five days a week all that time. 🙂 Today we’ve got a snarky carol parody about the 12 Pains of Writing.

  17. Wow, Helen, such dedication! Such drive! Such determination! Seriously, you are my hero, girl.

  18. dennis morris says:

    love your books cant wait for the next ones

  19. CrystalGB says:

    Merry Christmas Helen. Congrats on your accomplishment. Kyle is a cutie.

  20. Barbara Elness says:

    You’re so very right, Kyle Chandler is a cutie. The personal best that I’m excited about is that after diligently searching for the last six months, I received a wonderful job offer! I’m anticipating it being the best job I’ve ever had. I start my new job on January 3rd, so this has made my Christmas fabulous indeed.

  21. Helen Brenna says:

    He is sooo pretty, isn’t he, Hellion – Fun 12 Pains of Writing post! It’s at: if anyone wants to check it out. I’ve experience several myself!

    Thanks Kathy!

    Hi, Dennis – fun to “see” you here! And thanks for being such a dedicated reader. We writers wouldn’t know what to do without y’all!

  22. Helen Brenna says:

    Thanks Crystal and Merry Christmas to you, as well!

    Yay, Barbara!! What an excellent way to start out your new year!

  23. Merry Xmas to all! I am hoping I can achieve my personal best soon by finally getting some MS submitted to someone, anyone!

  24. Minna says:

    I do quite a bit of swapping stuff, but my personal best still is one of my first swaps when I traded a bunch of plastic beads for a huge amount of yarn and felting material. After all, one woman’s garbage is another woman’s treasure.

  25. Jennifer D. says:


    Congrats on your accomplishment – I think its awesome how pages authors churn out. I have to write papers for grad school and its always take some effort to generate the right amount of pages. As for my personal best, right now, I got 3 A’s out of 3 chances, so I’m pretty stoked about that. Have a Very Merry Christmas.

  26. Lisa B says:

    Ahhhh so he’s sweet inspiration huh? Always a good thing to have!

    Merry Christmas! Enjoy your two days off.

    Lisa B

  27. Jessica C. says:

    Happy Holidays to you and yours!

  28. leannebanks says:

    Congratulations Helen! I’m so impressed! You have done an awesome job!:) Merry Christmas!

  29. I think that each time I write “The End” it’s a personal best…the best in me I have at that moment in time for that book. Congrats on racking up the pages, Helen. Enjoy your free days. You deserve them.

  30. Helen Brenna says:

    Go Karyn! Maybe 2011 is your year!

    Minna, that sounds interesting and gaining in popularity with the Internet. You must be a knitter?

    Woo hoo, Jennifer! You should be stoked! Merry, merry to you, too!

  31. Helen Brenna says:

    Hey Lisa B! Sweet, he is! Wouldn’t surprise me if he becomes every hero for me! lol

    Thanks, Jessica. Happy Holidays to you!

    Thanks Leanne and Christie!

    Good point, Christie. I feel that way about my books, too.

  32. Minna says:

    Yes, I started to knit again after a very long pause. And I’ve swapped some of the things -mostly stuff for Barbie dolls I’ve made from the left over yarn- for something else. Anyone need any of those? *g* But I’m no where near as good at swapping as this guy:
    I’m actually reading his One Red Paperclip book right now. I got it -of course- by swapping.

  33. Jane says:

    Good luck finishing the book. Merry Christmas.

  34. chey says:

    Congrats on your accomplishment!
    I remember Kyle from “Homefront” quite a few years ago.
    Merry Christmas

  35. Edith says:

    Congratulations on being so very productive, especially at this time of year, which is so full of distractions.

    I’m excited that I lost 15 pounds this year. I retired a couple of years ago and was slowly but surely gaining weight. I started bicycling every day and cut orange juice from my diet and in 3 months I lost 15 pounds. And it has stayed off for for 5 months! With contintued biking and I’m sure now that it will stay off.

  36. Kylie Brant says:

    I lurv me some Kyle Chandler. Remember when he was hot bomb guy on Grey’s Anatomy? Smokin’…even before his unfortunate demise, lol.

    Yay for you, Helen! I have seven weeks to basically write a single title since I’m currently on page 50. Maybe Kyle can help *me*!

  37. Lynn in Texas says:

    Congrats, Helen! What an impressive amount of words! This year was my first time doing NaNo, and I finished with over 51K. Whew, that was a lot for me!

    Like Hellion, I’ve had my eye on Kyle since Homefront, too! Loved that show and yep, he sure is a cutie.

    Merry Christmas!

  38. runner10 says:

    I love the pics.
    Hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

  39. LSUReader says:

    My personal best is nearly 30 years of marriage. That’s a really long time—and, trust me, some days are longer than others *g*!

    Re Kyle Chandler…I remember both Homefront and Early Edition. I even remember him in the short-lived lawyer drama Lyon’s Den, where he was—gasp—a bad guy! Congrats, Helen, on meeting your writing goals.

  40. Helen Brenna says:

    Thanks Jane and Chey!

    Edith, congrats on reaching your weight loss goal. Michele keeps telling me how much sugar, natural, but still, is in OJ. It’s just so hard to give it up!

    Kylie, borrow Kyle. You have a much tougher deadline than mine!

  41. Helen Brenna says:

    Way to go Lynn and thanks Runner 10!

    Kyle a bad guy? Say it ain’t so, LSU! lol Congrats on 30 years. Yep, after 23 myself I believe some are longer than others!

  42. Quilt Lady says:

    Oh he is such a cutie! Enjoy your days off and Merry Christmas to all

  43. I could use some of your inspiration. Have roughly five weeks to write 40,000 to 45,000 words on my non-fiction book. I refuse to work on it on weekends, so I automatically get Christmas and New Year’s Day off. Of course, that also means I don’t get any extra days off for the holidays. Thanks for helping me remember that it can be done!

  44. Helen Brenna says:

    Thanks Quilt Lady!

    Hey, Nancy. You could try Kyle for your non-fiction. Hehehe!

  45. Pamk says:

    congrats on the writing and yep he is cute as can be. Please enter me in this contest.
    scrtsbpal at yahoo dot com

  46. Lisa G. says:

    He is so cute! If I had a coach like that when I was in high school I would have went out for every sport possible even wrestling!! Lol!

  47. Margay says:

    I have loved Kyle since first seeing him on the tv series Early Edition. The guy has just gotten better looking with age.

  48. Helen Brenna says:

    Pam, Lisa and Margay, thanks for stopping by and visiting!

    Merry Christmas, all!

  49. Dina says:

    I was able to get this whole week off to celebrate my bday 12/23 and Christmas, it was not without some undue stress but no work stress, didn’t miss it and wish I could retire very early, lol.

  50. RobynL says:

    I’m celebrating 21 yrs. of marriage with hubby; my first marriage did not last that long so this is a personal best for me.


  51. Helen Brenna says:

    Hope you enjoyed your week, Dina!

    Congrats, Robyn! 21 years is an accomplishment!

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