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  • Writer's picturePatti Callahan Henry

Winter Inspiration

December 22, 2023

Patti Callahan Henry

Dear Friends,


Here we are – it’s winter. The days are shorter, the nights are longer, and we feel a need to turn inward just as the busy holiday season forces us to turn outward to gatherings, decorating, wrapping, and all the bustling about.


I wish you all the goodness of the holiday season, and may you be near those you love and those who love you.


This is a season that holds so much: expectation, joy, missing those we love who aren’t here, fond memories, empty chairs, and of course too much of everything. Just too much.


I’ve never given much mind to “balance” – I’m not sure that’s a real thing and if it is I’ve never had it in the way the word is used. Maybe balance comes in the long game, not the daily.


Lately, my house, which has been under renovation, has been all-consuming. Not much balance in that, but nesting has always been so important to me. My spaces have always spoken about who I am and what I love, even as that has changed through the years.


Now more than ever I need the things that ground me and inspire me.

What am I doing/listening/watching to stay inspired for all that this season holds?

Here are some of my ideas, along with an INCREDIBLE writer’s conference you might consider in ITALY with my dear friends Paula McLain and Christina Baker Kline!




I am reading My Dream of You by Nuala O’Faolain. Somehow, I missed this years ago and I am falling into a dream. It’s spectacular.



I am recording podcasts for Friends and Fiction – and these two will inspire you to go after your own dreams: KINFOLK WITH SEAN DIETRICH and THE MYSTERY GUEST WITH NITA PROSE.



Waking Up Meditation App – I have been trying for years and years to get a decent meditation practice and this app really helps me.



And talk about Inspiring!


Join two of my dear friends, bestselling authors Paula McLain and Christina Baker Kline, for a writing retreat in Chamonix next September! This week-long retreat includes an intensive writing workshop, private coaching, luxurious chalets, a private chef, and deck-side Jacuzzis — all in the heart of the French Alps. Mention FLORA LEA for a $400 discount. Learn more here!

In The News   

Friends & Fiction

At Friends & Fiction, we are streamlining things in the new year. For nearly four years running, we've done a weekly live web show in addition to a weekly podcast, bringing you nearly 200 installments of our web show and more than 150 podcast episodes with more than 400 author guests.

Beginning in January 2024, we will start featuring just one author guest every single week all year long. We will record both video and audio on all of our interviews, sharing fresh video content every Wednesday evening on the F&F Facebook page & YouTube channel, and releasing the audio versions of these interviews on our podcast each Friday.

One Wednesday each month my fellow F&F founders and hosts—Mary Kay Andrews, Kristin Harmel, Kristy Woodson Harvey, and I —will do a LIVE web show featuring our F&F Pick of the Month.

Our January featured author is none other than Kristin Hannah to discuss our January Pick, THE WOMEN. The rest of the January guest lineup is pretty incredible, too. We'll be bringing you interviews with Grady Hendrix, Abbott Kahler, and Jennifer Moorman. Tune in to watch on Wed, Jan 3rd, or listen on Fri, Jan 5th as the four of us gather to open the new year and run through our format changes and reveal the full guest lineup for January - March 2024.

Flora Lea Links


Stay tuned for 2024 Events coming soon!

Spring Paperback Tour

A Christmas Blessing

Let me end this newsletter with my great love for all of you as the year draws to a close.

I find this poem inspiring in all the push and pull of the holidays, so I am bringing it to you as we say goodbye until next year.

And I love this – I’ve read it a few times over the holiday. "A Christmas Blessing" by John O'Donohue

— Patti

"May the Angels in their beauty bless you.

May they turn toward you streams of blessing.

May the Angel of Awakening stir your heart

To come alive to the eternal within you,

To all the invitations that quietly surround you.

May the Angel of Healing turn your wounds

Into sources of refreshment.

May the Angel of the Imagination enable you

To stand on the true thresholds,

At ease with your ambivalence

And drawn in new direction

Through the glow of your contradictions.

May the Angel of Compassion open your eyes

To the unseen suffering around you.

May the Angel of Wildness disturb the places

Where your life is domesticated and safe,

Take you to the territories of true otherness

Where all that is awkward in you

Can fall into its own rhythm.

May the Angel of Eros introduce you

To the beauty of your senses

To celebrate your inheritance

As a temple of the holy spirit.

May the Angel of Justice disturb you

To take the side of the poor and the wronged.

May the Angel of Encouragement confirm you

In worth and self-respect,

That you may live with the dignity

That presides in your soul.

May the Angel of Death arrive only

When your life is complete

And you have brought every given gift

To the threshold where its infinity can shine.

May all the Angels be your sheltering

and joyful guardians."

Warmest of Holidays

& New Year From The Henrys

About Patti Callahan Henry


New York Times Bestselling Author and Podcast Host


Patti Callahan Henry is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Globe and Mail bestselling author of seventeen novels and podcast host. She is the recipient of The Christy Award—A 2019 Winner "Book of the Year”; The Harper Lee Distinguished Writer of the Year for 2020 and the Alabama Library Association Book of the Year for 2019. 

Patti is the co-host and co-creator of the popular weekly online Friends and Fiction live web show and podcast

A full-time author, mother of three, and grandmother of two, she lives in Mountain Brook, Alabama, with her husband, Pat Henry. Her newest novel, The Secret Book of Flora Lea, is set outside Oxford in the hamlet of Binsey and was released on May 2nd, 2023, with Simon & Schuster Atria.

Be sure to follow me on social media and visit my website for the latest updates and announcements!

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