I took an 11:30 p.m. plane to Montevideo, Uruguay, where I’m spending the next couple of months with my husband. No balloons, no hats, no noisemakers, no Kathy Griffin, and that was just fine for me. (The beautiful photo shows the view from my deck at our house in the small town of Las Flores.)

What about you? Did you go the traditional route and watch the ball drop in Times Square, or did you try something new yourself?

The one thing I didn’t skip this January 1 was coming up with a few small goals for the coming year. I find it galvanizing to do that, particularly because the items on my list are always easily attainable and never involve weight loss or obtaining an advanced degree!

One of my 2017 goals was actually inspired by something that happened when I went for a haircut just a couple of days before taking off for Montevideo. My stylist, at a salon on East 86th Street in Manhattan, is great, but one part of the experience there always bugs me. When the assistant shampooing your hair is finished with the job, she routinely asks, “Are you ready for your complementary neck and shoulder massage?”

Heck, yes, of course you’re ready. But then you’re given a massage that never lasts longer than 30 seconds (27 this time)! You’ve barely had time to let your shoulders sag in gleeful anticipation, when it’s over. It’s a totally unsatisfying experience.

As I was traipsing home later, I realized how much I love small pleasures in life. Not pleasures so tiny they barely register, but treats that provide a delicious boost, like the butter cookie some restaurants nestle on the saucer next to your cup of cappuccino.

Lately, I’d become a little stingy with my small pleasures. I love to read before dinner with a cup of tea, but over time I somehow shortened my reading sessions to 10 minutes before scurrying off to the kitchen to face the chicken cutlets. It’s like the reading version of the 27-second head massage.

One of my 2017 goals is to not only add more small pleasures to my life but also make sure they’re truly satisfying. For instance, I plan to take my pre-dinner reading time up to 30 minutes. And I ordered a box of my favorite Ceylon tea to swap out for my everyday brand.

What are some of your small pleasures? I’d love to be inspired by them.

What I’m Reading

I’m just finishing a delicious crime thriller called The Couple Next Door, by Shari Lapena, which I’m sure you’ve heard about. Heart-pounding suspense! And I’m loving Paula McLain’s Circling the Sun, based on the life of famed Kenyan aviator Beryl Markham. Not a thriller, of course, but it takes your breath away nonetheless.

My Bailey Book Is Finally Finished!

It had been years since I’d written a Bailey Weggins mystery. (What can I say? Life got in the way.) But I finally got the seventh one off the ground in early 2016 and wrapped it up just before Christmas. My editor says she loves it, which is music to my ears. It was thrilling for me to be back with my feisty and irreverent sleuth, Bailey, again. I’m now polishing it up for its October 2017 pub date. I’ll share the title soon!

Meanwhile, I’m gearing for my tour to promote my March 21 book, The Secrets You Keep. I’ll post my tour schedule on my Facebook page soon, but right now you can pre-order this psychological thriller about a non-fiction author who discovers her husband is keeping secrets from her—deadly secrets.Now it’s time for that spoil-me reading, my friends.