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If You Are A Billionaire, Maybe Even A Millionaire, This Won’t Interest You. Everyone Else Read On!

16 Nov

 

Here’s the HEADS UP: there’s this FAB

Contest and Giveaway coming up!

(**squeals of excitement from the reading audience**)

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The giveaway will start around 12:15 a.m. on November 13th

(that’s TODAY y’all)

and will end at 11:59 p.m. on November 27th

That’s right – it will run for TWO ENTIRE weeks.

Just look at this perky poster below outlining the PRIZES!!

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Here’s the Blog’s page to enter THE MOST AWESOME BIG TIME GIVEAWAY.

And those signed print copies? Well, feast your little ol’ eyeballs on this assortment:

 

By now you’re probably sayin’ to yourself, “Self, this can’t be right. This is just too good to be true!”

Hard to believe, I know! But it’s true! (That’s WHY it’s the MOST AWESOME BIG TIME GIVEAWAY) . So get on over there any day between November 13th (TODAY) and November 27th to enter. That’s two weeks of time. Plenty of time even for a BIG TIME procrastinator like me.

G’wan. I’d love to sign a print copy for you! Cheers!

Holy Smackeroos! More FREE stuff!

4 Nov
PRIZES GALORE!

PRIZES GALORE!

Well, here we are in November, nearly at the time when Santa comes, and all of the feasting and gift-giving begins, but I’m deliriously happy to report that you don’t have to wait another whole month for that!

Nosiree!

Here is the opportunity to win all kinds of free stuff – books, Amazon gift cards, as well as surprise gifts during a month long give-away contest. THIS IS UNLIKE ANY OTHER GIVEAWAY YOU’VE SEEN. THERE’S A BUNCH OF NEW PRIZES EVERY THREE DAYS! Yup! Not a typo. EVERY THREE DAYS! That’s well over 100 prizes!

Do you want to win $250 in CASH? ‘Course ya do!!

Enter the Choosy Bookworm Holiday Extravaganza Giveaway #cbw #eNovAaW and you could win fantastic books by some of your favorite authors (awesome authorly friends of mine and –  ahem – also yours truly) and $250 in Cash! Choosy Bookworm has partnered with eNovel Authors at Work to bring you a month long celebration of Giveaways.

You can read the rules and  enter this fab giveaway HERE . There will be a Random Drawing on or about November 30th, 2015 for the final prizes(Two winners will each receive $250 Paypal Cash or Amazon Gift Cards–Winner’s choice, from Choosy Bookworm), but for now have a look at the prize list below:

November 4 – 6: Anne Kennison, Piper Templeton, PC Zick

  • One winner will receive a print copy of DEATH BY ROMANCE by Anne Kennison (US Only)
  • Two winners will each receive an eCopy of DEATH BY ROMANCE by Anne Kennison
  • One winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card (from Anne Kennison)
  • Three winners will each receive print copies of RAIN CLOUDS & WATERFALLS by Piper Templeton (open Internationally)
  • Two winners will each receive an eCopy of RAIN CLOUDS & WATERFALLS by Piper Templeton (gifted from Amazon, open Internationally)
  • One winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card (from Piper Templeton)
  • One winner will receive an eCopy of BEHIND THE ALTAR by PC Zick (gifted from Amazon, open Internationally)
  • One winner will receive an eCopy of BEHIND THE BAR by PC Zick (gifted from Amazon, open Internationally)
  • One winner will receive an eCopy of BEHIND THE CURTAIN by PC Zick (open Internationally)
  • Two winners will each receive AUTOGRAPHED print copies of BEHIND THE CURTAIN by PC Zick (US Only)

ENTER HERE

November 7 – 9: Traci Hall, Amy Vansant, TJ Shortt

  • Five winners will receive an eCopy of MASQUERADE BY THE SEA by Traci Hall (open Internationally)
  • One winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card (from Traci Hall)
  • Two winners will each receive eCopies of both SHIVER COVE, Part 2: Val AND SHIVER COVE, Part 3: Sandi by TJ Shortt
  • Five winners will each receive Kindle versions of PINEAPPLE PORT BOOK II: PINEAPPLE MYSTERY BOX by Amy Vansant

ENTER HERE !

November 10 – 12: Jackie Weger, Nick Tory, Pete Barber

  • Five winners will each receive print editions of NO PERFECT FATE by Jackie Weger (USA Only)
  • One winner will receive (1) complete set of signed Print editions: NO PERFECT SECRET/NO PERFECT DESTINY/NO PERFECT FATE (USA ONLY)
  • One winner will receive a print copy of JOHNNY 12 STEPS (Book 1) by Nick Tory (US only)
  • One winner will receive a print copy of JOHNNY VEGAS (Book 2) by Nick Tory (US only)
  • One winner will receive a print copy of JOHNNY DRIVER (Book 3) by Nick Tory (US only)
  • Three winners will each receive an eCopy of JOHNNY REAL ESTATE by Nick Tory
  • Three winners will each receive print copies of WHEN A WARRIOR COMES HOME by Pete Barber (US only)
  • Five winners will each receive an eCopy of WHEN A WARRIOR COMES HOME by Pete Barber (gifted from Amazon)

You know what to do: ENTER HERE

November 13 – 15: Stacy Juba, Mary Smith, Dianne Greenlay

  • Five winners will each receive an eCopy of SINK OR SWIM by Stacy Juba (winner’s choice of Smashwords edition or Audible edition)
  • Five winners will each receive an eCopy of TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AGO TODAY by Stacy Juba (winner’s choice of Smashwords or Audible edition)
  • One winner will receive a print copy of NO MORE MULBERRIES by Mary Smith (UK only)
  • Four winners will each receive an eCopy of NO MORE MULBERRIES by Mary Smith
  • Two winners will each receive a print copy of DEADLY MISFORTUNE by Dianne Greenlay (US AND CANADA ONLY)
  • Two winner will each receive an eCopy of DEADLY MISFORTUNE by Dianne Greenlay (gifted from Amazon, open Internationally)
  • One winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card (from Dianne Greenlay)

Hey,this batch above includes MY gifts to you: ENTER HERE

November 16 – 18: Aurora Springer, Jinx Schwartz, Dale Furse

  • Two winners will each receive an eCopy of GRAND MASTER’S GAME by Aurora Springer
  • Three winners will each receive an eCopy of any book from the HETTA COFFEY Series by Jinx Schwartz (winner’s choice of title, gifted from Amazon)
  • Three winners will each receive an eCopy of ESCAPE FROM ZANDELL by Dale Furse (Gifted from Amazon, open internationally)
  • One winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card (from Dale Furse)

Like I said (lots and lots of prizes, ain’t there??): ENTER HERE

November 19 – 21: AJ Lape, Julie Frayn, Effrosyni Moschoudi

  • One winner will receive a print copy of GRADE A STUPID by AJ Lape (US Only)
  • Four winners will each receive an eCopy of any book from AJ Lape’s backlist
  • One winner will receive a SWAG Pack (US Only, includes bookmark and refrigerator magnets)
  • Two winners will each receive Audible Downloads of GRADE A STUPID by AJ Lape
  • Four winners will each receive eCopies of both ROMEO IS HOMELESS and GOODY ONE SHOE by Julie Frayn (gifted from Amazon.com)
  • One winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card (from Julie Frayn, gifted from Amazon.com)

You got it!: ENTER HERE

November 22 – 24: EM Kaplan, Roberta Kagan, Phoebe Matthews

  • One winner will receive a print copy of THE BRIDE WORE DEAD by EM Kaplan (US ONLY)
  • Two winners will receive an eCopy of THE BRIDE WORE DEAD by EM Kaplan (gifted from Amazon, open Internationally)
  • One winner will a Swag Pack (includes bookmarks, pens, Josie Tucker bag) from EM Kaplan (US ONLY)
  • Two winners will each receive Audible downloads of THE BRIDE WORE DEAD by EM Kaplan (open Internationally)
  • Three winners will each receive a Kindle copy of ALL MY LOVE, DETRICK by Roberta Kagan (gifted from Amazon)
  • Two winners will each receive paperbacks of ALL MY LOVE, DETRICK by Roberta Kagan (US ONLY)
  • One winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card (from Roberta Kagan

Even more chances: ENTER HERE

November 25 – 27: Laurie Boris, RP Dahlke, Bronwyn Elsmore

  • One winner will receive a print copy of A SUDDEN GUST OF GRAVITY by Laurie Boris (US only, brand-new release!)
  • One winner will receive a print copy of DRAWING BREATH by Laurie Boris (US only)
  • One winner will receive a print copy of DON’T TELL ANYONE by Laurie Boris (US only)
  • Three winners will each receive an Audible downloads of DRAWING BREATH by Laurie Boris
  • Five winners will each receive an eCopy of any backlist book from RP DAHLKE (reader’s choice, gifted from Amazon/Kindle)
  • One winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card (from RP Dahlke)
  • Three winners will each receive an eCopy of EVERY FIVE MINUTES by Bronwyn Elsmore (gifted from Amazon (USA or UK Only)

Aren’t these prizes great?: ENTER HERE

November 28 – 30: Ellie Campbell, Donna Fasano, Melinda Curtis

  • Five winners will each receive a Kindle copy of  MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION by Ellie Campbell (gifted from Amazon, open Internationally)
  • One winner will win a $15/£10 Amazon gift voucher (from Ellie Campbell, US and UK Only)
  • Five winners will each receive Audible downloads of LOOKING FOR LA LA or HOW TO SURVIVE YOUR SISTERS by Ellie Campbell (US/UK Only, gifted through Amazon)
  • One winner will receive a print copy of RECLAIM MY HEART by Donna Fasano (US Only)
  • One winner will receive an eCopy of TAKING LOVE IN STRIDE by Donna Fasano (gifted from Amazon, open Internationally)
  • One winner will receive an eCopy NANNY AND THE PROFESSOR by Donna Fasano (gifted from Amazon, open Internationally)
  • One winner will receive an eCopy of MOUNTAIN LAUREL by Donna Fasano (gifted from Amazon, open Internationally)
  • One winner will receive an Autographed copy of one of Melinda Curtis’s Harmony Valley series of books from Harlequin Heartwarming – winner’s choice (international winners will receive an ecopy)
  • One winner will receive an eCopy of ALWAYS A BRIDESMAID by Melinda Curtis

Here’s yer last durn chance: ENTER HERE

Best of luck to all entrants. And congratulations to all who win. What a spectacular assortment of stories to be enjoyed!

Cheers! – Dianne Greenlay

Reading: good for your mind and soul.

Reading: good for your mind and soul…

July Rafflecopter – The Great Give-Away

6 Jul

 Fussy Rafflecopter double_logos_04BAD3A669288

Ever hear of a “Snake Gun”?

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Ever seen one?

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Me neither.

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But I am fortunate enough to have been accepted into a rather elite group of authors “eNovel Authors at Work

(and by “elite” I mean authors who have proven to have

a very high standard of writing and publishing).

 

How did I earn such an invitation you ask?

? ? ?

 

No idea actually, but I’m eternally grateful to

one awesome lady of the pen and best-selling author, Jackie Weger,

who is both founder of the above mentioned group

AND owner of the legendary Snake Gun.

(Authors can be SUCH a rowdy bunch and sometimes deadly force

needs to be threatened and even enacted to keep us in line…)

 

Anyhoo, I digress.

In less than two years, eNovel Authors at Work has grown to 44 members from all around the world – members who write in all genres and offer fabulous reading choices to readers

(also from all around the world).

 

HOWEVER,  for the month of July,

all you lucky readers are getting daily chances

to win our BOOKS AND GIFT CERTIFICATES

(for FREE, FREE, FREE!!)

(Yup! – ahem … my little ol’ QUINTSPINNER – A Pirate’s Quest

is in the offering…)

This all happens during our promotional partnership

with another awesome site,

The Fussy Librarian.

Fussy librarian_homepageThe Fussy Librarian Rafflecopter

July 2 – 31, 2015

Oh my Gawd!

This is excitin’ stuff!!!

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And it’s only a couple of clicks away to get an entry for yourself for a chance to win books as well as gift cards!

(How easy is that, I ask you??)

 

Just click the icon or URL below for a direct link to the month’s activities.

G’wan – you know you wanna …

Who knows?

Might even be a Snake Gun in the offerin’ …

Fussy Rafflecopter double_logos_04BAD3A669288 

http://www.thefussylibrarian.com/for-readers/giveaways/

 

 

To learn more about eNovel Authors at Work,

please visit our website:

http://enovelauthorsatwork.com/

or follow us on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/eNovelAuthors

 

The 12 Blogs of Christmas – Guest Post by Laurie Boris

18 Dec
The 12 Blogs of Christmas

The 12 Blogs of Christmas

Another day, another wonderful post – this one by the incredibly talented Laurie Boris! ( Laurie has a fantastic sense of humor – you’re gonna’ love this one!)

Laurie Boris

Laurie Boris

Hi, everyone! I’m Laurie Boris, and I’m so excited to be part of the 12 Blogs of Christmas with some terrific authors and organized by my friend, bestselling author Martin Crosbie.

 

I’m a freelance writer and editor living in New York’s lovely Hudson Valley. Also the award-winning author of five novels, including the Trager Family Secrets series, I’ve been writing fiction for over twenty-five years. In my spare time, I like to cook, read, and help other writers as a contributing author and editor for IndiesUnlimited.com.

 

Drawing Breath, my coming-of-age novel about art, love, chronic illness, and human dignity, will be on sale for 99 cents through December. You can check out the rest of my books on my Amazon author page.

 

To: S. Claus
From: Joey the Elf, Vice President and Public Relations Director, North Pole
Re: Christmas 2014 Status Update and Strategic Operation Plan: Confidential
Yo, Santa baby. I know it’s close to go-time and your mental bandwidth must be stretched as thin as the photoshopped spandex in Kim Kardashian’s butt selfie, so I’ll try to keep this brief.

 

First, I feel your pain about Rudolph’s resignation. I’m sure he’ll do the air traffic controllers proud, but promoting Dancer could be a no-go. Seems the headlamp we wanted to attach to his antlers violates some PETA regulation. We’re looking into that. And you didn’t hear this from me, but there’s a rumor that a few elves are planning a sickout. Guess they’re still a little steamed about losing their collective bargaining rights.

 

Read more

The 12 Blogs of Christmas – Today’s Guest Helga Zeiner

18 Dec
The 12 Blogs of Christmas

The 12 Blogs of Christmas

Hello again! Here we are, only one week away from Christmas day, and I’m excited to host another author in our Christmas blog project today. I hope you enjoy the following post by globe-trotting Canadian author Helga Zeiner!

Helga Zeiner photo

Brief bio:

Helga Zeiner is a German born Canadian author. She left her home town Augsburg at age 18 to explore the world. In the following 14 years she has lived and worked in Australia and Asia. Her amazing experiences in those foreign countries are woven into all her thrilling novels.
Since 2004 she has lived with her husband on a country estate in the wilderness of British Columbia, devoting all her time to writing.
Helga Zeiner has published six novels in German and two in English. She is currently writing her third English thriller.

 

My Christmas Mistakes

Yes, I admit it, I make mistakes. Rarely, but still. As well organized as I am, it seems ridiculous that slip-ups in my planning might affect the most glorious time of the year, one that needs careful attention to detail and thoughtful consideration of all people involved. Family and friends deserve the best, right?

When my friend, the wonderful writer Martin Crosbie included me in his 12 Blogs of Christmas, I immediately jumped at the chance to interact with a group of great authors, and looked forward to write my contribution. Then… nothing! Words eluded me. Me! A writer! Everything that is nice and heart-warming about Christmas has already been written, I thought. But what about the Christmases (is that really the correct plural?) which didn’t go according to plan?

Read on…

Links:

http://helgazeiner.com/en/blog/

twitter: @HelgaZeiner

Facebook: Helga Zeiner author

Amazon.com links:

Section 132

Birthdays of a Princess

 

 

The 12 Blogs of Christmas – Today’s Guest Heather Haley

15 Dec

The 12 Blogs of Christmas

Today’s guest post is from Canadian West Coast author, Heather Haley!

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Here’s Heather’s  Bio:

The Siren of Howe Sound, trailblazing poet, author, novelist, musician and media artist Heather Haley pushes boundaries by creatively integrating disciplines, genres and media. Her writing has been published in many journals and anthologies including the Antigonish Review, Geist, sub-TERRAIN, the Vancouver Review, FORCE Field: 77 Women Poets of British Columbia and The Verse Map of Vancouver. Haley was an editor and reviewer for the LA Weekly and publisher of the Edgewise Cafe, one of Canada’s first electronic literary magazines. She is the author of poetry collections Sideways, Three Blocks West of Wonderland, and debut novel, The Town Slut’s Daughter.

 

http://amzn.to/113yB4S

heatherhaley.com

 

A YIN-YANG CHRISTMAS

From Joy to Dread and Back Again

 

‘Tis the season. For melancholy. Haunted by Christmas Past, I get nostalgic for the little girl who believed in Santa. A child’s lament; “Why can’t it be Christmas every day?”, I’d wail at my mother. Because, my parents would rally, no matter how broke we’d been all year, to put up a tree, to fill the house with presents, candy, nuts and booze, to be filled with joy, or at least in a in a good mood, when they weren’t fighting or knocking over the tree.

I have an image burned into my psyche of sitting on the couch next to it, staring at my reflection in an exquisite silver bulb, in a trance of hope and excruciating happiness. That damned tree. Its heady perfume permeated the house, blasting away banality, infusing bliss. Magic. Or madness, I’ve come to realize. The Christmas tree has become for me an emblem of the innocence of childhood, innocence lost, innocence I have finally quit trying to regain.

Light-Dark. Fire-Water. Male-Female. Yin-Yang. Without dread, how can there be joy? Seeking the answer traces my evolution from doe-eyed youngster to jaded diva, but at last I am comfortable with such dualities. I’m not a Daoist but understand that life is an endless cycle, and that opposites are bound together to create a mutual whole.

“Thank God I’m an atheist.” I struggled with that when my son was little, thought that if we were going to observe-after deciding we would honour tradition, albeit our way-that Junior should know about the Christ in Christmas. He learned that Jesus of Nazareth was most likely a rabbi, his teachings were sound and the man must have been a charismatic philosopher, healer or social reformer who many saw as a prophet and the son of God. I’ve also taught my son to be discerning, to consider the source, to put things in relief. In perspective. With healthy skeptiscim comes a certain ambivalence, but he’s a good kid, smart and compassionate.

I refrain from spouting “Bah Humbug,” but don’t put up a tree anymore. Junior, now 20, no longer cares, which is rather sad, considering how much he did care, how excited he’d get, waiting for and believing in Santa. But we share fond memories; one year he, his step-father and I spent Christmas in Hawaii with his godmother and extended family. We met Don Ho, watched a lighted parade in the little town of Waiamea on Christmas Eve, and Junior even went boogie boarding, despite having been afraid of the water.

Peace and goodwill toward men. Why should it be seasonal? I do enjoy the time the holidays afford us, the opportunity to get together with loved ones. When we gather with those who are dear to us. If the fates allow. I like nothing better than to cook for my family, as I do each time I’m lucky enough to have them visit throughout the year. That is joy. Time is the most precious gift of all and peace comes from within.

 

The 12 Blogs of Christmas with Jamie Lee Scott (Day 2)

14 Dec
The 12 Blogs of Christmas

The 12 Blogs of Christmas

Welcome back to my blog. As I explained on my post of Dec. 12th, I am excited to be part of an author Christmas Blog project and I’m delighted to be hosting a post from Jamie Lee Scott. Take it away, Jamie!

Jamie Lee Scott

Jamie Lee Scott is the USA Today Bestselling author of the Gotcha Detective Agency mysteries, and Uncertain police procedural mysteries.

Originally from the Central Coast of California, Jamie was swept off her feet by a dashing Iowa farm boy and moved to the Midwest. After several years of running a restaurant with her husband, she felt the urge to kill people. Rather than going postal, she decided to start writing fiction. No One Knows, Jamie’s short screenplay, was sold in 2012, and made the film festival rounds in 2013-14. No One Knows has been nominated for multiple awards, and won its category at the Bare Bones Film Festival. She lives on a small farm with her family, 2 dogs, 2 cats and 3 horses.
When she’s not reading or writing, she’s riding horses and competing at barrel races.

 

I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas, NOT!

First, I want to thank Martin Crosbie for inviting me to be a part of the 12 Days of Christmas blog gathering for 2015. It’s always nice to meet other authors, and wonderful to be a part of anything Martin is doing. I have to admit, I knew exactly what I wanted to write about!

I grew up in California. When you grow up with no seasons, you always think how cool it’d be to have snow at Christmas. I was one of those people. Even after my first Christmas in the Midwest with my (soon to be) husband’s family, braving wind chills of -20 degrees F, we dressed up in snow suits and went pheasant hunting. I use the term hunting loosely, as I’d never shot anything in my life. We pretty much just walked around in the snow and corn stalks, birds flew out, and I shot in that general direction. It was an excuse to go outside after being cooped up for days.

More …

All of my books can be found here: http://www.jamieleescott.com/books.html

www.jamieleescott.com

www.facebook.com/authorjamie

www.twitter.com/authorjamie

Sign up for my newsletter and be the first to read “Homicide, Life with Nick” novellas for FREE, http://www.jamieleescott.com/newsletter.html

The First Blog of Christmas

14 Dec
RJ Crayton

RJ Crayton

RJ Crayton is the author of the Life First series, a dystopian thriller set in the future, where the government can take your organs if they want, and give them to someone else. Prior to writing Crayton was a journalist and has worked at a variety of publications, including the Kansas City Star, Solid Waste Report and Education Technology News. Presently, Crayton is a monthly contributor to the Indies Unlimited blog and an occasional contributor to the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies blog. The first book in her series, Life First, is on sale for 99 cents until December 31.

FROM RJ: 12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop – Photo Fun I was so pleased when Martin Crosbie invited me to participate in this 12 Days of Christmas blog hop.  Martin was pretty broad about the topic, so I thought I’d talk about having fun with your photos at Christmas. Not just taking a fun photo (as pictured here), but doing fun stuff with your photos. Back in 2008, when this pic was taken, I started doing a holiday card and website for my family. This was before Facebook was ubiquitous and if you wanted to share digital pics with family members you had to email them around, and hope your email didn’t get blocked because the attachment file sizes were too large. Or you had to create your own website.   Having created a website for my wedding, the task seemed easy enough, and I set up a website where I posted a holiday letter wrapping up our year along with lots of photos.

Read More (link: http://wp.me/p3s5mv-Qb)

Book Links:

Amazon Author Page (all books): http://www.amazon.com/RJ-Crayton/e/B00DFQ5F24/

Smashwords Series Page (all books): https://www.smashwords.com/books/byseries/10510

Google Play (all books): https://play.google.com/store/books/author?id=RJ%20Crayton&hl=en

Barnes & Noble (all books): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/rj-crayton

Itunes(all books): https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/rj-crayton/id666058030?mt=11

Current Promotions

Life First is 99 cents until Dec. 31 (price is at all retailers)

 

The 12 Blogs of Christmas

13 Dec
The 12 Blogs of Christmas

The 12 Blogs of Christmas

Hello everyone! This holiday season I’m honored and excited to be one of a group of 12 authors who have come together to offer you up some great reading. This special project, titled “The12 Blogs of Christmas”, has been organized by my friend and best selling author, Martin Crosbie.

Here’s how it works: between now and Christmas, each day we will be hosting and posting a different bio, author picture, and a blog post from one of this group of very talented and hand-picked authors: R.J. Crayton, Jamie Lee Scott, Heather Haley, Jennifer Ellis, Helga Zeiner, Laurie Boris, M,L. Gardner, Roberta Kagan, Sarah Lane, and Wendy McClelland, and Martin Crosbie.

I know! What a fab group, right? So here is my contribution. Thanks for dropping by!

Getting Into The Christmas Spirit …

Bah, Humbug!

To steal that popular line, it is Hot Stuff Hubby’s summation of what he also refers to as “a Hallmark Holiday”. The rest of us call it Christmas.

For anyone who has anything for sale, the Christmas retail season is like bottled oxygen to an astronaut in a Space Station – absolutely necessary in order to survive the rest of the year.

Not a particularly religious man, Hot Stuff nevertheless laments the overshadowing of the original intent of fellowship and gratitude of the season, with that of a glut of retail activity.

Personally, I love the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season. I think I must have been a magpie in a former life because I love all things sparkly – twinkling lights, reflective ornaments, the ropes of flashy tinsel, diamonds (ahem, are you reading this, Hot Stuff?), and such.

I love Christmas music, especially the more traditional carols and hymns perfectly harmonized and performed by choirs – I feel no shame in humming along out loud as they are pumped out of the speakers in the mall stores; I thrive on the smells of Christmas baking – sugar and cinnamon, butter and raisins, warm gingerbread – and can often be seen hanging out around the local bakery counter until the clerks get a little nervous at my continuous presence; and I take personal pride in decorating my home and yard as though it were a marker for NASA to be easily seen from outer space.

But this year is a  little different.

  • My family is grown and gone and have moved away to the farthest points possible. They won’t be home to appreciate my normal decorative efforts.
  • An early Arctic vortex unexpectedly moved across the Canadian prairies where I live and parked itself over top of my house, and as much as I want to have my yard lit up in a display that rivals a summer fireworks display, I am loathe to be out there in -25, tying strands of lights to my trees.
  • And finally, sinking into a twinkle-deprived depression, I didn’t feel the need to haul my pre-lit tree up from the basement, rearrange the furniture to accommodate it, and transform my living spaces into a picture of perfect Yuletide-ness.

I curled up in front of my fireplace with my own Grumpy Cat, Sergio, for the practical warmth of it, rather than to immerse myself in the contentment of the holiday season.

Sergio: Anyone ready for a cuddle with me by the fire?

Sergio: Anyone ready for a cuddle with me by the fire?

 

Christmas was creeping up on me and I had not done any preparation, including getting my own writing ready for a Christmas push. I avoided visiting the mall and the bakery, and my playlist was a jumble of Country rock and techno.

Until the phone call.

Hot Stuff’s side of the family phoned to say they would be coming to stay the entire Christmas WEEK with us for the first time ever. The parents, their two grown children, and … their two Border collies.

Now don’t get me wrong. I love these relatives. They are FUN people with deadly senses of humor and the week with them will be non-stop entertainment with plenty of culinary pleasures, liquid refreshments, and laughter. I was delighted to hear they were coming, although the news that there would be two hyperactive dogs in my house for the entire week left me a little less joyful (but believe me, I am not as distressed about that news as is Grumpy Cat Sergio…).

TWO dogs?? For a WHOLE week?? You gotta be kiddin’ me! I think I’m gonna be sick…

And so the phone call galvanized me into a furious whirlwind of action. I rearranged my furniture like I was a set of triplet interior designers, I relieved my local hardware store of their entire supply of exterior extension cords with which to light up my house and yard, and I brought in a two week supply of food, drink, and baking goods. I even have my Christmas playlist wired so that the music fills my house AND yard. (Gotta love those wireless speakers.)

I may have permanently injured my Achilles tendon hauling that damned tree up from the basement in such a hurry, but no worries. It’s a small price to pay for having rediscovered my Christmas spirit. The busy preparation is done and I have only to sit at my laptop, rear glued to a chair, nostrils filled with the sweet scent of fresh cinnamon sticky buns baking in my oven, and get to work on my next manuscript in my Quintspinner series. Too late for Christmas sales, but maybe for the post-Christmas slump in late January when there is not so much competition? I’m sure I read a post somewhere claiming that there is such a thing.

And I think my Christmas spirit may be infectious. Hot Stuff Hubby has mentioned that the tree does look kinda empty, that maybe we should go shopping, and oh-by-the-way did I know that there are a couple of neighbors who will be spending Christmas alone – do we have room at the table for a few more?

You bet.

I love Christmas. Best wishes to all of you. May you be filled with the feelings of joy and friendship that is Christmas, however you see it. And in case you need a cheap-like-borsch last minute gift for a loved one, well there you go. Hit that link.

Merry Christmas! Ho, Ho, Ho!

Blog – Adventure #2 – Operation Sting! (Jelly Fish Sting, that is…) or Up Close and Personal With Creatures of the Deep

6 Oct

Taking a shortcut and drifting through a Mexican Mangrove-like swamp, the eight of us (yup – same family of mine, that by now you’ve probably come to know reasonably well), were boating over to a neighboring beach, the sun splashing down on our shoulders like warmed suntan oil. It was early December – shoulder season meant no crowds – and it was blissfully perfect.

 

Arriving at our destination, we were delighted to see that, except for a half dozen fishermen who were working their fishnets in the shallow waters, we were the only ones on the beach. There weren’t even any customers lounging on the patio of the tiny traditional Mexican restaurant that sat just back of the soft strip of sand that rimmed this little bay.

My family in Mexico - all 6 kids. (Not a typo - count 'em!)

My family in Mexico – all 6 kids. (Not a typo – count ’em!)

As we strode into the warm waters, the fisherman yelled and greeted us in Spanish, waving their arms in an enthusiastic fashion. Speaking no Spanish, we grinned, waved back and plunged into the waves.

 

 
Within seconds, the entire underside of my body exploded in pain, feeling akin to what I imagine it would be like to have five thousand elastic bands all snapping against my skin at one time. Staggering from the water, I was nearly stampeded and pummeled into the sand by the rush of all other family members in their efforts to clear the water as well. Our combined screeching, however, was topped by the shrieks of my 14 year old daughter. A raised crimson welt slashed down the length of her thigh. Something had stung us all, but only she had any mark to prove it.

 

 
Somewhere in my panicked brain, my EMT training took over. A thought rose to the forefront. A very logical, extremely scientific thought. Something about either vinegar or concentrated urine salts changing the ph or cellular barrier of the ocean dweller’s venom-filled cells to stop or reverse the expulsion of the venom out of the deposited cellular cysts. So I did what any scientist would do.

 

 
“Boys!” I bellowed in my most motherly commando-sounding voice. “Get over here right now and pee on your sister’s leg!”

 

 
Well, I can tell you that I got no co-operation from either side.

 

 

By now the fishermen had hustled over to us and had already enlisted the assistance of the senora, owner of the beachside restaurant. This angel flew to our rescue with a huge bowl of sliced up limes and began to squish vast amounts of lime juice all over the welt. Plenty of it. And it seemed to work. Within minutes, my daughter’s wails had downgraded to a few shuddering sniffles.

 

 
“Why you no listen, Senora?” the puzzled fisherman asked.

 

 
“Listen to what?” I asked, slightly annoyed to being grilled like this while the lime juice application was continuing. This woman was using copious amounts.

 

 
“Medusas peligro!” he replied.

 

 
Peligro. Danger. That much Spanish I knew. But what kind of danger? My confused look brought only a snort from him, and he grabbed a glass from his satchel, strode into the ocean and scooped it full of water.

 

 
“Medusas!” he exclaimed upon returning, and he held the glass up for me to see.

 

 
I squinted and then I gasped.

 

 
Suspended in the water-filled glass were several tiny almost transparent Jellyfish! The “friendly” hand waving and shouts from the fishermen had been words of warning to the crazy Canadians who were blindly romping into the infested waters. We later heard from another bilingual tourist that there had been some kind of overnight underwater storm that had stirred up and brought into the shallow waters, a bloom of – given the size in the glass sample – baby jellyfish. Oh yeah, and one humongous one, as my daughter would have you believe.

 

 
Later that evening, as the sun set over that expanse of mysterious ocean, I made a journal entry of  our day’s adventure, filing it under “Quintspinner Research”.  It was shortly after that,  that I got around to  treating my still-slightly-burning skin with a lime juice/tequila concoction of my own. Taken internally. And plenty of it.

End of a Day in Paradise

A Peaceful End to a Day in Paradise

Now go and see where in Quintspinner – A Pirate’s Quest, part of this little true story was adapted to fit into the plot. I’ll give you a hint. It involves the character, Mr. Lancaster. He was fond of liquid medications taken internally. Believed they did more good that way….

 
For those of you needing to acquire your own copy of the Quintspinner adventure to find the answer, you can net one right here: http://amzn.to/1kLuqi9 .

 
And stay tuned for the next adventure installment: Um …  is that a snake you’re wearing?

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