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Turkey-week

Thanksgiving was yesterday. My kids have been off school (and driving me nuts) and we had several traditions to j0422849uphold. The first is that someone *always* gets ill the week of Thanksgiving. Every. Danged. Year. Without fail. This year was the hubby. though he is major denial of how sick he is. He wants me to hold off on the Mcturkey until Sunday. That alone should make him realize he doesn’t feel well (we still maintained our regular schedule for his entire family meal).

The Mcturkey being the second in the list of traditions. One year, hubby’s mom made manicotti for Thanksgiving and the hubby bitched and bitched for a good, solid fours months. You think I am exaggerating, but I am so not! So much he whined that I now make our Mcturkey the week of Thanksgiving to ensure that he has his stupid turkey—though I will say his mom hasn’t repeated “her choice” of what to server for her meal. (Yes, he’s a big ole baby!)

Football is an obvious tradition in a sports household—though I like it less and less every years—but what can you do?

For some reason baking has become a tradition. I like desserts! And I will end up making umpteen different batches of j0422850cookies by the end of the week. Shortbread is the flavor de jour this year—I tend to obsess and then overdo—another tradition I suppose. I will usually go through a couple of bags of flour & sugar and multiple sticks of butter… cookies w/o gobs of butter is just plain wrong.

You’d hope that being thankful would be a tradition that would especially be strong this week, but with teenagers, I am still trying to get them out of the “how does it affect me” mode. It’s a slow process but one I will endure and eventually achieve (or else!)

One tradition I do NOT partake in… Black Friday (or Thursday as it should be called now that *all* the stupid stores are opening early—what a shame!) I think because I worked retail when the hubby was in college, that shopping day has less than zero appeal to me!

What traditions will you observe this week? Which are new and which are family favorites?

I wish you all a very

           HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

So when I signed my Harlequin contract in October, I had no idea how quickly things might move (I anticipated the book to be released in a year or so). Color me shocked and then some when I got notice my book: Baker’s Law would be released in February—2014. Yep in a little over two months.

I haven’t even gotten a cover yet and it’s already up on Amazon (WOOT) as a pre-order. It’s initial release on Feb. 3 is going to be part of a e-book box set  with three other authors (Selena Bowen, Rebecca Avery and Amy Jo Cousins). Of course I’ve already pre-ordered my copy! In May, the four e-book titles will all be individually released.

How exciting is that?!?!

The Harlequin Series Digital First is a brand spanking new line. The first two books will be released in December. It’s pretty exciting—did I already say that? Rolling on the floor laughing

I am working hard—writing every day (often with Amie’s pushing me along, ‘cause I need it!) getting the next book to the finish line. And can I just say, from day one of my “writing career”, selling to Harlequin was number one on my list of goals. I achieved it! And now I can’t wait to make a new list and get rocking on that.

Let me let you in on a secret, I’m a shopoholic. I am. Worse, I am a BIGGER web-shopoholic, but I’m not. Don’t know what I mean, well let me explain… I love online shopping. Groceries aside, I think I do 90% of my shopping online. It’s just so much easier. I actually save money this way, because in a store I can *easily* (and I do mean easily) get talked into more. Every danged time. So the online shopping streamlines my purchases (and I am great at searching for coupons) and makes it easier to get in and get out.

Anyway… back to the web-shopoholic.

I have several stores I frequent—I won’t bore you with which ones, because I’m not here to promote anyone. I (daily) go to these online stores and I will put several things into the cart and on the wish list (I have items on one wish list that are multiple years old). I will move them back and forth and I will talk myself into and out of dozens of things. Often.

BUT… I don’t buy most of them.

I really don’t. I look, I covet and I remove with ease. Without guilt. Sometimes with some prolonged longing, but eh, no harm no foul right?!? My web-shopping isn’t limited to one product market either. I have books galore that I will go through (though truth be told, that’s the highest percentage of what I will actually end up buying). Clothing/shoes being the next most perused. Electronics coming in a close third with food—yes food—a not distant fourth.

It’s a weird habit to have, though I supposed the web version of window shopping is better then the actual shopping—I’d be broke, broke and broke some more if I bought all the things I want online. Sure I should be writing or reading in those online moments, but those are things you need your brain completely committed to and sometimes you can’t for whatever reason. The shopping, you can move away from and come right back to without the jarring interruption. And since I don’t knit anymore, and my sewing machine is under tons of things, the online perusal is my brain-downtime. It’s a way to relax and block out the world (and come right back to if need be) I suppose.

Do you have a weird pastime? A confession you want to admit to? Is there something that takes up a lot of your time that folks might raise an eyebrow at—that you want to share? And the biggest question…do you think I’m weird? Winking smile

I have been writing/creating for as long as I can remember. I don’t know that there’s anything special about that, it’s just the way I am/haven been/will be. It’s me. The hubby is creative too, though in a different medium than I am (he was a thespian as a kid, well, he’s also dabbled at writing a time or two, so…) so my kids are predisposed to in from both sides. Does that mean they are creative? Well, my totally biased opinion is that yes, every last danged one of them are creative as hell. Do they want to be? See it in themselves? Even try to cultivate that creativity? Not at all.

It drives me a little bonkers when they relay something to me with so much dramatic flare that you’re right there in the moment with them (and there are many more examples I could give you, but I won’t bore you with my parental bragging). Cut to when you happen to mention that they should be a writer or whatever. Their reaction is not even consideration, but to shut down completely and say, "I hate writing." Or "I hate reading." It should break my heart, but really it chaps my hide more than anything. Again, totally biased mom here, but my kids might not be able make a real go of it right at this age. But they could at least hone skills that they clearly possess.

Granted, my kids are still young yet. So there is still hope they will turn that corner and decide to try their hand at something. Anything. I just really hate how, right now, they won’t even consider the idea that they could/would do it.

I take it back, I do have one kid who is somewhat pursuing creative endeavors. He’s my rocker kid and just by being in marching band and concert band, he’s at least immersed in music daily.

Do you have someone in your life who you just know has a creative bent but will not for whatever reason work at it? Have you given up trying to get them to take a chance? Or are you standing back and waiting for the right time to give the extra little push they may need?

Do you Bow-wow

j0178656I am a pet person. I have two dogs. We’ve had goldfish (which we won at wedding of all things). If my kids had any say, we’d have cats, horses, hamsters, anything with four legs (no birds though–I have a kid afraid of birds–go figure). Anyhoo, as a per person, I often include them in books. I think having a pet adds depth to a character. It can give them a caring dimension that might note be evident through other actions.

j0403840Pets can also be a foil in stories. It can cause any number of mishaps and excitement. I just like adding them in. I will say though I do think it out, because if you’re going to have your character be on the run, or just on the move for any length of time, the pet ha to be considered. You can’t just mention so-and-so has a dog, then so-and-so is gone off doing this adventure and never goes more to take of said pooch, the reader is going to catch onto that and dislike so-and-so.

Cats, you can leave for longer periods of time, but if you don’t want your house to be icky, then you need to at least get home to clean out that litter box.

j0341562So anyway, back to my question, do you add pets to a book? What makes you decide to include one? Or not? And do you have a preference for a specific pet or do you go with the vibe of the book (you know, like how some people are cat people and some are dog people, etc)? And… what’s the oddest pet that you have or would use? Anything exotic, strange or otherwise not your run-of-the-mill animal?

Have you seen that Capitol One commercial, the one with Alec as a sub… I love the line he makes when he they tell him the subject they’re working on is Spelling and he says, "That’s not a subject, right, Spellcheck that’s a program." Makes me laugh every single time, because it really has become a mindset for some. I don’t know that my kids know how to use a dictionary–okay, sure that probably *know* how to use one, but they just don’t.

Me, I have seven just sitting on my desk. Two on my Kindle, one or two on my phone… I have tons of dictionaries. But you know what, with all the word programs, they have the auto corrects and the apps that will find the correct word that we don’t *have* to know how to spell any more. If you get it in the ballpark, then the program can either infer what word you’re looking for or it will give you several options for what you might be trying to write.

It does speed up time from having to schlep out that ten pound book to wade through it, but I can’t help but wonder if it dumbs us down just a little bit. Okay, I will grant, I suck at math so if there’s an app (or calculator) that can do the work for me I will reach for that before I grab scratch paper and pen and (try to) work it out myself.

Back to spelling… I am just as guilty of not always trying trying to figure out how to spell things, but I do try harder than when I first started writing on a computer. I figure that if I just click the "correct" button, I will spell it incorrectly every time. But if I try and work it out, get it right, I will be less likely to spell it incorrectly again. Seems simple.

Do you think all these apps and online conveniences make us dumber or just streamline the process so we get more done which is a trade off for what we don’t know any more? (now grammar, that’s a whole ‘nother thing!!!)

I recently got a Kindle Fire HD (and of course, a mere week after I bought it, they came out with a brand, spanking new model—isn’t that just always the way it goes… but that’s neither here nor there). I debated over it, similar tablets, and maybe a netbook or the Surface—went over and over everything when trying to make my decision. I went with the Kindle for a variety of reasons (it was on the cheaper end, and thanks to my kid’s Kindle, I have a ton of apps already that I didn’t have to buy—and I really, really wanted one, so there).

Anyhoo, I got the Kindle and already I am having a problem with it. I am having the same problem with my iPhone. What is that, you ask?

My fingers don’t seem to have whatever it takes to work the touch screen. Seriously. I have so much trouble actually "clicking" on certain aspects, my kids are getting annoyed when I have to ask them to do something on my phone. "Mo-om, just do…" I know *what* to do; really, I do. I just can’t make it work right.

It’s so bizarre; it’s not like I’m not trying to do it correctly. And truth be told, it freaks me out a little bit. I mean, whose fingers don’t work on a touch screen (and before you ask, my nails aren’t long—can’t type with the long nails).

I still don’t want to work backwards technology-wise. I like my phone and my Kindle. I bought a keyboard and a stylus for the Kindle so that helps a lot. I have to say, back in March when I bought my new computer I am ever so thankful I didn’t get the touch screen—I was more afraid of something going out on that quicker than a "regular" monitor. Imagine if I couldn’t get it to work, too.

So are you caught up with some or all of the new technology? Is there something that you love but just doesn’t work for/with you? Do you keep at it or did you have to give it up completely? And what are you waiting for—what’s on your technology wish-list? (I still want a Nook tablet [overkill, I know], and I do want a Surface, but prolly won’t get that… and … well… so many, many things)