Archive for February, 2014

“HAPPY” Blogiversary Celebration with Lisa Kessler

Posted February 27, 2014 By Jennifer

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Happy Anniversary Jennifer!!!

LKfaceBook Bloggers make me happy!
by Lisa Kessler

An unexpected side effect of being a published author is getting the chance to meet such amazing book lovers like Jennifer.

Before I was published, I met Jennifer online. She’d read some of my short stories on my blog, and when MOONLIGHT became a finalist in the RT Book Reviews Writing with the Stars contest, Jennifer jumped on board to help me get votes. She even made me some digital vote buttons. We had a great time promoting, and later when I put together my own short story anthology to self-publish, Jennifer read and edited every tale!

After my Night Series was published I was lucky enough to meet up with Jennifer and have a super fun visit with her in Disney World! Woot!

I think that’s the heart of the book blogging community, friends and connecting. Books are a great way to find like minds, and book bloggers get the word out about authors and new series, the way bookstores used to hand sell titles they liked.

So every time I need a smile, I can tweet or facebook with a book blogger and get a little dose of “happy”…

So thanks Jennifer for all you do!  I’m SO glad we met!

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Awwwwwww… THANK YOU, LISA!!!! I’m so glad we met, too!!! We definitely need to do another Disney trip sometime soon 🙂

So… for a chance to win an  ebook copy of Lisa’s MOONLIGHT… let me know, in the comments, if/how you’ve ever met a favorite author. If not, who would you like to meet??

**Be sure to check out all of the other “HAPPY” posts from guest authors during this week’s blogiversary!!  Click HERE for the Kickoff Post with the full list of participating authors and guest post links. ALL giveaways will be open for the entire week, winners will be chosen and notified on Sunday, March 2nd. Thanks for helping us celebrate!!**

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Thanks for inviting me to take part in this fabulous series, Jennifer!

Hello, everyone! I’m Jeri Smith-Ready, author of YA books such as the Shade series and the upcoming This Side of Salvation, a contemporary novel about a boy whose parents disappear the night they believe the Rapture’s going to happen. (I’m giving away an ARC of this April 1 release with this post!) I’ve also written numerous books for adults.

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The Long Winter Makes Me Happy

No, not THIS long winter, the one we’re going through now, with its blizzards and polar vortices and thundersleet. I’m talking about The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder, the sixth in her Little House on the Prairie series.

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I first encountered these books in second grade, when our teacher would read them to us. Though Mrs. Daub could be cruel at times (on desk cleanout days, she enjoyed dumping the contents of particularly messy desks, like mine, onto the floor in front of everyone), she fed my insatiable appetite for stories. In addition to the Little House novels, we were also treated to readings of books by E.B. White and Marguerite Henry.

Though I generally preferred books with animal narrators instead of human ones, the Little House books still inhabit a special place in my memory. So last week, when we were pummeled by Winter Storm Pax, I decided a reread of The Long Winter was in order. Maybe it would help give me perspective on how bad things could really be.

Of course, I had to live-tweet my reading. Here is a small sampling:

Almanzo has flashing blue eyes and makes awesome buckwheat pancakes. I’m sold. #TheLongWinter

— Jeri Smith-Ready (@jsmithready) February 14, 2014

“[T]he clock cleared its throat before it struck.” One of those lines I, as a writer, am jealous I didn’t think of first. #TheLongWinter

— Jeri Smith-Ready (@jsmithready) February 17, 2014

We haven’t heard Pa mention Sam, the not-so-bright horse, in a long time. Makes me wonder, what was in that Christmas stew? #TheLongWinter

— Jeri Smith-Ready (@jsmithready) February 17, 2014

Crisis lessons from #TheLongWinter: look out for one another, keep your spirits up, have faith–and above all, stop yer bitchin’.

— Jeri Smith-Ready (@jsmithready) February 17, 2014

For the complete live-tweet, check out my Storify of the event.

I also made a list of Pa’s favorite exclamations:

Jerusaleum crickets!
Gee whillikins!
She must be a daisy! (referring to approaching blizzard)
Gosh dang it! (Ma chided him for swearing after he said this.)
Well, I’ll be jiggered. (Technically said by Mr. Boast, not Pa.)

And my all-time favorite: “Gosh all hemlock!”

The Long Winter masterfully portrayed the deprivation, the tedium, and the fear endured by the people of De Smet, South Dakota. Yet it also focused on the hope and faith that carried them through.

They were incredibly resourceful, inventing new ways of keeping themselves warm and fed. For months, Pa and Laura twisted hay into sticks that could be burned for fuel. Ma fabricated a new kind of lantern made out of a button and a handkerchief. The Ingalls would’ve put McGyver to shame!

And they never, ever gave up. Just like this squirrel who tunneled through three-foot drifts of snow on our deck Thursday morning in search of birdseed:

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Okay, maybe the squirrel’s survival skills aren’t as impressive as those of the Ingalls and their neighbors. But it’s a cute picture, gosh dang it!

My question for you: What’s your favorite “seasonal” book? Any season, not just winter! Maybe a book that makes you feel like you’re at the beach in the summer, or walking through crispy leaves in the autumn, or sitting by a window watching a gentle spring rain (or, you know, a blizzard).

Author Bio: Award-winning author Jeri Smith-Ready lives in Maryland with her husband and two cats. Her plans to save the earth were ruined when she realized she was more of a “problem maker” than a problem solver. To stay out of trouble, she keeps her Drama Drive strictly fictional. Her friends and family appreciate that.

When not writing, Jeri she can usually be found—well, thinking about writing, or on Twitter. Like her characters, she loves music, movies, and staying up very, very late.

Other Links for Jeri:
Website     Facebook     GoodReads     Tumblr     Instagram

**Be sure to check out all of the other “HAPPY” posts from guest authors during this week’s blogiversary!!  Click HERE for the Kickoff Post with the full list of participating authors and guest post links. ALL giveaways will be open for the entire week, winners will be chosen and notified on Sunday, March 2nd. Thanks for helping us celebrate!!**

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“HAPPY” Blogiversary Celebration with Kerry Schafer

Posted February 27, 2014 By Jennifer

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kerryschaferCoffee Makes Me Happy
by Kerry Schafer

There are an abundance of things that make me happy, among them warm fires, trees, books, writing, my Viking, my cat, my dog – it’s so hard to pick just one.

If I must, then I choose coffee.

Coffee is the very first thing I look forward to in the morning. Truth is, without my morning coffee I’m probably not feeling the love for all of those other wonderful things.

We’re not talking just any old coffee, though. No Folgers here, and I’m not interested in a Keurig no matter what you tell me about the convenience. Not even an electric coffee pot for me, thank you. No, the making of the coffee is a ritual, and just as important as the coffee itself. The rattle of the grinder, the rich aroma of freshly ground beans, the taste of that first scalding mouthful and the way it wakes up my brain.

Now I’ve gone and given myself a craving. It’s almost bedtime as I write this and I must try to resist the temptation. Tomorrow morning, I tell myself. Tomorrow morning it will be my motivation to climb out of a warm bed into a cold house. And, as always, that first cup will drive away the cold and tired and make me happy.coffeepot

We’ll start with the old blue kettle, heated on the stove. I know an electric kettle would be faster, but I swear to you it tastes better this way. One cool thing is that when this kettle boils it whistles, sort of like a train. It’s a cheerful happy noise, and it means coffee is just moments away.

While we’re waiting for the water to boil we grind the beans. The grinder is as old as the kettle, and the lever has broken off, but it can be pressed back on long enough to spin the blades and grind the beans. Smell that? That, my friend, is the aroma of fresh ground, high quality, organic, fresh roasted Crandall’s Dawn Blend coffee.

Next step, measuring. I have a favorite spoon for this, although I will substitute another at need. But this is the spoon that makes me happiest – I love the shape of it, it’s perfect weight, and the way it feels in my hand. Three heaping spoonfuls go into the filter to make the perfect brew in my favorite stoneware mug.

When the kettle boils it’s time to pour water slowly through the grounds until the cup is full. Add the perfect splash of half and half and it’s ready to make my day.

wakeworldsmall.jpegWhat about you? I’ll give away a copy of  Wakeworld and a bag of my favorite coffee beans to one commenter below… Do you have a ritual for your coffee or tea? Or maybe a favorite mug?

 

**Be sure to check out all of the other “HAPPY” posts from guest authors during this week’s blogiversary!!  Click HERE for the Kickoff Post with the full list of participating authors and guest post links. ALL giveaways will be open for the entire week, winners will be chosen and notified on Sunday, March 2nd. Thanks for helping us celebrate!!**

 

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“HAPPY” Blogiversary Celebration with Amy Lane

Posted February 26, 2014 By Jennifer

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27_IMG_8787My Happy Thing
by Amy Lane

Okay—so I’m sitting here, trying to blog, and my phone makes that noise.  Oh, sure, it says, “Silver” under settings, but we all know what it sounds like.  It’s the opening notes to Law & Order, except up a couple of octaves.  So, you know, instead of “BONK-BONK” it goes “plink-plink!”  all happy and optimistic like.

Oh damn.

I have to text somebody.

Now it could be my daughter, it could be my bestest, and it could be another close friend—but there is no denying it, that “plink-plink” has just indicated that I have to talk to somebody.

“Plink-plink!”

And on the one hand, there goes a perfectly good writing streak—I was just going and going and going—but on the other?  My legs are cramped, my ankles are swollen, and I need to drink water instead of just reaching for my empty cup and thinking, “Oh drat!”

I stand up and wander around, shaking blood to places my body had forgotten and answer the text.

And suddenly the quiet in my house (Pandora notwithstanding) is broken.  I have a beloved daughter or a good friend in my head, telling me happy things.

So this blog is about happy things.

Now, when I first started writing, I wasn’t so much of a technophobe as I was a technoprude.  “Oh, that piece of technology is very exciting and very sexy, and it does seem to arouse my husband, but really, it’s for those people who get into that sort of thing.  Not really for me.”  (Imagine puckered upper lip and disdain.  Not for me.  Noooo.  Technologically chaste.)

Now, my Mate, who was aroused by all that bright shiny technology was the one who said, “I think you need a word processor that is just yours.  Just yours.  For you to write on.”  So really, that was the first body part of the technological monster that we have spawned since.  We can blame Mate. A little.

Because the laptop became my friend, right up until my youngest (then eighteen months old) watered it and sat on it to help it grow, but the next laptop, an Apple, was my baby, until the battery went dead and it wouldn’t recharge.  This laptop is my 3rd (and we just got a convertible tablet for business trips) and no, I am not just using them for my writing anymore, am I?

I’m not using flip phone with the LED readout anymore either.

No, that was another body part in the monster.  Mate brought me to the store and made me pick out a new phone.  A smart phone.  In fact, a phone that was way way smarter than mine—and that was just version 1.0.  (We just got version 3.0.  I wubs it.  It is a happy thing all in its own.)

So here I am, surrounded by technology that is way smarter than I am, and I have just realized why I wubs it all so very much.

It all comes down to the plink-plink. It’s all my people on the other end of that glowing box—my readers, my co-workers, and my friends.  I love them all, and the glowing boxes put them right in my crappy kitchen, without the fears of tetanus or salmonella.  (I’m kidding… no diseases can be traced back to my kitchen.  But we don’t eat in here either.)  The people who get me—and the people I’m dying to talk to—can hit me up with a plink-plink, and there I am!  With my daughter, whom I miss, or my bestest, who lives across the country, or even my husband, who is bored at work and wishing he was here, in our house, to talk.

So there are a lot of negatives to technology—and boy is it fun to exploit those in our craft!  There are a lot of potential dehumanizing things, and explosive arguments and difficulties in recycling and a zillion problems for all of the solutions that technology engenders.

But right now, there’s my youngest daughter, Squish, sitting on the couch and having a text conversation with her older sister whom she misses dearly.  Her older sister has seen her grow up over the past two years in every texted photo, and the fact that they love each other is in every tapped letter.  What Squish sees as a passport to adulthood in the magic glowing box, I see as a way to keep her childhood, both in pictures and in being her mom forever and ever and ever.

Our family echoes through the quiet house with every plink-plink.

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So… what kind of “plink-plink” makes your heart go “pitter-patter”? What technological wonder is your link to the outside world? Or are you a “get out there and go” kinda person, who is just as happy without the “plink-plinks”? Comment below and one person will win an ebook of Amy’s lighthearted m/m romance,  SHINY!

**Be sure to check out all of the other “HAPPY” posts from guest authors during this week’s blogiversary!!  Click HERE for the Kickoff Post with the full list of participating authors and guest post links. ALL giveaways will be open for the entire week, winners will be chosen and notified on Sunday, March 2nd. Thanks for helping us celebrate!!**

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“HAPPY” Blogiversary Celebration with Carolyn Crane

Posted February 26, 2014 By Jennifer

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cathatsmall copyKicking snow clumps off the bottom of our car makes me happy.
by Carolyn Crane

It sounds stupid, I know, but it really does make me happy to kick those suckers off! Especially this time of year. Whack!

For those of you who don’t know what they are, I have provided a helpful diagram! The car underside, especially around the wheels, just gets full of them. Sometimes they hang on there for months.

snowboots

It’s not easy to get them off, either—they are like barnacles, all iced on there and clinging. You really have to go at them sometimes, but it is incredibly satisfying when one finally falls. All gray and icy and evil. It feels like freeing the car. Sometimes I smash and stomp them. Not to sound psycho. But I do!!

The other day I was looking out our window and I saw a woman kicking snow clumps off of a car parked on the street, and I assumed it was her car, but then she went to the next car and started kicking them off of that one. I have never kicked the snow clumps off of other people’s cars. I was super impressed! Though, it’s kind of ballsy, like trimming a shrub that’s not your own. So, I haven’t yet done that, but don’t think I’m not tempted!

Carolyn Crane writes romantic suspense, urban fantasy, and other tales of adventure and romance; she also writes erotic romance about bank robbers as Annika Martin. She lives in the American Midwest with her husband and two cats. During rare moments when she’s not at her computer, she can be found reading in bed, running, or helping animals.

Giveaway!

OffTheEdge-CarolynCrane-500x750I have a double prize: Your choice of any of my backlist books (ebook) and my favorite candy bar that I actually send to you in the mail! (international okay!)

How to enter:

Tell me in the comments: would you kick snow clumps off of somebody else’s car? One random commenter will win.

 

**Be sure to check out all of the other “HAPPY” posts from guest authors during this week’s blogiversary!!  Click HERE for the Kickoff Post with the full list of participating authors and guest post links. ALL giveaways will be open for the entire week, winners will be chosen and notified on Sunday, March 2nd. Thanks for helping us celebrate!!**

 

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