Monday, December 31, 2012

A Low-key New Year's Eve by Tamara Hogan


"Cheers" by Rosen Georgiev - Freedigitalphotos.net

I've never really been one to whoop it up at a big, noisy party on New Year's Eve. My favorite plan is having no plan at all - just staying home where it's quiet and cozy warm, and leaving the icy roads and inclement weather to the younger and fiestier set. 

Tonight, we'll cook dinner for two, open a nice bottle of pinot noir, cuddle on the couch with the cats, and hit up the Netflix queue for a movie marathon!

This year's double feature is "The Avengers" and "The Dark Knight Rises."  Yeah, for someone who writes romance, there aren't a lot of traditional rom-coms in my queue - okay, ZERO rom-coms in my queue - but let's just say that the "hot dudes wearing leather" group is very well represented. Depending on what time the movies end and how tired we are when that happens, we might turn to CNN and watch Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin count down the Times Square ball drop.

Or we might not. ;-)

How do you plan to ring out the old and ring in the new? And whatever your plans - whether you're staying in or going out - please, PLEASE celebrate safely.


Award-winning author Tamara Hogan loathes cold and snow, but nonetheless lives in Minnesota with her partner Mark and two naughty cats. When she’s not telecommuting to Silicon Valley, she enjoys writing edgy urban fantasy romance with a sci-fi twist. A feral reader with an unapologetic television addiction, Tammy is forever on the lookout for the perfect black boots. Visit her on the web at www.tamarahogan.com.

CHASE ME Buy Links: (Amz | BN | Sourcebooks | Powell’s | BAM | Sony |  Kobo | iBooks)

Sunday, December 30, 2012

IN PRAISE OF DAYS BETWEEN by Pamela Sherwood


There’s a joke that’s been going around my family for several years now: “December 25 is over. At last I can enjoy Christmas!”

Because as much as we love it, the days and weeks leading up to Christmas can be a stress-fest. Between Christmas shopping, gift-wrapping, tree-trimming, house-cleaning, cooking, entertaining, and carrying on with your regular job, it’s all too easy to be overwhelmed. And to start wondering whether you should have booked yourself on a holiday cruise, rather than sticking around for Yuletide madness.



 "For dinner we had turkey and blazing pudding, and after dinner, the Uncles sat in front of the fire, loosened all buttons, put their large moist hands over their watch chains, groaned a little, and slept."  
Dylan Thomas, A Child's Christmas in Wales
Illustration by Fritz Eichenberg

But once the gifts have been given, the feast consumed, and the guests entertained, the pressure is suddenly, miraculously off. And a more leisurely observance of Christmas can begin, in which you can just enjoy the season and the company of friends and loved ones.

The period between Christmas and New Year’s has no official name, but it’s been called many things. Christians have referred to it as Christmas week, or the Twelve Holy Days (the ones commemorated in the famous carol, which last until January 6--the Feast of the Epiphany). In Norway, the time is called “Romjul” or “Space Christmas.” Some tongue-in-cheek suggestions from bloggers include “Slackmas” and “Restivus.” But overall, there seems to be a general consensus that these are days of recovery--and relative peace. 



 Poster designed by Xavier Romero-Frias

Some find this period anticlimactic and a bit dull after the excitement of Christmas. But you develop a whole new appreciation for those post-Christmas days once you have to surrender them to some other obligation. Long ago, in another life, I would spend those days at a major professional conference, usually in a city deep in the icy grip of winter. Tensions ran high, especially among anxious job seekers, and most of the attendees seemed to want to be just about anywhere else. And I must confess, I was one of them.

These days I spend “Space Christmas” quietly at home, catching up on my reading--both for pleasure and research; going to a few movies; trying out new recipes; spending time with my family; exploring ideas, hatching plots, and falling in love with writing all over again.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

And so to everyone, a happy Christmas week/Romjul/Restivus, and best wishes for a fantastic New Year!

A Howl for a Highlander Blog Tour Coming Up!

Have you any New Year's Goals???

I wrote half of the blogs for the guest blog tour for A Howl for a Highlander before Christmas as the tour is earlier than usual!!! Instead of starting Feb 1 for a Feb 1 release, it's beginning Jan 21!Which means my first New Year's Goal is to write the remaining blogs!!! And finish writing Silence of the Wolf,  start writing the next Highland wolf story and finish it, and the third jaguar story. I've also got to write my next Highland Medieval story as sales are phenomenal, and the next YA fantasy in The Dark Fae series! And I need to pitch another couple or 3 stories to Sourcebooks.

And that's just the beginning.

I'm going to my first RomCon, AAD and I'll be attending RWA Nationals....

Personally, I need to continue cleaning out stuff I don't need or use....I feel so great when I do that...but doing that is hard to do sometimes!!!! I have boxes of stuff in my barn. How much do you want to bet that if I just took them to Goodwill, I'd never miss them? I haven't opened them in 3 years! So it's time to clean out and I've really been working on it. It's almost like losing pounds, which is something else I need to do!!



A Howl for the Highlander
(Book 10)


Sourcebooks

Feb 2013

Duncan MacNeill is a Highlander at heart with a mission—find gray wolf and former stockbroker, Silverman who has stolen the family fortune and is purported to be living in the Grand Cayman Islands. As a Highland wolf, Duncan rarely leaves his native homeland and taking a trip to an island paradise doesn’t appeal. But keeping the MacNeill’s ancestral castle depends on making Silverman pay. What Duncan doesn’t plan for is the American botanist who distracts him from his mission and makes him realize what an island paradise really means.Shelley Campbell is teaching botany at a Florida college, when she receives an email from an old girlfriend, who’s renting a villa on the island and wants her to come to stay with her. Figuring she can study the old growth forest while she's there, and lecture about it when she returns home, she has no idea the secrets she might uncover. When her girlfriend’s a no-show, a Highlander turns up instead, and she has a choice—share the villa, or send him away and pay full price for the accommodations—which on her teacher’s salary is stretching things pretty thin. Since he promises to be no trouble at all, she lets him stay. And that’s when the trouble really begins!Amazon

DebraTaylor, The Night Owl Reviews
Score: 5.00 / 5 - Reviewer Top Pick
"Another fun and sexy read from Terry Spear! The Queen of shifter romance has done it again. Whether it be wolf or jaguar, this author is one of the best in her genre. Howl for a Highlander is the sizzling love story of sexy Scottish werewolf, Duncan MacNeill and his American she-wolf, Shelley Campbell.
If you're in the mood for a fun shifter romance then I recommend trying this awesome story. I guarantee you won't regret it and that, like me, you'll be hooked for life."

Here is the schedule for A Countdown to Howl

1/21 Vampire Romance Books

1/22 Night Owl Reviews

1/23 Sia McKye’s Thoughts Over Coffee

1/24 Literal Addiction

1/25 Under the Covers

1/28 Book Lovin’ Mamas

1/29 Anna’s Book Blog

1/30 Urban Girl Reader

2/1  History Undressed

2/8 Book Lovers, Inc

2/13 Fresh Fiction

2/13 Star Crossed Romance

So are you ready for the New Years? And have lots of new stuff you want to do???

Terry
"Giving new meaning to the term alpha male where fantasy IS reality!"
www.terryspear.com 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

SHARING A BIT OF MY CHRISTMAS SPARKLE, By Kathryne Kennedy

If you've read my books, you know I love sparkle. Lots of sparkle. Maybe because I always envision magic and romance accompanied by twinkling lights and fireworks. And Christmas gives me the perfect excuse to indulge! Especially this year. I can't remember a year when the shelves have been loaded with so many sparkly ornaments and decorations. So I thought I'd share a bit of my passion for Christmas sparkly decorations here at the Casa Blog today.

When you come to my home, you're greeted by a beautiful white buck with twinkly lights.

Just past the front door, I've decorated the railing with holly garland...and then added some glittering butterflies and birds. (Am I the only one who thinks there can never be TOO much sparkle?)
And then you'll see my sparkle creation of a golden buck, and a new favorite decoration this year, a pure white glittering buck.


And now we have my sparkle gone wild. I got the little round basket with the angel in it as a gift a few years ago, and every year I manage to cram in another sparkly ornament, and now I have a centerpiece that rocks my world. :} The candle plate I made as well, starting with a candle and then adding a few other pieces here and there. My darling husband took a plain silver plate and painted it with a glorious cover of gold sparkles (he indulges my obsession--can't ask for a better husband!) I'm sure I'll keep adding to it until it can hold no more, so it will be fascinating to find out what it will look like a few years from now!


And now the tree. I used to have a huge tree, that took hours to set up, and it became such a chore I switched to a narrow tree that takes five minutes to put together, and bought large ornaments so I had to put less on. But the sparkles kept calling, and I'll find another amazing ornament that I just can't resist...I hope the poor little tree will hold up under the eventual weight. (And yes, the smudge is my finger...I'm not the best photographer in the world. :)










I took these pictures in the evening, so he might be a little hard to make out, but perched on the very top of my tree is a darling peacock my sister bought for me this year. He has a glorious tail studded with gemstones.

Even my gifts did not escape the sparkly this year. The three glittering boxes hold Amazon gift cards.





Well, that was fun! Thank you for letting me share a bit of my sparkle with you all this year. Let me know if you share my passion for glitter, then maybe I won't feel too obsessive about it. :} I hope you had a magical Christmas, had lots of sparkle yourselves, and that all of your dreams come true in the new year!

As Always,
My Magical Best,
Kathryne


Friday, December 28, 2012

Let it snow?

By Cheryl Brooks

Apparently even Mother Nature follows Captain Picard's orders.




I wrote the original version of this post at about 9PM on Christmas Day, mainly because I wasn't sure we'd have power or Internet much longer. Euclid hit us pretty hard with lots of wind and snow.

This picture was taken at 11:00 on Wednesday morning. We've probably gotten this much snow before, but it's been a while. I had to get my DH to help me close the back door to the barn because the snow was blowing in on my hay--and wet hay is a bad thing!

I hadn't closed that door in years--I had to dig it out at the bottom and my DH put it back on the overhead track. Clearly, I should've done that sooner, but snow usually doesn't blow in from the east!

When did they start naming winter storms anyway? Is it because the meteorologists know they're going to get worse due to global warming? The last storm that rolled through here looked like a hurricane, and so did this one. Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

If all goes well, I'll be going to see The Hobbit with my family on the evening this post goes live. My neighbor promised to plow our driveway when the snow stops, but we may decide to stay home anyway, in which case (unless we lose power) I'll be here in front of my computer, doing what I always do, even though it is my birthday.

That's right. Today is my 57th birthday, and in a little over a month, Wildcat, the ninth book in my Cat Star Chronicles series will be released--sort of a belated birthday present.

So far, I've gotten two early birthday presents in the form of reviews. This one is from RT Book Reviews:  

WILDCAT
by Cheryl Brooks
Genre: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Futuristic
Sensuality: SCORCHER
RT Rating: 4 Stars
The ninth in Brooks’ Cat Star Chronicles is pure alien/human romance. The slow burn between horse breeder Sara and former brothel star Jerden is delicious, and when they finally realize they may need each other to heal, the consummation of their relationship is scorching hot. An added delight is the mystery of who wants to harm Sara’s prize stallion. All combined, they add up to a book that keeps you turning pages in a series that’s far from going stale.
Sara Shield settles on the frontier planet of Terra Minor to escape her past and start her horse-breeding ranch. Meeting Zetithian Jerden Morokovitz is not in her plans, and yet here he is. But Jerden is broken: The murder of his former lover left him nearly insane from grief. When he finds himself inexplicably attracted to Sara, he vows to heal her like she has healed him. Unfortunately, more than one person would like to see them kept apart. (SOURCEBOOKS, Feb., 384 pp., $7.99)
Reviewed By: Cyndy Aleo

And this one from Booklist:

Wildcat.
Brooks, Cheryl (Author)
Feb 2013. 384 p. Sourcebooks/Casablanca, paperback, $7.99. (9781402251719).
Sara Shield, a horse breeder on Terra Minor, has no use for men, even though Zetithian males have an impressive array of characteristics making them the most coveted sexual partners in the galaxy. When the expensive stud she had shipped in from Earth disappears, rumors fly that her neighbor Jerden, one of the few survivors of a genocide, has been seen riding a magnificent stallion. Terra Minor was designated the new Zetithian homeland following the destruction of their home planet. Jerden, who attracts animals of all kinds, tries to return Danuban, but the horse has his own ideas. When Jerden falls ill, Danuban manages to bring him to Sara’s house. Sara and Jerden, both being stalked by suitors, decide to pretend to be dating. Brooks gives Jerden and Sara over two hundred pages to become real, believable, and important to the reader before their relationship evolves into a highly erotic sexual one. Although this is the ninth book in the Cat Star Chronicles, it stands firmly on its own merits.
— Diana Tixier Herald

Overall, I'm pleased with the reviews and the book, but you know how it is with us writers. By the time a book is released, we're working on something else--and have been for quite a while. I'm currently at 85,000 words on Rascal, book 10 of the series, and the events in Wildcat are past history. Now I have to shift gears and go back to Wildcat and the earlier books, too. This is the schedule for the virtual tour during the month of February. As you can see, it involves all nine books!


Cheryl Brooks, Wildcat – The “9 Lives” Book Blogger Hop
Date
Blog
Notes
2/1
SLAVE: Guest Blog—Top 10 Reasons why Zetithians are the ultimate romance heroes (use the 9 books for examples, with a bonus to make it 10)
Weekend


2/4
WARRIOR: Interview – will be a with your characters from Warrior, to find out what they’ve been up to since readers met them.  Questions to come soon
2/5
Open

2/6
Open

2/7
My Book Addiction and More http://www.mybookaddictionandmore.com/
ROGUE: Share your favorite scene from Rogue, and explain why it’s your favorite. Also, include a very short teaser excerpt from Wildcat!
2/8
Open

Weekend


2/11
Open

2/12
OUTCAST: Guest Blog – What was your inspiration for the world of The Cat Star Chronicles (focus doesn’t have to be on Outcast)?
2/13
FUGITIVE: Guest Blog – Topic of Your Choice
2/14
Open

2/15
Open

Weekend


2/18
Open

2/19
HERO: CB set up!
2/20
Open

2/21
Sizzling Hot Book Reviews http://www.sizzlinghotbooks.net/
VIRGIN: Author Interview. Questions to come soon
2/22
Open

Weekend


2/25
Long and Short Reviews http://lasrguest.blogspot.com/
STUD: Share your favorite scene from Stud, and explain why it’s your favorite. Also, include a very short teaser excerpt from Wildcat!
2/26


2/27
WILDCAT: Author Interview. Questions to come soon
2/28
Cheryl Brooks Erotic Blog Spot http://cherylbrookserotic.blogspot.com/
FINAL DATE: Big celebration, we’ll give away a bunch of books!!

Unfortunately, I don't have the first clue as to what I'll write for any of those posts. I'm leaving that job for the month of January. Since the manuscript for book 10 is due on March 1st, I was hoping to finish Rascal by New Year's Eve. I still might get it done. 

As long as we have power.  *:D big grin

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Goodbye 2012, Hello Bright Shiny New Year

Hello all! I am very happy to be here today, a part of this wonderful group of writers.  I'm new to Casablanca and before I start will give you all a quick intro.

In the writing world I'm known as Juliana Stone.  (you can find out more about me HERE) I love to read, write, am a huge fan of music and on occasion I sneak out and sing in a classic rock band with my husband on guitar.  I love baseball, hockey, and golf, have the best girlfriends in the world and a dog and cat who rock!  That's the quick look!

Now, on to my post.  It's nearing the back end of 2012 and at this time of the year, I usually look back and contemplate all the things I accomplished and the ones I didn't exactly get done.  For me personally, 2012 was a year of transition.  A year when I made some big changes that (at the time) I wasn't 100 percent sure would work out, but sometimes you gotta go with your gut and just do it!

Some of the things that rocked my 2012:

-I parted ways with my first ever agent.  The lady who sold the first book I ever wrote and the one who, in a way, is responsible for my writing career. I say this because at the time I wasn't exactly sure I could be a writer but she saw something in my paranormal manuscript and so did an editor!  Parting ways with her was scary but for me something I needed to do.

-the day job thing was getting harder.  I've done things differently than a lot of writers.  When I sold my first book in 2008 I was a stay at home mom.  I went back to work after, a part time gig, which grew to basically full time. As the years have progressed and my writing became more important to me, I found I was starting to spread myself thin. So, in late November I made the decision to quit and become a full time writer and I can`t even tell you how amazing that feels!

-I decided to test the waters of self pubbing and in October I released OFFSIDE, book 1 in my Barker Triplets series.  OFFSIDE is a fun book, a hockey book, but one that features a female hot shot player!  I can tell you the book was inspired by events that happened in my own little town :-)



-I also decided to strike off another goal on my list from the previous year and write a YA.  I have always wanted to write a book that my daughter could read, and armed with an idea I wrote a proposal. I sent that contemporary YA proposal to a few agents, both of the editors I work with and in the space of a few weeks I landed a new agent whom I adore, Sara Megibow of Nelson Literary Agency, and we sold to Sourcebooks Fire in a pre-empt!  WOOT!  Back to Good will be released in May 2014 and I can`t even tell you how happy that made me!

-On a personal level, my son got his G1 (I`m Canuk so in Canada this means his learners permit) The fact that I now have a child who is old enough to drive is well, FREAKY.

Now I`m looking ahead to 2012 and all the good things coming my way. New releases and the debut of my contemporary romance series, Bad Boys of Crystal Lake, right here with Sourcebooks.  Look for book 1, THE SUMMER HE CAME HOME, in April!  (by clicking the title you can read an exclusive excerpt)


Sometimes the best place to find love is right back where you started…

Falling asleep in a different bed every night has made it easy for Cain Black to forget his past. It’s been ten years since he packed his guitar and left Crystal Lake to chase his dreams. Now tragedy has forced him home again. And though Cain relishes the freedom of the road, one stolen moment with Maggie O’Rourke makes him wonder if he’s missing out on something bigger than fame.

For Maggie—single mother and newly settled in Crystal Lake—love is a luxury she just can’t afford. Sure, she appreciates the tall, dark and handsome looks of prodigal son Cain Black. But how long can she expect the notorious hellion to stay?

The last thing either of them wants is something complicated. But sometimes love has its own plans.

To celebrate this cool event, I have one signed ARC left to give away right now!  All you have to do is leave a comment telling me what was the most important accomplishment or goal you reached in 2012, OR what is the thing you want most to happen in the coming year.... I will pick a winner on Sunday, December 30th!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Happy Boxing Day by Shana Galen

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. Hardly seems like it's almost 2013. But for many people in England, Australia, Canada and elsewhere, the celebration isn't over! Today is Boxing Day.

So what is Boxing Day? Historically, Boxing Day was the day when servants would receive a "Christmas box" from their employers. This tradition dates from the Middle Ages, and some scholars speculate it stems from the fact that servants would have to wait on their masters on Christmas Day. Therefore, they were given December 26th as a holiday to spend with their families. The masters would send boxes home with the servants containing gifts and bonuses and leftover food. In the picture below, a group of orphans is receiving gifts in 1921.

Topical Press Agency/Getty

Another clue to the origin of Boxing Day comes from the carol "Good King Wenceslas." If you recall, the song goes, "Good King Wenceslas looked on on the feast of Stephen." December 26 is also known as St. Stephen's Day and celebrated as such in Ireland. Wenceslas was the Duke of Bohemia in the 10th century. He saw a poor man gathering wood in a snowstorm and brought him food and drink.

In present times, Boxing Day is a shopping holiday, much like Black Friday in the United States. Stores run sales and prices drop. Doorbuster deals and extended hours are common. Interestingly, Boxing Day is a popular day for fox hunting by mounted hunters. Hunting actual fox is illegal, but many hunters use scent drag trails instead.

So what are you doing this Boxing Day?




Sunday, December 23, 2012

Salado Christmas--Trees Growing through Buildings by Terry Spear


This is an actual Live Oak tree limb growing through an 1870's building that was moved in front of the Stagecoach Inn in the 1930's. Rather than cut the tree limb, they made room for it! That's what I call Hug-a-Tree tree lovers. :)

Another shop in Salado all decked out in Christmas finery!

Here is the rest of the tree branch. Note that it has a metal stand that holds the branch up! The live oaks are huge in Salado, and their branches just keep on growing! :)


And here are some other bears I created for the Christmas season. Where would Santa bear be without his elves? These are the Elfinberries. They're pastel dyed, imported alpaca wool and have suede paws in different colors.



And I got an early Christmas present from Sourcebooks!!!



What more can I say than that????

Now that's what I call a CHRISTMAS present! Snow, wolf and Tom, and all.....

Where's the mistletoe? Don't need it!

Just one hot body to keep us warm.

He's coming!!! February 1, 2014 in time for Valentine's. Happy Merry Jolly Christmas, Early!

Thanks to Sourcebooks and their wonderful art department and Deb for sending him to me in time for the holidays!!!

What do you think? Are you ready for Tom?


Merry Christmas, Everyone!!! Remember to hug a tree! And your family and friends!

Terry
"Giving new meaning to the term alpha male where fantasy IS reality!"
www.terryspear.com


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Old Time Christmas in Salado by Terry Spear


I loved the old buildings in Salado decorated for Christmas. We walked all over and saw many of the homes/shops that are on the historical tour. Many of these were built in the 1860's. It seems a long time ago, until I think of visiting the Scottish castles!!!
 

Here are some more of the shops and their wooden walkways.


Inside one of the old buildings that once was a residence and now a shop I took a picture of the rock work and pretty mirrored chest, and caught myself in the mirror! I didn't realize I had. Debbie, poor thing, was my coat bearer while I took pictures. It looked like it would rain, but it never did, so we finally ditched the coats in the car. I kept apologizing to her for having to be the workhorse on the trip, and if I had wanted to hide the fact she was carrying our coats, I captured it in the picture. So no tall tales there...

I loved the stone work in the buildings, and in the mirror, you can also see how the glass door has a glass window above it. Many of the buildings had these. My friend kept saying, "Can you imagine dusting all this stuff?"

My mother used to say, "They aren't collectables. They're dustables."

But it's hard not to walk away with something cute from Salado. :) 


The little guy in the middle who is playing his music? He came home for Christmas with me--my gift to me from Salado, my muse. :)


A dust collector? Surely not!

How about you? Can you resist collecting those collectables?

I had fun reading Danielle's post about creating crafts for Christmas and thought I'd share my Christmas crafts!

This is a snowman wall hanging that I quilted and drape over things to give a homespun feel for Christmas. I'm working on a duplicate for Christmas for some lucky person. Below you can see some Christmas cards from fans! Wolves from Minnesota, a snowman from Germany, and a fairy that I adore too! :)  They are keepsakes!



 And of course, Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without Santa bear! :) He has a mohair beard, old-fashioned looking tapestry coat, and even a recycled fur trimmed hat. His green velvet sack of toys didn't make the picture though. :) It's off to the left.


But I've been having fun with other stuff too, like photo manipulation. I'm not very good at it, but I still love to play around with it. :)

Adorable Wizard Girl Model:
[link] 

The background was from stock photo I purchased, and the bears are mine! The big one is a string mohair with tapestry paws, and the little one is a golden mohair wizard bear with velvet cloak and hat, decorated in silver sparkles. Both bears are the same size--10 1/2". :)

Hope you are all having a grand time for the holidays! I've got to get back to Silence of the Wolf before the "kids" wake up! :)

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Terry
"Giving new meaning to the term alpha male where fantasy IS reality!"
www.terryspear.com




Friday, December 21, 2012

A New Life for Christmas

by Olivia Cunning

I haven't blogged here at Casablanca for a while. I think the last blog I did (other than my Double Time launch post in November), was when I had just moved to Galveston, Texas. I love it here, if you're wondering. Best move I've ever made. So that was a big change. Wearing shorts and sandals and taking walks along the beach in December. Yeah, that was a BIG change over life in Nebraska.

Well, things have changed a lot more for me in just the last month.

First, thanks to the success of Double Time, I became a NYTimes and USA Today best-selling author. I never aspired to make the lists. Did I want to? You betcha! Did I think it would happen? If you'd have asked me that in June, I would have said never in a million years!

Another thing I would have said would never happen for me in a million years is making enough to support myself and my college-attending son with my writing income. I'm a single mom. I put myself through college and raised a kid on my own for 18 years. I was so far in debt, I never thought I'd get my head above water. But with the success of my self-published series, One Night with Sole Regret, I clawed myself out of debt and quit my day job last Friday. I always thought quitting my day job would be a difficult decision. I went to school for a very long time to become a college professor. I worked hard to perfect my teaching techniques. I was a great teacher. My students will back that claim. They were sorry to see me go, and I'm sure I will miss them. The students were always what made teaching worth while. They were definitely the best part of the job. But when it came time to make the decision to quit and write full-time, I found it was a lot easier than I ever thought it would be. That a dream I held for twenty years could become a reality? You'd better believe I was going to jump on that opportunity. I've never been afraid of change. I might fail and have to return to teaching in the future, but I'm going to seize this chance when I have it.

So I guess I got a new life for Christmas. And I couldn't be happier. And I assume that if you are reading this the world did not come to an end as predicted by the Mayans. That would have really ticked me off! I'm going on my first cruise in January. The apocalypse is so not cool.

What do you want for Christmas this year?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Happy Holiday Crafting + a GIVEAWAY!

by Danielle Jackson



Happy Holidays, Everyone! 2012 has been a GREAT year for Sourcebooks, and I just want to take a second and personally thank all of the Casablanca Authors—they are BIG reason why we had such an awesome year, and I know 2013 will be incredible. It is so much fun to work with a dynamic and diverse group of authors who all do an amazing job writing books that truly connect with readers. So, huzzah to all of them!

As you all might remember, earlier this year I wrote a blogall about crafting, which is a way that I relax. Well, from about October-December, crafting is something that I love to do for family and friends for the Christmas presents from me! I thought I’d share some of my most recent projects (and hope that my mom doesn’t remember to read my blog this month):

For my fellow Sourcebooks publicists, I found a really quick and adorable mason jar “snow globe”:


I found the tutorial at this great blog, Whipperberry: http://whipperberry.com/2011/12/anthro-inspired-snow-globes-tutorial.html.

I have found that guys are the HARDEST people to make homemade gifts for… last year, I decided to try to make homemade body scrub for the dudes in my life, and I’m pretty sure none of them used it (it smelled like mint, how could they not want to use it?). But this year, I decided to make cool prints on t-shirts using bleach and stencils… And remember—I’m from Chicago, so don’t mind my team spirit (the initials are for my dad)!



Another easy craft, but rather time consuming and tedious was a mixture of decorative balls using flat thumbtacks and yarn. I put them in a cute bowl, and it will match the recipient’s holiday d├ęcor.



This is possibly one of the easiest crafts I’ve ever done—coasters made out of bathroom/backsplash tiles, made seasonal with holiday scrapbooking paper. I bought 100 tiles for $11 last week—so I’ll be giving these out A LOT in 2013 :-)


I think what I love most about all of these crafts is that they are easily modifiable for anyone in your life, and don’t take too much effort… but look amazing!

What about all of you? Do any of you do some crafting during the holiday season for decorations or gifts? Just leave a comment about your favorite crafting activities and I’ll giveaway that very set of coasters you see above, along with a 2013 Jane Austen Companion to Life Calendar. US and Canada only, and please be sure to leave an address so I can reach you! Winner will be chosen TOMORROW morning, 12/21!

Happy Holidays to everyone, and a very prosperous New Year!
Danielle

Danielle Jackson is a senior publicist at Sourcebooks, and the lead publicist for the Sourcebooks Casablanca romance fiction imprint. She graduated cum laude with and English degree from Bradley University, and has been with Sourcebooks for 5 years. Danielle loves everything about books, and continues to learn as much as she can about the publishing industry. Danielle has been invited to speak about book PR and Marketing at many local and national conferences, including the Romance Writers of America National Conference, the RT Booklovers Convention and the Evanston Writers Workshop among others. An eclectic reader, Danielle reads everything from historical romance to literary fiction to biographies. You can follow her on Twitter @SourcebooksCasa for updates on Sourcebooks’ romance novels.