Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween!

The Sourcebooks authors share their favorite Halloween traditions and memories.

Shana Galen
This year we planned to dress up our new dog Sparky, but she ended up having surgery a few weeks ago, so we'll have to wait until next year. Here are a few cute dog costumes I found for 2016.

Dog Vader
Too perfect!

Can't stop laughing at this one!

Do you dress up your pets? I bet Terry does!

Terry Spear
This is the first year that my puppies have been with me for Halloween.  They're Havanese, and I I wasn't sure they would stand for it. Every year, I try to get together with my daughter and SIL for Halloween. Their corgi was dressed in a shark costume. We make fun treats and watch Halloween kind of movies, and this year, all of the dogs will be dressed for the fun. She has another corgi. Now, getting them all to sit for pictures is another story!

Max is worn out after all that costume business. Tanner was posing for the camera like a good little pirate!
The hat was just wearing Max down, or, he just would prefer being something else, like a wolf!
Okay, so Max doesn't look much happier as an aviator!
Tanner looks like a drunken one! No flying for him. Or...he's already flying high!
Here is Rilo, my daughter's corgi, dressed as a shark.
But Halloween wouldn't be fun without some treats! These are actual photos I took of the treats we made.

The mummy dogs are crescent rolls sliced into mummy rags and wrapped around hot dogs with two red ketchup eyes. The spider eggs are black olives cut up into legs and a half an olive body, then placed on top of a deviled egg. The Vampire wine and chocolate a friend received at an author party and sent to me, which makes for the perfect Halloween finale! My daughter said she's making zombie fingers, sounds gruesome, but I'll show them off next year!

Do you do anything special for Halloween? How about a movie marathon?

Brooklyn Ann's Halloween Movie Recommendations:

I love horror movies year round, but I go into binge-watch mode for October. To keep this short, I'll only recommend 10, but ideally, I'd list over 100. :D

The first 5 are fun for the whole family (though 1 or 2 would be better with older kids)

1.) The Witches

Based on the book by Roald Dahl, this was a fun and slightly spooky adventure.

2.) The Addams Family:

As a romance author, I think Gomez and Morticia are sooo romantic! But yeah, this one's funny and delightfully macabre.

3.) Monster Squad:

I only saw this for the first time a few days ago and fell in love. It's like a horror version of the Goonies. However I would only watch this with older kids because there is some profanity.

4.) Paranorman

This is the cutest Tim Burton film I've ever seen, hands down.

5.) Ernest Scared Stupid

Ernest is really dopey and kinda obnoxious. Your kids will LOVE him. The trolls are kinda creepy, though.

The next 5 are for grown-ups only. :D

1.) Night of the Demons

This is the epitome of 80's cheeseball horror. I adore it probably more than I should.

2.) Rose Red:

This is the ULTIMATE haunted house movie, in my opinion. Also, they filmed some of the movie in a real castle in Seattle.

3.) Nightmare on Elm Street:

One....Two... Freddy's coming for you....

Seriously, you can't go without the classics.

4.) Cabin in the Woods

A horror movie that both mocks and pays homage to horror movies. It also has the most unique twist I've ever seen.

5.) Fright Night

This list isn't complete without a vampire movie, and this one's a lot of fun. And honestly, aside from a brief scene with female nudity, this one's pretty much okay for older kids. I just made mine go grab more popcorn during that part, lol.

For more recommendations, I'm putting together a Pinterest Board. What are some of your favorite horror/ Halloween movies?

Jane Ashford
I'm in London for a while, and I was a little surprised to find that they go all out on Halloween over here. You can even hire a "posh" costume from the National Theatre. "Any member of the public can can make an appointment at the National Theatre's costume warehouse, whether they're looking for a specific item or a whole ensemble. Rails are arranged chronologically from dramatic eighteenth-century ball gowns to 1920s flapper dresses for women, and from top hats and tails to Elizabethan ruffs and doublets for men. Enthusiastic staff are on hand to help you build a top-to-toe look." Tempting!

Gina Conkle
 That sounds like fun, Jane! Last year we turned over a new leaf and moved to the midwest, so Fall and Halloween have changed for us (sorry! I couldn't resist the pun!). We live in a small-ish town and the tree colors dazzle me after being a lifelong San Diegan. Seriously, I embarrass my younger son, Chad, snapping photos of trees. I even took a video of one particular road with an amazing array of colors. Maybe I'll make a new video next year and share that! (Just kidding).

The other thing I like is how the town gets into the holidays. For Halloween, businesses and municipal departments create unique "scarecrows" and post them around town. Here's one of my favorites this year --- the Tin Man.

Someone's got skills! Whatever you're doing, wherever you are, I hope you and your family are safe and have lots of fun.  ~Gina

Friday, October 30, 2015

What is Imagination? by Linda Broday

Many of us in the writing profession take our imaginations for granted, me included. I’ve always had it and these thoughts are as much a part of me as the beat of my heart.  Without imagination my stories would be as riveting as a plumber’s manual.

But what is imagination?  Where does it come from?  Are we simply born with it?

Writers take a seed of thought and fabricate a story around it. The events and people we create could happen exactly as we portray them. Take Jules Verne’s submarine in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea? Or his novel, Paris in the Twentieth Century where he describes subways, gas stations, fax machine? What about any number of other authors who accurately portray things far before their time?

I don't want to be in a world without imagination. It can take you to exciting, amazing places.

One very respected 18th century philosopher acknowledged that nothing is more free than the human imagination. “Our minds have the power to mix, compound, separate and divide all of our ideas into a variety of fiction and vision.”

Children have very vivid imaginations, especially at Halloween. In my house, this was my kids’ favorite day. We couldn’t afford the fancy store costumes though. They looked around the house and put their brains to work. Sometimes they came up with some great ideas and they always had a blast. The photo here is my son and daughter on one Halloween long ago. I remember the fun of giving creativity free rein and seeing the end product.

I think children and adults lose something important when they don’t use their imaginations. If writers didn’t engage in play, there would be no new books. I’ve always loved to play and create and I take great joy in writing my stories. In doing so, I learn and grow. So do you.

When I was young I spent hours playing paper dolls, making up elaborate lives for my cardboard people. How did you use your imagination as a child? Are you still doing it? I hope you never stop.

She was a pickpocket and he a half-breed...bound by a love that's stronger than iron bars. The third book of my Bachelors of Battle Creek Series will release on December 1st. FOREVER HIS TEXAS BRIDE is available for preorder almost everywhere online. I just love the cover! This final book in series features Brett Liberty. You'll see how I used my imagination in it in December. I'm excited that release day is almost here.


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Thursday, October 29, 2015


The Romantic Times (RT) convention this year will be in Las Vegas. VEGAS!

You know, subtle, low key, modest, relaxing Vegas.

Since I grew up in California, Vegas is a day’s drive. So with routine visits, I’ve witnessed its transformation over the years. For Vegas newbies, there are two main parts to Vegas. The original downtown centered around Fremont Street and the newer, glitzier Strip. In the 60’s, I remember the Strip with two story buildings and sand around the driveways. Now it’s the main center of the action. So while romance readers will descend to Vegas en masse, I highly recommend you take a few days and experience some of the delights that Vegas offers. I’m ignorant about the rollercoasters and club scene (my days of discos, mirrored balled dance floors, and big print polyester dresses are long gone—and deservedly so). But Vegas can offer some unforgettable delightful and/or really unusual experiences. Some you cannot have anywhere else in the world. Here are a few things to do that this aging nerd girl enjoys.

Food (with or without bacon):
Okay, yes food is first on the list. In the 70’s, my ski team use to stop in Vegas coming and going to Colorado. In those days, most buffets were 99 cents. Those days are long gone. Plan to spend about fifty dollars for a buffet. My favorites are at the Ballagio and Wicked Spoon. Be sure not to eat beforehand! Another rule for dining in Vegas is to make reservations. Really. Otherwise you will be presented with an hour (usually more) wait at the best restaurants. Unforgettably delightful experience you ask? Well at HofbrÀuhaus you can stand, lean over your table, and receive a good spanking with a wooden board. Yes, really. I love that restaurant because I can embarrass my hubby by joining along in the chicken dance. My favorite restaurant experience is a corner booth at the Bouchon. With just enough wine, you can believe you’re in Paris. 

Old Vegas:
It’s best to go to Fremont Street at nighttime. Then all the old school neon lights are on. You can even take a zip line down the street surrounded by lights. When the glam gets too much, take a seat at old school Binion’s cafe. There you can grab a burger and pretend it’s 1940. Or get your 80’s vibe on at the Peppertree Fireside Lounge. On the drive back to the strip, there is a store that sells feather fans and boas. I plead for my husband to stop, so I can buy a feather fan. He never does.

There are a lot of museums in Vegas. I really miss the Liberace Museum (sniff, it’s closed now). For Regency fans, it had one of the best Broadwood and Sons baby grand piano in the world--in a strip mall, in Vegas! Good museums are the Mob Museum (plan to spend half a day), Neon museum, car exhibits (okay, it's my jag thing), and my favorite museum, The Atomic Testing Museum. In that museum, they have a large theater like most museums, only when the show starts, all you see is a large clock counting down…

If there is an Elvis show somewhere—go! Some really talented impersonators do Elvis all over town. Definitely see at least one show, but be sure to get your tickets early. If you want to go cheap, walk up twenty minutes before the show. As for unusual experiences, how could any show beat one we saw in 2010? Basically on stage, the Titanic sank again surrounded by girls with no tops on. Huh? Only in Vegas.

Day trips:
Hoover dam. Turn the corner in the visitor museum and the first person you see is a drawing of a Regency era gentleman complete with cravat, Michael Faraday. He essentially invented the generator that turns waterpower into electricity. Also the dam is a place of stunning scenery.

Vegas is the place to go to be ENTERTAINED.

Here’s a quiz. Is this a pic of me in Vegas or Paris?

Have a great time RT'ers.
Sally Orr

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Meet, Greet, and a Little Treat by Terri L. Austin

My head is spinning just a little bit. I’ve been doing lots of promo for not one, but two, book releases. (Shameless plug time: His Kind of Trouble drops November 3. Woot!) 

I really enjoy being on social media, chatting with readers, and dropping little snippets of my book like breadcrumbs. It’s fun, but I love it when I can meet readers in person, which I don’t get to do nearly often enough.Here I am with the fabulous Niki Rayven (Niki Rayven's Niche shout out).

At a recent book signing, I met people that I’d connected with only on social media, so it was a real treat to interact with them face to face. I had an absolute blast. A big thanks to the Barnes and Noble team. 

And my new nephew-in-law, Mario, had me sign his bicep. I told him he doesn't win any points until the ink's permanent. 

And I even got to meet some new-to-me authors. Hello, Amy Engel! More delicious books to buy? Yes, please!

So here’s my snippet for His Kind of Trouble. Set in Vegas, this sexy tale features bad boy Brit, Cal Hughes, who tries to tempt former wild child, Monica Campbell, into embracing her naughty ways.

He was playing with her. She knew he was playing with her, and yet she couldn’t leave it alone. That damned last-word thing. “Just because I don’t want to use my desk doesn’t mean I do boring sex. And I didn’t notice you complaining the other night.”

Cal raised his brows. “Who said anything about the desk?”

That left her speechless for a moment. “Then where?” Curiosity overrode her sense of propriety. “I’m for sure not doing it on this floor.” She winced at the industrial gray carpeting. Looked scratchy.

“Not the floor.” Cal reached out, his hand landing on her chest. His tanned fingers plucked open two of her shirt buttons.

Monica froze to the spot, helpless to stop him. She was not having sex in her office. But the very thought of it caused thrills of excitement to skitter throughout her body. “Up against the wall?”

“Where’s the imagination in that?” He placed a finger at the base of her neck and lazily traced to the third button.

Drop me a line. I love to hear from readers!

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