Tag Archives: holidays

Have you entered the Halloween photo contest yet?

Fall is my favorite time of year because it contains my three favorite holidays!  Christmas, of course, is a time for gift giving and family get togethers.  You may think I’m crazy, but I love wrapping presents!  And Thanksgiving is very special to me as my family is related to two of the pilgrims that crossed over on the Mayflower.  But Halloween is where it starts and this past weekend many of you may have held parties, attended parties, perhaps even entered a costume contest!

I’m here to remind you it’s not too late to enter Marcia Richards and my Halloween contest for The RedhotsTwo redheads.  Two opinions.  Always keeping it interesting.

Recently, we interviewed Young Adult Paranormal writer, Fabio Bueno, about his new release, Wicked Sense.  Fabio has graciously offered to giveaway not just one, but six copies of his book to six lucky winners who submit their favorite Halloween photos!

I’m so happy I could faint!

Oops, how’d my Rapunzel picture get in here?

Here’s what you need to know to enter:

1. There are three categories you can enter one time each:

  • Costume – your best ever, be it scary, cute or funny
  • Outdoor decorations – your scariest or most creative
  • Party room decor – you can include your Halloween tablescape, your unique pumpkin carving, and your room decorations

See? Someone MADE this totally clever costume of the Planters’ Mr. Peanut!

2. Post your pictures, up to 3 only, at our Twitter hashtag: #TheRedHots or on our Facebook pages between October 19th and October 30th. The winners will be announced on Halloween!

3. For extra chances to win, you can choose to do the following:

  • “Like” Marcia’s and my Facebook pages
  • Tweet about the contest three times between the 19th and the 30th linking to our posts
  • Subscribe to our blogs

Boys, be reasonable! There’s room for everyone to play!

The prizes:

  • Grand prize will be an autographed print book by our indie author plus a Halloween Goody Bag.
  • 5 bonus prizes of a Kindlegraphed ebook from the author

Happy Halloween, Everyone!  And good luck!  I’ll be watching for your photos!

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No Blog Post Today

Hey folks!  Just checking in to let you all know I unburied my laptop from beneath the Christmas cards and gift wrap to say Merry Christmas to you all and I miss you!  I’m currently on my 13 day work stretch and I should have been good and blogged ahead so I can carry on merrily with you all, but I didn’t, and rather than post a bunch of youtube videos with various renditions of Feliz Navidad, I am just letting you all know I miss you, I wish you well, Have fun over the holidays, and Sleep in for me, eh!

Be back next week Wednesday!  May your holidays be safe and happy!

Holiday Books To Inspire You to Write: Guest Blog by Jennie Bennett

Take this Friday to settle down with the Life List Club as we keep you sane and inspired through the holiday season.  Today my guest is the lovely Jennie Bennett, author and mom extraordinaire!  She’s here today giving her favorite holiday reads to inspire you to WRITE!  And I’m writing a letter to myself, my teenage self, over at David Walker’s blog.  Please stop by!  But first, here’s Jennie!

Holiday Books to get you Inspired to Write

Welcome fellow #lifelistclub followers and a very happy holiday season to you! As writers we are all looking for good books to read, right? So today I have a few of my favorite Holiday recommendations.
The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans
     The blurb on Goodreads:
This inspiring holiday tale tells the touching story of a widow and the young family who moves in with her, and the ways in which they discover together the first gift of Christmas and what the holiday is really all about. Written by the author as a token of affection for his daughters, The Christmas Box has captured the hearts and minds of over a million readers.

 

 

 

The Trees of the Dancing Goats by Patricia Polacco
     The Blurb on Goodreads:
Trisha loves the eight days of Hanukkah, when her mother stays home from work, her Babushka makes delicious potato latkes, and her Grampa carves wonderful animals out of wood as gifts for Trisha and her brother. In the middle of her family’s preparation for the festival of lights, Trisha visits her closest neighbors, expecting to find them decorating their house for Christmas. Instead they are all bedridden with scarlet fever. Trisha’s family is one of the few who has been spared from the epidemic. It is difficult for them to enjoy their Hanukkah feast when they know that their neighbors won’t be able to celebrate their holiday. Then Grampa has an inspiration: they will cut down trees, decorate them, and secretly deliver them to the neighbors, “But what can we decorate them with?” Babushka asks. Although it is a sacrifice, Trisha realizes that Grampa’s carved animals are the perfect answer. Soon her living room is filled with trees — but that is only the first miracle of many during an incredible holiday season.
Based on a long cherished childhood memory, this story celebrates the miracle of true friendship.

The Mansion by Henry Van Dyke
     The Blurb on Goodreads:
John Weightman wanted the best of everything. He surrounded himself with beauty and riches, and was very careful with how he spent his money. No pennies in beggars hats, he liked to say. Until one night he dreamed that he died . . . Finding himself with a group of travelers dressed in white, John joins them on their journey to the Celestial City where each individual will be rewarded with a mansion based on treasures set aside. Thinking that his mansion will be the most grand, John Weightman learns what it truly means to lay up treasures in heaven. The Mansion is a classic tale told at Christmastime that illustrates the importance of giving unselfishly.

 

 

No matter what you will be celebrating this time of year these books will inspire you to become better writers. Happy Holidays!

BIO: J. A. Bennett is a stay-at-home mom of a three-year-old boy and a one-year-old girl. Besides writing, she has a passion for cooking and good movies. She blogs at A Book, A Girl, A Journey about writing and other life musings. She is currently working on a young adult novel that involves time travel, world destruction, and the awkwardness of teenagedom.  She is also on Twitter, Facebook, and Google plus

How to Survive Cabin Fever

source: google images

It’s winter, winter everywhere, and not an ice scraper to spare!  The six day work weeks have begun for me, and no matter what my shift is, it seems I’m going to work when it’s dark, and it’s really dark when I leave.

So, I’m getting cabin fever.

Here are the rules and realities that I’ve come to believe in for surviving the perpetual darkness of the winter season:

  1. Crazy colored, fuzzy socks are a must!  It’s true, especially if you’re boyfriend won’t turn the heat up anymore.  Big, fuzzy, warm socks are a godsend after 9 hours on the sales floor.
  2. So is an eclectic mug collection.  I’m too lazy and a wimp to brave the cold and see my favorite coffee shops, so I save time and money with our Keurig single cup coffee maker.  I’m well stocked on apple cider, cafe’ mochas, espresso, and a variety of bold blends.  Pick your mug for fun: the flamingo? the New Orleans cafe’ du monde mug? one of the maple leaves set?
  3. If it’s dark all the time, it means it’s the “night life” all the time!  Wanna know what I’m doing for fun this holiday season?  I have SOOOOO many cosmetics (Hello, I work at the mall and manage that department!) that I’m going to wear each and every one of my eye shadows until I’ve gone through them all!  Today I wore Turquoise Sands!  Doesn’t that sound like I do in fact have a life?  I said sounds like!  Stop that snickering!
  4. Stay indoors.  Watch The Vampire Diaries.  I will leave the house, a drastic and bold move (if I plan, I just go right after work) to venture to the library and stock up on whole seasons of TV.  I’m currently rewatching Season 1 of The Vampire Diaries since it’s newest season is on that ridiculous thing the networks call “midseason finale”.  How garish!
  5. Household chores gettin’ ya down, throw in an audio book!  I’m trying to madly finish up a few titles on my To Be Read list for 2011, so I’ve been double-tasking by getting ready in the morning to an audio book.  I can also listen while cooking, cleaning my room, or wrapping presents.
  6. Become a Sports Fan.  Nothing like a fan club that requires sitting in front of the TV, snack food, and obscene amounts of cheering.  Looking for a team to root for?  *brushes shoulders*  Might I suggest the ol’ Green and Gold, 14-0, Titletown Champs Green Bay Packers?!  Alright, alright!
  7. Write in a journal.  Start a journal.  Now more than ever, keeping a gratitude journal has been important to me.  The long hours and days at work and little free time makes it important to spend that time in a meaningful way and be grateful for the little things like taco dip, vampire TV, and Aveeno creamy moisturizing hand lotion (OMG – this cold weather on my skin! Grrr!)
  8. If you can’t hibernate, have a party!  The holidays should be a time for friends and family.  Spend your days with those you love indulging in laughter and creating new memories.  What will I remember about this holiday season so far?  My toddler niece telling me on the phone “I found Coco the Elf, he’s down the hall!”

 How are you handling Cabin Fever this winter?

Wednesday’s Winter Mash Up

source: google images

Hello Everyone,

While I’m buried beneath boxes and Christmas gift lists at the mall, please enjoy the phenomenally written posts that others had time to write.  These blogs are awesome and so are their WRITERS!!!  Thanks to everyone for the blog love on my last post.  Sounds like the marketing for Excedrin: NEW for Retail Tension Headaches is going to be a big success!  I’m putting a bottle in everyone’s stocking!

On Writing and Reading:

Kristen Lamb tells it like is when it comes to plot structure and prose in Is Your Novel a Spineless Weakling?

Renee Schuls-Jacobson, my amazing Warrior Writer partner, gave honesty a new metaphor and exclaimed I’m Going To Do a Book.

August McLaughlin interviews  Author Roni Loren on Writing Sexy and Her Novel Debut.  Prepare yourself for drooling and feverish laughter.

My favorite new author, Jody Hedlund, wrote an AMAZING and honest blog post about book giveaways.  She recaps how FREE has a cost, how book sales are trending, and includes very simple and awesome gift ideas that help a favorite crowd of mine, writers!!!  Even Though Free is In, Don’t Forget to Buy Books Too.

The top books of 2011 are already starting to be listed!  Nina Badzin shares her favorite reads of the past year in Top Ten Reads of 2011.  Be advised, read this before making your master list for the 2012 TBR Pile Challenge!  Or do what I did, and keep adding to your Goodreads “to-read” collection!

The Necessary Belly Laughs and Bright Moments for the Holidaze:

Pam Hawley almost brought me to tears in her beautifully heartfelt post about Finding Thankfulness: I Love This Bar.  She talks about growing up in her own version of “Cheers” and makes me want to go meet her for a drink at Hawley’s Pub soon!

If you want pee your pants kind of laughter, you’ve got to visit Jenny Hansen’s post Can a Cup o Joe Make Your Man a Ho.  True story.  And a hilarious one!

Myndi Shafer discovers the real reason for the crankiness factor of the Dr. Seuss villain in The Grinch is Pregnant.

How is your week going so far?

Do I Get Tension Headaches? Why Yes, Of Course

Source: Google Images

It’s the holiday season
And Santa Claus is coming back
The Christmas snow is white on the ground
When old Santa gets into town
He’ll be coming down the chimney, down
Coming down the chimney, down

Happy Holiday
Happy Holiday
While the merry bells keep bringing
Happy Holidays to you

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it, but I work at a mall.  I am a sales manager at a well known department store, and though I like the people I work with, things are a little stressful right now.  The Ho Ho Horrors of the Holidays are upon us and I seem to be spending my days answering phone calls and questions that sound like this:

“The coupon for this sweater isn’t scanning and I can’t find the brand on the back of it, but the coupon was printed online and I can’t type it in cause the ink like splotched over two of the numbers and I keep trying to type in like a ‘7’ or a ‘9’ but it isn’t working and this lady has been really patient, but what should I do?”

“Can she return the ring if she has it sized?”

“Was I suppose to take a break?  Well, can I just leave early then?”

“So and So keeps taking my sales, but I don’t want to talk to her.  Can you tell her to stop stepping in with my customers?”

“Can I get a hanger pick up in kids, juniors, mens, and Fine Jewelry?”

“A customer just called and said we better take a look in the bathroom.  It sounds bad, you should get gloves.”

*bangs head on cash register*

To push past the easily stressed out answers I could provide, such as “No Lisa, I’m not giving you the stink eye, I just have a tension headache and it’s making my eye twitch!”  I’ve been answering my team with statements like this:

“You’re phone extension keeps clicking, naaaah, that’s just the reindeer on the rooftop!” 😉

“You’ve emptied the fitting rooms 50 times and they’re still full?  That means you can skip weight training at the gym tomorrow!”

“It’s cold in the store?  Good thing sweaters are half off today!”

“A whole shelf of boots fell on the floor?!  Tell the Shelf Elf to knock off the shenanigans!  We’ve got a business to run!”

And when the coffee cheerfulness has worn off, I read for Excedrin.  NEW:  For Retail Tension Headaches!  Courtesy and Inspiration from Queen Latifah.

How’s the month going for you?

Guilty Good Reading: A Mash-up of Awesome

Happy late Thanksgiving everyone!  Getting my post up a bit later today since I just finished working a 12 1/2 hour day in retail.  *phew*  Guilty Pleasure Friday will be back again in two weeks, but for now, I leave you with my favorite reads from the prior week!

On Writing:

Alica McKenna Johnson guest blogged at Myndi Shafer’s with great writing advice about how to add more diversity to your writing.  She’s honest and open about the tips she uses to write characters from different countries and ethnicities.  Check out her guest post Don’t Bleach and Iron Your Work.

On Reading:

Jillian, a literary student who blogs at A Room of One’s Own, informed me of The 2012 To Be Read Pile Challenge!  For all you bookworms with that evergrowing list of books to get to, take this challenge along with me and see yourself accomplish some great books you’ve never given yourself the time to get through.  The only real catch is they need to be at least a year old in publication.  I’ll be posting my list and hope you’ll share your own!

Thanksgiving is still in season and August McLaughlin shared the Books I’m Crazy Grateful For and sparked a fun conversation in her comments.  Share your own books that shaped your life and made you grateful you’d read them!

Tim L. O’Brien posted an awesome blog about Why Books are Important.  This is part three in his series and focuses on getting kids to read.  He’s got smart advice and an awesome link to a site where you can check out the perfect titles for your kid of any age to read and have them glued to the page rather than to the screen.

On Women:

If you don’t regularly follow the Life List Club blog hop every other friday, you missed an inspiring post by fellow co-founder, Marcia Richards all about long distance swimmer Diana Nyad.  She’s a courageous woman who will inspire us all to do our own Xtreme Dream challenges.  So after you’ve read Marcia’s post, check out Diana’s own blog about her recovery process from her attempted swim from Cuba to the Florida Keys after being attacked by box jellyfish.

What’s in a Name…:

If you haven’t been following Nina Badzin’s baby naming debacles, you’ve been missing out.  She recaps the long nine month journey and also reveals her newest addition’s long awaited, and well thought out, name in Finally, His Name.

Because Humor is Necessary During the Holidays:

I love Sara Grambusch’s blog.  She’s got the spunky and self-deprecating humor that I adore in a person, and she also provides delicious healthy recipes.  In this post, Household Things I Do Wrong, she recounts the number of times she’s unsuccessfully mastered the art of housework.  Let’s all pray she and I never become roommates; angels will weep for society.

The Good Greatsby will have you stitches with his headlines: Starbucks Announces: Come for Joe not John.  Must read for coffee drinkers and users of public bathrooms everywhere!

Jenny Hansen serves up More Cowbell when she asks Is Adulthood Stealing Some of Your “Grooviness?”  Dance parties are a known reaction to Jenny’s posts; you’ve been warned.

Charles Gulotta relives his edible memoirs in his entertaining tale toward intelligence; he calls it Chew on This.

Enjoy your weekend!  See you all again Monday!

Holiday Sanity Survival Kits for Writers

Hello, hello!  The holiday season approaches and it’s another blog hop edition of the Life List Club!  For those of you already stressing as to how to get everything done, you know the shopping, the cleaning, the cooking, the writing, the errands, the social gatherings, the donation requests, the pounding of your head on your desktop, rest at ease!  Pam Hawley from Hawleyville is here to guide us through!  So grab some hot cocoa, marshmallows are on the table, and settle in.

Holiday Sanity Survival Kits for Writers

A few weekends ago, Lee and I gave our ferret Vinnie a bath. Every once in a while, he gets a little itchy and … well, smelly. As you can see by the expression on his face, he’s not exactly fond of bath time. I’m pretty sure he thinks we’ve devised some new form of weasel torture. Vin isn’t the first ferret to share my home, and this has been a trait all of them have shared. Wet weasels just aren’t happy.

Weasel Washing

The thing is, they always feel so much better after bath time. They may not care about being soft, fluffy and good-smelling, but they’re definitely happy not to be itchy anymore. Like it or not, a bath now in then is a good thing.

As we kick off another holiday season, I’m feeling a bit like Vinnie during bath time.  I’m a WWDJ (Writer with a Day Job), so the season of adding even more to the to-do list always puts me in a panic. I’m an introvert who needs quiet time to reflect, recharge and write. The thought of adding shopping, decorating, family gatherings and the inevitable round of parties to my already crazy schedule has me feeling like a weasel in a bath – all washed up.

But just like a little ferret shampoo and water is a good thing for Vin, the holiday season that puts me in such a tizzy is also good for me. Time celebrating and being thankful with family and friends is a precious gift, and something worth making room for in our lives.
So, what does an introverted writer who is already pulled in too many directions do when life is about to get even busier? If you’re anything like me, you’re putting together your survival kit. During the Season of Social Fun, it is more important than ever to have those things that help you relax and recharge close at hand. Making a little time each day to spend with my handy-dandy survival kit revitalizes both me and my writing. My kit includes:

My Kindle

My reward at the end of a busy day is to curl up on my couch with my trusty friend, even if it is only for a little while. What I love best about my Kindle is that I can stock it up with plenty of reading choices without having to lug around a small library. I’ve got short stories, favorites to re-read, new authors to try, and plenty of writing advice at my fingertips. Inspiration, lessons and pure guilty pleasure are all there for the taking.

My Camera

As much fun as the holidays will be, they will hijack some of my creative mojo. For an introvert, being zapped during incredibly social times is just a fact of life. So when I sit down to write and the words won’t come, I grab my camera and head off for a photography session. My subjects are simple – my ferret, my cat, or even the mailbox in my front yard. Sometimes the pictures are awful, and sometimes they come out great. Either way, I’m clearing my head and forcing myself to look at something ordinary in a new light. That simple act reconnects me to my creative spirit.

A Notebook

For those busy days when there just isn’t time to sit and type, I keep a pen and notebook handy. I’m not going to write my novel that way, but I can jot down snippets and random ideas or observations that I may use down the road. Again, it is about not leaving my creativity behind even when running at top speed.

My Pets

     There is nothing more calming and soothing than to sit and pet my cat Sly while he head-butts my Kindle or purrs in my lap. There is nothing more energizing than watching Vin bounce around my bedroom making happy “clucking” noises and doing the “weasel war dance.” Sly’s lazy yawns and stretches are a constant reminder that the world won’t stop turning if I take a few minutes to yawn and stretch myself. Vin’s playful hops are a reminder that life should be lived with joy in every step.

During the holidays, it is even more important to recharge ourselves if we want to stay on track with our goals. These are my tools for dealing with life at top speed. Do you know what belongs in your survival kit? If not, figure it out before you think about buying gifts, cooking turkeys or digging out the decorations.. Your kit might look very different from mine. Maybe it is a favorite video game and your comfiest chair or a stack of funny movies, a bottle of wine and scented candles. It doesn’t matter WHAT you have in your kit, as long as it makes you breathe a huge sigh of relief at the end of a busy day.

What gets you through the busier times in your life? What helps you relax and recharge so that you can enjoy all the fun of the holiday season while still making progress in your goals?

In addition to short fiction, Pam Hawley writes humor pieces and is working on her first novel, which blends the creepy and the funny by bringing a brutally murdered “player” back to life as a naked ghost. Her short story “A Wingding and A Prayer” appeared in the July issue of eFiction  Magazine (available at http://www.efictionmag.com). Her short horror fiction, “Peanut Butter and Jelly,” will appear in The Spirit of Poe Anthology available at http://literarylandmarkpress.blogspot.com. When not working, writing or in the gym, Pam can most likely be found curled up on her couch reading, hanging out at her family pub Hawley’s in Baltimore, or cheering the Pittsburgh Steelers. She blogs regularly at http://hawleyville.wordpress.com.

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