Tag Archives: gifts

Meet Me in Milwaukee, by Katy Lee

Hello Readers!  On April 26, 2014 I am heading to Milwaukee for a fun day out with romanceVey logo readers.  The event is put on by the fabulous and beautiful Barbara Vey, a blogger for Publishers Weekly.  Each year she holds an event called Barbara Vey’s Reader Appreciation Luncheon, and boy, do readers get appreciated!  If you love romance of any and all sub-genres, you don’t want to miss this day made just for you.  There will be gifts and favors and books and conversations and books and…well you get the idea.  But if you want the details, click on Barbara’s site here.

There will be 40+ awesome and talented authors, each with their own table, and readers get to choose the author they want to hang with for lunch.  Seats are limited on a first come first serve basis, which is why I am getting this message out to you now.  I don’t want you to miss your opportunity to sit with your favorite author…or perhaps, you want to meet new-to-you authors.  Go for it!  Head to Barbara’s website to check the author list and scroll down to sign up.

Me and Barbara at RWA
Me and Barbara at RWA

And if you’re still not sure, let me tell you about the Keynote Speaker.  Perhaps you’ve heard of her?  She’s goes by the name of Debbie Macomber.

Debbie Macomber is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and one of today’s most popular writers with more than 170 million copies of her books in print worldwide. Macomber brings to life the compelling relationships that embrace family, community and enduring friendships, filling her readers with a sense of love and hope.

Macomber is the author of more than 100 novels, most recently the instant #1 New York Times bestseller Starting Now, and The Inn at Rose Harbor; two bestselling cookbooks; numerous inspirational and nonfiction works; two acclaimed children’s books and the Mrs. Miracle Christmas novels.  She is also the author of beloved and bestselling series of novels set in Cedar Cove, Washington on which Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove, Hallmark Channel’s first dramatic scripted television series, is based. She is the recipient of a RITA® award; an RT Book Reviews Lifetime Achievement Award, and is a multiple winner of both the Holt Medallion and the B. Dalton Award. In 2010, the Romance Writers of America presented Macomber with their prestigious Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award.

And she taught me how to knit!  Seriously.  I owe all this fine handy work to her.

Katy Lee Books' Sock Monkeys
Katy Lee Books’ Sock Monkeys

She is a wealth of knowledge.  You will be so glad you came to hear her, and I will be so glad to meet you, either at my table or during the meet and greet!  Start planning today!  And stay tuned to see what my table favors will look like.  Oh, the possibilities!  And if you have any questions, feel free to ask. 

A Christmas Moment

Merry Christmas everyone. Thea Devine here, and I wish you all a happy and productive New Year.

This is my favorite time of year, for all the cliched reasons: joy, hope, love, new year, new beginnings, family, friends, gifts, drowsing by the fireplace, cozy in my house as it snows. I love Christmas. My boys have said I become a child at Christmas.

You bet. Why not?

We get to see family and friends, and best of all, I get to shop for presents. I’ve always loved the shopping part.

Years ago, when we lived in Brooklyn, we exchanged presents with a small circle of friends — until, that is, the Christmas that we and one couple in the group gave each other exactly the same gift.

I don’t remember what it was after all these years, but I do know it signaled “enough.” We knew each other so well, too well, that nothing more needed to be given — or said.

A Christmas lesson for us all.

Thea Devine is the author of 27 contemporary and historical erotic romances and a dozen novellas. Five of her early books are available in Kindle editions. Look for the sequel to “The Darkest Heart” in 2014.

Going Giftless

Happy Friday everyone. Casey Wyatt here.

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Being a writer, I’m all for thinking outside of the box. So this Christmas I made a radical suggestion to the adults in my family – forego exchanging gifts and spend the time enjoying each other’s company instead.

Fear coursed through my veins. Would I be lumped in with the Grinch and Ebenezer Scrooge?

Much to my delight, everyone agreed. Turns out, we’ve all reached the point where we all have enough things. To be honest it was a bit of a relief.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I like Christmas. But over the last several years, I’ve been suffering from holiday fatigue. The focus on buying stuff and the pursuit of the perfect gift eroded my enjoyment of the season. This year, our local Macy’s put up their holiday display at the end of September! What about Halloween? Thanksgiving?

Pish, posh – those holidays are road bumps along the way to the retail bonanza of the year.

Turns out I’m not alone in my idea. Last year, several of my fellow writers decided to give up gifts and instead donate to charities like Heifer International (http://www.heifer.org). They expressed joy in helping others. They all had enough stuff too.

The mood this Christmas is much more relaxed and I’m looking forward to kicking back and really enjoying the company of my loved ones.

What holiday traditions do you celebrate?  Have you ever “skipped” a holiday? And if so, how did you spend it?

Making Old Things New

PJ Sharon, here with another snowy morning in the Berkshires. December is right around the corner and it’s time to put on the studded snow tires, dig out the winter duds, and hunker down for the long winter ahead. Having grown up in New England and having spent most of my youth in freezing ice skating rinks, I kind of like the winters. Although as I get older, the cold seems to seep a little deeper into my bones—incentive to get off my writer’s butt and start kicking it into high gear with some activities to get the blood moving. Tae Bo snow-shoeing anyone?

Some of you that know me have often heard me report on the constant state of chilliness in my 1840’s humble abode. She’s a drafty old place and with my husband being a bit of a polar bear and the frugal sort, we tend to keep the house anywhere from 55-65 degrees through much of the winter months. Oh, I could crank up the pellet stove and turn on the oil heat, but I like the challenge of seeing if we can get through the winter on just a tankful of oil and a couple of tons of pellets. I’ve learned to layer up, wear warm socks, and if all else fails, I have my darling husband—who is “hot” in so many ways—to snuggle up to. I’m sure that is all part of his evil plot.

Lest you think him cruel or me crazy for living in these harsh conditions, I will gladly take the blame for my plight. You see, I’m all about conservation. I shudder when I see someone throw away something that could be recycled, re-used, or re-purposed. I’m forever shutting off lights and I even take a trash bag on my walks now and again to pick up discarded cans and bottles along the side of the road.
It has taken some time, but I’ve gotten my husband on the band wagon with me, and if something can be fixed rather than thrown out, he’s your man. You have to love engineers. I’ve learned so much from living with him that I think I’m beginning to think like him—as terrifying as that is to admit. So if that means re-using zip lock bags and aluminum foil or even re-working an old scene from an unpublished manuscript to fit a current WIP, I’m in!

To show you just how deep this renew/re-use/recycle thing goes, I mentioned on face book a few weeks ago that my hands get cold after I’ve been at the computer for a while. I had several helpful suggestions. More than one person mentioned that I should buy a pair of fingerless mittens or cut the fingers off a pair of old work gloves. I happened to be shopping in Great Barington this past weekend and saw some lovely—and VERY pricey—such gloves. They were cashmere and cost more than I would spend on a good pair of shoes, so it was a no brainer to walk away, but I must have had the idea rumbling around in my head, because when I wore out the heels of my favorite pair of Smart Wool socks and was just about to begrudgingly throw them out, a brilliant plan popped into my head. I stuck my fingers down into the uber warm sock and let my thumb pop out the hole in the heel. Aha! Then all I had to do was to cut the toes out and I had an awesome pair of “hand socks.”

So with Christmas coming, I’m putting on my thinking cap for ways to give “practical” gifts from the heart. I’m thinking Smart Wool socks for everyone…with instructions for re-purposing them when they wear out.

What about you, dear readers, have you had any ingenious uses for old stuff? How about re-crafting a scene that you’ve taken from an old manuscript?

The Magic Moment

Happy Saturday, everybody!  I’m so excited to be posting today because Christmas Eve is my very favorite day of the year.  I’ve always loved Christmas Eve.

Back when I was a little kid, it was a night of wonder when I’d try to stay awake and hear the reindeer on the roof, but I invariably fell asleep.  Sometime in the dark of the night, I’d wake up and sneak out to see if Santa had been yet.  He always beat me to the punch, so to speak.  I’d find piles of packages wrapped in 2 colors under the tree.  In each stocking, there would be a piece of wrapping paper, indicating which boxes were mine, and which were my sister’s.  I’d skulk quietly into the bathroom and shut the door silently, before turning on the light to see what was in my stocking.

When I was in high school and college, Christmas Eve meant a day of leisure before heading out for a fancy dinner, a midnight church service followed by gifts and champagne with friends and family until nearly 3:00 in the  morning.

From age 28 through 35, Christmas Eve was the calm before the Christmas Expedition of driving all over creation on Christmas Day.  From central Connecticut, to the Litchfield Hills, to NY State and back again.  A couple of years, those trips took hours through blinding snow.  Quite possibly, we went up hill both ways…without shoes.  Well, you get the idea.

Now, with young children of my own, Christmas Eve is a welcome rest in a busy season.  All the gifts will have been purchased and wrapped.  We enjoy an early dinner before the Christmas Pageant at church.  Preparations will be underway for the next day’s lounge and feast.  The hectic big family party will be behind us with just the Grandparents coming to visit on Christmas Day.  We eat and open gifts most of the day, often without even changing out of our pajamas.  My husband has his trusty Get-Toys-Out-Of-Thier-Packaging tool kit handy.  Worries about holiday bills are put on hold until the new year. 

Yes, Christmas Eve is my favorite day of the year.  All the excitement and anticipation of Christmas with the work behind me and the worries deferred.  It’s a happy day filled with wonder as my young children sprinkle reindeer dust on the front lawn and prepare a dish of cookies and carrots for the midnight visitors. 

I, in my kerchief, and Hubby in his cap, sit back and relax before the fire, and await the magic that we know the morning will bring.   Peace on earth, and goodwill to you all.  Whether or not your celebrate Christmas, have a wonderful day tomorrow.  And don’t forget to notice those magic moments and commit them to memory.

Merry Christmas,

J Monkeys