Thursday, October 16, 2014

RAINN Auction: Sub Two Months!

RSVPs are officially rolling in! I think I could keep doing this event for a million years and still be dance-break-worthy excited every time one of those shows up in my mailbox - or, a million years from now, in my brain synchronizer, or whatever we're using then.

You may have seen some of these announcements on Twitter, but I wanted to catch everyone up on the amazing donations being given to December's RAINN auction. I mentioned last month that the donor list is a veritable bucket of awesome and October's additions have only made that more true.

Hello and thank you to the October contingent!


This list doesn't even include all the superbly generous folks who are both attending the auction and donating baskets - all of whom, save those who choose to donate anonymously, will be included on the final Donors of Phenomemazingtastic celebratory list in December.

Please excuse me whilst I do my traditional auction-is-shaping-up-to-be-amazing dance. (Spoiler alert: It involves a move I learned watching Center Stage 2: Turn It Up, which, come to think of it, totally deserves it's own BM,GPT.) Also, in honor of one of our donors, today's dance will be to a song that I've found very inspiring in my hardest moments:


Look for another update next month, with some little update-ettes on Twitter from now until then. Want more information on RAINN and the great work they do? Their website is right this way....

If you're interested in donating an item or basket for auction, there's still plenty of time - just shoot me an email. You can also support the cause by making a donation to my RAINNmakers page or just by spreading the word about this event. Every signal boost makes a huge difference, so thank you!!

Have a weekend of greatness!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Dark Corners & Creepy Dolls

We have officially entered the month of All Hallow's Eve. So, naturally, I'm thinking about scary things. Okay, not really scary things. Not like that doll from Annabelle. Seriously, come on folks. Maybe, if you absolutely must buy dolls, give yourself a fighting chance and at least stop buying the ones that already look demonic. Even if it turns out that they don't want to kill you (unlikely), there's no way that any child looking at one of those things from their crib everyday isn't going to grow up a bit traumatized. I'm feeling a little traumatized just thinking about it. 

No, no, no. I said I'm not thinking about scary dolls. NOT. Just like I'm not thinking spider. Evil, creepy, crawly harbingers of doom who want to crawl all over me whilst I slumber, nesting in my hair and - No! Stop it, brain! We are thinking about non-scary scary things. NON-SCARY SCARY. I have to sleep again someday, you jerk. 

You know, like the little sis. 

When we were kids, my sister loved little more than lying in wait and then jumping out and scaring the crap out of me. She appeared from behind doors, down dark hallways, once from a kitchen cabinet that I had foolishly believed to be filled only with pots and pans. 

There were always two things I could be sure of:

1. If there was a chance for my sister to make scream, she would take it. 
2. Before that scream had even finished, she would be insisting that I promise that I was never going to try to get her back. 

And I always did make that promise, partly because I just wanted her to stop saying it so I could focus on pushing my heart down out of my throat and partly because I knew in my heart of hearts that I had already scared her enough for a lifetime - HOWEVER INADVERTENTLY - and that I had to be a kind older sister. So, that's what I was. 

Mostly. 

You see, my parents got us My Twin dolls for Christmas one year. We loved them, but over the years my sister grew to be a bit creeped out by this toy with her face. She used to put it away in the closet on a regular basis. I can neither confirm nor deny if I was the reason this had to be done more than once. Nor will I admit to placing it on her bed, with the head tilted toward the door so the little sister doll would be staring at my little sister human when she came in. No, sir. I won't admit to anything of the sort. 

Look at that - I ended up thinking of scary dolls after all. And yet I'm smiling. 

Possibly in a maniacal fashion. But who can really say?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Popping the champagne!

A big CONGRATULATIONS to my beta-reading buddy Scarlett Cole today! Her three book deal with St. Martin's has officially been announced.

*loads cannon with confetti and pie* *fires it despite the mess* *dances maniacally under falling chunks of pie and paper*

I am, of course, so happy for Scarlett, but I'm also quite please for all of you. This means you are that much closer to getting to read THE STRONGEST STEEL. And, trust me, you want to.

After hearing all this great news, I am now in the mood for romance. In case you're feeling the same way, here are a few of my recent favorites:



Romancing the Duke (Tessa Dare)

A charming twist on Beauty & the Beast, complete with fairy tales within fairy tales and some Regency LARPing. What's not to love?

It Happened One Wedding (Julie James)

If you're a fan of banter, this one's for you. More than once did I grin goofily at a section of dialogue - one of the many reasons I try to read out of the public eye.

It's in His Kiss (Jill Shalvis)

This is the tenth installment of the Lucky Harbor books and if it wasn't for my deep devotion to the east coast, I'd be packing my bags to move cross country - fictional town or not. Not to mention, Becca and Sam are currently warring with Chloe and Sawyer for my favorite town couple.

Waiting on You (Kristan Higgins)

A very sweet second chance at first love story. The characters are likable, but not perfect - which is exactly what I'm looking for in someone I'm going to spend 400+ pages with.

Up By Five (Erin Nicholas)

The last in the Counting on Love series. Not only was it great to catch up with the other characters and to see Connor get his happy ending, but Gabby was one of my favorite heroines of the series.



Do you have suggestions for my next reads? I'd love to hear them! Leave them in the comments, then get out of here and go congratulate Scarlett!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Invitations are a go!

That's right! Invitations to the 2nd Annual RAINN Down Hope Dinner & Auction are officially in the mail. *does Running Man dance in celebration*

If you're interested in receiving an invite and think I don't have your address, shoot me an email. Actually email me even if you do think I have it, just in case! Also, my email is the best way to get in touch with me if you have an item or basket that you'd like to donate for auction.

Enormous thank yous to anyone who has/would like to help spread the word by tweeting/blogging/facebook-ing links to the blog or my RAINNmaker page.

If attending the dinner isn't an option, but you'd still like to donate to RAINN (again...big THANK YOUs), you can do so on my RAINNmaker page.

Here's some information on the crimes we're addressing and the organization being helped by your donations:





To learn more about RAINN's great work, visit their website.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Alternate Bannings

Happy Banned Books Week, folks!

I hope you're celebrating this always exciting time by reading absolutely whatever the hell floats your boat. But if you're looking for other thematic activities, check out these offered by the American Library Association.

In the meantime, while I've been shaking my head in an exasperated fashion over the very idea of banning books, I have come up with a short list of things of which I would support the prohibition:

  • Wedding receptions with more than two group/line dancing songs.
    • Electric Slide, Cupid Shuffle, Cha Cha Slide, Cotton Eyed Joe, the YMCA - the list goes on and seems to be getting longer every year. And let's be honest, even two in one night is probably more than anyone needs.

  • Calling it a "funny bone."
    • I mean, I love ironic names as much as the next person who has pain reverberating up and down her arm. But, maybe we should just stop this. 

  • Accidentally stepping in water whilst wearing only socks
    • I don't know what it is about feeling liquid soak into my socks, but it make me want to destroy all the things.

  • The phrase "You know what I'm saying?"
    • If I make a solemn vow that I will ask if I don't, can this stop being inserted into conversation?


  • Saying "I could care less" when you mean "I couldn't care less."
    • This oldie but goodie drives me bug nuts. We could all care less about a whole slew of things, so unless you're confessing that you're closer to a situation than you'd like, it doesn't seem worth mentioning. And it especially shouldn't be said in the same tone as telling someone to shove it. 

And as a bonus:
  • Squirrels
    • Do I really need to say more?


So, those are some of my bannables. What about yours?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Fundraiser Update!

Good morning, all!

I'm sure anyone who's been checking out my Twitter feed knows that I've been having a bunch of good mornings, afternoons and evenings lately thanks - once again - to the tremendous generosity of people. Because of this never ending, clown-car-esque line of great people, the fundraiser is coming together beautifully.


*tries to do a cartwheel* *remembers expertise is sadly lacking* *settles for enthusiastic jumping*

As promised, I want to keep people updated, so here are the auction's phenomenal donors thus far:




Last year at this time, I'd just decided to try and come up with some kind of fundraiser, so to have so many donors already this year is beyond exciting. Sending me further over the moon are the prospective donors in the wings. I feel pretty confident in guaranteeing that this year's auction is going to be amazing.

Plus (!!) I'm at 56 ornament favors completed and counting, once again blowing last year's efforts out of the water. By the beginning of last October, I probably could have boasted six.



I don't want to jump the gun, but maybe - MAYBE - this could be my first event ever where I'm not up until dawn the night before working on something crafty. *nods enthusiastically* *shakes head realistically*

In the name of that lofty goal, I should get back to work. Invites go out next week! If you want to get one, shoot me an email. Same goes if you have an item or basket that you're interested in donating.

If you want more info, check out my RAINNmakers page and have a fantastic rest of your week!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Not-So-Guilty Pleasures: The Scarlett Cole Edition

Good morning, all!

The time has come for another author to spill some secrets! And I am so very, very excited to be
hosting one of my extremely talented beta readers, Ms. Scarlett Cole. Spoiler alert, this woman's writing is the bee's knees. But today isn't about her fantastic stories, but the lovely lady herself. Let's see what she revealed....


Not-So-Guilty Pleasures


Hi Everybody,

Thanks so much to Kelly for inviting me to swing by her blog. It’s nice to meet you all. Settling on five guilty pleasures was tougher than I thought. So here goes:

Live Music

My husband and I love live music. It’s our date night. They don’t have to be big and fancy. Often, the grungier, seedier, and smaller the venue, the more personal the concert feels. One year, we went to over thirty concerts. There is something about the atmosphere of a concert, feeling your chest reverb from the volume, and sharing that experience with other fans. There’s no judgment about who you are, what you do, or where you come from. You are just there for the music. It’s a great equalizer.

My Christmas Tree

I am a sucker for the holidays and the dysfunctional mayhem that comes with families crashing together in the spirit of goodwill.

My guilty pleasure is a fabulous looking tree. Over fifteen hundred lights, thirty meters of ribbon, and hundreds of hand collected baubles are hung with, shamefully, zero assistance from my children. I won’t let them help because I hate people messing with my tree. I like balance, equally spaced colors, and variety in textures. I buy them their own trees, and we decorate them at the same time but they know better than to touch mine.

Broadway Show Tunes

In an alternate universe, I am convinced I am Idina Menzel. I love singing along to soundtracks from great musicals.

My sister and I used to perform in the school Gilbert and Sullivan productions. She has a way better voice than I do and I was often relegated to singing the harmony when we were younger. To this day, I can only sing Barbara Dickson’s part in I Know Him So Well from Chess.
Unfortunately enthusiasm is not a replacement for talent.

Dark Chocolate Digestive Biscuits

At 82 calories a pop, these really are the guiltiest of guilty pleasures on my list. I have this timed to perfection. I make my tea and like to get my first dunk within two minutes of the kettle boiling. The dunk can be no less than seven seconds because the biscuit is still too hard but no more than nine seconds or else the dunked bit drops off into the tea, which is gross. I eat half the biscuit in one bite. If the words aren’t coming or I am having a rough day, I allow myself four biscuits in one sitting but then I add fifteen minutes to my workout the next day.

Pens and Notebooks

I love stationary shops. When I discover a new one, I get the closest thing to a legal high. I could spend hours in one trying to find the perfect notebook, notelets and pens. I edit my manuscripts by hand. For some reason, I feel like I pay more attention when I am holding a pen. I use a Pilot Dr. Grip Gel pen in black. Not the fanciest pen out there, but it doesn’t bleed at all and allows me to write in very tiny print. When I am plotting story lines by hand I love color. I use Sharpie fine point pens and assign different colors to the hero, heroine and external threat so I can keep track visually of pacing.



Want to know more about Scarlett Cole? Of course you do!
@ItsScarlettCole

Now, while you're checking out more of her awesome, I'll be figuring out how to swing a visit to Scarlett's house this holiday season. Three trees!! *swoon*

Friday, September 5, 2014

Places to Visit: Toledo & Madrid

Hello all! I have returned from my visit to sunny Spain. 

It was, of course, amazing, despite some almost comical travel problems - at final count it took 1 delayed flight, 1 missed connection, 20 hours, 3 planes, 2 cabs, 2 buses and 1 train to get to Toledo. 

But it was worth it. If I was ever in the mood for tilting at windmills, Castilla-La Mancha would certainly be a beautiful place to do it. 


In addition to being just simply beautiful, the city also houses the Primate Cathedral of St. Mary of Toledo - one of the three thirteenth century Gothic cathedrals in Spain. 


It's gorgeously overwhelming. 


Though, if I'm being completely honest, those cherubs that are just heads and wings? They creep me out a bit. 

From here, it was off to Madrid, which now holds the distinction of being the first place I've ever seen flamenco or a public proposal. The first was amazing - graceful, sweeping arm movements paired with long, staccato bursts of footwork at an energy level I can't even comprehend - the second was pretty damn adorable. 


Plus, just looking at the palace all lit up at night is reason enough for the trip. 


I will say with all the sight seeing, my vacation reading time wasn't extensive. But that just means that the normal pre-book anticipation is building away and should make my State-side reading all the more fun. 

Also, I found that being stuck on a plane for hours to be conducive to writing daydreams. Meaning that I have work to get started on. 

Have a great weekend!!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Suitcase Full of Books...and Other Good Things

I don't know about you, but the end of this summer is turning into happy madness for me. 

First off is Pitch Wars, which is fantastic fun - even in the waiting stages. Regardless of whether or not you're taking part in it, you should definitely check out the hashtag. It's such a great way to get to know other writers. 

Secondly, it's traveling time once again! I'm so intensely excited to be dusting off the old suitcase again. This won't be too long of a trip, but it will be memorable. I mean....Spain! *Breaks into tap dance -- remember I can't tap dance -- settles for enthusiastic jumping.* Plus, I've made sure I have some new books in honor of the occasion:

- Just Like the Movies (Kelly Fiore)
- Gates of Thread and Stone (Lori M. Lee)
- Obsidian (Jennifer L. Armentrout)
- Being Jamie Baker (Kelly Oram)
- Prep School Confidential (Kara Taylor)

There are just wins all over the place. This does, however, mean next week's post will probably be a little late, as I'm not sure what ye olde Internet situation will be like. But when I do post, expect pictures!

Finally, there is the fundraiser. Planning is going awesomely. The list of items to be auctioned is growing and chock full o really fun things. I've mentioned a few on Twitter, but will be sending out more updates over the coming months, so keep an eye out! And, of course, endless thanks to everyone for their generosity thus far!!

Now, I'm off to do my traditional packing ritual - something akin to Supermarket Sweep. Ten minutes to pull clothes from drawers and then no looking in the bag until I reach my destination. Keeps things interesting. 

Have a happy new week, folks! When next we speak, I should be nursing a nice sunburn and the traditional September smell of pumpkin spice everything will be in the air. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

On In the Line Mix Path Not Chosen Double Feature (Bad Movies/Good Party Themes)

Hello all! It's been far too long since we've had a good party theme here. In the spirit of apologizing, I'm making this a double feature event.

What better way, I ask you, to spend an evening of bad movies and good parties that with two gems from the early 2000s. It was a wonderful time. If you were anything like me, you were rocking a boxy school uniform and hair that was far too long, while obsessively taping old episodes of Early Edition on VHS for after you finished your report on Lynne Reid Banks. Or, you know, you were doing other things. Regardless, it was a glorious period of cultural history.

How do I know that for a fact? Because the first five years gave us not only On the Line, starring Lance Bass and Emmanuelle Chriqui, but also In the Mix, starring Usher Raymond and...Emmanuelle Chriqui.

In addition to sharing punchy titles and a leading lady, these movies also have two main characters who both have shades of the actors who play them. Lance Bass' Kevin used to be part of a band, but now works in advertising. Usher's Darrell went from being a success in the music business to a job as a bodyguard.

This is what you'll be asking of your guests. Have everyone show up dressed as themselves had they chosen a different life path, zigged instead of zagged.

Rather than explaining to people who they are now, every attendee should write down on a piece of paper what their new profession is and throw it in a bowl. For the rest of the night, ask each other any question - with the exception of all derivations of "what's your job?" - and see how many can be guessed before the night is over!

In terms of prizes for anyone who manages to figure it all out, may I suggest used copies of the movies' soundtracks? Anyone who's ever felt nostalgia for the early twenty-first century will thank you. Anyone who hasn't....probably won't appreciate being on the invite list for this party. Leave those nice people alone.


Tagline (On the Line): She's one in a million. His chances of finding her again are a million to one.

Tagline (In the Mix): Everyone wants a piece of his action.


Crackerjack dialogue to look forward to:
      - "I just want to be able to walk down the street without a ten woman pileup."
      - "Love may not make the world go round, but it makes the ride worthwhile."
      - "Italian people put red sauce on their macaroni."
      - "You're like the poster boy for the romantically challenged!"

Can you guess which are from which?


For an On In the Line Mix Path Not Chosen Double Feature of your very own, here's what you need:
      - On the Line (2001)
      - In the Mix (2005)
      - Container for guests' career confessions. This is where you get to scoff at everyone who laughed at you for holding on to the tins from your Altoids Tangerine Sours (or whatever early 2000s candy you favored). And they told you that was a waste of space...
      - Prizes for winners. Like I said before, soundtracks work well. Or you could just give them a piece of paper with pictures of Lance Bass, Usher and Emmanuelle Chriqui taped on, for them to doodle hearts around. Your call. (I know I'd appreciate either.)
      - In terms of food, I think pizza is the way to go seeing as the movies take place in Chicago and New York respectively. Plus, this opens up the conversation to which style of pizza is better, and there is really no truer way to know a person than answering that question.
      - A contingent of Emmanuelle Chirqui groupies and/or folks who love to wonder about what could have been and/or anyone who's ever hummed along to N*SYNC or Usher - which means you pretty much have to invite everyone you know. Hope your place is roomy!