Thursday, November 20, 2014

Christmas Cheats

As my mania is well documented here on the blog, it's not very surprising that I'm already biting at the bit for Christmas movies. I try to keep myself on a strict schedule - no holiday movies or music until Thanksgiving. I do this more for other people than myself...well, it's a little bit for myself, seeing as I'd like to keep my friends.

But once Santa comes riding down the street in the Thanksgiving Day Parade, all bets are off. 

I'm generally able to hold off until the aforementioned acceptable start time, but sometimes the insanity stirs early. Especially when I'm in the process of planning the RAINN Down Hope fundraiser. I don't know that anything puts me in the right frame of mind for the holidays as quickly or completely as dealing with all the generous and kind people involved in the dinner - whether they attendees, donors or supporters. 

Seriously, every email, text or tweet I get makes my heart grow three sizes. At this point, it's about 89,613 times larger than it should be, but them's the breaks. The real issue is that now I want to watch a Christmas movie. 

As there's only a week left until I can do and feel no guilt for rushing the season, I'm going to be breaking in to my cheat movies:

1. The Shop Around the Corner
2. When Harry Met Sally
3. While You Were Sleeping
4. Michael
5. You've Got Mail

All movies with Christmas scenes and themes, that give me the fix I need without actually being Christmas movies. 

Another great outlet for my crazy?



Making up this year's Christmas movie calendar! (I exercised great restraint in putting only one exclamation point there. You're welcome.)

Let me know if you'll be "joining" me for any of the movies. We can tweet-chat during. 

Now, all that's left is the countdown until next Thursday when I officially start to see the world through my Christmas eyes. Spoiler alert: they turn you all into claymation. It's awesome. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Fundraiser Update: The November Edition

Happy end of the week, all! The time has come for our monthly donation update. Let me say, the baskets this year are going to be hands down amazing.  Especially now that these lovely folks have been added to those mentioned in September and October.


This is not even mentioning the deluge of auction donations that I’ve received from auction attendees this year. Tickets to sporting events, Broadway plays, restaurant gift certificates, electronics, beautiful baskets full of thoughtful items….this list could go on for a while.  There are baskets for every age group. It’s going to be a perfect way to start any holiday shopping.

Still interested in donating? You’ve got time!

If there’s something you’d like to give as an auction item, just shoot me an email or leave a message in the comments.

If you want to donate directly to RAINN, you can do so at my RAINNmakers page!

Finally, if you’re interested in getting a fun t-shirt, which supports this event and RAINN, there are ONLY FIVE DAYS LEFT in that campaign, so make sure that you get over to T-Fund soon!

As I frequently find myself, I am just plain flabbergasted by the extraordinary generosity of people.  Even having first hand knowledge of how wonderful people are, the swell of support for each of these events still is somewhat astounding. Every day I get more emails of support and there are still more donations coming in. If there was ever anything to put me in the right frame of mind for the coming holidays, it’s getting to interact with all of you as we work to make the world a better, safer place.

So, for the millionth time (which is still nowhere near enough), thank you.


Have a truly wonderful weekend!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Folklore Friday

The time has come, my good friends, for some more delving into North American folklore. I'm simultaneously polishing one book and plotting the next. Keeping these creatures fresh in my mind is pretty much a must. We've already taken a look at A through J, so let's move on down the alphabet, shall we?


Kachina

These creatures are also known as Koko, depending on what tribal lore you're looking into. They're spirits who apparently take the form of ducks and bring rain to the people. Some say this is done by their changing the souls of the dead into rain clouds - which, let's face it, really makes me want to invest in a heavy-duty umbrella. Something about have the dead rained on me is a bit unsettling. The Kachina also love both entertaining and disciplining children. If you happen to be in the market for a mythical babysitter, look no further.


Luferlang

If I'm being quite honest, one of the main reasons I'm including these fellows is because I enjoy saying their name. Come on, try it. Luferlang is just fun to say and, I imagine, quite interesting to see. These guys are fairly distinctive, with both a large blue stripe down enormous backs that sport tails right smack dab in their centers. Being bitten by one is certain death. Luckily for everybody, the Luferlang only bites once a year and lumberjack lore is bizarrely specific on when this "biting season" occurs. July 12. From what I've found, that's it. The biting season is one day. Biggest piece of advice, don't wear green. Drives the Luferlang crazy. If you do happen to have the misfortune of running across one on that ill-fated summer's day, don't worry. Hope is not lost. Clearly displaying an orange colored handkerchief will protect you, as will holding a mirror up so that the Luferlang sees its own reflection. There seem to be some deep-seated body issues here, as looking at its own reflection causes the Luferlang to run off in disgust. Makes me want to give it a big hug...at least it does 364 days a year.


Misiganabic

This is one of those take-the-bad-with-the-good creatures. A gigantic sea serpent, this guy is well respected by the Algonquins for keeping the waters of many different lakes around North America clean. For the most part, it seems that the misiganabic keeps its own counsel and is not looking for any trouble. Unfortunately, trouble is exactly what a person gets if they look at the misiganabic. One glance at the serpentine body that leads up to the head of a horse and you're either looking at crippling misfortune or death - which really makes it hard to enjoy those crystal clear lakes.


Nalusa Falaya

These swamp dwellers come out of Choctaw mythology and are quite the little devils. They're humanoid and pretty much covered head to toe in hair, but this doesn't exactly hide the fact that their backs are covered in sharp spines. Far more upsetting that imagining how much shampoo these guys would blow through is the fact that those spines serve a practical purpose. Once the Nalusa Falaya children shed their skin and turn into glowing spirits that attract travelers to the swamps - you know, as children are wont to do - the adults scare the humans into unconsciousness and then stab them with their spines. Considering the spines are on their backs, I guess that means that they trust fall on to a pile of fainted folks and roll around in a bloody mess. The worst part? This doesn't kill the people. Instead it brainwashes them to wake up, return to their friends and then randomly attack them. Talk about a camp ground buzzkill.


Ohdows

Out of Iroquois lore, the Ohdows are one of the three tribes of Yogah - the other two being the Gahonga (Stone Throwers) and the Gandayah (responsible for the earth's fertility). Of these three, I can say, hands down the Ohdows are the one's I'd want to tag along with on Take-A-Mortal-To-Work-Day. After all, they're responsible for controlling the monsters that live in the underworld and making sure that they don't make a break for the surface. Just show me where to sign and I'm in.


But until I get the necessary permission slip for such work, it's time to focus on the ol' manuscripts. Have a great weekend and don't follow any glowing spirits toward the swamps. If for no other reason, avoid it for your friends' sakes.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Embracing the Creep-Out

Happy Halloween, ghouls and goblins!

Today is the day to embrace your fears, so I've decided to share a few of mine. To keep this list manageable I'm not including spiders and clowns. For one, I've already talked about them and their creepiness factors, but also, show me someone who is not at least mildly rattled by those two things and I will show a robot from the future sent back to destroy us all.

The rest of these are less cut and dry. Let me know if you're joining me in my creep-out or if these things don't really inspire the shudders in you.


Mirrors

Ever since I was a little kid, I've found mirrors a bit unsettling. There's the standard horror movie fear - you know, glance away from the mirror and then back to find that someone is standing behind you - but I think, even bigger than that is the fear that I will still be alone in the mirror, only my reflection will now be acting of it's own free will. That I'll be looking into a mirror absentmindedly as I wash my hands and all of a sudden my reflection will start grinning back at me. At which point I would, naturally, have to burn the house down.


Windows With No Blinds or Curtains

Even if one opts out of using said blinds or curtains, I think every window should have at least one of them - and not just for the people inside. About seven years ago, I was driving through Wisconsin in the middle of the night on my way to the World Circus Museum to do research for my final undergrad research paper. For endless stretches of road, there were no street lights, but every once in awhile there would be a glow off to the side of highway. I'd glance over and it would be a straight shot into someone's living or dining or bedroom, sometimes all of the above. Big time willies. A little bit too Rear Window for my tastes.


Mascots

To say that mascots creep me out may be underselling it a bit. I don't care who the team is or what their mascot happens to be. There is nothing less likely to inspire team spirit in me than someone in a costume that fully obscures who they are coming over to dance in my personal space. When I find myself in these situation, my first instinct always seems to be to knock their comically large heads right off. This may be the reason I'm not invited to many sporting events.


Hearts Carved Into Trees

You know what I'm talking about - that age old tradition of carving ones initials next to those of one's sweetheart to demonstrate one's endless love to the world. It really gives me the willies. Forget about the environmental impact of hacking your affections into bark, this ritual begs the question: Why in the world do so many people bring knives on dates??


Other People's Dreams

This isn't an across-the-board fear. I'm sure some people's dreams are just lovely. However, I spent too many years trying to figure out why the li'l sis was mad at me in the morning only to later be told that I'd been mean to her in a dream not to be wary of people's slumbering reveries. Not to mention, well.....other reasons.


So, those are mine. What about you? Have anything you'd like to share about the things that give you the willies?

Here's some background music while you think:


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Fundraising Extravaganza Continues!

I was absolutely going to talk about Halloweenie topics today, but, you know...best laid plans...slippery slopes...no "I" in team...or something like that. The point is, my sonnets about pumpkin spice and traumatic retelling of the year someone tried to hit me with shaving cream, but tripped and creamed himself (poor kid), are just going to have to wait.

As I'm guessing you've inferred from the title, there's more movement on the fundraising front. Thanks to CafePress, the 2nd Annual RAINN Down Hope Dinner & Auction now has t-shirts! That's right, folks. We've arrived. 

Not only are the shirts pretty cool looking, but a portion of the proceeds of each sold will be added to the money we're raising for RAINN through the auction. So, whether you can't make it, but would like to support the cause and look cool doing it - or you can make it and simply can't resist the thrall of a good t-shirt (no judgments) - this will be $15 well spent. And if you would like to spend it, go here!

Much like Kickstarter, the t-shirts are only produced and mailed if the sale goal is met by the end of the campaign. This one will last until November 20 to ensure that we have the profits in time to add them to that of the auction and that you have the t-shirt so you can celebrate with us on December 6th from whatever the distance. So, you have thirty days, if you're interested in expanding your wardrobe to benefit RAINN. 

Once you get your shirt, if you find yourself wanting to help boost awareness even further and post a picture of yourself wearing the shirt....well, first of all, you're awesome. Secondly, feel free to tag your pictures with #RAINNDownHope so we can all find each other.

Finally, tune in next time for some decidedly more Halloweenish conversation. I'll fill you all in on how I'm being haunted. 

Okay, maybe that's not true. 

But a girl can dream, can't she?

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?