A Day Late & Several Dollars Short

Hi, all! Lori here and I apologize for not posting this yesterday. Christmas is such a whirlwind of parties, and gift-wrapping, and tree-trimming–it’s overwhelming.

I’m going to tell you my trick for handling the pressures of gift-giving this month–online. shopping.

I don’t buy anything from a brick-and-mortar shop. Maybe that makes me a terrible person (because small businesses need our money so much, especially at Christmas). Here’s the thing: I live in the middle of nowhere. There’s nothing around. Tumbleweeds blow past. The reliable, brown UPS truck pulls up to the driveway and he or she emerges with a pile of packages.

I rely on two websites (mostly, mostly) to fulfill my shopping needs. The evil Amazon and Etsy.

First of all, they both have apps. It’s seriously easy to pick out the perfect present. Second, Etsy is packed with small businesses, so I’m still giving back to those companies that need every dollar to survive. Finally, well… look. I’m a busy person. I work full-time. I try to write, to be a good friend, to take care of my family. The thing is, having my purchases delivered to me, in boxes I can then wrap and regift, is the only thing keeping me sane right now.

Unfortunately, the other side of the coin: it’s so damn easy, I may have a spending addiction. 1- Need a thing, 2- open app, 3- choose your poison, 4- buy now, 5-it arrives in two days. So, maybe there’s a downside to all of this ease. But it’s one I’ll have to learn to manage because fighting the crowds in person–not for this chick.

About Lori Sizemore

Lover of nail polish, pens, her Kindle, and fresh coffee. She likes romance filled with messy, real characters and lots of snarky banter. Reading was (and still is!) her BFF; when she discovered writing she fell in love. Come for the snark. Stay for the story.

Going Christmas Tree Crazy #christmas2018

Hi, all! Jennifer here.

Well, I finally did it. I bought a second Christmas tree.

So why two Christmas trees, Jen? Two very good reasons

WHITE LIGHTS   For over 20 years, I’ve wanted white lights on our Christmas tree. I always get shot down by the family every year. Is it too much to ask?

HOMEMADE ORNAMENTS  So, last year when I was about to hang all the homemade ornaments my daughter had made when she was younger, she wouldn’t let me. WHAT?! Yes, she thought they were ugly and ruined the tree.  Um…THEY ARE VERY GORGEOUS TO ME!!!

That’s when I decided that I would buy myself a little tree to house my white lights and homemade ornaments. Actually, it’s not that little. It’s 7 feet. But still.

Here it is:

 

I love it! Fits just right in my dining room and makes me so happy. I just need a few more ball ornaments to get and then it’ll be perfect.

And for the record, here is the family tree:

Honestly? I’m thinking of getting a third tree and decorating it in all seashore ornaments!

(Somebody stop me!!!)

Merry Christmas and happy tree decorating!

How many Christmas trees do you have in your house?

 

 

About Jennifer Shirk

Jennifer Shirk is a USA Today bestselling sweet romance author for Montlake and Entangled Publishing who also happens to be a mom, pharmacist, Red Sox fan, P90x grad, and overall nice person. 🙂

Stuffed

I began this week, thinking… uh, oh. Diet Sabbatical, here you come. With all the foodie inspiration popping up on Facebook, this holiday week is bound to be filled with every amazing dish known to mankind. And it was true… we had turkey and baked dishes filled with cooked down veggies and creams and sauces. Pies like you just can’t even do more than once a year!

I’m stuffed. My buttons are tight. I’ve run in an effort to balance, but let’s be honest…ain’t no running enough to counteract the Diet Sabbatical!! haha.

You know what else I’m stuffed with?

Good ideas.

I’ve had a great week of pulling back, spending time with family, and just listening. I’m returning home from Florida today, feeling refreshed and ready to go. Excited to end the year on a good note and carry it through to 2019. I hope this Thanksgiving has found you doing the same: eating, enjoying life, relaxing, and filling your soul with the next best selling idea!! Whether that be the burnt fried turkey…the fight Uncle John had with Aunt Maude…Cousin Frankie’s new tattoo…or your sister’s announcement that she is pregnant with number 12 [she does know how that happens, right?].

What’s one thing that happened this week that will definitely end up in a book someday?

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

Apathy…the death of a book

*waves* Hey everyone! I’m Jus and I’m new to the blog. I’ll be dropping by on the 17th of each month to brighten (or darken—results may vary) your day.

I read and write across the board. Everything from thrillers to young adult. All kinds of stories, all kinds of characters. I do it for the thrill of adventure, to visit new, exotic locations without having to leave behind my toasty fireplace and fuzzy socks. To meet fantastical creatures and solve the most diabolical crimes all while sipping hot chocolate and listening to my dog snore.

I also do it to feel.

Anger, joy, sadness, hate—emotion is a large part of what makes me want to read and write. I want to pick up a book and feel something. I want to fall in love. Be angry when the hero and heroine are thwarted. I want to Snoopy Dance when the bad get gets his due. Who wants to finish a story where you don’t feel anything for the characters? Be it reading or writing, no one is going to stick with a story that’s just meh.

Apathy is the death of a book.

No truer words have ever been spoken. When the reader isn’t emotionally invested in what happens, the whole thing becomes pointless. As writers, it’s our job to create characters that keep people riveted. How many times have you put down a book because you just don’t care? We’ve all done it. As a writer, this is my red flag. If I’m feeling this way about a work in progress, then I know something isn’t working. Something must change. Because if I’m not feeling it, the reader won’t.

It isn’t just about love, either. Hate is just as good. Hell, sometimes it’s more powerful. When you’re emotionally invested in a book, and you come across an uber-baddie, don’t you worry what devious plot he has in store for the hero and heroine?

We read to feel. To connect. As long as readers feeling something, then I’ve done my job. From cheering your favorites on as they pursue their quest, to screaming in frustration when the bad guy gains the upper hand. A handful of tissues, or the urge to yell at the page. If you walk away feeling, then I’m a happy puppy.

What about you guys? Is there a particular book or fictional character out there that’s evoked a strong emotion? Share! I’m always looking for a new read.

About Jus Accardo

JUS ACCARDO spent her childhood reading and learning to cook. Determined to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps as a chef, she applied and was accepted to the Culinary Institute of America. But at the last minute, she realized her true path lay with fiction, not food. A native New Yorker, she lives in the middle of nowhere with her husband, three dogs, and sometimes guard bear, Oswald.

What happens when you outgrow… yourself?

I mean, we’ve all outgrown clothes (#stealingtoomuchHalloweencandy), boyfriends, even homes. I’ve got 2 kids and 2 dogs and 2 cats and a husband. They don’t make a house big enough for my crew.

But… this was something different. I was no longer excited to write. I was no longer excited about my releases (though I will forever and always love my Viva Las Vegas stories because they don’t “fit” anywhere—much like myself). I had a new book come out less than ten days ago and I’m not here to tell you about it.

I needed a do-over, to think outside the box. And that’s when I realized something. This is the book world—people get do-overs all the damn time. Want to write in a different genre? Change your name, change your cover style, change your voice—do whatever you want to be someone else.

Hell, even Nora Roberts did it. J.D. Robb has a very successful career as a novelist (like La Nora needed to get struck by lightning twice).

And, so, here I am, contemplating… who do I want to be next? What do I want to write now? I can throw off the yoke and just be, well, anyone.

So that’s what I did. I’m not here to publicize my new nom de plume. She’s just for me right now. I don’t know what I’ll do with her. I, writing as myself, have a story or two left in me that have to come out while I’m figuring all this out.

And that’s great because once I realized I could be anyone… I could write again. The characters have come alive again. And that means EVERYTHING.

Have a great month of preparing for the holidays you and yours celebrate, spending time with your loved ones, and planning for the future. That’s exactly what I’ll be doing.

About Lori Sizemore

Lover of nail polish, pens, her Kindle, and fresh coffee. She likes romance filled with messy, real characters and lots of snarky banter. Reading was (and still is!) her BFF; when she discovered writing she fell in love. Come for the snark. Stay for the story.

Jenn’s Top Ten list of Men with Beards #noshavenovember

Hi, all! Jennifer here.

Well, it’s November already! And you know what that means…

No-Shave November is a month-long journey during which participants forgo shaving and grooming in order to evoke conversation and raise cancer awareness.

I admit I LOVE this idea. What a wonderful cause. Although, truth be told, I’m not a big fan of facial hair on men. I do prefer a clean cut kind of guy and most of the heroes I write about in my books don’t have facial hair. Sorry.

However… every once in a while I do catch a glimpse of a celebrity who has recently grown some facial hair and I have to say, he looks good. Sometimes even better.

Thus, I decided to create a top ten list. So here goes:

Jenn’s Top Ten list of Celebrities Who Look Great (if not better) with Beards

  1. Chris Evans– Sexy scruff.
  2. Chris Pine— Oh, my. Even with that tinge of gray it gets a YES from me.
  3. Joe Manganiello—Whoa. Yeah, I think the beard works in this instance.
  4. Prince Harry—MUCH better with a beard.
  5. Drake—So adorable
  6. Bradley Cooper— That’s a lot of beard. But then again, he’s a lot of man so it all balances out.
  7. Ricky Martin—Ooh, a beard makes him look so sophisticated.
  8. George Clooney—Beard or no beard. Who cares? This man can do whatever he wants.
  9. David Beckham—Yes. Yes. Yes.
  10. Chris Hemsworth— I’m sorry. What were we talking about again? 

 

Gee, I feel somewhat inspired to write a character with a beard now.

How about you—do you prefer facial hair or clean cut on a guy? Or does it depend on the guy?

About Jennifer Shirk

Jennifer Shirk is a USA Today bestselling sweet romance author for Montlake and Entangled Publishing who also happens to be a mom, pharmacist, Red Sox fan, P90x grad, and overall nice person. 🙂

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