Posted by Caren Crane Dec 18 2012, 12:13 am in 12 Bandita Days of Christmas, angels, Caren Crane, Christmas tree toppers, Christmas trees, cookie recipe, date cookies, easy date drop cookies, prizes, stars
Every year, I look forward to putting up our Christmas tree. It’s artificial, so it’s just a matter of removing and sorting limbs, fluffing them out and sticking them in the pole. But still, it’s a wonderful time for me. I love the lights and all my ornaments: the shiny, the sentimental, the store-bought, the handmade. They are all special and beloved. When the lights are on the tree – and I think there were 8 strands this year – and the poor thing groans with snowmen, Santas, bells, angels, doves, crosses, candy canes, mice (which, for some reason, we have lots of on the tree!) and reindeer, I am blissfully happy.
I love to stare at the lighted tree, thinking of wonderful (or sad) Christmases past. Even the melancholy memories are sad in a way I cherish. What can I say? I was a melancholy, sentimental child and have grown to believe we can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness (as Gotye told us Somebody I Used To Know). I have spent countless hours staring at a lighted Christmas tree, often in a darkened room, enjoying every happy (or sad) moment. Christmas would not be the same without my tree.
But. This year, I find myself with no tree topper. Since the tree in question is artificial, we have only a bare branch sticking straight up at the top. The benighted branch has been bent over on itself to accomodate various toppers over the years. And there have been toppers. All beloved in their day. All tossed aside when the new kid came to town.
First there was a STAR. No lights, no shiny bits. Just a gold star with a conic base. It was my first tree topper and I enjoyed it for years. It happily adorned the top of the live trees I bought when my son was little (despite the fact that I was allergic to them all). Then the top of the artificial tree we bought when it became apparent that the baby (my second child, older daughter) was allergic as well. Eventually I grew restless, though, and was eventually lured by…
The ANGEL. The angel was sweet and, well, angelic. She had lovely blond hair, rosy cheeks, a flowing white gown (covering a conic base, of course). She was slightly shinier than the star but, alas, she could not hold my affections forever. She lacked…color. I’m afraid I was after something a bit more spicy than my angel tree topper provided. Several years ago I was shopping in one of those Christmas stores that pop up like mushrooms at the mall in what used to be a shoe store or a card shop. At the Christmas store, I found the greatest tree topper of all time…
The SHINY, LIGHTED STAR WITH REFLECTORS! Oh, how I loved the shiny, lighted star with reflectors! It dazzled the eyes at the top of my tree, practically blinding in its Christmasy glory. Stare at that puppy too long and you’d come away with singed retinas. It really gave our tree some extra pizazz, a little KA-POW! for the holidays. Alas and alack! The star was, perhaps, a bit ambitious in all its shininess. It was, for all its handsome reflectivity, cheaply made. It stopped lighting up after 3 years and no tweaking, bulb replacing, cussing or fiddling would make it light up again.
This year, I gave up on the shiny, lighted star with reflectors and threw it in the garbage can. Which left me with no tree topper at all. The top of my tree is a bare, bent limb so far this year. But I feel the newly-sprouted Christmas store at the mall calling to me. What I need, though, is to approach my purchase with a cool head and a firm idea of what I want before I get there.
So tell me, Banditas and Buddies, what adorns the top of your tree? Have you been faithful to a single topper or have you been seduced by a series of increasingly-flashy toppers as I have? And what would you recommend for the Crane tree topper, to augment our panoply of ornamental goodness? Help a sister decide!
And never forget, we are deep in the throes of the 12 Bandita Days Of Christmas! Every day, the cabana boys are pulling the name of a lucky commenter to win Bandita treasures. On Christmas Day, there will be a HUGE grand prize awarded, including books from Banditas and favorite authors like Sabrina Jeffries, Liz Carlyle, Deb Marlowe, Marquita Valentine, Lydia Dare (who are all friends of mine, btw, and sweethearts!). So check back each day and keep on commenting!
And while you’re thinking, enjoy these
EASY DATE DROP COOKIES
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups brown sugar, packed
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c. water or buttermilk
3-3/4 c. flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
2 c. chopped, pitted dates
3/4 c sugar
3/4 c. water
3/4 c. chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Cream the sugar and butter until smooth. Add the eggs and vanilla and blend. Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl and add them alternately with the water or buttermilk. Boil the filling ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat until thick. Drop a spoonful of dough onto a greased cookie sheet. Top with a slightly smaller spoonful of filling and then top that with about half the amount of dough you used on the bottom layer. Bake for 8 – 10 min. Let cool on a wire rack.
Yummy and they look like you worked really hard on them!
Posted by Donna MacMeans May 16 2012, 12:57 am in angels, cowboys, demons, Erotica, Karen Kelly, paranormal, Where's there smoke
Join me in welcoming Karen Kelly in the lair. While Karen and I have never actually met face-to-face, we meet frequently via the miracle of the internet. Don’t we live in amazing times? Karen’s books are hot, hot, hot, so when I learned she had a new release, I invited her to come tell us about it. Welcome Karen!
Thanks so much for the invitation to blog! I’m absolutely thrilled to be here.
My twenty-first book was released May 1st, Where There’s Smoke. This is the first book in a brand new series so I’m even more excited.
Sometimes an idea takes root, then slowly grows over time. That’s how it happened with this new series. I read something similar to this: Angels mated with beautiful mortal women and their offspring were called nephilim. Some thought they were heroes.
I was hooked. An idea began to form. The heroes would be demi-gods. They could answer prayers. Now I ask you, who wouldn’t want a sexy man showing up on her doorstep to answer her prayers? But the nephilim wouldn’t live by the same rules as mere men. They’d break
more rules than they kept and then make up new ones. Nothing would be able to stop them. Well, almost nothing.
Chance decides to save the soul of a wannabe demon. This is how her story starts:
Destiny Carter was six years old when she had the first inkling that her life wouldn’t be a fairy tale. That was the day her mother left her in a
grocery store and never came back. Destiny was right, her life went downhill from there. Bad foster homes, bad boyfriends, and really, really bad choices.
Then she died and went to Hell.
Until she was kicked out.
Now you know a little more about the heroine. She only has a week to steal a soul so she can become a full-fledged demon with all the rights of a demon, like living a life of luxury and having sex.
Destiny has no idea that Chance has a very different agenda and he doesn’t plan on letting her win, but the best laid plans have a way of unraveling and he just might be in danger of losing his own soul.
From Night Owl Reviews:
You’ll read this book in no time, enjoying every minute…and be dreaming of the next book in the series. Ms. Kelley knows her stuff when writing erotic romance. I highly recommend Where There’s Smoke and I look forward to reading more! 4.75
From Publishers Weekly:
Bestseller Kelley (the Princes of Symtaria series) launches a sultry paranormal series with this smoky, sweet, and surprisingly touching tale… The plot is strong and fast-paced, and the romance as deeply sensual as it is playful and sweet…
Kelley burns up the pages with this hot series starter… this book is witty, sexy and a lot of fun. Readers won’t be able to wait to read the next installment! 4 Stars
You may have noticed the belt buckle on the cover. I set my book in Texas because I love cowboys. Tell me about your home state and the best thing about it. One person leaving a comment will win a copy of Where’s There Smoke.
You can find out more about my books at www.authorkarenkelley.com Check out all the fun giveaways, the recipes and crafts…and check out my new video of Where’s There’s Smoke.