Posts tagged with: Caren Crane

March Coming Attractions

Finally March!  Can spring be far behind?  I sure hope not!

Welcome to the first month of the new, laid-back Lair.  As you can see, we’ll be around from time to time, and we’ll also have guests on occasion.




Bandita Jeanne Adams will be in the Lair on March 8th to talk about Spring Books, Springboks, Reeboks and Heading Into Bloom Time (just kidding about the Springboks.  Wanted to see if you were paying attention!)  She’ll also be giving away a copy of her WWII Novella, Behind Enemy Lines.





On March 17, celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in the Lair.  We’ll have Sven’s special canapés along with other yummy treats and, of course, the traditional green beer.  Rumor has it that the cabana boys will all join in the wearin’ o’ the green.

We’re also celebrating the launch of a new anthology, Tiny Treats 2: A St. Patrick’s Day Collection, which features micro-stories that are great for the occasion. Some of the authors will be dropping in. So come join the party!



Dangerous SecretsCaroline Warfield will be back in the lair on March 24th to talk about sex (Heavens!) and her new release.

As Donna MacMeans will be on the road on March 23rd (at least she’s headed someplace warm and sunny) she’ll be blogging on March 25th instead.

Nancy Northcott will be in the Lair on March 26 to chat about books under the bed and other unfinished projects.





Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000031_00004]Caren Crane is taking part in a special IDES OF MARCH sale by some of the Red Door Reads authors! To get you in the spirit (or spirits?) of the Ides Of March, the authors at Red Door Reads have put titles on sale for only 99 cents! Caren’s TIARA WARS is part of this sale. Check out a list of all the sale titles at (And while you are there, please sign up for my newsletter! :-o )


If you want a reminder when we’re here and chatting, remember that you can sign up for the RSS feed.  If you have any problem with that, email romance bandits AT gmail DOT come (no spaces) and let us know.

What’s your favorite thing about the month of March?

So Long! Farewell! Auf Wiedersehen! Adieu!

Well, kids, it’s my last regular blog day here in the Lair. Somehow, though, it doesn’t feel like it. I fully intend to come back and harass you guys from time to time. You know, new releases. Special events. I will probably also host guests and just come by to say hello.

Red Door Reads profile picY’all know we are moving lots of our activity to our Romance Bandits Facebook page, right? Well, I am usually terrible about posting things to Facebook, but since Red Door Reads and now Romance Bandits are using it so heavily, I am trying—slowly, painfully—to change my slothful habits and hang out there more. Really!

killLarry2dThe Red Door Reads chicks have kicked my behind long enough and hard enough that I actually have a NEW novella coming out in April. It is called CROSS SPRINGS SCANDAL and it is the story of what really happened to Katie Warren’s husband Larry. Larry has been dead for a year when Tiara Wars begins. We know Larry had a massive coronary, but we only get some sketchy details about what brought it on. Cross Springs Scandal will give you the rest of the story, told from the viewpoint of a certain Other Woman. Sounds super fun, huh? Cross Springs Scandal is available ONLY as part of the novella anthology 50 Ways To Kill Your Larry. It is available for pre-order now from all major e-tailers for only 99 cents! But the anthology of 10 novellas is a limited time release and won’t be for sale long, only a few weeks. Snatch it up while you can! All pre-order links are available at the Red Door Reads website.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000031_00004]If you haven’t yet read Tiara Wars, shame on you! Just kidding. You will have the chance to buy it ON SALE in March. Keep your eyes peeled and on those Facebook pages! I will also be announcing it in our Romance Bandits newsletter, so be sure to sign up here! And to keep up with what I am doing, sign up for my newsletter here!

In case you haven’t sensed it yet, there is a theme here. Sign up for things! Like things! Subscribe to the Romance Bandits RSS feed on our comments page! Stay notified! I am, selfishly, glad not to be forced to blog several days every month. But I am going to be forced to post to Facebook and to update my lamentably neglected website. So hang onto your hats, Bandita Buddies, ’cause things be changing and we very ancient Banditas be changing with them!

Okay, that was BORING! Now, tell me what you are changing this year. Not whatever you resolved for the New Year and promptly forgot, but what you are really changing. I am moving my fat butt around more this year. I have been doing a pretty good job of that so far. Now your turn!

Valentine’s Day – What’s All the Hubbub?

Once again this year, I watched florists try to make special deliveries of flowers, balloons, chocolates and teddy bears to the completely locked-down building I work in. We have no security guard and an unattended lobby. It’s always fun for those of us who take pity on and end up running interception for the poor delivery drivers, because we get to see who got what and make happy phone calls telling the recipients to come get their goodies. One thing I can always count on, though, is that none of the thwarted deliveries will be for me.

valentines-gift-basketThat doesn’t make me sad, so please don’t feel sorry for me. I find it terribly sweet that other people’s significant others think to send them lovely, expensive tokens to their workplace, so that all their co-workers can see the evidence of their love and devotion. I also believe what Cher’s character Loretta in one of my favorite movies, Moonstruck, says to the florist whose books she is balancing. The florist says to her, about the deep red roses he is carefully packing in a box, “The man who send these really knows what he’s doing.” Loretta says, “The man who sends those spends a lot of money on something that ends up in the garbage.” Amen, Loretta!

Foot-MassagerI truly enjoy Valentine’s Day, but I guess I never really bought the hype. As you guys know by now, I am terribly pragmatic. I would much rather have the carpets cleaned than get an expensive bouquet of flowers. An expression of love? Changing the sheets on the bed. Want to make me swoon? Buy me a foot massager. A really romantic gesture? Cleaning the bathroom spontaneously. Honestly, I would rather my husband took my car to get it detailed than for him to take me out to dinner. For a romance writer, I am not terribly romantic, I suppose. At least not in the way the marketers define it.

Valentines_Day_Chocolates_from_2005One thing my husband and I can both get behind, though, is really good chocolate. Or pretty good chocolate. Or even fair-to-middling chocolate. He prefers his with nuts, I prefer cream centers. We both prefer dark chocolate to milk. But chocolates have a way of showing up at our house on Valentine’s Day. Or sometimes after Valentine’s Day, when they were seriously on sale. We usually (but not always) remember to send cards.

pharmacy greeting cardsThis year, my darling mother and precious children will only get e-cards, I’m afraid, not mailed cards or lovely See’s Chocolates as in years past. A combination of ongoing anemia, with a chills-and-fatigue virus piled on top this week just for giggles, have left me with no energy for card buying. But I will, no doubt, drag myself to the pharmacy today to buy a card and some chocolates for my darling husband. In an act of true love, he went to the grocery store on his way home from work last night and got everything on the grocery list. He also bought me a bottle of wine and a box of sea-salt covered dark chocolate caramels. Is he a Keeper or what?

How do you approach Valentine’s Day? Do you get all jazzed up, with raised expectations and hopes (or plans) for huge romantic gestures? Is anything that turns up a nice surprise? Do you create gorgeous expressions of True Love for the special people in your life? Or do you remember a card (if your lucky) and hope the drugstore or supermarket has a decent selection of chocolates? I will admit, I have done it ALL for Valentine’s Day over the years!

And for all my beloved Banditas and Bandita Buddies, here is a special holiday greeting just for you: happy blogantines day

First Daughters Winner!

1BanditBootyWe had a great time getting to know the First Daughters of Laura Simcox’s contemporary series on Saturday. Laura was giving away the winner’s choice of her First Daughters series to a lucky commenter. The prize goes to…Elaina!!

Elaina, to claim your prize, please e-mail laura @ and let her know which of the three titles you would like, along with your snail mail address. The titles to choose from are:

  • Various States of Undress: Carolina
  • Various States of Undress: Virginia
  • Various States of Undress: Georgia

Congratulations, Elaina!!

Laura Simcox Presents the First Daughters

My dear friend and fellow Heart of Carolina Romance Writer, Laura Simcox, joins us today to talk about daughters. Not just any daughters, but First Daughters. As in, the daughters of the President of the United States. Laura, welcome to the Lair!

Laura Simox Dec 2014Hi, Banditas and Buddies! I’m thrilled to be visiting with you today!

Laura, tell us about your new series. I am intrigued about these First Daughters.

Well, the First Daughters are the subject of my fun, contemporary romance series. Their dilemma can be summed up by my tagline, “Their dad might run the country, but he can’t run them!” Various States of Undress is available in e-book and mass-market print from Avon Impulse.

I see you have brought the First Daughters with you today. Care to introduce them?

I thought it would be fun to have the First Daughters—Carolina, Virginia and Georgia—answer a question for me. Even though the Secret Service is here, it’s imperative that security in the Romance Bandits’ Lair is on lock-down before we begin. The President (can we say overprotective dad?) wouldn’t have it any other way. Ermingarde?

VSOU GeorgiaNever fear, Laura and ladies. Ermingarde and the Romans will let no unauthorized parties across the drawbridge. Demetrius, deploy your men. Sven, please tell the hockey hunks to move their practice to the frozen pond out back. Paolo…er, continue serving our guests, please. Okay, I think that should satisfy even the Secret Service goons—I mean, agents. Carry on, ladies!

Great. Ladies, let ask you a serious question. Since we are here in the Lair of the Romance Bandits, do you fancy yourselves Romance Bandits?

Virginia: Of course. I stole my guy’s heart the minute he laid eyes on me!

Carolina and Georgia: *groan*

Laura: So…here’s the topic. What it was like to fall head over heels in love…while the whole world watched. Fun times?

Carolina: Actually, I was stuck in a cabin in the middle of a snowstorm with my Secret Service agent, so nobody was watching…

Virginia: Oh, but they were speculating! You should have seen the headlines about you and Jake.

Georgia: Epic.

Carolina: *shrugging* Nothing compared the stir you caused, Ginny.

VSOU CarolinaVirginia: Yeah, well, I was in Manhattan.

Georgia: And you were ALREADY in the headlines most of the time anyway when you met Dex.

Virginia: *narrowing eyes* I’m not a wild party girl anymore.

Carolina: Except in private?

Virginia: Private is the operative word in your question, isn’t it? Take heed, Care Bear.

Georgia: Don’t mind those two—they bicker all the time. And they had it easy compared to me. What do you think it was like to BE the media, and have the paparazzi fixated on your private life?

Carolina: *whispering* You were a TV News intern. And you fell for a pro baseball player. What did you expect, Curious Georgia?

Georgia: What I expected doesn’t matter anymore. I have Brett. *grins* Anyway…back to the question. It was rough knowing that my every move might show up on social media, but somehow…I reached this point where I didn’t care. All I could think about was Brett, and…

Virginia: And when you kissed him, the rest of the world just vanished.

Georgia: Exactly.

Virginia: *dreamily* Me, too. Like when I kissed Dex outside Macy’s at Herald Square in front of a crowd holding up their phones taking pictures…

Carolina: Or when I seduced Jake in front of a fireplace…

Georgia: Or when I threw myself at Brett in a baseball stadium in front of thousands of people…

Carolina and Virginia: *exchanging glances*

Virginia: You always have to one up us, don’t you little sister?

Georgia: It’s in my blood to be competitive.

Carolina: Well, in the game of love, we’re all winners.

Virginia: *pause* That was super corny.

Carolina: Oh, shut up.

Laura: Oookay, ladies.

Georgia: What we mean is…true love conquers all. It’s that simple.

Carolina and Virginia: What she said.

VSOU VirginiaOh, young love! It truly does conquer all. And here is an excerpt from Georgia’s book, Various States of Undress: GEORGIA, just to whet your appetite:

Just as Georgia reached the end of the cramped office at the TV station, an office chair rolled backward out of her cube, blocking her path. It was occupied by a long, lean man wearing a tight T-shirt and jeans—a man with a smirk on his handsome face.

Brett Knox.

All the air rushed out of Georgia’s lungs as she stood there staring at him. “Hey, sugar,” he said. “You’re late.”

“My name’s not sugar.” Georgia reached up and tucked a stray wisp of hair behind her ear. “What am I late for? I thought you declined the interview.”

“I did.” Brett gave her a lazy grin—one that promised anything but a serious interview.

His gaze swept over her blatantly, making her feel hot, but she had a feeling that his flirting wasn’t for real. Flirting was what athletes did best, and, like a giggly fool, she’d fallen for that kind of flattery in college. WHAP News wasn’t college, though, and Brett definitely wasn’t an eighteen-year-old jock. He was a professional athlete; dealing with the media was part of his life, wasn’t it? She needed to be professional too. Unfortunately, her pride took hold of her mouth before reason could.

“So you came in person—again—to tell me you’re not doing the interview?”

“No.” Brett shrugged. “After you left the ballpark yesterday, I got called on the carpet. Ship informed me that I was contractually obligated to allow interviews.”

“Oh good,” she blurted out. “I mean . . . I’m sorry that you’re inconvenienced, but now we can get to work.”

He threw his arms wide. “Well, here I am. You have an all-access pass to Brett Knox.”

She ignored his insinuation and reached past his shoulder to set her briefcase down. But with her hands free, there was nothing between her and him. She needed something because otherwise, she’d just be standing there like an idiot, staring at those sculpted lips. As she reached past him again, she felt the heat of his body filling the tight space. And his scent—like laundry detergent mixed with something earthy and wild. It probably was Tide, she thought dumbly. She’d always liked that smell. It was comforting. But the other . . . the scent of what? Testosterone, probably. That was dangerous. That was what was making her heartbeat erratic.

“Excuse me.”

“Sure,” Brett said. He moved out of the way.

“Thanks.” She grabbed a printout from the desk and straightened, a bit lightheaded, and pretended to scrutinize it. So if he didn’t want to be here, why was he still staring at her like she was an ice cream cone on a hot day? Was it because of who she was? Who her dad was?

She peered over the edge of the paper and saw that the smile had dropped from his face. “Okay. I can tell you’re uncomfortable, so why don’t we break the ice with a few questions about your background?”

“No, thanks.”

“What do you mean ‘no, thanks’? Didn’t you just say that I had an all-access pass?”

“I’m not here for an interview.”

Georgia let out an exasperated sigh. “You’re wasting time, Brett.”

“No, I’m not.” He met her gaze. She swallowed.

Oh, my! I can hardly wait to read this book, which is out now, and available to order. And the other First Daughters have equally scintillating tales to tell, so be sure to check out Carolina’s and Virginia’s books. Laura, thanks for being with us today and thank you for introducing us to the First Daughters! Girls, please take your Secret Service goons with you as you leave the Lair. And please do not engage the hockey hunks, since you’re all spoken for. Girls? Girls! Ah, well. I suppose the hockey hunks won’t suffer too much from having their hopes dashed on the ice!

Well, Bandita Buddies, Laura is giving away a copy of the winner’s choice of the Various States of Undress series to a lucky commenter today. To enter the drawing, please answer the following question: How would you like to fall in love under the sort of scrutiny the First Daughters have? If you’re happily paired up, how do you think you and your honey would have fared at the hands of the paparazzi? I think my DH might have murdered someone! :D

All the Eye Candy You Can Stand

After the men-in-suits montage we had thanks to our good friend Melanie Scott, you may be suffering a bit of ECFS – Eye Candy Fatigue Syndrome. What’s that? No, you’re not? Oh, well that’s good news, because I fully intended to talk about Eye Candy again today.



Not only men in suits, but all sorts of Eye Candy. See, some of us quite enjoy those powerful, suave-looking men in suits. The kind of men who look like your worst nightmare wrapped in perfectly-cut, pinstriped merino wool — hello, Don Draper!


Jamie Fraser


But suits aren’t to everyone’s taste, or even suitable for every era or occasion. Some of us may prefer men in full Highland regalia, including a dirk, a sword and perhaps a horse pistol for good measure. Not to mention a wool kilt — hello, Jamie Fraser!





Then again, some of us enjoy being immersed in a world bearing little resemblance to our own, where even the beautiful menfolk may have, say, pointy ears or unnaturally straight, platinum-blond hair, and arm themselves with a bow and arrows that magically regenerate themselves. Not to mention an Elven cloak woven of Stansborough Gotland wool – hello, Legolas!


large-5608-thor1The great news for all of us, no matter what sort of Eye Candy we prefer, is that there is more media available to us, and in more forms, in 2015 than ever before in the history of mankind. Ten years ago, would you have believed you could read a book on your phone? Watch a movie on a tablet computer? Listen to music — any music at all! — at any time of the day or night? I never conceived of such a thing. And even if someone had convinced me we would have all that, I wouldn’t have believed we needed that. Okay, maybe we don’t “need” it, per se, but most of us would not choose to live without full-on access to Thor — I mean, Chris Hemsworth. He isn’t wearing wool, by the way.


Marco PoloThanks to my subscription to Entertainment Weekly (best magazine ever!), I am regularly provided with lists (!) of things that are “binge-worthy.” Recently, it was the Wu Tang Clan. Which I can appreciate, but would probably never have chosen to binge on, left to my own devices. But hey, I’m willing to give most things a try. But when they tell me that, say, Netflix has released a full season of Marco Polo for streaming? I am in, whether he wears wool or not!


GalavantMy prediction for 2015 is that it will be the year that the Eye Candy Binge became a regular event for most people. No matter your choice of content, eye candy of preference or favorite format — audio, video, or even our favorite books! — you will be presented with all the content you can stomach.

What will be your Eye Candy Binge choices this year? I know another season of Downton Abbey airs in the USA starting tonight, so that may be on a few lists. Then again, it’s also the beginning of Galavant (a musical!!), so who can say? I, for one, have a whole list to work on. I can’t wait to hear yours!

Holiday Gloom and Drive-By Nativities

Christmas 2012 002editedI have seriously committed to the Christmas Spirit this weekend. After waiting until practically the last minute to do any decorating at all, this weekend we have put up the Christmas tree (with an insane amount of lights), put lights, decorations, candy canes and everything else you can think of inside the house. LED Christmas tree in the den? Check. Miniature tree with tiny ornaments for the kitchen? Check. Shiny silver garland in the kitchen? Check.

I even put some lights up outside around the kitchen door because we decided – spontaneously, at the last minute – to have friends over for a holiday party. Last night! I had to whip the family into action and drive them like a drill instructor to get everything done. But we did and it was awesome. The house looked great, the hastily thrown-together food was fantastic, the company was especially wonderful and there was so much laughter my daughter has seriously sore abs tonight.

In addition to socializing and eating and drinking, we did two very fun things to entertain ourselves:

Gloom1. Holiday Gloom – If you’ve never played the game Gloom, I highly recommend it. It’s especially fun for writers and people who love to tell stories. Here is a link to a video of Wil Wheaton (of Star Trek: The Next Generation fame) playing Gloom with friends. The goal is to make your opponents’ characters happy and your own miserable and be the first to kill off all your characters. How fun is that? The thing that made our game last night so fun, though, was that we made a rule that all scenarios in the game had to be Christmas-themed. It’s amazing how many ways there are to suffer and die at the holidays! :D

drive-by nativity2. Drive-By Nativity Scene – Okay, we jokingly called it a drive-by nativity, but it was really a drive-through nativity scene. A local church has been doing this for 28 years and they do a great job. They have scenes from the Christmas story set up and the narration for each scene plays on a loop. You have to roll down your windows to hear it, though, and it was 38 degrees. Some of the actors looked fairly miserable, having stood out in the cold and dark for 2 hours. It was, in parts, unintentionally hilarious – say, when the 60-something year-old Mary was told by the Angel Gabriel (a lovely teenaged girl of about 15 with long, gorgeous blonde hair) that she was to be impregnated by the Holy Spirit. Believe me, if that little lady was impregnated by anyone, it would be a Christmas miracle! There was also a sheep with a little 11 day-old baby sheep that was beyond adorable. So much to love at the drive-by nativity scene!

We had so much fun we decided we should make this get-together a new tradition, complete with Holiday Gloom and the Drive-By Nativity. I will try not to volunteer to teach Sunday school the morning after this party next year. As it is, I will be in my Sunday school class leading the lesson this morning. I need more sleep to support all this insane Christmas festivity!

Do you have any non-traditional “traditions” at your house? Any friends or parties you particularly anticipate as you await Christmas? What is your favorite Christmas ritual as you anticipate the holiday?

Since it’s the 12 Bandita Days of Christmas, I will give an e-book copy of my latest novel, TIARA WARS, to a commenter today. Thanks for playing with us! 

Time Wasters, Holiday Style!

christmastree manI am easily distracted. Too easily distracted, I’m afraid, especially when I am not too excited about whatever I’m supposed to be doing. Like writing a difficult scene or figuring out how to get my characters out of the mess they have created (it’s always them, not me). At this time of year, I find myself more distractable than at other times. Here are a few of my most egregious holiday distractions:

SaveOnlineChristmasShopping1. Shopping Online - I do lots of shopping online. Almost everything I buy for Christmas gifts comes to my house in a cardboard box or Tyvek envelope. Shopping online takes time, though. Lots of time. It’s easier to glance around and dismiss an entire store in a matter of seconds, but when you have to scroll through page after page of merchandise, it takes a lot longer. Plus, comparison shopping once you find the perfect item can take another good while. The time I save not driving around town is more than wasted searching for the perfect something online.

Traditional-Christmas-Decor2. Christmas Decorations – Whether it’s mine (or my lack thereof) or someone’s picture of their ornamental extravaganza on Facebook (I’m looking at you, Debra Webb!), decorations are a huge distraction. I managed to get a couple of wreaths on doors and a Christmas flag hung outside this weekend. But seeing people post pictures of their gorgeous trees is a huge distraction. I need to stop looking at everyone else’s and get my own done. Until I can wrest my husband away from his German (!) language and Python (!) programming classes to get the boxes from the attic, though, I think the distraction will continue. Look, Christmas lights!

white christmas3. Holiday Music  – I don’t have to keep the radio on in my kitchen or the music streaming on my computer. Really, I don’t. But I do at this time of year. I have listened to about 16 hours of Casey Kasem’s old Top 10 and Top 20 Christmas song countdowns this weekend. My favorite station, which normally plays lots of old school favorites, apparently does nothing but Christmas hit countdowns on the weekend. Sadly, I can listen to and sing Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song” and John Lennon’s “So This Is Christmas” and Bruce Springsteen’s version of “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” an infinite number of times without tiring of them. I also love to hear all the tidbits Casey relates about the background of the songs. There is something wrong with me!

Christmas stollen4. Holiday Food – I have no idea how many hours I have already spent this holiday season on food. Cooking, baking, shopping, looking at recipes, looking at catalogs, looking at websites. I have perused catalogs full of nuts, candy, cakes and cookies. My husband and I had to go to the NC Farmer’s Market this weekend to find the German bakery stall and buy Christmas Stollen that the owner makes from her grandmother’s recipe. We also ended up with spritz butter cookies and a Swabian Merello Cherry Cake, but the Stollen was the main attraction. I did find out, though, that Walker’s shortbread now has a USA website, so I can order Ginger Royals online! Yes, I did that. Also several bags of shortbread in holiday shapes. I am a sucker for all the holiday treats. I spent almost an hour at Aldi checking out all the German (and other) goodies they had for the holidays. Baum Kuchen! Christkindl Mulled Cherry Wine! Cranberry goat cheese! Three flavors of Stollen (though I didn’t buy theirs, since we had the one from Annelore’s bakery already)! Chocolate-covered gingerbread! Pfeffernuss! I will gain at least 10 pounds just looking at the food, even if I only eat salad until the new year. As if!

Charlie Brown ChristmasSo what are your favorite distractions at this time of year? Christmas lights? Cyber sales? Handel’s Messiah? The Transiberian Orchestra? I’ll confess, I have stayed away from the animated TV specials so far, because I can’t say no to any of them. Tell me what you are obsessing about and make me feel better!

Cruising State Of Mind

As I write this, I am sitting in a hotel room in Port Canaveral, Florida, just a hop and a skip down from the enormous cruise ship terminal housed here. In celebration of our wedding anniversary, which Trish posted about so brilliantly yesterday, my husband and I decided to go on a cruise. Our second cruise and the first one all by ourselves.

royal-caribbean-freedom-of-the-seas2Once upon a time, we did not believe we were “cruise people.” I know “cruise people” and I was sure I did not share their interests. Plus, I get seasick. Really seasick. And not just seasick, but all kinds of motion sick. I don’t like rides that spin (though I like roller coasters) and I really need to ride in the front of the car. Or better yet, do the driving myself! SO, having never been on a cruise, I decided out of hand that nothing involving me being on a ship at sea for days on end could possibly be a good idea, much less FUN.

Then a dear friend decided she was getting married while on a cruise and she invited me and my husband to come along and be part of the fun. Yes, FUN. I loaded up on less-drowsy Dramamine and signed us up. We ended up having a great time! Even though we ran into some rough seas in the Gulf of Mexico, but I managed without the Dramamine. We enjoyed the excursions we took in port, the activities on the ship, the lazy days at sea, the almost-constant supply of food and drink on demand, and having a porter fold towels into animal shapes for us each evening. Everything about the trip was a delight!

Fast forward 8 years. The DH and I were talking about vacations earlier this year and he got a bit fixated on taking a cruise. I get e-mails from a travel agency that specializes in great cruise deals and one day, the stars aligned. We had the chance to take a 7-night cruise from the port we wanted (Port Canaveral) for the itinerary we wanted (the Bahamas and the Virgin Islands), all at a super bargain price. Not only that, but we got a much nicer cabin than we had on our first trip that has a window and everything. We are so excited!

So here we are, waiting impatiently for tomorrow to set sail. I never would have dreamed that we would turn into “cruise people,” but we totally have!

How about you? Are you a “cruise person” or would you like to give it a try? If you could cruise into any port, where would you go? (I would love to cruise the Mediterranean someday!) And if you are not a “cruise person,” what would convince you to try a cruise? Maybe a Romance Bandits cruise? :D

Anticipating the Holidays

…and not in a good way. A friend of mine was hosting a Halloween party this year. Awesome! Her party, however, fell the day after Halloween, on November 1. This was actually perfect, since it was a Saturday night and we “fell back” an hour last night/this morning as we left off Daylight Savings Time. A fun party plus an extra hour of sleep? Woo hoo!

pot brownieThis was a costume party, mind you. A costume optional party, but my husband and I thought it would be fun to go in costume for once. We are not “costume people.” Still, we were making an effort. Yesterday (the day of the party), I went to a craft store to look for a couple of things I needed to complete my costume (I was a pot brownie, he was Tim the Enchanter). While there, I noticed there was a lot of Anticipating the Holidays going on. Not only was all the Halloween stuff at least 75% off, but the Thanksgiving stuff was at least 50% off. Thanksgiving isn’t for another 25 days, people! For the mathy among us, that is 3 weeks and 4 days away. Practically a month! Yet they are so desperate to commit fully and completely to Christmas that Thanksgiving has already been pushed into one side of a single aisle and priced to move.

Tim the EnchanterI don’t care to anticipate the holidays quite that much. Heck, I have Veteran’s Day to celebrate and a 7-night cruise to enjoy before we even get to Thanksgiving! After that is my mother’s birthday, a sister’s birthday, a brother-in-law’s birthday, my sister-in-law’s birthday and my father’s birthday (he would have been 78 this year) before we get to Christmas. I don’t need to jump straight from Halloween to Christmas, craft store people. Thanks anyway!

How about you? Do you like to jump ahead and get an extra-early start on the holidays or are you content to let one pass before anticipating the next? (Confession, I have bought a couple of Christmas presents already.) I would love to know who is carefully crafting for Christmas and who still has turkey on her mind! :)

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