Posts tagged with: Susan Sey

The RITAs are coming! The RITAs are coming!

Can you feel the anticipation?

This Friday, March 25th, Romance Writers of America will announce the finalists for the various RITA and Golden Heart categories.  Every author on this blog knows how it feels to be a Golden Heart finalist (Ahhh…those were the days!) as it was through the Golden Heart contest that we all met.  However, the RITAs, the peer-judged contest for published Romance, is a step above as the entire book is judged and the competition is fierce.

RIta statueSo that’s what I’d like to talk about today.  The RITA  contest and the quest for the golden statue on the left.  How it all works and which of us are in the running this year.  I’m scattering the bandita books entered throughout the post.  Be sure to look for your favorites.  If you click on the title, it should take you straight to Amazon for purchase 🙂 .

Everything starts in October of the preceding year.  That’s when the entry process begins.  Registration opens promptly at 9:00 am central time and there’s a mad crush to get one’s book entered.  You see, the contest can only accomodate 2,000 entries.  Everyone with a book that has a copyright date of 2015 is eligible to enter.  This is the only opportunity to enter the RITA contest, as a 2015 book can’t be entered in a later year.  Self-published titles as well as traditionally published titles are eligible to enter one of 11 different categories.  Those are Short Contemporary Romance, Mid-length Contemporary Romance, Long ContemporaryCharming the Professor final Romance, Erotic Romance, Historical Romance Long, Historical Romance Short, Inspirational Romance, Paranormal Romance, Romance novella, Romantic Suspense, and Young Adult Romance

This year, I’ve entered my New Orleans time-travel, Charming the Professor, in the Paranormal category.  In the past, I’ve had books in the historical categories so this is a bit of a first for me.

The next step is to turn in five printed books (no ebooks are accepted) so that five published author judges can read the work.  An author can not judge a book entered into a category they’ve entered themselves, so it’s possible that one CapitolDangerfinalrevisedforBarnesandNobleis assigned a judge that is not a fan of your particular genre.  Hopefully, the book is strong enough to win them over.  A cone of silence surrounds the books one is assigned to read.  A judge can’t divulge the titles or the authors so no one knows who is reading what.

Jeanne Adams entered her novella Death Under Glass in Capitol Danger. A connected series of novellas by banditas Suzanne Ferrell, Nancy Northcott and bandita friend JD Tyler.

Each of the five judges is allowed to give a score from 1.0 to 10.0 (with 10.0 being the highest).  Currently, no guidelines are given on how to judge the works.  Each judge makes up their own system, but, in general, if the book is excellent, it will receive all high scores.  Currently, the top score and the lowest score are dropped, so only the three median scores count.  In 2014, I about cried when my one 10.0 score was tossed out for The Whisky Laird’s Bed but as Turner's+Visionthe top scores are tossed out on all books, the work must be excellant to more than one judge.  In addition, each judge must answer two questions:  Does the story contain a central love story?  Is the resolution of the romance emotionally satisfying and optomistic?  if the story receives three negatives responses to either question, the book is disqualified.

Taking a turn from her normal thrilling romantic suspense books, Suzanne Ferrell has entered  Turner’s Vision  in Long Historical.

The scores must be turned into RWA by Early March where they tabulate the scores.  The top 4% become finalists. However, no category can have fewer than four finalists, and no category can have more than 10 finalists.  That means that in the popular categories, those scores have to be super high, while there’s some leeway in the less popular categories.  This pool of the top 4% make up the finalists that will be announced this Friday.  Truly being a finalist is a distinct honor as being Doctor's Cowboythe best of the best, but this is not the end of the contest.

Trish Milburn has three books in this year’s RITAs.  All are entered in Contemporary Cowboy GroomCowboy HeartRomance- Short  The Doctor’s Cowboy,  Her Cowboy Groom, and The Heart of a Cowboy  Those are some great looking cowboys!

Which is a good thing as a great cover is important in winning a judge’s favor.

After the finalists are announced, a panel of judges takes over.  All the finalists books in a category are read and scored in ordinal order: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.  The books winning the 1st designation are a highly guarded secret and isn’t unveiled until the bigTime for Trouble final ceremony in July.

Susan Sey has entered Time for Trouble in Long Contemporary.  Love this cover as well 🙂

I’ll tell you all right here that my dream is to win the golden statue, but I’d really be content with the finalist’s flag.  You see, at the Literacy Signing on the Wednesday before the official start of the July convention, this year in San Diego, all the finalist get a red flag.  I’ve been lucky enough to sit by RITA finalist during the signing (Sarah MacLean, and Sally MacKenzie – lovely, lovely ladies) and the line of people wanting to purchase their books is always long.  Being a RITA Ruarcfinalist is truly a distinct honor that follows you everywhere in your writing career.

Joan Kayse has entered her Irish Fantasy, Ruarc: Bound by Stone in the Paranormal category.

Finally, the Saturday night award ceremony arrives.  There’s numerous parties before the actual ceremony.  The ceremony offers the chance to dress up in sequins and glitter.  The award presenters are often the winners from the previous year.  Nora Roberts always presents the RITA statue to the winner of the Best First Book category.  We’re talking major drum rolls while the presenter opens the envelope and announces  THE WINNER IS…A Perfect Catch

Man, I hope it’s one of us.  One really cool thing, as a member of the RWA board, I get to call the finalists and let them know that their book was chosen as one of top 4% of all the books entered in their category.  Not a small feat, but an excellent feeling.  Cross your fingers for us.  Let’s not forget:

Anna Sugden has entered A Perfect Catch in Contemporary…but I’m not sure what length.  Anna?

My question to you:  If you were a RITA judge, what quality would you look for in a finalist?

 

 

On the 1st day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

…one rooster with delusions of grandeur.

Delusions of something, definitely.  Or maybe he’s been just overindulging in the holiday spirit.  (Holidays spirits, judging from the smell of him.)  It’s the only explanation I can come up with for the following exchange, which occurred this morning & which I will now reproduce for you as faithfully as memory allows.

Rooster at RWA National 2008Golden Rooster [slides into the Lair’s kitchen, reeking of rum balls, coxcomb askew under a shiny party hat]:  Bonjour, mes amis, mes amours!  Fear not, I have arrived!

Susan [cautiously moves her pile of just-written Christmas cards to high ground]:  So I see.  You can stop using the plural, though.  It’s just me.

GR:  Just you? [Takes a significant look around the empty kitchen]  And just me? Just us two alone?  Cheri!  You flatter me!

S [sighs]:  No, I don’t.  Seriously.  I’m baking cookies & writing my cards.

GR [ignores her easily]:  Such machinations to get me alone in your lair!  Such lengths to which you go for a private moment!  I confess myself touched.  [Flips open bow tie, swaggers closer, a trifle unsteady on his drumsticks]  Well, perhaps not touched just yet, but if we truly are alone…? [trails off with suggestive brow waggle]

reinventing ourselves rooster bash 08S [straight arms the GR to a halt, leans in for a good sniff]:   Are you drunk?

GR: Mais oui…[Lowers voice to husky whisper]…on your beauty.

S:  Oh for Pete’s sake. [Grabs a cookie from the cooling rack, stuffs it into his beak.]  Give it a break, Lone Free Ranger.

GR [mumbling around cookie]: Ah, cruel mistress, how you wound me!

S: I gave you a gingersnap, didn’t I?

GR:  And it was a sweetly spicy as you, ma petit chou.

S [blinks]:  I’m sorry, did you just call me your little cabbage?

GR:  I did.  [grins foolishly]  You are.

S [palms face, blows out calming breath.  Hands over another cookie.]: Why don’t we soak up some of that alcohol while you tell me what’s got you starting the party so early.

Donna and the Rooster - RWA Conference 2008 - San FranciscoGR [happily munching]: Early?  It’s the First Day of Christmas, my sweet ignorant lass!  And I’m on the job!

S [eyes party hat]:  There’s a job that requires you to be sloshed before noon on a Monday?

GR:  There is, and I have the honor to call it mine.  [Hic.]  I’m pleased to announce that, after an extensive recruitment process, I have been selected as this year’s Lord of Misrule.

S [skeptical]: Lord of what now?

GR:  Misrule. You know, the one the Celts call the Year King?   Perhaps you’ve heard of me as the Minister of Mischief?  The Rooster of Riots?  [Slides wing feather up Susan’s arm]  Some call me the Cock of the Chaos.  Does that suit you?  You like your cocks…chaotic?

S:  Um, no.  I don’t believe I do.

GR [shrugs elegantly]:  As you like, ma petit.  That’s the point, after all.

reinventing ourselves Jeanne with roosterS:  What is?

GR [seductive grin]:  What you like, dearest.  Your pleasure.

S [interested]:  Really?

GR:  Vraiment!  I am charged with facilitating your holiday pleasure, darling.  Everybody’s holiday pleasure, actually.

S [skeptically]:  You got yourself elected Mayor of Party Town?

GR:   The Lord of Misrule, cheri. And, yes, I have been. [Points at an elaborately beribboned badge pinned to his breast.]  Unless you prefer the Cock of Chaos?

S:  Uh, no.  We’ll go with the Lord of Misrule.  What are your job duties precisely?

GR: To upend the humdrum of your pathetic little lives for the twelve glorious days of Christmas.

S: And how precisely do you plan to do that?

GR:  Why, I shall make fools of kings & kings of fools!  I shall supply drink to the men, steal kisses from the women, slip sweets to the children and give bones to the dogs.  [Slides Susan the side eye.]  I give very good bones.  Just so you’re aware.

golden roosterS:  Good to know, thanks. [Takes a moment to get past that one.]  And your price for this…uh…service?

GR:  A song!  A Christmas carol preferably.

S:  Seriously?  You’re going to make people sing?

GR [shrugs]:  I would also accept a trick or a joke.  Any little trifle that keeps the mood merry and the heart light.  Any who fail to bring a smile to my beak shall be tossed ignomiously from the Lair without food or drink, doomed to wander the cold, dark wilderness in the company of the humorless & ill-favored.  Unless, of course, they pay the penalty.

S:  Which is?

GR:  Why, to join my court!  I shall grant them a knighthood and they shall pledge to serve me for as long as the holidays shall last!  [Eyes Susan assessingly.]  You, for example, I would dub Spicy Sugarbottom, & you would see to the demands of my…appetite.

S [quickly]:  I have a joke.

GR:  You do?

S:  If the alternative is being called Spicy Sugarbottom all week & slapping your hands away from my rump?  You bet I do.  It’s even chicken-related, sort of.  Okay, here goes.  Make a fist & hold it out between us.

GR: [sighs but complies]

Pets free stock chickenS:  Now cover your fist with your other hand.  Er, wing.

GR: [rolls his eyes but obeys]

S:  Now say the word “wing” three times in a row.

GR [nonplussed]:  Wing.  Wing.  Wing.

S [takes the GR’s wing off his fist, holds it up to her ear]:  Hello?

GR: [silence]

S:  Oh come on!  That one always brings down the house around our holiday table.

GR [reproachfully]:  You disliked Spicy Sugarbottom so much?

S:  My mother didn’t raise a Bond Girl.

GR [wistfully]: More’s the pity.

 

Seriously, folks, this is what we’re up against this Christmas in the Lair.  So here’s the deal:  Either you sing us a verse of your favorite Christmas song, tell us a joke or recount an amusing story in the comments, or you’ll be joining the court of the Cock of Chaos.  You will, of course, accept without whinging the humiliating nom de party he bestows upon you.  The best song/story/joke (as determined without rhyme or reason by the Golden Rooster) will be rewarded with a bag of CRAPOLA Granola (a Minnesota favorite!) and a Kindle copy of TROUBLE, the Blake Brothers Boxed Set by yours very truly, Susan Sey.

Good luck.

Oh, & for all you Spicy Sugarbottoms out there, here’s a recipe for you:

cookiesAuntie Pat’s Famous Ginger Snaps

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup dark molasses
  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 pkg (8 oz) diced dates (optional)

Instructions:

  • Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add egg and mix well.
  • Add molasses and mix well.
  • In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients (except dates, if using.)
  • Gradually add dry ingredients to wet, mixing well after each addition.
  • Stir in dates, if using.
  • Chill 1 hour
  • Shape into 1” balls and bake on ungreased cookies sheets at 375 for 10 minutes.
  • Makes 3 dozen.

Note: If you want big, fat, soft gingersnaps (which I often do), make the balls bigger and underbake them slightly.   You should make sure to have some really good vanilla ice cream on hand, though, because you’re going to want to eat them like chips and salsa.

It’s TIME FOR TROUBLE….

That’s right, you heard it here first!  It’s finally TIME FOR TROUBLE!  Just yesterday, I released the final book in my Blake brothers trilogy.  It was touch & go for a while there but the Book The Would Not End has finally ended.  And though I know I haven’t caught all the typos (they are legion, & I suspect they’re reproducing), I published it anyway.  Because lordamercy I needed to cross that finish line.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00036]Why?  Well, this series has produced three full-length novels & one novella.  That’s a lot of words for one writer, & committing them all to the page took me the better part of three years. (I’m a tragically slow writer, as I might’ve mentioned in the past.)

Now, setting aside the fact that readers like to be fed, and quickly, being a slow writer isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  I mean, I met TIME’s hero, Drew, back in the first book of this series, TASTE FOR TROUBLE.  He was just a kid back then, barely 20. When TIME picks up, he’s nearly 30.   I’ve given him about ten years of story-world time to grow up, but he’s also been living in my head–talking to me, arguing with me, nudging me–for the better part of three real-world years. It’s a good long while to live with somebody.

Taste For TroubleAnd that’s kind of a luxury when you’re writing a book.  I usual get one year, tops, to live with my heroes.  And I have to start the book when I barely know the guy. But I got three whole years with Drew’s voice in my head.  It allowed me to really get to know him, inside & out.  I watched him grow up.  And that gave me plenty of time to dream up his One True Love.

Which is how I met Meghan Wise, & she’s a firecracker.  Which is, of course, exactly what our easy-going, lazy-bones, baby-brother Drew needed.  Meg’s driven & smart & sharp, and she doesn’t suffer fools lightly.  She’s totally worthy of him, but better yet?  She makes him want to be worthy of her.  Which could’ve been a tough sell, because Drew’s a lover, not a fighter.  But I’ll tell you what–the second somebody threatened his Meggy, he discovered his inner hero, no problem.  Quick, fast & in a hurry.

And it was absolutely delicious.

keep-calm-and-family-first-8Meg & Drew’s happy ending was exactly right for them.  And it was right for me.  As I said, I’ve lived in this world for a looooong time.  I’m ready for something new, something fresh, something exciting.  Something that pushes me in new creative directions & stretches me as a writer & a thinker.

But I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t miss these guys.  The Blake brothers showed me what family could be.  What it could mean.  Their bedrock belief in putting family first, in valuing each other above all else, reminded me of what’s important.  Spending time in their world every day made me want to be a better sister, daughter, wife & mother. I might be moving on to other stories & other worlds, but I’m leaving a little piece of my heart in theirs.

Which is how every good story should end, don’t you think?  If the author does it right, you really ought to leave a little chunk of your heart in the book.  And take a little chunk of the book into your heart.

So what about you?  Did you ever read a book–or a series of books–that kept a little chunk of your heart?  Is there a story-world that lives in your heart?  That you revisit every now & then like comfort food?  What is it?  One lucky commenter will receive a free Kindle copy of TIME FOR TROUBLE!

 

I’m not dead yet…

Today is not my last day on the blog.  Everybody’s been doing these beautiful farewell posts, & I love them, but I still have another blog coming up & I’m not ready to say goodbye just yet.

RB1Tangled_posterAlso, the Oscars are coming up this weekend, & I want to talk about movies.  Specifically movies that have provided a line so perfect, so useful that it’s been subsumed into the Sey Family Lexicon.   Here, in no particular order, are three movies that have so blessed us:

1)  From TANGLED:  “This is the strangest thing I have ever done!”  –Flynn Rider, upon discovering that he has somehow become engaged in a fight with a horse, & is defending himself–successfully–with a frying pan.  Anytime we find ourselves doing or saying something we never thought we’d do, this line gets trotted out.  Watch the clip on Youtube here.  Totally worth it!

RB2EmmaPoster2)  From EMMA:  “PORK, MOTHER!” –a nice spinster, reading a letter aloud to her deaf mother in which a neighbor family was gifted with a nice slab of pork.  Shortly after I fell in love with this movie, I visited Ireland with my family & my own mother was confused about what was next on our itinerary.  I took the opportunity to shout, “CORK, MOTHER!” and it became the line of the trip.

RB3princess bride3)  From THE PRINCESS BRIDE:  Vezzini (frustrated with Inigo & Fezzig’s endless rhyming game)–“No more rhyming, & I mean it!”  Fezzig (still innocently playing the game)–“Anybody want a peanut?”  Anytime anybody in my family ends a shouted instruction with “…and I mean it!” some brave soul will invariably be unable to resist the peanut line.  It’s a classic for a reason.  Watch it here if you don’t already have it memorized.

Okay, so those are our very favorites.  I know you all must have some.  What are your favorite movie lines, & what are the situations you use them in?

Quick Five with Susan

Hello, dearest bandita buddies!

RB GreysPost 1So I’ve just now–like ten minutes ago–finished binged watching all 10 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy.  I didn’t intend to do this.  I didn’t intend to sit down & watch an unconscionable amount of television all by myself.  (Mr. Sey isn’t a fan, & the girls are far too young for the soapy goodness that is Grey’s.)  But Mr. Sey was traveling a fair bit back in the fall & I found myself up late a few evenings with a pile of laundry that needed folding.  I figured I’d treat myself to some trashy TV.

But I didn’t want to watch a show Mr. Sey would want to watch with me–like The Walking Dead or Breaking Bad or House of Cards, all of which we adore.  No, I had the golden opportunity to watch something purely because I wanted to watch it, without haggling or bargaining with anybody.  Now this is a rare beast once you’ve been married a while.  Even rarer once kids come along.

RB GreysPost 2Long story short?  I discovered Grey’s Anatomy about a decade after everybody else, & got myself caught right up.  And it only cost me about a three hundred hours I’ll never get back.

I don’t regret a single one.

But it did get me thinking.  I’ll bet there are other great shows that I haven’t seen.  Tons of them.  And I never know when Mr. Sey’s travel schedule is going to heat up again.  I might find myself with a basket of laundry at ten pm & nothing to watch.  And that would be a shame.  So I made a list–five shows I’m totally going to start next time Mr. Sey is out of town:

RB GreysPost 31)  Downton Abbey

I started this show back when everybody else did & it fell off my radar.  But the instant I have a pile of laundry that needs folding & the house to myself, I’m checking back in.  Because the clothes!  And Professor McGonagal.  Enough said.

2)  Orange Is The New Black

I’ve heard this show is incredible & it just keeps winning awards.  I’m a little hesitant about the prison setting–depressing!–but am willing to at least give it a try.

GALERIE3)  Modern Family

I have multiple friends who continue to recommend this show, & once again it’s an awards show darling.  I might even have the first season sitting on top of my TV, lent to me by a friend who’s a little evangelical about Modern Family.  It’s on the list, if only because I’m starting to feel guilty about having those DVDs so long.

4)  Brooklyn 99

Because Andy Samberg.  That is all.

RB GreysPost 55)  The Good Wife

Because Juliana Marguiles.  And because I live in hope that George Clooney will find some way to make a guest appearance & we’ll have Dr. Ross and Nurse Carol reunited again!  Also because it’s won so many awards it’s practically TV royalty at this point.  And it had that guy from Sports Night on it, & I love him.

How about you?  What shows are on your missed list?  Anything you’re loving now?  I’m making a list…

Game Night!

So my family has been really into games lately.

Blog--Magic the gatheringMr. Sey & our oldest have been playing MAGIC:  THE GATHERING a lot recently–I guess it’s sort of a role playing game.  Sort of like Dungeons & Dragons but with cards?  I don’t know.  It’s not really my thing so I haven’t paid a lot of attention to the fine points.  But when half of your family is into something, the rest of the family is along for the ride, regardless of whether they’re interested in the destination, you know?

Blog--4 aces on poker chips by Mr. GCIt got me thinking about my favorite games, the ones I love the best.  I grew up in a family of gamers, so I do have a few.  And here—in no particular order–are my top three favorites:

1)  Euchre.  I’m a Michigan girl, & this is a midwestern classic.  It’s a four hand, partnered, trick taking game that you play with only 8s & up.  It sounds weird, but that’s Michigan for you.  I think I was born knowing how to play.  It’s in my blood, so it’s number 1.

Blog--Playing Cards stock Photo by foto762)  Cribbage. My math skills aren’t great, but I can add to 15 with the best of ’em.  If you can do that, & count to 31, you can win this game.  My dad swears cribbage is the finest two-man card game ever invented & if you ever want to divert his attention from something–like a chore that needs doing or a walk that needs shoveling–you need only suggest that this might be a good time for a hand of cribbage.

Blog--Dice Game Stock Photo by Pixomar3)  Yahtzee.  This is one of those games you can play with anybody of any age at any time.  You need 5 dice, a pad of paper & that’s it.  I carry this one in my purse at all times & have successfully diverted many, many boredom-induced meltdowns with a quick roll of the dice.   No purse is complete with a deck of cards & five dice.

So what about you?  Are you a gamer?  What are your favorites?

All images courtesy of Free Digital Photos.  Mouse over for attribution

Rerun #2

Welcome to Day #2 of our Lazy Weekend here in the Lair!

Charlie Brown ChristmasIn honor of the Oscar Nominees being named last week, we’re rerunning a few of our favorite movie-themed posts.  I just ran across this great one Anna Sugden posted a while back about songs in the movies.  I totally got lost in these clips.  Hope you enjoy!

 

 

Rerun #1

Good morning, Bandita buddies!

PopcornbyCarlosPortoIt’s a frigid January weekend here in the lair, & your faithful bloggers are taking it off.  That’s right–we’re taking the weekend OFF.  We’ve never done this before in the history of our blog but, hey, it’s January & our fingers are too cold to type.  We will be mainlining hot cocoa, watching Oscar nominated movies & staying by the fire until Monday when our regularly scheduled program resumes.

In the meantime–and in honor of Oscar season (did I mentioned that the Oscar nominations are out?)–I’ll be posting movie-related blogs from years past for your reading pleasure.  Click here for a post I did last year on the horrors of…well, horror movies:

Enjoy, and stay warm! We’ll see you on Monday!

Coming Attractions…

Angel in ArmaniWelcome to 2015, Romance Lovers!

Here’s hoping your holidays were everything wonderful — low-key, low-stress & full of delicious pie!  On the off chance that they were actually full of family drama & burnt cookies (as so many are!), never fear!  We have your back.  Here at the Romance Bandits, we specialize in justice served & happily ever after.  Check out what we’ve got queued up for you in January & tell me if you don’t feel better!

 

GUESTS!

miranda 1On January 3, we have the lovely Melanie Scott returning with one of those beautiful boys of baseball in ANGEL IN ARMANI.

We always love to see historical romance author Miranda Neville in the lair. She has a sparkling sense of humor that even gets Ermingarde laughing. On Monday, 5th January, Miranda is visiting us to talk about her latest release THE DUKE OF DARK DESIRES.

YouReallyGotMe

 

Debut author Erika Kelly brings a hot story about a rising rock star and his manager to the Lair on January 6th, when she talks about YOU REALLY GOT ME, the first book in her Rock Star Romance series.

 
On January 9, we have a change of pace as Helen Fordham and Barbara Milech join Nancy to discuss their research on romance, romantic Love, and ‘the want of a fortune.'” This look at economics and romance was inspired by their conversation about shows like The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, and The Farmer Takes a Wife. Should be a great discussion!

Laura Simcox Georgia coverOn January 20, Laura Simcox will be visiting with our own Caren Crane here in the Lair and talking about the first book in her First Daughters series, VARIOUS STATES OF UNDRESS: GEORGIA. That title alone should grab some attention!

RussellGerri-FlirtingwithFelicity-FT-v3On January 21, Nancy welcomes the fabulous Gerri Russell who is celebrating the release of her first contemporary, FLIRTING WITH FELICITY. Gerri writing contemporary? Now that’s going to be fun!

 

CONTESTS!

Don’t miss Anna Campbell’s latest website contest where she’s giving away THREE ARCs of her May release, A SCOUNDREL BY MOONLIGHT. Just email her on dsc26655 @ bigpond.net.au (no spaces) and tell her the name of the hero and heroine of Scoundrel. You might find the answer here.  For more information about the contest, check out her website!

A Perfect Catch CoverAnna Sugden says:  I have the third book in my New Jersey Ice Cats series launching on Jan 30thA PERFECT CATCH. Keep an eye out for my blog tour where you can read the entire first chapter for free! Details on my website.  I will also be running a Goodreads contest during January to win copies of A Perfect Catch, so keep your eye out if you’re over on Goodreads!

NEW RELEASES!

A Seals Sacrifice coverA SEAL’S SACRIFICE kicks off the Sexy Short Stories series from New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Tawny Weber, companion stories to her award winning Sexy SEALs series. Never underestimate a sexy, stubborn SEAL…

LUD_413_LIV_COUV.inddOn January 30th Anna Sugden is releasing book 3 of her New Jersey Ice Cats series, A PERFECT CATCH!  And keep a lookout for the French release of Book 2, A PERFECT TRADE, in February!

NEWS!

Anna Campbell’s third Sons of Sin book, WHAT A DUKE DARES, was featured in major Aussie book retailer Booktopia’s list of the top books of 2014.  Click the link to check it out!  We’re so proud!

And that’s just what we’ve got planned!  Who knows what awesomeness will crop up as the month rolls on?  Stay tuned, dear readers!

We’re playing a fun game with our newsletter subscribers this month (wait, you’re not a newsletter subscriber??  Get over to the Members Only tab immediately & sign up!  Fun, games, prizes!  Don’t miss out!)  Ahem, so where was I?  Oh, yes, the game.  We’re asking our newsletter subscribers to play a game with us in which we offer up a New Year’s Resolution – not for ourselves but for the rest of the world.  If you could improve ONE THING about everybody else, what would it be?

On the Road Again…

Old Suitcases by nuttakiWhen you have no family in town, you spend a lot of your precious vacation time in the car.  There’s even a name for this sort of travel–it’s call the “oblivacation,” a mash-up of obligation and vacation.  As I type this, we’re pulling ourselves together from a lovely week spent in Omaha with the Sey side of the family.  I’m doing all the last minute things we do to get ready for the six-hour road trip home–searching out the Christmas presents (which the kids have flung far & wide), gathering up our pie dishes & cookie tins, & seeking out the missing shoes & laundry.

Old clothes in red hamper by keeratiAll these check lists have put me in a Quick Five frame of mind, honestly.  So without further ado, here’s my Quick Five Tasks to do before Heading Home:

1) Do the laundry.  I like to go home with my suitcases full of clean clothes.  It’s such a luxury to unpack straight into the drawers instead of having to face mountains of laundry upon returning home.  And family are probably the only people you can visit who don’t look sideways at you if you ask to do a quick load or two of laundry before heading home.

2)  Find your dishes.  I  never travel home–to Mr. Sey’s home or mine–empty handed.  I come bearing food, & in this case it was pies.  My sainted mother in law put on Christmas dinner, but I handled dessert.  We complement each other nicely, the original Mrs. Sey & I.  But this meant I had to transport my favorite pie dishes & rolling pins, plus all my tattered & stained recipes to Omaha for the holidays.  Which means I have to gather them up again.  Wish me luck!

Fresh Homemade apple pie by KEKO643)  Do the returns.  I believe in Christmas miracles, but there is no power on heaven or earth that can produce a return-free holidays.  So I try to bring all the receipts & deal with all the returns & exchanges before leaving the scene of the crime.  It’s so much easier to handle this stuff in person than trying to return a sweater long-distance.

4)  Locate all our cords & chargers.  It’s the age of technology & between Mr. Sey, the kids & me, we probably have a dozen Things That Charge.  Then there was all the battery operated stuff we received for Christmas.  If you want to avoid a howling weeping fit 200 miles down the road, it’s best to make sure you have that little robot’s charger before you pull out of the driveway.  Again, you might want to wish me luck.

SocialMediabyNikom5)  Go to the movies.  Because you totally deserve a little brain break after dealing with all the hassles of putting the show back on the road.  So you should definitely zip up your suitcases, pack the car, then head to the movies for your last night in town.  Nobody should cook, either.  Just go out & enjoy.

How about you?  What are you top five must-do tasks before heading home after a holiday out of town?

All images courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.net.

Next Page »