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Help the Elf!!!

Hi everyone! As you may remember, a few weeks ago PETE the Elf had a touch too much Eggnog at the Holiday Christmas Party and as he stumbled home, he lost Santa’s NICE LIST.

The North Wind scattered the papers to all four corners of the world, and The Bookshelf Muse put out a call to help find them in order to SAVE CHRISTMAS.

Ever since I read about it, I’ve been on the lookout. And then today, EUREKA!

Yes that’s right…I found part of Santa’s missing NICE LIST. There it was, fluttering in the wind, half caught under the corner of my welcome mat. And shock of all shocks, I recognized the name, and I bet you will too.

Here it is below:

NAME: Kris Asselin, Ansha Kotyk, and Jennifer Carson

LOCATION: New England



OBSERVATIONS: Kris, Natasha, and Jen are three of the best critique partners ever. But more than that they’ve turned into friends and that’s the best!

RECOMMENDATION:     a) Coal                   b) Gift

~ ~ * ~ ~

Because poor Pete is dashing all over the place trying to hunt down the rest of Santa’s missing Nice List, I decided to take care of this one myself. Guys, thanks so much for taking this journey with me and somewhere along the line turning into friends. Check your inbox today!

Photo credit:

assorted gold baubles ( / CC BY 3.0
Comments { 15 }

A way to be thankful.

Summer ends and I always a feel a moment of melancholy because I’m not ready to let go of late summer nights when the air is warm and I’m still enjoying walking outside in my bare feet and my mornings are long and lazy with nowhere to go but the lake.

Then I see my kids nervous and excited for their first day of school and I think of the potential the year holds for them as they pass new milestones and my melancholy turns to anticipation. I dive into a new year of making lunches, soccer games, and more writing time.

For some reason I blink and September and October have passed. How did that happen? I know the answer: day by day, moment by moment. Have I cherished each one? I hope so.

I want this November to be a month of appreciation. I want to be truly thankful for my family and friends and the life I have been given. Most of this might not seep through to the words of my blog or even my writing every day or every week. But on one day it will.

On November 18th, the Indelibles are hosting a blogfest called INDIE-giving. A chance for anyone and everyone to take a day on their blog to be thankful. For anything. For anyone. You can give a book or something else or share a poem or just post about anything to do with being thankful. In your own way and style.

Want to join us? Sign up with the Linky Link HERE. Looking forward to your posts!


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How to survive Storm Sandy.

1. Stock up.

October is a tricky month. Common sense says to stock up on milk and lunch meat, but if we lose power…we have no snow banks yet to keep our food cold. We did put a ham in the crock pot and I’m going to bake cookies this afternoon. Ya know, the necessities of life. And, of course, we have water.

2. Batteries and books.

This is the time to make sure we have our flashlights, enough batteries, and enough books! I’ll probably make one or two purchases of books I’ve been eyeing. What if for some crazy reason, we lose power for a few days? (shudder)

3. Take care of bloggy stuff.

I scheduled a post for part of a blog tour I’m participating in. I also let my friends know if I disappear, they’ll know why.

4. Pour wifi in a few extra gallon jugs.

Brendan Gannon tweeted this yesterday and I cracked up. But honestly, I wish this were something I could do.

5. Shower!

This is one of the most important tasks. I’ve learned in past ice storms that I can deal with a lot with loss of power for an extended time period. We have a camping stove, so we eat. I have lights so I read at night. I can survive without the internet. But I’ve learned that the two things that hit me the hardest is the lack of light once the sun goes down. It really gets me down. That and I really appreciate the ability to shower every day! When I’m on my fifth day without one… (shudder)

Of course, I’m really hoping we’re out of reach. That Sandy will be nothing but a windy rainstorm and lines won’t be knocked down. The kids will be back in school tomorrow and life will go back to normal.

But as I’ve learned lately, disruption and trials in life is a good thing. Even though it hurts, we can use the disruption to evaluate our life. And I’ve been thinking about a lot from blogging strategies, to my family, to my writing, to my friends.

Have you been rethinking anything in life? Any survival tips?

My thoughts and prayers are with everyone who are experiencing the brunt of Storm Sandy!

Comments { 15 }

Hope is like a giant carnivore.

Or I could have said hope is like claws the size of a school bus.

For several years I’ve been searching, hoping for a flicker. Some sign that eventually my nine-year-old son might take even a tiny bit of interest in his schoolwork.

In third grade, when completing his spelling homework, he still wrote large and messy and refused to start the words on the pink line. (Not because he couldn’t but because he didn’t care. His teacher was shocked when I told her last year that he really doesn’t care about schoolwork unless there’s a competition involved.)

Basically, his words were all over the place like a star constellation, scattered here and there, but if you studied hard enough you could find meaning.

Yeah, spelling homework is not supposed to be like that.

He rarely uses capitals and periods and definitely takes advantage of creative spelling.

We made small strides last year. When he wanted to he could write small and on the line. Maybe it depended on where Venus was in the sky or the direction the wind was blowing that day. Who knows?

But the other day, he handed me a gift that sent hope careening through me like the clubbed tail of a monster swinging through a Lego set.

This is part of a story he wrote:

I was sitting at my computer when I herd a cry for help. I went on the porch I could of fained there was this giant carnivore about 20 feet away from me bitting on this guys arm. I took my riffle and shoot it. the guy thanked me and went on. I still thout I was dreming But I wasn’t. I went for a walk but when I got up to Clock Road my mind went black my eyes went blind. I finnley realized what was going on. I was out cold.

When I woke up all I could see were, you know, monster’s yellow teeth, brown skin, and the claws the size of school busses. Then my eye caught something it was silver. I knew what a gun was but this was some other kind of wepon then my mind worked it’s a sword. I saw these in the movies. I ran and slid under the monster’s leg I grabbed the sword and stuck it in the monster’s behind.

The story continues, high in action and incredible detail of fighting this and several other monsters. I loved it. The strong verbs he chose astounded me. The way he fleshed out the scene sent me over the moon and back. And then, he ended with this bit of humor.

I told my dad I want to be a epic phenser. (fencer)

The spelling wasn’t perfect for sure. He threw in minimal punctuation. But the writing was small and on the lines and the story took up almost three handwritten pages. This is summer. No one told him to do it.

Like I said, hope is like a giant carnivore.

Now my hope is that he’ll read something other than Diary of A Wimpy Kid.

Where have you found hope recently?



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Just ignore the lake monsters when on vacation.

We have to conquer our fears all the time. At least I do. Not just in publishing our work or showing our work to betas and critique partners but in life. Let me tell you, facing the squirrels that have taken residence in our basement is way more scary than preparing a manuscript for publication. That’s an exciting kind of scary. Squirrels are just plain terrifying with their beady eyes. They’re kind of like zombies the way they look at you with a vacant expression. But enough on rodents and onto something better like lake monsters.

For the second summer in a row I swam across a lake and back. ** You’d think I’d fear the speedboats buzzing through the water with tubes behind them or the possibility of getting a cramp and drowning.

But no.

For me it’s my imagination. It’s the massive creatures that lurk in the deepest parts of lakes and only surface for a nibble when women are swimming across. I imagine they love the taste of blue striped bathing suits. I hear they have really sharp teeth and oozing green skin with scaly tails.

In fact, we saw one swim by the dock at night. Some people thought it was a beaver but I know the truth.

So yeah, I’ve been swimming, kayaking, reading, socializing, beating my family at Boggle and falling into bed exhausted every night. My sister and her kids are in town and it’s been great.

So excuse me while I go read for a bit and then dash off to our next activity.

Be back soon!

** Okay, I didn’t swim across the lake alone. That’s the next step but I’m not sure I’m up for that. Maybe next summer…

Don’t forget to stop in for #indiechat tonight at 9pm EST. We’re going to have author Hugh Howey visiting to talk about short stories. You’ve probably heard of his series titled WOOL. Hope to see you there tonight!

What have you been up to this summer?

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