Monday, January 30, 2012

29 And Counting...

I'm taking the challenge--I'm going to blog everyday in February. It's a leap year so I will have 29, that's only 1 less than an average month, so no hassles!

I will try to be entertaining, provocative and interesting, but I make no promises. (There are going to be days when I just don't feel motivated, or are rushed, or am grumpy.)  Bear with me. Don't judge. Have fun. I'll even throw in some contests. So spread the word.

See ya on the first!


Monday, January 23, 2012

Off The Grid

I'm going to go off the PC and SC grid here (Politically Correct and Spouse-ly Correct).

The hubby decided that when he switched jobs, he would shred all the paperwork- office memos and reports, benefit notifications, correspondence, etc., that he no longer needs.

Some may argue, yay, he's clearing up a mess. And put a smiley face, like this :)

Now ask:
Why didn't he do it once a month?
Once a year?
Once every 5 years?
Once a DECADE?

I kid you not. Bags and bags of papers (mixed in with family photos, funeral cards, pens, alligator clips, household bills, newspaper ads, business cards from people long gone to other jobs, gas, grocery, pharmacy, Home Depot, ALL KINDS of receipts, and so much more). It boggles the mind.

At least he's finally doing it, you say in that trying-to-remain-positive voice (and knowing it's only going to get worse).

Because he decides to do it on the rug in the TV room so he can watch the game. NOT in the basement (which has a big TV!) and which has a tile floor that can be easily swept.

Of course the shreds are ALL OVER the damn place. And he leaves it for me. I pick most of it up, because that much will clog the vacuum.

Which it does.

No matter what I do, I can't get it unclogged.  So I have to drag down the upstairs vacuum.

Which brings me to the stupid (WARNING: NON-PC Rant coming!) dumb-ass design- probably by a MALE engineer; the hose has a bend in it, so you can't see where the clog is, never mind get it out. So now the over-priced replacement hose ($170+ what a scam!!) is on it's way. How stupid and dumb-ass a lot of appliances are.

Like my dishwasher (Electronic panel right UNDERNEATH the steam vent? Really? Common sense 101- steam condenses to water, which drips- down into the electronics panel and shorts it out.) So I only have one setting on my dishwasher- the 2 HOUR one. Seriously Maytag, I have problems WITH ALL YOUR APPLIANCES. What kind of idiots do you hire?

In keeping with my New Year's resolution, I will find something positive to say: the appliances are shiny. And they're going to break down quick enough for me to get new ones, better ones, and I will be happy in my kitchen again!  Two out of the three waste bags are gone. The family room is clean again. :) See? Positive spin.

Back to the hubby. And the paper mess yet to come (bag three is the BIGGEST; a Hefty lawn-leaf bag). It may come down to this for him:

Or this for me:

The hard part will be trying to decide which has more appeal.

Monday, January 16, 2012

So What's The Big Idea?

Do you know what swag is? (I know, dumb name, but we didn't make it up.) It's all the fun stuff authors give away to promote their books; bookmarks are the most common, but there are buttons, pins, notepads, candy, and so much more. Some authors from the big publishing houses get to giveaway tee shirts, iPad skins, gift cards, one even gave away a box with clues to solve a puzzle.

Being pubbed by a small house means you have to do all that on your own.

And on your own money.

So we had to be creative with ideas and finances.  If you know us, or attended a signing or conference (or maybe even met us by chance) you probably got some swag. Here's a picture of what we offered:

(Note: missing kitty cat key/phone charms in pink and black. They went fast!)

Now that Sirenz Back In Fashion is coming out, we need to start the process for this sequel. In one way, it's exciting: new book, new characters, more Hades, outrageous situations, whole new color scheme. The creative juices are flooding our brains faster than the Raritan River can drown Manville and Green Brook (that's pretty fast if you know NJ).

But here's the problem: most authors tend to use the same old things- bookmarks, pins, yada yada. I want something unique. And I'm willing to bribe you to do some brainstorming for me. You tell me your idea for a great swag item and I will send you 3 (yes, THREE) books from the list at the bottom of this post, your choice. Now here are the rules:

1. Must be cost effective. We cannot give a gold coin to hundreds of people. (Yes, that's a clue- gold coins figure in the book.) And I'm already doing a chocolate gold coin, so don't think you're going to submit that. The chocolate red shoes were a hit and cost effective over large numbers.

2. Must be easy. While Nat and & are pretty creative craft wise (she knits, I crochet, we color nice pictures, etc.) we are no Da Vincis. We don't want anything that can be mucked up. If it's something a company can do for us without having to sell our children to the gypsies, thumbs up. (Next clue: there's a music/concert/dance element, but please nothing with copyright infringement problems so forget anything Glee, American Idol, etc.)

3. Must be fun!  Nobody wants boring stuff- school pencils will end up at the bottom of the junk drawer, used for grocery lists and that's about it. Whatever you suggest can be practical, but must be pretty/fun/unusual to put a smile on recipient's face. We're all about the FUN element. (Next clue: forget the feathers, but something's fishy....)

4. Must be available in time. You might have the cutest idea, but if it's going to take six months to put it all together, have it made, shipped and received, well, that doesn't help. (Last clue: Sirenz = shoe, Sirenz 2 = fuzzy vest.)

This swag has been done: chocolate (in any form), bookmarks, pins, Hades' business card (people STILL talk about that, they love it), feathers, pretty organza bags, key bobs (unless it's really cool).

So let's see what you come up with. Here's the list of books the winner may choose three (3) of:

Skyship Academy with signed card from Nick James
The Trouble With Half A Moon (MG) by Danette Vigilante
Exposed by Kimberly Marcus
Wither by Lauren DeStefano
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
Angel Star by Jennifer Murgia
Bloodspell by Amalie Howard, signed
Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready
Gimme A Call by Sarah Mlynowski

One last clue; if you check out you can find more hints about the book.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

As We Dream By The Fire....

This is what the hubby and I bought each other for Christmas--a gas fireplace. No holiday ties you wear once a year, no more jewelry I don't have any more fingers, toes and arms to wear, no vacations to places we're too busy to get to.

When you think about it, it's kind of a romantic, practical, good investment gift.

It will be romantic to sit by the fire with our wine, talking over the day's events.

(Or watch the hubby snore on a different couch, this one in front of the fireplace instead of the big screen TV).

It's practical because when we lost power for five miserable days, I was forced to go to the mall to keep warm. (Which got expensive, all that shopping.) This baby warms up quite a bit of the old cabin, and we can all snuggle down in the living room to sleep if the electricity goes off.

(We just have to fight over who gets to sleep on the couches, and who gets stuck on the hardwood floors.)

It's a good investment because people love a fireplace, especially one that doesn't require: being friends with Paul Bunyon for wood, a gazillion trips in and out stocking up firewood, vacuuming up all the chips, dirt, bugs (eek) and ashes, and repainting every year to get the smokey haze off all your white ceilings and colored walls, and off your furniture, carpet and drapes.

(Why were we the only *(&%! house on the block NOT to have a fireplace?? EVERYONE has one.)

Plus there is the humorous aspect. Son, now 12, was singing about the fireplace. (tune: Winter Wonderland) "...Later on, milk will expire, as we dream by the fire..."  Don't ask me where the heck he got 'milk will expire' from "we'll conspire."

And it'll be nice to curl up by the fire with a good book.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Resolutely Yours

It's after New Year's Day--and I pondered a bit about what to write. Yes, I've made the obligatory resolutions.

But this year will be slightly different. I'm not resolving to lose weight, give up smoking, exercise more. My resolutions (yes, plural) are what I'm promising to do for YOU.

In 2012, I resolve to:

1. Give positive feedback as much as I honestly can, whether it's someone's book, haircut, screw-up or opinion.

2. Obey the rules. I will drive safer, even if it's just down the road to the grocery store.

3. Let you go. If our relationship, whether it's as friends, acquaintances, fellow author or even family member, is toxic to either of us, we'll part, hopefully amicably as possible.

4. Promote the good. I'll talk up other books, libraries, volunteering, worthy charities, anything that brings awareness to a good thing.

5. Not discuss politics. Nothing good ever comes of discussing this subject and as we draw closer to the election and tensions run higher, I'll just leave it alone.

I think that's enough. I only have so much resolve, and there's a few things I resolve to do for myself, but I won't bore you with them.

I wish you all a healthy, happy, successful, peaceful and wonderful 2012!