Friday, December 12, 2014

Just a little something extra

Whether you bow and pray at a Nativity...

Or a miracle of Light is what you see...

If Mohammad or Buddha guide your way...

Or Nature and the Earth bring purpose to your day...

We are all children of the Universe, of that we cannot stray...

So let’s strive to exists in Peace and Harmony.

No matter what your affiliation, I wish you joy, good health and prosperity, and may 2015 be your best year ever.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

December 11th Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

Good Morning! Happy 500th Blog Post. That’s insane. It feels like I just started the blog, and today is its 500th entry.
My Nemesis 

I started this morning off with another heart attack. Last Monday, I was not quite awake when I went outside to wait with Dani for her bus, and I opened the family room door, stepped into the garage, and then hit the garage door opener. When the door started to open, a bird in our garage flew into the house, where he remained for there 26 hour.

For the past week, in the mornings, I have been opening the family room door just enough to squeeze my arm through, reach out, and hit the garage door button, quickly retract my arm, and close our family room door to where I can peek out to watch the bird(s) fly out. It has been working well, that is until this morning. One of the little beasties, flew in through the less than two inch space, brushing my cheek as he passed. E.E.E.E.W.W.W.W.W!!!
On the prowl...

I kicked Colby out and closed the family room door. Then I started chasing my cats around so they wouldn’t have bird for breakfast. I grabbed Mikey and shoved him down the basement and slammed the door, then scooped up Sebastian and tossed him in the bathroom and slammed the door, all while this crazy bird is dive bombing us. I shut off all the lights in the house, opened the back door, flipped on the back porch light, and went out the garage to spend some quality time with Colby, praying the buzzard would leave on his own.
I wish I looked this cute
in the morning...

Mind you, I just woke up, my hair is standing on end, I’m in my nightgown with my coat thrown over it, and I haven’t had my coffee yet. I only lasted ten minutes in the garage – it’s cold out there. I THINK, the bird has vacated the premises, but I’m not 100% sure. The cats are still acting a little weird, but that may just be the aftereffects of having a bird flying around them earlier. Let’s hope. There should be an unwritten law that you’re not allowed to get traumatized before you’re fully awake.

So that’s how I started my morning, how about you? Have you started your holiday shopping yet? Hanukkah is less than a week away, and Christmas is in two weeks.

TWO WEEKS – Oh bother!

I don’t think I’ll be getting cards out this year, well at least not photo ones. I don’t know if I have enough time. I haven’t even begun to write the Christmas letter yet. I don’t have a single gift wrapped, I haven’t even sorted them out yet to see what I have and what I still need. I know I have at least seven more gifts to shop for, because I don’t have ANYTHING for those family members yet. The tree’s still not decorated, and now there’s a string of lights out on it, so the few ornaments that did get on the tree, need to come off again. The house does not have any decorations, inside or out. How did I get so far behind?

Crachunik on Left
Crutsanik on Right
What’s worse is, next week I leave early Tuesday morning, don’t get back until late Thursday night, and will probably be shot all day Friday after driving 1,100+ miles again. The week before Christmas is when I start all my baking, and the Crachunik and Crutsanik are all dependent on weather conditions. If it’s too cold or raining, the dough won’t rise, so I need to find the mildest sunny day, in the Northeast, a few days before December 25th, to make the traditional Slovak breads.

They looked sort of
like these
I really hope that day isn’t next Tuesday – Thursday, or I would have missed my window of opportunity. If that day is Friday, it just might kill me, but I’ll do it anyway. I am the only one who bothered chasing my Baba around the kitchen so I could learn how to make everything she made, well almost everything. She used to make these spareribs, only on Christmas, that were amazing. All I remember is she cooked them in a pot, and they came out dark brown, fall off the bone, garlicky and delicious. So if any of you out there come from Slovak, Ukrainian, Polish, Russian or Hungarian heritage, and someone you loved made these types of spareribs at Christmas, and you know how to make them, PLEASE contact me. I’d love to be able to make them again.

Okay, I’m off to do one more sweep of the house to make sure that dang bird is really gone. The last thing Dani needs, when she wakes up, is to get dive bombed by a bird. She’s home, sick in bed, and I have to go to work at ten, so I’ll probably be gone before she wakes up. Never a dull moment around this place, I swear.

I hope you have a wonderful day, and happy writing!

Your Next Challenge:

I’m running out of room…

You have ten minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count, and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.

Monday, December 8, 2014

December 8th Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

Class of '84
(obviously not all of us)
Good Morning! I have been seriously remiss in making blog posts lately, and I have a bunch to share with you now. It also didn’t help that I noticed I never posted the one from the 29th. I’m not exactly sure what happened, but I posted it Sunday morning on the blog site if you’re interested.

So, the 30 year reunion was a blast. I got to see a bunch of people, but I really couldn’t catch up with many because the music was too loud to chat. The common consensus was, four hour was definitely NOT enough time. We all wanted more.

The Committee
Back Row: Vinnie, Karolyn, Rebecca,
Bob, Mike, Laura, Gary
Front Row: Amy & Me
I think, in 2016, we are going to hold a 50th birthday party for the class. We had some money left in the kiddy after the reunion was over, and we are throwing around the idea that, for the people who were there, it will be free, and for the folks who couldn’t make the reunion, there would be a nominal fee of $25 to attend. Now the reunion committee has an excuse to get together in under five years. It’s going to be great!

Yup, in PARK on the
At ten in the morning, following the reunion, I began my drive south to bring Lys and her friend Max back to school. We decided taking Route 81 back would be much better than attempting Route 95. The best laid plans… It turns out there was a major accident on 81 in Virginia early Sunday morning, and traffic never quite recovered. We passed a dozen accidents, and if it wasn’t for this app Max had, we would have been sitting in more traffic than we did. All in all, the trip took 13 ½ hours, which I guess isn’t too terrible considering at one point I had the car in park on the highway, and we took several breaks and a 45 minute dinner.
Bumper to bumper on
Route 81

I crashed at Lys’ that night, and before I left, we had one errand to run. You see, for the past month, Lys has been getting cyber bullied, so our errand was to the police station to file a report. We had thought they would be able to subpoena Yik Yak to have them trace the IP address of the person doing the harassing; but even though the anonymous posts are disturbing, they do not cross the line into threatening, so the police’s hands are tied. They can’t do anything. The same holds for the college itself.

Because of this, Lys has elected to part ways with High Point, and return to Champlain. She would rather deal with a cranky Mother Nature than a psycho in the human form, and I can’t say I blame her. This means, next Monday, I will be driving back down to North Carolina to pack her up and bring her home. Then, in January, I’ll be bringing her back to Vermont, and setting up her new room up there. Never a dull moment. To be honest, I’d rather have her safe and only six hours away, so I’m not heartbroken that things did not work out at High Point. It would have been better if my daughter wasn’t traumatized in the process, but, live and learn. She’s a strong woman, with a good head on her shoulders, she’ll be fine.

The drive home was considerably better. It only took 11 hours, and that was with multiple stops, including a 45 minute one when it was pouring. The weather and traffic was terrible, and I was exhausted, so I pulled off at a rest stop, climbed into the back seat, and took a power nap. When I woke up, I felt refreshed, the rain had stopped, and the traffic had dissipated, so it was a beautiful thing.

I did not have my radio interview the Ron Shaw Show on ArtistFirst Radio Network on my drive home. I got the dates mixed up. My interview is actually tonight at 8pm. Ron told me my last interview had over 30K downloads, which completely shocked me, but he has the reports to prove it. Now that’s not the people who listen to it the night it aired, these are actually folks who clicked into the link after the fact, and listened to the hour long show. That’s mind boggling to me.

I have to make sure my phone is all charged and ready to go. I also have to figure out where I can do the interview. Last time I did it sitting in a chair in my driveway, because that’s where I got the best reception. That’s not exactly an option for a December in the Northeast interview, especially with a Nor’easter on its way. (There will be a special announcement on tonight's show, so, if you are available, please tune in.)

At least it’s a rain event, not a snow event. That’s all I would have needed. LATE Tuesday night, I am driving to Philly to pick up Dani’s boyfriend and his family from the airport. They have been down in Florida for the Cheerleading Nationals, and their flight comes in at 11:30. If this Nor’easter was going to be a snow event, I would have had them make other arrangements to get home. Then again, if it was snow, the flight would have more than likely been cancelled and I would have to pick them up on Wednesday.

Of course the lights on the
pre-lit tree wouldn't work, so
Paulie had to string more.
Saturday, we had our annual tree decorating party. It was over a week early this year. We usually do it as close to the first night of Hanukkah as we can, but Hanukkah is on the 17th this year, and I wasn’t going to be home.

The 17 year old tradition started with one of my dearest friends, Rebecca, who happens to be Jewish. She loves decorating Christmas trees, but for obvious reasons, she did not get many opportunities to do so. I had invited her over to do ours with us. She would spend Christmas with us whenever she was in town, so why not have her help decorate the tree? By accident, not design, it was the first night of Hanukkah, the first year we did it. I had felt bad that on her holiday, she was helping us prepare for our holiday, so I made potato pancakes for dinner that night…and the tradition began.

3 dozen ornaments and
more lights out. The tree still
needs serious work!
Now, every year, I make a vat of potato pancakes (10lbs – roughly 200 - 250 pancakes), and a bunch of people come to my house and decorate my tree. With the exception of Rebecca’s son Noah, who placed more ornaments than everyone else combined, they did a sad job. I was too busy cooking to supervise, but I can just about guarantee, everyone else put exactly one ornament on the tree. I think next year, I am going to withhold the food until the tree is done. LOL.

Well, this had gone on long enough. I told you I had a bunch to tell you. The next blog entry will more than likely be next Sunday. There’s just too much to do this time of year, that I can’t find the time to blog as well. Sorry. I hope you have a fabulous day, and happy writing!

Your Next Challenge:

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

You have ten minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count, and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

November 29th Challenge

OH BOTHER! I'm not quite sure what I did, but I never posted this. So here's the 11/29/14 post. I'll give it a little while before I post the one I have for today.

Hi, it’s Christina –

My sister-in-law Cindy
with the cake Lys made
Good Morning! So has everyone recovered from their food comas yet? I haven’t because our feast was a two day event, and today isn’t going to be much better.
Obviously on Thursday we pigged out on the traditional Thanksgiving fare – turkey, mashed & sweet potatoes, stuffing, corn, cheesy vegetables, creamed onions, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, rolls, cranberry bread, and apple, cherry, pear raspberry & pumpkin pies. Yesterday we celebrated my sister-in-law’s birthday (a little late, but she wanted Lys to be home for the celebration), and my mother-in-law cooked. We had ham, more mashed potatoes and corn and sweet potatoes, broccoli, red cabbage, carrots, and birthday cake (which Lys made).

My High School Senior
Tonight I have my thirty year high school reunion, so we are going to be stuffing ourselves yet again. It’s so hard to believe a little over a year ago we were starting to plan the event, then there was a huge push these past five months, and now the day is finally here. Thanks to advances in the internet, we were able to locate more classmates this time around than ever before. Unfortunately many will not be able to make it, but we will have around a hundred people, so it will be a fun night.

One good thing is, the folks who cannot make it are now connected through a Facebook page we have dedicated to our class. For the past few weeks the page has been exploding with posts of old photos, and comments. It has been amazing. Hopefully, even though the reunion will be over tonight, folks will keep posting photos and stories between now and the next reunion. I’m also hoping we can persuade the classmates who are not on Facebook to join, just so we don’t have to lose our minds next time around trying to track them down again.

Carol, her husband, and her 5 kids.
Aren't they a beautiful family?
One of my friends, Carol, just started a thread, on our class page, where we are to post where we are now, what we are doing, and a recent family photo. The replies are starting to come in, and it’s nice to get the updates. I will admit, I am a little jealous of Carol. She has five kids, including a set of thirteen year old twins, and she looks more beautiful now than she did in high school.

I wish she was able to come to the reunion, but travel on Thanksgiving weekend is so cost prohibitive, I think that is what kept many of our classmates from being able to attend. This was the first time we held the reunion on Thanksgiving weekend. I think our mindset was classmates would be visiting their families anyway for the holiday, so they would be in town. It turns out that many of the families have also moved away in the past thirty years, so it kind of back fired on us. I’m pretty sure, next time, we are going to shoot for late September – early October to have the reunion.

Okie-Dokie, I am off to Kohl’s to return a sweater for Lys. She bought it when she was home for fall break, wore it once, washed it, and it fell apart. I’m hoping Kohl’s doesn’t give me a hard time about it. All I want to do is exchange it for the exact same sweater.

BTW – I probably won’t be posting again for a few days. I’m fairly certain I will be driving Lys and her friend Max back to NC tomorrow. It’s a twelve hour drive between my house and Lys’ college. The kid she drove home with made it in just under nine hours. He was driving between 95 and 100 mph most of the way. YEAH, I am NOT letting my daughter get back in the car with him.

The ride home Monday should be interesting. I am scheduled to do a radio interview with Ron Shaw on ArtistsFirst Radio Network at 8:00 pm on Monday, and interview I will be doing via Blue Tooth in my car. It should be interesting. Please tune in.

Okay, I really have to run now. I hope you have a great day, and happy writing!

Your Next Challenge:

Let the insanity begin…

You have ten minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count, and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

November 26th Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

Good Morning! Today’s blog is going to stray from my norm again, and I will probably lose a few followers because of it, but I think this needs to be discussed.

Now, obviously, I am a white, (barely) middle class, female, so I am in no way qualified to speak of the plight of the young black, lower class, man; but with all that is going on these past few days, I do have some questions.

1) If the young man was shot by a black officer, would all this be going on?

2) How does rioting and destroying the town YOU live in solve anything, and aren’t these actions perpetuating the ridiculous stereotype?

3) Don’t people realize that when you get a man like Al Sharpton involved, he is just there to stir the pot? The only thing that man cares about is being in the spotlight. When all is said and done, he goes back to his upper middle class/ wealthy surroundings, and the people he claims to be seeking justice for are left broken and bleeding.

I’m sorry, Martin Luther King Jr he is not. Now there was a man who warranted respect. There was a man who could have truly changed the world if he had been given the chance. Do you know why? Because he realized that in order to change the mindset of the country, you needed to change the perception of the masses. Prove the haters wrong; not by violence, but by peace, love, education, and most importantly, to lead by positive example. NEWS FLASH, burning down your local bakery is NOT a positive example.

Perhaps my biggest problem is I cannot understand the concept of treating someone different than the way I want to be treated. What difference does the color of someone’s skin or the amount of money they have in their pocket make? Now, I’m not saying I do not have initial reservations when I encounter someone I do not know, and they have an intimidating presence. (I’m 5’5” and female, it’s not too hard to intimidate me.)

Example, the other day I was at the store and there was this huge white man, covered in tattoos and had several piercings. At first glance, I’ll admit, he gave me pause. Then he broke out in the biggest smile, and was oober polite to the cashier, and to everyone around him. And why shouldn’t he be? Because he expresses himself with ink and hardware? Yet, I’m sure, I was not the only one who bought into the stereotype. Thankfully, at least for me, my initial reaction was immediately dispersed, which, for the most part, is what usually happens.

Another example was when I was in college. A few of my girlfriends and I went into the city. We were taking the subway somewhere when a group of guys started harassing us. Next thing we knew, we were surrounded by an impenetrable wall of black leather. Several members of the Hell's Angels took it upon themselves to see to our safe passage. Now let me tell you, these Hell's Angels looked a whole lot scarier than the guys harassing us. Again, first impressions were false. They stayed with us through several stops and then escorted us up to the street and an additional few blocks until THEY determined we were safe.

On the other hand, I can just about guarantee, if I ever encounter a KKK member or a white supremacist, I will be giving them a wide berth. I FULLY admit to being prejudiced against those two groups. Sorry, as far as I’m concerned, they’re psycho. (and here’s where I may lose a reader or two, but honestly, I won’t miss you. Have a nice life, and I pray someday you will realize the error of your ways.)

I attribute the country’s frame of mind to the “one bad apple” principle. Until we realize every Italian is not tied to the mafia, every Irishman is not a drunk, every Hispanic is not a drug dealer, every Muslim is not a terrorist, every Black man is not there to rob or murder you, and every white person is a not white collar criminal, things will never change. Yes, there are people out there who do fit the categories, but bad folks exist in ALL races, religions, political affiliation and social stature. You can have a white, drug-dealing, terrorist who wants to rob and murder you.

Here’s another news flash. Whenever I have encountered a police officer, it raised my anxiety level as well. Granted, I did not feel I was going to be shot, but there was one instance I did feel threatened. (My bad for unintentionally surprising a state trooper.) Think back to when you were a kid and got called down to the principal’s office. Remember that churning in your gut? This is a normal reaction when confronted by an authority figure. What determines the outcome of these encounters, is the way you handle yourself in the situation. If you are cooperative and respectful, chances are things will go just fine.

Again, I’m not blind to the fact that there are some rotten, abusive, power hungry cops in the world, but it’s that whole “bad apple” thing again. 99 times out of 100, you will be interacting with the good people in the world, even if they are tattooed, pierced, huge, of a different skin color, or wearing a badge.
This sweet young thing was
Delphine LaLaurie
Perhaps I am the ignorant one. Maybe I just don’t get it, and by all means, feel free to enlighten me (just keep it PG, some of my readers are younger). I don’t see how burning down Michael Brown’s church benefited anyone. I don’t see how repeating the past over and over will produce different results. Isn’t that, in essence, the definition of insanity?

How about we give this a whirl? Start treating everyone the way we would like to be treated, stop looking at the color (or colors) of the person’s skin and take the time to look inside to see who they really are, and be willing to abandon your preconceived notions of who a person is based on the way they look. Looks can be deceiving…

I hope you have a wonderful day, and happy writing!

Your Next Challenge:

I can’t believe I ate the whole thing!

You have ten minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count, and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

November 20th Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

Good Morning! Today’s blog is going to be an eclectic jumble, just random points I want to pass on to you, with no interlocking theme, so please bear with me.

One – I know I mentioned, probably on more than one occasion, that even though my author’s photo was only taken a short time ago, the picture does not look like me, at all, anymore. If you don’t know the story, I’ll give you a quick recap. I have been blessed with the lovely condition of Psoriasis.  A little over a year ago, the psoriasis had spread to my scalp, making coloring my hair – hair that has been grey since I was 17 – a painful experience. I’m not talking painful for the time the gunk was on my head, I’m talking painful for several days afterwards. So, I stopped coloring my hair. Then, because I looked like an inverted Bozo, I chopped off all the hair that had color on it.

Since then, I have been saying I need to get a new author’s photo, because I didn’t think it was right to look completely different than advertised. The thing is, I am not very photogenic, and there are VERY few pictures of me I find acceptable. That changed on Saturday.

Susan Gulliford, a local photographer and journalist, came to the Hillsborough Public Library Authors’ Day to show her support. She was nice enough to snap several pictures and then email them to me so I could have a new profile photo. I think it came out pretty good. What do you think?

Two – One of the biggest things we have to deal with as authors is the marketing of our work. Time and again you have heard me bemoan this necessary evil, but it is a fact of this career. If you’re lucky, you can surround yourself with like minds, lean on them for support and they can lean on you. We discuss issues and share best practices, and whenever we can, we help out. Today I have the opportunity to help out one of my “support system”, and I hope you will at least check out what she has to offer.

Lilo Abernathy was selected for the Amazon Deal of the Day and has the opportunity to hit the best seller list with a little help. Her book, The Light Who Shines, is being offered today for only $1.99. Lilo was a sweetie and she wrote up the whole blurb to use on the blog post so all I had to do is cut and paste. Here’s what she provided:

The Light Who Shines
by Lilo Abernathy
Genre: Urban Fantasy / Paranormal Romance / Mystery
Amazon Rating: 4.7 Stars
Regular Price: $4.99
Sale Price: $1.99 (One day only)
Kindle Daily Deal Sale Date: Thursday, November 20th, 2014

When Supernatural Investigation Bureau agent Bluebell Kildare (a.k.a. Blue) arrives at the scene of the crime, it's obvious the grotesquely damaged body of the deceased teenage boy was caused by far more than a simple hit and run; and she vows to catch the killer. Using her innate sixth sense, Blue uncovers a powerful magical artifact nearby. She soon discovers it acts as a key to an ancient Grimoire that was instrumental in the creation of the Vampire breed and still holds the power to unravel the boundaries between Earth and the Plane of Fire.

Blue and her clever wolf Varg follow a trail that starts at the Cock and Bull Tap and leads all through the town of Crimson Hollow. Between being sidelined by a stalker who sticks to the shadows and chasing a suspect who vanishes in thin air, the case is getting complicated. If that isn't enough, Dark Vampire activity hits a record high, and hate crimes are increasing. However, it's Blue’s growing feelings for Jack Tanner, her sexy Daylight Vampire boss, that just might undo her.

While Blue searches for clues to nail the perpetrator, it seems someone else is conducting a search of their own. Who will find whom first?

Danger lurks in every corner, and Blue needs all her focus in this increasingly dangerous game or she risks ending up the next victim.


Bluebell Kildare: Blue is a Supernatural Homicide Detective and a gifted empath who has a pure spirit and a will of steel. She was orphaned at a young age and has had a tough life so far. Yet, she continually picks herself up by the boot straps and fights to do what is right, regardless of the cost. Just how high will the cost be?

Jack Tanner: He's Blue's sexy boss, the head of the Supernatural Homicide Unit in Crimson Hollow. Jack is very old and powerful Daylight Vampire with many layers. He is driven a little crazy by his desire to protect Blue in the face of her independence. Can he keep his cool when Blue needs him most?

Varg: He is a great grey wolf who comes out of nowhere and decides to be Blue's companion. He seems to have some mysterious magical abilities and uses them to guard Blue's life. Can he keep her safe?

Maud: She is Blue's dear friend and mother figure. Maud used to visit Blue in the orphanage and read to her as a child. She can't cook but she makes awesome Southern beverages. What color is her hair today? Is it blue, fuchsia, scarlet, or peach sherbet?

Alexis: She is Blue's comrade and neighbor, as well as the sassy owner of a store called Herbal Enchantments. She is gifted in earth magic and if she isn't busy feeding her friends, she's telling them what to do. Does she have her hands on her hips right now, or is she waving her finger at Blue?

The Villain: Can he get any more evil? No. He is about as evil as they come . . .


Lilo Abernathy is a somewhat eccentric, deep-thinking, warm-hearted young woman of at least 43 years. She started out as a restaurant chain hostess and worked her way up to the exciting world of global mergers and acquisitions. She has enjoyed an on again/off again relationship with formal education and has been affectionately referred to as information hound. In the evenings, she fills her writing breaks by scanning the internet for answers to provocative questions, such as: "What causes diamonds to be formed in different colors?"

One thing that never changes is Lilo's ongoing love affair with books. A born bibliophile, by age ten she finished all the children's books in the house and started devouring the adult section. By age 15, she was working her way through grocery store book aisles and libraries. Just as Picasso had his blue period, Lilo had her own periods of readership--urban fantasy, paranormal romance, Gothic novels, etc. Now she's planning on creating a bookshelf for you to enjoy.



I keep raving to everyone how great my readers are, so if supernatural mystery happens to be your cup of tea, please show Lilo some love. Wouldn’t it be great if we could push her all the way to #1? I’ll give you an update as to how she did in a future blog.

Three – I have made a decision to affiliate myself with a publisher, but not the publisher in NYC I have mentioned in the past. Although he was a really nice man, and I thoroughly enjoyed speaking with him, there was something holding me back from signing my life over to a publisher - the whole “once burned” thing. Now I just have to get up the courage to tell him so. He truly is very sweet, and I hate to disappoint him, but I have to stiffen my spine. This is a business decision, nothing personal.

I do not have the same reservations with this publisher, because she does things a little differently. Oh who am I kidding? A whole lot differently. Once we hammer out, more like tap out, the details, I will reveal who this amazing publisher is, and the name of her company.

Let’s just say, after numerous emails and a nearly two hour long phone call last night, I’m really excited and honored to be included in her community. I will give you a tiny hint (and hope she doesn’t shoot me for it), but it’s the same publisher who is publishing the short story I wrote for the spooky anthology due out next Halloween.

And finally, four – This is the last – honestly this time – weekend I will be at CanterburyTales Forever in Peddler’s Village, Lahaska, PA for the season. Yes, it would be nice to sell more books for the holidays, but it’s just getting too dang cold out there. The high for Saturday is only supposed to be 38°, and standing outside from 10 until 4 is going to be miserable. So, if you were planning on giving a signed copy of one of my books as a gift, get to Peddler’s Village this weekend.

Yeah, like that’s the reason you would trek to Lahaska, PA. LOL. No, but what would be worth the trip is, this weekend begins their Festival of Lights – think Norman Rockwell or Thomas Kincaid Christmas. I realize it is BEFORE Thanksgiving, but I believe you seeing all the shoppes, decked out in their holiday regalia, will put you in the spirit of the holidays. Since it’s a festival, you are pretty much guaranteed there will be sales going on, and who doesn’t love a sale?

I’m not 100% sure, but I think this weekend also kicks off the gingerbread house competition. This ain’t your mamma’s gingerbread houses folks, some of the creations are true works of art. One year I remember seeing a gingerbread house shaped like the White House. It was spectacular.

Okay, time to bring this never ending blog post to an end. Sorry, it should have been split between Tuesday, Wednesday & today, but I have been busy the past few days, so I didn’t get time to post.

I hope you have a wonderful day, and happy writing!

Your Next Challenge:

I can’t feel my toes!

You have ten minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count, and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.

Monday, November 17, 2014

November 17th

Hi, it’s Christina –

Good Morning! Today's blog post is all about Saturday's Local Authors' Day at the Hillsborough Public Library. (Basically, it's all pictures and short blurbs.)

This is Robert Helmbrecht. He is a member of the Hillsborough Public Library staff, and was the event coordinator. He also runs a monthly writing group at the library. When he is not at his "day job", Robert is a publisher of horror novels.

Robert busted his butt making the event happen, and considering this was the very first event, of this scale, for the library, he did a wonderful job. I know next year will be even better. Thanks Robert for all your hard work!

There were over thirty local authors in attendance at the event and we were separated into two different areas. There were seven of us in the main library section, and the remaining twenty five (or so) were in the program room.

Chris Redding
I had a great time chatting with the authors who were in my area, but I think we would all have liked to have been in the room with the others. 

Chris Redding was to my right. She has eight or nine books under her belt at this point. Chris and I met, what we figured out to be fifteen years ago, when I first started thinking about becoming a writer. She was nice enough to meet me for coffee and then to take me with her to an RWA meeting. We had lost touch over the years, but have now reconnected and I look forward to furthering our friendship. 
Mary Ellen Springsteen

Mary Ellen Springsteen was on my left with her medical mystery The Universal Donor. Mary Ellen and I met in April at the Princeton Authors' Day, and have since attended several author related events together.

Zana Etter
Next to Mary Ellen was Zana Etter with her new book Dark Orchids. Zana and I both attend the monthly writing group at the Hillsborough Public Library. Zana's husband accompanied her on Saturday, and I would have like to have had more time to chat with him. He seems like an interesting man.
H.E. Goodhue

To Chris' right was H.E. Goodhue who happens to be a teacher in one of our our local schools. He writes YA fiction, and, like Chris, has several books under his belt. Unfortunately, I had absolutely no interaction with him other than making him pose for this picture. Undoubtedly we will run into each other again, and I will not let the opportunity slip by me a second time.
K. Edwin Fritz

Next to H.E. was my buddy Keith, or as his public knows him, K. Edwin Fritz, author and host of Writers2Writers.  I talk about Keith all the time, so I won't talk about him or his five books this time.

Charles H. & Laine Sutton Johnson
Rounding out our little group was Charles H. Johnson and his wife Laine Sutton Johnson. Again, like with H.E., I didn't get as much time to chat with them as I would have liked. Charles is a Vietnam Vet and a poet. I could not find a link to him or his books on Amazon, so I have provided a link directly to his website.

Kathi Kurz
When time permitted, I snuck (I know that is incorrect, but I just can't bring myself to use "sneaked", sorry) into the program room to snap some pictures of the other authors, and when I ran out of time, I left my camera with my friend Kathi Kurz, and she filled in the pictures I missed. Kathi had her youngest son helping her out on Saturday. I'm not even sure if she knows he photo-bombed her. (He's such a cutie!)

Casey Jo and Stacey Wilk
Casey Jo, author of The Bunny Rabbit in the Flower Garden put us to shame. We all had candy out for folks who stopped by, she had carrots. Casey shared a section with Stacey Wilk, author of the Gabriel Hunter Series.

Ruth A. Casie, Lita Harris, Emma Kaye,
Nicole S. Patrick & Julie Rowe
Yes I realize there are only four women in the photo to the left, and I have listed five names, but because of limited time, I was not able to chat with these women for more than a minutes. The five of them wrote and anthology, Timeless Treasures, but only four of them were able to make the event on Saturday. Which member was unable to attend, I'm not sure, so I listed all of their names. Now, I did not purchase any of the books these ladies were offering, I didn't have to. My mom bought them all, so I know it's only a matter of time before they will trickle down to me.
Annabelle Bryant & L.G. O'Connor

I am really bummed I did not get to chat with Annabelle Bryant. We were the two Historical Romance writers of the group. Hopefully we will cross paths again in the not to distant future and we will be able to sit down and commiserate. Annabelle's neighbor was L.G. O'Connor. The two of them looked like they were having fun together. It was truly a case of not enough hours in the day. I'm going to propose a closed meet & greet for the authors to take place an hour or so before the Authors' Day next year. I think we would all enjoy actually meeting and talking to our counterparts.

Edith G. Tolchin
This lovely lady is Edith Tolchin. Edith also attends the monthly writer's group at HPL, and she's a stitch! I truly enjoy her company. Edith has authored several (for lack of better explanation) "how to" books. She is a wealth of information, and is very successful at what she does. However, she is now venturing into fiction writing, and I am absolutely in love with the concept she has for a book, and I am anxiously awaiting to read installments. I am not at liberty to say any more at this time, but mark my words, the second I am, you'll be hearing all about it.

Andy? Scott? I'm not sure.
Other than to say "hi", I didn't get a chance to talk with Andy Rane or was it Scott Mulraney. Andy is the author of the Trilogy of the Six, and currently books 1 & 2 are available. Scott is the author of YA Fiction books -  Danny Dirks series & the Liquid Blue series. Now I'm not 100% sure, but I think Andy & Scott may be the same person. If I'm wrong, I apologize profusely.
JC Vogard & Jeff Markowitz
I have just about given up on actually getting to talk to JC Vogard. We have been at a few events together, and we have never managed to actually chat. We've both tried. It's kinda funny at this point. JC writes mysteries, and she had Tiffany Blues with her on Saturday. Jeff Markowitz, also a mystery writer is next to her, but he was being camera shy and I didn't have time to coax him into a better photo.
Yvonne Ventresca
I have the same situation going on with Yvonne Ventresca as I do with JC. That is why Yvonne has such a big smile on her face in this photo - we were laughing. Basically I begged her to sit down for two seconds so I could snap her picture for my blog. We said we'd talk later, but as usual, it never happened. Yvonne had her YA Fiction book Pandemic with her.

Rachelle Burk
Children's author Rachelle Burk was there as well. I have not yet had the opportunity to speak with Rachelle, but my friend Kathi says she was a "good neighbor" to have at the event.

Jeannette Brown
Meet Ms. Jeannette Brown. She is a fascinating woman who I had the privileged of meeting at a HPL writers group event. She wrote African American Woman Chemists. The stories this woman has to tell are wonderful, amazing, and inspirational. 

One author at the event was a big surprise, David Pincus. Mr. Pincus - I just can't call him Dave - and I met back in the 70's when he was a teacher at my school. Eons later, he was my son's teacher, and Mr. Pincus, his wife and I chaperoned a class trip to Hershey Park. He has written The Courtship of John's Wife, and he has another book coming out soon. Unfortunately, I did not get his picture.
Nicole Zoltack, Yvonne
 & Charlotte Bennardo

The remaining authors I did not get a chance to talk to, but I wanted to give them a shout-out anyway. 

Scott M. Goriscak
There were actually several more authors, but neither Kathi or I were able to get pictures. For those few we missed, I apologize.

Mary SanGiovanni
Well, since this blog has taken me over five hours to create - links to everyone's author's page and their books took forever - I will not be posting a writing challenge today. 

Walter Choroszewski
I now have to shut my computer down, grab a quick lunch, and then start straightening up my house for Thanksgiving. Now you might be saying Thanksgiving is still a ways away, and I thought so too, until Paulie pointed out last night that next weekend is the last weekend between now and the holiday, and next weekend I will be at book signings both days and then a party on Saturday night. YIKES!

Frank Wander
I don't know if you remember me telling you or not, but one of our guests for Thanksgiving dinner is my uncle, and my uncle has horrible allergies. That translates to an above and beyond cleaning whenever he comes to visit. I'm talking we literally wash down all the walls. 
Okay, I had better get going. I hope you have an amazing day, and I hope you take some time to check out the authors I have featured in today's blog. Happy writing!