I’m over at Word Whores this morning, talking about the three things I want to try to improve my writing life in 2014.
First off, OH MY GOD I HAVE A COVER FOR THE MARK OF THE TALA!!!
Thanks to the sharp-eyed Sullivan McPig for seeing it in the wild and telling me about it!
I’m all breathless.
Finally, on this penultimate day of the Twelve Days of Gifts for all you writerly types who are online today, my lovely agent Pam has a special gift for you! She’s offering a query and first chapter crit to TWO of you! Just spread the word and let me know that you did!
Tomorrow I’ll draw ALL THE WINNERS!
Only three days left in the Big Twelve Days of Gifts Giveaway!
I know everyone is crazy busy, so today is triple your chances to win day! Anyone who comments on Megan Mulry’s very funny post on what the hell colly birds are, or who comments on my Five Golden Rings post, will not only increase their chances to win both of those giveaways, but will get THREE entries for the Grand Prize!
(All of you lucky people who don’t celebrate Christmas and are not covered in flour and Scotch tape? This is an excellent time for you to sneak in and nab the prizes.)
I’m also over at Word Whores today, talking about the greatest influences on my writing in 2013. Yes, I named names!
Megan started following me on Twitter first (who knows why??), something I discovered when I began chatting with her via mutual friends. We’ve since discovered a reciprocal love for the other’s books (which does not always happen, sadly) along with similar sensibilities. She’s become a bright spot in my online world and one of the wonderful developments 2013 brought.
AND she’s giving away an ARC of her new bestseller, which lesser mortals won’t lay paws on until February, so fire up your commenting engines people!!
I’m so excited you asked me to be a part of your Twelve Days of Christmas blog! It didn’t take me long to choose my day, because what the hell is a colly bird anyway? I needed to know!
As usual, I’m all hung up on words. When you first posted about this blog idea, the four birds were listed as ‘colly’ birds and I was all, “What the—?” When you posted the next time, it said “calling” birds and I thought, “Ah. That’s more like it, right?”
You kindly sent me this link explaining the long-standing debate. It’s colly birds. Full stop. Which of course meant I had to venture over to Samuel Johnson’s dictionary to verify (no help whatsoever; ‘collie’ and ‘colly’ were dogs), then to the OED to get some serious fore-word-play on:
So the blackbird theory stands up. But coal-dust and soot got me thinking, because (*fist pump*) that is also the origin of one of our mutual favorites: smut.
The thing I love about words is: they don’t just tell the story, they are the story. Take smut, for example (yes please!). The history of the word smut is delightfully linked with all that dirty sooty goodness too:
So we’ve got the ‘colly’ part all set: those birds were really four sexy little tarts.
Wait! Birds, you say? Well, now I’ve got Michael Caine in Alfie and Mike Myers in Austin Powers yammering on about sexy birds. But was it a 60s thing? Referring to women as chicks and birds? Back to the salt mines I went:
That’s Samuel Johnson right there. That’s like…old (first published 1755). And not even a mention of the “feathered tribe.” And here is a subsequent definition from OED:
*tries and fails avoid bird/bride/bryd/burd rabbithole…twenty minutes later…*
So, right! Where was I? Oh, yes. Basically, I rest my case. It’s all right there in black and white. Those four colly birds were a bunch of dirty whores out for a good time with the leaping lords. Four birds…ten lords…I like the odds.
Next year, I’ll be researching the French Hens (arrogant bitches).
Oh, and since this should probably have something to do with my upcoming book (or something) I am giving away a super-top-secret advance reader copy of my February release, R IS FOR REBEL, to a random commenter. Why? Because the heroine, Abigail Heyworth, is one of my all-time favorite colly birds: she likes her sex smutty and to keep her hero…leaping. To win a copy, please let me know: who are your favorite colly-bird, sex-loving heroines?
Happy caroling everyone!
PS And just for kicks, here’s a portrait of the aforementioned Samuel Johnson,painted by Joshua Reynolds, which I’m attaching because he’s so totally reading smut, right? No question. How do I know? Because he looks exactly like I do when I’m reading Jeffe’s books and tell my husband, “This is research, damn it!”
FIVE GOLDEN RIIINNNGGGSSS
For today’s giveaway I’m offering a special something – limited paper edition of the full Season of Seduction anthology!! In fact, I’ll give away FIVE of them!!! And one lucky person will also get this awesome Five Golden Rings nail polish.
So, go forth and spread the good news! Party on and show the love. Tweet, Facebook, Google+ or Tumblr it. And comment here.
You’ll, of course, also be entered in the Grand Prize giveaway, too.
You all might take this as a cautionary tale, but Anne Calhoun is another of my writing friends who I stalked after reading her books and
forced coaxed into being nice to me. And look, she wrote this lovely story below, too. It reminds me of her novella, Breath on Embers, which is the one that made me fall in love with her. Christmas window displays figure heavily in that story, also, in an equally heart-wrenching way.
I’m going to burst your bubble right now. There’s nothing in this blog about the following:
- The number six
- Geese of any sort (Silly, fat, golden, the kind herded in fairy tales, etc)
- Laying of eggs or geese or… the other kind that’s probably still only featured in porn and hasn’t made its way into erotic romance. Yet.
It’s just a Christmas blog, okay? Bear with me. I’m giving stuff away.
Last night I took my son to the Midtown Crossing shopping district to look at their inaugural display of Christmas windows. The idea was that the windows would be similar to the more famous ones at luxury department stores in big cities, but while Omaha has many, many fine features, luxury department stores aren’t thick on the ground here. So, in a twist that’s really quite characteristic of a city with a strong focus on community engagement, the windows represented 21 of Omaha’s creative non-profits. The display is called Miracle on Farnam, and runs along Farnam Street’s shopping and dining district. Just to make things interesting, you can vote for your favorite window. The winner gets a $3000 donation.
The competition got my son solidly behind in this outing. Bundled up in hats, gloves, and warm boots, we looked at all the windows. Using our open-minded, reflective communicator learner profiles, we discussed each window and pronounced some “a good example of risk-taking” while others were much more engaging, with a clear message of the organization’s creative efforts.
We spent rather a lot of time making funny faces in the cameras placed in one window, strategically placed to get a clear shot right up my son’s nostrils (always amusing to a nine-year-old boy). We took off our critic hats and put on our hot dog eating hats for dinner, then retraced our steps, narrowing the field to two choices. Over dark chocolate peppermint ice cream, we settled the matter of which window got our vote in the most fair manner possible: we threw for it. I lost, but really, we both won.
This is the first time for this particular holiday outing, but it won’t be the last. During the holidays I get nostalgic for the old standbys: making my grandmother’s shortbread, driving around to look at Christmas lights, putting up the tree. I also like finding new traditions, blending a bit of our pre-kid history in Manhattan and San Francisco with our settled suburban life.
Do you have any new traditions, something you’ve blended as a family has come together, or something you’ve happened upon that’s just new to you? Comment for a chance to win books and some Ghiradelli chocolate!
Me neither! A bunch of us had a Twitter conversation on the topic yesterday, about how little shopping we’ve finished. I can’t believe I’m acquiring most of my gifts this weekend, but it sounds like a whole lot of other people will be, too. I did feel better hearing I wasn’t the only one runnning behind.
Regular readers know I love Twitter for this. It seems that on Facebook I talk to people I already know and Twitter is where I make new friends.
I’d like you to meet my new friend Audra North today.
She’s a debut author, wearing her white debutante dress, so be nice as I introduce her around the party. She’s giving away a copy of her debut novella, Falling for the CEO, and a $10 gift card to either Amazon or Barnes & Noble (winner’s choice)! You can read her post about it here.
Same rules continue to apply! To enter today’s giveaway, just tweet about it, say squealy things on Facebook or Goodreads. For best results, comment here or on Audra’s blog to let us know what you did. We’ll likely find you anyway, as we’re sneaky like that.
All entrants will be entered in the Grand Prize Giveaway, too, which will be announced a week from today!!
This Twelve Days of Gifts Giveaway has ended up being so much fun for me! It’s almost like having a special holiday date with each of my besties.
Today I have my local chapter buddy and lovely friend, Katie Lane, visiting!
She does cowboys, lemme tell you. And where I tend to go naughty, Katie is oh-so sweet. In fact, the story I tell in this video is all about her. If you look closely, you can see her down the table, laughing at me.
That’s my Katie!
And here she is to tell you about her giveaway.
The Twelve Days of Christmas. Who doesn’t love this jaunty song about twelve days of gift giving? Although you do have to wonder what the songwriter’s true love was thinking. I mean his gifts seem pretty random. Seven swans a swimming? Eight maids a milking? Personally, I think True Love did what my husband frequently does—waits until the very last minute to do his Christmas shopping. Since all the marketplace stalls in London were closed for the holidays, True Love was stuck with whatever he could find at the castle keep—or at the nearest Walgreens.
I can only imagine the wife’s face when she got the flock of fowl and horde of dancers and musicians. “Umm . . . thank you, dear, I’ve always wanted three French hens. And the lords a leaping are . . . uhh . . . extremely agile. Not to mention that, with eight maids a milking, I can have hot cocoa whenever I want.”
And speaking of hot cocoa, leave a comment about your most random Christmas gift and be entered to win Two $10 gift cards to Starbucks along with a signed copy of Hunk for the Holidays—which just happens to be on sale this month for only $1.99!
Today I’m bringing you another long-distance friend and a flashback to summer two years ago. Tawna Fenske is one of those people I became friends with online. We exchanged blog comments, tweets and Facebook messages, eventually graduation to instant messages. She likes to point out that, when we finally met in person, I went to bed with her immediately.
Can you blame me? Tawna is smart, witty, open-hearted and full of a sincere joy in life that makes her a delight to be around.
Believe me, that all comes out in her romantic comedies, too. Tawna is giving away a signed paper copy of her second book Believe It or Not today!
Same rules apply as in the introductory post. Share the love on Facebook, Twitter or elsewhere. Use the hashtag #JK12DayGifts if you can. Comment here, on Tawna’s blog or elsewhere and let us know what you did!
Bonus points for interpretive dance.
Today I’m so pleased to host my BFF, best conference roommate ever and critique partner extraordinaire, Carolyn Crane! The only downside of our truly excellent friendship is the 1,200 miles that separate us.
So, in lieu of meeting for some holiday cocktails, we’re having a little party here today.
Carolyn’s giveaway is particularly exciting because she’s offering to send a collection of her favorite candy treats – and she has excellent taste – along with an ARC of her new Associates novel, Off the Edge! Seriously very fun because I’m one of the few people who’s read it so far and it’s just AWESOME. Steamy jungles, romantic Bangkok and a linguistics hero to die for. The first book in her series, Against the Dark, has received all kinds of love, so I know people will be excited to get their mitts on a digital copy of the next one in the series!
Same rules apply as mentioned in the first post of the Twelve Days of Gifts – just share the Facebook posts, on Twitter or elsewhere and comment to let me know you did. Using the hashtag of #JK12DaysGifts helps us find you that much faster! I’ll draw Carolyn’s winner tomorrow morning. Everyone who enters any of the drawings all 11 days counting down to Christmas will be entered in the Grand Prize Drawing.
Good luck everyone!