It's Official!

Now that Thanksgiving is over and Cyber Monday has passed (I got some GREAT deals! Yay!), the Christmas season is officially upon us. In my house that means cookie baking, candy making and tree decorating. But as important as all of those things are to our enjoyment of the holidays, there are a few other things we simply must do before Santa scoots his fat ass down the chimney. I'm talking Christmas movies.We love them. We watch the same ones religiously year after year and it just wouldn't be Christmas without them.

I thought I would share my five favorite "must see" seasonal movies:

5.  Christmas Vacation - Classic Chevy Chase and my personal favorite of all the Vacation movies.

4. The Homecoming - This is my "when I was your age" movie even though I never lived on a farm or a mountain, never had six brothers and sisters, never walked to school and was never that poor.  I'm older than the kids, so I figure I'm entitled to claim it.

3. A Christmas Carol - Although this movie has been made and remade a dozen times, my favorite is the 1951 version with Alastair Sim as Ebenezer Scrooge.

2. It's A Wonderful Life - This is the one you want on in the background when you're wrapping presents.

1. A Christmas Story - Ralphie is like part of the family and we all cried when Darren McGavin died back in 2006.

This was tough for me because I could have easily made a list of twenty that we watch almost every year, but I decided to go with these. You know that feeling you get on the way to the airport when you're leaving for vacation, that "what am I forgetting" feeling? Well, these are the five movies that give me that inkling of panic if I don't watch them before the stroke of midnight on Christmas night.

Of course we are always on the lookout for new Christmas movie ideas, so I would love to hear which movies your family enjoys during the holidays so I can add them to my list. Well, come on, I know you all have an opinion...

P.S. NaNo was a bust for me but congrats to all of you that have won or will by the end of the day. I did get quite a bit written on my current MS, more than I would have without the NaNo support, so I thank all of my cheerleaders for that.

We Have A Winner!

The results are in from random.org

And the winner of my follower giveaway is...

Lola Sharp from Sharp Pen Dull Sword


Lola, you should have an email from me asking whether you would like the Amazon gift certificate or the three ARCs.

Thanks again to everyone who entered. You don't know how much you all mean to me.

I don't plan on blogging next week as my big brother is coming up from New Orleans for Thanksgiving. I only get to see him once a year, so he always gets my full attention (O.K., NaNo will be getting some also, but I won't tell if you won't). 

My family practically lives at the movie theater during the holidays, but with NaNo I haven't been keeping up with the new releases. I'm taking the kids to see HP7 today because my brother just isn't "into" Harry Potter (sometimes I wonder if we're truly related).

So your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to recommend a movie. Have you seen anything lately that you loved or are you looking forward to a must see coming out Thanksgiving weekend? I could sure use the help.

I Am A Saboteur

Yesterday I convinced myself that certain things I'd been putting off for months needed to be done immediately because if they weren't, the whole world would stop rotating, or worse, I would be the cause of the zombie apocalypse (I realize Halloween is over, but zombies are "in" any time of the year. Have you seen the new AMC series "The Walking Dead"? LOVE).

I did all of these things, that if I'm being honest didn't need to be done or else I would have done them like a year ago, because I'm woefully behind in my pursuit of the coveted NaNoWriMo winner's badge and didn't want to face the fact that I should be writing.

So for those of you cleaning out that thing no one ever sees anyway, or repainting that room because you can't get that stain off of the wall, I wanted to give you a bit of inspiration.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?
                                                                                             Marianne Williamson

Do you have any words of wisdom you want to share?

My follower giveaway ends Friday, November 19th. Just leave a comment on this original post. Don't miss out!

An Award And Giveaway!

Thank to all of you for sticking with me through my NaNo trials and tribulations. I read a fantastic NaNo-inspired post by Aimee Bender, one of my favorite authors, and wanted to link to it here. I am finally getting over this virus and hope to be back to full writing strength soon.

A special thanks to Quinn for awarding me the Beautiful Blogger award. If you haven't visited his wonderful site, you should. There is always something interesting going on over there.

I would also like to encourage you to join Rachael Harrie's Inaugural Writers' Platform Building Crusade if you haven't already. I've met so many terrific writers and discovered some really great blogs through her efforts. Thanks, Rach!

One of my fellow Crusaders is having a giveaway on her blog, Marieke's Musings, along with a great interview with Jackson Pearce on researching historical novels.

Last, but certainly not least, my follower giveaway! This was supposed to be a 100 follower giveaway, but life interrupted. Now, I'm closing in on 150 followers and wish I could afford to give something to every single one of you, because it humbles me that you take time out of your lives to visit my little blog.

When I started thinking about prizes, I'll admit I had a hard time. I have quite a few international followers and didn't want to leave them out by just offering books that I couldn't afford to ship to them. So the winner, if international, will receive a $30.00 Amazon gift certificate and if stateside will get their choice of either the gift certificate or all of the following fantabulous ARCs, 
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
Halo by Alexandra Adornetto

The Particular Sadness Of Lemon Cake by the aforementioned Aimee Bender

To enter, just be a follower (+2 for old followers, +1 for new ones) and leave a comment on this post. You can also gain extra entries by doing the following:

  • +5 for blogging about this giveaway (leave a link to the post with your comment).
  • +2 for tweeting or mentioning the giveaway on facebook or myspace (just leave a link with your comment).
Just comment and let me know how many entries you have. The giveaway will close Friday, November 19th at midnight EST. I'll announce the winner, chosen by random.org, on Saturday, November 20th.

Thanks again!

Updates and Apologies

I felt like such a slacker when I realized I'd only posted once to the blog last week. NaNo has kept me busy. Although I'm a little bit behind where I would like to be, I did manage to pass 10,000 words over the weekend. And I must say I'm having fun not editing. I never thought I would utter those words, but I read a terrific article by Stephen King that really hit home with me. One of his suggestions on writing successfully was this:
Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule. You think you might have misspelled a word? O.K., so here is your choice: either look it up in the dictionary, thereby making sure you have it right - and breaking your train of thought and the writer's trance in the bargain - or just spell it phonetically and correct it later. Why not? Did you think it was going to go somewhere? And if you need to know the largest city in Brazil and you find you don't have it in your head, why not write in Miami, or Cleveland? You can check it ... but later. When you sit down to write, write. Don't do anything else except go to the bathroom, and only do that if it absolutely cannot be put off.
I've followed his advice while writing this week and let me tell you it's fantastic and freeing and lots of other wonderful adjectives that I will not use a thesaurus to look up right now.  You can read the entire article here, and I encourage you to do so.

I also finished reading Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, and all I can say is WOW. Please read this book if you haven't already and tell everyone you know to read it also.

I passed it along to my teenage son. It is so powerfully written and Ms. Anderson really nailed the teen voice.

My fantabulous follower giveaway will be revealed this week so stay tuned for that, and for my fellow NaNoers, in the words of  Commander Peter Quincy Taggart, "Never give up, never surrender!"

Book Review - Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1) by Cassandra Clare

From Goodreads:
When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.
Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What's more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.
Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by--and torn between--two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length...everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world...and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.
I’m almost ashamed to say it, but this book was my first official taste of Steampunk. I know, I know, I’m behind the times.
Clockwork Angel is actually a prequel to the Mortal Instruments series (City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass).  I’ve heard they are faster paced than this one and I’ve already added them to my extensive TBR pile. However, I loved this book and I didn’t find the pace too slow.
I found the characters vibrant and strong willed. Even Tessa was spunky considering the historical time period. Will and Jem had such a great rapport with each other and the love triangle between the three of them kept me on the edge of my seat wondering who Tessa would choose.
I also found the Steampunk genre fantastically inventive and Cassandra Clare described old London so vividly that it seemed like an additional character in the story.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys an intriguing read.
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