Friday, December 31, 2010

Auld Lang Syne....

by Jeanne Adams

First, on behalf of ALL the Romance Bandits, let me wish you a safe, happy New Year's Eve!

If you're traveling today or tonight, partying, playing, or just staying home with your honey to watch the live festivities on the TV, may it be fun, cozy, happy, sexy, loving, delicious and fabulous, all rolled into one ROCKIN' New Year's Eve!

So what ARE you planning tonight?

I'd like to say we're planning some ritzy, party-filled evening here in DC, but alas, t'isn't so. We're going to pop over to a neighbor's house for a pot luck which should be fun. And my eldest wants to stay up till midnight, but other than making popcorn for him, and making sure our scared-of-fireworks dog has her last outing BEFORE midnight, we'll be homebodies, doin' nuthin' special. Grins.

I have to confess that one of these years, maybe when my boys are a bit older, I'll plan something spectacular for New Years. I'm not big on crowds, so probably NOT Times Square, but, perhaps the Gaylord National Harbor Hotel, just me and the darling hubby. Get a suite, bottle of champagne, great view of the Capitol fireworks....

Yeaaaaaaah. I'd love that.

Or maybe one year we'll take the boys and go skiing somewhere delicious, like Tahoe, or Aspen or up in British Columbia where the Olympics were this winter. (This would be predicated on a big contract, winning the lottery or some such, but hey, it's my imagination and I can make it whatever I want, right?) We'd spend the day skiing, have a great dinner, then "retire" to the lodge bar for toddies and a view out the big glass windows of the fireworks over the slopes.

Another cool New Years Eve celebration to me, would be to be at a Disney Resort for New Years Eve. Again, not big on the crowds, but I think it would probably be an amazing show, all things considered. After seeing the "regular day" fireworks there this summer, when we were there for RWA National, I can only imagine how fabulous a special event set of fireworks would be. Wow...

The ski vacation notwithstanding, I usually like to be home on New Years Eve. So I guess another fantasy event would be to host a huge, fabulous, Bandita-filled New Year's event at my house.

Since I'm fantasizing here that no one would have to work on New Years (Suz!) and everyone could travel here to DC, I'd get everyone in by plane, train or automobile, get some limos lined up, and just have one big "Throw down" for the whole crew.

Talk about a party! I'm not sure my neighbors could survive a Bandita Party in the 'hood. I'd have to be sure and invite them all so they didn't call the cops when the music got too loud, and the shield sledding started. (My hill isn't quite what the hill behind the Lair is, but it'll do nicely.)

Then there's the Lair. Oh. My. Goodness.

Given the usual state of the Lair, post-party - especially launch parties - I'm thinking it would be dangerous, and ill-advised to turn Sven and the guys (not to mention The Goddess Sangria!) loose in the Lair for a party on New Years Eve. Ermingarde would probably want to have a flaming boulder drop instead of a ball-drop. Then again, a toga-and-trouser-drop at midnight might be on tap (so to speak!) if Sangria had anything to do with the festivities. *shaking head, glad it isn't happening!*

We don't have a lot of rules around The Lair, as most of you know. The Lair's a pretty...flexible...environment. Grins. However, anything that might cause:

1.) Destruction of said Lair;
2) Discovery of said Lair as the den of iniquity it really is;
3) The Police to be Called (see #2);
4) Seriously annoy the dragon (see #5);
or 5) Thereby cause Fire, or Pestilence, or overall bleeding OR
6) Disruption of the Deadline-driven, Cave-dwelling Writers is HIGHLY frowned upon.

Hence, no New Years Eve celebration IN the Lair. Can you imagine it? Eeeek!

Just. Too. Dangerous. (Snork.)

Now, you've heard some of my ideas about where I'D like to spend a fabulous New Years, what about you?

Going out? Party? Planned or spontaneous?

Staying in? Party or going to bed before ten?

What's the New Years Eve Dream Destination for you? The Bahamas? Turkey? London? New York? Brussels? Honolulu? Or your hometown, with the guy you crushed on in high school?

Hey, it's your fantasy too...whatcha' got? Sexy? Skiing? Fine wine and food? Bubbly? A boat ride, cruise, or other destination vacation?

And what's the absolute BEST New Years you've ever had? Mine was the year I got married to the DH...the last New Years as "just a couple" rather than parents. Pretttty coooool. *wiggles eyebrows*

And the best movie with a New Years scene? For me, the New Year's scene at the end of The Holiday (Jack Black, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, Kate Winslet); and Queen Latifah in Last Holiday. That black evening suit, with the black bow in her hair, when she thinks she's gonna die....perfect. LOVE that movie!

Okay, ladies and gents, let's DISH about YOUR New Years Eve!!! (Reality optional)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Glitz and Glamour

by Jo Robertson

During the holidays many of us squeeze in a little extra time to go to the movies. Maybe take the kiddies or have an afternoon matinee date with our significant others or friends.

As you know I love movies. Any kind, any time, any place, I’m raring to go.


The Eighty-third Academy Awards aren’t scheduled until February, but I thought it would be fun to play a movie trivia game.

One of the interesting things about the Academy Awards is to look in retrospect at the list of films that were nominated, but DIDN’T win, so I’ve added a few of those questions. There’s a question from each decade and several bonus questions.

No fair surfing the net to find your answers. You either know or don’t know them. See if you can get every one right.






Let’s Play Movie Trivia!

1. What movie, based on a World War I novel widely studied in American high schools, won the 1930 Best Picture Award?

2. What 1946 best picture lost to “The Best Years of Our Lives,” but is still watched by millions of people every Christmas?

3. What 1954 Oscar went to a film in which young Marlon Brando made his “bones”?

4. In 1969, the first R-rated movie starring a very young Jon Voigt won the Oscar for best picture? What was it?

5. What film and its sequel won the best picture awards for 1972 and 1974?

6. In 1982 “Tootsie” and “E.T.” both lost the best picture award to which winning film?

Bonus:

7. Which person hosted the Academy Awards the greatest number of times?

8. Who was the first black American to win an academy award?


And for those of you who are die-hard television fans, what's the best NEW show you've seen this year? My personal favorite is the BBC show "Luther," billed as a "psychological crime drama television series," starring the handsomely talented Idris Elba (left).

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Togetherness

by Susan Sey

Ah, the holidays. That hallowed week between Christmas and the New Year.

Vacation.

Now I'm a stay at home mom, so when I say "vacation" I'm actually talking about my husband. Because while he's taken the week off from work, my job is a 7 year old and a 4 year old, & even if we travel for the holidays (which we are this year--hello, Grandma & Grandpa!) I sort of have to take them with me.

My experience of this time of year is so far from vacation it's laughable. You could say this is actually my crunch time. This is when my momming skills have to shine. Because, seriously, let's take this situation apart.

We're away from home, which means we're away from everything familiar: our usual food, beds, toys, friends, routines, etc. There is no fall back option. No play date option. No "go entertain yourself" option, because they don't actually know how to do that here in Grandma's house.

Things break here. There are strange adults here with rules mom doesn't enforce. Or who let them do things mom would never allow but seem incredibly inviting when she's not looking. Like eating a Rice Krispies treat as big as your head or consuming ill-advised quantities of M & Ms. (That last one taught Grandma a very colorful lesson about how while my kids did inherit our sweet tooth they did NOT inherit our iron clad digestive abilities.)

Also? Daddy's here. All day. The kids know what to do with that for a weekend, but an entire week? Seems strange. Makes every day seem like something special should happen, & when it doesn't, kids get pouty. Difficult to please. Whiny. Which is bad because my family sees my kids, what, once or twice a year? We have to make a good impression, or I'm a bad mom.

I know I'm not really a bad mom but this is me momming in front of my mom & sisters. The pressure's on, you know? This is one of two annual opportunities for me to make my family think well of me. And my kids insist on acting like...well, like children.

You know what would make me feel better? If your kids/dog/husband/loved ones are currently behaving worse than mine. Are you the visiting team or the home team this year? Share!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Winner of Salting Roses

The winner of yesterday's drawing for a copy of Salting Roses by Lorelle Marinello is...Laney4! Congratulations! Please contact me through my website at www.trishmilburn.com with your full name and address.

Old And New

by Suzanne



At this time of the year I tend to reflect on the past as much as look forward to the future.




This past year has been an exciting one for me. My parents just celebrated their sixtiethth, (yes 6-0) wedding anniversary. Not many people can say that. Mom says, "there comes a point where you can't imagine your life without him in it." When I was home this past spring I noticed how much they touched each other. Just little pats on the shoulder, a touch of the hand to the cheek as they passed each other. This is a wonderful thing to look forward to. That peaceful companionship that comes from time spent together.


We added two more grand babies last year, so this year had us enjoying 3 little people under 3. Talk about wild and fun. There were lots of little hands to "help", lots of stories to read, lots of laughter, lots of slow walks around the neighborhood. And Christmas was a blast!! We're going to add to those numbers with one more little person in May. (I keep telling my girls that I am wayyyyyyy to young to have this many grand babies!!)

Work exploded. We had 10 new doctors bring their practices to our facility, which equalled more patients, more babies and the need for more staff! Oy-vey!! Lots of new people to meet, train and evaluate. My boss has a good eye when it comes to hiring new nurses. So far the new staff is all pretty up-to-par, the docs are settling in, and my work is consistent. Not a bad thing to have these days. Can't imagine how crazy we'll be in the coming months. (Expect me to be exhausted come the summer months!!)

This past year I crossed the milestone from unpublished to contracted author. WOW! Very exciting, indeed. I got to use my new pen name, Suzanne Ferrell. My IT designer has my website up and running. (You can check it out @ http://www.suzanneferrell.com/ . Please go to the books page and click on the link to read the opening excerpt. It's fairly PG, the excerpt, not the book.) I have a great cover and a great editor. Hopefully we'll have an exact release date after the first of the year, so I can go from contracted author to PUBLISHED author!


I finally gave in to technology and asked for a Kindle for Christmas. Now before y'all start booing and chucking books at my head for crossing into the darker side of e-readers, let me tell you this wasn't an easy decision. I adore books. Have for the past 40 something years. Nothing is better than holding a book in my hand, letting the characters draw me in,  turning the pages as I get lost in another world. But several author friends have been gushing over their e-readers and how much they love them. So I decided to check it out. With the new Wi-Fi/3G features I can now access the web from an e-reader, as well as download my own WIP's to make notes on while away from home. So, I got a Kindle. So far, I've enjoyed it and am looking forward to using it in the year to come.

So what has you reflecting on and looking forward to in the coming year? This is not a resolution question, but what you'd like to see happen for you this year? Got a trip planned? A big anniversary? A wedding? A Baby? New job? New book? What great milestone did you reach this past year? Was it good? Or are you glad to see the last of 2010?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Bandita Booty

Bandita Booty!!!!

Congratulations MsHellion - You won the 12 Days of Christmas prize for the December 23rd blog.

Please send your contact information to either www.DonnaMacMeans.com or Romancebandits@gmail.com.

Congratulations and Merry Christmas and

Happy New Year!

Lorelle Marinello Debuts with a Tale Steeped in the South

I've known Lorelle Marinello since 2003, our first year of being Golden Heart finalists. So I'm excited to host her today to talk about her debut novel, Salting Roses.

Tell us a bit about Salting Roses.

SALTING ROSES tells the story of Gracie Lynne Calloway, an Alabama girl who discovers on her twenty-fifth birthday that she is the kidnapped daughter of a late New England financier and heiress to an enormous fortune.

Gracie has grown up under the notion that she was the abandoned love-child of her Uncle Ben’s runaway niece. She suffered mightily for her questionable ancestry over the years and has found herself a quiet niche as a bookkeeper in the local market where she can fly comfortably under the radar of the town busy bodies. But when the press gets wind of Gracie’s new identity, they descend on the peaceful town of Shady Grove and proceed to turn Gracie’s life upside down. The folks of Shady Grove can’t understand why she’s not happy with the glorious turn of events. The handsome PI who’s been sent by her Yankee grandmother to charm her into submission is doing one heck of a job on her heart, which only makes her dilemma worse. As Gracie struggles to stabilize her world and come to terms with her new identity she learns that belonging is not about where you came from but who you are.

Your heroine, Gracie Lynn Calloway, grew up in a small southern town after being abandoned on a front stoop in a coal bucket. But on her 25th birthday, she finds out she's not who she thought she was and is actually an heiress. How did this story idea come to you?

In 2002, I had returned from a writers’ retreat with the Sacramento chapter. I promptly came down with a terrible case of the flu and was stuck in bed for a week. I read three books in a row and was looking around for something to entertain myself. I had recently settled my late father’s estate after a two-year brouhaha between warring factions of family members. I had plenty of time to think about people and how crazy and desperate a bit of money could make them. I pulled out a notepad, outlined the story, and wrote one chapter. It was two years before an agent spotted a log line for the story on the bottom of my resume list under works-in-progress and asked to see the full manuscript. I spent the next six months writing it.

What do you like most about Gracie? Is there a part of you in her?


Years ago, Jenny Crusie said, “Publishing is like dancing naked on the table-just get used to it.” Boy, is that true. There is a good deal of me in Gracie. It’s a bit scary. Gracie plays baseball in the story. I did grow up playing sports with boys. I was fairly athletic and loved being outdoors. I did take ballet lessons for five years, but gave it up for horses. Again, the need to be outdoors was calling me. Like Gracie I was often barefoot, in jeans and a T-shirt, and more than likely dusty and bedraggled. Gracie is also na├»ve in many ways. I have to admit, in that aspect, she and I are much alike as well.

But I also think we imbue characters with traits we wish we had. Gracie is strong and not afraid to say what she thinks. She’s smart-mouthed when she’s being put upon unfairly. I admire her sass. It’s not meant to be mean-spirited, but honest. I think it’s her honesty and naivety that charms Sam, the hero. Oh yes, and I happen to be married to an Italian from Connecticut, both of which Sam is.

You're a Southern California gal, but you like southern characters and settings. Why do they speak to you?

My fascination with the South and all things Southern confused me until I listened to Earlene Fowler, a mystery writer, speak at my local RWA chapter. Earlene is another author with Southern roots who was raised in California. Like me, she grew up listening to stories. My grandparents came to California during the 1940s when my mother was 14 years old. They came from Alabama via Richmond, Virginia. My grandmother was happy anywhere, as long as she was surrounded by family, but my mother and grandfather never really made the transition to California culture. I grew up hearing about how this and that were not done where my mother grew up.

My grandfather soothed his homesickness by telling me stories of his boyhood on Mrs. Brock’s farm in Decatur, Alabama where he boarded while his daddy ran a train on the L&M line. My papa loved to fish and hunt, and was quite the young inventor. Boy, did he have stories!

Along about my third manuscript, FAIRHOPE, the voices I’d heard throughout my life just sort of came flooding out. FAIRHOPE gained me attention in the beginning of my writing career. I signed with my first agent and finaled in the Golden Heart contest for the first time. It took me two more years to realize what had excited contest judges, editors, and my agent was my voice.

I was drawn to the voices of Mark Twain, Fannie Flagg, and Billie Letts. I finally realize why they appealed to me so much. I was listening for my grandparents’ voices. I missed them terribly. It was not just the voices but a way of thinking and considering things that set me apart from my peers. I always felt a bit out of sync with my friends growing up in the California beach community, which is just another reason why I can relate to Gracie’s struggle to fit in Shady Grove.

Your title is Salting Roses? What is the significance and meaning of that title?

The original title was WALTZING WITH ALLIGATORS, which seemed like a good title to illustrate Gracie’s experience with her new-found relatives. But I suppose alligators don’t create a warm fuzzy feeling in a women’s fiction novel so my editor suggested we look for something else. There is a reference in the novel to a feud between two neighbor ladies. They’ve been pouring table salt on each other’s roses to kill them. In some ways Gracie is caught in a similar battle with the press and the folks who want her to accept her new fortune.

If you suddenly found out you were an heiress to a large fortune, like Gracie, other than taking care of family and paying off bills, what would be the first three things you'd do with that money?

Boy, that’s a tough question! There are so many worthy places to put money. I work with special needs teens at a local high school. I see many places where their lives could be improved by more specialized regional job training and support for their families so many of the children would not be put in institutions while it they can still live at home.

We have an epidemic of mentally handicapped folks on the street who need medical help, job training, and homes.

Cancer, diabetes, and autism research come high on my list of things we need to work on. I’d like to see progress made on these rampant diseases in my lifetime.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on a Southern Gothic novel set in Louisiana titled THE PRINCESS OF POSSUM HOLLOW. The story has a mystery at its core. The heroine’s mother, a descendant of the French aristocracy, was thought to have been murdered by the gardener many years ago, but her body was never found. The gardener is back in town and the heroine wants the truth and will make a deal with the devil to get it.

There’s an old estate with world-class garden gone to ruin, the gardener’s son-a handsome lonely arborist who talks to trees with magical results, his mysterious Native American grandfather who knows the bayou like the back of his hand, and a peacock named Chuck who has heroic qualities. Like SALTING ROSES, it’s got a little bit of everything, mystery, humor, and romance.

Lorelle is giving away a copy of Salting Roses today to one commenter today. What she wants to know is: How would inheriting a huge fortune change your life?

To learn more about Lorelle and her work, visit her website.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Plumb Tuckered

by Nancy

My maternal grandfather was a country boy, born on a farm in the Carolina Piedmont when the Civil War was a vivid and comparatively recent memory. He went to college, moved to various cities and towns, and became a certified public accountant. When we cleaned out my folks' house, we found his certificate--#29 for the State of North Carolina. He also became treasurer and business manager of a college. Among other things, he got the money donated to build the college's second library (The first, which was much smaller, was endowed by Andrew Carnegie).

Despite all that polish, though, there were some phrases he held onto, like "plumb tuckered," as in, "I'm plumb tuckered out," meaning he was tired.

This would be me and my guys and today. Christmas seems to have leaped out of a closet at us and yelled, "Boo! I'm here NOW!" With no warning whatsoever. Of course there was warning. We just felt as though there wasn't.

Many of you juggle far more than I do and with sharper focus. Once upon a time, when I had a career, I juggled more than this and did it better. I guess that old saying is true, that if you want something done, you should ask a busy person.

Yet it's a good kind of being tired, the kind that means we had a pleasant holiday even though we maybe didn't accomplish everything we wanted to. We did the last of the last necessary (as opposed to nice but optional) running around on the 24th. All the wrapping paraphernalia and other holiday clutter came off the table.

Most of the decorations for the house are still in boxes, but we do have a candle tower in the middle of the table, and the dh even found candles for it during his last-minute rush. The tree went up a week ago, giving us our main decoration. We capped off Christmas Eve with a nice meal, using the "good" dishes and crystal on the Christmas placemats the dh's sister made. Yesterday, we had a leisurely exchange of gifts.

Even Herself had a gift (Hers was easy, straight from the grocery store.). She also gave a few that were purchased, wrapped and tagged for her by her two-legged servants. It's so hard to wrap packages when you don't have opposable thumbs.

In some parts of the world, this is Boxing Day. Anna Sugden wrote a terrific post about it on this date in 2007. You can find it if you click here, then scroll down. Or you can scroll down to the bottom of the sidebar, click on 2007, and scroll down to the post (That link has an ominous lot of html in it but worked when I tried it.). For those of us in the U.S., however, today is not a holiday. Today is more like the first day in the denouement of the year, a phase that ends with the year's last mega-party on New Year's Eve.

I always look back during this week, trying to see what went well and what I could or should have done better. Of course, some things are beyond our control. Another saying in my family was "Good Lord willin' and the creek don't rise," meaning "unless something beyond my control happens."

I have no control, for example, over which students enroll in my classes. All I can do is try to reward the ones who're serious and use drop/add to scare away the pinheads who think taking a science fiction class means watching movies and shooting the breeze instead of reading, discussing, and writing papers. I was reasonably successful in that this year.

I found a good rhythm for writing, increasing my productivity, and honed the technique of writing in different voices for different subgenres. However, I made no headway whatsoever--as one might expect when putting in no effort whatsoever--in mastering the skills that would make Michaels less intimidating.

I've been thinking a lot about character and language. Voice, in other words. When I was in college, I interned at a local TV/radio station for a week. This included trailing reporters around. I said something to one of them about a place being "down the road a piece," good Southern vernacular, courtesy of my grandfather. The reporter's jaw dropped. "I can't believe you said that," he said. "If you want a career in television news, you have to be precise. You can't say hick things like that."

Perhaps he was right. I decided against a career in news, so I never tested his advice. That phrase would, however, be a perfect thing for a rural, southern character to say. Or for a lawyer talking to a jury composed of such people to use. It's a matter of context and impression for people, and for characters, too.

The dh grew up in Colorado. They said "pop" for carbonated beverages, though he uses brand names nowadays ("nowadays" is probably another word that reporter would scorn). In the South, we called them by their names, though I understand some areas call everything "Coke" or, in the deeper South, "Co' Cola."

Thanks to Christine and the two Annas, my British characters tend to say "as well" rather than "too" or "straight away" rather than "immediately."

On a more frivolous note, I scored 180,000 points on Buzz Lightyear at DisneyWorld during RWA. I'm sure there are thousands, if not millions, of teenagers in the world with higher scores, but that was a good one for me. I'm going to take that into 2011 with the resolve to top it if I ever get the chance.

Below is one of my favorite Christmas photos, an old one of someone who now does way better than I do at video games. He and his buddy here are, appropriately, plumb tuckered out from their Christmas. He wasn't quite a year old when this was taken, and now we're having the last Christmas holidays that won't see him pack up and leave at the end. It's kind of hard to believe, frankly.


I hope you all had a peaceful holiday and are looking forward to the new year. We'll launch it on Saturday with a look at our great January lineup.

What was good about this year for you? Did you learn anything or work on anything in particular in writing (or any other project) this year? Are there any phrases you like that were handed down in your family or are particular to your region?

A selection of books I picked up at conferences this year goes to one commenter today.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

The winner of yesterday's prize is BJ!!! BJ, please drop me a line at kimberleyhowe@gmail.com and we'll make sure you get your stuff. Warmest regards to everyone for a magical holiday!

A Joyous Christmas to All!!!

By Kate

What do the holidays mean to you?

To me, the holidays mean wonderful scents, beautiful colors, happy times with family and friends. It means rushing here and there to find the perfect something for my perfect someone. It means squeezing my eyes shut and wishing for … good health and happiness for friends and loved ones … peace and understanding among countries and people … and – let’s get right down to it! – gifts and goodies under the tree!

That's right! If it’s Christmas time in the Lair, it must be Bandita Gift-Giving Time! So today, one lucky random commenter will win our fabulous Bandita Christmas Bonanza!

This year, we’re including wonderful goodies like these:

* Deadly Little Secrets and Godiva Chocolate from Jeanne

* A signed copy of The Lies That Bind and a mini-bookbinding kit, plus a signed copy of Sweet Surrender, Baby Surprise, bookmarks and bibliophile stickies from Kate

* A $10 Borders card from Joanie

* A copy of The Seduction of A Duke and a notebook from Donna

* Copies of Elly: Cowgirl Bride and Winter Longing (written as Tricia Mills) from Trish

* A glass-handled decorative cheese knife from Nancy

* Copies of Must Have Been The Mistletoe and Riding The Waves from Tawny

* A $10 Amazon GC, a RB frig magnet and post-it notes from Jo

* A signed copy of Money, Honey and a handful of post-it notes and bookmarks from Susan

* Rooster earrings and brooch from Anna Sugden

* A Romance Bandits journal from Caren

* Signed copies of Do You Take This Cop and A Marine For Christmas from Beth

* Signed copies of My Reckless Surrender and The Mammoth Book of Regency Romance from Anna Campbell

* A copy of Sweetest Little Sin from Christine

* An Amazon gift card of $10.00 from Suzanne

* A copy of Scandal of the Season from Christie

* A copy of Delcroix Academy: The Candidates from Inara

* A $10 Barnes and Noble card from KJ


What does Christmas mean to you this year? What do you hope to find under the tree? What is your wish for the New Year?

Do you have a favorite seasonal scent? And what’s on your menu this holiday? Turkey? Ham? Roast Beef? Tamales? Chocolate? :-)

To all the Banditas and friends who have joined us throughout the year, Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year to you all!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

By KJ Howe


Christmas Eve. A special time of year for many people across the globe--a day full of holiday traditions. Yet, everyone has a different idea of what is magical and meaningful, and this is what puts a personal stamp on your holiday. The Bandits would love to hear about what you have planned for today.


Will you be:
  • decorating the tree?
  • singing carols?
  • visiting church?
  • playing in the snow?
  • opening presents?
  • drinking eggnog?
  • visiting family?
Please share your Christmas Eve traditions with us...and we'll surprise the person with the most interesting/fun traditions with a special gift!

I'd also like to take this time to thank you all for the wonderful warmth and kindness shown in the lair. It's amazing to have a special place to share our common love of writing and reading! Happy Holidays to All!

It's FINALLY here! The Romance Bandits 12 Days of Christmas Booty. Every day between now and Christmas, one lucky commenter per day will win a daily prize and on some days, additional goodies from that day's blogging Bandita or guest. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, we'll give away more booty including autographed books, GR mugs and much more! Come join us! Tell your friends! Let's make the Season BRIGHT!







Bandita Christmas Booty!

by Anna Sugden

Thanks for all the Christmas movie suggestions - I look forward to checking some of them out!

Jersey Girl and CC have dipped their paws into the hat and pulled out the winner for my prizes!

Congratulations to Pissenlit who wins the 12 Days of Christmas prize and the copy of Kate Walker's 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance.

Please send me your snail mail details at anna@annasugden.com and I will ensure your prizes are despatched asap.

****UPDATE** Pissenlit has generously offered up the writer's craft book - Kate Walker's 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance - to any writer who would like it - so, the first writer to email me at the above addy will win the copy!

A Furry Christmas


by Donna MacMeans

The bandits have been celebrating the many traditions and facets of Christmas for the last two weeks, but I don't want to forget our pets and their role in making the holidays memorable. Even tonight my family was reminicing about past Christmases, and a discussion ensued about our cat's annual attack on the train set/Christmas village that my dad set up each year in the basement. She favored a sneak attack on the covered wagon car as it whizzed by on the track, patiently waiting for a well-timed swat.

Have you noticed all the video clips of animals and Christmas? (Yay technology!) Everything from singing animals to a clip on how to wrap a cat (which I don't recommend)

We've always had pets involved in our Christmas celebrations. My longtime canine friend passed a few years ago, but my son brings over his dog at Christmas. She's an American Bulldog. Not the brightest of the species, but very loving. I slipped a present under the tree for my son and placed a name tag on it that it's from his dog. It's a coffee mug that says "Everything tastes better with dog hair." LOL

Time for another clip.

The baby goats were always my favorite animals in the petting zoo. They're so...exuberant.
I was looking for a clip on birds dancing to Christmas carols, but the ones I found were...boring. I like to remember the birds at this time of year as finding food can be difficult for the cardinals and juno birds that stick around through the cold winter. Don't forget to hang a suet-seed ornament for them outside if you can.

So the reason I'm talking about pets - besides the fact that the videos are so cute - is that my husband has agreed that it's time to consider a new pet. We have a beta fighting fish and we used to have Killer the snail but fish are a bit on the passive side - not the same thing as a dog, you know? (Besides Killer passed away a month ago. I think the tablet my daughter added to the water for the health of the fish did in the poor snail. Just a reminder of the delicate balance of the eco system.)

So help me out. I'll probably be looking for a dog at the shelter once the weather improves. Any suggestions on a breed? My son is allergic to cats - but aren't there cats that don't have the dander that trigger the allergies? What kind are those? Tell me your animal Christmas stories. Toppled trees? Stolen cookies? Any neat ways to make sure the animals get to celebrate along with us? Don't forget - a spectacular prize goes to one lucky commentor. (see details below)

Now this isn't a Christmas video, but if you haven't watched it yet, you're in for a laugh.


Merry Christmas!

It's FINALLY here! The Romance Bandits 12 Days of Christmas Booty. Every day between now and Christmas, one lucky commenter per day will win a daily prize and on some days, additional goodies from that day's blogging Bandita or guest. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, we'll give away more booty including autographed books, GR mugs and much more! Come join us! Tell your friends! Let's make the Season BRIGHT!

9th Day Bandita Booty!


Thanks again to everyone for guessing the real titles of my crazy Christmas carols.

And thanks even more for some of the FABULOUS and CREATIVE titles suggested in the comments.
Ye Olde Random Number Generator says the winner of the Bandita Twelve Days booty is:

Gannon!

CONGRATS! I'm pretty sure we have your address somewhere, but in all this holiday madness, we may not be able to find it. Please send it to our gmail and we'll get your booty out to you ASAP!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What happened to great Christmas movies?

by Anna Sugden

I admit it - I'm a sucker for feel-good Christmas movies. One of my treats, as I'm decorating the house, is to put on some classic Christmas movies and indulge in schmaltz! I'll sing along to the songs and quote my favourite lines and sigh happily )yes, even shed a tear) at my favourite parts.

My faves are:

White Christmas

Christmas in Connecticut (the original Barbara Stanwyck version not the horrid Dyan Cannon one!)

Scrooged! (also Scrooge - the musical one)


The Muppets' Christmas Carol

Shop Around the Corner

Miracle on 34th Street (both versions)

It's a Wonderful Life







The Holiday (despite Jude Law's acting)

Polar Express

I was very disappointed this year to go to the channel which was 24 hour Christmas films to find ... not very much at all. Oh, they were Christmas movies, but most of them were awful! Lame, poorly acted and downright silly. Some of the stories were so weak that I couldn't even watch the whole thing.

I will admit also that I'm not a fan of the Home Alone movies or anything with Adam Sandler/Jim Carey/Will Ferrel or Ben Stiller. *ducking* So that kind of wipes out a few that might be faves for other people!

Thank goodness for Debbie Macomber and her Call Me Mrs Miracle - a TV adaptation of the second of her Mrs Miracle books - the only one I found worth watching. As an aside, I'd love to see her Shirley, Goodness and Mercy books made into movies!

What happened to great, feel-good Christmas movies? Why don't people make them anymore? Perhaps they do and I haven't seen them.

Tell me - which are your favourite Christmas movies? Have you seen any great Christmas movies that were made recently? Are there any great Christmas romances you'd like to see turned into movies?

I'm giving away an extra prize today, thanks to Lair favourite Kate Walker. She's offered up a copy of the latest edition of her fabulous craft book 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance.

It's FINALLY here! The Romance Bandits 12 Days of Christmas Booty. Every day between now and Christmas, one lucky commenter per day will win a daily prize and on some days, additional goodies from that day's blogging Bandita or guest. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, we'll give away more booty including autographed books, GR mugs and much more! Come join us! Tell your friends! Let's make the Season BRIGHT!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

TWO 12 Days of Christmas Winners!

The winner of Sunday's blog post with guest Holly Jacobs is: gamistress66!!

Monday's winner is Deb Marlowe!!

Congrats, ladies :-)

Please send your snail mail info to: beth@bethandrews.net and we'll get your prizes out to you asap *g*

Thanks so much to everyone for chatting with us and Merry Christmas!!

Crazy Carols

posted by Aunty Cindy aka Loucinda McGary

On the 9th Day of Christmas my cabana boy gave to me
A post by Aunty Ciiiiindy!

Sorry, but it's December 21st, the shortest day of the year and only 4 more days until THE BIG DAY and Aunty is so far behind she can't even see the tunnel, much less any light at the end of it!

ACK!!!

This happens to me every year. I start off the month of December with great intentions and the next thing I know, it's less than a week until Christmas and I have NOTHING done! I wish I had the excuse of a looming deadline, or even a Dreaded Day Job, but I don't. I just have a difficult time getting into the spirit of the season...

Perhaps I need a bit more SPIRITS of the season... So pass the eggnog and Aunty has a little quiz to exercise our brains.

Back in the day, Aunty toiled away in the Land of Bureaucrats. Unlike romance writers, who strive to create clear and entertaining prose, all good Bureaucrats write to confuse and complicate. For example, instead of the Twelve Days of Christmas, a good Bureaucrat would call it The Dozen Festive 24-Hour Intervals.

Here then are the titles of some familiar and beloved Christmas Carols after the bureaucrats rewrote them. See how many you can figure out!
  1. Embellish the interior passageways
  2. Diminutive masculine master of skin-covered percussionistic cylinders
  3. Obese personification fabricated of compressed minute ice crystals
  4. Natal celebration devoid of color
  5. Move hitherward the entire assembly of those who are loyal in their belief
  6. Small municipality in Judea southeast of Jerusalem
  7. Nocturnal time span of unbroken quietness
  8. Delight for this planet
  9. Frozen precipitation commence
  10. To decry matriarchal osculation of Yuletide anthropomorphism (Aunty's personal favorite)
How many do you recognize? Or maybe you can come up with some alternate bureaucratic titles of your own. Please share!

The 12 Bandita Days prize will go to a randomly chosen commenter.

Monday, December 20, 2010

More Bandit Booty


We have another winner for our 12 Days of Christmas!

Kim from Hawaii won for posting comment on Friday's blog!

Congratulations!!

Kim, I believe I have your address already so you don't need to send it to me.

Saturday's Winner of Twelve Days of Christmas!


Our daily prize winner for Saturday's post (Holiday Birthdays) is . . .
trumpets blasting,
harps winging,
flutes playing . . .


MARGAY!!!!


Please furnish your email addy to romancebandits@gmail.com


to receive your prize.


Congratualtions and Happy Holidays!!