1986 Wishes You a Merry Christmas

Della’s going to kill me for this one. 🙂

Merry Christmas!!


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Happy Holidays from the Fairy Godfamily!

May you have peace and joy, wherever you are, whatever day you celebrate.

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Nominate Me! 2011

I published a few short stories this year. Not many, but a few. Really good ones, too.

But as promised, I am only touting one story that I would like to have nominated for awards in 2012. This is The Best Story I Have Ever Written. It has a special place in my heart, and I hope that one day it will find a special place in yours…and your children’s…and your children’s children.

If you have not read it already, “The Unicorn Hunter” is still available online here:

Happy Holidays, and Happy Reading! xox

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Marlene Contest Now Open to Entries!

As you know, I’m a member of the infamous WRW (Washington Romance Writers) group. (Yes, that’s the one of which Nora Roberts is also a member.)

Every year, we hold a writing contest called the Marlenes. And it’s time for the 2012 Marlene contest!


Polish your manuscript and submit it for a chance to win!  The 3 finalists in each category get their manuscript read by an editor or agent, and the category winner will receive a critique by a published author!  All entrants receive great feedback from judges who love to read romance!

The Marlene Awards is a contest for unpublished manuscripts sponsored by the Washington Romance Writers chapter of Romance Writers of America.  Every entry is evaluated by at least three judges.  Finalists are ranked by publishing professionals.  The grand prize winner in each category receives a detailed critique from a published author.  This year’s list of judges and prize critiquers is as follows.

Series Contemporary
Judge: Johanna Raisanen, Harlequin
Critique Author: Liz Talley

Single Title
Judge: Megan Records, Kensington
Critique Author: Jeanne Adams

Judge: Heather Osbourn, Samhain
Critique Author: Kristen Painter

Judge: Esi Sogah, Avon
Critique Author: Diane Gaston

Romantic Elements:
Judge: Latoya Smith, Grand Central
Critique Author: Deanna Raybourn

Young Adult:
Judge: Holly Blanck, St. Martin’s Press
Critique Author: Diana Peterfreund

Entry fees vary based on entry date. From December 15 to midnight December 31 EST, the fee will be $20 for WRW members, $25 for non-WRW members. From January 1 to midnight January 15 EST, the fee will be $25 for WRW members; $30 for non-WRW members. (FYI…the big change this year is that the contest is now open to ALL
unpublished manuscripts, regardless of the publishing status of the author.)

For a complete list of contest rules, eligibility, and deadlines, please see the Official Marlene Contest Page.

And to all the entrants: BEST OF LUCK!

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Happy Solstice!

Next to Halloween and Guy Fawkes Day (and Dragon*Con), this is my favorite night of the year.

Because after tonight, THE DAYS START GETTING LONGER.

I’ve written up a little essay about it over at the Waterworld Mermaids, click here to go check it out. Comments over there are encouraged.  (I’m shutting these off.)

Light a candle for me — I hope you all have a very safe and festive Yule!

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Those chosen few who read Beauty & Dynamite know that back in 2005 I had a cancer scare because of a tiny mass they found during a chest x-ray. We named the “tumor” and made jokes and I was so scared to death by how everyone around me was acting that I pushed up the surgery date just to get it over with. Turned out that it was a congenital birth defect called a bronchogenic cyst.

[Bronchogenic cysts represent 10-20% of congenital cystic diseases of the lung, and account for approximately 10% of mediastinal masses. These cysts are the result of ectopic budding of the tracheobronchial tree during embryologic development from the primitive foregut.]

Far less traumatic–but far more frustrating–has been this nonsense going on with my left foot. I’ve been given a walking cast. I’ve appropriated crutches. Everybody keeps asking me what happened, and all I can say for sure is that “My foot really freaking hurts.” X-rays show that it isn’t broken. Blue Cross Blue Shield almost scared me out of getting an MRI last week to look at what was going on with the soft tissues.

But I’m glad I got the MRI (no matter what the resulting hassle it will be for me), because there would have been no other way to perfectly diagnose this ganglion cyst in my foot.

I’ve just sat here for an hour and done research online. Most of these cysts are huge, occur in the hands and wrists, and present themselves with swagger–in fact, this condition is also called a “Bible cyst” because back in the day people were advised to SMASH IT WITH A LARGE BOOK to break it open…and a Bible was a large book just about everyone had around the house. (FYI–Book Smashing is no longer the recommended treatment.)

So this little cyst is hiding somewhere in the top of my left foot. I never would have guessed there was a sac of liquid in there causing all this nonsense. Here is a picture of my feet. I just had a cortisone shot, so you can see the band-aid over my foot where the cyst is.

Otherwise, they look just like normal feet, right? (Yeah, yeah, except for that bit where I bruised my left big toe…nothing a little nail polish can’t cure.)

So what the Ninja Cyst is doing in there is 1.) making my middle toes numb and 2.) making the outside of my foot KILL me because all the tendons and muscles over there are compensating for this Ninja in my foot that’s not supposed to be there.

Unfortunately, like most doctory things, there’s no good cure for this Ninja. If it becomes as big as the ones on the internet, the doc can drain it or I can have surgery…but even that’s no guarantee that it won’t come back. Right now, the best we can do is fix my orthotics (I need new padding), wear really great shoes (and by that I mean sneakers and military combat boots…no pretty shoes allowed), and possibly do some physical therapy that includes ultrasound.I took the cortisone shot today because I am in loads of pain, but that was my one and only dose. The rest is up to me.

Oh…and, you know…take it easy. (HA!)

The up-side is that I don’t *have* to use the walking cast or the crutches unless I’m in boatloads of pain again. I’m also allowed to go back to the gym (THANK THE GODS), but only for biking and rowing. No elliptical machine for a while.

With any luck, the Ninja Cyst will either develop superpowers or just get smaller and go away. With further trauma (like Dragon*Con) it may come back, but by then I’ll know how to deal with it.

And, if all else fails, there’s always SMASHING IT WITH A BOOK.

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When I first saw the call for submissions for their “Little Red Riding Hood” themed issue, I knew I had to contribute. But I didn’t know how.

Hasn’t Riding Hood been done to death? How was I going to retell that? Most of all, how was I going to retell it and not have some sort of less-than-subtlesexual undertones like every other author on the block? Ugh. I hate that crap.

So I asked myself: How did I deal with Riding Hood in the Enchanted universe? Well, Jack Woodcutter played the savior in that particular tale. THE Jack Woodcutter, infamous hero of stories that every child of Arilland has heard since he or she could listen.

What would a young, impressionable, traumatized teenage girl do after being saved by such a man?

Why…she’d write him fan mail, of course.

The story grew itself from there.

Go read it!

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Bright Spot

enchantedA Google Alert sent me over to the Dana Does Read Blog today and…yes, contrary to my usual “I don’t read reviews” strategy, I read this one. It totally made my day (which has been a serious case of the Mondays, let me tell you).

This is my favorite part of the review: “I found myself smiling through the entire book, and I stayed in this happy mood far after I turned the last page. It was so light and friendly, yet intense in its own right.”

If you want to check out the rest of what Dana says  (including who she admits is her favorite character), click here to read the rest at her website.

(PS–Dana is 16, and a junior in high school. Like me, she has a little sister and likes school (yay!). She also loves the word “plethora”, which Casey used to say meant “‘Alethea’ and a lot of other letters.”)

Thank you, Dana, from the bottom of my heart.
This Princess really needed you today.

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Happy Holidays 2011!

This year’s CD artwork was inspired (as so many things are) by two of Janet Lee’s holiday ornaments. They are both available in this year’s 2011 limited edition set at Art & Invention Gallery, as well as on Janet’s own Etsy site (for those of us who don’t live convenient to East Nashville).

1. The Most Wonderful Day Of The Year — Glee Cast
2. Mistletoe Blues — Vic Mulkey and The Blue Veins
3. Angels From The Realms of Glory — Annie Lennox
4. Candy Cane — Caspar Babypants
5. Jingo Jango — Bert Kaempfert
6. Fum, Fum, Fum — Mark Baldwin
7. What a Night!– Harry Connick, Jr.
8. Wildwood Carol — Holly Cole
9. Arbolito de Navidad — Gloria Estefan
10. Another Christmas Day — Cliff Richard
11. Lonesome Christmas — B.B. King
12. Il est ne le divin enfantDomingo, Kaas, Fernandez
13. Patapan and Farandole — Kiri Te Kanawa
14. Warm December — Julie London
15. It’s December (And I’ll Be Missing You) — Audrey Hannah
16. December Child — Cyndi Lauper
17. Zwaai Maar Dag Sinterklaasje — Gebroeder Ko
18. It’s A Good Thing Santa Ain’t Single — Aaron Tippin
19. Littlething — Jimmy Eat World
20. There’s Still My Joy — Indigo Girls
21. Christmas Pipes — Celtic Woman
22. The First Snowfall — Bing Crosby
23. This Will Be The Year — Susan Boyle
24. Wheel In The Sky — Journey

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Merry Bookmas, to one and all!

Merry Bookmas, to one and all!

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