Sunday, November 23, 2008


Last Christmas, the DH gave me a gift certificate to a semi-local women's spa. Now, the word "spa" can conjure up fancy-schmancy images. I know when my mother started talking about this spa she'd found in Tacoma, I was a bit surprised. She's more earth mother than "ladies who lunch". But as soon as I tried it out, several years ago, I understood.

It's a traditional Korean women's spa, with earth energy rooms, multiple soaking pools and whirlpools at different temperatures, steam rooms -- just about everything you'd need to turn into a limp noodle. And the women who go there range from college students to grandmas. No body image issues here -- which is a good thing, since it's not a place for modesty. :)

You can buy added treatments, of course, like body scrubs and mud wraps and massage, but it's just as much fun to pay the $30 entry fee and spend a solid half-day enjoying the facilities.

Observant readers may notice that I got the certificate last Christmas. Almost a year ago. Coincidentally, my Dad got one for my Mom at the same time. And with the holidays fast approaching, we both decided it was about time we actually used the darn things.

So Thursday morning I dropped the kids at school and trundled up the freeway to meet Mom at the spa.

It was *heavenly*. Almost four hours of relaxation and great conversation. We even decided that next time we'd have to hit its sister spa a bit further north, just to compare and contrast. (I have it on good authority that there are quite a few amenities the southern location doesn't have -- a charcoal room? a tea room? Nifty!)

Now, to just make sure it doesn't take me another year to get back to the spa.

How about you? Where do you go/what do you do to pamper yourself?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sad Days

Conversation with my youngest this morning, following a family funeral on Saturday...

KID: Is Uncle Jim in heaven now?
ME: Yes, he is.
KID: Can we still love him?
ME: Of course. Even when people are gone we can still love them.
KID: Yay! (pause) I can't kiss him, though.
ME: No, that would be hard now.
KID: (Long pause) Well, I can kiss him in my heart.

In memory of my Uncle Jim, who died on Nov 4, 2008, following a long battle with lung cancer.

Friday, November 14, 2008

And the Holiday Contest Season begins!


Contest Opens November 15 and Ends December 15, midnight EST!

Strap on your furry boots and get ready to stomp through Romance Land in search of fabulous winter gifts! This is our way of thanking readers for giving to us all year long! Visit a favorite author, or discover a new one. But first, get out a pen, because you’ll be searching for the Twelve Days of Christmas and some other holiday images!


First place winner:

Journal and stationary cards from Diana Castilleja

Ebook The Enchanted Inn by Pam Champagne

Print copy of Key West Magic by Ciar Cullen

Ebook Redemption by Sharon Cullen

Print copy The Perfect Gift by Kate Davies

$10 Fictionwise GC from Gwen Hayes

Ebook winner’s choice from Gwen Hayes list

Print copy Iron Horse Rider by Adelle Laudan

Ebook Midnight Reborn by Diane McEntire

Print book Lisa’s Gift by Mackenzie McKade

Ebook Egyptian Voyage by TJ Michaels

Ebook Dragons’ Choice by Debbie Mumford

Print book Sugar and Sin by Stella and Audra Price

Ebook winner’s choice of Emily Ryan-Davis’ list

Ebook Cindra and the Bounty Hunter by Paige Tyler

Tarot reading by Foxhawke

Second Place:

Ebook Diana Castilleja’s current list

Ebook Dead Heat by Pam Champagne

Seascape notecards from Ciar Cullen

Ebook Home for Christmas by Kate Davies

Ebook winner’s choice of Gwen Hayes’ list

Print copy Smiling Eyes by Adelle Laudan

Prize pack (tshirt, hat, bookmark, magnets) from Diane McEntire

Third Place:

Print book Six Feet Under by Mackenzie McKade

Ebook Glass Magic by Debbie Mumford

Print copy Silk and Steel by Stella and Audra Price

Handknitted wool wristwarmers from Emily Ryan-Davis

Tarot reading by Foxhawke

Fourth Place:

Ebook Bridge of Hope or Bed of Lies by Pam Champagne

Ebook winner’s choice from Ciar Cullen


Crack those knuckles and warm up the mouse. Look at the sites below, and find one icon on each site! They aren’t too hard to find, we promise. What are you looking for? The Twelve Days of Christmas, an angel, a winter fairy, and a snowman! Fifteen images in all!

Need some help? On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me:

12 Drummers Drumming

Eleven Pipers Piping

Ten Lords a Leaping

Nine Ladies Dancing

Eight Maids a Milking

Seven Swans a Swimming

Six Geese a Laying

Five Golden Rings

Four Calling Birds

Three French Hens

Two Turtle Doves

and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

To win the grand prize, you must find all 15 images. To win second, third, or fourth place, you must find at least 10 images.



Email your answer to

Your answer should be a list of authors and their image. For example,

Mark Twain, Santa

Charles Dickens, 12th day


Authors reserve the right to substitute electronic books for print books for winners living outside the writer’s country. No purchase is necessary to win. If a site becomes unavailable for searching during the contest, we will eliminate that image from the contest. We have the ability to spot duplicate entries, so please enter only once!

If you DO NOT want to receive email newsletters or invitations once in a while from the sponsors of this contest, please say so in your entry. This “opting out” will NOT in any way alter your chances of winning. It won’t even hurt our feelings!


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Book BIN Tuesday -- The Catcher and the Lie

Do you love the boys of summer? Here's a book to check out...

One player works extra innings to make Abby break her own rules about love.

After a year of personal and professional upheaval Nick Valente is in the market for redemption, not temptation. Getting involved with any woman, especially smart-mouthed Abby McCabe, is simply not in this player’s game plan.

Experience, mostly bad, has convinced Abby McCabe that she has a special gift for finding men who can’t help falling out of love with her. Getting close to a man, especially one who plays the field professionally, is sure to add another loss to her emotional score sheet.

As summer heats up an unexpected spark turns into a flame. But fear of getting burned winds up putting two strikes in their relationship. With Nick on the bench, it’s up to Abby to turn the game around. Trusting this man with her heart could deliver the biggest save of her life—or the biggest error she ever made.

Will they strike out or end up with a homerun?

Warning, this title contains the following: a hot baseball player with all-star equipment, a smack talking woman who doesn’t know the score, and a world class collection of inflatable dolls.

Monday, November 10, 2008

MTA Monday -- Meet Rita Oberlies

NAME: Rita Oberlies


BLOG: shhh --- I don’t have one! If my editor reads this I want her to know that it’s a work in progress.

TITLE OF FIRST BOOK: The Catcher and the Lie

RELEASE DATE: November 11, 2008

FAVORITE WRITING STORY/SAYING/MEMORY: When I started writing my first story back in the fall of 2005 I didn’t tell anyone. My two sons were under the age of three and I was trying to find a way to keep my brain active. It wasn’t until two years later when I decided to submit my work that I finally told my husband. In the spring of 2008 my first two manuscripts were placed under contract. “The Catcher and the Lie” was picked up by Samhain Publishing and “Ready to Take a Chance Again” was accepted at The Wild Rose Press. At that point I began to tell family members that I was pursuing a writing career. So far the only individuals that have read either story are my editors. Of course, now I’m a nervous wreck about what the people closest to me will think of my writing.

FAVORITE NON-WRITING STORY/SAYING/MEMORY: My absolute best memories are from the days my children were born. I think every emotion is so intense at that time (joy, fear, pain, relief, impatience) that it becomes permanently etched on your brain. My husband Dan and I constantly tell our boys about all the little things that happened on their birth days. I want them to know how amazing those moments were for us.

COMFORT FOOD: Brownies hot out of the oven.

COMFORT READ: Match Me If You Can by Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie

YOUR PERFECT DAY: Vacationing on Cape Cod with my family. I grew up spending my summers there and now it is a blast taking my boys to the exact same spots. We hit the beach, the taffy shops, mini-golf, and end each day with ice cream. Any day there turns out to be memorable for my family.

WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON NOW?: I’ve been working on a follow-up story to “The Catcher and the Lie” that involves a secondary character named Bobby Carpenter. I
have also been touching up a manuscript “Matters of the Heart” that I had set aside earlier this year to work on revisions.

Monday, November 03, 2008

One Day More

As a political junkie, and musical theater devotee, I *loved* this. Hope you enjoy.

Sunday, November 02, 2008


Are you an American citizen?
Are you registered to vote?
Have you voted yet?

(My county is all-mail-in, so my ballot is already in.)

If not, tomorrow is the big day. And my big request to you is:


(h/t Jeff Lieber)

It stands for Stay. The. Heck. In. Line.

(Okay, okay. Jeff used a much stronger word. I'm trying to be nice, here.)

I've been watching the news, with the huge, hours-eating, round-the-block lines of people waiting to vote, and Tuesday is likely to be worse. Turnout is predicted to be incredibly high. And if you haven't voted yet, those lines may be a bit of a deterrent.

Don't let the wait stop you from voting. Please, please, stay in line. Bring a snack. Bring a bottle of water. Bring a book. (Or three.) Turn in that ballot. Let your voice be heard. Whether your candidate wins or loses, every vote counts.

So STHIL. Your country will thank you for it. :)