Friday, December 31, 2010

Friday Field Trip - To The Basement

First - this is the last day to take advantage of the 25% off sale from Backlist Ebook authors at Smashwords. Link is in the sidebar. Don't miss out.

Since nobody else sent me pictures (hint, hint), today we're going down to the basement. We're traveling in time a bit as well--these are a few of the pictures I've taken to document the work downstairs. Not the usual fare, but maybe there will be a few more exotic locales for 2011. Remember--was might be 'routine' for you is exotic for someone else, so PLEASE share your pictures.

Now, let's go downstairs.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Resolutions, Dreams, and Goals

It's hard to believe that not only is another year coming to a close, it's actually the end of a decade. People all over are going to be taking stock of what they've accomplished, what they didn't accomplish, and what they're going to try to do in 2011.

And, usually, by the end of January, all those good intentions have gone by the wayside. I gave up making resolutions long ago (although I occasionally make them for the Hubster—less chance of me breaking them that way). What I've learned, is that if you want to see success, you have to narrow your focus.

These don't work: I resolve to be a best-selling author. I resolve to make $100,000 selling my e-books.

Or what about some less lofty ones? I resolve to have 5000 friends on Facebook. I resolve to have 350 followers to my blog. I resolve to have 500 people 'like' this blog. I resolve to be part of the blogroll of 100 other bloggers. I resolve to increase the number of hits on my website by 10% a month.

Dreams are wonderful. But that's what most resolutions are. Dreams. Dreams are things you'd love to have, but they're also things over which you have no control.

The first group is made up of dreams – there's nothing much I can do about them because they depend on other people.

The second group is more goal-oriented. There are things I CAN do to help me achieve them—if they were actually my goals.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What's With Those Names?

What I'm reading: Chasing Shadows, by C.J. Lyons.

Since the rights to my second published novel, What's in a Name? revert to me on Dec. 31st, I've been working on preparing it for digital release.

Of course, I wanted to read it for typos—no matter what, a few always sneak by. And I also wanted to update the technology. When I wrote it, pagers were the norm, and the basic backup for computer files was via CD ROMs. What I didn't realize was that when I wrote this book, I hadn't started using my name-tracking system. Considering the title, I decided to 'retro-fit' one, and made my basic spreadsheet using Excel. It takes no special skill – I just list every letter of the alphabet in two columns, one for first names, and one for last. I space them a number of columns apart, and then simply fill in the names as I create them. Note: This page of the spreadsheet doesn't keep first and last names together; it's simply a way to track the names appearing in the story.

Imagine my shock to find that not only was I terribly uncreative with names, but that my editors didn't seem to notice—not even when I had three characters named Henry! Some larger publishers have editors who actually write down every named character, and on what page they first appear, but I've never had that "luxury."

I think if you click on the images, they'll open in an enlarged format. If not, you can email me or leave your email in a comment, and I'll send them to you.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Right Place

Today my guest is Becky Martinez , a former broadcast journalist who writes romance and romantic suspense under the name Rebecca Grace. Her latest from The Wild Rose Press is Deadly Messages. She’s working on the second part of the series, and that sent her to the Northwest to research and “soak in the ambience” in finding just the right place.

While I’m a big believer in having the right characters for a story and work like crazy to make them real and believable, I also have a big weakness for getting the right setting in my work. To me a genuine setting can make all the difference in whether a story comes across as real or false and I’m always on the look out to find a great setting. It can be anywhere—a great house, a majestic sunrise.

I always love mystery novels where setting is part of the plot, whether the hero or heroine is either hanging out in seedy bars or visiting the realms of the rich and famous. I also enjoy romances where I visit palatial dwellings or sinister mansions on the edge of a cliff. I look for stories to not only keep me entertained but to take me away on a fanciful journey.

That idea comes into play as I write. I’ve always felt that writers have a special set of senses that allows them (or makes them) see things in a different way. It goes beyond the visceral. It is like drinking in the feel for any place or situation and thinking about how you might write about it in a story. It involves using all the senses, hearing the tempo of conversations around you, smelling the various scents, looking for different views.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Being a Good Blogger

I've filled all my guest blog spots through April, but I thought I'd repeat this post from a year ago, with my take on being both a good guest and a good host. I can't say I've been a perfect host, but these reminders will help me be a better one for 2011.

And don't forget the big sale from the Backlist Ebook authors!

Suggestions for being a good guest

1. Know what you're getting into. Spend a little time reading the blog where you've requested a guest slot so you know if it's going to serve whatever purpose you have in mind.

2. Does the host provide guidelines? Read them! Follow them! Are there things you shouldn't say? Don't say them. Are there questions to answer? Answer them. Is there a minimum or maximum length? Stick within it.

3. Make a note of the date you're going to be a guest. Set up your own reminders; don't rely on the host. Get your post in early if possible to allow your host time to format in advance.

4. Communicate with the host. Problems arise, especially if you're scheduled months in advance. Give as much warning as possible if there will be problems.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

25% off Sale - Backlist Ebooks

Did you get an e-reader for Christmas? Do you already have one? Take advantage of a special 25% off sale on previously published, out of print books, now available from Smashwords. Check out the Backlist Ebooks store and save on books from more than 20 authors. Hurry, sale ends January 1st.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Holiday Greetings

A Merry Christmas to those celebrating the holiday today.

As for us, this sums up our usual holiday celebration. However, this year, living out in the back of beyond, I don't think we'll find a Chinese restaurant open. At least not without driving 35 miles or more, and I don't think we're going to do that. So, it'll be Netflix, and dinner is likely to be the rest of the crock pot ribs I made yesterday.

And if you haven't done so, please take a minute to go over to Kitchen Daily -- they've published an article I wrote about creating new holiday traditions. (And if you'd click the "like" button at the bottom of that post, I'd be ecstatic!)

Tomorrow, Backlist Ebooks is having a sale--25% off selected titles. If you got an e-reader for Christmas (or already have one), go stock up on some great books.

And scroll down for Patricia Stoltey's virtual trip to Cinque Terre.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Friday Field Trip - Cinque Terre

Today, thanks go to fellow author Patricia Stoltey for sharing her adventure to Cinque Terre, both pictures AND commentary.

But first, please take a minute to go over to Kitchen Daily -- they've published an article I wrote about creating new holiday traditions. (And if you'd click the "like" button at the bottom of that post, I'd be ecstatic!)

Patricia Stoltey's Trip to Cinque Terre

My husband and I visited Italy's Cinque Terre in 2000 and bravely attempted one leg of the hiking trail that connects the coastal villages of Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. Luckily, we only planned to do the section from Monterosso to Vernazza because it took a lot longer that we expected (mostly my fault since I was seriously out of shape for the climbing part of the trip).

A few of these photos were taken by my husband. You can tell which ones because he always manages to get me in the photo, usually from the rear.

#1: The path looked so easy when we first left Monterosso. Should we continue? "Sure," I said. "Piece of cake."

#2: Soon the trail began to climb and the wide pathway disappeared. In some places, stone steps made it easier to navigate, but there were no more handrails.

#3: Many sections of narrow dirt path circled the hills and wandered past hillside vineyards.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

This Social Networking Thing - Twitter 2

Continuing yesterday's post on things I've learned about Twitter. (Again, this is purely ONE person's observations; what I get out if it might not be the same for you.)

Following someone means you'll see their tweets. However, if follower A is chatting with Follower B, and they 'reply' to one another, unless you're following both, you'll only see one side of the conversation. There's a little icon in TweetDeck that will let you see what follower A is responding to, if you're really intrigued.

What I don't understand is the people who tweet, "I've just unfollowed everyone who isn't following me." Or "If you don't follow back, I won't follow you." I don't get that. Do I really care who follows me? Unlike Facebook, which has a ceiling for friends, Twitter doesn't. My take: anyone who wants to follow me can follow me. If you require I reciprocate, well…then don't follow me. You won't hurt my feelings.

Pet peeve: people I follow who spend most of their time in what should be private conversations between the same 2 or 3 people. I have a separate list for these; they're worth keeping because they also provide good content.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

This Social Networking Thing - Twitter

Thanks, Joselyn. I didn't accumulate many bridesmaid dresses, but I never wore them again. When I got married, since I had only 1 attendant, I let her 'recycle' any of the dresses she'd already paid for. Couldn't see making her pay for another one, since she didn't have to coordinate with anyone else. As for reusing--both my daughters wore my wedding dress, with minor modifications.

And, to continue my Social Networking impressions. Today it's Twitter – and tomorrow as well, because this got too long. Kind of ironic considering Twitter is designed for short! I'm much more of a Twitter newbie than I am on Facebook, although I consider myself a novice at both places.

I recall meeting an aspiring writer at a conference, telling me how fantastic Twitter was. He'd accumulated 17,000 followers, he said, and he'd tweet, and they'd retweet, until he was sure tens of thousands of people were hanging on his every word. He was convinced that each and every one of these followers was anxiously awaiting the publications of his book, so that if he did sell, he had a huge audience ready to buy.

resisted Twitter a lot longer than Facebook. I'd observed people seemingly obsessed with reporting their every move, and frankly, I found it a head-scratcher. Who could possibly care if I was going grocery shopping, or if I had oatmeal for breakfast.

But, when I found my kids, and even the Hubster, had set up Twitter accounts, I figured I'd give it a try.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

You'll Wear it Again?

Joselyn Vaughn loves looking through fashion magazines and seeing all the outfits she wouldn’t be caught dead in and a few that she really wishes she could afford. Luckily her characters can wear them.

“You’ll be able to wear it again.”

Isn’t that the biggest lie you’ve ever heard? Who wears their bridesmaid dresses again—no matter how flattering they are?

Horror stories abound of awful costumes women will don for their sisters, aunts, nieces, cousins and good friends. I was lucky enough to have two flattering dresses for bridesmaid apparel.

One was a knee length navy blue satin with pink and white flowers for an outdoor wedding. The pattern was a simple bodice and A-line skirt and flattering for all involved. It really had the possibility of being worn again for the proper occasion. However my husband and I aren’t the type to go to fancy restaurants or parties. A fancy evening out for us involves food that doesn’t come wrapped in paper and by that I mean the Chinese buffet.

Cerridwen Press Clearance Sale

As I mentioned earlier, Cerridwen Press is undergoing a major overhaul, and the imprint will disappear in January, being replaced by Ellora's Cave Blush. Here's your chance to take advantage of their clearance sale. HIDDEN FIRE in trade paperback, which was priced at $18.99 is now on clearance for $3.00. Take advantage of the limited supply -- these books could become collector's items.

NOTE: I've noticed issued with the link not showing the $3.00 price. I've put in a "what's going on?" email to the publisher, and as soon as I hear from them, I'll let you know.

Buy it here.

Monday, December 20, 2010

This Social Networking Thing - Facebook

What I'm reading: Catch a Mate, by Gena Showalter

I started this blog in July of 2006, and have put up 1048 posts (this makes 1049, I guess). I did it because my publisher recommended it. Then everyone said I had to have a Facebook page, and recently, I succumbed to Twitter. I figured I might as well share what I like and don't like about these sites, starting today with Facebook.
What's my take? The following is purely personal. Things I like, things I've learned, and some of my pet peeves. And what I consider a negative might be someone else's positive, so take my comments with that salty cliché. Today, I'll look at Facebook.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday Field Trip - HDR Photography

I don't normally offer commentary on my Friday posts, BUT ... Jason's my kid, and I wish him well in his endeavors. After all, I'm counting on him to care for me in my dotage. If you're interested in photography, you'll find the article interesting, and even if you're not a taker of pictures, I guarantee you'll enjoy looking at his work. And if you ARE a taker of pictures, there's a link to his newest 'how to' book at the end of this post.

Sunrise at Bear Lake, Rocky Mountain N.P., CO

High Dynamic Range Photography
Jason P. Odell, Ph.D.

A fundamental challenge for all photographers is that neither film nor digital cameras can reproduce the same range of tones as seen by the human eye. The range of dark shadows and bright tones that can be recorded-- either by film, a digital sensor, or the human eye is called dynamic range. When the dynamic range of a recording medium, like film, is smaller than what they eye can perceive, you will see areas of pure black or pure white in the image-- areas with no detail in the photograph. With traditional techniques (including digital photography), photographers have to make a conscious choice when they expose a scene with a range of tones that exceeds their camera’s dynamic range: Either allow shadows to “block up” as pure black, or allow highlights to “clip” as pure white. Alternatively, photographers could try to use filters to help “compress” the tones in a scene so that the details would be captured on their film or digital sensor.

New Jersey skyline at sunset, Battery Park, NY.

Under the Manhattan Bridge, Brooklyn, NY

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Does Your Blog Roll?

What I'm reading: Straight From the Hip, by Susan Mallery.

I recently hooked up with a group of authors working on promotion/visibility, and (as I am wont to do) assumed that if I knew how to do something, especially something technical, everyone else would. However, a lot of these authors are from the world of print, and slipping into the digital realm is new to them. Since I got a late start into writing, and I've written for several e-publishers, I've been learning this from the get-go.

Sharing sites and posts is a great way for readers to find you, and the sidebar options on Blogger allow lots of options (which they refer to as "Gadgets")

Since blogging has become almost a requirement of any publishing endeavor, and thinking that maybe there are a few of you out there who haven't played with all the features of blogging, I'm using today's post to show a step by step of how to create a Blog Roll if you're using Blogger/Blogspot as your site.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Writing is Waiting

What I'm reading: Newborn Needs a Dad, and His Motherless Little Twins, by Dianne Drake

Thanks to Maryann for her reminder about what giving is all about. And I still need photos for Friday Field Trips.

Our basement remodel is progressing, although things have slowed down a bit. We figured the rapid pace of the first two weeks would have to end, and, in typical contractor (or maybe it's just my luck), the drywall subs who said they'd be here at 9 on Saturday showed up at 11, and thus, didn't finish. The said they'd be back at 8 on Monday to do the last bits. Again, their idea of a start time seems to be 11. Now, had they said, "We'll be back Monday" and not given a specific time, I'd have been fine with it, but when someone says 8, I expect them at 8—or a phone call. Of course, the contractor had no idea they weren't there, or that they'd specified a time.

And so we wait. Kind of like the writing game. We write query letters and wait to hear from agents. And now, it's even harder, since many agents seem to be turning to the "if I'm interested, I'll respond." How do we know our painstakingly crafted query letter ever made it to the agent's inbox?

Last spring, a writing colleague had mentioned my name to her agent, and in June, the agent contacted me about a possible project. After several back-and-forth emails, I sent her a sample of my work. She said she'd get back to me 'soon.' Which, after a couple of 'sorry for the delay' emails, stretched into September.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Wonder of Gifts

Today my My guest today is journalist and author, Maryann Miller. In addition to her books and articles, she has also written several screenplays and stage plays and is the Theatre Director at the Winnsboro Center for the Arts. Welcome, Maryann.

I enjoyed Terry's series of gifts during Hanukah, so I thought I would share something else about holiday gifts. Hope you enjoy….

One year, I was able to take one thing off my To-Do list of holiday preparations. It was the year that necessity put me in the position of making a lot of our gifts. At first I was disappointed that our checkbook couldn't be as generous as our hearts, but as I decided what to make for each person and started working on the projects, I got a new perspective. The time I spent on each gift made me feel closer to the person I was making it for. It was like time spent with them, thinking of all the things that make them special to me, and I realized the extra benefit of a handmade gift. A benefit I didn't always appreciate in quite the same way.

After my husband and I moved to Texas, we rarely made it back to Michigan for holidays, and my mother always sent handmade gifts for Christmas. Necessity has ruled her entire life, and we became accustomed to not expecting gifts of any great monetary value. Even so, the arrival of her annual holiday box always sparked an eagerness in me that I never fully understood. The gifts were either hand-made or just a small trinket picked up in a dime store, and sometimes there were even gifts for ‘we-don’t-know-who’.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Writers Write

What I'm reading: Spellbound, by Nora Roberts

First, if you missed yesterday's contest winner post, the winner of Rebecca York's contest is Maryann Miller. Congratulations to Maryann, and thanks to all for stopping by and leaving comments.

Updates and reminders. My 50% off coupon for When Danger Calls at Smashwords is still in effect. Don't miss the bargain price. Use coupon code ET46A at checkout.

In just a few weeks, it'll be a brand new year. We tend to look at January 1st as a 'clean slate' day—a time to promise to do better, to think about changes.

Sometimes these changes come from factors over which we have no control. Writing is a difficult business, and when you're starting out, you think that publication is the end of the road. Get that contract, get a book published, and you can call yourself an author, and then writing books becomes your business, not your dream.

However, having that signed contract isn't the end—not by a long shot. I write primarily for small presses, with relatively narrow target markets. While on the one hand, a small press can provide individual attention, there are some other pitfalls.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

And The Winner Is...

The winner of Rebecca York's contest for a copy of Dragon Moon is ...

Maryann Miller.

Maryann, email your snail mail addres to rebecca (at) rebeccayork (dot) com with Subject: Winner of Terry Odell's Blog Contest.

Congratulations, Maryann, and thanks to all for stopping by and leaving comments.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Friday Field Trip - Seasons change 2

Don't forget-still time to win a book from Rebecca York. Leave a comment on Tuesday's post.

And my 50% off Smashwords coupon for When Danger Calls is good through Dec. 31st. Code ET46A

We're sticking close to home today, but moving around in time. Unlike Florida, the seasons here are noticeably different. I thought I'd compare some views of our neighborhood.

Views from our deck:

Late May

Late November/Early December

Snow blowing off the roof looks like glitter in the sunshine.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

The Numbers Game

What I'm reading: Indulgence in Death, by JD Robb.

Don't forget-still time to win a book from Rebecca York. Leave a comment on Tuesday's post.

And my 50% off Smashwords coupon for When Danger Calls is good through Dec. 31st. Code ET46A

After counting 8 nights of Hanukkah, I might have numbers on my brain. When you're a writer, everything seems to revolve around numbers—and I'm not talking about word
count, or the manuscript itself. It's easy to obsess about these numbers and not get any writing done at all. And then, of course, there's the ego thing.

For example, on this blog alone, I have the "like" button. How many people like me? Were there more yesterday? Did someone unlike me?

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

My Last Gift To You

Tonight's the last night of Hanukkah. I hope you've enjoyed some of your gifts. Remember, Rebecca York's contest runs through December 11th, so scroll down and leave a comment to be entered to win a copy of her book, DRAGON MOON.

And my last gift for you is another Smashwords coupon. This one is 50% off WHEN DANGER CALLS, and it's good through the end of the year. Use Coupon Code ET46A at checkout. I hope you'll enjoy it. This should give you plenty of time to read it before the sequel, WHERE DANGER HIDES is released in May. And if you want a dirt-cheap hard cover, email me.

(I have pleas for reader help at the end of this post—please read through)

My next NOOKcolor discovery really isn't about the device as much as about the programming and communication between the bookstore and the reader. My daughter-in-law gave me a gift certificate for Barnes & Noble for Hanukkah. I went to their website and 'registered' the certificate in my account. Then, I bought a book using my NC. When I checked my account on the website, lo and behold, it "knew" to use my gift certificate funds rather than the credit card associated with the NC account. Frabjous Day. I'm still refraining from going hog wild. I downloaded a slew of samples, but I will buy them only after I read the sample and decide I have to know what comes next.

On the home scene, the remodel is still going well—knocking on my desk. We had our first inspection, and it passed; nothing could move forward until the inspector signed off on the electrical.

Then there's the "this would NEVER fly in a book" scene.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Why I Like Romance

Today, I welcome author Rebecca York to Terry's Place. Rebecca started writing romantic suspense when she was eight. Well, actually, she was playing with dolls, but the dolls were always kidnapped by a handsome hero and taken off to a desert island.

Rebecca will give away an autographed DRAGON MOON to a reader who comments on her post by December 11. Rebecca will choose a winner, and I'll announce it here, so don't forget to check back. Unclaimed prize will be forfeited.

Romance authors get criticized for their happy endings. It can’t be real literature if you know the hero and heroine are going to walk off into the sunset together.

Literature? That’s what I studied in my English classes in college. When I read a book now, I want to enjoy myself.

I’ve just finished a “guy book” that upset me a lot. So I want to discuss it a little. I won’t mention any names, but the story was about a woman lawyer whose husband was accused of murder. She loved him and defended him at his trial. During the course of the book, I got to know and like the heroine. Several times during the story, she questioned whether her husband was really innocent. But each time, she regained her faith in him. She won an acquittal, and they joyfully went home again. Then the author had the brilliant idea of having her find out that the guy was really guilty. Not just guilty, but a psychopath. When she confronted him, he tried to kill her. When she ended up shooting him in self-defense, that was the last straw for me.

Two More Gifts for You

An extra post today -- My guest, Rebecca York, will be arriving at 6 AM (or her post will, anyway), so I wanted to offer you my next gift without encroaching on her post--which you won't want to miss, because she's doing a giveaway.

Today it's a pair of recipes for holiday munchies.

Monday, December 06, 2010

NOOKcolor: Extras. And another gift

My gift to you today: A first look at a new entry into the "Cutting Room Floor" files of my website. The 'false start' to When Danger Calls. Read it here.

Yesterday was busy with our family holiday celebration. I baked the rugelach, made potato latkes and ricotta pancakes.Latke recipes are pretty much basic. Mine isn't much different from the standard: 4 potatoes, 1 onion, an egg, salt, and flour (or matzo meal). One variation I learned from my daughters' pre-school teacher was to take about 1/3 of the combined ingredients and give it some time in the food processor, making a kind of batter to bind the rest of the potatoes together.

We're traditionalists in that we serve the latkes with applesauce and/or sour cream. They're about the only thing I cook 'last minute' but this year, with our new open concept floor plan, I won't be alone in the kitchen (although sometimes I think that's a good thing.)

More of my NOOKcolore reports:

(You should be able to click on the NOOKcolor images to enlarge them for a bit more clarity.)

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Your Next Gift

First - if you haven't checked out yesterday's gift, scroll down and do so. It's only good for one more day.

Today: a holiday recipe. I used to bake these as mini-loaves and give them as gifts.


Pumpkin Bread

3 c biscuit mix
1 c sugar
1 egg
1 can (16 oz) pumpkin
1 t pumpkin pie spice
½ t ground cloves
½ t ground nutmeg
1 c chopped nuts

Oven: 350
Grease 9x5x3 loaf pan (or use 3 mini pans)
Beat all ingredients in large mixer bowl on low speed, scraping constantly, 30 seconds. Beat on medium speed, scarping occasionally, 4 minutes. Pour into pan. Bake about 1 hour 10 minutes, until toothpick comes clean. (About 40 minutes for mini-pans) Cool 10 minutes, remove from pan. If desired, cool completely and spread with browned butter glaze.

Optional: Browned butter glaze
Heat 1/4 c butter in saucepan over medium heat until delicate brown; remove from heat. Mix in 1 c powdered sugar. Stir in 2-4 T hot water, 1 T at a time until of desired consistency. Spread or pour on cooled loaf.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Another Gift For You

I don't normally post on weekends, but in the spirit of holiday giving, I'm sending a gift your way. It's a coupon code for COPING MECHANISMS at Smashwords. Enter code GY23P and the price will drop to ZERO. The coupon is only good through Dec. 6th, so use it now. You can download the story in just about any digital format.

And while you're there, I hope you'll browse my other offerings. Feel free to pass the code along to your friends.


Friday, December 03, 2010

Friday Field Trip - Tulips

(I'm over at the Author Expressions Blog today. And I've got another recipe to share--would love it if you'd drop by and say hi.)

I don't have any pretty snowscapes, because it hasn't been snowing that much here yet. So, how about a complete reversal, I was looking at some of the pictures Art Caputi shared with me (he sent his gorgeous views from the Pacific Northwest not too long ago) and I decided to add a few of my own as well. (The first 3 are mine, the rest are Art's.) Enjoy! And PLEASE consider sending me some of your own pictures to share here.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Rugelach and more NOOKcolor

Since I'm not making latkes until Sunday night, and there are plenty of other blogs posting recipes, I thought I'd share one of our family traditional cookies instead. They're not 'officially' connected to Hanukkah, although we've made them at our house for decades. They're great for assembly line preparation with kids. And enough work so that they're a definite 'occasion' treat. You can also make the dough well ahead of time, which is another plus in my book.

The recipe's at the end of this post.

As for today's NOOKcolor report. I've already talked about reading books, but what about getting the books onto the device. One thing I've always been is frugal. Raising 3 kids on a university professor's salary will do that to you. I've never had a huge TBR pile. I do, however, have a TBR list. I'm also reluctant to spend money on books I'm not sure I'll like, or on authors I've never heard of.

So, with my NC, I take advantage of the samples and their wish list. I can browse the bookstore, click 'sample' and/or 'wish list', and presto--the book appears on my NC. Depending on the length of the book, the sample size varies. For a "Thomas" book for my grandson, the sample didn't get beyond the front matter. But for Lee Child's new book, I got about 60 pages. So, when I'm ready to read, I can open the sample, and if I like it, I can then click the 'buy now' option and add the entire book. That way, I don't spend money until I "need" the book, but I'm also able to browse content without going to the library or bookstore (and if you live where I do, that's a plus!)

And onto the Rugelach!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Holiday Traditions and more NOOKcolor

Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah, our first celebration of the holiday in our new home.

(And I'll have a little more on my NOOKcolor at the end of this post)

Hanukkah is a minor holiday in the Jewish calendar, but because of its proximity to Christmas, it's become a gift-giving occasion. For Hubster and me, this year is more of a 'we're spending enough money on house stuff and new cold-weather gear, so we don't really need specific presents.' But since we're close enough to celebrate with two of our kids, we'll have a get-together on Sunday.

I'll make latkes, and we'll exchange gifts. Instead of tags, I've put pictures of the recipients on the packages, and we'll let our almost 3-year-old grandson distribute them.

One of the positive by-products of having our basement remodel underway was that we had to move all the boxes we'd stored there out of their way. In the process, the box housing our Hanukkah decorations surfaced. Of course, our environment is totally different, which means finding places for the traditional (and very limited now that it's just the two of us) pieces. But, since we had a fireplace in our Florida home, and we have one here, it seemed logical to put most of our ornamentation in similar places.