Tag Archive | Christmas

Last Minute Christmas Gifts

Is your Christmas shopping done? That would include the last minute gifts you might have forgotten about, or any little extras, just because you felt like it.

For a little shameless self-promo, if you need a gift idea, spoken as an author – buy someone a book! Better yet, buy a book by Gail Sattler.

Then after Christmas, if it’s one you haven’t already read, ask to borrow it. I’m a big Kindle reader, and most books can be loaned out by the buyer to a friend’s Kindle. For free. Gotta love it.

To make it easy for you – go to www.amazon.com and in the search box, first select KINDLE from the options, and then put in me – Gail Sattler. Or, another favorite author. That’s okay.  * insert smiley face here * .

Merry Christmas as you finish up your shopping.

My next, and last post before Christmas will be by my guest Linda Matchett.  And then, we’re almost at the end of 2018.

Ho ho ho. Merry Christmas.

A Writer’s Mind – Observation Mode

Julie Arduini loves to encourage readers to surrender the good, the bad, and —maybe one day—the chocolate. She’s the author of ENTRUSTED: Surrendering the Present, ENTANGLED: Surrendering the Past, and ENGAGED: Surrendering the Future. She also shares her story in the infertility devotional, A WALK IN THE VALLEY. Her latest releases, YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL, is a book for girls ages 10-100, written with her teenaged daughter, Hannah, and A CHRISTMAS TO REMEMBER is a boxed set featuring Julie and some of the authors from the Inspy Romance blog. She blogs every other Wednesday for Christians Read, as well as monthly with Inspy Romance. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Learn more by visiting her at http://juliearduini.com, where she invites readers to subscribe to her monthly newsletter full of resources and giveaway opportunities.

As a writer, like many of us, Julie Arduni has a different way of watching the world around her, and interacting with it. Here’s what she has to say

My husband once joked that I never see a parking lot. Always in observation mode, that normal parking lot to most people is a possible crime scene to me. Perhaps it’s a makeshift landing strip. As a romance author, that lot might be a first meet between hero and heroine. It also might be the scene for a goodbye. The bottom line is I don’t see anything “as is.” I’m always thinking about the possibilities.

A recent example was when I took a tour of Castle Noel, a Christmas-themed tourist attraction in northeast Ohio. During the guided tour we saw exhibit after exhibit of movie props from Cindy Lou Who’s bedroom in Ron Howard’s The Grinch, to Cousin Eddie’s RV from Christmas Vacation. Guests even have the opportunity to slide down the exact slide Ralphie clung to when he found the nerve to tell Santa he wanted a Red Ryder BB gun in A Christmas Story.

I tried, I really tried to focus on the Christmas magic and the movie trivia as we traveled from room to room. The battle was in my mind where ideas were forming. As several traveled through my active imagination, one question stood out that didn’t let go, even after the tour was over. What if you worked at a Christmas-themed place and hated Christmas?

The blessing is I was able to answer that question quickly as Kimberly Rose Johnson invited Inspy Romance authors that were able to participate in a Christmas boxed set. This was a dream of mine, so I jumped at the chance and started creating.

My writer’s mind was able to take that question and create twists, turns, and conflicts to place the reader on a journey. The result was Restoring Christmas, and it is included in the boxed set, A Christmas to Remember. Instead of Ohio, I used Upstate NY as a setting, basing Geneseo Valley off the real Geneseo, where I graduated from college. The Christmas Mansion is a staple in the community, but Holly Christmas left the area as soon as she could. She resented the time her parents spent at the mansion, and after her mother passed away, her father worked even harder at the mansion. When Holly has to return, a child discerns the truth about Ms. Christmas. She hates the holiday.

All that came from a simple visit to a Christmas attraction.

With a parking lot!

I have a feeling the next time I go into a parking lot, I’m going to keep my eyes open for anyone watching me, and I’m going to be wondering what they’re thinking. And for sure, I don’t hate Christmas.

There are a lot of ways to find Julie Arduini

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Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Julie-Arduini/e/B00PBKDRSQ/

Monthly Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/dCFG

Do Writers Give Books For Christmas?

Is your Christmas shopping done?

Mine isn’t.

A lot of people think that writers give books for Christmas. I can say that most of us do not. That is because books given as seasonal gifts are not usually appreciated. If an author gives a book as a gift, most people appreciate it. Who doesn’t appreciate getting something for free? But the point of that is, most people think that our own books don’t cost the author anything. That’s not true. Yes, most publishers will give a certain number of books with a contract, but we’re supposed to give those books away for promotion and reviewing. Not freebies for our friends.  I know authors who buy lots of books for various purposes. They’re not free.

If I give someone a book for Christmas, I’m more likely to give away a book not written by me. Not even necessarily a friend’s book, but a book that I don’t know the author, and just think the recipient will enjoy that book.

It’s a total thrill for me as an author when someone buys a book I’ve written, then comes to me to ask me to autograph it for a friend.

I’ll never forget the first time that happened to me. I was at home, I’d gotten the kids off to school and went back to bed because I had worked the night before and hadn’t gotten to bed until approximately 2:00 am. I was only dressed in ratty sweatpants and an old t-shirt, I hadn’t combed my hair, and I certainly wasn’t wearing makeup. I don’t even remember if I was wearing socks. The doorbell rang, so I answered it. It was the mother of a friend of one of my kids. She’d bought a few of my books, and she came to my door to ask me to autograph one of them because she was giving it away as a birthday gift to her sister.

Not a moment of glory, but I did sign the book and write a nice birthday wish.

No, writers usually don’t give their own books as Christmas gifts. But we sure love it when others do.

Does weather inspire a book?

There is definitely a tie between books and weather.

As a reader, when do you want to read a Christmas story?  While I am sure that most of us rabid readers have all read a few Christmas stories in the summer, the preferred time to read a seasonal story is in the season. Valentines Day books. Christmas books. There aren’t many that I’ve seen, but Eastertime stories. Thanksgiving (slightly different if you are in the USA or Canada). Summer vacation. The list goes on.

But here’s the thing.  It takes time to write a book. Then time to get it edited and proofread, then formatted. It also takes time to get a good cover designed. Add all these things up, and chances are, a writer is not writing a book in the season in which it is written.

I don’t know if I’ve ever written and completed a book in the season in which it was published. I’ve written a number of Christmas books, the most recent for Harlequin, The Best Man’s Holiday Romance. It was written mostly in the summer. Outside, on the back deck, in bare feet and wearing shorts. My iced tea was the only thing cold.

I’ve also written summer themed books in the middle of winter, when it was snowing, and I would rather eat wieners and beans for supper than go outside and do the grocery shopping. Thinking about the summer weather was no more than wishful thinking.

So my answer to that question is, yes, weather does inspire a book. Because most of the time, it’s wishful thinking. And that’s the most inspirational of all.

Time to start Christmas shopping?

As a writer, what do I think about at Christmas time to buy everyone?

Well, the natural thing would of course be… books. But then that’s what everyone expects me to give, so I can’t. Besides, according to all contracts from publishers, the few free copies the authors get are supposed to be given away as promo to potential buyers, not freebies to friends and relatives.

My next thought is, a reading device, like a Kindle or a Kobo. But truthfully, almost everyone on my Christmas list already has one. So I can’t. Besides, if I did, I’d be tempted to load it up with my own books, which hopefully all my friends and family have already read. Besides, you can download the Kindle reader app onto your phone, if you really want to read a book on your phone. Which I don’t.

Or, how about a remote keyboard that syncs with a cell phone. Everyone has a cell phone, right? But then again, no one I know, except a few other writers, need to type long things into their phones that would make a separate keyboard worthwhile, so I can’t. Although it sure is cool to have a keyboard that works with a phone. Except, one more thing to carry in our purses that we don’t use every day. Plus the time it takes to connect, especially when you haven’t used it for a while. (But it’s still cool!)

Then the next thought, buying a pass/ticket to a really cool event – like the next writers’ conference. Learn lots of stuff, meet cool people, schmooze with authors. Get autographs. Oh wait. My friends schmooze with me, and it’s probably not that exciting. And not everyone things attending classes and workshops is fun. Never mind that idea.

Oh well. I guess there’s always Starbucks gift cards…