- A Kitty in the Henhouse
- Chicken Scratches and Other Writing Tips
- Eye Candy
- Happenings at the Henhouse
- Music of the Coop
- Pop Culture
- Squawk Authors: Latest and Greatest Books
- Squawk Friends
- Squawk Interactive: Captions, polls, etc
- Squawk's Favorite Books
- Stranger Than Fiction (Real Life)
- Teresa Reveals the CONFESSIONS OF A TRUE ROMANTIC
- CHRISTINA DODD HAS A TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY
- Christina Dodd Exposes the Glamour of Booktour
- Christina Dodd Treats You to an Extra Excerpt of IN BED WITH THE DUKE!
- GIRLFRIENDS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN Contest!
- Connie Brockway Posts Incriminating New Video
- SPOIL ME! BY CELEBRATING THE GOLDEN SEASON’S PUB DATE, TODAY!
- Teresa Says It Loud and Says It Proud: I WRITE ROMANCE NOVELS!!!
- CHRISTINA DODD SAYS “IT’S CHRISTMAS! DUCK!”
- Teresa Needs Your Help to Choose the SEXIEST MAN DEAD!
Shock Waves Ripple Through the Publishing Industry!
Dr. Phil Appalled and Pompous!
Recently my husband and I had our wedding anniversary —Scott and I were married the same year as the great dinosaur extinction—and if he can’t figure out what to buy me, I won’t care. Because the fact is, although I got him a gift this year, lots of times I can’t figure out what to get him. One year on our anniversary, he followed a theme — he bought me green pajamas, a green shirt, green panties, and a set of emerald earrings and a glorious emerald ring. The next year, it was pretty much nothing. We usually go out to dinner for our anniversary, but very possibly not on our anniversary. It depends on what’s convenient.
Worse, we never were romantic. We didn’t pick out a china pattern. I almost broke my mother-in-law’s heart by declaring I didn’t want silver-plated anything. We didn’t go on a honeymoon until a year after our wedding. And we went to Yellowstone Park (there was an earthquake while we were there—we’re almost sure we didn’t cause it.)
On the other hand, when we married we were in college and so poor our rings were simple gold bands. I’ve never wanted another ring. I don’t lust after a big diamond to symbolize our love. That’s what the kids are for. Scott and I hold hands when we walk. I listen to his stories even though I’ve heard them all four hundred times (at least.) He lets me sing in the car even though, according to everyone who’s ever heard me, it’s a painful ordeal. Sometimes he buys me a present just because. And vice versa (nothing says love like a combination flashlight/tire air pressure/key ring.) When we go out and he has a great dinner, he likes to feed me from his plate. Once I asked him why, and he said, “I don’t get to see that look of ecstasy on your face often enough.”
Yes, he makes me laugh.
Quite frankly, we’re still stupid in love with each other.
So—what signs do you look for that prove a couple is in love? Is true love the same as romance? Do you think the kind of love we write about and read about in our books is possible in real life?
And for you Squawkers who are wetting themselves about my wedding photo (Connie)—go ahead and post yours, smartass.
Christina’s Website with THE PRINCE KIDNAPS A BRIDE video!
1> no matter how long the heroine has gone without shaving, the hero never makes snide remarks about her getting ready to hibernate for the winter
2> the heroine never has moral dilemnas about things like paying $185.00 for a pair of jeans that made her ass look GREAT
3> because the heroine’s ass never sags, she’d never have a moral dilemna about things like paying $185.00 for a pair of jeans
4> the heroine’s mother never goes into her closet to find out that the heroine has absconded to Missouri with her favorite pair of vintage Tony Lama riding boots
5> the hero never tells the heroine jokes about PMS WHEN SHE’S HAVING PMS!
That’s right. On this lovely and lazy day after Thanksgiving, you’re going to hear something you never thought you’d hear--STOP READING SQUAWK RADIO! Turn off the computer, get out of your desk chair and go read a good book!
(But before you go, feel free to tell us what book you’ll be enjoying this holiday weekend in the Comments. Then grab your book and shoo little chickadees, shoo!!!)
Last week was one of two weeks every year that I receive a royalty check from one of my publishers. There was a time in my career when I used to rely on these for ninety percent of my annual income. Yep, that’s right. Where most people pocket a paycheck twice a month, I used to pocket mine twice a YEAR. That was back when I was writing four or five categories annually for Silhouette. Those books get very small advances, so most of what I made on them came in the form of royalties that arrived months, often years, after publication. Now that I’m writing big books (whose advances are much larger) and only publish one category annually, only about ten percent of my annual income shows up in those royalties.
But it’s still an interesting time when they arrive, because I never know what the money will be like until I open the envelope. There have been times when I’ve been disappointed by checks that were thousands of dollars lower than I was anticipating (and I anticipate conservatively, lemme tell ya), but once there was ten thousand dollars MORE than I expected, thanks to a direct mail reissue of an older title, and we got to do some much needed home improvement.
Some things about royalty week never change, however. Like Xtina, I’m a believer in doing nice things for myself when I can, to reward myself for all the crap I have to put up with being self-employed. (And self-employed in a business rife with ways to tear me down, at that.) So herewith, I give you the top then things I do whenever a royalty check arrives in the mail during the first part of November or the first part of May:
10. Weep with gratitude that it’s finally arrived.
9. Cry out in anguish when I see the amount. (Hey, I said ONCE I was surprised that there was more.)
8. Go to the grocery store and buy enough food to feed the United Arab Emirates.
7. Take a day trip with my family to one of several big cities within two hours of where we live for a little escape time.
6. Give myself, my husband and my son a hundred dollars each to spend on whatever we want.
5. Enjoy a celebratory dinner at one of our favorite restaurants (usually Mitchell’s for seafood).
4. Give myself a day off for a manicure, pedicure, haircut and lunch out alone.
3. Add charms to my charm bracelet for any books that have appeared in print since the last royalty statement.
2. Oh, yeah. Put a little bit in the bank.
And the number one thing I do whenever a royalty check arrives is:
Well, I just can’t seem to get past that weep with gratitude, cry out in anguish thing, so I’m gonna have to stick with that.
So what would you do if you received an unexpected windfall? A surprise bonus at work or a win on the scratch-off game? I’m not talking millions of dollars. Just enough to treat yourself and/or your family to something special. What would you do if you suddenly found yourself with, say, ten thousand bucks you hadn’t expected to receive?
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Well, maybe not, but for readers, this is pretty close.
You know my husband and I built a house last year, a horrifying process, and since we moved in over a year ago, we’ve been racing from one project to another as fast as we can. We still don’t have the fireplace in the living room, and our yard doesn’t look like Mordor anymore, but you could really mud wrestle down there, and we still have bright orange construction fencing around the dogs’ yard (you might be a redneck if ...), but by golly, we got the Most Important Thing done—our library! Check it out!
Looking in the room toward the fireplace and the window seat. You can see the glass display case at the end—there’s one (not visible) that matches on the other end.
Looking toward the front door—that’s my chair, my lap top, and Levenger’s spinning bookshelf table. There have been a lot of chapters of books written in that chair. I chose it for the way it hugs and supports my arms while I write. I am such a nerd in a furniture store.
The fireplace and the main bookshelf wall. BTW, these aren’t all our books. I have boxes more up in my office, because the bookshelves and storage up there aren’t done yet. Don’t even ask why my office isn’t finished—I rave and froth at the mouth when I talk about it, and it scares the dogs.
What? What’s that? You don’t care about my bookshelves? You want to know who won the $50 gift certificate to BarnesandNoble.com? Well! Fine, be that way. Here’s the deal—we are going to make sure we give this gift certificate away, so we’ll name one name now, and the winner has to email me at within twenty-four hours. If s/he doesn’t, then tomorrow night at this time, we’ll pick another winner. Got it? Email me at within twenty-four hours of me posting this blog to claim your $50 e-gift certificate to BarnesandNoble.com where you can preorder a copy of THE PRINCE KIDNAPS THE BRIDE! (Or if you simply must, you can order HOT DISH by Connie Brockway, EXPRESS MALE by Elizabeth Bevarly, THE VAMPIRE WHO LOVED ME by Teresa Medeiros, PLEASURE FOR PLEASURE by Eloisa James or SUGAR DADDY by Lisa Kleypas.)
And the winner is ... shu!
shu, email me, I’m waiting to hear from you!
Every day, I take my mailbox keys and a plastic grocery bag (and the dogs, can’t forget the dogs), trudge down the hill and pick up the mail. And every day Since August, I’ve been inundated with catalogues. As in, five pounds of catalogues a day. Carrying those suckers up the hill has done wonders for my arms and legs — I have thighs contoured by Nordstrom. I live in a small town, ordering off the internet is a necessity, and unlike my husband (note the sarcasm), I want to get those Christmas presents here and wrapped before, well, Christmas. So, bleary-eyed and covered with paper cuts, I have finished wading through the current batch of catalogues (more tomorrow!), and as a public service, I’m bringing you the highlights of GIFTS FOR READERS.
You need to be comfortable while you read, so you need slippers made for a princess. Silly and fun. flaxart.com, $24 on sale
Speaking of silly-looking and comfortable, how about the Slanket, a gigantic fleece blanket with armholes so you can wrap up and stay warm while you read. theslanket.com, $48.95
If you read in bed, you need a lounger with back and neck support, armrests that swivel in to support your weight, a reading light, a cup holder, side pockets for your books and snacks, and ... a Shiatsu massager. Don’t tear your credit card getting it out of your purse. sharperimage.com $129.95
Check out this book cover that has pockets for your glasses, pen, electronic dictionary and reading light. solutions.com, $12.95
And this end table stores books and holds your glass of wine. I have one constructed of the base, the large carousel and the small carousel, and I love it, but warning — you can’t put anything that plugs in (like a lamp) on it, because when you spin it … you see the problem. levenger.com, $84.00-&198.00
Do you read in the bath? Jo Malone is a Very Bad Thing, because once you fill your tub with bath oil, light a candle, and use the soap, you’ll be hooked for a lifetime. Jo Malone is sinfully expensive, but the scents are wonderful and they stay with you all day. And really, a little sin is all I ask from life. I was introduced to Jo Malone by my Wicked Temptress Editor, Carrie. She’s a wonderful woman … jomalone.com, a gazillion dollars.
While you read, you’re going to need the occasional meal. What are your options? Chinese take-out? Pizza delivery? No! You need a cookbook, just the right one, that suggest nourishing meals yet minimizes your culinary efforts. How about … A Cookbook for Men Who Need to Get Out of the Dog House? Sure, your significant other has to be in the dog house for this scheme to work, but how hard is that? amazon.com, $14.95
When you’re reading romances like THE PRINCE KIDNAPS A BRIDE by Christina Dodd and that other book ... what’s it called? ... oh, yeah ... PLEASURE FOR PLEASURE by Eloisa James (barnesandnoble.com), the natural result is a lot of great sex, so tone up with the Reebok Combo Bench, a weight bench with five pairs of hand weights, an exercise chart and personal training software.
If you’re not in the mood to work out, you and your partner can use the bench for … oh, you figure it out. academy.com, $129.99 (And no, I’m not listing any devices for the Squawkers with no partners. This is a family blog. Sort of.)
After you read and exercise, you need to regain your energy. Two words — glazed pecans. Or as we call them — pieces of addictive nuts covered with addictive glaze pleasantly presented in crinkly bags perfect for snarfing while you read. sweettasteoftexas.com, Who cares about the cost? It’s worth it.
Do you read paranormal? Check out these supernatural bookends—a man’s walking through your books. Cool, huh? flaxart.com, $99.50
And finally, great books deserve great bookshelves … check back this afternoon when I post the photos of my just-finished library. Warning: keep a drool rag handy.
While you thumb through your hundreds of catalogues, have you found any great gifts you’re dying to give? Or better yet, receive? We’re all looking for ideas, so share!
Don’t forget, this is the last day of the Squawk Radio membership drive, and this evening we’re going to award our fifty dollar on-line bookstore gift certificate to some deserving member of Squawk Radio. If you’re signed up, and you have a working email address, you’re eligible for the drawing. The Squawkers are stirring the Cauldron of Random right now, and soon we’ll come up with a winner …