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crackhouse

My friend was telling me about a bragging Christmas newsletter that she finally had to throw in the trash. It’s fun to read what friends and family are up to, but some of these newsletters are crafted so carefully that it sounds like this family is the next to Mary and Joseph in perfection.

“Larry is king of the company this year! He was promoted twice and soon we expect his sovereign rule. Not only is Anna the perfect mother and housewife, but she runs her own business and managed to put together these beautiful Christmas cards by hand. Huey, Dewy, and Louie are all altar boys, volunteer with the homeless, AND play the french horn. Merry Christmas!”

So we made up some of our own, more realistic, holiday newsletters and swapped them. It was so much fun, and we laughed so hard!

Here’s mine.

“Luke is still with the company, and has lost all enthusiasm. They keep promoting him but we wish they wouldn’t so we could move out of this town. Mercedes upped her antidepressants this year. Twice. Niko, 11, only wants to wear green shirts, which aren’t allowed at his school. Nina is 7 and still can’t tie her shoes, but she’s a little artist so we’ll just call her eccentric. Lilia, 3, had to get stitches in the most sensitive of areas due to a very awkward fall. The animals despise us all and openly plot our deaths every day. It’s only a matter of time. Merry Christmas!”

It was fun to see what people came up with. Some celebrated losing their jobs while others said single-parenting was driving them crazy. Many wondered if this was the year they started drinking. It put a little fun and joy into every day things. Sometimes you have to laugh or you’ll start to cry.

Won’t you write a realistic newsletter and share it with me? I would love to read them! :D

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Tonight I’m getting together with the Awkward Conversations with Geeky Writer’s crew for a special holiday broadcast. We’ll discuss a myriad of things, answer your questions, and the best part? We’ll be giving out prizes! We literally have stockings full of gifts. Join us!

It’s an online party, so you can show up in pajamas. Todd Keisling, Anthony Rapino, Eryk Pruitt and I will, thankfully, be dressed because we’re on air. We’re all respectful like that. It runs from 8:00 PM -10:00 PM Eastern time. So grab something festive to munch on and enjoy discussions on writing, the holidays, and anything else you’d like to ask us.

If you ask nicely, I’ll show you where we shaved the side of my head. I love it. . ;)

You’ll find all of the information here.

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Christmas spirit is lacking this year. So I’ve been trying to do simple, stress-free things with the children to add joy and spice. Yesterday we made cinnamon salt dough ornaments, and it was just what the doctor prescribed!

I found the original recipe here.

This recipe has four ingredients and doesn’t require cooking. Easy, charming, and the cinnamon smelled so good! We did hearts, stars, bunnies, and voodoo dolls, of course.

The Recipe

1 cup flour

1/2 cup of salt

1/2 cup of cinnamon

3/4 cups of warm water

Mix your ingredients together. It’s easiest to mix the powders first and add the water last.

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If it’s a little dry, add more water. If it’s a little sticky, add more flour. Really, you can’t mess this recipe up.

Knead it with your hands and roll it into a ball.

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Roll it out and use cookie cutters to cut out your festive Christmas (voodoo) shapes!

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After you cut out your ornaments, put them on a cookie sheet to dry. Use a toothpick to make a little hole in them so you can run a string or ribbon through them later.

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Let them dry for about a day. It took us a little less than 24 hours. They’ll lighten up considerably, and you can paint them at this point if you’d like. We left ours as-is because we liked the rustic look.

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Adore me! Like I adore you!

When they’re dry, string them on a thread and hang them from your tree! They’re just darling, they take less than half an hour to do (minus drying time) and it really helped bring some holiday joy. I hope you try it! If you do, perhaps you could show me some pictures. :)

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Pura Vida!

Just a few little pics from the tropics of Costa Rica. I spent every night relaxing in either a mineral pool, bath, shower, ocean, or hot spring. I do miss that.

Like, INSANELY.

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I apologize for the silence. I just spent the last week in Costa Rica and it was a wonderful experience full of adventure and (gasp!) relaxation! Until I came home to over 600 emails/voicemails/texts. Yikes!

But! Until I regale you with pictures of volcanoes that you don’t really want to see, I have something EVEN COOLER for you! Dave Robison and his guest co-host Paul Ellis invited me on for a special 20 Minutes With section of Dave’s The Roundtable Podcast.

It was so incredibly fun! Dave does this amazing intro that either makes me sound brilliant or downright INSANE. It’s about twenty minutes long, so won’t you please take a moment and listen?

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mindmeld

Things have been wonderful and crazy and delightful and nuts. I finished my novella, my computer crashed, I managed to SAVE the novella, but lost the beginning of my novel.

And life goes on.

But I was invited, along with several other very cool people in the industry, to discuss what I was thankful for on the SF Signal’s MIND MELD. And our answers were intriguing. Mine was, oddly enough, the GamerGate brouhaha. I’m thankful these things are now on the radar. Swing by if you’d like to read it here.

I miss you guys! Fun things to announce soon. Like a super special awesome TRIP that has been greatly earned. Yay!

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It’s awesome, you guys. The artist Aeron Alfrey is putting out more and more stunning illustrations, including one for my story “Howl For What Was Yours.”

Howl

Do you recognize that girl? She’s Black Mary. I love this story, a sequel to my 2012 story “Black Mary,” and this illustration is gorgeous and creepy.

If you’d like to read up on the campaign, you can check it out here. Have fun! I know I’m looking forward to my copy!

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