Sunday, December 27, 2009

Why You Shouldn't Trust Contests . . .

You know how you're always being urged to choose you're favorite singer, dancer, whatever?

It's a totally unreliable way to determine which item is best, because you just know that said singer, dancer, whoever, is begging all of their friends to vote for them.

Just like I'm going to ask all of you to go to:

and vote for Just One Wish in their best cover contest. (Hey, I made it to the finals without even voting for my own cover.) Of course, I would never ask you to vote for my cover if you didn't think it was best, but I'll point out that Just One Wish has sparkles in the dandelions. It sparkles. Sort of like an ultra hot vampire on a sunny day. Edward would choose my cover . . .

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Why books make the best presents

Books make great presents. And I'm not just saying that because the paperback version of My Fair Godmother came out yesterday.

Years ago my sister told me the secret to happy children on Christmas morning. You can't just buy them stuff, you have to give them something to do after they're done unwrapping things. If they're bored, they'll whine and think they didn't get anything.

So this year I'm giving lots of books. Fiction, non-fiction, and comic books (Pearls Before Swine--my favorite is pig).

Today my middle daughter and her brother were arguing over the computer. "Let me have it today," middle daughter said. "I won't be using it at all on Christmas."


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

And the winner is . . . in all of its glorious randomness has chosen Lauren. So Lauren, send me your address and I'll send you your book.

Merry Christmas everybody!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Book give-away and one of my most memorable holidays

I did a Christmas blog and book give-away for another blog and figured, hey, I should do the same thing here on my blog. After all, I'm going to have to go to the post office one way or the other. (Note to self: next year don't do give-aways during the holiday season.)

I have plenty of nice Christmas memories: The time a bus full of strangers all sang Christmas carols together for no other reason than it was Christmas Eve. The time my family delivered Christmas presents to a family in need. After we left the presents on the porch and doorbell ditched the house, we watched their little children come outside and search the sky for Santa Claus. I’ve forgotten most of the presents I received over the years, but I remember laying in the living room every year, lights off, just enjoying the glow of the Christmas tree.

Perhaps my most memorable Christmas is the one that happened after my mother died of cancer. I was about six. I say about, because I don’t know the date my mother died. I remember the day. It was a Saturday morning, but I can’t tell you what time of year it was. I’ve purposely not asked and not looked at any documents that would tell me. It’s not an anniversary I want to note on the calendar every year.

Some months later the holiday season rolled around, but my father said we weren’t going to have a Christmas tree that year. He just couldn’t do a big Christmas. I can imagine how overwhelmed he felt, alone with four children to raise—and in all likelihood he was angry at God for taking his wife. At least, I would be. Still, at six years old, I had perfect faith that we would have a Christmas tree. Christmas trees were part of Christmas, and Christmas was coming.

We did end up getting a tree. I remember, perfectly preserved the way some memories are, the pastor of our church showing up at our house and taking the tree inside. “I know what you said about not getting a tree this year,” he told my father. “But I had to bring one. If it’s okay, I’ll set it up.”

How could my father say no? Four children were suddenly jumping around the living room with glee. Or at least I was.

We got presents too. Once a night, sometimes twice, the doorbell rang and a stack of presents would be on our doorstep. We never caught anyone, but we figured it was members of the church.

It wasn’t that we were poor. My father could afford to buy us the presents that we wanted. But it was still a Christmas miracle. Because it meant people remembered, that they were thinking of us, that they cared.

This year I’m super busy. I’m behind on a writing deadline, my husband is out of town, and I have five kids to shop for. The dishes in the sink never end, the library books are overdue, and it’s been so long since my dog had a haircut that she looks like the abominable snow dog. It would be easy for me to rush through this season, but I think this quote from Dieter F. Uchtdorf sums it up: In the end, the number of prayers we say may contribute to our happiness, but the number of prayers we answer may be of even greater importance.

This year, be the answer to someone’s prayers.

Merry Christmas!

I'm giving away a copy of How To Take the Ex Out of Ex-boyfriend because it's a book about giving too. Leave a comment and I'll enter you, be sure to say if you're a follower and you'll get two chances.

And if you feel lucky, literary girls are also giving away one of my books over at

Monday, December 14, 2009

And the winner is . . .

Today the random number generator chose LucindaF. Probably because LucindaF is so cool. (It's just like me to put words in the random generator's mouth.) So Lucinda, let me know your address at jrallisonfans at yahoo dot com and I'll send out your book.

Everyone else, don't fret, I'm going to give away a book next blog too.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Just One Wish give-away

Guess who just got a book trailer for Just One Wish? Yes, that's right, Andie my intrepid Rent-a-Teenager has done it again. In honor of the book trailer, I'll be giving away a copy of the book. Get it now while the background is blue--when it goes to paperback, Putnam is changing all of that blue stuff to pink. I don't know why. Perhaps the lips are now blowing dandelions at sunset. Mine is not to question the bow-tied one's decisions.

If you want a chance to win, leave a comment about something you liked in the book trailer. And let me know if you're a follower, because despite what your mother told you in junior high about being a follower, it does pay off here. You'll get double chances. Good luck!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Songs You Hate to Love

There are some songs that I'm embarrassed that I like. Since I only infrequently shy away from embarrassing myself on this blog, I will come right out and tell you. Yes, I like Lady Gaga’s Poker Face. I’m not going to buy it, mind you. I still have some pride and I make it a policy not to buy music from people who consider themselves royalty. (No Prince songs. No Queen Latifah.) Plus I can’t buy songs that have painfully stupid music videos. One day, I swear, I’m going to start my own blog just mocking bad music videos. It will be called, The Lighting Guys Might Have Told You that You Looked Great, But They laughed Themselves Silly While You Were In Wardrobe Changing Out Of Your Spandex Mini Skirt And The Shirt That Looked Like It Was Made of Mouse Pads And Held Together With Packaging Tape.

Poker Face fails both the royalty and bad music video tests, so I just have to listen to the song on youtube with the window minimized and hope that my love of the song will run its course like that unfortunate infatuation I had with Britney Spear’s Womanizer. (Although come to think about it, I still shout out: You say I’m crazy? I got your crazy! every once in awhile.)

But even though I minimize, I’ve still gotten bits and pieces of the Poker Face video. And here is my question. Who brought Lady Gaga a swimsuit with shoulder pads and gloves and said, “This will look great!” Because that person should have to wear Bjork’s swan dress for a solid week just for penance.

Anyway, as I was watching the swimsuit, and going: Wow, it looks like part of someone’s tick-tac-toe game came to life, I thought to myself, “Haven’t I seen that outfit before?” I was pretty sure Lady Gaga was just recycling through old Star Trek costumes. So I googled Star Trek Women. (And yes, this is the sort of thing I do when I really should be working on my novel.) I found this:

Actually, it looks better than Lady Gaga’s swimsuit.
While I googled, I also found these Star Trek inspirational photos and laughed so hard I had to post them. Those of you in my generation will understand.