12 Blogs of Christmas – Dianne Greenlay

Dianne Greenlay photoToday’s 12 Blogs of Christmas contribution is from Dianne Greenlay. Take it away, Dianne.


Hello everyone! I’m delighted (and more than just a little bit in awe) to be part of this group of talented and very entertaining authors in our “12 Blogs of Christmas”, conceived and assembled by my friend and bestselling author Martin Crosbie. By now, you have met several of these brilliant authors, and today it’s my turn to entertain.

I’m the author of the award winning action/adventure QUINTSPINNER SERIES , and also of THE CAMPING GUY , a humorous short story, which is an award winner in its theatre script version. I live and write on the Canadian prairies, home (most years) to 6 or 7 months of winter. Yeah, we never put our parkas away, just in case. (Is it any wonder that I fantasize and write about pirates and adventure in the sun splashed tropics?)

I chose to write my first novel over learning to play the bagpipes, and my husband is grateful. I love to hear from my readers and you can find me at www.diannegreenlay.com, or on twitter at https://twitter.com/DianneGreenlay or even at my Author page .

And now onto my Christmas blog. Wishing you all a wonderful holiday filled with good friends, good luck, and good books!


Getting Into The Christmas Spirit …

Bah, Humbug!

To steal that popular line, it is Hot Stuff Hubby’s summation of what he also refers to as “a Hallmark Holiday”. The rest of us call it Christmas.

For anyone who has anything for sale, the Christmas retail season is like bottled oxygen to an astronaut in a Space Station – absolutely necessary in order to survive the rest of the year.

Not a particularly religious man, Hot Stuff nevertheless laments the overshadowing of the original intent of fellowship and gratitude of the season, with that of a glut of retail activity.

Personally, I love the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season. I think I must have been a magpie in a former life because I love all things sparkly – twinkling lights, reflective ornaments, the ropes of flashy tinsel, diamonds (ahem, are you reading this, Hot Stuff?), and such.

I love Christmas music, especially the more traditional carols and hymns perfectly harmonized and performed by choirs – I feel no shame in humming along out loud as they are pumped out of the speakers in the mall stores; I thrive on the smells of Christmas baking – sugar and cinnamon, butter and raisins, warm gingerbread – and can often be seen hanging out around the local bakery counter until the clerks get a little nervous at my continuous presence; and I take personal pride in decorating my home and yard as though it were a marker for NASA to be easily seen from outer space.

But this year is a little different. You can read more and find out why here.

12 Blogs of Christmas: M.L. Gardner

M.L. Gardner photoToday’s 12 Blogs of Christmas contribution comes from M.L. Gardner.

 M.L. Gardner is the bestselling author of the 1929 series. Gardner is frugal to a fault, preserving the old ways of living by canning, cooking from scratch, and woodworking. Nostalgic stories from her grandmother’s life during the Great Depression inspired Gardner to write the 1929 series—as well as her own research into the Roarin’ Twenties. She has authored eight books, two novellas, and one book of short stories. Gardner is married with three kids and three cats. She resides in northern Utah. www.mlgardnerbooks.com


Grandmas Simple Christmas

When I was young I remember spending more than one holiday season at my grandmother’s house. I remember long evenings with homemade cookies, lots of chocolate pudding and watching claymation Christmas specials under blankets that she crocheted. What I don’t remember is the hustle and bustle holiday madness that I experienced later in life. After I grew up and began the planning, cooking and shopping for my family, it quickly became a headache laced chore to get everything done, not to mention the stress and worry of financially pulling off a ‘perfect’ Christmas. I’m not sure whether I am just more susceptible to the stress or if it’s truly gotten out of hand for all of us. What I do know is that it steals the joy and peace of the season from my family and I. As each year passed, my family noticed that I decorated a little less, baked a little less, basically did a little less of everything so I could fit it all in. And worst of all, I was glad when it was all over, and I could take a rest. I don’t ever remember my grandmother being glad Christmas was over. In fact, she was a little sad as she put away the decorations and the blue and white china nativity set that I now own. More…



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12 Blogs of Christmas – Jennifer Ellis

Jennifer Ellis photoToday’s installment of the 12 Blogs of Christmas comes from author Jennifer Ellis.

Jennifer lives in the mountains of British Columbia where she can be found writing, spending too much time on skis, and working as an environmental researcher. She has two boys, an eighteen-year-old cat, and a husband who doesn’t want a dog. She has been known to read tarot cards and spring surprise walks on unsuspecting neighborhood dogs. She has wanted to be a writer since she first read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and did not want to come out of the wardrobe.

Her Derivatives of Displacement series is science fiction fantasy for middle-graders (and adults). Books one and two are available, and book three is coming in 2015. She also writes adult fiction with a dystopic edge including In the Shadows of the Mosquito Constellation and her upcoming release Reversal, set in the Apocalypse Weird world. She has also contributed to several anthologies, most notably Synchronic: 13 Tales of Time Travel, which hit #16 in the Kindle Store.

A Pair of Docks, Book One in her Derivatives of Displacement series is available for 99 cents through Christmas.

You can subscribe to her blog for the latest book news and industry insights at www.jenniferellis.ca. She tweets at @jenniferlellis.


12 Days of Christmas Blog – What Christmas Means

When Martin Crosbie first invited me to be part of the 12 Blogs of Christmas with eleven other writers of course I said yes. I love blogging, I love Christmas, and I love other writers.

As the date approached for me to prepare my blog, a few problems emerged: 1) How much can be said about Christmas that hasn’t been said already; 2) How am I going to write an amazing post that compares to the efforts of the other participating bloggers who are also writers; 3) A huge number of work and writing deadlines all packed together like coupled rail cars wending their way through my December; 4) The deaths of a friend’s mother, and a friend’s son; 5) The usual stresses of life and winter—ailing mother, geriatric cat, viruses abounding in my children’s school and in our house; and the more creeping and interesting realization 6) Do I really love Christmas?

I have always had somewhat of a yo-yo relationship with Christmas…

Read more…



Amazon Author Page (with all my books)

A Pair of Docks

In the Shadows of the Mosquito Constellation

Synchronic: 13 Tales of Time Travel

Manifest (on Barnes and Noble)

Manifest (on Kobo)

Current Promotions

A Pair of Docks is 99 cents through the holidays.

Tomorrow’s blogger…Helga Zeiner


Child’s Play

Whether it’s the special treats, presents, traditions, videos of cats climbing Christmas trees, or the shiny tinselly delight of it all, the collective winter holiday season can bring out the child in us. Which made me think of a bunch of childlike and childish words for being in a state of newness, where we are wet behind the ears and smell faintly of talcum powder and New Car.

  1. Childlike: An adult who has not lost his or her innocent sense of wonder at the world. Think Dr. Seuss, Mr. Rogers, or Robin Williams off his meds.
  2. Childish: A more negative connotation, drawing up references to “childish behavior” discouraged by parents, such as pouting and selfishness, or how some adults act. Especially on reality television programs or on Black Friday.
  3. Juvenile: From Latin. On the surface, this word refers to “one who is youthful.” It has also taken on the negative connotation of juvenile or immature behavior. Especially on reality television programs or Black Friday.
  4. Neophyte: From the Greek words meaning “newly planted”, first recorded use 1590. Has a bit more sophisticated ring than “newbie.” Does not refer to any of Keanu Reeves’ battle scenes from The Matrix. Sorry. I know how badly you want it to.
  5. Noob or N00b: From the world of online gaming and internet forum slang, short for “newbie” but used in a more derisive fashion. Say, a newbie who refuses to learn the rules of a group, blusters around obnoxiously pretending they know what they’re doing but ends up wiping out your landing party with an enchanted hand grenade.
  6. Green: From Old English, meaning young or raw, also gullible. Greenhorn (a young buck, elk, ram or other horned beast just sprouting his horns) is another variant, a slang term applied to a newly arrived member of a group who hasn’t yet learned the secret handshake. As in, “That greenhorn thought Dr. Seuss made house calls.”
  7. Novice: One Latin form of this word, novicius, was used in reference to newly acquired slaves. Odd that it’s also used to describe someone in a religious order. Coincidence? Discuss.
  8. Apprentice: from Old French, “one who is learning.” Perhaps Donald Trump could apprentice to someone who has some humility, and maybe hair styling experience.
  9. Amateur: “One who has a taste for (something)” from French and Latin. Amateurish is an entirely different matter. Even if you are an amateur, you want to avoid looking amateurish. Context is also important here. While amateur athletes are revered, amateur brain surgeons are shunned.
  10. Tyro: From Middle Latin, meaning “young soldier or recruit.” Not to be confused with “Tyra,” which according to the Urban Dictionary, means to throw a tantrum if things don’t go your way. You know, like a child. But not “childlike.”

Food Fight on the Fourth

Every Independence Day since 1916, Nathan’s Famous has sponsored their International Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island. But don’t for a minute think these contestants are simply a bunch of big dudes who can pack away a lot of food. This is serious business. They call themselves “competitive eaters” (I only thought this referred to trying to get seconds on Thanksgiving before my (at the time) teenaged stepbrothers devoured the whole spread.) Most belong to an organization called Major League Eating, and membership is required if you want to belly up to the barbecue at the Coney Island gorge fest.

Reigning champion is Joey “Jaws” Chestnut, who once packed away sixty-eight hot dogs and buns in ten minutes. He is the perennial favorite in these competitions, and he doesn’t stop with frankfurters: he once ate over nine pounds of deep-fried asparagus spears in ten minutes, among other stomach-churning feats.

This year’s Coney Island culinary sprint, however, is going to be a little different. For the first time, women will have their own division. They claim that men have a competitive advantage by being larger, although some of these women, (including Sonya “Black Widow” Thomas, who once downed thirty-six dogs and buns) are no slouches when it comes to shoving food down their gullets. This gives women an opportunity to earn the competition’s coveted “Mustard Yellow International Belt” and prize money.

While part of me welcomes gender equality in competitions of wretched excess, the other part thinks this is ridiculous, dangerous, and another example of why certain people in certain parts of the world hate us. Especially the ones who are starving, and would probably do many immoral and illegal things for just one of those links. Especially because several of these contestants are from China, a place where a heck of a lot of people don’t get enough to eat. (Then again, maybe a childhood of deprivation is why they compete.)

I don’t think Nathan’s ever intended this contest to be anything more than a fun publicity grab, and don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of fun and don’t want to poop on anyone’s parade. But every year this deal seems to be in poorer and poorer taste. I would love to see the company donate the equivalent of the hot dogs consumed to any number of charities that help the hungry. It can still be fun, and the heavy hitters can earn their prize money (which they would undoubtedly spend on Pepto-Bismol, a sponsor of the League, and a good medical savings account for years down the road when their digestive systems explode.) And, Nathan’s can look like good guys doing it for charity.

Meanwhile, it’s like a seventeen-car pile up on the highway: hard to look at, but impossible to turn away.

(Note: no crotch-tweeting former legislators were gratuitously lampooned in the making of this post, even though the writer desperately wanted to.)