01.26.2015

Author To Author Interview: Eowyn Ivey

The Snow Child. Now just sit in that image for a second…

What a title, what a vision.  The. Snow. Child.

 Snow Child (2)And, most importantly, what a book. I meant to read this book years ago when people were raving about it, and then…well, you know how it is.  (Kids. Work. Disasters. That sort of thing.)

I am so glad I did.  I loved it.  The Snow Child is magical and harsh at the same time, history and fantasy blended, and the sentences are so beautifully constructed it made me tear up.

I contacted the author, Eowyn Ivey, up in Alaska, and she said she would be delighted to talk with us about her book, and her life in Alaska, which is far different from mine, locked here in the Oregon suburbs with only a few coyotes running around.

Cathy Lamb: Eowyn, your book, The Snow Child, is set in Alaska. Can you please tell us where you live in Alaska, and what your life there is like? I hear you used to haul your own water and you hunt for moose.

Eowyn Ivey: My family and I live northeast of Anchorage in the Matanuska River valley. It’s not as rugged or as remote as much of Alaska – we are on the road system and can drive to Anchorage – but it is rural by many people’s standards.

We live on a dirt road, and until The Snow Child was published and we could afford a well, we used to haul our own water. We keep chickens and turkeys, grow a vegetable garden, hunt for moose and caribou, and harvest salmon and wild berries every year. Unlike my characters, Jack and Mabel, we can go to the grocery store whenever we need to, but like a lot of Alaskans we admire a certain amount of self-sufficiency.

You are now my outdoor idol.  I have just envisioned you on a caribou hunt, catching salmon, and ice skating on your homemade ice rink.  When can I visit?

One element I loved about The Snow Child was the mix of magical realism and historical reality. What made you decide to blend the two?

That was what really excited me about this idea from the beginning — the friction between a sort of ethereal fairy tale and the more grounded struggles of a homestead in Alaska. Fairy tales by nature leave out much of the details, and I wanted to fill those in with my own knowledge and love of this place. But I also didn’t want the polished and romanticized ideas of Alaska. I wanted my characters to live and struggle in a very real landscape.

I felt that “real” landscape. You painted such a clear portrait it was like watching a movie. I loved learning about living in Alaska, in 1920, the dangerous weather and ragged landscape, and the sheer will and courage people had to have in order to survive.

What about those pioneers’ lives stuck out to you most while doing your research for this book?

The truth is I didn’t do a lot of research for the book – much of Jack and Mabel’s lifestyle was drawn from my own life here. Both my husband and I grew up here, around gardening and farming and hunting.

However, I was interested in particular in the 1920s. Before, there was the Gold Rush, and later, in the 1930s, there was a government-sponsored effort to bring farmers to this part of Alaska. But people like Jack and Mable and the Bensons would have been driven purely by their own desire to live in Alaska. They would have needed brave and adventurous spirits.

What character did you most relate to and why? Was there a bit of you in each character? If so, what?

This is a great question, and I think maybe because you are a writer as well, you really nailed it – there is a bit of me in every character. I find this enables me to step into the minds of characters, even if they are very different than me. If I can find one trait that I can strongly relate to – Mabel’s over-thinking, Jack’s desire to get things done, Esther’s ability to laugh and have fun – then I can more fully empathize with the character and they become more real to me.

I had to stop and think while reading the stunning, poignant language you used. Every sentence was so well crafted. For example, “It was beautiful, Mabel knew, but it was a beauty that ripped you open and scoured you clean so that you were left helpless and exposed, if you lived at all. She turned her back to the river and walked home.”

Eowyn Ivey 1And, “Even as a boy Jack had loved the smell of the ground softening in the thaw and coming back to life. Not this spring. A damp, moldy dreariness, something like loneliness, had settled over the homestead.”

So what’s my question? I don’t know, Eowyn, I just wanted to write these passages out for the readers so they could get a taste of your talent…moving right along here…

Thank you for that, Cathy. It’s always strange to see my own words in print, but I’m so glad you enjoyed it.

How does living in Alaska help you to write? How much snow do you get? How long are your winters? What animals come and visit you at home?

For me, the quiet, off-the-beaten-path lifestyle we have here in Alaska is conducive to writing. I enjoy solitude and quiet, so it suits me well. And the long darkness of winter is a perfect time to spend reading and writing, although we also like to get outdoors to sled and ski and ice skate even on cold days.

In our area of Alaska, winter isn’t exceptionally snowy or cold compared to some parts of the US (my grandparents live in Buffalo, NY) but it is long and it is dark. Winter for us usually starts by the end of October and lasts through March, even early April. In January, the sun rises around 10 a.m. and goes down about 3:30 p.m. And for about three weeks at our house, we lose direct daylight completely because the sun doesn’t rise above the mountains. But it is nothing compared to places even farther north like Barrow!

Eowyn Ivey 2I definitely want to come and visit Alaska, but perhaps I will come when the sun is up all day…Speaking of days, take us through a usual day. What do you do? When do you write?

I struggle with the fact that the schedule is always changing. I get the most done when every day is boringly similar to the one before it. But life isn’t often that way. We have two school-age daughters, so when they are home on breaks, I try to write early in the morning before they get up. But I’m not much of a morning person, so when they’re in school, I write during the middle of the day. And then there are orthodontist appointment, school concerts, book events etc. It’s a lesson to me to try to be flexible and to write whenever I can.

I am a mother, too, Eowyn, so I totally understand blending career and writing. It can be hard, especially when the kids are young.  Speaking of challenges, what is your greatest challenge as a writer?

I want to push myself to be more daring with my writing. Maybe because of my journalism background and my own personality, I can be kind of linear in my thinking, but I really admire writers who stretch the idea of what a story can be, of what a sentence can be. So that is my challenge to myself, to dare to try new things as a writer.

And your name? Can you tell us about it? It’s rather prophetic, isn’t it?

My mom named me after the character Eowyn in the Lord of the Rings. Of course this was long before the movies came out, so people never used to recognize it except die-hard Tolkien fans. The terrible confession I have to make is that I have never actually been able to make it through the books. I adore The Hobbit, but I find the Lord of the Rings overwhelming.

What’s up next? What are your goals for 2015?

I’m working with my US and UK editors on my new novel, which I’m really excited about. It’s set in 1885 and follows a military expedition into the heart of Alaska. Along the way, the men encounter mythological occurrences. I’m telling it through letters, journals and other documents, so I’m having a lot of fun with it. And my husband and I are finishing our library – at last I will have shelves for all my books that currently live in boxes.

Eowyn, you let me know when your new book is out and I will be the first to buy it. Thanks so much for chatting with me and if I ever get to Alaska to visit, lunch is on me, but the caribou hunt and salmon catching is on you. 

Visit with Eowyn here:

www.eowynivey.com

 

01.22.2015

Join My Read Like Crazy Book Club

Anyone want to join my online book club, The Read Like Crazy Book Club, Part II?

Our goal: Read one book a week for six weeks.

Our motto: Life is short, read more books and eat chocolate.

Go to my fan facebook page at this link to sign up. https://www.facebook.com/cathy.lamb.9?ref=hl

The Read Like Crazy Book Club starts this Sunday. 

I did this before, with about 100 women, and it was fun for all of us rabid book addicts. On Sunday I’ll post a review of the last book I read, then tell which book I’m reading next. You do the same. Read any book you want on the planet, or read along with me.

Chat with others in the group about books, life, other interests, exactly as you would any other book group, minus the gossip.

If you agree to join and you DON’T read a book a week, we will have you arrested. Nah, just kidding. That would be overly punitive. Like last time, if you don’t read one book a week, you will be locked up for the weekend with Keanu Reeves. (Thank you, Keanu, for agreeing again to being part of our book group!)

Here is my list of books, in order: Week One: All The Light We Cannot See. Week Two: Yellow Crocus. Week Three: The Rosie Effect. Week Four: Liar, Temptress, Soldier Spy (This is NOT a bodice ripper, ladies, it’s a true story about women spies during the Civil War), Week Five: The Thornbirds, Week Six: I Am Nujood, Age Ten and Divorced.

If you’re ready to, you can list the books you’re going to read below, even if you only know one or two, so others can get some good ideas.

Please join up, this will be fun and there are no rules against drinking wine while reading or eating chocolate.

01.19.2015

Author To Author Interview: Mary Kubica

Hello everyone,

Today I am interviewing Mary Kubica, who wrote the utterly thrilling and suspenseful national bestseller, The Good Girl. Yes, THAT book.  As in, we have a kidnapped woman, a kidnapper who does something he’s not supposed to do, and a twist at the ending that will have you muttering, “Daaaang. I did not see that coming.” I highly recommend it.

Cathy Lamb: Mary, I could hardly breathe through The Good Girl. I sat upstairs, in bed, robe on, kindle gripped in my hands. I could not put that book down at night, even when I’d conquered my insomnia. But tell us about you, first. Where do you live, with who, any interests or hobbies?

Mary Kubica: First off, thank you so much for having me, Cathy. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. I’ve been truly thrilled by your enthusiasm for The Good Girl. It really means the world to me. Thank you!

I live in the suburbs of Chicago with my husband and our two children, my nine-year-old daughter and my seven-year-old son. Now that the kids are getting a bit older and more independent, I’m finally getting to that part in my life where I can have hobbies again!

Reading and writing consume most of my free time, though I love to travel with the family as well. I also volunteer at a local animal shelter, so if I’m not at the computer or with my family, you can bet that’s where I’ll be!

I’ll just be blunt: You sound so normal, a mother, kids running around, a love of animals and then…THIS.

Tell everyone what this novel that I could hardly breathe through is about.

The Good Girl is the story of the abduction of a young Chicago woman, Mia Dennett. The story is told from three points of view – her mother, her captor, and a police detective investigating the case. It jumps back and forth in time so the reader gets a glimpse of life during Mia’s absence, but also many months later when she’s returned home safe but with no memory of her time in captivity, as we discover what happened to Mia while she was gone.

Where were you when the idea for The Good Girl came to you? What was the spark?

In all honesty, I have no idea. I’d left my teaching career to stay at home and raise my daughter. She was just a year old when an idea for The Good Girl came to me, this notion of a kidnapping that wasn’t all it seemed to be. It was only a smidgen of the story it would one day become, but I started working on it diligently, fulfilling a lifelong dream I’d had to write a novel.

I was a teacher, too, and left when I was pregnant with twins with a three year old home, and I, too, had a lifelong, hell – bent dream to become a writer. We have much in common.

Did you always know there would be a twist at the end?

No! I had no idea where I was going to go with this book. It took quite awhile to get to know my characters and to understand their motives.

I’m not someone who outlines before I write, nor do I do much in the way of brainstorming. On any given day that I sit down to write, I have no idea what might happen in the lives of my characters. I was just as surprised by that ending as many readers are when they read it. This is actually one of the parts I look most forward to as a suspense author: figuring out that surprise twist that will hopefully shock the reader.

How long did it take you to write the book and how many edits/revisions did you make?

I worked on my first draft of The Good Girl for many years. As I said before, my daughter was about a year old when I began writing, and then a year later my son was born. It was a very busy time in my life! I squeezed in some writing time when the kids were napping, but many days the most I could manage was an hour of work, if that.

After I finished the manuscript and acquired an agent, she and I worked together for a few months to make sure it was in the best shape to submit to publishers. And then, of course, I went through a few rounds of revisions with my editor. All in all, it was a long road – about eight years from the time I started the novel until it reached publication day.

This is your first book, and it has been a huge hit. How has the ride been so far? Was finding a publisher easy?

The experience has been amazing. Just a thrill! No part of it was easy, and it required a strong backbone and plenty of persistence, but in the end, it paid off! There was quite a bit of rejection initially to The Good Girl – both from agents and from publishers. But this is to be expected. In the end, I found the best agent and publishing house I could have ever asked for, and feel extremely fortunate for the way everything has worked out. Dream come true!

Rejection is very hard. I went through it myself  years ago (Endlessly, until I wanted to go and live in Antarctica and study penguins)  and I am so glad you persevered.

I read your blog and I understand you have two young children. For the mothers out there who are trying to balance writing and kids, give them some advice.

My life has taken a turn recently in that my kids are in school full time, and I have plenty of time to write. But there were many, many years that this was not the case. My best advice: write as much as you can, whenever you can. If you can only manage fifteen minutes a day, that’s fine! It all adds up over time.

My biggest challenge now is traveling to conferences or speaking events. I absolutely love attending these, but as the primary caregiver, this can be extremely hard to manage. I am very thankful to family and friends who have stepped up to help.

What is your daily life like? Your writing schedule?

I’m an early bird, so I’m up and at ‘em by 5am. I spend much of my day writing, but spend much of my day being a mother, too: volunteering in my kids’ classrooms, laundry and other chores inside and outside of the home.

I also volunteer at the local animal shelter a couple of times a week. I try to stay far ahead of writing deadlines, so I don’t feel stressed for time or ever feel like I have to compromise family time for my career. My kids always come first.

Did you train, or go to school, to become a writer? 

No, I didn’t. I took one class in creative writing, which I didn’t particularly like. Beyond that, I like to say that I’m self taught. I can guarantee there are a lot of bad stories I’ve worked on over the years that have helped me see what works and what doesn’t work in my writing. They’ve also helped me find my voice and develop my own style over time. I have loved writing since I was a little girl, but always knew becoming an author would be no easy task. After college, I pursed a career as a high school history teacher (also no easy task!), and only focused on writing after my kids were born. I feel extremely fortunate to be able to live my dream.

Three favorite classics?

A Tale of Two Cities (Charles Dickens), A Farewell to Arms (Ernest Hemingway), The Things They Carried (Tim O’Brien)

Three places you want to see before you turn 100?

You’re being very optimistic here, assuming I’ll live to see 100! I like that. Lake Louise, Canada; Provence, France; Tuscany, Italy

Three things you would do if you had an entire weekend by yourself?

What I’d want to do: take a nap, get a massage and watch all the moves I’ve wanted to see since my kids were born but never had the chance. What I’d probably do: read, write and clean

What’s up next?

My second novel, Pretty Baby, is releasing in July. Pretty Baby is another suspense story set in the Midwest, about a Chicago woman’s fateful encounter with a young homeless girl and her baby. I can’t wait to share this story with you this summer!

Thank you so much for having me, Cathy!

Visit with Mary…

http://www.marykubica.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mary-Kubica-Author/529093127112073

https://twitter.com/MaryKubica

 

01.12.2015

Author to Author Interview: Ann Garvin

Hello, everyone. Today I am interviewing Ann Garvin, writer of The Dog Year. I read it, loved it. The main character is sincere, troubled, incredibly smart, funnier than heck, making poor choices, introspective, and stealing things.  She is also quite talented at telling people off. Lucy re-builds her entire life  after it shatters apart.  This book is especially appealing to those women who have experienced the same sort of collapse…and haven’t we all, at one point or another?

Ann Garvin 3Cathy Lamb: Ann, tell us about yourself before we jump into The Dog Year.

I’m a single mother with two teen girls who are more adorable than irritating (which I think is how they also feel about me). I have two poodle-mix dogs, lots of people in my life who are patient and funny, and a job outside of writing, that I love. I teach at the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater teaching all content that health educators and promoters need to do their jobs. I’m an exercise physiologist/psychologist who tells a lot of stories to get my jobs done.

I also teach creative writing in the Southern New Hampshire University Low Residency MFA, which is the best job in the universe.

I live in a 100 year old Victorian home that feels like a loyal friend. Big windows, cracked plaster, wood floors, and handymen in and out. It makes for a great place to write about characters.

All of your jobs make me tired. Hold on. I will eat some chocolate FOR you, as we are such good pals.

While I’m eating, tell us all about The Dog Year. What’s it about, what inspired you?

The Dog Year was released this past June (2014) and it’s the story of a woman, her dog, and two secrets that both make her and break her. After Lucy loses everything dear to her, she is caught red-handed in a senseless act that kept her grief at bay. Now, Lucy must share her deepest secrets with a group of misfits, each with secrets and something to offer. Think Juno meets Must Love Dogs, for funny and sad characters, who work hard to get it right.

I wrote it to promote understanding and empathy. I saw a woman shoplift. She was not a young kid, was well dressed, and looked like anyone who might be my friend. I got to thinking what would drive a woman to shoplift and how could I come to know and understand that person, so I invented Lucy Peterman in The Dog Year.

I loved when I first met Dr. Lucy Peterman, a gifted surgeon.  She reprimanded a smug, sanctimonious medical resident. “Here’s a news flash, pal: Reconstructing a woman’s breast after surgery for cancer takes a little sensitivity. We’re not doing celebrity makeovers here. It’s not about swimsuit fittings or new breasts as high school graduation gifts. These women have cancer. Cancer in a very intimate place. A place that helped them to feel beautiful for the proms, sexy on their honeymoons, and more than a little ready for infants…Tomorrow you can quit with the fashion show. Women in this clinic just want good medicine, not medicine doled out by someone so concerned with his appearance that he can’t even walk into a cancer unit without using an entire tube of hair gel.”

Whoa. What was, or who was, the spark that created Dr. Lucy?

It’s quite possible that that paragraph you quote from the book is a whole lot of my own righteous indignation at the insensitivities that happens in hospitals, especially with regards to the marginalization of women. I was a Registered Nurse for long enough to have seen quite a lot of what is the best and the worst in hospitals. I often felt angry about the way that people were treated by some (not all) medical professionals. I guess I got to say some of what I would have liked to say to them in The Dog Year

Dr. Lucy Peterman is a gifted surgeon, but she is a kleptomaniac.  What a comboHere’s an excerpt for our readers of everything that Dr. Lucy stole: Scattered across the room were teetering piles of white and blue – green hospital supplies. Bloated IV bags and neatly sealed packages holding items made of plastic or stainless steel syringes, tweezers, scissors, and sterile sutures. As she says, “An unorganized collection, but a big one: all good soldiers awaiting orders.”

Tell us more about the kleptomaniac element.

I spent some time thinking about Lucy Peterman; a woman who always followed the rules from kindergarten to med school. She had nothing handed to her and always felt if you worked hard your life could be a happy one. She was lucky, in a sense, that she made it to her thirties before she had to confront the folly of that thinking. So, I thought, what would a rule follower do when she realized that life doesn’t follow the rules? I thought she would break some really big rules and, like a brat, she acted out. Like someone filled with grief, she tried to fill that grief with something, and that was stealing.

Ann Garvin 4There are a lot of heavy elements in this book: Lucy loses her husband and unborn baby in a car accident, she’s stealing, Clare dies of cancer. And yet, there’s insight and humor, too. Was it hard to balance this as a writer?

So, here’s a central truth about Ann Garvin. I am uncomfortable with pain. I don’t like my friends feeling pain and I don’t like it myself. I’m only okay with just enough, and I always make a joke before things get too serious. Sometimes I wonder if it is a flaw in my own ability to feel fully. As a nurse, you see so much suffering, it helps to have a sense of humor and that helped me to not get too down when a favorite patient took a turn for the worse or something undignified happened in the unit. Funny and sad and funny again.

The love of a dog helps to change Lucy’s life. Without the dog, how do you think her life, at that time period, would have turned out? What did the dog offer her?

I think she would have found her way, but it would have taken a lot longer. Lucy needed someone to care for besides herself and to be reminded that the world exists outside of her grief. The dogs helped her see that there is joy watching dogs interact with the world, and that means there is joy in the world.

Be Lucy for a minute for us. How do you picture Lucy’s life in the future, both professionally and personally?

I think she’s going to be challenged again and again with the unruliness of children and will also feel challenged by the unfairness of the world. Watching your child navigate the world is both wonderful and painful. Lucy is going to be a force for schools and parents to reckon with. She’s going to be a better physician than ever, and she is going to love Mark like she loved Richard and he deserves it.

The doctor has hit rock bottom when the story opens and yet we watch her yank herself out. I thought it was a realistic portrayal of a woman who won’t quit. She may be down, but she’s not out. When you were writing this book, what was the theme (s) that you were working with in your own head?

I’m so interested in the endurance of life, what it takes to soldier on in the face of adversity. I am floored by how people carry on and often in the most creative of ways. I also am fascinated with how we judge others lives without truly understanding. If we met Lucy at a Christmas party and then learned she shoplifted, I think we might feel smug or judge her. I like to think that if we truly understand people we can care for them instead of putting them in a box. That can only help the universe.

Tall PoppiesWhat do you think of this changing book publishing environment? What are the challenges in the future for writers? (Hear me scream!)

It’s the best of times and the worst of times for writers. There are so many things that pull the attention of readers and so much to read. I think publishing is a rugged landscape and hasn’t found the place where it will settle yet. I’m fascinated by the changes and just hope to change enough with it so that I can continue to write.

Now that the champagne has been guzzled, or put away, what are your goals for 2015?

I want to sell my next fiction book and keep working on my Health book and another fiction book. So, lots and lots of writing. Also, I’m working on getting Tall Poppies on the literary map.

As you are the founder and fearless leader of Tall Poppies, a writers’ group I’m happy to be a part of, tell us about it.

We are a group of writers devoted to helping each other find readers. We are not the first writing co-op, there are many, many others, but we are enthusiastic, gentle, hard working women who find community is a really nice thing to have. We are aligned with helping each other and in the future helping girls in third word countries through charitable giving. The idea of the group is to move forward and reach back. To introduce readers to our group so all of our voices can continue to be heard.

You are quite splendid at marketing and publicity. Tell all the writers out there which social media devices you think are most worthwhile in terms of marketing books. Facebook? Newsletters? Twittter?

Am I good at it? I feel scattered most of the time and could probably do with some major organization, but you named my top three for social media purposes. I know there are others, and you cannot beat big glossy media, but you can’t always get into those pages. I’m not sure there is a best social media way, but I know this. It’s a slow growth business that requires persistence, patience and change. My motto in life has always been Slow and Steady Wins the Race. I don’t know if I’m winning yet but I sure am slow and steady.

Visit with Ann… www.anngarvin.net

Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjvNa0-ETns

Twitter:anngarvin_ https://twitter.com/AnnGarvin_

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/AnnWertzGarvin

Pinterest The Dog Yearhttp://www.pinterest.com/garvinann/the-dog-year-may-2014-berkley-penguin-anngarvinnet/

Bio: Ann Garvin is an Easterner who lives in the Midwest and a fiction writer who makes a living as a scientist and educator. While working as a nurse she completed her PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in exercise psychology publishing extensively in the area of exercise, mental health and media and later became a prize winning short story writer.

Decades of teaching health and studying what makes people tick proved a perfect backdrop for her novels ON MAGGIE’S WATCH & THE DOG YEAR (June 2014/Berkley Penguin). Her teaching position as an adjunct in the Masters of Fine Arts position at Southern New Hampshire University allows her to marry her love of people, story and writing and help others do the same.

She is a featured writer for www.Unreasonable.is where she writes for entrepreneurs, health, and how to save the world. Ann is devoted to helping people find health, tell their stories and fund raise for wwwgirleffect.org and animal rescues.

Ann, a natural storyteller, is a sought after speaker and educator at conferences where writing, health and human nature is discussed.

01.05.2015

Author to Author Interview: Sonja Yoerg

Hello everyone,

Today I am interviewing writer Sonja Yoerg whose wonderful novel, House Broken, is out in January.

Cathy Lamb: Sonja, before we talk about your new book, I am most curious about, and love, your personal story.  You were working in the San Francisco Bay area, then you and your husband decided to pack it all up, hit the road, and move to the tranquil Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. Why?

Sonja Yoerg: I first came to California for graduate school at UC Berkeley in 1982, and lived there, with a few breaks, until last year. Our daughters were raised in both the Bay Area and near San Diego, but when they left for college, we knew we wanted a change.

Both girls’ colleges are on the East Coast (Tufts U and Middlebury) and my family is mostly there. I imported my husband from England, so by moving east we’re closer to his tribe as well. Also, California is expensive! We wanted space and mountains and clean air and a reasonable climate.

After a detailed study of climate and geography (science geeks that my husband and I are), and visiting many wonderful places, we settled on Virginia. We hit the jackpot: it’s beautiful, each season lovelier than the next, and the people are incredibly welcoming.

So, city girl to country girl. What is different between life there and life now?

Gosh, what’s the same? The biggest difference isn’t geographical, but where we are in our lives. The fledglings have left the nest. It’s quiet, and there are, it seems, many more hours in the day. There are certainly many fewer sporting events! I cried when I packed my younger daughter’s last school lunch, but I can’t say I miss doing it.

We live at the end of a gravel road where, at the moment, all I hear, quite literally, is crickets. It’s heaven.

And amidst the crickets you wrote House Broken. Can you tell us about it?

The main character is Geneva, a hard-headed veterinarian, who reluctantly allows her injured, alcoholic mother to recuperate in her home. Geneva is determined to use the opportunity to poke into the dark corners of their family history, and her mother fights her all the way. I added two slippery teenagers and a husband at cross-purposes, and stirred the pot.

Aha, pot stirring! I am familiar with that.  I imagine a black cauldron with smoke billowing out and me, the witch in a black hat, leaning over it, cackling crazily.

But back to you and your pot stirring. Tell us about your writing process with Housebroken.  Where did the idea come from? How long did it take to write? What were the struggles you faced with it?

I started with Geneva, a woman who relishes control and believes in good training—for people as well as animals. She’s hard-working, smart and, like so many working mothers, one disaster away from coming unglued. After I understood Geneva, I set about making trouble for her. The story flowed organically. A few chapters in, I changed to Geneva’s mother’s point-of-view, then to her daughter’s. It ended up being a three-generation story.

Many writers will hate me for this but it took only four months to write the draft, which is very close to the final version. Don’t ask me how I did it, because I couldn’t repeat it! I got my comeuppance with my second novel, Middle of Somewhere (September 2015). It was a bear to write and went through many revisions.

Four months? Wow.  It takes me eight to nine torturous months, at least, and I’m muttering to myself at the end of it.   I’m impressed with your speed.

You have a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Massashusetts at Amherst, and a Ph.D. in Biological Psychology from Berkeley. How did those degrees help you in terms of writing Housebroken?

Geneva is a veterinarian with special training in animal behavior, and there are many scenes in the book where I relied heavily on my training in the field. It was also easy for me to get inside her head because we look at animals and people similarly.

My science career also shaped my writing. In science, clarity and brevity are prized. My style is fairly sparse and direct, and I push hard to express myself as clearly as possible. That said, I’m also a dreamer and a smart-aleck, and have a wild imagination. I try to use all of it.

Sonja 6I have to put a plug in for your blog. I love it.  It allows me to live vicariously through you and your life in the country, vs. my life in suburbia.  http://www.sonjayoerg.com/blog/.  Did you ever think you would be writing a blog about your new life away from the city?

Thanks, Cathy. I enjoy creating the blog, except when it’s hard to find time for yet more writing. As for anticipating writing a blog, I’m surprised I didn’t start one sooner. I’ve always loved essays and short stories. That’s what a good blog is, plus photos.

Most writers, I’m guessing, naturally tell stories about their lives in short essay form, whether they write them down or not. “Remember that field we needed mowed? Well, an old guy showed up…”and off they go. It’s the long story—the novel—that is such a monumental challenge.

Blogs are also a perfect venue for exercising voice and getting to the point without a lot of falderal.

(I just had to look up the word ‘falderal.’ For those of you who don’t know what it means, it’s ‘nonsense.’ Falderal is now my new word of the year.)

I love your new kitchen in your country home, by the way. That is exactly what I want. Yes, I am tired of my pink accent tiles. 

You are the guru on Twitter and social media for writers. Can you give all of us writers a few pieces of advice on what we absolutely should be doing to promote our books?

Make friends! Be nice!

I’m not joking. Look. No one likes a sales pitch. Most people are on social media to be social. Yes, there are strategies for gaining followers and for tweeting effectively and for driving traffic from one form of social media to the next, but at the end of the day, none of it matters if you are not connecting with people in a meaningful way. Treat people on social media as if they are in front of you. If they talk to you, talk back. If they do something nice, say thanks, and do something nice for them. I have met the most wonderful people on social media, including you, Cathy, and am grateful—and I haven’t sold anything yet!

And I am delighted to have met you, too, Sonja. You have taught me so much about social media, not my forte at all, and I am so grateful for your help.

Three things you’re looking forward to in 2015….

The release of House Broken. I never expected to become a novelist because the odds against it were so high. My agent picked House Broken out of the slush pile. It still feels like a dream.

New dogs. Our last dog died shortly before we left California. My husband and I will each pick one, probably rescues, like all our dogs have been. New furry friends!

Grandchildren. My daughters are 19 and 21, so I must be patient, but I think children are hilarious.

A snippet of Housebroken is right here, friends….

Dr. Geneva Novak stared at the X-ray clipped to the light box on the wall. She tilted her head sideways and squinted at the contents of the dog’s stomach. The iPod was obvious—it faced her—but the object protruding from the large blurry mass stumped her. Rectangular, with two bright white bars. Only metal lit up like that.

She clenched her jaw. This would be the third time she would have to operate on Zeke to remove things he’d swallowed, things his owner shouldn’t have left lying around. After the second incident, she had talked to the owner at length about how to protect his dog. She recommended he walk Zeke daily, so the dog wouldn’t turn to mischief out of boredom, and suggested he either keep his apartment orderly or confine the dog when he left the house. Nearly all dogs come to love their crates, she reassured him. Geneva had written down the instructions and told him he could call her anytime for help. But when Zeke’s owner brought him in this morning, he confessed he hadn’t followed through on anything. And the outcome was illuminated in black and white on the wall.

Eyes still on the X-ray, she pulled a hair band from the pocket of her lab coat and secured her dark hair into a tidy bun that would fit under her scrubs cap. Her cell phone, abandoned on the desk behind her, warbled. She touched the icon. A message from Dublin. It’s Mom, it read. Call me.

Geneva sighed. “It’s always Mom.”

Visit with Sonja…

www.sonjayoerg.com

www.facebook.com/SonjaYoerg

www.twitter.com/SonjaYoerg

 

 

12.29.2014

Pie Eating Is Healthy Eating

As you can see, I am eating a vegetable with a smile. This coincides with my goal of Healthy, Holistic, Holiday Eating. I feel almost virtuous, nutritionally speaking. I’m sure all of you are also eating healthily.

 

December 2014 2 060

12.28.2014

On Blonde Giants Who Are Knee Knocking Gorgeous

Need a Christmas book to get you through the next few days? Below is an excerpt from Christmas in Montana, my romantic short story in Our First Christmas.

Oh, my poor beat up heart. The blonde giant was more knee – knocking gorgeous than ever.

He was taller, broader, and tougher. The true difference, though, was in his light green eyes. He used to look at me with gentleness, kindness, indulgence, humor, and an abundance of, “I want you naked now,” which set me on fire about twenty four hours a day. All that was gone. His eyes were…neutral. Normal. Polite. A little friendly, not much.

“Hello, Josh.”

He smiled, but it was a bit restrained. He walked down the porch steps of his home. I couldn’t move. My feet wouldn’t budge.

“Hello, Laurel. Good to see you again.”

“You, too.” Ah heck. What a voice. Deeper than before, it seemed. I had waited three days to call him after my mother and aunt told me about the sale. I hadn’t been up to confronting him, to seeing him, and asking if we could talk. I could feel my courage for this meeting fading rapidly, but there was anger there, too. Josh knew I loved my home. How could he have bought it, even if my mother and aunt asked him to, without asking me first? “How are you?”

“Fine. And you?”

“Fine.” Sort of. That was a semi lie. I was wiped out. Felt empty. I’d been dragging loneliness around with me for a long time. Christmas was always hard. Being near him was killing me. Jab a stake in my heart and twist. Get a grip, I told myself. Self pity is about as attractive as snake bites. “What have you been up to?”

He didn’t answer for long seconds, studying my face. “You mean for the last ten years since I saw you?”

“Yes. I mean, no. Yes.” I closed my mouth. Yes, I wanted to know what he’d been doing for ten years, no I didn’t want to sound desperate or stalker – ish. “But, what are you doing now?”

“Right now I’m talking to Laurel Kelly.”

“Yes. Okay. Well.” I felt myself blush. It was like I was a teenager again, blushing around my boyfriend.

“Why don’t you tell me first, Laurel? What have you been doing the last ten years?”

“I’ve been chasing a rocker around the world. And you?”

“I’ve been chasing a business.”

“How is your business?”

“Chased down.”

He was always clever with words. The cowboy boots, the jeans, the cowboy hat, they could not hide the fact that the man had a top notch brain, had top notch grades in college, and had become a top notch Montana businessman. He owned a number of businesses and buildings downtown.

“Good for you, Josh.” My words came out soft, emotional. I blinked so my suddenly hot eyes would stop being hot. “I knew you would.”

“Did you?”

“Yes, of course.”

He took another step towards me. We were standing way too close. I saw those light green eyes travel over my brown slash reddish hair. I had brushed it before I came, my hands shaking at the thought of this very encounter. Still, it’s generally untamable. The ends have pink streaks on the bottom two inches, done when I was in London last month.

I had tried on six different outfits, three pairs of boots and had finally settled on a shirt that looked like it had been painted by Monet. It was slightly tight. I also wore jeans, fancy cowboy boots with pink flowers at the top, and a puffy pink jacket with a collar and belt. My ears are double pierced, and I was wearing two sets of silver hoops and a red knitted hat with a fluffy camellia on it. I like color.

“This is your home?” It was a dumb question. Of course it was his home. Whose home did I think it was? Mrs. Claus’? An elf’s? Josh didn’t make fun of me, though. He never had. My mother had given me his address. His home was about ten minutes away from ours, private, on the river, surrounded by land, sixty acres, which attached to ours. It was about three years old. Craftsman style. Huge windows. Wide deck. A view of the sweeping, bluish purple Swan mountains.

“Yes.”

“It’s absolutely stunning.” I looked straight ahead, which set my gaze right on that Paul Bunyan chest. I had laid on that chest a hundred times…and more. One graphic image after another chased its way through my brain.

“Thank you. Come on in, and we’ll talk.”

And that was that. I walked beside the man that I had run from years ago.

Say yes, Josh, please, I thought.

I mean, yes to the house. Not yes to me.

Because I would say no to yes to me.

I think.

 

12.08.2014

On Green Frogs For Christmas, Feminism, and Difficult Families.

A snippet from my short story “Christmas in Montana,” in the Our First Christmas anthology.


Our home—which was no longer ours—was all lit up with Christmas lights. The weekend before Thanksgiving, every year, all the lights and decorations went up.

My aunt and my mother, to my acute embarrassment when I was a teenager, could not be normal with their Christmas lights, as they couldn’t be normal when they decorated the five Christmas trees in our house, either.

An electrician friend had been paid to build an eight- foot- tall frog with green lights, blue lights for the eyes, and a red bow.

“It’s our Christmas frog, Gary,” my mom said.

“You’ve named the frog, Gary?”

“Yes. We met a sanctimonious, misogynistic, sexist man named Gary recently, so we thought the name fitting, although it is rather insulting to our frog.”

In front of the frog was a five- foot -tall giant dragonfly in pinks, reds, and yellows. The frog had a red tongue pointed at the dragonfly.

“The dragonfly’s name is Tilge.”

I didn’t even ask.

There was another display with a seven- foot- tall gingerbread house. It would have been a sweet Christmas display except for the green-faced witch on top, aka Hansel and Gretel.

The house was lined with colorful, twinkly lights, as were a few trees.

My mother grabbed champagne.

“Merry Christmas, Laurel, darling,” she said.

“May you live your life as you wish it, not as anyone else wishes it,” my aunt said.

“May you always hold your chin high, like the strong woman you are,” my mother said, “and follow your dreams.”

My mother lit a firework.

Each year they light off two fireworks to celebrate the season. It’s an odd July 4th–Christmas tradition. They like to blend their holidays.

My mother kissed my cheek, between explosions. “The family will love the lights.”

“What?”

“Everyone’s coming here for Christmas Eve this year.”

My jaw dropped, I’m sure, to the snow. “Everyone?”

They both turned to me. “Everyone.”

I picked my jaw up. “All the wives, the kids, Dad?”

“You bet,” my aunt said. “I hope we all survive.”

“Should be exciting,” my mother drawled. “Hopefully there will be no serious injuries.”

“You’ll have to serve hot buttered rums then,” I muttered, as my mother lit another firework. “Because I’m going to need a bunch of them.”

12.04.2014

My First Newsletter. Finally.

If you would like to sign up for my newsletter, I have a  NEWSLETTER SIGN UP tab right above this.

Cheers and happy reading to all of you.

 

Happy Holidays from Cathy Lamb
View this email in your browser
         
Hello everyone,I have been threatening to write a newsletter for seven years. Well, here it is. Finally. I hope you find it relatively amusing or, at the very least, I hope you find a book or two that you might like to read over the holidays.Speaking of the holidays, I would like to remind everyone to take care of themselves during this semi – chaotic, Santa – filled time. These are the things I do to Keep Cathy In The Christmas Spirit. One, eat chocolate. Two, drink mochas. Three, read books. Four, my favorite, hang out with Innocent Husband and our three reindeer. Five, take time off to daydream (This is how I write my books. They all start with a daydream.) Six, see number one.

Happy Holidays, and happy reading, to all of you.

Cheers.

Cathy

Shopping, Writing,and Blog Posts
Talking To Myself While Shopping

Yesterday I went shopping.

I hate shopping. The crowds, the lights, the noise, and all these pant sizes that I am SURE have shrunk in the last year.

I am not into fashion and I can’t find anything unless my daughters pick it out and tell me what to wear. … Read More

Inside A Writer’s Messy Mind

I thought you might like to see a glimpse of my writing process.

I wrote my next manuscript, due in December, in non – chronological order.  In other words, I wrote any scene whenever I damn well felt like it, no matter if I was writing the last scene of the book in the middle and the first scene at the end. … Read More

For Writers: How NOT To Write A Novel

1. Write only the scenes that you “feel like” writing, as if you are some zen loving hippie and will do what the wind calls you to do, what the rainbow requests, what the chirping birds inspire you to write.  You will then have a giant mess, in non – chronological, senseless order, that you will have to cut and paste and cut and paste until you want to bash your head through a wall, like me.

2. Spend all your time daydreaming about other things that are pleasant and delightful and not writing your book, and then tell yourself that you were doing “research.” When your deadline is looming like a sharp toothed pterodactyl, you will be working sixteen hours a day, chugging coffee and ice cream. It’s ugly.  Avoid it. …Read More

On Puzzle Pieces That Run Off With New Lovers

A few weeks ago I went on a hike with Innocent Husband and Youngest Rebel Daughter.We hiked into the gorge here in Oregon to a place called Devil’s Punch Bowl. It is unclear to me whether or not the Devil has ever drunk from the punch bowl, but I did not dwell on the Devil’s drinking habits. … Read More

Tiny Stories

Yes, I went to Target today with my t shirt inside out and backwards. A very nice woman politely told me so. What a special moment in my life. Wanted to share it with all of you. It could have been worse. At least I had a shirt on.Pigs do not need to wear shirts because they are pigs so they do not have to worry about getting dressed correctly before going to Target, as we do.

 

I’m confused.
I feel like this cow.

 

I am working on my ninth novel titled, My Very Best Friend.  I have just completed the fifth edit. Three more to go.  If you hear a banging sound, that is my head on my keyboard. This is what I call “The Pathetic Stage,” where I whine and whimper and then plow on through…

For Book Groups
I would love to come to your book group
and discuss any of my books.Please contact me at CathyLamb@frontier.com.
Excerpts
Read an excerpt from
WHAT I REMEMBER MOST
Read an excerpt from
CHRISTMAS IN MONTANA
from Our First Christmas

Read an excerpt from
IF YOU COULD SEE WHAT I SEE
In a new novel rich in grace, warmth, and courage, acclaimed author Cathy Lamb tells of one woman’s journey of reinvention in the wake of deep betrayal.

Grenadine Scotch Wild has only vague memories of the parents she last saw when she was six years old. But she’s never forgotten their final, panicked words to her, urging Grenadine to run. The mystery of their disappearance is just one more frayed strand in a life that has lately begun to unravel completely. One year into her rocky marriage to Covey, a well known investor, he’s arrested for fraud and embezzlement. And Grenadine, now a successful collage artist and painter, is facing jail time despite her innocence.

With Covey refusing to exonerate her unless she comes back to him, Grenadine once again takes the advice given to her so long ago: she runs. Hiding out in a mountain town in central Oregon until the trial, she finds work as a bartender and as an assistant to a furniture-maker who is busy rebuilding his own life. But even far from everything she knew, Grenadine is granted a rare chance, as potentially liberating as it is terrifying–to face down her past, her fears, and live a life as beautiful and colorful as one of her paintings…

            

“It’s that time of year when the world falls in love…”

Join four of your favorite authors for tales of Christmas romance to remember forever.

“Christmas in Montana,” Cathy Lamb

Laurel Kelly has just quit her job as the manager of the hard rock band, Hellfire. She is going home to Kalulell, Montana, for Christmas to figure out Plan F, which stands for Laurel’s Future.  But all is not well in Kalulell. Her mother and aunt,who live in the charming farmhouse that Laurel’s great granddad built, have sold their land to her ex – boyfriend, Josh Reed, the love of her life, whom she is determined to avoid.  The rest of her crazy family, including her father, who has had a total of four wives and many children and step children, are all coming for Christmas dinner. Zelda the cat keeps scaring the dogs and Laurel has found out that her mother and aunt’s apron business is floundering. Luckily, she can fix that, and the three ladies embark on a new venture making romantic, sexy aprons. She can’t fix her problem with Josh, though, that problem started on an icy, snowy road many years before. But it is Christmas. Perhaps there’s a miracle in the making?

“Under the Mistletoe,” Lisa Jackson

“A Ranger for Christmas,” Mary Burton

“A Southern Christmas” Mary Carter

            

My next novel,
My Very Best Friend,
set in Scotland,
is out in August, 2015.

               
                                       
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12.03.2014

Author to Author Interview: The Ladies Of “Our First Christmas,” An Anthology For All Elves Who Need A Break This Holiday Season

I love writing short stories for anthologies. 35,000 words, quick and sweet, quirky characters, believable plots with a twist and a skip, and a happy ending.

In “Our First Christmas” I am delighted to be in the same book with Lisa Jackson, Mary Burton, and Mary Carter.  If  you need a Christmas treat, of course I would highly recommend this book to you and any of your elf friends for a little cheer, a little escaping, and a little Christmas literary magic.

I recently interviewed Lisa, Mary, Mary, and myself…Yes, as strange as that sounds, I interviewed myself.  Here we go.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night. May you always have the perfect book to read.

Cathy Lamb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LISA JACKSON

Cathy Lamb: Tell us, Lisa, the title of your story in Our First Christmas and what it’s about. 

My story, UNDER THE MISTLETOE is about first love. Originally the story was about teenagers, Megan and Chris, and how they met at Christmas, but I modified the original tale, adding a beginning and end set in “real time”, so that the reader could see what happened to the characters years after they first met and are dealing with a family crisis. Their first Christmas happened years before.

Do you believe in Santa? Why or why not?

I believe in the spirit of Santa and the fantasy surrounding him. I love the idea of Santa and his reindeer at the North Pole. The myth and mystery of Santa creates such joy and magic for children, so yeah, I believe.

If you could skip Christmas, would you? Be honest. Where would you go and with who? If you wouldn’t skip Christmas, why not?

Oh, no, never (though I love Halloween much more than Christmas.) In my fantasy world, I’d spend the weekend around Christmas without all of the trappings. My kids and grandkids would hole up in a cabin in the mountains playing games around a fire while snow falls outside. We’d have a tree and each person would get one present. We’d eat, drink and be merry, sipping hot spiced wine and cocoa while nibbling on cookies.

Do you have any Christmas traditions? What are they?

When I was a kid, Santa came to our house on Christmas Eve Eve, on the night of the 23rd. Our little family had places to go on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day so Mom and Dad decided Santa would arrive a day early on Berkley Street. Of course our tradition was confusing to the neighborhood kids. My best friend, whose house was next door, rationalized that the line separating the night’s nocturnal visits from Santa was between our houses and it bummed her out that she had to wait a whole day before Santa resumed his ride and started sliding down the chimney at her house.

What are your writing goals for 2015? Do you have a book coming out?

Oh, gee, I don’t even want to think about it. I have to finish a couple of books in 2015 and write one with my sister, Nancy Bush. NEVER DIE ALONE, the 8th book in the New Orleans Series with Detectives Bentz and Montoya, will be available next summer, in August. AFTER SHE’S GONE, featuring the characters in DEEP FREEZE and FATAL BURN will be in the stores at the end of the year. (I’d better get crackin’!)

WICKED WAYS is on sale as of today!

www.lisajackson.com

 

MARY CARTER

Cathy Lamb: Tell us, Mary, the title of your story in Our First Christmas and what it’s about. 

My novella is A Southern Christmas. Reporter Danielle Bright returns to charming Wilmington, NC, to do a feature on a Southern Christmas, and hopefully reconcile with the love of her life. But Sawyer, the sexy photographer who accompanies her, has other plans to make her season bright.

Do you believe in Santa? Why or why not? 

I believe in the spirit of Santa. He represents, giving, magic, joy, and reliving Christmas through the eyes of children.

If you could skip Christmas, would you? Be honest. Where would you go and with who? If you wouldn’t skip Christmas, why not? 

I’ve always loved Christmas, but have had loved ones who at times wanted to skip it. I used to be the one “forcing” everyone to enjoy Christmas. One year I even dragged home a tree as late as Christmas Eve. As I get older, I’ve let go of pressuring others to celebrate and have even spent a few Christmases alone by choice. But now, no, I want to spend every one I have ahead of me with the people I love. The years I skipped Christmas were too lonely.

Do you have any Christmas traditions? What are they?

My mother, sister, and I used to go to a movie every Christmas afternoon. It was just the three of us, and after opening presents and eating, we’d be off to the cinema. I really loved it, mostly because it was the three of us making the best of the day. There’s always a bit of a letdown after all the hoopla is over, so the movie was always a nice topping. Even picking out our “Christmas movie” and discussing it afterward was fun. Now that my sister has kids and a husband we don’t do that on Christmas day anymore, but I’ll always cherish the memory.

As kids we also were allowed to open one gift on Christmas Eve, and my mother often gave us a gift from “Santa Mouse.” Of course decorating the tree was always a thrill, and setting up the Lionel train from my grandfather. Ah, I really do love Christmas!

What are your writing goals for 2015? Do you have a book coming out? 

My next novel will come out in August of 2015, it’s called London From My Windows. I will also be working on two additional novels, an Irish murder mystery, and ironically, my 2016 novel will be one with a Christmas theme.

Thank you for the interview, Cathy, and thank you, readers! I wish all of you a wonderful Holiday season!

Cheers,

Mary Carter

http://www.marycarterbooks.com/

https://www.facebook.com/MaryCarterBooks

https://twitter.com/marycarterbooks       (@marycarterbooks)

 

MARY BURTON

Cathy Lamb: Tell us, Mary, the title of your story in Our First Christmas and what it’s about.

My story is “A Ranger for Christmas” and tells the story of  Texas Ranger Lucas Cooper and anthropologist Marisa Thompson. Smugglers are using an ancient language as a code and Texas Ranger discovers Marisa is the only one who has the expertise to decipher it. When the smugglers realize Marisa is working with the Rangers, she’s injured and Lucas must come to her reuse.

Do you believe in Santa? Why or why not?

I sure do believe in Santa! He is the spirit of giving.

If you could skip Christmas, would you? Be honest. Where would you go and with who? If you wouldn’t skip Christmas, why not? 

I would skip all the hype of Christmas. I’ve never been a fan of the chaos and the extra stress and work we put on ourselves. But I do love having a day when I can give gifts to others. That’s always very exciting to me.

Do you have any Christmas traditions? What are they?

My husband, kids, and I always open presents and then we head to my mother’s house for lunch. Mom is a gourmet cook so each year it is always a treat to see what exotic meal she will be serving. Thanks to Mom’s influence, my kids are adventurous eaters and so far the favorite meal for the kids at Mom’s was bouillabaisse.

What are your writing goals for 2015? Do you have a book coming out?

I have two suspense novels out in 2015 including BE AFRAID in May and I’LL NEVER LET YOU GO in November. And under the name Mary Ellen Taylor I’ll have a women’s fiction novel AT THE CORNER OF KING STREET in May.

www.maryburton.com

 

 

CATHY LAMB (This is where I’m interviewing myself. Argh. Well, first time for everything!)

Cathy Lamb: Tell us the title of your story in Our First Christmas and what it’s about. 

My story, Christmas In Montana, is about a woman named Laurel Kelly. She has recently quit her job as the manager of the hard rock group, Hellfire, and is returning home to Kalulell, Montana to figure out Plan F, which stands for My Future. She has a crazy family and they are all coming to Christmas dinner, including her father, who has had a total of four wives, and many children and step children.  

Laurel has a huge regret, a past she struggles with, and memories that she can’t let go of. She needs to help her mother and aunt launch a new and budding business selling sexy aprons, and get the land and her family’s home back from the man she’s loved her whole life.  That man, Josh Reed, is going to be the impossible part. She’ll need a Christmas miracle. 

Do you believe in Santa? Why or why not?

No. I don’t. But he sure is a lot of fun.  When I was a little girl I asked my mother if there was a Santa and she said no. She didn’t want to lie to us. We still loved all things Christmas. What kid doesn’t hyperventilate at the thought of Christmas presents, no matter who’s hauling them in?

Oh, wait, in real life that actually did happen. My brother, Jimmy, who is now a strapping firefighter, was so excited one Christmas, he couldn’t sleep the night before. He hyperventilated and passed out in the bathroom.  Gave my mother a huge fright. I have been teasing him about it ever since. Hey, Jimmy – are you going to be up all night Christmas Eve again?

If you could skip Christmas, would you? Be honest. Where would you go and with who? If you wouldn’t skip Christmas, why not? 

I would never skip Christmas. I love the entire season. I love the parties, food, lights everywhere, and buying presents. I love going to my brother in law and his husband’s house on Christmas Eve, (they cook soooo well) being with my kids and Innocent  husband, other family, including the Fainting Jimmy, and Christmas day itself.

Do you have any Christmas traditions? What are they?

Every year Innocent Husband and I buy the kids, and each other, an ornament. This tradition started when I was still dating my husband.  We also give the kids a book. We let the kids open their stockings and one present before breakfast, then the gift getting resumes after we eat. NO ONE is allowed up before nine on Christmas morning. We do not do “early” in this house. Is that a tradition? Probably not. No one wants a cranky momma in this house.

What are your writing goals for 2015? Do you have a book coming out?

I do have a book coming out in August of 2015. It’s called My Very Best Friend. Here are a few hints: It’s set in Scotland. Kilts. Tartans. A romance writer who has no romance. Best Friends. Letters. Lies.

Merry Christmas everyone!

https://www.facebook.com/cathy.lamb.9

CathyLamb@frontier.com


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