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I am in possession of some HOT commodities! I have my hands on some PRINT copies of Finish What We Started! If you know Carina Press – the digital arm of Harlequin – then you know getting a print run is super rare.

Because I love you guys, I’m giving away copies! Follow the link to Goodreads and enter!

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Finish What We Started by Amylynn Bright

Finish What We Started

by Amylynn Bright

Giveaway ends September 30, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

July 31

5-things12We’re home from our travels and back to the real world where dirty laundry, naughty children, and fickle appliances run our lives. Gone are meetings at Harlequin and appointments with editors and agents. Gone are moments of fan girl glee and hiding in a hotel room wanting to read. Now we’re back to work for a task master. The good news is that now we’re back with our kitties and our families. We may tease about them, but they’re ours and we miss them when we’re gone. Also, we’re really glad to be back out west where they know how to make a damn cup of coffee. We wouldn’t have thought so, but there’s a lot to be said for cowboy coffee. Back in the land of the bedproperly caffeinated, we found much to be amused by. We’ll share; here  you go.

1. Our very own beds. The Sisters enjoy traveling, but we also really, really enjoy coming home to our very own beds. Amylynn just doesn’t know how to get a good night’s sleep without at least two dogs, two cats, a chainsaw-snoring husband, and various children who may wander in from time to time. Ava has a particular schoolfondness for her very own sheets and a well built pillow wall. Ah, home sweet home. You may be the butt of many jokes on this blog, but how do we love thee?

2. Kids going back to school. Amylynn mentioned this topic on Wednesday, but the fact remains the same. We love sending kids to school. We love when they’re not wearing the same pajamas for six days in a row, and letting their hair get dirty almost to the point of dreadlocks. We enjoy a

Erin Allard is giving one person with a fabulous dessert recipe a newly restored 1906 Craftsman home in Jackson. (Rockford Investments)

Erin Allard is giving one person with a fabulous dessert recipe a newly restored 1906 Craftsman home in Jackson. (Rockford Investments)

nice bit of homework and another saga about how their teacher doesn’t like them. Nothing makes us happier than knowing they’re not playing video games twelve hours a day and sleeping the other twelve. Yay, school!

3. We’d do a lot for a piece of cake… But this woman is going overboard. A lady in Antioch, CA is giving away her $390,000, 1906 Craftsman home as a prize for the best desert. She’s hosting the contest because it takes so long to sell a home. There is a $100 entry fee, so she’s clearly hoping that at least 3,900 people think they can bake well enough chinese-art-R2to win a 4 bedroom, 2 bath house. There’s a panel of “experts” judging the contest and of course we’re interested in apply for that position. Dear Dessert Lady, we present this blog as our resume. References available upon request.

4. Something is rotten in Beijing. A chief-librarian at a Chinese university was charged with fraud. While he was in charge of the gallery in the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts library he stole 140 paintings and replaced them with fakes he painted himself. Over the course of his crime, he sold 125 of them for somewhere in the neighborhood of 3.5 million dollars. Here’s where the most amazing part of this story comes into play. It seems that art forgery is a VAST problem in China and our art thief actually saw some of HIS forgeries placed with worse forgeries. How crappy would it be to think you stole some gazillion dollar piece of art when all youludens stole was a forgery? Our thief said some of it was truly terrible attempts at art. Get out your Crayolas and lets see what we can come up with, eh?

5. Luden’s Cough Drops. Do you remember these? Amylynn has gotten a cold that seems to have settled itself contentedly in her chest giving her a hearty cough. Does she take Halls or Ricola or even the dreaded Sucrets? God, no. You have to be really, really sick to suck on that crap. Those are mean cough drops. No, she’s eating Luden’s Cough Drops – cherry flavor because it’s the only REAL flavor – like they are candy. Essentially, they are. Yummy candy. There’s probably zero medicinal value, but they make you feel better mentally. Don’t believe us? Good. More Luden’s for us. If only they came in the cool old tin like those nasty Sucrets did back in the day.

 

 

 

“Firemen are cute” is not a good incentive

While I was in NYC there was an incident in our kitchen at home.

Apparently our stove and oven decided it was done in a truly spectacular way.

My husband called me to tell me about it at a totally reasonable time in Arizona it was like Midnight in NYC and I was asleep when I answered the phone. I mumbled through the appropriate replies of alarm.

The whole even was rather spectacular. There was smoke and sparking and possibly screaming. I hope there was screaming. Had I been there, there would have been screaming. Even without being there and sleeping through the story, I can still guarantee that there was prodigious swearing.

oven on fire

This is not our stove or our fireman.

The next morning, I’d completely forgotten about the phone call. In fact, until he sent me a random photo of an oven from Lowes, I thought I’d dreamed the whole thing.

By the time I got home, the offending appliance had been replaced with a gorgeous new black and stainless steel one.

The new stove is hot. Something that should be implied to something named “stove” but our old was seemingly was not. This creates trouble while cooking. My Honey is our home’s primary cook, and he’s good at it, so when he burned Italian sausages during one of his first runs at the new stove, I took it as a cautionary tale.

Imagine my alarm when I was notified that I was in charge of dinner tonight. I stared at the new appliance, certain it would betray me. I expressed as much.

“Whatever,” My Honey said with a roll of his eyes. “Just be attentive.”

Oh dear.

I’ve never been “attentive” while cooking in my entire life. Go ahead and dial 911 now. This story won’t end well.

Guaranteed.

 

And some homework ought to straighten ’em right up

Tonight’s the big night. The one where you make kids take baths and ACTUALLY WASH THEIR HAIR. You have them set out clothes for the next morning. Make sure the know where both of their shoes are. I’ll make their lunches tonight so we have a little less chaos in the morning.

Can you believe they start school in the morning? It’s July 30, for god’s sake. And, no, our school is not a year-round school district.

When I was a kid – back in the day – we didn’t start school until the Monday after Labor Day. I have no idea what this back to schoolearly start nonsense is about. All I can say is I’m happy they’re not going to be lounging around my house anymore. Or spending all day in the pool. I’ll bet their grandmothers are glad, too, since they’ve been in charge of minding them.

One day The Bandit slept until 3:00. His grandmother tried to wake him. His sister poked him several times, but he still wouldn’t get up. When My Honey got home from work he demanded he get out of bed.

“It’s too early,” the Bandit whined and closed his eyes.

“Early? Shit, boy. It’s 3:00 in the afternoon.”

The Bandit opened his eyes in shock, then rolled over to look at his Lego Chima alarm clock. Sure enough, it was late.

He threw off the covers and launched out of bed. “Oh my God! I need lunch!”

Yep, these kids need a little more structure, I should think.

 

Ginger has way better hair

I received an email from YouTube about one of my favorite accounts. Apparently, Klusmanp finally posted a new video. We’ve shared his videos before, much to the collective glee of everyone.

We give you the latest. This one is featuring Ginger and her plea to Donald Trump to be his running mate. I especially enjoy her logic when it comes to vacuums and Chihuahuas.

July 24

5-things12Conference is almost done. Our brains are getting a bit crispy around the edges, but we’re so filled with ideas that we just want to sit on the floor in our room with a carpet picnic and hash them all out. Sadly, we cannot. Some people make Amylynn go to parties she doesn’t want to attend. (Amy’s ridiculous. When you write for Carina/Harlequin, you should go to the party they have for you at the WALDORF ASTORIA. I did make her go and I’d do it again.) We’ve had a great time. We’ve met new people, made new friends, seen a fabulous city Paris baguetteand eaten a LOT of great food. Here are some more awesome things we encountered this week.

1. Paris Baguette. We wanted a cup of coffee. We wanted a yummy pastry. Enter Paris Baguette. There was so much gloriousness in one tiny shop, we couldn’t believe it. There was even pastry we couldn’t identify, and that, our friends, is unfathomable. There was a weird cheesecake thing and a bunch of glorious puddings and things with fruit. We settled on a marvelous cream cheese donut and a strawberry cream croissant with a latte and a café mocha. It was Moodalso rather pleasant that we annoyed the hell out of the teenage girl at the counter. So much happiness.

2. Mood. We’ve been fans of Tim Gunn and Project Runway since it’s inception. We watch, breathless, every season to see what wonderful or monstrous contraption the contestants put on the models. If you watch the show then you know the fabric store Mood. When we found out how close Mood was to our hotel we made plans. It was only eight blocks to the store. Funny thing – eight blocks in New York is reasonable. Eight blocks at home is absolutely ludicrous. We found the place – on the third floor – anotherNaked Cowboy weird thing about NYC – and touched everything. We loved it. We just wish we knew what we were doing in a fabric store.

3. Naked Cowboy. Amylynn really wanted to see a famous person while we were here. That’s not working out so far. Until today. We were walking through Times Square on our way back from Mood and we saw a crowd. At the heart of the crowd was Naked Cowboy. Ava didn’t know who he was. Can you believe that? He walked down the street next to us and Amylynn chatted him up. Ava wanted to kill her, but he was very friendly. We learned that he started out in Venice Beach, CA, which makes a LOT Waldorfmore sense than NYC. He took the advice of a Playboy photographer to play in his underpants – advice he took and was promptly arrested. We learned that he has been arrested 39 times in 42 states. (Boy, some of us are clearly desperate to say they saw a famous person in NY.)

4. The Waldorf Astoria. Amylynn had to go to a party thrown by Harlequin. The thing that moved the pendulum in favor of her attending was the fact that it was at the Waldorf Astoria. What a beautiful building. The tile mosaic in the lobby was lovely and intricate. We both love a nice Art Deco design foodand the Waldorf is a beautiful example. So opulent and lovely.

5. Food. New York City food. It’s really good. Ava has been going on and on and on about it and it turns out she was right. Everything has been super yummy – except the food in the hotel, but we didn’t make that mistake twice. When we’ve eaten in restaurants and street venders, we’ve been more than happy. Reubens, pizza, and pastries. Chinese and Italian food. Amylynn made her promise we’d get a cannoli before we go and we’d like to bring home a bag of bagels for the family. NYC has lived up to all the hype. We’re wearing our fat clothes home.

Conference – Day 2

Day two started with crappy, inedible eggs. Why, why must buffet eggs be so egregiously awful? Thank god for muffins and bacon. That’s probably our comeuppance for all the outrageously fantastic food we’ve been eating all week.

This hotel is so confusing. There’s escalators everywhere and we can never figure out what floor we’re on. Our conference spans four floors and we’re always running up or down and then realizing we’re supposed to be on a different floor. Also, there are two escalators that aren’t working. That kinda pisses us off because then we’re just talking about crappy stairs.

Speaking of stairs. Ava hates elevators and we always get a low floor because she makes us walk the stairs. We’ve learned all kinds of weird things about the inner workings of hotels based on running around in the stair wells. We accidentally met Sherry Thomas in the stair well. She was on her way up and we were on our way down. She seemed breathless and muttered something about the stairwell being part of Inception.

Also we think it’s odd that no employees are concerned that we’re running around in the engineering area of the building – there are scary doors that say 460 Volts in scary capital letters. The good news is that we’re not interested in messing around with any thing down there. Now if there was a caged animal trapped back there that we were interested in that would be a very different story. Fortunately, welding is not something we’re interested in.

New York is probably relieved.

 

 

RWA Conference – Day 1

We successfully made it to Times Square with all of our crap. This was heavily facilitated by Joel, the driver of the car service our lovely niece hooked us up with. Joel’s name is pronounced Jo-el. It reminded Amylynn of Superman’s dad. Anyway, he lugged all of our stuff to the car while we kissed the cutest terrorist kitty in the entire world a whole bunch of times on the neck. Oh my god that kitty is cute. literacy

The hotel room is massive. Amylynn was led to believe by a cynical Ava that the hotel room in NYC would be itty bitty. Our room is easily twice the size of the miniature apartment we stayed in this week. Poor Nicole — she was so gracious while our luggage took up every negotiable bit of space.

The Literacy Signing was epic. The crowd was bigger than we’d ever seen. The noise was epic, and yet it was fun. We collected an orphan who is in the running for the Rita for First Book and Inspirational. She was a lovely woman and we took her with us to dinner. We felt awful when the restaurant

Just substitute shoe for drugs

Just substitute shoe for drugs

totally forgot to bring her dinner. Finally it was comped, but it was a disaster.

We also found another lady’s id and medicine and raisins (of all things). We had the front desk call her room because we didn’t like the idea of leaving oxycodone with someone who could sell it in Times Square for $10 a pill. Although, she took so long to get her butt down to the lobby to meet us, we seriously considered it. We can only assume a person who loses her id and drugs must be drunk. So we watched all the people streaming out of the elevators trying to find the drunk one. She finally showed up, possibly drunk, certainly wonky.

So we’ve done our good deeds. We’ll be rooting for a new friend to win her Rita and watching out for drunks.

 

 

 

We did NOT get in trouble. It’s a miracle

We’ve been making all kinds Facebook updates showing you all the food we’ve been eating. All of it has been fabulous – pizza, Rubens, ice cream with sprinkles, real honest to god Italian food from little Italy, outrageous ice cream sundaes, and rice pudding that convinced Amylynn that rice pudding is NOT icky.

Sargent

We could develop quite a crush on this dapper fellow

Today we put down the forks and pushed away from the table and hauled ourselves to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We didn’t get much time there, but we did meet up with some friends and sat on the steps and chatted for a bit. What art we did get to see was stunning.

We saw the European masters – Degas, Matisse, Gauguin, Picasso and so many others.

We also saw an amazing gallery of Chinese costumes.

Also a rebuilt Egyptian temple – stunning.

But the best gallery was the exhibit of John Singer Sargent. One particular painting caught our eye and our imaginations.

This handsome fellow is Samuel-Jean Pozzi. We’re writing him into our next story.

We do want to point out that we managed to get through that entire museum without touching a single painting. No one who knows us would have thought it possible.

July 17

5-things12We were so overwhelmed with trying to get out of work and pack our bags for NYC we didn’t get the opportunity to write the 5 Favorite Things yesterday. Yesterday was a whirlwind. Now we’re sitting in the airport waiting out a two hour flight delay. If there are two people better able to entertain each other in an airport, we don’t know who they are. We have such plans for NY we can barely contain ourselves. We’re considering stealing an airplane. It was pointed out by one of us that we don’t know how to fly a plane, so we figure we’ll drive it. Won’t that be a sight on the freeway? The benefits are many. There’s lots of room and even a bathroom. We’ll have to stop at the Circle K for food, cause we’re not eating that crap they have onchick-fil-A the plane. We suspect we’ll find several co-conspirators in the airport. We’ll let you know how it works out. Until then, here’s some funny stuff.

1. Free lunch!! The Sisters went to Chick-fil-A for frozen lemonade and a chicken sandwich at lunch time the other day. If you’ve not had a frozen lemonade there, you’re seriously missing out. Go get one. We’ll wait here. Anyway, we were in the drive through and Amylynn was making fun of the drive through girl. They’re just so chipper; it’s wrong. When we got to the window, the exceedingly nice girl at the front declared she was comping one meal. The Sisters looked at each other in confusion. Was it because she heard us being mean? Then, her voice rising even higher, the clerk informed us she was comping both meals. Why? “It’s cow deltaappreciation day!” she told us. “And you’re wearing black and white.” So what it comes down to is that we got free lunch because we looked like cows.

2. Airline apps. Amylynn downloaded all the apps on her iPhone for the airlines we’re flying. She was able to check in, pay for our bags, and get updates on our flight delays. We’re going Delta to NYC. You may recall there was an issue with Delta several years ago when we went to the RWA convention in Atlanta. This year when we checked in for the flight on the app, it made us  testify that we weren’t bringing any explosives, matches, or Samurai swords. It did NOT mention Hot Hands and we didn’t bring it up. We were anticipating a breeze once we got to the airport since we’d done all the work on the app. ButTSA no. The line to check our bags was insane and there was no avoiding it. Hmmmm, the app may not be perfect after all.

3. Javier. While we were trying to get through security we met Javier. He’s a very excited TSA agent. Ava managed to break her driver’s license while checking her bag, and Javier thought this was most interesting. He kept bending it further and further as he explained to us, his captive audience, all the security measures on the Arizona driver’s license. He was like a museum stowawaydocent with his expansive knowledge of the thing. He thought he was impressing the hell out of us when, in reality, what he was doing was teaching us everything we need to know to make a fake id. Thanks Javier. We’re going to roll over on you first thing whenstowaway2 we get caught.

4. Stowaways. Packing for vacation sucks. It’s stressful and you’re always certain you’ve forgotten everything. The one thing that makes it better is all the assistance you get with cats. All of our kitties were in and out of our luggage, attacking each other, leaving kitty hair, and joy every minute. Some times they even “help” by unpacking the things you just put in. The lure of cats to luggage is akin to the siren call of a box on the floor. If we thought we could get away with it, we’d have left one of them in there with some kibble. We’re going to miss them terribly while we’re gone.

5. Locating the airport. We were all excited that we were parking Dave at the airport instead of one of those lots a Mimizillion miles away. We printed a coupon and everything. Turns out, No. SkyHarbor Airport Long Term parking is not on the airport property. We mentioned our disappointment to the lady at the gate. It didn’t appear that she was excited about being at work today. Nor was she happy about dealing with the Sisters. She walked out of her little gate building and pointed over the roof. “The airport is right there.” Apparently she thought we were blind idiots. That mistake has been made before, but no. We’re not blind.

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