The Dogs 1

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Ronnie 2015 OB

I have two dogs. One is a mini-poodle. He’s a failure of breeding—too tall to show at 12 inches at the shoulder—though his parents were champion toys. We got him in 2000, paying half price for a “pet-quality” animal. His name is Ronnie. Ronald Weasley Gettinger. Yeah, he’s red. At the time, we were reading Harry Potter on tape in the car on all long trips upstate, and who better to be named after than the best second banana in kid lit?

Ronnie’s a good boy. He learned the rules early and followed them. He looks like a stuffed animal with his shoe-button eyes, curly red hair, and alert stance, but he guarded the house from all and sundry with great ferocity for many years. He guarded us with great ferocity on walks. He took his job seriously—barking at every big dog he saw out the front door of our condo, which faced onto a big park where everybody walked their dogs. Lotta barking. Little Napoleon, that’s him.

When he was 5 ½ months old, one of my extremely intelligent progeny held him up high—and dropped him. This resulted in over $1300 worth of surgeries—one to pin the knee whose cartilage broke (and nip his balls off), and one to unpin it a year later when it had healed. He got to be walked in a stroller for a month. He hated it.

This dog has served us faithfully for 16 years now, and continues to do guard duty on the sofa arm by the front door when we leave, watching for intruders. Though now, when we come home, he chews us out at high volume (because he’s deaf) for five minutes for being gone SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO long and leaving him in charge all that time. The rest of the time, he sleeps really hard and has trouble climbing the stairs. At age 14 or so, he took to sleeping on our bed with us, a no-no in days of yore. But he makes his own rules now. He is the oldest one around, after all—past 80 in dog years. (Actually, he’s the equivalent of an 80-year-old person, so it should be called people years, don’t you think?) I’m not aure I agree with all his rules, especially when he decides it’s OK to poop in the house.

Ron and food

Where is the egg you promised me?

These days, his bluster is pretty well gone. He’s motivated by one thing. Food. Many different kinds. Plus snacks and licks of dirty dishwasher items. His taste changes with the wind, going from Hills W/D dry to Royal Canin canned to Hills I/D canned back to the W/D. He might need chicken or fish or beef or cheese with that, as well. Or an egg. He thrives on variety. I wish he spoke English, or at least read it, since he’s ordering off the menu, and I need to know how to cook that egg.

Ronnie 1

All his (considerable) vet bills have been related to the early leg break and later muscle strain and joint pain. He’s a real Energizer Bunny, except on walks now, when he pulls toward home the whole way—backwards for the first half, forwards for the second. Hey, he knows the route. Because of his size (10-11 pounds max) and his utter cuteness, some might label him a “near-dog” or a “pseudo-dog,” but he’s quite sure that he’s very large and imposing and important. And he is. He’s the military arm of the household. We salute him.

Ron cute in bed

Don’t talk about how stinkin’ cute I am. I’m busy guarding the house. Can’t you see?

Chatting With the Chicks of Chick Lit

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In honor of #ChickLitMay, we dispense with the formalities and join our local TV channel 7777 mid-broadcast.

talk show host Chuck

Chuck: Ha ha ha ha! Welcome, welcome everyone to Chatting With the Chicks of Chick Lit! I’m your host, Chuck Lottateeth, and I am so thrilled to be able to introduce you to some of the most fascinating characters in literature today. I’m talking about the leading ladies of Chick Lit—those enchanting, romantic, darling, sexy, sweet, funny, headstrong—and, let’s face it, sometimes downright frustrating—modern women who headline this fabulously fun genre. I’m sure you’re going to love getting the skinny on these “novel” heroines, and who knows? You might just find your new BFF on the pages of one of these books!

So. Without further ado, please put your hands together and show some love for today’s guests: Rhonda Hamilton from Roll with the Punches and Alice Chalmers from Alice in Monologue Land.

Audience: Yayyyyy!

Chuck : Rhonda is a librarian with the Orange County Public Library, but when the clock strikes five, she enters that extra-tall phone booth and dons her cape, mask, sexy fishnets and roller skates to become a hot-to-trot roller derby queen! She’s killin’ it on the flat track, right, Rhonda?

derby girl

Rhonda: Actually, a cape and mask would really get in my way on the roller derby track. It’s the reason I didn’t pick “Superwoman” as my derby moniker. I prefer a more solid, regal name, like “Queen Hat Cheap Suit” or  “Empress The Adored One” or “Queen It’s A Belly of Cast Iron.” And I hate masks. We all do. We gotta see where we’re going so we don’t trip over other skaters and cause a dogpile on the track.

Chuck: But you are the sexiest (and tallest) librarian on skates, right? A whole lotta woman there. Listen, I saw you in that red harem girl garb at the fundraiser with that jingly velvet bra that got whipped off, and hello, baby! Va-va-va-—Ow!

Rhonda: Oh, gosh. Does your shin hurt? Put some of this ointment on it right away.

Chuck: Thanks. What’s in it?

Rhonda: Just some capsaicin plus a little battery acid. Great for all the lacerations and contusions we roller derby girls accumulate during a bout. Wanna see my latest road rash? It’s got the pattern of my fishnet stockings etched into the scab. Nice, huh, that purple and green tinge?

Chuck: Ew, not hungry for lunch any more. Well, our other guest today is Ms. Alice Chalmers. Alice teaches English at a local college, where she recently starred in a stage production of The Chronicles of Narnia. You must have made a splendid White Witch. Doesn’t she look the part, everybody?

teacher vector for Alice

Audience: Yes!

Alice: Uh. White Witch? Do I look that bad? I’m only 41. Give a girl a break.

Chuck: Oh, no. Of course not. Well, I’m sure you knocked their socks off as the—the—was it Aslan the Lion? Or maybe Father Christmas? A centaur?

Alice: The Lion? Father Christmas? A centaur? Oh, my God. Do I need a makeover, Rhonda?

Rhonda: Geez. Excuse me, Mr. Lottateeth. Alice was never in that play.

Chuck: So why is she here?

Rhonda: You want me to punch his lights out for you, Alice?

Alice: Not quite yet.

Rhonda: Just say the word.

Alice: Deep breath. Look, Chuck, I was in a production called The Venus Monologues at my college. Only it wasn’t a play. It was a collection of deep, poetic, and powerful monologues, written and performed by the students and faculty at the college. All about being female.

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Chuck:  Ooooh. Sexxxxy. Are the rumors true? Were you all pole dancing throughout?

Alice: Oh, yeah. We were all pole dancing. You should have seen all us teachers in our black dresses and pearls swinging around those poles while we shrieked out our lines.

chubby pole dancer

Chuck: Oh, man. Will there be another performance?

Alice: You doofus! There was no pole dancing! We were reading monologues! About all the amazing and varied facets of being female in this world, from birth to being a mother to being an artist to blazing powerful trails for future women in business and leadership.

woman reading

Chuck: But you had a superhot romance going at the time, right? I believe a little bird told me it was more like threeeee hot romances?

Alice: Sort of. But—

Chuck: And I heard that you Venus girls wore black bustiers and feather boas on stage and then you all stripped at the end, like in Hair.

Alice: No way! Okay, Rhonda. He’s yours.

Chuck: Now, now, ladies! Put away your knitting needles! Hahaha! Moving right along, I have a few questions to ask you two today. First: If you were a shoe, what kind of shoe would you be?

Rhonda: Duh. A quad roller skate, maybe with wings and custom yellow wheels, just for fun.

Retro Style Winged Roller Skate

Retro Style Winged Roller Skate.

Chuck: And you, Alice?

Alice: Comfortable. Blue, maybe.

Chuck: Is that it, Alice? No favorite brand?

Alice: First, you can call me Ms. Chalmers, and second, I need comfort. I teach on my feet all day long. If you want to badger me about it, I can just go read a few grammatically hideous student papers that will be way funnier than you.

Chuck: Touche! Next question. What are the three items you would absolutely need to have with you if you were shipwrecked on a desert island?

Rhonda: My laptop with a battery charged for life. An ice pick to break coconuts open. And my skates. Assuming the island has some sidewalks or roads to skate on. In fact, even if there weren’t any roads, I’d still have them there to look at. They are soooooo awesome.

Chuck: Alice? Er, Ms. Chalmers?

Alice: Oh, wow. A cook, a gardener, and a carpenter. All male, in their thirties.

Chuck: Excuse me? Those aren’t items.

Alice: I know, and you’re excused. But it’s my dream. Stay out of it.

Chuck: Okay. If you had only $15 to spend, what would be the perfect date?

Rhonda: Get ice cream at the beach and walk the cliff walk at Besker Park with my best dude.

Alice: Wait. How did you know I had only $15 to spend on my last date? Did you hack my phone?

Chuck: Of course not! How about if you had $50 to spend?

Rhonda: Take a Gelson’s deli picnic to Anaheim Stadium for a game.

Alice: We’d got out to eat Indian food at the hole-in-the-wall restaurant down the street. I like it spicy.

Chuck: Oooh. You do, huh? Are you free later?

Alice: No.

Chuck: Well then, what’s your ideal date for $5,000?

Rhonda: Are you kidding me? A week in Paris with my BFFs. No men involved.

Chuck: Nice. Alice?

Alice: $5000? To blow on a date? Well, that would be me accompanying my son to the University of California for his first quarter.

Chuck: Okay. Your best friend is asked to describe you in five words. What would they be?

Rhonda: Persistent, clever (shut up—I am, too), devious, strong, and blunt. Maybe loyal. Depends which friend you ask.

Alice: It’s gonna take more than five words for me. Let’s see. Loving, motherly, talented, sometimes a little frustrated, world-wise—no, make that world-weary. Possibly a bit nervous—okay, a lot nervous. And maybe … full. Satisfied. Replete. Who needs men, anyway? They’re so complicated.

Chuck: Hah! Yes, we are, aren’t we? But what if your nemesis is also asked to describe you in five words? What would they be?

Rhonda: Persistent, clever, devious, strong, and blunt.

Alice: I don’t have time for a nemesis. But if you find one, and they want to describe me, I think I’ll just put my fingers in my ears. La-la-la.

Chuck: Ahem. If you could be the heroine in any chick flick, who would it be and why?

Rhonda: Lara Croft. OMG. I’d be all over raiding tombs.

Alice: Oh, I’d be Joan Wilder in Romancing the Stone, cutting loose and sliding down the muddy slopes of the Amazon River, swinging on vines across chasms, riding in the “Little Mule.” Wait. Did I say that out loud? Oh, sorry. I … mean … I’d be Miss Pettigrew in Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. Much safer.

Chuck: Well, this has been quite exciting and illuminating, meeting the two of you. Can you two lovely ladies visit us again soon—maybe wearing your bustiers and boas next time? Wink, wink? Nudge, nudge? We’ll provide the poles if you do the dances!

Rhonda: Now, Alice? Please?

Alice: Go ahead, Rhonda. Make my day.

kapow

Amy Gettinger’s books:

Roll with the Punches

What happens when the novel you’ve just finished writing and started hawking to agents gets published by a nationally bestselling author—just when Dad starts storing milk in the tool chest? You hunt for the book thief, of course, aided by a goofy roller derby team and two drool-worthy guys. Whether skating in treacherous derby bouts or downhill chasing Dad, one thing is sure: you’d better not fall, girl. http://myBook.to/RWTP

Alice in Monologue Land

Practice your snort laugh! College instructor Alice is headed down the campus rabbit hole into a world of adventure, romance, and danger. Add a splash of chaos and some cringe-producing talk of female body parts–on stage. But her students are going missing. Can Alice find them in time to avert tragedy in this “carnival ride of a tale with more spins than a tilt-a-whirl?” ~ #DiiBylo of Tome Tender Blog http://myBook.to/Alice

Kiss My Sweet Skull

A collection of seasonal short stories featuring the faculty and students of Garden Beach College, the fictional home of my novel, Alice in Monologue Land.

“Cupid, with a Eucalyptus Tree, in the Teachers’ Workroom”: Annabelle Lopez’s anonymously delivered valentine is so perfect that she knows her soul mate is tantalizingly close by, except none of the local candidates seems quite right.

“Apples and Goat Cheese, and a Red Bikini (In France!)”: Frannie, an au pair girl for a surfing family on the sunny French Riviera, finds  romance … and trouble lurking in the dark. The clue could be in the apples and goat cheese.

“Kiss My Sweet Skull”: Is pumpkin pie seriously the best answer for anthropology professor Dr. Betty Hundleby’s awful skull nightmares at Halloween? Or could an oddly timed kiss be just the thing she needs?  http://myBook.to/Skull

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chick Lit May Scavenger Hunt “R”

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“R” is for Romantalicious.

What? That’s not a real word you say? Well, just look at it sitting there on the page. Fun. Dazzling. Silly. Innovative. Inviting. Doesn’t it apply perfectly to chick lit?

In romance novels, the reader watches a romantic relationship develop step by step, with the hero and heroine present (and misbehaving) in every scene. Success and satisfaction in the heroine’s journey is measured by seeing her land that guy. But we’re talking chick lit here. While romance is important to chick lit, it’s not the only thread. There may also be elements of mystery, adventure, family issues, work woes, and nearly any problem of modern womanhood that can be dreamed up and played with on the page. Yep. In chick lit, we play on the page–and humor is what binds our books together.

Chick lit gives a broader feel for a woman’s life: warts, laundry, acrobatic training, multiple boyfriends, and all. The chick lit main character (we don’t call her a heroine) is goofy and weird and klutzy and human. She may be tall or wide or only have one eye. She may be an overachiever or have a superpower. She may solve mysteries in Japan (see Stephanie J. Pajonas’s The Daydreamer Detective) or have an embarrassing weakness for Hostess Ho Hos (see Katheryn Kopach Biel’s I’m Still Here). She may constantly quote movie and TV lines (see Geralyn Corcillo’s Miss Adventure) as she tackles a life problem on her own, or with her sidekick(s). And she may be hella tall and get into dangerous situations where she needs saving–and have to save herself (see my Roll with the Punches). Men are not necessary to her survival. They’re nice, sexy, maybe even too cool for school, but not vital. The most important thing in the story is getting through life with a laugh. And wine. And possibly fashion.

So the romance in a chick lit story is often much lighter and sillier than that in a romance novel. Chick lit romance is comedic, feathery, offbeat, and … romantalicious. No ten-page sex scenes here. Chick lit readers prefer two pages of goofy, delicious near-sex, including a tad of realism. After all, how many times does a romantic encounter come off perfectly in real life? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Roll with the Punches cover March 2016 jpeg

Here’s an example of a romantalicious scene from my book, Roll with the Punches.

“My goodness, Little Red Riding Hood,” (James) laughed. “Tired of Grandma Yvette being around every corner? Let Mr. Wolf take the sting out.” He took the book and laptop, set them on the flowered day bed, and pulled me close. “I’m sorry, Rhonda. She’s a bit rabid. But that Jackson, now he’s evil. Stealing your stuff wholesale, wrecking your career and your dreams. I’d like to deck him.”

Or her. My heart still beat fast from the confrontation with Yvette. But at least James believed me over her. I relaxed, breathing in his smell: hospital soap and breath mints. And found my voice. “She thinks I’m crazy.” I gulped air. “Or a criminal. I’d like to …”

He wrapped his arms around me. “Shh. I think I found something. Remember Marcella Anderson? She’s got a son connected to the Enron scandal. He may be the guy we’re looking for.”

“No, forget about Marcella.” I said. “The final changes from the last summer rewrite are in the book, so she can’t be the culprit. But please don’t tell anyone yet.”

“Don’t be too hasty.” He kissed my hair. At which point I should have turned all liquidy, but my mind was whirling about Yvette and the book and who could have taken it and why.

He kissed my neck, and I pulled back, distracted. “Who? Who? Who took my book in the summer?”

Jackie called us from the living room.

This bedroom had a very big closet. Laughing, James scooped up the book and computer and took my hand and pulled me inside it. Then I found myself crouched down under the clothes rod, crammed between Jackie’s fancy dresses and over six feet of sexy man-hunk.

He said, “Well, the group is not exactly out of the clear yet. Jackie was a Communist in college, you know. She got in pretty heavy with all those Greenpeacers and environmentalists and shit. And neither George nor Marian has sold a book all year, so they must have a monetary motive.” His hands went for my breasts. “Did you like my roses?”

“Uh,” I stammered. The closet reeked of mothballs. My eyes teared up as Jackie’s letters slipped down my front. I tried to nudge them back up and they crackled.

I talked to cover up the sound. “The roses—very nice. How did you get Yvette …”

Mothballs had never been my friend, and now they were burning my sinuses something awful. James leaned in to kiss me just as I wiped my dripping nose on my sleeve. My elbow whacked his chin.

“Ouch.” He sounded peeved.

Steps came down the hall.

James held a finger to his lips as the bedroom door opened, then closed. Then suddenly, he was sitting down. He pulled me onto his lap and his tongue made its way halfway down my throat. Reflexively, my hands went under his shirt. Amazing realization: Tattoos didn’t matter in the dark. Now, if an image of Dal’s nose would just leave my mind screen.

James’s hands hit the letter paper on my stomach.

“That a girdle?” he laughed. “Or stuffing?”

I thought fast. “Take your shirt off, big boy.” I pulled the edge of his shirt up over his head and left it there.

“Ooh, you’re one hot author.” As he pulled it off, I dropped the epistles behind me to the shoe-infested closet floor.

“But I just can’t see Jackie or George—” I tried, but suddenly, my shirt was unbuttoned and his hands and lips were an assault on me. And so were the mothballs. I started to wheeze as his lips found my neck. “Listen. This could be fun, but I can’t breathe.”

He breathed hotly in my ear. “Hmmm. Your bra needs loosening,” he crooned, unfastening my front bra snap, “And your laptop needs to be checked for hacking.”

Huh? My laptop? Odd subject for foreplay. Oh, well. I tried to respond in kind. “But I need it, big boy. Check it fast, okay?”

He plunged a hand down my pants.

“Not that fast!” Ticklish, I bolted up to a bent stand, laughing and wheezing and swatting at his hands. I’d always envisioned passionate lovemaking with James, but this …”Slow down!”

“Better safe than sorry.” He started to rise, still caressing my jean-clad backside.

Was this the romantic tryst I’d imagined for months?

“Safe?” My insulted lungs and the images of the group’s worried faces wilted any lust I might have had. “I’m not safe,” I wheezed, pushing his hands away. “I’m having an asthma attack.”

“Safe for your motherboard.” Laughing, he reached over and unzipped my jeans, then yanked them down.

“Stop!” I shot up straight, hitting my head on the clothes rod. “Ouch!” I wheezed and my knee jerked up, pushing him into the door, which popped open, sending him toppling out of the closet.

I tried to follow, but something pulled hard at my hair. “Ouch! Ack! I’m stuck! I can’t move.”

Dazed, he straightened up, all tousled and gorgeous in the light, and examined my hair, which got caught more tightly with my every move I made.

“Ow! Ooowwww!”

“Oops. Designer jacket. Your hair’s caught on the beads. We’ll have to cut it off.” He pulled the jacket’s wooden hanger off the rod and walked me out into the room, where he produced a pocket knife. I took one look at the blade and lurched away from it. He lost his grip on the heavy hanger, which fell, bonking my shoulder and yanking my scalp to China. I howled in pain and flailed around, narrowly missing being impaled by the knife.

And there was Jackie in the doorway. “Oh, it’s not the cats. It’s you. Pants down. At knife point. God love ya.”

frustrated woman

There you have it. A romantalicious chick lit scene: kinda hot, kinda sexy, kinda closetus interruptus. With the requisite beaded designer jackets and fancy shoes. What else did you expect? Here’s hoping the next book you read is full of romantalicious chick lit scenes.

And here’s hoping you read it on your new Kindle Paperwhite. See details below.

 

Kindle paperwhite

Are you a book junkie? Want to win a Kindle Paperwhite + a $100 Amazon gift card? Visit each of the 26 stops on the #ChickLitMay A to Z Scavenger Hunt and collect the alphabet word at each stop (A, B, C, D, etc.), then submit the A-Z list of words via e-mail to traciebanister@gmail.com with the subject “A to Z Scavenger Hunt Entry.” Entries will be accepted until Sunday, May 22nd at midnight E.D.T. A winner will be chosen on Monday, May 23rd. Good luck!

The next stop on this Scavenger Hunt is the letter “S,” which is at 

http://www.tracykrimmer.com/2016/05/15/chicklitscavengerhunt/

If you’d like to start back at the beginning of the Scavenger Hunt with the letter “A,” go to http://katieoliver.com/ko/2016/05/chick-lit-a-to-z-scavenger-hunt/

$100 gift card

Amy Gettinger’s books:

Roll with the Punches

What happens when the novel you’ve just finished writing and started hawking to agents gets published by a nationally bestselling author—just when Dad starts storing milk in the tool chest? You hunt for the book thief, of course, aided by a goofy roller derby team and two drool-worthy guys. Whether skating in treacherous derby bouts or downhill chasing Dad, one thing is sure: you’d better not fall, girl. http://myBook.to/RWTP

Alice in Monologue Land

Practice your snort laugh! College instructor Alice is headed down the campus rabbit hole into a world of adventure, romance, and danger. Add a splash of chaos and some cringe-producing talk of female body parts–on stage. But her students are going missing. Can Alice find them in this “carnival ride of a tale with more spins than a tilt-a-whirl?” ~ #DiiBylo of Tome Tender Blog http://myBook.to/Alice

Kiss My Sweet Skull

A collection of seasonal short stories featuring the faculty and students of Garden Beach College, the fictional home of my novel, Alice in Monologue Land.

“Cupid, with a Eucalyptus Tree, in the Teachers’ Workroom”: Annabelle Lopez’s anonymously delivered valentine is so perfect that she knows her soul mate is tantalizingly close by, except none of the local candidates seems quite right.

“Apples and Goat Cheese, and a Red Bikini (In France!)”: Frannie, an au pair girl for a surfing family on the sunny French Riviera, finds  romance … and trouble lurking in the dark. The clue could be in the apples and goat cheese.

“Kiss My Sweet Skull”: Is pumpkin pie seriously the best answer for anthropology professor Dr. Betty Hundleby’s awful skull nightmares at Halloween? Or could an oddly timed kiss be just the thing she needs?  http://myBook.to/Skull

Old Dogs and Sleep

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Old Dogs and Sleep
        Slept terribly 2 nights ago. Woke after 4 hours to the almost 16-year-old dog peeing on the carpet in my bedroom. Huh? He knows better–correction–ONCE knew better. And he can hold it. This was of course more doggy Alzheimer’s kicking in. He’s already regularly pooping in the house now–after going outside and spending time out there. But before I realized all this in my exhausted state, I yelled bloody murder at him and chased him downstairs. He hid behind the chair, but would he even remember this? I gave him dog food only–no special beef or chicken or ham or cheese–for breakfast. I am mean when you stink up my house. Especially if you might make it a habit, like the pooping in the living room.
         The day went on, with both dogs, scared by my earlier outburst, eschewing breakfast and snuggling up to me on the couch as I wrote and set up a promo for a book in March. They ate later, when I grudgingly added some cheese to their basic fare. Then 16-yo dog barfed on the floor and pooped in the living room again. Dragging from lack of Zzzs, I tried to nap, but couldn’t sleep. The couch is a bit too light, too hard, too open for me to get to sleep on it in the daytime. But Peter was gone doing volunteer tax work all day, so I had to stay downstairs with OLD DOG. He can’t climb the stairs to hang with me if I nap up there, and I can’t carry him up with this facet joint issue in my back. So when he notices he’s alone downstairs, he now howls pitiably at the base of the stairs until I come down.
          Somebody’s yanking my chain pretty hard here.
          I called the vet and made an appointment for senile dog to get some doggy Aricept or some such. Going to get doggy diapers today. Not sure if Peter will be willing to help with doggy diapers, but I can’t allow my house to become a stinky hole. I’m now pondering the BIG question–at what point do we put them down, these companions we have nurtured and kept so carefully for so long? The ones we have walked and petted and talked to for years? Our self-appointed guardians? Is my inconvenience and lack of sleep (which can have a lot of domino effects for me) enough, or does a dog’s life get the same amount of respect as a human’s? My mother had no problem with this, and she took several animals to the shelter without batting an eyelash. Many people use extreme life support measures for their animals now. I am somewhere in the middle. I’m just not sure where.
            After Peter came home, I took a benadryl and did a whole line of Girl Scouts peanut butter patties (some might do a line of coke, but I do Girl Scout cookies), I got a big nap and then 10 hours of sleep. And today, the dogs are being complete angels.

Readers’ Favorite 5-star Review for Alice in Monologue Land

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Readers’ Favorite 5-star Review for Alice in Monologue Land

Below, find the amazing and wonderful review for Alice in Monologue Land http://www.amazon.com/Alice-Monologue-Land-Amy-Gettinger-ebook/dp/B00VVK8NFM that Readers’ Favorite said via email last summer that they had found no one to do. Guess this lovely lady did do a review in September, after all, and the email about it to me got lost in political spam. Well, I didn’t go hunting for Alice’s page on Readers’ Favorite until today, when I thought I’d bite the bullet and pay for a review. But to my surprise, here it is! A freebie! 5 Whole Stars!

FROM READERS’ FAVORITE

“Fun, fun, fun! That’s definitely how I would describe Alice in Monologue Land by author Amy Gettinger. following the story of Alice Chalmers, adjunct English professor, single mom, and basically all around stressed out woman. And when she’s ‘encouraged’ or, more aptly, ‘required’ to read a part in her campus’ upcoming “Venus Monologues,” things in her carefully orchestrated life start to fall apart. A coveted job opens up, but Alice is certain that the conservative selection committee would not appreciate her participation in the Venus Monologues. Her Dean pretty much forces her to continue with her participation though, and, resigned, she does so. It’s at practice for the monologues, that she meets the “Venus Warriors,” an interesting group of fearless college women who aren’t afraid to discuss or do just about anything. Throw in some special attention from not one, but three men interested in her and the fact that some of her female students have gone missing, and you’ve got yourself one heck of wild ride of a book.

I so enjoyed Alice in Monologue Land. This was an exceptional read and I read it from cover to cover in just a few days. Author Amy Gettinger has done a fantastic job in creating characters that are funny, intriguing and exciting, sometimes all at once. The story is truly laugh out loud funny at times, and in one scene I actually laughed until I had tears in my eyes. Alice in Monologue Land is a book that would be enjoyed by any reader who enjoys a book with a fun female lead, a book with a little mystery, a little suspense and a little romance all wrapped in one, or just a plain good book. I certainly hope that Amy Gettinger is working on her next novel in this same vein, because I, for one, will be eagerly waiting to read it!”

~ Tracy Slowiak for Readers’ Favorite

I am overjoyed! Thanks, Tracy, for reading and reviewing!!! Alice was meant for just your type of audience!

 

Apples, Goat Cheese and a Red Bikini (In France!) A sequel to the novel Alice in Monologue Land Part 1

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Apples, Goat Cheese and a Red Bikini (In

Hello, Peeps.

I recently wrote a short story for an anthology called Girls of Summer. It’s a sequel to my novel, Alice in Monologue Land. The anthology has been taken down from Amazon, so here is the story in chunks. I hope you like it.

Copyright 2015 by Amy Gettinger

This is a work of fiction, originally published in the anthology, Girls of Summer. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Apples, Goat Cheese, and a Red Bikini (In France!)   Part 1

July 9, 2004

“Let’s go back to Carmen’s. Gotta pee.” Sandee Kinney hopped a little, her pink-and-blue-striped ponytail flapping as she picked her way up the rocky beach toward the path back to Cassis, a Mediterranean village near Marseille. (In France!)

“Wait.” Fran Whittier put a hand on her sunhat to keep it from flying off in the whipping wind. She gazed over the heaving Gulf of Cassis toward Cap Canaille: an impressive, layered rock formation, the highest sea cliff in Europe. Which, in typical stony French fashion, had completely ignored Fran’s question. What good was a wise old rock that wouldn’t help a girl with her problems?

“Frannie! Now!”

“But …” Fran stood up. The two girls had spent the afternoon on a small, pebbly beach called Plage de Corton, five minutes’ walk to the west. When some cute guys toting surfboards had sauntered by, the girls had followed them here to rocky Plage de l’Arène, where the guys had joined a couple dozen surfers catching some nice waves.

Of course, the girls were just curious. The surfers weren’t that good-looking, with their Roman noses and intense gazes and long, muscular frames. On the beach itself, there was no one else except two skinny boys in tight French maillots and sandals. Maybe seven or eight years old, they were shrieking at the surfers riding the swells.

“Remy! Basile!” they shouted, jumping up and down. “Allez, allez, allez!

“Frannie!” Sandee said. “There aren’t any public restrooms around here.”

“Oh, use a bush! I’m not done here!” Fran’s time in Europe was about up. She would not be hurried away from this gorgeous scenery (in France!) “Or ask to use somebody’s toilet.” She pointed inland, where creamy old villas with orange tile roofs sat amid brilliant green vineyards and olive groves.

Sandee scrunched her nose. “Frannie! These people scowl when you ask to use a bathroom. Or else it’s filthy. I’m going back to Carmen’s.” She took off down the pathway towards the sleepy town, where their friend Carmen Polaski had rented a summer villa that the two girls were sharing this week. Before that, Fran and Sandee had done a two-week tour of Europe using Eurail passes. They were due to go back to Southern California in four days—back to work, freeways, cheeseburgers and college.

And Fran hadn’t even had a European kiss yet.

“Chickenshit!” Fran yelled at Sandee’s retreating form. Seriously. Why not squat behind a cypress tree? Mothers here let children pee everywhere. She turned back toward the beach to beseech the giant boulder one last time.

“What’s next for me?” she asked it. “Two years of general education at Garden Beach College: done. European adventure: nearly done. Now what do I do? Study ichthyology? Race cars? Become an astronaut? Learn Chinese?”

Nothing but stony silence from the Cap.

“Hey, rock! I don’t have all day!”

The surf pounded.

“Stupid rock.” She turned her attention to memorizing the whole sparkling scene—azure sky, foamy waves, olive-green cypress and scrub plants, red-and-gold-striated cliffs, chunky white beach, jumping kids. And gorgeous surfers—worth some serious memorizing. California had surfers, but French surfers (In France!) were just so cool, or blasé or—hard to put a finger on it, but vive la difference.

Her hat flew off as the wind picked up. She scrambled to grab it before it blew off into the trees behind her. When she turned back toward the ocean, three surfers were riding a huge wave toward the beach. A tall, handsome dude rode a red board off to the left side. A stockier guy took the middle, and a young teen navigated all the way in and beached his board right by the kids, smiling and breathless.

“Remy! Chouette!” the kids yelled, excited. “Mais où est Basile?”

 

Watch for my next installment later this week!

 

Reader’s Theater for Seniors

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In September of 2013, I was bored. I’d spent the past nine months killing at Words With Friends, but never writing a word.

A friend said, “Why don’t you do a reader’s theater class? It’s big in the elementary schools.”

“People are busy,” I said. “Kids do reader’s theater at school. Would such a simple thing attract anyone with a gajillion TV channels, the Internet, and cell phones to play with?”

She said, “Try seniors. They need some fun besides BINGO.”

So I dusted off my trusty laptop and adapted “A Christmas Carol” to a play format and peddled it to the local assisted living as a program to produce a forty-five-minute play every two months. To my surprise, the activities director accepted my offer. A retired teacher friend offered to help me wrangle the seniors. In her words: “Working with seniors is like working with kids. Or herding cats.”

Unsure about it all, I was amazed when eight octogenarians and nonagenarians showed up at the first class meeting. As we practiced, two ladies seemed pretty Alzheimer’sy. I gave them shorter parts.

My trusty helper sat by them and poked them when it was time to read. “You read only the yellow words, Mathilda.”

Mathilda would then read, “Tiny Tim: God Bless us, every one!” Bless her heart.

Jane would dither, “Where are we? Am I on the right page?” (She never was.)

But no matter. We enjoyed including them, and they sang well.

Once my earnest seniors started reading in their gravelly or high, thin voices, the play was like a glacier, barreling slowly, but with deceptive strength, towards its denouement.

I could barely squeeze in a note—“Speak louder? Clearer? Repeat that, please?”—between their inexorable lines.

Sitting all spiffily dressed with their walkers lined up to one side, their hands fiercely clutching the pages of the script, their glasses firmly in place, these beaky bulldozers pressed forward with determination and occasional giggles. If they messed up words or delivery or song tempo, they’d soldier on.

Can’t reach ninety without perseverance.

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We started with scripts printed on both sides, stapled in the corner. This caused some confusion and arthritic flapping of pages until we went to booklet format. I always tailor the scripts to the vocabulary easiest for them to read aloud. At first, for every reprinting, I laboriously highlighted every part for every character in the 32-page scripts by hand. Now, my two-sided color printer and highlighting macro for Word do the job super fast.

Readers have come and gone (sometimes to heaven), but reader’s theater is still fun for everyone. I’ve stocked up on costume hats and feather boas for performances. We have a blast putting on the plays. And the need for 4500-5000 words of funny script (including songs and sound effects) every two months has gotten me back to daily writing. I’ve adapted six plays, written five original plays and published two old manuscripts since 2013.

Win, win. Thanks, seniors. It’s been fun.

RT White Christmas 2014

The Coco’s Incident

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The halo of sweet golden curls surrounded the small, soft, alabaster face, but the wide blue eyes glinted with mischief and the toothy mouth had a maniacal grin. As he jumped up and down, laughing raucously, on the green vinyl booth seat in the local Coco’s Restaurant, Sarah wondered for the thousandth time from which side of the family these particularly vigorous genes had come. He was way more extroverted and confident than she, her engineer husband, and their other child put together. But this was the boy she had been assured was hers at the hospital nearly two years before.

“Sit down, Dougie,” she said, for the tenth time that morning. When would the food come? This was excruciating.

He sat, and she passed him another cracker, pushing wispy bangs off her forehead. The calm lasted for five seconds. Then he stood up on the booth seat again and clambered expertly up onto the back of it and sat down, short red corduroy legs dangling, face lit up and squealing with glee.

His four-year-old brother, Stevie, quietly stirred his water with his straw and made a mess with his cracker crumbs. Then he giggled, too.

Sarah was about to say something to Dougie when a waitress crossed the nearly-empty dining room, apron strings flying. “Excuse me, ma’am, but you need to keep him in his seat. He might fall.”

Sarah grimaced. “Sure.” Fuming, she got up to pull the toddler off the booth back and plop him on the booster seat. Again.

She was doing her best. She had always been the good child, had never challenged a rule in her life, yet this baby made her look irresponsible and lax as a parent. Dougie no longer fit into Coco’s wooden highchair, and nothing short of an elephant sitting on his chest would slow him down today. But wasn’t this supposed to be a family restaurant? Couldn’t she bring her older son here for a promised lunch out without being chastised by the crew fourteen times? And Whirlwind Dougie just had to come along.

Most of the mothers she knew refused to trade babysitting with her because he was such a hellion. Her stomach hurt like it always did from being caught out by someone else’s rules, especially those unposted ones. If they didn’t want children on the booth tops, why wasn’t there a sign? He really wasn’t hurting anything. Besides, her little Sherpa Boy could scale almost anything without falling, and often did, to her utter amazement.

Dougie popped up from the booster seat and, hands held high, hopped down off the booth to the carpet. “Gup down!”

“Get back in your seat, Dougie!”

He did, but he “gupped down” again twice more.

“Dougie, stop!”

Ignoring her pleas, Dougie raced around the room on his chubby little toddler legs, then ran off into the next dining room, which was currently dark and unoccupied. Able to see him through the window between the rooms and exhausted by his presence, Sarah let him stay in there a few minutes.

She turned to Stevie. “How was pre-school today?”

“Fine. Where’s Dougie?” He craned his neck and looked up over the seat back through the windows. “What’s he doing?”

Sarah wished she didn’t need to answer that. Little breaks from Dougie were like roses in a ragweed field. She tried to enjoy them fully. The food was finally delivered to the table. Stevie started on his burger with zeal, and Sarah thanked the waitress, then went to the other room to get the wild child. She found him sitting under a corner booth table in the dark, playing with napkins and silverware that he had grabbed off of the already-set tables in the silent room.

Kneeling, she took these away. “Don’t you want to come and eat?”

“No!”

“It looks good. Grilled cheese just like you like it.”

“No!”

She stood up and started walking back to the table. “Okay. Then you won’t get any French fries.”

He zoomed back to the table, climbed up, and stood on the seat, vacuuming up fries.

“Sit down, Dougie.” Sarah started to eat, hoping for a respite long enough to finish their meal. Ten minutes. That was all she really needed. Just ten minutes.

But after a few bites, Dougie said, “Gimme some lettuce.”

“You don’t like it,” said Stevie.

“Mom, I want lettuce.” Dougie looked earnest.

“He’s right,” Sarah said. “You hate it.”

Dougie pestered her over and over until she gave him a leaf to keep the peace. He still had it in his mouth when he flew out of the seat again and rocketed around the slightly more populated restaurant one more time.

Sarah raced after him as fast as it was polite for a woman in a denim mom-dress and sensible shoes to go. She caught up with him in front of a lone older woman in a booth. He took this moment to spit out the wet green wad of lettuce with a gagging motion of the tongue in full view of the woman.

Both women stared down. Yes, just what Coco’s needed to welcome its guests. Kids barfing up wads of slimy green stuff, like gross little frogs, on the carpet by each table.

Sarah grabbed a napkin and picked it up, not daring to meet the woman’s eyes, while Dougie ran off chortling and scampered up into another empty booth, climbing up its back to stand there on the conquered summit, all joyful good humor. This time, a manager came over and told Sarah to keep him from climbing the booths because their insurance did not cover falls in the dining room.

Her stomach tightened and her face reddened. Time to go.

Waiting for their ticket and some take-home boxes back at their table, Sarah had great trouble keeping hold of little Houdini. Too bad spanking was so out of fashion, she thought. Screaming at him wouldn’t have kept him from misbehaving, but would have made her feel a lot better. But she’d been taught never, ever to attract attention to herself, so she just wailed inside as she dragged her charges up front to the long, empty bench for people waiting to be seated.

Sarah pointed at the bench. “You guys sit here for just a minute.” She turned to the cash register to pay the bill.

It only took a minute for a girl to package the to-go cherry pie order that Stevie wanted, just enough time for giggling to start behind her. She turned to see her little angels both dancing on the bench and laughing like hyenas. Turning back to the cashier and looking for her Visa card, she tried not to notice the rising noise level, tuning it out like she so often did at home.

“Uh, Ma’am, they’re not allowed to stand up there on the bench like that,” said the man behind the register. As if this were news. Could anyone stand on anything in this damned place?

“Sorry.” She cringed and ushered the boys back to her side. “Stay here for one minute,” she snapped.

Dougie didn’t miss a beat. As soon as her pen was on the credit card slip, he was giggling off toward the restroom, little legs flying and curls bobbing angelically.

Sarah had had enough. Purse and pen clutched in one hand, she launched herself away from the cashier’s desk. In a couple of long strides, she caught up with Dougie and grabbed his hand and swung him in a neat arc about a foot off the ground back to where she had been standing. She stuck him between her knees, put a vise grip on a little hand, and growled, “Stay!” then proceeded to finish her signature.

From a nearby table, an older male, witness to the one-armed maneuver, stood up and said loud enough for all to hear, “Hey, lady. Never, EVER treat a child like that!!”

Sarah wanted to drop through the floor and let it close unceremoniously over her head.

Another man standing on her other side, waiting in line to pay his bill, answered the first guy. “Hey. Can’t you see she’s only trying to control him?”

Send me to a very deep, dark cave. Alone, she thought, as all the customer and staff eyes settled on her and judged her mothering skills.

She grabbed the boxes and tried to make a quick escape before Dougie could cause any more embarrassment, but he chose this moment to melt onto the floor in Coco’s entryway, refusing to leave the scene of his crimes. Sarah pulled at his arm again, but he wouldn’t budge. She didn’t dare drag him off the floor by his arm with this tough audience. So in the end, she had to pick up the twenty-eight-pound blob and carry him out to the car, her back aching all the way. She’d need ibuprofen and heat for two days to undo the physical damage. The emotional scars could take years.

She lectured the boys all the way home, but the lecture just bounced off the golden curls and made Stevie get quiet.

Later, on the phone, her mother said, “Your brother was just like that. I couldn’t take him anywhere until he was six.”

“Oh, no. The genetic connection.” Sarah sighed. “Wait. Now I remember Dad yelling and swearing at John for something. I was about three. But that would have made him eight.”

“Well, you were never like John.”

“But eight? He’ll be like this until he’s eight?” Sarah’s head swam. She saw double. Hadn’t she always been the good one, the well-behaved, level-headed one, to avoid her father’s wrath? And now she had to raise her brother’s double. Lord have mercy.

“Well, maybe he’ll come out of it sooner. By seven or so. But I wouldn’t go back to Coco’s any time soon, dear.”

All Promotional Stuff + A New Review for Roll with the Punches

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MIAMI,  FL - MARCH 22: Derek E. Miller (L) and Alexis Krauss of Sleigh Bells perform at the Ultra Music Festival on March 22, 2013 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)

Me in my wildest dreams

So this week, I posted a bunch of Chick Lit Chat HQ #chicklitmay #chicklitreads #chicklitmonth related blog posts, two with contests and prizes–got a lot of blog exposure, and some exposure for Roll with the Punches, my literary (cough) okay, humorous fiction baby.

And I wrote a new short story to include in another free (promotional) anthology for summer, featuring red bikinis. Good story–coming together well. I had nasty arm and back pain from too much computer use. Still do.

I tweeted and followed and tweeted and followed–not obsessively, but more than usual. I’ve got close to 300 (Woohoo!!) followers now, though my heart is not in tweeting at all. Sorry, Twitterverse.

I put Roll with the Punches on sale for 99 cents–> http://www.amazon.com/Roll-Punches-Roller-Alzheimers-Plagiarism-ebook/dp/B00V5B3W12

And I FB posted and tweeted and blogged about that, forgetting to include the buy link to Amazon. (Thanks, Paul De Lancey for catching that.) Then I included the buy link and it either wouldn’t stay a full link or it blew away the sale art. I can’t figure out how to post using my own (well, not my own–I begged it at the last minute from Karan Eleni at Bliss Book Promotions–bless her wonderful, giant heart) graphic for the book being on sale WITH the Amazon link, which wants to post my book’s cover art. The two pix battled it out, and Amazon won.

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I am also being featured at Dianne Bylo’s awesome Tome Tender Book Blog–go here–> http://tometender.blogspot.com/2015/05/spotlight-on-amy-gettinger-her-fun.html?zx=cb46d30f863b4393. She is sooooo generous with her time and her great reviews. Love her! She makes my spotlight look really fun, and she’s just a peach.

Fools Rush In, the April Fools Day free (promotional) anthology that I have a piece in has reached over 30,000 people–many, many downloads. Should translate to sales, right?

I got a wonderful Amazon review from the awesome Karin Gillespie, whose Bottom Dollar books I adore. http://www.amazon.com/Karin-Gillespie/e/B001HCVXHY/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1431904518&sr=1-1

I did a quick promo with B Knights on Fiverr. Supposed to bring many sales!!! Yeah! But I must have done something wrong. Seriously.

I have great support! I do! My husband, my friends! Dianne Bylo! The incomparable Karan Eleni! Karin Gillespie! The large and very supportive Chick Lit Chat community!!!

And I sold 2 books. And 2 got borrowed. All that to sell 2 books. And loan out 2.

Yeah, I was in tears yesterday.

Then, I dug into the email I missed when I was mid-cold virus two weeks ago and found this Reader’s Favorite 5-star review–which apparently can’t be posted on Amazon, but which is pretty cool.

Book Review
Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite

“Roll with the Punches: A Story of Roller Derby, Alzheimer’s and Plagiarism is a chick lit novel written by Amy Gettinger. Rhonda’s relatively carefree existence gets entirely turned upside down in almost no time at all. The librarian and aspiring novelist finds out that the novel she’s been writing for over a year, and spent a full month finishing, has been plagiarized by the mysterious, best-selling author, Reynold Jackson. To make it even more painful a loss, the book’s a runaway bestseller and the fact that she had shopped the book to a number of agents means her reputation is totally shot. Things are even worse at home. Monica, the older sister who took care of things relative to their parents, has emigrated to Australia, her mother’s in the hospital and her father is acting very oddly.

Amy Gettinger’s romantic comedy, Roll with the Punches: A Story of Roller Derby, Alzheimer’s and Plagiarism, works on so many different levels that it’s awfully hard to categorize it under any single genre. The mystery of the purloined manuscript and the sleuthing efforts of Rhonda, her friend, Harley and the Amazon Rollergirls is first-rate, with plenty of red herrings and an unpredictable ending. Rhonda’s adventures in the roller derby world are marvelous as is her love of being active, strong and athletic — she makes a fabulous role model for young women. The issue of aging parents and the duties that seem to fall willy-nilly on the geographically closest child is a serious one that’s handled with love, humor, and respect. Finally, there’s the romance, something Rhonda’s not too good at, and how she resolves the sudden interest of not one, but two men. Yes, there are sex scenes in Roll with the Punches: A Story of Roller Derby, Alzheimer’s and Plagiarism, and they’re delightfully free of the usual cliches and filled with invention, frolic and warmth, and they were sheer pleasure to read. This is a big, warm-hearted, hilarious book that wraps the reader up within its covers and holds them there until the last page — and that’s a very good thing. Roll with the Punches: A Story of Roller Derby, Alzheimer’s and Plagiarism is most highly recommended.”

Go here for more info–> https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/roll-with-the-punches

So that made my freaking week. I really like Jack Magnus now. He gets me. He really gets me. I feel like Sally Field at the Oscars in 1985. If he ever needs a place to stay in SoCal, no problem. This is it.

And now you know how old I am.

Wow! I’m in the spotlight at Tome Tender Book Blog!

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WHOOOOOOOOOOOP!

I am privileged this week to be featured on Dianne Bylo’s fabulous Tome Tender Book Blog. Dianne is a top-500 reviewer on Amazon and a VORACIOUS reader!!! She’s graciously offered to review and feature both of my books (plus the 2 anthologies) this week!!! What a fun ride! Thanks so much, Dianne!!!

http://tometender.blogspot.com/2015/05/spotlight-on-amy-gettinger-her-fun.html

And here’s her review of Alice in Monologue Land.

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“Practice your snort laugh, you are going to need it and its okay if someone hears you, it means another author has done their job! Amy Gettinger has a story to tell and it’s one for regular women, and about regular women, because seriously, sometimes guys just don’t get many of a female’s issues or stumbling blocks in life. Meet Alice, single mom, struggling to make ends meet, be in three places at one time and now, a speaker for a unique women’s literary event. And she is trying to find a way out of it, desperately, because, really who wants to read a poem or anything about female body parts. Alice isn’t a groundbreaker, she’s good with not being up close and personal with her, um, you know…and the oppression women have felt over being comfortable with their bodies? Can’t call her a groundbreaker there, either.

Pretty sure you have figured out this is not drama, although Amy Gettinger does make some dramatic scenes come to life with a bit of mystery and edgy darkness. Ms. Gettinger is here to entertain and she succeeds admirably, from page one as she takes us through the chaotic life that belongs to her main character, Alice. From dark parking lots to students who are more than they seem, to pythons giving “hugs,” one must admire the character Alice or pray for her survival.
A fun-loving read, perfect to bring sunshine to even the cloudiest day, Ms. Gettinger lets us know it is okay to laugh at ourselves, just in case we can identify with Alice and that reading less than lofty tomes brings a certain sparkle and shine to the literary world. I might suggest you hang on tight, this tale has more spins than a tilt-a-whirl.”

http://www.amazon.com/Alice-Monologue-Land-Amy-Gettinger-ebook/dp/B00VVK8NFM

I am happy dancing all day today!!! Hope you’ll go over and check out her blog post–you can win gift cards!!!