Cookin’ for charity with Dirt Road Books!

Hi, Friends —

I just wanted to give everyone a heads up on a cool charity project my fellow founder and colleague at Dirt Road Books put together.

It’s a small book of recipes based on the DRB first year’s newsletter, which included a new recipe every month. My colleague, author and chef R.G. Emanuelle, is in fact a trained chef and she developed several recipes for the newsletter based on seasonal events but also short stories by fellow DRB authors.

So you’ll get a couple of sexy drinkie recipes, a few main dishes, and some sides. There’s a rib recipe and a pickle recipe, for example, and for those of you who are BBQ aficionados, you know BBQ and pickles ARE A THING.

So here’s the thing. Every year, DRB tries to put a project together in time for the holidays that benefits a charity. A Year in the Kitchen with R.G. Emanuelle is this year’s project, and ALL PROCEEDS benefit the Oregon Food Bank. It’s $3.99 to pick up your ecopy, and hot damn, you’re doing awesome-ness in addition to a little bit of cooking.

A Year in the Kitchen with R.G. Emanuelle is a collection of recipes from the first year of newsletters fromDirt Road Books. It offers twelve delectable dishes, from hearty family fare to party take-alongs and fabulous cocktails. Some are seasonal fare while others are inspired by stories written by DRB authors. DRB is proud to donate all proceeds to Oregon Food Bank, which has partnered with agencies that provide spaces that make it easy for the LGBTQ community to access food.

Find it on Kindle, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and other platforms.

Not only will you get some cool original recipes, but you’re helping a great charity out. Thanks and happy Monday!


Hey, all–

I’ve been chasing merry elves around and thus haven’t had a chance to swing by and remind y’all that my other site, Women and Words, is having its giant, massive, crazy, blow-out book giveaway event!


It’s Day 6, and we give away around 20-30 books EACH DAY, primarily lesfic/books with strong women protagonists. So swing by and get in on the fun. Go over to Women and Words and all you have to do is leave a comment.

Here’s the main link — that’s good for the next 6 days!

Hope to see you there!


You guys, I have been really freakin’ busy over at Women and Words with Jove and the blogger crew and all the merry elves and reindeer getting things ready for our annual Hootenanny over there.

What is this Hootenanny, you ask.

It’s a giant, massive, outta control WTF no they di’n’t omg they’re serious how did that even happen where did all these prizes come from BOOK GIVEAWAY.

TWELVE DAYS, friends. TWELVE DAYS OF BOOK GIVEAWAYS. New lists of authors every day, and publishers also get into it. There are books flinging hither and yon.

And this year, we’ve got super swag on Rafflecopter, which might just include a couple of Kindle Fires. Guess you’ll have to check it out to see.

When does all this merriment start, you ask.


So we run this crazy from December 12-December 23. SO COME ON DOWN!

Here’s the link to Women and Words.

And here’s an example from last year of the crazy we got up to.
Day 5
Day 11

So head on over to Women and Words Saturday the 12th to join the fun. Hope to see you there!

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And then all of a sudden I had holiday spirit…

Hi, peeps!

Y’know, I’m not much of an end-of-the-year holiday type. I don’t generally decorate (I have red chile pepper lights up year-round), and I tend to focus on not getting caught up in the rampant consumerism of this time of year.

And I’m generally uneasy this time of year, because it’s a tough time for a lot of people, and it does push a lot of my buttons in that regard. So I’ve made some conscious choices about how I engage with this time of year.

To that end I spend a lot of time focusing on community and family ties and on donating time and energy (sometimes money) to try to spread holiday cheer, like through the Hootenanny at Women and Words, which is a 12-day book giveaway extravaganza that we hold over there every December (in case you’re interested, here’s info on last year’s)

Dozens of books and authors, lots of publishers…we get crazy over there giving books away and hanging out with the merry elves. I love that, because it’s totally festive and everybody gets involved to give books away and it spreads the luv all over the place. Buckets of awesome.

So that always gives me holiday cheer, and I guess I’m finding extra special meaning in the season this time, after a year of terrible, tragic events, some of which hit closer to home than others.

And I guess I’m digging deeper this year to nurture myself, my family and friends, and my communities, because it brings me comfort and joy, and y’know what? I like those feelings.

But also this year, I did something I’ve never done.

I wrote a holiday novel. A whole freakin’ novel that’s all about this time of year. It’s a reboot of a classic Christmas tale, with romance and snark and fun and serious stuff and, hopefully, redemption. And you know what?

It made me feel better about this time of year. And all of a sudden I’ve been watching holiday movies on the Hallmark channel. And I went to the Rockettes’ Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall and OMG it was awesome. I’ve even been singing traditional and nontraditional holiday songs. OUT LOUD. For reals!

So, yeah. I found a little bit of magic this year. And I love it.

Hope you, too, are able to find a bit and if you need some cheering up or just want some happy fun times, come on down to the Women and Words Hootenanny. We’re cranking up December 12th. Hope to see you there.

Happy Saturday. Or whatever day it is for you!

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Holly-Daze: some tips to help you deal

Happy December!

Things I’ve learned about surviving the holidays/this time of year:

1. Eggnog has at least 9 million calories per glass, and other holiday goodies have at least 7 million per bite. So I try not to eat or drink very many of them.

2. The office party can be fun and might even provide alcohol. Careful with that. Do you really want these people to watch you pole dance — sans pole — next to the dessert table? Somebody no doubt will post it on Facebook or Pinterest. Or, worse, upload it to YouTube. Save your sexy-time for the homefront, Flashdance.

3. If you work out regularly, keep doing that. Especially if you have an impending visit with holiday regulars that has the potential to end up like Die Hard 2.

4. You don’t need to eat ten pieces of Christmas fudge at a time, no matter how small they are. See number 1, above.

5. Is buying crap really what this holiday is about? How about starting a new tradition, like having get-togethers with your friends and/or family and all of you selecting a charitable organization to donate to? Share the love rather than the shopping. Might be a good tradition to start with kids, too, if you have them.

6. Caroling can seriously be fun, especially if you do it at a place like a nursing home or maybe a veterans’ or children’s hospital (check with the officials at said places first, before you show up with your Lady Gaga-infused rendition of “Silent Night”).

7. Rather than do a gift exchange with work colleagues, why not find a local organization that’s collecting things for families in need and do a drive for it?

8. Get some rest. You can’t be present for anybody during this time if you’re exhausted and cranky. Plus, not taking care of yourself means you might run yourself down, which puts you at greater risk for catching cooties. And it sucks to be sick, whether it’s the holidays or not.

9. You don’t have to decorate to feel like it’s the holidays. If you don’t feel like doing it, don’t, unless you have kids and they really look forward to it. Otherwise, it doesn’t make you a grinch or scrooge-y if you would rather look appreciatively at displays that are not your own. Get together with friends for a festive “other-people’s lights” tour. And be glad you don’t live next door to this guy. Though I’m sure he won’t mind a little horse-step dance in his driveway.

10. This time of year can be really stressful and depressing for some people. If you know people like that, check in with them. A “hey, how are you?” goes a long way.

And one of my other tips: I’m a year-round donor to various organizations, and I try to give extra this time of year. Suggestions: no-kill animal shelters; local organizations that help local families; larger organizations like the Red Cross and Heifer International. So check around. There are lots of people in your local community that could use some help, especially this time of year, imbued with all the symbolism and baggage we’ve loaded onto it.

Share your tips below, if you’ve got ’em. Happy Saturday!