Friday, January 28, 2011


(Every Friday I interview a different person and share that interview with you. Perhaps they will be a fellow author. Perhaps one of my neighbors. Maybe the bagger at the grocery store. A member of my family. A follower of this blog. Maybe it will be you! Hey, it could happen.)

Dan Harrington is our INFF guest today. He is a professional freelance writer whose work has appeared in publications such as Village Soup, The Kennebec Journal, Inside Pro Wrestling/The Wrestler, Portland Magazine, and LDS Church News. He has a book out and currently available, Who's At the Door? A Memoir of Me and the Missionaries. Dan can be found online at his website and as a regular contributor to the Man Cave Authors blog.
SME: Welcome to INFF.

Dan Harrington: Thank you for having me, Sarah. I appreciate it very much. Being in this secret chatroom is exciting!

*note to reader: my INFF interviews are conducted in an ultra-secret, very swank chatroom!*

SME: I know. Very top secret!

Dan Harrington: That's my favorite kind of secret.

SME: The bottom secrets aren't as fun.

Dan Harrington: Those ones are usually called newspaper headlines

SME: Once the newspapers know, all bets are off.

Dan Harrington: Exactly. Someone might actually read them.

SME: We wouldn't want to risk that. Thus, the top secrets are kept.... well, secret.

Dan Harrington: Some things are so secret that I don't even tell myself about them.

SME: I probably have those kind of secrets, too.
So, Dan. You are a writer--something of which I wholeheartedly approve. What got you started?

Dan Harrington: I've wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. I've always loved stories. There's a feeling you get from a good story that you can't get from anywhere else.

SME: So you wanted to not only have that feeling yourself, but provide that feeling for others?

Dan Harrington: Mostly myself. I'm kind of selfish that way.

SME: Maybe it's an author thing. I'm the same way. One of the reasons I enjoy writing so much is the opportunity to entertain myself.

Dan Harrington: If I didn't entertain myself, who would?

SME: Testify!

Dan Harrington: Seriously, writing is the only kind of work I know of where I feel like I've really accomplished something unique.

SME: Tell us about your book.

Dan Harrington: My book "Who's at the Door? A Memoir of Me and the Missionaries" is the true story of how I became friends with Mormon missionaries in Maine
Notice all the M's. I'm hoping to get an M & M ad

SME: That would rock.

Dan Harrington: It's mainly a human interest story about what it's like to investigate the LDS Church and eventually not convert.
I'm told that's how the book is different from most LDS fair.

SME: That sounds really interesting. Has it been well received?

Dan Harrington: So far, yes! I'm very excited. All the missionaries in the book have praised it--including their parents. I heard from one of the elder's moms who thanked me for being a friend to her son, and that meant a lot to me. Becky Thomas of Mormon Times also gave me an endorsement for the back cover.
I really tried to emphasize being open-minded in the story. I really came to care about my missionaries, as I'm sure most church investigators do. In fact, I just saw one last week when he returned to Maine for a visit.

SME: That's great. I think too often people concentrate on what makes us different from one another instead of realizing how much everyone has in common, regardless of religion, nationality, politics, etc. I wish more people would choose to care about each other.

Dan Harrington: Me too, and I'm glad so many reviewers have appreciated that in my book and my experience.

SME: Well, congratulations to you on the book and the praise. I hope you have lots more of both in the future!

Dan Harrington: Me too. I'm really thrilled with how open the Utah community has been with the book so far.

SME: Are you working on anything currently?

Dan Harrington: I write for a newspaper so I'm working on a couple stories for that. I'm also doing book promotion which is more time consuming that I expected.

SME: I don't think most authors realize just how much time goes into things other than writing once you have a book out. I was pretty shocked, myself.

Dan Harrington: It's not something anyone thinks about or they ever talk about in school. They think once the contract is signed, the checks start rolling in with ease. I wish that were true!

SME: Wait. Checks? (just kidding)

Dan Harrington: You must get direct deposit.

SME: So, while I was hanging out over on your website I discovered that you are part of a brand new multi-author blog. Tell us a little about that.

Dan Harrington: Sure! I'm pretty new to blogging, and I was surfing around seeing the different types of blogs on the web. I saw a bunch of group authors blogs and started thinking, "I wish someone would invite me to be part of a group blog."
Then I realized, "Why not start one myself!" So I contacted some writers I've been corresponding with, and they liked the idea. We call it the Man Cave Authors blog because most of the group blogs I've noticed are by women. Plus, I thought the name would stick out. The guys all liked the name.
It consists of me, Michael Young who designed the site--Thanks, Mike!--David J West, J. Lloyd Mogran and Frank Cole.

SME: I loved the name. I laughed out loud--it's fun, memorable and totally perfect for an all-guy blog team.

Dan Harrington: I'm glad you think it's memorable. Most people do get a kick out of it. It just started recently, and we're all excited.

SME: Well, in honor of the Man Cave Authors and man caves in general, I have invented a game for you to play entitled... "What's In Your Man Cave?" -- wanna play?

Dan Harrington: Sure, but I'm not sure you really want to know. ha ha!

SME: Here's how it'll work. I'll give you two different items that might be found in a man cave. You tell me which you would rather have if you had to pick. Then we'll pit that option against another possible item, until we discover what your ultimate man cave item would be!

Dan Harrington: Sounds fun. Let's do it!

SME: Okay, first dilemma: Would you rather have a singing mounted fish or a dart board?

Dan Harrington: dart board

SME: Okay. Dart board or a ping-pong table?

Dan Harrington: hmmm...now we're getting tricky!
Dart board because I'm not good at ping-pong, and I want to beat my friends.

SME: Well thought out. Alright, a dart board or a pool table?

Dan Harrington: Pool table just because it's cooler and offers more of a man cave atmosphere--a true centerpiece.

SME: Wow. I didn't know guys ever used the word "centerpiece."

Dan Harrington: I used a dictionary.

SME: Okay--that makes sense, then.
Pool table or an arcade game of your choice.


Dan Harrington: Arcade game! I love those machines, and it would be X-Men by Konomi. It allowed six players. I still dream about that machine from my years as a teenager.

SME: If you've been dreaming of it since your teen years, that'll make the final choice that much harder!!!

Dan Harrington: The suspense is killing me!

SME: Your beloved X-Men by Konomi arcade game or.... a collection of fantastic historical romance novels a la Jane Austen?

Dan Harrington: This one is so hard to choose, but the X-Men arcade game squeaks out for the win.

SME: Man. I bet that was close. Life is full of tough choices.

Dan Harrington: I know it, huh! But the great thing about a group man cave is that every guy brings one item. Michael Young will provide the most expensive stuff. I'll bring the dart board.

SME: Who's gonna bring the romance novels?

Dan Harrington: We'll have to draw straws for the romance novels.

SME: Somehow I can't picture the Man Cave authors ever arriving with Pride and Prejudice or Jane Eyre under their arm.

Dan Harrington: I don't know. David West might like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies or Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters. But I think our next meeting will consist of a Rambo marathon. I think that's on the schedule.

SME: I almost forgot to ask the #1 INFF interview question. What's your favorite continent?

Dan Harrington: North America, but Europe would be second. I think those are your favorites too, right?

SME: They absolutely are. And in that order. I knew I liked you.

Dan Harrington: Thanks! No interview is quite like yours!

SME: That's gonna be my new slogan. "No interview is like an INFF interview"

Dan Harrington: Right on!

SME: You ready for the weekly trip to the portrait gallery?
I think it'll only add to this celebratory spirit we have going here.

Dan Harrington: I can't wait. I've always wanted to be a stick man.

*draws a museum-quality portrait with minimal effort and maximum talent*

Dan Harrington: It looks JUST like me!!!

SME: wahoo!!

Dan Harrington: Wow, are you sure that's not a Polaroid?

SME: And I provided you with a pair of man-cave-approved slippers, perfect for kicking back and enjoying that Rambo marathon!

Dan Harrington: I love it!

SME: I have to say this, because I've been thinking it ever since I saw your picture on your website. Has anyone ever told you you look like Howard Tayler?---->

Dan Harrington: No, they haven't.
I can see the resemblance! I try to get people to say I look like Vin Diesel, but they never follow through.

SME: I try to get people to say I look like <---Amy Adams, but they always settle for the Wendy's girl.--->
*sighs*

SME: Well, that brings us to the final question of the interview: Top 5 reasons this is the best blog interview you've ever done. Ready. Go.

Dan Harrington: 1) Where else can you get a stick man portrait that looks EXACTLY like you?
2) Everybody needs friends--especially on Friday!
3) Unique humor you can't find anyplace else!
4) The fun games that you don't want to end!
5) You're interviewed by a fellow author! Oh, the camaraderie!

SME: Camaraderie is one of the best parts of being an author.

Dan Harrington: Yes, it's like being in a not-so-secret society.

SME: Agreed. Well, thanks for joining us for INFF!

Dan Harrington: Thanks for much for having me. It was fun, and I highly recommend INFF!

SME: *cue exit music* Well, this has been "I Need Friends" Friday. Come back next week when I will make another friend!!

If you'd like to be interviewed for "I Need Friends" Friday, shoot me off an email: friends at sarahmeden dot com!
I am looking for anyone and everyone, whether or not you think you are interesting. You'll get a fantastic stick figure portrait of yourself, a little promotion (if you're looking for that sort of thing) and the opportunity to tell your friends and family that you've been interviewed by SME, er... by ME!
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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

It's Wednesday. Let's go walkabout.

(I'm bringing along a few of my mates as I wander through the vast wilderness of the publishing industry, learning the ins and outs, and having a grand adventure.)

Walkabout, Week 74:

Ever wanted to eavesdrop on a tantalizing conversation between authors discussing the industry, the craft, the life of an overworked author? Yeah? Well, this is your lucky day.

Announcing.... The Appendix, a podcast for writers.

Robison Wells, Marion Jensen and I chat about topics of interest to writers and generally make a valiant attempt to sound very knowledgeable and interesting.

The inaugural episode is available for your listening pleasure! (PS--I'm the really smart sounding one with the highest voice of the three. FYI)



(ignore "Read More!")----
>
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Friday, January 21, 2011


(Every Friday I interview a different person and share that interview with you. Perhaps they will be a fellow author. Perhaps one of my neighbors. Maybe the bagger at the grocery store. A member of my family. A follower of this blog. Maybe it will be you! Hey, it could happen.)

Drewyard Hinston VanMigglin. The boy will never be voted "Most Photogenic" nor will his taste in clothing earn him the accolades of top fashion critics. He, however, is a boy near and dear to all of our hearts. For eighteen months Drewyard has served as the I Need Friends Friday spokeschild, lending us his very fitting image each Friday.
Ladies and gentleman, the boy you know and love from the INFF logo: Drewyard!
SME: This is the part where I usually say "Welcome to INFF," but you've been a part of INFF from the beginning, so welcoming you seems.... I don't know... redundant.

Drewyard: Yup.

SME: Have you enjoyed being the INFF poster child?

Drewyard: Yup.

SME: You haven't exactly looked like you were enjoying it.

Drewyard: Nope.

SME: You aren't a very talkative child, are you?

Drewyard: Nope.

SME: So, Drewyard. Do you have a favorite candy or treat?

Drewyard: Mum doesn't let me have sweets.

SME: She doesn't?

Drewyard: She says they make me hyper.

SME: *raises eyebrows in surprised disbelief* Is "hyper" a problem for you?

Drewyard: Yup.

SME: Really? Because I am having a hard time picturing that.

Drewyard: *shrugs*

SME: Have you worn glasses long, Drewyard?

Drewyard: Yup.

SME: I get the feeling I ought to avoid yes-or-no questions.

Drewyard: *shrugs*

SME: More than one person has commented on your... er... fabulous haircut. Who cuts your hair?

Drewyard: Mum.

SME: And... who picked out the stunning outfit?

Drewyard: Mum.

SME: Who is responsible for the startling state of your tie?

Drewyard: Mum.

SME: From whom did you get your expansive vocabulary, Drewyard?

Drewyard: Mum.

SME: What is your favorite continent?

Drewyard: I dunno.

SME: We really need to work on your communication skills, my friend.

Drewyard: *shrugs*

SME: What do you like to do for fun?

Drewyard: Mum says having fun is frivolous.

SME: I think I need to have a talk with your mother.

Drewyard: Mum says having talks is frivolous.

SME: I just had a bolt of inspiration. We're going to play a little game I'm entitling, "Drewyard Needs a Hobby."

Drewyard: Mum says hobbies--

SME: "are frivolous." Yes. I assumed she would. Humor me, okay?

Drewyard: Yup.

SME: I'll throw out a few suggestions and you can tell me if any of these possible pastimes sound interesting. What about baseball? Boys like baseball.

Drewyard: Mum says I'll break my glasses.

SME: Which likely eliminates football, as well.

Drewyard: Yup.

SME: How does your Mum feel about artistic endeavors: painting or pottery or that sort of thing?

Drewyard: Mum says paints are messy.

SME: Would she be open to the idea of hiking? It is very good exercise.

Drewyard: Mum doesn't like me to get my knickers dirty.

SME: Is there anything your mother does like you to do?

Drewyard: I haven't found anything yet.

SME: Is there anything you would like to do if your mother could be convinced to allow it?

Drewyard: Nothing comes to mind.

SME: *running out of things to say* Do you have many friends?

Drewyard: Nope.

SME: Perhaps that is what makes you so perfect for our "I Need Friends" Friday segments.

Drewyard: Yup.

SME: Would you like to see your portrait?

Drewyard: Yup.

*SME draws an extremely life-like portrait*

SME: What do you think?

Drewyard: Looks nice.

SME: Is that all you have to say about it?

Drewyard: Yup.

SME: Well... I guess that brings us to the final question of the interview. Top 5 reasons this is the best blog interview you ever done. Ready. Go.

Drewyard: 1 - It didn't make me hyper.
2 - I didn't get my knickers dirty.
3 - I got a portrait.
4 - Talked more than I usually do in a whole week.
5 - Mum didn't know about it.

SME: That #5 makes me think there's hope for you yet.

Drewyard: *a tiny hint of a smile*

SME: Thanks for joining us today, Drewyard. It was great getting to know you better.

Drewyard: Yup.

SME: *cue exit music* Well, this has been "I Need Friends" Friday. Come back next week when I will make another friend!!

If you'd like to be interviewed for "I Need Friends" Friday, shoot me off an email: friends at sarahmeden dot com!
I am looking for anyone and everyone, whether or not you think you are interesting. You'll get a fantastic stick figure portrait of yourself, a little promotion (if you're looking for that sort of thing) and the opportunity to tell your friends and family that you've been interviewed by SME, er... by ME!
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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Okay. Let me first say that this has been my favorite contest hands down!!! You all are hilarious. I debated for a very, very long time between all the name suggestions because I loved them all. In the end, though, the kid had to have a name, so I picked one I think is an excellent fit.

*cue drum roll

Introducing...

Drewyard Hinston VanMigglin


That, of course, means winner #1 of an autographed copy of "The Kiss of a Stranger"
is

Terry Ervin!

As, promised, a second autographed copy of "The Kiss of a Stranger," as chosen by random.org goes to

Rachel Rossano!


Thank you to everyone who entered and participated. I think we'll have to do another "name the person in this awkward old-time photograph contest" in the future!

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Friday, January 14, 2011

We're gonna mix things up a little this Friday. Does that make me sound all risk-taker-ish and too-cool-for conventions-ish and stuff? I'm kinda hoping it makes me look cool because, in all honesty, we're doing something a little different today because I sorta messed up on scheduling the INFF interview that was supposed to be scheduled this week. Totally my bad.

So, here's a shout-out to Dan Harrington, freelance writer, author and really, really forgiving guy whose INFF interview will not be seen today, but which will be rescheduled at the first opportunity. Everyone send Dan good vibes, or go visit his website, or at least get super excited when his interview pops up in the next couple weeks.

So.... today's Friday post won't be an interview. It'll be a contest with a fantabulous giveaway prize!!!

See this kid? ----------------------->
Good lookin' kid, right? *ahem*

He has been our INFF Poster Child for about 18 months now. He's done a pretty fabulous job of reflecting the.... er.... uniqueness of these interviews and the.... um... occasional awkwardness I display as an interviewer.

Despite his near perfection as the face of INFF, he has been left in limbo.

The kid has no name.

That is where the contest comes in.

The "Name the INFF Poster Child" Contest & Giveaway

What you have to do: In the comments, give a suggestion for a name for this kid. Every comment is an entry--including if your comment is to second someone else's suggestion.

What I will do: go through the comments and pick my favorite!

The PrizeS: Yes, that was plural. I am giving away 2--count 'em 2!--autographed copies of "The Kiss of a Stranger."
  • One will go to the person whose name suggestion is chosen as THE name.
  • The other will go to the person who is selected by random.org from amongst all the entries.

Bonus entries: mention the contest on facebook, twitter, etc. for additional entries

The contest will close at midnight January 18th, with the winners announced on Wednesday the 19th.

Enjoy!!!


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Friday, January 7, 2011


(Every Friday I interview a different person and share that interview with you. Perhaps they will be a fellow author. Perhaps one of my neighbors. Maybe the bagger at the grocery store. A member of my family. A follower of this blog. Maybe it will be you! Hey, it could happen.)

Today's INFF guest is author Donald J. Carey, but we'll just call him Don. He grew up in Hawaii, which makes him both cool and worthy of envying. He currently lives in Texas, also cool and also enviable.
Don's debut novel, "Bumpy Landings," is available now! Visit him online at his website.
SME: Welcome to INFF!

Don Carey: Thanks.

SME: Do you have any unusual New Year's Resolutions this year?

Don Carey: Well, not really resolutions per se. Just the usual: Lose some pounds, do some exercise, write some words, sell some books.

SME: Eat some pie. Oh, wait. That's MY new year's resolution.

Don Carey: Maybe I'll say "make some applebutter." It's been a while since I've done that.

SME: Mmmmm. Applebutter.

Don Carey: Special flavored applebutter, like Guavalicious and Caramel Bliss

SME: Guavalicious was my nickname in high school. (just kidding).

Don Carey: I'm thinking you would have been fun to know in high school.

SME: Let me sum up my high school self: I was the short one with her nose in a book, who always played children under the age of 10 in the school plays.

Don Carey: Sounds like some of my best friends.

SME: I think your best friends and I could be best friends.

Don Carey: Dang. I'm always the fifth wheel.

SME: That line never gets old.

Don Carey: Did anyone ever call you Sarah?

SME: Sarah was my nickname in... Okay. I think I've milked that joke for all it's worth. Let's move on.

Don Carey: Moving on then.

SME: You, my new INFF friend, have a brand new, hot off the presses book! Tell us about it!!

Don Carey: Woo! A new book.
It's called Bumpy Landings, and it's about a guy who becomes a pilot despite his mother's strong objections. He has to sneak around to do it. And there's girls and kissing and stuff. And airplanes.

SME: "Girls and kissing and stuff" Pretty much sums up my books. But no airplanes.

Don Carey: You write romances, so that's expected. Bumpy Landings has been called a romance, too. I'm not totally convinced.

SME: Hmmm. That can be a hard call to make.

Don Carey: You should totally add some airplanes to your books.

SME: Airplanes in 19th Century England, eh? That might be difficult to pull off.

Don Carey: Regency-type Da Vinci style.

SME: See, now that would be veering from Romance into Steampunk... something I'm not entirely against.

Don Carey: You could totally do it. But keep the kissing. That's important.

SME: Kissing is essential.
That's my quote of the day.

Don Carey: I can totally support you in making that the quote of the day.

SME: Yes. Give us the details on your launch party!

Don Carey: The launch for Bumpy Landings is January 13th, from 6-8 pm, at the Hawaiian Cultural Center in Midvale. 741 W Smelter Street.
Did I mention Bumpy Landings takes place in Hawaii?

SME: You did now.

Don Carey: I'm talented that way.

SME: So Don, author and launch party thrower, are you up for a game?

Don Carey: I am good for a game, yes.

SME: You live in the great state of Texas. And when I think of Texas, I think of Chuck Norris. I mean, c'mon. Who doesn't?

Don Carey: Nobody, that's who.

SME: So I have invented a game for us to play entitled "Don't Mess With... Chuck Norris."

Don Carey: Good game. Should I be standing for this?

SME: I am going to ask you three questions about Chuck Norris. Answer them correctly and you will be crowned INFF champion (and Chuck Norris will be that much less likely to beat you up)!

Don Carey: Gah! This could be dangerous. But I'm good. Let's go!

SME: First Question: Which of the following did Chuck Norris not actually say in a Chuck Norris movie or television show?

SME: A. Criminal: "You've got no right!"
Chuck Norris: "I've got no right? (Hits criminal with a right hook.) I think that's a pretty good right."

B. "Sleep tight, sucker."
C. "Sometimes a guy just needs his teddybear."

Don Carey: Um, I'm going to say C *ducking under the desk*

SME: That is correct! I doubt Chuck Norris has ever uttered the word "teddybear" in his entire life.

Don Carey: *climbing back into chair* whew!

SME: Question #2: (also multiple choice) Which of the following is not true about Chuck Norris?
A. Chuck Norris doesn't read books. He stares them down until he gets the information he wants.
B. Chuck Norris doesn't wear a watch. HE decides what time it is.
C. Chuck Norris cried. Once.

Don Carey: I'll say C again.

SME: Of course. Chuck Norris has never cried. Ever.

Don Carey: Yay! And if I had information otherwise, I would never share it.

SME: Last, but not least. The pen is mightier than the sword. What is also mightier than the sword? Chuck Norris' beard. So which is mightier? The Pen or Chuck Norris' Beard?

Don Carey: Chuck's beard. There's not a pen around that can touch that thing.

SME: I heard that there isn't even a chin behind Chuck Norris' beard--there's another fist.

Don Carey: I heard that, too. Fortunately I haven't experienced it first-hand. Only third-hand. (Get it?)

SME: Congratulations!! You are INFF Champion! And Chuck Norris will likely let you live to see another day!

Don Carey: Thank you! That's great news. Being in Texas, I wouldn't have much of a head start had I done this wrong.

SME: This is true.
While you're on a roll, what do you say we head on over to the portrait gallery and have a look at your stick figure portrait?

Don Carey: I'd love to. I'm trying to get thinner this year, so that will help!

*draws an unbelievably thin, but also unbelievably amazing, stick figure*

Don Carey: Love the lei and slippers. Perfect touch.

SME: I thought so.
If you ever need an author photo... tuh-duh!

Don Carey: My wife keeps nagging me to change my Facebook photo, so there you go!

SME: Done!
That brings us to the final question of the interview. Top 5 reasons this is the best blog interview you've ever done. Ready. Go.

Don Carey: #1 I learned about your nicknames in high school
#2 I got to use the word Guavalicious in a sentence.
#3 I have an awesome new Facebook portrait
#4 You didn't ask the favorite continent question, because I would have said Oceania and probably gotten disqualified.
#5 Chuck Norris didn't break anything or anyone.

SME: I did forget the continent question. And, yes, for saying Oceania, you are disqualified.

Don Carey: Sorry. I'm an islander at heart. And I already got my portrait, so disqualification will only hurt a little.

SME: I can respect that.
Well, thanks for being my INFF friend!

Don Carey: Thanks for having me! This is a lot more fun than Grey's Anatomy.

SME: *cue exit music* Well, this has been "I Need Friends" Friday. Come back next week when I will make another friend!!

If you'd like to be interviewed for "I Need Friends" Friday, shoot me off an email: friends at sarahmeden dot com!
I am looking for anyone and everyone, whether or not you think you are interesting. You'll get a fantastic stick figure portrait of yourself, a little promotion (if you're looking for that sort of thing) and the opportunity to tell your friends and family that you've been interviewed by SME, er... by ME!
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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

One of my absolute favorite celebrations of the year has finally arrived.

Twelfth Night

See the fabulous segment I did on "Fresh Living" about Twelfth Night here.

For more info on this forgotten holiday, check out my Twelfth Night Site.


Happy Twelfth Night!
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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tomorrow is Twelfth Night! Didn't know that, did you?

I will be on Channel 2's (in Utah) "Fresh Living" at 1:00 today talking about this fabulous holiday and sharing ideas on how to hold your own celebration!

For more information on the history of Twelfth Night as well as recipes, traditional games and crafts and much more, check out my Twelfth Night site.







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Monday, January 3, 2011

My fabulous romance-themed mug of chocolatey goodness giveaway has come to a close and we have a winner...

Shanda, of LDS Women's Book Review.


Congrats, Shanda! Shoot me off an email (use the Contact Me! tab up top) with your mailing address and I'll send you your fantastic prize!
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