Posts tagged with: holiday

Ruby Cookie Exchange Hop!

**AND WE HAVE A WINNER!!!!!!**  Kay Pflueger, congratulations!! And thanks to everyone who joined us. We hope it made your holiday season just a little brighter!


Happy Holidays! In this season of parties and festive treats, the Rubies would like to share our fabulous cookies with you! So start hopping through our Holiday Cookie Exchange for recipes and a chance to win a $100 gift card!

Thank you for all your support over the year! Reading, reviewing, telling us that you love our characters and worlds… Thank you! You are the delicious, melty cookies in our tall glasses of cold milk!

To thank you, we are sharing our favorite recipes, which will help you win every neighborhood cookie exchange that you enter!


 To hop along, just click on each of the links in the list below to jump to a Ruby’s web site, blog or FB page for that Ruby’s favorite cookie recipe. Keep track of the cookies and e-mail your complete list of Rubies favorite cookies to (include “Cookie Exchange List” in the subject) to enter the grand prize. The winner of the $100 gift card will be drawn on December 12, in time for more holiday shopping!

While hopping, remember to sign up for Ruby newsletters or Like/Follow their FB pages to keep up to date on book releases and author events.

Enjoy and we hope you have a delicious holiday season! Ruby Slippered Sisters


Diana Layne –

Heather McCollum –

Lizzie Shane –

Julia Day –

Jennifer Bray Weber –

Katie Graykowski –

Lara Archer 

Hope Ramsay –

Liz Talley –

Elizabeth Essex –


8 Handmade Gifts for Writers and other Book Lovers

Wondering what to gift the book-loving person in your life this holiday season? Tired of giving all your money to Amazon? Search no more! Here is a carefully curated list of handmade goods hat would delight any novelist / reporter / memoirist / poet / professor / librarian / teacher / essayist / reader. And since I spent a boatload of time ensuring that each gift comes from a small business, you can feel good about forking over your hard-earned dollars! 

1. Wearable books from Litographs.

This small Boston company creates whimsical graphic designs using the actual words of a written work and hand-prints those designs onto t-shirts, tote bags, and posters. They also make infinity scarves that are just a continuous (infinite?) stream of words. From Austen to Vonnegut and poetry to source code, you’re likely to find something that appeals to the writer (and reader) in your life.

For something truly special, you can upload your own work (or that of someone you love, one hopes) and have your story wrapped around your neck in scarf form. (I think there’s an albatross joke in there somewhere).

They offer unisex shirts as well as two more feminine styles and child sizes. Feast your eyes upon one of their two Outlander shirt designs ($34):

Women’s V-Neck Shirt featuring Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (image courtesy of Litographs)

2. Highly specific scented candles and melting waxes. 

Does the writer in your life wish her writing cave could smell like an old French bookstore instead of stale coffee and despair?

We Wish You….

It’s the festive time of year and the world, preparing for a celebration, is in a spin.

The Rubies thoughts are turning to the priorities of our hearts.

Letting the holiday come and go without telling our readers Happy Holidays would be a sin.

We cherish your support and wish you the merriest of days while we’re apart.

Delight in the hugs received, relish the food and drinks of the season– even if it’s Uncle Joe’s bathtub gin.

Most of all, be safe, and please pray for those who carry worry and sorrow upon the hearts.

Happy Holidays! We’ll be back on the 26th.

The Rubies

Ruby Holiday Survey Results

The results are in! I feel a little like Ryan Seacrest right now, holding the sealed envelope containing all the juicy info. Ha!

But before I reveal the responses, I want to say a BIG THANK YOU to everyone who took the Ruby Holiday Survey. We had 43 people participate. Not too shabby, considering how busy everybody is at this time of year.

Now…let’s have a look at the data, shall we?

1. Which December movie do you most want to see?

The Hobbit – 38%

Cirque du Soleil – 5%

Les Miserables – 57%

2. Which TV series do you anticipate most in 2013?

Downton Abbey – 42%

The Walking Dead – 8%

Castle – 50%

Write-ins: none (2), Once Upon a Time (2), Sherlock (2), Justified, Touch, Scandal, Smash, Supernatural, Fringe, Arrow, Deadliest Catch

 3. Best holiday pie?

apple – 38%

pumpkin – 31%

chocolate cheesecake – 31%

4. Best holiday drink?

egg nog – 35%

champagne – 30%

double whip mocha – 35%

5. Who would you most like to meet under the mistletoe?

Mr. Darcy – 64%

Christian Grey – 4%

Jamie Fraser – 32%

Write-ins: Roarke(3), hubby (2), Wolverine/Hugh Jackman (2), JL Mealer, James Bond, Hawke, Izzy Zanella, Nathan Fillion, Matt Foster, Dallas Beaudine, Blade Tyburn, no one

6. Most likely to:

cook a feast – 44%

order in – 19%

head out to family’s or friend’s house – 37%

7. Would you rather…

hit the slopes – 12%

hit the mall – 0%

stay at home in front of the fire (with a book!) – 88%


 8. When it comes to wrapping presents, you’re most likely to…

use festive paper and matching bows – 55%

stick them in gift bags – 28%

bribe someone else to do it for you – 17%

9. Best Christmas cookie?

gingerbread man – 35%

cut out sugar cookies with sprinkles – 35%

snowball – 9%

chocolate chip – 21%

10. Where I stand on holiday shopping:

Presents are wrapped and ready to go – 12%

Mostly done; still need to wrap a few – 57%

Starting to panic – 24%

Will be at the mall on Dec. 24th – 7%

Analysis: The data suggests that we are a mall-averse, book-loving people. We take our pies, cookies, and drinks seriously. Our mistletoe preferences tend to be specific, understandably so.

Your turn! What do you take away from the numbers? Did anything surprise you?

Ugly Ornament Party (plus bonus survey & giveaway!)

Grab some eggnog, friends, and gather ‘round! Today, we celebrate…the ugly ornament.

They’re the unsung heroes of the Christmas tree. The macaroni angel you made in kindergarten. The evil nutcracker Aunt Phyllis gave you as a housewarming gift. The “hand blown glass” football that your husband got free with a tank of gas. (The same one that, defying all odds, survived the tree crash of 1998 and the cat attack of 2005.)

They come in all shapes and sizes and have all sorts of juicy history behind them. You know what? We think they need a little love too. So here, for your viewing pleasure, are a few ugly ornaments—courtesy of the Rubies.

Writing Thru the Christmas Crazies!

It’s December, and we are currently knee deep into the annual holiday season. As women, we are usually the ones responsible for the planning and plotting that goes into holidays, even if they aren’t being held at our house. The same is true for me—I do the planning, my hubby does the inviting (usually without telling me until the last minute). We end up with a house full of family and friends who eat, talk, laugh, and play games all Christmas day. That’s after a month full of other parties, family celebrations, gift buying, etc. Something I enjoy with a heart full of gratitude.

Christmas Trees
But all this partying makes it tough to get any writing done. The list of things to do can extend to infinity sometimes (or at least feel like it). All this extra party planning can really cramp my writing style. I’m sure even you non-writers find time short during this busy season. So what’s an author to do?

Here are a few tips:

1. Up your word count on the days you CAN write.

I know this sounds like it will take even more time, but when you do get uninterrupted writing time, do your best to up the amount of your goal. My usual goal for weekdays is 750 words, but for December I’m aiming for 1250. This way, I can manage a few days off during the month without guilt or getting really behind. So push yourself to do more, and enjoy your reward later.

2. Take it One Small Step at a Time

It can be overwhelming to sit down and face a 1000 word goal, but how about 250 words? Oftentimes, I don’t write my whole goal in one sitting. I can’t, because I have very few uninterrupted chunks of time in my day. So here’s how I approach it: During my morning break at work, I plot out the scenes I’m going to work on that day. Then on my lunch break (30 minutes) I type on the Alphasmart. I also have 1 hour set aside for writing directly after dinner. I try to keep that sacred (doesn’t always work, but I try).

Then thirty minutes while the kids do homework or clean their rooms or 30 minutes while the hubby watches a television show. Just 30 more minute before bedtime, then I can sleep. You’d be surprised how much easier it is to tackle any large project in smaller steps.

3. Be Prepared

For plotters, this is much easier. But it is also doable for pantsters too. Before putting down your pen for the day, take a few moments to write out the first few sentences of your next scene. Make sure your notes on the coming pages are complete and you have a decent map for where you are heading. This will make jumping into the next session much easier (no staring at a blank page wondering what the heck you were thinking to have them break into the warehouse so soon…) and your writing will flow more quickly from the start.

I find a To Do list essential for big projects and my writing is no different. This way, I can see how much time I have, then jump into whatever task I have time for, without worrying I’ll forget what else needs to be done.

4. Utilize the Buddy System

Find a writing friend who needs to accomplish as much as you do at this time. Vow to keep each other accountable. Daily emails require you to send in those totals, even if the sum is 0 (and embarrassing enough to force your hands to the keyboard). Set up times for write ins (getting together for the sole purpose of writing—bookstores are great for this).

And don’t forget a reward. Plan an outing to get your nails painted or a massage when all the hard work is done. A night out to dinner with some girlfriends. Or form an accountability group where everyone pitches in $10, and the top three performers during the holiday season get to split the pot for After Christmas shopping! This will give you a tangible reward, other than the relief you’ll feel when you see all those words on the page.

My hope is that you’ll be able to be as productive as I hope to be this holiday season. We’re all busy. I know that. But you can still manage something (this is me giving ME a pep talk here). So tell me your best advice for getting writing (and other holiday tasks) done during this busy time. (because I need all the help I can get!)

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