<![CDATA[ - Blog]]>Wed, 16 Dec 2015 12:56:24 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Happy Holidays to all!]]>Wed, 16 Dec 2015 20:23:29 GMThttp://www.fionamcgier.com/blog/happy-holidays-to-allI just cut out a cartoon for our fridge.  It shows a man commenting to his wife that she's writing out more Christmas cards than usual.  She replies that she's trying to return to a more traditional holiday.  He asks if she means she'll do lots of extra work, decorating, baking and writing, wearing herself to a frazzle and getting crabby and irritable so she can't enjoy her holiday.  She replies, "Yes, a traditional Christmas."  Sigh...

So far, despite working 2 jobs, 13-hour weekdays plus a half-day on Saturdays, I've baked 7 kinds of cookies, bought all of the gifts I plan on getting, and delivered cookie packages to some of the people who are good to me all year.  I'll probably bake a couple more kinds of cookies, and finish the deliveries by this weekend, since I'm having hernia surgery on Monday.

So wearing myself to a frazzle?  Check.  Doing things the traditional way?  Check.  But I wouldn't have it any other way.  Years ago I started a tradition of gifting small plates of cookies to people who enhance my life...from the guy in the retail store who always waits on me, calling me by my first name and making me feel special, to the woman who cuts my hair.  There are the teenagers who grade work at the center I tutor at, and the teachers at the school I sub for who ask for me by name, to keep me working.  All of these people matter to me, and I like to let them know how much I appreciate it, with a small token of buttery goodness. 

But since I've been so busy, something had to give, besides the sleep I'm not getting every night, as I try to keep up with things at home.  My promoting has been demoted into the back seat so far that it's locked in the trunk.  And I haven't done any writing since the school year started, along with my 2 jobs and long days  Real life has demanded that I spend less time in the worlds of my imagination, and more in the here and now.

The reward has been family time that I've enjoyed immensely, including when one son got married in September, I wore the dress I made for it, and my other 3 kids were attendants.  Plus we got a wonderful new daughter to love!  Win-win for everyone.

I do have a book (Secret Love) whose new, revised edition will be out soon, but my publishing company was sold and things are taking time to get finalized.  No worries, since I'm not in any hurry right now.  I'll be laid up on the couch for the days directly leading up to the holidays, so probably won't be on-line here...or anywhere...much.

About the only thing I'll be able to do is pray for peace and tolerance to spread its healing warmth around our poor, beleaguered planet.  So Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Joyful Solstice, and best wishes for a Happy New Year to everyone! 

Here's one of my favorite Christmas cookie recipes:
Walnut Sandwich Cookies
2 sticks butter + 2/3 cup powdered sugar + 1 tsp. vanilla.........................Cream together.
1 3/4 cups flour + 3/4 cups finely chopped walnuts......................Blend well into mixture.
Using 1 level tsp. of dough roll into balls and place on ungreased cookie sheets.  I like to flatten them with a powdered sugar-dipped glass bottom.
Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.  Cool completely.
Chocolate filling: Melt together 1/2 cup chocolate chips + 2 Tbsp. Butter + 2 Tbsp. milk, mixing while heating (I use the nuke) to blend well.
Add ½ tsp. vanilla, mix, then add 1 cup powdered sugar and mix well again.
(You can thin with more milk if desired.)
Spread filling on one cookie, then sandwich with another.  Roll sideways in extra finely-chopped walnuts, so the nuts stick to the filling. 
These freeze well and last only until someone finds them!

<![CDATA[Round Robin for November]]>Fri, 20 Nov 2015 23:22:40 GMThttp://www.fionamcgier.com/blog/round-robin-for-novemberPicture
The topic for this month: when have you either performed or received a random act of kindness that made your day better?

Recently I was in the drive-up at the local Dunkin' Donuts, waiting to pick up our coffees, since we had a long drive ahead of us.  There were 4 of us.  When I got up to the window, the clerk told me that the person in front of us had paid our tab.  This is the first time anything like this ever happened to me!  So naturally, I paid the tab of the person behind me.  One good deed deserves another, right?

Not really random, but when my kids were very young and I was still making babies (I had 4 in 5 years), I was in a mom's support group that used to be called "FEMALE", for "Formerly Employed Mothers At Loose Ends."  The name changed subsequently to "Mothers and More."  I enjoyed the camaraderie of other women who were making the economic sacrifice to be mostly at home (many of us had one or more part-time jobs.)  We took care of each other. 

Whenever someone would have a baby, the calls would go out and we'd sign up to bring that mom dinners, usually for at least a week, once she was home with the baby.  All I needed to hear was how many people, how old are the kids, and where do they live.  Then I'd do my part to make her life easier.  This worked out for me also, since after my second child I got a week's worth of dinners, but after my third child, I must have had almost three weeks of dinners supplied by other moms.  Sometimes no one liked the meals I got, but at least we were fed, and most supplied a dessert as well, so at least the  kids would eat that!

I remember talking to my mom, telling her about receiving the dinners, and she'd be so happy that I had such good friends, even though I'd point out that many of the women who delivered meals I had never met before.  But when I'd tell her in subsequent years that I had to hang up, since I was delivering a dinner to someone else, she'd question why I was doing that, since money was tight for us.  I'd point out that when I needed, things were supplied to me by the universal karma that surrounds the planet, courtesy of other women.  So when someone else needed, it was my turn to step up and deliver.  I never regretted making meals for strangers...in fact, it made me feel, somehow, more totally human, since I was giving to another person just because, with no expectation of getting anything in return.

How about you?  Have you ever received a random act of kindness?  Or have you ever done one?  How did it make you feel?

Find out what the next author in the queue thinks by going to:
Bob Rich      http://wp.me/p3Xihq-z4

<![CDATA[Round Robin for October]]>Fri, 23 Oct 2015 23:45:20 GMThttp://www.fionamcgier.com/blog/round-robin-for-octoberPicture
This month's topic is seasonally appropriate: Do you believe in angels, spirits, ghosts, demons or other ethereal beings or locations? What do you think when they appear in stories? Have you used them in your own stories?

I'm a very logical, orderly person.  Possibly this comes from being a Capricorn, but it also comes from being very good in math from an early age, and being practical, as well as enjoying making things orderly.  So I am the last person anyone would think would believe in spirits and ghosts.  But I do.  Why?  I've had personal experiences that have convinced me that, as old Will (Shakespeare) said, "There are more things on Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamed of in your philosophy."

When husband and I first lived together, we soon became aware that there was a "presence" that lived there also.  It was the bottom half of a very old house, and our dog was always alerting us when the spirit was making itself felt again.  Things would fly off the dish rack, where there was no one in the kitchen.  You would feel "watched" sometimes.  We never felt threatened, just aware. 

The 2 houses we've owned haven't  had any spirits in them, but the neighbor's house does, and they aren't so friendly. Even though only 1 man lives there, whenever he's home, all of the lights on both floors AND the basement, are on.  The mother in the family that used to live there told me once that her daughters made her turn all of the lights on every night because, "It makes the voices quieter."  I once needed to use her dryer, since mine had broken.  She went out shopping, but left the front door open so I could go into the basement...in the middle of the afternoon.  As I went down the stairs I had to stoop, because it's the oldest house on our block and has that very low ceiling that old houses have.  The light was dim.  I started loading clothes into the dryer, then felt a chill in the air, and started hearing "whispering noises" coming from behind me.  The hairs on my neck stood up and my spine tingled. I called out that I was only doing laundry and to leave me alone.  Then I ran up the stairs and out of the house.  I didn't go to retrieve my laundry until she was home, and I did the rest in a laundromat.  

Have I ever used spirits or paranormal elements in my stories?  I have had characters feel that they are being watched over or helped somehow by deceased loved one.  And I do have a couple of books with vampires in them.  But even though paranormals are some of my favorites to read, my muse doesn't often give me stories along those lines.  

I love a good ghost story, or one involving vampires/shifters, witches, etc.  The only exception is stories about angels.  I mean they're supposed to be ethereal and without human desires.  So romances that involve angels with huge wings, as well as huge sex drives and cocks to match, always make me laugh.  I can't get the picture of a skinny being in a long, white robe, with a halo over their head and snowy, white wings unfurled, out of my mind.  Not a very sexy image to me.  How about you?

What to some other authors think?  Click on their websites and see.  And happy month of Halloween!

Marci Baun  http://www.marcibaun.com/blog/
Margaret Fieland  http://www.margaretfieland.com/blog1/
Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
Beverley Bateman  http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
A.J. Maguire  http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/
Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com/
Heather Haven http://www.heatherhavenstories.com
Bob Rich      http://wp.me/p3Xihq-wU
Anne Stenhouse  http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com/
Helena Fairfax  http://helenafairfax.com/
Hollie Glover  http://www.hollieglover.co.uk
Rachael Kosinski  http://rachaelkosinski.weebly.com/
Connie Vines  http://connievines.blogspot.com/
Skye Taylor   http://www.Skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Rhobin Courtright  http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com/

<![CDATA[Where on the web am I?]]>Sun, 18 Oct 2015 23:37:41 GMThttp://www.fionamcgier.com/blog/where-on-the-web-am-iI visited a couple of other websites this week:

On my usual blog on the 16th at the Sweet 'n' Sexy Divas site, I pondered, "A Kiss is just a kiss...or is it?"  Come read my thoughts on kissing, along with a smokin' hot excerpt from my free novel, Prescription For Love.


I also did a couple of guest blogs on a sister author's site:

I answered some questions on Friday:


And I gave some blurbs on Saturday:


Here's a quickie contest for everyone:
Leave a comment at all 3 of the sites, then let me know in the comments here, along with giving me the title of which book of mine you'd love to read next.  Also, sign up for my mailing list.  I'll check it out, then sent you the free eBook just for following me around.  Sound good?  Be seein' you!
<![CDATA[October 08th, 2015]]>Thu, 08 Oct 2015 16:25:31 GMThttp://www.fionamcgier.com/blog/october-08th-2015
I'm so excited!  I got 5 new readers to sign up for my mailing list!  To celebrate, I'm offering all of you the opportunity to choose any one of my eBooks to read!  I'll be sending a private email to each of you, letting you choose which series you'd like to tap into. 

And I'll have some news soon on the first of four books that are being re-issued.  The editing is done, the cover has been approved, and I'm waiting for the publishing date.  Updates will be provided, along with a peek at the new cover. Talk to you all soon!
<![CDATA[Sign up for mailing list, win free read!]]>Thu, 01 Oct 2015 03:36:07 GMThttp://www.fionamcgier.com/blog/sign-up-for-mailing-list-win-free-readThat's right!  See that entry form thingie on the right side of this website under the obligatory age-warning?  Just add your email and name there and click "submit."  I'll wait a week and choose a winner from the names.  I promise not to send any spam or junk.  I'll just let you know when I have a new book coming out, when I'm running a contest, etc.   I value my readers and their time.  I hope you value my books!
<![CDATA[What a difference a day can make...]]>Thu, 17 Sep 2015 02:23:55 GMThttp://www.fionamcgier.com/blog/what-a-difference-a-day-can-makeFor anyone wondering why I won't be a part of this month's Round Robin, it's because I'll be out of town...2 states over, in fact.  The first of my 4 children to wed is getting married on Sunday!  Woot!  We love his lady, so we're all happy about the upcoming party. 

For more of my thoughts about marriage, please visit my monthly post on the Sweet'N'Sexy Divas site:

And let me know what you think: If you live together before married, does anything change once you speak those vows in front of your assembled family and friends? Has the concept of marriage out-lived its usefulness?  Or is it still going strong, as evidenced by the desire of many previously denied that ceremony, to exercise it now?  Or should I stop having my romance novels end with marriage plans?

Let's discuss.  And maybe I'll post a picture of me wearing the dress I made to wear to the shebang!

<![CDATA[To ink or not to ink...that's a question?]]>Fri, 04 Sep 2015 18:26:30 GMThttp://www.fionamcgier.com/blog/to-ink-or-not-to-inkthats-a-question
I got my first tattoo, a small flower on my right breast, when I was in college in the 70s and the only women who had them were Cher and hookers. It was to be a memento of my wild youth, to carry into old age. 20 years later, to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary, I got my husband's name in a heart tattooed on my upper thigh. I planned the next one on the drive home. I did that for a few years, calling it my mid-life crisis, while I was in my early 40s. Husband once asked me, "If I let you keep getting tattoos..." I interrupted him, "Excuse me, LET me? It's my body and if I want to cover every inch of it, it's none of your damn business." He grimaced and said, "Okay then, if I don't say anything about your getting so much ink, promise you won't leave me for 2 hot, young men in a convertible?" I smiled and nodded and he's never complained since then.

I have 10 right now, but some have been worked on twice. Most recent was a tribute to my late Mom, that finally allowed me to stop crying daily, a year after she passed away. A columnist I admire once said that tattoos can be the "outward manifestation of a prayer." And that's what all of mine are--deeply meaningful to me, they express what's important to me: husband, kids, family, along with the added bonus of seeming rebellious, since most women my age still don't have much ink. I enjoy seeing opprobrium or disapproval on the face of people looking at me when I'm wearing revealing clothing. Otherwise I'm a boring, happily-married older woman who works way too many hours for too little money, and whose kids tease her for having taught them the world revolves around sex...which I still believe.

How about you?  Do you have any interesting tattoos?  Any pictures you want to share?  Do you regret any or them?  I don't.  Or are you like my oldest son, who thinks they're "gross," and ugly?
<![CDATA[August Round Robin topic: Stereotypes]]>Fri, 21 Aug 2015 21:39:00 GMThttp://www.fionamcgier.com/blog/august-round-robin-topic-stereotypes
Do You feel certain genres stereotype men and women?  Why do you think that happens?  How do you prevent it in your writing?
(Note: posting early since I have a long day at work on Saturday. Will reply to comments when I can.)

Stereotypes are a kind of short-hand, allowing us to assume that we are all, authors and readers, on the same page (pun intended.)  All genres stereotype men and women because the understanding is that these are "universals", accepted examples of what a man or woman is like, what position he or she occupies in a society.
   Historical novels, including romances, don't have much lee-way unless they involve time-travel, in which a contemporary person deals with the constricted roles of the past.  Behavior was prescribed in most time periods, and only the very low classes could ignore the standards all were inculcated with.  But authors rarely write about the lowest classes because readers seem to prefer the more important figures in society: the rich and powerful, rather than the trials and tribulations of the cook or the toilet cleaner. So while rich people worried about finding an appropriate spouse, the poor never even bothered to marry, since they had nothing to leave to their children anyway.
   Writers of sci-fi, fantasy and paranormals, with and without romance, have total freedom because the author is inventing an entire world/galaxy, and peopling it with characters whose behavior is dictated by standards known only to the author.  If an alien, fairy, or shifter culture has female warriors and men who care for children, that will be accepted by the readers as long as the story is well-told.
   The genre that's in-between none and total freedom, is contemporary.  This includes fiction of all kinds, from mysteries to suspense to pure romance stories.  No matter which culture the story is set in, there are cultural norms that must be adhered to.  This doesn't mean that specific characters can't defy the standards, but that others must react to that defiance as per the traditions of that society.  This can be used as a plot-point, to allow for the characters to show their courage by facing and/or overcoming societal censure.
   While many authors support the prevailing standards by using stereotypical protagonists, I eschew them by writing characters more like people I know.  I write strong, independent women, alphas if you will, who are pursued by intelligent yet sensitive men, beta males.  I know many women who can compete in the workplace, yet still enjoy their family life as well.  I also know many men capable of doing the same.  And I know a stay-at-home dad who has raised the kids while his wife is an executive, and their marriage is as solid as anyone's.  The key is for men to be versed in what I refer to as "women-speak."  This involves discussing feelings and personal issues, and not keeping things bottled up inside.  The alpha males I've known were capable only of generalized small-talk, and were unaware they even had feelings, let alone able to access and understand them.  Not my idea of interesting men at all.
   I also have no interest in the popular trope that involves virginal, inexperienced women who are taught about life (and sex), or continually being rescued by the big, strong, aloof, alpha male.  These females have been called TSTL(too stupid to live), and though they sell lots of books, they're not women I'd like to  read or write about. 
   Of course, since stereotypes are the accepted cultural norms, stories that utilize them are likely to capture the current zeitgeist and become best-sellers.  This limits my readers to those who prefer less traditional roles for their protagonists.  But at least this way I can enjoy having my characters "live" in my head, telling their life stories through me.

What do you think?  Do you agree with me or not?

To check out what other authors have to say on the subject, start with the next name on the list:
Helena Fairfax      http://helenafairfax.com

<![CDATA[Recent movies I've seen...]]>Sat, 01 Aug 2015 21:06:16 GMThttp://www.fionamcgier.com/blog/recent-movies-ive-seenI just read that Tom Cruise's latest Mission Impossible movie is doing great at the box office.  I wish I could be happier about having contributed to that.  Son who is moving out for college soon really wanted to go to the local Drive-In movie theater, since we used to take our kids there a lot when they were younger.  The second movie was Antman, and even though we've already seen that, we stayed for both movies.  Hey, $10 for 2 first-run movies is a great deal!

Disclaimer: I don't really like Tom Cruise much, and family has to drag me to see his movies.  He always stars in action movies, which is the preferred genre for all of us.  But I can't ever take him seriously as a hero.  Plus I'm a huge fan of the old Mission Impossible TV show, especially the little-known reboot of the 90s that still had Peter Graves as Mr. Phelps.  But this time my whole family gave the movie a hearty "Meh."  Husband and son complained that the entire plot was stolen from the first 3 seasons of Burn Notice, one of their favorite recent shows.  I just thought it was kind of dull, and Tom Cruise didn't act so much as do extravagant stunts to flesh out his character. 

I was pleased that the heroine wasn't just arm candy or a trophy to reward him for being so capable.  She was a kick-ass spy in her own right.  And there wasn't even a hint of romance between them, which is good since I don't find him at all attractive.  Jeremy Renner was in the movie also, and that's who I would have preferred as the hero, especially if there was going to be any romancing done. 

If you want to see a good action movie, go to see Antman.  I thought the whole idea was lame, having a superhero that's the size of a bug.  But the movie has humor along with action, pathos along with an implied romance.  And Paul Rudd is convincing as a hero.  My only quibble is that I want the sequel to involve Michael Douglas' daughter's story.  Now that should be good!

And if you really want to see a good spy movie, find Melissa McCarthy's Spy playing somewhere.  (Note: longer review below, under an earlier post.) Now THAT'S a great movie!