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Enjoying it while it lasts

The sun was out in Seattle yesterday. It was completely spectacular. So, my friend Anna Alexander and I decided we needed to head to the waterfront to write.

This was the view from our table at the Edgewater. Isn't it spectacular? 
 And we weren't the only ones enjoying the weather. Several boats of various sizes slowly meandered by that window in the three hours we were there.

So, okay...we didn't get much writing done. Instead we jabbered endlessly and enjoyed the day. 
Next time we'll write.
Sometimes you just have to enjoy the little things, right?

What have you done to enjoy the day lately? Gone anywhere wonderful?


Happy Hunk Day

What is it about a man that can cook?

I hope you all have a fabulous Hunk-Day. 


SWAG, Part I

With everyone gearing back up for the start of conference season, I thought I'd bring up an old post, which has relevant info: SWAG


I've been talking about wanting to blog about swag. As we get deeper and deeper into Emerald City Writers' Conference planning, we're getting a lot of questions about our goodie bags (or swag bags) and what we accept, why we accept some things and not others.
A friend sent me swag from the Lori Foster Reader & Author Get Together. Full disclosure, I did not attend this year. I do not know if the items I'm about to show were all in a bag for attendees, if they were picked up from various authors over the weekend, maybe a little of both. For the sake of this blog, I'm going to speak as though they were all presented to attendees in a swag bag.
First off, WOW! What a haul!
I dumped unloaded the box onto my coffee table to go through everything in an order of what catches my eye and why. No real sorting for this presentation.
As I sit down I start to organize so my little Type A heart doesn't go into overload before we even begin. The first thing that catches my eye: the books.
 I haven't read any of these. AND, I see a sampler, which I love. That means there are several authors who have bound excerpts of their books, or short stories, so I can test out new authors without having to try a whole book. 
Not an actual print book, but FREE EBOOK catches my eye. I'm going to be checking this out as well.

Next are some unique items that I haven't seen before in bags:
 A small compact. I NEED one of these in my purse, I've been thinking about this for the past couple of weeks, so this is perfect. I love it.
As the mom of elementary age children, this ruler will be well hidden. I don't want my first grader taking it to school with him, or asking his teach what "Hot Doms" means. (Could you just imagine the phone call home that would lead to?) But, I love this. I haven't seen anything like it before and I'm keeping it in my office.
These items are sure to be stolen by my children (well, the blue ones anyway), but I'm okay with that. Very fun.

More fun items:
A calendar from The Killion Group that features some covers they've done. It goes May 2013 to March 2014. So pretty.

A CD featuring Chapters, trailers and more. I'm intrigued.

This is a very small, inexpensive notebook and the author put her sticker on the cover. Very clever and makes her stand out from the crowd.

A few temporary tattoos and pins.

Now, we're into the paper products. The bookmarks, trading cards, business cards, postcards...all those things that everyone seems to have a ton of.
At ECWC we don't accept paper products in the goodie bags because we get inundated with them. A few years ago attendees were piling up all the paper products they didn't want to keep on the tables. It looked like PR bombs had gone off all over the hotel.
I almost don't know where to start just because of the sheer volume. Keeping with what I've been doing so far, I grab what catches my eye:

These items were packaged in baggies, so I went for them first. 
Pawing through the pile a bit more a couple other items catch my eye. The Ellora's Cave stuff is in a baggie, and the trading card turned bookmark caught my eye because of the ribbon added (presumably by the author). 
More pawing through to see what I can find:

adding a sticker got my attention

There are some fun items that I missed on my first and second (and third) glance because they were buried in everything else.
Newspaper articles and pamphlets. I'm not going to read any of this, really. 
I missed this really fun, different bookmark because it's small and got buried in everything else. I really like this idea, but think it needs a way to stand out a little bit more.
Okay, I can't take it anymore. I have to organize what's left into piles of postcards, bookmarks, trading cards. While doing this, I realize some of the trading cards are actual magnets. Huh. Missed that completely.

Book flats
trading cards-can you tell which are magnets and which aren't? I can't and I even had them in my hands.

It's a struggle for authors to find items that work. Things that catch a reader's eye, things that readers will keep rather than just toss in the recycle bin. I hope seeing some swag in this manner, which is how readers/attendees see it, will help!

Next, I'm going to take a look at the items that were found at RWA Nationals last month.

Let me know what you think. Have you found some swag that works well for you? Any sites that have great prices on swag that authors should check out?

You read...what?

Inevitability, it happened again. Someone asked what I was I told them. I'm not ashamed to read romance-- although I find it ironic that no one ever seems to ask what I'm reading when it's not a romance.
And, inevitably, when they turn their nose up and respond with a snooty "oh" I can't stop myself from asking what they are currently reading. Nine times out of ten they say they aren't much of a reader.

So, my follow up question is always, then why do you scorn this genre that I'm reading?  The most recent answer was, "Those books bring no literary value to the table." Do you really only enjoy books that are literary heavy hitters? I don't. Most of the time I have to slog my way through them and trudge my way to every turn of the page. I'll keep my non-literary valued book, thankyouverymuch.

But, here's the thing. I don't care what you read. If you want to read engine manuals, more power to you. Do you get a kick out of historical biographies? Great. True crime? Give me a recommendation. Really, anything and everything in between is up for grab. If it gets to you, lets you forget about your troubles for a few minutes and brings a smile to your face, then by all that's holy, read whatever you want.

There are no rules saying what you have to enjoy. There are no rules saying someone else can't enjoy something completely different. Romance, as a whole, is a very misunderstood genre. And whether it's because it's primarily written by women for women, or if it's just that same trope we use to beat each other up in the mommy wars, very few people seem to really try to understand why millions of women (and men) read it. And enjoy it. And some of them, *gasp* aren't ashamed of it.

I primarily enjoy reading romance. It's my thing. I'm not ashamed. But, again, I don't care what you read. Reading, any type of reading, is sexy. Embrace it.