Tag Archives: Jeannie Mobley

That time of year for making lists

Really, I make lists all year long. I’m a firm believer in the “To Do List,” mostly because I enjoy scratching things off of them. It makes me feel productive.  I admit, I have been known to add things I’ve already done. I also put down silly little things, like “refill coffee cup.” Because it’s all about the scratching them off.  “YES!” I think triumphantly, giving myself a mental high five for such grand accomplishments as “wipe off the table,” “hang up wet towell,” and “wash eyeglasses.” VICTORY IS MINE!!!

But this is the time of year for that other kind of list.

The holiday  list.

The truth is, I don’t go shopping on Black Friday. I don’t like the crowds, I don’t like the standing in line. But really, when I think about it, there’s nothing out there in all those deals that I really want or need. I’ve got plenty of stuff in my house. I’ve got plenty of clothes in my closet. And so do my kids, my siblings, my parents. Everyone on my holiday shopping list doesn’t really need anything, a fact for which I am very grateful.

Of course, there’s more on the holiday To Do List than shopping. There are the parties and cards and decorating and entertaining and baking and…

housewifeListening to the commercials on TV and the radio, what we seem to be sold most during the holidays, is stress. At some point, we lost the idea that we are supposed to do things at the holiday to spread and share  joy. Every radio commercial I hear on my commute to work features the frantic housewife, cooking and cleaning and decorating for the masses, the frantic parents or lovers trying to find the perfect gift, the overworked, stressed out shopper, desperate to get it all done.  They aren’t helping us enjoy the holidays, they aren’t trying to give us a sense of joy. They are selling us stress–If you aren’t stressed out, you aren’t doing it right!

If that’s right, I gave up doing it right a long time ago. This can be a joyful time of year, but only if we choose to make it so. Likewise, this can be a hard time of year, for those who have lost loved ones or are alone. So my list, this holiday season, isn’t about what I can buy or how many things I have to get done. This list is about joy.

  1. This holiday season, I’m going to do things that bring joy to myself and others.
  2. All those things that the commercial society tells me to do but I don’t really want to? I’m saying no. Seriously, I’ve seen lights, baked cookies, been to parties. If I’m in the mood, I’ll do those things, but the season isn’t made better by overdoing them, when I’ve already had enough.
  3. I’m going to spend time with those I love, instead of spending time spending money on useless stuff for those I love.
  4.  I’m going to remind myself to look on the bright side–even the things that make me angry or frustrated must have a bright side somewhere.
  5.  I’m going to seek joy, even when its hidden.
  6. I’m going to find time to write. Because that’s important to me, and grounding, and stress relieving. Even when the cats are on my page.

That’s my holiday list as we enter the Christmas season. Now to start ticking them off.

**Addendum: The cats have made their  stress free holiday season lists too:

ChloeThe Dowager Empress:

  1. Eat
  2. Sleep
  3. Eat

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Little Sister:

  1. Eat
  2. Sleep
  3. Stalk birds through the windows

 

IMG_2950Demon Cat:

  1. Eat
  2. Sleep
  3. World domination

 

A Book Club Kit for SEARCHING FOR SILVERHEELS

BookClubIcon

I’ve been busy, busy, busy, working with the fabulous Kirsten Cappy of Curious City, putting together some fun and games for book clubs!  So today, I’m proud to announce, a new book club kit for my book SEARCHING FOR SILVERHEELS!  This book would be a great choice for readers ranging in age from about 10-14 (although adults have told me they enjoyed the book as well!) It might be a good choice for mother-daughter book clubs, or groups interested in the 100th anniversary of World War I, or researching the heroines of the suffrage movement!

 

GriddleCakes
All the best recipes are the ones with the splattered up pages.

What, you ask, is a book club kit? Well, it’s 20 pages chock full of stuff to make your book club meeting more fun! Including:

  • Menu items, to have a book club lunch or snack, including recipes from the era that came directly from my great-grandma, transcribed from  my grandmother’s recipe book
  • Crafts that fit the themes of the book
  • Decorations, to take your club meeting back in time

 

What’s that you say? You aren’t looking for fun? You have a serious book club that prefers a more intellectual approach to reading and discussing?

SuffragistsMrPresident
You can take this book club thing as seriously as you want!

Fear not, academically minded reader!  Those twenty pages also include:

  • Thought provoking discussion questions, chapter by chapter
  • Historical background about the era and the place to make you even smarter.
  • Web links to sites with primary historical documents and photographs to learn more about the suffrage movement, World War I, and Como, Colorado, where the story is set.

But wait! There’s more!

  • Read alikes (other books with similar themes that readers might want to explore)
  • Videos (for young and old, that address women’s suffrage–be prepared for an ear worm)
  • Advertising help for bookstores, schools, or libraries hosting the book club meeting
  • Instructions on arranging a free Skype visit with the author during your book club meeting

What would you pay for a valuable resource like this?

$20.99?

$10.99??

$5.99???

And does it come with a free set of Ginsu knives????

Sorry, folks. No knives. BUT, to make up for that, we’ve made the SEARCHING FOR SILVERHEELS BOOK CLUB KIT

ABSOLUTELY FREE!!!!

That’s right. Absolutely free. You can download it for FREE here at my website.

BUT WAIT! THAT’S NOT ALL!!!

City-Banner-2Because for a limited time, if you are a librarian, teacher, or book club organizer, you can not only download the book club kit, but you can enter to win a free copy of SEARCHING FOR SILVERHEELS over at Curious City. And while you are there, browse around for the other great reading enrichment materials they provide free of charge!

And most of all, happy reading!!!

It’s Halloween! And you just stepped Off the Beaten Path!

HBT14--Off-the-beaten-pathHello, brave trick-or-treaters, and welcome to the OFF THE BEATEN PATH Halloween Booktrail.

Bwahahahahahahahaha!!!!

There are six intrepid authors here, waiting in the dark to jump out at you with our Halloween posts. At the end of this post, you will find the link for the next one, and a chance to win some extra stuff here, in addition to the cool stuff you can win at the end. So, let’s get rolling.

I’ve chosen to answer some interview questions, sent to me by the lovely and charming bruja, Zoraida Córdova! Here they are:

If your MC went trick or treating, what would they dress up as and why?

Searching for SilverheelsFRONTSmThat’s an easy one! Pearl is a romantic at heart, so she wouldn’t be one to go parading around all dripping with gore and nasty goop. No, Pearl would go dressed as her heroine–the beautiful dancer Silverheels. This costume would include a dance-hall girl dress, circa 1861, and of course, beautiful silver-heeled dancing shoes.

Fear not–you are not going to have to see either me or my main character in this costume. But if you just want to imagine that I would look exactly this good in this outfit, be my guest.

If Pearl were doing this today, she’d probably end up feeling a bit embarrassed. When I was getting ready to do a release party, I thought, “I know! I will dress up as a dance-hall girl myself for the release party–that will be fun. Then I Googled old west dance hall girl costumes and discovered how–um–minimal some of those run these days. And I realized me in one of those itty bitty saloon girl costumes would qualify for the “most terrifying costume ever” award. So I refrained.

 

If your villain went trick or treating, what would they dress up as?

My villain, Mrs. Phoebe Crawford would not be playing dress up when there is a war on and all our efforts are needed for our boys over there, thank you very much! Then again, who can blame her for being a bit cranky with a name like Phoebe.

 Do you legit believe in ghosts and things that bump in the night? (We won’t think you’re cray)

To be honest, I’m not sure what I believe. I have several scenes in Searching for Silverheels set in a cemetery, because I think cemeteries are places with a unique energy. Whether that energy is there because of ghosts or because of all the grief and emotion of visitors, I’m not sure.

cemeterybuckskinjoe
The cemetery at Buckskin Joe, where my main characters, Pearl and Frank try to catch the ghost of Silverheels–and do encounter a few things that go bump in the night.

When I was writing Searching for Silverheels, I gave a character the last name Sanford, a name I picked because college mailings were coming to my son at the time I was working on the manuscript, and a letter from Stanford was sitting near me on the table as I tried to think of a name for the character. I changed it to Sanford and went on to write the rest of the story. Later, after the manuscript was written, I found out that the real person in the past who did almost exactly what my character did, was a Mr. Sanford. Coincidence? Spiritual channeling? Whatever it was, it gave me goose bumps.

 What is your favorite Halloween memory?

Halloween in Colorado is a bit of a challenge. No matter what you dress up as for trick or treating, chances are it will be under a parka, hat and gloves when you actually go out trick or treating.

When I was a kid, Halloween consisted of picking an outfit out of the family trunk of costumes–ghost (sheet with eye holes), hobo (old patched up clothes), Mummy (strips of torn up sheet to wrap up in), and we went up and down our road with all the other kids. I lived in the country, so, there were only about five or six houses, so no matter what house we went to, it was someone’s mom who opened the door.

I remember being insanely jealous of the kids whose parents bought them a brand new costume, which in those days was one of those cheep crinkly plastic masks and a glorified trash bag printed with a character. Now, when I open the door and see a kid in a sheet with eyeholes (which is almost never) or wrapped in miles of toilet paper, I give them an extra handful of candy.

Yeah, baby. That’s what all the cool kids were wearing.

 What is the most haunted place you’ve ever been to?

In my day job, I’m an archaeologist, so I have been in a lot of museums and archaeological sites, some of which can be pretty spooky. Most museums have ghost stories or “odd occurrences” associated with certain rooms and artifacts. I’ve definitely gotten some weird vibes in deep, dark storage areas filled with creepy stuff.

unexcavated site
An unexcavated archaeological site. Not so scary. Until you’re all alone. Being watched. And night is creeping up on you. And you have the imagination of a fiction author whispering in your ear.

My most memorable “haunting,” though, was when  I was recording an archaeological site all by myself. I got that “someone’s watching” feeling. It kept getting stronger, and finally, while I was mapping the ruins of a big ceremonial structure, I realized a great horned owl was sitting in a tree watching me, even though it was broad daylight. It was pretty cool, but a little creepy too, because I know that owls are associated with native witches in that part of the world. It watched me map the whole structure, and then when I moved on to map some other parts of the site, it glided to another tree to keep an eye on me. It watched until I mapped the whole site and left, and then didn’t follow me any more. I couldn’t help but think it was a guardian to the site, or maybe working for a guardian.

So that’s it for me and Halloween. Next up on the OFF THE BEATEN PATH   Booktrail, the fabulous Holly Schindler!

BUT BEFORE YOU GO, leave me a comment, for a chance to win your choice of a book, a manuscript critique (15 pages max.) or a skype visit for your school or book club! And don’t forget all the fabulous prizes you can win at the end of the booktrail too!

Now, on to Holly!HBT14--Off-the-beaten-path

 

It’s Caterday. Time to play.

Something about the fall is making my cats go a little nuts. Maybe it’s the cooling weather. Maybe it’s the fact that night is expanding in the world, and they are creatures of the night. Maybe they are just a little nuts.

Whatever it is, they are running randomly around the house, attacking things (shoes, tennis balls, the dog, each other.)catfight

As I watch them, I realize they are taking play seriously. This is something I don’t really do enough.

It is something I need to do more in my life and my writing.Because I’m feeling desperate for growth right now, and one thing I used to do when I was growing, was play. A lot. But then I got all grown up, and I put away both growing and playing a little too much, I think.

So today, I’m going to go sit in the sun and write something silly and joyful. Maybe I will share it with you. Maybe I won’t. But I’m going to commit to making it fun. Who knows, maybe I’ll run around the house, throw myself down on the living room floor and attack a tennis ball. Or maybe I’ll go for a walk and enjoy the fall color. But I’m going to commit to more play.

So, I’m off. And I hope you are playing too.

 

Well, it had to happen eventually

My blog has been disabled for some time now, due to changes in my website, laziness, technical difficulties, laziness, and cats. But that’s all about to change.

Of course, the cats had to come into it. I’m on the sofa writing this right now, and this is the view immediately to my left.

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The thing is, it doesn’t much matter where, or what, or when I’m writing, it seems that there are always cats on hand.

This isn’t entirely my fault. Well, okay. Yes it is. See, I have this little problem. Actually, I have two problems, but they sort of connect.

TwoCoversOne is that I’m a writer. This may not seem like a problem, if you don’t know many writers. If you are among those with a romanticized view of the profession, in which you believe that writers write books that make them rich and famous and allow them to live a life of luxury and leisure.

The truth is, writing is hard work. Hard work that takes empathy, sensitivity, and a hide as tough as old sun-dried leather. It’s not an easy calling, but it is a calling none the less, and I have fallen victim to the siren song, for better or worse.

I have also fallen victim to cats.

It all goes back to the empathy thing. That and a visit to the humane society website that showed a sweet old lady of a cat that had been there for a year, unloved and unadopted. And also,  a sickly stray left at my son’s apartment.  And to a distinct inability to wisely say “not my problem” and walk away.

And so here I am, surrounded by cats. Four cats. Or possibly three cats and a demon.

The real tragedy of the whole situation is that, in addition to being hairy little freeloaders,  my cats have acquired a fan following on social media at least as big as my own (and possibly bigger). It therefore seems in my best interest to include them on this blog. After all, I may not be interesting enough to lure you all in on my own. And I certainly don’t have enough to say about myself to keep this entertaining. So, I will be exploiting my cats for your entertainment. But don’t worry. They will get their revenge. They are, after all, cats. Except for the one who might not be.

Allow me to introduce you:

Demon Cat (We  call him a “cat” to humor him, but we all know where he really came from)

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The Dowager Empress (a Russian Blue who may or may not be of Romanov lineage, but is most certainly of Romanov attitude)

Chloe

Little Sister (who prefers not to be touched or posted on blogs that in no way concern her, as she is above all that)IMG_0365

and Princess Creampuff (Don’t kid yourself–that isn’t sweet. That’s a tiny little pitbull in cat’s clothing).

Luna

 

 

small seatedAnd of course, there’s me. Jeannie Mobley. Author of Katerina’s Wish and Searching for Silverheels. Only a couple of tabbies short of  a Crazy Cat Lady diagnosis. And I’ll be updating you about writing, and cats, and writing with cats from time to time right here. On this blog.

Right after I serve up the Fancy Feast.