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There is an inverse relationship between the people I buy presents for and the people who read my blog. So it’s safe to post a good mnay of my purchases here. They will be hiding in plain sight, safe from my relatives’ prying eyes, because their eyes don’t pry here.

Cyber Monday is, apparently, a big online retail day. We laggards who ate, slept and lazed our way through Thanksgiving weekend simply logged on this morning instead of lining up at midnight for flat-screen TVs from big box stores. My haul:

How about some wonderful ceramic art from Sally Mara Sturman? Bee Tea.....Mug

A pair of gray jeans from Kasil: Devoted Lola in Fog
I am told that gray is the vogue color this season.

A gravity-operated automatic pepper mill, which I first used in cooking class.
Trudeau Elite Graviti Battery Operated Pepper Mill - Chrome & Black
A travel vest with like a couple dozen hidden pockets Travel Vest for Women
Also for travel, a Butler Bag: 270x300BlackClassic.jpg

Several books: BookCover

And games: <em>Foodie Fight</em>: A Trivia Game For Serious Food Lovers

And kitchen stuff–onion goggles, anyone?:

A few T-shirts with stupid slogans:
product_image.php?imageid=326i AM that man from Nantucket T-Shirt

Cashmere blankets, one size fits all…
A couple of Bugzookas from because you always run into someone who needs a Bugzooka. zookalone.gif
…and I treated myself to a really great skirt for holiday parties: Metallic Leopard Skirt

I like Shutterfly for making photo gifts. I ordered TONS of wedding prints and calendars and such, because my daughter’s wedding was a once-in-a-lifetime event. Here is a shot of my sister, my brother and me at the reception. Are we having fun yet?

Well! I am so on top of the shopping this year! Where are you shopping and what are you buying?

So on Amazon’s Home Page, the Kindle is displayed with a very familiar book. Thanks, Amazon!

taken around 8am

A writer’s friends wonder–or ask her outright–if she uses real people in her novels. Short answer–yes! You’re in all my novels!
Real answer–real people are way too messy for fiction. In a novel, everybody has to smoothly (and entertainingly) follow an arc from innocence to experience, loneliness to love, ignorance to enlightenment…you know the drill. It’s why we read.
And I always love it when a reader says to me, “That character was so real! You must be drawing on your experience as a Navy wife/survivor of infidelity/recovering alcoholic/practicing alcoholic/kidney donor/fallen woman/mother of twins/lonely librarian…”
Nope, I’m none of those things. If the characters in a novel ring true, it’s because I did my research. In the self-help section of the library or bookstore.
I live in a small town, so people at the library mostly know me. But every once in a while, there’s a new volunteer at the desk, and I can see her concern when I check out a stack of books with titles like Obsessive Love, Healing Your Asthmatic Child, Recovering from Organ Transplantation… And then the next week, I’m back for Forgiving the Unforgivable, My Husband is Gay!, Toxic Teenagers, Is Witness Protection Safe for YOU?….
The volunteers are always too professional to say anything, but I can see the
worry in their eyes.
The beauty of a great self-help book is that it gives you a roadmap to a character, starting with his or her problem, taking the reader through the steps and ending up in a better place. The trick in fiction is to make it look seamless. If the reader wanted a self-help book, she’d read a self-help book.
She’s reading a novel. She wants to be entertained.
So in the book, the goal is to put it in the context of a great story. For me, that’s the fun part. I’m a sucker for the librarian/bad-boy storyline, so I featured it in Lakeshore Christmas. You’ll know exactly what self-help books I read while creating Eddie, but that’s not what I hope you’ll remember about him. There’s that moment when he takes off her horn-rimmed glasses, plucks the hairpins out and her bun melts into a cascade of gorgeous hair, and he says, “Why, Miss Davenport, you’re beautiful!” I know, lame, right? But it gets me every time. Maureen and Eddie are bringing sexy back to the library. That’s what I hope readers will remember.

A video Elizabeth made for her Marketing class. The assignment was to create an iPhone app and make a commercial for it:

So I think I can send in blog posts by e-mail. Bear with me, I’m learning a new trick. Soooo…here’s a picture of Barkis looking pathetic. He cut his widdle paw…

pant pant

Best. Sports movie. Ever.

So on the New York Times web site they’re talking about the biopic “The Blind Side” about a disadvantaged youngster adopted as a teenager by a wealthy family. The debate seems to be about the racial stereotypes…but there really is no debate. It happened the way it happened.

It’s an incredible story. Read the book or article and you’ll agree.

The article referenced above sparked a debate in the comments section. They want to know what the best sports movies of all time are.

My favorites were not mentioned (surprise) so here they are: 

Does “Last of the Mohicans” with Daniel Day-Lewis count?

If not, then it’s “Victory” with Sylvester Stallone, Michael Caine and a bunch of other eye candy, about a soccer team of WWII POWs who take on the Nazi pros. A close second… Maybe “Hoosiers”?

Field of Dreams and Bull Durham are high on my list. How can they not be? Both are as close to perfection as a baseball movie can get. Ditton “The Natural” with Robert Redford.

No! “The Cutting Edge” about pairs figure skating. Be still my heart.

There. Aren’t you glad you asked?

How about you? What are your favorite sports movies?

Thanks to the incomparable Sheila RobertsEagle Harbor Books and everyone who came out on a rainy night for Christmas books, cookies and a fierce competition for a great prize–a spa day!

The baker of the White Chocolate Coconut Cookies won in a landslide!

So I’m breaking in a new friend–a KitchenAid stand mixer. There wasn’t really anything wrong with the previous Hamilton Beach–but the thing was ancient and tended to fling batter 360 degrees around the kitchen, so I got this new one.

ANZAC biscuits 002

new toy

The inaugural recipe is for some delicious, chewy cookies from Down Under. ANZAC stands for Australia-New Zealand-Air Corps. “Biscuits” stands for cookies. And you thought you wouldn’t learn anything from this blog. I’ve Americanized the ingredients so you don’t get confused by metric measures and things like “bicarbonate of soda” (aka baking soda). These are totally simple, first invented during WWII by housewives who needed a recipe without eggs for cookies that would keep for a long time.

They only call for one weird ingredient you probably don’t have on hand–Golden Syrup. I love that they call it that, like it’s something from Harry Potter. This recipe is simple to double, which you might want to do if you live with a cookie monster.

ANZAC biscuits

any oats will do

ANZAC biscuits

Lyle's Golden Syrup, the secret ingredient


  • 1  cup  rolled oats (regular or quick cooking, or combine with oat bran and/or ground flax seed for extra nutrition)
  • 1  cup  all-purpose flour
  • 1  cup  packed brown sugar
  • 1/2  cup  shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1/2  teaspoon  baking soda
  • 4 T butter, softened (use margarine if you must, or if your son-in-law is lactose intolerant)
  • 3  tablespoons  water
  • 2  tablespoons  golden syrup (I think in the South they call it cane syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • optional additions: cinnamon,  almond extract, raisins (they call them Sultanas Down Undah), nuts, chocolate bits…
  • Parchment paper and cooking spray
ANZAC biscui

high performance stirring

Combine dry ingredients, then stir in water, butter and syrup; stir well. Add extra things to taste. Drop by level tablespoons, 2 inches apart, onto baking sheets covered with parchment paper and sprayed with cooking spray. Do not try these without parchment paper. Parchment paper is your friend. Bake at 325° for 12 minutes or until almost set. parchment paper is your friendRemove from oven; let stand 2 to 3 minutes or until firm. Remove cookies from baking sheets. Place on wire racks; let cool completely.If you’re an inquisitive dobie, you definitely want to check out the action. This is a technique Barkis calls counter-surfing.

bake for 10-15 minutes, just keep an eye on themnow you'll wish you'd doubled the recipe


CONTACT: Kirsten Graham Kirsten Graham PR (206) 890-3435

Local Authors, Susan Wiggs and Sheila Roberts, Celebrate the Holiday Season

Cookie Exchange, Reading, and Book Signing at Eagle Harbor Book Company

Bainbridge Island, Washington – Bainbridge Island residents, good friends, and authors Susan Wiggs and Sheila Roberts each have a new book out, and they’re ready to celebrate with friends and fans!       Join these gregarious gals on Thursday, November 19 at Eagle Harbor Book Company on Bainbridge Island, as they read from their new books, share cookies, laughs, and the magic of the holiday season.   If you bring a plate of your best cookies to share, you’ll be entered to win a certificate for a fabulous spa treatment on Bainbridge Island. Or just bring yourself, sample the cookies and enjoy the evening. The festivities begin at 7:30pm. This event is open to the public, and no RSVP is required.  For more information, call (206) 842-5332.

Wiggs will read from LAKESHORE CHRISTMAS, a modern-day fairy tale about the unexpected blessings of the season, and the latest installment from her bestselling Lakeshore Chronicle series.  As an added bonus for readers, LAKESHORE CHRISTMAS features a collection of cookie recipes!

Roberts will read from ANGEL LANE, her open-hearted holiday story about the friendships we make, the chances we take, and the lives we touch every day.   Susan Wiggs is an award-winning bestselling author of more than 30 novels. The recipient of four starred Publishers Weekly reviews and three RITA awards from the Romance Writers of America, Wiggs has hit numerous national bestseller lists across the country. Most recently, FIRESIDE from her popular Lakeshore Chronicle paperback series, debuted at #1 on The New York Times bestseller list. To learn more, visit   Sheila Roberts lives in the Pacific Northwest. When she’s not speaking to women’s groups or at conferences, she can be found writing about the things near and dear to women’s hearts: family, friends, and chocolate.  Visit her on the web at   Eagle Harbor Book Company is a full-service, locally owned, and proudly independent bookstore located at 157 Winslow Way East on Bainbridge Island in Washington State.  A short ferry ride from Seattle, Eagle Harbor Books offers a broad selection of fine new & used books.  For more information, call (206) 842-5332 or visit


Kirsten Graham kirsten graham public relations 206 890 3435

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November 2009