Summer Book Giveaway Winners

Thanks to all those who entered the Summer Book Giveaway contest by guessing where certain vacation photos were taken. The three winners were Mary, Charlynn, and Chelle. (I picked the winners by counting up the total number of comments and used a handy random number generator to pick three random numbers.)

Also, congrats to everyone who correctly guessed where the photos were taken. I’ve reposted the photos below with information on where they were taken along with why we happened to stop at each particular place. Enjoy!

Photo#1: Shoshone Falls, Idaho. On our way up to Boise to see my sister and her family, she suggested we stop here if we wanted our kids to stretch their legs. It's a nine mile detour off I-84 but well worth the trip.

Photo #2: Idaho State Capitol, Boise, Idaho. An unplanned stop. We were on our way to another part of Boise when my sister asked if we wanted to go check it out. Very beautiful and the entire building has been recently restored.

Photo #3: Old Idaho State Penitentiary, Boise, Idaho. Another unexpected stop and by far the most interesting place we visited. The kids enjoyed running around old cell blocks and "locking" themselves in cells. I got tons of ideas for scenes in upcoming novels and took tons of photos. The photo below was taken near the exercise yard.

Old Idaho State Penitentiary

Photo #4: Mount Rushmore, South Dakota. I was surprised how popular this place was and how many touristy things there are to do in the Rapid City area. (Thankfully my sister gave us the heads up before we went there.) Fun to see and the Black Hills are gorgeous.

Photo #5: Devil's Tower National Monument, Wyoming. Despite living in Casper, Wyoming for two years, I never made it up to this part of the state. The sheer size of the mountain is breathtaking. Sadly, there was no secret military base on the top of the mountain.

Photo #6: Devil's Gate, Wyoming. To keep our devil-themed Wyoming trip, we stopped at Devil's Gate, Wyoming. Actually, we stopped by Martin's Cove which just so happens to be in the vicinity of Devil's Gate but thought that this was a more interesting photo. :-)

Where Am I #6

Here's the last vacation photo--probably the toughest of the bunch. If you’d like to win one of my books (your choice), feel free to take a guess where the photo was taken. If you haven't already, feel free to guess the other photos here, here, here, here, and here. Each guess will give you one entry into a drawing to win. If you guess correctly, you get a bonus entry. By the time my vacation is over, I’ll pick three random posters to win one of my books. Here’s the fifth photo. Look for the next one tomorrow. I’ll list the locations and the winners when I get back. Have fun and good luck!

Where Am I #4

OK, this one is easy. I’m on vacation for the next week or so and will be posting the occasional photo of my travels. If you’d like to win one of my books (your choice), feel free to take a guess where the photo was taken. Each guess will give you one entry into a drawing to win. If you guess correctly, you get a bonus entry. By the time my vacation is over, I’ll pick three random posters to win one of my books. Here’s the fourth photo. Look for the next one tomorrow. I’ll list the locations and the winners when I get back. Have fun and good luck!

Where Am I #3

I'm on vacation for the next week or so and will be posting the occasional photo of my travels. If you'd like to win one of my books (your choice), feel free to take a guess where the photo was taken. Each guess will give you one entry into a drawing to win. If you guess correctly, you get a bonus entry. By the time my vacation is over, I'll pick three random posters to win one of my books. Here's the third photo. Look for the next one tomorrow. I'll list the locations and the winners when I get back. Have fun and good luck!

 

Where Am I #2

I'm on vacation for the next week or so and will be posting the occasional photo of my travels. If you'd like to win one of my books (your choice), feel free to take a guess where the photo was taken. Each guess will give you one entry into a drawing to win. If you guess correctly, you get a bonus entry. By the time my vacation is over, I'll pick three random posters to win one of my books. Here's the second photo. Look for the next one tomorrow. I'll list the locations and the winners when I get back. Have fun and good luck!

Where Am I #1

I'm on vacation for the next week or so and will be posting the occasional photo of my travels. If you'd like to win one of my books (your choice), feel free to take a guess where the photo was taken. Each guess will give you one entry into a drawing to win. If you guess correctly, you get a bonus entry. By the time my vacation is over, I'll pick three random posters to win one of my books. Here's the first photo. Look for the next one tomorrow. I'll list the locations and the winners when I get back. Have fun and good luck!

The Paperback Game

Looking for a game to play at a party or when on vacation? A writer for the New York Times has what looks to be a hilarous way to pass the time while on vacation or at a party where there are lots of books lying around.

Here’s what you’ll need to play: slips of paper (index cards work well), a handful of pencils or pens and a pile of paperback books. Any sort of book will do, from a Dostoyevsky to a Jennifer Egan, and from diet guides to the Kama Sutra. But we’ve found it’s especially rewarding to use genre books: mysteries, romance novels, science fiction, pulp thrillers, westerns, the cheesier the better. If you don’t have well-thumbed mass-market paperbacks in your house, you can usually buy a pile from your library, or from a used-book store, for roughly 50 cents a pop.

***

Once you’ve gathered your loved ones at the table — 4 to 10 is optimal — and opened fresh bottles of wine and perhaps put on an old Ry Cooder record, here is how the game unfolds. One player, the “picker” for this turn, selects a book from the pile and shows its cover around. Then he or she flips it over and reads aloud the often overwrought publisher-supplied copy on the back cover.

***

The other players absorb these words, and then write on their slips of paper what they imagine to be a credible first sentence for Ms. Lindsey’s novel. Essentially, they need to come up with something good — or bad — enough to fool the other players into thinking that this might be the book’s actual first sentence. Players initial their slips of paper and place them upside down in a pile at the center of the table.

Meanwhile the picker — the person who read the back cover aloud — writes the book’s actual first sentence on another slip of paper. He or she collects all the slips, mixing the real first sentence with the fakes, and commences to read each one aloud. Each person votes on what he or she thinks is the real first sentence.

Here’s how score is kept: If someone votes for your bogus sentence, you get a point. If you pick the real first sentence, you get two points. (The picker doesn’t vote in this round.) Now go around the table clockwise. Someone else picks a book, and you repeat the process until a round ends – that is, until each person has had a turn at being the picker. Or you can play until the wine bottles are drained, and it’s time to go outside to gawk at the stars.

You can read the entire article here.

This would actually be a fun game to play at my parents home where there are tons of books lying about. I’m heading over there for the 4th but alas we already have tickets to a demolition derby. However, it’s something I’d like to try next time I’m at a party or hanging out with the family later this summer.

If any of you have played The Paperback Game (or something similar) I’m curious as to how much you enjoy it. According to the author you don’t have to be a book worm or a writer to excel at the game—just creative.

A Lost Vacation

LOST Vacation

A coworker is heading to Hawaii next month for vacation. He’s going to unwind, relax, spend time with his family, and go see all the places on Oahu where they film LOST.

Yeah, I’m jealous.

Sure, swimming in the ocean and eating pineapple would be nice. But it would be really fun to take some pictures of some of the more famous places in LOST and send emails back to friends and family telling them how your plane had crashed and you found yourself stuck on an island with smoke monsters and the Dharma Initiative.

That would be fun.

***

Speaking of LOST, I’m impressed with the way the writers are driving the show home. We’re getting more answers then questions every week and I’m actually enjoying the “side” universe that the characters are experiencing. I just hope the “side” universe has a point to it. I’m nowhere close to figuring out what it is but so far the writers have been good so I’m going to trust them.

As for what’s going to happen on the island? I don’t know. I’m done trying to predict the show. I’m just kicking back and enjoying the ride. :-)

Holiday Random Thoughts 2008

Happy Holidays 2008

The gym I go to gave me an early Christmas present: The decided not to put those annoying TV monitors on all the treadmills!

Seeing Santa Claus in person still scares my two oldest kids to death.

All Marathon Girl wants for Christmas is for the baby to come.

At the store the other day I came this close to buying a CD of Christmas songs sung by Elvis for Marathon Girl and the kids. Maybe next year.

I find myself wishing some creative songwriter will come up with a new but memorable holiday songs. I’m tired of the old ones.

My kids’ favorite holiday activity is driving around and looking at all the holiday lights on the houses. They get such a kick out of it, I really enjoy driving them around.

It amazes me when I hear unemployed people quoted in news stories saying they’re taking the holidays off from job hunting because “companies don’t hire in December.” Uh, yeah they do. I interviewed for and was offered my last two jobs in December. And even though these are challenging economic times, there are still lots of companies who have positions that need to be filled January 1. By not looking for work in December, you’re digging yourself in a bigger hole.

Some of my best holiday memories are from white elephant parties.

My kids love playing in the snow. Makes me wonder if they’ll be upset when we eventually move to Houston and only see a dusting of snow every four years or so.

For the first time in my life, I’m working for an employer that has Boxing Day as one if it’s official, paid holidays. Now I’ll see if I’ve actually been missing out on anything all these years.

Since I have to burn my unused vacation time before the end of the year, I’m taking A LOT of time off work over the holidays I’m going to use it to finish my latest novel, watch season 4 of LOST on DVD, and play with my kids.

I hope all of my readers have a happy, safe Holiday season. Look for my Best of 2008 column next week then I’ll see you all in 2009!

Finally, A Vacation

Phoenix, Arizona

The phone call came like an answer to a prayer.

For several days Marathon Girl and I had been discussing when to take some time off and where to go on vacation. The phone rings. On the other end is my friend Brent.

Brent calls just to see how things are going and then mentions that the Tigers will be in town soon to play the Diamondbacks.

The Tigers are coming to Phoenix? I’m stunned. I looked at their schedule back in March and didn’t remember seeing that. I get online and discover that the Tigers do have three game series in Phoenix in mid-May.

Suddenly family vacation plans materialize. A trip to Phoenix to enjoy the company of friends, see their two kids, and squeeze in a Tigers baseball game.

And our trip would coincide with a wonderful event for Brent and his wife. The adoption of their second child is scheduled to be finalized that week and they have some fun things planned in celebration.

We’re still working out the details but it looks like the family heading to Phoenix sometime in mid-May.

Suddenly, I'm not so tired anymore.

I Need a Vacation

I’m exhausted. I can barely keep my eyes open and its only 2:54 p.m. Writing my second book late into the night and waking up early is finally catching up with me. I ran four miles today during lunch and didn’t have the energy to run at my normal pace.

It’s not that the extra effort hasn’t been worth it. In the last 30 days I’ve completed 11 chapters – nearly half of the book. And if I keep it up, I’ll meet my personal goal of having the book done around the end of April.

Still, my non-stop life it taking its toll.

I think I need some time off from work and writing.

The best way to do this is with a fun-filled vacation with the family.

Marathon Girl, you reading this? Let’s plan something.