18 December 2013

A Fun List of Gift Ideas for The Family that Has it All

It's that time of year again, when we try to figure out what to buy our friends and family. I thought I'd share a few gift recommendations that I came up for a family that's especially hard to shop for: Mother Nature, Father Time, and their Offspring. The recommendations might come in especially handy: Mother Nature is planning her next party. You might be on the invite list.

If you do get one of her gilded invitations, and you plan on going (crazy person you), you'll want to help keep spirits bright, and tensions low (especially important when you get all six of them together in one room). You'll need gifts that will help you stay under the radar. Or pacify them. (A nugget of truth forms every myth and legend, and is why humans used to offer sacrifices of all sorts to the gods. Although, they aren't as blood thirsty as they used to be.)

Father Time: He loves single malt Scotch whisky. Get him the peatiest available, like a Laphroig or Talisker. Don’t be intimidated by the fact that the Immortal’s Edinburgh estate contains its own wing just for his favorite bottles. It’s the thought that counts. (Pun not intended.) But if you insist on trying to impress him with your knowledge of rarities, and no-limit credit card, try one of these at this site.

Mother Nature: This techno wizard, with macros for her macros in her spreadsheets, will sneak away from the party to check on her creation and climate-tracking models. The ideal Hostess Gift: a digital thermometer that sends alerts via her smartphone so she doesn’t burn dinner again.

Atoño (Autumn): What to get the bachelor with the mischievous streak? Something that can’t come back and bite you. (And that will keep him too busy to notice that you are still in that swoon over his good looks, assuming you're female. If you’re male - then to keep Atoño from paying too much attention to your date). Bring beta versions of all the video games currently in development. Here’s a starting point of the best selling games for 2013.

Nieva (Winter): Ever since she founded that tango dance school down in Buenos Aires, she is always on the look out for great tango music. Bajofundo and Otros Aires are a few of her favorites. Fly the bands in for a live performance. They love her almost as much as she loves them.

Marcela (Spring): Her siblings call her PrimaDona for good reason. (Not to her face. They may be Immortal, but they aren’t crazy.) With access to the top designers at all the major fashion houses, it’s nearly impossible to get her anything that she doesn’t already have. So, bring one of the best portrait photographers with you and give her a personal photo shoot.

For Vera (Summer): Direct and to the point, Summer is. Anything that reminds her of fun in the sun is sure to please her. And if you know anything about Summer and her pleasures, bringing an up and coming male model with a personality that can stand up to her is your best bet. Lately she’s been into a wild and scruffy look, so bring someone who looks like this model to help entertain her.

Hope you have a great time. (Me? I'll be hiding in the bunker until after the party.)

[These characters appear in Winter's Tango - my story that is waiting for me while I work on my time travel/alternate universe/witch hunt story. After writing this list, I wish I was immersed in Nieva's story again. Just more incentive to get Akeva's story finished.]

11 December 2013

My 2013 Christmas List

This year I'm asking for three external hard drives. I know, I know: not sexy, exciting, or sentimental, but practical.

One drive I'll use to to keep my photo library (opening up space to write and store that bestselling series), the second drive will serve as the photo backup, and one more drive so I can run a journaling backup of the laptop's internal drive. With the one drive that I already have to mirror the laptop drive, I'll have a total of four hard drives.

Yes, I'm a little obsessed about backups. But after losing a drive once and all the data on it, I swore to never be in that situation again. I gotta protect my stories, right? One day when I have an income, I'll get that Drobo that I've been pining for.

In the meantime, I'll also ask for a couple more things. Debbie Ohi, an illustrator and writer, does a great job of capturing what else I'd like...

Don't worry. I won't hold my breath that I'll get the time to write or the gripping opening sentence, but a writer has got to dream.

07 December 2013

Books of 2013 per NPR's Book Concierge App

The Internet is full of places to look for book to recommendations: Facebook,  Twitter, GoodReads, LibraryThing, Project Gutenberg, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Audible, Bookish. Then there are the sites by the publishers, Indie booksellers, individual author websites, podcasts, and online book clubs. Millions of places.

Another one is making a ripple in my social networks: the NPR Book Concierge app

I've only played around for a minute or two. I like it so far. It's fairly easy to use and appealing to the eye with all those book covers. The folks at NPR compiled a list of books and added filters that a user can use to find books that fit the user's unique tastes.

I used the Love Stories and Sci-Fi/Fantasy filters to give me this...

more books for my GoodReads Want-to-Read shelf, and to look for at our local library. If I like them well enough, I'll have to buy a copy to keep. (My husband won't mind. Much. Especially if they're ebooks. Right?) I plan to play with the filters some more and see what other recommendations and covers catch my eye.

Has anyone else played with the app? Or have a good book recommendation site that I didn't mention? Or have book recommendations? Let me know in the comments.