Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Unique Christmas Tree Ideas

Chances are, by now you already have your Christmas tree up and fully decorated. This year, it seemed like everyone but me had their tree up November 1st.

I remember being excited the first time I could pick out a Christmas tree all by myself. The tree in my apartment looked a lot like this:

Mostly, I like unique Christmas trees. When they were the "in" thing, we had a fiber optic tree, which was awesome because it seemed to shimmer.

In recent years, upside-down trees were popular with people who liked something different.

But if you really want to be adventurous, you can reimagine the concept of a Christmas tree altogether. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

This tree is made from books:

So is this one:

You can use all those spare hub cabs in your garage to make a tree:

Or just drink a lot of wine:

If you like Christmas villages, this one's for you:

Here's one for the nerd in your life:

And another one:

There's also one for fashionistas:

And shoe lovers:

Basically, these trees show that there's no limit to the many ways you can decorate your house for the season. 

What's your favorite type of Christmas tree?

Also--there's a Piper Morgan to the Rescue giveaway on Goodreads. Enter before Wednesday to win!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Piper Morgan to the Rescue by Stephanie Faris

Piper Morgan to the Rescue

by Stephanie Faris

Giveaway ends December 07, 2016.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Introducing the Charming Life of Izzy Malone By Jenny Lundquist

I'm so excited to bring you today's new release. Jenny Lundquist's first two Aladdin books came out right after I sold my first one to them. I was reading her books while writing and editing mine! So I can't wait to read her third book as an official fellow author. This her latest. Scroll down to read all about it!


Izzy Malone, a spunky girl who wants to be part of an elite rowing club, must first attend a very unique charm school in this first novel of a brand-new duology from the author of Seeing Cinderella and Plastic Polly.

Izzy Malone isn’t your typical sixth grader. She wears camouflage combat boots and tie dye skirts; the Big Dipper and Orion are her two best friends; and she’d rather climb trees or shoot hoops than talk about boys and makeup. And after only a month of middle school she’s already set the record for the most trips to the Principal’s office.

The only time Izzy feels at peace is when she’s on the open water, and more than anything else, she wants to become a member of the Dandelion Paddlers, her school’s competitive rowing club. But thanks to those multiple trips to the Principal’s office, Izzy’s parents force her to enroll in Mrs. Whippie’s Charm School, a home-study course in manners and etiquette, or they won’t let her race in the Dandelion Falls annual pumpkin regatta—where Izzy hopes to prove to the Dandelion Paddlers she is more than qualified to be on their team.

When Mrs. Whippie’s first letter arrives it’s way different from what Izzy was expecting. Tucked inside the letter is a shiny gold bracelet and an envelope charm. Izzy must earn her first charm by writing someone a nice note, and once she does more tasks will be assigned.

Izzy manages to complete some of the tasks—and to her surprise, she actually finds herself enjoying the course. But when one of her attempts at doing something good is misinterpreted, she fears her chances at passing the course—and becoming a Paddler—are slipping away. With some unexpected friends there to support her, can Izzy manage to earn her charms and stay true to herself?

Buy Links:


Jenny Lundquist grew up in Huntington Beach, California, wearing glasses and wishing they had magic powers. They didn't, but they did help her earn a degree in intercultural studies at Biola University. Jenny has painted an orphanage in Mexico, taught English at a university in Russia, and hopes one day to write a book at a café in Paris. Jenny and her husband live in northern California with their two sons and Rambo, the world's whiniest cat.


Monday, November 28, 2016

Mystery Monday: John Glasgow

It's Monday, which means it's time for:

Every Monday, I'm presenting a new mystery. Some have been solved...some remain unsolved to this day. 

Today's mystery fascinates me because it involves a normal family man. 45-year-old John Glasgow was a respected accountant in the construction industry. He was the top accountant at CDI Construction in Little Rock, Arkansas.

John and his wife, Melinda

CDI was undergoing an audit by one of the company's owners, Dillard's. The audit put so much stress on John, he took a ski trip to Colorado. His brother noticed he seemed uncharacteristically depressed. However, a quick talk seemed to cheer him right up.

He returned home and worked nonstop, trying to catch up on the other work that had fallen behind during the audit. He worked the entire weekend of January 27th and had a great dinner with friends on Sunday evening.

On Monday, January 28, 2008, his wife woke up to find he wasn't in the house. She went to work, assuming he'd simply left the house before her. That afternoon, John's co-worker called to say he hadn't shown up for work that day.

A neighbor said he saw his car pull out of the driveway at 5:15 a.m. That was unusually early for him to go to work.

They found a list of important numbers by the phone, including the combination to their home safe. It had been set out on the counter where it could be easily seen. The handwriting was confirmed to be John's.

Image credit: Investigation Discovery

They traced John's cell phone and found on that date, it traveled from his house to Conway County, Arkansas. Soon after, John's car was found at the top of nearby Petit Jean Mountain, in the parking lot of Mather Lodge. It was unlocked. His laptop, credit cards, and cell phone were in the car.

Mather Lodge

They searched the nearby trails for years and found nothing...until 2015. Police confirmed they'd found bone fragments they had identified as John Glasgow's in a remote part of the nearby mountains. While the remains were only a mile from the car, getting to them involved steep trails and almost insurmountable boulders.

There were no signs of trauma to the skull, nor were bullet fragments found. That doesn't rule out foul play, but it still leaves quite a few questions. Why was John Glasgow in the woods--was he on a simple hike when something happened? He was known to "walk it off" when he was stressed. Or did he meet someone at the lodge who forced him into the woods? Was it suicide or murder? 

What do you think happened to John Glasgow?