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Archive for christmas week

UPDATE: The winner of AN ENCHANTED SEASON, GLASS HOUSES and THE DEAD GIRLS’ DANCE 2-in-1 book, DARKNESS CALLS and ARTHAS is Carol (posted under “Anonymous” at 3:31am). Please send your physical addy to contests(AT)knightagency.net. If the prize is not claimed in two weeks, another winner will be selected.

Also, we’re happy to announce the winner of our week-long scavenger hunt — Elie!!! She will receive a MEGA prize pack of TKA books, along with some special holiday treats. Thanks to everyone who participated!!!!

We’re finishing off Christmas Week in style with a grand finale post featuring four of TKA’s NYT bestselling authors! These lovely ladies answered a fun holiday Q&A post and are each giving away a book! Leave a comment to be entered in the random drawing for all four titles: AN ENCHANTED SEASON by Nalini Singh, et al., a 2-in-1 trade paperback of GLASS HOUSES and THE DEAD GIRLS’ DANCE by Rachel Caine DARKNESS CALLS by Marjorie M. Liu, and ARTHAS, A World of Warcraft Novel by Christie Golden.*** The winner will be announced Monday afternoon (12/21/09).

Don’t forget our scavenger hunt question! Collect all 5 answers and enter to win a Christmas stocking filled with oodles of books and holiday treats! Last question at the end of the post.

Authors Left to Right: Christie Golden, Marjorie M. Liu, Nalini Singh and Rachel Caine

HOLIDAY Q&A WITH TKA:

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE HOLIDAY STORY OR MOVIE?

MARJORIE: Oh, man! I can’t just name one! A Wonderful Life, Holiday Inn, Babes in Toyland, The Bishop’s Wife, Holiday Affair, Die Hard, and A Smoky Mountain Christmas (video below). And, of course, anything to do with the Nutcracker.

NALINI: The Princess Bride. It’s not technically a holiday movie, but it always used to be on T.V. during Christmas time when I was younger, and it really fits – it’s funny, romantic, and it leaves you sighing with happiness.

RACHEL: Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. LOVE that story, and the movie too. It’s always been my favorite.

CHRISTIE: The Bishop’s Wife, the original with Cary Grant and David Niven. I like it because while its sweet, it’s not saccharine, and come on…Cary Grant as an angel? How can that miss? I also am very fond of Rudolph and The Little Drummer Boy.

WHAT IS YOUR MOST TREASURED CHILDHOOD MEMORY OF THE HOLIDAYS?

MARJORIE: I have so many. We lived in the Pacific Northwest, and my dad and I would go fishing or down to the docks to throw in nets for crabs (for Christmas dinner) and then my mom and I would bake all kinds of pies and cookies. We also had fun making ornaments, and searching for THE PERFECT TREE. Easier said than done! The house was always full of Christmas music — still is, this time of year.

NALINI: For me, it’s all about family, about being able to spend time laughing, eating and relaxing with those I love. Those are the best memories.

RACHEL: My mother made me a totally fantastic red Victorian dress for Christmas — floor length, with about 5 yards of fabric in the skirt. I just loved that dress. It made the holiday feel so wonderfully traditional and festive.

CHRISTIE: Waking up early with my father and having to WAIT while my older siblings and mom woke up on Christmas Day! Hard as it was at the time, in retrospect, those are very dear moments spent with my father in a very quiet space.

WHAT WAS THE BEST CHRISTMAS GIFT YOU EVER RECEIVED? THE WORST?

MARJORIE: Just being with family was always a wonderful gift.

NALINI: Ooooh, hard question. One Christmas present I received a long time ago that I still have is a giant stuffed bear that’s bigger than my cousin’s five-year-old. I loved him when I got him, and I love him still :-) As for the worst…we won’t mention those ;-) It is the season of goodwill after all!

RACHEL: Best: a professional quality clarinet (I was planning on being a professional musician before I turned author!). Worst: um, not to throw my husband under the bus, but there was this Lionel train …

CHRISTIE: A really big giraffe…almost as big as me at the time! I had no idea what it was when I saw it wrapped. The worst? Socks. Every year. Okay, they’re not that terrible, but they’re -socks.- :D

QUICKFIRE QUESTIONS:

White lights or multi-colored?

MARJORIE: Either one. I love lights.

NALINI: White.

RACHEL: White!

CHRISTIE: White!

Real tree or plastic?

MARJORIE: I prefer real, but once the trees dry and the needles drop — and it all becomes a fire trap — I begin to prefer plastic!

NALINI: Plastic. (Actually, the best word would be fibre-optic *grin*)

RACHEL: Fake all the way. BUT NICE. And not prelit, because that’s totally cheating.

CHRISTIE: Depends–if it’s classy, plastic is convenient…real, though, smells sooo good.

Love to gift wrap or where’s the gift bag?

MARJORIE: Depends on the gift!

NALINI: Gift wrap.

RACHEL: Depends on the gift. I don’t mind the easy to wrap ones, but if it’s odd sized, gimme the bag!

CHRISTIE: Gift bag!

Gifts: Surprise you or best to just ask what you want?

MARJORIE: I love a good surprise.

NALINI: Torn, I’m torn! Both.

RACHEL: I’m easy. :)

CHRISTIE: Ask what I want through the year and then surprise me. :D

The day after Christmas: Ready to shop to you drop or avoiding all streets that lead to the mall.

MAJORIE: I don’t do a whole lot of shopping, so I’m the kind who definitely stays at home, eating leftovers in my pajamas, and reading a good book.

NALINI: Avoid, avoid, avoid!

RACHEL: I curl up and watch movies all day. It’s the best day off EVER.

CHRISTIE: Avoid like mad. This is the time to stay home, eat leftovers, and enjoy your gifts and family.

CHRISTMAS WEEK CONTESTS: Remember, there are TWO ways to win! Today’s prize is AN ENCHANTED SEASON by Nalini Singh, et al., a 2-in-1 trade paperback of GLASS HOUSES and THE DEAD GIRLS’ DANCE by Rachel Caine, and DARKNESS CALLS by Marjorie M. Liu! The winner will be announced Monday afternoon (12/21/09).

Also, at the bottom of each post there is a scavenger hunt question. The answer can be located somewhere on the authors’ websites. Send in all 5 correct answers* to the scavenger hunt questions, and you will be entered in a drawing to win a TKA Surprise Christmas Stocking filled with books and holiday treats!!!

SCAVENGER HUNT QUESTION (5 of 5): Which one of the authors above (Nalini, Rachel or Marjorie) once wrote under the pen name Julie Fortune? Visit www.NaliniSingh.com, www.RachelCaine.com and www.MarjorieMLiu.com to find the answer! ***Christie Golden was a late addition to this post, therefore she’s not an “official” part of the scavenger hunt. However, please DO visit her awesome website, www.ChristieGolden.com for information on her awesome sci-fi, fantasy and horror novels!!

*Please note, that the correct answers to the scavenger hunt questions must be sent in at one time. You must collect all 5 answers and send them in one email. Entries for the scavenger hunt will be accepted from Friday, December 18th thru Sunday, December 20th at midnight. The winner will be announed on this blog Monday, December 21st, 2009. If you have any questions about this contest, please contact contests(AT)knightagency.net.

UPDATE: The winner of a signed copy of THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF TIME TRAVEL ROMANCE is Chelsea B.! Congrats! Please send your physical address to contests(AT)knightagency.net.


It’s that magical time of the year again! This past Friday marked the first night of Chanukah, and since I was a kid I’ve had eight nights of latke-eating, dreidl-spinning, chocolate-nomming, and present-opening – and, best of all, candle-lighting. I’ve always loved the candles the best, always and forever.
However, the Chanukah presents I got as a kid did not inspire shock and awe – Chanukah is traditionally a minor holiday in the Jewish calendar. One year I got a peanut – a peanut! It was part of a biology kit where you could sprout the peanut and see the root growth or something – I never learned the details because, I am sorry to say, I ate it.

Another year I got Mexican jumping beans, and I had the sense to at least not eat them. But they were dud beans and didn’t even wiggle. A sad, sad little present, that one…

But I honestly didn’t really care, because for me Chanukah has always been all about the lights. Chanukah is about the victory of a tiny, fragile flame over the forces that seek to snuff it out.

It is therefore the perfect holiday for writers, no matter what their background – our dreams are sparks, and writing itself is a way of shining light into the world. The best presents I’ve ever gotten were in the spirit of that little flame shining in the night.

My sixth grade teacher, Mr. Brady, once gave me a magical Chanukah present – he disguised it as a prize for my writing, and it was one of the most wonderful presents I’ve ever received. He gave me the book BLACK BEAUTY, and called my parents in to the school to tell them I was a born writer. He was the first person to insist I was meant to be a writer, and to this day I am in Mr. Brady’s debt.


That gift has stayed with me forever, not only the book itself, but the generous, loving spirit of its giver, my teacher. My passion for writing was a fitful little ember in those days, and Mr. Brady gave me the gift of seeing that light in me, and encouraging it to shine.

If you have a writer in your life, the best present you could give them is one that fans the flame inside of them to write. Time to write, books, chocolate…anything that celebrates that light’s desire to dance.

I want to pass on that giving spirit. I have a special present for you – a contest! One person will win a copy of the newly-released MAMMOTH BOOK OF TIME-TRAVEL ROMANCE, with not eight, or even twelve, but over *twenty* stories of love, powerful enough to defy time and space. I have a story in this collection, “The Walled Garden,” that considers the precious gifts we sometimes give each other without realizing. May you be inspired by these stories to write your own…


All you have to do to win is share in the comments – if you are a writer, what are you hoping to get this holiday season? Or, what was the best present you ever got? Think of it as a public service – there are only four days of Chanukah left, but there’s still plenty of time to get these presents, for yourself or from somebody you love… If you are all out of ideas, just leave a comment and we’ll throw your name in the magic hat.

Thank you for sharing your ideas, and may your holidays be filled with generosity, warmth, laughter, and light!

CHRISTMAS WEEK CONTESTS: Remember, there are TWO ways to win! Each day this week (December 14th – 18th) a guest blogger will give away a signed book to one person randomly chosen from the comment section. Today’s prize is THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF TIME TRAVEL ROMANCE, featuring a story by author Michele Lang! Check back in this post tomorrow morning to find out if you are the winner! Look for Michele’s upcoming release LADY LAZURUS in 2010.
Also, at the bottom of each post there is a scavenger hunt question. The answer can be located somewhere on the author’s website. Send in all 5 correct answers* to the scavenger hunt questions, and you will be entered in a drawing to win a TKA Surprise Christmas Stocking filled with books and holiday treats!!!
SCAVENGER HUNT QUESTION (2 of 5): What is the name of the literary character that Michele says mirrors her own writing style? Visit www.MicheleLang.com to find the answer!

*Please note, that the correct answers to the scavenger hunt questions must be sent in at one time. You must collect all 5 answers and send them in one email. Entries for the scavenger hunt will be accepted from Friday, December 18th thru Sunday, December 20th at midnight. The winner will be announed on this blog Monday, December 21st, 2009. If you have any questions about this contest, please contact contests(AT)knightagency.net.

UPDATE: The winner of a signed copy of FLESH AND SPIRIT by Carol Berg is Sandy Shin! Congrats! Please send your physical address to contests(AT)knightagency.net.

First a little bit of introduction, and then onto Carol Berg’s awesome post! This week we’re celebrating the holidays with a line-up of guest bloggers, including Carol, Michele Lang, Michelle Celmer, Twila Belk and a very special mega-blog on Friday featuring New York TImes bestselling authors Marjorie M. Liu, Rachel Caine, Christie Golden and Nalini Singh! As part of the celebration ALL of the authors are giving away signed copies of their books and TKA is hosting a special scavenger hunt!

There are TWO ways to win. Each day this week (Dec. 14 – Dec. 18) a guest blogger will give away a signed book to one person randomly chosen from the comment section. Also, at the bottom of the post there will be a scavenger hunt question. The answer can be located somewhere on the author’s website. Send in all 5 correct answers* to the scavenger hunt questions, and you will be entered in a drawing to win the TKA Suprise Christmas Stocking overflowing with books and holiday treats!!!
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Magic on a Winter’s Night
People often ask me when I became a storyteller, and I tell them I didn’t even begin writing until halfway through my software engineering career, when my kids needed less of my off time. But a few nights ago when the moon was full, bright enough to cast shadows, and I stood at my bedroom window looking out on the foothills of the Rockies, I realized that the roots of storytelling went back a lot farther, back to when I was a kid. It wasn’t something that happened during the day. That was time for school and playing outside, family business, and reading, reading, reading – my favorite pastime. No, this other thing happened at night.

Nighttime always had a magical feel to it back then. In a Texas summer when the weather was hot, my sisters and I would lie out on quilts in the back yard to catch the breeze and watch the stars, wondering what it was like “up there.” And we’d watch the planes go over and wonder who got to ride on them, where they were going, and what it was like.
Autumn brought Halloween, the night we could take off down the street on our own, wading through the dry leaves. We’d scare ourselves with ghost and goblin sightings as we raced between porch lights.
In the spring, it would rain at night, and I’d raise the bedroom window as far as I could, because nothing smelled better. I’d breathe in the rain smell, along with the scent of gardenias and roses, and I’d feel the breeze and think about how it would be to live out there in the wet with nowhere to go. Rain changed things. Rain was like a magical curtain. I felt adventurous on those nights, because the house was dark and everyone else asleep. Sometimes I would get my doll and play with her beside the window because that was the time when she seemed almost real.
Winter nights were the best, especially clear nights with the moon so bright the trees cast shadows. Those nights were so bright and so quiet, and our street was so deserted that I could imagine fae creatures who came out only when the rest of the world was sleeping. Maybe they were people who lived with wild animals or who had the power to keep themselves warm on such cold nights.

Everything changed in the moonlight. Our yard – the big oak trees and the shrubs – looked so different at night. I was sure that if I were to venture out into the neighbor’s back yard it would be an entirely different place than I saw in the sunlight. A long time later, when I first read Susan Cooper’s “The Dark is Rising”, I understood immediately what Will Stanton felt when he opened his front door and looked out on a world entirely changed.
By far the most exciting of those winter nights came at Christmas time, when I was half scared I would SEE fantastical creatures (because I had several years’ solid evidence that they came) and I was half scared I wouldn’t. So I pulled up the quilts and cracked open the window so I could smell the cold air. . .and listen. I imagined I heard sleigh bells. I imagined I heard whispers. I imagined I heard footsteps on the roof. I imagined. . .


That was the beginning, of course. Storytelling is not the process of setting words on paper.

Storytelling is wondering. It is asking how would it be if. . .? It is opening the window and imagining people who not oneself and who inhabit places that are strange and unfamiliar. It is seeing people and events in a light that makes them look real. Storytelling is heeding the scents and smells and sounds of the world, and allowing them to whisper a story in your ear. Imagine. . .

Author’s Note: Mythopoeic Award-winning book BREATH AND BONE featured a race who danced in the moonlight on the winter solstice.
SCAVENGER HUNT QUESTION (1 of 5): What is the name of the main character in THE LIGHTHOUSE DUET series? Click here to visit Carol’s website.

Also remember that you can win twice! Collect the scavenger hunt answers, and also leave a comment to enter a random drawing for a signed copy of FLESH AND SPIRIT! The winner of Carol’s book will be announced in this post tomorrow morning.

*Please note, that the correct answers to the scavenger hunt questions must be sent in at one time. You must collect all 5 answers and send them in one email. Entries for the scavenger hunt will be accepted from Friday, December 18th thru Sunday, December 20th at midnight ET. The winner will be announed on this blog Monday, December 21st, 2009. If you have any questions about this contest, please contact contests(AT)knightagency.net.