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Distractions, Distractions

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Alright y’all, if there’s no book four this fall, don’t blame me, blame my friends and family! They keep booking fun things to do and I keep saying yes!

So, this three-day Memorial Day weekend, I was supposed to be all about the book, book, book. Instead, I was all about the fun, fun, fun! Goodness. Here’s the low down on what I crammed in:


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  • The new Avengers movie. I’m such a snob I guess – I could write better. You could too. Almost anyone. For whatever reason, the writers over complicated this plot making it a little too plodding and not as much fun. Simpler would have been better. Plus it had some big inconsistency for me. Case in point: like the last Avengers, there’s a huge action scene where they pretty much destroy New York City with no regard to people or buildings. But later in the movie, as a big plot twist, they all are worried sick for every single person in a remote village. And truly the threat to the world of lifting part of the continent to drop down on the earth, seemed really out there. Simpler would have been better but still . . . it’s the Avengers. I’m an imagination freak and sci fi fan. Of course, I still liked it! In fact, all of us girls, gave it a thumbs up.

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  • I organized my pantry and my closet! This was monumental. I now know I never need to buy another can of diced tomatoes or tuna fish.
  • I got out for walking and talking, groceries, seeing my sisters new park-like backyard and getting groceries.
  • I won $10 on a lotto scratch off. :)

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  • I made asparagus soup out of a big bag a co-worker handpicked. And . . . I made banana ice cream! It’s my new favorite thing. (Frozen banana, frozen fruit add in of your choice or even choc chips or peanut butter – whatever you want really, a little bit of vanilla, a little bit of some kind of milk – I used almond, stick it all in a food processor and blend like crazy. Really yummy!)
  • It felt 100% like Memorial Day weekend on Sunday when my sis and bil had a bunch of us over for a super fun barbeque picnic. Good for the soul!
  • Finally, on Monday, I sat down to edit and write. Despite 10 hours straight which, trust me, is way too many, I only got to page 83 (currently have 188 pages.) I’m not completely certain because it hasn’t been scientifically proven of course, but I feel fairly sure a turtle could write this book faster than me this time. Woo-boy. But word by word, page by page, it is getting done.

So how about you? Fun stuff happening in your world? Wherever you go, whatever you do, be you. Shine your light!

Sailed on home

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I’m here! I’m here!

Oh my gosh, I’m even wondering where I’ve got off to. :)

Well, truth be told, I’ve been sailing away on vacation. Such a life. I took a week off with a workshop in San Diego kicking off my time away from work and then a slow cruise up the coast of California, Oregon and Washington state before docking at last in Vancouver, Canada.

The bad part of that was I had extremely limited web access. None at all really except for the ship’s computers which were next to none. Soooooooo slow! Goodness.

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The good part of that is it all helped me stay on target for why I was cruising in the first place: to get the first draft done on the new book. I came close. I got about 14,000 words done and I’m close. It looks like this book will be a little shorter than the last two but we’ll see. I still haven’t gotten to those cherished words: The End.

Big things though have been a happenin’! Some that I’m super excited about and others that are more worrisome. Egads. Oh Oh Oh. :)

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On our trip I met so many wonderful people. Traveling helps to remind you that the world is full of friendly people really wherever you go. Sure, there are those having a bad day too, but mostly, we’re just a bunch of great folk living all around the world.

This big push on writing though has also rippled out to other things so if you are one of my super fabulous, super kind Jolly Jingle readers don’t watch for one this month. I’ll coming roaring back in June but, since there was nothing particularly pressing, I decided to give myself a little breathing room and put my time on the writing and editing this month. (And still leave room for fun, family and friends. We elves generally have our priorities in order. :) )

Hope you all have been having fun too! Anyone else gone somewhere fun? See any elves? (Who by the way go on their own vacay this book. :) )

 

Oh Oh Oh! – jingle

 

 

Happy Day to My Mom and ALL Moms!

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This is one of my favorite posts on mom’s so I’m running it again in tribute to you all. Mom’s rock!!

Happy Mother’s Day to all you wonderful mom’s out there making the world a better place to be! Mom’s are a wonderful part of life and I am so thankful to still have mine.

I was thinking the other day, how so many stories — including The Search for South Pole Santa — have moms, parents really, that are missing from the picture. It happens often to add tension to the story, a sad happening that helps motivate and shape your main character and one that gives you as a writer a little more latitude to tell your story. That’s because mom’s and dad’s help provide stability to children’s lives and that can “slow” a story.

It’s a shame though because when you think about it in real life, it is indeed parents that bring depth, joy, celebration, stability and great love to our lives. (The majority of parents anyway.) Their unconditional love helps each of us make our way knowing there is a safe place to go. It’s an incredible gift to provide and a courageous, often thankless, role they provide.

I live every single day knowing I am loved unconditionally thanks to my parents, husband, family and even some friends. What an incredible gift that that is. Thanks to all you mom’s who are the core of that love for all of us!

Oh Oh Oh!- jingle

Good Things!

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Is this the perfect gift for an author named JingleBelle or what?  My thoughtful sis left this fun jingle bell bottle stopper on my back deck this week as a day brightener for me. Score! It worked! Definitely a smile maker.

Winner Winner! Congrats to Camano Penny, the winner of this month’s Jolly Jingle drawing. She and her family will get the fun pleasure of putting together a Lego version of Squawk. :)

My parents are home from six months away in the sunshine of Arizona! Always good to get them back in town with the rest of us. I like my friends and family close. :)

I’ve hit 50,000 words in the new book and have gone through almost one full edit of the work so far. It’s a little different process then what I’ve done before but you gotta change it up sometimes. :) Lots of edits but also happy to say the chapters were in better order than I thought.

Oh Oh Oh! – jingle

Let’s bring back May Day!

When I was little, my sisters and I used to love May Day. You’d make a pretty cone of paper, fill it with flowers, hang it on a doorknob, ring the bell and run so it was a surprise for the recipient. Typically, it was for my mom, and all the flowers in it were right out of our own yard (very often dandelions and buttercups!) but there was a beauty about the act. In fact, it makes me wonder why May Day doesn’t have a much higher profile than it does these days. Its fun, its beautiful, its full of kindness, it celebrates the return of light and flowers – it’s my kind of thing!

In The Santanapping, there is a whole festival around May Day. At the North Pole, the celebration of spring is a wonderful thing! I had so much fun writing the chapters about Merry May Day and especially the scene with the big May Pole dance. How I love it when things don’t go the way that is planned! The May Pole though, is based on actual May Day celebrations of old complete with its big bright ribbons and dancing. In fact, I found a fun drawing of a May Pole. If you replaced the people with elves holding on to the ribbons it would look a lot like the Merry May Day scene!

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I also, thanks to that wonder that is called Pinterest, found some inspirational May Day flower cones to inspire you all.

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Aren’t they spectacular? I especially love the clever — and simple — little cupcakes! The elves – and kids :) – would go crazy over them! Make May Day — and May — fabulous! 

Oh Oh Oh! – jingle

 

 

 

Super Fun with Clever Kids!

What’s the best part of being an author? 

Readers!

And who are the best readers ever?

The students in the Redwood class of Valley Montessori School in Livermore, California!

This class is so much fun. They asked me back so we could talk more on the books and they could give me sensational ideas on my next series. And if that wasn’t enough they also made me and gave me this sensational thank you card!

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But don’t read all about it here — listen about it on the video above! Plus, I got a first draft of a magical book from Xavi one of the clever students in the class. And a whole mess of great ideas written down for my next book. Thanks Redwood class! Hope you’re busy working on your special elf name.

Hey and if you or your child would like to have JingleBelle Jackson visit a class, drop me a line. It’s my new very favorite thing to do. :)

Oh Oh Oh! – jingle

Earth Day Kindness Tips

Earth Day arrives in three days – April 22. Here are some creative ways to share with your family for ways we can all be kind to our wonderful planet.

  • Hold a garage sale! We all have too much stuff. Donate half the money raised to your favorite environmental cause. Use the other half for a fun activity together.
  • Skip the meat! Double up the kindness by focusing on locally sourced, organic, ingredients for Earth Day meals.
  • Renew your library card! (Check out the South Pole Santa books :) ) This is a good one for me to put into practice. I love libraries and, of course, I love books! I tend to buy them though rather then check them out. A greener way for sure is to check them out or download them on my Kindle.
  • Try a bus adventure! While many commuters use transit to get to and from work, not very many families use transit to get around for fun. Why not declare Earth Day an “Adventure Day!” grab the kids and catch the bus to somewhere for lunch or a movie. You just know the kids will love the adventure of it.

Oh Oh Oh! – jingle

Let’s go Adventuring!

For years, when my husband and I were first married we would go on “mystery dinners.” They were so much fun! One or the other of us would plan them out, you’d start in one place for cocktails, hit somewhere else for dinner and then maybe have a big finish with a movie or bowling or just back at home for a nightcap.

The evenings were always fun. Sometimes we would be joined by friends even but usually it was just the two of us. It added fun, romance, smiles, and adventure!

These days, our mystery dinners have turned into adventure days and I love them still.

We pick a day – almost always a Saturday since those are the most open – and then a place and we head out.

My favorite adventure days are to new places since I love exploring things I might be able to share with all of you, talk about on Facebook, pin on Pinterest or even work an idea into one of the books. We often take along my parents who love a good adventure too and we also love to grab our five-year-old niece for extra special days. (Adventuring, like the South Pole Santa series, is for the young and the young-at-heart!)

In our adventuring days we’ve gone wine tasting, biking, walking, to the theater, shopping, driving, to tourist attractions in the area, to beaches, to mountains, to parks and to loads of funky and fun places for lunch. The best days have a lot of sunshine but adventuring can be fun anywhere and in any kind of weather as long as you know the secret. And I do. It’s not about money or weather or exact conditions. It’s simpler than that. Are you ready? The secret to a perfect adventuring day is . . .

Attitude!

Yours to be specific and your kids or whoever goes along with you. Adventuring has an element of surprise that comes with it since by its nature, ideally, an adventure day is exploring or doing something you haven’t done before. So the key to loving it is simply being willing to love it no matter what comes. Knowing that the adventure is the point – not whether the things you do or the places you go turn out to be perfect. It’s the adventure of exploring that brings the magic and the fun.

Try it for yourself! Decide on a day coming up, pick a place and start talking about it so your family of one or many start looking forward to it. And then come back and let me know. I’d love to hear about your adventure day – it might give me great ideas for our next one! Shine your light!

oh oh oh! – jingle

 

 

April Wonders!

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Hey, who’s been loving April? So far we’ve had a beautiful full moon and a beautiful Easter Sunday. At least in this part of the world where our day was sunny and clear. Perfect for egg hunts which the little’s in my life loved!

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Plus, all of us bigs got in on a little bit of the spring fun too when this oversized bunny showed up at the office and passed out plastic eggs with surprises in them for us. How I love me a surprise, oversized rabbit in the office! 

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I also loved these fabulously named eggs I found on my last trip for groceries. Happy Eggs! The box totally made me smile though I must admit the eggs inside seemed to be of the same temperament as every other egg I’ve ever personally come across. :)

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You know what is happier than eggs? Squawk, Sandra’s best parrot friend! And you know what is more fun than eggs but sounds a bit the same? Leggo’s! (Yes, I know I put an extra g in there – for effect you know. :) ) And those two things together make-up our giveaway for this month’s Jolly Jingle drawing! The April Jolly Jingle will be coming out on Friday, April 24 and one lucky subscriber will get this very fun parrot Lego set sent off to them just for being kind enough to have signed up on the list. You are signed up right? I mean really, all the cool people are! Pop your name in the green box above and cross your fingers for some happy Lego’s coming your way.

Oh Oh Oh! – jingle

 

Unleash Imagination!

InternationalChildren's Book Day

Plan ahead!

Spoil some kids in your life and tuck some books in their Easter baskets this year. Or gift them a couple of their favorites for spring break. Or head to the library and check out a big, big stack! Magic happens between the pages and their imagination!

Oh Oh Oh! – jingle