Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Legend of the Christmas Pickle

Some years ago, a friend from America (hiya, Abby!!!) asked me something that left me totally baffled. It was a few weeks before Christmas, and she wanted to know if I followed the "well-known German tradition" of placing a pickle ornament on the Christmas tree. It was supposed to be hidden between the branches, and whoever found it would receive an extra present. I was truly baffled, since I had never even heard of it! But it seems that you can buy those ornaments in US shops - I never saw anything like that anywhere here.

But then I did some online research and asked friends from different parts of Germany if they used to hide pickles (or any other vegetables) in their trees, and no one knew of this "tradition". I thought that it probably was some cheap trick to sell those ornaments, which was very true, but then I found out more - the manufacturer of these ornaments is located in Germany! They ship the "pickles" to the USA and use a fake tradition to sell them. It's outrageous! Now at least half of America believes that we hit our heads or something because we hang cucumbers on our trees. Let me assure you that this isn't true. Well, at least it wasn't.

I was very delighted that back then, my friend actually sent me one of those pickle ornaments, and I proudly place it on my tree every year since then! So in the end, the rumor might be true, after all ...

Wishing you a very merry Christmas, and a happy new year!


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Favorite Blogger of the Month (December)

Hi folks,

aaand ... here's my favorite book blogger of December; it's Alicia Hall from Mortality Bites! Readers, make sure to check out Alicia's wonderful and entertaining blog. She'll also be an attending blogger at the First Indie Romance Convention 2013.

Welcome, Alicia! Tell us a little bit about yourself and your blog. Why did you start your own book review blog, and which genres do you feature?

I'm just a small town country girl.  I found a passion in reading at a very young age.

My blog is called Mortality Bites because I secretly wish that I was an immortal.  Being mortal bites because I'm not going to live long enough to read all the incredible books out there.

I started my blog because I wanted to be more than just a reader.  I wanted to get to know all of you amazing authors and I wanted to help promote your books.  Being able to experience a little bit of the action behind the scenes has been a blast.

I mostly feature paranormal romance and urban fantasy but on my blog anything goes!    

What genres do you read in private? What are your most favorite books of all time?

I read everything.  I find that I love a good contemporary romance occasionally.

I have to say that to this day one of my favorite books is still Kiss of Shadows by Laurel K. Hamilton.  I have read it a least ten times over the past decade.  It was the first paranormal romance book that I ever picked up and it holds a special place in my heart.

 With all those books being offered to you, you surely must be a bit picky about what you read. What intrigues you most in a story? Are you influenced by a good blurb or cover?

I get books offered to me?  What?  Do you know something that I don't?  Just Kidding.

My blog is still fairly new so no one is breaking down my door for my opinion.  I'm going to get there someday but right now if an author contacts me and they have a book in the PNR or UF genre I usually accept them.

I am intrigued by a good romance.  I want strong leads with personality and I want the couples to have a hard time at first.  I hate when characters just fall in love right off the bat and they have no trouble at all.  For me a good story has to be real. 

I will be honest I am the world's worst about judging a book by its cover.  If the cover doesn't catch my eye then the book never even gets a chance.  I know I'm missing out on great books but that's why I love the blogging community, they always let me know when I have messed up because of a bad cover.

How on earth do you find the time to manage such a busy blog besides your job and family life?

Let's see I work on a farm and we have 15 cows and over 20,000 chickens.  We work a lot around here but I am still working on a way get those hens to stop laying eggs 7 days a week! I really could use a weekend off every now and then.

I have a two year old little monster running around but I have an amazing husband that understands my need to get blogging done before bed most nights so we make it work. 

Most of my posts get typed and scheduled ahead of time during nap time and all of my reading is done at night.  I gave up sleep a long time ago!

Be honest: Is it easy or difficult to deal with us writers? I know that we can be an unorganized, sensitive lot sometimes. (You don't need to tell names …)


I have had nothing but good experiences with all the authors I have worked with so far.  They have all been easy going and very quick to answer questions.  It has been wonderful!

You will be attending the first Indie Romance Convention next year! Please tell us what you've planned for the event.

I am so excited about this event!  I think it is going to be great exposure for everyone, author and bloggers alike!
We have been tossing some ideas around but not sure of all the details yet.  I know we are going to put together a charity basket.

Just for fun - some quickies:

Favorite movie: Gattaca
Favorite TV series: Bones and The Vampire Diaries
Favorite singer/band: I like it all!
Most beautiful male celebrity: Justin Hartley
Sexiest fictional hero ever: Zsadist from the BDB series by JR Ward
Best fictional villain ever:  Lex Luthor
Best fictional heroine ever:  Princess Buttercup
Your secret beauty tip: Sunscreen (I'm not planning to have wrinkles or skin cancer when I'm old!)

Your secret favorite cooking/baking recipe: (full recipe or maybe online link)

My Cherry Cobbler is always a favorite at my house.  It's a quick one of everything recipe.

Cherry Cobbler:

1 Stick of Butter
1 Cup of Flour
1 Cup of Sugar
1 Cup of Milk
1 Can of Cherry Pie Filling

Melt butter in a 9"x11" dish
Mix flour and sugar in med bowl.  Add milk and mix well.  Pour mixture into pan.  Spoon in Cherries.  Bake at 350ยบ for about 40 minutes or until golden brown.