WINNERS, WINNERS, WINNERS of our 2nd blogfest!!

Remember that thing we did last Thursday? Where christy and 30-some other coffee-mug-lovers posted pictures of their mugs and let us take a glimpse into part of their lives (kitchens, dusty windowsills, countertops, and all)?? You remember? Good.

Now, do you remember there were PRIZES?? Here's how it went:
  • a really super cool coffee mug that gets along well with others - we swear! (sent to a US address) OR amazon gift card at the same price (sent wherever you are around the world)
  • TWO PRIZES (same options) if we have more than 30 participants. 
Okay, so, as you know, there were two prizes awarded. There was only one fair way to do it. I took the first column in the linky pn our sidebar (through #20) and christy took the rest. I picked the one that appealed to me the most and christy picked her favorite. Okay, that might not be the only fair way. But it's how we did it and we're the boss(es). So there ya' have it. Just remember that we appreciate you all and are so happy that you were happy with the blogfest idea. That makes you all winners (we have to say that, we're teachers).

erica's winner is (dum da da dum): Donea Lee
with honorable mention to Madeleine for the doll mug a friend made for her

christy's winner is (dum da da dum): Lindsey Brooks
with honorable mention to Jen Daiker for her apple mugs

What? You're not either Donea or Lindsey?? That's okay - you can still win a fabulous prize!!! Just click over there (points to the right. yes, your right) on the 150 button - we're giving away either the Hunger Games trilogy or the first 3 books of the Gone series (or a prize to be discussed if you already have both) as a thank-you for helping us reach 150!! Just be a follower and comment on that post and I'll pick a winner AT THE SAME TIME the Packers are handed the Vince Lombardi trophy. That's right, I said it. The Packers will win the Superbowl.

It's coming home, baby

(We aren't posting a recipe today because our weekend post will cover EVERYTHING you need to host the ultimate Packer Superbowl party. This is gonna' be a fun week!!)


The 99th Page blogfest

You know us, we always like to be fashionably late to a party. . .okay, maybe not, but better late than never, right (since we didn't hear about this until today and then had to get home from work to post).

BUT here it is. . .the 99th page blogfest hosted by Holly Dodson and friends. Click on her name to find out more and to follow the other bloghop participants. Basically, it's super easy-peasy and you know how we like that (click here to see our own easy blogfest from yesterday!)!!

Here's page 99 of erica's ABNA entry, A New Day.

After I got my clean bill of health, a police officer came in and joined the doctor to recreate the accident for me. I sat on the side of the bed and listened quietly. The news was bad, but not as bad as I had feared and I tried not to cry.

"She should be out of surgery by midnight," the doctor said. He must have decided I could handle more details since he continued on. "The plastic surgeon put fifty-seven stitches in her forehead and around the left cheekbone, so she's going to look bruised and swollen until they come out. Medically speaking, though, her arm is the biggest challenge for the surgical team. It's broken here and here," he said, pointing to his own wrist and arm, "so they have to be careful while they stabilize and set it. Two ribs are broken, but they look like clean breaks and her lungs weren't punctured. Her left hip was dislocated, but we've already reset it without further damage. I won't go as far to say that she's lucky, but I think we all know it could have been a lot worse."

"Can I stay with her?" I couldn't think of anything else to say.

"That's up to your grandparents, at least as long as your mom is unconscious. We won't be allowing her to wake up while we monitor her for swelling, so my suggestion is for all of you to get some sleep tonight. We'll keep this room open for you if you want to stay here."

"What do you want to do?" Grandma asked me.

"I'll stay here. Can someone get me before she wakes up so I can be there?" I asked, leaning against the pillow, exhausted again.

"Yes, absolutely," the doctor said to me before turning to talk to my grandparents. "We'll call you to come back ahead of time if you plan on going home. She won't get to the recovery room for another hour or so."

What do you think? Would you read on?


erica and christy's 2nd BLOGFEST: Simply Hot Mug Shots!

we're proud to host our second blogfest.  thanks so much to those of you who were able to participate today!  we're excited to hop around and see your mug shots.  we've got TWO prizes for our participants!  we'll announce the winner as soon as we finish visiting you all.  (for those of you with as bad of a memory as us, the prizes are:  one mug OR one amazon gift card.  each winner can pick whichever they'd like!)

we've been busy prepping our writing for abna, so if we've been absent as commenters on your blogs lately forgive us.  we'll be back! 
please check out the linky to the right to visit the other mugs.  feel free to sign up today.  we're always last minute in nearly everything we do.  heck, post your mug tomorrow or the day after.  just let us know and we'll swing by! 

we fill our mugs with coffee.  occasionally hot chocolate.  but almost always coffee. 
black.  no sugar. no cream.  mmmmmm.

christy's #1 pick
in door county, wisconsin there is an outdoor theater that i've gone to each summer since i was little
when i met my husband, it became our annual "date night"
each june we leave our boys with my parents, dress up, eat dinner out and enjoy a play at this historic theater
(click this link to visit it online)

christy's #2 and #3 choices
(actually, i have a mug from vegas that should be included in this photo,
but, well, you get the idea.  i'm indecisive.)
  i took ballet for about ten years.  i still dream about it and miss my class. 
 the mug was a gift from a college roommate. 
the colorado mug is from a family vacation we took to estes park. i  love the color and the shape.  (if you were around for the "hook review" post i did a while back, you'll see that i choose books with covers that are this color.)

see?  that's it.  simple. 
happy HOT (coffee) thursday!


How high are your stakes? (Don't Forget to Post Your MUG Shot TOMORROW! blogfest reminder!)

Pitching your novel can be a biotch as Michael at In Time stated in his post yesterday.  A few of us in Blogland recently pitched (or might/will pitch in the near future ...) our sparkling manuscripts to the judges for ABNA.  What joyous fun!?!

I (christy) sent out a few emails asking, What in the H, exactly, is a pitch?  One sentence? (nope.  That's a logline.)  ABNA allows 300 words for us to pitch our glowing novels with.  Okay...what do I need to write with those 300 (or fewer) words? 

What, exactly should your pitch include?  It's a lot like a query.  Minus a few details.  Mostly you need these elements:  MC, setting, hook, major plot points, complication, and high stakes.  Right?

Sooo....um, High Stakes?  Basically:  If_______________, then ______________________. 

This is where I struggle in my query/pitch.  I'm always a bit too vague.  I'll show you some lousy examples.  Lousy, but still in tact in my pitch. 

If Dawn gets caught, the fiery figure will sever the cord between their dimensions, and both worlds will be altered beyond repair.

(okay, so that was an If...and....sentence)


If Dawn can somehow clear her name and share what she learns about the past of the dimensions, she just might save the worlds.

(okay, so that was an If...(comma)...sentence)

reglardless of my own poor examples that don't even follow the "rules" i shared, TODAY WE WANT YOU TO SHARE YOUR HIGH STAKES WITH US IN ONE IF...THEN...SENTENCE!  comments, please!!!!!! 

why... you ask? we can help!  we can lather with praise!  we won't award prizes for your high stakes though. we're saving those for our blogfest (TOMORROW!) and our 150 followers contest (ends 2/6/11)!!!  are YOU in?!????


Slowly but surely, a Twofer Tuesday post (and way huge prizes)

We are very thankful. You guys know that - heck, we can't stop talking about it. We're teachers with students who put their faith in us every day. Moms with kids who adore us. Wives with husbands who, um, yep, we just checked - love us dearly. Bloggers with, yep, we just checked, 140 followers. And we recently got another blog award. Thanks, Nicki (follow her. she's uber-80s-cool)!!

whoa, christy, did you see that? I copy and pasted all by myself!!

Um, we can't remember what the Stylish blogger Award entails. But since I (erica) haven't revealed 7 odd things about myself yet, let's have at'er. (stick with us until the end, or, if you can't, skip down. You'll want to. huge prizes, baby.).
1. When I received this award, I was wearing pajama pants and an Old Navy fleece. No, they did not match. Stylish, eh?
2. I gave birth to my 2nd son 1 hour and 50 min. after my first contraction.
3. I live 40 minutes from the nearest hospital.
4. My 2nd son appeared at 1:36 am.
5. My 2nd son (okay, fine, his name is Jacob) was delivered by an OB wearing only Care Bear jammies and socks (and gloves, of course). (yes, I wanted to name him Good Luck Bear, but kept that to myself until now)
6. My future-husband only met me once before he sacrificed Superbowl Sunday to take me on a first date.
7. We've been together for 16 years, this Superbowl (played by the Packers, if you haven't heard, hehe). (anyone else notice I put these in backwards order? oh well.)


So, last week we mentioned that we lost followers. No idea why. We hope the count's all wonky, like our friend Su said, but anyway...

We're at 140 followers. We're excited. There's something about teaching that makes us want EVERYONE IN THE WORLD to like us. And sure, we know some people are horrible. Some people are not worthy of our followership (is that a word?). So don't follow us if you are -



Other than that, we love you and want you to love us. And feel free to share us with others. In fact, do it for prizes. Good ones. We're hoping for 150 followers.


That's a big number for us. We're so, so, so happy with our followers, but we also want new ones. Followers who tell us what they want to hear about from us. Followers who we can follow who tell us what we want to know (okay, I'm a bit dizzy now).

We are in love with 150. Please, spread the word. We want 150. And if you're one of our favorite 150 people in the world (or, er, a follower), you win some awesome prizes. Really.

SO: You have your choice: The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins (all 3) or The Gone Series by Michael Grant (the 3 that are out).



So, if you comment, you get an entry. If you advertise, we hit 150. And you can't win unless we hit 150. It's simple. Tell us you want to win. Tell others that they want to win. Then someone wins. It's up to you. No 150, no prize (we're actually not that mean, but if we hit 2/6 and don't hit 150, the prize won't be as good, we assure you) (it might be our manuscripts, due for a critique by you, you never know, hehe). (already own both series? really? let us know and we'll work something out.)

And for all that's wonderful in this world, join our blogfest. It's easy. It's wonderful. IT'S HOT!!!
linky's on the right. one more entry and more prizes there, too! we love our friends!!


GO PACK GO! A Blogfest on a Monday makes it almost like a twofer tuesday post (you know, because of our recipe).

(Christy) My hubby's back home where he belongs.  Report cards are done.  I've yet to enter my incomplete manuscript in the ABNA competition. 




Besides a Music Blogfest hosted by Alex Cavanaugh, we've got some tasty appetizers to prep you for the Superbowl (whether you're throwing a party or not).

First, everyone needs some Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce.  It's as good as stoppin' at Buffalo Wild Wings.  Pour it on some deli bought wings, pop 'em on a tray in the oven...and not so very long later (what?  20 min or so?) voila!  Some deeeeelish wings.  HOT.

Next, get yourselves some tostitoes and fritos.  Here's why:

1) cheesy/broccoli dip
In a small crock pot add the following ingredients:
1-2 handfuls of chopped and cooked broccoli
enough shredded colby (or cheddar or a mixture) cheese to fill the pot
1 can of cream of mushroom soup

Stir ingredients together and warm until cheese is melted.  Dip chips into it to enjoy.

2) salsa/cream cheese/cheese dip
On a medium-sized serving plate spread softened cream cheese.  On top of that spread a layer of salsa.  Sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese over the salsa.  Pop the plate into the microwave or oven until cheese is melted.  Scoop the dip up with a chip and enjoy.

In addition, pair some lipton onion mix with some sour cream, stir with a spoon and dip and crunch with some potato chips.

Need tunes for the before/after party?  Maybe for during commercials or halftime?  You might find some you'll enjoy while hopping through this blogfest.

click the image to pop over to alex's blog so you can visit the other participants

Here's my top ten song list for the blogfest.  (I decided to make it a "musical diary" of my favorite songs since birth.)

current 10.  Anything Daughtry (Daughtry, Taylor Swift, Nickelback, Lifehouse, and a few others have served as inspiration for numerous scenes in my current manuscript.)

last year 9.  Love Story-Taylor Swift

college years 8.  I'm In A Hurry (And Don't Know Why)-Alabama, Anything Tim McGraw, Anything Def Leppard

high school 7.  Mr. Jones-Counting Crows

high school 6.  I Would Walk 10,000 Miles-The Proclaimers

junior high school 5.5 Anything Elvis, Anything Paula Abdul

middle school 5.  Material Girl- Madonna, I'm Your Baby Tonight-Whitney Houston (All on cassette tape.)

elementary school 4.  Anything Belinda Carlisle, Debbie Gibson or Tiffany (My first CDs!!)

elementary school 3.  I Wanna Get Physical- Olivia Newton John

preschool 2. Ain't No Mountain High Enough (My first record.  I played it over and over.), Anything Diana Ross

baby 1. What a Wonderful World -Louis Armstrong (My parents had a cassette tape recording of me "singing along" to this song when I was one year old.  As a twenty-six year old bride I danced to it with my dad for our father-daughter dance.)


cheesehead alert!!!!!

GO PACK GO! GO PACK GO! GO PACK ...(yeah, you get it)
And just go ahead and try to tell us Brad Paisley Aaron Rodgers isn't hot.

We're back on track, folks. Hot. Writing. (and a football game. GO PACK!!)


erica and the no good, very busy day(s)

Product Details
Okay, so I'm (erica) not exactly having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. I'm having a day, er week, that could result in, if I were a juggler, a lot of dropped balls laying around (let's hope not knives or those fire thingies).

This was what I wrote this morning (er, yesterday. yes, we schedule ahead) (from work - it was inside recess and the aides were watching the kiddos):

My poor beloved laptop is broken again and that's been weighing heavily on my mind and heart (okay, that might be stretching it, but it does make it harder to get any blogging done). I wasn't home on Tuesday - left at 7:20 am got home around 10:00 pm. I worked late last night getting ready for a parenting class that I'm doing tonight, so it'll be another 8:00pm throw-the-kids-in-the-shower-god-i-hope-someone-fed-them-today night. Oh, and am I ready for the class tonight (it's a make-and-take math and science activities) - um, NO WHY WOULD YOU THINK THAT???!!! My son's teacher called because he won a free book earlier this week and ALL I HAD TO DO was sign and return his book choice today and I DIDN'T DO IT!!! Tomorrow is a teacher work day, so no school for the kids (thank goodness for grandmas), but I have to work and HOLY CRAP it's supposed to be 30 degrees below zero regular temperature with 45 below wind chills!!!! So lots of praying my car will start and going out early to check and then scraping for about 20 minutes (did I mention yet that I don't have a GARAGE??!!). whoa, that was a lot of shouting packed into one paragraph. but it's pretty reflective of my mood today.

AND ABNA submissions open in three days with my laptop in lock-down mode. Yes, I have my ms uploaded onto an online program. But my son's computer (my backup) doesn't have Microsoft Word (and I'm not paying to add it to the old computer), so I have no way to download and format it from home. TRIPLE CRAP. CRAPPITY CRAP CRAP CRAP. (I'm going to be spending a lot of time at my in-laws this weekend, using their computer, I think. quadruple crappity crap.)

BY THE WAY: Has anyone but christy and I noticed that every time we post a picture of a hot guy, we LOSE a follower????!!!! We're sorry, people, just shoot us an email if we offend you DON'T UNFRIEND US, PLEASE, WE CAN'T TAKE IT!!!!
And this is me ten hours later:

I am so very sorry for my bad blogging behavior earlier today. You have your own crappity crap and you don't need to read about mine. However, feel free to write a book about mine and get rich - just put me in the acknowledgments.

My son got his book because my friend who works at the school took pity on him me and got it for him.

I had inspiration for a wonderful way for parents and children to work together to learn math/numeral/counting skills and put it together only minutes before the meeting and it was fun and simple and everyone loved it, made their own, and went home to learn, learn, learn (the fun way). Almost all the families that were signed up showed up even though it's super cold and loved the pulled pork sandwiches I made.

When I got home, hubby had fed the kids and dogs, cleaned the kitchen, and done laundry PLUS bought groceries so I don't have to go out in the cold. They're curled up watching the old '80s version of Tron right now.

The cord from one of our work laptops fit my computer and voila - it was just the cord that was bad on mine. I ordered a new one from Amazon for $8, will borrow this one in the meantime, and all's well. ABNA might just happen yet (with no nosy in-laws looking over my shoulder to see what I'm doing).

It's still going to be cold tomorrow, but I'll live. With any luck, tomorrow will look more like this:

Product Details

(back to what I wrote this morning) AND SO - what does this have to do with you??? Good question!!!

I'm here, admitting that sometimes us parents suffer from EPIC FAIL. And unfortunately, as teachers (and bloggers), we sometimes don't get done what we really, really, REALLY meant to get done. blech.

What about our characters, though? Do you write about kids with parents who can do no wrong? Or are your parents more like me the failure type? What about teachers? Do they know everything and lead your characters onto a path of super-happy-lifedom (I'm busy, I can't think of a real word)? Or do the kids put tacks on their seats and blow spit-wads behind their backs? Or are you the kind-of writer that only puts in absentee-adults who barely speak? (for some reason, my characters dads keep commiting suicide. I have no idea why.)

In other words, how can you guys help me turn this week into a good book????


hot topics (or not) from one hot mama (or...not)


"hot" as in highly debated? "hot" as in popular? "hot" as in trending?  "hot" as in makes you all hot and bothered? "hot" as in hot and heavy? "hot" as in way pissed?

what a word. we picked it as our theme for january simply because we're up (down, over, lovin' it) here freezing our tails off (in Wisconsin) this January.

so...that was your intro to a whole lotta nottin'.  just warning you.


you know your creativity pool has run dry when you decide to google your topic for the next day's post.

i googled "hot topics in literature january 2011"

i found a post @ the millions on the most anticipated:  the great 2011 book preview.  to see it for yourself go here.

i googled "hot topics in young adult literature" and got nothin'. 

then i changed something in my search (forgot what) and found the top mystery books for 2010 @ galleycat.  the list is here.

i googled "political hot topics january 2011"

i found @ vot3r a post on the top (US) political topics for tuesday, jan. 18.  to read about political news including the chinese president's visit, congresswoman gifford's surgery, palin's response to criticism, or health care, click here.

i googled "hot celebrity news january 2011"

and found out owen wilson is a dad, kenda wilkinson may join dancing with the stars, and lindsey lohan is done with rehab (again).  to read more, since i'm sure you're riveted, go here.

 Sorry.  My hubby's out of town for work.  I'm only on night number three of being on my own with my lovelies (aka two sons under five). 

Today kinda, well, sucked.  I'd expected to fully enjoy our afternoon together.  After picking them up from the sitter, having found my two year old had already napped for an hour, I decided to visit my grandma.  She recently had a heart attack (you may remember I posted about her before when I also posted a pic of my pretty manicured toes.  She's a busy non-stop kind of woman.  Finding out she had congestive heart failure and that she needed to slow down was easier for her to take than for the rest of us.  She took the news in stride, cleared the cupboards of food filled with sodium and resorted to one load of laundry per day vs how every many she used to do. Oh, and no more flipping her mattress by herself.)

So I took my boys to see her.  My mom was already there, eating lunch.  My oldest brought his new Iron Man and Iron Man vehicle to show her (and believe me, he showed her and told her about it at length) and my youngest hopped about her place and blew out every unlit candle she owned.  After twenty minutes of nonstop chatter and boucing and huffing and puffing, I said goodbye. 

My second stop for the afternoon was our town library.  I'd never been there before.  The first thirty minutes there were bliss.  Then, my oldest refused to check out any books.  He JUST wanted to read them there.  My youngest (a two year old) wanted to leave.  My oldest (a four year old) did NOT.  NOT. NOT. NOT.  And he threw a tantrum like I hadn't seen since he was in his terrible twos. (Thank God my two year old does not throw tantrums.)  Long story short (yeah, yeah, too late) he screamed and cried the largest tears possible while I checked out a Clifford book and CD for the youngest. 

Three hours later, my night's improved some, but they're not in bed yet, so the worst could be yet to come.

I hope you'll accept my excuse for a lousy post.  I've got nothin'.  I'm drained. 

erica's got tomorrow so I'm sure you'll be much more entertained!

i'm off to find some chocolate.

(so maybe no more themes for us in the future.)


Writing Wednesday says - who's bad?

Come on, you want to tell me. You know you do. Who's the bad girl/guy who makes your mc hot?

What, did someone say hot? Why yes, yes, I believe they did. Let me find some pictures.

First off, the guy who makes my blood boil, no matter whether he's good or bad (and by boil, yeah, I mean good).

A game of soccer? Baseball? Croquet? Why, sure, Ryan Reynolds. I'd be happy to.

Or, perhaps, the female villian (courtesy my hubby's fantasy)? (yes, this is erica. um, talking, not the picture. sigh) 

yes, fine, Megan Fox, grr

So, basically, this is my thinly-veiled attempt to let you know I'm busy this week and need you to entertain educate me.

Who's your villian? Are they more attractive than your mc or mc's bestie/love interest??!!


LIFE IS GOOD, stylish, and makes us smile--truly.

Have any of you attended an awards party? You know, a party on the eve (that's a fancy-schmancy word) of an awards ceremony. The Oscars? The CMAs? The Golden Globes? (oh my...)

What about the ALAs? What? The ALAs (you can admit it if you don't know, we didn't at first either)??

I watch TV (well, occasionally). I watch the news (um, once in awhile). The Today Show provides me with what I need (oops, yep, sometimes). Not so much, I just found out. The ALAs are important to all of us. And the Today show dropped the proverbial ball. Go ahead and boo until your heart's content. Stupid Snooki. (oh, wait, you might not know. click on this for the link) (and really, Snooki? I didn't even know she existed until I read this article. And five minutes from now, I'll forget her. But if you want to know about some really awesome books, click on this.)

So, if you're hosting your local ALA (yeah, I mean Oscar, CMA, Critics Choice, etc.) awards party, you'll need some recipes. Here you go (yes, another link, but wait until you see how long this post is about to get...).

A couple of weeks ago, we got an award. Then another, and then a couple last week,
and then a couple more this weekend.

We got six awards.
We rock.

Unfortunately, we haven't been good blog hoppers lately and haven't gotten around enough to find any new blogs to pass onto you (that you don't already know about and love) (and to pass the award on to). SO - if you're reading this, we love you and trust that you are award-worthy. (CUZ we know we have the most awesomest followers and commenters EVER!  And you stick by us even during our lousy hopping weeks.) Feel free to pick one up - the only thing you need to do is comment on this post (although we'd also really love it if you click on the linky to the right and join our blogfest!).


with this award comes the task of answering a list of questions. scroll down to read the questions and
our --er, erica's-- answers.

with this award comes the task of listing seven random things about yourself. scroll down to read those buggers.



We'd like to thank our loyal commenters.  Without you, we'd have no one to talk to (well, except each other and we could just do that via email). We hope you'll take one of these awards as a token of our deeply felt gratitude.  We'd also like to thank all of our followers and we plan to visit your blogs more regularly because the visits we have made were enjoyed immensely.  Thanks all for putting up with our spottiness.  We know most of you also have families and jobs and are trying to finish a novel to query.  Best of luck to you and you and you and you.

(These answers belong to Erica)
1. If you blog anonymously, are you happy doing this? If you are not anonymous, do you wish that you had started out anonymously, so that you could be anonymous now? Our names really are Erica and Christy. Our blog address and contact emails say Lynnea West because Christy began the blog under that writing pseudonym. We're very happy with how things are going now and hope someday you get to see our names on the cover of a book at stores near you!!

2. Describe an incident that shows your inner stubborn side. One time my husband hung a shirt on a hook in the bathroom even though I asked him to put it in the washing machine. I refused to touch it and it hung there for three years. We sold that house and the only reason the shirt didn't come with it is because my mom threw it away. (Um...yuck!!!)
3. What do you see when you really look at yourself in the mirror? Unfortunately, the reflection of someone who is much older than I am (my reflection is 35, but I prefer to think I'm still 24 or so).  (Ha!  I stopped aging at 24, too, erica!!!)

4. What is your favorite summer cold drink? I'll will take a regular (lime) margarita on the rocks any time someone wants to make me one. 

5. When you take time for yourself, what do you do? Read, blog hop, write (anything but clean).

6. Is there something that you still want to accomplish in your life? What is it? Becoming published, of course. Also, I love teaching preschool, but it's so time and energy all-consuming, I'm not sure I can do it forever. I have a master's degree in nonprofit management, so someday I'd like to get a management/administration position (if it continues to be with Head Start, that would be awesome).

7. When you attended school, were you the class clown, the class overachiever, the shy person, or always ditching? Other people probably thought I was shy, but I never see myself that way (I prefer to think I was just "choosy" about my friends).

8. If you close your eyes and want to visualize a very poignant moment in your life, what would you see? The moment I told my husband we were going to have our first child (which we were trying for) followed by the moment I told him we were having our second (which we were definitely not trying for).

9. Is it easy for you to share your true self in your blog or are you more comfortable writing posts about other people or events? My life isn't very exciting, so I'll have to go with the latter.

10. If you had the choice to sit down and read a book or talk on the phone, which would you do and why? My sister lives in Alaska, so if it's her, I'll take the call (I only see her once every couple of years). Otherwise I probably won't put down my book and answer it.

SEVEN RANDOM BITS OF INFO ABOUT CHRISTY  (If I don't hit the stuff you'd like to hear...ask us anything you want in our comments.  Maybe we'll add it to a post.) (Sorry if this is repeat info you've already heard in the past....)

7-I drink about 6-20 ounces of black coffee every morning.  I drink one diet coke for lunch each day.

6-I drink one (okay, sometimes two) glasses of red wine (usually Malbec) while preparing dinner each (or every other) evening.  I drink 3-4 glasses of water before bedtime.

5-I don't eat fruit.  Except apples (and even then only if they are very crisp and not grainy in any way).  I have texture issues with fruit.  (When I was pregnant with our first son, I freaked out about this and started drinking fruit/yogurt/oj smoothies.  So now I still get my fruit that way (bananas, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, peaches)  And I take vitamins....

4-I'm still using two spaces after each period.  (Don't tell erica.  It drives her nuts.)

3-I run on a treadmill every other day. I finally went back to classes at the Y (it's been four or five months)!  You should ALL work out at least 3-4 times per week. It feels AMAZING!!)

2-I teach elementary school every morning and am scared to death I will be told in the next three months that I'll have to go full-time next year.  I'll be glad to do so when my kids also are in school full-time.  But NOT before.

1-I worry that writing is a phase and at some point during this year I will lose all interest, have to fake my blog posts, and have two incomplete novels, that I currently love, sit forgotten for the rest of eternity. (This is a complete and utter secret.  Shhh.  Don't mention it to anyone.)


Coffee or Tea?

Need a daily dose of the shakes caffeine?  How do you get it?  Share your preference with us.

OH, and...sign up on the nifty lil' LINKY to your right.....see it?  We're hosting a blogfest.  ON January 27 (it'll be a HOT Thursday) post a picture of your very fave mug in the whole wide beautiful world (on your blog).  We'll all come on over to see it!  AND THAT'S IT!  That's all the blogfest asks you to do.  (Unless you feel compelled to share the story behind the mug.  Then we'll have fun reading that too!)  All we need is TEN more participants and we'll give away not one, but TWO PRIZES!!!  (mugs or amazon gift cards...your choice!)

AND.  I (christy) need to apologize to all of you.  It makes me so very happy happy when you stop by and comment on our posts.  BUT, I've been a lousy hopper myself.  I promise to make the rounds this weekend.  I haven't visited anybody since Monday.  I know that's terrible.  I'll try to make it up to you.  I KNOW you all have intelligent and witty things that I NEED to hear.  YOU are all amazing and I learn so much from you. 

We're coffee lovers, btw.

Youre blogging neighbors,
erica and christy


I miss TV.



in case you've forgotten what those are:

the word sitcom, as defined by wikipedia is: A situation comedy, often shortened to sitcom, is a genre of comedy that features recurring characters in a common environment such as a home or workplace, accompanied with jokes as part of the dialogue. Such programs originated in radio, but today, sitcoms are found almost exclusively on television as one of its dominant narrative forms.  A situation comedy may be recorded before a studio audience. Some also feature a laugh track.

(For more information on the history of sitcoms (such as their origin in comedies by Shakespeare and Moliere, how various countries around the world have produced sitcoms, and sitcom trends throughout the decades, go here.)

I (christy) have a television.  Once in a while I get to watch something I want to on it.  Two weeks ago I even declared Monday night as Mom's TV night (meaning, DAD!!!  BRUSH THE BOYS' TEETH, READ THEM A STORY AND TUCK THEM IN!!!).  What's on Monday?  *mumbles* thebachelor AND CASTLE!!!

Yeah, okay.  I watch the Bachelor.  I don't even know why I enjoy it, but I do.  So there.  I was pleased when this current guy (ha!  can't even think of his name!) sent home the drama queens as soon as they started being hateful toward one another and crying all over the place.  (Two girls fighting over the same guy.  blah, blah, blah.) Usually they (as in the show) seem to keep at least one "controversial" and irritating person around to, I don't know, add excitement or something.  So I was happy he sent them packing. 

(On a different note...) Sadly, though, when one girl (not one of the crying brats) went home roseless after (a mere) two weeks on the show she declared to viewers that she was through with love.  She'd exhausted all avenues:  set-ups by friends, dating at the office, and online dating.  She felt she was destined to be alone.  The Bachelor had been her last ditch effort at love.  REALLY?  She had to be what?  25 or younger?  Finding love is like watching a pot of cold water and waiting for it to boil.   Or watching my inbox and waiting for an email to pop up.  Maybe once she immerses herself in another interest in her life, the right guy will come along when she leasts expect it.  So, yeah.  That's one show I watch.

CASTLE.  I love the show.  I love the characters.  I get writing quotes weekly.  Two of my faves:  "Don't ruin my story with all of your logic."  Okay, that wasn't quite it, but it was something like that.  I did email erica with it right after I heard it.  Maybe she remembers it correctly.  The other was that writing about someone one fantasizes about is a form of written masterbation.  Oh, sugar (my version of swearing).  That one's not right either.  But they were good straight from the show.  And if you like the show you may be interested in knowing that Castle and Beckett will KISS next week!!!!  (or so the preview showed) (Have any of you actually read the books by Richard Castle?  Heat Wave?  Curious what you think/thought about them.)  Miss this week's episode?  Go HERE to watch it.

WRITING PERTINENT QUESTION:  If romance is included in your novel, how long do you make your readers wait for them to kiss (or even realize they've got the hots for each other)?

Yeah, there are a few sitcoms on nowadays.  I think I'd probably even like the Weds night shows (on abc, Modern Family and Cougar Town), actual sitcoms, but I never remember to sit down and watch them until they're well past over.  I blame erica.  :0)  Just kidding.  But those are usually prime emailing/blogging/writing hours.

I MISS THE GOOD OL' SITCOMS.  (No, not The Dick Van Dyke Show, I Love Lucy, and The Donna Reed Show....Well, actually, yeah, those too.  I watched those faithfully when I was younger (and I'm only 34 now).  BUT THE THURSDAY NIGHTS WITH FRIENDS AND WILL AND GRACE!!!  Yes, those were great TV years.  I miss the weekly 30 minute, silly-lined sitcom.

Know of any good shows I should DVR?  Do you have a show you drop everything for to watch? 

What do you prefer?
a)watching tv for an hour?
b)reading for an hour?
c)writing for an hour?
d)taking an hour long walk?
e)shopping for an hour?


Thursday's hot and so are brains

Yep, you read that right. Brains are hot (and by brains, yes, I mean smarts). We've been kidding around about abs and eyes and, um, coffee, but we're suckers for a person with a brain (pun intended). Book smarts or street smarts, we love 'em. Brains = good. (no zombie pictures. you guys are too smart for that trick.)

they get to win the nobel prize for literature

So, come on, fess up. Do you fantasize about the next Jeopardy winner? What's the key to your heart (or, fine, your character's, if you want to hide behind them!)??


Are you part of a Dynamic Duo?

Not that it's news to me (christy) or anything, but lately I've read several posts about the importance of having a good critique partner or critique group. 

Makes sense.  First, I imagine having a person or group to bounce ideas off of would not only be fun, but would add fuel to the brainstorming fire.  Second, having someone or somemany to hand a WIP over to for a fresh read could only result in an improved manuscript.  I, for one, know how I can get lost in my own maze of thoughts and details and often need someone to plow a straighter path through my plot for me.  (Or at least cross off the detours.)  Third, passing the completed MS to the person/people who shouldered the writer's tears though the months of drafting it to read it in its entirety, checking for proper pacing, plot holes and, of course grammar/spelling mistakes, aids the writer by offering not only eyes that are less familiar with the story, since the writer himself/herself can overlook these errors (seeing what's supposed to be there vs what actually is,) but can also teach the writer what to look for while editing and revising for himself/herself.

I'm not part of a "critique group", nor do I have a "critique partner".  I never have(I feel the need to revise this bold statement.  I was part of an online crit group, formed after Writeoncon, but there were so many members that it fizzled. It was really more like an online crit forum.  Impersonal for many.  Some members became great friends.  My own initial involvement was flimsy at best, I lacked confidence in helping others improve their work when I didn't know what to do to help my own.  Since then, I'm very lucky to have found erica to bounce ideas off of and she offers advice whenever I need it.  Michael (at In Time) also recieves emailed portions of my WIPs openly and has been a great help to me.  That said, I still wonder what it would be like to be part of a "formal group" where swapping takes place regularly.) And I envy all of you  who do.  So everything  I wrote in the previous paragraph is what I imagine it to be like.  Or, what I have "observed" (reading about it in posts) or experienced with the kind and generous people (erica and michael) who allow me to email bits and pieces of my WIPs to them from time to time, and who email me bits and pieces of their own work from time to time as well.  Does that count as having a group or a partner?  I guess I always thought it needed to be a formal decision, a bit like proclaiming to be someone's boyfriend or girlfriend.

Will you "go" with me?

I don't even know if those are the words teens (pre-teens?  *gasp*) use these days.  And I probably should, seeing as I write YA.  Maybe they still use that phrase, or maybe I'm totally dating myself (not dating myself as in taking myself to dinner and a movie, dating myself like letting you all know my age...).

Anyhooooo.  (YES, I get off topic in my manuscripts,too.)

Many of you refer to your amazing crit partners in your posts or list your crit group members on your sidebars.  (So cool!)  How did you find your crit partner or your crit group and how do you work together? Do you meet in person? Do you do online chats? How often do you send/review each other's work?

And then there's the whole Alpha reader and Beta reader thing.  Do you use one or both (alpha being a reader while you're working and beta being after you're done - right?) (right??) and why?
How did you get one or more and what do you do for each other?  If you're someone's Beta Reader are they yours, too? Do you know each other personally? Virtually? Do you write in the same genres? Is one of you more experienced in this dating, hanging out, hooking up, critiquing thing?

The other part of this post is WHAT KIND OF A CRITIQUER ARE YOU?  How do you go about critiquing someone's work?  Do you prefer to have a "synopsis" first so you know the whole story before doing a first read?  Or do you prefer to let your writer know whether their first 250 or first five hook you and work from there?  OR are you a grammar freak and look for all the language issues you can find?  Maybe you read through looking for consistent voice.  Or an intriguing plot.  MAYBE you're Super Critiquer and you do it all!! (if so, call us. we need you)

WHAT DO YOU EXPECT FROM YOUR PARTNER/GROUP?  Do you find that you critique how you want to be critiqued?  You want someone to skim the whole thing looking for flow and pacing and voice?  OR do you want someone to edit for passive voice and too many adjectives? (or, you know, just describe your process and thoughts in the comments below)

I'm just a clueless newbie and I'm putting myself out there, asking the questions I feel the rest of you have known the answers to for ages. 

But, I'm hoping the phrase I say to my students from time to time will apply here:  No question is a dumb question.


Twofer Tuesday - a picture and a confession

You know how when you're writing about your characters and a small picure develops in your mind about what they look like? Well, mine never really solidify. Yeah, I know Kenz is a 5'5" brunette. Kaleb, from my other book, is 12 and just a tiny bit dorky, but in a few years, he'll outgrow that and become a real heartbreaker. I usually know their hair color, eye color, general build, etc. and that's it.

How do you picture yours? Do you have an actor/friend/acquaintance/memory that you base them on before you even start? Or are yours just images, like mine? Or do you write them and then later watch a movie/meet a person, etc. and think "OMG. That's ______." Yeah, I did that once, too. Meet Lincoln:

His name's really Chase Crawford. He's on Gossip Girl and is filming the new Footloose movie.

Okay, now it's time for the confession. We use pictures on this blog that we didn't take ourselves (but if Chase Crawford is looking for a new photographer, I could try to make time in my schedule). Is that bad? Is that *gulp* really, really bad? We truly don't know. To me, if it's loaded into google images and you can copy and paste it, you can use it. Plus, we aren't receiving any monetary compensation for this blog, so I thought that factored in. But recently someone asked us where we get them and if we have permission to use them.

Umm, well, we don't know. I did find this article about pictures in public domain. We'd like to start some discussion on this or find out what other people know. Got anything?


i've got the blues...and a fever...and a recipe fit for a king (well, one king in particular)

I've got the the rewriting a manuscript blues.  It's simliar to, but very different from, the middle of the manuscript blues and even the editing/revising a manuscript blues.  I took the highly suggested six months away from the manuscript after its completion, initial edits/revisions and sadly, its rejections.  I started a new novel and got a little over halfway through it.  Having followed the break rules to a T, I opened a fresh Word Document and flew through the brand spankin' new 250 word beginning (for the old MS) and even another thousand or five more with ease and grace.  Then, chapters five and six came along and I neared the point where the OLD and the NEW would have to MESH. (eeeeeeeeeekkk!!!!!)

And I freaked.  And came to a freakin' wheel-squeelin' brake-slammin' HALT.

*cries tears of self-pity* 

So in honor of my blueness and the KING OF ROCK AND ROLL'S BIRTHDAY (a wee bit late as it was this past saturday) I give you:

ELVIS performing BLUE Suede Shoes

In honor of our THEME for JANUARY...something HOT:


And here's a picture of a sandwich Elvis is famous for.  Click on it for a blog that provides you with the recipe.  Try it and come back to let us know what you think.

 you may find other recipes (that aren't connected to the late singer) on the blog as well

Anybody else out there ever have to completely rewrite a manuscript?  Why?  [first to third/third to first pov?  plot issues? hook issues (like me)?]  How'd you get through it?  Was it worth it?


(hot) Music to Write By

Hey, I (erica) could've gone with the good-ole "It's getting hot in here, so take off all your clothes" song, but well, it's darn cold up here, so clothes are pretty necessary (except socks, in christy's case). And we're moms and teachers, so it just wouldn't be proper.

Instead, I'm offering up the Red Hot Chili Peppers. If you listen to it, be sure you're writing edgy and hot. If you aren't, well, take a break and listen to it. And watch it. Sure, they're a bit on the skinny side, but tattooed guys are pretty hot (we are, after all, Team Jacob on this blog). As are chili peppers, of course.



FANTASY LOVERS, come hither!!!! (N.R. Williams and The Treasures of Carmelidrium)

NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON:  The Treasures of Carmelidrium by N.R. Willimans!
Buy now for $2.99 (after July 1, 2011 $3.99)

The Treasures of Carmelidrium

"When a hooded man steps in front of her car, Missie is thrust through a portal into a medieval world where she encounters monsters and mythical creatures. Here her flute has magical powers to heal and destroy and to empower, "The Treasures of Carmelidrium." She is romanced by a prince and hunted by the villain. Will she find her way home? Does she want to?"

N.R. (Nancy) Williams is a fantasy author and active blogger to boot.  Check out her informative posts here:  http://nrwilliams.blogspot.com/

Nancy will be giving away 3 e-books to 3 winners. HOW CAN YOU WIN?  Just follow the tour, leave a comment and include your e-mail address with each comment. On Feb. 1, 2011, she will draw the winners, announce the winners on her blog and email the winners.

The more you comment, the better your chances.

Follow Nancy on her blog tour!!!  It starts TODAY and goes until Jan 31st!

Jan. 7…Friday, Author interview: Deirdra Eden Coppel at A Story Book World http://www.astorybookworld.blogspot.com/

Jan 10…Monday, Interview with the Protagonist, Missie: Michael Di Gesu at In time… http://writing-art-and-design.blogspot.com/

Jan 11…Tuesday, Mythical Creatures: Stephen Tremp at Breakthrough Blogs

Jan 12…Wednesday, World Building for Fantasy & Sci Fi: Marian Allen at Marian Allen http://www.marianallen.com/

Jan. 13…Thursday, Creating Monsters: Nicole Zoltack at Where Fantasy and Love Take Flight http://nicolezoltack.blogspot.com/

Jan. 14…Friday, Tension & Humor, a balancing act: Jean Henry Mead at Murderous Musings

Jan. 17…Monday, What are the Treasures of Carmelidrium: Summer Ross at My Inner Fairy http://summersvoice.blogspot.com/

Jan. 18…Tuesday. Interview with an elf: Patricia Stotley at Chiseled in Rock, http://chiseledinrock.blogspot.com/

Jan. 19…Wednesday, Jan. 19, Antagonist interview, Renwyk, Lord of the Symberveen: Colene Murphy at The Journey http://cejourney.blogspot.com/

Jan. 20…Thursday, Interview with Galen, Scout of Gil-Lael: The Golden Eagle at The Eagles Aerial Perspective http://thegoldeneaglesblog.blogspot.com/

Jan 21…Friday, Plot vs Character Driven in Genre Writing: Mason Canyon at Thoughts in Progress http://www.masoncanyon.blogspot.com/

Jan. 24…Monday, Character Driven vs World Driven in Fantasy & Sci Fi: Helen Ginger at Straight From Hel http://straightfromhel.blogspot.com/

Jan 25…Tuesday, Playing the “What If” Game: Dominic de Mattos at Writes of Passage http://dominicdemattos.blogspot.com/

Jan 26…Wednesday, …What inspired me to write about music as a power and why the flute: Clarissa Draper at Listen To The Voices http://clarissadraper.blogspot.com/

Jan 27…Thursday. What Elements are in the Story? (Romance, Suspense, Mystery?) Denise at L’Aussie Writing http://laussieswritingblog.blogspot.com/

Jan 28…Friday, Why I Write Fantasy: Jeffrey Beesler at Jeffrey Beesler’s World of the Scribe http://flettleglag.blogspot.com/

Jan. 31…Monday, Why You Should Hire an Editor & Professional Illustrator: (Sherry Wachter illustrated my book so there should be some interesting discussion between us.) Sherry Wachter who writes as Bodie Parkhurst at Magic Dog Press http://magicdogpress.wordpress.com/


HOTTNESS on Thursdays (and erica and christy's second blogfest announcement!)

Blogfest annoucement first.  Just in case you boys don't feel like reading  looking further. (Not to worry, our HOTNESS Thursdays will NOT always be about hot guys.  We're aware there are other hot items we could post about. [But we're not making any promises.])

is simply simple.

it pertains to HOT, HOT COFFEE mugs.  well, just one mug. 

Simply post a picture of your very favoritest mug. The one you'd choose to drink from every time if it never needed to spend any time in the dishwasher.  The one you secretly eye whenever your significant other, mother, brother, best friend, [insert other] grabs it from the cupboard and you hold yourself back from snatching it out of their hand and shouting, "Give it back!  It's mine.  All mine!"

Or just one you like almost that much.

You don't have to share anything about the mug, but if you'd like to share the story behind it, well, that would just be an added bonus.  Most of my mugs hold a special significance.  I usually buy one while taking a vacation and have started a collection.

So please sign up on the linky below and we'll stop by to see your fave mug (for coffee, hot chocolate, tea, cider, mulled wine, tom and jerry's, etc.) on THURSDAY, JANUARY 27.

there's a PRIZE, of course, for our favorite mug out of the ones you post.
  • a really super cool coffee mug that gets along well with others - we swear! (sent to a US address) OR amazon gift card at the same price (sent wherever you are around the world)
  • TWO PRIZES (same options) if we have more than 30 participants. 
please spread the word to your blogging buddies!  come on, we all love that HOT drink during these (cold) winter months.  share your mug shot with us...no, wait, that's share a shot of your mug with us!  what's to lose?  if anything you may GAIN a few followers!

week one:  hot guys, well, actors to be more precise

'nuf said.  now go have a tall glass of something cool (if you need it).


Writerly Wednesday - aka Rulesy Schmulesy

There are writing rules we know. Okay, maybe we know. Okay, if I'm being really truthful, there's rules we learn as we go and then vaguely remember them from elementary school/middle school/high school. Or, if I'm being really, really truthful there are rules we pretend we knew all the time and then run back to our ms and fix.


And even more importantly, there are some things you just had really better look out for. (yes, this is a trick sentence). We know them. Passive verbs. Excessive adjectives. Unnecessary justs, thats, and reallys.

And then we read novels that are rife with them. 25 hads per page. A that thrown in every paragraph. Justs and reallys and likes - oh my!

Rulesy Schmulesy anyone?

Okay, now for the actual helpful part. Follow some links. Then tell me what you do to edit. Do you follow the rules? Do the books you read follow them (tell me if they don't, it makes me feel better)?

List of passive verbs
My nemesis, the word had.
List of commonly confused words
Just for the heck of it, lay vs. lie
And check her sidebar for pure genius

Happy editing writing!!


twofer tuesday...two bits of complete and utter irrelevant randomness


did you have time away from work during the holidays? 

We did...and now it's over.  So now we're forced to reminisce about the goodness of our breaks and wait through the long, long winter months until spring break is upon us.

Here's what christy busied herself doing between Christmas and January 2nd:

 late one night, after turning off my laptop (midchapter of my wip), i flipped through the television channels and came to an old favorite movie of mine:  breakfast at tiffany's. 
audrey hepburn absolutely enchants me.  she is my all time favorite actress.
 i finally got around to starting this book.  when i unwrapped the trilogy (a gift from my sister-in-law) i told myself i'd have to wait until i completed my writing for ABNA. 
it's not done.  i'm reading.  oops.

image from digitaltrends.com

 but i did write and got through the rewritten beginning of solstice.  whew.
 now i just need to go through the rest of the old manuscript.
about 60k to go....
image from unclesgames.com

  i played the new board games with my kids.  boggle jr.  memory (several versions).  operation.  twister.

oh, yes. i drank lots and lots of coffee each morning.
and a little wine each evening once or twice.

 leggos.  leggo airplane(s), leggo castles, leggo pyramids, leggo houses, cars, cats and boats....

we all had colds. so i wiped noses many times (noses other than my own).image from curezone.com

image from alum.mit.edu

 i had a fair amount of chocolate each afternoon and evening.
and i ran on the treadmill every other day.

image from digitaltrends.com

i wrote until midnight many nights in a row.

image from girlboutique.com
 and one of my favorite activites was buying a new pair of jeans with a cute design on the back pockets.
my cousin and i took our 87 year old grandmother (she may as well be in her 70s for how much energy and spunk she has) for a pedicure

here are my darling feet.  yes, i really took a picture of them just for you.  can you believe the beautiful art on my big toes? (this may be the closest you get to seeing what either erica or i look like...)

(sorry, erica.  this brings me to my foot post i've been threatening  promising to publish.)

 i started thinking about feet that day.  and how they really get picked on.  idiomwise i mean.

having two left feet
(so you can't dance. is it really your feet's fault?)

putting your foot in your mouth
(whoops. totally shouldn't have said that.  but how did your feet cause you to be careless with your words?)

having one foot in the grave
(really?  how many people are gravely ill due to an illness with their feet?  i mean, why a foot?  why not a finger or a hand? okay, maybe i'm stretching it on this one.)

starting off on the wrong foot
(i highly doubt the negative way in which you began had anything at all to do with your feet.)

shooting yourself in the foot
(um, again, your feet more likely than not did not cause your misfortune)

and that's that. i actually have nada to connect this foot post to, and i'm not even going to try to make it relevant to your life.  i suppose it's kind of writing related.  you know, like on how we use language...it's always fun to learn the reason behind figures of speech and idioms like these.  but, uh, i did no research for you. 

i just shared random thoughts.  and now, i hope you all have a wonderful day/night and may you all put your best foot forward.  i truly hope you all get your foot in the door with a literary agency and publishing house.  (hehe)


Hot Monday Mealtime Madness

If you know me in real life, you know I love the Milwaukee Brewers. I grew up an hour from County Stadium and got to see all the glory of the early '80s (Robin Yount and Paul Molitor and so many more) even if I was too young to know I was seeing history. I went to games during both playoff-worthy seasons, including their only pennant year. Then I moved to the west side of the state, County Stadium got demolished and Miller Park went up. The cable station that carried the games wasn't available in my area. The team (excuse me for saying this) tanked.

Then something wonderful happened. Our local tiny cable company figured out a way to bring me cable through my phone line and I got to watch the games again. Yes, I take credit for the Brewer's 2008 playoff appearance. It was all me. I even got to get my picture taken with their mascot on my birthday last year. That's how important I am to them (ahem).

So, for our first day of "All Things Hot" I bring you my Milwaukee Brewers. (er, a few - it's offseason and trades aren't done)

Right fielder Corey Hart                                                                      Left fielder Ryan Braun

Ace pitcher Yovani Gallardo                                                            Second baseman Ricky Weeks

So, you can imagine how happy I was when my Brewers Facebook Fan Club (yes, that's the true sign of a baseball geek fan) gave me this link to their Create a Concession Stand Contest.

This is what I would love to snack on while writing at the next game: Meatballs. Really. They're super easy to make (think frozen, but sure, make your own if you want to, there's tons of recipes out there - but we're busy people, so frozen is fine!). They don't require utensils, just stick it with a toothpick or scewer them corndog-style (no dishes, yippee). You can coat them in a sauce or dip them in ketchup or marinara. At your house, you can throw them in a crock pot and forget about them until their delicious scent makes your mouth water. When you order them at the ball game, you'll make everyone around you want to order them, too, making both the team owners and the beef farmers happy. :)

Here's some sauce ideas (just mix ingredients together and pour over meatballs as they cook) (this is to make about 2 dozen appetizer-sized meatballs) (if you're really in a hurry, just buy some sauce and dump!):

Smoky BBQ: 1 cup ketchup, 1/4 cup minced garlic, 1 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup onion, 1 Tbsp. liquid smoke flavoring.

Sweet and Sour: 1 cup water, 1/2 cup cider vinegar (not apple cider), 1/2 cup ketchup, 2 Tbsp.cornstarch, 1 cup brown sugar, 2 tbsp. soy sauce (make sure meatballs at least simmer to dissolve the cornstarch)

Hawiian Sauce: (this one you should cook up in a saucepan until it boils and starts to thicken - stir or whisk constantly) 2 Tbsp. cornstarch, juice from a can of pineapple chunks, 1/3 cup vinegar, 1Tbsp. soy sauce. When you add to meatballs, throw in the pineapple chunks and some green pepper (optional).

Cajun/Spicy: 3/4 cup BBQ sauce (use above recipe or buy bottled), 3/4 cup peach or apricot preserves, 2 tsp. hot pepper sauce, 3 tsp. Cajun seasoning, 1/3 cup minced onion.

Oh, and what to drink with it? Well, it isn't called Miller Park for nothing. I recommend Leinie's Honey Weiss, if you can find it in your area - they're owned by Miller and brewed about 40 miles north of where I live.