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Books, prizes, and holiday recipes at The Charmed Connection

Overwhelmed by holiday crowds and shopping yet? Looking for some holiday fun and maybe a few prizes for yourself?

The Charmed Connection Readers Group—a Facebook group where readers and authors connect—is hosting a holiday bookstore and author takeover.

Holiday Bookstore flyer

Throughout this week, from November 26th (that’s today!) through December 2nd, authors will be popping in with games, giveaways, and yummy holiday recipes. You can browse the holiday bookstores to find new-to-you authors, get delicious recipe ideas in Mrs. Claus’s Kitchen, and chat with authors and other readers.

I’ll be taking over The Charmed Connection on Thursday, November 29th from 4-5pm Pacific Time (that’s 7pm in Virginia, 1am Friday in Barcelona, and 11am Friday in Sydney). Mark your calendar now and join me for the fun!

Great Gifts for Writers

typewriter pine boughs presents

The holiday season is here, which means you probably have some shopping to do. If you have a writer in your life—or you want a list to print and leave lying around as a hint—see if one of the following cool gifts fits the bill. There’s something for every budget.

  • Amazon Echo Dot, $49.99. I love the Dot! Sure, you can ask Alexa to order more sticky notes and colored pens, but there’s so much more. Stuck on a word? Ask for synonyms. Want some noise? Ask her to play music from your Amazon Music playlist or one of theirs. My personal favorite background noise is Ocean Sounds or Rain Sounds. She can set a timer (writing sprints, anyone?), tell you the news, and even control your lights. amazon echo dot
  • Philips Hue Light Bulb and Hue Bridge, $69.99. My husband bought me a Hue light for my office (we already had the bridge/hub). I can turn it off/on with the Echo Dot or my phone, dim it, and change the color. I like a blue tone for daylight or concentration, and a warmer tone for evening or relaxing. It even comes with color themes, like Tropical Twilight, Arctic Aurora, and Energize.
  • Fingerless Gloves/Mittens, $3+. Anyone who works on a computer a lot can attest to the struggle of cold hands, especially this time of year. Fingerless gloves are perfect and come in colors, styles, and price ranges to suit everyone. If you’re handy with needles, you could even knit them yourself. These are the perfect stocking stuffer. fingerless mittens
  • Body Blanket, $13+. Sitting or standing still for long periods of time can make it tough to stay warm while laying down the words. A soft blanket is great; a body blanket is even better.
  • Neck and Shoulder Heat Wrap, $33. Working on the computer for long periods isn’t great for posture, and writers especially hold a lot of tension in their neck and shoulders. This warmer helps loosen tight muscles and is really relaxing. I have the Sunbeam Renue Heat Therapy Neck and Shoulder Wrap. I love the soft material, the way it drapes, the magnets that keep it in place, and the choice of heat settings.
  • Bookstore Gift Cards, $1+. Writers are readers first. You can never go wrong with a gift card that lets your favorite writer fill up their tablet or bookshelf with their favorite books.
  • Coffee Shop Gift Cards, $1+. Unfortunately, working at your local coffee shop or restaurant isn’t a tax-deductible office expense (though it should be!). Help a writer out with a gift card for their hangout so they can keep the words coming.
  • IPEVO PadPillow Stand, $23.95. Great for anyone who loves to read, this lap stand holds a tablet comfortably in either orientation while sitting in a chair or on the sofa, or lying in bed. No more pillow-propping required. I use mine pretty much every day. padpillow
  • Scuba Slate, $4.50+. Know a writer who gets their best ideas in the shower? This one’s for them. 😉 Alternative: Rite in the Rain spiral notebook, $7.94. riteintherain

These are a few of my favorite gift ideas. What are some of yours?

Finding the “write” gift

PenguinGiftWrap

Get this gift wrap at Bas Bleu

Need some last minute gift ideas for the writers in your life? (Or maybe your spouse or partner needs ideas for you.) While I’m all for consumable gifts that minimize clutter and the need for returns—like homemade treats and movie/restaurant gift cards—here are a few items I think most writers would be happy to receive.

~ A good thesaurus. Writers are always hunting for the perfect word and trying not to use the same word over and over (like I just did), which makes a thesaurus invaluable. Roget’s is always nice, but I think The Describer's Dictionary is even better.

~ A lap desk. Whether we write longhand or on a laptop, a lap desk makes it easier to do it in our favorite chair, or even on the road.

~ Noise-canceling headphones. For the writer who can’t handle distractions and/or likes to get their creativity flowing with music. If you’re feeling especially generous, pair these with a gift card to Starbucks or Panera.

~ Aqua Notes or a scuba slate. Know a writer who gets his best ideas in the shower? With one of these handy water-proof gems, he’ll never lose another amazing plot twist or opening line.

~ Fingerless gloves/mittens. One of my must-haves! In the winter I can’t write without my fingerless gloves. These are also excellent for those who work in a cold office any time of year. Try Etsy for some great hand-knitted options. Or knit them yourself.

~ Bookstore gift card. Writers are usually readers. Avid readers. So buy them a gift card to their favorite local bookstore or online retailer. You can never have too many books on your shelf or e-reader!

~ Craft books. For the writer who doesn’t have a library of writing books established, consider buying them your favorite book on the subject. Need some ideas? Check out this list of some of my favorites.

~ Mugs. Most writers are fueled by coffee or tea, which means a mug is always in fashion. Try a literary mug, something inspirational, or for the Scrivener fan, this one.

~ Time and space. Maybe all the writer in your life needs is time to write, or a new space in which to do it. Take the kids to the park or the movies and leave her at home in peace. If you have an old closet or bedroom that’s accumulating junk, take a trip to Goodwill, give the space a coat of paint, and add a desk. Your writer will be thrilled. Need some inspiration? Check out this site.

I’ve also had requests for gift cards to my upcoming classes. Want to buy one? Contact me for more info.

Got any other great writerly gift ideas? Please share them. One commenter (U.S. or Canada only, please) will win a signed copy of Scrivener For Dummies to keep or give away.

I'll choose the winner next Tuesday night and announce in my Wednesday post. 🙂

Happy Holidays!

Whatever you’re celebrating this season, have a wonderful holiday. And remember, the worst family encounters are the best fodder for your next book. 😉 Enjoy!

BEAUTIFUL WINTER © Stanko Mravljak | Dreamstime.com

Late

I don’t always procrastinate. It’s not a sickness with me. Except with cleaning and shopping. I dislike both with almost equal passion, even if the results are usually worth it.

The absolute worst is Christmas shopping, especially when I have no earthly idea what will bring joy to any of the people I’m buying for. If I had a clue, I’d be the first person in line to head to the mall, eagerly picking out that awesome gift.

The pinnacle of my holiday procrastination was in college—either 1993 or 1994—back when the Internet had little or no commercial use. The Engineer (in training then) and I put off shopping until the very last minute because we were busy with final exams and projects. My parents were in Japan, so I had taken care of them early, but we were going to see The Engineer’s family in person, so we figured we could buy their gifts on December 23rd.

After my evening indoor soccer game.

Because, you know, the mall was going to be open until midnight for idiots just like us.

And then I broke my toe during the game. Some guy jumped up to head the ball and landed with his heel right on my foot. For some reason we decided this required a trip to the emergency room. You know, just in case. Two hours and some Advil later, I sat home icing my digit while The Engineer raced to the mall at ten o’clock.

Good man that he is, he got it all done, but that’s the last time we’ll ever plan our procrastination quite so close to the wire.

Do you have a holiday shopping disaster—or near-disaster—to share?

Happy Holidays!