Housekeeping note: Check back tomorrow (Saturday) for all the winners of this week's giveaways! And read on for a great, hot, sexy vampire giveaway today!
Today, I'd like to welcome author C.J. Ellisson, who writes erotic urban fantasy. Her first novel (and first in a new series) is Vampire Vacation, about a most unusual inn for vampires in Alaska! C.J. offers some hilarious insights into surviving holiday insanity, and is offering multiple ebooks of Vampire Vacation for commenters today. Your chances of winning are high, so leave a comment! You know the drill: 1 entry for comment, 1 for blog follow, 1 for Twitter follow @Suzanne_Johnson, and 1 for tweeting or retweeting this contest!
Eight Ways to Stay Sane During the Holidays
by C.J. Ellisson
1) Never buy your children gifts that need to be assembled the night before. Like bikes. Give them a picture and tell them Santa dropped it at the store because it was too big for the chimney, then go "pick it up" at before-mentioned store. We built bikes one year. Kills all chances of getting a little Christmas Eve nookie when your spouse is pissed off and frustrated building something with lots of tiny parts.
2) Do not invite friends over. Don't think a gathering mid-month with a few friends for cocktails at your house isn't a party. It is, and the bastards will stay late and make a mess. They will only exit after drinking all your best wine and waking your kids up with their drunken laughter. Avoid such a gathering at all costs, no matter how easy it sounded in November, and get together in January—much cheaper when they're all trying to lose their extra holiday weight *snort*.
3) Volunteer for only one thing. Be it your kid's school party, donating all the crap in your house that has barely been used or still in boxes to those less fortunate (let's face it, cleaning out all those closets takes way more time than the kid's one-hour party at school), or organizing the buying of all gifts for your combined extended family. Pick and choose wisely. To do more than your share makes the rest of us lazy bitches look really bad.
4) Run from your family for several hours each week. I'm not saying you should literally run screaming from the house, but if it's a nice day and your neighbors are far away, go for it. But you should take time for you—even if it's to escape into the bathroom to soak in the tub with a good book. A relaxed parent is less snarky and more patient.
5) Drink a lot. Okay, not if you're an alcoholic, and if you are I'm sorry. But if I couldn't drink at least a little every day (and with my current life that means sometimes only one drink), I'd probably need to run screaming from the house more often—like nightly, right after dinner. Or on bad days, before dinner.
6) Have lots of sex. What? You only give it up for birthdays, anniversaries, when you want something, it's Valentine's Day or after a fight? Change the mindset, girlfriend. Steady sex will make you realize killing him in his sleep just means you'll have to train a new one all over again, and really, he's not so bad.
7) Limit the time you spend with your extended family. High hopes this year no one will mention the horrid thing you did ten years ago? Wrong. Most families live for the sharp jabs, the passive-aggressive subtleties, and the late-night slurred slams. We optimistically think they will evolve, but no, sadly, they never will. Accept it and you'll be happier.
8) Get enough sleep. This really helps with numbers four and six. You handle stress better when you are well rested and won't be too tired for your man to shower you with affection—letting him prove, once again, how awesome you are.
Eat, sleep, drink and be merry this holiday season. You deserve it.
Thanks for having me, Suzanne! I hope some of my tongue-in-cheek ways to stay sane help your readers this season ;-)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: C.J. Ellisson, author of erotic urban fantasy, lives near Washington DC with her husband, two children aged 10 and 8, two Staffordshire Bull Terriers and a young cat she's newly allergic to. After spending most of her working life dealing with real estate—either as a wholesale sales manager in mortgage banking, corporate trainer, Realtor or as a property manager—she's now writing full time and happy for the first time in years. Writing has become her passion and to find people want to read her stories feels like a dream come true. You can visit C.J. at her website, on Facebook, or at a new fiction blog offering free fantasy fiction daily from seven published authors. And if you like erotica, please try Everything Erotic, where original work posts five days a week.
ABOUT VAMPIRE VACATION: Contest time!! In honor of all the joyous holidays this month, C.J. will be giving away twelve ebooks of her debut novel, Vampire Vacation. If you're interested in winning one, please leave your email in the comments field and the winners will be picked randomly. Here's the book's back cover description:
Meet Vivian. She’s a 580-year-old vampire who exudes sex, has a talent for drama, and is passionate about two things: her human husband, Rafe, and their resort for the undead. Her ability to project physical illusions has created the perfect vacation spot—a dark, isolated Alaskan hideaway where visitors can have their wildest fantasies come true. Vivian knows the best performance requires perfect timing, but the powerful vamp is put to the test when she discovers a corpse in a locked guest room minutes before the next arrivals. Always cool-headed, Rafe hides the body, convinced he and Vivian can find the culprit without disturbing their guests. Juggling the increasingly outrageous demands of their customers while tracking a killer isn’t easy. Will their poking and prodding give them the answers they need, or will it uncover secrets Vivian would kill to protect?
Good luck, everyone!