Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Casa For The Holidays - Guest Post and 4-Book Giveaway!

Please join me in welcoming four authors from Sourcebooks Casablanca to Debbie's Book Bag today. Juliana Stone, Carolyn Brown, Grace Burrowes and Terry Spear. These ladies are here promoting their four Christmas novels and giving you a chance to win a 4-book giveaway, with one copy of each title! Enjoy the guest post and make sure you look at the schedule and follow along with the other blogs participating. Giveaway details at the end of the post!

Have you started Christmas shopping yet? It’s just about that time to at least start thinking about presents… right? Maybe! On this stop on the Casa for the Holidays virtual tour, the Sourcebooks Holiday Authors are sharing some of their craziest Christmas shopping trips! 

Carolyn Brown

Since Christmas was Sister’s favorite holiday we had some wild times at blue light specials where she got down on her hands and knees and crawled through people’s legs to get a roll of wrapping paper for only a quarter or where we stood in line for hours and hours to buy things we didn’t need at the Black Friday sales but hey they were on sale and we might need them later. We did everything together from mammograms to bitchin’ about our husbands and we’d already done both that December when we were decided to finish off the day by doing some Christmas shopping. I was over in the clearance sale part of the store when I heard someone yell, “Sis…ter, where are you?”

That meant she’d found a sale for sure. Maybe she’d found a half of half sale so I hurried in the direction of the voice that yelled again, “Sis…ter, where are you?”
So there I was rushing through the aisles hunting for Sister when I saw this little old lady with a gray bun
on top of her head, using a cart for a walker. Another little old lady with a hair-do that looked like she’d just stuck her hand in an electrical socket rounded the end of the aisle and the first one said, “Sister, I thought you’d forgot me and gone home without me.”

My sister came up behind me and we didn’t even need words to know that we were looking at ourselves when we got to be eighty years old. Me with my gray bun and her with her kinky hair-do. Sister passed this past summer and she didn’t make it to the age those sweet old ladies were…I’ll miss those crazy times with her this year.

Grace Burrowes

I’m not somebody whose ailments respond to retail therapy. In fact, my idea of hell is to spend time at a shopping mall, particularly during the holidays. And yet, I’m a Mom, and that meant for a number of years, I was Santa Claus, at least to my daughter. 

When you have an only child, Christmas can loom like a minefield. Everybody else gathers with “family” at the holidays, while you…. hope the day care mom doesn’t need too much time off, hope you can afford some presents for the kid beyond socks and undies, hope you don’t need to buy another cord of wood for the wood stove. The season of hope, indeed.

Some of my Christmas memories aren’t so very cheery as a result of these worries, and yet, we
managed. Every year, the tree went up; every year, we had fun decorating it, and even hanging some lights outside the house. Every year, we made a few batches of cookies.

And every year, I put off shopping for presents, hoping for inspiration, a pot of gold, something to make the annual present procurement ordeal both endurable and successful. 

The best year was when my daughter turned eight, and fell in love for the first time. The object of her devotion was a guy, and he solved my every holiday problem. I don’t run across this fellow often any more (seventeen years have gone by), but when I do, my associations are all positive.

Who solved all my holiday problems those many years ago? 


That fat, cranky orange cat for some reason caught my daughter’s fancy. I did all my shopping at one store, an emporium that carried Garfield mugs, towels, pillows, banks, pencils, banks, T-shirts, socks, pajamas and stuffed animals. I bought the Garfield videos (two copies of Garfield’s Christmas), and we watched them back to back on Christmas Day. 

That was the first, last, and only easy Christmas I can recall, but I will always be grateful to Garfield for giving me the boon of one holiday season, free of shopping malls, reconnaissance missions, and gift-giving anxieties. 

And best of all, I’m pretty sure my daughter still has her Garfield bank. 

Terry Spear 

When I was younger and we lived in Florida, it was the only place where it just didn't feel like Christmas. Too hot and muggy. But every year we would go to Orlando (we lived in Merritt Island and my dad was with the space program) and we would shop there, the closest nice malls. Parking was horrendous and so
everyone put something on their car antenna so they could find their car from all the rest. Only everyone got oranges. So you would see a sea of oranges stuck to car antennas. And no one could find their cars!

Juliana Stone 

I’m pretty much a creature of habit and one of my favorite things to do in November is take a trip across the border (I’m in Canada) with several girlfriends for a weekend of shopping, eating, drinking and more shopping. Christmas is our excuse and it’s one we use every, single year!

This year we’re going the weekend before Black Friday because honestly, I don’t want to be anywhere near a mall that weekend. I love to shop, but I sure hate crowds!  

My girlfriends are great and generally our shopping
trip isn’t that eventful.  We stay at a nice hotel, head out to a different mall each day, buy copious amounts of wine and by Sunday we’re usually ready to head home, tired and maybe a little hungover.

A few years back we stayed at a hotel out in the middle of nowhere and there was a small roadhouse beside it. I’m not sure how, but sometime in the early hours a bunch of us ended up over there, in our pajamas, swigging beer and playing pool with a bunch of local boys.  I have no idea what we were thinking, but man, we had a lot of laughs and I’m sure those guys thought us Canadian women were a bit crazy.


To enter to win a prize pack of all 4 of these Christmas authors’ novels, tell us in the comments if you plan out your holiday shopping… or if you wait until the last minute! And don't forget to fill out the FORM. This contest is open internationally and the deadline to enter is Midnight EST, November 6th.

To find out more about these authors, please visit their websites!

Carolyn Brown Website: 
Grace Burrowes Website: 
Terry Spear Website: 
Juliana Stone Website: 


October-December 2013
Fun Holiday-Themed Posts from Carolyn, Grace, Terry and Juliana,
And Chances to WIN Books at Each Stop!


Oct. 8 
Booked and Loaded

Oct. 16
Ramblings From This Chick 

Oct. 23
Debbie's Book Bag

Oct. 29
The Reading Café 


Nov. 4 
Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell

Nov. 6
Smexy Books

Nov. 12
Cocktails and Books

Nov. 14
The Bookish Babe

Nov. 20
Night Owl Reviews 

Nov. 22
Fresh Fiction


Dec. 4

Dec. 5
Under the Covers

Dec. 10
Romancing the Book

Dec. 11
Anna's Book Blog

Dec. 16
What's on the Bookshelf

Dec. 17
That's What I'm Talking About


Unknown said...

I plan out my holiday shopping...well I have a list of what I will buy but I wait until almost to the last minute to go buy them. Blame college for being such a pain and time consuming

Carolyn Brown said...

Hi, Sandy!
This year I'm falling way behind with my shopping but I've set aside a couple of days right after Thanksgiving to "get it done"! College does have it's way of setting priorities on a different path!

Alison B said...

I definitely wait until last minute or try making gifts since i'm super cheap. :)

Unknown said...

Juliana I am so glad that someone else has a Crazy Canadian shopping story... I use to do that with my friends for many years.. Oh the good times we had... Thanks for sharing that memory and brining back so many good ones for me.

Unknown said...

Lordy me I'm a last minute do anything woman! I'm a fast pace person and love to get it all done in one day! I've never had any complaints about gifts, so I'm good!

justpeachy36 said...

I generally have a two fold strategy. I plan and know what I want to get certain people and the rest is left to chance and last minute shopping!

Jessica said...

I love the Christmas holidays and try to plan out the gifts I give. That does not always work out. I am a avid shopper and am always on the lookout for just the right gift.

Carolyn Brown said...

It sounds like I'm not the only one who's just starting to think about Christmas this year...thanks for all your comments ladies and for visiting with us today!

Unknown said...

I always plan out my Christmas shopping. Love shopping for presents, love the whole season

Binichen90 said...

I plan out my holiday shopping. I have a list where I write down what to buy for whom and if I shopped something of these things then I tally them. I need those lists. Without them I would be totally left stranded.

traveler said...

I plan my shopping ahead and use a written list which saves me time and aggravation. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

JeanMP said...

I plan out my shopping ahead of time, try and get it done early and then work on baking and decorating.
skpetal at hotmail dot com

Carolyn Brown said...

Thank you for reminding me to take a little notebook with me this year to list whatever I purchase. With 15 grandkids and great grands coming on, sometimes I forget what I bought for which kid! Loving these comments, folks!

Texas Book Lover said...

I try to plan mine out but always end up getting some of it last minute!

mmafsmith AT gmail DOT com

Grace Burrowes said...

I don't plan mine. Instead, as I'm going through the year, I keep an eye out for things my daughter etc would enjoy. This usually results in some Good Stuff, because sitting around making lists? Socks, undies, undies, socks... soap.

Miranda said...

I do plan out my Christmas shopping. Most of my shopping is done via ebay. :)

letyourmindalone (at) Hotmail (dot) com

Anonymous said...

Depends on who I'm buying for. I plan as much as possible and shop when convenient, but still always end up last minute shopping and just looking for something to hit me as the right gift.

rachael said...

I start my xmas shopping in the January sales! I buy stuff throughout the year(just bits and pieces). the only problem is, I sometimes forget things that I have brought!!! oct/nov time I will make a list of everything I have hidden under my bed and work out who I will be giving what. I usually start my main xmas shopping in November. xxx

CrystalGB said...

I try to plan it out but if I find a good deal I will make an impulse buy.

Tammy Dodson said...

Many years I have done theme presents for my family and friends. One year I gave them a book and the book was marked with clues for the rest of their presents!

jennifer rafuse said...

i am just starting to think about christmas shopping and planning my plan of attack i ususally have all my shopping done and wrapped by now dont know this year i just cannot get into it...

smoore432 said...

I'm a last minute person...I don't know why I do that to myself.

Unknown said...

Oh we are planners around here! Ive already started buying!! My daughter and I usually even brave some of the Black Friday sales!

catslady said...

I totally stress at Christmas because I want to buy the perfect gifts. The older they get, the harder it gets. I miss the days of having fun in a toy store and buying their clothes. I don't care for GC's - seems so impersonal. And I always overspend (sigh). Christmas wasn't a big deal when I was young so I guess I overcompensate.

Carolyn Brown said...

Love the idea of giving a book with clues in it...but then I would!

lindalou said...

LOL! I do both... I plan out some and buy some at the last minute. Thanks for the contest!

Glenda said...

Every year I try to plan. And every year I have last minute shopping. I've done the Black Friday thing - getting up way to early in the morning - to save money. Now I prefer to shop online. It is safer and faster. :-)

holdenj said...

We do make a plan, but it winds up being two pronged. We have to mail a box to family, so that always gets done promptly--afraid the rest winds up being last minute! Thanks!

Pat L. said...

I dont shop Black Friday. And I am retired so I don't plan my shopping way ahead - I will say a few days ahead, I will shop tomorrow or whenever.

I enjoyed reading the authors tales of their shopping.

Rita Wray said...

I'm a planner and list maker. I start shopping early. I love when people have Amazon wish lists, it's so easy to click and buy and you know the person will be happy with the gift because they chose it.

Anonymous said...

I am a last minute shopper. Have done nothing yet.
Karen T.

Sue Farrell said...

I plan and watch sales all year for my Christmas shopping. Almost all of it is done already.

Chrisbails said...

Totally plan it out. I wait until around Black Friday and go out and buy the big presents and then shop the next several weeks, plotting where the next sale or cheaper item is going to be. Plus I have lots of nieces and nephews to buy for. The rest of the family get bought during this time also. Also has some amazing deals during the holiday season.
christinebails at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

both, I plan some and wing the rest. Nothing better then internet shopping ..

jmcgaugh said...

My shopping experiences vary from year to year, depending on whether I have a clue of what to give the people I'm buying for and opportunities to do a lot of shopping. I usually get quite a bit of my shopping done in early September, when my husband and I take a short anniversary trip. We didn't have any shopping opportunities this year, so I haven't even started.

Di said...

I'll buy gifts throughout the year, particularly when I'm travelling. But I also plan out what to get people, especially starting in October - I like to be all done a couple weeks before Christmas.
sallans d at yahoo dot com

Rachelle21 said...

I really don't plan. I buy when I see something I like. We have a fundraiser that offers 20% off anything in a particular store for one night - so I will buy something there.

Unknown said...

I live in rural Nevada. The nearest mall is almost 5 hours away, so I TRY to plan my shopping. I make lists, writing gift selections by each person's name and attempt to do most of my shopping online. Usually, I forget a number of things and end up fighting local crowds for the few items left. I HATE crowds, so I'm not a pleasant shopper at the best of times. Thanks for the great giveaway!

Anonymous said...

I wait until the last minute. Thanks for the giveaway.

Elizabeth Schroedle said...

I plan my Christmas shopping. I have to be ready to ship my gifts by the 2nd week of December. I am already perusing the sales to pick out something. I try not to wait until the last minute.

lag123 said...

I'm afraid that I am a last minute person.

lag110 at mchsi dot com

Helen L. said...

Am an elderly lady who does love to read. But I give checks or gift cards; much easier for me.

Sandy said...

I plan out my shopping using the weekly

I usually hit the malls in late November/early December and start my shopping. Unless I have something specific in mind I wing-it as I go along.

Thanks for the giveaway opportunity


bn100 said...

Don't plan holiday shopping

Sharlene said...

Carolyn, I'm so sorry to hear you lost your sister. Hugs. I am with Grace about the malls being hell, especially around Christmas. I worked at Macy's for 7 years & after that, I don't want to be near stores on Black Friday. We don't have much shopping to do & my husband & I are both working 2 jobs,so probably anything we get will be online or gift cards.

Brooke Showalter said...

I plan out my holiday shopping to help save money. It makes it easier to know what we are getting everyone!

Anita Yancey said...

I plan out my holiday shopping and usually get started in July or August. But this year I am a little late I didn't start until the first of September. Thanks for having the giveaway.


Pam said...

I'm more of the last minute type of holiday shopper, but then again, I don't have many to buy for either.
Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!


Annwitch said...

I love to plan my shopping with a budget. I have started ago shop online, but I do enjoy the decorations at the stores.

Anonymous said...

No stress here; am retired, so planning, go whenever the mood hits me.