Monday, December 5, 2011

Creativity – and Candles – Multiplied

USA Today bestselling military romance author, Catherine Mann, is my guest today. This time we are introduced to another sizzling hero, Hugh Franco, from the Air Force's celebrated Pararescue Jumpers–"The PJs"– an ultra-elite force who put themselves at extreme risk in the most dangerous emergencies so that others may live. 

I haven’t had the chance to read HOT ZONE yet, but we were introduced to Hugh in Cover Me. I’ve been looking forward to reading his story.

Aside from creating hot military heroes, Catherine also uses her creativity in other ways, decorating candles. She tells us how to go about decorating. I’m certainly going to give it a try. I love candles!

Some have a theory that creativity needs to be channeled.  Certainly I can see that there has to be focus within a creative career.  However, I’m a firm believer that creativity is like bread.  Feed the yeasty starter, knead the dough, and watch it grow.

Along the same lines, I believe my creativity needs to be massaged and fed.  Luckily, I love to do creative, artsy things beyond my writing.

Over the years I’ve tried my hand at a number of artsy crafts.  Cross stitching.  Sewing.  Singing.  Guitar.  Crocheting.  Gardening.  Calligraphy.  Baking. Am I a master at them?  Not hardly. (Especially not gardening!)  But I thoroughly enjoy myself.

While writing is obviously my primary creative outlet, I indulge my muse by trying new creative endeavors.  This month?  My daughter and I decorated candles for holiday gifts.

This was one of our easier to tackle undertakings, with only a few supplies needed and simple to follow directions…



Tissue Paper
Pattern Stamp
Wax Paper
Handheld Hair Dryer


Stamp the pattern of your choice on a piece of tissue paper.  Cut out the pattern.  Trim fairly close to the edges.  Place the inked tissue paper on the candle.  Press wax paper over the tissue paper to hold it in place.  Direct the handheld hair dryer over the pattern.  Lightly move the dryer around until the candle wax begins to absorb the tissue paper – without changing the shape of the candle.   Be careful to avoid drips.  Gently peel away the wax paper.  Aim the hair dryer at the candle again and heat until the tissue paper can’t be seen and only the pattern shows.  Let dry.

Variations: Can place more than one pattern on the candle.  Or place the pattern all the way around the candle.  Also, while wax is still soft, rhinestones or tiny rhinestones can be pressed into the pattern.  We even used the leftover ink to stamp white paper lunch sacks, making our own gift bags!

As you can see from the photo, my daughter and I made a slew of candles for gifts this year.  Most have a holiday theme, but there are also some patriotic candles.  Those are for our family and friends with a military member serving.  We’ll be keeping one of these candles in our home as a reminder and tribute to those who can’t be with their families this holiday season.  Real life heroes and heroines like the characters featured in my air force novels.

And so, that wraps up my creative outlet of the moment.  Next up?  Chocolate fondue and dipped treats.

Thank you to Sia for sharing her blog spot with me today and thank you to each of you for stopping by to visit!

·        What are some of your old and/or new holiday traditions?


He'll take any mission, the riskier the better...

The haunted eyes of pararescuemen, Hugh Franco, should have been her first clue that deep pain roiled beneath the surface. But if Amelia couldn't see the damage, how could she be expected to know he'd break her heart?

She'll prove to be his biggest risk yet...

Amelia Bailey's not the kind of girl who usually need rescuing...but these are anything but usual circumstances. EXCERPT



USA Today bestseller Catherine Mann writes military romantic suspense for Sourcebooks and Berkley, as well as steamy romances for Harlequin Desire. A RITA Award winner, she has over two million books in print in more than twenty countries. Catherine resides in the Florida panhandle with her flyboy husband, their four children and an ever growing menagerie of pets.  And yes, in a moment of creative inspiration, she once raided the pantry for the ingredients to bake homemade dog cookies for her local animal shelter!

For more information on Hot Zone and her other works, Catherine can be found online at:



Jowake said...

Never been particularly creative I'm afraid, did some embroidery when I was young, I guess cooking is my creative outlet. My main tradition at Christmas is to have a really good ham (not twice cooked) with Colman's mustard and champagne cocktails on Christmas morning. Deelicious. Wish I could share with you both.

Catherine Mann said...

Jo, sounds like you're wonderfully creative!! I think fine cooking is a true art. The ham sounds amazing!!

Thanks, Jo, for being the first commenter... And thank you, Skye, for having me hang out here. :)

~Sia McKye~ said...

Jo, you're a goddess in the kitchen. That also takes quite a bit of creativity, my dear.

I also like cooking ham from scratch. I wish I was closer too. I'd love to sample many things from your magic kitchen.


~Sia McKye~ said...

Cathy, I'm always glad to have you visit. I'm going to try your candle decorating tips. I have friends who love candles as much as I do and see your tips made me realize they would make the perfect gift.

I'll let you know how it goes.

I must get to bed. I'm zonked. I'll catch you in the morning!

Houston A.W. Knight said...


I wanted to learn how to do those candles BUT the hot guy to the left of that kept grabbing me eye. dude! Where did you find him and can I get me one just like him wrapped for X'mas?


Tonya Kappes said...

WOW, Catherine, those are beautiful! I agree that keeping my hands busy when not typing helps my creative juices flow. I love to bead jewelry, walk, or make cookies.

Catherine Mann said...

LOL, Hawk! I agree, he's quite a distraction. ;)

Catherine Mann said...

Thank you, Tonya!!! I was really happy with how they turned out - and how easy they are to make. Sometimes I have these ideas for projects and they're a mess. This one was blessedly easy. My daughter and I had a blast just hanging out together too!

Houston A.W. Knight said...


You girls have no mercy...I hardly got by the sexy dude on the cover of HOT ZONE to find meself running into Jason Momoa...and then you want me (an Irish Lass) to think about candles?

There isn't a wee bit of Irish in everyone around the world because we Irish are a clean minded people. *WINK* Our minds tend to drift to .... well, you get the picture.

;-) Hawk

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Can buying holiday candles be a tradition? Because I really don't think you want me in the kitchen with hot wax. I'd make a mess!

~Sia McKye~ said...

So, how are you with a hammer, saws, and nails Alex? Maybe we can find you a project with those?

~Sia McKye~ said...

No offense to Franco, Catherine, but that's some serious distraction.

Catherine Mann said...

LOL, Alex! I do have to confess our clean up was a bit messy.... we still have some wax residue on the counters. :)

~Sia McKye~ said...

Celts are clean minded people,Hawk? Really?

I know Jason looks clean anyway, but I could offer to wash his clothes for him. Would that make it better?


Houston A.W. Knight said... know very well we aren't clean minded but we do make up for it by making sure our bodies are, so hand that boy over and let me give him a real good Irish bath!


~Sia McKye~ said...

Lolol! He's rather busy right now, Hawk. You know how messy candle Decorating can get.;-)

Kat Sheridan said...

The novel sounds fabulous and the candles are beautiful (and look like you spent a million bucks on them!)

Sia, thanks for posting Jason Momoa. As you know, he's the model for my current hero (who is still trying to escape the caves--must get back to that).

As for my own craftiness (LOL!) I do counted cross stitch, and bake. I'm a total cookie queen (actually, I'll bake just about anything that can be frosted. I do make pie, but it's not my fave). Given the economy this year, 'most everyone I know is getting cookies from me.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Ooh, and I've got first hand experience with the yumminess of your cookies, Kat! Love 'em!

I did cross stitch as a kid but I have no patience for it now. The economy has reminded me how much I enjoy making things. I'll look at a picture and think, I can do that and it's fun.

Jane said...

Congrats on the new release, Catherine. I wish I was crafty enough to make my own ornaments, but I do love shopping for them and for other decorations.

Dana Fredsti said...

Sigh. I love doing crafts, especially for Christmas and other holiday presents... but don't have the time this year. Love the candle idea. I want to know who the very first people to come up with all these various crafts projects were/are!

Catherine Mann said...

Kat, your cookies sound like a fabulous gift!! One of my neighbors makes the best caramel popcorn. When we see her headed to the door with it, we all race to get to teh door first so to get the whole bag and hide it! ;)

Catherine Mann said...

Hi Jane! It is fun browsing through the stores and seeing what new ornaments and decorations they've come up with each year!

Catherine Mann said...

Dana, that sure is a great question! I think the same things about some of the stranger foods we eat today. Who first looked at that and thought, "Wow, that sure might be tasty!" I'm not very adventurous in trying new foods, so it amazes me that someone, sometime was! LOL!

Paula R said...

Love the candles, Cathy! You just do it all. Just dropping by to show some love.

Peace and love,
Paula R.

Anonymous said...

One of my holiday traditions is to run around with no shirt and a handgun being chased by a helicopter.

Catherine Mann said...

:::waving:::: Hey there, Paula! And Stephen, I may need to steer clear of you during the holidays!! ;) Thanks to both of you for stopping by to comment!!

Talli Roland said...

I think even I could manage to decorate a candle! Maybe! :)

Nancy said...

Catherine and Sia, I loved Cover Me and am looking forward to reading Hot Zone, which I just bought.

Catherine, I envy you your craft skills. I have about as much experience with a glue gun as with a howitzer, which is to say none, though I've seen other women wield them very effectively.

Those candles are gorgeous. What a thoughtful gift!

Catherine Mann said...

Talli, the candles were wonderfully easy to decorate - I love simple crafts!! :)

Nancy, thank you SO much for your praise for COVER ME! I hope you enjoy HOT ZONE!!

Thanks again for a wonderful blog visit!!