Monday, July 18, 2011

BASKETS, BOOKS, AND BAKING...A Writer’s Collection Of Hats.

My guest is the award winning romance author, Holly Jacobs. She shares her thoughts on her daily *water cooler* chat breaks and the various hats we tend to wear.

Like all women, I wear a lot of hats. I’m a wife, mother, daughter, granddaughter, friend, sister-in-law, aunt... I’m also a splitter of wood, a dogwalker, and a basketweaver. I’m a writer, an off-key kitchen singer, and speaking of kitchen’s, I’m a baker and a cook. I’m a sci fi geek. I’m a... Okay, you get the point, I’m a lot of different things to a lot of different people.

Available September 2011
Until Facebook and Twitter, most people knew me by a handful of titles, but certainly not by all. Most of my readers might have realized I had kids since kids are so prominent in many of my books, but they might not have known I bake bread. Some people might have known that I have a slight (stop laughing, slight is accurate, I mean, the water in a swimming pool seems slight when measured against an ocean) coffee addiction, but might not have realized how much I enjoy home improvement projects.

Here’s the thing, writing is a solitary occupation, and Facebook/Twitter have become my daily water cooler. I love to go hang out with friends there. And while I love talking about my books and do tweet about new releases (tweet...tweet...A Father’s Name is out in September!!), and awards (A One-of-a-Kind Family just won RomCon’s Readers’ Crown, a Golden Quill Award and Write Touch Readers’ Award) even I can’t manage to talk about my books daily. And really, even if someone enjoys my books (and I hope many do) I can’t imagine they’d want to read tweets on them daily. So I do a lot of water cooler talk. Some are simple talk, travel talk. Some is even more’s tweetable insight? I had homemade granola for breakfast. Not the most scintillating thing! LOL But it’s oh-so good. I’ve been making granola the last few months, and love that I can make it to taste. Not exactly a book related tweet, is it? But I do enjoy talking about things I enjoy. I bought a new artisan bread book and until summer’s heat dissuaded me, was making bread daily. And when I bought Beverly Lewis’s cookbook and fell in love with the Golden Angel food cake in it (yes, you can use egg yolks in an angel food cake!), I had fun talking to friends about the recipes.

And then there’s the basketmaking. I started taking classes a year ago, and I make a few baskets a month. I love the creativity of it. If you get good enough at it, it’s an artform. I’m still a novice, and my baskets are the fingerpainting of basketweaving, but I really enjoy the process. And so far, my Facebook/Twitter friends don’t seem to mind when I tweet my basket joy.

I have a lot of fun sharing glimpses of all the hats I wear with friends. And I love learning about them as well. I love getting glimpses of other people’s lives. I enjoy looking at pics of grandkids and sunsets. And I enjoy hearing who baked what, and who loves Mondays as much as I do. (My Monday Glee isn’t shared with everyone...I know, who knew?? LOL) And I love hearing about other people’s pets. I have two dogs, Ethel Merman and Ella Fitzgerald, and frequently puppysit my daughter’s two dogs, Boogers and Cosmo. I love dogs. And without FB, I might not have realized how many other people adore their pets, and I might not have read about how committed Catherine Mann is to fostering dogs. And I’d always loved Cathy’s books, and Cathy herself, but getting introduced to this particular “hat” she wears made me respect her even more!

That’s the things, watercoolers and Facebook/Twitter–they are places where you can learn more about people than just their work. I think they’re a great way to discover the many hats writers wear. My many and varied interests are reflected in my books. In the series I just sold, I have a character that works at/owns a coffeeshop, one who is a partner in a café, and one who owns a vineyard and is starting a winery. Yes, my love of coffee, food and wine is showing! And my Facebook and Twitter friends aren’t shocked! LOL

I’m sure as that September release date for A Father’s Name draws closer, I’ll talk about the book. I might reveal that because of my husband’s affinity for the Teutul’s motorcycle show, American Choppers I was inspired to make my heroine, Tucker, a graphic artist who does specialty painting on motorcycles and other vehicles. (And speaking of the Teutul’s, I’d really love to sit down with Paul Sr. and Paul Jr. wearing my Mom-hat and tell them both to get over it and make up!)

Now, everyone reading this blog wears multiple hats. Most you wear without really thinking about them.

But come on over the watercooler and share a “hat” that your friends might not know you wear.

Holly is a happily married mother of four. She and her family live in Erie County Pennsylvania. She writes for Harlequin, Silhouette and Avalon Books and has sold over 2 million copies of her books worldwide. You can visit Holly at, at Facebook or on Twitter


~Sia McKye~ said...

Holly, Welcome back to Over Coffee. It's always a pleasure to have you visit.

I really like your thoughts of water cooler breaks. Short and sweet and designed to friends and readers chat with you.

Hat? Let's see, I raise show dog quality Great Danes--Euro Danes. I also seem to have either a scent trail or a billboard animals can read which leads the disenfranchised and wounded animals to my house, sigh. I love animals so I guess it's natural.

Alyson Reuben said...

Wow, Holly, you're such a creative woman as well as one heck of a terrific author! I've read several of your posts on facebook and eHarlequin (and I LOVE your books), but I somehow missed the fact that you're a basket weaver. Very interesting! Is the basket in the photo one you made? It's beautiful!

What are my lesser known 'hats'? Well, not everyone knows I'm an artist -- mostly I sketch and dabble in acrylic paints. My favorite projects are wall murals. And it's a goal of mine to one day illustrate a children's book ;)

HollyJacobs said...

Sia, I love Great Danes...that's so cool! And I love that you take in animals. I have such a soft spot in my heart for animals, and they show up on my books frequently. My current two are going to show up in a '12 book under different names (they prize their anonymity! LOL)

I'll see you as you pop in and out...have a great Monday! And thanks for letting me visit!


HollyJacobs said...

Alyson, I'm so glad you've enjoyed my books! Thank you! And thanks for the compliment on the basket. That's a little wine basket I made toward the end of this year's classes. I was quite pleased with it. I'm getting better...but still have a lot of work to do. It's a very soothing art, and it's a good way to contemplate my current WIP!

I always wished I was artistic and could paint and sketch. What's your favorite sort of subject? And illustrating a children's book would be so cool!


tonya kappes said...

Good morning, Sia and Holly! Raising my mug! Holly, too cute! I've never thought of facebook as a water cooler, but you are so right! I do hop over there after writing a few thousand words and get a break, just like I would if I had a watercooler. Too fun!Congrats on the new release!!!

HollyJacobs said...

G'morning back at you, Tonya! I love Mondays, and visiting here today will make this a sweet one! I'm glad you see the watercoolerness of FB! LOL I sometimes use it like a dangling carrot...if I write a page, I can pop in and see what's going on! LOL

Thanks on the congrats on A Father's Name...just six more weeks until it's out!


Renee Vincent said...

Great post, Sia! I collect old hardback books and I have some dating back to the 17th Century. I love the old smell and the look of them in my library at home.

I have so many hats friends and family wonder how I juggle so many. If I didn't them all, I'd be bored to tears.

HollyJacobs said...

Renee, Oh man, I wish they could bottle the smell of old books. And maybe the smell of new textbooks, too. I have such great memories of the first day of school when you'd open a brand new text. The binding would make that squeaky creaking noise, and the smell.... Ahhh. We have some very old books here. I have one from the 1800's about English castles. My son adored looking through it when he was little.

Remember the book Caps For Sale? I often think about that as I juggle my personal hats around. Sounds like you're juggling, too! I think most women walk around with countless hats on their heads! Good luck!


Kat Sheridan said...

Hi Holly! Or should I say Hail Fellow Coffee Lover? (although I'm not as bad as Sia, who can actually drink coffee at night!) Your books sound like fun! I'm not much of a Facebook or Twitter fan (although I've lately become addicted to the #SYTYCD hashtag [So You Think You Can Dance]). And I have few hidden talents (although I do make pretty good cookies!) Good luck with your basket weaving and your upcoming release!

HollyJacobs said...

Kat, I am saluting you with my last morning cup of coffee! I figured that my coffee love (which sounds nicer than addiction)would be well appreciated here at Sia's! LOL I don't do tons of hashtags, but I'm trying to incorporate them a bit more. #lifeisgood is one of my fav's! I'll confess, I'd never #SYTYCD...I know I can't dance. If there were such a thing as anti-rhythm, that's what I'd have! LOL

And thanks on the new book...I've so enjoyed setting books in Whedon. This is the last one there and I'll miss the community. But I'm enjoying the new Valley Ridge community!


PS. So what's your favorite kind of cookie to bake? I made snickerdoodles a bit back for the first time...yum!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Holly, Kat makes some amazing molasses cookies. I even took some home with me after my last visit. She claims those weren't her best, but you could have fooled me. They were delicious. They were good enough that I threatened death to anyone who touched them. I made them last another week after I got home, lol!

I do like a couple of cups of coffee in the evening. Caffeine has never bothered me before I go to bed. Definitely my addiction.

HollyJacobs said...


Molasses cookies? Yum! I make gingersnaps, which are heavy on molasses. Love them! And I love that you made them last! LOL

I tend to lay off the coffee around lunch. But I do tea in the evening, and the caffeine doesn't seem to bother me, either!


Helen Ginger said...

I love all the different hats you wear. I tend to think I have only a few hats and they're pretty boring ones. But I may just try on a few and see what they look like on Twitter and Facebook.

HollyJacobs said...

Helen, Well, if you try on a FB or Twitter hat, come over and hang at my watercooler! LOL I have this bio I use that talks about how exciting Holly Jacobs pegnoirs and sky diving. (It's very exaggerated! I sleep in cut off sweats and ratty t-shirts and the only diving I'm prone to is diving into a new book! LOL)

And I bet if you think about it, you'll realize you wear a lot more hats than you think. Me, I just had on my laundress's not my favorite, but I do tend to wear that one with frightening regularity! LOL One of my favorite hats is a "reader" hat. I just got the new Game of Thrones book...and I'm not allowed to read any of it until I finish today's word count! I'm almost there!


Mary Campisi said...

Hey Holly! Greetings from Ohio! I just happened upon your post this am and had to comment. Baskets, coffee, bikes, AND animals?! My one and only tiny handcrafted basket sits on my shelf - but I'm proud of it! The pic of yours was pretty amazing- I think I could actually fit in it...well, maybe not. When you mentioned motorcylces, I smiled. I often ride on the back of my husband's Electra Glide Classic- it's like sitting on a couch. We rode for lunch yesterday and I almost fell asleep on the way back. And dogs?? We rescued our lab mix, Cooper, almost 3 years ago and Ijust wrote an article about how he taught me about backstory. I also love hearing about people's animals. Great names for yours, too!
I enjoyed your post and happy summer! Good luck with the new release!


HollyJacobs said...

Hi, Mary!! It's been way too long! We just had Roar on the Shore here in and your dh should have come down. The entire city was awash with bikes!

Cooper sounds like he's been an inspiration! I love hearing about other people's pets. I have my daughter's two dogs here today...Booger and Cosmo. So, I'm working in the midst of a dog pack! LOL You should hear the comments when I walk all four. Yes, I've become the neighborhood's crazy dog lady!


PS The doorbell just rang and the UPS man just brought me three large print copies of A Father's Name. Maybe the rest of my author copies are on their way, too?

KT BISHOP said...

liked the interview! Hoping to be as successful as you!

HollyJacobs said...

Thanks so much, KT! I always love hanging out with Sia and everyone here!

Wishing you loads of success!


sheandeen said...

What a great post! You know, you are right that we wear a lot of different 'hats' and folks that know us from work, only know the little bits we let out there. Other folks from other places in our lives see different 'hats' we wear. I like your analogy of FB/twitter being a 'water-cooler'.

So thanks for sharing. Isn't baking bread and awesome activity? I used to have to make any bread we wanted to eat because of food allergies. It has become a bit easier to find bread that avoids the allergens so I no longer have to do it. It's a lot more fun again now that I can choose not to on brutally hot days.

HollyJacobs said...

Glad you liked the analogy! That's how I think of it. Hanging with friends is a lovely break from writing! Today friends have posted about shoe-spam, kids and the heat! The heat seems to be a general complaint! LOL And I tweeted that I started a pewter collection and that my large print copies of A Father's Name arrived. Not crazy exciting, but I enjoy it!

And I adore homemade bread! I've been using an artisan recipe that doesn't require it! Very crunchy crust! Glad you're able to find bread more readily!



~Sia McKye~ said...

Holly, you have to share that recipe. I love a crunchy crust and soft insides. Warm bread with real butter, yum.

Kat Sheridan said...

Holly, as Sia mentioned, I do make molasses cookies. Hubs' favorite is peanut butter chocolate chip, or snickerdoodles. My personal fave is a sugar cookie from a really old Better Homes and Garden cookbook. Oooo. Now I'm hungry. And seconding the request for bread recipes! Hubs requested (and got) a breadmaker for his birthday yesterday!

HollyJacobs said...

Sia, The recipe is simple enough, but I really suggest buying the book. It has more options for what to do with the dough, and variations of the no-knead dough.

Kat, I'm hungry, too! LOL

And My Aha Moment came through Erie and asked me to come down and talk about becoming an author. The video is up on You Tube now!!