Jenn McKinlay

New York Times Bestselling Author

News! Events! Contests!

Jenn McKinlay's News #14

December 4, 2014

Book News: No new books until next year! If you want to pre-order or mark your calendar or whatnot, AT THE DROP OF A HAT comes out in February 2015 and DARK CHOCOLATE DEMISE comes out in April 2015!

ON BORROWED TIME hit #8 on the New York Times bestseller list for which I am so very grateful to each and every one of you! Truly, I was absolutely gobsmacked in the best possible way, making 2014 one of my very best years and I owe it all to you. THANK YOU!

Events: I’ll be speaking at the Ajo Public Library in Ajo, AZ on Dec 13th from 1-2. Really looking forward to heading south for a day!

Contests: Check my facebook page for my weekly Wednesday grab bag!

What’s on my mind: Temporary insanity and holiday traditions. Seriously!

It all started when I was thirty-nine and caught up in a holy-bananas-I’m-going-to-be-forty craziness the like of which I have not suffered since, well, I turned forty. This was the same year I took up skateboarding again after a fifteen year hiatus, went to Italy just because, and picked out “the tree.”

My mom, bless her heart, decided we needed a new Christmas tree since I refused to buy a cut tree for my own environmental reasons and the fake tree we had was a fiber optic outdoor tree that didn’t reside well indoors, meaning it made a lot of noise. We live in the desert so planting a live pine tree is not impossible as much as just odd. So, there we were standing in Target, looking over the artificial trees when my eyes were dazzled by this ethereal beauty in pure white.

I pointed it out to Mom and she squinted at it and then me in horrified disbelief. If I’d picked a pink tree with purple polka dots her Connecticut Yankee sensibilities could not have been more offended. She wandered off to look at the green trees, convinced she could find one that would make me change my mind.

I stared at the white tree completely entranced but torn because as the tree was to be a gift from my mom, I didn’t want to disappoint her with my choice. As I waffled, my friend Travis, a tall, lean, ginger haired fella, just happened to wander by. I told him about my dilemma and confessed to my love of the white tree. He flung his arms wide and said, “Sweetie, it’s Christmas, go crazy.” So, I did!

When we got my new love home and set it up, it became quickly apparent that while under the department store’s fluorescent lights, the white tree was simply dazzling but in the confines of our much smaller and darker living room, the white glow was more like the floodlights in a football stadium at a nighttime game. BOOM! To look at it directly sunglasses were required. We thought loading it with ornaments might tone it down. Not so much. This sucker shined so bright, we could shut off all the lights in the house and read by it. So, yeah, kind of awesome.

Over the years, some of the bulbs have burnt out. We haven’t replaced them. I still love this crazy tree and what’s funny is the rest of my family does, too. With its retina searing glow, it signals the holidays to us like nothing else and from miles away even! I once offered up the possibility of getting a more traditional tree to the hooligans and they looked at me as if I’d gone…wait for it…temporarily insane. Suffice to say, my nuttiness with picking the white tree created a tradition for our family that I cherish even while donning my sunglasses to bask in its radioactive glow.

Here’s wishing you and yours some crazy holiday traditions, a happy new year, peace on Earth and good will toward, well, everyone.

And just in case your holiday is overwhelming, here is my recipe for crock pot mashed potatoes that will save your sanity (temporarily) while clogging your arteries. You’re welcome!

Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes:

5 lb bag of russet potatoes peeled and chopped
8 oz sour cream
8 oz softened cream cheese
1 stick of butter
salt and pepper

Directions: Boil the potatoes until fork tender. Mash the potatoes with the sour cream and cream cheese until smooth. Cook in the crock pot on low for 2-3 hours. Add the stick of butter fifteen minutes before serving, stirring it in while it melts. Salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!