friday fun five

Friday Fun Five

Happy Friday–and Happy New Year! This week’s guest is Elizabeth North. Thanks, Elizabeth.

To know more about Elizabeth North, check out her blog, or find her on Twitter  (@Elizabeth_DsP) and Facebook. Her ongoing triumph is being Executive Director of Dreamspinner Press, DSP Publications, and Harmony Ink Press.

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1) Will pretty packaging sway you to buy something you absolutely don’t need?

It won’t sway me to buy it if I don’t need it, but it will definitely influence me to choose one item over another. The small details of a well packaged item pre or post purchase make a huge difference to me. A heavy box, a ribbon for lifting out a tight fitting item, accessories neatly arranged and tucked out of sight make opening a new item a joy.

When I was in Korea last year, I bought a dozen little gifts to bring home to my family. Every store had a unique heavy paper or cloth bag with handles. They removed tags and wrapped items individually. Frequently tying them with ribbon or twine and slipping paper cutouts of leaves, birds or flowers under the tie. The paper was usually plain, and they had red ink stamp for the store that they would mark the package with before slipping it in the bag. I’ve seen items packaged after they’ve been purchased in a high-end boutique, but these were trinkets. In most cases the packaging and bag cost more than the item, but it increased their worth tenfold.

2) Dream book: Brand new and unknown or a comfort-read old favorite?

Definitely brand new. I don’t typically reread books–even old favorites. My version of revisiting a beloved book is by sharing it with someone else.

Brand new books fall into two categories for me: known and unknown. I love seeing a new book from a favorite author, but I’m delighted when I find an outstanding book from an author previously unknown to me. It is the gift of a wonderful book, plus a backlist of titles to explore.

3) Good luck food to eat for New Year: 12 grapes or sausage & lentils?

Neither? I like both, but my family never followed a good luck food tradition. After living in the south for many decades, I’ve eaten many a bowl of black-eyed peas on New Years, but I don’t plan on it ahead of time. I will share my favorite recipe.

Texas Caviar
Ingredients

1/2 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 (8 ounce) bottle zesty Italian dressing
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) can black-eyed peas, drained
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
hot sauce to taste
1 bunch chopped fresh cilantro

Mix first 11 ingredients together and let chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours – overnight is better. Add cilantro. Serve with pita or tortilla chips.

I also attached a picture from the front of my local grocery store.

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4) What is your favorite word?

Absolutely impossible to say. I love all words. I’m a complete word geek. I will tell you a story, however.

Early in my life, my grandmother cared for me while my mother worked. To this day, I’ve never met anyone with a vocabulary greater than my grandmother’s. Most importantly, she used it. A day didn’t go by without us pulling her heavy dictionary off the shelf. She taught me that language is beautiful, that the choice of the correct word outweighed the use of a string of less precise words, and that the history of a word is as fascinating as the meaning. Her love of words was so genuine that she never came across as pretentious.

When I was thirteen, I slipped up and cursed in front of her. There was no punishment or even disapproval, but she sat me down and told me that cursing was a lazy habit because I couldn’t be bothered to come up with the appropriate adjective. That “d*#n” door is really that “stuck” door. That “as@%&le” cashier is really that “lackadaisical” cashier. In her opinion, the only proper use for a curse was an exclamation, usually of pain. She had no problem with a heart-felt expletive when you stubbed your toe on a chair in the middle of the night.

I never looked at swearing the same way again.

Bonus: http://www.wordthink.com/

5) Instead of making a resolution for yourself, is there one you would wish for others to have in their New Year?

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A few days ago on Facebook, I posted a cover to a book. Don’t Let Anything Dull Your Sparkle: How to Break Free of Negativity & Drama. That would be my New Year’s resolution. Collectively, we would be so much happier if we could stop our attraction to negativity and drama and focus on the good and joy in the world with gratitude.


A longtime lover of books and romantic fiction in 2006, elizabethnorthElizabeth North commented that someone should start a publishing company that specialized in gay romance. This sparked the creation of Dreamspinner Press, focusing on treating authors well, producing quality books that feel good to hold, and providing a happily ever after for all. Elizabeth’s gift is one of vision: she saw that the publishing industry was ready for gay romantic fiction to join the mainstream rather than being pigeonholed as a specialty genre. With extensive management experience and a master’s degree from Florida State University, she has guided the company toward a bright future, making authors’ and characters’ dreams come true and providing a great reader experience. Elizabeth is a strong believer in family, both by blood and by choice. She has a husband, four children, three dogs, two cats, and a circle of adopted sisters, but there is always room for more. With a maternal surname of Love, she knows that the emotion knows no limits.