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WINNER of The River of Doubt and Enter for the VIP Tickets to RZA!

giveaway winner Leslie Conder Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures Candice Millard1. River of Doubt Winner

2. Destiny of the Republic giveaway

3. Enter to win VIP Tickets to RZA






. Continue reading WINNER of The River of Doubt and Enter for the VIP Tickets to RZA!

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WIN THESE and They WILL Arrive in Time for Christmas!

Candice Millard signed hardcover River of Doubt President Theodore Roosevelt

I recently told you about these wonderful works about President Theodore Roosevelt and President James A. Garfield, by Candice Millard. (Click here for original blog post.) Don’t miss your opportunity to win one or both of these books, friends, SIGNED BY THE AUTHOR!!

CONTEST #1 – Win a Hardcover of River of Doubt, Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey, signed by the author, Candice MillardTheodore Roosevelt Amazon biography Candice Millard Continue reading WIN THESE and They WILL Arrive in Time for Christmas!

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A Jeep, Some Tweets, and The Way We Sleep


My new lover, "Henry." Hot body and killer engine. Yummy.
My new lover, “Henry.” Hot body and killer engine. Yummy.

I’ve taken on a lover. His name is Henry. Henry, the Jeep.

As my regular readers know, I totaled Larry, my little Hyundai Elantra, hitting a deer on the way home from house and dog-sitting a few weeks ago.

Henry is a 6 cylinder 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo and I can’t get enough of him. His gas mileage isn’t that great, but he makes up for it with an amazing body, an engine like a tank and incredible seats. We spent a week scouring used car lots looking for this exact model after talking with a mechanic who couldn’t say enough good things about them. The fact that this mechanic was a car dealer who had just sold the one we were considering and instead of selling us something else on his lot instead, just kept going on about that jeep, might have cemented our decision. (I do feel bad we couldn’t buy from him though.)

Three times we went to look at a 2002 Jeep GCL and it was sold – either as we arrived or just before we got there. Twice we had to look, smell and touch the beautiful SUV’s just purchased by someone who was not us. I wanted to punch someone in the throat, but how can you begrudge some other person of wanting to own one too?

Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 2002So when we saw that a dealership in Ohio had just dropped their price on a beautiful tan one that they had on their lot for awhile, we didn’t really care anymore that even shopping with cash, neither of us can haggle. I was done. He was done. This was our Jeep and they could see it in our eyes. I said “Henry” out loud on the way home that night. We couldn’t pick him up until the next morning because some dumb bunny (me) forgot the checkbook and it was too late for them to run our debit card through.

I kicked around one or two alliterations first, but “J” names just felt cliche. He was…is a “Henry.” And no, dear sister, he is no ‘enry. I’m no Liza Doolittle. And no, dear brother, he is not “Hank” though I know you’ll continue calling him that anyway. And yes, dear nephew, probably the only sane person in the family, you have every right to shun him and refuse to anthropomorphize my vehicle.

So happy. How did I not discover Jeeps much, much sooner?
So happy. How did I not discover Jeeps much, much sooner?

Henry had a few fixes needed, and I’m picking him up today from the shop, where he received 4 new shocks, rear brakes/rotors/pads, a tire rotation and a fix for his right rear leaking axle. It sounds like a lot, and it did take a little more investment than we planned, but since got Henry for not much difference than the totaled check for Larry, we could handle it. And even at this shop they’ve been admiring Henry. Except for those fixes, they have been admiring his engine, his transmission, his body. (Everybody loves his body. Can you see why I’m in lust?)

Kurt keeps telling me how excited he is to come home and drive “the jeep” but Henry’s mine. Kurt has his big ol’ Dodge Ram work truck that I’m not allowed to drive, so I don’t know how much Henry sharing I want to do. I’ve always said I’m up for a threesome, but I guess I always assumed that would be a woman. I don’t know if I can share Henry with Kurt. When that engine turns over with a big vroom, vroom, I kinda’ don’t want anybody else in the suv. Hmmm. I never thought anyone could really ever come between Kurt and I. Oh, Henry!


Candice Millard signed best seller Destiny of the Republic President James Garfield Chester Arthur
Best-selling author Candice Millard was gracious to sign this special hardcover for the winner of this Traveling Marla blog contest. Good luck!

I am still learning Twitter ( @travelingmarla ), and need to read up on the whole hashtag thing. So far I’ve just been fumbling around on there, following and being followed. At least I’ve learned to reply and retweet, and I’ve probably favorited too many things. I tend to use it like the *Like* button, which I think maybe isn’t how you’re supposed to?

Anyway, it’s been neat (yes, I’m a child of the 70s, I say “neat”) when I get notifications that someone has mentioned me or followed me or retweeted something. Sometimes I think I don’t want to take away the mystery of it, because then instead of being this magical, exciting thing, I’ll learn that happens to everyone.

But I’m going to live in my little reverie for a moment and tell you my giddy little schoolgirl bits of excitement on Twitter lately. First was the whole Neil Gaiman thing. You might remember the whole caption contest thing, but then there were some cool tweets. When I first posted the blog, one of my readers shared it with Neil, and he tweeted “Sweet.” I’m going to pretend that meant he read the blog. After the contest was over, someone tweeted him the winning caption link, and he said “That is hilarious.” I know, I know, I’m a dork. But it’s the little things, right? Next I tweeted about pre-ordering the new book from Benjamin Percy, Red Moon, which won’t be out until May, asking “Is it May yet? Is it May yet? and he replied to it! Yup, he said “Thank you. I wish I could fast forward my way to May.” Yep, cool, right? Oh trust me, if you’ve read his work, you know how cool that is. He’s a writing god! Then one of my readers recently tweeted “I’m your number one fan.” Granted, he is currently entering the Millard contest, and he is a friend from high school, but still, that’s cool. I could really use a number one fan right now!

Candice Millard signed hardcover River of Doubt President Theodore Roosevelt
So grateful that authors like Millard are lighthearted enough to participate in our contest by autographing this special hardcover of River off Doubt for one of you lucky readers!

And finally, friends, I was so excited to open my email this morning to see that Candice Millard is now following me on Twitter. Dude, she’s like so totally cool! She’s one of those writers that you wish you could just go live with for a month and see how she researches, fly-on-the-wall her process and hope you can be good enough to apply her techniques to your own work someday. (Granted, my penchant is more for dysfunctional alcoholics and poverty-stricken social workers of the 40s than Presidents, but still…)

I know, I know, she’s only following me because she’s interested in the progress of this contest with her books I’m giving away, but I’m not picky. She’s following me and she’s cool. Therefore, I’m living in awesomeville right now.

By the way, don’t miss out on winning those books! I’ve given you 7 ways to enter for the one book, and one straightforward way to enter for the other book. They will arrive in time for Christmas if you want to win one as a gift, so go read that, enter and good luck!


I hope you will take a moment to go support the blog tour of my friends Casey and Jessa, and buy this wonderful anthology!
I hope you will take a moment to go support the blog tour of my friends Casey and Jessa, and buy this wonderful anthology!

There is this really, super cool thing going on round and about the interwebs right now. It’s a BLOG TOUR to promote a new anthology called The Way We Sleep. A love the couple that put this anthology together, and I love that they’re promoting it online via a blog tour. This saves those who really can’t stand sitting through hours of pretentious open mics and slogging through the rain and snow to go listen/watch some artsy-fartsy’s get their Jones on. (And yes, yes, okay, yes I’m one of those artsy-fartsy’s who gets her Jones on by reading at open mics and anywhere that will listen to me!)

Check it out on Facebook or on their website. It’s such a cool idea. Each day is a different site they’re touring, and giving you bits and pieces from the book. Such a cool idea. Such cool people. Go check it out, friends!


Love (and I mean it), Marla

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Win TWO Signed Hardcover Books! Happy Holidays, Readers!!

Theodore Roosevelt Amazon biography Candice Millard
Autumn House Caroline Tanski Marla Druzgal
It was exciting to meet Candice Millard at her reading for Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures. L-R: Caroline Tanski of Autumn House Publications, Candice Millard, Traveling Marla

“He probably would have been successful if he hadn’t been insane.” Just one of Candice Millard‘s great quotes of the evening, about Charles Guiteau, the assassin of President James A. Garfield.

I’ll be honest with you. Before Millard spoke at Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures, I thought, like many people do, that President Garfield was boring. Now… Continue reading Win TWO Signed Hardcover Books! Happy Holidays, Readers!!