December 12, 2013

12 days of writers - no. 7: jackie bouchard

Blogger's Note: Welcome to the 12 Days of Writing, Change the Word's annual December celebration. After two years of sharing writing tips, this year, I'm sharing 12 writers with you. For the first three weeks of December, you'll have a chance to meet 12 wonderful women and learn about their favorite holiday traditions.

I met Jackie Bouchard back in my book reviewing days when she sent me a copy of her debut novel, What the Dog Ate. Though it took me a little longer than it should have to read and review it, once I did, I was in love. I laughed, I cried and I made a new friend in the author. Like her stories, Jackie has a wonderful sense of humor mixed with sincerity. She's kind, sweet, eager to offer support and a great sounding board for discussing ideas. I'm delighted to feature Jackie on CTW, today - and I'm equally excited to dig into her latest novel, Rescue Me, Maybe.

What’s your favorite holiday tradition?
Gosh, there are so many that my family has that I love: we always have seafood chowder for Christmas Eve dinner; we decorate our homes like crazy; my one sis and I go to my other sis’s house and paint fun designs on her windows; on Christmas Eve we exchange what we call “sock presents,” and the rest of the world calls “stocking stuffers.” But the one tradition I couldn’t do without is the music. I don’t want to hear it before Thanksgiving, and I can’t stand to hear one more note of it by New Year’s Eve, but during December I love playing all my favorite Christmas albums. Uh, CD’s. Er, playlists. The technology changes, but the music stays the same! My all-time faves are “Elvis Christmas Classics” and “A Charley Brown Christmas.”

What is a must-have eat or treat this time of year?
Peppermint ice cream! I have a bad sweet tooth, and a great love of ice cream. Nothing like a bowl of peppermint ice cream – with some dark chocolate fudge sauce on top – at the holidays! (And by “holidays,” I mean Halloween through Valentine’s Day.)

What is the best gift you’ve ever received?
This is probably going to sound lame, so I need to give some backstory. The hubs finds gift-buying very stressful, and he hates to shop in general anyway, so most years I give him a detailed list of books or kitchen gadgets or whatever else I might want. Usually that means no surprises on Christmas morning, but one year he gave me this thing called a “Froth Au Lait.” He knows I love cafĂ© au lait, and we’d had a cappuccino machine, but what a pain the frothers are on those things! So he researched and found the Froth Au Lait, which whips a ½ cup of non-fat milk into the most beautiful thick foam you’ve ever seen with just the push of a button. It’s like a fluffy cloud and you want to dive right in. I didn’t even know such a wonderful thing existed. I love it. We used to be really addicted to it and would use it every single day. We would even bring it with us when we traveled.  Now, in the interest of getting him off to work more quickly, we only use it on the weekends, but it’s still one of my all-time fave kitchen gadgets.

He researched! He found something I didn’t even know I wanted, but now can’t live without! It was an awesome gift. Sadly, this has become the bar by which all other gifts are now measured. He and I both fear these heights will never be achieved again. (Although… one year for my birthday, he gave me a present every day for the month of March leading up to my birthday, which is on the 23rd. That was pretty darn awesome. But that’s “gifts”, plural, not “gift” singular like you asked. I like to follow the rules.)

What is your favorite holiday read and watch?
It’s roughly the same answer for both on this one. Every couple of years I love to read “A Christmas Carol.” The first time I read it, I was so surprised to find how funny it was. For instance, I love the line when Marley’s ghost comes to see Scrooge for the first time, and Scrooge is convinced it’s just indigestion making him see things so he tells Marley, “There's more of gravy than of grave about you.” That’s a great line. Plus, I have a very fun, old printing of it that my sis gave me. (It doesn’t have a printing date, but the inscription from “Mildred” says “To Jean, with all good wishes at Christmas time in the year 1945.”) It even has some great illustrations.

As for my favorite movie, it’s the 1970 musical version of the book, called “Scrooge.” It stars Albert Finney as Scrooge and Sir Alec Guinness as the best Marley evar, and it’s fantastic. I know every word to every song and I sing along the whole way through. I watch it every year.

What’s one New Year’s resolution you’re making for 2014?
Uh boy… I’m not great about resolutions. I usually make a completely unrealistic number of them (“No more swearing!” “No more white sugar!” “I’m going to be nice to EVERYONE!” “One hour of cardio every day!”) and then I’ve already failed at all of them by about 3p.m. on January 2nd. The only time I ever stuck it out with a resolution was the year I vowed to try at least one new recipe each week. In fact, I should probably just make that same resolution again, because I’ve fallen into such a rut with my cooking. So, let’s go with that one. Oh, and to publish my 3rd novel in 2014!

About the Author
Jackie Bouchard writes Fido-friendly fiction. She used to be trapped in the hamster wheel of corporate America, but she was lucky enough to escape and now fully understands the term "struggling writer." Jackie loves: reading, writing, and, yes, even 'rithmetic (seriously, algebra rocks); professional cycling; margaritas; blogging (she never thought she'd say that, but she does); dogs in general, and her crazy rescue pup specifically; and her hubby. (Not in that order.) Jackie dislikes: rude people and writing about herself in the third person. After living in Southern California, then Bermuda, then Canada, then the East coast, Jackie and her husband settled in San Diego. American Jackie, her Canadian hubby, and her Mexican rescue mutt form their own happy little United Nations. Jackie's debut novel, "What the Dog Ate," was followed by "Rescue Me, Maybe."

Connect with Jackie

Buy Her Books
Rescue Me, MaybeAmazon:

What the Dog Ate

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  1. Thanks so much for having me! You're the best, and I'm looking forward to seeing you, Jane, and Bingley on Pooch Smooches on Monday!!

    1. The kittens are pretty excited to make their Pooch Smooches debut. (Their vanity is almost as bad as mine.) So glad to have you take part in this.

  2. Adorbs! And... I'm revising my Christmas list (which had zero items on it) to include that Frothy Coffee thingy. Oh.My.Goodness. Must have!

    1. We just used it this morning. (Lazy morning since the hubs has the day off.) It's the best!

  3. Okay, Jackie, I need that seafood chowder recipe like yesterday - YUM!

    Mike did very well with that Froth Au Lait gift! What a clever gadget! Honestly, I'm a big fan of gift lists and getting what's on them for people. I know I want everything on mine and couldn't care less about the surprise element.

    I love that Dickens' quote! I'm embarrassed to admit that I've never actually read the book, although I feel like I know the story backwards and forwards since I've seen so many adaptations of it.

    You've now given me the fun idea of making impossible-to-keep resolutions for 2014. 1) I'll stop making fun of Justin Bieber. 2) I'll train for a marathon. 3) I'll go see 50 Shades of Grey on opening day. ;)

    1. I think I have the recipe around here somewhere. I can email it to you.

      You should definitely read A Christmas Carol! It's a quick read, and so great!

      Love your resolutions! :)

  4. Great post, Jackie! I also make (and quickly break) the 'Be Nice to Everyone' resolution every year! Oh, and the white sugar one as well! :)
    Wow... as soon as I'm done writing this, I am googling that milk frother!! That cup of coffee is calling me!

    1. Maybe one of these years I'll keep the "Be Nice to Everyone!" resolution.... nah, probably not.

      You should definitely check out the frother! So so so good. And it works best with nonfat or lowfat milk, which is awesome!

  5. I ADORE that Albert Finney Scrooge! One of my faves! And great tip on the frother. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you!! xo