Special surprise today! I’ve talked CJ Blue, hero of The Husband Games, into stopping by to tell us about his family’s Thanksgiving traditions! I heard him say something about getting to a turkey-cooking contest (and possibly something questionable about how he intends to win), so we’d best get going quick.
Jamie: Hi, CJ! Thanks for visiting the blog. Our readers don’t know much about you yet, so let’s start with the basics. On a scale of 1-10, how much did you enjoy being the hero of The Husband Games?
CJ: Considering where you left me in revisions before you ran off to cook your own turkey–
Jamie: Oh, right. You’re not real happy with me right now, are you? Sorry about that. I’ll fix it for you next week. Probably. Maybe. You know what? Let’s talk Thanksgiving instead. Why don’t you tell our readers who you usually have Thanksgiving with?
CJ: When a guy has twelve sisters, the better question is, who doesn’t he usually have Thanksgiving with?
Jamie: I’d have to guess other men. Also? You have eleven sisters.
CJ: Technically, sure, but it’s easier to just clump Basil in with the girls. He squawks like ’em, and he doesn’t mind.
Jamie: Pretty sure he does mind.
CJ (with a mischievous grin): Yeah, but that’s also what makes it fun.
Jamie: So, eleven sisters and one brother. Who do you think will win your turkey-making contest?
CJ: You mean who’s going to come in second after me?
Jamie: I happen to know for a fact you haven’t had Thanksgiving turkey the last three or four years, and you haven’t made one yourself for even longer, so you’ve got your work cut out for you if you want to win.
CJ: But I’m still going to win.
Jamie (giving it to him, because really, he’s stuck in an ugly position in revisions right now, and he’s kind of adorable when he gets all cocky): Okay, I’ll rephrase. Other than you, who will make the best turkey?
CJ: Adorable? You mean drop-dead sexy, right?
Jamie: Cocky. I definitely meant cocky.
CJ, delivering a killer, cocky smile: Just for that, I’ll concede you might have a point about my handicap with the turkey. But only because I’m out of practice on keeping up with which one of my sisters currently has the best odds of sabotaging the competition. Gotta keep a close eye out. I already saw Cinna toss something… unexpected… in Pepper’s turkey smoker, and I know the twins switched out Basil’s gas tank on his turkey fryer for an empty one. Margie’s got the science of the turkey down, but there’s some art to a good turkey. It’ll be a close call this year. Probably Rosemary or Ginger, since they have the most practice.
Jamie: And who’s going to eat all these turkeys?
CJ: Along with my parents, there’s the thirteen of us kids, plus a couple brothers-in-law and all my nieces. All my mom’s sisters and their families come over too. No turkey will go to waste. Except maybe Pepper’s. Pretty sure nobody’s gonna want to eat that unless she fixes whatever it was Cinna did.
Jamie: What’s your favorite Thanksgiving tradition?
CJ: The nap after dinner.
CJ: My family’s great, but there’s something special about quiet after that many hours with that many people talking over each other. Good chance to get some quality one-on-one time in with the few who stay awake. Or a good chance to sneak out and work off some energy. If I can move. Not as used to the noise since I haven’t been around as much the last few years.
Jamie: What’s your favorite Thanksgiving memory?
<CJ scratches his chin.>: Huh. That’s a hard one. <He starts to smile.> Might be that time the twins came down with the flu, so Mom and Dad put Rosemary in charge of dinner and Ginger in charge of watching Cinna. Cinna was just a baby that year. Ginger put her down for a nap, but there was so much going on, she wouldn’t go to sleep. Just kept screaming in her crib. So Pepper, Cori, and I dressed her up like a turkey, rocked her to sleep, and put her right in the center of the table. Should’ve heard Ginger screeching when she realized Cinna wasn’t in her crib. Everyone else was watching her sleep right there on the table, but Ginger was ready to call the cops.
Jamie: Your poor sisters.
CJ: Poor sisters, my you-know-what. Ginger put itching powder in my underwear the next day, and you don’t want to know what she did to Pepper and Cori. Not something a boy should ever have to hear about. A man either. <He shudders, but then smiles.> Man, we had fun growing up.
Jamie: On that note, do you have a few minutes to answer some reader questions?
CJ: Anything for the ladies.
Jamie: Great. First up, Dee wants to know, boxers, briefs, or commando?
Jamie: Dee’s also curious to know about your idea of a perfect date.
CJ blows out a breath: A date? What’s that?
Jamie, smiling: You know, when two people get together and hang out and do something–
CJ: All right, all right. I know what a date is. But I haven’t had one in forever. You ever try to make plans with an overworked single mother who’s convinced she’s bad for your reputation?
Jamie: A-ha! So you admit you do want to date Natalie?
CJ: She’s starting to grow on me. But I’m staying away from her kid. This is just for fun. If we ever get to do anything. With you in charge of our destinies, I don’t see anything happening anytime soon. So, dating. Yep. Back to What’s that?
Jamie, clearing her throat and quietly chuckling to herself over what’s in store for poor CJ next: You used to date women. Before your first marriage.
CJ: Foul in the no-spoiler zone, Ms. Author Lady. We’re not going there.
Jamie: Your widower status is in your blurb. It’s not a spoiler.
CJ: And I’m sure our wonderful readers will be happy to learn more about my dates when they read my book.
Jamie: Okay, Mr. Grumpy.
CJ: I’m not the one who decided to leave me hanging in revisions. Any more questions?
Jamie: Just one. Marilyn wants to know what you think makes an ideal husband.
CJ, letting out a low whistle and looking around for an escape route: You cooking already? It’s getting hot in here. I’m gonna go open a window. Back in a bit. Maybe tomorrow.
Jamie: Nuh-uh, mister. Sit on down and answer the question. I’ll even let you have some pie when we’re done.
CJ: Ideal husband, huh? <He ducks his head.> Don’t really have a lot of experience in that department. Might want to ask your good buddy Jackson instead.
Jamie: No, you’re exactly the right person for this question. You’ve spent four years thinking about it.
CJ: You mean hiding from it.
Jamie: We all deal with grief in out own ways. But I know you’ve got a few opinions. Don’t be shy.
CJ, taking a hit of courage: An ideal husband is a guy who’ll support his wife however she needs it–emotionally, spiritually, physically, financially, you name it–and who won’t try to mold her into someone she’s not. He’ll listen to her and trust her and be her partner, and he’ll be willing to step down and let her shine when she needs to shine. To do what she needs to do, even if she can do it better without him. Especially if she can do it better without him.
Jamie: So what makes an ideal wife?
CJ: Time’s up, Ms. Author Lady. We’ll have to save that one for next time. Now, you promised me some pie…
Jamie: Okay, okay. You’ve earned your pie. But you’ll have to promise to come back sometime.
CJ: Deal. And a happy Thanksgiving to all our lovely readers.
Thanks to CJ for stopping by and answering the easy and not-so-easy questions! If you want to know when his book is out, sign up for my newsletter! 🙂 And have a wonderful Thanksgiving week!