Thursday, December 23, 2010
If your cupboards are full and tea's steeping in your mug...if you have heat, light, and your loved ones with you...
If mother nature has decided your holiday shopping and preparations are as good as they're going to get...
Take a moment to embrace the simple peace and hope of the Season.
Merry Christmas to each of you. :)
P.S. If you find yourself with a bit of time on your hands after the 25th, you might visit Averyl's Attic, which features lovely Victorian clip art. Beautiful!
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Present of the Day: Starbucks Nesting Tea Mug Set. So darling. So practical. Something pretty I could use each day.
Writing Quote of the Day: "A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper." E B White (1899-1985) Wow, do I love this one. And absolutely treasure the work of E.B. White, which only makes it better.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Now, the hibernation may consist of an entire day, or only a stolen hour or two, but if it's intentional and deliberate on your part, with all those things that you love most around you, it goes a long way toward enjoying the rest of the holiday festivities.
Perfect Hibernation Book: The Long Winter, by Laura Ingalls Wilder. It's full of adventure, happy endings, and a description of the most mouth-watering flapjacks. You'll crave pancakes for days. Indulge yourself.
Perfect Hibernation Food: Fudge. There is my Mom's fudge, and all other fudge. This is my Mom's fudge.
Read more about it at www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,189,152182-243194,00.html
Content Copyright © 2010 Cooks.com - All rights reserved.
3 c. sugar
3/4 c. butter
2/3 c. (5 1/3 fl. oz. can) Carnation evaporated milk
1 (12 oz.) pkg. semi-sweet chocolate pieces
2 c. Kraft marshmallow creme
1 c. chopped nuts
1 tsp. vanilla
Combine sugar, butter and milk in heavy 2 1/2 quart saucepan; bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Continue boiling 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Remove from heat; stir in chocolate pieces until melted. Add marshmallow creme, nuts and vanilla; beat until well blended. Pour into greased 13 x 9 inch pan. Cool at room temperature; cut into squares. Makes approximately 3 pounds.Double recipe: Use this full 13 ounce jar of Kraft marshmallow creme, doubling all ingredients. Prepare fudge as directed, using 5-quart Dutch oven. Pour fudge into 2 greased 13 x 9 inch pans. Makes approximately 6 pounds.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Christmas gift of the day: The Writing Sets from Barnes and Noble. Just the perfect combination of practical and pretty. I love them all.
The Writing Quote of the day: "Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great."
— Mark Twain
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Christmas book of the day: A Holiday Yarn by Sally Goldenbaum. A yuletide Mystery!
Writing quote of the day:"Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential." - Frank A. Clark
Have a lovely day!
Monday, December 6, 2010
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus Recipe
- 12 Servings
- Prep: 30 min. + standing
- 2 large sweet red pepper
- 2 cans (15 ounces each) garbanzo beans or chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons tahini
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1-1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- Pita bread, warmed and cut into wedges, and reduced-fat wheat snack crackers
- Additional garbanzo beans or chickpeas, optional
- Broil red peppers 4 in. from the heat until skins blister, about 5 minutes. With tongs, rotate peppers a quarter turn. Broil and rotate until all sides are blistered and blackened. Immediately place peppers in a bowl; cover and let stand for 15-20 minutes.
- Peel off and discard charred skin. Remove stems and seeds. Place the peppers in a food processor. Add beans, lemon juice, tahini, oil, garlic and seasonings; cover and process until blended.
- Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve with pita bread and crackers. Garnish with additional beans if desired. Yield: 3 cups.
Friday, December 3, 2010
Today's Christmas book: "Under the Mistletoe" by Mary Balogh. (Yup, same title, different anthology collection) A wonderful selection of novellas.
Today's Christmas gift suggestion:
This is an amazing organization. You can pick an animal, a country, or make this a monthly donation. And they don't just help those in need overseas, but right here in the USA. Nothing feels better at Christmas than giving!
What's your favorite animal? I'm partial right now to the honeybees, and those little rabbits are charming. :)
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Writing quote of the day: “Planning to write is not writing. Outlining, researching, talking to people about what you're doing, none of that is writing. Writing is writing.” E. L. Doctorow.
Christmas book of the day: Under the Mistletoe by Irene Brand and Anita Higman. Two heartwarming stories of Christmas past and present.
Christmas recipe of the day: Easy Toffee Bars
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 (10 ounce) package saltine crackers
- 1 (12 ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
- In a small saucepan over medium-high heat melt butter with brown sugar; bring to a boil and remove from heat.
- Arrange crackers (salt side up) on a jelly roll pan. Pour butter mixture over crackers.
- Bake in preheated oven for 5 minutes.
- Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over crackers. Bake for another 5 minutes.
- Spread the melted chocolate, then sprinkle with nuts, coconut, or toffee pieces. Cool, break into smaller bits, and enjoy!
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
Congratulations, Clarissa and Ginger/Savannah Granny! I've chosen your names out of my trusty coffee cup. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org so that I can get your book(s) to you.
Thanks so much to all who stopped by! May your Halloween week be filled with treats. :)
Monday, October 18, 2010
Now for the breathtaking books....
Insatiable sat on my shelf for two months because I am a rather busy woman, and knew the laundry and dear parents and children needed attention and the garden was one weed away from being declared a wildlife preserve....and I'm an idiot. It is a good thing I waited a bit to read this treasure, however, because after I read it....I couldn't write. Not right away. I knew I had read perfection, perfection for me, and I had to analyze why those words, that theme, that voice, made it so. Nope, I couldn't just enjoy the story. I had to rest, gather my thoughts, breath fresh air and then go back and figure out why this book was so utterly captivating.
I'm still working on it.
So--what is/are your Ah-Ha! book(s)? What epiphanies have they wrought? Share your treasures, and I'll share mine. Because treasures are personal, I'll be asking the winners what genre (inspirational, suspense, contemporary, etc) trips their trigger, and then I'll chose the prizes accordingly. I'll announce two book winners here next Monday.
Monday, October 4, 2010
Demon's Covenant is the much-anticipated sequel to the Demon's Lexicon, which I could not get enough of. Edgy, fast-paced, and other-worldly in such a natural way that it has me believing at least some of my mild-mannered neighbors must be witches. If you haven't read the Demon's Lexicon first, please do so. You'll thank me later. :)
A Matter of Class is lovely, much like curling up in a window seat with your throw and tea and watching raindrops trickle down the glass. In fact, it would be fine setting in which to read this book. Reading this is the difference between grabbing a to-go cappuccino at Starbucks and setting down for a proper tea at four o'clock. Take the time to savor this story.
On audio while driving? Why, Harry Potter, of course.
So what are some of your favorite October reads?
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
"Understanding what is important in our lives allows us to rid ourselves of the rest without remorse. As Cal Newport recently wrote in a guest post here on Zen Habits, “ … when you know what your life is about it’s easy to sidestep all that threatens to clutter it.” Time, attention, and most especially, the ability to go deep into our experiences—all gifts of minimalist and smaller living—are the critical ingredients for a life to be rich with simple joys.
So how can you create and enjoy more small joys in your life?
1. Allow some breathing room in your schedule. When we rush, we barely acknowledge what is happening around us. I can’t remember ever hearing someone say they had a joy-filled day because they were rushed and stressed, running from one thing to the next.
2. Be present. Being present, a common theme here on Zen Habits, is absolutely essential for experiencing and appreciating the small joys of life. Instead of always thinking of the next thing on our to-do list or itinerary, being present allows us to recognize and enjoy those small moments of joy as they arise.
3. Stay with the moment and fully experience it. Pay attention to the details.
4. Remember this. Remind yourself at the time of how it makes you feel and what about it you want to treasure. Think of these moments like little GPS way stations, points in time and space that you want to commit to memory."
For the entire post, I'd highly recommend clicking HERE. Enjoy!
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
But then, sometimes not.
So when you google things like "new habits", you'll receive all sorts of helpful advice about sticking with any changes you want to make in your life. Having a concrete goal, breaking it down into daily steps, deciding if you're working toward or away from that goal (interesting, yes?), and removing temptation crop up in many articles. (Removing temptation? Eh. What are you going to do, lock yourself in a closet?)
I happen to like this piece of advice: Be Imperfect. I really, really like that. Expect slip ups, assume all will not go well as you pursue whatever it is you are pursuing. Because if you don't demand perfection...then you can't use it as an excuse to quit.
What would you like to accomplish while enjoying this beautiful fall?
Saturday, August 28, 2010
‘A few strong instincts and a few plain rules suffice us.’ ~
Post written by Leo Babauta. Follow me on twitter or identica.Life can be ridiculously complicated, if you let it. I suggest we simplify.
’s quote, which I’ve stolen as this site’s subtitle, is the shortest guide to life you’ll ever need:
“Smile, breath, and go slowly.”
If you live your life by those five words, you’ll do pretty well. For those who need a little more guidance, I’ve distilled the lessons I’ve learned (so far) into a few guidelines, or reminders, really.
And as always, these rules are meant to be broken. Life wouldn’t be any fun if they weren’t.
the brief guideless TV, more reading
less shopping, more outdoors
less clutter, more space
less rush, more slowness
less consuming, more creating
less junk, more real food
less busywork, more impact
less driving, more walking
less noise, more solitude
less focus on the future, more on the present
less work, more play
less worry, more smiles
If you liked this guide, please bookmark it on Delicious or share on Twitter. Thanks, my friends.
Sunday, August 8, 2010
RWA® Online Chapter presents:
PRUNE YOUR PROSE! Ten Tips to Tighten Your Fiction Writing
Instructor: Linnea Sinclair
August 16th – 29th, 2010
Registration Period: August 2-15, 2010
Fee: $15 Non-Chapter members. RWAOL Chapter #136 members; free.
Payment method: PAYPAL is recommended!
It’s safe and fast! Check and money orders also accepted.
Registration: http://www. rwaonlinechapter .org/campus.htm (without the spaces)
NOTE: -Use your real First and Last Name & Choose Pay Option.
ONLY Chapter #136 members choose the Chapter Member option button.
For more information: email@example.com
CLASS DESCRIPTION: As the saying goes, “Close only counts in…hand grenades.” Don’t let your manuscript bomb because of easily overlooked errors, or for lack of sophistication and polish. Learn how to make every chapter count, every scene earn its keep, every main character memorable. Award-winning Bantam Random House author Linnea Sinclair will take you though ten tips (and more!) that will make your story shine, move it out of the slush pile, onto an editor’s desk so that—when on the shelves—it can garner reviews that note: A must-read, by an author who never disappoints!
Attendees should bring sample pages of their work-in-progress (including their first page) and be prepared to share and improve!
BIO: Winner of the prestigious national book award, the RITA, science fiction romance author Linnea Sinclair has become a name synonymous for high-action, emotionally intense, character-driven novels. Reviewers note that Sinclair's novels "have the wow-factor in spades," earning her accolades from both the science fiction and romance communities. Sinclair's current releases are GAMES OF COMMAND (PEARL Award winner and RITA finalist), THE DOWN HOME ZOMBIE BLUES (PEARL Award Honorable Mention), SHADES OF DARK, HOPE’S FOLLY and REBELS & LOVERS.
A former news reporter and retired private detective, Sinclair resides in Naples, Florida (winters) and Columbus, Ohio (summers) along with her husband, Robert Bernadino, and their two thoroughly spoiled cats. Readers can find her perched on the third barstool from the left in her Intergalactic Bar and Grille at www.linneasinclair.com.
FORMAT: Course is conducted via online discussion (bulletin) board on the RWA® Online website. Non-chapter members MUST complete both the workshop registration AND the discussion board login registration for access. Instructions for login are presented after the registration pages (or to return to the login instructions, go to http://www.rwaonline...strationTY.htm. The workshop is available for up to one week after the end date and a downloadable archive of the workshop will be available the week following the workshop.
***** Permission To Forward Granted *****
Wow. Nationals kicked my immune system's hiney to the curb.
I am supremely thankful I didn't have to immediately jump back into the day job and had time to sleep and lay on the couch and recoup. Recharge the batteries. Read all those amazing new authors I picked up at the book signings (I love finding new authors!)
So...how have you been welcoming in August? Isn't being sick during summer the worst? Reading any new gems? Feeling the "back to school" excitement of a "new" year?
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Getting the book written is very much the same. You can only coddle yourself for so long; then it's down to brass tacks and results, baby! Where the heck are those pages you promised yourself? So what if the day job's a time suck and your research is grueling? Get in there and get it done, so you can sell that bad boy (really, I hope he's a bad boy...I have such a soft spot for a rebel...). Then the small army it will take to sell your book can hop to it; the copy editors, the cover artists, the contract wizards. The tiny little bunch of bound pages isn't making to the shelves without a lot of hard working folks wrapping up their piece of the puzzle.
RWA great news #1: I heard so many people asking about Westerns and American set historicals. Don't believe me? Hey, go check out Pub Rants here. I consider this under the "Thank Heavens and It's about Time" category.
Monday, July 26, 2010
At some point last week someone asked me what my acceptance speech would include, and I felt the same shock that coursed through my veins when that initial call came in March. The final awards ceremony has been the last thing on my mind. I literally forgot about the fact that someone will win that necklace. I've just been concentrating on all I will learn and everyone I want to meet.
That said, I suppose I'd better put a few words together, just in case. It's a scary prospect. There won't begin to be enough time to thank everyone who's been there for me along the way. From the Avon Fanlit gang to my teachers to the authors who've provided encouragement and guidance, there are just too many. I do know I wouldn't be able to continue along this path without the love and support of my husband, kids, family and my critique partner, Terry Jo Stone.
So whatever happens next Saturday night, if we've ever exchanged an email or blog post, if we've ever chatted on-line or at the conference in Dallas, and you're here and reading this--Thank You!
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
In 2007, I went to Dallas for my first RWA National Conference. I was so excited. My first conference, a trip by myself, and hey, our local (thirty minutes away) airport had a direct flight to Dallas. This was golden. This was kismet. This was meant to be, baby!
Then, two hours before the flight was scheduled to leave, I walked through the front doors of the tiny airport in my snazzy "Look- I'm a successful adult traveling to a conference" outfit, dragging my luggage across the worn carpet.
The ladies behind the lone counter stared at me. Impressed did not exactly jump to mind. Confused was more like it.
"Can we help you?" they inquired, the implied message being "What the heck is going on here?"
"I'm here for the 4pm flight to Dallas."
They stared at each other a moment, quite long enough for my stomach to fall to my toes. "Ma'am, there's no flight to Dallas."
Me, with a crumpled paper in hand, "But here's my confirmation. I printed it off."
"Ma'am, that airline closed their service here last week. We have no flights to Dallas. We can get you to Kansas City tomorrow."
Me, luggage abandoned, dreams shattered. "Um, no. No thank you." I drug my bags back to the car, dumped them in the trunk, dialed my husband, and explained that the airline was gone.
Now for the record, I did manage a 6am flight the next morning from Kansas City to Dallas, had a great time, and made it safely home. But it was yet another reason I prefer to snuggle up at home. Only the thought of connecting with all my on-line friends and listening to the amazing lineup of speakers in Orlando is getting me on that plane next week.
So are you a big traveler? Looking forward to your vacation? Any adventures you want to share? And please come visit me at Romance Roundtable on Tuesday, July 20th if you have the time.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
I'm saying, if the weather has the impudence to rain on your fourth of July party, or you're just not that into the whole boom and light show...then you need a way to add some sparkle to your day.
1. Paranormals with explosives. How about Warrior Ascended by Addison Fox? Yum! Or maybe Alyssa Day's Atlantis series? Love them!
My Reckless Surrender --- you'd better hope for rain. You'll need it to cool off!
3. Rent Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief. Starring Pierce Brosnan and Sean Bean, it's not just for kiddos---but you can watch it with your kids. And things go BOOM! Excellent. :)
So...I wish you all a sparkly, happy, patriotic 4th of July. Did you have a wonderful time?
Monday, June 28, 2010
I'm honored to have been included among such talented writers. Come read the log lines--you're going to want ALL of these books!
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
I never tire of this subject. First lines are little jewels holding the promise of endless treasure. Here are some of my recent favorites. (I admit, even when I buy books I have no time to read, I always dive into the first couple of pages.)
Hannah's List, Debbie Macomber: "I'm not a sentimental guy."
Bulletproof Bodyguard, Kay Thomas: "Sweat ran down Marcus's back and sides."
Married by Morning, Lisa Kleypas: "Anyone who had ever read a novel knew that governesses were supposed to be meek and downtrodden."
Promise Me Tonight, Sara Lindsey: "Seconds always seem inconsequential."
Original Sin, Allison Brennan: "No one could hear Moira's piercing screams; they were in her head, as trapped as she was by the ancient demon who was luring the man she loved to his death."
The God of the Hive, Laurie R. King: "A child is a burden, after a mile."
A Secret Affair, Mary Balogh: "Hannah Reid, Duchess of Dunbarton, was free at last. Free of the burden of a ten-year marriage, and free of the endlessly tedious year of deep mourning that had succeeded the death of the duke, her husband." (Yes, it's more than one line. You're lucky I stopped here. I could quote the entire book. It's Mary.)
So, what has captured your attention lately? Isn't it wonderful when the promise of a perfect first line is kept by the rest of the book?
Monday, May 31, 2010
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Secondly, our hearts go out to everyone affected by the Nashville floods. I am so sad I won't be visiting your beautiful city this year, but I'm certain Nashville will come back stronger than ever.
Please visit this link Do The Write Thing For Nashville, where agent and editor critiques will be auctioned off to raise money for the relief efforts. Good for them! It's a win-win situation all around.
The romance community, as usual, has a big, big heart.
Do you know of other relief efforts? Let me know!
Monday, April 19, 2010
I still have my piles of notebooks in the car and at home. When push comes to shove and the computer screen feels like enemy #1, I retreat to the comfort of pen and paper. But my aching hands don't appreciate that as much as they used to. Keyboards are just kinder to my fingers.
Does how you write vary? Or do you stick with one location and method? Do you have a notebook or netbook? And does that "no disc drive" bother you at all?
Friday, April 9, 2010
Heaven's, I certainly hope not. In a perfect world, our first book would be read to us while we were cradled in our mother's arms, not more than a few days old.
We do not live in a perfect world. We do, however, live in a world filled with people with very good intentions.
Mission: First Book provides new books to children in need addressing one of the most important factors affecting literacy – access to books.
Achievement: Now, nearly 20 years later, First Book has delivered more than 65 million books to programs serving children in need across the
You might stop by their site and see what you can do to help. You might already help in your own hometown. If not this organization, then you can certainly find a dozen more like it. But this year, do something to encourage the joy and empowerment of reading.
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Easter Sunday is a day of hope and joy! (And, fingers crossed, clear skies.)
Are you having ham and deviled eggs? I am, if I can get the eggs out of the shell without tearing them--it's tricky. Any spring holiday favorites for your table?
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Emily Bryan has penned a wealth of Regency works.I love Vexing the Viscount, but I might have a new favorite once Stroke of Genius hits the stands May 25. (And my day job in the schools will just be wrapping up. A coincidence? I think not.) She's also posted a sexy, free novella on her website-A Duke For All Seasons--go catch up here. The link to her blog has been on my sidebar for a while now. Emily's a font of information concerning all things Regency, Georgian, and romance writing, and generously shares that knowledge with all of us. So if you have a moment, please stop by!
Love critiques? Hate them? What about the benefits of an anonymous judge's opinion vs a treasured critique partner?
Thursday, March 25, 2010
And then they call you and tell you that you've finaled?
And you say, "But I already ate my 'I didn't final' candy bar!"
Yes. That's the kind of calm, collected, sophisticate that I am.
Now I have to go calm down so I can drive to school and pick up my kids. I'm pretty certain the police won't be impressed by a GH final.
Huge congratulations to the other GH and Rita finalists! :)
Saturday, March 13, 2010
And sometimes, all you need is a really good hero.
So who inspires you?
Oh, and check out the addition....good call, Kate! Who else am I missing? Feel free to call them out.
Friday, February 19, 2010
For Better or For Worse by Lynn Johnston
I could write an entire book based around this comic strip. I love how much is conveyed in four pictures. And I can never get enough of Calvin and Hobbes....
Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson
I'm not sure I'm functioning at six thoughts a minute these days.... :)
Do you have a favorite cartoon?
Thursday, February 11, 2010
You know those classic story lines:
The heroine comes back into the hero's life with her secret baby.
The poor hero has been given up for dead....but comes back the morning the heroine is about to marry another person.
The heroine has amnesia. Is the hero her true love, or a psychopath in disguise?
Oh, and my personal favorite--the sheik who is masquerading as a common working man, for whatever reason (tired of sand in his silk sheets? Fed up with spitting camels?) and falls in love with a small town girl. Sigh.
These so-called predictable story lines get a bad rap from people who criticize romance--not that they've actually read romance, they're too busy reading Oprah's latest pick and popping Prozac. But they know a cliche when they see the cover of one.
Well, I do too. And thank you, romance world, for making my life a little easier!
Valentine's Day is this weekend...I'm seeing another batch of paranormal, classic, vampire-loving, kilt-wearing, amnesiac billionaire romances in my near future. I love them, one and all.
I hope you all have time to curl up with a romance this weekend, too. I'm off to find another awesome trapped-in-a- snowstorm story... any suggestions?
Monday, January 25, 2010
Well, I've held those precious Golden Heart manuscripts in my hands. I both skimmed them and spent hours pouring over them, even pulled my dictionary from the shelf and learned a new word or two. It is an honor and a privilege to do so. As an active member of RWA, I consider it an obligation.
But more than anything, it's fun!
Oh, dear. I have to spend hours upon hours reading romance stories? Poor, poor me. Such a hardship. :)
The first time volunteered to judge, I did so with my heart in my throat. Who was I to pass judgment over a stranger's hopes and dreams? Had I not picked up many a bestseller, only to abandon the story by chapter three in sheer boredom? Therefore, would it not stand to reason that I was a really very poor judge of what could be deemed quality genre fiction?
But I did it anyway.
Oh, what I learned! I should have been paying those contestants; it was as good as any class. To hold the manuscript in my hands--yes, I think reading the printed pages made a difference, lesson one for me--and watch the story unfold before my eyes, taught me so much about my own work. Each year I judge these, I learn something new. Pacing, opening sentences, chapter breaks, voice, grammar, characterization, secondary characters, setting--synopsis!--and what qualifies as a romance....
Do you judge? And if you judge the GH, what do you think of the "score only, no comments" rule?