Sunday, December 18, 2011

Holiday Fun

Hope everyone is having a bustling, blessed holiday season!  Here are my favorite Cranberry-White Chocolate cookies:

 
 
Recipe from from Southern Living
Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups white chocolate morsels
  • 1 (6-ounce) package sweetened dried cranberries

Preparation

  1. Combine flour and next 3 ingredients; set aside.
  2. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition.
  3. Add flour mixture to butter mixture gradually, beating at low speed until blended. Stir in white chocolate morsels and cranberries.
  4. Drop cookie dough by heaping tablespoonfuls onto lightly greased baking sheets.
  5. Bake at 350° for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned on bottom. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.
My holiday wish for each of you is the time to enjoy these while reading a wonderful book!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

A blessed Thanksgiving day to each of my friends and loved ones. I am grateful for each one of you!

May peace, contentment, and a table full of friends, family, and delicious food grace your day.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Night Before the Ball...

And I'm giddy with excitement!  Come join me at the Dashing Duchesses romance blog Monday the 14th to discuss the romance, fascination, and celebration of history! If any of my visitors are unfamiliar with historical romance, let me assure you it runs a full gamut, from prairie school marms to the ballrooms of Regency England to eighteenth century Japan to the Ottoman empire!  There are a wide variety of sensuality levels as well, from erotic to inspirational.

The Duchesses adore all historical romance, so come dressed as your favorite heroine.

Stomp those cowboy boots!         Twirl those flapper beads!





Our doorways arch nicely, so don those exquisite Georgian gowns. We have plenty of room, and the party won't be the same without you!


What's your favorite historical time period or location?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

NANO Day Six: Possibilities

 Our thoughts and imagination are the only real limits to our possibilities.
Orison Swett Marden
 One of the great things about Nano (I think) is exploring the possibilities of your story line.  And the very best thing (I'm certain) about exploring those possibilities is the time limit-because you have no time. You should be writing, baby!

You don't get to agonize over the implications of your secondary character's decision in regard to what will happen to the heroine sixteen chapters from now.  You don't get to contemplate the psychology that's driving your hero to act like a madman.

You just write it! Two chapters later, you might not recognize your original story. Hurray! Maybe it's a better story! Maybe your tangent will inspire a completely different book!

Best of all, you don't have to (or get to) worry about it until December 1st.

You just get to savor the possibilities.

Word count: 7489  (I didn't add in the last couple of days individually, like I should. Oh well. :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

NANO Day Two: Motivation!

Day two count: 1346   Total: 2303

 So, in between spitting out a few paragraphs and wondering where my secondary characters are guiding my heroine, I love to procrastinate by reading author advice. Love it! Romance writers love to offer writing guidance, support, mentoring, encouragement. They are one generous bunch!

 Julie Leto, NYT and USA bestselling author, has a rockin' website, which nicely complements her rockin' books. Under the heading "Articles and More", she has a reprint of her 2003 RWA National Conference workshop:  Ditching "The Book of Your Heart" for "The Book of My Voice".

Wow and wow. This article gave me so much to think about, in the best possible way. Most importantly, after I read it I was fired up and ready to attack the Nano again!

Motivation is a good thing. :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

NANO For You?

Well, I'm in.

To be specific, I'm 953 words in, as of midnight, November 1. Around nine o'clock last night,  it hit me--approaching re-writes as if this was a completely new book (which it will be) and the friendly peer pressure of National Novel Writing Month ( the best peer pressure around!) means I can expect a great deal accomplished by the end of turkey day.



Anyway, that's the plan. And who doesn't need a great excuse to ignore cooking dinner or cleaning the house?

Are you NaNoing this month?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Win a Copy of Shine!

Ok, winning a book catches everyone's attention...but the reason behind the giveaway will touch every writer's heart.





Go hereRead the blog.  Be outraged. Go buy a copy of Shine. Then spread the word....

Sunday, September 11, 2011

God Bless America

While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,
Let us swear allegiance to a land that's free,
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,
As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer.

God bless America,
Land that I love.
Stand beside her, and guide her
Through the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam
God bless America, My home sweet home
God bless America, My home sweet home
Take a moment today to Remember, to Honor, to Give Thanks, and to Share an Act of Kindness with a stranger.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Thanks, Mom

Mother's Day pleasures....

Watching Phineas and Ferb with my girls...It makes me laugh every time...and they are never "snarky", sarcastic, or mean....








I haven't read more than a couple of pages here and there in over a month....Reading more than one book....again, I'm big on emphasizing humor these days, so it will be some classic, snort Coke out of my nose Stephanie Plum, and then a new (for me) cozy mystery series about a Mom who's a private detective (so appropriate, right?)








Indulgent, over-priced, coffee drinks will be involved....I'm stuck on iced Hazelnut with soy (and a shot of half-an-half once I've had a big drink and there's room in the cup). Yum.








And I will tell my Mom thank you today.  She's amazing. So is my dear, dear mother-in-law. All you "Mom's" out there, whether you have kiddos of the two or four-legged variety, or are the official "mom" to a dear child related by the heart, if not the blood, I hope you have a beautiful day.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter

Why Easter Eggs?  I am very familiar with our Christian views and the fun Easter egg hunts shared with the children, but I wondered what I would find if I went on a web search. Here's some of what I found:

Evidently Anglo-Saxon legend tells how the Saxon goddess Eostre found a wounded bird and transformed it into a hare, so that it could survive the Winter. The hare found it could lay eggs, so it decorated these each Spring and left them as offering to the goddess.

From www.englatheod.org/eostre.htm:

"Eostre is a very obscure Goddess, and uniquely Anglo-Saxon Pagan. She is not mentioned at all in the Norse corpus and only fleetingly in the Old English by Bede in De Temporum Rationale.  Her material is so scant that some scholars have speculated she was not a Goddess at all, but that Eostre was merely a name for the holiday. Her name is connected for words for "east" and "shining."

Grimm in his Teutonic Mythology maintained that "Ostara, E├ístre, was goddess of the growing light of spring."  The date of the holy tide would make this a reasonable conclusion. Holy water in the form of the dew or water collected from brooks was gathered at this time. Washing with it was said to restore youth. Beautiful maidens in sheer white were said to seen frolicking in the country side. Also according to Grimm, the white maiden of Osterrode, was said to appear with a large batch of keys at her belt, and stride to the brook to collect water on Easter morning.  Cross buns were of course baked and eaten.  While this could be a Christian addition, that cakes were often use in Heathen rites is apparent in any survey of the lore. And the cross may be symbolic of the rune Gebo or the buns may represent the sun wheel.  Easter eggs seem to go fairly far back in both English and continental celebrations, and of course symbolize the beginning of new life. The hare also known for its fertility appears fairly early in Easter celebrations."

Have a lovely holiday!

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Pleasures

Let's lure Springtime from her hidy-hole, shall we?  This is walking attire from April, 1807....

Now this dress is from the Spring of 1894. She's ready for our chilly temps now as well....perhaps spring has always been this cold?
Either of these delights would do well with our current sprinkling of snow...how I wish it was an April Fool's prank! Alas...Mother Nature is the only one teasing around here.

If I could wave a magic wand, April first would look like this...

And I would choose one of these lovely frocks...
to wear on my way to tea.
Courtesy of Little Sooti .  http://littlesooti.blogspot.com/   What a lovely blog!
And to top it all off, perfectly practical sandals to tiptoe through the tulips.... ;)
 
 So.... how are you welcoming April?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cozy Nook or Coffee Shop?

Where do you read?  I can read anywhere, although I'm so good at blocking out distractions that I will miss appointments every time...

If I have my choice, however, I love a rainy day, a quilt, and my worn sofa with my cat trying to position himself between me and the pages. Bright and sunny means I should be outside working! :)

I also love sitting in my truck and reading while waiting for the girls to finish their school clubs, meetings, etc. It's very cozy.

Now look at this reading room...



The Szabo Ervin Library in Budapest, Hungary is a beautiful place. Much of the building is a modern library, but in the central library is a preserved palace, Wenckheim Palace. It was built by Count Frigyes Wenckheim (1842 – 1912), a well-known aristocrat of the end of the 19th century, the owner of a vast estate with the membership of the Parliament.
The City Council purchased the building and converted the beautiful palace rooms into reading rooms for their new library in 1931.

If I had a teleport  machine, this would be mine!

Where is your special reading place?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

What a difference a year makes!

Head over to the Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood blog on Friday, March 18th and check out what the 2010 Golden Heart finalists, otherwise known as the Unsinkables, have accomplished this last year. For those not familiar with Romance Writers of America, "The purpose of the Golden Heart® contest is to promote excellence in the romance genre by recognizing outstanding romance manuscripts." A GH final is as good as it gets for an aspiring romance writer, until that 'call' telling you the book has sold. :)

Not everyone has reached that signed contract . . .yet....




but we're all still swimming!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Essentials for a Memorable Snow-in....

Ok, after a really mild winter we're going to get hammered over the next couple of days. (Unless they're wrong. Oh, how I hope they're wrong.)  I've got water, batteries, flashlights, blankets, non-perishable foods, firewood, de-icer (not that we'll be driving again for two or three days), blah, blah, blah. But what makes a non-welcome snow day FUN?

Seriously. Nothing sexier on this planet than the man who's going to fix our electrical lines when it's ten degrees below zero outside (and quite possibly, inside).  Whatever these heroes get paid, they deserve double. Triple. And a batch of chocolate chip cookies, to boot.
 Harry Potter audio books. My first choice would be some of my favorite romances on audio, but I won't be snowed in alone, so we'll all enjoy these. They'll go perfectly with this:
                                                     And this:
So...what's on your essential snow-day list?  Who else can't wait for spring?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Need a Stocking Cap, Crave a Bonnet

(All right, she's adorable.)
Baby, it's cold outside. Common sense dictates something stretchy, thick, and hair-flattening (or static-inducing). Flattering, they're not.   

(It's eleven degrees outside. Sensible!)


Or maybe this clever little number.










 But the heart wants what the heart wants, and today I'm in the mood for one of these:

(Absolutely lovely)
 Or maybe even this:

(Be still, my romance-loving heart...)


Spring, where art thou?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Research and a Spot of Tea

Welcome! I've done a bit of blog redecorating in celebration of the new year, and quite enjoy the change in color. I'm also in a researching frame of mind, and came across a link I'd like to share with you:  

Women Writers: 17th and 18th Century

You'll read about women such as Aphra Behn, a young woman who went from early widowhood to a short career as a spy, to debtor's prison, to writing over sixteen plays and fourteen novels, only six of which were printed in her lifetime. Fascinating!



Tea of the Week: Celestial Seasonings Blueberry Tea. Such a delight! I let it sit for two or three minutes, sprinkle with a packet or two of Splenda, sip, and dream of spring. I adore this tea, and cannot wait to try my raspberry packets.

Have a lovely week! Any new favorite January drinks?