Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

When I was growing up, I remember there being the Sugar Bowl, the Cotton Bowl, the Orange Bowl, and the Rose Bowl.  I admit I don't watch much college football anymore, but the last few days I've been hearing scores announced for all these Bowls games with names I've never heard before.  Is it just me, or do all these new Bowl games diminish the importance of the original ones?

Now that I've gotten that out of my system, on to today's post.

New Years is a time to make resolutions.  I admit I am as sporadic about making them as I am keeping them.  But, I am hoping by sharing my resolutions with you, that I will do better at keeping more of them this year.  So, here goes (these are in no particular order-- just as they came to mind).

1) Return to a weekly walking schedule of 3-5 times a week on the treadmill.  (This should be easy, all I have to do is convince my body to get up in the morning!)

2) Find an agent to represent my polished Sleeping Handsome (when it is ready, of course!)


3) Finish The Ruby Dagger (my NaNo project)

4) Edit The Lost Princess to reflect the changes from Sleeping Handsome (and to reach my word count)

5) Begin drafting A Different Kind of Knight

6) Begin outlining Daphne's story (no working title yet!)

7) Spend lots of quality time with family and friends

8) Keep active with my blog post (I am still aiming for M-F, unless things become really hectic in life)

Well, I think that's a good start.  How about you?  What resolutions are you making?  Do you need help being accountable to them?  Share below!

Happy New Year everyone!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Easy Breakfast

For Christmas, we host breakfast for my husband's parents.  I usually make something I can just throw together the night before and toss in the oven the next morning (Baked French Toast, Egg casserole, etc)  So, this year I found a great recipe at AllRecipes.com and have modified it below to show you how I cheated with breakfast.

Egg, Potato and Cheese Bake
Pre heat oven to 350

1/4 cup butter, melted
1 bag shredded potatoes (I used Simply Potatoes Shredded Hash Browns, but you can grate your own if you want :) )
6 eggs
16 oz cottage cheese
1 cup shredded cheese (I didn't measure, just chopped up part of a brick and tossed it in.  You can add as little or as much of this as you want)
1 box pre-cooked sausage patties. crumbled (I put them in the fridge to thaw, then crumbled them (8 patties))
Chopped peppers and onions (I used a bag of frozen peppers and onions stir-fry mix)

Mix potatoes and butter and place in bottom of greased pan (I used an 8x12 pan).  Combine all other ingredients and pour over top.  Bake in 350 oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Enjoy!!!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

WCC Wednesday

Wow!  It's hard to believe that it's the final Wednesday of the year.  Last year at this time, I wasn't working on my MS-- it was sitting, waiting for me to decide what to do with it.  I was contemplating self publishing.  Then, in May, I started re-working it (I read through and found lots to fix) and found a critique partner on Writer's Digest.  I thought I had it all nice and polished, and in September I started querying agents.  Then, I took another look at it after one response I received from an agent.  That look, and some comments from Trisha, had me pulling back my MS and re-working it.  Now, I am anxiously awaiting Trisha and Fiona and Katie's comments on my changes.

In the meantime, I decided I should finish my NaNo project before going on the sequel to Sleeping Handsome.  I read through it last night and decided the first chapter has to go, and there are some major character choice issues to deal with (ie: That character would not do what I had them do.  I am surprised they didn't stomp their feet and walk of the stage when I wrote it in the first place!)

I jotted down some notes of things to fix, and will do that then continue on to finish the tale.

As for my partners, Trisha is working on a few things for her agent, and I am excited with what I have read.  She tells such wonderful stories.  Fiona sent me the final chapters of her time slip, and all I can say is Wow!  I really enjoyed what she did.  I made a few suggestions for some character interactions, but she has a great foundation to work with.  Her simple descriptions still amaze me.  And I confess to all of you that I have completely dropped the ball on Katie (Sorry, Katie!)  She has been very gracious about it, and with the holidays coming to an end (and construction in my home finishing up for now) I hope to get back to her work.

How are all of your projects coming?  Are you where you thought you would be at this time last year?  What are your goals for next year?  Share below.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

What a Trip!

Sorry for being absent yesterday, but after getting in at 2AM, I didn't have time to get a post up before work.

Christmas here was wonderful.  We had a great time with family and friends, and everyone truly seemed to enjoy the gifts the received.  (I love the robe I got, and can't wait to play the White Knight Chronicles game hubby got me.  He also surprised me with Christian Kane's House Rules CD.  My Zune will be updated and I can listen through the sound system with my new dock. And the Colt's wear I got will be making an appearance this weekend.)

Sunday we went to Albany to see Trans-Siberian Orchestra.  Each year I wonder what they will do to make the show bigger and better than the year before, and each year I am amazed.  It truly is an awesome show.  (We find sitting towards the back is the best seats so you see the show and aren't in the show!-- this also allows for less expensive tickets, too!)

I really enjoyed the changes to this years show.  There were a few new songs, as one of the usual singers wasn't there.  While I enjoyed hearing the other songs, I really missed hearing him sing.

The drive home was a bit challenging.  It was snowing in sheets (yeah, I know- I never saw it do that before either).  Our usual 2 to 2 1/2 hour trip turned out to be about 3 hours (not so bad, but when you roll in at 2 AM and have to get up for work at 7...)  Normally I would have slept most of the trip home, but I wanted to be an extra set of eyes while hubby drove.

If you get a chance, check out TSO (you probably know their two most famous songs- Christmas Eve Sarajevo (the one that started it all when they were Savatage) and Wizards in Winter (the one made famous with the commercial with the house lights)).

Hope you all had a great Christmas.  I'll be posting a breakfast recipe on Thursday (I used if for Christmas)- thought you might want to try it for New Years!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Wishing all of you and yours a very Merry Christmas filled with family, friends, and fun!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Wrapping it up!

Well, if you are like me this year, you still have Christmas shopping to finish and all your wrapping to do (I cannot believe how time got away from me this year!)

Tomorrow begins the first of multiple family Christmas gatherings that will take us into the final one on New Year's Day.  I really like the way we stretch it out so long-- savoring our time with each other.

Sunday we are off to see Trans-Siberian Orchestra in concert.  They are absolutely wonderful, and I can't wait to see what they've added to the show this year.  They usually play the entire first album (with a narrator), then add in songs from their other albums in the second half.  It is really cool to see all the people there (little kids all the way up to the elderly!)  This is becoming our family tradition- an annual trip to the TSO Christmas show (this makes 6 years running!)

What are your holiday plans?  Do you have any special traditions?  Share below.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

WCC Wednesday

Last night was my son's first orchestra and chorus concert.  He did a great job, as did all the other kids!  We had a great time listening to them play and sing.  My only regret was that they didn't do more Christmas songs.  Oh, well.  Maybe next year!

Last week I printed off my MS and did my editing by reading it and circling words I overused (there was a lot of smiling going on!) and by looking for ways to use less words to say the same thing.  I tried doing the highlighting, but found I wanted to cheat to get it done faster, so I decided that was not the best method for me!  (LOL!!!)

How has you WIP been going?  Is it coming along as you had hoped?  Are you doing a round of edits?  What overused words are you finding?  Share below!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Cookies

Last night I finally started my Christmas cookies (I am so behind this year!)  I got one batch made, a second ready to go after it rests in the fridge, and made some Caramel Corn -with chocolates, nuts, and cranberries. (and managed to burn my finger on the sugar!)  A far cry from last year's cookie trays, but it will have to do.

How are your holiday plans coming along?  Have you gotten all your baking done?  Only four more days to go!

In case you missed it yesterday, here's the link to the first three chapters of Con and Conjure  by Lisa Shearin.  I am really enjoying her series- how could I not?  Sexy Elves, Sexy Goblins, danger, magic-what's not to enjoy?  Take a look if you haven't already done so!

Monday, December 20, 2010

5 Days to Christmas!

This weekend I finally started my Christmas shopping- I know, better late than never!  I have never waited this long to begin my shopping and hopefully, will never do so again!

Last week I printed of my MS of Sleeping Handsome and set about editing it.  I can happily say I am over 45000 words (yea!) and have done lots of polishing.  Now, I just need to sit back and wait to hear from my critique partners with their comments.

This will be a busy week for us.  My son has his first orchestra and chorus concert on Tuesday night (I'll be sure to let you know how it was!), and we are trying to make arrangements to see Tron on Wednesday.  I am working through Thursday, and on Sunday we are traveling to see Trans-Siberian Orchestra (they are awesome- if you ever get the chance to see them, do it.  In addition to great music, their light show is phenomenal!)

Oh, and in case you don't know, Lisa Shearin is posting the first three chapters of her upcoming book, Con and Conjure on her website today.  If you haven't read her before, check it out here.

Have a Happy Monday!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Recipe Friday!

Yesterday came and went before I knew it!  Between a sick child, work, and life, I never had a chance to get on here and put up a post. 

Today I am re-posting a recipe from last year.  I like to make these cookies every year, as they are nice and colorful on the cookie tray.  Last year I used the green mint jelly as I usually do (when I can tear it away from my son's hands!) but I used red currant jelly for my other (instead of raspberry).  I must say, I like the currant better than the raspberry!  So, here it is!

Thumbprint Cookies
This recipe is from Betty Crocker's Cooky Book.

1/2 cup shortening (part butter or margarine)    
1/4 cup brown sugar (packed)                        
1 egg, separated                                      
1/2 tsp. vanilla                                   
1 cup Flour
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup finely chopped nuts
jelly or tinted confectioner's sugar icing

Heat oven to 350.  Mix shortening, sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla thoroughly.  Combine flour and salt, stir in,  Roll dough into balls (1 tsp. per ball).  Beat egg white slightly with fork.  Dip balls in egg white.  Roll in nuts.  Place about 1" apart on ungreased cookie sheet, press thumb gently in center of each.  Bake 10-12 minutes or until set.  Cool.  Fill with jelly or tinted icing. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

WCC Wednesday

I have to say I haven't gotten as much done with my MS this week as I wanted.  I took Monday off, as I needed a break (I'm still adjusting to a full time job, and with the holidays approaching and house construction going on... let's just leave it at that.)

On the bright side, I finished writing out my character and replacing her with another character.  Now, I need to read through from the beginning to the end and make notes to myself as well as apply the comments I've received from my readers.

As I read through, I am going to look for words used often, and close to each other (smiled, shrugged, things like that).  I will also look for where I used four words to say something I can say with one or two. Kathryn posted over the weekend about using color to show dialogue, action, description, and exposition.  I am going to play with this as well and see how it goes.  You can see her post here.  (Maybe after I color it, I'll take a look at it on the big monitor on my hubby's computer so I can look at about 20 pages at once--of course, I can't read the words then, but I will see the color distribution better.)

How about you?  When you are polishing your MS what do you do?  What tips/tricks can have you found to help you?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Last Minute Gift Idea

Need a gift for a hostess?  Want something to munch on at the office?  Then this quick and easy recipe is just the thing!

Peppermint Bark
Almond Bark (chocolate, white, or both) [You can also use the chocolate melt-aways]
Starlight mints (peppermint, wintergreen, or both)
Silpat, Matfer, wax paper- some kind of nonstick sheet
1 gallon size freezer bag

Unwrap the candies and place into the freezer bag.  (You can do all reds, all greens, or mix them up.  I do all of the above!)  Use a meat tenderizer or mallet to crush to desired size (if you crush too much, they turn to dust).  Melt your almond bark in a bowl in the microwave (I melt both chocolate and white in separate bowls, one at a time).  Stir until completely melted.  Pour onto non-stick surface and sprinkle with crushed candies.  Let cool, then break into pieces (Big or small is up to you). 

For variety, try pouring the chocolate on the bottom, then pour the white on top and sprinkle with the crushed mints. 

Put in candy dishes or box it up with a festive bow for a gift.  Enjoy!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Switching characters

Seeing the holidays are rapidly approaching (can you believe there are only 12 days to Christmas!!!) I am going to add in a few extra recipe posts, in order to share some of my holiday cookie recipes with you.  So, this week, recipes will be more than just Friday.

Now to return to my regularly scheduled post!

When I decided to write out one of my characters and replace her with another, I didn't realize how much I was going to have to change.  Not only does it effect the last half of Sleeping Handsome, but it also effects parts of The Lost Princess.  But the changes I am making are necessary, and I think will improve the story in the long run.

While I am sad to have this character leave the stage of this story, I am excited to rewrite her entrance into her new story.

Have you ever had to decide to cut out a character you really loved?  Did you put them in a new role in a new story, or did you relegate them to the circular file, never to be heard from again?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Buckeyes

This is one of my favorite Christmas Cookie recipes (even though they aren't cookies).  Quick, easy, and good anytime of year, I give you my mother's Buckeye Recipe.  I posted a variant of this recipe here last year.  Both are good- I recommend you try each and see which you prefer.  Enjoy!

Buckeyes
2 pounds creamy peanut butter
1 pound butter
3 pounds confectioners sugar
2 packages chocolate chips
1/2 bar paraffin

Mix peanut butter and butter.  Add confectioner's sugar until smooth.  Form into small balls.  Refrigerate.  Melt the chocolate chips and paraffin in a double boiler.  Dip peanut butter balls in the chocolate and set on silpat (matfer) or wax paper.  Let cool.  Eat and enjoy.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Long hand or Computer

When you're writing, do you sit with pen and paper or do you sit with keyboard and screen and create those scenes that will take people away to another world?

I usually write on my netbook, but this week, after procrastinating at working on my WIP, I picked up my notebook and colored pen (yes, I like to write in a variety of colors when I write longhand), and was able to start a scene.  It wasn't a very good scene, as I found out when I typed it into my document, but when I printed it out to look at it and edit it, I found it was a good basis to start with.  It was a starting point I wouldn't have had if I had just kept staring at my blank computer screen.

So, how do you prefer to write?  Do you switch back and forth (like me), or do you stick with one method?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

WCC Wednesday

Sometimes I think it is easier to write more than you need, and cut things out, than to write less than you need and have to fill in.  I am currently in the add in stage.  When I finished my latest draft of Sleeping Handsome, I was at about 30,0000 words-- meaning I was at least 15,000 words short for where I need to be.  So, I've been working at developing some of my chapters a bit more with description, and adding some new chapters to flesh out my characters a bit.

Enter this week.  I've been procrastinating on working with Sleeping Handsome thanks to my inner (pessimist) voice.  To be honest, I like to let new scenes play in my head a bit before I commit them to paper (or screen, as it may be), and I allowed myself time for that.  But the other night, I found I was forcing myself to sit down and write.  And the computer just wasn't cutting it.  So, I got in bed, put the headphones on, pulled out the notebook and pen and set to writing.  And the scene came.

And the next morning, my inner pessimist returned to say, "Hey!  You keep adding all this stuff to the beginning, which is cool, 'cause I really like these characters, but your point of no return keeps shifting further and further into the story.  You need to stop and get there sooner.  Why don't you add more to the end?  Or to the middle after the point of no return? Why don't you...."

Well, I'm sure you get the idea.  So, now I am questioning myself.  Do I really need these chapters?  They add quite a lot of depth to the characters, and give you a reason to cheer for the MC and despise the villain, so I think they should be there, but is it OK to move the point of no return moment so far into the story?

Have you had experience with this in your writing?  What did you do?  How far in is too far in for your moment of no return?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Reconstruction

Have you ever noticed that when you are re-doing something you need to make a big mess first?  Well, we are in the middle of the big mess of our house project.  So far we've done the central air, the new porch out back, re-done the back enclosed porch (new ceiling, walls, insulation, and light), and replaced the old aluminum siding with vinyl. Now we are replacing the insulation in our upstairs with better insulation.

The old insulation (which had completely deteriorated) has been removed from 2/3's of the room and it is now quite drafty (and messy).  Later today, the new insulation will go in and the new wall boards will go up.  When we're done, it is going to become my son's room (who wouldn't want a giant 'O' shaped room for their bedroom?)  and his room will become my office.

In a way, all this construction reminds me of the work I've been doing on my WIP.  In order to get my story to it's brightest and shiniest, I need to move things around and reorganize.  In a sense I need to make a mess in order to improve it.

Have you made a mess in your story to improve it?  How did it work for you?

Monday, December 6, 2010

50/50 in week 13

After flipping between two blow out games (Redskins vs Giants, Bills vs Vikings) it was great to watch the Colts score 21 points in the 4th quarter to tie with Dallas (they should've gone for 2!!)

After swapping possession in overtime though, Dallas managed to pull it out with an field goal.  Even though my team lost, it was a great game to watch.  Playoffs are looking slim this year, though.

How's your team doing?  Are they a division leader, a wild card, in the hunt, or looking to next year?

In other news, tomorrow, December 7th, Christian Kane's CD House Rules comes out.  Many of you might know him as Lindsey (the lawyer in Angel) or Eliot (the Hitter in Leverage- which returns on Sunday!).  He is also a talented country singer.  You can check him out at www.christiankane.com

Friday, December 3, 2010

Eclair cake

Oops!  I realized after I was at work that all I did today was put up a recipe with no comments.  Sorry!  So, here are my comments.

I have not made this cakes, but my mother has and it is delicious.  If you like eclairs, if you like chocolate, give it a try.  It's great!


Eclair Cake
2 packages French vanilla pudding
3 cups milk
8 oz cool whip
Graham Crackers

Chocolate Mixture:
1/4 cup milk
1/3 cup cocoa
1 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 stick of butter
1 tsp vanilla

Mix pudding and milk.  Fold in cool whip.  Beat for 2 minutes.

Butter a 9 x 13 dish.  Place a layer of graham crackers in the dish.  Pour in 1/2 of the pudding mixture.  Put in a second layer of graham crackers.  Pour on remaining pudding mixture.  And a third layer of graham crackers.

Chocolate Mixture:  Combine milk, cocoa, sugar, and salt in a saucepan.  Allow to boil for one minute.  Remove from heat and add butter and vanilla.  Cool.  Pour/spread cooled mixture over top layer of graham crackers.  Refrigerate.    Serve cold.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Writing the weather

Yesterday started with rain.  Not just any rain, mind you.  When I opened the door to take my son up to the bus stop, it began to pour.  And the umbrella was in the SUV.  (I knew I shouldn't have put so much effort into my hair.)

I got to work and the rain and wind picked up.  The mailman came in with our mail and his pant legs were plastered to him.

What does this have to do with writing? Well, the scene I was planning on writing over my lunch break began with my MC looking at a rain smeared window at the foul weather.  To me it was rather ironic that I was looking out a window on a scene much like I wanted to describe in my writing.

Have you had this happen to you?  Do you look outside and describe what you see through your characters eyes?  Does it help?  Do you look at pictures, search out maps, create maps? Share your tips below.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

WCC Wednesday

It's so hard to believe that today is the first day of December.  Christmas will be here before we know it!

I had hoped to have been querying by this time, (and did send some out) but am pleased that I am taking the time to really get this story where it needs to be.  I am so thankful for all my beta's who have been helping me. From finding typos and repetitious words to just being there to help me think through plot issues, you guys are the best!

Sleeping Handsome is short on words (I still need to tweak my ending, so I know I will add words there)  I was talking to Trisha about adding in a few scenes at the beginning with Kaylee (my MC), Daphne (a minor character) and then a few more with Kaylee and Devlin (my male MC).  I was worried it might slow the pace to the point of no return moment, yet without them, you don't really see the growth of the relationship with all these characters.  So, I am going to be working on these scenes this week.

I just started a temporary full time job (I put in for the permanent position, too- fingers crossed), and am trying to find time to work in my writing.  So far, it has been in fits and spurts, but hopefully as I adjust to the new time constraints, I will find a better writing schedule.

On the reading front, Trisha's story is moving right along.  The last section she sent me left me with a cliff hanger.  I look forward to seeing how she moves forward from here.  Will the boy find the girl?  Will the girl free herself?  There are so many ways she can go with this.

Fiona has set up a nice conflict in the past that can also play out in the present.  Her descriptions are still great, and I think I'm learning some Irish/Gaelic from it!

I read through to the end of Katie's WIP and now need some uninterrupted time to go back through and read through with my editing eye.

How are your WIP's going?  Are your beta's helping you?  Do you notice how often you use the same word in a paragraph, a page?  Are your characters constantly sighing? (Mine was-- thanks for pointing that out, Trisha!)  Can you say the same thing with two words instead of four?  These are all things I am trying to keep in mind now as I write.  Take a look at your work and see if you notice any of these habits and work at breaking them.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

End of NaNo 2010

Today is the last day for NaNo.  I uploaded my words over the weekend (even though I am still writing).  I reached my goal, and am not worried about how far over that I have gone.  For my first NaNo, I found it quite fun and look forward to it next year.


I have two more chapters to add to Sleeping Handsome, then I need to go over it all again.  I think I am going to be a few thousand words short, so I need to evaluate what to add.

I figure I am about half-way through The Ruby Dagger, and will continue to work on this throughout the rest of this month.  Then will come much editing, as I am using this as a detailed outline so I can become familiar with my characters and the plot.

I am plotting a third book idea to go with Sleeping Handsome and The Lost Princess.  The working title is A Different Kind of Knight.   More to come on this as the plot solidifies in my mind.

How did you do with NaNo?  Will you do it again?  If you didn't NaNo this year, will you next year?  I know some of you were doing NaNoEditMo and NaNoReadMo.  How did it go for you?

Monday, November 29, 2010

It's beginning to look at lot like... Christmas!

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving spent with family and friends.  We did here (even got to a hockey game-- the home team won, although we were all rooting for the visiting team :) ).

Saturday we got the tree up and "Christmassed" the house a bit.  We usually do this the day after Thanksgiving, but decided to wait this year.  (It will still be up until at least New Year's Day-- it's an artificial tree, so we can do that-- darn allergies keep us from having a real one!)

The back porch is almost done (which means later this week I can move the stuff out of my kitchen and back to where it should be).

I will be setting a date for our Cookie Party soon.  We had a fun time with this last year and are looking forward to it again.  Everyone brings a cookie to share (and recipe for me to post :) ) and I provide sugar cookies and decorating materials for all to decorate.  Erik just bought some new cookie cutters on his camping trips, and we are looking forward to using them.

What holiday traditions do you have?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

WCC Wednesday

I am moving right along with my edits on Sleeping Handsome.  This past weekend I was able to get all but the last chapter tweaked.  I am holding off on the last chapter as I have some things I need to add in to tie up some loose ends (I also realized I need to go back and add a scene earlier on, too.)

Trisha is moving quite nicely with her NaNo project.  I am anxiously awaiting where she goes next.

Fiona has reached the love interest stage of her WIP and I am looking forward to seeing what she does.

Katie is waiting for me to read through and comment on the last section of her WIP.  I've skimmed over it, now I need to go through and make my comments for her.  I am torn with which love interest I like for her MC.  In the beginning I really liked one, then I met another, and kind of like him more.  We'll have to see what she does.

With tomorrow being Thanksgiving, and Friday Black Friday, I am taking those two days off of blogging to spend with family and friends.  I hope you all have a wonderful time with your family and friends.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My First Thanksgiving Turkey

If you have never cooked turkey before, or even if you have, I thought you'd enjoy what happened with the first turkey I ever "cooked".

The first year my husband and I were married, I decided it would be a great idea to host Thanksgiving for my family and his.  I had never cooked a turkey before, but how hard could it be?

I bought the frozen turkey, left it in the freezer, and about two days before I was going to cook it, I put it in the fridge to thaw.  The day before, I realized it was still frozen solid and called my mom for advice.  She said to put it in the sink in cold water and leave it.  It would be fine.

So, Thanksgiving morning, I got up while it was still dark, started my oven and followed my cookbook recipe for cooking my bird (which I was still pulling chunks of ice out of-- this should have meant something to me, but at the time, I was ignorant).

I put the bird in and went back to sleep.  Over the next several hours I repeatedly basted the turkey and put together the other dishes we were having (the only other thing I can be sure we had was cranberry sauce).  The house smelled great.  Our families arrived (most of them, anyway).  And it was time for the turkey.  We pulled it out of the oven and tested the temperature.  Not done.  So, we put it back in and chatted with the family.  Eventually we realized the turkey was never going to finish.  It had still been frozen when I put it in the  oven.  So, we cut off pieces that were done (my brother assured us this was fine) and ate.  I put the turkey back in, to finish.  It never did.

After that, I only bought fresh turkeys (for a few years) and never had that problem again.  I've since returned to the frozen turkey (always making sure to take it out in time to thaw) and have never had a problem.

So, what's your turkey story?  Share below.

Monday, November 22, 2010

NaNo Update

Well, this weekend I did it.  I reached my 50,000 word goal.  Does that mean I'm stopping, with the rest of November ti just sit back and relax?


Nope.  I am continuing to edit Sleeping Handsome, and will work on finishing The Ruby Dagger (the actual story I began for NaNo.)

How about you?  Have you reached your goals?  If you did, are you continuing on?  Let me know, and good luck!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Recipe Friday!

Seeing next week is Thanksgiving, I thought I'd share a recipe my mom gave me that you can use for your leftover turkey. 

I have been doing the Thanksgiving cooking for a few years now, and other than the one incident the first year I was married (a post for another day), the turkey's been good enough we rarely have any to make leftovers. However, my mom made this last year, and it was delicious!

Thanksgiving Casserole
6 medium potatoes, peeled and cut
1 1/4 cups chopped celery
3/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup butter cubed
6 cups unseasoned bread cubes
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1/4 tsp sage
1 cup chicken broth
4 cups turkey, cubed
2 cans of Cream of Chicken Soup
1 tsp garlic powder
3/4 cup sour cream (divided)
4 oz cream cheese
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups (6 oz) shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 350.

Boil potatoes until tender.  In a skillet, saute celery, onion in butter until tender.  In a large bowl, combine stuffing, poultry seasoning, and sage.  Stir in broth and celery mixture.  Place in a greased 9 x 13 pan.  In another bowl, combine turkey, soup, garlic powder, 1/4 cup sour cream.  Spoon over stuffing mixture.  Mash the potatoes.  Beat in cream cheese, pepper, salt, and remaining sour cream.  Spread over turkey mixture and sprinkle with cheese.  Bake for 30-35 minutes.  Enjoy!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Awards and stuff!

A huge thank you to T.C McKee for the From You to Me Award.

Isn't is great?  I am honored to receive this from her.  She has a great blog- you should check it out if you haven't already!

So, now 7 things about me:

1) I love my husband and son who make my life very interesting
2) I am addicted to reading-- will zip through a book in a few hours
3) I love to go camping with family and friends
4) I've never been further west than Wisconsin
5) I've only been out of the US when I went to Canada and to Jamaica (honeymoon)
6) I love playing Rock Band/Guitar Hero
7) Winter (with snow) is my favorite season

Now I will pass this off to some of my favorite bloggers:

EJ Wesley - Love his weekly Trailer Talk posts.

Trisha Leaver- A great critique partner who has wonderful writing advice on her blog.


M.L. Mansfield- Very encouraging posts for all writers.

Regina Linton- Regina has been posting snippets of her WIP for the last few weeks.  She has captured
                      the Domestic Violence wheel perfectly.

Be sure to collect your awards.  Have a great day!

Tomorrow's recipe will be what to do with all those leftovers from Thanksgiving Dinner!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

WCC Wednesday

Happy Wednesday Everyone!  Hope you are having a nice sunny day.  Here it is very gray, and rainy- oh well, it's a bit better weather in my WIP!

So, this week I have been busy with revisions on Sleeping Handsome (formerly Quest of the Hart).  I am cleaning up description and adding in some things that are missing.  So far, so good.

For NaNo, I am continuing on with The Ruby Dagger.  My characters keep taking me down tunnels and passageways I had no idea were there.  The most intriguing thing was when Moira (my thief) was handed a parchment by Dax (my knight) and asked if she could read it.  Her response was, "It looks to be an ancient form of"  and here is where she batted her eyes at me and said, just what language do we speak here in Ravenvale anyway? Hmmm.  Several minutes later I told her she speaks Aviaran.  And the story continued.

Trisha is moving along quite nicely with her NaNo project, and I am thrilled I get the opportunity to read it.  Her writing is like watching a movie play in your mind.

Katie hit a wall in her WIP, but she's moving through it.  We've talked about how to clear out some of the back story that was dropped in an info dump, and I know she will be able to fix this.

Fiona has nicely set up a link from the past to the present.  Her descriptions still amaze me.  Her word choice is phenomenal.

How are your WIP's?  Have your characters tossed you any unexpected issues?  How did you deal with them?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

When All Else Fails

So, yesterday I talked about inner critic vs inner pessimist.  As I shared, I was having problems with my inner pessimist.  So, I did  what works best for me.  I asked someone with no emotional stake in my writing for their opinion, and my inner pessimist disappeared.

So, when all else fails in dealing with your inner pessimist, do you have someone to turn to? If not, give me a shout.  Sometimes it helps to have someone without an emotional investment take a look at your work.  I know it helped me.

Happy writing.  NaNo is halfway through.  How are your novels coming?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Inner Critic vs Inner Pessimist

So, there you are, happily editing away at your WIP (Work in Progress), trying to get a finished MS (Manuscript) to send to an agents.  Your inner critic is helping you to see the words that are repetitive, or unnecessary.  You find the sentences and paragraphs that do nothing to move the story along.

Then, your inner critic changes.  What is this swill you are reading?  How could you possibly think an agent would want this?  This is awful.

This, my friends, is not the voice of your inner critic, but your inner pessimist.  My reared her head last night.  So, I stopped editing, went back and read through my work (correcting only typos), then closed the netbook down for the night to come back today with fresh eyes.

What do you do when the inner pessimist strikes?  Have you learned the difference between your critic and pessimist?  Share below!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Recipe Friday!

Wow!  This is my 100th post! Seems like I just started doing this yesterday!

Today I am sharing a comfort recipe with you.  Macaroni and Cheese.  As you will see from the directions, this is a very forgiving recipe, and one you can experiment with.  Enjoy!

Macaroni and Cheese
1 box macaroni (can be shells, bow ties, whatever shape you want!)
8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded or cubed (or more-- I use more)- see recipe for hints on the cheese
1-2 cups milk (I have taken to using Half 'n' Half as it is creamier)
1 stick butter
1 onion, finely chopped (optional)
1-2 Tbsp flour (or cornstarch)

Preheat oven to 350.

Boil your macaroni until cooked the way you like it and drain.  In the meantime, in a saucepan, melt butter.  Brown onions. Add 1 Tbsp flour (if not using onions, go straight to the flour once the butter has melted).  Add milk (I use a 10 inch skillet, and fill it about halfway with half and half.)  Add cheese.  (I use cubed, as it is easier and quicker for me to cube cheese than shred it, but it takes a bit longer to melt.  I use extra sharp (or sharper) cheddar.  Sometimes I'll add horseradish cheddar or some pepper jack to give it a kick.  I always keep several cubes out to mix in unmelted- this gives you pockets of cheese after it's cooked.)  Cook until cheese is melted.  Pour macaroni into a greased casserole dish (mine is about 4" deep).  Mix cheese sauce through.  Add remaining chunks of cheese (if desired) and mix through.  Put in oven, uncovered, and bake for about 45-60 minutes (top will be golden brown.)

Serve with your favorite vegetables.  I find it good with spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Veteran's Day!

Thank you to all the men and women who served and are serving to keep out country safe and allow us the freedoms and liberties that we have.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What I should have learned from my Query Letter

I know I usually post my Weekly Chapter Challenge today, and in a way this is related, but I wanted to share this with you so you could learn from my mistake.

When I first wrote my Query Letter, it was all about the conflict and problem solving my main character had to do.  Unfortunately, none of this occurred until about three-quarters of the way through my MS.  So, I worked on my query until it reflected the story I had written.  I ran it by several people at the Query Critique on Writer's Digest.  Tweaked it a bit more, then began my search for an agent.  It wasn't until I received a comment back about revising and querying that I began to worry.  Enter Trisha.  She looked over my first three chapter, and query letter.  After some IM'ing back and forth, I came to the conclusion I should have reached after writing my first draft of my query.  My story didn't begin where I had started it, that was all back story.

So, the lesson is, if you are re-writing your query because it doesn't fit the story your wrote, event though that was the story you meant to tell, check and see of you have too much back story.  And don't be afraid to cut it and start somewhere else.  I did, and this version is turning out to be even better-- some new characters have appeared, and my quest is more realistic than in my original version.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fitting it in

So, how do you fit writing into your schedule?  Do you get up early?  Stay up late?  Miss out on family functions?

I usually work out of the house two days a week, which leaves me three days to devote to household chores (laundry, shopping, cleaning chores that I haven't delegated to son for him to earn an allowance on) and writing (not counting weekends where it is a hodge podge of events).

On the days when I work, this month, due to NaNo, I've been trying to write either before I go into work or right after I get home from work (before my husband and son get home).  This leaves me free to spend my evenings with them.

Some days, like yesterday, this doesn't work.  Well, it does, but it doesn't.  Yesterday I wrote before going to a work meeting and eye appointment.  While waiting at the eye doctor's, I wrote in a notebook (not the NaNo story that was supposed to go in that notebook, but the one I am re-working).   I arrived home just as my son did,and my husband was already here.  Fortunately, after dinner, and before we watched Erik the Viking, I was able to transcribe my words and expound on them a bit, leaving me free to enjoy and evening with the family.

So, how do you fit writing in?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Busy Weekend

Wow!  This weekend went by so fast!  We had an impromptu dinner and game night with our neighbors on Friday.  Saturday dear hubby was up early to buy a Christmas present for the house-- a new bedroom TV (26" flat panel) with an actual working volume control!  (I really missed this feature.)  I went to the library in the afternoon for a NaNo write-in (was kinda weird, but productive.)  Then we watched Kick-Ass Saturday night.  (I really enjoyed the movie).  Yesterday was football, then Monday came.

So, how was your weekend?  Did you get lots accomplished?  How's your NaNo going?  Share below!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Recipe Friday!

So, this summer we were invited to a few get togethers where we needed to bring a dish to pass.  Wanting to take something different than normal, I made Fruit Pizza.  Now, I know this is more of a summer type dish, but, really, you can do it any time of the year :)

Fruit Pizza
-Sugar cookie dough (you can make your own or use 1-2 tubes of store bought-- I find the store bought easier to work with)
-8 oz sour cream
-8 oz cream cheese
-about 1 cup confectioner's sugar
-assorted sliced fruit


On a greased cookie sheet (13x18x1 - I have found putting foil on the sheet, then greasing it works best)  press out the cookie dough until it is a uniform thickness.  (You can get one tube on the tray and it will cook up thinner- if you use two tubes, you may need to increase cooking time.)  Bake as directed on the package-- check often as you only want it to be golden brown on top.  Cool.

Mix cream cheese and sour cream until smooth.  Add confectioner's sugar a small amount at a time until mixture thickens to a frosting-like consistency.  Spread on top of cooled cookie.  Arranged sliced fruit as desired.  Cut and serve.

I usually use sliced strawberries, kiwi, and bananas, dotted with whole blueberries.  Feel free to experiment with other fruits.  Enjoy!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

NaNo update and More Halloween Pics

So far, I haven't reached my 2000 word a day goal (well, I have, but more in that in a minute), but I have been around 1800+ for the first 3 days.

Today I worked on my NaNo story, The Ruby Dagger, and made my 1800+ word count, then went back to Quest of the Hart and began reworking that based on some comments from Trisha.  (She pointed out my story really started much further in than where my beginning was-- too much backstory!)  So, here's my question:

If I am working on two works during NaNo, can I count the words from both of them?  I mean, obviously if I cut and pasted stuff I had previously written I wouldn't count them, as they are not new.  But what about the stuff I am creating now?  Any thoughts?  Let me know in the comments.

Now, for some more Halloween pics!



Erik's Mom and Dad
My Mom and Dad












The Motley Crew!


What a couple!

Watch out for the gun...I mean viola!




This gives a new meaning to hair band!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

WCC Wednesday

Well, I am on my third day of NaNo, and so far, so good!

I finished my first draft of The Lost Princess last week and have gotten feedback from Katie and Fiona.  In my rush to finish TLP before NaNo I didn't edit the last eight chapters as I wrote them, and the difference was amazing.  Description flew out the window, leaving my partners asking me to clarify or put more emotion in.

So, when December hits, I will have some work to do!

Last week I put a shout out for some readers for a short story I was working on and got a response from Trisha Leaver.  Not only was she willing to look over my short story, she offered to look at the one I have been querying, Quest of the Hart.  I, of course offered to read anything of hers she wanted, and was treated to an awesome ghost story she has just sent off to her agent!

Well, I must confess I am making drastic changes to QotH (may even re-name it) after some of Trisha's comments.  This is a good thing!  i had been having this nagging feeling in the back of my mind for a short time (which I think is why I wasn't querying widely).  So, while I am working on my NaNo story, I plan on doing some tweaking to QotH.

Fiona's story has taken an interesting turn, as the past and present have collided (at least for her MC) and now Lana has to fix something, but she isn't sure what it is!

Katie is polishing some things up and promises she will send me more soon.

So, how is your writing going?  Are you NaNo-ing?  Is it going well?  Share in the comments!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween 2010

We had a great time at our Halloween Party on Saturday.  Thought I'd share a few pictures with you from it. I hope to put more up on Thursday-- want to get permission from the parent's before I do! (I had a difficult time getting the photos where I want them, so I will post more later this week-- too frustrated to continue now!)

So, here we go!

The Rock Star (AKA- my hubby)
The Pop Princess (AKA- me)






The Mask-less Ring Wraith (AKA- son)   
        
Frankie and Johnny (AKA my niece and her boyfriend)
















































Sorceress (AKA my friend Jackie)    
Jeff and Kevin (Friends of Erik (and me))   
































                                                                                                                                                          





Monday, November 1, 2010

Ready...Set...NaNo!

Today begins NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writer's Month).  My goal is to write at least 50,000 words this month and win NaNo.  My daily goal is to reach about 2000 words.

I went to our local group's meet and greet on Saturday and was impressed by all the great ideas everyone has for their novels.  I was also impressed by the number of high school students participating.  We have a ninth grader who is doing her 4th NaNo (she's won 3 of them!!!!)

So, to all my fellow NaNo-ers good luck!  You can keep track of my progress with the word counter on the right.

Tomorrow I will be posting pics from our Halloween Party on Saturday (still have to download the pics from the camera).  We had a blast!  Hope you all had a great Halloween too!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Recipe Friday!

Today's recipe is for the 21 and over crowd.  With fall in the air, I thought I'd share a nice warm drink recipe for you all to enjoy!

Cinnamon Cider
1 gallon cider
1 liter bottle Cinnamon Schnapps (we use Hot Damn)

In a crock pot combine cider and about 1/2 a bottle of Schnapps (or more if you want).  Stir. Heat.  Serve.

I believe you can make a similar taste (non-alcoholic) by adding Red Hot candies to the cider and heating until they are melted.  I am not sure how much, but if you want to give it a try and let me know what you used I'll post it up!


Enjoy!  And hope you all have a Happy Halloween this weekend!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

It's Done!

Well, I did it!  I finished the first draft of The Lost Princess yesterday which leaves me open to work on a new project for NaNo and come back to TLP with fresh eyes in December.

How about you?  Do you have a goal for NaNo?  Do you let your work set and come back to it with fresh eyes?  How long do you let it sit for?  Share in the comments.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

WCC Wednesday

Sorry about not posting yesterday.  I meant to post after I got home from work, and well.... Yeah, that didn't happen.

So, Happy Wednesday.  Four more days to Halloween.  Do you have your costume ready???  I am still putting the final touches on our Halloween party.  If you know any cool games for kids and adults, let me know-- I could use a few ideas.

This week I am working on finishing The Lost Princess.  I have the final chapter to work on (and hopefully finish today) before I send it off to Katie and Fiona for their thoughts.  This it the first draft, and as I have gotten closer to the end, I realized a few things I need to go back and add in.  But, that will be for December as I am working on a different project for NaNo in November.

Katie and Fiona's stories are both moving right along.  Fiona is setting up a time shift that she wants me to read in one full swoop, and I am looking forward to that.  I can not tell you how great she is at great description with few words.  Her word choices are very well thought out.  (If it can be said in one word, it is!)

Katie has set up a nice conflict with a relative of Lilly's.  I am not certain I trust this person, yet at the same time I want to trust her.  Katie is doing a great job with her.

So, how are your WIP's coming?  Do you need a critique partner?  If so, check out the Weekly Chapter Challenge at Writer's Digest.  Happy writing!

Monday, October 25, 2010

How do you replenish your muse?

I've been working at finishing my first draft of The Lost Princess before November gets here so I can come back to it in December with fresh eyes.  I am almost done (one chapter remaining).  Last week, however, I noticed I was struggling to write, and feeling at a loss for words.  My muse was tired.

So, I went into the bedroom and stared at my pile of books to be read (there are so many, I don't even know what they all are.)  I decided to pick up the second book of the Percy Jackson Series, The Sea of Monsters, and I wasn't disappointed.

Yesterday, while watching football at the neighbors, I took over a pen and notebook, and book three, The Titan's Curse.  I was sucked into the story and finished, returning home to start (and finish) book four, The Battle of the Labyrinth.  And, yes, you guessed it, I started book five, The Last Olympian this morning. 

So, when your muse gets tired, what do you do to refresh it?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Recipe Friday!

Happy Friday!!! Hope you all had a great week.  For this weeks recipe, I am taking the easy road.  I give you, Chocolate Dipped Pretzel Rods. These are really easy to make, and taste great.

Chocolate Dipped Pretzel Rods
-Almond Bark (Chocolate or White) or Melt-able chocolates (not chocolate chips, although they would probably work)
-Pretzel Logs (the thick ones, not the skinny sticks)
-Sprinkles, Jimmies, crushed candies, chopped nuts, etc.

Melt chocolate in a bowl.  (I usually put 2 squares of Almond Bark in the microwave for about 1 minute, stir, and return for 20-30 seconds at a time as needed.  Dip the pretzels into the chocolate about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way up.  Roll in sprinkles, jimmies, or crushed candies (at Christmas time I crush up peppermint candies and wintergreen candies and roll the pretzel in them.)  Place on wax paper or Silpat until chocolate hardens.  Eat and enjoy.

Do you have a favorite things to roll your pretzel's in?  Share in the comments!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Awards

Tuesday I logged onto my computer when I got home from work, read through my e-mails and Google Reader to find PK Hrezo left me an award on her blog.  The Verstaile Blogger Award.

Isn't this a cool looking award???

A recipient is to tell 5 things about themselves and then pass it on to 5 other bloggers.  So, here goes:

1) My husband and I met on a blind date.  We've been married 15 years and have one son, age nine.

2) My youngest brother is nine years older than I am.  (The other two are eleven and thirteen years older than I)

3) I taught music at a private school for five years.

4) I graduated college in three and a half years.

5) I love many kinds of music- from Gregorian Chant to Hard Rock.

Now, for my five bloggers:

Lisa Shearin- Lisa is the author of the Raine Benares series (great books, if you haven't read them) and has a wonderful blog.  Her blog is what reignited my passion for writing.

Kathryn Sheridan Kupanoff- Kathryn has a great blog.  I always come away learning something from what she writes.

T.C. McKee- TC is a new blogger I am following.  Her posts always make me think about things in a new light.

Elana Johnson- I started following Elana after a recommendation from either PK or Kathryn (can't remember who!).  Her blog is full of information, wit, humor, and sarcasm.  This is where I learned about the live chat on WriteOn.Com, and the never resolved question of bacon or chocolate :)

Margaret Fieland- Margaret is always introducing me to authors I have not heard of with her wonderful interview posts.  Thanks, Margaret!

So, to all of you above, congratulations on your award, and be sure to pass it on!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

WCC Wednesday

Happy Wednesday!  Sorry for the late post- didn't get a chance to post before I was off to work.  BEfore I get to my post, I need to give a shout out to PK Hrezo and thank her for the nice shiny award on the right.  Tomorrow's post will be all about that award and passing it on to others!


I am working on chapters 12 and 13 this week, and am nearing the end of this story.  When I sent chapter 11 out last week to Katie and Fiona, I realized, after I hit send, that I let out a piece of information earlier than I had intended.  After a day of thinking about this, I realized that my character was leading me down the right path by revealing this now.  It gave me time to develop another character a bit and give a bigger "a-ha" moment in chapter 14 (where I originally planned on putting this information.)  I will have to wait and see from Fiona and Katie if my timing was right, though.  They always catch those things, like great critique partners do.

Katie has told me she is nearing the end of The Vampire Slave, as well.  Lilly (her MC) has found herself in quite a pickle and I am curious to see how she is going to get out of it.  Her world is full of interesting characters and otherworldly creatures with richly described settings so you feel like you are there.  She always leaves me wanting more.

Fiona's story is quite different.  It takes place in the present and the past, and she has done an excellent job of interweaving these time shifts.  Her MC, Lana, has been transplanted to a new country and is having problems fitting in.  Fiona captures all the angst and longing a teenager would have in that situation with great comments and remarks from Lana.  I can not wait until the past and present collide and Lana learns about The Path Through the Mist. (Isn't that an awesome title?)

Hopefully, next week, I can say I finished The Lost Princess, so I have time to get some plotting done for NaNoWriMo.  My goal is to write 50,000 words in November on a different story (The Ruby Dagger), then come back to TLP for some editing.  So, to reach that goal, I am off now to do some writing!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Costumes!

I love Halloween.  It's one of the few times you can dress up as something else and not look out of place (the other time, at least for me, is at Renaissance Faires.)

We usually try to theme the family-- one of us stays home, the other takes our son out. In the past I've been Dora the Explorer to my son's Boots, Mary Jane to his Spider-man.  But this year, we are breaking the mold.  My son has chosen to be a ring wraith from Lord of the Rings, while I have amassed an outfit for an 80's rocker.  It all started with a skirt I found on sale and has grown from there.  (I even found a gold lame barrette I've had all these years to use!)  I believe my husband is going the rocker route, too.  (I found a blond wig in the Halloween box that will be great for him-- can't remember what costume I used it for, though).

I'll dress for the party they are having at school, for the party we are having at home, and to take my son out (or give candy- whichever he chooses!)

What about you?  What are you going to be for Halloween?  Are you having a party? Going to one? Just dressing up for the kids getting treats?  Share in the comments!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Happy Monday!

We had a very nice weekend, hope you all did too!  Saturday, we went to the apple orchard, all excited to pick apples, unfortunately the picking was closed for the day as the ground was too wet.  So, we had a nice lunch in their store and bought a peck of already picked apples--apple crisp and apple pie here we come!

After lunch, we went to a pumpkin farm and had fun looking at the displays (we figured out what all were, except one-- there was one with a woman (pumpkin head and grey, long haired wig) in a long blue denim dress-- if you know what story/nursery rhyme/movie she could be, let me know!)

We did the corm maze, but didn't get lost-- found a few dead ends, though!  Then we picked out our pumpkins.

Back home, we decorated more outside, then did our pumpkin carving.

I picked a white pumpkin  this year- mostly because I liked its face.



I was going to do a Pumpkin Masters carving of a mummy, but didn't want to reduce the outline, so I free handed it.




When everyone was done, we placed them in the graveyard growing in our front yard for some pictures.  (The second is taken with a candle light option).















How are your Halloween preparations coming?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Recipe Friday!

Wow!  It's Friday already where did the week go??  My conference went well.  It was nice to see so many people I haven't seen in a year (or longer, in some cases).  The guys had a great time on their camping trip.  I was sad not to be able to go and see all our camping friends, but look forward to our trips with you all next year!

Tomorrow (weather permitting) we are going to go apple picking, wander around at the pumpkin farm, and carve pumpkins. So, in honor of the apple picking, today's recipe is for Baked Apples.

Baked Apples
-As many apples as you want, cored (I use something like this to core mine instead of making juice- twist it into one end of the apple, remove, then twist into the other end of the apple- the core always seems to get stuck inside mine, I just push it out with my finger or the back end of a knife/fork/spoon)
-One bowl per apple (I use custard bowls to make mine)
-Brown Sugar
-Butter
-Cinnamon

Score a line around the center of the skin of your cored apple and place into a bowl.  Pack the center with brown sugar (about 1 tablespoon).  Place a pat of butter on top (I cut a slice about 1/4 inch thick).  Sprinkle with cinnamon.  Put in microwave for about 1 minute on high (If you have a really large apple, you will need to increase the amount of your ingredients and may need a longer time in the microwave.)  The apple will be really hot when you take it out, so be careful not to get burned on it.  If you want, you can add some vanilla bean ice cream with it, or eat it as is.  Enjoy!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Happy Columbus Day

Happy Columbus Day!  I hope all of you had a great day.  Sorry for the late post.  I am at training for work and not able to blog for a few days.  The blog will return to its normal schedule Thursday!

Until then, enjoy a good book!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Recipe Friday

With fall here, and Halloween just around the corner, I thought I'd share with you a recipe for Pumpkin Seeds.  We use this recipe every year when we carve our pumpkins into jack o'lanterns.  (Pictures of those will go up soon- after we get the pumpkins and carve them, that is!)

Special thanks goes to my friend Terry "With-a-Y" for the recipe!

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
Preheat oven to 300
2 cups seeds, well washed
3 cups cold water
1/2 cup salt

In a large pot, mix water and salt, stirring to dissolve.  Add seeds and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer for 1/2 an hour.  Remove from heat and drain.  DO NOT RINSE.  Spread evenly on a cookie sheet.  Cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.  (Look in on them in the last ten minutes to be sure they don't overcook.  They will be a light golden brown.)  Store in a dry place.

Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Pantster or Plotter

What kind of author are you?  Do you let your characters flow from your mind onto you paper or screen (pantster) or do you develop detailed outlines you follow to the letter (plotter) ?  Or, are you somewhere in between?

I tend to fall in the middle.  I plan my plot to a point where I know where my story is going, then I let my characters take me on the journey.  Sometimes they lead me down paths I didn't know were there when I started.  (Recently, my MC introduced me to almost her entire adopted family- I wasn't expecting that!)

So, if you are a plotter, do you let your characters lead you down those side roads to see what might be there?  If you're a pantster, do you jot down timelines or a vague outline to follow?  What kind of author are you?  Share in the comments!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

WCC Wednesday

Well, it's another Wednesday-- a rainy one here, and time for my update on Weekly Chapter Challenge.
Last week I posted an outline of my WIP chapter 7. This week, you can see what that became on the link to the right.  Please remember this is just a first draft.  However, any comments you would like to share would be welcome!

Katie's The Vampire Slave is moving right along.  She has introduced a new character with great set up to allow her to be on the side of good or on the side of evil.  Plots and twists abound, and Katie has done an excellent job to capture me in the moment and need to know more.

Fiona's The Path Through the Mist is also captivating me.  I cannot wait to see what she has in store for her MC.  Her simple, yet evocative descriptions continue to amaze me.  I'll keep working with her to let me share one or two with you.  She has such a way with words.

For me, I am continuing on with The Lost Princess.  I finished my first draft of chapter 8 yesterday and am going to start chapter 9 as soon as I post this.  My goal is to finish the book before November so I can take a break from it during NaNoWriMo and come back to it with fresh eyes.  I am also working on a short story for a competition.  The end needs some work, so I will be looking at that today, too.

How about you?  How are your WIP's going?  I'd love to hear your progress.