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


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


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

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.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


I know it's only October, but this is the perfect time to get ready for NaNoWriMo!

I am NaNo-ing for the first time, and am hoping to make my goal of 50,000 words in the month of November.  I will keep you posted on my progress here!

If you are NaNo-ing, let me know, and Good Luck meeting your goals!

Upcoming Posts:
WCC Wednesday
Panster or Planner
Recipe Friday

Monday, October 4, 2010


Today's post is about Point of View (POV).  I tend to write from a 3rd person POV, varying between 2-3 characters.  I have also written from 1st person POV (for me, this one is trickier!)  So, how are they different?

3rd person POV allows the writer and reader to see and understand the feelings of the person who is viewing the scene.  For my stories, I usually have 1 or 2 characters in the scene and pick who I want to view it through-- who has the most internal dialogue to share.  Sometimes I have to write it from both POV's before I get the correct view.  In this view, you can also use the omniscient narrator-- this allows the reader to know what is going on, even if the characters don't experience it.

1st person POV follows the story from the main character's (usually) POV.  You only know what they know, only see what they see. If something happens off stage, you don't know about it.  And, the character can't know what someone else is thinking.  I have to be careful in this POV not to assign emotions to character actions that the main character can't know. 

What about you?  What POV do you use?  Do you find one trickier than the other?  Any tips for others?  Share in the comments!

Upcoming Posts:
WCC Wednesday
Pantster or Planner?
Recipe Friday

Friday, October 1, 2010

Recipe Friday

Update:  For those of you interested in seeing the world my stories are set in, there is a map link to the right.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled blog!

It's fall, and October!  That means pumpkins and cool days.   Today I am going to share my recipe for Pumpkin Sausage soup.  (You didn't think I only made cookies and candy, did you?)  At one point in time I actually had a written recipe for this that I got somewhere, but I have no idea where it is.  What I am giving you is the simple, basics for the soup and how I modify it when I make it to get different flavors.

Pumpkin Sausage Soup

1 large can pumpkin (not the pie flavored kind) or 3 soup can sized cans
1 container chicken stock (approx 32 oz) (you can use beef or vegetable stock, too)
1 tube frozen sausage, thawed (I prefer Jimmy Dean Sage or the blue wrapper Great Value breakfast sausage)
1 to 2 teaspoons Mace or Nutmeg
1 teaspoon Cumin
Red Hot or Tobasco Sauce
Salt and Pepper
Cream/Half and Half (optional)

Cook the sausage in a deep skillet (or a regular skillet if you want to do the rest in a separate pan- I don't like to do dishes, so I do it all in one pan!)  Chop into small bits while cooking.  Add stock and pumpkin.  Mix.  Add mace/nutmeg.  (I used Mace this last time and found it worked better than the nutmeg- a more subtle flavor.)   Add cumin (this gives it a smoky flavor).  Add a dash of Red Hot or Tobasco, (or more if you like things spicy!) Salt and pepper to taste (I don't use a lot of salt, but found this helped balance the sweet from the mace).  Cook until hot.  If you want a creamier version, add a pint of cream or half and half.  Serve sprinkled with grated romano or parmesan cheese.

It goes very well with a fresh loaf of bread, or grilled cheese.  And, I found Saranac's Pumpkin Ale is a nice accompaniment for the over 21 crowd.  (Cider works well for the under 21 crowd in our house!)

Enjoy and have a great weekend!