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 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.


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


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!

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


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

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.