Thursday, December 31, 2015

A New Year: They're going by faster and faster!

I want to wish everyone a happy New Year! I have to admit that it seems like every year seems to fly by and before you know it, the year is gone. 

I look back on 2015 as a pretty good year and I hope I can sit here and type the same thing at the end of 2016. I appreciate so much all that I have right now. Many people have lost their homes during the past couple of weeks and some have lost their lives due to the weather. My heart goes out to them. 

I am glad that I've had the opportunity to enjoy living a simple life this year which includes watching some good movies, reading some good books, getting together with friends and going to see my family. 

2015 was a good year for me as a writer. It has been a very busy year and it appears that 2016 will really be a busy one. I'm officially a hybrid author now. I'm currently writing a contemporary series for Kensington Books. I'm working on Book 2 now and having lots of fun with it. I will have to write a third one in 2016 and I hope to finish up the second book in my historical series as well. 

As this last night in 2015 passes, enjoy it and be safe, dear friends. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Holiday Fun: Fireside Chat and Free Historical Romance.

I've always thought a fireplace is such a cozy place, but this Christmas there's no need for Santa to worry about getting his buns toasted. No need for a fire. Not with it over seventy degrees. Plus there's a chance for tornadoes to develop in a storm system that is heading over my area. I hope everyone who is traveling stays safe! I don't plan to be on the road. Just driving around town is crazy right now, much less being on a road trip during a major storm system. 

Today I went to see the new Star Wars movie! Even on a Tuesday afternoon, the theater was almost full. When the Star Wars theme started playing at the beginning, it was so exciting! Just like years ago. There is definitely nostalgia attached to Star Wars. It has spanned generations in my family. Just amazes me. 

I think that is what made this movie so big was the return of the characters from the original series. The moment Harrison Ford appeared on the screen, there was a huge reaction from the crowd. And I think this proves that characters are what makes a lasting impression on audiences. Especially the ones you have come to love in the movies or in books. As writers, we should all strive to create wonderful characters. The new characters in the movie are good. I don't think they have the magic of the original three. However, when Kylo Ren removed his black mask, that was a moment! He was fine! He looked like he'd just stepped out of a historical romance! 

Speaking of historical romance, my New Orleans historical, To Save a Lady, is free on Amazon. If you're looking for a romance with a good mix of adventure and history, you might find it a fun Christmas read. Link: http://amzn.to/1tz2HIq  

I hope to have the second book in this series out in 2016. I love Rafe and Simone's story and  I had planned to have it available this year. But, you know, fate has a way of changings things. I had gotten agent earlier in the year and this led to me signing with Kensington Books for contemporary romance series. So I've had to sideline the historical to work on these books. 

This past week my editor came up with a great title, which I loved, and marketing approved it. One Week In Your Arms will be the first book. These books are mainstream romances that are a blend of drama and humor. I'm working on the second book now and having a great time with the story.

Again, I wish you the best of times this week!   

Monday, December 21, 2015

Heating Up the Kitchen: Chocolate Pixies Recipe by Lorraine Paton, Romance Author

Today I'm welcoming Lorraine Paton. She has  has graciously provided a cookie recipe for this holiday season. It sounds yummy!


Lorraine works in a hectic office by day and writes romance novels by night. 
Her contemporary romance series, Morning Lake, is set in Alberta, Canada, which is where she lives. She loves bestowing happily-ever-afters on as many people--er, characters--as she can.This is a fun and tasty cookie that looks pretty on a holiday cookie plate. You can find out more about Lorraine and her books at www.lorrainepaton.com 



Chocolate Pixies

Makes Approximately 4 dozen cookies.

Ingredients:
¼ cup               margarine or butter
4 ounces          unsweetened chocolate
2 cups              flour
2 cups             sugar (yep, that is a lot of sugar)
½ cup               chopped walnuts
2 teaspoon      baking powder
½ teaspoon      salt
3                      eggs
Icing Sugar

In a big saucepan, heat the margarine / butter and chocolate until melted. Stir constantly while doing this, and keep it at low heat. You don't want it to burn.
After everything is melted together, remove the pan from the heat. Set aside to cool slightly.
Now blend the flour, sugar, walnuts, baking powder, salt and eggs (aka all remaining ingredients except the icing sugar) into the chocolate mixture. Mix well.
Place dough in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
Now it is time to get messy. Use your hands to make the dough into 1 inch balls. Roll each dough ball in the icing sugar. Make sure the sugar coating is even and heavy.
Put the cookie balls on an ungreased cookie sheet, spaced approximately 2 inches apart.
Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until edges are firm.
Remove the cookies immediately from the cookie sheet. The chocolate cookie will show through cracks in the icing sugar coating.


This is just the kind of cookie Annie Bingley would make in Annie's Christmas Plan, my contemporary romance novel. Although it is listed as book 3 in the Morning Lake series, it can be read as a standalone.

Her Glittering Plans may not be Golden 

Desperate to prove to her ex and her daughter that she can be more than just a craft-obsessed mom, Annie moves to a small town and emulates the lifestyle she sees splashed in magazines in an attempt to win her family back. Living from holiday to holiday, Annie creates a picture-perfect house full of glitter and hope—and it works. Before the year is out Annie's house is packed with relatives and their pets, but it is nothing like what she'd expected. 

And she certainly hadn't anticipated her sexy new neighbor, John Quinn, changing her carefully constructed plans. 
Available at Amazon: http://amzn.to/1JmRkbB (Also available on Kindle Unlimited)



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Free Book this week! To Save a Lady, a historical romance set in New Orleans during the winter of 1814, is free on Amazon December 21-25th! 




Monday, December 14, 2015

Heating Up the Kitchen: Chocolate-Dipped Cookies by Katherine Bone #HistoricalRomance

Today I have historical romance author, Katherine Bone,
heating up the kitchen with a recipe for Chocolate-Dipped Butter Cookies!


Chocolate-Dipped Butter Cookies from Southern Living's 2003 Christmas Issue
Impressive looking but simple to make with a cookie press, a dip of chocolate and a smattering of sprinkles giving them a crowning touch.
1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. orange extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 (2-oz.) chocolate bark coating squares
Chocolate candy sprinkles
Beat butter and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add egg and orange extract, beating until blended.
Combine flour and baking powder; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until blended.
Use a cookie press fitted with a bar-shaped disk to shape dough into straws, following the manufacturer's instructions. Press onto ungreased baking sheets.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.
Microwave chocolate squares in a small bowl at HIGH, stirring twice, 1 1/2 minutes or until melted.
Dip ends of cookies in melted chocolate; sprinkle with candy sprinkles. Place on wax paper, and let stand until chocolate is firm. Delicious!!!

If you would like to know more about Kathy and her books, here are her links:




Here's the info/blurb for Once Upon a True Love's Kiss, the box set I've got coming out January 4, 2016. Up for preorder now!

USA Today Bestselling author, Julie Johnstone, joins bestselling, award-winning authors Katherine Bone, Collette Cameron, Jillian Chantal, Samantha Grace, Alanna Lucas, Lauren Smith, and Victoria Vane in this delightful limited edition, containing eight tantalizing kiss-and-tell stories. Meet dashing, wildly charming rogues, spies, pirates, rakes and their extraordinary, intrepid heroines as they whisk you along on sweet to sizzling romantic romps in these wickedly entertaining historical romances.

AFTER FOREVER by JULIE JOHNSTONE, USA Today bestselling author. Lady Julia is hired to turn a rogue into a gentleman and receives lessons in love and desire.

THE PIRATE'S DUCHESS by KATHERINE BONE, National bestselling author. A duke masquerading as a pirate to "rob from the rich and give to the poor" sheds his darkest-kept secrets to keep from losing the duchess his wife has become.

HER SCANDALOUS WISH by COLLETTE CAMERON, National bestselling and Award-winning author. A marriage offer obligated by duty . . . an acceptance compelled by desperation.

MILADY AND HER SPY by JILLIAN CHANTAL, 2015 RONE Finalist. A lady, a spy, a traitor... a battle of wills.

KISSED BY A SCOTTISH ROUGE by SAMANTHA GRACE, Acclaimed, RITA-nominated author. Scottish land steward Fergus McTaggert calls a temporary truce with his employer's companion only to discover their passionate battles have been masking their hidden desires.

STOLEN KISSES FROM THE VISCOUNT by ALANNA LUCAS, National bestselling author. A rake, an heiress, and stolen kisses...this seduction could be his last.

TEMPTED BY A ROGUE by LAUREN SMITH, National bestselling, Award-winning author. Gemma never planned on falling in love with her childhood sweetheart's best friend, Jasper, when he returns home, but she can't resist the naval officer's brooding charm.

THE REDEMPTION OF JULIAN PRICE by VICTORIA VANE, National bestselling and award-winning author. She gave him a chance to bury his past...but the price would be his heart.

Once Upon a True Love's Kiss links:






Sunday, December 13, 2015

Quick and Crazy: The No-Stress Holiday List

 Here’s a list of tips to help you avoid a frigging holiday breakdown:


            Shop online. A no-brainer. No wrecks getting hit in a parking lot while racing to get that one open space closest to the front of Wal-Mart, or head-on buggy collisions inside the store. Not to mention that fight over the last Force Awakens play set. And does it not piss you off when all you have in your buggy is fresh lettuce, a six-pack, Windex, and Vaseline and you proceed toward the express lane,15 items or less where there is like only one person checking out, and a prissy shopper with an overflowing buggy cuts in front of you? You think about taking that rude bitch down. You know you do.

My advice is to wait until late at night like Santa, find a quiet spot, make yourself a great drink, relax and take advantage of free shipping.

            Decorations. You have to decide how much time and effort you want to put into creating a festive mood. The more decorations you put up, the more you gotta take down and store someplace. Keep in mind that due to iPads and smartphones, few people will notice your decorations because it requires looking up. Tips: Live poinsettias are lovely and last a while, then you can dispose of them. No packing up and trying to haul them up attic stairs.

      Of course, the easiest way to decorate is outdoor lights, which you hang all over the exterior of your house and you leave the lights hanging there year round. Then just plug them in during Christmas time. No taking them down or storing them. #RedneckTip

 Holiday Cooking. If you love cooking, go for it. But if you don’t love it and you don’t want to clean up a huge mess or deal with some of the recipes that you labored over for hours not turning out so well, take the family out to eat. Much less hassle and the kids will prefer it. Or go someplace like KFC or Kroger and get you a big bucket of fried chicken or rotisserie chicken, sides, a pecan pie, bring it home, put it in serving dishes, set the table. Toss a little flour on your clothes, dampened your hairline with a wet towel, exhale a lot when you sit down at the table. Remember the iPads and the phones? They’ll never know the difference.

Yesterday, I was talking with a wonderful lady who is 89 years old and we were talking about cooking for Christmas. She was like “I’ve always cooked for Christmas, but, you know, I don’t think they appreciate it.” I encouraged having her family eat out for holiday and she said that is what she was thinking she would do. But it was sad to me to think she felt like that.

So I would like to conclude this by saying that whatever you do this season, do it with joy and love and appreciation.


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Heating Up the Kitchen: Cuban Pulled Pork Recipe by @MVFreeman

We're gonna heat up the kitchen this holiday season with author MV Freeman and her recipe for Slow Cooked Cuban Pulled Pork. 


Slow Cooked Cuban Pulled Pork—(and it’s easier than one thinks)

The best thing about cooking is the scent—this recipe which I make mostly in the winter (including Christmas) is Cuban Pulled Pork—it is EASY and divine.
You need at *least* a 5 lb Pork Shoulder –pat dry. (I use boneless, and sometimes I use a bit more—because this goes fast.)
The rub: (Mix in a bowl)
·         2 Tablespoons of Oregano
·         1 Tablespoon of Fennel Seeds
·         1 Tablespoon of Thyme
·         1 Tablespoon of Kosher Salt (or Sea Salt)
·         1 ½ Tablespoon of Ground Pepper
·         4-6 Cloves of Crushed Garlic (I usually add more, because I love this spice)
·         ¼ Cup of Olive Oil
Preheat oven to 250 degrees (Yes, you want it low, trust me)
Smear the rub over the meat, use ALL of it.
Put it in a roast pan; and in the oven.
Cook *uncovered* for 8 hours. (Not joking—that long)
I swear, you will love this---the scent is divine. It is aromatic and fills the house. You’ll have to try hard not open the oven. I love making this dish. 
*Note:  You can use beef roast if you want, still is awesome.
What you can do with the Meat:
·         Cuban Sandwiches:  Shred it, slice Cuban bread the long way, put on mustard, pickles, cheese of your choice--- there you go!
·         Tacos
·         Soup
·         Burritos
·         Put on a Salad
·         The ideas are endless

This dish allows one to curl up with a fiery Paranormal Romance, with a stubborn Russian, and a determined heroine it will be sure to warm you up on an a cold winter’s day:  INCANDESCENT.
Some gifts are unwanted, and Laurie Hudson's affinity for fire is one she hates. It has destroyed her relationship with her family and she has few friends. She's fought hard to keep the fire inside suppressed, living a low key life as a bartender, until a brutal and charming man blows into her life.

Around Mikhail Petrov, her careful control disintegrates. She is at once drawn to his urbane, cool demeanor and irritated by his overbearing manner. Her options are taken away when he kidnaps her, forcing her into a fight she wants nothing to do with. As she learns to survive, Laurie faces the hardest choice of all, her freedom or the destruction of the frustrating man she's come to care for.

A formidable Tri-elemental, Mikhail Petrov commands earth, air, and water. He will use anyone or anything to free himself from the oppressive rule of the Mages, including the untrained fire element he discovers, Laurie. Most of his family has been wiped out in an effort to manipulate him. He thinks he has nothing left to lose. To him, Laurie is a tool, a rare and powerful elemental that is his to use. He fights his feelings for the fire elemental because with caring comes weakness, another opening for destruction. Rarely are emotions as easy to control as his elements.

As he trains Laurie to work with him, he doesn't expect his growing attachment to her. With the Mages closing in, Mikhail faces a choice: destroy the fledgling relationship with Laurie to gain his coveted freedom, or sacrifice himself for hers.
  
Buy Link:  Amazon:   

MV Freeman is a writer of Urban Fantasy and Fantasy, with a love of strong coffee and cream late night writing. "I adore dark stories with anti-heroes, determined heroines, and happy endings. I am represented by Victoria Lea from Aponte Literary Agency."


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Tues Writing Tips and Making Cornflake Cookies

Hope you're having a great Tuesday! I'm over at MV Freeman's blog today presenting a recipe for No-Bake Cornflake Cookies! Can't get any easier than that! Check out the recipe here: MV Freeman
And I made a little meme of some inspirational writing tips that may perk you up today! 

Happy Holiday Rush! 

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Holiday Cooking~Hurricane Recipe (Maybe That Should Be Holiday Drinking!)

The Hurricane was rumored to have been invented in the 1940’s at Pat O’Brien’s bar on St. Peter in the French Quarter. It is said that during World War II, bar owners had to buy several dozen cases of rum before liquor salesmen would sell them a case of scotch because rum was much more plentiful. The bartenders at O’Brien’s came up with a recipe mixing fruit juices with rum to try to get rid of all the extra rum. They called it a Hurricane for obvious reasons. 

Hurricane recipe:


2 ounces light rum
2 ounces dark rum
2 ounces red passion fruit syrup
1 ounce orange juice
1 ounce pineapple juice
1 ounce fresh lime juice

Fill a tall glass, preferably a hurricane glass, with ice.
Shake ingredients with ice, then strain into glass. You can
add a pineapple or orange slice for garnishment.

(Of course, I’m gonna admit to taking the easy route myself. I used Pat O’Brien’s Hurricane mix and add rum and ice.)

You can enjoy a Hurricane while reading my romantic novel, TO SAVE A LADY, which is set in the French Quarter during the Battle of New Orleans in 1814.

 A DARING MASQUERADE
A move from Paris to New Orleans brings disaster to Elise Plaisance’s predictable life as a lady’s maid. The son of her grief-stricken mistress disappears, and Elise is drawn into a dangerous web of espionage and deceit as the threat of war divides the city.
A CAPTAIN BEWITCHED
Captain Jesse Cross doesn’t fancy himself as a lovelorn soldier desperate for a woman until a mysterious French spy captivates his imagination. Their romance is a frail illusion, born in the darkness of a moonlit courtyard and never meant to last forever.
A FUTURE IMPERILED
The enemy strikes. Both on the battlefield and in the Quarter. Torn between loyalty and love, Elise must risk everything to rescue her mistress’s son before all is lost. Jesse has to stop her even if it means sacrificing his honor and losing his life to save a lady.



Thursday, December 3, 2015

Friday Fun: Supernatural, Coven, Black Hats and Decadron

Black Friday Hoot

I hope everyone had a fun Black Friday last week! I did get the Amazon deal on Season 10 of Supernatural for $10. If you haven't seen this series, this is a great binge! Watched the new episode last night and they do so much great humor with Dean. He has great timing and I love his one-liners. I love a good mix of humor and drama. Plus good-looking guys are an asset!

American Horror Story: Coven

Talking about binges. I decided to check out American Horror Story: Coven on Prime because it is set in New Orleans. So I watching it and there was a scene with Kathy Bates and Jessica Lange in a courtyard and I'm thinking that is familiar. They are walking under an arbor. Is that not the townhouse courtyard where I was doing research? Yes. I checked my photos. I have one of the arbor in front of the fountain. It appears they did a lot of location shoots. I found myself missing my New Orleans characters. It is like I have too many children and not enough time for all of them. Is that weird? It probably is.

Coolest witch duds ever.

I LOVE the Coven costumes. The hats especially. They have some of the greatest black hats and dresses ever! I love this Musketeer-style hat and dress. It is my favorite so far. Awesome.

Go Juice and Writing

I went to the doctor for routine visit and got a Decadron shot for allergies. Who can't use a little Go Juice ever now and then? Then I was off to work downtown to get my part-time job done for the week so I could have a writing stretch ahead of me while I'm energized. Strangely enough, my phone went berserk. Like numbers 456 didn't work. They rang up as 7 or 8 or 9. Jamie, my pal at work, was like I've never seen that before. Maybe it was from watching Coven?? I wish I could have put a spell on some of the calls. There were times when I heard that recording about "As of October 1st we will no longer accept claims without ICD-10 codes blah blah blah" I  wanted to jerk the phone out of the wall. Dear Insurance Carrier: Especially Blue Cross Blue Shield, It is ALREADY December. You have been playing that frigging message all year. Who in hell doesn't know it? Here, I'm getting out my voodoo doll now...

The scene I'm working on now for Book 2 is with the hero, Hot Rod, and his buddy, Jerry, at a bar. It is sooo funny. Jerry is one of those great secondary characters. He runs an auto parts store and I'm having fun with how he compares stuff to car parts. LOL!!  Lots of humor in this book. Especially with the secondary characters who are colorful to say the least. For Book 1, my editor asked me for any and all ideas for the cover. He probably wishes he hadn't asked as I sent him plenty of wonderful ideas. Seriously.

That's it for Friday Fun this week!!! If you scored well on Black Friday, let us know! XOXO!


Monday, November 30, 2015

Meet the Author: Welcome Alice Orr #MondayBlogs

Happy Monday! This Monday I am featuring an interview with romantic suspense author, Alice Orr,
who has a new Christmas novella available.

She talks about writing as well as her husband of 43 years. And she even sent me a photograph of them back in the day! Weren't they a cute couple!!!
Question: It’s raining men. What kind of men?
That’s an easy one because I really love my husband Jonathan and my other answers will tell you why. I’m not saying we don’t squabble because we definitely do. Ask our neighbors. We are a couple with what a wise friend of mine calls “juice.” We’ve been married a long time – forty-three years this past September. I asked Jonathan the other night if he’d ever been bored. “Definitely not” was his answer. I feel the same. Which is why that man-rain would have to be pouring down guys that keep me interested the way my Handsome Jonny does. So why not just hang onto him?

When did I first realize I wanted to be a writer?
What truly counts is when I first was able to admit to myself I wanted to be a writer. Before that I kept it to myself even from myself. I figured it wasn’t possible so why hope for it and be disappointed with my life. Jonathan and I were living in Albany, New York when he asked me a question nobody had ever cared to ask before. “If you could do any kind of work in the world what would it be?” I remember that I broke down and cried. Then I told him I would be a writer. I expected him to be polite but not encouraging. I was wrong. He not only he encouraged me – he believed in me – long before I believed in myself. Everything that has happened since in my writing career began that autumn afternoon.

How do I de-stress?
This is a really good question for busy people in our busy world. This answer also has to do with Jonathan. We are both busy people. I’m a writer of course and up to my ears almost every day with everything that requires. Jonathan and I also run a contracting company – Orr and Orr Contracting LLC. We renovate and remodel mostly wealthy people’s places – right now on Park Avenue in Manhattan. That is definitely not our personal world but bless those folk for giving us work. At the end of the day the two of us are pretty much done-for stamina wise. So we retire to what Jonathan calls the Blue Beach. In other word atop the blue comforter on our big bed. We have supper there. We share the experiences of our day there. We watch TV there. Binge watch more and more lately. Because I love good storytelling and so does Jonathan who has always been the romantic hero of all my stories.

What do I hate to do most?
An easy one. I hate to WASH DISHES. You might say “Get a dishwasher” but we have a dishwasher. One that is way too big for two people. We don’t want to use all that hot water every day for our few pots and dishes. So we use the dishwasher for kitchen storage. We’re city folk after all and have to utilize every empty nook and cranny. But that doesn’t get those pesky dishes clean. You guessed it. Jonathan does the dishes. Our deal is as follows. I keep my hand off the dirty dishes and he keeps his hands off the cooking. Each person should do what he or she is good at and that man absolutely cannot cook. Thank heaven I can.

When somebody sends me flowers what should that bouquet be?
Only Jonathan gives me flowers and he could answer this easily. Don’t send me roses. I am a practical person and roses die too quickly. Even with sugar or plant food in the water and frequent spritzing too – those lovely blossoms of theirs fall over and fade faster than fast. I like my bouquets to stick around. So my choice is always whatever is seasonal. Right now in the fall I love colorful fall flowers – yellows and tones of rust and dark red. The kind they set out in green buckets in front of my favorite neighborhood florist shop. I’ve made certain Jonathan knows exactly where it is.

About Alice:

"Alice Orr is a brilliant writer who has a Number One bestseller hidden in her pocket. I look forward to more of her work," says one Amazon reviewer. I say “Thanks!” I love to write. Especially romantic suspense novels and blog posts. I’ve been a workshop leader, book editor and literary agent. Now I live my dream of writing full-time. I’ve published thirteen novels and four novellas – both traditionally and independently – plus a memoir so far. I wrote my nonfiction book, No More Rejections, as a gift to the writers' community I cherish. A revised edition is now in progress. Amazon says, "This book has it all." About my romantic suspense, Amazon says, "Alice Orr turns up the heat." Most of all, I like to hear from readers. Visit my website at www.aliceorrbooks.com. I have two grown children and two perfect grandchildren and I live with my husband Jonathan in New York City.
 

A VACANCY AT THE INN
Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Christmas Novella
Luke & Bethany’s Story by Alice Orr

On a cold December day Bethany Miller and her son Michael arrive in Riverton.

She grew up on Riverton Hill in remote upstate New York where her complicated family still lives. She moved away to escape all of that and more. Now she’s back because of complications in her present life with what is best for her son. She hopes the Miller family will be a Christmas blessing for Michael. She’s less hopeful about what this homecoming will be for her.

The last thing Bethany wants is further complication. That means the last person she needs to see is Luke Kalli staring down at her from the roof of Miller’s Inn. They shared a glorious connection before she fled from here. The power of that encounter and the deep feelings she experienced came at a tumultuous moment in her life. They were yet another strong reason to leave Riverton Hill on Riverton Road and never return – until today. She has no idea this place will put her son in peril.


A Vacancy at the Inn is the first Novella of the Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series featuring the Kalli family and now the Miller family too in stories of Romance and Danger. A Wrong Way Home is Book 1 of the series. A Year of Summer Shadows is Book 2.  A Villain for Vanessa will be Book 3 – coming soon.
All titles are available at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B000APC22E.




Thursday, November 26, 2015

Taking Time for Gratitude #Thanksgiving 2015



Gobble 'till you wobble. I think that's me today. I shared Thanksgiving with a group of friends who are empty-nesters like me. I made sweep pea salad, potato salad, fruity salad, peach cobbler and the best of all, a pecan pie, which turned out so good. It was the first one I had made in a few years and I must say it was delicious. Patricia Bradley baked a ham. OMG, I love baked ham. Needless to say, it was a great Thanksgiving dinner.

Besides eating, one of the important things we should take time for today is gratitude. There is so much strife in the world and terrible things happening so unexpectedly to innocent people, we must be grateful for our safety and well being today. I'm very grateful for my health and that my family is doing well. I live in a small town that tends to be quiet and peaceful. It only takes me a couple of minutes to get to the shopping centers, downtown, the post office, the library, and movie theater. I don't have to wait in traffic jams and I'm very thankful for that. :) 

We were blessed here with beautiful fall weather today, too. 

I am happy that I am busy. Actually, I work seven days a week now. My part-time day job has grown so that I'm working twice as many hours as I was this time last year. And when I'm not at that job, I'm at the job here. Writing. I recently signed a three-book contract with Kensington so I am working on Book 2 and I love these characters. Plus I have other short projects I'd love to do and a historical to finish up. I went part-time in order to write, well, I'm definitely getting to write now. LOL! But telling stories is what I love doing and I am thankful that I have this time to work at something I enjoy after spending the last few years working at jobs I didn't like. 

I'm looking forward to the Christmas season. Mostly I do my shopping online and I'm hoping to get the Black Friday deal on Supernatural Season 10. I lucked up last year as 9 sold out in 2 minutes. Also thinking about getting Walking Dead season 1 for my son. He needs to get hooked. I don't know if I can watch the season finale this week. Not with the wall coming down. They do the best cliff-hangers! 

Okay, so I have actually done a blog post. Due to my work load, I don't have a lot of time for social media. I am going to make an effort to have some guest bloggers on here as well as chatting myself from time to time. Alice Orr will be my guest this Monday.

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day! If you're wobbling, let me know! 


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Road Trip Dining: The Loveless Cafe

On Highway 100, just outside of Nashville and at the Natchez Trace terminus, you'll find some great food at the Loveless Cafe. Last week, a friend and I made the journey from Cherokee, Alabama to Nashville via the Natchez Trace. It was a leisurely day drive to see the fall colors along the Trace and take photos. By the time we reached the end of the Trace, we were starving and both eager to eat for the first time at the famous Loveless Cafe. 









Here's a little history: Lon and Annie Loveless started serving fried chicken and Annie's secret recipe biscuits to weary travelers from their front door in 1951. Their business grew and they turned their house into a cafe. Motel rooms were built as well. Loveless Cafe became known for its biscuits, homemade preserves, and country ham. As time passed, the motel was converted into gift shops. Old buildings were restored and new ones added.

Be prepared for a wait. The cafe serves almost a half-million people a year. We got there after 2 on Thursday and had a short wait before a table was available. You are given a beeper that will let you know when your table is ready so you can wander around outside if you want. Since it was such nice weather, we sat outside in the shade and enjoy the rural setting. 

The lobby features autographed photographs of the celebrities who have stopped by the cafe. 

The catfish I ordered was delicious! And the biscuits, which are brought to the table along with the menu, were so good, especially with the strawberry preserves. So if you are in the Nashville area and looking for a lovely place to stop awhile, check out the Loveless Cafe. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Haints in Hollywood #Snippet Sunday

Thanks for stopping by on #SnippetSunday!

Today I'm featuring a snippet from "Haints in Hollywood," a humorous short story featuring Darlene, Richie, and Tommy Ray, who were characters in "Laid to Rest." It's 1957 and they have left Mississippi on their way to Hollywood where Darlene hopes she'll become the next Marilyn Monroe. 

They do end up in a town called Hollywood. But instead of being filled with movie stars, it has ghosts, vampires, zombies and even a spooky owl. Join the fun as Darlene ends up in a haunted hotel, gives a ghost advice on love, and finds a guy on Harley carrying a crossbow pretty hot. 


 “The sign says Hollywood.” He beamed a stream of light toward a small billboard where white magnolias decorated a dark green sign that read: Welcome to Hollywood.
    “It’s not the right Hollywood,” I told Tommy Ray. “I’ve never heard of this town.” I hadn’t seen it listed on the road map either.
     “Hold the light steady,” Richie said as he stepped onto the shoulder of the road and took a look at the sign. “Appears the population is dropping.”
      Beneath the name of the town, the sign read: Pop. 852. A black X had been painted over the eight fifty-two. Next was five hundred six. There was an X over that, too. The numbers continued to dwindle until the last number, which was thirty-four, had been crossed out, too. The town must have come upon hard times.
    “I guess they quit updating the sign,” I said.
    “I don’t like it,” Richie said, glancing down the long, dark strip of pavement ahead of us. “Got a bad feeling about this. Real bad feeling.”

Friday, October 2, 2015

Harvest Moons, Pumpkins, My Favorite TV Shows~October is here!


The harvest moon hangs round and high
It dodges clouds high in the sky,
The stars wink down their love and mirth
The Autumn season is giving birth.
Oh, it must be October...
~Pearl N. Sorrels



October is my favorite month of the year. Out of all the seasons, autumn is the one I enjoy most. Maybe it comes from childhood when we always started back to school in September and it was a time for new clothes and a new routine. Later on, my son was born in October, so that made the month special, too. 

Now I just love the mild weather as the season transitions from summer to winter. It seems fall never lasts long enough, but while it is here, I love to get out my camera. Especially on the Natchez Trace where the color is always striking. 

Besides the beauty of fall in October, my favorite TV shows are returning. This Wednesday, I can't wait to find out what happens to Sam and Dean in Supernatural and what is the Darkness? I have seen the previews. This season looks to be dark in keeping with what has been unleashed. And next Sunday, the Walking Dead returns. Such an awesome show! Rick is one of the best characters ever. He has gone through such great arcs. It will be interesting to see what happens to him this season. Plus the rest of the cast is terrific and Daryl is the hottest redneck ever.

So I will leave you with a photo to enjoy! 



Sunday, September 20, 2015

Be a Great Friend Today



I am posting this in memory of three dear friends of mine who left this world too early. They were all writers and we shared that special bond for many years. I still have gifts they gave me as well as the memories of telephone conversations and trips taken together. How I would love to see them once again and talk for a while. Their deaths were sudden and I didn't get to tell them goodbye or that I would not forget them despite the passing of time.

So if you have good friends, people that are special to you, do as Henry Beecher suggests. Fill their lives with sweetness because you never know when that opportunity will end.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Pink Palace: Win Some, Lose Some

This past weekend I was in Memphis and I got a chance to see the Pink Palace. It is currently a museum and has been since the mid-twenties. What is really interesting is the background of this massive, opulent house built with marble that has a pinkish tint. It was never a home. There was never a ball in the grand ballroom or a family enjoying the beautiful residence. 

The builder was Clarence Saunders, who founded the first self-service grocery store, Piggly Wiggly, in 1916. The store featured aisles and a check-out lane. It was the beginning of a revolutionary way of shopping for groceries. The format, which would be a standard for supermarkets, made Saunders millions.
 
In early 1922, he began construction on an elegant Georgian mansion that was 36,500 square feet. Saunders claimed he was building a landmark that would last a thousand years. Yet he never got to live in the house. But by 1923, Saunders had lost his fortune in a stock market gamble. He had to file bankruptcy, and he lost the unfinished mansion to creditors, who donated it to the City of Memphis. It was opened as a museum in 1930. 

Saunders planned to name the house Cla-Le-Clare after his children, and it was called the Memphis Museum of Natural History and Industrial Arts. But the nickname given to it by the residents of the city, the Pink Palace, finally became its official name in 1967. I'm glad the house has been preserved. It's a great place for research, but still it seems a bit empty history-wise since there is no family story to go with it. I guess it proves the old saying true. People are what make a house a home. 



 

Friday, September 11, 2015

When Characters Create Themselves~I Love It!

Back a long time ago, when I used to believe everything that I was told about "how to" write and all this preparation and blah, blah, blah, I would fill out these detailed character sheets that had come from some writing source. Over time, I noticed I didn't use them much and that my characters had a tendency to travel their own path as I wrote, so I went with a simpler method. I believe how you write all comes down to what works well for you and gets you to "the end." 

For me, I do a general character outline on notebook paper. Name, age, profession, family. A few personal things. Just enough to give me an idea about who the character is. My characters develop as the story develops, and I just love the surprises! In my historical romance, To Save a Lady, I had no idea Elise was a window-shopper. It was just something she did on her own and I knew it was an aspect of her character that had emerged during a scene. 

Besides little surprises, there are big ones. Darlene, my Southern Lucille Ball/Marilyn Monroe gal, is one of my most popular characters and one of the most fun characters I've written. She was totally not planned. Years ago, I was planning to write a story for a contest and it was going to feature two dimwitted crooks. In that story, a blonde came running out of the house where they were stealing gasoline out of the mayor's Cadillac. I just called her Darlene because that sounded like the 50's. I never could make the story work and a couple of years later, I was thinking about it and it hit me that it was actually Darlene's story. Once I went with that, the story came together and so did Darlene's character. I just started out with her wanting to be a movie star like Marilyn Monroe. Her enterprising attitude all came about when I put her into action in the story. 

Another big surprise was the character, Rafe, in To Save a Lady. I was writing a scene with the hero, Jesse, on Grand Terre island. And up walked this guy and I was like who are you? It turned out he was Jesse's former roommate at school, the son of an admiral and now a privateer. He actually played an important role in the conclusion of the book. Although the second book was supposed to be another character's story, I knew the second book would be Rafe's. 

For me, the surprises like Darlene and Rafe are what makes telling a story surprising and fun for me.