Thursday, February 28, 2013

End of February....

Already! How does this happen? One sixth of the year is gone!

Today, I'm doing an bit of personal inventory. It needs to be done every once in a while, to make sure I'm still on track.

This year, I promised myself the word for the year would be CREATE. I would create a haven where I live. I would create a healthier me. And I would create more stories.

How am I doing?

Next book out is Endless Possibilities series book 2 Hidden Possibilities, on March 21, 2013. Whoohoo! I've posted the cover. It's a perfect fit for the series.

I've been working on edits for The Silver Locket Sisterhood series boo2 Mark's Grace, coming out May 21, 2013. As always, with help from my editor, it's MUCH better.

I'm exercising more and eating healthier. I promised myself I would not step on the scale. I am not a number in a box. I also freak myself out if I lose weight. Long story. Measurements say I'm doing better. Yes!

My room is a little more organized. I have a "clutter spot," I struggle to tame. I'm much happier with all the changes I've made. Go me!

How am I doing?

I'm doing good.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Note to self...

Best editing music, ever:

Lord of the Rings

Howard Shore is a gifted musician.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

This week's link picks...

Writers In The Storm has an excellent post on the accuracy needed in writing historical novels.

I love this kind of stuff. Beth Trissel shares a bit of herb lore:

Number One London is sharing their visit to London, and I particularly enjoyed this post:

Lynette Endicott is hosting Mary Galusha and her new inspirational historical release:

Barri Bryan shared an intriguing short story:

Debra Parmley added a Cover Model Corner to her website, starting with my favorite Jimmy Thomas:

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Patty Froese's newest release...

Eye of the Beholder
by Patty Froese
How beautiful are you? If you were to rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10, where would you land?

I don't think anyone is terribly comfortable with that exercise. We've been trained by the media to criticize ourselves. A droop, a sag, a blemish... Those are inexcusable. Actresses are publicly mocked for having gained a little weight or having some "cottage cheese cellulite" on their thighs, exposed by the prying lenses of unwelcome cameras.

Women have babies and are judged by their "bounce back" time, ridiculous as that may be.

A woman's value is not based on something as fickle as Hollywood ideals, but the constant battery of messages coming from the media would have us believe something else. Companies want us to believe that tubes and vials will make us beautiful, that certain styles will help us maintain our youth, that dyes will make us feel lovely. From diets to exercise machines, clothing lines to skin creams, the woman in this modern age is bombarded by messages that she just isn't enough, and she needs some help. Big time.

So when we look at ourselves in the mirror, what do we see? I always joke that it isn't fair to judge me only on my looks, because when you add in my personality, I get at least a three point lift on that number.  And while I'm only joking around when I talk like that, there is truth under the laughter.

Beauty is more than skin deep.

But how much more?

Would you still feel beautiful if you had to wear unflattering clothing? Would you feel beautiful if all your hair fell out? Would you feel beautiful if scars covered your face and distorted your smile?

And if you stopped feeling beautiful, would you feel loved?

Where does our beauty come from?

In Eye of the Beholder, my heroine loses her looks in a freak accident. She goes from stunningly beautiful, capturing the admiration of everyone around her, to scarred and pitied. Doors no longer fly open for her, and the face in the mirror seems to belong to a stranger. When she goes up to the autumn woods to try to make peace with what she cannot change, she's faced with more than the reality of her new looks--she's faced with a man from her past who lost more than she ever knew.

When a woman loses her looks, what is there left to love?

Tricia Hunter was an extraordinary beauty...before a horrible bus accident left her irreparably scarred. In an effort to accept the things she cannot change, she heads to her uncle's cabin for some time alone.

Forest ranger Jesse Reynolds recognizes Tricia the minute he sees her, but nothing flickers in her eyes. That's fine by him. The same accident that stole her good looks killed his fiance, and he simply can't bring himself to feel sorry for Tricia like everyone else in her life seems to do.

Thrown together in the autumn woods, they are faced with the past, an uncertain future, and a struggle to find out why God allows terrible things to happen.

Buy links:
Pelican Book Group:

I've hosted Patty on my blog previously. If you'd like to see some other things she's been doing click on her name in the Labels section at the end of this post.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Research... links

While I'm looking for exactly the right word, I find some of the most interesting stories and websites, like this one:

Writers In The Storm Blog shared a great article on building and author website. I need to make some changes.

J. Morgan visited Lynette Endicott for the whole week, and it's pretty funny:

Barri Bryan shares a bit of history, namely a true love story from 1901:

There were a lot more blogs, but they were mostly Valentine's Day related... I'm thinking of creating a day a month to celebrate love... Maybe every 14th... I'll keep you posted.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Found on FB on Valentine's Day...

Matthew: Have you seen it?
James: Seen what?
Jack: What does it matter? He's returned to gloat.
James: Be a sport, Jack.
Jack: Why?
Matthew: In Crab Street, Jack?
James: Don't bait him.
Mark: Never mind the grump. Spill it, Matthew.
Jack: You, too?
James: Why so aggrieved, Jack?
Matthew: Truly, Jack. You complain like a child deprived of a treat.
Jack: Deliver your news and be quick about it.
Matthew: No need to snap and snarl.
Jack: Button it.
Matthew: Choose, Jack. Talk or silence. I can't do both.
Jack: Stubble it.
James: Matthew, ignore the grumpletonian and share your news.
Matthew: Yesterday, our story's cover was revealed to the world.
James: Brilliant!
Mark: Awesome, Matthew!
Jack: Of course it was.
James: Fribble.
Jack: You accuse me of behaving foolishly?
James: Yes.
Mark: Cowboy up, Jack. Your turn is coming.
James: You are still up in arms about a lack of story?
Jack: All well and good for you to advise patience. She is working on your story even as we speak.
James: Not quite, but close.
Mark: Gentlemen, one of our own is in dire straights.
Matthew: You have a plan.
Mark: Yes.
James: What do you suggest we do?
Mark: We beg and plead with Laurel for some small crumb.
Jack: I beg your pardon?
James: Quiet, Jack. Mark has an excellent idea.
Matthew: What crumb should we ask for?
Mark: It is Valentine's Day.
Matthew: An excellent idea.
James: Decidedly.
Jack: What?
Mark: We ask our fair lady to reveal the name of your heroine.
Jack: You would do this for me?
Matthew: Without a doubt. Our brotherhood formed in the fires of our lady's creativity. It's the least we can do for one of our own.
Jack: I don't know what to say.
James: Thank you would be good.
Jack: Thank you.
Laurel: As you wish, gentlemen. Abigail Stewart. Happy Valentine's Day.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day...

One dear hero will receive a special treat over at FB, today.

I hope you make the day special.

Being single, this holiday is kind of a tossup. Sometimes, I don't care. Sometimes, it's really difficult.

This year, I'm trying something different.

I'm not going to pretend like it doesn't matter, because it does. When asked "What do you want to be when you grow up?" my answer was always the same: I want to be a wife and mother.

I'm not.

To be honest, I'm not sorry. God saw things in my life I didn't. The choices I would have made 20, 10, or even a year or two ago would have made me miserable. I thought I had my priorities straight. I didn't. I think I do now. Fortunately, God knows, and He's in control.

I'm not going to be miserable and throw myself a pity party either. Terribly unproductive things, pity parties.

I'm celebrating learning how to love. I think I finally am.

Having fun is important, too. I decided to buy myself a little hand blender for my banana/Carnation Instant Breakfast milkshakes. Summer is coming, and I'm ready. I'll also be using it for creating some natural beauty products, as I do much better without additives. :-) What I didn't buy myself: A box of chocolate or flowers. I realized that those things aren't about love. I enjoy those things. I love them like I love cookies and cake and pasta and a pretty place setting and a charming trinket.

Love is something you do for God, someone else, and yourself.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Newest Book Cover...

Look what showed up in my email! The cover art for Hidden Possibilities, Endless Possibilities series book 2. Coming March 21st! Didn't Carol Fiorillo, with Desert Breeze Publishing, do another gorgeous job?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

My Lemon Chicken whatever...

I was asked for the recipe to the lemon chicken soup I made. I used Pampered Chef's recipe for "Greek Lemon Chicken Soup" from their cookbook It's good for you. I won't be sharing that recipe there, as I it's copyrighted. I will say that I used it as a springboard for the recipe I created. They used ingredients I couldn't (allergies) and ones I didn't want. To be honest, I don't really care for soup. I don't like drinking my meal. Bad memories. Anyway, what I really wanted was the flavor. I love the lemon, chicken, pasta combination, but I wanted something easier than heating up the oven, etc.

Here's another aspect of the problem: I'm single. It isn't easy finding really good recipes for one or two. Most recipes doesn't translate well into smaller portions. The recipe has to be so good I don't mind eating it for the next week. I've tried freezing and lost a lot of food that way. So, I only choose recipes I truly love. Actually, I'm learning to keep what I truly love and let everything else go. Life is too short to hang onto things I like when there's so much I love.

So, here we go. My recipe for Lemon Chicken yumminess...

Makes 8 generous servings:

Coconut oil and butter (about a 1 teaspoon each)
1 lb of carrots chopped (I was short by 2 medium-sized carrots and liked it)
2 cloves of garlic pressed
1 lemon zest and juice (about 1 teaspoon and 1/4 cup respectively)
Sprinkling of dehydrated onions (I never use as much as a recipe suggests. I want a hint of onion not to be overpowered by them.)
1 large and 1 small can of cooked chicken (about 16 oz)
1 can cream of chicken soup (condensed)
3 cans of chicken broth
2 cups of little pasta, which usually calls for a cooking time of about 5 minutes. (I used an alphabet variety because I had it on hand)

Prep, once you start, this goes fast:

Chop carrots to about the size of the end of your fingertip. I used a chopper. It's easier. Zest and juice lemon, save rind. Open all the cans and drain the chicken.

Heat coconut oil and butter in large sauce pan on medium. Once the oil is melted, add carrots and garlic. Saute for about 2 minutes.

Add sprinkle of dehydrated onions, chicken, zest, and juice.

Mix in condensed soup.

Stir in chicken broth and bring to a boil.

Boil for 10 minutes.

Add pasta and cook for another 5 minutes.


It's very thick, exactly the way I like it. If you prefer soupier, reduce the pasta.

Why didn't I use orzo, the way it is called for in most of the recipes? Since I'm not overly familiar with it, I don't keep it on hand. I'll have to try this with orzo sometime.

To remove carrot stains from your cutting board, turn half the lemon rind inside out and scrub board.
To remove garlic scent from your hands, use the other half of the lemon rind to rub all over your hands and rinse.

Did you know you can buy lemons in season when they're juicy and cheap. Zest them, juice them, and freeze them for use when they aren't so cheap.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

This week's links...

I know I usually post blog links, however, Yahoo had a great article in their Match section about what to walk away from in a man. I knew these, but sometimes it helps to see it in black and white:

Author Leslie Jones was a guest over at author VS Nelson's blog. I'm awed that these amazing women are in my RWA chapter. This is a short post and worth the read on writing military heroes. I've read Marcus Luttrell's book, and it changed my perspective of the alpha male, including knowing he wouldn't want the adulation.

Tina Pinson is a guest over at Amber Stockton's blog. She is on my Wish List. So many books; so little time. She shares a bit of her journey as a writer.

Stephanie Burkhart was in several places this week. I really enjoyed her short story A Polish Heart. It's where I learned about Blessing Baskets, something I've added to my Easter traditions.

Barri Bryan shares a heartwarming memory over at her blog:

Thursday, February 7, 2013

From Yes... to No...

It is never easy when a long-time favorite author changes their style of writing to the point where I move them from the Yes List to the No List. I've lost a friend. No choice. Granted it makes time for a new author, but it's still sad when we've spent so many hours together. It's even difficult to go back and re-read old favorites without the shadow of the knowledge of the change.

What does it take to be moved?

Changing from writing healthy characters to writing the stereotypical stupid romance characters.


What does this mean to me?

The heroine is a prima donna witch, and the hero is a dumb jerk. Okay, that's taking it to an extreme, but wander too close to those stereotypes and I'm done.

Heroine example: She's always harping about her favorite cause. She requires him to change to fit her. She puts others in danger to prove she's tough enough. You know the one: She decides to investigate her brother's murder by a drug dealer who isn't put away. She doesn't like gun or violence. Yes, this creates automatic conflict, but it's also a recipe for disaster unless you use author created magic fairy dust.

Hero example: He's beyond alpha male; he's narcissistic. He loathes himself for being a good fighter, but doesn't change his profession. He needs her to show him the error of his ways because he isn't smart enough to figure it out.

I really dislike couples who will die without the other. I mean the ones who declare their life is over without the other.

Why do I feel this way?

This kind of "love" reminds me of a parasite.

Is that really what you want to say about the love you shared? It's nothing without their physical presence? Grow a backbone. Miss them? Yes. Go through a period of mourning? Yes. Show the world what that kind of love means to you, not merely ashes but beauty beyond imaging.
Healthy love encourages growth, strength, empowerment.

I'm not particularly good at this. I'm an abuse survivor. I freely confess I'm messed up in a lot of ways, but I refuse to stay stuck.

I admit it: I read romance novels to help me understand better the male/female connection. It's especially why I look for writers who write reasonably healthy characters. I know unhealthy. I've lived it. I recognize it when I see it. I don't know healthy. Sometimes it isn't about the whole book being healthy; instead, I'll find an idea, concept, or single character that makes me think: "I want to be like that!"

What's the main reason for moving from Yes to No?

Their books bring me down instead of lifting me up.

It's time to mourn the loss, let go, get over them, and find someone better.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Yesterday on FB...

Tagging my 7 authors: Kris Tualla joined Desert Rose, the local RWA chapter, the same time I did. It's been a joy watching her grow as a writer. Patty Ntihemuka was one of the first authors I started interacting with at Desert Breeze Publishing. Shaunna S. Gonzales is one of the new authors I've read and enjoyed. Arlene James has been one of my favorite authors for years. Kathy Altman was introduced to me (and added to my TBR list) when she was spotlighted by Diane Gaston, one of my favorite Regency Romance writers.
A while ago, I was offered the 7/77 7 7 challenge. From page 7 or 77, track down 7 lines and share the next 7 lines of the current WIP. I thought about using Hidden Possibilities, which comes out in March. However, the challenge states the current WIP. Right now, the current WIP on my desktop is Unexpected Possibilities. It won't be out until October. This will all change through editing because I haven't yet put in page breaks between chapters, but for now: Page 7, down 7 lines, and then the next 7 lines:

...Lily's sensation of falling into darkness. The warm bodies packed into the pews created a stifling heat. To decrease the discomfort, the priest lit only the candles necessary, increasing the gloom within the stone walls.

Lily raised her voice in song, praying the hope of the hymn raised her spirits.

A gentleman, attested by his fine clothes, slipped into the space beside her. She struggled to hide the delicious shiver from his broad shoulder nudging her. He glanced at her and offered a brief nod in greeting. His face put her in mind of an angel, firm jaw, bowed lips, straight nose....

Saturday, February 2, 2013

This week's link picks...

Brenda Whiteside is a writer in my RWA chapter, Desert Rose. She offers some insights on editors:
I love my editor. :-)

A bit of delightful silliness compliments of Amber Polo, and I have this on my Kindle:

It must be in the air, because J. Morgan also shares her new website, with a healthy dose of humor:

A.R. Norris shared a fascinating blog. I have several of her books on my Kindle, but alas not the latest. It's on the Wish List.

The Cuffe Sisters have started a lovely devotional blog, an opportunity to take a moment from the world: