Friday, April 29, 2011

April 29

All right my friends, how many of you got up early/stayed up late to watch the Royal Wedding? No, I didn't. I understand the appeal, though. With all the terrible news of wars and tornadoes and floods and fires and earthquakes, rising gas prices...etc., etc. It is kind of fun to focus on a silly thing like a royal celebration. Monarchies are so odd in the 21st century of elected officials and policy makers. I think it's a nostalgia thing. People like to think that kings and queens symbolize chivalry and golden ages.
Unless, of course, you've ever cracked a history book or read an historical novel. When I was much younger I loved to read time travel novels where girls of today went back in time to fall in love with a warrior prince. Now that I'm older, I think I won't give up my coffee; clean, dry, heated/air-conditioned home, my grocery store that offers more than root vegetables in the dead of winter. Giving up cars and planes and public water for a rat infested manor home, in a time when childbirth was a statistical death sentence. Yeah I could go on.
Maybe it's the fantasy that somehow being rich and/or royal makes your life better. I don't know.
Now for the truth: the first thing I did this morning was watch the yahoo video to see the dress and the decorations in the church and the kiss on the balcony. ;)
My wish for them and all the young people in love and starting families all the best. Cheers~

Thursday, April 28, 2011

April 28

The news has been terrible lately with all the weather problems. I am thinking of everyone who has been through storm after storm. Tornadoes and floods are horrible things. I hope that you are all safe and warm. We have flooding here as well but so far the big winds have stayed south. It's hard to think about writing or deadlines when you are worried about your home or your friends and family. Thoughts and prayers to you all~ Please let me know that you are fine.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

April 27

Two weeks ago, or was it three? Darn, time flies... I updated my website. Then I got to share the news of my new series and now my website is not up-to-date. Gah! So I hope to get that fixed today. People have commented that I took down my author photo. Well, it was ten years old. *blushes* So probably not appropriate. The one I use on Facebook is from 2009 and was not shot for author purposes so I really can't officially use it. I keep saying I need a new one. I came across my writing goals for 2008- which was, um, four years ago, and on that list was~ Get new author photo.~
I don't like my picture to be taken. I get self conscious and uncomfortable and then when I see the pictures, I think, That's not what I look like. Then I cringe and hope no one else sees the pictures.
I don't know... do I just go down to Walmart or JC Penny and take a head shot and move on? Do I find the local guy who does senior pictures? (Gah, that was a pun, wasn't it?)
I really don't want to do this. SO I'm procrastinating.
I feel like little dog contemplating having to go to the groomer...*tremble and whine*...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

April 26

I'm later than usual getting to my blog today. Unlike some people who write all their blogs in one day and then set them to post at different times, I write this blog every day before I post. The problem with that is that I am not always consistent with getting this bit of work done. Tuesdays are the worst offenders because I post to my weekly craft blog as well and I do the same with that...last minute, what should I talk about today kind of stuff. lol

So, my new mystery series will have recipes in the back of the book. I was thinking perhaps I should create a few videos for the website where I make the recipes. Then you can see how I do it and what it looks like as I go along. What do you think?
When I was a kid, I did quite a few cooking demonstrations for 4H. So this would not be anything new to me, plus I can edit out all the bad bits. :)
Let me know what you think. Do you want to see into my kitchen and my wacky cooking mind?

Monday, April 25, 2011

April 25

Happy birthday to my son, Thomas!! May this be your best year ever. (He said he's too old for birthdays now. Ha!)

I'm off to the post office today to mail a copy of the cozy mystery "Gluten For Punishment" to the fabulous Carolyn Hart, NYT Bestseller. Who has said she would read it and give me a cover quote. Thank you Carolyn, I am honored.

Hope everyone had a good weekend. Cheers~

Friday, April 22, 2011

April 22

It's Good Friday and Earth Day~ I forgot to mention Passover this week as well. Such a busy week. My niece gave birth to a 4 pound 8 ounce preemie, Emilia Lyn. (I hope I got the spelling correct.) It's a lovely name. The baby was four weeks early and needs to be watched until she gets up to five pounds. Mama is doing well.

Do you observe Earth Day? I have always recycled and been thoughtful in my purchases. I watched a video about a family who could hold three months worth of garbage in a quart bag. She bought everything in bulk and brought her own glass containers to the store- even for the meat. They used compost-able toothbrushes and made their own soap and toothpaste and deodorant. That to me is a lot of effort. I'd just like to see people recycle their plastic pop bottle, aluminium cans and glass containers. Little bits are helpful- so don't feel as if you have to go extreme to help the earth. Even simply walking to the store helps. Cheers~

Thursday, April 21, 2011

April 21

Congrats to my niece Michele, and Tammy and Dave-her Mom and Dad. Last I heard Michele is having her baby girl today. The first grand baby on that side. May their lives be filled with blessings.

Here's a question for my writer friends, have you ever taken a major character in your book and rewritten their occupation, motivation, part they play in the story? Was it a fun puzzle to work out? Or did you find it difficult because you knew them as one person and now you are trying to create them as another?
Have you taken a character from one book and written them into another? Or do you prefer to play with fresh characters ever time?
Would love to know~ Cheers!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

April 20

There is a snowy egret stalking little fishes and frogs along the edge of the lake. It is gorgeous white bird with long thin legs. I see so many wonders from my office window. Despite the cold and predictions of more snow, the grass is a deep green and thick. We will have to mow this weekend for the first time. Spring has sprung. I remember two years ago telling you how my crazy neighbor was mowing around the snow banks. All these little details can bring humor and charm to a story. I collect them and hold them dear to my heart. It also gives you an appreciation for the present moment and the life you live.

I hope your week is going well. Please leave any good news in comments- let me know what you see from your window. Cheers~

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

April 19

The snow is gone. YAY! But now we have cold rain and the weather man promises more snow this week. I'm okay with it because the world is so green now. I am simply hoping that it doesn't freeze the buds on my magnolia before they can burst forth. I saw a pink tip before the snow. The rain and snow are welcome because we put down grass seed and the water and snow will help bring the grass to life.

There is a bit of sad and gruesome news-remember the bunny Midnight whom I rescued from the woods? It seems that Midnight went missing once again. I saw a family trudging through the woods calling a name. Then a sign went up offering a reward. The next day, coming back from a walk, I saw two pieces of black bunny next to my porch behind the bushes. Sad. I'm thinking the coyote got him and these pieces were picked up by birds or perhaps a cat. We have a few lovely cats that enjoy my front bushes and the occasional chipmunk that dares to run by. So- the circle of life. I'm not going to be the one to tell the little girls. But I hope they will have learned and moved their rabbit hutch away from the woods and up toward the house-should they get another rabbit.
Not very cheerful post, I suppose. But as a writer I like to report the life outside my window in all of it's moods-light and dark. Cheers~

Monday, April 18, 2011

April 18

Tax day~ thank goodness mine have been done a while. I get too nervous to wait until the last minute for taxes. Did you get yours done or are you a last minute- mail them at midnight kind of person?

We have snow today- about an inch or two on the ground. It was too cold and rainy this weekend to plant my last set of bulbs and seeds. I'm glad I waited as snow might not be the best for them.

I'm off today to get the boobs squished per my doctor's orders. I'm still very much of the mind set that the fewer exposures to radiation in your life the better, but screening once in a while is my compromise.

Hmmm, taxes, snow, mammogram and Monday- wow. Can the day get any better? ;)
Let me know how you are doing. And women- are you faithful with the boob squish or are you like me concerned about recent findings regarding its actual need? I would love to know. Cheers~

Sunday, April 17, 2011

April 17

I promised my facebook friends to post the recipe I created for gluten-free danish here:

1 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup all purpose GF flour - use your fav for making yeast breads
1 1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 teaspoons dry yeast (I found this to be one packet)
4 cups of all purpose GF Flour
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

filling of choice- preserves or cream cheese ( I used my homemade triple-berry jam.)
Wax paper - tips: rolling between sheets of wax paper keeps the sticky dough together. Try to keep buttered dough as cool as possible so that it is easier to work.

- cream butter and 1/3 cup GF flour- make a ball and place between two sheets of wax paper. Roll into a 6" x 12" sheet. Refrigerate.

-in new bowl, mix 1 1/2 cups of flour with the yeast.

-in saucepan heat milk, sugar and salt to 115 degrees F or 43 degrees C- should be warm not hot to touch. Mix the warm milk mixture with the flour/yeast. Add the egg, lemon and almond extract. Mix until smooth. Add remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time- kneading in between. Dough is pretty sticky. You may need to adjust the four to get a semi elastic ball- it will not be exactly like a gluten ball, but close. Let rise until double in size.

- I used more wax paper sheets- you need two that are 20" in length. Place dough on wax paper. Place second sheet on top and roll dough out to a 12" by 14" rectangle. Pull off wax paper top and take butter sheet out of fridge and paper and place on top of dough. Fold dough in half like a book. Pinch edges closed. Place wax paper sheet on top again. Roll dough out to a 12' x 20 in sheet. Remove top paper. Fold dough into threes toward the center- think letter. Because the dough was sticky I then wrapped it and put in fridge for 15 minutes. Take dough out- roll it again to 12" x 20" rectangle. Fold into threes. Wrap in plastic and cool in fridge for 30 minutes. Repeat the above until you have rolled and wrapped in threes at least two more times. (Dough can be frozen at this point for later use.)

- Finally, roll dough 1/4 inch thick. Cut into 2"x 2" squares. Place a dollap of filling in the center and tuck opposite corners to create a triangle. Or cut circles and place dough in center or make rectangles and twist. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Let rise to double in size.

- Bake in preheated 450 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes.
- you can make a glaze of water and powdered sugar and pipe on if you want. I didn't as these were warm and flaky and sweet. Makes approximately 1 1/2 dozen danish.

If you care: Calories ~ 226 per piece. Total fat 11.2 g Cholesterol: 38 mg.

Friday, April 15, 2011

April 15

Yesterday my awesome agent told me I could announce my news: If you are on facebook you already know, but here goes:

I sold the cozy mystery series to Berkley in a 3-book deal!! Tada!!! *throwing confetti*

It's a series about a gluten free bakery set in small town Kansas. The working title is "Gluten for Punishment" - thanks to Jaci Charbonneau for coming up with the title. (We brainstormed on facebook some months back.)

Here's a short blurb:

With her mother’s death, Toni Ryder returns home to OilTop, Kansas bringing her gluten-free bakery business with her. But Toni has never felt at home in her hometown and cooking wheat-free in the middle of wheat country isn’t making her any less a fish out of water. When Toni becomes a suspect in OilTop’s first homicide investigation in twenty years, she must count on her crazy family and follow the clues to solve the mystery and clear her name.

The book was a lot of fun to write. The release date is still TBD (to be determined) but I am expecting Spring of 2013. Sounds like a long time, but in the publishing business it goes fast.

Thanks for celebrating with me. Cheers~

Thursday, April 14, 2011

April 14

Little dog is home and safe, if worn out from her trauma of a day of beauty. She likes the new groomer, but hates haircuts. The groomer said she kept trying to lick her face. That's little dog's way of saying-enough, okay? If I love on you, will you stop?
I'm critiquing pages for school. I enrolled for my final week and am looking forward to the walk across the stage and getting the piece of paper.
It is cool and gray here today, but the bland color of winter is gone. We have spring yellow/green leaves appearing on the trees, yellow daffodils, purple, white and blue crocuses, and the grass is coming in dark green. We may even need to mow next week. The frogs have returned to the waters, singing happily for a new mate. A giant rawhide dog bone appeared under a pine tree at the edge of the woods two days ago. I wondered if a stray dog or perhaps a coyote dropped it there. I noticed today it's gone. Makes you want to put out a camera to see what happens in the woods at night. Have a great day. Cheers~

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

April 13

Poor little dog is off to the groomer today. She needs it- she looks like a white puff ball. Then of course this morning first thing, she had to find something black and stinky to roll in. Sigh. I did not have time to do more than towel her off. Poor groomer.
We have sunshine and warmish weather today. Stink bugs/squash beetles are everywhere. I saw a facebook friend who says these bugs are epidemic this year. Lovely. I am going to try spraying them with a mixture of water and dish soap. I hope to get rid of them before the grape leaves form.
Any other ideas for getting rid of them?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

April 12

There are people in everyone's life who love to create chaos, stir the pot. Artists are especially prone to people with an agenda- instructors, reviewers, readers. In today's instant yet anonymous, on-line community bullies and others take special glee in bad reviews, tossing insults far and wide in front of millions of viewers. The hardest thing to do is to remain polite and allow these bullies their opinions. Even tougher still is to be respectful as you stop them from bullying you.
I once read a quote from I believe it to be the Dali Lama-It goes like this: If the news upsets you and there is nothing you can do about it, then stop watching the news. (I don't have quotes here as I am working off memory and may be paraphrasing.) This quote stopped me. I thought- but as a human being isn't it my duty to know what is going on in the world? Then I thought some more about it. If there is nothing I can do to change it- no action to take in my life-then I don't have a duty to watch it. Do I?
Here's another great quote on the subject, "Don't take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you take in feedback from the people you choose and do not swallow the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering." - From The Four Agreements According to Don Miguel Ruiz
I think this is good advice. Don't you?

Monday, April 11, 2011

April 11

Happy Birthday to my brother Paul~ May this be your best year ever, thinking of you~

Little dog and I are sitting here dreaming up a new cozy mystery series. I like the dreaming part. Things come to me in snippets-characters, their problems and their lives. I'm always working on a new story. I know that makes your head spin- my sales are usually years behind my story ideas. But that is how publishing works. Well, for me anyway- some people are lucky to have their new ideas published within a year of concept. For me it's usually within four years of concept- sometimes even longer. Mr. Charming was written almost ten years ago. Dream Man almost eight. The Counterfeit Bride was written five years ago. Perhaps I write ahead of my time. Or maybe the stories need that time to grow and mature and become the best they can be.
Writers- how long does it take from concept to publication for you? Readers and I want to know. Cheers~

Friday, April 8, 2011

April 8

The Master's thesis is in the mail! Woot~ Someone said- so now you're done, right? Ha! I still have to write a ten page project paper, format the final thesis for the school library, and write and present a workshop module-- oh, and possibly send in ten fresh pages for critique during residency. It still feels like a lot. So my hope is that in July I can get back to reading and commenting on friends' blogs.
But for now I celebrate another step forward in my journey. Do you celebrate the small steps? How so? Inquiring minds want to know. Cheers~

Thursday, April 7, 2011

April 7

Thesis is printed and will be posted later today. YAY! Okay short celebration and booty dance will take place and then back to work. It's foggy out today. Little dog came in from her morning yard check with four fully muddy paws. The ground is thawing and it's Spring. It will be mud season for a while. Thank goodness she is little enough to scoop up and wash paws before she gets too far into th house. When big dog, George, was alive, he'd wait patiently at the door while I got a bucket of water and towels to wash his feet. There was no picking him up. lol. What are some of the joys of your Spring?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

April 6

I am hoping to have the thesis finished and printed today. I have two fat piles sitting on my prep desk of the work I've already done- 328 pages out of 460 - I have a lot of work to do. The work must be in the hands of the readers by next Tuesday. Which means hop, hop, chop chop- deadline is calling me. Once that is out and done, there is still work to do, but the biggest portion of it will be over. Whew! It is cold and gray today. A good day to work. Little dog thinks it's a good day to sleep. She doesn't have deadlines. Hope your day is good. Cheers~

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

April 5

I have good news from my agent. Things are moving forward on the cozy mystery series. Unfortunately I can't tell you exactly what because it's not a done deal. I know, I know, boo, hiss. But I can tell you that I'll let you know as soon as I can. Oh, my, breathing in and out.There is hope in the air. I could smell it when I went outside to water my freshly planted bulbs. Cheers my friends!

Monday, April 4, 2011

April 4

This weekend I got out into the yard. What a mess of twigs and things from the last blizzard. The end of winter always looks like the end of a good party. A real mess to clean up. We stripped the gardens of all the dead stuff and I was happy to see the daffodils coming up. The Hostas emerging. I planted the first set of Gladiola bulbs and I planted morning glories along the fence. I only planted half the seeds. In two weeks I'll plant some more. That way the flowers will come two weeks apart. It's cold still and rainy with some bits of snow in the air, but the snow drops are blooming in the garden. They are tiny purple flowers. The robins have come and picked most of the ornamental cherries off the trees so that the blossoms can form. Ah, Spring when the air smells damp with possibilities. How's the weather where you live?

Friday, April 1, 2011

April 1

April Fools day ~ Do you think it's because people are fools in the spring? A fool for love? Or maybe there is a real story behind April Fools Day. Perhaps I should wiki it... Huh- it says the first reference to April Fools was in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales of 1392. It was thought perhaps because they changed New Years day from April to January that the tradition of being a fool in April began, but they have found references to the day prior to the change. Some French towns celebrated an entire week of foolishness ending on April 1st- to make fun of people who changed New Year's Day to January. Who knows what the true story is~ But I think people just like a reason to tease each other and be silly. So go out today and find a smile and a little joy. Cheers~