Monday, December 31, 2012

A Review of 2012

This year has been full of learning and stepping outside my comfort zone. 

Reading
I read a bit of everything - indie, traditional and epublished.  And, I read a lot - exceeding my 2012 Goodreads 80 book goal by 14 books.  (I love my Kobo!)

Blogging
Time is running down on 2012.
In March, I plunged into Six Sentence Sunday.  It was nerve-wracking!  What do I post?  What would people say about my six?  My worries were unnecessary, though, since everyone was so positive and enthusiastic.  I've met a lot of wonderful writers through that blog hop and have connected with many of them through memes (Kreative Blogger, The Next Big Thing and Lucky 7), Twitter and Facebook too.  I'm sad SSS will be ending in January. 

Oh - and I did my first interview on my blog with Sarah Kades!  It was fun, so I plan to do a lot more of those in 2013!

Critique Group
I finished going through my first full novel, Secrets and Second Chances, with my critique group (Thank you, Sarah, Deb and June!).  This year, I think, we have grown as a group, learning how to give and accept critiques in an efficient and easier way, and I've grown as a writer through this process.

Submitting
In September, I spontaneously submitted Secrets and Second Chances to the So You Think You Can Write contest.  This was the first time I'd ever done something like this - I'm surprised I had fingernails left at the end of it!  I didn't final, but I still consider the experience a success because of the wonderful support and comments I received during the voting stage - from family, friends and complete strangers.
 
Writing
I also enrolled in online writing and marketing classes, wrote articles for my writing group's newsletter, started editing three stories, and have another three outlined. 

I can't wait to see what 2013 brings! 

How was your 2012? 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

All That Glitters #10: Six Sentence Sunday

Six Sentence Sunday: Okay, I'm doing another "seasonal" post. I'll go back to Mattie and Alex soon... after all, we haven't found out what she does about that pesky wet dress of hers. ;)

Like last week, this excerpt is from my work in progress All That Glitters.


*****

Set Up: Last week, Annie was preparing for Christmas (with a house full of Christmas trees.)  This week, Annie is at a New Year's Eve party.  It is almost midnight.

My Six:
        “We need to get the champagne!” Cathy gulped her cocktail and dashed toward the kitchen. “Crap, where’s my lipstick?”
            Lipstick? Annie’s chest tightened. How could she have forgotten about that tradition? 

And now Annie is wondering where she can hide... I'm like Annie - not overly excited about kissing strangers at midnight... but maybe there is another story in there, somewhere. ;)

*****

Thank you for stopping by on your busy Sunday to check out my six! I hope you enjoyed them. And, a special thanks to everyone who comments! I love hearing everyone's thoughts.

I am delighted to read your comments every week and promise to visit back.

*****

If you want to check out more Six Sentence Sunday excerpts, go to the official website: www.sixsunday.com

There, you'll find links to hundreds of wonderful writers and their stories.

These are some of the most supportive and beautiful people you could ever meet, so I hope you'll visit their blogs too.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

All That Glitters #9 - Six Sentence Sunday

Six Sentence Sunday: Over the last few weeks, I've been highlighting some excerpts from my historical paranormal romance work-in-progress, Awakening A Witch. Click here to read earlier posts.  BUT, this week, I thought I'd share something a little more seasonal.  I'll go back to Mattie and Alex soon... after all, we haven't found out what she does about that pesky wet dress of hers. ;)

I took this picture when I was in
Edinburgh at Christmas a few years
ago.  I think my current neighbors are
attempting to emulate this grandeur
with their holiday decorations.  ;)
So, I'm going back to a story I shared on SSS earlier in 2012, All That Glitters


*****

Set Up:  Annie has unexpected guests just before Christmas, and upon seeing Annie's house brimming with decorations, one of the ladies says...

My Six:
          “Tomorrow is the annual Christmas charity auction in Rosemount, so it is a bit short notice for this year, but maybe next -”
          “I could enter a tree," Annie said quickly.  "I don’t need this many for myself.”
          “This many? How many do you have?”
          Annie grinned.
 
Annie has a decorated tree in every room.  I do not - I have one.  My sister has two.  It exhausts me to think about decorating more than one. ;)  Do you decorate for the holiday season?  Do decorations fill every room? 
*****

Thank you for stopping by on your busy Sunday to check out my six! I hope you enjoyed them. And, a special thanks to everyone who comments! I love hearing everyone's thoughts.  I may not get to visit other SSS posts until later in the week.  (My entertaining marathon begins tomorrow.)

I am delighted to read your comments every week and promise to visit back.

*****

If you want to check out more Six Sentence Sunday excerpts, go to the official website: www.sixsunday.com

There, you'll find links to hundreds of wonderful writers and their stories.

These are some of the most supportive and beautiful people you could ever meet, so I hope you'll visit their blogs too.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookie Recipe

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies
When I was little, my Gramma Paton made these delicious cookies at Christmas and it became a bit of a tradition to make them every December. A few years ago, my nephew discovered he had Celiac Disease, so for family functions we have modified some of our traditional recipes to be more celiac-friendly.  I was pleased to find, then, that this recipe needed no modifications and was ready to go "as is."  The recipe is simple, "no bake", and tasty! The only challenging bits are how to get the peanut butter off your fingers and how to keep from eating more than one at a time. 

*****

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies

Cookie Dough
Mix:
  • 1 cup of Peanut Butter
  • 1 cup of Icing Sugar
  • 1 cup of Chopped Dates
  • 1 cup of Chopped Walnuts (I use Pecans because my sister can't eat walnuts.)
  • 1 tablespoon of Butter, melted

Blend ingredients together.  It is best (though messy) to use your hands.  Roll dough into small balls.

Chocolate  Coating
Melt together:

  • 4 ounces of Semi-Sweet Chocolate
  • 1 inch square of Paraffin Wax
  • 2 Tablespoons of Butter
  • 5 drops of Vanilla
Place chocolate coating ingredients in a sauce pan (you can use a double boiler) and put on low heat.  Stir until everything melts together, then remove from heat.  Dip cookie balls into melted chocolate mixture.

Place on wax paper or rack to cool. 

Makes: This recipes says it makes 36 cookies.  I find these to be quite rich, so I usually roll the cookies into smaller balls, making 48 (which requires additional chocolate coating mixture), but Gramma made the individual cookies bigger, making about 24.  So - it is your call! 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Awakening a Witch #10 - Six Sentence Sunday

*****

Six Sentence Sunday: Over the last few weeks, I've been highlighting some excerpts from my historical paranormal romance work-in-progress, Awakening A Witch. Click here to read earlier posts.


*****

Set Up: This excerpt follows soon after last week's. Alex rescued her from the storm, and now Alex and Mattie are alone in a little cottage. Mattie is incredibly cold, and her gown is soaked.  Last week he suggested she remove her gown.

My Six (This is in Mattie's POV):
          Alex scanned the simple one room cottage, and she could almost see what he was thinking - there was no wardrobe to raid, the small bed had been stripped of linens, the windows were covered with wooden shutters, and the small scarred table was bare.  In short, there was nothing to wrap around her and no privacy to be had.
          "Give me your cloak," she said. 
          "Fine, but you are smart enough to know that alone will not help," Alex said as he shed his garment and passed it to her. Her fingers sank into the luxurious softness of the deep fur lining, still warm from his body heat, as she pulled it around her shoulders. 
          He was right, of course, his cloak would not be enough - but it didn't matter how much her teeth chattered, she was not going to strip.

*****

Thank you for stopping by on your busy Sunday to check out my six! I hope you enjoyed them. And, a special thanks to everyone who comments! I love hearing everyone's thoughts.

I am delighted to read your comments every week. 

*****

If you want to check out more Six Sentence Sunday excerpts, go to the official website: www.sixsunday.com

There, you'll find links to hundreds of wonderful writers and their stories.

These are some of the most supportive and beautiful people you could ever meet, so I hope you'll visit their blogs too.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

All That Glitters: The Next Big Thing

I'm so excited today because I've been tagged to participate in the Next Big Thing Blog Hop!  I was tagged by Mae Clair, a great author I met through Six Sentence Sunday.  Mae's paranormal time travel romance WEATHERING ROCK is available now (you should go check it out), and her upcoming book, TWELFTH SUN, releases in August 2013. 

For the blog hop, writers answer a series of questions related to their current WIP, then tag several other authors to join the hop.  Sounds like fun, right? 

Thanks, Mae! 

What is the working title of your book? 
ALL THAT GLITTERS

Where did the idea of the book come from?
ALL THAT GLITTERS
Annie's wish comes true,
but it might not be what she wants.
Image: © Natalia Lisovskaya | Dreamstime.com
Annie Bingley, the main character, came to me first, and rest of the story developed around her. 

What genre does your book fall under?
I originally thought ALL THAT GLITTERS was a women's fiction with romantic elements (since the family dynamics shape so much of the story), but as I finish up the editing process I'm coming to realize the romance storyline feeds the pivotal moments.  This discovery doesn't surprise me - I love romance, so it makes sense I've integrated into my story without even realizing it.  Now, I've re-defined my genre to contemporary romance. 

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in the movie renditions?
This is a hard question to answer.  I don't use pictures of actors or models when I develop a story, I've tried, but I find it distracting and limiting.  
I guess for Annie, who is a craft-obsessed divorcee, I would choose: Sandra Bullock
For Quinn, her love interest, I would choose: Jason Lewis

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
A craft-obsessed divorcee moves to a small town in search of a perfect life that will entice her family back to her, but instead her sexy neighbor shows her that sometimes being imperfect is better.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I've been debating this a lot.  I've almost decided to go indie, but... (we'll see).

How long did it take you to finish the first draft of your project?
I started the first draft when I had a weeklong holiday one year.  I wanted to write for the sake of writing and not worry about marketability or anything else.  I was tired of trying to write to fit "the rules," whatever those are.  So, this was a spontaneous "just for me" story, which, once finished, I loved and have decided to try to publish.  I had the first draft in place after that one week.

What other books would you compare this story to in your genre?
I don't know if this is a reasonable comparison, but, in my mind, it is similar to EAT CAKE by Jeanne Ray.

Who or what inspired you to write this story?
I have a LOT of Christmas magazines and it's always fascinated me how "perfect" everythings seems in the photos and articles... and, interestingly enough, Annie developed a love of those same magazines.  As I wrote the story, I found this was a great way to explore Annie's feelings of inadequacy, and her self-imposed pressure to create a strong family unit.  I was also intrigued by the idea of getting everything thing you want, and it not quite being what you'd anticipated.  

What else about your book may pique readers' interest?
ALL THAT GLITTERS takes place over the course of a year, going from holiday to holiday as Annie works at creating an ideal home and picture-perfect memories to entice her family back to her - and it works.  Before the year is out, Annie's house is filled with her knocked up sister, her demanding teenage daughter, a jilted uncle, an incontinent dog, and an irritable cat - but it is nothing like what she'd planned.  Soon Annie realizes perfection is hard to maintain... particularly when her sexy neighbor helps her discover perfection may not be what she wants after all.

Thank you for taking the time to read all about ALL THAT GLITTERS!  And, thank you again to Mae for tagging me! 

Now it is time to nominate some great authors / bloggers to continue the Next Big Thing Hop!
Tag!  It's your turn! 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Awakening a Witch #9 - Six Sentence Sunday

I'm happy to report that I survived a trip to the shopping mall on Saturday.  It was touch and go for a bit, but, in the end, I managed to buy stamps for my Christmas cards.  That's it.  That's all I managed to get.  Sigh.  I'll have to face the shops again.  I really should have planned better and bought everything online.  (If you've already finished your shopping, I'm in awe!)

*****

Six Sentence Sunday: Over the last few weeks, I've been highlighting some excerpts from my historical paranormal romance work-in-progress, Awakening A Witch. Click here to read earlier posts.


*****

Set Up: This excerpt follows soon after last week's. Alex rescued her from the storm, and now Alex and Mattie are alone in a little cottage.  Mattie is incredibly cold, and her gown is soaked. (FYI: Effy is a mother figure to Alex.)

My Six:
          "What did you say?"  Her disbelief reverberated through the tiny room.
          "Your dress is wet, so you need to take it off."
          "Absolutely not." Mattie crossed her arms. 
          "Effy will hold me responsible if you become ill."

*****

Thank you for stopping by on your busy Sunday to check out my six! I hope you enjoyed them. And, a special thanks to everyone who comments! I love hearing everyone's thoughts.

*****

If you want to check out more Six Sentence Sunday excerpts, go to the official website: www.sixsunday.com

There, you'll find links to hundreds of wonderful writers and their stories.

These are some of the most supportive and beautiful people you could ever meet, so I hope you'll visit their blogs too.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Awakening a Witch #8 - Six Sentence Sunday

Happy December, everyone!  I've started putting out our decorations, we've just had our first Christmas party of the year, and I have eggnog in the fridge.  All is happy in my little world.  :) I hope you are all having a wonderful December so far too! 
 
*****

Six Sentence Sunday: Over the last few weeks, I've been highlighting some excerpts from my historical paranormal romance work-in-progress, Awakening A Witch. Click here to read earlier posts.


*****

Set Up: This excerpt follows soon after last week's.  Alex has found her in a storm shortly after she'd decided to give up her attempt to escape and return to his home.

My Six (these are in Mattie's POV):
          Alex didn't speak when he seized the reins from her stiff, icy fingers and took control of her horse.  His eyes glinted in the nearly black night. 
          What would his scar look like under a flash of lightning?
          Was she delirious?
          He was taking her away from the inn, away from her family.  A tingling at the back of her neck warned she should try to resist, but instead she simply clung to the mare and closed her eyes.

*****

Thank you for stopping by on your busy Sunday to check out my six! I hope you enjoyed them. And, a special thanks to everyone who comments! I love hearing everyone's thoughts.

*****

If you want to check out more Six Sentence Sunday excerpts, go to the official website: www.sixsunday.com

There, you'll find links to hundreds of wonderful writers and their stories.

These are some of the most supportive and beautiful people you could ever meet, so I hope you'll visit their blogs too.