Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What I'm Reading Wednesday

Sorry with quarterly taxes due at work and the deadline looming, I've been working crazy hours and not doing much reading. Instead I thought I'd share our Easter brunch recipe. My mom has made this every Easter for as long as I can remember.

Breakfast Quiche

One Single Pie Crust (Recipe below or you can buy a ready made one)
4 beaten eggs
1 1/2 cups half and half (you can also use whole milk)
1/2 cup diced onions
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Dash ground nutmeg
3/4 cup chopped cooked ham (I've also used chopped chicken and bacon)
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded cheese of your choice (I've used Cheddar, Swiss, and Monterey Jack at different times. All of them work well.)
1 tablespoon all purpose flour

Prepare and roll out the pastry for the single pie crust. Line a 9 inch pie pan with the crust. Line the unpricked crust with double thickness of aluminum foil. Bake in a 450 degree oven for 8 minutes. Remove the foil. Bake for 4 to 5 minutes more or until the pie crust is set and dry. Remove from the oven and reduce the oven setting to 325 degrees.

While the pie crust is baking, stir together the eggs, half and half, onions, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir in the chopped ham. In a separate bowl mix the cheese and flour together. Add this to the egg mixture and mix well.

Pour the egg mixture into the pie crust and bake at 325 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 6 wedge size servings.

Single Pie Crust Recipe

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening (I use Crisco)
4 to 5 tablespoons cold water

In a medium sized bowl, mix together the flour and salt. Using a pastry cutter (also called a pastry blender) to cut the shortening into the flour until it resembles pea size pieces. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of water over the pieces and gently toss with a fork. Push the moistened dough to the side of the bowl. Repeat this step using one tablespoon of water at a time until all of the flour mixture is moistened. Form dough into a ball. On a lightly floured surface, use your hands to slightly flatten the dough. Roll it from the center outward to form a circle about 12 inches in diameter. Transfer the dough to your prepared pie pan, fold under extra dough, and crimp the edges of the pie crust as desired.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Blatant Promo

Hi Everyone --
My debut novel, Impetuous, is being featured on Sunday April 13, 2014 at eBookSoda, a new readers' site where they'll send you ebook recommendations tailored to your taste. The link to their site is www.ebooksoda.com. I realize this is a day late, but you can still get a copy of the book at the sale price of $2.99 for a limited time at any of the links below:
The Wild Rose Press
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

Thanks.

Friday, April 11, 2014

My Favorite Hero

I'm visiting JM Stewart's blog today as part of her Favorite Hero Friday series. I'm talking about one of my favorite heroes from one of my favorite books.  I was also asked to talk a bit about one of a favorite hero from one of my own books. I hope you'll stop by and see who these heroes are and share one or two of your own favorite novel heroes. Link: http://jm-stewart.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

What I'm Reading Wednesday

This week's review is Addie and the Gunslinger by Celia Yeary.

Blurb:  Ex-gunslinger Jude Morgan lands in jail in a far-flung West Texas town. On the fourth day, the sheriff ushers in a beautiful woman dressed in men’s pants and toting her own six-shooter. Adriana Jones claims he is her worthless husband who married her, but never came home.

The young woman makes a bargain with Jude in front of the sheriff. Jude is to come home where he belongs, and she will have him released. Once they’re alone, she explains his job is to pose as her husband to thwart the marriage advances of her neighbor, wealthy rancher Horace Caruthers. The older man wants her ranch to join with his; the Pecos River runs through her property.

To seal the bargain, Jude wants a kiss. During the next few weeks, however, Jude and Addie learn that the kiss meant more than they intended. Then, when Addie's life is in danger, will Jude rescue his Addie? Or will Addie save herself and her gunslinger?

ReviewPlease note this is a novella with approximately 78 pages. I point this out because some readers buy a book and don't realize that it's of short length and then give a terrible review because it wasn't a full-length novel.

As I mentioned above this is a novella so the reader should expect things to develop between the hero and heroine pretty rapidly as was the case here. However, I never felt like I got to know Jude or Addie other than in the most superficial way. There are things I wished the author had explained - Why does Addie call her father by his given name, Caleb? Why does Jude, who was was brought up by a violent father who killed one of his sons, decide to become a gunslinger and perpetuate more violence?

There were other things in the story that seemed inconsistent to me as well. One of the bigger ones was the neighboring rancher, Caruthers, threatening to kill Addie's father and/or blowing up part of the river that runs through Addie's family's ranch to divert the water to his own land.Throughout most of the story he comes across as someone who will do anything to get what he wants but as soon as Jude goes and sees him, he's more than willing to sit down with Caleb and work out a way for both ranches to have the water usage they need. It seems as if a simple conversation between Caleb and Caruthers would have solved the issue without any need for Jude at all.

There were also some other things that bothered me. For example in one place, the writer states Jude socked Sonny in his right jaw and then he hits Sonny in his other jaw. You only have one jaw.

Overall it's not a bad way to spend a couple of hours, but I wish the writer had fleshed out the characters more.

Rating3 Stars

Monday, April 7, 2014

Rejection - It's Inevitable

As any writer who has submitted his or her work for publication knows, rejection is a huge part of the process. Most of us have received more rejections from agents and/or publishers than we care to admit.

The first thing I share with someone who's contemplating submitting their manuscript for consideration for publication is to develop a thick skin. This can be hard because, in my experience, most writers are sensitive souls and being told your manuscript doesn't measure up can lead to days of self-doubt and despair. If you aren't able to develop that thick skin, it can destroy any pleasure you get from writing. I had one friend who would be depressed for days after receiving a rejection letter. She finally stopped writing all together which is too bad because she had a way with words that was almost lyrical.

The next thing I share is that there is a lot of luck involved. I do believe that a lot of getting published is having your manuscript land on the right desk at the right time. Of course, you have to have written the very best book that you can to start with. Throwing a story together and sending it out is all but guaranteeing rejection.

Another thing I always try to share is to remember reading is so very subjective that while one agent or editor may not like the story, another may love it. When you get a rejection, try to remember that it's only one person's opinion on any given day. Don't get discouraged.

The final thing I share is that there are different types of rejections. There's the form rejection which most authors hate the most. (I know I do.) There's the "Sorry your work doesn't meet our needs at this time" which isn't necessarily a bad rejection, it just means they've either already contracted a number of similar stories or they've stopped accepting your specific genre or sub-genre for a time.  One of the better types of rejection is where they reject the story you've submitted, but ask you to submit something else you've written. This means they like your voice or style or sense of humor. There's something in your writing that they're interested in seeing more of. The best type of rejection is where they ask for revisions and have you resubmit the manuscript.

Don't let rejection letters keep you from reaching for your dreams no matter how many you may receive. Some of the most well-known authors were rejected hundreds of times. 


Friday, April 4, 2014

This I know for sure...

While I'm happy to see winter come to an end and spring start, I hate this time of year because everything is so muddy, brown, and dirty looking. The picture below has been circulating the internet, on Facebook particularly. I wish this is how winter changed to spring - to have it go from cold and snowy to everything being lush and green and warm without the ugliness of the transition in between would be wonderful.