Friday, August 31, 2012

This I know for sure...

I am so looking forward to having a long weekend due to the Labor Day holiday on Monday.  I have so many writing things I need to catch up on.  These aren't things that need to be done on a daily basis like writing, editing but things like printing and filing information for future use and trying to figure out how to use my Twitter account.  (I set it up in April - I think - and still don't know what to do with it.)

I hope to get a lot of things done this weekend but still find time to relax and enjoy the extra day off. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Ho Hum...

I've been fighting a bout of the megrims lately and I don't know why I've been feeling so low about things.  I wouldn't say depressed, just sad.  It's as though Eeyore has set up residence in my brain and taken over my thoughts and feelings. Nothing had changed at work or in my personal life...or so I thought. 

Last Friday I met with my critique partner and we started talking about writing and how some days between family obligations and the day job, it seems next to impossible to find the time to work on our WIPs.  It was then I realized that I'd started feeling blue about a couple of weeks of not writing regularly.  Could it be possible that's the reason I'm feeling the way that I am?  It's said exercise releases endorphins which can create feelings of happiness.  Is it possible writing does the same thing for me?

This week should be the last week that I have a crazy schedule that will keep me from my regular writing routine.  So while I'm still going to try and write as much as I can this week, starting September 1st, I'm going to attempt to write every day for 100 days, even if I only have enough time to crank out one page.  It will serve as an experiment to see if writing on a steady basis improves my mood and gets rid of my case of the blues and it will also get me that much closer to reaching my goals I set at the beginning of the year.   

Friday, August 24, 2012

This I know for sure...

I cannot wait for Christmas to come this year.  Not that I'm looking forward to driving to work in the winter weather and the icy conditions, but I will have five, count them, five whole days off from work.

I'm definitely feeling the need for some down time. So in the words of the Chipmunks, Alvin, Simon and Theodore...
"We've been good, but we can't last. Hurry Christmas, hurry fast...We can hardly stand the wait. Please Christmas, don't be late."

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

What I'm Reading Wednesday

For pleasure, I've just started A Night Like This by Julia Quinn.  I've been looking forward to reading it so it's nice to finally do so.

On the writing side, I've been reading the last few issues of the RWR, the Romance Writers of America monthly magazine.  I haven't had a chance to read them before now so I'm trying to catch up.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Mother Nature finds a way

I've always wanted to have a vegetable garden unfortunately, I live in a city neighborhood where backyards are at a premium so planting a garden is next to impossible.  Here's a picture of my backyard that I share with a neighbor.  I think it's all of about 4' X 6' in size, although the grass is pretty green despite the lack of rain we've had this summer.

Last year I decided to try container gardening.  I have a friend who has had great success growing tomatoes and such on her porch.  I bought pots and soil from a garden center and seedlings from our local farmer's market.  The zucchini and pumpkin plant my nephew begged me to try and grow had tons and tons of blossoms but never did go past that point. My tomato and green pepper plants grew nice and tall and actually started to grow vegetables.  I'd go out every morning before work and look at them and water them if necessary.  And then the squirrels and a homeless bunny found my plants.  Every tomato and pepper had a bite out of it.  Soon, the squirrels started taking the smaller tomatoes off the vine and leaving the half-eaten pieces on the sidewalk around my porch. So while the wildlife enjoyed my efforts at container gardening last year, I didn't so I decided not to try again this year.


And then about a week ago, I noticed this plant growing out of a crack in the cement along side my back porch stairs.  Yep, it's a tomato plant that must have seeded itself from one of the squirrel's left overs that I missed cleaning up.  I tried to take a close up of where it's growing out of the crack but you can't really tell. (See next picture.)  So I'm watering it and have tied it up to a porch post and am keeping my fingers crossed.  It has a ton of blossoms, but no actual fruit yet.  


The next thing will be who will harvest any tomatoes that might grow -- me or the squirrels.  I'm betting on the squirrels.But even if I don't get any tomatoes, it's pretty cool to see Mother Nature at work and how one partially eaten tomato a year ago managed to grow into a brand new plant this year.

Friday, August 17, 2012

This I know for sure...

It's been a rough work week and I can't wait for the weekend.  I hope next week is better.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

What I'm Reading Wednesday

Right now I'm reading...nothing.  I finished Sarah MacLean's A Rogue By Any Other Name last night. While I have a towering stack of books in my "To Be Read" pile, not to mention the books I've downloaded to my Kindle, I can't decide what to read next. 

Any suggestions?  I'd love to hear what you are reading now or would recommend I read.


Friday, August 10, 2012

This I know for sure...

...a great book is one I hate having to put down and that I can't wait until I can pick back up again. Of course, if a book engages my emotions whether through tears or laughter, it automatically becomes a "great book" which I end up recommending to everyone I talk to.

I've just finished One Summer by JoAnn Ross and found myself trying to read the book whenever I had a spare few minutes. I'm looking forward to reading the 3rd book in the series.

I started A Rogue By Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean last night and was intrigued from the very beginning.  I found myself staying up way too late reading.  Let me just say 5:15 came awfully early this morning. I even read the book while eating breakfast and while I brushed my teeth.  And hated having to put it away to go to work. I found myself wishing I could have taken a vacation day just so I could stay home and read it.  Definitely the mark of a great book.

What constitutes a great book to you?


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

What I'm cooking Wednesday

While I'm reading the wonderful book, One Summer by JoAnn Ross, I had bananas that were quickly turning brown in the summer heat so I made banana bread last night.  I thought I'd share our old family recipe today.

Banana-Nut Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup Crisco shortening
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup mashed bananas
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I sometimes use pecans instead)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix the first four (4) ingredients together, stir thoroughly and set aside.  In a separate bowl, cream the shortening and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and beat well.  Combine the banana and milk then add to the creamed mixture alternating with the flour mixture, beat until smooth after each addition.  Stir in the nuts.  Pour into a greased 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan.  Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until done.  Makes 1 loaf.

*I sometimes also put in mini chocolate chips along with the nuts.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Please Welcome My Guest...

Please welcome my guest, Nancy Jardine.   Nancy brought along Nairn Malcolm from her new release, Take Me Now.

Hi Nancy and Nairn.

Hi, Katherine. It’s so exciting to be with you, today-I’m having a lovely time visiting all over the place. My characters, Nairn Malcolm and Aela Cameron, are really excited about the recent release of TAKE ME NOW, as well, and can’t stop talking about their story. I’m hoping you won’t mind if Nairn waxes lyrical about Aela. That way I might not have to listen to him witter on all the way home! Just joking! Though he’s inclined to say one thing, though, and actually mean another, because he can be such a contrary guy.

Let’s see what your readers think, and after that maybe they’d like to sample a new little excerpt?

***

Okay, Nairn, you’ve got a captive audience. What did you first think of when you met Aela?

My first thoughts on Aela weren’t when I first met her in the flesh-figuratively speaking.

No flesh in this novel, then?

You won’t hear me say that.

Oh, okay. I see you’re in a playful mood, Nairn. Just explain what you mean to the readers, please. You can save the teasing for later. 

The first I ever saw of Aela was this publicity photograph. And what a gorgeous sight that was! She’s one of those striking women who take a really great photo. I wanted not to like her.

You didn’t like her at first?

Hey! You’re trying to twist my words. I liked the look of her immediately, but didn’t want to like someone I’d give a job to that much.

But you did employ her.

Sure, I did. After a bit of shenanigans, but you’ll need someone else to tell the readers what that was about.

You mean they need to read the story.

That’s the ticket. Anyway, suffice to say Aela was hired and I’m so glad about that. She’s the most competent assistant I’ve ever had, though I don’t always like sharing an office with her.

She’s too bossy for you?

Oh, she can be bossy, all right. No, it’s more the matter of being in a tight space with her.

Your office is a small room? That surprises me since you’re such a big guy, all six and a half feet of you.

A little over that. But no, again. My office is a big room, so it’s not the size of it.

Then you’re claustrophobic…even in a big room?

I seem to be when sharing a room with Aela. All I want to do is inhale her beautiful self, top to toe-or get the hell out of the room.

You’re saying you really like Aela, but don’t want to because of some code of ethics regarding your employer relationship with her?

She‘s not really my employee, you know. She’s just temporary, filling in to help me with my present problems.

I get it. Your code doesn’t apply to a temporary fling, then?

Right now, that woman’s got me so dependent on her, I might just get hooked!

If Aela’s just filling in a temporary position with you where is she originally from?

Now that’s a big part of the problem. Aela’s from Vancouver, Canada, and she’s planning to go right back there very soon.

You don’t want that to happen?

What do you think? You’ve seen what Aela looks like!

***

I wonder what your readers think about how Aela views sharing a room with Nairn. Do you reckon she has the same trouble being in the same space? 

Thanks for having us all here today, Katherine! I’ll just fly off with these two, now. We’ll be in touch. ***smiley waves from all of us***

**My-TAKE ME NOW-Tour Contest**
To celebrate the launch of Take Me Now I’ll be giving away 2 e copies of Take Me Now, 2 e copies of Monogamy Twist, and 4 goodie bags of Scottish Castle Gift Cards and Tags to some lucky winners. At each tour stop I’ll be asking a different question. To be entered into the draw find the answer to the question set, at each tour stop, and send the answers to me at nan_jar@btinternet.com before Saturday the 11th August 2012. The more questions you answer, the better your chance will be! (ie send in four answers your name’s in the draw four times) The draw will take place at noon (GMT/ UK time) on Sunday 12th August. 

For the URL details of the other tour stops (and special giveaways) please check the calendar on Nancy Jardine’s blog: http://nancyjardine.blogspot.com

Quiz question for Monday 6th August: Where is Aela Cameron’s hometown?


BLURB for TAKE ME NOW:
             Nairn Malcolm’s looking for the impossible. He needs a highly skilled, enterprising aide who’ll be at his beck and call 24/7. No ordinary Jane Doe will do. He doesn’t expect the only candidate who drops in at his Scottish castle for an interview to be so competent…or so stunning.
            Aela Cameron’s got exactly the right mix of talents to satisfy all Nairn Malcolm’s needs, and more. She loves the jobs he needs done, adores his castle, and finds his frenetic lifestyle energising. But she’s only looking for temporary: not to fall in love with the man.
            Can Nairn convince Aela she’s tailor-made for him in every way…and not a passing fancy?    

EXCERPT:
She was stunning—even more beautiful than her photograph. The jet-black hair piled up on her head was sexily windblown. Some strands had escaped to loop delicate ears and pointed down to rounded breasts straining the material of her jacket. Thinking about what was under the jacket made him moan, his sexual reaction to the woman detrimental to his…? Health? Sanity? He wasn’t sure which was worse.

He’d been willing himself for hours to remain upright, to retain some dignity. But here she was, not at all embarrassed about flashing him…or falling over. At his feet. And making glib comments. Finding everything a hoot.

Despite his current state of mind, the arousal strained even more under his trapped fingertips. His hacked off sweatpants were no restraint at all. He hated his unruly body; how could he get so stirred up when this potential employee was disrespectful?

Her mahogany almond-shaped eyes, outlined with dark fans of thick lashes, remained fixed on him; her jovial gaze mocking

She had to go.

Bio and links:

Having taught 11-12 year olds for many years, Nancy Jardine finally gave up the chalk in the autumn of 2011. During the last few years she’s bee enjoying writing in different genres. She’s completed a historical romance, and three contemporary romances- two of which are what she calls her history/mysteries. She’s also written the first of a time-travel series of novels for children aged 9-12years, and a family saga is her current work in progress.

Nancy lives in the picturesque castle country of Aberdeenshire, Scotland, with her husband who does all the cooking…the menu far more exciting and tasty than it used to be. Ancestry research-if you hadn’t already guessed-is one of her hobbies, as is participating in exciting events with her family which drag her away from the keyboard. Working in her large garden, she tends real flowers and now grows spectacular weeds which she’s becoming very fond of!
Nancy can be found at:

Books by Nancy Jardine:
TAKE ME NOW
The Wild Rose Press:
Print:  http://bit.ly/MrlI8x   E book formats: http://bit.ly/MQJXvw
Amazon: Print: http://amzn.to/LEUb1g
Take Me Now YouTube Trailer link - http://youtu.be/stDC4Yhm2r0

 Also available:
MONOGAMY TWIST
Coming Soon:
THE BELTANE CHOICE will be available in ebook formats from Crooked{Cat}Publishing 31st August 2012. Print will follow.

Friday, August 3, 2012

This I know for sure...

Patience is a virtue...and I don't have a lot of it.  I'm impatient, there's no other way to say it.  I hate waiting, waiting in line, waiting in various doctor/dentist offices, waiting for people to do what they said they would, and waiting for things to happen. 

I think I've gotten better at the whole waiting in line or for an appointment thing. I've started carrying a book or paper and pen when I know I'll be somewhere where I'll have to wait.  (Of course, my family might disagree with me.)  Unfortunately no matter how hard I try to be patient when people don't do what they say they will when they say they will, I usually just end up frustrated. 

How about you?  Are you patient or are you like me?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

What I'm Cooking Wednesday

I haven't really had time to read a lot lately though I am enjoying a wonderful book by Jill Shalvis.  I have been craving cookies though so here's my favorite oatmeal cookie recipe.  Hope you like it as much as I do.


Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup all purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup Crisco shortening
1 egg
¼ teaspoon vanilla
¾ cup quick-cooking rolled oats
*½ cup chopped walnuts
A small dish of granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a mixing bowl, stir together the first 6 ingredients (the flour through the salt).  Add the Crisco, egg and vanilla.  Beat well.  Stir in the oats and nuts.  Form into small balls.  Dip the tops of the balls in the additional dish of granulated sugar.  Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes.
Makes 3 ½ dozen cookies

*I sometimes substitute the walnuts for craisins.