Monday, March 30, 2015

Last week was just...hellish. Still trying to recover. My brain wouldn't cooperate in coming up with a subject for today's post so here's a recipe that's a big hit with my family.

The Bestest Cake Ever (my nephew gave the cake this name the first time he tasted it.)

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (I've made the cake without the nuts and it's just as good.)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 package 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 container (8 ounces) Cool Whip
4 cups milk
2 boxes (3.4 ounces each) instant vanilla pudding
2 boxes (3.9 ounces each) instant chocolate pudding
Chopped nuts and chocolate curls (optional)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. In a medium sized bowl, mix the flour, walnuts, and butter together. Pat the mixture over the bottom of the pan. Bake for 15 minutes, then let cool. While the crust is cooling, beat the cream cheese and sugar together until the mixture is smooth. Fold half of the Cool Whip into the sugar and cream cheese mixture and spread over the cooled crust.

Prepare the vanilla pudding using 2 cups of the milk according to the package directions. Spread over the cream cheese layer. Prepare the chocolate pudding with the remaining 2 cups of milk also according to the package directions. Spread over the vanilla pudding layer. Top with the remaining Cool Whip. Refrigerate at least 2 hours, but you can refrigerate it over night with no problems too. Sprinkle with nuts and/or chocolate curls just before serving. Cut into squares and serve.

Makes up to 16 servings depending how you cut it.

Friday, March 27, 2015

This I know for sure...

Time is a fluid thing, constantly changing.  Okay, we all know this. But have you ever noticed when you're stuck someplace boring or waiting in the doctor's/dentist's office that time seems to crawl along at a snail's pace but when you're doing something fun or away on vacation, time races by and all that fun comes to an end much too soon?

I've never been very patient at waiting. I dislike waiting whether it's waiting a long time in line at a store, waiting in the doctor/dentist's office well past the appointment time, or waiting for something to happen. I've been waiting to hear about the outcome of an event almost 4 weeks ago. I was told it would take approximately 3 to 4 weeks before I received the results, but to wait to call until it's been at least 4 weeks. The waiting is killing me. I just want to know the outcome now not in a few more days.

How about you? Are you impatient when it comes to waiting?

***Update - I finally broke down and called a couple of days ago even though the 4 weeks wouldn't be technically up until today.  You know that old adage - "Good things come to those who wait"? Well, it certainly wasn't true in my case. I got the exact opposite answer/outcome than I was hoping/praying for.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My current WIP (work in progress): No work done this week. It was a terrible week all the way around.

Quote of the week:  "With will one can do anything." ~ Samuel Smiles

What I'm reading:  I'm not currently reading anything. I'm in desperate need for a trip to the library or the book store. :o)

Random things:  "For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate." ~ Romans 7:15   I came across this while looking for something else on the internet and thought it describes me perfectly at times. And more often than it should.

Random Photo of the Week: 

 
                                    I felt the need for something spring like this week.

Monday, March 23, 2015

To Newsletter or Not

I subscribe to a few newsletters. Some of them are writing related and some are not. Some are full of fun and interesting information and some are bland and boring or are just announcements of a new book being published or a new product being introduced.  I have to admit that I rarely read the latter type and in most cases delete them without even opening them anymore. I suppose I should unsubscribe from them, but for some reason I haven't yet.

As a reader, I like author newsletters that only inform me of when a next book is being released (especially if it's part of a series where I'm eagerly waiting for the next installment), but tells me a bit about the author herself or himself. Maybe where she/he went on vacation, something about the family, that type of thing. I don't expect the author to give specifics knowing most authors, myself included, like to share bits and pieces of our lives while maintaining a sense of privacy especially for security or safety reasons. I also like to read about what type of research they do and where it takes them. I like it if they share a recipe or two.

As a writer, I haven't set up a newsletter yet. I've been told if I want to increase readership, then newsletters are a must, that they are a non-negotiable part of being an author. I'm not sure I agree so I'm putting this out there--

For readers - Does an author's newsletter influence your book buying habits? Approximately how many author newsletters do you subscribe to? How often do you actually read them?

For writers - Do you have a newsletter? Do you have a way of telling how many subscribers actually open the newsletter? Do you feel doing one is a must to be successful?

Please feel free to add any other thoughts.

Friday, March 20, 2015

This I know for sure...

You ever want something to happen so badly, it seems to invade your thoughts whenever you have a free moment or you're doing something that doesn't require a lot of concentration? But that thing you want to happen is more or less out of your control? That you've done what you could to help the situation turn out the way you want it to, but are now in that wait and see place?

I'm there now. And I'm terrible at waiting. I hate waiting in line, at the doctor's/dentist's office, waiting for things to happen. I'm get really impatient and want to hurry things along. The strange thing is I'm told I'm very patient with people. And I do think I am. I guess I'm just not good at waiting for things that are beyond my control.

How about you? Are you good at waiting or are you like me?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My current WIP (work in progress): I finished the revisions on the first half of the book. Now it's on to the second half.

Quote of the week: "Do not watch the clock. Do what it does. Keep going." ~ Sam Levenson  This reminds me that every little bit I accomplish moves my writing forward.

What I'm reading: The Broken by Shelley Coriell. This is the first book in the Apostles series. It's a suspense driven romance with great twists and turns.

Random things: It reached fifty degrees last Friday. My co-worker and I spent part of our lunch hour outside enjoying the sunshine. Unfortunately, it's back to being in the mid-thirties for the short term, but at least spring is on the way.

Random Photo of the Week:


                      Even the cat has gone back to burrowing under his blanket at night.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Motivation...

As some of you may know my work schedule changed not long ago. I still start at the same time, but instead of getting home at 3:15, I now get home around 5:30. By the time I change out of my office attire, make dinner, clean up after dinner, pack lunches for the next day, and do all the other things that need to be done, it's somewhere between 7:00 and 7:30pm. I then try to do an hour of family time so my family doesn't feel neglected and I don't feel like I'm not present in their day.

My writing routine was usually to be at the laptop by 3:30pm and to write or work on revisions until 5:00 or 5:15pm, then I would start dinner and so on. I miss that hour and a half more than I can say. I'm continuing to struggle to find writing time. Some days I manage to write or revise a few pages, some days quite a few pages, and other days, no pages at all.

There are some days when I finally get a chance to sit and just be for a few minutes and the last thing I want to do is turn the laptop. On the days where I've had a rough day at work, the last thing I want to do is come home and write. I just want to escape into a book for a while. You'd think that those bad work days would give me even more motivation to write so that I'm that much closer to being able to write full time.

I don't know that I can say I'm lacking motivation so much as time seems to be at a premium. I know working the hours I do now and taking care of family commitments, and writing regularly is possible. There are a number of authors who do it quite well. A good example is my sister...although she's not a writer.

She went back to school full time to get her nursing degree. Besides carrying a full course load that required a great deal of outside of class work as well as studying, she worked thirty hours a week, and took care of her family including taking her two teenage daughters to and from various after school sporting activities. She did this for eighteen months before graduating with her RN degree and passing her state board examination. I asked her how she managed to keep up with everything. She laughed and said lack of sleep. She only averaged between 4 and 5 hours of sleep a night. She said that many times she'd fall asleep at the dining room table while studying.

I am serious about my writing career, but I don't want to walk around sleep deprived. I also tend to get crabby when I'm really tired and who wants to go around feeling crabby much less having to deal with me being that way. There are also numerous studies showing the ill effects on your health if you're chronically sleep deprived.

So until I can figure out a writing schedule that's doable for the long term, I'll keep trying to fit writing into my day the best way I can.

Friday, March 13, 2015

This I know for sure...

Today is Friday the 13th. Some people I know dread this day. They don't consider themselves superstitious, but are convinced something bad will happen on the day because of the date. My sister works with the public and is convinced that anyone who's a little crazy comes out in full force when it's a full moon or a Friday the 13th.

I haven't had anything bad happen on Friday the 13th so I tend to look at it the same way I do any other day. I also have a black cat, have put my shoes on the table (a huge no-no bad luck will happen according to my mother) Before you all crinkle up your noses at the thought, the shoes were new and I hadn't worn them yet so nothing icky from being warn outside was transferred to the table top.

Are you superstitious? What are those things that are no-no's to you?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My current WIP (work in progress): I had a much better week this week. I revised 40 pages which is double of what I was able to accomplish last week.

Quote of the week: "Stop wishing. Start doing." ~ Unknown.  I think this applies to so many things people want to change or to start doing.

What I'm reading: I finished Suzanne Brockmann's Do or Die: Reluctant Heroes over the weekend and haven't started a new book yet. I've been reading a variety of magazines my sister passed on to me.

Random things: It's warmed up to the low to mid 40's in my area with lots of sun. When I got home from the day job yesterday, I heard the birds chirping and singing. Just hearing those birds brightened my day. It reinforced the knowledge that spring is finally on the way. Finally. It's been a long, cold, snowy, winter. 

Random Photo of the Week:

 
 This is something I need to remember. Sometimes I look back and 
wonder what would have happened if things turned out differently.