Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween

                                    I hope you all have a fun and save Halloween!

Friday, October 28, 2016

This I know for sure...

I hate when a seller gives the impression something is of their design, that they've put their everything into an item or line of items and you find out that they bought the item(s) from someone or somewhere else and are reselling them.

It's not the mark up that bothers me so much as the misrepresentation. I don't care if you didn't make or design the item yourself, but when you go to great lengths to give that impression, then I wonder what else are you willing to do to make a sale.

I've come across this twice now with two different sellers. I stumbled upon the actual designer/maker's websites quite by chance. And even though I considered myself a loyal customer to those sellers who misrepresented things, guess who I'm buying the items from now -- the actual designer/maker. And while it's considerably cheaper in some cases (one item I purchased for $15, but the actual maker/designer sells for $5), it's the feeling that I was scammed by those first sellers that will keep me purchasing from the actual maker and/or designer sites.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My current WIP (work in progress): Managed to get through 28 pages of edits/revisions. It doesn't sound like a lot, but it's more than I did the week before.

Quote of the Week: “You are the guardian of your joy. Don’t let anyone take it from you." ~ Unknown

What I'm reading: I'll be starting A Scot in the Dark by Sarah MacLean at the end of this week. I'm really looking forward to reading it. I'm a huge fan of Ms. MacLean.

Random Things: We went apple picking this last weekend. It was a little cold, about 45 degrees, but it was fun and well worth getting out and enjoying the fall weather. 

Random Photo of the Week: 

This is Somebody hiding from the vacuum cleaner. He's afraid of it. He thinks if he can't see you, then you can't see him, so he must have thought he was safe from the vacuum that was being used in the next room.

Monday, October 24, 2016

More Biscotti for Every Body

I apologize for the groan worthy title of this post. I wanted to try and make it rhyme.

I'm sharing a new biscotti recipe I received from a friend whose mom is from Tuscany, Italy. I'm told it's the birthplace of biscotti so I figure her recipe has to be worth trying.

Traditional Biscotti

2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter (softened)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
* 1 cup miniature chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet pan and set aside. In a large bowl, mix the first five (5) ingredients until mixture is smooth and well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each one. Add flour by 1/2 cup increments, stirring well after each addition.

Spoon the dough on to the prepared cookie sheet and shape into a loaf with it slightly mounded in the center area. Flour hands first to prevent dough from sticking. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool enough to touch. Remove from pan onto flat surface.

Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Using a serrated bread knife, cut the loaf on a diagonal into 1/2 inch slices. Place on baking sheet with the bottom crust on the sheet so the pieces are standing upright. Bake for 25 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool.

Makes 1 dozen biscotti.

*My friend adds the miniature chocolate chips to the batter after she's added the flour.

Friday, October 21, 2016

This I know for sure...

Is it just me or is anyone else tired of this campaign season? I'm looking forward to election day just so all the negative ads, constant sniping at one another by candidates, and endless replay of the latest scandal ad nauseum on the news will finally be over. The sad thing is I'm not just talking about the presidential election. A couple of our local political races have gotten almost as bad with one candidate badmouthing the opposing one.

What I'd really like is for any candidate running for any office to focus on the issues, what they hope to accomplish if elected, and how they hope to help the communities/people they serve. Let's leave insulting each other back in grade school where it belongs.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My current WIP (work in progress): Still working on the revisions of Honor Bound. Last week was slow going.

Quote of the Week: "Don't wish for it. Work for it."  ~ Unknown

What I'm reading: I actually finally started Her Darkest Nightmare by Brenda Novak last night. (I'm on page 21. I really want to read this book, I just can't seem to find any free time to sit and read. 

Random Things: I saw my first Christmas commercial last night while watching the evening news. Am I the only one who thinks it's way too early for Christmas anything? I mentioned it to a friend today and she said she's already nearly done with her holiday shopping. I don't even want to think about it yet, much less actually do it.

Random Photo of the Week: 

My sister sent me this photo. She knows how much I would love to have a lamb or goat. Unfortunately, I live in a city where having farm animals is against the city ordinances. I might seriously have to think about relocating to the country in the next few years.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Revision Revisited

This was originally posted on my blog in November 2011, but I found just as apt today as it was then. I'm having a similar problem now.

Some authors revise their manuscripts as they go along, others write flat out and then go back and revise after the story is completely written.  Just like everything else in writing, there’s no right way or wrong way to revise your manuscript.  There’s only the best way that works for you. For me, I seem to alternate between the two depending on the story and how well it’s flowing and how much pre-thought I put into the plot, characters, etc.
Today’s blog post came about as I sat at my dining room table with a hard copy of my current work in progress.  I’m about 50 to 75 pages from completing the manuscript and yet I can’t seem to make myself finish it.  And I don’t know why.  I’ve been at this point for about two weeks now.  Usually, when I get within 100 pages of the end of a story, I can’t tear myself away from the computer.  I’m so driven to see how everything works out.  (Yes, I’m a pantser.)  Instead, I've found myself working on another story I've been thinking about.
Thinking if I went through and worked on revising some scenes, I’d get my mojo back, I worked on a few chapters, adding notes in the margins, drawing lines through entire paragraphs that seemed to serve no purpose, adding more dialogue in some places, and taking it out in others.  Pretty soon, I was suffering from “revisionitis.”  This is a term I made up to describe the feeling I can get when revising a manuscript.  Sometimes, I get so wrapped up in following the “rules” we’ve all been told when we first started writing that I feel like I’ve revised the life right out of the scene.  Other times I change a sentence or word only to change it again or back to what I’d originally written.  At this point, I usually stop, knowing I’m not going to accomplish anything productive.

Friday, October 14, 2016

This I know for sure...

I stay away from discussing politics as a rule. I will say this presidential race has been so contentious, so demoralizing that I try to avoid the news when a reporter is discussing anything to do with it. We have started watching movies or DVR'd programs during the news hour to avoid as much of it as possible.

Here is a list of some of the movies we've watched lately:
The Jungle Book
Me Before You
Now You See Me 2
Ant Man
Ratchet & Clank
Guardians of the Galaxy

Do you find yourself avoiding any type of reporting on the presidential race? What do you do instead?

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My current WIP (work in progress): Getting back on track this week. I met with my critique partner Monday.

Quote of the Week: “Your goals are important. They are worthy, and worth doing well. So invest time and thought into planning for a pace that can lead you to success.” ~ Allie Pleiter

What I'm reading: I still haven't had a chance to start Brenda Novak's Her Darkest Nightmare. It's been about 3 weeks. I haven't read a book since the middle of September. Hoping my evenings come down enough to allow for some reading time soon.

Random Things:  The cooler weather has moved into Upstate NY. The leaves are finally starting to change. It usually happens much earlier. While I love the smell of autumn, the colors of the leaves as they change, the brisk weather, baking more treats than I should be, I'm always sorry to see summer end.

Random Photo of the Week: 

                 We actually got a second sunflower blossom. I really didn't think we would.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Books, Tea, and Biscuits

Now that the cooler weather has started to make an appearance in my area, I've started drinking hot tea again in the evenings. The problem with doing so is that I always like to have a hard type cookie or two with the tea. One of my favorite types of hard cookie is biscotti. Here's one of my favorite recipes:

Lemon -Pistachio Biscotti

1/3 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons lemon zest
1 1/4 cups pistachios

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease two cookie sheets and set aside. In a large bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer for 30 seconds at medium to high speed. Add the next 3 ingredients (sugar, salt, and baking powder). Beat until well combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the eggs and vanilla. Mix until combined. Gradually add the flour, mixing by hand. Stir in the lemon peel and nuts.

Divide the dough into 3 equal parts. Shape each part into an 8 inch long roll. Place on prepared cookie sheets and flatten slightly until the rolls are about 2 1/2 inches wide. If putting two rolls on a single cookie sheet, place them at least 3 inches apart.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and the tops are cracked. Cool on the pans for at least 30 minutes. Once cool, using a serrated knife, cut each roll diagonally into 1/2 inch slices. Place cut sides down on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 325 degrees for 8 minutes. Turn the slices over and bake for an additional 8 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

Makes approximately 36 cookies.

I have made these without the nuts and using other types of nuts as well.

The cookies are great with a cup of hot lemon tea while reading a good book. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Friday, October 7, 2016

This I know for sure...

I'm a firm believer that a person should never stop learning throughout his or her lifetime. This can range from taking classes, watching You Tube, learning on your own through trial and error, having a friend or relative teach you. It doesn't matter what you're learning, just that you keep learning.

One of my aunts taught me how to crotchet when I was a young girl. She's deceased now, but every time I pick up a skein of yarn and a crotchet hook, I think of her. 

When I was in my early twenties and bought my first car, my brother insisted on teaching me how to change a tire, how to add windshield washer fluid, how to check the oil and radiator fluid levels, and how to change the oil and the air filter.

I taught myself how to read braille by using google and getting braille readers out of our local library. I signed up for an art class and quickly learned I have no drawing talent. When I let go of my expectations of drawing incredible pictures, the class was still fun even though I'll never make the claim that I can draw.

I still would like to take a painting class. I have two nieces who do amazing paintings. I'm considering asking them if one of them would be willing to teach me the basics. Do I expect to be the next Picasso? No, but I would like to learn to paint.

What have you learned to do? Or what would you like to learn to do?

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My current WIP (work in progress): No progress this week. I have appointments every day after work.

Quote of the Week: “When you focus on the goodness in your life, you create more of it.” ~ Oprah Winfrey

What I'm reading: I haven't had a chance to start Brenda Novak's Her Darkest Nightmare. I hope to start it this week. It's been crazy busy at my house lately.

Random Things: My nephew gave me a package of sunflowers early this summer. I planted them a few days later. I'm just now getting blossoms. I was beginning to think I wouldn't get any at all. The stalks are tall, but it took forever to get buds on them.

Random Photo of the Week:   

                                    Here's one of the sunflowers I mentioned above.
                           I can't remember what the variety of sunflower that it is.