Friday, April 29, 2016

This I know for sure...

I thought I'd share a short list of the things I'm trying to live by this year. For the most part, I feel like I'm doing a pretty good job of following them.

1.)  Keep things simple. The simplest way to do something is often the most efficient way.

2.) Make a "To Do" list every weekday and have everything crossed off by the time you go to bed. -- I make a list for every day but Sundays. I did have to learn to pare down the daily list into one that I knew would be manageable. Putting things on the list and then not having time to get to them left me feeling defeated. My list usually consists of 4 to 6 things every day.

3.) Treat people like you want to be treated. Treat people that you meet with kindness and respect and help them when or if you can. -- Actually, I've done this for years as it was the way I was raised but it's always a good thing to continue to strive to do.

4.) Set aside at least an hour a day to work on goals and priorities that are important to you. If you don't make time to do what's important to you, you'll never reach your goal whatever it may be.

5.) No matter what setbacks you may suffer, keep moving forward. Do your best to keep your sense of optimism, enthusiasm, and determination to succeed.

Do you have any keys to life that you try to live by?

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My current WIP (work in progress): Back in the swing of things. I've written a new transitional scene and revised three chapters.

Quote of the Week: "Be a Pineapple: Stand tall, Wear a crown, and be sweet on the inside." ~ Unknown

What I'm reading:  Secret Sisters by Jayne Ann Krentz. This is a great romantic suspense novel. I hate having to put it down.

Random things:  All of the trees on my street are budding with new leaves. Some are just budding while others have small, newly unfurled leaves. The tree in my front yard -- It's still bare with not a bud or leaf in sight.

Random Photo of the Week:


                                     Sometimes I wish more people knew this.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Apologies

Sorry, no post today. My uncle was found unconscious on his kitchen floor.

Friday, April 22, 2016

This I know for sure...

I mentioned a few weeks ago on a "This I know for sure..." post that I'm jealous of my sister's skill when it comes to crotcheting and other needle arts. I've made blankets but nothing more.

I came across the directions for a mermaid blanket on the internet the other day. I've decided to give it a try. It's a blanket, which I know from past experience that I can make, but it's different than your usual blanket so it might be a bit of a challenge.

Here's the link and a picture of what it looks like:

                                                  Mermaid Blanket by Blogunity

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My current WIP (work in progress): I didn't get much done last week. I ended up working 2 hours extra each day last week except for Friday. Hoping to be back to regular hours this week.

Quote of the Week: “When it comes to following your heart’s desire, there’s no such thing as being too old to start or too young to start. It’s the happiness of your heart that counts.”~ Unknown

What I'm reading: Twisted by Cynthia Eden. I just started this book, but am already enjoying it.

Random things:  I bought a rowing machine over the weekend. I had my right knee rebuilt a few years ago so I'm limited in what I can do for exercise. I was told I'll need knee replacement surgery but my orthopedist and I are trying to put it off for as long as possible because I'm "too young." I guess they don't like to do it unless you're at least 50 years old so that you have better odds of not having to undergo the surgery more than once. I've been told that the parts only last 20 years or so, then may need to be replaced.

Random Photo of the Week:


                                I saw this on the internet and it made me laugh. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

A Matter of Taste

Reading is very subjective. While in college I was assigned to read Catcher in the Rye. During the class discussion, everyone, including the professor, kept commenting on the baseball metaphors in the story. I sat there wondering if we'd read the same book because I didn't pick up on a single baseball metaphor. Although, I guess I could say in my defense that I know next to nothing about baseball so that may explain why I didn't pick up on those references. But, I digress...

One reader may love an author's work while another reader may say, "eh, it was okay" when referring to that same author's books. I guess you could say One person's treasure is another person's meh.

I know the saying is really, "One person's trash is another person's treasure" but I would never call an author's work trash. Being author myself, I know what it's like to agonize over every word, sentence, and paragraph as we build a snippet of dialogue, a swift vision of a scene, the smell of a setting, or the voice of a yet unknown character into a fully fleshed out living and breathing story.

I always find people's differing tastes in books interesting. My one sister loves James Patterson's books. Me, not so much. My oldest sister loves Stephen King and other authors in the horror genre. Me, definitely not. I have too vivid an imagination and reading horror novels gives me nightmares. I don't watch scary movies either. I love Diane Kelly's Death, Taxes series. A friend tried reading the first book and didn't finish it. She didn't like the main character.

I often ask family and friends about the latest books they're reading or have just finished. I have two reasons - one, you never know when you're going to find that great new-to-you author whose books you can't wait to read. The second reason is I'm curious if they liked the book or not and why. I don't know if it's the writer in me trying to figure out what appeals to readers or if I love books so much that I like talking about them with others.

Do you ask family and friends about the books they read?

Friday, April 15, 2016

This I know for sure...

Every summer for the last three years we've seen a bunny hopping around the neighborhood. Each year as the weather grows colder, I worry that the bunny won't survive the winter. I'm assuming it isn't a pet that the owner allows to roam the neighborhood like some do with their cats.

Every spring I keep an anxious eye out for him. I don't usually see him until mid May. Yesterday, I spotted him in the neighbor's yard. Now, I can shelve my worry until fall.


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My current WIP (work in progress): I didn't get any revision work done. The good news is all but completely recovered from her surgery. Hope to get back in the writing groove this week.

Quote of the Week: "You're the only one holding you back." ~ Anonymous

What I'm reading: Caught By You by Jennifer Bernard. This is the second book in Ms. Bernard's Love Between the Bases series. If you're a fan of baseball (or even if you're not), this is a great series.

Random things:  I went to the bridal shower for my nephew's fiancee last Sunday. It was a lot of fun. I'm so happy for them both.  M is a warm, wonderful woman. I can't wait until she's an "official" member of the family. 

Random Photo of the Week: 


                  I feel like this little guy in terms of getting my manuscript revised.   





Monday, April 11, 2016

Rocky Road Brownies

I went to a bridal shower yesterday and Rocky Road brownies were served among other things. Anyone who knows me knows I love brownies. I usually have them just one week a year - the week of my birthday. Having them only at this time, makes them extra special.

Well, I broke down and had one of the Rocky Road brownies at the shower. They were fantastic. The person who made them had written down the recipe on index cards for anyone who wanted a copy. Needless to say, I made sure I didn't leave without one of those index cards.  I'm sharing the recipe here for all of you who love a good brownie as much as I do. :o)

Rocky Road Brownies

1 cup less 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey's)
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 large egg
2 large egg whites
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 regular sized marshmallows or 32 mini marshmallows
1/3 cup chocolate chips. 
2/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom and sides of an 8 inch square baking pan aluminum foil coated with cooking spray such as Pam.  Leave enough foil to fold over the sides of the pan so you can lift the brownies out after they're done baking.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a small bowl and set aside. In a medium sized sauce pan melt the butter. Remove from heat and stir in the cocoa powder. Add in the sugar and stir well. Add the egg, egg whites, and vanilla extract. Stir until batter looks smooth and glossy. Add in the flour mixture and stir just until it's mixed. Be careful not to over stir the batter.

Pour the batter into the 8 inch baking dish you prepared earlier. If you are using the regular sized marshmallows, quarter them so you have a total of 32 pieces. If you oil the knife before you cut the marshmallows, it will prevent them from sticking to the blade. Distribute the marshmallow pieces over the top of the batter. Slightly press them into the batter. Distribute the chocolate chips and nuts around the marshmallows.

Bake for 25 to 35 minutes. The marshmallows should be a golden brown. If you use a toothpick to check for doneness, the toothpick should come out with some batter clinging to it because this recipe is for gooey brownies. Let the pan cool on a wire rack for about 2 hours. Lift the ends of the foil and transfer the brownies to a flat surface for cutting.

Makes approximately 16 brownies depending on the size you cut them.


Friday, April 8, 2016

This I know for sure...

I watch very little television, but there are a few shows that I either watch when they're on or that I DVR and watch later. One of the shows I DVR is Blindspot on NBC. I usually watch two episodes at once every other week.The program does require you to suspend disbelief, but it's not so outlandish that you'd have a hard time doing that.

I was happy to read a few days ago that the show has already been renewed for next season.

Do you have a program that you watch without fail?

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My current WIP (work in progress): I didn't get much accomplished in terms of finishing the last of my revisions. My mom's surgery went well, but she was very limited in what she could do. She's nearly back to her regular routine. I'm working extra hours this week at the day job so I'm not sure how much writing I'll get done, but I'm going to work on it.

Quote of the Week: “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” ~ Jim Ryun

What I'm reading:  Keep On Loving You by Christie Ridgway. This is the latest book in the Cabin Fever series.

Random things:  We got 5 inches of snow overnight Sunday into Monday. I had hyacinths budding and daffodils coming up. I'm not sure if they'll actually flower now. It's been below freezing during the day the last couple of days and in the low teens during the overnight so I'm thinking my poor flowers aren't going to survive.

Random Photo of the Week:  


                               Dreaming of summer while I'm surrounded by snow.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Controlling Your Time

I read an article by Angela Quarles posted on the Fiction University website last Thursday that I identified with. Up until this year, I really didn't try to control or harness my time. I fit my writing in when I could and if I couldn't, then I'd just try again the next day. The problem with doing that is it makes it really hard to meet goals or really to get anything done that I decided I didn't have time for for any number of reasons.

This year I bought a paper planner and I've been diligently been planning for my writing time and related things at least 5 days a week. Some days I still don't get as much writing done as I hope especially those days that I have to work later than normal because those late office hours eat up my writing time. But I have learned that by using my planner and putting writing time in as an appointment, I'm getting a lot more done than I was before I was using a planner. I also use it to schedule exercise time which was always the first thing to go when I ran short of time in my day.

While the article is written for writers, I believe it has useful information for anyone who is interested in better handling their time. I'm linking to the article here. It might help you plan for what is important to you. Do you Harness Your Day?

Friday, April 1, 2016

This I know for sure...

My youngest sister is immensely talented when it comes to the needle arts. When her twin girls were little, she would sew a lot of their outfits. As they grew older, she made them quilts and crocheted them blankets. 

A family member is pregnant with her first child. My sister is making different outfits for the baby. I have to admit that I'm a bit jealous of her talent. Here's a picture of a hat she made. It's Sully from the movie Monsters Inc.