Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Love and Grace Box Set Spotlight

Today, I'm very happy to host a spotlight for the Love and Grace Box Set.

Love & Grace

When Ciara Knight approached me for this wonderful project, I jumped on it immediately.  Every author should do a project for a charity that is close to his or her heart.  Not only because of the obvious need, but also because giving back, in my opinion, is something every human should do.

This anthology is a project of love and hope and to raise funds for Gracepoint, a school for children with dyslexia.  As someone who has lived with mild dyslexia, I can’t imagine how hard it is for youngsters who have it worse.

Please purchase a copy, not only will every reader give to this worthy cause, but in exchange for only 99c, you will receive twelve heartwarming romantic novellas.

Love & Grace: A bundle of 12 Wholesome Romances.

Romance for the soul, a gift from the heart

This collection of sweet and inspirational novellas has an uplifting love story for everyone. These stories bring a touch of grace to romance, and a touch of romance to your heart.

Our twelve authors have collaborated to bring together this collection. Each story relates to dyslexia in some way, and the full proceeds from all the stories benefit GRACEPOINT – A School for Dyslexia. This box set is our collective gift of love and support to you and the children GRACEPOINT serves.

Can a town save a marriage? Will a high school reunion offer a second chance at love? Can a man with a secret and a woman afraid of being hurt learn to trust? Can a girl running from her past escape her heart? Will a woman trapped in the past discover the true importance of family? Can unexpected love become the best present ever?

You’ll find hours of enjoyment as well as a satisfying ending to each story. No cliffhangers and no partial novels are offered here, just an escape into worlds of love, families, and grace.

A special thank you to all the authors who donated stories;

Foreword by #1 New York Times bestselling author, Sherrilyn Kenyon.

GRACE IN SWEETWATER COUNTY by Ciara Knight, USA Today and National bestselling author.

ONE AUTUMN LOVE by Lindi Peterson, Award-winning author.

MONTANA BORN by Hildie McQueen, Amazon bestselling author.

STANDING ON THE PROMISES by Sally Kilpatrick, Award-winning author.

CHRISTMAS BELLS by Linda Joyce, Award-winning author.

LETTERS TO RACHEL by Airicka Phoenix, National bestselling author.

WHERE YOU BELONG by M. K. Smith and Lori Freeland, Amazon bestselling and Award-winning authors.

THE RIGHT ONE by MK Smith, Amazon bestselling and Award-winning author.

BROKEN WINGS by Alexandrea Weis, Amazon bestselling and Award-winning author.

THE MISSING INGREDIENT by Nicole Zoltack, Amazon bestselling and Award-winning author.

SWEET SAMANTHA by Kiersten Fay, Amazon bestselling and Award-winning author.

SECOND CHANCES by Walt Mussell, Award-winning author.

Buy Links:

Monday, August 29, 2016

Writing emotion


As I've been working on revisions of my current manuscript, I've noticed I have certain fall back cues that I use to convey emotion. I'm working hard to vary the words and descriptors of emotions so they don't appear repetitive.

I came across a great book that helps find different ways to convey emotion. It's The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. I bought my copy through Amazon.

As a side note, I also have a problem overusing the word "just." I'm told nearly every writer has a pet word or two that they overuse and have to scrub their manuscripts for before submitting them.

Friday, August 26, 2016

This I know for sure...

Although it's still August, even if it's the last Friday of the month, I'm already looking into buying a new planner for 2017. While I liked the brand and style of the planner I'm using for this year, it's spiral bound and I'm finding that the pages are getting harder to turn because the used pages are so full and fat.

I'm looking into either buying a planner case from Franklin Covey or Day-Timer and then just having to buy refill pages every year, but wow, even the imitation leather cases are $50 or more. I don't think I'm necessarily cheap, but the refill pages run about $30 for the monthly/weekly pages which is what I like to use. I realize the first year will be the most expensive since I'd have to purchase the case, but I don't know if I want to pay out that much money and then decide I don't like using something that's not spiral bound.

A friend uses the MAMBI Happy Planner and loves it. I've been looking into it and they run about $30 for the planner itself which is about what I paid for my 2016 planner. The nice thing about it is that they're sold at craft stores such as Michaels and Hobby Lobby and you can use their 40% off coupons to purchase them so they're a bit cheaper.
I'm all for saving money when I can. I'm thinking I'll get the Happy Planner for 2017 as soon as I'm back on my feet. They're available now and run 18 months from July 2016 thru December 2017. I like that I'll have a few months to try it out since they have a vertical set up and I've only ever used a horizontal set up. And if I don't like it, well, I'll can always print out do it yourself planner horizontal pages from the internet.  :o)

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My current WIP (work in progress): Had a pretty good week last week. I feel like I'm getting back on track. I won't be working on revisions next week. I'm going to work on a different project that I want to get done before I go back to work in a couple of weeks.

Quote of the Week: "It ain't nothing to find no starting place in the world. You just start from where you find yourself." ~ August Wilson

What I'm reading: Virtue Falls by Christina Dodd. This is the first book in this series and since the 3rd book is coming out soon, I figured I should start the series.

Random things:  While I finally managed to find a way to keep the squirrels from raiding my container garden, I'm not getting much in the way of vegetables. I had a ton of flowers on my cucumber plants, but not a single cucumber. I had the same issue with my yellow squash. I've gotten 3 green peppers so far and have a couple of tiny ones that are just starting to grow. I don't know if it's because the excessive heat we've had this year or something else, but I will try again next year. Especially now that I've figured out the secret to keeping the squirrels out of the plants.

Random Photo of the Week:

 Our newest wind chimes. The glass globe is supposed to glow at night after being in the sun all day.

Monday, August 22, 2016

A Call Inspired Breakfast



My sister called this past Saturday and asked if I had a copy of her monkey bread recipe. She wanted to make it for a family function but couldn't find hers. I told her I knew right where it was because at the time I happened to be going through recipes my sisters and I have shared over the years looking for something different for the next day's breakfast.

I look forward to Sundays because it's the one day of the week that I can sit and linger over breakfast. I like to read the newspaper while I enjoy a breakfast that is a bit more special than what I grab during the week.

While reading her the monkey bread recipe ingredients and instructions, inspiration struck. Why not try making monkey bread for breakfast? I've had different variations of it through the years. Most of them would fall in the dessert category, but I've had pizza monkey bread and even tried a beer and brats version that someone brought to a gathering.

Below is my version of Breakfast Monkey Bread.

8 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
3 cans Pillsbury biscuits (I used the buttermilk ones. I also used the regular sized biscuits, not the Grands.)
salt and pepper (I didn't give exact measurements for the salt and pepper because everyone's taste is different.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a bundt pan with cooking spray. (I used Pam's butter spray.)  In a medium sized bowl, combine the eggs, milk, and salt and pepper until well mixed. Cut each of the biscuits into quarters. Dip each piece in the egg mixture and place in the bottom of the bundt pan until there is an even layer. Next sprinkle a layer of crumbled bacon followed by a layer of shredded cheese. Repeat the process until you've used all of the biscuit pieces ending with a layer of cheese on the top. (I have a pretty big bundt pan, if you have a smaller size, only fill the pan to about 3/4 full from the top.) Pour remaining egg mixture over the top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until egg is cooked through and the top biscuit pieces are golden brown. Let cool about 5 to 8 minutes. Turn out onto a plate and serve.

I can't say for certain how many people this will serve because we didn't eat it like typical monkey bread where you pull off pieces. I cut it into about 2 inch slices and we ate it with a fork. While I felt the recipe turned out well, I'll probably make a few changes such as using more egg and milk so it's a bit more eggy. Or maybe add sausage crumbles or diced ham instead of using bacon, or add pre-cooked sliced mushrooms and peppers. Maybe try using a different type of cheese such as Colby or Gouda. As you can tell, this is definitely a recipe in progress.

If you decide to give it a try, let me know how it turned out and if you made any changes of your own.

Friday, August 19, 2016

There's No Such Thing As Too Many Books...

...Or maybe there is. I read an average of 4 to 6 books a month depending on how busy a particular month is and the time of year. I tend to read more books in the summer because I don't watch TV in the evenings like I do the rest of the year.

Despite my attempts to read books on my "To Be Read" (TBR) list and cross them off, the list keeps growing longer. I'll find a new author and add his or her book(s) to the list. It's not so bad if the writer has only one or two books out, but when I find a new author that has a large series or backlist, I usually will read the first couple and if I like the books and the writing style, I add all of the author's books to the TBR list.

I subscribe to blogs that keep me apprised of new books being released and keep up with Publisher's Weekly. My local library also gives out a free newspaper type magazine that lists books ranging from non-fiction to fiction across multiple genres that were released or are being released each month.

Currently, I have two full 1 subject notebooks with books listed on the front and back of each page (just started the 3rd one), 200 plus books on my Kindle, and I'm still perusing websites and such looking for books that sound interesting to add to my TBR list.

How long is your To Be Read list?

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My current WIP (work in progress):  Had unexpected guests from out of town so I haven't had much time to work on revisions. I hope to make up some of the lost time the rest of this week.

Quote of the Week: "Don't ruin a good today by thinking about a bad yesterday. Let it go." ~ Unknown.  I need to work on this.

What I'm reading: The Pursuit by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg. I like this series because it's a light, quick read.
 
Random things:  My older sister took me to our local library on Monday. I'd read all of the books I'd purchased before my surgery and was complaining I had nothing to read. Mind you, I have more books on my Kindle than I care to admit so that wasn't exactly true. While I was more than ready to rest and take some pain medication by the time we got back, I'm glad she talked me into going. It was nice to get out of the house for something other than a doctor appointment.

Random Photo of the Week:

                     Only 3 more weeks and I can get rid of my unwanted summer accessory.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Overwhelmed

My brother's zucchini plants have run amok. He's gotten more squash than he can possibly eat so he's been passing some of it on to me. I've cooked it in various ways but have to admit I'm getting a bit tired of eating it for dinner. Searching for new and interesting ways to prepare it, I asked a friend who is an amazing baker if she had a zucchini bread recipe. Yes, I could have just googled one, but I wanted a recipe that I knew would result in something that tasted good. Below is her tried and true zucchini bread recipe.

Zucchini Bread

3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini (I used a box grater to do this.)
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix first 5 ingredients together in a bowl and set aside. Combine the eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar in a large bowl. Carefully add the flour mixture into the large bowl with the eggs etc. Mix well. Stir in the zucchini and walnuts.

Grease and flour two 8 x 4 inch bread pans. (I used butter Crisco to grease my pans.) Pour the batter evenly into the pans. Bake for 40 to 60 minutes or until the tester comes out clean. Cool on a rack in the pans for 20 minutes, then remove from the pans and cool completely.

Makes 2 loaves

Friday, August 12, 2016

This I know for sure...

Being in a cast from my knee to my toes wasn't how I planned to spend this summer. Add in the unbearable high heat and humidity we've experienced at least two to three days out of every week and it makes it even more uncomfortable. We usually have nine days of temperatures 90 degrees or higher each summer. This year we've had twenty-one days with the possibility of it reaching 90 tomorrow and we still have almost three weeks of August left.

I try not to complain too much about how sweaty my foot and leg feels inside the cast, how itchy it can get, and how hard it is to do even the simplest things. After all, there are people dealing with much worse physical issues than the discomfort of a cast for eight weeks or so.

One thing that I'm having a hard time dealing with is being cooped up in the house day after day. It's a challenge for me to go up a flight of stairs so I've been stuck in the house since my surgery about a month ago with the exception of two post-op appointments. We're having all these beautiful summer days and I am only experiencing them from my living room window.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My current WIP (work in progress):  Started working on revisions again this past Monday. Going to work hard to try and have them done by Labor Day.

Quote of the Week: "Every time you set your mind to something and then you do it, you remind yourself of the power you have over what you do, think, and feel." ~ Jane McGonigal

What I'm reading: I just started reading Fatal Frenzy, the 9th book in Marie Force's Fatal series. 
 
Random things: I've staying up until midnight or so watching the Olympics. Even though I'm currently out of work recovering from ankle reconstruction surgery, I still get up at 6:00am every morning. I'm finding that I either I need to start sleeping a little later or I need to go to bed earlier because I've fallen asleep in the afternoon for the last 4 days. 

Random Photo of the Week:


                    I've been feeling a bit like this early morning visitor lately.