Friday, March 24, 2017

This I know for sure...

We had a windstorm with 81mph hour winds on March 8th that resulted in both my home and place of work losing electricity and heat for 4 days at home and for 5 days at work. Then the very next week, we were hit with winter storm Stella who dumped about 27 inches of snow with drifts up to 5 feet deep.

While we were without heat and electricity, I didn't do any writing. It's hard to write when you're freezing or trying to see by candle light. Once my brother got his power back, we packed up the cats and went to stay with him until we got ours back. I learned it's very hard to write when you're at someone else's home. It also didn't occur to me to pack the laptop to take to his house. I was too worried about forgetting something we needed for ourselves or the cats. My brother doesn't have any pets so I had to pack up a litter box to take as well. The Monday we had power at home, but not at the day job, I spent the day going through the 700 emails that had built up while I was without internet access.

I did have a snow day last Wednesday when Stella was doing her worst. I spent that day shoveling out my car, front porch, sidewalk, and driveway. Our plow person only plows from behind your car to the end of the driveway, so I had to shovel enough to be able to get into the car and in front of it to be able to move it when he did show up. I also helped my sister shovel out her car.

Since all of that happened, I've had zero motivation to do any writing. I've also been working extra hours at the day job trying to get everything that piled up while the office was without power and our snow day taken care of. When I get home, instead of putting in my writing time, I've been watching taped TV programs or reading or visiting with my mom.

I need to find a way to get back in the groove.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My current WIP (work in progress): I didn't make any progress last week. I spent a lot of time shoveling snow. We received 28 inches over a 36 hour period. I also worked extra hours a couple of days. Hope to get back on track this week.

Quote of the Week:  “There is in this world no such force as the force of a person determined to rise.” ~ W.E.B. DuBois

What I'm reading: The Shark by Mary Burton. I picked it up on a whim the last time I was at Barnes and Noble. 

Random Thoughts: Given the 81 mph winds we had two weeks ago and then winter storm Stella last week, I'm ready for some normal weather. Spring is usually a period of unsettled weather in my area. I'm hoping Mother Nature has already gotten it all out of her system.

Random Photo of the Week:

                                   My neighbor's car during winter storm Stella.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Happy St. Patrick's Day

                                                        Happy St. Patrick's Day

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My current WIP (work in progress):  I didn't get as much done as I'd hoped. We lost electricity and heat in the middle of the day on Wednesday and didn't get it back until late Sunday. Without any electricity, I couldn't do any writing. The battery on my laptop needs to be replaced. It only holds enough power for about 10 minutes.

Quote of the Week: “The bottom line is that you have to persist, or you will fail. Do what you have to do to get to the next part of your story.” ~Unknown

What I'm reading: Lady Claire Is All That by Maya Rodale. 

Random Thoughts: Having been without electricity and heat for a few days, I never realized how hard it is to go without those things. Trying to read by candle light is difficult. I can't imagine having to do it on a regular basis. And trying to keep warm...Let's just say I am glad I have modern conveniences.

Random Photo of the Week:

                          Somebody trying to keep warm during the windstorm.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Electrical Outage

Sorry for the lack of posts for the last few days. We lost our electricity and heat Wednesday afternoon due to a windstorm. A huge tree three houses down from ours was taken down by the wind and it pulled all the wires that were attached to the utility pole in the corner of my backyard down with it. When the temperature in the house got down to 46 degrees, we packed up the cats and went to stay with my brother in a neighboring town.

The utility company finally got everything back up and running late yesterday. With trying to clean out the spoiled food from the refrigerator and defrosted food from the stand alone freezer in the basement, I completely forgot to post something today.

Now, we're bracing for a winter storm that's forecasted to bring up to 18 inches of snow. I can't wait for summer.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My current WIP (work in progress): I have approximately 70 more pages to revise and I'll be done! I hope to finish this week but if not, I'll definitely be done by the end of next week.

Quote of the Week: “Save your wishes and rituals for later because right now good luck and hard work are one and the same. Know your intention, put in the focused time, and you will receive your due.” ~Unknown

What I'm reading: Kill Without Mercy by Alexandra Ivy. This is the first book in the ARES Security series.

Random Thoughts: This is the first year in a while that I hadn't seen the majority of the movies that were nominated for the Best Picture category for the Academy Awards. The funny thing is I don't have a burning need to see them either. Usually I try to see any I might have missed after the awards show has aired.

Random Photo of the Week:

                        Not really a photo, but how I've been feeling lately. :o)

Monday, March 6, 2017

It's Always Time For A Cookie

I went to a friend's home this past weekend. While I was there she served amazing chocolate mint filled cookies. I of course begged for the recipe. She jotted it down for me and I thought I'd share it with you. (I did get permission from her to post the recipe.)

Chocolate Mint Filled Cookies

1 cup sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
*49 chocolate sandwich mints (She used Andes Candies.)

Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, butter, egg, and vanilla. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add flour, baking powder and salt. Beat at low speed until a soft dough forms.

Divide dough in half. On a well floured surface, roll half of dough into a 13-by-9-inch rectangle. Arrange the mints evenly on dough, forming seven rows with seven mints across. Roll the remaining dough set aside earlier between two sheets of wax paper into a 13-by-9-inch rectangle. Discard the top sheet of wax paper. Carefully turn the dough over and place the rectangle over the bottom layer of dough with the mints on it lining up the edges as best as possible. Remove remaining sheet of wax paper.

Using a sharp knife (my friend prefers to use a serrated bread knife), cut the sandwiched dough evenly between the mints. Gently press all of the edges of each square/rectangle to seal. Place cookies 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 9 to 12 minutes, or until the edges are light golden brown. Cool cookies completely before placing in a storage container.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

*I think the Andes Candies Cherry Jubilee or Toffee Crunch thins would work really well in this recipe too. I'll have to try the variations and let you know.

Friday, March 3, 2017

This I know for sure...

I am eagerly anticipating the release of the live action version of Beauty and the Beast on March 17th. The Disney cartoon version is one of my favorite movies of all time. I could watch it every day and not tire of it.

I'm not sure if it's because I identify with Belle and her love of reading and how people think she's strange because she'd rather read than do most anything else or if it's because she dreams of more than "the provincial life" she's leading at the beginning of the movie.

Or maybe I like it so much because it appeals to the hopeless romantic in me. I'm not sure, but I'm hoping the newest version is as good as, if not better, than the old one.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Please Welcome My Guest

Please welcome my guest, Dena Garson. Dena is an award winning author of contemporary, paranormal, fantasy, and sci-fi romance. She holds a BBA and a MBA in Business and works in the wacky world of quality and process improvement. Making up her own reality on paper is what keeps her sane. She is the mother of two rowdy boys, two rambunctious cats (AKA the fuzzy jerks), and a loving Labrador. When she isn't writing you can find her at her at the sewing machine or stringing beads. She is also a devoted Whovian and Dallas Cowboys fan.

Tell us something about yourself both writing and not writing related.

Writing related: I was fortunate to have been mentored by the late Ms. Peggy Fielding when I first started writing. She was a local author, teacher, mentor and all around sassy old lady. She taught me the basics of writing a synopsis, formatting your manuscript, and editing your work. She encouraged me and built my confidence enabling me to submit to publishers. I hope I’m half as spunky as her when I’m 80!

Not writing related:  I collect rubber ducks. My collection fills up the rim of my tub and well as the window ledge above it.

Ms. Fielding sounds like she was an amazing lady. Do you have a writing routine?  Where do you usually do your writing?

No, I can’t say I have a writing routine. Between my day job and my family, I have to make time to write and handle all the author business that goes along with it. Most of the time I curl up on the couch with my laptop and write while the kids do homework or play video games.

Why do you write in the genre/sub-genre that you do? Any plans in the future to write in a different one?

I write in the romance genre – multiple sub-genres – because that’s what I read. So far I have written several contemporary, paranormal, a fantasy, and a sci-fi romance. My latest is a blend of historical and paranormal. And yes, I probably will write something different in the future. I have an idea for a historical that’s been sitting idle for several years. One day it will be finished!

How do you stay motivated when writer’s block hits or your muse won’t cooperate?

Usually I can do something else creative, like make jewelry or sew something, or allow myself a break and read. If I’m under a deadline I will do what I can and get through the scene then come back and edit when my muse if more cooperative.

I try to do other creative things as well. I find that if I can think about the story while doing something else, it sometimes helps me figure out whatever it is that I'm having trouble with. What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever done in the name of research?

Well, I don’t know about it being strange, but while I was writing Ghostly Persuasion, I had a friend ask me whether or not men in Ireland in my hero’s original time period would have been circumcised. *blink, blink* I had no idea! So, because I didn’t know the answer and, well… I’m a curious sort of gal, I had to make a short detour to find out. Um… just so you know there is an alarming amount of information on that subject on the internet. Pictures included. The result was my decision to just avoid mention of that detail in my book. And to close my ears when my friend brings up weird questions like that in the future.

*laugh* She sounds like an interesting friend. What’s the best writing advice you were ever given?
“Give yourself permission to write crap.” That came from Candice Havens. It helped me get over the issues I had (and still have) with my inner editor.

Great advice. What do you like to do in your leisure time?

Sleep!  LOL – just kidding. Actually, when I have true free time I like to read or make beaded jewelry.

Tell us about your current release in a couple of sentences.

A warrior hunts his cousin’s murderer but finds love in the form of a gifted Spirit Talker from another tribe.

Can you tell us a little about your next project?

My next project is a Steampunk romance (novella) that I hope to have included in a multi-author Gothic/Steampunk anthology/box set later this year. I’ve been wanting to write a Steampunk romance just hadn’t stopped to put together a story idea for one. Now I have an excuse!

Anything else you’d like to share?

I doing several giveaways to celebrate the release of When Ash Remains. Anyone is welcome to enter by linking over to Rafflecopter:

When Ash Remains
By Dena Garson
A paranormal, Native American, historical romance
Release Date:  March 2, 2017
Available for Presale:  Feb. 12, 2017


A warrior with a mission
There isn’t a buffalo or deer that Kajika cannot take down. So when his cousin is slaughtered he relishes the chance to track down the killer. The trail leads him to a woman with gifts he has trouble believing in. Despite their differences he cannot fight his instinct to protect her from all threats – even those he cannot see. That drive even rivals his desire to explore every inch of her body.

A woman with a destiny
Knowing the spirits will protect her, Ahyoka allows the handsome warrior to take her to be questioned by his chief about the unexplained deaths in their village. He may not believe in her abilities but he is one of the few who doesn’t treat her like something to be feared or shunned. He awakens feelings that make her yearn for things she thought she’d never have. Her biggest fear is that once he learns the full extent of her gifts he will reject her like most of her tribe did.

A killer twisted by hurt and anger
Kajika and Ahyoka must work together to find the one responsible for the string of deaths in and around their villages. Faith, trust, and even a little bit of love will be needed to defeat the killer and right the wrongs committed in the pursuit of power and revenge.

Copyright @DENA GARSON 2017

Awake Spirit Talker.
A man.
He watches.
A man.
He comes.
A man.
He hunts.
Ahyoka listened to the sounds of the spirits around her. Even without their warning, she would have sensed the presence in the shadows.
She rolled to her side and looked to where she knew he crouched. The darkness hid his features from her eyes, but his spirit radiated from the fire that burned within him. Never before had she met someone with such a potent life force.
Even her brother’s wasn’t as intense as this man’s, and her family descended from a line of powerful shamans.
Did he mean her harm? Or was he just passing through?
Without taking her eyes off the place where he hid, she groped behind her for the knife she had been using before she dozed off. The apples she ate sat heavy in her belly as she contemplated whether she should run or just face whoever it was.
The crunch of leaves from her left drew her attention. No sooner had her vision shifted than a blur from the place the man had hid raced toward her. She rolled as her father had taught her to do in order to minimize the impact of the assault. At the same time, she pulled her knife and tried to put it between her and her attacker. The man grabbed her wrist and pinned it to the ground, rendering her weapon useless.
Her heart pounded in her chest and a roar sounded in her ears. Who was this man?
She fought to free herself from his hold but found he outmatched her in size, speed, and strength. In an alarmingly short span of time, she found herself pinned beneath one of the most handsome men she had ever seen. She pushed aside her shock and renewed her efforts. “Get off of me!” Even the attractiveness of his face didn’t deter her from ramming her head into his nose.
He loosened his grip on her and covered his face as he mumbled some expletive.
She used this distraction to her advantage and bucked him to one side so she could wiggle free. Before she could get to her feet and scamper away, he grabbed her by the ankle.
“Let go!” She kicked at his hand with her other foot, trying to break his hold.
As she struggled with the warrior, two more men appeared from out of the surrounding trees. “Do you need help, Kajika?” the taller of the two men asked. The laughter in his tone suggested their struggle amused him.
Ahyoka renewed her efforts to break free of the first man’s grip. “Who are you and what do you want?”
The warrior kept his hold of her even as he climbed to his feet. “Who are you and what were you doing in our village?”
Ahyoka stopped struggling. “In your village? What village?”
“Don’t play dumb with me. We tracked you here.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” She pointed to the bank just behind them. “I’ve been following the river all day. I stopped to rest when I realized how far I’d come. Where is your village?”
Now that he had released her, she could see the rest of the man who had interrupted her peace and quiet. Her eyes traveled up the length of his legs. She skimmed over the short deer skin he wore about his waist and tried not to speculate about what might be hidden beneath. His bow hung across his broad chest, making her wonder how he managed to squeeze into such a narrow span. Every line of his chest and belly could be seen clearly. If she wanted, she could count each one even from where she sat.
Something stirred within her and made her heart skip a beat. That same something counteracted her impulse to escape.
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