Monday, May 30, 2016

Happy Memorial Day!

Please take a moment to remember the members of our military, past and present, 
as you celebrate the Memorial Day holiday.

Friday, May 27, 2016

This I know for sure...

I'm going to the library with my mom this afternoon when I get out of work. I look forward to our library outings for one special reason.

It's time I spend with my mom, just the two of us, where we browse the library shelves to our hearts' content. We tell each other "oh, you should read this book/author/series" when we discover a favorite on a shelf. Sometimes, we'll do dinner afterward or stop and pick up a treat to have while cracking open that first borrowed book.

I always come home with more books than I can possibly read in three weeks (our local library's lending time period), but I always find at least two or three books that I just can't leave on the shelf. Thank goodness for their online renewal system. :o)

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My current WIP (work in progress): I met with my critique partner Monday after a short hiatus as she recovered from surgery. I didn't realize how much I missed our meetings. I left feeling inspired and that I can get back on track.

Quote of the Week:  “You are the guardian of your joy. Don’t let anyone take it from you, and especially don’t let it slip through your fingers while you’re paying attention to other things.”~ Unknown

What I'm reading:  Nobody But You by Jill Shalvis. This is the 3rd book in the Cedar Ridge series.

Random things:  I think I mentioned a few posts ago that I'm trying container gardening again this year. It's just a few things. The last time I tried, I lost most everything that grew to squirrels. Right now, I just have seedlings started so I haven't put them outside yet. Instead of having to fight the squirrels, I'm having a hard time keeping our kitten out of them. He keeps pulling the plants out of the dirt and leaving them next to the pots. 

Random Photo of the Week:

                                               Somebody enjoying the sun.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Secondary Characters

I recently ran across an article about secondary characters I'd saved for future reference. It seems serendipitous since I'm having a problem with a secondary character in one of my manuscripts. The article gave tips on how to make minor or secondary characters come alive so they didn't come across as two dimensional.

I have the exact opposite problem. My character came to me fully formed, popping into my head one night when I was unable to sleep and had spent the last hour or more staring at the ceiling in the dark. He told me his backstory, how he met and became friends with the main character (MC), and why he needed to be included in the MC's story. The problem is that he keeps showing up on the page and hijacking the scenes he's in. I'm fighting like crazy to keep him from taking over the book.

This isn't the first time this has happened to me. When I wrote my short story, The Muse, I planned on having a minor secondary character who helped the heroine. Not sure how this character was going to interact with the heroine, I just started writing. Well, that secondary character flowed out of my fingers onto the page like a genie escaping his lamp. He told me his name was Lazarus and that he was the heroine's protector. Soon he was pushing his way into scenes he didn't belong, and taking over those he needed to be present in. I reined him in as best as I could and as soon as I finished the short story, I wrote Lazarus' story, An Unexpected Gift.

I find the best way to deal with a secondary character that starts running away with the story is to open a new word document and record whatever he or she does and says that doesn't fit the particular scene I'm trying to write. I save the document as a separate file and label it with the character's name. This allows me to focus on the main character(s) in the current manuscript while not losing all the "good" stuff relating to the secondary character. If I seem to be putting a lot of stuff in this file, then I start thinking about giving the character his/her own story.

Friday, May 20, 2016

This I know for sure...

I am so glad today is Friday. It's been a terrible week all the way around from things happening at the day job to some small things happening at home. I'm beyond happy that the end of it has finally arrived. Although I suppose I am jumping the gun a bit by saying the end is here since it's only 6:30 in the morning and the work day hasn't started yet. I'm definitely looking forward to the end of day and the start of the weekend.

Here's hoping next week will be better than this one was.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My current WIP (work in progress): Sadly between hospital visits to my uncle, doctor and eye appointments for my mom, and a much needed trip to the library to help me out of the funk I seem to be in, I only managed two pages of progress last week. I'm hoping for a better week this week.

Quote of the Week: “You will never change your life until you change something you do daily.” ~ Mike Murdock

What I'm reading:  Darkness by Karen Robards. If you like romantic suspense novels, Ms. Robards is a must read.

Random things: My nephew's wedding is in a few days. His soon-to-be wife is a warm and caring young woman who immediately became a member of the family almost as soon as we met her. I'm so glad they found their happiness in each other.

Random Photo of the Week:

Here is one of the flowers that's in a bouquet my nephew gave my mom for Mother's Day. It looks like a flower from the Addam's Family.


Monday, May 16, 2016

You Write What?

I recently ran into a old friend I hadn't seen in a few years at a local festival. She was with two other women I didn't know. When she introduced me, she included the fact that I'm a writer. One of the women asked what I wrote. Not giving it a second thought, I said I'd had 2 historical romance novels published but was currently working on a contemporary romance series. The two women looked at each other and laughed. One said, "oh those smutty 50 Shades of Gray type books." The other said, "I guess it is hard to get a real book published so romance novels are a good fall back plan."

I smiled and said nothing. I should have said this:
  •  Romance novels are the most economically successful book type in the fiction genre.
  • They outsell mystery, science fiction, fantasy, and horror novels every year.
  • Per the Romance Writers of America, the romance genre and its sub-genres have over 30 million dedicated readers.
  • Romance novels regularly appear on the bestseller lists.
  • In 2013 (the latest year statistics are available) romance novels had an estimated total sales of $1.08 billion. (Source: BookStats).  Yes, that is billion.
I guess being brought up with the rule to always be polite does have its drawbacks.  My mom also always says, "you can't fight ignorance. It's a losing battle."

Friday, May 13, 2016

This I know for sure...

Today is Friday the 13th. (Cue the scary music.)

Are you a person who tries to avoid doing anything that isn't absolutely necessary on Friday the 13th so as not to tempt bad luck?

I don't consider myself superstitious. I do own a black cat after all. But while I don't worry about bad luck on Friday the 13th, I do have a ritual I must  do every time before I leave the house for any length of time. No, it's not checking that the stove or iron is turned off. I have to kiss my cat on the head for good luck before I leave. Luckily he's learned the routine and runs to wait by the back door when he sees me pick up my keys.

About a year ago, I was running late and figured it would be okay to skip giving him his kiss. I left the house with my mom in the car and we were hit by a person who went through a stop sign. My mom only suffered a bruised elbow (thank goodness), but I had to be transported to the hospital with a leg injury.

Guess what I always do now no matter how late I might be. Yep, kiss the cat's head.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My current WIP (work in progress): I decided I hated what little of the synopsis I'd written so I scrapped it all. I'll be starting fresh this week.

Quote of the Week: “There are things you could be doing better, and in time you’ll get to that the place you want to be. But for now, celebrate where you’re at.” ~ Unknown

What I'm reading: The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean. This is the first book in Ms. MacLean's Scandal & Scoundrel series. I'm loving this book. I stayed up way too late last night reading it.

Random things:  I went to our local farmers' market over the past weekend and bought way too many flowers. I spent Saturday afternoon planting them into the garden.

Random Photo of the Week:

                                      Here are some of the flowers I purchased. 
                                        I've planted them into a hanging planter.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Cake for Monday

I was going through an old handwritten cookbook of my grandmother's and found a cake recipe that sounded easy to make and great tasting. I made it yesterday and it turned out really well. I had some reservations because nothing was mixed together like you would normally do when making a cake from scratch.

Here's the recipe so you can try it too:

Applesauce No Stir Cake

1 15oz jar applesauce (I used regular applesauce because I couldn't find unsweetened and the recipe doesn't specify if it should be sweetened or not.)
1 20oz can of crushed pineapple (I used Dole brand)
1 cup of melted butter (I used margarine because I didn't have any butter)
1 package yellow cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)
1 container Cool Whip

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray. (I used Pam's butter spray.) Pour the applesauce into the pan and give it a gentle shake to spread it out over the bottom of the pan. Next pour in the pineapple including the juice. I tried to pour it so that it was evenly distributed over the applesauce. Spread the yellow cake mix on top of the pineapple. I also tried to pour this so it was evenly distributed.

Melt the butter/margarine and pour over the top of cake mix. DO NOT STIR the mixture. Bake for 1 hour or until cake is done. Let cake cool completely. Frost with the Cool Whip and serve.

Friday, May 6, 2016

This I know for sure...

My favorite snack of choice is homemade cookies. I'll eat store bought cookies now and then, but homemade ones...I can't resist them. Needless to say, I don't make them very often because I eat more than my fair share.

I saw the new iPhone 6s commercial with Cookie Monster on TV the other day. I thought it was great mainly because I'm just like Cookie Monster, impatiently waiting for the cookies to cook so I can eat them. My sister even asked me if I'd seen it and if it reminded me of anyone. Here's a link to the commercial if you haven't seen it. iPhone 6s Cookie Monster Commercial

Do you have a favorite snack that you can't resist?

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My current WIP (work in progress): Still working on revisions. I've also started writing the synopsis for this manuscript.

Quote of the Week: “There is no substitute for putting in the time. Sheer hard work can help you shatter your goals.” ~ Adrienne Lofton

What I'm reading: Be Afraid by Mary Burton. I'm reading it on the recommendation of my mom.

Random things: I want to plant a couple of raspberry bushes along the fence on the side of our yard but I'm not sure if the soil will support their growth. Someone told me you can grow them in giant pots. I'm not sure if that would work so I'm going to do some internet research on it.

Random Photo of the Week:

                                     A hawk sitting on the neighbor's porch roof. 
                                We don't usually see hawks in our neighborhood.