December 30, 2008

Wednesday's Chow: Southern Black-eyed Peas

Note: I really didn’t like black-eyed peas, but as it’s a southern New Year’s Day tradition to eat them for good luck, I tried this recipe I found in a local newspaper. It’s delicious and tastes nothing like those canned peas I grew up with.

Southern Blacked-eyed Peas

1 1-pound pkg dried black-eyed peas
2 quarts water
1 onion, chopped
¼ green pepper, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
Ham bone, piece of salt pork or
Several slices of bacon

Wash the peas; soak overnight or at least five hours in fresh, cold water. Drain off soaking water; put peas in a large pot containing at least 2 quarts of fresh water. Add onions, green pepper, celery and ham bone or bacon. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook about 2 hours or until peas are tender to mash easily. Add water as needed while cooking.

Serve will freshly cooked rice and cornbread.

Anna Kathryn Lanier
www.aklanier.com
A COWBOY'S DREAM - Top Ten Best Seller

December 28, 2008

It's That Time Again!

That's right, it's that time again. You know, that time that we all decide to suck it up and determine we're going to do all those things we've ignored all of the last year. We're going to get healthy, get rich, get motivated, get a clue. All those things. It's tradition. Wimping out is not accepted. A new year is calling our name so we try and figure out how to make it different from the last year. Well, I've thought about how I want to do that and I've come up with a slogan. Rock the New Year with Romance. That's Romance with a capital R. I"m going to put on my rose-colored glasses, break with my cynical uber-feminist side and watch the world around me for signs of love. Of the real thing. Romance with a capital R. It's out there if we look. That old guy sitting on the bench in the mall waiting for his wife to finish shopping. Teenage girls giggling and whispering as they watch the hottest thing in high school walk by with his buddies. The young couple linked hand to hand by their children walking in between them. Romance comes in all ages, sizes and dimensions. All of us can do it. All of us need a bit of it in our lives. So don't think, hey, she's a romance writer, of course she looks for romance. Instead, take a look around you and see what's blooming right beside you. You never know when Mr. or Ms. Right will walk your way and if you're not looking, well then, you could miss all Romance has for you. Or, if your right one is already walking beside you, spark something new this year. That's what we romance writers live for. Think of us as the "idea" people. We don't think this stuff up just for you to read it. Start living Romance and see what changes for you. Pick up a romance novel to spark some new ideas for your New Year. Like, say, The Prize, by Debra Doggett (yours truly!). Take a peek at The Prize on my website, www.debradoggett.com. Or you can go ahead and order a copy in print or ebook at www.thewildrosepress.com. Just a thought.

December 24, 2008

Wednesday's Chow - Ham and Cabbage Skillet Dinner

Here's a good recipe for that left over Christmas Ham. We really enjoy having this. Fix some dinner rolls to go with it and you have a warm, wintry dinner.

Ham and Cabbage Skillet Meal

3 quarts boiling water
1 teaspoon salt
8 oz. medium egg noodles
½ pound cooked ham
1 cup chopped onions
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 small head of cabbage, sliced then
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons butter
black pepper

Add salt to rapidly boiling water. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain.

In a large skillet, sauté onions in oil until tender. Add ham and cabbage. Cook, covered, 10 minutes or until cabbage is just tender, stirring occasionally. Combine sugar and vinegar in small bowl; add to skillet. Add noodles and butter. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4 or more.

Anna Kathryn
www.aklanier.com

December 23, 2008

December 21, 2008

To Rescue or Not to Rescue...that is the question.

By Teri Wilson, Author of Do You Hear What I Hear?, Hoofbeats & Heartstrings Book One.

Finally the astonished prince came to an inner chamber, where was the fairest sight his eyes had ever beheld. A young girl of wonderful beauty lay asleep on an embroidered bed, and she looked as if she had only just closed her eyes. Trembling, the prince approached and knelt beside her. Some say he kissed her, but as nobody saw it, and she never told, we cannot be quite sure of the fact. However, as the end of the enchantment had come, the princess awakened at once, and looking at him with eyes of the tenderest regard, said drowsily, “Is it you, my prince? I have waited for you very long.”

The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood from “The Fairy Book” by Miss Mullock

Sigh…

I’ll be the first to admit it. This scene, in all its various versions, makes me swoon. I even have the song Someday My Prince Will Come on my I Pod. (Give me break, okay. I bought the CD while I was at Disneyworld in a fit of Disney-esque nostalgia.)

I know it’s old fashioned – this antiquated notion of the Prince coming along to rescue the Princess. Nowadays there is a strong trend toward the modern romantic heroine. Many readers prefer a heroine who can kick some butt and take names. She doesn’t need rescuing. In fact, sometimes she does the rescuing herself. Remember the positively adorable movie Enchanted, starring Amy Adams and Patrick “McDreamy” Dempsey? At the beginning, Amy’s character is rescued by the handsome (albeit animated) Prince. Near the end, she rescues Patrick Dempsey from the evil queen herself. And that’s all in the same story.

Anyone who has read my own blog knows that I’m a big fan of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series. Recently, I was urging one of my writer friends to read the first book, Twilight. My friend said she didn’t want to read it because she’d heard the lead female character was wimpy. While I have reason to argue with this statement (After all, she hangs around with a bunch of vampires. How wimpy can she be?), I also wondered what was so wrong about a heroine who needed to be rescued. I’m not talking about real life. I’m strictly referring to romance novels. We all love these books because they’re about our fantasies, the most perfect, happy endings we can imagine. Sometimes it’s okay to want to be rescued, or awakened, by the handsome Prince. Or vampire, or cowboy, whatever you prefer.

In my new Hoofbeats & Heartstrings series from The Wild Rose Press, I really explore the theme of rescue from all angles. All the books take place on a horse rescue farm and all the lead characters are involved in rescuing unwanted animals in one way or another. The best part is, as the hero and heroine come together, their unique talents and abilities mesh collectively in such a way that they can accomplish more than they ever thought possible. Their love makes them stronger, both as a couple and as individuals. True love rescues them both, and a whole slew of horses and dogs too!

And now, back to Sleeping Beauty for a moment. It wasn’t until I started working on this blog that I realized I have two Sleeping Beauty moments of my own in my two most recent books. Honestly, I had no idea. It was strictly a subconscious writer thing. I guess you can take the girl out of the fairy tale, but you just can’t take the fairy tale out of the girl. You’ve got to take a peek at these two very short excerpts. I think you’ll be both surprised and amused.

From Love, Lilies & the Unbroken Straw, Hoofbeats & Heartstrings Book Two (releasing in March from The Wild Rose Press):

Declan gathered the daisy chains and draped them on his arm while he looked down at Christabel’s serene form on the sleeping bags. If they were married, or even engaged, he would have bent down and wakened her with a kiss. Felt her body rouse to life beneath him.

Maybe someday. His heart stirred with hope. Maybe someday soon.

Pretty traditional as far as the Sleeping Beauty theme goes. Right? Now, check out the next one.

From Cup of Joe (manuscript still in progress, nearly complete!):

Goldie supposed she really should wake him. That was her intention when she leaned toward him. But as the distance between them closed, her heart beat faster and more furious. She was honestly stunned that he couldn’t hear it, that it didn’t wake him with a start.

When she was close enough to whisper in his ear, she said simply, “Joe.”

He didn’t move. A lock of his chocolate hair rippled under her breath, but he remained perfectly still. Sitting this close to him, Goldie noticed for the first time the impossible length of his dark eyelashes. With her gaze, she traced his strong jaw line and the gentle curve of his bottom lip and had the sudden urge to wake him, not with a whisper, but with a kiss.

Ha! Sleeping Beauty in reverse. How do you like that?

Okay, I can’t leave you without a little morsel from Do You Hear What I Hear? This book is the first in the Hoofbeats & Heartstrings series and is out now. And you can win a free download of the book here! All you need to do is leave a comment on this blog entry and you’ll be entered in the drawing to win. Good luck and happy reading!

Now get a glimpse at Chet and his feelings for Simone. He doesn’t want to rescue her, but to take refuge in their love. This is a hero who really gets it.

From Do You Hear What I Hear?, Hoofbeats & Heartstrings Book One (available now from The Wild Rose Press and Fictionwise, print release in February 2009):

Chet’s temples throbbed. It had been a long night. They had decided to drive straight back to San Antonio instead of stopping for the night. The horses needed to be settled into a safe environment as quickly as possible. Plus, if they arrived under the cover of darkness, he and Ted could wipe away all evidence of where they had been. Someday they might tell Elizabeth and Simone about their rescue mission, but not now. Or anytime soon. The memory of the grisly slaughterhouse was too fresh in their minds and both men were eager to put it to rest. Besides, as Ted had mentioned more than once, Elizabeth would have thrown a fit. Mexico. Bribes. Carrying wads of cash. They weren’t the ingredients for safe travel.

Although weary to the bone, once Chet was back on the farm he was keenly aware of Simone’s presence on the family land. His gaze traveled to his little cottage, dark, quiet and unassuming. To anyone else it looked the same as it always did. But he knew she was inside, her head resting on his pillow. Her long legs tangled in his sheets. What he wouldn’t give to step right out of the truck, strip the bloody, grimy clothes off his back and crawl into bed next to her. Take comfort in her warmth, rest his head on her breast and forget all about the places he had been.

“Bro, what are you waiting for?”

Ted’s voice drug him away from his fantasy and he found himself back in the truck instead of in bed wrapped around Simone.

He cleared his throat, dry and scratchy from a night without sleep. “Let’s get to it.”

Thanks Anna, for having me here today. It was a blast.

To learn more about me, or the Hoofbeats & Heartstrings series, come visit me at http://www.teriwilson.net/.

Blessings, Teri

Teri Wilson ~ Romancing the pet lover's soul


December 19, 2008

December 22nd's Guest Blogger - Teri Wilson

Come on over on Monday, December 22nd and meet author Teri Wilson. She'll discuss "Rescue" as a theme in Romance Novels:

Ever since Prince Charming slayed the dragon and woke Sleeping Beauty with a kiss, romantic heroes have been coming to our rescue. Not so much lately, as more and more readers seem to prefer the heroine who can not only kick butt, but also rescue her own Prince Charming. Which do you prefer – fluttering your eyes open to the feel of your Prince’s lips drawing you out of your slumber, or holding your own against the very real dragons of this world? Or perhaps there’s room in modern romance for a middle ground. Maybe it’s time for true love to rescue us all.

Leave a comment and be eligible for a copy of her new story "Do You Hear What I Hear?"


Teri Wilson ~ Romancing the pet lover's soul
"Do You Hear What I Hear?", Book One of Hoofbeats & Heartstrings
Read a book, fall in love, save a horse!
http://www.teriwilson.net/

The Friday Record - A Christmas Carol



On December 19, 1843, one of the holiday's most recognized stories was born – Charles Dickens released his novel “A Christmas Carol.” Taking only a few weeks to write the story, Dickens then self-published it. He ordered lavish binding, gilt edging and hand-colored illustrations. He then set a low price for the book so people could afford it. While this helped sell out his first run print of 6,000 copies, it was not very profitable for Dickens.





A Christmas Story tells of a miserly soul, Ebenezer Scrooge, a man who hates Christmas and forces his sour opinion of it onto everyone else. On Christmas Eve night, he is visited by four ghosts, including that of his old partner, who has been sent to warn him to change his ways. The other ghosts are Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Future. The ghosts help to open Scrooge's eyes to the true meaning of Christmas and do, as Marley wished, change his ways.

Several movies have been made of A Christmas Carol, I believe my favorite is the one with George C. Scott as Scrooge. Though Capt. Picard, aka Patrick Steward, also does a nice presentation of Scrooge.

So, if you have a chance in the next few days, treat yourself either to a reading of A Christmas Carol, or to a viewing of one of the many movies made of it.



The drawings are of the original prints ordered by Dickens. The colored prints were the largest expense of the book and accounted for the low profits he made.

Merry Christmas, and God bless us everyone!

Anna Kathryn Lanier
http://www.alanier.com/

December 18, 2008

Christmas Carol Blog Train

Merry Christmas! Welcome to my stop on the Christmas Carol Blog Train. I hope you enjoy your visit. I'll be giving way several prizes during the day, so be sure and leave a comment. The prizes will include copies of my two Christmas stories: A COWBOY'S DREAM, just released yesterday and THE PRICELESS GIFT, a November 2007 release. Below is an excerpt from A COWBOY'S DREAM. It has the title of my song in it. Have fun and good luck.

Marcus stared at her hand a moment, then cleared his throat. Raising his gaze to her face, he smiled. “So, how are you going to celebrate?”
“Celebrate? Oh, I hadn’t thought about it.” Leah glanced around the kitchen. She hadn’t shopped in over a week. When on a deadline, fast food worked best. She lifted her hands palm-up and frowned. “I don’t have a beer, let alone a wine cooler.”
He went slack-jawed. “You don’t have a beer?”
“No, not even a light beer. Though I might have some tequila about.” She glanced toward a cabinet near her bare Christmas tree, then back.
He stared, squint-eyed, at her Christmas tree. “Expecting elves to decorate for you?”
She came around the counter to stand beside him, then wished she hadn’t. Forget the tequila. His body heat warmed her through the jogging suit and his aftershave intoxicated her. She blew out a slow breath. “No, aside from the fact I’ve been under a deadline, I’m a traditionalist.”
He glanced her way, blue eyes sparkled with curiosity. “A traditionalist?”
“Hmmm, yes. I decorate on Christmas Eve and celebrate the Twelve Days of Christmas, December twenty-sixth through January sixth.”
He leaned a hip against the granite bar. “Do you exchange gifts every day then, too?”
She shrugged. “When I have someone to exchange with.”
“And you won’t this year?”
Great, now she not only appeared to be a waif, she’d sound like one, too. “No. My parents are in Australia doing an archeological dig. They won’t be back until the middle of February. I’m an only child.”
“An archeological dig?”
“Let’s just say I had a very unusual upbringing. I suppose that’s why I enjoy writing historical novels. I’ve been to many of the places I write about in my books.”
“No kidding? That sounds exciting.” He propped an elbow on the bar and leaned toward her. “Growing up on the ranch as I did, I never went anywhere outside Texas until I played ball for college.”
She chuckled. “Not me. By the time I started high school, I had more stamps in my passport than most people have underwear.”
His gaze slid lazily down her body. A hot shiver of desire swept through her at the glimmer of interest in his eyes.
“Well, I know one way to celebrate.”
Had his voice dropped an octave? “Do you now?” Had hers risen one?
He pushed off the counter and stepped toward her. “Hmmm, yes, ma’am. Change into some celebrating clothes and I’ll be back in an hour. I know a great restaurant to celebrate grand slams...as well as book births.”

Holiday recipes:

Here's a copy of recipes that go with my stories. In THE PRICELSS GIFT, Christina loves to bake, and this bread recipe is one of her family's favorites.

In The Priceless Gift, Christina loves to bake at Christmas. One of her favorite recipes to make is Grandma Scott's Pumpkin Bread. I hope you enjoy the recipe as much as she does.

Grandma Scott’s Pumpkin Bread

3 C sugar 1 C oil
4 eggs, beaten 2 C cooked pumpkin (1 16-oz can)
3 ½ C flour 1 tea baking powder
2 tea salt 2 tea baking soda
½ t ground cloves 1 tea ground cinnamon
1 tea ground nutmeg 1 tea ground allspice
¾ C water 1-1 ½ C chopped nuts

Combine sugar, oil and eggs until light and fluffy. Stir in pumpkin.
In another bowl, combine dry ingredients. Stir into pumpkin
mixture. Add water and nuts. Spoon batter into well greased and
floured pans (2-3 depending on size). Bake at 350º for 60-70 minutes.

***NOTE: If you use 1 pound bread pans, you can get 6 loaves....perfect for teacher, neighbor, co-workers or family gifts.

And in A COWBOY'S DREAM, Leah makes Angel's on Horseback for her Christmas Eve party:. That recipe is just a couple of posts below. But here's a recipe for Peanut Butter Balls.

Peanut Butter Balls

1 pound powdered sugar
1 stick butter or margarine
8 ounces peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
12 ounces chocolate chips *
1/2 block paraffin wax *

Mix sugar, melted butter, peanut butter, and vanilla. Roll into balls and place in refrigerator. Melt wax and chocolate chips in double boiler. Dip balls in chocolate and place on wax paper to cool.

*In place of the chocolate chips and paraffin wax, you can use the chocolate candy melts found in hobby stories in the cake decorating area. They work just as well.

Enjoy. And now, for tomorrow's Blog Train stop:

Hywela Lyn at http://hywelalyn.blogspot.com/

Anna Kathryn
www.aklanier.com

P.S. I forgot to tell those who haven't played in the blog train what to do....since November 29th, a different author has hosted the blog train for the day. Each author has a Christmas song listed on their blog. You need to find the songs of all the authors and keep a list of them. On December 24th, the last author will have her song, as well as where to send the list of songs (putting in the comment section of the blogs doesn't help...you need to mail the list in). All those with the correct titles will be in a drawing for a $75 The Wild Rose Gift Certificate. If you've not played yet, no need to worry, just start at Blog No. 1 and follow the links until you reach me. Then you'll have the list of titles. Start with: http://plparker.blogspot.com/

Good luck!

December 17, 2008

I'm Blogging, but YOU can Win

Join me as I blog with Paty Jager today. I'm discussing my two Christmas stories, last year's "The Priceless Gift" and today's release "A Cowboy's Dream." Also, if you a comment, you'll be eligible to win one of the two stories that I'll give away today.

Paty Jager

And tomorrow, I'll be blogging as part of the Christmas Carol Blog Train. So, stop by and get the title of my Christmas Carol. Then if you haven't been participating, you can backtrack and get the list of all the Carols, so you can enter to win a $75 The Wild Rose Press gift certificate. Plus, I'll be giving away prizes ALL DAY to those who leave comments. http://annakathrynlanier.blogspot.com/

Anna Kathryn Lanier
A COWBOY'S DREAM - Out Now
Compelling, Sensual Tales of Love and Forgiveness
www.aklanier.com

December 16, 2008

Wednesday's Chow - Angels on Horseback

In A COWBOY'S DREAM, Leah hosts an annual Christmas Eve party for her friends, who help her decorate her house for the Twelve Days of Christmas. As part of the buffet, she serves Angels on Horseback. I really like these, though it's been years since I had any. I hope to change that this Christmas!


Ingredients
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper
12 shucked oysters, washed and dried
6 slices lean bacon


Directions
Mix the white wine, garlic, salt and pepper together.
Add the oysters and marinate 10 to 20 minutes.
Preheat the broiler.
Cut each bacon slice in half, and wrap each oyster with a piece of bacon and secure with a toothpick.
Broil on both sides until the bacon is crisp.
Keep warm on a heating tray.
A COWBOY'S DREAM is now on sale at The Wild Rose Press. Get your electronic copy today at:http://www.thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=1086
Merry Christmas and may you find a cowboy in your stocking.....
Anna Kathryn

December 15, 2008

My first Review for A COWBOY'S DREAM

I've recieved my first review for A COWBOY'S DREAM, coming out on Wednesday, December 17th. Between the Lines posted the following:

Ms Lanier, has delivered a heartwarming, yet sexy story about how love can be so close and you may not even know it. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story. A great Christmas read with fantastic lead characters.

Who wouldn’t love a cowboy in their life and one that plays baseball and reads romance novels is all the better.

Reviewed by Sandie Hudson
WRDF Review

http://blog.lyndacoker.net/2008/12/14/wrdf-review-of-a-cowboys-dream-by-anna-kathryn-lanier.aspx

~Anna Kathryn Lanier
www.aklanier.com

December 12, 2008

Contest on my Website - Win a $15 Gift Certificate

As usual, I'm holding a monthly contest on my website. Just go to my home page, scroll down to the bottom of the page for the link to my guestbook. (At this moment....either my computer, the net or Tripod is not cooperating and letting me change my Contest Page information...thus the November question is still up on my Contest Page...but I was able to change my guestbook page....go figure).



Anyway, sign in on my guestbook, and tell me the name of your favorite Christmas/holiday carol and you'll be eligible for the drawing for a $15 gift certificate from my publisher The Wild Rose Press. I'll draw for the prize on or about January 1st.



Anna Kathryn

http://www.aklanier.com/

December 10, 2008

Wednesday's Chow - Hot Buttered Rum & A Cowboy's Dream Contest

1 lb real sweet butter (unsalted)
1/2 box brown sugar
1 box powdered sugar
1 quart high quality soft vanilla ice cream
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg

Melt butter and mix w/ sugars, add spices, ice cream. Keep in freezer. Consistency should be soft.

To serve: Measure good quality Rum into a mug. Place 1 heaping Tbsp batter into mug. Add hot water to top. Sprinkle nutmeg on top. ENJOY!
Great for warming up during the holidays!




Check out A COWBOY'S DREAM - coming on December 17th through The Wild Rose Press. Leah hosts an annual Christmas Eve party....and though I think I have her serving cider in the story, Hot Butter Rum would be a good substitute for that recipe. Will pro baseball player Marcus go for the grand slam of his life and crash Leah's annual Christmas Eve party in hopes of convincing her she’s this Cowboy’s Dream? Or will he let his past pitch him a strike out instead?

http://www.thewildrosepress.com/

Leave a comment about your favorite holiday drink and you could win a 2009 TEXAS Calendar and a copy of A Cowboy's Dream when it comes out next week!

~Anna Kathryn
http://www.aklanier.com/

December 7, 2008

Michele Hart blogs: Hooray! Song of the Muses is out!


What an exciting time for the muse authors of Song of the Muses. All 3 novella anthology paperback books are out, and I’ve had a great time reading all the stories. The Wild Rose Press rocked and treated us wonderfully.

Fans of Greek Myth! Don't miss this anthology! Writing, Tragedy, Music! Astronomy, Erotic Love, Dance! History, Comedy, Glorious Praise! Read the stories of the muses who inspire you!
Follow the links in this blog entry.

Talkin' Shop
It’s been a pleasure being a part of this big anthology project. I've never written anything as short as a novella, so it was a challenge, indeed. I’ve become close friends with several of the muse writers, and we call one another “sis” after the 9 muse sisters of Greek myth for whom we write. That felt good and uniting. You’ll just love the stories that came from the collaboration. I wrote the story for Thalia, the Muse of Comedy, No Funny Stuff!, nestled in the middle of Book III along with Alisha Paige (A Love Beyond Time)and Valerie Everhart (The Victory of Lugh). I’m particularly lucky my story was placed between two great writers.

Writing, Writing, Writing. Blogs are always filled with advice for new writers and published authors, and that’s important. Take all the good advice. Instead of dishing out good advice, I’d rather share something that was passed onto me and I'm still learning. Here are two positive Nevers.

Parts of being an author just plain stink. Submissions, synopses, rejections, and book trailers. Just keeping up with promotions and e-mail fills my day much of the week. (Can I hear an amen from my published sisters?) Finely tune your perseverance, the power to go on writing, no matter what obstacles or opinions lay in the way. It's so easy to get stuck in the business of writing that you're taken away from writing. Never forget the pride of publishing overcomes all the difficulties.

And then, never take it all too seriously. : - )
(Thalia gave me that last Never.)

Happy Holidays,
Michele Hart
~Walk Another World~
http://www.MicheleHart.com/
http://www.ILoveShapeShifters.com/
LOOKS ARE DECEIVING –Siren Publishing
NO FUNNY STUFF!-The Wild Rose Press
SONG OF THE MUSES BOOK III-The Wild Rose Press

Okay, here’s my commercial. You know it’s against the law not to do this.

-BEGINNING OF COMMERCIAL –

Links Galore! No Funny Stuff! hit The Wild Rose Press’s Bestsellers List and stayed there for 2 months.

For No Funny Stuff! -
Here’s a super review, 5 out of 5 tombstones, from Bitten By Books. Please stop by and give it a quick read.

http://bittenbybooks.com/?p=1210#comments

For a mere $3, you can buy my novella No Funny Stuff! and a lot of laughs in e-book right here:
Buy Link:
http://www.thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=925

For you passionate lovers of Greek mythology:
Song of the Muses Anthology in Paperbacks!

Book I: stories for The Muses of Writing, Tragedy, and Music:
http://www.thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=document_product_info&products_id=1047

Book II: tales of the Muses of Astronomy, Erotic Love, and Dance:
http://www.thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=document_product_info&products_id=1046

Book III: stories for the Muses of History, Comedy, and Glorious Praise:
http://www.thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=document_product_info&products_id=1077

- END OF COMMERCIAL –

Happy Day to All!

December 5, 2008

December 8th to the 14th -- Come one, Come all to a special Christmas Book giveaway event. Make sure to pop in everyday for a chance to win. There will be lots going on everyday--all day long.

White Christmas Book Jubilee
14 Authors ~ 14 Holiday Book Giveaways
December 8th to December 14th
Free Books, Holiday Recipes, and Excerpts to warm you to the tips of your toes
Don’t miss the celebration!
http://cindykgreen.blogspot.com/dykgreen.blogspot.com/


Schedule:
Monday, December 8th – Rose Ross Zediker & Jan Scarbrough
Tuesday, December 9th – Pamela Thibodeaux & Linda Swift
Wednesday, December 10th – Cindy K. Green & Sarita Leone
Thursday, December 11th – Kara Lynn Russell & Anna Kathryn Lanier
Friday, December 12th – Marianne Arkins & Stacey Joy Netzel
Saturday, December 13th – Nan Jacobs & Teri Wilson
Sunday, December 14th – Stacy Dawn & Carla Rossi

Christmas Carol Blog Train - 23+ Prizes

Here's your chance to win a $75 gift certificate, plus one of 25+ other prizes. Just follow the blog train each day to its new stop.....discover the song of the day and keep track of them. On December 24th, you'll learn where to send your song titles to so you'll be eligible to win the $75 The Wild Rose Press Gift certificate. In additional, posting a comment on the daily blog will make you eligible for daily prizes! Here's a list of where to start. They've already held their daily drawing, but checking out their blogs and discovering their song will get you in the running for the the $75 G.C. Good luck and have fun!

Nov 29 http://plparker.blogspot.com/
Nov 30 http://lynnreynolds.blogspot.com/
Dec 1 WRP at http://thewildrosepress.blogspot.com/ **
Dec 2 http://michelehart.blogspot.com/
Dec 3 2 today!-- http://www.freewebs.com/teriwilson/terisblog.htm http://www.elainepcantrell.blogspot.com/
Dec 4 Roni Adams at http://thewildrosepress.blogspot.com/ **


**There are TWO different posts at The Wild Rose Press, one on the Dec.1 and one on Dec. 4th. So be sure to look for both of them.

And for the record....I blog on the 18th of December!

Anna Kathryn
www.aklanier.com

December 4, 2008

The Friday Record - December 6th - The Feast of St. Nicholas*

*Also know as Little Christmas

I first learned of Little Christmas in 1978, when I was an exchange student in Finland. My host family celebrated it with a party and the exchange of small gifts. December 6th is the Feast Day of the Roman Catholic Saint Nicholas, a fourth century bishop of the city of Myra in what is now Turkey. He is one of those the legend of Santa Claus is based on.

According to the website Women For Faith and Family “Saint Nicholas was renowned for his great kindness and his generous aid to those in distress. Among the kind and miraculous acts attributed to him are saving three young girls from prostitution by secretly providing them with dowries, raising three murdered boys from the dead, and saving sailors caught in stormy seas. For these reasons, he is considered the patron saint of children, unmarried girls, and sailors, among others.”(1)

But it is wrong to assume that he is the legend of Santa Claus. He is one of many, including the pre-Christian Scandinavian legend of Odin, who rode throughout the world in winter on his eight-footed horse, Sleipnir, giving out gifts or punishments. (2) Other legends include Knecht Ruprecht, Sinterklass and Father Christmas.

The custom of hanging stockings also derives from these legends. Dutch children would put out their wooden shoes for Sinterklass to leave them goodies – apples, candies, cookies and sometimes money to represent the dowries of the three young girls whose dowries St. Nicholas paid. Of course, those who were bad received coal or switches instead.

All of this information is in no way to say that there is no Santa Claus. There is always truth in every myth Besides,the Feast of St. Nicholas a wonderful way to celebrate the coming holiday season, but I think we sometimes forget the reason behind the celebration. People get upset thinking Santa Claus has taken over the holiday, but the truth is, he is part of the holiday and we should embrace that. Just as The Sun says we should:

Dear Editor,
I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says "If you see it in The Sun it's so." Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?

—Virginia O'Hanlon, 115 West 95th Street

Virginia,
Your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.


~ Francis P. Church

Here's a great site about both letters and their writers:

http://www.barricksinsurance.com/virginia.html

And the sites I gleaned information from:

1. http://www.wf-f.org/st.nicholas.html
2. http://www.stjohns-online.org/nicholas.html

What is your fondest memory involving Santa Claus?

~Anna Kathryn
www.aklanier.com

December 3, 2008

December 2, 2008

Wednesday's Chow - Shrimp and Oyster Gumbo

Here's a great winter recipe. This isn't my usual quick and easy recipe, but it's also not overly complicated or time consuming. And it is delicious!

Anna Kathryn
http://www.aklanier.com/


Shrimp and Oyster Gumbo

8 tbsp butter – divided
1 16-oz pkg frozen, sliced okra, defrosted
1 cup chopped onions
½ cup chopped green pepper
1 tsp finely chopped garlic
2 tbsp flour
2 15-oz cans chicken broth
3 cans Del Monte Cajun-styled stewed tomatoes
2 bay leafs (remove these before serving gumbo)
½ tsp dried thyme
2 tsp salt
black pepper
1 ½ to 2 lbs raw, shelled shrimp (30-50 per pound)
24 shucked oysters
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
½ tsp cayenne pepper (less if you don’t like it hot)
Freshly cooked rice

In a heavy 10-inch skillet melt 4 tbsp of butter over moderate heat. When foam subsides, add the okra. Stirring constantly, cook until okra stops ‘roping’ (I’ve never had it stop ‘roping’, so I cook it for 10-15 minutes. You’ll know what ‘roping’ means when you cook it). Remove skillet from heat and set aside.

Over moderate heat, melt remaining 4 tbsp of butter in heavy 4-qt soup pot. When foam subsides, add onions, green pepper and garlic. Cook 5 minutes or until vegetables are soft, but not brown. Add flour, cook 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly with a wire whisk.
Still whisking, add chicken broth in a slow, thin stream.

Then add okra, tomatoes, bay leafs, thyme, salt, and black pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, partially cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

At this point, if you are making it the day ahead, you may cool the soup and keep refrigerated until 30 minutes before serving. Then reheat and continue:

Add shelled shrimp and simmer for 5 minutes. Add oysters, simmer 2-3 minutes, until they plump up and edges curl. Remove from heat. Discard bay leafs. Add lemon juice, Worcestershire Sauce, and cayenne. Stir to mix in seasonings. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Serves 10-12, with white rice.

***Be sure and remove the bay leafs before serving. Bay leafs should not be eaten, as their pointed spines can cause perforations of the intestines and, thus, medical problems (I know, not a pretty thought, but just for those who don’t know and wonder why they should be removed).

December 1, 2008

Sweet Holiday Romance - Tempt Me Twice

Seven years ago, Meghan Shelton fell in love with Peter Bourne, Duke of Prestwick, only to learn his seduction was a means to win a bet. Ashamed and pregnant, Meghan flees England. On her return, she literally runs into Peter. This time she has more to protect than her heart, she has a daughter, too.

One look at Meghan and Peter knows he was foolish to think he could seduce her and not love her. Now he has to gain her forgiveness and work his way back into her heart. Will Meghan be tempted twice by the man she loves?



Tempt Me Twice unedited excerpt


“I hope I am not disturbing you, Meghan.”
Meghan jumped at the voice and whirled to face Prestwick. He stood in front of the closed door, blocking her exit.
“Your Grace.” She gave a curtsey.
“Your Grace,” he taunted. “I recall a time you called me Peter.”
“Yes, well, that was an age ago, was it not?”
His dark, steady gaze held hers. “A lifetime ago, Meghan.” He seemed to shake himself. “I owe you an apology for the way I treated you back then.”
If he’d kicked her, she wouldn’t have been more surprised. She realized the apology, so long in coming, made no difference. He’d not cared for her back then. It was merely his mature years forcing him to regret his past actions. Was she so pathetic that she would accept his hollow regret? She gave a humorless laugh.
“Oh, really, Your Grace, do not tell me you have dwelled on that all these years. I assure you, you did not take anything that wasn’t offered.”
“Winston believes differently.”
She arched a brow. “You men are such odd creatures. You think you must protect the women of your family from the very things you encourage women of other families to do. Winston keeps a mistress and yet he would tell you I suffered greatly because you chose to dally with me for a short time.” She stuffed her hands into the pockets of her dress when she noticed they trembled. “I assure you, Prestwick, my emotions are not so fragile as that. They never were.”
“You were too young to know—“
“But you were old enough to know my mind?” she interrupted. “How condescending, Your Grace. I begin to see why you men think you must control us. We are too foolish to make up our minds.”
She prayed he couldn’t detect the wild beating of her heart.
He stared at her. “I never meant to imply you do not know your own mind, Meghan. I only wished to tell you I regret the way I treated you.”
She blew out a breath. In what way, she wanted to ask. Instead she said, “And so you have done. I am meeting Lady Sarah for a game of cards, Your Grace. Please excuse me.” She tried to step around him.
“I think not. You are keeping a secret from me, are you not?”
Panic gripped her. She drew in a shallow breath, clinching a hand to her abdomen. “N-no, Your Grace, I am not.”
“No? Are you sure, Meghan? Did you think I would not realize the truth?”
Shear black fright swept through her. How had he found out about Marissa? Did he plan to take her daughter from her? She would die first.
“I know not what you speak of. I have no secret from you, Your Grace.”
He moved from the door with long, purposeful strides and stopped in front of her. “It has taken me a few days to work it out, but trust me, I have finally discovered the truth of the matter.”
Meghan’s lungs seized in her chest. “You cannot have her. Do you hear me? She is mine and you cannot have her. Have not you taken enough from me, Peter? Do you plan to also take my daughter? I would fight you to the ends of the earth first.”
He stared, complete surprise on his face. “What are you talking about? Why would I take your daughter, Meghan?”
Too late she realized her mistake. Already she could see the wheels of his mind working. Tears burned her eyes. A deep moan rose in her breast. “Nooooo.”
He gripped her painfully by the shoulders. “Dear God, Meghan, do not tell me she is mine.”

BUY TEMPT ME TWICE NOW from Coffee Time Romance:

http://www.coffeetimeromance.com/BookStore/index.php?main_page=pubs_product_book_info&cPath=53&products_id=1768


Anna Kathryn
www.aklanier.com

November 30, 2008

Creamy Turkey Chowder

So, need something different for you turkey leftovers? I found this recipe on the net. I'm not going to type it up here, but give a link for it, because at the CD Kitchen website you can change the number of servings and they'll adjust the amount you need for each ingredients. I changed it from 4 servings to 8, which gave me a LOT of chowder. I made the recipe as directed, except I added corn to it. Yummy. Also, I did add the corn starch, but didn't notice any thickening. My daughter didn't like the 'gritty' taste the corn starch left, but I didn't notice it. So, you may want to rethink adding that. Other than that, I was impressed by this recipe.

http://www.cdkitchen.com/recipes/recs/241/Creamy-Turkey-Chowder74805.shtml

Anna Kathryn
www.aklanier.com

Holiday Mail for American Heroes

There's an e-mail going around about sending a holiday card to "Any Wounded Soldier" at Walter Reed Hospital. The post office WILL NOT deliver these cards. Mail has to be addressed to a particular person: Jane Smith, etc. They will either throw the cards away or return them to the sender. While looking at snopes.com about that claim, I saw that they recommended this site for anyone who wanted to mail cards to wounded military personnel. The site provides all information on how to do it and says the cards need to be sent by Dec. 10th.

American Red Cross: Holiday Mail for Heroes

Anna Kathryn Lanier
Compelling, Sensual Tales of Love and Forgiveness
www.aklanier.com

November 29, 2008

Name That Christmas Carol Contest - 20+ prizes available

JUMP ABOARD THE CHRISTMAS RIDE!
SEE THE SIGHTS.
HEAR THE MUSIC.
NAME THAT CHRISTMAS CAROL!


This is your chance to win a prize a day through Christmas Eve and one grand prize

A $75 The Wild Rose Press gift certificate.


In addition, each author will hold a daily contest they day they host,
so you have the chance to win one of 20+ prizes.


How do you begin this incredible journey?



Each day, the link to the next blog destination will be posted.To enter to win the grand prize, you make a list of all the Christmas carols and submit the list as instructed. With 28 prizes, what have you got to lose? At least the cookies and drinks are calorie free


Anna Kathryn Lanier
Compelling, Sensual Tales of Love and Forgiveness

November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving - no The Friday Record

I hope everyone celebrating it has a wonderful and happy Thanksgiving. I'll be hosting the meal at my house, which means starting the cooking tonight by putting the Giblet Dressing together.

Because of the craziness that will be happening with all the relatives visiting, I won't do The Friday Record this week.

Don't forget to ENTER MY CONTESTS! What do you have to do to enter? For my blog, just leave a comment. I do a monthly drawing from all those who leave a comment. This month's prize will be a surprise package. My other contest can be found on my website, www.aklanier.com. All you need to do is sign in on my guestbook..the link can be found at the bottom of my home page. What comment do you need to leave? Just tell me the name of one of my November guest bloggers and the title of one of their books. The winner of that drawing will win a Holiday Package, including a PDF copy of my short stories: The Priceless Gift and Tempt Me Twice.

Anna Kathryn
www.aklanier.com
www.myspace.com/aklanier

Wednesday's Chow - Gaiety Pastel Cookies

My youngest daughter, Holly, has decided that she really likes to bake, so we've bought several 'baking' books lately. On Sunday, November 23, her daughter Lacey had her first birthday and Holly made these cookies for the first time. She used Berry Blue Jell-o in the mix and strawberry Jell-o as the decoration. The Berry Blue made for an interesting taste, but Skhye Moncrief (who came to the party with her daughter) really liked it and requested that I put the recipe up on my blog today.

GAIETY PASTEL COOKIES
from Celebrating 100 Years of Jell-o cookbook
Page 84

Note: in strawberry pink, lime green or berry blue, these cookies are sure to be a real hit.

3 1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 sticks butter or margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
1 4-oz package Jell-o, any flavor
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
additional Jell-o, any flavor (for best result use same flavor as above)

Heat oven 400 degrees.

Mix flour and baking powder in medium bowl. Beat butter in large bowl with electric mixer. Gradually add sugar and 1 package of gelatin, beating until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture, beating well after each addition.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheets. Flatten with the bottom of a glass. Sprinkle with additional gelatin.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove from cookie sheets and cool on wire racks. Store in tightly covered container.

Makes about 5 dozen.

NOTE: the dough gets very thick, so be prepared for that when stirring.

Anna Kathryn
www.aklanier.com

I'm back

I got my computer back yesterday, with a new hard drive and fan (so now I don't have any banging going on and it's very, very quiet in my computer room). I have to upload all my programs again and although I know they're on my computer, my documents and my pictures are not showing up by just 'being there.' I have to search for them.....yeah, like I recall what I called all my documents! Obviously, I need to talk to my tech guys so they can tell me how to find this stuff without needing to do a search.

I'll have my Wednesday's Chow recipe up very soon...I have to type it up, because 1) I can't find the recipe I had saved on my computer and 2) Skhye Moncrief has requested I post a cookie recipe anyway.

Anna Kathryn
www.aklanier.com

November 23, 2008

PAPER DOLLS, SEARS AND ROEBUCK CATALOGS, AND THE ACCIDENTAL AUTHOR


PAPER DOLLS, SEARS AND ROEBUCK CATALOGS, AND THE ACCIDENTAL AUTHOR

Many authors have said the urge to write was natural and a life-long goal. In fact, it seems that most writers “always had a dream.” This often made me wonder why I don’t fit the mold. Of course, I had an imagination, but don’t all children have one to some extent? Playing make-believe is as natural to little girls and boys as is breathing.

I grew up when paper dolls were popular. When I had a fifteen cents or a quarter, that’s what I bought—a paper doll book. My little sister and I spent many hours of our childhood cutting out the dolls and their clothes. Each piece of clothing had little tabs to fold over the doll’s shoulders or around her waist. We had boxes of paper dolls—Victorian ladies, teenage girls, little children, mommies, and Western cowgirls. We gave each a name, a personality, and emotions.

Shoe boxes held our paper doll sets, and heaven forbid we should ever mix up the dolls and their clothes. If my dolls became intermingled with my sister’s, that was cause for all-out war. The shoe boxes also made very nice homes for paper dolls. For a house, though, we needed beds, refrigerators, stoves, tables, rugs, and chairs. Mother gave us last year’s Sears and Roebuck catalog and we became the nation’s first recyclers. Never threw away a catalog. They furnished our doll homes perfectly. True, everything lay on the floor of the “home,” but that was all right because we played “make believe.”

The paper dolls lived in a world of grand adventures. Why, they went to parties, rode on trains to big cities, got married, went shopping, roped cattle and rode horses, met kings and knights, and became princesses and beauty queens. So, perhaps I carried the idea of inventing stories in my head and heart, after all.

Another writer I know calls herself The Accidental Reporter. Well, I suppose I’m The Accidental Author. The first pieces I wrote were scientific research papers and lab reports while attending school. Nothing else, not even a diary. After early retirement, I began to “dabble” in this and that, and one day just six years ago, I accidentally began to write a story. I say “accidentally” because I only intended to add to my miniscule store of knowledge about the computer, especially WORD 2002. Thus, many weeks later, I had a 90,000 word novel stored—yep, you guessed it—written in stiff, correct, scientific language. The first editor who rejected it said—“this reads like a textbook.”

Oh, I had much to learn, but fortunately, I have an attribute perhaps all authors have—persistence. Also, I’m a fast-learner, and most often, a self-learner. That first novel is under contract, by the way. Title? TEXAS BLUE.

Now, I am enjoying the giddy experience of my first release. ALL MY HOPES AND DREAMS is a Western Historical, set in the far reaches of the Texas frontier in the Nineteenth Century. Please take a peek at my website-
http://www.celiayeary.com/ and my publisher- http://www.thewildrosepress.com/ and my post for The Cactus Rose blog http://twrpcactusrose.blogspot.com/ . Thank you, Celia Yeary
Paperdoll pictures by: www.PaperStudiopress.com or www.Paperdollreview.com

November 22, 2008

without a computer

For the next few days, I am without a computer. I'll check in as soon as possible. I am hopeful that I can still have Celia Yeary here on Monday, so check back and see we could make that work. If not, she'll be here as soon as possible (probably Tuesday).

Anna Kathryn

November 21, 2008

The Friday Record - First Untethered Hot Air Balloon Ride

In 1783 two very brave souls soared through the sky near Paris, France. Physicist Jean-Francois Pilatre de Rozier and the Marquis d'Arlandes, Francois Laurent, became the first men to ride a hot air balloon without a tether. According to Mike Flanagan in "It's About Time: How Long History Took," the ride lasted 25 minutes, the men rose almost 3,000 feet (more than half a mile) above the ground and flew almost six miles. The ride was witnessed by 400,000 people.


Jean-Francois and the Marquis d'Arlandes weren't the inventors of the hot air balloon, however. The inventors were brothers Joseph-Michel (below) and Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier(left). Joseph noticed the hot air rising above a fire and filled a pouch with hot air. Sure enough, it rose. From there the brothers tried other experiments, including flying a 38-foot linen bag one mile on June 14, 1783. On September 19, King Louis XVI watched as the brothers sent aloft a sheep, a duck and a rooster. The balloon floated for about 8 minutes and landed safely about 2 miles from the launch site.

Finally, on November 21st, the first manned flight took place.

The two brothers were later honored by the French Académie des Sciences. They published books on aeronautics and continued their scientific careers. Joseph invented a calorimeter and the hydraulic ram, and Étienne developed a process for manufacturing vellum.

So, it's quite possible for an author to put a hot air balloon ride in a novel anytime after 1783. And of course, you could have a fictitious person making a hot air balloon anytime before that, as well. It is called fiction for a reason....


Photos of brothers courtesy of the Musee Carnavalet, Paris; photograph, © Jacques Buchholz. Photo of balloon © Photos.com/Jupiterimages

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1404137/Montgolfier-brothers



~Anna Kathryn

November 20, 2008

Seduced by History Newsletter - Join Now

Learn about the latest releases of the great historical writers at Hearts Through History Romance Writers of America chapter. Join our monthly newsletter to get an update on what's coming out for your reading enjoyment.

To subscribe to this newsletter: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SeducedByHistory/
Or send an email to : SeducedByHistory-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Anna Kathryn Lanier

November 19, 2008

A Cowboy's Dream - Coming Soon

Released on DECEMBER 17, 2008


Author Leah Smith has fantasized about her neighbor, Houston’s pro baseball player Marcus Slade, for years, but thinks it’s unlikely she’d catch the cowboy’s interest since her IQ is bigger than her bra size. Having already been hurt by a man who wanted size over substance, she’s not in a hurry to play in that ball field again.

When an unexpected opportunity gets Marcus inside his favorite author’s apartment, he’s not about to let a second chance at love pass him by. Their attraction is quick and electric and has him instantly thinking about something more long-term. But when a woman from his past intrudes, his hopes of a cozy Christmas with Leah are buried beneath her cold shoulder. Risking a strikeout, Marcus has one chance left...go for the grand slam of his life and crash Leah's annual Christmas Eve party in hopes of convincing her she’s this Cowboy’s Dream.


For this story, I broke the "rules." The hero is a pro baseball player and the heroine is a romance writer...two of the careers you're not supposed to write about. What odd or unusual career have you given a character or have read about in a book?

I'll have a special drawing on Monday for those who leave comments on this subject. You can win a 2009 "Spurs and Studs" calendar...twelve months of yummy cowboys for you to admire all year long!

~Anna Kathryn
http://www.aklanier.com/

Monthly Contests

Don't forget, I'm holding two monthly contests: one on my blog and one on my website - www.anklanier.com.

For the blog, just leave a comment. At the end of the month, the lucky winner will a surprise package (because I haven't decided what it will be yet).

For my website, visit my guest book and tell me the name of one of my guest bloggers and the title of one of their books. My guest book link can be found at the bottom of my home page. The lucky winner will receive a Holiday Prize package.

Good luck!

Anna Kathryn
www.aklanier.com

Carrot Soufflé

With Thanksgiving just a week away, I thought I'd share a recent family holiday 'classic' with you. Turns out, my daughters don't like candied yams - yes, I do wonder if they're my children. My mother passed this recipe onto me a few years back, so I made it one Thanksgiving in place of the yams. It was huge success, so now it's a 'must have food' - along with the green bean casserole. So, give it a try, it's really sweet and yummy!

Carrot Soufflé

2 cups cooked, smashed carrots
1 stick butter
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp cinnamon
3 tbls flour
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, well beaten

Melt butter in warm carrots. In small bowl, mix dry ingredients and add to carrots, mixing well. Add eggs. Mix well. Pour into glass baking dish. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350° and bake an additional 25-30 minutes until set.

NOTE: I have a food processor, so I cook the carrots, put them in the processor to ‘smash’ them, then add the other ingredients and mix in the processor.

November 17, 2008

How my life shaped my writing


First off, thank you Anna for having me here today!

I’ve dabbled in different venues of writing over the course of my lifetime. First as a child writing plays for stuffed animals, then at thirteen writing stories of love and lust that my friends and I passed back and forth adding scenes, to witnessing what words can do when an English teacher read one of my assigned fiction projects to the class- all the way through writing children’s stories for my kids, writing murder mystery when I wanted to kill someone (killed that person off in two manuscripts), writing for the local paper when it fit my lifestyle, and then to finally settle into historical western romance.

Each stage of my writing had to do with what was going on in and around me at the time so it only makes sense that I find myself writing about history- American History, specifically the 1800’s has always been my favorite subject. I love museums, historical sites, and finding bits of history that were so integral to life when this country was spreading and growing.

I think having grown up in a semi –isolated part of the state that was slow to get technology it brought out the pioneer spirit in me. Until I was twelve, my paternal grandparents lived with us. There were seven people in a three bedroom, one bath farmhouse. We had a woodshed where we chopped kindling and stored the wood for the cookstove. When we did get an electric range we still had a wood heating stove and used the wood cookstove when the power went out which was fairly often when I was young. When the power went out we used kerosene and oil lamps, the outhouse, and hauled buckets of water to the house from the ditch. And it was usually in the winter that the power went out. And on many occasions the pipes from the well to the house froze, and we had to haul water to the house.

My family had a small herd of dairy cows and used an old hand crank separator to separate the milk from the cream. We used the milk for ourselves and the hogs we raised. We made our own butter from the cream and sold the rest to the creamery. We raised 100 chickens every year, butchering all but thirty, which were laying hens. I hated the smell of the wet feathers after you dunked them in the boiling water to loosen the feathers. And disemboweling them and cutting them up- I’d always offer to fold clothes, clean the bathroom or whatever other chore I could think of then spend hours smelling the feathers and butchered chickens. My grandmother sold extra eggs to neighbors and the local grocery store.

These are all events in my life that easily happened in the era that I write about. I can feel the woodstove, hear the clank of the metal plates as grandma put more kindling in the fire. Smell the acrid smoke that slipped through the chimney that went through my bedroom. I more or less lived the life I write about.

Now, the outlaws and heroes. Those are the characters I dreamed about while riding my horse in the Wallowa Mountains bareback, reclining with my head on my horse’s rump, staring up through pine trees at the blue sky accented by fluffy, white clouds. My heroes and outlaws were shaped by my over active imagination! They all thought I was gorgeous ( in reality I was an overweight child) So in my dreams I was slender and beautiful and had both the hero and the outlaw fighting over me.

And if you read Outlaw in Petticoats my latest release from The Wild Rose Press, you’ll see that Maeve, the heroine, indeed, is fought over by both the hero and the outlaw. Which doesn’t set well with her independent nature.

Here is the blurb for Outlaw in Petticoats, which is in contention at the Love Western Romance website for 2008 Best Western Romance. If you have read or read the book and like it please go to http://www.lovewesternromances.com/index.html in the month of December and vote.

Maeve Loman has had her heart crushed before; she isn't about to have it happen again. When she takes Zeke Halsey up on his offer to help her discover the truth about her father, she's sure she can control her traitorous body and not fall for the man's considerable charms.

Zeke Halsey has wanted Maeve Loman since he first set eyes on the prickly schoolteacher. Even as she thwarts his advances, he sees the desire burning in her eyes. He knows she feels abandoned and uses bravado to keep people at arm’s length. Offering to help her find her father, he hopes to prove he’s not going anywhere.

If you are a writer, what shaped the genre you write? If you are a reader, what is your favorite genre to read and why? I’ll pick a name from the comments and send the winner an outlaw candy bar and book of your choice.

November 14, 2008

Booksigning - Tomorrow

If you're in the Houston, Tx area, please drop by Boomerang books in League City for

a four-author booksigning, including me.


Boomerang Books

907 FM 518, League City

Next to the Dairy Queen


Freebies, Give-Aways and Contests, too!!!


LINDA MOONEY will be signing:

AEquana

The Battle Lord's Lady

Runner's Moon: Jebaral

Runner's Moon: Tiron

Runner's Moon: Simolif

Sandeflay

Heart

Fast


BESS MCBRIDE will be signing:

A Sigh of Love

Love of My Heart


BETTY HANAWA will be signing:

Less Than Perfect Family

Falling Star Wish

More Than She Wished For

Shadow Warrior

(EPPIE Winner 2007: Best Erotic Romance: Science Fiction—Furturistic)


ANNA KATHRYN LANIER will be signing:

Holiday in the Heart

Recipe of Love

No Law Against Love

The Priceless Gift

November 13, 2008

The Friday Record - Nellie Bly

According to one website I looked at, Nellie Bly was "the best reporter in America." Whether this is true or not, one thing can't be denied...she was a pioneer in the world of female reporting. So who was Nellie Bly and why is she famous? It's not just because she was a female reporter in the late 19th century, but also because she talked her editor, Joseph Pulitzer, into letting her try to beat the record of the fictitious Phileas Fogg, of Around The World in 80 Days fame (and have Joseph to pay for it). Not only did he let her, but she did beat the record set by Jules Verne's character.

According to Mike Flanngan in It's About Time: How Long History Took, Nellie's trip took 72 days, 6 hours, 11 minutes and 14 seconds. However, according to Bly, she actually only "spent 56 days, 12 hours and 41 minutes in actual travel." She spent 15 days, 17 hours, 30 minutes in delays.

But, who was Nellie Bly? First, her real name was Elizabeth Jane Cochran, and she was the daughter of Judge Michael and Mary Jane Cochran from Cochran's Mills, Pennsylvania, born in 1864. Though her family was well off and comfortable, all that changed when her father died when she was five. The family was forced to sell off their house because her father died without a will. The man her mother remarried was abusive. Some feel that it's these incidents in her life that made Elizabeth a fighter for woman's rights.

Her editor chose her pen name from the song Nelly Bly written by Stephen Foster some 30 odd years before. Read the lyrics here:
http://home.att.net/~gapehenry/Song.html. I can't help but wonder if he was being a bit sexist by choosing the name from such a song, because it seems, Nelly's place was in the home and kitchen.

Elizabeth's first job was with the Pittsburgh Dispatch after she wrote a letter to the editor blasting a sexist piece written by one of their columnists. The editor liked it so much, he asked her to write freelance. After four columns, she was hired at $5 a week. She shied away from the normal women's stories of fashion and housekeeping. Instead, she went after the hard hitting social issues of working women, reform of divorce laws and factory conditions. She was sent to Mexico and did six months worth of columns from there. Returning to America, she headed for New York and its newspapers.

She was hired on with the New York World, where her first assignment was to be committed to the Women's Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell's Island. She continued such undercover work until 1888, when the idea of sending a man around the world to duplicate Fogg's journey was discussed by the newspaper. This angered Elizabeth to the point that she threatened to go to another newspaper and beat the World's man's record when she went around the world. So, the World sent her.

The story increased sales of the papers, but she received no special recognition or bonus. Shortly thereafter, she resigned from the paper, only to return a few years later and focus on women's rights.

She resigned again when she married in 1895. After her husband's death, she went to England, getting caught there when WWI broke out. She once again took up reporting, this time behind the scenes of the war. After she returned to America, she continued her reporting career until her death in 1922.

Here are two good websites where I gleaned information on Nellie Bly:

http://home.att.net/~gapehenry/Song.html
http://www.library.csi.cuny.edu/dept/history/lavender/386/nellie.html

Which woman in history do you most admire and why?

Anna Kathryn
http://www.aklanier.com/


P.S. I discovered after I posted this that Nellie Bly started her 'trip around the world' today, November 14, 1889. I'm sure I read that, I just didn't connect that today was the 14th....lol. So, quite by accident, I blogged about her on the anniversary of the start of her famous voyage.

November 11, 2008

Wednesday's Chow - Make Ahead Breakfast Casserole

This is a great recipe to have on hand for the upcoming holidays, when you'll have a houseful of friends and family. Make it the night before and let it set overnight. In the morning, just pop it in the oven while you visit, open presents or go back to bed for a few more winks.
~Anna Kathryn

Make Ahead Breakfast Casserole

1 lb pork sausage
6 white bread slices, cubed
½ cup cheddar cheese
1 (3oz) pkg. cream cheese
1 (4oz) can mushrooms
4 eggs
2 cups milk
1 tsp dry mustard
½ tsp salt
dash black pepper and red pepper

Brown sausage in skillet and drain off fat.

Place bread cubes in greased 2-qt shallow baking dish. Top with sausage, cheeses and mushrooms. Beat remaining ingredients together. Pour over sausage, cheeses and mushrooms. Cover with tinfoil and refrigerate overnight.

Bake, covered at 325° for 40 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake for 15 minutes. Serves 6-8 people.

Book Signing - November 15


Freebies, Give-Aways and Contests, too!!!

***NOTE***
Main Street is also F.M. 518
Exit off I-45 at the F.M. 518 exit


LINDA MOONEY will be signing:
AEquana
The Battle Lord's Lady
Runner's Moon: Jebaral
Runner's Moon: Tiron
Runner's Moon: Simolif
Sandeflay
HeartFast

BESS MCBRIDE will be signing:
A Sigh of Love
Love of My Heart.

BETTY HANAWA will be signing:
Less Than Perfect Family
Falling Star Wish
More Than She Wished For
Shadow Warrior
(EPPIE Winner 2007: Best Erotic Romance: Science Fiction—Furturistic)

ANNA KATHRYN LANIER will be signing.
Holiday in the Heart
Recipe of Love
No Law Against Love
The Priceless Gift

November 9, 2008

Inerview with Donna Hatch

1. So, tell us a little about yourself? What is your typical day like?

I get my children off to school (no small feat, considering I have six!), then get ready and do a little housework (and I do mean little) or run errands. Then I sit down at the computer and write, or edit, or do research. After lunch, I go to work at my part time job as a secretary. After dinner, we do homework (the children’s – not mine), and then I get them ready for bed. If bedtime goes fairly well, I have time to play the harp and then read my email or sometimes just read. I write or edit if I’m really in the “mood” or have a pressing deadline but usually I’m sorta burned out by night. Which is ironic in a way, because when my children were small, late at night was my best time to write. Must be getting old that I can’t say up half the night anymore. Having time to write uninterrupted during the day makes a big difference, too.

2. When did you start to write and how long did it take you get published? How many stories did you finish before you were published?

I wrote my first story when I was 8, and my first full-length novel when I was in 7th grade. They were both so bad that they will never see the light of day (and neither will my husband if he ever posts them on the net!) About five years ago, I really got serious about writing, and I got my first book contract roughly two years later.

3. How did you break into publishing?

The first thing I did was join a local chapter of Romance Writer’s of America. I took writing classes and workshops, got critiqued, entered contests, got more critiques, attended conferences, pitched to editors and agents, got more critiques, submitted my manuscripts to agents and editors, and found a critique group who I really trust. I never gave up, no matter how many rejections, or how discouraging the critiques were, and I kept working to learn the tools of the trade. Plus I got enough positive critiques that those helped me keep going. When I started winning writing contests that gave me a huge boost and I carefully considered the input I received from contest judges.

4. What influenced you to write?

I’ve always loved to read, and writing seemed the next logical step. It seems to be some weird, insane compulsion. It also got me through some serious bouts of clinical depression. When I wasn’t writing stories, I wrote in my journal. Now I write when I’m happy, or sad, or anything in between. And I still read voraciously.

5. What inspired you to write romance?

I feed off the euphoria of new love and I need a happy ending. It’s like having a piece of chocolate at the end of the day. Only not fattening. There are some great books out there, but if there isn’t enough romance, I’m disappointed. And if it doesn’t have a happy ending, I’m totally bummed out. Reading doesn’t feel like an escape if the book doesn’t end well and happy. Life throws so many challenges and disappointments that I need the escape of a great book with a satisfying ending.

6. What genre or sub-genre do you write? Why did you choose this genre?

I write fantasy and Regency, but so far, I’m only published in Regency. I love historical overall. I grew up on Little House on the Prairie books, Jane Eyre, Anne of Green Gables. Historicals are like a whole new world, totally different from the modern world in which I live. Regency in particular is fun because the manners and mores of society are so formal and lavish (unlike my reality). Besides what’s not to love about men who can dance? Not to mention that there are few things as manly as a man riding horseback or fencing or willing to engage in a dual to protect his honor. Or that of his lady love. I have a thing for medieval romances, too. Love those knights. I might write medieval romances some day when I work up the courage to begin research into a whole new time period. The thought is totally intimidating at the moment.

7. What difficulties does writing this genre present?

I’ve actually wanted to write Regency for years, but was intimidated by the amount of research I’d have to do. The time I spend researching alone is daunting. Even after spending the last three years researching the Regency era, I learn something new almost every day. Some of my book ideas are simply not possible due to customs or laws of the day in that land. If I’d failed to adequately research, I would have spent all that time and effort writing them and learned my errors later. One of my biggest fears is that years from now, I’ll discover some historical inaccuracy in one of my books despite my efforts.

8. What motivated you to write your current book?
I’ve always been drawn to the arranged or forced marriage situation; two good people who are thrust together, not necessarily happy about it, but learn to fall in love and make the best of it. (No, it’s not based upon my real life!) I also enjoy love triangles. I’ve always kinda wondered what would have happened if Christine in Phantom of the Opera fell in love with the Phantom instead of the young handsome viscount. Or if maybe she’d felt really torn between them.

9. How much time do you devote to writing each day?

Generally 3 to 4 hours a day are spent in writing or editing. Back before I started working, I spent 5 to 6 hours a day writing.

10. Tell us about your other works, books, stories, etc.

I have a novella coming out in April. Here’s the backcover blurb: Desperate to escape her estranged husband and a home enshrouded with death and despair, Julia flees in the middle of the night. Little does she know, her determined husband is in pursuit. Along the journey, she discovers a telling revelation. But will it be enough to banish the ghosts of the past and quiet her troubled heart?

11. What are you working on now?

Book 2 of the “Rogue Hearts Series: The Guise of a Gentleman” which is about the brother of the hero in Book 1, The Stranger She Married. There are four books planned for this series, each about a brother of the same family, but each book is meant to be a stand-alone novel. Book two is about a spy infiltrating a pirate ring whose past comes back to haunt him…and endanger the life of the lady he loves.

12. How do you write? Are you a pantser or a plotter? Is it your characters or your plot that influences you the most?

I’m a combination writer. I have a pretty good general idea of what the book is about, and typically I know several key scenes along the way, but most of it develops as it goes along. I wish I were a plotter; I can see how that would make it easier to stay on track and spend less time revising. My characters influence me the most and sometimes won’t do what I want them to do. One of my secondary characters kept trying to take over as the hero. I had to have a heart-to-heart with him. We made a deal; he’ll stop trying to be the romantic lead, and I’ll let him be more of a tough guy – with the possibility that he’ll get his own book some day soon. He started behaving after that. But then he got really tough and conflicted so now I have to write his story.

13. What was the most usual way you came up with a story idea? I mean, I’ve gotten a plot idea from a song I heard, from brainstorming with a classmate. What unusual thing caused you to think, ‘hey, I could make that into a story?’

I don’t know how unusual this is, but I often wonder about a secondary or walk-on characters and start thinking about what their story is or could be. Sometimes I don’t like how a book ended, or how it deviated from what I thought was important, so I write it as it should have been. Right now I have one percolating in my head that was inspired by something my boss said he did when he was a young adult just before he met his wife. It’s a great concept for another series.

14. If you could spend an hour talking to anyone from any time in history, who
would it be? And Why?

Jane Austen. She was so witty and had a snarky sense of humor that I find highly entertaining. Plus I’d like to ask her some pointed questions that I haven’t been able to learn in my research.

15. Tell us some of the things interviewers are saying about your story or stories.

One of my interviews gave me such glowing praise I almost blushed:

“It is an exceptionally well written book, filled with mystery, high adventure, and most importantly of all, a wonderful romance. Ms Hatch creates a wonderfully atmospheric book and just when the reader thinks she might have the mystery figured out, she throws in a delightful twist that leaves the reader guessing all over again! Regency readers will love "The Stranger She Married." And I will be eagerly awaiting Ms Hatch's next book!”


16. What is your all time favorite book?

There are so many, it’s very hard to choose. Jane Eyre ranks way up there. I mostly have favorite authors such as Lynn Kurland, Candice Hern, Julia Quinn, to name a few, rather than favorite books. I have two criteria for a masterful book: 1. unforgettable characters who are deep and complex and 2. are beautifully written with gotcha phrases that demand I go back and re-read just to savor, like taking a walk in a garden and stopping to admire a single bloom.

17. How do you do research for your books? What’s the most interesting bit of research you’ve come across?

I take online classes, I read books – both fiction and nonfiction – written in the Regency era or thereabouts, and I belong to a Regency/Georgian online chapter of RWA and there are some really well informed authors there to guide me with questions and discussions.

I didn’t used to love research and saw it as a necessary evil. But I’ve learned to really love research and now I frequently uncover interesting facts. An interesting bit of research involved pirates, which was really fun. I also learned something about the way criminals were executed, (sounds morbid, I know) but if I tell you, it would be a spoiler, since I use it in my next book. Sorry.

18. What advice would you give aspiring writers today?

Be persistent and work really hard to continue to develop your craft. Great artists – whether they be painters, dancers, musicians, or authors – must spend countless hours learning and practicing. Then keep working at it and don’t give up. Lots of people want to be writers, but most don’t have the determination to ride through the rough times or do the continuing education.

19. How do you like your fans to contact you?

I have a place on my website that says “contact me” and I’m always happy to hear from readers (as long as they don’t bring up a research mistake I’ve made. Just kidding!)

20. Tell us about your newly released book.

My current novel, “The Stranger She Married” is a sweet, yet sensual Regency romance with adventure, intrigue, a love triangle, and a terrible secret.

Torn between a disfigured war hero with the heart of a poet, and a handsome libertine who may not be all he seems, impoverished Alicia must marry by the end of the month. Despite a murder threat looming over her, learning to love the stranger she married may pose the greatest danger of all … to her heart.

Order on line at www.thewildrosepress.com. Look for The Stranger She Married under the category “Historical.” It’s also currently listed under “Best Sellers” on the right side of the home page.