April 30, 2011

Support Judy Mays Video

Saturday's Salacious Suggestions

FREE READ!

TURNED AT DARK
by C.C. Hunter



Free read!!!  Readers can download Turned at Dark, a short story that introduces C.C. Hunter’s new series, Shadow Falls, for free at all major online retailers.  With the story readers will also get the first three chapters of Born at Midnight which is the first book in this exciting Young Adult paranormal romance.   They can also read the story and chapters by visiting the Born at Midnight page at Macmillan – Born at Midnight Page.  Read more about C.C. Hunter, and check out the Born at Midnight video at her website, www.cchunterbooks.com.

Turned at Dark
FREE READ!




Independent and strong-willed Della Tsang hadn’t believed in ghosts until she saw her dead cousin darting into the shadows of an alley. She hadn’t believed in vampires until in the dark of that same night she is turned into one. Introduced to a strange world of supernaturals, she struggles to accept this new reality. Unfortunately, the boy she loves senses something different about her and can’t accept her. Should she follow her vampire cousin’s lead–walk away from everything she’s knows and loves—and fake her own death? Or should she set her pride aside and ask for help from the camp leader of Shadow Falls—a camp where supernaturals go to learn how to cope with their powers. Either way, her life as she knows it, will never be the same.


 
Download now for FREE: Amazon, Barnes and Noble.
 
Visit C.C. Hunter at her website.

April 27, 2011

English Teacher Harassed for Writing Romances

Friend author Judy Mays on Facebook to show your support.  A parent, who cannot control her son, is asking for the firing of a 25-year English teacher because the teacher also writes romances.  Now, the parent is afraid that her son, instead of doing his school work, will be worried about the looks the teacher gives him...as in 'is Ms. Mays coming onto me?'  Give me a break!

Another area resident has started a Support Judy Mays facebook page, today at about 2:00 ET.  As of now, less than 12 hours later, more than 3,600 have 'liked' the page.

So, join the support for FREEDOM of SPEECH...something this narrow-minded mom seems not to have learned about in school. 

Anna Kathryn Lanier

Wednesday's Chow - Dirt Cake

Lent's over!  So I can post some dessert recipes now.  So, here's a fun, Spring-time recipe to make with the kids or for the kids (big and small).

Dirt Cake

Ingredients

• 1/2 cup butter, softened
• 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
• 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
• 2 (3.5 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
• 3 1/2 cups milk
• 1 (12 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
• 32 ounces chocolate sandwich cookies with crème filling
• Flower Pot or plastic bucket
• Gummy Worms

Directions
1. Chop cookies very fine in food processor. The white cream will disappear. Or crush in a baggie with rolling pin, or mallet.
2. Mix butter, cream cheese, and sugar in bowl.
3. In a large bowl mix milk, pudding and whipped topping together.
4. Combine pudding mixture and cream mixture together.
5. Layer in flower pot, starting with cookies then cream mixture. Repeat layers.
6. Chill until ready to serve.
7. Add gummy worms, artificial flower and trowel. Enjoy!

April 26, 2011

The Wild Rose Press - Celebrating 5 Years!

We are celebrating 5 years!

Five days and more than $500.00 worth of prizes.

April 27th - May 1st on the Wild Rose Press yahoo groups.

Join us for a celebration in the garden.

 

 
(this is an adult loop with adult content. 18+ only)
 
How to Win...


For chances to win more than $500.00 worth of prizes all you have to do is party with us. Everyone who participates will be entered into the prize drawings. Non-stop fun from Wednesday, April 27 - Sunday, May 1st. Join the fun and help us celebrate 5 years in the garden.

April 25, 2011

Guest Author - Judy Nickles

Thanks for inviting me to chat today, Anna Kathryn! I hope I’ve come to visit with a topic that will be of interest to your readers.

Recently, I read an article about writers who like to visit the homes of past writers—Poe, Faulkner, Hemingway, and others—with the idea of drawing inspiration from being in the place where their great literary works had come to life. Unfortunately, these giants are gone and, with them, their creative spark, like a match that burns out. Those who follow in their footsteps must coax a new flame to life.

Like most of you reading this, I’ve written in many places, some more conducive to productivity than others. I suppose it’s safe to admit now that, during long hours of boring (but required) teacher in-service, when my time would have been better spent setting up my classroom, I scribbled furiously on a yellow legal tablet. Hopefully, the droning presenters thought I was taking down every repetitive word. Not. I was sketching out characters, settings, plot ideas, and even dialogue.

Before I retired, I never had a place dedicated to writing. Now I use one of the bedrooms as a study. It has a desk, filing cabinet, a closet full of supplies, bookcases, a cd player, and a comfy recliner where I can sit with the lappy when I need a change. I love my ‘study’ as I call it. Still, I like a change of scenery and am always on the lookout for somewhere new.

Like Goldilocks, I try things out until I find what is ‘just right’. So far, I’ve tried the following:

• The public library (internet is a distraction)
• Starbucks (expensive!)
• A couple of state parks (dog likes these—she can go)
• One or two eating places with and without internet (everybody goes there with lappies)
• A lonely spot at the end of the road with lappy on steering wheel (mildly uncomfortable)
• A local scenic overlook that no one visits until I get settled in (moved the car three times last time I visited—small turn-around area)
• The eating area of a nice grocery store with deli (a radio blared from one end and a television from the other)
• Sitting out front with dog, lappy on lap (street is dead, neighbors invisible, uninspiring)

Where would I like to write?

• A villa in Greece overlooking the Aegean Sea
• An outdoor café in Paris
• A loft apartment in New York
• A beach house in Maine
• A vacation home in the outer banks of NC
• A rustic cabin deep in the woods but not too far from Sonic to go for Happy Hour

In the end, does it matter where we write, so long as we write? But it’s fun to dream, isn’t it?
I wish I could say I wrote my latest release, The Showboat Affair, floating down the Mississippi River on a real paddlewheel steamer. Alas, all I did was get the idea from a dinner cruise on ‘The Branson Belle’ in Branson, Missouri. Still, it would be nice to set up shop on the top deck and float and write and float and write and float and…
Where do YOU like to write, fellow authors?

Blurb for The Showboat Affair

Despite over thirty years in a faithless marriage to wealthy investment broker Rand Kingston, Jean is shocked when he asks for a divorce. Encouraged by her former housekeeper-turned-best-friend, she determines to rediscover herself as an independent woman and move on with her life. Nick Cameron, prominent attorney and long-time widower, would like to figure in her plans. The opposition of their adult children surprises them. Then, a series of chilling near misses makes them wonder who really is determined to keep them apart—and why.


Excerpt from The Showboat Affair

Jean, still wearing her gown and robe, mixed the batter for waffles while Nick washed up in the guest bath and used one of her disposable razors and leg cream to shave. “I used my finger as a toothbrush,” he said, cozying up behind her to kiss her neck.

She shivered. “Not before breakfast.”

“And not after dinner either, apparently.” He laughed.

“You’re skating a thin line.” But she laughed, too.

He put up his hands in a gesture of surrender. “I need coffee.”

“It’s ready, and the waffle iron is hot, so you’ll have breakfast in a minute.”

The peal of the doorbell startled both of them. “This could look bad,” Nick said.

“Not if it’s Selina. Maybe it’s her. She went to look at some of those ice cream parlor tables I was telling you about last week.” Jean eyed him critically. “Button your shirt.”

“It’s pretty rumpled.”

“Button it anyway.” She brushed past him on her way to the door. “Maybe you should disappear.”
“Are you serious?”

Jean sighed. “No.” At the front door, she peered through the viewer and let out her breath in dismay. Juliana stood there, her jaw set, looking primed for battle. Jean unlocked the door and opened it. “What brings you here so early, Juliana?”

“I had some errands over this way. Aren’t you going to ask me in?”

Jean stepped back. “Yes, of course. Come in. I have a guest.”

Juliana’s eyebrows met her hairline. “A guest? I am interfering with your sleeping arrangements then.”

Jean made a quick decision not to defend herself. “Come in the kitchen. I’m making waffles.”

Nick rose hastily as the women walked in.

“You must be Nick Cameron,” Juliana snapped.

“Guilty.”

“My mother’s lover.”

“Juliana!” Jean felt the blood drain from her face. “How dare you!”

Nick’s eyes flashed, but his voice was courtroom courteous. “I spent the night on the sofa.”

“Of course, you did.”

His mouth twitched. “But if I’d spent it in your mother’s bed, it would have been her business, not yours.”

Author bio

Judy Nickles is a retired teacher who has spun stories since she could hold a #2 pencil. In elementary school, when storms threatened, the teacher would send her up to the front to tell a tale, taking the other children’s minds off the weather. After retiring four years ago, she got serious about getting published. The result was three novels with The Wild Rose Press: Where Is Papa’s Shining Star?, Finding Papa’s Shining Star, and The Showboat Affair (as Gwyneth Greer). Champagne Books just contracted The Face on Miss Fanny’s Wall, a historical romantic suspense, for release in 2012. In addition to writing, Judy enjoys traveling, doing genealogical research, and spending time with her granddaughters, Hanna and Aubrey.

April 23, 2011

Saturday's Salacious Suggestions

Second Chances
by Tessa St. John



Lady Emma Easton’s elopement to an elderly earl shields her from an abusive father, until her husband’s death leaves her vulnerable once again. Only one man can protect her—the earl’s trusted friend, Viscount Drake.



After losing his wife, Lord Drake vows never to marry again. But his heart warms to the young widow he’s promised to protect. Emma’s love frees him from the darkness that’s consumed him. But now Drake must protect her from her father’s evil whims, or face losing her forever.

Buy it now:  Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Smashwords.

Visit Tessa St. John at her website and facebook.

April 20, 2011

Wednesday's Chow - Opelousas Catfish Gravy

Well, this is the last Wednesday in Lent, but that means this Friday is Good Friday, a traditional day of fasting....which I probably won't do.  But I will not eat meat. 

So, keeping with my meatless dishes for Lent, here's one from Cooking in Cajun Country by Karl Breaux with Cheré Dastugue Coen, a cookbook I picked up while on my Cajun Country Field Trip earlier this month.


Opelousas Catfish Gravy
Cooking in Cajun Country by Karl Breaux with Cheré Dastugue Coen

Ingredients:

¼ cup cooking oil
2 large onions, chopped
2 green bell peppers, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 mild banana peppers, seeded and chopped
1 (10-oz) can chopped tomatoes with chilies
1 (8-oz) can tomato sauce
1 cup fish stock (or chicken stock)
1 cup water
3 tsp Cajun/Creole seasoning
3 pounds catfish fillets
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 bunch parsley, chopped
4 cups cooked rice

Directions:

Add oil to medium-size Dutch oven. Add onions, bell peppers, celery, and banana peppers, and sauté until tender. Add tomato sauce, stock, water, and Cajun seasoning. Cook for 1 ½ hour over medium heat. Sauce will reduce by half. Add catfish fillets and cook for 25 minutes. Remove from heat and add green onions and parsley. Serve over ½ cup cooked rice per serving.

Serves 8.

Cajun Country Field Trip, part 1
Cajun Country Field Trip, part 2
Cajun Country Field Trip, part 3

April 18, 2011

The Town Gossip

by Sue Fineman

In THE MITCHELL MONEY, a Wild Rose Press release, one of the most memorable secondary characters is Mavis Bidwell, town gossip and all around pest.  Mavis lives on the edge of sanity.  Some folks in Maystown, Arizona, call her Mad Mavis.  The kids call her Mrs. Bitchwell, because she’s always complaining about something. 

Mavis has had a major crush on Gary Martinson since high school.  His wife died fifteen years ago, and she’s still hopeful, still determined to marry him someday.  But Gary would rather shoot her than marry her.  Mavis is not just in love with Gary, she thinks she owns him, like a puppy or a pair of shoes. 

Gary can’t stand her and tries to avoid her, but every time he drives his old pickup to town, there she is, fawning over him like a lovesick teenager.  No wonder he’s frustrated and surly.  Seeing Mavis nearly every day would do that to a man.

When Mavis learns Rachel is living at the ranch and cooking for Gary and his son, she’s determined to chase her off the ranch and out of Gary’s life, just as she’s chased every other woman away from him. 


BLURB for THE MITCHELL MONEY:
Before his death, Rachel’s husband hid their money, and the only man in Maystown who can help her find it is the surly ex-cop who owns the ranch next door, the man who drives an ancient pickup and talks on his cell phone instead of paying attention to his driving.  She doesn’t want to accept Gary’s offer to trade his investigating skills for her cooking, but if she doesn’t find the money soon, she could lose her new house. 
Gary is reluctant to get involved with the rude woman who backed into his truck, but she needs his help, and he needs a cook at the ranch.  He suspects Rachel’s husband hid more than his money.  Can she handle the truth about the man she’d been married to for so many years? 


EXCERPT from THE MITCHELL MONEY: 
(There’s a rogue wildcat roaming the area, attacking pets and threatening small children.  Rachel is staying at the ranch with Gary and his son, Joe, until someone catches or kills the animal.  Johnny, her husband’s bastard son, is also living there.  They hear the cat yowl and know it’s nearby.)

Gary heard something brush against the door and turned to see Rachel standing there in her robe.  The nightlight in the bathroom cast enough light to see the fear in her eyes.  “Bouncer has to go out,” she said.  “Is it safe to go out front?”

“Not by yourself.”  Gary took the gun from the nightstand, checked to make sure it was loaded, and followed Rachel and Bouncer downstairs. 

Joe followed them with his rifle.  Gary stood in a dark corner of the porch, scanning the dark hills, looking for any sign of movement.  He spotted the rogue cat about a hundred yards from the house.  Joe already had a bead on it.  Gary spoke quietly.  “Wait for a clean shot, son.”

A low growl came from Rachel’s little dog.  “Hold on to him, Rachel,” Gary said.  She was less than ten feet from the porch.  The cat must be desperate to come this close.

Rachel reached down to pick up Bouncer and Joe’s first rifle shot rang out.  He fired again, and Gary flipped on the flood lights.  Rachel stood frozen, holding the dog in her arms, as Joe walked past her and out to the big cat lying near the driveway.  He fired one more shot, as Gary had taught him, to make sure the animal was dead. 

Gary walked out to Rachel and put his arm around her shoulders.  She was shaking, and so was the dog, so he pulled them close and rubbed her back.  “It’s over.”

Joe called, “Looks like he got caught in a trap and chewed part of his foot off.  It’s a mess.  That’s why he couldn’t hunt.  The guy who set the trap should be shot.” 

They’d had discussions with other ranchers in the area about setting traps.  Some said it was necessary, but Gary disagreed.  It was like setting out poison.  You never knew what you’d kill or injure, and a wounded animal was always more dangerous than a healthy one.  If they couldn’t hunt for their food, they had to find it in other ways.

Gary still had his arms around Rachel, and it felt so good he didn’t want to let go.  Johnny came outside to examine the cat, and Gary stayed right where he was, holding Rachel’s soft, warm body in his arms, with the little dog shivering between them. 

He didn’t want to stop holding her, but he needed to make a phone call, so he walked inside with Rachel and called the police station. 

Ten minutes later, an officer came out, followed by a pickup and a car.  The pickup was driven by Harvey Spinnaker, who did skinning and taxidermy.  In shooting the cat, Joe had earned the pelt, if he wanted it.  One look at the car and Gary groaned.  He stood in front of the house wearing pajama pants, slippers, and a T-shirt.  Rachel stood beside him, wearing a robe.  Great time for the town gossip to show up.

Mavis ran from her car, past the dead cat and police car, straight to Gary.  “I just heard.  Is everyone all right?”  As Mavis pawed at Gary’s arm, Rachel backed up a step or two.  He glanced at her and tried to push Mavis off him.  Rachel’s lips twitched with suppressed laughter. 

“Let’s get you inside, where it’s warm,” said Mavis.  “Why, you’re not even dressed.”

“Why are you here?” Gary asked.

“To help, of course.”

“Joe,” Gary yelled, “Mavis wants to help.”

“Okay, but there’s a lot of blood.”

Mavis put her hand on her chest as her eyes widened.  For a minute, Gary thought she might faint.  Then she caught sight of Rachel and that sharp nose went up a notch, along with one eyebrow.  She eyed Rachel as if she was something to take out with the trash, but Rachel smiled.  The smile didn’t have any warmth, but at least she was polite. 

Fighting an impulse to escape into the house and lock the door, Gary stood back and watched the two women.  Mavis extended her hand to Rachel.  “I don’t believe we’ve met.  I’m Mavis Bidwell.  Gary and I have been close friends since high school.”

Rachel took Mavis’s hand.  “Rachel Woods.  It’s nice to meet one of Gary’s old friends.”

Mavis stiffened and scanned Rachel from head to toe, and Gary knew the gossip would be flying tomorrow, if not tonight.  The way Rachel was dressed, it was obvious she was living at the ranch.  Did Mavis think he was sleeping with Rachel?  Did he care what Mavis thought?  Not if she kept it to herself, but she wouldn’t.  She never kept anything to herself. 

Ignoring Mavis, Rachel asked, “Gary, would you like me to make a pot of coffee?”

“No, Joe should be finished soon, and if I drink coffee now, I’ll be awake all night.”  He took Rachel’s arm and steered her toward the porch steps, hoping Mavis would magically disappear, but he should have known better.  She followed them onto the porch and into the house.  It was late, he was tired, and now he had to deal with Mavis.

“Go on up to bed, Gary,” said Rachel.  “I’ll take care of the boys.”

Boys?” said Mavis.

“Joe and my son, Johnny.”

Mavis cocked her head and Gary could almost hear the wheels turning.  “Your son?  I thought you had daughters.”

“And a son.  Here he comes now.”

Johnny came in wet and shivering.  “Go upstairs and get in the shower,” said Gary.  “Right now, before you freeze to death.  Is Joe about finished?”

“The cat is on the pickup and he’s talking to the cops.  Oh, there’s a car out there that needs to be moved.  The pickup can’t get around it.”

Rachel and Gary both stared at Mavis.  “Oh, yes, well, I’ll go move my car and I’ll be right back.”

“Go home, Mavis.”  Gary knew he was being rude and he didn’t care.  “It’s late and I’m too tired to play host.”

“Perhaps Mavis would like to come out for dinner one night,” said Rachel.  Her eyes sparkled and Gary could have strangled her on the spot.  

“I’ll call you, Mavis,” said Gary.  “Goodnight.”  He held the front door open. 

Slamming the door behind Mavis, he turned his anger on Rachel.  “I’ll thank you to mind your own business.”

“She’s the one, isn’t she, the one who wants to marry you?”

“Nobody in their right mind would marry that woman.”

“You’re no prize yourself.”

Unable to allow her to have the last word, Gary said, “Some women think I am.” 

He thought he heard her say, “I can’t imagine why,” but she said it so quietly he wasn’t sure he heard her correctly.  Gary clamped his jaw closed, walked upstairs, and went back to bed. 

He punched his pillow, trying to get comfortable.  Alice loved me,” he whispered to himself.  Or at least she used to, but years of grief and loneliness had changed him.  It didn’t matter if he’d make a poor husband now, because he didn’t intend to marry again.  He had a good life, and he was happy. 

Wasn’t he?


READER COMMENT on THE MITCHELL MONEY:
I really couldn't put it down. As a divorced woman, who kept finding out unpleasant things about her ex for a long time, I really related to the heroine in the book. Your writing was actually therapeutic. I didn't feel so alone and unique, and I while I am still working on forgiveness (because forgetting is out of the question), I am further along than I was before reading your book. Thank you so much!

The printed version of THE MITCHELL MONEY is available NOW from Amazon.com and The Wild Rose Press.
ON THE RUN and ON THE LAM are available from BarnesandNoble.com and Amazon.com.  If you like romantic suspense with a little humor, these books are for you.



April 17, 2011

Lone Star Writing Competition

***PERMISSION TO FORWARD GRANTED & ENCOURAGED***


Northwest Houston RWA announces The 19th Annual Lone Star Writing Competition.


The contest is now open for entries.


The Lone Star Writing Competition is one of the few contests with two published authors and one unpublished author judging the first round. Finalists will be sent to BOTH an agent and an editor for judging. NEW THIS YEAR!!! Finalists will also be sent to an e-publishing editor.


EARLY BIRD ENTRY FEE: $5 discount on all entries submitted by midnight May 25, 2011; $15 for NWH members/$20 non-NHW members.


Entry fee: After May 25, 2011 - $20 NWH members; $25 non-NWH members.


All electronic this year. Entries must arrive via email by midnight June 8, 2011. Any entries received after the deadline will be deleted unopened.


Eligibility: Unpublished may enter any category. Published may enter any category in which they're not published, or in which they've not been contracted for five years. Open to RWA and non-RWA members.


Final Round Judges:


Inspirational Category:


Editor: Rachael Burkot - Harlequin
Agent : Kimberly Shumate – Living Word Literary Agency
E-publisher: Nicola Martinez – White Rose Publishing


Young Adult Category:


Editor: Kat O'Shea – Leap Books
Agent: Susan Hawk – The Bent Agency
E-publisher: Meghan M. Conrad – Ellora's Cave


Romantic Suspense Category:


Editor: Katherine Pelz – The Penguin Group
Agent: Tina Tsallas – Great Titles, Inc.
E-publisher: Kelli Collins – Ellora's Cave


Contemporary Series Category:


Editor: Wanda Ottewell – Harlequin
Agent: Pam Strickler – Pam Strickler Author Management
E-publisher: Lori Graham – The Wild Rose Press


Single Title Category:


Editor: Deb Werksman – Sourcebooks
Agent: Michelle Grajkowski – 3 Seas Literary Agency
E-publisher: Leanne Morgena – The Wild Rose Press


Historical Category:


Editor: Junessa Viloria – Random House
Agent: Sara Megibow – Nelson Literary Agency
E-publisher: Susan Yates – The Wild Rose Press


Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal Category:


Editor: Ann Leslie Tuttle – Harlequin
Agent: Jill Marsal – Marsal Lyon Literary Agency
E-publisher: Raelene Garlinsky – Ellora's Cave


Enter and more information at http://www.nwhrwa.com/.  

Some Genuine Good Ol' Boy Sayings!

~ "Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit."

~ "It's been hotter'n a goat's butt in a pepper patch."

~ "He fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down."

~ "Have a cup of coffee, it's already been 'saucerered and blowed.'"

~ "She's so stuck up, she'd drown in a rainstorm."

~ "It's so dry, the trees are bribing the dogs."

~ "My cow died last night, so I don't need your bull."

~ "Don't pee down my back and tell me it's raining."

~ "He's as country as a cornflake."

~ "This is gooder'n grits."

~ "If things get any better, I may have to hire someone to help me enjoy it."

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

April 16, 2011

Saturday Salacious Suggestions

FERAL FEVER
 BY Skhye Moncrief


FERAL FEVER
(coming March 18th in e-book)
(coming June 17th in print)


Blessed are those who just give into the darkness...


Earthling archaeologist Aisling Bjorn never really considered juggling multiple husbands for were-assassin duty on planet Luvk—a world of tiger folk subjugated by winged aliens from another dimension. Learning the lost history of the tiger culture to understand how the winged species divided and conquered the tiger realms is more her cup of tea. But she's in store for an even bigger challenge than helping the Luvks reclaim their independence. There’s a shortage of marriageable females for the large broods of gorgeous tiger princes. The friction caused by mating problems threatens her sanity as the warrior Lords vie for possession of not only a mate but a powerful political pawn—her, the Marshal whose beauty rivals that of the most marketable princess. And mates the Lords all wish to be.


Aisling must accept that with every turn in life, we sacrifice a bit of our souls for the greater good. Even to the darkness. Blessed are those who just give into the darkness of Luvk. Because a woman’s sanity is out of the question when surrounded by enormous muscled hunks cloaked in sexy leather pants. Their glorious bodies alone could incite riots on Earth. And they all want her. One thing’s for certain, love or lust, everyone eventually succumbs to Luvks’ FERAL FEVER.




Puchase FERAL FEVER at New Concepts Publishers.

Skhye Moncreif
http://www.timeguardians.com/
http://www.skhyemoncrief.com/

April 14, 2011

Blogging at Sweetharts of the West

Today I'm blogging at Sweethearts of the West on The Education of Daughters.  Hope you'll stop by and say hi.

Anna Kathryn

April 13, 2011

Wednesday Chow - Rip's Cucumber Soup

If you've been following my blog, you know I spent this past weekend in New Iberia, Louisiana with a group of authors from Northwest Houston RWA.  If you haven't been following my blog, then just scroll down for the three diary posts.

One of the places we visited was Jefferson's Island and the Rip Van Winkle Gardens. I bought a cookbook there, INNcredible Cookin': Favorite Recipes from Louisiana's Best Bed & Breakfast Inns, Cottages & Guesthouses.  Here's the recipe Rip Van Winkle Gardens included in the book.

Rip's Cucumber Soup


Do not peel the cucumber before processing.  The skin is what gives the soup its lovely, pale green color.


Ingredients:

1 large English cucumber
3 scallions, trimmed and chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
2 cups regular strength chicken broth
1/2 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Rinse cucumber and trim off the ends. Cut off four pieces crosswise, about 1 inch think, and set aside for garnish. Cut remaining piece of cucumber in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds. Cut cucumber into chunks. Place cucumber chunks into a processor or blender.  Add the scallions and parsley and process until smooth.  Add chicken broth and process briefly.  Place sour cream into large mixing bowl, add mayonnaise and blend well. Gradually mix in the smooth cucumber mixture. Cover and chill. When cold, serve with cucumber slices as garnish.

April 10, 2011

The Best List For Writers


Patricia Preston’s Best List for Writers.


Best motto for writers:

It’s only a book.   Your life doesn’t depend on it.  I read this in a writing book ages ago.  When you find yourself getting caught up in all the stress and insecurity that goes with writing, take a step back and know that, if nothing else, you can always write another one.  Don’t take yourself too seriously.  Perfection is not possible.  It’s only a book.  Tape that on your monitor.

Best overall advice for writers:

Write about something you love and something that you are passionate about.  Write a story you would want to read.  Your passion will come through in your work.  Don’t be afraid to take chances.  See motto above.  It’s only a book.  Start it and finish it.

Best Books about Writing:

I love On Writing by Stephen King simply because I related so much to his journey as a writer.   For technique, no one tops Dwight Swain’s Techniques of the Selling Writer.

Best writing tip:

Keep the story moving and the characters in action. If nothing is happening on the page, you need to hit delete and start over.

Best remark about getting published that I ever heard:

It came from Michael Garrett at one of his workshops.  Luck is a major factor in selling.  Being lucky enough to have the right manuscript ready at the right time for the right publisher who is buying. Sounds jaded, I know. But there is truth in it.

Best way to enjoy being a writer:

Besides writing a story you love, make friends with other writers.  My dearest friends are all writers and I don’t know what I would do without them. They are the people who understand and support me. Much more so than non-writing friends or family. So, seek out your local writing groups where you can attend meetings and find new friends who can appreciate your angst. :)

Best ergonomic tools for writers:

Imak wrist pads.  They are made from ergo beads and provide very comfortable support for the wrists.  I bought mine at Staples.

Anti-Glare filters.  They will save your eyes.  Need I say more?

Adjustable Foot Rest.   Another must have.

Mesh Back Rest by Safeco.   Added comfort and support. 

Logitech Soft-Grip Mouse.  Love the design.  Fits the hand perfectly.


Best Music Service for Writers

If you write to music like me, Pandora offers music streaming and personalized stations online. Rhapsody Music Service includes the ability to create play lists so you can make your own soundtracks, which I love.

Best Paper and Pen:

I only use Dr. Grip pens when I’m making notes or outlining.  It is easy on the hand and fingers.  A long time ago, I read that writing on plain paper was much better that lined paper in regard to saving your hands and also lends itself more freely to creativity.  So, I stock on sketch pads when they are on sale.

Best way to get to The End:

Develop a writing schedule that works for you and stick to it.  1 page a day, 7 days a week.   10 pages,  2 days a week.  2 hours every night.  Doesn’t matter how much or how often. All that matters is you maintain it until you reached The End. 

And, now, I have reached The End.  Thank you for stopping by!

Patricia Preston is the author of Almost An Outlaw, published by Carina Press.  Visit her blog at http://www.patricia-preston.blogspot.com/



Cajun Country Field Trip - Day Three

Another beautiful day. We really could not have asked for more perfect weather for our trip. That is something I never even thought about, that it could have been pouring down rain!  Though it got warm, it was never overly hot or humid.

6:00 a.m. - Woke up to the sound of my neighbors talking.  It might not have been so bad, if they'd been having sex....at least that would have been interesting. Instead, they were packing and checking out.  Not their fault, as they weren't making a lot of noise. This was just the noisiest, thinnest walls hotel I've been in for a long while. But, other than that, the hotel was very nice and they serve a great breakfast.  I didn't really know what time we were supposed to meet, so I finally got up at 7:00 and got ready, planning to go to breakfast at 8. Ran into Cheri and Jane in the hallway, so we went down to break the fast together.  As we finished up, Stacey popped in and said the others were going to "Clinton's", I think that's the name....it's a restaurant mentioned in books by a local author.  As the three of us had eaten, we opted to stay at the hotel.  I checked my email, then took a short nap (I did get woken up at 6, remember).

Jefferson's House

11:00 a.m. - Met up with everyone in the lobby, checked out of the hotel and we all drove to Jefferson Island and Rip Van Winkle Gardens.  We took a tour of the home, built in the 1860's by famous actor Joseph Jefferson, who wrote the play Rip Van Winkle (but not the story).  We also walked in the gardens, planted by John Lyle Bayless, Jr, the son of the second owner of the island, John Lyle Bayless, Sr.  They are beautiful and very peaceful...with wild peacocks roaming around (see picture).

Anna Kathryn


1:30 - Lunch at the Jefferson Cafe, outside, under the 100+ year old Oaks, with Loretta, Cheri, Elizabeth, Jane, Patti, Stacey and Stacey's father, JC, Aunt Pookie and family friend, Betty. I had the seafood bisque...OMG....to DIE for, and a quarter Italian Muffuletta (you'd understand the 1/4th sandwich if you ever had a Muffuletta).  Spent over an hour talking, enjoying the view and the food.



3:00 p.m. - Visited the gift shop...did I mention I've bought about 6 cookbooks on this trip?  Then, headed for home.

This was a wonderful trip.  I want to thank Stacey for thinking up this idea and for inviting us to join her.  I lived in Ascension Parish, Louisiana (about 2 hours away from New Iberia) for 8 years, and never made it to Iberia Parish for a visit.  I was missing out!  I recommend a trip to everyone, but really, don't plan to go in July or August. The heat and humidity will be unbearable.  March or April would be a great time to visit.


April 9, 2011

Cajun Country Field Trip - Day 2

What a wonderful day!  And the weather could not have been nicer.

7:00 - Up, then got ready for the day....checked emails and other important stuff on the internet.

8:00 - Met up with others at the breakfast bar in the hotel lounge area. 

8:40 - Left for  Shadows on Teche Bayou Plantation tour. Author Lynn Shurr acted as guide and gave us an in depth tour, along with with a couple of Wisconsin who had no idea what they were getting into by joining a group of Romance Writers on tour.

I will do a blog on The Shadows later, either here or on one Hearts Through History's Seduced by History

10:30 - Chere Dastugue Coen, co-author of Magic's in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags & Sachets , lectured us on gris gris (gree-gree) bags.  Chere is also a co-author of Cooking in Cajun Country, which I purchased and will post recipes from on Wednesday's Chow in the future.

Spell for Love: put as many of the following items you wish into a pink colored bag. Also, for better luck, make the bag on Friday. NOTE: you do NOT have to use all the items listed below, use as many or as few as you wish, just use an odd number (3, 5, 7, 9, etc.).

Herbs: acorn, anise, apple, basil, block cohosh, bloodroot, caraway seeds, catnip, cedar, cinnamon, cinquefoil, cloves, dandelion, fig, ginger, genseng, ivy, jasmine, lavender, lemon verbena, linden, lovage, mandrake, marigold, majoram, misteloe, myrtle, nutmeg, olive, orange (can inscribe the person's name on the peel), pine, pimrose, rosemary, roses, rowan, rue, saffron, St. John's Wort, valerian, vervain, willow, yarrow

Stones: Copper, emerald, lodestone, magnetic sand, malachite, pink  corral, pink tourmaline, rose quartz, selenite

Candle: Pink

You make one for your own use or give away. If you give away, encourage the person to put something of their own in the bag...thus making the magic work for them.

12:30ish -Lunch at Bon Cerole. (Cheri ate her VERY FIRST Shirmp Po' Boy.)

2:00 or so - Teche Bayou Museum. (above)

(Below) At Evangeline's Tree: Harriet, Jane, Anna Kathryn, Cheri and Linda

3:30 - The group split, with some going to the hotel to rest up and Cheri, Jane, Harriet, Linda and I going to St. Martinville.  Visited the Evangeline Tree, museum and statue. (story to follow in a future blog).

4:30 - Back to the hotel to freshen up and rest.

7:00 - Dinner with Cheri and Jane at Ruby Tuesday's.  Everyone else went to Clemetine Dining and Spirits.  Had a nice time, conversation and meal.  It's prom night here, so saw several happy, looking good, young couples enjoying dinner and the excitement of the night.

Evangeline's Tree:


Evangeline's statue at the Catholic Church (one of the oldest church's in Louisiana):



Saturday's Salacious Suggestions

Not Dreaming Of You
by Nina Cordoba


Kiki Villanueva holds a master’s degree from UCLA, is the best second grade teacher ever, and believes she had a psychic dream when she was thirteen in which she was given a list of her future husband’s attributes. Children are her life, and Kiki has good reason to think she may not have any if she doesn’t marry soon. Since typical dating methods haven’t been working out, she decides that when she goes back to L.A. for the summer, she’ll start using the list to sort through potential candidates.

When jaded political journalist Mark Bennett confesses to his doctor he no longer finds women—or anything else—exciting, Dr. Chuck is worried he’s depressed and suggests a change of pace. Mark agrees to write a fluff piece for a magazine about people who join high-priced dating services. (His premise is "Losers or Lunatics?") The dating service introduces him to Kiki, and he’s charmed by her open, passionate nature—not to mention her big, brown “do me” eyes—though she definitely belongs in the "lunatic" category with that psychic stuff. Mark is a confirmed bachelor from a family where no one says the L-word. However, while accompanying warm, sexy Kiki on her match-making service dates for his story, he soon wonders why he’s literally driving her to the arms of other men. If he could only get her to forget her list, and everything he said when they first met—oh, and the fact that he’s been a complete jackassBut Kiki’s not about to waste time on an emotionally challenged cynic who only wants to “play” and is definitely not on her list, even if he is handsome, and funny, and sexy—uh-oh!

BUY IT NOW!  Kindle or Nook


Visit Nina Cordoba at her website and on Facebook.

April 8, 2011

Field Trip to Cajun Country

This weekend I'm joining my local RWA chapter, Northwest Houston, on a field trip to Cajun Country--New Iberia, Louisiana and surrounding area. 

9:00 - Left home to run to pharmacy, cause when I left my mom's house last night, I left all my makeup, toothbrush and toothpaste, and as she lived 20 miles in the OPPOSITE direction, I just went and bought some new stuff. 

9:30 - Hit the road, and almost immediately hit traffic, when a truck moving a box the size of my living room and kitchen combined, lumbered up the Fred Hartman bridge.  What should have taken 30 seconds, took 10 minutes.

(NWH Members at Avery Island)


10:00 - stopped for breakfast, remembered it's a Friday in Lent, so got the Egg McMuffin without the meat...yea me!  Merged onto I-10 and called the others who were travelling....note: I live an hour south of where NWH meets and where the group was meeting to hit the road.  We made plans to meet at the Texas/Louisiana border.  In the phone calls, I learned three of the five cars were within 2 miles of each other.

11:30 - Four of the five cars met up at the border and caravaned.

12:30 - Stopped in Iowa for lunch at McDonald's (I had the fish sandwich).

2:00ish - made it to the hotel, checked in, freshened up.

3:00 - Caravaned to the Tabasco Factory on Avery Island, toured factory and the Jungle Gardens (got lots of nature pictures...not sure what I'll do with them, but some really cool pics!).

(Anna Kathryn, Jane Carver and Cheri Jetton)


6:20 - Arrived back at the hotel, freshened up.

7:00 - Met up to caravan to dinner at The Seafood Connection in New Iberia.  Enjoyed conversation and shrimp and oysters for supper.

9:00 - head back to the hotel, got lost, but with some friendly directions and the GPS on my phone (which I finally remembered I had on the phone), we got back to the hotel.

So, that's the first day of the field trip!  On Saturday, we're headed to Shadows on The Teche plantation, St. Martinvill and Evangeline's Tree (can't wait for that), Beaux Bridge (Crawfish Capital of the World) and dinner at the world famous Mulates restaurant (more great seafood!).

Sunday will be just as busy.....stop by and see what we do then!
(More pictures coming when the internet is playing nicer)

Anna Kathryn