May 30, 2012

Wednesday’s Chow – Potato Chip Cookies


The Brenda Novak’s 8th Annual Auction for Diabetes Cure ends tomorrow! So don't waste time bidding on my Cooking Gift Basket:

“The winner of this auction will receive a collection of cookbooks, from cookies to easy weekday recipes to Cordon Bubba’s Texas yummies to Victorian-era treats to The All American Cowboy Cookbook (300 recipes from the world’s greatest cowboy’s). Also included is the romance anthology “Recipe for Love” (dozens of romances and recipes), and Anna Kathryn Lanier’s “A Gift Beyond All Measure” ebook, with bonus cookbook.”



Just so you know what you’ll be getting if you win this auction, here’s a sample recipe from CRAZY ABOUT COOKIES: 300 Scrumptious Recipes for Every Occasion & Craving.  On an aside note: This book is part of Kohl’s Cares program—a program “Committed to Kid’s Health and Education.”  So, the purchase of this book (by me) helps another program for kids.

Potato Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups coarsely crushed potato chips.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325°. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. 

Beat the butter and sugar until fluffy.  Beat in the vanilla, flour and 1 cup of potato chips, mix well.

Shape the dough into 1-inch balls; roll them in the remaining chips. Place on cookie sheets 2½ inches apart, and press a bit to flatten.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly browned.  Let cool on pans for 5 minutes. Transfer to racks to cool completely.

Bid on this basket HERE.

May 23, 2012

Wednesday's Chow - Cook Lover's Basket


Have a cook in the family?  Here's a gift just from them at Brenda Novak’s 8th Annual Auction for Diabetes Cure: Cooking Gift Basket.

“The winner of this auction will receive a collection of cookbooks, from cookies to easy weekday recipes to Cordon Bubba’s Texas yummies to Victorian-era treats to The All American Cowboy Cookbook (300 recipes from the world’s greatest cowboy’s). Also included is the romance anthology “Recipe for Love” (dozens of romances and recipes), and Anna Kathryn Lanier’s “A Gift Beyond All Measure” ebook, with bonus cookbook.”


And just yesterday, I bought a new cookbook for this basket: GOOD HOUSEKEEPING GRILLING-More Than 120 Perfect Year-Round Recipes.  And to whet your appetite, here's a recipe from the new addition to the basket!

FENNEL-ORANGE PORK CHOPS WITH GRILLED VEGETABLES

1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange peel
4 pork rib or loin chops, 1 inch thick, (about 6 ounces each), trimmed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 heads radicchio di Traviso (about 4 ounces each), each cut lengthwise in half, 
    or 1 large round radicchio (about 8 ounces) cut into 8 wedges
2 large heads Belgian endive (about 5 ounces each), cut lengthwise into quarters

Prepare outdoor grill for direct grilling over medium heat.

In mortar with pestle or in sip-tight plastic bag with rolling pin, crush fennel seeds with thyme, pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir orange peel into fennel-seed mixture. With hand, rub both sides of pork chops with mixture.

In medium bowl, mix oil, vinegar, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Add radicchio and endive to bowl and gently toss to mix.

Place pork chops on hot grill rack and grill 5 minutes. Turn chops and add vegetables to grill. Grill until chops have just a heat of pink color in center and vegetables are browned, 5 to 7 minutes.  

Bid on the Cook's Lover Basket HERE.

May 21, 2012

Who are the Fielding Brothers? And what is so important about their lives?

by Marie Higgins


The Fielding Brothers’ Saga is Victorian-set romance, and the first saga I’ve ever written…even though it’s the last to publish. Their father did not have a title, but their uncle was Grant Fielding, Duke of Ashton, and when he died, he would pass the title to the oldest brother, Nicholas. The brothers didn’t grow up hob-knobbing with the wealthy until their uncle took them under his wing. My saga is about the brothers and how they are adjusting to the noble life…and believe me, they’re not adjusting as well you might expect.

I had lots of fun researching the life and times of Victorian people from the higher class right down to their servants. I researched all the places these stories take place – from London to Scotland, and even across the sea to America—San Francisco during the gold rush. I researched the way the nobility lived in the country and lived in London during the season. I’ve had readers tell me they feel like they are really there – in my books – living out my stories.

So, without further ado, let me introduce you to my men. (I love claiming them as my men, by the way)

Nicholas Fielding – hero (oldest brother) in book #1 “Love Me Always”

Edmund Knight – hero (best friend of Nicholas) in book #2 “Charmed By Knight”

Andrew Dean – hero in book #3 “True Love’s Deception” (Nicholas and brother Gregg play a big part of this story)

Ian Fielding – hero (youngest Fielding brother) in book #4 “Belong To Me”

Gregg Fielding – hero (middle brother) in book #5 “Love Me Always”





 Some people have asked me why I didn’t just write about the brothers—why I involved other people. The reason is, these other characters wanted to have their stories and wouldn’t stop bugging me until it happened. Not only that, but I wanted to be different.


 “Love Me Always” Buy it now at Amazon (on Kindle only until July)
No Way OutCatherine Martin is trapped. Either she wed an elderly man and commit to a marriage without love, or continue living with the father who believes her guilty of murder and one foot outside the asylum. Catherine picks marriage to the Duke of Ashton, Grant Fielding. However, when she stays with the Fielding family before the wedding, she doesn’t plan on falling in love…with Grant’s nephew, Nicholas.
Destined for a lonely life – Nicholas Fielding loves his uncle’s soon-to-be bride, and has loved her since they were children. Now Nick must choose between his dying uncle's last wish to marry, and the woman who will make Nick happy for the rest of his life. No matter how hard Nick tries, he cannot stop his love for Catherine.
A flurry of accidents begins to happen around the Fielding estate and soon all accusing eyes turn to Catherine. When accidents escalate to murder, suspicions expound and even Catherine’s father believes she’s gone mad. Does Nick love her enough to discover the truth?


Charmed By Knight” Buy it now at Amazon (also on Nook & Smashwords)
Megan Ramsey will do anything not to marry the drunken lord selected for her – even if she must follow her parents’ plan and trick a duke into marriage.  Instead of capturing the duke, she mistakenly traps the man who put her family in financial ruins.
Edmund Knight will stop at nothing to take back the deed to his goldmine.  When he meets the thief’s daughter, Edmund sets his mind on charming her in order to get back his treasure.  Will he find the real treasure beyond his precious gold?


“True Love’s Deception” Buy it now at Amazon (also available on Nook & Smashwords)
Not even lies can deceive the heart.
Juliana Beaumont wants to keep her freedom—and her grandmother’s estate in Scotland. But can she do both? Especially when her father demands she marry a man from England before he can give her an inheritance.
Andrew Dean is tired of being the stable help, and jumps at the chance of playing Miss Juliana’s pretend husband. But he doesn’t believe in marrying unless in a church. He hopes Juliana doesn’t discover they are legally married until he can make her fall in love with him. But a secret that has been hidden in his memory for twenty years may just keep them apart.


“Belong To Me” (coming soon to Kindle / Nook / Smashwords)
Charlotte Fielding, tired of being without her wayward husband, travels to Bath to find him. She discovers him at a masked ball amidst the throng of revelers. Her revenge on him is that he doesn’t know who she is, so she seduces him. When his reaction to her identity isn’t what she expects, she hardens her heart against him. Charlotte wants an annulment and nothing less. He talks her into a bargain—to stay as his wife for a month and then if they don’t suit well with each other, he’ll grant her wish. What she uncovers about his life is far more than she bargained for. In addition to the disguises in his closet from his investigative business, she stumbles across secrets. Those of which she wished she’s never known.
Framed for a crime he didn’t commit, Ian Fielding has his hands full with proving his innocence. His wife picks that moment to show up on his doorstep, and he’s forced to take her with him. Matters become more complicated when he becomes unexplainably attracted to her. The timing couldn’t be more inconvenient. When the couple take refuge in an old castle own by a recluse beastly lord, they soon become aware that the owner has plans of his own.
Swept into a whirlwind of mystery, passion and adventure, Charlotte must discover the truth of her own heart before it’s too late for them both.


“Love Comes Blindly” (coming soon to Kindle / Nook / Smashwords)
If love isn’t blind to past indiscretions, can absence truly make the heart grow fonder?
Lord Gregory Fielding has been wounded when he travels to Scotland to find the next big story for his London newspaper.  Now blinded, he relies on the soft, comforting touch of one of the nurses at St. Mary’s Abbey.  He thinks she’s a novice, but that doesn’t stop him from wanting to give her his heart.
Madeline O’Neil cannot believe her misfortune.  The man she had almost married three years ago is back in her life.  Gregg doesn’t know who she is and she doesn’t dare tell him.  Not until she makes him like the new Madeline.  But as each day passes and her heart grows fonder, she fears he’ll hate her for certain once his eyesight returns.  Especially when he discovers the secret she’s been keeping from him for three years…

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Marie Higgins is a multi-published author of romance; from refined bad-boy heroes who makes your heart melt to the feisty heroines who somehow manage to love them regardless of their faults. Visit her website / blog to discover more about her – http://mariehiggins84302.blogspot.com

May 19, 2012

Saturday's Salacious Suggestions

As any of you who have visited my blog in the past few weeks know, I am a big supporter of Brenda Novak's Online Auction for Diabetes Research.  Brenda says on her auction site, "So far, we have raised over $1.3 million (cumulatively) — and hope to break $2 million in the near future. In order to make that happen, we are doing everything possible to set a new record this year."  


I personally have supported the auction for the past four years, by bidding on and winning items in the auction and by donating items to be auctioned off.  


The auction runs through May 31, 2012.


This year, I have put together three baskets for the Auction:








But my baskets are a mere dew drop of items up for bid at Brenda's Auction.  Here a few more Salacious Suggestions for YOU to bid on.





Kindles and Nooks - All Sorts and Sizes


It comes with 15 Historical Romances!


(only one of many jewelry pieces up for auction)


May 17, 2012

Have Lunch with Your Favorite Author

Are you going to RWA's National Conference in Anaheim this year?  Have you always wanted to have lunch with an author or agent?  Then check out the MEALS AND DRINKS with AUTHORS Category at the Brenda Novak Online Auction for Diabetes Reaserch. There are 25 authors to choose from (certainly someone for everyone!) and include: Suzanne Brockmann, Sharon Sala, Janet Evanovich, Sophie Jordan and Sarah McLean, Elizabeth Hoyt, Victoria Dahl, and many more.


Check out the whole list of authors HERE!

May 16, 2012

Wednesday's Chow-Pad Thai

This week's guest, Suzan Buttah (Using Music as Inspiration) shares a family favorite with us today.  Thanks Suzan!

Pad Thai

Ingredients:
250g packet rice stick noodles
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 2 chicken breast fillets, thinly sliced
  • 500g green prawns, peeled, deveined
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced diagonally
  • 2 small red chillies, deseeded, finely chopped
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup bean sprouts, tails removed
  • 1/4 cup roasted peanuts, finely chopped, optional
  • 1/2 cup coriander leaves
  • lime wedges, to serve
Directions:
  1. Place noodles into a heat-proof bowl. Cover with hot water. Stand until tender. Drain. Rinse under cold water.
  2. Combine lemon juice, fish sauce and sugar in a jug. Whisk with a fork to combine.
  3. Heat a wok over high heat. Add oil. Swirl to coat. Add chicken. Stir-fry for 2 minutes until golden. Add prawns, onions and chillies. Stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until prawns turn pink. Add noodles. Stir-fry for 2 minutes.
  4. Add lemon juice mixture to wok. Toss to combine. Slowly pour eggs over noodles. Stir-fry for 1 minute. Add sprouts. Toss well.
  5. Spoon pad Thai onto plates. Sprinkle with peanuts and coriander leaves. Serve with lime or lemon wedges.
Serves 4 people


Suzan Battah
@suzanbattah

May 15, 2012

Kid's History Basket at Brenda Novak's Auction


The Hearts Through History chapter of RWA presents Kid’s History Basket.  This collection of stories and DVDs from Stonehenge to the Titanic will be a wonderful addition to any child’s library.

Value: NOW worth $200


Bid on this Basket HERE.

Books include:

IF STONES COULD SPEAK: Unlocking the Secrets of Stonehenge
7 American Girl Books
WE WERE THERE, TOO! Young People in U.S. History
THE JOURNAL OF RUFUS ROWE: A Witness to the Battle of Fredericksburg
PRIDE & PREJUDICE, a counting primer
ANCIENT SCIENCE: 40 Time-Traveling World-Exploring, History-Making Activates for Kids
WHO WAS HELEN KELLER?
IF YOU TRAVELED WEST IN A COVERED WAGON
THE TITANIC: An Interactive History Adventure
VOYAGE ON THE GREAT TITANIC: The Diary of Margaret Ann Brady

DVD’s include:

ANNE OF GREEN GABLES
HACHI: A Dog’s Tale

MORE ITEMS HAVE BEEN ADDED, INCLUDING BOOKS on pirates, the West Indies, American Indians,  Build a Helicopter with Da Vinci and more!

Bid on this FANTASTIC Basket HERE.

Hearts Through History RWA – Where History and Romance Meet
Hearts Through History is an on-line chapter of Romance Writers of America®. Our authors cover the gamut from pre-published to multi-published and write in eras from ancient times through World War II. We offer support, camaraderie and research resources for those interested in writing the historical romance genre.  Chapter membership benefits include, but are not limited to, special interest subgroups, members-only bootcamps and online conferences, an annual chapter meeting held during the RWA National Conference, access to promote on the Seduced by History blog and newsletter, The Bard’s Scroll chapter newsletter and more.

May 14, 2012

Using Music as Inspiration for Writing


By Suzan Battah

Well, there is a secret story behind the book Mad About the Boy. It's not seedy, or even romantic but just the truth and I'm here to share the secret - music.

Music is a big part of my writing. It is an inspiration and it beats like a heart in me when I am writing scenes. It doesn't matter the genre, music is always there to push me forward.

Since I was a little girl, I always wanted to be swept off my feet by some dashing hero and we'd get married and live in a castle with plenty of children to follow. I was young! But I was a lonely child and we didn't have family around, growing up in a quiet suburb. I was a quiet child and didn't have many friends. Though I loved to read and always had a fascination with the Medieval Period, Regency Period and anything Fantasy or Sci Fi. I also dreamed and dreamed about running away to live in England where I could visit Jane Austen's house, see the massive palaces and maybe the Queen and lots of castles and walk around in the country and who cares if it's raining! That was the fantastical world from my eyes as a child and right into my teens (even now) I still daydream about what it would be like to have lived in those times or my own world. My imagination runs wild, seriously I can't help it - so I write.

Music and writing is a big thing, especially for me. I am very visual and some particular music can evoke visual scenes, some music brings out the emotional scenes. Mad About the Boy is named after the delightful song Mad About the Boy by Dinah Washington and there seems to be a trend in this. I've seen some other romantic books following along those lines.

I use contemporary, classical, rock, pop and especially love hearing original music from youtube. Music is like the words of a book playing out in rhythm. With all my projects, music plays a big part. So as each project comes to an end and ready for publishing so too does the playlist that was developed while making my creation.

Mad About the Boy was born - a Contemporary Romance with a multicultural couple, the song playlist that was developed while writing the book can be listened to on my website. I was so proud of my achievement. I sent out manuscripts, got rejected over a hundred times had it reviewed by countless agents. I've been shredded to bits in writer's competitions by my peers, I've also won two awesome awards for the same manuscript. I've written this beautiful, charismatic love story and wanted to share it with the world. There was a stigma behind Self-Publishing, other authors stare down their noses or put you down. It's considered taboo but not anymore I hope with the great many successes out there. Wonderful authors whose voices may never have been heard if not for taking their own art form and business with their own hands. I'm proud of the choice I made and even more so when the readers tell me how much they love Mad About the Boy. I write for the readers to entertain.



Blurb:

Julia Mendoza is driven by the success of her business. Since her husband Carlos passed away at such a young age, her business By Design is her number one priority. In her late twenties she works too hard and doesn't take time out for fun. Annoyance with a pesky ex-friend has her begging one of the local surfer's with a cheeky smile in the grocery store to pretend he's her boyfriend. Suddenly, life takes a sudden detour from her business plan; much to the delight of her boisterous Latin American family.

Christophe Augustine is groomed to take over his father's successful chain of luxurious hotels. With a wealthy French-American background, Chris has been given privileges that not many have. He works hard, plays harder but seeks approval and recognition above all else. Family is a top priority for him as he fights for custody of his young brother. His parent's divorce has not diminished his faith in romance. When a gorgeous Latino woman changes one boring morning into an interesting game of role play, though reluctant to help at first, he soon realises she's not like the string of other women he's known.

A romantic first date ending dramatically doesn't stop Chris from wanting to know Julia more. And for Julia, she's all for a bit of fun but when things get too serious she's running the other way. Too alike, in some ways and complete opposites, in others ways, Julia and Chris fumble through fun moments, annoying confrontations, passionate times and heartbreaking revelations. 

Love has no boundaries when soul-mates meet but when one is ready to love and the other one isn't....

Buy now at Amazon: Paperback addition or Kindle
Buy now at Barnes and Noble: Paperback or Nook

Suzan Battah
@suzanbattah

May 13, 2012

Proofread of a FULL Manuscript Auction


Here's another great basket available via The Brenda Novak Online Auction for Diabetes Research.

The winner of this auction will receive a proofread of a full manuscript (not to exceed 110K words).
The basket also includes all of the tools you’ll need to edit your manuscript before sending it off for proofreading, including multicolored highlighters, red pens, Post-it© Page Markers, a sticky note cube, multicolored index cards, and a collection of multicolored paper clips, push pins, and binder clips.

Submission must be made by October 31, 2012.

Value: $200


Bid on it HERE!

A graduate of The George Washington University, Ally Broadfield is a former school librarian who runs her own freelance proofreading business. She is also a News Writer for the Best Friends Animal Network and an RWA PRO, and currently has three manuscripts on submission. She writes historical romance and young adult paranormal/fantasy romance.

For more information about Ally and her proofreading services, please visit allybroadfield.com

Please note that proofreading is not the same thing as a critique. Proofreading focuses solely on mechanical correctness (grammar, spelling, punctuation, typos and syntax).

May 12, 2012

Saturday's Salacious Suggestions: Chocolate Almond Cake

This week's guest, Malia Mallory (My New Love-Voice Recognition Software) sent me this recipe for Wednesday's Chow, but the week got away from me, so it'll be our Saturday's Salacious Suggestion.  I mean, Chocolate, Almonds, Amaretto liquor....that's pretty Salacious to me!



Chocolate Almond Cake 

Cake Ingredients:

1 cup chopped almonds - place in bottom of greased & floured
Bundt pan
1-18 1/2 oz. chocolate cake mix
1-3 1/2 oz. fudge instant pudding mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup amaretto liquor

Glaze Ingredients:

1 stick butter
1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup amaretto (add after removing mixture from heat)

Cake Directions:

Mix all cake ingredients together and pour batter over chopped nuts. Bake approx. 50 min. to 1 hour at 325°. Cool. Invert onto serving place. Prick top and drizzle glaze over top and sides of cake.

Glaze Directions:

Melt butter. Stir in water and sugar. Boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in amaretto.

Connect with Malia Mallory 




May 10, 2012

Seduced by History

Hearts Through History, the historical author's chapter of Romance Writers of America, has sponsored its own category at the Brenda Novak Online Auction for Diabetes Research.

Check out the full list of items in the HHRW category HERE.

Ten items are up for bidding in the HHRW category, including a Kindle Touch with 15 (or more) historical romances for it.




Also in the auction is a Seduced by History basket



a Kid's History basket



a year's worth of Campus Workshops



Proofread of a FULL Manuscript and Bonus Writing Gifts from Writer Ally Broadfield



Check out the full list of items in the HHRW category HERE.


The Auction runs through May 31st, but bids are already pouring in and if you want an item, bid now and bid often!

May 9, 2012

20th Annual Lone Star Writing Competition





Along with awesome feedback and a new and improved score sheet, the Lone Star offers a NEW Special Prize!!!

All entrants will be entered into a drawing for a 50 page critique by one of NWHRWA'€™s published authors. There will be 7 winners, one for each category.


Romantic Suspense: Teri Thackston
Historical: Anna Katherine Lanier (yeah, that's me!)
FF&P: Suzan Harden
Inspirational: Carla Rossi
YA: CC Hunter
Single Title: PJ Mellor
Contemporary Series: Cheri Jetton

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. In addition they will be sent to an e-publishing editor. 

EARLY BIRD ENTRY FEE: $5 discount on all entries submitted by midnight May 26, 2012; $15 for NWH members/$20 non-NHW members. 

Entry fee: After May 26, 2012 - $20 NWH members; $25 non-NWH members.

Winners will receive a custom made sterling silver pin and a website banner !!!! 

For more information including rules, the score sheet, and entry form, see our new, updated website at www.nwhrwa.com

Ann James
Northwest Houston 2nd VP
Lone Star Contest Coordinator


Wednesday’s Chow – Cherry Cola Salad


If you like to cook, I have THE basket for you at the Brenda Novak’s 8th Annual Auction for Diabetes Cure: Cooking Gift Basket.

“The winner of this auction will receive a collection of cookbooks, from cookies to easy weekday recipes to Cordon Bubba’s Texas yummies to Victorian-era treats to The All American Cowboy Cookbook (300 recipes from the world’s greatest cowboy’s). Also included is the romance anthology “Recipe for Love” (dozens of romances and recipes), and Anna Kathryn Lanier’s “A Gift Beyond All Measure” ebook, with bonus cookbook.”


Bid on this basket for the cook in your family HERE.


Just so you know what you’ll be getting if you win this auction, here’s a sample recipe from CORDON BUBBA: Texas Cuisine.

CHERRY COLA SALAD

Ingredients:

1 (16 oz) can pitted Bing cherries
1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple
Juice from cherry and pineapple cans, plus water to make 2 cups
2 regular packages black cherry gelatin
1 (12 oz) can Coke
1 cup chopped pecans

Directions:

Place drained fruit in a bowl.  Heat fruit juice to boiling point and stir in gelatin until dissolved.  Add cola, chill until slightly thick.  Stir in fruit and nuts and pour into a gelatin mold. Chill until firm. Serves 12.

Bid on this basket HERE.

May 8, 2012

Indulgent Spa Basket at Brenda Novak's Auction



Here's gift basket #2 that I've put together for The Brenda Novak Annual Auction for the Cure of Diabetes.

Indulgent Spa Gift Basket


Bid on it HERE.

The winner of this basket will receive a relaxing, refreshing Spa Gift Basket assembled by author Anna Kathryn Lanier.

Exfoliating gloves
Moisturizing socks
Mug and Tea
Footloose and Fancy Foot Fizz
Clean and Cool Foot Wipes
Pumice Stone
Loofah Exfoliating Soap
Mistral Blue Sky French Soap
Manicure and Pedicure set
Lavender Bath
Bubble Bath Cupcake
Mineral Bath Soaks
Bath and Body Works Shower Gel and Lotion
Soothing Spa CD

Value: $100

Bid on it HERE.

Anna Kathryn Lanier started writing while still in high school. Her first novel was a futuristic Armageddon tale with romantic elements. She wrote her first romances in her early twenties, but her only submission was rejected. After putting her writing on hold for nearly two decades to raise two daughters and play housewife, Anna Kathryn picked up the pen again, so to speak—this is the computer age—eight years ago. She has completed three romance novels to date, all unpublished. She discovered a love for short stories and has since published multiple novellas, both contemporary and historical. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and several of its chapters.
Anna Kathryn lives in Texas with her husband and four cats. She has two grown daughters and three grandchildren. Visit her atwww.annakathrynlanier.com orannakathrynlanier.blogspot.com. Her stories may be purchased at www.thewildrosepress.com 

May 7, 2012

My New Love - Voice Recognition Software


By Malia Mallory
Yes, it's true. I have found a new love. Believe it or not, it's voice recognition software. Years ago, I purchased voice recognition software and I attempted to use it. It didn't seem to do that great a job and I was disappointed. I'm a fast typist and the software made so many errors that it just wasn't worth my while.
Recently on one of the writing forums I follow, several writers were raving about voice recognition software. I read the information and wondered if the software had improved but I didn't really take any action or investigate.
Six weeks ago, I was blessed with the birth of a new child. When that happened, writing came to an absolute standstill. Despite Herculean efforts, I could not get any work done.
One night about 3:00 AM as I was feeding my daughter, that thread on voice recognition crossed my mind. I was desperate. I went back and reread that everyone had said. I was determined to try it.
I dug out a combination headphone/microphone set and decided to start with the Windows built-in voice recognition. I had absolutely no luck. The operating system did not recognize my microphone in the standard microphone jack. A few days went by and it occurred to me maybe I needed a USB microphone. I didn't think I had one and I didn't want to buy one. Unbeknownst to me, I'd did have one. I had the microphone from Guitar Hero; it is a USB microphone. I dug it out and plugged it in. Guess what? It works. In fact, I'm using it right now.
I went to the tutorial and was pleasantly surprised at the level of control you could exercise with voice recognition. It went way beyond dictation. Believe me, you cannot help but feel productive if you can feed an infant or fold diapers while simultaneously dictating a blog post, scanning a web page and responding to e-mail.
A few things that I want to do have not worked out. Nevertheless, I am so confident in my newfound skill that I ordered some software and a new USB headset.
Am I getting more writing done?  Yes and no.  I do find I need concentrated times to do real writing, that is to say, fiction. However, I can get a lot of business and personal work done while doing other things. In the last few days, I have finally gotten letters out that have needed to be written for weeks (if not longer). I have managed to catch up on some e-mail correspondence. These are things that were becoming increasingly urgent and when I had to do them, it took away from writing time. My hope is over the long term, dedicated writing time can be used for fiction writing and that my promotion and personal things can be knocked out while I'm doing things around the house.
I think this will be a huge boon to my productivity. What has been successful for you when trying to increase your productivity?
Malia Mallory is the author of The ABCs of Erotica series, which includes so far A is for Anal, B is for Beach, C is for C*ck Ring D is for Domination, and now, R is for Revenge. The ABCs of Erotica covers the erotic spectrum from BDSM to ménage and everything in between. More releases in the series are on the way. She has also released Mia's Cop Craving and Santa's Backdoor Baby. She has hit the bestselling erotica lists at both Amazon and iTunes. Her books are available in electronic format at major retailers like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and AllRomance Books.

For a free copy of B is for Beach from The ABCs of Erotica, head to her website and sign up for the newsletter at http://www.maliamallory.com/Join_My_Mailing_List.php.



Connect with Malia Mallory 


*****
Buy Links
Amazon Author Page - http://amzn.to/xpbkfg

Barnes & Noble - http://bit.ly/xPUUJe


Smashwords - http://bit.ly/AsvNJN

All Romance - http://bit.ly/ACe7k2




***
Excerpt from Mia's Cop Craving

He brushed her lips with his. "Mmmm, you'd better point me to a flat surface."
Her hand fluttered in the direction of the hallway and she gasped as he swept his arm under her knees and picked her up. His legs covered the distance quickly, and it barely seemed a blink before they were in her bedroom.
Lights from the street bathed the room in a slight glow and Rogan laid her on the coverlet. He smoothed her hair back from her face and climbed onto the mattress beside her.
"Mia," he whispered, “tell me what happens in your fantasy."

May 3, 2012

Cowboy Lovers Basket - Brenda Novak Auction


As I've already stated, I am involved in the Brenda Novak For The Cure for Diabetes Research Auction.  

Here's one of the baskets I'm participating in with other authors.  This one is provided by Western Writers,Sweethearts of the West. 


The winner of this auction will receive a rootin’, tootin’ box full of sexy cowboys and all things Western donated by Western Romance writers Paty Jager, Paisley Kirkpatrick, Caroline Clemmons, Anna Kathryn Lanier, Virginia Campbell, Cheryl Pierson, Ashley Kath-Bilsky and Tanya Hanson.

Item value: $140

Items include:

Romances:

HOME SWEET TEXAS HOME by Caroline Clemmons
WALKER’S WEDDING by Lori Copeland
MARRYING MATTIE by Tanya Hanson
DOCTOR IN PETTICOATS by Paty Jager
A GIFT BEYOND ALL MEASURE by Anna Kathryn Lanier
CASSIDY’S WAR by Susan Macatee
KANE’S REDEMPTION by Cheryl Pierson

Resource books:

THE WISDOM OF NATIVE AMERICANS by Kent Nerburn
GHOST TOWNS: YESTERDAY AND TODAY by Gary B. Speck
INDIAN SPIRIT by M.O. Fitzgerld and J. Fitzgerld
TRUE TALES OF THE OLD WEST by Paul Robert Walker
3 cowboy cookin’ recipe books.

DUEL IN THE SUN DVD

Cowboy Dreamin’ handmade pillow

A picture frame, plaque and more!

Make your auction bid HERE!

Sweethearts of the West blog is comprised of thirteen authors whose contemporary and historical fiction contains romance, adventure and mystery set West of the Mississippi River. Our team blog features articles on history, travel, recipes, and people of the West as well as occasional glimpses into our own lives and works. Please join us at http://sweetheartsofthewest.blogspot.com