May 29, 2013

Wednesday's Chow - Morning Glory Muffins

BRENDA NOVAK'S AUCTION IS OVER FOR 2013!  IT RAISED $335,000, PUSHING HER OVERALL FUND RAISING TO $2,000,000. Thanks to everyone who participated!

I found this little cookbook, TEXAS MORNING GLORY: Memorable Breakfast Recipes from Lone Star Bed and Breakfast Inns, a few years ago and just love it.  I make the Texas Ranger Baked Eggs all the time (find the recipe HERE).  I’ve included it in my Tex-Mex Cookbook Basket available through Friday, May 31st at the Brenda Novak Online Auction for Diabetes Research.  

For your enjoyment, here’s a recipe from The Iron Horse Inn, Grandbury, TX.



2 cups flour
1 ¼ cups sugar
2 tsps baking soda
2 tsps cinnamon powder
½ tsp salt
2 cups grated carrot
½ cup raisins
½ cup pecans (or other nuts)
½ cup shredded coconut
1 apple, peeled, cored and grated
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 tsps vanilla extract


Preheat oven 350°F. In a bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.  Stir in grated carrot, raisins, nuts, coconut and apple. 

In a separate bowl, beat eggs with oil and vanilla. Stir into flour mixture until, batter is just combined.

Spoon into well-greased muffin cups, filling to top.  Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center doesn’t stick.  Makes 14 large muffins.

You can purchase TEXAS MORNING GLORY: Memorable Breakfast Recipes from Lone Star Bed and Breakfast Inns,  HERE.

May 28, 2013

Inquiring Minds Want to Know - What are your goals?

We all should have them...goals....long term and short terms. What do you want to have done/achieved by the end of June?  The end of summer?  The end of the year?  Where do you see yourself in a year?  What do you want to have achieved in five years? Ten years?

I can honestly say, I don't really set goals. Which may be were my life has gone wrong, lol.  I did, when I was 45 years old, decide to go to college, finally.  I set a goal of getting my Associate of Arts degree in history and education (had I gone to college out of high school, this is what I'd have gotten my degree in). I did it in 2 1/2 years.  I was going to go on and get my Bachelor of Arts degree, but family issues prevented that. I did start substitute teaching, which I enjoy.  Maybe I'll return to school and get that degree, but since I'm now 53 years old, maybe I'll find other things to do instead.

My other goal in life was to write a novel.  I didn't really sit down and circle a date on the calendar and say "I'll have it done by THIS DATE."  But in six months, after I started writing again, I'd written two (really crappy) 120,000+ word novels.  I've since written another one and several short stories/novellas.  As a panster, I don't really write down goals. This means that I am not the person to say to you, hey, here's what you do to set goals you want to achieve.  However, I did a quick google search and found this website, which looks like it has a lot of neat ideas for setting goals. If you're interested in goal setting ideas, check it out (I in no way endorse it, I just found it on a google search).  

Personal Goal Setting

Planning to Live Your Life Your Way

I have goals, though I don't guess I actually call them that. My end of the June goal is to be having fun in Australia!  I leave June 23rd and will stay with my writer friend Skhye Moncrief until July 10.  Then my goal for the end of July is to survive the Australian trip AND the Romance Writers of American's conference set for July 17-20.  Since I'm planning to drive (2-day trip one-way) there and back, I also plan to veg out the last week of July!  

For several years now, I've had weight loss goals....ha ha ha.  Okay, I did lose 25 pounds (at least.....since I may have weighed more at one time than I say I did when I weighed myself to lose weight).  However, my goal was to lose 35 pounds and since Thanksgiving, I've gained back 10 pounds...fudge brownies!! So, now I have a goal of losing 20 pounds by the end of 2013. And of doing more exercise, which goes hand in hand with losing weight.

Okay, writing goals....I tried last year to write out goals for the this this month, do that by end of Spring, etc.  It didn't work.  My writing muse has not been around for the past 2 years, so first I need to find her, then I need to get to work. I don't know that setting any writing goals between now and the end of July would work...I'm going to be busy (did I mention that for 2 weeks before leaving for Australia, I'll be entertaining my 3 grandchildren, ages 5, 6 and 8?).  So, officially, here and now, I will pledge a goal for the end of 2013....write one novella.  I'm not setting a word count, but I'll say at least a 10,000 word novella (I guess that is a word count, lol).  I really need to start the writing goals.  And I also pledge to write 100 words a day, minimum, starting June 1st.  I'll take a notebook with me to Australia and write longhand.  Hey, it's a 19 hour plan ride to Sydney, wonder what I can get written then?

Oh, I will say this about goals...make them achievable. Did you note that my daily goal is to write 100 words? One hundred words a day. Do you know how achievable that should be?  Much easier than saying 10,000 words a day, or even 1,000. Two hundred words is usually the average for a double-spaced Times New Romans font page.  So, I’m pledging to write half a page a day. Today, as I was driving to pick up two of my grandchildren, I listened to an RWA conference workshop on CD in which the speakers (one of whom was Ruth Kaufman, I apologize for not recalling the name of the other speaker, but I know Ruth from the RWA Hearts Through History chapter).  They said if you want to write a novel in a year, you need to write 8 pages a week…..can you do that if you really want it? Todd A. Stone, the  author of Novelist's Boot Camp says make your goals as achievable as possible and if that’s 10 words a day, so be it. (P.S., this paragraph is 191 words long…I more than met my goal!)

There is my story...what are your long and short term goals?

Never let your memories be greater than your dreams. ~Doug Ivester 

May 24, 2013

Want a fresh look at your works - Bid on a critique

BRENDA NOVAK'S AUCTION IS OVER FOR 2013!  IT RAISED $335,000, PUSHING HER OVERALL FUND RAISING TO $2,000,000. Thanks to everyone who participated!

One thing Brenda Novak's Online Auction for Diabetes Research offers is critiques, and lots of them! (more than 150)  Critiques by editors, agents, and authors!  Critiques for contemporaries, historicals, paranormals, world name, you'll find a critique for your manuscript.

The auction ends in SEVEN don't hesitate, bid now.

Here's some links to a few of the auctions being offered up for bid!

46 Agent Evaluations - click HERE for the list.

53 (others can be found throughout the rest of the categories) Authors' Critiques - click HERE for a few being offered.

53 Editor Evaluations - Click HERE for the list.

Now, here's a few direct links to critiques/evaluations being given by friends of mine.  Some are still available at great bargains, so get your bid in early! (sorry for the format, blogger is not being very nice tonight.)

50-Page Critique (Inspirational or Romantic Suspense)

May 22, 2013

Wednesday's Chow - Easy Taco Dip

BRENDA NOVAK'S AUCTION IS OVER FOR 2013!  IT RAISED $335,000, PUSHING HER OVERALL FUND RAISING TO $2,000,000. Thanks to everyone who participated!

The Brenda Novak's Online Auction for Diabetes Research is hitting the home stretch…only 9 days left to bid on your favorite items (and with more than 2,000 items, there’s bound to be one that is your favorite!).  Check it before it’s too late.

As anyone who’s read my blog in the past two or three months knows, I am participating in the auction via donations (and bidding).  On the left are links to the three categories I am spearheading and donating items through.

Hearts Through History's Basket

In two of the categories, Hearts Through History and Sweethearts of the West, I have cookbook baskets.  Click HERE and HERE to see those items.

Sweethearts of the West’sbasket is a Tex-Mex, with, surprise a Tex-Mex cookbook.  Here’s a recipe from that book for Easy Taco Dip (slow cooker recipe):


½ pound ground beef chuck
1 cup frozen corn
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup salsa
½ cup mild taco sauce
1 can (4 oz) diced mild green chilies
1 can (4 oz) sliced ripe olives, drained
1 cup (4 oz) shredded Mexican cheese blend
   Tortilla chips
   Sour Cream


1.     Brown ground beef in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring to separate meat.  Drain and discard fat. Spoon into slow cooker.

2.     Add corn, onion, salsa, taco sauce, chilies and olives to slow cooker; mix well. Cover and cook on LOW 2 to 4 hours.

3.     Just before serving, stir in cheese. Serve with tortilla chips and sour cream.  Makes about 3 cups of dip.

Tip: to keep this dip hot through an entire party, simply leave it in slow cooker on low (or warm).

May 21, 2013

Inquiring Minds Want to Know - What Have You Overcome

First, my heart and prayers go out to all those affected by the recent tornadoes, especially in Texas (my state) and Moore, Oklahoma.  As some of my friends and I are saying, we'd take a hurricane over a tornado any least we can prepare for hurricanes and evacuate.

I found this question, just like last week's, on a job interview help site, though I'm tweaking it a little. It asked 'in the past year' and I made it more broad.

What was a major obstacle you were able to overcome in your life?

Never let your memories be greater than your dreams. ~Doug Ivester 

Picture from wikipedia.  I don't really know how to attribute this pictures, so here's where to find the info on it:

May 19, 2013

Brenda Novak Auction is in FULL SWING

BRENDA NOVAK'S AUCTION IS OVER FOR 2013!  IT RAISED $335,000, PUSHING HER OVERALL FUND RAISING TO $2,000,000. Thanks to everyone who participated!

If you've been reading my blog the last few months, then you know that the annual Brenda Novak Auction for Diabetes Research is well under way!  Starting May 1st and running until May 31st, Brenda and friends have donated over 2,000 items to the auction for bidding.  Since starting the auction several years ago, Brenda has raised more than $1.6 million!  It is hopeful that the auction will surpass $2 million in 2013!  It is well on its way of doing so!

And if you've been reading my blog, you also know that I am involved in three different categories this year: Northwest Houston RWA, Hearts Through History RWA and Sweethearts of the West.  Between the three groups, more than 30 items have been donated, including 3 Kindles loaded with books, critiques, gift baskets (including two especially for young readers), and more!  This is in addition to the other 2,000 items available for your bidding pleasure.

Here's some of the items available from my groups:

Hearts Through History: Pride and Prejudice DVD basket

Hearts Through History: Seduced by History Basket

Hearts Through History: Cookbook Basket

Hearts Through History: For the Love of History for Children

Northwest Houston: Reader's Basket

Kindles loaded with books!

Northwest Houston: A Night at the Movies

Sweethearts of the West: Handmade Jewelry Box

Sweethearts of the West: Blue Topaz jewelry set

Sweethearts of the West: Paty Jager gift basket

Sweethearts of the West: Young Reader's Basket

May 15, 2013

Wednesday's Chow - Seafood Cheese Dip

It’s in full swing…the Brenda Novak 2013 Annual Auction for the Cure of Diabetes.  Brenda’s annual auction runs May 1-31.  So far, there are over 2,000 items up for auction. I am participating in several categories this year (see to the right for links to Northwest Houston RWA, Hearts Through History RWA and Sweethearts of the West’s pages.)  You’ll find more than 30 items up for bidding on just these three pages, including gift baskets, critiques, and 3 kindles loaded with books! 

One of the baskets I’m donating is “Calling All Cooks,” a box full of cookbooks:

Calling all Cooks

The winner of this auction will win a box full of cookbooks.

Christmas Cookies
1001 Fast Easy Recipes
Cake Pops, Brownies and More
Fun Summer Recipes
Freezer Meals
Slow Cooker Recipes
And more…..

Here’s a recipe from Slow Cooker Recipes.



1 package (12 oz) Velveeta cheese, cubed
2 cans (10 oz) lump crab dip, drained
1 can (10 oz) diced tomatoes and green chilies, undrained
1 cup frozen cooked salad shrimp, thawed
French bread baguettes, sliced and toasted


In a greased 3-quart slow cooker, combine the cheese, crab, tomatoes and shrimp. Cover and cook on low for 1½ to 2 hours or until cheese is melted, stirring occasionally. Serve with baguettes.

I posted another recipe from this book earlier, Herbed Chicken and Shrimp.  Find it HERE.

May 14, 2013

Inquiring Minds Want to Know - How would your best friend describe you?

How would your best friend describe you?  Inquiring minds want to know.

As for me, I think my friends would say I'm giving, thoughtful, talkative, and a bit self-centered (or maybe a lot self-centered.  I know when I talk, I talk alot about me....and I would like to change that about myself!).

So, share with us, how does your best friend(s) see you?

Ginger Simpson and Me, June 2012
(one of my best cyber friends)

The Cousins and Best Friends
My Grandkids

May 7, 2013

Inquiring Minds Want to Know - What are your reading?

A few years 10....I was a constant reader, one book after another, picking up a new one up almost as soon as I finished one.  But I have not been reading like that for years and I think that affects my own writing.  I have a nook, so you'd think I'd be reading like crazy again.  But, I'm not.  Still, last Thursday, I had Jury Duty..ugh!  A whole day spent hurrying up and then waiting.  I was on a panel, but not chosen for the actual jury.  I didn't know if I could take my nook into the court house, so I took a Mary Balogh book. (She's one of my favorite authors). That's what I'm reading now, Christmas Bride.  Yes, since Friday, I have been too busy to read on it, but I will finish it.

So, Inquiring Minds Want to Know....WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?  Please share.

May 2, 2013

Cowboys and Lawmen Blog Tour - Pat Garrett

Welcome to the Cowboys and Lawmen Blog Hop.  Nearly 50 authors are talking about bad-boy cowboys and sexy sheriffs. There is a $100 gift card (winner's choice of Barnes and Noble or Amazon) up for grabs, as well as individual prizes from each author.  Leave a comment on my post, with your email address and you'll be eligible for a copy of SALVATION BRIDE, my own 'cowboy and lawmen' story, as well as the $100 gift card.

Cowboys are known as bad-boys, but what happens when the bad-boy is also the law in town? What is it about these contradictions that make small town sheriffs, Texas Rangers and ex-outlaws-turned-lawmen so irresistible? Whether you write or love to read about the Wild West or modern day Montana, what do you love most about lawmen who are also cowboys? And what makes them so gosh-darn sexy?

Cowboy Charm Blog Hops now has a companion FaceBook Group. If you'd like to join to receive blog hop and prize announcements here's the link:!/groups/453991144693516/

But that’s not all, as you enjoy some awesome blogs and find fantastic books, for every post you comment on with your email address, you will be entered for some amazing prizes.

Grand Prize: At least a $100 Gift Card for Amazon or Barnes and Noble, your choice. The winner will be chosen at random from comments containing email addresses, and will be announced on May 7. This is open to both US and international readers.

Click HERE for a list of all the authors.

Pat Garrett: Folk Hero and Murder Victim

On July 14, 1881 Pat Garrett shot and killed famed outlaw Billy-the-Kid. He became an instant celebrity, but his reputation as a drunk, gambler and debtor eventually overshadowed his claim to fame, climaxing with Garrett’s own death by murder.

Pat Garrett

Following the killing of William Bonney, Garrett wrote a book that helped to spread the folk-hero story many know today. However, over the three decades after the killing, Garrett’s life was a series of failed business ventures, gambling debts and numerous embarrassing moments.

In 1898, he somehow managed to acquire a 160 acre ranch in Doña Ana County, New Mexico. In 1902, he mortgaged the land to Las Cruces, NM businessman Martin Lohman. Eventually, Lohman tired of carrying the unpaid mortgaged and he sold it to W.W. Cox, who owned a ranch adjacent to Garrett’s. Cox neither wanted nor needed the land, so he never called in the mortgage and did actually help Garrett several times to avoid foreclosure on the land and seizure of his cattle. Garrett lived on the homestead, even though he had technically given up the right by not paying the mortgage.

The events leading to Garrett’s death started innocently enough in 1907, when Garrett’s son Dudley leased part of the property to Jesse Wayne Brazel. In reality, Dudley didn’t have the right to lease any property, because it was owned by Cox who held the lien. Cox, however, didn’t protest the lease, and, in fact, helped financed Brazel’s goat herd. The lease and goat herd, however, infuriated Garrett, who still thought of the land as his own.

Pat Garrett and wife, Apolinaria Gutierrez Garrett

In January 1908, Garrett was presented with a proposition that would pay off his mortgage and get him back on his feet financially. James B. Miller, a former Texas Ranger, now a cattleman an hired assassin (who by the way, didn’t smoke, drink or cheat on his wife), offered Garrett $3,000 to 1) sell part of his land to Miller, who would then fatten his newly bought cattle before driving them to Oklahoma and 2) have Garrett drive the cattle to Oklahoma.

There was, however, one small problem to this financial windfall: Brazel and his goats.

A February 1908 meeting between Garrett, Miller and Brazel settled the problem when Miller agreed to buy the 1,200 goats for $3.50 a head. A few weeks later, however, Brazel informed the duo that he had miss-counted. He had 1,800 goats and Miller would need to buy them all or the deal was off.

Miller didn’t want any goats, let alone an extra 600, but he agreed to a second meeting to see if things could be worked out to seal the deal.

On February 29th, Garrett and Miller’s brother-in-law headed out from the ranch to Las Cruces and the meeting. Somewhere along the road, Brazil met up with them and rode along side their wagon on horseback. Words were exchanged and later testimony would declare that Garrett was very enraged by the current situation and cussed at Brazil, as well as threatening to get him and his goats off the land.

Shortly, Garrett pulled the wagon to the side of the road, got out, walked to the back of the wagon and proceeded to urinate. With his back to Brazel, a glove in his shooting hand and his fly open, Garrett was shot in the back of the head, dead before he hit the ground. For good measure, he was then shot in the shoulder.

Brazil rushed into town and confessed the shooting to the sheriff, claiming he shot in ‘self-defense.’ Miller’s brother-in-law backed up Brazil’s claim.

On April 19, 1909, Brazil was tried for murdering Garrett. After fifteen minutes of deliberations, the jury found him not guilty. As author Dale M. Walker puts it in THE CALAMITY PAPERS, the jury “divined that shooting a man in the head and back, a man who was urinating with his back turned to his assailant, was ‘self-defense.’”

There have been many speculations as to why Garrett was killed, including one claiming Cox had him murdered for the mortgaged land. This makes no sense, however, as Cox already owned the land due to the lien and could have foreclosed on the property at any time during the previous decade. The most likely scenario, however, is what actually happened. “The two men argued bitterly, and when Garrett turned his back, Brazel took the safe way out and shot him. It was simply a case of hate and fear erupting into murder along a lonely New Mexico back road,” Leon Metz relayed in an interview in with Dale Walker.

Pat Garrett was buried in the Odd Fellow Cemetery in Las Cruces on March 5, 1908.

I found this story on Pat Garrett’s death interesting, because I lived in Las Cruces, NM and most likely travelled the road on which he was murdered. However, I don’t recall my family visiting Garrett’s grave or me being aware of the story during my time living there. ~AKL

Resource: THE CALAMITY PAPERS: Western Myths and Cold Cases by Dale L. Walker

Further reading: 

This post first appeared on Sweethearts of the West blog on 10/8/10.


The hot dusty town of Salvation, Texas has more than its share of secrets in 1873 when Laura Ashton's stage rolls into town. Sheriff David Slade has no idea what baggage his mail-order bride is bringing into his life. Throw in the nightmares from his Civil War days and he's got more than courting to contend with. Laura's a woman ahead of her time, a woman trained in medicine. And she's got a will that could move mountains. Unfortunately, the only mountains in Salvation are in Sheriff Slade's memory. Can the determined doctor heal his pain, or will the dark secret in her past turn up to steal his Salvation Bride?

Learn more at:

Grand Prize: At least a $100 Gift Card for Amazon or Barnes and Noble, your choice. The winner will be chosen at random from comments containing email addresses, and will be announced on May 7. This is open to both US and international readers.

My prize: eBook copy of SALVATION BRIDE.

Whether you write or love to read about the Wild West or modern day Montana, what do you love most about lawmen who are also cowboys? And what makes them so gosh-darn sexy?

May 1, 2013

Brenda Novak Auction - Started Today!

Brenda Novak's Annual Online Auction for Diabetes Research is gearing up for its biggest year yet. Thanks to all who have participated in the past — both donors and shoppers — we've raised a cumulative total of $1.6 million. This year we are hoping to surpass $2 million to help all those with diabetes!  There are over 1,200 items up for bid, from trips, eReaders, books, gift baskets, chocolates, jewelry, critiques from authors, agents and editors, meetings with authors, agents and editors, and much, much more.

Click HERE to browse the items.

As I've stated before, I am involved in several categories for the auction: Hearts Through History RWA chapter, Northwest Houston RWA chapter and Sweethearts of the West romance writers.  All three groups are offering critiques, gift baskets and eReaders.  Northwest Houston is offering a registration to a Donald Maass conference. Hearts Through History has a year's worth of campus workshops up for grabs. (Graphics to the right will link you straight to these groups' pages).

I've put together two different cookbook baskets, both of which I've featured here the past few weeks.  And since it's officially "Wednesday's Chow" day, I'll offer up another recipe from on of these baskets.

Sweethearts of the West Tex-Mex Basket

From A TASTE OF TEXAS cookbook by Candy Coleman



1 pound large shrimp, cooked, shelled and deveined
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
3 TBSP butter
1 TBSP flour
1 cup sour cream
5 TBSP butter, melted
1 tsp soy sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tsp paprika


Arrange the cooked shrimp in a buttered casserole dish just large enough to hold them in one layer.  Sauté the mushrooms in butter until browned; transfer to a bowl.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss with flour and stir in sour cream, butter and soy sauce.  Pour over the shrimp; top with cheese and sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes or until heated through. Do not overcook. Serve over rice or pasta if desired. Serves 4.