April 30, 2013

Inquiring Minds Want to Know - Flirting

Authors are often asked, is your story character driven or plot driven…in other words, is your story more character oriented or plot oriented?

I’m a panster and I don’t spend a lot of time plotting out either my characters or my plot. I have a general idea of who they are and what’s going to happen when I start the book, but I’m not one of those authors who have a notebook on either.

One book I have on characters is WHATWOULD YOUR CHARACTER DO? Personality Quizzes for Analyzing Your Characters by Eric Maisel, PH.D. and Ann Maisel. “The 30 real-life scenarios include questions and answers that provide you with a window into your characters’ souls.”

The book sets up scenes for your character, then asks a series of questions, with multiple choice answers. You choose the answer that your character would most likely do. The authors then give you an explanation for each answer—why your character would react that way.

An example from the book: Scenario No. 7 – Flirting (page 76). “Imagine your character in a bar and in a flirting mood.” What sort of a bar is she in? What other people are in the bar? Get the picture in your mind. Then ask yourself:

“An attractive someone makes eye contact with your character. What is the first thing she does?”

1) Look away quickly?
2) Meet the glance briefly, then look away?
3) Meet the glance in a lingering way, then look away?
4) Smile and nod?
5) March right over?

What answer did you choose? According to the authors, this is what each action means:

1) Looking away quickly is consistent with a shy character who lets lots of life’s opportunities pass by and who is similarly likely to experience a lot of regret over her missed opportunities.
2) Meeting the glance briefly, then looking away is consistent with a character who, although on the shy side, has enough self-confidence to reciprocate a glance and who is likely to come back for a second glance.
3) Meeting the glance in a lingering way, then looking away, is consistent with a self-confident character who perhaps has a lot on her mind or, alternatively, with a self-confident character who is playing a studied role of casualness.
4) Smiling and nodding is consistent with a friendly, extroverted character who takes easily to new people and who may pop up and visit if another glance is exchanged.
5) Marching right over is consistent with a powerful character high in energy and sex appeal or, alternatively, with a weak character who is used to disguising that weakness through bold gestures.

In this chapter, you are asked five other questions and also given other alternative flirting situations to consider and facts about flirting and modern women.

A few other scenarios given in the book for your consideration are: Family Picnic, Poolside Encounter, Stranger in Town, Poker Night, At the Sex Shop, Deathbed Secret, A Very Busy Day.

So, how would your character react to finding a handsome/beautiful someone looking at them?

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

This post first appeared on the Roses of Houston blog on 12/28/09.

April 28, 2013

Brenda Novak Online Auction for Diabetes Research May 1-31

Click HERE to go to the auction page

Sweethearts of the West Kindle Paperwhite, loaded with sexy cowboys and damsels in distress.

Handmade Wooden Jewelry Box from Author Linda LaRoque
(made by her husband!)

A Rootin’, Tootin’ Basket for Kids from Sweethearts of the West
plus additional books not shown

Tex-Mex Cookbook Basket from Anna Kathryn Lanier

Sterling Silver Blue Topaz Earrings and Pendant Set from 
Author Linda LaRoque

Silpada Stretch Turquoise and Sterling Ring from Author Linda LaRoque


Sweethearts of the West 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. 

April 24, 2013

Wednesday Chow - Chicken Tortilla Bake

Oh my gosh, just a week to go until the Brenda Novak 2013 Annual Auction for the Cure of Diabetes starts!  This will be my fifth or sixth year to participate, either as a bidder, as a contributor or as both.

Brenda’s annual auction runs May 1-31.  So far, there are over 1,100 items up for auction, with more to come.  I am contributing to several baskets/items in the auction this year.  See the right column for links to the three categories I’m involved with.  As mentioned before, one of the baskets I’m donating is “Calling All Cooks,” a boxful 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…..

Today’s recipe comes from FREEZER MEALS, a Taste of Home cookbook.


1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
1 can (16 oz) refried beans
1 can (14½ oz) diced tomatoes with mild green chilies, drained
8 flour tortillas (8-inches), cut into 1-inch strips
1 can (11 oz) Mexicorn, drained
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

In a large skillet, sauté the chicken, cumin and salt in 1 tablespoon olive oil until chicken is no longer pink.

Combine the refried beans and tomatoes; spread 1 cup into a greased 11-in by 7-in baking dish. Top with 24 tortilla strips; layer half the corn, bean mixture, chicken and cheese. Repeat layers.

Using remaining tortilla strips, make a lattice crust over the filling; brush with remaining olive oil.

At this point, you may bake the dish or freeze it.

To bake dish: Bake uncovered, at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted. Serve immediately.

To freeze dish: Cover and freeze for up to 3 months. To bake: Thaw in refrigerator overnight.  Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking, bake according to directions above.

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

April 23, 2013

Inquiring Minds Want to Know - Naming Characters

I am a panster, and this carries over to my characters' names. In one book, I asked my daughter for the names, Conner and Layla.  Honestly, I don't recall how I came up with the names of my other characters. There's one of my WIPs where the heroine's name keeps getting changed. I know that I want her to have a boyish name, like Dannie or Sammie, while her real name is more elegant, like Danielle or Samantha. Or something even less flattering, a name one of her brothers came up with, perhaps because he couldn't pronounce her name.  The hero won't realize her name is not actually what he's been calling her all along. I just can't settle on a name for her.

For secondary characters, I usually just look around my house for items with names on them (books) and use that.  I have learned to be careful what you name secondary characters, however...you may want to write a book about them and not be thrilled with their name!

How do you name your characters, especially the main characters?  Do you just pick out a name or do you worrying over it?

April 16, 2013

Inquring Minds Want to Know - Share your favorite recipe

It may surprise everyone to learn that I really am not much of a cook, considering all the recipes I've posted on this blog.  But if it's complicated or really involved, I'm not going to do it. And nothing ever comes out looking the way it's supposed to look.  But I love seeing new recipes, especially ones that people enjoy sharing with their family and friends.

So, it's time for you to share with us one of your favorite recipes.  If it has history, please share that too.

April 10, 2013

Wednesday's Chow - Chicken Fried Steaks

There’s less than a month to go until theBrenda Novak’s Annual Diabetes Research Auction and I have several items up for bidding….some of my own donation and some that I’m joined by other authors…there’s critiques, baskets and electronic books!  Follow the links on the right for a full list of the items available and for information on the auction.

One of the baskets I’m donating is Cookbooks for the Southwest Chef in Your House.

Win a boxful of cookbooks with a southwest/southern twist.  Includes:

Tex-Mex Recipes
Texas Morning Glory (Bed and Breakfast recipes)
True Gist: Buckwheat and Cornmeal Recipes
A Taste of Texas
Dolly Parton’s Tennessee Mountain Cooking
Cookbook for a Cause
POPS: Icy Treat for Everyone

Author Caroline Clemmons recently donated a new book to the basket, her self-published cookbook “Favorite Southwest Recipes.”  Here’s a recipe from her book, which is available in ebook or print.



4 to 6 tenderized boneless beef cutlets
1 egg
¾ to 1 cup milk
2 cups flour on a paper plate or waxed paper
Pepper to taste
2 cups shortening


Sprinkle pepper on cutlets.  Into shallow bowl, beat egg with fork.  Add milk and mix. Into a large heavy skillet with lid put about 2 cups shortening or oil and heat on medium high until little waves of heat can be seen on the shortening but not smoking. While shortening is heating, get cutlets, flour, and batter set up to work quickly. As shortening is almost ready, take one cutlet, dip on both sides with flour, then in egg-milk batter, then back into the flour. Drop carefully into skillet. Repeat with each cutlet.  Cover the skillet and lower heat. When the cutlets are browned on one side, turn and brown on the other side.  It takes about twenty minutes total time to cook these, but time will vary depending on cutlet thickness and space in the skillet.  When browned on both sides if steak is not done (as in the case of very thick steaks) lower the heat and let cook for a few more minutes. When done, remove from heat and drain on a paper toweling with skillet lid covering them until ready to serve. Place on platter and serve.

April 9, 2013

Inquiring Minds Want to Know

I've found that the best way to learn the writing craft is to attend conferences and workshops.  So, please share with us one of the best workshops (online or in person) that you have attended.

Jimmy Thomas workshop on branding and promotion
at Northwest Houston RWA, February 2013