June 4, 2013

I've moved!

Anyone visiting my blog for the past few months knows I am a strong support of Brenda Novak's Online Auction for Diabetes Research.  Not only do I donate items and help organize categories, but I also bid on items.  One item I bid on this year and won was a website design by Harvey Stanbrough.  Harvey has spent the past few days working on setting up my new website, which includes a blog page.  So...after many happy years at blogspot....my blog is moving.  For now, I will keep this blog open, as I need to see if there is anything I want to archive before deleting it (and I may not delete it, I may just leave up for future research efforts).

In the meantime and future, please visit my new website at: www.aklanier.com  Access my blog at http://aklanier.com/annas-blog/.

See you there!

Anna Kathryn Lanier

June 2, 2013

The 21st Annual Lone Star Writing Competition

Three first round judges, three final round judges!

**Permission to forward is granted and appreciated***
***Deadline will not be extended***
The 21st Annual Lone Star Writing Competition sponsored by Northwest Houston RWA.
Last year, our finalists received an overwhelming response: a total of 14 full and 6 partial requests covering all categories.
  • Two published authors and one unpublished author for first round judges.
  • Finalists go before a panel of three professionals in the industry which may include any of the following: agent/editor/epublisher.
  • Contest is open to unpublished and published authors. (See eligibility requirements by clicking the link below.)
Entry fee: $20 NWH members; $25 non-NWH members. (U.S. funds, only)
All electronic. First 25 pages, no synopsis. Entries must arrive via the entry form on the chapter’s website by midnight June 8, 2013 CDT. Any entries received after the deadline will be deleted unopened.
First place winners in each category will receive the custom made sterling silver Lone Star Brooch AND a website banner !!!! Achievement certificates will be awarded to all finalists.
For more information including rules, the score sheet, and entry form, see our website at http://nwhrwa.com/writers-events/lonestar-contest/.

Eligibility: Unpublished may enter any category.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.
Questions may be directed to the contest coordinator at jayegarland@gmail.com.

Jaye Garland, 2013 Contest Chair
Lone Star Writing Competition
2nd Vice President, NWHRWA

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 year...do 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 building...you name, you'll find a critique for your manuscript.

The auction ends in SEVEN DAYS....so 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 day...at 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: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ferguson-slide.jpg

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