Public Self-Serving Announcement
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
We interrupt your evening to bring you the following bulletin:
Sela has recieved a request for a full from Nadia Cornier.
The footage you see is that of Sela screaming and running down the road to tell everyone on her street of this development.
We now resume your regular evening.
Sometimes I Smile
Sometimes when I'm actually writing and not stuck in the midst of a What Was I Thinking? moment, I read back over what I've done and I just smile. What I write makes me happy. Unless it's complete dreck. Then I whine and fuss and "mitch and boan," as Jaye
likes to say. But this isn't dreck. And it made me smile. From the rough draft of BIG BAD WOLF:
God. She tasted even better than she smelled, purer, simpler, richer, more complex. He could spend decades sifting out the different flavors of Debra. She stood rigid in his arms and he didn’t know what to do about it, didn’t know how to help her. Maddox raised his mouth from hers and stared down into her face, water dripping from her eyelashes, running in streams down her cheeks, dangling at her chin before falling into oblivion.
“Please, Debra. Need me.” He’d never begged before. Never needed to before, but he was sick and hurt and if she didn’t help him now … He couldn’t even finish the thought. Couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t help him, prayed that she would.
He bent to her face again, but not to kiss her. Not right away. Those drops of water slid over her skin as though they had the right. His tongue caught one beside her lips, and the taste of her exploded on his tongue, made him greedy for more. More drops enticed him back to her lips and he lapped at her mouth, pulling her closer when she finally opened to him, letting him in of her own will.
Debra’s fingers pressed into his chest, sharp nails leaving marks. He savored the sting of pleasure and drew in a hissing breath before he opened his eyes again and looked at her.
His vision was clearing, the poison leaving his body. Maddox looked over at his shoulder and watched the sluggish trail of silver-tainted blood seep down his arm and drip to the floor, swirl into the drain. The last atom of silver left his body and he heaved a great lungful of steamy air, finally warm all the way through.
“Thank you for healing me, Debra.” Then the weakness took him.
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Is it me or does my blog look different? More colors, different spacing, even different font? I had some internet connection issues this morning and had to switch my modem from Ethernet to USB, but dang. I didn't think switching a yellow cord for a blue one would make any difference in how my blog looked!
Ok, never mind. I published and then it went back to looking normal. See? Proof positive that there is definitely a screw loose somewhere.
Mailed out THE CHRISTMAS PRIZE yesterday. Fingers crossed.
On the cusp of an unfulfilled love scene in BIG BAD WOLF. Gotta make 'em wait for it. Gotta make 'em BEG for it!
Sunday, November 27, 2005
Just to organize my thoughts about various projects.
DUDE, YOU'RE DEAD! aka DEFINITELY NOT QUITE DEAD. Rejected by Brava, partial out to Nadia Cornier.
BIG BAD WOLF, another paranormal romantic comedy, the current wip. It took nearly a year, on and off, to hammer out the hero and a workable plot. So yesterday in the shower, I finally nailed down the heroine. She'd started out as a librarian to link her to the ancient grimoire, but it occurs to me that it'll make her transition to witch easier if she's a pharmacist. Not to mention, she'll be handy in first aid situations. ;-)
THE GENTLEMAN'S CLUB aka THE DEVIL SHE KNOWS. I like both titles. Anway, it's set in New York's Gilded Age and loosely -- veeeerrrry loosely -- based on the tale of Rahab the harlot. It has also gone through a few first chapter permutations and is currently in limbo. I'd considered making it an erotic romance, but I don't think I can pull it off. Not yet.
COLD is a departure for me. It's very action-oriented, but not even close to Bombshell as far as the heroine goes. My hero IS Clive Owen. I ordered the DVD of the mini-movies BMW commissioned a few years ago that all star Clive as The Driver. He's just a joy to watch. The story has car chases and explosions and all kinds of fun stuff. It's also on the back burner for now.
DAUGHTER OF PRIVILEGE is the one I worked on for a while recently. Again, it was supposed to be erotic romance, but it had no plot, just two very horny characters. It was, however, the second sex scene I've ever written, and a virgin sex scene at that. It totally worked for me.
DUBLIN DREAMING is a short story I wrote and submitted to Woman's World. No word yet, though it's been there for 6 weeks now.
THE CHRISTMAS PRIZE is another WW short I wrote. It's ready to go, I just need to get it in the mail. I held off because it occurred to me, belatedly, that maybe they had a schedule for submitting holiday stories, but someone more familiar with the market assured me that I could submit any kind of story at any time. So after I get headers on the pages, I'll send it out tomorrow.
Friday, November 25, 2005
Cream of Turkey and Rice Soup
Christmas with Southern Living 2000
1 turkey carcass
½ cup butter or margarine
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 large onion, chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
2 shallots, chopped (if you haven’t got any, don’t worry, just omit them)
3 large carrots, scraped and chopped
3 stalks celery, sliced
1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
1 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme or ½ tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 cup whipping cream (single cream for Brits)
Place turkey carcass in a large stockpot or Dutch oven, add water to cover. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 1 hour. Remove carcass from broth, reserving 10 cups of broth. Freeze whatever excess broth you have in 2 cup portions since many recipes will call for 2 cups of broth.
Cool carcass and pick meat from bone. Set meat aside.
First, you make a roux. Melt butter in stockpot over medium-high heat. Add flour and cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly. (Roux will be a blond color.) Add onion, shallots, carot and celery to roux; reduce heat to medium. Cook 10 minutes, stirring often. Stir in reserve broth, turkey meat, rice salt, pepper, thyme and bay lef; bring to a boil. Cover,reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes or until rice is tender. If you’re going to freeze some of this soup, ladle out a portion to freeze now before you add the cream.
Add whipping cream; simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes or until desired thickness.
A good chuckle
I totally snaffled this link from Mary's Bandwagon
. Very, very funny.26 Things I Learned From the Movies
By James Burchill
1. Large, loft-style apartments in New York City are well within the price range of most people-- whether they are employed or not.
2. At least one of a pair of identical twins is born evil.
3. Should you decide to defuse a bomb, don't worry which wire to cut. You will always choose the right one.
4. Most laptop computers are powerful enough to override the communications system of any invading alien society.
5. It does not matter if you are heavily outnumbered in a fight involving martial arts: your enemies will wait patiently to attack you one by one by dancing around in a threatening manner until you have knocked out their predecessors.
6. When you turn out the light to go to bed, everything in your bedroom will still be clearly visible, just slightly bluish.
7. If you are blonde and pretty, it is possible to become a world expert on nuclear fission at the age of 22.
8. Honest and hard working policemen are traditionally gunned down three days before their retirement.
9. Rather than wasting bullets, megalomaniacs prefer to kill their arch enemies using complicated machinery involving fuses, pulley systems, deadly gasses, lasers, and man-eating sharks, which will allow their captives at least 20 minutes to escape.
10. All beds have special L-shaped cover sheets that reach the armpit level on a woman but only to waist level on the man lying beside her.
11. All grocery shopping bags contain at least one stick of French bread.
12. It's easy for anyone to land a plane providing there is someone in the control tower to talk you down.
13. Once applied, lipstick will never rub off--even while scuba diving.
14. You're very likely to survive any battle in any war unless you make the mistake of showing someone a picture of your sweetheart back home.
15. Should you wish to pass yourself off as a German or Russian officer, it will not be necessary to speak the language. A German or Russian accent will do.
16. The Eiffel Tower can be seen from any window in Paris.
17. A man will show no pain while taking the most ferocious beating, but will wince when a woman tries to clean his wounds.
18. If a large pane of glass is visible, someone will be thrown through it before long.
19. If staying in a haunted house, women should investigate any strange noises in their most revealing underwear.
20. Word processors never display a cursor on screen but will always say: Enter Password Now.
21. Even when driving down a perfectly straight road, it is necessary to turn the steering wheel vigorously from left to right every few moments.
22. All bombs are fitted with electronic timing devices with large red readouts so you know exactly when they're going to go off.
23. A detective can only solve a case once he has been suspended from duty.
24. If you decide to start dancing in the street, everyone you meet will know all the steps.
25. Police departments give their officers personality tests to make sure they are deliberately assigned a partner who is their total opposite.
26. When they are alone, all foreign military officers prefer to speak to each other in English.
Thursday, November 24, 2005
We're all together, healthy and happy. There's a lot to be thankful for this season.
Hope your day is wonderful!
Moroccan Meatballs, aka Kefta with Tomato and Egg
Monday, November 21, 2005
Yeah, it's a little weird, but it's really, really good! I make this for a weekend lunch. If you make lots and lots of extra meatballs, you can freeze them for the next round.
Here's the deal. The meatballs aren't that unusual, except they have a touch of cinnamon in them. Don't flinch. It's yummy. The sauce calls for a rather obscure spice mixture called ras el hanout
. Darn near impossible to find in my part of the country. Seriously. I may have to order some online because it just isn't around here. Anyway, in the absence of ras el hanout, I suggest an Italian or Greek spice blend.
The recipe also calls for lamb. Please. At those prices? I use regular ground beef. Kefta with Egg and Tomato
8 oz ground lamb
1 onion, finely chopped
2 oz fresh breadcrumbs
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Small bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 Tbs olive oil
A little butter
14 oz can chopped tomatoes
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp ras el hanout
Small bunch fresh coriander, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper
Crusty bread, to serve
In a bowl, knead the ground lamb with the onion, breadcrumbs, 1 egg, cinnamon, parsley and salt and pepper until well mixed. Lift the mixture in your hand and slap it down into the bowl several times. Take a small amount of mixture and shape it into a small ball about the size of a walnut. Repeat with the remaining mixture to make about 12 balls.
Heat the olive oil with the butter in a large heavy frying pan. Fry the meatballs until nicely browned, turning them occasionally so they cook evenly. Stir in the tomatoes, sugar, ras el hanout and most of the coriander. Bring to the boil, cook for a few minutes to reduce the liquid, and roll the balls in the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Make room for the remaining eggs in the pan and crack them into spaces between the meatballs. Cover the pan, reduce the heat and cook for about 3 minutes, or until the eggs are just set. Sprinkle with the remaining coriander and serve in the pan, with chunks of bread to use as scoops.
NOTE: There's not a chance in hell of me setting a sizzling pan down in front of a 5yo, so I just serve it on a plate.
C'mon people. Throw me a bone here!
Sunday, November 20, 2005
I can't think of anything to blog about other than my deplorable lack of bloggable topics.
The writing is going...as usual. Not churning out pages of deathless prose, but not at a complete standstill, either. The home life is...normal. Dh is finally home. Most of the toilets are working. He made me a latte this morning.Sela takes a break to sing "Can't help lovin' that man o' mine."
*sigh* Ain't that the truth.
My kids are...normal. Y'know. For being my kids. Dd asked me what sarcasm
meant the other day. I don't know. It's...It's... something I do. Later in the day she asked me something else, for which I had a sarcastic answer. "There! That's sarcasm!" She may not know what it means, but she knows it when she hears it.
What else? I fell asleep in the bathtub last night. For two nights I barely slept. Not that there was anything wrong, I just didn't sleep. In fact, on Friday night, I was up until 4 am cleaning bathrooms. Then, at 4 am, the lights on half our street went out with an obnoxiously loud POP. It scared the bejeebers out of me. Woman alone. 4 am. Thankfully, I found both a working flashlight and my cell phone. To call the electric company. No self-respecting thief -- not even a thief high on crack -- would try to break into a house that has half the lights on at 4 am. Still scared me, though. So I slept for about an hour and a half before the lights came back on and I finished cleaning.
Hmm. Still not interesting.
How about I throw out a few links for y'all?
I check Miss Snark's
blog daily. One of her recent posts links to a Random Facts about Vin Diesel
generator. OMG. My favorite is #1. Vin Diesel once walked down the street with a massive erection. There were no survivors.
And I didn't even like Vin Diesel until I saw Chronicles of Riddick
. All good. Julie
has an excerpt up from her latest wip, Rush. Michelle
is great at talking craft, although she's currently talking life. Kate Allan
has recently formed a new RNA chapter for historical writers.
Just a sample from my blogroll. Enjoy!
Ok, People. It's Crunch Time
Thursday, November 17, 2005
I love deadlines. Seriously. Being a stay-at-home mom, time begins to mean very little beyond getting children out the door and then back in on a day-to-day basis. Most "deadlines" are pretty arbitrary -- even seasonal. But now I've got my eye on the calendar.
Thanksgiving is less than a week away. My mother is coming to visit on Nov 30, the week after T-Day. And my plumbing is possessed.
We'll start with the plumbing saga. A few weeks ago, I tried to drain the bathtub and water (nothing else, praise be) started bubbling up in the shower and the toilet. I called a plumber who yanked a tree root out of an outside pipe. Problem solved, right? Not so much. Two nights ago, the guest bath downstairs flooded. Mopped up, waited for water level to recede before I plunged. In the meantime, the master bath toilet was flushed and the GUEST bath toilet overflowed in response, which I didn't realize until I went in to plunge some time later and discovered water ALL OVER the floor. Up to the hallway what-do-you-call-it. That little piece of wood that marks the transition between tile bathroom floor and hardwood hall.
I sopped up the water, taking extra care to dry that little bit of wood, but apparently I was too late. Water had seeped out under the hardwood floor in the hall. Lucky bloody me. I spent the next hour and half walking on towels up and down the hall trying to draw up water. When a neighbor called, I asked if I could borrow a portable fan to help dry it out. It worked and the damage in the hallway is minimal. Thank God.
Today, the tank in the upstairs bath overflowed. The water tank, not the toilet. WTF?!? Have I offended the plumbing gods in some way? I turned off the water, sopped up the mess. I am getting TIRED of washing towels!
Thanksgiving. I'm pretty sure we're not having anyone over, but that could change.
And my mother is coming. She is finally coming to terms with my slovenliness, but still. I need to clean. Not only is she a compulsive neat-nik, she also enjoys ironing. She says it's relaxing. Hey. I'm not going to complain.
While she's here, I want to take her to the Holiday Bazaar down at the State Fairgrounds. I love those things! So many cute little doo-dads. I can knock out a good chunk of my Christmas shopping there. Shriek -- look out. I'll see if I can't find a lighthouse for you. *gg*
I got some very useful critiques re: Christmas Music
, so I'll revise and send it out early next week. Now that I've started submitting things, it's addicting. I feel like I need a lot more stuff out there!
I also exercised today. Half an hour on the bike. I've gained weight in the last month and it's getting so I don't have clothes to wear. Gotta get it done.
I love having a deadline! So motivating.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
I finished polishing up another Woman's World short story. Very sweet. It's called Christmas Music
Julie Corrigan is ready to put her past behind her with a courageous step into the spotlight, but should she falter, Mark Kincaid will be there with a supportive, helping hand.
I think it's a dreadful run-on, so I have to tweak it a bit before I write the cover letter and send it out.
I mailed out my first story to them about 8 weeks ago and have not yet received a rejection. No news is good news, I guess.
Off and Running
I guess. I spent three days staring at the cursor at the end of my last paragraph. I'd written further several times, but then always had to delete it. That was the last passage that made any sense. Three days staring at the same set of words.“Have dinner with me.”
Debra stifled a gasp of indignation. The gall. It wasn’t even a question. And she was sure that her quest toward excitement didn’t include men who were rude. She pushed her glasses further up the bridge of her nose.
“Allow me to introduce you to the mechanics of the interrogative statement. It is used to ask a question of another person. Whenever possible, it should be qualified by a polite phrase, such as ‘please.’ Here’s an example. ‘Miss Henry, will you please have dinner with me?’”
That wicked half smile was hovering around his too luscious mouth. “And will you?”
“Yes.” She gasped and her eyes widened as she slapped her hand over her mouth. That was so not what she meant to say.
So? What happens next? I had no idea. Today I walked into the coffeeshop with the weight of that question upon me. I whined to the baristas. One of them made me a cappucino with amaretto flavoring in it to get me out of the doldrums. Being a drama queen has its advantages.
Surprise, surprise. The amaretto must have worked. I have three and a half new pages and it's not bad. Very action packed. Things are working out and I can't wait to get back to it!
Thursday, November 10, 2005
Did not die.
Actually, it didn't even hurt. Maybe it's the slash and burn writer in me, but I hacked my novella down to half a page in about half an hour this morning. Before my first cup of coffee.
I meant to get my partial out to Nadia yesterday, but I realized I hadn't written a synopsis! I had a query letter, but that doesn't tell the whole thing. And since she only wanted a partial, I figured it might be a good idea to let her know what happens after she's done with those pages.
I think what helped a lot was dear, darling Deb Hale's wonderful article -- Packing Your Synopsis Suitcase.
The link won't take you right to the article. You have to click on Writing Tips, then go down the sidebar. So worth it. I've used it to help plot, but I'd never written a synopsis before. I used the article this time after I wrote the synopsis to make sure I hit the highlights. I did!
I...uh...I guess that means I have no more excuses. She requested it six days ago. I think I've faffed about enough.
Off it goes.
This is me, going to the post office.
Sweet Potato and Squash Soup
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
This is to make it up to Daisy
, who might be able to havee this soup on her diet as it's extremely low fat, although moderately heavy in complex carbs from the veggies. And if you substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth, it's vegetarian friendly.
Sweet Potato and Squash Soup
AMA Family Health Cookbook
1 Tbs butter
1 medium-large onion, sliced
2 cups chicken broth, plus another 1 cup
1 ½ lbs peeled and cubed butternut squash from 1 small-medium sized squash
½ lb peeled and cubed sweet potato
2 lg carrots, peeled and sliced
1 ½ tsp crumbled dried sage
½ tsp ground mace (I used freshly grated nutmeg because I can't find mace anywhere)
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp Tabasco or equivalent
Salt to taste
¼ cup sugar
1 cup fresh cranberries (see Note)
2 Tbs orange juice
Heat the butter in a large saucepan or soup pot. Add the onion and cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until softened and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add 2 cups of the broth and the squash, sweet potato, carrots, sage, mace/nutmeg, and ginger. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook over low heat until the vegetables are very tender, 20-25 mintues.
In a food processor or blender, puree the vegetable mixture, in batches if necessary, pulsing until smooth. This recipe can be made to this point 2 days ahead and refrigerated or frozen for 1 month.
Return the puree to the saucepan and whisk in the remaining 2 cups of broth. Simmer gently until heated through. Season with the Tabasco and salt to taste.
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar with 1/3 cup of water. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves, and add the cranberries. Cook uncovered over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries soften and burst, about 10 minutes. Cool slightly. In a food processor or blender, puree the cranberries with the orange juice until smooth. The cranberry puree can be made 3 days ahead and refrigerated.
Ladle the hot soup into bowls. Top with a spoonful of cranberry puree and draw the tip of a knife through the puree to create a decorative swirl, or pipe the puree through a pastry bag using a small tip.
Note: You can substitute ½ cup of canned whole-berry cranberry sauce for the cooked cranberry and sugar mixture. Puree it with the orange juice as directed in step 4. Don’t leave out this step because it's "just garnish." It makes a fantastic tart counterpoint to the soup. I've done the canned and the fresh cranberry thing and they're both good, though I think fresh is best.
I doubled this recipe and I’m glad I did. It was a huge hit, even with the kids.
Is there a sound between frustrated and bored?
Saturday, November 05, 2005
And toss in a good measure of self-annoyance while you're at it.
I have tweaked the opening of Dude in preparation for sending it to Nadia. She responded on Friday by asking me to mail her a partial.
This is not the reason for the above feelings.
No, indeed. I experience these sensations because it has finally come home to roost that, as predicted, Daughter of Privilege has no plot. The characters are merrily engaged in a plotless boink-fest and I am bored.
Bored, bored, bored.
Sir Percy Blakeney bored. Valmont bored. The kind of bored that spurs you to acts of unconscionable stupidity.
I'm bored enough to plot.
On Thursday morning as I sat in the coffeeshop, staring moodily into my cappucino (they know just how I like it now -- I even got a pretty design in my foam that day), it occurred to me yet again that my process sucks. Hugely. I start with a scene and a couple of characters and write until I'm stuck. At which point, I usually abandon the book because I have no clue what I'm supposed to be doing.
I know. I've been through this before. But I live in hope that this time ... THIS time ... the lesson will take. When I use Deb Hale's Synopsis Suitcase with the basics of GMC and characterization sketched out, when I scribble out my 3 acts with 3 scenes each, it'll work.
Because that's what I have. A story, not just with a scene or two and a blithe "Oh, I'll figure it out as I go along," but with a discernable beginning, middle and end. A story where the characters aren't cardboard caricatures, but who have real problems to solve, both internally and externally.
I don't want to jinx it by saying too much more right now, but I'm going back to work on this. When I've gotten past Chapter 3, I'll let you know.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Ok, first you fry up about 6 slices of bacon in the bottom of your soup pot. Take out the bacon, crumble it up and set it aside. Add about 3 lb of chopped up potatoes, a chopped onion, 2 stalks of sliced celery and 2 sliced carrots. A little pepper, a little salt, about a teaspoon of sugar, and a cup of water. Put the lid on and simmer for 20-25 minutes.
Blend together 1 cup of milk and 1/4 cup of flour and add to the pot, along with another 3 cups of milk. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes. Add 1 cup of 1/2 and 1/2 or light cream, heat through, and you're done!
Sprinkle the bacon bits over when you serve.
Simple and I always have the ingredients on hand. Feeds our family of 4 for two nights.
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
No particular topic to cover today, bloglets! Just me.
Prolly oughta be writin', but I ain't.
Watched Batman Begins
. Love Christian Bale. Hate Katie Holmes. Not bad enough she's become breeding stock for a lunatic, she also can't act.
I have written. Note the past tense. The numbers on my word count thingy over in the sidebar there are proof that I have written. Just not today.
Yesterday was interesting. Tried to call Nadia Cornier, the agent who gave me the win in the Best Opening Hook contest, but her phone is out. So I e-mailed her to ask exactly what she wants me to send her. I'm checking my e-mail obsessively, even though I know it'll likely be several days to two weeks before she answers.
So I'm just hangin' around.
Going to make Potato Soup tonight. Suppose I'd best get on that so we're not late to the Brownie meeting. I'm the snack mom tonight, too. With no snacks in the house. Must shop. Must also put patches on Brownie vest.
No more time to hang around, bloglets! Amuse yourselves until I return!