Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Today Is My Birthday

Today's been an up and down day. Because it's my birthday, I got flowers, cards, emails, presents and lunch out...complete with margarita!

I also got a call from my editor. Normally, that would be cool, but she's leaving on Friday to have her first child next month. That's also pretty cool...LOL...except I'm really going to miss her.

A very important relationship exists between authors and editors. A good editor can keep an author firmly grounded. He or she can spot places in a book that can be made better. They spot themes that can be expanded. They also (thank the Lord) spot mistakes, problems, trouble spots. Suzy was really one of the best editors I'd worked with in my (too many to mentions) years with Harlequin!

I'm really going to miss her for the year she's out enjoying her first child. I wish her lots of luck and can't wait for her to come back! LOL

On a more fun note...I did notice that the pajamas my husband got me for my birthday look a lot like capris and tops. Almost like real clothes. I'm wondering if I've been scaring the mailman again.

We're only a few weeks away from the Pennwriters conference in Pittsburgh and about two months away from the release of MAID IN MONTANA.

Even closer is the May online workshop for Writes Online. I'm teaching Journey Steps Taking the Train To Somewhere. Odd title, good workshop. This class goes beyond the four or five major turning points of a story and talks about what to put "in between" those turning points!

That's the addy for more information.

I'm off now ... hopefully, for cake!


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Bit of Today's Homecooking Post

Today's Homecooking Post is a bit of a departure. Because of the Easter Holiday I went in search of something really special to bake to take to my mother's for our Easter celebration.

Here's a bit of what I wrote on the Homecooking Blog...

I'm not much of a cook. Most of my sisters are. At holidays, we do a smorgasboard. Everybody brings a dish or two. I typically take a salad and a dessert. But imagine...Here I am, sort of unable to cook and my food competes with women who are pros! My mother makes homemade rolls that melt in your mouth and bakes a ham (and sometimes a turkey) for sandwiches. My brother Brian typically makes a huge roast beef (that also melts in your mouth) to be served on my mother's rolls, with delicious gravy.

My sister Helen makes a pasta salad that would make you weep and thank your maker. Tammy is a cake and cookie baker who always comes up with something to die for. My sister Laura is the potato casserol expert. Now, add another six or eight women who all come with an extraordinary dish or two and you understand my dilemma.

Believe me, it's not easy. I've tried bringing Kentucky Fried Chicken and Dunkin Donuts (two of my personal favorite foods) and even they can't compete.

So, I'm always scouring for a recipe that will be good enough to serve alongside my sisters (and brothers!). When I found these cookie bars, I knew I had to try them. And they were a HUGE success. My niece Amy even thought sister Tammy had made them. That's about as good as a compliment gets when it comes to cookies at one of our holidays.

The cookie bars were easy to make and tasted wonderful. So I thank Gretchen Wanek for being so smart and for sharing her recipe and encourage you to go to I've found several wonderful recipes there!


It's not easy being the only uncook in a family of really great cooks. But it keeps me on my toes. I not only search for great recipes; but also I'm not afraid to experiment for you. So for those of you who love new/simple recipes, don't miss the homecooking blog. I only started it a few weeks ago, so at this point we only have 3 recipes up. But imagine what this thing will be like in a few months!

Easter was great. Except that the bottoms of my dinner rolls were a tad doughy and so was my cherry pie. Sigh. I typically make holiday dinner for my husband and children and my husband's parents, all of whom are too polite to say, "Wow, what the heck happened to these soggy rolls!"

I also bought too much candy. I like to have enough on hand for company and for my kids who don't normally eat a lot of candy. We get them a solid chocolate bunny from Gardeners Candies (fabulous candy! This is also the factory I toured as research for my November release...THE MAGIC OF A FAMILY CHRISTMAS...which takes place at a candy factory). But I also have lots of other candy "on hand". Now it's Tuesday and all that candy is beginning to tempt me beyond reason. Is there a law that says you cannot toss perfectly good candy in the trash? If I freeze it, will it sabotage my diet?

I don't know. But I do know that I went mother-of-the-bride dress hunting with my sister yesterday and I got my eyes opened about how hard it is to find one of these dresses. Diana is lucky! She has a great figure and looked wonderful in everything she tried on. As it stands now, with my extra twenty pounds (er...thirty) I'd have about two choices and both of those wouldn't be pretty!

So maybe it was no coincidence that I went mother-of-the-bride dress shopping the same week I'd have a basket full of candy...Hum.


Monday, April 6, 2009


This weekend, my husband and I traveled to Gettysburg. His sister and her husband now live there. So a few times a year we visit. Mostly because we like to play golf. On Sunday it was a balmy sixty-five. Monday we returned home to cold rain and the possibility of snow.

Somehow that doesn't seem fair!

Aside from basking in the sun, we noticed all the blooming things on my sister-in-law's side of the state. I got very excited because this means it is time for me to buy my tomato plants.

Anyone who knows me knows I love all things tomato. I especially love fresh tomatoes. So a few years ago I began experimenting with growing my own. The first year I gave all my tomatoes names and then couldn't eat them when they finally ripened. Who could eat a Fred or George? Especially since they were sad looking tomatoes -- thin and lopsided -- who didn't deserve ... well, to be chopped up and put into a salad.

Last year, I put only one tomato plant in each pot. (These are huge pots I have on my back deck...they double as decorations.) Anyway, with only one tomato plant to a pot, my plants grew quickly. Tomatoes immediately sprouted. Unfortuntely, they weren't red. They were ... gold. I don't know why, but this particular tomato lover was not interested in a tomato the color of squash.

So this year, I have to be more careful. There will still be only one plant per pot, but this year I'll check the tomato type. I'm looking for big red tomatoes.

If anybody has the name of a brand, I'd appreciate it!

I'd actually like to eat one of the tomatoes I grow.

Today is my son's birthday. I won't tell you his age; he'd kill me. He doesn't really like me talking about him too much online. LOL But suffice to say I'm happy to be getting dinner out tonight.

I'm thinking I'll get a big salad. Probably all that talk of tomatoes!

Only about eight weeks until MAID IN MONTANA is released. It's a great beach read!


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Book In A Month

My editor doesn't often ask me to write quickly. She's been very good about giving me plenty of time to work on all my projects. But in order to accomplish all of our goals this year, I found myself needing to write a book in a month.

At first, I panicked. I was out of practice with writing quickly. But once I chilled out I set weekly page goals for both drafting and editing and suddenly I had a finished product in my hands.

I'd like to take credit for that. I'd LOVE to say being organized saved the day, but the truth was these two characters ran away with this story.

Liz and Cain had been married before. Three weeks after they eloped, Cain's brother had been killed when someone hit the car Cain was driving. He not only lost his brother; he had a boatload of guilt to deal with. Liz tried to hang in with him, but when she miscarried their baby she needed support he couldn't give.

Fast forward three years and Liz suddenly finds herself working as his MAID! In his grief, he threw himself into work and became incredibly successful. She's fairly successful herself. She owns the maid service his personal assistant hired for him, but Cain doesn't know that. Sparks fly when he admits he feels sorry for her! LOL

And I'm not just talking about angry sparks. These two had sexual chemistry like nothing I'd seen before.

It was an absolute joy to write the book. Which is one of the best things a writer gets to say!