Sunday, November 30, 2008

Of Cupcakes and Singing Snowmen...

I've totally missed the start of voting for the cupcakes! Okay, so the voting started yesterday (I think, or maybe the day before) and runs through Dec. 5. So please go by the blog, Nobody Puts Cupcake in a Corner, and cast your vote! There are so many scrumptious cupcakes on there, so please look around and take a gander at all the pretty little cakey tidbits. LOL And if you are so inclined to like my Cranberry Upside Down Cupcakes with Cran-Orange Marmalade Glaze, well, then so beit! Please vote! Oh, and look for my blog title, Life, Unedited, to find my entry.

And then, I have to tell you, the singing snowmen are BACK. They made their appearance across the street from me last year at Christmastime and well...I plan to blog a bit about them later in the week. I snuck out to take a pic of then a little bit earlier but, well, they were, um, deflated.

And we all know deflated snowmen can't sing, right?

So, stay tuned...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving


Good morning and Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm visiting family this week so may not be here much until the weekend but wanted to wish each and every one of you a safe and happy Thanksgiving day, lots of warm hugs and fuzzy feelings, good food and laughter, and the smiles of little children.

I'm so thankful for my family, my friends--all of you--and the freedoms we share in this country. I'm wishing for safety and protection for my two nephews in the Air Force who are working to keep us safe overseas. Ryan and Jeff, wish you were home for the holidays. Be safe and healthy and we'll see you soon. Take care of you.

Drive carefully, all, if you are on the road this week. I hope travel is smooth and air flights are not delayed!

Gee, have I covered everything? Oh, yeah, and get out of the sun if your belly button pops up. LOL

Cheers,

Maddie

Sunday, November 23, 2008

It's Cupcake Time! Secret Ingredient -- Cranberry!

All right, folks! It's time for me to post my cupcake-of-the-month recipe and the one I'm entering into the Iron Cupcake Challenge this month. This time the secret ingredient was cranberry. Appropriate, eh? I thought so.

I used an old-fashioned favorite favorite and gave it a new twist. Using my tried-and-true pineapple upside down recipe, I gave it a tweak with orange juice and substituted cranberries for the pineapple. I wasn't sure how it would work as a cupcake but I was very pleasantly surprised. They baked up quite well. I topped the cupcakes off (served in a desert dish) with a sweet and tangy cran-orange marmalade glaze. Additionally, I will tell you that I made these last weekend and then froze the leftovers. I popped a few out of the freezer last night and had one for breakfast this morning. They tasted as fresh as they did last week. This might be my holiday breakfast treat this year!


So here is your recipe.

Cranberry Upside-Down Cupcakes with Cran-Orange Marmalade Glaze

1/2 c. butter
1 c. packed brown sugar
1 14 oz. can of whole cranberry sauce
2 c. flour, sifted
1 c. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. milk
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
4 T. orange juice (or mandarin orange syrup)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Melt ½ cup butter in saucepan. Divide evenly in the bottom of each cup of a 12 cup muffin pan. Sprinkle brown sugar over melted butter. Add a dollop of cranberry sauce in each cup. (Note: depending on the size of your muffin pan cups, you may have enough batter for 18 cupcakes, so you might want to increase your butter and brown sugar amounts, according to personal taste.)

In a bowl, combine the sifted flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, softened butter, milk, eggs, vanilla and orange juice/syrup.

Carefully spoon batter into the muffin cups.

Bake at 350°F for 15-20 minutes or until cupcakes are lightly browned and pull away from the edges a little.

Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes. Set a cutting board (I have a lightweight Plexiglas cutting board that works perfectly) or a cookie sheet over the top of the cupcakes then turn upside down. Carefully remove muffin pan. Arrange in desert cups and serve with cran-orange marmalade glaze while still warm.

Cran-orange Marmalade Glaze

Melt equal parts ( I used ½ cup each to start) orange marmalade with jellied cranberry sauce in a saucepan until warm. Stir to melt the sauce and remove jellied lumps. Pour over cupcakes.

The Iron Cupcake Challenge

Don't forget that I'm competing for the following prizes. The November ETSY PRIZE-PACK is from artists:

As an added bonus for November only there is a delicious apron complements of SWEET CUPPIN CAKES BAKERY AND CUPCAKERY SUPPLY, http://www.acupcakery.com/cupcake-pocket-birthday-apron.html.

Last and certainly not least, the corporate prize providers: HEAD CHEFS by FIESTA PRODUCTS, http://www.fiestaproducts.com, HELLO CUPCAKE by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson, http://blog.hellocupcakebook.com, JESSIE STEELE APRONS http://www.jessiesteele.com; the CUPCAKE COURIER http://www.cupcakecourier.com; TASTE OF HOME books, http://www.tasteofhome.com. Iron Cupcake:Earth is sponsored in part by 1-800-Flowers, http://www.1800flowers.com .

Voting will begin no later than Sunday, November 30 at 8 p.m. at NO ONE PUTS CUPCAKE IN A CORNER, http://mkecupcakequeen.blogspot.com and will be open through Friday, December 5 at 12 noon.

Rest assured, I will remind you to go vote! I appreciate your support. (smile) Happy cranberry!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I Love Your Blog and More!

Wow, what a week! It’s Saturday and I’ve not been here on Life since Thursday. I’ve been out-of-town working in Arizona and this morning I feel I am suffering from a bout of time-zone hopping and readjustments to high altitude vs. dessert climates vs. no humidity vs. humidity vs. 80+ degree temps vs. temps in the teens.

I don’t think a body was meant to endure this!

Anyway, it’s good to be back home. I have a plethora (one of my favorite words!) of things to share and post this weekend but before I dive in, I want to thank the authors who were guests here on my blog this week—Gayle Trent, Linda C. Wisneiwski, Lisa Dunster Moeller, and Tina-Sue Ducross. I also want to thank Angela at Wow! Women on Writing for allowing me to participate in Gayle and Linda’s blog tour. It was great learning about each of your books and I enjoyed the reads so very much.

If you don’t know about Wow! please take a moment to visit. I have recently discovered them and find their e-zine chockfull of good information for me, as a writer. I love it and encourage you to check them out.

Buried in my email box as I returned home were a plethora (there we go again) of things.

  1. Edits on a novella that I need to work on this weekend. My editor is patiently waiting…
  2. Tons of emails and notes from friends (I swear, I’m working on them!)
  3. An email from my web designer that my new website has gone live! Woohoo, CHECK IT OUT! www.maddiejames.com More on that later. There are still a few things to be tweaked but if you want to take a sneak peek, please do. Tell me what you think.
  4. And… an I LOVE YOUR BLOG award from my friend and fellow author L.A Day. Wow!

So, I now need to stop everything and tend to my award. Here is the deal. I need to present this award to seven blogs that I love. Oh my, only seven???? All right, will do. Here they are in no order of preference:

  1. Welcome to Magdalenaville, a blog by one of my co-authors in the Ladies of Legend series, Magdalena Scott.
  2. Chickens in the Road by author Suzanne McMinn. Gotta love the goat and chicken antics.
  3. This is the Life! a peek into author Jennifer Johnson’s life.
  4. Authors Promoting Authors is a great blog which helps authors promote each other. Look for new books and authors there!
  5. Taryn Rae, one of the hardest work aspiring authors I know. This women is a word machine!
  6. The Muffin, Fresh News Daily, from Wow! Women on Writing.
  7. The Spotted Sparrow. Homemade gifts, art and more!

So hey guys. I love your blog. Pass it on to seven blogs that you love!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Linda C. Wisniewski and her memoir, Off Kilter


The Wow! Women on Writing blog tour continues today with Linda Wisniewski's interview as she talks about her memoir Off Kilter-A Woman's Journey to Peace with Scolosis, Her Mother, and her Polish Heritage. As I read her story I was taken back to incidents in my own growing up years and the different relationships I had with my family. Thanks, Linda, for visiting us today.

MJ: Tell us a little about yourself.

LW: What I’d most like visitors to Life, Unedited to know about me is that I’m a late bloomer. I didn’t start writing for publication until I was in my fifties, and my first book was published when I was 61. Age is no excuse to not follow your dreams…

Before turning to writing full time, I was a librarian and independent information researcher for the pharmaceutical industry. I have two grown sons- one is in e-marketing and the other is a college freshman. My husband is retired, and we’re happily enjoying the empty nest.

MJ: You have a new book out. We’d love to hear about it.

LW: My memoir, Off Kilter, uses my scoliosis (curvature of the spine) as a metaphor for my life. What made me uncomfortable: physical pain, my relationship with my emotionally detached mother, and the mixed blessing of my Polish American heritage – became the areas I examined and ‘adjusted’ for a happier life.

MJ: You’ve recently signed with a new publisher. Can you tell us about that?

LW: Pearlsong Press is named for the process that results when a grain of sand irritates the oyster, causing it to form a protective coating around the grit that becomes a beautiful pearl. Just like me, the oyster had to learn to ‘adjust,’ which makes my book a perfect fit.

MJ: What do you love about your or publisher?

LW: With so many authors turning to self-publishing and its lack of editorial oversight, I wanted a publisher who would take care of the entire process, from book design to final publication, without asking for a penny from me. I’m proud that Pearlsong decided to publish Off Kilter, and has done such a wonderful job on the layout, cover and all my promotional materials.

MJ: What does your writing schedule look like? Are you a morning writer? A night owl?

LW: I don’t have a schedule, but try to write every day, usually in the morning, sometimes in mid-afternoon. Hardly ever at night, except in my personal journal.

MJ: What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

LW: Write the story that wants to be told, the one that excites you. If it’s boring for you, it will be boring for the reader. Make it the best you possibly can before you even think about publishing. Join a supportive writing group. For women life writers, I recommend the Story Circle Network at http://www.storycircle.org/. This organization has online writing circles and many other benefits.

MJ: What is your next project?

LW: I’m working on a novel about a female ancestor from 19th century Poland, who travels here with the help of the Black Madonna. It’s a lot of fun to create her story and research life in her time and place. I’ve joined a fiction writers group and they’ve been a great help with feedback.

MJ: Do you have any writing rituals? Like special music, times of the day, food quirks, etc?

LW: Ooh – food quirks? That would be interesting. Maybe I’ll get one – dark chocolate! LOL
Seriously, I really do these two things: light a scented candle and listen to Native American spiritual music on iTunes while I’m writing. I have a cozy office we added onto our house a couple of years ago, with a lovely view onto our wooded back yard. No one is allowed without my invitation. It’s where I keep my sewing machine and quilting supplies as well, so I can easily switch from one creative activity to another.

MJ: Today, writers need not only write great books, but be great promoters of their books, too. What kinds of things do you do?

Since I’m also a librarian, I’m doing book talks in libraries. I also teach workshops at writers’ conferences. I’ll be in Houston at the end of February at the International Convocation of Unitarian Universalist Women (icuuw.org), for example. Bookstore signings, too. I like to connect with individual readers at events where I can talk about the book with them. And my blog tour, with this stop at Life, Unedited!

MJ: Now, here is the totally off-writing subject question. What’s the coolest, wackiest, most risk-taking thing you’ve ever done?

LW: Hmmm…marrying a 42-year-old bachelor? Having a baby at 43? Learning to kayak at 60? So far, these ‘risks’ have added much joy to my life!

MJ: What else would you like to tell us?

LW: Writing my memoir has been a journey of healing and self-discovery I didn’t expect and highly recommend to anyone who likes to write. If you give yourself a half hour in a quiet space, and write from the heart, you will be amazed at the insights you receive!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Gayle Trent and Murder Takes the Cake!


As we continue author week, I’m excited to bring an interview with Gayle Trent as part of the Wow! Women on Writing blog tour. I want to thank Wow! for allowing Life, Unedited to be part of the tour and look forward to the possibility of future participation.

I was excited to read Murder Takes the Cake and found it delightful and intriguing at the same time. I loved learning more about Gayle, her new book, and her publisher during the interview. Be sure to visit her website and links below, including her snappy book trailer for Murder Takes the Cake!

So, here’s Gayle. Please welcome!

MJ: You have a new book out. We’d love to hear about it.

GT: MURDER TAKES THE CAKE tells the story of Daphne Martin, a forty-year-old divorcee who returns to her fictional hometown of Brea Ridge, Virginia to start her life over. She has left behind an ex-husband who is in prison for an attempt on Daphne's life, a dingy apartment and a stale career. She has started fresh in a new home with a new career, Daphne's Delectable Cakes, a cake-decorating company Daphne runs out of her home. She is thrilled to be living closer to her beloved niece and nephew, although being close to other family members brings up lifelong resentments and more than a couple complications. Daphne is also reunited with childhood friend, Ben Jacobs, a full-fledged HAG (hot, available guy). Then Daphne finds her first client dead.

MJ: You’ve recently signed with a new publisher. Can you tell us about that?

GT: Belle Books, the publisher of the popular Mossy Creek series and other Southern fiction books, has branched out to include Bell Bridge Books, a home for fantasy, science fiction and additional Southern fiction. I had worked with Belle Books on BLESSINGS OF MOSSY CREEK. Deborah Smith e-mailed me in June to say they had added the subsidiary and wondered if I or anyone I knew had any promising Southern fiction to submit. I sent her MURDER TAKES THE CAKE.

MJ: What do you love about your editor?

GT: I love that Deborah is so open to new ideas and that she is so supportive. She sends me reviews and website addresses that might interest me, and she lets me know about promotional ideas.

MJ: What does your writing schedule look like? Are you a morning writer? A night owl?

GT: I'm both a morning writer and a night owl. I can write in the morning while there's no one home but me, and then--especially if I'm working on a deadline--I often write at night after everyone else is asleep

MJ: What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

GT: Keep writing and keep learning through studying other writers' work. When you read other writers' work with a student's eye, you can see differences in pacing and technique and compare them to yours. You can then experiment with your own writing to see how slowing or speeding up the pace would affect your story. See how other writers handle areas you consider yourself to be weak in.

MJ: Today, writers need not only write great books, but be great promoters of their books, too. What kinds of things do you do?

GT: I enjoy interacting with readers. This blog tour has been terrific, and I'm part of a group blog called Fatal Foodies. My post day is Friday. Prior to Halloween, I suggested to my fellow bloggers and people in my online writing groups that we have a Trick-or-Treat for readers. On Halloween, readers visited the blog and clicked on our individual links to receive "treats." Readers were privvy to special posts and contest giveaways. It was great fun.

MJ: If you could interview any of the characters in your books, which one would it be, and why? What shocking thing might that character say?

GT: If I could interview any of the characters in MURDER TAKES THE CAKE, it would be either China York or Myra Jenkins. I had a lot of fun with those characters, and I'd love to hear more about them. As for what shocking things they may say, I suppose I'll have to find that out as the series progresses. They'll be back!

Gayle Trent

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

An Interview with author Lisa Dunster Moeller

It's author week here on Life, Unedited, and I have three authors to feature. Today is an interview with Lisa Dunster Moeller, reposted from the Authors Promoting Authors blogsite.


An Interview With Lisa Dunster Moeller
Creator of Common Threads Journals


What are the ‘Common Threads Journals?

They are a unique line of journals that were created as a tool to help people connect with one another. Each journal has a unique theme, but all are meant to be shared and have more than one owner. They use journal writing as a way to identify the common threads we share with the people around us, and then allow us to connect with those people by sharing the journals and our thoughts and feelings that are contained within them.

How did you come up with such an original concept?

It was a combination of things. The driving force behind the idea was my desire to help two friends who were suffering from the pain caused by divorce. Having been through a divorce myself, I expected that I would be able to relate to them in ways that others couldn't and could perhaps even help by sharing my experience with them. What I learned was that although I could truly empathize with their pain, the advice I had to offer wasn't always what they needed to hear. It occurred to me then that what I really needed was a way to collect all the things other people had said to me during that difficult time in my own life and pass those bits of wisdom on to them in a way that allowed them to choose what they wanted o n their own terms. That’s essentially how the fist Common Threads Journal came to be.

You have expressed your concern over a “great disconnect” in our society. What do you mean by that?

It is my way of describing the barriers that we each create in order to shield ourselves from the daily assault of negative images we receive through the media. It's something we all do to keep the bad news from taking over our hearts and minds, but it also causes us to isolate ourselves.

Why do you think this is happening?

As a society we have become desensitized. The unfortunate result of that protection mechanism is that we become disconnected from more than just the negative images in the media; we begin to disconnect from our neighbors and community members (both locally and globally). After awhile it becomes easy to ignore and pass up the opportunities we have to make small positive changes in the lives of others.

How do you hope Common Threads Journals can help overcome this problem?

I believe that even the smallest of solutions can have an impact on the biggest of problems. I certainly don't expect to fix the world with this idea, but I do believe the journals will help people to create connections with one another that inspire them to express caring and compassion instead of fear or indifference.

What is the most important message you want these journals to convey to others?

We all have something to contribute to this world; reaching out to others, connecting and sharing a piece of your own life story is something we all can do to help bridge the gap of the "great disconnect."

Do you have plans for more journals?

Yes, I have plans for several more journals in the series. I am currently working on a journal for recording life's milestone moments. After that, I want to create a journal for creating lasting connections between loved ones who are separated by distance.

For more information on Common Threads or on Author Lisa Dunster Moeller, please visit:
http://www.storybookacrespress.com/

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Dusting of Snow!

It's here. The first snow of the winter. Cold and blustery are the only words to describe the day. But I managed to get out in my jammies and warm coat to snap a few pictures of this first snow event of the season.

The neighbor's wood pile.


My poor grill. (I still need to get that cover, Daddy!) Bye bye summer barbecues...


The phlox. See you in the Spring!


The mums on the porch. Hope you hang around for a little while longer. Some of you have not even bloomed yet!


But how exciting! I love snow! (as long as I don't have to drive in it...) What about you? Do you look forward to the first snow of the season?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Decorating or Procrastinating?

Last night I sat down to write, took a good look around me, and said, "This place needs an overhaul." As you may know from recent posts, I did an overhaul a few weeks ago on my office closet. That task now needs to carry over to the rest of the room.

It must be a trend, actually. At my day job, I'm moving my office to a slightly bigger one. So, I've spent some time this week cleaning and purging and giving away items and even brought quite a few personal items home--like books, a mirror, my tennies that I never use there, the handweights in the corner (same story), an extra lamp, etc... Even though I'm moving into a bigger office, there are leftover items from the previous tenant (which I will need in my job) that need to stay. So, time to purge.

Which means, I've brought home lots of "stuff" that needs to find a home here. Yehaw. Let's squeeze out some space. (um, take a good look above and tell me WHERE to squeeze it?)

Yeah. That's why I deduced it was overhaul time. The room needs a good cleaning and the stuff organizing and the walls painting. But tackle one task at a time, I will. Let's clean, first, organize next, and then paint. Or vice versa. We'll see.

I decided to move the couch OUT so I could clean around it and pull some other furniture away from the walls to clean, etc. Moving the couch OUT of the room was more of a struggle than I remembered when it when IN the room. But I managed and set it in the entry hallway.

Now, I have a pretty good sized entryway. It's long and wide and fairly empty. This is where the plan changed. My brain started spinning and all I could think of at that point was "nook." Could I make a nice little nook in my entry way? A place where this couch and possible other decorative touches could hangout while I'm cleaning and organizing and painting the office? Could, perhaps, this become a nice little nook that I might like to keep for a while?

I wonder...

I dug out some old pictures from the garage. I even painted one of the frames. I spied the birdhouse my son made in Boy Scouts years ago and snatched that. I borrowed a small table from the office and pilfered a lamp from my bedroom. I moved my grandmother's Plaster-of-Paris, cat-in-a-basket to the corner. I tossed the pillows and fluffed an afghan and hung the pictures on the wall.


I have a nook. Look! A nook! Can you look and see my nook? I'm thinking I should put a book in my nook before you look. Did you like to look at my nook?

Okay, enough of that. I loved making the nook. It was fun. It felt creative. And it felt a helluva lot like I was procrastinating from something...

Oh. Yeah. Writing. Deadline. Gotcha.

But the nook is great, right? Right?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Christmas Comes a Little Early!

11-13-2008 Update! A Legendary Christmas is available in print TODAY at the Resplendence Publishing website!

Woohoo! New releases are always exciting. Lookie at what Santa brought today. Home for the Holidays is my novella released today by Resplendence Publishing. But also please check out the titles by my SisterWriters, too! There is Santa's Kiss by Jan Scarbrough, Christmas Collision by Magdalena Scott, and A Christmas Gift by Janet Eaves. Put them all together and you have A Legendary Christmas, set in our favorite hometown of Legend, Tennessee!

Read more about each story here.

Or, read an excerpt! Legend, Tennessee: Home for the Holidays Excerpt

Ebook titles are available today at Resplendence Publishing, soon at Fictionwise. The print anthology will be available at Amazon within the week!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

What is Community, Anyway?

I grew up in a small town. Eight hundred people is pretty darned small. I rode my bike all over town and walked to and from school, and walked downtown to get penny candy on a Saturday.

I knew all my neighbors. The ones that were nice and the others that were a bit eccentric or mysterious. But we accepted them all because, well, we were all one, small community.

I've been thinking about this "sense of community" for a few days now. A friend's blog spoke of Halloween and how she loved it because it spoke to her of community. People turn on their porch lights and small children have enough trust to walk up, smile and say, "Trick or Treat!" My friend J talked about how she loved that...and how she looked forward to that day, where people gave and smiled and said hello.

I remember telling J then that I felt I didn't have that sense of community any longer. I live in a big city and I don't know my neighbors very well. I only know the names of the people who live on my right. I have no clue about the others. I travel all the time and am rarely at home. And for the three years I've lived in this house, I've not been home on Trick or Treat night to give out candy. I'm sure my neighbors think I'm a rather reclusive, eccentric being. I doubt, however, that I'm accepted because, well, there is no sense of community in my suburb neighborhood. Not like what I grew up with.

In large part, it's because of me. I'm not home that much and when I am, I enjoy working in the house or in the yard. I do occasionally wave across the street or talk to the elderly couple next door. And I do walk the neighborhood from time to time. But it is nothing like the small community I grew up in. So perhaps it's part me, and part just living in the world today. I don't think we trust and put ourselves out in the world as easily as we did in decades past.

So, as I continued to ponder this sense of community, it dawned on me. I may not have the traditional sense of community as in the past, but I DO have a community. It's all of you. My writer friends. My co-workers. My online networking friends. My SisterWriters.

It's different but it's there. And how could I have dismissed that sense of community so easily? Because it doesn't have a picket fence around it? Perhaps. But it's there all the same and for that, I am very thankful.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Some Things Happening Today

It's Friday! TGIF!

I'm sure you are ready and so am I. A cold front is coming through here in Kentucky and the skies are turning that November blue-gray. The temperature is dropping and we're headed for some rain.

It could be worse. My friends and co-workers K, L, and D are up in South Dakota in blizzard conditions and likely will be snowed in over night. They're due to come home today but it's not looking good. And guess who is scheduled to fly into Rapid City, SD on Monday morning? Yes, you guessed it. Moi! I'll be watching the weather this weekend.

But I'm not really here to talk about the weather today, although it is on my mind. I'm here to share some things going on today in my writing world! So, listen up!

  • I'm kicking off several weeks of promo events starting today. To start, I wanted to announce I'm giving away a free read, Bed, Breakfast and You from the Ladies of Legend: Finding Home anthology to every reader of my yahoogroup in December. Merry Christmas! So, if you are not a member, click here and join. Everyone who joins between now and the end of December will get a free ebook!
  • My SisterWriters (Janet Eaves, Magdalena Scott, Jan Scarbrough) and me are chatting today over at the Romance Bistro. Our chat will mostly happen in the evening but we're posting a few tidbits before we go to work. Hope you join us. There are prizes! Book giveaways! Click here to join if you're not signed up.
  • And...there is a scavenger hunt going on over on SisterWriters. Want to come play?
There. That should keep you busy for a Friday, huh?

Thursday, November 06, 2008

An upcoming release from Mia Jae

So, whaddya think of this cover, sports fans?

Mia Jae has her debut release coming from Resplendence Publishing this month and I thought I'd post her new cover here.

Her new website is currently under construction so I'll post it when it's finished.

Nice cover, eh?

Here is the blurb for her story:

Cassie Franklin has to prove herself. After all, she's the first female head of the English department at the university. But that doesn't mean she has to prove herself sexually to Eric (English Lit 101 and Shakespeare) does it? And surely he doesn't realize that she is SexyProf on the Instant Messenger. Does he?

Then there is Ryan. Strong and sexy and with hands that can ease away the tension of most any job. He almost makes her forget her risky escapades with Eric.

Until she realizes that Ryan and Eric are roommates, and partners... And that the couple has picked her, for their girl.

Nice and Naughty is part of the Red Garters, Snow and Mistletoe Series published by Resplendence Publishing. Look for other titles by Demi Alex, Catrina Calloway, and Tia Fanning. To be released in November, 2008

11.12.2008 Update! Mia's website is now live! You can visit her here for an excerpt.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

How Do You Promote Your Books?

Maybe you've already seen this. I picked this up from another site. I know none of my author friends do this...do you? We? Moi?



Thought you might be interested.

Good Morning, America!

The people have spoken. And they spoke loud and clear. Some things I'm excited about right now are:
  • Hope for the future of our country
  • Small children in the White House
  • Being part of history
  • Change
  • Getting the boys home from war, sooner rather than later
  • Better health care options
  • Better funding for education; better educational programs
  • More "green" efforts for energy
  • Hope. Did I say hope?
Those are the ones that roll off my brain early this morning. Yesterday was awesome. The lines long. So excited to see people out to execute their right to vote.

A new day. A good day.

Good morning, America. Good morning, Mr. President.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

What to do with leftover Halloween candy (besides eat it)

Yes. There really was that much candy left over. Of course, I bought the candy and then realized that I was not going to be home on trick-or-treat night. Now, I cannot just have this candy sitting around....

So I thought and thought and decided that that instead of having candy bars sitting around, I'd have a whole pie sitting around staring me in the face. Well, in the freezer, staring me in the face. I looked around and figured out I had some handy ingredients that contribute to this freezer pie.

Like, ice cream, chocolate, and nuts. Healthy, right? Dairy, protein and chocolate. Three food groups, correct?

I let the ice cream soften....

And then ran a nice thick layer of chocolate syrup over the bottom of the graham cracker pie shell. Oh! forgot to mention that pie shell up top. I put the shell in the freezer for a few minutes to harden while the ice cream was softening. Ironic, huh?

After perusing the chocolate candies, I decided on the baby Snicker's bars. After a good chop, they were ready to go.

Out of the freezer came the crust. Top with some of the chopped candy. About a third.

The smooth over a layer of the softened ice cream.

Followed by some more candy....

Repeat. More ice cream. More candy. Then pop on the topper that came with your crust and freeze!

I'm hoping this will stay in the freezer until Thanksgiving. What do you think?

Drat. I just realized I forgot a topping of pecans. Oh well, next time.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

An Enchilada Story

Imagine. You're in a meeting. It's not a bad meeting, really, it's going quite well. Things are running smoothly and you're nearing the end.

A knock comes on the door. Someone gets up. Someone else enters the room. And suddenly....

A wonderful smell wafts toward your nose and...well...ah, you really do try to tend to the end-of-meeting business but your growling tummy and the growing hint of spice and meat and cheese and tortilla takes your mind away.

Enchiladas!
Corn tortillas, ground beef, green chilies and cheese...oh, yum. And a perfect end to a very nice meeting. This can only happen in New Mexico. Thanks to the team at the school (you know who you are, I don't like to reveal specifics here...) and to Mr. H who supplied the enchiladas. Thank you. Thank you! They were fantastic.

In fact, they were so fantastic, I believe the entire community was heading toward the school for a bite. See?
Oh, well, only the ones with four legs. Aren't they cute?

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Comfort Food

Sometimes you just want it, right? Foods from your childhood or past that make you feel good? For me, one of those foods is spaghetti. Nothing fancy, nothing that takes hours to make. Just plain ol' spaghetti that sticks to my ribs and puts a smile on my face.

Today, I wanted spaghetti. And since I keep a pretty well-stocked pantry, I didn't have to go anywhere to buy ingredients.

That was nice. I have no plans to go anywhere at all this weekend since I've spent the past 12 of 13 days away from home.

So knock around in the pantry I go. Here is the sauce I cooked up.

Olive oil
1 onion
3 t minced garlic
3 cubes of frozen herbs (basil and parsley--see previous blog about herbs)
1 reg. can crushed tomatoes
2 cans tomato paste
water
sugar, about one T
oregano and basil to taste
a few red pepper flakes
a scant dash of cinnamon

Coat bottom of pot with olive oil. Saute onions (with salt) until clear. Add minced garlic and lower heat. Don't overcook garlic. Add crushed tomatoes and herb cubes. Bring to simmer. Add both cans of tomato paste and 3-4 cans of water. Stir and simmer. Add sugar and spices to taste. Lower heat and simmer.

In a separate pot heat salted water. Add a dash or two of olive oil. When boiling add spaghetti and stir so it won't all lump together (however much you think you'll need...the sauce is enough for a whole box but if you don't want to cook that much, do less.). When al dente, drain spaghetti in colander.

I put a thin bed of Parmesan on the plate before I put the pasta on the plate, it helps to stabilize the pasta and keep it from slipping around on the plate. Besides, you also get a nice Parmesan surprise at the bottom of the dish. Then sauce. Top with more Parmesan.

Enjoy!

And the best part is, there is enough left over for tomorrow and another container to freeze for a rainy day (when comfort food is most important!)











Tomorrow, an Enchilada Story...