Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Writer's Weekend

This past Friday evening and all day Saturday, I spent time with my fellow Kentucky romance writers at a booksigning and writing workshop in Lexington, KY. What a wonderful couple of days to spend with like-minded people, catch up on the industry news (and gossip!) and spruce up on plotting techniques and writing mechanics.

I can home with a horrible cold and surely-to-goodness hope that I didn't share it with anyone, but the weekend was still a success, in my book! The workshop on the journey of a story by Red Sage editor, Alicia Rasley, was so beneficial to me. I loved hearing about National Bestselling Author Anya Bast's journey from epublishing to print, and Teresa Reasor's storyboarding techniques made so much sense!

I look forward to our next get-together! In the meantime, here is a scrapbook view of our weekend.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

RWA's RITA Finalists Announced

Since 1982 Romance Writers of America (RWA) has sponsored the romance-publishing industry's highest award of distinction — the RITA Award. Originally titled the Golden Medallion award, it was re-named in 1990 after RWA’s first president, Rita Clay Estrada. The RITA awards are presented annually to the best published romance novels of the year. The award, a golden statuette, has become the “symbol for the best in published romance fiction” according to RWA.

Romance novels are nominated by authors or their publisher, and entered into twelve different categories each year in the competition, and are judged by their own peers—other published romance authors. The list of finalists is narrowed to approximately 100 books. The winners are then announced at the annual Romance Writers of America conference held each summer. This year's convention is in Washington, D.C., July 15-18, 2009

Yesterday the list of finalists were announced for romance novels published in 2008.

What you’ll see in that list is a wide array of books published by the larger publishing houses. What you won’t see are books published by small presses. Which is very sad, I think, for there are some wonderful books out there published by small, independent presses which will never have the opportunity to compete for a RITA due to RWA’s entry rules.

But that is okay, I suppose. It is what it is, and congratulations to the finalists! Too bad, however, there isn’t a Slumdog Millionaire in the running. Ah, maybe next year...

Monday, March 23, 2009

It's Cupcake Time! Pinon and Pepper

It's a cupcake!

Every month about this time I post my cupcake of the month entry into the Iron Cupcake challenge. Some months I'm scrambling and others I'm on top of it. This month I was sort of in the middle. The cupcakes were made over the weekend but I had a difficult time finding--or perhaps creating--the right picture. Still not sure but I finally settled on the one at the left.

This is an interesting little cupcake. The secret ingredient this month is nuts and/or seeds. Since I'm in the Southwest a lot, a friend suggested, "why not pinon?" A great idea, and I had some roasted pinon in a baggie in the fridge that had been a gift.

I tell ya, cracking open those shells to get enough for my recipe took all Sunday afternoon! But I persevered and got what I wanted. Pine nuts in a little baggie from the story are sure more convenient. Now I see why they are so expensive! They are buggers to shell without pulverizing the nut at the same time.

So here is my recipe for Pinon and Pepper Cupcakes. Note, these are savory more than sweet, but the frosting still lends the cupake "feel." I have to admit they are different and grow on you!

Pinon and Pepper Cupcakes

1 8 oz pkg corn muffin mix

¼ cup of crushed pinon (pine nuts)

1 egg

¼ cup evaporated milk

1/3 cup shredded Jack cheese

1 2 oz can diced green chilis

Blend all ingredients above (do not overbeat) and bake in lined muffin cups for 15-20 minutes in 400 degree oven. Top with Mango Pepper Frosting and sprinkle with crushed pinon. Makes 12 cupcakes.

Mango Pepper Frosting

4 oz cream cheese, softened

1/3 cup of mango pepper jelly

½ to 1 lb box of powered sugar

Blend cream cheese and pepper jelly. Add cream cheese a little at a time and beat together until desired consistency. Pipe or spread on cupcakes.


Here is the prize package for this month. Be sure to check out these fantastic sponsors of Iron Cupcake! Voting begins on the first of the month, as always, and I'll give you a heads up. The cupcakes are always so pretty to look.

The March ETSY PRIZE-PACK is from artists:
Last and certainly not least, don’t forget our 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; TASTE OF HOME books, http://www.tasteofhome.com; a t-shirt from UPWITHCUPCAKES.COM http://www.upwithcupcakes.com/. Iron Cupcake:Earth is sponsored in part by 1-800-Flowers, http://www.1800flowers.com . And as a special thank you, we would like to once again thank DIANAEVANS - http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5599270 for her participation in the February challenge. An incorrect link was posted and we want to be sure that she gets the recognition she deserves. Thanks again Diana!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Upcoming Author Event in Kentucky

If you will be in the Lexington, Kentucky area in a couple of weeks, be sure to check out this upcoming author signing and workshop event. I'll be there alone with many of my fellow authors. Here is the teaser. I'll be sharing more on the authors and workshops later in the week.

Spring into Writing with the Kentucky Romance Writers

2 day event March 27 and 28, 2009

Click here to view a flyer.

AUTHOR SIGNING Friday, March 27, 2009, 6:00-8:00 PM:
Barnes & Noble Booksellers,1932 Pavilion Way, Lexington, KY

AUTHORS ATTENDING
Jan Scarbrough
Maddie James
Magdalena Scott
Sheryl Brennan
Sloan Seymour
Teresa Reasor
Tracy Preston
Sophia Danu
Anya Bast
Tia Fanning
Renee Vincent

Dinner afterwards at Malones beginning at 8:30 p.m.
1920 Pleasant Ridge Drive, Lexington, KY
Informal Discussion on craft issues

WORKSHOPS Saturday March 28, 2009, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Cost for morning and afternoon sessions: $20 for Members / $30 for non-members

Workshops open to everyone - for more information, click Meeting Info.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Finished! Done! Out the Door!

I put the final touches on my current wip last night. Hot Crossed Buns is out the door! Man, that does feel good.

There is always a sense of exhilaration and accomplishment when finishing a project. Something lifts for a little while and you sigh. There comes a few moments or hours or even days of bliss, and then...

Then your brain starts spinning the next one. Am I not correct?

For those of you who write, you might agree. For those of your who are readers, I bet you experience something similar.

My sister, the world's biggest bookaholic, (she keeps a book diary) says when she mourns the characters and thinks about what they might be doing next, she knows she's just finished a good book. Imagine my delight when she called me not long ago after reading A Perfect Escape and said, "So now, you have to write Mac and Rudy's (secondary characters in the book) story because I've been thinking about it and here would be the major plot element but what are you going to do about..."

So with all of us, readers and writers alike, we think about the story just past and ponder the next.

I'm so happy to be finished with Hot Crossed Buns, book two in The Matchmaking Chef series. I have three more novellas to go so guess what I'm thinking about next. Yes, book three, Dates du Jour.

But first I have to:
  • clean the house
  • do laundry
  • organize my office
  • buy a new computer
  • and the list goes on and on and on...
I'm sure I won't get everything accomplished before Dates du Jour starts infiltrating my pshyche. In fact, Lyssa Larkin, the heroine, who is so wanting to find a husband, is twiddling around with some conniving escapades she wants me to consider....

Oh, and don't forget, book one in the series is now available. You can find Perfectly Matched at Resplendence Publishing and Fictionwise.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A hero to die for...

Whoa. I am sooo in lust. A male thriller author. A female detective. And innuendo all over the place. Sigh. What's a romanctic suspense author to do?

Just sit back and watch. Yeah.

Monday, March 09, 2009

The Iron Cupcake Winner for...Coffee!

No. It's not me.

And I really was not expecting it to be me.

But someday maybe, huh?

Check out this delicious-looking winner, however!

Here is how the baker describes her confection. "Banana cake, filled with caramel coffee custard and a piece of homemade smoked sea salt toffee, topped with coffee liqueur milk chocolate sauce, coffee liqueur latte buttercream and another shard of homemade toffee. I am barely able to describe to you the joy that this cupcake brought my mouth!"

Ah. Sweet Heaven. Yummers.

Bliss in a Paper Cup.

Here is the winner's blog if you want to take a look! Lots of good stuff there.

Next month's creation? Nuts and seeds.

Hm. Thinking...

Sunday, March 08, 2009

A Writer is a Writer is a Writer...

Are bloggers journalists?

Are freelance writers journalists?

Hm. Seems not. According to our Government. This all came about with discussion of protection of sources (journalists are protected but bloggers aren't) but it's gone a bit deeper, in my book.

Here are the details according to a recent WebProNews article and one from the Citizen Media Law Project.

The Senate and House generally agree by saying a journalist is someone who is involved in:

the regular gathering, preparing, collecting, photographing, recording, writing, editing, reporting, or publishing of news or information that concerns local, national, or international events or other matters of public interest for dissemination to the public.

The House adds:

for a substantial portion of the person's livelihood or for substantial financial gain and includes a supervisor, employer, parent, subsidiary, or affiliate of such covered person.

That's the part that bothers me.

Come on. Fiction writers have been fighting some of this for years. How many novel writers can make a full time living writing? Not a lot. A handful when you look at all the published fiction out there. Those of us who are published with small and electronic presses are constantly reminded by some of our professional organizations, that we don't count. Same goes for non-fiction freelancers, bloggers or "journalists." We don't make enough money so therefore, we cannot be serious about this business, can we? Shame on them. I'm as serious as a heart attack.

Now, Congress is getting into the act? Frightening.

So many of us start part-time and work our way up for many years to support ourselves full-time with our writing. I'm not quite there yet. Still, I feel no less a novelist, or a non-fiction writer, or a freelancer, because that is what, and who, I am. It's not defined by financial gain.

I'm also a blogger. Go figure.

Am I a journalist? Heck, I don't know. I do know one thing:

I'm a WRITER. Even my accountant says so...and so does the IRS.

Heaven help me if I write an sensitive article for a magazine and I have to use a source!

The trouble starts, when those who have no idea of how writing works in real life, try to define what something "is."

Hm. Maybe the feds need SMEs? (subject matter experts)

What do you think?

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Some Reflecting Thoughts

It's Saturday. The sun is shining. The windows are open. And I had a great night's sleep last night. Thank goodness! All is perfect with the world. (see me smile?)

It is such a pleasure to get up and work in my home office when there is a soft breeze blowing through the window and I can hear the birds singing outside. The neighborhood is alive with walkers and it seems nobody cares if people are out walking in their jammies. I've seen baby carriages, dogs, and young and old pass by my window. Hey! I need to get out there and join then!

Before I do, however, I want to leave you with two thoughts that I came across this morning. One I am borrowing from a post I read on an Amazon board a few minutes ago, and the other is from my horoscope. So here you go. Enjoy the day and reflect as you will.

From Maya Angelou: "Invent yourself, or someone else will do it."

And from my horoscope: Take a break from all the activity around you today, and try to find a quiet place to contemplate the things that have been happening. Time spent reflecting on your life is hardly ever time wasted. Things are going to be changing soon, and it's important for you to understand what you may be leaving behind. Appreciate it while you still have it in your life, because it won't be there soon. Good things are coming your way and you're understandably excited. But first you must be grateful.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Time to Vote!

I'm late in getting this announcement out!

If you are interested in voting on cupcakes this month, click here!

My mocha cupcakes have 8 votes! LOL But there are so many scrumptious-looking cupcakes so check them all out and pick your fave.

If you want to go back and read the post and recipe, it's here.

And, to see all of the entries in their infinite decadent glory, go here.

Voting closes tomorrow, so hurry!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

A New Writing Gig

Hey folks, guess what. I've got a new writing gig. I'm excited and eager to tell you all about it.

Recently I applied and was accepted as a National Romance Novel Examiner for Examiner.com. If you are not familiar with the site, check it out when you get a chance. It's chock full of current insider information on topics of all sorts.

I'm writing in the Arts & Entertainment Channel and will be providing a minimum of 4 romance novel related content pieces per week.

Yep. I said a minimum of four.

If you've hung around this blog much, you know that I run in spurts where I'm typing my little fingers off for days while my brain is overflowing with ideas, and then I have a dry spell when I can't get to the computer at all. Either that, or my brainpower has been all used up by the time I sit down to the computer to write.

But never fear, I will persevere.

I hope you will join me once in a while in my new digs. Some days I may cross-post content that I have previously posted here, other days not. I shall leave that up to whim and fancy. But nevertheless, the topic will always be romance.

So come check me out! I'm currently building my own page on Examiner. So be patient as I gather content and begin my journey there.