Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Cupcake voting is open!

This month's voting in the Iron Cupcake challenge is now open!

To vote, click here, and look for the name of this blog, Life, Unedited.

Here is a description of entry!

Long Island Tea Cupcakes, Kentucky Style. At first bite, the bourbon takes your breath away. Honestly! Bourbon, Rum and Triple Sec, along with Sierra Mist, provide the liquid for this yellow cupcake treat. The burnt brown sugar glaze, also made with Sierra Mist, give the cake the sugar kick it needs. I think this is my favorite to date.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The new addition to the family


Meet Calliope Jane. She's named that for no particular reason. It just IS her name. Enough said.

She's about five weeks old and weighs one pound. She loves this pillow and already has a hidey spot behind a box underneath a table in my office.

She's fast. She's tiny. And she's mine!

Today, she doesn't have diarrhea, which is a very good thing. And so far, she uses her litter box.

She came to me because I commited to be her "forever home" after she was dropped off at my friend, Jan's, daughter's vet clinic. Thanks to Brenna for getting her all ready for me! And to Jan for keeping her overnight last night so I could go to the Dogwood conference...and her for checking in on Miss Calliope while I'll be out of town for a couple of days next week.

Stay tuned. I'm sure we have some adventures in store. (smile)

A Review for Red: A Seduction Tale

Every once in a while Google delivers a nice little surprise to my inbox. Today was one of those mornings.

I received a nice review for my novella, Red: A Seduction Tale, from The Romance Book Scene. I have to confess, I'd not seen this site before and found it nicely done and full of romance news and reviews. Well, done!

Red is a favorite story of mine. I love New Orleans and Bourbon street and when the idea hit me of writing the grown-up version of Little Red Riding Hood, I could think of no other place for the setting but there. The thrill of Bourbon street and the magic of the bayou, for me, was as seductive as the story itself.

I think the reviewer liked it, too. Here is the review, if you'd like to read.

Blurb:

Garnet Boudreaux is going home. Not back to her nice little apartment in New York City, but to her childhood home in the bayou. She doesn’t want to go, and isn’t certain what will be waiting for her when she arrives. But standing there in the voodoo shop on Bourbon Street, in the middle of one helluva party, she’s told by Madame Madeleine Dupuis that she has no choice. She presses two pouches into Garnet’s hands, wraps a red cape around her, and tells her she must go—and go now—to see to her grandmother.

Max LeBlanc spies the lovely red-head across the street and knows in a heartbeat she is the one. A rougarou always knows when he’s met his mate. Some may call him a lycanthrope, a werewolf if you will, but in Cajun bayou lands he’s known simply as The Rougarou. He’d waited several hundred years for this moment, and for her. There is nothing left for him to do, but mark her and claim her as his mate. Soon.


Red: A Seduction Tale, is available in ebook formats at Fictionwise and at the Resplendence Publishing Web site.

Friday, April 24, 2009

I'm off! Dogwood Writer's Conference

About noon today, Magdalena Scott will troll over to my house in Liberty Ann (who will be snuggly parked in my garage after we are gone) and we'll start heading east toward Ashland, Kentucky and the 4th Annual Dogwood Writer's Conference at Greenbo Lake State Park.

This will be my 3rd annual attendance at the conference and Magdalena's first. We are both members of the KYOWA (Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia) RWA chapter that puts on the event.

It's a wonderful small conference and I love going. I hope the dogwoods are blooming!

I make no bones about saying that I'm a long-distance member of the chapter and the real work behind the scenes goes to the core group who live in the Ashland area. Many kudos to them because they always pull of a top-notch and cozy conference. I won't miss it!

Here's a little bit more about the conference, in case you are in the area and interested in popping over. They'll take you at the door, come tomorrow morning, if you are interested!

2009 DOGWOOD WRITING CONFERENCE

GREENBO LAKE STATE RESORT PARK

APRIL 24-25, 2009


Join KYOWA members and fellow writers at the

Fourth Annual Dogwood Writing Conference

at beautiful Greenbo Lake State Resort Park in eastern Kentucky.


LOCATION: Greenbo Lake State Resort Park

965 Lodge Road (off KY Route 1)

Greenup, KY 41101-9517

606-474-7324, 800-325-0083


HOST CHAPTER: KYOWA (KY-OHIO-WV) 180

ROMANCE WRITERS OF AMERICA

kyowaromance.tripod.com

ALL WRITERS AND WOULD-BE WRITERS WELCOME

We welcome fiction, nonfiction, poetry, children and young adult,

inspirational, family journals and genealogy, and others

FEE: $45.00 FOR NON-KYOWA MEMBERS:


Includes Friday night Dinner, Saturday Continental Breakfast, buffet Lunch and all Workshops.

$10.00 for Friday night only. Discounted rate for students.

Accommodations at the Park at special rates.

Phone the park directly for reservations.


Key Note Speaker: Bestselling Author Tara Taylor Quinn!

Workshops by: Mary Shortridge, Jennifer Johnson, Cathy Shaffer, Maddie James,

and Greenup and Lexington, KY fire and sheriff department personel

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

An Adoption!

Wow. I'm both excited (almost giddy actually) and nervous at the same time. I've decided to adopt!
No, not a child. I'm not that insane. I'll stick with grandchildren at this stage of the game. But I could very soon become the (unexpected) Mommy to a little baby Calico kitty!
I've been thinking about a pet for a while. I've been thinking cat and dog. One of each. Probably not best to jump into both at the same time though. I figured the opportunity would present itself. You see, I believe that cats, in particular, find their owners. Somehow. I also believe that when I'm ready for the dog, she/he will come to me, as well.
Tonight, I received an email from my friend Jan, who knows I've been pondering this pet thing for a while. Her daughter, the vet, has a baby Calico kitten who needs a home, and well... Jan, is just sure that this kitten is mine.
So guess what. I think she IS mine.
Jan has even volunteered to check in on little miss Calico (who remains unnamed at the moment, that will come to me, too) the next couple of weeks while I'm traveling. That, my friends, is a good friend. :)
So I'm a teensy bit excited. Okay, more than a teensy bit. But just apprehensive about the next couple of weeks. I mean, bonding is important in the early stages of life and well, I really don't feel good about leaving the baby alone for a few days... Poor thing! But I do know that cats take good care of themselves.
But she's just a baby!
Okay, we'll work it out. And before we know it, she'll be a big Mama Calico just like this one.... (maybe, sorta...I haven't seen her yet so don't know exactly what she looks like).

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Long Island Tea Cupcakes, Kentucky Style!

Yes, it's that time again. Sometimes I wonder why I even attempt to compete with such fabulous bakers when I simply piddle with my ideas. The thing is, truly, I don't care if I win or not. Baking cupcakes is a nice break in the action for me. It's creative and a stress reliever (even though I should be writing at the moment.)

This month's secret ingredient is soda pop! A couple of days ago, an idea popped (pun intended!) into my head and I knew just want I wanted to do. To my surprise, the recipe worked fabulously. I'm really proud of these.

The cake is light and fluffy and moist. The burnt brown sugar glaze adds the sugar kick to round out the flavor. The secret soda pop ingredient I used was Sierra Mist; however, there really is another secret ingredient that makes this cake take your breath away. Alcohol!

I decided to make Long Island Tea Cupcakes, Kentucky Style. Here is my recipe:


Long Island Tea Cupcakes, Kentucky Style!


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

½ cup butter, softened

1 ½ cup sugar, white

3 eggs

2 cups flour

3 ½ t. baking power

1 t. salt

1 shot bourbon

1 shot rum

1 shot triple sec

Sierra Mist (approximately ½ cup)

1 t. vanilla


Sift dry ingredients together in one bowl – flour, salt, baking powder. Cream together sugar and butter.Add eggs one at a time and beat with creamed mixture.In a liquid measure, put one shot each of bourbon, rum, and triple sec. Add Sierra Mist up to the one cup line. Add the 1 t. of vanilla.Starting with the flour, alternately add and beat the dry and liquid ingredients into the butter-sugar-egg mixture. (about 1/3 of each at a time) Fill cupcake cups and bake at 350ºF for @16 minutes. Cool.

Brown Sugar Glaze

½ t. Lemon extract

1 ½ cups brown sugar

2-3 T Sierra Mist

¼ stick butter


Bring lemon extract, brown sugar and Sierra Mist to a boil in saucepan. Reduce heat and let simmer, stirring constantly, for about five minutes or until liquid is reduced some. Add the butter, continue stirring and simmer for several more minutes until sauce is dark brown and thick, a little over a soft-ball stage. Remove from heat and ladle over cupcakes. Let cool.

Once again, I'll compete for the Iron Cupcake Challenge with this entry. Watch the blog for voting days. I could win these prizes!
The April 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 .
Thanks to Iron Cupcake: Earth for providing this challenge!

Yahoo woes: If one is good, then three must be better?

I woke up to 7,598 emails in my inbox this morning. Again.

Okay, sure, that's a bit of a stretch. Really, there may be only a couple of thousand. Still, it eats at my craw and makes my mouse hand grow tired. I see several minutes of delete, delete, delete in my immediate future.

So, someone tell me why, every once in a while, Yahoo saves up weeks worth of emails and decides, "Hey, lets flood Maddie's inbox. Again! We think it's cool and a funny little trick to play on her because, well, we don't want her to forget about us."

Hm. Does Yahoo know that I've switched over to gmail for a couple of my accounts?

And Yahoo is the culprit. It's evident. I used the scientific method to deduce this. Actually, I just looked at the emails coming in in droves. All Yahoo. Doubles, triples, etc... The singles are not Yahoo or Yahoogroup mail.

So, is it the Yahoogroups? Or just Yahoo itself. Is it my server? Hm. Could it be the way I have my email set-up? I don't think so. (Hence, the scientific method above.)

I shall ponder this, while I am deleting...

Anyone else have this problem? It's not a new thing, just suddenly a very frustrating and "I'm very tired of it" thing.

Update: 9:54 a.m. EDT -- 2,894 emails deleted.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Susan Boyle

Just click and listen to the voice. Sigh. Wonderful.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Amazon issue

If you've twittered or trolled blogs or surfed the 'net the past couple of days, you have likely run into some discussion about Amazon de-ranking a ton of books that have GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender) themes and erotica. What this means is this: without a sales ranking, books are not searchable on Amazon.

I've been following this and have reported some aspects of the discussion in my Romance Novel column I write for Examiner.com. I invite you to read and join in the discussion, if you are so inclined.

Simply click the Examiner icon to the left of this page, and it will take you there!

Off to work. Hope everyone is doing well.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

An Easter gift for you

Okay, here is your cute bunny and chick for Easter.


And if you are a guy, here are your two sexy bunnies.


And if you are, well, me, here is your candy for the day.


Sigh.

I so love to look at that man.

Oh, you can look at him too if you want.

Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

How do you spend your blog time?

I'll admit. I love to write. Hm, no secret there, huh?

And I very much enjoy writing my blogs, with one caveat - when I'm not rushed and my mind is not awash with ten thousand other things crowding the unwritten blog inside me into a wee corner of gray matter that begs to be let loose.

Like this week.

I really, really do like to write about the things that are happening in my life, rather than just posting an announcement or something. But often, I know that is what I end up doing and I can just hear my readers groaning. Or, maybe it's me groaning. Not certain.

At any rate, I decided to squeak a little blog time in today and write about the subject of not blogging when I though that first, I would sneak in a little blog reading time. I've been very remiss in that, too, lately.

So, I read all the blogs on my Blogs I Read section of this blog. I commented on most all of them. I got in the spirit of blogging. And then I realized a whole hour had gone by. An hour! Of writing time! And I'm on deadline!

But no matter. It is important to me to touch base with my writing friends via their blogs. And there are some excellent ones out there. Just check out the list on the right sidebar of this page.

At any rate, this is my blog today, about reading blogs, and writing blogs, and being the blog, etc....

And I wonder: How much time do you spend each day reading other people's blogs? Writing your own? Do you read and or write at the beginning of the day? Or when you are winding down? Just curious....

Have a wonderful Easter, my friends. The sun is shining today. Yes!

maddie

Friday, April 10, 2009

Hot Crossed Buns - Just in time for Easter (LOL)

Now Available!
www.resplendencepublishing.com

Book two in the Matchmaking Chef series

Wild Katie Long, she’ll never settle down, will she? But Chris Marks has had his eye set on her for a long time. She just doesn’t know it yet. When Chris hires Suzie to set him up with a romantic dinner for two, so he can woo Katie in style, Suzie does all she can to set the scene and the mood. Thing is, Katie isn’t about to be wooed and she’s hotter than hot crossed buns when she figures out what Suzie and Chris are up to.

Then Suzie turns the tables on both of them, when she switches the mood by supplying Chris with a couple of items that just might tame Katie after all – handcuffs and a leather riding crop.

CATEGORY: Contemporary, Romance, Series

HEAT LEVEL: Sapphire

LENGTH: Short

FORMAT: E-BOOK
http://www.resplendencepublishing.com/m8_view_item.html?m8:item=105-200-101-414-9

Suggested Products

A Perfect Escape by Maddie James
Rough Edges by Jannifer Hoffman
Perfectly Matched by Maddie James

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

What happened to Spring?

I know it's out there somewhere. I saw it just a few days ago. One wouldn't think it though by the icy pellets hitting my office window.

Wait. There. A ray of sunshine.

A ray of sunshine is always a good sign, eh? Of course. And there it was.

For about half a minute.

Where do robins go when it snows? They have to be warming their tail feathers somewhere. Perhaps they are keeping warm from eating the grass seed I put out over the weekend.

Okay, I'll give them that. The grass seed had a purpose then. Go for it, babies!

I'm still worried about my budding plants. So sad. Please...please...come back. Bloom. And flower. Eventually.

Sigh.

Mother Nature is so feisty sometimes. I'm just hoping she is taking care of all the spring babies.

I'm sure if it. Aren't you?

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Advice and Discovery

As you know if you read yesterday's post, I love being out in my yard and watching the progress of my plants. I am such an amateur but I am learning. I add small additions each year but my landscape is slowly but surely making progress. I have so much more to do--I can envision my entire yard in my mind--but it will continue to be a work in progress.

Yesterday, neighbor George, who was doing a little landscaping of his own, offered up some advice that I thought I would share. Here goes:

Stop working before you are tired.
Eat before you get hungry.
And never work on Sunday.

I should heed that last one more often.

This morning I took another stroll through the yard. I'm not planning to do much work today, just take things at a leisurely pace. I made these discoveries.

I didn't know that vinca vines bloomed! This one has been growing voluntarily for about three years. First bloom I've seen. See it hiding there underneath the azalea?

I think this is basil. Not sure. I let some of the plants reseed themselves and I even saved some of the seed. It could be a weed. I'm not sure. But I am hoping for basil.

My chives and thyme are coming right along!

As is the chocolate mint I transplanted last year from around the pond at my parents' Ohio farm.

As is this Ohio violet, also transplated.

And the lemon balm I put out last year. Yes!

Then, where there were two, there are now three. Star lilies, a gift from George the neighbor, and Iris from my sister.

I love watching things grow.

Amateur gardening question of the day: When you buy a new hoe, is it the expectation that you must sharpen it when you get home? The one I bought yesterday appears might dull. Sort of defeats the purpose in chopping out those weeds... And then, if that is the expectation, how do I sharpen the darned thing?

Saturday, April 04, 2009

A Loverly Day...

What a great day. Seriously. And one I needed to spend exactly how I spent it, with dirt under my fingernails.

Never mind that my head is stuffy now. Or, that I took two showers today to get rid of grass and sod and pollen from my skin and hair. Never mind that my eyes are itchy and my muscles achy. All of that is secondary. What's primary is that, number one, I was home today. And number two, it was a beautiful day and I worked in my yard.

Loved it.

About mid-way through the afternoon I showered and decided to head to Lowe's. I needed a new set of pruners and a hoe. Also picked up some more topsoil (seems I can always find a new place for topsoil) and another pot of phlox for the flower bed out front. While there, a friend texted me.

"What are you doing," he asked.

"At Lowe's. Yard work," I replied.

To which he added, "I hate yardwork."

"Actually, I find it relaxing."

"I find relaxing, relaxing," was his reply.

Oh well, I thought. I DO love digging in the dirt and taking care of my plants and yes! I do find it relaxing. Who knows why, I just do. Maybe it's because my dad's family were farmers. Perhaps growing things and taking care of them are just in my blood. At any rate, I don't care. I like dirt under my fingernails.

And this evening I feel quite accomplished, having:
  • mowed the lawn
  • pruned back dead rose stuff
  • also pruned my birch tree (thanks, neighbor George, for that suggestion!)
  • finished sprucing up a flower bed out front (planted the phlox there)
  • pulled some weeds from around the driveway and mailbox
  • put up a new trellis for the rose bush
  • raked up some dead grass
So, here you can see the new flower bed. Last weekend I replaced the old edging with new stone and made the circle just a little larger. I added new topsoil to fill up the empty spaces and the new phlox. I think I have enough phlox now. The other side has pansies and a bit of ivy. It's filling out quite nicely. I can't wait until it is in full bloom. Soon!

Here is the new trellis, too. The rose, despite my knowing nothing about taking care of a rose bush, is flourishing. I wish the previous owners of the house hadn't planted it so close to the house, and right next to a huge azalea, but hopefully it will be okay. I hate to try and move it. I'm sure I will kill it. So, I put the trellis in to hopefully urge it to grow upward (I'm not sure if it is a climber, or not) and stay away from the screen!

All in all, a very good day. Sigh. Tomorrow it rains... Guess I'll get busy on that deadline then, huh?