Monday, January 2, 2023

My 2023 Word: Manifest


 My word for 2023, Manifest. I found a few quotes from one of my favorite authors, Francis Hodgson Burnett that support my word.

"At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, then they begin to hope it can be done, then they see it can be done--then it is done and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago."

"I am sure there is Magic in everything, only we have not sense enough to get hold of it and make it do things for us."

"Of course there must be lots of Magic in the world," he said wisely one day, "but people don't know what it is like or how to make it. Perhaps the beginning is just to say nice things are going to happen until you make them happen. I am going to try and experiment."

“One of the new things people began to find out in the last century was that thoughts—just mere thoughts—are as powerful as electric batteries—as good for one as sunlight is, or as bad for one as poison. To let a sad thought or a bad one get into your mind is as dangerous as letting a scarlet fever germ get into your body. If you let it stay there after it has got in you may never get over it as long as you live... surprising things can happen to any one who, when a disagreeable or discouraged thought comes into his mind, just has the sense to remember in time and push it out by putting in an agreeable determinedly courageous one. Two things cannot be in one place.”

How about you? Do you have a word for 2023?

Friday, November 18, 2022

Wedding Soup

 



It's sweater weather! That time of the year when you can snuggle up under blankets at football games and no one will give you a second glance, when you crave soup and hot cocoa, and hunker down in front of a fireplace with a good book.

In my book, Small Town Secrets, Sadie dishes up some wedding soup for Caden. Is it a sign of good things to come? Or just something good to eat?


Wedding Soup

Ingredients

Meatballs

 8 oz lean ground beef

8 oz ground pork

1/2 cup fresh hearty white bread crumbs*

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 1/2 tsp minced fresh oregano

1/2 cup finely shredded parmesan

1 large egg

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 Tbsp olive oil

Soup

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 1/4 cups 1/4-inch diced carrots

1 1/4 cups diced yellow onion

 3/4 cup 1/4-inch diced celery

4 cloves garlic , minced (1 1/2 Tbsp)

5 (14.5 oz) cans low-sodium chicken broth

1 cup dry acini de pepe or orzo pasta**

6 oz fresh spinach , chopped

Finely shredded parmesan , for serving

Instructions

For the meatballs:

Add beef and pork to a large mixing bowl. Add in bread crumbs, parsley, oregano, parmesan, egg, 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.

Gently toss and break up mixture with hands to evenly coat and distribute. Shape mixture into very small meatballs, about 3/4 inch to 1 inch and transfer to a large plate.

  Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the meatballs and cook until browned, turning occasionally (to brown on 2 or 3 sides), about 4 minutes total.

Transfer meatballs to a plate lined with paper towels while leaving oil in skillet. Repeat process with remaining meatballs (note that meatballs won't be cooked through at this point, they'll continue to cook through in the soup).

For the soup:

While meatballs are browning, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add carrots, onions and celery and saute until veggies have softened about 6 - 8 minutes, add garlic and saute 1 minute longer.

Pour in chicken broth, season soup with salt and pepper to taste and bring mixture to a boil. Add in pasta and meatballs, reduce heat to light boil (about medium or medium-low).

Cover and cook, stirring occasionally until pasta is tender and meatballs have cooked through, about 10 minutes, while adding in spinach during the last minute of cooking. Serve warm, sprinkle each serving with parmesan cheese.


Monday, November 7, 2022

Contest! Will You Win?

 


When Sadie inherits a cottage in the middle of nowhere from a grandmother she never met, she hopes to find the father she never knew. Instead, she finds mysterious messages that may or may not lead her to her father.

When a storm knocks out the power and washes out the one road that can take her back to civilization, Sadie turns to her only neighbor, a man with a secret agenda of his own.

I just published the 10th episode of my new Kindle Vella story, and to celebrate, I'm running a contest. The winner gets a $20. gift card. Currently, my story is on page 10 in the Just Kisses category.

What's Just Kisses you ask?

If you look at the stories on the Kindle Vella platform, you'll notice circled tags under the story's descriptions. If you click on one of these tags, it'll take you to stories in that category. Just Kisses is a tag a fellow author came up to describe books that could also be described as clean and wholesome, sweet romance, or PG if books were rated the same as movies.

I would love to be on the front page of the Just Kisses category. You can help me get there by reading the story (the first 3 episodes are free and currently Amazon is giving away 200 tokens) and giving the episodes a thumbs-up and a fav. 

To prove you read the story, just email me back and tell me the name of Sadie's dog. Bonus points if tell me what you think of the story and its cover.

I'll announce the winner on Black Friday.

Thanks for reading and playing!

Friday, October 21, 2022

What Do You Do When You're Homesick?

Disclaimer, this isn't a picture of my hometown, but the image for my book cover.


 If you're me, you write a story set in your hometown.
Introducing my new Kindle Vella story, Small Town secrets. 

When Sadie inherits a cottage in the middle of nowhere from a grandmother she never met, she hopes to find the father she never knew. Instead, she finds mysterious messages that may or may not lead her to her father.

When a storm knocks out the power and washes out the one road that can take her back to civilization, Sadie turns to her only neighbor, a man with a secret agenda of his own.

It's set in a small town patterned after my own hometown. Here are some pictures I took in Arlington.




These are a few of my favorite houses in town.

This was my dad's garden.



These beach scenes are of a neighboring community.

This is the house I had in mind when I wrote Verity and the Villain.

Have you ever been to the Pacific Northwest? I grew up in Arlington, a dairy farming community about forty miles north of Seattle. When I graduated from high school, Arlington had a population of a little more 3,000. Today, there are close to 20,000 residents. Thanks to clever city planning, downtown Arlington looks pretty much the same as it did all those years ago. The difference is many of the surrounding farms have been converted into housing developments. This means that the town smells better, but the streets are more crowded. Sometimes, especially in the fall when the leaves are changing, I find myself homesick for a place that no longer exists.

How about you? Where is your hometown? 


Saturday, October 15, 2022

A Better Late Romance Boxset and Other Recommendations

Pre-order now!

 

Introducing a Better Late Romance Box Set!

 

For just a few days, my Better Late Romance box set is available on pre-order for only .99. That's three books for about only thirty cents each. The price will go up to $9.99 on the 20th. The set includes three complete novels staring fifty-something couples:


It’s double- chocolate donuts meets kefir. Can two fifty-somethings from separate grocery store aisles overcome their differences?


Ron sets out to right his mother’s wrongs, tame the poodle, and win Lauren’s heart, but he needs more than his billions of dollars—he needs a Christmas miracle.


A romantic romp proving that love is timeless and, with a little help from the Witching Well, anything is possible


Monday, September 19, 2022

Scenes from the ANWA (American Night Writers' Conference)



 At the gala, we were asked to wear a costume depicting a literary character. I chose Edgar Allen Poe's raven. Funny story. I packed the costume first, then I set out my clothes for my suitcase and noticed that all three of my blouses had birds on them. You can see one of them in this picture, although you might not be able to see the birds.
I had to put one of the bird shirts back (it hurt a little) because I didn't want to be known as the bird lady.

In case you thought writers' conferences are boring...

There were so many great workshops, and I took lots of notes. Here are a few of my favorite quotes.

Marketing is responsible for 85% of a book's success.

Success is something we chase not something we achieve.

Aim for satisfaction, not success.

The ocean is still the ocean whether the tide is in or out.

It feels good to create something beautiful simply because it's beautiful.

Books can help teens shape their personalities, provide moral compasses, and instill hope.

Teenagers are trying on personalities.

A book can change the world.

Children see books not only as mirrors but also as maps.

Reading teaches empathy and imagination.

There's nothing more healing than a healthy dose of "I'm not the only one."

Writing is constant decision making. It's okay to have decision fatigue.

Never give something you can't control power over you.

Goals are for what we can control.




 

Monday, September 12, 2022

Motivation and Steam #Monday Motivation





Steam exists like motivation exists. It is there for us to choose. It is a feeling for us to choose at any moment, but when steam is properly channeled, it powers a train. Danielle Thienel (You can listen to her podcast here.)

 (But steam can also evaporate and disappear into the air. Same thing with motivation.)



In this podcast, Danielle talks about losing her inner cheerleader. I've been thinking about this a lot--


what makes my cheerleader drop her pom poms and hide beneath the bleachers?


Fear. 

Fear of rejection.

Fear of ridicule.

Fear of people's pity.

Jeffery R. Holland said "To fear not is the most ignored and disobeyed commandment the Lord gives."

This week, I'm heading into a lion's den--a writer's conference--where I'll mingle with hundreds of people, stay in a hotel (by myself) and share my manuscript in workshops with people I don't know including other writers, agents, and editors. I'm doing this for honest, unbiased feedback on my book, The Invisible Maid.

I have no doubt everyone will be kind, which makes me think that the pity is the thing I fear most of all.

How about you? What makes your inner cheerleader run and hide? How do you coax her out from under the bleachers?