Saturday, November 19, 2011

Writer's group withdrawals!!

The most recent meeting was only last Saturday, but knowing I won't attend another one until spring is already bumming me out! Due to my new job, which is at a beautiful resort and I'm not complaining about anything to do with my new position... I'll just miss my group until spring rolls around and my schedule returns to Monday- Friday!!

The meeting on Saturday made the separation even more difficult. November is always our Storyteller Awards meeting. We tally points for all the writing activities of the year. The top three winners receive prizes, we exchange inexpensive and fun gifts and then eat a delicious potluck lunch. Of course we share our victories and defeats, brainstorm ideas and build deeper relationships. I love my RWA group!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Other Opportunities

I've woefully neglected my blog! I changed jobs and have been loving it, but my schedule takes some adjusting to so my lunch hours of writing have suffered. It's just a matter of me reprograming myself to write at different times. A new challenge... it's what I love, so time to prove I can do it.

My new writing opportunity is a contemporary I finished last Spring, then got busy with Dangerous Disguise rewrites, so I didn't turn my attention back to it until a couple months ago. I submitted to 4 agents, got declines from 2 but haven't heard from the other two. I sent out queries to 2 editors and heard from one who asked for a proposal (synopsis and first 3 chapters) The editor who read it likes my writing style and several other things, but suggested I change the beginning. That BUT, isn't a bad thing... there were many good things about her suggestions and you can bet I'm following her advice. As attached as I am to my opening scenes, I can see her point and am currently having fun inventing a new beginning I can work into the existing book later in the story.

The really fun thing was, while brainstorming with my sixteen year old grandson... he came up with a beginning I love! Thanks Brian!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Real life

So, in my real life, I've changed jobs again. Sometimes it takes some jumping around to find the right fit that doesn't leave you drained or stressed out, and with enough energy to slip into the creative world when you want to.

 I try to look at the real world as a place to stimulate my imagination and help me gather fodder for my stories and traits for my characters. The real world offers some cool things... family, friends, travel, sharing... so guess I won't complain when I have to spend time taking care of life and not at the keyboard shaping a new character:)

Thursday, October 20, 2011


I've heard multi-published writers say it never gets easy when you're waiting for an editor to comment on a new manuscript, and now I know what they meant! I've submitting my entire new manuscript to a new editor, and the waiting begins! All the old insecurities are there, yet in another sense, selling a book does make one feel like they've crossed over some line that before the sale was a blurry line only certain people got to cross. In one another, you still wait with baited breath for the email to pop up with either suggestions for the manuscript or the standard, "Your book doesn't fit what we're currently looking for."
In the meantime, work on your next book! That's what I'm doing...hammering out the plot for a continuing character story and loving it. It feels so good to create again after basically two years of editing and revising the two completed books! Hang in there!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Travel/Northwest United States

Summer's gone for now, fall is moving along and winter will be here before we know it. If your budget's been hit too hard for that Hawaiian Island winter getaway...consider a northwest ski trip!

My suggestion? Schweitzer Mountain Resort!

Located a short 11 mile drive from Sandpoint, Idaho, Schweitzer boasts views that will take your breath away and the charm of an alpine town, from cozy lodging to delicious eateries. Schweitzer is one of the few privately owned resorts in the country and the staff is intent on making your experience one you'll never forget and will want to repeat as often as possible!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Dangerous Disguise update

The final galleys are done, and Dangerous Disguise is in line for a release date! I can't wait to hold a copy in my hands, and I can't wait to show it to all of you!

In deciding what to work on next, Ruth, Will's nanny in DD jumped out at me. I'm in the process of plotting Ruth's story, and her engagement to Horace...will a romance survive 7 years of separation???

Sunday, October 9, 2011

From Dangerous Disguise, Janet Malone's Winter Preparations; Elderberries

Janet created many things out of the resources available to her. She preserved from the garden she planted, but she also made use of the wild garden surrounding her. Elderberries were one of the abundant foods for the taking.

From the dark purple tiny berries, Janet made jelly, syrup for pancakes and juice to drink through the coming winter. Janet may have know the medicinal quality of elderberry juice, and its benefit to the resistance to illness. In days gone by, settlers were much closer to natures pharmacy.

A tall, deciduous bush, elderberries are best picked after a frost. Harvesting can be tedious, but the results are well worth it! Check it out! Put 'elderberries' in your favorite search engine, and discover all the uses! Enjoy!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Galley's: one step closer....

I've been working on my 1st galley this past week. A galley is your book in book form, but not ready for publication until you, the writer, read over it with a critical eye to remove or change, any errors in spacing, punctuation, spelling, point of view, you name it. It's your last chance to make it as perfect as it can be. Of course, your editor and the copy editor have gone over it, so it's pretty darn accurate.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


This morning at about 4, my left eye woke me with a burning sensation I couldn't ignore. As I pried my right eye open, and glanced at the clock, it became very apparent I'd better head to the bathroom and check out the problem. Well..I'd forgotten to take the contact out of my left eye. I'm trying the mono-vision thing but I'm still not great at remembering I have a contact in my eye.

Once the contact was removed and soaking in its tiny case, I slipped back into bed and found that even though the sun was far from rising, my mind was awake. For the next hour, I ran through all the things I wanted to accomplish today, Saturday, and my day off. That's always been an interesting off? How can it be a day off when I've crammed it with everything from plotting the new historical novel I thought of yesterday, to cleaning the den so I can enjoy working at my computer, to cleaning house, harvesting the rest of my garden and on and on and on. Could it be, that intentions are nothing more than over obligating ourselves and dooming us to failure?

Enjoy your weekend!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

More on a new 'published' writer's journey

Like everyone who loves to write and dreams of selling their work, I struggle with balance between work, family, writing and the other things life throws at that I have a book coming out...I find myself working toward the balance in writing, life and marketing. I have to market, and I really enjoy it, but it's another piece of time I could be spending working on plotting the new historical I started two weeks ago. The time just speeds by when you're updating facebook, your blog, and if you're like me and technically challenged:) it takes even longer!

If you're in the newly published world and have achieved a balance in your life, do what I didn't do...listen to the ones who've been there, who say start your blog before you your facebook before you sell...I didn't and now I'm juggling everything in a sporadic manner.

Oh well! It will come to me eventually! In the meantime, I'm steaming apples for apple butter, shredding zucchini to freeze for winter loaves of zucchini bread, and updating my blog! Keep going fellow writers! Achieve your dream no matter how hectic it can seem at times. Well, off to can apple butter!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Gluten Free Scones

Gluten Free Scones (My version)
1 1/4 cups Brown Rice
1/2 Cup Tapioca Flour
1 1/2 tsp Cream of Tartar
3/4 tsp Baking Soda
1 1/2 tsp Xanthan Gun
1/4 tsp Salt
4 Tablespoons Sugar
4 Tablespoons Butter
2/3 cup plain yogurt or 1/2 Cup Milk
1 Large Egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup Dried Cranberries, Currents or Raisins
1 tsp fresh, Orange, Lemon or Lime Zest
A quick squeeze of the juice from the above citrus

Mix all dry ingredients together, add soft butter and work gently until the consistency of small peas. Add milk and egg mixture. When all ingredients are moist, add the dried fruit, juice and zest.

Heat oven to 450 degrees. I use a miniature non stick scone pan, but you can also use a lightly greased cookie sheet, pat the mix into a circle on the pan and gently flatten. When done, cut into pie shape wedges. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
Serves 6.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Very Modern Gluten Free Cornbread

Gluten Free Cornbread:
1 1/4 Cups Cornmeal
1/2 Cup Brown Rice Flour
1/4 Cup Potato Flour
1/4 Cup Tapioca Flour
1 1/2 tsp Xanthan Gum
1/3 Cup Organic Sugar
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
2 Large (free range preferred) eggs
1 Cup Milk (I use organic cows milk)
1/3 Cup Virgin Olive Oil

Grease a 9 inch round cast iron skillet (can use bacon grease if from bacon without nitrates or nitrites),
Olive Oil or Butter. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all dry ingredients. Mix eggs, milk, oil in separate bowl, then add to dry ingredients. Batter should be cake batter consistency.

Bake 25-30 minutes, or until top is firm and edges lightly browned. Serve warm. Cut in 12 pie shaped pieces.

For extra flavor, can also add chopped green chili's and sprinkle with grated cheese.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Hope, Idaho Territory...

 The beautiful view of Lake Pend Oreille, is what Kate would have seen when leaving the Malone's, or when she hesitated while walking to the Malone's to drink in the amazing view.
This spot, with fruit trees in the back ground, is where I imagined the Malone house to set. Of course the gravel road wouldn't have been there, just a grassy meadow.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Ruth's Buttermilk Biscuits & Shortcake

Ruth misses Horace terribly, but when she leaves the Howland ranch and Idaho Territory, a chunk of her heart will stay behind with little Will Howland. She's been Will's nursemaid and nanny since his birth, and especially shortly after when his mother ran off with the neighbor, back in Virginia. Making a comfortable home for Will and his daddy, has been Ruth's mission in life, and her own love and romance, will have to wait.
On many occasion, when Will wasn't tagging after his daddy and Uncle Travis, he helped Ruth mix and cut out her biscuits.

Taking a nice big, heavy bowl, Ruth would mix 3 cups of flour with a teaspoon salt and 4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1 teaspoon soda. She gently mixed the dry ingredients, then added about 1/2 cup lard and mixed it in with her fingers or a fork until it resembled peas. Too much mixing toughen the finished product, so she'd busy Will with drawing pictures at the table so she wouldn't get distracted and over mix. Then she'd add 3/4 cup buttermilk, to moisten the mixture until it was nice soft dough.
Flouring a board, she'd roll out the dough and have Will help her cut out rounds with the mouth of a drinking glass or cup. Greasing a pan, she'd carefully place the biscuits on the pan and bake in a hot oven for about 15- 20 minutes ore until they were a deep golden brown. If fresh fruit, or even the berries she canned were available, she'd add sugar, about 1/2 cup to the biscuit mix and have shortcake for dessert.
A nice fresh cream, whipped to soft peaks would top off that shortcake and make the men sign when they saw it!
the biscuits were served with fresh churned butter and berry preserves. In the Northwest, there were wild raspberries, dew berries, huckleberries and black caps galore. Ruth spent many a summer day picking berries and making jams. She might even share one of her recipes with you on another day!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Janet Malone's succulent roast beef (or Elk roast)

Janet always had a heavy duty, well seasoned cast iron dutch oven on hand. She brought it west when they moved from Boston to the Idaho Territory.

Line the Dutch oven with lard and set on the hot stove top to season
Next, set in a 3-4 pound rump roast (either beef or elk) Brown it on the stove top, right in the Dutch oven.
Wedge in halves or quarters of onions; small carrots, or chop them in half or quarters
Potatoes (quartered)
sprinkle with salt, peppercorns, chopped fresh garlic (Janet had a garlic bed...grows well in the Northwest)
For lean meat types, lean beef and always for Elk, lay strips of bacon over the top of the roast. 2-3 strips will do.
Fill Dutch oven with fresh water, enough to reach the halfway mark of the cast iron pot. Put on the lid and roast in a medium hot oven for 2-3 hours, checking after an hour and adding water if needed.
When the meat is done, remove the vegetables and arrange on a platter around the sliced roast. Make gravy out of the juice, using a bit of corn starch. Don't forget to mix the cornstarch with a half cup of water first and whip in with a fork.
Feeds a family of 4 and a guest if you're blessed to have one drop in! Serve with fresh greens from the garden if it's summer or early fall, or canned green beans if it's winter. Also good with fresh bread or biscuits! Especially if Ruth happens by and volenteers to make her special recipe!
Thank you, Janet Malone

Dimensional Characters... Please meet Mine!

It's time you met the characters of Dangerous Disguise!  Of course, to really get to know them, you'll need to get the book:) But each character has so much more to their lives then the length and pacing a book will allow us to show.

For instance...I love to cook and to eat, and so do several of my characters, so in Dangerous Disguise, Janet Malone, an Irish Immigrant, who my heroine, Kate McShane stays with in the Idaho Territory, will share her recipes on my blog! She's an amazing cook, and makes appetizing and filling meals with the limited supplies in the Northwest of 1888.

Janet, her husband, Kerry and their children Maura and Kyle, have lived in Hope, Idaho Territory for 7 years at the time of my story, so she has established a functioning household and farm. Janet has a milk cow; a yard of chickens, both for laying and for meat; a sow (mother pig) who brings them wiener pigs every spring to supply them fresh pork in the fall and to sell to neighbors, or to Mr. White's mercantile, in the form of salt pork, smoked hams and Bacon.
Janet also raises a garden each year, and maintains and herb garden she started the year after she moved to Hope. I hope you enjoy her recipes!
Ruth, has served as a nanny to Will Howland, seven year old son of Ethan Howland, who moved to Hope from Virginia after his wife ran off with this best friend. Ruth's a great cook and homemaker, and can't wait until she can return to her finance, Horace, who has moved from Richmond to Boston in his newspaper career.
Mrs. White owns the boarding house and cafe. She makes the most scrumptious scones! (As a gluten free  person, I'll even share my own flavorful tips for gluten free scones:)
I hope you ride along with me on this journey about Kate McShane, finding adventure, love and good friends. Along the way, we'll learn more about the historic Northwest and the strong women who helped settle it. Please look for my continuing posts with recipes and life in the 1880's-1890's Pacific Northwest.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Is anyone out there as technologically as handicapped as I am??? I only wanted to update  my Yahoo Groups email and contact info to match my author and two hours later, I'm just not getting to my blog and then to the revisions on the query and synopsis of Book 2. Is it me...or is it not user friendly to maintain our sites? Several of my writer friends seem to buzz right through uploading files, changing contact information, even uploading photos, but for me it seems to be an effort. I know organization would help. I simply need to focus on one thing and make it easier on myself.

On another note, it appears the cover for my historical, Dangerous Disguise, is complete, so I'll be uploading :)) the cover as soon as I have it. I'm so excited! I can't lose sight of the reality of selling my book when I get bogged down with the marketing and technology!

So, focus and simplicity is going to be my goal for the future, write down important information in one spot, such as directions on how to edit and add to my Yahoo Groups! My emails accounts and website! I'd love to hear of your challenges and solutions! Please share:)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Book 2

High on the sale of my historical, I quickly sent a proposal for the contemporary off to a very good agency, without taking one more look at trimming the word count on my synopsis. Today I received the response. It's not right for their agency. Whether it's the length of the proposal, or the story just isn't appealing to them, I don't know. They were very professional in their response, and I would recommend them to anyone. Back to work. My dear friend Asa sent a critique after I hastily emailed the proposal off, with some very good suggestions I will now implement them and send out again.

As for my book with The Wild Rose Press...I just emailed the completed edits to the editor! I'm so excited, the thrill hasn't dimmed. The lesson here, is just because one editor likes your style, someone else might not.

This is just the beginning, and I'm not giving up!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

So, it all begins...

Blogging everyday is something I have to work into my daily schedule... The journey to seeing the book I've poured so many hours, tears and sweat into, in print, has begun. Information goes to the marketing department with email address; blog address; website (which I don't have yet). The accounting department needs to verify information, and marketing requires the cover art description forms filled out. I was thrilled when I learned The Wild Rose Press actually includes input from the author. It's so unusual in our industry. Now, I hope I described my characters and the setting adequately. I'm anxious to see what the artist comes up with!
I promised photos of Hope, and I can't believe I drove through there last weekend and didn't snap some with my phone! I will get them posted!  I'm so fascinated with the area, I want to share it's history and beauty!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Dreams can come true

For all of you aspiring writers, don't give up. You can sell the book of your dreams too....I just did! I've just signed a contract with The Wild Rose Press, a fabulous publisher I researched before ever sending a submission. The editors I've worked for are awesome! Don't be put off with E-publishers, Do your homework and take advantage of this semi-new opportunity to get your work in print. The Wild Rose Press offers top quality editing, and have all the departments to see you through the business process that any brick and mortar offers. I hope you'll order my book when it comes out! It's a historical romance set in Hope, Idaho in 1888. I'll write more about Hope and the release date of my book as I receive the information. If you love quaint mountainside towns, overlooking one of the largest natural fresh water lakes in the country, you'll love Hope! Please check back for photos and descriptions of where to eat, sit and think, or work on your own book! Now, go outside(if it's still light where you are) and enjoy this beautiful summer day!