Tag Archives: #MFRWBlogHop

How many courses is too much?

This blog entry is gonna kill me….literally!! I lovelovelove to cook. I have almost 130 cookbooks in my house, many dog-earred and marked up with notes. How in the name of all that’s holy can I pick one meal that I’d have for my very last meal on earth?

Okay. SO let’s look at this the way a hostess with the mostest would. A meal consists of COURSES. A typical meal would have at least 5-7 courses, so if I go with the principle that MORE IS MORE, my last meal will have 7 courses. And they won’t be the typical cheese, salad, meat, yadayadayada courses. I’m reinventing the courses. I can do that. I’m a writer and this is MY last meal, so there!

Course #1. Forget the salad. If I’m gonna die, I ain’t eating salad. This course is going to be a full blown appetizer course consisting of my favorite appetizers: coconut shrimp, artichoke dip with Ritz crackers, pigs-in-a-blanket, scallops wrapped in bacon, asparagus wrapped in bacon with maple syrup and brown sugar. To Die For!

Course #2 The soup course. My favorite is good old fashioned TOMATO SOUP and I’ve got a recipe that just soothes the soul. Of course, along with the tomato soup I will have to have a grilled cheeses sandwich because, you know…they go together. My grilled cheese consists of thick homemade potato bread, slathered with real butter on both sides and a mix of mozzarella and provolone cheeses on the inside. Delish!

Course #3: Fish. Going all out here, folks. I lovelovelove fish. So, I’m gonna have to make my seafood scampi. Scallops, jumbo shrimp and lobster in a white wine sauce with mushrooms and served over bowtie pasta. I’m hungry just thinking about it.

 

Course #4: Pasta. You might say the previous course of scampi fits the pasta bill. No f**king way! I’m eating an entire course of  my penne ala vodka, served with yards of garlic bread.

Course #5: Main meal: You’re probably wondering why I’m not in the Emergency room by now with a ruptured stomach from ALL that food!  But if this is my last meal, I’m gonna keep going. So, For the main meal there really is only one option for me: Lobster macaroni and cheese with bacon. I know…………

Course #6: Cheese. A little palette refresher here. I love baked cheeses, so I’ll prepare my baked brie in puff pastry with apricot and serve it with little bullets of baked challah bread and fruit.

 

Course #7: Dessert. Lordy, Lordy, so many to choose from. Cheesecake? Chocolate mousse pie? Cannolis? All favs, but I’m gonna make an entire Chocolate trifle and eat it all by myself.

And, yes…that’s my Trifle, recently made for a party.

If any of this sounds good to you ( and why wouldn’t it??) You can get a few of the recipes in my WILL COOK FOR LOVE series from Kensington/Lyrical Shine Publishers. COOKING WITH KANDY is available now and had the lobster mac and cheese. A SHOT AT LOVE releases on 10.8.17 and there are even more recipes in that one,

Bon appetite!

Since this is a blog hop. you might want to click over to some of these other authors and see what constitutes a last meal for them.

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Food lover, Foodie, Kensington Publishers, love, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

I’m a word banker…#MFRWauthors

I retired from my long time job in 2015 when I got my first book contract. So many people asked me at that time, “What are you gonna do with yourself now that you don’t have to go to work every day?”
Hello!!! After informing them that I was trading my hated job for a life long dream job and explained that I would now be writing full time, they still said things like, “But surely you can’t write all day?” and “But what else are you going to do to fill your days?”

I remember thinking at the time that people, for lack of a better word, can be really stupid. But that’s another blog… This one concerns word counts and I told you the story above as a precursor.

I approach word counts like I approach a job: all in. What that means for me is that I have a minimum goal I have to reach every single day that I write ( and I write every single day) before I can do anything else. You wouldn’t just leave a job in the middle of the day to go grocery shopping, or to have lunch with friends. You’re working. You have a job to do and you get paid for it.  That’s my approach to word counts.

Every day I write 2000 words minimum in whatever book I am currently working on, my WIP ( Work in progress). After that 2000 is done, I then decide if I want to keep going, or do the stuff I need to do to, you know… adult. Like, grocery shop, laundry, ironing, clean the house, do banking, pay bills. Even take a shower!

The fact that I’m blessed with chronic insomnia (and I never thought I’d hear myself say that was a blessing!) helps. I can get so much written between the hours of 3 and 6 am every day, that’s it ridiculous. My entire first book SKATER’S WALTZ was written during these times.

Word counts are, to many writers, a bane. A necessary evil. If they set a goal and then don’t make it, they feel many things: unworthy, like a failure, inept.

To them and all writers, I say STOP! Word counts are simply ways of tracking what you have written.  Only during the month of November if you participate in  NANOWRIMO should you worry about how much is “good enough” to write every day. Creativity can not be forced. And it shouldn’t be. If you write 6 words or 6ooo in a day, so be it. Those 6 words are probably the best you’ll wring from yourself, so good. Yay. 6 is better than none, right?

Now, you’re probably thinking, “but she said she writes 2000 every day before she does anything else, and yet she’s telling us not to worry about how much we write?” Correct. I am. But that’s what I need to do. Every writer, like every book and every story, is different. I know a contemporary romance writer who sets as her goal 100,000 words per month. If you take a month at 30 days, that means she has to write 3,333 words every single day no matter what. She has an assistant, so she doesn’t need to do the mundane things like social media updates, laundry, and grocery shopping. Lucky her. Most of us don’t have assistants, though. So again, whether you write 6, or 6ooo words a day; 10000 or 100000 per month, word counts are individualistic.

And necessary. Oh, so necessary. Don’t try to compare yourself with others when it comes to word counts. Like I said, everyone is different. As long as you write – and what you write is good – then, so be it.

Because this is a writer blog hop, click on some of the other authors here to see how they approach their writing word counts…or even if they have them!!

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Contemporary Romance, love, Romance, Romance Books

Belly shakers and comedic genius.

I grew up a child of television. As a latch key kid there was no one around routinely to monitor what I watched after school and in the evenings my mother was so tired from working all day she never asked me what I was watching because she was just glad I was occupied so she could relax. Because of that I had a very extensive comedic childhood, watching way too many shows I probably shouldn’t have.

Having said that, the shows I watched were comedic gold and my favorites then are still my favorites today. If I happen to catch an errant episode on TV land, I’ll stop whatever I’m channel surfing for and settle in for a good old fashioned guffaw.

My favorites?
Well, I LOVE LUCY jumps to the head of the line. Remember VITAMEATAVEGAMIN?

And who could ever forget the Carol Burnett Show’s spoof, WENT WITH THE WIND?

I can recite every line, every nuance, every word of those two skits. Perfectly.  And when I’m not saying them out loud, I’m laughing out loud. Big, body shaking belly laughs.

Another one? The Robin Williams interview on INSIDE THE ACTORS STUDIO. Watch it and I dare you not to laugh. I double dog dare you!

Recently, I rewatched a comedy classic on Comedy Central, the REDNECK COMEDY TOUR. I will admit, I am almost embarrassed about how funny I find these guys! And at how loud I laugh when they’re on.

Since this is a blog hop, you might want to stop by these other authors and have a good belly laugh, too!

 

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OH, the Places I’d go!

Be it ever so humble…..

I’ll admit this freely – I don’t travel well. My husband calls me the “ugly American” and it’s too true. I am a spoiled homebody. I  like nothing more than staying in my house, in my jammies, reading a book or cooking for friends and family. Yeah, I know. I live and lead a very boring, limited life, so this blog topic was one that required a huge amount of thought on my part. The last time I traveled anywhere was when my daughter was in college, doing a semester in Barcelona and then in Dublin. My Husband and I went to visit her in both places.

And just FYI, she graduated in 2011. What year is it now, hmmm? Yeah. That’s the last time I went anywhere.

So, the Top 5 places I’d like to visit.

Well, let’s see…

I actually had to go out and buy the book 1000 Places to see before you die because I couldn’t even come up with one.

I don’t like planes – they are a necessary inconvenience, though. I dislike trains even more, and forget about being in the car longer than an hour without stopping to stretch my legs. Total torture.

So…those 5 places.

Hawaii might be nice because it’s like…Hawaii!! Lava and beaches and leis. But it’s such an asshugging long trip from the East Coast to get there. I might have to make a few stops along the way, like Washington DC. The architecture, the history, the scandals. I could spend a few days there without problems. But I’ve been there already. Numerous times. This is supposed to be a post on places I haven’t visited yet.

Okay, so #1. Hawaii.

2….hmmm. Tuscany. I think I’d like to see Tuscany because I loved that book Under The Tuscan Sun. It would be great for my cooking skills to learn how to make authentic Tuscan dishes using fresh Tuscan ingredients…like wine!

3…..(scratching head) The Swiss Alps because I liked Heidi. My in-laws actually went to the Swiss Alps on a trip once and my mother-in-law told me it was absolutely her favorite part of that vacation. Seeing the Matterhorn, riding the Glacier Express. She loved it and since she’s such a good judge of things, I figure I would too!

4….(biting nails, now) Australia, and mainly Queensland because I lovedlovedloved The Thorn Birds. I was so heartbroken when Colleen McCullough died, I actually went to Church that day and said a prayer for her soul. She brought the Australian outback to full, vivid, life with her writings and she is sorely missed.

5….(really digging deep now!) Got it! San Fransico because I loved the JoyLuck Club. Amy Tan is a fabu writer and I remember reading this book in a day because I was so invested in the characters and their lives as they navigated through their heritage, culture, and tried to assimilate into the American lifestyle and the Bay Area without trading in their old world ways. Her writing is lyrical, fluid, and flows from the page.

So. I could stop In San Fran on the way to Hawaii, and after a week swimming the Pacific shores, move on to Australia. Next stop from there,  Tuscany and finishing in the Swiss Alps.

That wouldn’t be so bad.

Le sigh.

This was a hard blog to write, peeps. Really hard considering I don’t leave my house much!

Let’s see if the other authors in the blog challenge have as hard a time as I did coming up with 5 places… I’m going to bet they didn’t.

 

 

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, Strong Women

My Greatest strength #MFRWauthors; #blogChallenge

This is one of the easiest blogs I’ve ever written. I didn’t even have to think because I really only have 1 strength – my perseverance, or to put it in terms I like to use, The TAO Of NGU NGI.

Perseverance is defined as: steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.

Yeah, that about says it perfectly.

I’ve done several blog pieces on the TAO of NGU NGI and written of it often in interviews. It’s what keeps me motivated and inspired when sometimes the daily grind of life gets to me.

Basically, The TAO OF NGU NGI means “Never give up; never give in.”

I’m Irish, so the part about never giving up is genetic. Seriously! My Irish ancestors were sturdy, stalwart souls who faced famine, pestilence, religious persecution, and poverty of the most egregious sort. And they never gave up on the hope of a future at the end of a rainbow. Love that!

I’m the product of divorced parents, so the never give in part is the nurture part of my nature vs nurture upbringing! I never give an inch. In a childhood filled with bullies, substance abuse, and mental anguish, I never gave in to the negativity I was surrounded by. I never allowed myself to be engulfed in to its destructive storm. I simply never gave into any fight or disturbance, no matter how inconsequential it may have seemed. It’s been said of me by people who know me that I have a backbone forged in steel. Truth.

So, my greatest strength? Perseverance.

When I’m not persevering, you can find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

Please visit the other #MFRW authors who are participating in this week’s 52 week blog challenge:


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7 guilty pleasures; #MFRWauthors #BlogChallengeWeek10

 

This post gave me just a little trouble. Not because I couldn’t come up with 7 guilty pleasures – but that I had sososososo many, I had to whittle them down to just 7!

Well, here goes nuthin’.

In no particular order, here are the 7 things that (I think) are guilty pleasures for Moi:

  • a total jammie day – no bra, no makeup, hair in a messy bun, glasses
  • Girl Scout Thin Mints – if you’ve had them, no further explanation is necessary
  • Binge reading a new favorite author without any interruptions

  • finding a new mascara that: doesn’t smudge and make me look like a raccoon, lengthens my non-existent eyelashes, and ISN’T waterproof ( I hate waterproof mascara!!!)
  • Tweeting – I can’t explain this one, but I just know it’s a guilty pleasure for me

  • having dessert without counting points. (Some will get this, most will not).
  • a professional facial

It’s very telling that the only writing/reading pleasure I mentioned was binge reading a new favorite author. And that there are 2 references to food!! Very telling, indeed.

Because this is week 10 in the MFRW 52 week blog challenge, here are some other authors who are blogging about their 7 guilty pleasures today. Drop by and leave them some love.

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Friends, Life challenges, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

Words that make me go “ick”; #Mfrwauthor #52WeekBlogChallenge

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I could write a dictionary here, folks. Truly.

Okay. Words have power.

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Anyone who’s ever been bullied or taunted as a child ( or even adult) knows this in their soul. Words can spear you straight through the heart, cut you off at the knees, and slice into your gut.

 

Late comic George Carlin made a million bucks doing a routine called the 7 Dirty Words. In 1972, he said these 7 words in a comedy club, forever immortalizing them:

Shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits.

It is now 2017.  45 years later than when Carlin first spoke those words in public. Since that time, society has shifted in what it deems inappropriate language use. Even just a few years ago you wouldn’t hear commercial television characters uttering anything worse than an occasional “Crap!” as an invective or a curse. In a recent show on NBC, I heard two characters say the second and last words above before the first commercial break.  Cable television has no such restrictions on language and I can tell you truthfully, I have heard every one of the above words – and a few more I hate – said without a flinch by the actors.

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In America, we live by the law of freedom of speech. It’s a good freedom. We can share opinions that differ, dialogues that intrigue us, and books that elevate and entertain us. And while that basic freedom is challenged every single day, it still stands strong.

But…

There are some words, expressions, and phrases that shouldn’t be said aloud. Remember, words have power to hurt, maim, and incite.  As a writer of romantic fiction, there are some words I would never use in a book. You probably think those words are slang ones for things related to the sex act. You would be wrong. I have no problem using words – slang or otherwise – to describe anatomy. What I do have is trouble using words that are mainly pejoratives. Words that do not belong in public speech or on the pages of books.

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So…words that make me go “ick.” In no particular order, here they are:

twat, cunt, retard,  any variation of the “N” word ( I can’t even write it, it’s so hateful). Any word that is derogatory to an ethnic group ( kike, wop, etc. You know the words I mean) I truly hatehatehate the word MOIST. I shudder when I write it.

Every word mentioned above ( except for moist, because that’s just my own particular hatefest word) is a pejorative. A word that makes me quiver and quake with anger, because they are used in totally negative ways. I see no positive translations in any of those words.

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Words that DON’T make me go ick? Any word that falls into this category:

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‘Nuff said.

Because this is week 9 of the 52 week MFRW authors blog hop, here are some other authors who are also writing about words that make they go “ick” today. Check them out…

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Kensington Publishers, love, Lyrical Author, Pet Peeves, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, WIld Rose Press AUthor

What’s in a title? A lot more than you think, #MFRWauthor

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I’m sure this is an easy feat for most writers, but not for me. I agonize over book titles. Are they too long? Too short? Do they convey the correct theme of the book? Do they even convey the theme of the book? Will it be a memorable title, or one that is easily forgotten in the myriad of published books these days?

Titles can, in all truth, make or break a book. Would you have read any of these books if these were the titles?:

  1. The High-Bouncing Lover
  2. The Last man in Europe
  3. The Dead Un-Dead
  4. Mistress Mary
  5. Nothing New in the West
  6. Wacking Off
  7. The Don’t Build Statues to Businessmen
  8. The Kingdon By The Sea
  9. At this point In time
  10. Private Fleming, His Various Battles

I was a bit surprised at a few of them, and I can in all truthfulness say I wouldn’t have read any one of them except for the Dead Un-Dead, because I think it was a cool, really out-there title. To see the titles these books were actually published as, scroll down when you’re done reading.

You can’t, apparently, trademark a  title. I found this out when I wrote my third book, FIRST IMPRESSIONS ( which, BTW was the original working title of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice) and did a  search to see how many books with the same title there were (423). My second book I called THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME. 366 other authors also called their works of fiction that. SO, how the heck can I can up with a title that (1) hasn’t been used before, and (2) will make the random reader interested in it enough to pick up the book and check it out? Again, no easy feat.

I used to make lists, pages of lists, with book titles. Even then, choosing just one was torture.

I’m so lame at coming up with my book titles I  left the naming of my second book in the Will Cook For Love Series from Lyrical/Shine to the editors. They came up with A SHOT AT LOVE. When you read the book you’ll know it’s the perfect title, but I didn’t have anything even close to that I was working with! Thank God for the people in the know who really really really know what they are doing.

Naming your book is an awful lot like naming your child. You want to give it something with character, essence, personification, and beauty. And your book, to the writer, is your baby, your child, your creation, so you don’t want to let it down by giving it a crummy moniker; one that will inspire ridicule and laughter. Honestly, I pity the poor children of celebrities who have been named after fruits, compass directions, and astrological projections. Sad.

See? You probably thought the title was the easiest thing to come up with.  I bet you didn’t know how hard it really was to name a book? Well…at least it is for me!

Here’s what the above titles were actually published as, and thank goodness they were!!!

  1. The Great Gatsby
  2. 1984
  3. Dracula
  4. The Secret Garden
  5. All Quiet On the Western Front
  6. Portnoy’s Complaint
  7. Valley of the Dolls
  8. Lolita
  9. All the President’s Men
  10. The Red Badge of Courage

When I’m not agonizing over naming books, you can usually find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

Since this is a 52 week blog hop challenge, here are some other authors who are also taking about how they name their books today. Stop by and check out their blogs.

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#Music to write by…or not. #MFRWauthors

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The topic of this blog is supposed to be the music we, as writers, listen to when we are in the creative mood. I have to be honest about this – I need total silence when I’m in writing mode. If I put on any music – even classical without words(!) music, I will invariably stop what I am doing just to listen. God forbid I put on pop music. Then all I will do is sing along. And believe me – no one wants to hear my rendition of Baby, Baby, or Stop in the Name of Love.

Insert full body shudders here at the thought!

Music is very distracting to me when I write, so I’m going to talk about the music I listen to as  I Prepare to Write.  That, at least, is something I do, do.

Once I have my characters thought out and the storyline plotted, I go back to the characters and insert little idiosyncrasies into their backstories, which include the kinds of books they read and the music they listen to and favor. For my newest release, COOKING WITH KANDY, my heroine Kandy Laine is a total pop/rock-diva listening gal.  If she is alone at home, or driving in her car, she will have Pat Benatar, Madonna, vintage Joan Jett, or the Heart sisters blasting away and she will be singing at the top of her lungs, not caring a whit she can’t carry a tune in a bag! These rock warrior women are her musical soul sistahs. In the privacy of her kitchen she will dance like no one’s looking, a wooden spoon as her microphone as she belts out Heartbreaker or I Love Rock and Roll to her heart’s content. When I was trolling around on Pinterest trying to find the perfect image of Kandy, these were the ladies I listened to in order to find Kandy’s essence.

My hero, Josh Keane is a little more, shall we say, sedate, in his musical tastes. He’s a Jazz and Blues man, pure and simple. He’s got Al Jarreau and Miles Davis CDs by the truckload in his car and when he’s doing corporate computer research, or simply kicking back in his condo with a glass of Glenlivet 21 after a hard day, he’s a man who likes the complex simplicity of a solitary horn or a raspy, tortured voice weaving a tale of love, loss, and redemption. As Josh’s soul and spirit came to me, I had my iTunes opened, listening to jazz and blues by the hour. Those discordant chords and slip-timed keys brought to my mind the man Josh was, through and through.

Listening to music is, like writing, an individualistic endeavor. Whether for inspiration, motivation, or clarification, music helps a writer dig deep down, straight to the heart and soul, to bring forth the crux and core of character and story.

Plus, singing at the top of your lungs like no one’s watching is pretty fun to do!

When I’m not listening to music, you can find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

 

Stop by the other #MFRW authors participating in this 52 week hop and leave them some love.

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