Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Hackers are at it again!

Someone is sending e-mail spam with my name in it, from the address

dresme@cox.net

I believe they are pfishing form the addressbook and may be contacting everyone on my list. IF YOU RECEIVE A MESSAGE LIKE THIS, DO NOT OPEN IT!

PLEASE FOR YOUR OWN SAFETY, SEND IT TO THE TRASH AND THEN EMPTY YOUR TRASHCAN.

South Pacific Chicken

Grab your compass and come along with the crew of the motor ketch the Lady Dance. Be with them as they unravel the mystery of the lost continent of MU for a great adventure.

South Pacific Chicken

Ingredients:

Servings: 6

Units: US | Metric

6 chicken breast halves (skin and bones)
1/2 cup vegetable oil or 1/2 cup canola oil
1 large onion, cut in half and sliced very thin
4 stalks celery, sliced thin on an angle
1 tablespoon mild curry powder
1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple
sea salt, to taste
freshly cracked pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can chicken broth

Directions:

1 Fry chicken breasts in a large pan with oil until cooked, about 30 minutes.

2 Remove from pan and remove all but 2 tablespoons of the oil.

3 Add the curry powder to the oil and cook for 1 minute on medium heat.

4 Add onions and celery, cooking until the celery is soft.

5 Add pineapple, broth and a small amount of salt and pepper, if desired.

6 Simmer for 2 minutes and add chicken back into the pan.

7 Cook, simmering for 35-45 minutes with pan covered.

8 Remove chicken.

9 Make a loose paste with cornstarch and a small amount of water.

10 Add to ingredients in pan, simmering on high fora few minutes until sauce is a bit thick.

11 Pour over chicken.

12 Serve with rice or couscous.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Spelling Correction 2!

With beaucoup apologies to Fran
for spelling her character's name wrong!





LAINEE DELANEY BACK IN BUSINESS, by Fran Langley
    Lainee Delaney, social debutante turned private investigator wannabe, and substitute teacher gotta be to make ends meet, has just landed her first big case. Enter straight-laced and amazingly hot Cade Gainess, an acquaintance from Lainee's past who has done nothing but irritate her in their brief dealings with each other.

Active voice question


A book by an author who knows how to  keep in active mode!

Jessie’s parents hope that a new town and a new living experience will help drag her out of the depressed state she had entered. After facing a traumatic event in the city, Jessie lost her confidence and security. They hope that she will begin to feel better about herself by living in the wooded area of BC’s Peace River Region and by learning to take care of animals. But it doesn’t take long for Jessie to realize she doesn’t know much about animals, especially wild ones.

Question from the E-mail: 
People in my new writing class keep saying I should write in "active voice" and I'm too embarrassed to tell them I don't know what that means. Can you help, Arline?

Answer:  Mea culpa Gwen, if I never taught you that back in the day. Active voice is a term applied to literature meaning that the author keeps the reader completely involved in his prose. Pretty vague, huh?

Mostly it has to do with verb word choices, if you ask me, and you did, Active Voice and Active Verbs are essentially the same thing.

Here's my best advice on verbs and verb tenses.

Verbs are action words, everyone knows that. And it’s a good idea to use the active form of verbs (to stay in active voice) whenever possible. One thing that will instantly make your writing read better is to avoid gerunds and verb participles, by using the active form of the verb. That helps keep you in "active" voice.

Almost all "ing" words follow a "to be" verb–is, was, were, are–one that's in static, if not exactly passive voice. In fact if you search for was, were, etc. you can pick up on those passive phrases and turn them around pretty easily. Instead of "He was still chuckling as he closed the trunk...," try "He chuckled as he closed the trunk." It’s more direct, more specific, more active than the former. Better writing. Do you see what I mean? This is no big thing, but the writing will feel more “participatory” to the reader if you do that.



Some people confuse active voice with present tense, but they are not the same thing.

Some modern fiction is written in present tense, but that is fast going out of style. Once it was the province of the Very Literary and popular in writers’ programs at ivy league schools. But once the likes of Patricia Corneal adapted whole novels into present tense, it quickly went out of fashion as a literary device.

Critics now find it passe and quite a few editors hate it, because they can’t be certain at first glance whether the writer meant to do it, or if he or she doesn’t have a clue about verb tenses.  Few editors are patient enough to read far enough to find out. They have a whole stack of manuscripts to get through and the easiest way to clear their desk is to send a printed return letter.

My advice is to only use present tense in narrative only when writing synopses and outlines. By it’s very nature, a story that is written down happened BEFORE it was written down. Therefore the narrative telling the story should be in past tense. Likewise references using the word NOW can be harmful. Now is when the reader is reading the story. It gives me a “time out of place” signal every time I see it. Kind of like seeing old movies with shots of the Twin Towers.

Usually, narrative is written in past tense, dialogue in present tense (because the people are speaking in present time of the story, even if it's historical fiction), and flashbacks are written past perfect tense to distinguish them from the regular past tense of the story's narrative.

For instance (verbs in bold):

Present tense (used in experimental fiction):
     I walk toward town. The distant buildings shimmer beneath the summer sun. "This is a hot day!" I say, though there is no one around to hear me.

Past tense, used in most fiction:   
    I walked toward town. The distant buildings shimmered beneath the summer sun. "This is a hot day!" I said, though there was no one around to hear me.

Past perfect tense, used in flashbacks:
    I had been walking toward town. The distant buildings had shimmered beneath the summer sun. "This is a hot day!" I had said, though no one had been around to hear me.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Correction

CORRECTION

and apology to ROmona Hilliger for spelling her name wrong on Saturday.
Unfortunately, spelling is where my creativity really shines.
 

Lamb Leg Rolled in Wattle-seed and Macadamia Nut


2.2kg Easy-carve (boned out) lamb leg
200g crushed macadamia nuts
200g wattleseed*
500g mango puree
50g butter
salt
pepper

Length-wise, roll one half into the macadamia nuts and the other half into the Wattleseed.

Place the leg into a hot oven and cover with aluminum foil ensuring that the plasticized metal does not touch the food. Use a piece of baking paper, if necessary. Roast for 1 and a half hours at 200 degrees C and then remove the covering and roast until the nuts are just browned. Use a meat thermometer for accurate measurement of the doneness. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving, remembering to remove the string.

Place the mango puree,butter, salt and pepper into a saucepan. Warm for a few minutes on a medium heat.

Slice the lamb leg and fan on a plate over Lemon myrtle infused rice, Rainforest herb fettuccini or Alpine pepper polenta. Drizzle with the mango sauce and accompany with your favorite mint sauce on the side,  steamed greens or baked vegetables.



If you don't have any wattleseed in the pantry, you can buy some by following the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/Wattle-Seed-5-Oz-Unit/dp/B002YQ0WJ

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Catching UP!

Print Books that went to press or back to press this week:

EYE OF THE STORM, by Tom Glaviano
   When a hurricane rages on the coast, wreaking havoc on the lives of the people who live there, the most dangerous threat in the winds and crashing waves may not come from nature.

TIME: a Seasonal Short Story Collection by Gianni D. Hayes
An eclectic collection of short stories that are like windows into the various stages of a life. They examine the various passages that affect us all, as the protagonists of the stories face various problems: fun events, medical issues, the tragic death of a friend.




Galleys that went out, or went out again, this week:

WIFE LOST AND FOUND, by Ludima Gus Burton
Can it be we’re fated to love only once? What if we have loved and lost? Can we find love again?
   Cassie Brown believes plastic surgery has restored her face with its original dimple in her cheek. Her amnesia is temporary. Then, she begins to fall in love.

POWERS IN BALANCE: Red Knight Chronicles, Vol. 6 by Raye Morand
   There is a bloody war being waged between the mage-ruled Kingdom of Ludnikan led by the dark-elf armies of the Nameless King against the elven Kingdom of Nadezhda and her ally the Kingdom of Niadhardal.


Work began or continued on the following this week:


WHERE THE JABIRU FLIES, by Romona Hilliger

   Kate Wilson has arrived from England to visit Australia—where heradventurous spirit craves a taste of the Outback. Then she jumps at  a temporary job, but on the very first day, an injured stork-like bird called a jabiru throws Kate's life into chaos. 
 

A ROSE FOR MY FOREVER LOVE:A Coverton Mills Romance, by Lynette Hall Hampton
  A wife tries to kill her son and husband, then dies in a car crash, possibly by her own intention. Her family is left to grieve while they unravel the motivating mystery from the past.

SEER, TYRO, FIEND, by Kathryn Flatt
   When a fledgling investigator comes to Stefanie Durant's Windsong Lake art studio to ask her to use her psychic ability to find a missing insurance beneficiary, she refuses. Yet she cannot stop thinking about Nadine Oberg, a teen who ran away from home and disappeared on the streets of Chicago ten years ago.

A SNUG LIFE SOMEWHERE,  by Jan Shapin
   A Snug Life Somewhere is about Penny Joe Copper, daughter of a roustabout shingle weaver, who is caught up in a 1916 union tragedy known as the Everett Massacre. Her brother Horace is killed, as is the cousin of a radical organizer, Gabe. When her love affair with Marcel, a music student seven years her junior, is thwarted, Penny Jo is pulled into Gabe’s campaign to avenge the “Everett Martyrs.”

LIVING THE CALL, by Barbara Garro
    By listening and answering God's call to serve...consider being a lifeboat and keeping people afloat. Hold out a ladder to raise people up. We are all God has to serve Him on our planet. Do you believe that? Or are you thinking God can do everything Himself?

LAINEY DELANEY BACK IN BUSINESS, by Fran Langley
    Lainee Delaney, social debutante turned private investigator wannabe, and substitute teacher gotta be to make ends meet, has just landed her first big case. Enter straight-laced and amazingly hot Cade Gainess, an acquaintance from Lainee's past who has done nothing but irritate her in their brief dealings with each other.

WHILE I DANCED, by Lynn Slaughter
   The only time 15-year-old Cass feels alive is when she’s dancing, her safe place and refuge from growing tensions on the home front. A lot is riding on the audition for a prestigious summer workshop in Boston. If she gets in, she’ll have a real shot at her dream of making it as a professional dancer.

A CHANGE OF WORLDS, 
THE TRUTH OF YESTERDAY and
ALL LOST THINGS, 
three more volumes in the Killian Kendall Mystery Series, by Josh Aterovis.
   The Killian Kendall Mysteries have been among our most popular series books for the past five years. We are please to add three new titles to the series.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Will catch up tomorrow.








Misty Cove Chronicles, Vol. 1 


First in a series of three. Days before her wedding, in October 1841, Lizbeth climbs to the widows walk atop her home, with her fiancé. They search the dark and stormy horizon for her father's fishing boat and Lizbeth notices the darkened lighthouse on the point.


 News Flicker!
Will catch up tomorrow. Am tied up with something today.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Southern Fried Chicken Ratatouille-recipe




by Thornton Parsons

What would you do if you uncovered evidence of a 70-year-old murder? Would you notify the authorities or would you “let sleeping dogs lie?” These are questions that Cathy Billings must answer in Go Tell Aunt Rhody.

Southern Fried
Chicken Ratatouille

This is the perfect one-dish dinner when the garden is in full swing. Feel free to substitute whatever is overflowing in your garden or at the market for the vegetables in the ratatouille.

Ingredients

  • 1 small red onion, chopped 
  • 1/2 (1-lb.) eggplant, peeled and chopped 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 2 small summer squash, chopped 
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium-size red bell pepper, chopped 
  • 1 medium tomato, diced 
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil 
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided 
  • 6 (4-oz.) chicken breast cutlets
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1 cup canola oil 
  • Garnish: fresh basil leaves 

Preparation

  1. 1. Sauté onion and eggplant in hot olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until tender and light brown around edges. Add squash, garlic, and bell pepper; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Add tomato, basil, and 1/4 tsp. each kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, 2 to 3 minutes or until mixture is thoroughly heated.
  2. Remove vegetable mixture from skillet. Cover loosely with aluminum foil to keep warm. Wipe skillet clean.
  3.  Rinse chicken, and pat dry. Sprinkle with 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Dredge chicken in flour, shaking off excess.
  4. Fry chicken, in 2 batches, in hot canola oil in skillet over medium-high heat 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown and done. Drain on a wire rack over paper towels; cover and keep warm. Transfer to a serving dish, and top with vegetable mixture.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Book is too long--writing tip



    Bride of the Condor Series, Vol 1 
          by Terry L. White

Join Qwana on the Nazca Plain where she is the last priestess to the Temple of the Moon. Follow the last priestess through her initiation, then onto the plain where visitors from another world wait to catapult her into another world.

Question from the e-mail: Remember me? Judy? We met years ago at an IWWG summer conference. Well, I finally finished my... (admittedly long) first novel at 700 pages. And thanks for the encouragement back then. NOW,  Every ONE has returned it, with the same problem. They love the story, but it's too long! What can I do with it now that it's finished at last--and don't get smart, Arline!

Answer: Judy do you remember Terry L. White, from IWWG. (She was the one with the guitar.)  She had the same problem with one of the first books she wrote. The Last Priestess was longer than yours, and everyone loved it except publishers. Finally, she found an e-publisher, who didn't care how long it was (no paper costs, yunno), but later she met Diana Gabaldon at an IWWG conference, and Diana said, "Yunno what they told me about mine...just write it as a series!"

Diana had wanted to write a mystery, but since her field was history, she decided to write a “practice book” about Scotland in the time of Bonnie Prince Charlie. When she had 800 pages written, she posted a chapter on an Internet Writer’s Forum, and the next day she had email from two Big Name Writers who recommended that she contact their agent. So she sent him the 800 page (known in the industry as a “doorstop” length) sample.

When he phoned, Diana admitted it was only the “first third” of the story.

He said, “I’ll get back to you.” Everyone on the Internet forum scolded her for the manuscript being too long, so Diana had figured she’d never hear from him again. But she kept right on writing.

A week later the agent called her back and said they would have to cut her book into manageable chunks and make a series of books from it. And so the Outlander series was sold for $1 million advance, back in the day. And now Starz has contracted to produce a Cable TV series as well. (Congratulations, Diana, for all your well-deserved success!)

Later, Terry took Diana's advice and made her book into a series as well, instead of One LONG book, and the first third became the book shown above. Congratulations, to you, too, Terry L. White. It's just as good a story today, as it was back when you first wrote it!


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Chocolate Fudge Cake

Lydia was burned out by her work as a midwife until destiny called her to be an aid to the birth of Jesus. A moving, beautifully-written book about a witness to one of the most important periods in religious history.

Lydia's Chocolate Fudge Cake

Ingredients:

Serves: 10-12

Yield: 1.0

"9x13 inch square cake pan

Units: US | Metric

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar

Directions:

1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
 
2 In an ungreased 9 x 13 pan- yes UNgreased, sift all dry ingredients.
 
3 Add the liquids and stir just until blended.
 
4 Bake for 25 minutes.
 
5 Frost with your favorite frosting, or top with whipped cream. Cake is extremely moist so care must be taken that you don't tear up the top of the cake.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Dialogue Handout








Here's a great read from an author who surely knows how to handle dialogue!


Young Attorney Brooke Wheeler searches for a truth buried under the surface and suppressed by long held secrets. She has been in love with the wealthy heir, Jeremy Wright, who has long been suspected of killing his high school girlfriend, Lindsey. Years later, those suspicions deepen when his wife, Cassie, suddenly dies.


Question from the e-mail: Years ago when I was your student, you gave me a handout on how to write dialogue. Might you still have a copy. I've lost mine.

Answer:  Sure thing!  See below.

            Writing Good Dialogue

Pay attention to the way people talk. Listen to their speech patterns. Then pare them down to the bare essentials. That’s dialogue. Avoid vernacular, or overuse of vernacular, anyway. With dialect, less is always more. We are a nation of poor readers. Dialect can be very difficult to write well. This is a lesson I learned – reluctantly I’ll admit – in a workshop with Diana Gabaldon.

She wrote a book about a group of 17th century Scots, and  English Outlander. (Watch for this on coming up as a  new series on Starz!) No dialect is a thick as that of Scotland. Diana said she listened to old Scots ballads sung in English and in Gaelic to absorb the rhythm of the speech. There’s a great deal of difference between the speech of the Scots and the Englishwoman, and among the Scots, depending upon their station in life and educational level.  But nobody said, “Hoot mon!” She changed didn’t to didna, and wouldn’t to wouldna, and added some dated terms like “foxed” for drunk. But most of it was shown in the rhythm of the language. Because of the sentence construction, English sounded different when the Scots spoke, but their meaning was never obscured with a lot of missing commas.

Avoid anachronisms and use very little slang, unless it’s some you make up yourself. I read a story set in Biblical times where characters said things like “okay.” Okay is a slang term that didn’t come into use until the 19th century. It wouldn’t have been said in Biblical times. Any time you are uncertain when a term came into use, you can check it in the Oxford English Dictionary.

Slang gets dated and slang terms may change in meaning. Avoid cliches, too. In a 1940 edition of Nancy Drew, Girl Detective, it was fine to describe her father as a “gay man about town,” even though it was a cliche. At that time it meant he was lighthearted and very social. You wouldn’t use that term today, because the word “gay” has taken on a whole different meaning.

Good dialogue should sound natural, but not too much like people really talk. Punctuating dialogue is tricky. First, never let two characters talk in the same paragraph. Commas and other punctuation go inside the quotes. And you must paragraph each time a new person speaks. Finally, Everything a person says at one time (even if they change the subject) goes in the same paragraph. I can't stress too much how important it is to punctuate dialogue correctly. Editors know immediately if it's done wrong, and they also know it will take them a lot of extra work to fix it. It's never a good idea to make work for your editor.

Never put small talk into dialogue, it just slows everything down. The important thing in dialogue is to leave out stuff that is unimportant and get right to the point.

Here is an example of BAD dialogue the way it might go in real life:

    “Hi, Harry. How are you? And how’s your mother?” Mary said, to her neighbor.
    “Hi, Mary. Good to see you this morning. She’s better thanks.”
    “Oh, good. I’m glad to hear it.” Mary admired the way Harry cared for his aged mother. He was so good to her. Mary wondered if Harry had heard the news about John.  “Say, did you hear about John?”
    “No. Did something happen to him?”
    “He’s dead.”
    “John Smith, who lives across the street? You’re kidding. Right?”
    “No, I’m not kidding. John’s dead.”
    “Really? What happened?” Harry asked.
    “The postman smelled exhaust coming from the garage. He called the cops from my house. It took them 20 minutes before they showed up! Then they had to call a locksmith to get in his house, ” Mary said.

    “Wow. That’s interesting. Which locksmith did they call?” Harry asked, again.
    “Brady’s – the one over on Biscayne. Anyway, the car was still running and John was dead when they found him. But they called for an ambulance anyway. It took them another twenty minutes to get here. Then they took him to the hospital.”
    “Hospital? I thought you said he was dead,” Harry said.
    “He is dead. But they had to go to the hospital, it’s the law,” Mary said. “The paramedics said he was dead all right, but they took him in the ambulance anyway.”
    “Gosh. I can’t believe John’s dead. What was it? Suicide?” Harry asked.
    “You’d think so, wouldn’t you. He’s been so depressed, ever since Evelyn left him,” Mary said.  “But the cops found a bruise on his head. So they weren’t really sure if he killed himself or if it was murder. You know, John had a lot of enemies.”
    “Yes, he did. That Evelyn of his, for one. Not to mention her new boyfriend.”


Notice all the “saids?” Here's a neat little technique you can use. If you show a character in action within the same paragraph as their speech, the reader will assume the character who moved was also the one who spoke. This little trick can get rid of a lot of repetitive language (the saids), and it forces you to insert an image. You only have to be careful to make certain that the person who speaks and the person who moves are the same. If you want to show another character's reaction to the speech, change paragraphs, even if they don't say anything. Treat the movement just as if it were a dialogue reply.

In good dialogue, you only put the important stuff:

    “Harry, did you hear? John Smith’s dead.”
    “No! How did it happen, Mary? Suicide?” Harry’s face looked stunned.
    Mary shook her head. “They’re not certain. Could be murder.”
    “Wouldn’t surprise me – that ex-wife of his always said she’d kill him one day.”
    “You think it was her?”
    “He had a lot of enemies, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she did it.” Harry’s eyes narrowed. “Her, or her new boyfriend of hers.”


Do you see how 25 lines of dialogue were condensed to seven making the pace much faster? And yet all the important information was relayed to the reader.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Catching UP!


A good mystery read for those lazy, crazy days of summer!
Someone in the quiet suburb of Pineview is torturing and killing average citizens in a manner that sickens and shocks the most seasoned police officers. Only when the body count starts to rise do the police identify a method to the madness - each victim’s death is associated with their occupation.

  
News Flash!


We have signed a contract with KOBO a company of Canadian book distributors and are beginning to upload books to their sales site. Two copies sold in June, but we didn't start uploading until June 27, so that's not too bad. the bad news is the contract says they only pay every six months. 

I am spending one day a week on this effort (now that I've learned how to prep the files to their demands ) and will get them all uploaded ASAP, while still trying to keep the book file production moving. Please be aware it will be a slower-than-normal process for a time since Shelley is doing marketing full time and I am the only one still doing books. 

Meanwhile Shelley is continuing to enter our books for sale at SmashWords and if yours isn't listed there yet, it soon will be.

No books went to press, or back to press this week:
But I'm still waiting to hear from the six galleys that went out last week.

NO new galleys went out this week:




Work began or continued on the following this week:

A Rose for My Forever Love:A Coverton Mills Mystery
  A wife tries to kill her son and husband, then dies in a car crash, possibly by her own intention. Her family is left to grieve while they unravel the motivating mystery from the past.





SEER, TYRO, FIEND, by Kathryn Flatt
   When a fledgling investigator comes to Stefanie Durant's Windsong Lake art studio to ask her to use her psychic ability to find a missing insurance beneficiary, she refuses. Yet she cannot stop thinking about Nadine Oberg, a teen who ran away from home and disappeared on the streets of Chicago ten years ago.


A SNUG LIFE SOMEWHERE,  by Jan Shapin
   A Snug Life Somewhere is about Penny Joe Copper, daughter of a roustabout shingle weaver, who is caught up in a 1916 union tragedy known as the Everett Massacre. Her brother Horace is killed, as is the cousin of a radical organizer, Gabe. When her love affair with Marcel, a music student seven years her junior, is thwarted, Penny Jo is pulled into Gabe’s campaign to avenge the “Everett Martyrs.”

LIVING THE CALL, by Barbara Garro
    By listening and answering God's call to serve...consider being a lifeboat and keeping people afloat. Hold out a ladder to raise people up. We are all God has to serve Him on our planet. Do you believe that? Or are you thinking God can do everything Himself?

LAINEY DELANEY BACK IN BUSINESS, by Fran Langley
    Lainee Delaney, social debutante turned private investigator wannabe, and substitute teacher gotta be to make ends meet, has just landed her first big case. Enter straight-laced and amazingly hot Cade Gainess, an acquaintance from Lainee's past who has done nothing but irritate her in their brief dealings with each other. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Saying what you mean -- writing tip.



Here's a book by an author who always says what she means. 

Teddy Weiss is sick of it all: the jerks who constantly bully him because he is smarter than they are, being poor, and the frustration of being so close to changing lives with an incomplete invention because he is too poor to afford the materials he needs to finish it.

Question from the e-mail:  I'm getting criticism from a member of my writer's group saying that I have said things about my characters in my manuscript that just isn't there in what I wrote and that are not what I wanted to convey about them at all at all.  She thinks they are "ill bred, inconsiderate, and evil" people -- and those are just the good guys! No one else has a problem. Any idea why this would happen?

Answer: First never let ONE opinion worry you. It's when all the members of the group pitch in on the same subject that you know you have really gone astray.

There could be two things at work here. Your one reader might have a completely different frame of reference to that of your characters.  For instance, back in the day, a member of our beginner romance writers group was morally offended that anyone could have sex outside the confines of marriage. She was a member of a strict religious sect and firmly set against any kind of affair.  We finally suggested that she read some religious romances and look for a different group.


Or she might be picking up on subtext in either dialogue or narrative that you didn't intend to be there. In dialogue and narrative both there is always both text and subtext. First there is the text --  what is actually said, and the subtext is always what is implied by what is left unsaid. Often, subtext, which the reader picks up on, is as important as what is actually said. Look at the following example:

    “Oh, is that slide show at the library with the nature photographer tonight?” John grimaced. “I’ll go if you want, but I’m really tired. After all, I was out to the Bible Study at church last night and you stayed home and read your novel. This makes two nights in a row, for me. Of course, I don’t like to mess up your plans....” 

Of course he wants to mess up her plans! If he didn’t, he’d just say, “You go ahead, hon, I’m too tired tonight." What this really says is, “You couldn’t find time to go with me last night, so I’m NOT going to be nice about what you want me to do tonight. You are guilty! Guilty! Guilty!”

So check your manuscript for unintended subtext and if you find none, take a look at the reader's frame of reference.






Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Beef Satay Recipe

Set in 1964, this is the story of world-famous sleuth Tim Rinnissen’s first introduction to detective work. The crime, five years’ old, is an old-fashioned bludgeoning, with traces of attempted poisoning, corrupt officialdom, and an introduction to investigation sponsored by a couple of nudists, locally famous for their gourmet cooking. Tim’s youth and inexperience lead him into trouble, but the nudes rescue him by solving the crime--feeding him a Malaysian dinner (including Beef Satay)  as they analyze how they did it.

Beef Satay Recipe

Ingredients

2 1/2 pounds top round or London broil
1/2 cup light soy sauce
1/4 cup canola oil, plus more for grill
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon lime juice
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
4 scallions, thinly sliced

Special equipment: 24 bamboo skewers, soaked in water 20 minutes

Directions

Slice the beef against the grain into 1/2-inch wide strips and place into a large resealable bag. In a bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, oil, lime juice, brown sugar, garlic and ginger. Pour the marinade into the bag over the beef. Seal the bag and toss to coat completely. Place the bag into a large bowl and put into the refrigerator to marinate for at least 1 hour or as long as overnight.

To serve: Preheat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Thread 24 of the beef strips onto the skewers. Oil the grill gates and place the beef on the grill. If desired, reserve the remaining beef strips and marinade for another use. Cook the skewers 2 to 3 minute per side. Remove from the heat, place on a serving platter and sprinkle with the scallions. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Advice--question





Divorce is a painful procedure, it is draining on your emotions and on your finances. Written by a para-legal with more than 25 years' experience in the field, this book is designed to act as a guide in seeking the right divorce attorney and cutting expenses during this extremely difficult time in your life.

 Question from the e-mail

Question: What was the best advice you ever had when you first decided to be a writer?

Answer:  Advice varied. But I do fondly remember most of it.

Most often heard advice from friends and co-workers: Copious laughter, followed by the comment, "Who the hell do you think you ARE?"

From my mother: "Don't be silly. People like us don't write books."

From my husband: "I've known you long enough to figure out you can, and will, do whatever you want to do, hon, but this doesn't mean you're quitting your day job, does it?

From my father: "That's nice, dear. Does your mother have dinner ready yet?"

From my oldest son: "I gotta new Black Sabbath Album! Come listen, Mom."

From my youngest son: "Cool. I got some great stories I can tell you, when can we get started."


From Hannelore Hahn, Executive Director of the International Women's Writing Guild: When asked if she thought I should really try to do it, "Why not?"

From Vickie Healand, then secretary of the International Women's Writing Guild: "Wanna write a book together?"

We did write that book, we didn't get it published, but it got written, and finished, and it had something to say. Furthermore, our premise was right. Also it was Vicki who gave me a shove into teaching and I taught writing off and on for the next twenty-five years.

Finally: Advice that actually helped:  Years ago I read a book called Wish-Craft that changed my life. In essence it said: Never to regret that you hadn't done something you wished to do, but to look at your dreams, then follow them in ways that work well with your present and practical life. I had always wanted to be a writer. Wrote reams of bad poetry in high school and never showed a line to a single soul. But if reading was my constant vice, writng was my secret dream.



As for my present and practical life, I lived in the boonies, had a husband, home, full time job, and two adolescent sons. I had thought that "following my dream" would mean leaving everything else I cared about behind, and so I had given up all thought of ever being a writer.

Yet the book said, if I wanted to be a writer, the important thing was to write, on some level, somewhere. I took classes and consorted with other writers by joining local groups. I found a corner in my house and set up a small desk where I could work.

 I started writing in what spare time I could find, and thanks to the good marketing advice I found in IWWG Network and  Writer's Digest magazines, I started selling almost immediately. Mostly to small, almost-unheard-of magazines that paid little or nothing, but....

There I was, a writer. My words were being published and read. I had achieved my dream on my own level. It fulfilled me. It still does.

Now I work at a massive desk with wide top, hand-crafted of pickled oak, inlaid with pine (that my husband built for me). It has beaucoup file drawers and overhead shelving for all the writing books I've aquired. I spend a lot of my time publishing other writers and encouraging them, paying forward the kind of advice I got back in the day, from Hannelore and Vicki.

I still write something every day. This blog. E-mail. There's a novel cooking on the back-burner. I don't have to be Stephen King. I am perfectly happy to be me.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Ozark Blackberry cobbler






Ozark Blackberry Cobbler




1 quart of blackberries
2 tablespoons of cornstarch
1.5 cups of sugar

4 refrigerated biscuits or ½ standard biscuit recipe

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease a 9x9 pan and set aside.

Mix the cornstarch and sugar and add to the blackberries.  Heat the mixture to boiling in a medium saucepan or in a glass bowl in your microwave oven.
 
Pour into baking pan and top with unbaked biscuits.  Bake until biscuits are brown on top. 
Serve hot with ice cream or whipped cream.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Catching UP!





Books that went to press or back to press this week:

TIME: A Seasonal Short Story Collection, by Gianni Devincenti Hayes
   An eclectic collection of short stories that are like windows into the various stages of a life.



Galleys that went out, or went out again, this week:

POWERS IN BALANCE: Red Knight Chronicles, Vol. 6 by Ray Morand
   Morand creates her own world every bit as much as Tolkein or George R.R. Martin. In this final volume,there is a bloody war being waged between the mageruled Kingdom of Ludnikan led by the dark elf armies of the Nameless King against the elven Kingdom of Nadezhda and her ally the Kingdom of Niadhardal.

THE TIGER'S CUB: Sequel to Night of the Tiger, by Debi Emmons
   Chase Benton was born lucky. Aloriah Starbird swore she was the most unlucky
person ever. When lucky meets unlucky, whose luck wins out?

WIFE: Lost and Found, by Ludima Gus Burton
   Can it be we’re fated to love only once? What if we have loved and lost? Can we find love again?

EYE OF THE STORM, by Tom Glaviano
   When storm-chaser Clayton Ackerman covers a tropical storms battering the Gulf
Coast, he has an altercation with a young woman that turns deadly and opens his eyes to the
potential he’d overlooked for years.

SOLID OIL, by Russell Hunter
   The rainforest’s secret is known to a very few. But each is perfectly placed to profit from it. The secret is lithium – sometimes described as the oil of the 21st century – and the knowledge of it has spawned a crime cabal led by Vietnamese gangster-turned-investor Johnny Ho and including a diverse cast of crooks from a corrupt Scottish knight to a vicious Russian mafia boss.







Work began or continued on the following this week:


A SNUG LIFE SOMEWHERE,  by Jan Shapin
   A Snug Life Somewhere is about Penny Joe Copper, daughter of a roustabout shingle weaver, who is caught up in a 1916 union tragedy known as the Everett Massacre. Her brother Horace is killed, as is the cousin of a radical organizer, Gabe. When her love affair with Marcel, a music student seven years her junior, is thwarted, Penny Jo is pulled into Gabe’s campaign to avenge the “Everett Martyrs.”


SEER, TYRO, FIEND, by Kathryn Flatt
   When a fledgling investigator comes to Stefanie Durant's Windsong Lake art studio to ask her to use her psychic ability to find a missing insurance beneficiary, she refuses. Yet she cannot stop thinking about Nadine Oberg, a teen who ran away from home and disappeared on the streets of Chicago ten years ago.

LIVING THE CALL, by Barbara Garro
    By listening and answering God's call to serve...consider being a lifeboat and keeping people afloat. Hold out a ladder to raise people up. We are all God has to serve Him on our planet. Do you believe that? Or are you thinking God can do everything Himself?

LAINEY DELANEY BACK IN BUSINESS, by Fran Langley
    Lainee Delaney, social debutante turned private investigator wannabe, and substitute teacher gotta be to make ends meet, has just landed her first big case. Enter straight-laced and amazingly hot Cade Gainess, an acquaintance from Lainee's past who has done nothing but irritate her in their brief dealings with each other. 

 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Newsflash 1 and 2

Alma Series, Vol. 1 by Beverly Jennings

Life is frustrating for a self-willed teenager, especially when her parents are Maria and Walter from the Maria Series. The early years of the 1950s finds Alma fighting against her parents' old fashioned ideas and rules. But Alma still manages to fit many exploits into her life while working at Aunt Maggie's riding stable.

Newsflash 1

Someone is sending SPAM from my arline@mail.com address.  If you get it Please deleted it. Don't click on any lines!  Or links!! But please, please don't delete my address as it is the one I have used for business for 15 years.

Newsflash 2

Payroll is finished!!  I am taking a day off, but will be back at work tomorrow.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Peanut Butter Pupcakes - recipe

In this romantic comedy, the rocky road to love just got rougher. Jake Malone's dead sure he doesn't need anyone to complete or complicate his life.Meeting him, the self-assured loner and dog groomer extordinaire, Carly Anderson, disagrees and vows to pursue Jake until he catches her.

News Flash!

Still working on Payroll. Most of you with Paypal have already been paid, but the full accounting with sales figures (if you want them) will be forthcoming soon.

Carly's Peanut Butter Banana Pupcakes

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup peanut butter (chunky or smooth)
1 large egg
3/4 cup milk
1 banana
3 tablespoons oil
1/4 cup honey


Directions:

1.  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and either line a muffin tin with paper cups or lightly spray it with oil. Mini-muffin pans work best for really small pups.

2.  Mix together all of the dry ingredients and set the bowl aside.

3.  Using a food processor, blend the peanut butter, egg, milk, banana, honey and oil until smooth and well blended.

4.  Using a large spoon or rubber spatula, fold the wet ingredients into the dry.  Note:  Don’t go crazy here, you just want the dry ingredients to be incorporated with the wet ones.  The resulting mixture will be somewhere between a batter and a really sticky dough.

5.  Spoon the mixture into the muffin pan, filling each cup to about 3/4 of the way full.

6.  Bake for 12-14 minutes if making mini muffins and 18-20 minutes for regular-sized.

Store these in an airtight container (a Ziploc baggy will do) at room temperature, and they’ll keep for about a week.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Challah--recipe



Can a disenchanted Spartan aristocrat and his Jewish wife find freedom from their oppressors in ancient Greece and then in exile in Jerusalem? Can they find solace from their ordeals through their separate religions of worshipping multiple deities and faith in one invisible God? The adventures of this highly unusual couple reveals many of the contradictions, rivalries and mysteries of the ancient world while coming to a dramatic and shattering end.


Sweet Challah

  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 1/4 cups boiling water
  • 1 package (about 2 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • About 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 egg beaten lightly with 1 tablespoon water for egg wash


About 1 teaspoon poppy or sesame seeds for sprinkling (optional)

Steep the raisins in the boiling water for 15 minutes. Remove the raisins (they can be disgarded or reserved) and mix in the honey, then reserve the water for the dough.

Combine the yeast, 1 tablespoon of the sugar, and the warm water in a bowl. Let stand until the mixture begins to bubble, about 5 minutes.

Combine the yeast mixture, the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, oil, eggs, salt, the reserved raisin soaking waters, raisins (if using), and half of the flour in the bowl of a standing electric mixer and beat until fully combined. Slowly add the remaining flour, beating to create a soft, sticky dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl and let stand for 10 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, adding flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking. Place the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place until double in volume, about 2 hours.

Grease a large baking sheet or line it with parchment paper. Punch down the dough and braid if desired, or form it into a round about 9 inches diameter. Place the loaf on the prepared baking sheet. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Using a pastry brush, brush the challah with the egg wash. If desired, sprinkle the top with the poppy or sesame seeds. Bake until well browned, abut 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and let cool to room temperature before cutting.

Monday, July 8, 2013

EPIC Contest still open to Entries


Just a Reminder to those who would like to enter this year's contest. www.epicorg.com See more complete information below.

Nina Osier's Science Fiction Novel
 REGS 
was one of our earliest
winners of the EPIC Contest!
Survey Team Leader Nora Falconi's closest friend, anthropologist Marcus Cranshaw, has disappeared on Class M Planet No. 8055. Nora must find and rescue him before a long-awaited treaty takes effect, and 8055 becomes part of Ast territory.

EPIC's eBook Competition

Welcome to EPIC's eBook Competition!
Our rules and FAQs will answer most questions you may have. If you cannot find the answer to your question, contact the Competitions Chair and include a general description of your question, e.g. entry, upload, etc.
A few general things you should know before you enter:
  • Works published between June 1 and May 31 are eligible.
  • Qualifying entries must be submitted as non-DRM PDF format English-language electronic books, including self-published books.
  • Each entry submission must be "as the product sells," that is, the content of the entry must be the same as the book which can be purchased by the publc.
  • There are no limits on the number of titles entered by an entrant, however, the same work may not be entered in more than one category.
Entry fees: $25 for EPIC members; $35 for non-members.
The entry period is June 1 through July 15.
The Rules and the FAQs are accessible through the Competitions menu.
Good luck!

Wolf Packby Marie Prato
 YA- Grades 5 and up
As humans, we feel that we are the only mammals on earth that have the heart to adopt a "needy one." In The Wolf Pack, we see that mother nature also takes care of her orphans. The heart and the future of the wolf pack is the pups. While Rowena loves her tiny nieces, her heart belongs to the male pup. When the den is threatened by a rabid dog, Rowena risks her life to save the pup she loves.

Both Arline and Shelley have received the Dick E. Wolf Award for Cover Art. Shelley Rodgerson (Chase) for the cover painting she did for Marie Prato's book, Above. And Arline Chase (for Maggie Dix) for the cover below.
Fathers of Tomorrow-eby Carl E. Burke

The Fathers of Tomorrow is a tale of adventure, murder, love and friendship. It is the story of men who overcome great challenges, whose troubled lives find meaning and purpose in their sons and the bonds they share through time.

First Place Winner:
Maryland Writers' Association 2007 Novel Contest

Ariana eBook Cover Art Competition

Welcome to EPIC's Ariana eBook Cover Art Competition!
Our rules and FAQs will answer most questions you may have. If you cannot find the answer to your question, contact the Competitions Chair and include a general description of your question, e.g. entry, upload, etc.
A few general things you should know before you enter:
  • Original art work for eBooks published between June 1 and May 31 are eligible.
  • Qualifying entries must be submitted in jpeg or jpg format, 200 x 300 pixels.
  • There are no limits on the number of covers entered by an entrant, however, the same work may not be entered in more than one category.
Entry fees: $10 per entry.
The entry period is June 1 through July 15.
The Rules and the FAQs are accessible through the Competitions menu.
Good luck!

































Ariana eBook Cover Art Competition

Welcome to EPIC's Ariana eBook Cover Art Competition!
Our rules and FAQs will answer most questions you may have. If you cannot find the answer to your question, contact the Competitions Chair and include a general description of your question, e.g. entry, upload, etc.
A few general things you should know before you enter:
  • Original art work for eBooks published between June 1 and May 31 are eligible.
  • Qualifying entries must be submitted in jpeg or jpg format, 200 x 300 pixels.
  • There are no limits on the number of covers entered by an entrant, however, the same work may not be entered in more than one category.
Entry fees: $10 per entry.
The entry period is June 1 through July 15.
The Rules and the FAQs are accessible through the Competitions menu.
Good luck!