Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A to Z Blogging Challenge

It's coming. Are YOU ready? What is it? Click here to find out.

I'm SO not ready! This is my first year doing this blogfest, and I thought I should be prepared. So a month ago I made a list and decided to write all my posts ahead of time. Ha! I have written a total of one and a half posts so far... but at least I have a theme and topics for each post... I hope that puts me SOMEWHERE out ahead of myself.

Meh, I'm a pantster, anyhow. If the fire is not lit underneath me I'm not going to start hopping around. I hope to see many of you out there, too, and the creative ideas you inspire in me for next year!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Fits and starts

I don't know how it works for most of you, this process of writing. Maybe you don't need much to go on, maybe the words come pouring out of your pens, or fingertips... or maybe not.

I do know that this second draft is proving a challenge for me. Surprise surprise.

I'm trying to be creative, to allow the process to be what it is and not try to force the issue... which is why tonight I found myself rewriting the opening of Lilith... again...

I think I'm still trying to find her voice... to learn exactly what happened to her that night... and during the subsequent days. To learn who Lilith is...

I have tried a couple of exercises in first person, but I get lost in the details and it drains the power of the scene. This last version, in third person, is a little more daring than the first few. I wonder if that's a sign of things to come?

It DOES mean that I'm off the first page... I'm onto page 5 tonight... with more to come. I swear it's like a blind man trying to describe an elephant though. I can't seem to visualize the whole behemoth yet.

Friday, March 8, 2013

"From the Ashes" Kindle Release Blogfest

I'm so happy today to share with and support my friend Jessica McKendry (16) on the release of her self published NOVEL, "From the Ashes" on Kindle. It's quite an achievement, getting through the publishing process. Jess, I salute you!

Most people probably lead with the novel cover and summary, but I'm going to lead with the author, because she's just so cool! So without further ado, here she is!

Jessica McKendry was born in Michigan, yet grew up all over the Northeastern United States. She has lived in 7 different states, moved 15 times, and loves to travel. Jessica has been writing since she could read, but didn't write much more than poetry until she was 14 when she accidentally began writing what would become her debut novel two years later. Check out her website ( or follow her on Twitter (@JessicaMcKendry) for more information.

And now the novel, which is available on Amazon here. You can leave a review on Goodreads here.


Jaina Indera has been preparing her entire life for the chance to prove herself a superior and loyal citizen of the Imperial Alliance. In order to do so, she believes she must win the galaxy-wide competition known as the Trials. With training at her Gifted School progressing swiftly, everything looks like it is on pace for her to achieve her dream…until a boy named Dragon enrolls in her class.

Suddenly doubting herself and everything she’s been taught to believe, Jaina and Dragon are teamed with six of their classmates for the chance to compete and achieve their dream: winning the Trials. Consisting of four different tests, the Trials are about to challenge these eight young adults to the limits of their abilities. But learning to work as a team is more difficult than they ever imagined and dark secrets from Dragon’s past emerge that put them in mortal danger. Now Jaina must discover what she’s really fighting for if she and her team have any hope of finishing the Trials…alive.

Exploring the nature of self-reliance and self-confidence, McKendry delivers a perceptive, nuanced portrait of the importance of teamwork and the strain it puts on individual desires and motivations. Playing with the concepts of dark and light, her novel is a complex coming of age story that encapsulates the complicated hero’s journey from student to leader. A dark tale of love and revenge, From the Ashes is a powerful reminder to think for yourself instead of blindly following what you’ve been taught to believe.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

IWSG: Navel-gazing it is

Hi everyone! It's the first Wednesday in March. That means it's time for Insecure Writer's Support Group, hosted by Alex Cavanaugh. Anyone can join, so hop on over to the IWSG page for more information and sign up!

I've been having one of those weeks.... I have work to keep me busy and more editing inquiries coming in. My back doesn't hurt so I've been able to get the house cleaned (relatively) and spend time being active with the dog. It's been a week since I sent the NNK off to her new home.

And somehow I feel so far behind the bar that I wonder how I can even show my (dirty, animal hair covered) face in public.

Sigh... apparently I'm not allowed to be imperfect, says my internal editor. She's (I'm) so afraid of rejection that I've painted myself into a convenient corner that keeps me immobile. The problem is, there's no rejection to be afraid of! Everything is going well! Sigh...

Anyone have any creative writing exercises that can help shake off a serious funk? I feel like I need to write two characters, one who always succeeds and one who always fails, and then put them in each other's shoes for a week... and try to work out some of this hesitation on the page.

What do you do to get yourself over the weeks (or months, or years) of feeling utterly inadequate and insignificant and scared of rejections that don't exist?

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Slow Cooker: A Writer's Best Friend Blog Hop


Yay everyone! It's time for "The Slow Cooker: A Writer's Best Friend" Blog Hop!

I seriously love my Crock Pot.
I am an experimental cook in large part, not an expert by any stretch of the imagination. I also have no patience for fiddling... That makes the Crock Pot my dear friend! I can throw a bunch of ingredients in, turn it on, stir occasionally and at the end of the day have a warm and (hopefully) succulent meal to show for my "efforts."

I'm sharing a recipe I pulled from my newest cookbook acquisition:

The Indian Slow Cooker: 50 Healthy, Easy, Authentic Recipes

I've always wanted to try my hand at cooking Indian food... but most times the recipes are too... fiddly. Well, not now! Anyhow, here's my favorite so far.

Dry Spiced Dal (recipe by Anupy Singla)
Sooki Dal/Slow cooker size: 3 and a half quarts/Cooking time: 2 and a half hours on low (I cooked this on high, and for much longer than 2 and a half hours before the lentils were soft enough, though)/Yield: 7 cups

3 cups dried, split, and skinned yellow moong dal or split and skinned urad dal, cleaned and washed thoroughly.
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 (1 inch) piece ginger, peeled and grated
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced or grated
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon salt
3 cups water
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
Chopped green chilies for garnish (optional)
Chopped onions for garnish (optional)


  1. Put the lentils, onion, ginger, garlic, cumin, turmeric, salt, and water in the slow cooker.
  2. Cook on low for 2 hours, stirring once or twice. (Again, I cooked on high and for 3+ hours before the moong dal softened... just be prepared). Check to see if the water has been absorbed. If not, cook for another 30 minutes until no liquid remains.
  3. Garnish with the cilantro, chopped green chilies, and onions. Serve with rice, roti or naan and spicy achaar, or spread on a flour tortilla.
Yep... it's THAT easy! And the flavor was delicious. I highly recommend Singla's book if you're interested in trying more Indian style slow cooker recipes.

For other recipes from this blog hop, head over to the following blogs:

1. The Barenaked Critic
2. Rebekah Loper, Writer
3. The Merry Mennonite
4. Sue Ann Bowling
5. Thoughts of a Visual and Verbal Artist
6. Write Backwards - Jamie Dement (LadyJai)
7. Bonnie Rae, Just Words