News! News! News!

Life is SWEET today. I received confirmation that my paranormal romance novel, DEMON SOUL, will release in mid-March 2011 from Crescent Moon Press! This is fantastic. It really fits into my schedule, as I’m hoping to turn in the next book, DEMON HUNT, that same month – so I’ll have a reason to do some partying.

I’ve started the blog tour in motion, and there are some things I need to check on with the publishing house, but all in all I am completely stoked. My husband is, too – he feels he can “finally” celebrate the book since it’s now got a firm publication date.

My second chunk of news is I’ve been accepted to the Henry Miller Writer’s Workshop in early March, put on by the fabulous Andrea Brown Agency. I’ll be working on my YA novel, JESSE ON THE VERGE.

Third chunk of news, I’m actually headed off to the Romantic Times Convention this year! It’s here in Los Angeles, so I’m waaay excited to be saving some money. Between this convention and the workshop, I’ll have used up my workshop money.

I’m really, really looking forward to this year – it has bright-shiny-happy-productive written all over it!

Thursday Thirteen – January’s gifts and chores

Every month has something special about it. Today I’m highlighting January’s gifts and chores…oh and remember, I’m in Southern California. There are things on this list that others in snowbound places can’t even contemplate until Spring.

  1. First hangover of the year on January 1st! (That’s if you drink. Or eat waaay too much at the party the night before.)
  2. If you haven’t yet, it’s time to prune the rosebushes. No pain, no roses.
  3. Clean out summer’s vegetable garden and prep the soil for this year’s garden.
  4. Enjoy the rain. Likewise, if it’s been raining and you get a cloud-free day, enjoy the sun!
  5. Chop up the Christmas tree for firewood. Place in big garden bags so the branches stay dry.
  6. Go hiking. Especially a couple of days after a rainstorm. The hills will be green, everything will be cool, and it’s a different hiking world than it is in summer.
  7. Hit up the beach. Wear your heavy duty sweats and watch the waves (wind depending, of course).  Make sure you stop at one of those tiny roadside places and pick up some New England clam chowder to go. Enjoy while snuggling with loved one. Best part of the beach in winter? No one expects you to get into a bikini.
  8. If you must, plan out your yearly goals. Feel free to adjust them – remember, they’re more like guidelines for your year, rather than strict rules.
  9. Reach out to folks you didn’t get to talk to during the hustle and bustle of the Holiday season. Drop them a line or give them a call – you’ll be surprised at how relaxed people are at this time of year.
  10. Pare down your living space. Get rid of stuff you haven’t looked at properly in over a year. If you’re not seeing it anymore, it doesn’t belong in your life. Or maybe it just needs to be moved to a different room. This is aimed mostly at art, any and all collectibles gathering dust, and family photos.
  11. Have a portrait taken of yourself. Just you. No family. Either get a talented friend to take it, or go to the mall and get it done, but do invest. Everyone needs at least one good portrait taken each decade of their lives.
  12. Nurture yourself. Whether by regular meditation sessions, reading poetry or other thought-expanding literature, or purchasing a really good skin cream, take this time while the world has slowed down to be good to yourself. If you aren’t, who will be?
  13. Count your blessings. Keep an attitude of gratitude, and be open to the wonders that are sure to come your way.

I’m sure there are more gifts and chores available in January – what are the things that you do this month that you don’t tend to do in any other month? I’d love to know!

And if you’re interested in playing, go here to Thursday Thirteen and get the scoop! Let me know if you are, so I can track back to you.


Thursday Thirteen – The last 13 books I read in 2010

I read some amazing books in November/December 2010, and am half-through some others. Here’s a partial list!

  1. The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton (a MUST READ! Tons of twists!)
  2. The Book of Air and Shadows by Michael Gruber (I admit, I don’t have a clue as to what this book is about. But I think I’m enjoying it.)
  3. Memory Boy by Will Weaver (The. Best. YA. Book. I’ve. Read. Period.)
  4. Hollywood by Charles Bukowski (just because.)
  5. The Lost Art of Real Cooking by Ken Albala and Rosanna Nafziger (If you’ve ever wanted to make your own cheese, ketchup, yogurt, or preserved lemons, this is your book!)
  6. The Complete Riddlemaster Trilogy (Riddlemaster of Hed) by Patricia A. McKillip (A masterpiece. I’ve been re-reading it for almost 30 years now.)
  7. Coming Home by Rosamund Pilcher (another favorite re-read)
  8. How to Cook a Wolf by MFK Fisher (I adore reading cook books when they’re written like this one and like #5.)
  9. The Mummy by Anne Rice (A classic. What the movie should have been.)
  10. Poemcrazy by Susan Goldsmith Woolridge (I’ve had this for awhile. Dipping in is remarkably refreshing.)
  11. Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen (Fabulous. Just…fabulous.)
  12. These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer (My all-time favorite Regency romance author)
  13. A Matter of Class by Mary Balogh (Another Regency, but one with twists, turns, and a wonderful ending that makes complete sense.)

There you have it. What have you been reading lately?

If you want to play, check it out at Thursday Thirteen .

Writer’s Dish – Warding off Winter

I have two dinner-time standbys for when the wind howls and it feels like you’ll never be warm again. As it’s impossible to have a fire when it’s windy, and as I have an allergic reaction to a really high heating bill, I tend to fill the night with the warmth of one-pot meals. While I have a few tried-and-true recipes, I frequently search the internet for new ones to try.

For me, a one-pot meal usually means stew or a hearty soup or cassoulet. Something I can throw in a slow-cooker in the morning and by nightfall, it’s hot and whatever meat inside is meltingly yummy. A slow-cooker is, in my opinion, a busy parent’s best friend. Once everything is in the pot, you can just forget it – until the savory aromas come wafting out from the kitchen, warming the house and making you hungry all afternoon and thus adding on the pounds as you snack your way to dinner. But aside from that…

Another fabulous cold-weather meal is pasta. Almost any kind of pasta, but my favorite is spaghetti with lots of fresh veggies, cooked just to al dente. While pasta doesn’t warm you up from the inside out like a good soup or stew does, it’s hearty flavors and textures soothe the wind-whipped beast and the carbs will keep the internal fires burning all night. Add in a hunk of good sourdough bread, toasted; then rub the toast with fresh garlic and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil. That, my friends, will help keep the winter colds at bay (as well as discourage any lurking vampires – but that’s a post for another day).

Mornings are tough, too, climbing out of the warmth of a many-blanket-and-quilted bed to the chill of the morning house. I’m always reaching for the oats when hubby would rather I reach for the pancake mix. But both of us agree on Decadent Hot Chocolate. Forget your diet and try it – I guarantee your taste buds will weep in gratitude.

What are your go-to favorites for cold weather? I’d love some recipes!