My October Garden

The last three months, the hubby has been doing something a little different in our garden. I’ve wanted a raised bed garden for years, mainly because I knew I wouldn’t always be able to get down on my knees to plant. But also because our soil is almost pure clay, and difficult to get anything to grow lush and green and strong without overwatering. And in this time of drought in California, bigger water bills are NOT on the menu.

a 4'x8'x16" dirt coffin
a 4’x8’x16″ dirt coffin

Above is the newest “dirt coffin” as the hubby likes to call it. This is #3. The soil is a mix of our own dirt (that had been amended in other planting beds), soil for raised beds, steer manure, and vermiculite.  Since it gets so hot where we are, and our back yard gets the setting sun, he decided we should situate the planters near the shade of the oleander (above photo, to the right). This bed gets the most sunshine. Beyond the bed, that black thing is our composter.  All our green food waste and our coffee grinds go into the composter.

Dirt Coffin #1, 4' x 8' x 16". This has all veggies planted in it.
Dirt Coffin #1, 4′ x 8′ x 16″. This has all veggies planted in it.

You can see the squash on the left – yeah, that didn’t work out too well, so we had to pull them out recently. The squash needed more light – they weren’t setting fruit, but they grew lush and big after being puny in the regular back yard. Hubby also built netting cages, to keep the birds and the grasshoppers from eating the tender lettuces.  The left side of this planter faces north; all of the climbers should have been planted along that left side. Live and learn! We have several types of lettuce, spinach, bush beans, pole beans (at the back), and sugar snap peas growing in this bed.

Malabar Red Spinach

We also have Malabar Red (or Asian) Spinach – yes, that’s spinach! It’s thicker, and has a completely different taste. Works great in salads, grows fast, and has pretty pink flowers.

Dirt Coffin No. 2 is our herb bed.

basil and tarragonHere, we have a row of basil (that almost died before we transplanted it – we weren’t sure it would make it); in front of it, you can see the thyme. Behind it to the right, the first two squares are Mexican tarragon (which I LOVE!!!), the other two are Thai Basil. Behind them, the two middle squares at the far right is anise, and the two on either side is fennel.

2 types of parsley

Here, you can see curled parsley in front and Italian parsley behind. Marigolds tend to keep bugs away, so each bed has marigolds planted.

parsley a month later

Here’s the parsley a month later – it’s gotten so big!

basil a month later

And look at the basil, also a month later! (In the background, the anise has been eaten. Sad face.)

Basil for pesto, 10-18-14

This is the basil I picked last night in order to make pesto. 2.5 cups, put into 4 oz jars and stashed in the freezer. When I went outside this afternoon, the basil looks like I haven’t touched it. So I’m guessing more pesto will be made. If you’re local, you just might end up with a jar!

So what my hubby and I learned, is that where you plant, as well as what type of soil you plant in, is very important. We’re finally finding the right home for everything. Vegetables and herbs need the soil loose enough, so the roots can grow deep enough and the plants tall enough. If all we get is our fresh herbs and salad greens from these beds, we’ll both be very happy.

dirt coffin #3, planted

And here’s number 3, planted. The back row has broccoli (it’s supposed to get to 3′ high); the row in front of the broccoli has onions and garlic; the row in front of that has 2 kinds of kale and collard greens; the very front has spinach from seed and more collards, as well as the marigolds. You can see planter 2 in the background, beyond the hammock. Planter #4 has just been installed this weekend, where the blue water barrel sits. In front of the barrel is a “winter” tomato plant. (We’ve found the best, most exotic things to plant at a family-owned nursery not far from where I work. Really must get back there!)

Planter #4 will have potatoes in it, and not sure what else. Maybe cauliflower, and beets, when they come into the stores. Still keeping my eyes open.

So, this is where my hubby’s energies go when he’s not learning lines or songs or working in the tv/film industry. I dabble here…and I love it.

Happy Monday, my friends. May this transition time from one season to the next be good for you.

)O(

 

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New Release – Christmas Star!

It’s here, it’s here! As the day moves along and more platforms go “live”, I’ll share here. WOO! Happy Book Birthday to me!

TheChristmasStar_temp

About the book:

After a whirlwind courtship, the Christmas season finds plain-Jane-with-a-secret Elle Houston engaged to one of the brightest stars in the Hollywood firmament–and falling for the personal chef at her ritzy, pre-wedding resort.

Excerpt:
December 19th, eveningElle Houston drew her feet up onto the couch and nervously watched her fiancé—her fiancé—finish packing in the hotel suite he called home. “Are you sure you want to get married?”Taylor Collins, Grade A movie star, stopped adding shirts to his suitcase, tipped his head to one side and smiled, that lopsided grin that caused female hearts to flutter worldwide. “Are you getting cold feet?”“No. Of course not.” She’d never thought she’d get a proposal, ever. Not saying yes to the guy who was People’s Sexiest Man Alive? She’d have to be brain-dead. “I’ve got the guy all the girls want, the guy paparazzi clamor over.” She nibbled her top lip, considering. “I guess I’m still just a bit stunned that you proposed.”

Happy Dancing here!!!

Find it at All Romance eBooksAmazon, Smashwords

Update: For a few hours on Saturday morning, I made a list! #72 – not bad!!!

Screen Shot 2014-10-18 at 7.18.34 AM

It didn’t last long, but it sure made my day.

 )O(

 

 

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Writer Wednesday – Aussie Author Goldie Alexander

Settle in and read about Goldie Alexander, an Aussie author of over 80 novels.  Her adult romance is called Penelope’s Ghost, from Boroughs Publishing Group.

51ejNe8QV0L__BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Haunted. Haunting. Redeemed.

When Lisa Harbinger takes a job as nanny to a prestigious Australian family, she gets more than she bargained for: two spoilt children, vengeful ghosts, a long-unsolved mystery and a blazing passion she and her enigmatic boss are unable to deny.

INTO THE MIST

Fleeing a humiliating end to a passionless marriage, Lisa Harbinger seeks refuge in a posh summer retreat on Australia’s lush South Coast. There she finds work as a nanny for two willful children on one prestigious estate. But behind Rangoon’s ivy and red brick walls lies a mystery: What really happened to the family’s beloved Penelope?

Even more mysterious is Richard Prescott. Cold and aloof by day, Lisa’s boss heats up her nights and awakens her soul. But to have a future they both must escape their pasts. Vengeful ghosts and a generations-old curse seek to bring ruin on Richard and his family. But if Lisa can find the answers, she—and her growing love—could be the one to set him free.

Penelope’s Ghost can be found here.  OOH, sounds delish! Let’s hear a bit about Goldie herself before we find out about her YA novels.

Take it away, Goldie!

Author Goldie Alexander
Author Goldie Alexander

“My parents migrated from Poland just before the 2nd World War. Born in Melbourne, my earliest memories are of a time when children were allowed to wander the streets without anyone worrying about them getting into trouble.

My first four Young Adult books were ‘Dolly Fiction’ novels published under the pseudonym of Gerri Lapin. My first book under my own name, “Mavis Road Medley” is a time travel fiction exploring the world of Princes Hill and my parents’ struggles to survive the Depression. Since then I have written more than 80 books, and many short stories and articles.

These days I work full time as a writer, teach creative writing and take seminars and workshops in Universities, TAFE colleges, clubs and schools. I also mentor emerging writers.

I’m very interested in the development of the ebook as ‘the book of the future’. I believe that hardcopies will inevitably disappear, except perhaps for the beautifully produced coffee table book, though I do lament their tactile appeal. But what I view as vitally important are words, stories, themes and ideas, no matter in which way they’re published. Some of my most recent books can be read in both hardcopy and ebooks.”

Here’s a bit about Goldie’s young adult books:

stranger%20next%20door%20small_1

That Stranger Next Door In 1954, Melbourne is still reeling from WWII, the Cold War sees suspicions running high and the threat of communism and spies are imagined in every shadow.  15 year old Jewish Ruth is trying to navigate her own path, despite her strict upbringing and the past that haunts her family. A path that she wishes could include her first love, 17 year old  Patrick. But the rich, Catholic boy is strictly off limits. When a mysterious woman moves in next door in the dead of night, Ruth becomes convinced that she is none other than Eva or Evdokia Petrov, a Soviet spy and wife of famous Russian defector, Vladimir Petrov. Available here.

Next up:

in-hades-cover1

In Hades 17 year-old Kai lives on the streets. The night Rod, his 12 year-old autistic brother, comes looking for him, the two steal, crash a car and die. Searching for Rod, Kai finds himself in Hades where he meets dead Bilby-G. As their adventures continue, these youngsters are magically transformed to what they were before Kai became a street-boy and Bilby G. became anorexic. In their efforts to find Rod, the youngsters come across some of the mythical characters as described by Kai’s Greek grandmother before she died: a multi-headed dog. A blind prophet. Twin whirlpools. Three goddesses. A dangerous sea-nymph. The powerful sea-god and his evil one-eyed son.

(This novel’s journey consisting of 47 poems that trace their journey through the underworld) is based on some of the mythical creatures from Homer’s “Odyssey.”

www.celapenepress.com.au

Thanks for stopping by, Goldie, and sharing your wonderful novels with us!

Find Goldie at her Website and her Blog.

)O(

 

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Writer Wednesday – Review, “The Interview” by Lisa A. Adams

Lisa_Blue_Final

BLURB: Heather Cox is writing on a deadline, and eager to wrap up a brilliant piece with a final interview.  But as her interviewee begins divulging the secrets behind her sexy one night stand with a mysterious female, Heather finds herself taken to a level of curiosity that has her body quaking.

With just hours left to finish her article, Heather must decide exactly how far she’s willing to go to get the facts she needs…

My Review:  This is a short, quick, and ultimately satisfying tale of love, unexpected. Heather listens to this ordinary woman tell an extraordinary story, and finds herself moved by it. When the opportunity arises for Heather to delve further into the story for her article, she goes for it – and the reader is rooting for her, every step of the way. Bravo, Ms. Adams. Well done.

Find Lisa Adams at the following spots:
-        Twitter: @LisaAdamsWriter
-        Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/lisaadamswriter/
-        Blog: www.pen-the-dream.blogspot.com

)O(

 

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Wine, No Matter the Weather

There is snow on the mountains in Aspen, Colorado – and here in my neck of southern California, the temps are expected to hit in the triple digits (because the weather people prefer to say “triple digits” than “the hundreds”). So what to drink?

Here are two wines that are eminently drinkable, no matter the temperature outside.

Fat Cat MerlotFat Cat Merlot, 2012 Napa, California  Alcohol 12.5% by Volume; $6.99 on sale at Vons. 95 POINTS | GOLD MEDAL California State Fair Wine Competition 2012

On the Label: “At Fat Cat Cellers, we’re into wines that hit all the right notes, right now. Take our mellow Merlot. The deep ruby red color is prelude to a rich cherry and berry melody, accompanied by mild tannins and oak that close on a palate-pleasing, silky smooth chord. It’s a ballad in a glass. A-dee-dot, a-dew-dot, a skittley-dot-mer-lot. You dig?”

My Take: The color is good in the glass, and the taste works when the temps drop outside. The low alcohol content, however, also make it a good summer night, burgers on the barbecue-type wine as well. Or just sipping while you watch the bats come out at dusk, or while counting snowflakes as they hit the deck.

My Rating: ~ Drinkable ~ and at this price, it’s easy to share with friends for an end-of-summer barbecue or a damn-winter’s-here-early party around the fire.

Beringer Simply Sophisticated Chardonnay  California, 2013   Alcohol 13% by beringerVolume; regularly $6.99 at Vons, on sale for $4.99

On the Label: “This carefully crafted wine has subtle aromas of peach, apricot and golden delicious apples. It is balanced, juicy and layered with ripe flavors. If you enjoy our Chardonnay, make sure to try our Pinot Grigio. Serve chilled. Please visit us at beringer.com.

My Take: This is Beringer’s low cost alternative to their Founder’s Reserve selection, which runs $10 to $15 more per bottle. Frankly, this is an excellent Chardonnay for the price and the Beringer name brings a certain comfort when buying an inexpensive wine. You know you’re going to enjoy the product. This wine would work wonderfully with the chowders and soups that come along with winter, and works just as well when grilling fish on the barbecue. (I have barbecue on the brain. Does it show?)

My Rating ~ Drinkable ~ And a good value, to boot. I’ve also tried their Pinot Grigio, and enjoy it just as much.

So whatever type of weather is out there, there’s a wine for that! May your October be one of peace, prosperity, and pumpkins.

Oh – and two weeks from today, CHRISTMAS STAR releases, my new holiday short story from Boroughs Publishing Group! Yeah, I’m a tad excited…*bouncety*

)O(

My Rating System: Undrinkable; Barely Drinkable; Drinkable; Very Drinkable; and the ever-popular “Stay Away! This is MY wine, you Slut!”

Thanks so much for stopping by. Now that it’s autumn, the blog is getting up to speed again. If you like what you read, please go on and click on that “subscribe” button, up there on the right hand side. I’d love to get to know you, too, so let me know if you have a favorite wine that I should try!

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Writer Wednesday – Scandal At Almack’s

Scandal At Almacks - Tour Banner

Today I have Gloria Gay on Writer Wednesday, with an interview and a bit about Scandal At Almack’s, her latest release with Boroughs Publishing Group. Sit back and sip some coffee with us!

Author Gloria Gay
Author Gloria Gay

CA: First off – what can I get you? Coffee, soda, beer, wine, or a mixed cocktail?

GG: Coffee would be fine, thanks.

CA: There you go. Now, let’s chat. What drew you to writing?

GG: I knew that someday I would write a book because I loved to read so much. In high school I read a lot of the classics. But books like Tess of the D’Urberville’s were romantic but most of them ended in tragedy. I wanted books with happy endings. Then one day I discovered by chance a gothic novel. I read hundreds of books by Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart, Phyllis Whitney, etc. My husband encouraged me a lot and he bought me a typewriter for my birthday. I wrote gothic romances first but the gothics of the day had very little romance in them, it was more the mystery that was emphasized.

CA: I remember those books. They got me hooked on mysteries. So, what genre do you write in, and why? Do you write gothics, since you loved them so much?

GG:  No, surprisingly. After going through all the gothics, I discovered Regency romances and that is the genre I love to write, although I’m also branching out into romantic suspense. Hopefully I will be doing both.

CA: How did you start this particular book – with a title first, a character first, or a situation first?

GG:  Scandal at Almack’s is a book that had always been at the back of my mind as I wrote and published my other Regency romances. I wanted to write about a scandal that happened in Almack’s, a place where girls could not even dance the waltz without permission by one of the patronesses that signed the coveted vouchers without which they could not enter the place.

I knew that it was during the waltz itself that my scandal would occur, but what would occur? For a long time I just let it percolate in my mind. Then one day as I was watching television, my mind elsewhere, the thing that happened at Almack’s to my heroine, the scandal itself, popped into my mind.

My heroine, feisty, funny and pretty is someone you would want as a friend. She began to form in my mind and it was her character itself that led to the incident that happened. That happens a lot to writers, you know, problems with your books solve themselves if you just let them. I knew then what my hero would do that would cause my heroine to faint!

CA: Oh, how fun! So, tell me. What do you do when you’re not writing? Do you have a Day Job?

GG: I’m retired. I dedicate my time to writing and painting, because I’m also an artist.

CA: My hubby’s an artist. How wonderfully creative you are. Okay, so, name three things your fans would be surprised to learn about you.

GG:   a) I write poetry, too, and lately, mostly about the sea. It’s incredible but I start to walk and the feel of the sand under my feet, the lovely sky above and the sound of the sea starts my mind going toward a poem.

b) I love cats but don’t have one. My husband and I feed a stray cat that will eat the food that we set out for it in the porch but won’t come near us. He’s very shy. But we feel good feeding it. He comes twice a day for his food and the rest of the time he wanders around back yards. We named him “Boots”. He’s grey with white on its paws the length of boots.

c) I firmly believe there is a writer inside every person.

CA: Very cool. Where would you live, if you could live anywhere in the world?

GG:  I live in San Diego, California, where I have lived most of my life, and I can’t imagine anywhere else where I would rather be. It’s beautiful.

CA: Okay, now I’m jealous. I was born in San Diego and would love to move back. Maybe some day! Now, name three simple joys in your life.

GG:  My husband, children and grandchildren are my three joys other than my writing and painting.

CA: Wow! Not what I would call simple though – all three are bound to be complicated in some way, don’t you think? Still – lovely sentiment.  Onward! If you could have dinner with any person, living or dead or fictional, who would it be and where would you go to eat?

GG:  I would love to have dinner with Van Gogh. We would go to a French café in the Champs Elise and I would ask him about this or that painting that I love and how he got the idea to paint it. It would be thrilling beyond belief.

CA: Oh yes. Van Gogh would be a wonderful person to have dinner with! Now, if you could give just one piece of advice to a writer just starting out, what would it be?

GG: My piece of advice to a writer starting out is to join their local chapter of Romance Writers of America as soon as their legs can take them. Had I done that from the beginning, I would have saved myself a lot of strife and would have published sooner.

CA: I love my local RWA chapters, so I have to agree with you on this. Is there anything else you’d like to talk about?

GG:  I think RWA writers are some of the most generous people in the world. They go out of their way to help other writers, especially those starting out, and I feel proud and happy to belong to such a group.

CA: Agreed! Thanks so much for dropping by, Gloria – it was great getting to know you.

Folks, here’s the cover, and a blurb…check it out!

Scandal At Almacks - Book Cover

EXCERPT

Lord Corville was surprised that Lady Jersey had led him directly into a vision of lovely youth. Usually wallflower duty was how it sounded, giving an opportunity to dance a few sets to girls who were in their first season and not likely to obtain dancing partners on their own because they lacked pedigree or were pretty enough but lacked an attractive dowry. The Almack’s patronesses took their duty to young girls in their first or second season very seriously, and in every ball the two in charge could be seen walking about, matching young ladies to reluctant young men.

Sebastian seldom if ever glanced toward the wallflower area, but now he regretted it. The moment he gave his gloved hand to this girl and led her to the dance floor, it was all he could do to keep his balance until they began their waltz.

Her touch was so sensual, he felt her hand not on his but directly on his groin. A hot frisson coursed along his nerve endings, and his whole body shuddered in anticipation. If he felt so much with only the soft touch of her hand on his, what would he feel with her in his arms?

Suddenly realizing where his mind was going, he shook off such outlandish thoughts. He was a bit foxed and couldn’t even remember what Lady Jersey said the girl’s name was during the introduction. He should have skipped that stop at Rothyn’s townhouse, as they’d dipped into bottles of claret before coming here.

Of course, it was turning out amazingly easy to keep his promise to his sister Camie. One dance with a wallflower debutante? Why this beautiful girl lacked dance partners was beyond his understanding. She was as lovely and as rare as an orchid, and her scent intoxicated him even more than the claret.

He had never felt such jumping sensations as he was now feeling while waltzing with her. Her eyes as she looked at him were sparkling blue aquamarines, and the tingling ripple the mere touch of her hand had started now throbbed along his groin so that his hand tightened on hers even as his breeches tightened. He quickly forced his eyes away from her lithe form, for just a quick glance at her curves unhinged him.

They swayed around the vast ballroom, and the lights from a thousand candles and the twirling couples confused him. The lovely girl in his arms became three identical girls who twirled round and round like the racing dials of a mad clock. He heard the waning notes of the waltz as it was coming to its end and felt so dizzy that, had he not held her, he would have lost his balance. He looked into the girl’s beautiful eyes and his gaze drifted downward. Her breasts, the tops of them peeking alluringly from her filmy gown, were so fetching that he wondered when he had ever seen a better pair. There was a small dark mole on her left breast, and a tiny rosebud by it, and so compelling was the tiny beauty mark that he was hypnotized.

The music had stopped. He looked into the girl’s lovely blue eyes and wondered why they were wide with alarm, and her voice was loud and clear in the silence that followed the conclusion of the waltz.

Oh!” she exclaimed.

Her hand on his shoulder slipped away as she fell to the floor, her crumpling body settling softly on his feet. Sebastian leaned down toward her prone body.

After a few seconds, the girl opened her eyes. A crowd had rushed forward, and there was a large circle of people around her and Sebastian, three or four deep, looking down with concern. And silence, as everyone just stared.

The girl was helped up by two gentlemen while Lord Corville continued to stare, speechless.

Lady Jersey broke the silence. “What happened to you, my dear?”

A twittering of exclamations rose like a deafening wave, and then sudden silence fell again as the crowd waited in suspense for the girl’s reply.

The girl spoke slowly but clearly, so that everyone heard her words. She looked directly into Lord Corville’s eyes and said, “Lord Corville touched me inappropriately.”

AUTHOR BIO

Gloria Gay has lived in San Diego, California the greater part of her life, where she worked as a legal secretary for twenty-five years and as a stringer for a local newspaper. Her heart, though, has always been with art and literature and it was one of the happiest days of her life when she wrote her first book.

Boroughs Publishing Group recently published her fifth Regency romance, Lovely Little Liar. Scandal at Almack’s, with the same publisher is Gloria’s sixth Regency romance. Her debut novel, First Season, earned a four-star review from Romantic Times Book Reviews. She is also the author of Forced Offer, Canceled Courtship and Known to All.

She lives with her husband, Enrique, an architect, in San Diego, California, and couldn’t be happier that their children and grand-children live nearby.

Here’s where you can find Gloria on the internet…

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE – http://www.amazon.com/Gloria-Gay/e/B0065TEP9M/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

BLOG – http://gloriagay.com

FACEBOOK – https://www.facebook.com/gloria.gay.58

TWITTER – https://twitter.com/gloria_gay_

GOOGLE+ – https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl

GOODREADS – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/745568.Gloria_Gay

SHELFARI – http://www.shelfari.com/books/37891656/Scandal-at-Almacks

WEBSITE – http://Authorsden.com/gloriagay

)O(

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Small Theater + Wine Can = Ugh

Wine for the Audience

It’s a thing out here in the Los Angeles area small theaters, to have wine available for a “donation” before the show, and again at intermission. This post is for those Small Theater Producers who regularly commit all sorts of wine crimes against their audience; but the rest of you feel free to listen in.

Dear, wonderful, brave Small Theater Producers. We really need to talk. I know your love for theater is why you put up with having no budget, actors who go missing because they’re getting a day’s pay by working in a commercial or (more frequently) doing background work (because you can’t afford union contracts), and basically worry about paying the bills.

I also know you serve wine to patrons of your theater in the hopes that you’ll make money (and quite often, you do – because only half of the 56-seat theater actually has butts in the seats, but half of those folks didn’t pay squat to get in because your cast is desperate for an audience and no one can find your theater without Siri barking directions at them plus lets not even get into the no parking situation, or the dicey neighborhood you’ve chosen). When patrons arrive at  your place, they’re tired, cranky, their feet hurt and they would much rather be home but instead they’re standing in front of you, staring doubtfully at your wine selection and praying it’s not total dreck. A little wine can loosen up a cranky audience. I get it. Truly.

Don’t Go Cheap!

But please, if you’re going to serve wine, please don’t get the cheapest wine you can (that you wouldn’t drink for love nor money) and then charge a $5 donation for three measly ounces. First, three ounces of wine isn’t going to make us like your production more. Second, cheap wine leaves a bad taste in the mouth, which we’re going to unconsciously equate with your production. Which means we’re not going to tell anyone we saw your show, thus killing that much-needed word-of-mouth advertising.

So here’s my white wine choice for you. Don’t think, just go buy, and thank me later.

Kirkland ChardonnayKirkland Signature California Chardonnay, 2012 1.5L bottle  Alcohol 13% by Volume; under $10 at CostCo

On the Label: “Kirkland Signature California Chardonnay is a classic Chardonnay with vibrant tropical flavors of pineapple and  mango surrounded by fresh notes of peach, brisk green apple and sweet citrus which is polished to a finish with hints of oak, honey and butterscotch.”

On the Web: “I have previously stated that I am not a fan of heavy oak, buttery chardonnay.  On the other hand, chardonnays fermented only in stainless steel are often taste like lemons to me.  I most like a chardonnay that has been aged in neutral, older oak.  The Kirkland Sonoma County Chardonnay always fits in this middle ground.  I think the current version is even more fruit flavored with less oak than last year and to me, that makes it better.”  ~ South Carolina Wine Joe

(I know. Sonoma County Chardonnay and the Signature California Chardonnay aren’t the same, and yet they are because. I haven’t had the Sonoma County Chardonnay, but I have had the Signature California Chardonnay. TASTY.)

“Vineyards and Vintages
“Chardonnay, the most widely grown grape varietal in the world, flourishes in Sonoma County, one of the greatest producers of wine in California – even surpassing Napa Valley AVA! Sonoma County is home to 13 different American Viticultural Areas. The wine from this 100% Chardonnay is blended from a variety of the top AVAs throughout Sonoma County, including Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley, Carneros and Russian River Valley. Each region offers different flavors and aromas that merge to produce a flawless combination. Chardonnay originated in Burgundy, known for its natural expression of terroir. This Kirkland Signature Sonoma County Chardonnay reflects the Burgundian ancestry while still harmonious with the style of California and specifically Sonoma County.” ~ CostCo.com

Yes, I said don’t go cheap. Yes, this bottle is under $10, which qualifies in the cheap range. But no. Cheap, to me, is any bottle of wine that you wouldn’t happily drink yourself. This wine is inexpensive, true, but it is TASTY. So, 1.5 liters of wine at under $10 a bottle means you, dear Theater Producer, can fill that plastic cup to the brim. Make that theater goer happy, and they might grab another glass of wine. Or two. They may even buy their ticket price in wine. You can “accidentally” make enough on wine sales to make it look like you actually had a full, paying house! Wouldn’t that be fantastic? Plus, two people buying a glass of wine, and that bottle has been paid for.

Oh, and please – by all that is holy – keep the Chardonnay COLD. Yes, grab a big ice bucket. Have a cooler somewhere. Get all classy. Because warm Chardonnay is almost a worse crime than a short pour of bad Chardonnay.

Next week, I’ll talk about red wines for you Small Theater Producers (because I’m running out of time and need to get to work). Until then, stock up on the Kirkland Chardonnay and fill those cups, people! Your patrons will thank you, and they in turn will appreciate the show much more. Who knows? You may even get some positive word-of-mouth advertising out of it!

)O(

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Cover Reveal, Christmas Star

bpg-badge

Here it is! My first story with Boroughs Publishing Group. Yes, I’m excited, can’t you tell? *bouncety bounce*

CHRISTMAS STAR comes out on October 17, 2014. Chris Keeslar and I have been working to make it perfect for you.  This one is a Lunchbox Romance, which means you’ll be able to read it over lunch (think short story). It’s also the first in the StarTide series! Plus – 99 cents. Such a deal!

Here’s the logo for StarTide…

StarTide card

Isn’t this the niftiest thing, ever? And here’s the quick blurb, and the cover!

Christmas Star

After a whirlwind courtship, makeup artist Elle finds herself engaged to one of the brightest, busiest movie stars in the Hollywood firmament. So why does Chef Luc have her dreaming about white picket fences, and having his babies?

TheChristmasStar_temp

Isn’t it pretty?!!

Sorry I’ve been missing here this past month. Lots has happened, a lot I’m not ready to discuss and a lot that I really CAN’T discuss, and a lot of writing has been going on, too. So there’s that. Oh, and fitness. #healthywriter is my new thing. Not getting any younger, you know? Gotta stay healthy.

Anywho…Book 1 in the StarTide series, GUARDED STAR, will be out February 5th. In April, SHINING STAR will come out, and in June, RISING STAR will make its debut.  There are more novels planned in this contemporary romance series, set around Hollywood and the StarTide Talent Agency. Shenanigans abound, so stay tuned for more information!

)O(

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So Many Publishing Options…

writing at coffee shop

As many other (much more famous) people have said, this is a wonderful time to be an author. There are so many options open to us. We can self publish, we can publish with a digital-first publisher (of which there are many), or we can aim for a big New York publishing house (of which there are few).

There is no right way to publish.

Each person’s journey is just that; THEIR journey. Nora Roberts’ publishing journey is vastly different than mine (sigh), which is vastly different than, let’s say, my friend Kendall Grey’s journey. The thing is, no one way is “better” than another way.

If you want that contract with New York City, go for it. GO FOR IT. If in your heart of hearts you don’t want to be your own publisher, for God’s sake, don’t be. Write the best damned book you possibly can, and find someone else who will love your work enough to publish it. Then write another book.

If that is your dream, don’t let anyone tell you you’re wrong, or that the contract you’re so proud of signing sucks. In fact, be very careful who you share your contract with; make sure they are knowledgable about author contracts, can help you make a decision, and more than anything, make sure YOU know what you want out of a contract.

Be realistic, too. If yours is a first contract with a publishing company, and you have no track record at all, you’re not going to get the moon when you ask for it. I’m not saying don’t ask; just don’t be surprised if they come back with a simple “no,” and know what you’ll do when that happens.

Another thing. Just because you might have signed a contract with a publishing house that someone you know is also signed with, DOES NOT MEAN you have to share your contract details with them. (You shouldn’t ask about their contract, either.) And definitely don’t talk about your contract in specific across a lunch table with a bunch of other people listening in. Your contract is YOUR contract, and nobody else’s business. You don’t owe it to ANYONE to share details.

Contrari-wise, if a good friend is considering a contract and asks you what to be careful about, feel free to share your views. In person, and in private (which can happen in a corner of a ballroom full of people, believe it or not).

I guess this is my ranty way of saying, know what you want out of your career, and go for it. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re doing it wrong. Whether you self publish, go with a small publisher, or hold that dream of an agent and a six figure deal with a New York publisher, that’s your decision and your journey. You may change your mind down the line, and there’s nothing wrong with that, either.

Know what you want, and go for it.

Don’t explain, and don’t apologize, for following your heart. Big, squishy hugs to you as you continue on the journey.

)O(

I’ve got an Author Page on Facebook now…it’s not very pretty to look at, but check it out and give me a “like” if you would!

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Writing to Contract

bpg-badge

Why has the blog been quiet? Sorry! So you see, it’s like this.

If we’re Facebook friends, you already know this, but a week or so ago I finally inked the deal with Boroughs Publishing Group for the first three books in the loosely-connected StarTide Agency contemporary romance series (the guitar book, for those of you following along). (Can I get a huzzah? lol.) I also signed a separate contract for a 12k short story called a Lunchbox Romance (something you can read during lunch).

Why sign a contract when the world is the author’s oyster right now with self publishing? Because I can’t do it all, and more importantly, I don’t want to do it all. I’m still learning. I have a long way to go before I send my work out into the world all by myself.

That said, I did not make this decision lightly. It was made after a month of discussion with Jill Limber, the editor who made the offer; contract dissection; soul searching; and then going to RWA’s national conference, and having a great time there with Michelle Klayman, Jill, and Chris Keeslar (the Boroughs honchos). I like them, I have faith in them, and the fact that Chris Keeslar had worked on contracts for my Dad back in the day (when Chris was fresh out of college and at Dorchester) gave the whole thing a symmetry that just felt right. Plus the quality of the stories I’ve read from Boroughs has been extremely high.  (Which reminds me – In The Place Where She Fell is an AMAZING short story by Mary Beth Bass. Go read it!)

I am still a bit happily dazed, and am now facing the fact that I’m writing to contract deadlines. So far, it’s not as scary as I thought, and the deadlines are generous (though I plan to beat them by a mile). It’s nice, knowing that someone has the confidence in me to bring a three paragraph description of a novel into fruition.

There’s also this other book that’s waiting not-so-patiently to get edited. It’s done, but it needs to shine before I send it to an agent. So I think I’ll be doing that on my Sundays. Some writers take Sundays for their books not contracted; working on something different from their usual. (For me, that’s the ballet book.)

So, that in a nutshell, is why the blog has been silent. Things have been happening, writing has been getting done, and life has been being lived.

What’s been up with you, buttercup?

Posted in Life, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments