by Christine | Cooking, Life
Sweet Holiday Treats
This time of year, I love making Candy Cane Popcorn. I found this recipe a couple of years ago and I could have sworn I put something up here about it, but I haven’t been able to find it, so…
If you google it, you’ll find a ton of recipes. But this is one that I like, with a few differences.
CANDY CANE POPCORN <– that’s from All Recipes. They have you keep the popcorn in a bowl after you’ve mixed the white chocolate and the peppermint in.
I like spreading it out on a cookie sheet…and I confess I add a little smattering of sea salt to it. Oh, and I cook it on the stove in oil…no air popper at my house, so there you go. And you know what? It’s still JUST as tasty.
Decadent Hot Chocolate
Another thing I love this time of year is Decadent Hot Chocolate. I HAVE written about that here before, but I truly believe it’s a concoction worth sharing. So here’s that other post.
I had the best hot chocolate ever in February 2005. Hubby and I were in Paris for our anniversary, and we stumbled on this patisserie on the Isle de St. Louis on a chilly morning.
The scent of chocolate permeated the air. We didn’t even think of resisting its call. So, as we sipped our chocolate (to DIE for), hubby prowled around and found the recipe, hand-written, on a card by some chocolates. So he copied it.
One memorable morning, when Paris was a distant memory, he made me this Decadent Hot Chocolate, and I was pleased to remember, yet again, what a lucky girl I was to have married him.
The recipe is below…but be careful. You can tie people to your side with this hot chocolate. On no account (if you’re single) should you give out the recipe…
1 cup high quality 60% cacao chocolate (I use Ghiradelli – but regular choc chips are fine) 4 cups milk, 3 Tlb powdered baking cocoa (Again, I use Ghirardelli), 3 Tlb white sugar, 1 cup heavy whipping cream.
Put chocolate in a pan, and add just enough milk from your 4 cups to float the chips a bit. Heat until chocolate is melted through, stirring the entire time. Once melted, add the rest of the milk a little at a time, keeping the heat on medium (don’t boil!). Then add the powdered cocoa, one Tlb at a time, whisking it in. Do the same with the white sugar. Once that is incorporated, slowly add the 1 cup heavy whipping cream, stirring the entire time. Continue to stir until the chocolate is hot again. Then drink and be glad you are human!
IF you wish, in the spirit of the movie Chocolat, you may add 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper to spice things up.
Now you know!
by Christine | Life
When I realized what day it was, everything in me kind of jerked to a stop. Six years ago, I had surgery for an Acoustic Neuroma. 11 hours under anesthesia.
Two days after surgery.
You can read more about it in this post here. That’s the one year anniversary post.
Here’s the 3 Year Anniversary post.
To everyone who’s ever gone through something that had such a lasting effect on you, I understand.
Me? I am so very grateful to still be here. Sending love and hugs to you all.
Need a pick-me-up? Try Christmas Star, only .99! One reader called it “A sweet as hot chocolate, modern day fairy tale…”
by Christine | Life, Observations, Publishing, Writing
I usually do this post on New Year’s Eve, but life sort of got away from me, as it does now and then. However, here’s a look back at 2014.
Well, I did finish the Guitar Book, and came up with a series idea based on the talent agency…had a great time pitching that at Desert Dreams, finaled in their contest with that book, and…let’s see…oh YEAH. Boroughs Publishing Group wanted the series, and I signed a contract with them in August for a short story and the three novels. Woo! (StarTide series!) Isn’t the StarTide logo cool???
I pitched the Ballet Book, finally finished it, and sent it off to Lovely Agent who wants to see it after I make some revisions because she really liked it but it didn’t quite have enough oomph in the non-ballet sections. So there’s that.
Went to San Antonio for RWA’s National Conference, where I was a lucky girl and got to spend time with the Boroughs peeps. Went to their open house, and was invited to their author dinner even though I wasn’t technically one of theirs yet. Spent some lovely time talking to Chris Keeslar, which is where I got the idea for the Christmas short story. I also drunk-pitched said Ballet Book to a Lovely Editor at St. Martin’s, who said she loved the idea and (being friends with Lovely Agent), when the book is complete she’d like to see it.
Once home, I commenced writing like a fiend. Wrote, finished, and turned in the short story. Christmas Star (only .99!) published in October, 2014! Yay…after almost two years of not publishing, it was nice getting back into the water. In December, I finished book 2 of the StarTide series, and turned that one in. Began Book 3.
Also in December, rewrote another short story I had, after being asked to submit one for a paranormal/sci fi box set for Irksome Rebel Press. As soon as my readers get that back to me, I’ll be turning it in.
So the count for 2014: finished 3 novels; wrote 2 short stories; had one short story published, went to two conferences. Oh, and I wrapped up my second year as President of Los Angeles Romance Authors, chapter of RWA. Whew!
(2015 can be your year, too! There’s room for everyone!)
Here’s what my 2015 is going to look like, that I am aware of currently:
Writing wise: Finish Book 3, Rising Star. Write Caine Brothers Book 3, Demon’s Rage (Justin and Maggie). Rewrite the Ballet Book; send to Lovely Agent (and hopefully Lovely Editor). Brainstorm 2 – 3 novels/novellas for the StarTide series; discuss with Boroughs and write at least the first one.
Guarded Star, to publish in February. Star-Crossed, to publish in April. And Rising Star, publishing in June.
Hopefully my short story will be accepted, and in the Lucky Stars Box Set that will come out on March 17th.
End of March, I will be speaking at the California Dreamin’ Writer’s Conference, where I’ll get to see lots of old friends and make new ones.
End of May, I’ll be at the Pay It Forward Writer’s Retreat, put on by the incomparable duo of Kendall Grey and Danielle Allen.
End of July, I’ll be in New York City for the RWA National Conference!!!
Demon Soul, Demon Hunt and Demon’s Rage will hopefully all be out in August or maybe September, with nifty new covers and finally an end to the story!
A StarTide holiday novella out in October/November, hopefully.
So, that’s my year. Of course, life happens and things change. My fondest hope is that whatever changes happen are for the better, and that more gets out than less…
Whatever your dreams are, go for them. Be bold, in whatever manner fits you. And don’t let anyone tell you your dreams are too big. They are YOUR dreams, and so they are the perfect size.
Sending love and hugs out to you, and may 2015 be the continuation of All the Good Things!
All pictures (except Christmas Star and the StarTide logo) borrowed from Leonie Dawson.
by Christine | Life, Writing
It’s A Crazy Time…that’s why we have nutcrackers, trees, mooses, and bears in wreaths on our mantel.
The holidays are upon us. The year is rushing to an end, and our thoughts are on the right present for the right person, yummy food (overeating at parties), dieting (next year), exercise (please God let there be time AND no injuries), and all those projects we didn’t get to this year, along with the guilt for not getting them done.
And then there’s the writing schedule, as well. I’ve been looking at my year, and trying to plan my writing/publishing schedule. I mean, down to the word count per day. I’m ambitious, I admit it; but for the first time, I’m convinced that I can do this writing gig. I just took a class by Delilah Devlin and Elle James titled Writing 50 Books A Year (yeah, it’s a tongue in cheek title) and they gave me SO MANY DETAILED spreadsheets, I’m in geek heaven.
Those spreadsheets have given me permission to plan. Permission to plunk down big chunks of time (conferences, vacations) and littler chunks of time (see Dad) and all the projects I want to complete next year, and figure out just how I’m going to do it all.
I’ve decided I’m not going to share my desires for next year’s publishing schedule; I know people who publish a heck of a lot more than I do, and some who don’t publish as much as I do, so there’s really no point in sharing those details until next New Year’s Eve Retrospective on the year.
For the first time, I’ll be planning – really planning – my writing year. With months up on the wall, and inputting my daily word count, and everything. Life is exciting, and my dreams are within my grasp. It’s just a matter of pushing aside fear, that little voice that says “you’re going for too much,” and forging on anyway.
In other news, I’m over at Linda Carroll-Bradd’s blog, where she interviewed me. Go on and take a look – I’m still popping in every now and then, though the blog was last week. (My friend Mary Beth Bass wrote the most awesomest comment ever!)
I’ll try to get some wine picks in for you for the holidays, and a garden post. I know I’m behind on those here, but I was on a deadline, you see. Right now, I’m deadline free (but that doesn’t mean I’m not writing!), and I’ll be back on deadline at the first of the year, so I’ll try to stockpile some blog posts.
One last thought to leave you with…even though it’s the holidays, and even though there are a million and one things to do and things that can (and do) go wrong, and even though there’s never enough time or money or energy to go around, do yourself a big, huge favor. Let go of the guilt, whatever kind you’re carrying. Live in the moment. Grab hold of and hug those you love. Express that love whenever possible, because you never know when it’s all just gonna go wrong.
Sending love and big, tight, shoulder-to-knee, rocking side-to-side hugs. And here’s our tree…
The Tree, 2014 And yes, there’s a bear on that tree. Do you see the snowflake fairy? Tom and I got her in Seattle in 1980…so long ago!
Have you read Christmas Star yet? If not, grab it…”A modern day, sweet as hot chocolate fairy tale…” And if you have, would you please leave me a review? Thanks! And my thanks to those who already have reviewed…you know who you are! xo
by Christine | Publishing
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!
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.
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 eBooks, Amazon, Smashwords
Update: For a few hours on Saturday morning, I made a list! #72 – not bad!!!
It didn’t last long, but it sure made my day.