Monday, September 26, 2016

~Food is love, Baby Girl ~

“Food is love, Baby Girl,” Neenie said as she spoon-fed Savannah with both. 


Savannah perched on the kitchen stool as she watched Neenie pour the batter like chocolate lava into greased and floured cake pans. She smacked the tins on the counter to release any air bubbles before bearing them to the oven and gliding them inside, with a skilled cook's economy of movement. Neenie in the kitchen, was as predictable as the sun rising in the east. That predictability was the island Savannah always circled.



"Here, child. Maybe this will make you feel better." Neenie set two saucers of the dark confection on the table and sat beside her mistress.
          Savannah's fingers rested on the fork beside her plate, tracing the delicate pattern of her wedding silverware. She picked it up, cold and heavy in her hand, and stabbed at her dessert as if it were a voodoo doll. Looking at Neenie, she sighed from somewhere deep in her soul where dreams went to die.

          "Not everything can be fixed with your chocolate cake."
                                                                               -PAPER CASTLES


I don't know know what Savannah's talking about. Because everything can be fixed with chocolate cake. 

Here's Neenie's recipe:


2 cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (8 oz) container sour cream
2 large eggs lightly beaten
1 cup butter
1 cup water
1/4 cup cocoa

COMBINE first 4 ingredients in a large bowl, stir in sour cream and beaten eggs. MELT butter in heavy saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in 1 cup water and cocoa. Bring to boil, whisking constantly. Remove from heat. STIR cocoa mixture into flour mixture. Pour batter into lightly greased 15x10 inch jellyroll pan. 
BAKE at 325 for 20-25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Spread Fudge Frosting evenly over WARM cake. YIELD: 24 servings. ( let's be real...more like 12)

FUDGE FROSTING:
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup cocoa 
1 ( 1 pound) package of powdered sugar. 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

MELT butter in saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in milk and cocoa and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Gradually add powdered sugar, stirring until smooth; stir in vanilla.
Immediately pour over warm cake.






Tuesday, July 5, 2016

~ Her name was Savannah ~





Her name was Savannah. 
I first saw her on 7.17.13.
 Almost exactly three years ago. 
She stood in the shadows, at first.
But I sensed her there, 
the faintest baby's breath of her story 
on the back of my neck.
 More a feel of time and place than anything else. 
And a sense of sadness
 hanging in the air when she left.
Slow to trust,
 she eventually moved out of the dark and into the light. 
Vulnerable, with all her imperfections on display. 
And I knew then, that I loved her in spite of them.
 I held out my hands and she placed her story in my open palms.

She trusted me. 
I hope I've done her proud.
And I hope you fall in love, too,
with

PAPER CASTLES




Monday, June 13, 2016

~ Jumping the Couch ~



 What do Tom Cruise and I have in common?  



Every time I write a book. I fall in love.

I fall in love with the characters, their stories, their lives. 
I become consumed.
Each time it seems to get bigger and bigger. I'm like the celebrity gushing about his fourth wife and saying he's never been in love before.
 ( I hear you Tom. I know how you feel.)

 Before you know it, I'm jumping on the couch claiming there's never been a love like this one. 

And Oprah is looking at me like I've lost my mind.  




Look at Oprah's face !



Do I care? Hell no. 
In love with Savannah Palmerton and her story.

Hopefully you'll fall in love too, with;




Coming July 14th





Wednesday, November 11, 2015

~ Snip, snip ~

Ouch. 
It hurts like hell to have spent hours, days pouring over two beautiful scenes...only to realize they're not central to the story. So they have to go.



Can't I keep 'em Mom, please? Can I? Can I?

Do they move the story along? Are they necessary to the plot?
Well, no...but they're so pretty. And ... and ...

Snip. Snip. 
Oh my little heart.

#lovehurts #lifeofawriter








Sunday, September 20, 2015

~ See you next year ~

My son asked: "What's ORACON? Is it anything like ComicCon?
I said "Sure it is, we dress up like our favorite authors."



But wouldn't that be fun?

Costumes or no costumes, the annual Ozarks Romance Authors Conference in Springfield MO
 is not to be missed. It's so much more than romance, every genre can be found among the attendees.
Whether you'e a newbie with stars in your eyes or a seasoned pro there is always something to be learned by sharing time with fellow authors. 
Not to mention the guest speakers who share their expertise from various arms
of the writing and publishing world.
The creativity floating about the room is electric.
Just plug in.




Indie Authors are some of the most generous people I've ever met .
Where ever you go someone is willing to share some exciting bit of news they've stumbled across that just might make your journey a little easier.


And you happily pay it forward.
Snippets of conversation are peppered with
"Have you heard of this?'
or 
"Have your tried this website. It's full of information."

And it's a good thing because in the world of Indie publishing, what worked last year may not be the smartest choice this year.
 You've got to keep your ear to the ground and be ready
to hop on the next bandwagon or be left behind.

So suck it up Buttercup, 'cuz
"There's no crying in Indie Publishing"



I always leave the conference feeling like the energizer bunny.
Overflowing with ideas and a tote bag full of goodies
I head off into the world of writing
with a little more knowledge tucked under my hat.

Thanks to all the hard-working people who made
this conference a sweet success.

See you next year.
After all the only thing a writer likes better than writing,
is talking about writing. 








Tuesday, September 8, 2015

~ A Place of One's Own ~



I've been busy putting together the writing space in my new digs. 
A task both fun and bittersweet.
You see the room wasn't supposed to look like this. I had another design direction in mind entirely when my life took a 180 degree turn.  
But...that's life. 
For in those moments we are reminded that we're not in charge.  
Now newly widowed I decorate this space with no one else in mind.
 Just me.
That's a phrase I'm still getting used to.  
I've been saying it with a little more conviction lately.
Yes. It's just me.
And that's OK.
 I must say I'm thrilled with how the room turned out.
(claps hands excitedly)
I love decorating almost as much as I love writing.
My first purchase was this massive desk so I can spread out all my notebooks. 



It's a serious desk.



Meant for serious business. 
 The kind of desk where Ernest Hemingway might have written 'The Old Man and the Sea
I'm hoping it's solid good looks translate to some seriously good writing.



Once I had the desk, the new vision for the room danced into view.
I chose this serene color palette of soft grays and creams, 
wanting the kind of space that just wrapped itself around me.

A little task lighting, with a sweet reminder that someone is watching over me.




Since this space must double as a guest room when I'm not churning out best sellers, 
(cough cough)
 I chose this comfy Hide-a bed. So the room remains streamlined and still functions like an office. 


I think my favorite find was this little gem on Etsy; a map of ancient Rome. 
I had it framed in six pieces and hung like a giant grid. 
I love, love, love it. It came from a guy in Slovenia. Isn't shopping on the internet GRAND?

(Sorry, I couldn't seem to get a picture without the light fixture showing up.)




A large window looks out onto my street with plenty of  mature trees
 and green to soothe the eye. 
You are aware that writers spend an inordinate amount of time 
staring out the window aren't you?
No we're not daydreaming or wasting time.That staring out the window thing? That's work.
That's plotting the next move, running over a scene in our minds. 
Those quiet 'lost in thought' moments are integral to writing.  

Then of course, there's stuff...



I love how this bulletin board turned out. I have my 'fortune'
from a dependable Fortune Cookie tacked in the corner already.







P.S. I'm well aware that Lizzie thinks she's a Kardashian  and must wriggle herself into every photo possible.
Look closely, and you'll see 'you know who's nose!' I was going to edit it out, 
but hey...she works so hard for it. 




 So I'm done with the finishing touches on this charming space,
this soothing cocoon, this writer's dream.
I guess the only thing left to do is:




By the way; was that Ernest Hemingway
I just saw walk by with a sandwich? Wait a minute, Bub. That's my DESK.





Monday, August 24, 2015

~ Take Me To The River ~

There's nothing like stepping out of my daily routine to help me see the world with new eyes.
This past weekend, I went on a girl's road trip to St. Charles.
Three women...a few bags...

In my mind it went something like this:

In reality it looked more like this.



 Shopping, laughing, sharing as only we women can do 
was the perfect antidote for what ails me.


St. Charles, Missouri was our destination.
St. Charles was settled primarily by French-speaking colonists from Canada
in its early days and was considered the last 'civilized' stop by the
Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1804.

A title this little gem of a city embraced and still wears proudly today as she was dressed up in her
finest summer hat for this street fair.




Her charms did not go unnoticed as we strolled the 
cobblestone streets along this historic river-front town.
Hello, you had me at cobblestone.

After an early morning storm cleared the air,
the rest of the day was perfectly set for shopping
There was nothing little about the annual 'Festival of the Little Hills'
The sellers tents seemed to stretch on for miles.
We couldn't have seen more than 1/3 of the vendors before we gave out.


A little retail therapy goes a long way. 
Then it was time for a lengthy stop at the famous Lewis and Clark's for lunch. 
Reflecting on the historic nature of my surroundings got my creativity bubbling.
I could almost feel the centuries of stories in the brick walls.
Stories and lives that had been carried along with the current of the old
Missouri River just steps away.  




I'm always attuned to my surroundings,
 taking in the sights, sounds, smells, the feel of a place and its people.
Filing away information for a future story or character, 
even when I'm unaware that's what I'm doing in the moment.

Writing even when I'm not writing.