Okay, so I’ve been working on a cookbook for months now, one that features only desserts. Since my novels include a bakery…Sweet Thangs, I thought a cookbook would be a fantastic companion and a great marketing tool.
There is just one negative to my madness. In order to do the cookbook, I must actually bake each item and then photograph them. Then, you know what happens to all those sweets? I eat them.
Some weeks I bake six different things. I’m talking pralines, peanut patties, fudge, cakes, cookies, sweet breads, and the list goes on and on.
Needless to say, I’ve gained fifteen pounds, so a diet seemed in order. I’ve started one each week for the last month and so far, I’ve loss four pounds and gained six!
Tonight, in place of eating cookies, I decided on a Dannon Fit & Light yogurt single serve, only 80 calories. I don’t really like them plain and that has more to do with the consistency than the taste. I don’t like pudding, custard, or jello. I don’t like the feel of it in my mouth.
I like crunchy stuff, so I added some granola to it. Not bad, but still needed something. I sprinkled it with cinnamon. Better, but not exactly what I was craving. I chopped up a few pecans and mixed them in. Even better, but still not a winner. I squirted a little chocolate syrup on it and voila! Just right.
Now, reckon why I’m not losing weight? I’d been better off eating a couple of Golden Oreos and would have been much happier.
Oh well, Monday is coming up and I can start all over again!!
After a year of planning, finally the big day arrives! As director of our local conference, it’s something I look forward to. You may ask how important is it to attend writing conferences? I suppose it depends on the individual. For me, it’s time well spent. Published or not, and I’ve attended both ways, I find I always learn something. Actually, I learn a lot.
Our local conference, Northeast Texas Writers’ Roundup, www.netwo.org was this past weekend. We were fortunate to bring in two agents. Jill Marr, Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency, California, and Doug Grad, Doug Grad Literary Agency, New York. The event provided the perfect opportunity for attendees to submit writing samples and meet with agents face to face to receive critique, and many did. What a great thing for writers!! You can jump ahead of the query process and go straight to conversation regarding your work.
Jill spoke on “How to Pitch an Agent, giving examples of regular pitches and elevator pitches, then took pitches from the audience. Doug presented “Agent of Change,” giving us a clear picture of how the industry is changing for his profession in selling books to big houses. Each conducted a Q & A session.
Tanya Hall and Jonas Koffler from Greenleaf Book Group, LLC, Austin, Texas shared information on publishing and branding with tips of how to use social media.
Our first author of the day was NYT and USA Today best selling author, Molly McAdams, www.mollymcadams.blogspot.com
followed by authors Joe McKinney, www.joemckinney.wordpress.com
and Earl Staggs, www.earlstaggs.wordpress.com
I learned something from each one and it wasn’t all about the craft of writing.
From Molly, I learned sometimes all it takes is just the right connection to make it in this business. She went from self-published to best seller in a matter of months. Fascinating story!
Earl focused on the importance of writing short stories and laced his presentation with humor. A nice break from the instructional part of the day.
Joe McKinney shared his experience of many years in law enforcement showing how to write truthfully about police procedures. From him, through one of his stories, I got an idea for a scene I can include in my next book!
Then, as I networked with fellow members, one lady related a story about her sister and gave me a character idea for my next book!
I always come away from the event…totally worn out, but excited about what I’ve learned.
I strongly recommend finding a conference in your area and signing up. You’ll be glad you did.
I don’t generally do a lot of book reviews on my blog, but I couldn’t stop myself from weighing in on Fifty Shades of Grey because of all the hype it’s gotten.
First, let me go on record…I liked it and don’t know what all the fuss is about. For me, a lot of readers focused on the wrong thing in this story. It’s not about bondage, even though that is important to the plot, it’s a love story about a young inexperienced girl who falls desperately in love with a handsome man, who, along with some strange hang-ups, can’t commit.
I know the story is billed as erotica, however, I didn’t find it all that erotic.
On the other hand, Jingle Bell Rock, an anthology of six Christmas stories, which I bought in a Goodwill store thinking it was just tales of romance, is far more erotic than Fifty Shades. Jingle Bells, features Lori Foster, along with Janelle Denison, Susan Donovan, Donna Kauffman, Alison Kent, and Nancy Warren. All, excellent writers and not known for erotica. I should also mention, Sandra Brown and Jackie Collins. Their stuff is mighty steamy. So, what’s all the fuss? Everyone acts as if Fifty Shades is the first book to ever be written about sex!
E.L. James is an average writer as best, but as we all know, you don’t have to be a fantastic writer to be successful. You just have to have a story people want to read…and I loved reading Fifty Shades. I couldn’t wait to find out if Ana grew a pair of ovaries and told Christian to hit the road, or gave in to his dark way of life.
Since I write humor, I’m thinking maybe I could come up with a book called Ten Shades of Camouflage and use farm implements in place of handcuffs, whips, etc. I could invent a new genre…Farm Erotica.
Well, if I like it or not, I’ve got to start writing my third and final installment of the Brownsboro, Tizzy/Ridge Trilogy. I’ve re-worked the first chapter. I’ve even changed the dead guy’s name and I’ve put boots on him. I still need a title for the book, so I hope some of you will make suggestions. I have some suggestions,( and many are good) but would love more, because I’m having a hard time deciding on one. So, please leave me a comment with your idea of what I should name this book. I’d love to hear from you.
Jay Roy Hobbs held the county record for talking women out of their panties. At least that’s what Tizzy Cooper had been told. Known for his arsenal of one-liners, she’d heard ladies ignored his lack of good looks and fell for his quick wit. Now, staring at him through binoculars, she wasn’t so sure.
Sunlight filtered through the naked limbs of an old tree and cast spindly shadows across early morning dew. Tizzy couldn’t decide if the scent of wild privet or the shock of seeing a dead body caused her stomach to turn. She stepped up on to an old stump to get a better view and focused the field glasses. About fifty yards from the dead tree, Jay Roy lay naked, except for boots, on a patchwork quilt, face toward heaven, arms outstretched.
Sandwiched between best friends Synola Harper and Rayann Tatum, Tizzy adjusted the straps of her pink sundress and decided they must be as surprised as she by the sight of the dead man, because neither of them said a word. A wave of sadness washed over her. Jay Roy and Tizzy’s mom graduated together. Much too young to die. She passed the binoculars to Synola.
“Lord, can you believe the size of that thing?” Synola tugged her tank top down against warm mocha skin, tucked it into the slender waist of her jeans and looked at Rayann. “I don’t suppose you’ve ever seen anything that big.”
Her friend narrowed green eyes and frowned. “Of course I have. I watch HBO.”
Synola giggled, adjusted the focus, and peered back at Jay Roy. “It kinda looks like a wilted purple tulip.”
“It does, doesn’t it? Especially with the bow tied around it.” Tizzy craned her neck toward the road where clouds of dust billowed like smoke signals.
Two patrol cars pulled to the side of the black-top and Sheriff Dan McAlister, Tizzy’s older brother, climbed out first, followed by Rayann’s husband, police officer Dwayne “Bubba” Tatum.
Over six feet five and two-hundred forty pounds, the spittin’ image of their daddy with dark hair and blue eyes, Dan made a beeline toward his sister. “What the hell are you doing out here this early?”
His massive bulk blocked the rising sun and cast Tizzy in shadow. “Don’t get bent out of shape, Dan. We’ve stayed far away from the body, so nothing has been disturbed.”
“I’m not worried about that. You come from three generations of law men. I hope you have enough sense not to upset a crime scene.” Dan removed his hat, threaded his fingers through his hair, spit on the ground, and resumed his chew of tobacco. “Just curious, that’s all.”
“In a nutshell, Rayann spent the night with me because Bubba worked the graveyard shift and Ridge is still investigating an out of town case.”
The mention of Ridge made Tizzy’s heart ache. Being married to a Texas Ranger could sometimes be a bad thing, especially when he worked jobs involving nights away from home.
“Fraidy-cat Rayann can’t be alone at night,” Synola said.
When Bubba walked to stand next to his wife and plant a kiss on her cheek, Rayann stiffened and Tizzy wondered why.
“Shut up, Synola,” Rayann said.
Tizzy nodded toward the house down the road. ”Synola spent the night with her aunt. This morning, they noticed all those buzzards.” She pointed up at the sky filled with birds patiently gliding, forming a circle of ebony above Jay Roy. “Synola called us, I called you, and here we are.”
The shrill whine of sirens sliced the air as the ambulance arrived followed by the Justice of the Peace.
A sudden breeze caught long strands of Tizzy’s hair and blew wisps across her face. She pushed them behind her ear and widened her eyes at Dan. “Do you think Ridge will be assigned this case?”
“What’s wrong? You feeling neglected?”
“Kinda. Ridge comes in after I’ve gone to bed and leaves before I get up. Sometimes he doesn’t come home at all. I’ve barely seen him in the last two weeks.”
“I’ve already talked to him. Turns out, he’s almost done with the investigation in Gun Barrel City anyway, so the local guys can finish it up. As soon as he concludes his paperwork this morning, he’ll be home.” Dan put his hat back on and hooked his thumbs in his pockets. “Wait a minute. You didn’t kill this guy to get Ridge back in town, did you?” He broke into a rowdy laugh.
Tizzy punched him on the arm. “No. That guy, by the way, is Jay Roy Hobbs.”
“No shit.” Dan looked toward the body, then back at Tizzy and laughed again. “Are you getting’ anything? You know, any communication from him? It’d sure be nice if he sent you some message from beyond to let us know what happened.”
Even though she’d spoken with the dearly departed since childhood, and the talent sometimes proved useful during investigations, her brother still teased about it.
“Nope. Something’s changed for me. Ever since I found out my ability passed on to my daughter, my connection to the afterlife has dwindled.”
“Yeah, who would have thought sweet little Gracie would not only speak to her dead daddy, but see him too. That’s spooky. She’s not seeing any other dead people, is she?”
“Right now, just him, and for her, he’s more like an imaginary friend.”
“Looks like the JP just pronounced him, so I’ll take a look.” As Dan walked away, Bubba followed.
Within a few minutes they returned to the women and Dan spoke. “Yeah, it’s J.R. all right. Nekked as a jaybird, dead as a doornail, and looking happy as a Lark.”
“So, his tally-whacker really is that big?” Synola asked.
“What? You think it’s fake?”
“No, I thought maybe the binoculars magnified it.”
“Nope, it’s actually that size.The blue ribbon is a nice touch.”
“Yeah, looks like he won first place in a Cock-a-Doodle-Do Contest.”
“Maybe it’s just for presentation,” Bubba said.
“Could be, or maybe somebody killed him and put it there,” Dan said.
“You think he was murdered?” Tizzy asked.
“Gee, I don’t know, Tiz. Let’s think about it. J.R.’s naked, in a field at daylight, and he’s got a ribbon tied around his johnson. I don’t think he came out here, stripped off, tied a bow, and died of natural causes. Do you?”
“Maybe. He could have come out here for a rendezvous and had a heart attack.”
“Yeah, could be, I guess. But it is suspicious and if it does turn out to be foul play, Ridge is gonna have plenty of suspects.”
“Whataya mean?” Synola asked.
“All the girls from J.R.’s graduating class are in town for an all ladies reunion and the story goes J.R. nailed almost everyone of ‘em their senior year. I remember Dad telling stories how back in the day this was the place J. R. brought his dates.” Dan spit again. “With all the women here, maybe he planned on hooking up with one again for old time’s sake and got caught by someone who didn’t like it.”
“That may be a good starting point, but J. R. was a legend when it came to the ladies. Could be a recent conquest,” Bubba said.
“Yeah, maybe, but something tells me finding him like this and a class of former lovers being in town may not be a coincidence.”
“Wow, I bet those girls had some interesting slumber parties! Did any of them fall in love with him?” Synola asked.
“Hell, yeah,” Dan said. “He married three of ‘em. One of ‘em, twice.”
Tizzy shaded her eyes with her hand. “How’d he get here? I don’t see a car.”
“He still has his boots on, so he probably walked. He just lives right through those trees.” Dan pointed past the crime scene.
“Well, Rayann and I need to get to the bakery. I imagine our customers will be sharing plenty of Jay Roy stories today.”
Back at the car, as Tizzy pulled onto the road, Rayann burst into tears.
Synola leaned forward from the back seat. “What the hell, Rayann?”
“I don’t know what to do. I think Dwayne is having an affair.” She took a quick breath and babbled on. “Should I have him followed? Bug his phone? I can’t believe he’d do this to me!”
“Oh good God. You’ve jumped off the cliff of insanity and landed in the middle of crazy town. There’s no way Bubba would cheat on you,” Synola said.
When Rayann sobbed harder, Tizzy reached over and patted her shoulder. “Synola’s right. He’s been in love with you since high school. He waited while you married someone else hoping it wouldn’t work out, and when it didn’t, I’ve never seen him happier. What makes you think he’s having an affair?”
Rayann tried to catch her breath. “I—found—make-up—on—his—collar.”
“That’s not proof of anything. An innocent hug could leave make-up,” Tizzy said.
“I’ve found it more than once. How many innocent hugs is the man getting?”
“Lord, this is why I’m never getting married,” Synola declared. “The two of you are still newlyweds and one’s being ignored and the other thinks her man is cheating. Damn, and I thought Jay Roy’s pocket-rocket was going to be the drama of the day.”
On Tuesday, I went to see the new release, IDENTITY THIEF. First, let me say I am a BIG fan of Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy. They are both terrific comedic actors, so I expected to be rolling in the aisle, but I didn’t. Several times during the movie I laughed out loud, but overall, it fell short for me. I suppose I expected too much from these fine actors, because they are two of my favorites.
I’m not saying don’t see the movie. I thought it was entertaining enough to warrant spending my senior- citizen-first-matinee-of-the-day four dollar admission. I’m just glad I didn’t pay regular price. I don’t hold the actors responsible for my lack of interest. I think they did a good job. There wasn’t a lot of chemistry between them, but the main problem was with the script.
Without giving too much away, I’ll say the first thing which struck me odd was that Jason’s character, who happens to be in the financial industry, readily gives his personal information, including his social security number to a telemarketer. For me, that just wasn’t believable. There were other things about the script that bothered me as well, but I won’t go into them. If I had to star rate it, I’d give it a two-and-a-half.
Moving on: I’ve been having computer problems, so last week I bought a new one. Today, my son hooked it up for me. It has Windows 8 and I can already tell it’s going to be a challenge. Everything is different from what I’m used to and regardless of not being able to teach an old dog new tricks…I’ll have to learn it. Wish me luck.
The final random item I want to mention is Northeast Texas Writers’ Organization’s Writing Conference, which will be held here in Mt. Pleasant, Texas, April 26 and 27. Please go to our website, netwo.org to check out the wonderful speakers we have this year. Also, take a look at our short story contest. This would be a great time to enter something you’ve written for a chance to win a little cash.
If you don’t write, but have friends and family members who do, please pass this information along to them. We need entries! High School students may enter as well, so if you work at a high school, please encourage students to enter.
I took part in a funny Valentine challenge. Here’s my entry.
He moved into the home February third
At least that was the rumor I’d heard
He’d been my doctor when I was young
Delivered my daughter and my son
I recognized him, but he didn’t have a clue
What they say about them must be true
If you’re an OB/GYN
You don’t recognize faces
Because they’re on the wrong end
All my bingo partners and best friend Mable
Fought every day to sit at his table
I kept my distance, but gave him the eye
Even without teeth, he was still a nice looking guy
Imagine my surprise on Valentine’s Day
To find this poem on my lunch tray:
Roses are red, Violets are blue
If you’ll be my valentine
I’ll put my teeth in for you!
**To leave a comment, click on the “No Comments” in the lower right corner below
The winner of the $25 Amazon gift card is GALA!
Prior to selecting the winner,last night I checked one last time for new comments. Then I made an entry for each comment made each day on each blog site. I put all those entries into a basket and had my youngest grandchild draw one out.
Thanks to everyone who took the time to follow my tour and comment each day. I appreciate it more than you know.
The tour was a lot of fun. Thanks to all the sites for featuring my book and to Goddess Fish Promotions for arranging the tour!
Today wraps up my blog tour and I gotta say it’s been fun. Check out the last two stops and read the comments. On reader asked how I came up with my character names, so you may want to know that as well.
She asked about Jinx, Tizzy, Ridge, and Synola and the way I chose them was different in each case.
So, here are the sites for the last two stops. Don’t forget, if you leave a comment, you’ll be entered to win a $25 Amazon gift card!
Thanks to everyone who took the time to follow my tour and comment.
Find out what my grandmother would think of Ridge Cooper, my male main character in LAID OUT AND CANDLE LIT and YOU’RE BUSTING MY NUPTIALS, over at http://christymckeewriter.blogspot.com/
where Christy McKee writes about women in the sweet spot of life. I answer that question and a few more. You may learn a few things about me that you didn’t know…I am a woman of mystery, after all…NOT! I’m actually an open book…no pun intended. :+)
Anyhoo, while you’re there, take a minute to subscribe to her blog and post a comment about mine…you just may win a $25 Amazon gift card.