Thursday, July 29, 2010

My book is out!

Whew.  Been a while since I've update my poor little blog.  Life has been busy and still is, so I'll keep this brief. 


How's that for brief?  I'll add more later, but I'm staring an August 1st deadline in the face and I do not miss deadlines.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Brain Overload in 3... 2... 1...

What a week it has been.  There's so much, I don't know where to start.  Work has been crazy.  Personal life has been crazy.  Writing life has been productive.  I started joining in the #1k1hr madness at twitter.  The premise is simple.  You pick a time and write.  You must hit one thousand words AND one hour in order to stop.  It's strangely addictive.  Once I get started, I find myself often producing much more than the one thousand words.  For more, here is Patrick Alan's page about #1k1hr.  I've almost finished Becoming Mr. Brooking.  This is a good thing.  The early release of Compromising Prudence is July 23rd.  That is a week from friday. EEP!

Things are fun around Aspen Mountain Press as they celebrate their 4 year anniversary and kick off their new imprint.  Aurora Regency officially launches in October, but they have three books as special "pre-launch" treats, including mine. 

How about some free stuff?  My publisher wants to give you some.  No, really.  Like a nook?  And a FIRST EDITION GEORGETTE HEYER!!! I'll let my editor explain it to you.  Hang on while I get her.

Celina says:

Ready to get started? Okay–here's how it works.

From July 23-August 1, Aspen Mountain Press is conducting its big fourth anniversary bash and if you want the presents, here's what you have to do.

1. Post a comment to the Aspen Mountain Press blog .

2. Post a comment to the twin blog post at the Aurora Regency blog .

3. Sign up for the AMP newsletter.

4. Participate in the AMP Anniversary bash party at the AMP Community Loop from 7 to 11 pm EST. We'll have a thread specifically for entries there where you'll have to shout out.

And that's all you have to do to win a Nook e-reader from Aspen Mountain Press. Other prizes like downloads and gift baskets will be given away at specific chat events.

Tomorrow, at Loves Romance and More E-cafe, the Aurora authors are chatting from 10 am to 5 pm. Your first chance to win is at the Aurora launch party–we'll be giving away a "Good Night With a Historical Romance" basket with downloads, a hot chocolate set and a FIRST EDITION Georgette Heyer! Gift basket is worth $100! So show up at the Love Romances and More E-Cafe for your chance to win.

Next week, you can chat with AMP authors including Cynnarra Trenarth, Maura Anderson, Lena Austin, Lizzie T. Leaf, Celina Summers, Marguerite Butler, Kimberly Nee, Arabella Sheration, Colleen Stormer, Dominique Eastwick, V. Mark Covington, Raine Delight, Kara Griffin, Viki Lyn, Cynthia Vespia, Jade Buchanan, Barbara Custer, Sloane Taylor and Chris Morrow. We're giving away downloads from most and many other prizes as well. You can find them at chats–Romance Reviews Today all day on June 28 and Love Romances and More on June 30.

So the first step is to post a comment to the blog posts. Then sign up for the newletter. Then the Aurora Regency/ Aurora Regency Historicals authors tomorrow at the Love Romances and More E-cafe! And good luck!

Celina Summers

Got all that?  Good.  Now go win something.  I'm going to breathe into my paper bag again.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Freckles says "Howdy y'all."

Howdy from a real Texas Longhorn.  She's one of my dad's cows and always has a knack for being there if food is involved.  She and I have a bit in common.  I tend to show up whenever food is involved.

I think I need more than just 24 hours in a day to get everything done.  The last week has been great.  I've been lounging at the lake, happily typing away on my current WIP and enjoying my Kindle while my kids do their best to terrify the fish, both with rod & reel and swimming attempts. It was good fun, but now I'm back to reality. Gack!

Reality is that I have a ridiculous number of things to get done this month.  Ack!  Okay, first some fun things.  I came back to find that not only am I up on my publisher's coming soon pages, but I'm on their blog, and best of all, there is an interview with me up at the new Aurora Regency blog! Everything you ever wanted to know, but was afraid to ask is there.  Okay, maybe it's just a mini-interview, but it definitely tells you a bit more about my projects. 

I don't know about you, but this weather makes me want to eat, but not to cook.  One of the awesome things about camping is that the husband feels the need to be all manly and run the grill for every meal.  This means good eating with very little effort on my part.  Win!  So in honor of laziness, I have two--that's right TWO--recipes. 

The first is for my Aunt Doris' Icebox pickles.  These are the sweetest, most addictive pickles you will ever love.  Even the onions become mild and delicious.

Start with about 16 cups of cucumber slices and 6 large onions, sliced 1/8 inch thick
1 TBS celery seed
1 TBS mustard seed
1 TBS tumeric
1 Cup pickling salt
8 Cups sugar
8 Cups water

The recipe is simple.  Mix all these spices together and stir until the salt and sugar are fully disolved.  Pack your cucumber and onion slices into containers and pour the pickling solution over them until they are fully covered.  It's important for all parts of the veggies to be submerged.  Then just put them in the fridge and let them sit for five days.  They keep for about a year, but are their best for about 3 mos.

My second gift to you is my Aunt Dottie's Unbaked Cookies (Aunt Dottie was named for the above Aunt Doris who is actually my great aunt).  There is a teeny bit of cooking involved in this, but no baking.

1 stick of butter
4 TBS of cocoa
2 Cups sugar
1/2 cup milk

Mix these together and boil for 1 1/2 minutes.  Then stir in:

3 cups oatmeal
1/2 Cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla

Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper and let dry for an hour or two.  If you live in a humid climate, it takes a bit longer, but you can eat them anyway, even if they don't dry fully.  I have trouble keeping mine on the wax paper until they're dry.  They just keep disappearing.

Writing is the fun part, but now I have laundry and dishes and a camper to unpack and loads of dayjob stuff waiting for me.  I think I need cookies.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Fresh from the Garden

Happy 4th of July!  This is for the 4th of July Blog Potluck over at Creating Home.  Be sure and stop by there for links to lots of memories and recipes.

My grandmother was a fantastic gardener, but she didn't eat fresh vegetables.  Nana was a product of the great depression and all things were to be hoarded, even food.  Some of my earliest memories are of summer harvests and the inevitable canning process.  With only a tiny icebox, she didn't freeze things.  She canned them.  For days on end, the pressure canner and pots of boiling water roiled nonstop.  I'm talking about a Texas summer with only a little swamp cooler unit to take the sting out of the heat. 

We'd sit there beet read, wiping faces on the apron and eat those last few peaches that didn't make it into the jars.  She would tell me stories about her childhood and we would snap beans.  She excelled at all those things folks consider the dying domestic arts now.  She canned and quilted, made all my clothes until junior high--and she could strike a match at 100 yards with her rifle.  She was a shrewd business woman in an era in which it wasn't appreciated, but she had to be.  I'm pretty sure that if she was of my generation, she'd be a Fortune 500 CEO, given her ruthless nature and razor sharp intellect.

I still haven't found any store bought relishes, jams, or pickles that come anywhere close to hers. My favorite was her chow-chow.  Chow-chow is a pickled relish made from whatever you've got in the garden and hers had a smattering of everything in it.  Nana loved color and this is a vibrant, beautiful garnish to your hotdogs and burgers. The vegetables can vary, but she started with:

Tomatoes: This is the base of your relish.  Peel and core about 2 1/2 pounds
Zucchini, 5 or six medium sized will do, you can throw in crooked neck squash for a little color
Sweet bell peppers, 6 large ones, I like to use a combo of red, green and yellow ones, remove stems and seeds
Onions, 2 peeled and quartered
Garlic, four cloves

Coarsely chop all your veggies.  Nana chopped these all by hand and mixed them, but I like to use the coarse chop blade of my food processor.  Put them in a colander and let the excess liquid drain into the sink.  Sprinkle them with 1/4 cup of pickling salt and let them stand overnight.

The next morning, rinse the mixture and drain again.  In a large pot mix:

2 Cups sugar
2 Cups white vinegar
1 Cup water
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tsp thyme

Bring it to a boil and add in the veggies.  Once it reaches a full boil remove from the heat.  Put it in your pint jars leaving 1/2 inch of headspace, adjust lids and boil in canner for another 10 minutes.

Soon I'll share her corn relish recipe and maybe even her icebox pickles (if I feel frisky).

Enjoy your 4th of July!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

It's all about me!

So today I'm going to pimp my book because, hey--it's my blog and my book is coming out soon and it's fabulous and you should read it until your eyes bleed and buy copies for your mom and sis and cat and everyone.  So there.  Or something like that.

Anyway, my book really does launch soon.  July 23rd is the official launch day and I'm sure that I have a fun contest leading up to it.  I'm all about the fun.  So is my heroine, Miss Prudence Wemberly.  Prudence has spent her life being good and what has it gotten her?  Ruined and unmarried.  Yes, a single moment has ruined years of being good in the eyes of the ton, but the worst part is that she didn't even enjoy it.  She's out to remedy that.

Prudence Wemberly is desperate. Her reputation has been damaged by a cowardly suitor and her overbearing father will disown her when he finds out about it. She musters her courage and flees to the house of the most notorious courtesan in London. If she's ruined, why not become a courtesan herself and have a little fun for a change? It sounds like a reasonable idea—after she has her third glass of sherry.

Charles Hatterly only wants to pursue his passion for ornithology, but his family expects him to marry and manage the family estates. He needs to find a well-behaved girl who will be content to marry him—and then leave him alone.

For a gentleman scientist in need of a wife and a ruined miss in need of a future, there is an obvious solution. If Prudence and Charles can make it to the altar despite their meddling families, unscrupulous rakes and the brewing scandal that has the ton talking, they just might find more than they bargained for. Can true love bloom amid the catastrophes that arise from compromising Prudence?

This novella represents a sea change from my writing just a few years back. I'm sure it will shock no one, but at one time I wanted to write ::clears throat::  Serious Literature (note the caps?  it was that important).  Yes, I was going to write important things, deep, meaningful scenes with imagery that would transcend the written word into the collective subconscious of the world.  Yeah.  Problem is, I'm a very silly person.  It's sort of who I am.  I'm incapable of taking myself seriously for longer than four consecutive seconds and no matter what I was writing, humor crept in.  Horror?  I wrote funny horror.  Mysteries?  I wrote funny ones.  No matter what I tried my hand at, my sense of the absurb found itself on the page.

I finally learned to embrace my goofy side.  Once learned to love the goofy, writing became much more fun and my writing improved vastly.  I found my voice.  No angsty romances for me.  Compromising Prudence is a light-hearted romp and I hope people have as much fun spending time with Charles and Prudence as I did. 

Now back to your regularly scheduled Lolcat.  I'm off to write more funny.