I find myself being moved to tears by the simplest things lately. My daughter shared a treat with her dad without a second thought, and I cried. My son gave me a sleepy hug as I tucked him in and told me, “I couldn’t ask for a better mama.” You bet I cried at that one.
Life right now is so overwhelming, and one of this things that helps me through each day is knowing that I am not alone. I know many of you have had challenges this year that go well beyond the pandemic. Life keeps moving along, and our other struggles haven’t stopped just because a pandemic is raging.
The world has been through so much this year. Now more than ever, it feels important to pause and give thanks. And so today I give thanks to the Earth, for providing us with a home. I give thanks for the Native Peoples of my country and recognize their continuing contribution to our world and our culture. I give thanks to my family and friends.
And I give thanks for you, dear readers. This past year you have welcomed my posts into your inboxes, my book onto your e-readers, and (I hope) my words into your hearts. I am forever grateful.
This post is a reminder to myself, really. When I get stuck on a writing project, when my day gets sabotaged by a cat (it’s a long story), or when the state of the world has me reeling, I try hard to remember to breathe. It really does make everything just slightly better. Deep breath in, deep breath out.
The first round of edits for Interrupted Plans have been submitted. One of the folks at Meryton Press joked that Interrupted Plans should be the title for all of 2020! I can’t wait for this novel to be released. I do hope you all enjoy it. More details as they come!
Take care, dear readers. Get outside and breathe. Keep your loved ones close, or do air hugs if you have to.
Those who know me personally understand that I do not like to be scared. I am the type of person that might jump if you call my name too loudly, even though we are in the same room and I saw you coming.
I still manage to enjoy Halloween, focusing on the cute pumpkins, happy children, and yummy treats instead of the gore, thrills, and psychological scariness of the holiday. Maybe it’s because I have kids now, but I feel like Halloween costumes and decorations are getting scarier and gorier each year.
The question of why that is (or even if that is) would need a whole blog post to itself, so we’ll set that aside and focus on what I consider to be the good parts of Halloween. This year, my kids won’t be trick-or-treating, but we can still have fun! Here is a short list of some of our favorites Halloween things.
My kids have always loved carving pumpkins, and my husband is a gem and takes over the messy bits for me. I’m thinking of trying this cute idea. A pumpkin house!
Cute Movies/TV Shows
We have a super-low tolerance for scary. I mean, the old Disney Halloween specials are too spooky for us. But this Curious George special has been a hit with my kids. It’s pretty darn cute. Other good options include the Blue’s Clues Halloween specials and the classic Buffy the Vampire Episode “Fear Itself” (for older kids).
Candy aside, themed treats are just fun. We’re planning on making these cute hot dog mummies this year. There will also be lots of pumpkin flavored things, because I just can’t get enough.
I plan on getting myself a non-scary Halloween themed romance novel, making myself a chai latte, and enjoying Halloween to its non-scary fullest. I hope you and yours can do the same.
In-between grappling with Halloween Covid choices (treat or treating? pumpkin patches?) and costume creation, I have been working on a brand new story. For those of you who are keeping track, yes, I am still in edits for my latest publication, Interrupted Plans.
This work, which I’m calling Guardians for now, is a young adult fantasy romance. I guess. Genres aren’t really my thing. I had the initial spark of an idea about three years ago, but suddenly it’s taken off in my brain and I can’t brainstorm anything else but this.
Guardians is, like all my work, a romantic tale. There are star-crossed lovers, there are magical beings, and there is a big evil dude bent on the acquisition of power. There may be two interwoven plot lines. There are definitely angel wings.
Those of you who have followed me for a while will know that whenever I begin a new project, I begin a new playlist. (Insert rant about Google’s new changes to Play Music here).
Today I want to share a few of my new musical discoveries. First up, Atlas: Hearing by Sleeping at Last:
Is that not a magical piece of music? It screams for writing. My fingers itch just listening to it. Another new favorite is Run by Ludovico Einaudi:
It is so good! Poetic and sweeping and just darn lovely. It fits one of my characters perfectly. It’s sort of become her theme song.
I hope your October is full of joy. Take care and stay well.
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12 oz All-Purpose Flour, sifted 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon 3 oz Vegetable Shortening 3 oz Chilled Butter, diced 3 oz Chilled Water Pinch of Salt 2 lb. Cooking Apples 1 Cup Sugar 1 Teaspoon Ground Cloves 1 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg 12 oz Blackberries 1 Egg, beaten
Preheat oven to 350F.
Prepare the pastry. Place the flour in a large bowl and stir in the cinnamon and salt. Rub in the butter and shortening with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Make a well in the center and add the chilled water. Bring the mixture together using a round-bladed knife. Once it has come together, knead for a brief moment and place in a plastic bag and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Peel and core the apples. Cut into large chunks and place them in a saucepan with the sugar, cloves and nutmeg. Cover with a lid and gently cook for 5 minutes or until the apples have softened. Fold in the blackberries and remove the saucepan from the heat. Cool completely.
Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll out 2/3 on a lightly floured surface. Line an 8 inch metal pie plate. Prick the base of pastry with a fork. Strain the fruit, reserving the juices and spoon the fruit mixture into the crust. Roll out remaining pastry and lay over the fruit.
Lift back the edge and brush the base with a little egg and seal the edge. Trim and crimp the pastry edges. Brush the surface with the remaining egg and make a couple of slits in the top. Scatter a little more sugar over the pastry and bake for 35 minutes. Serve hot or cold with ice cream or fresh whipped cream.
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Hello, dear readers. I’m back to share with you my latest additions to my writing playlist. If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you’ll know that music is essential for my writing mojo. When I start a new work, I create a new playlist. It’ll usually be filled with instrumental pieces, but occasionally songs with words get in there too.
I have a favorite playlist that I continually add to, which I’ve called “Historical Romance.” I’m creative like that. This is what I listened to while writing Interrupted Plans.
The first piece I’m sharing today is called “The Northbound Train” from the BBC adaptation of North & South by Elizabeth Gaskell. It’s composed by Martin Phipps, a favorite of mine. Take a listen:
It’s just so good! The next piece is from a soundtrack near and dear to my heart. “Leaving London,” from Patrick Doyle’s Sense and Sensibility soundtrack. This track is particularly relevant to the story line of Interrupted Plans!
If you have never listened to much Patrick Doyle or Martin Phipps, please, please, please check them out. So much loveliness! Take care, dear readers. Stay well.
P.S. If you’re interested, check out more of my Music to Write By series, click the Music to Write By tag below.
I thought I had a pretty good handle on how to address a lady or gentleman of the Regency Period. In the midst of editing my latest novel, however, I’ve learned so much about the intricacies of this seemingly simple occurance. A man walks in, he says hello, the lady responds. That’s it, right?
Oh, no. There is so much more to it.
One of the things I learned through reading various blog posts was that a gentleman must ask to be introduced to a lady. And the lady may decline! She could just say, no and walk away. I find it fascinating how behaviors change over time. I feel like you couldn’t pull that off today without being called rude. Back in the Regency period, it was considered a way that a lady could protect herself from unwanted acquaintances.
Also, a person of higher rank must acknowledge you first. If they do not ask for an introduction, you cannot. Think Mr Collins embarrassing Elizabeth by going up and introducing himself to Mr Darcy, a man of superior rank. Gasp!
This knowledge has been incredibly helpful to me while crafting my stories. If you’re interested in learning more, check out these blog posts:
I am pleased to announce that my next novel, Interrupted Plans, will be published this year with Meryton Press! I’m currently in the middle of the editing process. I’ll be sharing information about publication timelines, editing quirks, and blog tours soon, So stay tuned!
Let’s just take a minute to bask in the beauty of this fairy tale castle. Culzean Castle is located on the Ayrshire Cliffs of Maybole, which is on the Eastern coast of Scotland. After a little research, I picked this castle as the home of one of my characters in my current work in progress. His name is Mr Wessex, and he inherited this place from his mother’s family. Lucky guy, huh?
Mr Wessex moves from the South of England to Scotland upon his inheritance. He refuses to give up on the castle, which is my story is in need of repair and fresh funds. In actuality, this castle was built in late 18th century, maybe 30 years or so before Mr Wessex comes to own it.
I love writing fiction. Need a problem? Invent one! Need a solution? Create it!
The real Culzean Castle was designed by a gentleman named Robert Adam. Though he grew up in Scotland, Robert Adam traveled to mainland Europe to take in as much architectural knowledge as possible. When he returned to England in 1758, he and his brother John began to work hard to establish themselves. Eventually, their style came to be known as the Adam style. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, “The Adam style was marked by a new lightness and freedom in the use of the classical elements of architecture—a fresh combination of many architectural elements.” Check out the full article here for more fascinating info about Robert Adam.