Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Wishing you a joyous season filled with peace and love.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

One Loving Thing Day (December 21st)

We’ve had dark times this year filled with sadness and grief.  Our hearts are heavy and we feel helpless, lost, alone. But I think there is something beautiful we can do to help one another and I hope you will join me.

In the Northern Hemisphere, December 21st is our shortest, darkest, day of the year.  Right now it might feel that the darkness will never end. The truth is that every day after December 21st will be longer and brighter. Each day to come can be full of hope if we support one another.

The last three years, I challenged people on CNN.com to bring sunshine to others by going out and doing one loving thing on December 21st.  Just one thing.  I was blown away by the responses I received.  A woman who had lost her job and her home stepped up to the plate to help others.  Several people participated.  It was really moving.

These are tough times. Let’s help one another by opening our arms.

I challenge you again to do one act of kindness for a loved one or total stranger on December 21st. That's all. It doesn't have to be earth moving, just a simple thing that shows you care. You can leave a comment as to what the thing was, or tell what loving thing someone did for you.

Who knows? Maybe, just maybe, this will be the best darkest day ever.

Thank you!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Happy Day

Exactly twenty-four years ago I walked into the Santa Barbara Mission and married my best friend, my one great love, the other half of my heart.

Today, I am still smiling.

Still hopelessly, deeply in  love.

Still sappy. Ah, what can I say? I'm a romantic.


Monday, November 12, 2012

The Next Big Thing

Hi gang,

The wonderful and brilliant writer, Orly Konig-Lopez (Orly's website) tagged me to play a game called The Next Big Thing in which authors hold the microphone for a minute, answer ten questions about the stories they are working on, and then pass the mic to five other authors. It is has been illuminating. And fun.

Here is my shot at the microphone:

What is your working title of your book?

I am still throwing names at the wall. Here are a few that have stuck:
Love at the Epicenter
Her Guardian, His Angel
Um, any suggestions you have might be helpful. Seriously, any suggestions. Post in the comments and if I use it I will give you credit in the book.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Originally, it was a sequel to Catch Me in Castile set in Port-au-Prince, but my editor at the time rejected it because she didn't like the set-up. I will always be grateful for that rejection. I even sent the editor a thank you for rejecting me! Why? The timing was wrong.

If I had sold that original story it would have been released within days of the devastating earthquake. It might have felt disrespectful to those who had lost so much. In hindsight, that rejection was the best thing that could have happened to this story.

Instead, of celebrating the release of my sequel, I sat riveted to my television, tears streaming while I witnessed the human survival, strength and success stories in Haiti. I wanted to pour that love and human spirit into my book in honor of the survivors and those who fought to save lives.

Epicenter (or whatever it's name is) was born.

What genre does your book fall under? 

Single-Title (with a hint of paranormal)

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Luke Carter....Josh Lucas
Dr.Ysabeau Morno...Halle Berry
The two old Voodoo Priestesses who keep trying to steal the show will have to be great actors as well.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

It is the love story of an American philanthropist and a Haitian doctor are fighting to save lives when the greatest earthquake Haiti has ever known rips their world apart. 

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? 

I am looking for an agent at the moment.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

The first first draft (the sequel to Catch Me in Castile) took about eight months. After my editor rejected it, I tossed out all but a few scenes and started over. After researching before and after the earthquake, scouring YouTube for any videos of the city prior to the devastation (thank you to those families who posted videos inside the Hotel Montana before it was leveled), watching the news and reading first-hand accounts, I started writing the new book and was finished with the first draft in two months. I honestly never thought I could write anything that fast. The story seemed to write itself.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? 

Hmmm. That's a tough one. Readers have told me that my stories remind them of Jodi Picoult's. That is a huge compliment.

Who or what inspired you to write this book? 

The earthquake survivors and the search and rescue teams who gave everything to save lives.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? 

Don't be surprised if it makes you laugh, cry and knocks the floor out from beneath your feet. Currently, it is a finalist in four writing contests!

And now to pass the microphone to a few of my awesome writer friends. Look for their answers on their websites next week.

Selena Robins selenarobinsmusings.com/ 

Renee Wildes reneewildes.net 

Nancy Lauzon nancylauzon.com 

A. Catherine Noon acatherinenoon.blogspot.com

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Love To the Veterans

Today in the United States is Veterans Day.

I want to express my deepest gratitude and love to you amazingly brave veterans and to your families. What you all have sacrificed and given to this great nation is beyond words. Thank you!

To those still serving please stay safe and come home soon.

Big hugs from one grateful American,


Monday, November 5, 2012

Tasty Tuesday Sweet and Spicy Jalapeno Fudge

A couple weeks ago, I tore my calf muscle. Not totally, just enough to be bunged up and lying around for a while. My little boy wanted to make fudge for the Halloween party but since I couldn't help him, he made it himself.

I gotta say it was divine.

I asked him if I could share his recipe with you all for Tasty Tuesday and he flatly denied me.

Me! His crippled mother.

Oh well. He wanted to keep his recipe a secret, so I searched the web and found another with a little more kick. And his fudge did make me feel better.


Spicy and Sweet Jalapeño Fudge

3 cups sugar
¾ cups margarine
5 oz. evaporated milk
12 squares Baker’s Semi-Sweet chocolate, chopped
7 oz. Puffed Marshmallow Crème
1 tsp of vanilla
5-10 pickled jalapeño pepper rings
1 tsp of cinnamon

In blender, mix the jalapeño peppers until fine.

Line a 9-inch square pan with foil.

In a large saucepan, bring sugar, butter and milk to full rolling boil on medium heat and keep boiling for 4 minutes while stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add chocolate and marshmallow crème, stir until melted. Stir in vanilla and jalapeño peppers. Pour into 9-inch pan. Sprinkle cinnamon across the top. Cut into squares once cooled.

And here a few more recipes you might be interested in:

Zesty Guacomole Salsa by Moira Keith http://moirakeith.com/2012/11/06/zesty-guacamole-salsa/

I'm a Pepper...You're a Pepper by Selena Robins - http://selenarobinsmusings.com/2012/11/05/im-a-pepper-youre-a-pepper/

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Ghost ship

Forget about ghosts, my friend Nancy Lauzon saw a ghost ship.

Check out her story over at Denise Agnew's Haunted blog.

Guest author: Nancy Lauzon

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pretty in Pink Pancakes

For the past two years, my boys and I have participated in the Making Strides Breast Cancer Walk. I hope we can do it again next year. It is the least I can do to help the courageous families battling this frightful disease worldwide. In honor of all the warriors out there, my Tasty Tuesday contribution is Pretty in Pink Pancakes. 

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon (or more) vanilla

1 teaspoon salt (or less)

1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup non-fat milk

1/3 cup prickly pear cactus syrup as seen here (or strawberry syrup)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
In a large bowl mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. I am pretty salt conscious, so I use less than the salt the recipe calls for. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the vanilla and egg. Mix in the milk and syrup slowly to ensure the batter achieves the right not too wet or too dry consistency for pancakes. More syrup means pinker and sweeter pancakes. Mix until smooth. If the batter is too wet, you might need to add a little more flour.
Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium heat. Scoop the batter onto the griddle using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve. 
My boys enjoy adding a peanut butter topping. Enjoy!
Other Think Pink Tasty Tuesday Recipes you might like:

Simple Salmon by Selena Robins : http://selenarobinsmusings.com/2012/10/15/thinking-pink-in-the-kitchen

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Denise Agnew's new book and contest

Denise A. Agnew gives us a never-before-seen sneak peek into Asylum 2: Shadows Rise at her blog today & a contest. Happy Halloween! 

So be sure to stop by www.deniseagnew.com/blog

Monday, October 1, 2012

Tasty Tuesday Sinfully Delicious Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have always been a cookie monster. Cooookieees. 

Here is my favorite oatmeal and chocolate chip cookie recipe: 


2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup butter (or margarine)
2 tsp cinnamon
1 table spoon vanilla extract (or imitation vanilla)
2 cups packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs (wash egg shells prior to use)
18 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup nuts (walnuts or pecans)

Preheat: oven to 375 degrees

Combine: flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl. Beat butter, sugar, and vanilla extract. Add two eggs (shells cleaned so that cookie dough is safe to eat), blending until smooth. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Transfer mixture to a larger bowl add chocolate chips, oatmeal and nuts and mix completely.

Bake:  9 to 11 minutes until golden brown.

Makes about 4 dozen.

Check out some of my favorite authors who are posting their fave recipes too:

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tasty Tuesday Catch Me Tapa Recipe

My author buddies are sharing recipes and decided to share them with our readers too.
With Catch Me in Castile in mind, I thought I’d start with a Spanish tapas recipe.

Tortilla Espanola (Spanish Omelet).

Tapas are Spanish appetizers.  They can be cold, such as mixtures of olives and cheeses, or warm, such as fried baby squid.  In Spain, you can go to a swanky tapas bar and order enough tapas to make a meal. I love this idea because I am a big snacker and like to try all sorts of interesting foods, but tend to fill up before my entrée arrives.

Ingredients:·6-7 medium potatoes, peeled
·1 whole yellow onion
·5-6 large eggs
·2-3 cups of olive oil for pan frying
·Salt to taste
·Diced ham, chorizo, red or green peppers, or tomatoes can be added


Slice the potatoes into 1/8” slices. Chop onions into 1/4” pieces. Mix potatoes, onion and salt. In a large non-stick pan heat the olive oil on medium-high. When the oil is ready for frying, spread the potatoes and onions evenly over the surface. Cook until potatoes are done then remove mixture from the oil with a slotted spoon.

Whisk eggs in a large bowl and add the potato-onion mixture.

Pour 1-2 tbsp of olive oil into a non-stick frying pan (appox.  9-10”). Heat on medium. Stir the potato-onion-egg mixture once more and pour into heated oil. Spread evenly. When the eggs have cooked around the edges, carefully lift one side of the omelet and peek. You want the bottom to brown while the inside of the mixture remains slightly runny. When the bottom is brown, put a plate on top of the pan and flip the omelet over onto the plate. You may need to add a little more olive oil to the frying pan to keep the omelet from sticking. Then carefully slide the flipped omelet back into the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes. Turn off the heat and let sit for 2 minutes.

Carefully slide the omelet onto a plate and cut into 1.5” squares and serve with a sliced baguette.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Why I love American Idol and X Factor

Beyond the Veil: My TV Must-Sees: I admit to be a tad-bit addicted to American Idol and X Factor. What draws me to these shows? The judges? The drama?

Nope. Come see by clicking the link above to my post over at Beyond the Veil.

But I'll give you a clue: It's all about love, baby.
When is it not?

Have a great Monday.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Thank You

I just want to take a moment to be grateful for our heroes.

To those of you in the Armed Forces the words "thank you" can never be enough. You who fight for our freedoms and safety, you who battle destruction and evil first-hand, you who fight ugly battles that most of us  couldn't dream of and come home scarred but not beaten. I am so proud of you. Be safe.

Thank you also goes to our heroes here at home--the first responders in emergencies, the police, the firefighters, the EMTs, the doctors, the nurses, and those bystanders who rush in to help instead of running out of harm's way. You put yourselves on the line to save lives while sometimes losing bits and pieces of your own. What would we do without you?

And thank you to the families of these great heroes who give up so much to save us all. Let us never forget.

If I could hug each and everyone of you I would.


Monday, September 10, 2012

My Website is Down


I'm with Go Daddy which apparently is not going so well  right now because of hackers.


Really dear hackers, can't you put all that amazing brain power of yours to work solving the world's problems instead of creating more? There are real viruses out there, the common cold for example, that could use a good hacking into. Why don't you go attack them? Or a nasty little bugger called world hunger. You could go after it and smash it all to pieces. Wouldn't that be more fun?

Well, hang in there folks. I know Go Daddy will be going again soon. Hopefully, so will I.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

I'm the Guest Author at Taryn Blackthorne's Blog

Come see how I blame my high school teachers for turning me into a writer. I mean, thank, not blame. :-)

I also talk about one of my crushes and shocker--it's a girl! Am I talking about YOU?

Come find out:
Author Taryn Blackthorne's Blog

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Guest Blogger for Tue Cent Twosday

Hi gang,

I'm over at A. Catherine Noon's blog talking about Digital Publishing. Come see what I've learned.


Saturday, August 4, 2012

RWA 2012 Conference

Wow, that was a great conference.

Four days of joyful celebratory bliss. There are very few places were I can surround myself with people who are as passionate about books and writing as I am. It's like meeting 2000 sisters that I didn't know before.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Fabulous Blog Ribbon!

Wowza! The Fabulous Tiffany over at http://singlewritermomrants.wordpress.com/ gave me this award.

The rules for the award are as follows:
1. Thank the blogger who gave it to you and share the link back to the awarding blog.
2. Name 5 fabulous moments in your life.
3. Name 5 things that you love.
4. Name 5 things you hate.
5. Pass the award to 5 deserving bloggers.

 Hmmm. This could be enlightening.

  Five fabulous moments in my life:
 Man, I've had so many fabulous moments, it's hard to choose.

Well, one, two and three are easy--the days my sons were born and my wedding day. Nothing tops these. 

But the day I received "the call" from Samhain ranks way up there. I'd been dreaming about being a published author for twenty years. When I got the call, I started crying, hit my knees and said my thanks. Then I proceeded to blubber my news to anyone who would listen (and a few customers who were trapped next to me in the coffee line). When I stepped outside that morning, I found one of those deflated helium balloons on my front lawn, how it got there, I haven't a clue. It said "Happy Birthday!"

Two other fab moments (these tie for 5th) was when I had my book release party and my book signing. I loved these events because I got to personally thank the people who supported me. Ahh, so great.

 Five things I love:
My family and friends.
Long walks.
Warm baths.
That exquisite moment when the characters rip the story out of my hands and start living.

 Five things that I hate:
 Hate is such a strong word. Can we call it dislike?

I dislike it when drivers talk on their cell phones! Especially when I am crossing in the crosswalk with my kids. GRRRR.
Bullying of any kind.

Hmm, maybe hate was the write word after all.

Thank you for this award.
I will be sending it on to other bloggers who must deserve it more than I do.


Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Reason I've been AWOL

I was off writing a new book! OMG! It's awesome. The best book EVER. I am completely and totally in love. But I fall hard for all my babies when I finish the first draft. It's all sweet honey until... I put on the editor hat and slash the poor thing to pieces. When I get in there to edit I start to realize that things aren't so sweet. Sometimes, in fact, the story is downright stinky. And why shouldn't it be? I pounded out the thing in two months like a race to beat the clock. I can't really tell you why I write as if I am running for my life, because I don't really understand it myself. I just do. It's my process. Write lean mean fast and furious. Edit strong, heavily and without fear or remorse. So as I sit here in love, I know that in a few days I will wade back in, holding my nose and do the dirty work. I will probably hate my beautiful new baby for a while. It's kind of sad. But don't worry. If I do my job right, the book truly will be awesome. Fingers crossed.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Fan Moment

Had a beautiful moment today. I was in the ice cream shop, okay that part's not important, I'd just walked 6.75 miles, don't judge me!
The sweet girl behind the counter said, "You're that writer, aren't you?"
I blinked. "Yes, yes I am."
"I knew it! You're famous. My mom is a big fan. She's read all your books."
And I honestly don't know her mother. I mean it's not like she's a second cousin half removed, or anything.
I was recognized by a fan. Well, the fan's daughter.
Tooooo. Coool.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Heavy Heart

Still reeling from the news that one of our friends was killed in a "hit and run" cycling accident yesterday. Apparently, the driver did call in the accident, but it saddens me that he didn't stay at the scene so that my friend didn't have to be alone.

Jim, you were such a gentle, kind man. A great man. You will be sorely missed. Love to you, your family and friends.

Rest in peace.

My Writer Friends

Talking about you over at Beyond the Veil. Come check it out.


Monday, April 9, 2012

Yay, Spring Break, Boo, Strep Throat

My dear son is sick as a doggy, poor guy.

Lots of resting and doctoring going on here. Not much writitng, though.

Stay well!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Walkin' Woman

Today is the one year anniversary of using my Nike GPS to keep track of my mileage while I walk.

Any guesses as to how far I walked in one year?

Drum roll please...

612.5 miles!

Wowza. Actually, it's more than this because there were a few times that I forgot to turn the thing on, or I was hiking on the beach and didn't want to bring my cell with me.

I'm kinda proud of myself.

Maybe I deserve a cookie.

The important thing is to find a way to move your body that is fun, energizing, relaxing and not too painful so that you'll stick with it.

So lace up your walking shoes (these are mine) and come join me.

I'll see you out there!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Wacky Weather in California

While many of you are enjoying unseasonably warm weather, in Southern California we are getting rain and even snow!

This is a picture of me a few days before the start of Spring.

Unfortunately, I was an easy target for the kids. But it was fun.

Enjoy Spring wherever you are.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Epicenter is a finalist in the Marlene!!!

Holy fried pickles! Amazing news.

I am so thrilled. Big squeezy hugs to the first round judges (whomever you might be). It takes a lot of time and effort to be a judge and I am grateful.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Hero in My House

Today I am the guest author at the Samhain Publishing. Was my hubby the cover model and/or inspiration for my steamy scenes? Come on over and find out.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Love in My Job Post at BTV

Hi Gang,

I'm over at Beyond the Veil today talking about the heat levels in romances. I discuss the sort of intimacy that I am comfortable writing and why the steam on the page really isn't up to me.

Come on over with your questions.