Monthly Archives: November 2011

Best Things about the South

Please welcome guest author, Casey Crow! She’s one of the sweetest authors I know and I’m happy to have her here today!

Thank you, Katie, for having me today! I’m so excited about all the recent success and releases you’ve been having! I’m excited, too, to share my debut CAN’T FAKE THIS which comes out Dec. 6th with Loose Id. On that day, I’m having a blog party at Casey Crow where twelve authors are doing twelve give-aways to go along with the Twelve Days of Christmas theme in the story. Mark your calendar to win some great books by best sellers from all genres!

CAN’T FAKE THIS is about a divorcee ready to reenter the dating world. Anna Ryan is determined to be the best “product on the market,” which requires a lot more experience so she propositions sexy police officer Chase Harris to teach her how to make hot, passionate love as opposed to just having sex. He takes it a step further, instructing each lesson based on The Twelve Days of Christmas.

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me…temptation in a hot package. For more, check out the book trailer and excerpt!

The story definitely has my “Sexy, Sassy & Southern” trademark. Speaking of the South, I’ve put together my list of Top 10 Favorite Things about the South.

1. Sweet tea and sweeter accents

2. Macaroni & cheese is a vegetable and pecan pie is a staple

3. Y’all is a proper noun

4. Smocked dresses and hairbows as big as a little girl’s head

5. Front porches are wide and words are long

6. Sultry summer nights that start in April

7. Mardi Gras

8. SEC football

9. Pageants are serious business

10. Everything is darlin’ and someone’s heart is always blessed

So what are your favorite things about where you live? I hope you’ll take advantage of the uniqueness of your area and enjoy it, no matter where you hail.

Visit Casey at http://www.caseycrow.com.  On Facebook at Casey Crow and Twitter at caseyecrow.

Casey Crow is a Summa Cum Laude graduate from the University of Alabama with degrees in Business Management and Dance.  She received her Master of Business Administration from the University of Mobile.  Casey resides in Mobile where she stays busy with her two young children.  She also works as a dance choreographer, pageant coach, professional emcee and model, and certified Miss America preliminary judge.  In fact, she is a former Miss University of Alabama.  Casey writes erotic and spicy contemporary romances with the tagline “Sexy, Southern & Sassy.”  Visit her at www.caseycrow.com.  Follow her on Twitter – caseyecrow and Facebook – Casey Crow.

Happy Thanksgiving

Shilshole Bay Marina
Shilshole Bay Marina

Tis the day we traditionally reserve for eating too much, enduring annoying relatives (bonus points if you are the annoying relative – everyone should strive to take a turn at it!), and to take a break from the cultural norm of grousing about anything and everything.

It’s a healthy and life-affirming thing to do – taking stock of everything you’re grateful for. This needn’t be a smarmy exercise – and yes – I define having to go around the Thanksgiving table naming one thing you’re grateful for as ‘smarmy’. But that’s just me. Notably, my family tried it once and got right over it about the time the last person said, “I’m eternally grateful that this is nearly over and I’ll get to eat, soon.” Yeah. My family. We aren’t a sentimental bunch.

Regardless. Keeping a mental tally (or a list on paper) of what you count as a positive in your life does several things for you. It changes your brain chemistry – no – really. Just the act of changing how you think shifts how your brain functions. Listing out what you’re grateful for highlights the area of your life to nurture and expand on. The list is also useful for showing up what’s missing from your list. If “I’m grateful for my health” didn’t show up on your list is that something you can change?

I’ve always wondered if the US Thanksgiving fell when it did so that on some psychological level, we could all run this sort of ‘what am I grateful for’ life assessment just in time to make resolutions for the New Year. So you know the way to make changes, right? No sweeping, grandiose statements. No huge resolutions. All you need is one thing: The answer to the question ‘what’s the single smallest step I can take today?’ And then take that step. If you want improved health, maybe the answer is ‘a ten minute walk at lunch’, or ‘replacing the french fries that come with my burger with a salad’. The trick, of course, is that you have to ask yourself the question (and then act on the answer) every day.

So what am I thankful for? I get to live in a spectacular location – that photo above was taken on one of my morning walks. The boat where my family and I live isn’t in that photo, we’re another dock farther south, but that photo is what we see everyday. Okay. Everyday the sun is shining in Seattle – which – admittedly, isn’t happening right now. Still. We love living on our boat. And I’m grateful we get to do that and that my family is thriving there.

What’s missing? What do I have plans to change? My writing habits. I love writing. So why am I wasting my life energy doing anything and everything else? Oh, sure, cleaning, doing dishes and doing the grocery shopping are all vital activities and I’m happy I get to do them. I’m talking about frittering time away on the internet screwing around.  So what’s the single smallest step I can take today to change my wordcount output? One page. 250 words per day. Not much. And eventually, I’ll increase that. But right now? It’s about establishing a healthy pattern. So that next year, I can say “I’m grateful for how my writing output has increased.

The Cover for Hunted has Arrived

First, let me say happy holidays to those of you in the USA celebrating Thanksgiving.  If you’ve ever read my blog, you know I’m surrounded by family, which is such a blessing.  I’m thankful for my crazy family, my wonderful friends, my terrific readers, my agent and editor, and my writing buddies.  I’m off school today and trying to decide what hors d’ oeuvres to take to my sister’s house tomorrow.  (Yes, I had to check dictionary.com for how to spell that).  Google will assist me again with recipes after I post this.

Well, I’ve been so busy with promoting CLAIMED and writing book 4 of the Dark Protectors, I haven’t had a chance to show off the cover for HUNTED, which I received last week.  I thought I’d show it here first, and then go Google hors d’ oeuvres.  Here it is:

Ready or Not

Moira Dunne is a witch–the quantum physics kind.  Time and space are her playthings.  Which might explain why her one-night stand from a hundred years ago has turned up to “claim” her–and request her family’s assistance with the war he’s brewing.  But the more she learns about Connlan Kayrs, the more she comes to think this is normal behavior for him…

There’s Nowhere to Hide

When Conn and Moira tumbled on the moonlit grass, Conn hadn’t meant to mark her for his mate for all time.  She was only twenty!  But it wasn’t easy to wait for her.  It was even harder to forget her.  So when he finally returns for his wicked-hot witch, he’s ready to let the sparks fly.  Even if he burns up in flames…

Being Thankful

I always feel silly for saying I’m thankful for something, but when it’s the truth…well, you can’t really argue with that. There are so many things to be thankful for, not just the good, but also the bad.

A lot of times, we tend to dwell only on the best parts of thankfulness, but we can’t forget the bad things that have happened that have shaped us. In my family, we’ve suffered a lot of tragedies, except we haven’t let it destroy us. The things we’ve been through have strengthened us and brought us closer together. It’s also warped our sense of humor, but that isn’t horrible either.

When the holidays start gaining momentum with the threat of steamrolling right over me, I pause and look at my family. I see the pain and sadness etched into everyone’s faces as we realize there are many of us not there. But instead of becoming morose and melancholy, we band together and laugh with each other, remembering our loved ones. The holidays become a way for us to exorcise our ghosts, even as they sit with us, our memories of them as alive as ever.

I feel sad the newest generation never met those we lost, but they live on through the stories we share about them. Sometimes our memories are so clear, the kids feel as though they knew their great-grandfather, a great-uncle, two cousins, and another uncle. It doesn’t matter they’ve never met those people because they’re a part of everything we do.

And that’s what I’m thankful for: the memories of those we’ve lost and the chance to share them with the next generation. We’ll always remember the silly things and bring them up. We’ll always wonder what they would have said about how things have changed in the world and in the family. We’ll laugh at the silly things they said or did.

They’re never forgotten, especially at this time of year.

Giving Thanks and a Giveaway!

Since this post will be my last before Thanksgiving rolls on by, I have to pause for a second and give thanks.

Thank you to the random couple arguing in front of Safeway this morning. Your tiny bout of violence gave me inspiration for a scene or two in my next novel. Thank you to the makers of the Settlers of Catan board game for livening up my Tuesday game nights. Thank you to the fanatical Facebook YouTube posters, for allowing me to mooch off your internet discovery skills. I just don’t have time to find the good stuff myself. Thank you Biggest Loser. I’m inspired to get my behind back to regular spin classes…just not yet. And the biggest thank you of all goes to my Western Highland Terrier puppy, Bailey, who decided to roll in chicken manure before coming into the house for the night and crawling into bed with me. I needed to clean my sheets anyway, so…thanks. Really.

Sarcasm aside, I’m thankful for everything. For our home. (Which is nearly done being remodeled, by the way. Click here to see the “before” pictures. “After” pics will come Thursday after next. ) I’m thankful for my husband and children. For the air in my lungs. Not a day goes by that I don’t look at my family and think how unbelievably blessed I am.

I also have to give a huge, warm-hearted Thank You to my readers. I never dreamed I could write…let alone do this crazy gig for a living. I’m floored that there are people who read and love my work, and email me wanting more. I am humbled by the support of total strangers. In light of that, I’m going to give away one print or kindle copy of InterVamption (winner’s choice) to a randomly drawn commenter. I’ll make the cut-off Saturday at midnight and announce the winner in a quick Sunday post.

So…what are you thankful for?

Giving Thanks

 My family has a tradition at Thanksgiving dinner in which we take turns saying something that we are grateful for. The biggies are always foremost in my mind—health, home, family. I am so profoundly thankful for the faces shining around the table that I neglect to voice other areas in my life to which I owe thanks.

At the end of last week, my editor emailed me with her revisions and the copy editor’s changes to my next novella, Shadow Play (part II in Ellie and Cam’s story). The novella had line edits on each page, with questions in the margin for me to consider—all very incisive and clear. As I went through the document, I was so grateful to have these excellent minds concentrating on my story. And I also thought of others who helped me with the novella along the way.

So today I am giving thanks—not just for the work on this story, but all my stories. First, thank you to my husband. He is my first and last reader. He is my sounding board. He gives me suggestions, and he listens patiently when I ramble on as I brainstorm. And thank you to my agent, who also reads and gives great feedback and support whenever I need it. And thank you to my crit partners, who give me astute critiques. And to my editor, who makes my writing tight and clear. And the copy editor, who catches my mistakes. And the proofreader, for those last, sneaky errors.

That’s a lot of people who have taken the time to help make my work strong. Every time I get feedback, I am thankful for it. I love to write. I love to tell stories. It’s my passion and a huge part of who I am as a person. That I have such amazing support means so much to me. Thank you.

Silken Sands Self-Published Star Contest

Since I’m on deadline and slacking just a bit about blogging, I decided to post about something awesome my local RWA chapter is putting on. The Silken Sands Self-Published Star Contest is now open for entries! Here are the full details:

***PERMISSION TO FORWARD GRANTED AND APPRECIATED***

The Gulf Coast Chapter of Romance Writers of America is pleased to announce that the 2012 Silken Sands Self-Published Star Award is open for entries! The Star contest is a reader’s choice award, judged by readers of romantic fiction.

Eligibility: This is an all-electronic contest. Entries must be received by January 5, 2012. All works must have an original publication date between January 1 and December 31, 2011. Re-released works with an original publication date before January 1, 2011, are
not eligible.

Entry fee: $20 for Gulf Coast RWA members, $25 for all others

Prizes: Winners from each category will be included in an RWR advertisement (featuring all the first place book covers). Winners will also receive a certificate of recognition, a starfish award from the GCCRWA, and a winning icon to place on their websites.

Finalists will be announced on February 15, 2012. The winners from each category will be named at the 2012 Silken Sands Conference. The awards ceremony will be held on the evening of Saturday, March 17, 2012.

The following categories are included in the Silken Sands Self-Published Star Contest:

Short Story (contains between 5,000 and 19,999 words)
Novella (a word count between 20,000 and 40,000)
Single Title Contemporary
Single Title Paranormal
Single Title Romantic Suspense
Single Title Historical
Single Title Inspirational
Young Adult

All entries will be scored by three judges, with the lowest score dropped. Ties will be broken with the lowest score.

If you have questions about the contest, please send an email to GCCStarContest@gmail.com. For complete details on the contest, please click here. And online entry form can be found here.

Its a Birthday Day for One of Us

Hello everyone! So I had forgotten that today was my day to post. But its a good thing I did because now I can have a GIVEAWAY for FOUR lucky readers.

In honor of our lovely Rebecca Zanetti’s birthday today I am giving away four of my books(readers choice) to 4 commenters.

Have a great day everyone!
Sayde

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Rebecca!


Happy Birthday!

Image Source: http://forum.xcitefun.net/happy-birthday-cakes-beautiful-cakes-t62033.html

Maple Pumpkin Pie

I’m evil. I freely admit this. Thus, I gleefully bring you one of my family’s favorite recipes for the season. This came from Bon Appetit Magazine (when they were – you know – still actually a magazine and not a memory).

Maple Pumpkin Pie

  • One can of plain solid pack pumpkin (not pie mix)
  • 1 TBSP all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp maple extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup real maple syrup

Mix the dry ingredients into the pumpkin, then mix in the liquids. Pour into pie shells and bake at 350 until a toothpick comes out clean about 35-40 minutes. (This will depend entirely one whether you’re using 8″ shells, 9″ shells, deep dish, etc – this part is art rather than science.) Serve with whipped cream slightly sweetened with maple syrup. OPTION: I like cloves in my pumpkin pie. Hubby does not. The recipe doesn’t call for them, but when I make a batch for me, I add a scant 1/8 tsp of cloves.

This pie is slightly less sweet than other pumpkin pies you’ve had. But rich? Oh my, yes. Quite a diet bomb. I make it to recipe once a year for Thanksgiving dinner. The rest of the time, I modify it to accommodate the dieting members of the household. Here’s the ‘not such a diet bomb’ version:

  • 1 can of plain, solid pack pumpkin
  • 1 TBSP all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp maple extract
  • 3/4 cup of Egg Beaters or other egg substitute
  • 1 cup lowfat or fatfree evaporated milk
  • 3/4 cup real maple syrup

Since pie shells are a huge fat hit, we forgo crusts altogether. Pour the batter into ramekins, place ramekins on a cookie sheet and bake at 350. These will take no more than 20 minutes or so, depending on the size of the dishes. The custard will puff up. Jiggle the cookie sheet. If there’s no liquid motion to the custard, begin checking with toothpicks for doneness.

This recipe can also sub in evaporated goat’s milk (Meyenberg is the brand I see in stores) if someone has milk sensitivity. This lower fat/no fat version of the custard won’t be as smooth and velvety as the original recipe, but it is still very tasty and the calorie hit is no where near whallop. If you want to reduce the sugar rush, use 1/2 a cup of egg substitute and one real egg. Use lowfat rather than fat free evaporated milk. The fat helps mitigate sugar absorption a touch. While maple syrup is a far less refined product that white sugar, it is still sugar – it will just hit your system a little bit slower when buffered by the fiber in the pumpkin and the fat in the egg and milk.

If, like me, the whole point of having pumpkin pie or pumpkin custard (as we call the crustless version) is to put whipped cream on top, try lowfat vanilla yogurt as a lower calorie stand in. I won’t lie. It’s not the same. But it’s not bad.

Image source: http://blogs.library.jhu.edu/wordpress/?m=200811

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