Wednesday, November 30, 2011

NaNoWriMo: Final Update

I finished my NaNo novel this morning at about 10:00.  After validating through the NaNoWriMo website and being declared a winner, I read the first thirty pages of Diane Gaston's Valiant Soldier, Beautiful Enemy (book three of the fabulous Three Soldiers miniseries), cross-stitched for the first time all month, watched a bit of the Today Show, brushed my teeth and went out to lunch.

For the first time in thirty days I wasn't watching the clock to make sure I got to the computer on time.  I loved the freedom, but, oddly, I miss my novel.  Yes, the hero and heroine got their happy ending.  I wrote epilogues about their wedding day and the day the hero finds out he's going to be a dad. 

I'm looking forward to the editing/rewriting process, now that I have a step by step guide to the plot. 

Will I do NaNoWriMo again?  Definitely.  The intense writing was hard on my neck and shoulder and my chair made my back hurt, but the joy of having a solid framework for completing this particular book is exhilarating.  I like that.

Congrats to all of you who've been NaNoing along with me.  Congrats also to my nephew Brian, who also won this year.

Happy writing!

Monday, November 28, 2011

NaNoWriMo Update: Charging Toward the Finish Line

Only three days to go till the end of NaNoWriMo.  It's been an exciting, eye-opening experience.  I'm on track to finish my 50,000 word novel well before midnight on Wednesday, November 30th!

If you're NaNoing, I hope you're on track to finish, too.

Happy Writing!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!


Let us give thanks for a bounty of people:
For children who are our second planting,
and though they grow like weeds and the wind too soon blows them away, may they forgive us our cultivation and fondly remember where their roots are.
Let us give thanks:
For generous friends with hearts as big as hubbards and smiles as bright as their blossoms;
For feisty friends as tart as apples;
For continuous friends, who, like scallions and cucumbers, keep reminding us that we've had them;
For crotchety friends, as sour as rhubarb and as indestructible;
For handsome friends, who are as gorgeous as eggplants and as elegant as a row of corn, and the others, as plain as potatoes and so good for you;
For funny friends, who are as silly as Brussels sprouts and as amusing as Jerusalem artichokes,
and serious friends, as complex as cauliflowers and as intricate as onions;
For friends as unpretentious as cabbages, as subtle as summer squash, as persistent as parsley, as delightful as dill, as endless as zucchini, and who, like parsnips, can be counted on to see you through the winter;
For old friends nodding like sunflowers in the evening-time and young friends coming on as fast as radishes;
For loving friends, who wind around us like tendrils and hold us, despite our blights, wilts and witherings;
And, finally, for those friends now gone, who like gardens past that have been harvested, but who fed us in their times that we might have life thereafter;
For all these we give thanks.

From View from a Tree
--Max Coots

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Fast Food For Writers: Dessert, the second

Here's another dessert you can put together while the oven is preheating:

(Extremely) Rustic Apple Tart

I call this Extremely Rustic because it didn't come out looking as pretty as it usually does.  It tasted great, though.  I was tempted at one point to simply slide it off the baking sheet into a bowl and serve it with a spoon, but I prevailed, and with the assistance of  two spatulas and a pie server, finally got it onto a plate.

You'll need: one pre-made and rolled out pie crust (available on the dairy aisle) and a can of pie filling (I have used apple and cherry and plan to try peach the next time I make it.)

Spray a baking sheet or pizza pan with a release agent (like Pam) and roll the crust out on it. 

Dump the filling in the middle and bring the edges of the crust up toward the center.  Let the edges overlap a little.  Sprinkle a bit of sugar on the edges of the crust.  Because the crust makes contact with the release agent it isn't necessary to use water or an egg wash to moisten. 

As the tart bakes the crust will loosen up a bit and the filling will spread out.  That's how it takes on the tart shape and not a deeper pie shape.

Bake at 350 degrees F for an hour or until the crust is the color you like.

Tip:  Don't let the crust become too warm before you begin working with it (a little chill from the fridge is a good thing).

Top with whipped cream or your favorite ice cream. 


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Inky, Again

Inky is here, visiting for the Thanksgiving holiday. 

Here he is  on the lookout for a plot twist! 

He helped me with my NaNo writing last night by going to sleep on the chair mat directly behind me.  I couldn't move for about half an hour, in which I wrote bunches of words. 

Good dog! 

Happy writing!

Friday, November 18, 2011

NaNoWriMo Update, with a nap

Still forging on.  30,461 words in 18 days.

Happy writing (I know I am!)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Fast Food For Writers: Dessert

I have two dessert recipes than can be assembled in the time it takes your oven to preheat—assuming your oven is 23 years old like mine and can be a little slow.

Cuppa, Cuppa, Cuppa Cake (from the movie, Steel Magnolias)

1 cup sugar

1 cup self-rising flour (or you can add 1½ t fresh baking powder and ¼ to ½ t salt to all purpose flour)

1 8 oz can crushed pineapple

Combine in a bowl (Batter will be thick). Pour into buttered 8 inch square baking dish (or a pie-plate works fine, too). Bake in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.

Let cool before serving. Will be dense, but springy. Serve with ice cream or a light whipped cream.

The original movie version uses fruit cocktail (ugh!). I have also tried applesauce, but like pineapple best.


Monday, November 14, 2011

NaNoWriMo Update: Back on Track

I spent most of the day Saturday writing, mostly in fifteen and thirty minute word sprints, in order to write 3,492 words (a record for me).  I got caught up and resolved not to fall behind again.

This type of writing, all in, all day long, is a killer.  I remember when I first began writing.  I'd get to the computer early in the evening and spend hours crafting sentences, searching for just the right word.  I put in a lot of time on my elbow, with my chin cupped in my palm, constructing the perfect prose that would make me, if not famous, then successful as a writer.

Now I have a note on my computer monitor that says, JUST WRITE IT! and it means just that.  Have the thought, write the thought.  If it's not perfect, don't worry.  It will all work out in the edits.

Happy writing!

Friday, November 11, 2011

NaNoWriMo Update: Hitting the Wall

I knew it might happen, but was woefully unprepared for it.  On Thursday, I hit the wall.  The late nights and sitting in front of the computer so much caught up with me.  I logged fewer than 500 words for the day and was in bed before 10:30 p.m.

Not all was lost, though.  I took my notebook with me and plotted the next scene--the heroine's introduction to the people in the town she originally hated.  It's a turning point for her and for the story, too, where place becomes home.

Here's what Paperback Writer ( had to say today about NaNo and intensive writing of this sort:

"Writing professionally is an endurance marathon, and this is one of those tough stretches in the process when you find out if you have what it takes to be a successful writer. We don't stop when the new and shiny wears off. Successful writers find ways to avoid or at least stall other ideas distract them from the work. We do whatever we can to shut their door in the face of that no-treats, all-tricks doubt. If something dumps us in a trash can, we climb right back out and keep writing. No matter how much it hurts. No matter how much we don't want to."

I'm going to take this advice and keep on keeping on.  If you're like me and have the voices of characters rattling around in your head, we really have no choice.

Happy writing!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Fast Food For Writers, part 2

In continuing observance of NaNoWriMo, here's another offering that's good for the soul.

Karen’s Version of Impossible Pie

1 1-lb. bag of frozen vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots)
½ cup chopped white onion
1 8 oz. can mushroom stems and pieces

Mix above ingredients in a microwave safe bowl and cook briefly (until you can smell them). Spoon into a 9” pie plate that has been sprayed with Pam.

Mix in blender:
2 eggs (or a two-egg container of egg substitute)
2 T chilled “lower fat” margarine
1 T baking powder
½ cup skim milk
6 T flour
½ t salt
pepper to taste

Blend on high for 15 seconds. Pour over vegetables and bake in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes or until done.

Top with 1½ oz. grated low-fat cheddar cheese and return to oven until melted.

NOTE: This is an old Weight Watchers recipe adjusted to allow for more onions and mushrooms (my favorites!). If you use eggs instead of egg substitute or butter instead of the lower fat margarine, you may need to adjust quantities.

This is yummy as an entre just out of the oven or wrapped in a tortilla, with salsa, as a quick lunch. 

Enjoy (and happy writing!)

Monday, November 7, 2011

NaNoWriMo Update, with a tip!

I'm loving NaNoWriMo!  Six days, 10,288 words!!!

Here's the tip:  don't forget to back up.  Sunday afternoon I sat down to write and my computer told me, "the amount of memory has changed."  So, I thought, no biggie.  Then I logged onto Word and discovered that over 1400 words from Saturday night had been lost.  I panicked until I realized I'd backed up my work as soon as I'd finished.  What a relief. 

Sometimes the universe has to smack you in the face in order to get you to do the things you should already be doing. 

Stop by on Wednesday for another Fast Food For Writers recipe. 

Happy writing!

Friday, November 4, 2011

NaNoWriMo Update

Well, I'm doing it!  Participating in NaNoWriMo when I wasn't really sure I could do it.  Last year my friend Judy quit after three days.  I've made it through four and racked up 6,769 words.  Admitedly, it is 10:00 p.m. and I did just finish for the day, but I'm here!  I'm hanging in and having a ball. 

My RWA chapter meeting is tomorrow and I desperately need to trim the dianthus, but writing will have a priority, too. 

How about you?  What are you writing this weekend? 

 If you're NaNoing, good for you!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Fast Food For Writers, part 1

If you're participating in NaNoWriMo this year you'll need sustenance!  Aren't you glad I'm here to supply you with quick and tasty recipes to keep your body going and those words flowing?  First up is a fantastic Black Bean soup--full of spice and fiber, it'll do you good!

Note:  I'm not much of a photographer, but this sure did look good on my luncheon table!

If you’re falling behind on your page/word count, here’s a quick, yummy soup recipe. It’s nutritious, too.

Instant Black Bean Soup (from Cooking Light, then adjusted by me)

2 15oz cans black bean soup, undrained
½ cup salsa (mild, medium, or hot. Your choice)
1 T chili powder
2 cups vegetable broth (I like Emerel’s)

Pour one can of beans into medium saucepan. Use a fork to mash them well. Add remaining beans, salsa, stock and chili powder. Bring to a boil, then lower heat. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Makes 5 one-cup servings. (You can cook this longer to make it thick and stewy, but you won’t get as many servings).

Top with ½ ounce reduced-fat cheddar and one T sour cream.

I like this with broccoli slaw and sliced apple on the side.


Happy writing!