Saturday, April 29, 2006

Discipline

Aside from being a writer, I am also an early childhood educator. That's my day job. I have been teaching for twenty years and I love it. Today I went to an early childhood conference where the keynote speaker was Madelyn Swift. She gave a terrific talk on discipline so I bought her book Discipline for Life: Getting it Right with Children. I highly recommend it to anyone who is a parent or a teacher.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

In Happier Times...


This is a photo taken many years ago of hubby, his father, his nephew, and his brother. Hubby is on the left, his brother is on the right. His brother is very ill. We went to visit his brother in Vassar hospital yesterday in Poughkeepsie, NY. It took us three hours to get there. Maybe it would have taken two and a half hours, but we did stop for coffee on the way.

His brother was happy to see us and didn't want us to leave. Hubby reminisced about old times with his brother and I talked about our daughters. We left after his brother's wife arrived. Stopped to eat supper on the way home, and then listened to hubby's Frankie Yankowic Polka music while driving to keep alert.

I did some writing on the way to Poughkeepsie in the car, but on the way back it was dark.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

A New Catholic

Our nephew's wife is now a Catholic! Check out the wonderful story about her experience at Welcoming a new Catholic.

I was an RCIA sponsor for a candidate in our own church a few years ago. RCIA is a terrific program!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Southern NJ

Hubby and I were in southern NJ yesterday. Hubby drove so I got to look at the scenery--or lack thereof. There are some parts of southern NJ that bear a strong resemblance to the land that time forgot. I set Heaven's Blue in southwestern NJ and the book I've been currently working on shares the same setting. There are parts of NJ that are empty--in a depressing sort of way, with tumbledown buildings rotting away.

Most people think of NJ as nothing but congested roadways, crowded beaches, and refineries. That's not all there is. But if you can't afford to drive out to southern NJ, you can read Heaven's Blue to get a taste of the land that time forgot. Or you can wait until my next book comes out. :^)



Go to Awe-Struck E-Books to read the first three chapters!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

I'm doing the right thing!

You Should Be a Romance Novelist

You see the world as it should be, and this goes double for all matters of the heart. You can find the romance in any situation, and you would make a talented romance story writer... And while you may be a traditional romantic, you're just as likely to be drawn to quirky or dark love stories. As long as it deals with infatuation, heartbreak, and soulmates - you could write it.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Our Easter

We were blessed with beautiful weather, the company of our daughters, my parents, and Daughter #2's boyfriend. We dyed eggs, ate a huge dinner, and talked. We laughed a lot, too. I get a lot of ideas from my daughters for stories. :^)I keep thinking I should try my hand at a chick-lit novel because all I would have to do for research is call up one of my daughters and ask them the right questions.I made more than enough food and begged everyone to take some home with them.The Easter bunny had also stopped by and left chocolate, jelly beans, and several other goodies. Oh, and the Easter bunny left everyone some nifty new flashlights that don't need batteries, too. You simply shake them and the magnet inside generates power. Hubby and I were sad to see everyone leave.

Friday, April 14, 2006

African Bean and Peanut Soup

A long time ago, when our daughters were young, our church handed out pamphlets to guide parents in making Lent meaningful for children. One of the recipes in the pamphlet was African Bean and Peanut Soup. It turned out to be an enduring favorite which is now served regularly at our house on Good Friday.

Enjoy!

African Bean and Peanut Soup

Serves 8

3 tablespoons butter
2 cups thinly sliced carrots
3 quarts boiling water
1 cup dry black-eyed peas
1 cup dry navy beans
1 cup diced green peppers
3 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 cup salted peanuts, chopped
2 tablespoons onion powder
1 tablespoon basil leaves, crushed
1 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander


    1. Melt butter in large stockpot. Add carrots; cook 5 minutes.
    2. Add water, black-eyed peas, navy beans, green pepper, salt and crushed
    red pepper. (Add more water if necessary, to cover ingredients.)
    3. Cook, covered, until ingredients are tender (1 1/2 to 2 hours).
    4. Add peanuts, onion powder, basil and coriander during last 10 to 15 minutes of cooking.
    5. Taste to correct seasonings. Soup should be thick.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

New Jersey

I like it here. I was born here, grew up here, worked here, and raised children here. I have visited other places, but I always love to come home.

An article in today's Asbury Park Press, There's Something About New Jersey, listed 100 reasons to love or hate my home state. I do not agree with some of the negative comments.

For instance, I think the refineries can be a beautiful sight when seen at night from the NJ Turnpike. With all the lights twinkling, even in July it looks like Christmas.

Anyone else love NJ?

Monday, April 10, 2006

The Sofa

For several months, Daughter #1 has been looking for a sofa. Her apartment is currently furnished in donations and second hand furniture purchased from a coworker who moved away.

I have traveled to every furniture store in the area with Daughter #1. We sat on many sofas. My daughter did not want the overstuffed, multiple-pillow style sofa that seems to be very popular right now. She did not want anything in green (I agreed with her on that). She did not want something too large for her small apartment. She needed something to go with her neutral light brown carpet.

We went to four furniture stores this weekend. Finally, Daughter #1 found the sofa of her dreams. It is a Thomasville Maribel sofa. She ordered one in a solid burgundy with off-white accent pillows in a burgundy floral.

She has good taste.

Of course, looking at all that furniture made me want to redo my entire house, but it would be way too expensive. However, I've got lots of ideas now for decorating my heroine's house. :^)

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Uncle Chuck


















I took this photograph back in the 1970s. It is a picture of my Uncle Chuck, one of my mother's five brothers. He died this past week. He always thought he looked like Clark Gable and he could be just as wickedly charming, even though his personal life was full of sorrow. His oldest son had Down's Syndrome and died at the age of eight. His second son died as a teenager. His wife, after a long illness, also predeceased him.

Yet, Uncle Chuck had a knack for making us laugh. I guess now he's got everyone in heaven laughing, too.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Hermitage

Hubby and I set off this morning to see The Hermitage in Ho-Ho-Kus. It started to snow as we were driving, but by the time we reached our destination it stopped. The Hermitage is a Gothic Revival style house. Aaron Burr was married to Theodosia Prevost in the dining room of the house. After a series of owners, it was the Rosencrantz family who became prosperous with their cotton mill. Still, whenever times were hard, the family would sell some of its property. Before the Depression, the owners ran a tearoom to make money. That was one of the details I found interesting because I could use it in a story. :^)The last owner of the house died in 1970--and at that time the house had electricity in only one room. There was no gas. In the kitchen there is a wood stove--rather rustic living conditions.

As usual, I asked if there were any ghosts in the house. I always ask that question whenever we tour an old house. However, the woman who gave us the tour claimed there were none. I found her answer difficult to believe since so many people lived there. It seems to me there should be at least one ghost.

We also checked out the town of Ho-Ho-Kus. Beautiful Ho-Ho-Kus Brook runs right through the town. There's a wonderful antique shop named Granny's Attic which was fun to browse through.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Watching Words In Christian Fiction

Oy.

The Christian Booksellers Association wants clean stories, but they make a writer's job difficult. See: Darn It Anyway! List of Verboten Swear Words Grows Ever-Longer for Christian Fiction.

Yipes!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Art Gala

Last night, hubby and I attended the opening gala of the Monmouth Festival of the Arts. Hubby enjoys going for the food. Whole Foods catered the affair and there were lots of tasty nibbles--vegetarian sushi, curried chicken salad, miniature quiches, and so on. White and red wine were also available.

I like to go to the gala to see the paintings. I love beach scenes and paintings of places I know. This year, there were plenty of terrific paintings--many of local scenes in the area or scenes of of places I recognize. I did an oil painting of the bell house at Pemaquid Point--and there was a watercolor at the gala of the same scene! Of course, it was a different view done by a different hand--but it was nice to see someone who also appreciated the same scene and felt it a worthy subject for a painting.

Maybe I should use Pemaquid Point for the setting of a novel. Hmmm.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Friday's Book Brunch

Yesterday's Book Brunch at the Middletown Public Library was fun! I had a wonderful time. It was informal--more of a question and answer session. Several of the attendees are regular members of a Barnes & Noble group and interested in writing, too.

Few of them knew much about e-publishing. I passed my old Rocket e-book reader around, but there are still those who insist that there is nothing like curling up with a paper book.

However, since paper books don't glow in the dark, I will continue to love my Rocket for reading in bed. :^)

By the way, Fictionwise is having a sale on the ebookwise reader--which is just an updated version of the old Rocket. You can find it here

It is a terrific gadget. Of course, e-books can also be loaded into Palm Pilots, Treos, etc. But the ebookwise reader is the Cadillac of all e-book readers, in my honest opinion.