Thursday, March 29, 2007

Finished--sort of...

Last night I finished THE BEAST OF BLACKBIRCH MANOR. Sort of. I know it will return to me after the editor goes over it and then I will have more to fix. A book is never done until it is released. But it was a good feeling to type "The End." :^)

Today is the last day of my spring break, so I was happy to put the book aside and go gallivanting with hubby to the Columbus Farmers Market. Hubby is a frequent visitor to Columbus but this was the first time I went with him. He has flea market friends. There's the nut lady, Dottie. She is such a sweet lady and she gives away free samples. Today she was handing out dried pineapple and prunes. She said the prunes were good for osteoporosis. Hmmm.

She also had candied ginger. She said it is good for the stomach and if we were going on a cruise we should take it along. We are not going on a cruise, but both hubby and I were instantly addicted to the candied ginger, so we bought it.

Then we went to the spice dealer. He told us that cream of tartar is good for cleaning silverware. Hmmm. (I think it's really for aluminum.) It doesn't matter to me--I use it to make playdough.

There's a large restaurant apparently owned by Mennonites. We had subs for lunch with Lebanon Bologna.

I saw the perfect hall chair in a small furniture store. I did not buy it--yet--but I am seriously thinking about it. I've wanted one for a long time, but I never found one that fit all my specifications--until now.

So I may go back to the Columbus Farmers Market.

On the way home we stopped at the Book Garden--a used bookstore in Cream Ridge. It is an awesome place and one of our favorite used bookstores. I bought two history books. I am thinking of writing another historical. :^)

Sunday, March 25, 2007

My Spring Break

I have spent the past week immersed in writing, but I ventured out several times. On Tuesday, hubby and I went to the local library to have the AARP expert help us with our taxes. We had to wait our turn, so I wandered around the stacks and found a few books with clothing styles of the 1890s. I have borrowed the same books from the library previously, but this time I was looking specifically for an evening gown for my heroine to wear and a tuxedo for the hero. I photocopied pictures from the books of the outfits I liked. You can see the heroine's gown here.

On Thursday, hubby I went to the Stitch 'n Sew Centre in Lakewood. I had heard that it is a terrific store with a wealth of fabrics and other sewing supplies. Walking into the store, hubby and I were overwhelmed. There was too much! I checked out the pattern books for costumes of the 1890's while hubby browsed the aisles looking for fabric that would make a good grill cloth for one of his accordions. He wound up buying nothing, and I only bought two spools of thread. But it was worth a visit. The array of fabrics is mind-boggling.

Last night, hubby and I attended the annual gala of the Monmouth Festival of the Arts. Hubby gorged himself on Swedish meatballs along with a variety of other hors d'oeuvres. He judges art shows by the quantity and quality of the food. :^) I enjoyed looking at the artwork and chatting with people.

On the drive home after the arts festival, several more ideas for the book rushed into my brain. So as soon as I got home, I hurried back to the computer and started writing again.

Sometimes, taking a break is a good thing.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

One Pot Meal

We always combine our St. Patrick's Day celebration with Daughter #3's birthday. I make my Irish soda bread, and then boil corned beef, cabbage, carrots, and potatoes--all in one pot. I love the simplicity of it. No fuss. One pot to clean.

For dessert we have ice cream cake--purchased, of course--so that's no work for me.

This is one of my favorite parties because it involves so little effort. The soda bread takes a bit of time, but it is worth it because nothing tastes quite as good as homemade soda bread fresh from the oven. My daughters have told me they have bought soda bread and it is never as good as mine. :^)

One of our guests told me I should sell it.

But I don't know if I would want to make soda bread everyday. I think it wouldn't be so special to me anymore.

Monday, March 12, 2007

EPICon 2007

Here I am in Virginia Beach! EPICon, the annual conference for EPIC members, was held within driving distance of New Jersey this year so hubby and I packed up our suitcases and cruised down Route 13 to Virginia. On the way we discovered that the Delmarva pennisula is very flat--which could make for a boring drive save for the fact that there are a number of large antique stores along the way. Our drive to Virginia Beach took longer than we anticipated due to a few of those antique stores. :^)

The conference was held at the Surfside Inn. We had a lovely room facing the beach with a private balcony. Friday morning we were greeted by the dawn. On the way to breakfast, I met Janet Lane Walters--who is also a New Concepts Publishing author. She gave me a hug, but I think she was just so glad to see me because I had signed up for the first shift in the bookstore. :^)
The keynote speaker was Sherrilyn Kenyon. Her talk was terrific! Hubby and I shared a table with Lorna and Larry Collins as well as P. June Diehl. The conference was considerably smaller than the one run by the New Jersey Romance Writers--but that made it easy to get to know a lot of other writers.
Hubby went to a few talks with me and our favorite was TJ Glenn's "Bruise and Consequence: How to Build a Better Beating." My heroines are always getting into some kind of trouble so I figured I ought to know how to get them out of it. To keep a good reference handy, I bought Teel's book, Them's Fightin' Words!

The highlight of the conference was the EPPIE banquet. I sat next to Jane Toombs--a lovely lady and a prolific author. I am hoping that some of her talent rubbed off on me. Jeff Strand was the emcee--and he was hilarious. There were so many categories this year, but Jeff held everyone's attention with his over-the-top writer's humor.

I did not take photos of all the winners. However, I had to take a picture of my fellow Awe-Struck author, Sherry Derr-Wille. She was the winner in the inspirational category this year for her book, The Outlaw's Daughter.

Another winner was Linda Bleser for her book East of Eden.

By the way, the above photos can be viewed larger just by clicking on them!

It was a great conference. Next year it will be in Portland, Oregon! Start saving now. :^)

Friday, March 02, 2007

New Contract!

This week New Concepts Publishing gave me a contract for THE BEAST OF BLACKBIRCH MANOR! I do not know yet when the book will be released, but I am having fun filling out the questionnaire for the book cover.

I would like the manor to look like Grey Towers.

I would like the heroine to look like Sienna Miller.

And the Beast? Well, if he wasn't so hairy, he would definitely look like Pierce Brosnan. :^)