Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I Won! I Won! And a Recipe for You

I'm the lucky winner of two book giveaways! How did I get so lucky, you ask? Well, I entered.
I won Tracey Devlyn's Checkmate, My Lord on the Romance University blog. It looks wickedly fun.
And then! I won Mia Ross' A Gift of Family on the Harlequin Board's Open House giveaway.

It's that time of the year - ah, comfort food. Is there anything better? Why does food taste better when it's cold outside? Don't ask me why, but it does. This is a low fat comfort food soup which is filled with flavor.

Spicy Black Bean Vegetarian Soup

1 can of black beans

2 cups of chicken broth (use the light sodium, you won’t miss the salt)

½ cup salsa (you decide if you want hot or mild)

Cilantro sprigs (this is optional, as my sister will tell you not everyone likes cilantro)

Crushed tortilla chips (be gentle)

Puree half the can of black beans with the 2 cups of chicken broth in a blender. Add mixture in a pan with the remainder of the black beans and ½ cup of salsa. Let simmer for a few minutes, and let the flavors get to know each other. Remember that cooking, like love, can’t be rushed. You’ll know when it’s ready. I trust you.

Serve in a bowl garnishing with sprigs of cilantro and crushed tortilla chips on top because every soup deserves a little dressing up.

This makes a nice light lunch on a cold autumn or winter day. Serve with half a sandwich or a green salad or all by itself.

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Christmas Miracle ... sort of

Speaking of the journey toward publication, here's the journey of a Poinsettia. I bought two Poinsettias last year at Christmas time. By April 2012, I was impressed enough to take a photo where you can observe their new growth (and still red leaves).
In July all the red leaves are gone, replaced by bountiful green - but see how well they are doing! In JULY!
Finally we see them full circle in December - still hanging in there, still green. No more red leaves but they're alive.
You have no idea what this means to a notorious plant killer like myself. Yes, it's a Christmas miracle ... sort of.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Sometimes it can feel like I’m spinning my wheels so I created this list

Writing is a lonely business, and I tend to complain a lot.

It’s the end of the year and for once I’m getting a head start. After all, the challenge of October of 2010 by my writing partners at the time was: just finish ONE of those many books you’ve started but never finished.

Challenge accepted!

Fast-forward two years later. Whew. So it may have taken me more than a year, but in January of 2012 I completed my first book (through many revisions, of course). This is a goal I was proud of on its own merit – I’ve been writing since 2004 and never finished anything but a few short stories. Novels seemed to peter out at about 18,000 words when I became overwhelmed with the enormity of the process and moved on to something else.

I blogged about this before but I’ll tell you a secret: I don’t think the first novel was any good. There, I’ve said it. But there is a steep learning curve in writing fiction, and I’m grateful I have the eyes to see when something I’ve written (my very own baby) isn’t quite “ready”. Ouch.

Yes, that novel was rejected in May of 2012.

So in recap, this year:

I finished (January) and submitted (February) my first novel to Harlequin Love Inspired and received my very first rejection (May)

Entered Mills & Boone’s Fast Draft for Medical Romances with a synopsis and first chapter and was rejected (June)

Participated in Love Inspired Pitch and received a request for synopsis (June) My synopsis received a request for a partial (July) My partial received a request for a full (October) and is still under consideration

I received a request for Revise and Resubmit from Everyday Fiction for my short story Among the Living (June) and after changes a firmer Rejection (October).

I revised the entry for M&B and entered the first chapter into the Golden Palm contest (August)

I revised my original novel and entered So You Think You Can Write (October)

I become a Pro Pin member of the RWA (November)

I entered the Golden Heart contest, the Rolls Royce of the RWA (November)

I completed Nanowrimo for the first time (November)

When I review the above, I don’t feel so bad. I’ve been working hard, writing and subbing and entering contests. If effort equals reward, something should bear fruit in the reaping. Or so I keep telling myself.