Need a laugh today? I promise, this’ll do it.
I love playing with words. Except when I’m on deadline.
Then the fears begin to raise their ugly, chattering mugs:
“You can’t write. You’re a hack. You got lucky before. You’ll never do it again. If you can’t do it better – and you can’t – why bother? Plus, get a haircut! Oh, and you’re fat.”
Listening to Michael Hauge‘s workshop From Identity to Essence on my iPod last night (about the sixth time I’ve heard it now, you’d think I’d catch on wouldn’t ya?) gave me some more last-minute things to change/add/emphasize about the main characters in my current work-in-progress.
The one due… um… yesterday. (Don’t worry, I got an extension.)
It also gave me some fresh insight into my own fears. All of my writing contains some degree of truth and truth can be pretty freakin’ risky. So yeah, maybe this will be the book that proves me a failure. Maybe everyone will snicker at me behind my back. Maybe I’ll end up a WalMart greeter, after all.
Maybe that’s a risk I have to take because if I don’t, I’ll never get any closer to being the real person I am. To living my essence. My best, truest, self.
It’s funny, I’ve heard it said that the Dark Night of the Soul for characters generally rides in on the Dark Night for the writer. It seems you can’t write about character change and growth without taking just the tiniest peek into your own tortured psyche.
Oh man, talk about an occupational hazard.
So yeah, this is me. Living’ the dream. Dealing with exactly the problems I’ve always dreamed of having. I am lucky beyond measure that I get to explore the stuff that makes us human, take characters to the brink of despair and then lead them to their true selves. Every hero and heroine who becomes more, better, stronger than they thought they were, helps a tiny part of me become more, better, stronger.
All life is story, and all stories start with words. These are mine. Thanks for reading.
So I was eating my chicken a couple of nights ago, leafing through RT Book Reviews, the magazine for readers of commercial genre fiction. I’d gotten behind on industry reading because, well, I’ve got a book deadline, but I always get to RT eventually. I love to find out about new authors, new series, behind-the-scenes stuff and, of course, the reviews.
RT Book Reviews - formerly called Romantic Times, because it was the premier go-to place for romance reviews – now covers the gamut of commercial genre fiction: mystery, suspense, thrillers, mainstream fiction, paranormal, urban fantasy, erotica, young adult, inspirational, contemporary romance, historical romance and, of course, category romance – you know, those small series books by Harlequin.
There haven’t been a lot of Entangled books reviewed in RT Book Reviews yet – after all, Entangled is only about three years old now. A baby. A fetus, in publishing years. But they’ve begun popping up, particularly in Urban Fantasy and Paranormal, and I like to keep track of what my “sister” authors are doing.
I glance through the sections where I’ve seen Entangled authors reviewed. Mainsteam, nothing. Romantic Suspense, nope. Oh, here’s one! RT’s young adult section, TeenScene gave Cecily White’s PROPHECY GIRL four stars! I’ve heard great things about this Entangled Teen book. (And the editor, too!)
Nothing in Paranormal or Urban Fantasy.
I run my finger down the list in Contemporary Romance. Oh, two Entangled authors this this month, that’s good! Let’s see… Gina Gordon’s A TASTE OF TROUBLE, from the Entangled Edge imprint. Four stars again! Wow, it sounds like a great book. I’d really like to write for that imprint, too. (Mental note: download Gina’s book asap.)
Now… who’s the other Entangled author reviewed in RT this month… I run my finger further down the list…
HOLD ON. THAT’S ME!!! That’s MY name! The reviewer calls His Reluctant Rancher an
“…emotional story…” and “… pure fun.”
I almost choked on my chicken. But let me assure you, I’d have died happy.
Here on the mountain behind us, all sorts of wildlife have been popping up. Fawns and bunnies, of course. Robins, towhees, Stellar’s jays, finches and my favorite: hummingbirds! Last year we had a bear so we’re all keeping an eye out for that one again. Recently we had a bobcat hanging around. Our dogs think this is pretty cool, but what do they know? By the time they find out otherwise, it’ll be too late.
I love being surrounded by nature. But nature doesn’t always benefit from us butting in. In fact, nature almost always loses. That’s where the dedicated people involved in wildlife rehabilitation come in. Committed and knowledgeable, these people are on the frontlines, mending the damage caused by habitat loss, inappropriate human-wildlife contact, injuries by vehicles or pets. This is the time of year when wildlife rehabbers spring into high gear (ha, did you see what I did there? huh?) and need your help. Several years ago, when I wrote a book on wildlife rehab, I learned so much about how we can help wildlife recover from our human ignorance – and why we all need to do our part.
It was my favorite book of the series.
Then it went out of print.
Now, thanks to the dedicated and talented team at Heritage House Publishing in Victoria, BC, my little wildlife book is alive again! New title, new cover, updated content… didn’t they do a lovely job?
So… (drum-roll please) I’m thrilled to announce that the repackaged version of my book, formerly titled Wildlife in the Kitchen, is now available for purchase, in both paperback and digital format. For any of you who support wildlife rehabilitation in all its entities, you’ll be happy to know that Elizabeth Melnick of Elizabeth’s Wildlife Centre, in Abbotsford, BC, is featured prominently in this book. And as soon as print copies are available, I’ll be donating her a box of 50 to use in fund-raising, volunteer appreciation or whatever best serves her needs. I’m so proud to have been able to include her story in this book – and to call Elizabeth my friend!
PS: one of the cool things about being a writer is that you never now when one idea might spark another, or where this trail of sparks will lead. This book contains a chapter on wild mustangs, the free-roaming horses that continue to run wild across parts of North America. Researching these amazing creatures fascinated me – and continues to do so. So, I started writing a novel about a guy who makes this his purpose in life – but is the son of a Montana cattle rancher. Oooh, conflict. That little spark turned into Three River Ranch, the first of what is now a four-book series of digital romance novels with Entangled Publishing.
So my horoscope yesterday said I was going to wake up with a cold. Big newsflash, Daily OM. I’ve been waking up congested for a couple of weeks now. It’s allergy season.
However, it was one of those icky, grey days that we on the Wet Coast should be used to by now … but AREN’T. At least, I am not, and reserve the right to complain about the rain, grizzle about the drizzle. And make soup. Because soup just tastes so good on days like that!
Also, I’m doing the Wheat Belly diet right now, so soup is perfect. As long as it’s not accompanied by bread. Wheat Belly is basically a version of Atkins. (Good thing I didn’t know THAT before I started.) Low carbs. Lots of veggies. Lots of chicken. Lots of nuts. But, in case you missed it, NO BREAD. (I grew up on the prairies… no wheat? My family thinks I’ve fallen prey to a cult.) So far, in six weeks, I’ve lost about eight pounds. (All of which was gained through the winter, mostly from pie.)
So this week I made a version of chicken soup that my sister introduced to me last summer. At least, it’s more or less like the one she made. I can’t really remember.
One rotisserie chicken (you can roast your own chicken if you want… if I roast a chicken, I’m gonna eat roast chicken. If I’m making soup with it, someone else can roast it.)
2 cartons of chicken broth
garlic (I used two cloves because that’s all I had. More would be fine.)
1 can diced tomatoes (not the big can, the medium sized one. Although I’ve done it with the big can too, so never mind.)
Juice of 2 limes (you could use more if you want it really limey)
Salt/pepper to taste (I use sea salt that’s got herbs in it… you might want to add your own herbs… but I’m not holding a gun to your head, do what you want)
tortilla chips (I like Fresh is Best corn chips… mmm… what, don’t judge me. It’s NOT WHEAT.)
Saute the onion and garlic – OH! Celery! I used celery this time, too. Saute that with the onion and garlic – in the olive oil, in a big pot. Dump in the chicken broth. Shred the crap out of the rotisserie chicken. Chop up the meat. Add to pot, with the tomatoes. Juice the limes into the pot. Lick your fingers. (Add a little salt, a little tequila… wait. Different blog post.) Cook until done. (My favorite cooking instruction!)
Serve with tortilla chips, sour cream (it’s not wheat either!) and slices of avocado. I might have missed something, but really, you can take it from here, can’t you? If not, have a margarita and quit whining!
Riverina Romantics posted the most delightful comments about His Reluctant Rancher! You can read the rest for yourself, but here are my favorite parts:
“One person, she thought. All it takes is one person who believes in you.”
Zach Gamble’s family is falling apart. After a truck accident that left his brother dead and his dad paralyzed he is barely holding it all together. They are in serious danger of losing the family ranch and all he needs is his father to get himself together enough to help convince the board of investors that they can keep everything up. Desiree is his last hope to get his dad back to where he needs to be. Trusting her to do this is hard, but dealing with the feelings she makes him feel is even harder. She is beautiful and turns him on in a way that he finds hard to resist, but she’s smart, interesting, loving, tough and all the other traits that he respects and never thought he would find.
“You’re no twig,” he said, brushing snow off her backside, “but trust me, Des. No man alive is complaining about where the sand settled in your hourglass.”
This book has it all. Hot, sexy cowboy? Check. Family dynamics that add to the story, rather than annoy? Check. Witty banter to hold your attention? Check. Sex scenes to curl your toes and make you wish for a hot cowboy of your own? Check, check!
The strength it takes for Zach to keep his family afloat is awe inspiring and the way Des step up to help out is so sweet. I love that the self proclaimed city girl is willing to get dirty to make things just a little bit easier for this family and for Zach.
“You’re on the same ride as the rest of us. Sometimes we lead. Sometimes we follow. Sometimes we get lost. But the main thing is, we’re on the journey together.”
Hm. I guess this makes it a 4-HEART review.
I didn’t feel like posting a recipe today because eggs, spinach and goat cheese swirled together in a frying pan isn’t much of a recipe and that’s what I’m making tonight. (Spinach Eggs works with my Wheat Belly diet, on which I’m pleased to report a general shrinkage of my wheat belly. Toast would be [...]