Sunday, March 30, 2014

...Diplomacy from Mom...

Whether they're family, friends, colleagues or fellow RWA authors, all who know me will agree the words "technologically gifted" wouldn't be used in my author's bio. I don't know a widget from a gadget. Therefore, whenever I have a computer question, I turn to my RWA chapter mate, award-winning author,Vonnie Davis. Earlier in the week, I emailed Vonnie for instructions on how to get the Magic Moment cover with Amazon link on my blog. Before you could say Tumbleweed Letters (my favorite Vonnie Davis' read), I had Vonnie's instructions.

While I followed step by step, once completed, I thought the image was overwhelming. I couldn't get the picture to look petite and cute like the images on the other blog sites I visit. Whether my problem was me, my computer, or the blog, I tried several different tactics and still couldn't get the image smaller.

Since no one gives advice or an opinion like a "mom," I trekked over to my mother's house. After showing her the blog site and explaining my dilemma, I concluded with, "I don't know, Mom. What do you think? Do you think that book cover is too big? Does it look obnoxious?"

My mother stared quietly, studied the screen then said with pride, "I can never get enough of looking at that book cover. It's beautiful."

Delighted by her flattering remark, and the chocolate pudding cake she put in front on of me, I didn't realize until I was on my way home that Mom never did answer my questions.

If you click on the Magic Moment image, it'll take you to the Amazon site...with a click for my author's page!

Thanks, Vonnie (and, Mom)!

See what's happening with my friend, Vonnie, at

And, check out my favorite Vonnie Davis' novella, Tumbleweed Letters

Thanks for stopping by, and have a great week, Everyone!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Writing Contest Update March 23rd

Writing Contests are a wonderful way to have your work seen and critiqued. My motto is "It's not whether you win or lose, but the feedback you receive." (of course, winning would be nice, too!)

Here are a few updates, details, and deadlines...

2014 Shelia Contest sponsored by Valley Forge Romance Writes; deadline, April 13th, open to unpublished, published, and self-published; Total of 35 pages including 5-page synopsis; FMI,

2014 TARA Contest sponsored by Tampa Area Romance Authors; deadline, May 1st; open to published and unpublished writers; first 4,500 of qualifying entry; FMI, 

83rd Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition; deadline, May 5, 2014, multiple genre categories;  first price $3,000 in cash and an winner announcement on the cover of Writer’s Digest. FMI,

2014 Rising Star Contest for unpublished authors sponsored by Womens’ Fiction Writers; Open for entries May 1st; first 35 pages of a completed manuscript, plus 2-3 page synopsis; deadline is June 27th; FMI

2014 Pages of the Heart, sponsored by From the Heart Romances Writers; for RWA members who unpublished and published authors, opens May 15, 2014; first 25 pages (not to exceed 6,250 words) of you unpublished and uncontracted manunscript; deadline June 14, 2014; FMI, 

Good luck, Everyone, and have a great week! 

                                                         photo c/o

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

The forecast calls for snow tomorrow on Saint Patrick's day! Since many people bake when it snows, I’m reprinting a recipe I saw last week for Irish Soda Bread. I remember my grandmother always saying, “Everybody’s Irish on St. Paddy’s Day!” Hopefully, when the snow ends tomorrow, Philly won't look like this picture...

Thank you to Rachel Allen and for sharing the recipe. Enjoy!!

Irish Soda Bread


3½ cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp granulated sugar

1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1½–2 cup buttermilk 


1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.

2. Sift the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in most of the buttermilk, leaving about ¼ cup in the measuring cup. Using one hand with your fingers outstretched like a claw, bring the flour and liquid together, adding more buttermilk, if necessary. Don’t knead the mixture, or it will become heavy. The dough should be soft, but not too wet and sticky.

3. When the dough comes together, turn it onto a floured work surface and bring it together a little more. Pat the dough into a round about 1½ inches thick and cut a deep cross in it. Place on a baking sheet.

4. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn down the heat to 400° and bake for 30 minutes more. When done, the loaf will sound slightly hollow when tapped on the bottom and be golden in color. I often turn it upside down for the last 5 minutes of cooking. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

(Recipe by Rachel Allen) 

Have a great week, Everyone!

                                                 photo c/o                                                         

Sunday, March 9, 2014

How many different ways can you say "cheerful"?


When I attended college in the 1980s, owning a word processor was a novelty not the norm. I typed all of my English assignments on an electric typewriter. Since I tutored English 101, I always found a fellow tutor to “critique,” an assignment. My friend would mark the paper with a red pen. I’d look over the suggestions and retype the entire paper with whatever changes I decided to make.

I also had a huge – and I mean H-U-G-E – hardback book called The Synonym Finder with a front cover that is now so worn I can no longer make out the name of the author (I sincerely apologize). The inside information has a copyright 1978 by Rodale Press, Inc. The Introduction was written by Laurence Urdang, Essex, Connecticut, July 28, 1978.

The book has 1,361 pages of synonyms with print the size of Microsoft’s Times New Roman/number 10.
By now, you’re probably wondering what motivated this post. Well, last week I was trying to find another word for “cheerful,” because if I use the word one more time in describing my heroine, my readers would be anything but "cheerful." As we’re now accustomed to doing, I scrolled over to my computer “Thesaurus.”  With a “click,” I found about a dozen or so synonyms for “cheerful.”

When none of the “cheerful” alternatives described my heroine’s mood, I pulled out The Synonym Finder from its place on the bookshelf.
There were about one hundred different words for “cheerful.”

It made me think how in the 21st century, when we depend on our computers for nearly everything, how much I still respect a H-U-G-E hardback book.

Have a good week, Everyone!

                                                       photo c/o



Sunday, March 2, 2014


Yesterday, as we anticipate more snow on the east coast, almost everyone here in Philly decided they needed to be out of the house. Despite the dismal weather forecast for today, yesterday was bright and beautiful. My sister and I decided to venture out to Reading Terminal Market, our nation's oldest indoor farmer's market 

It wasn't as if we needed anything. We just wanted to be out of the house. Between the two of us, we didn't purchase sister bought yams and a pineapple; me, a couple bags of dried fruit and a box of tissue. The joy of the trip was the fresh-air walk to the Market.

While I was in line, the gentleman behind me started a conversation about -- what else? The upcoming snow. He was shopping not for what he might need, but his cat. I thought that was so sweet, so touching...I almost cried.

He also gave me the idea for today's post with all of you. What items, aside from the usual milk, eggs, and bread, do you stock up on when snow may leave you housebound?

Have a good week, Everyone, and please stay warm and safe.