Monday, February 4, 2013

New Address! Come Visit!

   I'm moving! No, wait! Don't run away. You don't have to help me move this sectional or pack up my bookshelves. I'm just moving to a new web address. You can find me at where I'll still be rambling about writing, recipes, gardening, and posting photos when I can't think of anything to say.
   I hope you'll come by and visit. I'll put out a plate of cookies, just in case.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Resolutions Update — January 2013

    I didn’t resolve to write daily this year, instead opting to just keep track of my word-count. I've been doing this for a while now, but I did make some changes to the 2013 spreadsheet. I also created some charts and graphs for motivation, and added a tracker that shows my progress toward a yearly goal. It’s an aspirational goal, but I decided on 180,000 words this year.
    And at the end of the first month, I am about 11 percent toward that goal.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Solar-Powered Writer

   It's not summer yet, but the sun was shining today and I didn't have to wear gloves while driving to work this morning. I'm not ready for winter to be over yet, but this break in the weather has been nice. It reinforced my suspicion that I may be solar powered.
   It's been a great month for writing, despite illness and work and the distraction of new photography software (a shout-out to Aperture 3 and Nik Software). I'll post my monthly word-count totals soon, but I can tell it's been a productive month when I miss it after not being able to write for a few days. This morning, I was able to escape into my imagination for about 30 minutes and finish a scene that I started before this cold derailed me and damn, it felt good to be back pounding the keyboard. 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Lemon Butter Bundt Cake

   My mom used to make the most wonderful cake when I was a kid. It was a butter cake and had a sticky glaze that you poured on while the cake was still hot in the bundt pan, where it would absorb into the cake. It was wonderful and a few years ago, I found the recipe in an old cookbook my mom was about to throw away.
   But it didn't solve my problem today. I needed a recipe to use up some of the Meyer lemons from my tree. So I adapted the recipe from my childhood to make a lemon version. I must say, it was delicious. I did overcook it a bit, so I have revised my recipe accordingly.

                                                     Lemon Butter Bundt Cake

There's more where these came from, too.
 Cake Ingredients:
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1-1/2 tsp lemon extract*
  • 1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 1 tbsp grated lemon peel
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp vanilla
     In a small saucepan over low heat, combine sauce ingredients; cook just until butter melts, stirring occasionally. Do not boil.
     In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in extracts. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition. Stir in lemon peel.
    Pour into a greased and floured 10-in. fluted tube pan. Bake at 350° for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.**
    Make the sauce. With cake still in the pan, pierce the cake all over with a fork then pour the hot sauce over the warm cake. Let stand 5 minutes, or until sauce is absorbed.
    Turn out onto cake plate. Enjoy!
*  I didn’t have lemon extract, so I used 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice, and reduced the amount of milk by that amount. I also added a splash of orange extract and almond extract.
**  Check after 45 minutes. This overcooks easily.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Lucky Number ’13

    My New Year’s resolutions are eight days late. This might not be a great sign, if I had included something about breaking my procrastination habit. But fortunately, I plan on continuing to procrastinate. At least, in all things unrelated to my writing (and work, because income is nice).
    So with no further delay, here’s what I want to focus on in 2013.    
1.   Keep a monthly word-count calendar
    Not really a necessary resolution because something about seeing the numbers add up inspires me to keep writing. Plus, this is an easy one because it involves using my new-and-improved word-count calendar/spreadsheet. I changed it slightly this year so I will be getting more accurate counts for each month and I’ve already clocked in with more than 3,000 words so far. And it’s only Jan. 8! So far, so good!
2.   Finish and edit TMIAL
    This is the project formerly known as the novella. My intermediate deadline for this resolution is Feb. 14 — because Valentine’s Day seems like a good a day as any to finish writing a romantic story.
3.   Finish draft of PDT
    I have a finished outline and about 20,000 words of the first draft and I’m really excited to get back to this world. It’s a romantic suspense/crime novel set on the California coast, an area I know very well. Writing this is my reward for finishing TMIAL.
4.   Finish You, Again
    It’s three-quarters finished and I know who did it. There’s no excuse. But I’m still putting PDT ahead of this because, well, surfers.
5.   Submit something
    A leftover from my 2012 resolution. It can be anything — a writing contest, a query to an agent, submission to a publisher. Just put something out there to show what I can do.
6.   Professional development
    It may be time to network. Meet more authors. Join RWA or attend a conference. This isn’t so much a resolution as a reminder to take writing more seriously.
7.   Write something in first-person POV
    After reviewing my reading lists for the last two years, I realized that most of my favorite reads were in first-person point of view. But all of my writing has been in third-person. This year, I’m going to try writing something in first-person POV and see how it goes.
8.   Outlines for next WIPs
    I’ve got some preliminary outlining done on two sequels to TMIAL. I wasn’t sure until this year if I was an outliner or a pantser or something in between. It turns out, I’m an outliner. I think. We’ll see how it goes when I start writing PDT from the outline. But, in the meantime, I’m resolving to write the outlines for Fiona’s story and then Jude’s story. 
    So those are my plans for 2013. It’s a lot, but it doesn’t feel like a chore. And that’s got to be a good sign.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

2012 Resolutions — Final Results

     Last year, I made a list of five things I wanted to accomplish in 2012 when it came to writing. I feel like this was a very productive year for me in that area. I wrote more than 138,000 words, completed a fairly detailed outline for a future project, and am close to finishing the novella project that turned into a full-fledged novel. I read several great books on writing, listened to writing podcasts and exchanged chapters with my critique partner. I feel like I learned a ton of technique from all of that.
     But how did I do on the specific tasks I listed last January? Not as good as I'd like. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2012 — The Year In Review

    First, let’s tackle December’s writing numbers. December was a pretty good month for writing, especially considering how much time the holidays festivities consume. I had some time off, the crush of my autumn schedule let up, and all of that gave me more time to write and helped get my total up.
    I wrote on 11 days in December and managed to add 4,510 words to the Project Formerly Known as the Novella. Because I was trying to finish the damn thing, it was the only project I focused on last month.
    Did I finish it? Well, no. But more on that later.
    First, let’s look at my year-end recap. The good new:  I wrote 138,389 words in 2012, a good jump over last year’s total of 105,984 words.