Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree

In talking with my writer friends, we came upon the discussion of the first romance books we had read. Somehow 'Gone with the Wind' was mentioned and that reminded me of my maternal grandmother, whose name was Tommie Lou Campbell. I always thought her name was so unique for a girl. I think my first romance reads came from the small wooden (built into the wall) shelf in the small hallway of the farmhouse where my grandparents lived. I'd spend a few summer weeks at the farm in northwest Ga. and help myself to the books on the shelf, reading the ones that Granny was finished with or hadn't gotten to yet. There was nothing better than sitting on the screened front porch with the afternoon breeze blowing the heat away and finding myself lost in some other world of a book, most often romance. That is where I first picked up 'Gone with the Wind' myself, though I had already seen the movie. I remember Granny, with her apron on, baking the morning's homemade biscuits and gravy and telling me that "you might want to read that one when you are a little bit older." Well, a comment like that to a twelve year old meant I wasn't waiting to read it. What I found was an intense book I could not put down and it was the first time I had compared a book to the movie. Of course the book won! I remember also being fascinated by the little book Granny kept where she wrote down love quotes and love poems. I would copy them at times into my own notebooks and I still have most of those today. So I think I gained my love of reading from my Granny and then my mother. (More on mom and her reads in another post!)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

From the CRITIQUE CORRAL...Introducing Denni Garrett

I figured what this blog needs is a Critique Corral. A place where some of my friends (who are avid readers and writers) can post what they have been reading or writing. Nope, it doesn't have to be about cowboys or the old west and there might even be times it gets a little heated, but this is another way to connect my blog to reading and seeing what is out there! So first one out of the chute at this month's Critique Corral:  Dennie Garrett.


Hi, my name is Denni and I am a Bookaholic.  I have been a bookworm since way back to childhood.  One of my most precious memories is when I was a child and my beloved Granny saving her Guideposts for me.  I loved to read anything!  My favorite books growing up were the Little House on the Prairie books.  I kept one of the series checked out at all times.  Pa Ingles reminded me so much of my Daddy and I wanted to marry Mr. Edwards. 
I am a native of the beautiful Upstate of SC.  I was born and raised there. I have traveled to many places but could never see myself living anywhere else.  I am divorced with no children.  I have 2 dogs, a Chihuahua named Sassi Belle and a poodle named Bindi Sue that are my fur kids.  I love animals and love to rescue them and find good homes for them.
I also have a 5 year old nephew who I adore.  He is such a blessing to our family. 
My reading preferences are very diverse.  I like reading all genres of books.  Some of my favorite authors are Stephen King, Greg Iles, Jeffery Deaver, Ann Rule, Vince Flynn and Dorothea Benton Frank.  That is just a tip of the iceberg.  I also like to look for old books, from authors that you have never heard from...a good book is a good book.  I am looking forward to sharing some of my favorite books with you all.  Feel free to email me your reading recommendation at alabama81@aol.com.
Happy reading!
Bookworm Denni---take a look below at the first book I've picked!

Book- Transfer of Power     Author- Vince Flynn
If you are looking for a hero, then no need to look any farther.  Mitch Rapp, Vince Flynn's fearless CIA counter-terrorism Superman fits the definition of hero!  He will amaze you and you will find yourself on the edge of your seat, hoping he will outsmart the bad guys.
I have read all of Vince Flynn's books (some more than once) and I think my favorite is Transfer of Power.  Terrorists get by security at the White House and that forces the President to go into hiding in an underground bunker.  The Terrorists take hostages and start making demands.  They then start the painstakingly task of breaking into the supposedly indestructible bunker.  But fear not, Mitch Rapp makes his way, undetected into the White House to save the day.  He moves like a cat and sneaks his way among the halls and secret passageways of the White House.  ( I had to wonder if secret passageways actually do exist there in real life.  Mr. Flynn tells a story that makes you feel like you're on the inside looking out, instead of the outside looking in)
Rapp saves the hostages before he saves the President.  But before he knows it, he realizes he's fighting someone within his own government that wants his rescue of the President to fail. 
I am not going to reveal the ending...you'll have to read it to find out.  (you will thank me later)
When I read a book, I have in my mind's eye, a picture of the characters as they emerge.  Mitch Rapp is a combination of Rambo, Chuck Norris, Seal Team 6, McGyver and Jack Bauer.  I pictured him as tall, steely eyed, square jawed and devilishly handsome.  Just like the very handsome Mr. Flynn looks on the back cover of his books.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Sawyer's Rose finals in the Maggies!!!!

I recently got word from GRW that Sawyer's Rose was a finalist for the Maggies in October. The Georgia Romance Writers website defines it this way:

The Maggie Award for Excellence has been given out by Georgia Romance Writers for over three decades. It is a highly respected award in the writing community.

I have worked on Sawyer's Rose for over a year and a half and thanks to the best critique partners a person could have this is the result. (Thank you Maggie, Cheryl, Trish, Sherry and Becke.) I also have a slew of beta readers who offer story advice and let me know where things did or didn't make any sense. (Thank you Kimmy, Dennie, Anita, and Scarlet.)  I am not sure any writer ever placed in any contest without great critique partners and then painstakingly writing and rewriting again and again. For me it has been a battle of learning all the things new writers have to learn and the things I am still learning like:
Show vs. Tell
Point of View-Head-hopping
Adding Emotional beats in the right places
And for me plain old grammar and punctuation (No I didn't pay attention in high school English. I was probably hiding behind my English book reading a romance novel.)

So my first real reward has come and it didn't come easy. But it does come at a time when I needed to hear something good related to my writing. When I first decided to pursue publication I jumped in whole heartedly. I joined GRW and RWA and I go to the events and I submitted to the Virginia Ellis workshop each year so I could learn. I've already pitched a couple of times and got the rejections that followed and then took a deep breath and pitched again. I have submitted to the Maggies, sure I wouldn't place but wanting the feedback of critiques from those that do not know me. That can be invaluable. Not sure how this has happened, but someone must have liked Sawyer's Rose for this to be where things have gone. I don't know how the story will do in October, but I do know at this moment this is a huge honor regardless. I am thrilled, excited and still in shock but it is starting to sink in. This doesn't mean Sawyer's Rose will get published but it does mean if nothing else I am making progress toward that goal and it feels really good.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Hell on Wheels

Season four of Hell on Wheels Starts tonight and I can't wait. I will watch each episode over and over so I miss nothing! I started watching season one in 2011 when I was editing through my very first manuscript. Since I was writing a western historical romance, I thought I might learn something about the time period and about the building of the transcontinental railroads-a very interesting story to say the least. What I didn't expect was to become addicted to the series and Anson Mount in the lead roll of Cullen Bohannon. If you have not been watching Hell on Wheels, you are missing out on what I think is the best western television in a while. I sure hope this series continues for a while longer!!!! Who else out there is watching?

Friday, August 1, 2014

The Chuck Wagon-Old Fashioned Salmon Patties

Old Fashioned Salmon Patties

2 Cans of salmon-clean out the bones and skins (YUK according to Kim)
1/2 Large Vidalia onion chopped
2 cups of Panko bread crumbs
3 Eggs Beaten
Salt and Pepper (In our case seasoning salt.)
Vegetable Cooking Oil

1 Cup Mayonnaise (At our house that means only Blue Plate.)
3 TBS Prepared Dill Sauce (Or fresh Dill chopped.)
Lemon Juice to taste

Mix the salmon with the onions and salt and pepper and Panko Bread crumbs and the eggs. Make palm sized patties and cook in large skillet with oil. Cook each side of the patties until golden brown. Allow to cool and serve with dip of Mayo, Dill and Lemon Juice mixed together.

That's it for the Chuck Wagon this month. Let me know some of you favorite recipes.