Monthly Archives: September 2009

Recipe of the Week – Pork Sandwiches

This recipe comes from a friend at work, who is an amazing cook. When she first told me, I looked at her like she was nuts, but tried it and I’m glad I did. This is a easy week-night dinner which takes all of about five minutes prep and another five minutes to get ready to serve. And the best part?  Buy cheap meat! I bought a rump roast that was 98 cents per pound! Can be made with beef, also.

Ingredients:
1 pork (or beef) roast
1 12-oz can root beer (Yes! Really! Root beer!)
1 bottle BBQ sauce

Put roast and root beer in a crock pot and cook on low for 6 hours. Drain liquid and “pull” the meat into shreds, discarding bones and fat. Put shredded meat back into crock pot and add one bottle barbeque sauce. Let cook on low an additional hour, and serve on buns.

I served it with chips (’cause I have kids) and Brussel sprouts (’cause I have weird kids who love Brussel spouts done in garlic butter), and still have plenty for another meal! Love a two-fer!

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Goal Oriented

It’s been a million years since I posted – I know. Bad, bad blogger. What can I say? It’s been a busy couple of weeks. Add a cold on top, and the blog gets ignored.

But now the husband is back up on his feet and, if all goes well, back to work next week, so hopefully I can spend a little time with my laptop. I have got some serious goals to hit in the next few weeks.

The countdown to NaNo is on, and I swear I am going to write Happy Medium at last. Only had that plot in my head for two years now. You’d think it has brewed long enough to get something down. In fact, I think I need to toss what I have and start all over again.  I only have about 60 pages, so it’s not a huge loss. And I’ll save what I have to refer back to. We shall see.

Before I do that, though, there is another project I have to finish. The same project I was going to have done by the end of winter, then by the end of the summer, and now the new deadline is the end of October: Guys and Dogs. The sucker is written, though in my usual fashion, I started in the wrong place. Not entirely, though. I just needed to tweak it to add more conflict. That was accomplished Friday night near midnight when I came home from a writers’ group. Now I just need to tweak the rest of chapter one, edit the rest of the book (making my big bad not quite as bad as he turned out to be), write a synopsis and query and – here’s the kicker – get that sucker out to an agent! This is my goal. By Halloween, I want Guys and Dogs off to an agent.

So stay tuned for the ride. I might even share a few snippets as I go.

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Filed under It's A Writing Life, Life? You Mean I Have To Have A Life?

Recipe of the Week – Sauteed Zucchini

Been awhile since I posted a recipe – what can I say? I ran out of ideas. But then I was presented with a lovely, huge zucchini this morning. Zucchini is one of those things that people around here grow, though no one knows why. One can only eat so much zucchini bread, after all. So I figured I could do a couple things with it – make the manditory zucchini bread, of course, and try something a little different with the rest. It turned out tender, juicy and yumm-oh! So I thought I’d share.

Ingredients:

2 cups sliced zucchini
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Drizzle oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add zucchini and sautee a moment before addign garlic. Season to taste, and sautee until tender.

That’s really it. The smell is amazing, it’s healthy and oh so good! Enjoy!

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New Contest!

roaring_twenties
THE ROARING TWENTIES
A Romance Treasure Hunt!
20 authors, over 20 prizes, 20 chances to win. Read below to learn how to enter.
September 16-30

World War I is over, jazz music is blossoming, the flapper changes the definition of modern women, Art Deco is peaking, and the Great Depression looms! Go back to school (just for a few minutes) and learn about this fascinating era through photos. You’ll have a chance to win one, or perhaps several, prizes donated by some of your favorite romance writers!

Here’s how it works: Find one image (it won’t be hard) on each of the following websites. They could be Mickey Mouse as Steamboat Willie, a well known image from the Dust Bowl, or perhaps a flapper! You’ll know it when you see it. The more images you find (each author has only posted one image), the more chances you have to win. Find one image, you are entered once! Find twenty, and your name is entered twenty times!
One you have danced your way through the sites, email your answers to ciarcullen@gmail.com

NB: If you want to opt out of being put on any newsletter lists, please just tell us so in your answer email. We will NOT be offended! We promise that if you opt out, it will NOT affect your chances of winning.

Here’s how to answer: “I found a flapper on Betty’s new release page.” No links, please!

Easy? You bet. Want to get started? Here are your links! Contest opens 9/16 and closes 9/30 EST. Good luck. Now, 23 skidoo, scram. And have fun!

Pam Champagne
Prize: Two winner’s choice ebooks!

Michelle Pillow
Prize: Ebook Divinity Warriors: Lilith Enraptured

Imogen Howsen
Prize: Ebook Heart of the Volcano

Shelley Munro
Prize: Winner’s choice of download from her Ellora’s Cave, Cerridwen or Samhain backlist

Catherine Wade
Prize: Her latest release, Another Time Around

Debra Parmley
Prize: Ebook A Desperate Journey

Sharon Cullen
Prize: Ebook Obsession

Juniper Bell
Prize: Ebook The Extremist

Debbie Mumford
Prize: Ebook The Silver Casket

Leslie Dicken
Prize: Ebook Beauty Tempts the Beast

Carolan Ivey
Prize: Choice ebook or print A Ghost of a Chance: Legends, Book 2

Vivian Arend
Prize: eBook winner’s choice of backlist

Ciar Cullen
Prize: Ebook winner’s choice

Renee Wildes
Prize: Paperback Duality

Mychael Black
Prize: Ebook Blood & Fire

Eliza Gayle
Prize: EBooks Rope Dreams and Watch Me Hide

Skylar Kade
Prize: Ebook Maison Domine

Janna Lee Hayes
Prize: Ebook Drive Me Crazy

Sydney Somers
Prize: Winner’s choice download from backlist

Ella Drake
Prize: Ebook Scent of Cin

Pamela Fryer
Prize: Punch Studio Tiny Book

Meg Benjamin
Prize: Ebook Wedding Bell Blues

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Catie’s Rule of Threes

I have a thing for the number three. I have three kids, three cats – hell, I’d probably have three dogs if that weren’t a level of insanity beyond even my capacity. I have three candle sticks on my fireplace mantle, three pictures across my wall, and even put out three things every night at dinner. The other day I did two, since the vegetable and the starch were combined, and my plate felt naked.

Yeah, three and I have a weird thing going. So how come I’ve only sold two books?

That’s what’s bugging me lately. It took me forever to sell my first book, but Another Time Around sold very quickly after Let’s Dish. It’s not like I don’t have anything close to a sellable state – heck, I’ve been working on two books that could be ready very quickly if I just got down to it – but there’s the problem. I haven’t been able to get down to it.

Firstly, selling itself creates a boatload of work. You have to edit your book, edit it again, do line edits, galleys, promo, yada yada. The amount of work after the sale was really surprising to me. That distracted me from working on my other books. Then life – correction, cancer – got in the way. I tried to write this summer, and it was impossible. I just couldn’t concentrate. However, when my darling husband went in for his hip replacement, I edited a nearly a third of a book just waiting for him to come out. I was home with him for two weeks and intended to get the rest done, but…

That actually brings me to the other thing that’s been distracting me: the day job. Last year was crazy here at the office, and this year doesn’t look much better. I’d love to be able to leave this place behind and concentrate on my writing, but I kind of like my house, heat, and my three-item dinners.

So where does that leave me? Where about 99% of working writers are. I have to set aside time, work on weekends and in the evenings, and stop watching DIY Network all the time. Time to buckle down and get Guys and Dogs ready to come off my hard drive and go out into the world. And for that, I need your help. Ready to be my guinea pigs? I want to drop the first sample by the end of this week.

And then, of course, I’ll have to do three.

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Filed under It's A Writing Life, Life? You Mean I Have To Have A Life?

Waiting for the Reviews to Roll In

Every author will tell you they don’t keep their eyes open for new reviews of their books.

Every author is lying.

Okay, maybe not every author says this, and maybe some who say it really mean it. Then again, how many of those same people have a google alert set up on their book? But it is a sad admission for me that I have been scanning those google alerts for reviews of Another Time Around. It’s early yet, I know, and I have had terrific reader feedback, which is all that really matters. Still, sometimes you want to know what the “professionals” think.

My very first review was horrible! The reviewer panned Let’s Dish up one side and down the other. Did it hurt? Yeah, a little, but I knew I’d get bad reviews. Of course, when then next review was also a bad one, I panicked a little.  However, I soon learned to wait and see, and was rewarded by several much more positive reviews. Did they translate into sales? I have no idea, but it’s good to read that someone out there on the interwebs understood Maggie and “got” her.

So now I wait with somewhat-baited breath to see if someone “gets” Brin.  Such a shameful admission, I know! I’m not supposed to care – I’m supposed to let it out of my hands and into the world to be bashed and bruised at will. But I do care. It’s not an ego thing, really it’s not. In fact, I took every point made in those bad reviews of Let’s Dish and learned from them.

So if a bad review is a learning process, how come they still sting? Oh yeah – I’m still human. Man, that’s just not fair.

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Freebie Fridays at eHarlequin

Turns out eHarlequin is doing Freebie Fridays where, if you buy two or more books, you get a selected title free. Not a bad deal, especially considering this week’s selection is a Super Romance Title:

Someone Like Her

by Janice Kay Johnson

Finding his mother is the only reason Adrian Rutledge would set foot in this backward place. In fact, he can’t get out of town fast enough. At least, that’s his attitude before Lucy Peterson works her magic on him. The café owner is nothing like what he thought he needed, yet she’s all he wants.

Then the job pulls him back to the city and Adrian slips into the life he once worked hard to achieve. And while it may not fit the way it did, he can’t simply abandon it. Or can he? Because suddenly he’s tempted by everything Lucy’s offering.

So go on over and check it out!

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