Thursday, 27 June 2013

THE CHALLENGE

So, this is how it happened. 

To tell the truth, I’m not quite sure how it happened, Allyson Lindt is responsible, without a shadow of a doubt.

You see, Allyson, challenged Eva to enter a competition and vis versa . Interesting, but did they take up the gauntlet? I may have – or may not have grabbed that gauntlet and run with it.  We will see. But that particular issue may be irrelevant at this point.  

And the point is that somehow, goaded by two enthusiastic authors, I challenged them to a competition:

THREE AUTHORS
THREE MONTHS
ONE BLOG POST EACH EVERY THREE WEEKS
ONE CHALLENGE

1.       The Authors
a.       Eva Lefoy
b.      Allyson Lindt
c.       Diane Saxon

2.       Three Months – ending 30th September 2013

3.       Each of us must write a blog to update our progress once every three weeks. Well, here’s my first one and I elect Eva to go next. Because Eva is talking, and she’s talking big.

The Challenge -A 15,000 word short story to be completed

   
MY BLOG

So. Here I am with zero words and not much of an idea apart from I need to write a story about an android. Because in the confusion, I elected the android.
Hmm, did I explain to the others that I’m a Contemporary Romance writer and I have no experience with androids? But I like cowboys so maybe a cowboy will be involved.

Never mind, I’m all over it. It will be contemporary, it will be romance and it will contain an android. But will it be finished?

Oh, did I explain? The winner is the one that finishes on time.

Next week, click on Eva – she’ll update you  - She may be out playing, it’s the 4th July. http://writery.wordpress.com/




Saturday, 22 June 2013

SUMMER CHILLIN' BLOG HOP



Life has been a little busy lately with the release of Loving Lydia, the forthcoming release of Bad Girl Bill in August (check it out on my website), the submission of Cormack Blunt - Action Hero, and finishing off my short Romantic Comedy ready for submission by the end of this week, hopefully in time for Christmas publishing.

Oh and did I mention, getting ready to go on holiday and the small matter of a house move some time soon?

Well, I do like to keep busy, but life is never too busy to cook ... and eat and socialise. As a family, we love to eat together, because that way we can always find out what's going on in each others lives - especially me, I'm nosey.

Baking is a particular favourite of mine, and my sister Margaret and I used to attend celebration cake making courses together. We can whip up Christmas cakes, wedding cakes and birthday cakes, but really any kind of food features heavily in our family celebrations.

I hope you enjoy a couple of my favourite recipes. My first one was served to me a few years back by my sister, Lynn, who declares she cannot cook. But she can, so I stole her recipe.

The second one came from my mother and is one of the most frequently requested desserts for family get-togethers and has dozens of variations - just use your imagination.

I leave the drink selection to you. Personally a glass of good red wine suits me, especially with anything pasta - Cheers

Chicken & Ham Cannelloni

Topping

Olive Oil
1 Onion, finely chopped
1 Clove of Garlic, crushed
350g Passatta
142g Tomato Puree
1 tsp Caster Sugar
150 ml Chicken Stock (I cheat, I use a Knorr Stockpot)
2 tbsp Fresh chopped basil
Salt

1.       Fry the onion and garlic in olive oil
2.       Add all ingredients and simmer for as long as it takes to complete the next stage.


10-12 Cannelloni Tubes

Filling

Olive Oil
1 Onion, roughly chopped
1 Clove Garlic
175g (6 oz) Chicken Breast, Finely chopped
125 g (4 oz) Smoked Ham, diced
150g (5 oz) Garlic & Herb Boursin
Pinch of Salt
Grind of Pepper


1.       Fry Onions in the olive oil, set to one side.
2.       Fry chicken.
3.       Add all ingredients to a food processor and zap for a minute or until fairly smooth.
4.       Stuff the Cannelloni and place in a dish. (I use a piping bag for this)
5.       Pour Tomato Sauce over.
6.       Place in Oven at 200C degree, 400F degree, Gas Mark 6 30-40 minutes.
7.       Serve with a green salad.

For a vegetarian alternative - and we have a few vegetarians in our family, replace the filling with:

Makes 5-6 Cannelloni Tubes

Olive Oil
1 Onion, roughly chopped
1 Clove Garlic
150g (5oz) Ricotta
125g Baby leaf spinnach
Pinch of Salt
Grind of Pepper



Strawberry Cheesecake

Ingredients

400 g (13 oz) Chocolate digestive Biscuits - crushed
175-200g (5-7 oz) Butter
300 g (10 oz) Philadelphia Cheese
300 ml (½ pint) Double Cream
125 g (4 oz) Caster Sugar
75g (2oz) Chocolate – melted
500g (15oz) Strawberries - sliced


Grease an 8” fluted dish with butter.

1.       Melt butter.
2.       Mix in crushed biscuits.
3.       Turn mixture into dish and press down firmly into fluted edges.
4.       Refrigerate.
5.       Whip double cream until it stands in firm peaks.
6.       In a separate bowl, beat together Philadelphia and caster sugar.
7.       Fold cream and Philadelphia and sugar mix together.
8.       Spread on biscuit base.
9.        Arranged sliced strawberries on top.
10.   Drizzle a little chocolate over everything.
11.   Refrigerate for at least 6 hours.


Slice, serve … enjoy.





                                      Diane Saxon's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)                                    




Sunday, 9 June 2013

THE CLICK

Well, I'm going to start at the beginning, where all stories start. Along the way, I'm hoping that a few other authors are going to join me to tell their tales.

I wanted to write. I had several attempts at writing, but I let life dictate and I never really finished anything. I worked pretty long days,(and I ask for no sympathy here, it is what it is and we all do it) up at 6.30 to walk a dog, pack lunches, get children and husband out the door for school and work. Off to work myself by 7.30 am with an hour's journey each way to the office. Back by 5.00 pm to pick up children, return home, feed the household, walk the dog, childrens' activities, college work.

One day, the company I worked for asked me to look at offices in a different location. It meant a further hour each way in my journey. I visited the offices and returned home on the train and my husband, Andy, was waiting at the station.

This is the conversation we had:

"You're not happy. What do you want to do?"

"I don't know, but I don't want to do this."

"Then don't. Take a year off. Write the book you've always wanted to write and just do it. Do what you want."

And there it was. Right there. The 'click'. Not so much what Andy said, but the rebel yell in my head.

So I did it. We had a few wobbles along the way and I almost returned to work at the end of last year simply because that was what I was used to. But in December when I had a fully completed manuscript, and hadn't even sent if off,  I thought, if I don't do this now, I am never going to fulfil my dream and I will always regret it.

I did my research. I sent my manuscript and I got my contract.

I have never looked back and I am having the time of my life.

Monday, 3 June 2013

My First Blog

Well, here we go. This is the first time I have attempted to blog, so as well as trying out the new site, I am also learning what's what in the blog world.

If you're here, you probably already know the first book of my Atlantic Divide Series, Loving Lydia, is due to be released tonight and it's a really exciting time.

I started writing Loving Lydia a while ago. Wrote the skeleton of the story and stopped. In December 2012,  I went back to my book, looked at it again and realised I really loved my characters and they had a story to tell and my mind was bursting to tell it.

It's a scary time sending your book off. You need to be brave because this is the time when someone outside of your family, not your sister, not your best friend and not your daughter is going to read your book and critique it.

When Liquid Silver Books offered me a contract, at the beginning of March this year, there was nobody in the house but me - and my Dalmatian, Skye and my one-eyed kitten, Fliss.  So we happy danced together. My other cat, Sam, was in the house, but she was having none of it.

So, from a slow start, to a rocketing ride. Book 2 in the series, Bad Girl Bill, is due out in August and Book 3 is off to the publishers this week and I'm having the time of my life. My stories contain humour, because life can be so funny.