Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Last book to be read in 2011

What book are you ending the 2011 year reading?

I read a lot of holiday books right before Christmas. With the end of the year only three days away I decided to end 2011 reading a romantic book by Suzanne Brockmann. It's actually a re-issue that I have never read. GASP! I can't believe I missed a novel by Suzanne.

My last read of the year will be Future Perfect by Suzanne Brockmann.

Blurb: Dressed in Victorian attire, Juliana Anderson gives guests at her cozy New England bed and breakfast a taste of old fashioned hospitality. Whether she’s cooking up delights in her kitchen or maintaining the rooms in her beautifully decorated inn, Juliana stays busy and content. Until Webster Donovan arrives—tall, rugged, and sexy beyond belief.

The lean, dark-haired author (with awesome abs -- see cover art above! ) has a bad case of writer’s block and he’s planned a six-week stay to cure it. But this beautiful woman is proving even more distracting to the cause. For prim, polite Juliana has a wild side: she rides a Harley and hides a troubled past. The moment Webster watched her take off her motorcycle helmet and shake loose those long, flame-haired curls, he found his muse—and lost his heart. But can romance with a woman afraid to trust in love last longer than a moment in time?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2011 - A Year in Review

With 2011 coming to a close I thought it would be a good time to reflect on the year.

Was it a good year for you? What did you do this year? What did you accomplish? What are you proud of? What did you try or experience?

Me? Hmm. Let me see.

My writer side of my personality finished my 5th novel and started my 6th. Yea me! I also presented a workshop at the Rhode Island Romance Writers conference. Loved that!

The athlete in me ran more 5Ks this year than the previous year. That was a personal goal for myself and I did it so I’m happy. I did a run/walk with my Dad on Thanksgiving morning, which was probably the best event. I did the Santa Run in a Santa suit in December with some friends and laughed my hiney off the entire time I was wheezing in the cold.
I started working out with a trainer 2 to 3 times a week. Wow! Does she know how to kick my butt, but I am grateful as my backside has never looked so good.
I played snow softball with people I just met. Talk about a way to meet new friends…just run around a softball field in 2 feet of snow trying to find a big white ball. You’ll become fast friends!

The gardener in me planted more flowers and fruit trees and built my own retaining wall. Not to mention cut up part of the gigantic Ash tree that crashed into my deck. One of the first things I accomplished in my yard this past year was to build my own firepit.

I took more voice lessons the beginning part of the year, but did not do the recital. Yup, I’m a big chicken. I admit it! One of these days I will actually sing in front of people. I know! That will be the same day I get on the NY Times Best Sellers list. [GRIN]

My outgoing personality (I’m really very introverted) allowed me to meet some new friends. One of the new friends I met when we both got lost in a 5K race. Now Kathie and I take a map with us when we run. Are we smart or what? Actually, we’re just quick learners.
I met Dave and Beth at one of the mystery events I do with author CJ West and they are the ones who roped me into playing snow softball. How could I not fall in love with them?

The adventurer in me finally got off her duff and took a vacation. I didn’t just go anywhere. I followed the signs and traveled to Kenmare, Ireland. One of the prettiest places on earth and I highly recommend it to everyone. Cannot wait to go back!

Speaking of Irish. I not only drank Guinness but I learned to really like it. So much so that when some friends asked me to make beer with them, I made a Dry Irish Stout…80 bottles of it. Mm…mm. It’s magically delicious.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Cookies, Cowboys, and Chocolate

Stop on over at Reading with the Baking Goddess blog where they interviewed me about my likes and dislikes.

Somehow we talk about cookies, cowboys, and chocolate. Mmm!!

For a chance for a free book stop by Reading with the Baking Goddess blog and leave a comment.

Friday, December 16, 2011

On the Fourth Day of Cookie Christmas true love gave to favorite oatmeal cookie.

This recipe came from my mom's Better Homes and Gardens cookbooke from like 1960 something. Dad said it could be even older than that. It's older than me and she still has it. I'm so glad she does because she emailed me the recipe so I could share it with you all and with my friends at this weekend's cookie party.

I used to make these cookies for every high school event and oh, yeah, you've heard the saying, "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach." Well, I used this recipe to help snatch my high school sweetheart.

Nothing but good stuff happens when you bake and eat these cookies. Hope you enjoy them as much as I know I will this weekend.


1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ cups sifted all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon soda
3 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped California walnuts


Preheat Oven to 350 degrees

Thoroughly cream butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat well.
Stir together flour, salt, and soda; add to creamed mixture. Stir in rolled oats and nuts. Mix.

Form dough in rolls, 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap in waxed paper, aluminum foil or clear plastic. Wrap. Chill thoroughly.

With sharp knife, slice cookies about 1/4 inches thick. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet in moderate oven (350 degrees) 10 minutes or till lightly browned. Makes about 5 dozen.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Cookie Exchange Day 3

We're Day three into our online Christmas cookie party. Have you gotten any new cookie recipes yet that you just have to try?

Today's recipe is one of my favorites. It's called a Monster Cookie.
Why is it called a Monster Cookie? Because it's a monster mouthful of good cookie!

Seriously, this cookie has a little bit of everything. It's like the kitchen sinck of cookies. Cookie Monster himself would love this special treat.

Monster Cookies


1 C. Butter softened
2 C. White Sugar
2 C. Packed Brown Sugar
3 C. Peanut Butter
6 Eggs
1 1/2 tsp. Corn Syrup
1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
4 tsp. Baking Soda
9 C. Rolled Oatmeal
1 C. Mini M&Ms
1 C. Mini Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In Large Bowl: Cream together the margarine, white sugar, brown sugar, and peanut butter until smooth.
Beat in eggs (2 at a time), then stir in the corn syrup and vanilla. Mix in baking soda and oats until well blended.
Stir in M&Ms and chocolate chips.
Roll dough into 2 inch balls and place 3 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten slightly with a fork.

Bake: 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool on cookie sheet
a few minutes, before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Second Day - Christmas Cookie Exchange

Today's recipe came from a frind of mine named Chris. Chris and I used to do our own cookie exchange party every year at Christmas and this was the one cookie he had to make. Only he could make the cookie the right way so I just watched an ate.

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me. . .

Russian Teacakes

Ingredients: 1 C. Butter softened
1/2 C. Powdered Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
2 1/4 C. Flour
1/4 tsp. Salt
3/4 C. Finely Chopped Walnuts

Powdered Sugar for decoration

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
In Large Bowl: Cream together the butter, sugar, and vanilla.
Mix flour and salt together; blend in with cream mixture.
Mix in nuts. Chill dough.

Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake: 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. While still warm roll in powdered sugar. Cool and roll in powdered sugar again.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies

To celebrate this holiday season, I’m about to kickoff a twelve days of cookies party.

Ooo! What’s that?

Well, if this were at my house, it would be a bunch of friends getting together to drink wine, listen to music, talk, and bake cookies. At the end of the night everyone takes home a plate of cookies.

Let the holiday baking and EATING begin!

Since we can’t host this party for everyone at my house (although it is this Saturday at my place) I will host an online cookie exchange.

Every day I’m going to post a recipe for a cookie. Every day, feel free to submit your own cookie recipe to share with others.

Tell us what time of year you make these cookies, why you make them, what you love about them, what others love about them. Maybe you have a story to tell about the cookie. Those are always fun.

The idea is to share in the holiday spirit and the cookies!

On the First day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

8oz. pkg. Mini Kisses
1/2 C. butter softened
3/4 C. Peanut Butter
1/3 C. White Sugar
1/3 C. Packed Brown Sugar
1 Egg
2 TBSP. Milk
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 C. flour
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt

1/4 C. White Sugar for decoration

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
In Large Bowl: Cream together the butter, white sugar, brown sugar, and peanut butter until light and fluffy.
Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well.
Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture.
Roll dough into 1 inch balls. Roll in sugar and place on
an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake: 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven or until lightly browned.
Immediately press Kiss in center of cookie.
Cool on cookie sheet and transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What’s on your Christmas Wish List?

With Christmas only 18 days away, have you written your Christmas wish list? What’s on it? Come on! Share!

Do you have stocking stuffer ideas, items that fit under the Christmas tree, or only those items Santa Claus himself can bring? Or maybe some of all of the above?

Me? I have a little of everything.

In the stocking stuffer category, I have books. Yup, you heard me, books. Any book will do. Remember when you were a kid and you got those Lifesaver Holiday books? The little cardboard books filled with assorted Lifesaver candies. Yum. I loved those! I’ll still take those in my stocking.

Oh! Remember those candy cane tubes filled with lip-gloss? They still have those! Those were terrific stocking stuffers and I never had chapped lips. Now, I like my Kriss Cosmetics lip-gloss peeking out the top of my fuzzy stocking hanging above the fireplace.

What do you want to find under your tree?

Me? There’s really not much. I’m always up for a new laptop. What writer wouldn’t be? Of course, airline tickets to Ireland would be a lovely surprise. Especially since I’m going to be doing my very first half marathon in Dublin next August. Audiobooks! Thanks to an outrageous commute, I go through audiobooks like water so receiving audiobooks as a gift is a real treat. And alpaca sweater would be kinda cool and very soft!Yes, alpaca is something I have recently fallen in love with. I am always on a search for alpaca socks. Hey! No snickering.

What can Santa bring me?

Hmm. Well… Okay, the writer side of me would like Santa to find a publicist for me and my books. Someone who will shout to the world that they should read my books. Then I can watch them go flying off the shelf. Ah, well, that’s one fantasy.

Or perhaps Santa can find a movie company that wants to make a movie out of one or all of my romantic suspense novels. Holy cow, can you imagine? My feet would never hit the ground again.

Last but certainly not least on this writer’s Christmas wish list for Santa… Wait for it! Wait for it!

Santa feel free to leave under my tree one of my heroes from my books come to life, half-naked and tied up with a big red bow, strategically placed in all the right places. Now that’s what I call the BEST Christmas present.

Go ahead, Santa! I’ll be waiting for Christmas morning.

PS. Don’t forget I’m an early riser so be sure to deliver the hero early. [WINK]

Monday, December 5, 2011

Dad is my hero!

My father is my hero.

Today is my father’s birthday and today I wanted to take the time to share with you how much I love, admire, and respect him. I want to share with you why my father is my hero.

As some of you may know my dad recently decided to leave his wife behind and come spend Thanksgiving at my place. Thanks, mom for letting Dad go for the week. [GRIN]

He arrived the morning before Thanksgiving and we hung out the first night and had a great steak dinner. . .that I did not cook. Thank goodness for Longhorn steakhouse.

Thanksgiving morning we both woke up early, oh, about 4 AM. Without an alarm! Now I know where I get my early rising habit from. We had breakfast and then we got ready to go run/walk in the Feaster Five annual road race. You see, before my father told me he was coming to visit I had already signed up for the race thinking it would be a good way to work off the day’s food before I even ate it.

My father, being the good man that he is, he agreed to do the walk with me. Well, okay, I coerced him into it by signing him up. See the picture to the left of him standing on the corner in Andover waiting for the race to begin. Now something you should know is that my parents live in Florida so dad is not exactly used to the chilly mornings or winters that we have up here. And Thanksgiving morning was definitely a wee bit cold. Okay, it was dang blustery.

But the holiday music was playing, the hot cocoa was flowing, and the number of runners dressed in various if not freaky attire was growing. A great place to people watch!

When the gun went off signifying the start of the race, we inched our way up to the start line. Seriously, ten thousand people crawled, shoulder-to-shoulder to the start line on their to an end goal of receiving a free apple pie at the end. Yup, anyone who finished the race received their dessert for the holiday table.

Dad and I crossed the finish line, hand-in-hand. What a great way to kickoff a visit with my father and a holiday. Now if I can convince him to make this an annual event. HINT! HINT!

After that wonderful Thanksgiving, the rest of my father’s visit was spent on my “Daddy Do” list. Yes, I had a list.

He got up in the crawly area of my attic and put in more insulation for me. This is the space that I tried to get up in and freaked out once I found out how small it really was. Then, of course, he helped me re-do the other part of the attic cuz I did it wrong. Sheesh! We put insulation in every outlet throughout the house.

Dad changed the ceiling fan out in the master bedroom. This is no easy task when the ceiling is 13 feet tall and he’s sitting on a ladder doing this. He fixed my garage door opener do-hickey that allows me to open the garage from the outside while playing in the yard. He’s so smart, he even taped the instructions on getting it to work to the garage door opener. . .just in case.

He replaced the outdoor light above the garage. This light now illuminates my driveway and part of my yard. It will prevent friendly visitors from running over flowers that I leave in my driveway before planting them. Uh, yes, that has happened. I have squished mums. But not no more! At least I hope.

Last winter I had the carpet in the spare bedroom replaced and when the wood swelled, guess what happened? The bottom of the closet door would scrape along my beautiful new floors. Yikes! Ah, here is where dad comes in. Dad took the door off and sanded it down for me. Voila! No more scraping.

OH! And one of the best things dad did was build a TV riser. I have been wanting one for months and months but could never find one that was the right size. Who needs to buy one when you have a handy dandy dad! Dad is a regular artist when it comes to woodworking. Seriously! You should see some of the things he has made. Dressers, nightstands, jewelry boxes, game boards, headboards, grandfather clocks. He’s a true genius.

So what does dad do? He built a TV riser out of maple. It is wonderful!
Speaking of wood. . .my father is a true guy. He saw my tree limb pile in the backyard from the tree that crashed against the house this summer and my firepit. So what does he want to do? He wants to get out the chainsaw and cut some wood for my firepit. Not kidding! Power tools!! Such a guy!

And of course, after we cut some wood we then had to start a fire and share a bottle of wine. Yup, we did, two nights in a row. It was fantastic!

This is my dad. Is it any wonder I think he is my hero?

Happy birthday, Dad!
Hugs and kisses - XOXOXO

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