September Writing Roundup!

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writing

I’ve been much more productive over the last four weeks and feel in control over my writing schedule. I’ve thinned out my social calendar again to make room for my writing and feel positive about my fall goals.  The next four weeks will be a true test of my ability to stay focused because I want to finish The Elephant Hotel by Christmas.  I’m a little behind yet I still have a chance to make it happen.  Yesterday, I went for a run and it really helped open up my creative process and unleash some ideas.  When I wrote my first novel I would often go for a jog before I sat down to write a new chapter because I find it helps me focus and sharpens what I want to convey. I don’t even have to be blocked to experience a surge of creativity though running definitely works when I’m feeling a bit stunted and frustrated.  In other words, the next four weeks will be all about more running and more writing!

What I’ve accomplished since August:

 –Completed The Elephant Hotel chapter 2 rough draft, and outlined the entire plot

–Reworked the synopsis and query for The Fly Tower and sent out to 7 more agents

 –Wrote the intergalactic bounty hunter story and have already finished two rounds of revisions.

Goals for the next 4 weeks:

–Draft The Elephant Hotel chapters 3-7 (more if I have time)

 –Research more agents

 –Revise and polish bounty hunter story story.  Submit by 9/30 

“The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book.”—Samuel Johnson

Best Thing I Made–Summer Edition

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Best Thing I Made–Summer Edition

Summer doesn’t officially end for a couple more weeks, but after Labor Day, I consider the season unofficially over.  I’ve decided to start a seasonal recipe blog post entitled, Best Thing I Made. At the end of each season, I’ll choose what I think was the tastiest meal, baked good, etc. If I start cooking or baking like a mad woman, I might do a monthly post of the same name but for now, every few months seems much more realistic.

This summer I tried a variety of recipes: Pina Colada Ice Cream, Apple Pie Ice Cream (Philadelphia Style), Butterscotch Oatmeal M&M cookies, and Spinach Artichoke Pasta.  Nothing came out poorly though I definitely enjoyed some dishes more than others. However, by far, the best meal I made:  Shredded Beef Tacos with Mexican Street Corn Salad. Amazingly delicious!

taco cornThe shredded beef was made in the slow cooker, and ended up so tender and full of flavor. The corn turned out almost exactly like Mexican street corn on the cob…only in salad form except I ran out of chile powder so not quite as authentic as it should have been but still delicious. I think my boyfriend ate half that bowl! He couldn’t get enough.

Enjoy!

Shredded Beef for tacos (Makes 4-6 servings)

  • 2 lbs flank steak
  • 2-3 T olive oil
  • Taco seasoning packet (I used Trader Joe’s brand.)
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 red onion, sliced in rings
  • 1 c water
  • 1/2 beef bouillon cube
  • 1 c salsa verde (I used Trader Joe’s brand.)

Instructions:

Rub down the flank steak with the olive oil, then with the taco seasoning packet until the entire hunk of meat is well-covered.

Place the chopped garlic cloves and sliced onions at the bottom of the slower cooker.

Lay steak on top of onions and garlic. Cover steak with water and salsa verde. Crumble the beef bouillon into the water on the sides of the steak.

Leave in the slow-cooker for 8 hours on LOW. Then shred, and cook for another 1-2 hours on LOW.

Top with your favorite taco accompaniments. (I pan warmed Trader Joe’s Handmade Flour Tortillas, and topped the meat with chopped avocado, a dash of sour cream and shredded Monterrey jack cheese.  Yum!)

(A quick note: This recipe provides an excessive amount of liquid…I drained about half the liquid before serving. If you plan to serve all at once, I’d drain the entire amount. I only kept the liquid because I had enough for leftovers.)

Mexican Street Corn Salad (Serves 4-6)

(Adapted from Esquire)

  • 3.5 cups frozen corn (I used Trader Joe’s Fire-Roasted Corn.)
  • Juice from one lime
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (should’ve been chile pepper but I was out)
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 jalapenos, deseeded and chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 3 T chopped chives
  • 3/4 cup grated Cotija cheese
  • 2 T butter

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Melt butter in a pan, add frozen corn and chopped jalapenos. Saute long enough to coat and then transfer to a 9×13 baking pan.

Roast frozen corn and chopped jalapenos in a single layer for 15-20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper if desired.

Mix together lime juice, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, cilantro, chives and mayo. Add roasted corn. Once combined, add 1/2 cup Cotija cheese. Mix well. (May be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator, otherwise make while corn is roasting.)

Plate the salad. Top with a sprinkling of paprika and the remaining 1/4 cup Cotija cheese. Serve.

 

 

WATERCOLOR PRINTS–The August Want List

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WATERCOLOR PRINTS–The August Want List

Recently, I’ve been experiencing a certain fascination with watercolors from tattoo designs to art prints to clothing.

Here are some of my favorite looks where fabric has been splashed, brushed, or seemingly painted with the gentle immersion of color!

dressdress2mangodresscouturePhoto credits (top to bottom): fashion.ekstrax.com, net-a-porter.com, mango.com, ranizakhem.com

August Writing Roundup!

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Sorry readers, I’m a few days late posting my writing roundup this month…not to mention quite behind on my writing/publishing goals (big sigh).  However, I plan to catch up in the next month now that my social obligations are thinning out.

What I’ve accomplished since July:

 –Completed The Elephant Hotel chapter 1

–Started The Elephant Hotel chapter 2

 –Minor edits of my synopsis

Goals for the next 4 weeks:

–Complete The Elephant Hotel chapter 2 rough draft and write 2-3 more chapters

 –Rework the synopsis and query for The Fly Tower, follow up with any agents as necessary, and send queries to ten additional agents

 –Draft and submit the intergalactic bounty hunter short story (submissions are due 9/30)

SEXY BACK–The July Want List

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It’s summer! It’s hot! So ladies take this opportunity to leave your backs exposed for this SEXY BACK themed edition of the want list! Be sexy, be sweet, but show some skin!

Here are some options to get your search started:

 

teal

white

red

 

maxi

newdress1gorgblack

Photo credits (top to bottom): nastygal.com; lulus.com; lulus.com; lulus.com; piperlime.com; piperlime.com; socialbliss.com; sparkly-dress.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Writing Roundup!

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Welcome to my first writing roundup!

I started this blog over a year ago, and have been pretty sporadic in keeping my readers informed about my overall progress. So, I will now post an update every month on the 15th. Before you begin reading, please enjoy the beautiful alternative 1880s map of North America designed for The Fly Tower world.

newStates_060414half

 

What I’ve accomplished recently:

 –Submitted queries for my manuscript, The Fly Tower, to ten agents

–Received two rejections on query alone; received one request for a  partial, but later the agent declined to request the full manuscript; haven’t heard back from the remaining seven agents though it’s still within the timelines listed on their websites about turnaround

Surprisingly I’ve been pretty calm and non-obsessive so far.  The rejected queries didn’t even really faze me;  I expected some rejections.  Though, yes, of course, I was disappointed when the one agent sent back the rejection after reading the partial…it was a bummer of a day.  But I had to brush it aside because I need to stay focused and positive, and this is only the beginning stage.

–Plotted and outlined the first two chapters of the second book in the Consortium Chronicles series, tentatively entitled The Elephant Hotel, and wrote about half of the first chapter

 –Plotted a new YA book about a far-flung future where AIs have wiped out humanity, then decades later, decide to clone a human girl from recovered human DNA to learn more about the race they terminated from existence. Story will be told from the girl’s POI and will pick up around the moment she discovers that not only are the parents who raised her really AIs but she is the only human left. Obviously there are deeper intrigues and twists but that’s all I want to say about this one for the moment.

 –Plotted an intergalactic bounty hunter short story for an upcoming anthology currently accepting submissions

Goals for July/August:

 –Complete The Elephant Hotel chapters 1 and 2 rough drafts in July and 4-5 more chapters in August

 –Rework the synopsis and query for The Fly Tower, follow up with any agents as necessary, and send queries to ten additional agents

 –Draft the intergalactic bounty hunter short story

–Actually meet with my writing group in August…I had scheduling conflicts in June and July.

That’s all for now…I’ll be back in August with what I accomplished (or didn’t).