Posted by admin
Thanks to everyone who emailed / tweeted / texted / IMed me after the recent Unfortunate Incident on Monday evening. I was pretty shaken up and so mad I could spit fire and it was great to see that I had so many people in my corner.
And the car-repair-horror stories! Thanks for sharing those but now I’m not sure I’ll ever trust anyone to touch my car ever again.
Since so many of you have asked what happened – here is the incident in a nutshell.
I had extensive car repairs done at Firestone Auto Care including new brakes, new tires etc. Picked up the car on 2/11 and immediately had to return to the store because the check engine light came on. Service manager drove the car and said it was good to go.
Fast forward ahead seventeen days and maybe 150 miles later – went out to my sister’s in the heart of Amish country and this was the first time I’d taken the car on the highway or for any distance other than in my hometown. I was headed home at 7:30 at night and it was darker than dark with very few street lights or other cars. Heck, it’s Amish country – even the horse and buggies were parked for the night.
All of a sudden I heard a slight thudding in the front end of my car. I slowed down and the sound stopped when I touched the brakes. It started up again when I let off the pressure and I thought maybe it was my brakes – something had come loose. I was looking to pull over but this area is badly flooded and the shoulders were like soup. Pulling over in the wrong spot could’ve been catastrophic.
I slowed further and made it to the edge of the only town for miles around and the thudding suddenly got louder. I touched the brakes again to slow further and without warning the front end of my car dropped about 4 inches. Immediately I turned the wheel to the right to get off the road and I reached a parking lot entrance to a hardware store and the entire front end of my car hit the ground.
To make a long story short – my driver’s side tire had come off and it tore up the front end of my car. It was about 20 degrees and windy as heck and I was left stranded in Amish-ville. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a flatbed tow truck in a community where no one drives? An hour and near-hypothermia later…I was rescued by a man driving a shiny white truck. The final humiliation came when I had to get in the truck and my limbs wouldn’t respond due to the cold. The driver, a prince if ever there was one, had to haul me into the truck (keep in mind its a flat bed so it was five feet straight up) as I couldn’t get there on my own.
Tomorrow my car goes back to the dealership along with a copy of my Firestone bill and they will be going over my car with a fine-tooth comb. I want everything they touched, checked and double-checked. There’s body damage, front end damage and my tire is trashed. The only thing I can think is that my car survived almost two years in storm-torn New Orleans after Katrina only to brought down by an incompetent corporate-grease monkey with a torque wrench.
Do I blame Firestone? You betcha. My insurance company is investigating and I’ll let ya’ll know how it turns out. My only thought is that every time you take your car in for maintenance, you are handing your LIFE to the mechanic. When you get into your car and drive away – it’s his work that stands between you and an accident and if he’s in a hurry to eat lunch and he cuts a few corners - its your life that will be damaged.
Can you tell I’m still pissed off? Yeah – that is an understatement.
Posted by admin
Greetings to the residents of Romance-landia!
I’m so sorry I haven’t updated my website in a few months but I simply haven’t had any time. In the past six months mom’s health has gone into serious decline and I’ve been consumed with seeing to her needs. I’ve been simply so exhausted that the thought of sitting in front of my computer was too much to deal with. For the moment mom is holding her own and the spate of ‘emergencies’ has slowed to the point that my thoughts are turning back to writing. I’ll post more on that later.
The good news is that finally, after forty-some years of butting heads, I think we’ve finally come to a better understanding and appreciation of each other. We’ve had quite a few laughs amongst the madness and whatever happens we’ll deal with it as it comes.
So if you have a moment, hug your parents today.
Posted by jcwilder
Coconut Macaroons were my dad’s favorite cookie so, needless to say, more often than not we had them in the cookie jar. Now when you think of a macaroon, you probably are imagining the kind you get at the store. You know – the slightly mushy balls of coconut with a browned exterior like those in the picture. They’re okay in a pinch but why not make your own and experience a bite of sheer heaven?
And it only takes five ingredients.
These cookies are so delicious you’ll swear they are candy. The edges are crisp and and the center is moist and packed full of coconut and vanilla yumminess. Since the last batch didn’t last long enough for me to grab my camera, I’ll make so more and this time I will take a picture.
NOTE: The recipe uses fresh coconut but you can use the sweetened, shredded kind you can find in the baking section of your grocery store. If you do use the sweetened variety, you’ll want to cut back on the sugar in the recipe.
1/2 cup of egg whites (3 or 4)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups of shredded coconut
Preheat oven to 325
1. Beat egg whites until fluffy (approximately 30 seconds)
2. Stir in the sugar, salt and vanilla until smooth. Do not over-beat.
3. Fold in coconut by hand.
4. Cover your un-greased baking sheet with parchment paper.
5. Drop rounded teaspoonfuls approximately 2 inches apart on the parchment paper. (These will spread as they bake so make sure to leave room or they won’t crisp)
6. Bake 15 – 18 minutes until crisp and toasty.
NOTE: When you take these out of the oven, let them cool for a few minutes before removing them from the parchment paper. Don’t wait too long or they will stick and tear apart and that’s a crime IMO.
Posted by admin
Reprinted completely and shamelessly without permission:
Author Cassie Ryan has been taken suddenly and seriously ill. She has an affliction called Arteriovenous malformation or AVM in her brain which has led to multiple surgeries and an extended stay in ICU. No family is ever prepared for such a thing and Cassie’s is no exception. In times like this, every dollar helps and her friends in the writing community are banding together to ask you to open your hearts (and wallets) to help get Cassie’s family through this.
Cassie is well known to readers and authors across the country who have embraced her books, most recently, Seducing the Succubus (Berkley/October 2010) and coming in April 2011, The Demon and the Succubus.
Please send your prayers, positive energy and love out into the universe with her name on it. Cards can be mailed to: Cassie Ryan, c/o SBP PO BOX 42255, Phoenix, AZ 85080.
Any donations you would like to make to Cassie Ryan to help with the burden of mounting medical bills, can be given by visiting: https://sites.google.com/site/tinagerowandfamily or by sending a check to Tina Gerow, c/o SBP PO BOX 42255, Phoenix, AZ 85080.
Posted by admin
Thanks J.C., for letting me stop by on my blog tour!!
Since November is the anniversary month of my first published book, I decided to go on a tour and chat and give stuff away!
The “theme” (I use the term loosely) is Writing Romance Is Like…
And every blog stop has a difference comparison that will give you some insight into who I am, how I write and my slightly weird sense of humor. Oh, and you can win stuff! Every commenter gets entered for a chance at a book from my backlist. And if you really want to have some fun: follow me around to all the stops on the schedule (on my website) get the answers to the questions (on the form on my site) and then e-mail them to me by December 15th to get entered into a drawing for a $50 gift certificate to www.Amazon.com, www.BarnesandNoble.com or www.MyBookstoreandMore.com. Come join the fun!!
So now, Writing Romance is Like… Buying a New Car (or a used one, for that matter)
I hate buying cars. It is seriously the one thing that I truly hate to shop for. Oh, I like looking. I love test driving. But I hate buying. I hate sitting across from the desk of a guy who can’t make a decision without “talking to his manager” about it and who basically would love (even if it’s deep down inside) to sucker me into paying way too much.
The reason I hate it is because I know very little about cars. All a car needs for me to be interested is a steering wheel, a brake and a mirror where I can put my mascara on at stop lights (yes, only at red lights… never while driving!!). It just needs to get me from point A to point B. And maybe have a nice stereo system that will make Darius Rucker sound even better. And have a cup holder in a decent spot. Oh, and a sun roof—I like sun roofs. And I’d prefer it be red, or silver… those are my faves.
But I don’t really know anything useful! I know only basically what a transmission is, have heard of a fuel pump (and can sort-of ascertain what it does by it’s name), and know that there are a whole bunch of other things in there that are really important. So, I feel pretty dumb in there and am aware that my ignorance can lead to ownership of a lemon.
Just like in writing. If an author writes about something she knows little to nothing (and makes it obvious) about it can definitely lead to a lemon.
So buying a car and writing both take– research. You have to know what you’re talking about to avoid problems. Whether it’s choosing a career for the heroine, or using a term in the plot twist, or finding out the crash test rating on that Lexus you’re looking at, you have to have some information.
Even more importantly, in the writing anyway, is using that information and using it well. I’m sure we’ve all read books where the information given about the hero’s mother’s bakery reads like a textbook. You don’t want, or need, to use every technical term or give then entire history of something if it’s not pertinent to the book. And when you do need to explain something in more detail (because it’s important to the story!) then you have to be careful how it’s done. Does it sound natural? Is the way someone who knew the information would actually impart it to someone not familiar? For instance, I’m a physical therapist. I’ve read books where someone is involved in rehabilitation or therapy or having other medical procedures done and it’s painful, frankly (pun kind-of intended G). It’s stilted. It’s nothing like what things really sound like. In my book, No Matter What, my heroine is a therapist working with the hero’s daughter. In one scene it was important for the daughter to learn to go up and down the stairs. I had to make the scene technically correct, impart a few extra details to the readers so they could “see” the scene and give the information to the hero and the reader in a natural, smooth way. I think I did it—you can judge for yourself below. But the bottom line is, know what you’re talking about.
And extra points for anyone who can describe what a carburetor actually is and does!
And join me back at my own blog on November 26th! ErinNicholas.blogspot.com!
Staircase scene from No Matter What
Jaden had been Emily’s therapist for less than twenty-four hours and was already driving him crazy. And not in a good way.
His current position standing at the bottom of the staircase, which had never looked quite as huge as it did now, was the perfect example. He didn’t even want Emily to go up and down stairs, not to mention watching her try it. What if she fell? What if she twisted her leg? What if she simply couldn’t do it? Watching her struggle felt like plucking out his nose hairs one by one—painful and ridiculous. Why do it when there was an easier and less painful way of handling the situation?
With the first therapist, Adam had been involved, attending each session, eager to learn what he could do to help. But as Emily tried and failed and became frustrated and bitter, Adam withdrew to his work, unable to watch her struggle and hurting when he couldn’t help. Or worse, when she didn’t want him to.
He hated this. All of it. With the possible exception of Emily’s new physical therapist. Though he did hate what she was doing at the moment.
His daughter sat in her wheelchair on the first landing. She stared at the steps in front of her as if she was at the edge of a volcano about to be sacrificed to the gods within.
“It’s sixteen steps to the bottom,” Jaden said.
“I know.” Emily didn’t look at Jaden as she answered.
“People have actually gone down and up stairs with prosthetic legs before this moment.”
“Probably.” Emily still didn’t even blink.
“So this is no big deal.”
Adam thought it was very likely that in her head Emily was calling Jaden all kinds of unflattering things and silently plotting Jaden’s slow, torturous demise. But as long as the things coming out of her mouth were even semi-civil he was happy.
“Here’s how this is going to go.” Jaden moved to the third step down, facing Emily. “You’re going to stand. I’m going to hold on to you. You’re going to put your left foot down first, then you’re going to lean on me when you put your right foot down. Then we’re going to do it again. And again. Sixteen times.”
Emily was staring at Jaden’s shoulder. And was not smiling.
“Your prosthetic foot goes down first. Each time. For now at least.”
“When you lean on me, it takes some of the weight off your weaker side while you bring your other foot down.”
Jaden sighed and crossed her arms. “I’m not asking for handsprings, or for you to sing the national anthem at the Super Bowl, or even for you to smile.”
That gained a small frown. “I know.”
“Then quit looking like I’ve announced that I’m taking your credit cards away or that you can’t text anyone for a month or some other horrible punishment.”
Emily’s frown deepened and she finally looked up at Jaden.
Jaden softened her tone. “It’s just a set of stairs. Just keep telling yourself that. It’s something you’ve done hundreds of times. It’s something millions of people do, thousands of times a day. Don’t let this freak you out.”
Emily’s chin lifted slightly. “I’m not freaked out.”
Jaden let a moment of silence pass. Then she said simply, “Prove it.”
Learn more about Erin and her work: www.ErinNicholas.com / NineNaughtyNovelists.blogspot.com /