lilacs in bucket

lilacs in bucket

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Let's Eat Quiche!

One of my characters in my upcoming book likes to make quiche. I like to make it too, however, I have no one in my house who will eat it. So, I make quiche when I have some sort of social food gathering, such as I had yesterday, at the Ozarks Romance Authors' Christmas party, and I get to indulge with others of like quiche mind. Quiche is a great, versatile dish, lending itself easily to salads and fruit bowls. And, you can put anything in it, whatever you like, and it's still quiche.

So, here goes, here's how I made mine:

Ingredients:

1 refrigerated pie crust
1 TBSP butter
1 cup fresh sliced mushrooms, and chop them up a bit
3 green onions, slices
3 cups fresh spinach, rinsed and patted dry
3 large eggs
1/2 teas. salt
1/4 teas. pepper
dash red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1/2 shredded smoked Gouda cheese
3/4 cup diced cooked ham

First thing, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Unroll your pie crust and press into a pie plate. Prick the bottom and sides with a fork so that it doesn't bubble up when baking. Bake your crust for ten minutes. Lower oven temperature to 325 and set crust aside.

Drop butter into a medium skillet and add mushrooms and green onions. Cook for 5 minutes over medium  heat, stirring often. Add spinach, making sure all the water's been pressed out first, and let it heat until the spinach begins to wilt and set aside.

Break eggs into a large bowl, add milk and salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes, whisk until well combined. I actually wisk up my eggs just a bit before adding the other ingredients to make sure the yolks are broken and the mixture is yellow before adding the rest in. Add ham, cheeses spinach and mushroom mixture. Stir until well combined.

Pour into pie shell and bake for 50-55 minutes or until center is set.

Remove from oven and allow to rest 10 minutes before slicing.

Mange!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Harriet Klausner, of Morrow, Georgia, died October 15, at age 63. She was a former librarian, newspaper columnist, and a lover of books.

Why is the death of Harriet Klausner important, you might ask.

Harriet not only loved books; she reviewed them, and posted 31.014 reviews on Amazon. At one time, she was the #1 ranked reviewer on Amazon. She never gave more than four stars to any book she read. In 2006, Time magazine chose her as person of the year, as one who impacted the information age.

Harriet Klausner represents the way books are read, reviewed and sold today. Harriett Klausner lived an ordinary life as an ordinary wife, mother and working woman. However, she had a passion for the written word, to not only read it, but write about it. Her reviews were coveted by ordinary writers, like you and me.

Today, we look to our peers for reviews and opinions about our books. We no longer scour The New York Times Best Seller List; we don't call up Barnes & Noble and ask them what the big seller is today. No, we turn to the reviews and opinions of ordinary people. People just like us, who love to read and want to read good books. We also hope to receive reviews of our own work from people just like us. People just like us is the new The New York Times Best Seller List.

I think Harriet Klausner did more for book reviews and books sales than any big time newspaper could have done. She supported writing and readers. We should do the same. We may not post a meg-number of reviews but we should make our voices heard regarding our fellow authors' work.

So, salut Harriet, where ever you are. I hope you have an armful of books still.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Springfield Writers' Guild - 22nd Annual Poetry & Prose Contest

Good morning, folks! Time to get your poetry and prose groove on!

Why? Because in just under two weeks, The Springfield Writers' Guild's Annual Poetry & Prose Contest is set to open. Yes, on June 15, at 12:01 am, we will begin taking entries from...YOU.

Please see the guidelines below, Our guidelines can also be found at www.springfieldwritersguild.org. Read the guidelines carefully before submitting your entries. Failure to follow said guidelines could cause your entry to be disqualified, ruining all your hard work.

Springfield Writers’ Guild
22nd Annual Prose and Poetry Contest
June 15 - September 15, 2015

Divisions and Awards
Prose and Poetry Division
Fee $5 per entry. No limit to number of entries, but the same entry may not be entered in more than one category.

Prose: Maximum 1,000 words, double-spaced
Category 1 – Fiction, any genre
Category 2 – Nonfiction, any subject
Category 3 – Humorous

Poetry: Maximum one page, single-spaced
Category 4 – Humorous, any form
Category 5 – Any subject, any form
Awards each category 1-5: First Place $50, Second Place $25, Third Place $15, Two Honorable Mentions

Jim Stone Memorial Poetry Division
Fee $5, one entry per person. Entry must not have been entered in Categories 4 or 5.
Poetry any subject, any form. One page, single spaced.
Awards this division: First Place $150, Second Place $75, Third Place $50, Two Honorable Mentions

Best of Springfield Writers’ Guild Award
SWG members who enter any category automatically will be considered for a $100 award at no additional entry fee and in addition to other awards they may receive. This category judged separately.

Bonus for SWG Members: Submit two entries and receive a special link to submit a third entry free of charge. One free entry per member.

Submission Guidelines

1.      Read these guidelines carefully. Failure to follow the guidelines may disqualify your entry.
2.      Contest period is 12:01 a.m. Central Time, June 15, 2015, to midnight Central Time, September 15, 2015. Entries and fees will be accepted only during the contest period and only at www.Submittable.com; see link at www.springfieldwritersguild.org/contests.html. Payment by debit card, credit card, or PayPal. Each entry must be unpublished, original work of contestant, and entered in only one category. You keep all rights to your entries; entries will not be published.
3.      Double space prose, single space poetry. Title each entry except haiku. A list of your entries will be accessible at www.Submittable.com. Enter the prose word count or poetry form in the box provided. Number prose pages. Do not put your name on entries.
4.      Once an entry is submitted to Submittable, it will not be extracted or exchanged for another entry for any reason. Writers may resubmit another entry accompanied with the $5 fee.
5.      Awards will be presented at the Springfield Writer’s Guild meeting, October 24, 2015, or by mail for those unable to attend. For a list of winning entries and judges, visit www.springfieldwritersguild.org/contests.html after October 24, 2015.


Questions? Contact Contest Chair, Yvonne Erwin: writer716@gmail.com 

Monday, April 6, 2015

New Release! Tierney James, please step forward!

Let me introduce to you, my friend and fellow author, Tierney James, a wonderful, warm person and fine author.

Hello Tierney James. Tell us about you. Give us a glimpse into Tierney James.

Okay, well, I once lived on a Native American Indian Reservation, in mining communities in Northern California and Missouri. I followed a friend to China to help her adopt a baby girl, as well as slept in a tent near the Kalahari Desert in Africa where elephants and hippos sometimes wandered into camp. While I was in college, I sang in a Christian band, performing twice at Great Lakes Naval Base. To this date, I cringe at the cover of the album we made so long ago.

You lived in a mining community for 25 years. Tell us something that might surprise your readers about living near lead mines.

Every day around 3:00 pm, underground charges were set for explosives. If you stood quietly you could hear the pop, pop, pop deep in the earth. There is a huge difference between mining coal and mining lead. Hard rock mining is much safer for working. You aren't dealing with dangerous methane gas like you might find in coal mines. Lead mines are huge and cavernous with a year round temperature of 65 degrees.

Did anyone in particular influence your characters when you started writing The Rescued Heart?

No. Garrett Horton and Fawn Turnbough were combinations of many wonderful people who live in this small Ozark town. Since I lived in the area, I used names that would sound familiar and be authentic to the culture. Some of the places are slices of the real thing. My town of Westfork is large and thriving town. The real Westfork you might not notice if you drove through. Rocky Fork Mine was actually named after a creek on my farm.

In a couple of sentences give just a glimpse of The Rescued Heart.

After returning home to put her life back together, Fawn finds her ruthless father is still trying to outwit her former fiancée, Garrett, the man who drove her away ten years earlier. Garrett seems bent on picking up where he left off with Fawn, the woman he could never forget, Garrett finds himself torn between her hardened heart and the mines who could kill him. Discovering a plot to destroy him and all he holds dear begins to unravel a heart that is in need of one last rescue. Trapped 1000 feet underground, with water rising, means he might never get the chance to make things right with Fawn.

How were you able to write about a mine collapsing in on itself?

Those kind of accidents have happened. It’s not that hard to research and find out about them. It actually happened to another company in the area not long after we moved to Viburnum. Fortunately nothing like that ever happened where my husband worked. Because he was a mine engineer he was able to teach me about explosives, reclaiming pillars safely and the routines of miners. He gave me geology and mining books to read, which honestly were like chewing cardboard. Ha. But I did it anyway. I also took a week long mining workshop sponsored by The Doe Run Company which taught me a great deal.

What would you like readers to know about mining?

“If it can’t be grown it has to be mined.” We were very proud of that saying. The men and women connected to the mine industry learn early on not to take life for granted nor do they worry about tomorrow. Miners are strong, smart and resilient. Mining is very important to our economy and we should support it for a free America.

Was there anything in The Rescued Heart that readers might actually visit in the Ozarks?

One of the events in the book is Old Miner’s Day. The first Saturday of October in Viburnum, Missouri celebrates mining and the people who make it possible. There are mine tours, crafts, a parade, terrific entertainment and of course, wonderful food. Check it out! Beautiful people and a great day of fun.

How can readers get in touch with you?
Twitter: @TierneyJames1

Coming this summer: 

Thank you, Tierney James and best of luck to you on your release this summer! It's been a pleasure having you here. 





Monday, March 16, 2015

Sunday Dinner

Hello friends. It's been a long time since we've cooked together, hasn't it. Since my camera battery is dead but charging, I can't give you a photo of what I cooked today, so hopefully, the photo attached to this post will do.

My next book is rife with food, as with the old book, and so let's get back in the groove and talk about food, real life soul cleansing, heart mending, memory making, love inducing victuals!

Ready?

Okay, so let's heave ourselves out of our armchairs, and hustle to the kitchen and whip up a Sunday dinner. Sunday dinners are important around my house and I try, more Sundays than not, to make sure we gather around the table to share a meal together. Our lives are hectic; everyone's schedule is different during the first six days of the week and many times, we don't see each other until Sunday, therefore, we  have Sunday dinner as often as we can.

Here is what we ate today:

Hamburger-Broccoli Pie

Ingredients and instructions follow:

Double crust pie crust
1 pound ground chuck
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 TBSP flour
1 clove garlic, pressed and chopped
3/4 teas. kosher salt
1 1/4 cup milk
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 egg, beaten
1 head of fresh broccoli, chopped, without the stems, cooked and drained
Monterey Jack cheese, sliced
red pepper flakes
black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown chuck, onion, garlic and red pepper flakes, drain excess fat. Stir in flour, salt, and some pepper. Add the milk and softened cream cheese, cook until mixture is smooth and bubbly. Add a moderate amount of meat mixture to beaten egg; return to mixture in skillet. Cook over medium heat until thickened, stir in cooked, drained broccoli. Spoon mixture into pastry-lined pie pan, Slice Monterey Jack cheese and arrange slices on top of meat mixture. Lay top crust over filling, seal, flute edges, Cut slits on top and brush the top with a little milk if desired, then back for 40 to 45 minutes. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.

I served this with buttered carrots, cooked in chicken stock, salt and pepper. Now, if you want to go farther than broccoli with the green factor, maybe spinach would work in the hamburger pie. That's something to consider for next time, but I think it might work quite well.

But, wait, how about dessert? Never fear. We'll have some. It's Sunday, after all, and Sunday is a day for dessert!

Peach Upside Down Cake

I discovered a can of peach slices in the back of my pantry and I thought about peach upside down cake, similar to pineapple upside down cake but without the traditional pineapple rings and maraschino cherries. I also found some blackberries in the fridge that needed somewhere to go, and so, viola! Peach upside down cake.

1/3 cup butter
2/3 cup brown sugar

Drop this mixture into an  8 x 8 baking pan and shove it in the 350 degree oven to let the butter and brown sugar melt together. In the meantime, in a mixing bowl, beat together the following:

1/4 cup Crisco
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg

Combine the following in a separate bowl:

1 cup sifted cake flour (or 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour)
1 1/2 teas. baking powder (unless using all purpose flour, then reduce it to 1/2 teas.)
1/2 teas. salt

Add alternately with 1/3 cup milk and 1/2 teas. vanilla to the creamed mixture and mix well.

Pull brown sugar/butter mixture from the oven; alternate peach slices and blackberries on top and pour cake mixture over. Bake about 45 minutes or until done. Remove cake from pan while warm by inverting over serving plate or platter.

Enjoy!


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Video Teaser

Take a look at this video teaser, produced by PixelTwister Studios. If you're looking for a small, intimate company to make a book trailer for you, this company is the real deal.

Jeremy and Ellen possess a unique collaboration - yes, they're husband and wife, but more than that, they're a team, each complimenting the other, working in tandem as if they're one person.

They understand music, they understand light and direction, they've just got it all.

PixelTwister can be found at the following links:

http://www.pixeltwisterstudio.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pixeltwisterstudio

Give them a call if a book trailer suits your needs.


Saturday, February 7, 2015

Now What?

As you know, The Discovery of Joy was released to the world on February 2, 2015. The fact that my release date was also Groundhog's Day in the US didn't phase me; in fact, I found it hilarious. Sort of figures, actually. February 2 was a placeholder for another reason - the midpoint of winter, the beginning of the look forward to spring, Imbolc, or whatever name you know it by. The idea of my book being released at that particular point in the ongoing seasons pleased me. Seemed to give it a new meaning somehow.

But to start, let's give credit where credit's due. This book would not have been birthed but for the efforts of people besides me. I have to say, I had a great editor, Rebecca T. Dickson, who pushed this work into something that could be published. My cover artist, Niki Bradley-Fowler brings quality work to everything she does. The girl rocks it out. My publisher, Paperback-Press and Sharon Kizziah-Holmes, could not have asked for better. My beta readers, which were Sharon and my fellow author friend, Ellen Harger, they rocked it out as well. Hmmm....maybe it does take a village to publish a book.

But, what's an author to do once the bouncing baby book is birthed? 

Well, quite honestly, I'm doing pretty much the same things I've been doing for months. I'm building associations, mostly on social media. I'm promoting, again, on social media. I'm joining author groups, women's fiction groups, independent author groups, anywhere I can find an avenue to promote TDOJ. I'm on twitter, but I'm not tweeting my book. I'm finding other independent groups who will tweet my book, IndieAuthorNews is one of them. Since my book came out, IndieAuthorNews has been fantastic for me. I'm on the front page, have been since February 3rd, and will be all next week. After that, I'll have a place on the sidebar for a week. IndieAuthorNews pushes my book out, seven times a day, I simply retweet their tweet. 

I joined a facebook reviewers group - I've gotten some nice reviews, one from South Africa, 

Of course all writers obsess. The girls at ORA laughed at me today as I tried to tone down my obsession with createspace. "You mean, you don't think WE do that?" Okay. I'm not so strange. I watch the graphs regarding sales rank and author rank - I have a small idea of what they mean, but it seems my numbers are pretty good right now. I've had some sales. I've had some good reviews, mostly from people who don't know me, who have no investment in me at all. And then, there's goodreads. It's odd to me that I have more reviews on goodreads than on amazon, but maybe that's okay. 

The other thing I'm doing, maybe the more important thing, is I'm working on the next book. Bing!


And this photo is a hint of what's to come. A family home. Sisters who've pursued different paths, sisters who don't communicate, a troubled niece trying to emerge from a terrible happening, a long-time family friend who sees things, and a man who may be the answer to someone's loneliness, and then, there's the food. Among other things. If I'm calendaring this right, the next book will be available March or April, 2016. 

Stick with me, folks. Let's go on this next journey together. 

I'd be so pleased to have you go along with me.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Proofs Have Arrived

The proofs of my novel were waiting on my doorstep for me when I got home from work last night.

Yes, the proof copies (I goofed up and ordered two rather than one). And here they are, proof that this book exists. It's out of my head and sits between a front and a back cover.

Thing was, I couldn't stop looking at them, touching the cover, flipping through the thing to see this page or that, did the acknowledgements turn out okay and I realized, I felt this way when I gave birth to my children. In particular, I'll compare it to the birth of my first child, Michael.

"The first time's a novelty," a more seasoned mother told me after church one day as we dismounted the church steps. "The second time is a pain in the ass."

Oh. Well, I'm still in the throes of the thrill, thank you.

When I was pregnant, I was filled with such awe that such a thing could be taking place in my body, that a tiny egg could germinate to a living being, that the living being was being nourished and nurtured within my body, growing to fruition to a point when it would emerge, it's own person, separate and apart from me. I wondered so many things. Who will you be? Will I be able to raise you well? Will I protect you, teach you, will I love you enough? Will you have all your fingers and toes, will you be healthy? and at times, when I was overtaken by sheer terror, Can we call this whole thing off?

And then Michael arrived, all eight pounds one ounce of him, and as I held him in my arms I was stunned, filled with an all consuming joy, head over heels, fierce, relentless and never ending. I fell instantly in love.

It's not that different birthing a book. All the steps that led to this point are similar in nourishing, protecting and giving birth to a child. Laying the baby on my chest for the first time reminds me of bringing the germ of an idea to fruition. Reading through my story last night gave me a lot of pleasure. When I finished proofing the same feelings flooded back as when Michael was born. I still love the story. I still love the characters and I'm pleased with how they turned out. And I hope others will be when they read it. My first character, Julie, is not so likable at first but her growth process pleases me more than the other two, I think. I'm proud of her, actually.

How do you feel when your work is published? Do you feel the same, that the process is similar to giving birth to a human child?

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Now Available for Pre-Order as an E-book on Amazon!


Just a quick note - this is so exciting!

The Discovery of Joy is now available for pre-order as an e-book on Amazon! Get your copy today. All reads and reviews would be appreciated!


Saturday, January 10, 2015

A Short Review of The Discovery of Joy


I am so excited about this, friends. What an awesome review of my women's fiction novel, from....a man. Holy cow.Jumping up and down, blowing party whistles, throwing glitter all about, my party hat askew, dancing to Roy Orbison. Well? Wouldn't you?  

What affirmation. I mean, really. Still dancing. 

But the clock strikes midnight and well, we have to get dignified (crap) in spite of our very best selves, and so...here we go. 

My friend, RIckey Pittman, graciously agreed to review my novel prior to release and wrote this "short" (not so short) review. Just a bit of history here - I met Rickey a few years ago, at the Ozarks Creative Writers' Conference, in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Since that time, RIckey and I joined forces in reviewing one another's work, and giving critiques and reviews of and for each other. So, I was so pleased when he agreed to review my women's fiction novel, The Discovery of Joy. Rickey is an accomplished novelist, songwriter, musician and storyteller, as well as being an educator. And, he is a dear friend, while we're at it. Here is a link to his website: https://www.bardofthesouth.com/. With that, here is the "short" (not so short) review of The Discovery of Joy." I intrude a bit, notice the italics.

The Discovery of Joy by Yvonne Erwin: A Short Review (hahahah - that's me laughing)

The Discovery of Joy is a first novel by Yvonne Erwin.  I think this novel will help set her on her way as a romance writer. (Romance? DId he say romance? I like, even though I never thought of myself as a romance writer. Oops, Rickey, go on.) And yes,  this is a romance novel—reminding the reader of how easily and quickly one can fall in love and the price one may have to pay for those forays into love’s territories.

Erwin writes with a strong sense of narrative, a style that reminded me of Candace Bushnell. In her writing, (Candace Bushnell? Sex in the City? That's big, baby) I see scenes rich in vivid imagery and emotion. For example, the early scene of the moving van is one that will not be easily forgotten.  Many of the scenes are quite sexy and she accomplishes this without being graphic. (OMG, this means he read it, he read the freaking book. Wow.)

After reading the book, I feel like I know the characters well, even down to the interior conflicts and conversations—the talks  and questions we have as we experience life and question our own value and sanity. The reader will gain insights into what Erwin describes as the “caustic void” of the legal world, and the heart-rattling realities of divorce. Erwin’s writing causes us to think about the angst, the secrets, the lies, the memories, years and “twisted, gnarled roots of our life” that sit between people. There is a wide variety of characters that the reader is sure to identify with in this (to borrow a phrase of Erwin’s) “waltz of discoveries." (Mhmmm, mhmmm.) The reader will encounter the sincerely religious, the crazies, the cruel, and the fair-weather friends. The reader will feel how marriage and conquest change people, about secrets, about lies. (And, you're gonna eat a lot, or at least thing about eating a lot. This is a foodie book as well.)

Though there are men who are key characters, this is a story about women—the women of Springfield, Missouri.  We discover their self-doubts, the struggle with self-image, about what a woman feels when she is caught in the rut of a dead-end job and existence, how it feels to be fired without explanation, and how marriage can be a paradise or a nightmare, exceeding or disappointing our expectations.

If you are a reader or a writer of romance, you are sure to enjoy, The Discovery of Joy by Yvonne Erwin.

Thank you, Rickey Pittman. Looking forward to your next work.