Archive for September, 2013

30
Sep

Popping In

Posted under odds and ends No Comments

Popping in to let you all know I’m going to take a hiatus from blogging for a while. I just don’t have much to say at the moment, so I’m going to keep my head down and try to get some much needed writing done.

Check back towards the middle of the month for a status update.

Enjoy the early part of your Fall!!

~Elizabeth

26
Sep

The Day You Dug

Posted under Writing Thursdays No Comments

Because I love the way so many of you jump in on these prompts each week, I figured I’d give you an extra good one.

Here’s the set up.  You’re digging in your back yard, determined to plant a tree…or start a garden. After a few decent digs, you come across  ________________.

What I’d love to see is the opening paragraph to a book with this premise. Write it in first person (which means YOU are the main character). Show us the moment you find whatever THE thing is…and help us to feel your reaction.

Ready? Go!

~Elizabeth

25
Sep

Applesauce Muffins Extraordinaire

Posted under That's Life Wednesdays No Comments

When my oldest was finishing up first grade, my assistant Girl Scout leader and I took our troop to a cooking school with money they’d earned selling cookies. They tried out a number of fun recipes that day, with one of them finding its way into our arsenal of favorite family foods to this day.

I suppose I thought of this today, simply because of the time of year. Fall is, after all, apple picking season, right?

To that end, I share with you our beloved Apple Sauce Muffin recipe. It’s easy and oh so yummy (my kids especially like it when I make it to accompany chicken parmesan–although they’d happily eat them anytime).

Mini Applesauce Muffins

Ingredients:

2 cups baking mix (bisquick works well)
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup margarine
1/4 cup cinnamon/sugar mixture

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease bottom only of mini muffin cups with solid vegetable shortening.

Place baking mix, sugar, and cinnamon into bowl and mix.

In a separate bowl, blend egg, applesauce, milk and oil.

Make “well” in center of dry ingredients. Pour liquid ingredients into well. Stir quickly until all dry ingredients are just moistened.

Spoon batter into prepared cups (about 2/3 full).

Bake for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt butter and set out cinnamon/sugar mixture. When muffins come out of oven, allow them to cool for 2 minutes.  Then, remove from pan and dip the top of each muffin into the melted butter and then the cinnamon/sugar mixture.

Enjoy!

~Elizabeth

24
Sep

Twelve Guilty Pleasures

Posted under odds and ends 14 Comments

Wikipedia defines a guilty pleasure as “something one enjoys and considers pleasurable despite feeling guilt for enjoying it. The guilt involved is sometimes simply fear of others discovering one’s lowbrow or otherwise embarrassing tastes, such as campy styles of entertainment. Fashion, video games, music, films, and junk food can be examples of guilty pleasures.”

While the main definition is pretty darn accurate, I have to say I have absolutely no problem admitting my “guilty pleasures” aloud. I mean, why not? They do, after all, make me very, very, very happy.

To prove it, I give you my Top Twelve Guilty Pleasures (in no particular order):

1) Sturgis Pretzels. Thins, to be exact. These pretzels are made in Pennsylvania. And as a lifetime pretzel lover, I can say, without a doubt, they are THE best ever.

2) Hitch…as in the movie. I think this movie is one of my all-time favorites. I love the dates these people go on, and the giggly fun they have while on them. Albert Brenneman is adorable. And the heartfelt way Will Smith’s character feels about Sarah Milas is enviable. He says it and backs it up with his actions.

3) Mario Brothers video game (as it was on the original Nintendo). I’m not a video game girl, but that was one I loved to play. Ice world, water world, etc.  Good stuff and I miss it.

4) Wilbur Chocolates: This is also made in Pennsylvania and it is incredible. They’re known for their chocolate buds but their caramels are pretty amazing, too.

5) Boots. One of my favorite parts of fall, hands down.

6) Disney World. It is, without a doubt, the one place on earth where I feel happy 24/7.  If money would suddenly drop from the sky, this is the first thing I would do with it.

7) And We Danced (by the Hooters):  I simply adore this song.

8 ) A Belgian Waffle at Le Pain Quotidien on West 72nd in NYC.  You don’t need a drop of syrup with this thing. It is absolutely amazing and I could eat one every morning for the rest of my life. Seriously. Toss in the quiet/calm of this place and it’s the perfect morning stop.

9) The Sea Lion Feeding Time at the Central Park Zoo when one particular trainer is working.  Okay, this may seem odd, but this guy is amazing when he’s coupled with the youngest sea lion, Edith. The connection these two have, and the love he has for this animal, is absolutely beautiful to watch. I’ve gotten teary-eyed more than a few times watching the two of them together and seeing how excited he gets when she accomplishes a new feat.

10) Picking a pumpkin from a real pumpkin patch.  Yep, I love riding the wagon out to the field and finding the perfect pumpkin. Especially on the perfect fall day. I like making a day of it and just enjoying everything about the experience.

11) Planning and hosting parties. I have always loved doing this. In fact, I threw some pretty awesome birthday parties when the girls were younger. I also love my dessert parties (I make some killer desserts)/themed parties with friends. I wish I could do more of this.

12) The Christmas season.  I love everything about it. The decorating, the songs, the warmth, you name it. And I love shopping for just the right ornament for everyone, too.

So there you have it. My list.

Feel free to comment on mine…or add some of your own in the comments.

~Elizabeth

20
Sep

Scraps

Posted under Bits & Pieces Fridays 4 Comments

Some interesting Bits & Pieces this week…

1) What exotic pet would you like to have?

2) When in your life have you had a “now or never” moment?

3) What was the first thing you ever won?

4) Did you ever want to change your name? If so, what would it have been?

Have a great weekend!

~Elizabeth

19
Sep

Stuck

Posted under Writing Thursdays 2 Comments

Writing prompt time! 🙂

You’re stuck in line (your choice what for–a ride, tickets, whatever) next to a super annoying person. Write an opening paragraph that has us inside your head.

Oooh, I can’t wait to read these…

~Elizabeth

18
Sep

An Evening Jaunt

Posted under That's Life Wednesdays 3 Comments

I’m heading north an hour or so this evening for a library event in Connecticut. I’ve been to this particular library several times over the last few years and its one I look forward to visiting again.

In fact, library events are my favorite “signing venue” of all.  I suppose that’s because you have a ready made audience of booklovers, folks who follow the comings and goings at their library enough to a) see that I’m coming and b) sign up to listen to me talk.

I usually spend about 20-30 minutes talking, and then open to the floor for questions (and library goers always ask good ones).

Tonight’s talk will incorporate both series–the Southern Sewing Circle Mysteries and my Amish Mysteries, thereby leaving me lots to say. I know some of the gals that are part of the core mystery group at this particular library are baking treats, too (yes, libraries are wonderful 🙂 ).

I also like library events because, when possible, I like to bring along my youngest. She gets a real kick out of watching me talk, observing the audience, and assisting with book sales at the end (since she reads both series, she’s able to answer lots of questions) while I’m busy signing.

It’s a real win-win.

So here’s my question for you. Have you ever been to an author’s talk–either at a library or a bookstore? What did you think?

~Elizabeth

17
Sep

The Final Touches

Posted under Reading Tuesdays 3 Comments

I haven’t read anything in the past week. At all. Unless you want to count the how-to steps for making my husband’s birthday cake last night…

So I thought I’d give you something to read today, instead. But, before I do that, I must give a wee bit of background, first.

Back when my youngest was just starting to crawl, I decided to try my hand at writing fiction (which was where I’d always wanted to go with my career). During nap windows over the next five years, I wrote what eventually became my first book:  Jury of One. Two more books followed in that small press (though they all went on to a major house for re-printing) series before I made the decision to bring it to an end and try to get in with one of the New York publishing houses.

Fortunately, that decision paid off. Fourteen books have released in the last four years, all of those with NY publishing houses (Penguin for mystery, Harlequin for romance). But you know what? I still had a fondness for that original small press series. And so, too, did the readers who’d read them way back when…either in their trade paperback size or in the mass market reprint version.

When I got the rights back for those books, I decided to re-release them in e-book form. We spruced them up with new covers and new titles and put them back out in the wild. Again, they found fans… Fans who wrote me wanting to know if there would ever be a fourth story for Elise Jenkins & Mitch Burns.

Well, after much hemming and hawing, I can finally say, “yes there will be a fourth.”

The fourth is actually a novella and should hit the market (e-book only) sometime in the next three to four weeks. In the meantime, a cover needs to be made (being done as I write this) and the cover blurb (a.k.a. teaser) needed to be written.

Which brings us back to that thing I want you to read. 🙂  It’s the cover blurb for the latest installment in my Jenkins & Burns Mysteries.

Ready?  Here we go:

DEADLY AMBITION.

A new, original Jenkins & Burns novella from the author of Deadly Readings, Deadly Getaway, and Deadly Expression.

In the aftermath of the most destructive hurricane to hit the Jersey Shore in a century, Elise Burns and the other residents of Ocean Point are doing their best to recover and rebuild, which is why the recent string of robberies hits everyone especially hard. Fuming to catch the thief preying on those who have already suffered so much, Detective Mitch Burns will stop at nothing to solve the crimes.

When another robbery turns to murder and a college student who’s interning at Elise’s newspaper is caught with the murder weapon in his hand, Mitch is convinced it’s an open-and-shut case. Elise knows the brash and ambitious aspiring reporter would go to any lengths to get a story, but was he a killer? Following clues from the intern’s notebooks and her own reporter’s gut sense, she sets out to track down a thief and a killer and exonerate a suspect she doesn’t even like—even if she has to put herself in harm’s way to do it.

So what do you think?

~Elizabeth (a.k.a. Laura)

13
Sep

Bits, Bits, & More Bits

Posted under Bits & Pieces Fridays 5 Comments

It’s hard to believe what a difference four days can make, isn’t it? If you scroll down to Monday’s post and juxtapose my words against the scene of the Seaside Park/Height boardwalk burning yesterday, I’m sure you can imagine my heavy heart today.

But it’s Friday, and I think we could use a little Bits & Pieces fun right about now.

1) Do you prefer sunrises or sunsets? Why?

2) Where is the funniest place you have ever fallen asleep?

3) At what point did your life change for the better?

4) What is the worst physical pain you have ever been in?

5) Are you a morning person or a night owl?

Looking forward to your answers!

~Elizabeth

12
Sep

Bring It On

Posted under Writing Thursdays 4 Comments

I’m a little late posting today but that’s because I got sidetracked with edits for the Jenkins & Burns novella that will be going out on e-book very, very soon. 🙂 

Anyway, I thought of a writing prompt I’m hoping you’ll try here with me.

If you were to write a story about your today, what would the first sentence be??

Ready? Go!

~Elizabeth