Saturday, December 28, 2013

Promo, Passion and New Year's Resolutions for Writers

My first audio book, published December 26th and it's a Christmas Story!

It's that time of year when people with product to sell go insane with promo, promo, promo. I'm one of the worst. I grew up in the ski resort of Sun Valley, Idaho. There, the two weeks before Christmas are make or break for many businesses. Having grown up with this as a business model, it's difficult for me to remember what my good friend Kathy McIntosh, award winning author of Mustard's Last Stand said: "Readers will read the day after Christmas." Yet, it's true. Readers read. And no one knows what promotion works and how or even why.

It's that time of year when people look back and then forward, twisting their necks trying to do both. I'm one of the worst. Wry neck anyone? However, this year, instead of second-guessing and predicting and following old patterns, my resolutions are all about trying something new.

My resolutions (feel free to steal):

1. What, me worry? Since no one knows what works in this new publishing world and since it changes moment to moment, one of my resolutions is to not worry about it! Do what I can and let it go. Focus on the writing.

2. See above, especially focus on the writing. The one thing everyone seems to agree on is that the one major thing that leads to success for a writer: write better and write more.

3. See above, especially focus on the writing. Because it is also following my bliss and living in my passion.

SO my New Year's Resolution is: Relax, follow my bliss and enjoy the journey.

What's yours?

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Wishes with FREE Cookbook for Christmas Day and a Recipe too!

The Mall Fairies Sweet Tooth Cookbook is FREE through Christmas Day! Enjoy!

Merry Christmas all! And what better way to celebrate than with some sweet desserts? Here's a  favorite Christmas cookie recipe from The Mall Fairies Sweet Tooth Cookbook:


2 cups white flour
2 generous teaspoon baking soda
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp ginger
1/2 Tbsp cloves
1 Tbsp vanilla
3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg or egg substitute
1/4 cup molasses
Sugar in a bowl to roll cookies

Sift together dry ingredients. Beat butter and sugar until combined and add egg and molasses and beat until mixed well. Beat in dry ingredients. Roll dough into 1" balls and roll in sugar. Place on cookie sheets and press slightly. Bake at 350 degrees 10-12 minutes or until lightly brown around edges.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Glory of Christmas Stories! With a link to a free Christmas Story!

The cover for one of my romance Christmas short stories, A RICE CRISPY CHRISTMAS as I always love reading and writing Christmas stories during the Christmas season, in any genre, ghost stories, mysteries and romance.

My addiction with Christmas stories began when I read A CHRISTMAS CAROL for the first time when I was ten. Now I re-read it and still always cry whenever I read "God bless us everyone." So in honor of A CHRISTMAS CAROL turning 170 published years old yesterday, here are quick reviews of three delightful Christmas short stories, plus here's my own free read CHRISTMAS KISSES.


This charming romance story about a tough attorney with a true love for her Downs Syndrome daughter  is one of the best I've read for this season. In some ways it's the traditional Christmas romance story, but it differs in fantastic ways that add more levels to an already good short story. The author isn't afraid to take chances, both with her characters and her plot. I wanted this story to continue on past the end, what better recommendation?


A delightful offering about a homeless girl during the Depression for a traditional Christmas short story. What I loved was how well the author created his world and characters, with a deft touch, not too little, not too much. Added to my list of favorite Christmas stories.


This is an adorable read for a December night. I love that this story is a mystery and takes us deep into the modern world with the elves at the North Pole, where they even have security! This would be a great tale to read to youngsters, or read as an adult, as the adults will "get" the fun "elf" jokes spread liberally throughout. 

Now dear readers, please share your favorite Christmas read!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Pickled Carrots, an easy fast comfort food and healthy holiday recipe!



In honor of my brand new release, Starke Deadly Delicious Recipes, here's one of my favorites from the new cookbook!
If your holidays are like mine, they wouldn't be holidays without some pickled veggies, so colorful on a holiday table. Okay, this recipe is almost too quick and too easy! It also can be used for other veggies: asparagus, cauliflower, green beans, radishes, etc. etc. And far, far less expensive than store bought pickled veggies. And lots of variations too!


1 cup distilled white vinegar (or wine vinegar, rice vinegar, apple vinegar or even coconut vinegar)
2 tablespoons white sugar (I sometimes omit this, especially when using a "sweet" vinegar such as apple vinegar)
1 tsp. salt (I use sea salt)
1/8 tsp. black pepper
2/3 cup water
8 large carrots, diced


In a medium saucepan mix all ingredients except for carrots. Bring to boil. Remove from heat and pour over carrots in glass containers (careful, it's hot!) until covered. Seal containers, let cool slightly, refrigerate and marinate carrots for at least 12 hours.

With other vegetables not as "tough" as carrots you might want to let the mixture cool (a touch) before pouring over them—asparagus for example may overcook. However, I like my pickled vegetables "al dente" and you may want to blanch your carrots, green beans, and even asparagus if you prefer a softer pickled veggie.


Use different herbs and spices for different pickled tastes:
Pictured: I used wine vinegar and added a tablespoon each of sage, thyme and dill for a spicy holiday pickle taste. (Note: these herbs create a strong taste, which I love, but may not be everyone's favorite.)
Add chili peppers for hot pickles.
Mix different veggies together, for example cauliflower florets, carrots and red radishes create a colorful plate of pickled veggies for a holiday table or anytime!

And dear readers, do you have a special food for a holiday tradition that you'd like to share?