Friday, December 23, 2016

Sweet Hints for How to Bake GF, egg and diary free and a dessert cookbook to try the hints on!

For only .99 you'll get The Mall Fairies Sweet Tooth Cookbook, full of fun fairy tales and delicious dessert recipes!

Like many other people, I've developed a few food sensitivities over the years. Not full blown allergies, still I feel better when I avoid eggs, gluten and dairy. This turned out to be quite a challenge to make baked goods. At least until I began to use these tips! 

Do these tips make baked goods identical to those made with traditional ingredients? No. It does make edible and delicious baked goods. But a different consistency, usually a bit denser and more moist than regular baked goods. If you use real eggs, that will help with a fluffier consistency. However, I've gotten used to and now prefer the gluten free, egg free and dairy free.


Use high protein, high fiber flours. Oatmeal, garbanzo bean or other bean, sweet sorghum and teff are a few examples. Rice and coconut can be used, but these are drier flours with little fiber, so can make the baked goods tough or crumbly and very dry if used alone.

Use more than one flour for a recipe, preferably at least three. I always use four different flours.

Double the amount of baking powder or baking soda used in the recipe.

Always use both baking powder and baking soda in every recipe. Double the amounts as above.

Add a tablespoon or two of potato starch to the flour mix.

Add 1 and 1/2 to two times the amount of liquid to the flour mix. If the result is a sweet, use "liquid" that has a lot of fiber. I often use applesauce or liquefied bananas instead of a milk substitute. I even use applesauce when making cornbread and then don't add sugar.

Always add a generous amount of oil to the flour mix. I usually add a scant 1/4 cup of canola oil or melted coconut oil. Olive oil has too strong of a taste for most things.

For egg replacement I use EnerG Egg Replacer or VeganEgg, sometimes both! Both need to be dissolved in liquid. EnerG I dissolve in the applesauce. VeganEgg I use less water for baking, as they suggest.

Let the mix set for five minutes.

Finally, bake for longer in a lower temperature oven. I bake most recipes 15 to 20 minutes at 325 to 350 degrees.

Now give these tips a try and tell me what happens!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Christmas Romance Audio Novella Giveaway! Free! While supplies last!

Some of this year's Christmas Decorations

To get you off in a festive mood, here's a gift to get you into the holiday spirit. While supplies last you can have a code for an audio book download of A Crispy Rice Christmas FREE.

Fun, clean Christmas romance! A Crispy Rice Christmas!

This will be a download from Audible, the audio book arm of Amazon. You will have to go onto and sign in (no membership required) to redeem. Yes, they'll send you a few emails asking you to become a member, those can be ignored. And yes, I would love an honest review IF you have time! But mostly I really loved writing this story and want to share the Christmas joy!

So COMMENT (with your email written out as in: name dot yahoo dot com and I won't publish your comment either) for your free audio book!


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Conflict: Shortcut to Great Writing

Join me on November 5th for a fun workshop on Write Short to Succeed.

Here’s a possible exercise we might be doing in my workshop at ICAN’s upcoming
Second AnnualTreasure Valley Writers' Fest at the Cloverdale Reception Center, Boise, Idaho, Saturday, November 5, 2016, from 1:00 pm to 7:30 pm.

This exercise is inspired by the newest title in my Hows and Whys series, Writing Conflict, to be released soon.

Conflict is the key to unlock great writing. Finding the conflict is also the easiest way to write anything. Every good piece of writing comes from the conflict in the story, article, whatever.

Examples: an article about fixing your toilet yourself, what’s the conflict? The conflict is in you need your toilet fixed! Can you fix it yourself? Even a recipe has inherent conflict. Will you be able to replicate the dish? In a romance story, girl lost boy, will she get him back?

In fiction, people often confuse conflict with other elements in the story. Conflict is not a fight between two people. Conflict is what led to the fight.

To find the conflict ask these questions:
What’s the problem? (Sewage all over the floor, need something new for dinner—not the sewage, broken heart that might never be fixed)
What’s the goal? (Fix the toilet, make dinner, get the guy back)
What’s the need/desire? (To have a working toilet, to eat, to be with the man you love)
What’s the emotion? (Frustration at the broken toilet, hunger, grief/anger at losing the boyfriend)
What gets in the way of obtaining this goal? (Can you fix the toilet yourself? Do you have the ingredients to make the dish? How does the woman get the guy back?)

An argument in a romance story between the girl and her boyfriend is the end result of conflicting emotions: she’s mad at him, but loves him, but hates him, but wants him to be/do/act get the idea. During the argument, there needs to be conflict. Does she really want to get him back? Is it impossible to get him back? In fixing the toilet, do you have the proper tools? In a recipe, do you have the right ingredients, or can ingredients be substituted? Conflict raises more questions.

Here are some scenarios for you to find the conflict in:

A weight loss article
Two women in a bar, co-workers after work on a Friday night
An article about travel
A person visiting his/her grandmother in a nursing home
A memoir about a relative born during a time of war

Have fun with this and remember there are lots of ways to add conflict to your writing.
Questions? Please comment and I’ll do my best to answer (and hope I can answer, hmmm...more conflict?).

 One successful result of writing short, Mild West Mysteries.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Three Awesome Books for a teaser of Book Sale coming August 6th!

Fun, Fun, Fun!

There will be over 20! authors selling their books at the Book Extravaganza this August 6th. A wide range of genres and styles will be represented, enough for any reader to find much to read! 
Many will be on sale or offering other specials. Here's three to tease.

Register to win a FREE copy!

Finding hope in all the wrong places.

Rebecca is a well published author. In her Christian romances she demonstrates why. 

And all her titles at the book sale will be ON SALE for only $10 each! Plus you can register to win a free copy of her latest work, Winds of Change. Find out more about Rebecca and her wonderful writing at her Amazon author page.

One Brick at a Time, a heart wrenching and heart warming biography you won't want to put down.

One Brick at a Time is Elaine Oostra's life story. She shares her fond and sometimes humorous memories of childhood as well as the struggles and pain of growing up with a mom who suffered from mental illness. 

Want some fun, fast reading? Mild West Mysteries abounds in thirteen cozy mystery short stories of the West as never seen before. 

Also, I'll be running a Buy One Get One of Same or Lesser Price HALF OFF with all my four titles: Starke Naked Dead, Mild West Mysteries, The Mall Fairies: Exile and Write Short to Succeed

For more about me and my wacky Idaho adventures, visit my Amazon author page.

Hope to see you Saturday!

Monday, July 18, 2016

FREE Workshop Writing Conflict and a writing tip!

Yup, you heard right, FREE workshop on Writing Conflict: Hows and Whys. And a FREE workshop one time only. At the Victory Branch Library,10664 W Victory Road, Boise, ID 83709 on Wednesday July 20th from 6:30-7:30 pm.

Why a workshop on writing conflict? In teaching my Write Short to Succeed workshop, I noticed a major struggle among newer writers. What was the difference between an anecdote, vignette and a short story or article or memoir? How to create a work that readers want to read? The answer is simple: conflict. Conflict creates the scene, the characters, the story arc, why a reader should read an article, and more. Without conflict, the writing fails.

Why a free workshop? Because Writing Conflict will be the second in my Hows and Whys series, the first being Write Short to Succeed. So the authors who attend will "pay" for the workshop by giving me honest feedback.

Here's a tip about conflict:

In any writing, whether it be fiction or nonfiction, short or long, ask yourself: What is the problem? Where is the problem? Is the problem obvious? Can you state, "The problem is...." or not? If you can't answer at least a couple of these questions you don't have conflict. And you have a problem.

How to have conflict in every word, sentence and paragraph of your writing will be covered in the workshop. Hope to see you there!

And authors out there in blog land: how do you see conflict? How do you use it? Abuse it?

Friday, April 29, 2016

Successful Writing Secret: Conflict in Description

My newest title, Write Short to Succeed inspired by my class: Hows and Whys of Writing Short, click on the link above to sign up for the next one night class on May 3, 2016.

We authors are always learning and stretching our writing muscles. So when I attended a conference recently, I was surprised by how many new authors struggled with a particular concept:


Conflict needs to be in every part of an author's work. This includes description. Description? Yes, description. Ummm, I can hear new writers saying, isn't description just describing stuff? Nope. Or at least it's full of conflict if it's a success for the author.

Easiest way to explain this is to provide an example using a very well known cliche: 

It was a dark and stormy night.
Okay where is the conflict here? Well, in the fact that dark and stormy nights are difficult and dangerous. However, it's much better to not rely on such obvious elements to create the conflict. Instead, how about:

It was a warm, bright, sunny and horrid day.
The twist with "horrid" creates a conflict. It raises the question of why the day is horrid.

It was a warm, bright and sunny day. Despite the warmth, she couldn't stop shivering.
Can you spot the conflict? That "she can't stop shivering" is a contrast that raises questions?

Or how about:

It was a warm, bright and sunny day. She hated such days. Too pleasant by far.
Her emotional response creates conflict. And perhaps a touch of characterization.

Or a different type of description:

No conflict:
She was a pretty woman. Everyone always told her so.

She never knew how pretty she was. When people told her how lovely her face, she never believed them.
Again, her emotional response raises questions, why won't she believe how pretty she is? This creates conflict and some characterization.

Conflict raises questions, makes the reader wonder why there is this conflict and makes the reader wonder how the conflict will be resolved. Conflict keeps the reader reading!

An exercise:
Spot the descriptions in other author's writing. Read through them with an eye to whether or not they possess conflict. If not, why not? How could a description have more conflict? Or if it does have conflict, how?

Authors, questions? Answers? Are you conflicted?