Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Making Writing Managable

                     




[This article was written by guest contributor Lynda McDaniel, co-founder of The Book Catalysts.]
Have you ever coveted a cozy writer’s garret where you could create brilliant bestsellers in long, uninterrupted writing sessions?
Well, don’t. That fantasy can ruin your chances of becoming a successful author. Here’s why:

1. As long as you think that’s what it takes to write a book, you’re less likely to write.

“Oh, I don’t have time to write today,” you tell yourself because you don’t have several hours to spare. Or “It’s just too hectic to write today.” Excuses like these feed the procrastination beast, which seems to have an insatiable appetite.

2. Uninterrupted periods of writing can cripple your creativity and productivity,…

… according to Benjamin Nugent in the New York Times (February 2, 2013). He learned this the hard way while enrolled in a master’s program in fiction. Nugent isolated himself in a prairie town with no Internet, no TV, no iPhone so he could produce great literature.
Only he didn’t.
“The disaster unfolded slowly,” he writes. “The professors and students were diplomatic, but a pall of boredom fell over the seminar table when my work was under discussion. I could see everyone struggling to care. And then, trying feverishly to write something that would engage people, I got worse.”
He explains that when writing well was his focus, the quality of his work became the measure of his worth. As a result, he couldn’t judge whether his latest draft was good or bad. “I needed it to be good in order to feel sane,” Nugent adds. “I lost the ability to cheerfully interrogate how much I liked what I had written, to see what was actually on the page rather than what I wanted to see or what I feared to see.”
So take heart if you can’t create a distraction-free environment. You don’t want one!

3. You don’t need to write for hours.

It takes only 40 minutes a day to start—and finish—your first draft. Sure, you’ll need several months at that rate, but you will finish because this amount of time is doable for just about anyone. Forty minutes is 10 or 15 minutes longer than studies such as the Pomadoro Technique, but according to researcher Pierre Khawand at
People-OnTheGo in San Francisco, those extra minutes are magic. “My belief,” Khawand writes, “after working with thousands of people on productivity issues and challenges is that … after 30 minutes of focused work, the ‘engine’ is now fully warmed up and functioning optimally, so those extra 10 minutes are ‘pure’ performance. Those 10 minutes are all in the high-potential area. We must grab them while we can.”

4. Instead of long slogs or occasional spurts, regular writing sessions keep your creative brain on alert.

The pick-up/put-down method of book writing tends to dilute the brain’s focus. When the brain is primed by writing regularly, your “idea factory” continues working while you do other thingslike having coffee with a friend, stirring the soup, or walking the dog. Ideas seem to pop into your head out of the blue.

5. The specter of long sessions can lead to long periods without writing,…

… which leads to lost continuity and playing catch-up. Again, that pick-up/put-down method requires you to repeatedly find ways to reengage in the process. But when you write regularly, you’re in touch with your work in progress.

 6. As little as 10 minutes can be productive.

In addition to writing a few sentences of copy in your manuscript, you can accomplish a lot in 10 minutes. Here’s a sampling:
Brainstorm: book and chapter titles; subheads; dynamic verbs to replace a couple of flat ones; names of people to use in your anecdotes, case studies, and stories, and idea for sidebars.
Jot: key points to list at the end of a chapter, a summary of a chapter for your book proposal, a list of illustration ideas for your book, and notes for a hook in an upcoming chapter.
Plan: your calendar and block out available writing times in the next 30 days, note the experts you need to find for backup information, do a computer search to verify an essential fact or two you’ll need in a future section.
Ponder: your project with your eyes closed, perhaps focusing on a dilemma—describe it to yourself, define it, and invite the answer in. Then open your eyes and go on with your day, open to fresh solutions and ideas.
For every subhead you brainstorm, list you make, or fact you verify, you’ve saved yourself a few minutes later on. Besides, no matter how much or how little you get done in a few minutes, you’re keeping your creative brain primed—ready and raring to go to the finish line.
###
Bio: Lynda McDaniel is the co-founder of The Book Catalysts (www.bookcatalysts.com), offering book coaching, manuscript editing, and the on-demand book-writing course “Catapult into Your Book!” (http://bookcatalysts.com/writing-class )

Deborah has worked as a freelance writer and photographer, since 2001, for the historical magazine “Georgia Backroads.” She has had many articles and photographs published during this time. Her writing is featured in “Tales of the Rails” edited by Olin Jackson. She has also had a showing of her photographs at Floyd Medical Center Art Gallery as well as winning several awards. Her debut cozy mystery "Death in Dahlonega", a winner in the ACFW Category Five Writer's Contest, is now available. She is a current member of the Georgia Writers Association, and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Deborah has been nominated for Georgia Author of the Year 2012. She has an established blog, Butterfly Journey, where she reviews Christian Fiction. You can also catch her at Sleuths and Suspects, where she reviews mysteries. She also contributes to the Cozy Mystery Magazine every other Tuesday.
 

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Tale of the Missing Diamond--By Linda Kozar


At lunch with a friend a couple of weeks ago, my right hand brushed against my left. Something felt odd--different. I looked down and the pear-shaped diamond was missing from my wedding ring! Six prongs stuck out like spider's legs--an empty setting.

I told my friend and she panicked. She started looking all around the table and retracing our steps. But not me. Weird! I had a strange feeling--peaceful and not at all concerned, which is NOT like me at all. 

We left the restaurant and of course I called the manager to leave my name and number in the event  some honest soul turned in a stray diamond. And he freaked out as well.

But not me.

It gets better. When I came home, I didn't tell my daughter right away. I told her a half hour later and she went ballistic. She started tearing up the house looking for the thing. I joined her, of course. We searched and searched but turned up zilch. Still, I had that uncharacteristic bubble of peace about me--a supernatural reassurance that God would come through.

I prayed and prayed for God to show me where the diamond was. I'd been all over our town that day doing errands. The stone could be anywhere. The odds were against me ever seeing it again. Finding that stone would be like finding a needle in a haystack--a very large, super-sized  haystack. But if the diamond was somehow still in the house, I knew the Lord would help me find it. 

Three days passed. My friend Dannelle was in the neighborhood and dropped by to help me look. We turned the house inside out, looking absolutely everywhere, even the most unlikely places. But no diamond. She left.

The dull side of the ring looked like a crumb  on the floor.

Shortly after my friend went home, my peace gave way to frustration. I decided to ask God again, but this time, my attitude was different. "Lord, I know my little ring doesn't mean much in the eternal scheme of things, but it means something to me, and I ask you to show me where the missing diamond is if it's okay with you--in the blessed name of Jesus."

I sighed, made a sandwich and sat down at the kitchen table to eat my lunch. But as I took my first bite, I looked down at the floor and noticed a large crumb. When I reached down to pick it up I noticed a curious sparkle and flipped it over. My ring! 

I jumped up and down, tears in my eyes and thanked my Heavenly Father! What a tender-hearted Daddy! Overcome with emotion, I started calling and messaging everyone who had helped me look. Then I took these pictures and posted on FaceBook so the friends who'd prayed for me would know.

When I flipped the ring over, the diamond sparkled!
But something puzzled me. How could one side of the ring be so dull? After close examination, I  noticed the dull side was dull because the side under the prongs had a soapy buildup. That view of the stone didn't look anything like a diamond! No wonder we had all missed it!

Which made me wonder. How many times do we look at people and see the dull, unpolished side and judge them by that view? We see what looks like a worthless crumb, but God see's a diamond from His perspective. He see's the polished view of us, the end result. 

I am thankful God allowed my diamond to go missing. He knew exactly where it was the entire time--and it was safe as safe can be. He filled my heart with peace and supernatural confidence. And when I totally surrendered my desire to find the diamond to Him, the Lord revealed where it was. I learned some very important things from the miracle He did for me. 

--He is faithful!
--He is worthy of our trust!
--He hears our prayers and answers them!

From this point on, I will look for the sparkle in people and I hope you do too.


~ ~ ~

Linda Kozar is the co-author of Babes With A Beatitude—Devotions For Smart, Savvy Women of Faith (Hardcover/Ebook, Howard/Simon & Schuster 2009) and author of Misfortune Cookies (Print, Barbour Publishing 2008), Misfortune Cookies, A Tisket, A Casket, and Dead As A Doornail, (“When The Fat Ladies Sing Series,” eBooks, Spyglass Lane Mysteries, 2012). Strands of Fate released October 2012 (Hardcover/Ebook, Creative Woman Mysteries) and her nonfiction title, Moving Tales, Adventures in Relocation, released in 2013 (Indie-Published). She received the ACFW Mentor of the Year Award in 2007, founded and served as president of Writers On The Storm, The Woodlands, Texas ACFW chapter for three years. In 2003, she co-founded, co-directed and later served as Southwest Texas Director of Words For The Journey Christian Writers Guild.


In addition to writing Linda is Lead Host of the Gate Beautiful Radio Show, part of the Red River Network on Blog Talk Radio—interviewing Christian authors from Debut to Bestselling, airing the 3rd Thursday of every month. She and her husband Michael, married 24 years, have two lovely daughters, Katie and Lauren and a Rat Terrier princess named Patches.

Represented by: Wendy Lawton, Books & Such Literary Agency


Member of: CAN (Christian Authors Network), RWA (Romance Writers of American), WHRWA (West Houston Romance Writers of America), ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), Writers On The Storm, The Woodlands, Texas Chapter of ACFW, Toastmasters (Area 56) The Woodlands, Texas, The Woodlands Church, The Woodlands, TX

Friday, July 26, 2013

Lick Your Calf Over Again

By Nancy Jill Thames
Ever have to start all over on a project? That's what happened to me this week. A little background first.

When we were growing up, my father was full of daily quotes. Whenever we children finished a chore poorly, he would say, "If you want something done halfway, ask a child to do it. If you want it done right, do it yourself." Or, on a positive note, "Life's hard by the yard, but it's a cinch by the inch." Stuff like that - all the time! 

But one of his particular favorites was, "You'll have to lick your calf over again." Now, he would usually say this after I'd finished cleaning the bathroom sink and the faucets didn't sparkle enough for him. What can I say? He was in the military.

This week I was doing a rewrite on Book 7 "The Ruby of Siam" and thought I'd be clever by omitting commas where I believed they weren't necessary. Wrong! Now I have to go back and lick my calf over again.


It wouldn't have been so bad except I was in a hotel room and had thrown all the papers on the floor in a huge pile. I had to sort them all over again - 178 pages. Now I have to reinsert the commas I deleted. 

I suppose I wanted to share this because sometimes readers have no idea what writers go through to publish a book. And guess what? It doesn't matter. Writing is fun! Plus, I'm learning as I go. 

I hope you'll enjoy my new book when I eventually get it launched. Keep your fingers crossed that I don't make any more stupid errors in judgement!  Thanks for your patience, dear readers.



Have a great weekend!

See you in my books!
 ~Nancy Jill 
Mystery novelist Nancy Jill Thames began publishing Christian fiction in 2010. The author of six books in the Jillian Bradley series, she is an award winning blogger and is listed numerous times on the Author Watch Bestseller’s List, this in addition to winning first place for her chocolate cream pie.

When she isn’t plotting her next book, she spends time with her six grandchildren, tags along with her husband on business trips, and plays classical piano for her own personal enjoyment. She is an active member of the Leander Writers' Guild, American Christian Fiction Writers, ACFW CenTex Chapter, and supports the Central Texas SPCA with a portion of her book sales. CONTACT INFORMATION jillthames@gmail.com


Enjoy Book 1 MURDER IN HALF MOON BAY on your ereader for free!
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Thursday, July 25, 2013

A Writer's Got To Eat - Cooking For One

You know it's times like this I really dread following Dionne, Miss "Everything I cook is so wonderful that I must put it in my books as well". Sorry Dionne a little envy in my heart there, I shall repent forthwith!
Still my single friends are getting a little tired of my stew so a new recipe is needed, which I call Crock Pot Black Bean Soup.  I know, not that creative of me but that's what it is, and besides it all came about from a culinary attempt that did not work so well. Well actually it did work, but that was an accident. I come up with my best recipes that way.
One day I decided I was going to try and make a version of one of my mother's dishes Ham Hock and Beans. Do not ask me why, because  I do not like ham hock and beans. I know I'm the culinary mutant of the family all of who love the stuff. I do not, but for some reason I it got in my head so I decided to give it a try. I mean how hard could it be? Put a ham hock, beans, water and spices and let it cook in the crock pot for 8 hours.
Did I actually ask how hard it could be? For Dionne no problem. For me?
The kindest thing I can say is that when it was done, it was totally tasteless.
I don't know what I did, too much water, ham hock too small I don't know, but I know one thing. I can't afford to waste food! So I panicked and started throwing things into the pot. Vegetables, canned tomatoes, some left over onion soup mix, and I don't know what else. Well the end result was I ended up with a not bad tasting soup. Which got me thinking....
I wonder if I can do this on purpose?
So I asked a few of my friends and decided I would try a black bean soup. Black beans being smaller and more likely to take in flavors. Learning from experience I checked out my pantry to see what I had left over from my late mother's culinary reign. That's when I found this canister

Hmm, This Could Be Dangerous
In spite of the caption, my first reaction honestly was great! Dried black beans, now I don't have to buy them. But then I opened the can and found this

What The Heck Is This?
I joke, but they are beans, and some of them are black. I'm just not sure what kind the rest are. But what the heck I decided to use them and they cook up just fine. I call them my mystery beans. I'll probably never find them again because I had no idea Mom even had them let alone where she got them. So once these are gone I guess I will switch to regular black beans. Unless someone else knows what they are.
Like I said, most things are not easy for me, but not this soup. Here's how you make it:

Ingredients:

One Hamhock
1/2 Cup Water
1 14.5 oz canned tomatoes (Stewed, Regular, Italian Style take your pick) Do NOT drain them!
1/2 of a medium onion (hey you can use the other half from the stew)
2 stalks of celery
One carrot
1/2 package of onion soup mix
1 Bay Leaf (apparently they are in soups as well, which is good because I have whole jar to use)
1/3 cup dried black beans

The night before place beans in pot of cold water and refrigerate over night.
Next morning drain and rinse beans and put in crock pot. The rest of the cooking will be done there.
Cut up vegetables in thick chunks, put all ingredients into crock pot, give a stir and cook on low for 8 to 9 hours. 

After that, fish out the bay leaf and

Soup's On!


Enjoy because it's good, with leftovers for later!



Mystery writer C.L. Ragsdale is the author of The Reboot Files a Christian Cozy Mystery Series, and a superhero story called Chasing Lady Midnight. A California native, she loves to "surf" the web to research plot details for her fun, quirky stories. She has a degree in Theatre Arts which greatly influenced her writing style. Working in various fields as a secretary has allowed her to both master her writing skills and acquire valuable technical knowledge which she uses liberally in her plots. Although that is where she got her idea for The Secretary, she is not an evil mastermind. Although some of her former employers might disagree. These days she contents herself with knitting while contemplating her next diabolical plot. Story plot that is.

Current E-Books
THE REBOOT FILES:  The Mystery of Hurtleberry House, The Island of Living Trees, The Harbinger of Retribution, and The Wrong Ghost.
www.shortmysteriesandtalltales.blogspot.com
http://www.facebook.com/pages/CL-Ragsdale219184744858421

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Recipe: Homemade Egg Noodles

These simple delights require ingredients you'll have on hand, but there's a few little tricks you'll need to know to get them right the first time.




2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 pinch salt

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup milk

1 T butter

In a large bowl, stir together the flour and salt. Add the beaten egg, milk, and butter. Knead dough until smooth, about 5 minutes. Let rest in a covered bowl for 10 minutes.

On a floured surface, roll out to 1/8 or 1/4 inch thickness. (Trick: Make sure the surface has a nice level coating of flour. Flatten dough with your hands, then flip dough to coat other side with a good layer of flour. Now roll out. Test for stick spots as you go and toss flour on them as your roll. This is important because when you go to life the noodles, you want it to be easy to do so, otherwise they clump together.) Cut into desired lengths and shapes.

Allow to air dry before cooking. (Trick: The longer, the better! When removing them from the mat or counter, toss them with a little extra flour if you want your broth to thicken. Shake off excess.)

To cook fresh pasta, in a large pot with boiling salted water cook until al dente.

Recipe I use is from: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Egg-Noodles/Detail.aspx?evt19=1&prop24=hn_slide2_Homemade-Egg-N


Born and raised in Manassas, Virginia, S. Dionne Moore moved to Greencastle, PA in 1993, then to Mercersburg in 2008. Moore enjoys life in the historically rich Cumberland Valley where traffic jams are a thing of the past and there are only two stoplights in the whole town.
Moore is author of the LaTisha Barnhart Mystery series as well as new historical romance release "A Heartbeat Away."

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Plain Jane's Dirty Little Murder!

When we last saw Jane Adler she had managed to just barely escape being kicked out of Bible School, and there was a young man in her life she wanted to see quite a bit more of. (And another young man she was glad to see the back of!) She had solved her first murder (and likely hoped it would be the last!)

But things aren't easy for stubborn young women with lofty ambitions!

A year after Good, Clean Murder we find Jane cleaning houses and enjoying a relaxing summer. Her boyfriend (is it Isaac or Jake? You must read to find out!) is out of town for the summer, the only flaw in an otherwise perfect break.

The great news is that her church has included her in a group of future missionaries they are interested in supporting.

The bad news is she finds another dead body.

What ought to have been a summer of saving up money, impressing her church, and mooning over her long distance boyfriend becomes a haywire adventure filled with competitive future missionaries, boy troubles, and very jealous wives and widows.

If Jane can't clean this mess up quick she might just crack under the pressure!

For a brief period Good Clean Murder and Dirty Little Murder will be exclusive at Amazon! If you're a prime member, you can read them for free!



Monday, July 22, 2013

My Favorite Quotes on Love--By Linda Kozar




This post is a bit quirky, but what else would you expect from me? The following love quotes are on my Bookish Desires blog (a blog about reading, writing and everything in between). 

My Favorite Love Quotes and why...

Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind. And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.
~William Shakespeare, Mid-Summer Night's Dream, 1595
They say love is blind, but falling in love with a donkey is not a good way to prove it. (Hopefully most of you are familiar with this play or I'm doomed).

I love you - those three words have my life in them. 
~ by Alexandrea to Nicholas III ~
Simply put. Czar Nicholas said it said it of his beautiful wife and royal consort. Ah, romance.

I'd like to run away 
From you, 
But if you didn't come 
And find me ... 
I would die. 
~ by Shirley Bassey 
We all have arguments and disagreements with our spouses, but finding, forgiving and loving one another enough to work things out is true love

Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love. ~Albert Einstein
Even Einstein couldn't figure out love. 

Ah me! Love can not be cured by herbs. ~Ovid
There's nothing worse than loving someone who doesn't love you back. If only there was a way to forget you ever met that person. The film, "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" explored this possibility. 

Love has no desire but to fulfill itself. To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night. To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving. ~Kahlil Gibran
This bit sounds like a good-looking, long-haired artsy guy in college. You know the kind. He spouts off all this flowery romantic stuff. But he's just another loser with a better vocabulary than most. 

Do I love you because you're beautiful,
Or are you beautiful because I love you?
~Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, Cinderella
Well said.

Love is much like a wild rose, beautiful and calm, but willing to draw blood in its defense. ~Mark Overby
Love will passionately defend itself! Think Romeo and Juliet.

Forget love - I'd rather fall in chocolate! ~Sandra J. Dykes

Sure chocolate can't take out the garbage, but it's always available to offer a Hershey's kiss when you're down.

Love is an act of endless forgiveness, a tender look which becomes a habit. ~Peter Ustinov

Every successful marriage reaches the point where you and your spouse hardly have to talk any more. You can tell what the other is thinking with a look or a sigh. And the best part is--it's completely comfortable.

Hope you enjoyed these. Share a few of your own!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Time for a Tea Party!

By Nancy Jill Thames


You are cordially invited to a tea party! Pretend you're wearing a frilly dress and a lovely hat. I welcome you to my virtual home and usher you to a virtual table set with a pink tablecloth, fresh flowers and my best china. After we're seated, I pour a little milk into your floral teacup, then the tea and ask how many sugars you like. One lump or two? I hand you the steaming cup of tea. After I pour mine, we select a few sandwiches from the tiered tray along with  raisin nutmeg scones that I baked fresh this morning. We split the scones and dob with strawberry jam and mock Devonshire cream. For dessert, chocolate dipped strawberries and cake. More tea? We chat only of pleasant things like books we've been reading, movies we've watched recently and perhaps share a fond memory or two. 

At the tea party my friend gave today, we talked of our first boyfriends. Our children and grandchildren listened with rapt attention! I hope you have had times where you've shared tea with someone. If not, it has been my pleasure to share this first one with you. I raise my cup to you cozy mystery readers!

Have a great weekend!
See you in my books!
 ~Nancy Jill 
Mystery novelist Nancy Jill Thames began publishing Christian fiction in 2010. The author of six books in the Jillian Bradley series, she is an award winning blogger and is listed numerous times on the Author Watch Bestseller’s List, this in addition to winning first place for her chocolate cream pie.

When she isn’t plotting her next book, she spends time with her six grandchildren, tags along with her husband on business trips, and plays classical piano for her own personal enjoyment. She is an active member of the Leander Writers' Guild, American Christian Fiction Writers, ACFW CenTex Chapter, and supports the Central Texas SPCA with a portion of her book sales. CONTACT INFORMATION jillthames@gmail.com



 Nancy Jill is busy working on Book 7 "The Ruby of Siam" a mystery taking place in London.

Enjoy Book 1 MURDER IN HALF MOON BAY on your ereader for free!
Amazon Paperback $8.09

 Kindle FREE!

Barnes and Nobel Paperback $8.99 

Nook FREE!

FREE on Smashwords and Kobo!









Thursday, July 18, 2013

Warning! Shameless Self-Promotion Ahead!

Hi everyone.
I suppose I could make up some reason why I am posting this excerpt of The Great Scarecrow Invasion available just about everywhere. But in truth, I'm doing a little self promotion this week (that's part of what blogs are for after all) So here's an excerpt of my latest book. Enjoy.

Excerpt:
 Irene looked at Troy and remarked, “This is different.”
They were seated in the open kitchen where they could verify that no one was currently listening. Bob was upstairs taking a nap, Evan and Shamus were off doing farmer stuff somewhere, Mrs. Carpenter was sweeping the outside porch and Hilary and her Grandmother were in her room.
Troy didn’t get it and asked, “What?”
“No one believes in the scarecrows?"
“They could all be full of commonsense,” he suggested.
“Maybe, unlikely, but maybe.”
“We’ve run across stranger things in our travels.”
“I’ll grant you that,” Irene agreed, “But that doesn’t explain why Michael Sullivan is being featured so prominently as the mastermind of evil.”
 Troy shrugged still not seeing what the big deal was and pointed out, “Remember Shamus is leading the charge on that, and he’s obsessed that the Sullivans are out for revenge. You’ve got to admit that Carter Thomas has a connection to him which could be considered suspicious. So maybe he is more important than the scarecrows.”
 To his surprise Irene Waters, chief skeptic and destroyer of terrifying legends shook her head in disagreement and stated, “Oh the scarecrows are important.”
To say Troy was amazed would be understating it. Irene never took the ghosts, monsters or whatever seriously. Until she made her next statement that is.
“Otherwise, why would one have come out of the maze and practically dare me to come in after it?”
At first Troy thought she was kidding, and then he realized she wasn’t and nearly shouted, “What? When did that happen?”
“After I spoke with Valerie and was coming to the barn to join you and Bob.”
Troy was so startled that he couldn’t think of what to say,so he sputtered, “What…what did it do?”
 “Well it came out, looked at me and then went back into the maze,” she answered calmly.
“You didn’t go in after it?”
She crossed her arms and gave a snort pointing out, “With it obviously wanting me to do just that? I don’t think so.”
Troy understood the logic of that. It wouldn’t have been what he would have done, and he probably would have regretted it later, but it still didn’t explain why she had kept it to herself. “Okay,” he admitted, “I can understand why you didn’t go in by yourself. That’s smart, but why didn’t you tell me and Bob?”
“Because you would have gone after it, and when we chase these things down I want it to be on our terms not theirs.”
“Yeah that makes sense, I guess,” Troy admitted reluctantly, “Well that narrows the field a bit.”
“How do you figure?” she asked.
“Well Bob was with me…”
 Irene gave a laugh and asked, “Did you suspect him?”
Troy smiled and answered, “No, but someone else might, this all started when he showed up.”
“That is a good point, but I think we can rule out Bob. Valerie and Mrs. Carpenter had just entered the house so it couldn’t be one of them, although it doesn’t let them entirely off the hook either,” Irene said.
“Why not?”
“Because supposedly there is more than one scarecrow in this great invasion,” she reminded him.
“Oh yeah, I forgot about that,” he admitted, “Okay, so the grandmother and the housekeeper are out as far as being that scarecrow, but they could be accomplices. So who does that leave us as the scarecrow you saw?”
“Well Hilary came after me and admitted that there is a tunnel from the barn to the house.” 
“But would she have time to get to the corn maze, dress up and then make sure you saw her?”

 “People on the stage do it all the time.”
“Are you really suggesting that Hilary…?”
“Well she is a blogger and making a big deal apparently making a big deal of the story. She says she doesn’t know the two teens who got trapped but they do go to her school. Maybe she’s trying to boost her exposure,” Irene theorized.
 Troy objected, “But why tell you about the tunnel?”
“Well it is hardly a secret according to her, at least in the family. Maybe she doesn’t want me to think of another option.”
“Such as?”
“That there could be another tunnel leading to the corn maze.”
Troy tried to visualize a fifteen year old girl coming up with such an elaborate plot, unfortunately it was just a little too easy to imagine. Kids were a lot smarter, and more devious, than people gave them credit for.
“Of course if it is Hilary that would good,” Irene stated.
“Good? Why?” Troy asked.
“Because from what I have observed of the girl, she doesn’t mean anyone any harm. So it would be a prank and not malicious. If it’s one of the adults, anything goes.”
 Troy nodded in agreement. People could be downright rotten for the most petty of reasons. Made him wonder why God cared so much. “Do you think it’s Hilary?” he asked.
“I don’t know,” she admitted, “We just can’t rule her out, along with everyone else. The only people I can rule out are you and Bob.”
“And you.”
 She smiled and stated, “Well that goes without saying.”
“I don’t know you might go off the rails one of these days,” he joked, “If so, I’m in for real trouble. What about Carter?”
“He’s in the mix. What I find interesting is that Shamus insists that the man said he saw scarecrows, but Carter only admits to seeing something.”
“That’s important?” Troy asked.
“Maybe,” she admitted with a shrug, “And maybe not.”
 Troy looked at her and she looked back. Finally she patted his arm and asked, “Did I lose you again?”

Poor Troy he always gets lost, but that's what makes him such a good Watson.
See you next week.

Mystery writer C.L. Ragsdale is the author of The Reboot Files a Christian Cozy Mystery Series, and a superhero story called Chasing Lady Midnight. A California native, she loves to "surf" the web to research plot details for her fun, quirky stories. She has a degree in Theatre Arts which greatly influenced her writing style. Working in various fields as a secretary has allowed her to both master her writing skills and acquire valuable technical knowledge which she uses liberally in her plots. Although that is where she got her idea for The Secretary, she is not an evil mastermind. Although some of her former employers might disagree. These days she contents herself with knitting while contemplating her next diabolical plot. Story plot that is.

Current E-Books
THE REBOOT FILES:  The Mystery of Hurtleberry House, The Island of Living Trees, The Harbinger of Retribution, and The Wrong Ghost.
www.shortmysteriesandtalltales.blogspot.com
http://www.facebook.com/pages/CL-Ragsdale219184744858421

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

So excited to share these quotes taken from my newest release! Since I have always loved quotes, I think this is a splendid idea for all authors.


Monday, July 15, 2013

Sea Foam Candy--By Linda Kozar


Every other year, we visit family in Cannon Beach, Oregon. There's a little town on the top of the hill with an amazing Candy Shop called Bruce's Candy Kitchen. AND THEY MAKE "Sea Foam," a candy so incredibly delicious I crave the taste of it. So you can imagine how delighted I was to find this recipe for my beloved "Sea Foam" on Pinterest. I adore both the dark and milk chocolate varieties--no discrimination there. Hope you'll like it too!

FYI--In my book "Strands Of Fate," (available Creative Woman Mysteries ), I incorporated the seaside town, many of the kitschy shops and of course, the candy shop I adore, though the names were changed to protect the innocent:)



SEA FOAM!!!)

Buffalo Sponge Candy
A Wilde recipe derived from Watsons Chocolates

I hope that I didn’t scare you too much, this candy is amazing! Some people call it Sea Foam, Fairy Food or Hokey Pokey; I just call it Sponge candy. Mention sponge candy to any Buffalonian and they’ll know exactly what you’re talking about. Like an aerated toffee, it melts in your mouth. I always get a box of Watsons sponge candy for Easter (hint, hint Easter bunny!)

For an updated version, as well as answers to some common sponge candy questions, see my Sponge Candy FAQs Post!

¼ tsp gelatin
1 tsp water
1 ½ cups sugar
½ cups corn syrup
½ cup water
1 tbsp baking soda (sifted)

Butter a 9x9 pan then dust with flour. Tap out excess flour.

In a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over 1 tsp water and allow to bloom.

In a medium stockpot with high sides, mix sugar, corn syrup and 1/2 cup water together. Heat over medium heat and stir until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to a boil. Wash down any sugar crystals from the sides with a wet pastry brush. Clip on candy thermometer and heat to 310° F.  Do not stir after you have clipped the thermometer on, the sugar will self stir.

Remove from heat and let sit for two minutes, bubbling should subside. Add gelatin and whisk, be careful, the sugar syrup will bubble up. Sprinkle baking soda over syrup and whisk vigorously. Return mixture to the heat and whisk for 30 seconds. The sugar will rise up in the pot, a lot!

Quickly pour into prepared pan, it should come out in a big blob. Do not spread the mixture, just let it settle into the pan. Allow to cool completely (about 2 hours or overnight) before removing from the pan.

Either break into odd pieces or cut into squares (this is a messy process!). To cut into squares - using a serrated knife, score the candy at 1-inch intervals. Snap the candy apart at the score lines. Then score and break into squares.

Melt chocolate melts in a double boiler (or bowl sitting above a pot of boiling water). Dip sponge candies in chocolate, tap off excess. Chill in the fridge to set the chocolate shell. Enjoy!


Linda Kozar is the co-author of Babes With A Beatitude—Devotions For Smart, Savvy Women of Faith (Hardcover/Ebook, Howard/Simon & Schuster 2009) and author of Misfortune Cookies (Print, Barbour Publishing 2008), Misfortune Cookies, A Tisket, A Casket, and Dead As A Doornail, (“When The Fat Ladies Sing Series,” eBooks, Spyglass Lane Mysteries, 2012). Strands of Fate released October 2012 (Hardcover/Ebook, Creative Woman Mysteries) and her nonfiction title, Moving Tales, Adventures in Relocation, released in 2013 (Indie-Published). She received the ACFW Mentor of the Year Award in 2007, founded and served as president of Writers On The Storm, The Woodlands, Texas ACFW chapter for three years. In 2003, she co-founded, co-directed and later served as Southwest Texas Director of Words For The Journey Christian Writers Guild.

In addition to writing Linda is Lead Host of the Gate Beautiful Radio Show, part of the Red River Network on Blog Talk Radio—interviewing Christian authors from Debut to Bestselling, airing the 3rd Thursday of every month. She and her husband Michael, married 24 years, have two lovely daughters, Katie and Lauren and a Rat Terrier princess named Patches.

Represented by: Wendy Lawton, Books & Such Literary Agency

Member of: CAN (Christian Authors Network), RWA (Romance Writers of American), WHRWA (West Houston Romance Writers of America), ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), Writers On The Storm, The Woodlands, Texas Chapter of ACFW, Toastmasters (Area 56) The Woodlands, Texas, The Woodlands Church, The Woodlands, TX.

Linda’s Website:  http://www.lindakozar.com