I'm waving my geek flag like a crazy lady lately. We've covered how I like my tech from e-readers to smartphones to tablets...but I've found a few new techie tools lately that I really, really love...so I thought I'd share them with you all today because they all have a little bit of a writer bent.
First, my new TomTom - it's the MultiSport, and it's a fitness watch. It tracks my distance running, cycling, swimming...monitors my heart rate, gives me a calorie count and feeds right in to the MyFitnessPal app that I'm using to track calories and stay in my fat-burning zone. What does this have to do with writing? Everything. Seriously. As a writer I sit. A lot. Sitting isn't terrible, but when I'm at the computer for 6+ hours a day, I'm not getting much movement in. I can set an alarm on my TomTom to remind me every hour or so to get up and move around. Plus, I know exactly how I'm doing with my workouts. Win, win.
Second, Spotify. You've all read countless posts about my playlists. Making a new playlist is one of my all-time-favorite things to do as I'm starting a new project. But I've filled 2 iPods, an iPod Touch and my Smartphone with different songs...I came across Spotify, which is a streaming service, last year and gave it a try. I still buy a ton of music, but this is working really well for me as a playlist keeper.
This screen shot is my template for starting a new project - I have tabs for research, chapter outlines, hero/heroine/town/etc images. I break out the main turning points and even make a calendar of sorts so I know where I'm at in the project at any given time.
Scrivener does many of the same things, I find Scrivener most useful for the actual writing...but for the extra stuff - research, images, outlines, etc - I find OneNote much more useful.
Those are the three things I'm geeking over this week...what has your geek heart thumping?
Thursday, September 18, 2014
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Here we go with this week's farmer's market inspired Concord Grape Pie:
Call me uncivilized but until RadioMan and I moved to the NorthCoast, I had no idea people did things with grapes other than 1) eating straight from the bowl or 2) as grape jelly/jam. Color me surprised when someone brought a Concord Grape Pie to a church supper...and even more surprised when I tasted how good it was!
Since we're in the fall harvest season (which is the best time for grape pie because the grapes are fresh), and I remembered my love for this treat after visiting a stall at our farmer's market with not 1 but 3 pies left, I thought I'd share the recipe I use:
1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
5 cups Concord grapes (don't skimp and don't use another kind, Concord or nothing!)
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
3/4 teaspoon lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash the grapes and remove the skins, placing the skins to the side. In a large saucepan, place the cleaned grapes, mashing a few at the bottom. Cook over medium heat until the grapes are boiling. Remove from heat and press the grapes through a food mill to remove the seeds. Now, put the skins into the pan with the grape pulp, along with the lemon juice and mix well.
In a separate bowl, mix the flour, sugar and salt. Mix in the grape mixture until well blended and pour into the pastry crust. 'Dot' the butter over the top of the pie filling and then cover with the second pastry shell. 'Flute' the edges and cut slits into the top so the filling can vent as it cooks. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the crust is a golden brown and the filling is bubbling through the top shell. Allow it to cool and then serve.
Monday, September 15, 2014
in a Small Town: Ten Homespun and Heartwarming Contemporary Romances (Crimson
Sunset: Casey Dawes
Divorced mother Annie Gerhard meets rugged new
bookstore owner John Johnson at the worst possible time in her life. Her high
tech company is threatening to lay her off if she doesn’t move from California
to New Jersey and her 15-year-old son David is causing trouble. The recession
has hit Silicon Valley hard and there are no jobs for a middle manager, even if
she hates what she does. And this is no time for romance, no matter how good
the man looks in his jeans.
John has escaped Montana memories of a deceased wife
and betraying girlfriend by buying an independent bookstore in California. He’s
got bigger problems than falling for a spunky woman with control issues.
Keeping a bookstore afloat in a recession and finding a home where he can
stable his horse are all he can handle right now.
Unless . . .
John and Annie must both face their pasts in order
to greet the future. Can they risk it?
romance author Casey Dawes is an award-winning writer who believes in Casey
Dawes contemporary romance authorthe power of friendship and love to change
lives. Her novels are filled with real-life situations where people discover
how to change their lives for the better to achieve real love.
in the beautiful state of Montana gives Casey and her husband plenty of
opportunity to hike, camp, and photograph scenery, animals, and birds. When
weather keeps her in, Casey also enjoys quilting, knitting, and cooking.
Ride: Kat Morrisey
Kyla O'Grady hit the gas and drove her Mustang out
of Rock River, Pennsylvania with one goal in mind: find somewhere to start
over. Her life had gone sideways back home and Kyla needs something new,
something fresh, and she needs to find the music again. But on a stretch of
road off the coast of Maine, her car has other ideas. Broken down just inside
the town limits of Ashten Falls, Maine, Kyla is stranded.
Cooper Moretto has a problem. In fact, the whole
town of Ashten Falls has a problem in the form of a corrupt town official.
Cooper had enough on his plate to last a lifetime, but on a stretch of highway
heading into the town he spots a '67 Mustang Coupe and does what any decent
mechanic would do: stop to help. But getting this car back on the road is the
last thing on his mind when he sees its owner, singing as if she weren’t in the
middle of nowhere.
Kyla is speeding away from her past, unsure how to
move forward. Cooper has been on cruise control, just hoping to get through
every day without being arrested or harassed. Can the two slow down long enough
to see that maybe the answers to both their problems lie in each other? And can
they survive when enemies that are lurking in the shadows try to destroy them
Morrisey lives in a small town in central New York State where she splits her
time between her family, her jobs as both teacher and lawyer, and the fictional
characters she writes about. She can often be heard on social media talking
about a wide range of topics, including Highlanders, book boyfriends, happily
ever afters, Jane Austen, hockey, fictional characters, men with beards, and of
course, zombies. She loves to hear from readers and can be found on twitter,
@KatMorrisey, and Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/KatMorriseyAuthor
Home: Christine S. Feldman
No woman ever really forgets her first love. Callie
Sorenson is no exception. Hers was tall, tanned, and - as her older brother’s
best friend - completely off limits.
It’s a name that Callie hasn’t spoken in years, even
if the man to whom it belongs has never really been all that far from her
thoughts. Or her heart. But now a twist of fate will bring her back to the
childhood home she left behind years ago, and to the hometown boy for whom she
When her mother takes a bad fall and breaks her hip,
Callie leaves the bright lights of New York City to fly back west and help with
the rehabilitation. It’s a tense homecoming due to a long time estrangement
between mother and daughter, and it drives Callie to confront both a painful
personal loss and her unanswered questions about the father who abandoned her
when she was just a child. It also brings her face to face with Danny again,
and Callie quickly realizes that old feelings die hard.
But for Danny, it’s new feelings that are a problem.
Callie is not the young girl he remembers but a woman now, and a very desirable
one. They both have reasons to fight the growing attraction between them, but
the temptation may just prove to be too much to resist, despite some very real
risk to their hearts. The past casts a long shadow over the future, though, and
Callie will have to overcome it or else face losing the one man who means the
most to her.
S. Feldman writes both novels and feature-length screenplays, and she has
placed in screenwriting competitions on both coasts. She lives in the Pacific
Northwest with her ballroom-dancing husband and their beagle.
Again: Christy Newton
What if one night changed your life forever?
Maisie Scott lost not only her husband and unborn
child in a tornado two years ago, she lost her will to live. Keeping busy is
the only way she can get by. This small town waitress won't let herself get
attached to anyone . . . until Ryan, the new veterinarian for exotic animals,
starts making regular trips to her diner. As hard as she tries not to feel
anything, Ryan ignites a spark in her broken heart.
Ryan Tucker craves a happy family of his own more
than his momma’s apple pie. Getting over his fiancée leaving him six months
ago, he moves to Pleasant Valley for a fresh start. When he meets Maisie and
notices the sadness in her eyes, he is determined to put a smile on her pretty
When another dangerous storm hits, Ryan stays by
Maisie's side. She fills the missing piece in his heart, but will Ryan share
his secret? Can Maisie move on from the past and learn to begin again?
Newton is a hopeless romantic and writes many genres of romance. She just might
be the only author out there that doesn’t drink caffeine, but dark chocolate is
her must have. She falls in love with each of her heroes and hopes you will
too! Learn more about her at www.christynewton.com,
and on Twitter @CNewtonAuthor.
Lake Effect: Johannah Bryson
Shelby Aylesworth knows what real love feels like.
She also knows the pain of losing that kind of love. With her faithful collie
dog, Norman, she takes refuge on Whiskey Island to try to put her life back together.
When Norman arranges a most unusual introduction to the island’s newest
resident, Shelby finds herself wondering if it isn’t time to stop grieving and
Wyeth Packard has come to Whiskey Island under the
guise of restoring and making profitable an old vineyard and manor house. What
he really wants is some peace and quiet away from the fast pace of NYC. Being
considered one of the city’s most eligible has thrown him into the path of
every gold digging society princess out there. He longs to find a balance but
has given up on ever finding a woman who will love him for who he is, not what
Together they navigate the slippery slope of what it
means to begin again. Can a new love fill the void left by an old love?
Bryson lives in NE Ohio, near the shores of fabulous Lake Erie. In addition to
writing she’s also a Certified Personal Chef. She shares her home with her
husband, a ten year old collie and a three year old Border collie. When she’s
not writing or cooking, she and her husband love to explore the amazing food
and music scene of Cleveland and the surrounding area. She loves to hear from
her readers: email@example.com
About Charming Alice: J. Arlene Culiner
Alice Treemont has given up hope of meeting the
right man and falling in love. Living in depopulated Blake’s Folly, a community
of rusting cars, clapboard shacks and thirsty weeds, she cooks vegetarian
meals, rescues unwanted dogs and protects the most unloved creatures on earth:
snakes. What man would share those interests? Certainly not Jace Constant whose
life in Chicago includes elegant women, fine dining and contemporary art. He’s
in Nevada doing research for his new book but definitely won’t be staying: he
hates the desert’s bleakness, the dust on his fine leather shoes and the dog
hair on his cashmere sweaters. As for snakes — they terrify him.
So why does the air sizzle each time Alice and Jace
meet? Why are they so fascinated by each other? Their feelings might go deeper
than raw desire, but any long-term relationship is clearly doomed.
In need of juicy gossip, the other 52 residents of
Blake's Folly have decided Alice has been alone for long enough. The attraction
between her and Jace is so obvious, why worry about differences? If you trust
in love, solutions do appear. But don’t those solutions call for too many
compromises, too much self-sacrifice?
in New York, raised in Toronto, J.Arlene Culiner has spent most of her life in
England, Germany, Turkey, Greece, Hungary and the Sahara but now resides in a
300-year-old former inn in a French village of no real interest. Much to
everyone’s dismay, she rescues and protects all living creatures — especially
spiders, bats and snakes; her wild (or wildlife) garden is a classified
butterfly and bird reserve. She can be found at: www.j-arleneculiner.com and at: www.jill-culiner.com
Wings, Soaring Hearts: Beverly A. Rogers
Hailey Holman is a woman determined to keep her
dad's memory and his dream of reopening their small-town Texas base station
alive. Jack Stinson is looking for a peaceful place to escape the rat race of
the big city life and big city business of his own family's airplane
What a perfect match. Other than the fact that her
mom hates the flying business with a passion and fights Hailey's every effort,
and Jack's dad fought his every effort to make the break, then disowned him for
leaving. Throw in two town bullies who insist on opening a base station of
their own and reeking havoc on Hailey's plans and her own determination not to
get personally involved with the employees, and it's anything but smooth
But these two focused pilots might just be surprised
how things can work out with enough stubbornness . . . and faith.
A. Rogers is a Texas girl who writes with a heart as big as the Lone Star
State. Her idea of a romantic man isn't someone who will promise her the moon
and the stars. It's someone who will walk on the beach holding her hand,
watching the moon and the stars from her eyes . . . and never complain about
sand in his boots. Learn more about Bev at www.BeverlyARogers.com.
Jamie Sullivan is a fun-loving, widowed mother of
twin five-year old boys. A
creative goldsmith with her own line of designer charms, she is determined to forge her own unique brand of success. Jamie guards a painful secret that leads her to be emphatic about not letting a man into her life.
Nick Grey is the gorgeous, charming, and daydream-inducing headmaster of the
elementary school Jamie's children will attend. After single-handedly bringing up his daughter while earning his doctorate and proving himself to the school's board of directors and the community, he feels burned out. Come the end of the semester, Nick is taking a year off to travel the world.
When they meet, an instant attraction blazes through both. Nick and Jamie soon
find their hard
into something that can last forever?
was born in Zaragoza, Spain and have moved approximately twenty times. I went
to school in New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Puerto Rico and I'm bilingual and
bicultural. I've spent the last ten years raising my fun, inspiring little boys
and sharing my life with the man I'd always dreamed of. My greatest joys are
spending time with family and close friends and coming up with characters and
Without Wings: Mari Manning
A war widow at twenty-six, Linnea Reyes is haunted
by the soul-shattering fight she had with her husband just before he led his
detachment into the ambush that killed him. When one of the wounded soldiers
from her husbands battalion asks her to help save his family’s farm, she jumps
at the chance for redemption. Unfortunately, she runs straight into a six-foot
roadblock – the soldier's older brother who has plans of his own.
After resigning from a promising army career to help
his mother and wounded brother, Jesse McCormick is at the lowest point in his
life. Now they are about to lose the family's organic farm and only one plan
will earn him enough money to get his family out of debt and him off the farm –
a dangerous assignment with a paramilitary group. He can brush aside the
protests of his worried family, but the good intentions of Linnea Reyes prove
to be more than he can handle.
Without Wings is Mari Manning’s second book from Crimson Romance. She has
always loved small towns and romance … and writing. The result is Angel Without
Wings and her first book, Holding Out for a Hero. Mari has finaled in several
contests, including the Golden Claddagh and the RWA Valley of the Sun’s Hot
Prospects contest. She is also a member of RWA and the Chicago North Chapter
for which she serves on the board. Currently Mari is working on a three-part
series of romantic suspense set in the hill country of Texas and, in her spare
time, blogging at www.marimanning.com.
the Rules: Melinda Dozier
A forbidden love affair in the past has led Hope
Robinson, a middle school principal, to Harbor Bay, Florida, where she commits
herself to play by the rules. This can be difficult for a perpetual klutz,
who—even strapped in a cast—has to uphold a competent attitude at all times.
Luckily, she has Dr. Colin Calaway on her side, a
widower and father of a student, who is ready to give love another try. When
Colin convinces Hope they should explore the connection between them, a steamy
romance develops, though it could destroy them both. They must decide if their
jobs—and their hearts—are worth the risk.
lives in Guatemala, Central America with her husband and three boys. She
teaches English to middle schoolers during the day and finds time to write at
night. Melinda has always been an avid reader and writer, enjoys watching
reality tv, blogs, and relaxes with Zynga games. You can find Melinda at www.melindadozier.com or on Facebook at
Crimson Romance: http://www.crimsonromance.com/contemporary-romance-novels/love-small-town-10-homespun-heartwarming-contemporary-romances/