Book Talk Tuesday: Thankless in Death

For a few of my favorite authors, I’m a total fan girl.

me and noraNora Roberts is one of them. I got the opportunity to meet her last month in San Antonio at the Romance Writers of America (R) annual conference.

I’ve read several of her stand alone romances and enjoyed them but I love her J.D. Robb … In Death  series.

She signed Thankless in Death for me and I just finished it.

This series just gets better and better. I teared up at the end.

This book is seriously good.

 

It’s approaching Thanksgiving in New York City in 2060. Lt. Eve Dallas is kinda-sorta looking forward to the holiday. Roarke’s Irish family is about to descend on them.

Of course, Eve gets a murder case.

A couple murdered in their home. The prime suspect is their son, a perpetually petulant and selfish man who blames his life (or lack of one) on everyone else. It’s never his fault that he gets fired, even though he’s late to work most days. tid

The son sets out to avenge all his perceived slights on the friends and family he holds responsible.

Eve and the team work tirelessly to find him and catch him before he kills again.

What I love about this series is not just the characters and the stories, but the humanity Robb brings.

Eve is not a perfect character. She’s wounded but she’s finding healing in her husband and new family and friends and her work. She takes her work very personally and it makes her good at her job.

The victims matter to Eve. I got a bit teary at the close of this book when Eve had to fight down her own emotions. She’s getting better at acknowledging her feelings and facing them.

If you’re a fictional character in 2060 NYC, Lt. Eve Dallas is the cop you want working your case.

Who’s your favorite fictional cop?

Besides Eve Dallas, I really like Magnum P.I. Because really, Tom Selleck?

 

Willy vs. Charlie

I’ve never been a Tim Burton fan.

I think I just don’t get him.

Corpse Bride? Why?

Edward Scissorhands? I wanted to love it. Failed.

But even I have to admit that pairing Tim Burton with Roald Dahl is genius. Add in Johnny Depp and the result seems guaranteed.

I held off seeing the 2005 movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory until recently.

The first movie adaptation, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, starred Gene Wilder in the wwtitle role and was released in 1971. I was twelve-years-old and had loved the book since my classroom teacher read it aloud a few years previously.

I didn’t love the movie immediately. But it did grow on me and I have a fondness for it now.

I didn’t expect to enjoy the 2005 Tim Burton and Johnny Depp version so I didn’t bother to watch it when it was released.

ww2

 

The good: Burton and screenwriter John August kept the story closer to the original novel.
The (ironically) bad: The story as Dahl wrote it, was quite dark. It’s still dark, yet accessible. Children know the world is a dark and scary place and Dahl never condescended to his youngest readers. The movie holds to that standard.

The ugly: I had to humble myself and admit it’s quite good.

I still wouldn’t call myself a Tim Burton fan, but I certainly appreciate him and his work more now.

What movie or book forced you to change an opinion after you saw or read it?

 

 

 

Bonus Friday: Amy Patrick and Channel 20Something

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This is a busy week of releases and I’m pleased to offer a bonus spotlight on Amy Patrick. Amy is a fellow 2014 Golden Heart® finalist. Her debut novel, CHANNEL 20SOMETHING, is now available.

Be sure and read to the end for a chance to win an electronic copy of CHANNEL 20SOMETHING.

Amy is a two-time Golden Heart finalist (2013 and 2014) who writes Young Adult fiction as Amy DeLuca and New Adult romance as Amy Patrick. She lives in Rhode Island with her husband and two sons and actually craves the heat and humidity of Mississippi where she grew up. She’s been a professional singer and news anchor and currently narrates audio books as well as working as a station host for a Boston TV station.

Author links:

http://www.amypatrickbooks.com/

https://twitter.com/amypatrickbooks

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3247178.Amy_Patrick

Amy, tell us a bit about yourself.

Amy

For many years I was a news anchor, working at 6 different stations in 4 different states over the course of 12 years. Now I’m a station host at a Boston TV station, I do voiceovers for radio and TV ads and narrate audio books, and do freelance video work. It’s all very interesting in its own way and inspires so many story ideas I’ll have to work into my nineties to actually write them all.

I live in New England now, and I’ve also lived in California (while working as a news anchor), but I grew up in Mississippi (with 5 years in Texas thrown in for flavor). I do love the South (even the heat), and I love books that accurately portray the loveliness of its places and people. I try to do that in my books, which tend to have Southern settings, because when the voices start speaking to me, they usually have a bit of a drawl. ;)

How long have you been writing? I started trying to write a novel during my first year out of college, but stalled out a few chapters into it. I had no idea how to write a novel! Unfortunately, I took only Journalism courses and NO creative writing in school. I know—what was I thinking, right? I guess I just never thought a fiction writer was something I could be. But the writing bug wouldn’t leave me alone. I started several more novels over the years. Finally, after leaving my full-time TV news career, I started learning the craft of novel-writing. I finished my first novel in 2010 and started pursuing publication then. I started writing on a more-or-less full-time basis about a year ago.

Tell us about CHANNEL 20SOMETHING.

Synopsis:

22-year-old Heidi Haynes is almost one year into her “real life.” She has her first reporting job, her first apartment, and a comfortable relationship with her college sweetheart. But for some reason she’s not as eager to talk about walking down the aisle as he is.
Heidi secretly longs for big cities, big-market breaking news, and real independence from her way-too-close-by helicopter parents. Problem is, the last time she left the security of home for new places and new people, things didn’t go so well. Disastrously, in fact, and she came running back to a local college and a “safe” boyfriend.
Aric Serrano is definitely not safe.
He’s six-feet-four-inches of missing-Hemsworth-brother-hotness and plans to stay in small-market-Southern-Hell just long enough to grab a cup of coffee and put together a kick-ass “escape tape”. He’ll serve his one-year contract, then he’s taking off for a higher rung on the TV sports ladder—alone—the way he likes it. Then he meets his new co-anchor.
Heidi would be so much more comfortable if she could simply ignore Aric. He’s just her type—the type she’s so careful to avoid these days. But that becomes impossible when she’s forced to work closely with him on the weekend newscast. Now the attraction between them is growing even faster than the ratings, and what happens behind the scenes is the real news.

Sounds sooo fun! Is CHANNEL 20 SOMETHING your first book, or have you written CTS FINAL COVERanything else? CHANNEL 20 SOMETHING was actually my 3rd book, though it’s the first to be published. The first one I wrote was a Young Adult fantasy (with lots of romance). It was a finalist for the RWA Golden Heart award in 2013. My Young Adult murder mystery (with lots of romance) FOUR BULLETS, is now out on submission to publishers. It was a Golden Heart finalist this year! Since finishing CHANNEL 20 SOMETHING, I’ve also written two more books in the 20 SOMETHING series. Book 2, STILL YOURS, is Mara’s story and takes place in Providence and Newport, Rhode Island. Book 3, Kenley’s story, STILL ME, takes place in Atlanta where Kenley lands a job at the network.

When do you like to write, and where do you write? I wish I was one of those super-focused people who can write anywhere anytime, but I’m the world’s worst multi-tasker. I can edit at home, but for first drafts, I banish myself to the library. There’s a particular chair in a particular corner—in the far back, facing a boring wall. No internet access. No temptation. I sit down and the words flow. They know they’re supposed to turn on when I get to my hidey-hole.

Do you have any advice for someone who wants to write a book and become published? I’ve seen the statistic that 90% of people want to write a book and only 10% actually do. I think lack of know-how stops most people. So my advice would be to join a great writer’s group like RWA (Romance Writers of America) and a local chapter. It’s such a great resource for information on good writing as well as for support. Having writer friends to trade work with made an incredible difference for me. I also enjoyed writing more and had more success when I got a firm grasp on story structure. I loved the book Save the Cat by Blake Snyder for that. It’s very accessible and clear, besides being funny and enjoyable. When I read it, a light bulb went off for me.

What’s one crazy fact about you that most people who meet you probably wouldn’t guess was true? I used to be a professional singer. I’ve sung in several bands and did background vocals on a smooth jazz album. I also sang the theme song for SAS Airlines years ago. “Welcome aboard… to the skies… of S-A-S… where you’ll find… happiness.”

Thank you so much for having me here today. I’ve had a great time, and it’s an honor to be featured on your blog!

For a chance to win a free electronic copy of CHANNEL 20SOMETHING, just leave a comment and tell me about your first job in the “real world.” A commenter will be chosen at random.

Spotlight Thursday: Lynette Endicott

  Protective Instinct

I’m pleased today to shine the spotlight on Lynette Endicott. Her newest release, Protective Instinct, co-written with Tami Dee, is now available. Be sure and read to the bottom to enter a giveaway Lynette and Tami are sponsoring.

 

lynetteLynette Endicott

Lynette Endicott grew up in Illinois, met her husband in Western Nebraska, lived 25 years in Kansas where their daughter was born, and has been in Fresno, California since 2000. She has a son-in-law (who lives with her daughter nearby), and has rescued a dog, a bird and three cats. She and Ollie, her terrier mix, volunteer as a team at the local library, where children read to the dog.

At a youth camp when she was 14 the editor and teacher of a writing class challenged her to submit something to his youth magazine. She did and it was the first of 10 articles and stories accepted by the publication over the next few years.

Nothing like front end success to keep her writing! Lynette enjoys reading contemporary romance and speculative fiction and writes both. Her debut book, Starting Over Book One: More Than A Job, and two more books in that series, The Return of Joy and Finding Her Voice are available now. The first three of the Time After Time Saga with Tami Dee are available now, including Animal Instinct, Survival Instinct and Pioneer Instinct. The fourth in the series of six, Protective Instinct, will release in August 2014.

Because she didn’t have pets until after her 50th birthday the animals she enjoys find their way into all her books. Usually you will also find a character with a disability as part of the day-to-day fabric of the story. In More Than A Job, Paige works in services to people with disabilities until she loses her job and starts over. In The Return of Joy, Atlas, the yellow lab, becomes a Therapy Dog. In the Time After Time series animal helpers assist the hero and heroine in all six of the books in the series.

Lynette loves hearing from her fans! Please connect with her on:

Facebook | Twitter | Website | Goodreads| Pinterest

Tell us about your newest release: ProtectiveInstinctCoverArt72dpi__94617.1402191584.1280.1280

Protective Instinct is the fourth book in the Time After Time Saga with Tami Dee. An enemy is thrown through time — not in chronological order — to find the women of the Heartmark and prevent them from finding love. Young Sabrina, this book’s heroine, treasures her heart-shaped birthmark and the heritage it represents. She is watching and waiting eagerly for the man who will rescue her, to give him an ancient artifact that will seal their love. This is very confusing to soldier and spy Nick, whose job is to determine if Sabrina is their enemy, learn what she knows and then dispose of her.

What are your hobbies?
My dog Ollie and I volunteer at the local library as a team. The children read out loud to him. I also collect castles and grow flowers.

Best book you’ve read so far this year?

Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. I was fascinated to see how her creativity blossomed in a time when much of the world around her attempted to limit it.

Your favorite motivational or inspiring quote?

This is how you do it: You sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it’s done. It’s that simple and that hard. — Neil Gaiman I have a board on Pinterest where this and other quotes I like are posted. http://www.pinterest.com/lynetteendicott/i-like-how-they-think/

What’s a typical writing day look like for you?

Typical day? There is no such thing. I have a hectic day job consulting across six time zones, so am on the phone, computer or traveling a great deal. My WIP is on my tablet, and I take it out whenever I can. Typically I write like mad for a week or so, until a rough draft is finished, then go back and edit, layer in descriptions, and make some of the descriptive passages dialog.
I tend to write better in the evenings while the family is busy with TV — if I happen to be home. When I am traveling typically I have my evening free to write and that is a wonderful luxury.

Plotter or Pantser?

I go back and forth. First I jot down a very rough idea of the book. I identify specifics about the main characters, decide what they look like, decide where the book is set. Then I sit down and write. I refer to my notes for the details that I need to remember so I don’t change the hero’s eye color, and I definitely write by the seat of my pants. When I keep writing, even when I don’t know the details, the rest of the story unfolds out of another place, not a plan but something more organic that the characters tell me as I go.

Thanks for stopping by, Lynette!

Thanks for having me, Carrie!

Lynette’s books include:

Starting Over Series

Book #1 – More Than A Job

Paige Hamilton is forced to seek a new life when her consuming, 24/7 job ends at the hands of a new company owner. But Paige is a survivor, and begins to build a new life, one that may even have room for romance. A handsome stranger helps her through the transition, and soon she falls fast and hard for Joshua Robinson.

Then she discovers he is the cruel owner, and that the company she loved — the company that cared so much about the adults with disabilities who lived in their homes — is in a downward spiral that puts the life of one of her friends at risk.

Romance, job loss, life coaching, hidden family treasures, and a secret about an uncle she’d never met — Paige learns that life is More Than A Job.

Book #2 – Return of Joy

When Joy Huffman’s recurring dreams of the husband she lost become urgent she is convinced to go tot he cabin, their project of love, in New Mexico. With her daughter and mother-in-law, they set out to learn what Steve wants them to know — that his death was no accident, but murder.

Their investigation stirs up the evil that ended his life, and puts them all at risk. The caretaker at the cabin, Mark Stone, is challenged to keep them safe while he unravels the mystery of why Steve died. Along the way he falls in love with Joy — but will she be open to loving again?

Book #3 – Finding Her Voice

Jennifer has the perfect life — a loving husband, a beautiful daughter, a flexible job in the family business. When a heart-stopping accident takes it all from her, Jen struggles to survive her days alone. No one else understands, expecting her to “get over” her grief.

Ollie, her daughter’s rescued dog, is the only one who shares her grief and lives her pain. When divorce ends in the sale of their home, she and Ollie set out on a road trip of healing and discovery.

Life will never be the same, but maybe along the way she can find the music, find her voice, find her own path to living after her loss. And if she is lucky, find love.

Book #4 – Out of Agony

Brian Van Pelt has barely survived an anguished year of loss, hiding his sorrows under the facade of a cool and uncaring attorney. Not able to deny his grief any long, heartache drives him to collapse and his life takes an unexpected turn.

When Jessie Ingram comes to work at his law firm, she is intrigued by the conflicting darkness of Brian’s behavior and the tender inconsistencies that hint at something deeper within him.

Despite her interest, she has her own pain, supporting her niece Sara, who has a virulent cancer with aggressive treatments that take such a toll they would not be worth it — except they are Sara’s only hope of survival.

Will life’s hardships bring Brian and Jessie together? Will they be able to heal and possibly find love?

Time After Time Saga written with Author Tami Dee

Book #1 – Animal Instinct

On Detective Sean Barnett’s first day at work his police dog’s reaction to a bee sting requires an emergency visit to the town vet. Dr. Al’s swift, efficient response averts immediate danger, but when Sean asks Allison to dinner, he opens the door for a terrifying danger — an ancient, time-traveling enemy who will stop at nothing to keep them apart.

Dr. Allison Green’s heart-pounding attraction to King’s handsome owner, Sean, sends her to her family’s reference on love, the diary passed down from her great-grandmother that goes back centuries. She delves into references to animal helpers, ancient artifacts and the ruthless woman whose goal is to destroy love for the woman of the Heartmark.

When she is overwhelmed with ancestral memories, Allison realizes the extent of the danger posed by their enemy, and the deranged terror that threatens her chance at love.

Book #2 – Survival Instinct

Tough as nails San Francisco homicide detective Winter Parker runs fast and far to escape ancient threats of revenge, and small town torments.

Can equally tough Special Agent Mike Hunter convince Winter to put aside her fears and take a chance on him and their small town?

Will ancestral memories help them overcome a time-traveling enemy whose sole purpose in life is to seek out the Heartmark women and destroy their chance to find– and hold onto– true love?

Book #3 – Pioneer Instinct

Eliza O’Malley and brother Allen travel from Ireland to join their father and brothers on an 1880s Wyoming homestead. Allen is almost destroyed during the voyage, but Eliza’s benefactors rescue them both from their father’s foolish carelessness and mounting debt.

When she has worked off her passage and built her own wealth, Eliza completes the journey, knowing that she has been called to fulfill her destiny as a Heartmark woman. She is immediately swept off her feet by the neighboring rancher Frank McGee. His sister Jude, her friend and business partner, harbors a secret that will nearly destroy the love between Eliza and Frank.

Clues from an ancient diary, the fierce intervention of animal helpers, and ancient artifacts play a part in the life of all Heartmark women, including Eliza. Will they be enough to overcome the horrible rumors spread by Jude and restore Frank’s love for her?

Book #4 – Protective Instinct

Sabrina Bridges clings to her birthright as a Heartmark woman, convinced she will overcome the time-traveling enemy that plagues the women of her family. She is certain she will obtain true love with the man she gives her heart to. But how will her trusting heart survive when she learns that very man has deceived her since the moment they met?

Nicolas Mitchell’s loyalty to family and country are tested by the woman who may lead him to one who threatens all he holds dear. Nick must steel his heart against her, and deny his protective instinct for the woman who speaks of an ancient family legend and her belief that together he and she will forge a love that will last forever. Will Nick be able to complete his last mission as a spy for the Crown or will he betray his country for the sake of love?

Three more books in the Time After Time Saga will be released in the future: Maternal Instinct (April 2015) and Primal Instinct (December 2015).

You can purchase all of Lynette’s books here:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

Desert Breeze Publishing

To celebrate the release of PROTECTIVE INSTINCT, Lynette and Tami will be giving away a $20.00 Amazon Gift Card to one grand prize winner, a $10.00 Gift Card to either Starbucks or Teavana to the second runner up and an ecopy of PROTECTIVE INSTINCT to the third runner up. Enter the giveaway every day for more chances to win. All entries must be received by August 18th before midnight.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/81056b957/

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Woe! It’s Wednesday

There’s my woe, which is admittedly not all that bad most weeks.

Then there’s real woe.

trainI took a train journey last week at the invitation of a dear friend. We looked forward to a few days of riding the rails, working on our manuscripts, visiting and catching up, and maybe even get a Voodoo donut in Portland after we arrived.

The trip didn’t exactly go according to our plan.

The first evening, we pushed the button for our steward to come and let down the bunk and get our beds ready.

It was almost like a scene from a Lucille Ball show. I pressed the button and immediately the train slowed and came to a stop. Unfortunately, there was nothing comedic going on.

We soon heard an announcement that the train would be delayed several hours while authorities were called to investigate a “trespassing incident.”

The next day we heard the gossip in the dining car.

Suicide.

Someone jumped in front of the train.

Someone forced a person who was doing his job–driving a train and taking its passengers to their destination–into killing.

Talk about both desperate and totally chicken.

My heart is saddened that someone felt so hopeless and helpless that death was preferable to life.

But  what a horrible legacy to leave behind, to force someone else to take your life.

The rest of the journey was fun and passed quickly, in spite of the shadow cast over the beginning.

Have you ever embarked on a journey that didn’t go the way you expected?

 

 

Book Talk Tuesday: The Divorce Papers

I have a problem. And I’ve given up hope of recovery. Instead, I’ve embraced it. It’s part of who I am.

At the national Romance Writers of America conference in San Antonio, I received easily two dozen free books and I also purchased a couple. I already have over 100 books in my To Be Read stack (Mt. TBR).

While on the road, I read a couple of reviews of a book, The Divorce Papers. It sounded like something I’d enjoy.

Did I make a note of that book for future reference and open up one of my new books?

Nope.

dpI requested The Divorce Papers from the library.

It was great!

I really enjoyed this one. It’s literate and entertaining and really well written.

The Divorce Papers is an epistolary novel. Mia and Daniel Durkheim’s divorce story is told through memo’s, e-mails, legal filings, informal notes, and various other written forms.

Mia’s attorney is Sophie Diehl, a young associate at an old firm in the fictional town and fictional state of New Salem, Narragansett. Sophie is a criminal defense lawyer who gets roped into taking on the divorce. As Sophie learns the ins and outs of civil and matrimonial law, her client Mia also learns who she is and what she really wants and expects from life. The short answer is her daughter Jane. Both Sophie and Mia are fully realized characters who step off the pages of their notes and letters and take on new lives in my head.

The Divorce Papers is an excellent book and I’m glad I skipped over Mt. TBR and put it on top.

Highly recommended.

Media Monday: The Third Man

When we talk movies with friends, and the subject of classics, noir, black & white, and “The best movie ever,” a few reliables are always mentioned.

  • Citizen Kane
  • Casablanca
  • The Third Man
  • Gone With The Wind

third_man_xlg

 

We’d seen all of them except for The Third Man. We rectified that omission this weekend.

Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli, and Trevor Howard all starred. We also watched director Peter Bogdanovich’s introduction to the movie. He mentioned that Orson Welles said black and white is the preferred medium because viewers aren’t distracted by details such as eye color or sunsets. They attention remains solely on the actor’s face and other shadows in the scene.

The basic story is about pulp novelist Holly Martins who travels to post-war Vienna at the invitation of his friend Harry Lime. When Martins arrives in Vienna he discovers his old friend has been killed and is bring buried in the local cemetery. He begins to investigate Lime’s death and hears differing eyewitness accounts, one of which maintains there was a third man at the accident scene.

As a snapshot of early 1950s film noir, The Third Man holds up quite well. As a good old fashioned who-done-it (or was-it-done?), it holds up very well.

We enjoyed it and–whew!–now when the topic of classic films comes up, we can knowledgeably discuss The Third Man.

What’s your favorite classic or noir film? What should we add to our Must See list??

 

Thursday Spotlight: Lynette Endicott

I’ll be interviewing Lynette next week, but here’s a teaser:

Authors Lynette Endicott and Tami Dee have announced that book #1 in their Time After Time Saga, ANIMAL INSTINCT, is on sale for $0.99 for ONE WEEK ONLY!  Get your copy and the rest of the Time After Time Saga before August 11th so you can be all caught up for the new release of PROTECTIVE INSTINCT, book #4 in the Time After Time Saga releasing on August 11th.

On Detective Sean Barnett’s first day at work his police dog’s reaction to a bee sting requires an emergency visit to the town vet. Dr. Al’s swift, efficient response averts immediate danger, but when Sean asks Allison to dinner, he opens the door for a terrifying danger — an ancient, time-traveling enemy who will stop at nothing to keep them apart.

Dr. Allison Green’s heart-pounding attraction to King’s handsome owner, Sean, sends her to her family’s reference on love, the diary passed down from her great-grandmother that goes back centuries. She delves into references to animal helpers, ancient artifacts and the ruthless woman whose goal is to destroy love for the woman of the Heartmark.

When she is overwhelmed with ancestral memories, Allison realizes the extent of the danger posed by their enemy, and the deranged terror that threatens her chance at love.

Lynette Endicott grew up in Illinois, met her husband in Western Nebraska, lived 25 years in Kansas where their daughter was born, and has been in Fresno, California since 2000. She has a son-in-law (who lives with her daughter nearby), and has rescued a dog, a bird and three cats. She and Ollie, her terrier mix, volunteer as a team at the local library, where children read to the dog.

At a youth camp when she was 14 the editor and teacher of a writing class challenged her to submit something to his youth magazine. She did and it was the first of 10 articles and stories accepted by the publication over the next few years.

Nothing like front end success to keep her writing! Lynette enjoys reading contemporary romance and speculative fiction and writes both. Her debut book, Starting Over Book One: More Than A Job, and two more books in that series, The Return of Joy and Finding Her Voice are available now. The first three of the Time After Time Saga with Tami Dee are available now, including Animal Instinct, Survival Instinct and Pioneer Instinct. The fourth in the series of six, Protective Instinct, will release in August 2014.

Because she didn’t have pets until after her 50th birthday the animals she enjoys find their way into all her books. Usually you will also find a character with a disability as part of the day-to-day fabric of the story. In More Than A Job, Paige works in services to people with disabilities until she loses her job and starts over. In The Return of Joy, Atlas, the yellow lab, becomes a Therapy Dog. In the Time After Time series animal helpers assist the hero and heroine in all six of the books in the series

<https://twitter.com/@lynetteendicott>Twitter</a&gt; | <a href=”http://www.lynetteendicott.com”>Website</a&gt; | <a href=”http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5785133.Lynette_Endicott?from_search=true”>Goodreads</a&gt; | <a href=”http://www.pinterest.com/lynetteendicott/://”>Pinterest</a></p&gt;

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Woe! It’s Wednesday: Back from Texas

We had a blast!

Although I didn’t come home a Golden Heart® winner, I am and will always be a certifGolden Heart ® finalist. And I have the certificate to prove it!  Even if someone says there was a mistake and it’s not really mine, they’ll have to take from my cold dead fingers.

Some of the many highlights:

nora

 

 

  • Red heart   Meeting my favorite authors, Nora Roberts and Kristan Higgins at the Literacy fundraiser book signing Wednesday evening. This is me and Nora. I loved hearing her talk the next day. My takeaway: “Quit whining and write. Quit f—ing around and write. Quit making excuses and write.”

Red heart   Enjoying San Antonio. The Riverwalk and the Alamo were amazing! We got a special treat when we happened to be driving past the Alamo after dark onealamo evening. I was amazed at the self-less sacrifice of the men who fought to defend the fort from General Santa Anna’s troops.

 

rw

Red heart  The Riverwalk is an area of shops, restaurants, and hotels that line the banks of the San Antonio River. Stud Muffin spent several days walking the paths and he took a riverboat tour. I was able to join him for a second tour and then we had dinner and walked around a bit. It was hot. And humid. I’d love to go back. Anytime except July or August though.

Red heart   food 2The amazing restaurants. We enjoyed Mexican, Tex-Mex, and Italian cuisines. Apparently San Antonio also has a large German population but we didn’t get to try any German fare. Next time! The picture on the left is my green chile enchilada from the Texican menu at the Republic of Texas restaurant. Yumm!

We also made it a point to go for a late lunch at a place we’d recently seen on the Food Network’s coveDiners, Drive-ins, and Dives. The Cove is part of a car wash and laundromat  and was amazing. We shared a sweet potato hash and a portabella mushroom burger. The place was HUGE. We couldn’t remember what we’d seen Guy Fieri and the owner Lisa making on the show until after we ordered. We’ll have to go back to try the lamb burger.

All in all, we had a great trip! Thank you so much for all the support, prayers, and encouragement along the way.

What about you? Any road trips this summer? What was a highlight?

Book Talk Tuesday: When I Fall In Love

Susan May Warren’s latest in her Christiansen Family series, When I Fall in Love, is wonderful. Just like the others.

WhenIFallInLoveThis one is Grace, the homebody’s, story. When her family pool together to send her to a culinary school on Oahu, she’s not sure she can leave home and family. But she gathers her courage and gets on the plane where she meets Max, the hockey player who took her brother, Owen’s, place on the Minnesota Blue Ox when Owen was injured.

Max is carrying a load of guilt and heartache. He lets his guard down to help the lovely Grace and finds he can’t keep up the walls he’s built around his life and heart.

I enjoy all of Warren’s books and this one is no exception. She’s also sponsoring a fun contest where the entrants post recipes using Hawaiian-inspired ingredients.

Here’s my entry. This is adapted from a recipe a friend created after our second vacation together to Maui. We call it …

Mango Chicken Fingers

Take your chicken (we use boneless breasts or tenders).

Rinse and pat dry.

Dredge in a beaten egg, dip in a mixture of half seasoned and half plain bread crumbs.

Put in sprayed pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Top with Papaya Mango Salsa (homemade or from Trader Joe’s).

Bake for another 15 minutes. Yummy!