End-of-the-Year Recap

2018 was a strange year.

Jan:  

While having our family Christmas with my parents, Dad revealed he had an aneurism in behind both knees, but only one needed surgery, and asked if I would be willing to come help out for a week or two.  Of course I said yes.

Teen ended up having three root canals and three crowns on his teeth, since he hadn’t been brushing.  Life lesson…

Temps were chilly and snowy, so didn’t go to karaoke a great deal.

Feb:

Eagles beat Patriots in Super Bowl 52!!  Brady and my daughter both stunned speechless.  I went to Mom’s, only to to discover Dad’s surgery is scheduled March 14th.  I drive truck home, so he doesn’t have to drive back and forth.  Began playing Words With Friends….hate it!  Enjoyed the South Korean Winter Olympic Games!

March:

Took Dad to the hospital; picked him up the next day and drove him home.  Left later that day and drove first to BWW to watch one game of March Madness, then to Mel B’s house, to spend the night.  Watched the 2nd game on the laptop, then she and I drove to Nashville, TN and spent the day with the SCP authors.  Was mildly irritated on the drive home, since Siri took us a different way, and MB continued to follow her even when we could see I-64!  WTH???  Spent the night with her, then got up early, bought a St. Paddy’s Day T-shirt at the Washington Walmart, and drove to Indy for the Wanderlust Book Signing.  Dad was cleared to drive the following week, but discovered he was on a 10lb lifting restriction.

Also had a very uncomfortable meal at Outback for Teen’s birthday….we really screwed up the seating arrangement!  S and I were also able to see the 3rd movie based on ‘That Book’.  Went to PurdueCon and hung out with fellow author Brian K. Morris, plus discovered he was planning to attend Imaginarium:)

April:

Villanova won March Madness!  I went home after Easter, and we joked….Christ died….APRIL FOOL!, since Easter was on April 1st!  The temps were good, so we opened up the brown house and finished scraping up the carpet in the front bedroom, then unloaded our storage unit into it.  Goodbye storage and hello an additional $80 in the budget:)  Enjoyed the Kentucky Book Signing and was thrilled to be invited back the the Dale Library!  Sold 4 at KY and 1 at Dale, but the library had bought a copy of Crossroads.

May:

I sold an unprecedented 8 books at the 1st Art Walk, and was asked to watch the gallery while the owners were on vacation in June.  I was thrilled!  Then turned around and sold 6 at the Farmer’s Market:)  Tried having a yard sale, but only made $2.  Will Power won the Indy 500!

June:

We celebrated Miss Alex’s 6th birthday in Nashville, In, and eating at Cracker Barrel in Bloomington.  My mom fell June 1st, and was unable to walk; due to my commitment of watching the gallery, I was unable to go up until the last week in June.  Sold 4 at the Art Walk; 4 at PrideFest, and 5 at Corning Irish Festival:)  BC Brown was in Louisville for a Women’s Conference, so I was able to hitch a ride with her family and spend a day with her:)

July:

My publisher paid to have a table at InConJunction, so I got a free pass and only had to pay for my lodging!  Ended up selling 8!  Mom’s condition continued to stump her doctors.  I set up at the Mosey and sold 9 books, which thrilled me to no end, so I decided to try the Gallery Walk, and sold 6 at that event:)  Went to the 4-H fair with BFF Angela.  MDQ became a mommy on July 14th, and Phoenix ‘Master P’ apparently had a stroke, and was in the NICU for a week.  I was able to hold his tiny feet, and a week later, when he was home, finally held him.

Aug:

Drove Mom down to Vincennes for the Watermelon Festival, but it was so hot, Dad didn’t bring her down.  I had a discouraging time, only selling 2 books, and at the last minute.  Mom’s cardiologist got her signed up for PT, as well a set up an MRI for her, to see if we could get some answers.  The Petersburg event was a bust, and I only sold 2 at the Mosey.

Sept:

Set up at ISUCon, and sold 8 during the 3 day event!  Took Teen with me on final day, and he enjoyed himself, even joining the Magic The Gathering club at school.  Sold 9 at the Vanderburgh Fairgrounds event and 4 at Eminence:)  We also got a shock:  Fr. Dave was accused of being ‘inappropriate’ with a woman ‘decades’ ago, and was placed on administrative leave.

Oct:

Took the Teen with me to the Imaginarium Convention, but he chose to spend the majority of his time in the hotel pool, rather than the game room.  Only sold 1 book, but my cover artist received a HUGE compliment from a professional photographer!  Sold 7 at the Collections Carnival Craft fair, AND finally launched Whispers into the world…..even though the books didn’t arrive until after the launch party.  Went as Little Red Riding Hood for the Karaoke Halloween party.

Nov:

Had my ankle evaluated, and I have a bone spur that grew UP instead of OUT, and is pressing on my Achilles’ tendon.  In an air brace for the next 6 weeks.  Did well at the Indy Christmas Toy and Hobby show, selling another 16 books, and receiving my cover for next year’s Catered Romance release.  Sold 5 at the Art Walk, and then an unprecedented 15 at the Rivet Craft Fair!  Had a relaxing Thanksgiving at home.  BFF KC lost her father, so I rented a car and drove up with EYS for the funeral.

Dec:

Mom ended up being hospitalized for severe pain in her left leg; turned out her coumidin level was out of whack, and was sent to the Cumberland Rehab center on the 14th.  I spent a week with her, then came home.  We’re not sure how long she’ll be there; it could be January, or March.  Sold 8 at the Washington Christian Craft Fair, then another 4 at the Art Walk.  My total for the year?  145, as opposed to last year’s 77!  Spent my birthday with Mom and Dad, with Dad taking me to Red Lobster, then relaxing in front of the TV watching the Survivor finale.

So what will 2019 have in store for us?  Who knows?  It depends on my mother’s motivation to work her muscles, if she ever hopes to walk again.  It’s rough, seeing one’s parent in a wheelchair, but Mom’s always had a positive outlook, which is good.  I just hope my dad’s health continues to be good.  Also, Mrs. Sato turns 100 years old in April, so I’m hoping we’re invited to her party.

Books Read:  67 

           Print:  42

        E-book:  26

            DNF:  3


Karaoke Songs:  88

               Thurs:  34

                    Sat:  71


Weight:  Went the wrong way.  Began at 232; ended 240.

Here’s hoping 2019 will be even better!


Happy New Year!

Advertisements

Wrong Date And Other Issues #MFRWAuthors #52

So we’re ending the MFRW Authors Blog Challenge with a bang….can you believe it will soon be 2019?

For our final Blog Challenge Topic, The Powers That Be want to know our wedding disasters.

This is a loaded question for me.  Why?

1)   I probably married the wrong man.

2)  I had always dreamed of my wedding being June 19, not May 3rd.

3)  I had always dreamed of a packed church, with my college roommates as bridesmaids, not a simple ceremony with only my sister as MOH; walking up the aisle with my father instead of my intended; my best friend from HS singing the Lord’s Prayer instead of simply reciting it; me smiling dazzling at my groom instead of sobbing through my vows and barely squeaking out the words.  Plus, I think only 50 people were in attendance.

4)  The person who volunteered to videotape the event was flying in stand-by from Florida and arrived just in time to start video taping as we walked down the aisle.  I guess I should be thankful he missed the drama over my sister changing her mind about being my MOH, and our pastor and my mom valiantly trying to change her mind.  My BFF was ready to step in, but fortunately, W changed her mind again and stood up with me.

5)  My new nephew (age 2) cried through the entire event, and that’s the most prominent ‘voice’ on the video!

6)  I had always dreamed of a reception held in a banquet room at a hotel, complete with DJ, seven-layer cake (some layers chocolate!), and dancing the night away.  What I got instead was a reception at my parents’ house, where we unwrapped the gifts after eating.

7)  I wanted my honeymoon at Disney.  Instead, we spent one night at the Guest Quarter hotel in Indianapolis, and there was not even the typical action of a newly-wedded couple, because I was two months pregnant and in danger of miscarrying the baby.

If this sounds like I’m whining, I apologize….we did manage to beat the odds and are still married after 28 years; we have three healthy kids plus a granddaughter, and it looks as if our family will grow in the next year or so by adding a DIL, when our oldest graduates from college.  I sincerely hope more grandchildren will follow AFTER a marriage, since we also have a 5 month-old great-grandchild, thanks to Miss Drama Queen, age 17.

Call me old-fashioned, but yes, I hope my oldest son gets it ‘right’, as does my younger son and grandson!

For more wedding disasters, go here.

Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season and Happy New Year’s!

Update On Mom:

She’s doing better!  I came home Sunday, and we called her on Christmas Day.  She was upbeat; my dad spent the entire day with her, she’s doing better in PT, and several friends had either dropped by or called.  My parents’ friends are keeping Dad supplied with food, and at least once a day, SOMEONE stops by to see her.  We still don’t know how long she will be in Cumberland Point; Dad will let me know when he finds out.  At this time, it looks as if I won’t have to go up again until next month, but again, this could change at any time.  Thank you for your thoughts and prayers!

“When You Wish Upon A Star…” #MFRWauthors #51

Yikes, can you believe this is week 51?  This week’s topic is ‘Fantasy Vacations’.  My dream for the past several decades has been to spend a week at Disney, plus a day or two at Universal.  I’d like to spend a day at each park, do the nightlife, and enjoy at least one of the resorts.

I nearly got my wish back in 2004, however my two older children whined about the heat.  We were there in June, and the temps soared into the triple digits.  They were more happy in the hotel pool at Kissimmee than at the theme park, and my parents were happy to accommodate them.  On the final day, when we arrived at MGM and after riding only two rides, I asked my parents, “Okay; who are you and what have you done with my parents?”, when they agreed to return to the hotel.

After I told my sister about our week, we agreed to park Grandma and Grandpa at a central location and take our younger kids around the Magic Kingdom!

What’s YOUR fantasy vacation?

Have a very merry Christmas!!

Update on my mom:  She’s been moved to a rehabilitation center, and was doing well at PT and OT, but on Wed, she slept wrong and had a severe pain in her neck.  Today (Thurs), she was fine this morning, but sort of spiraled down in the evening, and went to bed early.  It’s supposed to begin snowing tomorrow, and my son is coming up on Sunday to see Grandma, as well as take me home.  I’ll be back up after Christmas.

Ten Years Ago This Month…#MFRW #Authors #50

The following email landed in my inbox:

“I love the premise of All She Ever Wanted, but feel the story line is too rushed.  However, I’m willing to grant you a conditional contract, provided you expand upon this story and resubmit it to me…”

I’m forever grateful to the editor who took a chance on me!  I managed to add several more chapters and resubbed it a month later.  In May, 2009, my 1st Kenzie Michaels book was published.  This coming May, I’ll be rereleasing it, along with three others, in print.  It will be Kenzie’s twelfth book, and my 25th overall.

I’m also eternally grateful to the readers who have bought my books, read them, and left me glowing reviews!  If I didn’t have readers, my books would be in boxes and my husband would demanding I ‘get a real job’.

I also could not do this without the support of my family, who puts up with me typing furiously during the day (and sometimes at night!), trapping my husband in the bathroom to read him a particularly witty section, and indulging me in my desire to attend conferences in order to learn more of the ‘masters’-er, PROFESSIONALS wisdom.  Yes, for the first 15 years of my publishing life, more money went OUT, rather than came IN, but I’m happy to say that persistence is beginning to pay off.  Last year I hand-sold only 76 books.  This year, 145.  And my bank account is showing a double-digit, rather than only the bare minimum to keep it alive (seriously, this time last year, I think I only had $5!  This year, it’s nearly $30.  Still small, but hey….it’s a start!).  I also have plenty of inventory left, as opposed to last year, and did not need my mom’s credit card to order any more (hence, why there’s only $30 left in my account!)

I’m planning to use my birthday and Christmas money for a vertical banner.  The question remains, which name will go on it?  Can I use both?  Depends on what miracle my ‘PA’ at Office Max can work between now and March.

What are you thankful for this past year?

To see more, click here.

Had an unexpected change of plans last weekend:  Mom was admitted to the hospital with severe pain, so I ended up staying here.  We finally got a diagnosis yesterday:  Her coumidin level was out of whack, and caused intramuscular bleeding.  On top of that, Dad decided to have the bathroom remodeled, and a walk-in shower installed.  I was told not to come until Thursday, when the bathroom would be finished.  But now, since I have commitments on Sunday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of next week, it looks as if my family may only do a day trip up to see Mom, depending on where she is (they’re talking about sending her to a rehab facility) and of course, our unpredictable Indiana weather!  I should have an update next week.

Wolfgang Puck Is Scolding Me #MFRW #Authors #49

Years ago, I subscribed to the Arcamax Daily Recipe Newsletter, and there are several that I’ve tried, kept, and make at least once a month.  One of them is by Wolfgang Puck.

So why the title of this post?  Again, I’ve modified it to my liking (see previous post), and left out ingredients that I don’t care for.  Here’s the recipe, with my modifications in parentheses.  Enjoy…..this one my son calls ‘Special Sauce’.

This recipe usually takes me at least 30 minutes of prep time, so give yourself at least an hour-90 minutes from start-finish.  It sounds complicated, but the prepping the chicken is the most time-consuming.  Trust me; it’s worth it!

Wolfgang Puck’s Chicken with Goat Cheese, Fresh Herbs, and Chardonnay Sauce

4 oz goat cheese (I have one child who objects strongly, so his gets stuffed with mozzarella)

1Tbsp each:  Tarragon, parsley, and chervil (I use parsley, basil, and either thyme or rosemary)

White pepper (I use regular black or even lemon pepper)

4 large boneless chicken breast halves, skin left on (I use boneless skinless chicken breasts, one per person)

For the sauce, I have to double the recipe, even triple it, if I’m serving more than 6 or 7:

1 cup Chardonnay (2 cups)

1 shallot (I use onion powder)

1 cup chicken broth (2 cups)

Salt

4 tsp EVOO (I don’t really measure this out)

1/2 cup heavy cream (I buy the 1 pint size and sometimes use the whole thing)

4 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces (I use an entire stick of salted butter and don’t add any more salt to the sauce)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine goat cheese, half the herbs, and white pepper to taste.  Use a fork to mash them together.

Insert finger or two under the kin along the long side of each breast, forming a pocket between the meat and skin, while leaving the skin attached as much as possible along its edges.  (I simply cut a pocket in the larger end of the breast!) Divide the goat cheese mixture evenly into portions and with your finger, carefully insert it under the skin of each breast. (I simply spoon it into the cut pocket)

Combine Chardonnay and shallot in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until the wine has reduced to a syrupy glaze, about 1/4 cup, 15-20 minutes (I find that simply 20 minutes is enough).  Stir in broth and continue boiling until the liquid has reduced by half, about 10 minutes more.

While the broth is reducing, cook chicken breasts.  Season lightly with salt and pepper (I also use garlic and ginger).  Sprinkle evenly on both sides with olive oil (I simply drizzle it, making sure it runs underneath the breasts).  Put breasts in a baking dish (I use a baking pan) and roast in preheated oven until golden brown and cooked through, 15-20 minutes (depending on size, sometime this takes 23-30 mins).

When the broth has reduced, add the cream and continue to boil until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon lightly, 5-7 minutes more.  Shut off the heat and whisk in the butter in small pieces, making sure each is incorporated before adding the next.  Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.  Strain into a clean saucepan (I skip this step) Add rest of herbs and rewarm as needed.

I serve this over instant rice, and any leftover sauce and rice is fought over the next day, ha ha!

For more recipes, go here.

We have a big weekend ahead; my oldest son turns 27 on Saturday, so we’re meeting his grandparents in Terre Haute for a late lunch/early dinner.  Then I’m traveling back to Lafayette with them, and spending a week, helping Mom with her holiday baking, decorating the house for Christmas, and maybe even doing some Christmas shopping.

Have a wonderful weekend!