Thursday, April 28, 2016

Brain Food for Writers by Connie Vines

It wasn't until I completed this blog post that I realized that my title, well. . .carried an unintended double meaning.

My featured novella this month -- Here Today, Zombie Tomorrow-- is a Zombie story. And today's topic is brain food.  Well, brain food for writers, anyway.

On deadline? Obsessed with your current storyline?  Forfeiting sleep, exercise, and nutrition to reach the moment you can type the words The End on the final page of your novel?

Here are a list of grazing foods that you can keep on hand.  High in protein, easy prep, and tasty.

Single serve, or 5 ounces of nonfat cottage cheese.  3 grams more protein than a typical serving of Greek yogurt.

Hard boiled Egg.  Nolonger shuned due to claims of too high cholestoral, we can enjoy in moderation. You can boil yourself or purchased peeled and packaged at the market.

Peanut butter.  Scoop your own or purchase in single packets, smear on a banana or apple slices.

Roasted chickpeas ( I love hummus and falafel).  120 cals per serving, 5 gram of protein and fiber.
To prep yourself rinse and drained chickpeas in a bowl with olive oil.  Add chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper.  Oven bake at 425 degrees for 45 mins.

Greek yogurt

Turkey roll ups. Nitrate free deli turkey breast with a squirt os mustard, a slice of tomato, and some lettuce.  Add red pepper slices and baby carrots. Roll and store in a plastic container or foil.

Hummus.  Made from chickpeas, tahini, and olive oil, hummus is a healthy mix of protein and fiber. Use it as a dip for carotts, tomatoes, red pepper, and cucumber slices,

100-calorie almond packets.

String cheese.

Happy Writing & Reading.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

New Kid on the Block

In case you missed it, there's a new name in the header. Mine. I've got a bit about me on a separate page. However, I do want to take this opportunity to introduce myself with a little more detail.

If you've checked out my author profile, it might be apparent that I'm just a little bit sarcastic. I have to be very careful with that in the written medium, because often sarcasm does not translate well so I try to remember to denote I'm being sarcastic.

I'm a romance writer, namely western historical romances. Blame syndicated western television series (my Sunday mornings were filled with a lineup of The Lone Ranger, The Sisco Kid, The Rifleman, and The Big Valley) and John Wayne for that. And, the older I get, the more I tend to look at the world and wonder what in the name of heaven has happened to us that we've decided to move away from a simpler time when the bad guys wore black and the good guys never got dusty. There was a simplicity in those days--or maybe, I'm just romanticizing it all.

Being an historical romance writer allows me to delve into historical documents, research until I'm giddy with discovery, but I have to be careful not to get too lost in the research and forget to write. (Yeah, I've done that.) I admit it, I'm a history geek. My undergraduate work was in English with a minor in Classical Studies; however I was just three credits shy of a second major in History. I concentrated that historical study to American history for the years 1800 to 1900. In other words, the events leading up the American Civil War, The War itself, and the period in American history we call The Westward Expansion under the doctrine of Manifest Destiny. As an aside, in case anyone needs reminded--there is NOTHING civil about any war. Fighting a war with outmoded Napoleonic tactics and what amounted to the most modern weaponry available meant the death toll was horrific for any war. Those young men were little more than cannon fodder. More American lives were sacrificed in that bloody conflict than all American lives in all other wars America fought combined. Let that sink in for just a moment...

I LOVE the American West, which is probably why I love John Ford movies. (My favorite John Ford movie is The Searchers.) The man was a genius with a panorama camera and his sweeping vistas can only be described as landscape porn. That love of the West manifest itself into a purchase of thirty-nine acres smack dab in the middle of the nowhere, Wyoming. As the crow flies, our property is only fifteen miles or so from the nearest place called a town. Roads aren't laid out in Wyoming as the crow flies. The dream was to retire there. That dream had to be adapted. So, we bought property in middle Tennessee and I moved all those dreams about 1100 miles to the east and nestled them safely in the woods between the Buffalo River and the Natchez Trace.

I raise and show collies. Again, have to blame television for that. I distinctly remember when I was about five or six stating I was going to live in the West, have horses, and collies. Well, two out of three ain't bad. My collies aren't Lassie, though. Lassie, for all the amazing PR he has done for the breed, is not the most beautiful collie around. As a conformation animal, he's pretty sad. And, as my author profile states, Lassie lied. Collies are not that smart. I have a horse. He's thirty-four now and he's earned the nickname "Lazarus" for his ability to cheat death in the last couple of years. My horse is a 3/4 Arabian. He's a freakin' baby-sitter and belies the myth that Arabians are flighty, spacey animals. He taught me to be a better horsewoman, taught both my children to ride, and took several other kids through 4-H. Because of his age, he's little more than a lawn ornament. And, I'm perfectly fine with that.
Dipper...AKA "Lazarus"

My choice of music all depends on my mood. I prefer classic rock to the new stuff. I'll drive down the road to dog shows or our place in Tennessee jamming to The Rolling Stones, Led Zepelin, Bob Seger, Queen...I also have a collection of classical music: Bach, Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, get the point. And, movie sound tracks, Native American flute music (if you need recommendations, I'll suggest finding R. Carlos Nakai and Dik Darnell). Broadway musicals, country music (but not that stuff before 1980), easy listening music station stuff...I think you get the point. It's eclectic. Thank heavens for an iPod and an MP3 player--both of which are completely filled.

I'm a huge graphics novel fan--DC mostly. I've been a Superman fan for as long as I can remember. Sometime, remind me to discuss Zac Snyder's interpretation of the Superman mythos. I'm also both a fan of Star Trek and Star Wars. Just don't get me started on emo Kylo Ren. Someone needs to pull that boy aside and point out he's a little messed up with his thinking about his grandfather. Someone does need to tell him in the end, Grandpa turned back to the light. (...sigh...) I can't stand Twilight. Love Harry Potter but think Dumbledore is a vile, manipulative, evil man. From the first book, even before the first movie, I have been enamored with Snape. I loved the character so much I named one of my show collies for him. Snape grew up to be GCh. Wych's Prince of Summer, and I'm finding it hard to believe he'll be eleven this July.

So, that's a little bit more about me. I'll be covering the Tuesday slot on a regular basis. I'd love to hear from you. Leave your comments in the box. I really do respond. (More so than I do to my cell phone, and that is not sarcasm. I hate being tied down by the cell phone.)

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Sunday Snips & Stuff....It's Here, It's Here, Sarah's Hope #sundaysnips

Today, I'm so thrilled to announce the release (4/20) of my latest venture, Sarah's Hope by Books We Love.

In Sarah's Heart and Passion, which took me on an exciting adventure, I ended up starting in one place and ending up in another.  Sarah couldn't stop there and kept bugging me to write a continuation of her story, so here it is.  I'm amazed at the story this time.  Remember, I'm a pantser, and my characters lead the way.

Here's the blurb and Link:

The love of her life is dead and Sarah escapes for a weekend retreat to the mountain cabin she and her beloved Wolf bought as a means to escape the city. A bad storm is brewing, Sarah is on edge, and that's when the anonymous calls start. A mysterious voice knows too much about her and her life, a life the caller threatens to end. 

Sarah comes face-to-face with a kidnapper hired to kill her, but manages to escape his deadly grasp. The devoted idiot is determined not to divulge who hired him, but does give away a valuable clue. Sarah's freedom only escalates the killer's plan. Who hates Sarah enough to want her dead, and why? Will she and the police find the person responsible for the calls and other mysterious events before the threats become a reality?

Cover by Michelle Lee at BWL
I hope you'll get a copy and read Sarah's adventure. a dear and hop over to my frends' blogs and see what they've decided to share this week.

Friday, April 22, 2016

New Member at Dishin' It Out!!!!

It's with great pleasure that I welcome Lynda J. Cox to Dishin' It Out.  If you'll check out the left side of the blog, you'll see she's written some pretty wonderful books.  Just click on the one of your choice and you'll be magically taken to the publishing order page.

Be sure and check out her author's page for more information about our new member, and I hope you'll make her feel welcome.  We're lucky to have her.


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Write-ins by Connie Vines

Happy Thursday, Everyone!

Writing without interruptions and distractions--a fact or a life long dream?

If you have a full time day job (me) it is difficult to snag writing time.  While signing up for the book in a month writing challenge may work for many, it only creates additional stress for me.  Weekly critique groups were helpful when I was a novice writer.  Now I find I up giving up writing time and end up with several hours of home work.

So how do I get support, without taking on additional duties?

One answer: Hold a Write-in.

What is a Write-in?
A write-in is a gathering of writers at a predetermined place, within a predetermined time period--who work quietly and independently on his or her own project.

Is a Write-in like a Critique Group?
No.  Write-ins are only for writing. Writers arrive and leave at any time during the scheduled time periods, no pre-work is required. Any numbers of writers may participate.

Critique groups are for discussing manuscripts previously submitted and studies by group members.  Attendance is expected, and group membership is small and closed.

How Do I Orginize a Write-in?

A Coordinator.  Our network chair coordinates suggestions for write-in locations each week and posts information on our weekly email list.  We could set up a yahoo group, but that seems too labor intensive.  We rotate between several locations:  a reserved library room, local coffee shops, homes.

Since I like to keep my weekends free, I usually attend the coffee shop group 2 evenings a month.  Other members meet after a RWA Chapter meeting, or a book club event.

A Consistent Time Frame, with Exceptions.  Saturday groups favor 9 AM to 3PM with a break for lunch.  I favor the 6:30 - 8-ish group with multiple coffee refills, situated in several large booths at a quaint (aka: somewhat dated) coffee shop.  

This is a welcoming, open, supportative atmosphere.  The only rule is to avoid talking, so writers can write.  It is during lunch time or during the first ten minutes that we play social catch-up or discuss publishing news.

For those of you who love a bargain, my books are on sale this month on Amazon.  Starting with Lynx today, followed by Here Today Zombie Tomorrow.  

Happy Reading,

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