Friday, September 23, 2022

Characters, Reader's Intuition, and Deep-Dark Secrets By Connie Vines, #Round Robin99, #Writing Tips, RRBlog,

This Month's Round Robin Topic: What do you define in your writing about your characters and what do you leave to the reader’s intuition? Is there anything you never tell about a character?

This topic will require a bit of pondering...


 When writing YA/MG fiction,/non-fiction I define my characters, my plotting, and characters' histories and backgrounds down to a "gnat's eyelash" so to speak. In historical fiction, there are many events, though historically accurate, a young reader is not equipped to process.  I address this in the note from the author, and the Q and A at the end of the novel.

๐Ÿค ๐Ÿ‘ข๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿ’

As for romantic fiction, I still research career backgrounds, (my setting are towns/states I'm familiar with (residing or numerous vacations in the area). In the past, I interviewed my characters and kept detailed notes about family histories, etc.  I no longer do this before writing my stories. Why because halfway through the book, my characters defined a different pathway--which led to revisions. I detest plot revisions three-quarters through a 60,000-word novel ๐Ÿ˜ญ.

So, now I've become what is defined as a Panster: W-plot outline, scribbled notes about my characters, a title, and away I go.


Secrets and mysterious background.

Don't you love secrets/hinted-at but not revealed mysterious background? I know I do.

Everyone has a chapter in his/her life they'd like to keep hidden. Or it may be a secret that would blow the socks off a person. Double O-7's life sounds romantic and exciting until you really think about what he does for a living.

A cowboy, rancher, or banker may see run-of-the-mill-boring until you discover a past event that defined him as a man of honor and courage; or an act of sacrifice and kindness that makes you weep.

Visit my Round Robin band of authors, they have great stories to share!

Happy Reading, everyone



 Skye Taylor

Diane Bator

Connie Vines

Dr. Bob:

A.J. Maguire

Robin Courtright

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Connie's Tuesday Kitchen: It's Never too Early for Brownies! By Connie Vines #Brownies, Brownies for pennies, #Connie's Kitchen,, #BWL Publishing Inc, #BWLAutorInstider Blog

We are all budget conscious right now. With a box of brownie mix upwards of $4.00, it makes "cents" to keep a Ziploc storage bag containing your "homemade" dry mix in the pantry.

Dry ingredients::

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup flour

1/3 cup cocoa

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Spoon into a large Ziplock bag /or other air-resistant containers

Store in your pantry until needed. 

What you will need to add to your dry mix before baking:

2 eggs

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes / 176 degrees Celsius

The temperature may vary depending on the type of pan (nonstick/glass/aluminum)

I always have a few candies/ marshmallows/ broken cookies/ or other items (like pretzels that can be broken into small pieces) and added to a dessert to provide a crust/crunch/or a decorative topping ๐Ÿ˜

Often asked questions:
  • How do you make brownies chewier?
Substituting melted unsalted butter for the oil recipe will make for a richer and chewier brownie as well. Just melt the butter and use it instead of the oil to get a rich and chewy brownie.

  • What happens when you add marshmallows to brownie batter?
The brownies are fudgy, and the marshmallows are gooey, and even more indulgent. If you like brownies and marshmallows, you'll be making this dessert every time you want something sweet. 

  • How do you make brownies better?
Use milk instead of water. Milk contains more fat and flavor than water so the brownies are even more moist, gooey, and delicious.

  • Can I add chocolate chips to my brownie batter?
Definitely! Add 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of add-ins. Such as chopped nuts, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, mint pieces, caramel bits, Reese's pieces, Toffee pieces, flaked coconut, etc.

  • Or Swirl in Some Good Stuff to make your brownies stand out
A dollop of cream cheese, fruit jam, pumpkin๐ŸŽƒ puree, peanut butter, or caramel over brownie batter. Spoon it into the pan, then cut through the batter to create this wow-worthy effect. Your dessert will be prettier and tastier for your effort.๐Ÿ˜‹

Let your imagination guide you.  Pinching pennies doesn't mean you can't make a healthy meal or a delicious dessert.

May your kitchen be filled with Gingerbread Hugs and Peppermint Kisses,


Friday, August 26, 2022

How Do You Create Characters? Are you an Instinctive Writer or Not? By Connie Vines #RR, #Round Robin, #Creating Characters?



Round Robin August topic:   

How do you create your characters--their quirks, habits, values, and what part they will play in the story, etc.? Do you have a process, or do they come to you instinctively?

 Thank you, Rhobin, for this month's topic ๐Ÿ““๐Ÿ’ญ๐Ÿ‘ฉ

Over time, my writing process has evolved. When I first began writing, I published magazine articles, educational materials, and nonfiction. All relied heavily on research, hands-on, and often extensive on-site impressions (visiting a Reservation, historical archive, or site, speaking with those who lived the life, so to speak). This resulted in 3 - 5 years of research for my YA/MG novels.

I had also published in romantic fiction during this time. My first contemporary romance was published by Kensington/Zebra (under a pseudonym) ๐Ÿ’Ž Precious Gems imprint.

When I accepted a part-time position as an acquisitions editor ๐Ÿ‘ฉfor an e-book publisher (during the infancy of this market) and a part-time job in public education ๐Ÿ‘ฆ๐Ÿ‘ง๐Ÿซ๐ŸšŒ I realized my writing had become instinctive. I no longer interviewed my characters. I simply knew them and heard snippets of dialogue in my head. Of course, plot/pacing/goals/conflict were left-brain skills and can never be ignored :-)

Quirks! I adore character quirks.

Now habits are often defined by the position held in life, the physical environment in which one is raised, and personal likes/dislikes. 

A rodeo bull rider's habits ๐Ÿด๐Ÿฎ will differ significantly from a corporate executive's ๐Ÿ—ฝ✈. Of course, there may be someone who grew up on a spread in Montana who had a burning desire to work on Wall Street...but what are the odds? 

But quirks are so much fun to discover. So unexpected.

๐Ÿ’ญDo these quirks come from the writer? Or the character of the story?

Likes and dislikes, I believe, come subconsciously from the author.

Do I have research to substantiate this assumption? No.

I do not like mint ice cream. To me, it tastes like toothpaste ๐Ÿ˜ฌ . However, when I was expecting my first child, I ate mint ice cream daily as part of my lunch. ๐Ÿจ๐Ÿฆ So, if my heroine was expecting, she might eat mint ice cream. 

I love coffee; my characters seem to love coffee ☕ and animals, too.  

Personality Quirks

high levels of enthusiasm

likes to be the center of attention

makes assumptions about others’ motives

tendency to react emotionally

tendency to respond objectively

tendency to take things personally

tenderhearted nature

tends to be argumentative just for the sake of arguing

Behavioral Quirks

always wants to sit facing the door

bites lip when thinking or trying to remember something

uses air quotes when talking

very distinctive laugh noises

whistles the tune to songs

Quirks Related to Eating and Drinking

always orders the same food in a restaurant

brings snacks everywhere

counts the number of chews before swallowing

drinks coffee or tea very frequently

eats while driving the car

Well, you get the picture.

My (Daily) fan club members:

I'm a night owl forcing myself to crawl out of bed at sunrise:

I erased the typo!

Click on my book covers to make a purchase or on my website link to learn more about my novels!

Please visit these fabulous authors' websites. I'm confident they have delightful stories to share!     


Happy Reading,



Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Connie's Tuesday Kitchen: 5 Easy Crock Pot/ Instant Pot Dinners that are Easy on the Budget! By Connie Vines

What's the saying? "Winner, Winner. Chicken Dinner!"

Five Family pleasing meals that are easy on the budget  ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿฅฐ and the family will love!

Straight from Connie's Kitchen๐Ÿฝ

  BBQ Chicken :

3-4 Chicken breasts/tenders  (boneless, skinless).

16 oz bottle of BBQ Sauce (whatever I have in the fridge).

1/2 cup Zesty Italian Dressing

1/4 cup brown sugar

Put in the crock pot and chicken. Mix together ingredients. Cook low: 4-5 hours or on high for 2-3 hours.

Shred with a fork and serve on buns for yummy BBQ chicken sammies. Leave them whole and serve with some garlic mashed potatoes and veggies. For a twist during hot weather: serve as I did this week:  french bread that had been buttered and toasted under the broiler, shred the chicken and add a side of broccoli. ๐Ÿ˜‹   

2. Orange Chicken :

3-4 Chicken breasts

1 cup BBQ sauce

1 cup Orange Marmalade

1-2 tsp soy sauce (optional)

Cut chicken into cubes and put it in the crock pot./Instant Pot Mix ingredients together and pour over chicken. Cook low: 4-5 hours or on high for 2-3 hours. 

Serve this with a side of homemade fried rice and add a ton of veggies, or rice noodles/low-mein noodles and veggies! Beats takeout every time! ๐Ÿฝ

3. Creamy Ranch Chicken

3-4 Chicken breasts

1 can Cream of Chicken (I prefer low-sodium)

1 packet Ranch dressing mix

1 packet Italian seasoning packet

1/2 package of cream cheese (4 oz) 

Mix together the cream of chicken soup, ranch, and Italian seasoning. Place chicken in the crock pot and pour mixture over. Cook low: 4-5 hours or on high for 2-3 hours. 

Once done, shred with a fork and add the cream cheese to add thickness and make it creamy. Serve over egg noodles or rice.๐Ÿ˜‹

4. Salsa Chicken

3-4 Chicken breasts

1 jar of salsa

1 can of black beans

1 can corn (Usually do not have canned corn and substitute frozen)

Mix all ingredients together and put them in the crock pot. Cook low: 4-5 hours or on high for 2-3 hours. Shred with a fork. 

Serve over rice,๐Ÿš use as filling for burritos ๐ŸŒฏ๐ŸŒฏ, or toss on top of lettuce for a fun taco salad ๐Ÿฅ—.

5. Ranch Chicken Tacos

3-4 Chicken breasts

1 can of chicken broth (I prefer low-sodium)

1 packet ranch mix

1 packet of taco seasoning

Put everything in the crockpot/Instant Pot and let it do its magic! Cook low: 4-5 hours or on high for 2-3 hours. 

Shred with a fork when done; serve in a taco shell with your favorite toppings! Super fun and easy for Taco Tuesday! ๐ŸŒฎ๐ŸŒฎ๐ŸŒฎ๐ŸŒฎ

If there are leftovers, you will have a take-to-work lunch for tomorrow. ๐Ÿš—๐ŸšŒ

May your kitchen be filled with Gingerbread Hugs and Peppermint Kisses,


Friday, August 12, 2022

Friday Featured Author Interview: Spotlight on Eden Monroe By Connie Vines #Cowboy Romance, #BWLPublishing Inc, #Eden Monroe, #Writing, #Rodeo, #Romance

Today's Spotlight Interview is with the author Eden Monroe.

Welcome to Dishin' It Out!  

Connie:  Eden, please tell  us about your upcoming release from BWL Publishing Inc. (Books We Love) 


Eden::  Sidelined is a romantic suspense about a champion bull rider, Tate McQuaid, who was forced out of the sport following a spectacular wreck. Tough, sexy, and daring, Tate is a fan favorite. ๐Ÿ‘ข 

 Connie:What was the inspiration for this story?  

Eden: While traveling around the Mediterranean, I fell in love with the old Venetian harbor of Chania, a city on the north coast of Crete, reputed to be the oldest site of western civilization in Europe. What a setting for fiction! What plots might have unfolded here, given the island's fascinating history? Why not a contemporary one?

Inspired by ubiquitous mythical signage, but especially by Lawrence Durrell's The Alexandria Quartet and John Fowles' The Magus, novels I was reading at the time, I began sketching out believable characters of varying backgrounds, foremost among whom, Steven Spire, a young ex-pat as narrator and central character of artistic temperament in need of purpose. Bar and cafรฉ conversations led to hints of foreign intrigue. Ancient ruins gave way to Nazi runes. Crooked laneways led to mountain retreats and buried secrets. Hydra-headed truth demanded a place on the table along with the ouzo and artichoke hearts. And love, naturally, raised all expectations with the birth, mirroring Aphrodite's rise from the sea, of Magalee De Bellefeuille.

 Connie: What is your best virtue as an author? 

Eden:  Discipline maybe, paired with a vivid imagination. I love to daydream.

 Connie: What is your most quirky habit?
Eden::   Lately, it's nonstop Gunsmoke, all 20 seasons. Loving the "Matt and Kitty drama."  ๐Ÿด⭐๐Ÿค 

Connie: What is your favorite quality in a protagonist? Why?

Eden:  An upfront, ballsy, take charge kind of guy because that's what I would be attracted to.

Connie: What is your favorite quality in an antagonist? Why? 

Eden: I don't place any limits on my antagonists. I let them be as outrageous as they want to be and enjoy the ride.

 Connie: Do you have this novel's favorite paragraph/line of dialogue?

Eden: Yes, this between Tate and his ex-father-in-law, Briden Hatcher:

"And don't you try me," he said, taking a step toward Briden, who stepped back reflexively. "I'm not a scrawny seventeen-year-old anymore, in case you haven't noticed. So I'll get off your precious property, but you keep your nose out of my life, and you so much as point a gun in my direction, you'd better be ready to pull the trigger because if I get past it, you won't be very happy."

Connie: Who would it be if you were forced to live the rest of your life as one of your characters? 


Eden: I'd have to say Chloe from Dare to Inherit. She was funny and gutsy and enjoyed being who she was.

Connie: How many books have you written, and which is your favorite?

Eden: Twenty-one (four in line for future publication dates). My favorite is Book Two of the Emerald Valley Ranch series, Storms in the Valley. Still waters run deep, and I loved taking Martin Parker to his absolute limit.

Connie: Is there anything else you'd like to share with our readers? 

Eden: I love everything about storytelling, and the fact that I get to share it with you, my readers, is definitely the icing on the cake. Thank you so much for your support.


In eight seconds, Tate McQuaid's rodeo career was over. A superstar in one of the most dangerous extreme sports on the planet, his journey back begins after waking up from a coma.

There's a lot to be made right from his reckless lifestyle, both inside and outside of the arena, and that includes reconciling with his ex-wife, Erica, although she's now married to another man and wants nothing more to do with him.

Never afraid of a challenge, he intends to win her back despite the odds stacked against him. But Tate doesn't know any other way than to saddle up and tackle whatever needs tackling, head on, and hope he's still standing when the dust settles.

Current Release:

 Website/social media sites to discover more about Eden Monroe:

Buying points:

Eden,  thank you for sharing your writing ๐Ÿ’ปlife with us ๐Ÿ˜€ today.

I can't wait to read your newest release! (I love those rough-and-tumble cowboys).

Happy Reading, and thank you for stopping by!



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