Updates, writing

Catching Up – 11/27/18​

I’m still not doing a good job of updating this site on a regular basis, but I’m hopeful that as I get further along with my work in progress story, I’ll have more to talk about.

I spent some time updating the website with information on my new work in progress. While Colder Weather took place in Iowa and had a Winter theme, my new novel – code name TBH – takes place in Florida and will have a Summer theme.  You can check out TBH’s page here, and I have the beginnings of a playlist built here. I currently have seven chapters written into the skeleton version of the novel, and I’m looking forward to fleshing it out more once the first pass is completed.

I’m also excited to announce that I’ve been invited to join the Kindred Ink Collective.  I’m looking forward to being a part of this wonderful group and supporting authors Shannon Taylor Hodnett and Julia J Simpson as they work toward getting their second novels printed as well.

Besides writing, I’ve really gotten into photography.  I purchased my first DSLR camera – a Nikon D5600 – and I’ve been exploring the different settings, with mixed results.  I’ve learned that if the photo is important, use one of the auto settings for now, but I’m also having a good time figuring out all the manual settings that are available on my camera.  You can find my photography here if you’re interested.  All photos are taken with my Nikon D5600, iPhone 7plus/iPhoneXs, or credited if not mine.

That’s about it for now.  Thanks for reading. 💖


Good Eats

Good Eats – 9/1/2018

It’s been a long time since I’ve updated my website.  I had all sorts of ideas planned to feature after Colder Weather was published, but between work, raising a teenage boy, and everyday ups and downs, I wasn’t able to work on any of those posts.  This doesn’t mean I wasn’t able to accomplish other writing tasks, but the website updates kind of fell to the wayside, while I wrote an article for an online magazine and beta read novels for three people over the Summer.

One of the things that I struggle with is making sure that my family has something good to eat for dinner and with our busy schedules, sometimes we cheat and grab something from a local restaurant or order in pizza, but that gets old after a while.  I’ve turned to my crockpot and Pinterest for help and decided to share some of those recipes with you in a segment called Good Eats.

If you can’t guess from my last name, my husband is of Puerto Rican descent. Whenever we visit his mom, she always makes what has become a favorite meal for us, and I’ve found a recipe that is close enough to hers to come in a close second.

Bistec Encebollado

I’ve modified the recipe in the link above to make an easy, delicious meal that my boys love.   I use beef for stew from our local grocery store.  It’s already cut up in nice, bite-sized chunks and perfect for marinating.  The other thing I cheat on is my grocery store offers already cut up onions.  You can get them in rings or chopped.  I switch back and forth between these depending on what’s available, but both work well.

You’ll need:

  • Beef for stew – I normally use one package as there are only three of us
  • 1 container onions – chopped or in rings – or you can cut an onion if you choose.  For three people, 2 large onions are too much, so if you use the recipe in the link, you’ll want to determine what is right for your family.
  • 1/2 cup Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced Garlic – you can either use fresh or dried.  This doesn’t seem to affect the end result, so it’s a matter of preference or time.
  • 1 pinch dried Oregano – I’m a little more liberal with oregano and just shake a decent amount into the bag.  Again, this is a matter of preference.
  • 1 package of Sazon seasoning (.18 oz)
  • 1/4 cup White Vinegar
  • 1 can of Swanson’s beef stock
  • 1 teaspoon Salt

You’ll need a large Ziploc bag to combine all of the ingredients in.  I normally start with the beef, add the dry ingredients, then vinegar, olive oil, and beef stock.  Once all of your ingredients are added, remove the excess air from the bag, zip it closed, then mix everything around until all of the meat is evenly covered.  After that, it’s ready to go into the refrigerator.  I recommend putting the bag on a plate or in a bowl to prevent any issues if the bag should have a problem.  (Mine never has, but better safe than sorry.)

Marinate the steak for a minimum of four hours or up to several days. Usually, I get the bag ready on Monday night and put it in the crockpot on Wednesday or Thursday.

On the day you’re ready to eat this yummy goodness, put the entire mixture into your crockpot, stir it, and let it cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

My mother-in-law serves it with the best yellow rice I’ve ever tasted, but I haven’t had a chance to experiment with a recipe for it yet, so I use white rice.

That’s it.  If you decide to try it, please let me know how it turned out.  💖



Writing Update – July 7, 2018

Hello!  I’ve meant to sit down and type up an update (as well as other blog posts) for quite a while now.  I had initially planned to do several posts about my experience in independently publishing my first novel, but time just seems to get away from me.

While I was editing Colder Weather, I started looking forward to what my next book would be and had two choices.  Story 1 was a little harder to figure out all the logistics, and then Story 2 popped up.  In theory, this was going to be the easier of the two, so I decided to shelf Story 1 and work on Story 2.

Both Story 1 and Story 2 are going to take place in summery, island type settings, so when we decided to spend a few days in Sanibel, I knew that it would be the perfect place to gather some details for either one.  By the time we were heading home, Story 2 was really starting to build in my brain.

There usually are two types of writers in the world.  Planners and Pansters.  I’m a Panster.  I write everything without knowing what’s going to happen next or only having a vague idea of how it will end.  It’s always worked for me, but I really wanted to try being a Planner.  Or at least a Planster (half planner/half panster) if I could.  I wanted to build the world my characters would live in, create character analyses, know where the story was going and how it was going to end.  While this was all good in theory, I found myself struggling with getting it done.  I signed up for some free resources on Well-Storied and for the first few days, wrote what I could, and found life getting in the way of my planning.

I’d over-extended myself.  I was asked to review a short book.  To write an article for an online magazine.  (And I’ve loved every minute of being able to step outside of my comfort zone and try these things.)  I volunteered to beta read a novel for someone I don’t know, while also beta reading for two of my dear friends.  Sometimes I would get on the laptop, do the things I needed to do for others, then just stare at my own stuff, wondering why I wasn’t writing.  As I finished the things above, I went back to world building and fleshed out something rather spectacular (hopefully) for Story 2, but I couldn’t sit and work on my character analysis like I wanted.  It was frustrating.

But then Story 1 poked its head out of the sand and gave me some significant information.  I filed them away in my brain, intent on working on Story 2, but Story 1 wasn’t having it.  More details came in, got filed, and still no writing was accomplished.  Finally, I decided I would just write the little fluff piece of backstory that was running amuck in my brain and that really set some things in motion.  Story 1 was not the plan.  But as my friend Julia told me, “the plan is whatever you make it”  and this freed me up to really allow myself to just let whatever happened, happen.

In the course of two days, several pieces have come together and I wrote the beginning chapter on my phone because it wouldn’t leave me alone when I was trying to sleep.  So apparently I’m just always going to be a Panster.  I don’t know how this story is going to end, but it wants to be written.  It is not satisfied to wait until Story 2 gets done.  It’s not even satisfied to wait until I work on all those blog posts I wanted to do.

So here’s to Story 1, flying along by the seat of its pants, ready and eager to be told.  I hope it’s a good one.

Thanks for reading! 💖