For the last two weeks, I’ve been in holiday prep mode, decorating the house and baking my family’s favorite holiday treats. Let’s face it, the rest of the 364 days of the year, the only thing they get is banana loaf, so at this time of year, I tend to go a wee bit overboard.
My mother, like many of my heroines’ mothers, has stepped in to ensure the holiday feast is a success. Two weeks ago, she deemed my holiday turkey wasn’t big enough or fresh enough (okay, I confess, mine has been in the bottom of the freezer since last spring, so she’s probably right). Last week, she appeared at the door with a lovely 20 pound turkey that right this minute is roasting in the oven. (Thanks, Mom…on Boxing Day, I’ll drop off the turkey bones so you can make your delicious turkey soup!)
The family will arrive in a few hours. By then, we’ll have the table set and the rest of the food prepared. And in far less time than it takes to prepare the meal, we’ll all be stuffed and ready for a nap. 🙂
I want to take this opportunity to thank each of you for your support this year. Whether you invested your precious time to read one (or all!) of my books, left a much coveted review on Amazon, Goodreads, or one of the other online retailers, or joined me for a special event like the recent Naughty & Nice Blog Hop, your support means everything.
Whenever I’m faced with a stubborn character or plot, I think of you, my dear readers. Your comments and emails mean so much to me, so please keep them coming.
From my house to yours, I wish each of you a happy and safe holiday season. May 2014 bring you good health and joy.
Coming February 2014, The Marriage Pact, a Cranberry Cove romantic comedy.
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And now, whether you’re naughty or nice, I’d like to share my family’s favorite Christmas treat with you.
Sheila’s Poppycock Recipe
1 cup pecan halves
1 cup whole un-blanched almonds
8 cups popped popcorn
1 1/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup margarine
1/2 cup golden corn syrup
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. soda
1 tsp. vanilla
Heat oven to 300 degrees. Spread pecans and almonds on an ungreased cookie sheet and toast lightly. In a very large unbuttered bowl, mix nuts and popcorn together.
In a small heavy saucepan, combine the brown sugar, margarine, corn syrup and cream of tartar. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture forms a soft ball when dropped into cold water, approximately four minutes. Note: if you like your poppycock less chewy, then cook until the mixture forms a hard ball when dropped into cold water, approximately five minutes.
Remove from stove and stir in the soda and vanilla. Be careful because the addition of the soda makes the mixture foam up.
Pour over the popcorn and nut mix. With a wooden spoon, stir until evenly coated. Leave in bowl until the poppycock is partially cooled but make sure you stir it once in a while to keep the mixture from forming into one hard ball.
When the popcorn and nuts have cooled some, dump it on to the countertop or on large cookie sheets and continue to stir occasionally until fully cooled. I usually leave it out overnight and every time I walk by, I stir it to break it apart. Someone will no doubt sneak a piece or two but that’s okay because it’s easy to make a second batch.
This makes a wonderful Christmas gift. I like to put it into jars and tins to give to family and friends. Enjoy and happy holidays!
For anyone familiar with winter on the Canadian prairies, you know that once the snow arrives, the cold white flakes stick around till the following spring…which if we’re lucky occurs in late March. And if we’re not so fortunate, it might stick around till late May or early June.
Anyway, back to last week…
First snowfall of 2013
For two days, the snow melted and it felt like spring. And let me tell you, there is nothing—absolutely nothing—better than being able to walk outside without a toque, mitts, heavy winter coat, and boots.
I spent those two days with a snow shovel in my hands, chipping the ice off the driveway, and enjoying the warmth of the sun on my head. And then the clouds moved back in and it began to snow again.
Now we have another foot or more of the white stuff.
Sure, it’s pretty, especially with the glow of Christmas lights shining through a dusting of newly fallen snow. Or on a frosty, sunny morning when we wake to trees covered in hoar frost and the entire landscape glitters.
But today, as I’m digging out from the latest snowfall, the temperature is dropping, the wind is blowing, and my back is sore. And it somehow feels more like a life sentence than it does a beautiful wonder of nature.
In my next life, I’m putting in a request for Hawaiian parents.
Before I go, I’d like to wish everyone an early happy Thanksgiving. I’ll be on a little vacation, someplace where there is no snow or snow shovels or toques or mitts. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families!
Do you get snow in your part of the world? What’s your favorite thing about the winter season? And for those of you who have never experienced the beauty of a winter wonderland, if you were to wake up to a fresh snowfall, what’s the first thing you would do?
Terms of Surrender is finally here. This is book 2 in my Rocky Mountain Romance series and I’m already hard at work on book 3.
As the mother of two boys, I always thought my youthful secondary characters would mirror my children. I mean, I love the male species, whether they be young, old, or anywhere in-between. I love writing from their point-of-view, and with two wonderful boys and a loving husband, I have plenty of opportunity to delve into the male psych.
But then my youngest sister gave birth to a couple of sweet little girls, and I fell in love with my two precious—and precocious—nieces. Naturally when I began to write Terms of Surrender, and Laura and Lisa slipped onto the pages, their personalities picked up many of my nieces’ traits.
It seems I’m destined to write about manly men who are surrounded by females of all ages.
Here’s the back cover blurb. Enjoy!
A woman in need… ER nurse Harley Jane Davis has dedicated her life to helping others. Now she’s the one in trouble, and the only person she can rely on is Gage Toryn—the man she’s secretly been in love with for years.
A man on the edge… Gage would do anything for Harley, except give in to the hungry passion that sparks between them. He’s hiding a terrible secret, one guaranteed to destroy any chance at a relationship. And even though Harley haunts his dreams and makes him want to be a better man, he knows she could never love him if she learned about his ugly past.
Family, future, forever… When a situation with Gage’s brother endangers Harley and his nieces, Gage offers them refuge in his home—and the battered pieces of his heart. But can he overcome his fear of commitment and open up about the past? Or will his secret destroy his last chance to have a relationship—and a real family—with the only woman he’s ever loved?
It took me three days to rewrite the major love scenes for Terms of Surrender, my upcoming October release. Three days of pouring over every word, rearranging body parts and character thoughts, and fixing everything in between.
Where the magic happens!
As I tried to bring emotions and life to the page, my DH vacuumed around my feet, rearranged all of the books on the office shelves, and decided the walls needed to be repainted.
Okay, okay, I confess, I’m exaggerating a wee bit…but not much. During this three day stint, there seemed to be a multitude of interruptions. When characters come to life, it’s like an obsession and all the writer wants to do is spend uninterrupted hours with them.
So as my hero spilled his guts and the truth, certain my heroine would reject him, the phone rang…my mother calling to relay the latest news about her annoying neighbor.
And while my heroine attempted to deal with a situation guaranteed to keep the hero from ever committing, my cell phone buzzes…my sister texting to ask me to ask my DH a renovation question or twelve.
As I worked on getting the love scene to scorch the page (I hope!), my DH vacuumed around—and beneath—my feet, the geese and ducks demanded I stop so I wouldn’t miss their flight south, and the phone rang again and again and again.
I’ll leave you now with the blurb from Terms of Surrender, but before you go, tell me what kind of things interrupt the important parts of your life.
A woman in need…
ER nurse Harley Jane Davis has dedicated her life to helping others. Now she’s the one in trouble, and the only person she can rely on is Gage Toryn—the man she’s secretly been in love with for years.
A man on the edge…
Gage would do anything for Harley…except give in to the hungry passion that sparks between them. He’s hiding a terrible secret, one guaranteed to destroy any chance at a relationship. And even though Harley haunts his dreams and makes him want to be a better man, he knows she could never love him if she learned about his ugly past.
Family, future, forever.
When a situation with Gage’s brother endangers Harley and his nieces, Gage offers them refuge in his home—and the battered pieces of his heart. But can he overcome his fear of commitment and open up about the past? Or will his secret destroy his last chance to have a relationship—and a real family—with the only woman he’s ever loved?