Archives for October 2014

Childhood Treasure and Grown-Up Pleasure

Author Katie O’Boyle is here to tell us about her latest release Coming Home to Love and what she did for her birthday yesterday.

Happy Birthday, Katie! 

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Yesterday, for my birthday, my sister and a friend and I drove together to Montezuma Wildlife Refuge to check out the latest wave of migrating ducks and to enjoy a sunny day with each other. Spending time with dear friends and witnessing the fall migration are two of my greatest pleasures in life today!

As we enjoyed the Montezuma’s wildlife drive, we saw Eurasian Widgeons, Green-Winged Teals, Northern Pintails, Pied-bill Grebes, Coots, Herons, Egrets, and many more, sharing the water and the food chain in the Main Pool.

…until a Harris Hawk swooped in and triggered an exodus. Imagine the thunder of wings as everyone scattered!

In the quiet that followed, my sister said, “Remember we used to think there was a treasure buried in the swamp?” Oh, the memories that invoked!

As children, we believed the stories of buried pirate’s booty, guarded by rattlesnakes in the depths of “Montezuma Swamp.” It wasn’t “Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge” in those days, at least not to our imaginations. Barbie and Carlene and I drew treasure maps, as if we knew where the gold was stashed, and we made plans to dig it up. It wasn’t the pirate that stopped us from following through. We figured the bad guy that stole the gold and buried it was long since dead. But the rattlesnakes. We never figured out what to do about those rattlesnakes.

With all the coming and going of our lives, friends and loved ones lost through the years, I’m so grateful to have a few old friends who are part of my life today. And I treasure those chance remarks that trigger cherished memories. Yesterday was the happiest birthday ever!

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“You know,” Gianessa said, as she stroked his palm with her thumb, “I was prepared not to like you. Look how that turned out.”

He blustered. “Not like me?” He winked.

“The first time I saw you, you were badgering Grace.” She leaned forward, leading with her breasts. “That ticked me off.”

“And you wore your hair in that French braid, which ticked me off.”

She gathered her long, toffee tresses behind her shoulders. “You never said you didn’t like my braid.”

“I wanted from that first moment to get my hands in your hair. I plotted six ways to Sunday to get rid of the braid.”

“My braid is perfect for work. It feels elegant and simple, and it makes me feel put together and focused.”

He caressed her cheek and jaw and neck with eager fingers. “But you’re elegant and complex, and I prefer you undone.”

 Screen Shot 2013-06-13 at 3.55.32 PMMeet Katie O’Boyle:

Born in the upstate-New York village known as the Birthplace of Women’s Rights, Katie O’Boyle loves the Finger Lakes in every season. She enjoys lunch with friends at charming inns, and she cherishes the lakeside porch as a place for intimate sharing, laughter, and inspiration. To the outside world, she is a tech-savvy college professor. In her soul, she is a passionate author of warm-hearted romance. She is hard at work on book four of the Lakeside Porches romance books and novellas.

You can find her on Facebook  as “Katie O’Boyle Author”

and on Twitter @TompkinsFalls

Erin Bevan

Treats for Tuesday

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In theme of Halloween, I had to call this Treats Tuesday, and that’s exactly what I have for you, a nice treat. My family got invited to a Halloween party this weekend. The deal was, in order to come, you had to bring a dish and it had to be something “spooky”. What’s more spookier than ghosts, right?

Now, let me just say, I have never considered myself a creative person. I know you probably think that’s odd because I call myself a writer, but nope, not very creative. I have to steal a lot of ideas from Pinterest and those fancy schmancy catalogues like Pottery Barn and William Sonoma. This idea, however, was all me, and when you really look at the picture, I mean really look at the picture, you will see it was completely all me!

You know that saying, live and learn? Well, that’s what I did when I made these cookies. I had watched my mom hand dip cookies growing up, but for some reason her’s always looked prettier than mine. My cookies looked liked ghosts that came out of the funny farm, and that’s really what I felt like as I was making them. I had Chloe helping me and Clark was pulling on my legs as I was trying to dip the cookies, while Charlie was in his carseat on the counter next to me crying.

What I learned was that when you dip the cookie and pull it out with a spoon, shake it off a little if you can to let the excess fall back into the bowl, then place the cookies on the parchment paper in order. I I I I I Like that. I didn’t do that. I put one down low, then placed one at the top of the paper while the excess chocolate was slinging all over the counter, the paper and the other cookies. When it was all said and done, my ghosts had crazy strips going across their heads!

Oh, well! It was fun for Chloe. Her job was to place the “eyes” on the ghosts.

So, here is what you need.

Package of Oreos. I used regular but my all means double stuff yourself if you feel the need.

2 packages of white chocolate chips. You could possibly get away with one if you shake off the excess, which if you read above, you know I did not.

1 package of mini chocolate chips for eyes.

Parchment Paper

IMG_0160.JPGDirections:

Open your Oreos-refrain from eating them if possible. Chloe couldn’t help herself.

Pour white chocolate chips into a bowl and melt at intervals of 30 seconds in the microwave stirring between each time.

Pour mini chocolate chips into another bowl. Set aside.

Lay the parchment paper flat on your counter, table, whatever flat service you have. Throw an Oreo into the white chocolate, slosh it around and pull out with spoon and fork. Place flat on parchment paper and allow child to place two eyes at top of cookie. TaDa! You have ghosts!

See, I told you I wasn’t very creative! But, these cookies sure were good!

P.S. There were no little feet used during the cookie making process!

Erin Bevan

Tell Me About It Thursday! Anne B. Cole Is Here

I think it’s interesting how writers come up with ideas. I know for me, coming up with a whole new story could come from something as random as opening my pantry and spotting certain foods. In fact, that actually happened once.

Anne B. Cole is here to share how her new story Souls Entwined began to take on a life of it’s own.

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5 Secrets to Souls Entwined 

#5 Pirates!

Johnny Depp’s character, Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean Movies is the inspiration behind Souls Entwined pirate character, Kadir Haty….and yes…Kadir will return in the sequel, Souls Estranged!

#4 Grandmothers and Rings

My real life great, great, great, great grandmother’s name was Roxana, who gave her second granddaughter a garnet ring that was given to her by her brother, who was a US sailor in Europe during the early 1800s. It was passed down through the generations to my grandmother. She gave it to me (I’m also a second granddaughter) when I was about 12 years old. I’m not aware of any curses on my ring and I wear the heirloom often.

#3 Runners

I enjoy running and once nearly tripped over a squirrel that darted in front of my purple sneakers. During Gretta’s run in the park, Sam watches her suddenly fall. He didn’t see the squirrel that tripped her…this was cut out during edits…Readers don’t know in Souls Entwined that Katarina’s spirit is entwined within the squirrel. In the sequel, Souls Estranged, Katarina’s presence within the squirrel will be revealed in true ‘Katarina style’.

#2 Deleted, but not forgotten

I wrote the first draft of Souls Entwined in composition notebooks. It topped at 150,000 words. In this original, Gretta and Sam don’t meet in the park until Chapter Eight! Needless to say, I have many deleted chapters and scenes to reveal in the future on my blog.

#1 Titles

Souls Entwined was originally titled Maledicta, which is the Latin word for ‘cursed.’ During edits, it was suggested that I change my title to something that is easier for readers to pronounce and remember. Authors tend to bond with their titles, especially their first novels. For weeks I referred to my novel as #1 because I already had the sequel written and was in the editing process. I asked everyone I knew for title ideas and finally came up with Souls Entwined. The #1 nickname stuck and I continue to call it #1 and refer to the sequel as #2. The (yet to be written) final book of the Soul Series is called, you guessed it, #3.

Souls Entwined 

When a cursed family heirloom sends Gretta Dobbs back in time, a hunky construction worker, Sam Daggett, suddenly finds himself love struck and joins her adventure. Their souls entwine within the bodies of young lovers on a Greek island in 1829, where they begin to unravel the mysteries behind Gretta’s ring all while avoiding a bloodthirsty pirate who is determined to seek revenge. Gretta and Sam must find the secrets needed to save her and her relatives from an afterlife in purgatory and return to their own lives—or risk becoming prisoners of the past, continuing the evil cycle of the ring’s curse.

You can find Anne on her website, Twitter, Facebook, and you can buy her book, Souls Entwined here. Also, don’t forget to check Anne’s website for the sequel to Souls Entwined, Souls Estranged that is scheduled to be released early next summer.

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Souls Entwined is Anne B. Cole’s debut release, combining sweet romantic suspense, time travel, and paranormal elements in a New Adult novel attractive to a wide range of readers.

In addition to writing, Anne teaches preschool and is raising three very active teenagers with her husband of twenty-two years. Her love for making fresh baked goodies, running, hiking, historical fiction, and her three pet cats continue to be her inspiration while she pens the sequel to Souls Entwined

Anne has also decided to share a favorite cookie recipe of hers. Enjoy!

Soft & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 ¼ cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

1 cup Crisco shortening

¾ cup granulated sugar

¾ cup light brown sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

2 cups Hershey’s chocolate Chips (I like the special dark ones!)

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Stir together the first three ingredients.

In a separate bowl, cream the shortening, sugars, vanilla and eggs.

Gradually add in the flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips.

DON’T EAT THE DOUGH!

Drop by heaping teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 8 minutes. The cookies will be slightly gooey, but will harden upon cooling—if they last that long.

Erin Bevan

Tablescape Tuesday

photo 1-6I suppose Halloween doesn’t really mark the beginning of the holidays, but you couldn’t tell my four year old that. Chloe thinks Halloween is the next best thing to Christmas or as the famous saying goes: the next best thing since sliced bread.

So, in honor of Chloe and one of her favorite occasions, it’s tablescape day! Chloe absolutely loves the decorations on our dining room table because she can play with almost everything and it doesn’t matter. If she wants to rearrange it, that’s fine. In fact, you can tell where one of the pumpkins is hanging off to the side all by itself. That was Chloe’s touch. And the super fabulous thing is the majority of the things on the table are kid friendly, and half of them only cost a dollar.

Now, I’m no decorator, but I was pretty pleased with myself and with the finished product. I copied all those expensive looks from Pottery Barn and Crate and Barrel, but bought all of my decorations from discount stores like the Dollar Tree and Marshalls.  Yep, you read that right, the Dollar Tree. Granted several items also came from Hobby Lobby, on sale of course!

And the best thing about all of it is, if some of it doesn’t last until Thanksgiving, then no big deal! It was all super cheap, and with a few minor adjustments, this table goes from Halloween to Thanksgiving in no time!  I would love to see pictures or hear ideas about your tablescapes!

Erin Bevan

Dinner at 2:30? Say What?

 

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Yep, you read that right. Dinner at 2:30. Well, I’m not actually eating at 2:30, but I did cook dinner at 2:30. Normally, at this time, I would try to write something on many of my never ending projects, but not today. Today was balance the budget day, and after that, I needed to get as far away from the computer as possible. Because, let’s be honest, who likes bill day? Not I!

And while my minions were still napping, I decided to seize the oppurtunity to get dinner made. See, at 5:00 life gets crazy busy here. I swear from 5 until 8, those are the witching hours. The hours when no one is happy, everyone wants mommy to do something for them and getting dinner on the table is almost a joke.

Thanks to the Food Network and Trisha Yearwood, I actually had an idea and the ingredients for a nice family dinner tonight. Whether it turns out good is yet to be determined. It probably won’t since I cooked it, but at least I tried, right?

You’re probably wondering why I’m telling you that I cooked dinner at 2:30. I’m telling you this to let other mothers know it’s completely okay to cook dinner before dinner. I’ve even cooked dinner at 10:00 a.m. before and I’m not one bit ashamed of it. I knew that the hour from 10 to 11 was the only sane hour I was going to have for the rest of the day. Giving my family a home cooked meal, even if we have to reheat it in the microwave is so much better for them than any McDonalds drive thru. However, my kids have had their fair share of Mickey D’s, and sometimes that’s just the way life goes.

So, mommy’s everywhere, if getting a home cooked meal on the table is important to you, then do it whenever you can. Five in the morning, ten in the morning, two in the afternoon, it doesn’t matter. Seize the opportunity to get it done whenever you can, and if you can’t, well that’s okay, too. We’re only human. There is always PB&J!

Now, here is the recipe! I copied the recipe directly from The Food Network below. Note, I made a few changes. I heated a cast iron skillet with olive oil and seared the pork chops before placing in the oven. Also, instead of messing up another pan, I put everything in my cast iron skillet as you can see above and placed it directly into the oven. One, I didn’t want to mess up another dish, and two, I’m from the south. We use cast iron skillets and lots of butter with pride. Caution though. If you do what I did, when you place foil on top of the skillet, it’ll be pretty darn hot. Just remember that before you place your hand directly on the skillet! I wouldn’t want you to burn yourself. I do think right before we eat tonight. I’ll place it in the boiler for another 5 minutes. I really want those onions to get nice and black!

Ingredients
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup long grain white rice
4 pork chops, bone in
Salt
One 10-ounce can beef broth, plus more if needed
4 onion slices, separated into rings
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the rice and saute until it is light brown, about 5 minutes.

Spread the rice in a 9- by 13- by 2-inch casserole. Sprinkle the pork chops with salt and arrange them on top of the rice. Pour the broth and 2/3 cup water over the chops. Spread the onion rings over the chops and sprinkle them with the pepper. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake until the pork chops are tender, about 45 minutes.

Change the oven to broil, add a bit more broth if the rice is dry and return the dish to the oven for a couple of minutes until the pork is browned.

Recipe adapted from Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen with Trisha Yearwood (c) Clarkson Potter 2008

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/trisha-yearwood/pork-chops-and-rice-recipe.html?oc=linkback

Erin Bevan

New Website

Isn’t this site just beautiful! I think so, and I’m so happy to call this the new home of erinbevan.com. Follow me as I bring you the life of a mom and an author. It’s no easy task, but well worth it! Send me a message, sign up to follow my posts, or just sit back and hang out a while! Or better yet, go buy my book!

Erin Bevan