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Baking Procrastination June 15, 2015

Filed under: Baking,Family,Recipes — itsrebekahlyn @ 7:00 AM
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I love baking, but not in the summer. The oven makes the whole house ridiculously hot and I can’t afford to run the air conditioning cool enough to make it comfortable. However, the past few weeks I’ve been obsessed with baking, despite the heat. It all started in May when I should have been finalizing my latest book, Spring Dawn. Instead, I pulled out a recipe I’ve been wanting to try for several months- chocolate biscotti crunch cookies. My parents were visiting and they enjoyed them so much, I made a second batch a few days later for them to take on their trip back to North Carolina. Of course, I kept a few for myself too. I made some adjustments to the second batch that made them even better than the first.

 

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Guest Post: Publishing 101 August 5, 2014

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My writing has brought some of the most generous and interesting people into my life, both virtually and in person. I think that may be my favorite perk of this adventure.  I was put in touch with author Brooke Williams through my dear friend DiVoran a couple of months ago and I’ve enjoyed learning more about her writing journey. Brooke was kind enough to be a hostess on my new release blog tour for Jessie and I am happy to introduce you to her today.

 

 

 

 

 

Publishing 101 – What You Should Know Before Becoming an Author

When I tell people I am an author, they think wow, how glamorous! You get to sit and make things up all day! In part, this is true. I DO get paid to make things up! However, it’s not the glamour most people would imagine.

 

There are a lot of other things that go into being an author outside of just writing. In fact, writing is just the beginning! Once you write the book, you then have to go back through and fix things…whether it’s grammar and punctuation or holes in the plot or both! Then you have to find either an agent to represent the book or a publisher to publish it. If you go the self-publishing route, you have to think about cover design and format and all of those details on your own.

 

Skipping ahead, once you have things set up and you’re ready to move forward with the publishing aspects, you have to think about your audience. It doesn’t matter if you have written the best book ever, if no one knows you, no one will read it. You have to network, get to know other authors, build a public persona and platform. Today, a lot of that can be done online by creating facebook and other author pages and talking with other authors. Just forming relationships.

 

Marketing is one of the hardest parts about being an author. If you want to continue to write, you need your books to do well or getting them out there will be a moot point. You’ll need a nice author photograph and bio and any and all ideas you might have in your head on how to get the word out about the book.

 

While many people who are not authors or who have not made it very far yet think that writing the book is the beginning and the end to the “author story,” they couldn’t be farther off from the truth. The book is the beginning. It might be the most fun, but it’s just the start. There are so many books out there today that authors have to work just as hard, if not harder than they did on the book in order to get word out about the book.

 

It is also a misconception that if authors sell a book for $15 or whatever the price is that that is what they make. Even a self-published author does not make the full price of the book with every sale. Authors with publishers make even less per sale because the publisher gets a cut for all they have done in the process. It takes lots and lots of sales to make a living. Many authors do it more as a hobby or a small side supplement to their real jobs.

 

All that being said, if you’re thinking of becoming an author, all you need to have is a passion for writing. If you have that passion and nothing else satisfies it, you don’t have a choice! You have to become an author. That’s what happened to me! I spent 12 years in radio and I enjoyed some aspects of it. But when my first daughter was born and I left my full time job to stay home I realized that salycoverthere was something else out there that I’d rather do…write! My only regret about my past career was that I did not leave it sooner to pursue writing. I am grateful to my daughter for forcing me to consider my options!

 

 

“Someone Always Loves You” is the first book I ever wrote. I wrote it because the characters that formed in my head bugged me to get them out onto paper. They wouldn’t leave me alone! The story is emotional and has more twists and turns than even I can describe. My goal with this book is that readers enjoy it even half as much as I enjoyed writing it. If you want to be an author, read this book and see where it takes you. If you enjoy reading family dramas with tinges of romance and plenty of questions and answers, this book might be for you as well.

 

I hope you learned a little bit about what it takes to be an author. It’s not a job anyone could, or at least should do, without a huge level of love for writing. If you have that, keep at it!

 

About Brooke

Brooke Williams is an award-winning author and freelance writer. She began her career in radio, both on the air and behind the scenes. She did a brief stint in TV news and then took on her most challenging job as a stay at home mom. During the few quiet hours in her day, Brooke writes articles for a number of clients as well as fiction creations such as “Someone Always Loved You.” Brooke has also written “Beyond the Bars,” a thriller, “God in the Kitchen,” a Christian novel, and “Taxi Delivery,” a Christian Romance. Brooke looks forward to the December 9th release of “Wrong Place, Right Time,” a romantic comedy and the February 2015 release of “Accept this Dandelion” inspired by the Bachelor TV show. Brooke has been married to her husband Sean since 2002 and has two daughters, Kaelyn and Sadie.

If you’d like to learn more about Brooke you can find her on:

Website:

http://www.authorbrookewilliams.com/

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorBrookeWilliams

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/151184.Brooke_Williams

Someone Always Loved You amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/Someone-Always-Loved-Brooke-Williams-ebook/dp/B004H8GBYK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1404240094&sr=8-1&keywords=someone+always+loved+you

Email:

authorbrookewilliams@gmail.com

 

 

A Week of Celebration July 25, 2014

Now available from your favorite book retailer

Now available from your favorite book retailer

The past week has been exhilirating and exhausting. My new book, Jessie, launched on July 16, in honor of the 45th anniversary of Apollo 11. I was fortunate enough to secure a slot on the Indie Books Show for my release weekend and had a wonderful chat with the host Will Wilson. You can download it from the archives if you missed it. I also participated in a blog tour July 16-19 and visited so many blogs I lost count. It was fun to share excerpts and talk about the book to so many different people around the world.

 

My fabulous Assistant Publicist, Pam, came up with an idea to do a giveaway through some of our local restaurants the weekend of the launch. Pam called me in a panic when four of the restaurants she’d approached all called back and said they were interested only five days before the launch date. A flurry of emails flew back and forth as we designed posters, entry tickets, and menu inserts. We became regulars at our Staples copy center over the next couple of days. Many thanks to the owners of Caffe Chocolat, Dixie Crossroads, Louis’ BBQ Shack, and Shiloh’s Steak & Seafood for your wonderful support.

 

One of the most exciting and completely unexpected things that happened during this time though was an opportunity to be a part of #NASASocial, which is a program to provide opportunities for NASA’s social media followers to learn and share information about NASA’s missions, people, and programs.

 

On the evening of July 14 my mom sent me an email about an event being held at Kennedy Space Center to rename the Operations and Checkout Building in honor of Neil Armstrong, who passed away in 2012. I was already in bed, checking mail on my iPad, but I clicked the link and filled out the application. Almost exactly 48 hours later I received an email saying I’d made the first round of approvals. I then had to go through some more forms and several more layers of approvals. Then on July 18, after I finished my interview on the Indie Books Show, I checked my email and found I had officially been approved. I was estatic!

 

The event included Neil Armstrongs fellow astronauts from the Apollo 11 mission, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins as well as Jim Lovell of Apollo 13 fame, and two of Amstrongs sons, Mark & Rick. The event was held in one of the hangers originally used to prepare the Apollo capsules, which is now being used to prepare the new Orion capsule. Another section of the building is used for astronaut barracks, which I read a lot about in my research. The history in that building is inspiring. If only those walls could talk.

 

There were 23 other social media reporters along with me, and we snaked our way through the growing crowd closer and closer to the front of the room. We jostled with members of the traditional media for places where we could see past all of the NASA TV cameras. I was excited to see one of my friends from church working one of those cameras. Seeing a familiar face helped calm my racing heart.

 

Our @NASASocial leader, slowly moved us to better positions and I found myself pulled out of the tightening clutch of bodies and placed on a dias to the side of the stage with four or five others. I may not have had the front on view, but I was only ten or fifteen feet from three astronauts that I had come to respect in an entirely new way through all of my research. Of all the speakers, I think Michael Collins was my favorite. He was hilarious. If you have some free time, you can watch the entire ceremony here.

 

After the ceremony we had a break for lunch then went on a tour of the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). The building is 524 feet tall and divided into four high bays and a transfer aisle. My dad worked in all four of the high bays at one time or another and I had a chance to visit one in 2008. Then the Space Shuttle Atlantis was in the bay being prepared for another launch. Now, three of the bays have been stripped down to their bare bones and all of the Apollo era offices are being demolished. On this visit I had a chance to go to the 35th and 16th floors for a view down into all four bays, and a closer look at the cranes used to lift the space craft from the processing bay to the transfer aisle so they could be rolled out to the launch pad. It never occurred to me that the vehicle needed to be lifted and moved from one side of the building to the center in order to exit through the tall doors.

 

I was sad to see the Space Shuttle program come to an end and believe it was put to rest too early, but I hope  we will continue to explore space. The support of the country during the early days of the space program was key in the incredible progress that was made. I hope my book will inspire a new generation to reach for the stars and seek to go even farther.

 

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Launch Celebration July 17, 2014

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July and August are shaping up to be quite busy with the release of Jessie. Wendy at Fabulosity Reads put together a roundup of blogs offering author interviews, character interviews, excerpts, and reviews that will be posted July 16-18. Below is a list of the blogs you can visit and enter to win some great prizes.

Room with Books                     My Cultural Cocktails             Blazing Sword Faith Based Promotions            Effrosyni’s Blog
Deal Sharing Aunt                   You Are Victorious                  Lisa Day on the Web                                               Dormaine G
Sheila Bliss                               JGR Writer                                Words, Words, Words                                            The V Mirror
Michelle Lewis’ Blog              Mark Shearman’s Blog            Sue’s Reveals and Promotions                              Xhosa Chick On A Budget
Cheekypee Reads and Reviews

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Sample Saturday- Julianne March 30, 2013

edgar allen penguin buttonThe rippling water flickered like hundreds of camera flashes at a rock concert, causing Julianne to squint as she walked past the marina. She came to a stop in front of a bright yellow door and checked the address on the business card, hesitating. She was nervous about what waited on the other side.

Get a grip, she thought, you are going to have to be brave and confident if you want to impress Cameron. Tucking her hair behind her ears, she raised a hand and knocked.

The door flew open and Peter Raphael’s face lit up as he recognized Julianne. “You came. I am so happy! Come in.”

Julianne stepped into a spacious studio lit by floor to ceiling windows along the north wall. Four easels were evenly spaced in a straight line in front of the windows, all but one covered by old, spattered sheets.

The concrete floor was a work of art itself with splashes of paint around each easel. To her right, Julianne saw paintings leaning against the wall; six columns containing eight to ten canvases each. To her left there was an old refrigerator, a microwave, a small wooden table, and a deep sink.

“You were the only person who took notice of Sunburst last night,” Peter said, a look of sadness flickering in his eyes.

“Maybe they were just overwhelmed by the number of pieces being shown.” Julianne tried to sound reassuring but knew her words were hollow. “You do seem to be quite prolific.” She waved her hand toward the stacks along the wall.

Peter gave a dismissive shrug. “Those are okay, but nothing special. I can paint those in my sleep and yet that seems to be what everyone wants to buy. Can you believe Sabastian sold eight of my paintings last night?”

“That’s amazing. Congratulations.”

Peter shrugged again. “I only sell those so I can work on the ones I truly love.” He took Julianne’s hand and led her to the easels. Before placing her in front of the first, he stopped. “Close your eyes.”

She hesitated, but after studying Peter for several seconds, she consented. She felt him take her by the shoulders and guide her steps, then she heard a swoosh of fabric as the sheet was removed and dropped to the ground.

“Now open,” Peter said and Julianne could hear his excited smile.

She opened her eyes to find a canvas similar to the one at the gallery, but in purples, whites, and blues. At the heart of the swirling colors was a shape of a house like the one she had discerned in Sunburst.

“It’s beautiful,” Julianne whispered. Where Sunburst had made her feel energized, this piece relaxed her, reminding her of the peace she’d felt in the park only a week ago.

“It’s the view through the moon, right?” Julianne turned to find Peter practically shaking with joy.

“I knew you would understand. I call it Moonglow.” He slipped an arm around her shoulder and guided her to the next canvas. This time he didn’t make her close her eyes, but whipped the sheet off with a dramatic flourish.

This canvas was darker, predominantly black and grey with pricks of gold. Julianne studied it, looking for the now familiar house, but not seeing it. Peter stood slightly behind, waiting for her to speak. Julianne could sense him bouncing in anticipation new book cover

and feared disappointing him. She allowed her eyes to lose focus and then she saw it. Two of the pricks of gold were perfect squares, like lights shining through windows. With that realization, she was able to make out the faint outlines of the house in pale grey swirls.

“It’s almost like looking into a black hole and finding its core,” Julianne finally said, turning to face Peter. His expression assured her she hadn’t disappointed.

“Actually, looking from the black hole down on Earth, but you had the general idea. This one is Darkness.” Peter moved her on to the final covered canvas. When he removed the sheet, Julianne gasped.

The scene was completely different, but she understood right away that the house she could barely see in the other paintings was now before her, although obscured by a haze, as if she were flying over it and a thin layer of cloud spread between her and the scene below. But what truly took her breath away was the building itself. It was Garner House.

 Want to read more? Julianne is currently on sale for .99cents for Nook, Kindle, Kobo, Diesel, iBooks, & Sony readers

 

Saturday Tea March 11, 2013

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Over the weekend I had the immense pleasure of appearing at another Afternoon Tea with the Author event. This time I was delighted to have my friend and fellow author, DiVoran Lites join me. We had a great time of fellowship with a group of Christian women and then shared about our adventures in writing and publishing.

Even though I was one of the guests of honor, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to do some baking. I saw a recipe in my Tea Time magazine last year for mini Boston Cream, Key Lime, or Strawberry trifles, but haven’t had an opportunity to make them. With spring right around the corner, well, technically already here in Florida, I thought the Key Lime trifles would be a good fit. I pulled out the various serving glasses I have collected and got down to business. It was a joy to make the custard and whipped cream from scratch. I used to think cooking from scratch was a lot of work, but I’ve come to appreciate it. I feel a real connection with the foods I’ve made from the ground up, quite literally when using produce from my garden.

It was tricky getting the custard and whipped cream into the miniature glasses, so I thought I would try using a pastry bag. This was only my second attempt at using a pastry bag but it definitely got easier as I went along. By the time I completed 8 of the 16 servings I was feeling pretty confident and was able to pick up the speed. I think they turned out nicely and enjoyed the ohhs and ahhs when they were served to our guests.

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Mini trifles weren’t enough for me though. I wanted something crisp as well and turned to a Lemon-Lavender Shortbread recipe I found on one of my favorite food blogs, Chelsea Bakes. You can find that recipe here.

I loved getting to meet some new friends and reconnecting with others I haven’t seen in years. I have to extend my sincere thanks to our hostess, Pam. She provided a beautiful and warm setting for us to share our experiences and may have even convinced one of the guests to host her own tea. I also have to thank the talented Ginger Morrison for the amazing cake she made.

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Love is in the Air February 14, 2013

An excerpt from Winter’s End

When they reached a small alley with white lights crisscrossing overhead, Lizzie followed as Ian turned and they walked toward a small courtyard. Snow crunched under their feet, not having been cleared after yesterday’s shower. The narrow walls of the alley made it impossible to see anything in the courtyard other than a fountain, now silent, with icicles hanging from the three levels. When they emerged into the courtyard, Lizzie was surprised to find an elegant bistro at the far end. Topiaries stood on either side of the large plate glass window in the shape of hearts, with red silk roses woven into the greenery. Bistro Amore was written in black letters across the front door.

“I hope you’re hungry,” Ian said, stopping in front of the bistro.

“Famished actually,” Lizzie replied, stepping through the door he held open for her. Inside, the restaurant was dimly lit with hundreds of white, votive candles in small glass vases scattered on the tables and tall pillar candles perched in sconces along the walls, but only one table, in the center of the room, was set, ready for service.

“It doesn’t look like they are open yet,” Lizzie whispered, turning back to Ian.

“I don’t know, maybe you should ask the hostess.” Ian pointed.

Lizzie turned back around to find a young woman with long black hair, wearing a red velvet skirt that flowed to her ankles coupled with a white blouse standing before her, holding two menus.

“Good evening, Ms. Reynolds, Mr. Cavanaugh. Your table is ready for you.” The hostess led them to the center table and pulled the chair out for Lizzie, waiting until Ian was seated to hand out the menus. When she did, Lizzie gasped.

The front of the menu had Lizzie and Ian’s names on it, with the date, and a photo from their first date at the Samba Room.

“Happy Valentine’s Day, Lizzie,” Ian said.

“But Valentine’s Day isn’t until Monday.” Lizzie gave him a confused look.

Ian reached across the table and took her hand. “I know you aren’t the biggest fan of this Hallmark holiday, but I wanted to do something special for you. I thought maybe if it wasn’t on the actual day, you wouldn’t think it was just part of the commercialism.”

Lizzie felt walls built up over years of disappointment crumble in her heart. She wrapped his hand in both of hers and gazed into his eyes, hoping he understood how much his words meant to her.

“Do you want to look at the menu?” Ian asked

“I don’t know if I can take my eyes off you,” Lizzie whispered.

“Maybe I should read it to you then. There aren’t many choices, though. To start, a butternut squash soup, followed by a Caesar salad, then maple glazed salmon, mashed potatoes, and asparagus, and for dessert, well, I’ll let that be a surprise.”

“My favorites,” Lizzie said, her heart racing.

“I’m happy to hear that,” Ian replied with a laugh.

“How did you do this?” Lizzie asked.

“I just made a reservation,” Ian replied innocently. ”Isn’t that something you do all day at work?”

Lizzie looked around the restaurant and laughed. “Hardly. I don’t think I have enough pull to get an entire restaurant for one guest.”

“I guess you just don’t know all the right people then.”

“Come on, you have to tell me.”

“I went to school with the owner, and I have to be honest, they will open to everyone else at eight. He agreed to open early for me as a favor.”

“Very impressive favor.”

“A high compliment coming from the queen of making the impossible happen,” Ian replied.

A waiter approached with a tray containing their soup and a bottle of wine. Lizzie leaned over the bowl of soup and breathed in the warm aroma, feeling any lingering chill in her bones fade away. The server poured a taste of wine into Ian’s glass. He swirled it around, gave it a good smell, swished a bit in his mouth, and gave his approval. When their glasses were filled, the waiter retreated. Ian raised his glass.

“A toast. To the first of many Valentine’s Days together.” They clinked their glasses and took a sip of the chilled Riesling.

Lizzie slurped at the hot soup, her taste buds going wild as the liquid slid over them. She closed her eyes, allowing her sense of taste to take over as she picked out the flavors of saffron, nutmeg, and cinnamon. 

“You can never repeat this, but this soup is so good, I may have to suggest Chef Gustave visit your friend for some pointers.” Lizzie opened her eyes to find Ian watching her with pleasure.

“I’m glad you like it,” Ian said, dipping his own spoon into the creamy yellow soup.

The salad and then the main course were served, each bite seemingly better than the last. Lizzie cleaned each of her plates and sat back with a sigh of contentment as the waiter removed the empty dishes.

“I know you said there was dessert, but I don’t think I could eat another bite,” Lizzie said and dabbed at the corners of her mouth with her napkin.

A look of disappointment clouded Ian’s face and Lizzie regretted her words.

“But, I could probably share with you,” she quickly added.

“I understand if you are too full. We can always have something later. The night is still young.” Ian pushed his chair back. “Wait here a minute.” He turned toward the kitchen and slipped through the door.

Lizzie rubbed her stomach as if that would speed along her digestion, and glanced around the restaurant. She could see twenty other tables, each covered in a black cloth. She could hear more voices from the kitchen as they prepared to open to the rest of their patrons. Without warning, the hostess appeared at Lizzie’s side.

“How was everything?” the hostess asked.

“It was perfect. Please send my compliments to the chef. I can’t remember a better meal.” Lizzie smiled and extended her hand. “Thank you all for making this such a memorable evening.”

“It has been our pleasure. Ian has been such a good friend to my husband. When he called us, we were happy to help him.”

“You and your husband are the owners?” Lizzie jumped up from her chair and pulled the woman into a hug that nearly knocked them both over. “This truly has been the best night of my life.”

The woman’s eyes sparkled. “Ian is always full of surprises.” With that, she faded into the darkness.

Lizzie sat down again and pulled her phone from her purse. As she was typing a text message to Emma, Ian returned and pulled her to her feet, wrapping her in his arms and holding her close to his chest. She rested her ear over his heart and listened to the steady thump.

“Where to next?” she murmured.

“That would ruin the surprise wouldn’t it? Let’s just see where our feet take us.” Ian led her out of the restaurant back to Main Street.

To read more buy your copy for only .99 cents through February 16 Kindle  Nook Kobo Diesel Sony iBooks

 

 
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