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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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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

Blog Tour Graphic Swirl

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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The Next Big Thing January 31, 2013

Welcome to the next big thing blog hop! Join the fun blog hopping our way through some new reads, including works in progress and new and upcoming releases. For those who haven’t been part of a blog hop before, you read my blog and hop on over to the next blog link for more entertainment. Bloggers hand picked by yours truly!

Thank you to Charles Dougherty for tagging me in this blog hop. Charles is a successful writer and has provided me with immense support as I have struggled to start my writing career. His books are quick entertaining reads. Learn more about Charles on his site here.

 

Part of the Blog Hop is to introduce you to my latest release by answering ten interview questions.

I hope you’ll take some time to follow the links to my author friends’ blogs as well. See the end of the post to see who I’ve tagged.

 

What is the title of your book?

Winter’s End

The cover for Winter's End compliments of Laura Wright LaRoache at LLPix.

The cover for Winter’s End compliments of Laura Wright LaRoache at LLPix.

 

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Winter’s End is the second book in the Seasons of Faith series. I fell in love with the characters while I was writing book one, Summer Storms. The inciting incident in Winter’s End came from a “what if” thought I had one morning at work. I get into the office long before anyone else and one morning when I went into the restroom I wondered what I would do if I ever stumbled upon a dead body in there. That thought niggled at my mind for months while I was writing Summer Storms and then I figured out how I could use it to kick off the next book.

 

What genre does your book fall under?

Inspirational fiction

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I worked with reference photos when I was writing these books and meshed the characteristics of some celebrities and some people I know. Lizzie I envisioned as Drew Barrymore, specifically her character in Never Been Kissed (post Jossie-Grossie make-over), for Jeffrey I saw Bradley Cooper, Ian, maybe James Marsden, and Michelle, while I didn’t know it then, I think she would be played by Kat Dennings.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Winter’s End packs a powerful message of love, passion, and forgiveness.

 Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Self-published. I like to have control over the cover and release date.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I decided to participate in National Novel Writing month in 2011 and this was my project. First draft was completed in about 60 days, mostly over Thanksgiving break.

 What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Terri Blackstock has been a bit of a role model to me. She writes Christian books with suspense and romance, but they aren’t as predictable as some other books in the genre. I especially like the grittiness of her recent Intervention series dealing with drug addiction and the effects that has on an entire family.

 

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Since Winter’s End is a continuation of the Summer Storms story, I would have to say my love for those characters inspired me to continue writing about them.

My next book, Jessie, was inspired by much of my childhood, growing up on the Space Coast and being so immersed in the Shuttle program. With the end of the program, I felt compelled to look at how it all began. I’m only seven chapters in, but my research has taught me things about the town I grew up in I had no idea about before. I have a whole new appreciation for the area and those who pioneered space exploration. I am excited to share this story about determination, sacrifice, and overcoming bitterness.

 

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Valentine’s day is right around the corner, and while I’m personally not a fan of the holiday, there is a very determined man in this book who will make you swoon.

 

Next week, stay tuned for more posts in The Next Big Thing blog hop. Watch for posts on February 7 from these authors:

DiVoran Lites, a dear friend I have known since childhood, who has recently published her first book, Sacred Spring. It is a tender story of a young woman struggling to hold her family together and protect the Florida wilderness she loves more than anything. You can learn more about DiVoran here.

Jenny Gentry, a new friend who has a Christian fiction series called “The Gifts.” She has a book signing coming up in March. Learn more about her here.

V.K. Ramsey writes fantasy and currently has two books out in the Guarding Light series. Find out more about V.K. and his books here.

Richard L. Sanchez is another dear friend. Although he has been writing for years, he only recently started publishing his work. He has several short stories and a novel currently available. Learn more about him here.

Mary-Anne Crooks I met on Facebook. When I visited her website I was completely drawn in. While her first book isn’t published yet, she has already started on her second and could use some support from the community. Please stop in to visit her here. 

I hope you enjoyed learning about Winter’s End. Stop back by for more on my writing process and of course, the wonderful recipes I find along the way.

 

Preview of Winter’s End November 2, 2012

Filed under: Books,Cooking,Recipes — itsrebekahlyn @ 11:55 AM
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On Wednesday I shared with the recipe for a wonderful butternut Squash soup I discovered while doing research for my new book, Winter’s End, which will be available in just a few weeks.  I thought I would give you a sneak peek of the scene that grew from this recipe.  Enjoy and have a wonderful weekend!

 

The cover for Winter’s End compliments of Laura Wright LaRoache at LLPix.

 

 

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 candles scattered on the tables and 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.”

 

 

 

Launch of the Coastal Chronicles June 20, 2012

Yesterday was the digital release of my second novel, Julianne.  I have been writing most of my life.  I was the kid in school who new book coverdidn’t cringe when a term paper was assigned; I relished the idea and delved into my research.  However, when it came to my personal stories, I had a problem with actually finishing them.  Julianne was one of those stories.  I started it in 2003, got about halfway through and then life got in the way.  I let it drop by the wayside.  Six years later I picked it back up, determined to actually complete one novel.  The day I wrote the last sentence was one of the proudest moments of my life.  I had finally completed a full novel.  I then promptly put it away and moved on to another story.

When I managed to complete and publish Summer Storms in two years, I decided to go back to Julianne and see if there was actually anything there worth working on to publish.  I was appalled to see how much repetition there was in the story and began stripping it down to its bare bones in order to build it back up.  It was an interesting experience to see how much I personally have changed since I first wrote Julianne.  I looked at the whole story with new eyes and even questioned if I needed to change the main characters to make them more appealing.  Then I realized the things that made them appealing to me in the beginning was they were reflective of where I was in my life at that time, and maybe there are other people who are in that same place now. Will they relate with Julianne, Oliver, Cameron, Michael, or Gavin?  Maybe their original flaws were more of a ministry to my future readers than anything I could create now.

One of my favorite things about writing this book though, was all the food.  My next couple of posts will share recipes and snippets from the book.  If you are a member of Amazon Prime you can borrow Julianne over the next 3 months.  Stay tuned for more details.

 

 
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