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Excitement from diverse places February 6, 2018

For an author to be without words is never a good thing, but AND today I am struggling to find the right words to describe the emotions coursing through me.

 

It started this morning when I woke up grumpy. I’ve been fighting some type of sinus/cold virus for almost a month and I’m at my wits end. I wanted to whine, but didn’t want to subject anyone I love to that self-pity so I cocooned in my room, putting away laundry and trying to pray.

 

When my cell phone started chirping with text after text I grabbed it in frustration, then smiled. A dear friend was announcing the release of her first book. She’s been working on this for quite some time and I’m delighted it has all come together. The multiple texts from other members of our writers group showed all were just as happy. Reports of orders being placed on Amazon warmed my heart and energized me to get dressed and head out the door.

 

It was 10:15 and I wanted to see how many people were already in town for the much anticipated SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket. Growing up during the Space Shuttle program, I admit I grew jaded with the crowds that tromped into town for launch days. Cars clogged the roads and every empty field along the river. Families wandered into the road without looking and causing us locals to be extra vigilant as we went about our daily lives. This morning, though, I reveled in the cars parked along the side of the road and the visitors milling around. I ached to stick around and be a part of this historic day, but work called and I had to get home to get ready.

  

Early birds get the best views

The large building across the river is the Vehicle Assembly Building. Until December there was a boat from Hurricane Irma where this RV now is

Be careful, eager spectators crossing!

By the time I arrived at the office, the launch had been pushed from 1:30 to 2:20 due to upper level winds. I felt a selfish sense of hope that the launch would be scrubbed and rescheduled to tomorrow when I would be home to see it. When the next delay pushing back to 3:45 was announced, again that selfish spirit perked up.

 

As 3:00 approached, I prepared to access the SpaceX livestream. The minutes ticked down and there was no announcement of another delay or a scrub so I chose to hope that all would go well. My pulse quickened when we reached five minutes before launch. I focused on my work until we were just under two minutes then my eyes couldn’t be torn from the video. Steam billowed around the three rockets strapped together and I clasped my hands in front of my face, whispering words of encouragement as if the machine could hear me. 

 

With the last seconds my throat tightened and my breath caught. Would it fire? Would it rise off the ground? Would it explode on the spot or a few seconds into flight? Memories of Challenger gnawed at the back of my mind. The rocket rose higher and higher, three flames of fire blended into one. The excitement of the SpaceX team was tangible as each milestone was ticked off. I watched in awe, knowing how unheard of a successful test flight such as this is. I felt the tears gathering in my eyes and longed to share the excitement with a crowd of like-minded spectators. 

 

The adrenaline has faded away and I think about how long it has been since the American people had a hope for exploration beyond our own planet. We have sent machines to gather data, but we need to send people to experience the outer regions first hand, to provide information only a human can express. Today, was the first step toward sending humans beyond the International Space Station and I feel an excitement that I hope you all can share.

 

In case you missed the launch, you can watch a replay below.

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A Cheesy Celebration February 9, 2015

Filed under: Baking,Books,Recipes — itsrebekahlyn @ 7:20 AM
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I love cheese. I’m fascinated with how many different types of cheese there are and want to try them all. A couple of years ago, when it was just me and my parents for Christmas, we started a new Christmas Eve tradition. We went to Candlelight Service, came home to a spread of hors d’oeuvres-chocolate caramel popcorn, spinach dip, cheese, crackers, and glog- then watched a movie. It’s a nice quiet evening to reflect on what Christmas is really about.

 

The first Christmas spread

The first Christmas spread

Cheese galore

Cheese galore

This year, I noticed that the Aldi I shop at started having specialty cheeses a few weeks before Christmas. I bought up every one of them for our Christmas Eve nosh. We had Jarlsberg, Parmesan Regiano, Prima Donna, Tomato Basil, Jalapeño Jack, Fontina, and Cranberry White Cheddar. I’ve been wanting to try the Parmesan Regiano since I read about it in one of Frances Mayes’ books. It wasn’t my favorite as a stand-alone cheese, but it is great in cooking.

 

As you might imagine, with all of this cheese we couldn’t possibly eat it all in one night. Mom found a recipe that used the Fontina along with a Marscapone cheese, to make what is basically a fancy mac & cheese. The recipe sounded so good, I used it in the book I was working on, Spring Dawn, and when I finished the first draft we made a batch to celebrate. Shredding all of the Fontina seemed to take forever, but it was worth it. Next time I think I would add some bacon bits though, to give it a little more kick.

The left over Jarlsberg has made a wonderful evening snack and now I have three more varieties to snack on from Ireland, Wales, and Britain. I better have a few slices then get back to work.

Fontina & Mascarpone Baked Pasta

Fontina & Mascarpone Baked Pasta

Grating the Fontina

Grating the Fontina

 

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

 

 

The Slump July 1, 2013

Filed under: Cooking,Fresh Foods — itsrebekahlyn @ 7:30 AM
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Fresh Green Beans

Fresh Green Beans

I’m in a cooking slump. Nothing sounds appealing. Even the scrumptious dessert recipes I have been purusing can’t entice me into the kitchen. Aside from a dinner last week of green beans fresh my garden along with sauted zucchin, squash, onion, and pepers, I can barely stand being in the kitchen. The fact that all of the fresh veggies come in during the heat of summer, when turning on the stove turns the kitchen into a sauna is maddening.

 

I wonder if a cooking slump is like a writing slump. When I get in a writing slump, I struggle to get a handful of words on the page, but if I keep at it, eventually the wall comes down. Maybe if I spend time in the garden, trimming the dead leaves, removing the worms, pinching the flowers off the herbs, then I will find inspiration to cook again.

 

I suppose all I can do is soldier on, taking comfort in the promise of cooler weather in a few months, and a file of new recipes awaiting my return.

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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.”

 

 

 

Ready, Set, Heat August 31, 2012

Filed under: Books,Cooking,Family — itsrebekahlyn @ 11:55 AM
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I have been spoiled the last several years living close enough to my parents to have home cooked meals most nights of the week. Now they are retired and gallivanting around visiting family and friends, or chilling up in North Carolina, and I am left to fend for myself more often than not. I do enjoy cooking, trying out new things, and especially using the produce from my garden, but when I am deep in the trenches, working on a new book, there is little time to eat, much less stop and make a meal with fresh ingredients, so I end up eating lots of pre-made things.

 

I can’t deny I have eaten many a frozen dinner in my time, but lately those aren’t very appealing. They simply don’t have the same flavor and variety I grew accustomed to with mom so close by. Of course there are all the preservatives in those dinners to consider also. A couple weeks ago I came across a refrigerated Hormel roast dinner in Publix and decided to give it a shot since I had been craving a nice roast. After church I came home, popped the plastic dish in the microwave, and four minutes later I had dinner. Well, I had my entrée. It took a few more minutes to whip up some mashed potatoes.

 

The roast had a nice flavor and was extremely tender, just like if I had cooked it in the crockpot for several hours. The only drawback to this meal was the small amount in the packaging for the price. I was definitely paying for the convenience, and I would probably do so again, especially when I am deep in the weeds of editing. Fortunately, my parents are going to be in town for the next few weeks so I won’t have to fend for myself as I finish the first rounds of rewrites on my current work in progress. I’m looking forward to a wonderful dinner with fresh vegetables from the garden later this week.

 

What do you think about all of the pre-packaged meals available these days?

Dinner a couple weeks ago

 

Dinner with mom home

 

 
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