Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A cute story!


I  once won a cookie contest with my Cranberry Shortbread Cookies.

I had decided to enter into the Chatelaine contest, because my recipe had such a great history that I thought to share it with the readers. To my astonished delight, my cookies were picked, if I remember correctly, as winner #3. I still have the coffee pot, blender and various baking ware as proof.

All 10 winners were printed in the Chatelaine magazine for the entire world to see, and I’ll admit to walking around with a puffed up chest for a few days. Now that I remember, I do believe it was the first time I’d ever seen anything I wrote in print!

The story goes that as a new bride, I had moved to northern Canada, to a place called Stewart, B.C. It was within a few miles of the Alaska border so it was pretty isolated. In those days (and unfortunately still today) the best meal I could produce was a killer peanut-butter and banana sandwich. Needless to say, my husband is our chef and has been since the beginning. My little contribution to our meals is the dessert.  

Understandable, as a new bride, I had very few recipes and the holiday season was approaching. So at a bingo game with some other ladies I lamented my terrible lack. An older Scottish woman, who I thought a real sweetheart, said, “Lassie, I will give you a true Scottish shortbread recipe handed down from my mother and hers before her. I’ve kept this to myself for that many years, but I like you. Since you’re a new bride, I’ll share.”

So saying, she took a napkin from the table and wrote her shortbread recipe on it. I quickly rewrote it once I got home and have used the basis of this recipe for many others

The variety that won the contest has ½ cup of dried cranberries and ½ cup of pecan pieces added.  

To this day, I get so many compliments on my wonderful cookies that it truly isn’t Christmas for my family without a plateful of these decorating the table.

**A sequel to this story is that the woman’s granddaughter, who was a young girl back then, called me a few weeks after reading the magazine. She told me her name and that she was Peggy's grandaughter and asked me if these were her grandmother’s cookies. When I said yes she laughed and told me that many years ago her granny had slowly faded with Alzheimer’s without ever having written her precious recipe down. By the time her own mother had realized that no one had a copy of the famous shortbread, she couldn’t help them and so none of the family had the original recipe. Now...they were finally able to have the cookies they had grown up eating. 

(Picture of Original Recipe)

Contacts in case you you'd like to keep in touch other places online:

Twitter @mimibarbour
Linked In:

To celebrate in this Spooky Blog Hop I will be choosing one winner for a $10 Amazon Gift Certificate and will also gift 5 
e-books of my last release called "Roll the Dice".
Back Page Blurb:

“You shot me!” Aurora is incensed. Her new partner shrugs and answers. “I saved your life.” From the very first page of this riveting story, these two battle for supremacy in trying to catch the serial rapist who ripped both their lives apart. With all her might, Aurora fights the attraction to Kai's baby blues that tease and start her internal warning devices humming. After all, her job is her life, and determination mixed with courage has always been her lifeline.
Kai has a mission of honor to undertake. The man who raped his sister can’t be allowed to live—after all, she hadn’t! Revenge fills his soul, while visions of his new partner fills his heart. The sassy woman rattles his calm, and he can’t keep his hands to himself. Doesn’t mean she has the power to stop him from doing what has to be done.

***One more thing to mention - I will be needing reviews for a promotion that will be coming soon for my new book called "LOVABLE CHRISTMAS ANGEL. Anyone who would be willing to read the book as soon as it's released ( Nov 1st) in order to write an HONEST review, please leave a note with your comment & e-mail address and I will gladly gift you a copy.  

Back Page Blurb:

Christmas in Hawaii! How lucky can a girl get? Except that Leilani is bringing her mother’s ashes home to Waikiki and is worried sick about an urgent plea of help from an aunt she never knew existed. Upon her arrival, her taxi driver, a perfect angel of a man, befriends her, and a special bond starts to grow. His explanation, that she has won two free nights in prestigious hotel Jordan, brightens her otherwise rotten day. Getting stuck in an elevator with the prickly but luscious Kale, she decides things are definitely looking up! Then a visit to her aunt’s changes her life completely. The sick woman is alive for only one reason. So she can pass on her most precious possession…her five-year-old grandson. The same little fellow, who takes one look at Leilani, slaps his fists on his hips and yells…“Go away!”

Kale couldn’t believe his rotten luck getting stuck in an elevator with a big-eyed, effusive tourist. As owner of the Jordan Hotel chain, he'd had his fill of pandering to vacationers. After the day he’d spent breaking up with a spoilt brat, problem-solving till his head hurt and wanting to be at his beach house to regain his sanity, the last thing he needed was to have to put up with Miss Chatty Cathy. That is until her soft heart caught his attention, and she made herself indispensable to his future happiness.



Friday, October 19, 2012

Holding off for a Hero


I want to welcome my friend Gail MacMillan to Believe! Her newest book will be released today, and we're celebrating the big event by asking her some personal and not-too personal questions about her life as an author. I've had the privilege of Beta Reading her book and will tell you that I enjoyed it thoroughly. For one thing, it’s humorous—which I like. Also, her characters are wonderful, especially Emma the heroine. But then the hero, Frasier, is pretty darn keep-able also. There's enough conflict to keep one interested, and a romance to make it perfect. In fact, it just keeps getting better until at the end....well, you don't want it to end!

Gail, Can you tell us about your new release?
October 19th was an exciting day for me.  That’s the day my romantic comedy “Holding Off For A Hero” was borne into both print and e-book.  Since the pivotal scene takes place on Halloween, the pub date couldn’t have been better.  With the ghost of a murdered lumberman, an ax protruding from his chest, haunting their wilderness retreat and a pair of thugs ready to murder them, hero and heroine are in for a harrowing October 31st. 
 I had such fun writing this story, I truly hated to see it end at 65,000 words.  I had many more adventures to relate about heroine Emma and her hero Frasier.  As a result, I’m currently working on a sequel featuring Emma’s twin sister Etta (short for Henrietta). 
One of the main reasons writing this tale was such a delight is because several of the characters are based on real people.  Emma carries within her fictional DNA the genes of a remarkable woman I’ve known for years and who embodies the spirit of generosity, trust and adventure coated in a wonderful sense of humor. 
Frasier MacKenzie, the hero, is a brave, let’s-just-get-the-job-done kind of guy who finds Emma with her infectious joie de vivre one huge crimp in his carefully laid out plans.  Emma loves a good time, which infringes no end on Frasier’s work ethic.  When he discovers he’s actually enjoying her antics that could spell an end to not only his current project, but also his career, he decides that the choice of fire or frying pan would be child’s play by comparison.
And then, of course, there’s the secondary hero and cover guy, my Pug Bruiser.  Bruiser has appeared in magazine articles for the past six years, but this is his first foray into the highly competitive world of cover model.  He’s definitely got one of those faces that, while it may not launch a thousand ships, he definitely catches attention with his good-natured grin or sagging-lip sadness.  Like Emma, he, too, possesses a love of adventure and proves to be her perfect companion in “Holding Off For a Hero.”  He’s also a natural comedian.  Since dog fanciers have been enjoying reading about his escapades for the past half dozen years in various doggie magazines, I decided he would be a perfect character to appear in a romantic comedy.
I’d love to hear from readers regarding “Holding Off For a Hero.”  If it gives anyone a laugh or a sigh, please let me know.  Bruiser and Emma will be delighted to hear from you as well at macgail@nbnet.nb.ca
You write in more than one genre.  Do you have a favorite?  Which one do you find the hardest? 
My favorite is always the one in which I’m currently writing. One of the negative things about writing in various genres is that it prevents branding that will allow readers to follow you more readily.  The good thing about it is that you’re never, ever bored or stuck in the proverbial rut.
Where do you find your story ideas? 
My first creative writing teacher always compared writers to magicians.  Writers can make stories appear out of thin air, she said.  And that’s where most of my ideas come from.  Sometimes a person, or an event, or even a scrap of overheard conversation can trigger a story, but mostly it’s just a spark in the brain.  Agatha Christie could never explain where her Poirot came from.  He just arrived, full blown, in her imagination. 
How do you research your novels? 
With my contemporary novel, I stick to the old adage of writing what you know…the lakes, woods, rivers, wilderness and mountains of our beautiful province of New Brunswick. Of course, my historicals require actual research, but I’ve always had a love of history, made it one of my major studies in university (which wasn’t all that long ago, since I graduated two years after my oldest daughter received her degree), and traced our family’s ancestors for years so it’s work I thoroughly enjoy.
  Do you have time management tricks to keep you on schedule? 
Not really.  The natural rhythm of my creative life pretty much dictates my schedule.  Sometimes I get on what I call a writing jag. Then I write and write and write.   I’ll hit an equally powerful reading one.  Now if I could just land on a housecleaning time slot…
What is it about your current release that excites you the most? 
I’m pleased with “Holding Off For a Hero” because two of the main characters are drawn from wonderful, real-life creatures.  I say creatures because while the first is Emma the heroine, the second is my Pug Bruiser. Both Emma and Bruiser have brought so much into my life with their courage, sense of adventure and humor, and joie de vivre, a book definitely had to be written about them.
Out of all your novels, which hero and heroine are your favorites?  Why?  At this time I have to say Emma and Frasier in “Holding Off For a Hero”.  They’ve been such fun to work with.  They’ve made the story almost write itself.  
Do you set daily expectations or goals for your writing?
 Not for writing exclusively.  Often a goodly portion of a day can be spent promoting a book, dealing with editors and publishers, and keeping up with the latest developments in the publishing industry.  That being said, there is never a day when I’m not somehow involved with writing and the creative process.
What do you know now that you wished you’d known when you started writing?
I wish I’d known that a story that doesn’t grab one editor’s interest might be the pride and joy of another.  Over the years, I’ve all too often let one editor’s opinion darken my way.  I was inclined to think that once one editor had rejected a story, that piece had no value.   It was a particularly cruel rejection that eventually made me see the light.  I’d written a story that would go on to win an award.  The first editor that I sent it to replied that I’d better take up gardening, that I’d never make it as a writer.  Twenty-six published books later, I wonder what he’s doing these days.  
Do you ever hit the wall or find you’ve written yourself into a corner?  How do you turn that around?
Fortunately that doesn’t happen to me very often. What does occur can be equally troublesome—finding what I call plot holes in your story on a fourth or fifth draft, just when you think you’ve covered all bases. 
Okay…enough with the business stuff!  How about some personal insider info? When you’re not writing or reading, what would we find you doing? 
Enjoying family, friends, and dogs.  I spend a lot of time outdoors and relax by walking and training my dogs.  They’re the ultimate exercise machine.  Unlike a treadmill that just sits quietly in the basement, they’re in my face, prancing, demanding “let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!”  Who can refuse such high-pressure invitations! 
Favorite food or recipe? 
No doubt there.  Cherry cheese cake. Yummm!
Tell us one thing about you that might surprise us…it can be a secret…we won’t tell.  
I’m a bookaholic.  I can’t resist buying books.  Last month, I decided to take a pledge and not purchase any books for the next thirty days.  Then along came Mimi Barbour’s “Roll the Dice” and, plunk, off the wagon again.  Bad, bad Mimi!ow abHo

Gail MacMillan www.gailmacmillan.caThree Time Maxwell Medal Winner
From The Wild Rose Press:
Lady & the Beast, Caledonian Privateer
Ghost of Winters Past, Holding Off for a Hero



Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I did it—it’s done— Finito!!!


The book, Lovable Christmas Angel, has been written. I added the most wonderful two words just moments ago. THE END!

I know I my deadline was yesterday.  I tried so hard to get it finished. I could have cheated, and no one would have known the difference…except me. And when you think about it, I guess I’m really the only one who’s affected, aren’t I? No one else really cares if it’s done on one day or the other. Mind you, I know you’re all happy for me that I did complete it. And it does feel great to share.

I’ll admit the truth about why it took one more day. There was a chapter missing. I knew the story floundered near the end, and I had no idea why. I went to bed fretting about it and woke up in the middle of the night with my characters all bopping around in my head trying to get my attention.
Turns out, I hadn’t logically structured my child character to act the way I wanted him too. He needed to be in a special place at a specific time, and I’d just plopped him there without any prearranged buildup.

Ahhh! As soon as I rethought what I’d done, it came to me that I drastically needed one more scene. So…I’m sorry I’m late, but I’m glad also. Because it’s the perfect passage which has made the story that much better— stronger, and more beautiful.
The final, unedited word count was 40,014. And just so you won't worry, I am still married. Hubby hasn't divored me because of abondoning him and most of my household chores for 18 ...very hectic days :-)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Passed the 30,000 mark and got a cover!


My new book in the Angels with Attitudes series has a title now and even a gorgeous cover. “Lovable Christmas Angel” seemed to fit the storyline so perfectly that I had little choice.

I’m slowly winding to the climax and so ‘into’ the story that it’s hard to stop writing and get anything else done. For instance...

While putting the clothes into the washer yesterday, I plotted the whole section where our heroine, Leilani, overhears the hero, Kale, tell his hotel manager that wants her kept away from him. That she’s needy and takes advantage, and he’s tired of it. The plot thickened then let me tell you.
Needless to say, the laundry didn’t get moved into the dryer due to an author’s mind not being on her chores. Ahhh…truth is, they had to be re-washed today. (Which reminds me; I’d better go and transfer them to the dryer now!)

Earlier, while digging a bunch of seaweed into the garden, I totally figured out a way for the heroine’s little cousin, Mano, to be kidnapped in the dead of night, making it possible for Leilani to come to his rescue. Then maybe he'll finally accept that she truly loves him and wants to be his guardian.

The easiest character to write...through all the good times and the conflicts...is the angel called Pi. He's stolen my heart with his kind old ways as he works his Christmas magic.

This book has been a real challenge so far. Trying to keep the story in the spirit of the season, yet tell a powerful tale with ups and downs hasn’t been easy.  Yet I truly think that what I’ve managed to create will please you…the reader. Since it’ll be released near the beginning of November – we're not sure of the exact date yet – we’ll soon be able to leave that decision up to you.
***Tomorrow His Devious Angel - the second in the "Angels with Attitudes" series will be featured in the Indie Book Blowout where all the books are available for 99 cents.


Monday, October 8, 2012

A little bleep to be rectified :(

October 8, 2012 - Total to date 24,985 words 
I was pretty well keeping up to my daily goal of 2,000 words per day, and then - low and behold – I was sabotaged by a holiday, which, in my ultra dumbness, I hadn't taken into consideration. Our Canadian Thanksgiving is supposed to be today (Monday October 8th), but my family had to come home on the weekend. So what's a mom going to do?
Ignore her son and keep up her word count, or…??
I, naturally, chose…or!
I mean keeping up with my schedule is important to me. When I set a goal, I do it with all intentions of succeeding. So, this little bleep will have to be rectified. Sure that sounds pretty cheeky doesn't it? Well the truth is - if I want to finish the book by the deadline of October 15th, and there are only so many days left, I quite simply have to divide the word count that I'm aiming for by those days. In the beginning, my brilliant deduction –ahem –told me that if I wrote 2,000 words a day, it would get done. Finished! Success!
So…now I have to make up for two days and that's – let me see…Yep! - 4,000 words.
With 7 days left, I need to write approximately 20,000 words uhhh…divided by 7…..ummm …holy shut the door…2,700plus words a day. Right!
No problem….gulp!
Gottta go now and if you don't hear from me for a few days, you'll know why.
Wish me luck!!!
…Now what the heck did I do with that bottle of eye drops??


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Only 13 days left!


So far – 15,525 words (Start date Sept. 28th)
Only 13 days left in my deadline for my Christmas book, and I'm working according to schedule. Which is at the very least - 2,000 words each day.
For me that is approximately 2 chapters. And since I tend to plot by chapters, it works just fine.
When I say that I plot, it's not exactly the way most people plot. I lay in bed each morning, and sometimes at night (...sigh) and I decide which direction I need to go next to get to the goals I've given each character. Once in a while, as I continue, I realize I've missed something vital and have to go back to work in one more scene, but that's fine. Mostly, it's because it's vital for another character's POV to be available. And sometimes to set up a conflict I didn't even know would happen, until something in the story came to light, and new ideas blossomed.
Don't you just love when that happens? When the book takes you to a place you hadn't known you'd be visiting when you started. For me, that's the magic of imagination and the fun of being a creator.

Winner of the Review Contest.
4.0 out of 5 stars Hot & Sexy, September 25, 2012
This review is from: Roll the Dice (Vegas Series) (Kindle Edition)
Las Vegas detective, Aurora Morelli is one determined woman when it comes to doing her job. She's a romantic person inside her rough exterior. When she meets her new partner Kai Lawson, tensions fills as they fight their attraction. But working together to capture a serial rapist will test both of them. I enjoyed this book very much.
***The review contest for Roll the Dice has finished as of Oct. 1st and the lucky winner of the $50 Amazon Gift Certificate is Queen of Books "Sue". The 18 reviews were wonderful considering there was a problem with my release...the wrong version was loaded for the first week. .. an unedited version. My fault....argrr!
Long story :(