Monday Mealtime Madness

I tend to make the same meals week after week.  I don't consider myself to be in a rut so much as this boring repetition is easy and requires little thought both in meal planning and grocery shopping.  Plus, I have picky, picky kids, so there's that.  I stick with what I know they'll eat. 

However, a few weeks ago I added a new recipe to my weekly menu:  Yummy Chicken.  It's a little bit chicken cordon bleu, a little chicken helper.

A pound or two of chicken breasts.
A can of cream of chicken.
Thin, deli slices of ham.
Swiss cheese.
Corn flakes.

Lay chicken in the bottom of a baking dish.  Scoop cream of chicken on top and spread across all the chicken.  Layer ham and  swiss cheese across the top of the chicken.  Spread a couple of handfuls of corn flakes across the top. Cover and bake for 45 minutes at 400 degrees.

I serve this with macaroni and cheese (my kids are loving the spiral kind lately) and steamed green beans.

And, of course, I sometimes enjoy this meal with a half glass of Malbec, but a glass of skim milk tastes great, too!




Dos and Don'ts

I've made (and  continue to make) many mistakes when writing my novels.  I can't always see them when I'm writing, or even when I'm editing, but I can definitely see them when other people do them, and when I'm reading their novels.

And then I read books that I can't put down, no matter how late it is or how early I have to get up and take care of three kids, plus the twenty in my classroom.  The characters feel more real than the people I live with in real life.  I can only hopet that one day I can figure out how to do what they do when I'm typing the pages of my novels.

Because in the past several months I've read some incredible, amazing, and breathtaking novels.  Of course, I've also read some that I choked on and could barely finish, or left unread.

Here are some of the DOS and the DON'TS I came up with while reading these novels.  I hope to commit them to the memories of each and every fingertip so they recall them while typing all future words.

* Include steamy romance with a forbidden love interest.
* Include a comical friend to help the mc along the way.
* Include several hot spots to make the setting familiar and interesting and alive.
* Use humor to show me what the main character is like and looks like.
* Use metaphors and similes to make the world come alive.
* Reinvent an old favorite character trait or theme in a new, imaginative way.

* Include self-talk in italics more than twice.
* Include an overly sarcastic mc.
* Include boring, every day conversation.  No matter what.  No matter who with.  Delete every day pleasantries in all conversations.
* Include pages at the beginning to tell me the rules of the setting aka society.
* Spell out the personalities, likes and dislikes of the characters.
* String common, boring adjectives together to describe a character.
* Rely on cliches and use them in the same way three or ten other books have.
* Use language too formal and inappropriate (for teens).


* Then entire HUSH HUSH series by Becca Fitzpatrick.  I couldn't read the words fast enough, they were like air I needed to breathe to live.  These are my fave, fave, fave!

Hush, Hush (Hush, Hush, #1)


Romance was not part of Nora Grey's plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how hard her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch comes along. With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Patch draws Nora to him against her better judgment.---GOODREADS

* The ANEW trilogy (still waiting for the third book) by Chelsea Fine (also the author of Sophie and Carter).  I heart her and everything she writes.  I can't wait to see what she writes next!

Anew (The Archers of Avalon, #1)

Two years ago, Scarlet awoke in the forest alone, afraid, and unable to remember anything. Lost and confused, her life was a mystery...until she met a boy with a familiar voice. --GOODREADS

* CLOCKWORK ANGEL and CLOCKWORK PRINCE by Cassandra Clare.  I love that these include characters that are ancestors to the characters in the Mortal Instruments series.  The romance is unbelievable, and without any possible incest issues!  Love the historical and steampunk-y elements!

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1)

Magic is dangerous—but love is more dangerous still.
When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos. ---GOODREADS

* UNEARTHLY trilogy (still waiting for the third book) by Cynthia Hand.  Oh my gosh, these books were so good, so refreshing, so romantic.  She turned me onto angel books, totally and completely.  She led me to the HUSH HUSH books.  Thankfully!

Unearthly (Unearthly, #1)

In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees . . . .
Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn't easy.---GOODREADS




A week ago I posted about Rachel Morgan's FANTASTIC novel.  And promised to give away a free copy to a lucky commenter.  THAT lucky commenter is:

Heather McCorkle!!!!

Yay!  Thanks for stopping by that day, Heather--and everyone else!  Especially since we've been gooooone from our blog for so long.  And I'm glad you did because now I get to send you a free novel that you will love!!! 

I'll email you to get your addy.


Photo Card--and a little cheer

It's that time of year again.  Time to order holiday cards so they will arrive in the mail on time to send them out in the mail....  Also, it's time to order photo mugs, calendars, albums, puzzles...at least that's what I buy for grandparents, godparents, aunts, uncles, dads, myself....  I also have stock in ellipses.  Anyways, I'm early.  That never happens, so I'll say it again.  I'm early-- in wishing you a happy holidays this year, including Thanksgiving, St. Nick's Day, and Christmas.  NOT that I won't be back before thany of those holidays, but you know, I have the card ready--and I was thinking of you--so... 
Best Gifts Ever Christmas
Personalize your Christmas card at Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.


Meet The Author--AND Win a Free Book!

Meet the Author--RACHEL MORGAN!

Rachel Morgan is the author of the Creepy Hollow YA fantasy series.  Rachel was born in South Africa and spent a large portion of her childhood living in a fantasy land of her own making. After completing a degree in genetics, she decided science wasn’t for her—after all, they didn’t approve of made-up facts. These days she spends much of her time immersed in fantasy land once more, writing fiction for young adults.

She is doing a blog hop to celebrate the launch of The Faerie Guardian.  Below is a behind-the-scenes video of her life in South Africa where she teaches and writes.  She's also busy moving and planning her wedding!  I had such fun meeting her (virtually)!  Visit her blog to find more of the blogs she's visiting this week and to learn more about her, her books and her characters.

The Faerie Guardian is the first of three novels.  Initially, Rachel published each of the novel's four parts as novelettes, so since I purchased all four as fast as they were released, I've read it in its entirety (although, The Faerie Guardian has extra scenes included, and you can get it in print edition!!!).  I couldn't get my eyes on the novelette's words fast enough--they were that good!  She creates world so real it's like I'm there.  Her characters are believable, strong and make me laugh.  The romance and action keep the pages turning and turning and turning. It'll be like you're sitting in front of a fan!

(Book 1 in the Creepy Hollow series)

Protecting humans from dangerous magical creatures is all in a day’s work for a faerie training to be a guardian. Seventeen-year-old Violet Fairdale knows this better than anyone—she’s about to become the best guardian the Guild has seen in years. That is, until a cute human boy who can somehow see through her faerie glamour follows her into the fae realm. Now she’s broken Guild Law, a crime that could lead to her expulsion.

The last thing Vi wants to do is spend any more time with the boy who got her into this mess, but the Guild requires that she return Nate to his home and make him forget everything he’s discovered of the fae realm. Easy, right? Not when you factor in evil faeries, long-lost family members, and inconvenient feelings of the romantic kind. Vi is about to find herself tangled up in a dangerous plot—and it’ll take all her training to get out alive.


In case you don't win the book I'm giving away, you can also enter to win it on Goodreads. 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Faerie Guardian by Rachel  Morgan

The Faerie Guardian

by Rachel Morgan

Giveaway ends November 12, 2012.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win
Once you devour book 1, books 2 and 3 won't be far behind!

(Coming in 2013)

(Coming in 2013)

While you wait, you can order:


Before Violet met Nate, the human boy who followed her into the fae realm and turned her life upside down, she was the perfect guardian trainee. She followed all the rules and did her best to protect her human assignments. Goblins, ogres, trolls—Vi learned how to handle them all.
In An A to Z of Creepy Hollow Fae, catch a glimpse of some of Vi’s past assignments, and experience the life of a faerie training to be a guardian.


Purchase The Faerie Guardian

The Creepy Hollow Series
Rachel's Links

Heads up!

We just wanted to let you know that we will be opening up shop this Wednesday to be a part of Rachel Morgan's blog hop as she releases her novel The Faerie Guardian.  It's AMAZING.  So please visit us tomorrow to meet her (virtually) and to learn more about her exciting novel news!  You'll not only get a behind-the-scenes look at the author, but you'll have a chance to WIN her novel because we'll be giving one away! Yay! You can also enter to win her novel on Goodreads here!

Oh, and if you are an of-age US citizen, go and vote!!!