A Confession

Posted at Aug 12, 2016 1:12 am in , , ,

I love Football! Shame on you, you were thinking I was going to confess something dirty.  Believe me Fifty Shades of Gray is not my life. But back to football.

I could spend all day Saturday and Sunday watching football.  I would love to go to high school football games and watch the young players, the cheerleaders and the drill teams, but I don’t.  Most weekends are spent either doing mundane chores around the house or writing. If the Denver Broncos or the Dallas Cowboys are playing I record the games and watch them later when my mind is fried, and I just need to veg.Football Image


When we’re in the car, I turn on the radio and listen to the games while we’re driving. Don is never impressed and would much rather listen to music. My husband is not an avid sports fan. He would rather be outside working than sitting in front of a game. If the TV is on he’ll watch football, but he is not the die-hard fan that I am. 

Some of my first memories are going to Mertzon, Texas, where my mother grew up and watching the game on Friday night. In a small town, if you can walk you go to the high school game and support the hometown boys. It’s a place to visit with other people, pick up the latest gossip, sit outside and enjoy the fall breeze.

B_QtV-QW0AAUPmhAs I got older, I dreamed of being one of the girls who twirled the baton. I loved homecoming when everyone wore mums, and they crowned the king and queen at halftime.

Second Chance CowboyWhen I grew up, my school didn’t have a baton twirler. In high school, my team was the worst in the city. But one night magic happened. We beat the crosstown rivals, and the bleachers exploded with enthusiasm. I think it was the only game we won that year, but you would have thought we were on our way to the state championship.

I have watched the Dallas Cowboys since I was in junior high. Through the good years, the bad years, the Tom Landry years and now the Jerry Jones years. I remember when Texas Stadium was built and now Jerry’s palace. I even remember Don Meredith being the quarterback.

But it’s not just the Dallas Cowboys I watch. I would watch every game if I had the time. I love the sound of the players when the ball snaps and they grapple trying to get to the ball. I love it when a player catches a great throw and runs up the field for a touchdown by outrunning all the men chasing him. I love it when a good runner sneaks in-between all those hard bodies and makes it up the field. It’s just fun to watch.

It’s the only sport that I honestly follow, and after the Superbowl, I always feel a little depressed when the season is over.

In just a few weeks, the season begins and I can’t wait. So now it’s your time to confess. Is there a sport that you love, and follow? 

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Where Did You Get That Idea?

Posted at Jul 25, 2016 1:54 am in , , , , ,

People think writers have a burst of brilliance and then we sit down at the computer and the stories pour out.  When the idea for a book comes along and it’s a good one, you have to stop and think about Sylvia_Secrets300dpi360x576what company would want to publish this idea. Is there a market for it? How did these characters get into this predicament? How do I get them out? Is there enough conflict to last four hundred pages? Do I like these people enough to spend six months with them?

I admit, I’m an anal plotter and I spend a lot of time plotting a book. Then I spend doing research, picking out names, doing a storyboard before I ever sit down at the computer and put those first words on the page. I envy the ladies/gents who are pansters and just sit down and write.  I have blinking cursor syndrome when I try to write without my road map.

Once I have the road map, my first draft is down and dirty. I can usually write a first draft of a novella in one week.  Then I spend another two weeks cleaning up that down and dirty first draft and giving it to my critique partners to point out the errors of my thinking.  “Did you really mean for your hero to be such a jerk that no woman would want him?”Touch of Decadence

Then I let the manuscript percolate for awhile. Time away from a story always gives me a fresh perspective and when I come back, I make more changes. Then it’s off to the final editor who spends several days editing. More changes are made by me, then I return it to the editor for the final round. Then it’s off to the Beta Readers and eventually my review team.

This may sound like a tedious process for many writers/readers, but I love it. I listened to Sharon Sala at an RWA session on CD, the other day and she talked about being addicted to writing. I admit I’m so addicted that I need a twelve step program. I love to let the words pour out onto my computer screen. The movie plays in my head and my fingers translate the story onMontana-Brides-copyto paper.  The first draft is raw, but usually the ebb and flow of the scenes and the plot is there from my story board. And when something comes into the story that I didn’t expect, it’s bonus round and I’ve hit the writing jackpot.

I’ve been seriously writing for twenty years and have over thirty books written.  But I didn’t start out plotting this way and through the years, I’ve learned from many good teachers and critique partners. 

The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that we each have to find our own way to write a book and the process is never easy.

But if you never sit down at the computer/typewriter/notepad, you won’t finish a story. So however you write, do it daily.  Make writing a habit and soon you’ll get into a writing zone where your brilliant story will pour out onto the paper and readers will think you’re brilliant and it was so easy! And only you will know how difficult that plot was, how those characters drove
you crazy, and you can’t wait to start the process all over again.

So how much time do you devote to writing each day, week or month? How long does it take you to complete a project?

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Meet Brenda from Secrets, Lies, and Online Dating!

Posted at May 18, 2016 2:56 pm

Sylvia_Secrets300dpi360x576I promised to continue to share glimpses of my latest strong, independent women from Secrets, Lies, and Online Dating and here it is! This time I’d like to introduce Marianne’s mother, Brenda, the sassiest one of them all. Hope you enjoy!

A woman that Liz had often called an old hag had replaced her. Brenda clenched her fists, anger skipping along her spine and slamming into her gut. She’d lost her best friend, George. Did she have to lose her other friends as well?

“We’ve been friends since grade school,” Brenda said.

“Yes.”

“But, because I’m no longer part of a couple, I’m being excluded?” Brenda asked in disbelief, the realization leaving a bitter taste in her mouth.

Liz released a heavy sigh, rolled her eyes, and faced Brenda for the first time. “Not really excluded. At dinner parties, it’s always hard to sit a single. And I just can’t bring myself to place you with another man. I mean, you and George were together for so many years.”

“Yes, but I’m not dead, and I miss my friends,” Brenda said, her voice rising with the resentment that rose like a thermometer on a hot summer day.

“Brenda, it’s not the same anymore,” Liz said, growing agitated.

“So I should buy a gun and shoot myself,” Brenda responded, beyond annoyed at the insensitivity of the person she’d considered her best friend. “Or could it be, I shouldn’t inconvenience my friends by reminding them that their husbands might die and leave them alone?”

Liz’s body stiffened. Her shoulders drew together in a rigid manner, horror frozen on her face, and Brenda knew she’d connected with the truth. “That’s it. You’re afraid. If my George could die suddenly, so could Dean. You could be left alone with no one.”

“Dear, you’re overreacting and drawing attention,” Liz said, glancing around at the other women in the pool.

Brenda realized the ladies were gawking at them with interest, but she couldn’t seem to care. “Excuse me, I’m being kicked out of the married friends club.”

Be on the lookout for the next blog post introducing Katie!

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Introducing Touch of Decadence!

Posted at May 6, 2016 10:42 am

Touch of DecadenceShe needs a mate.

He needs a miracle.

The Fates think they need each other. 

Time is running out.  Bad-Date Daisy must mate with her one true love…or she could die.  Sure, she dreams of falling in love, getting married, and having children.  But for Daisy, there’s an expiration date on her fertility–and who wants to mate with the witch who turns men into onoentaurs, sending them on their way?

But Daisy’s spells don’t work on Orion Krazolz, who came to earth searching for a witch powerful enough to save his kingdom–and his family. After one encounter with Daisy,  Orion’s got other plans.  Now, it’s up to Orion to convince Daisy to follow him back to his planet–the same planet destroyed all other witches years ago.  Will Daisy risk her life to find a future with her one true love or were the Fates wrong all along about Daisy and Orion? 

 

This one was incredibly fun to write because, though I loved Bewitched as a kid, I’ve never before written a character who is a witch. This is also my first foray into Sci-Fi , and it was just thrilling to combine my signature lighthearted, funny style with this brand new genre. Writing this book was an escape I desperately needed, because during this time, my father was dying. Every day, when it was time to shift my focus from the real world into this fantastical world grounded with real emotion, real character quirks, and crazy adventures, I just became completely immersed. Orion has become one of my favorite heroes of all time. He’s got that balance between tough and nice that so many men struggle with. The humor throughout this book lifted my spirits, and the characters I created were made with so much love.

Touch-of-Frost-by-S.E.-Smith

Touch of Decadence is set in the Kindle World created by my good friend S.E. Smith which all began with Touch of Frost, the book that gave us a town in New Mexico populated by magical characters of all kinds. So for those of you who love a series, I promise you won’t lack for companion novels with this world! They can be read in any order (but you can start with mine if you insist. *wink, wink*).

My ebook can be found here 

and you can check out the others here and here

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Meet Marianne from Secrets, Lies, and Online Dating!

Posted at Mar 24, 2016 3:35 pm

Sylvia_Secrets300dpi750x1200

My newest book Secrets, Lies, and Online Dating will be released soon! I can’t wait for you to read it, and in the meantime I’d really like to introduce you to the three women that are the heart and soul of this novel.

So without further ado…I bring you your first look at Marianne, my brave heroine that turned everyone’s lives upside down by daring to let go of her safety net and search for the life she deserves.

 

Marianne Larson stood before the apartment door of her husband’s latest fling with his two suitcases in hand, determined, scared, and mad as hell. Birds twittered happy songs in the early spring afternoon in North Dallas, but it could have been a death dirge for all she cared.

Like an overcooked steak, she was so past done…she felt fried and burnt to a crisp. She had finally let go of the idea that marriage is forever. Each breath she took in felt like she had a fifty-pound bowling ball resting on her chest.

Marianne dropped the two bulging suitcases onto the concrete walk and waited for the constable to step out of sight. She shoved her blonde hair away from her face, yanked back her shoulders, and lifted her shaking fingers to the doorbell.

Her new life was about to begin.

 

Be on the lookout for the next two blog posts introducing Brenda and Katie!

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March First or Super Tuesday

Posted at Mar 1, 2016 1:30 am in , , , , , , ,

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While trying to decide what to write about, I went searching for something new and inspiring and uplifting that would make you walk away happy on this Super Tuesday. Here in Texas the television is full of political campaigns as people try to persuade us to vote for a candidate in thirty seconds or less. Frankly, I’m sick of the negativity and now mute my television or watch everything from my DVR. Enough.
 
So I went internet surfing looking to see what happens on March first that would make you smile.  There’s a website that I visit that tells me what happened on this day. Here is what I found about March first.  
 
Did you know that Justin Bieber was born this day in 1994. Yes, the Bieber is celebrating his twenty-second birthday today. Let’s hope he parties responsibly. Happy birthday Bieber! 
It’s National Pig day. So when you have that piece of bacon with breakfast, know that we’re celebrating pork today. Hmmm….it’s also Super Tuesday. Did they do that on purpose? Oink! Oink! 
 
Peanut butter day — I love peanut butter cookies, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Yes, I’m a fan of peanut butter.  I think I’ll have some cookies today to celebrate.
db533830-5280-4744-b9c6-cb09dd9ef551Yellowstone National Park was established in 1872. While I really enjoyed our trip there and seeing Old Faithful and all the other thousands of geysers, the drive from Texas will never be done again. It’s a beautiful park and please visit to see the spectacular scenery, but fly there.
 
It’s also the Peace Corps day. When I was a child, I wanted to join the Peace Corps. Then I grew up and discovered boys. Boys looked more interesting.
 
But my favorite thing about today is that it’s SHARE A SMILE DAY. Regardless of what is going on around you, the gloom of the television, the barrage of political buffoonery, the negativity of the people around you. Smile. Be that light that makes others feel good about themselves. Share some joy with the people around you. Laugh and smile and make other people long to be with you. 
 
Not only am I saying this to you, but also to remind myself. So many times I let life intrude and forget the joy to be had in living. It’s why I write romance.
 
So on this Super Tuesday share a smile and make everyone wonder what you’ve been up to and why you’re so happy. If they ask, say ‘oh, I won the Nigerian Lottery’.
 
And remember, it’s national pig, Justin Bieber birthday, celebrate peanut butter in the Yellowstone National Park with the Peace Corps and share a smile today. 
 
Here’s smiling at you! Tell me something happy that makes you smile.
 
 
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Sneak Peak into Faith

Posted at Feb 5, 2016 7:56 am in , , , , ,

Faith-1

 

Faith, the latest book in the Scandalous Suffragette series is coming out February 9th!

And to help you get as excited as I am, here’s an excerpt from one of my favorite tension-filled scenes.

Let me know what you think!

Faith Warren heard the clink of the jail cell doors and prepared herself for the storm about to erupt. Stepping into the waiting room, her father approached her, his face taut with barely concealed rage. He’d been angry with her before, but she knew there would be consequences for her actions today.

He took her by the arm. “Don’t say a word until we’re in the carriage.”

The door swung open and several reporters from the Boston Evening Traveler greeted them. “Miss Warren do you think your father’s bank treats women unfairly?”

“Miss Warren, why don’t you go to work in your father’s bank?”

“Mr. Warren, what do you think of your daughter’s involvement in the suffragette movement?”

Her father gripped her elbow almost dragging her to the waiting carriage. He didn’t say a word and she knew from his rigid body, he was the angriest she’d ever seen him. When they reached the buggy he opened the door and she crawled in, followed closely by her father.

The driver clicked to the horses and away they went, with the reporters laughing.

She sighed. She knew better than to say anything. Long ago, she’d learned that nothing embarrassing or revealing was discussed when a servant was nearby. She glanced out the window at the passing homes, knowing her activities with the ladies would be curtailed. Eight long months and then she could walk out of her family home and hopefully into the school she hoped to create for young girls.

The carriage turned and came to a halt in the prosperous neighborhood on Beacon Street. She could see reporters milling around the front of the house close to the street. The door opened and her father waited holding out his hand. She had no choice, though she wanted nothing more than to escape to her room and avoid the confrontation she knew awaited her.

The reporters were making a mad dash across the street. “Miss Warren, Miss Warren.”

Taking her elbow her father pulled her towards the steps leading into the house. Reluctantly she followed, feeling like she was walking to the gallows. Their maid opened the door. “Good evening, Mr. Warren, Miss Warren.”

“Good evening, Bertha,” her father said.

Faith nodded, but kept her lips closed, knowing what was expected of her.

Not releasing her elbow, he took her straight into his office and closed the door.

“Sit,” he commanded.

She took a seat in the chair across from him as he went behind his desk. The tick tock of the clock could be heard, but nothing else as they sat staring at one another.

“If your mother were alive, she’d be quite disappointed in you.”

Faith knew better than to argue, and she didn’t believe his statement. Her mother had been the one who encouraged her not to define her life by marriage, but rather to learn and grow. And she had in honor of her mother and then slowly for herself. But she knew better than to argue. It didn’t really matter what she said because her father didn’t listen.

“While I’m glad it wasn’t my bank you marched against, but still it’s my competitor.”

Next weekend they were slated to march against her father’s bank. And she’d known there was no way she could be seen protesting with the women, so she’d gone this weekend. But she wasn’t about to tell her father his bank was on the schedule.

“Attending college was the worst thing I’ve agreed to. Since you graduated, you’ve become involved in this women’s movement. You’ve embarrassed the family, my business, and we have reporters in front of our home. I should have married you off years ago.”

He sighed and gazed at her. “In your own best interests, I’m sending you out of town for a while until this scandal dies down.”

“No,” she cried knowing she wasn’t supposed to speak, but unable to stop the word from coming out of her mouth.

He frowned at her. “Silence.”

She couldn’t be sent away from Boston. She was working with the ladies to find a location for her to start a boarding school to teach young women. They were to look at property next week, and when she received her trust fund in February, she would have the school ready by next fall. There was much to prepare if she wanted to start on time.

“Your aunt told me that Cal Anderson is searching for a teacher for his granddaughter, Lilly Anderson. You know the little girl your cousin had with the rancher from Montana.”

Cousin Beth was the girl who should have been her father’s child. She was the one who enjoyed parties and shopping and dancing the night away. She was the one who flirted with every available man and had gotten caught in more than one compromising position. Until she’d eloped with the rancher from Montana shocking them all. A rancher hadn’t seemed the right fit for her.

“I have your train ticket to Sweetwater Springs, Montana. You’re leaving with your aunt Edwina in the morning.”

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Merry Christmas!

Posted at Dec 24, 2014 1:42 am in , ,

SantaMerry Christmas and I hope you are spending the day surrounded by the ones you love. May you receive everything you want for Christmas, but mainly may you receive love and peace.

Here is the last recipe and it was submitted by Sandy Pochapin. Christmas Cookie Recipe!

  • 1/4 cup light olive oil
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries 1 1/2 cups pistachio nuts

1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).

2. In a large bowl, mix together oil and sugar until well blended. Mix in the vanilla and almond extracts, then beat in the eggs. Combine flour, salt, and baking powder; gradually stir into egg mixture. Mix in cranberries and nuts by hand.

3. Divide dough in half. Form two logs (12×2 inches) on a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Dough may be sticky; wet hands with cool water to handle dough more easily.

4. Bake for 35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until logs are light brown. Remove from oven, and set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Reduce oven heat to 275 degrees F (135 degrees C).

5. Cut logs on diagonal into 3/4 inch thick slices. Lay on sides on parchment covered cookie sheet. Bake approximately 8 to 10 minutes, or until dry; cool.

Again, Merry Christmas to all of you! Thanks for participating by sending me your recipes. Winners will be announced on Monday, December 28th!

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Laura Albert’s Favorite Christmas Recipe

Posted at Dec 22, 2014 1:30 am in , , , ,

imagesToday’s recipe is from Laura Albert. This is the next to the last recipe. I’m going to do one more. Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

Cheese Moons

Ingredients: 1/2 cup Crisco/shortening 1/2 cup butter/margarine 1/2 250 gram container Imperial Cheese 1/2 tsp. salt 2 cups flour 1-2 tbsps. ice cold water 1 jar favourite jelly or jam (My personal fave is crabapple jelly but regular apple will work. Also nice are blackberry and strawberry jams.)   Method:  

1. Combine shortening, butter and cheese into a smooth dough. You may use a pastry blender to do this – it’ll help break up the cheese, which is quite hard – but the mix need not resemble pastry dough/sugar cookie crumble texture before adding other ingredients.  

2. Add flour and salt and stir to combine. Add water as needed to help bring the dough together, the amount for water is a guideline only.  

3. Chill dough for a 1/2 hour to 1 hour or until desired firmness. This dough rolls much easier cold. Divide dough into halves or thirds of a batch and work with one amount at a time while keeping the others cold in the fridge.  

4. Roll pieces of dough to approx. 1/8″ thick, thinner is better. Cut circles of dough with round cookie cutter.

5. Heat oven to 450 degrees F.Place spoonful of jelly/jam in center of circle and fold over and crimp edges to seal, thereby creating a half-moon shape. The amount of jelly in each depends on the size of the circle. A guideline is 1/8 – 1/4 tsp. in each moon

6. Place on baking sheet and bake for 7 minutes.

7. Remove from oven and transfer to cooling rack.  7

8. Repeat steps 3-7 as needed to use remaining dough.  

9. Store at room temperature in cookie jar or air-tight container.  

10. Enjoy!

Coming February 13th! Amazon

Dangerous final

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Rebecca Booth’s Favorite Recipe

Posted at Dec 19, 2014 1:30 am

Today’s recipe was submitted by Rebecca Booth! Enjoy. Christmas is less than a week away. Are you ready?

Easy Cherry Dessert Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 large can cherry pie filling
  • 1 box Jiffy yellow cake mix
  • ½ cup butter, melted

Directions:

Butter the bottom and sides of a 9×9 baking dish. Spread the pie filling over the bottom of the prepared dish. Evenly sprinkle the dry cake mix powder over the top of the pie filling. Drizzle with the melted butter. Bake at 350 degrees for ½ hour or until bubbly. Serve warm or at room temperature. Ice cream goes very well with this! 

Coming February 13th!

Dangerous final

 

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