Posts tagged with: writing life

A Typical Day?

In April 2014, Barbara Vey had a reader luncheon in Milwaukee, WI.  Were you there?  I know Jeanne Adams was.

logoAnyway, the night before the official luncheon day, Barbara invited all the authors to the stage where she asked them one by one a question she had specifically prepared for that person. Mine was “what is your typical writing day ” or something similiar. My mind went blank. I’m standing on a stage in front of all these readers and said… “I don’t have a typical day.”

It brought down the house, but got me thinking. Why not? What is my typical work day, and why is it so disorganized? I wish, wish, wish that when I was younger I was more disciplined about writing at a set number of hours at a set time, and that my writing time could not be violated by other priorities. Yeah, right.  :-)

Any one who works out of their house knows that the world assumes you aren’t working if you’re home. Kids automatically assume their needs come first. Husbands assume that you’re so efficient that their requests won’t make a dent in your productivity. Ha-ha-ha!

I’ve found that I work best on my screened in porch outside surrounded by nature. I can easily slip into my fictional world there. This is wonderful…unless you live in Columbus, Ohio where cloudy, cold, desolate days rule six months out of the year. So I try to work by a window. It’s not the same but it helps. I’ve told my husband we need to relocate to a warm sunny environment so I can write more. We’ll have to see it that happens. (I’m not holding my breath).Palm tree 1

I’ve also discovered that I’m most productive when I’m forced to get up at a set time because someone is coming to the house to do some sort of work. Right now I have four men downstairs pulling down old wallpaper. Maybe this will be a great writing week! Normally, I’m up till 2 am and so sleep late in the morning. I’m watching to see if working earlier in the day results in more pages written.

To my surprise, I realized I’m highly productive away from home, even if I’m in a noisy environment like an airport. Just put on the earphones and I’m writing away. I discovered this when I had to work at Panera while waiting to pick up my son several times a week. The story just unfolded. Of course, I could watch my favorite tv shows, but I was productive. I need to take advantage of that more often.

So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m an accountant which makes me sort of anal anyway. I’m going to keep track of when I write, under what conditions, and then maybe you can help me create a template for a productive writing day. We can do this! I’m excited.

I’ll be back in Milwaukee this April for Barbara Vey’s luncheon. I’ll be ready for the work schedule question. Lord help me if she asks something else. 😛

Romance – It’s a Thing

Today, I’d like to introduce you to a friend from back in my prepublished days.  Back then, we despaired of ever being published.  Now, we’re both published by the same publisher.  Very Cool.  Here’s Erika Kelly with her new debut novel, You Really Got Me.  (And I defy you to read the blog without thinking of those opening five chords and the chorus of the Kinks record by the same name :) )

Thank you, Donna, and the rest of the Romance Bandits, for inviting me to share my release day with your readers! This is a momentous day for me, and I’m so happy to be here with all of you!

Erika Kelly Bio picIn sixth grade Mr. Augenblick wrote on my paper, Do you know what plagiarism is?

The comment gave me a chill. I actually didn’t know about plagiarism. I’d simply answered a homework question with text copied from my grandmother’s encyclopedia. Frankly, I didn’t know much about anything. My brother and I grew up wild on the streets of West Los Angeles. At any point you could find us on the railroad tracks that separated Little and Big Santa Monica Boulevards. We’d climb the A-frame roof of the Century House restaurant in Century City and hang out until the security guards chased us away.

That comment was a game-changer. Once my grandmother saw it, I became her project. Suddenly, my brother and I were attending children’s concerts at UCLA—the classical music series. Gone were the days of filching coins from the paper change cup in the kitchen to buy cheeseburgers at McDonald’s, and in came my grandma’s buckwheat pancakes, kefir, and anything else found at Lindberg Nutrition store.

And, let me tell you, I flowered under her tutelage. She’d sit with me on the couch and read poems and discuss philosophy. Starting with Pamela by Samuel Richardson, moving on to Marjorie Morningstar by Herman Wouk, I gorged on the books lining her hallway. Age-appropriate or not, I read them all.Erika Kelly book cover

Meanwhile, I had a secret. Every night I would put myself to bed with my dream sets. You know how kids fight their bed times? Not me. I eagerly pulled on my Lanz nightgown and dove under the covers so I could get back to my latest story. They always involved a boy. And me. And lots of yearning. But it never occurred to me to share my stories with anyone because I DIDN’T KNOW ROMANCE WAS A THING.

Fast forward to my early twenties. After four years of studying both volumes of The Norton Anthology of English Literature, I graduated college and got my first grown-up job. On weekends, my friend and I would take long hikes, and I’d make up stories about the strange sights we’d find along the way. One day she said, You should write a book.

She had no idea the impact of her suggestion. Basically, all the unfocused energy in that wild spirit of mine came to heel with those five simple words. From that moment on, I’d found my calling. And I wrote.

But I DIDN’T KNOW ROMANCE WAS A THING, so I didn’t write the stories in my head. Instead, I wrote time travel and adventure screenplays. I wrote book after book, unaware of genre or marketability. It wasn’t until years later when an editor wrote on my manuscript, Does this author know she writes romance? that I went to the bookstore and found a whole section devoted to the stories I told in my head each night. Holy cow—ROMANCE WAS A THING!

It took a lot of reading—gobbling up books like Rachel Gibson’s Truly Madly Yours, Susan Elizabeth Phillip’s It Had to Be You, and Jenny Crusie’s Fast Women—and countless manuscripts to figure out I was writing a hybrid of women’s fiction and romance. Two different tones in one book didn’t work. But I kept writing, giving the stories in my head better, more marketable plots. Turning them into something I thought someone would want to read. Yeah, still not getting that anyone would ever want to read my stories.

Fast forward to January 2013. I’d written for so long, had piles of rejection letters, and I just wanted writing to be fun again.  Forget the market, forget pleasing agents and editors, I just wanted to write one of my dream sets. And so I did. In three weeks, I wrote a 110,000-word book. I loved it more than anything I’d ever written. Seven months later I sold it.

Here’s the blurb to YOU REALLY GOT ME

The first irresistible novel in a hot new series about a rock star on his way up—and the woman he wants to take all the way…

Emmie Valencia has what it takes to be the music industry’s hottest band manager. She just needs to prove it. Determined to discover a killer new band, Emmie is ready to make her move. First stop: Austin, Texas.

As a sizzling-hot lead singer, Slater Vaughn has no trouble raising heart rates—but his band’s been flat-lining for years. When Emmie, his bandmate’s sister, crashes with them in exchange for some free management, her industry know-how lands them a spot in the biggest music festival in Texas. But it isn’t just her business acumen that catches Slater’s attention. Emmie is sexy and warm, and—for the first time in his life—he wants more.

But as irresistible as Slater is, Emmie is done with musicians. In her experience, a man can’t be a rock star and someone to trust with your heart—but Slater is determined to show her he’s both.

I’m a late bloomer, no doubt. But there’s nothing like finding your calling. Have you found yours? Was it a long process to get there or did you always know what you wanted to do with your life? I’d love to give away signed copies of YOU REALLY GOT ME to two people who share their stories!

Bouchercon Mystery Conference

A High-End Finish by Kate CarlisleEarlier this month, I attended Bouchercon – Murder at the Beach, a conference for mystery writers and readers to mingle and plot murder.

Of the fictional variety, of course.

As far as I know.

The conference was especially exciting because the night before it started, I found out that my latest book, A HIGH-END FINISH, had debuted on the New York Times mass market paperback bestsellers list at #9! And my good friend Jenn McKinlay’s book debuted at #8, so we were bestselling besties all weekend. Jenn suggested we get tattoos to commemorate the occasion. As you can see, Edgar Allan Poe disapproved. He’s surprisingly judgmental.

Kate Carlisle and Jenn McKinlay with fake tattoos

Having written both mysteries and romances, I’ve attended conferences for both genres, and once again, I was struck by the differences between them. Such as:

The conference theme

Bouchercon was Murder at the Beach. If it had been a romance conference, it would’ve been something like Love at the Beach or Love in the Afternoon or Let’s Roll in the Sand.

Bouchercon 2014 program cover

The pitch of the conference buzz

Romance conferences are attended almost entirely by women, but mystery conferences are more evenly split, which means that the buzz of conversation has a much lower pitch.

Books in the book room

It was fun to see so many of my books in the book room! It was interesting, skimming all the mystery titles in there. The cozy mysteries, such as the books I write, all have great titles based on the theme of the series. Romance titles are often clever, too, but here’s the difference—I didn’t see a single Duke in the book room at Bouchercon. (Hmm… wouldn’t that be a great mystery series, following a Duke detective through Victorian England?)

Bouchercon Book Room

Workshop topics

I got to see a very cool cadaver dog demo. There were workshops on murder methods and investigation techniques and forensics. Come to think of it, I could imagine all of those workshops taking place at a romance conference, too. One of the things I love best about romance novels is that they embrace every other book genre. There’s a romance for everyone!

I was the moderator of a panel on culinary mysteries. Such fun! Here’s a selfie I took, and then another picture of the exact same moment, taken by Dru Ann of Dru’s Book Musing, who was in the audience. Just goes to show… everything is a matter of perspective!

Mystery author selfie

 

Mystery author selfie

All in all, it was a great time! The best thing that romance and mystery conferences have in common is the chance to see my writer friends and to meet readers. That, and the fact that after a hectic few days, I get to hole up at home again and dive back into my story.

I always learn something at conferences like this. Have you ever been to a big conference of any sort? What did you learn that you still think about today?

By the way, during the month of December, I’m going to give away a paperback every day. Sign up for my mailing list at KateCarlisle.com so you don’t miss out on 31 chances to win!

Launch Party and Giveaway… KateCarlisle.com


Here in the Lair, launch parties are usually for book releases, but today we’re celebrating the launch of my fabulous new website design! And to add to the party atmosphere, I’m giving away an autographed copy of THE BOOK STOPS HERE.

Whoop! Whoop!

An author’s website is a Very Big Deal. www.KateCarlisle.com is my home on the web. It must accurately represent me and my books. Every word, every image, every color sends a message to readers, whether they realize it or not. And so my goal is to make sure that the message is true, that the expectation my website sets is the expectation that will be fulfilled when a reader tries one of my books for the first time.


It was complicated before because I write both mystery and romance, but now it’s even mooore complicated because with November’s release of A HIGH-END FINISH, I’ll have two ongoing mystery series… plus, we can’t forget about my romances! I will always have a deep and abiding love for romance!

Before, on my mystery site, I could tell my webmaster to give it a bookish look, to represent the Bibliophile Mysteries and Brooklyn Wainwright’s profession as a bookbinder. But now I need the website to also represent the Fixer-Upper Mysteries. Shannon Hammer restores Victorian houses in her hometown, Lighthouse Cove. Two different heroines. Two different settings—one a city, one a small town. Two different occupations.

One overwhelmed writer!

I have a wonderful web designer, Xuni Designs, who specializes in author websites. Maddee and Jen have become masters at helping authors define what they want. With a detailed questionnaire and thorough instructions about gathering images, they helped me identify the tone and the substance that I wanted my website to convey. Smart, funny mysteries about a bookbinder. Smart, funny mysteries about a home renovation expert.

Without further ado, I invite (implore) you to visit www.KateCarlisle.com right now.

Kate Carlisle with thank you card

To enter for a chance to win an autographed copy of THE BOOK STOPS HERE, respond to this in a comment below:

Name one thing on my website, www.katecarlisle.com, that gives you the impression of either “Smart” or “Funny.” Let’s make a game of this—try to avoid repeating what someone else has already said. While you’re there, be sure to enter my super fabulous Road Trip Giveaway in the Secret Room!

Kate Carlisle on Book Tour

Kate Carlisle on Shelf Pleasure RadioNote: At 7:00 pm Eastern/4 pm Pacific today (Wednesday, June 25), I’m being interviewed for Shelf Pleasure, a radio show by book lovers, for book lovers. To listen live, go to LATalkRadio.com and click “Listen Live!” in the left-hand column. Archived shows are available to play anytime on the LA Talk Radio show page or for download on iTunes under the podcast section or through Stitcher.

 

I’m writing this from the road. It’s Saturday, June 21. I did a signing yesterday at Clues Unlimited in Tucson, today at the Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Phoenix, and now we’re getting ready to catch a plane home. The perfect time to catch up with my Banditas, I thought.

Kate Carlisle signing The Book Stops Here

I’m just wrapping up my book tour for THE BOOK STOPS HERE, my latest Bibliophile Mystery. Yesterday’s signing was with fellow mystery writers Jenn McKinlay and Hannah Dennison. Hannah and I have done so many signings together over the past few weeks that we can (and do) finish each other’s sentences. The addition of Jenn yesterday was great because Jenn always brings cupcakes. Plus, a fabulous reader named Jennifer brought us all slushies. Soooooo welcome in that Arizona heat! (From left to right: me, Hannah Dennison, Jenn McKinlay.)

 

 Kate Carlisle, Hannah Dennison, Jenn McKinlay with slushies

 

Reader Jane with mystery author Kate CarlisleBook tours are both fun and exhausting. The fun part comes during the signing itself, when we get to meet readers who love our books. What a natural high! Communication is a two-way street, but to novelists, writing can feel very solitary until we have the opportunity to talk to people our books have entertained. I got a real kick out of the necklace made by reader Jane, featuring the covers of THE BOOK STOPS HERE and of THE SECRET GARDEN. (The Secret Garden is the rare book at the center of the mystery in THE BOOK STOPS HERE.)

 

Prior to coming to Arizona, we were at Murder by the Book in Houston. (I heart mystery bookstores!) We got some video that I thought you might enjoy. You’ll find a few more short videos of both me and Hannah at www.youtube.com/katecarlislebooks.

 

 

Have you ever gone to a book signing? Who was the author, and what memory stands out for you about the event? (For the authors in the group, share a funny or touching story from one of your book signings!)

Writers in Movies

movie 1I was thinking the other day how often writers feature in movies and how much that celluloid image had affected my view of what a writer did when I was growing up wanting to be (you guessed it) a writer.

Luckily for everyone who knew me, I only saw THE SHINING very late when it was part of a special cinema release to mark the Wartner Brothers 75th anniversary. Such a scary movie. I think even at my most frustrated, I’m nowhere near as terrifying as Jack in that film!

Although I’ve certainly felt his fear of the blank page. Never to the point of wanting to chop up the neighbors, thank goodness!

There are a couple of things writers in movies always do which I NEVER do.

The first is drink like fishes as they’re writing. I’m sure there are writers who do/have. William Faulkner definitely enjoyed a tipple, as did Hemingway. Whether they drank as they wrote or after they’d done their immortal prose for the day, I’m not sure. Perhaps a Bandita or Bandita buddy knows.

 I have tried drinking while I write. While I’m writing, it’s wonderful – I’m convinced that I’m writing a masterpiece. And every extra glass adds to the glow. Sadly when I read the pages over when I’m sober, masterpiece isn’t the first word that springs to mind. I definitely enjoy a glass of wine or two, but not while I’m in the process of trying to wrestle a story into submission.

movie 5Another thing that writers in movies do is throw away a lot of perfectly usable paper. You know the scene. Tormented young man (they’re usually men!) sits down at a typewriter or with his quill pen and writes three words. Stares at them with a tortured expression. Sighs as if the world is out to get him. Then he rips out the sheet, screws up the paper and throws it on the ground. Even if there was a bin in the room, he misses it! The great artist is frustrated that he can’t get it right first time. But he persists!

Scene cuts away to the next morning/week/year, and the writer’s garret looks like it’s been hit by a paper snowstorm, but on the desk there is a chapter/novel/series finished. All those trees clearly didn’t die in vain. Throwing out the bad stuff meant that the good stuff lived to become a bestseller (they almost invariably do in these movies).

I’d like to say that I don’t do this because I’m too environmentally conscious. However I have a nasty feeling that it’s just because I’m too stingy to waste paper. A bit of crossing out and you’re ready to go again. A first draft is going to involve a lot of crossing out anyway.

Of course, now that we all write on computer, these dramatic if wasteful scenes are rather old hat. A movie where the author swears and hits the delete button several times lacks emotional punch, sadly.

movie 2Something else that always amuses me when writers turn up in movies or TV shows is that usually they’re fairly glamorous creatures. I’m thinking of the women in particular here. I remember a NEW TRICKS (a BBC crime series) where the investigating team go to interview a writer about a murder and she looks all dressed up and ready to accept an Oscar.

I’m sure there are writers who dress up when they write, just as I’m sure there’s a Tooth Fairy. But most of us look VERY shabby when we write.

I mean, come on, one of the advantages of this gig is that we get to wear our pajamas to work. And when I’m not in my pajamas, I’m in shorts and t-shirt or the winter equivalent. If you don’t believe how shabby I look when I’m on deadline, just ask my poor postman who is forced to face the horror that is me on a writing binge at the door on a regular basis.

Some of my favorite movies feature writers. I have a theory that so many movies feature writers because they’re written by writers. The whole ‘write what you know’ mantra at work.

What’s interesting is that movies about writing rarely give much film time to what is the largest part of a writer’s life. Sitting alone, scribbling or staring into space – or doing housework to avoid sitting alone, scribbling.

Writers write.

And sadly that’s not very cinematic. Or exciting. Or visually compelling.

movie 4Most of us don’t have the time to romance Robert Redford or murder people (probably a good thing) or save our sisters from Colombian drug smugglers.

Speaking of Colombian drug smugglers, my favorite movie about a writer actually does get a lot of it write. Uh, right. At least for a hardworking romance writer! Although a dashing adventurer is yet to bowl up my street on a yacht to sweep me to a life of adventure and love. Although having said that, my friend Helene Young lives with her wonderful, dashing husband on a yacht and has a very exciting life as a commercial pilot so perhaps the end of this film isn’t complete fantasy after all!

Of course I’m talking about ROMANCING THE STONE.

Please tell me you love this movie too!

I love how mousy Joan Wilder discovers her inner wild woman and defeats the bad guys and demonstrates the courage to seize her chance at love. I love how we get hints at the start that mousy Joan Wilder has a wonderful inner life and that really she’s very far from mousy in her soul. The seeds of the strong, dynamic woman she becomes are always there inside her, but expressed through her imaginary characters rather than her actual life.

movie 3The first time I saw this film in 1984 when it came out, I was many years from being published although I’d written a full manuscript and a stack of bits and pieces. Enough so that the opening scene where Joan is crying her eyes out and blowing her nose on post-it notes rang a loud bell. And I still love the bit where she opens a can of salmon and gives it to the cat as her only real way of celebrating writing the end on a manuscript. Sigh!

I think another favorite of mine is BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S, although George Peppard in that is more an ex-writer than a writer. Too much of that drinking while he wrote (and while he wasn’t writing!), I think!

So do you like movies about writers? Do you have a favorite?  Have you ever seen anything that struck you as just plain silly in a movie about a writer?

Have you seen any of the movies I’ve used as examples today? They’re all pretty good if you haven’t!

 

 

Breakfast Recipe Exchange

Blog Widget

Let’s talk bonus content! I’m working on my website update for 2014. That is to say, I’m writing a lot of notes, which my fabulous webmaster will turn into an actual update. I’ve decided that I want to add a lot more bonus content for my readers, things like games and recipes and interactive book excerpt widgets, like this one for SECOND-CHANCE SEDUCTION, which will be out next month from Harlequin Desire.

I also thought it would be fun to include pictures of things from my books. I have a Pinterest board for each book (www.pinterest.com/booksbykate), so I’ve asked my webmaster to post a Pinterest widget on each book page, too, like this one. Isn’t this just the coolest thing?!

pinterest-acc 

Thing is, I’m not a natural cook. I try, I really do, but I just don’t have the knack. Still, I think if you keep trying different combinations, eventually you’ll come up with something delicious. (After discarding lots of not-so-delicious combinations.) Which is just what happened when I threw together this Apple-Bacon French Toast Casserole. It turned out really delicious, even with the surprise ingredient I threw in! And it looks pretty, too. If you make it, please email me via my website to let me know what you thought.

 

Kate Carlisle’s Apple-Bacon French Toast Casserole

apple-bacon-french-toast-web1 baguette, torn into 1-inch chunks
2 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 apple, cut into ¼-inch chunks
4 oz Monterrey Jack cheese, cut into ¼-inch chunks
6 eggs
¼ C maple syrup
¼ C apple cider

Place the chunks of bread, apple, cheese, and bacon in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, syrup, and cider. Pour over the bread mixture. Stir to soak bread thoroughly. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan, add the egg mixture, cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the casserole until cooked through, and bread on top is golden brown, about 25-30 minutes. Serve with bacon and additional syrup. ‘Cause you know, you can never have too much bacon or too much syrup!

Okay, it’s your turn! Share a favorite breakfast recipe. Oh, and please do let me know what kind of “extras” you enjoy seeing on authors’ websites.

Quick Five: Favorite First Lines

Frustrated woman at computerI’ve been staring at a blank screen a lot lately. It happens whenever I’m trying to start a new book. That first line is key, and it’s disconcerting to calculate how much time it takes me to get it right. One thing I like to do during this phase of the book is study other authors and their first lines. Some of them make me laugh. Others hit me right in the heart. If nothing else, reading the first lines of other authors’ books stirs up my creative juices, and that can’t hurt.

Here are five of my favorites in no particular order. You might not find these lines in a book of “Famous First Lines,” but I found them memorable and evocative. And just to be friendly, I included one of my own. :-)

A Rake's Midnight Kiss1. “The whole world knows you for a slut, Madam.” – A Rake’s Midnight Kiss, by Anna Campbell.

2. If my life were a book, I would have masking tape holding my hinges together. – If Books Could Kill, by Kate Carlisle.

3. My wound is geography. – The Prince of Tides, by Pat Conroy.

If Books Could Kill4. Phoebe Summerville outraged everyone by bringing a French poodle and a Hungarian lover to her father’s funeral. – It Had To Be You, by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

5. “Your latest mistress is causing a sensation back in London, Masters.” – Mistress, by Amanda Quick.

What are some of your favorite first lines?

Yummy! Yummy! Yummy!

AnnaCookies2Are you a baker?

I’m not quite sure what it says about where my head is at the moment, but I seem to be on a baking jag. I’d say I’m nesting, but I can’t see why that would be the case!

Before I moved up to the Sunshine Coast, I lived in Sydney and I used to take in lots of stuff I cooked to share with the people I worked with. I was a very popular girl on those particular days! Over these last years, I seem to have got out of the habit.

Then somewhere in the last six months, I started baking again!

So far, it’s only a couple of old favorites so I think I need to extend my repertoire a little. But it’s so satisfying to stick some ingredients in a bowl, do a bit of mixing, do a bit of baking, and then voila, I have delicious morsels to share with friends.

CookiesMainly I make cookies – what we call biscuits down here. I tried cakes years ago but never had much luck. Maybe I should have another go. My mum was a fabulous cook and her sponge cakes could have floated away, they were so light. Her rich chocolate cake was a masterpiece of decadent eating pleasure!

Anyway, back to my current baking. Last weekend was no exception. There I was slaving over a hot stove on Saturday morning. I had a visitor coming for lunch and I was going to a get-together on Sunday night.

When I have to cater for lots of people, I do chocolate chip cookies as the recipe makes about 60 biscuits. Here’s a picture of the finished products. They were VERY well received. Pardon my boasting, but the host of the bigger party said they were the greatest cookies he’d ever had. I wouldn’t go quite that far, but I’ve got to say they really turned out well this time. Weird how sometimes everything just comes together right when you cook!

 SwansThat’s another nice thing about being on a baking jag – people are DEFINITELY happy to see me arrive these days!

See what I mean about instant gratification?

And the house smells like heaven when I bake. I particularly love the smell of vanilla. I bet the Garden of Eden smelled of vanilla essence!

Anyway, going back to the chocolate chip cookie saga. It was a perfect day on Saturday and the black swans were on the lake at the bottom of my  garden. I had a lovely morning tea outside with a couple of warm cookies, a big cup of tea and a couple of curious swans to say hello.

They’re such elegant creatures, aren’t they? Always feel lucky when I see them – they’re not always around, although just at the moment we’ve got up to a dozen at one time.

sliceI think my most popular creation is my variation on the Women’s Weekly recipe for chocolate slice (don’t ask for it – it’s a sworn secret!). It’s VERY chocolatey and occasionally I’ll do it as Christmas presents. The hardest part (pun originally not intended!) is cutting it – one Christmas I ended up with calluses on my fingers from pushing the knife through the base!

I only realized when I put this picture up on Facebook that slice seems to be an Australian term.

Slice looks like brownies, but it’s a different texture – I think of brownies as more like a rich cake whereas this is a crunchy biscuit base with a rich chocolate fudge icing on top. Slices are very popular here so I was surprised when I had international people querying the term.

Anyway, you’ve now seen pictures of my regular productions – chocolate slice, cherry nut biscuits and the chocolate chip cookies. I’ve promised myself that next time I cook, it will be something I haven’t done before. A girl needs to keep fresh, yanno!

And hey, if you’re passing, call in for a cuppa and a cookie!

THH low resSpeaking of little morsels of (hopefully) deliciousness, don’t miss my Halloween special on my Regency Ghost Romance, THESE HAUNTED HEARTS. Two love stories, an ancient Chinese curse, a bit of nooky, a stately home, and lots of emotion.

For October only, THESE HAUNTED HEARTS is available at 99 cents.

Definitely a treat and no tricks involved! If you click on the cover, it will take you straight to the Amazon link. We like to make things easy for you here in the lair.

You can read an excerpt and the blurb here: http://annacampbell.info/hauntedhearts.html

So are you a baker? What’s your favorite recipe? Do you have any special memories tied up with baking?

BanditBootyBecause I can’t spirit you all across to my place in Australia for afternoon tea, I thought I’d give someone a nice bit of Halloween reading instead. One lucky commenter today wins a download of THESE HAUNTED HEARTS! Good luck!

The Distraction of No Distractions

Writing is hard. It’s so much easier not to write, and to complain about the distractions that prevent you from writing. Except… recently, I’ve noticed a very strange phenomenon. The lack of distractions can be very distracting! I wish all the distractions would go away, but when they do…

“The house is too quiet,” I think. “Something must be wrong.”

I can’t continue writing until after I investigate. So I check out the bedroom and discover that the bed needs to be made. Or it was made but the pillow is lumpy, and how can I keep writing when a pillow in the other room is lumpy?

Then I check out the kitchen and discover food in the fridge that, really, belongs in my belly. So I eat it. And grab something to drink. And I rearrange the items on the counter because how I can keep writing when the salt shaker is where the pepper shaker should be?

I just ate, and I can’t write with a dirty mouth, so I brush my teeth. While I’m in the bathroom, I clean the toilet because – everybody say it with me now – how can I keep writing when the toilet needs cleaning?

I love writing, I swear I do. But there is something addictive about not writing. You get a little fix of not writing, and you want more, more, more! (Or would that be less, less, less?) It’s intoxicating! And this addictive quality is stronger when one is under deadline stress. Like all addictions, it eventually leads to rock bottom, when you’re utterly overcome with panic as you realize that your deadline is NEXT WEEK and not writing has led you down a dark and dangerous path.

Yep. Next week the next Bibliophile Mystery is due to my editor.

Moral of the story? Just say no to not writing!

Write.

What nonsense distracts you from the important things you should be doing?

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