It is winter. Cold, wet, mercurial weather in Hampton Roads, Virginia.
I am SAD. I mean I am afflicted by SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Not to the point of despair or inability to function normally. It's just that I begin to act like a bear. I eat more, sleep more and generally just want to do nothing much.
Today is a typical winter day here: wet and dreary. The perfect treatment of course is to cook. So on goes the crock pot with one of my favorites. Chicken Tortilla Soup.
Chicken Tortilla Soup (adapted from Becky Harder's recipe in Fix-It and Forget-It Lightly)
1. Combine everything in slow cooker except chips, cheese and sour cream.
2. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
3. Just before serving, cut (or shred) chicken into bite sized pieces.
4. Top as desired and enjoy.
I especially love that you can open and dump, turn on and walk away. Eight hours later, dinner's ready. If you use baked tortilla chips and low fat/low sodium ingredients, it's really good for you and your family.
Click here to visit Wiccan Haus and find out what snarky Sarka and serene Sage watch during the holidays.
Finally have all the chores done, a quiet room, and an empty house? Ready to sit down and put those great ideas and vivid images on paper (or keyboard) and then your brain seems locked up?
Here are some electronic keys to release your genius.
Available on Google Play store, Writing Prompts is an Android based application. This free app provides 500 prompts divided into categories like Fantasy, Crime and Animals. For an additional 99 cents, you can purchase 250 more prompts for Romantic and Travel categories.
For the iPhone or iPad enthusiast, try Writing Prompts by Writing.com. Available from the iTunes store for $1.99, this app features your choice of word, sketch or scene prompts. You can expand your choices with in-app purchases for 99 cents each.
Like simplicity? Just need to jar your brain into gear? Try oneword.com. One word appears and you have sixty seconds to write about it while a built in time counts down.
However you break the writer's block, just do it and get your story down!
Are you a plotter? Let's do it online!
Amazon, yes, that Amazon, has released an online suite of planning tools called Amazon Studios.
With Amazon Studios, you can turn your script into a storyboard using Amazon Storyteller. You can plot a movie or TV show (or book) using Amazon Storybuilder. You can even find opportunities to submit your work for cash. It's all free and online, accessible using your established Amazon username and password. Of course, if you don't shop with Amazon, you can create a free username and password and get started.
Being a writer, though, I look at these tools through an author's eyes. I've discovered that I need to be a hybrid plotter/pantser and need a resource that the kids won't rip off the wall (i.e. sticky notes).
Start a new board and you will be prompted for the title (which you can change later) and an optional blurb. Here is a sample storyboard I created with the first three scenes of my story. You add cards easily by clicking the card icon with the plus sign in front of or after the card you're currently working on. You can add categories, or in this case, acts, with the item that looks like cellophane tape and organize the cards underneath. On each card, you can add images, though you must click on them to see them full size.
There's also a hidden drawer where you can place cards. Random facts, ideas, scenes you aren't ready for but wouldn't get out of your head. This is the place for them. To access the drawer, click the tab directly under your project's name. You can see cards, notes and images and templates. For you who are writing the next great screenplay, these templates are a wonderful resource.
As this is brand new and in beta testing, there are sure to be snags and improvements along the way. Try it out and let me know what you think!
My Christmas present came early in the form of the cover for my Wiccan Haus novella.
A holistic retreat for rest and rehabilitation, Wiccan Haus caters to both humans and Paranormals. While the staff institutes safeguards to keep the Para's existence secret and the humans puncture free-vampires are welcomed- guests have a way of crossing the lines.
In Guarding His Heart, Trevor Greene is one such Paranormal who uses his special abilities to protect a little boy. After the boy's school is attacked, Trevor blames himself for not preventing it. He dispatches the assailant but not before receiving a grave injury.
Trevor finds healing for his wounds with the Rowan siblings at Wiccan Haus. Will he find a woman to soothe his soul and accept all that he is?
13 Days of Christmas
Musa Publishing brings you good cheer starting today, December 2nd, 2013. A different short story each day tempts your senses and fulfills your desires, all in a tiny sparkling package.
Visit and partake of the hot and sweet. Thirteen is a very lucky number indeed.
Shifters & Spice (e-book 99 cents!)
Romance writer. Paranormal and contemporary. Mother of two and wife of perfect husband. Love the environment, travel and reading.
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