The tradition of making New Years resolutions goes back millennia. Romans and Babylonians pledged to their gods to make better choices and live better. In present times, people make resolutions to improve eating habits, exercise more, or stop bad habits.
So basically, humankind has been breaking resolutions for all time.
A long time ago, I decided to make a simple resolution: do something new each year. Wouldn't have to be big, grand or amazing. Just new. It was easy to keep and required little persistence. Here are a few of my "accomplishments": diving with a shark (wreck dive), ride a camel, swim with a dolphin, get an auric reading.
This year, however, I will publish a second book in the Wiccan Haus series with Musa Publishing. I plan to finish the first in my Ghost Story trilogy (not the final name, but I kind of wait and let it name itself) as well as self-publish a military novella with CreateSpace. This will truly be my new experience. I may like having all the responsibility as well as all the creative power or I might think it's too much but I won't know until I try. Somehow I will fit all this in with a full time job, family of two preteen daughters and lovely husband, along with all the required responsibilities of kids' activities and adult meetings. Not to mention a summer vacation to Florida! So I guess my kids' firsts will be snorkeling on America's coral reefs at John Pennekamp Park.
What will you do in 2015?
By the way, hop on over to Katie O'Connor's blog to check out her take on 2015.
Coq au vin
This is a super easy, super yummy crock pot recipe that even my picky eater loves! Even begs me to make.
1. Heat olive oil over medium heat and brown chicken pieces. Drain and place in crock. Brown onion and garlic in remaining oil, then add wine and bring to boil.
2. Pour over chicken, scraping pan to get all the brown bits from the bottom. Add carrots and mushrooms, if desired.
3. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Chicken will be tender and fall right off the bone!
4. Serve over hot cooked rice. (I like to remove the chicken to a platter and add the rice to the juices in the pot, cover and cook.)
So this post is based on my own, and my DH recent, experience with computers. I've been researching laptops and tablets to replace the one I currently compose on and fear is on its last legs. And since hubby's work computer crashed, without his backing up anything might I add, I am recommending, pleading really, that you regularly back up your files.
The first way is with a flash drive. Either drag your files to the flash drive icon or use your computer's backup program to save all the files on your desktop and in your documents file.
Second way is an online backup program like Carbonite, with plans that start at $60.
Third, try a web-based drive like Dropbox or Google Drive. Not automatic but free and online so if your computer crashes or you use multiple devices, you can always access your files!
Whatever you choose, whichever mode is right for you, back it up!
This week's prompt from Sarah Hegger is pretty simple: All I want for Christmas...
Welcome to those popping over from Gemma Brocato's blog (I'm sure you loved her post!) and all those coming out of curiosity from Facebook or Twitter. First, let me wish you and yours a fabulous holiday, whether it's Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or the Winter Solstice.
All I want for Christmas...
All I truly want for Christmas is for everyone to live by the Golden Rule. There would be no human trafficking, no homicide, no genocide, no animal cruelty, no rape, no sexual assault, no bullying, There"s enough strife in the world without adding to another person's troubles.
Hop on over to discover what super hot and smoking Xio Axelrod wants for Christmas.
Creole Black Beans 'n' Sausage Recipe
adapted from Taste of Home
So this isn't exactly my Sunday dinner this week. I tend to cook in the Crock Pot during the week because then I have leftovers and I already know what's for dinner after a long day at work. I made this Thursday and it made enough for a helping and a half for two meals (over rice) for 4 people.
Prep time: 25 minutes (a lie, it always take me longer but maybe you're a better sous chef than I am)
Cook Time: 6 hours on low
2 lbs. smoked sausage, cut into 1-inch slices (I use polska kielbasa, but that's just what I like)
3 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1-1/2 cups chopped onions
1-1/2 cups chopped celery
1-1/2 cups chopped green peppers
1 cup water
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsps. dried thyme
1 tsp. chicken bouillon granules
1 tsp. white pepper (didn't have any, used black and it worked fine!)
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 bay leaves
Hot cooked rice
1. In a large skillet, brown sausage and drain. Transfer to 5 qt. slow cooker. Stir in everything but hot cooked rice (that's to use to serve the beans and sausage over).
2. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until vegetables are tender. Discard bay leaves. Serve with rice.
Yield: 10 servings
Want to stir interest in your latest book? Make a trailer!
For those with few skills but plenty of enthusiasm, try AndroVid. It's really simple to use and free if you can deal with ads. There are various ways to jazz up your video: combine short clips, add text, add a soundtrack. Clear and simple controls, it's great for novice users.
Got an Apple device? iMovie is super easy to use, though customizing the trailer templates is not. If you like the templates, great. If you like one well enough, you can start in the trailer template and convert the project to a movie to get greater control over fonts and music tracks.
Whatever you choose, take a few hours, invest the time and make a trailer! Give your readers (or potential readers) a glimpse of what your epic tale is about.
From Carrie Elks this week:
We all love a bit of romance at Christmastime! Tell us about your favorite Christmas story—it could be a book, a movie or a true-life romance. What makes it so memorable?
I'm sure you've enjoyed Gemma Brocato's story. If you missed her, be sure to go back to sample her fabulous writing.
My favorite Christmas story is quite famous: White Christmas. I adore the vintage, old fashioned charm of the film and the patriotic message to always support our troops, active or retired. I've always had a version of this film, first VCR, then DVD. It's just not Christmas without watching it.
From the first scenes set at the front lines of World War II, I am swept into the movie, singing along with each and every Irving Berlin song. Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen star and perform intricate dances and perfect harmonies on and off the stage.
Here's one I've always wanted to see performed at a Talent Show:
Then there's this one. Never can hold back a tear or two.
And, of course, the title song, White Christmas. A happy ending for all!
Sorry this is so long, but to adequately explain why White Christmas is my favorite I have to share my favorite songs from the movie. There's always a soundtrack to my life, so a musical makes sense.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays. Whatever customs you and yours celebrate, I send blessings to you.
Time to return from the forties and visit LaNora Mangano to discover her favorite holiday story.
What's for dinner?
Tonight it's Slow Cooker Beef Bourguignon (based on a recipe from Fix It Quick, Favorite Brand Name Slow Cooker cookbook).
I tweak it for my family, who do not enjoy mushrooms. You can add egg noodles, rice, or mashed potatoes if you like.
This is a fabulous dish to take to a potluck dinner or make for your family. Enjoy!
3 lbs. boneless beef top sirloin, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 cup flour
4 slices bacon, diced
2 medium carrots, sliced
8 small new potatoes, unpeeled and quartered
8 to 10 mushrooms, sliced
20 to 24 pearl onions, peeled
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. dried marjoram
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. salt
Black pepper to taste
2 1/2 cups Burgundy wine or beef broth
1. Coat beef with flour. (I use a zipper storage bag to shake the beef in the flour; much cleaner!)
2. Brown bacon in large skillet; when half done, add coated beef and cook until browned. (I use a Dutch oven. It keeps the grease and flour in the pot and off the stovetop.)
3. Layer carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, onions, garlic, herbs and spices in slow cooker. Remove beef and bacon from pan with slotted spoon and place on top of other ingredients in cooker. Cook on low for 8 to 9 hours. (Note: I either spray the inside with non-stick spray or use a slow cooker bag.)
Need a way to keep all your notes/ideas/plot bunnies organized and easily accessible? Evernote to the rescue! Whether you are a die hard PC user or Mac maniac, this web-based program is for you!
Create a single note, one notebook or a notebook for every plot you're working on, Evernote can make it happen. Want to group related notebooks into categories? Evernote allows you to do that with stacking. Need to find all notes related to grammar? If you've tagged them "grammar", Evernote will find every reference in every notebook in your account.
Some cool features: record short audio notes, attach related files, take a picture from within the program (like business cards), share your notes with a link.
Like to handwrite your notes? Penultimate is the sister app/program that syncs with Evernote. Try it out!
Ho, ho, ho and Happy Holidays! Welcome! If you're hopping over from Brenda Margriet's blog, glad to have you. If you missed her, hop on back for a visit!
So, this week, our sister writer Xio Axelrod posed the question, "What's your favorite holiday song?"
I will answer that it depends on what my mood is. If I'm feeling stressed out by the materialism of the holiday, you know, all Bah Humbug, then it's this:
When I'm a little less cynical and a little more grateful for all I have, it's this:
Josh Groban has such a clear and perfect voice, he does Ave Maria justice like few others can.
Now, head on over to delightfully delicious Dani Jace. She's always witty and snarky and funny as hell!
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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