Thursday, April 30, 2009

Twofer T'ursday Interview

I had to think hard to come up with a good post to follow Kat's interview yesterday. After a little wheel spinning in the ol' cranium, it dawned on me to ask Kimmi for more indebth information about her debut novel. Ain'tcha glad I came up with that lightbulb moment?

So get a cup of your favorite beverage, sit back and enjoy the discussion...then get a copy of Kim's book if you don't already have one! [It's not an easy read, but it's an important one.] Then go hug every child you see, and lastly, bug your friendly neighborhood librarian to stock THE UNBREAKABLE CHILD. *Imagine the strength and balm an abused child would find there waiting in the library shelves if it's available to him/her.*

GW: Do you ever regret publishing your book?
KR: No. And I get to justify that answer again because it was only just a few minutes ago I hung up from talking with an abuse victim who told me they had just finished The Unbreakable Child yesterday. She said today for the first time, she went into work feeling so much stronger from having read The Unbreakable Child. And all her siblings were reading the book and getting so much strength from it.

GW: Through your trials (literally and figuratively) how did you keep your faith and sanity? What do you do for escape?
KR: The attorney, William F. McMurry, walked the journey of the book with me. And I dragged him along through the rain-drenched streets of my mind with hideous draft after draft, even though he knew nothing about the publishing world. At the time he was the calm I needed to fight the storm. Faith comes from my most precious gift--my family. And exercising helped. Especially those black punching bags at the gym, ya know, the ones you get to name before the first kick. ; )

GW: Are you writing another book? If so, give us the scoop!
KR: I have two projects on the back burner and a collection of poetry I'm working on. But for now I'm focused on touring and am heavily committed to the promotion of The Unbreakable Child.

GW: What can supporters do to help get the book "out there" and also to help stop child abuse?
KR: I believe it takes a community to raise a child. It also takes a community to abuse a child. As a wife of a police commander I know child abuse is an issue that knows no boundaries. It is a commmunity's responsibility, a watchful eye and strong voice that we owe to our most precious gifts – our children. And although this book references clergy abuse there is no doubt that the opportunity for abuses exists in any childcare setting. Child abuse is not limited to any one group and is not really a religious issue as much as it is a HUMAN issue. More importantly: I hope government officials, religious authorities and childcare institutions, their employees, instructors, etc. will take a more active and aggressive role to arm themselves with education to prevent child abuse and to insure the safety of vulnerable children. I hope The Unbreakable Child will become a tool for those in the childcare, healthcare and legal societies, and a healing for the many many victims of childhood traumas and as well for any person just looking for a story of justice, strength and redemption.

GW: Tell us some secret about your personal writing process.
KR: :laughs: There were so many unpredictable and strange twists that happened along my writing journey. One of my betas -- unbeknowst to me at the time, was a former nun now turned soccer mom. SaWeet!

GW: What's the best Cajun/Creole food you've ever had?
KR: Easy-breezy, hands down, that would be the author of Tender Graces, Kathryn Magendies's husband, Good Man Roger's, creative cajun cuisine!!THANKS!

Kim, thank YOU for taking time away from your busy schedule to share with us! And best of luck promoting your special book.
One last writerly nugget from Kim which I read in a recent interview~~"Be the little engine that could--- keep chugging and remember rules are nothing more than just guidelines. Don't be afraid to go out of your comfort zone."

For more about Kimmi, check out her website. And if you're not already a regular at her blog, hop over via this link---> Kim's spot in the Blogosphere.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wednesday Writings - Rule Breakin!

Good morning, writerly and/or bloggy folks! It's already up in the mid-80s here in the deep deep south, and all our feets is bare, so at least that factoid shows some portion of the time continuum is A-okay.

Today's writing tutorial "Rule Breakin'" attempts to show that breaking the rules [a subject near and dear to my heart, as you know] just might get you where you wanna be. It also reminds us, dear readers, that if you are intimately familiar with rules, it is okay to break them. And further, that there really are no hard and fast rules in the crazy world of writing and publishing. Don't believe me? Well, shame on you.

I'll begin with a little 411 on myself. I'd written a true short story years ago and submitted it around to publications and places I'd researched and targeted. Alas, nobody was interested in a story about a little boy with AD/HD. But instead of scrapping it, I was even more determined to see it in print because it meant something to me personally. Enter an anthology call-out for Christmas stories that involved traditions and family. Voila!

The Modern-Day Drummer Boy was in the running for a coveted slot. Sooo, long story a bit shorter, I heard yesterday that the story will be #7 in Christmas Traditions (out in September), and a nice check is on its way to me. Can't wait to hold my copy and see the fruition of years of perseverance in print! Rule broken? "If work doesn't find a home quickly, scrap it or go back to the drawing board and totally revise." a stubborn goat-head and keep looking for a better fit. *grin*

Now, I also have several friends, nay, powerful author women in my immediate circle, who have broken the rules of querying agents and finding publishers that flouted popular wisdom, yet somehow led to their success! See Deborah LeBlanc's cool website for more on her, and I'm about 99.99% certain that Super Woman Kimmi Richardson broke every rule and barrier set against her to get her book The Unbreakable Child published.

Still not convinced? Then read a bit more about our own maverick crazy writer woman, Kathryn Magendie in the interview below:

GW: Is it true you have to have multiple degrees (preferably in English) and an MFA to get anywhere in writing?

KM: Okay, I will never knock education—ever. But, I do not believe that degrees write your books or get your books published or make those published books a success. It’s hard for me to speak about degrees since I didn’t attend college until I was in my 40s and I haven’t finished yet. My English classes helped me to see that what I was doing instinctively actually had a name; imagine that? Once I learned those names, those rules, for what I was doing, I was able to see how I manipulated the language and then learned to do it smarter. Although, for me, instinct still writes more than conscious thought. If I had gone to college earlier, I may have started my writing career earlier, but who wants to look backward? Not me!

GW: Are you a "second rate" author if you decide to publish with a smaller or indie press?

KM: If an author thinks of themselves as second rate then they are—no matter who they publish with. There is always going to be someone who publishes with a bigger house, or gets a bigger contract, or sells more books, or gets an award, or on bestseller’s lists, or is on Oprah, or wins a Pulitzer. I stay true to my journey and my words and the language, my characters, my voice, my love of writing, and that’s what I focus on; however, there is the dreaded business side and I have to think about that, too. I’ve read that about 5% of authors are traditionally published, of that 5% about 1% make it “BIG.” If that’s correct, then those are intimidating statistics.

Small indie presses are wonderful to work with. BelleBooks has listened, they are supportive, they’re wise and witty women, and I’m proud to be a part of their author list.

The beauty of small presses is you have a voice and you have support and you aren’t lost in a sea of authors. The beauty of large presses is a bigger budget.

I was completely surprised by an agented author I recently met who is published with (Big Name Publisher Here) and unhappy! So, there you go.

GW: Do you have to belong to a bazillion professional associations to establish a platform?

KM: Most writers have to do the majority of their own promotion and marketing, no matter who they publish with. So, there has to be a certain amount of touting. And to do that touting, one must be somewhere on the Web.

For me, a good blog is important –and fun, because you feel supported and embraced. I’ve had a blog for several years now. I have a professional website that I don’t “play” on (TechBelle did mine and I am very happy with the results) that shows what I’ve published, etc., but I don’t have to fool with it much.

I’ll be letting go of some places I’ve joined simply because it takes away from my writing time. Geez, there are so many places and forums and associations out there, there’s simply no way to do it all, and if you spend your time scattered about, you’ll have no second, third, fourth, and more books because you won’t have time to write them!

I would hope that good word of mouth would help propel my book into reader’s hands. Yes, that’s my hope.

GW: While writing TENDER GRACES, did you constantly work on your branding?

KM: Nah. Um, okay, what’s that? *laughing* You mean talking my stuff up? I talked about Virginia Kate quite often because I love her. I talked about my process because I wanted support and commiseration when things were tough. Also, in the meantime, I wrote short prose and a few poems and shot some photography for OCEAN magazine – those I sent out to help “get my work out there.” I edited and did my volunteer work with The Rose & Thorn. I supported other writers because I wanted to. If all this helped me when Tender Graces came out; well, that’s great! But I did everything I’ve done out of love of words, books, writers, and language, and not with designs on getting people to buy my book(s), although it is nice when they do (teehee).

GW: Tell us, are there really crazy voices in your head?

KM: Well, yes and no. They aren’t “Crazy, they’re coming to take me away haha hoho heehee” voices, they’re just characters milling around in my head. Imagine a house full of people or an apartment with its many units. Everyone is in different rooms doing their own thing. They are waiting their turn. Some are sleeping. Some are in the kitchen cooking up something. Some are lying on the couch grumbling about how they are being ignored. Some are hiding in the dark. And, some are rocking on the porch with me having a cup of Deep Creek Blend or a glass of wine or a vodka tonic with lime, and we’re talking – those rocking on the porch are those I am in communication with and who I am working with.

I addressed this kind of thing in a novel I can’t wait to have time to work on; I’m calling it The Sad Surreal World of Kathryn. It’s a bit revealing and I’m going to be nervous about that revealing if it’s ever published.

GW: Could you share with us batty bloggers some deep dark secret on writing a great book?

KM: Get out of the way (of your characters, story, etc), Writer! Okay, that’s not deep dark. But it’s important. And tell the nasty voices that love to say you can’t do something to shut the hell up. Write with love and sincerity and joy—the picky side of you needs to shut the hell up, too, at least until you have the first draft written. I guess there really isn’t any deep dark secret. It’s all been said and most of it is true. One thing I never try to do is to tell writers not to do this or not to do that or that if they don’t do something or think something or produce something a certain way they shouldn’t call themselves writers. Pah! [Interviewer sidebar: Ha! No ruuuuules!]

Most of us have doubt. Most of us are afraid. Most of us want to hide under the covers. However, if you just plow ahead despite all these things nipping at your heels, then you will find out where your journey will lead you. Otherwise, you’ll just stand there blinking in someone else’s bright lights.

GW: To agent or not to agent -- that is the question.

KM: And if I had that answer, my stomach wouldn’t be sloshing around its contents right now! I do not have an agent. I queried BelleBooks publishers on my own. I get emails from other authors urging me to be represented by an agent. I just haven’t figured it all out yet and frankly am in a “wait and see” kind of mode. I’d never turn my back on the people who took a chance on me. If getting an agent helps BelleBooks and me, and if I obtain one and it all works out peachy for us all, then good.

GW: Are there extra fears concerning writing book #2?

KW: Oh god yes. *pant pant*

GW: How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop? (LOL)

KM: OMG! You remembered! HAW! I thought of this just yesterday!

Okay, it takes me about twenty and then I have to bite it. I think I’ve gotten maybe to sixty-three before I bite. Only once did I make it through the hard candy to the soft center without biting, and alas and alack, I forgot to count! Curses!

GW: Your best advice to writers still behind ya on the trail?

KM: I always ramble on this question and indeed, can you believe I cut back this answer? Haw! I just want writers to be supportive of each other. I want writers to feel confident, to write with love, to believe in the power of their words and the language! So—

Believe in yourself and your work. If you do not believe in you work, who will?

Don’t listen to too many voices telling you about your manuscript. Find those you trust and then actually trust them, using your own instincts as a guideline. No one sees my novels until they are finished (other than a very early on submit to a critique group when Tender Graces was going to be a short story—where you, Angie, urged me to write VK’s story in a novel).

You must develop a sense of who you are as a Voice. You must have confidence in you and your characters and story. You must believe in what you are doing. That said, if you are not like me (I will write the novel no matter what), and instead you don’t want to feel as if “you are wasting your time” by writing a novel you are not completely sure will be published, then perhaps you will need to fling your words before a test audience of the writer’s group or wherever it is you fling your words to be critiqued.

Just don’t let some Negative Nelly or Negative Ned push you into a dark place where you don’t want to write—run from them, fast.

Thank you for this fun interview, Angie. I hope I haven’t rambled too much and bored everyone to tears!

Thank YOU, Kat! You could never ramble too much for my likin'. Good luck with Book 2, and don't forget to come up for air sometimes.

Maverick Kat and her Gloria Swanson/Sunset Boulevard photo. "I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille." You young'uns, go rent the DVD!
LOL ~~~~~~~

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Warning, Meat Dodgers -- Bacon Explosion!

I love when my friends email me goodies like this:

Battered & Breaded Bacon Strips
Lather cold bacon strips in buttermilk or whipping cream, then cover strips with cornmeal flour. Drop into hot oil in a pan or deep fryer.
Pineapple Bacon
Mix pineapple, honey, sugar, salt with blender. Glaze bacon and bake in oven. Add pineapple chunks to finished product.
Garlic Bacon
Sprinkle bacon strips with garlic powder or garlic salt and cool for a couple hours. Add minced garlic cloves to bacon while frying or baking. When finished, lightly glaze with butter.
Chocolate-covered Bacon
Combine chocolate chip morsels, tsp or so of vanilla extract, dark corn syrup in double boiler. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until contents melt. Add cooked bacon strips or chopped bacon. Remove strips with tongs or spoon for chopped chunks, place onto wax paper. Chill in fridge.
Peppered Bacon
Mix chopped jalapeno peppers, black pepper, red pepper flakes, honey and hot sauce in blender. Glaze bacon with mixture. Fry or bake (preferably bake to avoid pan mess).
Nacho Cheese Bacon
After cooking bacon, pour hot nacho cheese sauce atop strips. Add lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole, sour cream and salsa. Eat with nacho chips or tortilla/pita bread.
Pizza Bacon Pita
Smear round pita bread with marinara sauce. Add cooked bacon to pita and sauce. Add any desired additional toppings. Sprinkle mozzarella and cheddar cheese on top. Bake in oven for 5 to 10 minutes.
McBacon and Cheese
Chop cooked bacon and add it to macaroni and cheese. Mix well.
Bacon Poppers
Wrap single strips of bacon around scoops of sour cream or cream cheese with (optional) jalapeno buried within. You can also cover the scoop of sour cream or cream cheese with chopped bacon. Place the scoops on wax paper, or put in muffin tray. Cover balls with cornmeal flour. Freeze. When ready to eat, deep fry or pan fry.

Monday, April 27, 2009

What Your Reading Habits Reveal About You

Unlike that seasonal quiz I took last week that said I'm a blithering idiot with a score of zero, today's test was fun and made me laugh.

The six (6) questions, taken in less than 20 seconds, give you an automatic profile of yourself with your reading preferences as the only scoring criteria. How cool is that?

Here's what my answers reveal about my literary match:

You're Les Miserables! by Victor Hugo One of the best known people in your community, you have become something of a phenomenon. People have sung about you, danced in your honor, created all manner of art in your name. And yet your story is one of failure and despair, with a few brief exceptions. A hopeless romantic, you'll never stop hoping that more good will come from your failings than is ever possible. Beware detectives and prison guards bearing vendettas.

El.Oh.El! I hope if you take the quiz you'll pop back in and share what sort of literary character you are.

And finally, ladies and germs, speaking of good reading...I thought perhaps you'd enjoy a photo (self-taken, no less) of me surrounded by my favorite current read. Even if you're sick of hearing me talk about/tout Kat's book, tough noogies, because I am the doting "godmother" of Tender Graces and got to read it from its inception! *nanner nanner boo boo* :)

Ready for it?....................


Here it is. Booooooyaaaaaaa!!

PS This just in: Gumbo Writer's lucky #100th Follower has arrived. I've notified Robin at Be Still and Know that she's got a giftypoo coming to her. Now, carry on with your joyful Monday. (hehe)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Blogger Eye Candy

Have you ever read a blog post that made you go beyond just thinking Wow!? One you just have to share with your friends? It happens fairly often with me, owing to the fact that many of my blogging buds are supreme writers and poets...but I can't not pass this one along from Deb Shucka at Catbird Scout.

In the Balance is the perfect bit of weekend reading, like the most scrumptious sweet after your favorite meal. Go feast your eyes!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Mi Casa Su Casa

Hello and happy weekend, friends. May it be everything you want and need, and not just another two days to scratch off the calendar.

Today, I wish for you...

Flowers and green things...and the time to stop and enjoy them...

Lots and lots of blog love...

Nice art and your favorite foods...

Happy kidlets (this one's eating grits!)...

The sweetest of music...

Something good to read...

The best of unique and special friends...

Blessings from above...

Friday, April 24, 2009

Today's Joke Butt? Lawyers

Well, bad ol' Gumbo Writer picks on blondes and Cajuns quite often, so today we'll focus our insults on the men and women of the bar for a little variety.

When I worked for attorneys I had a cartoon taped to my office door which said, "In the history of the world, why has there never been a snake-bitten lawyer?" Answer: "Professional courtesy." (For the first several weeks of my employ, the four men and one woman would tear the joke off my door and throw it away. Then they realized I'd made tons of copies and gave up.) *hehe*

So, let's get started.......order in the court!

1. The Post Office just recalled their latest stamps. They weren't working. They had pictures of lawyers on them, and people couldn't figure out which side to spit on.

2. How does an attorney sleep? First he lies on one side, and then he lies on the other.

3. How many lawyers does it take to screw in a light bulb? Three. One to climb the ladder, one to shake it, and one to sue the ladder company.

4. If a lawyer and an IRS agent were both drowning, and you could save only one of them, would you (A) go to lunch or (B) read the newspaper?

5. What do you call 25 skydiving lawyers? Skeet.

6. What do you throw to a drowning lawyer? His partners.

7. What's the difference between a lawyer and a vulture? The lawyer gets frequent flyer miles.

8. Why does NY have the most lawyers in the country, while New Jersey has the most toxic waste sites? New Jersey got first choice.

Wasn't that fun, boys and girls? The next snippets come from a book called Disorder in the American Courts, and are actual conversations recorded word for word by court reporters:

Attorney: Now, doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep he doesn't know about it until the next morning? Witness: Did you actually pass the Bar Exam?

Attorney: The youngest son...the old is he? Witness: He's 20...much like your IQ.

Attorney: Were you present when your picture was taken? Witness: Are you shitting me?

Attorney: She had three children, right? Witness: Yes. Attorney: How many were boys? Witness: None. Attorney: Were there any girls? Witness: Your Honor, I think I need a different attorney. May I get a new attorney?

Attorney: How was your first marriage terminated? Witness: By death. Attorney: And by whose death was it terminated? Witness: Take a guess.

Attorney: Can you describe the individual? Witness: He was about medium height and had a beard. Attorney: Was this a male or a female? Witness: Unless the circus was in town, I'm going with male.

Attorney: Doctor, how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people? Witness: All of them. The live ones put up too much of a fight.

Have a great Friday and weekend too!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Calling Goober #100

Okay, my blogging friends -- Gumbo Writer's Goobers (Followers), visitors, regular readers, and drive-bys/dropper-inners alike -- first let me say how much I really heart y'all.

Secondly, I don't condone bloggers trolling and begging for or otherwise applying used car salesman-like pressures to amass followers who probably don't wanna be followers. Gah-awww-lyyy (said in Goober Pyle of Mayberry RFD voice), I figure you're like me...if I dig a blog a lot, I'm gonna follow it without anyone asking. Right?

So, with that said, I've noticed my bloggy home is approaching the golden number of 100 Goobers! (Yeah, I know, I'm slow on the uptake with it.) And since Mars and Jupiter have apparently aligned in my cranium, I thought it might be nice to have a little contest in conjunction with the 100th Follower appearing out of the ether. How's that sound? Besides, I adore round figures (sorta like my own physique), and wish the same look for my full-bodied blog. LOL

Goober #100 will be awarded some jazzy snazzy blog bling to display in perpetuity. Said Goober will also receive some trashy little trinket (um, I mean highly valuable fantabulous prize) in the mail if he/she resides in the continental U.S. That's right...I'm cheap and quick like my favorite recipes!

Sidebar: Seriously, please don't feel pressured to jump on the Goober bandwagon...although I DO hasten to add that we have a good time amongst our nutty selves. And, of course, if you're a mercenary man or material girl and just want the goods, that's fine too. *wink*

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wednesday Writings

No advice, quotes or tips from me today. I wanna hear all about your thoughts on the writing process, and where you are on your project(s). Is it slow going? Agonizingly complicated? In the waiting game with agent querying, or trying to keep up with your flying fingers as you capture characters' voices and plans? Whatever it is, our inquiring bloggy minds wanna know! You never know who you'll inspire by sharing a bit of your experiences, so spill.

If you happen to be in the market for something good to read on the subject of finding your writing path, there's a most excellent post from our Roses & Thorns blog. [This is The Rose & Thorn Literary Ezine's editors' blog, which you might enjoy browsing sometimes.]

I hope Yu-Han's thoughts in A Kind of Homecoming - Part I will resonate with you as deeply as they did with me. I've got a feeling there are more lovely nuggets waiting at her personal website, which I'll be visiting posthaste.

Bio: Yu-Han Chao is co-blog manager at the Rose & Thorn. She has a poetry book and a short story collection forthcoming. Visit her writing and artwork at her website.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Health Nuts -- Do NOT Read Today's Recipe!

Daughter "Queenie" had to bring snackage to an LSU honors fraternity meeting the other night, and decided to make her own version of the popular White Trash Mix. Mmm, what's not to like with a name like that? Easy? Check. Quick? Check. Yummy? Check. And before you healthnicks get on my bahonkus for posting too many unhealthy recipes, I did warn you in the title. I've also featured salad, items not including meat, and a few other good-fer-ya recipes lately. So there!

White Trash Mix

1 1/2 cups peanut butter

1 stick margarine

1/2 bag small pretzels

1 box Crispix cereal

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 cup sweet chocolate chips

Fill a large freezer zippered plastic bag half full of cereal and pretzels. Melt peanut butter and chocolate chips together with margarine and mix well. Pour over cereal and pretzels in bag. Shake well. Add in powdered sugar and shake again. Voila!

For the best looking baby back ribs I've seen in a long long time, check out my brand spankin' new friend Mel's blog. We "met" via that wacky place and are now voting for each other's blogs. The pictures of her food made me literally drool!

Thanks for understanding my inability to get around to your blogs as often as I'd like right now. Helping take care of my Mom and wranging my kids (middle son is about to graduate!) are about all I have time for. I miss y'all!

Monday, April 20, 2009

I'm a Loser!

Well, it was bound to happen. Gumbo Writer (who usually holds her own pretty well in trivia quizzes and arcane knowledge tests of all manner), has scored thusly on today's quiz concerning all things spring~~~

Your Score: 0 / 100
0 people have scored lower than you.

A measly test of only eight questions. Sheesh! Even with test results proclaiming I'm a seasonal blithering idiot (hopefully, that "honor" is just contained to roughly one quarter of the year), I lurved the quick test. It had interesting historical information...and although I may not retain those pearls of wisdom, I had fun for the three minutes the test-taking lasted. So, if you're looking for something interesting to fill a few minutes, or if you just wanna boast how smart you are compared to me, go take the test here.

My only defense is that we really don't have spring in Louisiana. We go straight from "Winter" to "Summer" around these parts. Other than that, I fully accept my stoopidity.

Please report your scores. Mondays are the perfect day on which to feel even crappier about oneself. LOL

Note to Suldawg: I'm ready for my pounding. Any/all payback you dish out will not negate the thrill of my hitting a home run by re-awarding you another flock of Zombie Chickens! *snirk*

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Boudreaux & Thibodaux Go Fishin'

Happy Sunday! Hope you enjoy another crazy Boo & Thib ("tib") joke~~

Boudreaux and Thibodeaux go ice fishing. Dey stop at a little store on da side of da road and ax da cashier where can dey go fishin.

Dat cashier, him say dere's a frozen lake across dat road, and he tells dem Cajuns dat he's got bait and ice picks to break open all dat frozen ice to fish.

An hour later Boudreaux goes back to dat store to buy him some mo ice picks. He tells da cashier, "I want all da picks you got."

The guy sayd, "Are you all catching a lot of fish?"

"Mais, no," Boo say, "You crazy? We don't even launch dat boat yet!"

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Undead Fowl

I've rarely felt so honored! My friend Jim Suldog/Suldawg Sullivan has bestowed a blog award of the highest caliber upon old Gumbo Writer. No big deal, you say? Hardly. Ya see...Suldawg does not like to receive or give out the many awards showered on his blog, and any of you who are familiar with his whackadoodle personality will have seen the scorching that donors receive when handing down new bling to him. Yep, I've been one of those fools myself. But besides being a master word-crafter, Suldawg has one of those unique shining personalities, stands up for what he believes in no matter what, and never makes an enemy. Quite a job, dontcha think? Plus, I'm partial to Jim because he's a rule breaker and maverick. And he's damned funny. *snirk*

Further, this particular award, coming from such a blog master, just peels my apple. I mean, who doesn't crave scrawny wrung-necked, eyeball-popping chickens adorning his/her blog?? So, thank you, Suldog, for the Zombie Chickens...although I received it because my blog's name fits nicely with the graphic's image...ya know...chicken 'n gumbo...I love it all the same!

Oh, saints preserve us! I just dropped by his bloggy to copy the specs for passing along the Zombie Chicken to others, and naturally, he's got an unsavory questionable post and photo up today. Blogger beware! LOL

Here's the rules and regs for accepting & passing along this supreme award:

The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken - excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all!

Here's my five, and it was certainly no easy chore!
  1. Crazy Debbie over at Suburb Sanity because, well, she's as crazy as I am and I love reading her posts. Besides, zombie chickens fits right along with the other insanity she hosts.
  2. As for the "excellence, grace & persistence" part of the rules, these two nominees fit that bill because they have made it in the harrowing world of publishing. If I haven't said it enough already...get their books! I love following the journey from book inception to birth, so here's to Mz. Boop-oop-a-doop Kathryn Magendie and her Tender Graces.
  3. And Kimmi Richardson who's currently on a world book tour and media blitz with her The Unbreakable Child novel. You beat all the odds and roadblocks set against you since birth, my friend, and now are helping those who need your voice. Love ya! PS You're no longer a Writer in've made it!
  4. Then there's Jamie Mason at Because I Love to Hear Myself Type for exceptional writing that pulls me right in. I hope you'll stop by and see what I mean soon.
  5. And finally, just because I can (and I know it'll make him throw a tizzy), I'm re-awarding the Zombie Chickens to Suldog. He'll probably enjoy two packs of crazed egg-squirters over at his place! Mwahahahaha.

Thank you for the unending kindnesses and prayer power on my Mom's behalf. Love ya for it!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Through the Viewfinder

Happy Friday, friends. You've made it through another long work week, or been cooped up with the kidlets while still trying to be productive, or maybe you've been twirling on your hamster wheel and need a break. Whatever occupies your weekdays and nights, may you get a change of scenery and activity this weekend!

I love photography, and since I didn't have any time behind the camera this week, today's abstract comes from the Internet.

What is it?
The first person to guess correctly will be the lucky recipient of a prize of my choice. {Continental US only...sorry, my other-land friends.} So study the photo below and take a stab at it. One guess per customer, please.

Now, go do something nice for yourself and/or someone else so you can fully enjoy the day!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Knotted Clocks

That picture is me and my ability to manipulate time lately. I'm a blog addict who can't get a healthy "fix." I despise feeling like a slacker, but simply don't have another choice right now. Today I've got my friend's funeral to attend, it's Senior Night at the baseball field (I'll be dressed in my son's green jersey because they're playing in their whites), and then I go to my Mom's to spend the night. [I don't want to be a prayer-begger, but any spare ones you got layin' around, feel free to throw 'em her way. Can't remember if I've said before, but she's mounted a saintly heroic battle with brain cancer over the past 18 months.]

In the good news category, Kimmi and Kat's (sounds like a TV sit com, doesn't it?) debut novels have been launched into the world and are gathering steam, and that makes me one happy camper!

So...what ties you up in knots?

Note to Suldawg: Thank you for the awesome blog award! I'll be posting it up tomorrow. It will look so nice with the tamer bling already shining from my sidebar. LOL

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wednesday Writings - Best Advice Ever!

Apologies for my scanty visits of late. Time hasn't been my own, and I miss my daily blog hopping. Thank you again for your good thoughts & prayers for my friend's husband who passed last Saturday, and for voting for my blog at bloginterviewer. Y'alls is some kinda nice peoples!
Whether it's poetry, articles, short stories or an entire manuscript, you have to get it down before you rake, weed, fertilize, prune or otherwise beautify it. So for today at least~~~
Just write!
If you're in or near the agent querying stage, literary agent Nathan Bransford has an interesting experiment of a contest going on at his blog called Agent for a Day. You can read lots of queries, some from already published authors, and corresponding accept/reject notes from pseudo reader-agents. Pretty interesting stuff, and I'm assuming, a way to see what it's like to be an agent bombarded daily with slush pile material. I'm playing along under an assumed name: BelleAgent. :)

Lack of time has been my constant writing companion lately. What's your writing hold-up?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Coush Coush

Okay, all you bloggy boogers who say I'm always posting ooey gooey cheesy recipes (all true), but since I do try to vary the good Cajun Italian yummy stuff with healthy menu choices, this one's for all you veggytarianistic folks and healthy eaters. It's coush coush time! (Yes, it's also called cush cush, cous cous, coosh coosh, and a variety of other names.)

I never think of this dish without remembering the tons of times I've yelled that famous LSU cheer in Tiger Stadium~
Hot boudin
Cold coush coush,
Come on, Tigers
Poush poush poush (as in Defense, push back the line) :)

Coush Coush

2 cups cornmeal (yellow)

1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

1 1/2 cups water

3 Tbsp. canola oil

Mix together cornmeal and salt. Add water and stir until mixed well. Heat oil in a medium pan on medium high. Pour mixture into oil, and a crust will form. Then stir the mixture and lower heat to medium. Cook about 20 minutes, stirring now and then so it doesn't burn. Break up the larger clumps, leaving smaller ones alone. Spoon into bowls and add milk. Some people like it sweetened with cane syrup, fig preserves, jelly or sugar.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Good Reads & Scrap Happy

Today is the official launch date of Kathryn Magendie's Tender Graces and I cannot wait to hold a copy in my hand! The first Amazon review is up too. It is purely magical:

Kathryn Magendie's debut novel is a tour de force of lyrical storytelling, heartfelt intuitions, and exquisite detail. TENDER GRACES qualifies as an "Oprah book" in the best sense of the term: This story of a dysfunctional family who are neither all bad nor all good, but simply very flawed and human, examines a broad spectrum of marriage, childhood, emotional abuse, forgiveness and family loyalty. Warm without being overly sentimental, funny without being frivolous, and poignant without being maudlin, Tender Graces is a strong start for Magendie's career as a novelist. If you love the novels of Barbara Kingsolver, Anne Tyler and Sue Monk Kidd then this book is for you.

And speaking of book launches, Kim Richardson's The Unbreakable Child just came into the world this month also. I'm almost through reading it, and all I can say is this -- it's devastatingly honest and a page turner. If you haven't already, order one soon!

Thanks to Rebecca Nazar of Twist Whimsy for the Honest Scrap blog award! Since I love making new meals from scraps, the new bling makes me smile. The rules of bestowal say:

This award is bestowed upon a fellow blogger whose blog content or design is, in the giver’s opinion, brilliant.

1. When accepting this auspicious award, you must write a post bragging about it, including the name of the misguided soul who thinks you deserve such acclaim, and link back to the said person so everyone knows she/he is real.

2. Choose a minimum of 5 blogs that you find brilliant in content or design. Or improvise by including bloggers who have no idea who you are because you don’t have five friends. Show the five random victims’ names and links and leave a comment informing them that they were prized with Honest Weblog. Well, there’s no prize, but they can keep the nifty icon.

3. List at least ten (10) honest things about yourself. Then pass it on!

  1. I really do love grits.
  2. I cleaned houses & offices for 10 years, but could really use a maid.
  3. Love dogs, but not so much the other four-legged fur balls.
  4. Naps are one of my secret pleasures.
  5. My feet are huge.
  6. Poetry peels my apple.
  7. My finished manuscript keeps taunting me because I have not worked on revisions in a long time.
  8. I have an identical twin sister...and she's thin.
  9. The big Five-Oh approacheth.
  10. I have two tattoos.

How can I possibly choose just five blogs for the award? I'll just run my mouse randomly down my Rockin' Blogs list with my eyes closed because I love each and every one of them and let Chance pick~~
  • Eight Days to Amish - Who wouldn't love a guy who once ate like Elvis for a week in the name of research?

  • Midlife Jobhunter - Because she's trying to find a balance between home and the workplace. No easy journey, that.

  • Scobberlotch - Dontcha love the name? This is the bloggy home of Karen Harrington, author of Janeology.

  • Catbird Scout - Home of Deb Schucka filled with beautiful photos and life commentary.

  • Grosvenor Square - Melissa Marsh always generously shares writing thoughts and other goodies.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Smiles & Blessings

Beginning on a sad note, my friend's husband you all prayed for and sent good thoughts to passed last night. Thank you for your kindnesses.
Did the Easter Bunny fill your basket? Have you eaten chocolate ears and tails? Are you spending a nice relaxing day filled with family and traditions? Did you attend a nurturing church service?

I hope you answered YES! to the activities that appealed to you. A blessed and HAPPY KEESTER to you and yours, as the above photo says!

Since my kidlets are too old for the normal Easter revelry, we spent time yesterday watching my neice's two-year-old have a ball dying and hunting eggs. The weather was gorgeous and it was great to be outdoors. And it sure was nice today not to have to rush about cooking and cleaning. We'll be visiting friends in the hospital after Mass, maybe taking a nap, and just in general lolling around. I'll worry about laundry and cleaning the house on Monday.

Doesn't this picture say it all about enjoying a hobby, activity or pursuit with passion and zeal?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Goodness of Sleep

Hope you got a long stay in Lala Land last night. I slept for eight solid hours, and I feel almost (but not quite) like a new person today.

Here's to plenty more nights in Zone 5, ultimate REM deep sleep mode, and some good naps too. Happy Saturday to all my bloggy friends!

Friday, April 10, 2009


If you had to be a shoe, which one do you think best fits you? It can be the name that draws you (maybe you're a "sneaker" because you fly under the radar in some way) or an actual style or designer preference.

I found a fun shoe quiz! It only has four questions and can be completed in mere seconds. According to the results, I'm a rebel. Maybe that explains the shoe I choose to represent me -- vintage, kinda worn down, but still with a lot of style and mileage left --

In fact, I have several pair that look similar to these. :)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Conference Notes Part II

More notes from the writers conference. Hope you find them helpful. Then pics of the crazy women below.

  • Make sure every character you have on the page has a personality so they seem real, even if it's a waitress. (Not too much info., or readers will wonder when that person is going to show up in the story again.)
  • Seed things in a few times before you reveal the answer or solve the dilemma. This stops things from happening out of the blue for the reader. Especially important if you write mysteries.
  • Get into a scene late and exit early. Never blather or drag things out with drinking-coffee-at-breakfast scenes. B-o-r-i-n-g.
  • Visualize each chapter as a scene. Make notes at the top of chaps. of what you want characters to do and say, what the scene is accomplishing, then complete and fill out.
  • If you don't know what a character arc is, find out!
  • Make sure your dialog follows the less is more rule. People talk in shorthand and with abbreviated words. Remember that.
  • Subtext adds to plot layering. It is the messages under the message.
  • Take advantage of all promotional activities. {My description: You must learn to be a carnival hawker!} Check out book clubs, giveaways of all sorts, handouts, biz cards, tv/radio/print, publicists, postcards, t-shirts, signings, thank you cards.
  • This just in: I emailed one of the speakers for this resource I didn't know about. Have you heard of HarperCollins' Authonomy website and blog? Check it out. (I'm planning on visiting regularly.)

Conference pics~~~

Steph and her biscuit at the Hampton. (That's author Alex Sokolov behind her.)

Deborah LeBlanc proudly displays a promo item for her pet project - the Literacy Challenge. "Don't be stupid...READ!!!"

Deb waits her turn to speak. (She showed Kathryn's Tender Graces trailer as an example of good promo work!) I love the library bubble windows.

Cyn & Steph outside our favorite Houma eating joint -- A-bear's (phonetically named so non-Cajuns can pronounce Hebert's).

Cyn at the free hotel breakfast. (Author Heather Graham and someone I don't know at table behind her.)

Local musicians provide entertainment at the library rooftop wine and cheese party.

Author/poet/professor Christopher Tusa.

PS See more pics from Kat's perspective at her blog!

Good friends, good words, good food, good music. Can't wait til next year!

Labels (Posts, not Peoples)