Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Taste of Home Tuesday ~~ White Linen Night

Shakin' things up a bit today. Instead of a Tasty Tuesday recipe, I thought y'all might enjoy a glimpse of Louisiana life for a change. It seems like only the bad stuff about our beloved state is featured in national news [think Hurricane Katrina -- we just observed the five-year anniversary of that terrible storm -- and the BP oil spill], so here's a peek at some of the awesomeness that is Louisiana.

If you want more info/photos like the lovely one here, there's loads of info. on every state at to soak up. 

I had the pleasure of attending the third annual White Linen Night in St. Francisville, LA this past weekend. It was a wonderful event full of offerings from area artists, artisans, musicians, chefs, antique sellers, etc. Citizens turned out in the cool afternoon and night to enjoy their neighbors' company and displayed wares up and down the main streets. There were even trolleys for those whose feet got tired of walking along the cobblestones!

Heck, why am I trying to explain the event when I have photos available?

Tell me, does your city, town, village, neighborhood host community events to bring people together? What's it like?

Lynn Wood's Birdman Cafe'. (A great place for soft serve ice cream, breakfasts, dreamy coffee conconctions, homemade pastries and goodies, book-browsing, art lessons & displays...)

The side porch at Birdman Cafe. Doesn't it just whisper, "Come, sit a while and relax?"

Suzanne Holland's "Tuttie Lou Designs" specializing in vintage fabric creations. Check out her blog, etsy shop & site! I lurve the lavender-filled vintage linen sachets.

Artist Starline Kershaw ( [I had to have one of her custom fleur de lis paintings!]

Friend Les Ann Kirkland of Black Branch Beading. (Oh, she's gonna hurt me for this picture!) Lovely handmade jewelry of the finest materials. She's also a poet and artist. 

Airhouse Pottery by Michael Miller. (


DON'T MISS ST. FRANCISVILLE'S 8TH ANNUAL YELLOW LEAF ARTS FESTIVAL - October 30-31 at Parker Park from 10am - 5pm. Over 50 artists. Same day/time -- Mag Music Festival at the 3-V Tourist Court. {A renovated motor court of old where Bonnie & Clyde once hid out. Great place to stay, as is friends Patrick & Laurie Walsh's St. Francisville Inn.} Shout out to by the owners of Eight Sisters Restaurant.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday Foibles ~~ Redneck End of Summer Fun

Howdy, friends, and happy TGIF to you. Hope you've got good stuff on tap for the weekend. Me? I'm running away to do a little fishing, and to browse a country village's first annual art/food/music evening event along the streets.

Kickin' off our party, here's a few photos from the You Might Be a Redneck files. Enjoy!

Got a favorite?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Writerly Wednesday ~~ The Envelope, Please

Thanks to all who participated in the Snarky Editor contest. Poor ol' Doofus -- he got raked over the coals, but it was all in good fun! I truly appreciate you kind folks to Tweeted and FaceBooked and such. Yes I do!

The winners of signed copies of Kat's Tender Graces and some Cajun goodies are:
  1. Deb Schubert
  2. JKS
  3. Karen
Congrats, and good job with your editorial skills. :D If you want to read the great responses and get a grin or two, go to this post.

Now...I gots a question for you: What inspires you to write and revise? Your very best motivator? (Hey, leave a comment, and who knows? I might just send a lucky blogger a prize too, as long as I'm headed to the post office anyway.)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tasty Tuesday ~~ Corn Macque Choux

Hey, all you blogging epicurians; got a great and easy recipe for you today. [Yeah, it'll even please the vegetarians!] 

Don't get skeert 'cause you can't pronounce it; it's "mock-shoe." There, wasn't that easy?

If this is a regular in your recipe file box, I'd love to "hear" the spins and variations you use to make it your own.

To you writerly folkses -- last day to enter the Snarky Editor contest! C' know you got a bit o' the snark in ya and can give ol' Doofus a talkin' to. :D (There are signed copies of Kat Magendie's Tender Graces, and Cajun food prizes involved!)


Corn Macque Choux

1 stick butter (or comparable amount of Healthy Balance)
1 can Rotel tomatoes ("regular," not "hot")
1 5-oz. can whole kernel corn
1 5-oz. can creamed corn
1 tsp. Tony's or other Creole seasoning
Dash of sea salt, pepper & garlic powder (or 1/2 tsp. minced)
1/4 cup fat free Half & Half
1/2 small white onion, chopped fine

Melt butter in a medium-sized heavy pan. {Cast iron works great!} Saute onion until limp and clear. Add in Rotel and saute for about five minutes. Turn down the heat a bit, and add cream. Stir constantly. Add in corn and seasonings. Simmer on medium low for about 10 minutes. (6 servings)

*Photo from

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday Foibles & A Lovely Award to Pass Along

For your viewing pleasure...DO take in this Best DUI stop e-vah! {Another reason to love the Deep Deep South!}

~~~Before I forget, DO check out the fun Snarky Editor contest in the post below~~~


Thanks to Marguerite at Cajun Delights for this award. In order to accept, I must answer the 10 questions below and pass the award to six fellow bloggers. Since I love all my bloggy friends, if you want the cool blog badge for your own, please feel free to take and display it. How'm I supposed to pick just six?!


1. If you blog anonymously, are you happy doing it that way; if you are not anonymous do you wish you had started out anonymously so you could be anonymous now? Nah, like all my stuff "out there" and real. :D 

 2. Describe one incident that shows your inner stubborn side. Who me, stubborn? LOL. Probably the time in junior high when a terrible teacher was picking on my twin sister and I on religious and race issues. We stood up to him, then ended up standing in the corners with another friend for weeks, then Daddy got involved! Teacher wasn't long for that school. 

3. What do you see when you really look at yourself in the face in the mirror? Oh my! Not one of my fav pastimes. I see an old lady who has lotsa life shining in her droopy eyes. The phrase, "Rode hard and put up wet," often comes to mind. hehe

4. What is your favorite summer cold drink? Water or iced coffee.

5. When you take time for yourself, what do you do? Read, social network, cook, photography, go to the gym *pant pant*, write, create VisPo - Visual Poetry, edit my manuscript and/or NAP.

 6. Is there something you still want to accomplish in your life? What is it? Yes. Publication of my womens fiction ms, and to see my kids into a fabulous adulthood.

 7. When you attended school, were you the class clown, the class overachiever, the class shy person, or always ditching school? Describe who you were if not one of these. More like the person who didn't identify with one group, but who had friends across the spectrum. "Most Dedicated."

8. If you close your eyes and want to visualize a very poignant moment in your life, what do you see? The births of my children. Caring for my dying mother.

9. Is it easy for you to share your true self in your blog or are you more comfortable writing posts about other people or events?  All true, baybee! (Warts and all.)

10. If you had the choice to sit and read or talk on the phone, which would you do and why?  Read. Definitely.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Snark Bite C-O-N-T-E-S-T!

Hey there, ladies & germs. It's been too long since ol' Gumbo Writer rolled out a blog contest, dontcha think?

In order to rectify that, today's the day!

Here's da rules~~~

1. Get out your red grease pen and roll up your sleeves. You're now an editor at a major publishing house.

2. Read the "query letter" below and compose a response to the author in no more than 75 words. [The snarkier, the better!] Post your entry in a comment.

3. If your email address isn't attached to your Blogger profile, add it to the bottom of your comment/entry.

4. Contest runs through Tuesday. Winners posted Wednesday, Aug. 25. [If there are a big fat bunch of great entries, I just *might* pick the top several and have a public voting to determine winners!]

5. Top three entries will receive signed copies (personalized to you) of Kat Magendie's Tender Graces, and little Cajun goody treats! 

**Tweeting/FB'ing/posting linkage greatly appreciated and encouraged**

@@@  The Query Letter that lands on your desk....

Dear Mr./Miss Editer Two Whom It May concern:

Please find inclosed my womens fiction novel of 87,429 words! It will bee the next Number One Knew York Times Best Seller guaranteed!!!! Jump on my my offer to publish it pronto, or you'l be sorry. hahaha

Butt seriously, Moons O'er Miami is a funny, histerical book full of larger-than-life characatures and twisted plots, sortof like a cross between Rockie (Yo Adrian!) and Fried Green Tomaters...and all like that, and I've allready got the actors picked out for the Hollywood movie, so I'm way a head of the game and you can see how far thinking I am. I've also just made an website, a blog, and am jumping into the social net working pool with both feet, wich shows how eager and ready I am to help promote this new book for you!!

Please contact me immediately, or I can fly out there and sit down with you to talk things over and do lunch or a few martoonis. This offer is only good threw midnite on Sunday, cause after that I'm going to be talking to some other editor people and a few agents like my good friend Wally Lamb told me too.


Doofus Bergeron  -- Orpah's next guest (for reals!)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Writerly Wednesday ~~ The Art of Proofreading

Happy rainy Hump Day, y'all. I love when the sky cries for long hours; it makes being outside or the prospect of running errands evaporate, leaving me concentrating better on the WiP or creating Visual Poetry (VisPo). I spent the whole day yesterday with my Sharpies doodling over pages of words. I'll post some of my favs soon, and get your thoughts on this fun and creative endeavor.


Before we discuss the vital importance of revising our writing through careful proofreading, I wanted to tell ya there's a cool contest brewing. Check back tomorrow for more details!


Reading prose for our fall issue of Rose & Thorn Journal, I've noticed a lot of sloppiness in sentence structure and clarity of meaning lately. Often we write quickly, our fingers struggling to keep up with our speeding brains, and mistakes follow. That's why it is Be double and triple sure you are saying what you intend to say, and that your words aren't betraying you!

The following examples sent to me by a friend illustrate what I'm talking about better than anything I've read in a long time. Plus, they made me smile.

Have you ever written something like these actual newspaper headlines?


Man Kills Self Before Shooting Wife and Daughter

Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says

Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers

Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over

Miners Refuse to Work after Death

Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant

War Dims Hope for Peace

If Strike Isn't Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile

Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures

Enfield ( London ) Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide

Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges

New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group

Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft

Kids Make Nutritious Snacks

Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half

Hospitals Sued by 7 Foot Doctors

Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead


If you just can't get enough, here are more Headline Fails to oggle. :D


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tasty Tuesday ~~ Recipe for Disaster?

I think I've got enough ingredients in my personal social media pie now to need a bottle of Pepto nearby......... 



= brainmelt!!

Any "recipe" tips for successfully adding FaceBook to the mix would be greatly appreciated! [Yeah, I joined last night, and am muddling around trying to figure things out. Ack!]

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday Foibles ~~ Fun with Photos!

Hello, good blog friends! Hope your week has been productive, and that you are ready to settle into a fun and/or relaxing weekend.

Big KUDOS to Blogger for installing the spam filters!

These things-that-make-you-smile were sent to me by friend Marion (thanks!), and I thought you might enjoy them. Isn't email a wonderful thing?

Hugs to y'all. Oh, and if you missed this week's recipe -- "Coona$$ Turtle Burgers" -- scroll down and check out those delicious little critters. They're mighty tasty and easy.



See...cats always have to be so dramatic!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tasty Tuesday ~~ Coona$$ Turtle Burgers!

Oh boy, have I got a treat for you today, boys & girls! Whether you grill outdoors or cook inside, you'll love this unique recipe. Talk about a conversation-starter! [And since I AM a Cajun, I can use the cultural term, "coonass," but don't none 'a y'all go saying it as a slur, ya hear?] :D 

Coonass Turtle Burgers

Lean ground beef for as many burgers as you need
Seasonings to personal taste
Beef hot dogs
Sharp cheddar cheese (sliced nice & thick)
Lots of thick smoked bacon
Deli burger buns

Make your patties, including seasoning. Top each patti with a thick covering of sharp cheddar (you can also add or use Swiss). Securely wrap patties with the bacon weave as shown in picture below. Add hot dogs for the heads and legs, and make slits for the toes and tail. 

Place burger turtles on an oven rack or BBQ grill. Cover loosely with foil. Bake for about 30 minutes near 400 degrees for a nice crispy finish. 

Serve and watch your guests smile as they "dress" their own turtles!! 

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Must See Contest & Prizes...

If you haven't already, hop over to Roni & Julie's Totally Epic Summer Contest and check out this rockin' competition for you writerly types. And the prizes? Top shelf!


Also......don't forget to check out my interview with awesome author Julie Compton in the post right there below.......

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Writerly Wednesday ~~ Great Scoopage: Of Chap Books & Author Interviews

That's my reading glasses and the book I just finished, set off by a nice cup of espresso made by our hosts, the Magendies. Ahhhh, pure-d heaven, I tell ya.

If you're looking for a great read on the pitfalls and joys of parenting kids (of special needs or of the "regular" variety), and balancing the demands of career and relationships, Tanya Savko's Slip might be just the book you're looking for. I ordered a signed copy after reading her interview at Carrie Link's blog, and I'm so glad I did.


Chicory Bloom Press Poetry Chapbook Series announces the Summer 2010 release of

The Gift of Laughter by Daryl Holmes

In pumpkin time the holiday spirits arrive on the winds
that billow the curtains and shimmy
beneath the door to tickle the candle flames
and stir anticipation from its nap.- excerpt from Pumpkin Time

“I'm always jealous of poems such as ‘Donna Jane’ with its conversationally prosaic yet fluid poetry. The poem holds brilliant advice I wish someone would have offered me years ago. Daryl Holmes' The Gift of Laughter offers instruction to the hasty young as well as some light-hearted jabs at gathering the wisdom that comes with age. It is both clever and charming. (Camala M. Ryan, author of God is Southern: Louisiana Poems)

“What [Chicory Bloom Press is] doing is rare and special and it is no wonder that [they] are beginning to attract attention." (Darrell Bourque, Louisiana Poet Laureate, 2007-08, 2009-2011)

$15.00 Per Chapbook (including shipping & handling)
Glenn J. Bergeron II
127 South Dennis Street
Thibodaux, LA 70301

Publisher & Editor: Glenn J. Bergeron II / Editorial Advisor: David Middleton


Interview with Author Julie Compton

Julie Compton is the internationally published author of TELL NO LIES, a legal thriller that earned a starred review from Kirkus, and RESCUING OLIVIA, which Kirkus called "a pleasing hybrid of fairy tale and contemporary thriller" and Publisher's Weekly said was an "intense, entertaining second novel" with a "super-satisfying resolution." An attorney by profession, Julie no longer practices but keeps one foot in the courthouse by volunteering as a guardian ad litem for abused and neglected children. She lives near Orlando, Florida with her husband and two daughters. You can read the first chapters of both novels at her site.

1.) You've got a great Q&A section at your website. Anything you'd like to elaborate upon or amend?

Thank you! Your question compelled me to look at the Q & A with new eyes. I think I should add a few more questions: How did you come up with the idea for Rescuing Olivia? and What is your writing process like? These are two questions I get quite often from readers.
 The idea for Rescuing Olivia began from a writing prompt. For many years I've attended a writing workshop where our leader begins each meeting with a prompt. One week, the leader asked us to write a scene involving a character who was in possession of a box he or she wasn't supposed to have, for whatever reason. I spent the next thirty minutes writing a scene about a guy who comes across a box and is afraid to open it. At the time, I didn't know who the guy was or what was in the box. Later, that guy became Anders (the protagonist of Rescuing Olivia), and the box turned out to be a box that belongs to his missing girlfriend (Olivia) and which he hopes contains some clues to her whereabouts. It plays a pivotal role in the book.

As for my writing process, my answer above reveals a lot! When I begin a story, I usually don't know what the story is about or what will happen. I start with a seed (which more often than not is a character I have in my head) and simply start writing whatever comes to mind. It's a very organic process that can have me one day writing a scene from the middle of the book and the next have me writing a section that belongs at the beginning or the end. Often I don't know where a scene belongs until much later in the process. I'm a bit amazed by writers who prepare a detailed outline before they begin writing. I can't do that because I don't know the story – it reveals itself to me as I write. Also, I think the process of outlining would dissipate the pent-up excitement that grows inside me as the story develops.

2.) I *loved* Rescuing Olivia as much or more than Tell No Lies. How was writing a second book different from the first?

In one way, I found it harder because I constantly wondered, can I do it again? Can I come up with a whole new story and new characters and actually pull them all together to finish another novel? Yet, I also found it easier, because I'd learned so much from writing and editing the first one. The first draft of Tell No Lies was 730 pages! I didn't know any better. With Rescuing Olivia, I understood a bit more about where to begin a story, how to pace it properly, what was relevant and what wasn't. I knew a bit more about structure. Writing Tell No Lies was like entering a room blindfolded and having to feel my way around. I eventually figured it out, but the journey was a bit more arduous. By the time I wrote Rescuing Olivia, my eyes were wide open.

People often ask me which book I like better. I have trouble answering that question. It's like asking a parent which child they love better. I think my writing improved with Rescuing Olivia – I'd be concerned if it hadn't! – but Tell No Lies was my first so it will always hold a special place in my heart. And because of the nature of the story, it struck a nerve with more readers than Rescuing Olivia, I think.

3.) Did you intend for your books to be so character driven? (I love that in a book!) Are your people real, fictional, or some hybrid compilation?

Until I began writing seriously, I never really thought consciously about whether a story was plot-driven or character-driven. As a reader, I'd read a novel, and I'd either like it, or I wouldn't. But looking back, the novels I enjoyed the most were always the character-driven ones. The plot-driven stories never sustained my interest. So I think I instinctively wrote character-driven stories because that's what I liked to read. Now, of course, I understand the difference, and yes, I would say that I intend my stories to be character-driven. When I write a story, I'm constantly asking myself, why is this character reacting the way he or she is? What motivates him or her?

4.) How does your background in law come into play in your writing?

Well, it played a much larger role in Tell No Lies, which is most often characterized as a legal thriller. I didn't really intend to write a legal thriller; I was simply writing a story about people, and they happened to be lawyers because that's what I knew. The story has a murder, so I guess when you put lawyers and murder together in a story, it's called a legal thriller. LOL!

But really, as a lawyer you do a lot of writing – albeit a different sort of writing – but most lawyers I know love to write. So in that respect, I guess it plays a role in everything I write. Especially structure, because structure is so important when drafting a brief.

5.) What do you wish you'd known before you started out on the publishing road?

Two things, really, although I guess they're connected. One, I wish I'd known more about the business side of publishing, especially marketing. I didn't really hit the ground running. With so much information online nowadays, it's much easier for a newbie to learn about the business and to connect with others who have knowledge long before they're published. Two, I wish I had known that getting published isn't the end all and be all of writing. I think when you're unpublished, you think being published is like the Holy Grail. You think being published will mean you've arrived, and going forward things will only become easier. But it's sort of like being promoted at a nine-to-five job. You wouldn't want to ever go back; after all, it's exciting, it means you've reached a certain skill level, and there's nothing quite like seeing your book on a shelf in the bookstore, but it also brings with it a new and different set of issues.

6.) How much of your day is spent writing? Promoting?

Depends upon whether I've just had a new book published. In the couple of months leading up to publication, and then for a few months afterward, my time is probably spent equally on both. Those first few months after publication are extremely important from a promotional standpoint, because that's when the book is in the bookstore. Except for those books whose authors who are well known, books have a very short shelf life.

But when a few months have passed, I'm back in full-time writing mode. I can easily spend 8 to 10 hours a day writing. I love the actual writing; to me, it's like going to the movies but being the producer and director. I'm able to control everything – the characters, the setting, the dialogue, the plot – heck, even the soundtrack (because I always write with music in the background!).

7.) What's the best thing about being an author?

We have a funny essay posted on our refrigerator for our kids called "Bill Gates' Rules for Living." Supposedly it's based on a speech he gave to high school students about eleven things they needed to know but wouldn't learn in school. Number ten is "Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs." (This was back in the day of the television show "Friends.") I couldn't help but pen in my own addition to this particular rule. I wrote: "Unless you're a writer!"

In other words, to me, the best thing is not having to drag myself to an office each day. Ironically, even though I now work from home and could arguably start my workday whenever I please, I pop out of bed easily and can't wait to get in front of my keyboard. It really makes a difference when you love what you do.
 8.) Are you of the get-an-agent school, or do you think it's a good idea to approach publishers directly?

A little bit of both? I absolutely think having an agent is a benefit. They do so much more than simply sell your book. A good one always has your back. And really, even the process of trying to find an agent is immensely beneficial. You can't write a good query unless you understand what your story is really about and can express it in a concise, interesting way. And when you start getting rejections (because you will), the rejections force you to take another look at your work and determine what's lacking. Too many aspiring writers are in a rush to get published, and as a result they send out their work before it's really ready (I'm speaking from experience – LOL!). Agent rejections are a great reality check.

Having said all that, if you really think your novel is the best it will ever be (and I don't mean you think it's the best it will ever be because your Aunt Shirley raved about it), and you're not making progress with finding an agent, why not approach some of the medium to smaller publishers who allow unagented submissions? You'll have to do your research and make sure you're approaching reputable publishers, but there are some wonderful ones out there, especially for certain genres.

9.) What are you working on now?
 I'm working on my third novel, tentatively titled Keep No Secrets, which is a sequel to Tell No Lies. It's funny, because despite the ambiguous ending of Tell No Lies, I never intended to write a sequel. I had spent so many years working on Tell No Lies that when I finished editing it for the last time, I didn't care if I ever saw those characters again. But once it was published, I received a lot of emails from readers asking if I planned to write a sequel. The demand seemed to be there, so I eventually decided that if I could think of the right story for Jack and friends, I would consider it. One day I was driving on the highway and the first line just popped into my head. I went home and started writing, and I've been working on it ever since. Needless to say, I've learned never to say never.

Interestingly, you asked above how writing my second novel was different from writing my first. I've found my third, because it's a sequel, to be the most difficult. You don't want to include too much information from the first, or else you'll bore the ones who know the first book, but you need to include enough so that a reader coming to the sequel without having read the first one will understand the characters and their pasts. It's a fine balance.

Thanks so much for sharing writerly thoughts with us, Julie! Best of luck and much continued success.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tasty Tuesday ~~ Mahvelous Macaroons

Poor Kat & husband GMR. With the view, the weather, the sights, critters, great company, relaxation and master chef meals, I can't get my husband to head back to the swamps of Louisiana! We are a friend's worst nightmare ------ the company that would.not.leave. LOL

Today's grand culinary offering is a wonderful dessert we had the other night. Mmmm, and yes, it was as yummy as the photo looks.

Chocolate Almond Macaroons

3/4 cup sweet condensed milk
14-oz. pkg. sweetened flaked coconut
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. almond extract
1/8 tsp. salt
24 whole unblanched almonds
1/2 cup dark chocolate morsels

Stir first four ingredients together. Drop dough by lightly greased tablespoons onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Press an almond into the top of each cookie. Bake at 350 for 15-17 minutes until golden brown. Cool on wire racks.

Microwave 1/2 cup. chocolate morsels on high for 1 minute and 15 seconds, or until smooth and melted. Stir every thirty seconds of time. Spoon into a zippered freezer bag; cut a very small hole in corner of bag. Pipe chocolate over cooled cookies. (Makes about 2 dozen.)

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