Tag Archive | Friends

Debut Author: Mia Epsilon

From Christina: Today I’d like to welcome Mia Epsilon to Time for Love. She’s recently released Wedding Belle Blues, a delicious romance novel.  She’s here today to talk a bit about writing and becoming a published author.

AS ESSENTIAL AS BREATHING

 

Writing is as essential to me as breathing. Sometimes it’s easy and I don’t have to think about it. Sometimes it’s like having broncritis and every word, like every breath, is a struggle. Being a published writer is a long held dream come true. And it’s a long road.

nanowrimo_calendar___2013_by_spooneh21-d6ooljkFor Wedding Belle Blues, several friends on Face Book gently (read that as ‘you do this or we’re coming after you’) encouraged me to participate in NaNo. If you’ve never heard of this, it’s a group to encourage writers to complete at least 50,000 words in a month, usually in November. I’ve tried NaNo before and failed miserably with dozens of excuses and reasons, some of them valid. 2013 NaNo was different though: I receive a newsletter from Breathless Press and they offered a 5 page critique of your NaNo efforts. So the FB friends and I made each other post every day how many words we wrote, what the plot was, etc I decided to send in my first five pages for the critique and less than a day later received it back. The BP editor made some wonderfully valid points, gave encouraging comments, and asked to see the entire manuscript once finished. So I had another reason to keep writing the novel.

Anna and Robin whole heartedly jumped on the wild thirty day NaNo ride with me. They told me their story, what they said, what they did, and all I had to do was type it in the computer. That’s all. Every night after ‘real’ work I dutifully typed. When November ended, I had 58,000 words to send to the BP editor. But… It was Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year’s and winter so the finished manuscript simply sat patiently on my hard drive. My husband asked me one day why I waited. With sweat, prayers and shaking fingers, I sent Anna and Robin off to hopefully charm the BP editor named Jen Bradlee. This was late February, a Saturday. Jen sent back an email five days later saying she loved it and BP wanted to publish it. Yes, that was me the world heard jumping up and down screaming. Hubby and I reviewed the contract word by word, I signed four days later, and began the edit rounds.

Let me say Editors have a hard job. They get blamed for being tough and not knowing ‘good’ stuff. But a good editor makes the writer better. I got blessed with an extremely good editor. Not only does she help me improve my writing, she pushes me to go beyond what I think I can do and how I can write. Take, for example, how she highlighted the word ‘she’ in a paragraph (I used it eight times), told me to change some of them, and not just to Anna’s name. I struggled with that paragraph for three hours. When I returned it, with only two ‘she’ in it, all the sentences were stronger. The paragraph was stronger and so was the chapter. She made me better by challenging me. Sure, I muttered some probably not nice things but I’m so glad she pushes me. She believes in me. That’s the best thing any writer can ask for in an Editor.

Then came Cover Art requests and more edits and line edits and promo and a whirlwind of helping find readers for Anna and Robin’s story who will love them almost as much as I do. Oh, and Jen’s request for more submissions and setting up Good Reads, Amazon, Face Book, Twitter, all the things to get Wedding Belle Blues out there to be read. Breathless Press is amazing to work for; everyone is eager to help in the ‘business end’ of writing.

Because writing IS a business; we writers sometimes forget it’s a job like any other, easy at times, hard at others and always, always subjective. Not everyone will like your work; not everyone has to like it. Writing is as essential to me as breathing.

 * * * *

Mia Epsilon lives with her enduring soul mate hubby in the gorgeous Blue Ridge Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina, USA. She’s an avid reader of almost anything but particularly romance, a never-miss-an-episode viewer of Doctor Who and Sherlock, and happily suffers a coffee and chocolate addiction. She can most often be found at her computer, spinning new stories, or in a quiet padded nook with her e reader. Look for more stories in the ‘Weddings by C & C’ line including ‘That Night’ featuring more of Anna & Robin and ‘Take a Chance on Me’, Christine and Charlie’s story.

Winter Thoughts

Most of the posts you’ll find at Time for Love are from guest authors, all of whom have become dear friends. I appreciate each author who has taken time from her busy schedule to share a few thoughts here.

From time to time I like to share a few words of my own, as well. With the romantic Valentine’s holiday past, and  February now winding down, I thought I’d pop in here for a moment.

Sun on PinkThe last few days have been a welcome break in the miserably cold winter we’ve had here in the midwest. Although thunderstorms struck yesterday afternoon and on through the night, the temperatures have been well above freezing — hitting as high as the 50’s and 60’s (Fahrenheit). So much better than the far-below-zero temperatures and wind chills we’ve experienced in recent weeks.

Weather forecasters are warning us that winter is not over yet, and I know more cold is coming. Probably more ice and snow, as well.

But I’m not going to think about the cold right now. I’m going to go right on thinking about those glorious rays of sunshine that brightened recent days.

The friendships I’ve made are rays of sunshine in my life, too. I love the warmth and comfort friends have offered, the bright, encouraging outlook my friends have given me, and the glowing words of kindness so many have shared.

In return, I want to once more say “Thank you” to my friends — authors and readers, alike. I’d like, too, to remind each one of you to cherish the friends in your lives.  Friends do warm the heart, just as sunshine warms even the coldest of winter days.

Thanksgiving — Better than Christmas by Stacy Moran

Christmas tops the list of “favorite holidays” for many people, but not for romance writer Stacy Moran. Today, she shares a few thoughts — and a special recipe — for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Thanksgiving — Better than Christmas

Thanksgiving. I love it more than Christmas, and here’s why.

Thanksgiving is getting absorbed by the Christmas festivities and shopping before it ever has a chance to be truly enjoyed.

With the Christmas season coming earlier and earlier every year, Thanksgiving is becoming known more as “the day before Black Friday” than an actual holiday. Christmas is swelling to monstrous proportions, swallowing Thanksgiving. Retailers are even staying open on Thanksgiving in order to beat competition’s sales.

A holiday that is in some ways controversial, but to me is the best time of year, is disappearing.

To me Thanksgiving is about…

  1. Family
  2. Amazing Food
  3. Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
  4. Gone with the Wind (my family tradition)
  5. A room filled with napping people
  6. The smell of turkey and pumpkin pies
  7. The start of colder weather
  8. Charlie Brown
  9. Memories of childhood
  10. Leftovers

This year take a moment and remember your childhood, watch the parade, play football in the yard, savor Grandma’s stuffing, and just appreciate the day.

To make the day a bit easier here is my “go-to” recipe for moist turkey.

Turkey Dinner

INGREDIENTS

One Turkey, approx. 15 lbs.

Juice of a lemon

Salt and pepper

Melted butter

Tops and bottoms of a bunch of celery

2 carrots

Parsley

Sprigs of fresh rosemary, thyme

METHOD

Step One

To start, if the turkey has been refrigerated, bring it to room temperature before cooking. Keep it in its plastic wrapping until you are ready to cook it. While in the refrigerator, and or while you are bringing it to room temp, have the bird resting in a pan, so that if the plastic covering leaks for any reason, you are confining the juices to the pan.

Handle a raw turkey with the same amount of caution as when you handle raw chicken – use a separate cutting board and utensils to avoid contaminating other foods. Wash your hands with soap before touching anything else in the kitchen. Use paper towels to clean up.

Remove the neck and giblets (heart, gizzard, liver). Use the heart and gizzard for making stock for the stuffing. The neck can be cooked alongside the turkey or saved for turkey soup. Or all of the giblets can be used for making giblet gravy.

Step Two

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Step Three

Wash out the turkey with water. Pull out any remaining feather stubs in the turkey skin. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels. Lather the inside of the cavity with the juice of half a lemon. Take a small handful of salt and rub all over the inside of the turkey.

Step Four

For flavor, put in inside the turkey, a bunch of parsley, a couple of carrots, and some tops and bottoms of celery. You may need to cap the body cavity with some aluminum foil so that the stuffing doesn’t easily fall out. Close up the turkey cavity with either string (not nylon string!) or metal skewers. Make sure that the turkey’s legs are tied together, held close to the body, and tie a string around the turkey body to hold the wings in close.

Step Five

Rub either melted butter all over the outside of the turkey. Sprinkle salt generously all over the outside of the turkey (or have had it soaking in salt-water brine before starting this process). Sprinkle pepper over the turkey.


Step Six

Place turkey BREAST DOWN on the bottom of a rack over a sturdy roasting pan big enough to catch all the drippings. This is the main difference between the way mom makes turkey and everyone else. Cooking the turkey breast down means the skin over the breast will not get so brown. However, all of the juices from the cooking turkey will fall down into the breast while cooking. And the resulting bird will have the most succulent turkey breast imaginable.

Add several sprigs of fresh (if possible) thyme and rosemary to the outside of the turkey.

Step Seven

Chop up the turkey giblets (gizzard, heart). Put into a small saucepan, cover with water, add salt. Bring to simmer for an hour or so to help make stock for the stuffing.

Step Eight

Put the turkey in the oven. Check the cooking directions on the turkey packaging. Gourmet turkeys often don’t take as long to cook. With the turkeys mom gets, she recommends cooking time of about 15 minutes for every pound. For the 15 lb. turkey, start the cooking at 400 F for the first 1/2 hour. Then reduce the heat to 350 F for the next 2 hours. Then reduce the heat further to 225 F for the next hour to hour and a half.

If you want the breast to be browned as well, you can turn the bird over so that the breast is on top, and put it in a 500°F oven or under the broiler for 4-5 minutes, just enough to brown the breast. Note that if you do this, you will have a higher risk of overcooking the turkey breast.

Start taking temperature readings with a meat thermometer, inserted deep into the thickest part of the turkey breast and thigh, an hour before the turkey should be done. You want a resulting temperature of 175°F for the dark meat (thighs and legs) and 165°F for the white meat (breast). The temperature of the bird will continue to rise once you take it out of the oven, so take it out when the temperature reading for the thigh is 170°F, and for the breast 160°F. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, spear the breast with a knife. The turkey juices should be clear, not pink.

Step Nine 

Once you remove the turkey from the oven, let it rest for 15-20 minutes. Turn the turkey breast side up to carve it.

kristin-emery-family-and-friends

Once again remember the point of the day is to enjoy and be thankful for your  family, friends, and the amazing food prepared.

About Stacy Moran: 

Stacy  was born in West Virginia but now finds herself living in Texas. She has loved writing since she wrote her first book in the first grade, The Land Without Rules. Her mother will tell you it was a brilliant piece of literature.

An author of several genres, she prefers to combine the mainstream genres of paranormal and gothic romance with elements of erotic, mythology and fantasy.

Her most recent works include, Blood Myth (The Myth Series), Sekhmet’s Revenge, The Lotus, and a series of erotic shorts,  Temptation Tuesdays. You can find her books on Amazon.

SAM

Readers can find Stacy online at her official website, at her blog, and on Facebook. 

Official Site of Stacy A. Moran

A New Journal Blog

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