Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas Reading & Treats

The past week has been busy. I've been battling another rezoning issue in the real world, helping my teen get through finals week, making and taking goodies to friends, getting ready to leave for TX, shopping for Christmas and wrapping the presents and keeping up with dozens of emails about the rezoning as well as attending the meeting.

But despite all of the hoopla, I've managed to do something I haven't done in a long time. I've been reading or pleasure every night this week. While DD finished up her chemistry and pre-calculus homework after studying for her finals, I read and finished one book. Then I started another. For the most part, I was absorbed in the books. And it dawned on me, I do have time to read if I have no noise, TV on and other clacking on their lap computers around me, and my own fingers not doing the same as I try to catch up on my cyber world reading.

Lesson learned. Limit cyber space time to fit in reading time. It's just that the cyber community is my community of writers. It's where I tend to go to socialize after I'm done writing. But now that I am taking a bit of a break from writing, I find I am drawn to reading. In fact, I'm reluctant to start up again on the writing because it is so fun to be read and chillax. I know once I start revising, my brain will kick into editor mode and I'll start dissecting my pleasure books again.

I will have to stop indulging in this pleasure and start writing again. Before I do, let me share the two books I've read and am reading.

One is called THE ACCIDENTAL BESTSELLER by WENDY WAX. I bought this women's fiction book from her at the MOONLIGHT & MAGNOLIA'S conference. She and another author gave a "humor in your writing" workshop. I learned a lot from them. Her book is about mid-list author who is about to lose it all (her contract with her publishing house, her marriage, herself) when her three writing critique partners and friends swoop in to help her fulfill her contract.

The story is well-written, witty and will open your eyes to the world of publishing in new ways. All the writing and publishing industry is rewrapped with new titles, but you'll recognize them as you read. In a way it's kind of depressing to read how difficult the publishing world is to navigate, but then it's great to learn that the friendships made through writing are bonds that aren't easily broken.

Great book!

Currently, I am reading Christie Craig's funny, romantic suspense single title, WEDDINGS CAN BE MURDER. I met Christie at the M&M as well. She gave a wonderful workshop about writing and then she shared all her rejections. A mini suitcase of them! She is very inspirational and her life story is incredible. She's not come to this the easy way and she doesn't have the background of many other published writers, but she has the chutzpah and the perseverance to make it in this industry. She got a four book deal from Dorchester publishing in ONE DAY.

Now that's cool.

I like her writing. It's gritty, fun and keeps you on your toes. Her characters are real, normal and interesting. And her romantic suspense elements are spot on.

Now this post would not be complete with out the treat. Here is my recipe for PRALINE PECANS.

4 cups pecan halves
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 cups dried cranberries or cherries

(I usually double the recipe--if you live in the states, you can go to COSTCO and get the big bag of pecans--it's exactly 8 cups of pecan halves).

1: preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Grease a 13x9 inch baking pan and set aside. Cover a large cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray; set aside.

2: spread pecans in baking dish

3: combine corn syrup, brown sugar and butter in a small microwaveable bowl (I use my 2 cup measuring cup if I double the recipe). Microwave at high for a minute. Stir. Microwave an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute until boiling rapidly (it'll bubble up fast ). Stir in vanilla and baking soda until well-blended. Drizzle evenly over the pecans; stir until evenly coated (doesn't have to be perfect).

4: Bake 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes with a wooden spoon. Immediately transfer mixture to foil lined baking sheet, spreading pecans evenly over foil with lightly greased spatula (I just dump them on there and press them around with the dirty wooden spoon).

5: cool completely. Break with wooden spoon (I use my hands--clean). Combine pecans and cranberries in a bowl and stir well. Divide evenly between tins.

I put mine into cellophane bags and tie with a ribbon. I usually do two double batches (big popular treat here).



gwenhernandez said...

I'm glad you're getting some reading in. I'll have to pick up that RS book one of these days--it sounds good.

I haven't been doing as much reading the past few weeks because the writing has been slower. As much as I'm enjoying my class, I'll be glad to cut back on my emails and extraneous work.

How come I can spit out a 300-600 word blog in no time, but the same amount for my book can take hours?

Martha W said...

Hey there! Glad to hear you're getting in some reading time....

Congrats on seeing your name listed as a maggies finalist (January RWR... pg 45) WooHoo!!

Christine said...

I haven't seen the RWA mag yet. That will be fun to see when we return. That experience validated my dream. One day.

Gwen, I find I get sidetracked by the extra rules and new ways to approach writing. I try to incorporate into a WIP or save and use it later. I am anxious to do some writing again. I am enjoying the reading.