Category Archives: cooking

Chapter 31’s up on my webpage

Things get a little hot for Lucas.  Lots of cooking.  And if anyone wants the recipe, let me know.

Chapter 29

Dulcey comes home, and Lucas misses his time with her kids.  His house feels empty.  Will Randie still see him without using Jordy and Beth as a buffer?  There’s only one way to find out.

A new chapter

I just posted chapter 28 on my webpage.  I’m in the wrong season–Lucas and Randie are prepping food on Wednesday night for Thanksgiving the next day.  Lucas is distracted enough by her low neckline that he’s lucky he doesn’t lose a finger.  His knife skills aren’t that great:)  This scene made me hungry for stuffing, but then, I’m always hungry for anything with bread.  Oh, how I love carbs!


There’s a lot of cooking in my novels.  Food is the glue that brings people together.  Probably because that’s how I view it.  I love to cook, and sitting around a table with family and friends is one of my favorite experiences.

Cooking is a creative outlet for me.  I get bored making the same recipes over and over, so I love to experiment with new ones when I have guinea pigs–oops,  I mean friends–over.

December in our house ups the ante.  It’s about putting up decorations and connecting with more friends and family than usual.  I’ve cooked a lot of suppers for a lot of people lately.  My daughter–the traveling nurse–decided not to re-sign her contract in Indianapolis and try for a job in San Jose.  There’s a gap between finishing in Indy and starting in California, so she and her cat have been staying with us.  She’s not a recipe follower.  She glances at the basic ingredients she needs and then wings it.  I had to laugh at myself.  Winging it horrorifies me.  Maybe I need recipes to cook just like I need plot points to write.  I’m more comfortable with structure.

Since I love cooking , it shows up in my writing.  In our family, the details of each day were discussed at the dinner table.  It was the hub for staying in touch.  Everyone sat around the table and talked about school and work.  In my novels, people connect over the food they love most.  Cooking is an act of love.

However you’re spending December, I hope it’s a good one; and Happy Writing!


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Managing your time…your life?

I’m a procrastinator, but I know it.  I’m also driven, and I’ve come to terms with that, too. I have discipline…sometimes.  So it’s always a challenge for me to find balance.  I try to cram too many things into too small a time frame, and then I get frustrated.  So I try to come up with ways to manage my time and life, to work everything in.

I do better in life, as well as writing, when I have structure.  I’m not saying it always works, but it gives me something to aim for.  And when I fail, I don’t beat myself up.  Life happens.  But now that two sets of kids have grown up and moved on, I have the luxury to write every day of the week.  I start out with a half hour or hour on social media while I sip my coffee and let my brain turn on.  Then I rewrite whatever I wrote the day before, and then I start writing the new stuff for each day.  I’m not fast.  I’m slow, so it might take me most of the day to hit ten pages I like.  My friends write faster.  Some of them write better.  But I’m me, and I plug away.

Everything else in my life follows pretty much the same pattern.  I clean the house and piddle around in the yard on Saturdays or the weekend.  I love to cook, so I cook suppers almost every night.  And I have a method for that, too.

A friend, who had moved away and moved back recently, reminded me that I’d taught her my method for meal planning.  “I still use it,” she said.  My menus came because my daughter had 37 allergies (some mild, some not), and I had to be careful of everything she ate.  They also came because my husband is spoiled.  (He spoils me back). But he doesn’t like to eat the same meal twice in the same month.  So if I cook chicken piccata on the 3rd and I cook it again on the 27th, he says, “Didn’t we just have this?”

I love it, because I get bored cooking the same things, so I started saving recipes, buying cookbooks, and making menus–but I have a method that makes it easier for me.  Most Saturdays, I cook beef.  It can be ribeyes, skirt steak, hamburgers, meatloaf, or roasts. Doesn’t matter.  It just has to be a different recipe every Saturday. On Sundays, it’s pork–chops, tenderloins, roasts, Italian sausages, or ham; Mondays are ethnic–Italian, Mexican, or Chinese, etc.; Tuesdays are chicken; Wednesdays–soup/salad/sandwiches/or one-dish meals; Thursdays are fish or seafood; and Fridays, I DON’T COOK.  We go out.  If company comes over, I can switch things, trade one night’s meal for another.  I make a grocery list while I plan the menus, so I have all the ingredients I need.  The thing is, I have a starting point to work from. And that makes it easier, and I end up with variety and new recipes to try.  Just like when I make plot points for my writing.

Menus don’t work for my daughters.  They like spontaneity, surprises.  I’m not a big fan of suprises.  I  think they can go either way.  And plot points don’t work for most of my writing friends.  I might be a little too security minded, a little too cautious. Whatever. But to each, his own.  And however or whatever you do, happy writing!



An Ode to Food, and Back to Routine

Happy New Year!  I don’t know about other people, but I’m ready for a fresh start and a new year.  2016 was a full, busy year with more “events” than usual.  Our grandson Tyler graduated from IU in May, then he traveled for a while before starting a new job in Indianapolis in June.  Our Friday night friends moved to Carolina in June, and now I picture them playing in sunshine.  I broke my leg on June 17th and that pretty much blew my plans for the summer.  My life revolved around physical therapy and lots and lots of TLC from friends–I’m one lucky person. Then our grandson Nate joined the marines, stayed with us to do Thursday night training sessions in town, and then shipped out for boot camp in early December.  He couldn’t wait to go.  I wasn’t quite so gung-ho to lose him right before Christmas, but he was ready to prove himself.  I get that.  And inbetween all of it, I wrote.  That’s what I love about writing.  It’s “my” space, my place to go when routines crash and fall around me.  Writing can be flexible, so I met all of my deadlines.   It was nice to end 2016 on high notes, but I’m still ready for 2017!

The high notes?  My daughter and grandson came to stay with us from Friday, December 23, to late afternoon on Tuesday, December 26, and all I concentrated on was lots of good food and lots of time to visit.  No work.  No “office hours.”  With my cane and the butcher block in the center of our small kitchen, I can cook like a crazy woman, as long as I remember to stop and ice my leg in the middle of the day.  And I love cooking, especially with my daughters (except Robyn and Scott couldn’t make it this year)!

Now, my romances mention lots of food, because cooking is such a passion of mine.  And for me, the holidays revolve around food, so this next part of my blog is a blatant tribute to wonderful recipes.  Holly and Tyler both love Thai food, so I made my version of Nigella Lawson’s Thai yellow pumpkin and seafood curry to put over rice for their first supper at home.  My hubs has always insisted on a “fancy” supper, with all of us together, on Christmas Eve, so Holly and I made desserts for Christmas dinner early on Saturday to get them done ahead of time, and then I made The Pioneer Woman’s Steak Oscar for supper.  (Holly loves to try new recipes as much as I do.  Steak Oscar was a HUGE hit, and if you want to impress, this does it!)  For Christmas, I made “the big-ass ham” (20 pounds) that John won at the Legion, and I glazed it with The Pioneer Woman’s red raspberry/dijon mustard glaze.  I took an extra mason jar of the glaze to my sisters’ house, and they wouldn’t let me bring it home, so I know it was a hit.  And I highly recommend Marcela’s slab apple pie (from foodtv’s The Kitchen):

Aside from food, we watched a movie every night Holly and Ty were here–something unusual for us, but boy, did we enjoy it.  We were all in the mood for low-key this year.  I picked first: The Magnificent Seven.  I mean, it’s a Western, and it has Chris Pratt in it. How bad can that be?  Holly picked The Secret Life of Pets–just silly fun.  And Ty picked the new Jason Bourne movie with lots of action.  Then it was time for Holly and Ty to drive back to Indy and jobs and the real world.  I finished reading The Help, and John and I rented that movie and loved it.

I got a smidgeon of work done until New Year’s Eve, but nothing to brag about.  And tomorrow, it’s time for me to hit the real world again, too.  Time to get up and write again.  And I’m ready.  It’s fun to play, but it’s great to get back to routine again.  I’m ready to hit 2017 running…Okay, limping, but with purpose.  Hope your holidays were wonderful, and have a great, new, fresh year!


Canning Gone Wrong

Today, on the 25th, I have a small, featured article in Reader’s Entertainment Magazine.  So many of my books feature cooking and food, I wrote about my experiences when canning and freezing went wrong.  Today’s modern pressure cookers are much, much safer.  And that’s a good thing!