Friday, November 30, 2007

Low-Fat and Luscious


Perfect for those winter football/playoff/championship weekends.

1 pound (bulk) turkey Italian sausage
1 can great northern white beans
1 can black beans
1 can kidney or chili beans (your choice)
1/2 can water
1 jar salsa (mild, medium or hot - your choice)

Cornbread squares
Low-fat sour cream (optional)

Brown the sausage, being sure to break it up as it cooks. Add the beans, the salsa and the water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve over cornbread squares and, if you like (I don't), top with a dollop of sour cream.

Go Tigers! (That's the University of Missouri-Columbia Tigers, who are playing Oklahoma in San Antonio this Saturday night for the Big 12 championship.)

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Missing in Action

The fact of the matter is I stink. I really do. What kind of rotten knitting writer/writing knitter would just disappear into the wilderness like that and not even drop in long enough to say Happy Thanksgiving?


It's not that I haven't thought about you because I have. Lots. Every time I pick up my knitting needles or thumb through the gorgeous new Harmony guides or sit here (literally) beating my head against the laptop, praying for the right words to finally FINALLY appear on the screen.

It's been a long tough grind to reach the place where the story finally has a life of its own, a life separate from me. For some reason I had a wicked time shedding the characters from my last book and slipping into the hearts of the new characters. I've been alternately overwhelmed, intimidated, terrified, uncertain, anxious, ready to grab my AmEx and race to the airport, ready to board a plane for anywhere but here.

Poor Dallas and Poor Nancy have heard all about it in email. At length and ad nauseum, I'm afraid. (Nobody on the planet can whine more effectively and endlessly than a writer on a killer deadline.) The clock keeps ticking. Those calendar pages flip faster than I can register. And I waited and waited for the paragraphs and pages to mount.

There's a weird syndrome common to working writers that I call The Butt Springs Syndrome. I was telling Goldisox about it this afternoon and, brilliant thought he is, he just didn't get it.

Me: It's like the second the writing starts going well I spring up from my chair and run as far away from it as I can get.

Him: I do that too when I'm procrastinating.

Me: No! No! It's not that. I said it happens when it starts to get good.

Him: You mean the words are flowing and you know what's going to happen next?

Me: Yes! That's it! All of a sudden the words are there and they're flowing from my brain to the keyboard without human intervention and something comes over me and next thing you know I'm at Shop Rite.

Him: (very long pause) That's just plain weird.

And it is. And also extremely common. I mean, I could understand running for the hills when the going gets tough. That's just good sense. But when it's good, when it's there, when you're finally in the zone: what the hell is that all about anyway? I mean, you'll never see me put down the needles when the cables are forming effortlessly. So what is it about writing that sometimes makes me want to flee the country?

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Monday, November 26, 2007

World Series Sweater Done!

My World Series Sweater is done. Actually, it's the Bookworm Tunic from hipknits knit in Knit Picks' Shine Sport, a cotton/modal blend that's a dream to work with. I call it my World Series Sweater because the bulk of it was knit while watching the baseball playoffs.

This photo was taken right before a book signing I did this past weekend in Crested Butte, Colorado. Blue Moon Books hosted a fun signing to celebrate the release of my October American Romance, Marriage On Her Mind, the first of a new series of romantic comedies set in Crested Butte.

On the needles now -- a pair of socks for me, in bright purple! So what is everyone else working on?

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Pin Winner!

The Great Random Number Generator has spoken and it says, "Congratulations to 'Pearl', the winner of the knitting pin." Pearl, please email me with your snail mail address at and I'll send you your fun knitting pin.

BTW, the Random Number Generator I consulted uses "atmospheric noise" to generate true random numbers, as opposed to the pseudo-random numbers generated by computer algorithms. Evidently, this method makes numbers more random somehow so it's used by lotteries, scientists and artists. The service has been operating since 1998 and is maintained by a lecturer at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. I don't understand what any of this means (except the last sentence) but thought someone else might understand it and be interested.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A different exercise for your hands and brain

Wahoo! My new novel Music of the Night is available! (It's taken a little longer than I expected--that's why I'm excited.) You can order it from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and at your local bookstore. Here's the link to Barnes and Noble (where they discount it!):
This is my first romantic suspense and it was a fascinating challenge to combine a romance and a mystery. I was determined to keep the two elements balanced so one didn't overshadow the other. You'll have to tell me whether I succeeded or not.
Here's my book description from Amazon:
Legend has it that Beethoven wrote a tenth symphony. . .and made it music to die for.

When world-famous conductor Nicholas Vranos finds his best friend murdered backstage at Carnegie Hall, he’s plunged into a maelstrom of intrigue swirling around the mythical masterpiece. Although Vranos is her main suspect, New York City police detective Anna Salazar finds herself turning to the dark, charismatic maestro for help as she navigates the Byzantine world of classical music. Yet she must fight the powerful seduction of the musician and his Music of the Night.
Romantic Times gave it a lovely review: four stars. Their reviewer, Bunny Callahan, read the book (in manuscript form!) and wrote the review in less than a week. I was incredibly impressed.
All you marching band afficionados will be amused by this little tidbit. Music of the Night began with a hero who was a conductor of classical music. However, I still needed the mystery thread. Suddenly my daughter's marching band show from her freshman year popped into my head. Guess what is was called: Beethoven's Tenth! It just goes to show that writers use absolutely everything in their lives eventually.
There's no knitting in this book but I'm working on getting some needles into my next yarn. (Ahem.)
Enjoy your turkey!

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

A celebration prize!

Marching band season is officially over, I can walk on my sprained foot, and I'm knitting once again. To celebrate all these improvements in my life (although I'm starting to be a little sad about the end of marching band since my daughter graduates this spring), I am giving away this fun, funky pin I found at a local craft fair. If you'd like to be in the running to win it, leave a comment on this post. I'll generate a random number on Monday, Nov. 26th (after the Thanksgiving turkey is fully digested) and let you know who won.

Hope everyone has a Thanksgiving with many blessings to count!

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Noni Bag Knitted, for all the wrong reasons

Ta-da! There's the pre-felted Rather Huge Noni Bag...and it is indeed rather huge. That's my new book sitting on top of it for scale, and it's not a mass market paperback, it's a TRADE paperback.
In the midst of the madness of marching band season, I found time to finish knitting my Noni but it was not a good thing. Here's the story:
Monday night I attended my first Devils hockey game of the season at the brand new Prudential Center, a.k.a. "The Rock". It's a spectacular new arena built especially for the Devils in Newark, NJ. I had a grand time exploring the vast new spaces and buying myself a cool pin that says, "She-Devil". The evening went down hill from there as the Pittsburgh Penguins humiliated my beloved team 5-0.
As my husband and I departed from The Rock, I was gawking at the giant mobile police communications van parked in front instead of watching where I was walking. Oddly enough, there was a curb there and I fell right off of it, twisting my left foot in ways a foot was never meant to be twisted. Ouch! Since then I've been ensconced on the couch, foot propped on the coffee table draped in an ice bag, and, of course, I've knitted, hence the finished Noni Bag.
The timing is pretty awful since this weekend the marching band is performing at a football game on Saturday and championships (!) on Sunday. So I'm babying my foot, driving my family crazy by ordering them to carry things for me since I have to use a cane to get around, and crossing my fingers that I'll be able to put weight on my foot come Saturday.
Sometimes I do the dumbest things! Anyone else want to share a "how-could-I-be-this-stupid?!" story?

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Knitters, We Have Arrived!

Do you see that? We are one of the 2007 Holiday Stamps issued by the U.S. Postal Service!

Yes, Knitters, those are the Holiday Knits you're looking at, courtesy of artist Nancy Stahl. Forty-one cents, first class postage, and you'd better believe I'm going to buy some ASAP.

I mean, how unbelievably cool is that??

Goldisox and I went out to vote this afternoon. I'll admit I wasn't feeling terribly a) enthusiastic or b) locally patriotic over the prospect. Once upon a time in a land far away I was a very political animal. One of those creatures who volunteer their time and actually believe politicians have the good of the people at heart. Well, I had that beat out of me over the years and now I vote because a) I can and b) if I don't, I really have no right to bitch and moan about the outcome.

Anyway, my favorite League of Women Voters volunteer was on duty when we got there, the one who is always crocheting or knitting. "It's a lost art," she said sadly when I complimented her on her work. "Not anymore," I said and told her some of what's been going on here on the internet. I think I might have convinced her to get wired. She showed me an absolutely beautiful baby blanket she just finished. It was a slanted, shell pattern and I honestly couldn't tell if it had been crocheted or knitted. (The pattern was off the label of one of those mega-skeins of yarn you find at discount stores.) I was about to ask her when a couple of other voters coughed politely behind me and I lost my chance. I can still see the stitches in front of me: all of them perfect and perfectly wonderful.

Some days are just better than others and this turned out to be one of 'em!

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Sunday, November 04, 2007

So That's the Reason!

I'll admit I was wondering why my inbox was so empty. Had the lure of sock knitting screeched to a halt when I wasn't looking? After days of feeling neglected I finally had a bright idea (can you see the light bulb flickering over my head?) and decided to check for comments on the blog.

Uh-oh. No comments. But then you can't really expect comments WHEN YOU HAVEN'T POSTED.

Now I'm sure I posted. I can even tell you what I said. But apparently it disappeared into the great netherworld that serves as repository for many, many of my attempts to communicate with the rest of the world. (We won't discuss Vista. We won't discuss Windows Mail. We won't discuss Outlook 2007 or Pegasus or Eudora. But we will thank Google Mail for helping to save what remains of my sanity.)

Anyway, here are the last three winners of our October Sockyarnapalooza giveaway. (You know the drill: email me here with your mailing address and your surprise will be on its way.

1. Carol (nichols****)
2. Adrienne Fong
3. Kim Helmick