Thursday, December 31, 2009
As far as my writing career is concerned, 2009 has been a good year. I didn’t have a new release in 2009, but my Christmas 2008 release The Best Selling Toy Of The Season has done pretty well. In addition, I signed a contract with Whiskey Creek Press for the publication of Return Engagement.
Return Engagement is one of my favorites. I started working on it several years ago and finished it in record time. Ever since then I’ve been revising and polishing it. Every single time I thought I was done with it I’d see something else I wanted to change.
I totally fell in love with my hero, Richard Lovinggod. He’s tall, blonde, and exciting with a killer body and gorgeous blue eyes. He might also be a little dangerous. He works for the FBI, but his father, a US senator, wants him to run for the presidency. His family has megabucks, but money doesn’t impress him. Neither does the girl his father wants him to marry. Sheila is related to the Russian czars, but her cold, superior manner doesn’t suit Richard at all.
Richard lost his heart ten years ago to Elizabeth Lane, but Senator Lovinggood doesn’t think she’s a suitable woman for Richard. Her beauty and talent made her a Hollywood legend, but she’s older than Richard, and the senator thinks she’s probably an immoral fortune hunter. He broke them up ten years ago, and it was the best day’s work of his life.
But some things are meant to be. A chance meeting on a California beach brings Elizabeth back into Richard’s life. And this time he won’t let her go. He has no idea that Elizabeth’s association with him will put her in the crosshairs of a man bent on revenge.
I don’t have a release date and haven’t even spoken with my editor yet, but I can’t wait to get started. I’ll let you know more as I do.
In the meantime, I wish you a bright and prosperous new year filled with health and happiness, and I hope all of your dreams come true.
Friday, December 25, 2009
If you were reading my blog last year you know that right after Christmas I resolved to simplify things because I almost killed myself with too many commitments and too much cooking and entertaining. I'm happy to say that I kept that resolve. How did I change things? Here goes.
First of all, I omitted a couple of parties. These particular parties were things we went to because we felt obligated to do so, not because we particularly wanted to. This year we politely declined.
Second, we usually have a quick lunch with our good friends on Christmas Eve. That was when we exchanged presents. We never had enough time because we had to rush away to cook for a dinner that night. (You really wouldn't believe my schedule. If you'd like to check last year's blog you can see for yourself.) This year we had dinner with them on the twenty third instead. We had plenty of time to exchange gifts, talk, and enjoy each other's company.
Third, I ordered some food this year instead of cooking everything from scratch. Our local grocer baked my turkey, cooked my stuffing, and made the gravy. A local bakery baked pumpkin and apples pies for me, and I bought frozen sausage biscuits, brownie bites from Atlanta Bread Company, pita chips and artichoke-spinach dip, and a fruit cake from Costco. My tropical fruit salad came from a can.
I did a ham from scratch as well as a macaroni, but that's it unless you count coffee and tea.
Was the food as good? Almost, but not quite. The fruit cake was awful, though, and the pumpkin pie was nowhere as good as mine. Did it matter? No, not at all. Everyone ate, drank, and laughed just as much as if I'd done the whole thing from scrach as I did last year.
I gave as many gifts as ever, but I ordered some of them instead of going to the store to buy them. I also gave gift cards to some of my hard to buy for people instead of wracking my brain looking for something they wouldn't like anyway.
I didn't skimp on decorations, and I still used my Christmas china which I had to drag out and wash the same as usual, but these things are too special to skimp on.
Will I do the same thing next year? You betcha. I like having enough energy to enjoy myself instead of feeling exhausted. I even plan to go shopping tomorrow to exchange a couple of gifts.
I guess what I've learned is that I should pick and choose where to invest my time and energy. Some things are worth going all out for and some aren't. From now on I'm going to figure out which is which.
I hope you had a wonderful Christmas.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
Have you planned your menu for Christmas yet? Are you looking for something different and can't find it? If so maybe you'd like to include this recipe for chicken salad croissants. (Or maybe turkey salad.) The recipe came from my friend Darlene who's a great cook. When she brings something to a party the dish empties pretty fast. As they used to say on TV, try it you'll like it.
Darlene’s Exotic Chicken Salad
4 cups cubed cooked chicken. I use rotisserie chicken from grocery store.
1 cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped green pepper
1 2 oz jar diced pimentos drained
½ cup margarine
1/3 cup whipped cream
¼ cup sour cream
3 Tbsp sliced green onion
2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
1 ½ tsp. lemon juice
1 ½ tsp cider vinegar
1 clove garlic minced
salt and pepper
¾ cup salted cashew nuts
Mix together first 4 ingredients. Combine next 10 ingredients and mix well. Pour over chicken mixture. Mix and add cashews. Chill in refrigerator. Tastes good on croissants.
Friday, December 11, 2009
There is one Christmas Carol that has always baffled me. What in the world do leaping lords, French hens, swimming swans, and especially the partridge who won't come out of the pear tree have to do with Christmas?
This week, I found out when my friend forwarded an email to me. So, here's everything I didn't know about that partridge.
From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.
-The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.
-Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.
-Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.
-The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.
-The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.
-The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.
-Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit--Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.
-The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.
-Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit--Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.
-The ten lords a-leaping were the ten commandments.
-The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.
-The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed.
Wow, who knew that?
Thursday, December 3, 2009
I decorate two Christmas trees each year. One tree is an old fashioned family tree. It has ornaments that we’ve collected over the years, our personalized ornaments, and even some new ones I’ve seen and liked. But the tree that gives me the greatest pleasure is my white theme tree.
My granddaughter and I came up with the idea of a second tree about ten years ago. I was tired of all my old decorations and wanted something different. I also wanted to do something that would be special for the two of us. So, the idea for a theme tree was born.
This year’s theme is birds. I’ve spent the entire year looking for ornaments for that tree. I bought some off Ebay; I found some in the bottom of a box of old decorations; I picked up some last Christmas when everything went on sale, and I’ve scoured the stores this year searching for the perfect bird. I’m not a purist. Some of the birds are glittery, and some look a little country. It doesn’t matter; if I liked it, I got it for the tree.
If you’re interesting in your own bird tree here are some low cost suggestions to get you started.
1.Look in your own back yard. Pine cones look gorgeous on a Christmas tree. You could spray them with fake snow or even put glitter on them. Either way they’d look great.
2.Make your own small bird nests out of twigs and plant material in your yard. Super glue or fishing line can hold it together if necessary. I put a bird’s nest with a little bird in it on the top of my tree.
3.Use feathers instead of tinsel or icicles. I went to a craft store and paid under two dollars for a pack of colored feathers. I attached fishing line loops to the feathers with Super glue. They look so colorful and beautiful. Of course if you have peacocks or chickens maybe you can find feathers in your own back yard.
4.Create your own bird eggs. Poke a pinhole in the end of an egg and blow out the contents. Then paint or dye it. Wonder if you could use a hard boiled egg instead? It isn’t like the tree’s going to be in the living room forever. I have eggs on my tree, but they are artificial. I bought them during the after Christmas sales last year.
5.Search for birds in discount stores. I found some really pretty ones at Wal Mart for a dollar apiece. I wanted an assortment of colors, but you could go to a dollar store and buy enough red birds to do a tree very cheaply. I always see a lot of white doves there too.
7.Floral supply houses are a great source for birds. One of my favorites came to me stuck in a flower arrangement. They are quite inexpensive too.
8.I think red holly berries would look good on a bird tree.
If anyone decides to do a bird tree I’d love to see some pictures of it.
I’d like to thank everyone who stopped by during my Wings Press month. I put all of the comments into a hat and drew the name Susan L. who responded on October 20. Susan, I can’t find your email address. Send it to me so I can get your book to you.
I have another contest going on through my newsletter. If you’ll go to my web site at http://www.elainecantrell.com and click on the newspaper link you can get the details. I’m giving away two books, Lip Service by Susan Mallery and Unhallowed Ground by Heather Graham.