Monday Mayhem – Top o the mornin’ to ya!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Shannon proved to have the luck of the Irish on her side when she commented on last week’s post. She was the winner of the $10 Amazon gift card!

So I thought I’d give you a 5 St. Patrick’s Day themed bits about me today.

1) I was raised listening to The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, and was able to see them in concert several times. Great fun!

2) My mother taught me to dance a jig. I only do it when she makes me.

3) I can recite most of The Quiet Man.

4) I do not eat corned beef, cabbage, fish or lamb, so I would probably starve if I ever actually went to Ireland. I do, however, drink beer.

5) I have a kind of a…partiality toward men of Irish extraction. Sean or Tom Sullivan, anyone? Oh, and if they have a bit of the brogue! *fans self* I could listen to Liam Neeson talk all day. I wouldn’t mind hearing him talk all night, too…nudge-nudge, wink-wink, so no more!

Tell me, are you a wee bit Irish? Do you celebrate with the wearing o’ the green?



Monday Mayhem – Fast Five!

What I’ve been working on: Too many things. I have at least 4 projects started and not enough time for any of them. I’m trying to make myself pick one and stick with it.

What’s running around in the back of my mind: So many plot bunnies, so little time. I’m trying to finish up one project so I can focus on revisions to Spring Chickens. I hope to re-release it later in 2014.

What I’ve accomplished: Uh…does laundry count?

What new goal I’m chasing: Finish revisions to current story and start sending submissions by the end of March.

What I saw: Planes, automobiles and hotel rooms. Oh, and this pretty carrot cake



Monday Mayhem – Slow simmer edition

This year, Fodder and I have been trying to make a point of cooking more and eating out less. That means we’ve been giving our slow cooker a workout and abusing our casserole pan. I thought I’d do a little recipe swap in hopes of keeping the streak going.

A few weeks ago, we made our family favorite: Crock Pot Italian Beef (tastes like Portillo’s!)

italian beef

Then we wanted a little something spicy so we gave this fab chicken enchilada casserole a try.


Last Sunday, we tried a new recipe aptly called Awesome Slow Cooker Pot Roast and it was YUM!


Last night it was 3 Ingredient Pulled Pork


Now it’s your turn. Any recipes you want to share?


Monday Mayhem – Dreamers Edition

As I type this I’m watching an ESPN 30 for 30 documentary called “The Price of Gold”. It’s all about the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan brouhaha. I’ve always been a figure skating fan. When I was a little girl, I wanted to be Dorothy Hamill.

I had a pink skating dress my sister sewed for me. There were matching pink pom-poms on my skates. I had the ‘Hamill Wedge’ haircut, and I used Short ‘n Sassy shampoo, just like Dorothy. I spent all my spare time at the Four Seasons ice rink.

Then they decided the convert the ice arena to a fitness center.

Goodbye dream.

The best thing about dreams is that you can conjure a new one.

In high school I wanted to be a rich, ruthless business woman who chewed men up and spit them out like Alexis Morell Carrington Colby Dexter Rowen from Dynasty.

I graduated from college and moved to Chicago, but by then I’d left Alexis behind and re-calibrated. I wanted to be Melanie Griffith from Working Girl. After all, she got Harrison Ford in the end.

Everything we do in life starts as a dream. A wisp of ambition takes form. An idea germinates and grows. I’ve chased quite a few dreams in my life, but none have been as challenging as the dream of pursuing a writing career.

I’ve been going through a period of reflection and assessment. It has been the least productive few months I’ve had in five years. Things change, life gets in the way, and distractions sometimes get the better of me. I’m working on being okay with that. I’m also hauling my butt back to the gym and trying to take note of the positive things in my life.

How about you? What dreams are you chasing? Are you attempting to do anything differently this year?






Monday Mayhem – Auld Lang Syne edition

Hard to believe that another year has passed, but here we are, two days from 2014. It seems trite to say it flew by, but in my case, a good chunk of it did. I spent a good portion of 2013 in airports and hotels. The new and increasing duties of the day job really cut into my energy and creativity this year, but I’ve come to terms with that. I may not write as much as quickly as I did a couple of years ago, but I like to think my writing has grown and improved.

2013 has been a year of change, growth and evolution in personal and professional lives, and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for hanging in there with me. I would never have had the chutzpah to chase this dream without your encouragement, and I wouldn’t have the strength to endure those ups and downs without your continued support.

You are made of awesome.

So here are my final five for 2013. Cheers and have a safe and happy new year!

What I’ve been working on: Mainly, I’ve been just trying to get through the holidays. But just for fun, I started plotting, planning, and brainstorming a new set of books that revolve around a family that owns a small Chicago tavern. Maggie will probably end up stealing it, but what can you do? Saucy wench is stealing all my thunder lately.

What’s running around in the back of my mind: I really need to finish Containment. It’s still there, but December has been kind of an emotional month. Hard to motivate myself to write something so heavy at the moment.

What I’ve accomplished: Um…I finished revisions on a story I plan to submit in 2014. Oh, and Miss Maggie Wells may have a trick or two up her sleeve for this week.

What new goal I’m chasing: I plan to get back in the writing groove in January. Back to the 1k a day goal. That seemed to work for me. 🙂

What I saw: Everything that makes life sweet



Monday Mayhem – Butterfingers Edition

What I’ve been working on: Christmas baking. I’ve made another mountain of Chex mix, Oreo balls, and the dough for my mother’s favorite cookies, Chocolate Shots.

What’s running around in the back of my mind: Plans, plans, and more plans. Christmas. Post-Christmas. Writing.

What I’ve accomplished:

Mount Chex
Mount Chex
Oreo balls

What new goal I’m chasing: Just trying to kick back and enjoy the holidays. I’ll chase goals next year, I promise.

What I saw: The rootin’ tootin’est cowpoke in the West


What’s on your holiday to-do list?

Here’s the recipe for my mommy’s favorites: Chocolate Shots



Monday Mayhem – Fiction becomes fact

Write what you know. That’s one of the first pieces of writing advice an author hears, and there’s a reason it rings true. If we write what we know, chances are we’ll connect with a reader who has had a similar experience.

A couple of months ago, I was sitting in a doctor’s waiting room reading a Kristan Higgins’ book and bawling my eyeballs out when the heroine’s beloved dog passed away.

Yesterday, I spent the day bawling my eyeballs out after saying goodbye to my beloved Beauregard.

Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside Ethridge
Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside Ethridge

I hope you’ll forgive me if I don’t write about this anytime soon. Hug and kiss your puppies, kitties, buns and other furry friends and tell them it’s from me.


Monday Mayhem – Holy crap! It’s December!

Okay, okay. Yes, I knew it was coming, but…yikes! I really need to get on the ball.

What I’ve been working on: Containment. I added another almost 8k this week. Go me!

What’s running around in the back of my mind: Christmas is coming. I really should do something about….something.

What I’ve accomplished: NaNoWriMo! I passed the 50k mark on Friday, making this my 5th year in a row as a NaNo winner!

What new goal I’m chasing: I’m continuing on with Containment, but December is my month of catch up and plan ahead, so I won’t be setting any lofty word count goals. I have a number of projects on the go at the moment. Going to whittle away at each one.

What I saw: A goal achieved


What’s new with you? Did you know it was December already? Why didn’t you tell me?



Monday Mayhem – Throwback Edition

What I’ve been working on: I finished the first draft on Going Deep! Yay! Finally.

What’s running around in the back of my mind: It was a crazy busy week with work and travel and family and catching up with old friends. The front of my mind is too tired to deal with the back of my mind.

What I’ve accomplished: I’m on track (ish) for NaNo. I typed my two favorite words on the last page of Going Deep.

What new goal I’m chasing: I’m diving back into Containment in hopes of finding new inspiration. Wish me luck!

What I saw: Friends too fabulous to be called ‘old’ no matter how many years have passed.


Special bonus! Here are the LAST five lines from the first draft of Going Deep:

Brooke drew back, ready to give him hell, but the sweet smile he wore grabbed her by the heart and squeezed. The indignation she should have felt was drowned in a hot rush of love. Brilliant or not, he was undoubtedly the dumbest man she knew when it came to women. A fact that made him all the more appealing in a twisted sort of way. Damn, she was in too deep.

Last, but certainly not least:


It’s Veteran’s Day here in the states. I’d like to say a special thank you to all the men and women who have served. We greatly appreciate you and the sacrifices you have made for our country. God bless.