2013 In Review

Yes, it is that time again to look back on the year and see how I did against my goals and plan for the new year. This has been a year full of challenges and some serious soul searching with my work and the direction I wanted to take with my writing career. I’ve allowed other things keep me from doing what I love in the past and this year I really struggled to find that work/writing/life balance. Have I figured out the magical potion to make that all happen? Unfortunately, I must answer no. However, I do know that I managed to accomplish a few things that are nothing short of wonderful in my writing career.

  • Published Frost as a holiday novella after expanding it from a short 1500 word story.
  • Finished the first book of the McGregors series and have a contract with Astraea Press.
  • Just finished (literally) the first book in my Saints and Sinners series, A Soul to Keep. This will be heading out to the publisher this evening.
  • Have request for submission for Bewitching Ways which was pitched to Astraea Press during a pitch contest. Very thrilled to potentially have a home for it.

When I look at my short list, I can’t help but feel pleased at what I’ve accomplished this year. It feels like I’m on track. Heading somewhere with this dream. To keep it moving forward, I have to set new goals. Plan for the new year. So what am I looking at for 2014?

  • Finish Bewitching Ways
  • Write the second Moonlight Series book (yes, I realize it is long overdue).
  • Write the second McGregor book. Ian’s story is up next!
  • Write second holiday novella for the Holly Chronicles for release by end of year.

Yes, there are only writing goals on this list. I have specific stories I would like to see completed by end of 2014. If I can achieve more…fantastic. However, as a writer, if I’m not writing then who am I? These are the goals that will help push me forward (well the goals along with the readers and critique partners). What do you have planned to accomplish in the new year?

Getting in the Holiday Spirit

This time of year (from about October through January 1st) is my favorite time of year. Some years are better than others. Easier to cope with. In my personal life there have been a lot of struggles that I’m working to overcome. In my writing life it has been a good year. Christmas has always been a favorite time of year for my family. I have many favorite things that I like to indulge in to help me get into the spirit of the season. 
Love making baked goodies and treats for friends and family. Seasonal candied popcorn has become a new favorite. Snuggling up with my little men, with cups of hot cocoa, and watching Christmas movies (which we did again last night and watched Arthur Christmas). Decorating the tree which is insanely full of ornaments, including some from my childhood. And Christmas music! There is just something about music that can help lift your spirits (or mimic your mood if that is what is needed). I saw this video on Facebook a week or two ago and loved it so much, that I wanted to share it here on my blog so not only could you all enjoy it, but I could come back to it when I needed a pick me up.
Hope you enjoy Angels We Have Heard on High, by the Piano Guys. The video is not only fun, but amazing and makes me wish I’d learned to play a musical instrument and stuck with it.
 
May your hearts be filled with love, joy, and laughter as we close in on the holiday. Create new memories, remember old, and indulge in traditions that have been passed down through the years and maybe entertain the idea of starting a few new ones. Enjoy the time with your loved ones and do whatever makes you feel fabulous this time of year. For me, it is spending time with my friends and family. Creating wonderful things to give to those I care about. And remembering that this time of year is about living, loving, and giving of yourself to others. 

‘Tis the Season for…

The World Series, Birthdays, Halloween, edits, NaNo preparation (aka plotting), writing, reading, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and dare I say it… one must fit sleeping into the schedule somewhere!

This time of year is always a bit hectic in my world. For some reason, fate had my sister and I having all the kids from the end of August on. Apparently, we like a busy fall and winter. Along with the birthday bashes that will be occurring, we have the World Series coming up and this girl loves some baseball!

      

A Red Sox vs Cardinals Smackdown. Love it! I have some friends in St. Louis who’ve made the playoffs real fun to watch as I swear I’m rooting for the team opposing them (though between us, I’m not. I’m a Rangers fan and they lost the fight so I just watch for the love of the game now).

There are two more weeks and National Novel Writing Month kicks into full gear. The countdown is on for prepping one’s self for this month long marathon. I need to clear my desk. Focus my mind. Harness my writing chi. Plotting must occur, which is a huge undertaking for a writer who typically flies by the seat of her pants when she puts her fingers to the keys. Still, to survive Nano, which I’ll admit I’ve yet to do, one must be prepared.

So far, in preparing for this upcoming whirlwind of writing, I’ve managed to decide what book I will be working on (kind of huge piece of the puzzle), started to loosely plot (and I do mean loosely), worked on finalizing Frost for release, and I’ve worked on getting some pre-edits done on Anything but Safe so I can send that back to the publisher. What will I be focusing my NaNo efforts on? The second book in the McGregor series of course. Yes, I’m fully aware that several readers were hoping for the second Moonlight book and their hearts sank a little. No worries. The second installment of the Moonlight trilogy will be coming, it just takes longer for me to work through than the McGregor books.

Now I’m off to get some work done before I must leave for the day job. There is lot’s happening behind the scenes over here in Moira’s world. ‘Tis the season for a lot of different things. What is on your plate as we stat to kick of the season of food, family, and fun?

Vampire’s Kiss Martini

Well I really wanted a fun recipe for Halloween. So I scoured the internet and I found this delectable treat courtesy of Sandra Lee from Semi-Homemade. And what a perfect name! So here’s the scoop on a scary good Halloween Cocktail.

Picture from Semi Homemade

Ingredients

  • 1 part raspberry liqueur, Chambord®
  • 1 part vodka, Absolut®
  • 1 part Champagne, Korbel®
  • Licorice, wax teeth, candy corn, and/or blood orange slice

Directions

  1. In a chilled martini glass, layer raspberry liqueur, vodka, and Champagne. Garnish with licorice, wax teeth, candy corn, and/or blood orange slice.

Recipe courtesy of Sandra Lee.
For the grown-ups who aren’t on chaperon duty, try this Halloween-style twist on a classic Champagne cocktail. Sandra Lee suggests garnishing each martini glass with a set of gummy wax teeth, but licorice, blood orange slices, or candy corn will work just as well for a less kitschy look.

Personally, I’m wondering how this little drink would translate into a cupcake. May have to give it a try!

For Two Women Who Amaze Me~

Mother’s day has passed and yet I still feel the need to make my tribute to the two women who inspire me every day and make me strive to be a better mother, sister, daughter, aunt, and friend. To my mom and my sister, thank you for always being there for me and teaching me a little bit more about myself every day.

Thank you for the wonderful day we had yesterday, every day leading up to it, and every day we will have after.

Merry Menage Christmas Holiday Obsessions

I have a wicked obsession with Jack Frost. I imagine him as this extremely over the top sexy elf that has a very naughty streak. I caved to that obsession one year and wrote a little story about him. Now I’m feeling the need to elaborate on it. Get more inside Jack Frost than I did before. Afterall, who wouldn’t want a man who would go to extremes to get you back? Here is a sampling of the original story.

Excerpt from Frost~

I couldn’t let him go. Allowing him to walk away would mean I failed. No matter what the history was between us, I couldn’t let that happen. Without thinking, I grabbed his arm, leaned in close enough to smell the scent of cool pine-laced breezes wafting off his skin, and whispered, “I don’t want you to go.”
He turned his head slightly, his lips brushing against my cheek as he spoke. “Why?”
The slight contact wreaked havoc on my nerves and I began to tremble. He was so close. All I’d have to do is reach out and take him. But I couldn’t. Doing so was against regulation. He was my assignment. Taking him into custody and returning him to the North Pole was a direct order given by Santa himself. Giving in to my own wishes and desires was not an option.
“I…wrapping.” My voice sounded far off and distant. Like I was having an out-of-body experience. Around Jack, I always wanted to be present in body, at the very least. I started to hyperventilate.
“Oh.” A small, swirling pattern of snowflakes appeared to take form in the depths of his eyes. “Walk with me.”
He placed his hand at the small of my back, briefly brushing my handcuffs. “You were going to handcuff me?”
“Last resort only.”
“Really?” He pulled at my over shirt to reveal my gun and the corners of his mouth drew up in amusement “And this is purely an accessory?”
“Want me to shoot you?”
“Not if it’s filled with one of Doc’s tranqs. Wouldn’t want you to take advantage of me.” He chuckled as we walked through the crowd towards Macy’s.
“It’s no spiked eggnog.” I said, unable to keep the past at bay.
“Still equally as powerful.” With a wink, he maneuvered me into a corner. “We could test it if you like, you know, for old times.”
I didn’t like feeling boxed in, my back against a wall. It did give me a good view of the area though, allowing me to plan my escape route if I should need one. Around Jack, I’d learned to be prepared for the unexpected.
With his hands splayed on the wall on either side of me, Jack rested his forehead against mine. “Why did you leave that morning?”
Of all the questions he could have asked me in that moment, that one caught me off guard. I couldn’t think while he touched me and his breath warmed my cheeks. “It was a drunken night of wild abandon—”
“And wrapping paper,” he interjected.
“Yes, and while it was fun, it was one night. It didn’t mean anything.” Or so I’d been trying desperately to convince myself.
“Didn’t stick around long enough to find out, did you?” He leaned in and pressed his lips gently to mine.

***

Want to read the rest of the Frost story in it’s entirety you can find it on my Bookshelf page.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Brain Hemorrhage

Happy Halloween! My fellow Tasty Tuesdayers and I decided to celebrate Halloween this week and wanted to share our spooktacular recipes on the actual day we are honoring. I’m sharing a shot. Well when you need to get your drink on in order to summon the ghouls (or perhaps banish them), this drink is just what Frankenstein ordered!

Art by Robert Martinez at Deviant Art (Click on image for more info)
Ingredients~

 

Brain Hemorrhage Shot

1 1/4 oz. chilled peach schnapps

 

1/8 oz. Rose’s lime juice

3/4 oz. chilled Bailey’s®

A splash chilled grenadine syrup

 

Directions~
1. Add schnapps and lime juice into a shaker. Shake and pour into your shot glass.

 

2. Very gently pour Bailey’s into the shot glass over the schnapps and lime juice mixture.
Wait until the Irish cream liqueur begins to clump and ‘curdle’ to look like a brain, just a few moments. (You can use a straw to create this effect by putting the Bailey’s into the straw, plugging it with your finger, and then slowly drizzle it into the schnapps/lime mixture to create threads of Bailey’s that will start to curdle. Continue to ‘build’ your Bailey’s brain that way)

 

3. Gently pour a tiny amount of grenadine ‘blood’ over the brain.

 

4. Watch your guests gag over the look of one of the nastiest-looking Halloween drinks around. But they are yummy and a little potent!
Now go scare up these ladies and see what fine Halloween treats they are serving up~
Purple Magic Candy Apples by Selena Robins – http://wp.me/p16eMf-Hm

On the 6th Day of Christmas~

My friends at Passionate Critters gave to you…

The Last Snowy Encounter by our very own Clarissa Yip!

If you’ve had the pleasure of meeting Cole and Maddy in Snowy Encounters, here’s a little more of their story. If you haven’t…well what are you waiting for? Go check it out at PC now!