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Change. I've learned to embrace it, ride it out til the end. Sometimes I'm kicking and screaming, other times weeping with my eyes clinched tight. Once in awhile I ride like a dog in a car, head out the window snorting what life has to offer. Mother to young adult children, a marriage of thirty years, and a desert to mountain to valley waltz with God have shaped me into someone I never imagined I'd be. Life is short and I want to live it. Tears, sighs, laughter and change. Every morsel granted to me. Scrambled, shaken or stirred.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Weekend Update

I made three pies for my brother's upcoming wedding on Saturday. Yay. Only a few cakes left to go.

We went to another wedding on Saturday. I read that 2013's biggest wedding month was September. I'm guessing the same holds true for 2014 and that September and October might be competing with the traditional May/June.

Other notable? Gertrude and Gladys turned 5 months old on Saturday. How fun is that? And speaking of fun let's look at a comparison shot or two. Note: tiny puppy was Gladys, big honkin puppy is Gertrude. Gladys was having nothing to do with the photo session.

After the photo shoot I had to take a shower and while I was showering some four-legged scoundrel took an extra roll of toilet paper and the two little fur-buddies had a blast.




Friday, September 26, 2014

Serials and Scenarios - Ane Mulligan's Chapel Springs Revival ~ Reviewed

Last week I interviewed Ane Mulligan. Here's my review of her book. 

First the book description. 


With a friend like Claire, you need a gurney, a mop, and a guardian angel.

Everybody in the small town of Chapel Springs, Georgia, knows best friends Claire and Patsy. It's impossible not to, what with Claire's zany antics and Patsy's self-appointed mission to keep her friend out of trouble. And trouble abounds. Chapel Springs has grown dilapidated and the tourist trade has slackened. With their livelihoods threatened, they join forces to revitalize the town. No one could have guessed the real issue needing restoration is their marriages.

With their personal lives in as much disarray as the town, Claire and Patsy embark on a mission of mishaps and miscommunication, determined to restore warmth to Chapel Springs —and their lives. That is if they can convince their husbands and the town council, led by two curmudgeons who would prefer to see Chapel Springs left in the fifties and closed to traffic.


And my review: 

I am always a little apprehensive when someone I know offers me a book for a review. 

I've known Ane Mulligan for years and she has been a staple and mentor in my writing and blogging journey. 

Ane's new book Chapel Springs Revival is a long time coming. Mulligan has worked the craft and networks involved in writing. If anyone deserves to be published just because she has given so much to other writers it would be Ane. 

But Mulligan isn't just a good writing citizen, she's a good writer with stories to tell that only she can. 

Ane introduces us to Claire and Patsy and their lives in a sleepy little village. But even sleepy villages often have underlying currents and pleasant, tranquil settings sometimes need a little  shot of passion and life. Chapel Springs is exactly there, and Patsy and Claire are treading in marital currents. 

Both women discover that their long marriages have begun to look a lot like the formerly charming town square. Used-to-be, lackluster, dull and barely functional. The ladies, along with some friends and frenemies, set out to refurbish pretty much everything. 

Claire, unfortunately, has a special knack for getting into hot water, so as the clean-up and self-improvement campaigns begin, Claire finds herself getting a little too immersed into the projects. My visual of Claire while reading about her antics is a mental merge of Lucille Ball in a panic, Tomb Raider's Lora Croft on a mission, and Mrs. Doubtfire and Mr. Mom on their learning curves. Let's just say that if something could go wrong and Claire is there it will go wrong in the worst way. My favorite scene in the book is at the end when she innocently has a mishap that lands her in an all dressed-up-and-no-way-out pickle. 

This story is sweet escapism but there are teaching elements that I appreciated as well. After all, I'm at a certain age and been married for a long while and have struggled with some of the same concerns discussed by Patsy and Claire. I mean, reality isn't a romance novel, it's a whole lot more like working late, worrying about family members and different interests most of the time. So while I loved the escapism and the fact that the book is very well written, I also appreciated the depth and realistic issues faced by the characters. 

I'm looking forward to the next book in the series. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Scraps and Snippets ~ Pinterest Inspiration ~ Cookie Pizza (Vegan)

Cookie Pizza. This kind of tastes like the best donut/cookie ever.

Pizza dough for one pizza. (I used Trader Joe’s pre made which was perfect for the job.)
Cookie Dough (Recipe I used below) use your favorite. You’ll need approximately a half batch size. Get creative by using peanut butter, sugar, snickerdoodle, brownie, etc. I used chocolate chip.
Caramel Sauce (Recipe Below)
Chocolate Ganache (Below)
Cream Cheese Icing (Recipe Below).

Preheat oven to 400 - 425 (use temperature your pizza dough suggests)
I used parchment paper with a round pizza pan. I’d suggest that parchment paper is a great choice. If not I’d grease the pan. Press the dough into a circle or rectangle and leave it about a ½ inch thick overall. Press flat but don’t stretch, you want a little bready texture.

Press your blobs of cookie dough directly onto the pizza dough leaving a pizza dough around the outside edge. You want the blobs to be normal cookie dough blobs with less space in between and pressed down a little so they meet.

Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes and check. If cookie dough is semi-baked (you want gooey but not soupy) and pizza crust edge browning, it’s safe to remove it. If not give it another 5 minutes of so and check again.

Remove from oven and let cool ten minutes.

Drizzle with caramel sauce, the ganache, and then squirt on the icing.


Cookie Dough (this is a half recipe)

1/4 Cup room temperature coconut oil or softened Earth Balance
1/3 Cup sugar
1/3 Cup brown sugar
1 egg substitute of choice
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/3 Cup flour
1 /3 Cup chocolate chips

Cream coconut oil and sugar. Add baking powder, salt, egg and mix well. Add milk and vanilla and stir completely. Pour in flour and stir well.

Caramel Sauce Recipe

2 cups sugar (brown or white)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup agave nectar or corn syrup
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
1 1/2 T. Earth Balance or coconut oil
pinch of salt

Over medium high heat bring the sugar, corn syrup/honey/agave and water to a boil while stirring very well to dissolve the sugar. Turn heat to low and simmer approximately 11-12 minutes until the color changes. Stir frequently. Remove heat. Add (carefully as the mixture is very hot) the milk, Earth Balance and salt and stir until smooth.

This makes approx 1 and ½ Cups. (You can halve the recipe if you want)

Ganache: Melt 1 cup chocolate chips with ⅓ cup non-dairy milk or full fat coconut milk.

Icing. Mix 2 - 3 ounces of non-dairy cream cheese with 2 cups of powdered sugar (if you want chocolate replace ⅓ cup of powdered sugar with ⅓ cup cocoa powder. Mix until combined. Add a splash of vanilla and stir well. If too thick add a splash of non-dairy milk and mix and repeat to get the consistency you are looking for.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Scraps and Snippets ~ Sweet and Spicy Nicey Mix

Sweet and Spicy Nicey Mix

½ Cup spicy almonds (I used wasabi almonds) (You could also use any wasabi spiced dried pea etc or chili spiced nuts.)
¾ Cup dry roasted peanuts (don’t go low salt)
2 Cups rice chex or plain cereal of choice. (alternatively, you could use crackers, pretzels, chips of choice, popcorn)
½ Cup caramel sauce

Dump peanuts and nuts in a bowl, add caramel sauce and stir well to coat. Toss in cereal or other add-ins and stir very well. Dump contents on a well greased or parchment paper covered cookie sheet or pizza pan. Put in a 200 degree oven for 1 hour stirring every 15 minutes. Leave in the oven and turn off heat and let cool. Break up into smaller bites.

This will seem wet when it’s done cooking. But will harden into a glaze when it’s dry. The spice gets incorporated throughout so it’s not intense. But the sweet, salty, spice is nice.

Caramel Sauce Recipe
2 cups sugar (brown or white)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup agave nectar or corn syrup
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
1 1/2 T. Earth Balance
pinch of salt

Over medium high heat bring the sugar, corn syrup/honey/agave and water to a boil while stirring very well to dissolve the sugar. Turn heat to low and simmer approximately 11-12 minutes until the color changes. Stir frequently. Remove heat. Add (carefully as the mixture is very hot) the milk, Earth Balance and salt and stir until smooth.

The sauce makes approx 1 and ½ Cups. (Store the rest in the refrigerator or halve the recipe.)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Campalong

Friday night we loaded up the pups and met Toad-Boy and & for a night out among the stars. 

& wanted the kids to get a camping experience and boy did they get one. Nearly every camping condition I've ever had was condensed into one 14 hour trip. 

Case in point? Boy tent, girl tent. The girl tent was bigger so the two little girls, & and I also had the company of all four canine girls. Cozy. 

First camping issue. We all descended at nearly the same time coming from three locations and we were all running a bit late. Not almost dark late but late enough that by the time the tents were up and the fire roaring it was way past dinner time. 

Then the mosquitoes. Whoa baby. The mosquitoes. They have been so bad this year because of all the rain we've gotten. Friday was brutal. The smoke took some of the edge off and and then we had a lovely breeze blow in. The rain tarps started flapping and the mosquitoes disappeared. 

We had a lovely time around the blazing fire pit and enjoying some fun drop in company (the neighbors, aka my parents,  and my brother and almost sister-in-law and their cutie 4 year old joined us later.) We camped in my folk's pasture just a tall grass hop, skip and quarter mile to the bathroom.  & prepped the meals veggie dogs, chips, fruit and carrots and celery sticks for dinner, vegan marshmallows and dark chocolate smores for treats and veggie sausage, hash browns and cinnamon coffee cake for breakfast. The easiest camping trip I've ever been on. In the middle of the evening & leaned over and said. "Thanks for all those years I had no clue how involved the mom things like camping and vacations were." 

The sky was so clear we got some stargazing in. Lovely evening.

We finally got to bed around 11:15 p.m. My 4 year old nephew chose the comfort of Grandma and Pas house. (Wise child  : )) I regretted immediately not accepting the blow up mattress that was offered to me. After all the pups got settled, and I almost found a comfortable spot to sleep on we started drifting off at 11:45. The settling took a little time and there were some moments of frustration. Like Gladys kept getting crazy feet and leaping about the tent. &'s oldest got her face puppy stomped and there was some weeping. Also, the day had been a hot one so the tent with all those bodies was warm. Very warm. 

At what was maybe 2:00 a.m. or 3:00 the thunder started. We've been having this weird rumbly thunder this year. It just goes on and on. So I exited from my semi-sleep to rumbling, knowing that rain was a 50% possibility.  Flashes lit up the distant sky. Maybe we'd miss the storm. 

Then the rain came. So much rain. For about a half hour it poured. So heavy that it penetrated the rain fly a bit and my sleeping bag got soaked from the side of the tent. Oh and so glad there was a tarp between us and the ground because water rushed under the tent. 

When it stopped we drifted back off to sleep. Mostly. 

The pups had a great time and they were excellent. I was uber impressed. They ran around like crazies but not too far and came back when we called them. And they slept well. I mean a few face stomps is minimal. Zero accidents occurred unless you consider face stomping an accident. No doubt we will repeat this little adventure. Because the ability to forget things like ugh and pain and work because of the payoff of fun and family makes us able to romanticize things like childbirth, road trips and camping. Ha. Ha. 




Friday, September 19, 2014

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Play

 Apparently I actually do sound like Gollum. I know I promised to never do the Gollum voice again, but in my defense, I didn't think I was. These pups are so cute. I just had to share. Gertie and Gladys at 4 and 1/2 Months.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Serials and Scenarios ~ The Picture of Perseverance ~ Ane Mulligan ~ Interviewed




While a large, floppy straw hat is her favorite, Ane has worn many different ones: hairdresser, legislative affairs director (that's a fancy name for a lobbyist), drama director, playwright, humor columnist, and novelist. Her lifetime experience provides a plethora of fodder for her Southern-fried fiction (try saying that three times fast). She firmly believes coffee and chocolate are two of the four major food groups. President of the award-winning literary site, Novel Rocket, Ane resides in Suwanee, GA, with her artist husband, her chef son, and two dogs of Biblical proportion. You can find Ane on her Southern-fried Fiction website, Google+, Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, and Pinterest.


Your journey to published author is a picture of stick-to-itiveness. Share the top most valuable things you've learned along the way in the following areas. 

Spiritually:

The Lord is the Keeper of Dreams. If He has placed that dream in your heart, TRUST Him.

About yourself:

That I could stick with it for so many years without giving up.

About writing: 

Motivation is the key to plotting and characterization. If we have the core motivation, a universal one that readers can relate to, the characterization and plotting will grow from that.

About sticking with it:

The only person who fails is the one who gives up, and then remember to factor in God’s timing. I got my work publishable (according to 4 different acquisitions editors) six or seven years before I got published.  

You wear several hats in Christian publishing and writing. You are a mentor to many, a critique partner, editor, columnist....you get it, my fingers are getting overwhelmed typing now. How do you juggle your duties and responsibilities and keep that lovely smile upon your face? 

You hit it when you said juggle. I have a priorities list, it’s following it that’s hard. LOL I am ADD and a people person. I’ve learned to turn off my email during my writing hours. It’s too hard to ignore. The rest seems to fall into place fairly easily. I’ve found the busier I am, the more organized I am.

What has investing in Christian publishing done for you? 

It’s enriched my life with friendships. I’ve had the privilege of promoting some wonderful, life-changing books. It’s also given me a ton of business networking relationships. That hasn’t hurt my own book promotion.

Where did your inspiration for your series come from?  

From an overheard conversation. Yes, I’ll admit it. I eavesdrop. Most writers do! I heard a couple of young women complaining about their husbands. From those small snippets of conversation, a what if was born. What if a 40-something’s marriage had grown too comfortable; that she felt like nothing more than a sheet-changer, a towel-folder, a pancake-flipper? Fro there, Claire Bennett and the small village of Chapel Springs found life. Claire needed a BFF with a similar problem, and Patsy Kowalski jumped up and waved her hand.


Is there an Ane Mulligan clone in your series? Or do you find yourself completely woven into your stories. Share your thoughts, too, no a or b answers here. 

There are absolutely bits of me woven through my characters. Claire has my move-before-I-think tendency. Patsy has my ignore-it-and-it-will-go-away. But most of Claire came from a blending of three delightful women, who are thrilled with “their” Claire.

What has script/play writing done for your fiction writing skills? 

Nothing except knowing how to write dialogue. Oy vey, was that a hard transition! Show don’t tell? How do you tell a story without telling it? POV? What kind of acronym was that? Pop-out vehicle? Well, you get the idea. It took one long novel (which now lives with the dust bunnies beneath my bed) and several crit partners to complete my education.

If you could be a color from a crayon box or paint strip, which one would you be and why?  (feel free to describe or come up with a name:  (no need to run to Wal-Mart)

Red...it’s loud. I’m loud. I laugh too loud. I talk too loud. What’s left to say about that? LOL

Stripes, lace, polka dots or denim? Why? 

Stripes and polka dots on denim. Denim is soft. Lace scratches. Throwing stripes and polka dots together is flat out fun. But I usually do that in my earrings. I love wild earrings.


Strawberry, chocolate or vanilla? Why? 

I love them all, but vanilla is so rich and creamy. Oh. You’re not talking about ice cream? Well, in that case, strawberry because they’re colorful and make me smile.

If your book becomes a movie, drop some names, who would you choose to play your characters?

Definitely Diane Keaton for Claire. Her character in Baby Boom was where I got Claire’s first characteristics. Things just happened to her! Okay, now I have to make a confession. I don’t watch movies (or so rarely I don’t know who is in them) and I don’t watch TV. I read. Okay, I watch Downton Abbey and HGTV. Am I pathetic or what?

Dream location? Describe your perfect laid back oasis. 

The mountains with a lake view, or in other words: Chapel Springs. It’s exactly where I’d love to live.

You and I share a fondness for pooches. Please share one of your favorite doggy stories. (You can send a picture of a cutie if you'd like.) 

My favorite involves Shadrach (our first English mastiff) and a good friend, musician Frankie Aster (who also became a character in one of my books). When Frankie first met Shadrach, the beast scared Frankie to death by leaping in his face and woofing. That’s all he did, but a 220-pound woof is scary.

For ages, Frankie kept a good distance between him and Shad. But after a while, Shad moved closer. By then, we were sitting at the table, eating chips and salsa. Shad sat beside Frankie, watching every chip go into his mouth.

Finally, after coaxing and teasing Frankie for being a whus, I told him to offer Shadrach a chip from between his lips. Frankie looked at me like I was nuts! But finally, he did. Shad gently took it without even touching Frankie’s lips. From that moment on, they were the best of buddies.


With a friend like Claire, you need a gurney, a mop, and a guardian angel.

Everybody in the small town of Chapel Springs, Georgia, knows best friends Claire and Patsy. It's impossible not to, what with Claire's zany antics and Patsy's self-appointed mission to keep her friend out of trouble. And trouble abounds. Chapel Springs has grown dilapidated and the tourist trade has slackened. With their livelihoods threatened, they join forces to revitalize the town. No one could have guessed the real issue needing restoration is their marriages.

With their personal lives in as much disarray as the town, Claire and Patsy embark on a mission of mishaps and miscommunication, determined to restore warmth to Chapel Springs —and their lives. That is if they can convince their husbands and the town council, led by two curmudgeons who would prefer to see Chapel Springs left in the fifties and closed to traffic.