Sunday, November 23, 2014

My Favorite Pumpkin Bread Recipe

The holidays are upon us with Thanksgiving this Thursday.  It's the time of year to express thanks for being lucky to have a roof over our heads and food in our bellies.  When you think of all the people in the world who don't have these things then you know you're fortunate. 

This is the time of year I do all my baking.  When I used to work at TWA, I always took cookies and bread every in for everyone as my gift to my co-workers.  It's time to make sugar cookies, chocolate chips, oatmeal cookies, Christmas balls with pecans, date cookies, pumpkin bread, banana nut bread and many more.  Years ago I even made pop corn balls, but not anymore.  Too much work!  Even some of the other things have fallen by the wayside. 

One thing I do make is pumpkin bread.  It's not the traditional pumpkin bread that looks like mustard.  My pumpkin bread is rich and dark, which means it's mysterious, but I'm going to give you the recipe today.  However, I have to warn you it is rich and has a ton of calories, but you'll love it.  To make it all you do is dump all the ingredients in a bowl like a dump cake.  Simple!

Pumpkin Bread
3 1/2 cups flour                                  3 cups sugar
3 t soda                                               1 cup Crisco oil
1 1/2 t salt                                           4 eggs
1 t cinnamon                                       1/3 cup water
1 t nutmeg                                           1 can pumpkin (16 oz)
1 t ginger                                             2 t vanilla
1 t cloves                                             1 cup black walnuts

Use 1 pd. coffee cans or bread pans, grease and fill half full.  Depending on the size of bread pans you'll get three loaves.  I sometimes make the miniature loaves, and then I can get five or six loaves.  Bake at 350 degrees for one hour for large loaves.  Be sure to check with a toothpick because it could take longer and it will take less time with smaller loaves. 

It makes a huge difference if you use English walnuts instead of black walnuts.  It changes the flavor.  Also, I have added raisins, but not often because I like this recipe just like it is. 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  Have a great and safe holiday, and I'll see you again next Sunday. 

Sandra K. Marshall, Author
@Eirelander Publishing
http://www.skaymarshall.com
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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Best Selling Author, Suz deMello Explains What You Need and Don't Need in a Book

Please welcome, author, Suz deMello and learn how to write a romance.  This talented author can give you a lot of tips if you're a beginning writer, or even a published author. 

 
About the Author:

Best-selling, award-winning author Suz deMello, a.k.a Sue Swift, has written seventeen romance novels in several subgenres, including erotica, comedy, historical, paranormal, mystery and suspense, plus a number of short stories and non-fiction articles on writing. A freelance editor, she’s held the positions of managing editor and senior editor, working for such firms as Totally Bound and Ai Press. She also takes private clients.


 

Her books have been favorably reviewed in Publishers Weekly, Kirkus and Booklist, won a contest or two, attained the finals of the RITA and hit several bestseller lists.


A former trial attorney, her passion is world travel. She’s left the US over a dozen times, including lengthy stints working overseas. She’s now writing a vampire tale and planning her next trip.


Check out Suzie's site: http://www.suzdemello.com

And her blog: http://www.TheVelvetLair.com

A few words about writing sex scenes by Suz deMello (#NaNoWriMo #iamwriting #writingcraft @MFRW_ORG)

From my writing treatise, Plotting and Planning, available at http://tinyurl.com/deMelloPlotting

My first writing treatise, Write This, Not That! is free through 2014:
http://tinyurl.com/o8zy7xw     kobo
http://tinyurl.com/qewm3ts  google

 Scenes are the building blocks of your story, for acts are comprised of scenes. They're nothing more than events, most often interactions between your characters. Scenes should fulfill at least one or two of the below purposes—best if you can include all four.

•Advance plot

•Reveal or develop character

•Complicate or resolve conflict

•Express setting, mood, theme

Everything in your manuscript should have a function, even every comma or em-dash.

How does this apply to the writing of erotica?

Too often, sex scenes are shoehorned into a story to increase the word count or the heat level, while those scenes don't fulfill any other function. To quote from Plotting and Planning again, Everything in a story should contribute to it, from the biggest monster to the tiniest comma.

If a scene doesn't contribute to the story, it doesn't belong there. It doesn't matter how well-written it is. It doesn't matter how hot it is. It doesn't matter how much you, the author, may love the beautiful prose or the scorching hot, kinky sex.

There's a piece of writerly advice out there: Kill your darlings.

No one's quite sure where this phrase originated, but it's been repeated often, by such notable authors as William Faulkner and Stephen King.


But it doesn't matter who originated the phrase--it's great advice. We often fall in love with our prose and are loath to cut it, especially when we may have slaved over a particularly well-turned clause or exhaustively researched, say, the eating habits of the lesser lemur of Madagascar.

But fiction is no place to be a smarty-pants. Leave that for term papers, book reports and theses.

In terms of writing sex scenes, what do we leave in and what do we cut?

We leave in those scenes that fulfill at least one of the above purposes. Ideally, a well-written, thoughtfully planned encounter will fulfill more than one purpose.

Here's a brief example, from a story I wrote called Gypsy Witch. The back story is that the heroine is dating a cop.

 
Ben propped himself up on his elbows to better see the naked woman beneath him. Sheened with sweat, Elena’s lush curves glowed in the reddish half-light of her bedroom, curtained in exotically patterned swaths of gauze and silk. A curl of smoke from a lit incense stick scented the air with sandalwood. Otherworldly New Age music flowed out of a boombox in the corner, irritating the hell out of him.

Though the paragraph is very sensual, there’s quite a bit of characterization and even a little conflict—and this is only the first paragraph of the story. We see that Ben is very “feet-on-the-ground” while Elena, his lover, is exotic and New-Agey. So character is described, setting is related and the romantic conflict is shown.

If you like what you read, find the story here: http://www.ellorascave.com/gypsy-witch.html

 
As a romance novelist, I believe firmly that erotic scenes should never be gratuitous. If a writer keeps the purposes a scene must fulfill in mind while writing, the sex is never out of place but is a seamless part of a well-written story.

Thank you, Suz, for being here today.  I'm sure all of my readers including myself have learned a lot from you.

If anyone has any questions of Suz be sure to ask them in the comment section.  Be sure to check out Suz's website at http://www.suzdemello.com and her blog at http://www.TheVelvetLair.com

Suz, thank you for visiting my blog today.  I've enjoyed learning from you. 

Have a great week, and I'll be back on my blog next Sunday.

Sandra

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Veteran's Day

Tuesday is Veteran's Day, so please don't forget our soldiers away from home as well as here.  Our men and women in the armed services overseas are lonely and homesick, so if you have someone fighting for us in another country be sure to write to them and send them packages from home.  As the holidays approach it will be even worse for these young people so please, please write weekly to your family members and others.
 

 
So many of our young soldiers suffer horrible injuries both mentally and physically, so be sure not to forget them when they come home.  If you can, donate to Wounded Warriors at http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/

It's the Soldier, not the reporter Who has given us the freedom of the press.

It's the Soldier, not the poet, Who has given us the freedom of speech.

It's the Soldier, not the politicians that ensures Our right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of
Happiness.

It's the Soldier who salutes the flag, Who serves beneath the flag, And whose coffin is draped by the flag.
Author Unknown

For those who can't donate monetary or time to help our veterans just click daily on this site and you can help them.  http://theveteranssite.greatergood.com/clickToGive/vet/thank-you

Thank you for reading, have a great week, and I'll see you next Sunday. 

Sandra K. Marshall, Author
@ Eirelander Publishing
http://www.skaymarshall.com
Twitter - @AuthSKMarshall
https://www.facebook.com/sandra.marshall.98

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Contest ! Contest!


http://www.romancebooks4us.com/Monthly_Contest.html


Romance Books 4 Us is having another contest this month and below is a list of the prizes being offered. 

PRIZE LIST:
1. Two $50 Gift Cards - one each for two winners.
2. $10 Gift Card for Secret Cravings Publishing for SCP.
3. Choice of ebook from backlist books by romance author Tina Donahue.
4. Ebook of winner's choice from backlist books by romance author Jean Hart Stewart.
5. Kindle copy of Belle's Band by romance author Alina K. Field.
6. E-copy of Tidal Falls by romance author Jacquie Biggar.
7. Christmas ornaments (Texas theme) from romance author Desiree Holt.
8. Ebook of winner's choice from backlist of romance author JC Szot.
9. PDF copy of Do You Take This Cat by romance author Missy Martine.
10.Ebook of The Silk Tie by romance author Lily Harlem.
11.Signed paperback of Christmas At The Cove by romance author Rachel Brimble.
12. Paperback copy of The Rover Bold by romance author Anna Markland.
13.A Thanksgiving digital swag bag including Starbucks Gift Card, ebook copy of Scents and Sensuality and Ebook copy of Written Wisdom by romance author Joan Reeves.
14.E-copy of Romancing Christmas by romance author Sandy Loyd.
15. Kindle copy of When We Dance by romance author Alanna Lucas.
16.Ebook of winner's choice from books (including Snow Angel) by romance author Chantilly White.
17.A bag of Christmas decorations and an e-copy of The Catalyst by romance author Sandra K. Marshall.
18.Tote of Scottish goodies: books, mug, mouse pad, shirt, etc., from romance author/model A.B. McKinley.

17.A bag of Christmas decorations and an e-copy of The Catalyst by romance author DD
Details on how to enter the contest go to http://www.romancebooks4us.com/Monthly_Contest.html

Good luck with the contest everyone. 

Have a great week, and I'll see you next Sunday.

Sandra K. Marshall, Author
@ Eirelander Publishing
http://www.eirelanderpublishing.com
http://www.skaymarshall.com

Sunday, October 26, 2014

What Is Fan Fiction?

I'll admit I knew nothing about fan fiction until this past week.  My understanding of what fan fiction is; is that the person writing the story is a fan of  the  person they are writing about.  It can be a favorite author, a band, a singer, a favorite book, television series, or anything.  Although, most definitions say fan fiction concerns the writings of an author, specifically, rewriting the story. 

Definition : Fanfiction is when someone takes either the story or characters (or both) of a certain piece of work, whether it be a novel, tv show, movie, etc, and create their own story based on it. Sometimes people will take characters from one movie and put them in another, which is called a cross-over.
Harry Styles

How I became interested in this topic is because a young woman, a fan of Harry Styles and the One Direction band wrote stories about them.  She wrote fan fiction about Mr. Styles using his name and the other band members drawing a huge crowd to her site.  This woman has received a six figure contract with Simon and Schuster for a book titled After. 
One Direction
Of course, the publisher had the author change the names of the characters in the book, but everyone knows who they are originally.  The typos have been removed from the book and the sex scenes expanded. 

Here is the premise of the book:  The synopsis is just as vague and dirty as one could imagine. According to the After Table of Contents on Wattpad.com, the story follows thusly: "Tessa Young is an 18 year old college student with a simple life, excellent grades, and a sweet boyfriend. She always has things planned out ahead of time, until she meets a rude boy named Harry, with too many tattoos and piercings who shatters her plans."

Harry Styles is, of course, the Harry in question. Other members of One Direction make appearances in the story as well.

At this point, there hasn't been a comment made by Harry Styles or One Direction.  I forgot to mention that the book is going to be turned into a movie.  Many of Harry Styles and One Directions are very upset by this depiction of him and the band even though it's fiction.  Some fans have turned away from the group because of this book assuming the story is factual.

Fifty Shades of Gray was written as fan fiction for the Twilight series and made it huge. 

More information can be found on the links below.

http://www.thejournal.ie/readme/what-is-fan-fiction-and-why-is-it-making-people-nervous-1334505-Mar2014/
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=fanfiction
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/22/business/media/harry-styles-of-one-direction-stars-in-anna-todds-novel.html?_r=0
http://www.musictimes.com/articles/6535/20140603/harry-styles-starring-one-direction-fanfiction-gets-official-book-deal.htm/

These authors of fan fiction might need to read the copy right law of 1976 because they could get into serious trouble.  The rights belong to the author to make any changes to her work she/he wants to. Some authors have encouraged fan fiction writers because most of them never get published. 

While many authors and television show writers such as J.K. Rowling and Joss Whedon have supported fan fiction, in that they have even hosted contests for fan fiction, these same writers have also later brought copyright lawsuits against writers of fan fiction. Returning to the Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling initially was supportive of fan fiction writers, in particular, the Starkid Productions’ A Very Potter Musical franchise. However, Rowling was also surprised by the amount of sexually explicit fan fiction written about her characters. She took action against specific writers of “smut” while remaining silent against other derivative works such as James Potter, a series concentrating on the future generations of the Potter universe. An author has a right to protect her work but what does it mean when an author chooses to prosecute a particular type of writing while allowing and encouraging others? Unfortunately for writers of fan fiction, it is unclear and the power remains with the author of the originating work.   


Do you see anything to be concerned about with fan fiction, or do you think it's okay?

Thank you for reading.  Have a great week, and I'll see you next Sunday.

Sandra K. Marshall, Author
@ Eirelander Publishing
http://www.eirelanderpublishing.com
http://www.skaymarshall.com

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Go Royals!

You're the best
Oh yes, Kansas City is behind the Royals!  There hasn't been this much excitement over a sports team in Kansas City in many years. 
 
Do you think the Royals will win the series?  Here's why I think they will win:  There's not a big ego among the whole bunch of players.  Not one player thinks he can do it without the others.  As long as the Royals work as a team; they can win. 
 
Each player on the team contributes, and they are all wonderful no matter what position they play.  Go Royals!
 
I'll be watching!  Will you?      
We support you!
 
Have a great week, and I'll see you next Sunday.
 
Sandra K. Marshall, Author

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Truth About Christopher Columbus

Tomorrow is Columbus Day, and it's observed to celebrate Christopher Columbus discovering the new continent.  What we have been taught in school may not be the total truth about this man.

The man who wrote this article explains how to tell the story of Columbus to a child after they've been given misinformation at school. 

The story goes that Columbus had to persevere against the odds to get support for his venture, because everyone but him believed the Earth was flat. This just isn't true. The ancient Greeks proved that the Earth was round about 2,000 years ago, and one even used the shadow of the Earth on the moon during an eclipse to estimate its circumference. The problem for Columbus is that he was bad at math and worse at geography, and everyone with an education knew it.

"He failed to get funding for a long time because his calculations of the earth were on the small side, he thought that dry land covered more of the sphere than it does, and he believed Japan was some 1500 miles off the coast of China." In other words, most people knew roughly the distance between the west coast of Europe and the east coast of Asia but believed it was filled with a vast ocean in which Columbus would surely die.

Columbus was stubborn. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, he refused to give up his plan, and because he was so stubborn, he kept fighting for funding until he finally broke through to the Queen of Spain. His stubbornness kept him from ever admitting that he hadn't reached Asia. For Columbus, the idea of a whole new continent and unknown peoples just didn't fit his worldview.

The indigenous peoples of the Caribbean, however, were used to hosting strange arrivals from all over the Americas in their towns, according to Howe. Their settlements were decades or even centuries old, built in part on transcontinental trade, and Columbus did not seem so outlandish. These were settled lands with rich societies, not, as often depicted, simple or primitive.

That's one of the real tragedies of the story of Columbus and probably the hardest part to explain to children. The complex indigenous societies of the Americas were decimated by exposure to Old World diseases, crumbling under the weight of epidemic. By the time later waves of settlers arrived in North America, they often found wilderness. It was a new wilderness, born of drastic population decline.

Columbus didn't know that his voyage would spread diseases across the continents, of course, but disease wasn't the only problem. Columbus sailed the ocean blue not for the love of exploration but because he wanted access to Asian gold. Instead, he found marvelous soft cotton, which was far superior to similar cloth in Europe. He also took slaves for display back home and to work in his conquered lands. Cloth and slavery defined the Columbian exchange from the beginning.

Despite all this, it's not correct to simply demonize Columbus. He was a brave man, launching his ships into an uncertain fate, driven by greed, faith and hope. Like many brave men, he believed very strongly that he knew what he was doing -- even though he was wrong about so many details -- and it's OK to be impressed by his bravery.

Moreover, his voyages had an undeniable historical impact, sparking the great age of Atlantic exploration, trade and eventually colonization by Europeans. In a very real way, this era reshaped the world, the languages we speak, the religions we follow, the foods we eat and the diseases we catch. I don't know if that's a reason to have a school holiday, exactly, but it's definitely worth remembering.

So if your child comes home in the lead up to Columbus Day, like the man's in this article did, full of praise for the explorer's bravery and vision, that's a fine place to start, even if he didn't really "discover" the Americas or figure out that the Earth was round. He was, indeed, brave.

But then explain that brave people can do bad things, and worse things can happen without any planning. That's one of the lessons of history.  Below is the source I used for this blog. 
http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/10/opinion/perry-columbus-day-what-to-tell-your-kid/index.html

Have a great week, and I'll see you again next Sunday.

Sandra K. Marshall, Author
@ Eirelander Publishing
http://www.skaymarshall.com