Sunday, January 30, 2011

lasagna, books, and such...

Recently I've received several requests to post that lasagna recipe I mentioned during a blog interview. Since it's one of my favorite dishes in the whole world, and you readers are my favorite people in the whole world, I'll gladly share:) But first things first...

First, I so appreciate your prayers as I work through these galleys and also keep abreast of book one in my next series. I feel your prayers - they're like a warm blanket, and I remember the verse of how powerful and effective they can be. We're all in this together and you're a blessed part of that whether you're a writer, blogger, or reader.

Readers often comment about all the mentions of food in my novels. Nothing like a fine meal to give a book a little spice:) I've had fun in The Colonel's Lady bringing food to the table as my heroine is quite a cook. When she's not dodging bullets and handsome heroes, that is.

Anyway, on a lighter note (if butter and pasta are indeed lighter), here is that recipe...

Alaskan Halibut Lasagna

I use tender, mild halibut from the Pacific Northwest but you can substitute cod or chicken for the halibut if you like. Add a salad and you have a fine meal.

6 Tablespoons butter or margarine
1-1/2 pounds halibut, bones removed and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup whipping cream
8 ounces lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese
minced fresh parsley, optional

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add halibut, garlic, and thyme. Cook until fish flakes easily with a fork, about 10 minutes. Remove and set aside. Add the remaining butter to the skillet. Stir in flour and salt until smooth; cook and stir until golden brown. Gradually add broth and cream. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. In a greased 13x9 inch baking dish, layer half of the noodles, halibut, white sauce and cheese. Repeat layers. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Uncover; bake 20 minutes longer or until bubbly. Let stand 15 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with parsley if desired.
Yield: 8 servings

I'd love to hear what your favorite recipe is and if you like to cook or would rather be reading?! Happy eating!

Friday, January 28, 2011

cold call with casey herringshaw

Today I'm guesting over at Casey's innovative blog and wanted to direct you there if you have time to take a look. She and her readers have asked some creative questions which I certainly enjoyed answering:) She's started a new feature called "Cold Call Friday" in which a new author appears each month. Personally, I find Casey's blog quite a warm place, nothing cold about it:) We talk about the violin, Scotland, writing and...halibut lasagna:) Come join us if you can!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

abiding in Him

We were created to be in relationship with God; and when we take that relationship to an intimate level, it bonds us not only to His presence but also His strength. Prayers that express our hurts and emotions are most assuredly welcomed by God because they demonstrate our trust in Him. We will find perspective, and nearly always come away comforted, knowing we've entrusted the things that are troubling us -whether criticism or deep desires - to the One who is best able to sort through them.

~Our Daily Bread

Monday, January 24, 2011

snowed in

I'm only going to be able to post once this week as I'm snowed in, not literally but figuratively:) The galleys for The Colonel's Lady have arrived along with a couple of interviews. I now need to be alone with my dangling modifiers and overuse of adjectives, not to mention some very creative interview questions. Thanks, Casey and Renee!

But don't feel sorry for me. I adore every minute:) I have my little woodstove flickering for ambiance in the corner, plenty of cranberry juice and sparkling water with a twist of lime, my trusty Thesaurus and Webster's Dictionary, some favorite Scriptures, and Q-U-I-E-T.

Prayers appreciated as I tackle this. You have mine...

Whatever you would do, begin it. Boldness has courage, genius, and magic in it. ~Goethe

Live deep instead of fast. ~HC Canby

The world does not consider labor a blessing, therefore it flees and hates it, but the pious who fear the Lord labor with a ready and cheerful heart, for they know God's command and will, they acknowledge His calling. ~Martin Luther

Friday, January 21, 2011

one thousand gifts

Yesterday I met our pastor's wife for brunch. Over eggs benedict and cherry scones, she asked, "Have you been over to A Holy Experience" lately?" She'd alerted me to this blog a few months ago and I fell in love with it.

"Ann's book has just released," she said. "You should go over and see what it's doing." So I did. And I hope you do, too. This book is taking the publishing world by storm:) Both Christian and secular markets.

Ann's voice is so fresh and so unique I wasn't surprised to find it creating such a stir and it's only been out a few days. She's a mom of six, lives on a farm, refers to her husband as The Farmer (love that!) and creates the most glorious pictures and posts. Her heart for Him really shines through. God is really up to something with this beautiful book. I wanted to share her blog with you here.

Please visit and be blessed:)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

writing, wallpapering, winter joys

I'm expecting galleys for The Colonel's Lady any minute. But I'm trying to get my wallpaper to stick and move into my new little library first. I don't like calling it an office. Office sounds so impersonal, like I'm an accountant or something! I'm a writer, thus the best nest for me is called a library (even if it's not!).

Speaking of wallpaper, aren't these 18th-century walls beautiful? I'd gladly take the green or the blue. I don't know how those colonials managed to get their wallpaper to stick but a little research might tell me. Forget the wallpaper ~ I love the bed, the little washstand, the trunk and all the rest. I even see snow outside that lovely window which tells me it's winter in Williamsburg.

We're halfway through January, my least favorite month, and it's been such a busy one. Wyatt's last basketball game is today and Paul and I are going to a fiddle lesson. He's been playing the Minuet and Gavotte in all their variations lately and it's perfect writing music.

Some of you have asked me how my new series is going ~ The Ballantyne Legacy, Book 1. I must confess it's been quite a ride as this book has been written in record time. Kaye Dacus refers to it as being "in the zone" - when you write hard and fast and everything else, including editor mode, is set aside. You just write your heart out. I think the reason I don't like to write fast is that I love spending time with my characters, falling in love with them, and writing fast deprives you of that. However, with the publishing timetable, writing slow is no longer an option for me. So...I am at 83K on TBL and want to savor the last 30K or so:) I've printed the book out and have spent the last few days editing it, layering, adding richness and detail before I push forward. Deadline is September 1st.

Speaking of books, I've read some interesting buzz lately about short chapters. One of my favorite writers, Liz Curtis Higgs, has these wonderfully short chapters, about 6 pages or so in her historicals. I'm thinking of doing the same in future. One author I know allows for 3,000 words per chapter. I'm not sure how many pages that equals.

How about you? Do you enjoy a book with shorter chapters? Do you think it's possible to write a book with depth and substance in a short time?

Monday, January 17, 2011

wallpaper woes...

I'd been so excited to post today to show you my not-so-new but newly painted, trimmed, and wallpapered little library. Ever have one of those days where everything you touch turns to ashes? Well, welcome to my world:)

I have a good book waiting for consolation (the one I'm reading and the one I'm writing;). Now if I could just get my wallpaper to stick! We've been revamping this room for a month or so and I've taken some before, after, and happily ever after pics to show you where I'll be writing. The happily ever after part is eluding me at present but my Randy who is a sticktuit-kind-of-guy (no pun intended) is coming home later to wrestle the wallpaper into submission.

I love wallpaper. My whole life has been one pattern after another in houses old and new. NEVER have I finished papering only to return an hour later to have it peeling like a banana... Blame it on the damp northwest woods. All my Kentucky wallpaper sticks!!

Notice the Kentucky-ish border - I just love it. It might not be your cup of tea but it's surely me. At this point in the photo it was sticking. No more. My lovely colonial chair rail is now very lonely and my colonial paint in cranberry and cream (which shows up gray in this photo) is a bit drab. But there will be a happily ever after photo for you shortly, or so I hope.

Ten years ago I might have stomped my foot and cried at the mess. Today I just went into the kitchen and made soup and bread and counted my blessings. Wallpaper is such a small thing, after all. As I get older I'm more mindful of how the Lord blesses me amidst the mess of things and that peeling wallpaper is truly a laughing matter. Hope you're having a day where everything sticks:)

Friday, January 14, 2011


Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Isaiah 40:1

Store up comfort. That was the prophet Isaiah's mission. The world is full of hurting and comfortless hearts. But before you will be competent for this lofty ministry, you must be trained. And your training is extremely costly, for to make it complete, you too must endure the same afflictions that are wringing countless hearts of tears and blood.

Consequently, your own life becomes the hospital ward where you are taught the divine art of comfort. You will be wounded so that in the binding up of your wounds by the Great Physician, you may learn how to render first aid to the wounded everywhere.

Do you wonder why you are having to experience some great sorrow? Over the next ten years you will find many others afflicted in the same way. You will tell them how you suffered and were comforted. As the story unfolds, God will apply the anesthetic He once used on you to them. Then in the eager look followed by the gleam of hope that chases the shadow of despair from the soul, you will know why you were afflicted. And you will bless God for the discipline that filled your life with such a treasure of experience and helpfulness.

God comforts us not to make us comfortable but to make us comforters.
~ John Henry Jowett

I've been coming across some wonderful devotional readings and wanted to share them here. Every week I'll try to post one that particularly speaks to me. I'll close comments that day so you can just ponder the words and not be burdened by a response.

Bless you all!

Monday, January 10, 2011

the thornton effect

Wondering what to do in the depths of January? Aside from reading a good book, partake of some English tea and imagine yourself in Sherwood Forest:) We've just finished watching the first season of the BBC's Robin Hood with that glorious finale of Sir Guy nearly marrying Marian (Oh, to have that lovely gown and veil!) and Robin (or was that Much?) spoiling it all... But I digress:) The whole production thus far is visually stunning. The acting is very fine. Richard Armitage steals the show. He makes a reluctant villain. I get little glimpses of him wanting to be good. All he needs is the right woman:) I'm not sure it's Marian.

At this juncture, Maid Marion isn't suffering from T.S.T.L syndrome ( Too Stupid To Live, in the words of the amazing Ruth at Booktalk and More) - guess that comes later in season 3. I like this Marian because she's a bit voluptuous for a leading lady and I like Robin because he is charming and cocky and the perfect foil for Gizzy. Notice there are no Robin pics here and only one of poor Marian! I'm afraid I'm still suffering from the John Thornton effect... I do appreciate Much very much! He has such a touching vulnerability. The whole outlaw gang is quite charming, even Jack.

Best get back to talking books. In my mailbox today...

Within My Heart/ Tamera Alexander
God's Smuggler/Brother Andrew
Michal/Jill Eileen Smith
50 People Every Christian Should Know: Learning From Spiritual Giants of the Faith/Warren W. Wiersbe

I'd love to know what you're watching or reading right now!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

save the date!

You are cordially invited to attend

The Colonel's Lady book launch

at The Colonel's Lady Tea Room and Cafe

Saturday, August 6, 2011

10:00 am ~ 2:00 pm

624 Lexington Avenue

Winchester, Kentucky

I'm getting so excited about this book event and it's still months away! But I wanted to post it here as the New Year rolls in and again this coming summer right before the event itself. If any of you are in the area, I'd love to see you in person! You'll be treated to a wonderful assortment of finger foods, Kentucky style, chilled fruit punch and other delectables. If you're hankering for a cup of tea or coffee despite the 90 degree Kentucky heat, you can have that, too:)

I'll be in authentic 18th-century costume (YES! I already have my dress!) and the serving girls will also be in colonial dress, as will the tea room's gracious owner, Dawn. We're so excited about combining our love of Kentucky, southern hospitality, good food, and good books! No RSVP needed.

Recently I was thrilled to get my copy of the Baker Catalog for new summer releases 2011. This goes to retailers (and authors). I think the spread for TCL is quite nice. They included an excerpt from the book - one of my favorite romantic scenes... I don't think you can enlarge and peek, but go ahead and try:) I hope you fall in love with the characters right along with me!

Are you reading any historical fiction right now? If so, what draws you to a particular time period in history or a certain author?


Winners of the devotional giveaway in the previous post are...

Gillian and Trinity Rose!

I'll keep the other names in the hat for another giveaway I'm doing soon. Bless you all!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

a new year...

Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. ~Luke 24:15

Jesus never sends a man ahead alone. He blazes a clear way through every thicket and woods, and then softly calls, "Follow me. Let's go on together, you and I." He has been everywhere that we're called to go. His feet have trodden down smooth a path through every experience that comes to us. He knows every road, and knows it well: the valley road of disappointment with its dark shadows; the steep path of temptation down through the rocky ravines and slippery gullies; the narrow path of pain, with the brambly thornbushes so close on each side, with their slash and sting; the dizzy road along the heights of victory; the old beaten road of commonplace daily routine. Everyday paths He has trodden and glorified, and will walk anew with each of us. The only safe way to travel is with Him alongside and in control.
~Springs in the Valley

I'd love to give away these two new devotional books to two of you readers. Years ago I started a morning devotional habit with prayer time that has become my favorite part of each day. If you'd like, please leave a comment below and note which book you'd like to be entered for ~ or both! I'll leave this post up till next Wednesday, January 5th and announce the names then.

Bless you all and happy new year!