Wacky Wednesday: Terrible world history….

The following is a “history” collected by teachers throughout the United States, from eighth grade through college level. Read carefully, and you will learn a lot of incorrect information. [Courtesy of ahajokes.com]

The inhabitants of ancient Egypt were called mummies. They lived in the Sarah Dessert and traveled by Camelot. The climate of the Sarah is such that the inhabitants have to live elsewhere, so areas of the dessert are cultivated by irritation. The Egyptians built the Pyramids in the shape of a huge triangular cube. The Pyramids are a range of mountains between France and Spain.

Without the Greeks we wouldn’t have history. The Greeks invented three kinds of columns – Corinthian, Doric, and Ironic. They also had myths. A myth is a female moth. One myth says that the mother of Achilles dipped him in the River Stynx until he became intollerable. Achilles appears in The Iliad, by Homer. Homer also wrote The Oddity, in which Penelope was the last hardship that Ulysses endured on his journey. Actually, Homer was not written by Homer but by another man of that name.

Socrates was a famous Greek teacher who went around giving people advice. They killed him. Socrates died from an overdose of wedlock.

In the Olympic games, Greeks ran races, jumped, hurled the biscuits, the threw the java. The reward to the victor was a coral wreath. The government of Athens was democratic because people took the law into their own hands. There were no wars in Greece, as the mountains were so high that they couldn’t climb over to see what their neighbors were doing. When they fought with the Persians, the Greeks were outnumbered because the Persians had more men.

Eventually, the Ramons conquered the Greeks. History calls people Romans because they never stayed in one place for very long. At Roman banquets, the guests wore garlic in their hair. Julius Caesar extinguished himself on the battlefields of Gaul. The Ides of March murdered him because they thought he was going to be made king. Nero was a cruel tyranny who would turture his poor subjects by playing the fiddle to them.

In medevil time most of the people were alliterate. The greatest writer of the time was Chaucer, who wrote many poems and versus and also wrote literature. Another tale tells of William Tell, who shot an arrow through an apple while standing on his son’s head.

There are more but I’m saving them for another Wacky Wednesday. There are simply too many to share all at once!  I can’t help wondering which, if any, of these were written by a college student!  🙂 Happy Wednesday!!

Monday Musings: A grab bag of tricks or treats….

Who says only kidlets get to go trick or treating today? Pull on your favorite scary costume, don your glittery makeup, and let’s see what’s in the neighborhood for readers and writers.  Warning: Be sure to take your flashlight and stay out of traffic.  Fill your bag with treats, but watch out for the tricksters!

TRICK OR TREAT FOR WRITERS

Muse dances your story down the wrong path into a dark, scary forest you can’t escape.

Hero finally realizes it’s not indigestion burning in his chest, but love for his heroine.

Heroine hides in the pumpkin patch and refuses to come out and play.

The Cover Goddess of the Meadow blesses your new release.

Wicked critique partners slash and burn through your weekly page offering.

Chapter is finished in record time and pronounced “perfect” by the villagers.

The editorial wizard who understands you and your writing has the gall to go on maternity leave in a distant castle far, far away.

You type “The End” on page 425 of your tome and the angels weep for its beauty.

Your computer crashes, taking three months of unsaved work to the fire pits of Hell.

Your tome tops the N.Y. Times Best-Sellers List proving magic does drip from your fingertips.

TRICK OR TREAT FOR READERS

The next tome in the series you’re waiting for is lost in a scheduling shipwreck on the high seas.

The villain in the scary story you’re reading is so real, he slinks out of the shadows behind the fainting couch and grabs you by the throat.

You get to the end of the tome only to discover the story sailed off without you and you have no choice but to buy a berth on the next ship to finish your journey.

The local tomestore has a 50% off sale on all of the tomes you want to buy.

Editorial Gremlins drive you crazy littering the tome you’re reading with typos and grammatical mistakes designed to drag you down into a viscous bog.

You not only meet the model who posed for that sizzling tome cover you love so much but you get your own clinch picture taken with him, sans shirt.

The heroine in the tome you’re reading is TSTL (Too Stupid to Live) and should be eaten by the nearest fire-breathing dragon…with catsup.

Each of the tomes on your cobwebby Keeper Shelf is autographed, capturing the author’s soul in ink forever.

A favorite author travels to a new genreland filled with trolls you can’t abide and you’re unable to follow her.

The N.Y. Times best-selling tome-writer you love talks to you regularly from the ether cloud and invites you to sit beside her in the inner castle.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Karen’s Killer Fixin’s: PUFF PASTRY CHICKEN

It’s time for Karen’s Killer Fixin’s! Over the years, I’ve filled two 4-inch, 3-ring binders with my own creations as well as recipes my family and friends were willing to share with me.  I simply love to cook and want to share that love with my readers.

So every Friday, I share one recipe I think you and your family might enjoy.  It might be a main course recipe.  A cookie or baked item.  Candy.  Salads.  Whatever strikes my eye and fancy…which today is PUFF PASTRY CHICKEN.

This to-die-for recipe was given to me by one of my daughters. Not only does it taste like it was prepared by a chef in a fancy restaurant but it’s simple to make. It combines the satisfaction of a homemade pot pie with the elegance of a fine pastry. Serve with your favorite side salad or vegetable.

I hope you enjoy today’s Killer Fixin’s.  Happy eating!

Karen

P.S.  We’re at 9 recipes and counting with this posting.  Hope you find some recipes you like.  If you don’t want to miss any future recipes, be sure to return to my blog next Friday.  Even better, subscribe to my blog and the recipes will come directly to
your email Inbox.  If this is your first visit, check out past blogs for more Killer Fixin’s. In the right hand column of my home page, you can even look up past recipes by type. i.e. Desserts, Breads, Beef, Chicken, Soups, etc.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

PUFF PASTRY CHICKEN
[Serves 6]

3 boneless chicken breasts
1 container spreadable cheese (Rondele or Alloette brand-Garlic and Herb)
dried parsley
1 package Puff Pastry sheets (find them in the frozen section)
1 egg

Thaw the pastry sheets according to package.  While thawing, cut the chicken breasts in half (lengthwise, so that they are the same width/height as before, but thinner)  Salt and pepper them on both sides, and pan fry until cooked through.  Open up the pastry sheets and roll out with a rolling pin.  Cut into 3 even rectangles large enough to wrap a piece of chicken in.  In the middle of each rectangle, put a dollop of cheese spread (2-3 tablespoons worth) and sprinkle with parsley.  Place cooked chicken on top and wrap the pastry around it.  Place on cookie sheet with seam facing down.  Baste with the beaten egg so it shines.  Bake in 400 degree oven about 20-30 minutes until browned.  This makes 6 chicken pastries.

Wacky Wednesday: Unusual, unique & uncommon trivia….

For today’s Wacky Wednesday, I thought it might be fun to share some unusual, unique, and uncommon facts.

Did you know….?

1.  Antartica is the only continent without reptiles or snakes.

2.  James Buchanan was the only U.S. president never to be married.

3.  The hummingbird is the only bird that can fly backwards.

4.  Teeth are the only parts of the human body that can’t repair themselves.

5.  The only rock that floats in water is pumice.

6.  Uranus is the only planet that rotates on its side.

[Trivia courtesy of corsinet.com]

Monday Musings: Fish or cut bait….

Sometimes I think the hardest part about being a writer is the amount of time we – meaning “me” since I can’t speak for anyone else in this capricious industry – spend second-guessing our work.  We’re essentially an insecure group. Yeah, yeah, that’s “me” again!

Those who know me are probably laughing out loud at this admission.  I am an insecure introvert.  Really!  Having confidence in my ability to write doesn’t mean I’m not insecure about sitting in front of this empty computer screen every day trying to create a memorable story someone wants to read.  Even N.Y. Times best-selling authors have these insecurities so I know I’m in good company.

That knowledge doesn’t mean squat though when I find myself revisiting a chapter, a paragraph, even a word over and over again. I know something’s bothering me but identifying it can be so frustrating.  I’ve learned to depend on my wonderful critique partners to point things out.  They’re not as close to my story and can offer great suggestions.  Many times, one of them will say something to shoot me in a different direction that pulls me out of the bog I’ve unintentionally created.

On the flip side, second-guessing can get me into trouble.  Recently, I questioned whether I was introducing my hero and heroine quickly enough in my current project.  My critique partners suggested I throw out the first chapter so the heroine meets the hero that much sooner.  Their points were valid.  Ripping the scene out was the right decision if I wanted to introduce the heroine to the hero earlier.

At the time, it was easy to just hit “delete” – well, no, it’s easier to throw the words into a “Bits & Pieces” file just in case – and say I can filter the deleted information into later chapters. The deletion did accomplish what I wanted.  The hero and heroine met one chapter earlier.  The problem is I forgot I no longer write short contemporaries where this quick introduction is necessary, a habit that’s been difficult to break since I’ve thrown myself into the single title suspense arena.

Now, even though there is a romance in my story, my suspense demands the biggest development.  When I ripped out the first chapter, I deleted four major threads I needed to launch critical suspense elements. I couldn’t move on and still build the story I’d envisioned, which made me start second-guessing my story and my abilities…again.

So I put the chapter back in last week.  My creative side read it through and pronounced it “good.”  No question.  No qualms.  And I found myself wondering why I’d put myself through the wringer the past few weeks fiddling with this one chapter.  I know that’s second-guessing my second-guessing. Type-A personality, remember?!  🙂

I’m the first to admit there’s an editor with twelve-inch talons embedded in my shoulder.  Yeah, she can be a tartar. Nope, can’t shake the demanding creature off.  Guess I spent too much of my adult life in business and management so logic and organization are ingrained in my mindset, despite my creative side.  I do plot my essential story elements so I know where I’m going. And I depend on my wonderful critique partners to help me step away from the story long enough to spot what is and is not working.  We’ve worked together well for years and I value their suggestions.

This experience has reminded me, though, that I can question my work until the cows come home.  Do I go back for the millionth time to see if I can’t actually fix whatever’s bothering me?  Do I leave it the way I wrote it, or do I cull it and move on? Fish or cut bait?

Personally, I’d rather throw my line into the water and fish…I mean write! I’ve accumulated some excellent writing skills — there’s that confidence! — and I have a number of stories I want to share.  I just need to get out of my own way, make a decision, and move on.  I have to trust my instincts.

Now, if I could only stop second-guessing whether this last blog line finishes my thought, so I can finally get it uploaded!  What do you think?

 

Karen’s Killer Fixin’s: BEEF CHIMICHANGAS

It’s time for Karen’s Killer Fixin’s!  Over the years, I’ve filled two 4-inch, 3-ring binders with my own creations as well as recipes my family and friends were willing to share with me.  I simply love to cook and want to share that love with my readers.

So every Friday, I share one recipe I think you and your family might enjoy.  It might be a main course recipe.  A cookie or baked item.  Candy.  Salads.  Whatever strikes my eye and fancy…which today is BEEF CHIMICHANGAS.

I love Mexican food, and the chimichanga tops my list of favorites. Not only are all of these ingredients generally available in my kitchen, it’s easy to make. Your family will love these.

I hope you enjoy today’s Killer Fixin’s.  Happy eating!

Karen

P.S.  We’re at 8 recipes and counting with this posting.  Hope you find some recipes you like.  If you don’t want to miss any future recipes, be sure to return to my blog next Friday.  Even better, subscribe to my blog and the recipes will come directly to
your email Inbox.  If this is your first visit, check out past blogs for more Killer Fixin’s. In the right hand column of my home page, you can even look up past recipes by type. i.e. Desserts, Breads, Beef, Chicken, Soups, etc.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BEEF CHIMICHANGAS
[Serves 4]

1 green pepper (chopped)
1 onion  (chopped)
1 clove garlic (finely chopped)
1 lb. ground beef
½ cup salsa
½ tsp. salt
1 cup refried beans
1 cup shredded Jack cheese
4 10-inch flour tortillas
Canola oil for frying
Salsa
Sour cream
Guacamole

In large sauté pan, cook ground beef, onion, green pepper and garlic for 10 minutes or until beef is no longer pink.  Drain grease from pan, stir in salsa and salt, and cook for 1 minute.  Remove from heat and stir in refried beans and cheese.  Place flour tortillas on flat surface and spoon one quarter of the mixture into center of each tortilla.  Fold in the sides, then fold over the top and bottom to form chimichangas.  (You can weave a toothpick through the flaps to keep them closed.  Otherwise you need to handle them carefully to keep the ingredients from falling out.)  Heat about ½ inch of oil in saucepan over high heat for 5 minutes, or until a tiny drop of water sizzles on the pan.  Place chimichanga in the pan, flap side down, and cook for 2 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Continue the process with the remaining chimichangas.  Serve with salsa, guacamole and sour cream.

Wacky Wednesday: Name that film ANSWERS

Yesterday, I posted the Name That Film quiz.  Were you able to match the film title with the following Great Film Quotes?  I’m reposting the quotes today along with the corresponding film titles.

  1. “My father made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.”  ANSWER: THE GODFATHER
  2. “I always say a kiss on the hand might feel very good, but a diamond tiara lasts forever.”  ANSWER: GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES
  3. “Badges?  We ain’t got no badges! We don’t need no badges. I don’t have to show you any stinkin’ badges!”  ANSWER: THE TREASURE ON THE SIERRA MADRE
  4. “I’m not living with you. We occupy the same cage, that’s all.”  ANSWER: CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF
  5. “They, uh, was givin’ me ten thousand watts a day, you know, and I’m hot to trot. The next woman takes me out is gonna light up like a pinball machine, and pay off in silver dollars.”  ANSWER: ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST
  6. “Take me to the window. Let me look at the moors with you once more, my darling. Once more.”  ANSWER: WUTHERING HEIGHTS
  7. “What we’ve got here is (a) failure to communicate.”  ANSWER: COOL HAND LUKE
  8. “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”  ANSWER: LOVE STORY
  9. “Hey Stell – Lahhhhh!” “Hey, Stell – Lahhhh!”  ANSWER: A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE
  10. “Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera and so forth.  ANSWER: THE KING AND I

[Courtesy of filmsite.org]

Thanks for playing!

Wacky Wednesday: Name that film….

Okay, something fun and different today.  Let’s see how many of you can identify the film title that matches the following Great Film Quotes.  I’ll post the quotes today and the responding film titles tomorrow.

 

  1. “My father made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.”
  2. “I always say a kiss on the hand might feel very good, but a diamond tiara lasts forever.”
  3. “Badges? We ain’t got no badges! We don’t need no badges. I don’t have to show you any stinkin’ badges!”
  4. “I’m not living with you. We occupy the same cage, that’s all.”
  5. “They uh, was givin’ me ten thousand watts a day, you know, and I’m hot to trot. The next woman takes me out is gonna light up like a pinball machine, and pay off in silver dollars.”
  6. “Take me to the window. Let me look at the moors with you once more, my darling. Once more.”
  7. “What we’ve got here is (a) failure to communicate.”
  8. “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”
  9. “Hey Stell – Lahhhhh!” “Hey, Stell – Lahhhh!”
  10. “Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera and so forth.

[Courtesy of filmsite.org]

I’ll be back tomorrow with your answers. Have fun!

Monday Musings: “The test of character is….

“The test of character is having the ability to meet challenges.”
~ Walter Annenberg ~

Annenberg had the characters of “live” individuals in mind when he penned or uttered these words. In adversity, we do tend to discover our own strengths. We learn what we’re prepared to do to accomplish our goals. We sometimes even uncover our greatest weaknesses, our deepest fears. All of the challenges we face in our lives make up the total of who we are as a person.

It is this character that makes each of us unique and interesting. It is what draws others to us as friends, lovers, mates, and family, or repels if we were identified as a villain or antagonist in someone’s life. (Theoretically speaking, of course. None of us could possibly be a villain or antagonist. {g} But I digress.)

So, can we do any less for our fictional characters? As the legendary John Wayne, a larger-than-life character in real and fictional life, would say, “Not hardly!”

I believe plotting has an important place in the writer’s toolbox, even for those of us who write by the seat of our pants. I wouldn’t teach the “W” plotting technique otherwise. However, I think the single most critical aspect of our stories still rests upon our characters’ shoulders. We can’t have a story without people.

So, how can we make characters “real” for our readers? What’s the trick to making them living, breathing individuals readers want to live with for a few hours or days? First and foremost, they must become real for us. They must become the best friend we have a cappuccino with on Friday mornings at Starbucks or invite to the family BBQ on Sunday. How else will we know where the characters come from, who they are, where they’re going, and what they’ll have to overcome to get what they want?

I know some writers who will read this and break out into a cold sweat at the thought of where I’m headed with today’s musings. I used to be right there with you! I did learn however, probably much later into my writing career than necessary (did I mention I can be a really slow learner?), that character worksheets don’t have to be on a par with having a Caesarian with no anesthetic. In fact, beyond letting my muse have free rein with a scene, playing with my character worksheets has become a pleasurable part of my pre-writing routine.

How did I, the ultimate pantser, travel from free range writing to embrace any structure, let alone the dreaded character worksheet? Part of it was thanks to my discovery of the “W” plotting technique. Finding a simplistic technique helped me to realize that I didn’t have to plot everything down to a gnat’s eyebrow to balance my professional need for structure and my creative need for freedom. With a growing confidence in my writing skills, I also discovered I don’t have to follow the dictates of every other writer as “gospel.” So, knowing I needed the three basics for my character – goal, motivation, and conflict – I created my own worksheet, which enabled me to get to know my characters the way I needed.

That’s not to say everyone must complete character worksheets to plumb the depths of their character’s psyches. It simply works for me.  I know some writers who conduct character interviews. Some build their character from the situation they want to create. Some develop the situation from the character they envision.

The goal is to find a way to get to know our characters so they become as real as you and I, three-dimensional people with a full range of purpose, feelings, and emotions. They might live and breathe in a world we create but, when we do our job right, our characters take on a life of their own and walk off the page into the lives of our readers.

And that’s the ultimate challenge for a writer, isn’t it?

Karen’s Killer Fixin’s: Poppy Seed Muffins

It’s time for Karen’s Killer Fixin’s!  Over the years, I’ve filled two 4-inch, 3-ring binders with my own creations as well as recipes my family and friends were willing to share with me.  I simply love to cook and want to share that love with my readers.

So every Friday, I share one recipe I think you and your family might enjoy.  It might be a main course recipe.  A cookie or baked item.  Candy.  Salads.  Whatever strikes my eye and fancy…which today is POPPY SEED MUFFINS.

I love this quick, easy and tasty muffin. It satisfies my sweet tooth and I don’t feel deprived if I don’t slather it with butter. Love the crunch of the poppy seeds. It’s a great muffin to throw into the kidlet’s lunchbox, too!

I hope you enjoy today’s Killer Fixin’s.  Happy eating!

Karen

P.S.  We’re at 7 recipes and counting with this posting.  Hope you find some recipes you like.  If you don’t want to miss any future recipes, be sure to return to my blog next Friday.  Even better, subscribe to my blog and the recipes will come directly to
your email Inbox.  If this is your first visit, check out past blogs for more Killer Fixin’s. In the right hand column of my home page, you can even look up past recipes by type. i.e. Desserts, Breads, Beef, Chicken, Soups, etc.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

POPPY SEED MUFFINS
[Makes 12]

2 cups flour
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup poppy seeds
2 eggs
½ tsp. salt
¾ cup sour cream
¼ tsp. baking soda
1-½ tsp. vanilla
½ cup butter, room temperature

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease or set liners in muffin tins.  Combine flour, poppy seeds, salt and baking soda in small bowl.  Using electric mixer, cream butter with sugar until thick and light.  Beat in eggs one at a time.  Blend in sour cream and vanilla.  Gradually beat in dry ingredients.  Spoon batter into tins.  Bake until done, about 12 minutes.  Cool 5 minutes in tin on rack. Remove from tin and cool completely.

 

Karen's Book Bench