Karen’s Killer Drop-In ~ 01-17-13 ~ Tribute to Author CJ Snyder

 

[[Welcome to my weekly writer’s diary where I’ll share my “Woot Woot!” moments and the not so “woot woot” moments of my writing world. And, yes, I might even share the occasional musing or two about reading and writing, two of my favorite things!]]

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Dear Diary,

            It’s Thursday ~ 01/17/13 ~ and…

It’s been a difficult week.  I lost one of my dearest friends on Sunday.  CJ Snyder – or Jan as I knew her – passed suddenly and all of us who knew and loved her are still in a state of disbelief and shock.  She’d successfully beat breast cancer and was looking forward to taking her writing career to the next level when pancreatic cancer took her from us.

She had such a bright future in front of her. She published three wonderful romantic suspense novels that garnered her lots of fans – MAVERICK; WHILE YOU WERE DEAD and DEAD RECKONING (the first two books in her Black Fire trilogy). She was working on the final book in the series, DEAD TO RIGHT, and had more stories to share than she had time to write. She had a remarkably creative mind and an incredible writing talent.

Maverick    while You were dead    dead reckoning

Her books reflected her strength of character, her ability to see the good and the bad in people. She was genuine, spiritual, generous, sweet, and gave of herself to everyone she met. Over the twelve years we were critique partners, I came to depend on her weekly insights, her support and encouragement and, most of all, her friendship.

It’s thanks to Jan that I write romantic suspense. I struggled for years to make inroads into the traditional contemporary romance markets. When I began to reevaluate my career path, she asked me why I didn’t try to write for the romantic suspense market. I told her I couldn’t write suspense. She looked me in the eye and said, “But you already do.” It was a jaw-dropping moment for me. She was right. Almost every one of my contemporary romances held elements of suspense and I’d been stifling my voice.  She knew my heart before I did.  She freed my inner suspense writer and I’ll be forever grateful.

Her passing has left a huge hole in my heart. I miss her terribly. The past week has been exceedingly hard.  But, I also know I wouldn’t have missed having her in my life even knowing she’d be taken too soon. She was my sister in every way that mattered.

Jan leaves behind four children and nine grandchildren, her mother, sister, two brothers and a lot of friends she turned into family.

Rest in peace, my friend. I love you!

Learn more about CJ Snyder:  http://www.cjsnyderbooks.com/
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/CJ-Snyder/e/B007YT8Q74/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

See you next Thursday for another entry in Karen’s Diary Drop-In….

 

Karen’s Killer Fixin’s: Herb Fried 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 HERB FRIED CHICKEN!!

I don’t think you can have too many ways to make chicken. This is a favorite because it’s flavorful and easy to pull together, even if you start preparing the chicken the night before. And you can’t beat fried chicken…in any form! 🙂

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

Karen

P.S.  We’re at 73 recipes and counting with this posting.  Hope you find some recipes you like. If this is your first visit, please check out past blogs for more Killer Fixin’s. In the right hand column menu, you can even look up past recipes by type. i.e. Desserts, Breads, Beef, Chicken, Soups, Author Specials, etc.

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HERBED FRIED CHICKEN
[Serves 4]

 

2 lb. chicken, cut into pieces
2 cups prepared Italian, or other flavored salad dressing
1 cup flour
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
2 cups bread crumbs

In the refrigerator, marinate chicken pieces overnight in salad dressing.  Mix flour, salt and pepper.  Drain chicken; dredge in flour mixture of flour, salt and pepper.  Dip in salad dressing and roll in crumbs.  Fry in hot deep fat (330 degrees) for 8-10 minutes.

Karen’s Killer Drop-In Diary ~ 01-10 -13 ~ The Tortoise & The Hare

 

[[Welcome to my weekly writer’s diary where I’ll share my “Woot Woot!” moments and the not so “woot woot” moments of my writing world. And, yes, I might even share the occasional musing or two about reading and writing, two of my favorite things!]]

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Dear Diary,

            It’s Thursday ~ 01/10/13 ~ and…

I want to be like both characters in Aesop’s fable, The Tortoise & The Hare.

Let me back up a bit.  For those of you unfamiliar with the basics of Aesop’s tale, the hare challenges the tortoise to a race. Certain he’ll run rings around the much slower tortoise the hare takes a nap, only to wake up and find the tortoise has slowly, methodically kept moving until he’s crossed the Finish line.  The moral of the story is that slow and steady will win the day.

In principle, this works. I’m trying to be slow and steady as I recover from surgery and the holidays and a host of other things.  I finally took Christmas down a couple of days ago, but the house looks too much like a bear pit without the holiday sparkles to hide the dust and debris. I’m now able to sit at my desk for a while, rather than lounging on the couch with my feet kicked up all day.  I’m even beginning to work my way through some of the business projects that have languished over the last month of inattention.

But, like the hare, I’m chompin’ on the bit to launch into a foot race. I have a suspense novel I need to finish. I have a short story for Valentine’s Day lurking in the corner of my mind. I’m gearing up my promotion efforts. My personal blogs need some attention, too.  I have so much to do that I’m longing to pick up speed to get it all done, especially with another surgery date looming on the horizon.

I guess I keep expecting to bounce back like I used to when I was younger, way back when I could fit into my figurative Wonder Woman outfit.  I know that lifestyle was not good for me – I can chalk up many of my current health issues to those years of eighteen-hour days – but I do wish I could accomplish now what I accomplished then.

Mentally, I want to sprint. Physically? I’m stuck with a slower pace. I know I’ll get back to full speed again one of these days, but that wasn’t much comfort when I made the decision yesterday to put my Valentine’s Day short on the back burner. There is simply not enough time to write the story, not if I want to get back to work on Killing Secrets. I’m not even back in my writing chair every day.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m doing amazingly well recovering from my knee surgery. And I am beginning to pick up the reins of my writing again.  It’s just taking more time than I had hoped, and I’m eager to put this part of the healing process behind me.

Now, if I can only figure out how to plod steadily through everything like the tortoise, write fast and furiously like the hare, and still find time to take a nap, I’d be golden!

See you next Thursday — and a New Year — for another rousing entry in Karen’s Diary Drop-In….

 

Karen’s Killer Fixin’s: 25 Minute Beef & Salsa Burritos

  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 25 MINUTE BEEF & SALSA BURRITOS!!

There are simply some nights you need to whip together something fast and satisfying. No muss, no fuss. This is one of those recipes. 25 minutes and you’ve got a filling meal for eight on the table. If spinach isn’t your thing, replace it with sliced red and green peppers. 

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

Karen

P.S.  We’re at 72 recipes and counting with this posting.  Hope you find some recipes you like. If this is your first visit, please check out past blogs for more Killer Fixin’s. In the right hand column menu, you can even look up past recipes by type. i.e. Desserts, Breads, Beef, Chicken, Soups, Author Specials, etc.

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25 MINUTE BEEF & SALSA BURRITOS
[Serves 8]

 

1 ¼ lbs. ground beef
1 ½ T. chili powder
½ tsp. ground cumin
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
1 ¼ cups prepared chunky salsa
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
8 medium flour tortillas, warmed

In large non-stick skillet, brown ground beef.  Pour off drippings.  Season beef with chili powder, cumin, ½ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. pepper.  Stir in spinach and salsa; heat through.  Remove from heat; stir in cheese.  Spoon ½ cup beef mixture in center of tortilla.

Karen’s Drop-In Diary ~ 01-03-13 ~ Five Things I Love & Hate About Being a Writer

 

[[Welcome to my weekly writer’s diary where I’ll share my “Woot Woot!” moments and the not so “woot woot” moments of my writing world. And, yes, I might even share the occasional musing or two about reading and writing, two of my favorite things!]]

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Dear Diary,

            It’s Thursday ~ 01/03/13 ~ and…

Today, I’ve decided to share the five things I love and hate about being a writer. We all have certain things we enjoy, or not, about our writing careers.  These are mine!

5 THINGS I LOVE ABOUT BEING A WRITER

  • I love building people, ahem, I mean characters.  I think I can relate somewhat to Dr. Frankenstein’s drive to create life out of lifelessness. There’s something imminently satisfying when I realize a character I’ve created has taken on a life of his, or her, own.  It’s fun when a character I think I know, inside and out, suddenly surprises me with something I didn’t know about them that changes my perception of them…and my vision of their role in the story.

 

  • I love delving into worlds and events that stand outside my own. When things happen in our world that makes me angry, I want to fix them. Change outcomes. Give insight into other ways the event might have gone. It’s one of the reasons why I write suspense novels. I have a strong sense of justice and, sometimes, the world seems more than a bit thin on justice. I mete out my own in my novels.

 

  • I love sharing romance with others. I was fortunate enough to have found my other half so it gives me real pleasure when I can help others find their soul mates. Yes, the people in my books aren’t real…but they are to me. And, somewhere out there, there might be a reader who can relate a story to their own, may even find hope and direction to their happiness.  Sometimes, all we need is hope to set us on a new path. I have spoken with volunteers at my local domestic violence shelter about the reasons why they love to receive romance novels for their shelters. They said the books not only give the women an escape for a few hours, but show them that there are other types of relationships out there. Healthy relationships.

 

  • I love being my own boss. I guess it’s the Type-A, management side of me, but I love waking up each morning knowing that I control my day. I don’t have to answer to anyone but me when it comes to my work. I can create the stories I want, work the hours I want, pick my own titles and book covers, etc. When I was pursuing traditional markets, I knew there were a lot of things I couldn’t control – right down to my book titles and covers – but I realize now that, sooner or later, I would have railed at that lack of control.  As an Indie author, my books are mine…completely. 🙂

 

  • I love all of the writers and readers that I’m connecting with as a result of my writing. Yes, much of my promotion is geared toward publicity, but I’ve never made so many real friends in my entire life. I’ve become friends with people all over the world, people I’d invite into my home for dinner if they were ever in my neighborhood, people I’d go see when I vacation in theirs.  And it wouldn’t matter that we’d never actually met in person. We’d hug and sit down to coffee and chat like we’d lived next door to each other for years.  This has happened to me on more than one occasion!

 

5 THINGS I HATE ABOUT BEING A WRITER

  • I hate (for the record, I actually mean dislike; hate is such a strong word but my persnickety need for perfection demands I use the word opposite love) that, despite the number of years I’ve been writing, I still have insecurities about my work. I know that I can write, and write well, but there’s always a niggling voice at the back of my mind when I’m struggling to finish a scene or the next book, that I’m just not quite good enough. It may be my Type-A personality again. It’s tough for me to release anything that I don’t deem “perfect”, and I can get bogged down in that search for perfection.

 

  • I hate the fact that it takes me at least an hour to get started when I sit down to write. I have an internal editor that insists I read over the previous chapter or two before I can launch into a new scene.  I don’t end up changing much when I do this so I hesitate to call it editing.  It does help me to hit the “zone” I need to be in to start anew, sort of a reboot of the mood and presentation. I just wish it didn’t take me quite as long to get started. If I only have two hours to devote to writing that day, it’s counterproductive to use an hour of that time “getting into the zone”.

 

  • I hate learning how to use new electronic devices. I know I need to find equipment that will facilitate my writing efforts, and electronics are always changing and updating, but the learning process wrapped around these updates drives me crazy. Computers are not my strong suit!  Thankfully, I have a daughter and son-in-law who come to my aid whenever I have computer issues. And my son-in-law has helped me to build a great inter-connected system using my laptop and two additional monitors that gives my Type-A personality a playground in efficiency. Still, I have another piece of equipment sitting on my desk right this minute that has to be incorporated into my computer system, and I’m not looking forward to learning how to use it once it is connected.  🙁

 

  • Alongside computers, I hate new computer programs.  It seems like every time I turn around there’s a new version of something I simply must have to function properly in the digital world.  If I could turn them over to my son-in-law to figure out and then have him plug it directly into my brain the way he plugs in my computer, I would be set!  I bought a Dragon Writer program several months ago to address my carpal tunnel issues – everyone I talked with swears it will help me – and I haven’t even opened the box because I’m dreading the time it will take from my writing to learn how to use it. I know it’s what I really need to do. Now to convince myself to take the time to do it!

 

  • And last, but not least, I really hate formatting. I miss the old days when I could simply type my story and print it out. When all I had to decide was whether to set everything flush left, or go with paragraph indents.  Single space or double space? Courier New or Times New Roman? Once my settings were fixed, I could just write my story. “Dammit, Jim, I’m a writer, not a computer geek!”  🙂 Now, even if I have settled on a presentation style I like, every venue I use to publish my work uses different formatting. And, heaven forbid, I accidently embed a command I can’t even see in the middle of my carefully formatted manuscript! I finally got smart and hired someone to format my last novel. I don’t like having to pay someone else to do it for me, but I’m losing a lot less hair in the process. It was a business decision that I don’t regret making.

I’m sure there are other things I love and hate about what I do, although these 10 things top the list. In fact, when it came to “hates” I really had to think about what I really didn’t like about being a writer and, as you can tell, most of those are related to “how” I get my writing done, not the writing itself.  So, even though I did present an equal number of loves and hates, there is a lot more I love about being a writer.

Of course, I knew that!

See you next Thursday for another rousing entry in Karen’s Diary Drop-In….

 

Karen’s Killer Fixin’s **Author Special** with Jodie Pierce

  Karen’s Killer Fixin’s **AUTHOR SPECIAL** with JODIE PIERCE

Welcome to my Friday bonus feature called Karen’s Killer Fixin’s **Author Special**!!  Today, in lieu of one of my own recipes, I’m going to introduce you to a new author who will share one of her favorite recipes. Not only will you and I occasionally learn how to make something new and delicious, but we’ll get a chance to check out some wonderful authors.

Introducing author, JODIE PIERCE, and her favorite recipe for CHEESECAKE!

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About the author, Jodie Pierce….

Jodie Pierce is thirty-seven years old and lives with her hubby, John in Cleveland, Ohio along with four beautiful step-children. She has had a fascination with vampires since they were introduced to her as a child and has had a long history with them. It wasn’t until she started reading the Anne Rice vampire books that she was truly inspired. She was an exchange student in Brasil in high school so you can find some of her experiences from there in her stories. Many of her stories have historical or researched facts as she also enjoys research and learning about new places. She has published five short novels (Eternal Press), a short story in “Midnight Thirst 2”, an anthology(Melange Books), has two self-published books and has several short stories that she still works on. She’s always busy with the next great vampire story as her mind is non-stop and even plagues her dreams.

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BOOK PEEK  ~ THE DEMISE OF THE VAMPIRE QUEEN by Jodie Pierce

The Queen is once again ruling her subjects only this time it is a school for the ‘different’ children in Scotland. A school full of vampires, witches, warlocks, elves and fairies, one that is feared and hated by all who attend. A new group of witches and warlocks show up to her gates and cause all kinds of havoc within the school. Vampires and witches are at odds and only a few can see the survival of the school. An ancient lover and the Queen are reunited but at what costs? A new, as well as an old lover unite to attempt to take the Queen off her throne. Will it work? Will the Queen maintain her horrendous rule over the students? Can the spells woven work and change history? All will be told in the end.

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CONNECT WITH JODIE AND HER BOOKS:

I hope you enjoy the recipe Jodie is sharing with us today on Karen’s Killer Fixin’s.  Happy eating!

Karen

P.S.  We’re at 71 recipes and counting with this posting.  Hope you find some recipes you like. If this is your first visit, please check out past blogs for more Killer Fixin’s. In the right hand column menu, you can even look up past recipes by type. i.e. Desserts, Breads, Beef, Chicken, Soups, Author Specials, etc.

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CHEESECAKE

2 8-oz packages of cream cheese

2-tubes of crescent rolls

1-cup sugar

1-egg separated

1 tsp. vanilla

Sprinkle cinnamon (Optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread out one tube of crescent roll on wax paper so it’s 11×9 size. Grease bottom of 11×9 baking pan and place crescent roll in bottom. Stretch to fit all sides. Mix together cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and egg yolk until creamy. Spread mixture on top of crescent roll in pan. Spread out second crescent roll on wax paper to size of pan. Peel off and place on top of cream cheese mixture, spreading to all sides of the pan. Whip up the egg white and lightly brush it on top of crescent roll. Sprinkle sugar on top and finish with a light dusting of cinnamon on top (optional). Bake for 25 mins or until golden brown. Chill completely and serve cold. Enjoy!

Karen’s Killer Drop-In Diary ~ 12-27-12 ~ A Year in Review & Looking Forward!

 

[[Welcome to my weekly writer’s diary where I’ll share my “Woot Woot!” moments and the not so “woot woot” moments of my writing world. And, yes, I might even share the occasional musing or two about reading and writing, two of my favorite things!]]

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Dear Diary,

            It’s Thursday ~ 12/27/12 ~ and…

…this is my last entry for 2012. Wow. Where did the year go?! Weren’t we just celebrating Independence Day? 🙂

Maybe not. But time sure has flown the past year and, looking back, I have a lot to be grateful for, both in my professional and personal life. The year hasn’t been all sun and roses but the good things so far outweigh the bad that I can’t help but focus today’s list on the good.

A Year in Review….

1.  I finally launched my writing career and place my stories in reader hands.  I had been focused solely on my romantic suspense series — which I’m still working on — but my wonderful critique partners convinced me that I had stories on both the light and dark sides of romance that readers would enjoy.  So, on Valentine’s Day, I debuted my first romantic comedy, SATIN PLEASURES, on Amazon. This book was one that did well in the traditional markets, even won a few impressive accolades in writing contests, but there was never an open spot for it with traditional publishers.  It made sense to give new life to one of my favorite contemporary stories. One, BTW, that was a Romance Writers of America Golden Heart finalist!

2.  The decision to release SATIN PLEASURES exclusively on Amazon turned out to be a good one. Although I did get the story into other formats for a time, I ended up coming back to Amazon because that’s where I found my readers.  I sponsored three separate FREE days on Amazon over the year so that readers could sample my work. One of those times, I hit Amazon’s Best Selling list at #1 for two consecutive days. I can’t tell you how it felt knowing my story had been downloaded to so many Kindles. It was like hitting the jackpot. I ran around the house in a state of stunned confusion for nearly a week. Things like that just don’t happen to me. Now, if even half of those readers actually read it — we all know how many download books never to read them — I’ll be a happy writer.

3.  I’ve learned a LOT about social media and being my own boss this past year. Nothing like jumping into the deep end, feet first, and then learning to swim!  This was quite a shock to me.  I’d aimed at the traditional markets for years and thought I was prepared for the concept of self-publishing — I do have over 30 years in business management, being my own boss, too — but I didn’t have a clue what it would entail to connect with readers on my own. But, decision made, I waded into the fray and built a reader base on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Triberr, my blog and website. I have to admit there were days I railed at the necessity because it takes so much time from my writing, which is really what I’d love to do all day, every day, but it’s getting easier. It only takes me the morning to get through my social media, eight emails, nine Yahoo Groups lists, and a partriiiidge in a pear tree! 🙂

4.  Another first for me this year was my attempt to write a shorter story. Those who know me know that I write lonnnnnnng. My romantic suspense is going to top out at 90,000 plus…I think.  Even the thought of writing anything shorter than 50,000 words gave me hives. My romantic comedies are around that word count. So, I could never envision myself writing shorter, and you know what they say about saying “never”! I had a Christmas story pop into my head at the end of October and decided to aim for a short story…or allow it to tear at my psyche for an entire ‘nother year. CATCH THAT SANTA ended up being longer than I intended, almost a full novella length, but it was the shortest story I’ve ever told and it released the day after Thanksgiving. It was exciting to know that I could actually do it. I’ve decided to try to write Holiday Shorts periodically, just for the fun of shaking things up a bit.   I already have a Valentine’s Day story niggling at my brain so we’ll see how it goes!

5.  On the personal front, I’m getting my health ducks in a row. Been working on losing weight and getting back on my feet. Literally.  Spending the past two years essentially shutting down my activities prompted me and my docs into working harder to get my health back. I was fortunate to connect with superb orthopedic surgeon who gave me a whole new left knee for Christmas. I’m in physical therapy for next month or so, then it’s time to do the other knee. By springtime, this woman’s going to be as close to dancing as she can get!  If nothing else, I’ll be on the back of a motorcyle with my dear husband and able to do some exploring again.  🙂

Looking forward into 2013….

1.  I HAVE to finish KILLING SECRETS!!!! Soon. It may mean I have to put off writing the Valentine’s short story, but I need to turn my complete attention to finishing this first romantic suspense in the Thorne’s Thorns series.  Like my readers, I’m eager to see it completed. I finally opened up the file last night for first time in two months and read the first seven chapters through. I LOVE this story and think you will, too.  I’m setting a personal deadline of January 31st to get it done. I doubt I’ll have my second knee surgery before then so I’d like to finish it and get it published before I get sidetracked by health issues again. Cross your fingers!

2. If I have the time around KILLING SECRETS, I want to write my Valentine’s Day romantic comedy short story. But, if it comes to making a choice, my time’s going to belong to the suspense story. So, we’ll see.

3.  I figure my next knee surgery will  be scheduled around mid-February. This one is liable to lay me up a bit longer since it’s my right knee and the one that’s kept me mobile for past 5 years. Guess we’ll see how much rehab I can get into my left knee, huh?

4.  After KILLING SECRETS is done, I already have KILLING PROOF queued up.  Ben and Cynthia’s story is already started so picking it up next just makes sense. Ben is the second brother of the six who will get their own stories.

5.  I’ve purchased a Dragon Writer program for my computer so I can save my hands and wrists. I intend to upload and master this program as soon as possible. It’s going to be weird reading my story out loud into a computer and I’m a bit intimidated at the thought of my husband or kids or grandkids walking into my office in the middle of a racy or murder scene. Maybe I need to have a clock on the door with hands that point to the kind of scene I’m writing telling them to walk in at their own risk! LOL

6.  I’m going to explore new ways to connect with my readers. I’ve been essentially doing my promo solo, and I need to look into what a publicist might be able to help me with. After all, I’m a writer, not an advertising exec! (Do you hear Bones talking in your heads? I do! 🙂 ) The more time I can devote to my writing, the happier this writer will be.

7.  I do have another full-length romantic comedy in my head that I’d like to finish in 2013, too. I want to get the first two suspense books out first, though, so don’t know the timing on the comedy.  Aiming for early/mid summer.

I wish I could see past the summer months in 2013, but I’m still trying to get a handle on the current writing schedule around my personal and health things. I do know I’ll publish at least three stories in 2013. Four would be gravy.  Five? Not completely out of bounds if I write a couple of shorts and wrestle my schedule into line.

Ack! Who am I kidding? If my schedule could be wrestled, it would be. I’m just happy to HAVE a schedule I can manage for now.

I would like to wish every one of you a HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope it’s everything you want it to be, that you realize your dreams and find the happiness you all deserve.

See you next Thursday — and a New Year — for another rousing entry in Karen’s Diary Drop-In….

 

Karen’s Killer Fixin’s: Potato Chowder

  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 POTATO CHOWDER!!

I love winter when I can finally break out my soup recipes! There’s something about coming inside out of the cold and smelling soup that’s been cooking in the crockpot or soup pot all day.  Nothing like slipping that first spoonful into your mouth and swallowing flavorful heat right down to your core. Giving me goosebumps just thinking about it! 🙂

Those who know me know I don’t do weak soups. My soups tend to be more like stews, than soup. No weak broth need apply! I especially love chowders that are quick to make and satisfying. This is one of my favorite chowders. Enjoy!

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

Karen

P.S.  We’re at 70 recipes and counting with this posting.  Hope you find some recipes you like. If this is your first visit, please check out past blogs for more Killer Fixin’s. In the right hand column menu, you can even look up past recipes by type. i.e. Desserts, Breads, Beef, Chicken, Soups, Author Specials, etc.

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POTATO CHOWDER [Makes 2 quarts]

1 T. butter
5 cups cubed baking potatoes
¾ cup chopped onion
1 tsp. salt
1/3 cup diced celery
1 tsp. dried basil
1 bay leaf
¼ tsp. thyme
1 large clove garlic, crushed
1/8 tsp. celery seeds
¼ cup flour
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 cups skim milk
1/8 tsp. pepper
¼ cup evaporated milk
1 T. cider vinegar
3 (10½ oz) cans chicken broth

Melt butter in large Dutch oven over medium heat; add chopped onion, celery and bay leaf.  Cook 5 minutes until tender.  Add garlic; cook one minute.  Stir in flour.  Gradually add milks and broths; bring to boil, stirring constantly.  Add potato and next six (6) ingredients.  Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered 25 minutes or until tender.  Stir frequently.  Stir in vinegar; discard bay leaf.  Place 3 cups potato mixture in electric blender; cover and process until smooth.  Add puree back in Dutch oven; stir well.

Serve with steaming hot bread.

Karen’s Killer Fixin’s: Savory Chicken Pot Pie

  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 SAVORY CHICKEN POT PIE!!

Who doesn’t like pot pie? I know I’ve never known anyone who didn’t keep a secret stash of pot pie  boxes in their freezer at one time or another.  You know, for that occasional craving or that night when there’s absolutely nothing in the packed fridge you want to eat.  Yeah, depending on which brand you buy, they sometimes don’t seem to have enough “stuff” inside to really fill the little tin bowl.  But it’s the combination of flavors that appeal so you look for the best brand and hope for the best.  You can stop looking now. You can make your own fairly easily and fill that pie crust to the brim with flavor. I have several variations for homemade pot pie but this is one of my favorite chicken recipes. 

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

Karen

P.S.  We’re at 69 recipes and counting with this posting.  Hope you find some recipes you like. If this is your first visit, please check out past blogs for more Killer Fixin’s. In the right hand column menu, you can even look up past recipes by type. i.e. Desserts, Breads, Beef, Chicken, Soups, Author Specials, etc.

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SAVORY CHICKEN POT PIE
[Serves 6]

 

3 T. butter, divided
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 red pepper, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, trimmed & chopped
1 lb. cooked chicken, chopped
1 lb. frozen mixed vegetables
½ cup chicken broth
1 can (10-1/2 oz.) cream of chicken soup
½ pkg. (15 oz.) refrigerated piecrust

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large saucepan over medium heat.  Add onion, red pepper and celery.  Saute vegetables, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add chicken, mixed vegetables, broth and soup to pot. Bring mixture to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Transfer mixture to a deep-dish pie plate.  Lay piecrust over pie plate and trim using a sharp knife.  Seal edge using back of a fork.  Cut slits in crust using a sharp knife.  Melt remaining butter; brush over top of piecrust.  Bake until crust is golden brown, 10-12 minutes.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

* A great way to use up leftover chicken…or turkey!

** To change the flavors up once in a while, use cream of asparagus soup and a Chinese veggie mix.  Or you can use cream of mushroom soup and a winter veggie mix.

*** You can make your own crust but using refrigerated makes this a quick option to get it into the oven fast when you don’t have much time.

Karen’s Diary Drop-In ~ 12-13-12 ~ Introducing JM Kline & The Christmas Shift

 

[[Welcome to my weekly writer’s diary where I’ll share my “Woot Woot!” moments and the not so “woot woot” moments of my writing world. And, yes, I might even share the occasional musing or two about reading and writing, two of my favorite things!]]

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Dear Diary,

            It’s Thursday ~ 12/13/12 ~ and…

I’ve had an exciting and fun filled couple of weeks.  If you’re a regular reader, you know I didn’t post a diary entry last week because I was in the hospital getting a new knee.  Now, one week later I’m doing extremely well, using a cane, and wondering why in the world I waited so long to do this. 🙂 I’m already looking forward to getting the other knee done in about six weeks. But, that isn’t even the best part of what’s happened since my last diary entry.

I am happy to introduce my daughter, JM Kline, and her first YA (Young Adult) story!!!  She’s working on a complete paranormal (shape shifter) series that promises to be spectacular but, for the holiday, she’s releasing a short Christmas story that will give you a taste of the world she’s creating. And, yes, I may be biased, but I think you’re going to love her stories.

THE CHRISTMAS SHIFT, Now Available on Amazon!!!

The Christmas Shift by JM Kline
Book Blurb

It’s Christmas Eve, and Holly Barry’s seventeenth birthday. This is the year she will shape-shift for the first time, and she is terrified of what she may change into. The holidays are already a hard time for her, missing her mother’s Christmas cheer. Her embarrassing seasonal name doesn’t help matters. Her dad doesn’t seem to understand Holly’s reluctance, and decorates to his heart’s content.

When Holly shifts into something truly grotesque, she has to find the Christmas spirit. Will she discover it in time to make dreams come true?

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Meet the author,  JM Kline

JM Kline was born in Colorado, and was raised to love books by her mom, a published author. While she grew up reading many different genres, anything with paranormal or fantasy elements caught her eye most often. She grew up writing fantastic stories about Rindercella and her Prince, talking monkeys, and fairy princesses. 

JM Kline brings a fresh voice to the Young Adult scene. She writes paranormal stories about shape-shifters living in the Rocky Mountain foothills of Colorado. Her first publication is a Christmas short story, full of love, laughter, and holiday spirit. The Christmas Shift is available on amazon.com for Kindle only. Look for her first full-length publication, Changing Destiny, early in 2013.

When she isn’t writing, JM spends her time with her husband, two beautiful daughters, and two rambunctious dogs. She enjoys reading and crocheting in her spare time.
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The Christmas Shift by JM Kline
Excerpt

There was something on the roof.

I sat up in bed and held my breath. I waited to hear the noise again.

Thump. Thump. Jingle.

Yup, that was it. I got out of bed and pulled my curtains back. The sun was just beginning to come up from behind downtown Denver in the east.

Thump. Thump. Jingle.

“Seriously, what is that?” I threw my fuzzy pink slippers on my feet and ran downstairs. I opened the front door and walked sideways down the walk so I could see the roof.

Nothing there.

Then my dad’s head poked up over the peak. “Good morning, Holly! Did I wake you?”

I rolled my eyes. Dad loved Christmas. He was constantly moving the decorations around and adding new ones. Last year, he added a giant snowflake on the roof on Christmas Eve. Apparently this year wasn’t going to be an exception. It looked like he had a new life-sized Santa to go with the almost life-sized reindeer and sleigh.

“Geez, Dad! It’s not even light yet! What is it, like six-thirty?”

Dad checked his watch and grinned. “No, it’s six forty-five already. Early bird catches the worm!”

“Very funny.” I rubbed my hands on my arms.

The last few years, I just couldn’t get into Christmas. Not like Dad did. The decorations and songs and everything just seemed so pointless.

I guess it had something to do with Mom. I remember how she used to decorate the whole house with twinkling lights. Our tree always sparkled more than anything I’d ever seen.

Every year, hundreds of people would drive by our house. Mom would always hand out candy canes to the kids who came up to see her handmade Polar Express train.

She loved the holidays – the sparkling lights against fresh snow, the looks on the kids’ faces when they watched the moving elves on the train. I missed her so much. She was always so generous with her time and love.

I didn’t mind Christmas back then. I probably even enjoyed it a little. But now, I was just reminded of how my mom was gone.

Dad took over decorating after she died. I think it made him feel like she was still around.

He stood up and looked around. He saw something he didn’t like and reached down to grab the lights to re-arrange them. As I watched, his foot hit a patch of ice and he slipped. His arms flailed around and around. His upper body rocked back and forth. Finally, he just fell over the side of the roof.

I crossed my arms and sighed as the air around him shimmered and he changed into a little black bird with white-tipped wings. Lark Bunting-Dad flew to land on the sidewalk in front of me.

“Seriously, Dad. It’s a good thing we don’t live in town. You would get into so much trouble, changing like that in public,” I said. “Sometimes I wonder if you have wings just because you can never stay on your feet.”

The bird shimmered into Dad again. “Thanks for the concern, Holl, I’m fine.” He kissed my forehead. “I guess I’m done up there for now anyway, huh? Why don’t we head inside and get some breakfast?”

I followed Dad through the front door. I hadn’t realized it would be so cold outside, and I sat on the heating vent in the living room to warm up. I stared at the over-stuffed brown armchair Dad loved and thought about what my life might be like after I turned seventeen tomorrow.

This was one birthday I’d be happy to skip.

Dad didn’t tell me that we were shape shifters until I started high school. Dad had changed into a bird so many times over the last two years, I’d kind of gotten used to the idea. I wish I’d had a chance to see my mom change. Dad always told me she was the most beautiful swan he had ever seen. It was part of why he’d fallen in love with her.

Really, it wasn’t the shape-changing that scared me. The truth is, I was terrified I’d change into something weird.

I’d been thinking about the worst case scenarios for a while. What if I changed into a shark or something and I suddenly couldn’t breathe? I know they have precautions, like having a nearby pool or something, but what if they didn’t get me there in time? I moved through other terrible possibilities. A cow – I can imagine the taunts now. A vulture – has to be the ugliest bird on the planet. A giant snake. I shuddered at that one. I know a couple of snakes. One of my teachers is a rattlesnake, but they still give me the creeps.

I shook my head. Thinking about these things was completely pointless. There was no way of knowing what was going to happen tomorrow, so there was no point in getting worked up about it.

~~~~


FREE on Amazon December 13 & 14!!

http://www.amazon.com/Satin-Pleasures-ebook/dp/B0078VSY6G/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1330384089&sr=8-1

Not to steal the thunder from my talented daughter, I also wanted to tell you that today and tomorrow I’m sharing some of my Christmas joy with more readers. SATIN PLEASURES will be **free** exclusively on Kindle December 13-14. If you haven’t had a chance to snag a copy, now is the time to slip this cute, romantic comedy into your Christmas stocking. If you already have a copy, I hope you’ve enjoyed Dan’s and Tess’s story.  I hope you’ll feel inclined to share the luv with a review. Tell your family and friends. This has been a spectacular, debut year for me and I’d love to share the smiles with all of my readers.

See you Thursday, December 20, 2012, for another rousing entry in Karen’s Diary Drop-In….

 

Karen's Book Bench