2019

Happens every year. It makes me feel good. I even organize my writing and make a list of new things I want to try, along with things I want to finish.

I’m making great progress with my paranormal romance about two people joined together by the past. When eighteen-year-old Eli moves to small-town Greer, Texas to live with his grandparents, strange things begin to happen. Things that aren’t real. A ghost, disturbing visions, voices whispering his name. They have something to do with Idunn, the girl who’s haunted his memory since he was young. Together, Eli and Idunn search to figure what happened long before either of them was born and discover why it’s drawn them together.  

I’m about 60,000 words into Book 3 of my time travel series. As husband and wife, Erin and Griffin face a whole new set of challenges. She thinks her husband is being overprotective. He thinks she’s too impulsive. She’s forced to contend with an old rival who still has feelings for Griffin.  When Mierla’s brother arrives at the castle with strange and unsettling news Lord John charges Griffin with taking her home. Erin puts her foot down. Castle Llewellyn is an overnight ride into the mountains of Wales, No way in hell is she going to let Griffin go without her. (I have plans to post Bridey’s Stranger, a companion story to the series on my blog.)

Last but not least, there’s Mere. A young woman from a charming little town in east Texas. Titusville sits smack dab in the middle of Ferry Woods. A place filled with pine trees, Spanish moss, and creepiness where strange things happen. Mere’s practical side says they’re only stories. But she’s certain there’s more to it than that.

Maybe it has something to do with her unique ability. The one she’s tried to ignore since she was a child. All she ever wanted was a normal life. To be accepted. Blend in. A difficult task with a family like hers.  And when it’s all said and done, she’s not certain if it’s what she wants after all.

I’ve got a lot to do. So, I’d better get started. I’ll keep you posted.

Dinner And A Movie Monday – Cold Mountain

Cold Mountain is one of my all-time favorites. Wikipedia calls it a sleeper hit, and I can’t help but agree. Everything fits together. The characters, the scenery, the music. In my opinion, Anthony Minghella did a spectacular job on this civil war epic based on the novel by Charles Frazier. 

It’s the story of a wounded Confederate deserter’s struggle to go home to Cold Mountain, North Carolina, to reunite with the with the woman he loves. Although they hardly know each other, the love they have shared throughout the war gives them hope. Keeps them from giving up.

Each character has his own unique story. Together, they give us a brief glimpse of life in the south during civil war years. If you’ve never watched it, please do. If you have seen it, watch it again.  

Roast Chicken

Every time I see the scene where Renee Zellwigger wrings the rooster’s neck, it reminds me of Gone With The Wind. I can’t imagine eating a rooster, but I’m sure it happened a lot during the war. And I’m sure they ended up roasting the tough old bird, hoping to make it more tender.

Ingredients

  • One 3-pound roasting chicken rinsed and patted dry, neck and giblets reserved
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons fresh rosemary, thyme or savory leaves in any combination
  • 3 garlic cloves: 1 peeled and crushed, 2 lightly smashed
  • 1 large lemon, washed
  • 2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 2 shallots, peeled, and cut in half lengthwise
  • 3 sprigs thyme

Instructions Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place a small piece of foil just large enough to cover the chicken’s breast in a roasting pan; brush it with a little oil. Set aside. Rinse the bird inside and out with cold water; pat dry with paper toweling. With a thin, sharp knife, cut the excess fat from the neck and hind cavity of the chicken and discard. Sprinkle the chicken evenly inside and out with salt and pepper, rubbing it into the skin. Stuff the herb leaves and the crushed garlic clove into the cavity. Prick the lemon about 25 times each with a toothpick or skewer. Stuff it into the cavity of the chicken. Using toothpicks or trussing needles, pin the neck and hind cavities closed. Place the chicken breast down over the oiled piece of foil in the roasting pan. Nestle the neck, giblets, carrot, shallot, smashed garlic cloves and thyme around the chicken. Roast for 15 minutes. Turn the bird breast up and carefully peel off the foil taking care not to rip the skin; discard. Roast 20 minutes longer, then increase the oven temperature to 400’F. Roast the chicken 20 to25 minutes longer, until the skin is brown and crisp and the juices run clear when the leg is pricked with a kitchen fork. An instant-read thermometer inserted in the breast should read 140′. Remove the toothpick from the hind end. Lift the chicken with two wooden spoons and tilt it slightly so the juices run out of the cavity into pan. Place the chicken on a platter and keep warm. Pour the pan juices into a small measuring cup. Let settle 3 to 4 minutes, then carefully skim the fat off the surface with a tablespoon. Pour the juices back into the roasting pan set over moderate heat. Add the wine and simmer, stirring to dissolve any browned bits on the bottom of the pan, about 5 minutes until the alcohol has cooked off. Skim off any fat or scum that rises to the surface. Strain the sauce into a small bowl, discard the neck and giblets and taste for seasoning. You will have about 1/2 cup of flavorful, natural juices. Carve the chicken, dividing it into four equal portions. Pour any juices that have collected on the plate into the sauce. For a lemony sauce, squeeze the lemon into the pan juices. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the pan juices over each portion of chicken.

Enjoy the movie. Try out the chicken. I’ll see you next time!

Black-eyed peas, cornbread, cabbage and ham

That’s what my sister cooked for lunch, the first day of January 2019. A southern tradition, one supposed to bring good luck and prosperity, Delicious of course, but that’s no surprise. She’s a good cook. And I made my usual resolutions. Be kind. Be patient. Be strong. Live healthier. Work harder. Accomplish more. Never quit trying.

And I’ve already started off on the wrong foot. I woke up with one of my headaches, spent the day feeling useless, had trouble with my computer. My first setback of the year. Frustrating when you’ve only just resolved to made things different.

2018 was a roller coaster year. More downs than ups. A lot of unexpected things. At times it felt as though the bad overshadowed the good. Seemed like every step forward was followed by a step back. I want this year to be different. So I’m adding a new resolution. Start each day with a grateful heart.  Count my blessings and realize how lucky I am. I can’t avoid every unfortunate thing that comes my way, but I can stay focused and do my best every single day.

Happy New Year