The Importance of Being Able To Find Your Way Back To Your Writing #AmWriting

After reading as much as I can about the literary journeys of different authors, I have come to the conclusion that writing success comes to those who have…mastered the art of finding their way back to their projects.

We leave our stories behind for a variety of reasons:

We need to distance ourselves from them at the end of drafting.
Beta reader criticism has started to sting.
Rejections have broken our heart.
We don’t think it is working as a story.
We have lost faith in our abilities.
For whatever reason we bid farewell to a writing project, finding our way back to it can be one of the hardest things we will ever have to do.

Returning to a first or second or tenth draft which you finished writing a few months ago can be tough, especially when all those fuzzy, warm feelings have vanished.

Trying to find your…

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About books, movies, cooking, and advice
Decorating, shopping, and finding the best price
Life, love and raising kids
Along with do-hickeys, what-cha-ma-call-its, and thing-a-ma-jigs
We’re just two Texas girls
Straight from the sticks
The only thing we won’t gab about
Is religion and politics!

In this blog post, Ann and I are reflecting on things that make us grateful.

Susan: Believe it or not, Thanksgiving is almost upon us. I don’t know about you, but COVID or not, the year has flown for me. Maybe it’s because I’ve been working hard to finish projects I kept putting off. Staying close to home has paid off in that respect.

Another thing I’ve noticed. I find myself paying a lot more attention to the small things that happen when the seasons change. The first hint of green that signals spring is coming, the blooms on the crabapple tree in my yard, the crisp fall air when the leaves begin to fall. I always notice it. But this year, I appreciate it like never before.

The same thing can be said for the kindness of people. We’re all having to deal with inconveniences. Shortages. Delays. And the list goes on. We can complain, or we can make the best of things. We can feel sorry for ourselves, or we can be grateful.

I’m grateful for my family. And those special friends I know I can count on. My health and my home. My life isn’t perfect, but hey, I’m not either. The good thing is, I wake up to a fresh new day every day. And I can make it any kind of day I want.

A great cold weather meal that will make the kitchen smell heavenly.

Hearty Navy-Bean Soup

3 cups (1 ½ lb. dried navy beans)

1 can diced tomatoes

1 large onion, chopped

1 cup diced ham or bacon

2 cups chicken brother

2 ½ cups water

Salt-pepper-parsley to taste

Soak beans in the remainder of the ingredients overnight. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer until tender. 1 ½ to 2 hours.

Serve with Broccoli Bread


  • 10 oz. Pkg. frozen broccoli chopped & thawed
  • 2 sticks melted butter (1 cup)
  • 16oz. cottage cheese
  • 2 t salt
  • 4 large beaten eggs
  • 2 boxes Jiffy Corn Mix
  • 1/3 cup diced onion


  1. Mix well with a wooden spoon and pour into greased pan (9X13”).
  2. Bake at 400°, 30-45 minutes or until lightly brown.
  3. Cool slightly before cutting.

*can be put in freezer

Ann: One of my favorite quotes is below. The first time I read it, it made me stop and reflect on all the things I’m grateful for.

I agree with Susan. During this difficult time, we all need to pause…take a breath…and concentrate on what’s good in our lives. Even if it’s just having a good night’s sleep, or that first cup of coffee, or maybe it’s looking back through photo albums of our children and grandchildren.

Nothing remains the same…and someday soon, these challenging times will be behind us…because in the words of Mrs. Waylon Jennings… storms never last…. bad times all pass with the wind.

Susan’s cornbread recipe sounds delicious. I recently ‘doctored’ a cornbread mix and it turned out pretty dang good.

Use the cornbread mix of your choice and make according to package directions.

Add ½ to ¾ Cup of whole kernel corn (drained)

Also add a small can of chopped green chilis OR 1-2 chopped

fresh jalapeños. (remove the seeds unless you want the bread to have a kick) 

Bake according to directions.

 So yummy!


About books, movies, cooking, and advice
Decorating, shopping, and finding the best price
Life, love and raising kids
Along with do-hickeys, what-cha-ma-call-its, and thing-a-ma-jigs
We’re just two Texas girls
Straight from the sticks
The only thing we won’t gab about
Is religion and politics!

SUSAN: October is my favorite time of the year. From crisp mornings to sunny afternoons. From unexpected rain showers to chilly evenings. I love to pull out my extra blankets, sweaters, and warm pajamas. Indulge in some pretty mums and put out the fall decorations. Get out my Autumn candles. And start looking for new recipes to try out.

This time of year, I love to watch some of my favorite Halloween movies. Hocus Pocus, Practical Magic, Silver Bullet, to name a few, along with some oldies like The Uninvited, Murder, He Says, and The Ghost Breakers. The ominous music and the dark, gloomy scenes never fail to put me in the mood for Halloween. What are some of your favorites?

This month is National Book Month, a time for us to celebrate and expand our love of reading. When that first norther blows in, it’s the perfect time to pull on some cozy slippers, have a hot cup of something and curl up on the couch with a good book, especially if it’s raining! I’ve read some outstanding books lately. What The Wind Knows by Amy Harmon, Paula Brackston’s witch series, Deborah Harkness All Souls Series, to name a few. With fewer new shows coming out because of COVID, now’s the time to start that book you’ve been wanting to read!

Like most of you, I spend my summers looking for the easiest, quickest dishes to prepare, preferably without using the oven if at all possible. I find myself eating a lot of salads and sandwiches. Don’t get me wrong. I love to cook, but I don’t like to sweat. So, when the temps cool off, I reach for my cookbook and dig out some of my favorites, like these two recipes.

Mush Muffins

2 c. water

½ c. instant grits

1 c. milk

2 t butter

1 t salt

2 T warm water

1 1/8 t active dry yeast

5 ½ to 6 c flour

Bring water to boil in medium saucepan. Add grits. Reduce heat. Cook on low 5-7 minutes until water is absorbed. Transfer to large bowl. Stir in milk, butter and salt. Set aside. Cool to lukewarm. Combine 2 T water with yeast in small bowl. Let stand until dissolved. Stir into grits mixture. Mix with as much flour as possible using a wooden spoon. Turn out and knead in remaining flour for about 10 minutes. Let rise until doubled (1½ hours) Punch down. Let rest 15 minutes. Roll out dough. Cut with biscuit cutter and place in shallow baking dish. Brush the top with melted butter

Tomato Soup

2 T butter

1 c chopped onion

8 oz fresh mushroom, cleaned

2 T flour

1 14 ½ oz can whole tomatoes drained and chopped

1 cup hot water

1 16 oz can tomato sauce

Two beef bouillon cubes dissolved in ¼ c water

½ t white pepper

1 t sugar

1 pint heavy cream

Sauté onion and mushrooms in butter.  Add flour and stir till bubbly.  Add hot water, tomato sauce, bouillon, tomatoes, and pepper.  Simmer about ten minutes. Remove from heat, add sugar and cream.  Mix well until heated.

These go great together and make the house smell heavenly.

ANN: Those sound like great recipes…even though I don’t like tomato soup!! However, I LUV (I sang that in opera for effect) any kind of bread. I’ll definitely be making some of those muffins. Besides, nothing makes the house smell better than fresh bread baking.

I have a couple of recipes I’ll share in the next post on November 9, 2020.

By then, maybe some of you readers will have tried these two shared by Susan. If you do, then leave a comment on her blog site or mine. We’d love to hear if you liked them or not.

Find out more about Ann Everett/Emma Ames:


About books, movies, cooking, and advice
Decorating, shopping, and finding the best price
Life, love and raising kids
Along with do-hickeys, what-cha-ma-call-its, and thing-a-ma-jigs
We’re just two Texas girls
Straight from the sticks
The only thing we won’t gab about
Is religion and politics!

Today, the Gabbin’ Gals, Susan, and Ann ask the question:

Ann: Have you ever wondered what people might think if they knew what you were googling? As writers, we google all sorts of weird stuff. For my mystery series, I google things like—what kind of poison could I used to kill someone without it showing up in a standard autopsy…or what could I use so the victim will die within fifteen minutes!

So, if someone looked at my search history, they just might call the cops!!

Susan: I’m with you! The latest thing I googled was about the Viking’s lifestyle. What they wore, what they ate, and how they lived. I had a mental picture (from some movie, I’m sure) about people eating large quantities of Pork cooked over an open fire and chasing it down with alcohol. While they did drink beer or mead, they ate a lot of mutton, whole grains, and vegetables.

I’ve googled whether or not you can kill a man wearing chainmail with an ax, time travel, ley lines, and standing stones.

Ann: I thought it might be interesting to share some Google statistics.

According to
Google receives over 63,000 searches per second on any given day. That’s the average figure of how many people use Google a day, which translates into at least 2 trillion searches per year, 3.8 million searches per minute, 228 million searches per hour, and 5.6 billion searches per day. Holy Moly!!

To find out more about Google search statistics, see this article:

Now that we know how many searches are going on let’s take a look at what people are searching for.

From March through April, the 9 most googled recipes according to are:

9. Cheesecake

8. Lasagna

7. French toast

6. Meat loaf

5. Brownies

4. Pizza Dough

3. Chicken

2. Pancakes

And the NUMBER ONE googled recipe is, BANANA BREAD!!

The following statistics were taken from visit their site for much more info.

Since we’ve been staying home more, many of us have taken up new hobbies. Some have been learning a new language, while others have been binge-watching Netflix…me included. Just so you know, the top three programs watched so far on Netflix are Tiger King, Ozark, and Outer Banks. I’ve watched one of those.

The most googled searches for hobbies are: Texas/TV and Films…so there, I’m not the only couch potato in the state!

Folks on the East Coast are googling home workouts. Most of the Mid-west is looking up video games.

DIY dominated Washington, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, and Hawaii.

Some of the most interesting searches are: While Texans are having trouble sleeping, Floridians want to know how to sleep at work.

Colorado wants to know how to stop drinking, and New Mexico searched to find out about day drinking. Ohio searched for how to dye my hair blonde at home, and folks in Pennsylvania need to know why their plants are dying. And then there’s Maine—they want to know how to build a chicken coop!

Now for the top “How to” searches:

10. How to lose belly fat

9. How to make French toast

8. How to write a cover letter

7. How to make pancakes

6. How to make money

5. How to draw

4. How to lose weight

3. How to get pregnant

2. How to Kiss

1. How to tie a tie

Kids with face-paint and Halloween costumes isolated in white

Since Halloween is right around the corner, I thought you might enjoy knowing the most searched costumes from last year. The source for this information came from

From 1-10, they are: It, Witch, Spiderman, Dinosaur, Descendants, Clown, Fortnite, Chucky, 1980s, and Unicorn.

Ann: My husband says he’s waiting for the day he can google ‘where are my glasses and get an answer!

Susan: Amen to that!

For more about Ann/Emma and her books:

Stay Tuned


My name is John Nick Charles, but everybody calls me Jax. I’m not your ordinary run-of-the-mill detective. I’m a paranormal investigator. The kind who deals with witches, ghosts, alchemy, and the occult on a regular. My name doesn’t come up over cocktails at dinner parties. Most people don’t even know I exist. Unless they find themselves in a situation where they need my particular expertise. And even then, they don’t like talking about it.

That’s why I was shocked when famous explorer Sir Dwight Winston showed up at my office looking to hire me. But why? A wealthy man like him could afford a team of investigators. Simple. He wanted something done off the record. Of course, I jumped at the chance. I needed the money. And it seemed easy enough. My mistake.

Jax Charles will be the first in a series of novelettes about quirky paranormal detective whose life is anything but normal. Will be available on Amazon/Goodreads.


Ritika Rasal

If I could have a choice, I never chose to be with you.
If I could have a choice, I never chose to live in trauma all those years with you.
If I could have a choice, I must have chose happiness when I was suffering from sadness.
If I could have a choice, I chose my career instead of waisting all those years chasing and caring you.
If I could have a choice, I chose myself not you.
If I could have a choice, I chose friends over loneliness being with you.
If I could have a choice, I chose world over a small apartment stucked in it with you.
If I could have a choice, I must chose freedom instead of being your slave.
But that was past…
Yes, a past which I erased…

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About books, movies, cooking, and advice
Decorating, shopping, and finding the best price
Life, love and raising kids
Along with do-hickeys, what-cha-ma-call-its, and thing-a-ma-jigs
We’re just two Texas girls
Straight from the sticks
The only thing we won’t gab about
Is religion and politics!

Advice—an opinion someone offers you about what you should do or how you should act in a particular situation.

When you were a kid, remember how you turned up your nose when an adult offered words of wisdom?

Then you got older and found yourself using the same guidance with your kids!

Yeah, well, good advice is good advice, no matter the century. I mean, the Ten Commandments have been around a while and they’re still relative! Okay, maybe I’m stretching it a little because they’re considered more than just advice, but you get my drift.

Today, the Gabbin’ Gals and some friends want to share some of the best advice they’ve received.

We’d love to hear some ‘pearls of wisdom’ you’ve received. So let us know by commenting here: or at


“You can get married anytime—all you have to do is lower your standards.” (Ann’s momma)

“A man never leaves unless he has another woman.” (Ann’s momma)

“You can tell the minute a man touches you if it’s for his benefit or yours.” (Ann’s momma)


“Use your brain. That’s why God gave it to you.” (Susan’s Daddy)

“Clean don’t rub off on dirty.” (Ann’s momma)

“Pretty is as pretty does.” (Ann’s grandma) (Susan’s grandma). I heard those words many times when I was growing up.

“Nothing good happens after midnight.” (Ann’s daddy)

“If you saw someone jump off a cliff, would you do the same thing?” (Something Susan’s Daddy always used to say when she got in trouble for following the crowd)


“Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.” (TNBW member, Lauren shares her mother’s advice referring to women in Spandex)

“Never wear a pair of new shoes on a shopping trip.” (Susan’s mother)


“Put something back for a rainy day.” (Susan’s mother)

Borrow money from a pessimist, they don’t expect to be paid back.” (TNBW member, Memphis Trace. I’ve credited his penname because he’s still borrowing money using his real name)

Everyday Life

“Tomorrow is another day.” Scarlett O’Hara.

“Don’t believe everything you read.” (TNBW member, John Hamler, quoting Abe Lincoln)

“Reality is never as good or bad as people claim. (Ann’s friend, Dagny)

“A job isn’t done when you’re tired of it. It’s done when you finish what you said you were going to do.” (Susan’s friend, Robbi)

“When you’re talking, you’re probably saying something you already know. If you shut up and listen, you might learn something new.” (TNBW member, Tai Baker)

“Nothing in life stays the same, so treasure the good times and accept the bad, knowing that this too will pass.” (Susan’s friend, Sheryl)

“The good Lord gave us two ears and one mouth…listen twice as much as you speak.” (TNBW member, Don)

“There’s no reason not to stay clean. Soap is cheap.” (Susan’s grandma)

“Wherever you go, there you are.” (TNBW member, Dirk B.)

“Every day starts fresh and new. You get to decide what kind of day it’s going to be.” (Susan)

Find out more about Ann Everett/Emma Ames: