Monday, April 12, 2010

Life Changes - Reality vs Fiction Plus a Recipe

Good morning everyone!

I'm just about ready to make a huge life change, one I've been dithering about for the past year. I'm going to retire early and become a full time writer. It won't be for a few months yet but I'm ready. Still it's kind of scary when I think about it. It's a life change and those things are always kind of scary.

Our books almost always start just at that point when a character's life changes...for better or for worse. It's not always a pleasant change, though it may work out to be one. But it is a change and for the character it too is scary.

For example, in my novel Heartstone, Keriam Norton has just opened a small antique store. Though she has 'issues', she tries very hard to find 'work arounds' or, if she must, she faces them head on. That's a change for her because it puts her in contact with the public on a daily basis. Yes, yes, I hear you wondering aloud. Keriam's problem is that she simply can't bare to touch people. Touch brings about 'episodes' that terrify her but, deep inside, she realizes she has to learn to deal with it.

In three hours, people would come into the store and browse
through the collection of lovingly worn antiques.

People. Strangers.

She swallowed and rubbed suddenly damp palms against her
pants legs. She took a deep breath. Released it slowly.

She and Janna would chat with them. Point out the eighteenth
century armoire, the Art Deco or the kitschy collection of farm
implements gracing the walls. Everything was going to be just fine.
Her stomach took a queasy roll.

Facing people she knew, and ones she didn’t, was going to
be hard. It hadn’t always been so, just since her parents died.

She inhaled raggedly at the surge of grief. So much had changed
for her since then. But today was going to be a good day. It was,
she repeated.

So Keriam is about to embark on a new business venture just like me :-) But fate has much more in store for her.

Someone was watching her.

Across the street, a large black dog sniffed a reproduction
coach lamp near the curb. Keriam dismissed the animal, letting
her gaze move toward the intersection. A shadow, long and sharp
in the sun’s slanting rays, moved and vanished before Keriam
could identify it. No faces pressed against the glass of the shops
lining Main Street. There was no traffic.

Her attention returned to the dog. It sat, tongue lolling, tail
idly sweeping the sidewalk. It had a feral tilt to its pale eyes that
made her think wolf. Which was ridiculous, there weren’t any
wolves in this part of Michigan.

Then...expectancy flashed through her body, heightening
her perception. From the east came the scent of the pig farms
and the rendering plant, faint but distinguishable to her acute
senses. Automobile fumes from the highway drifted, mingling
with the occasional perfume of green, growing things from the
surrounding farmlands. A silent call hung in the cool, morning
air and she let the door close without going inside. She shut her
eyes, fighting the urge to follow the call, to abandon Janna and
the store.

A single, deep bark cut through the wild sensations and, as
if a door slammed shut, the scents were gone, the call silenced.
Her heart skipped a beat, then skittered like a wild thing. These
episodes were coming far too often. And too powerfully. How
long before she could no longer fight them?

How long before she lost her mind?

Keriam has very real fears as you can see. But she's just like you and me, she'll deal with them. Somehow. And in the course of dealing with her problems, her change in reality, she'll fall back on those things that provide comfort or reassurance. One of the things that give comfort or reassurance is her family recipes. That evening, she prepares spaghetti for dinner and discovers that her new housemate (the 'dog' in the excerpt above) prefers it to the kibble she buys for him.

It's amazing that a small town girl, a shop owner, will become part of the defense of Earth and an alien confederacy of planets. Me? I plan on creating bigger and badder villains and stronger and sexier heroes to bedazzle and befuddle the heroines in my novels.

Keriam's Spaghetti Recipe

8 oz whole grain spaghetti

1 small yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 lb lean ground meat (hamburger or turkey works fine)
1 teaspoon fresh basil, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese with extra to add as garnish
1-2 teaspoons fresh parsley, chopped, to use as garnish

Cook the spaghetti according to package directions.

Meanwhile, saute onion and garlic for appx 5 minutes or until onion turns transparent. Add green pepper, saute for additional 5 minutes. Add meat, saute until lightly browned. Add tomatoes, sauce and herbs. Simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in Parmesan cheese. Simmer extra 3-5 minutes.

Drain spaghetti but reserve cooking liquid. If sauce is too thick, add a ladle (or more if necessary - make it as thick or thin as you like) of spaghetti cooking liquid to sauce and stir. Plate the pasta, dollop generous ladlefull of sauce on top of pasta. Garnish with extra Parmesan cheese and fresh chopped parsley.

Note: You can also use 1 1/2 teaspoon of dried Italian seasoning for the herbs in the sauce.


I don't have an exact release date for Heartstone yet. Those things are a bit tricky but I believe it should be soon. Members of my newsgroup will be eligible to enter drawings for even more prizes when Heartstone becomes available so spread the word and stick around, lol

This week's member word is waif
\WAYF\ noun
1 a : a piece of property found (as washed up by the sea) but unclaimed b plural : stolen goods thrown away by a thief in flight
2 a : something found without an owner and especially by chance *b : a stray person or animal; especially : a homeless child

Members of my newsgroup will know what to do with today's word. You can know too by joining us. But don't worry, there isn't any chatter. You'll only get notices from me so it won't fill your mailbox. My fluffy cat, Wookie Baby, will help me select the lucky person whose name is drawn and I'll announce it here on Friday. (She'd do it herself but her English vocabulary is limited to NO-when she's going to the vet and WOE-when she's getting a bath, lol) This week's prize is a surprise, lol.

Become a member of my newsgroup, enter the contest and perhaps you'll win! You'll love the prize, trust me :-)

Directions on how to join the newsgroup are below. Hope to see you there!

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SiNn said...

wow that sounds like an awesome story and i think its awesomethat your planning on retiring early to becoem a full time writer i have faith you will do awesome best wishes t you and yours I cant wait for this book to comeout

Lynda K. Scott said...

Thanks, SiNn! I can't wait for it to come out either :-)

susan said...

Lynda I hope you enjoy retirement as much as I do. I still work part choice but the extra time off gives me more free time for me. susan L.

Pauline B Jones said...

Great blog, Lynda! Love the way you tied your own big change with your story. Looking forward to your release!

Lynda K. Scott said...

Thanks, Susan. My boss is already making little noises about having me in as an independent contractor, ie a part time worker on an as needed basis, lol. I wouldn't be against it but I do want more time to write. I've been looking forward to this for a long, long time!

Lynda K. Scott said...

Thanks Pauline! It would be tied in even better if only I could meet a handsome, shapeshifting hero...though my hubby might not like that :-)

Julie LaLonde said...

Your story sounds wonderful. I like psychic stories--that is, stories about hero/ines with extra sensory perceptions that are believable. My DH is psychometric though he'd never admit to it. He can't bear to use have used items--like clothes or furniture. I think it's also why he's so good with fixing computers. Now he loves spaghetti, so I'll have to try your recipe. I usually just buy the can.

I'll be sending my request to join your newsletter.

Beth said...

Heartstone sounds like it will be a good read. I'll enjoy reading it when it comes out.

Lynda K. Scott said...

Thanks Julie!

Let me know how you like Keriam's Spaghetti Recipe :-)

Lynda K. Scott said...

Beth, thanks much. And let me know how you like it. I'm always interested in reader feedback!

Linda Andrews said...

The story sounds wonderful! I hope you enjoy your early retirement as much as I enjoy your stories. Which is bunches! LOL

Lynda K. Scott said...

Thanks Linda! I'm looking forward to spending more time with my characters :) Glad you enjoy my stories!

Skylar Masey said...

Congratulations Lynda! I know it seems scary, but often great moves are. And just think, you'll finally be able to do something you love on your own terms, except for your editor :0)

Can't wait to get more of HEARTSTONE!

Lynda K. Scott said...

LOL, Skylar, you're so terms except for the editor :) Thanks for the congrats! It is scary but I'm so looking forward to it!

Lynda K. Scott said...

Thanks to all who entered my mystery prize contest! I put all the names in the 'prize' box and Wookie pulled out the winner - Beth, who I've already emailed.

Beth won a copy of Cheryl Brooks' Fugitive and a 'ear bud' book light.

Enjoy, Beth!