Category Archives: Family

Buy It… Buy It Now!

So I got a new phone Monday. I kinda killed the one I had which, in the grand scheme of things, isn’t really all that bad because it was almost two and a half years old. My sad little HTC Desire served my well. Too bad I’m a clumsy oaf who can’t seem to hold onto things.

Now I have a shiny, new Samsung Galaxy S2 and I’m in love. It also means I can realistically acquire a Paypal credit card reader. Perfect timing, too, because I’ll be getting my paper copies of Loki’s Game shortly, and I need to remove any possible excuse as to why someone realistically can’t buy a copy.

“Oh, no cash? Well let me jLoki's Game Coverust swipe your card…” Shameless, isn’t it? I’m really loving it.

So yeah, I’m taking orders for paperback copies of the book. If anyone’s interested, hit me up and I can (a) order a copy for you to buy from me or (b) point you in the right direction to order a copy for yourself when they’re available.

Beyond that I swear I’m still trying to write. The cowboys keep talking and I keep trying to listen.

March and April are particularly bad months now. Yesterday this time last year was the start of the month-long trek through hell that ultimately ended with my father’s passing. I’m still having a hard time with it, and the ups and downs are getting more and more drastic with each passing day. If I can just make it through the next month, I should be okay. It’ll be hard, but I’ll get there. Just have patience with me.

And buy my book. It’ll help make me happy.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | All Romance eBooks | Sugar & Spice Press

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Free Food Secrets!

First of all…

♥ ♥ ♥ HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM! I LOVE YOU! ♥ ♥ ♥

Ahem… now that that’s out of the way…

The weather is changing, which means my cooking style is also changing. For those that know me, you know that I love to cook, and it’s fitting that this comes on my mother’s birthday. I learned my love of the kitchen from her.

I’m also one of those weird kitchen savants. Adventurous, fearless, and not afraid to use my family as guinea pigs. This is one of my favorite recipes…and one of the ones my husband absolutely cannot eat. He’s not good with spicy food, and he’s not a big fan of some of the ingredients.

There’s a reason why I chose this particular recipe. Some of you will be happy to know that I’m currently working on a sequel to Marked. This particular food features in the story, so it seemed a nice teaser.

I should probably warn you now that I cook for an army, so this recipe feeds 12. And a hungry 12 at that. Oh, and I like my food heavy, rich, and very spicy.

You’ve been warned.

Shrimp & Crawfish Etouffe

  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 small green bell peppers, diced
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 fresh medium-size tomatoes, chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons Tabasco sauce
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups clam juice
  • 2 pounds crawfish tails
  • 2 pounds small/medium shrimp – peeled and deveined
  1. Heat the oil and butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Gradually stir in flour, keep stirring with a whisk until the mixture turns reddish-brown (15 or 20 minutes – this is a “roux” for those that don’t cook southern/cajun). *Note: This must be stirred constantly and watched carefully because if it burns you have to start over.
  2. Once the roux is browned, add the onions, celery, and bell pepper to the skillet. Cook until onions are opaque and soft, approximately 5 minutes. Keep stirring!
  3. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute.
  4. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and clam juice, and season with the Old Bay seasoning. Reduce heat to low, and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Season the sauce with hot pepper sauce and cayenne pepper, and add the crawfish and shrimp. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until the shrimp are opaque.

Serve hot over white rice. And don’t forget to put the hot sauce on the table!

Recipe Notes:

– For a smoother base, blend or puree the mixture BEFORE adding shrimp and crawfish.
– This dish is EXTREMELY SPICY. If you aren’t used to heavy spice, leave out the cayenne pepper and cut the Tabasco back to 1 tablespoon. Taste it, and if you want more of a kick, add Tabasco by teaspoons. (Cooking for the hubby means no Tabasco or cayenne…the Old Bay is spice enough for him.)
– If you’re not a celery eater, substitute 2 tsp celery seed for the celery stalks. I personally don’t cook with celery because my husband doesn’t like the texture.
– If you don’t eat crawfish or it’s out of season, feel free to double up on the shrimp. It’s great either way. Also, if you aren’t a shellfish person, this works well with chicken or gator. Yes, Alligator. Yes, I eat it. It tastes like chicken. I’m serious.

If you decide to make it, let me know how it turns out. I’m always curious to see what others do with my recipes!

Men of May Blog Hop

MY MAN OF MAY

I signed up for this hop, then went over and over in my head what man (or men) I planned to talk about.  Then, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that there’s one in particular that I don’t talk about enough.

My husband.

Corny, isn’t it? But it’s true.  He’s one of the most important men in my life… so today I’m going to tell you a little bit about how we met. (And yes, it involves men…lots of them).

There’s also a giveaway…but we’re going to wait a minute for that.

Way back a million years ago (or, 2001), I met some people online.  I was just discovering life outside my own head (scary thought), and wound up as part of a Yahoo!group.

Remember Moulin Rouge?  Yeah, I kinda had a thing for Ewan McGregor.  Still do, actually.

Anywho, I met some great friends through that group.  And because I’m a hideous namedropper… Alexandra Christian, Amy Ravenel, and Selah Janel are the ones I’ve managed to hold onto.   So, over the years we’ve sort of grown up together.  We’ve shared strange loves and dislikes of various men…

We’ve argued over some…

and swooned over others…

but in the end we always keep coming back to that first pretty, little picture.

Yes, this has a point.

It was ultimately because of Ewan McGregor that I met my husband.  I’d decided to come to town one weekend in May 2002 to actually meet Lexxx face-to-face (I’d already gone to Indiana that January to play with Selah – more on that later), and didn’t have a clue that by the end of the weekend I’d meet the man I was going to marry.

But I did.  As I was getting ready to leave that Sunday, her husband’s best friend (Tally Johnson, by the way…because he would never forgive me for not throwing him props in this story, too) appeared, mumbled something incoherent, and disappeared.

That night when I got home, I got a message from Lexxx… “Bill thinks yer cute.”

And thus started the six-month pre-relationship courtship.  We talked constantly, stayed up all night, compared notes on everything… and when he got home after finding out that his divorce was final, he went to sit on Lexxx & Tally’s couch and call me (he lived on the other side of the wall at the time – it was a duplex).  He asked me out, and on November 2, 2002, we went on our first date.

Talk about hilarious – for some stupid reason, neither of us knew how to communicate that night.  We stumbled through a fabulous dinner and a scary movie… and agreed to go out again.

In March 2003, I moved here to be with him…and a few other reasons (like school) but we won’t get into that.  That October, we went to a bar in Columbia to celebrate Halloween.

He ran four other pirates out of the building.

My husband, Bill, dressed as Jack Sparrow

On December 20, 2006, he proposed.  Coincidentally it was the night after we bought our house…but still.  He came into the bedroom that night, giggling like a maniac, and kept saying “you know what I’m going to say.”

“No, I don’t.”

“Yeah, (gigglegiggle) you do.”

“No, I don’t.”

And he shoves a ring up my nose.  Literally.  It was dark and he couldn’t see where my face was, and missed the suave, romantic mark by about a mile… the giggling did him in, really… but I said yes.

On November 3, 2007, we were married.

The newest edition

At one point we were that annoying couple that was constantly all over each other.  Now we fight like crackheads over a pipe, but that doesn’t mean we don’t love each other.  To the outside, untrained eye we look like we hate each other.  We say awful things and throw stuff and our house generally sounds like a warzone, but that’s just how we show affection.

Yes, we call each other names.  Yes, we throw things at each other.  But it’s all in the name of love.

Gross, huh?

~+~+~+~

AND NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY

So, now that you’ve read all of this, leave me a comment and tell me about your favorite man.  Any man – family member, significant other, actor, writer… doesn’t matter.

And while you’re at it, leave me an email address, because you just might win stuff.  I’m supplying two lucky winners with a book – your choice of my backlist – in PDF form.

ALSO… be sure to check out more from The Men of May Blog Hop!

Dysfunctional Brain, Meet New Project

It’s amazing how one little occasion can change your entire life.

My daughter has really put a lot of things into perspective for me, and one of those things is the fact that I can’t seem to get enough of her.  Leaving her with her grandmother this morning nearly broke my heart.  I can’t stand being away from my baby, even for a few minutes.  This day is now dragging on and on and on, and I’m counting down the minutes until five o’clock.

I’m also facing something I’ve been trying desperately to avoid for the last thirty years.

My father’s mortality.

He’s still strong and very much alive, but he’s facing a procedure later this week that could very easily turn invasive, and the thought of it scares me to death.  He’s 65 years old with a plethora of health issues, but until now none of them have ever bothered me.  This does… and I won’t have a clue what’s going on until Wednesday.  I’m dreading it, to be honest, because even he is a little worried about this one.  When my dad is scared, it scares me.  He’s the strongest person I know, and the most important man in my life.  Today has been hard and it has taken every ounce of self-control I have not to fall absolutely apart.

SO.

In an attempt to distract myself from the things that I don’t like I’ve started yet another project. I know, I know… Stop it, Siobhan. You’ve got enough going on already.  But I promise to finish this one.  That conversation weekend before last with the publisher friend put a bug in my head and it won’t go away.  I don’t quite know where this project is going yet, but it’s going pretty well.  Could be because it’s being written by hand, and I haven’t done that in a long time.

Alright already… what is it?!

I’m finally getting off my duff and writing the much-requested sequel to Marked.  Don’t have a title or a strong storyline yet, but I have a beginning and a vague direction.  Russell and Tabitha tend to change things on me anyway, so I’ll just let them tell me what’s happening.  Plus I think I’ve found a way to work in tomorrow’s short for Tuesday Tales.

We’ll see how it goes.  But for now I have to go play Mommy – sort of – and pick up my teenager.  She gets out of school in nine minutes.  Good thing I only work six minutes from the school, huh?

Back to the Grind…again.

Back to work with the minion… it’s nice to have a purpose other than diaper-changes again, but I have to admit that I miss the munchkin terribly.  Of course, coming home to lots of snuggles makes it all worthwhile, but I still don’t want to leave her.  Must work on this making money writing thing a little harder.

Ever have those moments where inspiration strikes and you are in absolutely no situation to capitalize on it?  Yeah, that happened at 5:00 this morning.  I’d just handed the munchkin off to her father for morning feeding and daddy-cuddles and laid back down to get another half hour of sleep when all of a sudden BAM… I have this brilliant idea.  Unfortunately at 5:00 this morning I was too zombified to do a thing about it.  Once I finally got the kidlet squared away and sleeping so I could write…

Nothing.

Not a damn thing.  The idea seemed stupid and I couldn’t remember the plot.  Annoying?  YES.  Really freaking annoying.  But on the bright side, I’ve had other ideas as the day has gone on. I just can’t seem to get back into the writing groove.

But we’re working on it.  Maybe by resuming my daily blog posts, I’ll be able to break the creative juices loose.  Plus being back at the office desk with only half the work (they finally got around to hiring that other assistant – party for me!) might help, too.  I’ll be able to focus on stories and not babies for a bit.  Maybe.

Have I mentioned yet how much I miss her?

Speaking of family…I think mine is getting pizza for dinner tonight.  I really don’t feel like cooking.

Ten Things I Didn’t Know

With the first week of motherhood under my belt, I can look back and very safely say that it has been complete chaos.  The Little Bit is lying on a pillow next to me, squirming and squeaking.  She’s trying to wake up, and I think she’s going to wake up hungry.

That having been said, here’s what I’ve learned:

1. EVERY ADULT TAKES SLEEP FOR GRANTED…until you aren’t getting any.  I’d give my kingdom for four hours of uninterrupted sleep without dreaming of diapers and bottles and all the frightening things that could happen to my little girl.

2. THE TINIEST THINGS MAKE THE BIGGEST NOISES.  And cats don’t like that particular brand of noise.  All three of the furry children are steering clear of the little human except to try to steal her bottle or attempt to sleep on her blankets.

3. NETFLIX IS YOUR FRIEND.  There is nothing on television after midnight except infomercials and skin flicks. Neither of those is conducive to caring for a baby.  I think I have no watched almost everything in the Netflix catalog.  At least some of it can be considered “research material.”

4. DAYTIME TELEVISION IS A DISTURBING HABIT.  I don’t particularly care if you’re the father or not… get a life, please.  Maury, Jerry, and Steve should all be smacked for instigating that sort of low-life, trashy behavior.

5. CHILDBIRTH KILLS ROMANCE MOJO. It could just be me, but when attempting to write love scenes, I have no interest right now.  I know that very act is what caused me to feel like I’ve been sitting on a porcupine for the last week and a half, have no sleep, and spend every two hours wiping butts and feeding little bird mouths.  Let me forget what it felt like to be ripped apart from the inside out and I might be interested in sex again.

6. WOMEN NEED THREE PAIRS OF HANDS.  One pair to tend to the baby, one pair to reach for things needed to tend to the baby, and one pair to do everything else in the house.  She’s a week and a half old, and I’ve already learned to do so many things one-handed.  If only I could learn to type that way.  Voice recognition software is looking pretty good right now.

7. OTHER WOMEN LOVE BABIES.  One her one-week unbirthday, we took Alice out for her first adventure into the great big, wide world.  First stop was Applebee’s, where every woman in the building cooed over her.  Next we went to Babies R’ Us to exchange some nursing stuff for a bottle warmer (that’s another story that I’m not getting into right now) and every woman in the building gravitated toward the little, tiny baby in the basket.  When other people tell me she’s beautiful, I feel so proud of her.

8. CHILDBIRTH IS UNCOMFORTABLE.  Yeah, we already knew that…but what the media doesn’t tell a mother-to-be is that there’s residual pain, cramps, and bleeding.  There are stitches – whether you’re cut or you tear – and women learn very creative ways to go from standing to lying down and vice versa in those first few days.  A friend of mine, Lucy Blue, said it best when she said a friend of her explained it as “first you feel like you’re sitting on a porcupine, then like you’re sitting on a pine cone, then on a pineapple…then finally it feels like you’re just sitting.”  I haven’t made it to the “just sitting” point yet.

9. YOU DON’T REMEMBER HOW MUCH YOU MISS CAFFEINE UNTIL YOU GET THAT FIRST CUP OF COFFEE.  Then you end up zooming around the room for twenty minutes before the hard crash hits and you want to pull your head off.  I’m actually suffering from a caffeine headache right now because I’m going through withdrawal.  I thought I’d broken this dastardly habit… guess not.

10. NO MATTER WHAT ELSE HAPPENS, IT IS ALWAYS WORTH IT.  When my daughter opens her big, brown eyes and looks at me, I want to cry.  She is so perfect and so beautiful, and she is absolutely everything I never knew I wanted until I had her.  All the pain, every sleepless night, every spit up, every dirty diaper… it’s worth it.  To have her tiny hand wrap around my finger or to see her smile is all the reward I could ever want.  She’s beautiful, she’s perfect, and in the words of Edwin McCain, “I could not ask for more.”

Back to the Grind

We’re now one week into the Adventures in Motherhood, and Siobhan is one hot mess.

Yesterday was the first day I’ve done anything remotely resembling work, and while it felt good, it has officially left my brain a jumbled mess of squishy.  There are five weeks left to my leave from work, and starting tomorrow, I’m going to be on my own with the munchkin.  Miss Alice is the most wonderful thing to happen to me, but I’m scared to death of her.  I don’t know the first thing about taking care of a baby, and I’ve probably relied a little too much on my mother.

So back to yesterday.

I managed to get two blog posts done and got my bio off to the RIP people…which I thought I’d already done.  No actual word counts yet, but that’ll come later.  Once we get into a routine around the house, we’ll be doing better.

Over the next five weeks I have every intention of finishing at least one novel.  See, this is why I didn’t set resolutions for the new year.  Who knows what the next month will hold?  Definitely more routine establishment.  Definitely sleepless nights and fussy babies.  Definitely no clue how things will work out.

But we’re going to get there.  We will, and one of these days I might even be back to normal.