I’ll Be Your Huckleberry

Personal

Huck

So last week was unabashedly awful.  We cried a lot.  I apparently made a bunch of other people cry with my post.  Sorry about that.  But I’ve found some peace with the whole situation.  She had a long, VERY well loved life and I know we did absolutely every single possible thing that could be done for her (and I’m grateful we didn’t have children and could afford it).

We’re a rescue dog kind of family, so Sunday and Monday we (by which I mean hubby, myself, and Callie) met 3 Great Pyrenees mixes from Grassroots Animal Rescue, whom we’ve fostered for before.  We particularly were interested in the pyr mixes because Callie herself is a Pyrenees/Malamute mix and she’s the most chillaxed, awesome dog.  That sort of temperament really suits our lifestyle.

The first little girl was sweet, even tempered, pretty calm but I didn’t feel any real tug.  But the two brothers we met Monday…OMG.  Pyr/Husky mixes.  As soon as this guy crawled into my lap, I was a goner.  And then his brother crawled up, too, and for fifteen minutes I was insane enough to consider bringing them both home.  DOUBLE PUPPY LAP CUDDLES.  And then I remembered that these adorable balls of fluff will top out around 75-80 pounds and added to our already 110 pound dog…I wasn’t going to be able to manage all that without attaching them all to some kind of sled.  Not whatcha call practical in Mississippi.  So much as it pained me, I split the brothers up and brought this one home.  I’ve never had a boy dog before, so I’ve saying “she” and “her” all over the place.

imageIn an homage to Daisy, we’ve named him Huckleberry, Huck for short.  If you do not immediately get the reference, go and watch Tombstone post haste.  Great movie.  He was Hank at the rescue, so we figure that’ll be similar enough he ought to be able to learn his name quickly.

Hubby managed to catch him still for long enough to take a decent picture.  Most of mine are blurry, with him streaking toward me to kiss the camera.  He loves kisses.  And laps.  And snuggles.  And even his new big sister, who keeps rolling her eyes and giving me this pained “Mooooom!” look.  Yes, Callie, big sisters the world over have that look for their little brothers.

So far, he’s a chill little dude.  Likes his crate (he already had a head start on that with his foster mommy).  Was quiet overnight and even while my hubby (now on night shift) was sleeping today.  I think we have a winner!  Daisy would approve.

Final #ROW80 Round 2 Check-in

Progress Reports

It’s been an emotional week, so I’ll keep this short.

First off, thanks to everyone for your condolences.  They’re much appreciated.  And I’m sorry if I made you cry yesterday.  Hubby told me I should’ve tagged yesterday’s post NSFW.

So, goals for Round 2.

  1. Continue to publish one recipe a week. That’s been somewhat successful.  Life got busy, and when that happens, I fall out of development mode and back on old favorites.  But I’ve definitely published several, so yay.
  2. Write at least 20 out of 30 days. I clocked 74 writing days out of the 80 and a total of 72,730 words (10.6k of those were plot notes).
  3. Finish Liam and Riley’s book.  Done and sent to my editor.  Waiting to hear back.
  4. Outline and begin drafting anthology novella.  I’m plotting this now.
  5. Outline and potentially begin drafting follow up novella for Dillon and Avery.  Not even touched.
  6. Clean up my diet.  It’s not perfect, but I’ve definitely made strides.

All in all, considering some of the challenges we’ve faced, I’m good with this.

Dear Daisy

Personal

The floor looks all wrong.

I thought you should know that, being that you’re now in a position to run the Universe like you always wanted (I presume that flash storm we had yesterday afternoon was the coup you staged shortly after your arrival upstairs).  I hope you find the minions there to your satisfaction.  I know you were always harping how it was hard to find quality minions.

Quality Control

None of us know what to do without the Queen.  Callie is laying all around the floor where you should be, but not in your spot.  Your Dad and I are in rough shape.  Stupid day job.  As much as I prize quiet, the silence is utterly deafening and intolerable.  You’re supposed to be giving orders with that curious half bark you’ve had since the stroke.

Mush, human!

I’m sure you’ll let us know, when the time comes, which pooch is the right new member of the family.  Being that you were a pound puppy yourself, I know you’ll be supportive of us rescuing another.  We thought we’d stick with the flower theme for a name–maybe Shasta, in your honor, if we get another girl.  When you’re done plotting the downfall of all the squirrels up there, feel free to pass that info along.

Daisy on her special bed in the PT room.

We’re going to donate your helper harness to the vet school.  You were their mascot and a real champion success story after your FCE.  Maybe your indomitable spirit will be passed on to another pup who needs it.  You went from this:

Daisy in ICU

To this:

You bounced back from unilateral paralysis in an amazing way and never stopped enriching our lives.  It was a privilege and a joy to serve you.

Sister love

So until you figure out how to pull a Winchester, give Angel and Uncle Shadow our our love and have fun plotting your world domination.

Love,
Mom

What Do Readers Want In A Series Bible?

Musings

Any author worth her salt (who does not want to go nuts later) keeps what’s known as a series bible to go along with any series she writes.  This is where we (theoretically) keep track of things like hair and eye color, relatives, interests, occupations, and all the myriad of details we don’t want to muck up in later books.  And even with series bibles, we sometimes still make mistakes.  :nobody saw me change the name of Gerald’s personal assistant in Be Careful after publication:  Series bibles are totally handy to keep track of all that stuff, ESPECIALLY when you have an ensemble cast like I have with Wishful.  I’m keeping up with a whole TOWN.

Readers have trouble keeping up with huge casts as well.  Sometimes they’re big messy families.  Sometimes not.  But either way, it’s a nice thing to have somewhere readers can turn to find out “Who was so and so again?”  “How is she related to him again?”  So I want to create that for you.  But I haven’t found a mechanism or format I really LIKE yet.  I’ve got something set up at Trello right now, but I really don’t like it at all.  And part of that is that I kind of don’t know what you as readers want.

A family tree for the big messy families is a given, but that doesn’t get at the scope of all the characters who are not Campbells or Montgomerys.

What do readers want out of a series bible?

  • Vital statistics?
  • Which books they appear in?
  • Brief summaries of who they are?
  • Who they’re related to?
  • Occupation?
  • Who they’re friends with?

Would you rather have a single page that lists characters by the book, focusing just on the hero and shero of each book, a la Fool’s Gold?   A downloadable list with every character listed (even the small ones) like this one?  Or would you rather have individual pages for each character, linked up in a more complex wiki style thing?

I am opening the floor to you!

Dairy Free Cheddar, Sausage, and Mushroom Breakfast Casserole

Recipe

This was meant to be a quiche.  But after trying first a pie plate and then a tart pan and still not having enough room for all the hash browns I dumped out, I pulled out a full 7×11 baking dish.  So…it’s a dairy free cheddar and sausage quiche in breakfast casserole form.  Whatever it looks like, it’s darn tasty.  Serves 6.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 30 ounce package of shredded hash browns
  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance spread, melted
  • pinch salt, pepper, garlic powder
  • 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 pound turkey sausage, browned and drained
  • 4 ounces Daiya cheddar shreds
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup So Delicious Coconut Milk Creamer
  • 1/2 cup mayo (I prefer Dukes)
  • 2 tbsp gf all purpose flour
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Melt the Earth Balance.
  3. Combine with the hash browns, salt, pepper, and garlic powder, stirring well to coat.
  4. Spray a 7×11 baking dish with cooking spray.
  5. Press hash browns into the bottom.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, brown the sausage and drain.
  8. Saute the mushrooms briefly in the sausage drippings.  Set aside.
  9. Whisk the eggs, creamer, mayo, and flour until well combined.
  10. Remove baking dish from oven and add the sausage and mushrooms.
  11. Sprinkle the Daiya over the top.
  12. Pour the egg mixture over all.
  13. Cover with foil.
  14. Return to oven and bake for 50-60 minutes.
  15. Remove foil for the last 5 minutes.

Sunday Summary and #ROW80 Progress Report

Sunday Summary

  1. I finally finished first pass revisions on Know Me Well and shipped it off to my editor last night.  Thank you Jesus.  It took a full 2 weeks, which is a lot longer than I usually spend on that first pass (generally it’s a pretty quick clean up of stuff, typos, line edits and the like, then out the door in a couple of days), but hopefully that means I caught and fixed a number of things that my editor would’ve caught and had me fix anyway.  We’ll see.
  2. Meanwhile, I’m getting ready to reread To Get Me To You to see what I’ve said about Reed Campbell and Cecily Dixon, who are my pairing for this anthology novella that’s next on deck.  I already have it outlined in broad strokes, but I don’t know either of those characters very well yet, so the name of the game this week will be get to know you.
  3. We’re headed to see Jaws on the big screen this afternoon.  It’s hubby’s favorite movie and we’re taking his folks for Father’s Day.  I find myself grateful that my trip to the coast isn’t for a few weeks.  I’d as soon not think about that so close to seeing Jaws, even though I’d be more likely to be stung by a jellyfish than encounter even a baby shark in those particular waters.
  4. In case you missed it, I’m setting up a street team (even though no pavement is literally being pounded).  If you’re interested in helping spread the word about my work (at whatever level you’re comfortable), come sign up for Team Nolan!
  5. In celebration of the completion of first pass revisions, last night I had pizza with REAL BUFFALO MOZZARELLA!  I found it at Whole Foods, while I was in Jackson earlier this week.  I’ve been wanting to try it for ages.  When you’ve got a dairy allergy, you tend to try cheeses from the milks of other animals, just to check.  Goat didn’t work for me.  But it seems that buffalo does.  Hallelujah!  YAY FOR REAL PIZZA!  I’ve also got a wedge of manchego (sheep’s milk cheese) in the fridge to make a very grown up mac n cheese at some point soon.  My other food happy for the week is that I found a dairy free gluten free boxed mac n cheese by Daiya at my local Kroger.  It’s not that making my own is arduous, but having a box in the pantry for a quick weeknight side is a nice thing.  Evidently it’s more of the Velveeta shells and cheese variety rather than the blue box powder.  We shall give that a try this week.pizza
  6. Hubby has moved to night shift in the wake of the unexpected death of one of his coworkers.  It’s definitely different.  Been a long time since he was on this shift.  But though it’s calling for some adjustments, it’s actually a good thing.  But it does mean I have to change around my weekday menus to stuff that can be prepared more quickly.  Share with me your favorite 30 minute meals (that don’t come from a box) in comments!

Announcing Team Nolan

Personal

As this week is drawing to a close, so to are revisions on my next book (at least until it comes back from my editor).  I’m anticipating a July release, for those who are interested.  As always, I definitely need help in getting the word out.  There are always several of you who go out of your way to both review and  harass share with your friends in person and on social media whenever I have a new book.  Y’all are awesome (goes without saying), and I’d love to create a more formalized group.  The official term for these groups is street team, which seems silly to me since nobody is pounding actual pavement, but whatever.  I want to invite y’all to join Team Nolan.  This is a totally separate thing from my regular newsletter.  If you’re a fan of my work and aren’t afraid of a little pom pom waving, Team Nolan is for you!

So what will members of Team Nolan be doing?  

  • Posting reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook, Kobo, wherever, during release week
  • Share favorite quotes from the books, if you have them
  • Share whatever Twitter or Facebook posts you like
  • Generally do your best cheerleader impression

What’s in it for you?  

  • FREE BOOKS!  Probably the biggest benefit to you will be getting an early copy of new releases so that you can read and have reviews ready to go on release day.  Getting reviews early on is SO SO IMPORTANT to authors.
  • My undying gratitude and devotion.
  • And…other stuff as we get rolling and I figure out what kind of fun goodies I can afford.

And if you have ideas for how to get the word out, I would LOVE to hear from you (actually, I’d love to hear from you either way–readers are fabulous).  

So are you in?

Click here to sign up!

Powerpuff_Girls

Sunday Summary and #ROW80 Progress Report

Sunday Summary

  1. Last night I officially checked an item off my bucket list–saw Garth Brooks live in concert.  He was fantastic.  Which, you know, no shock, because GARTH BROOKS.  We ended the night with a trip to Krispy Cream, which was a pretty nice end to things.
  2. Today I tested for my blue belt in taekwondo.  It’s the first belt test I’ve had in fifteen years.  Passed with no trouble.  Broke my board on the first try.  And now I’m exceptionally tired.  I may just have to sleep in my current chair.  I made the grievous error of sitting down and stopping.  Not sure what it’ll take to get me actually moving again.  4 belts to go.  But I’ll enjoy this one for a while.
  3. I’ve been plugging away on first pass revisions to Know Me Well.  I’ve got 2 new scenes to write this week, another scene to rewrite, and then a few small tweaks to make to things after the new scenes are added.  Then it’s off to my editor.
  4. My next project is the plotting for an anthology novella. It’s another Wishful story, this one following Reed Campbell (Cam’s youngest cousin) and Cecily Dixon (Norah’s intern).  That one has legitimate word count restrictions, so I am determined not to become a member of the Overwriter’s Anonymous club.

Three Awesome Things

Awesome Things

This woman in Alaska recently turned on the sprinklers for a mama moose and her twin babies.  What an unforgettable and delightful sight!

For anyone who ever felt like bursting into spontaneous dance in public…

 

And just because I get to see him in concert this weekend and he’s awesome, more Garth Brooks.  I love this interview he did with Ellen.