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Monday, November 23, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Pumpkin Shortage

This past week, hubby and I were listening to the national news when Brian Williams announced that there would be a canned pumpkin shortage this year. He said, after Thanksgiving, Libby's canned pumpkin might become scarce because there was so much rain, the pumpkins rotted in the fields. I immediately looked at hubby and said, "Maybe we should pick up a few cans, just in case." He scrunched his face and answered, "Why? We don't even like pumpkin pie." "No," I said, "But you sure do love my pumpkin bread." His expression changed. "I didn't think about that," he said.

Then, yesterday, we were talking about food for Thanksgiving when he announced he'd like to have some pumpkin bread NOW. Guess he'd been thinking about it since we were talking about it the other night. Since I always make it for Thanksgiving anyway, I went ahead and baked.

Here's the recipe, in case you'd like to try it. This stuff is moist and spicy, and it's great for giving to family and friends during the holidays.

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease bottoms only on 2 regular loaf pans. (If you want to use as gifts in your goody baskets, use those small disposable pans, will probably make 5 or 6 little loaves.)

Beat together:
2/3 cup shortening
2 -2/3 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
until creamy.

Add to mixture:
1- 15 oz. can pumpkin
2/3 cup water
and mix until blended.

Blend together:
3- 1/3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 -1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. allspice
Blend into pumpkin mixture until well mixed.

Lastly, blend in:
1 cup black walnuts (black walnuts give it a fabulous flavor, but you can use regular walnuts if you prefer)
1 cup raisins

Pour into pans and bake for at least 1 hour. I start checking at the 1 hour mark, but mine usually take about 15 minutes longer. You can test by sticking a toothpick into the middle of the loaf or touching the tops with your fingertips.

When they're done, allow loaves to cool, then wrap in wax paper and aluminum foil and store in refrigerator. These will keep for quite a while and they also freeze well. The flavor is at optimum after they cool. Try a slice with your morning coffee or slap on a dollop of whipped cream and serve as dessert. Enjoy!

Devon

Friday, November 20, 2009

#twitterfail

I've had a bunch of email to sort through. No surprise there, since I haven't kept up with it during the same time period I wasn't keeping up with the blog. What did surprise me was that I had a bunch of messages in my inbox telling me so-and-so is following me on Twitter.

Huh?

This is very strange because I didn't even know I was on Twitter. So I pull up the site to investigate. The logon is staring me in the face and I don't know how to get in. It asks for an email or username, so I type in my email, then I hit the forgot? button beside the password box. They email instructions on how to change my password, and I'm in. Lo and behold, a page opens with my name on it. But that's all there is, a name, no profile info, no photo, nothing... except a list of eleven followers. Only one of the names was familiar. The rest, I don't know from Adam.

So now I'm left with the mystery of how I ended up on Twitter. I decided a long time ago I wasn't fooling with another online time suck. I took a look at it once. At least, I tried to, back when the infamous #queryfail thing was going on. I couldn't make heads or tails of anything and decided on the spot I wasn't going to waste time trying to figure it out. Facebook, same thing. I made myself a page but can't see any point to it. Geez. There are only so many hours in the day and with all the time everyone spends online, I don't see how any books at all get written. Another mystery.

On a more pleasant note, I've had a terrific day. My son had a couple days off from work so he came down to visit. This morning, he stayed here with his sister so hubby and I could go do a little Christmas shopping. We had a nice time. Then, this evening, I was so jazzed, I called a writer friend and we brainstormed over the phone for more than an hour. All in all, it was a productive day.

Hope everyone has a great weekend.

Devon

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sad Day For Romance

Why, oh why, did I choose this particular time to start paying attention to what's going on in the romance community again? Today was a train wreck and, as usual, I couldn't stop looking. Today, Harlequin--the grand old dame, the backbone of romance--was stripped of it's publisher eligibility by RWA. And rightly so. But what a nightmare for all the Harlequin authors, past and present. My heart goes out to them tonight and I hope RWA can find a way to keep their priveleges intact.

I'm not going over all the points of what's happened. It's already being talked to death on all the loops and the popular blogs. Speaking as an author who still has the dream of being published with one of the big, mass-market publishers, this is the last thing we needed. Romance writers already take enough hits. The literary world will have a field day with this latest drama. It's days like this that make me yearn for the days before the internet and all the yahoogroups and blogs came into being. There wasn't very much drama back then. Only us writers and our stories. It's days like this that make me think anyone must be out of her mind to want to be a published author.

The big media is already picking up on the story. Here's a link to a very demeaning little article in The New Yorker.

I hope tomorrow is a better day.

Devon

Just When You Think You've Seen It All

I've been a member of the romance community for many years, but never dreamed I would see anything on the scale of this. Harlequin is now listed at Predators & Editors as a vanity publisher because they've joined forces with and intend to put their brand on books to be published by Author Solutions, a vanity publisher. What a slap in the face to all the authors who've worked long and hard to build careers at HQ. What a slap to all the people who've written and submitted to Harlequin for many years, trying to break in with their "dream" publisher when all they had to do was wait a while and simply pay the price of admission. I don't see this ending well for anyone.

If you want to read more, or learn the particulars, it's all over the blogosphere. Or.. here's a link to the Harlequin Horizons site. That's what they're calling this new vanity imprint. Today has seen another giant leap toward the demise of the traditional publishing model. And Harlequin of all places! I'm still in shock.

Devon

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Back in the Saddle

Yes, I know it's been four months. I needed the time. I've been trying to get my house in order, both literally and figuratively. First, my mother was here for six weeks. Then, my son moved out. Mother's yearly visit is always a whirlwind of activity and social interaction that throws me out of my normal routine. But my son moving out of the house, to a town 75 miles away, threw me for a loop. Even though I knew it was coming, I was not prepared for the reality, or the grief that followed. I went into mourning, as though someone had died. Consequently, hubby and I threw ourselves into a flurry of work. I guess we both needed the distraction and the busy time. We accomplished quite a lot. The entire exterior of the house, from the roof down to the foundation and landscaping, has been redone. We even built a porch onto the back of the kitchen. Little Man thinks we did it just for him and he's enjoying it very much. Our home looks like a different place, but it desperately needed a face lift.

In the middle of all that, I started in on the inside, methodically repainting each room. I'm still not finished with the interior painting, but I figure I can finish up during the winter months. Meanwhile, I've been cleaning house in my office, too. I got rid of my massive dinosaur of a desk that took up too much space. Just yesterday, hubby brought home a smaller, just right computer desk that works so much better. So now I have my writing space back in order and I'm ready to get back to work.

Hope everyone is doing well and sorry I haven't been keeping up.

Before I go... I know author blogs are supposed to be geared toward shameless promotion, so you can file the following under that heading. To those of you out there (and there are many, many of you) who still don't have a print copy of Angel in the Rain because of the high cost of POD books, you're in luck. There are gently used copies over on Amazon starting at just $3.00. Yep, three bucks. Geez. That's half the price of a download.

Devon