Messy Kitchen

It’s almost the Fourth of July and you know what that means? New recipe time! I’m trying a couple of new things and a few tried and true favorites. Currently, my kitchen is a disaster zone. Pretzel crumbs on the counter, brown sugar melting on the stove top, bits of butter that exploded in the microwave and strawberry tops on the floor.

I think I decided to write this post, so I wouldn’t have to look at the mess and think about the cleaning, I’m going to have to do. The one good thing about a messy kitchen? When I do finally get up to clean, it will have to be deep cleaned and will hopefully be spotless when I’m done.

Next week, I’ll share another recipe (if these work out).

On the book front, I should know in a couple of days when the print book will be available and on the iBookstore. In the meantime, if you have a Kindle or a Nook, please check out my book and don’t forget to sign up to win a Kindle!

It’s Finally Here!

No, I’m not talking about Tropical Storm Debby, although she has made things pretty soggy and windy the past couple of days. I’m talking about my book which is now available at Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com. Throughout July my e-book will be released onto other online retailers (including iBookstore).

Also in July, the print book will be available as well. Please check out “Where to Buy The Book” periodically for updates as to where the book will be available.

If you haven’t noticed the additional page “Contest Rules and How to Enter”, you need to check it out because I am giving away a Kindle to some lucky person who follows my website blog or my Author Facebook page.

Now my focus has shifted to promoting The Kings of Charleston AND working on the sequel, And All The Kings Men.

I hope you enjoy the book!

Front Cover Reveal

I’m excited again to be able to share another sneak peek of my book…the front cover! I cannot say enough good things about the cover design and I really lucked out when it came to working with talented people, who got my vision on the first try. Actually, they surpassed my vision and created something even more amazing than I could imagine.

Hope you like it too!

The Power of the Written Word

I’ve often heard the phrase, “The power of the written word”, but I don’t think I’ve truly understood it until now.

As you all know, today is Father’s Day and this one was particular special for me even though I didn’t get to spend it with my own father. My husband and his siblings did something special for their Dad this year, which in many respects was priceless. Instead of buying another gadget or tool that he may or may not use, they created a book of memories. They each wrote down special memories they had of growing up with their Dad and made it into a book, which they had printed on cream paper and spiral bound at Staples.

It was a actually a pretty big ordeal to get the stories formatted right (three trips to Staples) so that it would print front and back like a book. It may not sound too complicated, but when you’re dealing with multiple versions of Microsoft Word and printers which print out in different directions, then it becomes a big deal. I now have new found respect for Craig, the person responsible for my novel’s formatting. It’s a tough a job and I could have really used him for their Father’s Day project.

But in the end it was printed and beautiful. I remember looking at it and at the fake bar code my husband had put on it that had the price as “priceless”. It truly was priceless, not only because of the joy I know it brought their Father, but the joy on their own faces. They took turns reading their respective stories in the book to their Father and even their Mother read a few. I could see the smiles, the laughter, the tears and the pure joy in my husband and his siblings eyes. It was truly special, and a reminder of the power of the written word.

Why Charleston?

You might be wondering why my novel is set in Charleston, South Carolina. If you’ve read anything on my website, you’ve probably picked up that I’m originally from Kentucky and I currently live in South Georgia, which isn’t exactly near Charleston (about a five hour drive). My first answer? There was just something about the area that seemed like the perfect setting for a mystery/thriller.

Something that South Georgia has in common with Charleston? Spanish Moss. I love Spanish Moss (yeah I know it’s kind of nuisance, but it’s still pretty). There is one street where I live that the oak trees are so heavy with it, that it creates a cave, the moss almost touching the road. That’s my favorite street, because it’s beautiful yet foreboding. Charleston has plenty of Spanish Moss, and that in itself suggested mystery to me, especially for someone like my main character, Casper, who’s not used to seeing it on a regular basis.

Another thing Charleston has in common with South Georgia, is the steamy heat that’s sticky and hangs all over your skin. Yeah, you feel like you are constantly sweating, but I think the heat can also be sultry.

Charleston also has rich history,including many homes and buildings from past centuries and oak trees older than the Civil War. The beautiful plantation homes suggest a different time and place, the marshlands give the illusion of solid ground and the area is steeped in a history of “voodoo”. Adding to the rich landscape is the ocean, which lends it’s beauty and saltiness to the already humid air.

And if that wasn’t enough, it is the hometown to one of the greatest characters in literary history, Rhett Butler.

A little interesting fact about The Kings of Charleston? The short story that it is based on was actually set in New Orleans, another city who has a dark and rich history. Although the story has been reset in Charleston, don’t count New Orleans out. I can promise it will make a reappearance in the story at some point, because as you will find out Kythera has some deep roots imbedded in the coastal lowlands of New Orleans.

All I Want is a Pineapple!

I didn’t just buy a pineapple, I bought a pineapple plant (it was an impulse buy). It looked really cool and it already had a pineapple growing on it, so I thought I had a pretty good chance of having at least one home-grown pineapple.

I don’t have a green thumb. I have a terrible track record of keeping plants alive. One time I kept a hibiscus alive for over a year and I’ve kept a crepe myrtle tree alive (in it’s defense it was here when I bought the house and didn’t need much taking care of). And before you think this pineapple has met a certain death, it is still alive and well (I did just buy it yesterday).

This year my luck seems to be turning around though and maybe that’s why I felt bold enough to buy the pineapple plant. Coincidentally, I still haven’t been able to keep too many flowers alive, but my husband and I are having quite a bit of success with edible plants.

What’s still alive in our yard? Two lemon trees with baby lemons on it, two blueberry bushes with little blueberries, two rosemary bushes, green beans and cucumbers we grew from seeds and a grape vine. My larkspurs are struggling and the only reason my angel trumpet tree is living is that it loves the heat (and doesn’t mind if I forget to water it), but we’ve successfully grown some fruit and vegetables. All in all it’s a win to me.

But the pineapple plant has had a rough start. I successfully transferred it to a larger pot (can’t be put in the ground because we do get a few nights a year under 45 degrees) and set it out on our patio. The only thing that I’ve read that will kill the it? Too much water.  Since I get amnesia when it comes to remembering to water plants I thought this was a sure winner, but no one told me that we’d moved to Seattle (not really, but it sure feels like it).

If you ever watched the Weather Channel I’m in that very bottom spot in Georgia usually marked in dark red for extreme drought conditions. Not anymore. Apparently the key to getting rid of a drought? Buy a plant that can only be killed by too much water. I know the farmer’s around here love my impulse buy since the rains have seem to come with it. I love the rain because we needed it, but come on. I’ve had the pineapple plant for less than two days and it’s already been moved inside twice. All I want is a pineapple! Next time I’m buying a cactus.

Meet “Dole” the pineapple plant…lol. Corny, I know.

Ghost Hill Farms

Something that’s really important to the main character in my novel is her family’s farm in Lexington, Kentucky named Ghost Hill Farms. If there is anything that she truly loves, it is the horses her family is known for.

So why did I pick a horse farm? One, I’m from Kentucky and I think it’s a requirement to like horses (at least a little) or they kick you out. Two, the idea came from a Saturday trip with my good friend Karey while we were still in college.

I wanted something fun to do and decided why not go to downtown Lexington and see what we could get into? We both went to college in Richmond, which was only a short drive from Lexington, so it seemed like a logical trip to make. We really had so much fun, between the Old Kentucky Candy store (which has these amazing bourbon truffles to which my husband has a serious addiction), a cute dress shop and just some other really neat stores.

After spending some time in the shops we decided to drive around for awhile and look at all the pretty neighborhoods. If you’ve never been to Lexington, I highly recommend it, because it’s a laid back town in a beautiful area.

Anyway, we ended up on the side of town near Keeneland Race Track, which is right across from the air port. As we drove by, sitting on the runway was a big private plane (I mean probably the size of a 747) with the flag of the United Arab Emirates on the tail. We thought it was pretty cool and took pictures of it. Later when we got back, we found out that it was the Sheihk of Dubai’s plane and he was in town to buy thoroughbreds at the yearly sales at Keeneland.

For some reason that story stuck in my head and when it came time to write The Kings of Charleston, I thought about that trip and how interconnected horse racing community was with a lot of powerful figures (the Queen of England is also a big racing fan, owning her own thoroughbreds) and the influence that those who own and sale million dollar thoroughbreds could be. It created the perfect back drop for what would happen to Casper and how she ended up in the situation she finds herself in the book.

Besides, I’ve always had a love for horses and I had to bring in a piece of Kentucky to bring in some pieces of me to the story.

Ironically as I was writing this post, I found a video on YouTube of someone watching that same plane taking off from the Bluegrass air port. It’s not the most interesting video, but really neat to see that memory come to life. Here it is if you want to see the plane:

Oh and those amazing bourbon chocolates? They will ship them to your house, at least certain times of the year. Sadly if it’s above 72 degrees they won’t ship the chocolate, but they’ve become a Christmas tradition for our family to have several boxes shipped to South Georgia.  Here’s the website:

http://www.oldkycandy.com

I Feel Like a Vampire

If you’ve ever met me in person there’s one thing you’ll notice about me. I’m pale as in ghostly pale. Actually considering the popularity of another supernatural character, I’m vampire pale. (Some kids have looked at me seriously contemplating whether I am or not…lol.) But it’s okay with me.

Growing up I was on the swim team through high school and a lifeguard and I was able to get pretty tan, but it left me with a lot of freckles. I wised up and realized skin damage and the possibility of skin cancer wasn’t worth changing what obviously wasn’t meant to be my natural color. Besides staying out of the sun will one day pay off in the form of less wrinkles.

But today I felt even more like a vampire than normal. I had an eye consultation in order to get Lasik surgery later this summer (I’m blind as a bat, which is pretty ironic considering the whole vampire thing). For the first time in years I had my eyes dilated. After the appointment, the doctor’s assistant asked me if I need some temporary sunglasses. I told her, “nah, it’s not too bright out”. It’s been overcast and gloomy all day. When she opened the door and I stepped out, I felt like the sun was going to burn my eyes out. I literally winced and covered my eyes (I even thought about hissing at the light). She laughed and went to get the sunglasses.

In un-vampire (if that isn’t a word, I just made it one…lol) like fashion my sight was pretty terrible afterward even with my glasses on.  I couldn’t see the computer screen at work for at least three hours after the appointment which made work very difficult since ninety-nine percent of what I do is on the computer. I kept staring at the blurry screen hoping I would magically be able to see the words on it, but I just ended up making myself feel sick. The drive home wasn’t fun either. I kept shielding my eyes with one hand, and I breathed a deep sigh of relief when I reached my garage and the darkness.

I’m finally able to see normal again, which is great news since I had a lot I needed to accomplish for my book today. I hope it’s a long time before I feel like a vampire again.

Cover Art, Edits and Pandora Makes for a Happy Day

I’m happy because today I got the final review of my cover art and all I can say is that I absolutely love it. It’s more than I could have ever imagined or come up with on my own.

Seeing the cover made the book seem truly real for the first time. I’ve spent plenty of time working on the story and imagining scenes in my head, but the cover gave the story a physical symbol. I can’t wait to share it with everyone.

I also got the final edits back from my editor and after a nice bike ride with my husband, I’ve been going over them while listening to the One Republic station on Pandora. All in all it’s been a good book day.