Thursday, November 26, 2015

Revisions, bloody Revisions

This week is my monthly posting for Inkspot, the blog for authors of Midnight Ink.  The article is a reprint of a recent piece I wrote for the Sisters in Crime Guppies First Draft Newsletter.  In it, I share my process of writing (aka revising) from the first draft to the thirtieth!  Enjoy!


Tracy Weber

Karmas a Killer (4)And if you want to show me some love, you can preorder my newest mystery, KARMA'S A KILLER, now at Amazon Barnes and Noble.
Yee haw, yippee, and yahooey!

Check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series.  A KILLER RETREAT and MURDER STRIKES A POSE are available at book sellers everywhere

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

Yep, it's that time again.  Tomorrow is the big day. 

I mentioned last year that my Thanksgiving then would be a small event.  This year it's even smaller.  The neighbor who'd joined us last year has moved away, so this year it will just be my husband, younger son and I together on Thanksgiving.  Well, the dogs, too, but they don't sit at the table with us.  They stay on the floor and beg.  No human food for them, though, since both have health issues that mostly relegate them to doggy food and treats. 

But this Thanksgiving is a harbinger of things to come.  Lots of relatives will be with us soon, starting right around Christmas and continuing into January.  They include in-laws and our older son and his family--our d-i-l and two grandkids.  Plus, our d-i-l's delightful parents will be visiting for a short while, too!  It helps that we live in California while they all live in the Midwest.  No big El Nino presence here yet, but even if it arrives it's hopefully easier to live with than lots of cold and snow. 

So, there are lots of things to be thankful for tomorrow and beyond.  Meantime, I'm also thankful for a fun and fruitful writing year--three books published plus one e-published so far in 2015:  BITE THE BISCUIT, my first Barkery & Biscuits Mystery, CANADIAN WOLF, my seventh Alpha Force paranormal romance for Harlequin Nocturne, and KNOCK ON WOOD, my second Superstition Mystery, plus the Kindle version of ONCE A CAVALIER, a time travel romance. 

I'm working on my next book under deadline, a Harlequin Romantic Suspense, and will then head into the next Barkery book.  Next year is likely to be busy, too--another year to be thankful for. 

And you?  What are you up to this Thanksgiving?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Aunt Velva's Bean Salad

Aunt Velva’s Bean Salad

Two cans dark red kidney beans, drained & rinsed
Three hard-boiled eggs, peeled & chopped coarsely
Half a sweet onion, peeled & chopped
At least three sweet pickles, chopped
  Mix these ingredients gently in a large bowl
One quarter cup cider vinegar
One half cup sugar
One cup sour cream
  Mix the dressing well, pour over bean mixture, stir

This is especially good if prepared the day before and left to marinate in the refrigerator overnight.  If expecting a large crowd, use three cans of kidney beans.  To make it fancy, reserve one of the eggs, then slice it and layer it over the top of the prepared salad.

Aunt Velva wasn’t really my aunt, she was my great-aunt Ina’s son Glen’s wife.  Which makes her, I think, my first cousin once removed, by marriage.  In any case, she was country folk, kind and funny, and I adored her all my life, and made sure to leave a pebble on her gravestone when I was “down home” for the reunion a couple of weeks ago.  She taught my mother, a newly-wed, how to make this salad and my mother taught it to me.  The salad is delectable, and a very excellent heritage.

I hope you all have great plans for Thanksgiving, and that the day proves spectacular.  We’re going to spend it with friends at their house.  I’m bringing the bean salad.  And I’m going to roast a turkey on Friday, because I think leftover turkey is about the best part of the feast.  I’m going to have it spatchcocked in the meat department of the grocery store where I bought it frozen last week.  Spatchcocking is the removal or splitting of the spine of a dressed bird and then spreading it out to roast breast side up.  You can find directions on how to spatchcock it on the Internet, but I wouldn’t try it for a hundred dollar bill.  A turkey will roast in about a third (or less) of the time an intact bird takes.  And it’s jucier.  But it looks weird, and it takes up a lot of room on a platter.

Also on Friday a friend and I are going to my church to set up the Fontanini Christmas Crèche – this Sunday is the First Sunday of Advent.  Actually, it’s not just the Creche – Mary, Joseph, the Babe, a few shepherds and the Three Kings – it’s Bethlehem.  The baker, the rug seller, street musicians, the Temple, the carpenter, the blacksmith, a little vineyard, a green grocer, a sheepfold with shepherds staring upwards at “a multitude of the heavenly host” hanging on fishline from a circular wire frame.  I’ve been collecting the pieces for many years and when we moved into an apartment there was no room to display them so I donated them to St. George’s, which loves them and asked me to set them out every year.   Funny, I was never much for dolls as a child, but I love telling myself stories as I arrange the people and buildings a little differently every Advent.  This year, like last year, I’m keeping a couple of figures aside and inviting the youngest Sunday School children to “help” me find places for them.  I hope when I get too frail to do this, someone will take over for me.

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Week Before Thanksgiving

It is hard to relate to the date here. Today the sky was pure blue and the temperature was in the 80s. The only hints that it was a week before Thanksgiving were the golden leaves on a tree next door and the the short hours of daylight.

I am busy plotting the next Crochet Mystery and hope to have the synopsis done by Monday. I just found out the cover copy meeting is already scheduled for December 9. I can't wait to start writing the actual book. Actually even as I'm working on the synopsis, I am already writing the beginning of the book in my head.

We have no seminars this week, so I was finally able to get back to the gym and go to my knit and crochet group. We used to meet in the classroom of an organization called H2U. We lost the use of it due to a string of events that reminds me of a line of dominoes falling. The nearby hospital which was somehow connected to H2U was doing some remodeling and they needed a place to give their nurses classes and took over the room we'd been using. We were offered the hospital cafeteria, but then it turned out they'd given the time to someone else. Then we were offered a couple of hours at a nursing home with no parking.

Our group of yarn crafters turned down the offer and we were left to try to find someplace to meet on our own. We finally found the almost deserted food court near the movie theaters in a shopping mall in transition. There is a group of canasta players that meets there, too. We have claimed a spot in the mezzanine above the food places. It is really all about the people, so the place doesn't much matter.

We will be spending Thanksgiving as we have for the past number of years at a restaurant at the beach. The food is always good and the view fantastic. Sometimes we see dolphins swimming by and always the sunset. I don't know if there will be a repeat of last year afterwards. My son talked me into going to the mall with him at midnight. It was all very surreal to be there so late and have it so full of people. If he asks, I'll go. I'm always up to do something offbeat.

I am very grateful to have a life rich with variety.