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Simplicity, Writing, and Peanut Butter Cookies

Simplicity, Writing, and Peanut Butter Cookies

Hi everyone! Thanks so much for stopping by. How did I do this week in my ROW80 author goals? Well, the lesson learned seems to be simplicity. Let’s take a look!

My goals:

1. Post twice per week on my blog: a ROW80 check-in on Sundays, and an original post mid-week. During my blog tour, my total weekly count will actually be three times per week, as I’m scheduled to guest post twice a week through the beginning of March.

Done! Last week I posted Fine Dining, Mashup Style at Misterio Press. Martha Stewart and 19th century household expert Isabella Beeton, meeting through the magic of the internet. 😉 I’ve also been writing my advance guest posts – my blog tour starts this week! Gack, still have to write the sidebar widget for that.

2. Send out five new email requests per week to book reviewers who have indicated they are available and interested in reviewing books in my genre (mystery).

It was three this week, through Facebook and emails. The Goodreads sign-up doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, with only one request for a review copy. Disappointing. I haven’t gone back to the Amazon top reviewer lists yet, because they take so dang long to wade through. I’ve decided to revise this goal to 3 per week.

3. Visit, comment on, and tweet posts from ten bloggers each week.

Done!

4. Write and publish three SocialIn posts during this 80-day period.

Published a SocialIn post a week ago about 19th century sledding. That’s 38 sites! Lots of copying and pasting. I’m still getting the hang of it.  Will shoot for another SocialIn post in mid-February.

5. Exclusively dedicate four hours each weekday (probably in 2-hour increments) to writing the second draft of Unseemly Secrets.

This week was a bust, unfortunately. Had minor oral surgery, and the weather (insanely cold, and some snow) disrupted the kids’ school schedules again. But I have to get back to my draft, no matter what. In fact, I think I’m going through writer withdrawal…

I read a lot of advice blogs and articles about the craft and business of writing, and it can become a confusing mire. I got caught up in some of that this week. But I had an epiphany of sorts today (see? writing these ROW80 updates are super-beneficial!). Business cards, giveaways, promos, social media, reviews, Amazon sales rankings…yep, these are important, but they won’t make any difference at all if I don’t WRITE! I only have two books published right now. That isn’t much to promote or giveaway. Once I have more books out there, then I can tinker with giveaways and such, but right now the real business of writing has to be FIRST. It’s simple. I know – duh, Kathy. 😉

This week will be a real test of that, since it’s the end of the school quarter and the kids have a four-day weekend coming up. But I hope that by next Sunday, I’ll be able to report that I found a way to make it work.

So there you have it – my progress this week, if you can call it that. 😉

While we’re on the topic of simplicity, I’ll leave you with one of my fave super-easy cookie recipes. And it’s gluten-free, too. I know it seems weird that this could be a cookie when there’s no flour in it. But it really does work! And it’s delicious. I made it again this week when the weather had us cooped up.

Simpler Than Sin Peanut Chocolate Cookies (makes about 30 cookies)

(recipe from the The Cookie Bible)

pic by K.B. Owen

pic by K.B. Owen

 
1 cup extra crunchy peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla
6oz bar of dark or milk chocolate, broken into squares

 

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 deg F
In medium bowl, combine peanut butter, sugar, egg and vanilla; mix well.
Roll dough into 1-inch balls, place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 12 minutes, remove from oven and place a chocolate square in center of each cookie.
Bake an additional 5-7 minutes, or until cookies are lightly golden around edges.
Cool 5 minutes, then remove to wire rack to cool completely.

pic by K.B. Owen

pic by K.B. Owen

A couple of notes:

  • It is very important that the egg be room temp; the cookie dough doesn’t set up as well if the egg is cold (a good rule-of-thumb for most recipes, actually).
  • I like to line the cookie sheet with parchment paper first (I hate washing dishes, and I’m paranoid about cookies sticking to the tray).
  • The cookie dough is very sticky, so I’d advise using food prep gloves or just a cookie scoop (sprayed with non-stick cooking spray). Thanks to my friend Deb for this tip!
  • It’s okay for the chocolate square to mush the cookie when you place it; the additional baking time will fix that.

How’s your January going? Do you have a favorite comfort food you like to make when the weather outside is awful? I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time,

Kathy

P.S. – This Tuesday, I’ll be over at Spann of Time, historical mystery writer Susan Spann’s blog. It’s the official “kick-off” to my Unseemly Pursuits blog tour. Susan has some interesting questions for me. I believe food, socks, and pets are involved. And oh, yeah, some questions about writing, too. 😉 Hope to see you there!

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A New Year, a Polar Vortex, and ROW80

A New Year, a Polar Vortex, and ROW80

Happy New Year!  The start of 2014 is the perfect time to re-assess one’s goals, evaluate what worked well in 2013, and figure out what happens next. Throw in a polar vortex, which is socking most of the U.S. in a deep freeze that hasn’t been seen in two decades, and there’s even more opportunity to stay at home and roll up our sleeves.

Image from NOAA satellite, 1.6.2014, via NASA.gov

I think I see Florida in there somewhere…image from NOAA satellite, 1.6.2014, via NASA.gov

 

2013 was the year I threw my hat in the indie publishing ring, with the publication of my first two mysteries in the Concordia Wells series: Dangerous and Unseemly and Unseemly Pursuits.

A new cover for D&U! Both covers done by Melinda VanLone.

A new cover for D&U! Both covers done by Melinda VanLone.

But there’s still more work to be done – can’t leave Concordia pining for her next adventure!  So I’ve decided to start the year by participating in the ROW80 challenge.  For those of you who haven’t heard of it, ROW80 stands for “A Round of Words in 80 Days.”  It’s made up of fellow writers who support and cheer each other on over an 80-day period, as we post our progress on our measurable goals each week.

So let’s get to it!

My goals over the next 80 days:

  • Promote my new book, Unseemly Pursuits, through two means: 1) a blog tour of guest postings on other websites, and 2) requesting book reviews
  •  Revise my first draft of Unseemly Secrets.

I haven’t looked at it since finishing the draft in late October (too busy getting Unseemly Pursuits revised and published).  However, I know I’ll be dealing with a hot mess once I dare to open the Scrivener file.  We’re talking plot holes big enough to drive a truck through, people.

  •  Get more involved socially on the internet and better connect with the online community.  This will involve several steps: 1) breathing life into my dormant blog, which had been languishing from neglect until a couple of months ago; 2) visiting more websites each week, commenting, and tweeting the links; and 3) posting more regularly on Social In, an e-zine that’s published in three dozen cities. I’m going to start with once a month, with a short-term goal of bi-weekly and a long-term goal of weekly.

**I have some personal goals in addition to the professional ones – you know, eating healthier (cookies are my weakness) and exercising, but I’ll just report on the writing-related ones.  😉

Okay, let’s make all of this more quantifiable!

ROW80Measurable weekly goals (in no particular order):

1. Post twice per week on my blog: a ROW80 check-in on Sundays (I only intend to check-in once per week, although I know other ROW-ers do Sundays AND Wednesdays), and an original post mid-week.  During my blog tour, my total weekly count will actually be three times per week, as I’m scheduled to guest post twice a week through the beginning of March.

2. Send out five new email requests per week to book reviewers who have indicated they are available and interested in reviewing books in my genre (mystery).  I don’t want to spam anybody!  And if you all have suggestions about reviewers to contact, I’d sure appreciate it!

3. Visit, comment on, and tweet posts from ten bloggers each week.

4. Write and publish three SocialIn posts during this 80-day period.

5.  Exclusively dedicate four hours each weekday (probably in 2-hour increments) to writing the second draft of Unseemly Secrets.  No Facebook, email, or TweetDeck tabs open!  Be strong, Kathy. 😉

 

That should do it…wish me luck!

 

What are your goals for 2014?  What changes will you be making in your routine to make them happen?  I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time,

Kathy

 

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