Not many guesses as to where we were on last week’s field trip. I’ve got some more pictures from that same trip (and I’m making it easier this time). Take a guess, and maybe there will be a reward. You don’t have to be right.
What I’m reading: Stolen, by Allison Brennan; Cardwell Ranch Trespasser, by B.J. Daniels
Brief promo announcement. The authors of Booklover’s Bench have just opened their March contest. This month, there are 7 chances to win a $25 gift card, e books, ARCs, and audio books. Enter at the Booklover’s Bench website. I also have openings for guest bloggers. Monday’s post explains how to request a slot.
At SleuthFest this year, I attended a mixture of craft and business panels. I think this conference has a very good mix, with things for readers and writers at all career levels. I’ll hit some of the highlights in this and future posts.
The first panel I went to was about plotting mysteries, with Jaden Terrell, Irene Sullivan, Mike Dennis, and Keith Thomson. It was moderated by Kris Montee (half of PJ Parrish), and I’d like to take this opportunity to say she really understands the role of moderator. It was a well run session. Thanks!
She addressed the panel, asking each to talk about where their plot ideas come from, a very common question. Personal experiences that lead to the big “what if” questions are often a jumping off point. One panelist said he’d noticed something on his skin, and his mind immediately went to “someone planted a bug when I wasn’t looking” which led him to brain implants, which led to a thriller. That what he’d noticed was simply a cyst didn’t matter. Other starting points were setting (note: I took this approach with Danger in Deer Ridge), or an opening line the author was dying to use, or a character.
Readers of Nowhere to Hide will know that Graham Harrigan is an accomplished cook as well as a cop. Although he had to improvise when he was at Colleen’s house (she didn’t have baking powder), he’s sharing the recipe he used when she came to his place.
Graham’s Buttermilk Pancakes
Mix first 4 ingredients together.
In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, butter and eggs
Cover and refrigerate for up to six hours before cooking. (Graham and Colleen found things to do while they waited.)
Cook on hot, greased griddle until bubbles form on top—2 to 3 minutes. Check the underneath to make sure they’re browned. Flip and finish cooking.
Notes: The second side cooks in about half the time as the first, and might not be as pretty a brown color.
Serve with butter and maple syrup (saving some syrup for other fun, if desired.)
Today I welcome Linda Hubalek to Terry’s Place. Linda has written ten historical fiction books about pioneer women who homesteaded in Kansas during the 1800s. Hubalek lives in Kansas and continues to research and write about the women who made the prairie their home.
Nine of my books have been recently narrated for www.audible.com and I’ve really enjoyed listening, word by word, to the books I’ve written in the past.
The last book to be narrated was Looking Back: The Final Tale of Life on the Prairie. I wrote the book in 1994 and it is the fourth book in the Butter in the Well series. The story is about the Swedish immigrant woman that homesteaded the farm that I grew up on in central Kansas. Kajsa Runeberg homesteaded the land in 1868, and moved off the farm and into town in 1919.
Kajsa’s family first lived in a dugout for two years, and then in 1870 moved into a one-room house built out of local stone and lumber. It was sixteen feet by sixteen feet in size and her family of six moved into it. (My master bedroom is bigger than that space.) But can you imagine how exciting that new home must have been though for the family after living in a small dirty hole in the ground?
In Thursday’s post, I mentioned that I’d be opening my blog for guests. It’s time. I’ll be opening Tuesday slots for April, May, and June. If you’re interested in writing an article (You don’t have to be a writer to be a guest. Everyone is welcome) or answering my interview questions, start by reading Thursday’s post. Please. Next, email me at terry (at) terryodell (dot) com and ask for the guidelines. That’s step one. You’ll get the next steps when I respond.
Other ways to join me here are to contribute recipes for my What’s Cooking Wednesday posts, or photographs for my Friday Field Trips. I’m always looking for new ones.
And on to today’s post.
I’m in Orlando at SleuthFest. I can tell you these pictures were NOT taken there. Anyone want to guess where any of them were taken? They were all taken on a trip I took in 2007, but not all in the same place.
What I’m reading: Ignited, by Kaylea Cross
One of my tasks as a member of Booklover’s Bench is to manage the contests. Many of our authors offered Kindle, Nook, or other e-book download formats as their prizes. When winners were notified, they said, “I don’t want it; I don’t have an e-reader.” So why did they enter?
So, today, I’d like to take a moment to discuss something that should be a given for adults. Following directions. Very soon, I’ll be opening my blog to guests for the next quarter. I enjoy having other viewpoints on my blog, and, frankly, enjoy having someone else come up with a post for me. Should be a time saver, right? After several years of hosting guests, I’ve learned that this isn’t as simple or intuitive a task as it seems.
Perhaps guests have no understanding of what it entails to put up a post. Rarely is it as simple as “copy and paste” onto the platform. And, part of the idea of hosting guests is to reduce my workload, not increase it.
To make things easier, and to cut down on time and effort with back-and-forth emails to guests I came up with guidelines/instructions for being a guest on my blog. They’re not really all that complicated. If you’re looking to be a blog guest anywhere, here are some tips:
Hubster found this recipe in the Food Network Magazine and made it on his night to cook. I’ll vouch for its yumminess.
Chive-Coriander Salmon and Cabbage
1 lb baby red-skinned potatoes
Kosher salt, pepper
1 T butter
1 T chopped fresh chives and/or dill
4 6 oz frozen salmon fillets (don’t thaw)
3 T olive oil
1 t ground coriander
1 small head Napa cabbage, shredded
1 t chopped fresh tarragon
Cut potatoes in half or quarters if they’re large. Put in pot and cover with cold water; season with salt. Bring water to a boil; cook until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and return to pot. Stir in the butter, ½ T chives, S&P to taste. Keep warm
Rinse salmon under cold water; pat dry. Brush with 1 T olive oil and season with ½ t each S&P.
Heat 1 T oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add salmon, skin side down; cook, shaking skillet occasionally, until the skin is crisp, about 5 minutes. Flip, continue cooking, flipping occasionally; sprinkle with the coriander and remaining chives until fish is opaque, about 7 minutes. Remove from skillet.
Add the remaining 1 T oil, cabbage and tarragon to the skillet. Cook over medium hihg heat, stirring, until the cabbage is wilted, about 3 minutes. Season with S&P.
Serve the salmon with the cabbage and potatoes.
Today I welcome J. R. Lindermuth to Terry’s Place. The author of 12 novels, including six in his Sticks Hetrick crime series, a non-fiction history book and numerous short stories and articles, he’s sharing some insights today on writing press releases.
I saw a lot of press releases in my nearly 40 years in the newspaper business. They came both from individuals eager to sell a product or service and from press agents hired to tout the same. A great majority of them ended in the trash can rather than the pages of the newspaper.
Why? Not necessarily because they were badly written. Rather because they overlooked the most important selling point.
Newspapers have limited space (even less now than in the past) and editors must chose carefully what is most relevant for their readers. The same is true for other media, though it may be in terms of time rather than space when it comes to radio and television.
Many of these articles were well-crafted, extolling the virtues of the product. And that’s part of the problem—because they focused on the importance of the product rather than its value to the prospective reader.
I decided that I would celebrate my birthday with a day off from blogging. I’ll spend time reading, maybe planning my next book, and getting ready for SleuthFest in Orlando on Thursday. The blog will carry on as usual for the rest of the week, but today, I’ve got a gift for you. I’ve uploaded a never-before-seen scene from Nowhere to Hide. This is Colleen’s arrival in Orlando, one that never made it into the book. In fact, other than my critique group at the time, nobody’s seen it.
And, a couple of other gifts:
I still have some audio book coupons for free downloads from Audible.com. All you have to do is ask. Plus, if you missed it, Finding Sarah is free at Kobo and Smashwords; 99 cents at Amazon, B&N and Apple (only because they won’t let me set it to free).
If you want to give me a present, how about a “Like” on my Facebook page if you haven’t already done so.
Hope everyone has a great day.
Tomorrow, my guest is J.R. Lindermuth, who’s sharing tips for writing press releases that get used. I know I’ll be back. How about you?