Friday, August 26, 2011

Can One Party Too Much?

Life is pretty crazy in my household right now. Going through my calendar and thinking, "wow, I'm planning too much!"

I've decided to throw my mom a 75th birthday party in September! Plans for that are underway. Menus, invitations, catalogues for gift ideas, etc, are in a box taking up space in my family room. My husband's birthday is also in September, and both my kids follow that up with birthdays in the fall which I haven't even begun to plan.

My girl scout troop is going to Washington DC next year to celebrate the 100 anniversary of girl scouts!!! Yay! But organizing parents and girls for this is huge! Funraising alone is a full time job. I have an entire cabinet stuffed with binders of papers dedicated to this trip. Everyday there are forms to fill out, money to deposit, calls to make, parents to email.

Then there is the biggie for me as an author - the release of Say You'll Be Mine!! I'm working with my publicist at Grand Central, who is wonderful, setting up the launch book signing event, as well as other tour events and speaking engagements. I'm writing articles and blogs. Might try to make a book trailer if I can figure how how. Working on a new book idea. Searching for a new agent. This makes my office a danger zone with piles of paperwork and files and books, and planners everywhere.

These are just the things that I'm planning and doesn't include birthdays, mixers, meetings, BBQ's, recitals and family gatherings I've been invited to. So, I'm starting to wonder if I'm planning too much. Should I leave some time to kick back and watch TV? Clean my house? Sleep? As I jot everything into my planner, I question my sanity. Do I really want to do all this stuff? Sometimes it's exhausting and I think I don't.

But, wait, I want to celebrate the release of my book. And can't wait to watch my mom blow out 75 candles (okay, I won't make her do that). And am going to love watching my scouts faces as they travel to our capital and meet hundreds of other girls from across the nation. And I enjoy visiting with friends and supporting them at their events, and going to meetings for groups that I believe in, and all the other things that I do. I love all of it!

So as I end another week where I've gone to bed at midnight or one in the morning only to wake up at five, I remind myself that the reason I'm tired is because all the things I've got planned take work. And the work is worth it, because the things I want are worth it.

I wanted to share all this with you, because maybe you too have huge goals that take a lot of time and effort and you end your week feeling drained. But I want to encourage you to keep at it, whatever it might be. Careers. Great relationships. Your health. Maybe a great garden. None of it just shows up in your life. You have to work hard for it. But the day will come, when you'll get what you're after.

Hope everyone has a GREAT weekend!


Friday, August 19, 2011

The parallels of Writing and Baking

Today I'm thrilled to have Gabriella Hewitt guest blogging!

Please leave a comment below to be entered into the OUT OF THE SHADOWS Blog Tour Contest to win A $25 GC to Winner will be announced on Gabriella' blog August 26th. Check here for official rules.


I have a banana stand to keep my bananas bruise free and fresh. I guess they were too fresh because they were peeling off the stand. I had the brilliant idea to bake banana bread. So, after the kids finally went to bed I got started. A friend who had moved away had given me cake flour--at least I thought it was. I looked at the package and read bread flour. Flour is flour, right?

Ha ha. I start mixing the batter, only it's not batter. It's really doughy and not blending all that well. Does it need water or milk? No. I'm not my sharpest at 10 pm, so it took a moment to connect the dots. Maybe it's the flour. There I was wondering if I should toss it all out. But I hate to waste food. Well, it's bread dough. It's got enough sugar in it that the kids will probably eat it anyway. Okay, so it doesn't have yeast and won't rise, but it'll make a great focaccia. Sure it will. I flatten it out in the bottom of a glass baking pan and baked it.

Writing is kind of the same. You start out with all these ingredients and it might even seem like it's coming together. Then disaster. Nothing mixes right. The pieces don't fit. You'r positive that you can't achieve anything worth serving up to your readers. But, with patience, perserverance and ingenuity, the whole becomes clear and as you near the end, you wonder why you ever doubted yourself to begin with.

I've got to be honest, though. That so-called focaccia may be hard as a rock and completely inedible. I won't know until tomorrow. That's why I'll stick with writing rather than baking, even if some of the same principles apply.

Here is the recipe I am using. Got it from

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 pinch ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup mozzarella

1.In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, sugar, yeast, garlic powder, oregano, thyme, basil and black pepper. Mix in the vegetable oil and water.
2.When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth, and let rise in a warm place for 20 minutes.
3.Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Punch dough down; place on greased baking sheet. Pat into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle. Brush top with olive oil. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese.
4.Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm.

You can find more recipes at my website and download Puerto Rican Recipes free booklet. Free Reads

Gabriella Hewitt is the pen name of creative writing talents Sasha Tomaszycki and Patrizia M.J. Hayashi. Together they weave tales of romantic suspense and dangerously sensual paranormals. Check out the website to find out about upcoming releases and events on her blog.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Special Guest Blogger Almost Here

Special treat Friday!! Gabriella Hewitt will be guest blogging on our site.

Gabriella Hewitt is the pen name of creative writing talents Sasha Tomaszycki and Patrizia M.J. Hayashi. Together they weave tales of romantic suspense and dangerously sensual paranormals. Check out the website to find out about upcoming releases and events on her blog.

To make it even more special, if you leave a comment tomorrow, you will be entered into the OUT OF THE SHADOWS Blog Tour Contest to win A $25 GC to Winner will be announced on Gabriella' blog August 26th. Check here for official rules.

So, remind yourself to stop by Friday!

See you then,


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Interviewed on Turn The Page

Being interviewed today at Turn The Page. Stop by here and leave a comment to be in a drawing for a copy of Evenings At The Argentine Club.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Big Boy School

Who's afraid of middle school and middle school kids?

As far as the kids, unless they're ours, they probably make many of us nervous. First of all, they're larger than we are. They have more hair. Or less hair that stands up in scary, pointy, sharp, colorful spikes. Girl's make-up is so thick, it's difficult to find their eyes, which makes them look even spookier. They mumble when they speak, and when you ask them to repeat what they said, they glare at you. Worst of all, they hang out in packs, so you're almost always outnumbered. Scary.

Then there is middle school itself. I remember Jr. High. Loud bells. Angry teachers who seemed to hate their lives. Rules. Threats if you didn't follow the rules. And today they've added psycho security guards that yell at you if you don't follow the rules or aren't afraid of the threats.

So, this summer when I made the decision to place my children in one of these hell-holes, I actually got sick to my stomach. I decided to do this, not becuase I stopped loving my kids, but because they no longer wanted to be home schooled and the charter they were going to had substandard education and it became unacceptable to return them to that school even if they were comfortable there.

This week was their first week at a public middle school, and Monday I toured the school and met the teachers. I told myself that if this middle school was anything like my Jr. High, I wouldn't follow through on my plan. I was pleasantly surprised to meet super nice teachers. They all had great educational plans for the school year. Something else that I loved was that I wasn't the only parent who showed up to the orientation day. Hundreds of parents and students were there. I can't ever remember seeing a parent at my Jr. High. This was a good sign. Good involved parents = good students. And the kids looked pretty cute : )

So, I won't say that I'm not still nervous and worried about my babies, but I end the week feeling happy about my decision. Like all parents, I want my children to learn, be happy, make some friends, and be safe. If this school can offer me this, I'll revise my ideas about middle school.

What difficult parent decisions have you had to make?