Sunday, January 30, 2011

How do you procrastinate?

If I say so myself, I am the Queen of Procrastination. So many things suddenly need doing: de-flea the cat, scratch the bird, fill the ice cube container, check the mail even though it came two hours ago (you never know, the mailman might have forgotten something), read the back cover blurbs of every book I own, including the books I wrote...Could my procrastinating get any worse?

Happily...Yes! Well, this week, anyway. On Friday night, my insistence that my family were missing out on home baked goodies fueled my procrastination. On Friday night, I even surprised myself. I made Cinnamon Scrolls. OMG!!!

For all your yummy pleasure, I have included the recipe I used, which is a combination of two recipes I found online. Bless the internet.

This recipe needs the use of a bread machine and makes about 12 scrolls.


1 cup milk
1 egg
4 tablespoons margarine
3 cups plain flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons dry yeast


3/4 cup brown sugar
1-2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar
70g butter softened


1 cup icing sugar
1-3 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Add ingredients to bread machine (usually yeast on bottom, then dry ingredients, then wet ingredients). Program maker for the dough cycle (1 1/2 hours or so).
When cycle is done, place dough on floured surface.
Knead dough about 1 minute, then let rest 15 minutes.
Mix brown sugar, cinnamon sugar and butter together.
Roll dough into a rectangle, about 35cm x 15cm.
Spread brown sugar, cinnamon sugar and butter mixture onto the dough
Roll dough up tightly on long side.
Press edges to seal and form into an evenly shaped roll. Carefully cut roll into 2cm pieces.
Place rolls cut side down into a greased baking pan.
Cover and let rise in warm, draft free place until double in size, about 30 to 45 minutes.

Bake in preheated 180 degrees C oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool in pan on rack for 10 to 15 minutes.

Combine icing sugar with 1-2 tablespoons of milk and vanilla.
Add more milk or icing sugar until desired consistency is reached.
Drizzle mixture over hot scrolls

Don't wait! Eat them hot! OMG!!! Yum! I'll be making these for the Romantix get together on Saturday!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Craft: Spelling

Was writing a letter to someone the other day (yes an olde style letter--it still happens occasionally), and I had to stop and ask my hubby how to spell surprise. I'd spelled it suprise and it looked kind of funny. Well it should have because there is definitely two 'r's in surprise. I had to look it up.

I had to wonder if this was a product of my dependence on my word program's spell checker, or if this was simply a word I got stuck on often. When I think about it, the latter is true. Professional writer or not, there are simply words that I always spell wrong, or have to think about how to spell no matter how many times I write or type them. Moreover there are some spellings which confound me. For instance, why is swimming spelled with a double 'm' but there's only one 'm' in coming? My hubby often misspells the word forward as foreward. Accidentally is another one I stuff up often, by spelling it accidently.

I found a list of commonly misspelled words here. Calendar is on the list, one I often find spelling calander before I realise how wrong that looks and change it. License is another. As the website quotes: "Where does English get the license to use both its letters for the sound [s] in one word?"

It's a funny language we work with, English. Don't even get me started on how mind-scrambling it can be to have books published with an American publisher and have to change all those 's's to 'z's and drop all my lovely 'u's. I was taught to spell colour not color, but that's a whole other bone of contention.

So what about you? Any words you always spell incorectly incorrectly?


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Minutes of Romantix Meeting 4th January 2011

Lucky my new year’s resolution wasn’t to be more diligent with blogging our minutes... it’s a little late. Sorry ladies, but at least I’m improving; last time I was about six weeks late, this time I’m only a week and a bit.

Apologise from Sarah for not being able to attend.

The meeting was held at my place, hence my responsibility to report our discussions - I’m much better at just providing the chocolate cake and coffee. (Even if Kiss and Sami insist on making it themselves because I don’t do it right – something about milk before boiling water? I don’t know, I was too busy setting the timer for my cup of tea so it didn’t fuse too long to take much notice of their instructions. Lucky Zoe and Melita just had water.) Anyway, with Christmas and New Year just behind us, we didn’t really have a chance to prepare an agenda beforehand, so we winged it a bit.

After Kiss Carson declined the suggestion of a writing exercise to warm us up (not enough good coffee to fuel it?) I tabled an article I’d scanned recently, (limited time and a long article means I didn’t read it word for word). I stumbled across the link on Patricia Brigg’s website recently when checking out the date for her next book ( FYI March 2011.) In her article Changing Times, the author, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, gives her thoughts about the current influences and possible future directions of the publishing industry.

It’s very interesting and worth a read, so here’s the link.

We then had a discussion ourselves about the future of publishing which went for a good half hour. Though none of us are an expert on what eBooks mean for the publishing industry, we all agree that despite apparent resistance from some publishers, eBooks will continue to have a greater and greater influence on it in the future. As I type this up it’s a good two weeks after scanning her article and I’m not inclined to go back and find the exact amounts to quote you, but I think Ms Rusch mentioned something about current total sales being made up of 9% eBooks and this representing about one billion dollars in sales in the US marketplace... so if my memory is correct, then that’s a quite an influence to be acknowledged.

Which brought me to my big whinge at the meeting; I don’t really whinge much, but I was on a roll over this issue because it really gets under my skin. Hubby knows me well; for Christmas he got me a $100 gift voucher to use at Angus and Robertson bookstore. So Christmas day I got on the internet to go shopping, and then I just got mad. I asked at the meeting, and nobody really could answer, though we did have lots of suggestions; Why does an eBook from Angus and Robertson (or Borders books, because I checked that out too) cost AUD$21.95 (epub format)BUT they sell the SAME mass-market paperback for only AUD$14.95?!! I can buy the same eBook from a reputable site like for US$8.78 (Kindle format) or from for AUD$8.61. (epub format)

We have no real answer to that one, except advise you to shop around if you buy eBooks. It did raise the question... if the market majority switches to buying eBooks from home, what does that mean for all those big bookstores? Is this their way of trying to hold back the tide?

NOTE TO MAJOR BOOK STORES: Did you know that Ms Rusch also mentioned in her article that people who buy eBooks, also buy more paper books? So please don’t treat me like an uneducated consumer and stop trying to rip me off!

**Steps off her pedestal to continue with the minutes**

Next I tabled another two links from Patricia Brigg’s website. Did I mention I love her work? Anyway, we held a discussion on an issue that affects us all... the dreaded writer’s block. **insert scary music here**

Here’s the links to the pages I printed for the fellow Romantix members to read... (Patricia Brigg’s thoughts) (Angela Knight’s thoughts)

As I’d printed them out for the meeting, we all sat and sipped the lovely coffee provided by the host and read, and then held discussions.

We all related to Patricia Brigg’s approach of taking a step back to find what’s not working and then move forward, but we all seemed to hold a greater appreciation for Angela Knight’s thoughts. Seems the muse doesn’t talk loud enough to a few of us... though maybe we just aren’t listening as well as we should.

So, what do we, as writers, do about writer’s block when it hits us? (I hope I’m reading my chook scrawl written notes correctly... if I got it wrong someone please amend.)

Kiss Carson – uses a technique similar to Angela Knight, she leaves it, goes away and lets the muse do her thing.
Sami Lee – keeps going until she’s mental and then leaves it for the muse to take over.
Melita – watches TV or listens to music that inspires the mood of what she’s trying to write about.
Zoe – uses a combination of the following;

  • hand write the next scene (Kiss and Sami do this too) Is that a form of automatic writing from your muse?
  • write a scene – “a day in the life of” a character – for fun. Patricia Brigg recommended this too, it’s about finding the fun of writing - because apparently that's why we do it.
  • dot point bridge over the blocked part
  • write “the story” – (summary overview of what’s going on which usually forms part of Zoe’s synopsis later on)
  • leave it and do something else – (knowing the muse will do her thing when the time is right)
  • Find some music to write by.

Letitia (me) – I go mental, stop writing, feel bad about not writing and tell myself I’m slack and useless, start something else, then ages later, I reread it because I’ve left it too long to remember why I got stuck and discover that my muse has a solution.... usually. I wouldn’t recommend this process as it’s not very productive; it takes years to get half a manuscript done.

2011 GOALS for the Romantix Members

  1. Kiss Carson – two novellas and a full
  2. Sami Lee – Finish current work by February, then two short-stories (3 submissions)
  3. Letitia – Enter RWA STALI with full manuscript completed
  4. Melita – Finish current manuscript and polish by end of year. NANO in November and Script in October
  5. Zoe – Completely polish Torn. Finish first draft of Shattered. Have an idea for third manuscript. Polish off Spice Briefs and sumbit.
  6. Sarah - To Advise

Sunday, January 9, 2011

New year. New goals. Old writer's block

Well, good-bye to 2010 (thank goodness), and a great big greetings and salutations to 2011! This year, I plan to write two novellas and a full length book. Plan. Think. Frown. Give up.

It seems the writer's block that stalked me through the last few months of 2010 has followed me into 2011. What to do?
At the last Romantix meeting, we discussed a few ways to defeat writer's block. Me? I said that "technically" I couldn't be called a writer anymore. However, I have decided to sit and wait for my muse to reappear from her little cave in my soul, to wait until the characters in my two unfinished manuscripts decide to behave themselves, to wait until my brain can function again.

How long must I wait? How long is a piece of string?