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I've signed up for a writer's conference now what?

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This weekend during DFW's Fledgling Writer's Camp I had the pleasure of presenting five steps to enhance a conference-goers experience. For newer writers out in the blogosphere, I wanted to share my quick steps with you.

The first would be to research what kind of conference fits your writing genre and market. Is it fiction or nonfiction? Do you write for the Christian Booksellers Association or American Booksellers Association? How much time do you have to spend attending a conference? A day, weekend or a week? Will you stay local, branch out farther to a national conference or travel to an international conference? Cue the Jeopardy music . . .





After you've decided, you'll need to take some "accessories" with you such as your smartphone, laptop, writing implements, business cards, your one-sheet (back cover blurb with your tagline, headshot, contact information and photo associated with the book theme). During some conferences, when you meet with an industr…

Gasp! Take a deep breath!

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Hurry up and wait! 
It's my daily motto, how about yours? Rushing to tick the boxes on the daily checklist and something interrupts the goal. We become inconvenienced, which is an uncomfortable feeling. Things should happen immediately, not meander like a  muddy-bottomed, slow-moving river. Our lives are centered around quick conveniences like drive-thru coffee stores, dry cleaners, fast food restaurants. Even our microwave ovens are too slow. Does anyone remember how long it took to cook a "TV dinner" in the oven? Yet many of us did it, all for some mystery meat and gelatinous potatoes. We need to slow down.
Breathe
"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." Proverbs 12:25
Pray
Recharge, find something that makes you smile. Whatever you enjoy doing that allows you to relax and take the focus off your never ending-checklist. Steal away by yourself to finish a chapter of that book you've been itching to read. If you play spor…

Ahh, summer!

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For many parents, the last bell rang in their children's school and that means the scary word . . . summer. I remember the days when my college-age girls were younger and they'd clamor for a vacation seemingly right after they stepped off of the school's curb. I hope parents of younger children find delight in all the craft projects, trips to the pool, and maybe a memorable family vacation or stay-cation. Parents of teens, my prayers are with you.

In cinematic terms, "May the force be with you."
Here are some of my vacation memories.

When I was a child several eons ago, my family and I would take short trips to the beach, living in Florida has many perks and the beautiful beaches are at the top. We'd take humble cans of Vienna Sausage, yellow packages of bologna and ham and other culinary delights as our buffet-on-the-go to the beach. My mom and dad would hunker under their blue rental cabana and parse out the occasional sand toy or food item to my sister and…

Pumpkin delight!

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My oldest daughter was coming home from college for the summer. I wanted to make a special treat for her, she loves all things pumpkin. So much so that in the fall my husband and I take two loaves of pumpkin bread to her at A & M when we visit.

Instead of pumpkin bread for her arrival, I wanted to make something more decadent. I recalled a delicious recipe from Aunt Jane, my wonderful aunt I am fortunate to call family after my husband and I married. She's a fantastic cook, her mother whom we called Grannie could make a delicious dinner in no time flat. I'm talking NASCAR pit-crew fast. Aunt Jane seems to have that rare talent as well. At Christmas, she makes over six dozen cookies to take to church parties and friend's homes. All different varieties and each one absolutely delicious. This past Christmas we had the chance to visit her in Florida, she'd prepared a feast along with homemade apple pie and ice cream. My girls have mentioned several times since how won…

Couldn't boil water, but cooked like an angel

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My husband's wonderful grandmother Christine or "Grandma," as her grandkids called her, used her exemplary cooking skills to show her love to her family, everyone appreciated and looked forward to her being in the kitchen. That meant something delicious was going to appear. 
Before I share the recipe for her legendary cinnamon twists let's see how this all came about.Special thanks go out to my wonderful Mother-in-law Hilda for sharing the story and recipe.
Grandma and her husband Hicklin (Grandad) were newlyweds who lived in Gainesville, Florida. He was a student at the University of Florida. I'm sure her husband wanted to eat when he'd come back to their place at a rooming house. There was only one little problem . . . Grandma (Christine) didn't even know how to boil water. True story. So their landlady taught her how to cook these cinnamon twists and many other scrumptious meals.

You never know how a person's singular act of kindness can filter throu…

All things sweet

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The manuscript I am writing features a baker. As I tap away at the keyboard, my mind dances around all the delicious recipes collected over the years by my family and my husband's.

Last week, I shared my grandmother Inez's Lemon Icebox Recipe. This week, is another recipe for those that love sweet, gooey pies. A coconut pie, the photo above is from my mother Betty's kitchen. It's of her amazing coconut pie.

She loves to bake for friends and family and we all happily accept her delicious acts of love, and turn a blind eye to the calorie content within, at least for the day.

"We who had sweet fellowship together Walked in the house of God in the throng." 
-Psalm 55:14


A little history on this recipe, it's from my grandmother's neighbor, she was a legendary pie baker and gifted this recipe to her.  I hope you enjoy this as much as my family does. 


Betty's Best Coconut Pie

Ingredients:
1 deep-dish unbaked pie shell (Homemade or store-bought) 1 can Angel Fl…

What do you do with lemons?

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As the great former baseball player and manager Yogi Berra said, "Cut my pie into four slices, I don't think I can eat eight."

As Easter is upon us, we might think about what to serve to our loved ones. Do we cook a ham  or something altogether different like beef or lamb? I have to admit friends, my thoughts like Yogi Berra's turn to sweets, pies to be exact.

I wanted to share with you a recipe for a delicious Lemon Icebox Pie. It's is worthy of a spot on my table and I wanted to pass it along so you might use it on yours.The recipe comes from my late grandmother Inez, or as my sister and I called her "Nini."  

We'd visit in the sweltering heat of a Tupelo, Mississippi summer. Elvis' birthplace.(My mother went to junior high with him. Since he was a year older, she never met him, his picture is in her yearbook which is very neat.To this day, she's still a huge Elvis fan). 

But I digress, back to this lemony wonder. My Nini would whip up this de…