Category Archives: Baking & Decorating

Welcome December…

My Nanowrimo effort fell off the radar early on in November. The truth is things became so busy that I didn’t have much time to write at all. However, the month was hugely productive nonetheless. It turned out that the bakery business part of my creative endeavors had an opportunity that we couldn’t pass up. Our local town had its first annual Yulefest on the 1st of December. Festivities included vendors of arts and crafts, a breakfast with Santa for the kids, photo ops, a parade, the Christmas tree lighting, and a movie on the square downtown.

It was a perfect opportunity for us to get out there, meet the public, and let them get a taste of what we offer while also giving out brochures and letting them know; “Hey! We’re here!”

We had a ton of product. In fact, we made enough for a two-day event. Buckeye candy, fudge, 3 varieties of cookies, reindeer chow, and our Christmas popcorn were all on display. The gingerbread didn’t last long. In fact, we sold out of the mini gingerbread men and only had 6 of the larger cookies pictured at the end of the day.  Our Reindeer Chow was also a big hit with the crowd. People were coming back to buy seconds throughout the day. So, I’ll count that a win.

Now that we are past that event, my mind is back to writing projects. Preparations are happening for the next Armageddon Rising book. That’s my fallen angel series. You can grab the first installment here: The Fallen . I’m really excited about continuing this one and I have people who are waiting to see what Lou and Mistrael are really up to. I’m ready to explore this story arc again and I am already making outlines, adding new details about characters who have yet to make appearances. So there is a lot going on with that now that I can settle in and spend time focusing on it.

However, there isn’t much time between our little bakery extravaganza and the holiday trip we have planned.

This will be the first time in four years that I’ve been home with my family for Christmas. Now, family here includes my grandparents, my little brother, his girls, his wife, and momma. It’s overdue for me to be there. And it looks more and more like we’ll have a white Christmas given the weather reports. Mom and I are actually debating on what day we need to leave since we’re making the 16-hour drive through Arkansas, Tennessee, and across the state of Kentucky to our destination at the homestead. But I know that we’re both looking forward to all the hugs, laughs, and holiday traditions.

I’m taking my notes with me to continue working. I’m also taking my gaming materials so that I can run a D & D session or two with friends and family while I’m there. My brother is a gamer and always has been. I’m just getting into it really. But the kids will have fun since I’ll run something kid-friendly for them to participate an learn. My best friend and her girls are supposed to be making time to come and play as well so we can spend some time together.

Yes, good times are ahead of me. And I’m ready for some R&R while I’m there.

But there is also something about taking some time while I’m there to write in a place where it all started for me. In fact, my old school desk where I learned to write is in my room there. I’m amazed they still have it honestly. Not that I can sit in it anymore. My nieces sit at it now sometimes. And it’s good to see. But, the nostalgia of being at my grampa’s desk and writing in a notebook is definitely going to get those creative juices going again.

I’m also taking my pencils and sketchbook so that I can enjoy some art projects with my older niece. That reminds me, I need to finish this piece on the easel before I leave. I have a few gifts I’ve picked up to wrap up. And I know I need to take my new bujo to set up while I’m there.

I am definitely thinking of changes in the new year.  Turning 40 is definitely giving me a bit of a pause. I’m thinking this is a topic for another post but, I’m definitely thinking about life up to now and how I want things to change for me going forward. That means embracing spinsterhood and getting more focused on balancing day jobs, writing, social, and spiritual life. It’s trickier than I ever thought it could be.

More on that later though…

Advertisements

Rainy Days & Fun Times: A Nanowrimo Update.

After 7 days of Nanowrimo, I’m coming on here with an update!

No, it is not going as well as I want on the word count goals. However, I’m happy to report that getting an outline together is proving a fruitful endeavor. I have clarity in the direction of the story now. So that’s a good thing. But, I think I should have done more for Preptober. I was engrossed in releasing Beyond The Storm then though. So I won’t complain.

November is usually a busy month anyway with a major holiday and then preparing for the Christmas rush. This year is no different for me. I’m excited because for the first time in 4 years, I get to be home in the mountains, at my grandparents’ for Christmas. With my mom, my brother, his wife, my three nieces and my grandparents. I also get to spend a little time with my best friend since high school that is long overdue. And there is a lot that needs to be done before we leave Texas for that.

I was out and about with my mom yesterday and snagged these awesome elf house shoes for making holiday memories. I think my nieces are going to love them. They’ll be a source of amusement for a while. I imagine that my grampa will eventually tire of the jingle bells ringing through the house but, it will be fun while it lasts.

We’re planning to do a holiday bazzaar on the 1st of December with our cookies and candies to sell. So, that’s going to be fun but a lot of work. Everything with Sambee’s is handmade from old recipes that have been passed down. Well, except our cake pops. Those are a fairly new invention. But, I’m sure it will be a success with our paint-your-own sugar cookies, and holiday gift boxes. I’m actually fairly excited about it. I mean who doesn’t love cookies and sweets?

After a day of being out and about, it is time for me to get back to the work of writing the next book. I still have a few things to map out though. There are a few new characters entering the series in this book. And writing sequels is a difficult task guys. So many details that you have to line up. I am definitely learning the importance of creating a “series bible”. So, making that is a big deal for me at this point. But, if you were a fan of The Fallen, you’ll be happy to know that the next installment of that series will be happening next year.

So just a quick little update before I dive in and get some words on the page. Fall has officially arrived here in East Texas though. I turned off the air conditioner and am donning the sweatpants and socks today. Comfy clothes for a cozy day of writing and working.

Rainy Weeks & Event Announcements

It has been a trying week for me. The rain that has been stalled over the area where I live has made the usual routine hard to stick with. We had some sun on Monday; which was a good thing. Of course we’re back to the overcast and stormy weather through Thursday. That makes for a long week when you’re dealing with people all day long and all the rain does for your mood is make you want to curl up in bed with the pup. We can’t change it. So, I’m just trying to make the most of it.

It turns out that this week SamBee’s had an order for some cookies for a wedding rehearsal dinner. So my evenings have been mostly consumed with that project. But it is a nice change when I feel like I am struggling through some areas of manuscript revisions. Sometimes a step back and a change of pace will help clear the tunnel vision and make it easier to move forward when you get a chance to do so.

GeekendI am excited to tell you that I am going to be at another local (to East Texas anyway) event.  Kilgore, Texas is hosting  Geekend which coincides with Free Comic Book Day! The event dates are May 5th and 6th. Along with cosplayers, gamers, and other authors I’ll be set up with books and swag items. The excitement doesn’t stop there though. This will be the first time I’ve been on an Author’s Panel at an event like this. So I’m absolutely thrilled to be joining long-time friend and fellow author Edward Hancock II to talk shop and answer audience questions.

You can find all sorts of information on their Facebook Page HERE. Including links to their event site, schedules as they are available, and all of the other participants and vendors who will be in attendance.

Easing back into the touring part of marketing my work is a bit unnerving. It has been way too long since I’ve been in front of people. But, I’m also very excited about it. I love to meet readers and enjoy talking with other aspiring writers.  You never know who you’ll meet in the process of going to these events. And I’m looking forward to adding more before the end of the year. I have my eye set a couple of events that are held in the Dallas area as well. So we shall see what I can add to the schedule.

Do you know of local events near you that have space or are looking for author’s or speakers on creative writing? I’d love to hear about them so drop a comment to let me know how to find an event in your neck of the woods. You never know when I’ll want to take a trip and I’d love to make those trips worthwhile.

Keeping it simple tonight. As I said, cookies are keeping my evenings busy at the moment. But I wanted to drop a line to announce about Geekend so you can mark your calendars.

Explanations…

*taps microphone* Hello? Anyone still here?

An explanation is in order for such a lengthy absence. And I’m happy to give it considering all that has happened for me.

Like many of you I have many talents and interests. Some call it a blessing and others a curse. My own truth is that it is somewhere in the middle. It seems that I am fighting with time, more often than not, to make a way to pursue all of them with any sort of proficiency and take care of myself. I admit that in the past 10 years, I’ve not taken very good care of myself physically. It caught up with me and I landed in surgery. The whole experience has given me reason to take stock of life and what I want from it. Prioritizing certain efforts in life will reap better results than stretching myself thin and getting nowhere on any of my projects or interests.

This year was a bit of an experiment with my mother to see if we could build a baking business from home. What we realized is that most people here in our neck of the piney woods don’t want to pay what our creations are worth. That leaves us with very little clientele. We did a charity event on the 14th of October and the response to what we offered and our pricing made it clear that opening a bakery in town is not a good risk financially. So, that was a bit of a reality check. Though, I don’t regret giving it a try. I enjoyed it and the time spent with my mom. We’re still going to keep decorating and taking custom orders. We just altered the plan and expectations a bit.

For me, it brought my initial dreams to the forefront again. You could say that I took a break from writing with any sort of regularity. Certainly there have been a number of stalled months in 2017. But I want to finish the year strong and with something to show for all the efforts I’ve made. So, I did some brainstorming and have a whole list of topics to write about here on the blog. I even have a grand idea to bring some workshops and a workbook for you all. So, there is definitely some time in the studio that is happening to get all of that together.

Let’s not forget that I have another Slauson Cove book in the works to finish up this year and hopefully be releasing in Spring or Summer of 2018. ( More on that later.) So I have a lot on my plate as we come to another turning point in my life. Time to get with the program and try to reach more of the world.

Planning…..

Juggling everything that I do doesn’t always mean I’m successful at it. No pics this time folks. My week has gotten away from me a bit. This week and last were pretty busy with baking projects with SamBee’s Sweets. Virtually no real writing has been accomplished on the book. Though I am working to get scenes in as I can between all the other projects and work hours. Really, I’m just trying to keep myself going with the day job where I’ve had bosses in the office for audit and meetings. So, believe me when I tell you that this lady is absolutely ready for a break of some sort. Hopefully this weekend I’ll have a chance to catch up and recouperate.

Things are looking up in many ways. That’s a good thing. It also means that I’ll be busier than I have been in the past. That could turn problematic if I don’t plan ahead. So, for my blog this weekend I’m likely going to give you a bit of a walk through of my planning technique and what I use to keep track of it all. I’m sure that, since there is a holiday weekend, I’ll find time for some photos of the current incarnation of my planner.

I am really looking forward to a couple of days to focus on creative projects. I’m hoping to find a couple of hours to be at the easel painting in the midst of all of the merry making. But there are so many preparations to be made for the Gala in October. We plan to get started on those things to minimize last minute things. It will already be a super busy week leading up to it. But, it should be a great opportunity to put our work out there and really let the community know we are here and doing some tasty things.

Too Many Irons

Part of starting this blog was to give you a window into my creative world. And let me tell you something. Lately, that world has been a bit chaotic. The chaos is my own making though and I wouldn’t change it. In fact, there is also a lot of excitement in the middle of it all.

A few years ago I took it upon myself to learn how to decorate cakes. I’m not sure why, except to say that I like pretty things and cake of course. Bottom line is that it started with me learning to make gumpaste roses and it has sort of developed from there. In fact, it all started with this cake for our Thanksgiving celebration. Then we branched out with some for friends including this Octonauts cake. 

Well, in the last year or so my mother and I have been creating some really tasty and cool things. We gave ourselves a name and  started giving out samples we made. We’ve donated cupcakes, cookies, and even a massive gingerbread house to various things locally. Mainly because we were having fun but we didn’t need to eat all that cake. People really liked our twist on vintage recipes.

With time, we find that we have people coming back to us to make birthday cakes, cookies, and other goodies. Now, it is really starting to take off since we have a customer who is involved in a major organization that does celebrations regularly. This is a first and we’re still feeling things out as a business opportunity but, I’m pretty excited about it.

We have orders on the books at this point. They take time to process and crate these lovely confections. Yet it is so rewarding to see a finished project and the looks on people’s faces when they get something for a special day that is just as unique as they are.

Believe me when I say I feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day. I’ll be happy to see this turn into a venture with some financial gain to it though. Maybe I’ll be able to shift from working at a day job for someone else to working for myself in the not so distant future. That will also mean more time for writing as well. A life of creativity. Who could ask for more?

This could be the start of living the dream. As slow as it may seem, it is a start.