Are you a member of Goodreads?
Head over there and put your name in the drawing for a free paperback copy of RETREAT TO LOVE - but hurry! Entries close on 8/17.
This site is a finalist!
I entered melaniegreene.com in the West Houston RWA's Romancing the URL Contest. And it's doing well so far! I am one of three finalists in the Contemporary Category, so fingers crossed, y'all. Winners announced in August.
What do you think? Is my site beautiful enough to win?
IRISH SODA BREAD
2 1/4 - 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats & a bit more to sprinkle on top
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
(optional: 1 cup raisins or currants, rinsed in hot water & patted dry)
2 cups buttermilk
1 large egg, beaten lightly
Into a large bowl, sift together 2 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour with the baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the whole-wheat flour and 1 cup oats, plus caraway seeds and raisins. Add the buttermilk and egg and stir the mixture until it forms a dough.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it, adding in as much of the remaining 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour as necessary to form a manageable but sticky dough.
Halve the dough, form the halves into round loaves, and put them on a greased baking sheet. Sprinkle the loaves lightly with additional oats, dust them with flour, and bake in the middle of a preheated 350° oven for 30-35 minutes, or until they are lightly browned.
Cool on a rack before eating. I mean it! Cool first, then eat! (Add Irish butter, lashing of jam, smoked salmon, or other toppings as desired.)
I was excited this morning to find the narrator of my Roll of the Dice audiobooks, Amy Rubinate, interviewed at the fabulous romance audio site, Audiogals.
Head over there to find out more about Amy and her intriguing new audiobook production company. There are giveaways for free audios, too!
You can hear samples of Amy's narration of Rocket Man and Ready to Roll on those titles' pages here. And buy them at Audible.
PS - Retreat to Love will be available in audio someday, too! I haven't started that process yet.
In 5th grade, I realized I was a writer.
I know it was 5th grade, because in 5th grade I had Penny Heap, World's Best Teacher, and she told me I was a good writer. And I vowed to make her proud, because there was nothing better in the world than pleasing Mrs. Heap. (Her name was Penny! She drove a silver sports car! She moved me so I didn't have to sit by the mean girls!)
So I threw myself into my new craft, and a couple of Super Awesome Validating Things happened to set I Will Be A Writer When I Grow Up firmly into the concrete of ... my soul? (That metaphor got away from me a bit.)
First, one of my poems was picked to go in the "Creative Writing" section of my elementary school newsletter. Okay, yes, it was more a rip-off than an homage to Clement Clarke Moore, but let's give eleven-year-old me a break, shall we? I was a PUBLISHED AUTHOR.
And then! Encouraged by the glittering success of my first publication, I went on to submit what I seem to recall were at least four poems (all heavily influenced by Shel Silverstein) to my beloved local library - and I won!
FIRST PLACE, BABY. That's right. I'm now an AWARD WINNING AUTHOR. With MULTIPLE PUBLICATIONS:
(In case y'all can't tell, I've been cleaning out some old paperwork lately. I also found the program from the terrible play my husband and I attended on our first date, my 9th grade report card - ouch, though it did make my current 9th grader feel better about his own performance - and a postcard Salman Rushdie sent to my graduate thesis advisor.)
With early encouragement - and, let's face it, raw talent - like this, is it any wonder I am sitting on my sofa in my jammies today, a Real Author?
As my RETREAT TO LOVE Pinterest board makes abundantly clear (as does the book itself, I suspect!), I think quilting is fabulous.
But I'm not especially talented.
Kind of a good thing, really, because quilting takes a ton of time, and if I was better I'd want to spend alllllllllllllll my time hunched over my sewing machine instead of hunched over a keyboard.
(I have poor posture.)
Regardless, I try periodically to put together a quilt that does me credit, and no matter how approximate my corners, I love the process.
I've written about some of the work I've done on my general books / life blog, and wanted to link to it here so y'all could check out my creations. But remember, Ashlyn in RETREAT TO LOVE is a far, far more talented artist than I could ever hope to be.
It's fun to compile Pinterest boards for each of my books, but I had to exercise some SERIOUS self-restraint when picking photos for the RETREAT TO LOVE board.
I'm so madly in love with quilt art, and would fill the entire board with it, but I am trying to highlight a couple of other things about the book, as well. Also I want to ensure accreditation - everything I've pinned was linked through the International Quilt Association, which brings the Quilt Show to Houston (where I live) every fall, and it's the best time of the year. The work on display there is simply stunning.
(I personally am not a very deft quilter, much less a fabric artist, so writing Ashlyn was some very serious wish fulfillment on my part!)
Where are you from?
My teen's just been contemplating identity (it's possible he's also delaying his bedtime....) He's a bit of a mix. His dad's from Ireland, I'm from America, and on top of being Texan for seven generations on one side (hi, Mom!) I'm also a first-generation American & Jewish on the other (hi, Dad!)
I've noticed our tendency to define ourselves by the ways we are unlike others. To look at me, I'm fairly indecipherable from any other white woman in the city. So I proclaim my deep roots in the state, my cultural heritage, my imported husband. (He lost the charming accent when he moved here. I have to paint shamrocks on his cheek for people to know he's Irish.)
When my teen was outlining those same differences, we talked about how he would define himself if we lived in Dublin. Suddenly the being half-Irish side of him is less defining than the being half-American side of him. Even as we go through life seeking commonalities (we both have teenage sons! we both love Kristan Higgins books! we both want a margarita right now!), we define ourselves by our individuality.
Ultimately, my life wouldn't be substantially different if my ancestors were from Kansas instead of Texas, or Italy instead of Poland. I would still love margaritas and contemporary romance. So would you.
But I still enjoy hearing about those things from the past that identify you in the present.
So: where are you from?
I'm at my local RWA chapter meeting this morning, enjoying the camaraderie and knowledge of my fellow romance authors.
Writing can be a pretty solitary job (understatement), so being able to befriend and learn from others in the same boat means the world to me.
If you're a romance author and are looking for a community, check out rwa,org and look for a local and/or online chapter!
Writing is a journey undertaken by the mind in conjunction with the soul....