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02/20/13 Life , Recipe of the Week , Uncategorized # ,

Recipe of the Week – Vegetarian Stroganoff

Recipe of the Week – Vegetarian Stroganoff

Before we became vegetarian, Beef Stroganoff was one of my very favorite dishes. Sure, I knew it was loaded with fat and calories, but there was just something about it’s creamy goodness… every now and then, it was worth the splurge.

 

For a long time, I didn’t even think about trying to recreate it, probably because anything that leads with the word “beef” can seem like a no-brainer for vegetarians.But I have to say, I really regret not trying to modify this sooner. It’s AH-Mazing!

 

And super easy!

 

Okay, still not great in terms of fat (although I’m going to try subbing Greek yogurt for the sour cream next time), but no meat and so delicious, none of us missed the beef. I made it for the kids for Valentine’s Day last week, served it with green beans sauteed in butter, garlic, and lemon, and topped it all off with my famous No Red Velvet Cake.

Best. Valentine’s. Dinner. Ever.

After mentioning it on Facebook, a bunch of you clamored for the recipe, so here tis! Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Vegetarian Stroganoff

I’d say this serves 6-8 people. All measurement accomodate a standard size bag of egg noddles (12 oz).

4 tbsp. butter

1 medium-large onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

32 oz. mushrooms (I used Baby Bella but you can use whatever you want), quartered (halved if they’re small)

16 oz, sour cream

4 tbsp flour

2 cups water

4 tsp. Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Paste

12 oz cooked egg noodles

1/4 cup chopped parsley

Saute onion, mushrooms, and garlic until onion is translucent.

In the meantime, combine sour cream, flour, water, and vegetable paste in a medium bowl.

Once onions are translucent and mushrooms are cooked but still firm, add flour mixture to pan. Stir until combined.

Let simmer until sauce begins thickens.

Stir in parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over egg noodles and bon appetit!

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02/14/13 Life , Little Things , Uncategorized # ,

Little Things – Homemade Treats

Little Things – Homemade Treats

Those of you who follow me online have probably figured out that I love to cook. What you probably don’t know is that this was not a forgone conclusion. My mom was a single mother and often worked two jobs to support me. She didn’t have the time or the inclination to cook regularly, so it wasn’t something I learned at her knee.

My grandmother, however, loved to bake. Famous for her boysenberry pie, homemade candy (divinity to die for!), and endless jars of jam, it seemed she was always cooking up something.

When I first got my own place I called her all the time for cooking and baking tips and advice. She spent hours with me on the phone talking me through things and even sent me her recipes, copied in her own hand. Now that she has passed on I treasure them even more.

Maybe it was the feeling of comfort and home and security I felt while in my grandmother’s house — smelling pie crust browning, sugar dissolving on the stove, fruit turning into jam — that turned me into someone who loves to cook. Maybe it’s in the genes (Rebekah loves it, too). Whatever the reason, I love cooking great meals for people I love.

But as much as I enjoy cooking an awesome meal, there’s something singularly soothing about baking. I don’t know if it’s the warmth of the kitchen as the oven heats up or the smell of all that sugary goodness or the almost subconscious concentration required to measure and spoon, but baking is like therapy for me.

In our house, we make everything from scratch. This way I know what’s going into the finished product and we can spend time together while we bake. And let’s be honest, homemade just tastes BETTER. The best part is, anyone can do it anytime. As long as you have pantry staples (mine are flour, sugar, cocoa, chocolate chips, vegetable oil, butter, eggs, and vanilla), you can make almost anything. Craving ooey-gooey brownies? Warm-from-the-oven cookies? A gorgeous, old-fashioned layer cake?

You can probably make them right now!

All reasons why homemade treats are this week’s Little Thing. Like this AH-mazing Red Velvet Cake (minus the red, since we don’t do dye) with cream cheese frosting and toasted walnuts that I made today for my four favorite Valentines. I whipped it up in no time flat while drinking coffee and catching up on email this morning.

Hope you have a week full of wonderful Little Things! And feel free to share your favorites here or on Twitter using #littlethings.
<3

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02/11/13 Uncategorized

Sunday Experiment – Just Do It

Sunday Experiment – Just Do It

I think I’m getting the hang of this day off thing. For the second week in a row, I didn’t even open my email or Facebook. And it was easier this week!

I started the day with coffee and a pastry, watched END OF WATCH with the kids, had an awesome homemade veggie sub better than any I could buy, took a couch nap, made homemade eggplant pizza (sauteed eggplant and ricotta!), played Scrabble with Caroline (we haven’t played in a long time so we both suck, but we’re determined to get better), and started House of Cards with a warm cup of tea.

In fact, the hardest part of this week’s Sunday Experiment came BEFORE Sunday. I have a project with a very aggressive deadline, and I lost all of Saturday due to a computer emergency with Rebekah that required a last minute trip to New Jersey.

Aaaaanyway, I’d planned to do a bunch of work on Saturday to keep me on schedule with my deadline, but it just didn’t happen. I was very, VERY tempted to skip the Sunday Experiment this week in lieu of work. But I talked myself out of it, because the truth is, there will always be SOMETHING.

So I reorganized my schedule.

Because I’d split the work up into daily goals, I had to redistribute everything based on on less day. Which, of course, means a little more work each day this week. But I reasoned that I’d be better able to tackle it — and FEEL better about it, too — if I had my day off.

Was I right? I’ll get back to you on that.

😉

 

What are your biggest challenges in taking time off? Work? Getting sucked into kid stuff? Sidetracked by tasks around the house? Share here! And if you’re doing the Sunday Experiment, too, blog about it and post a link in the Comments section!

 

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02/04/13 Life , The Sunday Experiment , Uncategorized # ,

The Sunday Experiment – Balance

The Sunday Experiment – Balance

A month into the Sunday Experiment and I realize how truly fucked up my head is.

It is HARD for my brain to take a break from writing, thinking about writing, worrying about writing, etc. for even one day. Even without checking email (which I didn’t do for the second Sunday in a row), Facebook, and Twitter, I caught myself obsessing over writing-related things several times throughout the day. I had to forcibly move my mind away from it, which tells you how how of control – and out of balance – my life has become.

Basically, this frog is better at relaxing than I am.

I was halfway through my yoga routine – something I usually LOVE – when I realized that I just wasn’t feeling it. I was trying to hurry and get into the shower so I could have lunch with the kids and watch The French Connection (something Kenneth and I had planned to do). So why was I forcing myself to do yoga ON MY DAY OFF?

I had to consciously give myself permission to skip it, because while I usually see it as a critical part of my everyday routine, taking one day a week off IS OKAY. Right?!

Which is why the Sunday Experiment has made it clear that time off is only a small part of the problem. The real problem is one of balance.

In short; I’m out of whack. And I haven’t even realized it, because somewhere along the line, out of whack became normal. So I’ve decided to turn the Sunday Experiment into a year-long quest for balance, focusing on one component every month. January was about giving myself one day a week completely away from work and technology and the demands thereof.

In February, I’ll focus on Mindfulness, because I’ve realized what a huge problem it is for my noisy mind. I’ll post more about that later this week. In the meantime, I’d love to hear about the things that make balance difficult for you to obtain. Is it juggling work with family? Over-scheduled kids? Getting enough sleep? Eating right when you’re busy?

Share your challenges in the Comments section and I’ll choose ten issues that speak to me, too – one for each month March through December.

We’re going to make balance our bitch. In a Zen sort of way, of course.

<3

 

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02/01/13 This Wicked Game , Uncategorized , Writing # ,

Cover Reveal – This Wicked Game

Cover Reveal – This Wicked Game

I’m super psyched to FINALLY show you guys the cover of THIS WICKED GAME, my November 2013 book from Penguin/Dial.

I love this book so much. It’s dark, moody, and set in New Orleans amid a backdrop of voodoo and old voodoo families.

Here’s a brief summary I whipped up for you this morning;

Claire Kincaid’s family has been in business for over fifty years.

The voodoo business.

Part of the International Guild of High Priests and Priestesses, a secret society that have practiced voodoo for generations, the Kincaid’s run an underground supply house for authentic voodoo supplies. Claire plays along, filling orders for powders, oils and other bizarre ingredients in the family store, but she has a secret.

She doesn’t believe.

Struggling to reconcile her modern sensibilities with a completely unscientific craft based on suspicion, Claire can’t wait to escape New Orleans – and voodoo – when she goes to college, a desire that creates almost constant conflict in her secret affair with Xander Toussaint, son of the Guild’s powerful founding family.

But when a mysterious customer places an order for a deadly ingredient, Claire begins to realize that there’s more to voodoo – and the families that make up the Guild – than meets the eye.

Including her own.

As she bands together with the other firstborns of the Guild, she comes face to face with a deadly enemy – and the disbelief that may very well kill her.

Super excited to share it with you guys!

<3

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01/28/13 Life , The Sunday Experiment , Uncategorized , Writing # ,

The Sunday Experiment – Week Two

The Sunday Experiment – Week Two

This week’s Sunday Experiment was… interesting. I was expecting a day reveling in my free time, enjoying every last second cut off from email, social networking and writing.

And I DID have a lovely day. I even took pictures to prove it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But there was a side effect. I sometimes felt edgy, nervous and distracted by my inability to check email. I don’t think I noticed it as much last week, because I was busy a good part of the day helping Rebekah move back into her dorm (and I hadn’t initiated the email embargo). This week, I’d arranged to be home, and there were definitely times when I was jonesing to check email, Facebook, or to write.

A hazard of loving what you do!

Still, I forced myself to stay off my computer (didn’t open it once!), taking the fact that it was difficult for me to do so as proof that I really NEED to learn to do it.

I feel that way in meditation a lot, too, especially when I go to meditation practice and we have longer, 20-30 minute sits. It’s like I’m trying to claw my way out of my own mind. At times like that, I tell myself, “You can’t run from yourself,” and force myself to be still. It’s not always easy – or to be honest, even pleasant – but I think we SHOULD be able to be still in our own minds. The fact that it is difficult makes me realize how desperately I need to cultivate that ability, because if we can’t retreat into our own minds now and then, how screwed are we?

And just taking this one day a week has made me realize how terribly out of balance I’ve been. That has to change if I want to be healthy in mind, body, and spirit – and I DO.

This week’s lessons learned;

1) Not logging into email helped a lot, even though there were times I was dying to check it. I set an away message late Sunday night letting people know I’d get back to them Monday, and that prevented me from worrying that everyone would think I was a flake for not replying right away. Also, because a lot of people knew I was doing the Sunday Experiment, I was pleasantly surprised by how many people went out of their way to honor it, telling me in advance that they would send me interview questions on Monday (thank you, Nazarea!) and that they would talk to me about specific things then. So I think telling people Sunday is your “day off” helps them recognize the boundary, too.

2) I’ve been working a lot – but not working smart because I’ve been more burned out than I realized. After last week’s Sunday off, I felt really ready to tackle that week’s tasks, and I hit the ground running on Monday. Knowing I had a day off coming, I planned to tackle certain things during the week so I’d be somewhat clear on Sunday (because let’s face it, we’re never *really* in the clear). One of the things I did to work smarter was to start using Freedom again when I wrote during the week. And let me tell you, I am always SHOCKED by what a difference it makes. My head just feels clearer, my mind more focused knowing I can’t log into the internet. I ended up getting way more done last week than usual. That made me feel proud and relieved and more like I DESERVED a day off.

3) Even fun things can be not fun when you have too much on your plate. If you remember, last week, I vowed to plan a couple of nice things for myself to do on Sunday. I ended up with the following list; have a leisurely morning, watch The New World with the kids while we ate lunch, make homemade pizza, take a couch nap, and play Scrabble with Caroline. I managed to do it all — and I enjoyed it! — but there were times when I felt rushed to cram it all in. When Caroline asked if we could make Scrabble a Sunday tradition, I forced myself to tell her we would have to see. Scary how easy it is to slip into overscheduling even a day off! Next week, I’ll think of one or two things I want to do and play the rest by ear.

But it was SO NICE to have all that time away from writing and from the computer, even if I sometimes did feel like an addict looking for a fix. I spent the morning drinking coffee and reading magazines, made homemade apple pancakes with Greek yogurt (will post the recipe for you guys this week), did yoga, watched The New World in the middle of the afternoon (an afternoon movie felt like the epitome of luxury), took a nap, made pizza, watched a documentary with the kids, and played Scrabble with Caroline. Then I meditated and read before bed.

One upside to jonesing for work is that I woke up today READY to get shit done. I’ve already knocked a bunch of stuff off my to-do list. That forced down time made me appreciate the time I have to work.

Plus, I want to get as much done as possible before next week’s Sunday Experiment.

What about you? Did you take the day off? If so, what how did you spend your day? if not, what are the challenges facing you in finding downtime?

<3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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12/13/12 Contests & Giveaway , Shadowguard Series , Uncategorized # ,

Winners of the Shadowguard Cover Giveaway

Ahem. Time to announce the winners of Shadowguard Cover Giveaway. To enter, all you had to do was comment on the covers of TEMPTATION’S HEAT and TEMPTATION’S KISS. It could be anything.

Even, “Holy boob!” as my editor said. Lol!

And the winners are… *cue drum roll*

Caitlin

Francoise B

Jessirae

You each win a copy of Temptation’s Heat and Temptation’s Kiss, plus two more novellas – Captivated By You by Diane Alberts and Unwrap Me by Samantha Spencer and Carolina Jordan – from Swoon Romance. To claim your prizes, email swoonromance@gmail.com with Shadowguard Series Cover Giveaway in the Subject line. Please include whether you’d like Nook or Kindle versions of your books.

Thanks for entering and remember that you still have time to win these four books PLUS a $50 or $25 gift card to the book store of your choice in the Shadowguard Launch Giveaway! You have until Midnight EST on 12/20 to enter.

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12/11/12 Uncategorized

Satellite

Loving this week’s song, Satellite, by Guster. It’s kind of a groovy, mellow jam, yes?

Hope you guys like it, too!

<3

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12/04/12 Contests & Giveaway , Shadowguard Series , Uncategorized # ,

Shadowguard Series Launch Giveaway!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You guys! Temptation’s Heat and Temptation’s Kiss, books one and two in the Shadowguard series, are out and ready for your hot little hands.

Emphasis on the word HOT.

In many ways, the Shadowguard series represents a departure for me. While my work to date has been exclusively YA, the Shadowguard series is solidly adult (and pretty steamy, if I do say so myself).

But a story is a story, and I like to think the Shadowguard series has all the elements that readers love in my other work; complex characters, tons of atmosphere, and of course, plenty of sexy (although these are significantly steamier than any of my YA work). I’m having great fun playing in this new world, and I can’t wait to share it all with you.

To celebrate, I’m kicking off an awesome giveaway. Because you all know how I love me some giveaways.

Up for grabs is a $50 gift card and a $25 gift card (to the bookstore of your choice) plus copies of both novellas. And there are lots of ways to enter! You get one entry for each time you tweet a link to the giveaway (limit of one per day), one entry for each review you post on Amazon and/or B&N (four possible entries if you review both books on both sites), one entry for posting the covers on your Pinterest board, and FIVE entries for changing you Twitter pic to either cover.

Just post links to your reviews, Pinterest board, and Twitter profile in the comments section! Giveaway open now through 12/20 at Midnight EST.

Thanks so much for helping me celebrate!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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09/25/12 Contests & Giveaway , Uncategorized #

The Blessed Giveaway

Today I’m super excited to celebrate the release of THE BLESSED.

That’s because A) it’s awesome, and B) Tonya Hurley, its author, is equally awesome.

I was fortunate enough to receive an ARC of THE BLESSED a couple of months ago and quickly devoured it. Gritty, dark, and seething with violence and danger, it brings something new to the YA table.

And that is not very easy to do these days.

So to celebrate, I’m giving away a prize pack (generously donated by Tonya) including;

One signed copy of the book (which is GORGEOUS, as you can see!)

An incense burner

Frankincense incense

A handmade Blessed bracelet

Aside from being riveting and wholly original, the book itself is stunning, with interior art and a reversible cover that is both eerie and beautiful.

As you can see, there are TONS of ways to win. You get one entry each for commenting, following Tonya on Twitter, following me on Twitter (mandatory for entry validation), liking THE BLESSED Facebook page on Facebook, liking the Prophecy of the Sisters Facebook Page, and tweeting a link to the giveaway.

And that’s not all. You get FIVE ENTRIES for changing your Twitter picture to a picture of THE BLESSED cover for the duration of this giveaway. That’s right! FIVE!

Giveaway runs for two weeks starting now and is open to residents of the US and Canada or anyone with a US mailing address.

So what are you waiting for?!

<3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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08/31/12 Friday Poll , Uncategorized #

Wake Me Up Before You Go Go!

Sometimes, when a day is really tough – or when the night before has been really tough – you just need a pick me up.

Am I right?!

Writers are notorious for their consumption of candy, chocolate, and coffee (I once heard a murmur rise like a tidal wave in a group of writers at a conference when word got out the conference organizers had forgotten to order coffee). Sour Patch Kids used to be my weapon of choice for motivating me to keep working, but I figured if I didn’t want to be diabetic by the time I was 45, I probably should just STOP.

Now I chew gum in all kinds of flavors to avoid candy. But I have to admit to an ever-present addiction to tea and coffee. I’d like to break it eventually, but right now, my days seem to be a cycle of sleeping when I’m tired and caffeinating to wake up again.

Probably not the healthiest thing in the world, but it’s working for me right now.

How about you? What’s your pick me up of choice? Coffee? Tea? Sugar? Or maybe that good old fashioned pick me up — SLEEP? Or maybe… all of the above (because in this poll, you can choose as many answers as apply)!

Weigh in with the Friday Poll!

<3

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08/29/12 Life , Uncategorized #

Goodbyes and Get-On-With-Its

Last week marked a momentous occasion for the Zink household; I sent my beloved girl, Rebekah (pictured here at graduation with her best friend), off to college.

The date, of course, had been looming for a long, long time, ever since she was accepted in the Spring and we started receiving information about move-in. But somehow, it still came as a shock to actually drive away without her.

As many of you know, she and I are extraordinarily close. As she’s grown, she’s become more than a daughter. She’s become a friend and my nearly constant companion. Which is only part of the reason I know this will be good for her.

She’s only going to school about a half hour away. In fact, she could easily have commuted (and many of the local kids here do commute to this university). But I really felt that it was time for her to get out in the world, to see some of it through the lens of her own eyes, to develop memories and experiences apart from those we’ve shared.

All of which is a reminder how very much our children teach us. Because I’ll be honest – it was tempting. Aside from the obvious incentive of keeping her home, there were very real financial incentives for commuting, too (room and board makes up more than half the tuition).

But, as my children have taught me, love isn’t selfish. As much as I want to keep them close, I also want them to see and experience everything the world has to offer. And they just can’t do that from home.

My mantra to them lately has been, “Adventure is out there!!! Not in here… Out THERE!”

And it is. Not just for them, but for me, too. For years, I’ve been daydreaming about the places I want to see and the things I want to do when the kids are all grown up. Soon, I’ll get my chance. So it’s time to put my money where my mouth is and start dreaming, not just for my children, but for me, too. Time to stop mourning the loss of one thing and celebrate the start of something new. In short, time to get on with it.

So this is me. Getting on with it.

<3

 

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07/27/12 Friday Poll , Uncategorized #

Friday Poll; Second (Writer) Chances

I’ve come to the conclusion that being published has allowed me to see the best and worst in people. I’ve been the grateful subject of tremendous support, endless encouragement, and appreciation from all over the world. I’ve had the privilege of talking to, learning from, and befriending many talented people (published authors and otherwise) and have seen the writing community rally around people in need due to all kinds of circumstances.

On the other hand, I’ve seen reviewers be downright mean, witnessed high school-esque backstabbing, and rumor-mongering that would make a Mean Girl proud.

And then there are things I just don’t get. Like people who have NEVER liked an author’s work but keep reading and reviewing.

Now, OF COURSE these people have a right to read and review what they want. They can hate every one of an author’s books and keep reading and reviewing if they want.

I guess I just don’t get it. I’m SO BUSY. I’m lucky if I get to read all the books I’m DYING to read. So if I haven’t liked someone’s work in the past, especially if I’ve tried more than one of their books, I just don’t bother reading the others. Not because I think they’re terrible hacks, but because I acknowledge that not every writer is for every reader. Writers have certain styles and specific voices, and there’s just no way every one of us is going to connect with every one of you. Some people want heavy character development and don’t care much about a unique plot. Others want fast-paced action and don’t like characters who navel gaze. Some readers like tons of setting detail. Others find it boring and slow. I can go on Goodreads and look at the books I think are the most brilliant contributions to literature in the last 100 years and still find lots of people who rip on it without reservation.

So I tend to skip titles – even heavily hyped ones – by authors I just don’t connect with.

But that’s just me. And it got me thinking about books and authors and second chances. I can’t help wondering if I’m in the minority, if everyone else gives every author an endless number of chances to win them over. I guess it would be a mixed blessing; awesome that people keep giving your work a try, not so awesome if they start reviews with something like, “I’ve never liked so-and-so’s work, and this one was no exception.”

What about you? How many chances does an author get to win you over before you decide they’re just not for you?

Weigh in with the Friday Poll (and feel free to discuss in the comments)!

<3

0 likes 10 responses
07/10/12 Contests & Giveaway , Music , Song of the Week , Uncategorized # , ,

No Light, No Light + Winners!

This week’s song comes to you courtesy of Melissa, one of my favorite bloggers and readers. I LOVE all of Florence + the Machine’s music, but this is probably one of my favorites.

Thanks, Melissa!

I also need to announce the winners of the Escape Into Books Super Summer Giveaway. *cue drum roll*

The winners of a massive summer prize pack are… Nevey and Christina.

Congrats, you guys! Both winners were chosen by the RNG (Random Number Generator). Please email Rebekah at prophecypress@aol.com with your full name and mailing address and we’ll get your prize packs right out to you.

Everyone else; stay tuned for the next giveaway. And in the meantime, enjoy this week’s song!

<3

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06/04/12 Contests & Giveaway , Uncategorized #

The Cuh-razy Coffer of Carnival Madness!!!

Okay, so I promised something special for those of you coming to see me at this year’s TEEN AUTHOR CARNIVAL, and I’m here to deliver.

Behold, the Cuh-razy Coffer of carnival Madness!!!

Here’s how it works; if you’re at the Fourth Annual Teen Author Carnival tomorrow night at the Jefferson Market Branch Library in New York City, all you have to do is get in my signing line with a book, and you get to choose a prize from the Cuh-razy Coffer of Carnival Madness. There are an array of goodies on offer – all wrapped to preserve the surprise – including nail polish, picture frames, iTunes gift cards, body sprays, candles, lip gloss, Prophecy of the Sisters t-shirts, vouchers for free downloads of Whisper of Souls (the first of three Prophecy novellas which release tomorrow), picture frames, books (hardcovers, paperbacks, and ARCs) plus ONE $50 VISA gift card.

YOU MUST HAVE ONE OF MY BOOKS TO SIGN in order to play. It can be an ARC. a book from home, or one you purchase at the Carnival. I’m happy to sign anything else you want to bring and also happy to say hello and chat for a minute, but you can only pick from the Cuh-razy Coffer of Carnival Madness is you have one of my books in hand to sign.

And don’t forget! There will be TONS of amazing authors at the 2012 Teen Author Carnival. It’s always a blast with fun, interesting panels and ample opportunity to chat with authors and book people.

Hope to see you there!

<3

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05/25/12 Friday Poll , Uncategorized #

How Do You Like to Chill

Since we’re getting ready to host 30+ teenagers from Rebekah’s future college class (SUNY New Paltz Class of 2016! WOOT!), I thought it would be a good night to ask you guys about hanging out.

Namely, how do you like to do it? I’m a small crowd person, in general. I like hanging out in a more intimate group of people, sharing wine and great conversation. There are a few exceptions – concerts and film festivals to name two. But most of the time, I like to keep it low-key.

How about you? Weigh in with the Friday Poll!

<3

0 likes 2 responses
04/28/12 Life , Uncategorized , Week in the Life #

A Week in the Life; Prison Breaks, Vegan Chocolate Chips, and Moody Skies

Welcome to my first A Week in the Life post, as suggested by Jana, one of my readers. I recently asked for things you’d like to see on my blog, and Jana’s suggestion of posting random photographs from my life each week received agreement from several other readers.

I’m usually shy posting about my real life, but I figure this will force me to use my camera AND open up a little more.

You ready for this?

This was my week in pictures…

The chandelier that cost me a day's work.

 

One of my favorite salads. I eat this for lunch more days than I care to admit.

 

A week of moody, beautiful skies.

 

A strange "prize" for winning a track race. O_o

 

Some of my haul from Oblong Books in Rhinebeck, NY.

 

Jessie the Dog after the prison break that earned me a citation from my town.

 

The lilac bush given to my by my mom before she moved away. It's blooming!

 

Still haven't resolved the debate over whether these chocolate chips are Vegan...

 

Not unusual to see this in the college town near the University Rebekah will be attending next year.

 

A rough week resulted in a decision to have two Fridays. We did Thai take-out to celebrate Friday #1.

0 likes 6 responses
04/27/12 Friday Poll , Uncategorized #

Friday Poll; Social Anxiety

I have a confession to make; I’m terribly, awfully, horrifically anxious around unfamiliar people. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a small group or a big one, whether I’m meeting one person for lunch or giving a speech in front of a room full of people. The experience is agonizing, not just during the event or even immediately before it, but for days and sometimes weeks leading up to it.

I’ve gotten better. Yoga and meditation have helped me overcome a lot of my high-strung tendencies, and they have given me tools for managing my anxiety, too.

Like BREATHE. That’s a good one. And remember that no matter WHAT happens during this event/speech/meeting/lunch, it will pass, as all things do.

But still. It’s hard. And the funny thing is, when I tell people that I suffer from social anxiety, that I feel shy and embarrassed and self-conscious in front of people, they almost always look at me incredulously and say some variation of, “You?! Psh! Riiiight.”

I credit my years in sales and marketing for the ability to look someone in the eye, to shake their hand and smile, uttering all the socially expected niceties when I really want to puke and run. I’ve learned to put on a good show, but I’m still learning to really, truly enjoy these moments and events instead of dread them, because really, when they’re OVER, I almost always find that I’ve enjoyed myself.

With all of this, I was intrigued to read this article in the New York Times book review on a book titled; QUIET, THE POWER OF INTROVERTS IN A WORLD THAT WON’T STOP TALKING, written by a woman who considers herself to be an introvert of the highest order. I haven’t actually read the book yet, but now I’ve added it to my TBR list. It sounds like a book whose time has come, because I have this theory that more people are socially anxious than we realize. Like well-versed travelers in a foreign land, many of us have learned to do and say the right thing, but I’m always surprised at the number of people I speak to who admit feeling downright sick when forced to socialize with others.

Is it a product of our modern day society? Of the fact that we can and do keep our distance from our fellow man through a variety of electronic devices? Of that fact that we’re all SO DAMN BUSY that we don’t have time to socialize anymore? To visit our neighbors? To check on the elderly couple who lives next door or bring a cake to the new family on the block?

Are we losing our ability to truly connect with other human beings?

I don’t know, but I WANT to know. So for this week’s Friday Poll (yay! The Friday Poll is back!), I’m hoping you’ll share your thoughts on the matter. And feel free to comment, too!

Also, check back tomorrow for my first A Week in the Life post. As suggested by Jana, one of my favorite readers, I’ll be posting random pictures from my week with little or no explanation. Should be fun!

 

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04/13/12 Uncategorized

Win Free Copies of The Vespertine, The Springsweet & A Temptation of Angels!

“Do you know what I’ve missed since coming here? Books. I do miss reading novels, don’t you?”
-Zora, The Springsweet

Pretty much every writer started out as a reader; now that we’re writers, we can’t help but write about people who love books. Sometimes IN the books. It’s meta upon meta, but it makes perfect sense to us.

To celebrate books, Saundra Mitchell’s blog tour is all about sharing two great things that go great together: books + free. We’re working the historical connection today—there’s just something about corsets and magic that go great together.

Today, you can enter to win a copy A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS, and a signed set of Saundra’s THE VESPERTINE and THE SPRINGSWEET. All you have to do is comment in this entry, and leave an e-mail address where we can contact you. (US & Canadian residents only, please.)

And tell us about your favorite book, too. Growing a TBR pile is the best gardening there is!

THE SPRINGSWEET

A Companion to The Vespertine

by Saundra Mitchell

Hardcover & E-book
From Harcourt

“A lovely historical romance takes readers back to the 1890 Oklahoma territory. (T)he author conjures a convincing picture of life on the Oklahoma prairie, painting an absorbing portrait of the landscape and of the people there. A high-quality, absorbing drama.”

Kirkus Reviews, 02/01/12

It’s a long way from Baltimore to Oklahoma Territory. But Zora Stewart will go any distance to put the tragic events of her sixteenth summer behind her. So this city girl heads to the tiny frontier town of West Glory to help her young widowed aunt keep her homestead going.

When another Baltimorean shows up in West Glory, Zora couldn’t be more surprised. Theo de la Croix made the long trip out west hoping to court Zora, whom he has long admired from afar.
But Zora has developed an attraction to a rather less respectable fellow: Emerson Birch, a rough-mannered young “sooner” whose fertile land is coveted.

As Zora begins to suspect that there may be more than luck behind Emerson’s good land, she discovers an extraordinary, astonishing power of her own: the ability to sense water under the parched earth. When her aunt hires her out as a “springsweet” to advise other settlers where to dig their wells, Zora feels the burden of holding the key to something so essential to survival in this unforgiving land.

Even more, she finds herself longing for love the way the prairie thirsts for water. Maybe, in the wildness of the territories, Zora can finally move beyond simply surviving and start living.

THE SPRINGSWEET
is available at Indiebound |Amazon| Barnes & Noble

Saundra Mitchell has been a phone psychic, a car salesperson, a denture-deliverer and a layout waxer. She’s dodged trains, endured basic training, and hitchhiked from Montana to California. She teaches herself languages, raises children, and makes paper for fun. She’s the author of Shadowed Summer, The Vespertine, The Springsweet, and the forthcoming The Elementals and Mistwalker. She’s also the editor of the forthcoming YA anthology Defy the Dark. She always picks truth; dares are too easy.

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03/28/12 A Temptation of Angels , Contests & Giveaway , Uncategorized # ,

Looking for a Tempting Vibe?

I’m all about atmosphere, so if you’re looking for a little taste of the atmosphere in A TEMPTATION IF ANGELS, here are two good ways to check it out!

You can go to the A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS Pinterest board, which is a virtual bulletin board of images that fit in with the vibe in the book. It’s GORGEOUS, if I do say so myself! I had so much fun choosing all the beautiful images.

You can also listen to samples of Kenneth’s original A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS score, either on Itunes or on Amazon. It’s a perfect fit for the book. Kenneth and I collaborated for months on the project, with Kenneth coming up with new pieces and calling me over to listen when he thought he had something good. We have a lot of fun with these projects, and I feel so lucky to have someone around who really “gets” the atmosphere in my work and is able to so perfectly match it with his own.

You have almost a week left to buy a copy of A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS in any brick-and-mortar store (an Indie, a B&N, Books-a-Million, etc.) for an entry into the $250 gift card giveaway, and you have a little less than a week to accumulate entries in the epic Ipad Giveaway (which includes lots of other great prizes in addition to the Ipad).

So.. yeah! Tons of awesome prizes and chances to win, in addition to quite a few blogger giveaways still going on.

And with that, I need to share some links of more awesome blogger reviews fro A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS. I try to say thank you to bloggers who enjoy my work and review. If I missed you, it was entirely unintentional! If you’d like me to link to your review, just send it to prophecypress@aol.com.

Gothic Angel Book Reviews wrote, “I must say that few books end with me in tears with a pile of tissues beside me. Even fewer books still that start with tears and end with a wry kind of smile. A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS was one of the latter.”

Book Kitty Blog called TEMPTATION, “Dark and beautiful.”

Rebecca’s Book Blog said, “If you love historical fantasy, or if you love paranormal romance but want to read something that’s different and unique, I highly recommend this book.”

You can still enter Reading or Breathing’s giveaway for personalized copies of A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS, and Novel Thoughts is still running their giveaway for two wonderful prize packs, including book store gift cards.

Tomorrow I’ll start unveiling the contemporary A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS playlist. Come back to check it out!

<3

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Michelle Zink is the award-winning author of over seven novels. She lives in New York with too many teenagers and too many cats.
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Acclaim

"This arresting story takes readers to other planes of existence…"
- Booklist (starred review)


“An intense and captivating story…”
- VOYA (starred review)


“A fresh and engaging cast of characters, a page-turning plot and lyrical prose add up to an accomplished feat of storytelling…”
- The Guardian


“A captivating tragedy…"
- Publishers Weekly


“Zink’s methodical unfolding of events will draw readers in…”
- Kirkus


“Tingly suspense is craftily managed…”
- The Bulletin

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