Saturday, April 19, 2008

Baked Beans Fiasco

Shelley Galloway always shares her stories... so here’s mine. My grandson’s third birthday was last week. His parents had his kids, other parents and we grandparents over for barbecued chicken. I offered to bring baked beans. Not just any old beans, but homemade. I have a great recipe from the Barefoot Contessa I wanted to try.

These beans took 6-8 hours to cook. First problem: My bean pot wasn’t big enough. No problem, I crammed everything in, anyway. Of course a few hours later my oven was a disaster. The sad part came later. When it was time to go to the party, the casserole was still piping hot. I placed it in one of those shopping bags with handles, the kind you get at Macy’s or Nordstrom. The plan was, carry the beans in that. When my husband parked and I reached for the bag by the handles. My thought was to put my hands underneath the bottom. Before I could, the bottom of the bag ripped out. The casserole crashed onto the sidewalk and broke. Beans everywhere! I just about cried, but was too busy helping my husband scoop beans into the half of the casserole dish that wasn’t smashed to bits. “At least we won’t add to methane gas pollution tonight,” he joked. Ha ha, right? We dropped the mess into the trash, then headed inside. The pun part was that everyone there shared similar stories of their own food disasters, even my daughter, who’d once dropped a cake she’d made for a friend’s baby shower.

It’s nice to know I’m not the only one. What about you? Any food disasters you want to share?

Until next time,
Ann Roth

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Writing Conferences

I'm preparing to attend the Chicago-North RWA Spring Fling Conference.
They're hosting a great line up of authors this year--one of my favorites--Debbie Macomber.

As much as I enjoy the workshops, the multi-author book signing, schmoozing with area librarians and booksellers and touching base with other published authors… what I really enjoy most about smaller conferences is having more opportunities to chat with aspiring writers.

Writing a book is a challenging, exhausting and emotional endeavor--for me anyway. After the first few books, much of the glitz and glamour of the whole "Published Author" world disappears as we settle down to overlapping deadlines, proposals and promotion work. Is it any wonder some of the passion earlier in our writing career ends up smothered by the demands of the job? Conferences are a great way for writers to re-fuel, re-energize and get back the excitement that fizzles after those first few sales. I love being around aspiring romance writers. Their enthusiasm is contagious and serves to remind me again why I love what I do. It's even fun answering the same questions over and over: How long did it take for you to sell your first book? Your second book? Is such-n-such character going to get their own story?

If you've attended any...what inspires you most about writing conferences?

In a Soldier's Arms
Feb 08
A Coal Miner's Wife Aug 08
The Cowboy and the Angel Nov 08

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Fascinating People

The image of a writer used to be (and in some circles still is) a highbrow in a tweed jacket, smoking a pipe and discussing the literary scene with professors in literary salons. Yet after selling eighty novels, I still don’t own a tweed jacket and the only salon I frequent is the one where I get my hair cut.

On the other hand, as a writer, I do encounter fascinating people. For example, last Saturday, at a meeting of the Orange County Chapter of Romance Writers of America (, I ran into an old friend, D.P. Lyle, M.D., who was our guest speaker.

Doug is the author of several suspense novels and a number of nonfiction works. He wrote Forensics for Dummies and maintains a Web site that addresses medical matters of interest to writers (

A practicing cardiologist, Doug gleefully tackles even the most obscure – and sometimes gruesome – details of true crime cases and fictional supposition. For instance, on the subject of DNA, he told us that the recipient of a bone marrow transplant would have the donor’s DNA in his or her blood cells (white cells only, he noted; the red ones don’t contain DNA). The person’s teeth, skin and other organs contain the original DNA.

How does a cardiologist get interested in forensics? Doug said that, at parties, just as the general public buttonholes physicians to ask about medical ills, writers cornered him – as a doctor and novelist -- to ask about forensics situations in their novels.

He began researching the subject and taking notes, and became so immersed that after a while he decided he had the makings of a book. Thus was a second – or, actually, a third -- career born.

Doug’s latest book is Forensics: A Guide for Writers, published by Writers Digest Books. I’m sure you’ll find his work as fascinating as I do.

(By the way, sorrow for the messed-up partial post below. Blogger hiccuped this morning and I can't figure out how to delete it)

Fascinating people

Monday, April 14, 2008

While it doesn't seem possible that another month has passed, here we are! LOL!! Of all the things I'd hoped to accomplish over Spring Break, the best I can remember is that I did a lot of lunching with friends!! Oh well, there's always next year to clean closets!!

With Spring testing all week at school, I'm guessing fun's not going to be in my vocabulary, so to liven things up after school, I bought a new Video game--Need For Speed Underground 2. Actually, it's not new, but pretty old in gaming terms, but still fun. I was not happy about having to go to bed last night just as I'd earned hydraulics for my car!!

Hubby just returned from LA. He stayed downtown and had quite a few run-ins with homeless folks, which was sad. Daughter's busy preparing for the upcoming cheer tryouts, and I've volunteered to be Cheer Booster Club president--pray for me now!!! Next year should be interesting!! Son #1 was promoted to the Dairy section at the grocery store where he works, so that was exciting, as he constantly complains about how much he despises checking out groceries. Son #2 is off to Atlanta this week for a school trip. Judging by the amount of grumbling he's doing, I'm guessing he's not all that thrilled.

In writing news, I'm awaiting word on some new proposals I've worked up for the Harlequin American line. My May release, THREE BOYS AND A BABY, is one of my favorites!! The cover still makes me smile!! Thank you, Cover Gods!!

In diet news, I'm failing miserably. Nothing much new there--LOL!!!

In garden news, it's been too cold here in Oklahoma to plant much of anything. Grumble, grumble!!

Sorry to not have more exciting news of any kind, but I'm kind of mired in a holding pattern of waiting. Waiting for warmth, waiting for summer vacation (six weeks and counting!!), waiting for exciting new book contracts, waiting for Matthew Mcconaughey to realize I'm the woman for him!!! Anyway, you get the picture!!!

So until Matthew calls, I'll keep eating Cheetos and playing my new racing game. As for all of you also stuck in Spring holding patterns, have fun, and don't do anything I wouldn't do--which pretty much opens you up for plenty of mischief!! LOL!!!

P.S. I'm at school right now, and don't have access to my May cover, but as soon as I get home, I'll post it, so you can hopefully smile at my cute baby, too!!!