Friday, August 17, 2012

Let's celebrate!

This has been a fantabulous week and I've spent much of it happy-dancing around my office.  Why?  HONORABLE RANCHER, my August Harlequin American Romance, released last week.

I've been writing almost from the time I learned to print, then "published" my first short story at the age of nine.  Since then, I've written many stories and novels, each one of which is special to me.

A new book coming out is beyond special—it's worthy of celebration!  So I celebrate.  ;)

Nothing too fancy, such as a cruise or an exotic vacation or expensive jewelry, although something bling-y may come along later.  LOL  But you can be sure it will involve chocolate, flowers, dinner out, and chocolate.  No, that's not a repeat.  Great celebrations simply require lots of chocolate.

In fact, I'm sending you a cyber selection of them right now so you can help me celebrate the release of HONORABLE RANCHER.  I hope you'll take a look at the book, too, and if you pick it up, I hope you enjoy it.

Meanwhile...happy munching, and how about sharing what you do to celebrate special occasions.

All my best to you,



Barbara White Daille

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


First off, let me apologize for being so lax lately in making my blog days. Looonnnggg story and lots of excuses, but let’s just say that hopefully I’ll do better in the future. Life has been insane on a couple levels, but I am taking an Early Retirement Buyout from my company and after August 31, life will hopefully settle down. Fingers crossed.

Now, on to my day today. I’m burning some vacation days and checking things off my To Do List. Today was my day to finally find a new hair salon closer to home. It’s only been three years since we moved, and in my defense I did try one other before racing forty miles back to my old salon. I guess that statement makes me sound like a girly girl, but really, I’m anything but. I don’t ask much. An easy to maintain cut and natural highlights. It didn’t turn out bad. A little more blonde than the subtle highlights I requested, but all in all, it’ll do.

But I digress. At the risk of insulting all the wonderful women friends I have, what I learned today is that I really stink at girly talk. Not only am I not good at it, it makes me nuts.

Sitting in the quaint little salon, I absorbed all the chatter. Hey, I’m a writer and it is novel fodder, right?

One lady went on and on about how much she wanted her son, Jared? Jarett? Jaron? Whatever, one of the J names. (And I can say that as I have two sons and two grandsons, all with J names) Anyway, she desperately wanted Jay Whatever to realize that he should marry Natalie. I heard all her son’s wonderful attributes from his tall good looks, to his recently acquired accounting degree and fantastic new job, to how he played guitar in his church. Someone should nominate this guy for sainthood. Then we were on to Natalie and how perfect of a wife she would make for Jay Whatever and how Mom sent him pictures of Natalie and told him all about her and vice versa. How she arranged for Natalie to drop by this past weekend when Jay was home. These two people grew up together and even went to the same church, so I’m thinking they should know whether there was any chemistry between them, right? I so wanted to tell the woman that with all her motherly good intentions, she was signing poor Natalie’s death sentence with Jay Whatever. But I very diplomatically kept quiet. Aren’t you proud of me?

When the women behind me started discussing shoes, I wanted to fold my legs beneath me and hide my plain black Nike flip flops. But then I noticed the woman two chairs down had on the $3 variety you can pick up at any discount store and she seemed fine with the conversation, so I relaxed. Still, are there really that many varieties of flip flops? Who knew?

But here is the part that really interested me. The stylists were all young and there were a couple young girls in for cuts before they returned to college. So we were treated to the typical boyfriend and dating horrors. I felt sorry for any guy who even attempted to decipher what made these girls tick. But the fun part was watching the poor teenage boy who was in for a cut and highlight. The guy looked like a deer in the headlights and hardly opened his mouth. When the stylist was finally done with his hair, he raced out of there so fast he left a Texas dust devil of flying hair behind.

Wow, when my critique partners call me the token male of our group, I think I’m flattered.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Mini-Vacation--Skinny Butt Required!!

Me and my fab agent, Michelle Grajkowski at the Harlequin party!!

Hate being a Debbie Downer, but ever since returning from RWA I've been sick.  After lots of tests, my doctor suspects a kidney stone(s), but progress in fixing the issue is moving as slow as our horrible Tulsa traffic.  Anyway, I'm not in screaming agony, but I sure don't feel up to doing much of anything.

This wouldn't be any big deal save for the fact that Hubby and I have been planning an amazing trip to Belize since January.  We were to leave in two weeks.  Belize isn't an easy destination.  From Tulsa, takes two days to get there, and pretty much anything you do in the country requires a tiny plane or boat.  We were excited to explore caves, ruins and reefs.  Scuba and zip line.  Considering the fact that lately I need a rest stop every five feet, no Belize for us.  I canceled our international and domestic flights, our romantic luxury hotel and then pouted.  And pouted.  And pouted.

Because of other issues too ghastly to even discuss, it's been a seriously crap few days.  In the midst of our general Altom Crapstorm, my sweet, amazing, handsome hubby took me on a mini-vacation that lifted my spirits.

I was surprised by how small the plane was.

Loving anything vintage, when I saw that a restored DC-3 was on display, I wanted to go!  Now, for hubby, it was all about seeing the plane.  For me, it was about the people who flew on the plane.  I wanted to imagine how elegant air travel used to be.  Even as a kid, I remember my grandmother buying me a new dress to fly in.  The plane we toured is said to have carried only the mega-rich and travelers were dressed just short of Black Tie.  We flipped through photos and the most fun of all were the stewardesses.

Me at the controls!! 
I know, I know, they're now called Flight Attendants, but back when I wanted to be one more than anything in the world, I told everyone I was going to be a stewardess--sounded MUCH more romantic!! Back in the day, there were strict requirements.  From the pics, they were all roughly the same height, had perfect figures and hair and resembled living Barbie Dolls.  From the vintage photos, the glamor factor looks off-the-charts!!

Our tour literally lasted only ten minutes.  Me and my overactive imagination had conjured images of this massive luxury liner complete with a walk-up bar, lounge and huge comfy seats.  I couldn't have been more wrong!  The seats were so narrow, no one on the plane with us even fit in them except for a few little kids!!  Your butt would have to be ridiculously skinny for you to be comfortable!!!  LOL!!  The plane held 21 apparently emaciated passengers, two pilots and a lucky stewardess.

Check out those narrow seats!!! But plenty of leg room . . .

Sweet Hubby bought me a T-shirt and that was my big hour out of the house.  Back home, I was happy for a nap, but at least instead of pouting over our lost trip to Belize, I now had fun dreams of me being a stewardess who only works the routes to Paris and Rome!!

A SEAL's Secret Baby--finally in stores NOW!!!

P.S.  The first book of my new Operation Family SEAL series, A SEAL's Secret Baby debuts this month and should now be in stores nationwide!!  Happy Reading!! :-)    

Monday, August 13, 2012

Praise the pie and pass the whipped cream…

Pie.  My favorite dessert of all time.  My earliest pie memory was when I was five years old and we first moved to New Jersey.  A few feet from our back porch stood a cherry tree.  Mom and I would pick and pit the cherries and she would make the most amazing cherry pie. 

Growing up, my family made weekend jaunts to Cape Cod, where we frequently ate lunch at a small cafe called The Brown Bag.  Their specialty was Kentucky Sky High Pie.  Pecans, molasses, chocolate and pure heaven.  The Brown Bag no longer serves that pie and our backyard cherry tree is long gone, but the memories remain.

The Magpie luncheonette and bakery is featured prominently in the series I am currently writing.  For the sake of literary accuracy and not wanting to steer my readers down the wrong pie path, I find it necessary to research various types of pies.  I’m always on the lookout for new recipes to sample and add to my collection. 

While I can never duplicate my fondest pie memories, I have come to realize the ones that now win my heart over are the simplest to prepare, like my rustic apple pie.  Place three sliced apples with a smattering of sugar and cinnamon in the center of pie crust and loosely fold the edges over leaving the center exposed.  No pie plate necessary.  Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until golden brown.  You can easily substitute pears, peaches or other fruits.  I promise, you’ll never feel guilty about a slice. 

In the northeast, pie was reserved as a summer treat.  I live in South Carolina now, and pies are a year round staple.  Candles adorn birthday pies.  Pot luck suppers mean multiple pies.  I’ve even seen pies replace the traditional wedding cake. 

Pie crust is an art in itself.  There are even television cooking shows devoted to it.  The best one I’ve seen is the series Alton Brown did for The Food Network on the science of pie crust for his Good Eats show.  I have to admit, sometimes (not always) I cheat and buy the premade pie crust you thaw and unroll.  Shhh.  It will be our little secret.    

Now that I’m craving a slice, tell me, what is your favorite pie?  Feel free to share a recipe or two. 

Amanda Renée
Betting on Texas (March 2013)