Notebook Nirvana!

In keeping with Sophia’s excellent gift recommendations, I propose to add one of my dearest obsessions to the list: notebooks! You can never have too many, there is no place or situation that could not be edified by a notebook’s inspiring, yet practical presence. The more notebooks you have, the more opportunity to jot down dialogue, plot ideas, grocery lists, or random attempts at spelling if you have a pre-K human in your family! And if all that fails to grab you, what about all the pretty colors?? Of the infinite variety to choose from, here are a few of my picks:

For the purist, what could be better than the classic moleskine notebook? I’m partial to willow green:

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Or, you could choose something more whimsical based on the writer’s genre or favorite things:

mermaid-notebook

octopus-notebook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What about inspiration from a favorite book? I’m totally getting this for my Harry Potter-loving niece:

harry-potter-notebook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Historical Fiction folks:

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Any Southern girl needs a monogrammed one:

monogram-journal-etsy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And last, but not least, for the author(s) in your life who are under insane deadline dilemmas, publisher problems, or egregious edits, you need this:

okay-journal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, from me to you, Happy Holidays and Happy Writing (in an awesome new notebook)!

Love,

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Holiday Gifts for the Book Lovers in Your Life

It’s that time of year where we start obsessing over what to get our friends and family. I’ve put together a mix of unique and practical gifts that are sure to make your Book Loving friends happy!

Literary Scarf

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I LOVE THESE. I bought an Alice in Wonderland scarf for my best friend two years ago. She adored it!

Don’t really like the classical literature options?? It’s okay! I found an Easy store that will make a scarf with the words you want on it. Which is a pretty cool gift for the AUTHOR or book lover in your life. (hint hint) Link: ESTY Store

 

 

 

Book Shaped Plates

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I can’t even handle how cute these are! I want a stack of them!

 

 

 

 

Stacked Book Tissue Box Cover

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This one is really clever. I mean, no offense to tissue makers, but even the decorative boxes aren’t that cute. Stack some books over that ugly box! Bonus — This one is only $15 on Amazon.

 

 

 

GIFT CARDS!!!

I know some people say that gift cards (and cash) are impersonal. But what I think is impersonal is getting someone a gift that they’ll NEVER use. Maybe I think a stacked-book tissue box cover is the bees knees, but a friend might think – why the F would I want that ugly ass thing on my counter?

WHEN IN DOUBT – GIVE A GIFT CARD!!

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I swear I’m not pimping Amazon or anything, but it really is a GO-TO gift card for me because people can buy whatever they find on there! And I can send E-Gift cards –which is always a bonus! Plus, the Big A has a ton of cute e-gift card designs to choose from.

 

Comment below with with your favorite bookish gifst to get Book Lovers in your life! I’m sure we all would love new and creative recommendations!!

Happy Holidays!!

Sophia Henry writes Heartfelt Flirty Fiction featuring hot, hockey-playing heroes. DELAYED PENALTY and POWER PLAY, the first two books in the Pilots Hockey series from Random House Flirt, are available now at all major e-book retailers.

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Let Books Be Our Happy Place

I’m usually much more eloquent than I’m going to be in this post, but the truth is, I don’t have much to say—not much that’s appropriate for a group blog, anyway. Instead, I’m just going to leave you with an assortment of diverse reads and hope if you’re one of the millions feeling hopeless, lost, devastated, angry, fearful, or distraught after the events of the past week, you’ll practice a bit of self care. Pick a book at random and get lost in another world for a while.

          

        

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Amazing Finds That Have Nothing To Do With Writing

For me, this autumn has been…well, it’s been. As much as I love this time of year, I’m glad to see September and October go. (Bye already!) My job and personal life became way too busy and stressful for me to spend much energy on writing. I managed to send off the edits for Book 3 of the Honeywilde Romance series (Whoot, whoot!), and read through a manuscript I wrote a year and half ago to tag aaaaaaaaaaaaall of the places that need work, but that’s it. Slim pickins on the writer front, but I realized sometimes that’s okay. Sometimes you need to handle your life and refill the well, or there’s no point in writing at all.

In the absence of authoring awesomeness, I discovered a few things that filled my well and allowed me to cling to my love of the season. EMichels already posted about our mini-escape to the mountains. I highly recommend the occasional getaway for maintaining sanity. But below are a few simple frivolities that put a smile on my face during a time I was constantly grinding my teeth:

  1. Halloween in our new home.

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Halloween has been my jam since I was in high school, but having a lovely new house in a kid-friendly, Halloween-obsessed neighborhood MADE my October. Seriously, y’all. Much monies were spent on the yards in my neighborhood. Inflatable dragons, anima-tronic ghouls and goblins, entire grave yard scenes, neighbors sending secret “Boo!” gifts to your door step, and hosting cookouts and parties. Even my child was like, “Mommy, we moved to the right place!” We totally did. This year was the best Halloween ever!

  1. Wornontv.net

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Ever watched a TV show and some episode pops up with your favorite character wearing a t-shirt or dress that makes you think, I need that on my body!  I’ve seen a lot of cute stuff on the small screen, but figured that was Hollywood. Normal people can’t own anything like that. Wrong!  With Worn On TV you can pull up almost any TV show and find the item or ensemble you covet. I found that tiger graphic skater dress and the funky necklace that Aria was wearing on Pretty Little Liars.  And plenty of shows buy from ModCloth, Urban Outfitters, H&M, Anthropologie, Aeropostale, even Target – so regular people can afford the adorable plaid leggings and studded sweater that Spencer wore when <spoiler>. Please, can we take a moment for these plaid leggings? Are they not perfect for this winter? I shall have!

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One caveat though. If you love something from a long ago season, chances are good it’s no longer available.

Finally…

  1. Pretty Little Liars

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As is evident from the previous item on my list, I’ve discovered this bit of television crack and I. Cannot. Quit. 6 Seasons await you on Netflix, with the final season starting in April 2017. Half teen soap opera, half Hitchcockian ode to Mean Girls everywhere, Pretty Little Liars follows 4 high school besties after their queen bee is murdered. Someone is threatening them, and threatening to expose their every lie, secret, and bad deed. In Rosewood, PA, every thing is pretty, except all the murder. Nefarious characters lurk around every corner, creepy dolls abound, sanitariums have a waiting list, and killer Halloween episodes rock each season. Oh, and sometimes the girls go to school and have real people problems. It’s engaging and addictive, but not something that will keep you up at night, emotionally overwrought from the brutality. (I’m looking at you, The Walking Dead!) So that’s my awesome finds this autumn. Here’s to an easier November! I won’t see you again this year, so I hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday season!

Kisses -M 😉

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Witnessing History

hillary_clinton_official_secretary_of_state_portrait_cropI’m going to start out by saying that while this may at first appear to be a political post, that’s not it’s main intent. But as I was contemplating a topic for today’s blog, I kept coming back to the fact that today is, regardless of the results of the U.S. elections, a historic day. It’s the first Election Day in U.S. history that has had a woman as the nominee of one of the two major parties. Whether or not Hillary Clinton wins, that fact is something that will go down in history books. If she does win, the United States will have the first female president in our nation’s 240-year history.

There is something remarkable about being a witness to truly historic moments. Eight years ago we witnessed it when Barack Obama became the first African-American president, indeed the first president we’ve ever had that wasn’t a white male.

obama_swearing_inAmerican history is filled with these moments, good and bad, that command the entirety of newspapers’ front pages. Moments like the beginning and end of the Civil War, the end of slavery, the moon landing, the assassinations of Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy, the ratification of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote, the bombing at Pearl Harbor and 9/11. These are the moments during which people remember where they were, even decades later.

I was born a year after the moon landing and I have no memory of the Vietnam War or its end. The first historic event I really remember is the release of the U.S. hostages from Iran in January 1981, when I was 10 years old. The next big event imprinted on my memory was the Challenger explosion in January 1986, when I was 15. It happened on a day when we were out of school because of snow and it was devastating because of the loss of life, including teacher Christa McAuliffe, and the uncertainty it caused as to whether our shuttle program would ever fly again.

pearlharborattackhonolulustarOf course, we all prefer to bear witness to the positive important moments, and that got me to thinking — what truly historic moments would I like to see in my lifetime? I’d love to see some things like world peace, but realistically I don’t know that it’s even possible. But for things that I believe are feasible, among my top choices would be a cure for cancers (one cure does not fit all) and a cure for Alzheimer’s/dementia. I’d also like to see us halt global climate change by making aggressive adjustments to our energy systems. I don’t want to see us go past the point of no return in destroying the planet. And culturally, I’d like to see an end to racism and misogyny.

And if chocolate cake could become non-fattening, that would be awesome. 🙂

So I’d like to hear your hopeful choices for historic moments you’d like to see in your lifetime. Ready…set…go!

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Meals on a Deadline

¡Happy Día de los Muertos!

I used to teach Spanish so I feel compelled to say that. I could go into the three day celebration, but we’ll stop here and talk about this month’s topic: quick meals. As luck would have it, I’m on deadline right now. The quickest meal is, of course, to order a pizza, but, hey, we all like to eat something more nutritious from time to time, so let me share a recipe or two.

Chicken Parm

Ingredients: frozen chicken tenders (I go for quality here–and they have gluten free ones now, too), spaghetti sauce, mozzarella

  1. Follow the instructions for baking the chicken tenders. I usually add spaghetti sauce right away and cook a little longer than the instructions say.
  2. Once you’re sure that chicken is done (No salmonella on my watch!) then add mozzarella cheese and put it back in until the cheese has melted.

Sally Tip: Line the baking sheet with tin foil for easier clean up.

I like to serve this dish with rice and green beans, but you could go pasta and a Steamfresh bag of broccoli, too.

Tacos

You can brown ground beef, cook chicken, or even pick up the fajita meat from the meat section–all cooks quickly as long as it’s not frozen.

Sally Tip: Instead of using the salt-laden taco seasoning packet, use chili power, salt, and pepper to taste. Cooking any of the meats with onions adds a nice flavor. For ground beef, I just a jar of salsa to add flavor–it adds a bit too much water for the chicken and the steak, though.

In La Casa Kilpatrick, we round out the meat with Goya yellow rice and Goya black beans as well as corn tortillas (cuz gluten free)

Roast

Pot Roast in a crockpot is another great one if you have the prep time in the morning. I like to use a chuck roast, onions, carrots and potatoes. For the marinade I’ll mix olive oil with vinegar and montreal steak seasoning then add water so the roast doesn’t go dry. Beef broth is good to add, too.

So here’s how I do it:

  1. Brown the chuck roast on all sides.
  2. Slice onion and put some below the meat and some on top. Cut up potatoes and throw in baby carrots.
  3. Mix up marinade (see above or the London Broil marinade in the Better Homes and Gardens cook book)
  4. Set and forget–cook it on low all day long.
  5. Add a salad and eat so you can get back to writing.

Sally Tip: I use those plastic crock pot liners because I’m lazy, and I don’t like to clean things. Lord willing the cooking plastic won’t kill us all.

Hopefully, one of these three suppers will help you out in a pinch. After all, we don’t always have the money to order that pizza. I hear sandwiches and cereal work also. Anything to get back to to the laptop, am I right?

P.S. Sorry for the lack of photos, but I gotta write. Just as well since my suppers taste better than they look. *mwah*

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Easy Deadline Dinners for Writers!

Like many writers, I’m working on sitting less and getting healthier. I’ve always cooked six days a week, but I’m trying to focus on healthier recipes. And, I need them to be fast to get me through deadlines on top of dealing with the kids’ afterschool activities. As an aside, one thing I do to stave off the munchies while saving time is pay for the convenience of precut vegetable plates. The best recipe website I’ve run across recently is called Skinny Taste. It’s all healthy and everything has been great.

The recipe I’m including here is modified from a Weight Watchers cookbook. Both my kids love it. I call it:

Pasta with Wine Sauce

1lb ground meat (can use beef, chicken, turkey, or pork)

2 carrots, peeled and diced

1/2 cup diced onion

1 tsp Italian seasoning

1 garlic clove, minced (or 1/2 tsp garlic powder)

1 32oz can of petite-diced tomatoes

1/4 cup red wine

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1 lb pasta (bow-ties, shells, etc)

While water is boiling for pasta, dice carrots and onion. Saute in a drizzle of olive oil until tender with seasoning and garlic. Add meat and brown. Cook pasta according to the box. Once meat is done, add can of tomatoes and wine, salt and pepper. Simmer while the pasta is cooking.

Serve topped with Parmesan cheese.

Now, speaking of deadlines…I’ve got one! Enjoy and happy cooking!

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Let’s Celebrate!

Are you in the mood for love? Well, the BadGirlz have you covered with not one, but two new releases!

First up is a new novella from the lovely, talented Brighton Walsh… And, it’s calling to me because it’s set during my formative years! Plus, y’all know I love me some football. msw_cover_ebook Check out the blurb below:

She’s the last thing he needs, but she’s the only thing he wants…as long as it’s behind closed doors.

It was supposed to be a one-time thing. No one would find out; no one would have to know. And then once turned into twice, and twice turned into several times a week, and now pierced, punk-loving, rebellious Tia Lanning is banging Mason Brooks, the big man on campus and Mr. All American.

But banging him isn’t the problem. Falling for him is. Especially when he’s content to let her remain his dirty little secret.

Set in the time of mix tapes, Pearl Jam, and babydoll tees, My Strongest Weakness is a steamy 25,000 word novella with a dirty talking hero, no cheating, a grand gesture that’ll make you swoon, and a guaranteed HEA.

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Now that things are cooling down, the holidays are calling. What could be better than a “sweet and steamy” Christmas novella about a reformed bad who finds love where he least expects it–in the back of a cop car! If you’ve read my Falcon Football series, you might recognize Jeremy aka Whitey. Well, he was a very bad boy then, but times have changed and so has he…if he can just convince himself he deserves to be happy. This is also a great introduction to my Cottonbloom series and only $1.99! Hope you enjoy!

A very Cottonbloom Christmas!

Jeremy Whitehurst has tried to leave his bad-boy behavior and tarnished image behind in Alabama for a fresh start in Cottonbloom, Louisiana. Unfortunately, trouble has dogged him across state lines. Stepping up and protecting a young woman from her abusive boyfriend earned him a beat-down and got him fired. Although the thanks in the girl’s dark eyes made it all worth it, he recognizes she’s just a different kind of trouble. A trouble he’s not sure he can stay away from.

One rebellious summer dented Kayla Redmond’s carefree innocence. Now her focus is on completing her associate’s degree for bookkeeping, and no one is going to derail her plans. Unfortunately, her job at Fournette Brothers Designs puts her in the path of the one man who has seen her at her worst, yet his blue eyes don’t judge her. He sees beyond the brokenness inside of her and rouses her wild side once more. But, that’s what got her in trouble in the first place.

Christmas is coming and Kayla’s ready to forgive herself and take a chance. But the holiday has only ever brought heartache to Jeremy. No Christmas miracle kept his mother clean or out of jail. Will one reckless night and some time spent in the back of a cop car be the best present Jeremy’s ever been given?

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Cooking with Sophia – for beginners

Hello Hello!

I’m here to share my favorite recipe. It’s very easy, since I am NOT a good cook. I once had the fire department come to my house sirens-blaring because of my cooking. No joke. Don’t worry! There was no fire! Just a lot of smoke from me trying to follow very well written recipe instructions.  *I apologized profusely and also brought the firefighters doughnuts and coffee the next morning.*

Sophia’s Favorite Recipe

Cup or glass–I prefer a Tervis Tumbler. I’m not a fan of condensation.

Ice–or not.

Vodka–as much as you want

Add whatever beverage you like with vodka–or none at all–it’s great both ways

Grab a book. Relax and Enjoy!

*Please do not drive after consuming this beverage.*

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SOPHIA – WHAT BOOK SHOULD I GRAB?

I’m glad you asked. Because my fourth book, UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT released TODAY! And it stars a hot Russian hockey player. So the vodka fits perfectly!!

More Info:

UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT

Contemporary Romance.

Random House Loveswept

Sparks fly when a strong-willed Greek girl meets a cocky Russian hockey player on a singles cruise in this story of adventure, forgiveness, and LOVE. Discover why Kelly Jamieson calls the Pilots Hockey series “fun and flirty, warm and sweet.”
 
Kristen Katsaros wants a life full of adventure and laughter. After a difficult childhood, her motto is to live each day like it’s her last—because it just might be. So when Kristen’s parents send her on a post-grad singles cruise in the Caribbean to meet a Greek husband, she promptly hooks up with the hottest guy she’s ever met. Pasha’s decidedly not Greek, but Kristen gives him a pass because he’s got fun written all over his rock-hard abs.

Pavel Gribov, the cocky playboy of the Detroit Pilots hockey team, can score any girl he wants. But when a teammate drags him on a singles cruise, he can’t resist the chance to help out a drop-dead gorgeous damsel in distress by pretending to be her boyfriend. Before long, the fake fling turns intimate, fueled by something much deeper than lust.

Kristen and Pasha both agree to walk away once the cruise is over, but reality hits like a slap shot when Kristen finds out Pasha lied about everything. Just when she’s ready to start living again, the two stubborn survivors must decide if they can bear to lose the best thing that ever happened to either of them.

Also – I donate the first $500 in my royalties (yes, before I pay myself) to a different charity for each book. I’ve chosen the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for this book, as my heroine has CF. <3

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Buy Links:

Amazon // iBooks // Barnes & Noble // Kobo

Books-A-Million // Google Play

 

Thank you for letting me indulge in a NEW RELEASE post instead of a real recipe!! Happy Reading! <3

Sophia Henry writes Heartfelt Flirty Fiction featuring hot, hockey-playing heroes. DELAYED PENALTY and POWER PLAY, the first two books in the Pilots Hockey series from Random House Flirt, are available now at all major e-book retailers.

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