Writing with my funny galentine

When you meet some people, you know they’re meant to be your friend–call it friends at first sight. For me, this is my pal, Kelly. We’ve worked together in our corporate comms day jobs for a few years now. Despite living almost 1,000 miles apart, we’ve always found ways to support each other’s interests outside of work.

This week, we’ve had the opportunity to share two collaborative projects. First, I got to share the story of how she fell in love with a golden retriever, then, his human, at her local dog park on the Chewy.com PetCentral blog. Kelly and her husband have been married for almost five years now and have made a loving home for their sweet dogs.  Seriously, this is the cutest of meet-cute stories I’ve ever heard.

Secondly, Kelly asked me to write about what recharges me for her Happiness Recharge blog. You can read about my love for the ocean and how it restores my soul.

I’m continuing to query my novel, and I’ve been working on a couple of other fiction projects. Being a published author and a great friend, Kelly has supported me throughout the process. I’m thankful for her friendship and the many ways we’ve been able to work together.

 

Writing news

Whoa! Where have the past two months gone? So many great things have happened, and I’m excited to share the news.

For my day job, I had the opportunity to share the story of my co-worker, Joram Kimenyi, who has started a nonprofit to help farmers in Rwanda grow crops in less than ideal conditions and terrain. Also, I covered an article about encouraging women to use their “super powers” to affect change.

Travel writing has been a life-long passion of mine, and I jumped at the chance to do some freelance work. I wrote articles about Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, the Southern comfort food at the Grit Counter in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, and, just in time for Halloween, the Ghosts of Charleston tour.

The most exciting news is my first book, the Cottage on Palm Court, was selected as a suspense romance category finalist in the San Francisco Chapter of the Romance Writers of America Heart-to-Heart contest. I received some valuable feedback from the judges who are literary agents, editors or published authors. Since my book hasn’t been published yet, I plan on applying their recommendations to polish my manuscript.

 

 

Nashville hot chicken — the spice of life

Nashville day-trip visitors looking to choose a hot chicken restaurant might find themselves in a bit of a pickle–selecting just one spot. So what’s the solution? Make more stops and share with a friend!

There are solid standbys like the trendy Hattie B’s and the original Nashville institution, Prince’s. And there are at least 10 other restaurants that specialize in hot chicken, with the firey entrée popping up on even more menus more every day.

This weekend, my husband and I decided to have hot chicken from Helen’s and Big Shake’s delivered to our Music City hotel room.

My husband, a fan of spicy foods, jumped at the chance to order Helen’s Hella Hot. While eating the first couple of bites, he seemed to be enjoying the flavor. However, a few moments later, I couldn’t help but notice him gulping down his Splenda-sweetened tea and reaching into our mini fridge for some Halo Top ice cream. After I teased him a little, he admitted the chicken had earned its name. Knowing he has a high tolerance level, I was afraid, but, when in Nashville, eat the hot chicken. Indeed, the Hella Hot bit back. I joined him in extinguishing the flames with ice cream.

After our tongues stopped smoldering, we dove into a piece of Big Shake’s next-to-hottest flavor, Rambo, and the medium spice-level Stop-Drop-and-Roll. Rambo did not leave either of us breathing smoke but did have a very good flavor, and Stop-Drop-and-Roll’s heat was even tamer. We shared the opinion that Big Shake’s breading and amount of crispiness were perfect. Also, we were impressed by the extra cheesy macaroni and cheese and the Belgian waffle we used for sopping up the extra sauce. Big Shake’s also boasted what my husband referred to as probably the best beans he’s enjoyed in his life — no small praise!

While not an inferno ala Helen’s, Big Shake’s was delicious. We look forward to visiting both restaurants in-person and continuing our mission to try as many Nashville Hot Chicken restaurants as possible. 

If you find yourself in the greater Nashville area, there are several Helen’s Hot Chicken and Big Shake’s Hot Chicken locations dotting the map. Check their sites for business hours, current pricing and a list of affiliated delivery services.

Writing about my forever home

As a journalist I was taught never to write about myself or from my perspective unless I was writing an opinion piece. Needless to say, writing about my husband’s and my decision to stay in our starter home, as a retirement planning tactic, was unchartered territory for me. However, I am proud of our decision and the resulting article. If you haven’t read the story, you can check it out on the U.S. Bank Newsroom.

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Writing my first novel

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I am refining the second draft of my first novel, The Cottage on Palm Court, a Southern paranormal romance. I would like to thank all of my beta readers, especially my husband, mother-in-law, sister and my dear friend and talented author, Kelly Stone Cramer. You have helped me take my first draft and turn it into a captivating manuscript. I am grateful for your support!

Stay tuned for more details about my novel. I am excited to see where this journey takes me!