The Magic City

The Magic City

Monday, January 28, 2013

Words You Want to Punch in the Face

My husband recently started a list - Words He Wants to Punch in the Face. It is a fine idea. He started the list by saying if he had to hear the word artisanal one more time he would do something likely to land him on a no-fly list.  And so the list began.

We've been adding to the list over the last few weeks. The most recent addition - impacted. In our opinion, this is an example of where misuse of a word through the media has led to common acceptance of its abuse. 

Frequently, in media reports, the word impacted will be be used to mean affect (I'll spare you my rant on affect/effect).  Impact as a verb means to strike forcefully. As a noun it includes a collision/the striking of one thing against another, the force transmitted by a collision, the power of making a strong impression, and/or the effect of impression of one thing on another.

As a verb:  The meteor impacted the Earth.
As a noun:  The meteor had an impact on the Earth. or The hail had an impact on the outcome of the game.

The misuse comes about when the speaker tries to use impact as a verb to describe having an affect on something. For example, "the election impacted the economy."  No, no, no.  The election affected the economy.  The election had an impact on the economy. Save the use of impacted to describe dental work.

Do you have any words you want to punch in the face? 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Food for Thought - Breakfast for Dinner - Bacon Zucchini Casserole

In continuing the Friday Food tradition, I wanted to share a recipe that has helped reconcile the love-hate relationship I have with vegetables (I love to hate those vile green spawn of the earth - I am a meat and potatoes girl all the way).

This is a great recipe because you can make it in advance and eat on it for a day or two. Because it is fairly hearty, I make it for the "breakfast for dinner" nights in my house.

Bacon Zucchini Casserole

What you will need:

1 pound ground turkey
1 zucchini
5 garlic cloves
1 onion (I prefer red, but my husband prefers yellow)
8 eggs
2 Tablespoons of Basil
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
6 pieces of turkey bacon (cooked)

What you have to do:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Brown the turkey in a skillet.  Drain the fat when you are done.
Smash the cloves of garlic and then mince them.
Dice the onion.
Saute the onions and garlic until they caramelize.  Remove them from the heat and set to the side.
Julienne or shred the zucchini.
Combine in a mixing the eggs, cooked turkey, the zucchini, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper, and basil. Mix well, but don't overdue it. Once these ingredients are combined, add the onions and garlic.
Pour the mixture into a greased casserole dish.
Cook for 30 minutes or until it is cooked thoroughly.  Turn the broiler on, and let the top crust up/brown for about 2-3 minutes.
Remove the casserole from the oven. Crumble bacon on top and serve.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Special Guest Hildie McQueen

Today we have special guest blogger the fabulous and amazing HILDIE MCQUEEN!  (Kermit dance on my part). Not only is this lady an amazing author, but she is also a terrific person. After a few minutes in her company, she has you under her spell and before you know it, you've gone and bought all her books!  I hope you will check out her new release, WHERE THE FOUR WINDS COLLIDE.

Where The Four Winds Collide

Adeline Buckley escapes her abusive father only to find herself in a brothel, on a stagecoach to the untamed west and married to a stranger, all in that order.  Plotting another escape becomes harder, the more she gets to know her new husband.

Jackson Pruitt didn’t expect a secretive mail order bride to show up the same week cattle rustlers absconded with a large part of his herd.  The bigger surprise was the loveliness of the woman. Why would a beauty like her need to travel so far to marry?

Jackson and Adeline learn that secrets and marriage do not go hand-in-hand when both of their pasts comes knocking and both have to come to grips with the reality, that sometimes trust comes only after you lose it all.

Purchase Now On

~Excerpt and Giveaway~


This is your home now, Adeline," Jackson told her, watching her closely for a reaction. "We were married earlier this afternoon. You are my wife."
The color drained from her face and she froze, her spoon halfway to her mouth. He feared she'd faint again so he jumped up and went to her. The action startled the woman, who yelped and leaned away from him, only to topple over. Both she and the chair landed on their sides on the floor.
When Jackson tried to help her up, she scrambled to her feet and moved away from his reach.
"Married?" The shock in her voice made him wonder if the woman was mad. Surely she remembered signing the documents before the judge?
"Yes, Adeline, the judge explained it all to you before you signed the papers at the hotel. Do you not remember?"
"I..." her widened eyes met his and he fought the urge to reach out to reassure her. "I thought it was a dream."

Enter for a $20 Amazon Giftcard!
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Hildie McQueen loves storytelling and unusual settings, pair that with humor and you’ve got an idea of what her writing is like.

She makes sure action, intrigue, and sizzling romance add up to a story, her readers won’t soon forget.  Her favorite past-times are traveling, shopping and reading. She resides in beautiful small town Georgia with her super-hero husband Kurt and two unruly Chihuahuas.

Visit her blog at

Friday, January 18, 2013

Food for Thought - Sweet Potato Chili

Just like every January that has preceded this one, I made the resolution to eat better and exercise more. Just like every January that has preceded this one, I fell off the wagon onto my well padded derrière with the first week (I blame Alabama football - can you REALLY expect me to watch a national championship football game without wings and beer/champagne and cake?  Seriously - I am not a barbarian!)

To get back on track, I am trying to find recipes that are better for me than drive-through (my meal of choice) and easy to make so I can use my time writing rather than preparing food. Sugars and processed foods can kill creativity. Each Friday, I will share a recipe that helps avoid the creativity and time killers that interfere with writing.  Please comment to share your own, and if you try the recipe, let me know how it worked for you.

Sweet Potato Chili

What you will need:

A pound of ground turkey or beef (I go the turkey route and use Worcestershire sauce to give it a more beefy flavor)
2 good sized sweet potatoes
A yellow onion
A red pepper
2 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons of chili powder
1.5 teaspoons of cumin
1.5 teaspoons of black pepper
Salt to taste
1 can (14.5 oz) of diced tomatoes
2 cups of beef broth
1 cup of water

What you will do:

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into cubes.
Peel and chop the onion.
Smash the cloves of garlic with the side of a knife then dice.
Chop the red pepper.
Brown your meat in a skillet on the stove.
After you drain the fat from the meat, put it along with all the other ingredients in a slow cooker/crockpot.
Cook until the sweet potatoes are fork tender (about 5 hours on low/3 hours on medium).

Monday, January 14, 2013

Meet the Fabulous Rachel Van Dyken

I had the pleasure of meeting New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Rachel Van Dyken at the Moonlight and Magnolias conference this past fall.  She graciously agreed to this interview. I am positive you will love her and her books as much as I did:

You are a prolific writer. Why do you write (and how did you start writing)? 
I write because my mind won't shut up! I have so many different story lines going on at any given time that I'm pretty sure if I didn't record some of the stuff I'm thinking. My head would explode! ;) I was a school counselor for five years. In between sessions with kids I would work on books in hopes to kind of distress. It was an emotionally trying job and it was kind of my escape from everything. The rest is history!

You write in multiple genres. Is it challenging to adapt your style among historicals, young adult, paranormal/gothic, etc.? Do you have a favorite genre you write in?
At first it was really challenging. I was writing my regency series House of Renwick and I would switch between that and my contemporary Compromising Kessen, and all of a sudden the speech would change. I'd have to go back and delete everything because my characters were saying "Devil take it!" In 2012! Now, I am able to balance it out more. I know how to change my voice a bit depending on what I'm writing. While writing Whispered Music, my regency retelling of Beauty and the Beast, I was also writing a contemporary, The Bet. Both books had interesting secondary characters and some fun love triangles. It actually helped to be able to bounce between stories when I felt drained! I think my favorite genre is regency. I have a weakness for rakes and wounded heroes. I want to see the bad boy get knocked off his feet by the independent woman. The regency period provides the perfect environment for the gentleman to seduce the lady only to find out that the lady plans on seducing him first. It's delicious, and I love it!

What is your writing process? You work on multiple books at the same time what are the challenges and benefits you experience in doing that?
The biggest challenge is remembering your characters names and also focusing on the voice of that certain novel. I think it's important to work where you are inspired. if I'm not feeling the whole historical thing, I switch it up. I think it also makes it easier for me not to hit a slump. When I get blocked I just move on and go to something else, I try not to put pressure on myself. In doing that I'm able to relax and enjoy myself! I also have some readers that prefer the historicals so its always a fun challenge to try to get them to jump genres and enjoy something different!

Why did you choose to submit to Astraea Press?  What is it like working with Stephanie Taylor/having an editor who is also an author? 
I saw Astraea Press on a blog and noticed that they were a new publisher specializing in sweet romance. I knew that I wanted to be a sweet romance author, so I submitted to them, and was completely shocked when they accepted my manuscript! I love working with Stephanie. I couldn't ask for a better company or a more wonderful woman! She is brilliant with her company and also personally edits most of my manuscripts. I can always trust her to be honest with my work. She makes me as an author want to work harder.

What are you working on? 
I'm currently working on my London Fairy Tale series. I'm doing a regency retelling of Little Red Riding Hood.  It's the third book in my fairy tales series and it focuses around Hunter Wolfsbane Duke of Haverstone. He's a very damaged and hilarious hero who is both Hunter and Wolf. He's also a spy for the crown. His partner is a woman, though he despises the fact that she's of the opposite sex. He finds her not only distracting but extremely attractive, she goes by the name Red. The story has been so fun to write and I'm excited for the finished product this Winter! (The Wolf's Pursuit has an anticipated February 2013 release date).

I'm also working on a contemporary romance about two brothers pulled between the girl next door. It's called The Bet, and should also be releasing soon. :) And because I clearly have too much time on my hands, I'm simultaneously working on a new serial regency that for my
blog in weekly posts called "The Spinster Club," it will eventually be made into a novel. :)

What appearances will you be making in the next year? 
I'll be attending RT in Kansas City. I'm also a featured author at RomCon in Denver and I think I'll be attending a few more conventions as well!

You can learn more about Rachel at her website, like her on Facebook, or follow her on Twitter (@RachVD). She is also on Goodreads