Something truly enjoyable when writing a book is research. In my work-in-progress. Lily’s Pad, my thirty-year-old heroine Lily owns a beach-side eatery, Lily’s Pad. She maintains a lily pond with koi fish in her shady outdoor dining area. It’s important to ground conversation into real life with sensory perceptions. She is crushing on Grady Fletcher, the new second grade teacher in Moonlight Cove. A baseball player before his accident asks if she could hostess a field trip to her eatery. In the scene I’ll write today she tells the class how she keeps the fish from eating the tender green pads by sinking the clay pots (with plants in rock) low in the water. “There’s some nibbling, but the larger pads survive just under water.” Naturally Lily tells the class it’s okay to feed them a bite of crust from the sandwiches she served them. Incidentally Grady found his calling as a second grade teacher. He’s about to be engaged to someone else… having second thoughts.
Do you enjoy the tranquility of a lily pond? Water lilies appear delicate, but don’t let their exotic aura fool you. These flowers are as tough as they are beautiful. Water lilies grow well in any USDA hardiness zone. Water lilies can be grown in a tub on the patio or in ponds of any size. They grow from tubers planted in pots beneath the water and send up stems with rounded leaves and star-shaped blossoms that float on the surface. They are daytime bloomers, blossoming in the morning and closing after sunset. The blooms last about three days before sinking beneath the surface. In winter climates hardy water lilies go dormant and can be left in the water. Tropical water lilies bloom with vibrant, almost electric colors but must be removed and stored if water temperature is lower than 70 degrees F.
One of our sons, after being devastated when his fiance broke it off, initially decided to “try being alone” for awhile. We went to lunch. None of us agreed. Here’s why– that’s not fun! Weary analysis! Self blame– he wonders, “Did I spend too much time playing the sax?” Or, “Did it bother her I’m balding in the back of my head?” Who knows!
Our suggestion? Go ahead, Enjoy a rebound relationship, which offers fun, companionship and excitement. As one daughter, Marla, said, “Don’t worry about a long-term committed relationship. Get out there and see who you meet. It might turn into something or not.” The photo below was taken by Marla. My husband Gerry paid for lunch but had to rush back to the office. From left to right, grandson D’mitri, daughter-in-law Jan, son Ted (looking happier), son Johnny, me, and daughter Janice.
Yum! It’s tomato season, and here is my recipe for no-bake veggie lasagna with no meat backup plan. There’s plenty of protein in the fava beans and cheese.
- 8 large lasagna noodles
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 1 medium (or 2 small) zucchini, sliced into half-moons
- 1 yellow squash, sliced into “half-moons”
- 8 asparagus spears
- 8-12 fresh fava beans (optional)
- ½ cup of corn ( fresh or canned)
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 4 tbsp prepared pesto
- ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, shaved or grated
- olive oil, for drizzling
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. Drain, cool slightly. Brush each side of noodle with olive oil so they don’t stick together. Set aside.
- Combine ricotta cheese and pesto in a small bowl, set aside.
- Heat grill pan or grill to medium-high. In a medium bowl (or ziplock bag) drizzle cut zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes and asparagus with olive oil to coat. Grill until vegetables are tender and grill marks are visible. Asparagus may take a little longer than other vegetable to cook. Cut asparagus into bite size pieces. Set vegetables aside.
- If using fresh corn, cut corn off the cob and heat in a microwave safe bowl covered with plastic wrap until tender. Approx. 15-20 sec., set aside.
- Shell fava beans by breaking the pod near the stem and pulling the string that runs down the middle of the pod. Beans are easily removed with your finger or a spoon. (usually 4-5 beans per pod). Fava beans have a slightly waxy looking layer which can be eaten just as is, if you prefer you can remove the waxy layer. Blanching the beans in hot water for approx. 30 sec. makes it very easy to remove the waxy layer.
- Assemble the lasagna. Cut each lasagna noodle in thirds. Place one piece of noodle (1/3) on plate , spread a spoonful of ricotta/pesto mixture evenly on noodle. Add zucchini, squash, tomato, asparagus, corn, and fava beans. Sprinkle with basil. Repeat layering twice. Garnish the top layer of veggies with shaved or grated Parmesan cheese.
Central Texas was deluged with rain in May, and during the Memorial Day weekend, flash floods, tornadoes and thunderstorms flooded many homes and businesses. Dogs in an Austin TX animal shelter were submerged up to their bellies, and water began seeping into the cats’ area. The marketing manager, Amanda Potter-Laycock, snapped a photo and posted it on the shelter’s facebook. “WE NEED FOSTERS NOW.” The outpouring of the community of Austin was amazing– people lined up, and 65 dogs and 30 cats were fostered. Many were not returned!
Those who serve in the armed forces work their tails off for our country, not to mention risking their lives and leaving families behind for months at a time. So it’s pretty great when people who are not in the military recognize their service. We can help troops stay hydrated while they’re station in hot climates by sending individualized packets of powdered drink mixes such at Gatorade or Crystal Lite. Powdered coffee, such as Starbucks VIA and K-cups are also welcome. Send to– Operation Care and Comfort, 2731 North First St, San Jose, CA 95134. This nonprofit organization will ship them in care packages to our troops abroad.
Author interviewer, Fiona McVie, asks the best questions! Thank you for your generosity of time to spotlight me on your blog! Here is the interview–
Name: Kathleen Rowland
Age: the same age as Lauren Hutton
Where are you from: Sioux City, Iowa and Lake Okoboji, Iowa (in summer)
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc:
You can take the girl out of Iowa, but you can’t take Iowa out of the girl. Friendliness, neighbourliness, and honesty are good Midwestern qualities, but I prefer the population diversity of California. Although three sons are biological and white, our two daughters are adopted and Hispanic. Half of our grandchildren are white, and the other half is black or mixed race. Interrracial marriage is comfortable in SoCal for our son, Caribbean daughter-in-law, and children.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Tirgearr Publishing offered me a contract for my romantic suspense, Deadly Alliance! This is a dream-come-true. I’m a writer but also a voracious reader of high quality commercial fiction. Books from Tirgearr authors reside on my Kindle.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
With an M.S. in Computer Science, I used to design and write software and technical manuals. At least I knew about chronological order! Later I gravitated toward fiction. My first book, Mining Evermore, a paranormal romantic suspense, was published in 2007.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
In 2004 when enjoying beach reads in Maui, I decided to begin writing.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Believe it or not, the books at the rental cottage were filled with Perry Mason paperbacks.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
After conceiving a story, I write a synopsis. I use Scivener to corkboard chapters and scenes. After that, I begin writing.
Fiona: Why did you go with Tirgearr Publishing?
Pure admiration for unique books! I usually read what I enjoy writing the most, romantic suspense, but enjoyed other genres within Tirgearr—First Draw, Hellhole Series by Kotar and Gessler. The year before I read their PirateTreasure. After reading One Night in Dublin by Kemberlee Shortland, I am hooked on the City Nights series. I look forward to reading mysteries and contemporary romance from other authors.
Fiona: Would you recommend other authors to go with Tirgearr Publishing?
Yes. I recognize the team spirit and enthusiasm with everyone who “belongs” to Tirgearr. An editor, Sharon Pickrel, has already been assigned to my book. Covers at Tirgearr are stunning and fit the books. Here you are, Fiona, generously granting me an interview.
Fiona: What help does Tirgearr Publishing give a author?
Besides professional editing and cover design, authors are presented with a wealth of marketing strategies. The pre-order concept and ARCs gives an author tools to market a book before the release date. We are given a list of reviewers, bloggers, and places to advertise.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The hero and heroine form an alliance. The crime they face is deadly, and their attraction to each other is, too.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
If uncovering a crime, do what is right and honest. Don’t be concerned about how others perceive you.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
The background of Deadly Alliance is realistic. The U.S. suffers from domestic terrorism, but characters and organizations are entirely fictional.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The heroine, Amy Kintyre, has a caretaking quality I admire in one of my sisters. The hero, Finbar Donahue, has my husband’s tough confidence although he’s a CPA, not a former Army Ranger.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
I read fiction primarily for entertainment, but favorite books have a moral compass. The late Barbara Parker’s Suspicion series influenced my writing because of the realism.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m almost done reading The Lesson by Joyce Ward, and will start Rhythm of my Heart by Kemberlee Shorthand.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Elena Dillon writes deep, moving New Adult. I like the issues she chooses for her characters.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I am outlining another romantic suspense with the tentative title, Moonlight Alliance. Next I will write the third book of my futuristic interracial new adult Intervenus Series.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
A group of friends from my high school class may not be considered and entity, but we interact and support each other. We are spread out across the country, but every few years we get together. On the last weekend of September, eight of us will meet up in San Francisco. The church we belong to is a supportive and meaningful entity.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes. I have goals I want to hit and continually work on my craft. Sometimes I jump around and write the most exciting scenes, but the most important scenes are the hardest to write.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Betrayal at Crater’s Edge, book two of the Intervenus Series, could have included another fight scene. I plan to put that scene in the third book of this futuristic new adult SciFi.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
As I was reading books, I was thinking “what if” and coming up with alternate endings.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Moonlight Alliance: Forensic psychologist Avery Creswell weeds out violent thugs in the coastal town of Moonlight Cove, California. Vivienne Rourke, daughter of an Irish gang boss, gets in his way and under his skin. Vivienne, an undercover cop, works her food truck, “Deep Fried to Taste,” on the seedy side of town and refuses to blow her cover. Time and time again, they protect each other and then make love. Lies only last so long.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Sometimes I go over-the-top, and then need to pull back.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Susan Squires, an acquaintance at my writing chapter, OCCRWA, continues to strike out in new paranormal territory but manages to ground the true to everyday life in her Magic series.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I do love to travel, and what I learn does go into my books.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Carey Abbott designed the covers for my Intervenus series.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The research for outer space took up as much time as writing the first book of the Intervenus series, A Brand New Address. I studied many National Geographic articles and watched hours of activity on the International Space Station. I think it paid off. A Brand New Address placed second in the Book Buyers’ Best.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned readers become attached to characters and enjoy a series. Secondary characters can become stars of the next book.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Work hard but don’t rush. The best stories need self-editing and other eyes. A critique partner is a treasured friend, and I listen when I hear, “I don’t get this.”
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I’d love hearing from readers! What did you like or not like about my characters?
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
A picture book of Pinocchio, and I thought it was adorable of the woodcarver to wish for a real live boy.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
The saddest book I ever read was Sophie’s Choice. A mother, Sophie, arrived with her ten-year-old son and younger daughter in Auschwitz when a sadistic doctor tells her she can only bring one of her children and the other will be killed. Unbearable.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
I would enjoy speaking with my great grandmother, a wonderful storyteller who entertained us for hours.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
I haven’t thought about this, but maybe– Thank you God for a great life. Gerry (my husband) are you buried close by? You are dear to my heart.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Swimming laps daily gets my creative juices going. My husband and I sail a small keel-boat on Newport Harbor. I love to cook healthy food and invite the family over.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
We are watching the series Zoo, Wayward Pines, The Last Ship, and True Detective.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Home cooking with fresh ingredients, warm Tuscan colors, and Hosier.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
A landscape architect.
Fiona: What is your Tirgearr Publishing page and do you have a website/blog?
Website and blog below
Also what is your Amazon authors page
A couple of days ago I edited the first 25 pages of a first-time author’s book and read the rest of it for overall content. Not all book ideas are golden. In this writer’s case, she wrote mostly about her marriage which took a nosedive when her husband cheated. I feel deep empathy! Her sad situation would have worked as a piece of women’s fiction if her narrator voice to intervene. Journaling is beneficial for self therapy, but the author’s style was preachy. She did not show it as it unfolded. Backstory is unworkable in commercial fiction. It’s fine she needed to write about it, but in the harsh light of reality, her strong sense of “autobiography” self meant she began writing in first person when the rest of the story was third person past tense. She fell down the rabbit hole, and was chased by herself.
Many of a writer’s experiences and emotions go into books, but think about how you want to tell that story.
Last week, to celebrate the new adult box set FLING, a group of authors from Storytellers’ Soiree had a Facebook party where we offered up some prizes for readers. I mailed my prizes, Key Finders from Purse Jewelry to winners Tina of Prichard, Alabama and Pamela of Memphis, Tennessee. I would not be without this gadget which hooks over the zipper of my purse so that I never have to dig for keys. Incidentally, the book I contributed to the box set, Betrayal at Crater’s Edge, is free today is you’d like to read it!
The baby possum following out of a tree probably had something to do with the torrential rain. When the rain stopped, I took the dogs out for a walk. One of the sniffers came upon the baby possum in the gutter. It curled up into a ball in the wet soppy gutter. Our two daughters, Janice and Marla, came for dinner, and I hurried home to tell them, “We need to do something.” Marla grabbed a pet carrier from the garage, and Janice helped her “scoop” up the tiny wild animal. We drove it to Irvine Animal Center. From there, Baby O. Possum will be transported to a local zoo where wild animals from our neighborhoods can live in naturalized habitats. “Opossums” are the only North American marsupials. Females have a pouch on the belly where the young are carried an nourished for a time after birth. They have a prehensile tail from which they occasionally hang. Playing possum, feigning death, is their defense tactic. They’re omnivorous and will eat anything in your garbage can. Granted, adult possums are not cute, but adorable Baby O. Possum needed to be rescued.