Places– of Charm

Earth-sky is a wealth of information if you enjoy astronomy.  As I’m writing the second book of my futuristic series, INTERVENUS for teen and new adult readers, I need to know what my characters see from the planet Venus.  Betrayal at Crater’s Edge will follow A Brand New Address.

Tonight, March 23rd, looking from Earth, as soon as darkness falls, look westward to see the waxing crescent moon shining above the dazzling planet Venus and below the Pleiades star cluster. Venus, the third-brightest celestial object to light up the heavens after the sun and moon, comes out first thing at dusk. You’ll have to wait until nightfall to see the Pleisades star cluster, which is visible to the unaided eye. The Pleiades is also known as the Seven Sisters.

Most people can see six Pleiades stars with the eye alone, although those with exceptional vision might be able to see a few more fainter Pleiades stars. If you have binoculars, by all means aim them at this beautiful dipper-shaped cluster to see more Pleiades stars popping into view. This cluster consists of hundreds of sibling stars, all of which were born from the same cloud of interstellar gas and dust some 100 million years ago.

At a distance of 430 light-years, The Pleiades cluster is one of the closer star clusters to Earth.

moon-venus-pleiades-aldebaran-march-22-23-24

Wordsmith– I also write books

Oh my, today I’m featured at O.C. Lit! Here is the emag article–

O.C. Author Spotlight: Kathleen Rowland

by admin

Kathy_JulyToday Lit Central O.C. is happy to welcome Kathleen Rowland to the O.C.

With less interest in myself than others, I’m never good at the bio bit. I’ve taught elementary school, worked as a programmer/analyst, and now I write romantic suspense. I love meeting new people, hearing their stories, and traveling abroad with my husband. Of all the wonderful experiences in life, my husband, children, and grandchildren feed my soul and muse. Serving OCC RWA as secretary and membership chair is sparking my writing. Volunteering with fun, supportive people does that.

Q: What was the inspiration for your novel?

A: A fascination with space travel drove me to write book one of my futuristic new adult INTERVENUS series, “A Brand New Address.” I wrote a story about teens struggling with hope during a dark circumstance.

Q: Did you outline it ahead of time, or wing it?B&NIntervenusCover

A: I outlined in Scrivener, but writing and musing goes together.

Q: What was your biggest challenge writing this book?

A: Keeping physical attraction appropriate for readers straddling the line between YA and NA was a challenge. I wanted readers to connect with my protags’ love story, get lost in it, and be affected by their choices.

Q: How is writing now different from writing your first book?

A: As a beginner I over-explained. Dialog was stilted. Now I write action in the moment followed by brief sequel. Making Debra Dixon proud, I slam every scene with GMC. My POV character has a goal, is motivated by a personal incentive, but is blocked with a conflict.

Q: When was your first book published, what was the title, and what was it about?

A: “Mining Evermore,” a paranormal romantic suspense published in 2008, follows a beautiful criminal attorney who makes a name for herself by saving petty thieves from trips to the Big House. When a madman leaves victims not quite dead along the beach, her good intentions work against her. Witch hunters believe she knows who’s behind the freaky cruelties. The handsome immortal mayor doesn’t approve of her slick lawyer tactics but has a reason to protect her.

Q: What do you know now about being a writer that you wish you had known before you published your first book?

A: I’ve learned to keep the reader guessing about both the romance and the mystery until the end. I learned to hold back information. The love story is more important than the crime which may have been the reason the couple came together. Readers who are mostly women need to fall in love with the hero through the viewpoint of the heroine.

Q: What is the most common rookie mistake you see new authors make?

A: Point of view problems are a rookie’s most common mistake. Keeping POV consistent within a scene and not allowing “bird’s eye” to slip in is hard to learn.

Q: What sort of author marketing have you found to be most effective?

A: Personal contact has been my most effective marketing tool. Book signings give me an opportunity to get to know readers. I also present workshops at my local library and other groups. In a couple of weeks I have one scheduled with my sorority alum group. I am active on my blog, where I write about topics other than writing some of the time and “spotlight” other writers. I tweet and retweet about once a week for about an hour.

Q: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

A: Always a storyteller, I didn’t become a writer until 10 years ago. Before that, I was consumed with caring for my five children and working full time. Every stage of my life has been satisfying.

Q: What is your typical writing day like?

A: Up at six, I drink coffee while reading email. When my husband gets up, we hang out for an hour. I swim laps for 45 minutes, shower, and start serious writing at 10. I write until 3:30, take the dogs on a walk, clean, do laundry, and cook dinner.

Q: How do you celebrate a book sale or new release day?

A: I announce a new release on my blog and tweet. If I have a book signing, I invite friends by sending them postcards with a book cover.

Q: What book or books are you reading now?

A: I read many subgenres. I just finished reading “Gone: The Breathe Prequel,” by talented YA author Elena Dillon. Presently I’m engrossed in “Generational Curse,” by Tracy Reed. Next on my Kindle is Debra Mullin’s “Heart of Stone.

Q: Name three of your favorite television shows.

A: “Allegiance,” “The Black List,” and “Chicago P.D.” are favorites.

Q: If you could have dinner with an author—living or dead—who would it be?

A: The late Barbara Parker wrote legalistic romantic suspense with such pizzazz.

Q: If you couldn’t be an author, what other job would you choose?

A: A landscape architect because I appreciate nature and could utilize my creative flair.

Q: How long have you lived in O.C., and where did you live before?

A: We moved from New Jersey to California in 1994, but I grew up in Iowa.

Q: What’s your favorite writing spot in O.C., outside of your home?

A: I enjoy laptop-writing in a park with a rose garden.

Q: How can people find out more about you?

A: Kathleenrowland.com, kathleenrowland.wordpress.com,twitter.com/rowlandkathleen

Q: What are you working on next?

A: I am finishing a romantic suspense, “Deadly Alliance.” I plan to pitch this book at the California Dreamin’ conference. After completing this RS for adults, I will write the second NA book, “Betrayal at Crater’s Edge.”

Tomorrow, read an excerpt of Rowland’s novel, “A Brand New Address.”

People appreciation

My grandson, D’mitri, ran in the L.A. Marathon on Sunday and finished!  I didn’t go but had the tracker on.  My son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter were in Los Angeles cheering him on.  His pace was also logged.  Pretty cool technology.  Yesterday D’mitri stayed home from school.  His ankle hurt, but today he’s back for his 6th grade classes in middle school.  26 miles is a long run!

ASICS LA Marathon:

D’MITRI MEYER at the Finish in 6:03:38.

Pace 13:53 min/Mile.
Time of Arrival: 1:17 PM.

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Wordsmith– I also write books

Today I am rewriting the wedding chapter in my romantic suspense, Deadly Alliance.  This is a triple wedding taking place on a pontoon on Lake Arrowhead.  The hero Fin Donahue marries heroine Amy Kintyre, but then they fell in love the second they met.  Of course they didn’t like each other at the time, but there was that sizzling magnetism! Fin’s dad is marrying his girlfriend whom he met at Straight Arrow, an assisted living complex.  Amy’s friend, Cassidy, is marrying Spencer who is the son of the lesser villain.  I needed to research pontoons and picked the one below so that there would be room for some of the guests on the upper deck.  The ceremony takes place on-board, but the reception is at the community church.

pontoon with an upper deck

Eat– for Good Health

Did I tell you I’m on a mission to lose six pounds in three weeks? My black dress is a little tight.  It doesn’t slip right off and drop to the floor like it did before!  Yes, friends, I’m doing 900 calories a day, but my husband likes steak.  Tonight I’m making Bobby Flay’s Grilled New York Strip Steak, and the sauce is made with yogurt. (I will only consume half of the allotted steak portion.)

INGREDIENTS for Grilled New York Strip Steak

Sauce
1½ tbsp canola oil
1 medium Spanish onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup FAGE Total 0%*
2 tbsp prepared horseradish, drained

Steak
4 New York strip steaks, (1½ – 2 inches thick)
Canola oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

METHOD:

  • Sauce
    Heat the oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper. Cook for about 12 – 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and caramelized. Cool for 15 minutes.
  • Mix the yogurt, horseradish, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Next, fold the onions into the mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 8 hours to allow the flavors to meld. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before serving.

I’ve got my eyes on my goal!

blue eyes

Places– of Charm

Don’t all of us love Earth’s seasons!  Now as winter is ending, and spring begins at the March 20th equinox, we get “spring fever.”  Our daughter Janice went to the beach yesterday and came back looking like a lobster.  Dieters buy a bikini a size too small and crash diet which often leads to over-eating.  Take it easy.  Live through spring fever with moderation.

The Vernal Equinox is a special moment when the sun crosses the celestial equator going from south to north. In the Northern Hemisphere, the sun is rising earlier now, and nightfall comes later. Plants are sprouting. Winds are softening. For us in the Northern Hemisphere, people are enjoying the warmer days of spring.  In SoCal oranges are 88 cents a pound.

Clipart Illustration of an Orange Slice

Eat– for Good Health

This divided bowl from ZAK.com forces portion control. Today I ordered 4.  For years, Traci Mann, Ph.D., conducted one study after another that confirmed traditional diets eat away at our willpower, making it harder to cut back as time goes on.  When Mann opened her own University of Minnesota lab, she set up studies in many places– cafeterias, state fairs, and even the International Space Station.  Small changes led to big effects.

Here is one of the outcomes– this is an example of a magic plate for dieters.  Put the pasta in the smaller side, and the salad in the bigger side.  Or, hot cereal in the smaller section, and fruit in the larger.  Where do the meat and potatoes go?  The smaller side of course with vegetables in the bigger section.  Kari Inuale lost 150 pounds this way!

divided  bowl

Wordsmith– I also volunteer

As a writer we need to protect writing time, but writing is solitary. No man or woman should be an island. Knowing that volunteering has a meaningful, positive impact on my local chapter of Romance Writers of America, OCCRWA, I signed up as Secretary/membership chair.  It’s time consuming to count cash, checks, and paypal receipts and update members for this year’s roster, using Excel.  There’s follow-up involved, but the group is so nice that they don’t mind being reminded to renew.

I like being part of the OCCRWA community and board.  Volunteering is about helping others, but the organization helped and continues to help me.  What better way is there to give back to a giving organization?  If you are a romance writer, benefits are enormous on every second Saturday of the month. OCCRWA’s motto is one hand reaching forward with the other reaching back.couple with a rose

People Appreciation

Our grandson, D’mitri, is running in the Los Angeles Marathon on Sunday, March 15.  I switched my schedule around in order to be there. The course takes runners from the Dodger Stadium all the way across Los Angeles (26 miles!) and finishes in the scenic area just steps from the Santa Monica Pier. D’mitri with other participants have been coached since September for this race.  Just finishing is remarkable.  There will be fully staffed aid stations along the route with Water and Gatorade beginning at mile 2 and ending at mile 25.  Whew.

Here is a photo taken by our son, Johnny, about a week ago.  Back row, D’mitri and our son, Teddy.  Front row, granddaughter Roxanne, daughter-in-law Jan, me, and daughter, Janice.

bday1

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