Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday Show & Tell

Pam Asberry
Dacula, GA

Karen White and Eloisa James
at The Chocolate Bar in Decatur, Georgia
Thursday I got to hear two amazing romance writers talk about their journeys and their friendship.
If you haven't read their work, go straight to your nearest local book store and treat yourself.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Countdown to M&M

M&M's are like potato chips - no one can eat just one! And I'm not talking about those candy-coated chocolates; I'm talking about Georgia Romance Writers annual Moonlight & Magnolias Conference. The 2011 conference, "The Course of True Love," will be held at the Decatur Hotel & Conference Center September 29-October 2, and I am literally giddy with anticipation.

How do I love thee, M&M? Let me count the ways.
  1. So many inspiring workshops that I seriously need to clone myself so that I don't miss anything
  2. Featured speakers Eloisa James (!) and Karen White (!)
  3. Special craft workshop presenter Leigh Michaels
  4. Agent and editor appointments
  5. The basket raffle and book signing
  6. The Maggie awards ceremony, dinner and dance (it's electric!)
  7. Catching up with old friends and making new connections
You cannot imagine the creative energy in a roomful of writers unless you have spent some time in one; it will keep me fueled for months to come. I will return home with a suitcase full of workshop notes, autographed books, business cards - maybe even a request for my manuscript - and memories to last a lifetime.

Will I see you at M&M? What are you looking forward to most?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday Show and Tell

Lindy - Decatur, GA
Deer Me...
It's mine.
No! It's mine!
No, mine!

Pam * Dacula, GA
Man and Beast
Two kewl dudes.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

IHA! How Will We Ever Adapt?

It's the great conundrum for someone who works at making every sentence just right. No, I'm not talking to only the writer-types reading this, but those who write notes of thanks, write letters for a boss, or journal to maintain his or her sanity. Everyone writes, right?

Scenario 1 - So tell me, what would the 87 year old grandmother say to a thank you note that read, "Dear G'ma. Thx 4 the diary u sent for my b'day. GMBO at the cute puppy on the cover. G'ma, I'm 12. Puppies r 4 babies. LUWAMH, Maggs.

Scenario 2 - Or, how about the manager reading a memo from his recent grad boss, "IMHO, ASAP in this ARE, we must msg our customers in a language they rel8 to. We must appear SF, K. FWIW, we can offer training in this new language. If not, I think YBS. TTYL.

Scenario 3 - As far maintaining sanity via journal, well, can you imagine coming back to this journal 20 years from now: "WIBNI bb grl hadn't climbed into the kitchen sink and eaten those coffee grounds 2day. LSHMBB. Diaper was disgusting. FMTYEWTK to be sure. HHIS. I'll run the disposal next time. TGIF, I couldn't take 1 more thing. Finally, I get to L2M and relax. TAFN.

Not only does it all sound like gibberish, who in their right mind could wrap their head around all of the combinations of acronyms that could come about? Are seventh grade English teachers going to now have to include acronymic sentence structure with and without punctuation?

So, how does the modern woman adapt to today's language? She looks up the latest lists, the hottest acronyms and buzzwords, so she can keep up with what her kids are chatting about online, on the cell, and passing back and froth in class. Then, she breaks the binding on that new copy of Webster's and gets back to the real world and writing real thank you notes, letters and memos, and manuscripts, lots and lots of manuscripts (for you writer-types reading this). 

Oh, and if you are curious about the translations of the messages above, they are below (If I could've flipped them upside down I would have just to mess with you like they do in the newspaper).

Scenario 1 Translation: Dear Grandmother, Thanks for the diary you sent for my birthday. Giggling my butt off at the cute puppy on the cover. Grandmother, I'm 12. Puppies are for babies. Love you with all my heart, Maggs

Scenario 2 Translation: In my humble opinion, as soon as possible in this acronym rich environment, we must message our customers in a language they can relate to. We must appear surfer friendly, okay. For what it's worth, we can offer training in this new language.  If not, I think you'll be sorry. Talk to you later.

Scenario 3 Translation: Wouldn't it be nice if baby girl hadn't climbed into the kitchen sink and eaten those coffee grounds today. Laughing so hard my belly is bouncing. Diaper was disgusting. Far more than you ever wanted to know to be sure. Hanging head in shame. I'll run the disposal next time. Thank goodness it's Friday, I couldn't take one more thing. Finally, I get to listen to music and relax. That's all for now.

What ridiculous message would you send to your boss if you knew for certain he or she would never decipher it? Have your kids taken on speaking and writing in this new verbiage (this being the true definition of verbiage)? Do you think the workplace will ever adopt this way of communicating?

Life in Penned Perspective by Lindy Chaffin Start

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Words, They Are A-Changin'

Writers, do you ever find it challenging to keep up with the times? Typewriters have given way to word processors. Writing style and what's popular in terms of genre changes rapidly. E-publishing has turned traditional publishing upside down.  And then, after the book is published, it is essential to build a social network and market one's own work.

Yep, it can be a real minger.

"What's a minger?" you ask. Even the language is evolving. The vocabulary might originate with teens -  like, ya know what I mean? - but the next thing you know these words are a part of our everyday speak. Click HERE to take a quiz and find out how well you know your 21st century buzzwords.

How did you do? Not so well? You might want bookmark this list (click HERE) from the 2001 Edition of the Concise Oxford Dictionary.

But we can't blame it all on the younger generation; Facebook, Twitter, and texting have changed the very face of the language. Is "unfriend" really a word? Apparently. And even abbreviations, such as OMG, LOL, and FYI, have made it into the dictionary, according to this article (click HERE). For a comprehensive list of chat acronyms and text message shorthand, click HERE.


Author: Pam Asberry

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday Show & Tell

Pam - Dacula, GA

Ain't it the truth?


Lindy - Decatur, GA

And though the BIG red bullseye on the front of the North Druid Target drew their attention,
to our feathered friends, it meant something entirely different.

Happy Friday! Keep your day in perspective.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Keeping It Real

This week at WritersLi.P.P. we coined the subject Objective Perspective. No matter who you are, your profession, your goals or aspirations, this subject is hard to define. So, I'm not going to (for once).

As a woman with ethics I must abide by objectivity. The situation does not matter; I must be able to see it from more than one side.

Thanks to my dad, I can offer this analogy on perspective: It's like looking at the flat front of a coffee mug while listening to someone tell you that you must grab the full circumference of the mug even though it's hot from the steaming liquid inside. Something inside you says there has to be something more; a handle perhaps.

© Erengoksel |
So, how in this crazy world do we maintain an objective perspective? I can tell you how I do it in one simple phrase: I try to always put myself in another person's shoes. Simple, right? It is and it 1) keeps me honest and 2) keeps me grateful.

In a world where it's easy for opinions and views to get lost in translation, I'll take this lesson the easy way.

What about you? How do you explain objective perspective?

Life in Penned Perspective by Lindy Chaffin Start

Monday, September 12, 2011

Getting An Objective Perspective

"Does this dress make me look fat?"

"Did you like the casserole I made for dinner tonight?"

"What do you think of the first three chapters?"

Whether I'm getting dressed in the morning, trying to decide whether to keep or toss a new recipe, or beginning a new writing project, I often seek the counsel of others, because it is virtually impossible for me to be objective about something I am really close to. When I look in the mirror, I still see the overweight teenager I was in high school. I am not picky about food, but I don't want to spend a week eating leftovers of a meal that the rest of my family doesn't care for. I am relatively new to fiction writing, so it is essential for me to get feedback from more experienced authors.

The challenge is finding people whose own agenda doesn't interfere with your own. Once I was in a long-term relationship with a man who also had body issues; he was displeased anytime I wore something that wasn't fitted at the waist. Left to their own devices, my children would eat nothing but pizza and potato chips, so the fact that they aren't crazy about a new dish doesn't mean it wouldn't taste good to someone else. The heroine in my novel might remind a contest judge or literary agent of someone she has problems with in her personal life, and this might taint her opinion of my work regardless of its overall quality.

Even doctors are merely expressing opinions when it comes to a diagnosis or a course of treatment. That's why it is sometimes necessary to ask for second, or even third opinion, in order to make the best decision regarding medical care.

It seems, then, a completely objective perspective is something like a unicorn. Hard to find by if it exists at all. So what is a girl to do?

Clearly, it is useful to enlist the help of others. But it is important to seek opinions from a broad spectrum of people: family, friends, professionals. Then, as much as possible, we must find ways to step away from our work so that we can view it as objectively as we possibly can. For example, when I am learning a new piece on the piano, I record my practice periodically and listen to the recording to help me evaluate my progress. When I am involved in the playing, I hear what I THINK I am playing; the recording helps me to hear the way the music actually SOUNDS. Similarly, when I am revising a novel, I print my pages in a different font than the one I use for drafting; that helps me to see the words with a fresh perspective.

But ultimately? We must remember that the only perspective that matters is our own. Because everything else is just another person's opinion.

Author: Pam Asberry

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday Show and Tell

Lindy Chaffin Start - Decatur, GA

Mmmmm...Dump Cake!
1 15 oz can of cherry pie filling
1 15 oz can of pineapple tidbits
1 box yellow cake mix
1 cup butter
Layer cherries, then pineapple, sprinkle with cake mix, then drizzle with melted butter. Poke holes strategically to make sure the butter gets to the bottom of the pan. Bake at 350 degrees until the top is golden brown and the bottom is bubbly. Enjoy with your favorite vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Easy-peazy and delicious. Enjoy!

Pam Asberry - Dacula, GA

Masks and wigs and tights, oh, my!
Labor Day is over and fall is in the air. Still, I couldn't help but shake my head when I saw this display already up at the grocery store this week. Can the Christmas decorations be far behind?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

No Recipes; Just Romance

It's raining today here in Decatur as I am sure it is doing where you live. And the rain, especially when it only comes once in a blue moon, pours down nostalgia.

The Best Thing These Li.P.P.s Ever Tasted in my case is Pecan-crusted Salmon over Portobello Cheese Grits with Wilted Greens. And, in my case this post isn't at all about the recipes but about the romance that ensued.

I was twenty-three living in Atlanta, a big move for a small town girl, and the youngest Executive Coordinator ever hired at a Culinary School in the Southeast. I was the anomaly in a field dominated by older male chefs and entrenched in the metro-area’s restaurant scene. A not-so-lanky food-lover, I hurried to get to know every chef that opened a restaurant in my town inviting them to showcase their food in one of the many classes we hosted. I viewed my position as a stepping stone to my dream job – restaurant public relations and marketing.

The job, in addition to my other responsibilities, tended to be overwhelming, so I would escape to a small island not too far from Atlanta (no, the coast isn't THAT far from here). It was just such an evening.

Sitting at my linen-covered table, I shook my head, hoping with desperation I could let go of work for two days. I wanted forty-eight hours to enjoy the beach, but the food on the island called to me, leading me to my favorite local restaurant famed for its play on Southern cuisine.

My meal was exquisite - Pecan-crusted Salmon over Portobello Cheese Grits with Wilted Greens. I savored every delicate bite allowing the sweet, rich flavors to mingle and fill my palette and soul with the peace I desired.

Taking my last sip of tannin-rich Pinot Noir, I asked the pretty waitress, “Could you please ask Chef to come to the table so I could pay him my compliments in person?”

“Absolutely!” the summer-bronzed woman replied, making haste to the kitchen.

Distracted, my eyes wandered around the restaurant spying lovers in dimly lit corners, and paintings with bright, contemporary colors. I was at home in my surroundings and filled with confidence.

Seconds later the chef stepped into the dining room. Dressed in crisp, formal whites, toque sitting atop his head, he appeared to be seven feet tall. My breath caught in my chest as the handsome, mysterious man approached the table, his self-assured stature enchanting.

We spoke for only a moment, but Chef's charming Northern demeanor, left this Southern belle intrigued. A week later I sent him a thank you note, and a week after that he called, and probably a week after that we were having dinner in Atlanta. He was sixteen years my senior and showed me the kind of love I want in life; the love that sweeps you away in a cascade of stars and warm sea water leaving you breathless and very aware that you will be connected forever.

That was sixteen years ago, and though life has dealt us cards we never would have anticipated, we remain friends. And, on a rare occasion, we get together and toast with a toasty single-malt and reminisce.

Is there a dish that has brought you to a place you never expected? Tell us your story.

Life in Penned Perspective by Lindy Chaffin Start

Monday, September 5, 2011

Pam's (Almost) Famous Whole Wheat Bread

This week's topic is The Best Thing These LiPPs Ever Tasted, and my recipe for basic whole wheat bread has undoubtedly been my most-requested over the years. I make fresh flour using my Whisper Mill grain grinder and a heavy-duty mixer, but friends have had success using good quality whole wheat flour from the grocery store and kneading by hand. Here goes.

Pam's (Almost) Famous Whole Wheat Bread

Hand Method:

1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup oil
2 ½ cups warm water
1 ½ tablespoons yeast
2 ½ teaspoons salt
6-7 cups whole wheat flour (preferably fresh-milled)

Large Mixer Method:

2/3 cup honey
2/3 cup oil
6 cups warm water
3 tablespoons yeast
1 ½-2 tablespoons salt
16-20 cups whole wheat flour (preferably fresh-milled)

Combine the warm water, yeast and 2 cups whole wheat flour in a large mixing bowl; allow to sponge for 15 minutes. Add the honey, oil, salt and 4-5 cups (12-16 cups for mixer method) additional flour until the dough begins to clean the sides of the mixing bowl. Do not allow the dough to get too dry; it should be smooth and elastic. Knead the bread by hand 7-10 minutes or until it is very smooth and elastic. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size. Punch dough down, form into two loaves (five loaves for mixer method) and place into greased pans. Let rise again until double. Bake 25-30 minute in preheated 350-degree oven. Bread is done when the sides are golden brown and it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove from pans and brush with melted butter for a softer crust, if desired.

Wholesome and delicious - perfect for the cool fall days ahead!

Author: Pam Asberry

Friday, September 2, 2011

Friday Show & Tell

Pam Asberry * Dacula, GA

Yes, those are bananas.
My nineteen year old is full of surprises.
Today he demonstrated his flair for interior decorating.


Lindy Chaffin Start * Decatur, GA

It was a big'un!
On Thursday I did something good for our environment and great for me.
With little effort, I planted a tree!
Do something good too, won't you join me?
(A little Dr. Seuss for Friday Show & Tell)

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