March 01, 2018

Blueberry Breakfast Cake

I've been craving this lately. It is sooo good. And as far as sweets and cakes go, it's not the worse for you.

Blueberry Breakfast Cake

1 ½ cups fresh blueberries
⅔ cups all-purpose flour, plus 2 teaspoons, divided
⅔ cups whole wheat flour
¾ cup old fashioned rolled oats, uncooked
¼ cup walnuts
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup sugar
1 egg
¾ cup lowfat buttermilk
¼ cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup rolled oats
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup butter, softened
¼ cup chopped walnuts
a pinch of nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat an 8x8 baking pan with cooking spray; set aside.

Rinse the blueberries. Let the berries air-dry or blot with a paper towel. In a separate bowl, add 2/3 cup all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, oats, baking powder, salt & sugar; mix. Combine egg, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla; mix. Add berries and walnuts until distributed throughout.

In medium bowl whisk together whole wheat pastry flour, oats, brown sugar, & cinnamon. Cut in butter using two forks, a pastry blender, or your fingers. Mix until combined and crumbly. Add walnuts and mix. Sprinkle topping on batter. 

BAKE 35-40 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out dry.

February 21, 2018

Whacky Research

My critique partners and I have a running joke that the FBI has us on a watch list because of the things we lookup in the name of research.  I certainly hope that isn’t the case but I have to admit I’ve looked up some pretty strange things for research.  Here are just a few.

The history of carrier pigeons.  I did a M/F stories and needed a pigeon.  I needed to know how far back in time they were used. Just so happens? Quite awhile back  LOL

In the same book I needed to know the ancient language in Greece.  It’s called Koine, or at least it was in the time period I needed.

I’ve looked up Werewolf lore.  Which probably doesn’t surprise anyone.

Prince Alberts  The piercing not the man. <blink blink> Yup, you read that right 😜 

Molotov Cocktails.  Uh huh, see why I think the FBI has me on a list?

Flying helicopters in bad weather.  You can do it, but they advise against it.

Equine encephalitis.  Nasty virus!  Get your horses vaccinated, people. 

Regency era townhouses.  Very interesting.  Check out my Sci-Regency Pinterest board.

The Mexican drug cartel.  <whispers> "FBI watch list."

Southern sayings. I know several of them. My family is a font of information in this era, but there were a couple I’d never heard. For the life of my I just don’t understand how anything could taste so good you’d slap your granny. I mean really! And what exactly does Katie bar the door mean?  Is it like “Hey, Katie!  Bar that door!” Or is there a bar called a Katie Bar?  I don’t know, but if you want a good laugh check these out. 

Baby Names.  The FBI probably thinks I have about 25 children LOL

Mexican swear words.  I actually know a few of these too 😏  but I learned a lot more by looking them up.

Regency Era Dances. Surprisingly the waltz we know now is not the waltz they did. 

February 12, 2018

My Favorite Places on the Web

Everyone has their favorite places on the internet and I thought I’d share some of mine. 

The Weather Channel  I’m a weather junky.  I live in Texas an if you know anything about North Central Texas you probably realize we have very iffy weather in the spring.  Hail, thunderstorms, tornados and high winds. I somehow ended up being dubbed as “the weather girl” I guess because I’m always at home writing, so everyone expects me to keep an eye out on the weather.  I have a weather radio, and several apps that help forecast weather too.  I really don’t mind playing weather girl because I love storms.  I love to see them build and I love watching them. There is no finer writing weather than a stormy afternoon. Hail seems to be the biggest concern from my family.  Well all except my MIL, she doesn’t want hail but the word tornado terrifies her.  Me? Not so much. I’ve lived here my whole life and I’ve yet to be in one. 

Harlequin  I know I’ve said before I’m a Harlequin fan.  I always check out the new releases and it’s nice because I can buy epubs of Harlequins the month before they release to the public.

Pandora  I like to occasionally listen to music when I write and I can’t listen to words.  I end up singing, so Pandora is a great place to find instrumental music. 

The Quizzing Glass Blog I’m a member of The Beau Monde RWA group and AS I’ve stated before Regency romance is my absolute favorite genre.  The is a great place to find new releases. 

Nancy Mayer’s page Nancy is our resident researcher in The Beau Monde.  If you need to know something on the Regency, Nancy’s page is your first stop.

Amazon Because who doesn’t love the evil empire?

Thesaurus  I think this one speaks for itself ☺ 

Allrecipes Again, this one speaks for itself.

Desktop Nexus  I love changing the desktop pics on my laptop.  

The Pet Poison Hotline This is awesome when picking out flowers in spring.  I highly recommend it if you have a pain in the butt like Hiccup ( and Astrid) who eat things they shouldn’t. 

My Aquarium Club  For all your fish questions.

February 01, 2018

7 Things About Editing

I just finished my first round edits for the rerelease of My Fair Captain, and as some of you may know it’s been awhile. It felt great to get back to it after so long. It reminded me of all the things I like and dislike about the editing process, so I thought I'd share some of them with you.  

1) A great editor is worth their weight in gold. Sadly, as writers we don't usually have the option of choosing our editors. I’ve worked with a few and can honestly say that not all editors are created equal, but this time around I hit the jackpot. 😁 Lets face it, our manuscripts are very precious to us and we don’t like the idea of someone tearing them apart. In some cases, it can feel as though they are tearing you apart. So before you go asking for a new editor, you have to separate yourself from your work. The goal is to make it better and you want someone who shares this goal. Talking to the editor and explaining your problems is always the first step. Communication is key. 

2) If ever you need a reminder of how far you’ve come, go back and read your older works. I have really improved as a writer. Not to sound conceited—mind you, I’m not comparing myself to anyone but myself–but WOW!  It’s very rewarding to look back at work you thought was top of the line and realize you can improve it. Actually improving it is very satisfying.

3) Know your grammar. I seem to be remembering all the things I forgot about high school and college grammar. I know I'm showing my age but look up Schoolhouse Rock. Conjunctions are your friends. Another thing I noticed while going back over My Fair Captain is a lot of short choppy sentences and short choppy paragraphs. I suspect short sentences are a beginning author mistake. So to all you newbies out there, brush up on your grammar. Don't be afraid of commas and go over sentence structure. I recommend, Writer’s Digest Grammar Desk Reference. I bought this some years ago and really liked how quick and easy it was to look things up. My new editor also recommended it to me.

4) Breathing new life into an old work is exhilarating, so never let fear hold you back.  However, there is such a thing as overdoing and revising the life out of something.  So if you start getting frustrated and changing the same sentences over and over, it’s time to move on. This is where trusting a good editor comes into play.

5) Fixing plot issues is fun!  I love the challenge when an editor says this doesn’t work. Trying to figure out what’s missing is nearly as fun as the initial writing. Don’t let it frustrate you because where there is a will there is a way. Sometimes the best plan of action is to step back and let the ideas gel. You'll be surprised at how many start coming to you.

6) Don’t be afraid to cut.  I know it’s scary, but sometimes cutting stuff is truly the best thing for the story. I tend to be long winded, so cutting to me in not a huge ordeal, but I know some writers fret about it.  Remember the goal is to make the story stronger and to make it flow better. You want to keep the reader reading not make the reader slog though a page and a half of stuff that isn’t really important to the story or the character development. If they have to slog, they are likely to stop reading altogether.  

7) It’s not good to edit before writing. It takes a different skill set and is difficult to shift focus. If you have to write after you edit, you should take a break first. Let your mind get in to that creative mode. 

January 04, 2018

I don't read gay romance

I know, I know that sounds like a strange confession for a gay romance author, but it’s true. Obviously, I have no issue with gay romance, since I love writing it, but other than critiquing for my critique partners, I don’t generally read it.

Most of my pleasure reading is done in the historical romance genre. I love historical romance. My favorite is Regency, followed by Victorian, Medieval, and Scottish romance. I also love time travel romance. I do on the rare occasion read romantic suspense and I have a weakness for the old serial romances (aka Harlequin).

So, why don’t I read historical gay romance, you ask?

Well, I feel like it’s bittersweet. I’m sure there is some really wonderful historical gay romance out there. In fact, I know there is. I actually read a western lesbian romance set in the 1800’s for a contest once and it was outstanding, but as a general rule gay romance and history just don’t mix well for me. In my opinion, they can never truly have a happily ever after with the threat of being put to death held over their heads. Men (and women too) have lived under this threat for centuries. Sadly, it’s still an issue today and not just in third world countries. I think it’s a little too close to reality for me and I don’t want reality when I read or watch TV. I want the fantasy. I want pure escapism. I want a happily ever after.

Side note: I went on a rampage after watching Seven and was in a really bad mood for hours afterward. It's the worst movie ever! If like me, you demand a happily ever after, do NOT watch that movie. I repeat do NOT watch it. And no, I haven't seen Brokeback Mountain. My friends were nice enough to warn me.

Oddly, enough I rarely read paranormal romance either and when I do write male/female romance I tend to write paranormal. But as I said I absolutely adore historical romance. I keep saying one day I’ll write a historical romance, but as you can see that is yet to happen. I am a wee bit intimidated by historical accuracy. Though in trust I don’t look for accuracy in my historical romance unless it’s something that is completely off the wall. I don’t mind spunky heroines or heroines in roles they’d have been shunned for in real life. I’m also not going to complain about lack of hygiene in medieval romance. It’s perfectly fine if the author does not include those true to life details.

Over all, I guess it’s safe to say that my favorite genres to read in are vastly different from my favorite genres to write in. But I am often asked for recommendations in gay romance, so let me see if I can take a stab at it.

J.L.’s Recommended Reads for Gay romance:  

(Yes, I’m proud to say, most are my critique partners)

Jet Mykles: I love Jet’s stuff whether gay romance or straight romance. Jet always has a happily ever after and leaves me with a smile on my face.  

Jade Buchanan: Jade always makes me laugh.

Kimberly Gardner: I think of all my CP’s Kimber and I write the most alike. 

Willa Okati:  Willa was the very first gay romance I read, back before I started writing gay romance  when I did read it.  I gobbled up every gay romance Willa put out  and I’m happy to say that I still really enjoy her books.

Ally Blue: I found Ally’s stuff when I was first published and asked to give a quote for her book.  I fell in love with her writing. She has recently started writing horror, another genre I don’t usually read, and I have to say I love it.  It’s every bit as good as her gay romance.

Maura Anderson: I’m most familiar with her Male/ Female romance, but Maura does write M/M as well and she super talented.  (Note to Maura.  “I need those Scottish contemporary romances!!!)

Brenda Bryce: Brenda was my very first critique partner and I adore her writing. She writes mostly straight romance but she has a few really awesome gay romances as well.

Wendy Qualls: Wendy isn’t a critique partner, but I read Wendy’s debut book for a quote as a favor to my agent and I really enjoyed it.  

Laura Baumbach: Again, Laura isn’t a critique partner but she is a friend and one of the first gay romance writers I read. I feel safe recommending her books because Laura is a wonder writer.

KA Mitchell: Same as above.  KA is not only a sweetie but super talented.

James Buchanan: James write very steamy gay romance. A lot of BDSM.  In fact, there aren’t many, if any, who do BDSM better in my opinion. 

Kris Jacen: Kris is a dear friend, my beta reader/critique partner, and my MLR Press editor. She's new to writing, but she's really showing a knack for it. Her debut novel is great. 

Faye Larson: Faye has a beautiful writing voice and is very witty. I really enjoy her stories.

Now if you want historical romance recommendations, I literally have hundreds of them πŸ˜€

November 14, 2017

T.V. Trash

In honor of Fall I thought I’d share my recipe for TV trash.  I have to make this every November.  My son and husband demand it, and my brother-in-laws try to come over after it’s made as well.  I believe it’s just the standard Chex mix recipe with a twist.  I got it from my neighbor who I’ve know since I was a teen(we bought my husband’s parent’s house.).  Enjoy!

T.V. Trash

3 sticks of butter
3/4 cup Worchestershire Sauce
3Tbsp. + 1 1/2 tsp. Tony Chachere’s original creole seasoning
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. + 1 1/2 tsp. red pepper
1 box Corn Chex
1 box Wheat Chex
1 box Rice Chex
1 box Cheerios
2 bags of pretzels  (I use the the honey wheat sticks)
2  14 oz. containers of mixed nuts (I always add a bag of pecans as well, because there is never enoughπŸ˜‰)

Melt butter in pot.  Add in seasonings and Worchestershire sauce.  Divide cereals, nuts and pretzels into 2 large roasting pans. Once sauce is melted and combined, pour equal amounts into roasting pans on top of cereal mixes and stir.  Bake for 1 hour at 250 degrees stirring the mix every 15 minutes.

November 10, 2017


Nope, not the Judy Blume story which is a great one, by the way.  Actually I wish I were talking about the book, but hey if you can’t laugh at yourself...  

A couple of years ago, I was sitting on my chaise reading a book and my husband was at his computer. Our oldest came in and I forget the exact conversation, but my youngest didn’t believe something my oldest had told him. The story was really bad and not at all believable. Of course, that could be because the oldest was grinning ear to ear.

I looked up from my book and said, “Mase you have really got to get better at “superfudge”.”

I got dead silence and two wide eyed stares.

After several moments, my husband finally blinked and said, “What?”

I kind of sighed thinking, geez, apparently we need a vocabulary lesson. So I explained,  “You know....”superfudge.” It means deception. S-U-B-T-E-R-F-U-G-E (I actually spelled it out for them.)”

Again I got dead silence then both of them laughed.

“What?” I said.  “It really is a word. I can’t believe the two of you have never heard it.”

I got yet after another round of laughter then my husband said, “It’s sub-ter-foo-juh.”


“That is how you say subterfuge.” My youngest, who’d been listening in his room, came in and explained through his laughter.

For years my brain read the word as superfudge.  Oh I spelled it right when I used it I knew exactly what it meant, but I had never heard that word spoken aloud and my brain supplied my own pronunciation. To this day every time I do something silly my youngest looks at me and shakes his head and with a big smile says, “Superfudge, mom.”

The reason I told this story is because today I wrote the word beautific and my spell check said beatific.  I was like, “Um, no! I mean beautific.”  But for the sake of argument I looked it up and low and behold I meant beatific.  The longer I write the more I wonder if I will ever truly have a good command of the English language. I swear I have a tremendous amount of respect for people who learn English as a second language. Bless you people, you are amazing! My hats off to you.