Thursday, September 30, 2010

Knitting and Cookies

I'm knitting this sweater from Kristeen Griffin-Grimes' French Girl Knits book with this yarn (best picture I could find, I bought it a while ago) and it's really quite lovely. I love the yarn - it's like knitting a fairytale.

That said, I've been waiting to post because I keep hoping I'll have stuff to post about...

...but life's pretty slow right now. Well, not slow-slow. But there's not a lot of change as yet.

Until then...

1.) If you're anywhere near Eugene, don't miss the Simply Sara book signing even at Barnes & Noble this Sunday, October 3rd, 4pm.

2.) I've been on a chocolate chip cookie making kick. I have the best chocolate chip cookie recipe in the world - that is, if brown sugary, chewing chocolate chip cookies are your thing. The recipe goes like this:

Blend...

1/3 c. butter, softened (I use salted, and don't even think about using margarine. And if you do, stop it.)
1/3 c. Crisco (and I do use butter flavor. So help me.)
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. dark brown sugar (don't even think about using light. It will affect the consistency of the cookie)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Mix together separately...

1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Combine dry ingredients with wet ingredients. Stir in a heaping cup of chocolate chips. Bake at 375 degrees (preheated oven, naturally) for 8 or so minutes on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, until they've just just browned on top but still look pretty doughy. They'll collapse, finish baking, and look perfect later.

Most baking people use wire racks to cool. For cookies, I don't. This is partly because I don't own a wire rack. But if you cool cookies on newsprint or some other kind of paper product, the paper absorbs some of the grease (read: fat), giving you a somewhat healthier cookie.

Everyone wins.

3.) I'm crazy mad at Glee right now. The first episode was lame, the second was a mess. The characters, whom I love much, have been reduced to caricatures. The plot...there really isn't one yet, and we're two weeks in.

The way I see it, TV episodes are like chapters. And in the first three chapters of your book, you want to come in with guns blazing. Great characters. Lots of plot. Those chapters are your springboard.

With Glee, not only did they use the cheap voice-over "what everyone did this summer" bit, but instead of working any of the Britney numbers into the plot, they were thrown into a dream sequence. A dream sequence.

The way it's going, we'll have flashback sequences and people falling into pools, just so we can hit as many writing clichés as possible. We're supposed to believe that Mr. Schuester is uptight, but hey, this is the guy who started a boy band with Ken Tenaka. Sang Aerosmith. How uptight can he be? He doesn't think Britney is appropriate but he has no issues with Lady Gaga? Really? I don't like when shows tweak characters (or in this case, flat out maul) to suit a flimsy plot twist. They think viewers won't notice. They think wrong.

4.) I'm also crazy mad at Fringe, though for different reasons. I'm sooooo mad that Walter and Peter haven't figured out that the Olivia sitting next to them is Alternate Olivia. I mean, they're both geniuses. And I'm deeply concerned that the real Olivia has truly been brainwashed by Walternate...

...But I realize this feeling of discontent is the result of things going well in the writing room. So for now, I'm letting it slide.

For now.

Don't watch Fringe? You should start. Really, you should. Because it's better than Glee right now.

5.) Also? The Good Wife? Very good season premier. There was plot. There was character. Makes me want to clap my hands.

6.) If you have a spare minute, watch this bit of ye olde Hollywood joy. Do. It's grand.

7.) Just finished Sophie Kinsella's Mini Shopaholic. Love!

I think that's it by now. In case you were wondering, no I haven't unpacked from ACFW yet. Because that's how we roll...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

On returning from ACFW


As you can see, there was fun to be had at ACFW. At that particular time, I was goofing off with my handbag, vaguely registering that Carla's camera was locked, loaded, and firing.

So now you know. I have issues.

At least my husband thinks I'm funny.

ACFW was a lot of fun. I loved getting to meet my publicist Jeane Wynn, and authors Carla Stewart, Mary Ellis, Kathi Lipp, Susan Meissner, Susan May Warren, Rachel Hauck, Julie Garmon, Lynette Sowell, Kellie Coates Gilbert, Brandt Dodson, Jerry Eicher, Cara Putnam, and many others.

I watched my agent win the coveted ACFW Agent of the Year award. That was fun.

A fun experience all the way around, but there are things I would do differently. Thing, singular, actually - I would fly in earlier. I'm an introvert, and dealing with 620 other conferees when I'm crazy exhausted from a long red-eye flight is difficult for me.

But it was great. And it was great having Danny with me. We also visited the Panera across the street - amazing! I didn't have time to hit the TJMaxx that was near by, but I sent it happy thoughts.

We also got to see Danny's aunt and grandmother from Ohio before we flew out, which was a really nice way to wrap up the trip.

...And yes, we did watch House immediately after arriving home (at 10pm), though we did save Castle for later. Loved House, loved Castle, felt like last night's Glee was not quite up to snuff. I'm actually looking forward to the Brittany Spears episode, which I would not have thought possible before, but the season premiere was sorely lacking in the area of character development and grand-scale musical productions.

Fringe is tonight! I'm starting to love autumn. And I'm not just saying that because I had a Pumpkin Spice Latte yesterday...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

ACFW and Fall TV


I know my blogging lately has been erratic at best. Things have been pretty crazy lately for many reasons, including (but not limited to) the fact that ACFW is this weekend!

Things I'm excited about for ACFW:

1. No cooking/meal planning all weekend. Yeah, I know I blog about food a lot, but when I'm stressed, making food decisions and preparations makes it worse. Letting someone else feed me for a while? Yes, please.

2. I'm just a plain ol' conferee. I'm not teaching (though I am signing books) or leading worship or organizing everything. I get to show up at my classes looking cute, ready to meet people and talk craft. And if you read this blog regularly, you know how much I love talking craft.

3. I get to meet my publicist, Jeane Wynn, face to face. I've loveloveloved working with her so far, so I'm very excited to get to swap smiles and handshakes with her in real time.

4. It's warm in Indianapolis. And not raining.

5. There are lots of lovely authors attending who I'll get to meet for the first time! Very exciting :-) I am expecting our suitcase to be much heavier on the flight back - all of those books!

6. The ACFW Banquet! From what I hear, it's Christian Fiction's answer to prom. I've got a gorgeous cocktail dress which should be out of alterations before I board the plane, as well as an adorable clutch and the shoes I wore to Danny's graduation (which I affectionately refer to as my Tokyo Prostitute shoes - they're very black, very shiny, and very tall). I'm still working on the necklace, which has proved to be much more difficult in practice than it was in theory. Complicating matters, I need my shipment of beads and chain link to arrive today. If not, I'll have to get creative, since I'm mostly sure that my new idea to get the thing to hang right will work. Mostly. If not...

...I'll deal with that when the time comes. I suppose I can always super-glue the beads to my neck.

Because that wouldn't be at all awkward.

In other news...

...Fall TV is starting up next week! And I'm excited. Very excited. And a little embarrassed about how many shows I'll be following this next season.

Monday, September 20:

1. House. Househousehousehouse. Ooh, and House and Cuddy. Jennifer Morrison will be leaving to do a turn on How I Met Your Mother, while Amber Tamblyn will be doing a multi-episode arc as a bright med student who's not quite certified to treat patients. I'm delighted to have Tamblyn back on the screen, and having her on House is that much better. Episodes will include a guest appearance by Jennifer Grey, a double date with Wilson and Sam, and House and Cuddy (oh good heavens, that's all I've got to say on that. For now),

2. Castle. Everyone was really sad at the end of the season finale, so hopefully things will get un-sad. I say that because this show makes me emit a high-pitched giggle only audible to my husband and small dogs. I'm ready for another season of wordy murder and mayhem.

3. Dancing with the Stars. I told my sister I probably wasn't going to follow DWTS much this season...until I remembered that Jennifer Grey is dancing. So...we'll see. I may watch, or I may just be satisfied with her turn on House.

Tuesday, September 21:

4. Glee!! The wrap-up episode from last season was pitch perfect in the way it left things. Let us hope the momentum starts right back up. I've missed Sue. I was told erroneously that if I missed Glee I should watch The Choir on BBCA. But no. It didn't cut it for me. I need Sue. And Rachel. And Emma. And Brittany...

5. The Good Wife. A strong cast, strong writing, strong plotting - very curious to see what the next season will hold. Especially since Julianna Margulies' Alicia Florick seemed very ready to lose her "Good Wife" status.

Thursday, September 23:

6. Fringe! This is tricky, because Fringe and Grey's are on at the same time. Will have to figure this out (we can only DVR one network show at a time...). But I'm more invested in Fringe, having spent the off-season telling everyone I know to start watching Fringe. I love strong characters and involving ensemble casts, and that's Fringe in a nutshell. I miss everyone. Even Gene. I have hopes that everyone will be restored to their proper dimensions shortly, but I am realistic. This is television.

7. Grey's Anatomy. Don't judge. Please. I'm not a Mc-Anything swooner, but I really love a lot of these characters. They're flawed and complicated and they make flawed and complicated decisions. Sometimes it's tangled in melodrama, but other times they get it right. The times they get it right makes it worth it.

And yes. I'm desolated that Casanova has left Project Runway.

Oh - and for everyone who's pre-ordered Sara but hasn't had copies shipped - they will be shipped shortly. The cases of books bound for Amazon left on the 8th of this month, and Amazon's turnaround tends to be quite speedy. So keep an eye on your email. I'll get a call from Barnes & Noble when they have Sara in stock here in Eugene, but keep in mind that the signing is October 3rd...not far away at all!

Off to pack! More later from Indianapolis :-)