Tuesday, September 20, 2016

What do you call it? - Lisa Dyson

Maybe it’s the writer in me, but I’m always fascinated by what people call things, depending on where in the United States they live. A few years ago, while reading my soon-to-be-published manuscript after copy edits had been done, I saw words I knew I hadn’t written. My secondary female character from southern Virginia was ordering a “pop.” It stopped me immediately. Unless she was a transplant from Ohio or upstate New York, she’d call it a soda. Luckily, this read-through was my last opportunity to make any changes to the manuscript before it went to press.

We talk about other English-speaking countries having different words for things. Our elevator is a lift, and our bathroom is the loo. So I did a little research for this topic and came across many things that are called by different names right here in the United States.

Soda/pop/coke seems to be the most popularly discussed. (My Pennsylvania parents drank soft drinks.) According to Wikipedia, there’s a long list. Things I never even thought about. Growing up in eastern Pennsylvania and then living in several different eastern states over the years, I find that I use some of the names interchangeably.

Here are a few with where they’re used in parentheses. Faucet (north) and spigot (south). In my house, the kitchen and bathroom sinks have faucets. But the outside hose is connected to the spigot. Teeter-totter (widespread) and seesaw (south and midland). I’ve called it both things and never realized it. What about pit (north) and seed (elsewhere)? In my mind, peaches have pits and tomatoes have seeds.

When I lived in Rhode Island, I found that a water fountain/water cooler is called bubbler (pronounced bubbla). In eastern Pennsylvania, we ate hoagies. But when visiting my grandmother in central Pennsylvania, they were called submarine sandwiches (which freaked me out as a young child because I only pictured those old diesel boats in the glimpses of war movies I’d seen). Now I just call those long sandwiches subs.

You can see how fascinating this subject is to me and I hope I’ve peaked your interest, too. Do you have any examples to share? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below. One lucky commenter will win an advanced autographed copy of my upcoming book, a twist on the Cinderella story called Prince Charming Wears a Badge. It’s the first book in my Tales From Whittler’s Creek series. (Ironically, the “creek” that ran through the playground where I grew up will always be the “crick” in my mind!) Rest assured that none of my characters drive on a rotary/traffic circle or go into the cellar/basement.

I'll announce the winner in the comments section on Saturday, September 24. I’m also giving away a signed copy to one of my newsletter subscribers/patrons/supporters, so sign up today at lisadyson.com!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Winners from Cathryn Parry's Monday Blog Post

Congratulations, winners!
Dear Mary, Colleen C, Fedora, Tammy Y, Laney4, bn100 and Morgan,
Thank you for commenting about your moms--I enjoyed reading each story!

If you'll send your address to my website contact form, I'll send your book prize right out to you.

Thank you for reading our books (and our blog)!


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Question of the Month: Favorite Cheeseburger Toppings!

It's time for another Question of the Month here are the SuperAuthors blog - and we're all hungry so...here we go!

September 15 is National Double Cheeseburger Day here in the US. What is your favorite cheeseburger topping?

Tara Taylor Quinn: That one is easy! Onion rings (or fried onions) and barbecue sauce!

Jennifer Lohmann: I have to pick ONE favorite cheeseburger topping?! Only one?! *Wrings hands* I usually order what's on special at my favorite burger joint, Only Burger, but their Frito Bandito Burger (guacamole, spicy cheese sauce, chili, and Fritos) is a favorite stand-by.

Oh, and I always bring my own fry sauce, imported from the great state of Utah. Ketchup is for people who don't know the glories of fry sauce :-)

Kristina Knight: Okay, Jennifer's answer is so very specific that is skeers me - and awes me. Jennifer takes her burgers seriously, people! For me, the best cheeseburger topping is (surprise!) the cheese - provolone and cheddar are my favorites...but in a pinch, good ol' American will do!

Janet Lee Nye: I was going to opt out because I don't eat wheat or cheese. But. I do love a good burger. And you can enjoy them without buns! My favorite is a Med Burger from my favorite local restaurant. Fresh ground beef, olive tampanade, cucumber, tomato and yellow peppers on a bed of lettuce and tomato. Yum!

Nan Dixon: I'm not such a fan of cheeseburgers - buy give me mushrooms on my burger and I'm in heaven.

Kris Fletcher: Let's see. Where to start? Bacon ... caramelized onions ... shoestring onions ... bread and butter pickles ... Okay, I know what I'm making for dinner!

Joanne Rock: I can't choose just one way! Either mushrooms and blue cheese, OR avocado, Swiss and bacon. Actually, bacon goes with both. Is there anything bacon doesn't make better??

Angel Smits: Oh dear…I’m really not a burger fan.  But add some of those yummy cheeses…like Pepper Jack or Swiss…or…don’t get me started.  Skip the burger and pass the cheese!!

Jo McNally: What do I like on my cheeseburger? Umm - bacon, bacon and...uh...bacon!

Dana Nussio: Barbecue sauce! The spicier the better. And some onion straws. Yum!

Cathryn Parry: My favorite cheeseburger: one that is cooked on the grill by hubby. Real cheddar cheese on top. Either no bun or a gluten-free bun. If ketchup, onions, peppers and mushrooms are available, those are great, too! And PS, I do share with Otis the Cat, who also loves a good cheeseburger.

Claire McEwen: As a gluten-free person who doesn't eat much beef,  I have to put my own spin on this topic!  Now, I know this might not sound good to a lot of you, but trust me, what I'm about to describe is really yummy. My local burger place makes their veggie burger wrapped in lettuce instead of a bun. And they put this magic sauce on it, (seriously, it's so good that we call it magic sauce) and avocado and tomato and pickles and cheese if you want it. It's super tasty! And healthy, too!

Sharon Hartley: I try to eat a whole food, plant based diet, so don't eat beef or much cheese.  (I confess it's hard to resist cheese, especially brie!)  But I do love a grilled veggie burger topped with spinach, onion, fresh tomato and avocado.  

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Joys of Being a Note-Taker Extraordinaire

by Joanne Rock

Call it an organized Virgo thing. Call it a writerly fixation or outright nerdiness. But I am, and always have been, a meticulous keeper of words.

It started innocently enough. As an overambitious pre-teen, I spent long days at the library, writing notes from important looking books because I was studying the things I already felt were missing in my education—Greek mythology, ancient geography, the history of the overlapping Biblical stories. I brought home manila folders filled with charts that compared the Greek/Roman pantheon and timelines that chronicled the rise and fall of ancient civilizations. I kept these notes for years. Possibly, they still live in a box somewhere.
Just the kind of thing I copied down in my notes.

I must have enjoyed looking over those notes. You can see that I remember them well enough, and the fact that I wanted to review them often must have taught my young brain the value of keeping my notes organized in a way I could reference.

In college, I was blown away by the college professor who told me I should be writing notes in my textbooks—an idea that horrified me at first. Yet when she pointed to her own college text books (that she still used for teaching) with all her own marginal notes on the poems we were discussing, I was curious to try. How cool would it be to have my notes transplanted on to the texts themselves so I could enjoy a deeper reading of a story anytime I wanted? I was quickly converted.

No one said I was neat about these notes...Possibly I'm the only
one who can decipher them.
These days, my notes are less scholarly and more generic. I keep track of the foods I serve at the parties I host and file them in my cookbook so I can see my past party plans for summer picnics and winter dinners. Usually, I use them as inspiration for upcoming events—pulling a recipe from one and adding something new. But if I’m in a rush, I can pull out old party notes (complete with shopping lists) and recreate it in a day. Voila!

Sometimes, this turns into a bit of a sickness. My computer crashed a few years ago and I still mourn the loss of notes I’ll never retrieve—pages of useful information taken from writing workshops or story ideas I started to develop for possible future books. I try to myself it’s not a big deal, yet every now and then, I do a search for an old file before I realize it was lost in the Great Crash of 2013.

Still, sickness or no, my obsession is a fun party trick I use to impress friends and wow colleagues. My writer cohorts are amazed when they’ve forgotten one of their own ideas and I can search up an old email (that part of my files didn’t crash—hooray for online storage!) from five years ago with a conversation we had about the idea. Recently, I dazzled a new group of associates from a volunteer organization when I was able to resurrect details from a two-year-old project. I admit, this makes me stand taller. A little pat on the back goes a long way with me.

My Heartache, TN series required
lots of note-taking!
Many people I’ve met, young and old, have a strong response to writing-- love it or hate it. Me, I can’t get enough of it. It’s a wonderful tool for my day to day life in addition to the creative ways I use it for storytelling. And don’t get me started on letter writing, or we’ll be here all day. What about you? Do you enjoy keeping personal accounts and records? Making notes to remember important things in your life, like which plants you planted when/where in your garden? Share with me today how you use writing (or if you are completely averse to it!) and I’ll give one random poster their choice of books from my 20115-2016 backlist, including my current Harlequin Superromance, Whispers Under a Southern Sky.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A Writers' Weekend - Dana Nussio

A smooth, sandy beach. Water so close that the sound of the crashing waves lulls you to sleep at night. A sunrise that paints the sky in so many shades of pink and purple and blue that you almost forget to breathe as you watch it.

Kathy's morning meditation.
We are here in Oscoda, Michigan, on the beautiful Lake Huron shoreline, relaxing, rejuvenating and refilling our creative wells on a Writers' Weekend.

Julia, Kathy and Jeanne writing away.
I had heard about my friends' annual up-north writers' group weekend and had seen photos of the lovely beach house, so when I was invited to tag along this year, I couldn't pack my things fast enough. I didn't want to be rude, of course. What could be more inspiring for a writer than the chance to create in such a picturesque setting?

Dana working on revisions.

We arrived after dark on Friday night and hadn't had the chance to see the lake, so that only made the sunrise over the water more breathtaking. It felt like the Heavens were greeting the morning with a long, satisfied sigh.

Dana's revision materials.
Since we could breathe deeper and think clearer here, it was only right that we should also be able to write better here. We all got to work bright and early, some creating new material and others revising stories, poems and book manuscripts.

I was working on revisions for my March 2017 Superromance, FALLING FOR THE COP, so I kept off to myself, spreading out my materials on the table. Of course, all I had to do when I needed a little extra inspiration was to look out the window next to me and take in the amazing view.

View from work table.

At mealtimes we gave ourselves a break from our writing and took turns critiquing some of our work. We shared writing suggestions and worked on our social-media platforms. And then it was right back to our writing.

The Soldiers

If your friends invite you along on a Writers' Weekend, I highly recommend dropping everything to go. You'll thank me for this recommendation. I promise. So thank you to writers Jacqui Gretzinger, Jeanne Tepper and Kathy Steck for including me in the fun. For us, it was definitely an all-work-and-no-play weekend. We have the lineup of soldiers to prove it. Any chance I can wrangle an invitation for next year?
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