Monthly Archives: September 2012

Taking a Break

May not post next week–taking a break to entertain family

Late but never too late for cookies

This recipe comes from my daughter who is a wonderful baker and a terrific cook as well.

Shortbread and Jam—Jennie’s recipe


2 ½ cups flour

1 tsp salt

2 sticks butter (softened)

1 c sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla

Seedless raspberry jam and apricot jam to put in center of each cookie


Whisk together the flour and salt (in separate bowl)

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy

Beat egg into mix and add vanilla

Add in the flour and salt mixture until dough is firm

Divide dough in half, wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour

Roll cooled dough into in inch balls, flatten slightly, fill middle with jam and bake for 15-20 minutes (16 is what Jennie uses)

Cool on baking sheet for at least five minutes.



Monday is for Creativity

Mondays do not always feel creative. Take a sheet of paper. Think of everything you can make with it–make–not write.

We mostly think of paper as a carrier of ideas—for visual art and for writing. Paper can be cut into sculptures, ripped into mosaic pieces, folded, used to wrap things, cut, or folded into bookmarks, made into a cup, a box, a paper crane (all through folding). Try it.

Challenge your little ones later this afternoon. They will be tired from school, wishing the weekend had lasted longer, and maybe cranky–if so, wait until after a snack! After the challenge send them outside to play. Challenge yourself and your children daily, to make the simple into complex, transform the plain and ordinary into something elegant.

Working with hands, goes to the heart and then flows back in better math and reading skills .

Short post

POV tips


Love Lentils?

Lentils for lovers–yep, that was my theme for submitting a recipe for red lentil loaf to Passionate Cooks cookbook, a cookbook for romance writers.

My recipe is one of many in the new compilation, Passionate Cooks, Free recipes from today’s hottest romance authors. Available


Autumn is Here, Leaves are for poems

This is a project that combines science, literature, art and just plain fun.

Find outlines for leaves of trees in your area on the internet–oak, maple, elm, whatever you have, Cut some shapes as large as you can.

Go for a nature walk with your child. Take a look at the leaves. When you come back, ask your child to write down three words that described the leaf. Depending on the child’s age, you write the words on the leaf with a marker pen or allow him/her to do so.

Then the child colors the leaf and you put it up on your home poetry tree. As your walks progress, the leaf colors will change and you can make more demands on the writing–rhyming words, alliterative words–all building blocks for poetry, all nouns, all verbs, good building blocks for any kind of writing.

In addition you have sharpened the child’s observation skills–prime for science.


Encouragement from others

We all need encouragement. Yesterday I received a rejection for a story from Boyds Mill Press. It was the story that won the Alabama Writers Conclave. Contests are not the same as publishers.

But at my writers meeting today, even tho I had nothing to read, I was vastly encouraged–by the good work of my friends.

Prolific writer, Jack DeGroot showed us some new PR for her latest romance–“Flash Drive”

Edith Edwards shared the second to last chapter of her fabulous new novel that takes place in the civil war–she also shared a query letter and we wer able to help her shape that so it will attract an agent to her work. Jim Horn read his poems-best ones yet and we were able to help him with preparing the reading for a TV Show he will do tonight.

Rose read her latest essay for Sassy–Don read the latest installment in his book, as did Pam–great reads, good stories. Larry read Henry’s latest effort –a humorous essay on pills. Sandy asked for plot help.

Tom Wolfe read from his non-fiction piece to help military get jobs. It was an encouragement just to hear all of that good work. Now I can come home and work on my own things–a review that is due, my next book for Desert Breeze and some poetry submissions.

Tho this time I did not read, I was able to help my friends. We act as muse to one another. I hope all of you have a writing group that is as wonderful.


Tuesday Guest Post for September 11 Linda McMaken

This is the cover for Linda's book!

Post from Linda McMaken, Guest for Tuesday September 11, 2012

Thank you Joan for hosting me today, and letting me talk about my newest book, Baer Necessities – Book Two of the Three Baers trilogy. It has just released from Desert Breeze Publishing.

Tell us a little about your books.

The series is set in the fictional town of Sentinel, Wyoming. It’s small town that sees a lot of “action” and not just the ranching kind. Sentinel seems to attract a motley assortment of folks that are in need, searching or just plain, well, crazy but in a good way.

Focusing on the Baer brothers of Hidden Rock Ranch, the books follow the three Baer brothers. Joe Baer was featured in book one  Baer Truth; Connor Baer is featured in the current release, Baer Necessities and Matt who just discovered he is a Baer and will get to tell his story in book three Baer Facts.  Besides these handsome and rugged modern day ranchers, there are the women who invade their lives, and their souls when they least expect it.

The books are fun, and humorous, a genuine feel good read. The heat level is minimal. While there is a little sex between the two main characters, nothing is explicit or overly graphic. In my books, you’ll enjoy small town life at its best, romance that doesn’t always run on a smooth course, and moments of pure crazy insanity – kinda like real life only with cowboys, friendly bulls, evil tractors and a happily ever after.

What did you choose to write romance?

I started writing romance because without romance life would be pretty darn sad. While the genre is subjected to insults, taunts and ridicule, is there anyone that really doesn’t want romance? Even in the mystery, thriller or science fiction and fantasy genre’s, the hero has a heroine and a romance is almost always part of the story. Very often, the romance is the only thing that makes the hero “human”.

All of us want a “happily-ever-after” and I think that is what makes romances fun and special. For a few hours after a difficult week of reality – jobs, kids, bill paying – a romance lets you leave the world behind.

Why did you choose to set your books in the West?

Even though I’m a Midwest girl by birth, my heart is in the West. My mom used to read me Zane Grey, Louis L’amour, and Max Brand books.  She took me to every John Wayne movie that was made and she’d talk about mountain men and cowboys and their free spirits. Cowboys are tough, hardworking, quiet and unassuming, and I think that is what attracts many people to read and attracted me to write about them.

Baer Truth was actually inspired by a family vacation in Wyoming. We passed a cattle ranch where hundreds of head were grazing.  I wondered about that ranch family, how long had they lived there? How big was the ranch? Then my snarky muse takes over and says “what if a cowboy on that beef ranch fell for a girl who happened to be a vegetarian?” Baer Truth was born!

If you want a book that is funny, makes you laugh, makes you feel good and lets you escape from the real world for a few hours, Baer Truth and Baer Necessities are perfect. When you read the Three Baers, you’re sure to find that one of them will be “just right” for you.

You can find Linda online at:



Baer Truth Booktrailer:



Her books can be found at:

Desert Breeze Publishing:


Barnes & Noble:


They thought everything they’d wanted was somewhere – out there. Connor Baer wanted to see
beyond the ranch fences, unlike his father, ranching wasn’t in his blood.

Jessie McIvey wanted more than a cowboy in her future, they were bossy, overbearing and opinionated. She wanted to save world treasures and have an intellectual by her side.

Brought together by a family emergency and an ill-fated trip home, they are facing off over Indian artifacts, water rights, facing Federal time for “borrowing” a satellite, and a being threatened by a man intent on ruining Connor’s life


It felt good to be home, better than he’d ever imagined it could feel, especially after all he’d ever wanted to do was leave. He wanted no part of small-town ranching life. He’d seen a nice chunk of the world, but not all. He wanted to see everything. No ties to family, just freedom.

Strange, now that he had that life, it really wasn’t that great. He enjoyed the travel and the job, but at the end of the day, he was alone. No one gave a damn whether he had a good day, or a bad one. Nobody to share a meal with, no one to make sure he even came home.

He patted the side of the truck and climbed into the bed to start the engine on the pump.

Then again, Connor didn’t have to answer to anyone. There was no female waiting with crossed arms grilling him about where he’d been or who he was with.

He turned the gas on, primed the pump, and gave the key a turn.

Even if a woman waited, he’d have nothing to tell her because he’d only been at work, and spent the day with rocks.

Nothing. No sound came from the engine. He repeated the process. Still nothing. He checked the spark plug, the wires, double-checked the gas and carburetor, everything checked out. He turned the key, nothing.

“It’s not going to start.” Jessie stared at him from beside the truck.

Her again? His head snapped up at the sound of her voice. “What makes you so sure?”  One way or another, he’d start the engine. Priming the pump, he turned the key again. Prime, turn the key, nothing.

She folded her arms across her chest, giving him a look that made him angry and horny at the same time. He tried to focus on the engine.

“You might as well stop, because I have the rotor cap.” Her head cocked to one side, and a curl popped out from under her knit cap, playing across her cheek. “I’m sure you’re well aware that the engine won’t start without one.” A wicked smiled crossed those pouty lips.

An angry burn rolled over him. “Give me the cap,” he ordered, hands on hips.

“No. You’re not drilling here.” She folded her arms across her chest and stared at him.

“Yes, I am.” He jumped off the bed of the truck. “Give me the cap.” He pulled himself up to his full six foot-three inches, glaring down at her. That tended to intimidate the guys he worked with in the oil fields

She matched his stare, and even took two steps toward him. “No.”

He threw a shop rag on the ground. “That’s vandalism and theft lady.”

“It’s saving history, buddy.” She shoved her pointy finger into his chest.

He took in a hard, deep, breath deciding on whether to kiss her or spank her. “Fine, I’ll just go into town and get another one.” He stomped off toward his jeep. Yep, it would be best if he left before he said, or did, something he would regret, like kiss her.

“You’ll have to drive all the way to Riverton. That’s the closest place that carries one, I checked.” He stopped in his tracks and turned around. She had a pouty, victorious grin on her face. In two steps, he stood in front of her. She cocked that little head to one side, a satisfied grin on her face.

He slipped his hand around her waist, and set her on the hood of the truck. “Jessie McIvey, I’m going to hang you by your bibs again if you don’t hand over that cap.”

Her eyes went wide. She smelled like cedar, sage, or some heady fragrance like that. Her canvas coat appeared to be two sizes too big for her, and the blue stocking cap rode low, next to her eyes.

Knee-high cowboy boots banged against the truck as she tried to wiggle out of his hands.

“Connor Baer, you let go of me right now.”

He leaned tight against her legs. “Not until you give me that rotor.” Her hands flew to his shoulders as thunder hammered and lightning echoed off the granite ridge. Raindrops splattered them and hail pinged off the hood of the truck. The clouds opened deluging them in a torrent of rain, and hail.

Connor slid her off the hood and opened the truck door. She scooted across the bench seat as he climbed in under the steering wheel.

“Oh, good heavens what is that smell.” Jessie put a hand over her nose and mouth. “It smells like something dead in here.” She opened the passenger door, put one foot out and disappeared.

All Connor heard was a scream.

Loosing track of time

When you have children it is easy to loose track of time, So many little things to keep track of–their assignments, your own schedule, sprots practices, other lessons and more. Today, having none of that naymore, but old age as my excuse, I jsut realized Ihad not posted the Monday creativity post.

Organization can help creativity but do not be too harsh on your little ones or yourself. Things will happen that throw off yoru day. My niece had to hem a pair of pants for her son this morning, throwing off all schedules.

They are only young once. When all seems chaos in yoru world and theirs, remember that creativity does not happen in straight lines (often) and the main element in life to foster creativity is love. So, keep your cool, hem the pants, don’t worry if you are late. Love is the key.

Try to set aside some unstructured time to simply veg with your children. No TV, no internet. Just pens, paper, musical instruments, or the back yard available.

Creativity will grow.


Making a CD? Play it Again!

So, you’ve just heard a wonderful story performance. You would like to savor it again. Or, you want to give your fans the opportunity to savor your best performances at another time. Recordings make the art of story portable. Even studio performances allow audiences near and far to feel the audible intimacy of your voice in their hearts. This is the inspiration part of the process of making a CD.

The ninety-nine percent perspiration part, the how, why and cost of making a recording is a set of practical business decisions and the ability to train yourself for the mic. One of the best recordings I have heard in a long time is Linda Goodman’s newest CD, Bobby Pins. Linda has made two DCs and agreed to share her process with Voices readers. Her latest recording studio, Treehouse Artists of Christiansburg, Va (Linda highly recommends them) also shared some tips.


The Business

  1. Money. This may be a show stopper. The primary expenses are for studio time and the editing as well as for the actual CDs. The cost for lovely artwork and the “container” for the CD (foldover, plastic, etc) can be lowered with simplification. Studio time depends on you. Pressing the CDs needs to be done well or your CD will sound awful.
  2. Figures? Could be as low as $1,500 for a very basic package. The recording studio suggested saving some out of each performance to invest back in the business.
  3. You will want to make 1000 minimum and use about 300 for PR. Are you ready to request reviews and market the CDs? Goodman says, ” A teller can give a CD to any prospective client as a documented testimony of his/her work.” She adds that a CD can help a teller become known in a new region.
  4. Where will you sell the CDs?  Will you need a tax number in your state to sell them?
  5. Select a studio that does spoken word as well as music. Ask to hear samples before you commit
  6. Plan on a 45-minute CD (approx) Most are between 30 and 55 minutes.
  7. Discuss all matters ahead with your recording studio. It would be good to visit the studio ahead if you can. The post-performance editing can also eat up dollars so try to give as clean a recording as possible.
  8. Make sure that the art complements your CD and will entice people to buy. Art costs can drive up the end cost
  9. Type of “sleeve” holder you choose can drive up costs as well


 Making the recording

  1. Select stories you are know well
  2. Resolve any copyright issues.
  3. Script them
  4. Practice, practice, practice
  5. Select public domain music if you wish to add music.
  6. Practice with the music.
  7. Be relaxed and natural in the studio. If it is your first time, book at least twice, better, a little more, the amount of studio time as your recording will be. (For a 45 minute recording plan on 2 hours minimum)
  8. Arrange a signal with the sound engineer to stop so you can cough or take a drink of water without it getting on the recording.
  9. Enjoy

Linda Goodman  www.Lindagoodmanstoryteller.comYou can buy Linda’s CD Bobby Pins on CD Baby as a CD or an MP3 recording

Interview with Linda

Linda had more to tell us about making a CD and here is her interview
Please tell us the names of all of your CDs and where we can buy them
Bobby Pins is available for purchase on my website ( for $12.00, plus $2.00 shipping and handling. It is also available on CD Baby as both an MP3 download and a CD. Jessie and Other Stories will also be available at both sites, once it is finished. I also have a book, Daughters of the Appalachians, available from my publisher Overmountain Press and from my website.

I’d like to hear a bit about what drove you to make a CD–why and how you thought it would enhance your telling career,
A professional CD is a useful marketing tool, especially if you are trying to get work in areas that are not familiar with your storytelling. A good CD may entice someone who has not heard you to come take a listen. Folks usually share CDs that they enjoy with friends. Before you know it, you run into folks you don’t know, who embrace you because they have heard your CD. Someone gave a copy of Jessie and Other Stories (when it was a cassette) to a friend, who happened to be a very successful realtor in New York City. That Realtor ordered copies from me as client gifts that she gave to everyone who bought a house from her.  She did that until cassettes became outdated. She is eagerly awaiting the CD.
People can take a CD home with them.  It most likely will not get thrown away or lost. Whenever they hear it they think of you. Jessie and Other Stories actually got air time on The Story Tree, a Tennessee based radio program that aired on NPR for a while. After Pearl (a story that was on the cassette) aired, I got fan mail from folks around the country.

Where did you get the funds to do it (grant, savings etc–) Suggestions for others on budgeting for a CD?
I pulled money from my savings account. I know many storytellers who are cash poor, and I advise them to seek grants or investors if they cannot begin saving. I did have a few folks offer to invest in both Jessie and Other Stories and Bobby Pins, but I decided not to go that route. I did not want to be obligated to meet unrealistic expectations.

Why might any teller want a CD?
A teller can give a CD to any perspective client as a documented testimony to her work. A good CD generates good reviews and good word of mouth endorsements.

How did you chose the stories you used?
I chose stories that my listeners had asked me over and over again to record.

How did  you prepare for the taping?
I rehearsed the stories over and over again. The more comfortable you are with the story, the smoother the recording session will go. You will spend less time and, therefore, less money.

How you chose the company you decided to go with?
The key is to find a producer that you can trust to give you a quality product at a price you can afford. I almost gave up on recording Bobby Pins because the price quotes that I was getting were way beyond my means. Then TreeHouse Artists presented a plan that I could easily afford, without sacrificing quality.

What else would you like to tell Voices people about making a CD/
If you want to get known outside your local telling area, a CD is a good tool to help make that happen. When I first began telling professionally in 1989, I lived in New England, and most of my work came from newspaper articles that had been written about me or from cultural liaisons who came to New England festivals from all over the country and actually witnessed my performances. I have been in dozens of festivals, but most of them are gone now, due to lack of funds and, even more so, lack of volunteers. Storytelling audiences are still buying CDs. A CD can be uploaded digitally and give you an audio presence on the Worldwide Web.
That having been said, though, there are those, mostly in the younger set, who think that CDs are obsolete. Videos on YouTube (or some other video site) are required to get into many storytelling events. Technology has changed everything.

Linda Goodman
P.O.Box 1351
Chesterfield, VA 23832



If you want to contact Treehouse, their information is:

540.254.0246      f: 540.266.3265

PO Box 6403 Christiansburg,VA  24068