Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What do I bring?


Can you believe summer is half over? In one short month, school will be back in session. If your life is like mine, your weekends have been packed with graduation parties, weddings, showers and picnics celebrating friendship. At all these events there are lots of delicious eatables. It’s all been great, but I’m getting a little tired of the usual macaroni and potato salads, veggie platters, burgers and hot dogs.

With that said, I thought this week why not ask for proven recipes from my followers. We live in many regions and come from different ethnic backgrounds. Let’s think out of the box, ladies and guys, and share mouth-watering recipes that do not take hours to make.

For example, I’m always asked to bring my Pierogie dish. It’s yummy and not hard to make, really. Warning, however, it's not for the dieter.

1) Boil and drain 1 box of Lasagna noodles. (you can make these up to three days prior—just cook al dente, cover with water and a little vegetable oil and refrigerate.)

2) Peel, cook and mash about 2-3 pounds of potatoes. (You can use leftover mashed potatoes - just warm them a little in microwave before spreading on noodles. So make extra when making a meal earlier in the week and save time.)

3) Sauté 1 large Spanish onion in 1 pound of butter. Yup 1 lb.

4) In a baking dish, layer, melted butter, lasagna noodles, potatoes, Velveeta cheese, finishing with butter. (I used ¾ of a large box of Velveeta cheese.) And bake uncovered for 30 minutes at 350 degrees until cheese is melted. Let cool for about five minutes and cut in 2 inch squares. This dish is very rich and very filling.

I have a baby shower this weekend and want something to wow them, so please share.

Hugs, AJ

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

To conference or not?

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My advice to anyone on the fence as to go to a conference, especially the RWA National conference, is to go. The experience is like none other.
I’ve just returned from DC where the national conference was held this year, and I’m totally exhausted. It might take me weeks to recover. The funny thing is I didn’t feel drained at all while at the conference. The energy was amazing. Every workshop
I attended provided information I didn’t have or brightened light moments which for me had for some reason or another dulled over time.

Networking is probably the biggest reason to go to a conference. Your circle of will friends grow. I’m so happy to have met a number of my on-line friends face to face, especially my Golden Heart sisters and the Elements Chapter ladies—along with a few of their husbands, and new friends (waving). The conversations and laughter we shared strengthen our bond. I also met readers. I was so excited when one asked me to sign a DayTimer I had given her. Yeah, I know it’s not a book, but still. And one day soon.

Also, the chance to just sit and chat with NY Times authors, agents and editors is an opportunity none of us should pass up. I met several agents, my publisher, and a few editors. A particular editor and I found we’re co-24 NUTS. We chatted about next season and the twists that might occur.

In a social setting, my DH and I spent hours talking to Deb Webb. One sweet lady. We chatted with Suz Brockmann and her hubby—the guys talked playing baseball. Suz and I talked about mending them up after a game. Frozen peas do have another use besides being part of a health meal. DH also chased and caught lighting bugs for Maureen Child and friends, who had never seen them before. I spent an hour chatting about the industry and craft with Jordan Dane (She was awesome), and met Allison Brennan while doing so. Avon author, Deb Mullins, dished out advice and hugs as only she can. Along with my long distance good friend, Intrigue author, Jan Hambright. And of course I ran into Brenda Novak, who I adore—not only for her writing but because she is an example of an author who gives back. I could name a hundreds of authors but this post could go on forever.

I believe no matter what line of work you’re in conferences can be invaluable to your career.

What are your reasons for attending conferences, or not? Please share. And if you had a favorite moment or learned some great at RWA this year, please tell.