MJ Monday: MJ’s Music-Playlist for BETRAYED BY THE MOON

I create a playist for every book I write. I listen to the music whenever I can: driving, writing, alone time. The songs help keep my head in the story.

Here are the songs behind the story of the book coming out on June 26.

 

 

MJ’s Musings: The Creativity of Writers

Sometimes an author’s creativity isn’t in only her writing.

Twice a year, I go out of town on a long writing retreat. A fellow author’s family has a cottage on a creek in the woods they let us use.

The first time we walked in (and oohed and aahed )and noticed there wasn’t much shelf space–certainly not enough for the wine. One of my companions turned to me and said, “Did you bring a baby?”

“No.”

“Neither did I.”

I wasn’t sure what she meant–until I spied a wooden high chair in the corner. That became our wine bar. For many years.  I have  lost the photo I took of this innovation.

This year, we didn’t bring as much wine as usual for many reasons. We no longer needed the a wine bar. But I was deep into revisions and needed something to prop my printed pages so I could input my changes.

The high chair-wine bar became something totally different.

Wedging the bottom of my binder against the tray while using the back to prop it upright worked like a charm.

But the high chair isn’t the only thing with multiple uses.

The weather turned wonderfully balmy and most of the attendees opted to write outside. Most also prefer to stand as they write. Enter: the Grill.

That’s right. The arms on either side of the gas grill are the perfect size and height for laptops  and writing.

The heat of creativity isn’t only on the page.

 

 

MJ Monday: MJ’s Movies: The Mark of Zorro

I went on a long writing retreat in May. We were gone on May 4 (Star Wars Day) and May 5 (Cinco de Mayo). Being the total geeks we are, we decided to cook corresponding meals and watch relative movies on those two days.

Star Wars went off without a hitch.

We planned to watch The Mask of Zorro (with Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones) from 1998 for Cinco de Mayo, even though the movie has nothing to do with Mexico or the battle commemorated on that date. But someone accidentally grabbed a colorized version of  the 1940 The Mark of Zorro (Tyrone Power, Basil Rathbone, Linda Darnell) from the library. We decided to watch it anyway.

Parts of the movie  reminded several of us of The Scarlet Pimpernel. At one point, someone shouted, “Look! It’s the Dread Pirate Roberts!” (The Princess Bride).  Regardless, we laughed and enjoyed this gem of a motion picture. Tyrone Power was a dashing hero. Linda Darnell was insipid, but because the character was written that way.  Basil Rathbone was a delightful villain.

If you get a chance to see this movie, I highly recommend it.

 

MJ Musing: SEP-It Had To Be You

The first of Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ Chicago Stars books, It Had to be You is a fun romp through the world of professonal sports. I am not a football fan, but a reader doesn’t need to be fond of a sport to enjoy a well-told story.

The heroine wants everyone to believe she’s a sexy bimbo. Her camouflage works all too well. When she inherits her estranged father’s professional football team,  she needs all her assets–including her brain–to survive.

The hero is a sexist he-man trying to manage a team whose owner is a sex kitten with no interest or respect for the sport.

The author introduces us to football players as people, not merely oversized-thugs. The focus is on the team, not the game (thank goodness!) which makes this the first great sports romance.

 

MJ’S Monday-Meals: Mediterranean Buddha Bowl Salad

I recently needed to come up with a dish-to-pass for a family gathering. Since most others were bringing some sort of pasta slathered in mayo, I figured it was up to me to come up with something a little healthier. And thus the Mediterranean Buddha Bowl Salad was invented.

Start with quinoa. I boiled two bags.

I let it cool in the refrigerator over night.

The next morning I added:
torn baby spinach

three chopped cucumbers

some chopped red onion

halved Kalamata olives

about 1/2  of a 12-oz jar of deli-sliced roasted red peppers

crumbled feta cheese

 

I tossed it all together with a roasted red pepper vinaigrette.

And it was very, very good. No leftovers good.