MJ Monday: MJ’s Meals-Chicken with Accessory Vegetables

Ingredients: 

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into bite-sized pieces
  • olive oil
  • Sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • garlic, minced
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
  • 1/2 jar sun dried tomatoes packed in oil
  • 1/2 jar deli sliced roasted red peppers
  • 1 jar vodka sauce
  • 1 box rotini pasta

Cover the bottom of a heavy kettle with olive oil and slowly “melt” the sliced onions, cooking until they are limp and translucent.

Start the pasta water. Once it’s reached a full boil, cook the pasta per package instructions, drain and reserve until “sauce” is complete.

 

Add the chicken and garlic, cooking over medium heat until there is no pink left in the chicken.

Add the rest of the vegetables to the pot and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the jar of vodka sauce and heat thoroughly.

Add the cooked pasta and mix well.

Serve with freshly shredded Parmesan cheese.

MJ’s Musings: SEP-Dream a Little Dream

Dream a Little Dream is my least favorite of the Bonner brother/Chicago Stars books. I don’t like Gabe (hero), I don’t like Rachel (heroine), I don’t like Edward/Chip (Rachel’s little boy). I don’t like that a favorite character from Nobody’s Baby But Mine  was dead. Maybe Rachel and Gabe’s respective backstories are too bleak and dark and need the comic relief the dead character provided in Nobody’s Baby. I don’t know.

The humanizing of Gabe is well done. My heart breaks for him. But he’s not a romance hero. Rachel’s return to the scene of her late-husband’s crimes is well-motivated, but I still can’t warm up to her.

I’m the first to complain when so many romance novels conflicts seem trite (to me), so I’m not sure why the grim premises of this story bother me so much. It is a testament to the author’s skill that I feel this so strongly.

There were things about the book that I did like: I liked that the evangelical huckster got his (before the story opened); I liked that Gabe’s parents weren’t in the book (Jim & Lynn Bonner from Nobody’s Baby But Mine), and I loved Gabe’s brother Ethan and the subplot involving him and his secretary.  I love that God speaks to Ethan with Oprah’s voice.

Three stars.

MJ Monday: MJ’s Motivation: Happy 100’s Update

Only eight days remain in the current Happy 100s Writing Challenge. We write 100 words a day for 100 days. I’m still hanging tough. I haven’t missed a day of 100 words since November 30, 2018. That’s new manuscript words. It doesn’t include blogs or revisions or rewrites. Simply 100 brand new manuscript words each and every day.

I took my small laptop with me when I went to my film festival. Another participant has something on her phone that allows her to get in her 100 words. Another participant claims it’s only 15 minutes. Some days that is true. Other days, not so much. But words are being written, the mind is immersed in the story at least a little bit every day.

That’s what counts.

MJ’s Musings: My Favorite Mugs

There are too many coffee/tea mugs in my house. There are boxes of them in the basement. They are stacked in the cupboard over the stove. They reproduce faster than guppies.

Four of my most favorite mugs have been broken: two oversized bright yellow mugs, a cobalt blue one from the 2000 RWA National Conference Chapter Presidents’ Retreat, and one my parents brought me back from Florida–a lovely gray and purple beach scenes with the moon rising over star fish in the dune grass.

Here are four of my current favorites:

I call this my SARK mug because of all the brilliant colors. I like to drink tea from it. It was a gift from a critique partner one holiday when we drew names.

I purchased this mug at the Margaret Mitchell House Museum  when I attended the RWA National Conference there in 2006. It was the last one I’ve attended. The legend at the bottom says, “In a weak moment I have written a book.” I also have the matching refrigerator magnet.

This is my favorite tea mug. I purchased it from an import store in Syracuse that eventually became Pier One–but the mug predates that. My then-room mate and I each bought one. This mug is older than most of my co-workers at Day Job.

Captain Planet! When I worked in local TV, I was given a lot of mugs by program vendors (see previous comment about boxes in the basement, although I did leave many at the station when I left).  This was always my favorite. The reverse side reads THE POWER IS YOURS. The interior is a fabulous periwinkle blue. How can you not love Captain Planet?

MJ Monday: MJ’s Manuscript: Beware of the Moon Cover Reveal

One-night stands don’t turn into forever unless you happen to pick-up a werewolf.

She thought the hook-up was just another one-and-done.

He knew she was his one-and-only.

But when his mission unlocks the treacheries of her past, they are forced to put aside their differences as they battle for their lives.

Brittany Hauge thinks she was blowing off a bad day when she hooks up with a stranger for a one-night stand.

Werewolf Dakota Towne knows better.

She was raised to fear demons before she traded hellfire and brimstone for science; he’s everything her preacher daddy warned her about.

But when Dakota’s undercover mission unleashes the true devil from her past, only her werewolf can save her.

Beware of the Moon, on sale October 23, 2019.