|Posted by [email protected] on August 1, 2013 at 7:00 AM||comments (99)|
First of all, it is a bit unnerving to know I am old enough to participate in Throwback Thursday. Yikes! The eighties and nineties which were my high school/collage years are now considered...gasp...a time in history. However, I will probably go even further back on this blog to occasionally include the sixties and seventies.
This was my all time favorite soap during my preteen and teen years. Yes, I'm dating myself. I decided to start Throwback Thursday with this little piece in history because I just recently had to make a trip to Dallas, Texas. Of course, I couldn't resist going to visit Southfork Ranch.
The house is actually much smaller than it appears in the original and new series, but for that period in history it was actually considered a mansion. We learned that for the orignal series most of the inside shots were actually done in Hollywood on a set. They rarely ever filmed inside the actual Southfork Ranch located right outside Plano, Texas. However, the outside scenes were shot in Texas.
One of my favorite parts of the tour was the "hotel" room where J.R. was shot in Mexico in the new series. For the new series, they do film parts of the show inside the house since the cameras are smaller and they can now fit them in the house.
The Mexican "hotel" room was actually a small room inside Southfork Ranch. They made a "hotel" hall from one of the halls inside the ranch and put numbers on the doors to make it look like an actual hotel. They filmed the stair scene (where they are running up the stairs to find the room J.R. was in) from a set of stairs in the house. This is the picture of the actual room they used for the Mexican hotel in the new series.
All in all Southfork Ranch is a fun tour. We enjoyed our visit, but we missed out on seeing any of the cast since they won't be back for filming until October. Oh well, maybe next time!
We will miss Larry Hagman on the new series. The icon of the Dallas soap passed away in Novemeber 2012.
|Posted by [email protected] on July 31, 2013 at 7:00 AM||comments (88)|
It's What's Cooking Wednesday and today I have a wonderful south of the border recipe.
My absolute favorite cuisine is Mexican, so there's a good chance you'll see a lot of Mexican dishes on What's Cooking Wednesday's. And I must admit I do find many of my recipes on Pinterest. But, here's one I think you'll love.
1/4 cup butter
2/3 cup milk
1 package Taco Bell seasoning mix
2 1/2 cups mashed potato flakes (you could also use left over mashed potatoes and omit the butter and milk)
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup salsa
1 cup shredded lettuce
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Sour cream, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium sauce pan, melt butter. Add milk and 2 tablespoon taco seasoning.
Remove from heat and add potato flakes until incorporated. Press mixture into the bottom of a 10-inch pan. Bake for 7-10 minutes until it just BARELY turns golden brown.
In a medium skillet, cook beef and onions until beef is browned and cooked through. Drain. Add Salsa and remaining taco seasoning. Cook until bubbly. Pour into crust. Bake for 15 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes.
Top with cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes. Cut and serve with sour cream.
Let me know if you liked it!
|Posted by [email protected] on July 30, 2013 at 7:00 AM||comments (101)|
Today is Tuesday Travels so I'm going to blog about one of the most romantic places in the world. Italy. No, I've never been there but it is on my bucket list. I'm one of those people who practically have a bag packed at all times and is ready for a road trip at a moment's notice. Or at least I would be if I didn't have two sweet chiweenies to kennel if I happen to be going somewhere they aren't allowed. Either way, I do love to travel.
As a writer when I think of traveling I also think of settings. The world is a great big playground with many wonderful places to visit and write about. Italy is one of those places and is a very popular setting for romance novels. Why shouldn't it be? It has a fascinating history, rich culture and fabulous cuisine.
My book, Catering to the Italian Playboy is partially set in Tuscany. A beautiful area of rolling hills and vineyards.
Jennifer Blake's, The Tuscan's Revenge Wedding is also set in Tuscany, but her second book in the Italian Billionaires series, The Venetian's Daring Seduction, is set in Venice which is another culture rich area of Italy. Museums, architecture and gondalas are on the agenda for your stop in Venice. After all who can resist a gondala ride down one of the many canals?
Jennifer is currently working on her third book in the series set on the Amalfi Coast which is famous for its cliffs, beaches, villages and shops. Not to mention gorgeous views of the Mediterranean. Just look at how those colors pop. Absolutely gorgeous!
I'm also working on my latest Italian romance which is set in Sicily-also know as Mafia country. Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and is off the southern tip of Italy. Olive groves, citrus orchards and some small mountains comprise most of the landscape here.
Of course a trip to Italy wouldn't be complete without trying some of the local cuisine. Whether your in the mood for pizza, pasta, salad or fresh baked bread, Italy has something for even the pickiest eater in your traveling party.
So who's ready to travel? I know I am! But, even if we can't go anytime soon we can always read (or write) about it.
|Posted by [email protected] on July 29, 2013 at 4:55 AM||comments (214)|
I must admit my blog has been sorely neglected these last few months so I've decided to breathe a little life into it. In order to get into the habit of blogging regularly-which I should have already been doing-I'm going to try something different and assign each day of the week a theme. This seems like a sensible plan which will give me a roadmap of sorts plus I think it will be a lot of fun. If anyone would like to be a guest blogger then I'd be happy to add you to the schedule with your bio and any other information you'd like to share with my readers such as buy links, website links etc. Simply pick the theme you would like to blog about and shoot me an email. However, I do have a few restrictions on the content-no erotica, M/M or F/F romances. Anything else should be fine. I've listed the days by theme below and would love to have some guest bloggers.
Monday- Monday Musings
Tuesday- Travel Tuesday
Wednesday- What’s Cooking Wednesday?
Thursday- Throwback Thursday
Friday- Fiction Friday
Saturday- Sensational Heroes Saturday
Sunday- Silver Screen Sunday
|Posted by [email protected] on April 13, 2013 at 2:05 PM||comments (96)|
I appologize for not blogging sooner, but life has been hectic at my house for the past few months. Now, that things have settled down just a tad, I thought I'd blog about a recent trip to Mexico.
Well, it is official. I developed a fine pair of sea legs over winter break. Several of my co-workers and I were bitten by the notorious travel bug and decided to take a short cruise from New Orleans to Cozumel. Since this was my first one, I was a bit worried about getting seasick. Thankfully, all went well in that department.
The trip did get off to a rocky start, but we finally managed to get underway. We left early Saturday morning for a six hour drive south so we could arrive in New Orleans in plenty of time to go through security and check in. One would think arriving in the Crescent City two hours ahead of departure would be plenty of time to find the port and board the ship. Not necessarily so. We missed the exit to the Port of New Orleans, managed to get lost and then were accidentally given directions to the wrong port. By this point, our two-hour window had dwindled down to about eighteen minutes. So we shed our small-town driving mode, shifted into speedy city driving and hauled it back across town as we frantically called our cruise line and begged them to hold the ship.
Thanks to my eleven year old who is a fantastic map reader, I managed to get to the cruise terminal first. Unfortunately, my co-workers, who were traveling in a different vehicle, did not have my little navigator with them so they somehow took another wrong turn and ended up on Bourbon Street where they nearly side-swiped a horse and carriage. Yikes!
After hauling my two pieces of luggage, my carry on bag and three pieces of my co-workers' luggage (I had been carrying some of theirs in my car since I had more room) into the terminal, my son and I flew through security and assured the nice ladies at the check in counter that the rest of our group was on their way. By this point everyone else had boarded the ship and they were getting ready to close the door. I couldn't board since I still had luggage that didn't belong to me, but finally at the last possible minute the rest of my party arrived, out of breath and frazzled, but they made it. Needless to say we were the last seven to board the ship
Finally, we were on our way. The cruise itself was fantastic! We enjoyed fabulous weather, plenty of great food, including the famous Carnival warm-melting cake, and on board activities that kept us busy for days. Our port of call, Cozumel, was a wonderful little island full of friendly people, beautiful beaches with jewel blue water and the awesome flavor of the Mexican culture. For our excursion, my son and I decided to swim with the Stingrays at Stingray Beach. We were lucky our water excursion wasn't canceled since the red flags were out on all the beaches in Cozumel during our stay due to very choppy water and dangerous waves. After getting in the water with the stingrays, I could see why. The waves were strong and several were so big they went over our heads and knocked us back several feet, but we still had a great time. We discovered the stingrays are soft gentle creatures that simply want to be fed and petted. A lot. Of course, their barbs had been removed so the experience was quite safe. My son loved it! After he got used to them that is.
We only had a few hours of very rough seas where the boat rocked more than usual, but for the most part it was smooth sailing to and from Cozumel.
Our last night on the ship was a bit traumatic, but once again we managed. We had placed our luggage outside our stateroom door as instructed so the porters could take the bags off the ship where we would collect them the next morning in the terminal. Unfortunately, I made the decision to sleep in the clothes we would wear home the next day so we wouldn't have to lug anything extra around as we waited to debark. This proved to be a poor decision on my part since we had a medical emergency which required more clothing. Of course, by this time our luggage was gone, so at nearly one in the morning, instead of resting for the long drive home, my son and I are out looking for the Laundromat on the ship so he would have something clean to wear home the next day. After taking care of the laundry, we finally went to bed to get the much needed rest.
Though this was a short four day cruise, I learned a few things along the way. Pack light, be sure to have an extra change of clothes with you at all times and relax and have a great time! In spite of the rocky start and bumpy ending, I am ready to sail again. Bon voyage anyone?
|Posted by [email protected] on August 30, 2012 at 10:20 AM||comments (101)|
I'm sitting on the porch watching the clouds roll in followed by several healthy wind gusts up to 40-50 miles per hour. Thankfully, we haven't had too much rain since Isaac began his trek northwest across our state. Even though I'm situated in the northern part of Louisiana, we are under a tropical storm warning. Sounds odd I know, to be this far inland and still be under the tropical storm warning, but here we are. Waiting on this massive storm to march across our area. If all goes well, we might squeak by with just heavy rain and gusty wind since it looks like we "might" be on the westward side of this storm. At least I hope so. The eastern side is packing a wallop and I'm not a fan of tornadic weather, so I'm really hoping that part misses us. My main worry at this point is the giant live oak trees surrounding my home. Unlike the palm trees along the coast, our huge oaks do not withstand high winds well. The very old trees with rain saturated roots could topple easily. Not a comforting thought. But for the moment, I'll just watch the wind and enjoy the breeze until the weather begins to deteriorate. Then I'll worry a bit more about those live oaks. Warm wishes and prayers for anyone in the path of this storm.
|Posted by [email protected] on August 20, 2012 at 12:00 AM||comments (213)|
TT : I’d like to welcome Ace and Lexi to my blog today. We’ve followed their story, we’ve watched them fall in love and now we’d like to know what comes next in their lives.
Lexi: Thank you for the warm welcome. Ace and I are delighted to be here.
TT: When the story ended you two decided to try a long-distance relationship for a while. How did that work out for you and what advice would you give others in the same situation?
Lexi: Flexibility is the key. A long distance relationship can be tough. You don’t see each other everyday and sometimes other issues must take first priority. My advice would be to make sure make sure your relationship is strong enough to deal with it before ever committing to such an arrangement. Trust is very important in long-distance relationships.
Ace: It is very hard. Especially in my line of work. My job takes me all over the country. Sometimes for weeks on end. But, we made it work.
TT: I’m sure being apart for weeks at a time was difficult. How did you deal with it?
Ace: First, as Lexi pointed out, you must have a strong relationship to begin with. I knew Lexi was the right woman for me early on, but I wanted to make sure we could make it. I didn’t want my marriage to end up like my Dad’s. You must also put God first in your relationship. He knows best and if your trust in His will everything will work out if it is intended to do so. During the year we dated, we made sure we talked to each other everyday and if at all possible we saw each other at least three times a week. She would come to New Orleans for the day or I’d go to Gator Bayou.
Lexi: Except for that one time. Ace was called to Michigan at the beginning of February for a missing child in Detroit. He was there almost for the entire month and I didn’t get to see him even once.
TT: So you missed your first Valentine’s Day together?
Lexi: We did. Though Ace did send me two dozen beautiful red roses. I still have them, but they are part my potpourri now.
Ace: I hated to miss sharing the holiday with her. I know women really get into that romantic stuff, but she understood.
Lexi: I sure did. I didn’t want any mother to go through what I did. That little boy had been missing for nearly two weeks before Ace was called in. It still took almost another month for them to find the child. Thankfully, with prayer and dedication they managed to find him alive. So often that’s not the case.
TT: It’s good that you are so understanding of the demands of his job. I’m sure being in the same situation as these other parents before has helped you cope with his travel.
Lexi: It does. I know how frightening it can be when your child is missing. Now that we are married we are able to go with him sometimes if he’s away for extended periods of time. He’s usually not around much since he’s working, but we get to peep at him once in a while and that makes it much better.
TT: Speaking of children, how are Anna and your little one doing?
Ace: Anna has adjusted very well. She calls me Dad, which I’m pleased as punch about. Though, when she’s older we plan to tell her about her real Dad and give her the scrapbook Lexi has put together for her. We want her to know that she has two fathers who love her very much.
Lexi: Jose’ is a handful. He takes after Ace. I can barely keep up with him some days, but Anna is thrilled to have a baby brother so she is a big help.
TT: It sounds like you two have everything under control. We wish you both the best of luck in the future.
Lexi: Thank you. We enjoyed talking with you.
Ace: Yes, it was nice visit with you and your readers again.
|Posted by [email protected] on August 18, 2012 at 9:30 PM||comments (99)|
The beginning of school is always hectic, but when you have to move into a different room it makes it doubly hard. As you can see from the first picture, I still had several boxes to unpack in my new room and that was after unpacking about fifteen or so. Two years ago our entire 4th grade was moved to a different school and we were put in portable buildiings while they built a new wing onto the school we moved to. Now, that the wing is finished and the K-1 grades relocated to the new building, our 4th grade had to move from the portables into their old rooms. Thus the fun began. Unpacking boxes and finding places to put all the "stuff". Yes, teachers are nortorious packrats. We rarely throw anything away because heaven forbid we "might" need it one day. So I spent the better part of a week unpacking and decorating my new room so it would be ready for the kiddos. Thankfully, I'm almost finished. I do need to organize the class library. As you can see, the books are just randomly placed on the shelves. I like to have mine categorized by reading level, but that is a chore for another day. You can't tell from the picture, but my reading center is actually a Tiki Hut. Our theme is Hawaiin/ Beach/Cruise ship. Something fun that will break the monotony of sounding out words and diving into some of the classics.
|Posted by [email protected] on August 12, 2012 at 12:00 AM||comments (98)|
The cyber travel bug that is!
Join me on my virtual book tour with Deadly Image! Visit each blog stop for your chance to win a free copy of the e-book then enter the rafflecopter on my homepage www.tameliatumlin.com for your chance to win one of two $10.00 gift cards from Amazon. So what are you waiting for? Let's go and have a little book fun! A complete list of blog stops is on my website homepage!
|Posted by [email protected] on August 6, 2012 at 1:50 PM||comments (211)|
Are you a schizophrenic writer? Do you flit from writing in one genre to another like a butterfly in a garden of many flowers? If so, you are not alone.
I've discovered one important writing truth about myself. I'm definitely a schizophrenic writer. Over the past few years I've written several novels, novellas and short stories. Some are contemporary. Some are paranormal. Some are spicy and some are sweet. My latest novella is a Christian suspense novel. While I have enjoyed writing in each of the genres, I now realize I didn't quite go about it the correct way.
Don't get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with writing in several genres, but there is a right and wrong way to do it. Authors build readership audiences according to the genres near and dear to that reader's heart. A contemporary romance reader might not appreciate a historical paranormal romance written by the same author as much as the parnoramal reader would. A die-hard romantic suspense fan might not care for the light-hearted contemporary romace either.
When a reader picks up a new (to the reader) author's book, she/he will either love it, hate it or not care one way or the other if it didn't affect them emotionally. If the reader loves the book and can't wait for the next one to come out, then he/she will be a bit disappointed if the next book doesn't live up to his/her expectations since it is not the same genre they had previously grown to love. This is where branding comes in. Publishers will tell you they do not buy books from authors. They buy the author- this inlcudes the genre, the writing voice and of course excellent storytelling.
So, you might be wondering how authors can write in different genres and still keep their readers happy. It's simple. Pen names. Take Nora Roberts for instance. If you pick up a Nora Roberts book you can rest assured it will be a woman's fiction story with many plot twists, plenty of excitement and usually some romance thrown in for good measure.If you pick up a J.D. Robb book then you will find a completely different, but equally compelling genre. Both Nora Roberts and J.D. Robb are New York Times bestselling authors.However, the majority of the time there will be two different loyal readerships for each one. Of course, Nora Roberts and J.D. Robb are the same author, but each have their own fan base with certain expectations from their author's books. This way the die-hard mystery fans won't be disappointed by picking up the Nora Roberts book instead of the J.D. Robb book and finding woman's fiction instead of a supsenseful mystery. Ingenious if you ask me.
Unfortunately, I didn't think far enough ahead into my writing career to differenciate between my genres with different pen names so branding myself as an author is a bit more difficult at this point. However, at the end of the year I'm going to make a decision as to which genre I really want to build a readhership with and stick with it. If I decide to write in another genre some along the way (and let's face it schizophrenic writing won't disappear overnight) then I'm going to consider using pen names for those genres from now on. I think this will make it easier on my readers and myself. So what do you think? Should authors brand themselves? Do readers expect it?