I’m writing this because of a very recent event in my life. Not happy about this at all. I’m upset and scared but I’ve got books to finish and publish, books to start, art to create and sell. I have a wonderful husband and a rowdy Cairn terrier. I’m going to do what I have to until I learn more of what’s going on with my body.
On November 3rd I had to go back for a second mammogram, a diagnostic mammogram and an ultrasound. This has never happened before. They found a spot of something. I hope it’s a cyst. Please pray that all will be well. The Doctor and technician said they can’t tell what it is because it’s so small. In six months I return for another mammogram and most likely the spot will have to be biopsied so we can learn what it is. This is a perfect example of why you should be getting your yearly mammograms.
The doctor who came in was really nice but before I left she said, “if you don’t want to get cancer you need start eating a Keto diet.” She wanted to know what oils I cooked with and how I cooked. I answered I was doing The French Don’t Diet style of eating, which is basically a form of the Mediterranean diet. Since it the French way has carbs and sugar, I won’t be able to eat like I used to and it’s going to take some research and time to get my freezer, fridge and pantry stocked with Keto items.
About eight years ago I had to have a second mammogram and they found the spot was a fatty deposit. That was the first first time I’d ever had any issues.
Please don’t put off getting a mammogram. The pain is about 15 seconds for each image they take. I can honestly tell you it’s so much better now than when I had it done years ago. You can do this. Schedule that mammogram if you’ve been putting it off.
I’m grateful there are dedicated scientists and doctors working together to make diagnosis easier. I want to thank The Rose in Houston for their exceptional, dedicated staff.
This Keto journey is going to be interesting. I hope y’all don’t mind the occasional blog post about how the Keto is working with recipes.
As soon as I can get Rafflecopter set up I’ll be giving away a physical copy of my cookbook with a few other goodies as a thank you for y’alls continued support and giving me the honour of sharing things that I love. I know everyone is busy and when I do blog my goal is to give you information that is helpful and uplifting.
I’ll be doing a contest/giveaway just for my newsletter subscribers in December.
Sending you love and light. Be kind to one another.
Do you have a Babycakes machine but don’t use it much? I have the one with the interchangeable plates. I like that it doesn’t heat up my kitchen like the oven does. I’m in Texas and the temps are still in the 80s. But you can also make small batches and that’s nice, too.
You can make more than cake pops in them. Why not try a batch of hush puppies? Or Pizza Bites? I forgot where I got this recipe or else I would attribute it to the person. These would be great for a family movie night or game night (like Monopoly or Scrabble).
Babycakes Pizza Poppers
2 cups Bisquick 2 tsp Italian Seasoning 2 eggs 1 cup milk 1/2 c Mozzarella cheese, grated 1/2 cup Pepperoni, finely chopped 1/2 cup Cooked Sausage, finely chopped Pizza Sauce, warmed
In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients. In a small bowl combine liquid ingredients and add to the dry ingredients. Fold in cheese, pepperoni and sausage. The batter should be a thick pancake batter consistency, if it get too thick, stir in more milk until it reaches desired thickness.
I put the batter into a gallon plastic bag and cut off a corner (remember there are chunks of meat so the opening will need to accommodate) to easily fill the wells. Cook for 4 minutes. ***A note from Tambra: You might have to cook a little longer than the recipe calls. I always make a test batch of a couple and adjust as necessary.
I haven’t used my Babycakes maker much but with the weather cooling down a bit I plan to use it more and for making Smudge some homemade dog treats while I have it out. Have any of you made your homemade dog treats in the you Babycakes treat maker? I have the Dog Treat maker and it occurred to me that it was a Babycakes for dogs, so why not use my machine to make Smudgie pupcakes?
These appliances are a blessing to a person who has health issues. I have two Instant Pots, the 6 quart and a mini 3 quart. I use them so much I have them sitting on my kitchen counter. Getting an Instant Pot for Christmas was the best present I could have asked for! I make pork loin that falls apart it is so tender. Recently, I made turkey tenderloins and they came out wonderful. Pinto beans come out great, too.
The learning curve on these kitchen helpers isn’t steep. A little experimenting and using a notebook to write down your adjustments is all you need.
I hope this post has given you some ideas on how you can get more use out of these kitchen gadgets sitting on the shelf. Have a tea party or a picnic to celebrate…anything you want.
I hope you and your families are doing well. There are so many changes to adapt to it can be overwhelming. Stress levels are up for a multitude of reasons. My wish is that you find something of use in this blog post.
If you’ve always wanted to write books but keep putting it off, do it. Start with a short story. Find a group of writers. Want to write fiction and nonfiction? Lots of us do! I have a teatime cookbook and a journal both available on Amazon. Or, you might be interested in nonfiction such as memoirs. I have a friend, Joan Neubauer, who’s written a great book on this topic. You can find her book here: From Memories to Manuscript: the Five Step Method of Writing Your Life Story
The Scottish-English Texan: 56 Teatime Recipes
I create stories to entertain people, an opportunity to be transported to another place, or assist someone by looking at something in a way that gives them greater understanding, For my visual art, my goal is to bring beauty to the person looking through my portfolio.
Tambra’s Watercolour and Gouache tribute to Claude Monet
Having delicate health means every single day is a precious gift. I focus on what I can I do today: finish edits on my novella, tweak that short story for middle graders, try to sketch and paint a mermaid in ProCreate. From the time I was twelve years old, I knew I wanted to be a writer and artist. Of course, these are not optimum conditions, but my drive to continually be creative is an integral part of me. Not being able to create makes me physically sicker.
I challenge you left-brainers out there to be creative (in a positive way, please.) Colouring is a stress reducer. Cooking can be creative, building something from wood, woodburning, soap making, sewing, gardening, learn to play a musical instrument, recycling/upcycling items. If being creative is new to you don’t automatically say what you’ve done is a piece of crap. A new skill takes time to learn so give yourself a break and have fun.
Make the most of the time you have right now. What can you learn, create, and share with others? I believe I was given the gift of storytelling and writing as well as art. Not everyone will like my writing and art, but some will. Being creative reduces stress and stimulates areas of your brain that will help you think of out-of-the-box solutions in your life.
Smudge Alpin MacRuff
I hope you find a creative activity is fun, that you can share with family and friends.
Maybe we can take away something positive from 2020. A deeper understanding of how precious life is and how to make the most of it. Smudge Alpin MacRuff wants you to be kind and love one another.
This blog post is aimed at writers. My goal for this article is to make writers aware of a topic that concerns anyone who is working in the area of the arts. The slant of this post leans toward writers who plan to submit their work to a publisher and the fear of rejection.
So, you want to be a writer but you’re afraid. I understand why you’re afraid. Your words, your heart, have bled onto the page and now you feel naked, raw, and uncomfortable. This is the sacrifice we make to touch the soul of the reader. If you haven’t noticed, fear of rejection and guilt are the mud puddles writers wallow in often.
When I meet people and they’ve asked what I do, many have flippantly said, “I’ve always wanted to write a book, but I don’t have the time. You don’t work, why don’t you write it for me?” The arrogance of this attitude astounded me.
People, this is NOT a compliment. Unless this is a person who has had something extraordinary happen in their lives and you’re a ghost writer searching for an interesting story this attitude is rude as hell.
That person is telling you that their time is more valuable than yours and that isn’t true. It’s insulting. I nicely but firmly, tell those people I have enough projects of my own. Since it’s their story, they need to write it using their description and words. People can be lazy control freaks, don’t let them bully you.
LabraThor is here to beat back fear, rejection, and guilt.
Attitudes in American society have conditioned people to view the arts in a negative manner. This spills down into families affecting the writer on a personal level.
Some people are afraid to let anyone know they’re creative. The attitudes and conditioning of American society. places importance on sports and science. The arts is given the middle finger and this point of view is handed down from generation to generation. The situation could prove too stressful and the writer has hidden behind fear. American society needs to stop treating artists and creatives like we’re leftover puppy kibble. You are not less as a person because you’re creative. What you create has value.
Just before I graduated from high school, I wanted to attend The Art Institute of Houston and take their advertising courses. When I told my Dad about the school he was furious and adamant that I continue learning secretarial skills because that’s what he decided I should do. I had no way to get to AI of Houston since the car I was driving was his and if I had found to attend, he would have thrown me out of the house. Had he kicked me out I would never have been able to return. I tried to figure out a way to be able to go but there were no options.
Still, I continued to sketch and searched for a way to make my dreams come true of being an author and illustrator. After I married and had kids, I found a local writing group and took art lessons from an amazing Houston area artist, Dana Schoppa. She was the only supporter of my art and I will always treasure my friendship with her. I was afraid of so much back then, but Dana gave me courage and I learned from her that it isn’t the end of the world if you make a mistake. I will always be grateful to her and the blessing she is in my life.
Writing, fine art, illustrating, sewing, pottery etc., is important to society. When there’s a tragedy, writers, artists and art therapists are called upon to help heal the wounds. We are a viable, contributing force to our communities, our nation, the world. Words are powerful.
When I started writing seriously, I had a full-time job, two boys in elementary school and an abusive, alcoholic husband. Not an ideal environment to write in or do much of anything, but somehow, I’ve managed to learn how to write stories that have touched readers and made them happy. I continue to study and learn and probably always will.
Fear ruled me for so many years I refuse to give in and give it anymore of my time. When I find myself falling into its trap, I remind myself of what I’ve accomplished so far because I stopped living in a state of fear.
IF YOU WANT TO WRITE, DO IT. If you submit your story and get rejected either resubmit to another publisher or find out what’s wrong and fix it.
Writing is not for the faint of heart. If it were easy everyone would be doing it. Writing is personal and creative, but it’s also a business for most authors. There are resources to assist a pensmith’s if the business part of writing scares you. Professional organizations are a great place to start gathering information and networking.
There’s nothing stopping a person from writing for themselves or their immediate circle of family and close friends. Everyone has their own focus and interest and none of the choices are wrong. Children’s literature isn’t better than mysteries or romance, its all about your personal interest. Fear has slithered its tentacles into this mindset. Don’t fall for it.
Fear paralyzes and you don’t get anything done. It’s pointing its finger at you and laughing. You fell into its trap.
The fear of rejection can paralyze people. I’ve heard some writers talk about the fear that someone in their family won’t like what they write: they don’t have to read your work and it isn’t their business what you write. People are always trying to make something about themselves when it isn’t about them at all. It all about control. Just like the story I told about my Dad refusing to let me go to art school. That was pure control freak behaviour.
There are a million and one excuses wearing the ever-changing mast of fear waiting to catch you in a weak moment and stop you from the joy of writing. Create a workable, yet, fluid plan. Having a writing road map gives you an idea of where you want to go and how you’re going to get there.
Being chronically ill I’m home a lot. Doctor visits range from two to four times a month. If I’m feeling good that means I can drive into town to pick up a few things at Walmart or the resale store and then a coffee from Starbucks.
I’m telling you this because I had to change my mindset when I lost my job. Being pissy about my situation wasn’t going to make it better or bring back my health. After dealing with the grief and anger I had to make some changes. I had started writing children’s stories and articles in 1990, so I had a foundation in it when I forced out of my job. It ended up being my saving grace along with having sewing and crafting hobbies. Creativity was and is the key for keeping depression and negativity to the curb (at least most of the time for me). Having hobbies can bring great joy and relieve stress. The writing and the art crafts saved me.
My plans for next few months are to finish final edits on an erotic paranormal novella and publish it. Finish polishing two middle grade short stories that I’ve had sitting in my computer and publish them together so the kids get two funny stories. Then, start plotting a Gothic romance gaslight/steampunk story. I’d like to finish some junk journals and maybe do a bit of sewing. I’ve always wanted to learn more than two stitches in crochet so that’s something to consider. Do I have the energy for all of this? Not all at once, that’s for sure but I look forward to getting up in the morning and writing stories that make people happy. Or teaching my creative writing workshop and helping writers understand aspects of the craft better. I’m thrilled to have assisted so many wonderful people over the years.
Maybe you’ve always wanted to write a book. Now would be a great time to start it. There are novels, short stories, novellas, a collection of short stories with a wide variety of genres to write in: romance, science fiction, fantasy, high fantasy, Western, children’s: picture book, middle grade, young adult, new adult, historical romance, historical fiction, contemporary romance, women’s fiction, literary fiction, mysteries, cozy mysteries, thrillers.
If your child wants to be a writer National Novel Writing Month, nanowrimo.org has a Young Writer’s Program you can check out with your budding novelist. There’s also journaling to express feelings or it can be used as a way organize your life while being creative.
These strange times could be a blessing in some ways. You have the chance to make more memories together with this extra time together. There’s a chance someone may want to learn to cook. There are beginning cookbooks for kids, beginning cooks in general, then there’s specialized categories such as French cooking. Take photos of the meals and add them to a document or blog and track your progress, comments on how it turned out and if you want to change anything for the next time you want to make it. You could also take a blank hardback book and create your own cookbook.
Our Cairn terrier, Smudge keeps us laughing as well as vigilant because he’s a stinker that runs off with things the minute your back is turned. The TV remote, ink pens, paper of any kind can go through the terrier shredder. He loves being outside, is curious, intelligent and loves people from young to old. Pets are a comfort and a blessing and I’m grateful to have my Smudgie. Petting a dog or cat lowers blood pressure.
My husband is doing a few things in the yard while he’s off and playing some video games. We’ve been watching classic Doctor Who on BritBox, Farscape and Highlander, enjoying each other’s company.
Have a romantic dinner with your spouse at home. Remember why you chose each other.
Getting grumpy during these difficult times isn’t going to make things better. That kind of mindset will make you and everyone around you feel worse and that leads to ugly, nasty things none of us want or have time for. We do need to wake up and learn from this pandemic. Each of you know know what that teaching is. We may not be able to go back to our old way of life, we might have to adjust to a new normal. Be grateful you’re still here to have the opportunity for another day, another chance.
I pray all of you are healthy and not getting each other’s nerves too badly. What have you found that helped you and your family during this time of confinement?
Sending this with love and light,
P.S. : You can find my books on Amazon. I believe my teatime cookbook in ebook is free with Kindle Unlimited. I price all my books with people’s budgets in mind so as many people have access to my books as possible.
I hope this post finds you happy and looking forward to the upcoming holidays with family and friends. My gift to you is one of my favourite recipes. You’ll find it at the bottom of this blog post.
December has always one of my favourite months of the year. I’ve always loved the holiday decorations and the traditions that bring comfort and are shared with generations of family. In this post I’m sharing some wonderful vintage Christmas cards/photos of terriers. I hope you enjoy them!
The heavenly aroma of glazed ham, crusty hearty bread, and desserts to satisfy young to young-at-heart. When everyone brings a dish to share it always seems to have an extra helping of love with each one. Having experienced lean years and trying times have made me appreciate the blessings even more.
I’ve been thinking over what has transpired throughout the year and what I’d like to change. Finding a way to get some of my health issues under control is at the top of my list. When your sick all the time (at least for me), each day is a gift. A sparkling blessing. This attitude is a choice. Acting like an ol’ grumpy pants makes me feel worse, so I look for the beauty, for the laughter around me. Writing books is great therapy, it’s fun, and hopefully they will make someone feel good. I believe that words that come from the heart will touch another’s heart in the way it’s needed most.
There are so many books I want to write, edit, and submit. I want to get much better at sewing. So many items of clothing and things refashion/recycle/upcycle. I’ve been experimenting with creating junk journals and I like it very much. Finding a book from the thrift store or garage sale that can be given a second life into a journal, to be kept and treasured feels right to me. Thank you to all the creative souls on YouTube who have shared their knowledge. You gave me the courage to try this area of creativity.
There is so much to learn! So many places to see and things I want to experience and I’m so grateful to have my husband by my side. He’s intelligent, funny, handsome and I love being with him. Sometimes we say the exact phrase at the same time. We love dogs, Doctor Who, science, and laughing together. A few years ago our vacations were going to all the caves we could in the area we were visiting at the time. One of the things I have on my New Year’s ‘goal for a better life list’ is to say “I love you” more. I intentionally did not say resolutions because if I failed I felt guilty and depressed. Once I made a list of the most important goals I wanted to accomplish things went much better. I also added what steps were needed to make the goals a reality.
Reflecting on the previous year is a privilege. I’ve learned things and grown spiritually. Learning from failures is a stepping stone closer to getting whatever it is right. My writing isn’t perfect but it doesn’t suck furballs either. Some will like it, others won’t. As long as my stories and my art enrich the lives of those who buy it or are gifted with it, I’m thrilled.
Be kind to others and to yourself. If this time of year stresses you and your family out, brew a pot of coffee or tea and discuss what the biggest culprits are come to a solution. Not all people can do this, I totally understand. When I evaluated the problem I took action and with it came peace.
In summary, reflect on the old and look forward to the new year ahead. Remember the blessings and hold tight to the ones in your life who love you. Make reasonable goals with actionable steps to make that dream come true. Be kind to yourself and others. Choose to be happy and reduce your stress where you can. Learn something new. Share your knowledge, find others who share similar passions/hobbies.
I wish all of you peace of mind and heart, the courage to try something new and delight in the discovery and wonder of it.
If brownies and fudge had a baby it would be this Fudge Pie.
Tambra’s Fudge Pie
1 stick butter
2 eggs, slightly beaten
½ c. flour
3 ½ T. cocoa
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Grease a 9-inch pie plate. The wrapper from the butter works pretty well for me. Or a spritz or two of oil making sure the bottom and sides have a light coating.
In a saucepan, melt together the stick of butter and cocoa. Remove from fire. Add the eggs, sugar, flour, and vanilla extract.
Pour into the pie plate
Bake at 325° for 25 minutes; or until the middle is done.
**This makes a small amount. I suggest doubling the recipe. I hope you enjoy the recipe!
Sorry for the large gap of no blog posts. Life happens, we get back up, and continue on. But, I’m back again. *grin*
It’s taken me quite a while but I’ve finally finished overhauling my website and put together a newsletter. There are links to this blog, my art and photography on Fine Art America and my new Rage On! online store where I have some great designs for women, men and children. You can check it out here: https://www.rageon.com/TambraNicole
I hope you’ll stop by and visit and sign up for the newsletter. There is a section for readers to submit recipes for my recipe corner. I’m asking for those submitting to write a little about how the recipe originated, or when you make it, what makes the recipe special to you. I’ve added one of my recipes in this first newsletter to get started. I have a teatime cookbook for those of you interested in more recipes. It has measurements for the US and UK, plus a section on spirited beverages. It’s available on Amazon in print and ebook.
A cup of hot tea and a good book is magic to the soul.
I’ve got some projects both fiction and nonfiction in the works and when they’re closer to being finished I’ll share the details with you.
July 2-17, 2018 I’ll be teaching my online course The Essentials of Plotting and Characterization for the Hearts Through History Romance Writers of America chapter. When it gets closer to the workshop I’ll post more information. Just letting y’all know now so you can check your schedules. So far this is the only workshop I’m teaching this year. If you’d like to take it then work it in your July schedule. I post lessons on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I answer questions throughout the workshop.
Other than the newsletter and website revamp, I’ve been learning more about digital art and using a planner. I’ve tried a few and hadn’t found one that works until the tried The Happy Planner disc system. I discovered I can create my own covers and dividers which is fantastic. I need a flexible system and so far the disc system is the best one. The Passion Planner would have worked if it had been in a three-ring binder instead of perfect bound.
I love all the awesome spreads for bullet journaling but I don’t have the time for something that involved. I do bullet lists in my disc planner. I’ve been watching YouTube videos of romance author and planner goddess (to me, anyway) Hildie McQueen. She’s wonderful and funny and I’m learning how to do planning from her.
What kind of organization system do you use and why? I’m always open to suggestions and ideas.
I love Pinterest and can easily burn an hour or two there. If you go my spot you’ll quickly learn: I love Doctor Who, cooking, art crafts, Cairn Terriers, Fantasy/Steampunk and Vintage clothing and DIY stuff. I’m making boards for my books with how I see my characters or anything related to my stories, and that’s been something I’ve never done before.My Pinterest spot: https://www.pinterest.com/tambranicole/
I have Celiac, so I’m always open to good and easy gluten free recipes. There are some really nice recipes. In the future I’l love to try out some of them. I need to narrow the category down and choose.
I’ve found some Etsy vendors and bought some products.
I need to make a folder on my computer for all the information I want to keep on DIY natural cosmetics and household tips. Some form of organization to store all of this luscious knowledge. How do y’all manage your Pinterest goodies ? I’d love to hear what works for you!
Ex-stewardess, now USA Today bestselling author of happy ever afters. This is where I chat about my books, writing and the writing life. My love of animals, nature, whimsy and magic, just about anything interesting. Cozy, not glam. Kindness always. If you'd rather look for cool stones than buy shoes, and love the smell of woods after rain, you'll feel at home here. Bonus points for cat lovers. Welcome aboard!