Wednesday, April 25

Rambling about Writing

Spring Fling Blog HopWe are in the middle of Selena Blake's Spring Fling Blog Hop...but that doesn't mean that my regular Wednesday Hunk Day report won't go on as scheduled, it just means I have some (fun) business to take care of first!

I am giving away, to one lucky winner, a signed copy of my debut novel, Heart's Home, a gay male romance (just in case the banner at the top didn't give away what I write  ;-).
Heart's Home is a Victorian era paranormal. I'm slated to write the sequel (which is actually a spin off) later on in the year. Click on the tab (way) above, or the title in the above paragraph for more book info.

Entering is simple:
Just post a comment below or drop me an email at helenpattskyn@gmail.com and let me know you'd like a chance to win.

First thing in the morning on the 28th, I'll draw a winner out of the hat and contact you. Once you get back to me with a mailing address, I'll put your book on the mail and announce your name on my blog.

As always, international entries are welcome. 
Thanks for hopping by!

If you'd like to stay for a bit, my
regular Wednesday Hunk Day blog 
is just below.
I have some very yummy offerings
for you this week, if I do say so myself....



Hunk Day ramblings...

As some of you know, I recently joined the Romance Writers of America, and very pleased to also be a brand new member of the Greater Detroit Romance Writers of America. I've never belonged to a professional organization before, and while I admit that the biggest reason I joined was so that I could join the Rainbow Romance Writers, I was pretty excited to discover that the local chapter meets, literally, walking distance from my house, so of course, I had to check them out.

Last week, I attended my first RWA meeting (Romance Writers of America...although my husband thinks with as much time as I spend at the keyboard, that ought to be Romance Writers Anonymous! I know I talked about the kind of ideal day I would have a few weeks ago, but seriously, when I get my teeth into a story, I spend way more than 8 hours a day working on it).

Anyway, there was a lovely guest speaker last week, Gail Gaymer Martin, who talked to us about plotting. Now, she didn't actually say anything I'd never heard before, but sometimes it isn't that a speaker or teacher (or even a friend for that matter) says something new, it's that they say it in a new way that you have an "ah-ha!" moment... or at least a moment where the little light bulb in your brain stops flickering and finally goes on, illuminating the problem. Because what she actually said about the story I've been working on (you know, when I'm not working on Ghosthunting Michigan). She wasn't addressing me personally in any way, but what she was saying about how every single scene needs to carry the story forward reinforced what my critique group had had to say about the first chapter. That the first 1000 words or so just lay there, flat. Even when I revised, I left them in, I just trimmed them up a little.

But they still just lay there flat. And given that they're the first 1000 words, that's a Real Problem.  The first scene has got to hook a reader. The very first sentence has to hook the reader. Heck, if you can do it on the first word, do it on the first word. Which I knew. It's writing 101. But sometimes you just need to hear someone else say it, or say it in a different way, for it to stick.

Gail spent a great deal of time talking about hooks in general--because they're not just for the first page. Every scene needs something to hook a reader in, otherwise readers loose interest. Seriously, how many times have we all started skim reading, or just plain put a book down because we got bored? My time is precious. So is my readers'. If I'm not entertaining my readers, I'm not doing my job.

So with that in mind, I've spent a few hours this week revising the beginning of my WIP, Hanging by the Moment. You know the one with Daniel that cute guy I featured a picture of last week... no idea who the model really is, but he's the perfect Daniel. (Hey, at least I'll have something to show my cover artist when we get to that phase!)

I'd also like to take just a moment to piggy back on the idea of hooks and drawing the reader in to talk about back story, because the easiest way to lose a reader is by dumping a bunch of back story onto the page. And we all do it. In the first draft. Maybe the second draft. But then you weed it out, little by little, until only what the reader actually needs to know is left. I might be able to tell you all about my characters' pasts, but you don't necessarily need to know it. You only need to know enough to enjoy the story--if I give you too much, you're going to get bored. I'm not going to be doing my job.

Don't forget, for those of you happen to live in the area, I'll be speaking at PenguiCon, in Dearborn. I'm doing three panels:

  • Making the transition from fanfiction to published fiction (or "real" fiction as it states in the program book; I find that to be a misnomer. Fanfiction is very real... but we'll discuss that at the panel ;-)   No doubt Fifty Shades of Grey will come up... ye Gods, I don't have time to read it. Maybe I can skim read it or something...
  • World building (one of my absolute favorite topics)
  • and "Strike a pose!" a discussion about the way men on fantasy novel covers tend to look big and buff and sexy and women tend to get the shaft....erm. Not literally. Or maybe literally. I guess it depends on what you're reading... but historically, women on fantasy novel covers have tended to look a bit vapid. I guess they thought the romance author would have something to say about that (even if there are no women on my book covers)  ;-)


And I do believe I owe y'all a guacamole recipe! Now, those who know me know that I don't treat cooking as an exact science. Any of the portions below can be fiddled with to achieve your perfect chip dip! That's the beauty of what I do in the kitchen, nothing is so set in stone that you can't make it your own.

First, just a touch of back story. No, I promise I won't bore you.

I'm 43. I think the first time I had guacamole was at Taco Bell, a decade or so ago. I probably had some at a party along the way too, that had been purchased ready-made at the grocery store. Based on those experiences, I was entirely convinced that I did not like "that awful nasty green stuff".  Avocados had one use in my house: as a beauty aid.

Then I went to New York, and my friend Kitsa dragged me off to her favorite Mexican restaurant, where they make guacamole tableside. Okay, I was willing to give it a shot, but warned her she might be eating the entire bowl of it herself. She wasn't necessarily unhappy about the prospect!

The gentleman came out and I watched with interest as he sliced open a fresh avocado, added tomatoes, peppers, onions, cilantro, and a splash of lime juice (from a real live fresh lime). The ingredients were mashed together in a giant mortar and passel and looked quite similar to this image I found online:

By the time we were done, there wasn't a molecule of it left in the bowl; as soon as I came home, I endeavored to recreate my new favorite appetizer -- hence the left over avocado I used for a beauty treatment last week, because apparently, I'm the only person in the house who wanted any.


  • 1 whole avocado, soft enough to work with
  • 1 medium, ripe tomato
  • 1/4 small red onion (any onion will do, I like red ones, but I bet Spanish onions would taste great!)
  • a dash of red pepper flakes (better if you can do fresh, but if you're like me flakes are all you have in your kitchen...erm... no, I don't really mean my husband...)
  • 1 tablespoon, more or less to taste, fresh cilantro (no, this HAS to be fresh)
  • 1/4 lime...oops. I only had a lemon. It worked fine!


I don't own a mortar like the one above, so I used a metal bowl and a potato masher. You could probably use a food processor, but I liked the chunky consistency that mashing it gave.

Slice up the avocado into half inch or so cubes, and give it a quick "pre smash", especially if it's not "perfectly" soft--since really, finding a perfect avocado is almost as hard as finding a needle in a haystack.

Dice the tomato and onion and give your cilantro a nice fine chop. Mix it all together with as much red pepper as you like (I'm more a mild kind of gal), and squeeze in your lime...or lemon... juice. Give it a really good stir or even a light mash if you want.

All done. Serve with your favorite chips and enjoy!

Of course you'll probably want something to DRINK with your guacamole and chips....

Perhaps some...
Midnight Margaritas!



I nicked this recipe from


Enjoy!!



6 comments:

Filia Oktarina said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Filia Oktarina said...

Congrats about your debut novel.
The recipe look yummy. maybe i will try in home:)

June M. said...

I would love to read your story. I love historicals, paranormals, & m/m so this should be something I would really like.
June
manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

debbie said...

I would love to read your book.
twoofakind12@yahoo.com

sweety said...

Thanks for the international giveaway!!

sweety225(at)rocketmail(dot)com

PaParanormalFan said...

Hello HB,

Congrats on your Debut Novel.
My favorite Genre is M/M Paranormal Romance (but I suppose my name gives that away LOL).

I would very much appreciate the opportunity to be considered in your very generous giveaway of a signed copy of your debut novel, a M/M Paranormal Victorian Era Romance, "Heart's Home". Your Book sounds like a Great Read!

Take Care HB & Wishing You Much Success,
PaParanormalFan (Renee’ S.)
paranormalromancefan at yahoo dot com