Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Drops of Gold

     When her father dies and leaves her completely destitute, Marion can think of only one thing to do--make a new life for herself. Commencing a life of duplicity, Marion transforms herself into Mary Wood--governess. In possession of a forged letter of recommendation and cloaked in the anonymity of her new identity, she enters a life of self-imposed servitude as teacher and caretaker of young Miss Caroline Jonquil of Farland Meadows. Her idyllic daydream vision of life at the Meadows is dashed when she finds a child desperately in need of hope and a cold and sorrowful home haunted by the past. With her characteristic sunny disposition, Marion casts her spell upon the household and slowly brings to life the long-forgotten joy of those within.
     Layton Jonquil is a man tormented by the lies surrounding the death of his late wife, but he cannot deny his growing attraction for the beautiful governess whose goodness and optimism have touched his dormant heart. Their connection grows ever stronger, and despite the impropriety of harboring feelings for a servant, Layton's heart whispers that this is the woman he's destined to love. But when Layton's fears about the past become too much to bear and the falsehoods in which they are entangled threaten to shatter his and Marion's blossoming attachment, will true love conquer all?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Drops of Gold
coming January 2013


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A few days pack I posted on Facebook a snapshot of my Bulletin Board of Literary Awesomeness Yet to Come, otherwise known as, Sarah is About to Start Another Book and Finally Got Everything Organized. The photo was such a success and garnered such a surprising number of comments that I've decided to do a bit of a blog post here explaining in a little more detail how my system works.

Here's the board in all its glory!! *cue dramatic fanfare*

I made this board my own self (impressed, aren't you?!) because I could not find a bulletin board that gave me the setup I needed.

The top 3/4 is cork for pinning stuff up. See, we're off to a very creative start already. Up there I tack up my 7-point plot structures for the main plot line and the most complicated/important subplots. For this book there are 3 plot lines I've plot-pointed (is that a word??)

Next to my super fancy plot structure papers are my scene cards. I use sticky notes pinned to the board. Each "card" represents a different scene and each color indicates a different point-of-view. This book is unique in that it has 3 POVs and most of my books only have 2. Intrigued yet?? The scene cards aren't overly specific, really just a basic description of the scene along with important things that need to happen or be foreshadowed in it. If, as I'm writing, I discover the scene doesn't work or needs to be moved, I either replace it or move it around.

The bottom 1/4 of the bulletin board is a little holder for the sticky notes… that I made MYSELF. Next to that is a little holder for pens & pencils… that I made MYSELF. I think I will just begin abbreviating "that I made MYSELF" as TIMM, because I'm going to get to say that again. *smiles in satisfaction*

Beside the pens & pencils is a little paper frame TIMM where I keep maps, floor plans, images of buildings/landscapes, etc. related to the story.

Beside that frame is another frame TIMM where I put pictures of "character look alikes" I found on the internet. Basically I search around until I find a picture of someone with the same coloring, basic look, etc. as my main characters & particularly important supporting characters. It helps me keep their appearance consistent. (I have a folder where I keep other information… education, childhood experiences, likes/dislikes, etc.)

The bulletin board sits right by my writing desk in my "office." And by "office" I mean the teeny, tiny corner of our living room where I have carved out some space for myself.

I could go into a lot more detail, but most of you have probably already started skimming. I guess it all comes down to… I get a little obsessive about this writing gig, but that's probably a good thing.

Monday, September 10, 2012

I love Christmas. LOVE Christmas. But this year I am particularly looking forward to the holidays. Why is that, you ask? To explain, I have to backtrack a bit and give you a long, rambling history.

I'm Irish. Have I ever mentioned that? If that part of my heritage is a surprise to you, you've obviously not been around these parts (ie, this blog) on the "Holiday of Coolness," known to the rest of everyone as "St. Patrick's Day." We celebrate March 17th with abandon around here. The Irish music plays from sun up until well past sun down. We have traditional Irish dishes at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We all wear green. I attempt an Irish accent and fail in miserably hilarious ways.

Ever since I was a wee little thing I have wanted to visit the British Isles: England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland. The works! My husband and I actually began saving money the first year we were married and kept at it every year since so we could spend our 10th anniversary in England. Thanks to a terrible economy, a job relocation in the midst of a horrible housing market, etc., that money ended up going to other more practical things, and we spent our 10th anniversary at home. And while that was sad and a little disappointing, I took Journey's advice and didn't stop believing.

Well, fast forward to this year. A little judicious saving, a bit of unforeseen good fortune, a lot of time and effort invested in finding fantastically good deals, and a family agreement to forego all other gifts this Christmas season...
My husband and I and our kids will be spending Christmas in Ireland.

Remember that old Bing Crosby song, "Christmas in Killarney"? We will actually be in Killarney on Christmas Day. What are the chances we'll sing that song a few times??

I don't think the reality of it has entirely sunk in yet, but we're in that frantic and exciting planning stage. Getting the kids their passports, filling out paperwork for international driving permits, double checking reservations, etc.

I have a feeling next year's blog posts will be full of "here's the embarrassing thing I did when we went to..." stories. And pictures. Lots and lots of pictures.

In the meantime, here are some pictures of a few of the actual places we are going to actually see with our actual eyes. Éirinn go Brách!


Sunday, September 2, 2012

 An Unlikely Match

The future has never looked brighter for once penniless Nickolas Pritchard. Now in possession of an unforeseen legacy from a distant cousin, he can finally woo the exquisite Miss Castleton, belle of the London Season. What better setting for matchmaking than Ty Mynydd, his ancestral home nestled in the untamed hills of Wales? Ideal, indeed ... except for the ghost.

For nearly four hundred years, Gwen has walked the halls of the home in which she lived—and died a mysterious death. But despite centuries as the reigning force within her ancient residence, nothing prepares her for the charm and unexpected appeal of Englishman Nickolas.

A deep and abiding affection grows between the two, tempered by the unbreakable barrier that separates them. They cannot possibly hope for a happily ever after. there can be no future between a man yet living and a woman long dead.

But how can Nickolas possibly give Gwen up? And how can Gwen face an eternity without Nickolas?

Available at: (I will add the links as they become available)
Deseret Book (currently available for preorder)
Seagull Book
Amazon Kindle Store

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The cover for "An Unlikely Match" is finalized... and it's fabulous!

Watch for it in stores October 2012!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

I went to high school with a young man named Kyle Brown. Everyone who was fortunate enough to know him would tell you of his infectious smile and his soul-deep happiness. He was always cheerful, a rare thing on a high school campus. 

He went on to marry his high school sweetheart, an amazing young lady I had known for a very long time. Not long after that, at the age of 22, Kyle was killed when his repelling equipment failed. He was a wonderful and happy person taken away far too soon.

Tomorrow, August 10, will mark twelve years since Kyle's death. His widow has extended an invitation to anyone willing to participate:

Friday August 10th marks the 12th anniversary since Kyle was killed. Every year I struggle with how to "celebrate" this day, but I always try to make it a positive, hopeful day....the complete opposite of the original day. Kyle was my high school sweetheart, my first love, my best friend...and my first husband. Kyle was THE happiest person I have ever met...and the most generous, big hearted little boy in a grown-up's body with beautiful blue eyes and an infectious smile.

I want to start a new tradition to mark this day every year from now on. I want August 10th to become a day for Random Acts of Kindness. I want it to be as infectious as Kyle's big, goofy grin. I want EVERYONE I know to do one thing for someone they don't know...just because and all in memory of Kyle Brown 12/22/77 - 08/10/00

I know very few, if any of you, knew Kyle, but I am extending this invitation to all of you as well. You may not have known him, but I'm certain you have known someone like him, someone who makes the world a happier place simply by being in it.

Join me tomorrow in doing a Random Act of Kindness and help commemorate the life of a young man who is still missed and help his widow touch the world with kindness.

Monday, July 23, 2012

I received word from my publisher that The Kiss of a Stranger is on sale, ebook version, over on Amazon through Saturday. The sale price??


Two dollars and ninety-nine cents, people!! Whoa!
So, go get a copy or two or twelve. Spread the word. You can't beat that price!!

Here's the link again: http://www.amazon.com/The-Kiss-Stranger-ebook/dp/B004HD6E42/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1343076864&sr=1-1&keywords=kiss+of+a+stranger

Friday, July 20, 2012

First, the backstory... a few weeks back I was bellyaching on Facebook about the minimum height requirement to drive the go karts at our local family fun center. I was particularly annoyed that, despite the fact that I am an adult with an actual drivers license who drives an actual car, I am not considered tall enough to drive the go karts. This warranted a great deal of self-deprecating short jokes and snarky commentary on how silly this restriction was. I received a lot of empathy from my friends over on FB.

Jump ahead a couple weeks... I took my kids to that family fun center without my 6'+ tall husband. While my son is quickly approaching my height, I was still the tallest member of our family there. So, I decided to see if the spunky young teenager running the go kart track would let me drive my kids around the track. I mean, come on: adult, drivers license, drove myself there in a real life car. These were the arguments I had all ready to throw out.

The young man did not require a long, drawn-out debate. I just said, "I know I'm not technically tall enough, but--" And then he said, "Whatever," and shrugged and let me go. I think my daughter thought we were getting away with the fun center equivalent of a bank heist.

We climbed into the kart and managed to snap all five buckles across and over and through and every which way. Engines were revving. A day's worth of exhaust hung heavy in the air.

"This is gonna be awesome," my daughter declared.

I was a little too smug at my "height requirement, schmeight requirement" moment to say anything. I just gave her one of those lips-turned-out, slow, pointed head nods.

All five drivers and our passengers received the "don't run each other off the road," "white flag means go," "red flag means stop" instructions. The white flag was raised high. I wiggled my eyebrows at my daughter. The white flag snapped down.

Karts sped down the track. Well, four karts sped down the track.

I couldn't get the gas pedal down. My legs wouldn't reach.

I was ... too short to drive the go karts.


Moral of the day: We have rules for a reason, people. Obey them. They are for your own good.

Actual moral of the day: If you loosen your 5-point harness enough and sit at the very edge of your seat and drive with the very tips of your toes, even short people can get the gas pedal in halfway and crawl around the track at a speed that will have your prepubescent passenger shaking her head and declaring "This is soooooo embarrassing." But, you got to drive the dumb go kart despite being freakishly short, and that is something.

Friday, June 29, 2012

So I've had some time to go over all the amazing suggestions you gave me for naming one of my newest characters. I loved so, so, so many of the names you gave me. I took quite a few of them and let young Mr. Tilburn try them on. While I liked a whole bunch of the names, there was one that fit him so perfectly I knew I'd found the right one.

So, *drum roll begins*...

The name of choice turned out to be

Bennett Tilburn

Congratulations and thank you to "Cate" for the original suggestion. If you'll use the "Contact Me"  link on the linkbar to send me your mailing address and let me know which book you'd like a signed copy of I will get that out to you right away.

To everyone else who made suggestions, thank you so very, very much. A few of these names I'd already chosen for characters in books just waiting to be released. Many of the others are on my short list of names to use in the future.

ALSO... I have an official release month for my next novel An Unlikely Match. It should hit shelves in October!! (I'll post a cover image just as soon as I have one.)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I am absolutely blown away by the response to my pathetic little cry for help last week. I begged for names and y'all came through in a big way. I cannot tell you how much time I've spent staring at long lists of historically appropriate name with nothing jumping out at me. One name just sort of faded into the next. But your comments, emails, facebook comments, etc. have been perfect. Several names struck me as definite possibilities.

As an interesting FYI, I saw in the suggestions Miles, Nicholas, Charles, Layton (different spelling in the suggestion, but what are the chances of that name coming up?!) and Carter. Oddly enough, these are names I have already chosen for heroes of upcoming books. As my 9-year-old would say, "Same brain! Same brain!"

Now is the point where I take the names from your lists and let this character try them on, walk around a while with each one, and figure out which fits him best. Once I've done that, I'll post the name of choice here on the blog.

Thanks again, everyone. You are the best! 

And, PS, I'm holding on to this amazing list of names for future reference!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Sorry, y'all. No "I Need Friends Friday" again this week. My excuse... er, reason? It's summer vacation and my kids are home and I'm a busy mom right now. Time is a commodity I don't have much of right now. I'll try to post something over the summer, but I make no guarantees.

Now, back to business.

I need your help. I need it enough, I'm willing to give away a prize in exchange for your assistance. So, here's the deal:

I am currently working on a book (Daphne Lancaster's book for those of you keeping track) and I have a name dilemma. Our hero's name is James and this name suits him wonderfully and I have no intention of changing it. The problem is his brother. *sigh*

I originally named the brother Julian. I love this name. It's deliciously historical. It is appropriate for the Regency era. It's a unique enough to be interesting, but not so weird it's... weird. It just plain has a cool sound to it. But, I found that, since these men regularly appear in scenes together, often in conversation with each other, having two "J" names gets really confusing and repetitive and almost a little sing-songy.

Try as I might, though, I can't seem to hit on the right name for James's brother. So I am turning to you for suggestions. Here's a little info to help you in your name search:

  1. Because this is an historical set in England, the name needs to be either a very traditional English name (think "Edward" and "Charles"), an English surname that works as a first name (like "Fitzwilliam," Mr. Darcy's given name), or a place name that works as a first name (like "Trent" [a river in England] or "Glen")
  2. The family's last name is "Tilburn," so a name that kind of works with that.
  3. And no names that begin with J or D (since those are the letters the main characters' names start with and that was the whole problem to begin with.
Now, for the prize. Yippee!

For solving my name dilemma, I will give the suggestor (is that even a word?) of the chosen name:
  1. A signed copy of your choice of any of my books.
  2. A shout-out in the acknowledgements of this book when it is published.
  3. My undying gratitude.
Okay, so the prize is a little lame. It's all I got. But I would, actually, really love some suggestions. Thanks tons!

Friday, June 1, 2012

(Every Friday I interview a different person and share that interview with you. Perhaps they will be a fellow-author. Perhaps one of my neighbors. Maybe the bagger at the grocery store. A member of my family. A follower of this blog. Maybe it will be you! Hey, it could happen.)
Today's friend is Stephen Hines. In his own words (stolen shamelessly off his website): "So far I've written one novel, Hocus Focus, published in 2008, and one graphic novel, Valedictorian USA, which is being published issue by issue. There are samples of Valedictorian on the book's section of my site (click the title on the main menu). Also, I recently finished a web comic strip series called Clyde the Redneck. What am I working on now? Well, for now: a memoir mini-comic series called Crackerstacker, and a few assorted comic book series and one-shots. Stay tuned!"

Are you as exhausted reading all that as I am? Busy guy, am I right?

Let's get to know comic-author-Friday Friend, Stephen Hines.

SME - Welcome to INFF.

Stephen Hines - Thanks! How are you this evening?

SME - I am actively attempting to get excited about having my kids home all summer. *sigh*

Stephen Hines - Hahahaha! As a teacher, I see our outlooks are reversed.

SME - My kids are firmly on your side with this one. They are ecstatic.

Stephen Hines - I believe it. How old are they?

SME - Old enough to insist they should be allowed to spend the summer eating junk food and watching cartoons.
Of course, if that is what *you* do all summer, I can totally support that. Teachers deserve the vacation.

Stephen Hines - I try to cram in as much writing and sleeping as I can. Other than that, I try to do comic cons and I do some volunteer work.

SME - What do you teach, Stephen?

Stephen Hines - I teach 11th and 12th grade English.

SME -  HS English? I loved my 12th grade English teacher. "Hi, Mr. Smith!" *waves*

Stephen Hines - "Hi, Mr. Smith! You must rule."

SME - A teacher, a comic-conner, and a volunteer? You're very busy.

Stephen Hines - Not to mention, I'm going to be playing bass on a friend's CD, then writing songs with my multi-instrumentalist dentist.

SME - Dude. DUDE. Awesome.

Stephen Hines - Maybe we'll call that second project: the Choppers...We BITE!

SME - I approve. I can see that screen-printed on t-shirts. Nice.

Stephen Hines - The comic I just released at the end of April came with a soundtrack EP of tunes by the fictional band. It's about a band called The Icons, by the way, in case that last statement made no sense.

SME - Have you always wanted to write/draw comics?

Stephen Hines - I desperately wanted to draw comics for a living when I was a kid. It didn't take long to see that I was painfully slow and inconsistent, though. I switched to wanting to write for a while, then just music for a long time. When I went back to college to be a teacher, I started writing again.

SME - Your tendency to multi-task is beginning to make a lot of sense.
One of our more crucial questions here at INFF: What is your favorite continent?

Stephen Hines - My favorite continent? I've only ever been on North America, but I'm an unapologetic Anglophile (I think that's the right word for worshipping the U.K.).

SME - That is absolutely the right word, and my unofficial middle name. Huzzah!

Stephen Hines - Sweet!

SME - Totally sweet.

Stephen Hines - Most of my favorite bands are either from there or more popular there, so I desperately want to move there. Plus, their beer is WAY better, except for American microbrews of course.

SME - I notice you didn't argue that the *food* is WAY better in the UK. Just sayin'.

Stephen Hines - Haha! Fish n' chips rule! Bangers and mash!

SME - We had bangers and mash for dinner on Monday--a fave at our house!

Stephen Hines - As well it should be!

SME - You make me want to go to the UK even more than usual--and that is saying something.

Stephen Hines - Have you been there before?

SME - I haven't! See how much I suffer?

Stephen Hines - Yeah, well, try living in Ohio!

SME - I'll confess I don't know much about Ohio, beyond the fact that it is one of the easier states to spell.

Stephen Hines - There isn't much to know. Apparently we have a unique accent, but I can't hear it.
Where do you live?

SME - I moved to Utah a few years ago, and no one here seems to realize how much of an accent they all have. In fact, they say *I* have an accent. I forgive them, though, because the mountains are so beautiful.

Stephen Hines - Where are you originally from?

SME - From the great state of Arizona, home of a whole lot of desert. I'm pretty sure that's on the state seal. "Whole lot of desert"

Stephen Hines - Cool! My nephew went to college there. It's a school for motorcross mechanics.

SME - Wow. I had no idea. See how cool Arizona is?

Stephen Hines - The artist for my main comic book series, Valedictorian USA, is originally from Arizona, too.

SME - Arizona rocks.

Stephen Hines - Pun intended? Red rocks?

SME - Wow. We are rolling in the puns today. First the dental joke, now the rocks.

Stephen Hines - I LOVE horrible puns. Ask my students.
BTW: I'm excited to see my stick figure portrait!

SME - That was actually next! I must say, though, sharing my questionable artistic abilities with an actual artist is a little intimidating.

Stephen Hines - Actual artist? Did you look at my art for Crackerstacker? And, if you did, how many adult beverages had you consumed?

SME - Hey. I draw stick figures. My definition of "artist" is very broad.

Stephen Hines - Trust me, I won't critique your art. There's an amazing comic book artist who puts out all stick figure comics called Cynical Man. They're hilarious!

SME - I trolled your website for inspiration before drawing your portrait. I think my attention to detail will amaze you.

Stephen Hines - Hopefully I look like a stick figure Neil Gaiman.

SME - Yours was my first mohawk. I thought I did a good job.

Stephen Hines - I agree! Can I get a high-res scan of that?

SME - You bet. I'll get my techguy, ie my husband, right on that.

Stephen Hines - I'm my wife's tech guy, which my students think is HILARIOUS!

SME - Hilarious as in "ironic"??

Stephen Hines - They think I'm about as computer literate as a caveman.

SME - Well, we've covered your career(s), summer plans and tendency toward puns. That leaves us with the traditional final question of INFF. Top 5 reasons this is the best blog interview you've ever done. Ready. Go.

Stephen Hines - 1. The continent question.

SME - Always a favorite.

Stephen Hines - 2. My portrait (should be #1)
3. I didn't have to babble nonstop trying to sell my wares.
4. You have a sense of humor and randomness that is refreshing.
5. You're a fellow Anglophile.

SME - An excellent top 5. I especially appreciate your lack of nonstop babbling.

Stephen Hines - I save that for cons.

SME - Thanks for joining us for INFF. And a thanks to the fantastic Terry Ervin for sending you over!

Stephen Hines - Terry's more fair to middlin than fantastic. :) He'll get me for that.
SME - Have at him, Tery! Well, that's INFF for today. *cue exit music* Join us next week when I'll make a new friend!

If you'd like to be interviewed for I Need Friends Friday, shoot me off an email: friends at sarahmeden dot com!
I am looking for anyone and everyone, whether or not you think you are interesting. You'll get a fantastic stick figure portrait of yourself, a little promotion (if you're looking for that sort of thing) and the opportunity to tell your friends and family that you've been interviewed by SME, er... by ME!

Friday, May 25, 2012

(Every Friday I interview a different person and share that interview with you. Perhaps they will be a fellow-author. Perhaps one of my neighbors. Maybe the bagger at the grocery store. A member of my family. A follower of this blog. Maybe it will be you! Hey, it could happen.)
Today's friend is Susan Auten. She is an author with her debut novel recently out through Deseret Book. She can be found online at her website and her novel, Becoming Bayley, is available online at Deseret Book.

SME - Welcome to I Need Friends Friday!

Susan Auten - Yay. One thing you need to know up front. I type faster than I think.

SME - And I just choose to forgo the thinking altogether

Susan Auten - tee-hee

SME - I am excited to have you as a Friday Friend. I have cyber stalked you for a while now.

Susan Auten - Well, why didn't you say hello? I'm not scary, am I?

SME - But saying hello kind of takes the creepy factor out of cyber stalking. I'm there, but you don't *know* I'm there. See how that works?!

Susan Auten - Totally worked. I didn't know you were there. But if it makes you feel any better, I've stalked you a couple of times too.

SME - Mutual stalking. I like.

Susan Auten - That's the best kind.

SME - So when you aren't stalking or unknowingly being stalked, what do you like to do with your time, Susan?

Susan Auten - Write. But that's a lame answer here. Hmm. Eat chocolate chip cookies, watch movies and kiss my husband's cheeks. I married him for his cheeks, in case you were wondering.

SME - I married my husband for his singing voice, so it's all good.

Susan Auten - You're lucky. I always wanted a husband that could sing.

SME - Can he lip sync? 'Cause that could count. It worked for Milli Vanilli

Susan Auten - "Girl, you know it's true!"
He tries to lip sync at church and then tell me he's singing. I always tell him God knows when you're lying, especially in church.

SME - If you're gonna lie, don't do it in Church. That's what I've *always* said.

Susan Auten - Yeah. It's a good motto.

SME - It's right up there with, "If you're gonna lie, do a good job."
Did I mention I also married my husband 'cause I'm hoping he'll get me in to heaven? (since I'm not sure I'll get there on my own merits)

Susan Auten - I just snorted.

SME - You thought I was joking? That was completely serious.

Susan Auten - Good luck with that. Maybe it'll work. I don't know how my husband and I are getting in. We're both spitfires. Maybe we can hang on our kids coattails. Especially the youngest one. She's an angel.

SME - There ya go. No pressure, kid, but the family's salvation depends on you.

Susan Auten - Yep. We don't expect much out of our children. Actually, I think I told my kids just this morning they were going to heaven if I had to drag them kicking and screaming. They looked at me like I had a third eye.

SME - Just last night while we were discussing the importance of not fighting and having a peaceful and loving spirit in our home, I explained to my kids, "I just want you to love each other, you big bunch of jerks." That drove the message home.

Susan Auten - Yeah. I tell my kids not to hit each other and then when they won't quit, I spank them. I hope CPS doesn't read this.

SME - Good point. Perhaps I should state for the record that I am the ideal parent who never raises her voice or punishes her children. *ahem*

Susan Auten - Me too. I was just kidding before. *clears throat*

SME - So, Ms Susan Auten, you have a new book out.

Susan Auten - Yes, I do. *sweeping bow*

SME - Do tell.

Susan Auten - Well, It's called Becoming Bayley.
It's about a girl from Star Valley, Wyoming whose big dream is to make the BYU women's soccer team. She goes to camp and not only snags a spot, but a hot guy too—the men's team goalie, Matt Macauley who is about to leave for his mission.
While he's gone, her hair falls out because she gets alopecia and she has to deal with what it's like to feel really self conscious and ugly.
And then she quits writing him. But I don't want to bore you with anymore details...

SME - No, no, no Susan. You say "I don't want to give away any more than I already have. You'll just have to read the book to find out what happens next!" And then people buy your book by the thousands. Free (and excellent) marketing advice right there.

Susan Auten - Hahahah. Okay. I don't want to give anymore away, so you'll have to read the book to find out what happens next. Tiny spoiler: The boy comes home and they run into each other at the Y.
It's really good y'all (I can say that since I'm from the south.) There's a makeover, and a sister her drives her nuts. A brother who is seriously lacking social skills and a roommate that has a crush on the brother.

SME - Little known fact about me: I played soccer as a child. That's right. Quite the athlete right here. I took a break from ballet for one season. Didn't score any goals, but I perfected my pirouette out on the soccer field.

Susan Auten - Soccer!!! Love it, Sarah. My daughter just scored her first goal Friday night. She's played five seasons. You should have stuck with soccer.

SME - Well, at the end of the season the coach kindly suggested that dance was probably my true calling.

Susan Auten - Ugh. Sucker punch. Wow. Did you give him a ticket to your next dance recital?

SME - In his defense, he was right about me and soccer not being a good match.
Did you ever see the movie "Ladybugs" about the girls soccer team? Remember the player who spent every game watching butterflies and ignoring the game itself? That was me. Except, instead of watching butterflies, I was choreographing imaginary dance recitals.

Susan Auten - No, I never saw that. But obviously your calling was in the dance studio. My eight-year-old son played soccer and I finally told him I had to quit. He'd pretend to shoot all the kids coming toward him on the field instead of going after the ball. I couldn't take it any more.

SME - Some of us were just meant for different things in life. Dancing. Warfare.

Susan Auten - I know. I finally had to accept that my boys are not cool. For fun right now, they go out in the back yard, arm themselves with foam sleds and have Gladiator battles.

SME - Actually, that's pretty cool.

Susan Auten - Yeah, until somebody gets hurt. And it's always the youngest. Broken rib, broken tooth, pencil in the eye, gigantic splinter up the leg.

SME - Okay, that isn't cool.
[PG.jpg]But ya know what is? The portrait I drew of you!

Susan Auten - Ah, the picture!

Susan Auten - That's darling. I love it. You are truly talented.

SME - *sweeping bow*

Susan Auten - Hey that looks sorta like the cover of my book!

SME - Hmm. Maybe I did that on purpose. Hmm.

Susan Auten - Hmm. You're smart like that.

SME - Marketing genius, I'm telling you.

Susan Auten - Does your publisher know they're getting a two-fer-one? Do you do your own covers too?

SME - If only my covers could be stick figures, I'd have it made!!

Susan Auten - Hey, those Diary of a Wimpy Kid books do pretty well.

SME - True. My next book needs to be "Diary of a Romance Novel Heroine." Actually, that's not a bad idea. *ponders*

Susan Auten - That would be awesome. And you're really funny like that Kinney guy.

SME - Holy cow. I forgot to ask you the most important question of every INFF interview!!! What is your favorite continent?

Susan Auten - Oh, wow. I guess I have to say this one because Hawaii's on it. And that's where we went on our honeymoon.

SME - Aaaahhhh. Bonus points for going with the sentimental choice!

Susan Auten - What can I say? It's lovely there. And the shave ice is divine.

SME - And now for the traditional final question: Top 5 reasons this is the best blog interview you've ever done. Ready. Go.

Susan Auten - 1. It's the only blog interview I've ever done.
2. I got to talk to one of my stalkers!
3. I got to brag about my new e-book Becoming Bayley (that you can buy on the DB Bookshelf or Amazon.)
4. The picture of me is epic.
5. I found out Sarah Eden married her husband for reasons as shallow as I married mine. Who needs divine approval with good cheeks and a singing voice?

SME - That is, perhaps, my favorite reason ever. Ever.

Susan Auten - I'll record this in my journal. *presses hands to heart*

SME - As you should.
Well, Susan, that wraps it up here at INFF. I'll be seeing you in cyber space (but you won't see me! *wiggles eyebrows in creepy stalker fashion*)

Susan Auten - Right back atcha! See ya, Sarah!

SME - *fingers crossed* Well, that's INFF for today. *cue exit music* Join us next week when I'll make a new friend!

Friday, May 18, 2012

I had the opportunity two weeks ago to be the Master of Ceremonies for the 2012 LDStorymakers Writers Conference. As part of that "gig" I put together a few goofy videos. For those of you who were there and wanted to see them again, as well as those who haven't seen them yet, here they are in all their glory.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

I am super excited to have Courting Miss Lancaster featured in the 2012 Book Bloggers Cookbook. Not sure what the 2012 BBC is?? Here ya go...

The 2012 Book Blogger's Cookbook is a community project from some of the blogosphere's best book bloggers in a simple, easy to read format.  The cookbook combines a love of reading and dining to help you find books you'll devour and recipes you can't put down.

You’ll love The Book Blogger’s Cookbook because…

The Book Blogger’s Cookbook has 50 different book reviewers from every corner of the blogosphere.  It bridges the gap between author and reader—putting you in touch with book reviewers who can separate the 5 star books from the mediocre.
The Book Blogger’s Cookbook showcases great reads and provides an interactive experience with links to author and book reviewer websites. The cookbook is created for those who like to experience what they read long after they’ve closed the book.
The Book Blogger’s Cookbook tells why each recipe complements its companion book.  Recipes and books combine to make the reading experience satisfying and entertaining.

About the author:

Christy Dorrity loves to read about cooking and cook about reading. She was taught early to have a discriminating taste for both books and food. Christy grew up on a trout ranch in Star Valley, Wyoming. She taught elementary school and lives in the mountains with her husband Devon and their five young children. When Christy's not reading or writing, she's probably trying out a new recipe in the kitchen.

twitter: @christydorrity

Here's where it gets super duper exciting. The book tour for the 2012 BBC  is currently running and there is a fabulous prize being given away. Here is the info on that:

Book launch and Contest
During the first week of the book launch, The 2012 Book Blogger's Cookbook will be available for a reduced price of 99 cents.  Please spread the word. 
Every person who comments on one of the blogs during the tour will be entered to win a grand prize: a copy of every book featured in The 2012 Book Blogger's Cookbook (22 in all, over $200 value).

And, yes, this is one of the stops on that blog tour, so comment away!!

Head over to http://www.dearestdreams.com/2012/05/more-ways-to-win-200-worth-of-books.html for a list of all the blog stops and all the information you need to enter!

Friday, April 27, 2012

(Every Friday I interview a different person and share that interview with you. Perhaps they will be a fellow-author. Perhaps one of my neighbors. Maybe the bagger at the grocery store. A member of my family. A follower of this blog. Maybe it will be you! Hey, it could happen.)
Today's friend is the lovely Amy McArthur. She's a wife, a mom, a reader, and, I discovered, a fabulous person. I should perhaps warn you, we're about to engage in a lot of "Mom Talk." You have been warned.

SME - Welcome to I Need Friends Friday!

Amy McArthur - My husband is standing over my shoulder and making me very nervous.

SME - Doesn't he know this is a "No Boys Allowed" club right now??

Amy McArthur - I have made that clear, to no avail.

SME - Tell him we're going to talk about shoes and chick flicks and potty training. That might scare him off.

Amy McArthur - Sounds great, except for the potty training. I HATE potty training.

SME - I have been out of the potty training phase for 6 years and I still have nightmares about it. *shudders*

Amy McArthur - I still have one more to go.... Excuse me while I blow my nose and wipe my tears at the mere thought.... I envy you.

SME - My youngest was also my hardest. If I so much as suggested she use the potty, she would look me dead in the eye, stick her chin out defiantly and "go" right there in front of me, no matter where we were.
I guess what I'm saying is, if that child can be trained, any child can.

Amy McArthur - Oh... wow. If it makes you feel better I was THIS close to having 3 kids in diapers because my oldest girl refused to cooperate. She was almost 4. and when I went to the hospital to have baby number 4 she still wasn't potty trained.
Thankfully, Grandma had taken care of it before I got home from the hospital. Too close for comfort.

SME - And the baby I'm sure wouldn't cooperate and wait to make its debut until after the oldest figured that out. Babies are so stubborn!

Amy McArthur - I know, right?!

SME - And, on the topic of child-indused insanity, I have a child who is a "hair cutter," something I know you know all about.

Amy McArthur - Hee hee... I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy.
That was a laugh of insanity by the way... not amusement.

SME - Oh, I recognized the Mom-Crazy laugh. I know it well, my friend. My daughter has cut her own hair 13 times.

Amy McArthur - NO WAY!
You are not making me feel better. I was hoping this would kind of be a one time thing.

SME - My dearest child has finally reached the point where she will come find me and say, "I have the urge, Mom. I have the urge." And that means it's time to take her to the salon to get a new haircut.

Amy McArthur - Hmmm.. I'll have to teach my kids that phrase. Right now we have neighbor kids telling their parents about how the McArthurs have scissors at that house.... I'm losing friends rapidly.

SME - That is my one comfort--she has never cut anyone else's hair. *knocks on wood*

Amy McArthur - I'll knock too... you need it.
13 times? for real? I'm still laughing... it could always be worse.... and it's nice not to be the person people say that about.

SME - Yep. Her record was three times in a single month. I even hid the scissors, she just managed to find them again. Sometimes I don't think I will survive raising that child.

Amy McArthur - We could run away to some kid-free country and try to be human beings again... what would that be like?

SME - I don't even know. Bliss. Utter bliss. (although given enough time, we might actually miss the little munchkins.)

Amy McArthur - I suppose... but sometimes I like to imagine...

SME - The imagining is what keeps me sane.

Amy McArthur - Some people say it's an escape... I say it's a coping skill… emphasis on skill.

SME - I have my suspicions that we have officially lost all of the male readers of this interview.

Amy McArthur - I can hear them snoring.

SME - So, Amy McArthur, what is your favorite continent?

Amy McArthur - Definitely North America... I have very little experience with the other 6... none, actually.

SME - I'm a fan of North America, myself. Other than Australia, I can say it's the only continent that I can name every country it contains off the top of my head.

Amy McArthur - True. Yet another reason to love it. The list is very long.

SME - I have a fabulous portrait of you, if you're interested in seeing it.

Amy McArthur - interested? I'm dying to see it.

Amy McArthur - wow... is that a bow in my hair?

SME - It's a lovely hair decoration of some kind or another. Bow. Clip. Ya know, something cool.

Amy McArthur - Very cool.... probably a clip I picked up off the floor while I was cleaning, and just put it in my hair and forgot about it until after I had spoken publicly or something... hypothetically of course. You nailed it.

SME - Dude. I've done that. And then forgot I was wearing something on my head and answered the door. The things moms endure, I'm telling ya!

Amy McArthur - It's a brutal profession.

SME - Could you imagine the worker's compensation claims we could file. Sheesh.

Amy McArthur - The world can't afford us.

SME - That is the quote of the day, my friend. "Moms: The world can't afford us."
Of course, out of context it makes no sense whatsoever.

Amy McArthur - Wow, now you're quoting me... who cares if it makes sense?

SME - More or less my life philosophy: "Who cares if it makes sense"

Amy McArthur - As long as it makes sense to me.... I have a similar life motto, it comes between "do it tomorrow" and "you can never have too many napkins."

SME - I do believe that brings us to the final question of the interview: Top 5 reasons this is the best blog interview you've ever done. Ready. Go.
Amy McArthur - 5-I met my mother twin, who also puts random things in her hair, has difficult to potty train children, and has even worse children hair-cutting-stories than me.
4-It's also my 1st blog interview... 1st is the best right?
3-I got to "talk" to one of my favorite authors, ever! (Does that give me extra credit if it really is true?)
2-I was quoted by one of my favorite authors. A dream come true, for sure.
1- I didn't mess it up too bad, I think.

SME - Mess it up? Not at all. Two moms talking about their children--what's to mess up?

Amy McArthur - True. It's the recipe for greatness. Everyone knows that. But few can pull it off the way we just did.

SME - Amen, sistah.
Well, thanks for joining us for INFF!

Amy McArthur - You bet. Hope you haven't lost you male audience for good on my account.

SME - *fingers crossed* Well, that's INFF for today. *cue exit music* Join us next week when I'll make a new friend!

If you'd like to be interviewed for I Need Friends Friday, shoot me off an email: friends at sarahmeden dot com!
I am looking for anyone and everyone, whether or not you think you are interesting. You'll get a fantastic stick figure portrait of yourself, a little promotion (if you're looking for that sort of thing) and the opportunity to tell your friends and family that you've been interviewed by SME, er... by ME!

Friday, April 20, 2012

(Every Friday I interview a different person and share that interview with you. Perhaps they will be a fellow-author. Perhaps one of my neighbors. Maybe the bagger at the grocery store. A member of my family. A follower of this blog. Maybe it will be you! Hey, it could happen.)
Today's Friday Friend is author Natasha Yim. Natasha is originally from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and later moved to Singapore and, at ten, to Hong Kong. She writes picture books, "fact books," as my daughter would call them, and is working on a Young Adult novel.
Natasha can be found on the web at her website.

Let's get to know Natasha!

SME: Welcome to I Need Friends Friday!

Natasha Yim: Thank you, Sarah. I'm thrilled to be here.

SME: The way you came to be this week's INFF Friend is, quite possibly, my favorite yet. You stumbled on INFF completely on accident & in a moment of absolute bravery, volunteered to play along!

Natasha Yim: My husband calls it my "shameless self-promotion". I'm always looking for ways to get my books and my name out there. Thanks for agreeing to interview me.

SME: Oh, as a fellow author I understand this self-promotion requirement quite well!!
I always, and I do mean always, ask my interviewees a few very key questions. Among those is something about food. So, here's your food question: What is your absolute favorite cuisine?

Natasha Yim: You'd think it'd be Chinese because I'm Chinese, but it's actually Italian. LOVE my pasta!

SME: Perhaps someone will open an Italian-Chinese restaurant and you could have both. Think of the possibilities: Won Ton & Gnocchi Soup! Sweet and Sour Ravioli!

Natasha Yim: I like where you're going with this, Sarah! I've thought about opening up a restaurant myself. Cajun, though. Very few Cajun restaurants here in California, but then it wouldn't leave me ANY time for writing.

SME: I perused your website a bit and discovered you write books that kind of perfectly fit my daughter's age group. (Which, believe me, was a very welcome discovery.) Tell us a little bit about what you write.

Natasha Yim: I have written mostly picture books, although my books, "Cixi, The Dragon Empress" and "Sacajawea of the Shoshone" are for the tween age group, 9 - 13. I'm also currently writing a Young Adult novel.

SME: Yes the tween books caught my attention, since I am currently living in the same house as a tween. But I didn't realize you were working on YA as well. Do you have a favorite age group to write for?

Natasha Yim: I don't think I have a favorite age group. Ideas for stories come to me in many forms. I have several ideas bouncing in my head right now that is definitely for the picture book set, but then I'm also interested in writing for the older audience.

SME: That is fantastic, truly. I have always been sort of awed by authors who can write across genres and age groups. I have tried, bless my little heart, but historical romance is what I am apparently meant to write.

Natasha Yim: Well, I can't quite claim to write across genres and age groups yet until the YA gets published. But I'm hoping I can claim this soon! And who knows, I might find that YA is what I'm meant to write.

SME: Well, let us know when your YA is published and the INFF Nation will celebrate with you!

Natasha Yim: Thanks. As slow as the publishing process is, it might be a few years yet.

SME: Believe me, I understand! And yet we do it over and over again. Writers are either the most patient people in the world or gluttons for punishment.

Natasha Yim: Ha. A little of both, I think. Which is why my blog is titled: I Must be a Masochist—A Writer's Life.

SME: Perfect. That should also be printed on t-shirts. You would sell a bundle!

Natasha Yim: Great idea! Gotta supplement that writing income somehow.

SME: Wait. You mean all authors aren't disgustingly rich? That was the rumor I heard.

Natasha Yim: That's definitely the life I lead in my head.

SME: So very true. It's like we're characters in our own personal novel.

Natasha Yim: Then we crash-land back to reality.

SME: Every author reading this is now nodding their heads in mournful understanding.

Natasha Yim: That's why I love to go to writing conferences. Nobody knows the angst and pain of writing, rejections, and trying to get published like another writer going through the same thing. My husband is still in the "your book will make us rich" fantasy.

SME: My daughter once told her brother that someday "Mom will be a rich and famous author," to which he replied, "Mom's not that kind of author." I didn't know if I should laugh or cry.

Natasha Yim: That could be a great title for a book! I think we really need humor in this business which is why I like to write humor into a lot of my projects. Not the non-fiction, obviously. But my plays, and my YA has humorous/comedic elements.

SME: Another very traditional INFF Question for you: What is your favorite continent?

Natasha Yim: To live in, I would say North America. To travel, definitely Europe. I'm going to Italy and Ireland this summer.

SME: I am absolutely going to pretend I didn't hear you say you were going to Europe-especially Ireland. Otherwise I will be insane with jealousy!

Natasha Yim: My brother is getting married in July. And fortunately for me, he chose a romantic setting in an Irish castle. So, I couldn't really make an excuse to not go to my brother's wedding now, can I?

SME: And a castle even! I am going to have try very hard to have charitable thoughts about you from now on. (But, seriously, that is fantastic.)

Natasha Yim: Yes, I am very excited! My husband and I honeymooned in Italy, but I've never been to Ireland.

SME: I may have to invite you back for a follow-up INFF in which you share with me in great detail everything you saw there.
I do believe we have reached the portion of the interview when I show you the mind-bogglingly amazing portrait I have drawn of you.

Natasha Yim: You have been a great hostess. Would love to come back.

Natasha Yim Cute!

SME: My portraits are kind of amazing, huh? If the whole writer thing doesn't work out, I may go into art.

Natasha Yim: Let me tell you, it's better than anything I can draw!

SME: Well, Natasha, that leave only the traditional final question of every INFF interview: Top 5 reasons this is the best blog interview you've ever done. Ready. Go.

Natasha Yim: 1. It's very casual and stress-free.
2. I got to talk about food.
3. I got my portrait drawn, and it didn't cost me a cent.
4. I love this IM chat box thing for doing an interview. You'll have to tell me how you set it up.

*Sarah here! To explain, my interviews are conducted in a chat box on a private blog. And it is every bit as exciting and nerdy as you are imagining. Okay. As you were.*
5. I got to visit with the very rich and famous, Sarah Eden.

SME: All excellent reasons! And, trust me, the chat box is easy to set up.
Thanks for joining us for INFF, Natasha!

Natasha Yim: You're welcome. Thanks for having me, Sarah!

SME: *cue exit music* Well, this has been “I Need Friends Friday.” Join us next week when I will make another friend!

If you'd like to be interviewed for I Need Friends Friday, shoot me off an email: friends at sarahmeden dot com!
I am looking for anyone and everyone, whether or not you think you are interesting. You'll get a fantastic stick figure portrait of yourself, a little promotion (if you're looking for that sort of thing) and the opportunity to tell your friends and family that you've been interviewed by SME, er... by ME!

Friday, April 6, 2012

(Every Friday I interview a different person and share that interview with you. Perhaps they will be a fellow-author. Perhaps one of my neighbors. Maybe the bagger at the grocery store. A member of my family. A follower of this blog. Maybe it will be you! Hey, it could happen.)
My guest to day is the uber-talented, extra-uber-awesome Luisa Perkins. She and I first "met" this last year while we have worked on the Whitney Awards committee. Luisa lives in New York state, which is pretty cool in and of itself. Her debut novel, Dispirited, hit shelves this month and is receiving absolutely fantastic reviews. Luisa can be found online at her blog and on Twitter: @LuisaPerkins

SME: Welcome to INFF!

Luisa M. Perkins: Thank you! I feel so honored to be here.

SME: There is nothing quite so "honorable" as being asked to waste an hour of your precious time answering inconsequential questions.

Luisa M. Perkins: I am sure your questions will be of DEEP consequence.

SME: Like this one: are Boston cannolis or New York cannolis better?
Because this is a debate I have had with a neighborhood deli where I grew up.

Luisa M. Perkins: Everything New York is better. Except New England clam chowder is better than Manhttan-style chowder.

SME: Agreed on the clam chowder. My husband grew up in Maryland and that man makes the best clam chowder.

Luisa M. Perkins: Mmm, now I want some chowder.

SME: Chowder. Yum. (See how deep and ground breaking this interview is already!)

Luisa M. Perkins: Haha! You know, I've admired you from afar lo, these many years.

SME: I am best admired from afar. I look taller from a distance.

Luisa M. Perkins: This is true.

SME: Another thing that is true... you have been to London and I have not. Tell me how much I would love to visit!

Luisa M. Perkins: Sarah! You, of all people--you, one of the very few people who knows the difference between a brougham and a curricle--YOU MUST GO.

For those of you who are curious
SME: *sigh* And between a curricle a barouche and a landau. And the difference between Hyde Park, Covent Gardens and Regent Street. And the difference between Neoclassic Architecture and Georgian. *sigh again*

Luisa M. Perkins: See? You are a fount of knowledge that begs for real-life application.

SME: Let us speak of happier things than my recently crushed dreams of going to the British Isles. You, my newest Friday Friend, have recently had your authorial debut!

Luisa M. Perkins: Yes! It has been thrilling! Thank you for mentioning it.

SME: I have heard such amazing buzz for Dispirited. AND, I got to hear the first chapter at the "Life, The Universe, and Everything" symposium in February. Fabulous!

Luisa M. Perkins: It was so kind of you to attend the reading. And others have been kind as well in praising the book.

SME: For those readers who aren't familiar with your awesomeness, give us a quick blurb!

Luisa M. Perkins: Dispirited is about a little boy who teaches himself astral projection--how to get out of his body--in order to go looking for the spirit of his dead mother. One night while he is out, another being takes over his body. For years, he is forced to watch an impostor live his life. Then his father remarries, and he hopes to find help from his new stepsister, who has some unusual gifts.

SME: Unusual gifts? You mean like the Little Professor calculator I got for Christmas when I was 10?

Luisa M. Perkins: SPOILER ALERT! How did you KNOW? (The actual unusual gift: she can see things that others cannot.)

SME: I have a great deal of experience with "unusual gifts."

Luisa M. Perkins: Really? DO tell.

SME: One year for Christmas I gave my husband things he already owned--his favorite shirt, his brown shoes, his toothbrush. 1-because it was funny, 2-because we were poor

Luisa M. Perkins: That is both thrifty and imaginative.

SME: I think it should become a tradition.

Luisa M. Perkins: Oh, absolutely. You could vary the theme with inventive wrappings.

SME: Speaking of traditions, it's time for our most traditional question: What is your favorite continent?

Luisa M. Perkins: Atlantis.

SME: I do believe Mr. Robison Wells gave the same answer. From him it was obnoxiously cheeky. From you, Luisa, a most informed and intelligent response.

Luisa M. Perkins: He did?!? I am shocked and appalled. I am currently knitting him a Dr. Who scarf--but I may have to withhold it as punishment.

SME: I agree. He stole your answer.

Luisa M. Perkins: I just cannot countenance it.

SME: Let us shun him publicly!

Luisa M. Perkins: Indeed!

SME: And, whilst we deliver him the cut direct, I have a game for us to play!

Luisa M. Perkins: Ooh, I love games!

SME: This is one of my fave INFF games: Rapid Fire Q&A. The rules are simple. I will ask you a series of questions & you have to give the first answer that comes to mind:no explanations allowed.

Luisa M. Perkins: I accept.

SME: Favorite color?

Luisa M. Perkins: Purple.

SME: Favorite way to spell color/colour?

Luisa M. Perkins: British, with the "u."

SME: Favorite elementary school teacher?

Luisa M. Perkins: Mrs. Henry. First grade.

SME: Something you wanted to be when you grew up?

Luisa M. Perkins: Brain surgeon

SME: Highest grade you ever got in PE?

Luisa M. Perkins: A

SME: Average number of characters you use per tweet?

Luisa M. Perkins: 123

SME: Favorite author of Regency-era romance who is under five feet tall?

Luisa M. Perkins: That's easy: Sarah M. Eden.

SME: Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner. You are the INFF Champion of the week!

Luisa M. Perkins: YAY!

SME: And, as INFF Champion, you get to see your very own, hand-drawn portrait! (I am pretty sure I have ended 90% of my sentences during this interview with an exclamation point!)

Luisa M. Perkins: Oh, I have been waiting for this! *rubs hands together with glee and anticipation*
(Me, too!)

Luisa M. Perkins: It's perfection! I haven't looked that slim since sophomore year!

SME: Actually, I hope you have never looked that slim. Hello, Malnutrition.

Luisa M. Perkins: Well, I did grow up quite poor.

SME: I also drew you in sunny flip-flops because I am quite ready for warmer weather.

Luisa M. Perkins: The flip-flops are perfection. I actually wear flip-flops as often as possible.

SME: And, question of the day, do East Coasters call them flip-flops, or sandals? My mom always called them thongs, which just made us laugh uncontrollably.

Luisa M. Perkins: I grew up in California, and we called them "thongs." I fear this went out of fashion at the same time all around the country. We do call them "flip-flops" here so as not to offend by using the T-word.

SME: Oh the joys of an ever-changing language. I think we finally convinced my mom not to call them thongs.

Luisa M. Perkins: That's a relief.

SME: For everyone.
Well, that brings us to the final question of INFF: Top 5 reasons this was the best blog interview you've ever done. Ready. Go.

Luisa M. Perkins: 5. I have never been interviewed by such a knowledgeable Anglophile.
4. My portrait rocks.
3. I now know what I'm making for dinner: clam chowder.
2. I have been informed that a certain YA dystopian writer is stealing my interview answers, and knowledge = power.
1. Sarah M. Eden is the kindest, funniest writer under 5 feet tall that I have the privilege to know.

SME: Well, bless you. And, set an extra place for dinner. Somehow, someway I will be there for clam chowder.

Luisa M. Perkins: Yes! And then we'll take the night flight to Heathrow.

SME: Brilliant! (See how natural I would be as a Brit?!)

Luisa M. Perkins: I do, indeed! Blimey!

SME: Thanks for joining us on INFF!

Luisa M. Perkins: Thank you for having me. It has been a true pleasure.

SME: *cue exit music* Well, this has been “I Need Friends Friday.” Join us next week when I will make another friend!

If you'd like to be interviewed for I Need Friends Friday, shoot me off an email: friends at sarahmeden dot com!
I am looking for anyone and everyone, whether or not you think you are interesting. You'll get a fantastic stick figure portrait of yourself, a little promotion (if you're looking for that sort of thing) and the opportunity to tell your friends and family that you've been interviewed by SME, er... by ME!

Friday, March 30, 2012

The update -- It's been one month since my operation. I am happy to report that I no longer feel like I've been hit by a freight train, more like a couple semis in a row. The recovery process has been slow and entirely lacking in enjoyableness, but every day is a little better.

The plea -- I am gearing up to start I Need Friends Friday again. *cue applause* However, I need volunteers to be interviewed. As things sit now, INFF will come back and disappear again alarmingly fast. So, if you are willing to give me an hour of your time and let me ask you pointless and often ridiculous questions, I would love to feature you on an upcoming Friday. Please, please, please, shoot me off an email: friends --at-- sarahmeden --dot-- com, or use the "Contact Me" tab at the top of the page!!

((And an extra plea -- If you live in the Orem, UT area, I will be signing books at the Deseret Bookstore at the University Mall tomorrow, March 31 from 6-8. I'll be the vaguely pale one sitting at the table because standing for any length of time is still too uncomfortable. And bonus points for bringing me ibuprofen!))

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Éirinn go Brách!

Today is March 17th. Do you realize how huge this is??
It's St. Patrick's Day, known around this blog as The Holiday of Coolness, known around my house as My Birthday! Around here we celebrate our Irish heritage, cook traditional Irish meals, dance exceptionally awkward jigs, and all in all thoroughly enjoy ourselves.
Whilst I Go Green in a very literal way, sit back, relax and enjoy this year's installment of "Irish Things I Love!"

1--The Music
Fun, traditional music:
(This is the group The High Kings. They specialize in fun arrangements of great traditional Irish music.)
Beautiful, Gaelic music:  (This is the fabulous Cara Dillon. Check out her music, she's amazing.)  
Modern music:

(This is The Script. I posted a song of theirs last year as well. "Live Like We're Dying" was written by Danny O'Donoghue (he's the one in the middle), but most people in the US would be more familiar with Kris Allen's cover of it. [I prefer The Script's version.])

2--The Food
Last year I posted the recipe for Irish soda bread. This year, I'm going with an absolute staple of homespun Irish cuisine, Brown Bread.

Irish Brown Bread
    •    1 cup all-purpose flour
    •    2 cups whole-wheat flour
    •    1/4 cup rolled oats
    •    2 tbsp sugar
    •    1 tsp baking powder
    •    1 tsp baking soda
    •    1/2 tsp salt
    •    1 1/2 tbsp cold butter
    •    1 1/4 cups buttermilk -OR- 1 1/2 cups plain, nonfat yogurt
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.   
  2. Mix all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut in butter until mixture is crumb-y. Stir in whole-wheat flour and oats.   
  3. Stir in yogurt. If mixture is too dry to hold together, add more buttermilk a little at a time until the dough just barely holds together. (if using yogurt instead of buttermilk, add milk a little at a time to achieve the same result)
  4. On a lightly floured surface, knead 5 or 6 times. Shape into a ball. Set on a lightly greased baking sheet. Pat into a circle (about 6 or 7 inches across). With a floured knife, cut a large X on top of loaf, cutting about 1/2 way through to the bottom.
  5. Bake until well browned, about 40 minutes

3--The Language
My daughter and I are learning Gaelic. It is a slow process and we can't pronounce it correctly to save our lives, but we're enjoying ourselves. I asked her which of the sentences we worked on this week I should put in the annual It's The Holiday of Coolness/Today is My Birthday post. This was her suggestion:
Tá mé sean.
I didn't know whether to laugh or ground her. (Here's the translation if you're interested.)

4--Irish Blessings
I will close out this year's Holiday of Coolness post with the same Irish blessing I post every year (because it's that good!)

May those who love us, love us.
And for those who don't love us,
May God turn their hearts.
And if He can not turn their hearts,
May He turn their ankles,
So we may know them by their limping.

Happy Holiday of Coolness, everyone!


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