Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Connections - and a recipe

Thanks, Galen for that informative post. The query process is daunting enough. Good to know there's help out there.

First – a Happy Anniversary to my parents, who celebrated their 65th anniversary on Monday. They've been a phenomenal role model, and I wish them another 65!

Connections are great. As most of you know, hubby and I are ensconced in a tiny rental while we hunt for a real home. That means a lot of togetherness and tolerance. Yesterday, I hooked up with a couple of Colorado writers for lunch. It was wonderful being able to talk to people who not only understand what it means to be breaking into the crazy business of publication, but are in it with you. The hubster understands, but he's heard it all.

So over an Olive Garden soup and salad lunch, we could blather on about getting agents, getting rejections, conferences, writing groups, what books we love, what books make us wonder how they got published, and on and on. (Hey, the soup and salad are unlimited refills! Plenty of time to gab.)

Keep Reading...

But being able to have those connections with people who "get it" helps get me centered and motivated. And it's something to consider when you're creating scenes for your books. Your characters should have some way to make connections, to be able to hang loose and have someone understand them.

For my cops, they've usually got partners to bounce things off of. For my upcoming release, Nowhere to Hide, my heroine is new to town (and I wrote this LONG before we'd even thought of moving). I had to create a connection for her, both to spare the reader from interminable passages of internal monologue, and to reveal some of her personal "secrets" that tend to surface in girl-talk. Especially over ice cream. And, one hopes, by the end of the scene the reader knows more about the character, and the character is able to move forward.

As for our life here:

The forecast says there could up to a foot or more snow by the time you're reading this. We went to the grocery store to fill in a few blanks—we tend to run out of salad very quickly, and with limited storage space, we haven't done any 'serious' shopping beyond the basics.

However, we did borrow a crock pot from our daughter and bought the ingredients for a family favorite: White Chili. It's very simple to prepare, and yummy. It was originally a stovetop/oven recipe, but since I did so little with the oven in Florida where there was no point in adding heat to the kitchen unless absolutely necessary (or on one of the 5 cold days of the year), I simply threw everything into the crock pot, and the results were fine.

I figured I'd share it today, so maybe some of you can enjoy the enticing aroma the way we'll be doing. In a space this small, there's no escape!

1 medium sized onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 t ground cumin
2 whole large chicken breasts, skinless, boneless, and cut into 1 inch
1 can (15-19 oz) white kidney beans (cannellini), drained
1 can (15 1/2 -19 oz) garbanzo beans, drained
1 12 oz can white corn, darined
2 4 oz cans chopped green chilis
1 1/2 - 2 cups chicken broth

Stick everything in the pot.
When chicken is tender, it's done. Adjust liquid to taste.
To serve, stir in some hot pepper sauce, to taste, if desired.
Add 1 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese; garnish with parsley.

The crockpot I had at home had an "auto-shift" feature, so it would cook on high until things reached temperature, then kick down to low until you turned it off. I think this one is just "low" and "high" but it's not like we're going anywhere, so I should be able to handle that change.

And while the chili is cooking, I have some good reading material. For those of you who suggested a 'vacation' after Monday's post, this will be it.

What are your favorite "stuck in the house" pastimes?


Mason Canyon said...

Congratulations to your parents. That is wonderful, hope they make it for another 65 too. The recipe sounds yummy. Anything cooked in a crockpot is always helpful.

Terry Odell said...

Thanks, Mason. I'm going to have my coffee and then get the crock going.

Debra St. John said...

Congrats to your parents. My in-laws celebrated 50 years this past November...I'd bet good money they'll make it to 65!

My favorite "stuck-in-the-house" past time is either curling up with the hubby to watch a movie (Bond, James Bond anyone?) or curled up by myself reading a book.

Nicole said...

I can vouch for the deliciousness of Mom's white chili! and I'm glad you can be stuck at home, because I'm "stuck at work!" Roads weren't too bad this morning (though you might think otherwise being new to these parts) ;-) But the drive home last night around 7:30pm from downtown COS was miserable!

Terry Odell said...

Debra - curling up is good.
Nicole - thanks; means a lot since you were always the picky eater. We watched the snow come down. Our bed wasn't delivered.

Jess said...

Yes, a very good recipe. Stuck in the house...well, reading. And recently making cupcakes. This afternoon's experiment is going to be lemon-poppyseed with a lemon filling and lemon buttercream frosting. Good thing I like lemon (and have plenty of people around who will eat cupcakes).

Terry Odell said...

Jess - you'll be put to work when you get out here for a visit, although I think there will be high-altitude adaptations required.

jenny andersen said...

Sixty five years. Wow! One of the problems of getting married late in life is that there's little hope of that. So we just have to make each day count.

And the chili sounds really good...we'll be making a day count with that as dinner here soon. :=) Thanks, Terry.

Terry Odell said...

Jenny - my parents were quite young when they married (which was normal back then). Hubby and I celebrated our 40th last August. We were only 'moderately' young. We MIGHT make it to 65. Right now, with all the moving stress, we're hoping to last until 41.

Carol Kilgore said...

Congratulations to your parents! That chili recipe sounds wonderful. I printed it to keep. Thanks.

Jess said...

As long as you have your Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, I'll make cupcakes and stuff. But my version might be different. :) As long as I don't have to make my own birthday cake!

Ray said...

Congratulations to your parents.

I love crock pot foods. We haven't done it yet, but my wife wants to cook potatoes in their jackets in ours. It is supposed to taste like baked potatoes. I love soups, stews and dumplings slow cooked.

Your chile looks like something I would love to see.


Terry Odell said...

Jess, as long as my cookbooks weren't in the 3 boxes that got damaged in the mail, I'll have it.

Ray - good to see you here again! Given that this rental has no oven, I'll be doing a lot more crock pot cookery.

Terry Odell said...

Carol - I think you'll enjoy the recipe. Feel free to share.

Alan Orloff said...

Congrats to your parents!

I love my crock-pot and I sense a batch of your white chili is in its (and my) future!

Terry Odell said...

Alan - Enjoy!

Terry Stonecrop said...

Congratulations to your parents!

This post was timely in that I've been iffy on a character for my mystery, who would be a regular. But he would be someone my MC could bounce things off of. So...Thank you.

That chili looks great! Bundle up.

Terry Odell said...

Terry - glad the timing was right for you and the apartment smells delicious! Can't wait for dinnertime.

Tiffany Green said...

Terry, wish you parents happy anniversary for me! 65 years is incredible.

Terry Odell said...

Tiffany, I will. We all pitched in and had a town car pick them up and take them to a nice restaurant with a special menu. They said they really enjoyed it. And they appreciate all the good wishes.