Not Self-Isolating ~ just the normal writer’s day

cakeI spent the morning cross-promoting for other writers who will in turn cross-promote for me. As often happens, I wanted to get away from my laptop and decided to bake.

I’m not a master baker. I bake very simple things and the Wonder One Bowl Vanilla Cake is one of them. I thought, I’ve got a canister full of flour, and one full of sugar, as well as all the necessary baking ingredients. With people hoarding food, why not bake a breakfast cake to enjoy for the next few days.

While the cake was baking, I started reading Harry Wegley’s RIVEN which I will review as soon as I complete it. Another thing that’s normal for me to do at home I wouldn’t characterize as “self-isolating.”

I’ll spend the afternoon rough-drafting the next chapter of my work in progress, LAST DAYS, a detective novel, not an apocalyptic story. Again, not self-isolating, although I’m home alone. Tonight I’ll watch some TV and probably read some more of Harry novel, which is a lot more apocalyptic than LAST DAYS, would ever be thought to be.

I usually have to bake a cake a few times to be sure of it before I post the recipe. I’m sure of the Wonder One Bowl Vanilla Cake. I made the variation with chopped pecans and swirled in brown sugar. I didn’t ice it for myself, though I would’ve glazed it if I had company coming. They’re not coming. They’re all self-isolating.

Wonder One Bowl Vanilla Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1.25 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup 2% milk
  • ¼ cup sour cream or light sour cream
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. spray well with pan spray, an 8″ square or round pan. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  • Add egg, 2% milk, sour cream, and oil. Whisk together. Add hot water and whisk well until the batter is smooth. It will be runny but that’s okay.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan. Tap the pan gently against the counter to release any air bubbles. Now is when you can add chocolate chips on top, stir in chocolate or caramel syrup, stir in teaspoons of brown sugar and chopped pecans, or anything else that’s not too heavy.
  • Bake cake for 25 to 28 minutes or until golden on top and a toothpick inserted in a few places comes out clean.

You can ice with any frosting you like, drizzle a glaze, or dust with powdered sugar. You can also eat it without icing, especially if you’ve stirred in a lot of goodies.

My Summer Writing Getaway ~ with a friend

This is the second summer local Florida Christian romantic-suspense writer Dalyn Woods and I have embarked on a writer’s retreat for two. We usually don’t go far. The idea is not to spend hours in the car driving to a resort, but to get someplace relatively quickly and so we can write. We also have to find pet-friendly lodging because I travel with Sophie the Wonder Dog who is twelve and 90 percent blind with cataracts. She is dependent upon me and has to go with me. Thankfully, she’s a really good sidekick on the road.

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Dalyn Woods working on her manuscript

This year Dalyn and I spent the week in Titusville where we went to church with Florida Christian fiction writer Fay Lamb, and then went out for brunch at Dixie Crossroads with her husband Marc and her neighbor Annie. Dixie Crossroads is most often rated as the number one restaurant Titusville and it’s got fantastic seafood. Fay also directed us to the Sunrise Bread Company in downtown Titusville. This is a local bakery and coffee shop with free WiFi and comfortable sofas and chairs that are ideal for several hours of writing. We met Fay there one afternoon and spent another afternoon there with our laptops.

Our first night in town it rained, so we decided to eat close to our lodging at a place called The Irish Pub and Eatery. It’s a tiny place that was filled nearly to the max with locals who obviously knew the staff and the menu. Only two seats were left, but all we needed was two. We had the shepherd’s pie which was delish and perfect for a rainy day. They have a deck which would double the seating in good weather. Our last day there, we ate at Mainstreet Philly Cheesesteak which is owned by Annie’s son-n-law. Annie is the neighbor of Fay and Marc Lamb’s who we had brunch with on Sunday after church. Dalyn and I do recommend the sandwiches. Titusville might not be thought of as a destination, but you might rethink that. It has reasonably priced hotels and motels, a good selection of restaurants, is on the Indian River (which lets out on the Atlantic) and has beaches. Two museums to visit are the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum and the American Police Hall of Fame Museum. On it’s western border is St. John’s National Wildlife Refuge. It’s a short drive to Cape Canaveral and Cocoa Beach.

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Dalyn and I also took a side trip to CoCoa Beach and had lunch on the pier in Pelican’s, a restaurant that my husband Joseph and I had lunch in several years ago. The restaurant sits in the middle of a long pier, and this is the view of the end of the pier. There are several shops on the pier. I bought a coffee mug and a pair of starfish earrings in one of the shops.

I’m looking forward to next summer’s little writer’s retreat. Maybe we’ll go to the westcoast of Florida or to one of Georgia’s islands. The there’s this little place in Florida that has houseboats for the week. That catches my imagination.

The Last Night of My Own Personal & Private Writer’s Retreat in the Wilds of PA

IMG_1183I went to the lake to say goodbye, as this is the last night of my personal and private writer’s retreat in the wilds of north-west Pennsylvania.

 

It’s been grand. I did a complete read through of my work-in-progress, DEADLY DESIGNS. And I wrote three new chapters. I also got a lot of pool time in. Walking is HUGE here and I did quite a bit of that too.IMG_1185

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My daughter Alyssa got a shot of me in the pool.

 

Tomorrow we drive home. I’ll miss this time and this place.