Writer’s Life

The Quest for Burger Buns

Let me start by saying my buns didn't look like this on the inside. I was headed to one of my favorite burger places in Raleigh, Burger-Fi. But I knew I couldn't have a traditional bun and was facing lettuce as a substitute. Now I don't know who thinks that lettuce could ever replace a bun on a burger. Nope. Facing burger hell I tried to create a GF bun to take to the restaurant. I found what looked to be a decent recipe. Photo looks good right? Since I don't want to use Xanthan or Guar, which are both bad for you, I found a cool GF product by Pamela's called Not Xanthan Not Guar (NXNG). It's made of potato starch and psyllium husk. It's also low in carbs. I didn't pay attention to the label and did a 1 for 1 sub. I should have reduced the NXNG. The recipe seemed to wet, but I continued on [...]

By |2019-03-29T16:18:14-04:00March 29th, 2019|Recipes, Writer's Life|0 Comments

Fake Fries

This author's Gluten-Free quest continued this weekend, but I wasn't on the computer. One of the recipes I downloaded last week was for something called Panisse. They are what I call fake fries and are super popular in Provence, France and Italy. Panisses are made with chickpea flour, water, salt, and oil. The batter reminds me of polenta and the process like making eclairs. You chill the batter and then dump it our which then makes it look like tofu. I know, I've sold you on these already, right? Stay with me, they were freaking amazing and gluten free. This is the recipe I used. I dusted mine with salt. You can try a sweet version by dusting with  sugar, cinnamon, and or cocoa powder. If making a sweet version, I would add a teaspoon of sugar to the batter and use grape seed or coconut instead of olive. Panisses 1 cup chickpea flour ½ tsp fine sea salt 2 cups water (divided) 2 tsp olive oil (plus more [...]

By |2019-03-25T12:34:25-04:00March 25th, 2019|Recipes, Writer's Life|0 Comments

A New Food Journey

For the last four weeks I've been Gluten-Free (GF). Why? I have a problem called EOE and certain foods get stuck in my esophagus. So the allergist and other doctors suggested I try gluten free to see if I have a sensitivity. I have no food allergies so it's not Celiac. It's been really tough for this foodie since, well, it's kinda my job. Did I mention my favorite food groups are bread, pasta, and baked goods? I made a rookie mistake in the beginning and went out and bought all kinds of gluten free products. Little did I know these carry some massive carbohydrates! They promptly went back to the store. I know people with Celiac have to use these, but I have another dilemma. My husband is a lung cancer survivor and I have no desire to change our low glycemic load diet. For those who don't know, cancer loves sugar so our goal is to keep [...]

By |2019-03-25T12:41:03-04:00March 22nd, 2019|Recipes, Writer's Life|2 Comments


Winning awards for your books is an extra special moment and hearing your name or book title called is exciting. You feel recognition for something you spent so much time researching and writing. This past weekend I attended the Will Rogers Medallion Award ceremony in Fort Worth, Texas where two of my books were up for awards. The Golden Elixir of the West won the bronze medal in the non-fiction category and my Tinsel, Tumbleweeds, and Star-Spangled Celebrations took a gold in the cookbook category. Needless to say I was and still and thrilled. My fingers are crossed for Golden Elixir because it's also entered in four other book awards, including the coveted James Beard Award. For now, I'll just bask in the glow of my medallions, and oh yeah, write more books. As a bonus I discovered a new brand of some tasty whiskey. It's called TX Whiskey made by Firestone & Robertson Distilling. It's smooth with a [...]

By |2018-10-31T12:07:43-04:00October 31st, 2018|Writer's Life|0 Comments

Traveling the West

The past couple of months I have been traveling the West. I've been to Montana where I visited the most moving western site I've seen to date: the Battle of the Little Bighorn battlefield. Then I traveled with the Most Intrepid Western Author Posse to Virginia City and Carson City, Nevada. Then we headed to the most riveting ghost town I've every been to: Bodie, California. Its residents just left after the depression and the photos speak for themselves.    Most recently I've returned from Arizona. We started in Carefree, went up to the Grand Canyon and then headed back down to Tombstone. We passed Williams, Sedona, Laveen and spent the last night in Tucson. I ate in the magical historic setting at El Tovar's dining room and spent the night in the secret hideaway known as the Lodge in the Desert in Tucson. Those two meals were the highlight of the trip!   

By |2018-09-20T17:44:01-04:00September 20th, 2018|Travel, Writer's Life|0 Comments

Traveling and Talking

The past month has found me traveling and talking about my fav subjects! History, food, spirits, and places. I was invited to speak at the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis. When I was first asked, I thought, yippee, Indy. Never been there and had to clue what to expect. Boy was I pleasantly surprised! Nice people, great city, and cool history. The JW Marriott was outstanding. Every hotel should be run like this one. Everyone was pleasant and customer-oriented from the moment I checked in to the moment I checked out. Behind the hotel I found walkways, canals, and a beautiful river to stroll around. Then I dined at St. Elmo's, which is a historical landmark. I had and old-fashioned in their 1933 lounge. St. Elmo's serves a legendary shrimp cocktail and original 1905 Navy bean soup. The service was outstanding and dining in this historical restaurant was pretty cool. Their steak was delicious, but this is a special occasion [...]

By |2018-06-15T06:10:16-04:00June 15th, 2018|Travel, Writer's Life|0 Comments

Ethel is Dead for this Author

I finally finished the first pass at Love, Lies, and Loss Across Two Continents. Ethel is dead since that pretty much ends her story. Yes I know it happened in 1938, but I've taken her from birth to death, so it kind of feels new to me. It's a weird author thing... This is a photo of Ethel and her second husband Claude Barry. Now I'm going back to work on the narrative and add some fun contextual information. This weekend I head to wild, wonderful West Virginia for their annual writers conference. I'm doing a panel of food and beverages and another on research. Since I've been knee-deep in that for Ethel I should sail through that one. I also give the keynote speech on Saturday morning.

By |2018-06-01T11:17:05-04:00June 1st, 2018|Writer's Life|0 Comments

Island Vibes

I have to say that I worked pretty hard before we left for the Turks and Caicos, but once we landed I could feel the island vibes. Gorgeous turquoise waters, white sands, warm breezes, and rum punches were waiting! It was wonderful being back at Grace Bay on Providenciales (everyone calls it Provo for short).  I learned some fun island lingo from Turks Head Brewery and my fav is "I Ain Ga Lie." At first I didn't get it, "Iangalie? A person's name?" Nope--think island life, "I Ain't Gonna Lie!"   Needless to say that became one of the theme slogans for the week. I even titled my Trip Advisor review that. So, the picture here is of the lager beer and grouper fish and chips and Mudjin Harbor on Middle Caicos. On a side note, I need to write a few best-sellers so I can buy Prince's villa on Provo. It went up for sale while we were there... [...]

By |2018-05-10T17:24:06-04:00May 10th, 2018|Writer's Life|0 Comments

Writing Interuptus

It seems that no matter how hard I try to get back to writing I get interrupted. First, the battle of the flu. I seem to get better then I go back--mostly just tire easily. This week is better, but am still sluggish. Next up came the travel plans. I'm a pretty savvy travel planner--almost became a travel agent. However, I spent a week trying to book our trip to the Turks. After a lot of aggravation and searching, it's finally done. We're staying at the Sands at Grace Bay, where we stayed last time. It's not ultra luxurious, but it is great and has an amazing beach. Can't wait to go back. Now, I can focus on my True West magazine column, which is due, oh now. This story is about Hell on Wheels town meals, which is the photo in this blog.

By |2018-03-06T14:36:24-05:00March 6th, 2018|Writer's Life|0 Comments

Vacation Beckons

I'm feeling so much better today after my battle with the flu. With everything that's happened in my life in the last two years--it's time for a much needed vacation with my husband. Let's just say that health issues, work, budget, and deadlines have prevented us from taking a proper leisure vacation. So, now it's time! We spent a fabulous week in the Turks and Caicos two years ago for our anniversary and we want to go back. We stayed on the most beautiful beach at the Sands at Grace Bay. It was amazing. It was so good that we recommended this place to several of our friends who have enjoyed it too. You know those Corona commercials with that white sand and turquoise water that looks fake? Guess what, they could have filmed those there. We met a fun couple from Canada in the water and we've stayed friends ever since. So this would be a reunion and [...]

By |2018-02-27T11:39:17-05:00February 27th, 2018|Writer's Life|0 Comments