February 26, 2018

Souper Blog Hop / Monthly Mishmash

Thank you to everyone participating in the Souper Blog Hop. If you're visiting, I hope you enjoy the recipes we share. Don't forget to check out my mom's picture book Pea Soup Disaster!

When I was little, I loved soup. I even would say it was my favorite thing to eat. And, yes, I did what Gregory does in Pea Soup Disaster and brought a thermos of soup to school for lunch. And...yes again...split pea soup was my favorite, followed by tomato soup.

I was about ten years old when I made soup from scratch for the first time. My mom would peel the potatoes and cut the onions for me, but I diced the potatoes and other vegetables by myself. I'd add carrots, celery, and diced tomatoes at the end. And I'd season it with way too many spices. My favorites were basil, celery seed, celery salt, onion powder, and garlic salt. So, my soup would be quite salty and a bit spicy, but I was very proud of it.

As a teen, my friends would beg me to make chicken Ramen Noodle because they claimed I made it so well. Once again, I'd add far too much seasoning. Yup, celery seed, garlic salt, and basil. Oddly enough, they loved it.

The recipe I'm sharing today does not involve celery seed or Ramen Noodle, though. Thank goodness!

Easy Pea Soup with Tomatoes

1 cup small, diced potato (peeled)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 large tomato, chopped
1 can chicken broth
1 can Campbell's Condensed Green Pea Soup
1/4 teaspoon dried sage
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Mix 1 can Campbell's Condensed Green Pea Soup with 1 can of chicken broth.

2. Add potato, onion, and tomato.

3. Add dried sage and salt and pepper to taste.

4. Cover and simmer until potatoes are tender.

5. Fill up a bowl and enjoy!

And now, a round of applause for my mom's picture book...PEA SOUP DISASTER!

BLURB: Gregory Green loves his mom’s pea soup, but when he eats it at school, all of his friends make fun of how it looks. He doesn’t think it looks like bugs, and it tastes good! Then at recess, his friends run from him, screaming, “He’s a monster!” Gregory doesn’t know why his friends are being mean until he sees his skin is green. The teasing gets worse until an unlikely friend comes to the rescue—his teddy bear, Sammy. Sammy usually only comes to life for Gregory and his family, but Sammy has an important lesson to teach Gregory and his classmates.


Elaine Kaye got the idea for Pea Soup Disaster from her son who loved to eat her homemade pea soup. Pea Soup Disaster is the first of many fun stories featuring Gregory Green and his teddy bear, Sammy, as part of the Gregory Green Adventure series.

Kaye has worked as a library assistant and teacher's assistant in elementary schools in the Sunshine State. She currently lives in Florida, but she has called Michigan; Honolulu, Hawaii; and Okinawa, Japan home. She is a grandmother of three boys.

Find Elaine:
Website / Instagram / Litsy - @ElaineKaye
Goodreads / Amazon

Visit the other Souper Blog Hop participants:


New Family Member - The last time I had a betta fish was about 9 years ago. He was named Poseiden after the Greek god of the sea. I've wanted another betta fish for awhile and finally got one. Meet Neptune! He's named after the Roman god of the sea. ;)

New Tattoo - I got this tattoo in honor of my paternal grandmother who died from ovarian cancer when I was one. This symbol is from her necklace. I wanted to start wearing it every day, but the first day I did, it got stuck on something and broke in three places. I put it back together but decided it would be safer not to wear it. Years ago, though, I had thought this symbol would make a cute tattoo, so that's what I did.

QUESTIONS: Whats your favorite soup? Do you have or did you ever have a betta fish? Do you have tattoos?

February 19, 2018

Organization Tip - Writing Goals #AuthorToolBoxBlogHop


At the start of each year, and sometimes each month, we create goals for our writing and publishing. A couple of my goals for the year are to set up a blog tour for Write with Fey: 10 Sparks to Guide You from Idea to Publication and submit the final book of the Disaster Crimes series to my publisher. These are some pretty big goals.

I often tell writers to take their big goals and break them down into smaller, more manageable goals.

For my blog tours, I figure out all the steps I need to do to make sure the tour goes off without a hitch, such as writing out guest posts, finding tour stops, and emailing the hosts. Part of figuring out those steps is knowing when I need to complete them, so I don’t have to rush last minute. For more information see this post: Organization Tip: Release Day.

For submitting the final book of my series, I first need to write it. Haha!

Writing and submitting a book to your publisher/editor in a year could be a daunting goal if you don’t break it down.

Here is a break-down of goals if you need to write and submit a book this year:

1.    Write a chapter a week. 

For a book with 25 chapters, writing a chapter a week would have you finishing it in about 6 months. If you're able to write more some weeks, you'll finish sooner! 

Thinking about writing one chapter a week is a lot less daunting than telling yourself you need to finish your book in X amount of time. Remember, managable goals. Goals that won't stress you out!

TIP: Plotting out the story helps, even a little plotting if you’re a pantser. The key is to always know what you need to write next. So plot out a chapter at a time. You can Do this before the start of each new week.

2.    With a weekly goal, you can devise a daily goal, such as to meet a specific word count. Chapter lengths vary. They can be long (20 pages) or short (5 pages). They can even be longer or shorter depending on the story.

No cheating by having a bunch of tiny chapters, though. Something needs to happen in that chapter. Check out Dan Brown. He's a pro at exciting, short chapters.

What your daily goal is will depend on you and any time constraints you have. I aim for 1,000 – 2,000 words a day. It changes, though, as it should. Some days I write more, some days I write less. Both are fantastic. Any words written should be celebrated.

3.    The above goals will help you write a book, but if your goal is to submit it, you need to do more, such as revising. Again, this will depend on your story and when you feel your story is ready. I typically revise for a couple of months. Some writers take longer. Try to anticipate how long you'll need to revise it before beta readers.

4.    Using beta readers or critique partners should also be a stepping-stone to your goal. Allow them a month to give you their notes.

5.    Are you self-publishing? Then your next goal will be to hire a freelance editor.

6.    If you're aiming to traditionally publish, once you implement necessary changes based on what your critique partners and/or editor said, create the query letter and synopsis.

7.    With your manuscript, query, and synopsis ready, your next step is to find agents/publishers. I like to use Writer’s Market, Manuscript Wish List, and Writer’s Digest.

8.    Now, submit away! Follow all guidelines and cross your fingers.

Whatever your goal is, no matter how big, chip away at it until it’s a bunch of tiny goals.

What can you do each month to reach that goal?

What can you do weekly?

And what can you do daily?

February 16, 2018

Minder by Sandra Cox + Word Search


Thank you so much for the opportunity to visit on your blog today and interact with your lovely followers and fellow bloggers, Chrys. I’m so excited to be here.

I don’t work a lot of crossword puzzles but I love word search puzzles. But whether it’s doing a crossword puzzle, a word search or writing a book, it’s all finding the right word. It’s about wordsmithing. I’m hoping everyone out there enjoys word search puzzles as much as I do because, just for grins and giggles, I developed one for MINDER. Anyone that wants to play please feel free to download it. If you find all the words and want to give a shout out just leave a comment that says ‘I did it.’

Now for a little bit about Minder.

MINDER a YA/NA Paranormal Romance with light elements of horror


On the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Aurora Valente goes through disturbing changes. She purrs and craves raw meat. Most alarming of all, she’s taken to chasing wildlife. 

Her aunt gives her a beautiful, antique choker and tells her a story about a shape-shifting
Minder princess and the beast that hunts the Minder’s descendants. To Aurora it’s only a story...till later that night when her world takes a turn into terror.

Available at Amazon


A movement along the edge of the cliff caught my attention. A small rabbit nibbled at a tuft of clover growing between the rocks. I came to attention like a pointer. My nose quivered, my mouth watered. I twitched my butt.

Without thought, I bolted out of the house after the rabbit. My blood raced. I breathed in short, sharp pants. I could hear the creature’s heart pound and smell his warm vibrant flesh.

He took three frightened leaps and disappeared into the forest. I skidded to a stop, trembling so hard my teeth rattled. What’s wrong with me? I wanted to take a bite out of a poor, defenseless little bunny.  I pursed my lips and screwed up my face. Gross didn’t begin to cover it.  

This is way past PMSing.  Tears welled up and spilled down my cheeks.  

I turn eighteen tomorrow. Surely, there’s no connection.

A sharp wind blew off the water. My eyes closed. I stood perfectly still, except for shudders that racked my achy body as fear and revulsion washed over me like the loud pounding waves below.

Multi-published author Sandra Cox writes YA fantasy, and suspense and historical romance. She lives with her husband, a menagerie of pets, and an occasional foster cat in sunny North Carolina. You can visit Sandra at:

Thanks for the fun word search, Sandra!

Please leave a comment for Sandra. :)

February 07, 2018

Submission Process Anxiety + Souper Blog Hop

Submitting a query letter can bring a lot of anxiety. Submitting a partial or full manuscript can be down-right scary. Let’s take the fear and worry out of the submission process. Take the stress out of it, for one. Writers rarely get an acceptance with their first submission.

Put the fun into the submission process, instead. You may have to convince yourself that you’re doing it for fun, and that the outcome won’t matter to you. (Even if it does later.) I did this for a project that I did write for fun, which is another thing you may have to do…when you write, think of writing as something you’re doing for yourself, for fun, not for publication. That will definitely make writing easier.

Then when you submit to an agent/editor/publisher, treat yourself. Dogs get treats for performing tricks, so why not people?

You’ve been a good little writer. Yes, you have. You submitted a query. Here’s a treat for my good little writer. *tosses a cookie*

Treat yourself to a piece of chocolate. But don’t cheat and submit to ten agents in one hour to get ten treats. No, that counts as one chocolate. Well, maybe one chocolate bar. We’re not trying to be gluttons, here. We’re trying to show ourselves that we are proud, happy. And we should be!

You can treat yourself to a day out. Visit a public garden, go on a nature walk, take an archery lesson. Do something to take the edge off the big step you took.

Remember, make the writing and submission process fun. Rewire your brain and treat yourself.

The next Spark post for IWSG will be about rejections.

QUESTION: How do you deal with the submission process? 


No, this is not a blog hop for me. It's a blog hop for my mom. I'm just hosting it. :) My mom is publishing a children's book that means a lot to her, and she could use your help to get the word out, which is why I've created this fun blog hop.

So...Now my insecurity is I won't get any sign-ups for this. Eek!


Prompt: Share your favorite soup recipe.
Tell us about a soup you love. Even if your favorite soup is from a can, that works! Take a picture of it (the can or the soup in a bowl) for your post. Easy peasy.

When: February 26th
Where: Your Blog

**Every post will have the blurb, cover art, and links to Pea Soup Disaster.**
**I'll email participants the info a week before the hop begins.**

Sign Up: