Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Petit Fours and Hot Tamales – Satisfy Your Literary Cravings

Welcome to Petit Fours and Hot Tamales, a blog created by a group of writers and readers who live along the East Coast, from Georgia to Maryland. Our new blog serves a selection of writing and reading styles to satisfy any palette, from sweet inspiration to hot and spicy and everything in between. We offer an eclectic mix of genres, ranging from historical romance and romantic suspense to young adult and women’s fiction.

We’re a group of friends who got together to share a bit of the writing knowledge we have learned over the years on the path to publication as well as our opinions on a slice of life.

What’s on our weekly menu of topics?

Monday is Media Bits, anything from discussions about books, TV, movies or a range of media.

Tuesday is Freshwater Pearls, where you can dive into romance and glean some pearls of wisdom about how we write and other advice on the craft.

Wednesday is Hot Topics, where anything goes. We blog about a m̩lange of topics Рa mixture that covers front page news or anything that catches our fancy, and hopefully yours.

Thursday is A Taste of Romance, where you can sample snippets of our works in progress.

Friday is Just Desserts, where we share good news and give away gifts to reward our loyal readers.

We look forward to your comments.

The Women of Petit Fours and Hot Tamales

Susan's Goals 2009

I like the sound of goals verse resolutions. Resolutions imply that I'm bad and need to change while goals say that I can achieve something. I like a positive spin because then I'm more likely to accomplish what I'm going after. This year my goals are:

1. To set achievable goals. In the past I've set mine so high that I couldn't reach them. I want some high enough I have to work hard for them but some low enough to feel good about myself by reaching them, at least part of the time.

2. I will finish 2 new books this year. One fiction and one nonfiction.

3. I will see "Nick's New Heart" on the shelf at the Library of Congress

4. I will lose weight not because I want to be a model but because I want to wear the cloths I already own, and most importantly because I want to live a long time.

5. I will give the gift of life this year. More on that later.

6. I will send out 3 book proposals - at least one to an e-publisher-I must think into the future. I want to be on the front end of the curve, not the back for once in my life.

7. I will win at least one contest.

8. I will help at least one new author to improve their own writing and encourage them.

9. I will read a least 3 books out of my genre.

10. I will speak kinder to my 4 early 20's children--still living with me.

11. I will have at least 1 new book contact.

See what I mean by over setting my goals. But without goals we go nowhere, nor do we see where we've been.

Happy New Year All,


Tammy's 2009 Goals

Generally speaking, I am not too fond of New Year’s resolutions. Goals are set too high because of the excitement about starting fresh. At the end of the year, many of us look back and reflect on unrealized aspirations, which create feelings of disappointment and, in some cases, feelings of self-loathing. Not a good way to end a year.

This year I am trying something new. I am going to follow my own advice and set SMART goals to avoid the disappointment. I wrote an article about it once that you are all welcome to read. It’s on the Craft of Writing Page of my Web site:

So here we go, my SMART goals for 2009 are as follows:


  • Lose the 20 lbs I put on in 2008
  • Obtain my blue belt in karate and get on the black belt track
  • Handle graduate school successfully like I did in 2008. Basically, this means getting A/B grades and building my portfolio.


  • Maintain the tech tip column I write for The Galley, a Georgia Romance Writer publication. (The tips are all on my Web site, too.)
  • Create more content for my Web site
  • Update my Web site at least once a month
  • Fulfill my obligations to this blog
  • Write two pages of fresh material each day, five days a week (10 pages a week)
  • Western historical romances:
    -- Revise/Edit/Submit Hired Dove (short story)
    -- Write the first draft of Savage Trust
    -- Revise/Edit Savage Trust
    -- Write the first draft of Dante’s Proposal (short story)
    -- Revise/Edit/Submit Dante’s Proposal

Cynthia’s Goals

Let me preface this by saying how much I dislike New Year resolutions. Too often, we set our goals too high and wind up feeling like @#$% when we fail. That said, I sat down, thought a while, wrote several drafts and came up with what I felt were goals that I could have a reasonable chance of achieving in 2009.

Writing Goals:

1. Write--even when I'd rather dive back under the covers and snooze on my days off. And even when I'm whining that I'm "too tired".

2. Stay off the rabbit trails. I need to learn to acknowledge the plot bunnies when they entice me to play and then ignore them until my current WIP is finished.

3. I need to avoid energy vampires and time succubi. It's very easy for me to get distracted by some prolonged tale of woe or cute videos on U-Tube.

4. I need to send requested proposals out in a timely fashion. This neatly ties into Personal Goals #1 and 2:

Personal Goals:

1. Be brave. In writing several drafts of this post, I've realized I have a lot of fear inside me. Fear of rejection, fear of criticism...blah, blah. It's time for me to "man up".

2. Be a better correspondent. I tend to avoid the Post Office like other people avoid the dentist and the "send" button makes my hands sweat.

3. I need to eat my vegetables. They just don't taste as good as freshly baked bread or Godiva chocolate.

4. Learn to conquer my fear of creepy-crawlies and monkeys. Remember that scene in Under The Tuscan Sun where a scorpion falls down the front of Frances's shirt? That is so ME. And monkeys are just creepy.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hi Ladies,
I enjoyed reading Nicki and Tami's goals. I think I fit somewhere in the middle of these two. I set goals and I usually accomplish them, although on occasion, I fly by the seat of my pants and take off down a rabbit trail for a while.
For instance, I write Romantic Suspense, but one day I got an idea for a "sweet" romance and spent the next few days pounding out the first few chapters. Half-way through the fourth chapter I stopped to write the synopsis and cover letter and shipped it off to Avalon Books in N.Y. That's the one that recently sold! (go figure)

Anyway, my writing goals for 2009 are:
* Finish the re-edit of the manuscript, Memories Are The Last Dance, following it's recent, unsuccessful, submission to the Maggies, and send it to the editor who requested the full manuscript at the "pitch".
* Find an agent
* Complete the editing on the first of a Romantic Suspense trilogy, all completed, and send it off to several agents. (Watch For the Dawn, Facing the Dawn and After the Dawn)
* If I don't have an agent by March 1st, I'll send the first book out to several publishing houses.
* Keep my website updated and be an active participant in this blog.
* Keep my critique partner VERY busy.
* Help my fellow writers in any way I can.

My personal life goals are:
* To lose 70 pounds
I've already started a live-it eating plan, versus a die-it, and in 1 1/2 weeks I've lost 6 pounds...all without exercising. Yes, yes, I know I need to exercise, so that's the second goal.
* To exercise min. of 3 times per week at the gym, plus do an exercise dance video on at least 2 other days each week.
* To be the best wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, teacher (I teach a ladies' Bible study at church), critique partner, GRW member and last, but not least, Writer, that I can.

That's about it...well, except for the unplanned rabbit trails that I know will be in my future. But, like Alice In Wonderland, some rabbit trails turn out to be fun.

Happy New Year!

It's almost 2009! Yikes!

I'm not very good at keeping New Year's resolutions, though I always make a few every year.

One year I tried reverse psychology, and my goals sounded like: Don't finish projects, don't be organized, and eat a lot more chocolate. It didn't work, but at least I could say I kept my resolutions that year, especially that last one.

One set of resolutions I do try to keep is my writing goals for the year. I keep them fluid, but I definitely make a specific list at the beginning of each year. So here's what I've got for the coming year:

Linsey's writing goals for 2009

  • Market my single title (Miranda's Rights, first of a five-book romantic suspense mystery series), by sending queries or partials to at least 5 editors.
  • Work on my website.
  • Enter more contests.
  • Write the synopsis for Book III in the Miranda's Rights series.
  • Write the synopsis for a new romantic police procedural, working title is Chicago Cop.
  • Write the synopsis for a new romantic thriller, working title is Leap of Death.
  • Pick one of the three synopses, research the book and write the rough draft.

Okay. I'm already exhausted, and it's only December 30! What will everyone else be up to in 2009? Whatever it is, I hope your dreams come true!

Linsey Lanier

Tami's Goals

I'm the opposite of Nicki. I have to make it a big production if I'm going to be able to accomplish something. I NEED a certain *date* that is all important and looming out there for me to either start or finish a goal. Sounds silly, but it works for me... So, goal setting is kind of a big thing in my life. It's my big push to get something accomplished.

I do have big plans for 2009. Most of my 2008 goals got put on hold so they've been revamped and will be the kick off for my 2009 list. I also re-evaluated what I have going on this year (school, GRW stuff and the new job - those things I know of anyway) and have adjusted my hopes and dreams to coordinate with those distractions as best I can.

Personal Goals

  • I'm going to follow Nicki's lead here and go with the weight loss thing. Maybe we can encourage each other. I know I certainly need the extra push from someone working towards the same end result... What do you say, Nicki? Anyone else have the same idea???
  • Try to stay organized. This is extremely tough with school, work and family. But I WILL DO THIS!!!
  • Spend more time with my family. Okay, this means putting down the book I might be reading at that moment or shutting down the computer and actually watching the television show they are watching. I know this is going to take away from my other life (the writing one), but I have to find a working balance...

Writing Goals

  • Keep my website updated.
  • Keep my bog updated.
  • Finish the rewrites on my current book (and get it to Ana).
  • Get going on my YA story.
  • Complete my current Blaze WIP.

That's me. Not as ambitious as last year, but maybe I can actually complete some of them in 2009. How about all of you???

Tami Brothers

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Don’t wait for January 1

by Nicki Salcedo

(Left: Me at cluttered computer trying to conquer the world!)

I don’t like New Year’s Resolutions. If I’m going to be successful at something (writing, weight loss, cleaning), I have to start it immediately. I can’t wait for a Monday or the first of the month or the beginning of the year. I hope all of my friends are able to start new habits today or when the mood strikes them. I do have big plans for 2009, but I’ve already jumped the gun and gotten a head start on the New Year!

Personal Goals

  • Lose the dreaded final 30 pounds (that’s about 15 kilos, give or take). Run, yoga, weights, chase monsters, consider putting sex into my exercise routine (burned calories are burned calories)
  • Redefine my image. I am going to become a grown up if it kills me. I’ve bought dresses, heeled shoes (who invented these things, they are horrible), and other girly things. Already miss my old soccer shorts and sneakers!
  • Keep the clutter out of my house. Dirt is a big distraction for me. I don’t like to write when my house is dirty and my house always seems to be dirty. My dream is to have only beds, 10 pieces of clothing, and a gallon of milk in my house. Distractions, dirt, and clutter, be gone!
  • Update my personal website (I really don't want to do this or anything that takes away from my writing time. Maybe I will put my site on hiatus for 2009...)
  • Focus on my writing

Writing Goals

  • Focus on my writing
  • Enjoy my participation in PFaHT!
  • Book 1. Revise single title and submit
  • Book 2. Complete series romance; submit to GRW workshop and Maggies
  • Book 3. Complete women’s fiction and start revisions
  • Book 4. Revise other women's fiction, per Maggie comments and submit

I also plan to save the world.

I look forward to reading more from everyone in the coming year.
Try to reflect on all the wonderful things you accomplished in 2008. Happy 2009 and Happy Writing!