Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Recipe: Chili Soup for the Super Bowl

Image courtesy of Paul /

Super Bowl Sunday in the USA this Sunday, February 2. Fans gather together to cheer on their favorite team. Some of us are there to watch the super bowl competition between the creative commercials. Who knew commercials would be the focus? But all of us are actually there for the party and the food! Yes, you are!
Chili seems to be a favorite of most folks, so this recipe for chili soup will be a great crowd-pleaser. Alright I admit this is not HOT chili, but add more chili pepper or whatever pepper/sauces you like to satisfy your heat index.
My sister-in-law, Sandy, gave me this easy recipe many years ago. Cook it up on the stove or keep it hot in a slow cooker.
Enjoy and have a fantastic "Souper" Bowl Sunday!
Image courtesy of photoexplorer /

2 pounds ground beef
2 large onions
1 can stewed tomates (with or without celery)
1 can tomato soup or tomato sauce plus 1 1/2 cans of water
2 cans red kidney beans
1 bottle chili sauce plus 1 bottle of water
1 T. chili powder (or to your taste)
salt and pepper
Brown meat. Add all other ingredients. Simmer 2-4 hours on stove top.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

My Dad's Birthday, Self-publishing with Smashwords

January 26 is my dad's birthday. I always think of him on this day. The weather on or around his birthday was almost always not so nice.( Even in Florida! Yes, don't let the Florida Chamber of Commerce fool you, there are cold days and rainy days during the Florida winter.) He is pictured here with his first grandchild, Staci, who is now a mother of a college-age student.

Time passes so quickly. I lost my dad when I was 28 years old. I didn't think I would ever get through that first year without him. The deep grief that gripped my life that first year has been replaced by good memories and stories about him when the family gets together. He still lives in our hearts.

Dad was an undertaker, yes, a funeral director. He loved people. He didn't care if they had nothing or lived in a mansion. He was always good to every one of the people in our small town. He taught me to treat every person with respect and appreciate the small things in life like the intricate snowflakes or spider webs. He was a brilliant piano player and could play anything by ear, never needing to look at a sheet of music. And he was a night owl. But being in the funeral business he was on-call 24 hours a day and a lot of the calls were in the middle of the dark Illinois nights. 

You can probably understand then when I tell you I am writing my third mystery, and it will take place in a funeral home. Yes, really! Of course the family who runs that funeral home will have the same attention to detail and caring that were so important to my dad. 

I thought it would be easy to write because I know the characters so well.  I don't know if it's because it is my third book or because the subject is so close to me that I'm having a difficult time putting the story together. It's not writer's block, it's just my own tendency to get the words right the first time and this is an especially close-to-my-heart project. Stay tuned!

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I recently updated a previous version of my non-fiction book for girls, Girls Succeed! so I easily uploaded the revised manuscript and new book cover to Amazon and it went live the next day. I dreaded loading it on Smashwords because of my first experience with them. They are picky! LOL..I like that though. If there are problems, they tell you so you can fix them and put up the best e-book you can for your readers. Originally I had to upload my book about 19 times in order for them to allow it to be distributed to all their outlets like Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Sony. So you can understand how I dreaded the possible hassle ahead with uploading the recent files. 

Image on the cover by
After uploading the new file, I checked it in the free e-reader for e-pub formats and found a couple of errors. It's so much easier to find them when you actually see them as an e-book on the Adobe Digital Editions instead of a Word file for some reason. So I quickly fixed those errors and re-submitted. The file was okayed to be put up on the Smashwords site and was fast-tracked to be checked for re-placing the e-book in the Premium Catalog for their distributors. Hallelujah! It was included in the catalog in only four days with no notes about any problems. 

So can you picture me jumping in the air like the happy jumping girl on the new cover of my book? Yes, I was a happy girl too when the e-book passed the muster for the premium catalog! Now I'm ready to get this revised book into the hands of girls to inspire them to dream big.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Spotlight on Chris Weigand's New Release, Sanctuary of the Nine Dragons: Book Three in the Twelve Pillars Series

Please welcome YA fantasy author Christina Weigand to the J.Q. Rose blog today. Christina and I are swapping blogs and you are invited to stop over at Christina's blog, Palace of Twelve Pillars where you can find out the story behind my writing the non-fiction book for girls, Girls Succeed!

Christina, I am so excited to let my readers know about your new book release. Sanctuary of the Nine Dragons: Book Three in your Palace of the Twelve Pillars series will be available from Muse It Up Publishing and online booksellers on February 7. Go to the MIU Publishing site where you can save when you pre-order Christina's book.

Fill us in on this new book. (In fact it is so new, Chris hasn't even revealed the cover yet.)

Back of the Book--Joachim banishes Brandan to prison island of Hyogo. His infant son, Prince Airyn disappears from his cradle. A chain of events is set in motion that will pit brother against brother, friend against friend, parents against children as Brandan and Joachim struggle for control of their sanity and their very lives.
With Brandan declared dead and his son missing Joachim sinks into despair and anger, where those close to him fear he may never return.
Is Brandan really dead and if he is, who is manipulating the Mantion and enemies of Crato?
Can Maeve save her country and her husband from the tentacles of evil pervading the land?
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Check out the first two books in the series below.

 Palace of the Twelve Pillars

Back of the Book--The Peace Summit was in shambles, the prince kidnapped.
When the rival king realizes he kidnapped the wrong prince, hostilities escalate. Loyalties to each other and country are tested for the twin princes of Crato, Joachim and Brandan.
Joachim, captive of King Waldrom, faces deception and betrayal as he struggles to find his way home. Brandan, at home with a father focused on rescuing Joachim, wrestles with his own demons as he searches for his place in the world and the favor of his father.
Torn from the safety and peace of their childhood, they are thrust into a world where bonds of family, brotherhood and roles as heirs to Crato are tested. Through war, spiritual journeys, death and marriage, will they choose the path of good or evil? Who can be trusted, as the world they know slips into a whirlpool of chaos?

Buy Links:

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Palace of the Three Crosses

Back of the Book–Brandan and Joachim have returned from the brink of Hell, but everyone questions if they are truly healed and one with Asha.
As each prince tries to readjust to life, they must face the funeral of their father and their missing mother.
They each take on the responsibility of ruling a country with new wives by their sides, but can they and the countries survive the trials that will ensue because of their choices?

Buy Links:

About Christina
Christina Weigand is a writer, wife, and mother of three grown children and a middle school daughter. She is also Nana to three granddaughters. She lives with her husband and youngest daughter in Pennsyl
vania, returning there after a short sabbatical in Washington. Currently, she’s working on fantasy novels and inspirational writing. Through her writing, she strives to share the Word of God and help people young and old to realize the love and mercy He has for everyone.

When she’s not writing, she’s active in her local Church as a lector, Bible Study, or with the church theater group, volunteering at her daughter’s school helping the children develop a love for reading and writing. Jesus fills her home with love as she shares Him through her writing. 

Connect online with Chris:
Twitter: @CAWeigand

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Join Me at the Rose Parade, Dreams Come True

Dreams Come True was the theme of the 2014 Rose Parade. That theme certainly fit our situation because it was our dream to actually attend the parade one day. Finally, in June, my hubby announced he was ordering the airline tickets to Pasadena, California, and to the Rose Parade! This trip was even better than we had ever imagined. The people, places, and even the weather, was delightful. I only wish I could share all 1000 pictures with you, but, um, no, I won't. Only 900?? LOL!

The Rose Parade celebrated 125 years in 2014. This unique parade did not begin as the elaborate high tech- jaw-dropping extravaganza we now know. Instead this new year tradition began in 1890 by Pasadena's Valley Hunt Club. According to the Rose Parade Guide, "the members wanted to promote the "Mediterranean of the West" so they invited their former East Coast neighbors to watch games such as chariot races, foot races, polo, and tug-of-war under the California sun.

"The abundance of flowers, even in the midst of winter, prompted the club to add another showcase for Pasadena's charm: a parade to precede the competition, where entrants would decorate their carriages with hundreds of blooms".

The tradition of floral be-decked entries into the Tournament of Roses Parade continues, but now on a much larger scale. Flowers and natural materials from all over the world cover every inch of the floats. No paint allowed. Only nature's true colors add the excitement and texture to the elaborate designs.

We visited the float building areas and watched the organized chaos of this huge operation mostly done by volunteers. The tedious process of gluing on each petal or seed, yes tiny seeds, boggled my mind. 

Teen volunteers gluing on flower petals to the opening Rose Parade float. All generations work together to decorate the floats. Kids through senior citizens offer their skills.

These folks are tearing up straw flowers.

The volunteer brushes on glue, then sprinkles the petals in the box all over the gluey section.
Three locations offered views of the decorators in action. I was worried the floats would not be ready by step-off time at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, January 1. When we visited the sites on Monday morning, a lot of the seeds and grasses were glued on, but the delicate flowers had to wait till the last minute to be fresh for the parade judges. So, the volunteers work all day and all night. Such dedication. By the way, the floats were all done in time!

Okay, get ready. The parade is about to begin!

The United States Air Force Thunderbirds zoomed down the parade route thrilling parade viewers.

Opening banner to kick off the parade. This is the float the teens were working on in the picture above. Finished it too!!
A salute to a famous dreamer, Henry Ford. Behind is a rendition of the Spirit of St. Louis honoring dreamer Charles Lindbergh. 

City of Glendale Let's Be Neighbors. The float is based on a real bear who kept coming down into Glendale and raiding the trash cans.

The marauding bear earned the name of Meatball because he always ate the meatballs.
He wouldn't stay in the mountains, so they had to move him to a preserve. 

I wonder if they serve him meatballs there.

So Close, Yet Safari Away

TheK9s4Cops dedicated its float to the heroic K9 law enforcement units across America and to those who serve and protect our communities. This non-profit organization donates highly trained dogs to agencies who otherwise could not afford them.

A salute to the WWII Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) 
For more information go to the Girls Succeed blog 

These cute kitties are riding the RFD-TV float, You Make My Dreams Come True. Can you find the calico on the float below?

RFD-TV float

Gorgeous, elegant float. Of course, it's Beverly Hills. 

Sea World Park's Sea of Surprises

Adorable candy train

These 3 aliens surprised parade viewers by driving out of the space ship and traveling along the parade route. This was a first in parade history!

Wonderful Indonesia--This float got my vote for the most dazzling and exotic float.

Photos never can give the viewer the complete picture of this amazing design.

Monster truck--Had to take a lot of pictures of this monster truck for the grandkids! Made me giggle.

Trader Joes, a grocery store in CA, Relish Your Dreams. It's relish dish with cheeses and olives, etc.
A pickle followed along behind it. So clever.

Butterflies fluttered among the colorful flowers.

The dogs have stolen the dog catcher's truck in this animated float. One of the most humorous floats

Yep, he's running after them. What do you think? Can he catch them??

Have no doubt. Your dreams can come true too.
Thanks for visiting. Do you have a dream that came true? If so, please leave a comment saying yes. If you wish to share the dream with us, please do. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Rose Parade 2014 Thank a Million Teachers Float, Another Great Review for Coda to Murder

We attended the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California on New Year's Day. So many gorgeous floats to view. The theme of the 2014 parade was "Dreams Come True." I thought the Thank a Million Teachers float fit right into the theme because educators work with kids to help make their dreams come true. I bet you can think of one or several teachers in your life who influenced your decisions for your future. 

Schools and home schoolers are back to their studies after the holiday break. All fired up to get back to the books...and recess... (I know my grandsons were ready after an extended vacation due to snow days!) So this float filled with comical wise owls and blog post are
reminders to thank a teacher. They are so important in helping a child to fulfill his/her dreams.

The floats in the rose parade must be completely covered with natural materials, no paint! These colors are directly from nature. 

I'm not sure what materials were used to cover the owls,
but I imagine a lot of grasses, flowers, and seeds
were carefully applied to the zany wise birds.

I discovered this beautifully crafted review for Coda to Murder from Amazon reviewer Kia Heavey. She writes what I would consider a 5 star synopsis of the book and pronounces it a "gentle love story within this murder mystery."

Sweet and inspired romantic suspense storyDecember 27, 2013
Kia Heavey (Connecticut, USA) - See all my reviews

I generally read edgier thrillers but a friend recommended this book, so I gave it a try. It turned out to be a witty, pleasant, and cozy little romantic thriller. Christine Hobbs is the spirited and pretty pastor of the Dayspring Church, where she has become a capable leader and member of the church family. Unfortunately, the normally staid congregation is rocked by the murder of the church music director. An arrogant detective, Cole Stephens, is sent to investigate and he immediately rubs Pastor Hobbs the wrong way. Yet in spite of his abrupt and accusatory manner, Detective Stephens lingers in Christine's thoughts. But the young pastor has been burned before, so trusting this maddening man is a struggle. Cole is equally as attracted to her, but how can he trust someone who is on his short list of murder suspects?

Things get steadily stranger as Christine's good nature leads her to take in a homeless cat, then a pig and a kangaroo whose owners are temporarily unable to care for them. The menagerie lands Pastor Hobbs in an uptight church lady's crosshairs. Then Christine's friend, Lacey, aids her in her amateur sleuthing efforts to clear herself, leading to more than one harrowing situation. Other members of the congregation are introduced and presented as suspects and I can honestly say that I was completely surprised by the final unmasking of the killer, who had me fooled along with everyone else.

I enjoyed the gentle love story within this murder mystery. (Married to a cop myself, I can really appreciate the male love interest.) I also really liked Pastor Hobbs – she is strong, funny, generous, and spiritual. Coda to Murder gave me several pleasant evenings of reading in bed. Nicely done!

Coda to Murder is available at and major online booksellers.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

IWSG Wednesday: Making a Decision

It's the first Wednesday of the month so it must be time for a post from all the folks in the Insecure Writers Support Group. (IWSG) No, you're not dreaming. It's actually the second Wednesday in January. Being the flexible and creative writers we are, Alex, our fearless and thoughtful leader, scheduled a post on January 8 so we could enjoy the New Year's Day holiday on the first Wednesday. Thank you, Alex!

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

After visiting here, please take time to hop over to other blogs and hear their voices. You can find a list at Alex's IWSG page 

Alex and I suggest you check out the new IWSG Website.  

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Happy New Year and welcome to the J.Q. Rose blog! 

Making a Decision 

Feeling very very insecure today. I am choosing a new cover for my non-fiction book for girls, Girls Succeed: Stories Behind the Careers of Successful Women, published in October 2012. I am updating all the profiles of the remarkable women I interviewed for the book and adding hyperlinks to their stories.

I'm feeling insecure because I have to decide if it is wise to change the book cover. I feel a different cover will attract more of my target audience. Here is the present cover.

Cover design by Kaytalin Platt
I could change the background color, but I don't know if that would help to attract girls/Moms/Grandmas to the e-book. Here are a few other possibilities. 




If you have any thoughts on this big change, I would appreciate your comment. Thank you.

Oh, and what kind of writer would I be if I didn't promote the e-book? If you have tween girls in your life, Girls Succeed is available at these booksellers. If you are interested in reviewing the book, I'll gift you a copy when I have it updated. Thanks!

If you have a minute, you're invited to visit the Girls Succeed blog that accompanies the e-book. You can take a peek at one of the floats recognizing the trailblazing WWII Women Airforce Service Pilots at the Rose Parade in Pasadena last week. Yes, that's where I was on January 1. It was an amazing event and a fabulous way to begin 2014! 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Corny Jokes for New Year's Fun

This post is for all you Wordsmiths! A friend sent me this via the Internet, but with no attribution. If you know who the quipster is, please let me know so I can give credit. 
When chemists die, they barium.
Jokes about German sausage are the wurst.
I know a guy who's addicted to brake fluid. He says he can stop any time.
How does Moses make his tea? Hebrews it.
I stayed up all night to see where the sun went. Then it dawned on me.
This girl said she recognized me from the vegetarian club, but I'd never met herbivore.
I'm reading a book about anti-gravity. I just can't put it down.
I did a theatrical performance about puns. It was a play on words.
They told me I had type A blood, but it was a Type-O.
PMS jokes aren't funny; period.
Why were the Indians here first? They had reservations.
We are going on a class trip to the Coca-Cola factory. I hope there's no pop
I didn't like my beard at first. Then it grew on me.
Did you hear about the cross-eyed teacher who lost her job because she couldn't
control her pupils?
When you get a bladder infection urine trouble.
Broken pencils are pointless.
I tried to catch some fog, but I mist.
What do you call a dinosaur with an extensive vocabulary? A thesaurus.
England has no kidney bank,
but it does have a Liverpool.
I used to be a banker, but then I lost interest.
I dropped out of communism class because of lousy Marx.
All the toilets in New York's
police stations have been stolen. The police have nothing to go on.
I got a job at a bakery because I kneaded dough.
Velcro — what a rip off!
A cartoonist was found dead in his home. Details are sketchy
Venison for dinner again? Oh deer!
The earthquake in Washington
obviously was the government's fault.
Be kind to your dentist. He has fillings, too.