Monday, September 15, 2014

Roasted Pepper Season is here!

Welcome to the Garden. What is that smell? It's roasting peppers. They are making me hungry! Please help yourself to the goody table and pour yourself a drink. It's a bit cooler but at least it's sunny. Find a seat and I'll walk you through our method of roasting.

I know I make it sound like I'm an expert. Well, believe it or not. Today was the first time either my husband or myself have roasted peppers. It all started when out of the blue my husband said, "oh by the way I ordered a bushel of Anaheim peppers." And I asked, "why?"

Wash and place on pan
So I did my research which means, we both asked a couple of veterans, my critique partner and the man my husband bought them from. Then I went to All Recipes .Com and Food Network, then we took everything we'd heard and read and did what worked best for us. And here it is:

We chose to do ours in the oven instead of the grill. While the oven heated to 400 degrees, I coated the pans with California Garlic Olive Oil from Mountain Town Olive Oil. (I'm addicted to their olive oil!) Then we washed the peppers and placed them on baking pans.

We cooked them in the oven until the skins were starting to blacken. We turned them once or twice, because we wanted them to be tender. The time depends on how many pans you have in the oven. We used three and rotated them top to bottom and so forth so ours were in approximately 22 to 27 minutes each batch.

Place in pot.
Cover with wet cloth.
Once they were done we transferred them to a large pot, covered them with a wet dish cloth, and placed a lid on the pot. We left them in the pots until the next batch was ready to come out of the oven.

Remove stems.
Place in bags and freeze.
Once we removed them from the pots we pulled the stem off and placed four to five peppers in a freezer bag and put them in the freezer. We left the skins on, but after being in the bag and freezer we are told the skins come off very easy--this is something we'll find out in the future.

This process for the full bushel took approximately four hours from start to finish. And the total bags we froze were 25 w/5 peppers, 1 w/4 peppers and 1 w/3 peppers.

I can't wait to try some in chili Verde, salsa, or white chicken chili.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Fall Boutique

I'll be participating in a Fall Boutique in my little home town. There will be three other authors with me. Stanalei Fletcher, Judy Baker, and Robert Globle.

Monday, September 01, 2014

And the winner is....

I have two winners for the Feel The Love Contest and they are:

Mary Preston
Cody Smith-Candelaria

Congratulations and thank you to all who participated. These two winners will each receive a $25 gift card to their favorite lunch place. Unless they live in the Salt Lake City valley, then I will take them to lunch.

I have the best fans ever! Again thank you for participating.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Lunch, anyone want to have it with Mary?

Feel the Love Contest!
Win lunch with Mary. She wants to show the love to her many fans so here's what she's going to do:  One lucky fan who comments on her blog, contacts her via her web site, Follows her on Twitter, Friends her on Facebook, adds her to Your circle on Google +, Friends and/or Follows on Goodreads or signs up for her newsletter, will receive lunch with Mary. If you're outside the state, Mary will give you a $25 Gift Card for your favorite lunch spot! (If you're already connected, then comment or tweet. Or if you have one of her wonderful books, review it.) Let her show you her love. Contest runs from May 1, 2014, through the summer to August 31 and the winner of the drawing will be announced September 1st.
***No purchase necessary

I thought I had the most amazing friends, fans, and family ever. And then my son had a fire and lost everything. He and the kids are healthy and safe, but their family dog wasn't as fortunate. We'll all miss Duchess, such a sweet friend to my grandkids. I'm so thankful for everyone and how people stepped up and really helped. The love and support was... I'm not sure I have words to describe how I felt. Now more than ever I would love to thank my friends and/or fans with lunch on me. So instead of just one winner, there will be two!
Thanks again

Monday, August 11, 2014

Marketing materials

Welcome everyone, you know the drill, fill your plate with goodies, grab a drink, and then find a seat. It's very nice in the garden this time of year, so relax and enjoy!

I'd like to start a discussion on what you use as marketing materials to pass out. I've already discussed the promotion via social media, etc. I'd like to know what you leave around town. Do you still make book marks? Do you use pens, business cards, or magnets.

Since so many people use tablets I have stopped doing book marks. I have placed magnet business cards and post cards around in coffee shops and restaurants. I find the bookstores will not set them out unless you're having a book signing. However, I'm finding it increasingly difficult to set up book signings in bookstores, major chain or indie bookstores. I also donate baskets to charities or fundraisers. I will put one or two of my books in a basket along with some other goodies, coffee mug, and coffee, or wine and a wine glass. I figure it's a tax write off, and you get your name out there.

I use Vistaprint for my business cards, coffee mugs, postcards, and I've even purchased a bag with my books on them. Not to mention a tee shirt...

Business Cards

What works for you? Where do you buy your promotional items?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Hi, everyone, my big book release is over. And it's time to talk about it. Everyone grab your plates, fill up with goodies, and pour your favorite beverage. Now that you've got the good stuff. Let's get down to business.

Promotion. Now there is a word that is fast becoming a dirty four letter word for me. I know it's more like nine, but I really hate it right now. I've decided that I'm just not good at promotion. This doesn't really make sense to me because I majored in Marketing. I know the concepts, the trends, the demographics, and all the etc. etc. etc. there is. Yet, I plan a release party and did I do awesome? No. I did have a few people really participate, but when it came down to book sales, not much at all.

I went all out this time. I had the release party on four sites. Twitter, Facebook, Mary's Garden Blog, and Google+. Most people checked in at Facebook and my blog. If they did on Twitter, they didn't use the hashtag and I didn't see answers to the trivia. Google+, was a bit better with one person. In the past I've done a release on my blog for a day. Or just the same post for a week and people had to post for a prize. I was hoping that going all out I'd draw in readers and generate interest in my Four Sisters. Nope. I think people enjoyed the trivia, but it didn't generate into sales.

I've done blog tours, several in fact. And none of them have generated into sales either. I'd say maybe my books suck. BUT people have to actually read them and then not buy them in the future for that to be true. And the very FEW people who have read my Four Sisters have given outstanding reviews. So now what?

What have your experiences been with promotion? Is more better? Or less better?

I'd love to have a discussion about what has worked for you. Please share what you do for your books. What you've found works and what you've found does not.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Finally the winners!

Here is how the points worked:
Each correct answer two points.
A partially correct answer one point.
And a wrong answer .5 point.

Anyone who shared a 1960's story on the blog received 2 bonus points.

There was a possibility of 50 points. That's if someone answered all four questions, correctly, each day and posted a 1960's story for two bonus points. Without further ado, our winner with 34.5 points is:
Diane Lockard

We had a three-way tie, each person had 14 points. I put their names in a hat (literally) and had my husband draw the name. The three names that when in the hat are:
Mary Preston
Bn100 (what her blog ID is)
Brandy Umphreys-Blake
And the winner is:
Mary Preston

Again, thank you for participating. I hope you had fun checking out the 1960's. And I apologize for taking so long on the winners.