Breaking News!

For the first time in my writing career, I am self-publishing my latest series!

It’s fun and exciting. I can put out books as often as I like, rather than waiting for a publisher to set a schedule, and write what I want, instead of what the publisher expects. A very freeing experience, but also a ton of work. I would never self-publish a novel without first hiring a cover designer and a veteran editor to critique and help me craft each book into my best work yet. I also hire someone to correct spelling and punctuation errors.

The series is set in the fictitious town of Guff’s Lake, Oregon, in the heart of the Rogue Valley. Twelve month and 12 of the hottest firefighters ever, each appearing  on a different month on a firefighter calendar. This is why I call the series,Heroes of Rogue Valley: Calendar Guys.

All books will be stand-alone books, which means you can read them in any order.

Now for the breaking news:

drum-roll-please

The first two books of the series are out now!!

Meet Mr. January, the first hero featured in my Heroes of Rogue Valley: Calendar Guys series. Now available in print and ebook format I loved writing this book and am having so much fun with the series.

Ann_January300dpi1500x2400 lg

Senior Firefighter Adam Healey is a man with a mission: get promoted to lieutenant at the Guff’s Lake Fire Department. It’s time, but more important, the promotion will finally earn him the respect of his dying father. Single mom Samantha Everett’s deadbeat ex has left her to fend for herself, and she’s working hard to support her young son with her baking business. Neither Adam nor Samantha is looking for a relationship. But love has a way of surprising people…  

Meet Mr. February,  starring in book two of Heroes of Rogue Valley: Calendar Guys.  Available in print and e-book format.

Ann_February300dpi1500x2400 lg

Rafe Donato is a senior firefighter well aware that loving a woman can destroy a man. He will never trust any female with his heart. Jillian Metzger is a talented potter whose biological clock is ticking. Ready to fall in love, get married and start a family, Jillian wants what Rafe cannot give.

Available from Kindle in print and ebook formats, and from Nook, iBooks and Kobo . For links to buy, visit http://www.annroth.net/ebooks.html. To stay in the know on future breaking news, sign up for my newsletter: "</p

 

Currently, I am hard at work on Mr. March. I’m not the fastest writer on the block, but I’m making good progress.

Happy reading, and thanks for letting me share this exciting news.

Until next time,
Ann
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Recipe: Glazed Orange Brownies

It’s recipe time! This one is easy and delicious.

orange brownies

Glazed Orange Brownies
A Paula Deen recipe, with modifications (in parentheses) that cut down on the sugar and fat

Ingredients
Brownies:

  • 2 cups sugar (I use 1)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened (I use 1 stick instead)
  • 4 large eggs (I use 2 instead)
  • 2 teaspoons orange extract
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest, divided (1 for the batter and 1 for the glaze)

Glaze:

  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice, fresh

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 13×9-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray. (This pan is too big! I use a smaller one.)

2. In a large bowl, stir together sugar, flour, and salt. Add butter, eggs, extract, and 1 teaspoon zest, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan.

3. Bake for 30 minutes or until light golden brown and set. Remove from oven, and pierce cake all over with a fork.

4. In a small bowl, combine confectioners sugar, orange juice, and remaining teaspoon zest until smooth. Pour over warm cake. Let cool completely before cutting into squares.

Enjoy!

Until next time,
Ann
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Addiction: The Good Kind

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m an addict. I love every one of my addictions, and am eager to share them with you. In no particular order, here they are:

1. Writing

writing2

If I don’t write something every day, I feel… odd. I enjoy writing. Focusing on writing anchors me. Steadies me. Makes me sing inside. Even when the writing is going badly. Well, that isn’t quite true. When I get stuck and can’t write another word until I get unstuck, I angst for hours, sometimes days, hashing over what to do to fix whatever the problem may be.

During this time, don’t expect me to be in a good mood. Trick I have learned over the years to get unstuck: jot down ideas, no matter how ridiculous they seem, get away from the work by doing something totally unrelated,  phone a close writing friend for input. From experience, I have learned that the solution will always come… in its own time.

2. Reading

books 1 blooks bookshelf

Three of the six bookshelves in my home.  The top two are in my office, and include my own books, some of my keeper books (books I reread occasionally and can’t part with) and reference books. The bottom photo is in the family room.

My husband is an avid reader, too, and we have three more bookshelves and a window ledge or two filled with books. Don’t even ask about the books on my e-reader…

3. Coffee

steamcoffee

As a naturally caffeinated woman :), I don’t NEED coffee, but I like everything about this drink, from the smell, to the ritual of grinding and brewing, to the taste. I also love treating myself at Starbucks, which I do once or twice a week.

4. Exercise

3ts

These are three of my newest exercise T-shirts. Exercise keeps me in shape and makes me feel terrific, and I work out six mornings a week. As you may know from my post last week, I also try to squeeze in a midday walk whenever possible.

Some of my most creative thoughts occur when I’m moving. Don’t ask me why, but I suspect all that physical activity occupies my brain, which allows my subconscious mind to jump to the forefront with really cool ideas.

5. Chocolate

dark chocolate

I can’t do without chocolate. I try to keep it to a minimum, with a square after dinner. But sometimes (who am I kidding: a LOT of the time), one little square is not enough. I like all kinds of chocolate – dark, milk, with or without nuts, with or without fruit, with or without coconut…

I especially enjoy baked goods of all kinds, hot fudge sauce, chocolate malts, candy… Really, all things chocolate.

So there you have it, my top 5 addictions. I’m sure there are more, but I’ve taken enough of your time.

What are your good addictions?  I would love to know, and I’m guessing others would, too!
Until next time,
Ann
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Don’t Worry… Be Happy

I have a friend who never uses her favorite plates or tableware for fear of who knows what? She’s never said. She only wears her good jewelry and the outfit that makes her feel pretty on special occasions. She covers her favorite sofa with a slip cover to keep it nice, and she usually puts herself last.  But hey, life is short! It is often predictable.

do more

My friend deserves to be happy, and so do you. Promise me that you’ll at least think about that…

Until next time,
Ann
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Attitude is Everything!

The other day, one of my daughters was about to tackle a difficult task. When I wondered how she planned to make it through, she replied, “I’ll figure it out. Besides, I only have to it once, so it’s no big deal.” Now that’s what I call a good attitude! I like to think she got that positive, can-do outlook from me.

attitude-is

Although I love this photo, I have to say that to me, attitude isn’t so little. It’s HUGE! I am a big believer that one’s attitude can make or break anything and everything in our lives.

So I have to ask: What’s your attitude? If it isn’t the best, what will you do to boost it? Here is a blog by by Paula Lawes with some great ideas on that: http://bit.ly/1DkAZW9 .   Check it out!

Until next time,
Ann
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Jumbo Island Cookies, aka Don’t Let Those Bananas Go Bad!

I used to hate when the bananas at my house got a little too ripe. Then I discovered this mouth-watering cookie recipe. With bananas, chocolate chips, coconut and macadamia nuts, how can you go wrong?

macadamia cookie

Jumbo Island Cookies

Ingredients
1 2/3 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
6 Tbsp butter at room temperature
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup mashed banana
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup flaked coconut
1/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Directions
Sift together flour, baking power, baking soda, salt and nutmeg; set aside.  Using a mixer at high speed, beat butter for 2 minutes.  Add sugar and mashed banana.  Beat for 3 minutes.  Beat in egg and vanilla.  Turn speed to low and add flour mixture.  When incorporated, turn off mixer.  Stir in chocolate chips, coconut, and macadamia nuts.

Using an ice cream scoop (coat with oil so this gooey batter doesn’t stick), drop onto a greased cookie sheet (I use Silpat instead).  Bake 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees, until lightly golden.  Let cool 1-2 minutes, then transfer to wire racks.

island cookies

These won’t last long enough to store, but if you must, use an airtight container.

Until next time,
Ann

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Romance… It Does the Reader Good

One reason I write romance is because I believe in love.  And after all, love does make the world go round. Also because I enjoy a good story where the hero and heroine suffer and fight to get what they want–often head-to-head against each other. Where the odds are often stacked against them both in life and in love. But after all that suffering and angsting, in the end love triumphs, and the other challenges and hurdles just might get solved, too.

writeromance

Life is full of bad news and sad endings. Why not indulge in stories that we know will have the payoff we all dream of–an optimistic ending?

Until next time,
Ann

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Springing Ahead… Way Ahead….

Here in the Pacific Northwest, winter has been unusually mild. Flowers are pushing up through the earth and trees are blooming– a full month early!

forsythia in our front yard

forsythia in our front yard

flowering magnolia across the street

flowering magnolia across the street

I hope we don’t have a frost that will kill these flowers–or hurt our orchard mason bees.What are orchard mason bees, you ask? These amazing critters are used throughout the U.S., to pollinate fruit trees in orchards, as well as flowers and vegetables. They are gentle creatures (they avoid humans and don’t sting!), and are active for only a short time each spring. We buy them at our local hardware store. They come in a glass vial and can be stored in the refrigerator until the weather is warm enough to release them. (I wanted to show you the vial, but it got thrown away…)

orchard mason bee

orchard mason bee

Once a female works her magic, she lays eggs in a partitioned house, adds the pollen she has gathered, and seals each partition with mud. These bees aren’t able to bore into wood and make their homes, so we bought this little house at the same hardware store where we purchased the bees.

our orchard mason bee house

our orchard mason bee house

The female leaves the eggs to gestate and grow until the following spring, when as full-fledged bees, they break free and work their magic. This year, despite placing the bee house in a sheltered and relatively safe place, a predator of some kind ate all the eggs! We had to buy more.

With the sunny, warm weather we’ve been having, our orchard mason bees are already hard at work. I can hardly wait until the fruits of their labors bring us an abundant crop of veggies and fruits.

If only writing worked this way, with a big burst of work and creativity, and then a long period of seemingly nothing, while ideas hatched and grew into full-fledged, mature ideas. Instead, I’m hatching ideas all year-round, so many that I’ll never be able to turn them all into stories! Ah well, we writers to what we can…

Until next time,
Ann

 

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