Monday, July 25, 2016

We're This Many...

Recently Babble 'n Blog celebrated it's 10th year.

But wait! There's more!

We have another anniversary this month! And to me it's much bigger, even if only half the amount of time has passed.

This month the Sue Ann Jaffarian Fan Club on Facebook turned 5 years old! WOW! So very hard to believe!

Cyn Rielley started the fan club in July of 2011. Originally it was called The Odelia Grey Fan Club, but as I started cranking out other books, she changed it to the Sue Ann Jaffarian Fan Club.

Okay, it still feels really weird to be saying my name connected to a fan club, but I digress...

5 years!

And as of this post we have 1,171 members! 

When the club first started, Cyn was a loyal reader of my Odelia Grey series, but we'd never met. Over the past 5 years, she and I have become good friends. And, it turns out, Cyn and her family don't live far from my family in Massachusetts and have become friends with them too! It's all good!

And what's a birthday without a party? But no gifts please. I'll be the one doing the giving. 

1st Prize - your name as a character name in the 12th Odelia Grey novel.*
2nd Prize - a $25 gift certificate to Amazon.
3rd Prize - a $25 gift certificate to Amazon.

Sound good? Here are the details:
  1. Become a member of the Sue Ann Jaffarian Fan Club on Facebook.  Come on, you know you want to join. And here's the link so you don't have to hunt for it.
  2. Send your name to If you skip #1, you will be deleted. We do check. Only one entry per person.
  3. Deadline for entries is 9 pm pacific time, August 7th. Winners will be announced on Monday, August 8th.

*Winner understands that this prize is for a character’s name only and such character may or may not bear any likeness in physical appearance or personality to the individual bearing the character’s name. By entering, winner hereby gives consent to the use of such name and releases Sue Ann Jaffarian and Midnight Ink/Llewellyn Worldwide from any and all liability in connection with the use of such name.

To read more about the mechanics of running a fan club, 
read this earlier post.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Babbling for Ten Years!

Babble 'n Blog - yes, this Babble 'n Blog - is ten years old this month.

This blog's first post was on July 16, 2006, but I didn't really start writing posts consistently until October of that year when I migrated over to a better platform.

Babble 'n Blog trivia:

1st post: Why Are There Two Versions of Too Big To Miss? posted July 16, 2006.

Post with most comments: Just Say No, posted October 29, 2006. There were 225 comments posted before I shut down comments because of all the hate.

Post with most views: This Weekend: Just Call Me Sid The Sloth, posted April 16, 2010. Although I'm sure most of the 12,000+ views are from people looking for the character from the Ice Age movies. (It pays to tag your blog posts, people!)

Number of posts total:  Counting this post, there have been 791 posts.

Recently a writer friend announced that he believes blogging is dead.  I don't believe that. I think authors blogging only about writing and their books is dead, or at the very least ill. But I think there is still a good place for authors in the blogging world. Readers like knowing about us and our daily lives. But Babble 'n Blog isn't only about my writing career. I talk about everything and anything that catches my fancy, and share my life, ups and downs, pain and joy. 

Several years ago I pulled back on Babble 'n Blog to write on two different group blogs about writing.  I had fun doing it, but after a couple of years, pulled out of those blogs and returned to BnB because readers were asking me to return to my personal blog.

In looking over the post stats from the past 10 years, it was very interesting to see the extraordinary numbers some garnered. Some posts had thousands and thousands of views, but others only a few hundred. And the thing is, older posts are still being found through internet searches. I've received several e-mails over the years from people who started reading my books because my blog popped up in an unrelated Google search. It's free PR that continues to give. And no writer can afford to turn that down!

Ten years - Now that's a helluva lot of babble!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Clean Up in Aisle Sue Ann

I'm in clean up mode, not my apartment, but my Internet and computer.

Here is my clean-up checklist:

Computer: get rid of all those photos and images I've saved and no longer need. Delete files and manuscript drafts that are out-of-date and unnecessary.

E-mail: Boy, do I have a lot of old e-mails (both in the send and receive folders) that for the life of me I have no idea why I'm saving them.

Newsletters: This is also part of e-mails.  I receive a ton of e-mail announcements and newsletters. Over time it seems that I got put on mailing lists I don't want, or am still on mailing lists that are no longer useful to me, Instead of simply deleting them, it's time to start hitting the unsubscribe button. Lately I've been weeding these out as I get them but now I'm going after them like a heat-seeking missile. It's what prompted me to start my major clean up. One thing that really annoys me is when I do unsubscribe to something and the newsletters keep coming. These are usually connected to sales of some kind. In that case, they get put on the "block" list.

I do subscribe to a lot of helpful newsletters that I'll be keeping. Mostly those are from other writers. As busy as we all get, newsletters from my colleagues are the only way I can keep abreast of what they are doing and what books are coming out. I'm also now subscribing to a few RV newsletters which are helping me toward my future retirement plans.

Facebook: I hate it when people add me to groups on Facebook without my knowledge. (Grrrrr) It's a major pet peeve. I will be cleaning out my groups and events and deleting those I don't want or those I don't use any longer.

The computer has become our virtual home, another place that needs periodic tidying and scrubbing. Another thing for the pesky to do list. But like washing floors and laundry, it must be done.

Cleanliness is just a click away.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

And The Beet Goes On

A Half-Assed Vegan Post

I have always loved beets. It was one of the few vegetables my mother liked so we ate them often growing up. Always out of a can, heated on the stove. That's how we ate all our veggies growing up. My mother only liked waxed beans, spinach, beets, peas, green beans and corn. All canned. The only fresh vegetables we had were iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and potatoes.  And occasionally green peppers.

It's amazing that I came to love fresh veggies given my childhood, but maybe that's why I do.

I still buy canned vegetables, but the only ones I do are beans, baby corn (which I love to stir-fry and put on salads) and beets. I hate peeling and cutting fresh beets. They are messy and stain. I say let the food companies do that nasty task for me.

My favorite way to eat beets is in salads, either on top of a green salad or used in more creative salads. The best beet salad I've ever had was a roasted beet salad at Mario Batali's B&B restaurant in Las Vegas. It was a heavenly concoction of several types of roasted beets with mint.

My favorite beet salad that I make is one I devised after eating the quinoa and beet salad from Mendocino Farms. Hmmm, I thought, I could make that and probably make it better and healthier, just as I did their curried cauliflower salad. And I did.

I make this a lot to take to work for lunch. It's chock full of protein and freshness. I serve it piled on top of a mound of fresh micro greens. It's a great summer salad. I'm making it tonight!

Beet Salad with Quinoa, Apples and Cranberries

1/2 c quinoa uncooked
1 regular size can of whole baby beets, drained and cut into bite size pieces
1 apple, cored and chopped (I don't peel mine)
1/3 cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup dried cranberries
Salt and pepper to taste

2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced
2-1/2 tbl. red wine vinegar
2 tbl. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp olive oil (can be omitted)

Cook the quinoa according to directions and let cool.

Combine beets, apple, almonds, cranberries and salt and pepper in large bowl. Fold in cooled quinoa.

Whisk together dressing ingredients in small bowl. Pour over salad and mix in. Cover bow and let sit in fridge at least an hour so flavors can blend. Stir before serving.

Beets are super healthy for you too, packed with fiber and vitamins!