04/15/2015 - 04/30/2015
The Celtic Cooking Scene with Sherrie Hansen
If you read the reviews of Sherrie Hansen’s books on Amazon.com, you’ll find several mentions of food: Wild Rose… “Fun and titillating and causes your mouth to water at the descriptions of the food!”, Blue Belle… “Sherrie’s written representations of the colorful landscapes and breathtaking scenery in her novel bring the Scottish countryside to life. Her tantalizing illustrations of the tasty cuisine described throughout the book place you right in the middle of the story making you hungry for more.”
One of Sherrie’s first catering jobs after opening the Blue Belle Inn B&B and Tea House was a traditional Scottish meal, served on huge china platters, in a procession led by a bagpiper. Since then, she’s led several cooking seminars on Celtic Cooking featuring traditional and contemporary Irish, English, Welsh and Scottish recipes.
In addition to being an avowed “foodie”, Sherrie loves using food to create tension, romance, drama and conflict in her writing. In Sherrie’s work in progress, Sweet William, her next Wildflowers of Scotland novel, Lyndsie is catering her first wedding on the Isle of Mull. She can’t wait for the rash of rave reviews she’s sure she’ll get on her pretty pesto-wrapped shrimp, stuffed mushroom caps, seafood tartlets, Scottish dainties, and homemade Battenberg Square. Then groomsman William, a farmer from Minnesota who’s flown in for the wedding, roasts a whole hog – yes, with an apple in its mouth – and steals the show with pulled pork sandwiches served on homemade potato rolls with his own, special recipe, Farm Boy barbeque sauce.
In Sherrie’s Scottish Recipe Seminar, she’ll share recipes for Lumpy Bumpy Toffee Pie, Scotch Broth, Highland Game Soup, Salmon Seals, Fisherman’s Pie, Chicken Stovies, Steak Balmoral, Steak “Auld Reekie”, Rumbledethumps, Scotch Eggs, Potato Pies, Griddle Scones, Dunfillan Bramble Dessert / Eve’s Pudding, Drunken Rhubarb Crumble with a Wee Nip, Stone Cream, Victoria Sponge (Strawberry Sandwich), Snaps, Raspberry Fingers, and Scottish Dainties. If there’s interest, she’ll throw in a few more of her Celtic favorites like Welsh Cakes, Cottage Pie with a Thatched Roof, Irish Meat and Potato Pie, Irish Cream Brownies, Lemon Cream Daffodil Trifles, Irish Coddle, and her Grandma Lightly’s Cottage Pudding.
The class will consist of sharing the recipes (some of which you will hopefully try as the class progresses), and giving people a chance to ask questions about cooking methods, then discussing results. Sherrie will also talk about the use of food preparation and cooking to set a scene and add mouth-watering sensory details to your writing. Participants will write and critique scenes utilizing cooking techniques and foods appropriate to the era and locale, and practice developing characters and conflicts revolving around food.
Twenty-three years ago, Sherrie rescued a dilapidated Victorian house in northern Iowa from the bulldozer’s grips and turned it into a bed and breakfast and tea house, the Blue Belle Inn. Sherrie has also lived in Colorado Springs, CO, Augsburg, Germany, Wheaton, IL, and Bar Harbor, Maine. She grew up on a farm in southern Minnesota. After 12 years of writing romance novels, Sherrie met and married her real-life hero, Mark Decker, a pastor. They now live in 2 different houses, 85 miles apart, and Sherrie writes on the run whenever she has a spare minute. Sherrie enjoys playing the piano, photography, traveling, and going on weekly adventures with her nieces and nephew. “Shy Violet” is Sherrie’s eighth book to be published by Second Wind Publishing, a mid-sized, independent press out of Kernersville, NC.
www.BlueBelleInn.com or www.BlueBelleBooks.com
Books Titles: Wildflowers of Scotland novels – Thistle Down (a prequel novella), Wild Rose, Blue Belle, Shy Violet (coming soon)
05/01/2015 - 05/31/2015
Castles: The Real Thing
Castles cover the landscape of Europe. Many have lasted because they are built of stone, but it takes some imagination to see how they looked when they were
the homes of the rich and powerful. Wherefore this course.
A castle was a fortified structure, the home and admistrative centre of
a magnate (great man) or king, and the garrison meant to protect them. Few women lived in a castle except for the castellan’s wife, daughters, and a few female servitors including the launresses.
The architecture of castles improved to meet the threat of the weapons used against them. Weapon technology wasn’t static; it was improved. The trebuchet was an improved siege engine, much better than the Roman catapult.
Yet William the Conqueror used a motte-and-bailery castle, with wooden towers
to hold England in the first few years of occupation. Why did he do that when he could have built stone castles right from the start?
Even when castles were no longer deemed necessary, the houses of the rulers were constructed like castles; they had battlements, towers, turrets and curtain walls. Find out what made them vulnerable to siege weapons in this course! In other words, what is the real thing?
We will concentrate on the castles of Britain and the society which inhabited them: the lords and ladies, their servitors and dependents.
The course includes self-quizzes and simple research projects to generate story ideas. Discussion and questions are encouraged, but lurkers also welcome.
Sheila Currie lives in British Columbia, and teaches Irish, Scottish & Medieval History as non-credit university courses; she has also taught online courses for CHRW, HHRW & Savvy Authors. While living over eight years in Europe, she studied the languages and history of Great Britain and France. She has a MA in Scottish History and Celtic Studies from the University of Glasgow, and is currently writing an historical fantasy set in Scotland—of course!
06/01/2015 - 06/30/2015
Book Trailers with iMovie
Ever wanted to make your own book trailer, but didn’t have the means to do it? Do you have a Mac? Mac’s come with all great software that you can use to better your writing and your writing career. iMovie for Mac lets you organize all your clips, turn them into your favorite films or trailers. Learn the basics of the powerful software to learn how to make mini book trailers, vacation videos, and more!
An RWA member since 2005, Denise has served the board of Celtic Hearts, Hearts Through History, and Scriptscene. As an Award Winning author, she always tries to find time to help contests and chapters alike through volunteering. Denise has her Bachelors in Marketing and PR, an MFA in Creative Writing, and certified Apple trainer.
07/06/2015 - 07/31/2015
Regency Weapons with Merien Grey
This class covers the culture of war, weapons and violence just prior to and during the Regency. This workshop covers classes of weapons and various individual weapons for the purpose of representing them and their use accurately. To cover a weapon without covering how, why and to what degree of ferocity it was employed provides only a small portion of the story. I will cover how people who lived during the Regency looked at violence, how they came to feel that way, which weapons they might use for any number of confrontations and why. Each week will have two lessons and a smaller bonus post, a reference spotlight with photos showing the best references available on the specific subject matter and photo presentations totaling hundreds of graphics over the four week course. At the end of the class, suggested reading and source material lists will be provided with pages of links to videos demonstrating specific weapons and relevant social and cultural information. At the conclusion of the class, each participant will be given a chance to ask a question or submit a scene from there work in progress for review at their convenience, off loop, to round out the subject matter and make sure every student takes something useful away from the class.
Merien Grey spent over a decade
traveling the world as a military intelligence analyst observing all manner of people and their behavior. During her exploits, she was forced to develop a working knowledge of what many consider historical weapons since many third world countries still use them. This line of study took on a life of its own and became a hobby she has enjoyed and built on over the years. When she began writing Regency romance, it was a natural progression to make Regency weapons her main period of interest. It has been her favorite recreational study subject for over a decade now. Merien has degrees in Anthropology, Sociology, English and Communications Technology. She can be found under her name on Twitter, Facebook and at www.meriengrey.com
. Merien currently lives in the shadow of Mount Rainier in Washington state with her husband, two dogs and a kindergartner who rules the land with an iron hand, at least until bedtime.
08/10/2015 - 08/23/2015
Anti-plotting: Take seat of your pants writing to the next level
Your imagination and your characters can show you the way to a better manuscript if you know how to let them. Learn how to free your mind from the demands of pre-plotting and the dreaded synopsis, come up with more ideas quickly, go deeper into POV, strategies to avoid author intrusion and more via lecture, exercises and discussion.
Ruth Kaufman is a Chicago author, on-camera and voiceover talent and freelance editor and speaker with a J.D. and a Master’s in Radio/TV who loves chocolate peanut butter milkshakes and singing in a chorus.
FOLLOW YOUR HEART, the standalone second book in her Wars of the Roses Brides series, released in April. Writing accolades include Romance Writers of America® 2011 Golden Heart® winner and runner up in RT Book Reviews’ national American Title II contest. Learn more at www.ruthkaufman.com and www.ruthtalks.com. Follow her on Twitter: @RuthKaufman or Facebook: Ruth Kaufman Author & Actress
09/01/2015 - 09/30/2015
Be Your Own Fiction Editor: A Revision Clinic
Are you frustrated that your fiction is not captivating agents? If you’ve revised and revised, but still no bites, then you might need the help of a good fiction editor. In this workshop, experienced freelance fiction editor Alice Osborn will offer tips and techniques for overcoming “revision fatigue.” She’ll discuss timelines, character motivation, dialogue, point of view, setting and more. Everyone will feel more comfortable with the publishing process and with using style guides. For those wanting to go into the fiction editing business, we’ll also discuss time management, communication, and other smart business practices. Come with questions and problems from your work-in-progress and Alice will help you help yourself.
Alice Osborn, M.A. is the author of three books of poetry, After the Steaming Stops (Main Street Rag, 2012), Unfinished Projects (Main Street Rag, 2010) and Right Lane Ends (Catawba, 2006) and is the editor of the anthology, Tattoos (Main Street Rag, 2012); her past educational and work experience is unusually varied and now it feeds her strengths as an editor who makes good writers great authors. Alice teaches creative writing all over the country where she uses sensory images and road-tested prompts to stimulate her students’ best work. Her pieces have appeared in the News and Observer, The Broad River Review, The Pedestal Magazine, Soundings Review and in numerous journals and anthologies. She lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, with her husband and two children. Visit her website at www.aliceosborn.com.
11/01/2015 - 11/30/2015
Military 101 with Merien Grey
One of the many new markets for contemporary romance is military romance. The United States Military is like a small country. It has its own culture, customs and laws. This workshop touches on branch structure, culture in and out of uniform, the lexicon and slang, tradition and various other details of what it is really like beyond the gates and guns. It will also touch on common myths and misnomers. We will cover why in certain cases, soldiers who work together and get involved romantically can be prosecuted, as can adulterers in any case and why there is really no such thing as off duty. We will talk about special operations and why females being allowed to enter those fields has generated strong kickback within the services. Hint: It has far more to do with logistics, standards and administration than social acceptability. This class is designed to give writers with little to no experience enough military knowledge to know where to begin their research and how to find what they need to write a credible military novel.
Merien is an eleven year US Air Force veteran. She spent her tours of duty traveling the world as an intelligence analyst working various multi-service and multi-national assignments. She has worked in twenty-two countries and lived in four of them. She has worked missions in the Middle East, South America and throughout Asia. She has degrees in Anthropology, Sociology, English and Communications Technology. Before becoming an author and speaker, her occupations ranged from soldier (obviously) and bartender to infrared security system instructor and developer. She even spent a few years as a 911 operator working police, fire and medical emergency dispatch. She currently lives in the shadow of Mount Rainier with her retired Ranger husband, Baghdad pup and a kindergartner who rules the land with an iron hand at least until bedtime.