Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Art of Wrting a Novel

What Does writing A Novel Involve?

Writing a novel is an act of self-annihilation as much as self-discovery- just like marriage! Writing a novel is not as difficult as you might think, and completing a novel is one of the most rewarding feelings in the world. Some writers say the hardest part of writing a novel is starting it. The problem is that writing a novel is hard but there is help at hand! Why struggle on your own ?

The Role Of Characters In Writing A Novel

The most important part of writing a novel is knowing your characters well and setting up your story in a way that keeps the reader intrigued the whole way through. They say that writing a novel is 10% telling the story and 90% editing. The most important thing in writing a novel is that the material can sustain your attention for the years it will take to finish the book.

Fiction can originate from "direct personal impression" to "the writer's resources of experience". Fiction seems to grow out of a convincing character so the author must have good characters and character development . Good fiction doesn't just happen, it is designed. Editors love character-based fiction and let’s face it, great fiction is character-driven. Fiction relies for effect on both empathy (understanding how it feels to be another person) and sympathy (a sense of emotional kinship and support for another person).

The time you invest in designing characters up front will pay off ten-fold when you start writing. Characters will assume different significance, some will fade into the background, some will leap into the spotlight. Characters play a key role throughout the entire novel and have to advance or regress throughout the course of the novel. You start hearing the voices of different characters. For each of your major characters, take an hour and write a one-page summary sheet that tells:the character's name,a one-sentence summary of the character's storyline,the character's motivation.

When you read the opening of a gripping novel, you are immediately drawn into the story either by the main character’s drama, problem or some conflict. So much so, that you just have to read on. You will find so much more advice in the link below that you will soon be writing a novel.

Robert Locke is an Internet Marketer specializing in Health, Wellness and Fitness. For more advice look at the link below for invaluable advice on writing a novel

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Adjusting to Working at Home

Over the past few months, I have been adjusting to working from my home. I find myself juggling home responsibilities, novel writing, editing, and blogging, all while taking care of an 18 month old grandson.

Here's a few tricks I've learned.

Communication with your family is one of the most important parts of working at home. Without it, expectations are not made clear and resentment can build. It's something you should start out when you decide to work from home, and repeat as necessary.

A big part of the work at home talk involves getting everyone in your household to agree on how seriously to treat your work. If you're going more for a hobby than a serious income your family should know this. But if your family will be relying on your income to get by they need to know to treat your work that seriously.

What About Housework?

Many work at home parents still try to do it all. Keep a perfect house as they run a business or work at their job. This is incredibly stressful and makes it harder to succeed at home.

A certain degree of chaos can make working at home much saner. Talk with your family about what you can tolerate in terms of mess. For example many families will want to stick with having dishes done promptly, but may be able to stand vacuuming less often.

Consider also the division of labor. Are the kids doing reasonable chores for their ages? Are both parents doing their share of housecleaning if both are working, even though one is at home more?

The Working Hours Challenge

Getting your working hours right can be one of the most difficult things to master. Quite a bit depends on the needs of your family. If you have a baby or toddler, odds are that your working hours will be scheduled by when baby is sleeping or your spouse can take over that job.

Older children can learn to respect your working hours to a degree. How insistent you should be depends on how many hours you need to work and the ages of your children. A 4 year old cannot be held to the same standards as a teen, obviously.

Whatever your working hours, leave plenty of time for family time. The big point for a lot of people about working at home is to have more time with family. If you lose that, why are you working at home?

One schedule that can work is to declare that from 5 in the evening until the kids go to bed is family time. Beyond that, make sure you include time for just you and your spouse, but the schedule you select can depend on your needs as a couple. Keep everyone off the computer at this time, and if you have a business phone, don't answer it. Of course, if the kids have homework, let them do it, but try to have dedicated family time regularly.

Talk Money

Money is a big part of working at home. If you have a work at home job, there may be expectations from your family as to how much you earn and what the money will go towards.

But if you have a home business, the money talk can be even more important. How much can be risked? Any business involves some sort of expense, whether it is to join an opportunity, have a website hosted, or just buying business cards to hand out to people you meet.

If things go well with your business, how much should be reinvested versus being used for family or household expenses? Reinvesting in your business is vital to its growth but you may need the money for other things. Your financial priorities need to be clear.

Stephanie Foster blogs at about the challenges of working at home. She offers more tips to make working at home practical at her site.

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Tiramisu - My Ultimate Recipe

Nothing says Italian more than a rich Tiramisu! It is my addiction. My family knows that I prefer Tiramisu to any other food in the world. And it took me years to create the best Tiramisu recipe, one I've kept secret for many years. And now I'll share it with you!

Mirella's Tiramisu Recipe


2 to 3 packages lady fingers
3/4 cup espresso coffee
3 tablespoons Sambuca or Anisette
1 cup mascarpone cheese
3 egg yolks
3 egg whites
6 tablespoons sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
cocoa powder
powdered sugar

Combine the espresso and sambuca/anisette and set aside.

Combine the mascarpone in a large bowl and beat until smooth

In a medium bowl, beat the egg yolks and 3 tablespoons of the sugar together until smooth.

Set over a hot water bath and beat for 3 minutes until light and foamy.

Remove from the heat and beat this immediately into mascarpone mixture. Set aside.

Whip the cream until the cream holds a firm shape.

Fold in the vanilla.

In two small additions, fold 1/3 of the mascarpone mixture into the whipped cream.

Then fold the whipped cream into the remaining mascarpone mixture. Set asside.

Beat the egg whites and salt on medium until foamy.

Increase the speed and add the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar. Beat until glossy and not dry.

Fold the egg whites, all at once, into the mascarpone.


Dip each lady finger quickly but entirely in the espresso mixture.

Line up in a single layer in an 11 x 13 pan.

Top with half of the mascarpone mixture, spreading it out evenly.

Sprinkle generously with cocoa powder and powdered sugar.

Top with another layer of dipped lady fingers.

Top with the remaining mascarpone mixture, spreading evenly.

Sprinkle generously with the cocoa powder and powdered sugar.

Refrigerate uncovered for 2 hours.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

The Treasure of Friendship

I believe that one of the measures of success in our lives is by the quality of our friends. And in this regard I am extravagantly blessed. I had the good fortune yesterday to reunite with 4 friends who I respect and admire and with whom I have worked with for nearly 3 decades. All tremendous, intelligent women, all with warm and generous hearts, all finding their own way through life.

Louitta, a woman with a positive outlook, a heart that never stops smiling, and courage to persevere through anything life throws at her. I've never known her to say an unkind word or to fail to show caring for those around her. Her infectious laugh always brought a smile to my face.

Ingrid possesses a powerful sense of humor and a spirit of lighheartedness. She is kind and sensitive with a capacity to give to others that is bigger than her own heart. Her personality overflows with charm, but she is honest as the day is long and speaks her mind with a bravado that can astound.

And then there's Debbie. To know her is to love her. She abounds with emotional intelligence, is fun-loving, and succeeds at whatever she takes on. A born leader whom I would follow into any battle because she always stands on the side of honor and true caring. Her love of children and desire to help women has brought many gifts into the world of those she comes into contact with.

Laura, a woman I've admired for nearly 30 years. Her desire to make things better for the people she worked with and her outstanding work ethic is cause for immediate respect. Her strong, silent personality makes one stop and listen to whatever opinion she offers because she is a woman of honest character with a powerful capacity for giving.

I am grateful to have you in my life and I am humbled to be able to call you my friends. You truly are a gift to me.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Read my short story in the anthology Mamma Mia: Good Italian Girls Talk Back!

I had the distinct pleasure of being one of the 18 Italian Canadian women who contributed to this anthology. It is a collection of stories that will make you laugh and cry, shock and surprise you.

The book was published in 2004 and became instantly popular. I recommend it as a definite must have!

Growing up a second-generation Italian woman in Canada is not as easy as it looks. In fact, it requires the keeping of secrets, the telling of lies, the casting of curses, and the patience of a saint. Here 20 Italian-Canadian women share their stories — some comic, some tragic, some nostalgic, all true — about living a double life with a private/public split personality. Intimate, inspiring, brave, and confessional, these tales reveal women old enough to reminisce yet young enough to revolutionize. Balancing between the Old Country and the new, a respect for tradition and the need to break with it, this collection is a rare and surprising blend of humour and candor that promises the perfect conversation-starter. Mamma mia, what will they dare say next?

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