Posts Tagged ‘Allison Merritt’

Vonnie at Carroll County Farmer's Market I love to imagine stories, then jot them down. I enjoy researching, revising, and polishing a story. I like sketching, then painting cover art. Quiet talks with other writers, readers, and fans about my fiction are fun. But I do NOT like to promote, even though I realize promotion is a necessary part of building a reader base and letting people know that a book is available.

I’ve thought a lot about why many writers and illustrators, me included, hate the promotion part of the book business. I’ve decided it’s because when we draw attention to our books, stories, or artwork, we feel like we’re bragging somehow. For me, it’s not about “look at what I’ve done,” so much as inviting readers to enter the fantastical worlds I’ve created. It’s about telling a story around a campfire and having people listen.

And so, with an eye to promotion, I invited you to visit a few guest blogs and interviews I’ve done recently:

Thanks to romance writer, Allison Merritt, for inviting me to guest post Speculative Romance: http://havenovelwilledit.blogspot.com/2013/03/guest-post-vonnie-winslow-crist.html

Thanks to fantasy author, Jennifer Allis Provost, for inviting me to guest post Where the Magic Begins: http://jenniferallisprovost.blogspot.com/2013/04/where-magic-begins-by-vonnie-winslow.html

Thanks to the wonderful author, Jaleta Clegg, for interviewing me on her blog: http://jaletaclegg.blogspot.com/2013/04/author-interview-vonnie-winslow-crist.html

Thanks to fantasy author, J. Michael Squatrito, Jr. for inviting me to guest post Location Matters in Fantasy: http://theoverlords.blogspot.com/2013/05/a-guest-blog-with-vonnie-winslow-crist.html

Skean copy And last, but certainly not least, thank you to Douglas R. Cobb for interviewing me for The New Yorker Times (and asking very specific questions about The Enchanted Skean): http://newyorkertimes.com/2013/05/vonnie-winslow-crist-interview/

I hope you’ll read and enjoy the interviews and guest posts, and I hope I get more comfortable doing book promotion!

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authorphoto Thanks to author Allison Merritt for stopping by and sharing how embarrassing moments can add spice to both life and a book’s narrative.

Embarrassing Moments by Allison Merritt

‘When I was a young teenager, my mom and dad took me with them to Walmart one day. My mom never used public restrooms, but we’d had a big lunch and she said she had to go. This was back before super centers and multi-stall bathrooms. My dad and I waited a couple aisles away. He looked at me and said, “You know what would be funny? Go jiggle the bathroom doorknob, knock as hard as you can and say in a deep voice, ‘Hurry up in there!’ Then run back here.”

Sounded like a good idea to me. I pounded on the door and said the magic words. Oddly, there was no response. Giggling, I hurried back to my dad’s side and we laughed together. We rounded an aisle and there was Mom! We didn’t stick around to find out who was in the bathroom.

Embarrassing moments are kind of like a garnish for life. They’re wonderful when you can look back on them and laugh. Which is why I like to sprinkle them through my writing and make my characters’ lives more interesting. In my newest novel, the heroine, Nora Frost, is a teacher a private girls’ school. She has a secret that she’s managed to hide from society—she can see the past, present and future by touching another person. But she’s very awkward and tries to overcome her “curse” by pretending to be normal. This is Nora’s embarrassing moment from The Turncoat’s Temptress:

Well aware that history was one of the least popular subjects in the school Nora nevertheless gave it another attempt.

She tapped the wall where the illustration mapped on a glass slide was thrown into sharp relief by the bright light of the projector. “As you can see the headwaters of the Tiber form here. The area has been called the cradle of civilization. Can anyone tell me the legend of how Rome came into being?”

Francie Draper’s hand shot up. Nora was speechless. In the two quarters she’d taught at Miss Slater’s School for Young Ladies, Francie had never raised her hand to answer a question.

Please, tell us what you know,” Nora said, managing a smile.

Miss Frost, I think your projector is about to—” Francie never finished her sentence. The machine burst into flame, cracking the glass. Panicked shrieks filled the room. Nora clapped her hands over her ears as the students rushed past her out the door, leaving her alone to handle the situation.

She snatched up the dust cover she’d discarded earlier and beat the flames with it. In less than a minute the danger had passed. She lowered herself into one of the chairs and waved a hand in front of her face to clear the air.

The projector was ancient, of course, something her cousin had dug out of storage when she started teaching. Rather than petition the headmistress—who was well known for her thrifty nature—for a new one, she’d assumed the old one would suffice. Wait until Miss Slater caught wind that Nora had nearly burned her precious school to the ground. She already had one foot in the proverbial grave as far as her teaching career went.

3TcT The sharp tap of heels on the gleaming wood floors signaled Miss Slater’s approach. “Drat,” she muttered. Nora shot to her feet as the woman stopped inside the doorway.

Miss Frost, your students have just informed me that you’ve developed a problem with your projector.”

There’s no longer a problem, Miss Slater,” she answered meekly.

The older woman’s eyebrows rose. “Your skirt is on fire, dear.”

Nora looked down at her hem, which fed a merry little flame. She beat the singed cover against it, cursing beneath her breath all the while. She raised her eyes to meet her employer’s bemused gaze…’

For more about Allison Merritt, her writing, and other books, visit her blog: http://havenovelwilledit.blogspot.com and Facebook page: http://facebook.com/authorallisonmerritt and follow her on twitter: http://twitter.com/allison_merritt

For a copy of The Turncoat’s Temptress: Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00C0ULRCS or Barnes &Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-turncoats-temptress-allison-merritt/1114917064?ean=2940016333915

Thanks again to author Allison Merritt for her guest post. Watch Whimsical Words for more Guests, blogs from me, and Readers & Writers Recipes. Have an embarrassment-free day! – Vonnie

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100 If you have friends (or children) with milk or egg allergies, this cake is a delicious and easy alternative to cakes loaded with eggs and dairy. It’s very chocolatey, so I usually use vanilla icing. If you decide to use chocolate icing – be prepared for a chocolate high! Like last week’s Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies, Eggless Milkless Dark Chocolate Cake works well for a book club or readers’ group get-together or any other fun gathering. And you don’t have to have an allergy to love this cake!

Eggless, Milkless Dark Chocolate Cake


3 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup cocoa (unsweetened)

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 stick margarine (1/2 cup) melted and slightly cooled

1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 teaspoons vinegar

2 cups cold water


1-Preheat over to 375ºF.

2-Combine in large bowl: flour, sugar, cocoa, salt, and baking soda.

3-Add margarine, vanilla, vinegar, and cold water. Mix until well blended.

4-Pour batter into greased and floured pans. (See notes).

5-Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. (See notes).

6-Cool, then frost as desired.


1-This recipe makes a 2-layer cake using 9” diameter rounds or 8-9” square pans. Or you can make a sheet cake or bundt cake.

2-If you make a 2-layer cake or a sheet cake, 30 minutes baking time is usually enough. If you make a bundt cake, it might take slightly longer to bake. Check for doneness using either a cake tester or a toothpick to make sure the center of the cake isn’t still under-baked.

3-Remember, if you’re making this cake for someone with a milk allergy, use vegetable margarine and either soy or rice milk for making a “buttercream” icing with a box of powdered sugar.

Appearing Monday on Whimsical Words: a guest post from author, Allison Merritt.

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