Tag Archives: Writing

Things that Scare Writers …

It’s October and the chant “Deadlines and Edits and Bills, OH MY!” can be heard ringing from the rafters of every writer and author I know. Even a few publishers are squawking as the harvest moon rises. Why do we get this way? And more importantly, how can we manage the dreaded forth quarter scary stuff? Here are 5 Tips to help writers and authors get through to the New Year.

NaNo Only if You Can

NaNoWriMo has been a fantastic phenomenon. Many writers find it a fantastic challenge, but for as many writing a new book or finishing a work in progress who find it a successful process, there are just as many who find it to be far less productive. My theory is that timing may be the issue. To participate in NaNo, the writer must commit all their time during the month of November to reaching a word count goal. Granted, writing 50,000 words in 30 days can be a great thing, but writing the RIGHT 50,000 words is what really matters. If you’re able to do NaNo – meaning if your life allows you to block off 30 days and nights for nothing but writing – by all means, go for it. But most writers and authors I know have many, many other responsibilities in their lives, They are mothers or caregivers, hold down full time jobs, take care of the house and cook meals and they have outside commitments to their community or church or clubs and friends.

Don’t get me wrong, NaNo can be a wonderful tool, but if this is your first time on the NaNo speeding train, I have a few suggestions. Before you sign on, take an inventory of your life. Determine what’s most important to you in the month of November and carefully evaluate the stress level you’ll be adding to your load. Stressed writing is never the best, but if after thinking it through you discover that you’re the kind of writer who thrives under tight, heavy deadlines, rock and roll with it. I’ll be looking for the NaNoWriMo logo on your social media and cheering you on!

Keep a Sharp Eye on Your Platforms

Platforms are the pumping, heated life blood for your book. Your website, twitter, Facebook and blog entries are how you tell the world – prospective book buyers, fans, literary agents and publishers – that you are writing a book. It’s how you get them excited about it.

This final quarter of the year is fraught challenges, the holidays, the changing weather, and that all-important self-imposed deadline. We’ve all done it … “I’m going to finish that book before New Year’s Day!” (Never mind that we might have decided to write that book LAST New Year’s Day, LOL.) It all adds up to pressure and ignoring your platforms to carve out more writing time is simply COUNTERPRODUCTIVE. Your book may get finished, but no one will know about it. A disappearing act by any writer or author can set things back drastically.

Plan your platform activity time carefully. Twitter 2X every day for 10 minutes each morning and 10 minutes each afternoon. Facebook  once every day. Post a question or fact of the day that pertains to your book’s unique elements. Blog at most once every two weeks, and at least once every month.  Be sure to blog about your book – the story, subject and unique hooks within your book. Don’t blog about the process of writing, it gets boring and basically is nothing new. Your blog subjects should be interesting to your prospective book buyer and reader fans … not other authors. Update your Website at least once every month. These updates can be adding the newest reviews for your backlist, interesting subject explorations related to your work in progress, where you’ll be speaking or signing books. A great way to handle website updates is to embed your blog into your author website.  Every time your blog entries are made, your website is also updated. Cool, huh?

Keep your platforms alive and hopping so that readers, prospective book buyers and established fans will be excited and waiting for your next book. (Even if this is your first book, keep those platforms sparking!)

Take a Moment to Look Around

I see you there, sitting at your computer, wearing sweats and a pair of ugly fuzzy bunny slippers. Time to look around! Put on your shoes and go for a walk. Go out and do your grocery shopping. Take an hour to walk around the mall. JUST LOOK AROUND! Who knows? That old man strolling from his car to the dry cleaners just might be the basis for a great character. The colors and weather you see might play a critical role in your plot. Passing conversations may inspire dialog you didn’t expect. Go on. Get out of the house. Enjoy. It’s good for the writer’s soul, especially as we face this time of year.

Plan Your Holidays NOW

Oh the Holidays! How crazy can those get? Family, parties, gift giving, baking, cooking, entertaining – it all adds up to a stressful time of year for anyone, especially the writer working on a deadline. It’s still early enough to plan a low-stress holiday season. Take advantage of the lay away programs for your gift shopping. It gets the names on your gift-giving list checked off, keeps the gifts out of your space and gives you a feeling of accomplishment. Do a little bit every week.

Talk with your friends and family now and find out what they’re planning. Will you be going to a party or ten? Will you be responsible for bringing a part of the menu? The beer? Flowers? Keep this simple and plan ahead.

Are you a holiday card sender? Writing holiday greetings isn’t exactly writing. I honestly know people who send out hundreds of holiday cards every year, each with a sweet personal note in them. If you’re like that, get those cards early, write 10 of them every week then set them aside. This way you’ll have them all done before it’s time to drop them into the mailbox.

Above all, remember to take in and cherish the holidays. They only come once a year and we deserve a little frivolity and joy.

Sleep

Yes, sleep. If you’re like me, sleep is that elusive thing that everyone else seems to enjoy. My mind spins with what has to be done, what isn’t done yet, what I want to do and how much I don’t want to fail by not finishing something … especially my book.

There are tricks for getting sleep. Drink chamomile tea instead of coffee after 7 p.m. Avoid stimulation like exercise, computer games or reading that wonderful horror book beside the bed. Do Yoga. Relax and breathe. Yeah, right, like any of those actually work. The only real advice I can give is this … when I honestly feel that I’ve been productive that day, I can actually sleep. Sleep is replenishing. It’s healing and healthy. Anything that works for you to make sure you get the rest you need is a good thing. And remember, real, deep sleep brings fantastic dreams that can easily find their way into your book. Nothing is more important than creative ideas, right? So why risk giving up 1/3 of your creative life to stress and fretting over everything that needs to be done? Get your fair share of dreams!

There you go, 5 Tips to help writers or authors get through this scary, stressful final quarter of the year. Happy writing!

Write Brain.Left Brain

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Authors! Three Tips for Keeping Your Marketing Momentum

How do you keep the MARKETING love alive? We authors have a massive load on our shoulders! We have to work to pay the bills, take care of family, socialize occasionally with friends, write books and … Dum dum daaaaaa … promote and market them too. It’s a lot to ask of anyone, but asking an author who is basically creative to suddenly become an analytical and business-like person is sort of like asking a dog to be a cat two days a week.

Guess what? We have to do it anyway.

I’m sure you’ve all faced the dilemma of starting some kind of marketing strategy for your book and discovered that after some time (a few days or weeks or months) that fantastic strategy has sort of fizzled out. What’s an author to do? We don’t want to start from scratch but we can’t just stop marketing and promoting or demand for our next book will be next to nothing!  Catch 22? Nope, it’s just time to put on our thinking caps again.

Creativity is creativity and if you look at marketing and promoting your books as part of the whole creative process – rather than look to what other authors have done and try to imitate that for success (i.e. giveaways, FB ads, book marks and imprinted mugs) – you are sure to find the perfect formula for success that works for you and your book.

The reason most “tried and true” marketing strategies fizzle out so quickly is that they are basically overused. The prospective book buyer has seen them a thousand times. The key to keeping your marketing push alive, well and hopping is to keep it moving like a good boxer with great footwork.

Here are three tips to reboot your marketing efforts that won’t take a ton of time or energy, just a little creativity.

TIP NUMBER ONE – FIND A NEW ROUTE

It’s the ugly truth – your book is in the same genre and tapping into the same market as a thousand other books. You do what the most successful authors are doing, at least you try, but it always falls flat quickly.

This is a simple study in looking the other way, or in this case, ANOTHER way. I’ve always found that if everyone is taking a particular freeway at a particular time, it’s easiest on my gas tank and my nerves to simply take a different freeway.  Apply that to your marketing and everything gets a whole new light.

For example, if all the authors are slamming away on the newest trick of the day … giveaways or contests or scavenger hunts … you need to look at doing something they are not doing. In fact, this works best if it’s something they never even thought about doing.

Consider creating a high visibility promotion that includes publicity: a walk for cancer by zombie book lovers (in costume of course), or blood drive where vampire authors donate blood and attempt to reach a goal of a certain number of donors in a limited time. This kind of publicity gets noticed and if you are the author who created it, it also has long term positive ramifications as you move ahead in your writing career.

Have you thought about doing an event at a nurses group or meeting of the local garden club? Trust me, nursing and gardening aren’t all these groups talk about or all they do. These people like to read too. If you offer to do a reading and Q&A at a meeting of the local women’s club, they might jump for joy. These organizations are always looking for interesting subjects and speakers for their meetings. And while every other author in your genre is pounding away, trying to give a way a free book on twitter, you’re signing a selling fifteen or twenty books at the Ladies Auxiliary meeting right in your home town.

Looking elsewhere is always a great way to keep your sales hopping. When you go back to the regular grind of twitter and facebook, you suddenly have some really fun and interesting experiences to talk about.

TIP NUMBER TWO – CHANGE THE ODDS

Ever been to Vegas? Even if you haven’t, you know the odds and what they mean. If Dan Brown writes a book, everyone buys it. He has all the odds in his favor, a big publisher, extraordinary talent, high visibility thanks to his wonderful marketing and publicity experts, and fans by the boat loads. How are we supposed to stand against all that?

Simple. Change the odds. For example, even if your book touches on similar subjects, has a similar story and similar characters, SOMETHING about your book is different and extremely unique. The only way to battle something as formidable as the Top Ten Best Sellers of the World is to find your hooks and make sure they’re sharp.

Is your hook the unique character traits? Use them. If your main character is a cigar expert, you need to tap into the cigar industry. If s/he is into vintage clothing or fine whiskey, there are two more audiences. The magic of changing the odds falls under the category of cross marketing. If you can cross market your book to music teachers or coffee lovers or the home building industry because your story and primary characters are connected with that subject, you are tapping into a new market.

Here’s the kicker, it’s not only a new market to connect with, it’s the same market Dan Brown is tapping into. He’s just doing it as the author of a few best selling books. You are stepping into that arena as the author of a book that fits the reader’s personal interest. You’re doing this without an expensive publicist or big publisher, you’re doing this as you. AND it really does change the odds because now you can sit at the same poker table with any author in the world. Stepping into this cross marketing arena also feels and looks different than how all the other authors are trying to market, so it’s a great freshener for your strategies.

TIP NUMBER THREE – LOOK OUTSIDE

When you want to do some marketing, where do you look? At other authors, of course. It’s a great place to look, right?

Wrong.

Yes, other authors are doing what authors do and I’m not telling you to stop doing the tried and true marketing techniques. I’m simply suggesting that you look outside the publishing world for interesting and powerful ideas.

Did you notice a slogan on the passing exterminator’s van that caught your fancy? A billboard that used just the right push for the product? A radio or television campaign that you can’t forget. Marketing and promotion is going on all around us and there are some fantastic approaches to the market just outside the publishing world. Don’t have narrow vision, lift your head and look around.

If you take a week and keep a small note pad at your side, you will find yourself observing and jotting down cool ideas from all kinds of products and services. These concepts impressed and intrigued you. They sparked your imagination and made you smile. All you have to do is think them through and see if one of those kinds of approaches will work for your book. Maybe you can’t do a teaser promotion on the radio like you heard for the new Tide with bleach … but you can do something similar with teasers in your blogs, on twitter or facebook. If the fun event to raise money  for your local zoo can’t exactly work for your book, perhaps there’s an element of that event that you can implement for your own marketing.

All I’m suggesting is that you can seriously impact your marketing approach if you just step away from the computer screen and look outside. Marketing is happening all around you! Get influenced by some of the best of our time.

So, there you go. Three tips for keeping your book marketing momentum alive and vibrant. Give them a try and let me know what you come up with!


The Truth about the Holiday Writer

Writing during the crazy high holidays of Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas (or whatever ethnic or cultural winter solstice holiday you celebrate), New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day is a unique challenge. It’s nothing like Spring writing or Summer writing or early Fall writing. During those periods writers are inspired by the sun, the relaxation, cold libations and calm breezes. Life. Comfort. Free flowing creativity without distraction. Sigh

The crazies start before Halloween. Just seeing pumpkins and skeleton decorations affects me in not-so-good ways. My plots, characters and writing style braces to battle the hunger to let images of candy corn seep in. It gets worse as the Holidays progress. It’s simply not easy to plug a festive Christmas tree into an urban fantasy featuring double dead vampires plotting to survive purgatory in a West Hollywood warehouse. In other genres, I never seem to have my characters in the right place or state of mind to break out into Christmas carols or a fine rendition of “’Twas the Night before Christmas”. Can you imagine it? “Holiday Writer Wars – The Musical.”. Writing during these seasons is like traveling through the Orient and looking for a good burrito.

Plot, character and genre are not the only quandaries during all the distraction, either. Writers, like most adults with OCD, tend to overload our plates. Never mind those mad souls who take on NaNoWriMo during November, there are other insanities to add to our to-do lists. Holiday gift shopping, decorating, cooking and baking which of course are non-negotiable if you’re a social human animal, but there are a few other things that torment a writer.

Here’s the truth about the Holiday writer. He/she is obsessed with not compromising anything in their writing volume, quality or creativity just because ’tis the season. They are thinking ahead to the next year, adding writing/publishing/book sales goals to their New Year’s resolutions. They are learning everything they can to combat the competitive nature of being a good selling author … or they’re battling to gain agent representation, publishing contracts and establish platforms. None of this can slack just because the Holidays are upon us. And if we consider that this season really starts weeks before Halloween and ends on January 2 … that’s a full quarter of the year! The Holidays come every single year whether we have time for them or not. It’s part of life. Ancient cultures built their lives around ritual and celebration, so a small handful of writers aren’t going to change it … litigation is out of the question. But in truth there are only three ways to get through this.


One solution is to close shop, shut down and take the time off. Some people do need the time. Many writers begin the New Year charged and ready to set their keyboards afire after taking time away. They’re more productive, more creative, psyched and ready to take on the world. But I have heard that this ploy can backfire, especially if a writer is tentative, insecure, unsure or new, so option number one requires serious consideration.

The second way to deal is to ignore the Holidays. Yes, there actually are writers who do this, believe it or not. They Grinch up and snort at the world, focus on their computer screens and just plow ahead. Now, this might not be such a bad idea if you’re under a tight deadline of like … 90,000 words by January 15. Most people would understand that kind of pressure and probably even pitch in to help keep distractions away from you. But be careful. This particular approach can develop into a reclusive personality and you can forget getting even a Starbucks gift card next Christmas from your mother. There has to be balance.

The third and final possible solution is the one I use. I schedule everything. Obsessively, compulsively and with a watchful eye. I schedule fun and I schedule work. I schedule writing and planning and plotting a fantastic 2011, but I also schedule family time, cooking and baking time as well as leisure time to just smile and breathe. Today I get to put up my tree from 1 PM to 2 PM, then I must stop to write and plan an April workshop. Naturally I won’t get the tree finished in one hour, but I’ve scheduled time after dinner to decorate it with my roommate. Either way, I’ll have a tree to light and look at that I’d normally be scrambling to get up on Christmas Eve! I have tight deadlines (one of those January 15 deadlines on a new novel requested by my agent) but I also want to play with everyone else during the Holidays!

So, what are the compromises? I have to be careful. With a book coming out in March, I can’t slight anything too much. I tweet less, lighten up on my blogging schedule, teach no workshops between November and January. I Facebook only during the weekdays and … oh yeah, I actually go for a walk every day … outside the house … where there is fresh air! Honest! It’s funny, but I’ve discovered that if I do something like that it makes me feel better, feel productive and feel festive. Although, I do confess that I SO hate those blow up Holiday characters bobbing in the Santa Anna winds at just about every other house, but I do refrain from carrying a pen knife. Now I call that having the Holiday spirit, don’t you?

What do you do to battle the need to be productive amidst all the Holiday hubbub? What do you do to enjoy the season? How do you survive it?

Happy Holidays to every one of you! I’ll be back to blooging speed in January, ready to finish the Book Business Plan Series and start an all new series on Multi Level Book Promotions.

Until then, Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good WRITE!


10 Things to do … now that I no longer need to query

Yesterday morning I signed a contract with my (yippee!) wonderful new best friend and literary agent. At last, I have a champion! A knight in shining armor to do amazing things to help me reach the Holy Grail – PUBLICATION.

It seems like a dream come true, me and my book, Cold in California , are represented!

Cool huh? But … it sure didn’t happen over night. It took many more than 50 queries (that means more than 49 rejections and they’re still coming, lol), a complete deconstruction and rewrite of the entire novel, sleepless nights, genre exploration (is it an urban fantasy with a little romance or a paranormal romance with a little adventure?), massive agency and agent research, weeks of thinking and planning, writing and rewriting the query letter and seeking the courage to open returned mail from the agents I already queried.

This wasn’t my first time at the rodeo, either. Before Cold in California, I wrote, rewrote and queried a different novel. That process took two years but nothing about the experience was discouraging. Suggestions and rejections taught me to be tough and learn how to tighten my craft.

Now, it’s a strange and bizarre feeling, like suddenly the house has dropped in Oz. “Oh!” and stillness … not even the chirp of a bird or rumble of distant Los Angeles traffic. It’s a euphoric feeling that seems fragile. All day today I sat at the computer and had to push away feelings that I should research one more possible agent, tighten one more passage in the manuscript, find one more hour in the day to focus on getting representation. It’s done. It happened. But what am I to do now that I no longer need to query?

Well …

  1. I can banish the whole wheat penicillin growing in my refrigerator.
  2. I can plan meals and actually take time to cook them.
  3. I can collect the sock balls and dust bunnies and send them off to their own heaven or hell.
  4. I can focus on friends, socializing and enjoying myself, even spend more time talking on the phone with family back east.
  5. I can seriously look into the promotional ideas in my notebook (because as we all know we should have an ever handy notebook for promotional ideas as we write our book, right? See, I practice what I preach.)
  6. I can take Belly Dancing classes, since spending so much time at the computer has not only made me wider, but stiffer
  7. I can watch television. Really, there was a time I never watched TV, then I found I loved certain shows and over the past year, I discovered that even while watching those favorite programs, I was thinking of the book and querying. Now I can just relax and enjoy.
  8. I can sit in a chair other than my creaky old desk chair which has been trying to kill me … honest … I swear.
  9. I can take a weekend off! See, I almost never take a weekend. Ever. Saturdays and Sundays are just another work day for me. This weekend? Celebration in San Diego. Even though the weather prediction is rain, I’m excited to be getting out of traffic choked Los Angeles and visiting my less stressed friends down there.
  10. And finally … I can feel better. Less fearful. More confident as a writer.

The culture shock is mind boggling! I’ll enjoy this few days of  R&R then back to the grindstone. I can attack my the other writing projects, the next book in the Cold in California series and proposals for my non-fiction books. And of course, I’ll be back to totally enjoy working with my publicity clients who are all authors.

Just … not quite yet. For now I smile a lot, even laugh.

And when I look in the mirror I actually wonder if I look different, like a writer with an agent, a writer that much closer to just maybe becoming an author.


Recipes for Every Writing Project: The OMG it Happened Salsa!

Today I’m shouting on the mountain stops – well the tops of the Hollywood Hills – because something I’ve worked six long years to see has finally happened! To me! ME!

Last week I told you all that a literary agent had requested the full manuscript for my Paranormal Romance, Cold in California. I just got off the phone with that agent and he offered representation!

I have a champion! A knight in shining armor taking my book through doors I can’t get into! I have an agent!

THIS calls for something special and spicy and ubber celebratory! This is a wonderful recipe for those with a quirky sense of humor and adventurous pallet. It works beautifully with unsalted blue corn chips, a great dip for chilled large cooked shrimp and one of my favorite ways to enjoy this Grilled Grape Salsa, is to serve it warm over pan seared scallops or tilapia. Deeeeelish!

Grilled Grape Salsa

1 C Green Grapes, sliced in half long ways

1 C Red Grapes, sliced in half long ways

1 tsp. Olive Oil

½ C Pecans, rough chopped

3 Tbs. Cilantro, rough chopped

½ Large Red Onion, small diced

½ Large Red Bell Pepper, small diced

1-2 Jalapeño Peppers, seeded and small diced

1 Clove Garlic, minced

¼ tsp. Cumin

1 tsp. Sugar

2 Tbs. Cider Vinegar

1 Tbs. Lemon Juice

S&P to taste

Toss sliced grapes in olive oil and grill over medium heat on stove top grill or griddle (or in a large heavy pan) until skins are marked but grapes are still firm.

Place grapes in large mixing bowl and add all remaining ingredients. Mix and chill. Serve cold with chips or chilled cooked shrimp or heated over grilled chicken, pork or pan seared scallops or fish.

Variations

  • Substitute small chunks of grilled, fresh pineapple instead of grapes
  • Toss in ½ can black beans and ½ cup thawed frozen corn kernels
  • Add 1 cup shredded fresh carrots

Have some friends over and celebrate, because as they tell me … the real waiting starts now, LOL.


Recipes for Every Writing Project: Happy Dance Bites

You’ve sent out your queries and enjoyed the satisfaction of meeting a goal then BAMMM, an agent pops into your email box asks to see your full manuscript!

There are few words for how to describe the feeling. Hopeful? Excited? Validated? Ecstatic? Terrified? Well, maybe there are a lot of words to describe it, but the overall emotion is pretty darn good!

My suggestion? Invite your loyal supportive friends and readers over for a tiny celebration. It’s not winning the Super Bowl but it’s a milestone that deserves recognition. There’s nothing like a few snacks and glasses of wine or beer to get yourself ready to hunker down for the nail-biting wait ahead.

This recipe comes from a snack so old I can hardly remember the first time I tasted it. A friend’s great-grandmother used to make these in the old country (someplace in Europe, I honestly don’t think I ever knew but havarti is such a luscious Danish cheese, I suspect she was from somewhere in the Netherlands). My friend’s mother never cooked so when he became a chef, he liked to whip up Havarti Bacon Bites for the staff every now and again. Really delicious in an indulging yourself and gotta get to the gym that evening kinda way … but hey, getting a request for a full manuscript deserves a few unhealthy calories in my book!

Cheesy Havarti and Bacon Bites

1 Fresh Baguette

1 Onion, Diced

½ lb. Sliced Smoked Bacon (5-6 slices)

1 lb. Havarti Cheese

1 tsp. Fresh Rosemary, minced

Black Pepper to taste

1 T butter

Melt butter in sauté pan. Sauté onions until soft. Slice Baguette in half, long ways. Spread sautéd onions and slices of havarti cheese then sprinkle with black pepper and minced rosemary. Replace top of bread and place loaded loaf on baking sheet. Drape bacon slices at an angel over the top and around the sides of the baguette. Place in oven under medium broiler until bacon is crispy and cheese is melted.

Slice into 2” pieces and serve with a nice white wine!

Cheesy Bites Variations

  • Toss ½ lb salad shrimp inside with the Havardi before broiling and substitute Old Bay seasoning for the minced rosemary
  • Use Cheddar instead of Havardi
  • Try Swiss instead of Havardi and add ½ diced red pepper to the sautéd onions then wrap the baguettes in Pastrami instead of bacon

Enjoy!

Now, return to the keyboard and start writing your next book because something truly wonderful just may happen very soon!


Recipes for Every Writing Project: The Query Dance Empanadas

Query time! And here we all are, our faces shiny, big smiles, proud as peacocks and showing our stuff! It’s a tough process, getting ready to query. You have to rock out a fantastic book and rock it really well. You have to do all your homework to find not only the right agency to query for your particular genre or non-fic proposal, but the perfect agent to approach. You have to craft a flawless query letter, prepare all the variations of your pitch/synopsis imaginable then read every single agent’s submission requirements.

Whew, lots to think about, but when you’ve done it all, prepared everything perfectly and actually completed the process … there’s no way you won’t be starving.

You’ve done the dance, now reward yourself with a wonderful Mexican Empanada or three. Go sweet or go savory. Both are easy, quick to make and bake. I like short cuts occasionally, especially when a store bought product meets top standards, so I don’t make pastry crust dough, I buy it.

Now, appreciate your courage at taking the query step and enjoy something muy delicioso!

Sweet Cherry Banana Empanadas

2 pkg Pillsbury Pie Crust Dough (in the refrigerated section of the grocery store)

½ C Dried Cherries

½ C Chopped Pecans

4 Large Ripe Bananas

½ tsp ground cardamom

1 egg white plus 1 tsp cold water, whisked

Rest pie dough at room temperature for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Unroll pie crust on floured surface. Mix together mashed bananas, cherries, pecans and cardamom.

Cut pie dough into 4” rounds (use large round cookie cutter or a glass tumbler, whatever works). Place 2 T mixture onto each dough circle, fold dough over into half moon shape then seal by pressing fork tines at the edges. Place empanadas on baking sheet, brush lightly with egg/water mixture and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown

Cheesy Chicken Empanadas

2 pkg Pillsbury Pie Crust Dough (in the refrigerated section of the grocery store)

1 C Mexican Blend Shredded Cheese

1 C Shredded and Chopped Cooked Chicken

1 T Chopped Green Chilis

½ tsp Minced Garlic

1 T Minced Onion

½ tsp Ground Cumin

S&P to taste

1 egg white plus 1 tsp cold water, whisked

Rest pie dough at room temperature for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Unroll pie crust on floured surface. Mix together cheese, chicken, chilis, garlic, onions, cumin, S&P.

Cut pie dough into 4” rounds (use large round cookie cutter or a glass tumbler, whatever works). Place 2 T mixture onto each dough circle, fold dough over into half moon shape then seal by pressing fork tines at the edges. Place empanadas on baking sheet, brush lightly with egg/water mixture and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown

Enjoy!

Now, return to the keyboard and start writing your next book.