Southern Flair

Southern Flair
Always Look and Feel Fabulous!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Late Night Reading and Writing

Right now as I'm writing this post most of you are in bed getting a good night's sleep in preparation for the next day. You will rise early, get dressed, and rush out the door to work. That used to be my routine, too. But ever since 2006, when I quit my full-time job to pursue a writing career, my days have been long and my nights even longer.

I'm currently under deadline for my 8th novel, working feverishly to complete it. In the meantime, the page proofs for my 7th novel, Secret Indiscretions (July 28, 2015) arrived on my doorstep with a deadline of its own. So while I'm writing one book I'm proofing another. The page proof stage is important because its the last edit before publication, and I have to devote the proper time to it. Thankfully, I've finsihed my first "read through" and now I'll re-read it again in between my writing. It's also time for me to start promoting and marketing my book in order to get the word out and have a successful release. As you can imagine, it's a lot of work.

It's not unusual for me to work until 3:00 a.m., sleep until 7:30 a.m., and then work until 3 or 4 the next morning. This is my routine. Sometimes my heavy workload is tiring and frustrating, but it's also a blessing. I've been given a great gift-- I'm able to do what I love! There's not a day that goes by that I'm not thankful for it. Talk about a fabulous life!

I'm getting ready to jump back into my manusript and tangle with the colorful characters dancing around in my head!

Until next time, be fabulous!


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Books & Grits on Throw Back Thursday

There's nothing more Southern than grits. I love, love, love a good bowl of grits. They're warm, hearty, and they stick to your stomach and fill you up. I remember growing up my Grandma Allene (my maternal grandmother, God rest her soul) used to make the best grits, ever! I would gobble them down in record time. They were creamy and buttery with just the right amount of salt. Today I try to replicate my grandma's formula as best I can, and my grits turn out pretty darn good. But nothing beats my grandma's because she put her love into every bowl.

Eating a good bowl of grits reminds me of reading a good book. A good book with an interesting story line can warm you, fill you, and leave you satisfied, just like the coarsely ground corn kernels I love so much. I'm currently reading through the page proofs for my upcoming novel, SECRET INDISCRETIONS, which will be released July 28, and I started craving grits. As I was stirring them in the pot I started reminiscing about my grandma, and how much I miss her. She passed away when I was 16 years old, and the older I get the more I miss her. But I feel good knowing that she still lives on because her spirit is always with me, as well as the wonderful memories of great times we shared. One of the main characters in my novel, LOOKING FOR TROUBLE, was a wise old lady named Grandma Allene. She was fashioned after my grandma in many ways. Although my grandma didn't possess the gift of prophecy like the character in the book, she had the ability to guide her family with her love and wisdom.

I feel blessed on this Throw Back Thursday to know that I will always have a piece of my Grandma with me! 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Style on A Budget

I absolutely love shopping, and when I say I love it, I really mean it! I can shop from sun up till sun down and not get tired. I love shopping for clothes, shoes, make-up, housewares, cooking supplies, hair supplies, office supplies, groceries, you name it, I'm down for it! I'm the kind of shopper who doesn't have to have money to shop. That's right, I can window shop all day and enjoy myself. However, I do like to make purchases, and it thrills me to no end when I buy something at a great price.

But let's face it, shopping can add up, and for someone like me it can be costly because my taste leans toward high-end. I love quality and anything that sparkles catches my eye. However, this Southern Belle is also practical, and I know how to stretch a dollar until it screams. Even though I'm on a tight budget I refuse to forsake style or my beloved quality for price. If you're crafty and patient you can turn anything into a treasure.

These framed fashion pictures only cost me $4.35 each! They look super cute in my home office. Here's how I did it.
  • Matted frame from Michael's = 50% off plus an additional 20% coupon brought the price down to $4.
  • Fashion print = Free copied off the Net (can't remember which site, but Google "fashion prints")
  • Copies of prints = $.35 ea. at UPS Store for color copy on good quality stock paper
  • Silver paint = Free, I had leftover paint from a previous project and painted the frame and core of the matte.

Enjoy life and be fabulous!

An Apple A Day

The saying, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away," is very true. Eating a well-balanced diet that incorporates fruits, vegetables, protein and whole grains, contributes to a healthy body and promotes overall well-being. Last week I committed to incorporating fruit into my diet every day. So far so good, and with summer coming I'm looking forward to eating a host of tropical fruits.

Here's a picture of the fruit I'm currently eating. I love all kinds of fruits, especially bananas. But my favorite is watermelon, which I could eat year-round, and I can't wait until it comes into season. What's your favorite fruit?

Happy Eating!

Friday, March 20, 2015

How Writing Can Produce Blueberry Muffins

I'm currently under a writing deadline for my 8th novel. It's exciting, stressful, scary, exhilarating, and exhausting all wrapped into one. As I've stated many times, writing is a solitary endeavor that requires hours upon hours of uninterrupted time. Every writer has their own unique approach to their writing process, and they must establish a rhythm and environment that works for them. For me, it's important that I have an aesthetically pleasing environment (I love feminine things with bling) and it's got to smells good (I have a crazy amount of scented candles).

Two weeks ago I was in my office, typing away at my computer, when a sweet aroma tickled my nose. I'd lit a blueberry scone scented Yankee Candle and it smelled absolutely delicious. As the smell became more and more intense my stomach started rumbling. I was literally craving a blueberry scone. Well, I don't know how to make scones, but this certified Southern Belle knows how to make a mean muffin! Before I knew it I was in my kitchen pulling flour and sugar out the pantry, milk and eggs from the refrigerator, and a bag of frozen blueberries from the freezer. Then voila! Delicious homemade blueberry muffins.

The art of writing can produce great literature, but it can also produce delicious blueberry muffins!
    Delicious blueberry muffins
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2tbsp. baking powder (plus an extra pinch)
  • 3/4 cup sugar (plus 1/2 cup for topping)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg well beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups milk (I use skim milk)
  • 1 cup blueberries (use fresh or frozen)

Stir dry ingredients together. make a well in the center of the bowl and add oil, egg, and milk. Stir only enough to moisten the ingredients (too much stirring will cause tough, dry muffins). Lightly grease muffin pan and fill 2/3 with batter. Sprinkle sugar atop the batter. Bake in 425 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until muffin tops are golden. Serve warm and enjoy!
The sugar sprinkled on top adds a deliciously sweet crunch

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Gearing Up for a Summer of Hot Books!

Snow and frigid temperatures don't exactly go hand-in-hand with the South, but last month's Arctic blast threw everyone below the Mason Dixon Line for a loop. Thankfully spring is just around the corner, and no matter what part of the country you live in, you've got to be excited about that!

I have a feeling that spring will quickly catapult into summer, and if forecasters are right we're in for a hot one. I plan to enjoy the hot weather while reading some great books! Some of my favorite authors are releasing books in just a few months, and I can't wait. I'll be featuring author interviews with some of them right here on this very blog! Can you say, Woooohoooo!

I've included a small sampling of a few of the books I plan to read (and in some cases, re-read) this summer. Some are new while others have been out for a while, and all will be enjoyable. I'll feature more recommendations in a few weeks so stay tuned. In the meantime, I encourage you to pick up a few books, whether they're on this list or not, and spread the word to all your friends! Happy Reading!

The Ultimate Betrayal by Kimberla Lawson Roby

Bad Blood by Mary Monroe

Welcome to My Breakdown by Benilde Little

The Perfect Revenge by Lutishia Lovely

Driving Heat by Zuri Day

Miss Jessie's: Creating A Successful Business from Scratch--Naturally by Miko Branch

Baby You're the Best by Mary B. Morrison

Flea Market Fabulous: Designing Gorgeous Room With Vintage Treasures by Lara Spencer

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

God Help the Child by Toni Morrison

Friday, March 6, 2015

Good Food + Good Book = Fabulous

One thing about Southerners is that we love good food! A delicious meal feeds the soul, and just as we need nourishment for our body, we also need it for our mind. Reading a good book feeds the soul. I love savoring a good meal and capping it off with a good book. With winter winding down (come on springtime!) I wanted to share two of my favorite things--food and books.

Here's a quick and easy recipe for delicious Southwest Chicken Soup, and information about a good book (which happens to be my upcoming novel) Secret Indiscretions. I hope you will enjoy both!

Southwest Chicken Soup
1 tsp. olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely minced
2 cans chicken broth
Frozen or fresh corn
1 can black beans (rinsed and drained)
1 can whole tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes w/green chiles
2-3 cups shredded chicken 

Heat one tsp. olive oil in a pot. Add chopped onions and minced garlic. Saute until translucent (2-3 minutes). Add next 6 ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook for 20 minutes. Garnish with cheese, cilantro, and tortilla strips. Delicious!

Secret Indiscretions
Coming July 28, 2015- Click here to pre-order

Two couples, two unhappy spouses--one shocking solution. . .

Five years into her happy marriage, Geneva Mayfield is devastated to find that things have taken a turn for the worse. Her husband, Johnny, is suddenly hard to reach, distant, and works late too often for Geneva not to be suspicious. Is it because she's been pressuring him about having a baby? Feeling lonely and neglected, Geneva bonds with Samuel Owens, a colleague who is having marital trouble of his own. Soon, their relationship blossoms into an uncontrollable affair.

Bored with her husband, Samuel, and dead set against having a child with him, Vivana Owens is biding her time until she's ready to leave--and she's spending it with Johnny Mayfield. It's just a fling--until Vivana becomes obsessed with Johnny, especially once he tries to win back his wife. But affairs don't end easy--and soon one of the unfaithfuls will end up dead, one will end up in jail, and one just might get away with murder. . .

Happy Eating and Happy Reading...Stay Fabulous!
Trice Hickman

How Books Opened Up My World

Like many authors, my love of writing began with my love of reading. I've always been intrigued by the written word and the power it holds.

I grew up in a small Southern town in Eastern, North Carolina. There wasn't a lot to do and the cultural offerings (outside of my town's coastal charm) were slim to none. Books became my escape, and started my love affair with literature. Even at a young age I dreamed big dreams. I wanted to meet all kinds of people from different walks of life. I wanted to travel and visit exciting places. I wanted to sample different kinds of foods and customs. Essentially, I wanted to explore life, and I quickly discovered that books could help me do that. I would sit in my bedroom and travel, experience new adventures, solve problems, and meet new people--all without stepping out my front door. Books opened up my world.

Today I still love reading, and I'm blessed to be able to write books for a living. How awesome is that?! There's not a day that goes by that I don't give thanks for this blessing. I'm humbled by it, and thankful to God. In the coming weeks I'll be showcasing other authors on this blog who are also living their dreams, and who will share how they are doing it. In the process I hope their stories will inspire you to go after your dreams, too!

Until later, be fabulous!

Trice Hickman