Traci Hall

About Traci Hall

With an impressive bibliography in an array of genres, USA Today bestselling author Traci Hall has garnered a notable fan base. She pens stories guaranteed to touch the heart while transporting the reader to another time and place. Her belief in happily ever after shines through, whether it’s a romantic glimpse into history or a love affair for today.

Candy Cane Cookies

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Good morning readers! I have been seeing some pretty amazing cookie recipes going around, and creative bakers getting their treats ready for holiday gifting—which made me remember baking cookies with my mom. As in, she did most of the work, lol. She would buy a pretty plate to put her cookies on and green or red plastic wrap. Fudge, sugar cookies, wedding balls, thumbprints with raspberry or apricot jam—but my very favorite was a candy cane cookie, which was red and white ropes of cookie dough twisted and shaped to look like a candy cane. They were so cool!

I regret not making these for my kids—however, I am now a grandma, and so I need to brush off my baking skills. I’ll be starting with this recipe…

Christmas Candy Cane Cookies Recipe

  • 1 cup real butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Red food coloring gel
  • 2 tablespoons finely crushed peppermint candies
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  1. In a large bowl, beat together butter, both sugars, both extracts, and egg on low, just until combined. Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt.
  2. Divide dough in half, making sure you have 2 equal portions. Add red food coloring gel to half of the dough until the desired color is reached. Wrap each portion of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerated for 3-4 hours.
  3. In a small bowl, combine peppermint candy and 2 tablespoons sugar. Set aside.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  5. To make a candy cane cookie, take 1 level teaspoon of each dough. Roll each teaspoon into a 5″ rope (use a ruler, if necessary). Place one red and one white rope next to each other and begin twisting the two colors together, while pressing ends together so that they won’t unravel.
  6. Place on an ungreased baking sheet, curving the top to one side to form the look of a candy cane. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately sprinkle cookies with the sugar/peppermint mixture.
  7. Move cookies to a wire rack to finish cooling.

This recipe adapted from the Betty Crocker Original Candy Cane Cookie recipe and copied from this website:

https://homecookingmemories.com/candy-cane-cookies-recipe/

Do you have a family favorite you’d like to share? My other fave was a deep fried dough sprinkled with powdered sugar that my Russian grandma used to make. Hmm. I might need to go hunt down that recipe too. Happy holidays!

Cheers,

Traci

Traci Hall

With an impressive bibliography in an array of genres, USA Today bestselling author Traci Hall has garnered a notable fan base. She pens stories guaranteed to touch the heart while transporting the reader to another time and place. Her belief in happily ever after shines through, whether it’s a romantic glimpse into history or a love affair for today.

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Time to recharge!

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In the past few weeks I have made a concerted effort to take a day off. When you work for yourself it is really hard to say no to a project, or to cut yourself some slack on a deadline. Because my S.O. and I live together, and work together, and travel together, we are always…together.  In an apartment less than 600 square feet. When things are stressful it is hard to remember why the heck you fell in love with someone who leaves their shoes (me, lol) all over the apartment. So, we implemented a scheduled day where we celebrate being friends, lovers, and don’t talk about business. It’s a day for dreaming and talking without any of the angst of the week. It has been trans-formative. Not expensive, either. We use Groupon and Yelp for meals, we had free movie tickets, we drove to Naples because I’d never been there. South Florida is gorgeous this time of year and we both love being outside. Now that the holidays are coming, we are taking extra care to enjoy family and friends—because that is what matters most.

Love, baby, love.

What do you do to recharge? Share below–if you feel like it, lol–I am nosy and like to know what other people do to re-set.

Have a great day!

Traci

Traci Hall

With an impressive bibliography in an array of genres, USA Today bestselling author Traci Hall has garnered a notable fan base. She pens stories guaranteed to touch the heart while transporting the reader to another time and place. Her belief in happily ever after shines through, whether it’s a romantic glimpse into history or a love affair for today.

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How to keep your sanity in a crazy world!

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How to keep your sanity in a crazy world—by Traci Hall

As crazy as 2017 has been for the world, it’s been a mixed bag of emotions for me, personally. I am now at 13 By the Sea books. In 2014, I planned for 12, which I finished in March, to give me a solid and realistic look at my spot in the contemporary romance indie pubbing world. This has meant recreating covers, redoing interior book design, and tightening my newsletters with the right links and calls to action.  For two and a half years I’ve focused on this one project, and for the last three months, I’ve been taking it apart, seeing what works, and putting it back together again. This is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. Sink or swim.

After years of keeping my head down at my desk, it was time to take part of life outside my laptop. There was the FRW cruise; I signed on with an agent that understands what I want from my career; we joined the Chamber of Commerce to promo By the Sea; had lunch with patient and understanding friends. Christopher and I spent six weeks in San Diego to welcome the birth of Kennedi, and I went two weeks prior to that. We’ve known people impacted by Harvey, our entire state was covered by Irma, and we had to put down our beloved Benny. My son moved to Colorado, my daughter got married and I gained a son-in-law in addition to my granddaughter. I was able to reconnect with family I thought would be out of my life. It has been one of the tightest financial years ever—but we have the freedom to work from anywhere, which has allowed us to be with the people we love, when they need us.

Shootings, politics, Mother Nature, people really suffering without power and food, or shelter. Sickness, death. Some days I don’t want to check the news. We don’t have television, so I need to actually look for what is going on—and there are times when it is too much.

What to do? Everyone is different, but here are some real tips that work for me when things get overwhelming.

  1. As simple as it seems, you need to breathe. Be conscious of your breaths as they fill your lungs and your body, and feel the release as you exhale.
  2. Hot tea with lemon. The citrus zest is comforting, rejuvenating—sometimes I add a little honey, but not always.
  3. Watch a comedy. These days it doesn’t even have to be a full-length movie. You can watch funny videos or memes. Go to YouTube and search funny cat videos. Instant mood-lifter.
  4. Give yourself permission to turn off the news. It is important to be aware of what is going on, yes. What to do about it? You can’t fix everything, so start small. Go through your closet, and donate clothes. Choose a reputable charity and send in five dollars, if that is what you can do…the amount is not important. Say a prayer—if you don’t believe in a higher power, then send mental good wishes toward those in need.
  5. And last on my list here is, you got it, read a book. I like my happy-ever-afters.

I’d love to hear what you do to beat the blues!

Traci

PS–want to see those covers we’ve redone? check out the By the Sea series page on Amazon!  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MZ5UV9H/?tag=communitybooks8-20

Traci Hall

With an impressive bibliography in an array of genres, USA Today bestselling author Traci Hall has garnered a notable fan base. She pens stories guaranteed to touch the heart while transporting the reader to another time and place. Her belief in happily ever after shines through, whether it’s a romantic glimpse into history or a love affair for today.

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Reading versus Listening

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Like most of us, I am busy. Sometimes so busy that I can’t read. My job is writing stories. Editing stories. Reading stories. It used to be that relaxing meant curling up with a good novel and a cup of tea, or wine, and delve into another world. Now, because of my constant eye on the screen, I just can’t relax by picking up a book. I am so grateful for Audible, and audio versions of books I’ve wanted to read.

My goal for 2017 was to read more, to connect more with what is out there. Audio books have allowed me to do that. My favorite stories are historical fiction…of the last 10 books I’ve listened to, 8 of them have been historical. I love Christopher Moore–the Serpent of Venice. Alyssa Maxwell and her Newport murder series, Julia Quinn, Margaret Atwood, David Morrell. Right now I’m listening to Amy Snow by Tracy Rees.  I love a little mystery, and listening allows me to turn off my inner editor. Although sometimes I will make a note to self regarding a sentence, and how it could be stronger in the narration. Usually I am too caught up in the story to notice, which is nice.

The bad part for me with audio is not being able to turn back to a page that might be confusing. You can’t just put it down to pick right back up again when people insist on talking to you, lol. You need headphones, which can drop into the sink when you aren’t paying attention. The terrific part is that I listen when I exercise, so sometimes I do an extra lap to find out what happens next.

Do you have a favorite way to get your story fix? I love the story. I love being carried away, and I will do whatever I must to satisfy that craving!!!!  I have a few free downloads to offer for my first contemporary romance, Ambrosia by the Sea. If you’d like one, or to try out the first book in the series, email me at traciella@aol.com

Traci

www.tracihall.com

 

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Traci Hall

With an impressive bibliography in an array of genres, USA Today bestselling author Traci Hall has garnered a notable fan base. She pens stories guaranteed to touch the heart while transporting the reader to another time and place. Her belief in happily ever after shines through, whether it’s a romantic glimpse into history or a love affair for today.

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Almost a grandma!

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Next month, I will be in San Diego for the birth of my first grandchild–I knooooowww, right? I’ve barely adjusted to having the supposed empty nest and now there is a new change coming. I am thrilled, excited, proud of my daughter, and I really can’t wait to meet this new person in our lives.

This little girl will be her own unique individual with her own wants and dreams and goals and to watch it from a step back, with my daughter becoming a mother, is amazing. Des is way more prepared than I ever was–I had that book, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” but she’s got a bunch of apps on her phone that give daily updates as to what the baby is doing, what she looks like, how much she weighs–my favorite was when my daughter texted me that her baby was now the size of a pineapple. There are 4D ultrasounds that show hair and the shape of the mouth. The tiny pinky, and the little legs. It’s an incredible time that makes me feel the blessings of love and family even more deeply.

The women in our family are strong–and now we have another link in the chain! Times have changed for sure, but being a mom at any stage is still really cool. My mom is now a great grandma, and my grandma a great, great grandma–though they will both agree that they were great before, lol

With strong women comes strong personalities, which means that I never run out of ideas for strong female characters!  I hope your summer is as full of blessings as mine has been,

xo

Traci

 

Traci Hall

With an impressive bibliography in an array of genres, USA Today bestselling author Traci Hall has garnered a notable fan base. She pens stories guaranteed to touch the heart while transporting the reader to another time and place. Her belief in happily ever after shines through, whether it’s a romantic glimpse into history or a love affair for today.

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Rainy Days

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I love the rain–and since I am in South Florida during storm season, it’s a good thing. Thunder and lightning mean that my furbabies are at my feet while I type. When not totally freaking out, they are napping. Snoring. Which makes me want to curl up with a book and a blanket. Sometimes rainy days are super productive. The sound of the rain works like a soundtrack to block out the world.

Today, I just can’t concentrate–what plot line? What word count? Forget the edits–I want to watch a movie. In fact, my horoscope today said to examine what work is important, and why I am working…maybe a big bowl of popcorn is in my immediate future and the epic Gone With the Wind.

What would you do, given the choice? Force a few more half-hearted pages, or shut down the computer…

Tomorrow is another day!

Traci

Traci Hall

With an impressive bibliography in an array of genres, USA Today bestselling author Traci Hall has garnered a notable fan base. She pens stories guaranteed to touch the heart while transporting the reader to another time and place. Her belief in happily ever after shines through, whether it’s a romantic glimpse into history or a love affair for today.

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Reading, reading, reading

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I was a reader way before I was a writer–but not by much. My mom saved my first illustrated story about the fictional character Tracie (instead of Traci) and her pet ant named Blip. I think I was six…it wasn’t a blockbuster but it had a beginning, a middle and an end. My ant looked like a baked potato–which is why I never pursued art.

In Stephen King’s On Writing, he is adamant that in order to be a good writer, you need to read. I think that because I write, and edit, I’d lost track of reading for enjoyment–audible really helps with a different way to get that story in! But for 2017 I made a promise that I would read again. Actual print books mixed with what I’ve got on my Kindle.

I forgot how much I love devouring a story. Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl and Sharper Objects–wow. The gorgeous sentence structure, the characterization and, oh yeah, subject matter, all are on point. I’ve read The Road, Cormac McCarthy, an awesome tale of dark hope. I’ve started Elizabeth Chadwick, The Greatest Knight, oh, and I’ve read Magdalen Girls by V.S. Alexander, a timely historical about the Catholic Church and the girls in the laundry–this book takes place in 1960 ish, and is climbing the charts.

What I thought might be a tough thing to follow through on has been a rediscovery and a delight. What books are you reading? Is that how you “escape” after a hard day?

Happy Tuesday, readers,

Traci

www.tracihall.com –read by the sea

 

Traci Hall

With an impressive bibliography in an array of genres, USA Today bestselling author Traci Hall has garnered a notable fan base. She pens stories guaranteed to touch the heart while transporting the reader to another time and place. Her belief in happily ever after shines through, whether it’s a romantic glimpse into history or a love affair for today.

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The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

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How many of you are theme park enthusiasts? Despite living in South Florida, it wasn’t until last year that I bought a season resident pass. This is a significant savings if you plan on going more than once, or to multiple parks. The year runs 12 months from the point of purchase rather than January to January. We chose Universal instead of Disney because of Harry Potter 🙂

The books are amazing, the movies are fabulous but the theme park takes it all to another level and makes it real. I am not big on rides and roller coasters are definitely out but the interactive wands and people watching are worth every (expensive) penny. The fire breathing dragon over Gringotts bank/ride expels flame every ten minutes.

We ate cottage pie and drank wizard brew at The Leaky Cauldron, where the wooden timbers of the tavern were all slightly askew. The wooden chandelier slowly rotated above the long dining hall tables. Of course there was butter beer (best frozen, in my opinion) and fish pie (that I didn’t eat but friends said was good) and toad in a hole. You could buy everything in Diagon Alley from wizard robes to wands to chocolate frogs. It was my third time this year and the magic remains–it is just as fun watching other people’s jaws drop with amazement as they pass behind the brick wall into another world as it was feeling that first-time joy. Well done, JK and Universal!

https://www.universalorlando.com/Theme…/Wizarding-World-Of-Harry-Potter.aspx

So–are you a theme park person? Disney, or Universal? Roller coasters, or simulation rides?

Share your stories in the comment section!!

Traci

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Traci Hall

With an impressive bibliography in an array of genres, USA Today bestselling author Traci Hall has garnered a notable fan base. She pens stories guaranteed to touch the heart while transporting the reader to another time and place. Her belief in happily ever after shines through, whether it’s a romantic glimpse into history or a love affair for today.

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