Leonardo, My Hero

Leonardo da Vinci: a man of many talents and ambitions. Did he have ADD?


If Leonardo da Vinci was an American child in the 80s, 90s, or maybe even now, it’s a good chance he would have been diagnosed with ADD: Attention Deficit Disorder. Clinically, that means the person has a problem, that he has trouble concentrating and controlling impulses. To me, it just means his brain is working faster and over a wider spectrum than ‘normal’ folks. The standard remedy for this is medication. I don’t believe this lack of focus is a fault, but only a character aspect. And if it’s not broke, don’t (try to) fix it.
Leonardo is my hero. Whenever I get overwhelmed, I think of how much this guy did. And no, I don’t think he was, or needed to be, medicated. So what if he couldn’t/wouldn’t focus on whether he wanted to be a painter, mathematician, inventor, sculptor, cartographer (mapmaker), geologist, musician, engineer, writer… He still accomplished a lot in his short (67 years) lifespan.
Shoot! Sympathize with him? I identify with him! Do I want to be a gardener, author, publisher, photographer, create colorful memes, crochet, cross-breed roses, invent a fool-proof gopher/slug/deer deterrent, design web pages, crochet afghans or sweaters… How about all of them because I can’t/won’t focus, either.
I felt so strongly about the bad press ‘over-stimulated’ folks received that I – while in author mode – made sure some of my characters had the same trait.
Here’s an excerpt from Aye, I am a Fairy:
“You know, it may seem like I’m a bit hyper,” she said suddenly. “I mean, look at me; I’ve got at least five different projects going on here. But it’s okay. When I get bored or stumped with one, I just move on to the next one. Mom told me it was because I was ‘highly intelligent.’ She didn’t believe in all that attention deficit disorder stuff. She had the same thing going on when she was in school. She’d finish her work early, get bored and start doodling or daydreaming, and then miss what the teacher had just said. Her mother told those teachers that they weren’t going fast enough for her daughter, and if they wanted to really help her, they would give her something else to do when she was finished with the assignments. So, they let her go to the music room and play the piano. The music teacher showed her the basics. Mom took off from there with just a stack of music books to guide her. Man, she was motivated. She’d rip right through her schoolwork just so she could go do her thing in the music room. Her grades went up and, even though she never did anything with it, she learned how to play piano pretty well. Me, I just drew and doodled until high school. Then, once I started being home-schooled, I dropped the doodling and blasted through everything so I could go to college early, get my degree, and make enough money that I didn’t have to worry about bills.”
Oh, and I created a time traveler named Leonardo da Vinci the Elder for NAKED IN THE WINTER WIND, the first book I wrote in The Fairies Saga series. He’s not the same as his son, but quite the character, just the same.
Yup, writing novels doesn’t produce new hardy and unusual roses nor warm my lap like an afghan (unless my laptop overheats), but it does let me create a whole universe of people with literally hundreds of different temperaments and body styles. And I can put them in any part of the world or time of creation. My folks may lack social security numbers, but they will still raise a heart rate, bring a tear, or bring a chuckle from the readers.
And I couldn’t have done any of this if I had been able to focus.

Now, over to publisher mode: I (as Chill Out! Books) released two CHRISTMAS box sets this month. If life has settled into a new normal for you, kick back and enjoy eighteen holiday-themed romances. First is a set with NEW stories. Check out UNFORGETTABLE CHRISTMAS PROMISES.

Indulge in Romance!! NEW stories & only 99cents or read for free with KINDLE UNLIMITED

And a Christmas Gift for you from THE AUTHORS’S BILLBOARD: A free box set! Check out FESTIVE CHRISTMAS NIGHTS, the fifth book in the Fabulous Freebies Collection series.

Eight classic holiday love stories by six of THE AUTHORS’ BILLBOARD ladies: FESTIVE CHRISTMAS NIGHTS


HOME ALONE FOR THE HOLIDAYS by @PatriceWilton

While everyone is celebrating Thanksgiving dinners and Christmas with their family and friends, it is perfectly natural to feel a little down about the idea of being home alone. I join you in this feeling as I will be spending my holidays alone.

Home Along

 

Unable to change our situation doesn’t mean we can’t be happy, and it is up to us to be realistic and look for positive, uplifting ideas that we might enjoy. Remember, we don’t live in a Hallmark movie, so we must keep our expectations more grounded—even if that means turning off that channel for the holiday season, and to reach out to friends or make plans of our own.

 

I was reading on the internet before writing this article and they suggest that we focus on what we can do; not let our mind wonder back to the good times we had, but to move forward with ideas of our own.

Find others who are home alone

What makes you happy? Being around people? Do you know others who are on their own too? Gather friends for a dinner party, even if it’s not on the exact date. You can celebrate a day early or a day late and laugh and enjoy the moment. This is a great way to cheer up everyone who is home alone.

Indulge yourself—why not? Getting out for a few hours, or away for a few days can brighten any season. Go for walks in a park or along an ocean. Feel the breeze on your face, the scent of winter in the air. Speak with people, strangers or not. Look for things that make YOU happy. Book a weekend trip to a place you’ve always wanted to visit, go to a movie by yourself, or a little theater nearby to enjoy a live play, or listen to your favorite music. Try out a new recipe. Join a card group, or take up a hobby or sport that you have longed to do.

Make a Difference

Volunteer

Giving to others not only improves their lives, it will also improve yours. Volunteering helps us meet new people, learn a new skill, feel a part of the community, and gain confidence in our ability to try something new and different.

No matter what you choose, remember that it’s okay to be sad, but you owe it to yourself to be happy, too.

I wish you all a pleasant holiday season. Read a great book. Binge watch a new TV series. Get out and enjoy a nice day. Remember, you are not alone. Loved ones will always be a phone call away, thinking and missing you, too.

~  ~  ~

Don’t miss A CHRISTMAS COLLECTION, a 4-book set on sale for 99 cents.

A Christmas Collection

Also available: A SANTA TO KEEP, a sweet holiday story that will have you thinking you’re watching a Hallmark movie!

A Santa To Keep

 

Mulled Cider Muffins by @Donna_Fasano #Recipe #Foodies

Welcome to November! Last month, I posted a recipe for Mulled Cider and this month I’m giving you a recipe for Mulled Cider Muffins. Bakeries everywhere offer Apple Cider Donuts this time of year. These delicious dunkers are very popular. I wanted to take the idea and add a twist of my own. Why, you might ask… well, because fried donuts give me indigestion, and I wanted the flavor of apple cider in a baked muffin. Here’s what I came up with.

Mulled Cider Muffins

Please don’t skip the first step! When you reduce a flavorful liquid, it gives your baked good an even more intense taste.

Mulled Cider Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients for the Mulled Cider Reduction:

  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Ingredients for Muffins:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 10 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup mulled cider reduction

Ingredients for the Coating:

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 Tablespoon butter, melted
First, make the Mulled Cider Reduction. Directions:
  1. Place apple cider, star anise, cloves, and cinnamon in a small saucepan.
  2. Simmer on medium heat until reduced by half. You should end up with 1/2 cup of liquid.
  3. Remove the star anise and cloves from the mulled cider reduction and set the cider aside to cool.
Second, make the Muffins. Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 350° F. Spray muffin tins with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, add flour, baking powder, salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the cinnamon, and the nutmeg, and then whisk to combine dry ingredients. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream 10 tablespoons of the butter, the brown sugar, and 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. This will take about 4 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until fully incorporated. Beat in the vanilla extract.
  4. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until incorporated. Add the mulled cider reduction. When the cider is fully mixed into the batter, scrape the bowl to make sure all the ingredients are combined.
  5. Spoon the batter into prepared muffin tin, filling cups about 2/3 full. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. While the muffins bake, make the Coating. Whisk 1/4 cup of granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon together in a small bowl to combine. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a small pan over low heat. Allow the muffins to cool for 5 minutes after baking. Then, brush them with the melted butter. And then dredge the muffins in the cinnamon sugar while they are still warm. Serve immediately.

Apple Cider Muffins

Enjoy!

I have several books that sell for 99¢. Click on the cover to learn more information about the book. Thanks!

An Honorable Man

Book 1 of The Black Bear Brothers Series

A Beautiful Stranger

Book 1 of A Family Forever Series

Mountain Laurel

The Perfect Autumn Romance! If you enjoy light, entertaining Hallmark movies, then you will love Mountain Laurel.

Cooking In All Directions

If you love delicious down-home recipes, then this cookbook is for you.

 

Who’s Your Dream Lover?

Every author has a visual image of her characters in her head. If she finds the right words, her readers will see whom she sees, too.

Okay, that’s a perfect world. If books did it all, no one would ever go to the movies. Many times the visual I have in my head of a hero or villain is attached to someone I know or a celebrity. I have to admit, Blake Shelton was my inspiration for Benji, THE GREAT BIG FAIRY.

A younger Blake Shelton as Benji, The Great Big Fairy (time traveler).

I needed someone tall, blue-eyed, red-haired, and with dimples. Well, Blake Shelton is three out four…or four out of four if a box of Nice ‘N Easy is thrown in. And my Benji loves to sing. Would that make Blake a five out of four?

Pierce Brosnan as Marty Melbourne aka DANCES NAKED.

Pierce Brosnan’s rugged look here would be a great example of a 21st-century gentleman, stuck in the 18th-century backwoods, without access to a razor or a barber.

Do you have a movie star doppelganger to your book hero? Leave comments below. Maybe we share the same one.

The FIRST Cozy Mystery Box Set by The Authors’ Billboard!

Murder is to Die For

Four NEW stories