Friday, January 28, 2011

The Sextet Update

Here's the latest news from The Sextet--We got our official offer notification yesterday by emails AND our anthologies will be available in print (with about a 5-month lag time), as well as ebook format! We're all sooo excited!

More good news--I have stories done and submitted for Volumes 1 & 2, story ready to submit for Volume 4, stories ready to be edited, polished, then critiqued for Volumes 3 & 6, and I'm about 4K in on the story for Volume 5.

I've also registered for RWA National Conference 2011, booked my flight, and made hotel reservations. This is shaping up to be a very good year!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With a Kick!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wednesday's Recipe--Chicken Ranch Dip and Artichoke Dip

I started working on a new Sextet story yesterday. I have to thank my book group for the inspiration. We had our monthly meeting Monday evening, and I received such positive encouragement, congratulations, and well wishes on my first sale. These women LOVE books, so they've been genuinely interested in my journey to publication. Thanks, ladies!

I signed up for snacks this month for book group. Here are two tasty dips I took:

Chicken Ranch Dip

4 1/2 oz. can of white meat chicken or 2 chicken breast tenderloins, cooked and chopped
2 tablespoons margarine
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
8 oz. cream cheese, softened (I use Neufchatel)
2 teaspoons ranch dressing mix (about 1/4 envelope)
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Saute onion in margarine. Combine all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Blend well. Transfer to oven-safe dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Serve with crackers or chips.

Artichoke Dip

1 can artichokes, drained and chopped
1 cup mayonnaise (I use light)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Transfer to oven-safe dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Serve with crackers or chips.

I usually double both recipes. Yummy!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With a Kick!

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Morphing Subplot

I'm thrilled to say...The Morphing Subplot is finished!!! I did a bit of polishing on the first draft and sent it off to a couple people for critique and feedback. The wait will be difficult, but in the meantime I'll start thinking about a real title. Nothing, absolutely nothing tried to form in my brain the entire I was writing it. That NEVER happens. On the other hand, I've also never had a story tell itself to me quite the way this one has. Six months from start to finish, while I worked on five short stories/novellas for The Sextet. I accomplished a lot since July :) And I've just started.

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With a KIck!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Staying Ahead of the Game

As of today, Volumes 1 & 2 of The Sextet Anthologies are off to our editor at Siren--ahead of deadline!!! I need to edit and polish the story for Volume 3, and Volume 4's story is ready to go! I also critiqued a short story and have worked on editing The Morphing Subplot today. My word count is now almost 91K for the story that still makes me cry. Don't feel bad. It's a good thing :)

Back to writing!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With a Kick!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wednesday's Recipe--Light Seedless Rye Bread

A quick update on The Sextet anthologies before I get to the recipe--We have deadlines and release dates for eight volumes this year, beginning in May! I'm so thrilled to be working with this awesome group of writers. Love you, Ladies!!!

Time for more comfort food. Icy roads this morning and 3-6" of snow in the forecast for tonight and tomorrow. I tried this recipe for the first time today and loved the results. Give it a try!

Light Seedless Rye Bread

2 cups very warm water (115 degrees)
1 teaspoon dry yeast
2 tablespoons molasses
2 1/2 - 3 cups whole wheat flour
2 1/2 - 3 cups rye flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil

Combine water, yeast, and molasses. Let stand until slightly foamy (about 1-2 minutes). Stir in 1 1/2 cups each wheat and rye flours until smooth. Cover and let stand 30 minutes. Stir in salt and olive oil. Add 1 cup each wheat and rye flours. Mix well. Turn onto floured (wheat or rye) board and knead in enough remaining flour to make a smooth non-sticky dough. Place in oiled bowl, turn dough to oil top, and cover. Let rise 1 hour. Punch down. Roll into a 9"x12" rectangle. Beginning on 12" side, roll tightly into a loaf, pressing seam and ends to seal. Place on oiled baking sheet. Cover and let rise 45 minutes. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.


Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With a Kick!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Details, details

I'm still floating on the first-sale cloud, but I can't let that slow me down. Yesterday was all about writing, editing, and filling out cover art questionnaires. Yes, questionnaire has an "s" at the end. The Sextet's editor wants 5-7 volumes this year!!! So my first sale is also my second, third, fourth, ... Well, you get the idea. Thankfully, we were counting on a multiple book deal and I've already completed five stories. Two are ready to go, I'm upping the word count on another, and need to edit the last two and the one I'm adding to. We have themes for volumes 6 & 7. After I finish 3, 4, and 5, I'll get to work on those. Oh, and did I mention I'm still writing 90K contemporaries??? LOVE this gig!!!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With a Kick!

Friday, January 14, 2011


I got THE CALL today!!! Actually, Paige Matthews of The Sextet got the call and called the rest of us. Paige, Cheryl Brooks, and I sold our first novella anthology as part of The Sextet! The other members are Ginger O'Brien, Annie Morgan, and Geni McGrath. I'm so excited to be working with this wonderful group of writers. Check out our website!!!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With a Kick!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wednesday's Recipe--Vegetable Soup

All the snowy winter weather makes me want to hibernate with my laptop and comfort food. The laptop part is a good thing since my writing goals for January include finishing a short story, a novella, and The Morphing Subplot. As of this evening, the novella is done and ready for editing and polishing so I can send it off to Cheryl Brooks and Paige Matthews--my cohorts on this project.

Ah, comfort food. I love soups, stews, and breads in the winter. One of my favorites is Vegetable Soup. Serve with some fresh Italian bread for a warm and satisfying meal.

Vegetable Soup

1/3 lb. lean beef (I like to use eye of round)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 ribs of celery, chopped
2 medium carrots, sliced
3 medium potatoes, cubed
1 cup fresh, frozen, or canned green beans
1/2 cup fresh, frozen, or canned corn
1/2 cup fresh, frozen, or canned peas
1/2 cup fresh, frozen, or canned lima beans
1/2 small head of cabbage, chopped
1/2 teaspoon unseasoned meat tenderizer
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
salt and pepper to taste
6-8 cups of water

Place the meat in a medium soup pot and sprinkle with tenderizer. Let stand 10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and stir. Cook over medium heat for 4-6 hours, stirring occasionally. Remove meat and allow to cool enough to handle. Shred the meat and return to the soup, mixing well. Makes about 8-10 servings.
*Note--Can also be made in a crockpot. Cook 6-8 hours.

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With a Kick!

Monday, January 10, 2011

All Caught Up?

Have I finally caught up with life? Probably not, but the holidays are over and I have fewer demands on my time. I can adjust the priorities a little to include blogging again..

Last year was a very good writing year. I wrote a total of 340,307 words, averaging 1004 words a day for the 339 days I wrote. I finished 2 manuscripts, 3 short stories, and 1 novella. Yes, several of the WIPs got neglected, BUT in July at the RWA National Conference, several chapter sisters and I decided to join forces to form The Sextet. We're writing erotic romance short stories and should be submitting our first anthology to an editor very soon. Along the way, three of us discovered we write a bit faster than the others. Our first set of trio novellas was submitted yesterday! Hopefully, this means my goal of a first sale only missed 2010 by a few weeks or so. No agent yet, but to be honest, I've been concentrating much more on writing the past several months. I do have a website under construction, so many of my goals from last year have been accomplished.

The best part of getting caught up was realizing how much I LOVE to write!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With a Kick!