Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Cookies are less fattening in Canada, eh?

At a recent ARWA meeting a friend gave me 3
wonderful GF cookies
Produced in the US these cookies which are truly delicious have stick on nutrition guides to make them bilingual for Canada's markets. After pulling the sticky off to get into the package (they are individually packed) I noticed a discrepancy between the US and Canadian nutrition labels.

Amazing - the cookie lost 60 calories and 8 grams of carbs by simply crossing into Canada! Go figure.  It's skinnier to take your cookies north to Canada, eh? The other two flavours also had similar reductions.

I am sure there is some logical explanation, but it was disconcerting to see that the original calorie count was so much higher than at first look.

Watch of for those WOW cookies. Enjoy them but be aware, they may not be exactly what they say they are.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


This tasty gluten free cookie is adapted from one of my favorite recipes that used regular flour.  I substitute a gluten free flour mix and add 3/4 tsp of Xanthan gum. It works like a charm.


Step one: Cream together 1 cup of shortening, 2/3 cup of fancy molasses and 1/2 cup of brown sugar
Step two: In a separate bowl combine:
       3 cups of GLUTEN FREE flour mix, 1 tsp ginger, 1 tsp salt, 2 tsp Baking Soda Mix well.
Step three: Gradually work the flour mixture into the wet mixture. At the end, you may use your hands to knead it together.
Step four: Shape the dough into a roll, place on plastic wrap and make it into a log.
Step five: Place the log flat in the freezer for a few hours or up to a few weeks.

NOTE: The dough is malleable, glossy and tasty but stays together for rolling by hand. (It should not stick to your skin.)


PREHEAT oven to 375F Cut the frozen dough into thin slices, place on cookie sheet and bake for @8 minutes. Allow to cool partially before removing from the cookie sheet.

OPTION: Chill the dough for an hour or so in the fridge, roll out and cut with cookie cutters. Tricky to handle but it can be done.

PS This recipe came from Mary Grace Reid, my mother, who was well known in the family as a baker, a pie maker and butter-tart creator.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

November 2, 2013

After 28 days away, getting re-oriented to home life takes time. You all know what I'm talking about: laundry, laying in fresh groceries, rounding up dead house flies, chatting with the neighbours- the usual.
     However, today is the day for getting back to work on my manuscript (as opposed to viewing research pictures and notes and considering the ambiance felt while visiting the story locale.) I am resisting washing my floors as a preferable option to writing. I know that once I start I'll be in love with my characters and their stories and be able to continue easily. It's the getting started that's tricky.
     As much as I love being a writer, there are times when I balk at starting the task. Not sure if it's fear (my story may be terrible), laziness (it's so much work, so many hours required to finish), or pure procrastination (tomorrow is a better day to start.)  Maybe it's simply that 28 days interrupted the habit of writing everyday allowing a new habit of not-writing to get established.
     Whatever it is, today I am just going to DO IT! and get back the writing habit.
     What side-tracks do you follow when you know you really want to write or paint or quilt or dance or...?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Writer’s Platforms usually include Twitter. For months, a year in truth, I avoided Twitter. My Tech-savvy advisors within ARWA, my writing group, encouraged me to try, told me it was easy, fun, informative and great for networking, keeping up with writing industry buzz and truly easy. (Yes I intended to double up on the “easy” part of the advice.)

Recently I set aside half a day and took the plunge. First I went to UTube and researched “how to use Twitter” and other related topics. I watched the top three or four ‘bits’ on the resulting list and found out my advisors weren’t exaggerating the ease of it all.

Into Twitter I went and immediately backed out of the site. One more question. The simple request for an account name and on line name threw me. I know, sounds like a simple item. My thoughts went something like this: Account name? Should that be my real name? Is a legal issue? Does the account name show on the post and site? (YES, it does.) Of course, it may have been the simple panic of a near-ludite user. The online name was easier. It would be my writing name.

A quick email to my resource, Lorraine Paton (@patonlorraine), another search on UTube and I had my answers. My account name is Mahrie G. Reid and my “handle” or onsite name is @MahrieGReid.

It’s only been a few days and already I’m loving it. For now, following and learning are taking precedent. The information links are amazing. Two links to blogs/websites I found helpful follow.

-          writersinthestorm.wordpress.com In particular there is an article on hooking readers with the first line of your book. See “How to Hook your Readers” in the list of most recent blogs on the right hand side of the Home page.

-          http://joanneguidoccio.com On the Road to Reinvention – Her blog on BoomerLit introduced me to a new, exciting market for more mature writers and readers.

The writing industry is changing and evolving. Get used to it, embrace the processes and TWITTER ON!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Picking a pen-name - considerations and pitfalls.

The journey to published writer has more steps than any beginner can imagine. Writing a book, editing a book and finding a publishing home for the book is only the beginnning. Each of those steps has sub-categories, but I'm not going there today. The steps I am currently struggling with are public face and promotion. I do so hoping other newbies out there will avoid some of my glitches.

If an author is going to publish under their "daily" name, the first step is simplified. Authors who choose to use a pen-name have an extra step. You could use your maiden name, mother's maiden name, yours or your husband's middle name as last name or you could make up an entirely different name altogether.

One much-published author (Judith Duncan) told me years ago that using your own first name can be helpful if you plan to attend conferences and other public events. That way, when someone speaks to you in the middle of a crowded room, you recognize your name and respond. Step one decided for me. Mahrie is my first name, published and un-published.

I then worked though the issues of a last name. After internal debating and external discussions with family members (remember your last may also be theirs), I went with my maiden name: Reid.

I missed the next step. I did not search the web for entries with the name Mahrie Reid. The Reid is more or less the Scottish version of Smith, so I knew it would be out there. However, Mahrie isn't the most common spelling of Mary. Imagine my consternation when I searched the combination and found  6,930 returns.

In the first eight pages only three were references to me (plus one photo). The name appeared in locations around the world and in at least four languages. In the first three pages most references were to a very prolific film producer. I wish my name-doppelganger well.

As you can see by my blog header, my solution is to add a middle initial. I chose G because although it does not stand for my real middle name, it represents other names connected to my present, my school years and my mother.

When you are a baby, you have no choice of name. When you get set to publish, you have a choice.
Choose wisely and do your reasearch before creating your public profile. May your name stay with you as publish and prosper.

Write ON