Wednesday, April 20, 2011

"I'm a Rock Star!"

I wanted to talk a little today about my 'day job," which is working as an Administrative Law Judge. Fancy title, eh? Not so fancy job, though. What I do is conduct administrative hearings for people who have appealed an adverse decision made on their public assistance cases. For instance, someone is turned down for not meeting the definition of disability for a government medical assistance program. They file an appeal and I hold a hearing and determine if they did or did not meet that definition. That's just one example, there could be hundreds more.

What does this have to do with my writing? Even though the hearings are for government assistance programs I deal with people of all economic classes. If a hearing is held for an elderly person in a nursing home, they might be represented at the hearing by their adult children or even an attorney. Because of the wide range of people that I might work with, I have learned so much about the different class levels and can incorporate this into my writing work.

I suppose at this point I should introduce my disclaimer. I have never written about, or will ever write about anyone specifically that I have dealt with during my 25+ years of working in social services. Everything I do is considered confidential and I cannot discuss it with anyone outside of my co-workers.

That being said, it doesn't mean that I cannot use what I have observed in meeting with people. Don't we all do that with anyone we meet? The current manuscript that I'm working on is about a middle-class girl who meets and falls in love with a millionaire. They come from different sides of the track and both have their own specialized survival skills when it comes to life. It's been a very interesting story to write.

Today, I visited with some former co-workers and someone mentioned about what day it was today, Wednesday. Because I am on the road three days a week visiting different offices in my region to hold hearings, it seems I never know what day it is. I told them I felt like a rock star on tour, never seemingly to know what my schedule is. I only know what town I'm supposed to be in the following day.

Rock on, ♫
Carol

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Allergies and a Special Offer

I had planned on writing about my day job and how it relates to my writing, but my hayfever has taken over my life today and I can barely see to write this on the computer. I have been sneezing all day with swollen, watery, burning eyes. Seriously, I look like I have one black eye. The eye drops the ophthalmologist gave me have helped some, but not well enough. I am trying to avoid taking an allergy pill because it will completely knock me out and I really don't want that. I'm already sleepy, even after taking a short nap earlier. So, I will suffer through it and hope that it will run it's course so I will be bright-eyed for my day job tomorrow. I'll have to save my post about that for another time.

I know the heading on my blog says I write mystery, suspense, and romance, which I do, but before that I wrote a cookbook, Masters & Disasters of Cooking. There's a photo of the book on the lower right side of the blog. The publisher of my cookbook is having a special from now until the end of this month for free shipping when ordering my book. For more information on this special offer and how to order, please visit this page on my web site.

Thanks,
Carol

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Wine Research

This article would probably be more likely to appear on my other blog, Carol's Food Bites, but since it's writing related, this the perfect place for it. One of the manuscripts I am writing is about a culinary arts student who has a chance meeting with a millionaire who is in need of a cook for a party. Since this is a romance story, of course there is chemistry between them and they start seeing each other. I don't want to give away the ending, but we all know that romance novels end happily ever after.

I'm not a wine connoisseur so I had to do a lot of research to write the scene where they go to an expensive restaurant and order wine. I had to figure out what wine would go with the type of food they ordered for their meal. I have to admit, it was so much fun reading and learning about the different types of wines. Not letting that research go to waste with just one story, in the mystery novel I am writing, I have the main male character going to dinner with a woman who is a connoisseur.

The best place I found for that research wasn't on the Internet. It was in my new Better Homes & Gardens cookbook, which had a chart in it defining the different types of wines.

One of the more interesting things I also learned about wine is that different wines should be served in different style glasses. For instance, the glass in the picture above is not the correct glass for the white wine. It is the perfect glass for the red wine and burgundy wines. White wines are served in a similar style glass, but a bit smaller. Who knew?

Sparkling wines and champagne should be served in a long stem flute glass, like the champagne cocktail shown on the left. The first wine I started drinking was a sparkling wine, Spumante. This can be very dry to sweet and fruity. The one I liked had a fruity taste. I've never like champagne, which I find too tart.

One thing that I was amazed to find out is that sherry is a type of wine. Remember watching the television show, Frazier? He was always drinking sherry with his brother. Dry sherry is considered an appetizer wine and served cold, or it can be sweet and served at room temperature after a meal, like on Frazier. On that show, they usually drank it from a very small sized glass, but according to my research from the Wine Glass Guide web page, it should be served in a glass similar to the red wine glass, but shorter. I'm anxious to try sweet sherry, but haven't been to a store where they have any yet.

So, there is my short lesson on wines. Oh, my favorite wine? My favorite is French Lick Red from the French Lick Winery near me in Indiana. I think I'll go have a glass right now.

Carol