Pin IT for Inspiration

I’m packing up my iPhone, laptop, case of Pinot Noir and chocolate and heading back to my writing cave. It’s revision time!

I have to admit, I’m  excited to spend time with my characters, I really missed my writing world.

While working on the first draft of  Heartbreak Cake I didn’t have a writing program. No outline. No index card system. No excel spreadsheet breakdown, no nothing.  I came at it like a reporter, I would jot notes down , research and then sit down and write.

The process was: Write. Edit. Snack. Write. Edit. Write. Edit. Delete. Write. Edit. Snack. Delete.

I am not sure I would do it this way again. Although, I will always snack in my writing process. I think when you are working with a lot of different characters, each one with different details, habits and nuances it’s important to organize things a bit more than my normal style of “a wing and a prayer.”

Lessons learned for sure.

One surprising writing tool I discovered was Pinterest. A board I often used to find cool hairstyle tips and funky manicure ideas.  I found myself searching for photos for inspiration and was often directed back to Pinterst where I could research millions of photos all with the click of my mouse. It turned out to be a great writing gem for me.

I created a board and would log in daily to look for new photos and I would visually create the world that lived inside my head and I pieced it together onto a Pinterest Board where I could see it come alive.

Check it out here:

Seeing everything in colored photos was helpful in creating layered characters as well as sketching details. It’s especially helpful if you are a writer who works late at night. You can’t always do in-person research at midnight.

Writing is such a journey of what works and what doesn’t and having a “vision board” is really helpful when creating third dimensional characters. It helps to be able to see things, it pulls you back to your story and reminds you where you are going. This is definitly going to be one of my favorite writing tools when I start working on Book #2.

Would love to hear what other writing tools people use for inspiration!



The Art of the Muffin

Cute_Blueberry_Muffin_by_DragonRose123I love reading cookbooks late at night ohhing and ahhing over pictures of multi-layered cakes covered  in homespun buttercream frosting and colorful sprinkles. It’s pastry porn and I love it.

50 Shades of Cake Batter, right up in here.

I have hundreds of saved recipes for  cakepops, confetti cakes, lattice pies and berry tarts that I daydream of  making when I magically have time to spend in the kitchen.

Which is never, really.

I have a little boy. A full-time job, I write at night and I do try to have a semi-social life (read: cocktails)

My  big baking days are on hiatus at the moment.

The good news is I’ve become quite the Little Miss Muffin maker.

Much like the cupcake, the muffin is not only cute but it’s also convenient.  Grab. Go. Eat.

You get a compact bite of goodness and if you throw in the right ingredients, you can make them relatively healthy.  I’ve added everything from oatmeal, berries, carrots and zucchini.

Recently I decided to make classic banana muffins from a recipe I found in  Joy of Cooking, I added raisins instead of walnuts and while scavenging  through my cupboard I hit culinary gold and found  dark chocolate. And immediately thought “YES.”

I added just a bit of chocolate …  Come on, Don’t look  at me at that way.

I love this  breakfast muffin, it has antioxidant rich dark chocolate, potassium rich bananas and pinches of cinnamon and nutmeg. You can add walnuts if that’s your thing too and get a boost of protein and vitamin E.

It’s nearly a chocolate supermuffin.

I caught my 18 month old son trying to shove the whole muffin in his mouth, including the wrapper,  so I’m going to assume he loved it too.

Check out the recipe:

Dark Chocolate Banana Muffins

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons of baking power

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

pinch of nutmeg

Stir in:

1 cup of raisins

2/3 cup of coarsely chopped walnuts

1/2 cup of dark chocolate mini chips

Whisk together in a large bowl:

1 large egg

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1 1/3 cups mashed banana (2 to 3)

1/3 cup of vegetable oil

1 teaspoon of vanilla

Add the flour mixture and fold just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Do not over mix, the batter should not be smooth.Bake until a toothpick inserted in 1 or 2 of the muffin cups comes out clean. 14 to 16 minutes.


*Adapted from Joy of Cooking


Not Quite a Mommy Blog

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In my previous life – 30-something-ish years B.G (Before Greyson) I had mastered the art of living well.

As a food journalist, I was often out with friends or publicists trying out the new hotspots in town.  A pizette with a glass of wine at a new Italian restaurant, testing out strawberry handpies, drinking my way through cantina’s in search of the best margarita in Los Angeles and  lingering Sunday brunches with banana walnut waffles and heaps of whip cream.

It was a tough life I tell ya. A tough, tough, life.

But becoming a mom changed everything. Or a lot of me really. And while I’m not about to become a mommyblogger, because I have no  idea what I am doing enough to write about it! My  life has undisputedly changed and I’ve had to restructure my life and writing life to follow suit.

This is my updated website, a medley of everything that makes up my current  life: my little family, food writing, learning to be a great mom, baking, books, and my foray in chicklit writing. The  debut of my first novel  HEARTBREAK CAKE is  slated to come out in Summer 2013 and I’m cherry-on-top excited!

And while I’m not planning on writing about the trials and tribulations of motherhood, I can  promise I am not above shamelessly pimping my adorable son. I just can’t help myself and that is one of the surprises of motherhood.

Suddenly those “My kid is an honor student at Eagle Rock Elementary School” bumper stickers don’t seem so dorky anymore. Although  mom jeans still do, thank heavens for that.

Stay tuned.

Cindy Arora