Monday, September 26, 2016

The Right Stuff

by HL Carpenter

Image source: Roger McLassus 1951 assumed (based on copyright claims).

The utility worker who knocked on the door handed over a green sheet of paper and a bit of unexpected news. Due to a leak, the water main supplying water to our house had to be repaired. The water would be shut off for at least six hours, and we'd be under a "boil water" advisory for a minimum of two days following the repair.

Given the severity of water issues suffered by others, the brief interruption in our service was nothing more than a minor inconvenience. And yet every time we reached for the faucet to fill a glass, we were reminded of how much we take for granted in our everyday lives.

The heroine of our book, Pirate Summer, learns a similar lesson when she travels back in time two hundred years to save her brother. Josey's thirsty, dirty, and surrounded by "water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink," as the old poem goes. And – horror of horrors – her cell phone doesn't work either.

Like Josey, we've developed a new appreciation for the value of daily desiderata. Clean water, abundant food, a safe, warm home, people we can trust and believe in, and who trust and believe in us — we are fortunate indeed, and these days we make a point of taking time to recognize and acknowledge what we once might not have noticed.

What about you? What are you taking for granted? We look forward to reading your comments.

Fifteen year old Josey is a liar. She’d like to stop. But after Mom left, the lies started popping out, like the time Josey left her little brother at the library and told Dad he’d run away.

Then Josey meets a boy who tells bigger whoppers than she does. He says he’s the son of a privateer who’s been dead two centuries. He’s so convincing Josey’s brother believes every word and sets off to find the privateer’s hidden treasure.

When her brother disappears, Josey is sure she knows where he's gone. But everyone thinks she's lying again. Everyone, that is, except the so-called privateer’s son. He knows she’s telling the truth because jeweled riches are only part of his tale. There’s also the snooperscope, a device that makes time leaps possible, like the one that brought him to the present.

The story is fantastical...and yet Josey will do anything to save her brother, including traveling back in time two hundred years with a boy she can’t trust.

Amazon Buy Link

Florida-based mother/daughter author duo HL Carpenter write sweet, clean fiction that is suitable for everyone in your family. The Carpenters write from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, they enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity. Visit their website to enjoy gift reads and excerpts and to find out what’s happening in Carpenter Country.

Stay connected on Pinterest, Linkedin, Google+, and their Amazon Author Page.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Dining like a British Lord

by Carol Browne

In 1941, while the subject of my soon to release novella Being Krystyna was trying to survive in Nazi-occupied Poland, the Ministry of Food was attempting to persuade the population of Great Britain to try out its latest recipe. This was the famous Woolton Pie, a savory entrée not a sweet dessert, created by the chef of the Savoy Hotel, Francis Ladry, and named after Frederick Marquis, Lord Woolton. He was a former social worker and managing director, a charming and popular figure trusted by the public who had been made Minister of Food in 1940.

Many foodstuffs were strictly rationed during the war and people were encouraged to “dig for victory” by growing their own food wherever they could. Vegetables were readily available and the Woolton Pie took advantage of this.

Lord Woolton promoted his pie, along with what he called the “National Loaf,” using characters like Dr Carrot and Potato Pete, and music-hall stars Elsie and Doris Walters (broadcasting as Gert and Daisy). There were also short films called Food Flashes, ads in the press, and cookery slots on BBC Radio. Sadly, Lord Woolton’s enthusiasm for the pie wasn’t matched by that of the public.

However, the enforced changes in the nation’s diet during World War II had unforeseen and beneficial consequences. Fat, meat, eggs, and sugar were severely rationed and people had to eat far more vegetables than they had before the war. They became healthier and slimmer, their lifespan increased, and infant mortality rates declined.

There’s a message there for us in the twenty-first century. Obesity is a major problem now and perhaps it’s time to take the advice of Dr. Carrot and Potato Pete and eat more veg and less fat and sugar!

Being vegan, I don’t think the original recipe for Woolton Pie looks bad at all, but I want to add more seasoning and ingredients. It’s an easy recipe to follow and perhaps a good way of using up leftover vegetables. You could also throw in “exotic” foods not used in wartime Britain, like sweet potatoes and garlic.

Lord Woolton’s Famous Pie
1lb. potatoes, diced
1 lb. cauliflower, chopped
1 lb. Swedes (rutabagas), peeled and diced
1 lb. carrots, scraped and diced
4 spring onions (scallions), sliced thin
1 tsp. vegetable extract.
1 tsp. oatmeal
Fresh parsley, chopped
Readymade pie crust or mashed potatoes

Preheat oven to 350°F

Cook all ingredients together in a medium saucepan with just enough water to cover for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent the mixture from sticking.

Allow to cool.

Transfer blend to a pie dish, sprinkle with chopped parsley. Cover with a crust of potatoes or wholemeal pastry.

Set dish on a cookie sheet and then bake until the pastry is nicely brown.

Serve hot with a side bowl of brown gravy.

Look for Being Krystyna, releasing from Dilliebooks, on Amazon this winter.

Carol Browne regards Crewe, Cheshire, as her home town and graduated from Nottingham University in 1976 with an honors degree in English Language and Literature. Carol writes speculative fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. She is also a ghost blog writer, proofreader, copy editor, and copywriter. Along with a passion for gardening, Carol is an avid animal lover.

Carol lives in the Cambridgeshire countryside with her dog, Harry, and cockatiel, Sparky.Pagan and vegan, Carol believes it is time for a paradigm shift in our attitude to Mother Nature and hopes the days of speciesism are numbered.

Stay connected with Carol on her website and blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

Monday, September 19, 2016

WHAT'S MY LINE?

from Janis Lane

Fiction. That's right, I write fiction and by the time I’d written the third Detective Kevin Fowler novel Murder on Blake Hill I felt as if I lived in Hubbard, NY. Are there certain key elements of the stories that resemble my own small Western New York village? Oh, sure. You might recognize the blazing color of the hard maples in the fall, decent townspeople who give a friendly wave, the fond interaction of the local police with the citizens. A mayor can be spotted walking his dog through the village.

There exists a table where politics are discussed on a daily basis, but Buddy and Rita are not there. Sad to say, no fresh sticky buns either, but fortunately you will find them across town. Now you suspect my secrets. I often use a piece of this or that to make an entirely new whole. It may resemble something with which you are familiar, but it is never the real thing. I write fiction.

Magic does happen. Once born, a character (or place) takes on a life and personality of his/her/its own. Detective Kevin Fowler drives a ‘plain brown wrapper’ car. It would be a rare thing to see him in a marked police car. You can almost see the raised eyebrows and frown on the popular detective’s face.

Beverly Hamlin knows no stranger in her home town. Her self-assurance is a thing of wonder to Kevin who is in love with her.

My cozy mysteries are all about small-town America, a slice of life which gives us a peek into the trials and tribulations of ordinary citizens. Are the characters based on real people? You bet. Well, parts of them here and there. I, you will remember, write fiction.

Disconcerting events disturb the peaceful town of Hubbard, New York, but Detective Kevin Fowler and his staff are on the job, even as shocking secrets are revealed and night patrols are stepped up to a high alert. Church bells chime faintly in the distance.

Detective Kevin Fowler is baffled by the wall of silence that greets him from the relatives of two septuagenarians whose bodies are discovered in a country cemetery called Blake Hill. Even more upsetting is the unusual rash of vandalism reported nightly by the citizens in his peaceful community. Have the teenagers declared an uprising? Night patrols reveal a totally unexpected and shocking situation. When a poignant secret is revealed, Beverly Hampton weeps over the sadness of a long ago tragedy, but soon wedding bells are heard for the home town princess and the popular detective. At the local diner the alluring fragrance of fresh-baked, cinnamon sticky buns continues to reign over the peaceful citizens of Hubbard, New York.

Amazon Buy Link

Read more about the cozy mysteries by Janis Lane on Amazon.

Janis Lane is the pen-name for gifted author Emma Lane who writes cozy mysteries as Janis, Regency as Emma, and spice as Sunny Lane.

She lives in Western New York where winter is snowy, spring arrives with rave reviews, summer days are long and velvet, and fall leaves are riotous in color. At long last she enjoys the perfect bow window for her desk where she is treated to a year-round panoramic view of nature. Her computer opens up a fourth fascinating window to the world. Her patient husband is always available to help with a plot twist and encourage Emma to never quit. Her day job is working with flowers at Herbtique and Plant Nursery, the nursery she and her son own.

Look for information about writing and plants on Emma's new website. Leave a comment or a gardening question and put a smile on Emma's face.

Stay connected to Emma on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to check out the things that make Emma smile on Pinterest.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

DISHING DIRT

from Dominique Eastwick

Here's a fun summer dessert children of all ages will love. I serve this in the backyard from a clean Tonka truck. The kids love it.

Dirt Dessert
1 lb. of Oreo’s
2 packages vanilla INSTANT pudding
2 cups milk
8oz. cream cheese, softened
12oz. Cool Whip, thawed
Gummy Worms, optional

Crush Oreo’s and set aside.

Mix together pudding, milk, cream cheese, and cool whip.

Layer the cookies and mixture in a deep bowl, starting and ending with the Oreo's. Chill overnight.

Hints:
Use white chocolate pudding instead of vanilla.
Use paper cups, sand buckets, and toy dump trucks for layering to add to the fun.

How about a hot read while the cake cools?

The babies are coming… the Wiccan Haus will never be the same.

Things are not as calm at the Wiccan Haus as they usually are. The impending birth of Dana and Rekkus’ cubs has everyone on edge. The last thing anyone wants or expects is a series of uninvited guests.

Ashlynn Stone hasn’t spoken to her sister Dana since she left for the Wiccan Haus over a year earlier. But when a fluke accident on the fashion runway forces her to seek the healing of the Wiccan Haus, she has no choice but to pack her bags and take the ferry to the island with her family in tow.

Shadedor has been sent to the Wiccan Haus to assess the situation. But he soon finds more than he expected. His soul mate in need of healing. Can he negotiate the issues of the Wiccan Haus and overcome the walls Ashlynn has built to protect herself.

As the Haus prepares for the biggest event since it opened, can the siblings find harmony and manage to do what they do best, heal those in need? Or is it too much for them to take?

Welcome back to the Wiccan Haus.

EXCERPT
He walked. This morning, he had been right next to her, and there had been constant contact. Now they would appear to anyone passing to be complete strangers. “You want to tell me what is going on?”

“We are attempting to remove all stress from your life in hopes of easing the headaches.”

“No, with you. If you would prefer to be elsewhere, I can go back to my room and lie down.”

He stopped. “There is nowhere I would rather be.”

“Then why are you acting like I have the plague? Was it the kiss earlier?”

“I overstepped my boundaries this morning. I should not have done so.”

“Do you regret it?”

“I am assisting the staff here in your healing. It is inappropriate for me to come on to you.”

“Are you on staff here?”

“No.”

“That settles it.” She smiled. Closing the distance between them, she wrapped her arms around his neck. “I do not know what is going on, but I do know my pain and fears ease when you are near. I don’t claim to understand how you discern all you do, but I am starting to see things here aren’t always black and white, and sometimes I have to have faith and trust.”

After a brief second of him standing as still as a statue and her wondering if she read too much into this morning’s embrace, he relaxed. His arms snaked around her, pulling her against his hard body. His mouth came down on hers begging her to open for him, demanding she submit to his kiss. She might have started this dance, but he would damned well be leading it.

BUY LINKS
Amazon - Decadent Publishing

Award-Winning author Dominique Eastwick currently calls North Carolina home with her husband, two children, one crazy lab and one lazy cat. Dominique spent much of her early life moving from state to state as a Navy Brat. Because of that, traveling is one of her favorite pasttimes. When not writing you can find Dominique with her second love…her camera.

Learn more about Dominique Eastwick on her website, blog, and Amazon author page. Be sure to join her Newsletter for up to the minute info on new releases, contests, and more.

Stay connected on Twitter, Tublr, Tsu, and Pinterest.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Bring the Outside Indoors

by Emma Lane

Bring the outside in with a Fall bouquet. Not sure how, then let me help you. Here are a few tips to help make it easier.

Native and ornamental grasses: What fun to gather them on one of those perfect Fall days when the skies are vivid blue, a soft breeze tumbles your hair, and tick seed clings to your jeans. Best to do your hunt and gathering just before the leaves are all off the trees. Anything interesting is fair game, but do learn to identify dried ragweed and seeds. Not one to bring into the house; it will still make you sneeze. I’ve used the seed tassels of ornamental grasses and a wild reed which is listed as a nuisance plant. It overtakes our native cattails apparently. Even so I love the tassels which are free for the taking. Spot a batch where your sneakers will stay dry.

Love cattails? Pick when they turn brown, most likely mid to late summer. If you bring a ripe cattail inside to the warmth, it will explode with a predictable mess. Trust me; I’ve had the experience. Grab a handful in summer and dry them in a dark, dry place. Pull them out in the fall for a perfect addition to the dry bouquets.

Chinese lanterns (physalis) are perfect for Fall. They’ll last and last, but eventually lose their color. I’ve been known to spray them lightly with red paint, but the odor of fresh paint is not pleasant. Tend well ahead of time and let dry in the garage.

The purple flowers are grown under a hoop house which protects from the early frosts. They won’t stand up to a real freeze, but are perfect for Fall bouquets. Lisianthus is a favorite of florists because they last so long in the vase. Any late bloom will perk up a Fall bouquet. I’ve used long stems of mums, stray daisies, and geranium. Use your imagination and have fun with Fall bouquets. They’ll keep you cheerful until it’s time to decorate for Christmas.

Don't worry about which flowers to use. Anything and everything will be perfect because you chose it. The important ingredient in creating your bouquet is to have fun.

Now here's a little from my latest Regency Romance to enjoy along with your lovely bouquet.

Elisabeth is a lively young lady ripe for adventure. She’s lived the sheltered life of the privileged during the Regency era of the 1800’s and is on the cusp of entering society when she joins her older sister at a house party. On the enormous estate in the spreading mansion of a duke, she mistakes her host for the fat squire down the road. Thus begins an adventure which is against all her training. She knows her mother would not approve. Was that half the intrigue of meeting a stranger in private?

The handsome but incognito Richard Hawlester, Duke of Roderick, weary of toad-eating house guests, engages in a serious flirtation with young Elisabeth Barrows, who is primed for an exciting adventure. Mistaking the fat squire for the duke, she holds her secret relationship with a man known only as Richard, Nobel Rescuer, close to a tender heart while discovering love for the first time.

Elisabeth’s trust seems irrevocably lost when the duke’s actual identity is revealed. Realizing his mistake, Roderick begins an earnest, dangerous, and often hilarious campaign to convince her of his love. Elisabeth ponders whether true love can overcome the loss of trust between two people, even as danger presents in the guise of a vile, undesirable suitor, while a wicked assassin makes an attempt on the life of the duke. Trust broken can never be regained, or can it?

BUY LINKS
Amazon - Wild Rose Publishing


Emma Lane is a gifted author who writes under several pen-names. She lives with her patient husband on several acres outside a typical American village in Western New York. Her day job is working with flowers at her son’s plant nursery. Look for information about writing and plants on her new website. Leave a comment or a gardening question and put a smile on Emma's face.

Stay connected to Emma on Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

WELCOME


to the cover reveal for Sharon Ledwith's upcoming new novel,  
The Last Time Keepers and the Dark Secret
Book 2 in the The Last Timekeepers series.

This new release fits into Middle Grade, Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy, WWII genres and is an excellent read for everyone ten years old through adulthood. The release date is October 17, 2016 from Mirror World Publishing

Are you ready to see the cover?


Fabulous, right?

Now here's a brief intro.

Only a true hero can shine the light in humanity’s darkest time.

Fourteen year-old Jordan Jensen always considered himself a team player on and off the field, until the second Timekeeper mission lands him in Amsterdam during World War Two. Pulled into the world of espionage, torture, and intolerance, Jordan and the rest of the Timekeepers have no choice but to stay one step ahead of the Nazis in order to find and protect a mysterious book.

With the help of the Dutch Resistance, an eccentric baron, Nordic runes, and an ancient volume originating from Atlantis, Jordan must learn that it takes true teamwork, trust, and sacrifice to keep time safe from the evils of fascism. Can Jordan find the hero within to conquer the darkness surrounding the Timekeepers? If he doesn’t, then the terrible truth of what the Nazis did will never see the light of day.

EXCERPT
“I wonder what else is down here.” Drake beamed his cell phone across the basement, hitting jars of jams, pickles, and relishes. His stomach growled.

Jordan pulled the cheese from his pocket and handed it to Drake. “Trade you for your phone.”

“Best. Trade. Ever.” Drake passed his phone to Jordan.

Jordan walked over and grabbed a jar of pickles off the dusty shelf. At least they wouldn’t arrive at the baron’s place hungry. He hoped his uncle had managed to stop Amanda’s bleeding. His hand tightened over the jar, the ridges of the lid cutting into his palm. A scrape from behind the shelves made Jordan jump.

“Hello?” he asked, pushing jars aside. He flashed the cell phone into the small, dark area.

“Who ya talking to, Jordan?” Drake asked with his mouth full of cheese.

“Shhh, Drake.” Jordan listened. Hearing nothing, he shrugged and turned back around.

“I thought I heard—” Jordan stopped and pointed the phone at Ravi. His jaw dropped. “A-Are you serious, Sharma?”

Drake spat out his cheese, snorting with laughter.

“Is there a problem?” Ravi asked, tying the bowtie of his tuxedo.

“You look like a penguin with attitude!” Drake slapped his knee.

“Say what you want, but I’m glad we didn’t hit the cleaners on the way to school now,” Ravi replied, pulling down his sleeves, “or else I wouldn’t have these dry clothes.”

Jordan chuckled. Suddenly, he heard a door creak open, followed by heavy footsteps squeaking down the stairs. Panicking, Jordan stuffed Drake’s phone in his track suit jacket’s pocket and waved Drake over by the shelves. Drake slipped behind Jordan just in time, before the small light bulb above the bottom of the stairs clicked on. Jordan swallowed hard. There, staring directly at Ravi was a portly man in a blood-stained apron. Tufts of blond hair sprouted from the sides of his balding head. His brown trousers were pulled up past his waist, making him resemble an evil garden gnome. In one of his hands, he held a huge butcher knife, its blade flecked with blood.

Wielding the knife, the man pointed at Ravi. “Who are you?”

Ravi licked his thick lips nervously. “The name’s Bond. James Bond.”


Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/YA time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, available through Mirror World Publishing, and is represented by Walden House (Books & Stuff) for her teen psychic series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and Smashwords. Look up her Amazon Author page for a list of current books.