Wednesday, January 30, 2013

It Wednesday. So What's Cooking?

How about a hot bowl of chili to ward off the cold?

Studs and I are big football fans. Saturdays are for college games and Sundays are filled with the pros during the short season. Super Bowl Sunday is more than just the game. It’s a time to be with friends and family, eat until you’re ready to pop and laugh until tears run down you cheeks. In other words, take pleasure in life with people you enjoy.

For years our good friends Bonnie and Tom have hosted a Super Bowl party with no less than 25 people. It’s a tradition none of us will let die. Believe me, a great time is had by all. Everyone brings an appetizer or dish to contribute to supper. Below is mine.

Sloane’s Super Bowl Chili
Corn Bread
Ice Cold Beer

Sloane’s Super Bowl Chili

6 tsp. olive oil
2 large onions chopped fine
4 cloves garlic pressed
2 lbs. ground chuck
1 green pepper chopped fine
4 cups beef stock like Kitchen Basics
3 cups canned diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
1 celery stalk chopped fine
1 tsp. paprika
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
½ tbsp. ground cumin
3 bay leaves remove before serving
5 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. dried basil
2 cans Bush’s chili beans in mild sauce
1 tsp. baking soda*

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Saute until lightly colored about 5 minutes. Watch carefully so as not to burn the onions or garlic.

Turn the heat to medium high. Stir in ground chuck and green pepper. Brown the meat, breaking up clumps as you cook, about 10 – 14 minutes.

Transfer the contents to a 3 quart saucepan set over medium high heat. Add the remaining ingredients except beans and baking soda. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low. Simmer until the chili reaches your desired thickness. This step may take an hour or more.

10 minutes before serving stir in beans and baking soda. Heat through and serve.

Serves 8

Some people like to top their chili with a dab of sour cream or grated cheddar cheese. Both are super with this recipe.

Leftovers freeze great!

*Adding a small amount of baking soda to any bean dish helps reduce or eliminate the intestinal problem some of us incur when eating beans.

Corn Bread
1 package Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
1 egg
1/3 cup milk

Follow the easy package directions.

You can also bake this recipe in a pie tin, then serve in wedges.

Either way, be sure to have butter or margarine to slather on your warm corn bread.

I'll be back Monday with Holley Trent. Until then...

GO TEAM!

Sloane Taylor
Twitter
Amazon Author Page

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Truth Behind the Legend

by Rita Monette

I read somewhere that almost every author’s first attempt at writing is personal. Perhaps it is a story from their past that has haunted them and needs to be released. But it also said that most of those stories don’t make it into the world. Once written, they sit on a shelf, while their creator moves on to more adventurous and exciting projects. I read this after completing my middle grade novel, The Legend of Ghost Dog Island, and thought perhaps this was my cathartic tale that would go unpublished.

The Legend of Ghost Dog Island is indeed a personal story. I wanted to tell the story of the Louisiana Cajuns. Ask a child today about Cajuns and they may tell you that it is about hot food, or about shooting alligators (Incidentally, I started my book long before Swamp People over took the History Channel.) I figured there was no better way to tell the story than to start with my own childhood.

I was raised in the Louisiana bayous. My father trapped and fished crabs for a living, and moved our family three times a year in search of better fishing spots. Being new in school was common place for me. My father was also fond of telling legends about what might be living in nearby swamps. Perfect for a children’s story, right? My historical fiction novel, set in the 1950s, is told through the eyes of my ten-year-old protagonist, Nikki Landry. But it would be rather boring if she’d stuck strictly to my routine, so Nikki (braver than me) sets out to discover the truth behind one of the legends she feels poses a threat to her dog, Snooper. She gets herself into trouble more than once, and has many spooky mishaps and adventures, but in the end, Nikki discovers the truth and solves the mystery behind the decade old legend.

However, being true to my mission, I made sure to inject some of my father’s stories about the lifestyle and treatment of the Cajun (Acadian) people of his day, and about learning a new language… something today’s immigrant children might relate to. Heads up librarians! I’ve included an author’s page, which encourages more reading about the history of the Acadian people and their exile from their homeland in Canada.

I wish to thank Musa Publishing for believing in me and my debut novel The Legend of Ghost Dog Island.

Papa says every legend starts with a truth. But what is the truth behind the legend of Ghost Dog Island?

BLURB:
Moving is nothing new for ten-year-old Nikki Landry. Her fisherman father relocates their raggedy old houseboat several times a year in search of better crab fishing spots. However, their latest move has brought her to a mysterious bayou where she feels like something is watching her and her beloved dog Snooper from a nearby island. But when Papa tells her about a local legend that something sinister might be living nearby and stealing the souls of dogs, she fears for her constant companion’s life. Join Nikki as she seeks to discover the truth behind the legend…before it’s too late.

EXCERPT:
Mama closed the door behind her. She knew once Papa got going on one of his tales, there was no stopping him.

The last traces of daylight seemed to disappear in a hurry, as if Papa had ordered it away. The glass globe of the kerosene lamp clinked. He touched a match to the wick and adjusted the flame until it filled the room with pale light and gray shadows. He motioned me to sit next to him on the worn sofa.

I hurried to his side, not knowing what spooky legend he was going to tell this time. But as scared as I’d get, I always enjoyed hearing ’em.

“Mais, there’s a legend told around these parts.” That was how they always started out. He leaned down so the light from the lamp made eerie shadows across his face.
I rolled my eyes, determined not to get spooked this time.

“Folks say there’s something living out yonder,” he went on. “Legend has it the monster lures dogs to the island using evil spells. Then at the peak of the full moon, they’re turned into hollow spirits with glowing eyes.” Papa put on his eeriest sneer. “That there’s Ghost Dog Island.”

“Ghost dogs?” I pulled my knees up against my chest and wrapped my arms around ’em tight. My mind conjured up images of a huge monster with drippy fangs and dogs with bright yellow eyes. I thought about the feeling I had of something watching us. Was there really a creature out there? Did it have its eye on my best buddy? I shuddered.

IEEEOWWWOOOO-oooooooo! The howling sound echoed again across the bayou.

BUY LINK

Rita Monette was born and raised in Southwest Louisiana. After retiring from her “real” job as an administrative assistant, Rita began doing what she always wanted to do…write and paint. Five long years later, Musa Publishing offered her a contract for her debut middle grade novel, The Legend of Ghost Dog Island, which also includes her artwork. Her stories are set in the beautiful, yet mysterious, bayous and swamps of her home state. Rita now resides with her husband, four lap dogs, and one lap cat, in the mountains of Tennessee.

Learn more about Rita Monette on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

I'll be back Wednesday with a new menu. Until then...

Happy Reading!

Sloane Taylor
Twitter
Amazon Author Page

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

It's Wednesday. So What's Cooking?

Beef Braised in Stock & Red Wine over Egg Noodles

Time for more cold weather recipes to warm you. Below is another favorite of Studs. Your family is sure to love it, too. Don’t worry about alcohol content. It cooks away, leaving behind a rich taste to enhance the meat.

Beef Braised in Stock & Red Wine
Egg Noodles
Fresh Hard Rolls or a loaf of French bread from your local bakery and you won’t need butter
Red wine – Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon



Beef Braised in Stock & Red Wine
1 tsp. garlic pressed
¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 tsp. dried oregano
¼ cup coarsely chopped carrots
8-10 half-inch pieces of bacon
¼ cup coarsely chopped celery
3 pounds English Cut Roast or Rump Roast
½ cup dry red wine
3 tbsp. butter
2 cup beef stock
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 ½ cup drained canned tomatoes, chopped
½ cup coarsely chopped onions
1 bay leaf

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Mix the garlic, oregano, pepper, and bacon together. Make deep incisions in the beef and insert the bacon.

In a heavy 10-12 inch skillet melt 1 tbsp. butter with the olive oil over moderate heat and brown the beef evenly.

Melt the remaining butter over moderate heat in a Dutch oven. Combine the onions, carrots, and celery on a cutting board and chop them together until fine. Stir this mixture into the butter in the Dutch oven, stir frequently, for 10 minutes or until it’s soft and lightly colored. Place the browned beef on top.

Discard most of the fat from the skillet, pour in the wine and boil it briskly over high heat, stirring and scraping in the browned fragments. When the wine’s reduced to about ¼ cup, add it to the Dutch oven with the beef stock, chopped tomatoes, and bay leaf. The liquid should come about a third of the way up the side of the beef. Add more stock if necessary. Bring it to a boil over high heat, cover tightly, and braise in the middle of the oven for 2 hours or until tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife.

Next, and this is really important, pour yourself a glass of the red wine, grab a good book, and read for the duration of the cooking time.

To serve, transfer the meat to a cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest for at least 10 minutes.
Strain the sauce through a fine sieve into a serving bowl, pressing hard on the vegetable to extract all their juice. Skim off as much fat as possible. Slice the meat and arrange so the slices are overlapping. Moisten the slices with a little of the sauce and enjoy.

Your stove and countertop will be a mess from boiling down the wine. No problem! Grab the glass cleaner. A few sprays and it wipes right up.

Don’t worry about the quantity if you and your favorite partner are the only ones at the dinner table. Slice off just the amount of roast you think you’ll eat, and freeze the rest. It’s great for those days when you’re too busy to bother with more work.

Egg Noodles
Fill a large pot with water and follow the package directions to cook. If the noodles are done before the Stroganoff, drain them in a colander and set the pot or lid on top of the noodles to keep them warm.

REMEMBER: all noodles/pasta can easily be re-warmed by running hot water over them before serving.

To serve, scoop egg noodles onto dinner plates, then lay slices of meat alongside. Top with a hearty serving of sauce.

I'll be back Monday with awesome young adult author Rita Monette and his uncanny sense of what horrifies readers and has them begging for more. Until then...

Bon Appétit!

Sloane Taylor
Twitter
Amazon Author Page

Monday, January 21, 2013

MONSTERS ABOUND

by George Wilhite

My childhood was immersed in reruns of old monster movies and other creepy stuff from the Fifties and Sixties. I remember staying up late on Saturday nights (if I could stay awake) with my Dad, watching Bob Wilkins hosting “Creature Features” in the San Francisco Bay Area. Those great old films knew how to scare us without relying on gore and exploitation.

I write all kinds of horror but particularly like to create work that harkens back to those early days of monster cinema without overtly stealing their tropes. Readers of my fiction know I write very few vampires, werewolves, and other traditional monsters. While these creatures make an occasional appearance, I tend to create my own original monsters, or at least my own hybrids or mutations of what has come before.


In Silhouette of Darkness, my new e-book release from Musa Publishing, you will find these “Creature Features”:

Fatal Insomnia
The central idea of this story began with the characters, not the monster. I wanted to write a story in one setting, with a few characters who were isolated together for some time, and going slowly mad. I would pick up their story far down the road, on the night that everything went to Hell.

I wrote about three siblings and their best friend living in a farmhouse, and after sketching them a bit I decided that, for some still unknown reason, they were forced to stay awake all night and sleep during the day. Their normal circadian rhythms disrupted, this was the pressure that drove them to the breaking point.

The monster of this story, The Blight, took shape from this central idea. I wanted the creature to be a bizarre construction of unknown origin. The knowledge that one must stay awake all night to avoid being its victim came from experience with it, not because anyone understood exactly what was going on.

I hope you agree The Blight is worthy of comparison to some of the stranger monster movies of old, and perhaps even a nod to one of my favorite masters of the horror, H. P. Lovecraft.

Jerrod’s Brood
I remember being very creeped out by the film “Willard.” Watching it now, it seems a bit corny, but the whole notion of a loser like Willard communing with rats and becoming their master is still disturbing. I wanted to take another loser and “bless” him (or curse him, depending on your viewpoint) with a brood of his own, creatures that seem to appear from nowhere but bond to him immediately.

Read this story to find out where life takes this poor soul on this fateful night.

Ashton Howard’ Dark Process

Carnivals are fun but they can also be a bit scary, right? Whether it’s the Bradbury classic “Something Wicked this Way Comes,” the clown in “It,” or some of the characters in the B-movies exploiting the carnie life, at one time or another we have all mused about the possibility that all may not be as merry with carnivals and circuses as they appear on the surface.

I wanted to take the idea of the freak show and give it a bit of a horror twist. What if there are no actual “freaks of nature,” but instead an evil mad scientist is creating them?

Read this short story and learn the secret behind the sideshow “Ashton Howard’s Tent of Oddities.”

These are just three of the creatures I created in the dark tales found in Silhouette of Darkness.

Still can't get enough monsters?

Check out my flash fiction anthology MONSTER GALLERY

As editor of this collection, I simply put out a call for flash fiction featuring monsters. No more specific conditions on content. I received hundreds of tales of wondrous and horrible creatures, some humorous, others poignant, many quite disturbing.

The end result is 93 flash fiction stories of every type of monster imaginable by these great writers.

Jeffrey Thomas, author of the Punktown series and many other stories and novels, provided a wonderful introduction on the subject at hand.

So if you like monsters, you need look no further Silhouette of Darkness and Monster Gallery. What are you waiting for?

As always, if you check out either or both of these books, I would be most grateful if you left your thoughts in comments on Goodreads, Amazon, or any other review forum.

Silhouette of Darkness from Musa Publishing buy link.

Monster Gallery Amazon buy link.

Learn more about George Wilhite on his blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

It's Wednesday. So What's Cooking?

Pork Chops & Apples, Rice, and Fresh Green Beans

If you recall, I have a terrible time cooking pork chops that aren’t tougher than the soles of my shoes. Marinated pork chops braised in white wine was my first successful attempt. Since pork chops are a favorite of Studs, the New Year seemed like a good time to devise a second recipe that was easy and tasty. Give it a try and please let me know what you think.

Pork Chops & Apples
Rice
Fresh Green Beans
White Wine – Riesling


Pork Chops & Apples
4 pork loin chops preferably on the bone ½ inch thick
1 tsp. dried sage, crushed
Pam nonstick spray coating
1 small onion sliced and separated into rings
1 apple cored and cut into wedges
1 cup apple juice
2 tsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. cold water
2 tsp. corn starch

Preheat oven to 215°F.

Trim off the fat from the chops, then rub sage on both dies of the meat.

Spray a cold 12 inch frying pan with Pam. Heat the pan on medium until warm, add the meat and cook for 5 minutes. Turn, add most of the onion, and cook 5 minutes. Remove chops and onion to a plate, tent with foil, and set in oven.

Wipe the pan with a paper towel, then add the remaining onion, apple wedges, juice, and brown sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 3 – 5 minutes until apples are crisp-tender.

Combine water and cornstarch, then pour into the skillet. Stir constantly until the mixture thickens and bubbles. Continue cooking for 2 minutes, regulating heat to keep a slow boil.

To serve, arrange chops, rice, and green beans on dinner plates. Lay a few apple slices with sauce over the chops.

Rice
Your favorite brand
Chicken stock
Water

Follow the package direction for the rice, replacing half the water with chicken stock.

Fresh Green Beans
Plan 10 beans per person
Water
Butter
Pepper

Fill a medium-size saucepan with cold water, leaving enough room to add the beans. Cover pot and set on the stove over medium high heat.

Trim the ends off the beans, then rinse in a colander. Add the beans to the pot when the water comes to a hard boil. Cook 5-10 minutes until crisp-tender. Drain and return to the pot.

Add the butter and pepper. Stir well and serve.

If your meal isn’t quite ready, cover the pot with a lid and place in the oven to keep warm.

I'll be back Monday with George Wilhite and his uncanny sense of what horrifies readers and has them begging for more. Until then...

Happy Eating!

Sloane Taylor
Twitter
Amazon Author Page



Monday, January 14, 2013

I LOVE MUSIC

by guest blogger Liz DeJesus

I’m pretty sure that if I had been an extrovert instead of an extremely shy, nerdy introvert I’d be in a rock band. And yes, I can actually sing, but my throat gets dry and seals itself shut the moment someone asks me to sing for them. So instead of being the next Gwen Stefani, I listen to music while I write. Some of the scenes in First Frost and Glass Frost (the upcoming sequel) were actually inspired by certain songs.

For some reason I always start listening to Imogen Heap before I start writing. I love her music, it has such a dream-like quality to it and sometimes I feel as though it takes me to a completely different place in my mind. One of my favorite songs of hers are: "Hide and Seek", "Let Go", "The Moment I Said It", "2 – 1", "Can’t Take It In" and "Glittering Cloud".

The song "The Cave" by Mumford and Sons inspired a scene in First Frost. It was this particular part of the song that made me stop and think:

But I will hold on hope
And I won't let you choke
On the noose around your neck

And I'll find strength in pain
And I will change my ways
I'll know my name as it's called again


I could picture Bianca with black ribbons around her neck as Queen Mirabel slowly drained the life out of her. What was amazing to me was how clearly I could imagine this happening to Bianca so it became my goal to get my characters to reach that point in the story. And then I had to ask myself will Bianca survive? Who will come to her rescue? What will happen to Mirabel afterwards?

Last year while I was thinking about the sequel to First Frost I was listening to "The Catalyst" by Linkin Park. I hadn’t written a single word yet, but as I listened to this song I had a clear image of Bianca crawling out of a pit. I was driving at the time (which is a dangerous thing to do if you have my brain because I literally go somewhere else when I’m writing) and I just burst into tears. I wanted to know what happened that made Bianca fall into that dark place. How was she supposed to get out of there? Why wasn’t there someone there to help her? So that was another plot point that I could reach.

Like memories in cold decay
Transmissions echoing away
Far from the world of you and I
Where oceans bleed into the sky
Lift me up, Let me go


It was that particular part of the song that just got to me for some reason. I can’t wait for you all to read that scene in the book. I hate torturing my characters, but sometimes that’s the only way they will learn and grow.

Another song that inspired a scene in Glass Frost is "Shipping Up to Boston" by Dropkick Murphys (yes, my taste in music is ALL OVER THE PLACE). I can’t really tell you about it because it’ll ruin part of the book. But I can say that Bianca learns a very harsh lesson on karma.

"Enchanted" by Taylor Swift. When I first heard that song I could only think of Bianca and Terrance dancing to it. I love the romance that has blossomed between them. Their relationship goes through many trials in the sequel. I really push them to the edge and I test their resolve to stay together. I do everything in my power to see if these two characters really are meant to be together.

I also listen to classic music when I write, because sometimes the lyrics get jumbled up in my mind and get in the way of my writing. I’ll sometimes listen to Mozart, Beethoven and Vanessa Mae’s album "Storm". I’ve also been listening to Vitamin String Quartet Performs Imogen Heap, all of my favorite songs of hers are played by a four string quartet.

Again…I love music. I think it has the power to transport you to another place in time. It can inspire you to write (even when you think your creative well is dry). It’s one of the few things that can touch your soul. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my post and definitely check out some of the singers and bands I mentioned. You never know, it might inspire you to write something. ;)

Below is the outcome from the inspiration Liz posted about. I think you'll enjoy it.

Fairy tales aren’t real…yeah…that’s exactly what Bianca thought. She was wrong.

For generations, the Frost family has run the Museum of Magical and Rare Artifacts, handing down guardianship from mother to daughter, always keeping their secrets to “family only.”

Gathered within museum’s walls is a collection dedicated to the Grimm fairy tales and to the rare items the family has acquired: Cinderella’s glass slipper, Snow White’s poisoned apple, the evil queen’s magic mirror, Sleeping Beauty’s enchanted spinning wheel…

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Frost wants none of it, dreaming instead of a career in art or photography or…well, anything except working in the family’s museum. She knows the items in the glass display cases are fakes because, of course, magic doesn’t really exist.

She’s about to find out how wrong she is.

To read an excerpt from First Frost, please click HERE.

To purchase First Frost, please click one of the vendors below:
Musa Publishing
Amazon
Barnes and Noble

Learn more about Liz DeJesus on her website and visit First Frost on Facebook.

I'll be back Wednesday with a new menu. Until then...

Happy Reading!

Sloane Taylor
Twitter
Amazon Author Page

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

It's Wednesday. So What's Cooking?

Beef Stroganoff over Egg Noodles and Tossed Salad

Now that it’s official winter, our Midwest weather is colder every day. Below is a tasty menu that’s easy and deliciously satisfying. It serves 8 so cut back the amounts accordingly when serving fewer people.

Beef Stroganoff over Egg Noodles
Tossed Salad
Fresh French Bread
Red Wine – Pinot Noir


Beef Stroganoff
1 8oz. carton sour cream – reduced fat works well, too
4 tbsp. tomato paste
1 ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
½ c. flour
Fresh ground pepper to taste
2 pounds good steak like porterhouse, t-bone or sirloin
2 tbsp. olive oil
¾ c. thinly sliced onion
15 ounces beef stock, maybe a bit more to achieve the consistency you prefer
2 c. sliced mushrooms, not too thin
1 pkg. egg noodles

Combine the sour cream, tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce in a bowl, then set aside while you prepare the remainder of the recipe.

Trim off the fat and cut the steak into strips. In a paper or plastic bag, combine flour and pepper, add the steak and gently shake to coat the meat.

Melt butter and oil in a large frying pan. Add onions and sauté for 3-5 minutes. You want the onions soft but not brown. Add the coated beef, turn up the heat to medium-high and sauté beef until browned, turning frequently. This takes 5-7 minutes. Slowly pour in the stock, scraping pan to combine browned bits into the mixture. Reduce heat to medium. Stir in mushrooms, cover and cook until tender, about 3-5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and by heaping spoonfuls stir in sour cream mixture. If the sauce looks too thick, slowly add a bit more beef stock until you achieve the consistency you prefer. Cook uncovered 1-3 minutes or until hot. Do NOT let the pan come to a boil.

Egg Noodles
Fill a large pot with water and follow the package directions to cook. If the noodles are done before the Stroganoff, drain them in a colander and set the pot or lid on top of the noodles to keep them warm.

REMEMBER: all noodles/pasta can easily be re-warmed by running hot water over them before serving.

To serve, scoop egg noodles into soup/salad bowls. Spoon hearty portions of Stroganoff over the noodles.

Leftovers are excellent. To reheat pour the Stroganoff into a saucepan add a little beef stock to thin it and warm through.

Tossed Salad
Lettuce from 2 different types torn into bite size pieces
Tomatoes sliced
Cucumber peeled and sliced thick
Green onion chopped include some of the green

Any and everything else in the fridge that appeals to you.

Combine all the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Cover with a damp paper towel and store in the fridge until ready to serve.

Your favorite bottled dressing or oil and vinegar work great with this hearty meal. Pour on a small amount of dressing and toss. Or, set a variety of bottled dressings on the table for everyone to help themselves.

I'll be back Monday. Until then...

Bon Appétit!

Sloane Taylor
Twitter
Amazon Author Page

Monday, January 07, 2013

CAPTIVE HEROES
Book six in the Heroes at Heart series. Can be read alone, but best enjoyed in series order.
Jan Springer
ISBN 978-1-41993-872-6
Ellora’s Cave Publishing


BUY LINK

BLURB:
During a secret mission to locate their brothers on the faraway planet of Paradise, the Hero sisters become separated after they crash-land.

Taylor and Kayla
While searching for help, Kayla is bound and imprisoned by the Breeders—along with a sexy male captive whose tantalizing scars pique her interest. She’s thankful when he rescues her, and irresistibly aroused when she becomes his captive. Wild lust flares in Kayla’s eyes—an erotic side effect of the Fever Swamp water. Taylor is going to enjoy administering the cure—lots of sizzling hot sex!

Blackie and Kinley
Injured and lost in a dense jungle, Kinley is intimidated by the big, scarred man hot on her trail, especially considering the erotic power he holds over her. Capturing his beautiful female prey, Blackie can’t wait to train her as a pleasure slave. When the well-hung male slips a collar around her neck, Kinley struggles with lust as a natural submissive.

EXCERPT:
“Hull breach. Computer malfunction. Electrical interference. Life support threat.”

The string of dire warnings shot like torpedoes through astronaut Kinley Hero’s layers of sleep. As she struggled to awaken from stasis, her gut hollowed out with nausea.

The ship was in trouble.

Various lights of red and amber frantically blinked, spewing off visual distress signals and echoing alerts. From what she could piece together in her foggy brain, the starship was falling apart—literally.

Beyond the protective glass barrier of her sleep cocoon, the curling gray smoke dissipated for a few seconds. She swore beneath her breath at the hairline fissures that had appeared in the titanium framework. Fractures that—if not taken care of immediately—would lead to their demise.

In one solid jolt of awareness, she punched the emergency button beside her head. The secure glass hatch slid open and acrid smoke sank into her lungs. Grabbing the oxygen mask that suddenly dropped before her face, she took deep, steadying breaths.

The oxygen passed through her system with lightning speed, waking her fully. Power sifted through her. Ripping aside the mask, she crawled out of the pod and moved through the smoke. Passing her two sisters’ sleep hatches, she punched each of their external emergency buttons, hoping to hell they’d grab the oxygen masks that would automatically deploy.

The smoke got denser and bit into her eyes as she rushed to the life support console and discovered a virus had infected the system. She didn’t have time to figure out how that had happened, but managed to create an antivirus program to deal with the problem.

Something rocked the ship and she sailed through the air. Pain slapped her naked ass as she landed just inches from the captain’s chair. Grabbing the padded arm, she hoisted herself onto the plush cushion and snapped on her seatbelt. They were in for a bumpy ride.

The main computer continued to bellow warnings.

“Security nonfunctional. Protective shields failing. Replicators off-line. Warp speed down.”

A glance at the master visual screen had her cursing up a storm. Her breath halted as the gorgeous planet grew larger and larger in the viewing window. Its pristine blue and sharp green colors and shapes eerily similar to Earth’s.

Damn! They were going to crashland and she doubted she had enough time to stop the descent. There were too many things going wrong all at once.

One by one the systems were shutting down. Just like the ship. Down in a blaze of glory.

She had to snap out of her morbid thoughts. Fifteen minutes was her best guestimate before splat time. The ship had hit the disintegration layers around the planet her brothers had warned against two years ago. This unexpected turn of events, the ship breaking up despite assurances from the tech guys that it wouldn’t, pissed her off.

Arrows of anger slammed through her as she thought of her three older brothers. Damn them! They should have come home like the good little astronauts they were supposed to be. Instead, they’d sent their ship back to Earth without them, opting to stay with the women they’d fallen in love.

What kind of men would want to stay on a planet where the male species didn’t get educated and were considered nothing more than sex slaves?

“What’s happening?” Piper’s panicked voice rocked Kinley back to reality.

Snapping her gaze to the left, Kinley found her identical twin standing beside her, fear on Piper’s face.

“Everything’s failing,” she admitted. “I’m going to override. You two get to work on saving the protection shields.”

Their younger sister Kayla yelled something about losing cabin pressure. Piper swore and took off.

Shit!

Kinley unbuckled herself from the captain’s chair.

She could hardly see, barely breathe. Hell, she could barely walk on the horribly tilted floor as she stumbled behind the bridge and popped open the red panel that would allow access to the override button.

Suddenly the spaceship slowed and righted itself from the awful, steep tilt. Yet they continued to plummet toward the planet.

“Brace yourself for impact!” she yelled as she gave the planet one final glance and watched it continue to careen closer and grow bigger.

“Kinley! Get your ass over here!” Piper shouted. Her sisters had deployed the three emergency pods padded with high-tech crash-guard foam. Instead of climbing into their respective pods—which could save their lives—they were both dragging one of the heavy pods toward her.

“Forget the consoles!” Kayla screamed.

“Get yourself and Piper secure. The longer I stay here and man the controls, the easier the crash.”

“Let it go!” Kayla shouted, her blue eyes sparking with fury. “We all get into the pods together or we all stay out.”

Anger slashed through Kinley’s momentary calm. Why in hell were they being so damned irritating?

“No fucking buts. Do as I say! That’s a goddamn order,” she barked.

Her sisters didn’t move. Determination and defiance marred their faces.

Shit! They could be so stubborn.

BUY LINK



Jan Springer lives in Ontario, Canada and writes full time. She enjoys kayaking, hiking, photography and gardening. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America, Passionate Ink and The Author’s Guild. She also loves hearing from her readers.

Learn more about Jan Springer on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.


I'll be back Wednesday with a new menu. Until then...

Happy Reading!

Sloane Taylor
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Amazon Author Page

Friday, January 04, 2013

It's a NEW RELEASE

Meet the Magnificent Men of Munich, starting with suave David Steifel in Heated Negotiations, book one in the thigh-clenching four book series.

Mergers and negotiations are not just for the boardroom, especially when things heat up high over the Atlantic.

BLURB:
Travel agency owner Teddi Howard is Hell in high heels when she jumps a plane to Munich. Her goal—strangle the German tour operator who reneged on their exclusive contract.

German businessman David Stiefel well knows the feeling of being screwed over and is resolved to avoid emotional attachments. This strategy has served him well, until his chance encounter with the enticing Ms. Howard.

EXCERPT:
David Stiefel’s eyes kept track of the copper-haired female while he rolled up the sleeves of his striped shirt. The woman was oblivious to the stir she created as she strolled through the crowded O’Hare Airport Business Class Lounge. He stroked an index finger over his lips and studied her sleek figure clad in formfitting slacks. The appealing rear view was too good to miss. The pleasure of not seeing a panty line forced him to shift in his chair to adjust for the sudden pull in his jeans.

She bent over, hung her jacket across the chair back, and glanced over her shoulder at him. Their gaze held as a smile tweaked the corner of his mouth. He crumpled the wrappings from his beef sandwich and knew he’d just been offered dessert. Now all he had to do was make his move.

As his good luck would have it, right there on the floor just a few meters away was an airline ticket dropped by some unsuspecting person. He knew that delicious-looking woman had done it as a ploy to meet him.

He stood and paced off the few steps, never taking his eyes from her. He stooped, scooped up the packet, and walked the few extra feet before he glanced at the name printed in bold marker across the front. When he held it toward her, she fumbled with her purse and carry-on as if she did not know she had lost such an important set of documents. Very cool.

Standing in front of her, he leaned down just enough to catch her scent. A fragrance that reminded him of herbs.

BUY LINK


Craving a little more David? Check out my answers to the Five W's on Holley Trent's blog.

Please visit me on my website, and of course this blog. We can stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

I'll be back Monday with the Queen of Hot Jan Springer. Until then...

Happy Reading!

~Sloane

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

It's Wednesday. So What's Cooking?

Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

After all the holiday hustle and bustle, it’s nice to have a little comfort food. Here’s a menu that works great for dinner or lunch.

Tomato Soup
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
White Wine – Riesling


Tomato Soup
1 can of your favorite brand
Chicken stock
Dollop of sour cream

Open the can and pour into a saucepan. Should your canned soup require adding 1 can of water, instead add ¾ can chicken stock. Mix well and heat to a slow boil.

To serve, pour soup into a cup, then add a dollop of sour cream.

Grilled Cheese
2 slices of Italian bread per sandwich
2 slices Provolone cheese per sandwich
1 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese per sandwich
1 tbsp. butter or margarine or so per sandwich

Melt the butter or margarine in a heavy 8-10 inch skillet or griddle over medium heat. Lay in one slice bread for each sandwich then the cheeses. Cover with the second slice of bread and fry until the bottom slice is browned to your taste. Flip the sandwiches and fry the other side until it reaches the right color. You made need to add a bit more butter or margarine.

Serve the soup and sandwich along with the salad for an easy tasty meal and relax with the wine while you share quiet time with your loved ones.

I'll be back Monday with Jan Springer. Until then...

Enjoy!

Sloane Taylor
Twitter
Amazon Author Page



Tuesday, January 01, 2013