Wednesday, April 26, 2017

ALL THAT'S GOOD FROM THE KITCHEN

from Anne Montgomery

Admittedly, these can take a bit of work, but the outcome is worth it. Don’t believe me? There were enough cookies to fill a dinner plate when this batch was finished, but when it came time to take the picture, only three cookies remained.

Brown Butter Cookies
2 cups butter (No substitutes)
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
⅔ cup chopped pecans

Icing (Optional)
½ cup reserved brown butter
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 ½ cups confectioners sugar
½ cup hot water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C)

Heat butter over medium heat in a saucepan for 5 minutes or so, until it turns nut brown in color. The foaming and bubbling is part of the process, but make sure not to burn it. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Reserve ½ cup butter for frosting.

Pour remaining brown butter into a large mixing bowl. Beat browned butter with brown sugar until the butter is no longer hot. Mix in eggs, 2 teaspoons vanilla, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Beat thoroughly. Mix in flour and chopped pecans. Drop tablespoons of dough onto ungreased baking sheets. If you don’t want to ice the cookies, gently push a half-pecan into the center of each dough ball.

Bake for 10 minutes or until light brown around the edges. Cool.

If you choose to ice the cookies, in a medium bowl, mix the reserved ½ brown butter with vanilla, confectioners’ sugar, and hot water. Beat until smooth. Frost cooled cookies and place a half-pecan in the middle of each cookie.

Here's a peek into my latest novel while you nibble your delicious cookies.

Two Arizona teens find their fates intertwined. Are there any adults they can trust? Can they even trust each other?

Rose Madsen will do anything to keep from being married off to one of the men in her Fundamentalist Mormon (FLDS) community, even endure the continued beatings and abuse of her mother. But when her mentally handicapped baby sister is forced to strangle the bird she loves at the behest of the Prophet, Rose frees the bird and runs away.

Adan Reyes will do anything to escape the abusive foster care system in Phoenix, even leaving his good friends and successful high school athletic career behind him. Ill-prepared for surviving the desert, Adan hits the road only to suffer heat stroke. Found by a local handyman, he catches a glimpse of a mysterious girl—Rose—running through town, and follows her into the mountains where they are both tracked and discovered by the men of the FLDS community.

With their fates now intertwined, can Rose and Adan escape the systems locking them into lives of abuse? Will Rose be forced to marry the Prophet, a man her father's age, and be one of dozens of wives, perpetually pregnant, with no hope for an education? Will Adan be returned to the foster home where bullying and cruelty are common? Is everyone they meet determined to keep them right where they belong or are some adults worthy of their trust?

Amazon Buy Link

Anne Montgomery has worked as a television sportscaster, newspaper and magazine writer, teacher, amateur baseball umpire, and high school football referee. She worked at WRBL‐TV in Columbus, Georgia, WROC‐TV in Rochester, New York, KTSP‐TV in Phoenix, Arizona, ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, where she anchored the Emmy and ACE award‐winning SportsCenter, and ASPN-TV as the studio host for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Montgomery has been a freelance and staff writer for six publications, writing sports, features, movie reviews, and archeological pieces.

When she can, Anne indulges in her passions: rock collecting, scuba diving, football refereeing, and playing her guitar.

Learn more about Anne Montgomery on Wikipedia. Stay connected on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter.

Monday, April 24, 2017

NEW RELEASE for RISING STAR DIANNA GUNN

Dianna Gunn is a young Canadian author who just release her debut novella Keeper of the Dawn. This is a passionate story of new beginnings, second chances, and the endurance of hope. And a damned fine read I recommend to everyone who enjoys well written and well plotted stories.

All Lai has ever wanted is to become a priestess, like her mother and grandmother before her, in service to her beloved goddess. That's before the unthinkable happens, and Lai fails the trials she's trained for her entire life. She makes the only choice she believes she can: she runs away.

From her isolated desert homeland, Lai rides north to the colder, stranger kingdom of Alanum – a land where magic, and female warriors, are not commonplace.

Here, she hears tales about a mountain city of women guardians and steel forgers, worshiping goddesses who sound very similar to Lai's own. Determined to learn more about these women, these Keepers of the Dawn, Lai travels onward to find their temple. She is determined to make up for her past failure, and will do whatever it takes to join the sacred order.

Falling in love with another initiate wasn't part of the plan.

EXCERPT
Lai practiced until well after dark, ignoring the call for supper. She tore a massive hole into one of the dummies with a training sword in her rage, but it didn’t make her feel better. She had spent most of her life training for this day, and Kaiden ruined it with a few words about their father.

Eventually she gave up and collapsed in a heap on the ground, pulling her knees up to her chest so she could rest her chin on them. She forced herself to breathe deeply, using all her willpower to push the rage into the ground. Bit by bit it drained into the soil around her, dispersing harmlessly.

She sat like that in the clearing until clouds engulfed the stars and rain started pouring, one of the last rains before the dry weeks of summer. Lifting the hood of her robes to cover her head, she rose and hurried towards the temple.

Her left foot caught on something and Lai flew through the air, losing her grip on her sword and landing face first in a puddle. Her nose shattered when it smashed into the tough ground, and when she grabbed it to feel the damage her hand came away covered in equal parts mud and blood. Her stomach churned as she picked herself back up, her whole body aching.

Something sharp pierced her back, tearing into her skin and muscles like sharp fire. She screamed and fell face first to the ground. She caught herself on her forearms, avoiding bashing her head against the rocky path.

Lai's attacker pulled the knife out of her shoulder. She screamed as warm blood flowed freely down her back, mixing with the rain. Fiery agony filled her body, blurring her vision. She gritted her teeth and flipped over to face her attacker.

She froze at the familiar sight of white robes with golden cuffs. Another initiate. Her hood hid her face completely.

Lai gathered her strength with a deep, ragged breath and reached for her training sword. The initiate kicked Lai in the back then stomped on her wrist, grinding bone under her boot, sending sharp waves of pain up Lai’s arm.

“You understand, it has to be me.”

Lai knew that voice, but she couldn’t focus on it through the pain, couldn’t remember who it was.

The initiate seized a clump of Lai’s hair and yanked her head backwards. She knelt and raised her knife towards Lai’s exposed throat.

BUY LINKS
AMAZON
E-book - Paperback
GOODREADS Ebook - Paperback
GOOGLE - KOBO - SMASHWORDS

Dianna Gunn is a freelance writer by day and a fantasy author by night. She had known she wanted to be a writer since she was eight years old. Dianna wrote her first novel for Nanowrimo at the age of eleven years old, but quickly discovered that writing books is not an easy way to make a living. So she decided to broaden her horizons, seeking another career that still allowed her to work with words.

Her freelance writing career started when she became a marketing intern at Musa Publishing(now defunct) in September 2011 and quickly became a staff writer in charge of multiple imprint blogs. Since then she has worked with a variety of small businesses and non-profits to improve their online brands and create long term marketing strategies. Some of her most notable work has been for the tech education non-profit STEAMLabs and natural dog care company ProPooch. She is dedicated to helping her clients build successful brands and making their dreams come true.

Need help creating awesome content for your business? Send an email to diannalgunn@gmail.com explaining what your needs are, and she will help you.

When she isn’t helping her clients bring their dreams to life, Dianna can be found working on her own dream of being a successful fantasy author.

Dianna blogs about writing, creativity, and books at The Dabbler.

Learn more about Dianna on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

ALL IN THE NAME OF LOVE

by Eris Field

When I was a young bride, I very much wanted to please my handsome Turkish husband by making manti, a meat-filled dumpling dish he reminisced about with a look of bliss. I studied Turkish cookbooks, looking for the magic instructions, and found a complicated six step recipe that began with making a volcano shape pile of flour on the table, putting eggs, salt, and water in the crater, and then kneading until it reached the right stage of elasticity. A sticky mess forced me to give up. Then one wonderful day I was invited to join a group of Turkish women who were gathering at the home of one of them to make manti. They explained that making manti was a process shared by family or friends. It is not a solitary undertaking.

Working together, they made the dough and let it rest under a cloth while they made the filling—a mixture of ground lamb, grated onion, parsley, salt and pepper that was also kneaded.

Next, a huge container of thick yogurt was set out to come to room temperature before crushed cloves of garlic were stirred in. Butter was cut up and placed into a small sauce pan where it was melted to serve as the topping with dried mint leaves added at the last moment. Some of the women said that, in their families, they also made a spicy tomato and olive oil topping.

Without missing a beat in the conversation about weddings, births, illnesses, jobs, children, and families, the women rolled out the dough to paper thinness, cut it into one inch squares, put a small amount of meat mixture in the center and then, with flying fingers, pinched the edges closed and finished with a distinctive twist handed down through generations. They boiled the little packets of goodness for 20 minutes. After the packets were drained, they were put in a mammoth bowl. Yogurt was smoothed over them and a river of melted butter with its flotsam of dry mint leaves drizzled on top. After I tasted it, I understood my husband’s love affair with manti. It has all—the robust sustenance of the meat-filled pasta, the velvety smoothness of the yogurt with a tangy lash from the garlic, and the sinful seductiveness of melted butter with a rejuvenating hint of innocent mint.

There are different recipes for manti from all over the caucuses and Middle East, but it is hard to gather a roomful of knowledgeable women to make manti and so I am offering a short-cut and hope they will forgive me.

MANTI
1 tsp. of salt
1 tbsp, dried mint
1 9 oz. pkg, beef ravioli or the smallest you can find
¼ cup butter
1 tsp. paprika
1 tbsp. garlic, crushed
8 oz. plain thick yogurt

Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Add salt and ravioli. Cook until done (cooking time will vary and is usually noted on the package). Drain, return the ravioli to the pot and then cover to keep warm.
Melt butter in a small pot over low heat. Stir in paprika and dried mint. Keep warm.
Pour the yogurt into another bowl and mix until smooth. Stir in the garlic.
Carefully place ravioli into a large serving bowl. Spoon on the yogurt across the top and gently stir. Drizzle butter over the mixture and serve.

Serves 3 - 4 people

Here is a glimpse at the novel that features Manti.

Honor killings aren’t common in Buffalo, NY. But Turkish-American nurse Abbey knows she must protect her dead sister’s infant daughter, Jenny. Abbey’s sister was murdered by her Muslim husband for leaving him when she learned his mother would perform the cruel ritual of female circumcision on Jenny.

Once a fighter and medic with the Kurdish forces in Iraq, Rami now works with the refugees in Buffalo. Shunned by his grandfather for failing to demand retribution when his arranged marriage failed, Rami has mastered the art of avoiding emotional attachments. That is until he meets Abbey.

Warning Abbey that honor killings are family affairs and she and Jenny are in danger, Rami offers her a way out: a marriage of convenience and a safe place to live--his homeland, Kurdistan where they’ll be protected by the clan.

Abbey has vowed to do what it takes to protect Jenny. Can she face going back to the world of her childhood, a world of headscarves and submission, a world she escaped once?

BUY LINKS
Soul Mate Publishing
Amazon

Eris Field was born in the Green Mountains of Vermont—Jericho, Vermont to be precise—close by the home of Wilson Bentley (aka Snowflake Bentley), the first person in the world to photograph snowflakes. She learned from her Vermont neighbors that pursuit of one’s dream is a worthwhile life goal.

As a seventeen year old student nurse at Albany Hospital, Eris met a Turkish surgical intern who told her fascinating stories about the history of Turkey, the loss of the Ottoman Empire, and forced population exchanges. After they married and moved to Buffalo, Eris worked as a nurse at Children’s Hospital and at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

After taking time off to raise five children and amassing rejection letters for her short stories, Eris earned her master’s degree in Psychiatric Nursing at the University at Buffalo. Later, she taught psychiatric nursing at the University and wrote a textbook for psychiatric nurse practitioners—a wonderful rewarding but never to be repeated experience.

Eris now writes novels, usually international, contemporary romances. Her interest in history and her experience in psychiatry often play a part in her stories. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Western New York Romance Writers. In addition to writing, Eris’s interests include: Prevention of Psychiatric Disorders; Eradicating Honor Killings, supporting the Crossroads Springs Orphanage in Kenya for children orphaned by AIDS, and learning more about Turkey, Cyprus, and Kurdistan.

Learn more about Eris Field on her website. Stay connected on Facebook.

Monday, April 17, 2017

ABRACADABRA LET THERE BE LOVE

Beyond Magic is the first book in the Magical Love series from award-winning Lizzie T. Leaf. This imaginative series mixes a variety of realms and worlds. Throw in chocolate, the food all the heroines crave, add a few hunky heroes, and of course villains we love to hate, then mix with a dash of humor and spice. Now let the fun begin!

Following the Powers directive to unite soul mates, a Scottish Cailleach's magic will have repercussions in several realms.

Mixed-blood author Ian McCabe, grandson of Fae and gods, tries to deny his powers while hiding his true origins from the human world. When he discovers mortal, Emma Grant unconscious at his front door, his world starts to change.

Tour director Emma Grant leads a group of senior ladies through Scotland. The breakdown of their bus on a rural Scottish backroad has her sloshing through the rain and mud on foot. Her efforts to seek help results in a fall that knocks her unconscious. She awakens to find the man of her dreams staring into her eyes.

Both feel an instant attraction, but will his secrets and her distrust of men keep them apart.

A few lines that tweak a grin.
Yep, at this rate, a long three weeks lay ahead. No one had told Emma that the dozen school teachers ranged in ages from sixty-nine to eighty-eight. Good grief, what happened to women at this age sitting on the front porch and enjoying their rocking chairs?

Mildred waved away the correction “Of course, dear. Whatever you say. I just want to know, will we see any men in kilts soon? I want to see what they wear under them.”

Dirty old woman. She asked that question at least half a dozen times before we got on the bus and stated the reason just as often.

Read the first chapter on Amazon.

To read excerpts from other books by Lizzie T. Leaf please click onto Amazon.




Lizzie T. Leaf loved books since she opened her first one. Her dream was to write them herself. Lost in the hectic day to day world of family, job, laundry and housework, writing became a distant memory. When the twinkling ember did spark, it was usually doused by someone demanding their share of her time.

Lizzie's life went full circle. The desire to put the stories that continued to play in her head on paper emerged stronger than ever, and at a time when there was someone who encouraged. Now she lives her dream.

Learn more about Lizzie T. Leaf on her website and blog. Connect with Lizzie on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Fun Appetizer for Family, Parties & Any Time

by Sara Daniel

Bacon-Wrapped Wienies
1 package bacon
2 packages wienies/ lil smokies
1½ sticks butter, melted
1½ cups brown sugar

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Cut bacon into ¼ inch – ½ inch pieces. Wrap bacon around each wienie. Secure with a toothpick and place in a single layer in 9 X 13 inch pan.

Combine butter with brown sugar. Pour over wienies.

Bake for 20 minutes. Turn up heat to 400 and cook for 5 minutes longer to make bacon crispy.

Here's a little teaser from my contemporary romance for your reading pleasure.

Love is his enemy…and her answer.

A nationally televised bombshell revealing a secret son turns marriage therapist Caleb Paden’s life upside down. While others focus on the public relations disaster for his company, he can only think of rescuing his baby and providing the stable home dictated by his marriage theories—one devoid of love and emotions.

Olivia Wells might not be the baby’s biological mother, but she loves him as much as any parent could. Letting him go will break her heart. Letting him go to a man who doesn’t believe in love will tear her apart.

As she helps Caleb bond with his child, Olivia finds herself falling for the man behind the stuffy therapist persona. However, he wants nothing to do with her love and emotions, and those are the only things she has to give. If she can’t convince him love is the answer, not the enemy, she will lose both the baby she loves and her heart.

EXCERPT
“Scones?” He recoiled as if she’d announced the kitchen teemed with roaches.

“You don’t like them?” She set the tin on the side table and arranged the dishes of butter and strawberry preserves.

“No.”

She bit her tongue over the urge to tell him how much she detested his books. “I use a recipe my grandmother brought over from Scotland. I serve plain scones along with two other flavors of the day.”

“Coffee will suffice.” He picked up his cup. “Thank you, Olivia, for your hospitality. I’m in need of a room tonight for myself and my, uh, son. A suite would be best, if possible. I’ll pay the going rate, naturally.”

He had no idea what “going rate” she offered to misguided marriage therapists. Not that it mattered. Whether he paid for his stay or not, he had to sleep under her roof. The storm didn’t leave either of them a choice. And she had plenty of rooms. Her other scheduled guests for the week had cancelled due to the weather. “Of course you need to stay. But Liam already has his own room and he’s currently asleep there.”

“From now on, he’ll stay with me.”

Her heart fell to the pit of her stomach. “Dr. Paden, you’re chilled and must have had a terrible drive. Why don’t you relax and worry about yourself this evening. Liam is on a schedule where he goes to sleep before dinner and sleeps through to the early morning. I’ll introduce you to him then.”

He set down his coffee cup with an ominous clank. “I didn’t come here for coffee and scones. I came for my son. Take me to him now.”

She clasped her shaking hands behind her back. She had no legal claim to Liam. But how could she give up the child she loved to such an overbearing, pompous ass?

BUY LINKS:
Amazon - Barnes & Noble - Kobo - iBooks - GooglePlay




Sara Daniel writes what she loves to read—irresistible romance, from sweet to erotic and everything in between. She battles a serious NASCAR addiction, was once a landlord of two uninvited squirrels, and loses her car keys several times a day.

Learn more about Sara on her website and blog. Subscribe to Sara’s newsletter.

Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Scents and Scentsabilities’s

Top Romantic Shop Products
by Leigh Goff


In Disenchanted, sixteen-year-old Sophie’s quirky Aunt Janie runs a shop called Scents and Scentsabilities. The shop is situated in downtown historic Wethersfield, Connecticut and resembles a picturesque Pottery Barn for enchanted bath and body products. The products are all made from plants and flowers growing in Janie’s enchanted garden. The list below includes favorite items I would definitely purchase.


1. Forbidden Passion Potion A potion made with a combination of lemon verbena, valerian, and rose petals. That flower combinations symbolizes ‘lovers uniting’ and Sophie comes across these flowers when she meets Alexavier for the second time. The meeting reveals his dangerous streak and leaves her intrigued.

2. Tulips To Kiss Stick A lip gloss Janie crafted that contains enchanted tulip pollen, which lushifies ones lips. Sophie tries to offer this product to the strange Puritan-looking girl who enters Scents and Scentsabilities in the first scene, but she soon realizes the girl is more interested in giving something enchanted to Sophie.

3. Phyto-Glo Powder An organic powder crafted by Aunt Janie to illuminate one’s complexion when sleepless nights wreak havoc on the face, which happens a lot to Sophie as a ghost from the past haunts her dreams. The powder is guaranteed to erase under eye circles and it also creates a sparkly glow when you want that someone special to notice you.

4. Forever First Love Lip Balm This lip balm enhances feelings of affection in the other person when applied before a kiss. Sophie opts to not use this shortcut when it comes to love, preferring to take the long and difficult road which makes falling in love with a forbidden ordinary all the more sweet.

5. Waning White Willow A hemorrhoid relieving ointment made from the bark of the white willow, which reduces pain and swelling. This comes in handy when Alexavier’s brother, Zeke, tries to come between Sophie and her true love, Alexavier. She also enjoys watching her frenemy, Laney, apply a dab to her hand and neck, thinking it’s perfume.

Here's a brief intro to Disenchanted where you can learn a little more about Sophie Goodchild.

Sophie Goodchild is a sixteen-year-old witch living with her eccentric aunt in the small town of Wethersfield, Connecticut—the sight of the first American Witch Trials. She is descended from a powerful black witch, but struggles with her erratic white magic while dealing with a mean girl witch clique known as the Glitterati, who love to make Sophie feel like she is less than they are.

Sophie is beautiful with wild waves of sable-colored hair, eyes the color of dark blue sapphires, and heart-shaped pillowy lips. More importantly, she is beautiful on the inside, although she hides it well behind her impatience and impetuousness, which makes her very relatable.

It is those heart-strong characteristics that lead her into trouble, and since she is ruled by her heart, she’s all in once she finds trouble. She is fiercely loyal, determined, and fearless and there is nothing she wouldn’t do or sacrifice for the ones she loves, especially when she learns of the true love curse her ancestor cast on the Mather family.

When Judge Mather, a descendant of the reverend who condemned Sophie’s witch ancestor to hang, finds out his handsome son (who has recently returned to Wethersfield with a sexy British accent and a face that could melt a black witch’s heart) has fallen hard for Sophie, things get even more dangerous for her. Dark secrets come to light and impossible choices are made as Sophie sacrifices everything, including her soul to save her forbidden true love.

Buy Links:
Mirror World Publishing - Amazon


Leigh Goff loves writing young adult fiction with elements of magic and romance because it's also what she liked to read. Born and raised on the East Coast, she now lives in Maryland where she enjoys the area's great history and culture.

Leigh is a graduate of the University of Maryland, University College and a member of the Maryland Writers' Association and Romance Writers of America. She is also an approved artist with the Maryland State Arts Council. Her debut novel, Disenchanted, was inspired by the Wethersfield witches of Connecticut and was released by Mirror World Publishing. Leigh is currently working on her next novel, The Witch's Ring which is set in Annapolis.

Learn more about Leigh Goff on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

LET'S TALK FORMATTING

by Marci Clark

(writing as Marci Boudreaux and Emilia Mancini)

As an editor/designer, I see manuscripts come at me with all kinds of crazy, wonky, how-the-hell-did-you-do-that formatting. Be kind to your editor/designer, peeps. Clean up your mess a little before submitting it.

Some houses provide a style guide. Double check for any submission rules before sending your book and risking a default rejection. If the house is relaxed on their formatting, that doesn't mean you shouldn't bother cleaning up the formatting any less than you'd bother cleaning up the content.

If they don't have a style for submissions, a pretty basic format is appreciated. Centered chapter headings, .3 to .5 indent on new paragraphs, 1.5 spaced lines, all black text in a basic font/typeface (making it "pretty" won't impress your editor), and no all capped or underlined words (use italics for emphasis). Something like this:
Here are a few shortcuts when it comes to cleaning up your manuscript. Note: I have a PC, so I don't know if these translate to a Mac.

Extra Spaces:
We are no longer a society of the double space after ending a sentence. One space. One. But if you have a habit of adding two, no problem. There's a quick fix. Open up your find/replace option. In the find box, hit the space bar twice. In the replace box, hit the space bar once. Then select replace all. Do that until the find/replace reaches zero.

Tabs:
No. Just no. Do not use the tab button when indenting. Go to the top of the document, select the page layout tab an set your indent for the document there. Sometimes hitting the tab is natural. You can fix that as well. In the find/replace option, find ^t and replace with nothing. Leave the replace box blank. Replace all. Then select all on your document and set your tab as indicated above-through the page layout option.

Spaces Before or After Paragraphs:
These hidden spaces may seem innocent enough, but if you are self publishing, these extra spaces can cause the designer a lot of stress depending on which program they use to convert your document. Remove extra spaces by again using the find/replace option. Find: space bar^p, and replace with ^p. Replace all. Do the same, but with the space on the other side of the paragraph break. ^pspacebar, replace with ^p. This will give you clean returns throughout.

Soft Returns:
These also are pain when formatting. Find/replace ^l with ^p.

As for the document, please, please, PLEASE do not hit the enter button multiple times to start a new chapter. Nooo!!! Use a solid page break. Ctrl+Enter will break the page and give you (and your designer) a clean start on the next chapter. The problem with hitting enter over and over is that while it may push the chapter heading to a new page on your computer screen, it doesn't always work out that way on your editor's screen. If not, your chapter headings end up in all kinds of crazy places. Just do a page break, and nobody has to wonder WTF.

There are a dozens of little things that could also be done, but this really hits the big ones. Follow these tips, and your editor/designer will love you just a little more.

Marci Clark is a freelance editor, book/cover art/promo materials designer, published author, and all around publishing nerd. She's worked for Kensington Publishing since 2014, as well as several indie houses over the years. She is proficient in self-publishing and would love to help you with all your publishing needs, including premade or custom cover art.

Reach out to her at marci.clark.editing@gmail.com if you'd like to discuss your project with her.

Sample taken from Jessica's Wish (Stonehill Romance Book 4)


Jessica's wish2


There is nothing Jessica wants more than to be like everyone else, but between her Down syndrome and her colorful family, “average” isn’t part of her vocabulary. This year when she blows out eleven candles on her homemade vegan cake she makes the same wish she’s made for as many birthdays as she can remember: she wants a mother.

Jessica’s father Phil has worked his entire life to create a more stable childhood for his daughter than he had. But a supportive mother, a recently returned father, rainbow pancakes, and princesses can’t heal the dark void left in Phil’s heart which he won’t even admit is there.

When Mallory's mother’s life unexpectedly turns upside down, Mallory realizes her dreams come second to her heart, and she leaves her dream job in a big city to return home set on helping her fiercely independent mother recover. After forming a unique bond with Jessica—and a friendship with Jessica’s hot father—Mallory finds that in coming back to Stonehill she might just have found a way to make all of her dreams come true.

But as their families start pushing Phil and Mallory together, old insecurities and Phil’s worst fears threaten to break up the happy trio and catch Jessica in the emotional crossfire.

Monday, April 03, 2017

NEW RELEASE for the Queen of Regency


The talented and ever reigning Queen of Regency, Vonnie Hughes, just released her new Historical Romance novel that definitely isn't sweet. This unique book begins in Portugal as the Peninsular Wars rage on, and moves to England where the hero and heroine expect to find peace. They're in for a surprise.


Both of them are scarred by war; she because of the shattered men she nurses; he because of the loss of friends and the horrors he must endure daily.

Colwyn Hetherington has a chance to put it all behind him and return to England. Juliana Colebrook desperately wants to go to England to seek out her relatives. They take an almighty chance and travel together, setting in train a series of events that neither could have anticipated.

With only their love to sustain them, they clash head-on with the reality of England, 1813.


BUY LINKS
Amazon
Smashwords



Vonnie Hughes is a multi-published author in both Regency books and contemporary suspense. She loves the intricacies of the social rules of the Regency period and the far-ranging consequences of the Napoleonic Code. And with suspense she has free rein to explore forensic matters and the strong convolutions of the human mind. Like many writers, some days she hates the whole process, but somehow she just cannot let it go.

Vonnie was born in New Zealand, but she and her husband now live happily in Australia. If you visit Hamilton Gardens in New Zealand be sure to stroll through the Japanese Garden. These is a bronze plaque engraved with a haiku describing the peacefulness of that environment. The poem was written by Vonnie.

All of Vonnie’s books are available at The Wild Rose Press and Amazon.

Learn more about Vonnie Hughes on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Goodreads.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Magic of Pasta

and the Magic Soul Mate Tree
from C.D. Hersh

Love and food go together like romance and a happily-ever-after ending.

Maybe that’s why in most of our novels the hero and heroine share a meal of some sort. There’s just something magical about a special dinner with the one you love. Don’t you remember that special dinner, or dinners, with your honey? On the first dinner Catherine made for me she accidentally fed me a toothpick. Trust us, we remember that!

Like most humans, we like to eat, and food works its way into our stories. In Blood Brothers it was a steak dinner. In Son of the Moonless Night exotic fish was on the table. And in all of The Turning Stone Chronicles books the immortal Scottish Keeper of the Stone has an ever-present cup of tea and scones on the kitchen table.

In our newest release, Can’t Stop the Music (The Soul Mate Tree Book 2) the hero cooks an Italian meal for the heroine that is positively orgasmic. Can’t Stop the Music is a nostalgic romance set in Woodstock 1969 and contains a paranormal element. The paranormal involves a magic Soul Mate Tree that grants soul mates to deserving persons.

The Soul Mate Tree is
An ancient legend spanning eras, continents, and worlds.
To some, it’s nothing more than a dream.
To others, a pretty fairy tale handed down through the generations.
For those in critical need of their own happy ending, a gift.

And our heroine and hero are in definitely in need of a happy ending.

Speaking of happy, who doesn’t love a delicious pasta dish? We do, but pasta is something we don’t eat a lot of anymore because of the high carb content. Recently, we’ve begun experimenting with ways to make high-carb pasta meals friendlier, because we do miss our pasta. In the process, we’ve discovered things like lentil and soybean pastas that are great substitutes for wheat pasta. They have a high fiber to carb ratio, which not only puts more fiber in the diet, but slows the release of sugars into the blood stream, both which are great boons to people with insulin resistance issues. The soybean pasta is fantastic and has become our go-to pasta for spaghetti.

Unfortunately, we haven’t found a soybean lasagna. So, Catherine got creative and made a meatless version of lasagna that uses a smaller amount of noodle on the bottom of the dish and substitutes sliced zucchini for the pasta in the other layers. Putting a single layer of pasta on the bottom provides the traditional taste of lasagna and helps the servings come out of the dish better, without the added high-glycemic carbohydrates. We made this lasagna recipe meatless, but you could use a meat sauce if you prefer. This recipe serves 4. Bon appétit!

Mushroom Zucchini Lasagna
2 small zucchinis, ends trimmed and sliced into scant ⅛ inch thick ribbons
2 sheets oven-ready lasagna pasta
½ jar (1⅓ cup) spaghetti or marina sauce, any flavor you prefer
2-3 ounces fresh baby spinach, 2-3 handfuls
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
12 tablespoons low-fat ricotta cheese

Fit the zucchini into a square 1½ quart baking dish. Trim to fit the dish snugly. Remove to a plate and salt liberally both sides. Let stand about an hour to draw out the excess moisture. Rinse off salt and pat slices dry with a paper towel. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Rinse mushrooms and place in a skillet or large saucepan. Using 2 sharp-bladed spatulas, coarsely chop mushrooms in the pan. (Alternately, you could use a knife and cutting board, but Catherine found this method to be quicker.) Sauté mushrooms in a couple tablespoons of water until the mushrooms darken and excess water from the fungi has appeared in the pan. Drain and set aside.

Fit the 2 sheets of pasta in the bottom of the baking dish, breaking edges off as necessary so the pasta lays flat in the bottom. Remove pasta and broken pieces from the dish.

Pour ⅓ cup pasta sauce in the bottom of the dish and lay the pasta sheets and broken pieces on top.

On top of this base, layer ⅓ cup pasta sauce, ¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese, ⅓ cup mushrooms, a handful of spinach, and four tablespoons of ricotta cheese (dotted over the top of the spinach), and enough zucchini slices to cover the ingredients. Spread the ingredients so they are evenly layered. Repeat layers to the depth the dish allows, ending with a layer of zucchini, sauce, ricotta cheese and mozzarella cheese.

Bake for 45 minutes.

Let stand a couple of minutes before cutting. Catherine found using a chef’s knife to cut the layers works best to cut through the zucchini without destroying the layers.

Serve with a fresh salad and warm, Italian garlic bread for a complete meal.

Note:
We went light on the cheeses, which gave each square of lasagna about one serving each of the cheeses. If you like a heavier cheese taste, add more cheese on each layer.

After the dishes are done and you’re ready to relax, download Can’t Stop the Music and take a trip back to Woodstock 1969 with our heroine Rose and her Italian stallion Dakota. To whet your appetite, here’s a peek at Rose and Dakota’s first meeting. Enjoy!

For college senior and hippie wannabe Rosemary—Rose for short—a teaching job is within her grasp, but she wants more. She wants love, the kind of love that has bound her parents for so many years. When she’s dumped by her current boyfriend because her morals can’t bring her to give in to free love, she finds herself at Woodstock in the middle of the biggest free-love music festival of the Sixties. Alone, again. Until a magical tree grants her wish and she finds the man of her dreams—and loses him before she really knows who he is.

Dakota meets the girl of his dreams at Woodstock, but a jealous wannabe girlfriend drives them apart before he can discover Rose’s last name and where she comes from. After he sees a disappearing tree that promises him true love, a frantic search to find Rose comes up empty-handed.

Magic and music bring them together at Woodstock in 1969. Misunderstandings tear them apart. Will two flower children find one another again, or live with missed opportunities?

EXCERPT
As they made their way to the festival site, Rose and her friends grooved to the music coming from the stage. When they reached the makeshift bridge over the road, someone yelled, “Hey beautiful! You with the red hair.”

She looked around to see if there was anyone else with red hair. Then she glanced up and spotted two guys, one blond and the other dark-haired, leaning over the side of the bridge.

“Yeah, you,” the blond called out as he caught her gaze.

Willow halted beside her. “He’s cute. How about him?”

Rose looked away, her gaze landing on the other guy.

He jabbed his companion in the ribs. “Quit trying to pick up every girl you see.” Then he leaned farther over the rail. “Don’t pay any attention to him. He’s high.”

“So she’s not beautiful?” Willow yelled to the hippie.

She poked her friend. “Stop it, Willow, you’re making a scene.” In spite of her protest, her gaze remained on the dark-haired guy.

He rested his elbows on the rail and stared back at her. The intensity of his expression shot heat into her belly.

“I didn’t say that, just that she shouldn’t pay attention to him.” He flapped a hand at his blond buddy, then tapped his own chest with his thumb several times as if to say, ‘Choose me!’

Does he want me to pay attention to him? Her heart thumped in rhythm to his jabbing thumb.

“Take that one,” Willow whispered. “He’s the real cutie.”

Before she could respond, the crowd pushed them forward. When they reached the other side of the bridge, she looked back, searching for the dark-haired hippie, but the spot where he’d stood was empty.

Just my luck. I see someone who’s intriguing and he disappears.

With a sigh, she continued the trek to the festival grounds.

AMAZON BUY LINK

Putting words and stories on paper is second nature to co-authors C.D. Hersh. They’ve written separately since they were teenagers and discovered their unique, collaborative abilities in the mid-90s. As high school sweethearts and husband and wife, Catherine and Donald believe in true love and happily ever after.

The books of their paranormal romance series entitled The Turning Stone Chronicles are available on Amazon. They also have a short Christmas story, Kissing Santa, in a Christmas anthology titled Sizzle in the Snow: Soul Mate Christmas Collection, with seven other authors.

They look forward to many years of co-authoring and book sales, and a lifetime of happily-ever-after endings on the page and in real life.

Learn more about C.D. Hersh on their website and their Amazon Author Page.

Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Monday, March 27, 2017

TODAY'S REALITY

Anne Montgomery brings to light the physical and emotional abuse too many young people are forced to suffer on a daily basis. Her well written novel is a no holds barred work of fiction that creates a myriad of emotions in the reader. Even though this book is in the Young Adult genre, I recommend it to everyone who has the courage to face reality.

Two Arizona teens find their fates intertwined. Are there any adults they can trust? Can they even trust each other?

Rose Madsen will do anything to keep from being married off to one of the men in her Fundamentalist Mormon (FLDS) community, even endure the continued beatings and abuse of her mother. But when her mentally handicapped baby sister is forced to strangle the bird she loves at the behest of the Prophet, Rose frees the bird and runs away.

Adan Reyes will do anything to escape the abusive foster care system in Phoenix, even leaving his good friends and successful high school athletic career behind him. Ill-prepared for surviving the desert, Adan hits the road only to suffer heat stroke. Found by a local handyman, he catches a glimpse of a mysterious girl—Rose—running through town, and follows her into the mountains where they are both tracked and discovered by the men of the FLDS community.

With their fates now intertwined, can Rose and Adan escape the systems locking them into lives of abuse? Will Rose be forced to marry the Prophet, a man her father's age, and be one of dozens of wives, perpetually pregnant, with no hope for an education? Will Adan be returned to the foster home where bullying and cruelty are common? Is everyone they meet determined to keep them right where they belong or are some adults worthy of their trust?

Amazon Buy Link

Anne Montgomery has worked as a television sportscaster, newspaper and magazine writer, teacher, amateur baseball umpire, and high school football referee. She worked at WRBL‐TV in Columbus, Georgia, WROC‐TV in Rochester, New York, KTSP‐TV in Phoenix, Arizona, ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, where she anchored the Emmy and ACE award‐winning SportsCenter, and ASPN-TV as the studio host for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Montgomery has been a freelance and staff writer for six publications, writing sports, features, movie reviews, and archeological pieces.

When she can, Anne indulges in her passions: rock collecting, scuba diving, football refereeing, and playing her guitar.

Learn more about Anne Montgomery on Wikipedia. Stay connected on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER

Releasing April 18, 2017
a new Historical Fiction packed with Action and Adventure
The Sun God's Heir: Rebirth, Book 2
by Elliott Baker




The Count of Monte Cristo meets ancient Egypt in this riveting sequel to The Sun God’s Heir: Return.

Set during the wave tossed years of white slavery and Barbary pirates, this is the epic story of René Gilbert, a journey that defies time as he must draw on a larger awareness earned in previous lifetimes.

The plague’s dark fingers curl around Bordeaux. René must return home to save those he loves. But first he has to escape a Moroccan sultan’s clutches. In Bordeaux, an enemy waits, filled with a hatred three thousand years old. Only René can defeat this dark power, and only if he reclaims his own ancient past. In this arena, death is but the least of failure’s penalties.



Grab Book 1, The Sun God’s Heir: Return, Book 1 on Amazon



Award winning novelist and international playwright Elliott Baker grew up in Jacksonville, Florida. With four musicals and one play published and performed throughout the United States, New Zealand, Portugal, England, and Canada, Elliott has turned to writing novels. His debut novel, The Sun God’s Heir: Return, Book One of the trilogy, was released this past January. Rebirth, Book Two will release April 18th, followed in July by the third and final book of the series, Redemption.

A member of the Authors Guild and the Dramatists Guild, Elliott lives in New Hampshire with his beautiful wife Sally Ann.

Learn more about Elliot Baker on his website. Stay connected on Twitter and Facebook. Like Elliott's Author Page on Facebook to learn all his latest news.

Monday, March 20, 2017

NEW RELEASE for ERIS FIELD

Amazon Best Selling author Eris Field leads us into an exotic world seldom experienced by Western women. Abbey's Search for Sanctuary is book one of the Destiny: Choice or Chance Trilogy. This contemporary international romance was released by Soul Mate Publishing March 15, 2017. This is one well-written novel that sweeps you away. A definite must read.

Honor killings aren’t common in Buffalo, NY. But Turkish-American nurse Abbey knows she must protect her dead sister’s infant daughter, Jenny. Abbey’s sister was murdered by her Muslim husband for leaving him when she learned his mother would perform the cruel ritual of female circumcision on Jenny.

Once a fighter and medic with the Kurdish forces in Iraq, Rami now works with the refugees in Buffalo. Shunned by his grandfather for failing to demand retribution when his arranged marriage failed, Rami has mastered the art of avoiding emotional attachments. That is until he meets Abbey.

Warning Abbey that honor killings are family affairs and she and Jenny are in danger, Rami offers her a way out: a marriage of convenience and a safe place to live--his homeland, Kurdistan where they’ll be protected by the clan.

Abbey has vowed to do what it takes to protect Jenny. Can she face going back to the world of her childhood, a world of headscarves and submission, a world she escaped once?

AMAZON BUY LINK

Eris Field was born in the Green Mountains of Vermont—Jericho, Vermont to be precise—close by the home of Wilson Bentley (aka Snowflake Bentley), the first person in the world to photograph snowflakes. She learned from her Vermont neighbors that pursuit of one’s dream is a worthwhile life goal.

As a seventeen year old student nurse at Albany Hospital, Eris met a Turkish surgical intern who told her fascinating stories about the history of Turkey, the loss of the Ottoman Empire, and forced population exchanges. After they married and moved to Buffalo, Eris worked as a nurse at Children’s Hospital and at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

After taking time off to raise five children and amassing rejection letters for her short stories, Eris earned her master’s degree in Psychiatric Nursing at the University at Buffalo. Later, she taught psychiatric nursing at the University and wrote a textbook for psychiatric nurse practitioners—a wonderful rewarding but never to be repeated experience.

Eris now writes novels, usually international, contemporary romances. Her interest in history and her experience in psychiatry often play a part in her stories. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Western New York Romance Writers. In addition to writing, Eris’s interests include: Prevention of Psychiatric Disorders; Eradicating Honor Killings, supporting the Crossroads Springs Orphanage in Kenya for children orphaned by AIDS, and learning more about Turkey, Cyprus, and Kurdistan.

Learn more about Eris Field on her website. Stay connected on Facebook.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A WORLD OF YUM

by Chris Pavesic

This is a new family favorite. I made these in place of my traditional Christmas Cookies last year, and have requests to make them for all upcoming holidays. For New Years I made an extra batch to store in the freezer for any time an unexpected guest visits, and they lasted about a day.

Chocolate Chip Chocolate Cookies
½ cup unsweetened baker’s chocolate powder
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1 cup butter (plus an additional amount for coating the baking tray)
1 tbsp. vanilla
1 egg
2 ¼ cup all purpose flour (plus an additional amount for coating the baking tray)
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. sea salt
1 package (12 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips
¼ package raw pecan halves
½ cup (approximate) coarse sugar or sanding sugar

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Prepare the baking sheet by coating the surface with butter and then dusting with flour. This will help ensure the cookies do not stick.

Prepare the plate. Sprinkle the coarse or sanding sugar on the surface for pressing the cookie dough.

Mix chocolate powder, granulated sugar, brown sugar, butter, vanilla, and egg in a large bowl until blended.

Stir in flour, baking soda, and salt until mixed. (The dough will be stiff.)

Stir in chocolate chips until evenly mixed.

Using the tablespoon-sized measuring spoon, scoop one cookie and drop it onto the plate.

Using your fingers or the back of the spoon, press and mold the dough until it is shaped the way you desire. (My family likes the traditional rounded cookie shape—but you do you!)

Lift the cookie and place it sugar-side up on the baking sheet. Press one of the pecan halves into the center. Repeat for the remaining cookies.

Space the cookies about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool slightly. Remove from the cookie sheet. Finish cooling on a wire rack.

This recipe makes about 36 cookies.

What’s Next?
I am currently working on two projects. I have a two book epic fantasy in the draft/beta reading stage and I am working on a LitRPG novel concept. For those who might not be familiar with the genre, LitRPG is a subgenre of science fiction and fantasy which describes the hero's adventures within an online computer game. Finally my love of gaming and writing are coming together! I knew all of those nights I stayed up playing MMORPGs would pay off someday. Right now I am in the world-building stage for my LitRPG.

It all boils down to more time in front of the computer and putting words on the screen. Over the next few months I will make more announcements as events warrant. Until then my short stories are available on Amazon.com and are free if you have Kindle Unlimited.


Praise for Heart & Mind
“The author has managed to weave an intricate web about being true to yourself. One shouldn't be guided or led by others. Above all, feel the magic in your own heart. As the fairy godmother believes sometimes it is best not to mess with destiny.” –Chief, USN Ret...VT Town—a Top 500 Reviewer on Amazon.com

Praise for The World In Front of Me
"Picked up this short story because I noted it was previously published in Penumbra, which was a pretty high quality publication. And this story lived up to my expectations for a professional quality piece.

The story's main idea reminded me a lot of the Lakeside community in Neil Gaimon's American Gods, but I won't say anymore about that for fear of giving away spoilers. But fans of Gaimon should really enjoy this story. Fans of strong women who make tough choices should enjoy this as well"—KSluss—Review on Amazon.com

Praise for Going Home
"This is an excellent short story that is full of surprises for the reader. Martial law is about to be imposed in the colony.

A secret room, trips on a train and a clandestine meeting are all part of this superb short story.

Most highly recommended"—Off Grid . . . And Loving It—a Top 500 Reviewer on Amazon.com

Praise for Wonderland
"The writing is beautiful, the characters are complex and thoroughly developed and the story is fascinating. All of it together creates a world you don't want to leave when the book ends. I am so glad I discovered this author and I cannot wait for her next book"—Mary—Review on Amazon.com

Read excerpts from all of the books written by Chris Pavesic on Amazon.


Chris Pavesic is a fantasy author who lives in the Midwestern United States and loves Kona coffee, steampunk, fairy tales, and all types of speculative fiction. Between writing projects, Chris can most often be found reading, gaming, gardening, working on an endless list of DIY household projects, or hanging out with friends. Learn more about Chris on her website.

Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, March 13, 2017

CELEBRATING WOMEN

by Carol Browne

March is Women’s History Month, an event that can be traced back to 1911 when the first International Women’s Day (March 8th) was initiated in the USA. In 1981 Congress authorised the President of the USA to proclaim that the week beginning 7th March should be Women’s History Week. The National Women's History Project subsequently petitioned Congress which led to the month of March 1987 being designated as Women's History Month. Congress continued to pass annual resolutions requesting the president to make a proclamation to this effect and this has continued down the years.

This month is celebrated in a variety of ways, from demonstrations of respect, love and admiration for women, to acknowledgement of their political, historical and social achievements and contributions. It is also a time to speak out for women’s rights, to bring to light the struggles many women face now and to honour those they have overcome in the past. As we are becoming more and more aware of the roles women have played throughout history, it is fitting that we remember the stories of Holocaust survivors like Krystyna Porsz, who are such powerful examples of the resilience of the human spirit and the endurance of women in particular.

If, like Krystyna, you were just 18 years old, your country was invaded and your family threatened, what would you do to survive? Being Krystyna is one woman's story of surviving horror and loss in Poland during World War II. It’s a story with lessons still relevant to us today.

To celebrate Women’s History Month with a beverage appropriate to the era, why not try a recipe for a Champagne Cocktail that dates back to World War II?

Photo by m_bartosch
Champagne Cocktail
½ oz (15ml) ginger liqueur
½ oz (15ml) blackcurrant liqueur
Champagne

Wartime Britain was cut off from supplies of fruits like oranges but people were able to grow an abundance of blackcurrants in their own gardens and allotments. Would you believe that these tiny fruits contain vitamins B5, B6, B1, iron, copper, calcium, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, and potassium, as well as humungous amounts of vitamin C? Ginger is also very beneficial for the health. And champagne is…well, delicious. Bottoms up!

Here's a glimpse into the tough life of a strong woman I admire.

It’s 2012, the year of the London Olympics, and for young Polish immigrant Agnieszka, visiting fellow countrywoman Krystyna in a Peterborough care home is a simple act of kindness. However, the meeting proves to be the beginning of a life-changing experience.

Krystyna’s stories about the past are not memories of the good old days but recollections of war-ravaged Europe: The Warsaw Ghetto, Pawiak Prison, Ravensbrück Concentration Camp, and the death march to freedom.

The losses and ordeals Krystyna suffered and what she had to do to survive, these are horrors Agnieszka must confront when she volunteers to be Krystyna’s biographer.

Will Agnieszka find a way to accomplish her task, and, in this harrowing story of survival, what is the message for us today?

Buy Links
Dilliebooks - Amazon UK - Amazon US



Born in Stafford in the UK, Carol Browne was raised in Crewe, Cheshire, which she thinks of as her home town. Interested in reading and writing at an early age, Carol pursued her passions at Nottingham University and was awarded an honours degree in English Language and Literature. Now living and working in the Cambridgeshire countryside, Carol usually writes fiction and is a contracted author at Burning Willow Press. Being Krystyna, published by Dilliebooks on 11th November, 2016, is her first non-fiction book.

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

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Memories Are Funny Things

by Elliott Baker

Yes, they are. Sometimes they’re there when we want them, and sometimes they’re not. Unless you’re one of those eidetic folks who can remember every minute of their lives, early memories are often of higher emotional occurrences like birthdays or the time you broke your arm. I grew up with four sisters and brothers and for whatever the reasons, we rarely went out to eat. When we did, it was usually a special occasion. As a food lover, something about being in a restaurant has always been magical to me and has served as an anchor for more memories than I might have been able to recall without.

One of my favorite memories was dinner at Patti’s. This large, many roomed, Italian restaurant was a staple of Jacksonville, Florida dining. The people were friendly, the atmosphere, at least to a twelve-year-old boy was about as elegant as possible, and the food was good and more important to my twelve-year-old memory, plentiful.

If you were there for your birthday, you were served a small everything pizza. I was assured by my father we didn’t have to be there on the exact day of someone’s birthday. In fact we sometimes missed it by months. The restaurant didn’t seem to be concerned, and neither did I. Great pizza.

This restaurant is where I was first introduced to chicken parmesan which I have loved ever since. My memory of the dish combines the excitement of being there with the actual preparation of the food, but given how busy the restaurant was, I don’t think its popularity was due only to the free birthday pizza.

I came across this a while ago and would like to share it with you.

Restaurant reviews
Thursday, March 1, 2001

Duplicating Sauce an Inexact Science

By Dan Macdonald
Jacksonville Times-Union food editor


"Here's the sad truth -- you won't be able to replicate Patti's famous Boneless Chicken Parmesan at home.

This dish was the most popular menu item during the restaurant's history, nightly outselling everything else 3 to 1, said John Patti, grandson of founder Peter Patti and a former chef.

You won't be able to make the sauce exactly as it was made in the restaurant. It's doubtful that you'll want to buy a large round of goat's milk Romano cheese to hand grind. It's unfathomable that someone would go to the trouble of making bread from scratch just for the bread crumbs.

--------------

PATTI'S STYLE SAUCE

Place all ingredients in a large pot and stir together. Simmer on low heat for 4 hours, stirring occasionally.

4 (10-ounce) cans tomato puree
2 (6-ounce) cans tomato paste
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons salt
24 ounces water
Pepper to taste

Yield: 2 quarts.

Source: John Patti.

---------------

Or maybe Patti is just being coy.

When asked for the recipe, Patti said he didn't know it. At least he didn't know how to make it in anything less than 15-gallon quantities. As unbelievable as it sounds, he doesn't make it at home for the family.

"I have a [bottled sauce] that I use, Classico Four Cheeses Di Parma, It's a little more seasoned than what we used at the restaurant, but it is pretty good stuff," Patti said.

While he wouldn't give us a specific recipe, he did describe how to make the Chicken Parmesan.

First, the sauce (an approximation of the recipe follows). It is made from a thick tomato puree. The restaurant would buy it in No. 10-size cans. The puree had to be thick enough so that if you stuck a kitchen knife into the center, it would stand up.

The puree was diluted somewhat with water and seasoned lightly (a light hand is necessary) with oregano, basil, garlic powder, salt and pepper. It is then covered and left to simmer for five to six hours.
That's it. However, the quantities remain a mystery. Patti suggests preparing 2-quarts of sauce (enough for four servings of Chicken Parmesan and some spaghetti side dishes).

Patti's served a whole chicken breast. When it was de-boned, they left them connected at the top. When served, the breast halves were pushed together to give the appearance of a super large half-breast.
The chicken was dredged in flour then an egg wash and then in dried bread crumbs.

At the restaurant, the chicken was deep fried, though pan frying at home in a good vegetable oil is more practical.

Once the chicken is fried, it is placed in a baking dish and then lightly covered with the tomato sauce (it shouldn't be smothered), dusted with the Romano cheese and the covered with a rather thin slice of provolone cheese. The provolone should be so thin that when placing it on top of the fingertips, you can see the fingers make an indentation without tearing it.

Place under the broiler long enough to allow the cheeses to melt and blend together with the sauce.

But wait, where's the Parmesan?

"You got it," Patti said. "You discovered the secret. We left out the Parmesan. That's what put us on the map."

Now while you mull over why Patti decided to leave out the Parmesan, how about a brief intro to my action adventure story? I hope you like it.

For three thousand years a hatred burns. In seventeenth century France two souls incarnate, one born the child of a prosperous merchant, the other, determined to continue an incarnation begun long ago.

In ancient Egypt, there were two brothers, disciples of the pharaoh, Akhenaten. When the pharaoh died, the physician took the knowledge given and went to Greece to begin the mystery school. The general made a deal with the priests and became pharaoh. One remembers, one does not.

The year is 1671. René Gilbert’s destiny glints from the blade of a slashing rapier. The only way he can protect those he loves is to regain the power and knowledge of an ancient lifetime. From Bordeaux to Spain to Morocco, René is tested and with each turn of fate he gathers enemies and allies, slowly reclaiming the knowledge and power earned centuries ago. For three thousand years a secret sect has waited in Morocco.

After ages in darkness, Horemheb screams, “I am.” Using every dark art, he manages to maintain the life of the body he has bartered for. Only one life force in the world is powerful enough to allow him to remain within embodiment, perhaps forever. Determined to continue a reign of terror that once made the Nile run red, he grows stronger with each life taken.

Read more on Amazon.


Award winning, international playwright Elliott B. Baker grew up in Jacksonville, Florida. With four musicals and one play published and done throughout the United States, New Zealand, Portugal, England, and Canada, Elliott is pleased to offer his first novel, Return, book one of The Sun God’s Heir trilogy.

A member of the Authors Guild and the Dramatists Guild, Elliott lives in New Hampshire with his beautiful wife Sally Ann.

Learn more about Elliot Baker on his website. Stay connected on Twitter and Facebook. Like Elliott's Author Page on Facebook to learn all his latest news.

Monday, March 06, 2017

BEWITCHING SOPHIE

I'm very happy to introduce you to Sophie Goodchild, the heroine from Disenchanted, a wonderful fantasy written by the talented author Leigh Goff.

Thank you for coming out today, Sophie. I won't take much of your time. Please tell us, how old are you?
I just turned sixteen and what a crazy ride it has been since my birthday. My magic was always less than expected and hard to control. My Aunt Janie thought my ordinary half was affecting my spellcasting witch half, but I recently learned that my diamond bloodcharm, a gemstone pendant from my mom, enhances my magic, and it has really made a difference in my spellcasting, but don’t tell anyone! I have a surprise in store for my coven.

Are your parents alive? Are they married? Are they divorced?
Sadly, my parents passed away when I was a small child. I have some memories of them, especially sitting on my mother’s lap and the warmth of her embrace. Their deaths haunt me because I have a feeling the mystery surrounding what happened has something to do with black-hearted Judge Mather. He is the father of the guy I’m falling hard for, but he is an unethical man who stops at nothing to get what he wants. He’s locked up half of my coven’s witches for magical slip-ups, and I fear he had something to do with my parents’ deaths.

If you were sent to a deserted island what three things would you take?
My godmother Phoebe’s sugared pansy petals because they are delicious and they melt in your mouth. I would bring my red diamond bloodcharm for sentimental and practical reasons. It belonged to my mother and it enhances my magic, which would come in handy on a deserted island. I would also include my hot boyfriend because he’s fearless when danger is near and that’s been a lot lately.

Do you have a hidden talent?
I can make a mean purple spaghetti sauce. It requires purple tomatoes and pink Parisian garlic along with a few special herbs from my Aunt Janie’s enchanted garden. I cast a simple puree spell on it to blend the ingredients together and it’s delicious.

Do you consider yourself and introvert or extrovert?
I’m an introvert. I’m not sure if being an introvert is my true nature or from a habit of keeping secrets and trying to blend in. The ordinaries in Wethersfield, a small Connecticut town steeped in Puritanical history, just can’t handle witch magic, so it’s best for everyone involved if we keep our talents hidden and being an introvert helps.

What is your idea of a perfect day?
A perfect day would be a day full of swoony kissing with my forbidden boyfriend, Alexavier. He’s an ordinary and a Mather. In case you don’t know your American history, the Mathers played a big role in condemning witches to hang in New England. Alexavier is a descendant of the man who condemned my ancestor, Rebecca Greensmith to hang at Gallows Hill so I get that he’s forbidden, but his bad boy ways and his hot British accent are so irresistible. Plus he’s hiding a secret that I just have to know. Did I mention he’s tall, dark-haired, and has lips that taste like sun-ripened peaches?

If I asked you to write an entry in your journal what would it be about?
A journal? I’ve been trying to unlock entries from my ancestor’s enchanted journal from three hundred and fifty years ago. So if I had a journal of my own, I might want to repay the favor and write something down that would help my descendant sometime in the future.

Tell me something no one else knows about you?
I love living in Wethersfield. It’s a small town, but I think in time, the people here will come to embrace the witches living among them. Fingers crossed!

Here's a brief intro to Disenchanted where you can learn a little more about Sophie Goodchild.

Sophie Goodchild is a sixteen-year-old witch living with her eccentric aunt in the small town of Wethersfield, Connecticut—the sight of the first American Witch Trials. She is descended from a powerful black witch, but struggles with her erratic white magic while dealing with a mean girl witch clique known as the Glitterati, who love to make Sophie feel like she is less than they are.

Sophie is beautiful with wild waves of sable-colored hair, eyes the color of dark blue sapphires, and heart-shaped pillowy lips. More importantly, she is beautiful on the inside, although she hides it well behind her impatience and impetuousness, which makes her very relatable.

It is those heart-strong characteristics that lead her into trouble, and since she is ruled by her heart, she’s all in once she finds trouble. She is fiercely loyal, determined, and fearless and there is nothing she wouldn’t do or sacrifice for the ones she loves, especially when she learns of the true love curse her ancestor cast on the Mather family.

When Judge Mather, a descendant of the reverend who condemned Sophie’s witch ancestor to hang, finds out his handsome son (who has recently returned to Wethersfield with a sexy British accent and a face that could melt a black witch’s heart) has fallen hard for Sophie, things get even more dangerous for her. Dark secrets come to light and impossible choices are made as Sophie sacrifices everything, including her soul to save her forbidden true love.

Buy Links:
Mirror World Publishing - Amazon


Leigh Goff loves writing young adult fiction with elements of magic and romance because it's also what she liked to read. Born and raised on the East Coast, she now lives in Maryland where she enjoys the area's great history and culture.

Leigh is a graduate of the University of Maryland, University College and a member of the Maryland Writers' Association and Romance Writers of America. She is also an approved artist with the Maryland State Arts Council. Her debut novel, Disenchanted, was inspired by the Wethersfield witches of Connecticut and was released by Mirror World Publishing. Leigh is currently working on her next novel, The Witch's Ring which is set in Annapolis.

Learn more about Leigh Goff on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Goodreads.