Monday, January 30, 2017

IT'S ALL ABOUT LOVE

The incomparable Janis Lane has stretched out of her comfort zone into a new genre with her delightful new release Angels Abound with Love. Here is a brief introduction for your reading pleasure.

In a small town, a series of mysterious coincidences tests and strengthens the faith of a group of friends and neighbors. Love is in the air.

A coincidence is an angel-delivered message from God vows her vivacious nurse to young Doc Cathy. To a science educated person, this seems a bit far-fetched. On the other hand, is it? The doctor is in as episode after episode tests her faith and her education. To her delight, love enters her life in depths she could never have imagined.

A handsome detective is too busy with his good works to ask for help either from his church, friends or his God. When he encounters the lovely Doc Cathy his horizons expand beyond his wildest imagination, and he suddenly remembers to include his most powerful partner. Love is the message.


EXCERPT
“She’s a doctor just like Doc Smitty. I’m sure you can trust her. She probably goes to hockey games too.” Mark Mallory turned his attention to the delicate face gazing solemnly down at him and felt a slight jolt to his constitution as if he’d put his finger near an electric outlet. He hastily stood, tugged on his well-worn t-shirt and brushed his hand over his close-cropped hair. It immediately sprang back into curled disarray.

“I’m standing in for his mom,” he stated quickly. “She called and asked me to bring Robbie to you. She’s on her way.

“Oh, sorry--Detective Mark Mallory. I volunteer on Tuesday’s at the Boy’s and Girl’s Club.” He wiped his hand on his jeans and reached it out to her.

“How do you do,” the doctor returned.

“I heard there’s a new doctor taking over for Doc Smitty. Welcome to town.” He shook her hand, feeling foolish as she looked steadily up at him; her calm gray-blue eyes, heavily fringed with dark lashes, seemed to be taking his measure. She was a little bit of a thing, he thought absently, but somehow her height failed to diminish her authority. He hadn’t expected such an attractive young woman to be standing in for old Doc Smith and belatedly regretted his sweaty T-shirt and well-worn jeans. Was that his big toe peeking out of his sneakers? How did that happen? He tried to tuck one shoe behind the other and hoped she wouldn’t notice.

*

Driving home to Aunt Serena and little Elisa, who was hopefully to be her new foster child, Cathy reviewed her day--a quite extraordinary day. Meeting the congenial policeman put a smile on her face—he was one handsome hunk and… now was no time to be distracted by a good looking detective even if it was obvious he spent time working out. Policemen probably needed well developed muscles to help them catch criminals—and to keep themselves healthy. She, a new, and maybe temporary foster parent (she didn’t know yet) needed to keep her thoughts centered. No time for flirting with the local police.

She was still astounded by her impulsive offer this morning to take charge of a four year old orphan in need of a foster home. She almost gasped at her own temerity, but the thought of providing urgent shelter to the tiny girl-child pleased her. She knew her aunt would welcome the tot as well. There was lots of room in that comfortable, rambling older and well-lived-in home where she and her brothers had grown up.

*

“Where there is love, there also shall be God,” she sang softly, the tone of her voice pealing like the soft, tinkling tones of a far away, crystal bell.

Inside the woman leaned forward, her heart filled with empathy for the misery of the child. As the doctor spoke impulsively to the social worker, the angel smiled and floated upwards, the halo around her head fading as she ascended into the clouds and turned into a shining pallet of colors, which disappeared into the arch of a distant rainbow.

Inside the building the doctor wondered at her uncharacteristic and impulsive boldness, but would not rescind her offer. She had love to give and this little girl needed to be loved. Cathy became cognizant of an extreme sense of serenity and well-being. Briefly she wondered at it, but not finding a particular cause, blithely and casually accredited it, quite correctly, as a gift from God and went on with her work.

AMAZON BUY LINK

Read more about the books by Janis Lane on Amazon.

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

A WARM TASTE OF ITALY

A small bowl of hot soup is an excellent starter to any meal. You can also enjoy soup for lunch or dinner by adding a salad and fresh bread. This hearty recipe works great for all situations. Add a glass of crisp white wine and enjoy!

Minestrone (Vegetable) Soup
½ cup dry white beans, navy or Great Northern
4 tbsp. butter
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup zucchini, unpeeled, scrubbed and diced
1 cup carrots, diced
1 cup red potatoes, diced
⅓ cup celery, diced
5 strips bacon, diced
¼ cup onion, chopped
½ cup leeks (or substitute onions), chopped fine
2 cups drained diced tomatoes
2 quarts chicken stock, homemade or canned
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp. parsley
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ cup rice

Bring 1 quart of water to a boil in a heavy 3-to 4-quart saucepan. Add the beans and boil for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the beans soak for 1 hour. Return the pan to the stove, and over low heat simmer the beans uncovered for 1-1½ hours, or until they are barely tender. Drain the beans and set aside.

Melt the butter over moderate heat in a heavy 10-to 12- inch skillet. When the foam subsides, add the peas, zucchini, carrots, potatoes, and celery. Toss constantly with a wooden spoon to coat the vegetables. Cook 2-3 minutes. Set aside.

Fry the bacon in a heavy 6-to8-quart saucepan over moderate heat until crisp. Drain the bacon on paper towels, but retain the grease in the pot. Stir in the onion and leeks. Continue to stir until the vegetables are soft and lightly brown, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes, vegetables from the skillet, chicken stock, bay leaf, parsley, and pepper. Bring the soup to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer partially covered for 25 minutes.

Remove the bay leaf. Add the rice, beans, and bacon. Cook 15 – 20 minutes longer.

Garnish
½ tbsp. dried basil
½ tbsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. garlic, chopped fine
½ cup Parmesan cheese

Combine all ingredients into a small bowl. Stir well.

To Serve
Ladle into individual bowls. Sprinkle with herb/garlic mixture. Pass a bowl of grated cheese.

Leftovers freeze well.

Serves 8

May you enjoy all the days of your life around a well laden table!

Sloane Taylor
Twitter
Amazon Author Page

Monday, January 23, 2017

IN THE NAVY

They never eat a Bean Soup as good as the one Regency Romance and Cozy Mystery author Emma Lane prepares. Emma brings us a delicious and easy recipe for a hearty soup sure to keep you warm. The kitchen is all yours, Emma!

Navy Bean Soup
2 strips bacon
1 med, onion, chopped
3 cups water
1 med. white potato, peeled and cubed
1 can navy or great northern beans, drained
1 clove fresh garlic, chopped fine (optional)

Sauté' onion and bacon until onion is pearly-colored and bacon is crisp. Crumble bacon and add both to pot.

Stir in water, beans, potato, and garlic.

Simmer for at least an hour. Stir occasionally. Do not add more water before serving.

Top the serving with a spoonful of grated cheese or a dollop of sour cream.

Serve with a pear salad and a loaf of French bread or hard rolls.

Pear Salad
l can pears halves or slices, drained
lettuce
dollop of sour cream
sprinkle of nutmeg

Assemble on individual salad plates. Chill until ready to serve.

While you're waiting for everyone to come home for dinner, here's a teaser from one of my Regency books.

What happens when a strong heroine meets an arrogant, but handsome hero? Sparks fly. It's a Regency Romance Romp!

Miss Amabel Hawkins acknowledges her unusual upbringing, but she thinks James Langley, the Duke of Westerton, might be a tad unbalanced when he protests her efforts to right his badly managed properties. The duke, who has been away on the king's business, demonstrates no respect for the beautiful but managing Miss Hawkins. Amabel has taken refuge at Westerton, fleeing from a forced marriage to a man who claims to be her relative in order to gain control of her young brother's estate.

The Duke arrives home to find his estate under the firm control of a beautiful but managing female. His suspicions are fueled by his recent task of spy-hunting and he wonders if Amabel Hawkins is just who she seems. While a dastardly spy lurks, a wicked man poses as her cousin threatening to take over the guardianship of her young brother. Amabel might be falling in love, but she knows for certain the duke would never approve of a meddlesome woman, and she decides to flee his estate. Will the duke finally realize the true value of the woman he loves or will his prejudice ruin his chances forever?

Amazon Buy Link


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

Stay connected to Emma on Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A HOT BEVERAGE FIT FOR THE QUEEN

by Suzanne G. Rogers

Whenever I’m writing Victorian-era English romance, I will often consult Mrs. Beeton’s The Book of Household Management (1861), for ideas on how things were done. Mrs. Isabella Mary Beeton was the Martha Stewart of the age, writing a highly-plagiarized cookery column for "The Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine." Her book covers diverse topics such as household duties, dining, kitchens, servants, doctors, and the rearing of children, as well as detailed recipes for everything from soup to nuts. I’ve downloaded the manuscript onto my computer from Project Gutenberg, which makes it available to everyone in all different formats HERE.

Since it’s winter, I thought I would share one of Mrs. Beeton’s recipes for Hot Punch, which sounds perfectly delicious and terribly intoxicating.

TO MAKE HOT PUNCH

INGREDIENTS.— ½ pint of rum, ½ pint of brandy, ¼ lb. of sugar, 1 large lemon, ½ tspoonful of nutmeg, 1 pint of boiling water.


Mode.— Rub the sugar over the lemon until it has absorbed all the yellow part of the skin, then put the sugar into a punchbowl; add the lemon-juice (free from pips), and mix these two ingredients well together. Pour over them the boiling water, stir well together, add the rum, brandy, and nutmeg; mix thoroughly, and the punch will be ready to serve. It is very important in making good punch that all the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated; and, to insure success, the processes of mixing must be diligently attended to.

Sufficient.— Allow a quart for 4 persons; but this information must be taken cum grano salis; for the capacities of persons for this kind of beverage are generally supposed to vary considerably.



Enjoy the punch over a copy of my latest sweet Victorian romance, Spinster.




Staring down life as an old maid, newly jilted Clare flees to a country home she's inherited from her grandmother. She doesn't count on clashing with her handsome neighbor, whose gentlemanly manners and education are at odds with his workingman's image. As their relationship unfolds, however, she discovers the mysterious Meriweather Holcroft is not what he appears to be.

Suzanne's historical Victorian YA book is available January 31, 2017 for your Kindle at Amazon.


Suzanne G. Rogers lives with her husband and son in romantic Savannah, Georgia, on an island populated by deer, exotic birds, and the occasional gator. She's owned by two Sphynx cats, Houdini and Nikita. Movies, books, and writing are her passions.

Learn more about Suzanne G. Rogers on her historical romance blog and her fantasy blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. Also, be sure to check out the website for the Sweet Romance written by Suzanne G. Rogers.

Monday, January 16, 2017

ACTION, ADVENTURE, FANTASY - HOT DAMN!

I am pleased and proud to bring you a new release by Elliott Baker, an exciting author who weaves fact with fiction to create a thrilling swashbuckler that plunks you right in the middle of the action.

Kirkus Review says it best.
“Alexandre Dumas meets Horatio Hornblower and The Mummy in this sweeping, swashbuckling tale.”

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.

Bordeaux, France

Three men bled out into the dirt.

René stared at the hand that held the bloody rapier. His hand. Tremors shuddered through his body and down his arm. Droplets of blood sprayed the air and joined the carmine puddles that seeped into the sun-baked earth. He closed his eyes and commanded the muscles that grasped the rapier to release their tension and allow the sword to drop.
Years of daily practice and pain refused his mind’s order much as they had refused to spare the lives of three men. The heady exultation that filled him during the seconds of the fight drained away and left him empty, a vessel devoid of meaning. He staggered toward an old oak and leaned against its rough bark. Bent over, with one hand braced on the tree, he retched. And again. Still, the sword remained in his hand.

A cloud shuttered the sun. Distant thunder brushed his awareness and then faded. Rain. The mundane thought coasted through his mind. He wiped his mouth on his sleeve and glanced down hoping to see a different tableau. No, death remained death, the only movement, that of flies attracted to a new ocean of sustenance.

The summer heat lifted the acrid blood-rust smell and forced him to turn his head away. Before him stretched a different world from the one in which he had awakened. No compass points. No maps. No tomorrow.

The Maestro.

The mere thought of his fencing master filled him with both reassurance and dread. René slid the rapier into the one place his training permitted, its scabbard. He walked over to where the huge black stallion stamped his impatience, and pulled himself into the saddle.
Some impulse caused him to turn his head one last time. The sunlight that surrounded the men flickered like a candle in the wind, and the air was filled with a loud buzzing sound. Although still posed in identical postures of death, three different men now stared sightless.

Their skin was darker than the leather tanned sailors. Each wore a short linen kilt of some kind that left their upper bodies naked. As strange as the men appeared, their weapons were what drew René’s eye. The swords were archaic; sickle shaped and appeared to be forged of bronze. These men wore different faces and yet their eyes—somehow he knew they were the same sailors he had just killed. René blinked and there before him the original three men lay unmoved. Dead.

For an instant his mind balked, darkness encircled the edges of his vision.

Do not anticipate meaning. The Maestro’s voice echoed in his head. Meaning may be ignored, but it cannot be hurried.

The darkness receded, and he reined the stallion’s head toward home.

René approached the linden shaded lane to the château. The stately trees, their clasped hands steepled over the gravel drive, had always welcomed him. Now they were just a faded backdrop that moved past the corners of his eyes. Could it have been only hours ago that the anniversary of his sixteenth year had presented itself like a gaily wrapped gift waiting for his excited appreciation? The day had dawned as grand as any he had yet experienced, and he had awakened early, eager for the morning’s light.

“Henri,” he yelled, as he charged down the marble staircase and into the dining room. Breakfast was set and steaming on the polished mahogany table. Burnished silver platters and cream colored porcelain bowls held a variety of eggs, sausages, fruits, and breads. How Henri always seemed to anticipate his entry amazed René.

Oui, Master René.” Serene as always, the middle-aged major domo entered the dining room. Henri walked over to the table and poured a cup of tea for René. “ S’il vous plaît, be seated, sir.”

“I cannot. Maybe a roll and a link of sausage. Henri, do you know what today is?”

Henri paused as if deep in thought. “Thursday. Oui, I am quite sure ’tis Thursday.”

René took a still sizzling sausage from a tray and did his best to fold it within a baguette.

Non, ’tis my birth date,” he managed around a mouthful of sausage and roll.

“Which one is that, sir?”

“How do you not know? You were there.”

“Well, I remember ’twas after the end of the war. Let me see. The war was over in…”

“Very droll, Henri. Your memory works fine, ’tis your humor that leaves room for improvement. Today is... so... I cannot explain, it feels like anything is possible today.”

“Given that there is still plenty of day left, perhaps you might sit down and eat. I expect you will need all your strength for a day so filled with possibility.”

“I cannot be late.” René gulped his tea and shoved the rest of the roll and sausage into his mouth.

“Happy anniversary, Master René.”

Merci, Henri.” René checked his appearance in one of the grand foyer mirrors, and then strode toward the courtyard. The time had come to present himself to the Maestro.

René vibrated with excitement. He paused just inside the entrance to the training area. This was no way to face the Maestro. He sucked in a deep breath, exhaled, and reached for that quiet center. The torrent of chaotic thought stilled and that unique calm of intense focus settled around him. His friends Marc and Anatole sported their weapons in public. René had yet to earn that privilege. Disarming the Maestro was the only way, and since that possibility seemed as remote as the ability to fly, it generated a great deal of frustration.

Today, however, might be the day.

Amazon Buy Link


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.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

FUN with SOUP

Several years back I attended a writer’s convention in Michigan.While there, I became enthralled with the book Stone Soup by Ann McGovern. One of the other authors winked and handed me a medium-sized stone from Michigan beach. I was hooked. Bought the book and couldn’t wait for my youngest granddaughter and me to make stone soup. We did over this past summer. Great fun with a delicious end result. Give it a whirl. You, too, will make wonderful memories.



STONE SOUP
1 stone large enough that it won’t get lost in the soup. Quartz is good as it won’t break down while cooking.
1tbsp. butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped fine
2 large carrots, sliced
1 large garlic clove, pressed
6 cups chicken stock
2 boneless chicken breasts, chopped
1 tsp. dried thyme *
1 tbsp. dried parsley *
2 cups penne pasta
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Scrub the stone with dish soap. Rinse thoroughly.

Melt the butter in a large pot on medium heat. When the foam subsides turn heat to medium-high. Add onion and sauté for 3 - 4 minutes. Stir in celery and carrots. Continue to sauté for 6 – 8 minutes. Lower the heat to medium. Add the garlic and stir for 30 seconds.

Carefully pour in the stock. Stir in the chicken and then herbs. Gently lower the stone into the soup. Stir in the pasta.

Increase heat and bring the soup to a boil. Cook until pasta is done al dente. Be sure to stir often.

Remove stone and ladle into individual bowls. Pass the cheese in a separate dish.

Serves 6.

* fresh herbs are excellent if you have them. Use nine springs of each in place of the dried herbs.

May you enjoy all the days of your life around a well laden table!

Sloane Taylor
Twitter
Amazon Author Page

Monday, January 09, 2017

Whence Washing Away?

by SS Hampton Sr.

Hello!

I have been aware of Steampunk for some years now, found the premise interesting, and always thought I should try writing Steampunk someday. But what does an older guy like me know about Steampunk? Not much, actually. But it sounded interesting.

Anyway, while researching a story I once came across mention of a 1778 treaty at Fort Pitt in which American Indians, if assisting the Continental Army against the British during the Revolutionary War, were offered the possibility of their own state and representation in Congress. Once the war was over, of course. The idea of an American Indian state intrigued me, and I thought I should try writing an alternative history someday.

Of course, just like tomorrow, “someday” never comes.

Then I saw Nicole Gestalt’s Call for Submissions for Valves & Vixens, Volume 3 (House of Erotica). The sub-title Steampunk Erotica clinched the idea. So, “someday” finally became “now.”

And the idea hit me—why not write about West Delaware, the American Indian state (the 14th State, or the Treaty State) in a Steampunk world? Of course, that meant research in order to gain a better understanding of Steampunk, and to develop a believable timeline from the 1778 Treaty of Fort Pitt to New Year’s Eve, 31 December 1900. Especially important was what the Steampunk world of West Delaware was like on the eve of the 20th century.

Sooo…as midnight approaches, West Delaware is a populous state with the descendants of survivors from Eastern tribes, as well as tribal refugees who made their way out of the West, through watchful US Army picket lines. There are descendants of white colonists who elected to live under American Indian authority rather than be removed by the fledgling American government and lose their land; descendants of runaway slaves, and still arriving European immigrants. It is a state in a flux of change where the people are blending ancient cultural and social customs with new ways, all against a background of a rapidly evolving computer-based technology.

The people in this world include Carlton Snow, Chief of West Delaware; Solomon Prophet, Director of West Delaware’s powerful state police; Kyrie Sosoni, Executive Assistant to Chief Snow, and who serves both a master and mistress; the influential Senator Walker Diamond who, along with others in the Federal government, wishes to do away with West Delaware; Lord Gallatin Andover, a member of the British Parliament and envious enemy of West Delaware’s computer technology superiority; Lady Elysia Delacroix Stuart, successful Washington madam with ties to West Delaware and Lord Andover, and her sister Lady Cassandra Delacroix Gordon, a member of Elysia’s brothel.

I suppose a last question would be, “How will this all end?” Who knows? Answering that question might deserve another story, or perhaps a novel. We will have to see.

Here's a peek into my story Washing Away.

December 31, 1900, New Year’s Eve. A murder of a prominent British politician, an opportunistic computer technology entrepreneur in a seedy hotel in Washington, D.C. Is the murder nothing more than a sleazy robbery, maybe industrial espionage, or perhaps revenge?

Lady Elysia Delacroix Stuart, a brothel owner in Washington, and her sister Lady Cassandra Delacroix Gordon, a member of the brothel, are on their way to Chestertown, West Delaware—the American Indian state, created after the Revolutionary War—for a New Year’s Eve celebration. The American Indian state leads the world in early computer technology and Lady Elysia’s family played a role in developing the technology. She also had a secret and less than pleasing history with the politician, and finds herself suspect in his murder.

EXCERPT
The solitary gaslight swayed in the strong, wintry wind. Snowflakes spun through the cone of light that swung back and forth across the sidewalk to the side of a wood framed hotel that saw better days. Large snowflakes stuck to a window for long seconds before reluctantly losing their shape and becoming thin rivulets that trickled downward.

Within the dark room the feeble light filtered through curtains that also saw better days. The solitary room was warmer than the winter night outside, but not by much.

“Why this place?” a masculine voice asked. “Why a seedy, dirty little place like this?”

His answer was the squeak of the bed as a feminine form outlined by the curtained window light giggled and crawled forward. The woman turned at the head of the bed and lowered her hips.

“Taste me,” she whispered and tilted her head forward so that her long hair dangled back and forth across his hips. A deep, masculine groan answered her, and beefy hands rubbed and squeezed her hips, then her ass cheeks. She giggled again and lowered her hips further. The groan became muffled. “Do you like my scent,” she asked and reached between the man’s legs. The excited reply was muffled as she rolled her hips back and forth, and her head rose and dipped in a slow rhythm. The man groaned again.

After a few moments she stopped and rose on her knees. His voice rose in protest.

She turned and straddled his chest. The light barely lit the long face framed by long dark hair and decorated with a bushy mustache. His hands resumed their rubbing of her hips and ass cheeks.

“You like?”

“Always have,” he replied in a low voice and squeezed, hard. “You were the best. Especially your first time. That belly dancing in Egypt did wonders for you.”

The woman leaned forward and kissed his forehead. He slipped a hand between her thighs. She gasped and sighed.

“I know.”

“I should have married you back then,” he added.

“I know.”

“You should have married me when we met in London.”

“Really?” A hint of sarcasm was in her voice.

“Yes.”

“But then, we wouldn’t be here.”

She reached behind the pillows, between the headboard and the end of the sheet covered mattress.

“What are you doing?”

“Sshhhh,” the woman replied and placed a finger against his lips.

He chuckled and trailed thick fingers through her pubic hair while he curled her long hair around his other hand.

She pulled her hair free and sat on his stomach. The light from the window shone briefly on a polished, thin round stiletto blade. The woman clapped a strong hand across his mouth and the blade disappeared into the shadow of his left temple. His eyes opened wide, the whites easily visible in the near darkness. A less than lustful gasp and groan filtered through her fingers. His body jerked, his feet kicked, and then he went limp though his limbs shuddered spasmodically.

The woman sighed, placed a pillow against the side of his head and withdrew the stiletto, now darkly stained and dripping.

She remained seated on his stomach, slowly tilting her head from side to side as if studying the now motionless body. She turned the head so that his lifeless eyes gazed at her.

“I wasn’t sure I could do this,” the woman told him in an emotionless voice. “But, it was so easy.”

The window rattled from a strong gust of wind.

“Everything could have been so different,” she said later in a matter-of-fact voice while standing by the bed, shrouded in a winter cloak, and pulling on a pair of gloves. “I’m glad things worked out the way they have.” She paused at the door and listened. At that time of the morning no one was up. Odds were, even the night clerk was asleep. The woman cast a final look at the body followed by a whispered, “Someone really should have told you, hell hath no fury like a girl scorned…or…ill-used.”

The gas lamp lit hallway decorated with a faded, frayed carpet, was empty. She hurried to a door at the rear of the hotel and plunged into the frigid night. Only a horse carriage, and a hissing steam carriage were out and about. With a final look up and down the street, she left the hotel grounds and disappeared into the snowy darkness that was Pennsylvania Avenue.

AMAZON BUY LINK

See more books by S.S. Hampton Sr. on Amazon.

SS Hampton, Sr. is a full-blood Choctaw of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, a divorced grandfather to 13 wonderful grandchildren, and a published photographer and photojournalist. He retired on 1 July 2013 from the Army National Guard with the rank of Sergeant First Class; he previously served in the active duty Army (1974-1985), the Army Individual Ready Reserve (1985-1995) (mobilized for the Persian Gulf War), and enlisted in the Nevada Army National Guard in October 2004, after which he was mobilized for Federal active duty for almost three years. Hampton is a veteran of Operations Noble Eagle (2004-2006) and Iraqi Freedom (2006-2007) with deployment to northern Kuwait and several convoy security missions into Iraq.

He has had two solo photographic exhibitions and curated a third. His writings have appeared as stand-alone stories and in anthologies from Dark Opus Press, Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy, Melange Books, Musa Publishing, MuseItUp Publishing, Ravenous Romance, and as stand-alone stories in Horror Bound Magazine, The Harrow, and River Walk Journal, among others.

In May 2014 he graduated from the College of Southern Nevada with an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Photography – Commercial Photography Emphasis. A future goal is to study for a degree in archaeology—hopefully to someday work in and photograph underwater archaeology (and also learning to paint). He is currently enrolled as an art student at University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

As of April 2014, after being in a 2-year Veterans Administration program for Homeless Veterans, Hampton is officially no longer a homeless Iraq War veteran.

Hampton can be found at:
Dark Opus Press - Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy Publishing - Melange Books - MuseItUp Publishing - Goodreads Author Page - Amazon Author Page - Amazon UK

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Baby, It's Cold Outside

So I invited Sharon Ledwith into the kitchen to kickoff National Soup Month with her hearty soup. Take it away, Sharon!

This is a fantastic soup to serve to your crew, and freezes well. Salad, hard rolls, and wine (red or white) complete this meal! You can make it 24 hours ahead of time without the noodles and wait to add noodles when you reheat the soup to serve.

SAVORY SAUSAGE SOUP
1½ pounds sweet Italian sausage*
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 small onions, chopped
2 (16 ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes
1¼ cup dry red wine
5 cups beef broth
½ tsp. dried basil
½ tsp. dried oregano
2 zucchini, sliced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1 (16 ounce) package spinach fettuccine pasta (or plain, whatever your heart desires)
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, cook sausage over medium heat until brown. Remove with a slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels. Drain fat from pan, reserving 3 tablespoons. If desired, instead of ground sausage, cut sausages in thin slices.

Sauté garlic and onion in reserved fat for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, wine, broth, basil, and oregano. Transfer to a slow cooker, and stir in sausage, zucchini, bell pepper, and parsley.

Cover, and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Break pasta into smaller pieces and drop into boiling water. Cook until al dente, about 7 minutes after the water returns to the boil. Drain water, and add pasta to slow cooker. Simmer for a few minutes, and season with salt and pepper before serving.

Serve topped with grated parmesan.

* Use ground sausage or links you’ve broken into bits or sliced thin.

This recipe can also be made on your stovetop. Follow the directions, but instead of the slow cooker, combine all your ingredients in your original pot. Simmer partially covered for 1 hour.

Give yourself a well-deserved break while your soup simmers. Sit back, prop up your feet, and open a book you’ve been meaning to read. Why not pick up one of The Last Timekeepers adventures, and peruse the latest mission with Treena and her time traveling cohorts?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Drake spat out his cheese, snorting with laughter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

BUY LINKS
Mirror World Publishing: Paperback - eBook



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

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

Monday, January 02, 2017

Kickoff the New Year with a Laugh


Here are two questions that deserve a little thought.


Photo by Keerati



If nothing ever sticks to Teflon, how do they get it to stick to the pan?









Photo by 9comeback

If buttered toast always lands buttered side down on the floor and a cat always lands on its feet, what would happen if you tied a piece of buttered toast to the back of a cat and dropped it?





I'll be back Wednesday to celebrate National Soup Month. Be sure to join me for new recipes.

Sloane