Tuesday, June 18, 2019

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Emma Lane, who writes cozy mysteries as Janis Lane, is an expert on plants, how to use them in our gardens, and what to do when a season ends. She is here today to share a little of her expertise.

When I moved to Western New York (a very long time ago), I bought a wildflower book to learn all the native plants, names, uses, colors. Although I’m now into the study of cultivated varieties, I still love the free offerings of nature found under rotting logs, beside a burbling stream.

This small white daisy-like blossom makes an appearance with its jagged leaf wrapped around the stem like an over-sized coat. Only when the temps warm does the leaf open to expose its precious blossom. Horrible nickname of Blood Root, real name Sanguinaria, it’s listed as a medicinal plant. (I didn’t spot any vampires.). Some may be allergic to the red sap. Rumor has it listed as a historical favorite of Native Americans for paint. The pretty yellow one is Celandine, which sports bright yellow sap with the same uses as its neighbor. (Marsh marigold family.)

Tips:
Annual gardens (only lives once, but makes seeds) are best for intense splashes of color. Perennials (comes back yearly) are more interesting with different foliage textures. The blooms last only 6 weeks or so; plant varieties that show at different time of the summer, such as:

Spring: daffodils, bleeding heart
Summer: Delphinimum, Rudbeckia, Asiatic lilies, Crocosmia; Fall:Butterfly Bush, mums, Hibiscus.

Don’t forget to throw in a sunflower seed or two for the birds.

Happy planting!
~Emma



In the five years Detective Fowler has lived and worked in Hubbard, NY, never has he been forced to investigate a murder, until now. Meet the citizens of Hubbard, NY in MURDER in the NEIGHBORHOOD as they react to a criminal in their midst.







MURDER in the JUNKYARD sees the demise of a man no one likes, a romance, and plans for a wedding as Detective Fowler and his friends keep their small-town America free from danger.




THE GLASS CAT is a sweet story about an elderly lady, her friend and neighbor, and a wicked nephew. There’s a romance brewing as well. It’s a shorty, but I think you’ll finish it with a smile on your face.







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

Stay connected to Emma on Facebook and Twitter.

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.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Peek into the Fantasy World of Gina Briganti

IvyRose
IvyRose: The Evolution

When I started writing The Dreaming in 2009 I had no idea that IvyRose would become a beloved part of the Natural Gifts series. Journey back with me to when Dana was at a signing in New York and Ivy, pregnant with Rose, wore lavender essential oil to calm her nerves as she met one of her personal heroes. Dana felt connected to Ivy from the start and accepted Ivy's phone number when she offered it. Dana and Ivy met later on at Dana's house, which is when Ivy brought Dana her handmade lip gloss and shampoo. Ivy wistfully shared that she would love to market her body care someday. Dana saw a flash out of the corner of her eye and told Ivy that she had a feeling she would.

In Desert Sunrise, Dana and Lucy took a working trip to New York to meet with Ivy and the ever-adorable cherub Rose, to look at office space for the company they would call IvyRose. The friendship these women share, the vision, the hard work, and their drive to make the world a better place moves me so much it leaves me breathless.

When Life Force Holistic Health Center opened during No Yesterdays, it did so with a whole wall of IvyRose products. Top notch, eco-friendly, wonderful, and just plain fun.

You'll see more of IvyRose when you read Deep in the Dreaming. I'd tell you more, but, you know, spoilers.


Deep in the Dreaming Ad 1 (1)
A parallel world. A trapped soul. To save her friends, they'll battle addiction, magic, and eternity…

Elena Zucchero has lived and lost in reality. Now she fills her heart through her work as a hypnotherapist by helping her patients improve their lives. But when a nightmare plagues her sleep, she learns her friends have gone missing in an addictive alternate plane. And the only way to save them may require feeding the demons of her handsome new client…

Draper Montgomery painfully resists the call of the Dreaming. But despite his dangerous cravings, he senses his enchanting therapist has a wound he can help heal. And to satisfy his heart's desire, he may just have to risk the very foundation of his mind…

As Elena and Draper discover a deeper soul connection, the therapist struggles to keep her distance in the hunt for her friends. If the people she loves even want to be saved…

Will the perilous hunt to rescue her friends lose them their lives and their souls?

Deep in the Dreaming is the fourth standalone book in the captivating Natural Gifts paranormal romance series. If you like mysterious worlds, conflicted characters, and love that conquers all, then you’ll adore Gina Briganti’s enthralling tale.

Buy Deep in the Dreaming to slip into another world today!

AMAZON BUY LINK


Watch the YouTube video here.


Gina Briganti writes paranormal, fantasy, and sci-fi romance in north Texas. Her constant companion is a special soul who masquerades as a dog.

Visit her website and blog for book trailers, newsletter sign up, and whatever else she thinks up.

Stay connected on Facebook, Gina's Amazon Author Page, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Spice Up Your Summer

by Emma Lane

This recipe is easily adapted to personal preferences. More beef? More cheese? More onion? More sauce? Dollop of sour cream? Scoop chips? Choose your own alterations.

Makes an easy party set up which allows guests to assemble their own plates. Serve with guacamole dip and more corn ships.

TACO SALAD
½ - l lb. ground beef, preferably chuck for flavor
1 med. onion, diced
8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
¼ - ½ head lettuce, chopped to bitesize
1 8-10 oz. can diced tomato
2/3 bag corn chips, slightly crushed
Ortega Taco Sauce to taste (or your favorite brand)

Sauté beef and onion together until done (no pink left). Use fork to break lumps into small pieces. Cover pan and then set aside.

Prepare individual plates covering the bottom with corn chips. Add warm beef mixture.

Quickly scatter cheese to take advantage of the warmth.

Layer with lettuce, and then tomatoes. Drizzle with taco sauce to taste. Sprinkle a bit more cheese for garnish or substitute a piece or two of parsley.

Serves 4

Image by Monfocus from Pixabay
GUACAMOLE DIP
2 ripe avocados, halved with pits removed but saved
1 tbsp. lime juice, lemon works too
¼ cup onion, chopped fine
½ cup tomato, diced
¼ tsp. salt
½ jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
2 tbsp. cilantro leaves, chopped fine - optional
1 tbsp. mayo
Corn chips

Chunk avocados into a glass or ceramic bowl. Sprinkle with lime juice.

Gently stir in remaining ingredients except chips. Tuck pit deep into dip. This stops the avocado from turning dark.

Drop spoonfuls onto taco salad or use chips to dip.

Enjoy!

Here's a little more from my cozy mystery. I hope you enjoy it.

When Cheryl realizes her new next-door neighbor is someone she loved as a young girl, she immediately puts the brakes on her emotions. Never again would she allow the gorgeous hunk of a man to break her heart.

Ruggedly handsome Detective David Larkin isn’t used to pretty ladies giving him a firm no. He persists, even as Cheryl fights her own temptations. The two struggle to appreciate each other as adults, even as they admit to deep feelings from their childhood.





Read more of the cozy mysteries by Janis Lane on Amazon

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

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

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

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

Monday, June 10, 2019

THANKS, DAD!

by Catherine Castle

Father’s Day is this month. With this holiday comes a rash of blogs about fathers and how they affected their children’s lives. I thought I’d add mine to the mix, but with a writer’s slant.

When I was growing up and working on a school assignment, I often wanted to use a word I didn’t know how to spell. You have to realize that this was way before the advent of computers where misspelled words are often automatically corrected by computer software programs. My available resources were a beat up dictionary and my parents, who didn’t have more than an eighth grade education. I’d usually ask my dad how to spell a word since Mom claimed she never knew. Every time I asked, Dad’s answer was always, “Go look it up in the dictionary.”

“How can I look it up, if I don’t know how to spell it?” I whined.

“Figure it out,” Dad said.

At the time, I thought Dad didn’t know how to spell and he was ashamed to tell me. So, I’d get the dictionary, look up the word using phonetics, and eventually I’d find the correct spelling.

Years later, when my own daughter would ask me how to spell a word, my answer to her was more often than not, “Go look it up.” And it was not because I couldn’t spell.

You see, after years of searching the dictionary for illusive words, somewhere along the way I became a great speller. Thanks to my father.

Today it doesn’t matter whether my father could spell or not. Today I see there was wisdom in my dad’s avoidance of handing me an answer. Instead of relying on someone to give me an answer, Dad taught me to go figure it out on my own. What a great lesson that was for a future writer.

Thanks, Dad.

Where novice Sister Margaret Mary goes, trouble follows. When she barges into a drug deal the local Mexican drug lord captures her. To escape she must depend on undercover DEA agent Jed Bond. Jed’s attitude toward her is exasperating, but when she finds herself inexplicably attracted to him, he becomes more dangerous than the men who have captured them by making her doubt her decision to take her final vows. Escape back to the nunnery is imperative, but life at the convent, if she can still take her final vows, will never be the same.

Nuns shouldn’t look, talk, act, or kiss like Sister Margaret Mary O’Connor—at least that’s what Jed Bond thinks. She hampers his escape plans with her compulsiveness and compassion, and in the process makes Jed question his own beliefs. After years of walling up his emotions in an attempt to become the best agent possible, Sister Margaret is crumbling Jed’s defenses and opening his heart. To lure her away from the church would be unforgivable—to lose her unbearable.


Multi-award-winning author Catherine Castle has been writing all her life. A former freelance writer, she has over 600 articles and photographs to her credit (under her real name) in the Christian and secular market. Now she writes sweet and inspirational romance. Her debut inspirational romantic suspense, The Nun and the Narc, from Soul Mate Publishing, has garnered multiple contests finals and wins.

Catherine loves writing, reading, traveling, singing, watching movies, and the theatre. In the winter she loves to quilt and has a lot of UFOs (unfinished objects) in her sewing case. In the summer her favorite place to be is in her garden. She’s passionate about gardening and even won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club.

Learn more about Catherine Castle on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to check out Catherine’s Amazon author page and her Goodreads page. You can also find Catherine on Stitches Thru Time and the SMP authors blog site.

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

A Dinner Treat Any Time of the Year

Our friend Audrey Vasoli created this easy version of an age-old recipe that eliminates parboiling the peppers. Studs happily gives this dish 2 Thumbs Up. Don’t limit yourself to just green peppers. This recipe works great with every color pepper, including Hungarian peppers, and zucchini! Reduce the baking time by half if you do use zucchini.

A little pepper trivia – 4 bottom bumps are female peppers while 3 bottom bumps are male. So, when you’re shopping for the peppers, look for the ones with 4 bumps on the bottom. They are sweeter.

Image by Slymart35 from Pixabay
AUDREY’S STUFFED PEPPERS
6 lg. green peppers
2 lbs. ground beef
1 small onion, minced
Pepper to taste
6 cans condensed tomato soup
½ lb. American cheese, cubed
1 cup instant rice
4 soup cans of water

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Cut tops off peppers and clean out seeds and ribs. Set aside.

Brown beef and onion in a medium-sized skillet. Drain off grease. Stir in pepper, 1½ cans soup (do not add water), cheese and rice. Set aside.

Combine remaining soup and water in a large bowl. Pour half this mixture into a 13 x 9-inch pan. Stuff the peppers, mounding the meat a bit. Fill the peppers, but don’t pack them or they won’t cook right.

Set peppers in prepared pan. Spoon remining sauce over peppers. Bake uncovered 1½ - 2 hours or until peppers are a pale green which means they are tender.

Enjoy!


Tuesday, June 04, 2019

JUST IN TIME FOR SUMMER

New from Toque & Dagger Publishing an exciting cookbook filled with recipes perfect for your grill and stove. Romantic Meals to Dine al Fresco, Book 2 in the Meals to Make Together series, is now available in e-book and paperback.

Starry summer nights are ripe for romance and dining al fresco. Enhance the mood with Romantic Meals to Dine al Fresco, candles, wine, and your favorite music. Fire up your grill and share a romantic dinner with your someone special. Then let the night take you away.

Create 45 delicious and complete meals for two that can be cooked on your grill or stove. No exotic or expensive ingredients needed to prepare these 103 recipes. They use everyday products already in your kitchen cabinets. Increasing the dinners is a snap for those fun nights friends or family join you.

Romantic Meals to Dine al Fresco, Book 2 in the Meals to Make Together series, is an ideal gift for a hostess, bridal shower, anniversary, or the couple who craves a fresh flavor in their lives.


What People are Saying About Romantic Meals to Dine al Fresco

In our fast food world, it’s nice to have a cookbook designed for you and your significant other to open a bottle of wine and enjoy each other’s company. You can turn to any page in this simple yet elegant book of tasty recipes and not be disappointed!
-Paul Kutka, Private Executive Fine Dining Chef

Packed with mouth-watering recipes, easy-to-follow instructions, and helpful suggestions, Romantic Meals to Dine al Fresco is perfect for any cook who loves to serve succulent dishes on their secluded patio or candlelit living room. Perfect for busy couples wanting to spice up their relationships, this fabulous cookbook screams, “Bring on Summer!”
-Sharon Ledwith, YA Paranormal Fantasy and Time Travel Author

Whether you’re a novice or an experienced chef, Sloane Taylor takes you on a gourmet journey adding flavour and panache to your meals. This collection is inventive with clear, easy-to-follow instructions. These recipes will become your favourites – I’d happily cook them every night!
-Joy Wood, Award-winning Romance and Women’s Fiction Author

Sloane Taylor hits the nail on the culinary head with Romantic Meals to Dine al Fresco, dishes, as she points out, to be made together. I especially like the International fare, because food should also be about adventure. Start cooking with someone special and make your meals memorable. Taylor shows you the way.
-Anne Montgomery, Award-winning Women’s Fiction and Young Adult Author

Delicious food prepared from elegant recipes to impress anyone! Romantic Meals to Dine al Fresco is my new favorite collection of no-miss recipes. And I love the cooking tips section in the back!
-Suzanne G. Rogers, Victorian Romance Author