Wednesday, July 18, 2018

More Crunch in Every Munch

from Carol Browne

The measurements for this recipe are not based on imperial or metric. All you need is a tea cup and a teaspoon!

Crunchy Cinnamon Cookies
2 cups plain flour
2 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. cinnamon
1 cup sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla essence (vanilla extract)
¼ cup water

Preheat oven to gas mark 4/ 350°F/180C

Pour oil in a bowl and stir in sugar. Add water and vanilla. Mix well. Add this to the dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly and divide the mixture into cookie sheets or the individual sections of a bun tray or muffin pan. The mixture will be runny and will spread to accommodate whatever vehicle you use. The resulting cookies have a very homemade appearance that is quite satisfying!

Bake about five minutes. Rotate the tin and bake for another five minutes. Ovens vary and I found I needed to leave them in longer. What you are aiming for is to take the cookies out when they are still a little soft. They will harden as they cool.

This is a recipe you get better at the more you make it. The number of cookies per batch will also depend on what you cook the mixture in. I usually get about a dozen but I gave the recipe to a friend and she only got nine. I didn’t see what they looked like, however, as she ate the whole lot as soon as they came out of the oven!

You can alter the recipe to suit yourself; perhaps adding chocolate chips. My personal favourite is to use almond essence instead of cinnamon or vanilla.

How about curling up with an epic fantasy while your cookies cool?

Elgiva, a young elf banished from Elvendom, must seek shelter among the Saxons as her only hope of surviving the coming winter.

Godwin, a Briton enslaved by the Saxons, is a man ignorant of his own inheritance and the secret of power he possesses.

A mysterious enemy, who will stop at nothing to wield absolute power over Elvendom, is about to make his move.

When destiny throws Elgiva and Godwin together, they embark upon the quest for the legendary Lorestone, the only thing that can save Elvendom from the evil that threatens to destroy it.

There is help to be found along the way from a petulant pony and a timid elf boy but, as the strength of their adversary grows, can Elgiva’s friends help her to find the Lorestone before it falls into the wrong hands?

EXCERPT
The night was waning when Elgiva woke, wondering where she was. The dark ceiling of Joskin’s cave hung above her, and everything had a reddish glow, cast by the embers of the fire. She slid from under the fur coverlet, her skin tightening at the loss of its warmth, and searched for her leather sandals.

Something had woken her, something that waited outside the cave. A runnel of dread ran down her spine.

She had an inexplicable sense of impending danger, but it was too insistent to ignore. An unnamed instinct stopped her from alerting her companions. She must face this menace alone.

She left the cave as quietly as she could. Her heart pounded in her throat as she peered between the rowan trees and searched the night. Whatever had awakened her, it beckoned. She held her breath and listened, but her ears detected nothing, save for a silence as dark and empty as an abandoned crypt.

It would soon be daybreak, but the sun had yet to rise, and the dark beyond the cave swarmed with potential horrors. She stepped out from among the rowans, relying on her acute senses to make out her surroundings. An unnatural calm gripped the night and as her sandals whispered against the cold grass, they sounded abnormally loud. She feared they would betray her presence.

After a while, she came to a stop and searched the trees. Thin strands of mist curled along the ground, cold and clammy, like an exhalation of sickness.

She hugged her shoulders, knotted her fingers in the cascade of her hair, and shivered in her ragged robe. All around her, the silence seemed to be drawing into focus.

“Who is it?” Her throat was too dry for her purpose. She swallowed and licked her lips. “Who’s there? I know you’re there. I can . . . I can feel you!”

Feel you.

A flash of silver sliced through the dark, and Elgiva gasped in fear. Her arms came up to shield her face as the beam struck a rock several yards ahead. It exploded with a whoosh and sent up thousands of splinters of light, which fell to the ground and sizzled in the mist.

A shape now stood upon the rock, its form concealed in a black, hooded cloak.

Elgiva clutched the amulet to her breast. Her hands were white with terror. “In the name of Faine, who are you? What sort of trick is this?”

A soft, sly voice spoke back to her. “Why should you fear magic?”

“What do you want?” she pleaded, her voice a croak of fear.

“To see for myself.”

“To see what?”

The dark shape sniggered, but made no answer. Instead, it swept its cloak aside, and a cloud of sparks flew out and covered the ground with beads of light.

Elgiva stepped back unsteadily, resolved to flee.

“Stay!” commanded the creature.

It raised a skeletal hand, and the forefinger swung towards Elgiva and pinned her against the darkness, holding her like a rivet of bone. No elf, no wilthkin, ever owned such a hand. Her legs threatened to buckle beneath her. This had to be a nightmare; she was still asleep in the cave. But no, it was all too real.

“Who are you? What do you want?” she cried. “I have . . . I have an amulet!”

The creature laughed derisively. “I am Death, and I have come for you.”

It began to radiate a sickly green light, enveloping itself in a caul of brilliance that pulsated with force. The light grew in size until the trees behind it were bathed in its angry glare. It reached for Elgiva, like a foul stench creeping along a breeze, and she was helpless. The creature’s power throbbed in the darkness.

Within the taut coils of her fear, her instincts screamed at her to run, but her limbs had turned to stone.

Siriol, Siriol, help me . . . help . . .

With a shriek of glee, the creature increased the throb of its power. Elgiva’s mind was suddenly invaded by an inexplicable force. She became divorced from herself and watched from a great distance, waiting for the horror to unfold.


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. Her non-fiction book is available at Dilliebooks.

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

Monday, July 16, 2018

Welcome to the Magical World of Fairy Falls…

by Sharon Ledwith

When I ‘built’ the mythical town of Fairy Falls over ten years ago, I drew from all of my childhood and adult experiences from vacationing and living in cottage country. When you think of a small, northern tourist town, what emotional cord does it strike? Vacationing with the family when you were young? Visiting your grandparents at their cottage? Camping in the backwoods with your friends? Whatever vision you conjure, I’m sure you have plenty of happy memories of that special place. That’s the basis of creating the town of Fairy Falls. I wanted to give my teen psychic mystery book series a nostalgic feeling coupled with a sense of adventure and…wait for it…the supernatural. Welcome to Fairy Falls. Expected the unexpected.

Fairy Falls has always been a magical place, but for some reason it seems to be a haven for those with psychic abilities. In Lost and Found, the animals at the Fairy Falls Animal Shelter need a champion to save their shelter, and find one in rebellious Meagan Walsh, who’s a bona fide telepathic animal communicator. There are others with different psychic powers who have been (or will be) drawn to Fairy Falls, not to hide, but feel that they have been forced here by circumstances beyond their control. Or could it be a matter of serendipity that has brought them to this small, tourist town?

Fairy Falls is like any small town with a mayor, deputy mayor, and a selection of town counsellors. At the moment, Mike MacGregor is at the helm as this town’s mayor. Unfortunately, Mayor MacGregor is in mourning with the loss of his wife, Joy, who sat on as one of the counsellors for Fairy Falls. She was viciously attacked and murdered, and her killer is still at large. These characters are featured in the next installment of Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls, Blackflies and Blueberries.

There are four long weekends during the summer months, and Fairy Falls relies on these holidays to boost their economy enough to keep the town running all year round. The first long weekend is in May where firework celebrations dominate the skies. The second is at the beginning of July which includes more fireworks, street parties, and begins the farmers’ market season. The long weekend in August falls on the first Monday of the month, and is one of the busiest times of the year for Fairy Falls. Festivals are usually held during this long weekend, with the bathtub races in the Vista River as the highlight. The fourth is usually on the first weekend of September (Labor Day Weekend), when Fairy Falls hosts their famous fall fair which includes concerts, carnival rides, and a smash-up car derby. A word of caution: make sure you book a hotel/motel room or campsite early if you plan to come during these long weekends!

Lacrosse is very popular in Fairy Falls. Even the local high school has a winning team that’s hard to beat. Summer swells in population with the tourists and cottagers, so fishing, boating, water skiing, and tubing are favorite sports and past times. In the long winter months, hockey is the staple along with curling, as well as snowmobiling across the network of frozen lakes and trails. And believe me, you’d better have a sport or hobby to keep you busy during a Fairy Falls winter, because sometimes the ice doesn’t come off the lakes until May. Brrrr!

So what would I recommend tourists see or do in Fairy Falls? When we used to live in cottage country, we’d visit the local bakery in the tiny town five minutes south of us. The smell of fresh baking does something to a body. Sometimes it takes you back to when life was simpler. The downtown core of Fairy Falls hosts such a bakery, and is situated so you can sit at one of the ample tables beside the Vista River and enjoy your sweet treat, while watching the boats slowly putt by. Or better yet, book a boat tour to go on a three-hour cruise that takes you through a lock system, and into Blueberry Lake. Don’t forget to wave at Gertie Ellis if you catch a glimpse of her on the shoreline while she’s inspecting her blueberry bushes.

Other draws to this tourist haven include The Court Jester, the local bar and grill, serving up down-home, mouth-watering food that you can’t get anywhere else. I suggest you try their Jester Burger, topped with a slice of Canadian back bacon and pepper jack cheese, piled high with onions, garlic, and mushrooms, all fresh from the Fairy Falls Farmers’ Market. Add a pint of locally brewed Blackfly beer, and this meal will bring tears of joy to your eyes! Sit on the patio and enjoy the view of the Vista River where it may transport you to back to those good old days, and happy childhood memories. Oh, and make sure you don’t forget to stop by the Fairy Falls Farmers’ Market on Saturdays to score a deal from one of the crafters, produce, or food stands. Tell them Sharon sent you…

Fairy Falls was bores-ville from the get-go. Then the animals started talking...

The Fairy Falls Animal Shelter is in trouble. Money trouble. It’s up to an old calico cat named Whiskey—a shelter cat who has mastered the skill of observation—to find a new human pack leader so that their home will be saved. With the help of Nobel, the leader of the shelter dogs, the animals set out to use the ancient skill of telepathy to contact any human who bothers to listen to them. Unfortunately for fifteen-year-old Meagan Walsh, she hears them, loud and clear.

Forced to live with her Aunt Izzy in the safe and quiet town of Fairy Falls, Meagan is caught stealing and is sentenced to do community hours at the animal shelter where her aunt works. Realizing Meagan can hear her, Whiskey realizes that Meagan just might have the pack leader qualities necessary to save the animals. Avoiding Whiskey and the rest of shelter animals becomes impossible for Meagan, so she finally gives in and promises to help them. Meagan, along with her newfound friends, Reid Robertson and Natalie Knight, discover that someone in Fairy Falls is not only out to destroy the shelter, but the animals as well. Can Meagan convince her aunt and co-workers that the animals are in danger? If she fails, then all the animals’ voices will be silenced forever.

BUY LINKS



Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/YA time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the teen psychic mystery 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. Be sure to check out THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS TIME TRAVEL SERIES Facebook page.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

GO GREEK THIS SUMMER

This fun recipe serves two for a terrific lunch. Add a loaf of crusty bread and a bottle of crisp white wine and let the afternoon take you where it will.

GREEK SALAD
3 tbsp. olive oil
½ tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. garlic, chopped fine
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 Roma tomatoes
½ green pepper, seeded
1 small cucumber, peeled
¼ red onion, sliced thin
1 tbsp. sliced black olives
Feta cheese to taste

Whisk first 6 ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside. Do not refrigerate.

Chop tomatoes, green pepper, and cucumber into medium-sized chunks. Toss into a large mixing bowl.

Add the black olives. Mix by hand to blend the flavors. At this point you can cover the bowl and set in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

When it’s time to serve, add just enough dressing to moisten the salad. Don’t drown it. Toss by hand or with two large spoons.

Transfer to a serving bowl or individual plates. Sprinkle feta cheese across the top and enjoy!

This salad also works great with dinner and will serve four.

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

Sloane
Twitter
Amazon Author Page

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

CLOTHING OPTIONAL

Aprons Highly Recommended

for this Couples Cookbook

Ready to ignite that old flame? Or perhaps spark a new one? Take your partner by the hand and turn on your stove. A true romantic, award-winning author Sloane Taylor brings her creativity to the kitchen with easy-to-make meals sure to spark the intimacy and quality time you want with your special someone. Cooking together is only the start of the fun!

Create 45 complete dinners for two and flavor your evenings with a new dish. These 80 recipes use everyday foods already on most kitchen shelves. The recipes are easily increased for those fun times friends or family join your table.


Date Night Dinners, Meals to Make Together for a Romantic Evening, is an ideal gift for engagements, bridal showers, anniversaries, or for anyone who wants to spice things up.

What People are Saying About Date Night Dinners

Bring your date nights back home! Sloane Taylor's delicious meals are the perfect prelude to romance.
Helen Hardt,#1 New York Times, #1 USA Today, and #1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author

These recipes are sure to please the palate and make your romantic night a perfect memory. Enjoy!
Jan Springer, New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Romance Author

With Date Night Dinners Sloane Taylor reminds us that our relationships should be savored like a fine meal.
Chris Pavesic, Award-Winning Sci-Fi/Fantasy Author

Any recipe is a perfect date night dinner because it can quietly simmer away while the diners are doing umm…other things.
Vonnie Hughes, Romantic Suspense Author

BUY LINKS

Monday, July 09, 2018

What Fashions Your Fiction?

from C.D. Hersh

We’re talking about things that have lead us into the paranormal genre. What happened in our past that led us to be interested in writing our series, The Turning Stone Chronicles?

Catherine’s mother loved good old fashioned monster and horror movies. In fact, shegot so scared watching a monster movie when she was pregnant with Catherine that she got goose bumps. Later, when Catherine developed what appeared to be permanent goose bumps on her arms, her mother said she had “marked” her by watching such a scary story during pregnancy. One could say, based on this story and the old wives’ taleher mother’s explanation came from, Catherine’s destiny to write about the paranormal developed in the womb. In reality, the steady diet of supernatural themed movies and television shows she viewed as a youngster had the biggest influence. Vampires, werewolves, things from outer space, Frankenstein, zombies and ghosts whetted her appetite for the paranormal and made her run like mad past the graveyard when she had to walk home in the dark, wear a cross at all times, and avoid going out alone on a full moon. Thanks Mom.

Photo by Evgeni Dinev from freedigitalphotos.net
Her grandmother also contributed to Catherine’s taste for fantasy. Grandma’s favorite scary story, which she told to her grandchildren at nearly every visit, was about an old woman who accidently dug up a monster’s big toe, while hoeing her potatoes, and ate it for dinner. (Why the toe was not attached to the monster is lost somewhere in Catherine’s memory, but the gist of the story remains.) The monster, naturally, was upset and haunted the woman every night, moaning, “I want my big toe.” The haunting drove the old lady crazy and the monster gobbled her up in revenge. Catherine also reread Mary Poppins and Grimms Fairytales, two of the books on Grandma’s shelves, every time she visited.

And of course, we can’t forget Walt Disney. His romantized tales of fairy godmothers, men under curses who could only be released by true love’s kiss, and evil witches have primed children everywhere to love the paranormal. Catherine was no exception.

Aside from his science-fiction fantasy Tom Swift books, Donald’s other genre influences have been television shows like The Twilight Zone and comic books—a reading choice of many boys. His favorites included supernatural heroes like Superman, Flash Gordon, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Aqua Man, and the Justice League of America. Lois Lane, with her unrequited love for Superman and inability to see the value of Clark Kent’s love, influenced his taste for romance. Donald also attributes his foray into the paranormal to Catherine. Having spent two-thirds of his life with her makes it hard to ignore what she’s interested in … and makes him a smart man for paying attention.

Can you attribute your love of the genre you write in or read to a childhood influence? If not, is there another instance you can point to that started you down a particular genre path?

Now here is a little about our paranormal series, The Turning Stone Chronicles.


Three ancient Celtic families. A magical Bloodstone that enables the wearers to shape shift. A charge to use the stone’s power to benefit mankind, and a battle, that is going on even today, to control the world. Can the Secret Society of shape shifters called the Turning Stone Society heal itself and bring peace to our world? Find out in the series The Turning Stone Chronicles.

The Promised One, book one:
When homicide detective Alexi Jordan is forced to use her shape shifting powers to catch a paranormal killer, she risks the two most important things in her life—her badge and the man she loves.

Blood Brothers, book two:
Shape shifter Delaney Ramsey’s daughter is missing, and she is bound by honor to protect the man she suspects of the deed. To bring him to justice, she must go against her code, the leader of the secret shifter society, and the police captain she is falling for.

Son of the Moonless Night, book three:
Thrust back into the world of paranormal huntress, Deputy Coroner Katrina Romanovski must unravel a string of murders she believes are vampire attacks. When she discovers the shape shifter she’s in love with is the murderer, she must reconcile her feelings for him, examine her life of violence against paranormals, and justify deceiving him in order to bring him to justice.

The Mercenary and the Shifters, book four:
A desperate call from an ex-military buddy lands a mercenary soldier in the middle of a double kidnapping, caught in an ancient shape shifter war, and ensnared between two female shape shifters after the same thing ... him.

C.D. Hersh–Two hearts creating everlasting love stories.

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. Also a standalone novella, Can’t Stop The Music, in a collection with thirteen 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.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

CELEBRATING JULY 4th

by Emma Lane

Photo by Michael Elliott
I’m sitting on the stone wall in the middle of the village when the first group appear heralding the start of the parade. It’s an ancient convertible filled with local politicians; the major, councilmen, the Board of Education president--our elected governing bodies all waving and wearing wide smiles. We beam and wave back. It’s a federal holiday after all and most of the town is present.

Next comes a troop of boy scouts carrying flags. Their parents clap loudly and we all join in. Behind them little go carts spin around in circles, the drivers wearing funny hats. They are a local parade favorite.

We can hear the high school band in the distance. The kids are in shorts because it’s a very warm day. For some reason tears come to my eyes as they pass, playing their horns and banging on their drums. Wave after wave of local groups march past the crowd, each with an appointed member carrying the American flag on this our nation’s birthday.

Fire trucks honk their horns while the police come into view dressed in their best uniforms. That spiffy band, members wearing Scottish clothes, plays a heart wringing tune on bag pipes.

More scout troops, this time it’s the girls. An entire group of children riding bicycles all the way down to determined toddlers on tricycles get enthusiastic applause from the spectators. The colorful balloons tied to their handle bars bob in the warm breeze.

Wow, we all say as a troop of mounted police prance by. We know that’s the end of the parade. Who wants to march after the horses? We sigh. Another of our nation’s birthdays celebrated in style. We are Americans and we love parades, especially those that remind us of what it means to belong to this wonderful, democratic nation.

We are off to a picnic where my baked beans make a hit. A hot game of horseshoes is in progress. Sleepy ladies nod in the shade. Some of our family peal off to play baseball. Others play Frisbee, including the dog. Red, white and blue flags wave everywhere. The children are excited. They anticipate indulgent parents who allow late bedtimes. Firework displays will be enjoyed and perhaps a bonfire.

How do you celebrate our nation’s birthday? Do you have a favorite recipe for the picnic? Do you go boating and watch the fireworks over the water? Do you get tears of gratitude when our beloved veterans march by?

Have a beautiful and safe holiday,

Emma Lane
“I never saw a printed word I did not like.”

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 Herbtique and Plant Nursery, the nursery she and her son own. 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.

Monday, July 02, 2018

Thank you, Suzanne G. Rogers,


for your awesome review and video of my Couples Cookbook!


Please click here to read Suzanne's review for
Homemade Applesauce.

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.