Sunday, September 30, 2012


Thanks for stopping in!

Participation on my blog is really easy. All you need to do is become one of my blog followers. Simply click the Join This Site icon on the sidebar and you're automatically entered for a chance to win a free download of my latest release MASQUERADE.

Here's a sneak preview.

Behind every mask is a fragment of truth.

Chicagoan Clancy Marshall has planned her dream vacation in Venice down to the last detail. From gondola rides to masked balls, and anything else that just happens along, she is determined to experience all pleasures. But those careful plans fly out the door when she literally falls into the arms of a masked stranger.

Vittore Ricci comes from an old Venetian family that claims two doges in their lineage. A straight-laced Count and owner of a prestigious hotel, he never does anything without serious consideration. Until a sexy American tourist falls into his arms.

To read an excerpt from MASQUERADE, please click HERE.

Be sure to join the party on October 7th at The Romance Review Forum to enter to win even more prizes.

Good luck and thanks for hopping!!



1) HAVE FUN!!!


3) THIS TOUR STARTS: October 1, at Midnight (pst)
THIS TOUR ENDS: Monday, October 7, at Midnight (pst)
Winners will be drawn and posted October 9th! ***


5)Grand Prize of a Kindle Fire is for Us and Canada mailing addresses only. International winners will receive a $50.00 Musa Gift Card.


***Authors & Book Pages have full discretion to choose an alternate winner in the event any winner fails to claim their prize(s) within 72 hours of their name being posted or after notification of win, whichever comes first. Anyone who participates in this blog hop tour is subject to these rules***

Friday, September 28, 2012

Never Back Down from a Challenge

has always been my theory. Many times it can be foolish, but more often it's fun. So even though I teased her unmercifully, I was intrigued when my good friend Sharon Ledwith graciously tagged me with The Look Challenge.

Sharon is an amazing YA author and brilliant blogger. Her interesting and unique posts appear regularly on I Came. I Saw. I Wrote. Be sure to check it out.

Children are the keys to our future. And now, children are the only hope for our past.

The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis is Sharon's debut novel. To read an excerpt, please click HERE.

Sharon explained that The Look Challenge was simple and fun. All I had to do was find the word "look" in my work in progress and post the neighboring paragraphs. No sweat, I could knock that out in a matter of seconds. Wrong! It was not as easy as I thought.

After a click here and there, I discovered 109 “look” that were 108 too many. Back to the edits!

This is a bit from a book of mine Musa Publishing will release in January. The title is still to be determined.

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

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

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

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

Standing in front of her, he leaned down just enough to catch her scent. Shalimar. His favorite.

“Bitte, Frau, are you missing something?” He liked the way her eyes widened as if she were surprised. She was good.

Tagging time! My authors for The Look Challenge are:

Sarah Grimm is a romance author and writes everything from what reviewers call ‘page turning, edge of your seat suspense,’ to contemporary romance with a touch of suspense. Her books vary in heat levels. Some are sexy, a few are scorchers, but all have a happily-ever-after.

Vonnie Hughes writes Regency historicals and contemporary suspense. She loves the intricacies of the social rules of the Regency period and the far-ranging consequences of the Napoleonic Code. With suspense, she gives free rein to her forensic interests and strong convolutions of the human mind.

Clarissa Johal has done everything from working as a veterinary assistant and vegetarian chef to volunteering as a zoo-keeper aide and swimming with six foot sturgeons. She shares her life with her husband, two daughters and every stray animal that darkens the doorstep.

Holley Trent is a Carolina girl gone West. Raised in rural coastal North Carolina, she has Southern sensibilities but her adventurous spirit drove her to Colorado for new experiences. Holley writes romances with real-life humor and rural fantasy romances set in her home state.

Marie Tuhart is an erotic romance writer whose stories take you on an erotic fantasy within the modern world or into the paranormal realm. Her men are strong, alpha and sexy. Her women are feisty and sensual.

I'll be back Sunday with information on a HUGE Blog Hop. Until then...


Sloane Taylor

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

It's Wednesday. So What's Cooking?

How about Polla alla Bolognese which is Chicken Breasts with Prosciutto and Bel Paese Cheese as prepared by Clancy Marshall, heroine and chef extraordinaire from my new release MASQUERADE. Add a Caesar or tossed salad, fresh Italian bread, and chilled Pinot Grigio for a perfect meal.

Chicken Breasts with Prosciutto and Bel Paese Cheese
4 boneless chicken breasts
freshly ground pepper to taste flour
3 tbsp. butter plus 4 tbsp. for the mushrooms
2 tbsp. olive oil
8 thin 2-by-4-inch slices prosciutto
8 thin 2-by-4-inch slices Fontina or Bel Paese cheese
4 tsp. grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp. chicken stock
8 oz. Baby Bella mushrooms sliced thick
1 tbsp. dried sage

Preheat the oven to 350˚

Slice each breast horizontally in half. Lay the pieces on wax paper about an inch apart and cover with another sheet of wax paper. Pound the slices with the flat of a cleaver or bottom of a heavy bottle to flatten a bit. Be careful not to tear them.

Season the slices with pepper, then dip them in flour. Shake off the excess.

In a heavy 12-inch skillet, melt three tbsp. butter with the oil over moderate heat. Brown the chicken to a light golden color in the hot fat in batches. Do not overcook them.

Transfer the breasts to a shallow buttered baking dish large enough to hold them comfortably or use two dishes. Place a slice of prosciutto and a slice of cheese on each one. Sprinkle with grated cheese and dribble the stock over them. Set dish aside while you prepare the mushrooms.

In the same skillet, melt the 4 tbsp. of butter. When the foam subsides, add the mushrooms and sage. Stirring constantly, saute until mushrooms are well coated, but still firm. Do not cook until soft.

Spoon the mushrooms on top of the chicken slices. Bake uncovered for 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and lightly browned. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Here's a scene from page 30 of MASQUERADE where today's recipe is first mentioned. Clancy is in the hotel kitchen blown away at the opportunity to meet Chef Armando.

Buongiorno, Vittore, Signora.” Chef greeted them amid of clatter of dishwashers and sous chef orders to the line and prep cooks. His tall, pleated hat sat like a loose crown on his head, waggling with each word. “Allow me to show you my workplace.”

Grazie, I appreciate this. Back home, the kitchen was once my life so I’m excited to see how another professional runs his team.”

Vittore tipped his head as if he wanted to hear her every word.

“Tonight’s dinner feature is Polla alla Bolognese.” He led them across the tiled floor toward the butcher. “Are you familiar with this dish?”

“Yes. Chicken with prosciutto and Bel Paese cheese is one of my favorite to prepare.”

His eyebrow shot to his hairline. “It is a complicated recipe, Signora, are you sure we are discussing the same dish?”

Her rubber soles screeched to a halt. Rumor had it European chefs were not pleased with females infiltrating their elite field. It seemed their general belief was women belonged in the kitchen, as long as it was their house kitchen. Clancy was about to set this snob straight.

Vittore coughed and she shot him a glare. He raised his hands, palms out, in surrender.

From the corner of her eye, Clancy saw a slender blonde woman sheathed in black knit that molded every curve. She waggled her fingers until Vittore looked her way.

Scusi,” he barely got out before he rushed off.

Between Chef, with his sexist attitude, and Vittore, bounding away like a dog in heat, Clancy saw red and someone had to pay.

“Chef, so we’re on the same page here, I hold a BPS, Bachelor of Professional Studies from the Culinary Institute of Art, Culinary Arts, which I earned in less than four years. I also hold an MA, Masters in Arts in Gastronomy, from Le Cordon Bleu Chicago. I have worked every level of the kitchen from commis up to, and including, head chef.” She inhaled a deep breath and forced herself to continue, even if it did break her heart. “I have also owned my own catering company. So yes, I think I do know how to prepare and serve a complicated recipe.”

No one, especially not some uptight chauvinist, was going to talk down to her on the only thing in the world she did with great success.

“I stand corrected, Signora. It is not often Con, er, Signore Vittore brings, ah,…Oh, this is not going well at all.” Red faced, hands twisted into a knot, the poor man slouched and shook his head. His hat slid from left to right and back, gaining speed, until Clancy was positive it would fly into the soup pot.

“How about we start all over again?” She shot him a huge grin and her hand. “Hi, I’m Clancy Marshall, and really happy to meet you, Chef Armando.”

He clasped his smooth hands around hers. “Grazie, Signora Clancy. I return the sentiment.”

“Now, about that recipe we were discussing. A lovely taste enhancer is fresh sage and finely chopped bella mushrooms cooked in the stock before it’s laced over the breasts. One chef I know adds spinach, but I find that too bitter for the delicate flavor of the dish. Wouldn’t you?”

Por favore, Signora, explain how you make the inclusion of the sage and bellas?” He steered her toward the Chef’s table at the side of the kitchen. “Are they diced together? What exactly do you do?”

He pulled out a chair, then motioned for her to be seated. A thrill raced through her. Chef had accepted her. As in all professional kitchen’s, only select people were invited to sit at the coveted table.

“Simple. Use the whole sage leaf. It’s easier to pick out before serving. The mushrooms are sautéed in a little unsalted butter before heating into the stock. I’m sure your guests will enjoy it. I’ve done the same with veal and had great success.”

Grazie, I appreciate this.” He tapped the pen against his notepad. “Giovani, avanti.” Chef motioned for a younger chef to come to the table, then handed him the paper. “For tonight, make these additions for half the plates. The others prepare as usual.”

Chef looked at Clancy and shrugged. “A test is always best before the book is altered.”

To read more from MASQUERADE, please click HERE.

I'll be back Friday with The Look Challenge. Until then...

Mangiare Bene!

Sloane Taylor

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


My new standalone book is hot off the Musa Publishing e-press!

With a gorgeous cover designed by Kelly Shorten and the unbeatable editing skills of Elizabeth Silver, that boosted the book to a level 4 Heat Rating, MASQUERADE brings true romance and all the delicious personal bits to life. Read on and see for yourself.

Behind every mask is a fragment of truth.

Chicagoan Clancy Marshall has planned her dream vacation in Venice down to the last detail. From gondola rides to masked balls, and anything else that just happens along, she is determined to experience all pleasures. But those careful plans fly out the door when she literally falls into the arms of a masked stranger.

Vittore Ricci comes from an old Venetian family that claims two doges in their lineage. A straight-laced Count and owner of a prestigious hotel, he never does anything without serious consideration. Until a sexy American tourist offers an opportunity no man can refuse.

Green eyes sparkling behind delicate shades of purple feathers held him hostage. Vittore thought he had recognized her the moment she walked onto the pier. When she spoke, he knew his search had finally ended. Determination and desire had persevered. The gods had delivered her into his hands and he wanted to learn more about this mystery woman with her gay laugh and quick wit, even if it was only for one night.

Clancy opened her door, then switched on the entry light. At the bedroom, she glanced over her shoulder, the long plumes brushing her creamy bare shoulder. “Make yourself comfortable. I’ll be just a moment.”

He wandered around the room, straightening the pillows on the sofa, adjusting a wing backed chair and, finally, the magazines scattered across the pecan desktop. It was there he found a handwritten note caught between the pages. A little guilt crept in for snooping, but he shoved it aside, eager to discover more about this sensual woman who intrigued him.

Note to Self — Loving Venice
1. Ride in a gondola
2. Climb the Campanile in St. Mark’s Square
3. Attend a masked ball
4. Dance under the stars in St. Mark’s Square
5. Tour a professional kitchen
6. Buy one special piece of Murano glass
7. Fall in love—at least for the night
8. Hear a Vivaldi Concert
9. Attend an opera at the Fenice

Vittore reread the paper, paying close attention to number seven. He looked out at the waning moon and sent a prayer of thanks to Raphael the Archangel, the patron saint of happy meetings, for his good fortune.


I'll be back tomorrow with a new recipe. Until then...

Happy Reading!

Sloane Taylor

Monday, September 24, 2012


by Paul Stansfield

In Part 1 of this post, printed here last week, I explained some of my issues with titles in general, and how they pertained to my recent release, Kaishaku. This part contains the same subject categories, but with new examples.

Original Titles of Famous Books:
1) The Chronic Argonauts became The Time Machine (1895) H. G. Wells. I actually kind of like this original title.
2) Bar-B-Q was changed to The Postman Always Rings Twice (1934) James M. Cain. Haven’t read this, but the original title seems dull and meaningless.
3) The Dead Un-Dead became Dracula (1897) Bram Stoker.
4) Come and Go was changed to The Happy Hooker (1972) Xaviera Hollander with Robin Moore and Yvonne Dunleavy. Funny how the title with “Hooker” in it seems less sleazy.
5) Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, in Four Parts, by Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and Then a Captain of Several Ships became Gulliver’s Travels (1726) Jonathan Swift. I think it was the style of the time to have long titles which were almost blurbs. I much prefer the shorter, punchier name.
6) Catch 22 (1961) by Joseph Heller, has a long, tortured, title history. First it was Catch 18, but it was thought that would be confused with Leon Uris’s World War 2-set Mila 18 (also out in 1961), so it was changed to Catch 11. Then people thought this might be too close to the recent movie Ocean’s 11 so it became Catch 17. This, in turn was thought too similar to World War 2 movie Stalag 17, so it became Catch 14. The publisher thought this number “wasn’t funny” so it became Catch 22.
7) The title of James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake (1939) was known only to himself and his wife until publication. To others it was Work in Progress. Don’t know if this is the source for the common acronym “WIP” used by writers. (Off the topic, but with my love of horror/exploitation movies “WIP” makes me think of the Women In Prison subgenre first.)
8) A Jewish Patient Begins His Analysis became Portnoy’s Complaint (1969) Phillip Roth.

Another Amusingly Bitter Author’s Quote About Titles: “I’m trying to think up a good title for you to want me to change” by Raymond Chandler to his publisher.

Shortest Book Titles Used: This is a huge tie, as many authors have used one letter titles. Some of the more famous examples are A by Andy Warhol, G by John Berger, S by John Updike, and V by Thomas Pynchon. In case anyone’s interested, the letters B, D, F, I, J, L, R, T, and U are still available.

More Titles Taken From Other Literature:

1) As I Lay Dying (1936) by William Faulkner, was taken from Homer’s The Odyssey.
2) No Country For Old Men (2005) by Cormac McCarthy, was taken from Sailing to Byzantium (1928) William Butler Yeats.
3) Of Human Bondage (1915) by W. Somerset Maugham, was taken from Ethics (1677) Baruch (or Benedict) Spinoza.
4) A Passage to India (1924) by E. M. Forster, was taken from Leaves of Grass (1855) Walt Whitman.
5) Stranger in a Strange Land (1961) by Robert Heinlein, was inspired by the Bible, Exodus 2:22.

More Funny And/Or Strange Book Titles:
Once again, these are all real!
1) How to Shit in the Woods: An Environmentally Sound Approach to a Lost Art (3rd Edition, 2004) by Kathleen Meyer. I’m surprised by the multiple editions—has that much changed over the years about dropping a deuce on camping trips? Also, I enjoy the fact that’s it referred to as an “art.”
2) People Who Don’t Know They’re Dead: How They Attach Themselves to Unsuspecting Bystanders and What to Do About It (2005) by Gary Leon Hill. Truly, the worst zombies are those that lack self-awareness. (This is a sincere book, written by a psychic.)
3) The Holy Spirit of My Uncle’s Cojones (1999) by Marcos McPeek Villantoro. It’s a fictional memoir/coming of age novel, and well reviewed.
4) Excrement in the Late Middle Ages (2006) by Susan Signe Morrison. Unfortunately I’m not interested in the excrement of the Early Middle Ages, so I’ll pass. (Also, it’s over $80!)
5) Peek-a-Poo What’s in Your Diaper? (2010) by Guido van Genechten. Spoiler Alert—it’s always urine and/or feces. (Serious essays on adult incontinence—no, just kidding, kid’s book.)
6) Pets Who Want to Kill Themselves (2009) by Duncan Birmingham. Unless your pet is a parrot or a signing ape, how do you gauge clinical depression in animals? I guess I should read this. (In reality it’s a humor book, making fun of people who dress up their pets in embarrassing costumes.)
7) Ragnar’s Guide to Home and Recreational Use of High Explosives (1999) by Ragnar Benson. Amazon says this is “unavailable.” I wonder why. (Seriously, ordering this one might get you on some government watch lists.)
8) Castration: The Advantages and the Disadvantages (2003) by Victor T. Cheney. I’m assuming the former part of this is two sentences—“Keep that lovely soprano singing voice,” and “No more pesky paternity suits!”—and the latter part is the other 300 pages.
9) How to Tell if Your Boyfriend is the Antichrist, and if He is, Should You Break up with Him? (2007) by Patricia Carlin. Because you shouldn’t be hasty—you should weigh all the good and bad points about dating The Prince of Darkness before acting. Example—“Pro: Has a cute smile. Con: Has a tendency to flay, kill, and steal the souls from all of my friends and family.”
10) Cooking With Poo (2011) by Saiyuud Diwong. The ladies from 2 Girls, 1 Cup have branched out and written a cookbook! (No, not really (yet). “Poo” is Thai for “crab,” and correspondingly the nickname of a famous Thai chef. I’m sure this type of linguistic coincidence works both ways—maybe “pork and beans” means something like “mucus-hugger” in some other group’s language, and they’re laughing at us.

Here is a little from Paul Stansfield's new release that has its own unique title.

When a sociopath is speaking, being a good listener can cost you your soul.

After receiving a DUI, Dustin Dempster is working off community service hours in a hospital. While there, he’s asked to do amateur counseling of difficult patients. He thinks this a waste of time, and reluctantly agrees.

One of these difficult patients is Levon Howard, a man paralyzed from the neck down because of a car accident. He’s initially uncooperative, but after being charmed by Dustin’s brutal honesty and willingness to break some small hospital rules, he agrees to participate. Soon he’s revealing his darkest secrets to Dustin…

To read an excerpt from Kaishaku, Please click HERE.

Learn more about Paul Stansfield on his entertaining blog.

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

Happy Reading!

Sloane Taylor

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

It's Wednesday. So, What's Cooking?

Sloane’s Stuffed Peppers, Boiled Potatoes, and Corn

Studs and I plant a small vegetable every year. Peppers, broccoli, beans and whatever else appeals to our taste buds. September is exciting because that's when the peppers, (red, yellow, and green) are ready to pick. One of my favorite recipes to make is stuffed peppers. We hope you enjoy it, too.

Sloane’s Stuffed Peppers
Boiled Potatoes
French Bread
Dry White or Dry Red Wine – Pinot Grigio or Pinot Noir

Sloane’s Stuffed Peppers
6 med – lg peppers in any color you like
1 lb. ground chuck
1 lb. ground pork
¾ cup rice
2 tbsp. olive oil or lard
1 large onion chopped
2 garlic cloves pressed
1 egg lightly beaten
pepper to taste
1 tbsp. parsley
1 tbsp. vinegar

Cut tops off peppers and clean out seeds and ribs. Drop the peppers into a pot of boiling water that completely covers them. Boil briskly for 2 – 3 minutes. Cover the pot, remove it from the heat and set aside for 5 minutes. With tongs or a slotted spoon, carefully remove the peppers from the water and invert onto paper towels to drain.

Cook rice according to package directions but only for 10 minutes. Drain rice in a colander, run cold water over it and set aside.

In a heavy 8-10 inch skillet add the olive oil or lard, heat over medium heat until a light haze forms. Sauté the onions until soft and translucent about 5 minutes. Do not let them brown. Drain well. Add in garlic the last minute of cooking.

In a large bowl combine the ground chuck, ground pork, onion garlic blend, egg, rice, pepper, parsley and vinegar. Mix well, cover, and set the bowl in the refrigerator until you’re ready to complete the recipe.

You can prepare the stuffed peppers up to this point three hours before completion.

14 oz. can diced tomatoes
¼ cup white vinegar
1 cup chicken stock fresh or canned
2 tbsp. flour

Preheat the oven to 350˚

Pour ¾ cup chicken stock into a saucepan and heat over medium heat. Pour the remaining chicken stock in a small bowl. Sprinkle in the flour while stirring well with a fork. Whisk this mixture into the saucepan, stirring constantly. Cook over high heat until the sauce comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low, simmer for about 3 minutes, stir in tomatoes with their liquid and vinegar. Heat through. Remove from the heat.

Pour ¼ cup or so of the sauce into an ovenproof baking dish that holds the peppers comfortably.

Spoon the meat mixture into the peppers, forming a small mound on top. DO NOT PACK THEM. Stand them up in the baking dish. Shape the excess meat into medium size balls and lay them between the peppers. Pour the remaining sauce over the meat.

Bake covered 30 minutes. Bake uncovered 10 – 15 minutes longer.

Leftovers freeze great for another meal.

Boiled Potatoes

I’ve discovered Idaho type potatoes make the best mashed or boiled dishes. They cook faster and don’t get that tinge of black when cooked.

1 potato per person
bay leaf or basil
chicken stock
Butter to taste
pepper to taste

Peel the potatoes, rinse and cut into thirds. Drop them into a pot a little less than half filled with chicken stock. Add bay leaf or a small amount of basil. Cover the potatoes chunks with water and a lid. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat so potatoes continue to cook with a soft boil.

Test with fork after 15 - 20 minutes. It should slide in easily when the potatoes are done.

Drain water and remove bay leaf. If you’ve used basil, most will drain away and that’s okay. You want the flavor more than the leaves. Return potatoes and pot to burner with the heat turned off.

After the potatoes are cooked and drained, add the butter and pepper. Turn with a spatula or spoon to coat well. You’re ready to serve!

1 can corn I prefer Green Giant Niblets
3 tbsp. butter cut into pats

Drain corn, then pour into micro wave safe bowl. Lay butter pats across the top. Microwave for 3 minutes, stir and serve.

I'll be back Monday with a little more from Paul Stansford. Until then...

Happy eating!

Sloane Taylor
Amazon Author Page

Monday, September 17, 2012


by Paul Stansfield

Like many authors, I sometimes have problems coming up with titles for my stories. Often I complete the tale first, then give it a title. It’s a tricky thing—you don’t want to use a name that’s too obvious, or too boring, or too obscure, or too pretentious. It can be a fine line sometimes. For my previous ebook Dead Reckoning, I made another mistake—I chose an extremely common title. A check on Amazon reveals dozens of other books by this name. For latest release, I chose a much rarer name—I couldn’t find any other books called Kaishaku, at least in English. Kaishaku is the historic Japanese practice of a friend mercy-killing another friend who’s committing ritual suicide, or seppuku.

Because of all this, today I’d like to post about titles.

Original Titles of Famous Books:
It’s weird to see these, as we’re so used to the eventual titles, but it’s a reminder that even great, successful books went through some revisions. In most case I think changing the title was the right choice. Thanks in particular to The New Book of Lists, (2005) by David Wallechinsky and Amy Wallace for this info.

1) All’s Well That Ends Well better known as War and Peace (1866) by Leo Tolstoy.
2) Among Ash Heaps and Millionaires and Trimalchio in West Egg became The Great Gatsby (1925) F. Scott Fitzgerald.
3) Twilight became The Sound and the Fury (1929) William Faulkner. (Insert your own sparkly vampire joke here.)
4) Jettison, Tote the Weary Load, and Mules in Horse Houses became Gone With the Wind (1936) Margaret Mitchell.
5) Something That Happened was changed to Of Mice and Men (1937) John Steinbeck.
6) Before This Anger eventually was renamed, Roots (1972) Alex Haley.
7) First Impressions became Pride and Prejudice (1813) Jane Austen.
8) The Tree and the Blossom was changed to Peyton Place (1956) Grace Metalious.

An Amusingly Bitter Author’s Quote About Titles:
“A writer who does cherish his title would probably do well to hold it in reserve and not present it until two or three others, all duds, have been duly rejected, leaving the editor with his editorial honor intact.” Charles Portis.

You can’t copyright a single title. The very rare exception to this is if it can be shown that an author is intentionally tricking the public into buying a book under false pretenses (i.e., another famous book). You can, however, trademark a series of books, and this is recommended. So give up your plans to put out your own Chicken Soup for the Soul or (Blank) for Dummies opus.

Longest Book Titles:
1) 670 words, or 3999 characters with spaces, for Nigel Tomm’s Selected Works of Nigel Tomm…. (2007). Kind of a cheat, since this was obviously contrived. Mr. Tomm also had a novel consisting of one 400,000 plus word sentence, so he has a pattern. Even Fiona Apple thinks this title is a little much.

Titles Taken from Other Literature:
Some authors actually use passages from other books for their titles, which I guess is considered homage (if folks like the book) or a shameless rip-off (if they don’t).
1) Absalom, Absalom (1936) by William Faulkner, was taken from the Bible, 2 Samuel 19:4.
2) The Waste Land (1922) by T.S. Eliot, was taken from Jessie L. Weston’s From Ritual to Romance (1920).
3) A Confederacy of Dunces (1980) John Kennedy Toole, was taken from Jonathan Swift’s Thoughts on Various Subjects, Moral and Diverting (1706).
4) East of Eden (1952) by John Steinbeck, was also from the Bible, Genesis 4:16.
5) I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969) by Maya Angelou, was taken from Paul Laurence Dunbar’s poem, Sympathy (Couldn’t determine exact publication date, but between 1895-1905).
6) Remembrance of Things Past (Put out in seven parts, between 1913-27) by Marcel Proust, was taken from William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 30 (1609). (This was the title given to the English translation—the French title was (translated again) In Search of Lost Time.)

Funny and/or Strange Book Titles:
Incredibly, these titles are all real. Some of them are intentionally humorous, but quite a few aren’t. The British magazine, “Bookseller” has given out the Diagram Prize annually since 1978 to the strangest book titles. Many of these were past winners.

1) Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice. Authors not listed, but published in 1978 by the University of Tokyo Press. Not a bestiality treatise, but a medical study on mice with inhibited immune systems.
2) Oral Sadism and the Vegetarian Personality (1987) edited by Glen C. Ellenbogen. Intentionally funny, it’s a book of humor/parody for psychiatrists.
3) The Book of Marmalade: Its Antecedents, Its History, and Its Role in the World Today (1986) by C. Anne Wilson. This is a sincere, nonfiction book. And here I was just spreading it on my breakfast toast, not considering its precursors, evolution, and how it shapes our politics.
4) Bombproof Your Horse (most recent edition, 2004) by Rick Pelicano and Lauren Tjaden. Finally an end to those constant barn explosions! (The title is misleading, it’s about calming your horse down, and is well respected.)
5) How to Make Love While Conscious (1993) by Guy Kettelhack. Wait, you can do that while you’re awake? Who knew! (Really it’s quite serious, it’s geared toward recovering alcoholics, and how to have sex while sober.)
6) How to be Pope: What to Do and Where to Go Once You’re in the Vatican (2005) by Piers Marchant. I’m no marketing expert, but I have to figure that even if this book is awesome, there’s still a limited market for it.
7) Curbside Consultation of the Colon (2008) edited by Brookes D. Cash. Call me a prude, but I think this should be done in a doctor’s office. (It’s a serious reference book.)
8) Father Christmas Needs a Wee (2011) by Nicholas Allen. Great Yuletide gift for the child who loved “Everyone Poops.”
9) C is for Chafing (2011) by Mark Remy. I’ll bet Sue Grafton is pissed. (It’s a running book for kids and parents.)
10) Giraffes? Giraffes! (2004) by Dr. and Mrs. Doris Haggis-on-Whey. Love this one. The title asks a (ridiculous) question, then answers it. Plus the authors might have my favorite name ever. I’m tempted to go to…Scotland, presumably, and get adopted by them so I can be Paul Haggis-on-Whey.
11) Do Dead People Watch You Shower?: Questions for Mediums (2007) Concetta Bertoldi. If the answer is “yes,” I don’t know whether to be terrified or really turned on. Or both.

That’s it for now. Also, I should probably mention that I intentionally left off subtitles and didn’t reveal some books’ actual topics for comedic reasons.

Be sure to come back next week when I'll have more about titles for you to enjoy.

Paul Stansfield

Learn more about Paul Stansfield on his entertaining blog.

This time, the zombies aren’t the bad guys.

Kurt Minnifield is a fledgling actor playing a zombie in a low budget horror movie. The director and crew decide to move their shooting to lovely and isolated Watkins State Park...only they don't get proper permission.

Victor Newsome is a thirteen year old trying to both shed his nerdy image and learn outdoor skills at a special survival camp. After teaching the boys how to make shelter and kill their own food, the counselors decide to take a day trip to the neighboring state park--Watkins.

A series of ethical lapses, poor decisions, and bad luck lead to a colossal misunderstanding. Violence erupts as both sides fight desperately against a dangerous set of foes. Who will be more savage--the literal "monsters," or the boys equipped with deadly weapons, and the knowledge of how to use them?

To read an excerpt from Dead Reckoning, please click HERE.

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

Happy Reading!

Sloane Taylor

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

It's Wednesday. So, What's Cooking?

Chicken Cutlets, Roasted Potatoes with Thyme and Vinegar and Candied Orange Carrots

Summer is hanging on during the day, but the nights have become deliciously cool. This is a lovely meal you can enjoy for two by candlelight or with family and friends and rousing conversation. It’s also perfect al fresco on a Sunday afternoon.

Chicken Cutlets
Roasted Potatoes with Thyme and Vinegar
Candied Orange Carrots
Dry Crisp White Wine

Chicken Cutlets
Boneless chicken breasts - I prefer Purdue brand
5 slices bacon chopped
¼ cup flour
1 tbsp. fresh rosemary chopped
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tbsp. Butter
1 cup chicken broth
4 garlic cloves crushed
2 tbsp. lemon juice

Fry bacon over medium heat until crisp. Transfer bacon onto paper towels to drain. Spoon off all but two tablespoons of the fat.

Meanwhile, place flour in a shallow dish. Dredge the chicken in the flour and shake to remove excess. Add butter to the reserved fat in the pan and heat over high temperature, swirling to melt the butter. When the foam subsides, reduce heat to med-high and cook chicken until browned on both sides, 3 – 4 minutes. per side. Transfer chicken to a plate and tent with foil.

Reduce heat to medium and add garlic, rosemary, pepper flakes. Cook under one minute. Do not let the garlic brown. Add broth and lemon juice, scrape up browned bits with a wooden spoon, and simmer until slightly thick, about 4 minutes.

Return chicken and bacon to pan, simmer turning chicken once until sauce is thick and glossy, 2 – 3 minutes. Adjust seasoning with black pepper.

Roasted Potatoes with Thyme and Vinegar
3 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. cider vinegar
3 tsp. Kosher salt
2 lbs. potatoes quartered
1 tsp. dried thyme

Preheat oven to 425°

In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, salt, thyme, and vinegar.

Place the potatoes in a large Zip-lock plastic bag. Pour the mixture over them and gently shake the bag to coat evenly.

Spread the potatoes in an even layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle and remaining mixture over them. Bake until potatoes are tender and slightly browned, about 50 minutes.

Candied Orange Carrots
½ lb. of ready to eat carrots
Juice of one orange
1 pinch nutmeg
¼ cup maple syrup
4 tbsp. butter
Chopped fresh parsley

Place all the ingredients together in a saucepan. Gently simmer, covered, until the carrots are bright orange and tender.

Garnish with the parsley and serve.

The leftovers from this meal make a perfect lunch and are easily reheated.

I'll be back Monday with Paul Stansfield. Until then...

Bon Appétit!

Sloane Taylor

Monday, September 10, 2012

Kick-Ass Chicks Are Cool

It's wonderful to make new friends and even better to share them. Today, I'm doing just that. Please allow me to introduce you to a woman with more balls than most men.

The name’s Maxie Briscoe and I am a werewolf...

That’s right, a real live, full moon-loving, Halloween icon. It’s hard out here for a girl like me. To survive, I hide my true self and act the part of a normal human, all while discreetly indulging the Beast within. Talk about walking a narrow ledge. And that’s not even the worst part. Sex is. You see I can bench press a pick-up truck and that spells disaster in the bedroom. You can’t have any real fun knowing you might accidentally crush a lover while in the throes. Kind of kills the mood.

Melissa Bradley
ISBN-13: 978-1-60272-650-5 (Electronic)
ISBN-13: 978-1-60272-806-6 (Paperback)
Amber Allure

When a friend’s murder shatters the careful existence Maxie has carved out for herself, she comes face to face with Damien and Noah, two of the hottest men she’s ever laid eyes on. And it only stirs her Beast and turns her on more when she realizes they’re hot for each other. They’re also the first werewolves she’s run across since her own conversion. The attraction between the three of them is instant, but complicated, and the sex...explosive.

Too bad there’s a killer out there with his sights set on her...

Maxie meets Damien and Noah for the first time…

They materialize from the darkness, hunters intent on their prey. Me.

My breath hitches, the animal inside rippling beneath my skin. I’m nervous, but I refuse to let them see. This bitch rolls belly-up for no one. I stride onto my front porch, prepared to defend my territory. Dressed in loungewear, I am hardly the picture of a strong alpha female, but you go with what you got. I look them both dead on.

I fold my arms over my breasts. “What do you want?” I growl, my voice a low rumble.

“We’ve come for you, little one.” With a voice like muffled thunder, the taller of the two moves forward onto my lawn. Twisted steel with sex appeal about sums him up. His dark hair is pulled back in a tail, tee-shirt molded to his cut frame.

My nostrils flare, catching his scent, fresh like a mountain spring at first thaw; my female parts quiver in anticipation. I want to coil myself around him like a python on a Kapok tree, hugging
every hard inch of flesh. Ruthlessly, I shove down the urge. It’s dangerous. Ulterior motives are written all over the two of them, and I just know one of those motives is to dominate me.

“It took us a long time to find you, Maxie.”

The whisky baritone draws my attention, and I watch the other one emerge, lean and graceful, his muscles liquid precision. Definite hotness is woven into the male half of the werewolf
genetic code. His scent is warm and dark, like night in a jungle. My nipples bead with excitement as he lopes toward me, brushing past the larger wolf. He stops at the base of my stairs, conqueror
etched in every line of his body. This is definitely the alpha of the pair.

“Didn’t know I was lost.” I widen my stance, ready to spring. If he’s looking for a challenge, he’s got one.

He smiles, teeth bared, the faint light from the scimitar moon exposing the predatory glint in his eyes.

I can feel the hunger resonating through them, matching my own deep desire.

“We can smell your craving, little one,” the taller one rumbles as he joins his partner.

I hate arrogant assholes. “Is this the part where I’m supposed lie back, spread my legs and say, ‘Do me like Red Riding Hood, you Big Bad Wolf’?”

They chuckle in that knowing, masculine way, the sound like tropical waves lapping along my insides, teasing and inviting.

“She’s more than we imagined, my friend.” The dominant wolf smiles over his shoulder at the other one as he starts up the first step.

“Hold it right there, Romeo,” I snap.

He stops, huffs out a breath and moves back to his original position. “The name is Damien Black. And this is Noah Rayburn.” He jerks a thumb toward the larger guy who inclines his head with a gleaming look in his eyes.

They stand there, watching me, probably wondering when I’m going to quit being so difficult and invite them inside. Maybe I will and maybe I won’t. All depends on their explanations.

Amazon Paperback
Amazon Kindle

Melissa Bradley grew up in a book-loving, storytelling family on Chicago’s southeast side. Some of her fondest memories are of her father regaling her with tales of giants and goblins. She has a passion for stories of history, romance, adventure, fantasy, science fiction and horror. Melissa's favorite places include bookstores, libraries and movie theatres. You can find out more about Melissa and her writing by visiting Melissa's Imaginarium, Facebook and Twitter.

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

Happy Reading!

Sloane Taylor

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

It's Wednesday. So, What's Cooking?

Almost Homemade Pizza, with Warm Belgian Endive and Pine Nut Salad.

It’s been a busy week. Honestly, the last thing I want to do is cook, very unusual for me. I have decided to make my life easy, so tonight Studs can dine on one of his favorite meals. I hope you like it, too.

Warm Belgian Endive and Pine Nut Salad
Almost Homemade Pizza
Dry Red Wine – Ruffino Chianti

Almost Homemade Pizza
1 (12 inch) pre-baked Italian bread pizza crust. I prefer Boboli
1 cup pizza sauce
1 ¼ cups shredded mozzarella
½ lb. Italian sausage, pinched into dine sized pieces
Fresh Parmesan or Romano to grate over the top
Mushrooms, peppers or what ever else you enjoy can be added

Preheat the oven to the temperature recommended on the crust package.

Lay the crust onto a baking sheet of appropriate size. Spread the sauce over the crust. Sprinkle with half the mozzarella. Lay your other sausage etc. on top. Cover the pie with the remaining mozzarella then grate some fresh Parmesan or Romano over that.

Bake according to the crust package directions or until the sausage is no longer pink and the cheese is melted.

The pizza makes a great leftover lunch, but the salad will turn bitter and limp.

Warm Belgian Endive and Pine Nut Salad
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
pepper to taste
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
4 heads Belgian endive
½ tbsp. lemon juice
1/3 cup pine nuts
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, or as needed
1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

In a medium bowl, whisk together the Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar and lemon juice. Whisk in olive oil slowly until you have an almost creamy consistency. Taste and season with pepper. Set aside.

Cut endive heads crosswise into rings. Remove the hard end of the stems and discard. Rinse in a colander, shaking to separate the slices into rings. Set aside to drain.

In a large dry skillet over medium heat, toast the pine nuts. Stir constantly so that they do not burn. Once the pine nuts are golden, add the endive rings. Warmed slightly, then pour in the dressing and toss to coat. Reduce the heat a bit if the endive is wilting too quickly. You want to maintain some crispness and texture.

If you have guests to impress, sprinkle in the parsley. The sharp green flecks will brighten the dish and enhance the flavor, but the salad is in no way lacking without.

Serve immediately.

It is best served directly from the pan to the plate. If is put in a bowl, the dressing will settle at the bottom and be difficult to toss again without damaging the endive.

I'll be back Friday with a little more for aspiring authors. Until then...

Mangiare Bene!

Sloane Taylor

Monday, September 03, 2012

Wishing you all a safe and fun-filled holiday!

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

Happy Celebrating!

Sloane Taylor