Wednesday, January 31, 2018

LOVE IS IN THE KITCHEN

with the Free Cookbook Sweets & Treats for Someone Special.


Remember the old adage, ‘The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach’? There may be some truth to that, though I would update the phrase to say, ‘The way to a person’s heart is through their stomach’. After all, food is an intimate experience. Good food creates memories, forges friendships, makes the heart grow fonder, and makes for good dinner table conversations. And food is one of the ways you can show someone that you care for them.

If the thought of cooking a romantic meal or baking a sweet treat for your true love makes you tingly all over, then have I got a gift for you! Cue a romantically-inspired cookbook written by the following fourteen proficient and prolific authors, of various ages and genres: Marci Boudreaux, Carol Browne, HL Carpenter, Sara Daniel, C.D. Hersh, Vonnie Hughes, Alicia Joseph, Emma Lane, Lizzie T. Leaf, Sharon Ledwith, Susan Lodge, Anne Montgomery, Chris Pavesic, and Sloane Taylor. These wonderful writers have created an array of tantalizing recipes that will make your loved ones beg for more, and even offer to wash those dirty dishes.

Sweets & Treats for Someone Special is your go-to recipe book for entertaining on Valentine’s Day, hosting bridal showers and engagement parties, or celebrating that special event with your true love. Compiled by Sloane Taylor—a gourmet cook in her own right—and designed by mother-daughter duo HL Carpenter, the included recipes offer a wide variety of mouth-watering treats, indulgences, and meals to satisfy your loved ones’ cravings and insatiable hunger.

Oh, and did I mention that it is FREE?

So why not have your just desserts? Literally. You’ve got nothing to lose and sultry memories to gain when you download Sweets & Treats for Someone Special. There’s a recipe for even the fussiest lover in your life. Give yourself a gift during the season of love with a sensual cookbook from fourteen writers who would love nothing more than to share their favorite recipes, and fulfill your deepest desires.

Get your FREE copy, in all formats, at Smashwords or Amazon

Bon Appetit!

Monday, January 29, 2018

ELLEN and ELLIOTT - HEAD to TOE

Elliott Baker is in the hot seat discussing his three novels with Ellen from ItsWriteNow.com.




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

To uncover the truths and secrets awaiting in Morocco, Elliot Baker has kindly returned to ItsWriteNow.com for the third time to chat about The Sun God’s Heir: Return. I love seeing authors progress with their writing careers, so I’m glad you’ve taken a few minutes out of your busy schedule to chat with me. What’s been going on since we last caught up in September 2017 with The Sun God’s Heir?

The novel has won a couple of contests which is a hoot. Book one has remained in Amazon’s top 10 Free books in its primary category of Sea Adventures and in the top 20 in Historical and Fantasy since its launch in January of 2016. It has enjoyed over 27,000 downloads.

That’s fantastic news! What a great testament to the quality of your work. With fantastic feedback from both contests and the reading public, I’m sure you’ve had great motivation to keep yourself working hard. What have you been up since September?
Exploring the strange and challenging world of book marketing. Does a tree make a sound when it falls in the woods if no one is there to hear it? I’d like to thank the readers of The Sun God’s Heir for listening. I am also beginning to write the next book continuing with these characters only in other lives and time periods.

I’m eager to hear about your new book, and I’m sure the readers are too, but first let’s chat about that strange world of book marketing. What have you been doing with marketing? Have you been using social media or your own site to kick things off?
I am slowly learning the ropes. I’ve been a member of Instagram since my start, but will soon begin to inhabit the page. A picture is definitely worth a thousand words. I had a graphic artist render René and Akeefa and the drawing of Akeefa is very close to the picture in my head. Who knows. She may show up. Hard to decide whether to leave people’s images of my characters alone or share mine. If you want to see what she looks like in my head, or think I should put the image up on Instagram, use the contact form on my website and let me know.

That is a tricky one. Pictures of the characters are great and can look fantastic, but some readers do get disappointed when the pictures don’t match what’s in their head. Personally, I think it’s a great idea to show a little taste of how you see life in your books. Are these characters in your mind when you write?
I keep my mind as open as I can. I don’t think my characters are alive, but their patterns, which I’ve thought about a lot, are. If I’m open to it, the pattern makes a raspberry sound in my mind when I consider having the character do something contrary to their pattern. There is always the overarching ‘why.’

As a reader, you always hope there is an overarching why. Looking back on it, what do you think was the greatest why or what you want readers to take from your characters?
The accumulation of power will not bring you joy. It will not even bring you security and the escape from that which you fear. Fear and its manifestation, anger does not lead to joy which is the only reason to play this game. Good thing we get to choose.

Indeed we do. Was the exploration of these ideas of power, security, fear and joy what you had in your mind when you first started writing or did you have another target that you were working towards?
There are three books in the Sun God’s Heir trilogy. I had a general idea of how I wanted to finish, but the actual story of the main characters did not present itself until near the end of the writing. I had a couple of what if it doesn’t moments, but for the most part, (I don’t know why) I was confident that it would show up. I’m very pleased with the ending. After you’ve read over eleven hundred pages, the ending better be satisfying.

There’s nothing worse as a reader or writer than to be emotionally invested in a story, and finally get to the end and find that it is rubbish. What steps did you take to make sure your endings were satisfying? Did you bring in elements from your life to make the overall story solid?
Writing is a funny thing. We all enter the zone. Olympic athletes train to do it. So do yogis. Most of the time it’s unconscious and fleeting and we’re not even aware we passed through the state. A writer or musician or artist experiences the zone after a time of concentration. Stuff comes out that seems to be better or beyond what the writer or musician feels capable of. I think that we touch our subconscious and download patterns that we’ve unconsciously put together. The output seems brighter and though we take credit for it, we are always a little dubious of our ability to have created it. There are characters in The Sun God’s Heir from whom I learn as they speak. One of my greatest motivations to write is to get them to speak so I can listen. Sounds pretentious, but I’m glad for the help.

I’m glad you found satisfaction reaching the end, but do you have the same satisfaction at the beginning. What was the original idea behind your book that you wanted to continue to explore until you were fully satisfied?
The Sun God’s Heir began with a remembered dream. Like most folks, I don’t remember dreaming that often, but this one morning, I carried the dream into waking consciousness. It wasn’t the whole story, but there was the protagonist and antagonist as well as the germ of the story and the setting. The story stayed with me and refused to go away until years later, with the help of NANOWRIMO, I began to write it down.

Other than trying to conquer the challenge of NANOWRIMO, why do you write?
The easiest answer and the most trite is because I can. A great joy for me in reading a story is when I am transported somewhere else for a few minutes. When I come back to this reality, to my chair, I feel nothing so much as gratitude to the writer for having helped me take a break from the stress of this life. Often I feel recharged with the emotional energy from the scene or story. I wanted to do that. There is nothing so sweet as when someone tells me in so many words that they went somewhere for a few minutes.

Do you feel that your author voice or writing, in general, has progressed as you’ve continued to practice your craft?
We all have a voice in our heads. And we all have stories to tell. The trick is to stay seated long enough to access our authentic voice. Takes time and patience. Unfortunately it also often takes a support system to give the writer the energy that can’t be found in the moment. Just like listening to yourself in a tape recorder, you are often less than excited by the sound of your own voice. Stay with it.

The publishing process is fairly straight-forward if you set up your work well in the first place, which means that you can spend more time on what matters. The content. And speaking about content and deciding what you want, what are you working on at the moment?
Research for the next series of novels.

It sounds like early days. At the beginning stage of a new project, you must be asking yourself a lot of questions. I’m going to ask you a few questions that you may not have considered when you’ve been busy beavering away. But you never know, your book might be better from answering a question like, if you’re in a vehicle going the speed of light, what happens when you turn on the headlights?
You run into less stuff.

Always advantageous when driving. Continuing onto the advantages, why is lemon juice made with artificial flavour, and dishwashing liquid made with real lemons?
Because the paradoxes of life are what make it fun.

You gotta love those paradoxes. Looking back on the Sun God’s Heir, what was your biggest learning experience?
It ain’t over till it’s over.

Elliott, I’m so glad that the door has already opened for your writing career, but I hope that you are able to open it wider and have so much more fun and success with it!
Thanks, Ellen, I really do appreciate your support.

BUY LINKS
The Sun God's Heir RETURN Book One FREE on Amazon
The Sun God's Heir REBIRTH Amazon
The Sun God's Heir REDEMPTION Book Three Amazon

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

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 24, 2018

A SWEET FOR YOUR SWEETIE

from Alicia Joseph


This is a perfect treat for your special someone on Valentine’s Day. And what better way to show you care then to bake something good.

PEANUT BUTTER PIE
CRUST
1 ¼ cup chocolate cookie crumbs. (20 cookies)
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup butter or margarine, melted

Preheat oven 375°F.

Combine ingredients in a small bowl. Press into a 9-inch pie plate.

Bake 10 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

FILLING
1 (8 oz) pkg. softened cream cheese
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp. butter or margarine, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream, whipped

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, peanut butter, sugar, butter, and vanilla until smooth. Fold in whipped cream.

Gently spoon into crust. Garnish with grated chocolate, chocolate cookie crumbs, or fresh raspberries.

Refrigerate and enjoy!



“When a train runs over a penny, the penny changes form, but it can still be a penny if I want it to be. Or, I can make it be something else.”


Lyssa and her best friend Abbey discover a hideout near the train tracks and spend the summer before sixth grade hanging out and finding freedom from issues at home. Their childhood innocence shatters when the hideout becomes the scene of a tragic death.

As they’re about to graduate from high school, Abbey’s family life spirals out of control while Lyssa is feeling guilty for deceiving Abbey about her sexuality. After another tragic loss, Lyssa finds out that a penny on the track is sometimes a huge price to pay for the truth.




Prologue
1993

I was jerked from my sleep while the phone was still buzzing its first high-piercing ring. I glanced at the clock on the nightstand beside my bed. It read 4:17 a.m. I knew something was wrong.

The second ring was abruptly broken up and my mother’s muffled voice carried into my room. I was already sitting upright in my bed when my bedroom door squeaked open. My mother’s slight figure appeared as a shadow near my door.

“Lyssa? You up?” she asked.

“What’s wrong?” My voice was no louder than a whisper.

I watched my mother slowly make her way into the dark room. I couldn’t make out the expression on her face, but the stiff movement of the outline of her body was hesitant.

She turned on the lamp and sat down beside me. Her face was pale. She let out short, shallow breaths. It seemed difficult for her to look me in the eyes.

“What is it?” I asked. “What’s happened?”

Finally, my mother looked at me with pain in her eyes. “Lyssa . . .” She smoothed her hand gently across my arm. “Abbey’s dead.”

I took in her words without an ounce of denial. The reality of what my mother had told me was instant.

My best friend was dead.


Alicia Joseph grew up in Westchester, Illinois. Her first novella, Her Name, was published by Musa Publishing in 2014. Her Name is a sweet, romantic story about a woman who believes the beautiful woman she dreams about is the real love of her life.

Loving Again is her second published novella. Alicia is currently working on a new novel called A Penny on the Tracks, a coming of age story about love and friendship. Alicia has many works-in-progress that she hopes to finish soon.

When she is not writing, Alicia enjoys volunteering with animals, rooting for her favorite sports teams, and playing “awesome aunt” to her nine nieces and nephews.

Learn more about Alicia Joseph on her blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, January 22, 2018

A SERIES IN THE MAKING

by Marci Boudreaux

Never before have I felt the need to make a series bible. Maybe because I’ve only written one series before and had no idea what the hell I was doing!

On to series two…the title is still a work in progress, but I have some ideas that I’m just waiting for my editor to tell me are crap so I can start over. (She’d say it very nicely, though.)

This new series is about a detective agency run and operated by some pretty kick ass dames who don’t take crap from nobody—especially the men in their lives. This is also completely out of the norm for me, so we'll see what (if anything) happens to it.


Meet the ladies of the yet to be named agency that will be doing awesome to be determined kick ass things! Also known as Em's imaginary friends for the next year or so.

Problem is, unlike my last series, I’m dropping all the characters into book one. Most will be in the background so I don’t boggle anyone’s brain with a huge cast. But, even so, my brain gets boggled so I gotta keep all these people and their nuances straight in my head.

And, that right there, folks, is what that whole series bible thing is for.

I get it now.

Since I’ve never done this before, I’m totally winging it. Pinterst pages. Word docs. Notes in two different notebooks that will eventually all be put in one place. I have pictures. Descriptions. Quotes. All kinds of things that someday, I’ll look at and go “DAMN! I totally forgot she’s got blue eyes not green!”

I’m working on getting organized enough to have all this in one place. I’ll get there. I’m just a wee bit slow, but I am taking this whole thing very seriously, y’all.

I’d love to introduce you to the ladies, but book one is still with my editor and I don’t want to jinx this series before it is even out of diapers, but keep an eye out. I think you’ll be hearing about them soon!

Until then…any suggestions on how to keep all this stuff straight?

As a teen, Marci Boudreaux skipped over young adult books and jumped right into the world of romance novels. She's never left. Marci lives with her husband, two kiddos, and their numerous pets. Until recently, she was a freelance writer appearing monthly in a variety of local magazines. She now focuses on writing and her work as a content editor.

Romance is her preferred reading and writing genre because nothing feels better than falling in love with someone new and her husband doesn't like when she does that in real life.

Learn more about Marci Boudreaux on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

WARM UP THESE COLD NIGHTS

from Chris Pavesic

This is a wonderfully creamy soup to serve on a cold fall or winter day.

Cream of Celery Soup

¼ cup butter
1 small yellow onion (about 1 cup) finely chopped
2 cups celery, very finely chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
⅓ cup flour
1½ cup chicken broth
1½ cup whole milk
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. sugar
⅛ tsp. freshly ground pepper


Melt butter in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, and garlic. Cook until soft and translucent, about 5-7 minutes.

Stir in flour and cook for another minute. Flour may brown a little but that is okay.

Whisk the mixture as broth and milk are slowly added to prevent clumps from forming. Increase the heat and bring to a simmer.

Reduce heat to medium, add the salt, sugar, and pepper. Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.

Enjoy!

While you enjoy your meal, why not listen to a good book? Starter Zone, the first book of my new YA/LitRPG series, The Revelation Chronicles, is now available on Audible!

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When hydrologists inscribe the consciousness of a human mind onto a single drop of water, a Revelation sweeps the land. The wealthy race to upload their minds into self-contained virtual realities nicknamed Aquariums. In these containers people achieve every hope, dream, and desire. But governments wage war for control of the technology. Terrorist attacks cause massive destruction. The Aquariums fail. Inscribed human minds leech into the water cycle, wreaking havoc.

Street gangs rule the cities in the three years since the fall of civilization. Sixteen-year-old Cami and her younger sister Alby struggle to survive. Every drop of untreated water puts their lives in peril. Caught and imprisoned by soldiers who plan to sell them into slavery, Cami will do anything to escape and rescue her sister. Even if it means leaving the real word for a life in the realms, a new game-like reality created by the hydrologists for the chosen few.

But life in the realms isn’t as simple as it seems. Magic, combat, gear scores, quests, and dungeons are all puzzles to be solved as the sisters navigate their new surroundings. And they encounter more dangerous enemies than any they faced in the real world.

Time to play the game.
Available Now At:


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

Learn more about Chris on her website and blog.

Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, and her Amazon Author Page.

Monday, January 15, 2018

To Arrange or Not to Arrange?

by Eris Field


Photo by Chris Sharp
Marriage is usually thought of as being brought about in one of two ways: love-based marriages and arranged marriages. Love-based marriages are easy to define. They are marriages arranged by the two people to be married--two people who are wildly, deliciously in love. Arranged marriages have greater variety. Traditionally, arranged marriages have been thought of as marriages orchestrated by others—parents, family members, matchmakers, or religious leaders. However, there is an atypical form of arranged marriage, dearly loved by novelists—the marriage of convenience—that is the marriage is arranged by the two people to be married but it is not based on love, definitely not on love or there would be no story. Finally there is the maverick form, On-line Dating, the method used by 40 million Americans to meet suitable partners for the purpose of matrimony. Overall, love-based marriages are more common in the Western World and arranged marriages more common in traditional societies.

In love-based marriages, it is the mutual attraction of the two people for each other that leads to marriage. Their goal is immediate, blissful happiness. Their motto is Love Conquers All. Issues such as expectations of their extended families, whose work with take precedence, how money will be managed, religious practices, where they will live, and previously acquired debts may or may not be discussed by the two of them prior to the marriage.

In contrast, in arranged marriages, the goal is not immediate happiness for the two people being married but long-term well-being and lack of problems for them and, equally important, for the members of both families that are being united by the marriage. It is accepted that, if the selection process is carefully carried out by people who know the couple well and have their best interests in mind, the bride and groom will be well-matched and will come to love each other. The motto in arranged marriages is Love Comes After Marriage. To increase the odds of a trouble-free marriage, it is common for the person arranging the marriage to present the following information about the prospective partner:

1) Reputation of the individual and of all the members of the family,
2) Vocation/career of the individual and how long employed,
3) Wealth of the individual and the family,
4) Physical appearance including grooming,
5) Values such as traditional beliefs or liberal beliefs,
6) Religion, and
7) Medical history of the entire family (possibly to rule out potential mates with a family history of genetically transmitted disorders).

In arranged marriages, it is generally accepted that the couple will have the final say in accepting or rejecting the proposed candidate.

There is a different type of arranged marriage, the forced marriage, in which the couple does not have the final say. Most frequently it is a young girl who is forced to marry against her will. If she refuses, she may face physical punishment, banishment, or death (honor violence). Forced marriages are more common in the Middle East, North Africa, South East Asia, and India; however, they do exist in other countries such as the U.S. and the U.K. among their immigrant populations. The reasons for forced marriages include:

1) To strengthen family or tribal ties,
2) To increase family wealth,
3) Parents’ cultural or religious beliefs,
4) To control behavior of young women (reduce chance of sexual activity),
5) Settle disputes between families/tribes,
6) Make retribution for an injury or insult,
7) Resolve tribal feuds, blood feuds.
8) To help someone gain entry to the U.S. i.e. to get a ‘green card.’

The United Nations views forced marriages as a form of human rights abuse and the practice has been outlawed by many countries.

In comparing the outcomes of love-based marriages and arranged marriages, it appears at first glance that the divorce rate is lower among arranged marriages. However, it should be kept in mind that the acceptance of divorce is lower in the parts of the world where arranged marriages are highest. There have been studies showing that couples who met through on-line dating were happy, loving, and committed. If there is any conclusion to be drawn in considering love-based marriages versus arranged marriages, it seems that the chance of a successful marriage may be increased by knowing more about the person before the marriage takes place.

In my book Lattices of Love Emine Wheeler, a 26-year-old Turkish-American professor of psychiatric nursing, has vowed to marry for love, like her American father. When Emine meets Marc van Etten, a reticent Dutch psychiatrist, at a conference in Amsterdam, she recognizes him as the man she has been waiting for and knows that she can’t live behind the lattices of old harem rules any longer.

Marc, who believes that his colleagues blame him for his wife's suicide, restricts his life to work and caring for the troubled four-year-old girl he calls his daughter. But, when Emine runs into difficulties, he offers his assistance. Emine, ignoring the age-old harem rule that forbids talking or spending time with a man who is not a family member, accepts his help.

Later, when Emine must choose between accepting the family-approved proposal of a man she does not love or damaging her family's honor, Marc offers a solution—marriage. It will save her family’s honor and provide a mother for his daughter.

Believing that her fierce love for Marc will be enough, Emine agrees, only to discover that it is not. When Marc erroneously accuses her of betraying him, she flees. Realizing belatedly that he loves Emine beyond everything in his life, Marc must find a way to win her back.

Here’s a little from Lattices of Love for you.

Emine Wheeler, a 26-year-old Turkish-American professor of psychiatric nursing, has vowed to marry for love, like her American father. When she meets Marc van Etten, a reticent Dutch psychiatrist, at a conference in Amsterdam, she recognizes him as the man she has been waiting for and knows that she can’t live behind the lattices of old harem rules any longer.

Marc, who believes that his colleagues blame him for his wife's suicide, restricts his life to work and caring for the troubled four-year-old girl he calls his daughter. But, when Emine runs into difficulties, he offers his assistance. Emine, ignoring the age-old harem rule that forbids talking or spending time with a man who is not a family member, accepts his help.

Later, when Emine must choose between accepting the family-approved proposal of a man she does not love or damaging her family's honor, Marc offers a solution—marriage. It will save her family’s honor and provide a mother for his daughter.

Believing that her fierce love for Marc will be enough, Emine agrees, only to discover that it is not. When Marc erroneously accuses her of betraying him, she flees. Realizing belatedly that he loves Emine beyond everything in his life, Marc must find a way to win her back.

Amazon Buy Link

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

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

After taking time off to raise five children and amassing rejection letters for her short stories, Eris earned her master’s degree in Psychiatric Nursing at the University at Buffalo. Later, she taught psychiatric nursing at the University and wrote a textbook for psychiatric nurse practitioners—an endeavor requiring a great deal of hard labor.

Eris now writes novels, usually international, contemporary romances. Her interest in history and her experience in psychiatry often play a part in her stories. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Western New York Romance Writers. In addition to writing, her interests include Honor Killings, eradicating female genital mutilation, supporting the Crossroads Springs Orphanage in Kenya for children orphaned by AIDS, and learning more about the old cities of the world.

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

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

FIND PLEASURE from the PAST

by Sharon Ledwith

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 my new series, Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls. I wanted to give this teen psychic mystery series a nostalgic feeling coupled with a sense of adventure and…wait for it…the supernatural. Welcome to Fairy Falls. Expected the unexpected.

One of the mainstays of cottage and camping life is soup on those rainy, damp days. Soup not only warms you through, but fills you up. So I thought I’d share a favorite family recipe with you, that will hopefully bring out those good-old-days feelings inside you again. This hearty, easy one dish meal cooks itself while you’re out and about. Prep time is approximately 30 minutes, with a cook time of 10 hours, this soup serves around 8-10 of your hungriest minions.

Best Beef-Barley Soup Ever
2 lbs beef round steak or 2 lbs beef chuck, diced
2 cups chopped carrots
1 stalk celery, diced
½ green pepper, diced (we prefer to use a red pepper)
1 large onion, chopped
1 (16 ounce) can of tomatoes, cut up (we prefer stewed tomatoes)
½ cup frozen corn
½ cup frozen green beans
⅔ cup barely
1 tbsp. dried parsley flakes
1 tbsp. beef bouillon granules or 2 beef bouillon cubes
2 tsp. salt
¾ tsp. dried basil
5 cups water

Brown beef in a skillet over medium heat.

Lay carrot, celery, green pepper, onion, corn, and green beans in crock pot.

Place meat on top.

Combine tomatoes, barley, parsley, bouillon, salt, and basil in a bowl. Pour over meat.

Add water.

DO NOT STIR.

Cover and cook on LOW for 10-12 hours.

The secret to this soup is in the layering. Serve with salad and bread, and your favorite wine or beverage.

So while the soup is cooking, I’ll let you in on another secret from Lost and Found, Book #1 of Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls.

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
Amazon Kindle - Amazon Paperback - Barnes & Noble - Mirror World Publishing ebook - Mirror World Publishing Paperback



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.

Monday, January 08, 2018

HEART SURGERY ROMANCE

or Sara Daniel Finds her Niche

Write what you know, they say. But what happens when you’re a romance author and congenital heart defects and their repair surgeries are what you know?

You end up accidentally creating your own heart surgery romance niche.

To be clear, the books I’ve written that involved heart surgery aren’t a series and don’t have much in common at first glance.

Captivating the CEO is an all-in serious look at a woman facing her own mortality, daily health struggles and—yes—open heart surgery. A Model Hero is a story of derailed dreams and post-surgery body image struggles. At the other end of the spectrum, Once Upon a Marriage is a romantic comedy based on an obscure fairy tale, where the heroine’s uncle receives a heart transplant…from a pig!

I’m not a heart expert, but when I write about heart defects and heart surgery it comes from a place of deep emotion, personal turmoil and love. No matter how many times I reread Willow’s surgery updates in Captivating the CEO, I cry because it is real and raw for me.

I don’t expect congenital heart defect romances or heart surgery romances will ever become a trending or sought-after genre, and that’s just fine with me. I only want to read the stories that come from a place of authenticity and love.

~Sara

He's all about the future. She might not have one...

When live-for-the-moment massage therapist Willow Jeffries bursts into Colin Vanderhayden's office, she makes it her mission to loosen up the future-focused CEO, knowing each moment of the present is too precious to waste. Despite her immediate attraction, the only future she can offer is one full of heartache.

The last thing Colin needs is a flighty woman messing up his carefully-constructed plans, but her heavenly massages and addictive personality prove hard to resist. But he has no idea how sick she is.

No longer able to ignore her life-threatening medical condition, Willow slips away to spare Colin a miserable future with her. Is Colin willing to sacrifice his well-laid future plans to get Willow back?

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

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

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Wednesday, January 03, 2018

BREAKING FAST

from HL Carpenter

Cheese sandwiches for breakfast anyone? Oh yes—and this simple-to-make chewy and crunchy cheese melt combo is the sandwich of choice. Chewy mozzarella, crunchy fresh green peppers and onions, spicy pepperoni, and Italian seasonings deliciously stacked on buttery English muffin rounds make breaking your night's fast a pleasure.

Melted Cheese Sandwich
6 English muffins, store-bought or hand-baked
1 tbsp. butter, softened
12 slices (1-oz each) mozzarella cheese
1 sweet onion
1 large green pepper
6 oz. sliced pepperoni
Garlic salt
Italian seasoning

Split each muffin and lightly butter the outer side. Place one-half of each muffin buttered-side down in frying pan.

Top each muffin half with 1 slice of mozzarella, 1 sweet onion ring, 1 green pepper ring, and 1 ounce of pepperoni. Season to taste with garlic salt and Italian seasoning. Add another layer of mozzarella. Place remaining half of muffin on top, buttered-side up.

Fry sandwiches in covered skillet, turning once, until cheese melts and sandwich is heated through. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

While you're devouring your delicious breakfast, we invite you to enjoy an excerpt from our allegorical short story.

Who killed Fyne Literature? The Fictional Book Investigation Agency is on the case—and the lead investigator is closer to the culprit than he realizes.

Ivy League walked into my office as I cracked the spine on an old murder book. I identified her immediately, courtesy of my mythical detecting skills. Well, those and her cute little uptilted nose, which I recognized from news reports about a recent gruesome killing.

She said, "I want you to find out who's behind the demise of Fyne Literature."

"I thought the cops already closed the book on his demise." I slapped shut the hardcover in my hand to punctuate my sentence.

She jumped.

I said, "Word is, your lover was done in by an explosion of serial killer potboilers."

"He was - he is - the love of my life, not my lover." She perched on the edge of the chair opposite my bargain-priced government surplus desk, and looked at the painting on the wall behind me. "You're no angel."

Apparently I wasn't the only one possessed of mythical detecting skills. The picture depicts a kneeling, white-winged warrior, weary yet steadfast as another day rises—or sets, depending on your point of view—on a ravaged city. You only need to glance at him once to know he did not weep, to know he would not, even in the midst of destruction and defeat; to know he understands war, in the way true warriors do. He knows the creed as well, the one limned by the glowing-eyed cat at his side: Show no weakness.

A grateful and talented character created the picture after I pulled her from the shadowy world where illusions take corporeal form and people merely think they can see. I can tell you horror stories, like the one depicted in that drawing, with entire civilizations reduced to smoldering ruins.

I'll spare you, and myself as well. I meet my shadow every time I plunge into the murk of those battles, and the reality is too gruesome for me to revisit, at least in the daylight hours when I have a choice.

Ed the glowing-eyed cat would say the same, if you understood his language. I'm not the angel in the painting, though my features vaguely resemble his, but Ed's real, as real as I am.

I said, "Fortunately you need a detective, not an angel."

"Yes," Ivy said. "And you meet both criteria."

I've always been a sucker for a woman who can properly pluralize ancient Greek.

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Contact us to get a coupon code for a FREE download of the complete audio version of The Demise of Fyne Literature. Limited time offer good only until available codes are gone.

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Amazon Buy Link eBook and Audio

Florida-based mother/daughter author duo HL Carpenter write sweet, clean fiction that is suitable for everyone in your family. The Carpenters write from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, they enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity. Visit their website to enjoy gift reads and excerpts and to find out what’s happening in Carpenter Country.

Stay connected on Pinterest, Linkedin, Google+, and their Amazon Author Page.

Monday, January 01, 2018

HAPPY NEW YEAR


To Everyone All Around the World

from Studs, Sloane, and all the Taylors