Monday, January 30, 2023


from Catherine Castle

While Ohio is mostly opened up from Pandemic status, I hear lots of newscasters asking, “When will we get back to normal again?”

This question now is mostly related to the economy, workers going back to work, restaurants having their normal hours and normal menus back, schools and businesses being fully opened again, hospitals, airlines and nursing homes going maskless, and whether a new wave from a variant virus will set us back to 2020 shutdown status again.

There is, however, one thing that has come back to normal in record speed—Scamming and Phishing!

I’ve talked about phone scamming and phishing in the past, but I received a couple of calls that I think bear repeating. This past week or so our phone has gone nuts with scam calls. I received a call from a local hospital where my sister had been admitted a while ago. Not thinking about scamming, but wondering instead if she was in the hospital, I answered the call. It was a Medicare scammer. I bawled him out and hung up with a threat to report him to the FCC.

I had another interesting and doozy of a call the other day from Beverly Hill, California. I didn’t answer, but they left a voice-mail message. Our voice-mail system forces us to listen to the messages in order to clear them. Most of the time they are truncated messages that don’t give us much of a clue as to what the caller wants. As I punched the replay button that day, a computer-generated voice said. “Sorry. You did not reveal yourself to be human.”

If that’s not the pot calling the kettle black, I’ll eat my garden hat! It’s too bad all the other scam phone calls don’t recognize my computer-generated message isn’t worth their time as well. That would solve my constant ringing phone issue.

I’d love to hear your craziest scam phone call message.


There are no scam phone calls in Catherine Castle’s award-winning comedy with a touch of drama, A Groom for Mama, but there are plenty of scammy dates.  Follow the antics of Alison Walters and her mother Beverly as the pair works at cross purposes while gallivanting across the country—one wants a wedding, and one doesn’t. 

Beverly Walters is dying, and before she goes, she has one wish—to find a groom for her daughter. To get the deed done, Mama enlists the dating service of Jack Somerset, Allison’s former boyfriend.

The last thing corporate-climbing Allison wants is a husband. Furious with Mama’s meddling, and a bit more interested in Jack than she wants to admit, Allison agrees to the scheme as long as Mama promises to search for a cure for her terminal illness.

A cross-country trip from Nevada to Ohio ensues, with a string of disastrous dates along the way, as the trio hunts for treatment and A Groom For Mama.


Multi-award-winning author Catherine Castle loves writing. Before beginning her career as a romance writer, she worked part-time as a freelance writer. She has over 600 articles and photographs to her credit, under her real name, in the Christian and secular market. She also lays claim to over 300 internet articles written on a variety of subjects and several hundred poems. In addition to writing, she loves reading, traveling, singing, theatre, quilting and gardening. She’s a passionate gardener whose garden won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club. She writes sweet and inspirational romances. 

You can find her award-winning Soul Mate books The Nun and the Narc and A Groom for Mama, on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Follow her on Twitter, FB or her blog.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023


from Sloane Taylor

This recipe is the perfect way to use veggies that have been around a while and leftover roast beef. Serve with crusty bread, a dry red wine and your dinner is complete.


2 tbsp. olive oil
1 med. onion, chopped
1lg. garlic clove, chopped
12 baby carrots, cut into thirds
1 celery stalk, chopped
3 tbsp. butter
2 red potatoes, not peeled, diced
10 green beans, cut in 1-inch pieces
½ small zucchini, diced
½ lb. cooked beef, diced
3 cups beef stock, not broth
1 – 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
½ tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. dried basil
1 small bay leaf
2 pinches allspice
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Warm oil in a Dutch oven set on medium heat. Add onions. Sauté 3 – 4 minutes until lightly colored. Add garlic, cook 30 – 60 seconds, stirring constantly. Mix in carrots and celery. Adjust heat so onions and veggies don’t burn.

Swirl butter into pan. Add remaining veggies and meat. Sauté 5 – 8 minutes.

Combine remaining ingredients into pot. Bring soup to a boil. Cover pot, lower heat, and simmer 30 minutes.

May you enjoy all the days of your life filled with good friends, laughter, and seated around a well-laden table!


Sloane Taylor is an Award-Winning author with a second passion in her life. She is an avid cook and posts new recipes on her blog every Wednesday. The recipes are user friendly, meaning easy.

To learn more about Taylor go to her website Stay in touch on BloggerTwitter, and LinkedIn.

Taylor's cookbooks, Hot Mean Wear ApronsDate Night Dinners, Date Night Dinners Italian Style, Sizzling Summer, and Recipes to Create Holidays Extraordinaire are released by Toque & Dagger Publishing and available at all book vendors.

Monday, January 23, 2023

Ready for a Free Trip to Scotland?

from C.D. Hersh

Many books require research, and The Mercenary and the Shifters was no exception. We had to research a bunch of things for this book, but our favorite was the Hebrides Islands in Scotland. It’s a lot of fun when your book requires you to visit other countries. In The Mercenary and the Shifters-Book Four of The Turning Stone Chronicles, our hero goes to the Hebrides in Scotland.

We have never been to Scotland, but it’s somewhere Catherine has always wanted to go, so we set off to discover these remote islands with our hero, Mike Corritore, who lands in Benbecula airport in the Hebrides in the early dawn.

From the airport we headed south for South Uist, crossing a causeway lined on both sides with white boulders. Back on land, the road periodically narrowed into a lane and a half, the bulged-out lanes barely big enough to hold a vehicle. Houses dotted the landscape, surrounded by fields of low, green grass. Squat, wire fences penned in white sheep, grazing contentedly. Along the edge of the road, bushes leaned into the pavement, the tips of the branches sporting white blossoms. En route for Loch Baghasdail, we crossed a second causeway. Just past the end of the causeway, a series of small, deep blue lakes dotted the countryside. As the road moved inland the landscaped changed. Fewer houses appeared along the roadside. Bleached, white boulders jutted from the ground like cemetery markers. The flat, slightly curvy road became straight, with low, rolling rises. Gray mountains, their tops ringed in matching gray haze, lay against the horizon on the left. The scenery was beautiful, bucolic, and stark at the same time. Do you want to know the best part about this trip? It didn’t cost us a dime. We went via Google Maps to the Scottish countryside. Ain’t the internet wonderful? Maybe someday we’ll get to see the Hebrides in person. In the meantime, we hope you’ll enjoy our hero’s trip to Scotland, the exciting action-packed story, and the results from the fun research we did for this story.


  If this piques your interest, then settle into a comfy chair and check out our books on our website’s book page, or on our Amazon Author Page 

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. Their paranormal series is titled The Turning Stone Chronicles. They are looking 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 social media pages:

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

A Taste of Eastern Europe

From Stella May

Borscht is the most famous Ukrainian dish. It is kind of a sour soup common for Eastern Europe. It is low on calories, full of vitamins and minerals, and can be served hot or cold. And you can keep it in your refrigerator for several days. The flavor will only improve. Serve crusty rye bread and butter to complete a terrific dinner or lunch.

There are literally hundreds of different recipes for borscht. Here is my family’s favorite version. I hope you like it too.


1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
1 bell pepper, thinly sliced (optional)
2 medium potatoes, cut into small cubes
1 celery stalk, diced (optional)
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
5 cups low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable stock
3 bay leaves
2 tbsp. fresh dill, minced, or 1 tsp. dried
2 medium beets, washed, peeled and shredded
1 small head cabbage, thinly sliced
salt/ pepper to taste
dill for serving
sour cream for serving 

Arrange the ingredients listed above through the fresh dill into a large pot and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat, add beets and cabbage. Let simmer until the vegetables are tender. Stir occasionally.

When the soup is almost done, add salt and pepper.

Serve with additional dill and sour cream.


Here is a little from my latest time travel romance for your reading pleasure.

The only way to save their future is risk a journey back to her past.

Time is running out. The message rings in Abby Coleman’s head as clear as the chime of the grandfather clock, her time portal on Amelia Island. Her instincts scream that she must move. Act. But where? And why? 

Through she leaped forward a century in time to live an independent life, she reluctantly admits she needs Alex, the insufferable thorn in her side who had the audacity to make her hope. Dream. Yearn.

Alex is through waiting for Abby to come to her senses. And to his complete surprise, the maddening, beautiful woman admits she loves him. Yet to his everlasting frustration, she refuses to marry until she solves her mystery. 

In a blinding flash of light, the portal spits out a desperate, heavily pregnant Nika, and the reason becomes all too clear. With Abby missing from her own time, Eli stands accused of her murder. The only way to clear his name is for Abby to go where Alex can’t follow—back through the portal. And one passionate night together may be all they’ll ever have.



Talented author Stella May is the penname for Marina Sardarova who has a fascinating history you should read on her website

Stella writes fantasy romance as well as time travel romance. She is the author of 'Till Time Do Us Part, Book 1 in her Upon a Time series, and the stand-alone book Rhapsody in Dreams. Love and family are two cornerstones of her stories and life. Stella’s books are available in e-book and paperback through all major vendors.

When not writing, Stella enjoys classical music, reading, and long walks along the ocean. She lives in Jacksonville, Florida with her husband Leo of 35 years and their son George. They are her two best friends and are all partners in their family business.

Follow Stella on her website and blog Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Monday, January 16, 2023

How Old am I Supposed to Look?

 from Anne Montgomery

I like to think – in fact, I believe – that in olden times wrinkles signified wisdom and dignity. Today, not so much. Drug makers, who are looking to wipe our faces clean of those evil little lines, are frothing at the mouth to create a product that smooths our skin, an effort to pump up their profits in what is an almost one-billion dollar a year industry.

I became acutely aware of wrinkles as I approached 40. Unbeknownst to me, I was nearing the end of my on-camera sportscasting career, not because I wasn’t good at my job. After all, I’d worked for five TV stations, so, logically, I opined, I must have been a competent reporter. But then, my final contract was not renewed and not a single TV outlet in the country expressed an interest in me, despite my credentials, which included working at both the local and national levels with a stint anchoring SportsCenter at ESPN.

It took me a while to catch on. Glimpses of older on-camera women I’d worked with – especially those framed unforgivingly in HD – more than hinted that they’d had “work” done. Then I’d look in the mirror. Did I really look all that different than when I first took my place in front of the camera?

My answer finally came in rather shocking fashion, a situation caused by years of sports officiating. I began calling amateur games in 1979. I first became a youth ice hockey official, which lead to me being certified in football, baseball, soccer, and basketball. It was those outside sports and silly rules about perception that doomed me. Until relatively recently, sports officials were not allowed to wear sunglasses. In fact, many still eschew regular glasses, as well, opting for contacts, lest they set themselves up for the “What are ya, blind, ump?” retorts that are often flung at sports arbiters.

My loss of vision was gradual, but eventually it was clear something had to be done. Driving at night was difficult, the glare of oncoming headlights excruciating. I couldn’t see those line drives heading my way and would lose passes and kicks in the harsh stadium lights. I had cataracts, sadly, thirty years before the age my parents developed them.

The surgery was quick and simple. I remember thinking the inside of my eyeballs looked like Jackson Pollack paintings, all swirling lines and colors. A day or two later, I stood before the mirror. The haze I’d been looking through for so long had lifted, my sight clear for the first time in years. I reared back. When had all those wrinkles appeared?

It took a while, but I eventually adjusted. I had to admit that my face no longer mattered all that much. Neither my high school students, my beau, nor anyone I cared about gave a whit about whether I had lines on my face. In retrospect, it was rather freeing.

But then one day, while walking by one of those upscale salons in a fancy mall, I was stopped by a pretty twenty-something woman with an alluring accent and flawless skin. She stared at me, tilting her head, long hair cascading about her shoulders.

“Come in! Please.” She smiled, motioning toward the ornate open doors. "Let's take a look at your face.”

As I had a little time to kill, I acquiesced. She put me in a pump-up chair and produced fancy bottles and jars of creams and elixirs guaranteed to make me look younger. Then she handed me that dreaded little round mirror that magnifies to the extreme. I’d like to say I had never succumbed to this particular sales pitch, but I suddenly recalled all those TV years when I thought nothing of dropping two or three hundred bucks on products like the ones she was showing me.

I gazed into the mirror, and then stared up at her. “How old am I supposed to look?”

She paused, tilted her head. “Younger.”

“How much younger?”

She squinted, seemingly puzzled by the question.

“Really? What age am I supposed to look like?”

She pouted, thinking.  The smile returned as she dipped the end of her manicured pinky into a blue glass jar. “Younger.”

Then I noticed my long-time beau standing in the doorway of the salon, a bemused look on his face, a man who repeatedly, over two decades, had told me that he doesn’t care if I ever wear makeup or fix my hair or don anything but jeans and T-shirts.

Though she practically implored me to buy some of her magic creams, I declined. As I walked out the door, I couldn’t help but ask her one more time. “How old am I supposed to look?” When she couldn’t answer, I smiled and thanked her. Then Ryan wrapped his arm around my shoulder.

“I love you just the way you are,” he said.

Back when I worked in TV, the condition of my hair and makeup was, sad to say, the most important consideration of my day. Years later, I began dating a lovely man who had an artist draw my portrait. The picture he chose was from a day we’d been out rock collecting in the Arizona desert. 

I had found a lovely stone, which I cupped in my hands to show him. No make-up. Hair a wild mess. 

“You’re the happiest when you’re rocking,” he said. “This is my favorite picture of you.” 

And now, it’s my favorite too.

Allow me to give you a brief intro to my latest women's fiction novel for your reading pleasure.

The past and present collide when a tenacious reporter seeks information on an eleventh century magician…and uncovers more than she bargained for.

In 1939, archeologists uncovered a tomb at the Northern Arizona site called Ridge Ruin. The man, bedecked in fine turquoise jewelry and intricate bead work, was surrounded by wooden swords with handles carved into animal hooves and human hands. The Hopi workers stepped back from the grave, knowing what the Moochiwimi sticks meant. This man, buried nine hundred years earlier, was a magician.

Former television journalist Kate Butler hangs on to her investigative reporting career by writing freelance magazine articles. Her research on The Magician shows he bore some European facial characteristics and physical qualities that made him different from the people who buried him. Her quest to discover The Magician’s origin carries her back to a time when the high desert world was shattered by the birth of a volcano and into the present-day dangers of archeological looting where black market sales of antiquities can lead to murder.

Former television journalist Kate Butler hangs on to her investigative reporting career by writing freelance magazine articles. Her research on The Magician shows he bore some European facial characteristics and physical qualities that made him different from the people who buried him. Her quest to discover The Magician’s origin carries her back to a time when the high desert world was shattered by the birth of a volcano and into the present-day dangers of archaeological looting where black market sales of antiquities can lead to murder.

Amazon Buy Link

Anne Montgomery has worked as a television sportscaster, newspaper and magazine writer, teacher, amateur baseball umpire, and high school football referee. She worked at WRBL‐TV in Columbus, Georgia, WROC‐TV in Rochester, New York, KTSP‐TV in Phoenix, Arizona, ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, where she anchored the Emmy and ACE award‐winning SportsCenter, and ASPN-TV as the studio host for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Montgomery has been a freelance and staff writer for six publications, writing sports, features, movie reviews, and archeological pieces.

When she can, Anne indulges in her passions: rock collecting, scuba diving, football refereeing, and playing her guitar.

Learn more about Anne Montgomery on her website and Wikipedia. Stay connected on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter.


Wednesday, January 11, 2023


From Linda Lee Greene Author/Artist 

As I now firmly inhabit the classification of “senior citizen” there are moments in which my thoughts turn to what my family might inscribe on my tombstone when the time comes. Various labels come to mind, but I wonder how they would also include on that small slab of marble the fact that I am a collector of strays, not of stray animals, but of stray people, people adrift who show up in my orbit seemingly unsolicited. But the truth is that there is nothing random about it, because it is a matter of mutual attraction among kindred spirits—of wandering souls drawn one to the other. 

Once upon a time, for a short time, I had a boyfriend who nicknamed me “Gypsy.” I think he might have been the only person in all these years who saw me for who I really am not a globetrotter in the physical sense, but rather a nomad of spirit. It’s a tough thing to go through life knowing that you don’t really fit in anywhere, knowing that you think about and feel things differently than others you encounter along your path. I have never been able to be just “one of the guys (or gals).” Not that I haven’t tried, and in the trying, I became a master quick-change artist: changing my persona to fit in this situation and then changing it again to fit in that situation, ad infinitum. It’s exhausting! There is little doubt that one reason I became an artist, and a writer, is because in those solitary exercises, I breathe a huge sigh of relief and shed the masquerades and be me with only me as companion. An enormous saving grace for me and others like me is social media. Lo and behold, it turns out that there slews and slews of strays the world over with whom I connect on the Internet. Oh, how I wish I could welcome them to my physical neighborhood.

I read a case study in psychotherapist M. Scott Peck’s The Road Less Traveled and Beyond that nailed me. A woman came to him for analysis. Her complaint was just like mine. She was a misfit. “Tell me what I’m doing wrong, please? Please fix me!” she entreated the doctor. Following extensive scrutiny of this patient, Peck finally informed her that there was really nothing the matter with her. He helped her to see that she was different and always would be different, and it was okay—and then they explored ways in which she might find comfort and satisfaction in her differentness, the way I find it in my art and writing, and in my relationships with the strays who have a taste for my world.

I lost my two best strays in the recent past—their last grain of sand fell to the bottom of their hourglass and the Grim Reaper cut them free of physical life with his razor-sharp scythe. Consequently, I’m keeping my door open to the next stray who ambles in. When that day comes, I will sit him/her at my table and ladle up my latest kitchen concoction, a mightily flavorful and easy-to-make soup, Butter & Cheese Celery Soup that makes 4 servings. The recipe is below for your pleasure and as a “thank you” for taking time to read my lonely little confession. 

1 pkg. celery
¼ cup bacon bits
1 tbsp. grated garlic
1 envelope onion soup/dip mix
16 oz. vegetable stock
1 tbsp. dried thyme
1 tbsp. dried parsley flakes
1 tbsp. dried chives
4 generous shakes coriander powder
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
¾ cup butter
¾ cup mozzarella cheese

Chop celery into bitesize pieces, transfer to a colander, wash thoroughly, and then place in Crock Pot, or Slow Cooker, or stove top kettle. 

Add bacon bits through salt and pepper. Adjust spices to preferred taste.

Cook until celery chunks are fork soft. 

Remove lid and while soup is still hot, stir in butter until it is dissolved. Blend in mozzarella or any other type of grated cheese and stir well to dissolve.

Just before serving, place the soup in a bullet blender or free-standing blender and emulsify it to a creamy consistency. 

Leftovers freeze well.


Linda Lee

Here’s a peek at multi-award-winning author and artist Linda Lee Greene’s latest book, Garden of the Spirits of the Pots, A Spiritual Odyssey. It is a blend of visionary and inspirational fiction with a touch of romance. The story unfolds as ex-pat American Nicholas Plato journeys into parts unknown, both within himself and his adopted home of Sydney, Australia. In the end, the odyssey reveals to him his true purpose for living. The novella is available in eBook and paperback.

Driven by a deathly thirst, he stops. A strange little brown man materializes out of nowhere and introduces himself merely as ‘Potter,’ and welcomes Nicholas to his ‘Garden of the Spirits of the Pots.’ Although Nicholas has never laid eyes on Potter, the man seems to have expected Nicholas at his bizarre habitation and displays knowledge about him that nobody has any right to possess. Just who is this mysterious Aboriginal potter? 

Although they are as mismatched as two persons can be, a strangely inevitable friendship takes hold between them. It is a relationship that can only be directed by an unseen hand bent on setting Nicholas on a mystifying voyage of self-discovery and Potter on revelations of universal certainties. 

A blend of visionary and inspirational fiction, and a touch of romance, this is a tale of Nicholas’ journey into parts unknown, both within his adopted home and himself, a quest that in the end leads him to his true purpose for living. 


Multi-award-winning author and artist Linda Lee Greene describes her life as a telescope that when trained on her past reveals how each piece of it, whether good or bad or in-between, was necessary in the unfoldment of her fine art and literary paths.
Greene moved from farm-girl to city-girl; dance instructor to wife, mother, and homemaker; divorcee to single-working-mom and adult-college-student; and interior designer to multi-award-winning artist and author, essayist, and blogger. It was decades of challenging life experiences and debilitating, chronic illness that gave birth to her dormant flair for art and writing. Greene was three days shy of her fifty-seventh birthday when her creative spirit took a hold of her.

She found her way to her lonely easel soon thereafter. Since then Greene has accepted commissions and displayed her artwork in shows and galleries in and around the USA. She is also a member of artist and writer associations.

Visit Linda on her blog and join her on Facebook. Linda loves to hear from readers so feel free to email her.

Monday, January 09, 2023

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

from Emma Lane

Robert Frost is one of my favorite poets. At this time of the year his poem Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening warms me and makes me long for spring. I hope you enjoy the poem and my short inserts.

Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village though.
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep

Of easy wind and downy flake.


Acknowledge we all long for warmer weather. In the depths of winter with no hope as yet for spring, we assess the year’s past.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

Take stock. What plan worked; what was a dismal failure.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake       
The darkest evening of the year.

Taxes loom, but not yet as the spring catalogs have started to arrive. For this household, it’s time to plan, to dream, to make notes, to check budgets. While the snow whirls and the winds blow, the photographs of new varieties of plants sparkle on the brightly colored pages and wish lists grow down the page. 

Out my window I see long whips of forsythia, buds protruding, waiting for the first peep of spring breezes. I feel a slight thump of adrenalin race through my veins. Am I already behind on my paperwork? Hard winter, after all, lasts only a few weeks. I finish the last stanza of my favorite poet, Robert Frost. He was an avid nature lover as am I. Best ignore those dark, snowy mornings and get to work. The upcoming warm breezes are sirens of temptation and I’ll want to be outside and doing soon.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Here's a peek at Emma's winter anthology for your reading pleasure.

A Wild Wicked Duke
After a cruel family betrayal, Caroline Engelson vows the wicked duke will never regain her love unless he first earns her respect, no matter how fervently she longs for his kisses.

A serious accident delivers the wicked duke into Caro’s care, but she is shocked and hurt when he refers to her teen years as the ‘brat with tangled curls.’ Caro is all grown up now when the wicked duke tries to take advantage of her emotions, even as he turns the orderly household into total chaos with his ducal roars. To his astonishment, his best friend’s sister is made of sterner stuff. The situation changes drastically when Caro learns of a shocking family secret.

A Duke Finds Love
Young love is disrupted and the couple parted, but their unsympathetic parents fail to extinguish the strong bond between the two.

Roseland, left pregnant by the duke’s son, weds a neighbor, mistaking that her lover has been forced to marry another. A war and five years later, the two face a second chance, but despite their deep love for one another, impediments must be faced before happily ever after will be theirs at long last.

Beloved Soldier Returns
A wounded British soldier faces amnesia and frustrating dreams but is finally well enough to reclaim his fiancée and his heritage when a gypsy woman arrives to share an important secret.

Robert Cooper-Hanton, a soldier who fought against Napoleon at Waterloo, is seriously wounded and suffers amnesia but survives in a gypsy camp for three years. Pockets of memory are still missing, leaving him with dreams of people with no names, when he makes the decision to begin his journey home. He has no conscious remembrance of a fiancée he left behind but is not surprised to learn that a cousin has usurped his property. When neighborhood friends reveal the fact of his engagement to Lynda Clarington, his memory of her returns in a flash and he recognizes the woman of his dreams.

Lynda had struggled without much success to accept her loss and is overjoyed to learn that Cooper is alive. She has loved him since childhood, but can she adjust to a man who seems irrevocably changed? When a gypsy woman shows up searching for Cooper, Lynda is plagued with doubt. Will Cooper manage to reunite with his old life and the woman he loves, or will he remain lost in his hazy memories, dreams and a changed reality?

Dark Domino
Sarah Louise and Ethan have loved each other all their lives, but a war and time apart may have jeopardized their relationship.

Ethan has been away at war for six long years—without a single letter to the young girl he left behind. He is certain she has forgotten him, but he is still drawn to her. Dressed for a masquerade in a dark domino, he leads her to the garden and tries to steal a kiss. Sarah does not know why the man in the dark domino is so familiar, and why a stranger should give her a feeling of home. When Ethan reveals his identity, Sarah’s anger and hurt overwhelm even her love. Can a new life be built on the foundations of a first love? Or will the Dark Domino remain alone forever?


Emma Lane
 lives in Western New York where winter is snowy, spring arrives with rave reviews, summer days are long and velvet, and fall leaves are riotous color. 

Emma is a gifted author who writes under several pennames. She writes Regency Romance as Emma Lane, but also delights in dipping into a Contemporary Cozy Romantic Mystery as Janis Lane.

Her day job is working with flowers at the plant nursery where she is part owner. Look for information about writing and plants on her new website. Leave a comment or a gardening question and put a smile on Emma's face. Stay connected to Emma on Facebook and Twitter.




Wednesday, January 04, 2023


by Helen Carpenter

Some like it hot, some like it cold, some like it in a pot nine days old. Remember the Mother Goose “pease porridge” rhyme? While today we may think of porridge as cereal, in the sixteenth century, “porridge” was a derivation of “pottage” or “potage” meaning cooking pot. “Chowder” also comes from the word pot, via the French “cauldron.”

However you like your soup—hot, cold, or nine days old—combining savory ingredients in a pot and letting the flavors mingle is a time-tested menu favorite.

But what if you want your soup NOW? Well, you’re our kind of person, and we have just the recipe for you. Using already cooked ingredients makes this soup a quick lunch, ready in twenty minutes or less.

Corny Ham Chowder
1 cup milk
1 can cream style sweet corn
1½ cups cooked ham, cut into chunks
1½ cups cooked potatoes, drained and cut into chunks (canned works too)
1 tsp. onion powder
1 cup (4 oz) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Green onion or scallion slivers (optional)
Salt or chicken bouillon to taste

Mix milk, corn, ham, and potatoes in medium pot. Cook, be sure to stir occasionally until heated through.

Add cheese. Cover pot and let cheese melt completely.

Serve with a chunk of hearty bread.

Bonus Goodness:
Crave added richness? Substitute ½ cup of cream for ½ of the milk.

Are you a vegetable fan? Toss in the veggie of your choice, either frozen or fresh. We like frozen carrots for the added color—and the nutrition too of course.

No ham? Smoked sausage is a nice substitute.

Bland potatoes? Mix in sweet pickle juice. A teaspoon gives the soup zing.

Need more soup? Add more stuff. The converse works too.

Fighting off vampires? Switch out the regular salt for a teaspoon of garlic salt. If you have a bad infestation, add ½ teaspoon crushed garlic to the soup and serve with a wood spoon.

Once upon a time there was a mother/daughter author dup named Helen and Lorri, who wrote as HL Carpenter. the Carpenters worked from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories was unreal but not untrue. Then one day Lorri left her studio to explore the land of What-If, and like others who have lost a loved one the magical place lost much of its magic. But thanks to family, plus an amazing group of wordsmiths named Authors Moving Forward (AMF), the magic is slowly returning.

Helen Carpenter loves liking and sharing blog posts from other authors. She lives in Florida with her husband of many years and appreciates every day, especially those without hurricanes.

Stay connected on her blog and Facebook.

Monday, January 02, 2023


 from Sharon Ledwith

In book two of Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls,
Blackflies and Blueberries, I wrote about Hart Stewart—a teenage psychometrist who has no problem ‘reading’ the absorbed energy from an object like a ring or watch but struggles with the most basic reading skills. He finds a ring that pulls him into the past to witness a woman’s murder that has gone unsolved for over a year. That woman was Diana MacGregor’s mother, and when she discovers that Hart is in possession of the ring and he shares the intimate details of her mother’s murder through his psychic ability, Diana strikes a deal with him. She’ll teach Hart how to read and write if he helps find her mother’s killer.

I’ve had the privilege of being a tutor with the Literacy Council in the northern tourist town where I used to live. It was quite a humbling experience. I was truly amazed how many people fell through the cracks of our society without basic math, reading, and writing skills. I honestly don’t know how they survived, but they found ways to cope, to blend, and to adapt. One of my students had such a backward life, living in the bush with six siblings and parents who did their best with the life tools that they had acquired. He never knew anything different than to buck the system. On welfare, with no skills except as a delivery driver, he managed through life memorizing road signs and maps to keep his job. During one session, I asked him how he had been able to get his driver’s license? He confessed at the time he wrote the test (late 1970s), someone could sit with him and read the test to him. Wow. The times have sure changed! On social assistance for most of his life, he came to the Literacy Council with dreams of getting his A-Z license so that he could drive trucks. A lofty, but attainable goal in his eyes.

So, what are some of the causes of illiteracy?

Problems are almost always a result of difficulties in the early school years, prior to grade four. Some reasons for falling through the cracks are:

1. The high mobility of our society (family moving around) and the fact that school curricula are not standardized from school board to school board.

2. Child immaturity (not interested in learning) compounded by lack of parental involvement with early education.

3. Intellectual limitations.

4. Teachers are overburdened by large classrooms and integrated special needs, as well as lack of time, opportunity and resources.

5. Generational illiteracy—illiterate or non-English speaking parents at home—no books, no role model, reading has no importance.

6. Undiagnosed visual or hearing impairment or learning disability.

7. Trauma—lengthy illness, death of a close loved one, parent’s divorce, etc.

In some cases, the bleak future (dead-end, low-paying jobs, frequent unemployment, utter dependence on others) causes anger, frustration and hopelessness, which in turn often leads to violence and crime. Today, in the jail system, studies are revealing the reading level of the average inmate to be at grade two. I’m not sure if my student ever did achieve his goals as a truck driver, but hopefully I gave him some basic skills that would serve him for the rest of his life. Each one, teach one starts in the home by doing something as simple as reading to your child at bedtime. And if you ever get a chance to volunteer at your local literacy council, take a chance and change a life! You’ll be glad you made a difference.

Here's a snippet of my latest novel, Blackflies and Blueberries, the second installment of Mysterious Tales from Falls teen psychic mystery series…

The only witness left to testify against an unsolved crime in Fairy Falls isn’t a person…

City born and bred, Hart Stewart possesses the gift of psychometry—the psychic ability to discover facts about an event or person by touching inanimate objects associated with them. Since his mother’s death, seventeen-year-old Hart has endured homelessness, and has learned ways to keep his illiteracy under wraps. He eventually learns of a great-aunt living in Fairy Falls and decides to leave the only life he’s ever known for an uncertain future.

Diana MacGregor lives in Fairy Falls. Her mother was a victim of a senseless murder. Only Diana’s unanswered questions and her grief keeps her going, until Hart finds her mother’s lost ring and becomes a witness to her murder.

Through Hart’s psychic power, Diana gains hope for justice. Their investigation leads them into the corrupt world threatening Fairy Falls. To secure the town’s future, Hart and Diana must join forces to uncover the shocking truth, or they risk losing the true essence of Fairy Falls forever.

Here’s a glimpse of the premises of both my young adult series.

The Last Timekeepers Time Travel Adventures

Chosen by an Atlantean Magus to be Timekeepers—legendary time travelers sworn to keep history safe from the evil Belial—five classmates are sent into the past to restore balance, and bring order back into the world, one mission at a time.

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

Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls Teen Psychic Mysteries

Imagine a teenager possessing a psychic ability and struggling to cope with its freakish power. There’s no hope for a normal life, and no one who understands. Now, imagine being uprooted and forced to live in a small tourist town where nothing much ever happens. It’s bores-ville from the get-go. Until mysterious things start to happen.

Welcome to Fairy Falls. Expect the unexpected.

The Last Timekeepers Time Travel Adventure Series:

The Last Timekeepers and the Noble Slave, Book #3


The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret, Book #2 Buy Links:


The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, Book #1 Buy Links:


Legend of the Timekeepers, prequel Buy Links:


Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls Teen Psychic Mystery Series:

Lost and Found, Book One Buy Links:


Blackflies and Blueberries, Book Two Buy Links:


Sharon Ledwith
is the author of the middle-grade/young adult time travel adventure series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the award-winning teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, reading, researching, or revising, she enjoys anything arcane, ancient mysteries, and single malt scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her spoiled hubby, and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her WEBSITE and BLOG. Look up her AMAZON AUTHOR page for a list of current books. Stay connected on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, PINTEREST, LINKEDIN, INSTAGRAM, and GOODREADS.

BONUS: Download the free PDF short story The Terrible, Mighty Crystal HERE