Monday, February 26, 2024

Bite into Something Delicious


From Sharon Ledwith

Cookies are high up on my family’s snack list. Heck, some would consider them a breakfast. These oatmeal cookies can be served as both. They are so easy to make, and you can use only chocolate chips, raisins, or leave out both if you prefer. Make the combo your own.

Did I mention these tasty morsels possess soft centers, crispy edges, and a mind-boggling chewy texture? Well, I just did. Wink. Face it. These cookies are a family favorite for a reason, and now they can be your family’s favorite, if you dare to wander into the uncharted territory of baking from scratch. 

With a prep time of 15 minutes, chill time of 1 hour, and cook time of 10 minutes, they’re the perfect cookies for impromptu bake sales for your kids. Eat them either warm and fresh or prepare these treats in advance for family gatherings or a much-needed dessert when someone pops by unexpectedly. You’ll be glad you did.

Thumbs up Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup all-purpose flour, leveled
½ tsp baking soda
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed light or dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1½ tsp vanilla extract
1¼ cups old-fashioned rolled oats
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup raisins

Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium size bowl. Set aside.

Cream butter, sugar, and brown sugar in a large bowl, using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes.

Add egg and vanilla. Mix until creamy and well combined, about 1 minute.

Blend in flour mixture and mix on low speed just until incorporated, about 30-60 seconds. Stir in the oats until combined.

Then add the chocolate chips and raisins and mix until well distributed. Cover and chill for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Scoop 16 equal-sized balls (about 2 tablespoons/45g) of cookie dough, roll into even balls, and place 6-8 cookies, about 3 inches (7.5 cm) apart, on each prepared baking sheet. Flatten slightly with your fingers. Bake one sheet at a time for 10-12 minutes or until edges of the cookies are set and lightly browned, and the centers look under-baked, pale, puffy, and dry.

Remove baking sheet from the oven and let cookies cool on the sheet for about 5 minutes, or until firm enough to move. Transfer them to a wire rack and let cool completely. The cookies will stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

While you’re waiting for the cookie dough to chill, pop on the kettle or turn on the coffee pot and settle into your favorite chair with one of my books. May I suggest a nostalgic visit to mysterious Fairy Falls or perhaps go back in time with The Last Timekeepers? Just remember to keep some cookies for yourself. After all, you deserve a break from the craziness of the world.

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




Friday, February 23, 2024


Romance author Stella May steps away from her time travel books to bring us a new series, The Rostoff Saga. Here's the cover and intro for New Dawn, Book 1 of the exciting four book series, that releases March 8. Here's hoping there will be more to follow.

Love wasn’t part of their agreement. Neither was being caught in a brutal web of lies.

International playboy and owner of a jewelry empire that spreads across three continents, Dmitry Rostoff holds a memory close to this heart that not even his best friend Vlad Albrecht knows. When Dmitry learns the Russian ballerina, he had a passionate affair with died in childbirth, bitterness and hate overrule all other emotions.

Taking the baby out of Russia is an impossible snarl of red tape, but Dmitry gets his way, even if he leaves a trail of chaos in his wake.

Natasha Sokolova planned to turn over the baby to Dmitry then walk away. Instead, she is on a plane to San Francisco with the baby and a cold, emotionless man who makes her heart pound with scorching attraction.

The family matriarch and evil to her core Elizabeth Rostoff plots to gain control of the baby, no matter what it costs or who it hurts, and will do anything to make that happen. She blackmails Marie Dubois, the manager of their elite Paris store, to seduce Dmitry. But Marie reneges on the deal when former Special Forces officer Vlad Albrecht storms into her life.

Once in America, Natasha finds herself entangled in a sticky web of lies created by the brutally calculating family matriarch. A web that forces Natasha to make a heartbreaking deal with the devil to protect the children—and man—she’s come to love.


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 with her husband. She lives in Jacksonville, Florida with her husband Leo of 25 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, February 19, 2024


 by Anne Montgomery

I have worked out most of my life. I started ice skating at five. I skied and swam. When I was 24, I started officiating sports and called football, baseball, ice hockey, soccer, and basketball games, an avocation I practiced for 40 years. When I was 30, I got my first health club membership and I have had one ever since.

So, I’m a long-time gym rat. I’ve lifted weights, utilized aerobics equipment, and practiced yoga, but I’m primarily a lap swimmer. I mention this because recently I turned the golden corner for those of us who spend time at the gym. The reason? Silver Sneakers.

For the uninformed, Silver Sneakers is a health and fitness program that provides gym access and fitness classes for people 65 and older. It's covered by some Medicare plans. That means I no longer have to shell out those monthly fees to the health club.

The idea, of course, is to keep old people moving so they’re less likely to succumb to problems like heart disease, broken bones from falls, high-blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, and obesity. If people get exercise, chances are they won't become ill or injured, which keeps those Medicare costs down.

I've been swimming laps regularly for 35 years, so I am pretty comfortable working out.

I was feeling pretty smug the day I walked into the club and asked to be moved to the Silver Sneakers rolls. I had just finished swimming a thousand meters – sadly, I used to swim two thousand, but as I’ve already intimated, I’m old.

“Of course! I’d be happy to help,” a tall, twenty-something smiled down at me. “Sit right here. Just show me your ID and your membership card, Ms. Montgomery.”

I noted he was very solicitous.

After putting the important bits of information into the computer and handing me my new key fob, he placed both elbows on the desk. “Now, we can provide you with a free one-hour counseling session.”

“What for?”

He tilted his head. “To help you learn how to work out.”

I squinted. Did I look like I needed help finding my way around the gym? Did I look like I spent my days on the couch eating Ding Dongs? Did I look like I didn’t know a free weight from a foam roller?

Then, I had an I-glimpsed-myself-in-a-store-window moment. I know you’ve done it. You walk by a reflective surface and the person you see staring back is not the one you always imagined. I was forced to consider how this nice young man saw me. He smiled sweetly. I stared back, realizing I might now appear to be a little old lady.

I said I’d think about the offer. It certainly wouldn’t hurt to see if there’s anything I’ve been missing. I thanked him and left. Though I stared at the floor whenever I got close to a window.

This is my latest release. It’s Native American Literature and U.S. Historical Fiction. Picking a genre definitely is not easy.

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.


Monday, February 12, 2024

Enjoy a Bewitching February

 From Leigh Goff 

February’s Featured Book is a witchy young adult historical fiction with more than a hint of romance thrown in the mix. Disenchanted is the perfect book to keep you spellbound through the rest of winter!

A forbidden love. A dark curse. An impossible choice…

Descended from a powerful Wethersfield witch, sixteen-year-old Sophie is struggling to hide her awkwardly emerging magic, but that’s the least of her worries. When a dangerous thief tries to steal her mysterious heirloom necklace, she is rescued by the one person she’s forbidden to fall for, a descendant of the man who condemned her ancestor to hang. He carries a dark secret that could destroy them both unless Sophie learns how to tap into the mysterious power of her diamond bloodcharm. She will have to uncover dark secrets from both of their families’ wicked pasts and risk everything, including her soul to save them from a witch’s true love curse, but it will take much more than that.

February is for bewitching romances such as Disenchanted, a YA witchy fantasy romance inspired by the historic Wethersfield Witch Trials–available in paperback and e-book at Mirror World Publishing and Amazon!


Leigh Goff writes young adult fiction. She is a graduate from the University of Maryland and a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI).

Born and raised on the East Coast, she now lives in Maryland where she enjoys the area's great history and culture.

Her third young adult novel, Koush Hollow, a Southern gothic set in New Orleans, will release on September 1, 2020 from The Parliament House.

Learn more about Leigh Goff on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Monday, February 05, 2024


from C.D. Hersh

The C of C.D. Hersh talks about

Valentine Gifts

Valentine’s Day is a short time away. Maybe you’ve received flowers or candy or jewelry or even a new electronic device for a past Valentine’s Day. In fact, what you got might just be the most memorable gift you’ve ever received, or perhaps it was the gift of your heart.

This year I have a date for breakfast out, a movie and dinner. My sweetie is a romantic that has done some special things over the years but, never the same thing two years in a row.

Several years ago, I got the offer of breakfast out and whatever gift I wanted. I’d been thinking a lot about it. A diamond tennis bracelet was high on the list until I saw the price. I wandered through the gift shop at Cracker Barrel where we had breakfast and a turquoise scarf caught my eye, but it wasn’t anything that said “That’s the gift!”, so we left with full tummies and empty hands.

Hubby had to get something at Home Depot, so I wandered through the seed section and purchased some peas, carrots beans, cucumbers and zucchini seeds for my garden, but those didn’t fall in the gift category.

Then, as we were leaving the store I saw it—the gift of my heart for that Valentine’s Day.

You might wonder what I’d find in Home Depot. In fact, if my husband told his friends he got me a Valentine’s gift from Home Depot, they’d probably hoot him out of the room. But there it was—an anthurium.

“You don’t have any more room for plants,” my husband said. And he’s right. My windowsills are crammed full. I tried to walk away, but the plant kept calling to me, so I went back and picked it up.

This Valentine’s Day gift didn’t cost a lot of money. But every time I look at it reminds me of my mother, who received an anthurium from Dad when I was young. I can see that flower so clearly in my mind’s eye. It’s the one Valentine image from my youth that has stayed with me.

Another Valentine gift that didn’t cost much also remains lodged in my memory: A jar of green olives for my mother and a second jar of black olives for me. If you think those are odd gifts, consider the fact that my husband and father were out together shopping for Valentine’s Day gifts. Mom had recently been diagnosed with diabetes, so candy was out. At the time neither my dad nor my husband had a lot of money to spend. While in the pickle aisle of the grocery store, one of them said, “They like olives, don’t they?” And so it came to pass that we got olives and cards for Valentine’s Day that year.

As romance writers it’s easy to stress the bigger than life aspect of love—the stars-in-their-eyes, hot, lustful can’t-keep their-hands-off-each-other part of romance. In our efforts to make the love stories passionate and keep things moving, I think we sometimes miss the heart of the love.

Olives for Valentines were strange gifts, I know, but the gift wasn’t the important issue that year. What counted was my husband and my father tried to give Mom and me something they knew we would like. That year I learned a big lesson about gifts, love, and Valentines.

Gifts don’t always come in fancy packages that have hefty price tags. Love doesn’t always have to be hot, lustful, or starry-eyed. And the best Valentine is about caring and being with the one you love, no matter what stage of life, love, or romance you are in.

When I look at my anthurium I’ll remember that … and two jars of olives.

Have you read a story where something has been inserted about a “special” day or gift that made the characters seem genuine? 

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, and that’s why they write romance. 

The first four books of their paranormal romance series entitled The Turning Stone Chronicles are available in e-book format on Amazon. Can’t Stop The Music, their standalone romance novella currently out of print, won the 2018 Uncaged Book Reviews Contemporary Music Raven Award. 

Ghosts and Gardenias, the first book in their time slip romance series Ghosts of Garnoa Road, will come out in the spring of 2024. 

In addition to writing Catherine and Donald love antiquing, traveling, singing, and going to the theatre. Catherine is also an avid gardener and has drawn Donald into her garden as a day laborer. They figure the couple who plays together and works together, stays together—and that's just what they aim to do.

Amazon buy links: The Turning Stone Chronicles series page The Promised One (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 1) eBook Blood Brothers (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 2): eBook Son of the Moonless Night (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 3) eBook The Mercenary and the Shifters (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 4) eBook 

Learn more about C.D. Hersh on their Website, Soul Mate Publishing, Amazon Author Page. Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads. Be sure to follow their Blog.