Monday, May 27, 2024

                              Can you find it in your heart?

As your day advances into fun-filled activities with family and friends, please take one moment to remember the men and women who served.

They gave more than any of us can ever imagine.

Thank you,



Monday, May 20, 2024

Word Witches & Magic Snacks

From Leigh Goff

Writing can be a deliciously creative endeavor. We all know that food fuels the mind, so why not indulge in a few tasty treats to keep your energy levels high and your inspiration flowing? Whether you're tackling a daunting deadline or embarking on a brainstorming session, here are a few fun snacks that are sure to satisfy your cravings and fuel your writing process.

Let's start with the magical combo of chocolate and coffee. The velvety goodness of dark chocolate pairs perfectly with a steaming cup of coffee, creating a harmonious blend of flavors that can give you that extra boost of creativity. The caffeine provides a jolt of energy, while the sweetness of chocolate adds a touch of decadence to your writing ritual. Take a break from your keyboard, savor a moment of bliss with this duo, and let your imagination run wild.

If you're looking for something a little more spellbinding, tap into your inner child with a plate of colorful, bite-sized snacks. Think mini sandwiches, fruit skewers, or a bowl of mixed nuts and popcorn (see fun recipe below!). Not only are these treats fun to eat, but they also offer a variety of flavors and textures to keep your taste buds entertained.

By incorporating fun snacks into your writing routine, you can indulge your taste buds and invigorate your mind. Whether you opt for the enchanting chocolate and coffee combo or explore a whimsical array of bite-sized treats, these snacks will add an extra sprinkle of enjoyment to your writing sessions. So, grab a snack, sit back, and let the magic happen as you embark on your next writing adventure.

Sweet & Salty Marshmallow Popcorn

8 cups popped popcorn, we use air popped popcorn
1½ cups pretzels
½ cup unsalted butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tbsp. light corn syrup
12 big marshmallows
½ tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. sea salt
1 cup M&M's 

Lay popcorn and pretzels on a large baking sheet that has been lined with a Silpat baking mat. Parchment paper will work, too. Set aside. 

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add brown sugar and corn syrup. Cook until melted and combined. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and salt. 

Evenly pour the marshmallow caramel mixture over the popcorn and pretzels. Gently stir until the popcorn and pretzels are well coated. It will be sticky! Stir in the M&M's. Taste and season with additional salt, if desired. Store in an airtight container for up to one week. The popcorn will stay sticky and soft! 

Note – if you need the recipe to be gluten-free, make sure you use gluten-free pretzels. You can also use peanut M&M's or stir in peanuts! 

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).

 She has three published novels, DISENCHANTEDBEWITCHING HANNAH, and KOUSH HOLLOW. She is also a member of SCBWI and a graduate from the University of Maryland.

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

Photo and recipe from Two Pease & Their Pod Marshmallow Popcorn Recipe (

Monday, May 13, 2024


From Sharon Ledwith

Harley-Davidson logo
Brand building. It’s the backbone of any company or person. It’s how consumers identify with you. Know you. Want you. Need you. What does this have to do with Harley-Davidson? Plenty.

Recently, hubby and I watched a three-part movie about how the Harley-Davidson company was born on the Discovery channel. Boy did I learn a lot about running a business and branding just by watching that movie! The story focused on three partners: William (Bill) Harley (the engineer/creator), Arthur Davidson (the salesman/marketer), and Walter Davidson (the risk-taker, promoter). Together, these entrepreneurs gave the world of motorcycling an experience that felt like ‘an explosion between your legs’. Bill Harley’s words, not mine! LOL!

Here are six things I learned from Harley-Davidson…

Create buzz. To build excitement and promote their product (think about this in terms of your book/books) Harley-Davidson sponsored a racing team named ‘The Wrecking Crew’ whose seat-in-their-pants racing style got the press the company needed to get on the map and stimulate sales. Okay, writers don’t need a Wrecking Crew. But what about a Street Team, or a legion of super fans waiting in the wings for your next book? Use your website, blog or email list to create the buzz your book(s) need to get them flying off the shelves.

1907 Harley-Davidson
Find your tribe. Arthur Davidson worked hard to generate sales. He started bike clubs, opened free beer tents at events to loyal customers, and had special offers/incentives to returning buyers. He was a trail-blazer of social media one hundred years before social media was even born. He engaged first, then sold. That’s what writers should be doing on social media—connect and engage with their target market first. If they trust you enough, they’ll ask about your book.

Look outside of the box. Always looking for ways to market his motorcycles, Arthur Davidson approached the U.S. Postal Service and convinced them to trade their bicycles for Harley-Davidsons. He followed through with the Fire and Police Departments and eventually won them over. When the three partners met with the military during WW1, Arthur suggested that they send mechanics (for FREE) to teach the soldiers how to fix their motorbikes in case they broke down while they were overseas. This strategy worked, and they shared the contract 50/50 with Indian Motorcycle, the number one motorcycle company at the time. BTW—Indian went bankrupt in 1953. Writers need to look outside the box too. There’s plenty of opportunity around, even if you have to offer your first book (or a short story) for free.

Focus on those little extras. Walter Davidson recognize the allure of the motorcycle look and culture, so he launched a campaign to sell Harley-Davidson accessories and clothing which remains a major part of the company’s success to this day. Writers can open a ‘store page’ on their website (you have a website, right?) and sell items that are connected to their books, like T-shirts, coffee mugs or water bottles imprinted with their book cover, or even jewelry.

Re-brand or face-lift when the unexpected happens. The stock market crash of 1929 hit Harley-Davidson hard. There was no disposable income, and barely any sales. Bill Harley decided to give his motorcycles a much needed face-lift during the Depression. He redesigned their block-letter logo, and added a stylized eagle. The company also started offering their motorbikes in an array of different color schemes too. So when book sales are down, this gives writers an opportunity to redesign their book covers, or pull books off the virtual shelves and re-edit them. After all, Harley-Davidson built their company on a quality product, so shouldn’t you?

Continue to develop. By the late 1930s, Bill Harley developed a new model that ended up being a breakthrough for the company. Sales soared with this bigger, badder, and more powerful machine. By the time WW2 began, Harley-Davidson had gained the respect of the military, and were asked to ship over 90,000 military-style motorbikes overseas to be used by the Allies. When the war ended, people returned to motorcycle riding with a deep respect and trust for the Harley-Davidson brand. So, while you may have one or more books out there for sale, it’s best to work on the next one, and continue to develop your brand and author platform. You never know. Your next book may be your ‘breakthrough’ book!

Is there a company out there that you’ve learned some tricks and techniques from to help build your writing career? How are you building your brand? Please leave a comment and share what you’ve learned. Cheers for reading my blog, I truly appreciate it! 

Here's a glimpse into one of the books from Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls, my 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.

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, May 06, 2024


From Stella May

Beef Stroganoff was invented in Russia in the early 1800’s. Count Stroganoff was a dignitary in the court of Alexander III. Count Stroganoff’s chef, who was likely French, created the dish and named it after Stroganoff. The earliest known recorded recipe was in Elena Molokhovets’s A Gift to Young Housewives, published in 1871. There have been many versions of the recipe over the centuries, but this is the closest to the original one. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family and I do.


1 lb. top sirloin steak cut into thin strips
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 small onion, chopped fine
½ lb. shiitake mushrooms, sliced thin
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 cup beef broth
¾ cup heavy whipping cream
¼ cup sour cream
½ tsp of Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste4 green onions, chopped include a good portion of green

Place a large deep pan over medium-high heat. Add two tablespoons oil. Once oil is very hot, add beef strips in a single layer. Cook until just browned and no longer red. Sear beef in two batches so you don't overcrowd the pan. Remove beef to a plate and cover to keep warm.

Add butter, onion, and mushrooms. Sauté 6 – 8 minutes or until liquid has evaporated and veggies are soft and lightly browned.

Add 1 minced garlic clove and sauté 1 minute until fragrant. Add flour and sauté another minute, stirring constantly.

Carefully stir in beef broth, scraping any bits from the bottom of the pan. Whisk in whipping cream and simmer another 1 – 2 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Blend two or three tablespoons of the sauce into the sour cream to warm it so it doesn’t curdle.   add it to the pan while stirring constantly.

Stir in Dijon mustard, season with salt and pepper. Continue simmering until sauce is creamy.

Add beef along with any accumulated juices back into the pan. Bring just to a simmer and cook until beef is heated through.

Garnish with green onions and serve over any noodles.

Bon appetite!

Here is a peek at my new series, the Rostoff Family Saga. New Dawn is book one soon to be followed by New Hope, New Life, and New Horizon

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.