November 26, 2014

Make It All About YOU

You deserve a break after all the holiday cooking and cleaning. Treat yourself to some old-fashioned goodness with Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches. Here’s a menu that works great for dinner or lunch.

Tomato Soup
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
White Wine – Riesling

Tomato Soup
1 can of your favorite brand
Chicken stock
Dollop of sour cream

Open the can and pour into a saucepan. Should your canned soup require adding 1 can of water, instead add ¾ can chicken stock. Mix well and heat to a slow boil.

To serve, pour soup into a cup, and then add a dollop of sour cream.

Grilled Cheese
2 slices of Italian bread per sandwich
2 slices Provolone cheese per sandwich
1 heaping tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese per sandwich
2 tbsp. butter or margarine or so per sandwich

Preheat a heavy 8-10 inch skillet or griddle over medium heat.

Spread the butter or margarine on the outside of one slice of bread per sandwich. Layer the slices with the cheeses. Cover with the second slice of bread, and butter the outside.

Place the sandwiches in the pan and fry until the bottom slice is browned to your taste. Flip the sandwiches and fry the other side until it reaches the right color. You made need to add a bit more butter or margarine.

Serve the soup and sandwich for an easy tasty meal and relax with the wine while you share quiet time with your loved ones.

I’ll be back Monday with Lizzie T. Leaf. Until then…

Enjoy!

Sloane Taylor
Twitter
Amazon Author Page

Sloane said @ 1:34 am | Cooking | Comments

November 24, 2014

INTRODUCING…

Yakuza Territory!

This dynamic sci-fi noir is written by speculative fictioneer Milo James Fowler and is a definite Do Not Miss Book. Makes a great holiday gift, too.

A detective with no way out. A telepath with something to prove…

World-weary detective Charlie Madison has seen more than his share of war. When he stops by the 37th precinct late one night to check on his old friend Sergeant Douglass, the place is as quiet as a morgue. The last thing he expects to find: half a dozen Russian gunmen with a score to settle.

What starts out as a vicious Alamo-style battle soon evolves into something more sinister as Madison’s past comes into play. Will his ties to a branch of the Japanese mafia be a help or a hindrance? And who is the strange man in holding? Why are the Russians determined to break him out?

Struggling to survive the night, one private eye must rely on his wits to solve a mystery where he’s outnumbered, outgunned, and trapped inside a police station with a soulless killing machine.

EXCERPT
Maybe checking in on Sergeant Douglass late that night hadn’t been the best idea. I should have paid more attention to the warning signs right off; things weren’t exactly business as usual at the precinct. The pencil-necked clerk wasn’t at his post, and an eerie quiet held the foyer as still as a morgue. No cops, uniformed or otherwise, to be seen. In a city that never slept, one expected its law enforcement personnel to share the same god-awful insomnia—graveyard shift or no.

The vacant front desk didn’t sway me from my course, though. Little glitches out of the ordinary seldom did. I’d trained myself over the years to file them away, but not focus on them too much. As a detective, it was easy to get distracted by particulars while going after the big picture. Besides, I was suspicious by nature. I questioned everything as a matter of course. But as far as I knew, everybody on duty was partying in back, throwing Douglass a well-deserved soirée after his recent ordeal and return to the land of the visible.

I paused at the unlocked door leading into the bullpen—an open-concept area with clusters of desks for everybody ranked lower than lieutenant. Access into the station’s inner workings wasn’t usually so free and easy. As I quietly stepped inside, I knew without a doubt something was amiss.

The whole room lay empty except for five guys standing in the middle with assault weapons slung over their shoulders—AK-12s and SIG MPXs by the looks of them. Not what your average citizens usually carried around concealed on their person.

“Hey.” I saluted the first one to notice me. “Am I late to the party?”

He glared my way, and I couldn’t help feeling like I was back in high school; once again, I’d forgotten the beer. They weren’t in uniform—unless black nubuck jackets and jeans counted, not to mention the scruffy stubble, slick hair, and stocky frames. Come to think of it, that’s pretty much the look of your standard-issue thug for hire these days.

“Charlie—get down!”

I would have recognized that Scottish brogue anywhere. I’d already assembled a good enough picture of the situation to know it was in my best interest to hit the floor a split second before the deafening staccato of weapons fire and a hail of bullets headed my way. The rounds blasted straight through computer monitors and potted plants on desks; sparks flew upward along with shards of clay and clouds of potting soil. Chairs disintegrated as I cringed behind a solid steel desk and drew the snubnosed Smith & Wesson from my shoulder holster.

“Sarge, you all right?” I barely heard myself over the stampede of slugs plowing into the steel that sheltered me. The rounds were making some serious dents, but none had punctured through—yet. It was only a matter of time. I wouldn’t be able to stay put for long.

BUY LINK

Milo James Fowler is a teacher by day and a speculative fictioneer by night. When he’s not grading papers, he’s imagining what the world might be like in a dozen alternate realities. He is an active SFWA member, and his work has appeared in more than 90 publications, including AE SciFi, Cosmos, Daily Science Fiction, Nature, Shimmer, and the Wastelands 2 anthology.

Learn more about Milo James Fowler on his website. Be sure to join The Crew for updates about new releases as well as exclusive promotions.

Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

Sloane said @ 1:38 am | Author Friend New Releases | Comments

November 19, 2014

A UNIQUE TWIST ON PRETZELS

Sara Daniel is here to share a yummy side dish that also works as fabulous dessert. This is a wonderful way to top off your Thanksgiving festivities. The kitchen is all yours, Sara!

I’m no artist, as anyone who’s seen my stick figure drawings can attest. My artistic talent is solely concentrated in my writing. But once in a while I can make something that’s visually appealing and tastes good too. After a harrowing close call with a bag of honey mustard pretzels, I scored with this strawberry pretzel Jello salad recipe!

Strawberry Pretzel Jello Salad
2 cups crushed pretzels (original flavor!)
3 tbsp. sugar
¾ cup melted margarine
8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup sugar
8 oz. Cool Whip
6 oz. package Strawberry Jello
2 cups boiling water
3½ cups sliced strawberries

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Mix together pretzels, 3 tbsp. sugar, and margarine.
Press into the bottom of a 9 X 13 pan.
Bake 8 minutes.
Cool.

Beat remaining sugar into cream cheese.
Blend in Cool Whip.
Spread mixture over pretzel crust.
Set aside in refrigerator.

Mix Jello and boiling water.
Add strawberries.
Set in refrigerator until it begins to gel.

Pour Jello mixture over cream cheese layer.
Refrigerator until Jello is set or overnight.

How about a brief look into my real art while you enjoy your work of art? Here’s little from Zane’s Art for your reading pleasure.

A high school art teacher must choose between her students and the artist she never stopped loving.

High school art teacher Julianne Truman’s last chance to save her beloved art department from budget cuts is to sell the old sketches that her former boyfriend—and now famous artist—Zane DeMonde drew for her. But is she prepared to let go of his artwork and the last traces of him in her life?

Desperate to save his artistic reputation from the exposure of his early works, Zane returns to the home town he wanted to forget. He accuses Julianne of profiting from his success and demands she take his art off the market and cancel the auction.

Their high school attraction flares back to life, forcing Julianne to choose between the students who count on her and the man she never stopped loving.

Excerpt:
“Cancel the auction.”

Julianne Truman’s head snapped around at the hard male voice. The stapler fell from her hand and cracked open on the floor, as she caught sight of the extraordinary face that went with the voice. Her knees shook as she climbed down the ladder. She hadn’t faced Zane DeMonde in nearly fifteen years. At one time she’d believed he’d be part of every single day of her future.

“Zane, I didn’t expect you to come.” She stepped toward him. His black hair was a little shorter than the last time she’d seen him, but at shoulder length it was still far longer than most men’s. Gone were the black hoodie and ripped jeans of his youth. Now he wore chinos and a sharply pressed blue button-down shirt, open at the neck.

The dark storms in his cobalt blue eyes were exactly the same as the day he’d walked away from her. “Cancel the auction. The sketches and painting are not for sale.”

She swallowed. “I own them. If I choose to sell them, that’s my business.” And it was breaking her heart to part with the only piece of him that she’d been able to hang onto all these years.

“When they have my name on them and you’re getting rich off me, it’s my business.”

Getting rich was so far from the truth Julianne would have laughed if her chest weren’t so tight. “It’s an honor to have you back in town.” At least her students would think so. Her brother would likely burst an artery. And she—well, she couldn’t even begin to process the mix of emotions she was feeling. “Do you have a minute to talk? I can explain what’s going on.”

“I know what’s going on.”

She hoped he couldn’t hear how hard her heart was hammering or sense how desperately she longed to wrap her arms around him and pick up where they left off fifteen years ago, as if he’d never left her. “Then you know that the arts are at the bottom of the school district’s priority list. To have supplies for the classroom, to restore the school mural, to give my students a chance to explore different mediums, the art program needs an alternate source of funding.”

“You’re the Dentonville High art teacher?”

She couldn’t help feeling defensive at his derisive tone. “Yes, and I love my job.”

“Do you? Or have you never moved beyond your high school life?”

To read more on Zane’s Art please click a vendor name Musa PublishingAmazon.

Sara Daniel writes what she loves—irresistible romance, from sweet to erotic and everything in between. She lives her own happily-ever-after romance with her hero husband.

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

Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Sloane said @ 1:52 am | Author Friend Promo | Comments

November 17, 2014

Thoughts Running Through My Mind

by SS Hampton, Sr.

Hello. Yes, it is me again.

I am just doing a little musing, as usual. As a writer that is what I do—and watching people, the way they speak, their mannerisms, the way they dress, and even how fast they walk. Regarding females, there is the scent of perfume that lingers in the air from their passing (my favorite, by the way, is Patchouli). All of that is a big part of fiction writing especially as it applies to developing characters. People-watching, in addition to sometimes sparking an idea for a story, can also lead to questions.

Sometimes I wonder what secrets people have—either because of a real wrong-doing or because they have interests and experiences that society might condemn them for.

Granted, a murderer or stalker is rightly condemned, but, oh, say, a husband and wife who add a third person to their bed?

In my humble opinion this is the lesser of many evils; though this is not for everyone, particularly those in weak or shaky relationships, or consumed by jealousy, I am sure there is a small minority who enjoy having a third person in their bed. Or the wife (or significant other) being in another man’s bed.

And unlike fiction or even real life, you do not have to be rich, handsome or beautiful, or a psychological mess, a university student or corporate tycoon living in New York City or Paris or Rome, to enjoy such forbidden pleasures. Ordinary people in Nebraska or Kansas can enjoy such pleasures like the high and mighty. It might even be that ordinary, everyday people have more fun doing that.

Then too, as someone once remarked (paraphrased), “It’s not the destination, but the journey.”

Oh sure, the destination can be wonderfully lusty and fun and satisfying. But perhaps the journey can be fun too.

After all, when a man puts on his best suit in preparing to a meet a husband and wife for the first time, is he excited and filled with anticipation? Imagine yourself as that man.

When a husband puts on his suit, and his wife (or significant other) her finest dress with high heels and unforgettable favorite perfume, in preparing to meet another man for the first time, are they excited and filled with anticipation? Imagine yourselves as that husband and wife (or significant other).

Imagine your journey to a meeting at a bar or restaurant. Can you feel the excitement and anticipation building toward that moment when all lay eyes on one another? Maybe your hands are a little clammy. Maybe you feel too warm. Perhaps time and the car are moving too slow; you wish everything would speed up. And the moment arrives—everyone meets! There are friendly yet cautious greetings with appraising looks. And if, over a few drinks and appetizers, or dinner, everyone “clicks” and all of you agree to a private drink…

Yet there are those who would condemn you for your carnal pleasures.

But, do you really care? After all, no one is hurt in the process, society does not come apart at the seams, and world peace is not threatened.

Yes, the journey counts, but it is the destination that promises the richest reward.

So tell us, when might your imagination become an unforgettable reality unknown to the rest of the world, if only for one time?

Stan Hampton, Sr. is a full-blood Choctaw of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, a divorced grandfather to 13 wonderful grandchildren, and a published photographer and photojournalist. He retired on 1 July 2013 from the Army National Guard with the rank of Sergeant First Class; he previously served in the active duty Army (1974-1985), the Army Individual Ready Reserve (1985-1995) (mobilized for the Persian Gulf War), and enlisted in the Nevada Army National Guard in October 2004, after which he was mobilized for Federal active duty for almost three years. Hampton is a veteran of Operations Noble Eagle (2004-2006) and Iraqi Freedom (2006-2007) with deployment to northern Kuwait and several convoy security missions into Iraq.

His writings have appeared as stand-alone stories and in anthologies from Dark Opus Press, Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy, Melange Books, Musa Publishing, MuseItUp Publishing, Ravenous Romance, and as stand-alone stories in Horror Bound Magazine, The Harrow, and River Walk Journal, among others.

In May 2014 he graduated from the College of Southern Nevada with an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Photography – Commercial Photography Emphasis. A future goal is to study for a degree in archaeology—hopefully to someday work in and photograph underwater archaeology (and also learning to paint).

Hampton can be found at:
Dark Opus PressEdge Science Fiction & Fantasy PublishingMelange Books
Musa PublishingMuseItUp PublishingGoodreads Author Page
Amazon Author PageAmazon UK

Sloane said @ 1:33 am | Author Friend Promo | Comments

November 12, 2014

An Old Favorite Returns

Thanksgiving Dinner

Each Thanksgiving we have at least twenty people for a sit-down dinner. I cook the meal and the guests supply the appetizers, deserts, and wine. So turn on the football game and let’s start cooking!

Roast Turkey
Stuffing
Mashed Potatoes
Candied Sweet Potatoes
Sautéed Broccoli
Corn
Cranberry Sauce
Gravy
White Wine – Riesling

Roast Turkey
Turkey
Butter
2 leeks including some green – chopped
2 large onion – chopped
15 baby carrots – chopped
4 tomatoes – chopped
1 tbsp. dried thyme
1 tbsp. dried marjoram
1 large bay leaf
Bacon strips to cover breast

Chicken stock
Disposable pan
Cooking rack
Cookie sheet – for stability

Place unopened turkey on a cloth lined cookie sheet and thaw in refrigerator 7 hours per pound or one day for every four pounds of frozen turkey.

Thanksgiving Morning:
If turkey’s not completely thawed, set in a large pot of cold water to complete. Dispose of packet inserted in cavity. Rinse well, then pat dry with paper towels.

Preheat oven to 325°F.
Cooking times:
10 – 18 lbs. 2 – 2½ hrs.
18 – 22 lbs. 2½ – 3 hrs.
22 – 24 lbs. 3 – 3½ hrs.

Melt 1 stick of butter in a large frying pan. When the foam subsides, lay the turkey on its side breast down. Brown the breast until golden, first one side then the other. Be careful moving the turkey around, it’s heavy and awkward.

Set disposable pan on cookie sheet. Insert cooking rack. Add chopped vegetables. Place turkey on rack breast up. Lay bacon slices over breast to cover well. Pour in enough chicken broth to cover the pan bottom by 1 inch. Cover the turkey and pan edges with aluminum foil, crimping the sides well.

Remove from oven at the predetermined time. To test if the bird is done, use a paper towel or pot holder and shake hands with its leg. The leg should move freely. If you use a meat thermometer it should read 185° when inserted in the thigh. For an accurate reading, be sure not to touch bone. Tent with foil and allow to rest 30 – 45 minutes before carving.

Stuffing
1 package bread stuffing cubes plain or seasoned
½ pound Jimmy Dean Original Sausage in the tube
1 rib celery chopped
½ medium onion chopped
1 stick butter
Chicken stock about 2 cups maybe a little more
1 tsp. dried sage
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 egg

The stuffing may be prepared a day or two in advance up to the baking point.

Fry sausage, breaking into small chunks until lightly brown.

Melt butter in a medium size skillet. When the foam subsides add the celery and onion. Sauté 3-4 minutes, be careful not to let it brown.

Empty bread cubes into a large bowl. Add sausage and vegetables with all their juices. Mix well.

Beat egg in a small bowl. Pour onto stuffing. Sprinkle sage and thyme across the top. Mix well.

Stir in chicken stock until mixture is very moist, but not soupy.

Spoon into baking dish, do not pack in, and cover tightly with foil. (This is your stopping point if you make this before Thanksgiving. Refrigerate the stuffing until you are ready to bake it.)

Thanksgiving Day:
Remove stuffing from the refrigerator early in the day to allow it to come to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Bake the stuffing for a half hour. Remove foil and continue to bake until the top has browned.

Mashed Potatoes
1 small russet potato per person
Chicken stock
Butter
Sour cream
Milk
Pepper

The Day Before:
Pour one inch chicken stock into saucepan. Peel and quarter the potatoes, then place in saucepan. Add tap water to cover by one inch. Put a lid on the pan and bring to a boil over medium heat, then lower temperature to a strong simmer. Cook approximately 25 minutes. Test for doneness by poking a fork into a potato. It should insert easily.

Drain potatoes. Mash well without adding other ingredients. Cool completely in a glass or ceramic bowl. Cover and refrigerate.

Thanksgiving Day:
Remove potatoes from the refrigerator early in the day to allow them to come to room temperature. When you are ready to serve, microwave potatoes until hot. Stir in butter, sour cream, milk, and pepper to the consistency you prefer.

Candied Sweet Potatoes
32oz. can of sweet potatoes – my favorite is Royal Prince Candied Sweet Potatoes
½ cup brown sugar firmly packed
1 stick of butter
1 cup mini marshmallows

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Drain the potatoes in a colander. Cut large pieces in half. Lay potatoes into a 13×9 inch glass baking dish.

Sprinkle brown sugar across the top, then dot with butter.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Scatter marshmallows over the yams and bake for 15 minutes or until the marshmallows are brown.

Services 8.

Broccoli Stir-fry
4 mini carrots sliced on an angle
½ cup olive oil – possibly more
½ medium onion sliced
1 inch piece gingerroot peeled and cut into strips
1 head broccoli trimmed and cut into florets
½ small sweet red pepper cored, seeded and cut into strips
½ small yellow pepper cored, seeded and cut into strips
2 large garlic cloves pressed
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
2 green onions sliced on an angle
5 mini Bello mushrooms cleaned and sliced into thirds
1 tbsp. lime or lemon juice

Have all the ingredients prepped and on the counter before you begin cooking.

In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium high heat until it begins to shimmer. Add onion, carrot and gingerroot. Sauté until carrot is almost soft. Test by inserting a toothpick into the carrot. Remove as many gingerroot pieces as you can find. Don’t worry if some are left in the pan.

Add broccoli, red and yellow peppers, and garlic. Sprinkle on red pepper flakes. Stir constantly to insure broccoli is well coated with the oil. Add more oil if necessary. Squeeze on the lime or lemon juice. Sauté 2 – 4 minutes, but be sure the broccoli and peppers still have crunch to them.

Blend in green onions and mushrooms. Sauté until mushrooms are heated through. Serve quickly.

Serves 4 – 6 so adjust accordingly.

From the corn through the gravy it shows you just how lazy I can be on holidays.:) 
Corn
1 can of corn per 4 people – my favorite is Green Giant Niblets
butter

Canned corn:
Drain corn, then pour into micro wave safe bowl. Lay 2 or 3 pats of butter across the top. Micro wave for 3 minutes, stir and serve.

Frozen corn:
Follow package instructions

Cranberry Sauce
1 can of sauce per 6 people – my favorite is Ocean Spray Jellied

Lay the sauce into a serving bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerator until ready to serve.

Gravy
1 jar of gravy for 4 people – my favorite is Heinz Home Style Gravy Roasted Turkey

Pour the gravy into a saucepan. Stir in a few tablespoons of the juice from the roasted turkey pan. Heat through and serve.

I’ll be back Monday. Until then…

Happy Cooking!

Sloane Taylor
Twitter
Amazon Author Page

Sloane said @ 12:24 am | Cooking | Comments

November 11, 2014

SAM CHEEVER SIZZLES

with her new release Apocalyptic Mojo!

ApocalypticMojo_3D

 

He was a man who liked complete control. She was a woman who would never give it.

The Epoch Mages and the Sorceri Bounty Hunters are ALWAYS on opposite sides of any issue. They H-A-T-E each other. But when a rogue witch decides to take over the world using flesh-eating zombies, Ardith and Draigh have to work together to stop her. And though they’ve twisted themselves inside out trying to deny their blistering desire for each other, they soon learn they’ll need to work together to accomplish what many before them have failed to do. Yep, it’s all gonna be downhill from there! Not.

~ 5 Stars from My Cozie Corner Book Reviews “A hard to put down novel that will captivate you from the beginning.”

~~*~~

The stench hit her first. The worst of it was the smell of unwashed bodies, sickness and stale booze. The next layer of reek was comprised of cheap, overpowering perfume, probably meant to disguise the smell of unwashed bodies, and the distinctive tang of unbridled sex.

All around her bodies swayed, pressed and inserted tab A into slot B…or vice versa. In a few cases only tabs were involved, in one, only slots.

Any way you put the parts together, however, it was a very uncomfortable place for a woman with a mission to be.

Ardith forced herself to move, searching the murky space for the rogue witch.

A hard body thumped into her from behind and two grubby hands climbed up her torso, painfully grasping her breasts. Ardith lifted an arm and slammed her elbow backward, feeling the satisfying crunch of the man’s nose against her skin.

Another hand slipped up her leather skirt and Ardith gasped. She reacted before thinking, sending witch fire into the man’s forehead. He flew through the air and slammed into another couple, inspiring the man from the couple to start pummeling the already unconscious intruder.

Someone roared. Someone else shrieked. Ardith’s action was a flame to dynamite. The room ran through its short fuse in about three seconds and all hell broke loose. The music dropped away under the resulting melee. A table whizzed toward her head and Ardith had to dive to the floor to avoid it.

Before she could climb to her feet, a heavy weight landed on her, smashing her back to the floor. The stench of filthy flesh overwhelmed her and she choked, retching. Ardith scrabbled out from under the man who’d landed on her and kept crawling, seeing an opening among the surging feet and flying fists, to get to a door at the back of the room.

Maybe Edwige would be there. If not, at least Ardith could regroup and figure out how to get out of the nasty club without being bludgeoned by horny ambrosiacs. She crawled to the bottom of the set of stairs leading to the exit and jumped to her feet, leaping out of the way as another table flew past.

She hit a broad, hard chest covered in leather. A delicious, clean male scent cut through the putrid air of the bar and, before she realized it she’d inhaled, delighting in the aroma. Her body tightened with pleasure. She lifted her gaze and her lungs clenched.

“It seems you’ve found others of your kind to play with, witch.”

Now available on Kindle Unlimited!Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OU6O9XE
Amazon.ca: http://www.amazon.ca/Apocalyptic-Mojo-Sam-Cheever-ebook/dp/B00OU6O9XE
Amazon.uk: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Apocalyptic-Mojo-Sam-Cheever-ebook/dp/B00OU6O9XE

IMG_7837
USA Today Bestselling Author Sam Cheever writes romantic paranormal/fantasy and mystery/suspense, creating stories that celebrate the joy of love in all its forms. Known for writing great characters, snappy dialogue, and unique and exhilarating stories, Sam is the award-winning author of 50+ books and has been writing for over a decade under several noms de plume.

If you haven’t already connected, Sam would love it if you Liked/Followed her wherever you enjoy hanging out online. Here are her online haunts:

Newsletter: http://www.samcheever.com/newsletter.html
Website: www.SamCheever.com
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/samcheever
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SamCheeverAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/samcheever
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/samcheever1/

Sloane said @ 1:36 am | Author Friend New Releases | Comments

November 10, 2014

Art and the Human Experience

by Annie Anthony

For as long as there have been humans, there has been story. Stories are educational. They entertain. Narratives serve political, religious, and cultural purposes. Art taps into the archetypes of human experience and at the same time resonates on a specific and individual level with you, where you live, as you sit on a couch/bed/in a waiting room reading your book/eReader/smart phone.

October is a month that celebrates Queer stories. Whether in the digital space, in books, with purple t-shirts, or other slogans, for one month of the year our culture celebrates gay romance, coming out, anti-bullying, spirit. But as recently as twenty five years ago (ten? maybe even five?) minority/niche/other fiction was a novelty.

What do I mean? Think Fabio. Romance readers, writers, publishers: where is Black Fabio? Gay Fabio? I think I’ve seen him scaling the brick and mortar walls of bookstores, “popping up” in the digital space.

Part of why I write is to share the stories that are relevant to my own life and experience, and of course I hope that my stories entertain, educate, enlighten. My own coming out process was difficult (agonizing) and protracted (took far too long.) As a publically “out” lesbian, my writing reflects the stories and issues that are meaningful to me. But does that mean I write only for my tribe?

A well-known fact in publishing is that roughly 60% of the readers of MM erotic fiction or MM romance are women. Straight/heterosexual. Married. Women. Why? I have edited MM erotica and romance. I have read in that genre more than I’ve edited, but I don’t think I am the average consumer. As I like to say, I see homosexual men and women as two sides of one gay coin. Reading about gay male experience is relevant, right? To me? A lesbian? Just because the sex doesn’t arouse me doesn’t mean I don’t relate to the humor, the tension, the conflict and oh-so-delicious resolution.

That brings me back to my original statement: story as both archetype and individual.

What do any of us really choose to read and why? Sometimes for pure distraction or sexual titillation; sometimes for education or information. Sometimes we read just to feel that basic connection to a human who has articulated our own personal feelings and thoughts better than we might be able to do ourselves. To connect.

If the fundamental purpose of reading is to satisfy hunger—be it a profound or simple need—why has popular fiction been painfully bereft of Black Fabio? Gay Fabio? Lesbian Fabio… er, Fabia?

The answer to that question is complex and difficult, but the reality is that we have a powerful opportunity today, right now, and never more publically than during the month of October. Writers, readers, publishers, bloggers—together we have access to media and the ability to create material that will allow stories to reach unprecedented economic, social, and personal spaces.

If you want to experience multicultural stories, gay stories, heterosexual stories—there is room for all of us at the table. October is like Thanksgiving for story and for queer—a feast, a celebration, and a joining together.

Whether you participate in Queer Romance Month, Spirit Day, National Coming Out Day—other/none, I invite you to chat up someone at the party this month who you don’t already know. Meet someone new in October. If you’re straight, ask yourself whether gay romance might be entertaining, educational. Power dynamics, economic realities, gender stereotypes—these themes are universal to both heterosexual relationships and queer couples. And what about pure entertainment? Writing about sex is about so much more than body parts… the chemistry, the insecurities, the desire—that hunger. If you’re hungry, if you’re at the party, try talking to someone new this month. You never who you’ll meet and what adventures are there for you to enjoy.

To read an excerpt from Annie’s latest release Blue Suede Boi, please click here.

Annie Anthony writes fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and lists. She edits professionally but promises she does not critique text messages. Annie volunteers with children who have medical special needs and also with GLBTQ causes. Originally from Chicago, she currently lives in Los Angeles. She is a tattoo lover, a dog mama, and last but not least, a lesbian. Annie hopes you will visit her blog, like her Facebook author page, and follow her on Twitter. Her lesbian erotica short story, Blue Suede Boi, is available from Musa Publishing.

Sloane said @ 1:56 am | Author Friend New Releases | Comments

November 3, 2014

A New Treat for the Holidays

Andy Druetzler, a man who won my heart thirty-some years ago (Andy is the son of our close friends, sent me this easy recipe to share with you. He recently started bringing this simple appetizer to parties and it has been a hit every time. Studs, Kid, and I agreed, Andy has created a winner.

Andy’s Simple Appetizer

½ – ¾ cup marinara sauce
4 oz. goat cheese, unseasoned*
Pita or bagel chips

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Pour a thin layer of marinara sauce into a 1½ – quart oven proof dish.

Slice goat cheese to ¼ – ½ inch thicknesses. Lay the pieces over the majority of the marinara sauce.

Bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted.

At this point you may either stir the mixture into a creamy blend or leave as is.

Let cool and serve with toasted bagel chips or pita chips.

*Sloane here, I made this recipe twice, once with plain goat cheese, the other time with garlic herb goat cheese. The plain is far better. The flavored was harsh had our taste buds screaming for relief.

I’ll be back Monday with Annie Anthony. Until then…

Mangiare Bene!

Sloane Taylor
Twitter
Amazon Author Page

Sloane said @ 11:13 am | Cooking,Friends | Comments

Vikings Unleashed

Introducing the Vikings Unleashed box set, with 9 all-new erotic romances about the original alpha bad boys. Featuring new genre-spanning stories by Kate Pearce, Anne Marsh, Crystal Jordan, Dayna Hart, Holley Trent, Loribelle Hunt, Saranna DeWylde, Shawntelle Madison, and Zoe York. There’s a longship headed your way.

AT THE VIKING’S COMMAND by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author ANNE MARSH. A werewolf tries to protect her Pack and ends up in the arms of a ruthless Viking. Following her Viking’s orders ignites a fiery passion and fulfills her secret fantasies, but can she claim her Viking for keeps?

VIKING FIRE by award-winning author CRYSTAL JORDAN. Wolf-shifter Erik once betrayed the only woman he ever loved, the shieldmaiden Bryn, and it cost both their lives. Now, they serve the gods as immortal warriors, and an ancient prophecy forces them together to try to stop the coming apocalypse. What they don’t expect is for the fire to burn as hot between them as ever.

HEL’S BELLES by DAYNA HART. Hela’s one-night stand is assigned to mentor her through the creation of her new motorcycle club, but as their relationship starts to develop, the secrets she’s keeping might cost her everything.

THE VIKING QUEEN’S MEN by award-winning author HOLLEY TRENT. As the newly installed queen of an enclave of telepathic Viking descendants, Tess is the final arbiter of conflicts. Unfortunately, the very first one she has to resolve is in her own bedroom. Two men would fight to the death to win her, but to gain full control of her considerable power, she must find a way to keep them both.

VIKING UNBOUND by New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author KATE PEARCE. Encased in ice, traveling through space and thousands of years adrift from his world, Viking Einarr Bloodaxe can’t help but respond to the call of his female and finally break free of his magical entrapment.

VIKING’S HEART by national bestselling author LORIBELLE HUNT. Jolie Hall is ready for her life to change. Being given to a Viking to clear her father’s debts isn’t quite what she had in mind, however. She can’t deny she’s drawn to Stone Ulfson, but can she believe his claim that she is his destined mate?

VIKING’S FURY by award-winning author SARANNA DEWYLDE. Magnus the Destroyer will do anything to escape prison planet Hel and punish his captors, including taking the warden’s innocent daughter Mercy as collateral. Only after they crash on an uninhabited planet, Magnus learns some things are more precious than vengeance.

TAMING THE VIKING’S DRAGON by SHAWNTELLE MADISON. Only two riders can command an ice dragon…Drifa wants nothing more than to complete her training as a Woman of the Frost, but she is called to help destroy an evil force fallen from the stars. Three years ago, she left Steinn behind. To fight this new foe, they must forget their differences and reunite as man and woman. But for two Viking warriors, waging war is easier than forging peace.

A VIKING’S PEACE by NYT Bestselling Author ZOE YORK. Thrown together in an intergalactic diplomatic mission, Reinn and Ashleigh know they must fight the burning attraction between them. But this Viking has finally found his mate, and nothing else matters.

Available at:
All Romance eBooksAmazonBarnes and NobleiBooksKobo

Sloane said @ 1:10 am | Author Friend New Releases | Comments

October 29, 2014

FRESH FROM THE KITCHEN

This is an easy meal using items you already have in your kitchen. Serve with a crisp fresh salad and tortellini or fettuccine pasta smothered in sauce. Add fresh Italian bread and a bottle of wine for a beautiful evening.

Cucina Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsp. salt
water
½ – ¾ cup flour
Freshly ground pepper to taste
3 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. olive oil
4 tbsp. chicken stock
2 tsp. dried thyme
4 tsp. grated Parmesan
4 tbsp. red pasta sauce
2 tbsp. dried oregano

Dissolve salt in a bowl large enough to hold the chicken comfortably. Add chicken. Cover with more water. Marinate in the refrigerator 4-8 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°F

Drain chicken, and then pat dry. Pour flour into a paper or plastic bag. Grind in pepper. Shake to combine ingredients. Add 1 breast, gently shake to coat. Continue until all breasts are coated.

Melt butter into olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Shake excess four from chicken and carefully add the breasts to the hot oil. Fry chicken to a light golden brown on both sides.

Arrange the browned chicken on a baking sheet lined with buttered parchment paper or sprayed with Pam.

Dribble chicken stock over each breast. Sprinkle with thyme and parmesan cheese. Top with 1 tbsp. pasta sauce on each breast. Freely shake oregano across the chicken.

Bake 10 minutes and serve.

Have a great weekend. I’ll be back Monday with Holley Trent.

Until then…

! Mangiare Bene!

Sloane Taylor
Twitter
Amazon Author Page

Sloane said @ 12:43 am | Cooking | Comments