May 20, 2015

Easy Sunday Super

Sunday suppers are always a challenge with our busy schedules. We want a meal that’s tasty, easy, and doesn’t take an hour to prepare. This menu is perfect for that criteria. Make the salad the day before so the flavors blend.

Grilled Sirloin Steak & Cheese Sandwiches

4 fresh Kaiser rolls, cut in half
1½ pounds sirloin steak, about 1 inch thick
1 roma tomato
4 slices mozzarella, provolone, or horseradish cheese, not too thin
Olive oil
Garlic powder, NOT garlic salt

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

Brush a light coating of olive oil on the inside of each half of the rolls. Sprinkle on a little garlic powder. Grill rolls oil side down until lightly browned. Remove to a cutting board.

Slice the sirloin into thin pieces lengthwise. You’ll end up with about 7 slices. Drizzle a little more olive oil in the hot pan. Add meat and sauté about 2 minutes or until done to your preference. Well done is not good for this recipe.

Turn the steak, add a tomato slice, and top with cheese. Cover pan until cheese melts.

Lay meat on the bottom buns, cover with the top one, and serve.

Makes 4 sandwiches

Pasta Salad

3 cups dried med. shells, macaroni, or any curly pasta
1½ cups real mayonnaise
1 tbsp. sour cream
1 tbsp. vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
¾ tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly ground pepper
½ tsp. garlic powder, NOT garlic salt
¼ tsp. thyme
1 cup celery, sliced thin
4 green onions, sliced thin with a large portion of green
2 large hard boiled eggs, chopped fine
¼ rounded cup Italian style or roasted red pepper, chopped

Cook pasta according to package directions. Be careful not to overcook. The pasta should be firm yet tender. Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water until completely cool. Spread the noodles over a dish towel to dry thoroughly while you make the dressing.

Combine mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and thyme in large bowl, stirring well after each addition.

Add celery, onions, egg. Stir well. Lay red pepper on a paper towel to absorb a little of the oil. Move pepper to a cutting board, chop, and blend into the salad.

Fold in pasta. This may look like too much sauce, but it’s not. The pasta absorbs sauce as it sits. Spoon the mixture into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.

Turn this dish into a complete summer lunch or supper by adding a tuna in water pouch. Serve with chilled red grapes and fresh croissants. Don’t forget a bottle of chilled white wine!

Sloane said @ 1:20 am | Cooking | Comments

May 18, 2015

Make Your Garden Grow

My longtime friend author Emma Lane visits today with what I hope will become a series of her expertise on plants, how to use them in our gardens, and what to do when a season ends. The blog is all yours, Emma!

When I moved to Western New York (a very long time ago), I bought a wildflower book to learn all the native plants, names, uses, colors. Although I’m now into the study of cultivated varieties, I still love the free offerings of nature found under rotting logs, beside a burbling stream.

This small white daisy-like blossom makes an appearance with its jagged leaf wrapped around the stem like an over-sized coat. Only when the temps warm does the leaf open to expose its precious blossom. Horrible nickname of Blood Root, real name Sanguinaria, it’s listed as a medicinal plant. (I didn’t spot any vampires.). Some may be allergic to the red sap. Rumor has it listed as a historical favorite of Native Americans for paint. The pretty yellow one is Celandine, which sports bright yellow sap with the same uses as its neighbor. (Marsh marigold family.)

Tips:
Annual gardens (only lives once, but makes seeds) are best for intense splashes of color. Perennials (comes back yearly) are more interesting with different foliage textures. The blooms last only 6 weeks or so; plant varieties that show at different time of the summer, such as:

Spring: daffodils, bleeding heart
Summer: Delphinimum, Rudbeckia, Asiatic lilies, Crocosmia; Fall:Butterfly Bush, mums, Hibiscus.

Don’t forget to throw in a sunflower seed or two for the birds.

Happy planting!
~Emma

In the five years Detective Fowler has lived and worked in Hubbard, NY, never has he been forced to investigate a murder, until now. Meet the citizens of Hubbard, NY in MURDER in the NEIGHBORHOOD as they react to a criminal in their midst.

MURDER in the JUNKYARD sees the demise of a man no one likes, a romance, and plans for a wedding as Detective Fowler and his friends keep their small-town America free from danger.

THE GLASS CAT is a sweet story about an elderly lady, her friend and neighbor, and a wicked nephew. There’s a romance brewing as well. It’s a shorty, but I think you’ll finish it with a smile on your face.

Read more about the cozy mysteries by Janis Lane on Amazon.

Emma Lane is a gifted author who writes under several pen-names. She lives with her patient husband on several acres outside a typical American village in Western New York. Her day job is working with flowers at her son’s plant nursery. 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.

Sloane said @ 1:40 am | Author Friend Promo,Gardening | Comments

May 14, 2015

Delicious Cake and Awesome Giveaway

by Sara Daniel

I created this flavorful recipe in celebration of my new series One Night with the Bridal Party. This is the perfect dessert for a bridal shower or post-wedding brunch. It’s also delicious with a cup of tea and a good book.

Pound Cake with Fresh Strawberries

1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
¼ tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. baking powder
2 cups flour
Fresh Strawberries – sliced

Preheat oven to at 325° F.

Grease and flour a 9 X 5 loaf pan.

Beat butter with an electric mixer for 1 minute.

Add sugar to butter, a bit at a time, beating on medium/high for 5 minutes or until light and fluffy.

Add eggs one at a time, beating for one minute after each egg, and scraping the bowl. Add vanilla and beat for another minute.

Gradually add nutmeg, baking powder, and flour, beat on low/medium until just combined.

Pour into prepared pan. Bake 1 hour.

Cool and slice. Serve with fresh strawberries.

Here’s a little about my One Night with the Bridal Party series.

Whether the one-night stand occurs a week before their scheduled wedding or seven years later, meet six couples for whom one night will turn a fairy tale wedding from a mistake into a happily ever after.

1. One Night with the Bride
2. One Night with the Bridesmaid
3. One Night with the Groom
4. One Night with the Best Man
5. One Night with Her Husband
6. One Night with His Wife (coming 6/12/15)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

To read excerpts from more books by Sara Daniel please click a vendor’s name
AmazonBarns & NobleBook StrandiTunes BooksKoboSmashwords

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

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

Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Sloane said @ 8:59 am | Author Friend New Releases,Cooking | Comments

May 13, 2015

Two Treats from Leigh Goff

I’m excited to bring you Leigh Goff, a talented Young Adult author who blends fantasy and romance into her remarkable stories. Her novel Disenchanted releases through Mirror World Publishing in print and eBook on June 1. The kitchen is all yours, Leigh!

These cookies are just what a white witch like sixteen-year-old Sophie Greensmith from my debut YA fantasy, Disenchanted, would bake after a long day of concocting potions with exotic flowers from her aunt’s enchanted garden.

Disenchanted takes place in Wethersfield, Connecticut, the home of the first American witch trials (not Salem!). As descendants of the original witches, Sophie and her aunt practice white magic and work in a little shop called Scents and Scentsabilities. Their organic bath and body products like Tulips to Kiss Stick to lushify lips and Forever First Love Lip Balm to lock in that true love are crafted to benefit the ordinaries in town. However, not all of the ordinaries approve and when danger catches up to Sophie, she’s left with an impossible choice—turning to black magic, a forever choice, to save the life of her forbidden first love. Will her true love still want her when her heart is touched by darkness?

This yummy recipe from the Foothill House B&B in California includes ginger to soothe the stomach, cinnamon to reduce puffiness, and walnuts to help you deal with stress.

Foothill House Sweet Dreams Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter
1½ cups light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups unbleached flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. salt
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Cream butter and mix in brown sugar, egg, and vanilla in a medium-sized bowl.

Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt and blend into butter mixture.

Fold in chocolate chips and walnuts (Sometimes I leave these out or substitute pecans.).

Refrigerate until dough is firm.

Lightly grease baking sheets.

Break off small pieces of dough and roll into 1″ rounds. Dredge in powdered sugar.

Arrange on prepared baking sheets at least 2″ apart.

Bake 10 minutes.

Cool 5 minutes on the sheets before transferring to racks to cool completely.

Store in airtight container.

Yields 6 dozen cookies

Here is a brief intro to my novel that appeals to people of all ages. I hope you like it, too.

Disenchanted
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.

Leigh Goff loves writing young adult fiction with elements of magic and romance because it’s also what she liked to read. Born and raised on the East Coast, she now lives in Maryland where she enjoys the area’s great history and culture.

Leigh is a graduate of the University of Maryland, University College and a member of the Maryland Writers’ Association and Romance Writers of America. She is also an approved artist with the Maryland State Arts Council. Her debut novel, Disenchanted, was inspired by the Wethersfield witches of Connecticut and was released by Musa Publishing in December 2014. Leigh is currently working on her next novel, The Witch’s Ring which is set in Annapolis.

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

Sloane said @ 1:28 am | Author Friend New Releases,Cooking | Comments

May 11, 2015

Do You Play Favourites?

by Carol Browne

I keep few books in my house. I prefer to pass them on to my friends. However, there is one special book I will never part with and that is my 1945 hardback edition of Precious Bane by Mary Webb.

The book features an introduction by Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, written at 10 Downing Street in 1928, in which he says of the author, “Her sensibility is so acute and her power over words so sure and swift that one who reads some passage in Whitehall has almost the physical sense of being in Shropshire cornfields.”

First published in 1924, Precious Bane tells the story of flawed heroine, Prudence Sarn, whose ‘hare-shotten lip’ means that as far as her neighbours are concerned she is cursed with ‘the devil’s mark’. It is only weaver Kester Woodseaves who can see beyond this disfigurement to the true beauty of Prue’s soul.

Prue’s goodness and gentle nature are in sharp contrast to her brother Gideon’s ruthless striving for worldly success, and descriptions of the landscape that sustains them are woven into the dramas of their lives to create a rich tapestry. Thanks to the author’s skill with words, it is safe to say that Nature is not merely a background to the story but also seems to be a character in it too. The narrative is, says Prue, “the story of us all at Sarn, of Mother and Gideon and me, and Jancis (that was so beautiful) and Wizard Beguildy, and the two or three other folk that lived in those parts…”

How to describe the style of the book? It depicts a rural England around the time of Waterloo (1815), a place of meres, country lore, dragonflies, looms and spinning-wheels. There is a fair scattering of dialect words (fascinating rather than baffling!) and curious customs such as ‘sin-eating’ and ‘telling the bees’. It is reminiscent of Larkrise to Candleford, had it been penned by a committee of authors that included Thomas Hardy, Dickens and Emily Bronte. It is a book to relax with and savour. The pace was slower in 1924 and they liked their paragraphs LONG! But the story is well paced, the heroine immensely likeable, and there’s plenty of dramatic conflict and jeopardy to keep you hooked throughout.

I have read this book many times and, having just opened it and looked at the first line of Chapter One – “It was at a love-spinning that I saw Kester first”, – I know I am going to read it again very soon! (If you want to try this book, please don’t spoil it for yourself and look at the last page. The ending is perfect!)

Mary Webb née Meredith was born in the village of Leighton on 25th March, 1881. She and her husband worked as market gardeners for a time and had their own stall on Shrewsbury market. She wrote five novels and a volume of essays on nature. Mary died on 8th October, 1927 and was buried in Shrewsbury.

Authors die but they are never forgotten. They live on in the work they leave behind. As Mary Webb said herself in her Foreward to Precious Bane:

“We are to-morrow’s past. Even now we slip away like those pictures painted on the moving dials of antique clocks – a ship, a cottage, sun and moon, a nosegay. The dial turns, the ship rides up and sinks again, the yellow painted sun has set, and we, that were the new thing, gather magic as we go. The whirr of the spinning-wheels has ceased in our parlours, and we hear no more the treadle of the loom, the swift, silken noise of the flung shuttle, the intermittent thud of the batten. But imagination hears them, and theirs is the melody of romance.”

~Carol

Carole Browne writes speculative fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. She is also a ghost blog writer, proofreader, copy editor, and copywriter. Along with a passion for gardening, Carol is an avid animal lover. Stay connected with Carol on Facebook.

Sloane said @ 12:16 am | Author Friend Promo | Comments

May 6, 2015

The Bar is Open

by Viki Lyn

Redemption is my latest book written with Vina Grey, a m/m fantasy featuring angels and demons. In our world, angels have a difficult time handling human alcohol. They have their own liquor of choice = ambrosia which gives them a slight buzz. So when we wrote a scene where Uriel visits a gay bar in San Francisco, we had to come up with an appropriate drink – one that a besotted bartender would make for the beautiful angel.

To my surprise, we found the perfect cocktail – Angel Face! (Although jealous Izar muttered that Hot Devilish daiquiri would have been more appropriate!)

Angel Face Cocktail
1/3 Dry Gin
1/3 Apricot Brandy
1/3 Calvados

Combine all ingredients into a cocktail shaker. Add ice. Stir well and strain into cocktail glass.

Enjoy!

Viki and Vina

An introvert and artist with a healthy dose of skepticism about life and love =Viki. An extrovert and academic and a die-hard romantic =Vina. It was so not a match made in heaven. But Viki and Vina discovered a mutual love of traveling around the world, the paranormal, good coffee, and a healthy admiration for their respective creativity. Sitting in a coffee shop one day, they started brainstorming about story plots and Vince and John and the car crash in the bakery. A story was born. Vina writes the sappy romance and Viki tempers it. Between them, they managed to find their boys a ‘happily ever after’.

Thou shall not kill.

An angel who sins may never find love again.

Archangel Raziel had no choice. He would break the Infinite’s commandment again to save his lover, Uriel, from a demon’s talons. Yet even the Infinite’s most trusted archangel cannot avoid punishment. Forced to go through the Cleansing, Raziel loses his memories and is renamed Izar, a Protector sworn to kill for the angels.

Years later, Izar is summoned to work alongside Uriel to capture a killer. Izar is shocked when his bloodlust spikes hot for the archangel. But a relationship between Protectors and angels is forbidden. As they rush to find the killer, their passion plays into the demon’s plan. Izar will have to choose between life and death if he is to save Uriel again.

BUY LINK

Multi-published and award winner, Viki Lyn is a successful writer of gay paranormal and contemporary romance. After reading and collecting whatever she could get her hands on, she wrote her first male/male romance. And that was ‘it’ for her. She never looked back. Viki travels the world in search of inspiration. She considers herself blessed to have traveled to many of the mystical sites she had dreamed about as a child. Her travel experiences have been influential in creating her paranormal worlds. When she needs to relax, she calls a friend to meet at their favorite coffee house. When the chattering in her head goes off the charts, she plays one of her favorite RPGs on her PS4 and immerses herself in the world of dragons and magic.

Learn more about Viki Lyn on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

Vina Grey has lived in eight different states and if her family hadn’t grounded her, she’d be on the move again. So, instead she writes, living out her adventure-lust in her books. She made up stories in her head from the time she could register thoughts, so yes, there are many more books to come. Coffee, chocolate, Scotch, Kindle books, and traveling to far away lands are among her…ahem…very few vices. Actually they can be lands close by, too. But at the end of the day, to write a love story that makes a reader sigh with satisfaction–that’s what it’s all about. Vina Grey loves writing about romance. Two people finding each other, the two-step before they get together and the happily ever after — really is the best story ever. Throw in some paranormal elements and she’s in heaven. Vampires and cops, anyone? Her other love is traveling. From the deserts of the Middle East to the temples in Japan to the rice fields in Bali, she finds inspiration for her stories in every country she visits.

Vina loves to jabber away with anyone about books, so drop her a line. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

Learn more about Viki Lyn and Vina Grey on their Author Facebook Page.

Sloane said @ 1:09 am | Author Friend New Releases | Comments

May 4, 2015

Good Things Happen When You Don’t Let Go

“What does not destroy me, makes me stronger.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

My sword and sorcery fantasy novel, Tournament of Chance: Dragon Rebel has just been published. I couldn’t be more pleased, especially considering its inauspicious beginnings. You see, I originally wrote Tournament of Chance as a short story (around 8,000 words). I submitted the short to several fantasy magazines, and although the feedback was positive, I couldn’t find a magazine willing to publish it. Battered and bruised, I ordinarily would have chucked the manuscript into a folder marked REJECTS, licked my wounds, and moved on to something else.

But I just couldn’t let it go.

I liked the concept of a young woman striving to break through the glass ceiling between commoners and royalty by honing her skills as an archer. In the back of my mind, I knew there was more to the story than the 8,000 words I’d written. So in between revising, editing, and promoting my other titles, I allowed the full-length version of Tournament of Chance to unfold. Unlike other, more disciplined authors, I usually let my stories discover themselves. As the novel moved along, I was actually quite surprised at all the twists, turns, and events in store for me. For example, who knew time travel and shape shifters would find their way into the mix? It took about six months to finish Tournament of Chance: Dragon Rebel, and it incorporates many of my favorite things – peacocks, lava tubes, caves, volcanoes, dragons, wizards, romance, and magic. It also deals with some very human foibles, such as deceit, treachery, false hope, envy, abuse of power, and pride.

So if it weren’t for the rejections I experienced, Tournament of Chance: Dragon Rebel would never have been published as a full-length novel. Perhaps it’s the fighting Irish in me, but when I get knocked down, I get up again…and then I write some more. I’m not sure I agree with the Nietzsche quote, above, one hundred percent of the time, but it’s better than the alternative.

Has rejection ever motivated you to succeed?

~ S.G. Rogers

Here is a brief intro to S.G,’s latest release.

If Heather manages to win the Tournament of Chance, she’ll be the first commoner to earn a place at court. Instead of a glorious victory, however, she’s arrested and marked for execution. After a daring escape, she joins the Dragon Rebels, who seek to overthrow the despotic monarchy and restore the former kingdom of Ormaria. Amongst the rebels are three shape-shifting wizards who claim to be rulers from the past. On a perilous quest to free the wizards’ magic, Heather battles wild dragons, vicious predators, angry trolls, and unexpected traitors. When a horrendous accident sends her back in time to fulfill a mysterious prophecy, she must rely on her warrior skills, wits, and endurance to survive.

To read an excerpt from Tournament of Chance: Dragon Rebel, please click here.

To read excerpts from other books by S.G. Rogers please click here.

S.G. Rogers lives with her husband and son in romantic Savannah, Georgia, on an island populated by deer, exotic birds, and the occasional gator. She’s owned by two Sphynx cats, Houdini and Nikita. Movies, books, and writing are her passions.

Learn more about S.G. Rogers on her blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. Also, be sure to check out the website for the Sweet Romance written by S.G. Rogers.

Sloane said @ 12:25 am | Author Friend Promo | Comments

April 29, 2015

Easy, Yet Elegant

This is a wonderful dish created by our longtime friend Andy Druetzler and his amazing lady Kathleen Marie. For ease of serving, they advise us to prepare the potatoes first, then the caramelized shallots, and finally the baked chicken. Reheat the potatoes and shallots in the oven for the last 10 minutes you bake the chicken.

These young people know how to eat well. This meal is sheer bliss!

Chubby Chicken
Caramelized Shallots
Roasted Potatoes
White Wine – Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio

Chubby Chicken

4 medium chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
1 large egg
2 tbsp. water
1 cup flour
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 ½ tsp. garlic powder
¾ tsp. cumin
4 strips bacon, possibly more if the breasts are large
1 red pepper, seeded, sliced into strips
olive oil

Rinse chicken and pat dry.

Mix together egg and water in a bowl. Combine the flour, salt, pepper, garlic, cumin in a paper bag. Line a plate with wax or parchment paper.

Bread the chicken by dipping a breast in the egg mixture. Immediately drop the breast into the paper bag and gently shake to coat it. Remove the breast and lay on the plate. Do this with each breast. Wrap the bacon around the individual chicken pieces and secure with a toothpick or small skewer.

Top with red pepper and a slight drizzle of olive oil. Refrigerate chicken for at least one hour before baking. This allows the breading to dry a bit and adhere to the meat.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Swirl oil in an ovenproof dish to coat bottom and sides. Carefully set chicken on dish so as not to disturb peppers and bacon. Bake for 30 minutes.

To serve, place chicken on a serving platter, then top with the caramelized shallots.

Roasted Potatoes

3 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. cider vinegar
3 tsp. Kosher salt
2 lbs. potatoes quartered, but not peeled
1 tsp. dried thyme or 6 sprigs fresh
1 tsp. dried rosemary or 3 springs fresh

Preheat oven to 425°F.

In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, salt, thyme, and vinegar.

Place the potatoes in a large plastic bag. Pour the mixture over them and gently shake the bag to coat evenly.

Spread the potatoes in an even layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle any remaining mixture over them.

Bake until potatoes are tender and slightly browned, about 50 minutes.

Caramelized Shallots

Photo by SOMMAI

6 tbsp. butter
8-12 shallots, peeled, sliced thin
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
½ tsp. freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Melt the butter in a small frying pan over medium heat.

Add shallots and sugar and stir to coat well. Cook until the shallots start to brown, about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Be careful not to let this mixture burn.

Turn off the heat and stir in vinegar and pepper.

Set the pan in the oven and roast for 15 to 20 minutes until the shallots are tender.

I’ll be back Monday with S.G. Rogers. Until then…

May you enjoy all the days of your life around a well laden table!

Sloane Taylor
Twitter
Amazon Author Page

Sloane said @ 1:53 am | Cooking | Comments

April 27, 2015

Me? Erotic Romance?

by SS Hampton Sr

Hello! Spring greetings!

Okay, that is a little too cheery for my usual nature.

But then, it is April. Winter is basically over, though here in Las Vegas (Sin City) winter usually means just a dip in the usual 100+ degree weather. If someone wants to see snow up close they have to drive out to nearby Mount Charleston.

Anyway, I am meandering.

My first novel, SHARING RACHEL, was released in October 2014 by MuseItUp Publishing, MuseItHOT Imprint. It will be followed by the sequel, PRAIRIE MUSE, in the summer of 2015. Both are erotic romances and are about a happily married couple and small business owners, Burt and Rachel Markham, who decide to explore their personal boundaries. Okay. Make that sexual boundaries.

And that brings about the question of how did I go from writing short stories and novellas about, oh, a ghost returned from the Ho Chi Minh Trail (The 24th of December, Journeys, 1992), ghosts and the Battle of the Little Bighorn (Gold Nugget, Dark Fire Magazine, 2004), a frustrated incubus trying to entice a young woman to leave a sheltering church (Imnachar, Intimate Journeys collection, Melange Books, 2011), and a young woman who agrees to become Death’s consort in exchange for the safety of her family (The Mistress of the Fourth Seal, Horror Bound Magazine, 2009), to writing Erotic Romance?

Welll, first, there is a difference between Porn, Erotica, and Erotic Romance. Or so I’ve been told (and read).

Broadly and simply speaking, Porn is for readers who do not need someone with them to have, ah, a good time, so to speak. Erotica has a plot and characters, and many times leaves the bedroom door open for readers to peek through. And Erotica does not require Happily Ever After (HEA). Erotic Romance has a plot and characters, and also leaves the bedroom door open at times, but most importantly, HEA is practically mandatory.

So, again, how did I go from writing about wars, ghosts, demons, and star ships (if sex was involved, it was more of a furtive sidelong glance as if to verify, “Yep, IT happened”) to writing Erotic Romance?

Somewhere along the way I probably encountered a writing and thought, “I can do better than that.” And the research began. Then the outlining. And throwing my hands up in the air. Then another start. And a completed short story that went nowhere except in a manila folder in my filing cabinet. And throwing my hands up in the air.

Then the idea of combining the two, then developing an outline, and Sharing Rachel was born.

It was during a 6-month writer’s block that I accomplished the research that helped provide a foundation for the novel. To tell the truth, the research was quite interesting. Here was a world I had come across before on the Internet, but never gave much thought to until I combined the two stories into one novel.

However, my confidence had been shaken by the writer’s block, so I asked a writer friend, Charmaine Pauls (The Winemaker, The Book Exchange, and Pryomancist, among others) to take a look. I wanted to know if the novel sounded believable or if it came across as some sort of middle-aged fantasy (more or less).

To my relief, she told me Sharing Rachel was believable. And she liked it. And Charmaine was the first to describe the novel as an Erotic Romance.

Okay. I have to admit, by then 50 Shades of Grey was big news and big bucks to boot. I discovered that Romance, and various sub-categories including Erotic Romance, enjoyed a huge readership. I am not sure why, but there is definitely an audience for Romances.

So, after SHARING RACHEL, I wrote PRAIRIE MUSE, and there is a third novel to write (after I get a couple more fantasies, horror, boomer story, and even a Christmas story out of the way).

It is not just the subject matter that is interesting, but I genuinely like Burt and Rachel Markham, an ordinary married couple in the heartland of Kansas. Yep, you heard me—no corporate CEOs and university girls and jet setting across the world. Just an ordinary in their 40s husband and wife driving an SUV who decide to explore their personal and sexual boundaries in the Midwest.

It is a story that any couple—rich, poor, or middle class—can truly experience if they want to explore their boundaries.

And that is how I came to write Erotic Romance.

Enjoy the spring weather and have a great week!

Stan

Sometimes people choose to live life to the fullest…

Burt and Rachel Markham are ordinary small business owners of a seed & feed store in a small Kansas farming and ranching community. Many years before, as young university graduates eagerly anticipating exciting overseas employment, a lifetime in Kansas was the furthest thing from their minds, particularly Rachel who was raised overseas and dreamed of going back. By July 2013 their twin 18-year old daughters, having graduated high school several months before, go east to attend a university. Burt and Rachel settle into their new life of an empty house and a predictable and unchanging routine that threatens to stretch far into the future. One summer evening Burt has an idea—but will Rachel accept the idea? If she does, will the idea add new excitement to their marriage, or destroy it?

EXCERPT
A song of reserved exuberance began; the feminine voice rolled the sound of many of the French words. Rachel tilted her head to listen to the music.

“Edith Piaf, France’s premier singer back in the ‘60s,” she announced fondly. “She died of cancer. This song, it’s “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien,” or “No, I Regret Nothing.” It’s one of her most famous.”

She put her elbows on the table, folded her hands and rested her chin on them. She looked at Burt.

He listened. Maybe it was the title—the voice and music had a slow almost melancholy, and yet proud and defiant feel to it. The music and words added an authentic touch to the dim bistro. If he closed his eyes for a moment he might be able to imagine a rainy night in Paris, sitting in a French bistro with his wife in the shadow of Notre Dame Cathedral, overlooking the Seine River. Paris was a city he always wanted to visit; he knew Rachel and her parents had visited when stationed overseas.

“I’m not really hungry yet,” he said.

She nodded. “Like I said, after.”

Burt looked at the empty foyer. There was “After” again.

Rachel followed his gaze and touched his hand. “I don’t think he’s late yet.”

“I have a feeling he’s about as punctual as you always are,” Burt said with a small smile.
“Any last minute thoughts or rules?” she asked.

He shook his head. “Just feel him out and make a common sense decision. If he doesn’t ask to fuck you, how do you let me know you’re interested or not?”

She chuckled. “If I’m interested I’ll touch your foot with mine. If I’m not, I’ll kick you.”

Burt lowered his head and gave her a sarcastic look. “Got it.”

He looked at the foyer again. Saturday night, 7:00 p.m. They were really sitting in a French-style bistro waiting on a man who wanted to fuck Rachel with Burt’s permission. Would it really happen? Maybe Gentleman Nate was a jerk in real life—Rachel didn’t like jerks. She didn’t like men who were loud and pushy, profane or who spoke badly.

The waitress returned with their drinks.

“There’s not a wide variety of food because we follow the old European tradition of few selections, but each one is of loving preparation and excellent taste. Would you like to order something? The figs wrapped with grilled bacon is really good. So are the marinated mushrooms. Both are authentic French recipes.”

“Perhaps a little later,” Rachel answered. “We’re waiting on someone.”

“Of course,” the waitress said. “Just catch my attention when you’re ready to order.”

Burt took a drink of his beer and glanced at the TVs. Sports and news. She took his hand in hers, tilted her head and continued smiling at him.

Maybe Gentleman Nate wouldn’t show…

Click a vendor’s name to read more of Sharing Rachel and other books by SS Hampton, Sr MuseItHot PublishingAmazon

SS 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 @ 1:03 am | Author Friend Promo | Comments

April 22, 2015

Sweet and Spicy – A Pair of Delicious Treats

Grandma’s Easy and Delicious Peach Cobbler
by Sara Daniel

My latest book, One Night with the Best Man, takes place on an Iowa farm that I loosely based on my grandparents’ farm where I spent many summer vacations and holidays. After World War II, my grandparents took over the farm from my great-grandparents. Owned by the same family for over a hundred years, the farm was designated a “Century Farm,” a source of great pride and many fond memories for my family.

Some of my best memories of my grandmother are in her small farmhouse kitchen. Never once did she complain that she had hardly any counter space or that the kitchen also served as the dining room. She was happy with what she had and couldn’t imagine why anyone would want more. She cooked and baked the best down-home country meals, guaranteed to hit the spot after a long day working and playing in the fresh country air.

Grandma’s Peach Cobbler

¼ cup butter/margarine, melted
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1½ tsp. baking powder
¾ cup milk
1 can peaches (or other fruit, but then you’d have to rename your cobbler)
¼ cup sugar
½ – 1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Pour melted butter/margarine in 9X13 pan.

Mix together 1 cup sugar, flour, baking powder and milk.

Pour batter over butter/margarine. Do not stir layers together.

Drain peaches and spoon evenly over batter. Again, do not stir layers together.

Mix together remaining sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle over top.

Bake for 30 minutes.

I love eating this dish while it’s still warm with some milk poured over the top. It’s the family way! Beware, if you plan to take a picture of your cobbler after you make it, you’ll have to act faster than I did or someone will steal a serving before you get a chance!

Here is a brief intro to One Night with the Best Man. I hope you enjoy it.

Alejandro “Alex” Cortez vowed never to return to the family farm, but when his sister makes it the destination for her wedding, he has no choice. The farm’s new owner, sexy agricultural professor Dr. Susan Gundersen, is his only hope for a diversion from the haunting memories.

Susan knows better than to count on people sticking around for her. The farm gives her the roots and permanence she’s craved her entire life. As she helps Alex clear out his family’s mementos from the house, Susan is drawn to the raw and vulnerable man under his carefree exterior. A few kisses later, she falls hard and fast.

Despite their mutual attraction, Susan will never leave the farm and Alex will never consider staying. Will one passionate night with the best man give them the courage to face what they each fear most or drive them apart forever?

To read more about this new release from Sara Daniel please click a vendor’s name AmazoniTunesGoogle Play

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Sara Daniel writes what she loves to read—irresistible romance, from sweet to erotic and everything in between. She battles a serious NASCAR addiction, was once a landlord of two uninvited squirrels, and loses her car keys several times a day. One Night with the Best Man is the latest book in her One Night with the Bridal Party series.

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

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Sloane said @ 12:57 am | Author Friend New Releases | Comments