September 2, 2015
Grilling Season is NOT Over
This is really Studs’ recipe, but I hijacked it for you all. It’s a perfect summer or fall meal and easy to prepare. Plus, the leftover turkey makes marvelous sandwiches.
Turkey Breast on the Grill
Baked Potatoes on the Grill
White Wine – Riesling
Turkey Breast on the Grill
1 leek – chopped
1 large onion – chopped
10 baby carrots – chopped
3 tomatoes – chopped
Bacon strips to cover breast
Cookie sheet – for stability and to prevent pan from burning
Thaw turkey breast in refrigerator for at least one day. Dispose of packet inserted in breast. If not completely thawed, set in a large pot of cold water to complete. Rinse well.
This method is for a gas grill. Preheat grill, both burners, on medium for 15 minutes. Total cooking time is 2 to 3 hours.
Set disposable pan on cookies sheet. Insert cooking rack. Add chopped vegetables. Pat turkey skin dry then place on rack breast up. Lay bacon slices over breast to cover well. Pour in enough chicken broth to cover the pan bottom at least 1 inch. Cover the turkey and pan edges with aluminum foil, crimping the sides well.
Place pan in the middle of the grill. Close lid.
Check the liquid level every hour of roasting. Add water as needed.
Remove foil after 1 ½ hours to allow turkey to brown a bit.
Remove from heat when done. Allow to rest 15 minutes before carving.
Baked Potatoes on the Grill
1 russet potato per person
Wash and dry the potatoes. Rub a little olive oil over each potato to moisten the skin. Rip off aluminum foil square large enough to wrap each potato separately.
Place potatoes on upper shelf of grill or, if you have enough space, alongside the turkey pan. Grill for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Test if done by poking a potato with a toothpick. It should insert easily.
To serve, remove foil, slit potatoes open, press the sides together to allow potato to mound. Top with the butter, sour cream, chives, and pepper.
1 fresh broccoli
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. butter
1 glove garlic pressed
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
Cut broccoli segments from the stem. Discard stem.
Preheat a frying pan over medium heat. Pour in olive oil, then add butter. When the foam subsides, add the broccoli pieces, turning them to coat well with the oil and butter. You may need a little more oil. Be careful not to add too much.
Add the pressed garlic over the top of the broccoli. Sauté until just tender, about 6 minutes.
Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.
Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.
Only 21 short days until those Naughty Ladies of Nice are back on the net strutting their stuff. The gals have new covers along with expanded stories. Doni, Lisette, and Claudette are excited to meet you on September 22. Here’s a sneak peek at Book One in the series.
Satisfy all your cravings at cooking school.
Determined to prove herself and shed her party girl image, Donatienne Dubois pins her hopes on the exclusive cooking school in Nice, France. One by one her expectations are shattered by a foul-mouthed parrot, a bogus Michelin chef, and a headmistress with a heart of tungsten steel. Doni’s lifesaver is a bad boy hunk too hot not to handle.
Mark Anderson is incognito and hating every minute. To pose as a student while keeping tabs on a rich wild child is his version of hell, until he partners with the dish of Crème Brule good enough to eat.
Class takes on a whole new meaning as Doni and Mark heat up the kitchen when they discover honey has better uses than sweetening tea.
August 31, 2015
NFL Needs Some Good News
by Anne Montgomery
The NFL has a perception problem. Domestic abuse, child abuse, cheating. Understandably, our most popular and lucrative team spectator sport is trying to rid itself of a host of bad press, much of which has threatened to alienate close to half the league’s fans.
It may come as a shock to some football buffs, but about 45% of the NFL’s fan base is female. Women spend roughly 1.5 billion dollars annually on team memorabilia, half the league’s total sales. The NFL’s market value is listed at 45 billion dollars, equal almost to Starbucks. Now imagine if the company that provides your morning latte disregarded half its clientele.
Those at the helm of the NFL understand they have a PR problem and have scrambled in an effort to eradicate the idea that they regard women as second-class citizens. Last September, the league hired four women, who, according to Commissioner Roger Goodell, will work “on the development and implementation of the league’s policies, resources and outreach on issues of domestic violence and sexual assault.” Admittedly, a good start, assuming the group actually has any real power.
Then the NFL hired a female official. Sarah Thomas will take the field this season, the first woman to don stripes and toss a yellow flag for the league. Also a positive step, though it’s easy to question the timing of this hire. Clearly, the NFL could have put a woman in the officiating ranks earlier, but why quibble.
Now, the Arizona Cardinals have announced that they have “hired” a woman to coach the team’s linebackers. Media outlets blared the information with almost giddy abandon. One had to go fairly deep into most news articles to discover that Dr. Jen Welter, who holds a master’s degree in sports psychology and a Ph.D. in psychology, is, in fact, an intern with the team, which by definition means “a student or trainee who works, sometimes without pay, at a trade or occupation in order to gain work experience.” (Imagine, holding a Ph.D. and being asked to intern.) Welter has played and coached in women’s leagues, still, at this time, she is not projected to be working with the Cardinals come kickoff on opening day of the regular season.
While the Cardinals appear to have independently come up with the idea of bringing Welter on board, one can’t help but wonder if NFL executives – read the Commissioner’s office – didn’t send down some double top-secret directive to all teams: Find a place for women now!
In the interest of full disclosure, I have been an NFL fan for most of my life. Despite the league’s foibles, there’s probably little they can do to drive me away from my TV come Sunday. Still the NFL would be wise to consider the concerns of all of its fans, lest it drop that golden egg and no longer find itself listed as the highest-grossing sport league in the world.
Now, if we could just get them to do something about those cheerleaders.
Anne Montgomery was interviewed by Fox News. Click here to read or watch what Anne had to say.
Not only is Anne Montgomery a sports aficionado, she is also a passionate author. Here is a little from her latest mystery.
A Light in the Desert traces the story of a pregnant teenager who bears an odd facial deformity, a Vietnam veteran and former Special Forces sniper who, as he descends into the throes of mental illness, latches onto the girl, and a group of Pentecostal zealots – the Children of Light – who have been waiting over thirty years in the Arizona desert for Armageddon.
The Amtrak Sunset Limited, a passenger train en route to Los Angeles, is derailed in their midst’s, a deadly act of sabotage. Their lives are thrown into turmoil when local and state police, FBI investigators, and a horde of reporters make camp by the twisted wreckage of the Sunset Limited. As the search for the saboteurs continues, the authorities find more questions than answers. The girl mysteriously vanishes, the assassin struggles to maintain his sanity, and a child is about to be born in the wilderness.
To read more from A Light in the Desert please click a vendor’s name:
Sarah Book Publishing – Amazon – Barnes & Noble
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 Wikipedia. Stay connected on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter.
August 26, 2015
Breakfast is Ready!
Multi-published and multi-genre author Vonnie Hughes steps away from her keyboard to bring us a delicious dish that works for breakfast and for lunch. The kitchen is all yours, Vonnie!
2 cups broccoli florets
4 eggs (yeah, I know. 4!! But that’s the way to make it work)
1 cup milk
1 packet of thick vegetable soup (Maggi or whatever brand)
1/3 cup grated tasty cheese
Preheat oven to 180°C or 350°F
Put broccoli into a greased quiche dish or even a shallow ovenproof dish.
Beat eggs with the milk and soup mix. Pour over the broccoli.
Sprinkle the cheese on top.
Bake for 40 minutes.
How about pouring yourself an after breakfast mimosa and then curl up with my latest romantic suspense?
Who can you trust if you can’t trust your own mother? Through the clammy fog, Celie Francis hears the chilling message. “I know who you are, Celie. I know where you live.” And in the terrifying aftermath she reconnects with her dysfunctional family in ways she had never imagined.
Abused and abandoned as a child, Célie Francis knows better than to trust anyone. But after she witnesses a murder, she’s placed in the Unit “New Zealand’s witness protection program” where she’s expected to trust strangers with her life.
It’s psychologist Brand Turner’s job to ease witnesses into their new identities, not to protect them, but Célie stirs feelings in him that are far from professional. When it appears someone is leaking critical information that could endanger Célie, Brand will do anything to protect her. But first he has to convince her to trust him.
Adrift in a frightening world, Célie would like to believe the handsome psychologist is everything he seems, but as witnesses are murdered and danger swirls around them, Célie must decide “can she trust Brand with her life?
Please click a vendor’s name to read more from Lethal Refuge The Wild Rose Press and Amazon.
Vonnie Hughes is a multi-published author in both Regency books and contemporary suspense. She loves the intricacies of the social rules of the Regency period and the far-ranging consequences of the Napoleonic Code. And with suspense she has free rein to explore forensic matters and the strong convolutions of the human mind. Like many writers, some days she hates the whole process, but somehow she just cannot let it go.
Vonnie was born in New Zealand, but she and her husband now live happily in Australia. If you visit Hamilton Gardens in New Zealand be sure to stroll through the Japanese Garden. These is a bronze plaque engraved with a haiku describing the peacefulness of that environment. The poem was written by Vonnie.
Learn more about Vonnie Hughes on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Goodreads.
August 24, 2015
How Does Your Garden Grow?
by Emma Lane
Gardens grow of their own volition. You labor with the lay out and lovingly place the plants. By the third year, your garden has selected what it will and will not accept. But it’s gorgeous, healthy and you wouldn’t change a single thing. (Okay, maybe you’ll move that fragrant dianthus in front of that balloon flower which is taller.) Some of it is your fault because you couldn’t resist that church sale and your neighbor shared several perennials. Status normal. Allow your garden nostalgia. You show it off by saying, “I got that one for next to nothing on sale, Susan Smith gave me that one when she moved to Florida, I miss her so! My mother-in-law finally broke down and shared that rose. Would you believe how she can make cuttings and root them?” This iris came from … and that one came from…
SEASONAL: Do plan spring shrubs/bulbs which are so welcome. Fall red/yellow leaves.
INVASIVE: When someone mentions the plant is invasive, believe it! I love the golden blooms of Rudbeckia Goldstrum, but it will take over if given the chance. Plant it way over there where you can mow it if need be; same with any sort of mint.
PARTNERSHIPS: Delphenium back up to fences almost poetically, a partnership. Peonies are almost small bushes. I love to make a back ground hedge row from them. Yellow coreopsis and red yarrow are made in heaven for hot colors.
FRIENDSHIP: The deer, rabbits, groundhog, the neighbor’s pets, etc have destroyed some of your hard work? This is your opportunity to share and discover new friends. What better way to become acquainted? You’ll learn to laugh and maybe learn new gardening secrets while you commiserate.
Now that your garden is all you want it to be, take a good book and relax in all that beauty. May I suggest my new release?
Can an arrogant duke overcome his prejudice against a beautiful but managing female in time to find true love and happiness?
Miss Amabel Hawkins acknowledges her unusual upbringing, but she thinks James Langley, the Duke of Westerton, might be a tad unbalanced when he protests her efforts to right his badly managed properties. The duke, who has been away on the king’s business, demonstrates no respect for the beautiful but managing Miss Hawkins. Amabel has taken refuge at Westerton, fleeing from a forced marriage to a man who claims to be her relative in order to gain control of her young brother’s estate.
The Duke arrives home to find his estate under the firm control of a beautiful but managing female. His suspicions are fueled by his recent task of spy-hunting and he wonders if Amabel Hawkins is just who she seems. While a dastardly spy lurks, a wicked man poses as her cousin threatening to take over the guardianship of her young brother. Amabel might be falling in love, but she knows for certain the duke would never approve of a meddlesome woman, and she decides to flee his estate. Will the duke finally realize the true value of the woman he loves or will his prejudice ruin his chances forever?
Fatigue and the effects of the brandy on top of the ale now gave his gait a distinct wobble. He chuckled, amused at his condition.
As he reached for the portrait of great Uncle Barney, he lurched into the back of the red leather sofa in front of the cosy fire. “Deuce take it,” he exclaimed when a rounded arm rolled into view. He spotted the gentle curve of a hip and walked around to the front, where he spied a tumbled haze of dark curls hiding a face. It is indeed a female—a sleeping female.
Who was she? The gown was too rich for his household staff. Curious, he knelt beside the sofa.
“Only one way to find out,” he whispered and moved one dark curl. He sat back, satisfied when a handsome face swam into view. She sighed and rolled over, revealing a generous figure and a pair of rosy lips. She might be Sleeping Beauty—but not one of my relatives. He leaned over and kissed those tempting lips.
As he lingered there, she sighed and came partially awake. He could not resist. He deepened the kiss and sounds of satisfaction like yum and umm came from those delicious lips. Her hand stroked his face, then reached around his head to pull him closer. Delighted with this turn of events, the Duke of Westerton complied enthusiastically and extended an arm around a slender waist. How much of the ale and brandy had he imbibed? Dizziness overcame his senses as he slid down on the floor and knew no more.
Amazon buy link
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.
August 19, 2015
A Cool Drink for the Dog Days of Summer
from Leigh Goff
When Sophie, the heroine from my novel Disenchanted, sits down for a chat with her quirky Aunt Janie in their enchanted garden, the two partake of a delicious beverage. Here’s the recipe to keep you cool during the hot weather.
Fizzy Blood Orangeade
1 cup of freshly squeezed blood orange juice from 4-5 blood oranges
½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice from 2 oranges
1 cup Sprite
1 cup shaved/crushed ice
Gently stir all ingredients into a small pitcher. Pour into chilled glasses filled with ice cubes and enjoy.
Do you have any special recipes that you like to share with a friend or quirky aunt?
How about a brief intro to my novel that appeals to people of all ages while you sip your Fizzy Blood Orangeade?
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.
Mirror World Publishing – Amazon
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 Mirror World Publishing. 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 />Buy Links:
Mirror World Publishing – Amazon
August 17, 2015
Congratulations, Sharon Ledwith, on Another Outstanding Novel
There is no moving forward without first going back.
Lilith was a young girl with dreams and a family before the final destruction of Atlantis shattered those dreams and tore her family apart. Now refugees, Lilith and her father make their home in the Black Land. This strange, new country has no place in Lilith’s heart until a beloved high priestess introduces Lilith to her life purpose—to be a Timekeeper and keep time safe.
Summoned through the seventh arch of Atlantis by the Children of the Law of One, Lilith and her newfound friends are sent into Atlantis’s past, and given a task that will ultimately test their courage and try their faith in each other. Can the Timekeepers stop the dark magus Belial before he changes the seers’ prophecy? If they fail, then their future and the earth’s fate will be altered forever.
“Why are you here?” Lilith asked. “You’ve already got your life seal.”
“I have more questions for Istulo.” She continued to stare at the disk.
Lilith sighed. “My name is Lilith. What’s your name?”
Her shoulders relaxed slightly. A hint of a smile broke out on her face. Her upturned nose wiggled. “She-Aba. I was born here in the Black Land. Both my parents arrived from Atlantis fourteen years ago yesterday. My mother gave birth to me the next day.”
Lilith perked up. “That would make today your birthday!”
She-Aba beamed. “Yes. That’s why I’m here. For my birthday last year, I had my life reading done by Istulo. But recently, there’s been a hiccup in my plans. It’s like my life seal rearranged itself, and now I’m confused. I’m here for a reaffirmation.”
“What’s the problem?”
She-Aba traced her life seal with the tip of her perfectly shaped fingernail. “My lifetime occupation was supposed to be to design clothing for the people of the various positions in the court and temples.”
Lilith smirked. “That makes perfect sense.”
“I know, right? So why, all of a sudden, would my life seal change from designing clothing to something completely different?”
Lilith arched a fair brow. “How different?”
“Well, instead of clothing people in lavish robes and gowns for others to appreciate, the seal suggests that I’ll be doing the opposite by covering up and hiding the truth. I don’t understand it at all. I thought my life was all planned out for me.”
“I thought mine was too, until my country blew up and slid into the ocean,” Lilith muttered.
“Hey, look at the bright side, at least your hair isn’t red like mine.”
Lilith eyed She-Aba carefully. “What’s wrong with red hair? My uncle has red hair and it suits him fine.”
She-Aba moved in closer. “If you haven’t noticed already, there aren’t many redheads around here. The natives think red is magical, and anyone with red hair is considered a freak of nature.”
“That’s ridiculous!” Lilith said loud enough to cause an echo down the marble hallway. “Is that the reason why those artists were rude to you? Because you have red hair?”
“Red is a very powerful color,” a raspy voice said from behind both girls.
Lilith and She-Aba jumped. They slowly turned to find Istulo hovering over them.
Wearing the same white gown and orichalcum headband Lilith saw her dressed in before, Istulo nodded slightly before she said, “Red represents the essence of life—if we are drained of blood, we are drained of energy. The people of the Black Land understand this, and therefore red is reserved only for their gods and goddesses.”
Lilith giggled. “Don’t tell She-Aba that, she’ll think she’s a goddess.”
Amazon Kindle – Paperback
Mirror World Publishing eBook – Paperback
Barnes & Noble Nook – Paperback
And now for a great giveaway!
One winner takes it all, including the handcrafted necklace pictured here.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/YA time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, available through Mirror World Publishing, and is represented by Walden House (Books & Stuff) for her teen psychic 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+, and Goodreads. Look up her Amazon Author page for a list of current books.
Check out THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS TIME TRAVEL SERIES Facebook page.
August 12, 2015
Easy Comfort Food
My British friend, author Susan Lodge, is here with a delicious recipe that I make even when I have time to cook. The kitchen is all yours, Suze.
The world moves faster now and we all have time crunches that take away from home cooking. But here is the perfect meal for when you are really pressed to feed the family.
Quick Pasta Bake
300gm (10oz) dried pasta Penne works well
1 large onion chopped
3 garlic cloves peeled and crushed
4 rashers of thick bacon cooked and chopped into bite size pieces
1-2 tbsp. of olive oil
125 ml (4 oz) water or wine
400gm (14 oz) tin of plum tomatoes.
1 tsp. dried mixed herbs
110 gm (4oz) of hard cheese grated or mozzarella sliced.
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 180°C or 350°F.
Cook the pasta for the prescribed time on the packet.
In a large pan gently fry the onions and garlic in the olive oil for a few minutes until soft and transparent.
Add tomatoes, water/wine, bacon, and mixed herbs. Season with salt and pepper.
Simmer gently for five to ten minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly.
Combine the drained pasta and tomato mixture and turn in to an oven proof dish.
Sprinkle with cheese and bake ten minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbling.
Nice served with a green salad and some crusty bread.
Here is a peek at my Historical Romance releasing October 6, 2015 through Crooked Cat Publishing. This is a tale of treachery and passion set against the backdrop of Nelson’s Navy. I hope you enjoy it.
The naval frigate was his life. It was her nightmare.
Daughter of England’s foremost code breaker, Jane Charlesworth is the only person thought capable of deciphering a vital Government document. But when a naval frigate is sent to enlist her services and transport her to Malta Jane is filled with horror. Haunted with terrible memories of an earlier voyage, she has no intention of putting herself under the protection of the Admiralty ever again.
Anxious to be at the forefront of the action, as the Peace with France crumbles, Adam Marston is livid when his ship is diverted to collect a reluctant blue stocking whose accusing eyes and insolent manner hold nothing but contempt for him and his orders. Sparks fly when Captain and code breaker find they have different ideas on how to handle a French attack, a malicious Chaplain, and boisterous midshipmen.
Duty and desire collide as Malta approaches but Jane is determined that her judgment will not be clouded by the Captain who, once he has dispatched his Rebellious Cargo , will sail out of her life and back to his convoy. But as the ship docks Jane’s life becomes a nightmare and she is forced to gamble that Adam is the one person she can trust.
As passion battles with duty will future orders throw them together or tear them apart?
Susan Lodge’s first publication was a story for a UK national woman’s magazine. Heady with this breakthrough, she went on to write her first novel. She loves writing contemporary and historical romance, usually with a large dose of humour. Susan believes the romance genre lends itself superbly to funny moments, as love can make people act very oddly.
Susan has a science degree and always wanted to be an astronaut, but instead spent most of her career in the Civil Service. She would love to secure a seat on Richard Branson’s space flight. However, to find the funds she needs to either write a best seller or win the lottery.
After working in several cities including London and Bristol, she and her husband moved down to the Hampshire coast to raise their family.
Catch up with Susan on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.
August 10, 2015
Tough Girls Win
HL Carpenter is here with their fabulous middle grade fantasy The SkyHorse. This entertaining novel nails life as a young girl with all the good and the awful. A excellent read for all ages.
Tovi thinks finding a flying horse is fabulous luck – until a mysterious stranger says finders aren’t always keepers.
When fourteen year old Tovi Taggert moves to Honeysuckle Hollow to take care of her grandmother, she has a hard time fitting in. For one thing, she’s been tagged with the hated nickname Too-Tall Tovi. For another, everyone at Honeysuckle Hollow High believes Tovi played the Choking Game with someone else’s boyfriend – and made out with him besides.
As if she doesn’t have enough problems, after the latest stand-off in the school hallway, Tovi finds a gorgeous speckled egg nestled in a feather lined nest.
She takes the egg home – and mysterious visitors begin appearing almost immediately. Even more worrisome, whatever is inside the egg starts chipping its way out.
When the egg hatches, revealing a winged horse, Tovi’s troubles multiply.
As she struggles to return the horse to the magical land where he belongs, Tovi must make a courageous decision – and accept what that decision will cost her.
They want me to cry.
I stand in the middle of Honeysuckle Hollow High’s noisy hallway, towering over everybody.
Too-Tall Tovi, that’s me.
Kids swirl past like blobs of sea foam. No one meets my gaze. No one stops. No one offers help. Why would they? They only know two stories about me, neither of them good. They also know interfering with the three girls in front of me will bring the wrath descending on them instead.
Jennifer Stokes stabs her index finger through the air. “I can’t believe what you did, Tovi Taggert!”
M.J. Maher dives in, her too-long teeth pushing out her upper lip. “Chase told us all the details!”
Terri Benton shoves her pointy chin forward. “We thought you wanted to be our friend, Toe-vee, but you’re no friend of ours!”
I did want to be their friend. I do want to be their friend. Tears well in my eyes.
I will not cry. I will NOT.
I clench my jaw.
It’s all mental, Tovi. You can’t cry when you’re smiling. Gramma’s always saying stuff like that. Sometimes what she says comes in handy. Like now.
I force my lips into a fake smile, the only defense I have. Almost. I can also rely on what Mom calls my smart mouth.
“You’re no friends of mine, either.” The words settle my nerves, the smile dries my tears.
Thanks, Gramma. You were right. It is all mental.
The three of them glare at me. Jen’s hand clenches around the strap of her black backpack, as if she’s barely keeping herself from clawing my eyes out with her fingernails. Red splotches spread across her skinny neck and her green eyes glitter as brightly as sunbeams off the waves in the Gulf of Mexico. She looks like a mutant sea turtle.
Even smart-mouthed me knows better than to say so.
“Stay away from us, you…you giant. Stay away from the game tonight. And stay away from Chase. He’s my boyfriend.” She whirls and shoves through the crowd, her straight blond hair splashing against the back of her shirt with every step.
“You don’t fit in here and you’re never going to.” M.J.’s smile is eel thin. “Why don’t you go back where you came from?”
I wish I could. That doesn’t seem like the right response either.
M.J. jerks her head at Terri. The two of them hurry after Jen. They stomp through the double front doors of the old school building without looking back and disappear into the waiting bus.
I didn’t cry. I won’t cry.
A weight heavier than my book bag and as real anchors me in place. The fake smile and false courage ebb. I tremble as I stand in the middle of the hallway, interrupting the flow of students like a boulder in a river. A five-foot-eleven and three-quarter-inch boulder.
Kids stream around me, bump into me, rush past me, gush out the door to the parking lot. It’s Friday afternoon, the last day of the first week of school. A few hours ago I was as anxious as everyone else for classes to be over and the weekend to start.
That was before Chase Webber told Jen what happened in Honeysuckle Hollow Park last night.
No, that’s not true. He told her his version of what happened.
I don’t know why he lied. All I know is I didn’t tell about the Choking Game and I didn’t make out with Chase. Well, not exactly. I mean—oh, what’s the difference? Jen’s not interested in my side of the story.
I trudge out of the brick building into the Florida September afternoon.
Chase has lived in Honeysuckle Hollow all his life. He’s hot. He’s smart. He’s popular. Of course Jen would take his word over a newcomer who arrived in town two months ago. A giant she nicknamed Too-Tall Tovi.
Even so, I hoped she would listen to me. I thought she was my friend. I thought Chase was too.
I’m a jerk.
And I’m going to have to sit in the school bus being ignored by Jen, M.J., and Terri and surrounded by the whispers of everyone else. My stomach sinks. Where’s the bus monitor? Mrs. Morrison, the principal, is on duty today. She has her hands full with a group of tenth graders who are chucking the week’s assignments into the air.
Now’s my chance.
I hurry down the sidewalk in the opposite direction. At the end of the building, I turn left and look over my shoulder to make sure I’ve gotten away without being spotted.
“Well, if it ain’t Too-Tall,” a familiar voice says. “Wanna meet me in the park again tonight?”
Chase and his duo of best buds are leaning against the side of the building, smoking cigarettes from a pack one of them probably shoplifted. All three wear cowboy boots, jeans, and dark mirrored sunnies. They look like a country band. They’re all beyond cool.
Six reflections of my brown eyes stare back at me in the surface of their uptilted sunglass lenses. My hair sticks out. It never stays in the ponytail holder.
Why am I worried about what I look like? Real friends wouldn’t care what I look like.
I blink away the surge of wetness in my eyes and smile at Chase. “Okay. What time?”
His thick dark eyebrows crawl into a frown. They resemble fat, fuzzy caterpillars as they disappear beneath the metal frame of his sunglasses.
“Whoa, Chase, you were right about her.” Ted Eskew’s teeth flash in the sun, bright white against last summer’s beach-party-and-volleyball tan. He exhales a stream of smoke. “Why don’t you meet us all in the park tonight after the game, Too-Tall?”
Ray Mead, who never has an original thought, says, “Yeah! I’m for that!”
The three of them start laughing and poking each other. I walk through the stink of sweat and cigarette smoke mingled with body spray, holding my head high.
“Look at her stick that nose in the air. Wonder what the weather’s like at that altitude.” A mocking tone replaces Chase’s frown. “Hey, Too-Tall, you sure were a lot friendlier last night.”
Ted and Ray hoot with laughter and reach out to grab me. I dodge sideways and break into a run.
To read more of The SkyHorse, please click a vendor’s name Amazon – Amazon UK – Smashwords
HL Carpenter is the pen name of a Florida-based mother/daughter duo who writes from their studio in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, the Carpenters enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity. Learn more about HL Carpenter and their multi-genre books on their website and their Amazon Author Page.
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August 5, 2015
A Perfect Way to Go
by Chris Pavesic
Death by Chocolate Ice-Cream Cake is a special cake that I make for friends/family who love chocolate. It is a perfect treat for a summer birthday. This is a big cake, so be sure to invite a lot of people to celebrate!
For this recipe you will need three 8-inch cake pans. I use the disposable aluminum ones (eco friendly brands of course) because I have yet to find 3 glass ones that are the right size.
Ice Cream Filling
Use any type of ice cream or frozen custard that you want. For the cake pictured here, I used cherry vanilla. A single half-gallon will fill the pan completely.
Take the ice cream out of the freezer and let it soften for a few minutes. Line the cake pan with Saran Wrap before adding the softened ice cream so it is easier to remove after it re-freezes.
Spoon ice cream into the cake pan and smooth until it is level.
Place another piece of Saran Wrap over the top before putting it back in the freezer. Refreeze for several hours. (You can do this step the night before to ensure that it is frozen completely.)
2 cups organic cake flour
2 cups organic white sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 sticks butter
4 tbsp. cocoa
1 cup water
1 cup whole milk or 1 cup Silk (Almond Milk)
1 tbsp. vanilla
1 package semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Sift together the cake flour, sugar, soda, powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
In a saucepan set on medium heat, mix the butter, cocoa, and water until the butter is melted. Bring to a boil and then pour the mixture over the dry ingredients.
Blend the milk, eggs, and vanilla together and gradually add to the mixture, stirring constantly. (You can also use a hand mixer on low at this stage.) The batter should be fluffy and form stiff peaks.
Add in the package of semi-sweet chocolate chips. Stir with a spoon at this point until they are distributed evenly.
Divide the mixture between the two remaining baking pans. The pans should be lightly buttered and floured prior to pouring in the batter.
Bake 20 minutes or so.
Let the cake cool completely. Remove the two layers from the pans and place on plates.
About an hour before serving, place the two cakes in the freezer.
Whipped Cream and Chocolate Topping
1 can Redi-Whip Whipped Cream
1 bar dark chocolate 80% or higher cocoa
Using a knife or vegetable peeler, chop/shave the chocolate bar. It may tend to crumble a bit if you shave it—this is OK. (This step is a bit messy so you may want to do it in advance and just save the chocolate shavings/pieces in a plastic baggie until you add it to the top of the cake.
You have to work quickly. Remove the bottom cake from the freezer and place it on the platter/plate you intend to use for serving. Remove the ice cream from the freezer. Remove the Saran Wrap from the top and invert it onto the frozen cake. Remove the bottom of the Saran Wrap. Take the second cake from the freezer and place on top, pressing lightly to level. “Frost” the cake with the Redi-Whip, creating a border on the top. Inside of the border, sprinkle the chocolate pieces/shavings.
Here is a brief introduction to Wonderland, the latest fantasy book by Chris Pavesic. Enjoy!
You may think you know her story.
Throughout her life Alice has faced fear and isolation, but she has never given up hope. In the City by the Bay she has one last chance to find happiness; one last chance to find friendship; one last chance to find Wonderland.
Click here to watch the YouTube video.
Read excerpts from all of the books written by Chris Pavesic on Amazon.
Chris Pavesic is a fantasy author who lives in the Midwestern United States and loves Kona coffee, steampunk, fairy tales, and all types of speculative fiction. Between writing projects, Chris can most often be found reading, gaming, gardening, working on an endless list of DIY household projects, or hanging out with friends. Learn more about Chris on her website.
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August 3, 2015
Wiccan House is Open and Waiting for You
Multi published author Dominique Eastwick has a new paranormal romance you will want to read over again. Shifting Hearts is Book 1 in the captivating Wiccan Haus series. Be sure to get your copy and snuggle in with a sexy shape-shifter.
The last of his kind…
Rekkus is the last of the great Black Tiger weres, and he’s happy to stay that way. Working as head of security for the Wiccan Haus, a magical spa for inner healing, he has enough danger to keep him busy. Unfortunately, the Fates are not content with him being comfortable.
Alone and discouraged…
Dana has walked away from everything—her fiancé, family, job, and apartment. A stay at the Wiccan Haus may be the only way she can move on. But what she finds isn’t what she expects, nor is it what she thought she’d been seeking.
If they can open themselves up they might discover that being together can be better than being alone and learn that passion can burn in those who least expect it.
Meet the unusual residents of the Wiccan Haus.
The staff can get a little hairy, and not all of the guests eat what’s served in the dining hall. But the Rowan siblings do what they can to make the resort a place of healing and peace, using all of their years of practice. At the Haus, where humans and paranormals reside side by side, everyone in need of the services are welcome. If some happens to fall in love then all the better.
Welcome to the Wiccan Haus.
“It’s not safe for you here with me. I left you alone last night, but, if you stay, I’m not sure I can honor a request to stop a second time.”
“I felt it, too,” she blurted, unable to keep it to herself any longer.
Rekkus moved so fast, she never saw him actually take a step. Strong, wet arms wrapped around her, and her breasts pressed against his chest. His eyes searched hers. He must have seen what he searched for because his lips were on hers with feverous desire before she formed another thought, demanding she open for him. And no part of her considered denying him anything. Butterflies churned in her stomach until she shook. In all the years with Frank, and it had been a great many, she’d never felt this, like fire threatened to engulf her.
Dana wound her arms around his neck, running her fingers through his damp hair and deepening the kiss. His moan allowed her to gather the nerve and strength to urge him forward. He forced her past her comfort zone into accepting the sexy seductress screaming to be let out. She knew what he most desired because she wanted it too. Wanted him, all of him, every naked inch, right there, next to the lake, not even a ten-minute walk from the Haus. Anyone might stumble across them, and she didn’t care. It almost added to the allure of having him. What she needed it to be.
Amazon – Amazon UK – ARe – Kobo
Award-Winning author Dominique Eastwick currently calls North Carolina home with her husband, two children, one crazy lab and one lazy cat. Dominique spent much of her early life moving from state to state as a Navy Brat. Because of that, traveling is one of her favorite pasttimes. When not writing you can find Dominique with her second love…her camera.
Learn more about Dominique Eastwick on her website, blog, and Amazon author page. Be sure to join her Newsletter for up to the minute info on new releases, contests, and more.
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