Sloane Taylor - Sweet as Honey, Hotter Than Hell

February 10, 2016

No Fudging on Romance

by Sara Daniel

It’s February, the month when romantics, conformists, and panicked spouses all converge on florists and chocolate shops. If you live in the northern two-thirds of the northern hemisphere, by all means, buy your loved one some flowers. (Nothing’s going to grow in my tundra of a front yard any time soon!) However, for a personal touch, step away from the candy aisle and pick up the kitchen spatula to make that special someone a pan of homemade fudge.

February Fudge

7 oz marshmallow creme
1½ cups sugar
⅔ cup evaporated milk
¼ cup butter
¼ tsp. salt
2 cups milk chocolate chips
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine marshmallow creme, sugar, evaporated milk, butter and salt in a saucepan. Stirring constantly, bring to a full rolling boil over medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes, still stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

Add both kinds of chocolate chips and stir until chips are melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in vanilla.

Pour in foil-lined 8X8 pan. Chill until firm, roughly 2 hours. Makes 2½ pounds.

From the basic recipe, you can add caramel, pecans, peanut butter and more, depending on your loved one’s preference. Using a cookie cookies, you can even cut the fudge into hearts or pour it into heart-shaped bread or muffin/cookie tins while it is still warm. Make your fudge as unique as you are to delight your significant other and infuse decadent sweetness into your love life.

Here’s a little from my fun release that shows how much I loved playing with the Brothers Grimm. Hope you like it.

Before Armina Keer can have the baby she dreams of, she needs her estranged husband Ian to sign their divorce papers. Putting everything on the line for a second chance, Ian must convince her their love is worth saving, and Armina must decide if love is worth sacrificing her dreams.

Ian Keer might not deserve a second chance with his wife, but he’s not going to give up one either, not with the immediate flaming attraction still between them. While her uncles’ antics wreak havoc on life at The Inn, he offers her the ultimate gamble: Spend the night with him, and afterwards he’ll sign the papers if she still wants to leave.

With everything riding on one night together, Ian must convince her that their love is strong enough the second time around, and Armina must decide if love is worth sacrificing her dreams.

“You hate me,” Ian whispered, feeling more nauseous than if he’d ingested a prosthetic eyeball. How could she not hate him when she believed their personal relationship had meant less to him than an employment issue?

Armina gazed beyond his left shoulder. “I don’t hate you. I’ve never hated you. When we got married, I understood you had a strong work ethic combined with an unusual drive to succeed and a consuming passion for the Inn. I knew I’d come in second to this place.”

He opened his mouth, wanting to argue, but couldn’t. If she’d made him choose, he wouldn’t have picked her.

I thought I was okay with it,” she continued. “After all, I loved the Inn, too, and wanted you to realize your vision for it. Turns out I wasn’t okay. I didn’t realize how distant second place actually was.” She shrugged her slim shoulders. “Live and learn, right?”

Not right. He wanted to take back the lesson and teach her about real love instead. “You never should have had to settle for second place. With me or with anyone else. No one has the right to ask that of you.”

“Agreed.” Her voice came out stronger, her shoulders squared, and she looked him directly in the eye. “Now you understand why I want a divorce.”

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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.

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

Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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February 8, 2016

February is Also for Paranormal Romance

by Leigh Goff

Sixteen-year-old Sophie Goodchild, the half-witch main character from my YA fantasy romance, Disenchanted is here to answer the following February This or That questions.

Chocolates or Flowers?

My Aunt Janie, an herbalist witch who owns a shop called Scents and Scentsabilities, has infused a deep appreciation for plant magic into my head and heart, but she also makes a mean enchanted chocolate confection to help me keep secrets and it melts on my tongue in the most delicious way. I’m torn on this question, but if I have to choose, I choose flowers because they really communicate so much more sentiment than chocolate, and they come in handy when you want to concoct magical products like Tulips to Kiss Stick and Forever First Love Lip Balm.

Going out or staying in?
Staying in. Hands down. When you are dating a guy as hot as mine, you want to spend as much alone time together as possible. His name is Alexavier. He’s American, but went to school in London, so he has a dreamy British accent. He’s tall, dark-haired, and a bad boy at heart. Did I mention he’s forbidden? Oh yeah. *Swoon*

Fancy restaurant or pizza/burger joint?
I’m going with fancy restaurant on this one. Witches own most of the pizza/burger/sandwich shops in Wethersfield, and sometimes, they add enchanted ingredients like Parisian basil to their Witch Wraps to keep customers coming back. I’ll take mine without Parisian basil, thank you very much!

Action flick or romantic comedy?
Alexavier really prefers action flicks because he is all about action. He never shies away from a fight. He even goes out in thunderstorms looking for trouble. That’s how we met. Me, I prefer watching zombie flicks with my pal, Callum. My friend, Macey thinks there is a love triangle going on with Alexavier, Callum, and me, but as sweet as Callum is, my heart belongs to Alexavier.

Nightclub or ballroom?
Ballroom. And only because of the weird dreams I’ve been having lately where I find myself wearing seventeenth century gowns and dancing to harpsichord music with a well-dressed gentleman who looks a lot like Alexavier. I think my witch ancestor is trying to tell me something…

Coffee or cocktails?
Coffee. I’m too young to drink cocktails and with the sleepless nights I’ve been having thanks to a witchy ghost from the past, caffeine is exactly what I need to wake up and keep me out of trouble. Good thing I have my mom’s diamond bloodcharm to enhance my magic, just in case trouble finds me and I’m not caffeinated.

Candy or Fresh Fruit?
Fresh fruit if they happen to be chocolate covered strawberries. Here’s my favorite recipe from Food.com:

Wickedly Delicious Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Photo by Ambro

2 pints strawberries, with stems if possible
1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (or milk chocolate chips)
2 tbsp. corn syrup
6 tbsp. butter

Wash strawberries and pat dry. Place on paper towels until they reach room temperature.

Melt chocolate chips, corn syrup, and butter in a double boiler, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and dip each strawberry into chocolate, coating ⅔ of strawberry. Allow excess chocolate to drip off into pan.

Place stem side down on waxed paper covered baking pan or cookie sheet. Refrigerate until set, about 15-20 minutes.

Yields approximately 28 strawberries.

This excerpt from Disenchanted gives you more insight to Sophie and her inner feelings. I hope you enjoy it.

He grinned his seductive grin, letting me glimpse his dangerous streak. Most likely a family trait and I had to make sure I didn’t forget it was there. He did seem different from them, not as affected from the poison running through their veins.

“I’m curious about you.”

My heart pleaded with my head to ignore the doubts and questions, to be in the moment and believe it was possible. “I love my garden, but this is what I like the most about Wethersfield. Right here. Where the star-crossed lovers are buried. Their story…well, it’s an interesting one.”

His lips pursed. He drew back, dejected. “Their story? Their story is a tragedy. One of many in the Mather family history.”

“The end is tragic, but it’s still a love story and this tree…” I raised my hand, admiring its lushness. “It’s a symbol of their forbidden love. Centuries with no berries and now look at it.” The mulberry swayed with the breeze as if it were dancing. The branches flaunted multitudes of pale, red berry clusters that had begun to ripen for the first time. I liked to think the tree was finally done mourning, but I had no idea why it picked this year of all its three hundred plus years.

“You sound like you believe in happy endings.”

“I want to. Don’t you?” He was kind of young to be tainted, I thought. My mind drifted to the possibility he had been jilted by a beautiful duchess during his time in London.

“Like I said, I come from a long line of tragedy in my family.”

I bit my lip for a second. He was right about that. For as long as we knew his family, they had been dropping dead, and usually in the prime of their lives, except for the really mean ones like the reverend, and his father and Zeke. “You know you have to fight for your own happy ending. You have to will it to happen.”

His eyes held mine, leaving me breathless again. I struggled to think straight.
“I’d bet you’re good at willing things to happen.”

A tendril of sable hair tickled my cheek. I brushed it away. “I’m good at making mistakes. Lots of mistakes.”

His eyebrows furrowed with disbelief. “You make it rain flower petals, yet you wallow in self-pity?”

He was aware I created the storm of blossoms. Crud. Of course, he was. There was no good explanation for it. My stomach sank. “I…uh…uh.”

He grinned, not fazed at all by what I could do. “How would you feel about having me as a friend, Sophie?”

My heart fluttered when he said my name, but I glanced at him curiously, not understanding what he was offering. “I choose my friends carefully.” I thought back to my dream last night. I wasn’t afraid of him, but how could I trust him?

He grimaced from my pause. His threw his hands out in front of him. “Look, I know you hate my family. And we haven’t exactly gotten along swimmingly, but I was thinking, it might be easier for both of us if we could find some middle ground.”

Incredulity colored my tone. “You want to be friends?”

“Why not?” he replied.

I shook my head. “Surprisingly weird.”

“Me?”

“Your suggestion.”

“It’s not weird at all.” He extended his hand to me as if he were serious. “Shake on it.”

My heart yearned for his touch, but it wrestled against the logic from my head. “I can’t.” I glanced around, knowing that since the Wethersfield Witch Trials, minus the rare exceptions, witches were forbidden to enter into any kind of a relationship with ordinaries, especially the Mathers. “This is crazy. Our families are enemies and…and I hate you.” My lips tingled from the devil’s bit, confirming what I already felt. It was a lie. I didn’t hate him at all. In fact, I feared it was the opposite. “Tell me what you really want from me.” I subtly pointed my finger in his direction.

“Verum,” I whispered in a hushed voice, attempting to cast a truth spell on him. The magic trickled out. I watched for a change in his focus, but as I watched him, a heart shape carved into the bark of the mulberry’s tree trunk behind him. My eyes popped. I closed my mouth, still staring at the engraving. “Wha?” I uttered in disbelief. Mishaps were guaranteed when I was near him.

“What do I want from you?” he repeated back to me, unaware of my fail.

I averted my eyes, feeling ridiculous.

“I want you to be you. You’ve got everyone thinking you’re thoroughly ordinary when you’re the farthest thing from it.”

I peered up at his beautiful face from beneath my lashes. Did he see through me? Did he really know what I was? “What would your father think about you wanting to be my friend?”

“It’s no one’s business but ours.”

“Ours? Like you and me together?” My brow crinkled. “A secret friendship?” I tried to ignore my quickening pulse. Everything in me wanted to believe him. My head railed against the idea. I would be breaking rules and there would be consequences.

He stepped closer. “I think we’re both good at keeping secrets. Why not one more?”

I swallowed hard. “You seem to have everything, including a terror for a brother who’s got your back. Why do you need a friend?”

“Everyone needs a friend.”

He held his hand out, wanting me to shake it while his eyes held me tight. In that moment, dizziness crept in and an overwhelming feeling of falling from a cliff followed. The intensity of it scared me. I put my hand up in a stop motion and pressed my other hand to my stomach, hoping the plummeting sensation would pass. I backed away. My head and heart tore away at each other. “I can’t do this.”

His face bore a forlorn expression. “You’re right. I’m playing with fire, a bad habit of mine. This was stupid of me. I’m sorry.”

Curiosity creased in my brow. “What do you mean ‘playing with fire’?”

His eyes, holding tight to his secret, burned through me. “I mean you. I’m pretending I can control something that’s out of my control. I can’t be around you without getting burned, yet I’m completely drawn to you.” He parted his soft lips. “Like a moth to the flame.”

Buy Links:
Mirror World PublishingAmazon

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 Goodreads.

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February 3, 2016

Don’t Wait for Cupid – Create Your Own Romance

Valentine Day Candlelight Dinner for Two
by Sunny Lane

Someone started a rumor that men are turned on by snazzy clothing. What do you think? We ladies know how we love our jeans and sneakers, but occasionally we are moxie enough to pull out the slinky short dress and wow our fellows. A strappy pair of “love me” spike heels and a sparkly purse complete the outfit. How does it make YOU feel?

Perhaps more important than how HE feels is how dressing up changes our attitudes, and romance starts in the mind, right? A flickering candle on the table can turn even a meatloaf into a dinner date. February is the month to stay in and light a fire; which fire you decide to light is totally up to you. Viva la Valentine’s Day with short dresses, perfume, and candlelight. Oh, and chocolates, of course.

So this Valentine’s Day go all out to create the perfect dinner, I suggest you set the table with three to ten tea lights in pretty glass containers. Nothing spells romance like flickering candlelight. Be sure to use a crisp tablecloth with sparkling silverware. Wine and water glasses should also grace your table. Sparkling water works great if you’re not a wine drinker. Be sure to include red or white napkins tied with red ribbon. A small bouquet of fresh flowers in the center of the table adds an elegant touch. Another larger bouquet on the buffet or coffee table-somewhere in the room adds a little more romance. An apple thing (anything) baking in the oven. Men love the fragrance of baking. Probably so do you.

Appetizer
Start your evening with Fresh Strawberries arranged in a crystal bowl and sprinkled with sugar or confectioner’s sugar accompanied by a glass of white wine, preferably the sparking kind. Don’t forget the napkins and a dish for the stems.

Dinner
Steak (switch to red wine)
Baked potato served with sour cream and bacon chips.
Hearts of lettuce salad with balsamic vinegar dressing
Chunked French Bread
Baked apple for dessert (Recipe Below)
Small chocolates (hopefully he brought them) served with cutting board and a super choice cheese.

Baked Apples

Photo by Stuart Mile

One apple per person
1 tsp. butter per apple
Sprinkle of cinnamon per apple
Tiny dash of nutmeg per apple
Cap full of vanilla per apple
Generous scoop of vanilla ice cream per apple
Whipped cream optional

Core a nice sized apple and place in a micro-safe dish, one, two, four, or however many are waiting impatiently for you to serve. Add the next three ingredients.

Cook on high, covered, for 3 to 5 minutes, check for softness. Do not overcook. Ideally the apple should retain an apple shape, but be soft enough for the fork to easily cut.

To serve, top warm apples with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream. A single squirt of whipped cream is optional.

Enjoy the dessert while you have successfully cleansed your home of anything but the lingering fragrance of apples. A wonderful aroma!

Now that you have everything prepared for a perfect evening, take time for yourself and enjoy my latest erotic romance collection.

Serena Briolette is a young housewife with two children. Check out her adventures and her fertile imagination. Who doesn’t love a cowboy?

Serena Briolette makes a conscious decision to recapture a sensual portion of her inner self she worries has become dormant. An exciting temptation greets her almost instantly and she delights in flirting with the possibilities. Follow Serena through three adventures as she uses her vivid imagination to keep a smile on her pretty face. Does the cop really need a body like that to do his job? Who doesn’t love a cowboy? Certainly not Serena. Naughty or nice? You decide.

EXCERPT
“When did you become so timid? You were once party girl personified.” Memories flashed of dancing cheek to cheek with a tall exceedingly male body whispering compliments, his arms wrapped possessively around her. Had his lips nibbled her ear and trailed kisses across her face and lips? His muscular legs had pressed firmly against hers, and heat flashed as she became conscious of his need. They swayed sensuously against each other to the slow dance tune. She shuddered with the remembered exquisite pleasure of opening her mouth to him as they held the pose, their eyes locked in the crowded dance hall.

Serena nodded and walked to the closet door where she threw the cocktail dress over her head. It slithered and settled, leaving her with half her breasts exposed and most of her legs. The reflection in the mirror now presented someone only slightly familiar—five-feet-five, a well-rounded woman all on display. Nothing shamed her. Her charms were all there for the world to admire, and the total package was not unattractive. Would it do the job?

Brushing her hair backwards, she slid sparkling, dangling earrings to her ears. Nodding her head slightly she watched the light tease and play across the crystals with each of her movements. She shook her shoulders, and her dress lit up like the fireworks on the Fourth of July.

Stockings! She had forgotten her stockings.

She examined her legs, well-tanned and taut from routine exercise classes she attended faithfully. No stockings, she decided. Reaching down, she caressed her bare legs as she peeked over her shoulder at herself in the mirror. “

“My.” The word slipped out involuntarily as she viewed the brief skirt that covered almost nothing, certainly not her modesty.

“Oh, my.” Would she go out in public in such a daring outfit?

Amazon Buy Link

Sunny Lane is as free-spirited as butterflies in summer. She is an author who ventures to walk on the risqué side of life.

Sunny is a Gemini and has many loves that include Traditional Regency as Emma and Cozy Mysteries as Janis. She lives with her patient hubby at the edge of town on a few acres in beautiful Western NY.

Stay connected with Sunny Lane and her devilish teases on Facebook.

To read books from Sunny’s other personalities please click a name:
Emma Lane for Regency – Janis Lane for mysteries.

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February 1, 2016

Coming February 9, 2016

The finest in Victorian era erotic
Sophie’s Voice
from acclaimed author  
Helen Hardt

Lady Sophie MacIntyre has the voice of an angel, but due to her timid nature, no one ever hears it. After losing a bet to her conniving sister, Sophie auditions for the new musicale at the Regal Theatre run by handsome actor Zachary Newland. Though distracted by Zach’s elegant masculinity and her own nerves, she sings well and earns a role in the production.

Zach is a confirmed bachelor, and his taste in women leans toward the glamorous and uninhibited…until he meets the demure Sophie. Her delicate soprano and understated beauty captivate him. She responds to his inappropriate kiss, but quickly dismisses the heat between them. She’s a lady of the peerage, after all, and not one to associate with a rake like him.

Zach, however, is not so easily dissuaded. He gets what he wants, and he intends to help Sophie find her true voice…in more ways than one.

PRE-ORDER LINKS:

KindleAmazon PrintB&N PrintiBooksKoboGoogle PlayBooks-A-Million

Helen Hardt is an attorney and stay-at-home mom turned award-winning romance author and freelance fiction editor. She writes contemporary, historical, paranormal, and erotic romance from her home in Colorado. She’s a mother, a black belt in Taekwondo, a grammar geek, an avid fan of opera and football (as long as her older son and younger son are performing/playing, respectively), and a lover of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.

Learn more about Helen Hardt and her work on her website and author’s blog. Stay in touch on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads Author page.

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January 27, 2016

So Why Did that Chicken Cross the Road?

To star in Dominique Eastwick’s amazing recipe. Although chicken pot pie isn’t exactly a soup, this dish works for me. Not only is it easy, it makes great leftovers. Presenting…

Dom’s Easy Chicken Pot Pie

1 whole chicken/hen
4 large eggs boiled (I like eggs so I usually add more )
2 cans of mixed vegetables
1 small can of cream of mushroom soup*
1 small can of cream of chicken soup
2 cups self rising flour
2 cups milk
2 sticks melted margarine (tub butter has too much water)
All-purpose seasoning

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Boil chicken until done (I like to put it in the slow cooker over night with a dash of all-purpose seasoning). Reserve 1 cup of broth. Pull the chicken off the bone and place in the bottom of a 13×9 casserole dish.

Slice the eggs and lay on top on the chicken.

Mix together vegetables, both soups, and 1 cup of broth. Pour over chicken and eggs.

Combine flour, milk, and margarine. Pour on vegetable mixture. Sprinkle all-purpose seasoning on top.

Bake for 1 hour or until golden.

* You can substitute another can of cream of chicken in place of the mushroom, or one family size can of cream of chicken in place of both cream of chicken and mushroom.

While you have that hour wait how about a cool glass of wine and a hot read from my three book series?

From Book 1: In a time when women have few options for their futures, bluestocking wallflower Llysa Hamilton has aged out of the marriage mart. With offers for her hand unlikely, she enlists Madame Eve’s 1Night Stand service to find the perfect man for one passionate night.

Wolfe Thane, Duke of Foxhaven, has never lacked for anything, but he’s bored with his entitled life. Winning a 1Night Stand voucher in a poker game appears to offer a perfect, commitment-free opportunity to add spice to his sex life.

Hiding behind a mask during her date with the duke offers Llysa anonymity and courage. Wolfe has never met a woman as intriguing and disingenuous.

Can true love be unmasked in just one night or will it be destined to stay on the shelf?

BUY LINK AMAZON

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.

Stay connected on Twitter, Tublr, Tsu, and Pinterest.

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January 25, 2016

GUILT-FREE PLEASURE

by Chris Pavesic

Cooking for a family that has food allergies is challenging, primarily because those allergies may change over time (depending upon the degree of sensitivity). One food my family always enjoyed during the winter months was pea soup—until one member could no longer eat ham. So I worked out this recipe that serves four as a meatless pea soup that meets my family’s flavor standards.

Vegan Pea Soup

IMG_0447

1 cup dried peas
3 cups water
½ cup baby carrots
½ cup green pepper. diced
½ cup celery—diced
1 tbsp. parsley flakes
½ tbsp. celery flakes
2 tsp. sea salt
¼ cup onions, diced (optional)
4 baked or boiled potatoes, peeled and diced (optional)

Rinse the peas thoroughly before placing them in a saucepan. Add 2 cups of water. Add all the remaining ingredients except the potatoes. Cover the saucepan and simmer for 2 hours, adding the final cup of water at about the 1 hour mark.

The peas should be tender. If they are still somewhat firm at the 2 hour mark, continue to simmer, checking the consistency every 15 minutes. It is fine to add a splash of extra water if needed.

Notes: I adjusted the amount of vegetables and used spices that my family members can eat. If you and yours can eat them and enjoy the taste, add ¼ cup diced onions to the ingredients.

Serving Suggestions: This can be served as the soup course of a meal, or combined with the baked potatoes to create a hearty lunch.

Evenly distribute the diced potatoes into four large soup bowls. Ladle the pea soup over the potatoes and enjoy!

Please enjoy an excerpt from my latest fantasy Heart & Mind

Heart and MindA princess with hair as golden as a sunflower and eyes as green as apples was blessed from birth to have beauty and power and to marry a prince on her eighteenth birthday. Unfortunately for all concerned, there is only one eligible prince in all of the kingdoms, and before he agrees to marry the princess, he wants a magical guarantee that she will look a certain way, talk a certain way, and even think only what he wants. What is a fairy godmother to do?

Sometimes a fairy godmother needs more than magic.

In a kingdom by the sea there lived a princess with hair as golden as a sunflower and eyes as green as apples. She was blessed from birth by a fairy godmother who wished for her to have beauty and power and to marry a prince on her eighteenth birthday.

Of course, the fairy godmother deliberately gave this particular blessing to the princess just to make my life a living misery.

You see, one of the benefits of being a fairy godmother is that you know the exact date of your own death. The knowledge just comes to you, sometimes decades in advance. That particular fairy godmother knew she was going to die just before the princess reached the age of eighteen; she wouldn’t be alive to see the outcome of her blessing. Even back then she could feel the magic starting to gather—starting to pour from her body into the wand as it prepared to transfer to the new host—so she decided to have a little fun with the person who inherited her position.

Lucky me.

View the Trailer on YouTube

BUY LINK AMAZON

Praise for Heart & Mind:

“The author has managed to weave an intricate web about being true to yourself. One shouldn’t be guided or led by others. Above all, feel the magic in your own heart. As the fairy godmother believes sometimes it is best not to mess with destiny.” –Chief, USN Ret…VT Town—a Top 500 Reviewer on Amazon.com

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.

Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

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January 20, 2016

Mom’s in the Kitchen and it Smells Good

In keeping with January being National Soup Month, Alicia Joseph is here to share a hearty recipe that’s easy and tasty. Here’s Alicia!

Since most of my mom’s recipes are all in her head and she “eyeballs” most of the ingredients, it was hard to get one from her that she can actually give me precise measurements, but I think I found one. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does.

Potato soup

6 med size potatoes
1 med size raw onion or one med – lg leek, green onions may also be used
3 to 4 stalks celery, chopped fine (some leaves are good)
2-3 cups of milk
2 tbsp. oleo or butter

Peel and cut the potatoes into approximately ¼ inch cubes.

Add them in a large kettle, along with the onion or leek and celery. Cover with enough water to be visible at the top of potatoes. (Do not completely cover with water.) Boil until potatoes are tender and slightly mushy.

Add just enough milk to make the soup a consistency of your choice.

Add oleo or butter.

Heat only until liquid appears ready to boil. Do not let this soup boil.

Place in soup bowls and enjoy!

Here’s a short tease from my sweet romance to enjoy with your soup.

One moment from their past had brought two women together in a way neither could have ever imagined.

Dana Perkins lost her longtime partner in a tragic accident. Although she still struggles with the loss, her profound loneliness is evidence that it is time to move on. She knows her deceased lover, Casey, wouldn’t want her living this way. Dana begins her slow process of letting go, removing reminders of Casey from her house, and dating again.

The women she meets leave Dana uninspired and missing her deceased partner even more. Just as she is about to resign herself to the belief that she will never love again, Dana meets Emily Daniels, a married woman who is deeply conflicted over her attraction to women. Soon, the two women form a friendship that leads to deeper emotions. They discover that one moment in their past had brought them together in a way neither woman could have ever imagined. Is that one moment in time enough to let both women follow their hearts, or will they let their past continue to rule their future?

BUY LINKS
Affinity eBook PressAmazon

Alicia Joseph grew up in Westchester, Illinois. Her first novella, Her Name, was published by Musa Publishing in 2014. Her Name is a sweet, romantic story about a woman who believes the beautiful woman she dreams about is the real love of her life.

Loving Again is her second published novella. Alicia is currently working on a new novel called A Penny on the Tracks, a coming of age story about love and friendship. Alicia has many works-in-progress that she hopes to finish soon.

When she is not writing, the author enjoys volunteering with animals, rooting for her favorite sports teams, and playing “awesome aunt” to her nine nieces and nephews.

Learn more about Alicia Joseph on her blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

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January 18, 2016

SOUP!

by Lizzie T. Leaf

Our grocery stores occasionally send special prices on a few items for card members. One of ours for August was sweet potatoes, or yams as the notice read. So of course, I had to take advantage of the deal.

Thank you to Elise who shared her recipe on Simply Recipes. Her swas delicious even without the tweaks I made to spice it up a little as in this recipe. Enjoy!

Roasted Sweet Potato Soup

Photo by tiramisustudio

1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1½-inch cubes
4 large shallots, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. ground thyme
1 tsp. ground marjoram
¼ tsp. cumin seeds (or ground cumin)
3 cups chicken stock
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 tbsp. sour cream or plain yogurt (Greek or regular, omit for paleo version) optional

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Combine potatoes and shallots in a large bowl. Drizzle with oil. Sprinkle with salt, thyme, marjoram, and cumin. Toss so all pieces are well coated with olive oil and seasonings.

Spread the sweet potatoes and shallots out on a foil lined baking sheet. Roast for 25 minutes or until cooked through and nicely caramelized and browned around the edges. Remove from oven.

Heat the chicken stock in a 2-3 quart saucepan on the stove until steamy.

Place the cooked sweet potatoes and shallots in a blender or food processor. Add the hot chicken stock a half cup at a time. Purée until smooth.

NOTE, when blending hot liquids, fill the blender or food processor bowl no more than a third full, and start with short pulses. Depending on the size of your equipment you may need to work in batches.

Taste for seasoning, add more salt and pepper to taste. Serve in bowls with a good size dollop of sour cream.

Serves 2 to 4

Here’s a brief into to my vampire story that is guaranteed to warm your winter nights.

Socialite Deb Stein lives a life of luxury until she takes the hunk dressed as a vampire to her bed. When she wakes up one of the living dead, she’s pissed-off. To complicate matters more, she has to find a new identity since everyone thinks she’s dead. Plus, if she’s dead, she can’t touch her trust fund, and that means she has to work! How can someone who has never held a job find one?

And her social life is in the tank. Her new friends are a street guy called Rat and fellow strippers at the dive where she works. If she ever sees Aaron Lowell again, she’ll put a stake in his heart.

Aaron Lowell feels guilty he took his mentor’s advice and left town after taking the sexy socialite into the undead world. Concerned, he returns to check on her and discovers she’s become a stripper—and not a very happy one when she sees him. But she’s still hot, and he can’t stay away from her, even if their meetings are explosive.

Can two vampires move beyond anger, combined with a strong sexual attraction, to find the kind of love they both crave?

BUY LINK

To read excerpts from other books by Lizzie T. Leaf please click onto Amazon.

Lizzie T. Leaf loved books since she opened her first one. Her dream was to write them herself. Lost in the hectic day to day world of family, job, laundry and housework, writing became a distant memory. When the twinkling ember did spark, it was usually doused by someone demanding their share of her time.

Lizzie’s life went full circle. The desire to put the stories that continued to play in her head on paper emerged stronger than ever, and at a time when there was someone who encouraged. Now she lives her dream.

Learn more about Lizzie T. Leaf on her website and blog. Connect with Lizzie on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

See all of Lizzie’s book on Amazon.

Sloane said @ 1:51 am | Author Friend Promo,Cooking | Comments

January 13, 2016

Ward Off the Winter Chill

Regency Romance and Cozy Mystery author Emma Lane is in the kitchen today. She brings us a delicious and easy recipe for a hearty soup to keep you warm. The kitchen is all yours, Emma!

Navy Bean Soup

2 strips bacon
1 med, onion, chopped
3 cups water
1 med. white potato, peeled and cubed
1 can navy or great northern beans, drained
1 clove fresh garlic, chopped fine (optional)

Sauté’ onion and bacon until onion is pearly-colored and bacon is crisp. Crumble bacon and add both to pot.

Stir in water, beans, potato, and garlic.

Simmer for at least an hour. Stir occasionally. Do not add more water before serving.

Top the serving with a spoonful of grated cheese or a dollop of sour cream.

Serve with a pear salad and a loaf of French bread or hard rolls.

Pear Salad
l can pears halves or slices, drained
lettuce
dollop of sour cream
sprinkle of nutmeg

Assemble on individual salad plates. Chill until ready to serve.

While you’re waiing for everyone to come home for dinner, here’s a tease from one of my Regency books.

What happens when a strong heroine meets an arrogant, but handsome hero? Sparks fly. It’s a Regency Romance Romp!

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?

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.

Sloane said @ 1:49 am | Author Friend Promo,Cooking | Comments

January 11, 2016

Vive la French Soup!

Sharon Ledwith is visiting with a savory soup. Studs and I enjoy this recipe, accompanied by a fresh salad and a crisp white wine, for Saturday night dinner. Bon Appétit, mes amis!

In my middle grade/young adult time travel books I try to write in a scene where my characters sit down for a meal or share some food together. In The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, I’ve got a scene where Melody Spencer is dishing out rabbit stew in bread bowls for the kids. In Legend of the Timekeepers, two of the characters—She-Aba and Tau—are introduced to a ‘long yellow fruit’, a.k.a. bananas. Why do I do this? Simply put, so readers can relate to my characters. We all need to eat, and coming together to eat gives my characters a place to talk over their dilemmas, make plans, reassess the situation, and recharge their batteries.

So when I finally got my hands on my grandmother’s coveted French Soup recipe, I thought it fitting to share this fabulous meal. It’s so easy to put together and a bonus for those cool days or evenings. Many a tale has been told digesting this soup around the table, and my hope is that this meal will spark new conversations between you and your loved ones.

Vive la French Soup!

1 lb lean ground beef
2 small cans or 1 large can of tomato soup
1-14 oz can of green wax beans (do not drain)
1-14 oz can of yellow wax beans (do not drain)
1-14 oz can of peas (do not drain)
1 can sliced mushrooms (if desired, drained)
4 medium-large potatoes (cubed)
½ teaspoon of salt
Dash of pepper
Worcestershire sauce or Tabasco sauce to taste (your preference)
Garlic powder to taste (if desired)
Crock pot

Fry the lean ground beef and drain.

Add the canned vegetables, potatoes, tomato soup, drained ground beef, and seasonings into the crock pot.

Cover and cook on slow for approximately 8 hours.

Serve with biscuits or rolls.

NOTE: Please feel free to experiment with this recipe. My mom adds one small can of tomato sauce to add flavor to the soup. The above recipe will serve a family of eight.

Voila. Dinner is done. Now what will you do with all that time on your hands while the soup is cooking in the crock pot? How about indulging in one of my books from The Last Timekeepers series?

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.

BUY LINKS
Amazon KindlePaperbackMirror World Publishing eBookPaperbackBarnes & Noble NookPaperback

If you haven’t already read Sharon Ledwith’s novel, The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, here’s the blurb…

When 13-year-old Amanda Sault and her annoying classmates are caught in a food fight at school, they’re given a choice: suspension or yard duty. The decision is a no-brainer. Their two-week crash course in landscaping leads to the discovery of a weathered stone arch in the overgrown back yard. The arch isn’t a forgotten lawn ornament but an ancient time portal from the lost continent of Atlantis.

Chosen by an Atlantean Magus to be Timekeepers–legendary time travelers sworn to keep history safe from the evil Belial–Amanda and her classmates are sent on an adventure of a lifetime. Can they find the young Robin Hood and his merry band of teens? If they don’t, then history itself may be turned upside down.

To read more of The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis or purchase a copy, please click a vendor’s name
Mirror World PublishingAmazon USAmazon CA

BONUS: Download the free PDF short story The Terrible, Mighty Crystal HERE.

Check out The Last Timekeepers series Facebook Page.

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/YA time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, available through Musa 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, yoga, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a 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.

Sloane said @ 12:40 am | Author Friend Promo,Cooking | Comments