March 23, 2015

Those Pesky Regency Facts

by Vonnie Hughes

Well, here we are at it again. Everyone involved in writing Regencies at some stage or other comes up against the argument – what is genuine Regency behaviour and wording, and what is not?

On the loops we complain about 21st century attitudes and words creeping in to our Regency books. There are two sides to this story.

I’m all in favour of genuine. I cringe when a so-called Regency miss gets ‘feisty’ and wants to go out in the dead of night to teach some young buck a lesson. If she was of good birth, she’d be too closely guarded to get the chance to go fluttering around on her own at night. If she was careful of her reputation she simply wouldn’t go out asking for trouble – it wouldn’t occur to her. But there are ways around scenarios like this. They just have to sound ‘period.’ And there must be a VERY good reason for her to flout convention. Not just a yearning for excitement.

I don’t go a bundle on the covers of books where shirtless guys bearing marked resemblance to gypsies (the old tall, dark and handsome I guess) leer down the genetically enhanced nippled decolletage of simpering young women in the throes of passion. At least I think it’s passion. Some of ‘em look constipated.

But I am all for writing books that are exciting for 21st century readers to enjoy. That’s what it’s about. A writer is an entertainer.

So a Regency author has to tread a fine line between what you can get away with (or what your editor lets you get away with) and still have that authentic flavour of the early 19th century. You can’t disappoint your readers. And you mustn’t have them chucking your book at the wall and saying, ‘This is not Regency.’ Do them the compliment of understand that many Regency readers are VERY knowledgeable about the period. They know the difference between a landau and a lorgnette. Or buckskins and a bufflehead.

I think any writer has to treat his/her audience with respect. As for Regency, it’s a crowded Regency world out there at the moment and you don’t want your reader defecting to a more authentic writer.

How to zap up the excitement? Don’t look at me. I’m a dull, prissy writer. But I’d suggest a hero, heroine and villain out of the ordinary, or a setting that’s really unusual like somewhere on the hero’s Grand Tour or the cold Yorkshire moors. No more Almack’s. And best, of all, I’d suggest a mystery or a crime with a villain that’s not quite a villain. You know, a man who under other circumstances could easily be a friend, but he took a wrong turning. You can wring a lot of angst out of someone who is almost likeable.

The picture above is a genuine Regency miss c. 1806. She’s an interesting young lady. You get the impression there are lots of secrets behind the eyes. Most all, I like a heroine with guts. Nobody wants to read a book with no conflict or danger or excitement. And I think the young lady in the sketch has a great story behind her.

~Vonnie

Here is a little from Vonnie’s latest Regency.

A kidnapper makes a grave mistake and faces a revenge he never expected.

Annis’s new husband investigates crimes, and Caroline’s new husband is a capable ex-Army officer. When their ladies are kidnapped in an effort to suppress the evidence of pilfering and murder, Giles and Fort fight their way through all the lies and subterfuge to not only rescue them, but also to avenge them.

EXCERPT:
Fort approached the person on the seat. “Mr. Young, we’ve been looking for you.”

If that was Mr. Young, why was he listing to one side like a ship at sea?

“Is he injured? Has John hurt him?” She hurried towards them.

“Stop!”

Fort’s peremptory order stopped her in her tracks. She watched as Fort examined Mr. Young’s head and neck. He lifted Mr. Young’s hand. It dropped laxly.

“He’s dead,” Fort said, turning towards Caroline. “Sweetheart, do you know your way out of the maze? I must stay here with the body. There’s been enough moving of evidence already.”

“How—?”

Fort gesticulated with a finger across his throat.

“Oh! I’ll fetch Giles. Sir William Harding will have to be notified too.” Caroline cast her husband an anxious look. “Please be careful, Giles, in case John comes back.”

“You be careful too, my love. Walk slowly and listen for footsteps on the other side of the hedge. And if you meet anyone—anyone at all, man or woman—scream. Scream loudly.”

Caroline nodded and plunged back along the gravel paths surrounded by greenery. To her great relief she met nobody, although she was so rattled by events that she took a wrong turning and had to retrace her steps. “Hurry,” she told herself. “Fort is alone there and John is on the loose.”

All of Vonnie’s books are available on Musa Publishing 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.

All of Vonnie’s books are available on Musa Publishing and Amazon.

Learn more about Vonnie Hughes on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Goodreads.

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

March 2, 2015

Bubba’s Here and I’d Love for You to Meet Him

…you know…before he’s dead…

SC_BayouBubba_large

Where Miss Fortune meets Miss Chance

Miss Felicity Chance’s father is missing, and her sexy PI Calford Amity thinks he’s found him. Together, they follow a trail of gold coins to Sinful, Louisiana, where a homeless guy named Bayou Bubba turns up dead with an alligator tooth in his hand and a gold coin between his teeth. Is Bubba Miss Chance’s long lost father? Or will the mystery of his disappearance suck her down into the bogs of the Bayou, and ruin her favorite purse?

By the time we drove into Sinful, Louisiana, I’d reconsidered the wonderfulness of spending time with the once sexy Cal Amity. A more judgmental, stick-up-the-ass person I’d never met. I realized as he scoured me with a look that said “you’re an idiot aren’t you?” for about the hundredth time since we’d met at the airport in Indy, that the gulf between him and me just might be too wide to leap…or cross with a 747.

“I made us reservations at the Backwater Inn,” he told me as he turned left off Sinful’s wide, main street and headed for the dirty brown strip of water in the distance.

“Of course you did,” I murmured.

“I heard that.”

“Of course you did,” I murmured more softly.

“I heard that too.”

I glared over at him. “What’s the deal with the muddy puddle up ahead? Has there been a flood?”

“That would be the Bayou and I might need to use a boat for part of my investigation.”

I didn’t miss the “I” in his declaration. I would have argued, telling him there was no “I” in “me too” but the other part of his statement iced my bowels. My eyes widened as we turned into a pockmarked gravel parking lot, adjacent to a long building with fake logs for walls. “We’re going out there?” I jabbed a finger toward the muddy ribbon cutting a swath along the edge of Sinful. “Why ever would we do that?”

“Because that’s where I believe your father is.” Cal cut the engine and climbed out of the black Jeep he’d rented for us. He unfolded his long, lean length and stood, stretching enthusiastically before closing the door.

Yes, god help me, I did stare at his fine, round behind as he stretched. He might be a pain in my ass, but his was finer than hundred-year-old Scotch in front of a roaring fire.

Or as the people of Sinful would probably say…finer than frog hair. If frogs had hair.

Shaking my head on the question I climbed out too, groaning and clasping my back as pain zig-zagged down my leg. “I don’t want to sit down for a week.”

Cal focused his Caribbean blue gaze fringed with thick black lashes on me and, despite the “you’re an idiot aren’t you?” look on his chiseled features, my knee ligaments melted a little. “It was a long trip,” he offered in only a slightly disgusted tone.

I blinked, nearly toppling to the muddy gravel with surprise. “Um. Yeah. It was.”

I followed the intrepid Cal toward a door marked “Office” at the center of the long building.

A ten foot long concrete alligator adorned the narrow strip of grass alongside the door, his painted surface chipped and the flower hat on his head faded from the sun.

Cal’s assessing gaze slid right over the gator, seeing no entertainment value in it at all. But I just couldn’t resist a quick selfie. Crouching down next to the silly critter, I made my eyes go wide and my lips form a terrorized “O” and clicked a picture to send to my BFFs back in Indy. I chuckled as I hit Send and turned, squeaking a little as I almost ran into a man with a thin, graying ponytail and a tattoo of a gator running up his enormous biceps. “Oh, sorry.”

The man fixed me with a glacial gray gaze. He didn’t speak, his too-small mouth pursing a little inside the boundaries of a mustache and scraggly beard.

“Well.” I felt like a complete fool for my selfie antics so I laughed self-consciously and stepped around him, imagining I could feel the sting of his gaze on my back as I hurried inside.

Cal was talking to a man I assumed to be the manager.

“Yeah, I know him,” the manager said. “That’s Bayou Bubba. Sinful’s most interesting homeless guy. He don’t look like that no more though.” The manager grinned, showing jagged teeth the color of the Bayou.

Cal slipped the picture he carried of my father back into his shirt pocket. “Can you tell me where we can find him?”

The man’s mud-colored smile slipped away. He glanced at me…probably noting, too late, the shell-shocked aspect of my face. He inclined his head in my direction. “Ma’am.”

“Hello.”

The man I assumed was the manager of the Backwater Inn reached beneath the counter and pulled out a key, handing it to Cal.

One key. Oh oh. I opened my mouth to object when Cal handed it to me. “Do you know where Bayou Bubba is living?” he asked the motel manager.

The man skimmed me another look.

Cal glanced my way. “Miss Chance, will you go to the room, please? I’ll join you in a couple of minutes.” Remembering my close call with the frigid-eyed guy outside, I considered digging in my heels and insisting that I stay, but something on Cal’s handsome face made me nod and exit the stifling office. Despite the thick, overheated air outside, I was thankful to leave the stale ashtray scent of the office behind me. I looked at the key, which had a grinning alligator key chain, and noted the number nine on the gator’s yellow belly.

Room number nine wasn’t far from the Jeep. Recoiling at the sour, coolish air that met me at the door, I shielded my nose with one hand. “Ugh!” The room was dark and noisy, with a portable air conditioner toiling loudly from its hole in the wall.

There were two beds, both covered in dark green cotton spreads, and one small table between them.

The carpet was also dark green, making the whole room depressingly dark. I went over and yanked the heavy drapes back, sneezing as dust bloomed on the air. Sunlight speared the room with light and heat.

The door snapped open and the delectable Cal was suddenly backlit by the blazing sun. He stared at me for a moment and I held my breath. My gaze followed him as he closed the door and crossed the room. He scanned a look over the bathroom before coming back.

“Do we have enough towels?”

He didn’t even crack a smile.

“Soap?” Okay, there was a slightly desperate sounding squeak in my voice. I twined my fingers together and swallowed. “Just hit me with it. Rip it right off like a Band-Aid.”

Cal’s dark eyebrows peaked. “Rip what off?”

Good god! “What did the manager tell you that he didn’t want to say in front of me?”

“Oh.” Scrubbing a big, square hand over his chin, Cal looked me right in the eye. “He told me your father’s in the morgue.”

My knees buckled and, to his credit, Cal proved he had excellent reflexes as well as a truly fine ass. Thank god he caught me. I’d have hated to land on the filthy carpet.

The sun streaming across it had illuminated something that looked a lot like dried blood.

buy button

Click Amazon to read excerpts from books by Sam Cheever.

USA Today Best Selling author Sam Cheever has published 50+ books of romantic suspense and fantasy/paranormal. Her books have won the Dream Realm Award for fantasy and The Swirl (interracial romance) Award. They’ve been nominated for and/or won several CAPAs, have been nominated multiple years for “Best of” with LRC and The Romance Reviews, and have won eCataromance’s Reviewer’s Choice award. Sam is published with Musa Publishing, Changeling Press; and Ellora’s Cave. She also publishes as Declan Sands, writing m/m fiction, and under her own imprint, Electric Prose Publications.

In real life, Sam lives in a cabin in the woods with 13 dogs and one husband. A self-proclaimed dog-aholic, Sam insists she’s holding at 13…maybe…

Learn more about Sam Cheever on her website and blog Eclectic Insights. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. You can also find Sam on Goodreads, her Amazon Author Page, and About. Me.

Sloane said @ 1:13 am | Author Friend New Releases | Comments

February 25, 2015

Vive la French Soup!

Sharon Ledwith is visiting again with another of her savory soups. 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.

To read an excerpt from Legend of the Timekeepers please click here.

Legend of the Timekeepers Buy Links:
MUSA PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀ SMASHWORDS ׀ APPLE

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 an excerpt of The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, please click HERE.

BUY LINKS
Musa PublishingAmazon LinkBarnes & NobleKobo

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 @ 1:02 am | Author Friend Promo,Cooking | Comments

February 23, 2015

Say It with Chocolate

by Sara Daniel

Orgasmic Chocolate Martinis
1½ shots Godiva® Chocolate Liqueur
1½ shots crème de cacao
½ shot vodka
2½ shots half-and-half

1. Pour all of the above into chilled martini glass or mix in a shaker with ice and then pour into glass.

2. Garnish with chocolate shavings, whipped cream and/or chocolate syrup.

3. Enjoy an orgasmic experience.

4. Read HALEY’S MAN and compare your chocolate martini experience to hers.:)

She must choose between the man of her dreams and the man of her fantasies.

When Haley Miller posts on a sexual fantasies forum that she wants to have an orgasm while surrounded by her friends, one reply stands out. Intrigued and desperately aroused, Haley prepares for the orgasm of her fantasies.

But when she arrives at her friend’s party, she learns that the man of her dreams, Seth Gardner, is back in town. Now she must decide if she wants to go through with her plans for public pleasure or go after her dream date with Seth, or risk losing them both.

EXCERPT
“Are you still looking for the half-and-half? I was sure I had a full carton.”

The female voice dashed Haley’s hopes, returning the lump to her throat. Gina had joined her, not Seth.

“Where did Seth go? He was here when I first came in, and now I can’t find him.” Haley willed herself not to cry. Gina knew about her crush, of course, but wouldn’t understand why his absence left her on the verge of tears.

“I heard the front door open. Maybe he went out for a smoke.”

Haley tried to swallow but couldn’t. Seth hadn’t smoked before. She’d given his mouth a thorough exam minutes ago. He hadn’t picked up the habit. He’d also never been as sports crazy as the rest of the guys cheering on the basketball game.

He’d told her he had other plans, which were apparently more important than waiting for her. Why shouldn’t he put them first? She’d given him every indication that hers came before him. In doing so, she’d thrown away their one chance together.

Gina opened the fridge and took out the half-and-half. “Bummer. I thought tonight would finally be your shot to get together. Come on. You need some chocolate martinis to forget him.”

Haley had yet to find a drink capable of accomplishing that goal, but she allowed her friend to lead her downstairs.

BUY LINK

To read excerpts from other books by Sara Daniel please click a vendor’s name Musa PublishingAmazon.

Sara Daniel writes what she loves to read—irresistible romance, from sweet to erotic and everything in between. She battles a serious NASCAR addiction and was once a landlord of two uninvited squirrels. She lives her own happily-ever-after romance with her hero husband, and she gets amnesia at least three times a day because she can never remember where she left her keys!

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

Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Sloane said @ 1:42 am | Author Friend Promo | Comments

Up Front and Very Personal with Sam Cheever

Greetings Sam. Thanks for joining me today. Let’s get right to it. Where are you from? What is your writing name?

I write mainstream fiction as Sam Cheever and some would say I’m from Mars. But in actuality I grew up in a mid-sized town in Indiana. Kind of the same thing, actually.
I also write M/M romantic suspense and fantasy as Declan Sands.

As a child, who did Sam want to be when she grew up?
I always wanted to be a writer. I believe everyone is good at something, the trick is just finding out what that something is. #:0) I discovered at an early age that I had a knack with words. But I didn’t think I was going to be able to make a living writing. Then I found a degree program at a local 4 year college called Professional and Technical Writing. It was the happiest day of my life! I was able to use my BA degree in writing to offer my writing and editing services to Corporate America until I could get my fiction writing career underway. I feel very blessed to have been able to do what I both love and have a skill for.

Tell us about your first book, the highs, the lows and the unexpected.
My first published work was ‘Tween Heaven and Hell, a fast paced paranormal romance about angels and devils in a futuristic world. I wrote the initial draft as a weekly serial, one chapter a week, for a few dozen subscribers. When it was complete I sent it out to several publishers and received an acceptance from Ellora’s Cave a few weeks later. It was very exciting!

The book was published on the Cerridwen Press side of the house, which was the sensual rather than erotic side of Ellora’s Cave because it wasn’t an erotic book. As a result, my sales figures were not as healthy as I’d hoped. However, the first book in the series has gone on to win several awards and the series has gained an extensive following.

What do you find the most difficult to write? Dialogue? Back story? Emotion?
Probably back story. I try really hard not to do info dumps in my stories so I have to use different tactics to flesh out the plot with the necessary information. Writing series fiction, which I tend to do a lot of, makes that both easier and harder. It’s obviously easier for readers who have read the other books in the series to keep up with the relationships and stories that have shaped them, but readers who start in the middle or end of the series need to feel like they know what’s going on too. I solve the problem by making all the books standalone, and then including self-contained information snippets that tie them together as the story unfolds.

What was the best piece of advice you were given in regards to your writing?
Nothing earth shattering there…the advice is the same for everybody…just keep writing. Much easier said than done as you get rejection letter after rejection letter. But the only writers who eventually make it big are the ones who believe in themselves enough to keep slogging through all the disappointment and criticism. It ain’t easy! But if you truly believe you’ve got what it takes, hang in there, keep writing, it will come, grasshopper.

I see you are published with many houses, Sam. How important is it to diversify your publishers in today’s market?
Extremely important. Each house has a specialized, target market where they sell most of their books. For example, Ellora’s Cave obviously has a big chunk of the erotica market and Changeling Press writes hot, short, serialized fiction. Once you figure out what a house’s market is, you can tap into it and broaden your audience. And since most readers tend to read across genres, you can often draw readers across publishers once they’re familiar with your work.

What is your strangest writing habit?
I write in snippets on multiple projects at once. Many writers sit down in the morning and just crank out an allotted number of words on a single project or even a couple. I might have six projects going at any given time and will write a couple thousand words on 3 or 4 of them, sometimes moving back and forth between two or three of them in the space of a single day.

How do you avoid interruptions?
Avoid them? I embrace them! If something has managed to interrupt me it’s probably because I’m stuck on a plot point or have exhausted my creative energy for that moment. I’ll usually take a break and then come back to it. It works for me.

What is one problematic area you have with your writing and how do you fix it?
Occasionally I neglect to describe my characters. #:0) I see them so clearly in my mind and forget the reader doesn’t know them like I do so I think I just take it for granted they know what they look like. Har! It’s now on my list of things I look for in rewrites but, if all else fails, thank goodness for my editor!

Do you have critique partners or beta readers?
No on both counts. I’m a loner when I work. I don’t share my toys in the sandbox very well. It’s just never been something I’ve sought out. The biggest problem for me is timing. I write to a tight deadline and as soon as I finish a book I generally send it off to my editor. I don’t like to wait for others to provide feedback. I trust my editor to find what others would find and, working together, she and I usually turn out a pretty clean book.

You bring a wicked sense of humor to your books – is this you or just your characters micromanaging you..
Alas, I’m afraid it’s me. I can’t seem to help myself. In fact, my characters sometimes beat me upside the head for the situations I put them in. But that’s a big mistake. I have one of those contrary personalities and I’m likely to torture them even more if they complain. hehehe

Click a vendor’s name to read excerpts from books by Sam Cheever
Musa PublishingAmazon

USA Today Best Selling author Sam Cheever has published 50+ books of romantic suspense and fantasy/paranormal. Her books have won the Dream Realm Award for fantasy and The Swirl (interracial romance) Award. They’ve been nominated for and/or won several CAPAs, have been nominated multiple years for “Best of” with LRC and The Romance Reviews, and have won eCataromance’s Reviewer’s Choice award. Sam is published with Musa Publishing, Changeling Press; and Ellora’s Cave. She also publishes as Declan Sands, writing m/m fiction, and under her own imprint, Electric Prose Publications.

In real life, Sam lives in a cabin in the woods with 13 dogs and one husband. A self-proclaimed dog-aholic, Sam insists she’s holding at 13…maybe…

Learn more about Sam Cheever on her website and blog Eclectic Insights. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. You can also find Sam on Goodreads, her Amazon Author Page, and About. Me.

Sloane said @ 1:26 am | Author Friend Promo | Comments

February 18, 2015

Easy and So Delicious

Jane Nolan is an incredible woman with a strength of character I’ve always admired. We’ve been friends for many years. The kind of friends who don’t have to see each other often, but still click like not a second has passed when they do meet up. Another attribute of Jane’s is her kitchen talent. Here is one of her latest creations that tastes marvelous and is healthy, too.

Cranberry Cake
3 eggs
2 cup sugar
¾ cup unsalted butter, softened (not margarine)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
2½ cup cranberries (fresh, or if frozen, thaw slightly if you have time)
2/3 cup chopped pecans
whipped cream or topping for serving

Preheat oven to 350 °F.

Grease a 9×13 pan.

Beat eggs and sugar together for 5min.

Add butter and vanilla. Beat 2 more minutes.

Stir in the flour just until combined. (Very heavy batter)

Add cranberries and nuts. (I use the mixer for about a minute just to incorporate well. This also breaks a few of the berries apart & lends a nice touch to the finished product)

Spread into the pan. Bake for 50 – 60 minutes. (Usually done after 50 min.)

Serve with whipped cream or whipped topping.

I’ll be back Monday. Until then…

Enjoy life to the fullest,

Sloane

Sloane said @ 1:26 am | Cooking,Friends | Comments

February 16, 2015

CELEBRATE with SHARON LEDWITH

As an author I had to ask myself this question: do we sell a product (book) or an experience (memory)? I recently read a marketing post where there was a study conducted in which people were asked if they would prefer to purchase a product (car, couch, etc.) or an experience (holiday, concert, etc.), and guess what most said? Yup. You guessed it. An experience.

So this got me to thinking that authors have it pretty good. Yes, we sell a product whether it’s a book or an ebook or an audio-book or all three. We still have to market and promote these ‘products’ in order for our consumers (readers) to find them. But once our books are in the hands of readers, magic happens and they’re whisked away into another place, and another time. We authors create an experience for each of our readers. And that’s the payoff. Experiences tend to have a lasting effect on people. Sure, buy a car and you’ve got that new car smell for about a year. But I bet you remember going to your first concert, don’t you? Or maybe your first trip to Disneyland? I certainly do.

If you purchase a book, true you may lose it, but I guarantee you that story will stay with you for years to come if the tale hits an emotional cord. And isn’t that why we authors are in this vocation to begin with?

And since February is my birthday month, I’m hoping to generate lasting memories for readers by offering two Goodreads Giveways. One for The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, and one for the prequel to my time travel series, Legend of the Timekeepers. BTW—both giveaways are international so no one is left out in the cold! Happy Birthday to me!


Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis by Sharon Ledwith

The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis

by Sharon Ledwith

Giveaway ends February 25, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Legend of the Timekeepers by Sharon Ledwith

Legend of the Timekeepers

by Sharon Ledwith

Giveaway ends February 25, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

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 @ 1:09 am | Author Friend Promo | Comments

February 11, 2015

CUPCAKES IN THE PARK

Longtime friend author HL Carpenter is here to tease you with a devilishly good story and a batch of Sinfully Delicious Salted Caramel Apple Cupcakes. So sit back and enjoy. The kitchen is all yours, HL!

The day was perfect; one of those low humidity, blue sky, breeze-off-the-lake days that made tourists flock to central Florida. Green and yellow tents filled the park and costumes were the attire of choice. Dogs in costumes, babies in costumes, teens in costumes, turtles in costumes; every life form Andi encountered wore a costume.

Her own costume was her usual jeans and boots, topped by a red tank and a red cap to match the red linen covering the platter of cupcakes in her hands. This year the cupcakes were salted caramel apple. The recipe was new and the friends who’d taste-tested had raved over them. They were sinfully delicious and should easily be the best cupcakes in the park.

She’d still baked three batches before she was satisfied. Competition in the Cupcake Wars at the annual Cooter Festival was always fierce.

She signed in, took her number, and walked to the table at the end of the tent. To get to her assigned spot, she had to step around a lumbering turtle. The damp lettuce leaf draped over its shell was only partly a costume. The real reason for the decoration was that the turtles—or cooters as the locals called them—were well cared for and the festival organizers were making sure this one stayed cool.

Andi put the cupcakes and her bag on the table and took her place beside a leggy teen. The girl had crafted sugar lily pads, fairy wings, and miniature frogs to go with her mint and chocolate cupcakes. With their pink frosting and blue polka dots, the cupcakes seemed ready for an impish tea party as she positioned them on a miniature tree-shaped stand.

After Andi finished setting her cupcakes on the upended crystal goblets she’d brought, she walked along the exhibit table to greet the other contestants. The confections were as varied as the bakers. Classic vanilla, red velvet, peanut butter truffle, tiramisu, banana walnut, double maple, pumpkin spice—all mouthwateringly scrumptious and worthy adversaries. With luck the proud presenters would not be sore losers.

When the judging began, Andi took her assigned place and handed out samples to the judges. As her friends had proclaimed, her cupcakes got high marks for taste. But when all the votes were tallied, the leggy teen’s presentation won the blue ribbon.

Andi congratulated the young baker and admired the silky ribbon. Then she distributed the rest of the salted caramel apple cupcakes to the passers-by and packed her goblets. As she stepped past the exhibit table, she hooked her boot around the metal leg and tugged. The table tipped. The teen’s beautiful display landed in the dirt with a splat, icing-side down. The other contestants gasped. The lettuce-draped turtle moved in for a taste.

Andi settled her hat more securely over her hair so her horns wouldn’t show and elbowed her way through the crowd.

There might have been better cupcakes than hers in the park that day.
But she didn’t think so.

Sinfully Delicious Salted Caramel Apple Cupcakes

Batter
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon butter, softened to room temperature
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2-3 apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
¼ cup heavy cream
1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Put ¼ cup apples and 1 tablespoon butter in a bowl and microwave for 1 minute at 50% power to soften. Mash with a fork (lumps are okay). Let cool.

Cream together the stick of softened butter and brown sugar. Blend eggs and vanilla into the creamed mixture. Add the mashed apples and heavy cream to the batter and mix well.

In a small bowl stir together flour, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Add to wet ingredients and mix thoroughly. Batter will be thick.

Fold chopped apple pieces into batter.

Line a 12-muffin tin with baking cups. Spoon batter evenly into the cups.

Bake 20 minutes.

Let cupcakes rest in pan for five minutes. Transfer to baking rack to cool completely.

Frosting
1 stick of butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream
¼ tsp. salt
2 cups powdered sugar

Melt butter in pot on stove over medium-high heat. Add brown sugar and heavy cream. Stir constantly until sugar is dissolved. Stir in salt.

Let mixture bubble for 2-3 minutes without stirring. Remove from heat. Stir in powdered sugar and mix until smooth.

Frost cooled cupcakes.

Caramel Sauce
1 cup white sugar
¼ cup water
¼ cup butter
2/3 cup heavy cream

Heat sugar and water in pot on stove over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved and mixture boils.

Let mixture boil without further stirring until it browns to the color of caramel. Add butter and stir until butter is melted.

Remove from heat. Add heavy cream. Stir until the bubbling stops and the sauce is smooth. Drizzle over cupcakes.

Remaining sauce can be used for other recipes.

For additional flavor, garnish cupcakes with a sprinkle of salt.

Makes 12 cupcakes

After all your hard work, how about treating yourself to a break with a devilishly good book?

Who killed Fyne Literature? The Fictional Book Investigation Agency is on the case—and the lead investigator is closer to the culprit than he realizes.

Ivy League wants to learn who murdered the love of her life. The Fictional Book Investigation Agency agrees to take the case, and soon discovers a surplus of suspects.

Is the killer one of the victim’s many enemies? Is there more to the story than anyone knows? The Agency’s profiler has a clue, yet she’s remarkably reticent.

For the lead investigator, unraveling the plot means confronting the mystery within.

EXCERPT:
Jane said, “So, we have Ivy League, who loves Fyne Literature. Fyne Literature was murdered by an explosion of serial killer hackwork in a distressingly predictable plot produced by an unknown party or parties.”

“Precisely. Ivy said Fyne had become reclusive over the past few years, hiding on a shelf in the university library, so I thought I would start by interviewing his former friends. Three of them in particular, the ones Ivy said had grown to dislike him intensely.”

“Would they be Booke Publisher, Ima Reeder, and Manny Authors?”

“So you were listening.”

“Are those your only suspects?”

I frowned. “Do you have someone else you think I should consider?”

To read an excerpts from all the books written by HL Carpenter click a vendor’s name
Musa Publishing
Amazon

HL Carpenter is a mother/daughter writing team. Their latest young adult novel is Walled In, the story of Vandy Spencer, who discovers her entire life has been built on a heart-shattering deception when her father is accused of fraud. Learn more about HL Carpenter on their website.

Sloane said @ 1:26 am | Author Friend Promo,Cooking | Comments

February 9, 2015

Exciting New Read and Giveaway

Haleys Man1

She must choose between the man of her dreams and the man of her fantasies.

When Haley Miller posts on a sexual fantasies forum that she wants to have an orgasm while surrounded by her friends, one reply stands out. Intrigued and desperately aroused, Haley prepares for the orgasm of her fantasies.

But when she arrives at her friend’s party, she learns that the man of her dreams, Seth Gardner, is back in town. Now she must decide if she wants to go through with her plans for public pleasure or go after her dream date with Seth, or risk losing them both.

BUY LINKS Musa Publishing    Amazon

EXCERPT
The man turned and pinned her with a steady hazel gaze. His dark brown hair framed a strong, handsome face that she hadn’t seen in far too long. His lips curved in a lopsided smile.

She gasped. “Seth.”

“Haley.” Her name rolled off his tongue like one long delicious lick over her sex. He jumped to his feet, bringing himself eye-level with her—a good thing, since he’d been in a position to look directly up her skirt.

She scrambled to cover her own gawking. “You’re not wearing your glasses.”

“Contacts.” Not turning from her, he nudged the freezer drawer closed, rippling the ringlets of curly hair that hung past his ears. Without his wire-rimmed glasses, his sweet, safe image transformed into that of a dashing unpredictable man, leaving her disoriented and embarrassingly eager to discover the real man beneath his white dress shirt and pink-and-gray striped tie.

“Oh. Well, you look good.” As soon as the words were out, she wanted to kick herself. Way to come up with scintillating conversation, Haley. No wonder he never wasted his time chatting with her.

“So do you.” He tucked a strand of her wavy black hair behind her ear in a move that weakened the backs of her knees. “So who’s the lucky boyfriend right now?”

She loosened the knot of his tie, stalling for time. Her single status wasn’t in question, but a guy like him wouldn’t consider a woman available if she’d already booked an orgasm for the evening. Why couldn’t she hit on the right timing with Seth?

To read excerpts from other books by Sara Daniel please click a vendor’s name Musa PublishingAmazon.

About the author

Sara Daniel writes what she loves to read—irresistible romance, from sweet to erotic and everything in between. She battles a serious NASCAR addiction and was once a landlord of two uninvited squirrels. She lives her own happily-ever-after romance with her hero husband, and she gets amnesia at least three times a day because she can never remember where she left her keys!

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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Sloane said @ 1:27 am | Author Friend New Releases | Comments

February 4, 2015

The Devil Made Her Do It

My good friend and cohort Sharon Ledwith is here with One Devilishly Charming Chocolate Mousse Cake to tempt your holiday guests. The kitchen is all yours, Sharon!

In my recent time travel yarn, Legend of the Timekeepers, the prequel to The Last Timekeepers series, I give you an up-close-and-personal look at Belial, the nasty antagonist of the entire series. Love him or hate him, Belial is the foundation that cements this middle grade/young adult time travel series together. Face it, without a villain to fight, a hero has no purpose, no goal. And the Timekeepers need a quest in Earth’s past to stop Belial from changing history, or all hell will break loose. Which, by the way, is exactly what Belial wants to happen. Bahahaha!

The following recipe will make you look like a hero in the eyes of your family and friends. It takes about 25 minutes prep time, and a total of 5 hours (including refrigerating) to create. Can you say chocolate?

One Devilishly Charming Chocolate Mousse Cake

½ cup chocolate syrup
1 package (2-layer size) chocolate cake mix (we use Betty Crocker® Double Fudge)
1 cup water
⅓ cup oil
7 eggs
½ cup sour cream
1 package (250 g/ approx ½ lb) cream cheese brick, softened
1 cup sugar
1 can (370 mL/12 oz) evaporated milk
4 squares semi-sweet chocolate, melted (we use Baker’s®)
1 cup thawed whipped topping (we use Cool Whip®)

Preheat oven to 375°.

Spray 3-L (12 cup) fluted tube pan (Bundt) with cooking spray. Pour in chocolate syrup; tilt pan to evenly cover bottom with syrup.

Beat cake mix, water, oil and 3 eggs with mixer for 2 minutes or until well blended. Add sour cream; mix well. Pour over syrup in pan.

Beat cream cheese and sugar with mixer until blended. Add remaining eggs; mix well. Blend in evaporated milk and melted chocolate; gently spoon over cake batter. Cover with foil sprayed with cooking spray, sprayed-side down.

Place Bundt pan in large pan (like a lasagna pan). Add enough water to larger pan to come at least 2 inches up side of Bundt pan. Bake 1 hour 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool completely in Bundt pan on wire rack. Refrigerate 2 hours. Invert cake onto plate; remove pan.

Serve with whipped topping. Makes 24 servings.

NOTE: To unmold cooled cake, use a long thin spatula to loosen the cake from the sides of Bundt pan. Place plate over pan; invert cake onto plate. Spoon any chocolate syrup remaining in pan over cake.

Now while you’re waiting for this devilishly good chocolate mousse cake to cool, how about making a date with Belial and the Timekeepers? After all, better the devil you know, than the one you don’t!

Children are the keys to our future. And now, children are the only hope for our past.

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 an excerpt of The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, please click HERE.

BUY LINKS
Musa PublishingAmazon LinkBarnes & NobleKobo

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.

To read an excerpt from Legend of the Timekeepers please click here.

Legend of the Timekeepers Buy Links:
MUSA PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀ SMASHWORDS ׀ APPLE

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 @ 1:26 am | Author Friend Promo,Cooking | Comments