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Appetizer? Lunch? Dinner?

January 13, 2021 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

from Tina Griffith

You decide. This recipe is easy to prepare and a favorite with my husband and me. We usually add a crisp salad and Voila! we have a complete dinner in a flash. Of course a bottle of red wine adds to the festivities.

CHEESY OLIVE BREAD
1 large crusty loaf French bread
1 – 6 oz. can pitted black olives, drained and sliced
⅓ cup red onion, chopped fine
2 ripe tomatoes, diced
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
½ – ¾ cup mayonnaise
Preheat oven to 325° F.

Cut bread in half lengthwise and then in half across the width. You now have four pieces, tops and bottoms. Set them onto an aluminum foil lined cookie sheet.

Add olives, onions, tomatoes, shredded cheese, and mayo into a medium size bowl. Mix together thoroughly. Use a spatula to smear the mixture onto the white part of the bread.

Now pop it into the oven. That’s it. When the cheese melts, 15 – 20 minutes, the bread is ready.

How about a peek into my erotic mystery for dessert?

Everyone has secrets that they’d rather keep hidden, but we all know that these private matters have a tendency of spilling out at the most inopportune moments. And when a privileged piece of information does leak out and is exposed, it can sometimes change our lives so drastically that there’s no turning back. For in that fleeting explosion when we first learn of the shocking deception, our world suddenly gets transformed into utter chaos and fear, and it typically has us running for shelter.

The four main characters in this story, are all hiding something that they’d rather not have anyone know. Regrettably, the terrible secrets which each one of them have buried deep in their past, begins to bubble to the surface. With deceit and murder lingering in the air, can any of them survive the consequences of their pasts being revealed?

AMAZON BUY LINK

Tina Griffith, who also wrote twenty-seven children’s books as Tina Ruiz, was born in Germany, but her family moved to Canada when she was in grammar school.

After her husband of 25 years passed away, she wrote romance novels to keep the love inside her heart. Tina now has eleven romance novels on Amazon, and while all of them have undertones of a love story, they are different genres; murder, mystery, whimsical, witches, ghosts, suspense, adventure, and her sister’s scary biography.

Tina has worked in television and radio as well as being a professional clown at the Children’s Hospital. She lives in Calgary with her second husband who encourages her to write her passion be it high-quality children’s books or intriguing romance.

Stay connected with Tina (Griffith) Ruiz on her Facebook group Tina Speaks Out.

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COLLABORATIVE WRITING

January 11, 2021 | Author Friend Promo

How and Why it Works for Us
by C.D. Hersh


Lots of people we know look at us as collaborative writers and say, “I don’t know how you two do it. I’d kill my spouse if I had to work with him/her.”

Well, we’re both still alive and healthy and love working together.

So what’s our secret? For the inquisitive minds who want to know, here are a few reasons why our writing partnership works.

We like each other and respect each other—a lot. Respect is paramount in any working relationship.

We’ve been together more years that we’ve been apart. As a result, we know each other very well.

We have complimentary talents and we recognize that. Donald is a great idea and plotting person, and Catherine is good at the technical part of writing, the grammar, spelling, punctuation, and etcetera.

We laugh a lot when we’re working together, even if it’s a serious scene. Nothing brings people together like laughter.

We plot our stories in detail, but still allow room for the characters to take us to unexpected places. When they do what we haven’t planned, both of us have to sign off on what has happened before it makes it into the book.

We’re willing to throw ideas, scenes and whole sections of each other’s writing out. There are no sacred cows in our partnership.

Our methods of collaborative writing are fluid. Sometimes we create using a totally collaborative effort, literally writing together line-by-line (we’ve created a number of our plays using this method). We might revamp something one of us has created as a solo writer, or we might work with one of us functioning as the major writer and the other as editor. Changing things keeps our interests up and our egos in check.

And last, but certainly not least, we keep the lines of communication open. Writing is usually a solo job, but when you’re working with someone else, you have to let them know how you feel about what’s being plotted, written, and critiqued. If you don’t, then you can stifle the creative flow as well as the collaborative relationship. When we plot and one of us throws out a hasty, “I hate that idea!” (and we’ve done that) there are no hurt feelings on the part of the other person. We will ask for clarification as to why, and the protesting party must come up with a reasonable excuse, but we never get upset, want to quit working together, or get a divorce over it.

We can’t speak to the writing methods of other co-authors, although we have read that some write opposing chapters or each take a point of view, something we haven’t tried yet. However, as a married couple and co-authors, we do feel we bring something unique to the table—a spark we hope will take us a long way on our writing journey. A spark that enriches our personal relationship. For us, that’s enough reason to work together as C.D. Hersh.

Have you ever co-authored something? What worked for you in that relationship?

Following is a sample of our collaborative writing. An excerpt from The Promised One, the first book in our Turning Stone Chronicles Series.

The woman stared at him, blood seeping from the corner of her mouth. “Return the ring, or you’ll be sorry.”

With a short laugh he stood. “Big words for someone bleeding to death.” After dropping the ring into his pocket, he gathered the scattered contents of her purse, and started to leave.

“Wait.” The words sounded thick and slurred . . . two octaves deeper . . . with a Scottish lilt.

Shaw frowned and spun back toward her. The pounding in his chest increased. On the ground, where the woman had fallen, lay a man.

He wore the same slinky blue dress she had—the seams ripped, the dress top collapsed over hard chest muscles, instead of smoothed over soft, rounded curves. The hem skimmed across a pair of hairy, thick thighs. Muscled male thighs. Spiked heels hung at an odd angle, toes jutting through the shoe straps. The same shoes she’d been wearing.

The alley tipped. Shaw leaned against the dumpster to steady himself. He shook his head to clear the vision, then slowly moved his gaze over the body.

A pair of steel-blue eyes stared out of a chiseled face edged with a trim salt-and-pepper beard. Shaw whirled around scanning the alley.

Where was the woman? And who the hell was this guy?

Terrified, Shaw fled.

The dying man called out, “You’re cursed. Forever.”

Amazon buy links:
The Turning Stone Chronicles Series page

The Promised One (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 1)

Blood Brothers (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 2)

Son of the Moonless Night (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 3)

The Mercenary and the Shifters (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 4)

C.D. Hersh–Two hearts creating everlasting love stories.
Putting words and stories on paper is second nature to co-authors C.D. Hersh. They’ve written separately since they were teenagers and discovered their unique, collaborative abilities in the mid-90s. As high school sweethearts and husband and wife, Catherine and Donald believe in true love and happily ever after.

They have a short Christmas story, Kissing Santa, in a Christmas anthology titled Sizzle in the Snow: Soul Mate Christmas Collection, with seven other authors.

They are looking forward to many years of co-authoring and book sales, and a lifetime of happily-ever-after endings on the page and in real life.

Social Media Info:

Website
Soul Mate Publishing
Facebook
Amazon Author Page
Twitter
Goodreads

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NUTS YOU SAY? YOU BET!

January 6, 2021 | Cooking

Edlyn, a wonderful friend to us who we don’t get to see often enough, came for dinner one Sunday with her family and a welcomed treat in hand – her homemade pecan pie. This delicious dessert is rich. Even so, a small dollop of ice cream on top sure tastes good.

Photo by nikohoshi on Unsplash

Bourbon Infused Pecan Pie
1 pie shell, frozen or refrigerated
1½ cup maple syrup
½ cup bourbon whiskey, triple distilled preferred
2 lg. eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup light or dark brown sugar
⅛ tsp. salt
2 tbsp. butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1½ cups pecans

Pour syrup into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook 8 – 10 minutes or until syrup has reduced to 1 cup. Stir occasionally. Cool to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Place pie shell on a cookie sheet. Use a fork to poke 3 sets of holes in shell bottom. Cover edge with foil to stop it from browning. Bake 15 – 20 minutes or until dough is pale gold.

Reduce oven temp to 350° F.

Combine all ingredients, except pecans, into a medium-sized bowl and then mix well. Blend in pecans.

Remove foil from pie shell. Pour mixture into shell. Use a fork to evenly distribute pecans.

Bake 30 – 35 minutes or until center is slightly puffed and firm to the touch.

Cool before serving.

May you enjoy all the days of your life filled with good friends, laughter, and seated around a well-laden table!

Sloane

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MAMMA MIA!

January 4, 2021 | Author Friend Promo

I was so out of my league!

from Anne Montgomery 

Sometimes we do things that, as Forrest Gump would say, “Just don’t make no sense.”

 And I am guilty of such an act, mostly because I ignored the numbers and severely overestimated my abilities.

 I have written about the fact that I performed in a community theater production of the musical Company in the past. Though it was initially terrifying, in the end I made friends and had fun. So, it seemed rational that I give it another try. Mamma Mia was coming up and I wanted to give it a shot.

 I started singing along to the Mamma Mia CD in my car in February.  I thought I was ready. Even the cast descriptions didn’t deter me. Though, admittedly, the fact that the “elder” female characters were listed as “late 30s-early 50s” should have tickled my spidey senses.

 This time around, auditions were very different. Four times the number of actors showed up. And there was improv involved. Still, I thought I had a shot at making the cast, until I arrived at the dance callbacks.

 My first clue should have been the young lady spread-eagled flat on the floor, stretching in preparation. In fact, the stage was littered with bodies of those limbering up. I was a tad bemused, as I had seen the movie and didn’t notice too much complicated-looking dancing, at least not from the named characters. Had I considered that the stage version might be vastly different from the one with Meryl Streep and her pals, I might have been forewarned.

Those hoping for a spot in the cast filled the stage facing a thin, twenty-something with a high, tawny pony tail and black leggings. She announced that we would be learning a series of dance steps.

 “OK! Face the back,” she said, reminiscent of a drill instructor. ” Now, hips left, then right, and spin to the front. And … right arm up high. Good. Now side step. And back. Other side. Full turn to the left and drop to your knees.”

My head popped up. Drop to my knees? Did she mean the ones that have functioned for the last 15 years thanks to the miracle of modern science, infusions injected with big-ass needles that always make me wince? Those knees?

Not wanting to stand out, I dropped to the floor. I almost bellowed like a moose giving birth, but managed to stop myself.

“Now roll over on your butt and jump up.”

In my case, said roll did not occur. I just stared at the choreographer.

“Now … leap!” She took to the air.

Leap? The thing about leaping is there always tend to be landings involved.

The choreographer encouraged us to leap in this fashion. Don’t you agree it hurts just to look at this picture?

“Those of you who want to can bend your leg while leaping. Like this.” She launched herself skyward again. “Point your toes,” she said, alighting gracefully. “Second line, move up to the front.”

Hoping no one would notice, I melted into the back, which would be my primary strategy throughout the ordeal.

After an hour, we took a break. To my horror, five minutes later we were at it again.

“Let’s do another one,” she said. “This one will be easy. Even I can do it.” She smiled prettily.

What I wanted most was to go all Tonya Harding on her kneecaps. “See what you feel like when you’re over 60,” I muttered under my breath, as I mounted the stage.

Another hour passed. I longed for my chiropractor.

I know what your thinking. Why didn’t I just go sit down? Pride, I suppose. Or maybe just plain stubbornness. A few other older women had taken seats. I say “older” here with a caveat. If I had to guess, with the exception of my friend Scott, there was probably no one over 50 auditioning. Clearly, I was pretty much alone as a mid-sexagenarian.

Mercifully, the dancing finally ended. But my humiliation was not over.

Scott appeared. “Hey! You need to go in the back.”

I heard women’s voices singing Dancing Queen from backstage. “Why?”

“The mothers are auditioning,” he explained, using the term applied to the older adult women trying out for a part.

Not knowing how I could have missed the others being called away, I leapt – OK, in my mind, I leapt – onto the stage and bolted through a curtain and down a ramp toward the piano, where about eight women were lined up single file.

“I am so sorry I’m late!” I shouted.

All heads turned toward me. A woman looked up, paper and pencil in hand. “Your name?”

“Anne.”

She scrutinized the document.

The director rose from his seat.

“You’re not on the list,” he said. “You were called back only for a dancing part.”

I suddenly realized that if getting a part hinged on my dancing skills, I would need other plans for the summer. “I am … so sorry!”

I fled.

I found Scott in the seats and chastised him. It wasn’t his fault, though. He simply assumed I should be back there with the others, which in retrospect was sweet.

The director soon dismissed those of us who wouldn’t be invited to participate in any further auditions. Totally dejected, I sneaked out the back door.

When I got home, my sweetie pie stared at me. “I’m sorry,” he said without asking what happened.

I wondered if he’d had a premonition, since he already had a glass of wine poured and waiting for me.

“Maybe they did you a favor,” he said a short time later, as I sat in my jammies feeling sorry for myself, rubbing my aching knees.

I sipped my wine and pouted. “Maybe.”

Later that night, wrapped in two cold packs and a heating pad, I licked my wounds and considered whether I would ever try out for another play.

I’m thinking about it. I’ll let you know.

Here’s a little from my suspense novel based on a true incident. I hope it intrigues you.

As a Vietnam veteran and former Special Forces sniper descends into the throes of mental illness, he latches onto a lonely pregnant teenager and a group of Pentecostal zealots – the Children of Light – who have been waiting over thirty years in the Arizona desert for Armageddon.

When the Amtrak Sunset Limited, a passenger train en route to Los Angeles, is derailed in their midst in a deadly act of sabotage, their lives are thrown into turmoil. As the search for the saboteurs heats up, the authorities uncover more questions than answers.

And then the girl vanishes.

While the sniper struggles to maintain his sanity, a child is about to be born deep in the wilderness.

BUY LINKS
Amazon PaperbackKindleMidpoint Books

 

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 her website and Wikipedia. Stay connected on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter.

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December 30, 2020 | Holidays

HAPPY NEW YEAR
To Everyone All Around the World

 

from Studs, Sloane, and all the Taylors
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A WRITER’S ALPHABET

December 28, 2020 | Author Friend Promo

from C.D. Hersh

Over the years we have learned a great deal about writing and what it takes to survive in this business. Today we would like to share those ABC’s with you.

Affirmation – As writers we get a lot of rejection.  It helps if we have some affirmation.  So, the next time you get a good comment from a critique partner, an editor, or even your child who says “You’re a good writer, Mommy,” tuck it away in a special file.  Then when you feel like chucking the computer out the window and giving up on writing, pull out those affirmations and tell yourself, “ I can do this.  I am a Writer!”

Brainstorming – Brainstorm without putting checks on your imagination.  Don’t be afraid to think of the most outrageous ideas when you’re brainstorming.  “What if” may be the best tool a writer has to stimulate his imagination.

Creativity – Never let anyone say you don’t have creativity.  The very fact that you want to write shows you have creativity.  Just keep thinking about your story, asking “What if”, and letting all your skills and thoughts take you into the world where your characters live.  Eventually, you’ll find, or create, what you need.

Discipline – Every writer needs it; most of us do not have it.  The discipline to sit down in front of the computer every day, even when you don’t feel like it, will get you through the rough parts of your stories.

Edit – ISSAC B. SINGER said, “The wastepaper basket is the writer’s best friend.”

Think of yourself as a writer first and an editor second.  Write, rewrite and rewrite some more.  Never, ever, send that first draft to an editor.

Fodder – Everything you see and hear and everyone you meet is fodder for a writer.  Writers have great excuses for eavesdropping on the world.  Ideas, character sketches, names, plot twists¾you name it and you can find inspiration for it among your family, friends and the guy sitting next to you in McDonalds. Don’t let them know what you’re up to, however.  If they recognize themselves in your next story they may never speak again when you’re around.

Grammar – Webster defines grammar as “a study of what is to be preferred and what is to be avoided in inflection and in syntax.”  When you present your manuscript make sure the grammar is correct.  Don’t depend solely on your computer grammar check; its suggestions are not always right.  Instead, invest in a good English or grammar handbook and use it.  The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual has a nice section on grammar and punctuation that I use all the time.  If you have trouble with grammar find a friend or an adult enrichment class that can help you brush up on your grammar.  You don’t have to be able to diagram a sentence, but you do have to be able to put it together correctly.  That goes for punctuation too.

Hope – Hope should spring eternal in the hearts of writers.  As long as you have something circulating among editors you should always have hope. Never give up, not even when you have enough rejection letters to wallpaper your office.

Ideas – There are no bad ideas.  Even the worst idea can provide a springboard for something better.  Keep all your ideas in a file so you can pull them out whenever you have a dry spell.  You’ll be surprised what new, and better, ideas might spring from an idea you considered trashing.

Journaling – Journaling is a great way to keep your writing flowing, especially on those days when you can’t, or don’t, get to the computer.  Write at night, in the morning, in the bathroom, or any place where you and your journal can go.  Put down your emotions, your thoughts, impressions, snatches of conversations, or visual images.  All these things can be story sparkers or sensory descriptions you might be able to use in some other writing.

Know How – Like every profession, writing is a job that takes skill.  You can’t be an electrician or a plumber without learning the ropes¾the skills and the tricks of the trade.  That’s true in writing too.  To become a success as a writer you have to study your craft, learn the best way to write an article, a scene, a chapter, a book.  You have to know how to structure your plots and characters, and you have to become knowledgeable about the business.  Learn all you can about writing and the writing business so you can succeed.

Laughter – Keep a sense of humor about yourself and your writing.  There will be plenty of times that you will get your feelings hurt as a writer¾someone won’t like your baby, a critique will rub you the wrong way, an editor might ask for umpteen revisions.  If you can face life, and writing, with humor you’ll be able to get through most anything¾and even have some good story material in the process.

Marketing – If you want to sell, then know your market.  Don’t waste your time, and an editor’s time, by sending manuscripts that aren’t suitable for the publication.

Networking – Do it!  Network with anyone in the writing business that you can.  Editors are besieged with unsolicited manuscripts.  Any time they can connect a face, organization, or conference to you, you are one step ahead of the game.  Take every opportunity to meet, talk with and mingle with editors.  Don’t forget networking with other writers too.  You can’t know all there is to know about the publishing world and what is going on.  Take advantage of any information other writers have to offer.  Getting published is not always about talent.  Sometimes it’s also about being in the right place, or submitting to the right place at the right time.

Organization – If you can’t find the computer, your copious notes, or the paper and pencil under the clutter in your office, then you can’t write. The more organized you are the less time you’ll spend hunting and the more time you’ll have for writing.

Perspiration – Don’t wait for the Muse.  Writing is one-percent inspiration and 99-percent perspiration.  If you wait for inspiration, you might as well be taking a nap while you’re sitting in front of you computer.

Query Letter – Queries can be more intimidating and frustrating than writing the whole darn book.  I know plenty of writers who dread the “Query Letter.”  The query is an editor’s first glimpse of you and your story.  Consider it an important, but necessary, evil of your craft, and learn to conquer it.  The Writer’s Market has great examples of how to write a good query.

Reading – “A room without books is like a body without a soul.” Cicero

A writer who doesn’t read will soon find himself out of touch with the very world for which he is writing.  Read, read, and read everything that you can.  Fiction, non-fiction, newspapers, magazines, cookbooks, cereal boxes, dictionaries, children’s literature, and certainly read in whatever genre in which you want to write.

Solitude – The life of a writer is a solitary one. “Family, friends, and society are the natural enemies of a writer.  He must be alone, uninterrupted and slightly savage if he is to sustain and complete an undertaking.” LAWRENCE CLARK POWELL  Learn when, and how, to shut the door and lock out the world.  Find the time and the place that works best for you.

Tenacity – “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” RICHARD BACH

Dr. Seuss had his first book rejected 64 times and was ready to toss it in the trash.  A friend convinced him to try just one more publisher¾the rest is history.  Seuss could have remained an amateur if he had given up.  Don’t give up.  You might miss your chance at a bestseller.

Universality – Want to sell?  Then make sure your stories and articles have a universal appeal. There is nothing new under the sun, just a different way to tell it.  Stories with universal appeal never go out of style.

Virgin Reader – Every writer needs one of these.  We get so close to our “babies” that we can’t see their flaws.  But, believe me, an editor will.  So, find someone you trust to give you fair, constructive criticism¾someone with a fresh set of eyes to look at your writing¾and let them be a Virgin.

Write – “Planning to write is not writing.  Outlining a book is not writing.  Researching is not writing.  Talking to people about what you’re doing, none of that is writing.  Writing is writing.” E. L.  DOCTROW

‘Nuff said.

Xercise – (Yes, I know it’s not spelled that way) Writing takes a lot of mental power but doesn’t exercise the other body muscle groups (except the fingers).  So, to keep yourself healthy¾and maybe even sneak in some writer avoidance time – take time to exercise.  You’ll come back to the keyboard refreshed and awake. A bonus – getting the endorphins revved can even kick your brain into gear and help you solve whatever writing problem you’ve been facing.

Ying and Yang—A writer needs balance, in his life and on the page. Too much time alone with the book isn’t a good thing. Neither are pages of narrative or back story with no dialogue or action. Find that happy medium in your life and your literary pursuits.

Zeal – “Writing is a dog’s life, but the only life worth living.” GUSTAVE FLAUBERT

If a writer’s “dog’s life” isn’t what you want, then you had just as well close your notebook, break your pencil in half, and find something else to do with your life.  Zeal, passion and a love of your work will keep your writing fresh and alive.  If you don’t like what you are doing you probably will not succeed at it.

Please allow us to introduce you to our paranormal suspense series The Turning Stone Chronicles.

The Promised One (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 1)

Blood Brothers (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 2)

Son of the Moonless Night (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 3)

The Mercenary and the Shifters (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 4)

C.D. Hersh–Two hearts creating everlasting love stories.
Putting words and stories on paper is second nature to co-authors C.D. Hersh. They’ve written separately since they were teenagers and discovered their unique, collaborative abilities in the mid-90s. As high school sweethearts and husband and wife, Catherine and Donald believe in true love and happily ever after.

They have a short Christmas story, Kissing Santa, in a Christmas anthology titled Sizzle in the Snow: Soul Mate Christmas Collection, with seven other authors.

They are looking forward to many years of co-authoring and book sales, and a lifetime of happily-ever-after endings on the page and in real life.

Social Media Info:

Website
Soul Mate Publishing
Facebook
Amazon Author Page
Twitter
Goodreads
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December 23, 2020 | Holidays

Wishing You and Yours
a very Merry Christmas

Along with
Pleasant memories of holidays past!

From the entire Taylor family
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Books are for Everyone

December 21, 2020 | Author Friend Promo

by Dianna Gunn

I didn’t have access to a lot of things growing up. Living in suburbia with two parents who didn’t drive made it impossible to access, well, everything. We had to spend half an hour in transit or an hour walking to reach the nearest grocery store. Free or affordable programs for youths of all kinds were at least as far. I never even learned how to swim. The lessons we could afford were simply too far away.

There is, however, one thing I always had: books. I had bookshelves of my own lined with books for kids. My parents had a pair of bookshelves that stretched all the way up to our (admittedly low) ceiling. There were hundreds of stories to choose from, most of them science fiction or fantasy stories I could use to escape my dreary reality.

My world descended into chaos when my parents split and my dad was diagnosed with cancer, and those books became my lifeline.
Sometimes I read lighthearted, comedic stories with guaranteed happy endings for
pure escapism. Other times I read the darkest, most gruesome books I could find
so I could look at my life and say “at least I’m not the characters in this book”. Both types of stories served their purpose: they kept me alive. And I was lucky. I accessed most of those books for free from my own relatives’ libraries.
When I got bored of the books my family had to offer, I went to the school
library or sometimes directly to a favorite teacher for a personalized
recommendation. I was able to immerse myself in hundreds of worlds without
spending a dime.
Many kids weren’t so lucky. Their parents didn’t have books in the home, their school libraries were inadequate or even nonexistent, or their nearest public library was an hour or more away. They struggled for every book they read, until they either found a way to buy their own books or gave up on reading altogether.
The problem isn’t limited to kids either. I know many adults, especially other adults in their 20’s, who have tiny or nonexistent book buying budgets. And all across the western world, our public libraries are under threat. Library funding in my home province was cut by 50% this year alone. The loss of libraries combined with stagnant wages and the ever-rising cost of living are making books inaccessible to millions of people. As an author, I need to make money, but as a person who grew up in poverty—a person who, let’s face it, still lives in poverty—I never want money to be the reason why someone doesn’t read my book.
Everyone deserves access to books, and not to sound egomaniacal, but everyone deserves access to my books.

Here’s a brief intro for you from my latest book.

All Riana has ever wanted is freedom. Unfortunately, that’s the one thing her
kind cannot have. 

Bound by the curse in her demonic blood for millennia, Riana has tried several
times to bend the rules and live out her life in the mortal realm. Now her
consistent rule breaking has drawn the attention of Loki, God of Mischief, the
main tormentor of Riana’s kind. But instead of punishing her, he offers her the
escape she has always desired. All she has to do to is save the kingdom of
Moonshadow from a mysterious magical plague.
Armed only with the inherent power of her own blood and Loki’s pet dragon, Riana is determined to fight for the right to create her own destiny. However, when her mission forces her to destroy the last remnants of an ancient culture, Riana must ask – what is freedom really worth?
Moonshadow’s Guardian is a tale about the meaning of belonging, and the
struggle to create a future not defined by your past.
BUY LINKS Amazon  and Kobo 

Dianna L. Gunn is a freelance writer by day and a fantasy author by
night. She knew she wanted to be a writer since she was eight years old. Dianna
wrote her first novel for Nanowrimo at eleven years old. As an adult, Dianna
quickly discovered writing books is not an easy way to make a living.
She decided to broaden her horizons, seeking another career that still allowed her to work with words. Her freelance writing career started when she became a marketing intern at Musa Publishing in September 2011 and quickly became a staff writer in charge of multiple imprint blogs. Since then she has worked with a variety of small businesses and non-profits to improve their online brands and create long term marketing strategies.
Some of her most notable work has been for the tech education non-profit
STEAMLabs and natural dog care company ProPooch. She is dedicated to helping her clients build successful brands and making their dreams come true. Need help creating awesome content for your business? Send an email to diannalgunn@gmail.com explaining your needs, and she will help you.
When she isn’t helping her clients bring their dreams to life, Dianna can be found working on her own dream of being a successful fantasy author. Dianna blogs about writing, creativity, and books at The Dabbler. Learn more about Dianna on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.
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PERK UP YOUR TASTE BUDS

December 16, 2020 | Cooking

The internet is flooded with recipes for spinach dip with each one claiming to be the best. I’ve tried many of those recipes and found them all to be about the same which was just okay at best. Then my niece Lauren came for dinner with her family and brought her version for our appetizer. It was delicious! Studs and I both give Lauren’s recipe 5 spoons, our highest rating for recipes. I’m confident you’ll love it too.

Lauren’s Spinach Dip

1 cup mayonnaise, no imitations

16 oz. sour cream

1 – 1.8 oz. pkg. dry vegetable soup mix

4 oz. can water chestnuts, drained and chopped

5 oz. chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained

1 round loaf sourdough bread

Gently combine all ingredients, except bread, together in a glass or ceramic bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Set in fridge anywhere from 5 hours to overnight.

When you are ready to serve, slice the top off the bread and pull out a fair amount of the interior dough. Tear those pieces into chunks for dipping into the mayo mix.

This dip is also terrific spread on crackers, celery sticks, and other crunchy veggies.

May you enjoy all the days of your life filled with good friends, laughter, and seated around a well-laden table! 

Sloane

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Do You Hear What I Hear?

December 14, 2020 | Author Friend Promo

from Catherine Castle

The other morning while having breakfast my husband said, “Listen. Do you hear that?”

“What?” I asked.

“That whoosha whoosha sound.”

I listened intently. “Nope. All I hear is the ticka ticka ticka of the refrigerator in its thaw cycle.”

“No,” he replied. “It’s definitely a whoosha whoosha.”

I cocked my head toward the fridge. “No it’s ticka ticka.”

“Wait,” he said. “It’s changed. It’s now zzz zzz zzz, like the vibrating sound my toy
football players used to make on their metal field.

“That’s more of a rooma rooma rooma noise.” I replied.

“No. It’s zzz zzz zzz,” he insisted.

Breakfast was on hold and the cereal got soggy in our bowls as we argued back and forth while the sounds of the thawing cycle of the fridge changed every few minutes. Neither of us heard what the other heard. Finally, the debate ended with a ka-thunk at the end of the defrost cycle. Silence filled the kitchen.

“I don’t hear anything now.” I spooned up a serving of mushy bran cereal, anxious to get back to my breakfast before it dissolved any more.

Tick tock tick tock,” hubby said as the Mickey Mouse clock second hand rounded the clock face.

“I hear that,” I said. It was the only sound we agreed on, and it’s one that is universally known to represent a clock.

Now, I know men are from Mars and women are from Venus, and we are different in sooooo many ways. But I always thought hearing was hearing. After all, our ears, male or female, are built the same way. We have the same little ear canals connected to the same parts of the brain. I knew, even when I couldn’t hear the sounds, what the writers meant when Batman and Robin fought the bad guys and cartoon balloons appeared on the television screen screaming BAM! POW! SOCKO!

 But that morning in the kitchen I had a revelation: I wasn’t to blame when I couldn’t get a mechanic to understand me! All those years I failed to fully communicate with male mechanics wasn’t because I lacked something.

When my husband describes a funny sound in our car, the mechanics all nod their heads knowingly. But when I describe the odd sounds, the male mechanics look at me like I have two heads. I always wondered why I could never get my point across to them, no matter how many times I repeated the explanation of the sounds.

Now, I know why. Apparently, men lack the finite hearing of a woman. They don’t hear things right. A rattle rattle, clatter clatter, boom boom boom probably sounds like chicka chicka, sissa sissa, thunk thunk thunk to them. And
anyone with a pair of ears can hear that there’s a world of difference between the two sounds.

Hummm. Maybe I need a female mechanic. She’ll get it. Unlike a guy.

What about you? Does your man hear the same things you do? And I don’t mean
when someone speaks to you. But that’s a whole ’nother blog post.

May your Holidays be happy and bright! 

Catherine

Take your mind off the sound discrepancies between men and women with a copy of Catherine’s award-winning romantic comedy that has a touch of drama. You’ll laugh as Mama searches for a husband for her daughter.

One date for every medical test—that’s the deal. Allison, however, gets more than she bargains for. She gets a Groom for Mama.

Beverly Walters is dying, and before she goes she has one wish—to find a groom for her daughter. To get the deed done, Mama enlists the dating service of Jack Somerset, Allison’s former boyfriend.

The last thing corporate-climbing Allison wants is a husband. Furious with Mama’s meddling, and a bit more interested in Jack than she wants to admit, Allison agrees to the scheme as long as Mama promises to search for a cure for her terminal illness.

A cross-country trip from Nevada to Ohio ensues, with a string of disastrous dates along the way, as the trio hunts for treatment and A Groom For Mama.

Amazon Buy Link

Multi-award-winning author Catherine Castle has been writing all her life. A former freelance writer, she has over 600 articles and photographs to her credit (under her real name) in the Christian and secular market. Now she writes sweet and inspirational romance. Her debut inspirational romantic suspense, The Nun and the Narc, from Soul Mate Publishing, has garnered multiple contests finals and wins.

Catherine loves writing, reading, traveling, singing, watching movies, and the theatre. In the winter she loves to quilt and has a lot of UFOs (unfinished objects) in her sewing case. In the summer her favorite place to be is in her garden. She’s passionate about gardening and even won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club.

Learn more about Catherine Castle on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to check out Catherine’s Amazon author page and her Goodreads page. You can also find Catherine on Stitches Thru Time and the SMP authors blog site.

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