Sloane Taylor - Sweet as Honey, Hotter Than Hell

April 27, 2016

Taming Your Beefaholic

Beef is a favorite with Studs and most men. Beef on bones is like mana from heaven to them. Must be something carried over from caveman days. Here’s an easy recipe that will satisfy the beefaholic in your life.

Braised Beef Short Ribs

2-3 pounds beef short ribs cut into 2-inch pieces
Freshly ground pepper to taste¼ tsp. thyme
½ cup flour
2 tbsp. lard or solid shortening
2 medium onions, chopped
½ cup carrot, chopped
1 tbsp. garlic, pressed
¼ tsp. dried thyme
1 cup beef stock
2 small bay leaves
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Pat ribs dry. Grind pepper over the meat. Pour flour into a paper bag. Add 2 – 4 ribs at a time. Shake bag gently to coat the meat. Remove the ribs and set on a large plate. Continue until all the ribs are coated.

Melt the lard or shortening in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Carefully add ribs and brown them on all sides. Don’t crowd the pan. You’re better off to brown the meat in batches. Return ribs to the plate. Lower heat to medium.

Add onions and carrots to the same pot. Sauté until onions are soft and transparent. Add garlic. Cook for 45 – 60 seconds.

Stir in the stock. Bring to a boil over high heat. Scrape in any brown bits clinging to the bottom and sides of the pan.

Reduce heat to medium. Stir in the remaining ingredients.

Nestle ribs in the pan and bring to a boil. Cover and then place in the oven. Braise the ribs for 1 ½ hours or until the meat shows no resistance when pierced with a fork.

Arrange ribs on a clean platter and tent with foil to keep them warm.

Strain the braising liquid through a fine sieve into a saucepan. Press down hard on the vegetables to extract the juices. Discard vegetable. Skim off the surface fat.

Bring the pan to a hard boil. Cook for 2-3 minutes to intensify the flavor.

Pour the sauce into a gravy boat and serve alongside the ribs.

Have a great weekend!
Sloane

Sloane said @ 1:11 am | Cooking | Comments

April 25, 2016

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.

In the aftermath of a vicious rape, Juliana Colebrook shuns all men apart from the injured soldiers she nurses. Orphaned and alone, she desperately wants to leave Portugal for the protection of her relatives in England. However, there is still one man who invokes her admiration: Brigade-Major Colwyn Hetherington, with his self-deprecating sense of humour and innate sense of duty.

So when Colwyn is offered a dream job managing a large estate in Wiltshire, Juliana asks him to escort her back to England. But Colwyn has troubles of his own and when he is forced to reveal the nature of his woes to a stunned Juliana, everything changes. Mired in danger, who can Juliana trust? And what of Colwyn’s warning that families bring only trouble?

When Brigade-Major Colly Hetherington meets Miss Juliana Colebrook, he gives her a black eye. After the Battle of the Douro on the Iberian Peninsula he is severely wounded and only semi-conscious, but he is still coherent enough to know that he is behaving just as his father had predicted when he threw Colly out of the family home five years previously. Colly cannot be trusted around women.

Miss Colebrook, however, sees in Colly a wealth of kindness and a willingness to assume responsibility. She observes that he cares about the soldiers serving under him. If only…

Buy Links AmazonWaterstones

Vonnie Hughes is a multi-published author in both Regency books and contemporary suspense. She loves the intricacies of the social rules of the Regency period and the far-ranging consequences of the Napoleonic Code. And with suspense she has free rein to explore forensic matters and the strong convolutions of the human mind. Like many writers, some days she hates the whole process, but somehow she just cannot let it go.

Vonnie was born in New Zealand, but she and her husband now live happily in Australia. If you visit Hamilton Gardens in New Zealand be sure to stroll through the Japanese Garden. These is a bronze plaque engraved with a haiku describing the peacefulness of that environment. The poem was written by Vonnie.

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

Sloane said @ 1:31 am | Author Friend Promo | Comments

April 20, 2016

Sunday Dinner Almost Like Mom Made

Once in a great while I’m compelled to cook a Sunday afternoon sit-down dinner like the one mom used to make. These aren’t her recipes, but they are close. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

Braised Pork Loin
Mashed Potatoes
Homemade Applesauce
Steamed Asparagus
Crisp White Wine

Braised Pork Loin

3 – 4 lb. boneless pork loin
3 tbsp. lard or solid shortening
2 med. onions, peeled and sliced
1 lg. shallot, peeled and sliced
2 med. carrots, scraped and chopped
1 cup dry white wine
½ cup chicken stock
¾ tsp. dried thyme
½ tsp. marjoram
½ tsp. paprika
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Pat the roast dry with paper towels. Melt lard in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add pork and brown on all sides, about 20 minutes. Adjust the heat so as not to burn any part of the roast.

Set the meat on a plate. Reduce heat to medium. Sauté onions until they are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Add remaining ingredients to the pot and bring to a boil. Return the roast to the pot along with any accumulated juices on the plate. Cover tightly and braise in the center of the oven for 1½ hours or until a sharp knife inserts easily.

Set the roast on a cutting board and tent with foil. Skim fat from the braising liquid. Strain the liquid and vegetables through a sieve, pressing down hard with the back of a spoon to extract as much juice as possible before discarding the pulp.

Slice the pork into serving pieces and lay them on a platter. Moisten meat with a little of the sauce. Pour the remainder in a gravy boat and serve on the side.

Mashed Potatoes

1 small russet potato per person
Chicken stock
Butter
Sour cream
Milk
Pepper
Parsley, snipped or chopped for garnish

Pour one inch chicken stock into saucepan. Peel and quarter the potatoes, then place in saucepan. Add tap water to cover by one inch. Put a lid on the pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower temperature to a strong simmer. Cook approximately 20 – 25 minutes. They are done when a fork inserts easily into a potato.

Drain potatoes. Stir in butter, sour cream, and pepper. Mash well. Drizzle in the milk. Mash and continue to add milk until you achieve the consistency you prefer.

Homemade Applesauce

6 lg apples cored, peeled, and coarsely sliced*
1 cup sugar
4 tbsp. water
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1½ tbsp. soft butter

Combine all ingredients except butter in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat, cover pot, and simmer 15 – 20 minutes or until apples mash easily with a fork.

Stir in the butter.

Mash with a potato masher. For a smoother texture pour the sauce into a blender or food processor and puree for a minute or so.

Turn into a serving bowl, cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve. This recipe also freezes well.

*Mix it up with a variety of apples to improve the flavor. Use six different types

Steamed Asparagus

Photo by SOMMAI

1 bunch asparagus
½ cup chicken stock
¼ cup dry vermouth or white wine
Water
2 tbsp. butter
Metal vegetable steamer

Add chicken stock and dry vermouth or wine to a medium size saucepan. Insert vegetable steamer, then add water to just below the bottom holes.

Snap off the ends of the asparagus and trim the spears to fit your saucepan. Add spears and cover. Bring to a boil over medium heat, adjusting the heat to a strong simmer. In 4-5 minutes the asparagus should be crisp tender.

Lay asparagus in a serving bowl. Spread the butter over them and serve.

I’m already looking for leftovers!
Sloane

Sloane said @ 1:35 am | Cooking | Comments

April 18, 2016

Time Travel 101…

by Sharon Ledwith

Legends. We love them. We can’t get enough of them. In fact we NEED them. Legends connect humanity in ways we can’t fathom. A legend, by definition is a story handed down for generations among a people and popularly believed to have a historical basis, although not verifiable. In book one of my time travel series, The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, Amanda Sault, her four classmates, and two tag-along adults are whisked through an arch they find buried in an overgrown garden, and transported to the mythical continent of Atlantis. They’ve been summoned to become Timekeepers—legendary time travelers sworn to keep history safe from an evil force known only as Belial. Oh, BTW—they’re not just any Timekeepers—they’re the Last Timekeepers. No pressure, right? Well, maybe a smidgen.

The Timekeepers first mission involves going back to 1214 England, actually Nottingham to be precise. There, Amanda and her time traveling cohorts meet an adolescent Robin Hood, although he is known as Robyn Hodekin to the people of Nottingham. So here’s the rub—in The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, what’s myth and what’s made-up? That’s when it’s up to the reader to seek the truth and dispel the lies.

Here’s a little help:

Robin Hood—if he did exist—was known by many names. Robyn Hode, Robert Earl of Huntingdon, Robert Fitz Ooth, and Robert fitz Odo to name a few. The first written references to our hero are brief. The earliest comes in the poem Piers Plowman, written in 1377 by the London cleric William Langland. One of his characters, an idle priest, says in passing, “I know the rhymes of Robin Hood,” but that is all. The oldest surviving substantial account of Robin Hood in his wider setting was printed in 1510, and is called A Geste of Robin Hood, the word Geste probably meaning a tale of heroic exploits. BTW—“Robin Hood in Sherwood stood” was one verse found preserved in a scrap of manuscript from Lincoln Cathedral, and was dated around 1410.

Mortimer’s Hole—The Mortimer and his hole in my story is fictional. The real Mortimer’s Hole is a 98 metre long man-made tunnel that takes you from the foot of castle rock up to the Upper Bailey in the castle grounds. It is named after Roger Mortimer. On the night of 19th October 1330 one of the most dramatic events in the history of the castle took place when the supporters of 15 year old King Edward III entered the castle through a secret passage —now named Mortimer’s Hole. They captured Queen Isabella and her lover, Roger Mortimer, who had usurped the young King and were ruling England in his place. Mortimer was taken to London where he was executed. Mortimer’s Hole was probably used as a food chute in medieval times.

Nottingham caves—Totally factual! Beneath the houses, shops and offices of Nottingham lie hundreds of caves. Few people in Nottingham are aware of this labyrinth, which exists underneath the city streets, and fewer still have visited them. Nottingham has more man-made caves than anywhere else in Britain. People have worked and lived in them for over 1,000 years. None of these caves were formed naturally. They were all cut into the sandstone by the city’s inhabitants for use as houses, cellars and place of work. Each cave in unique and created for a specific purpose, some have elaborate carvings, pillars and staircases. Take a virtual tour if you dare: http://nottinghamcavessurvey.org.uk/

Knights Templar— The Knights Templar trace their origin back to shortly after the First Crusade. Around 1119, a French nobleman, Hughes de Payens, collected eight of his knight relatives, and began the Order, their stated mission to protect pilgrims on their journey to visit the Holy Places. Knights of the Order wore white mantles, assigned to the Templars in 1129 at the Council of Troyes and surcoats quartered by a red cross, a symbol of martyrdom, probably added at the start of the Second Crusade in 1147, and were heavily armored knights from the aristocracy with war horses. Knights had to wear their white mantles as all times, even when eating and drinking.

The Rockyard Inn—The name is fictional. Much of the history of the Inn is very poorly recorded. An archaeological dig in 1974 proved conclusively that the location of the original Brewhouse could only be that of the caves of Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem, the Inn that exists there presently. This established that the Castle Brewhouse existed prior to 1189AD but the first dated reference is to be found is in the records of the City Council for the year 1618. The parochial rights to the area now known as the Brewhouse Yard did not in fact belong to the Castle but passed backwards and forward over time between the Priory of Lenton, The Knights Templar and the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem.

Here’s an excerpt from The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis:

Amanda Sault silently studied the words she just scrawled: May 1st, 1214—Games and songs and revelry, act as the cloak of devilry. So that an English legend may give to the poor, we must travel to Nottingham to even the score.

She frowned. She was the Scribe. Amanda knew that meant she was supposed to understand what this riddle meant. But she didn’t have a clue. All she knew was that she, her four annoying classmates, and two offbeat adults were standing in what was left of the lost continent of Atlantis and they were supposed to be the Timekeepers, the legendary time travelers handpicked by destiny to keep Earth’s history safe from evil. But no one had told them how they were supposed to do it.

Their problem: no matter what happened—good or bad—they weren’t supposed to mess with the past. Period. Dot. End of story. Amanda felt hot liquid build in her throat. Her thumb traced the words of the arcane riddle. Their first Timekeeper mission. Amanda knew this wasn’t the end of the story.

This was just the beginning.

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

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/YA time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, available through Mirror World Publishing, and is represented by Walden House (Books & Stuff) for her teen psychic series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter, Google+, and Goodreads. Look up her Amazon Author page for a list of current books.

Check out THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS TIME TRAVEL SERIES Facebook page.

Sloane said @ 12:34 am | Author Friend Promo | Comments

April 13, 2016

FAST AND FURIOUS MEAL PREP

by Janis Lane

How do you plan your shopping? Sit down and figure out a week of meals? Grab what’s on sale at the grocery store? Buy a week’s meat and plan the rest around that? At my house we build in left-over meals and give them equal importance to the food at first appearance. After a delicious pot roast, potatoes, carrots, next day is planned a favorite, Pot Roast Soup.

Easy peasy to make when you have the broth, meat and three of the veggies already there.

TONIGHT’S MENU

Leftover Pot Roast Soup
Salad
Corn Bread or Sesame Seed rolls

Leftover Pot Roast Soup
1 – 2 cups cubed pot roast
½ cup cooked or 1 cup fresh cubed potato
½ cup cooked or 1 cup fresh onion, sliced
1 cup carrots, cooked and diced
8 oz can tomatoes diced.
1 cup total fresh or frozen green beans, peas, broccoli bits, corn*
Broth from the previously cooked pot roast plus 1 cube beef bullion
1 cup water, more if you like extra broth.
1 sprig fresh thyme or pinch dried, remove sprig before serving
½ tsp. chopped fresh basil or dash dried, optional

Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized pot. Bring to a boil and simmer on low heat 35 to 45 minutes. Ideally everything in your soup is cooked or fresh, but the flavors need to blend. Stir occasionally.

Do not add water at the last minute. Make that decision at the beginning of your prep.

*Careful not to add too much. Remember – this is a soup, not a stew.

While you wait, use your favorite corn bread recipe and prepare a simple salad.

Quick Salad
Lettuce, Romaine, Buttercrunch, or one of the dark salad greens. Iceberg is okay
Canned peaches or slices of fresh apple/pears/oranges/ avocado/ fresh or canned pineapple
Dollop cream cheese or a small slice cheddar
Sprinkle of nutmeg

Arrange lettuce on a salad plate. Top with fruit. Add the cheese and nutmeg. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Dessert
Cookie and one cup of your favorite ice cream

Any pot roast left over? Freeze and serve at a later time over baked potato.

Please allow me to introduce you to my latest cozy mystery, a Detective Kevin Fowler short story, for your reading pleasure.

Can reality be bridged by the distress of an elderly woman?

A handsome new neighbor sneezes when he enters the home of an elderly woman who owns only glass cats.

Is there a romance beginning between both her neighbors?

The death of a greedy, abusive nephew is rendered poetic justice.

Detective Kevin Fowler investigates.

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


Janis Lane is the pen-name for gifted author Emma Lane who writes cozy mysteries as Janis, Regency as Emma, and spicy as Sunny Lanee.

She lives in Western New York where winter is snowy, spring arrives with rave reviews, summer days are long and velvet, and fall leaves are riotous in color. At long last she enjoys the perfect bow window for her desk where she is treated to a year-round panoramic view of nature. Her computer opens up a fourth fascinating window to the world. Her patient husband is always available to help with a plot twist and encourage Emma to never quit. Her day job is working with flowers at Herbtique and Plant Nursery, the nursery she and her son own.

Look for information about writing and plants on Emma’s 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 @ 12:34 am | Author Friend Promo,Cooking | Comments

April 12, 2016

Shopping: Is it in our genes?

by Anne Montgomery

I’ve been a teacher for 15 years and, when meeting new high school students, I often ask them about their interests. Without fail, numerous kids list shopping as their favorite hobby. These students, so far, have been female.

I try not to roll my eyes and then explain that a hobby is generally something where one might engage in creative or artistic pursuits, collect themed objects, or perhaps play a sport. Still, the girls smile and insist that shopping is their hobby.

I read recently that the average woman spends approximately 400 hours each year shopping. Conversely, men quickly get board with those trips to the mall, losing interest after just 26 minutes, while women can shop blissfully for two hours before tedium strikes.

I know what you’re thinking. It’s the women who usually spy the empty cupboards and resupply the milk and toilet paper and dog food and all of the other stuff needed to run a household. So, of course, they spend more time at the store. But, even when we discount those we gotta have it now moments, women are still in shopping mode much more than men.

I wondered why. I put on my history teacher cap and thought about our ancient ancestors: those hunter-gatherers who foraged for food and resources until they started to settle down in permanent communities about 12,000 years ago. The hunters, we suspect, were generally men. The gatherers: women. It’s estimated that 80% of our ancestors’ diet consisted of wild fruits and vegetables. While the men were out looking for something to kill and drag home, women and girls were peering intently at foliage and digging in the ground, looking for groceries. And their rummaging probably wasn’t restricted to foodstuffs. No doubt a pretty rock or feather might have found its way into a woman’s basket, perhaps to use for barter later on when food ran out.

What does this have to do with the modern female shopper? Here I have a completely unscientific hypothesis, though one that makes perfect sense to me. Human beings – and all creatures alive today – had to adapt in order to survive. So, perhaps, buried in our DNA is a “shopping” gene, passed on from our ancient female ancestors. Those women, who had to examine fruits and berries and roots and leaves, were forced to take great care and time to make sure they selected items that didn’t poison their families. They also had to stock up enough goods to make it through the harsh times of the year. So hunting and gathering were probably their main pursuits. Thanks to their abilities to pick the best available provisions, they were able to survive and pass their genes down to us.

So, don’t feel too badly about enjoying that time at the mall, just leave your beau at home. I, in the meantime, will try to stop rolling my eyes at my students.

Here’s a brief introduction to my women’s fiction for your reading pleasure.

A Light in the Desert traces the story of a pregnant teenager who bears an odd facial deformity, a Vietnam veteran and former Special Forces sniper who, as he descends into the throes of mental illness, latches onto the girl, and a group of Pentecostal zealots – the Children of Light – who have been waiting over thirty years in the Arizona desert for Armageddon.

The Amtrak Sunset Limited, a passenger train en route to Los Angeles, is derailed in their midst’s, a deadly act of sabotage. Their lives are thrown into turmoil when local and state police, FBI investigators, and a horde of reporters make camp by the twisted wreckage of the Sunset Limited. As the search for the saboteurs continues, the authorities find more questions than answers. The girl mysteriously vanishes, the assassin struggles to maintain his sanity, and a child is about to be born in the wilderness.

To read more from A Light in the Desert please click a vendor’s name: Sarah Book PublishingAmazonBarnes & Noble

Anne Montgomery has worked as a television sportscaster, newspaper and magazine writer, teacher, amateur baseball umpire, and high school football referee. She worked at WRBL‐TV in Columbus, Georgia, WROC‐TV in Rochester, New York, KTSP‐TV in Phoenix, Arizona, ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, where she anchored the Emmy and ACE award‐winning SportsCenter, and ASPN-TV as the studio host for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Montgomery has been a freelance and staff writer for six publications, writing sports, features, movie reviews, and archeological pieces.

When she can, Anne indulges in her passions: rock collecting, scuba diving, football refereeing, and playing her guitar.

Learn more about Anne Montgomery on Wikipedia. Stay connected on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter.

Sloane said @ 6:27 pm | Author Friend Promo | Comments

April 11, 2016

PROFESSIONAL MISCONCEPTIONS

Emilia Mancini is more than just hot sex. She’s an author with strong opinions on journalism and she’s here today to share them. The floor is all your, Em!

My editor side has seen an influx of book submissions with journalists as main characters lately. This is great for me. I love reading about journalists!

Photo by Graur Codrin

I’m a freelance writer for a local magazine in the daylight hours. Yes, I cover features instead of hard news, but I had to go to journalism school for this, and I certainly have to live the journalist life: deadlines that bitch slap the crap out of me, editors who aren’t happy with my story, sitting outside (not exactly stalking) the house of a source who won’t return my calls so I can catch them face-to-face…

So, yeah, I really love reading stories about journalists. I even wrote one as Marci Boudreaux.

But I get a little worked up when I read misrepresentations of reporters. Just this week, I vented to the LLL ladies about this very topic (which lead to this lovely post). Now I know you are writing fiction and things get twisted and turned and exaggerated, but if you are writing contemporary, you have to be somewhat realistic and I’ve found that frequently isn’t happening when journalists are being written into fiction.

I just want to take a moment to clear the air a little so if you are considering using a print journalist as a character in your book (for good or for evil) some of these stereotypical, panty-bunching mistakes aren’t made in your manuscript.

1 – Easily my biggest issue with people writing newspaper articles is using the phrase “this reporter.” As in, “This reporter was told the world is round.” This phrase may have been used 100 years ago, but it isn’t used now. It insinuates the writer into the article, which is completely unprofessional and no newspaper editor would let this in. Ever. Reporters are telling the facts, without opinion, personal interpretation, or commentary…unless they are an opinion columnist.

TheMessenger_fullres

2 – Reporters don’t have money to throw around. Newspaper reporters make less than 30K per year, maybe 35K if they work for a decent-sized paper, but overall, we are a very poor lot. In The Messenger, my main character came from money. She had a nice apartment, clothes, and car because she used her trust fund to get these things. She was the misfit in the news office based on the those with vs. those without mentality of her co-workers. Overall, unless you set it up otherwise, your reporter should drive an average car, shop at average stores, and live in average homes. Sure, there are exceptions, but your everyday newspaper reporter does not drive a Lexus.

3 – Sensational commentary in a news article would never happen. Reporters write facts. They have sources (quotes from experts, witnesses, or validated research) to back up these facts. This is a requirement for making it to print because people like to sue newspapers. Editors will not approve/print scandalous content. Serious reporters aren’t going to insert opinion, personal jabs, or any other commentary.

4 – Newspapers as a whole are broke. This means reporters take their own pictures with the shared office camera and drive their own cars to get the story. Newspapers do not provide photographers to go on assignment with reporters and they don’t provide transportation (though if a reporter is full-time, gas mileage may be reimbursed).

5 – The last time I, or one of my co-workers, wore a suit to an interview was…oh, right, never. Print journalists don’t dress in business suits. At least not your average reporter. Think business casual. Khakis or nice jeans and a semi-dress shirt. A skirt and blouse. One editor I know loves his corduroys, but suits are just not something I’ve seen in the newsroom—except for the publisher, but he’s in business meetings all day with other men/women in suits, so that makes sense.

6 – I know reporters are usually viewed as a force of evil. Some probably are. We share the horrors of the world more than we share the laughs. But, honestly, if the media only covered the good things, the public would criticize them for not being truthful about the events of the world. Most people view reporters as heartless demons who would step over dying babies to get the scoop. The truth is, we’re human, too. Maybe we don’t break down on the scene, but I guarantee you, even the toughest of reporters have gotten emotional over something they covered. Don’t portray your journalist as a one-dimensional heartless story-grabbing asshat. That’s a stereotype that has been overplayed.

Okay, so that kind of wraps up the biggies. The moral of this blog post? Do some research, whether it is a journalist or a doctor you are including in your manuscript. One phone call and a few questions is all you need to make sure you aren’t making crucial mistakes when representing a profession. Most people are more than happy to tell you what their job is really like. All you have to do is ask.

Here’s a little teaser from my latest sexy release for your reading pleasure.

It took Kyle one look to realize he wanted to seduce his best friend’s mother. And one kiss to realize he didn’t have to.

It was lust at first sight for Kyle when he met his roommate Justin’s mother Kate. Kyle, a college transfer, was too far from home to visit on short school breaks, so Justin took him to Minneapolis where his mother was serving up a family meal for Thanksgiving.

One look left Kyle with a healthy obsession for Kate which grew with each visit. When he landed an internship in Minneapolis, he moved in with Kate for the summer, and got in touch with his voyeuristic side. It wasn’t until one late evening and a few too many glasses of wine that Kyle began to suspect his attraction wasn’t one-sided.

When he dared to push the issue, he found Kate more than willing to succumb to his seduction.

BUY LINKS
AmazonBarnes & Noble

Emilia Mancini is the naughtier side to author Marci Boudreaux. Emilia stays hidden in the shadows like a nefarious side kick, slipping out only when the stories Marci wants to share are a little too grown up to be called sweet romance.

Seducing Kate is Emilia’s second release and, at least for the moment, her crowning glory.

Be sure to check out the Pinterest board for Seducing Kate.

Visit Emilia on her website. Stay connected on Twitter and Facebook.

Sloane said @ 12:29 am | Author Friend Promo | Comments

April 6, 2016

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE CAKE

by Anne Montgomery

Cake

One of the finest inventions known to man.

Unfortunately, too often cake is a second thought; a mere conveyor of mounds of icing and cute decorations. In the interest of cake, and understanding the fact that few of us have time to make the confection from scratch, here’s a simple way to – I can’t help it – have your cake and eat it too.

This recipe was created by my foster son Troy who is working hard to become a pastry chef.

Jazzed Up Chocolate Cake
1 chocolate cake mix (use Devils Food)
Eggs, oil, water: according to box directions
1 cup walnuts
1 cup mini chocolate chips

Mix the cake as directed on the box.

Finely chop the walnuts. You can also use a food processor. The idea is to reduce them to tiny pieces. (It’s the oil in the walnuts that makes the cake rich.)

Stir the walnuts and mini chocolate chips into the batter, pour into prepared pans, and bake according to the directions on the box.

You can eat the cake plain, or decorated as Troy has done to his masterpiece.

We like a not terribly sweet vanilla buttercream. Use whatever frosting works for you or plop on a dollop of fresh whipped cream.

Just remember, it’s all about the cake.

While you enjoy a slice of the delicious cake you’ve created, how about a glimpse into my latest novel?

The past and present collide when a tenacious reporter seeks information on an eleventh century magician…and uncovers more than she bargained for.

In 1939, archaeologists uncovered a tomb at the Northern Arizona site called Ridge Ruin. The man, bedecked in fine turquoise jewelry and intricate bead work, was surrounded by wooden swords with handles carved into animal hooves and human hands. The Hopi workers stepped back from the grave, knowing what the Moochiwimi sticks meant. This man, buried nine hundred years earlier, was a magician.

Former television journalist Kate Butler hangs on to her investigative reporting career by writing freelance magazine articles. Her research on The Magician shows he bore some European facial characteristics and physical qualities that made him different from the people who buried him. Her quest to discover The Magician’s origin carries her back to a time when the high desert world was shattered by the birth of a volcano and into the present-day dangers of archaeological looting where black market sales of antiquities can lead to murder.

BUY LINKS
Sarah Book Publishing
Amazon

Anne Montgomery has worked as a television sportscaster, newspaper and magazine writer, teacher, amateur baseball umpire, and high school football referee. She worked at WRBL‐TV in Columbus, Georgia, WROC‐TV in Rochester, New York, KTSP‐TV in Phoenix, Arizona, ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, where she anchored the Emmy and ACE award‐winning SportsCenter, and ASPN-TV as the studio host for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Montgomery has been a freelance and staff writer for six publications, writing sports, features, movie reviews, and archeological pieces.

When she can, Anne indulges in her passions: rock collecting, scuba diving, football refereeing, and playing her guitar.

Learn more about Anne Montgomery on Wikipedia. Stay connected on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter.

Sloane said @ 12:45 am | Author Friend Promo,Cooking | Comments

April 4, 2016

Why You Need a Proofreader

by Carol Browne

In my working life I wear many hats. Those worn by the writer and the proofreader you would assume to be created by the same milliner, but they are mutually exclusive. This is one of many reasons why we all need proofreaders.

No time for false modesty because I know I’m a very good proofreader—in fact, your actual grammar Nazi—and I have a particular talent for spotting typos. You would think, therefore, that when I do my own writing, I would eliminate errors as I go along, like a highly efficient chef who leaves the kitchen clean and tidy while producing a gourmet meal. But no. I make silly errors that are clearly brain glitches, like putting “at” instead of “as.” When you write or type, the hand is often quicker than the eye, but the brain leaves them both at the starting gate and chaos ensues.

When I proofread my writing and then ask my beta-reader for her opinion, I expect she will find errors I have missed. This happens when you are an author because you are too close to your work, too involved with it, to be able to step back and see the flaws. The brain often sees what it expects to see. So when it expects to see “its” but by mistake you have written “it’s”, the brain will continue to see “its” until hell freezes over. This inability to be objective is another reason why you need a proofreader.

Many words and phrases in everyday speech are used incorrectly and a good proofreader will know this. “Bored of”, for example, is a recent colloquialism and not (yet) acceptable in formal English. You can be bored by or with something but never bored of it. Another common mistake is to write “should of” instead of “should have”, which is an example of people writing words as they hear them. So, correcting erroneous usage is another reason why you need a proofreader.

Some people you just can’t help, however. A local business continues to advertise its computers and “assessories” two years after I tactfully pointed out the (common) misspelling. Grammar Nazis are frequently resisted, but resistance is futile if you want your business to look professional.

We all make mistakes, hit the wrong key without realizing it, and have misconceptions about grammar and spelling. (I’ll admit here to my eternal shame that before I became a proofreader, I used “shalln’t” instead of “shan’t”. Unbelievable.)

Using a proofreader doesn’t mean you are inadequate, it means you care about what you’ve written. It means you want your book, CV, assignment, trade ad, blog, etc. to be as flawless as possible, particularly if something important, like a job or qualification, depends on the finished product.

Don’t rely on the spellchecker either. If you’ve typed “there” when you meant “their” or “sort” instead of “sought”, you need a human proofreader to catch those bad boys because a spellchecker will give you ten out of ten for spelling every time.

Experienced proofreaders tend to be knowledgeable on a wide variety of subjects. My work covers topics as diverse as photography, education, nursing and psychology. They are good at research and have a sixth sense for knowing if a word is right, wrong, or should be queried. Sometimes you need a proofreader to save you from embarrassment, too. I’m sure the Polish friend who made this particular mistake won’t mind me mentioning it, but putting “bottom” instead of “button” mushrooms did give me an interesting image to giggle at. Meanwhile, my local village shop should have used a proofreader, but instead chose to display a printed sign asking customers to “bare with us” during renovations.

I’m hoping this is an error-free blog but, if not, I blame it on the fact that I wore my writer’s hat during its composition. Meanwhile my proofreading business has undergone a reboot on Facebook. Please drop by and say hello. All Likes gratefully received!

High praise for Carol’s latest book that is a beautiful anthology of poems and short stories.

No one says it better than Amazon reviewer, faeriemoonmama, who describes the book as “atmospheric”:

“The poetry is steeped in a love of nature, magic and mythology. The short stories hold interesting twists. No spoilers! The Boomerang Effect (dabbling with a love spell, Martin Nevis finds himself having second thoughts) A Force to Be Reckoned With (an outcast with thoughts of being “destined for something great” wants to join the police force) and Transformation (once bullied, Patricia attends a school reunion and emerges victorious) were my favorites.

Give this collection a read, you won’t be disappointed.”

Read more on Amazon.

Carol Browne regards Crewe, Cheshire, as her home town and graduated from Nottingham University in 1976 with an honors degree in English Language and Literature. Carol writes speculative fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. She is also a ghost blog writer, proofreader, copy editor, and copywriter. Along with a passion for gardening, Carol is an avid animal lover.

Carol lives in the Cambridgeshire countryside with her dog, Harry, and cockatiel, Sparky.Pagan and vegan, Carol believes it is time for a paradigm shift in our attitude to Mother Nature and hopes the days of speciesism are numbered.

Stay connected with Carol on her website and blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

Sloane said @ 12:23 am | Author Friend Promo | Comments

March 30, 2016

Satisfy Your Senses

Erotica author Lizzie T. Leaf is here to tease at least two of your senses. So tempt away, Lizzie, the kitchen is all yours!

I love to make this easy treat for a cozy Saturday night when I want to snuggle with my wonderful husband and share some personal time.

More Twix

Photo by Mister GC

Shortbread
1 cup (2 sticks) (227 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup (85 grams) powdered sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 ¼ cups (250 grams) all purpose flour
½ tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 300oF (150C) and place rack in center of oven.

With an electric mixer or hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add egg and beat until combined.

Beat in the vanilla extract.

Add the flour and salt and beat until the dough just comes together.

Refrigerate the dough until firm.

Roll out the dough or press onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake for 20 – 30 minutes, turning the baking sheet front-to-back half-way through baking.

Caramel Filling
3 – 5.5 ounce bags (15.5 ounces total) soft caramels or make your own http://www.instructables.com/id/Caramel-Recipe/
2 tbsp. milk or cream
1 tsp. butter
dash salt (opt)

Place your caramels, milk and salt in a microwaveable bowl and nuke for 1 minute at a time, stopping to stir, until melted, 3-4minutes.

If you’re using homemade caramels, you can reduce the amount of milk and microwave time. If you’re using hard caramels, increase the milk.

Pour caramel over the baked cookie.

Once the caramel has set, cut into whatever size pieces you desire. For best results, chill them in the freezer to firm up before dipping.

Chocolate Topping
12 ounces (240 grams) milk chocolate, cut into fairly uniform pieces
1 tsp. non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening or butter

Place chocolate in a small saucepan set on medium heat. Be sure to stir the chocolate as you carefully melt it. Adjust temp so your chocolate does not burn.

Add shortening or butter to help make the chocolate thinner for dipping as needed.

Dip the bars in the tempered chocolate and place on waxed or parchment paper to set.

Do not attempt to move your Twix bars before they’re set or they’re liable to come apart.

Once they’ve set, you’re ready to share and enjoy! For best results, store in the fridge.

Here’s a brief intro to my vampire story that is guaranteed to warm your chilly spring 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 @ 12:58 am | Author Friend Promo,Cooking | Comments are off