Sloane Taylor - Sweet as Honey, Hotter Than Hell

Archive for 2008

December 31, 2008

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Only hours away now and I can’t wait. 2009. What a beautiful opportunity to correct all the ills of the past year and make all those resolutions that last about a day.:)

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Have a safe and great time this evening.

Sloane

Sloane said @ 5:55 pm | Holidays | 2 Comments

December 24, 2008

Christmas Day with MC Halliday

Many thanks to Sloane Taylor, a great friend and ab fab author, for inviting me to share in this most special of days, Christmas Eve.

Gathered here are my traditions and photos of an English Christmas in Canada.

Gifts with Morning Champers

Upon rising, the stuffing is prepared with much chopping and sautéing to get the goose or buttered turkey in the oven before gift opening begins.

Once the bird is stowed, a nicely chilled sparkling wine is popped and poured as we sit around the tree. Several bottles are kept perfectly chilled on the back step to the garden, ensuring glasses are topped up as prezzies are opened. Everyone takes a turn and gifts passed around for viewing.

After paper and ribbon are collected into the recycle bin and with gifts spread about the front room, it’s time for:

Games, Nibbles and Drinks

Charades are lots of fun for everyone and can be enjoyed by youngsters as well. Board and card games are then brought out and the whole party joins in or we separate into groups of fewer players. Some of our favourites are Mad Gab and Pictionary for group participation; Clue, Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit for four players each; Yahtzee, Cribbage and Uno for two players.

Nibbles are best made ahead and even better, if easy-peasy start to finish. These Cheese Pennies are one of my favourites. A savory bite-size delight fresh from the oven, they are excellent served with any unsweetened drink and will disappear very quickly.

Cheese Pennies
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
¾ lb Old Cheddar, grated
1 large egg yolk
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon hot mustard powder
¼ teaspoon salt

In a food processor, combine the butter and egg yolk until smooth and creamy. Add the grated cheese and blend well; cheese does not have to be completely incorporated into mixture.

Stir the salt, mustard and flour together until evenly blended.

Add the dry mix to the food processor in one go, clean the sides of the bowl and pulse just until the dough comes together to form a ball. Dough will be very soft; try not to over process or handle too much, as the delicacy of the penny will be compromised.

Ready two sheets of parchment paper. Divide the dough in half, placing each piece on a parchment. Working with one half, gently nudge the dough into a log about an inch to an inch and a half thick, using the parchment paper.

Wrap the log in the parchment and then in plastic wrap: refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours. The logs can be kept up to one week in the fridge or three months in the freezer!

When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 350 F.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Remove logs from the refrigerator or freezer and unwrap. Slice into ¼ inch pieces and arrange on lined baking tray. No need to worry about crowding as the pennies don’t expand much. The longer time is for frozen pennies.

Bake until golden, about 10-13 minutes. Makes about 100 pennies.

Serve slightly warm.

And a few hours later, everyone is ready for:

Christmas Lunch with Crackers and Paper Crowns!

In England, it’s called Christmas Lunch as it is usually served by early afternoon but the traditional dinner can be served at any time, according to games in progress or the amount of treats and drinks served beforehand…or the timing of the bird.

A Christmas Cracker is positioned at each place setting and upon taking a seat at the table, the crackers are pulled with the assistance of a nearby participant. Oohs and aahs are voiced according to the ‘crack’, as the snap is absent if the cracker is not held firmly at the twist.

Cracking is best done before plates are laden as the contents of the cracker may end up in your dinner…there are jokes or riddles, small prizes and a paper crown. Colours usually vary from bright pink to blue, orange to yellow, purple and red. My cousin Katie is pictured here in a fabulous gold crown.

Hats donned, we help ourselves to a platter of sliced goose, a massive bowl of sage and onion stuffing, a covered dish of tender brussell sprouts and glorious oven roasted parsnip and potatoes. A good portion of thick gravy is poured over all, by me at the least.

During the gorgeous meal, riddles are shared and the wee prizes from the crackers displayed: flashlights, key chains, glass charms, tiny roller ball games, plastic insects (much loved by small boys), teeny packs of playing cards and so much more. Gads of fun!

Then for afters, steamed Plum Pudding! Ever on the Christmas menu, I never make this lush stodgy dessert as there are so many excellent puddings available. However, I will suggest plum pudding be served with either clotted cream or vanilla ice cream, as it’s much too rich on its own.

Once the dishes have been cleared, everyone seeks out a place for:

Reading, napping or viewing

Movies are slipped in the DVD players as others take to a comfy chair with a new book. And on this special eve before Christmas, I am feeling especially blessed and grateful as my Medieval Fantasy Romance The King’s Daughter is to be released in print in a few days. On December 30th, it can be ordered at all good bookshops or online everywhere!

THE KING’S DAUGHTER
Samhain Publishing
ISBN 978-1605040240

BLURB:
It is the year 997 AD, in a country broken by warring clans, led by
kings.

The secluded, protected daughter of the King of Munster, Magaith,
must wed a king in a pact of peace and renounce her true love. But
naught is what it seems for sinister plots and deception abound. Thus
begins a journey of discovery as Magaith is introduced to enchanted
beings and animals, spells and powers.

At the heart of her destiny lies the salvation of Eire. Yet, as
Magaith battles the forces of evil, her beloved knight is marked to
die – a dark wizard covets her and will see all dead – if they dare
stand in his path to be High King, with Magaith as his wife.

REVIEWS:
Bestowed with the ultimate 5 Red Roses from Red Roses for Authors
and
Awarded ‘Outstanding Read’ by Simply Romance Reviews:

The King’s Daughter by MC Halliday is a very well-crafted story of what happens when a young woman is sent away to another kingdom and told to marry for her country’s sake, even though what her heart wills would lead her elsewhere. As the book takes place in Eire, the requisite witches and magic are added with what seems to be a very vivid flair to make the story even more breathtaking and exciting…Ms. Halliday is very adept at combining real with otherworldly characters to create an interesting story, with a happy ending for all. I found this book to be very entertaining, definitely an enjoyable read!

Wishing everyone a most glorious celebration, whether shared with family and friends or away from home and perhaps, alone. As times are troubled the world over and many are weary from worry, truly we are in need of heartfelt joy and a wee bit of celebration.

May love and peace be yours, now and through the coming year.

MC Halliday
http://members.shaw.ca/mchalliday

Sloane said @ 8:10 am | Cooking,Holidays | 12 Comments

December 23, 2008

An Aussie Christmas

G’Day Everyone, it’s me, Maggie Nash waving to you from Australia!

People in the northern hemisphere often find it hard to relate to Christmas in the great south land. Summer isn’t something you northerners identify with carols, eggnog, roast turkey and tinsel. Well, I’m here to tell you we love our Christmas here in Aussieland…and we remember that the first Christmas was actually in a hot arid country so celebrating in the hot weather isn’t all that strange. Okay, so seeing poor Santa swelter in that heavy red suit and beard in the heat is a little weird I guess, but hey, we watch TV…we see how you guys do it! We don’t want to be left out….LOL…

To be honest the traditions here are changing. It has a lot to do with our climate, and a lot to do with our multicultural country. As a child I lived in a society where most people were of a European background. Hence we celebrated much like a family from England or from the USA…minus the snow of course. Now we are a more eclectic society. Our neighbours are from Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong….plus we still have our Irish, English and European heritage. It’s quite a melting pot really.

So now we combine our traditions. We might have lobster and prawns, and then plum pudding. Some still have turkey and ham and all the trimmings. Some have a barbeque on the beach. Anything goes.

What doesn’t change is that it’s bl**dy hot! So I try to have something cooling but still Christmassy enough to be a special occasion.

Here is my recipe for Ice Cream Christmas Pudding. It’s absolutely delicious, if I say so myself.:)

Ingredients
1 litre tub of chocolate ice cream
500g mixed dried fruit
100 g glace cherries (optional)
100g choc bits
25 mls brandy or rum
500g good quality choc buttons (dark or milk)
250g white chocolate buttons
sprig of holly to decorate

Method
Leave the chocolate ice cream out to soften until it is able to be stirred.

In another bowl, combine the fruit and cherries. Leave aside

Line a pudding bowl with clear plastic wrap.

Melt the chocolate buttons ( in a double boiler, or microwave)

Add a small amount of the brandy or rum to the chocolate and stir. It now becomes hard, in a play dough sort of texture.

Put the chocolate mixture into the prepared pudding bowl and mould it around the sides until you have completely lined the bowl with the chocolate. Place it in the freezer for a few minutes.

Mix the fruit and the choc bits into the ice cream and pour it into the pudding bowl over the chocolate lining. Bring the cling wrap back over the top and wrap.

Place the bowl in the freezer and let it refreeze. Preferably overnight, but at least 4 hours.

To serve, pull the pudding out of the bowl with the plastic wrap. Up end it onto a serving plate. Melt the white chocolate and pour it over the frozen pudding and it will harden. It looks like custard.

Decorate with a sprig of holly…and voila!

Christmas pudding Aussie style.

And if you want to get a look at what some sexy Aussies get up to all over the country, then go out and buy yourself a copy of BOYS DOWN UNDER!

It’s available NOW from Aspen Mountain Press
www.aspenmountainpress.com

Here’s the blurb from my story in the anthology

The Executioner – By Maggie Nash

Blurb

A team building exercise at a remote location reignites the heat between former lovers Madeleine Smith and Nicholas Garabaldi. When team members start dying they must learn to trust again so they can outwit whoever is killing off the group one by one. Is this the “Executioner” from the indigenous Dream Time legend of the local Bilbulmun tribe? Or is someone closer to home responsible?

So to everyone, best wishes for the holiday season, however you celebrate it!

Lots of Love,

Maggie
www.maggienash.com

Sloane said @ 8:27 am | Cooking,Holidays | 10 Comments

December 22, 2008

TIZ THE SEASON

Hi All,

First, I’d like to thank Sloane for having me as her guest. We’ve had a heck of a time getting together for me to blog on her site. My computer crashed on our previous dates, but she has been kind enough to give me another chance…

I’m Tabitha Shay, author of the Winslow Witches of Salem series, paranormal romances. Book three was recently released, Witch’s Moon with book four, Witch’s Magic, scheduled for release in 2009.

I’m also the author of the Montana Men series, contemporary western romances under the pen name of Jaydyn Chelcee.

I hope you’ll scope out my website for the book covers, reviews and the beautiful artwork and Bios of some of my witchy characters.

Now to some holiday traditions…

When I was a kid growing up, Christmas at our house was always a rowdy time of year. Our tradition, no matter the weather, was to go hunt for a live tree every year. We all traipsed through the woods, forcing our way past knee deep snow in search of the perfect tree. Then we strung popcorn, acorns, berries, and crepe paper chains and decorated the tree. It was the best times of our lives.

I was the eldest of nine kids and though we were poor as church mice, I can never remember going without or not getting what I asked for from Santa. I think Mama and Daddy had their own tradition of making certain we kids got exactly what we wanted during the holidays. I remember one Christmas in particular…I had hit my teenage years and Daddy asked me what I wanted for Christmas. Being a teenager, I wanted a phonograph and .45 records. Daddy hedged asking, “Wouldn’t you rather have a new bike?”

Now of course, I had no idea my parents had already done their shopping and they’d bought each of us kids a new bike, and I’m sure it took every last dime they had to do that. I wanted a record player and I stuck to my guns…On Christmas morning, to my surprise, I had both a new bike and a record player. It was the best Christmas I ever had and I can tell you, I wore out both items…lol.

Another tradition we had was that as soon as the first big snow fell, we made Snow Ice Cream. If there was snow, it was a given that we would have snow cream…

I’d give most anything if I could turn back the pages to these days of lighthearted fun and laughter. Yes, times were hard, but enjoyed each other. With a family our size, it was either have fun together or an all out war…lol…anyway, I thought I’d share our family recipe for Snow Ice Cream:

SNOW ICE CREAM

A dishpan filled with sparkling clean snow
Add a half gallon of milk
A can of cream
2 eggs
A teaspoon of vanilla
Add sugar and sweeten to taste
Add more snow if it needs to be thicker
Sprinkle cinnamon on top of each bowl or add choclate syrup or any flavored syrups.

Now for the blurb and an excerpt from my latest release:

NO HOLDS BARRED
Book Two in Montana Men series.
Eternal Press

BLURB:
Rimrock—Home of the Montana men and the women who tame them.

Professional horse trainer Kaycee Spencer decides to relocate when she becomes the target of an insane stalker. She chooses remote Rimrock, Montana where no one can find her.

Jace Remington, co-owner of the Dancing Star Ranch, refuses to allow women around his thoroughbreds—females are nothing but trouble with a capital ‘T’—that is, until he meets Kaycee Spencer, a woman who crashes into his peaceful life with trouble close on her heels.

Set against the backdrop of the rugged mountains of Montana, Kaycee and Jace discover that if they are going to survive the vicious serial killer stalking Kaycee, they will have to learn to trust each other.

No Holds Barred, a roller-coaster ride of murder, romance, and the discovery love might conquer all.

EXCERPT:
She stole another quick glance of the cowboy and felt warmth creep into her cheeks. Ohmigod! Kaycee stared at the bill he’d just slipped under her glass. Shit! He thought she was a hooker! The dress! The freakin’ dress! She snatched up the bill and dropped it in his beer mug. “You’re wasting your time, Mister.”

He eyed her as if he thought she’d lost her mind.

“How much?” he asked quietly.

“Nothing! I don’t charge!”

He lifted a brow as if to say, Oh, you’re giving ‘it’ away?

“I—I mean—I’m not a—a—”

“My apologies, I misunderstood.” He fished the money out of his beer, shook off the excess liquid and shoved it in his shirt pocket.

Yeah, the dress, it was definitely too provocative.

Desperate to control the nervous flutter in her stomach, she downed the liquor in the tumbler in one hasty gulp—and swallowed liquid fire. The rich, amber liquid seared the back of her throat, blazed a path to her stomach, and lit a torch to her blood.

Ohmigod!

Her eyes watered. Her breath escaped her lungs in several fierce wheezes, joined by the most peculiar suction noises she’d ever heard, then her throat abruptly closed. No wheezes. No suctions. No air. Nothing but dead air space remained between her ears and her lungs.

Uuuuh. Uuuuh.” She tried sucking in a lungful of air. No go. Oh God, she was going to explode or implode, she wasn’t sure which, but the ploy to remain unruffled was lost along with her ability to breathe. She gasped, coughed and thought she just might flop over onto the floor and have a seizure.

“Are you all right?”

His voice, laced with a rich drawl steeped with the flavor of the Old West—and spoken far too close to her ear, sounded like heaven’s idea of black velvet seduction. He leaned closer. His movement brought him so near, the rim of his Stetson brushed her hair. It shrouded them in a shadow of false intimacy.

She tilted back her head, startled to find herself looking directly into his onyx gaze. It was something of a shock to feel his warm hand glide across the bare skin on her back. More shocking to realize he was gently stroking her spine. Oh, shit!

A jolt of physical awareness shot through her. The caress was oddly soothing, as though he was gentling her to his touch. Breaking her in like a mare he planned to ride hard, she thought cynically.

Kaycee jerked away as if a bolt of lightning had struck her.

“Easy, honey,” he whispered soothingly. He carefully tucked a stray curl behind her ear, then grinned. Deep dimples appeared in his right cheek. “I never harm kids, dogs, horses, or beautiful ladies.”

Well, guess that’s it for me…Again, Thank You, Sloane for being so patient…I’ll place each person’s name who leaves a comment today into a hat and hold a drawing tonight at 6pm, CST…that lucky person gets their choice of one of my books, so be sure and scope out my website at http://www.tabithashay.com

Happy Holidaze,

Tabitha Shay
www.tabithashay.com

Sloane said @ 8:53 am | Cooking,Holidays | 18 Comments

December 21, 2008

Christmas At Our house

Linda Sole here from Merry England to share a bit of tradition with you.

We used to go out on several days over Christmas but now we visit friends and family beforehand and have a traditional Christmas dinner at home. Turkey and roast potatoes and all the trimmings. Instead of plum pudding and brandy butter we mostly go for something lighter like a mousse. Over the holiday we will have sherry trifle, mince pies, various cakes – including a cauiflower cake (marzipan replica) and lots of fancy chocs to pick at, as well as sausage rolls and pickles.  We have wine with lunch but we’re not big drinkers. 

I like to make almond tarts or mince pies with almond on top.  For these you need:

Shortcrust pastry

Strawberry jam or mincemeat

Ground almonds

Almond essence (which is extract in the USA)

One to two eggs.

Line your tart tins with pastry. Spread with jam or fill with mincemeat. Mix ground almonds, essence and eggs to a stiff paste and spread on top.  Bake at 350 US until pastry is ready – from 15 – 25 minutes depending on size. Delicious warm!

While you’re baking the tarts you might enjoy a good read.

A DIFFERENT KIND OF JUSTICE
A Sarah Beaufort 1920s Mystery
Published by: Severn House
ISBN Number: 978-0727866080
Available from: www.Amazon.co.uk

EXCERPT:
While visiting her estranged mother in prohibition New York, a series of so-called ‘Playboy Murders’ grab Sarah Beaufort’s attention. But harsh experience has taught Sarah to leave the investigations to the professionals. When her mother’s maid, Morna, disappears and her date is found brutally murdered in a house of ill repute, sarah can’t help but become involved. With ex-Scotland Yarder and old friend Ben Marshall in town, and childhood pal Larch Meadows on his way, it seems the gang are back together again. But preoccupied with the hunt for Morna and re-hearsals for her latest job on board a crusie ship, little does Sarah suspect that the Playboy Killer is still in business, and that she her-self has become the object of hia attention…

On the morning we get up at about our usual time to prepare lunch, have breakfast and open the presents. All gifts are kept under the tree until this moment and we open them together.  The rest of the day we listen to carols and watch TV. Just a quiet Christmas at home.

Happy Christmas, Everyone,

Linda Sole
http://www.lindasole.co.uk/

Sloane said @ 11:02 am | Holidays | 3 Comments

December 20, 2008

Christmas in the Homeland

That’s the UK Homeland *lol*. I’m Clare London and I live in London, England, and always have done. I was born on the South coast at Brighton, moved to Surrey when I was 10 and have lived hereabouts ever since.

The familiarity of Christmas is both a delight and a burden, I find.

On the one hand, I love the way all our tree ornaments have a history to them. I love the way the kids expect things to happen at the same time, in the same place as every year since they were born. And I love the glitter and lights that spring up everywhere to celebrate, even if it seems to happen earlier every year.

But on the other hand, we can’t suggest going somewhere warm for Christmas to our children – we can’t suggest going *anywhere* different. I only weaned everyone off Midnight Mass a few years ago, when it stopped being either fun or a religious pleasure. And every year, Hubby suggests we eat something different, as he enjoys cooking new dishes – but you can imagine how that’s greeted!

This year, however, there *will* be changes.
My sister is visiting friends in South Africa. She’s been before, and she gets distraught at the thought of not being here for Christmas Day itself, but we manage quite happily, just celebrating on a much lower key and having a *second* Christmas in the New Year when she gets back.

The kids are older – Son#1 will be carousing his way through the season with his own friends now he’s adult, and Son#2 is attending a drama course, at the end of which they’ll put on a Christmas play for us all.

And Mother-in-law has said she can’t face cooking the mince pies for us all. So I’m doing them! Maybe my Pastry Hands have learned new skills over the years (or maybe I’ll buy some *LOL*).

We start celebrations on Christmas Eve – I’m working up until lunch time.

Then the local church has a children’s celebration in the afternoon, where they all run up and down the aisle with tea cloths over their heads, playing ‘shepherd’, and attempt to set fire to their siblings with the lighted Christingle oranges, while we adults valiantly sing Little Donkey (not without the odd tear, I must say). Son#2 will be singing solo with a couple of friends, so for me the hanky will come out yet again.

On Christmas Day we’ll go to Mass in the morning, then over to my mother and stepfather’s for late lunch.

It’ll be roast turkey of course, and maybe roasted ham as well. Son#2 likes the cocktail sausages wrapped in bacon that are placed around it as it cooks: Son#1 is permanently hungry so he’ll just inhale the stuff as fast as we can get it on the plate. Serve up with roast potatoes – maybe mashed as well – beans, carrots and brussel sprouts. Thick gravy with the meat juices (Hubby’s speciality), and with sides of bread sauce and cranberry sauce. Dessert is Christmas pudding, covered in brandy which Son#1 sets alight and we all take cover. Then it’s served up with either custard or cream and/or brandy butter.

Hopefully we’re all finished in time to watch the Queen’s speech on TV at 3pm, then we lie around like beached whales discussing whether or not she looks good in green, moaning how there’s never anything good on TV at Christmas, and mourning the passing of the Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show. We’ll end up watching the Sound of Music for the umpteenth time, then when lunch has settled, eat cold turkey sandwiches (my favourite) and eat (hopefully) my mince pies. And – for those who don’t like mincemeat, like ME – I’ll have made some little apple pies too.

I will, of course, be online for most of the time, whether surfing the net or writing *lol*. Visit my four Christmas stories if you get a chance, on Sloane’s blog Dec 4, and on my website as below.

And a very happy, healthy and harmonious Holiday to you all, whatever or however you get through the season.

Clare London, Author
Writing… Man to Man
http://www.darkpearldiva.com
http://www.myspace.com/clarelondon
http://claredivatoo.livejournal.com/

Sloane said @ 10:52 am | Cooking,Friends,Holidays | 7 Comments

December 19, 2008

Do you like it spicy?


Try some Chili Verde Christmas morning over your eggs with a side of Tortillas. I have a recipe that actually is two in one. And the best thing is, it makes enough to freeze for more meals!

Hi Everyone, I’m Mary Martinez from Utah and wanted to share a family favorite with you.

The first thing I do is take a Kirkland pork sirloin tip roast (other brands will work, too) and cook it in the crock pot all day. When it’s done I cut off a chunk and weigh it until I have 16 oz (1 lb) and put it in the fridge. Then with what is left I either have a pork dinner with potatoes, etc or I make Zatarains Red beans and rice with the rest of the pork pulled/shredded into the beans and rice.

Then the next day I do my Verde.

I pull/shred with my fingers the 16 oz pulled pork into the crock pot.

Then I add the following:

3 – 28 oz. cans Las Palmas Green chili enchilada sauce
1 ¾ cup chopped green bell pepper
1 ¾ cup chopped red bell pepper
1 cup chopped jalapeños
¾ cup chopped red hot peppers
1 ¾ cup chopped onion
½ tsp chili powder or to taste

I cook on low for about 3 hours

I usually want to thicken it so I scoop out liquid into a bowl and mix it with flour (optional). I use a fork to stir until creamy and not lumpy. Then I add it to the pot of Verde and cook for another hour on low.

I serve with rice and refried beans and tortilla’s and shredded cheese.

Nutrition w/flour
Serving size 1 cup
Calories 124
Total Fat 6 grams
Saturated fat 0 grams
Trans fat 0 grams
Cholesterol 19 mg
Sodium 768 mg
Total carbohydrate 13grams
Dietary fiber 3 grams
Sugars 2 grams
Protein 8 grams
Vit. A 11%
Vit. C 68%
Calcium 1 %
Iron 4 %
(% based on daily requirements)

Nutrition – same recipe without added flour to thicken
1 cup serving
Calories 112
Total Fat 6 grams
Saturated fat 0 grams
Trans fat 0 grams
Cholesterol 19 mg
Sodium 802 mg
Total carbohydrate 10 grams
Dietary fiber 3 grams
Sugars 2 grams
Protein 7 grams
Vit. A 11%
Vit. C 71%
Calcium 1 %
Iron 3 %
(% based on daily requirements)

Relaxing with a good book is ideal while your cock pot does all the work for this perfect breakfast to spice up your morning!

MEET ME IN FANTASYLAND
Aspen Mountain Press

BLURB:
Rissa isn’t as surprised as she should be that her husband left her. She’d had an idea for a few years he wasn’t being faithful. She’d buried her head in the sand for the sake of the twins. He left her four month’s earlier, and now he’s asked her to clear all of his possessions out of their home and do with them what she wants. As she boxes everything for Good Will she comes across her old diaries. In them she finds her entry of the pact she made with Robert, Bobby, Graham to meet in Twenty-five years. That date is in two weeks. Would he be there?

Rob Graham has loved Rissa for as long as he remembered. When they’d been in high school she’d only thought of him as a buddy, the brother she never had. Would she remember their pact? If she did, would she be there?

Hope you enjoy the recipes. Happy Holidays!

See what Mary has going at www.marymartinez.com

Newsletter http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Marys_Books_and_Such/

Mary’s Margarita Reviews http://marysbooksblogger.blogspot.com

http://www.myspace.com/marylmartinez

Photobucket

Sloane said @ 9:07 am | Cooking,Friends,Holidays | 6 Comments

December 18, 2008

Romancing the West

Hi Everyone, I’m Rita Karnopp and I live in Montana!

First, thank you Sloane, for inviting me to share with you at your Christmas/Happy Birthday celebration bash! So now we know why you’re such a happy lady! Born the month of our Lord… how blessed you are! Happy Birthday to you!

It’s great to have this time of year to take time to be grateful for all our blessings, and to reaffirm our passion for our Lord. Life gets busier every year and, if you’re like me, I am buzzing around to and from and it takes Christmas to make me stop for a moment and realize I am so blessed.

This year in particular has been a barn-burner (please excuse the cliché’…I know we’re all tired of them!) giggle. From November of 2007 thru January of 2009 I’ll have released 7 … yes SEVEN… books. Talk about blessed.

Here’s a little information on my work;

SACRED GROUND
Romantic Suspense
Released Nov. ‘07
Eternal Press

Someone wants Brett Turner’s land badly enough to sabotage him, and he knows just who the culprit is: his neighbor, Willow Howling Moon. They don’t see eye-to-eye on anything. When their sons, who are best friends, run away into the mountains just before a blizzard hits, Willow and Brett have no choice but to go after them—together.

In the course of the rescue, they discover an unexpected and unwelcome mutual love. The realization that both their lives are in danger finally convinces him she’s not his enemy.

This heartwarming love story is set in Montana

WIND SONG
Indian Historical
Released Jan. ‘08
Eternal Press

In 1855, the Great Spirit sends Leota, a psychic Blackfoot woman, on a mission to convince Chief Lame Bull not to sign a treaty. If she fails, the white man’s government will steal all that belongs to the Blackfeet Nation.

Lawyer Marsh Pepperhorn comes west to join his family and finds them murdered, except for his mouthy nephew Tanner, who’s bent on revenge. Chasing the killers into the Mountains fo the Bear’s Paw, Montana Territory, their paths cross Leota.

Although Marsh and Leota distrust each on sight, they work together to save an injured Tanner’s life. As they face hardships and challenges, an unlikely romance blossoms between them. When traders abduct Leota, Marsh must track them down and bring the men to justice—or lose the woman he loves.

A sweeping tale of a changing culture, survival, discovery, adventure, and romance—Wind Song has it all.

DARK SPIRIT
Romantic Suspense
Released Mar. ‘08
Eternal Press

In’is’kim is infamous for his knowledge of his Blackfeet people and his lectures are sought internationally. But success is not the problem, keeping a step ahead of a serial killer is. At each speaking location a woman is murdered, leaving a grizzly trail pointing directly at him. With the police zeroing in on him, In’is’kim doesn’t have much time left to unravel the clues left by the murderer.

Skyler receives a Native American medicine card and is convinced her match-making sister is responsible for the sudden appearance of In’is’kim. It doesn’t take long for Skyler to realize there is something more sinister and frightening going on. She not only struggles against her attraction to this incredibly handsome man, but also strives to believe his innocence. Each time she is attacked In’is’kim is no where around. Is it coincidence, or is this enigmatic stranger not everything he appears to be?

RANSOM LOVE
Indian Historical
Released Aug. ‘08
Eternal Press

Montana Territory-1868. Four years captive of the Blackfeet, Jennie Proctor must decide whether to trust the handsome white man who has come to rescue her, or spend the rest of her life a Blackfeet. Cody Larimer has one goal in life, to rescue captive women from Indians. They struggle together to survive and form a mutual respect that soon turns into love, something neither believed possible

REVENGE
Suspense
Released Nov. ‘08
Eternal Press

Is someone trying to kill Abi Madden and her infant daughter? Is that someone her soon to be ex-husband? Who is he mixed up with and how does it involve her? Abi takes her daughter and flees to Canada with Detective Miles Sandler. They are shot at, stalked, and fight for their lives in a raging snow storm. It doesn’t take Abi long to realize her heart isn’t all that’s saved either. Is Miles too good to be true? Before she can think about another man in her life, she must protect her daughter and uncover why someone wants them dead.

KIDNAPPED
Romantic Suspense
Releases Jan. ‘09
Eternal Press

Laura and Aaron Palmer’s marriage is over, yet they adopt six month old Amie. Life takes an ugly turn when they learn their daughter has been an abducted child from Chicago. Searching for the truth, they find themselves caught up in a web of deception, child stealing, and danger. Their marriage teeters on a fine line while they struggle for the truth and fight to stay alive. They find love, and only pray it’s not too late. This story entwines your heart with the bonding love of a child.

WHISPERING SUN
Indian Historical
released May ‘08
Unical Press

Sarah Bryson’s silent world is destroyed when her so-called fiancé has her kidnapped to prevent his unmasking as a gun-runner. After surviving a massacre, she is rescued by Two Shadows, a Blackfeet warrior with a secret life. But in order to reach the safety of his village, they must confront wild animals, ruthless mountain men, treacherous mountain storms and Crow Indians bent on revenge.

Sarah seeks her true identity as a woman, while Two Shadows’ struggles with loyalties divided between his love for a white woman and his devotion to his tribe, as they as facing the destruction of their traditional way of life.

Treachery, betrayal, and lies are greater enemies to Sarah and Two Shadows than either the Indians who resent her or the whites who seek to destroy him. Only when they face the truth about who they really are will their love have a chance.

If you ask me if I’d ever do that again….I wouldn’t hesitate to answer, “Not on your life!” I no soon finished the work and advertising on one book – and it was time to get working on the next! No, I didn’t write all 7 books this year…hope that makes you feel better. I had them written, but did do re-writes before sending them to my editor. Then I did the usual corrections and errata’s.

I’m presently working on an Indian futuristic novel, WHITE BERRY ON THE RED WILLOW.
As predicted in the Ghost Dance Vision, life has come full circle in 2029. The Blackfeet now control Yellowstone National Park, where the buffalo have multiplied, as have the people themselves. Before her mother dies of Quake Fever, which is killing thousands outside the Indian lands each day, pure white, Doctor Alcina Hancock struggles to find a cure. Thrust into the world of the Indians, she not only discovers what she needs to save her people, but also herself. Ekuskini, son of the Blackfeet chief, revels in the demise of the non-Indian. Then he meets Alcina and finds himself searching the old ones for the answers. Together Alcina and Ekuskini realize they must learn from the past and use it to make things better for the future of all people.
I’m very excited about this story, since it’s one of my personal favorites. Of course, all my books are personal favorites ~ choosing among them would be like picking a favorite child.

I hope you check me out, join my myspace and visit me any time at ritaritr.com or feel free to email me (comments about my books are always welcome) at ritakarnopp@bresnan.net

May your New Year be filled with success and many happy memories!

Rita Karnopp
‘Romancing the West”
www.ritaritr.com
Covey Award – Best book cover for Dark Spirit
“Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others . . . .
cannot keep it from themselves.”

Sloane said @ 8:57 am | Friends,Holidays | 5 Comments

December 17, 2008

The Tempting World of Lena Austin

Today we have the incomparable Lena Austin who is a “fallen” society wench with a checkered past. She has been a licensed minister, hairdresser, and realtor, radio DJ, exotic dancer, telephone service tech, live-steel medievalist swordswoman, BDSM Mistress, and investment property manager. Not necessarily in that order.

She never finished that degree in archaeology, but did learn to scuba. After a life like that, gardening is pretty restful. Of herself, Lena writes, “I’m tall, presently red-haired, and I look like an unholy mating between an Amazon and a librarian.” But she sure can cook!

Here are two of Lena’s Holiday favorites to tease your sweet tooth:

Eggnog Truffles
Source: 2006 Yearbook at http://www.Wilton.com

Ingredients:
• 1 pkg (14 oz.) White Candy Melts® coarsely chopped
• Dark Cocoa Candy Melts® melted, or
• Light Cocoa Candy Melts® melted, or
• White Candy Melts®
• 1/4 cup prepared eggnog
• 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
• 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg ground (Freshly grated is best)
• Christmas Sprinkles Assortment

In microwave safe container or on top of stove, melt Candy Melts with eggnog and cream. Stir in nutmeg. Pour into shallow pan. Refrigerate 1-2 hours or overnight until firm but pliable. Roll into 1-inch balls. Dip into melted candy; roll in sprinkles.

Makes: Each truffle serves 1. Makes about 5 dozen candies.

Red Velvet Cheesecake

For the Crust:
1 ½ cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup butter, melted
1 TBSP granulated sugar

For the Filling:
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 TBSP unsweetened cocoa
1 cup sour cream
½ cup whole buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp distilled white vinegar
2 (1 oz) bottles red food coloring

For the Topping:
1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
¼ cup butter, at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the Crust:
Stir together graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and 1 TBSP sugar; press mixture onto bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan.

For the Filling:
Beat together cream cheese and sugar at medium low speed with an electric mixer 1 minute.
Add eggs, unsweetened cocoa, sour cream, buttermilk, vanilla extract, vinegar and food coloring. Mix on low speed just until fully combined.
Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake at 325F for 10 minutes, reduce heat to 300F, and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until center is firm.
Run knife along outer edge of cheese. Turn oven off and let cheesecake stand in oven 30 minutes.
Remove cheesecake from oven; cool in pan on a wire rack for 30 m minutes.
Cover and chill for 8 hours.

For the topping:
Beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth; gradually add powdered sugar and vanilla, beating until smooth.
Remove cheesecake from refrigerator and spread topping evenly over top of cheesecake.
Remove sides of spring form. Garnish if desired.
Source: Southern Living Christmas Cookbook

While you’re indulging yourself with these tasty treats cruise on over to Lena’s website for more great recipes and a look at her soon to be released YULE FIRE from Aspen Mountain Press.

BLURB:
Belle is hiding her multi-millionaire preschooler from the press. Jacques is hiding his business dealings and playing the reluctant war hero Belle must host as a promo stunt for her magazine. All they both want is a quiet holiday season in each other’s arms, but not if Belle’s obnoxious boss has his way.

What are a witch and a war hero to do but become co-conspirators, determined to have a little food and fun with no strings attached? But Someone else has plans for them both that go beyond the holiday season.

Lena Austin
http://lenaaustin.com/
http://depravedduchess.blogspot.com/

Sloane said @ 9:06 am | Cooking,Holidays | 7 Comments

December 16, 2008

Too Much Holiday Can Mean Too Much Me

Hi Everyone, I’m Ginger Simpson. Traditionally, the holidays are a joyous time for me.  Although I’ve managed to marry two men in my lifetime who could substitute for the grinch, I still manage to keep the magic of Christmas alive. 

The way to a man’s heart and holiday spirit definitely comes through food and sex.  Since I’ve reached the age where there are more tantalizing dishes than me, I stick to the kitchen rather than the bedroom.  *lol*

I’ve always struggled with my weight, so this time of year is deadly on diets. I’m posting two rarely seen pictures of me. 

The one in red is from in the late 80s and the other (I lost my glasses and had to resort to sunglasses for the day) was taken in 1996 at my bridal shower. You can clearly see why I fear anything that has to do with excessive food. Actually, I believe you shouldn’t be able to utter diet and holiday in the same sentence, so I always remind myself I can undo the damage as part of my New Year resolution. It never works, but it assuages my guilty conscience.

And this is me today!

Since I’m not the only woman in the world with this problem, I wrote FOREVER FAITH, a book that explains what some of us go through and how we learn to find the real beauty in ourselves.

FOREVER FAITH
EternalPress

BLURB:
Faith Oliver suffers from a weight problem and has no real beaus in her life. In fact, she’s never been with a man. Maybe that’s why she’s surprised when a delectably handsome male invades her dreams and commands her body. Driven to diet to find a boyfriend to replace her hunky dream lover, Faith undergoes hypnotherapy to determine the meaning of her night visions. Her sessions draw her back to another life, to an era far removed…and a strange name she’s heard before.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I tend to stick to the traditional menu as I’m not much of a cook.  What  I prepare is tasty, but don’t expect anything out of the ordinary.  Since I do turkey on Thanksgiving, I usually migrate to ham on Christmas.  This year we’re actually considering prime rib since the number of people at the table has declined.  Sadly, we live too far from most relatives and don’t speak to some of them.  Can you say dysfuctional?  *lol*

Anyhow, I’m so happy Sloane invited me to blog because it gives me an opportunity to get into the spirit by sharing one of my favorite, EASY, Christmas recipes with you.  It’s colorful (your choice), tasty, fast, and people always assume it was much more work than it actually was.  It’s my Cottage Cheese/Cool Whip Fruit Salad:

1 small container of Cool Whip
1 small container Small Curd Cottage Cheese
1 small box of regular Jello (red, orange, green)
1 can of fruit (your choice).  I like mandarin oranges or pineapple.

Stir together the cottage cheese and cool whip.  Add the jello powder directly to the mix and stir until throughly dissolved.  Drain the fruit, add it to the colored mixture, blend and refrigerate overnight.  You can decorate the top for the occasion.  I often use more cool whip and dollop it on top or display more slices of mandarin oranges.  You can be creative or not.  It’s good regardless.  And I did say, easy, didn’t I?  This is a low-fat, low calorie treat you can enjoy without too much guilt.

Always an early decorator, my house is usually holiday ready the day after Thanksgiving. I love my tree and all the little knack knacks I’ve collected through the years. Unfortunately, during my previous divorce, I lost some of the most precious–the decorations my children made when they were small. That’s a blog for another day. 🙂

Thanks again, Sloane, for allowing me space on your blog.  I’ll enjoy getting recipes from your other guests and giving them a try, but only the ones that won’t pack back on the pounds.  I’m having a hard time just gaining through inhaling. 🙂  I wish everyone a joyous holiday and share the hope that the New Year will be much more prosperous for us all.

Ginger Simpson
2009 EPPIE Finalist
http://www.gingersimpson.com/

Sloane said @ 10:05 am | Holidays | 8 Comments