Archive for 2012
November 19, 2012
New Series – New Release
by Sara Daniel
Early this year when Musa posted a submissions call for a series called Finally Ever After, I jumped at the opportunity. The stories were to be short, happily ever romances about lovers who have loved each other and lost. Now, they have a second chance to create the happy ending they didn’t get the first time.
I love characters with a past history, especially in a short word count. They have instant attraction and long-standing unresolved conflict—the perfect elements for a fast-paced, emotion-packed read. <b><i>Zane’s Art</i></b> had all these things coupled with a strong present conflict. The story flowed out of me so fast I knew it was meant to be!
Here’s little from Zane’s Art for your reading pleasure.
A high school art teacher must choose between her students and the artist she never stopped loving.
High school art teacher Julianne Truman’s last chance to save her beloved art department from budget cuts is to sell the old sketches that her former boyfriend—and now famous artist—Zane DeMonde drew for her. But is she prepared to let go of his artwork and the last traces of him in her life?
Desperate to save his artistic reputation from the exposure of his early works, Zane returns to the home town he wanted to forget. He accuses Julianne of profiting from his success and demands she take his art off the market and cancel the auction.
Their high school attraction flares back to life, forcing Julianne to choose between the students who count on her and the man she never stopped loving.
“Cancel the auction.”
Julianne Truman’s head snapped around at the hard male voice. The stapler fell from her hand and cracked open on the floor, as she caught sight of the extraordinary face that went with the voice. Her knees shook as she climbed down the ladder. She hadn’t faced Zane DeMonde in nearly fifteen years. At one time she’d believed he’d be part of every single day of her future.
“Zane, I didn’t expect you to come.” She stepped toward him. His black hair was a little shorter than the last time she’d seen him, but at shoulder length it was still far longer than most men’s. Gone were the black hoodie and ripped jeans of his youth. Now he wore chinos and a sharply pressed blue button-down shirt, open at the neck.
The dark storms in his cobalt blue eyes were exactly the same as the day he’d walked away from her. “Cancel the auction. The sketches and painting are not for sale.”
She swallowed. “I own them. If I choose to sell them, that’s my business.” And it was breaking her heart to part with the only piece of him that she’d been able to hang onto all these years.
“When they have my name on them and you’re getting rich off me, it’s my business.”
Getting rich was so far from the truth Julianne would have laughed if her chest weren’t so tight. “It’s an honor to have you back in town.” At least her students would think so. Her brother would likely burst an artery. And she—well, she couldn’t even begin to process the mix of emotions she was feeling. “Do you have a minute to talk? I can explain what’s going on.”
“I know what’s going on.”
She hoped he couldn’t hear how hard her heart was hammering or sense how desperately she longed to wrap her arms around him and pick up where they left off fifteen years ago, as if he’d never left her. “Then you know that the arts are at the bottom of the school district’s priority list. To have supplies for the classroom, to restore the school mural, to give my students a chance to explore different mediums, the art program needs an alternate source of funding.”
“You’re the Dentonville High art teacher?”
She couldn’t help feeling defensive at his derisive tone. “Yes, and I love my job.”
“Do you? Or have you never moved beyond your high school life?”
Remember, Sara is also only a tweet away.
I’ll be back Wednesday with a new menu. Until then…
November 14, 2012
It’s Wednesday. So What’s Cooking?
Damned Good Pot Roast and Asian Salad
It’s freezing here in the Midwest. We had two days of Indian Summer and now I’m digging out turtlenecks and checking mittens for mates. The good thing is I can use the oven and not only enjoy the extra warmth, but also the marvelous aromas.
Damned Good Pot Roast
Dry Red Wine – Cabernet Sauvignon
Damned Good Pot Roast
3 – 3 ½ pound boneless chuck roast
1 cup or so of beef broth
1 clove pressed garlic
5 red potatoes quartered
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 medium onion quartered
½ tsp. lemon pepper
15 mini carrots
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. cornstarch
¼ cup beef stock
Preheat the oven to 325°
Combine garlic, oregano, and lemon pepper to form an herb paste. Rub evenly over the meat.
Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven. When the oil has a film carefully put in the roast and brown on all sides. Add the beef stock until it is half way or so up the meat. Add the onion. Cover and bake in the oven for 1 hour 45 minutes.
Add the potatoes and carrots. Roast for another 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
Remove the meat and vegetables to a serving platter. Keep warm under foil while you prepare the gravy.
Strain the liquid and skim off any fat. Return the liquid to the Dutch oven. Heat on medium. Combine the cornstarch and remaining beef stock. Pour into the simmering liquid. Increase heat and boil the mixture for 1 minute or until thickened, stirring constantly.
Serve the roast and vegetables with the gravy on the side. The French breads is marvelous for dipping!
This is a perfect leftover for another dinner or lunch. It freezes beautifully.
¾ cup olive oil
¼ cup cider vinegar
¾ cup sugar
1 tbsp. Worcestershire
1/3 cup ketch-up
1 small onion chopped
Beat all the ingredients together well.
1 lb. mixed lettuces
3 hard boiled eggs chopped
1 can bean sprouts, drained
½ lb. bacon diced, fried crisp
1 can water chestnuts, drained and sliced
Use a variety of lettuces for more texture and taste. Toss all the ingredients, in a large bowl.
Refrigerate until meal time. Scale this down to the right number of people you plan to serve as it does not last for the next day.
I’ll be back Monday with Sara Daniel. Until then…
November 7, 2012
It’s Wednesday. So What’s Cooking?
Each Thanksgiving we have at least twenty people for a sit-down dinner. I cook the meal and the guests supply the appetizers, deserts, and wine. The only difference to the dinner listed below is the sweet potatoes. My niece makes a dynamite dish and I hope she will allow me to share her recipe here in the next few weeks.
So turn on the football game and let’s start cooking!
Candied Sweet Potatoes
White Wine – Riesling
2 leeks including some green – chopped
2 large onion – chopped
15 baby carrots – chopped
4 tomatoes – chopped
1 tbsp. dried thyme
1 tbsp. dried marjoram
1 large bay leaf
Bacon strips to cover breast
Place unopened turkey on a cloth lined cookie sheet and thaw in refrigerator 7 hours per pound or one day for every four pounds of frozen turkey.
If turkey’s not completely thawed, set in a large pot of cold water to complete. Dispose of packet inserted in cavity. Rinse well, then pat dry with paper towels.
Preheat oven to 325°F.
10 – 18 lbs. 2 – 2½ hrs.
18 – 22 lbs. 2½ – 3 hrs.
22 – 24 lbs. 3 – 3½ hrs.
Melt 1 stick of butter in a large frying pan. When the foam subsides, lay the turkey on its side breast down. Brown the breast until golden, first one side then the other. Be careful moving the turkey around, it’s heavy and awkward.
Set disposable pan on cookie sheet. Insert cooking rack. Add chopped vegetables. Place turkey on rack breast up. Lay bacon slices over breast to cover well. Pour in enough chicken broth to cover the pan bottom by 1 inch. Cover the turkey and pan edges with aluminum foil, crimping the sides well.
Remove from oven at the predetermined time. To test if the bird is done, use a paper towel or pot holder and shake hands with its leg. The leg should move freely. If you use a meat thermometer it should read 185° when inserted in the thigh. For an accurate reading, be sure not to touch bone. Tent with foil and allow to rest 30 – 45 minutes before carving.
1 package bread stuffing cubes plain or seasoned
½ pound Jimmy Dean Original Sausage in the tube
1 rib celery chopped
½ medium onion chopped
1 stick butter
Chicken stock about 2 cups maybe a little more
1 tsp. dried sage
1 tsp. dried thyme
The stuffing may be prepared a day or two in advance up to the baking point.
Fry sausage, breaking into small chunks until lightly brown.
Melt butter in a medium size skillet. When the foam subsides add the celery and onion. Sauté 3-4 minutes, be careful not to let it brown.
Empty bread cubes into a large bowl. Add sausage and vegetables with all their juices. Mix well.
Beat egg in a small bowl. Pour onto stuffing. Sprinkle sage and thyme across the top. Mix well.
Stir in chicken stock until mixture is very moist, but not soupy.
Spoon into baking dish, do not pack in, and cover tightly with foil. (This is your stopping point if you make this before Thanksgiving. Refrigerate the stuffing until you are ready to bake it.)
Remove stuffing from the refrigerator early in the day to allow it to come to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Bake the stuffing for a half hour. Remove foil and continue to bake until the top has browned.
1 small russet potato per person
The Day Before:
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, then lower temperature to a strong simmer. Cook approximately 25 minutes. Test for doneness by poking a fork into a potato. It should insert easily.
Drain potatoes. Mash well without adding other ingredients. Cool completely in a glass or ceramic bowl. Cover and refrigerate.
Remove potatoes from the refrigerator early in the day to allow them to come to room temperature. When you are ready to serve, microwave potatoes until hot. Stir in butter, sour cream, milk, and pepper to the consistency you prefer.
Candied Sweet Potatoes
32oz. can of sweet potatoes – my favorite is Royal Prince Candied Sweet Potatoes
½ cup brown sugar firmly packed
1 stick of butter
1 cup mini marshmallows
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Drain the potatoes in a colander. Cut large pieces in half. Lay potatoes into a 13×9 inch glass baking dish.
Sprinkle brown sugar across the top, then dot with butter.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Scatter marshmallows over the yams and bake for 15 minutes or until the marshmallows are brown.
4 mini carrots sliced on an angle
½ cup olive oil – possibly more
½ medium onion sliced
1 inch piece gingerroot peeled and cut into strips
1 head broccoli trimmed and cut into florets
½ small sweet red pepper cored, seeded and cut into strips
½ small yellow pepper cored, seeded and cut into strips
2 large garlic cloves pressed
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
2 green onions sliced on an angle
5 mini Bello mushrooms cleaned and sliced into thirds
1 tbsp. lime or lemon juice
Have all the ingredients prepped and on the counter before you begin cooking.
In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium high heat until it begins to shimmer. Add onion, carrot and gingerroot. Sauté until carrot is almost soft. Test by inserting a toothpick into the carrot. Remove as many gingerroot pieces as you can find. Don’t worry if some are left in the pan.
Add broccoli, red and yellow peppers, and garlic. Sprinkle on red pepper flakes. Stir constantly to insure broccoli is well coated with the oil. Add more oil if necessary. Squeeze on the lime or lemon juice. Sauté 2 – 4 minutes, but be sure the broccoli and peppers still have crunch to them.
Blend in green onions and mushrooms. Sauté until mushrooms are heated through. Serve quickly.
Serves 4 – 6 so adjust accordingly.
From the corn through the gravy it shows you just how lazy I can be on holidays.:)
1 can of corn per 4 people – my favorite is Green Giant Niblets
Drain corn, then pour into micro wave safe bowl. Lay 2 or 3 pats of butter across the top. Micro wave for 3 minutes, stir and serve.
Follow package instructions
1 can of sauce per 6 people – my favorite is Ocean Spray Jellied
Lay the sauce into a serving bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerator until ready to serve.
1 jar of gravy for 4 people – my favorite is Heinz Home Style Gravy Roasted Turkey
Pour the gravy into a saucepan. Stir in a few tablespoons of the juice from the roasted turkey pan. Heat through and serve.
I’ll be back Monday with Lisa Greer. Until then…
October 31, 2012
Lena Austin is not only a talented author of many genres, she is also a marvelous cook. Below is her fun recipe for all your Trick or Treaters of any age.
One six-ounce package blueberry flavored gelatin
2 cups boiling water
4 cups cold water
3 cups lemonade, chilled
3 cups lemon-lime carbonated beverage, chilled
In a large mixing bowl, combine gelatin and two cups boiling water; stir until dissolved.
Stir in cold water. Cover and chill at least four hours. Gelatin will be partially set.
To serve, stir gelatin with a large spoon, fork, or wire whisk until gelatin is broken into small pieces.
Place ¼ cup of the lemonade in a large, clear glass or plastic tumbler. Add ½ cup of the gelatin to the lemonade, then add ¼ cup of the carbonated beverage.
Stir slightly and you’re ready to slurp some slime. Do not over-stir.
Makes 12 servings.
While you’re waiting for the Blue Slime to set, here’s a little from Lena’s exciting romance novel BERDACHE.
Lizard must convince the warrior Red Wolf to become a shaman –and a Berdache—or Red Wolf will go insane.
Red Wolf has always been the perfectly controlled Choctaw warrior. His childhood friend, the Berdache shaman Lizard, must convince Red Wolf to take the shaman’s training and learn to walk in both worlds safely. With the help of the captured Chickasaw maiden Moon to help, Lizard just might keep Red Wolf from going insane.
Learn more about Lena Austin, also known as the Duchess of Depravity, on her website and blog where you’re sure to find some of the best recipes on the internet. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.
Have a great week. I’ll be back Monday with Patricia Yager Delagrange. Until then…
October 5, 2012
TIME TO CELEBRATE
Join us for a MEGA Blog Hop with Prizes GALORE!
Rules to Hop
1) HAVE FUN!!!
2) INVITE ALL OF YOUR FRIENDS!!! SPREAD THE WORD!!!
3) THIS TOUR STARTS: October 1, at Midnight (pst)
THIS TOUR ENDS: Sunday, October 7, at Midnight (pst)
Winners will be drawn and posted October 9th! ***
Come Join the Party on October 7th at The Romance Review Forum to enter to win more prizes.
4) PARTICIPATION AT ALL BLOGS IS RECOMMENDED, BUT NOT REQUIRED. REMEMBER, THE MORE BLOGS YOU HOP and COMMENT ON, THE BETTER YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING PRIZES. EVERY AUTHOR & BOOK PAGE IS WAITING TO MEET AND INTERACT WITH YOU, SO PLEASE BE SURE TO SHOW THEM SOME LOVE!
5)Grand Prize of a Kindle Fire is for USA and Canada mailing addresses only. International winners will receive a $50.00 Musa Gift Card.
6) DID I MENTION TO HAVE FUN?
***Authors & Book Pages have full discretion to choose an alternate winner in the event any winner fails to claim their prize(s) within 72 hours of their name being posted or after notification of win, whichever comes first. Anyone who participates in this blog hop tour is subject to these rules***
May 26, 2012
On This Memorial Day Weekend
To celebrate the USA Armed Forces, Musa Publishing is offering a free copy of Penumbra eMag to every service person in the States and overseas.
Please go to Penumbra eMag to send the free PDF and for your opportunity to win a copy of the Love Notes anthology.
Have a safe and happy Memorial Day!
May 21, 2012
The Psycohouser knows your fears and takes you one step farther into the darkness. This eerie person looks deep into your soul and has the ability to control all your emotions.
Who is he?
A talented author that knows how to grab and hold his readers until the very end of each of his well written novels, the spell-binding Cornell DeVille.
Not familiar with Cornell and his work? DeVille considers himself an Imagination Director. A member of the Baby Boomer generation, he was influenced by the state-of-the-art technology of the fifties—television. He was influenced by the great storytellers of the day, including Hollywood icons like Walt Disney, Alfred Hitchcock and Rod Serling. Rather than spend his summer days outside playing baseball, Deville preferred the world he could find within the covers of a good book. At an early age, he fell in love with the works of Jules Verne, Edgar Allen Poe, Robert Louis Stevenson, and H.G. Wells.
Early memories remained with him throughout the years and continue to influence his writing today. A lover of adventure, mystery, and fantasy, DeVille’s writing leads the reader on a journey that allows them to escape the real world and venture into a special realm where anything can happen.
DeVille grew up in the Kansas City area, where he lives today with his wife Rosie, their bichon-poodle Hannah, and a Himalayan Persian cat named Billy.
LOST IN THE BAYOU
Euterpe Young Adult
People disappear in the bayou. And that’s exactly what fourteen-year-old Robin Sherwood needs to do — before her Uncle Conrad snips her toes off with his rusty garden nippers.
When her parents’ private plane disappears in the Voodoo Swamp, Robin’s uncle moves into the multi-million dollar Sherwood Estate as her guardian. It doesn’t take Robin long to figure out there’s something not quite right about Uncle Conrad — besides having a metal claw where his left hand used to be.
Weird changes to crazy when he explains the bizarre game he has planned — a game that will leave Robin dead and Uncle Conrad the sole heir to the Sherwood fortune. In order to escape his devious plan and its deadly consequences, the bayou may be Robin’s only chance. It’s a risky choice, but becoming alligator bait seems a lot less terrifying right now than what’s waiting for her in the cellar.
In Louisiana, summer wraps around you like molasses. Thick and sticky. July is hot and humid. Always. August is worse. And the summer of 1963 has been a record breaker so far.
This morning, the sky is cloudless. It’s muggy, and there’s no hint of a breeze to blow away the pestering flies or the lingering stench of whatever crawled under the porch and died a few days ago. The only possible relief in sight is a dark bank of clouds in the south over the bayou. If it holds together, we may get a storm later tonight to cool things off. I hope so.
The rhythmic buzz of locusts fills the air, but it stops suddenly as a deep rumble comes up the road. My heart races as the sound rolls across the terrace and toward the covered veranda where we’re waiting.
There’s an uncertain look in Andy’s eyes when he glances up at me, and his voice is thin as water when he speaks. “He’s coming.”
“It’s going to be all right.” I squeeze my younger brother’s narrow shoulders and give him a reassuring smile while trying to hide my own fear of what’s heading toward us. Since our house is quite a distance from the wrought-iron entrance gates of our estate, we have a minute or so before the car gets here.
When I turn around and glance at my reflection in the window for one final check, the awkward image staring back at me is disappointing, as usual. Being fourteen is frustrating. Honestly. I’m all knees and elbows, and the white dress makes my freckles show up too much. The permanent made my hair way too kinky. And my eyes are puffy from crying all night.
But I’m stuck with it for now. That’s another bad part about being fourteen: You can’t change anything. And there’s nothing I can change now before the car carrying our visitor gets here—including the fact that the court has appointed him our new guardian.
Andy stares down the long driveway toward the entrance, waiting and watching. When I spin him around to adjust his necktie, big-eyed smiling frogs stare back at me. Frog neckties must be the rage with eleven-year-old boys this summer. Actually, I don’t know why I’m even bothering. His tie is a clip-on. There’s nothing to adjust.
My fingers scratch through his scruffy blond hair to make it look as if someone combed it. A quick swipe of my hand wipes away the tiny beads of sweat glistening on his pink forehead. If Mom were here, she’d open her purse and pull out a Kleenex, lick it, and scrub some dirt from our faces—that special dirt only mothers can see. It always embarrassed me when she did that, but I wish she were here to do it now.
The sound is getting louder. And closer. The locusts have gotten used to it and started buzzing again, their cadence in time with the seconds ticking by. Andy and I stand side by side at the porch railing, waiting to face whatever the future has in store for us.
I’ll be back Wednesday with a new menu. Until then…
Sweet as Honey…Hotter than Hell
May 7, 2012
Tears, Fears, and Truth
Today we have Patricia Yager Delagrange with her latest contemporary release MOON OVER ALCATRAZ. This outstanding novel is an emotional read that triggers it all. It is a powerful story that refuses to let go.
Not familiar with Patricia’s work? Let me tell you, she is fascinated by broken-hearted couples and atypical families. She weaves engaging tales of men and women who create cohesive families where love reigns supreme. Her books are sprinkled with intriguing characters who struggle to find balance in life after tragedy. Whether an unwed teenager, desperate widow, abandoned father, or a couple who stray from their marital vows, her characters form relationships impacted by their desire to create a family. And, Patricia does is with heart.
Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Patricia attended St. Mary’s College, studied her junior year at the University of Madrid, received a B.A. in Spanish at UC Santa Barbara then went on to get her Master’s degree in Education at Oregon State University.
She lives with her husband and two teenage children in Alameda, across the bay from San Francisco, along with two very large chocolate labs, Annabella and her son Jack. Her horse lives in the Oakland hills in a stall with a million dollar view.
MOON OVER ALCATRAZ
Patricia Yager Delagrange
Terpsichore – Contemporary
Following the death of their baby during a difficult birth, Brandy and Weston Chambers are grief-stricken and withdraw from each other, both seeking solace outside of their marriage; however, they vow to work through their painful disloyalty. But when the man Brandy slept with moves back to their hometown, three lives are forever changed by his return.
Three days later we were standing at the edge of a hole in the ground at Holy Sepulcher Cemetery in Hayward, the silence so thick, the insides of my ears buzzed like a distant swarm of angry bees. Mr. Peralta and another gentleman stood off to the side while Weston and I held hands next to a tiny casket.
Weston had chosen a simple mahogany box with gold handles, a bouquet of white lilies graced the top of the small box. I knelt down and laid a kiss on the smooth wood then wiped off the tears that had fallen on top. Weston joined me, placing a single red rose in the middle of the lilies.
He helped me up and we stood side-by-side in silence, my guilt over her death like a stone in my empty belly. I missed everything I’d dreamed would be happening right now, yearned for all that could have been.
Weston nodded at the man standing next to Mr. Peralta and our baby was slowly lowered into the gaping maw. She reached the bottom, and a bird landed on the rich brown dirt piled next to the grave. It pecked around, chirping a little song then flew off – as if saying goodbye. My heart squeezed inside my chest.
I picked up a small handful of soft dirt. “Goodbye, Christine,” I whispered, throwing it on top of her casket.
Weston wrapped his arm around my waist and pulled me in close to his side. Why her? Why my baby? Was this supposed to make sense? And, if so, to whom?
We drove home in silence. No words existed to express my grief.
I’ll be back Wednesday with a new menu. Until then…
May 4, 2012
To Comma, or not to Comma? That is the Question
Webster defines a comma as a punctuation mark, used especially as a mark of separation within a sentence. Doesn’t that definition just clear it all up for you? If so, you’re lucky because it never did for me. Back to my Writer’s Bible, “The Elements of Style”.
Here’s the skinny; there are seven comma rules. We’ll take them out of order for simplicity.
1 – Dates are written as;
• Jan. 24, 2006.
• 24 Jan. 2006.
In the second example no comma is used.
2 – In a series of three or more terms with a single conjunction, the commas are placed as follows;
• I enjoy tennis, skiing, and books.
• Jason, Fred, and Esther went to the farm.
You can’t drop the last comma. I don’t know, maybe the Punctuation Police force you to repeat English 101 for eternity if you do.
The exception is if you’re writing a business name. The last comma is omitted.
• Jefferson, Clemmons, Blake and Company
3 – Use a comma before and/or after a proper name or place;
• “Hi, John.”
• “Hey, John, did you see the dog?”
• Munich, Germany
4 – A comma is inserted before a conjunction introducing an independent clause;
• She was in a situation which should have scared the hell out of her, but didn’t.
• In no time the airplane landed, and the passengers clapped with joy.
5 – Don’t use a comma to join independent clauses. If the clauses are grammatically complete and not joined by a conjunction, it’s the semicolon’s time to come out and play.
• It is nearly half past five; we cannot reach town before dark.
6 – Don’t break sentences in two. Meaning, don’t use periods when you should use a comma. “The Elements of Style” have the best examples;
• I met them on a Cunard liner many years ago. Coming home from Liverpool.
• She was an interesting talker. A woman who had traveled all over the world and lived in half a dozen countries.
The sentences don’t make sense as written. In both examples a comma should replace the first period.
If you want more dramatic effect in your sentence do the following;
• He yanked the cell phone from his pocket and punched in the number. The phone range. No one answered.
Don’t use the above example often in your story, it has a choppy effect and the editor won’t like it, let alone the reader. Clipped sentences, as the above example, are more often used in dialogue.
7 – Enclose parenthetic expressions between commas. A parenthetic expression is a word, phrase, or sentence inserted in a passage to explain or modify the thought. Again from “The Elements of Style”;
• The best way to see the country, unless you are pressed for time, is to travel on foot.
In a nutshell here’s how it works for the author;
• The eight rules are standard and must be followed so you look like a professional writer.
• My guru Beth Anderson taught me to listen to the flow of the words. Use the commas when you need the reader to pause and give them a little time to prepare for what’s next.
• Use common sense. As you apply the rules they will become second nature.
Have a terrific weekend. I’ll be back Monday with Cornell DeVille, author of chilling young adult books. Be sure to stop in. Until then…