Archive for 2012

It’s Wednesday, so What’s Cooking? Italian!

May 2, 2012

Tomato and Garlic Sauce
Italian Sausage
Parmesan Cheese
Italian Bread
Red Wine – Ruffino Chianti or Bella Sera Pinto Noir

Tomato and Garlic Sauce
Makes about 3½ cups

3 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup onion finely chopped
1 tbsp. garlic pressed or finely chopped
3 cans 14.5oz. each diced tomatoes – Red Gold is my favorite
1 can 6oz. tomato paste – Contadina is my favorite
¼ cup chicken stock
¼ cup or less red wine
1 tbsp. dried oregano
1 tbsp. dried basil
2 medium – large bay leafs
1 ½ tsp. sugar
½ tsp. salt
Fresh ground pepper to taste

In a 3-4 quart saucepan, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent, but not brown. This will take 5 – 8 minutes. Stir frequently. Add in the garlic and stir constantly for 1 or 2 minutes. Again, make sure nothing browns or the sauce will be bitter. Blend in the tomatoes and their liquid and all the other ingredients. Bring the sauce to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 1 – 1 ½ hours.

The sauce should be thick and fairly smooth when finished. Remove the bay leafs. If you prefer a smoother texture, puree in a food processor.

Italian Sausage
5 Italian sausage links – mild or hot
½ cup chicken stock
Red and/or yellow peppers cleaned and cut into strips
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 350F

Pour the chicken stock in a baking dish. Nestle the sausage in the stock. Bake for 30 minutes.

Turn the sausage, then lay the pepper strips on top. Sprinkle with oregano and drizzle with a little olive oil. Cook for 30 minutes.
Leftover sausage freezes well. Later, use them for sandwiches on crusty rolls and smothered in the tomato sauce. Serve with French fries for an easy meal.

Select your favorite brand. Mine is Barilla and I prefer rigatoni for this meal.

Cook according to package directions. Add a tablespoon or so of olive oil to the cooking water to help the pasta not stick together.

Make sure the pasta is al dente and not too soft. Drain well.

To serve, empty into a bowl with the Parmesan cheese on the side.

¼ olive oil
¼ cup white wine vinegar
1 tsp. lemon juice – Minute Maid makes frozen lemon juice that keeps for 8 weeks in the fridge. It’s cheaper than fresh lemons and just as good.
Coarse salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Lettuce – Romaine and Red Leaf make a wonderful combination
1 tomato quartered then cut into pieces
2 green onions cleaned and
10 black olives
4 Pepperoncini

Beat the oil, vinegar, and lemon juice together. Season with salt and pepper.

Tear lettuce into bite size pieces. Add tomato and onion. Gently toss with the dressing.

Spoon the salad into a glass bowl. Lay the olives and Pepperoncini. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.

I’ll be back Friday with more writing tips. Until then…

Happy Cooking!

Sloane Taylor

Sloane said @ 9:06 am | Cooking | Comments are off


April 30, 2012

Raine Delight is in the house with RED HOT MAGIC, book two in her awesome, paranormal Devon Falls series. If you haven’t read any of Raine’s work, you’re in for a great treat of sexy pleasure. See for yourself on YouTube and enjoy the steamy trailer for RED HOT MAGIC.

Four of the books in this outstanding series are released and waiting for you to catch the magic. There are six more in the works. Sheer joy to this Devon Falls fan.

Devon Falls Book 2
Raine Delight
Secret Cravings Publishing
Paranormal/Light Bondage Scene

Secret Cravings
Amazon Kindle


Raven Demarco has sworn off men after one too many disastrous dates and soon begins dreaming of a mystery man who makes her feel things that she never expects to feel again. When the auction comes closer, her sensual dreams become more than she can handle and she finds herself wishing her dream man would show up and sweep her off her feet. What will she do when the man himself comes to claim her: Heart, body and soul?

Jean-Claude LeFever is a dream walker and has searched for years for his mate and finally found her in Raven. With his seduction of her in her dreams driving them wild, he makes sure to come to Devon Falls and make her his for all time as time is running out for him and their love. If she doesn’t fall in love with him by midnight, Jean-Claude is destined to walk the planes of dreams for the next hundred years before finding his love again. Can he be able to steal her heart and make her his for all time? Or will it be too late for them?

Soon it was time for the man of the hour. It seemed the energy in the room went up a hundredfold. The women looked as if they eagerly awaited a rock star.

Raven saw from the corner of her eye, Jenna smiling at Marc craftily. They were up to something, but what was beyond her grasp at the moment. Raven turned her full attention to the stage where the most magnificent man walked amid the catcalls and cheers, so supremely handsome that he took her breath away.

That chiseled face and those bright eyes…the rock-hard body in a tux tailored to look as if made just for him…the way he walked… sex on legs, all hot and molten.

God, when he turned around, the room went in a tizzy with screams. Man, did he have a nice, tight ass. Raven almost came right then and there when she thought about how her hands would feel holding on to those cheeks. It was a perfect ass in her opinion—perfect to grab, wrap her legs around, and never let go of.

The bidding started with a furious passion, and soon it soared over a thousand dollars.

“Go ahead, honey, bid on the man!” Jenna encouraged as she practically climbed out of her seat with excitement. “The dog is so cute, with its scrunched face. The colors are amazing on the Boxer. I know how you like that breed.”
Raven blinked. The man looked right at her from the end of the runway. Gulping quickly, she raised her paddle to bid twelve hundred dollars on him.

Before she knew it, she was in a bidding war with Hailey Meredith.

“Two thousand,” Raven called out.

The crowd roared as each bid went up even more.

“Two thousand five hundred!” Hailey’s voice called out.

Raven gulped and bid the last amount she knew she could afford and prayed as hard as she could, never taking her eyes off this man. “Three thousand dollars!”

The crowd groaned as no one bid again. As the gavel went down once…twice…three times, Raven almost fell off her chair in shock. The gavel rang down as sold…to her!

Stunned disbelief raced across her face as Jean-Claude came down the stairs, with Jeb. He looked at her and smiled a slow, sexy grin all too familiar…yet he was still a stranger.

Oh my god! I just won that sex god!

Secret Cravings
Amazon Kindle

Learn more about Raine Delight on her website and her blog. Keep in step with her on facebook and her Author/Reader Loop. It’s one you’ll enjoy.

I’ll be back Wednesday with a new menu. Until then…
Happy Reading!

Sloane Taylor
Sweet as Honey…Hotter than Hell

Sloane said @ 9:22 am | Author Friend Promo | Comments are off

Emphasize Your Written Words

April 27, 2012

“The Elements of Style” written by Wm. Strunk Jr. and E.B. White is a must for any writer. I don’t get royalties on it, but without it I won’t get royalties. I strongly suggest you buy a copy.

We all know a period is the mark at the end of a declarative sentence or an abbreviation and a question mark is used at the end of a sentence to indicate a direct question or inquiry.

But there are other punctuation marks which may be a bit confusing. Today we’ll try to clear it up.

The common usage of QUOTATION MARKS is in dialogue;

“Martin can you swim to the other side?” asked Leslie.

If the quotation is the direct object of a verb it’s preceded by a comma and enclosed in quotations marks;

“Mark Twain said, “A classic is something that everyone wants to have read and nobody wants to read.”

The EXCLAMATION POINT is a punctuation used after an interjection or exclamation. Be sure to use it sparingly in your writing. It’s very jarring to see a multitude of ! on a page.

Not too long ago I had to review a category romance by an established author. The story was excellent, but the exclamation points drove me crazy. Every page in the first chapter had a minimum of fifteen irritating !. I was not a happy reader. Over-usage of exclamation points loses their effect and really piss off a reviewer, let alone a reader.

APOSTROPHES show possession no matter what the final consonant;

Claus’s problem
Benny’s bicycle

Hers, its, theirs, yours, and ours do not need an apostrophe. But you do need the punctuation for;

somebody else’s dish
one’s livelihood

Be careful when writing its the possessive or it’s the contraction;

Its author is well-known.
It’s the hottest new book on the shelf.

PARENTHESES are used around a word, phrase, or sentence inserted in a passage to explain or modify a thought. The following examples are taken from my bible “The Elements of Style”;

I went to her house yesterday (my third attempt to see her), but she had left town.
He declares (and why should we doubt his good faith?) that he is now certain of success.

In my writing I avoid all use of parentheses for two reasons.

• I don’t like the look of the completed sentence.
• I don’t really understand why a comma wouldn’t be used in example one.

To work around my dilemma, I rewrite the sentences to work with the punctuations I know and love.

A DASH is a stronger punctuation mark than the comma and should also be used with discretion. It does give your reader a longer pause to gather their thoughts before you impart a pertinent phrase.

Again, from “The Elements of Style”;

Violence – the kind you see on television – is not honestly violent – there in lies its harm.

Using commas or writing as separate sentences doesn’t give the same dramatic effect as the dash. You must use it sparingly or the effect is lost.

Webster’s definition of the SEMICOLON was about as good as the horrid chop suey I made for dinner last Saturday. So it was back to “The Elements of Style” for a clearer understanding;

If two or more clauses grammatically complete, and not joined by a conjunction, are to form a single compound sentence, the proper mark of punctuation is a semicolon.

Mary Shelley’s works are entertaining; they are full of engaging ideas.

It is nearly half past five; we cannot reach town before dark.

Both examples could be written as two separate sentences.

You can also use a comma in place of a semicolon if a conjunction is used;

Mary Shelley’s works are entertaining, for they are full of engaging ideas.

It is nearly half past five, and we cannot reach town before dark.

Romance writing is mood type writing. We are creating a world of love and beauty as it pertains to our hero and heroine. Therefore semicolons seem stark and/or jarring on the page.

Next up is the COLON. Sorry not the organ, which I understand much better. This colon thing is another form of punctuation I avoid as much as a drunk at a bar.

According to “The Elements of Style”;

A colon tells the reader that what follows is closely related to the preceding clause. The colon has more effect than the comma, less power to separate than the semicolon, and more formality than the dash. It usually follows an independent clause and should not separate a verb from its complement or a preposition from its object.

Your dedicated whittler requires: a knife, a piece of wood, and a back porch.

Your dedicated whittler requires three props: a knife, a piece of wood, and a back porch.

For me a colon means rewrite.

The last punctuation mark is the COMMA. In my humble opinion this much used symbol deserves its own lecture. Another day we’ll uncover the mystery; To comma, or not to comma, that is the question.

Have a wonderful weekend. I’ll be back Monday with thigh squeezing author Raine Delight. Until then…

Happy writing!

Sloane Taylor

Sloane said @ 8:43 am | It's All About Writing | Comments are off

It’s Wednesday, so What’s Cooking? Breakfast

April 25, 2012

After a busy week with breakfast on the run, the weekends are a perfect time to treat yourself to a leisurely morning meal. Grab your favorite newspaper or, preferably, your soul mate and enjoy!

Breakfast Frittata
Hash Brown Potatoes
Fruit Salad
Italian Bread with Butter

Breakfast Frittata
4 strips bacon diced
¼ lb ham diced
1 tbsp. onion chopped
½ tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. and ½ tbsp. butter
4 large eggs
Fresh ground pepper to taste
3 slices provolone cheese torn into pieces
Fresh grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350F

In a medium frying pan, fry bacon pieces until almost done. Drain in a colander.

Add olive oil to the same frying pan and 1 tbsp. butter. Over medium heat, melt while swirling pan to coat sides. Add ham and onion. Sauté until the excess moisture from the ham is removed, about 2-3 minutes.

Whisk eggs well in a bowl. Break off bits of the remaining butter and drop into the eggs. Add pepper and whisk again. Pour eggs into hot skillet, then stir gently to distribute ham evenly. Top with bacon. As the edges cook, gently lift them and tip pan to allow raw mixture to flow beneath. Continue cooking until eggs begin to set.

Place frying pan in hot oven about 3-4 minutes to complete cooking. Remove pan and scatter provolone cheese across the top of frittata. Grate parmesan over the frittata. Return to the oven until provolone is melted.

To serve cut into wedges like a pie.

Serves 2

Hash Brown Potatoes

I admit I make the worst from scratch hash browns in the world. After years of trying, I finally gave up. The best brand we’ve found is Mr. Dee’s. They fry up quick and crisp without oil. A little pepper sprinkled on each side as the cook is great. If you don’t have it in your area, then use any frozen or fresh brand and follow the package directions.

Fruit Salad

1 pear sliced
1 banana peeled and sliced
Lemon juice
15 red grapes cut in half
1 kiwi peeled and diced

In a glass bowl, combine the pear and banana. Sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent them from turning brown. Gently, add in the grapes and kiwi.

To serve, spoon the fruit salad into pretty dishes.

This can be prepared first and set in the refrigerator to chill.

1 bottle Cook’s Grand Reserve Champagne or Korbel Brut Champagne chilled
Orange juice
Stemmed glasses

Fill the glass half full with champagne. Pour in orange juice. Do no stir. The juice will mix into the champagne nicely.

I’ll be back Friday with another addition to So You Want To Be An Author. Until then…

Happy Cooking!

Sloane Taylor

Sloane said @ 9:24 am | Cooking | Comments are off

A Good Read is NOT Hard to Find

April 23, 2012

Readers love to lose themselves in a good book. In today’s market horror and paranormal are among their favorite choices. Add a romance and you have the ideal read. Musa Publishing has a dedicated line, Thalia, you’ll want to check out on their easy to maneuver website for excellent books.

Among their talented authors is award-winning Lauren Hunter. Her new release is THE COFFEE SHOP has an impressive collection of rave reviews. This compelling novel is one you don’t want to miss.

For those of you not familiar with Lauren, she writes Regency and paranormal romance novels, with plans to expand into a variety of other genres, including time travel, angel, ghost, and contemporary romance.

Besides novels, Lauren also writes poetry and short stories. Her poems appear in anthologies from England, Holland, and the US. Showcased in The International Library of Poetry’s anthologies, she received the Editor’s Choice Award and was published in The International Who’s Who of Poetry 2004.

Lauren Hunter
ISBN 978-1-61937-002-9
Musa Publishing


Meeting and falling in love with Annie Maddock was more than Derrick Sloane could ever hope for—too bad it was only a dream…or was it.

If Derrick thought experiencing alternate timelines and glimpses into the future was strange then he had no idea it was about to get far more strange than he ever imagined.

Meeting and falling in love with Annie Maddock was more than Derrick Sloane could ever hope for. Too bad it was only a dream. So you can imagine his shock when he literally meets the girl of his dreams in the very same coffee shop. Realizing that dream foretold their relationship five months into the future, and that every time he meets her while awake he alters that perfect future, he tries to fix it.

Can he fix what he has changed? Should he even try? Given the opportunity to see two alternate futures can he choose one over the other? Could you…?

There was a rap at the door. “Your hot chocolate is ready.”

“Thanks, I’ll be right down.”

There was a pause. “You sure you’re all right?”

“Why do you keep asking me that?”

“Oh, I don’t know. I can hear something in your voice.”

“In my voice? What are you, part dog or something?”

Derrick chuckled. “There might be a girl from college that may just agree with you on that.” Again there was a pause. “May I come in?”

“Actually, I was about to get dressed.”

“So, you’re saying you’re not decent?”

“No, I’m wearing a bathrobe.”

“Well good, because I’m coming in.”

“No, Derrick…” But he had already opened the door, and setting the cocoa
aside he came over standing before her as she sat on the bed.

“Okay, now I know something’s wrong. Annie, why didn’t you tell me how bad you hurt yourself?”

“It’s not that bad. I’m not about to make a big deal out of nothing.”

“You don’t need to be brave for me. If anything it’s really important that you be as honest as you can, with both yourself, and me, about this. I don’t want you doing any more damage because you are trying to force yourself to do something you shouldn’t be.”

“All right, I’ll admit, my ankles are a little sore. I must have stretched the muscles or something.”

“It looks like they are a lot more than a little sore.”

“Well you know what they say. A sprain is a lot more painful than a break. Although that would obviously depend on the break. But I’ve sprained something, and I’ve broken something, and I’d have to agree with that assessment, the sprain was much more painful. But as far as that goes this isn’t even that bad.”

“Pain is our body’s way of telling us we are hurt.” Derrick looked concerned.

“You do realize you sound like Mr. Rogers?”

“Those people that feel you have to be in pain to accomplish something.” He shook his head.

“Well, I’ll agree with you on that score.”

“If they hurt you need to stay off them. You don’t want to make it worse.”

“You can’t be serious.”

“Well, look at it this way, by using them while they’re sore you will probably lengthen the time it takes for them to heal.”

The idea of experiencing what she was now for any longer than she absolutely had to, was not an appealing concept, to say the least. “I’ll try to take it as easy as I can.”


“Well I am not going to spend the remainder of the weekend in this bed.”

“No need.”

“What are you saying?”

Before she had a chance to reply, Derrick had slipped one arm beneath her knees, the other around her back and under her arms.

“Whoa! What are you doing?”

“Well, I would have thought that was obvious.”

“Oh, you have to be kidding me.”

“What makes you think that?”

“You are not serious.”


“What? So, you’re going to carry me everywhere?”

“Pretty much.”

“Oh now that’s just too much!”

He was already lifting her into his arms as though she was nothing, and she wrapped her arms around his neck as he carried her out the door and onto the balcony. He was wearing a sweater but she could still feel his taut and rippling muscles beneath it. The muscles in his arms flexing against her as he carried her carefully down the stairs. The heat from his body reached through her bathrobe as she held her face close to his, the scent of soap and aftershave wafting up around her as he grasped her tightly to him. Setting her on the sofa next to the fire, he turned his face to hers. For a moment they just stayed like that, holding each other, their lips close as his eyes moved down her face to her mouth.


Learn more about Lauren Hunter on her website and her blog. Lauren is also on facebook and has a Fan Page. If you Tweet, it’s easy to catch up with Lauren on Twitter.

I’ll be back Wednesday with a new menu. Until then…

Happy Reading!

Sloane Taylor
Sweet as Honey…Hotter than Hell

Sloane said @ 9:18 am | Author Friend Promo | Comments are off

Time IS on Your Side

April 20, 2012

Time Management is an important element every writer must conquer. It doesn’t matter if you have plotted the best novel mankind will ever read, because if you can’t get the damned thing finished – who cares?

So what if your day job takes all your extra time, or the kids are whining, and your husband is just being a shit. Here’s a cyber phone card. Go call someone who cares because, obviously, you don’t.

No one has ever procrastinated more than me. I am the Queen of Procrastination and have ruled my domain with an iron broom. That was until I figured out I would be a wannabe for the rest of my life. Do you?

So as you sneer and grab for the mouse to click off what you can’t bear to read, let me tell you STOP! Baby, unless you pull yourself together, you’re never going to make it in this tough industry.

The solution is so damned easy it’ll make you wonder why you never figured it out.

Set a daily writing goal. Sounds good, right? It is.

1 – Make a to-do list every morning, i.e. Today I will write 100 words on chapter five.
Don’t be stupid, list out what is feasible for your life pattern. So you only have ten minutes before work or dropping the kids at school, think about your manuscript while you’re driving. Well, not so in-depth you wrack up the car but enough to keep your mind flowing. Every moment you spend thinking, plotting, doing a characterization, is time spent on writing.

2 – You can’t write and drive, you snidely say. Correct, and remember, you can’t text either. Buy a pocket tape recorder and talk your story. How tough is that?

3 – Carve out a specific time in the day or night to write. I don’t believe in getting up an hour before the family to work. My mind isn’t ready, my body is too tired, and my meager attempts suck, but it just might work for you. You’re the only one who knows the best time for you to pull it all together and write your hundred words.

4 – Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t meet your schedule because you have to attend Aunt Bertha’s funeral. Do feel guilty if you blow off the day by watching TV or napping. The longer you stay away from writing the harder it is to go back again. Trust me, I know this for a fact.

Learning the art of writing is an on going process. Please email me with any suggestions or favorite websites you want to share.

Speaking of great websites, here’s one you should check out The Black Phoenix Band. Award winning, romantic suspense author Sarah Grimm, yes she’s related to the Brothers, built this site to promote her new series of novels. Ingenious and has proven successful. We’ll discuss promotion in the near future.

Have a good weekend. I’ll be back Monday with paranormal author Lauren Hunter and her latest release The Coffee Shop, a book you need to read. Until then…

Happy Writing!

Sloane Taylor

Sloane said @ 8:06 am | It's All About Writing | Comments are off

Are You into Speculative Fiction?

April 16, 2012

Or are you not quite sure what that is? This genre includes science fiction, fantasy, steampunk and more. Musa Publishing has a dedicated line, Urania, you definitely want to check out on their easy to maneuver website.

Among their noted authors is award-winning, multi-published, Mary S. Palmer. Her new release is TIME WILL TELL. This outstanding novel is destined to be a best seller.

For those of you not familiar Mary, she writes beautiful poetry along with fiction and non-fiction books and short stories. Mary makes her home in Alabama and currently teaches English at Faulkner State Community College and Faulkner University.

Mary holds a BA (Cum Laude) in English and an MA in English with a Concentration in Creative Writing from the University of South Alabama.

Among her many awards, she was also selected for Marquis’ Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers in 2002 and in 2005 also for Who’s Who in America (2005)


Mary S. Palmer
ISBN 978-1-61937-107-1
Musa Publishing


Reporter Mona Stewart finds herself in another world of warring factions and one of them holds the key to immortality and cures for fatal diseases.

In the inner space of outer space, an earthling, reporter Mona Stewart, discovers that living almost forever in idleness, and without challenges, is much worse than having too much to do. The only reprieve from boredom for the Svarians is outwitting the Aliens.

The car skidded, swerved sideways and spun around three times before cascading into the gully below. There were no houses on this stretch of the sparsely populated road in west Mobile County and traffic was light at one a.m., so no one saw the accident happen. The driver lay critically injured at the bottom of the ravine.

Mona Stewart was motionless. Life was rapidly oozing out of her twenty-eight year-old body. The thirty-foot drop had left the little red Volkswagen bug in one piece but all sides were damaged. It landed right on top of Mona and threw one sharp piece of window glass directly through her abdomen. The heavy rainstorm, which had contributed to the accident, continued. Blood and water formed a puddle of red liquid. Pep, her little Beagle who was also in the car, revived and staggered over to his mistress, sniffed around and began to lap at the puddle. It did not suit his taste, so he crawled under the car, snuggled as close as he could to Mona and lay down on the ground to stand guard.

In her unconscious state with her life ebbing away, Mona’s mind reviewed her existence. In flashes she relived the good and the bad, the right and the wrong, her parents’ untimely death in a plane crash, her marriage and divorce. A couple of dateless years for fear of having a failed relationship. Now, in the last hour, she had to face the discovery that her current boyfriend was no longer interested in her. He had even laughed when he left her apartment saying, “What did you expect? I promised you nothing and that’s exactly what you’re getting. There were no commitments.” She should have known this would happen. The notoriously fickle Lee Black, III, was chased by girls because of his rugged good looks and his charming, though superficial, personality. He had never been noted for his loyalty.

Nevertheless, Mona was crushed and outraged. Feeling that she had to get out of that apartment, she’d hopped in her car and sped away into the humid summer night, roaming around aimlessly, not even knowing or caring where she was. When an announcer’s voice blared out of her radio that “Hurricane Dennis is on a path headed directly for Mobile, Alabama bearing one hundred and thirty mile per hour winds; please take heed and go to a safe place—shelters are open now,” thinking that it was no match for the storm going on within her, Mona clicked off the radio. She couldn’t run from either one. Then a sudden downpour made driving hazardous. She’d never been on this road before and did not even see the curve.

Now, strangely enough, as she relived the experience in her mind, she no longer felt resentment toward Lee or anyone else who had ever wronged her. Instead, she felt a sense of forgiveness toward them. A bright light seemed to hover over her. With it came a complete sense of peace.

“Gr-rrr,” Pep growled. Then he emitted a bark that sounded more like a frightened yelp than a threat. But when two people came over to his mistress, raised the car up and lifted her out of the pool of blood, the dog instinctively knew they were trying to help her. He backed off, following as they carried her to a shelter.


Learn more about Mary S. Palmer on her website and her blog.

I’ll be back Wednesday with a new menu. Until then…

Happy Reading!

Sloane Taylor
Sweet as Honey…Hotter than Hell

Sloane said @ 9:20 am | Author Friend New Releases | Comments are off


April 13, 2012

Show don’t tell is a confusing phrase that has many new writers yanking their hair out. What does it mean? How do I do it? Leave those Clairol locks in place because the explanation is simple.

Showing is action. It is what your character is doing at that moment. Telling is passive writing, a weak way to explain what your character is doing. It can also be considered author intrusion, a big no-no to editors.

Here are a few examples;

Telling – Liz had on a red suit with a white rose in the lapel and a white linen blouse.

Showing – Liz plucked a white rose from the bouquet on the coffee table. Carefully, she slipped the thorny stem into her lapel. She glanced in the mirror and smiled at how perfect the flower’s creamy color looked against the red jacket. With a tug on her blouse cuff, gently so as not to wrinkle the linen, Liz headed for the door.

Telling – There was shouting from the balcony.

Showing – Shouts echoed from the balcony.

Telling – The dog show was judged by Frank.

Showing – Frank judged the dog show.

Telling – Mary was sad.

Showing – Mary turned toward Joel. His heart broke when he saw her lips tremble and the pain in her eyes.

In many cases, showing requires more words to paint the right picture and that’s a good thing if they enhance the scene.

To easily locate the places where you “tell”, hold down the Control key while you press the letter F key. It will bring up a Find and Replace panel. Type in a word not used in your book, then click ‘Find Next’. Read each sentence and/or section that appears. Should it or could it be more active? You may be surprised at how your novel will improve by this simple exercise.

Have a wonderful weekend. I’ll be back Monday with Mary Palmer and her new book TIME WILL TELL. Until then…

Happy Writing!

Sloane Taylor

Sloane said @ 8:26 am | It's All About Writing | Comments are off

It’s Wednesday, so What’s Cooking? Easter Dinner

April 4, 2012

Our family celebrates Easter with a mountain of appetizers, a great meal, and lots of laughter. We usually have twenty-one for a sit-down dinner and each family brings a contribution to enhance the event. Below is what Studs and I prepare. Hope you enjoy it.

Ham Baked in Bread
My Mom’s Potato Salad
Fresh Green Beans
Black Olives in Oil
Fresh Fruit Salad
White Wine – Riesling

Ham Baked in Bread
7# smoked ham – I use Kentucky Legend. It’s excellent, but this recipe works for all hams.
3 packages prepared pizza dough found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store.
½ cup water for sealing seams

Preheat oven to 350.

Roll the dough into a rectangle. Lay ham curved side down onto dough. Gently lift the dough to wrap the ham securely. Be careful not to rip the dough.

Dip your fingertips in the water, then rub them along the seams to seal. This may take several water dips to achieve. Place the ham seam side down, so it doesn’t burst during baking, on a non-stick cookie sheet or shallow roasting pan. Bake 20 minutes per pound or until bread is toasty brown.

Remove the ham from the oven and let cool until you can touch the bread without burning your hands. With a sharp, thin knife, cut off just the top portion to create a lid. Carve the ham and remaining bread into slices. Don’t worry if the bread falls apart as you slice it. This can happen. Discard any scrapes. Lay the ham and bread on a serving platter. The bread will be a little soggy, and that’s good, because it has soaked up the ham juices. Cover with the lid you cut off earlier.

Right before you serve, cut the lid into neat slices, lay them around and over the ham. Your guests will love it.

My Mom’s Potato Salad
1 red potato per person
1 hard boiled egg for every 2-3 potatoes
one stalk celery for every 7 potatoes chopped fine
½ med onion for every 7 potatoes chopped fine
Mayonnaise – NO substitutes

Boil the potatoes in their jackets until just fork tender. Remove from pot as they are done and allow to cool. Scrape the skins off. Slice in half widthwise then lengthwise. Slice into the bite size pieces.

While the potatoes are cooking, lay the eggs in a saucepan, cover with water, and place a lid on the pan. Bring to a boil, then shut off the heat and allow to sit on the burner for 7 minutes. Cut into quarters, then slice. Set aside covered with plastic wrap or a paper towel to eliminate drying out.

Combine celery and onion in a large bowl. Grind in a healthy amount of fresh pepper. Stir in several large spoonfuls of mayonnaise. You have to gauge by the number of potatoes you use. Mix well.

Add the potatoes, two at a time and mix well. Continue until all the potatoes are added. Check the salad for dryness. It should be moist but not swimming in mayo. Add the sliced eggs and stir again. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Fresh Green Beans
1 lb. fresh green beans trimmed
2 – tbsp butter
Fresh ground black pepper

Bring large pot of water to a hard boil. A high heat setting is best.

Drop the beans in by the handful. Boil 10 to 15 minutes or until the beans are just tender. If you plan to reheat the beans, boil for less time as the reheating will cook them further.

Drain beans in a colander. Add butter to the hot pot and swirl to melt. Return beans to the pot. Toss with butter and coat well. Season with pepper to taste and stir again.

They may be made earlier and reheated on low heat. Be careful not to scorch them or burn the butter.

Black Olives in Oil
1 can medium pitted black olives
3 garlic cloves
Olive oil
Glass jar with a secure lid

Drain the black olives and pour them into the jar. Crush the garlic into the jar. Pour in the olive oil to cover. Refrigerate at least 1 week. The mix will become thick and cloudy. It’s okay, that’s the oil solidifying.

To serve, set the jar on the counter until the oil becomes clear and returns to its normal consistency, which may take several hours. Spoon out the quantity of olives you wish to serve into a pretty dish. Be sure to have toothpicks. Put the jar back in the fridge for future use. You can refill with more olives. The mixture will stay good up to two months.

Fresh Fruit Salad
Banana sliced
Cantaloupe sliced
Pineapple sliced
Kiwis sliced
Red grapes seedless halved

Combine all the fruit into a mixing bowl. Add a few drops lime or lemon juice to stop the bananas from turning brown. Gently stir to blend the fruit.

Pour into a glass bowl, cover and chill until time to serve.

My good friend Yasmine Phoenix emailed to tell me about The Spice House where you can find everything at reasonable prices. This amazing store is on North Wells in Chicago’s Old Town. Don’t let that bother you, they ship.

Have a wonderful weekend. I’ll be back Monday with Emma Lane and her new release BLACK DOMINO. Until then…

Happy Cooking!

Sloane Taylor

Sloane said @ 8:04 am | Cooking,Holidays | Comments are off

Into Mystery or Suspense? How About Zombies?

April 2, 2012

If so, then DEAD RECKONING, the debut novel by Paul Stansfield, is the book for you.

For those readers not familiar with Paul and his work, he was born and raised in New Jersey, and graduated from Rutgers University. He works as a field archaeologist. When Paul’s not excavating prehistoric sites or exhuming graves, he enjoys writing, mostly in the horror/thriller/suspense genres.

The future is bright for this talented author. Paul’s had short stories published by Bibliophilos, Mausoleum, Mobius, Ragshock, Morbid Curiosity, Generation X National Journal, Cthulhu Sex Magazine, Aoife’s Kiss, and Conceit.

Paul Stansfield
ISBN: 978-1-61937-244-3
Musa Publishing


This time, the zombies aren’t the bad guys.

Kurt Minnifield is a fledgling actor playing a zombie in a low budget horror movie. The director and crew decide to move their shooting to lovely and isolated Watkins State Park…only they don’t get proper permission.

Victor Newsome is a thirteen year old trying to both shed his nerdy image and learn outdoor skills at a special survival camp. After teaching the boys how to make shelter and kill their own food, the counselors decide to take a day trip to the neighboring state park–Watkins.

A series of ethical lapses, poor decisions, and bad luck lead to a colossal misunderstanding. Violence erupts as both sides fight desperately against a dangerous set of foes. Who will be more savage–the literal “monsters,” or the boys equipped with deadly weapons, and the knowledge of how to use them?

Kurt struggled to catch up as the unknown actor continued to track the other zombies. Now he saw that the other actors must have seen or heard the guy—they’d turned around and were advancing on him. The guy wasn’t anyone he recognized, either, this was definitely somebody new. So what happens now? No one had any special effects gear, so unless this man ran away the unscripted shooting was over.
The actor wasn’t fleeing. He raised his gun and aimed it at the zombie in front, Will. His hand shook for a second, and then he fired.

The crack of the shot was loud, and Kurt nearly fell over in shock. That was no blank! That sounded real! What the fuck? Blood was running from a hole in Will’s chest. Kurt gasped. Will had been the last zombie to be made up before Kurt—he was positive that T.J. hadn’t put any squibs on him.

Will had stopped, and his zombie claws went to the wound, and he stared at the hole wonderingly. The zombies nearest him—Tabby, Henry, and Ed, all dropped their arms down and were staring at Will too, and then back at the mystery man with astonished expressions on their faces.

The guy hesitated, and then raised his gun a little, and fired again. There was a second boom, and then Will’s eye broke up, followed almost immediately by the back of his head. Blood, and pieces of whitish skull and grayish brains splattered out, onto the forest floor. Will fell on his side with a strange gurgling sound.

Holy Shit! thought Kurt. That was no squib either. This was real! This guy is psycho! He watched as Tabby took off, into the bushes to the side of the clearing. Henry and Ed crouched by Will’s body, and struggled to communicate with the alien assassin. They waved their arms wildly, trying to signal “Stop” with their palms held up. Their grunting was noticeably louder, but still inarticulate.

The armed man paused a moment more, and then aimed once again. The two zombies tried to duck behind Will’s slumped corpse. Two shots whined past, and then a third hit Henry in the shoulder. Just then he whirled in Kurt’s direction and fired again, just as Kurt threw up his hands. As soon as the gunman turned, Ed and Henry were in the bushes right behind Tabby.

Fire rushed through Kurt’s left hand, just above the wrist. He groaned as he saw blood, and tendons, and even bone through the hole in his mangled hand. He dove to the ground, just as another bullet hit a tree right where his head had been. And then he was gone, tearing through the bushes and trees almost without looking.

The man trotted up to Will’s body, and kicked at it curiously. He looked briefly at the spot where the hand-shot zombie had disappeared, and then he turned back and went after the first three zombies.


Learn more about the interesting life of Paul Stansfield on his blog.

I’ll be back Wednesday with a new Easter menu. Until then…

Happy Reading!

Sloane Taylor
Sweet as Honey…Hotter than Hell

Sloane said @ 8:10 am | Author Friend Promo | Comments are off