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Archive for 2016

December 28, 2016

Sweets for the Sweet

from Dominique Eastwick

Candied Cranberries

2 cups sugar, divided into 1½ cups and ½ cup
½ cup of water
1 (12-ounce) bag fresh cranberries
thinly sliced oranges, optional

Combine ½ cup sugar and ½ cup water in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved, about 2-3 minutes. For those of you who mix your drinks this is simple syrup for those of you from the south this is the Sweet in your tea 🙂

Remove from heat. Let the cranberries/fruit soak. I have heard some people soak the berries for a couple of minutes, other a few hours. I prefer a few hours. Just stir occasionally.

Working in batches, roll cranberries in remaining sugar until well coated. Allow the berries to dry on rack for at least 1 hour.

Use how the mood fits. Give as a gift, top a cake as we did above, or put on the table for a friendly gathering as a munchy.

The Twins are Back


Sometimes one infiltrator isn’t enough. When a long lost Tao pack member is located in Europe, D and 7 accept the challenge to rescue the missing wolf. But sometimes, it takes crossing thousands of miles to find what your soul most desires.

Natalia remembers nothing of her life before being enslaved in a traveling circus. When tall, dark and mysterious strangers show up to help her escape, she feels a connection she’s never experienced before. Should she trust her heart to follow them, or will it land her in another case of captivity.

Danger may be in the blood of infiltrators, but what will D do when his soul mate is the one threatened? And how will two twins, who have shared everything, deal with a female who comes between them?

EXCERPT
Natalia awoke alone and without a blanket to find D closing the gate.

“Sorry, they have just awoken above us. I didn’t think it would bode well for me to be there with you. At least not until we can get that blasted collar off you.”

Well-rested and colder than she had ever been after a night of warmth, she felt the chill more acutely. She also had a sense of loneliness accompanying his retreat. “Why do I desire to touch you when all other men make me want to hit them?”

“We don’t have enough time right now to go into a conversation you will have a ton of questions about, but I promise if we haven’t figured out how to get you to safety by this evening, as we sit here in this cage again, I will tell you anything you want to know.”

“And if we get out of here? What then?”

“I will sit in a safe, warm room and tell you anything you want to know.” He indicated the small brown bag beside her. “Eat quickly before they come. Don’t eat or drink anything they give you. I will return for you later.”

“Where will you be?”

“Within hearing distance.” He reached through the cage and cupped her cheek. “I will never be far, even if you can’t see me.”

“I can sense you, why?”

“Because, we are mates.” He put a finger to her lips. “No time.”

He shifted and gave her one last long glance before he left seconds before the cover was pulled off and sun flooded in. She wanted to asked what the hell he’d meant by mate? Needed to know why they seemed connected.

BUY LINKS
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Award-Winning author Dominique Eastwick currently calls North Carolina home with her husband, two children, one crazy lab and one lazy cat. Dominique spent much of her early life moving from state to state as a Navy Brat. Because of that, traveling is one of her favorite pasttimes. When not writing you can find Dominique with her second love…her camera.

Learn more about Dominique Eastwick on her website, blog, and Amazon author page. Be sure to join her Newsletter for up to the minute info on new releases, contests, and more.

Stay connected on Twitter, Tublr, Tsu, and Pinterest.

Sloane said @ 12:33 am | Author Friend New Releases,Cooking | Comments are off

December 26, 2016

TRADITION

by Carol Browne

Photo by imagerymajestic

What is this thing we Brits call Boxing Day that takes place every year on December 26th? Does the stress of the festive season require a violent catharsis? Do people engage in fisticuffs in the street? Is there anarchy in the UK?

No, it’s a civilised affair dating back around 800 years, when the church alms boxes were opened and the money within was distributed to the poor. This tradition of being charitable is reflected in the Christmas Carol Good King Wenceslas, which concerns a Medieval king who takes food to a poor family on Boxing Day (also known as St Stephen’s Day. Traditionally, servants had a day off from tugging their forelocks, and were allowed to celebrate Christmas at home with their families and friends.

Photo by graur razvan ionut

In the not-too-distant past, tradesmen and merchants would receive a Christmas box from their customers. This was like a tip to thank them for their work throughout the year. This custom has largely died out but I recall when I was a child, my mother setting aside money or small gifts for Christmas boxes that would be given to people like the milkman and the postman. We had so many things delivered in those days and I seldom saw the people responsible so that, thanks to my child’s imagination, they became an assortment of surreal characters that still make me chuckle to this day: The Potato Man, the Paper Boy, the Fish Man, and the Coal Man, for example!

Although Boxing Day is a public holiday in the UK (and other countries with a connection to it, like Canada, New Zealand, and Australia) many people prefer the frenzy of the Boxing Day sales to chilling out with friends and family. It is also an important day for sport, especially horse racing and football. Many people go for a long walk, perhaps to burn off some of that food they have overindulged in. It was traditional for the upper classes to go fox-hunting too, but, thankfully, this barbaric practice has been outlawed now.

After the excesses of Christmas Day, why not try a simple vegetable broth for your Boxing Day lunch? A steaming mug of this with a chunk of crusty bread is both warming and nourishing and just the ticket on a chilly winter’s day. The following recipe is vegan but if you’re a meat-eater, you can add some of that leftover turkey if you still haven’t had your fill of it!

Vegetable Broth

Photo by KEKO64

1 large onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
4 large carrots, diced
1 swede (rutabaga), diced
1 large potato, cut into large chunks
1 leek, chopped
2 pints vegetable stock
vegetable oil or vegan margarine

Heat the oil or margarine in a large pan and add the chopped onion and minced garlic. Sweat them together until soft.

Add the carrots, leek, and rutabaga. Sweat these with the onion/garlic mix, ensuring they are mixed well.

Stir in the potatoes and vegetable stock. Bring to the boil. Turn the heat down as low as possible and place lid on pan. Simmer and stir occasionally until vegetables are tender.

How about a glimpse into the life of a strong woman while your soup is simmering?

In 2012 when young Polish immigrant Agnieszka visits fellow countrywoman Krystyna in a Peterborough care home for the first time, she thinks it a simple act of kindness. However, the meeting proves to be the beginning of a life-changing experience.

Krystyna’s stories about the past are not memories of the good old days but recollections of war-ravaged Europe: The Warsaw Ghetto, Pawiak Prison, Ravensbrück Concentration Camp, and a death march to freedom.

The losses and ordeals Krystyna suffered and what she had to do to survive are horrors Agnieszka must confront when she volunteers to be Krystyna’s biographer.

Will Agnieszka be able to keep her promise to tell her story, and, in this harrowing memoir of survival, what is the message for us today?

Buy Links
DilliebooksAmazon UKAmazon US

Born in Stafford in the UK, Carol Browne was raised in Crewe, Cheshire, which she thinks of as her home town. Interested in reading and writing at an early age, Carol pursued her passions at Nottingham University and was awarded an honours degree in English Language and Literature. Now living and working in the Cambridgeshire countryside, Carol usually writes fiction and is a contracted author at Burning Willow Press. Being Krystyna, published by Dilliebooks on 11th November, 2016, is her first non-fiction book.

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

Sloane said @ 12:43 am | Author Friend Promo,Cooking | Comments are off

December 21, 2016

Mock Champagne and Other Delicious Treats

Original recipes by C.D. Hersh

Mock Cranberry Sangria
For each 8-ounce champagne glass you need:

Photo by tuelekza

¼ cup brewed Hibiscus Watermelon tea (we use Republic of Tea brand)
⅛ cup brewed Chamomile honey and vanilla tea (we use Twinings brand)
Sparking apple cider
1 rounded tbsp. jellied cranberry sauce (smooth or whole berry)
Fresh fruits (grapes, whole cranberries, pineapple chunks, peeled sliced star fruit, or peeled kiwi—or fruits of your choice)
Short skewer or sizzle stick

Thread fruits on a skewer or swizzle stick and set aside.

Pour teas and cranberry sauce in the glass. Mix until sauce is dissolved. Fill glass with sparkling apple cider. Enjoy!

Mock Champagne 

Cork Shot Out From a Bottle of Champagne

For each 8-ounce champagne glass you need:
 
¼ cup white grape juice
⅛ cup Chamomile tea
ginger ale, regular or diet
star fruit
fresh cranberries

Combine grape juice and tea in an 8-ounce champagne flute.

Fill glass with ginger ale.

To give the drink a holiday flare, add a slice of star fruit and a couple of whole, fresh cranberries to the glass before adding the liquids.

To go along with your cool drink how about a hot book?

Sizzle in the Snow: A Soul Mate Christmas Collection is eight holiday romances packed into one volume. Majanka Verstraete of InD’tale magazine rated the collection four stars and five steam pots. She called the book “an interesting holiday collection” with “smooth and polished style” storylines. “Each story is full of wit, charm and – most of all – romance.”

SIZZLE IN THE SNOW_1800x2700 (2)

Our story is Kissing Santa.

When Sam S. Klaus, a professional Santa, has a fling with a beautiful elfette at a Santa Conference, he wants to make her Mrs. Klaus, but his intended disappears before Santa can pop the question.

Excerpt from Kissing Santa:

Anna Noel studied the trim backside of the Santa standing in front of her. He appeared younger than most of the Santas at the Santa Claus conference she’d chosen to attend this year. A lot more attractive than any Santa she’d ever met. For the briefest of moments she let her mind wander, lingering on Christmas wish number nine—make love to Santa. A heated flush climbed her chest as she envisioned the scene, and she flapped the jacket of her green elf costume to cool down.

Her gaze traveled over his hips, chest, and to the beginnings of a snow white beard. Then to his shock of silver hair underneath the white-trimmed, red Santa hat.

Yep. Definitely a Santa she wanted to know. Too bad she wouldn’t be the elf to his mall Santa. They could get to know each other and more.

The conference registrar drew her out of her Christmas fantasy with a loud, “Miss? Are you with this Santa?”

“What? No. I don’t have a Santa. I’m here alone.”

Sexy Santa turned and held out his hand. “Me, too. I’m Sam S. Klaus.”

A smile curled her lips as she took his hand. “As in Sam Santa Claus?” His warm palm sent tingles through her fingers as he gently squeezed them.

A lopsided grin slanted his cheek upward, and he flashed a brilliant smile. “You have the same warped sense of humor as my parents.” He gave her a mock bow. “Sam S., for Santa, Klaus, with a K.”

“That’s your real name?” He let go of her hand. She fought to keep from grabbing it back. A real Santa Klaus? How great was that?

“The same, and you are?”

“An—” She stopped, suddenly unwilling to reveal her name. A rollercoaster of emotions raced through her, suggesting she might hit number nine with this Santa. If she did, and it didn’t go well, she wouldn’t want Sam Klaus to know her real identity. “An elf, who needs a Santa,” she said. “How about we team up? I’ll be your personal elfette, and you can be my Santa.”

Want to know what each story is about… besides romance and Christmas? Well, here it is! Each author’s name links to their website. If you like their blurb, check out their other books!

SANTA BABY by Beth Carter

Unlucky-in-love Brooke Woods finds herself with a Christmas delivery and it isn’t from Santa. When her boyfriend leaves her for their neighbor, she heads to the nearest bar, meeting hunky, nice guy Anderson Bradley. The two only exchange first names, and their hot fling leaves them both wanting more but their anonymity makes that impossible.

Brooke never thought she’d end up in a hospital pregnant at Christmastime. Will a Santa Baby bring the new mother and father together or tear them apart?

SECOND CHANCES: A CHRISTMAS STORY by Amy Deason

When Grace Sellers needs to start over, she moves back to her old hometown with her two young children in tow. But the last person she expects to see is her high school crush, Michael Dennison.

Is this unexpected encounter a mere coincidence or a second chance at true love?

‘TWAS THE CRAZY NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS by Crystal Firsdon

“‘Twas the night before Christmas, when plans led to danger For Clara and Drew, who until now were strangers. As they run for safety, desire comes fast . . . Will they have each other, or is this night their last?”

THE SNOW BIRD by Kim Hotzon

Lauren, a young single mother, is struggling to keep her children fed and a roof over their heads as the holidays approach.

Christmas is looking bleak until a sexy and wealthy property developer unexpectedly shows up in town, offering to repair her roof . . . and a whole lot more.

TAMED BY CHRISTMAS by Ryan Jo Summers

Years ago Paige and Shane experienced a tragic event in their romance. Unable to move past it, they broke up. Yet the passion remains, and she returns at Christmas time in an attempt to rekindle the love she and Shane once shared. It’s a rocky road, and it seems they might not succeed until a freak accident shows them what they really have to lose.

Can Shane tame Paige’s heart by Christmas? Or should they just let those still burning flames slowly die?

OPERATION SANTA by Tina Susedik

When Marci Hofer becomes fed up with the lack of attention from her husband, David, she decides to leave him. Devastated, he begins a campaign to bring her home. Calling it Operation Santa, he learns what he thought would be as simple as sending her gifts can backfire in the most embarrassing ways.

Will he survive the battle to get her back?

CHRISTMAS EVE SURPRISE by Cheryl Yeko

Steve knows he screwed up, but he’s determined to reclaim the woman he loves and the babies she carries.

But when he sweeps back into her life on Christmas Eve, Amy’s not sure she’s ready to forgive him for abandoning her six months earlier.

Buy Link

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

The books of their paranormal romance series entitled The Turning Stone Chronicles are available on Amazon. They also have a short Christmas story, Kissing Santa, in a Christmas anthology titled Sizzle in the Snow: Soul Mate Christmas Collection, with seven other authors.

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

Learn more about C.D. Hersh on their website and their Amazon Author Page.

Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Sloane said @ 12:57 am | Author Friend New Releases,Cooking | Comments are off

December 19, 2016

Appetizer, Side Dish, or Meal? You Decide.

from Vonnie Hughes

CRISPY ZUCCHINI FRITTERS

3 large zucchinis
⅔ cup flour
2 eggs
1 large spring onion (escallot/shallot) sliced
1 tsp. bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1 small can creamed sweet corn
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive or vegetable oil for frying

Grate zucchini into a bowl. Stir in salt. Set aside.

Beat eggs in another bowl.

Squeeze all moisture out of the zucchini and then add it to the eggs. Mix well.

Stir in remaining ingredients and any herbs you prefer.

Heat oil in a large frying pan. Drop in tablespoon dollops of the mixture. Fry until crisp or well browned, turning just once.

Serve warm with sour cream, yogurt and/or chutney.

How about a step into a bygone era while you enjoy your crispy fritters?

When Alexandra Tallis discovers that her witless sister has imprisoned their father’s nemesis, Theo Crombie, in their attic, she quickly frees him, fighting an unladylike impulse to keep him as her own special captive. Despite the brutal beating she receives from her father for her actions, Alexandra continues to yearn for the delicious Mr. Crombie even though she knows that nothing will ever come of her yearning.

Injured and shackled in a stranger’s attic, Theo unexpectedly discovers the woman of his dreams. But how can he pursue those dreams when her bizarre family’s complex relationships threaten the very foundation of his existence? Somehow Theo must find a way through this maze to claim his lady.

TEASER
“Oh, no, Emmaline! Please untie him. Let him go.”

Whatever would her sister do next? At seventeen she was an eligible man’s worst nightmare. And this latest escapade—

“Don’t be such a bore, Lexie. ’Tis a great joke! For once, Papa will thank us. Especially when he finds out who it is we’ve got all trussed up.” Emmaline laughed her silvery, seductive laugh that drove men wild and irritated women excessively.

“Thank us! He is more like to beat us. You cannot capture someone and bring him here and…and just tie him up.”

“Of course I can. I already have. I shall lock the two of you in here together and then raise an outcry. Papa and the servants will come running and—” she waved her pretty hands in the air “—the rest will take care of itself. Papa’s investment problem will be solved, and with a bit of luck you might even be married by next week, sister.”

BUY LINKS AmazonSmashwords

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

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

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

Sloane said @ 2:56 pm | Author Friend Promo,Cooking | Comments are off

December 14, 2016

Sweeten Your Holiday

from Sharon Ledwith

In the second book of The Last Timekeepers young adult time travel series, The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret, Treena Mui attempts to soothe the time traveling troops’ appetites by baking them a batch of sugar cookies using her family’s secret recipe. The problem is she mistakenly used salt as the main ingredient instead of sugar. It really wasn’t her fault—all the jars were marked in Dutch. Poor Jordan is still trying to wash the taste out of his mouth!

So to correct this, I thought I’d share Treena Mui’s mouth-watering sugar cookie recipe to give you a taste of what the Timekeepers missed out on their undercover mission in Amsterdam during World War II. With a prep time of 20 minutes and cook time of 8 minutes, you don’t need to be a genius or a secret agent to figure out that it takes less than a half an hour to feed your own army!

Mui’s Mouth-Watering Sugar Cookies

3 cups of all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 cup of white sugar
1 cup butter
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 tbsp. cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C)

Over a large bowl, sift together all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, sugar. Cut in butter and blend with a pastry blender until mixture resembles cornmeal. Stir in lightly beaten egg, cream, and vanilla. Blend well. Dough may be chilled, if desired.

On a floured surface, roll out dough to ⅛ inch thickness. Sprinkle with sugar; cut into desired shapes. Transfer to ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, or until delicately brown.

While you’re waiting for those cookies to cool, take a time out and give yourself a well-deserved break. So sit back, prop up your feet, and open a book you’ve been meaning to read. Why not pick up one of The Last Timekeepers adventures, and peruse the latest mission with Treena and her time traveling cohorts?

Only a true hero can shine the light in humanity’s darkest time.

Fourteen year-old Jordan Jensen always considered himself a team player on and off the field, until the second Timekeeper mission lands him in Amsterdam during World War Two. Pulled into the world of espionage, torture, and intolerance, Jordan and the rest of the Timekeepers have no choice but to stay one step ahead of the Nazis in order to find and protect a mysterious book.

With the help of the Dutch Resistance, an eccentric baron, Nordic runes, and an ancient volume originating from Atlantis, Jordan must learn that it takes true teamwork, trust, and sacrifice to keep time safe from the evils of fascism. Can Jordan find the hero within to conquer the darkness surrounding the Timekeepers? If he doesn’t, then the terrible truth of what the Nazis did will never see the light of day.

EXCERPT
“I wonder what else is down here.” Drake beamed his cell phone across the basement, hitting jars of jams, pickles, and relishes. His stomach growled.

Jordan pulled the cheese from his pocket and handed it to Drake. “Trade you for your phone.”

“Best. Trade. Ever.” Drake passed his phone to Jordan.

Jordan walked over and grabbed a jar of pickles off the dusty shelf. At least they wouldn’t arrive at the baron’s place hungry. He hoped his uncle had managed to stop Amanda’s bleeding. His hand tightened over the jar, the ridges of the lid cutting into his palm. A scrape from behind the shelves made Jordan jump.

“Hello?” he asked, pushing jars aside. He flashed the cell phone into the small, dark area.

“Who ya talking to, Jordan?” Drake asked with his mouth full of cheese.

“Shhh, Drake.” Jordan listened. Hearing nothing, he shrugged and turned back around.

“I thought I heard—” Jordan stopped and pointed the phone at Ravi. His jaw dropped. “A-Are you serious, Sharma?”

Drake spat out his cheese, snorting with laughter.

“Is there a problem?” Ravi asked, tying the bowtie of his tuxedo.

“You look like a penguin with attitude!” Drake slapped his knee.

“Say what you want, but I’m glad we didn’t hit the cleaners on the way to school now,” Ravi replied, pulling down his sleeves, “or else I wouldn’t have these dry clothes.”

Jordan chuckled. Suddenly, he heard a door creak open, followed by heavy footsteps squeaking down the stairs. Panicking, Jordan stuffed Drake’s phone in his track suit jacket’s pocket and waved Drake over by the shelves. Drake slipped behind Jordan just in time, before the small light bulb above the bottom of the stairs clicked on. Jordan swallowed hard. There, staring directly at Ravi was a portly man in a blood-stained apron. Tufts of blond hair sprouted from the sides of his balding head. His brown trousers were pulled up past his waist, making him resemble an evil garden gnome. In one of his hands, he held a huge butcher knife, its blade flecked with blood.

Wielding the knife, the man pointed at Ravi. “Who are you?”

Ravi licked his thick lips nervously. “The name’s Bond. James Bond.”

BUY LINKS
Mirror World Publishing: PaperbackeBook
AmazonAmazon.caKOBOBarnes & Noble

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

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

Sloane said @ 1:53 am | Author Friend Promo,Cooking | Comments are off

December 12, 2016

Have You Ever Wondered?

While Studs and I were on our honeymoon, we met an interesting old gent who had a few things to say. Allow me to share some of his wisdom with you.

Why are there interstates in Hawaii? 
Photo by Tuomas_Lehtinen
How does the guy who drives the snowplow get to work?

Does make you wonder.

Have an awesome day,

Sloane

Sloane said @ 11:57 am | General | Comments are off

December 7, 2016

Your Taste Buds Will Cheer

from Dominique Eastwick

With my latest appetizer creation. Roquamole is an invigorating, and easy, twist on taco salad. This is the perfect dip to enjoy while cheering on your favorite Super Bowl team.

ROQUAMOLE

Photo by tiramisustudio

1 cup crumbled Roquefort or St. Agur cheese
¼ cup sour cream
2 ripe avocados
2 tbsp. finely sliced scallions
¼ cup jarred sliced pickled green jalapenos
¼ tsp. paprika
1 bag blue corn tortilla chips

Crumble or mash the blue cheese with the sour cream in a bowl.

Mash in the avocados. If they are ripe, a fork should be all you need.

Roughly chop the sliced jalapenos. Stir them into the mixture along with the finely sliced scallions.

Arrange in the center of a plate or dish. Dust with paprika and surround with tortilla chips.

Dive in!

Here’s a little from Dom’s sexy paranormal romance for your reading pleasure.

The babies are coming… the Wiccan Haus will never be the same.

Things are not as calm at the Wiccan Haus as they usually are. The impending birth of Dana and Rekkus’ cubs has everyone on edge. The last thing anyone wants or expects is a series of uninvited guests.

Ashlynn Stone hasn’t spoken to her sister Dana since she left for the Wiccan Haus over a year earlier. But when a fluke accident on the fashion runway forces her to seek the healing of the Wiccan Haus, she has no choice but to pack her bags and take the ferry to the island with her family in tow.

Shadedor has been sent to the Wiccan Haus to assess the situation. But he soon finds more than he expected. His soul mate in need of healing. Can he negotiate the issues of the Wiccan Haus and overcome the walls Ashlynn has built to protect herself.

As the Haus prepares for the biggest event since it opened, can the siblings find harmony and manage to do what they do best, heal those in need? Or is it too much for them to take?

Welcome back to the Wiccan Haus.

EXCERPT
He walked. This morning, he had been right next to her, and there had been constant contact. Now they would appear to anyone passing to be complete strangers. “You want to tell me what is going on?”

“We are attempting to remove all stress from your life in hopes of easing the headaches.”

“No, with you. If you would prefer to be elsewhere, I can go back to my room and lie down.”

He stopped. “There is nowhere I would rather be.”

“Then why are you acting like I have the plague? Was it the kiss earlier?”

“I overstepped my boundaries this morning. I should not have done so.”

“Do you regret it?”

“I am assisting the staff here in your healing. It is inappropriate for me to come on to you.”

“Are you on staff here?”

“No.”

“That settles it.” She smiled. Closing the distance between them, she wrapped her arms around his neck. “I do not know what is going on, but I do know my pain and fears ease when you are near. I don’t claim to understand how you discern all you do, but I am starting to see things here aren’t always black and white, and sometimes I have to have faith and trust.”

After a brief second of him standing as still as a statue and her wondering if she read too much into this morning’s embrace, he relaxed. His arms snaked around her, pulling her against his hard body. His mouth came down on hers begging her to open for him, demanding she submit to his kiss. She might have started this dance, but he would damned well be leading it.

BUY LINKS
AmazonDecadent Publishing

Award-Winning author Dominique Eastwick currently calls North Carolina home with her husband, two children, one crazy lab and one lazy cat. Dominique spent much of her early life moving from state to state as a Navy Brat. Because of that, traveling is one of her favorite pasttimes. When not writing you can find Dominique with her second love…her camera.

Learn more about Dominique Eastwick on her website, blog, and Amazon author page. Be sure to join her Newsletter for up to the minute info on new releases, contests, and more.

Stay connected on Twitter, Tublr, Tsu, and Pinterest.

Sloane said @ 12:10 am | Author Friend Promo,Cooking | Comments are off

December 5, 2016

Cookies Santa Will Love

by Sara Daniel

My favorite holiday recipe is for Candy Cane Cookies. I love these festive cookies for their hint of almond flavor and the crushed candy canes on the top. I only make them once a year, and I double the recipe below.

I will warn you to make sure that you only use peppermint candy canes (or peppermint candies). A couple years ago, I went around our family Christmas tree, plucking off all the red and white candy canes. I crushed them into the topping, which I then sprinkled onto the cookies. Well, you can imagine my dismay when I took a bite and discovered mixed in with the refreshing mint flavor was also the not-so-refreshing taste of watermelon candy. Yes, unbeknownst to me, one (or more) of the candy canes I crushed was watermelon flavored, not mint, and I can NOT in good conscience recommend it to anyone! This year I used round peppermint candies to ensure there was no mix-up!

Candy Cane Cookies

½ cup butter, softened
½ cup shortening
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg
1½ tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. vanilla
2 ½ cups flour
1 tsp. salt
½ – 1 tsp. red food coloring
1 cup crushed candy canes or peppermint candy

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Combine butter, shortening, and powdered sugar. Mix in egg, almond extract, and vanilla. Continue mixing as you add in flour and salt.

Divide dough in half. Place in separate bowls. Blend food coloring into one bowl of dough.

Shape one tablespoon of dough from each color into a rope. Place ropes side by side on a cookie sheet. Press together lightly and twist. Curve down the top third to form a candy cane.

Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle cookies with crushed peppermint candy.

Wait until cookies are cool to prevent breakage when removing them from the pan.

Enjoy the tastes and smells of the season. Happy holidays!

~Sara

Sara Daniel writes what she loves to read—irresistible romance, from sweet to erotic and everything in between. She battles a serious NASCAR addiction, was once a landlord of two uninvited squirrels, and loses her car keys several times a day.

Learn more about Sara on her website and blog. Subscribe to Sara’s newsletter.

Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Sloane said @ 1:23 am | Author Friend Promo,Cooking | Comments are off

December 1, 2016

Sweeten Your Holiday

from Sharon Ledwith

In the second book of The Last Timekeepers young adult time travel series, The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret, Treena Mui attempts to soothe the time traveling troops’ appetites by baking them a batch of sugar cookies using her family’s secret recipe. The problem is she mistakenly used salt as the main ingredient instead of sugar. It really wasn’t her fault—all the jars were marked in Dutch. Poor Jordan is still trying to wash the taste out of his mouth!

So to correct this, I thought I’d share Treena Mui’s mouth-watering sugar cookie recipe to give you a taste of what the Timekeepers missed out on their undercover mission in Amsterdam during World War II. With a prep time of 20 minutes and cook time of 8 minutes, you don’t need to be a genius or a secret agent to figure out that it takes less than a half an hour to feed your own army!

Mui’s Mouth-Watering Sugar Cookies

3 cups of all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 cup of white sugar
1 cup butter
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 tbsp. cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C)

Over a large bowl, sift together all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, sugar. Cut in butter and blend with a pastry blender until mixture resembles cornmeal. Stir in lightly beaten egg, cream, and vanilla. Blend well. Dough may be chilled, if desired.

On a floured surface, roll out dough to ⅛ inch thickness. Sprinkle with sugar; cut into desired shapes. Transfer to ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, or until delicately brown.

While you’re waiting for those cookies to cool, take a time out and give yourself a well-deserved break. So sit back, prop up your feet, and open a book you’ve been meaning to read. Why not pick up one of The Last Timekeepers adventures, and peruse the latest mission with Treena and her time traveling cohorts?

Only a true hero can shine the light in humanity’s darkest time.

Fourteen year-old Jordan Jensen always considered himself a team player on and off the field, until the second Timekeeper mission lands him in Amsterdam during World War Two. Pulled into the world of espionage, torture, and intolerance, Jordan and the rest of the Timekeepers have no choice but to stay one step ahead of the Nazis in order to find and protect a mysterious book.

With the help of the Dutch Resistance, an eccentric baron, Nordic runes, and an ancient volume originating from Atlantis, Jordan must learn that it takes true teamwork, trust, and sacrifice to keep time safe from the evils of fascism. Can Jordan find the hero within to conquer the darkness surrounding the Timekeepers? If he doesn’t, then the terrible truth of what the Nazis did will never see the light of day.

EXCERPT
“I wonder what else is down here.” Drake beamed his cell phone across the basement, hitting jars of jams, pickles, and relishes. His stomach growled.

Jordan pulled the cheese from his pocket and handed it to Drake. “Trade you for your phone.”

“Best. Trade. Ever.” Drake passed his phone to Jordan.

Jordan walked over and grabbed a jar of pickles off the dusty shelf. At least they wouldn’t arrive at the baron’s place hungry. He hoped his uncle had managed to stop Amanda’s bleeding. His hand tightened over the jar, the ridges of the lid cutting into his palm. A scrape from behind the shelves made Jordan jump.

“Hello?” he asked, pushing jars aside. He flashed the cell phone into the small, dark area.

“Who ya talking to, Jordan?” Drake asked with his mouth full of cheese.

“Shhh, Drake.” Jordan listened. Hearing nothing, he shrugged and turned back around.

“I thought I heard—” Jordan stopped and pointed the phone at Ravi. His jaw dropped. “A-Are you serious, Sharma?”

Drake spat out his cheese, snorting with laughter.

“Is there a problem?” Ravi asked, tying the bowtie of his tuxedo.

“You look like a penguin with attitude!” Drake slapped his knee.

“Say what you want, but I’m glad we didn’t hit the cleaners on the way to school now,” Ravi replied, pulling down his sleeves, “or else I wouldn’t have these dry clothes.”

Jordan chuckled. Suddenly, he heard a door creak open, followed by heavy footsteps squeaking down the stairs. Panicking, Jordan stuffed Drake’s phone in his track suit jacket’s pocket and waved Drake over by the shelves. Drake slipped behind Jordan just in time, before the small light bulb above the bottom of the stairs clicked on. Jordan swallowed hard. There, staring directly at Ravi was a portly man in a blood-stained apron. Tufts of blond hair sprouted from the sides of his balding head. His brown trousers were pulled up past his waist, making him resemble an evil garden gnome. In one of his hands, he held a huge butcher knife, its blade flecked with blood.

Wielding the knife, the man pointed at Ravi. “Who are you?”

Ravi licked his thick lips nervously. “The name’s Bond. James Bond.”

BUY LINKS
Mirror World Publishing: PaperbackeBook
AmazonAmazon.caKOBOBarnes & Noble

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

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

Sloane said @ 12:51 am | Author Friend Promo,Cooking | Comments are off

November 16, 2016

Time for an Old Favorite

Hi Everyone,

The following menu is what I normally prepare each Thanksgiving. But not this year. This year Mr. & Mrs. Studs will be enjoying Southern hospitality as we travel through Memphis (that you Jean Paquin for all your terrific suggestions) New Orleans, and Nashville on our two week honeymoon. Yep, Studs and I are getting married this Saturday and celebrating with family and close friends.

But your family and friends can enjoy all this delicious food. So turn on the football game, grab your aprons, and let’s start cooking!

Roast Turkey
Stuffing
Mashed Potatoes
Candied Sweet Potatoes
Sautéed Broccoli
Corn
Cranberry Sauce
Gravy
White Wine – Riesling

Roast Turkey
Turkey
Butter
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

Chicken stock
Disposable pan
Cooking rack
Cookie sheet – for stability

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.

Thanksgiving Morning:
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.
Cooking times:
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.

Stuffing
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
1 egg

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.)

Thanksgiving Day:
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.

Mashed Potatoes
1 small russet potato per person
Chicken stock
Butter
Sour cream
Milk
Pepper

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.

Thanksgiving Day:
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.

Services 8.

Broccoli Stir-fry
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 you’ll learn just how lazy I can be on holidays.:) 
Corn
1 can of corn per 4 people – my favorite is Green Giant Niblets
butter

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.

Frozen corn:
Follow package instructions

Cranberry Sauce
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.

Gravy
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. Until then…

Have a wonderful holiday!

Sloane Taylor
Twitter
Amazon Author Page

Sloane said @ 12:09 am | Cooking,Holidays | Comments are off