Sloane Taylor - Sweet as Honey, Hotter Than Hell

Archive for the 'Holidays' Category

July 3, 2017

Remembering the 4th of July

by Emma Lane

Photo by Michael Elliott

I’m sitting on the stone wall in the middle of the village when the first group appear heralding the start of the parade. It’s an ancient convertible filled with local politicians; the major, councilmen, the Board of Education president–our elected governing bodies all waving and wearing wide smiles. We beam and wave back. It’s a federal holiday after all and most of the town is present.

Next comes a troop of boy scouts carrying flags. Their parents clap loudly and we all join in. Behind them little go carts spin around in circles, the drivers wearing funny hats. They are a local parade favorite.

We can hear the high school band in the distance. The kids are in shorts because it’s a very warm day. For some reason tears come to my eyes as they pass, playing their horns and banging on their drums. Wave after wave of local groups march past the crowd, each with an appointed member carrying the American flag on this our nation’s birthday.

Fire trucks honk their horns while the police come into view dressed in their best uniforms. That spiffy band, members wearing Scottish clothes, plays a heart wringing tune on bag pipes.

More scout troops, this time it’s the girls. An entire group of children riding bicycles all the way down to determined toddlers on tricycles get enthusiastic applause from the spectators. The colorful balloons tied to their handle bars bob in the warm breeze.

Wow, we all say as a troop of mounted police prance by. We know that’s the end of the parade. Who wants to march after the horses? We sigh. Another of our nation’s birthdays celebrated in style. We are Americans and we love parades, especially those that remind us of what it means to belong to this wonderful, democratic nation.

We are off to a picnic where my baked beans make a hit. A hot game of horseshoes is in progress. Sleepy ladies nod in the shade. Some of our family peal off to play baseball. Others play Frisbee, including the dog. Red, white and blue flags wave everywhere. The children are excited. They anticipate indulgent parents who allow late bedtimes. Firework displays will be enjoyed and perhaps a bonfire.

How do you celebrate our nation’s birthday? Do you have a favorite recipe for the picnic? Do you go boating and watch the fireworks over the water? Do you get tears of gratitude when our beloved veterans march by?

Have a beautiful and safe holiday,

Emma Lane
“I never saw a printed word I did not like.”

Emma Lane is a gifted author who writes under several pen-names. She lives with her patient husband on several acres outside a typical American village in Western New York. Her day job is working with flowers at Herbtique and Plant Nursery, the nursery she and her son own. Look for information about writing and plants on her new website. Leave a comment or a gardening question and put a smile on Emma’s face.

Stay connected to Emma on Facebook and Twitter.

Sloane said @ 1:42 am | Author Friend Promo,Holidays | Comments are off

July 1, 2017

My Canada…more than Maple Syrup and Mounties

by Sharon Ledwith

Happy Canada Day to all my fellow Canadians!

Hope you’re kick-starting your holiday by planning to attend one of the many events July 1st has to offer around the area where you live. Most of the day, we usually hang out with family and friends on our dock until dusk—eat, drink, and be merry—then go watch the fireworks display in town. Note to self—bring the bug spray.

So what about you? Don’t know how you’re going to celebrate Canada’s 146th Birthday? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Sit down, grab a cup of whatever you please (hey, it’s a holiday after all), and check out the list of activities to choose from below:

• Go to the beach. Use the holiday to bake in the sun (don’t forget the SPF), enjoy the warm weather and cool water.

• Go to the park, fly a kite or walk your dog. Most Canucks spend this holiday outdoors so you’ll be able to take advantage of the summer heat and maybe make a new friend.

• Have your family and friends over for an old fashioned barbecue. Sip on your favorite brand of beer and appreciate what it means to be Canadian.

• Go to your town’s local parade. Show your pride by dressing up in all red and white—the Canada flag or maple leaf temporary tattoos are a favorite among celebrants!

• Go to a carnival. Eat fried dough, snack on cotton candy, drink beer, go on all your favorite rides (you may want to bring a puke bag) and play all the games.

• Look up local concerts in your area. Many cities and towns hold festivals where bands will play music at outdoor venues.

• Go for a ride in a hot air balloon. This fun activity lets you admire our beautiful country from thousands of feet in the air.

• Go to your local brewery. Canadians love beer, so there is no better way to celebrate our birthday than to take a tour of your favorite brewery. Many of these tours are free and come with samples. Lake of Bays Brewing Company and Muskoka Brewery are my top picks!

• Go camping. Take a couple days off work, and enjoy everything that the Canadian wilderness has to offer. Tons of provincial parks to choose from!

• There is nothing more Canadian than hockey. Visit the Hockey Hall of Fame. Take an exhibit tour and honor your favorite players.

• Go to a citizenship ceremony. There is nothing more patriotic than watching new citizens take an oath to love, honor, and respect our country.

• Go to your local fireworks show. There is nothing more beautiful than watching the colorful explosions light up the sky. Plus saying ‘ohhh—ahhh’ is always fun.

• Go fishing. Canada is famous for their awesome bass (and pickerel) fishing and this is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and celebrate Canada.

• Go white water rafting (still want to do this one). Canada’s rivers offer a variety of different difficulty levels so whether you’re a rafting pro or a rookie in search of an adventure, rafting is always a fun activity.

However you celebrate, stay safe and enjoy the day!

~Sharon

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/YA time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the teen psychic mystery 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. Be sure to check out THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS TIME TRAVEL SERIES Facebook page.

Sloane said @ 12:33 am | Author Friend Promo,Holidays | Comments are off

May 29, 2017

Can You Find it in Your Heart?

As your day advances into fun-filled activities with family and friends, please take one moment to remember the men and women who served.
They gave more than any of us can ever imagine.

Thank you,

Sloane

Sloane said @ 12:26 am | Holidays | Comments are off

May 24, 2017

PAYING RESPECT

by S.S. Hampton, Sr.

How long does it take for the rain to cleanse the sand of blood?

How long does it take for the wind to cleanse the air of the screams of the wounded and dying?

How long does it take before the sunlight heals a war-torn land?

Recently I was privileged to visit the Normandy American Cemetery, Omaha Beach, and Utah Beach, in Normandy, France. I am a student at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas (UNLV), but this past spring semester I studied at a university in Pau, France, courtesy of the Universities Study Abroad Consortium (USAC), University of Nevada-Reno (UNR). At the end of the semester many of us were on an optional tour of the Normandy region.

At a peaceful, sunlit Omaha Beach I picked up a handful of damp sand where, 73 years ago this June 6, tens of thousands of young men charged out of landing craft into minefields, artillery, mortar, and machine gun fire. Though many fell on the ramps of the landing craft, disappeared from sight in the cold waters, or collapsed on the beach, others continued to move forward, encouraged by each other, encouraged by their NCOs, and officers. So much courage, so much dedication among those that our country sent into an apocalyptic fight against tyranny and evil, in order to free other nations.

At the American Cemetery, dressed in a suit and tie and cowboy boots, I paid my respects to those who came before me. And I remembered the names of comrades killed in the Iraq War, as well as the names of those I never met but who my fellow Soldiers knew, and those who have died since our return home, including by suicide. I chose a spot where I could see the American flags and, facing in the direction of Omaha Beach, I stood at attention and saluted. I was alone because I did not tell anyone of my intent. In a sense, this solitary action was rather symbolic because the civilian world is often unaware of what happens in the military world.

I had read about D-Day and the Normandy Campaign since I was a young boy. Service in the Army brought a feeling of belonging to something greater than I, along with the sense of obligation that comes with choosing the Profession of Arms.

Now, words on paper have become a personal memory of white crosses in rows in a grassy landscape, the nearby trees rustling in the wind, the sound of ocean waters on a tranquil beach, and my face caressed by a sea breeze. I remember the cold, gritty feel of the sand trickling between my fingers, wind surfers in the distance, and fellow USAC students, all much younger than I, walking along the beach. Due to some personal or familial connection, they did not hesitate to hurry from the Cemetery parking lot down to the cliffs, and then down the slopes to Omaha Beach, even though they only had 30 minutes to make such a lengthy round-trip journey.

I remember one young girl told me, as we walked toward the slopes above Omaha Beach, that she had gathered sand from the beach to take home to lay on her grandfather’s grave. I later saw a photograph of the vial of sand on his gravestone – her grandfather was a Veteran. This girl, this young woman, accomplished her goal for her grandfather.

Rest in peace my brothers and sisters in arms who made the ultimate sacrifice. Know that for each one of you who fell, another stepped forward to take your place. Like you, these new generations who choose the Profession of Arms may be required to make the ultimate sacrifice. Like you, they will do so if needed. And like you, these new generations stand between us and the evil loose in this world.

Rest In Peace…

SS Hampton, Sr. is a full-blood Choctaw of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and grandfather to 13 wonderful grandchildren. He is a published photographer and photojournalist. Hampton retired from the Nevada Army National Guard with the rank of Sergeant First Class; he previously served in the active duty Army, the Army Individual Ready Reserve and was mobilized for the Persian Gulf War. He enlisted in the Nevada Army National Guard after which he was mobilized for Federal active duty for almost three years. He is a veteran of Operations Noble Eagle and Iraqi Freedom with deployment to northern Kuwait and several convoy security missions into Iraq.

Hampton has had two solo photographic exhibitions and curated a multi-media exhibit. His writings have appeared as stand-alone stories and in anthologies from Dark Opus Press, Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy, Melange Books, Musa Publishing, MuseItUp Publishing, Ravenous Romance, and in Horror Bound Magazine, The Harrow, and River Walk Journal, among others.

He graduated from the College of Southern Nevada with an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Photography – Commercial Photography Emphasis. He has been studying at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas with in a double major in Art and English. However, he is presently spending a cold, rainy Spring 2017 semester studying at a university in southwestern France in the shadow of the Pyrenees Mountains.

Hampton can be found at:
Dark Opus PressEdge Science Fiction & Fantasy PublishingMelange BooksMuseItUp PublishingGoodreads Author PageAmazon Author PageAmazon UK

Sloane said @ 1:32 am | Author Friend Promo,Holidays | Comments are off

February 1, 2017

TOFFEE FOR YOUR VALENTINE

by Sara Daniel

Buying your valentine chocolates? Yep, you and millions of other shmucks.

Going with flowers? Ditto. Sorry.

How about making a sweet for your sweetie this year? It’s sweet, chocolate-y, and easy to make. And the personal effort is worth far more than that bouquet of roses you were eyeing.

Chocolate Toffee
1 ½ cups butter
1 ½ cups sugar
½ tsp. vanilla
Pinch salt
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup chopped almonds
½ cup chopped pecans
Sea salt

Combine butter, sugar, vanilla and salt in a saucepan over medium heat for 12-15 minutes, stirring constantly with a spatula.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper and spread toffee mixture. Top with chocolate chips. When chips begin to melt, spread chocolate over toffee.

Sprinkle with almonds, pecans, and/or sea salt.

Refrigerate for 1 hour then break into pieces.

Serve with a Sara Daniel romance for the sexiest Valentine’s Day ever!

He’s supposed to be the town hero. He’s not!
Haunted by comrades he was unable to save, Drake Miller walks away from his military career for the relaxed, quiet life of running his father’s bar in Regret Hollow. Too bad no one tipped him off that his father sold the bar.
While the townspeople treat him to a hero’s welcome that he doesn’t want and doesn’t deserve, he finds one person who doesn’t fall at his feet, calls him out for bad behavior, and kisses like a fantasy. Unfortunately, she also owns the bar that was supposed to be his.
As a single mom and small business owner, Mallory Marquette takes her commitments and responsibilities seriously. She can’t give away her livelihood just because Drake thinks he’s entitled to it—even if he is the town hero and the first man in a decade who gets her blood flowing. Besides, she needs a reliable bartender much more than she needs a lover.
Can this hero turned bad boy step up to a lifetime commitment, or will the freedom he sacrificed so much for cost him everything?

Buy links:
AmazonBarnes & NobleiTunesKoboGoogle Play


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 @ 1:25 am | Author Friend Promo,Cooking,Holidays | 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

October 31, 2016

Humor is Good – Even in Bloodsuckers!

by Lizzie T. Leaf

I like humor in my life. I like to read humor and to write it. So when originally approached to write a Halloween story, no surprise my mind went in the humor direction.

When I mentioned to a friend the possibility of a vampire story that wasn’t horror, she suggested making the heroine Jewish (which my friend is) and throw in Kosher (yet again, my friend’s food style) to add conflict to the drinking blood issue. I took the bull by the horns and off I went. Thus evolved DEAD Awake, where the heroine is a socialite whose grandmother, a Reform Jew, keeps a Kosher Kitchen.

Our gal, is a little on the wild side…think Paris Hilton…and a paparazzi darling. Her connection with the hot guy in a vampire costume at her Halloween party, leads to a life change she’s not too pleased about.

She wakes up smelling pine and discovers, thanks to the helpful stranger lurking outside the mortuary, she’s not one of the living dead. And, her new main food supply is blood. Yuk! She doesn’t eat food that’s snuggled with blood, let alone drink the stuff.

Not to bore you with details, I finished the book and moved onto other work—my vampire days behind me—so I thought.

Then readers started to ask, “When’s the next book in the series?” Series? My mind hadn’t gone down that path, so what to write next? Then another friend said, “How about a vampire who faints at the sight of blood?”

Once she planted the seed, my mind wouldn’t leave the idea alone and plans for DEAD Faint came to be and with that the DEAD series was born. The next book in the works is DEAD Hunter, about what else…a vampire hunter (or so she thinks…snicker).

Then there is DEAD Memory. What if you’re a vampire, but don’t remember that little detail. All you know while you’re recovering from your wounds from what must have been an awful beating is blood smells wonderful. Why does his hot care provider insist on cooking the food…raw works.

Vampires don’t always have to be blood thirsty beasts. They can have an attitude that will make you smile and love problems, too. Check out Mary Janice Davidson’s, Undead series (which I had not read until after my first DEAD released and readers kept telling me I had a similar style, to which I say “thank you for the compliment,”) and you’ll find humor.

Are there more in my DEAD series? Definitely! DEAD Hot is another story in the planning stages and there are several more on the dying to come onboard.

People have to stop planting seeds in my head. Combined with all that appear on their own, I have a headache. Now I’m off to pop a couple of martinis and write…which is the only true way I can purge the noise.

Here’s a brief intro to my vampire story that is guaranteed to heat up your chilly fall nights.

Socialite Deb Stein lives a life of luxury until she takes the hunk dressed as a vampire to her bed. When she wakes up one of the living dead, she’s pissed-off. To complicate matters more, she has to find a new identity since everyone thinks she’s dead. Plus, if she’s dead, she can’t touch her trust fund, and that means she has to work! How can someone who has never had a job find one?

And her social life is in the tank. Her new friends are a street guy called Rat and fellow strippers at the dive where she works. If she ever sees Aaron Lowell again, she’ll put a stake in his heart.

Aaron Lowell feels guilty he took his mentor’s advice and left town after taking the sexy socialite into the undead world. Concerned, he returns to check on her and discovers she’s become a stripper – and not a very happy one when she sees him. But she’s still hot, and he can’t stay away from her, even if their meetings are explosive.

Can two vampires move beyond anger, combined with a strong sexual attraction, to find the kind of love they both crave?

Buy Links
Decadent Publishing
Amazon

To read excerpts from other books by Lizzie T. Leaf please click onto Amazon.

Lizzie T. Leaf loved books since she opened her first one. Her dream was to write them herself. Lost in the hectic day to day world of family, job, laundry and housework, writing became a distant memory. When the twinkling ember did spark, it was usually doused by someone demanding their share of her time.

Lizzie’s life went full circle. The desire to put the stories that continued to play in her head on paper emerged stronger than ever, and at a time when there was someone who encouraged. Now she lives her dream.

Learn more about Lizzie T. Leaf on her website and blog. Connect with Lizzie on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

Sloane said @ 12:19 am | Author Friend Promo,Holidays | Comments are off

October 3, 2016

ROSH HASHANAH
Photo by Boaz Yiftach
The Taylor Family
Wishes you and yours
a
Healthy and Prosperous
New Year!
Sloane said @ 12:04 am | Holidays | Comments are off

September 5, 2016

To All Our Friends,
from 

the Taylor Family

Sloane said @ 1:00 am | Holidays | Comments are off

May 30, 2016

Please take a moment today to remember
the men and women who served our country.
They gave more than any of us can ever imagine.
Thank you,

The Taylor Family
Sloane said @ 12:37 am | Holidays | Comments are off