Blog

BEWARE

March 18, 2019

from Alicia Joseph

Over the holiday season I purchased a new laptop and bought a year’s subscription to McAfee for my online security. For a reason that isn’t significant, I needed to contact the company so I googled McAfee Security and called the first number that popped up. Big mistake. I should have looked more closely because I would have seen the number was actually for a third-party company called Guru Aid that handles support for McAfee. The name was connected to this company, but they aren’t McAfee.

There was nothing off about the call as it started. Ten minutes into the call I believed I was still speaking to a McAfee representative. He assured me he could help me with the problem I was experiencing. He took me to a website where I relinquished control of my monitor to him. I watched as my mouse moved across the screen dictated by the man over the phone. He went into my computer and talked me through what he was doing while telling me all of things that were wrong with my computer. He asked me in a concerned voice how old my computer was, as though expecting me to say an amount of years worrisome enough that he could blame all my woes on my “old” computer.

When I replied that my computer was only a couple weeks old, he explained quickly that even new computers can have problems. I was very concerned. How could my new computer have so many problems? Thinking I was still talking to a legitimate company, I asked the rep if I should call HP, the maker of my computer. Maybe I have a defective computer. His voice raised slightly when he said, “What can they do? I can fix this.”

He put me on hold and a different man came on. He confirmed that my computer was in bad shape. He could fix it and the cost would be $149.99. This gave me pause. I told the man I was going to call HP. He became very upset, very quickly. I knew then I wasn’t dealing with McAfee. He said, like the previous rep, that HP could do nothing for me. I then said I had to talk to my husband, (I don’t have a husband. I’m a lesbian, but I was desperate for an out) and see what he saws. The man yelled. “What can your husband do to help? I can fix this!”

When I still said no, he offered to decrease the price to $99.99. I told him no, and then he questioned very angrily why when money was brought up I resisted right away. He apparently thought I was easy prey and was irate that he wasn’t going to get his easy paycheck. I hung up upset at this experience, and remembered that I’d had a similar experience when calling Norton Security a couple years ago. They also charged me $149.95 to fix the problem I was having. It never occurred to me I wasn’t speaking directly to Norton. I didn’t pay them then, like I didn’t now, and I remember that rep raising his voice at me in anger. I hung up thinking that Norton representatives were assholes.

I googled McAfee again to see how I had made the mistake and called the wrong company. GuruAid popped up first and had the McAfee name linked to it. They are apparently allowed to provide technical support to Norton and McAfee customers, and probably other companies too. I called McAfee to tell them my experience and to make sure they knew that a company associating itself with them was trying to scam their customers. I also wanted to confirm that my computer didn’t have any of the threatening problems Guru Aid tried to convince me they had. The rep confirmed that everything was running smoothly and the original problem I’d had was taken care of.

The rep was very apologetic and he seemed to know of Guru Aid pretty well, and all he told me was next time to be sure it was actually McAfee that I call. I hung up disappointed that companies would knowingly allow third-parties to use their name while trying to scam their customers.

In the end, we need to protect ourselves. Even though Guru Aid didn’t scam a penny from me, I’m pissed they had the opportunity to try. I went on Twitter to see if they had an account, and they do, @guruaid. I sent them a couple tweets to let them know what I thought of them. I wasn’t expecting a response.

I checked to see if there were any tweets from other people about this scam of a company and there were. Last April a man tweeted that his mother had Norton as her online security and thought she was calling Norton when she really called Guru Aid and they charged her $300 for what he believed was a scam. People tweeted at him confirming to the man that it was.

This company is known by some as a scam, but unfortunately not by enough. More people are going to get scammed by companies like this. Computers have become a lifeline for a lot of us, and when they no longer work some will do anything to get it fixed. And these fraudulent companies know that.

The only way we can try to beat them is to spread the word. This blog is my attempt to help people not get scammed. Guru Aid is a scam. Make sure you know the company you are calling. They purposely make it confusing.

This post is to warn people of companies waiting to gouge you, not promote my books. But if you are interested please read on.

“When a train runs over a penny, the penny changes form, but it can still be a penny if I want it to be. Or, I can make it be something else.”

Lyssa and her best friend Abbey discover a hideout near the train tracks and spend the summer before sixth grade hanging out and finding freedom from issues at home. Their childhood innocence shatters when the hideout becomes the scene of a tragic death.

As they’re about to graduate from high school, Abbey’s family life spirals out of control while Lyssa is feeling guilty for deceiving Abbey about her sexuality.

After another tragic loss, Lyssa finds out that a penny on the track is sometimes a huge price to pay for the truth.

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Alicia Joseph grew up in Westchester, Illinois. She has many works-in-progress that she hopes to finish soon. Life permitting.

When she is not writing, Alicia enjoys volunteering with animals, rooting for her favorite sports teams, and playing “awesome aunt” to her nine nieces and nephews.

Learn more about Alicia Joseph on her blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

Sloane said @ 12:50 am | Author Friend Promo, The Soapbox | Comments are off

A PLATE of YUM

March 13, 2019

by Chris Pavesic

There comes a time when my family longs for traditional “comfort food.” This is a recipe passed down through the generations and is one of our favorites. I hope you enjoy!

Pear Crisp

4 pears, cored and sliced
½ cup packed brown sugar, less if pears are sweet
½ cup quick-cooking oats
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ – 1 tsp. ground cinnamon, depends on personal flavor
4 tbsp. butter, softened
Vanilla ice cream, optional

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Cut up pears and layer in a baking dish.

Combine butter and brown sugar with a fork in a medium-sized bowl. Add oats, flour, and cinnamon. Use the fork to stir until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Use a tablespoon to sprinkle mixture over fruit.

Bake 15-20 minutes, or until fruit is tender when pierced.

For an extra treat serve vanilla ice cream on top of the crisp.

While your home fills up with the tasty aromas of an earlier time, you can indulgently curl up with a good book. May I suggest one of the books from my LitRPG series The Revelation Chronicles? 

In Starter Zone Cami kept herself and her younger sister Alby alive in a post-apocalyptic world, facing starvation, violence, and death on a daily basis. Caught by the military and forcefully inscribed, Cami manages to scam the system and they enter the Realms, a Virtual Reality world, as privileged Players rather than slaves. They experience a world of safety, plenty, and magical adventure.

In the Traveler’s Zone magic, combat, gear scores, quests, and dungeons are all puzzles to be solved as Cami continues her epic quest to navigate the Realms and build a better life for her family. But an intrusion from her old life threatens everything she has gained and imperils the entire virtual world.

Time to play the game.

Above the tree line floats an airship close to three hundred feet long with a slightly rounded wooden hull. Ropes attach the lower portion of the ship to an inflated balloon-like aspect, bright white in color with an identification symbol, a red bird with white-tipped feathers extended in flight, inside a round yellow circle in the center of the canvas. The deck is manned with archers and swordsmen. There are two sets of fore and aft catapults.

What I don’t see are cannons or any other type of a gun large enough to account for the sound of the explosion.

The ship pivots in the air, coming around to point directly at what looks like an oncoming flock of five large birds. Or creatures. They are too big and too strange looking to be birds. They drift closer, flapping their wings.

A moment passes before I realize that they are not creatures either. They are some sort of gliders. A person hangs below each set of the feathered wings, which flap and move with mechanical precision in a sky washed out by the morning sun.

The archers nock their arrows and aim at the flock.

The gliders draw in their wings and dive toward the deck, covering the distance in a few heartbeats. Most of the arrows fly uselessly past the attack force and fall like black rain from the sky. The archers aimed and released the volley too late.

The forward catapult releases a torrent of small rocks at the lead glider. It is a scatter-shot approach that proves effective. There are so many missiles that it is impossible to dodge them all.

But at the moment the stones strike, the other four let loose with fireballs. Spheres of crackling flame spring from their hands, glowing faintly at first and then with increasing brightness. The balls of fire shoot from their hands like bullets from a gun and fly toward the ship, exploding. Pieces bounce off the hull and fall to the ground, throwing hissing, burning globs of magic-fueled fire in all directions, setting everything they touch aflame.

AMAZON BUY LINK
SMASHWORDS BUY LINK

Want to learn more about The Revelation Chronicles? Click HERE for updates on this and the other series by Chris. Watch the video on YouTube.

4eee6-chris2bpavesic2bauthor2bphotoChris Pavesic is a fantasy author who lives in the Midwestern United States and loves Kona coffee, steampunk, fairy tales, and all types of speculative fiction. Between writing projects, Chris can most often be found reading, gaming, gardening, working on an endless list of DIY household projects, or hanging out with friends.

Learn more about Chris on her website and blog.

Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, and her Amazon Author Page.

Sloane said @ 12:27 am | Author Friend Promo, Cooking | Comments are off

DANCING WITH MAGIC

March 11, 2019

from Anne Montgomery

I was a sports reporter for a good chunk of my life. Whenever I share that part of my past, the same question pops up.

“What about the locker room?” people ask breathlessly. “Did you ever go in?”

Well, of course I did. It’s not like I had a choice in the matter. I was a reporter on deadline. If I didn’t head into that messy inner sanctum, I would have returned to the newsroom empty handed. With no interviews, I have no story. With no story, I have no job.

Still, when I wormed my way into the sports world, way back in the early 1980s, the thought of a woman entering the locker room had barely registered on the general consciousness, even though Robin Herman, a 23-year-old reporter for the New York Times, and radio reporter Marcel St. Cyr both gained access following the NHL All-Star game in Montreal in 1975, a moment widely believed to be the first time women reporters shared the same rights as their male counterparts.

When I arrived in Phoenix, Arizona in 1988, a newly minted weekday sports reporter and weekend anchor at what was then KTSP-TV, the question of my entering the locker room became a story in and of itself.

Gene Stallings, the head coach of the NFL’s Cardinals, appeared stunned the first time he saw me in the locker room. Another reporter asked his thoughts on the occasion and Stallings was quoted as saying, “Well, I have four daughters.” His discomfiture was obvious.

I, however, tried to hide mine. I tended toward the back of the horde of reporters who would press up against those locker-room doors, intent on asking insightful questions before the players dashed away, most wanting nothing to do with scribes who might pillory them for their performances.

Once inside, I discovered reactions to my presence varied considerably. The Cardinals locker room had some players who seemed rather appalled that I might see them undressed.

“Just a minute, Anne!” quarterback Neil Lomax would call out. “Let us put our pants on.”

So, I would stand in the middle of that post-game chaos, and do my best not to stare, while waiting for the men who cared to cover up.

There were others who found no discomfort in being exposed. I remember needing an interview with a player who already had a gaggle of reporters surrounding him. I instructed my videographer, a tall man, to shoot up over the group. Then, microphone in hand, I edged my way through the mob and kneeled. When I looked up, I faced a naked man perched on the edge of a metal folding chair who quite comfortably conversed, despite his state of undress.

Suffice it to say, he was rather spectacular, by all accounts. Later, I would succumb to bouts of laughter, recalling the awed expressions displayed by my peers, no doubt brought on by a substantial amount of envy.

Michael Jordan (left) and Magic Johnson, two of the biggest stars in NBA history, were known for their outrageous talents on the court and their infectious smiles.

I faced a new challenge when the NBA season got underway. While NFL players are often exceedingly large people, basketball players are, almost uniformly, very tall. When interviewing them outside the locker room, I would often arrange myself on stairs, so as not to disappear from the video frame. But inside the locker room, I had no such option. Positioning oneself to interview naked basketball players took some delicacy.

One evening, when the Phoenix Suns were hosting the LA Lakers, I stood outside the locker room, this time at the front of the pack. I felt a rush of insecurity I would never have admitted to at the time. I had no wish to enter that noisy, sweaty realm filled with giant men, some not so happy with their on-court performances. Behind me, reporters on deadline fidgeted like cattle ready to explode from a corral. Then, the door burst open. Lakers star Magic Johnson grinned at us, that beatific smile that would become his trademark. Music blared from the locker room and Magic locked his eyes on mine. Suddenly, I was whirling in his arms, dancing before that throng of male reporters.

Our dance ended quickly. Magic nodded, the grin never ebbing, and walked through the crowd. For a moment, I was afraid to look, conscious that such behavior would be deemed unprofessional. I expected derision, since some of my peers were unaccepting of my presence in their club.

Someone laughed. I turned and was shocked to see a number of those hardened reporters grinning, genial expressions that dispelled an awkward moment. For the first time, I considered that they too might be uncomfortable entering the locker room.

We surged toward the doors, a bit more relaxed. And all it took was a short dance and big smile from a big man. And for that, Magic, I will always be grateful.

I hope you’ll take a moment to peek into my novel.

Two Arizona teens find their fates intertwined. Are there any adults they can trust? Can they even trust each other?

Rose Madsen will do anything to keep from being married off to one of the men in her Fundamentalist Mormon (FLDS) community, even endure the continued beatings and abuse of her mother. But when her mentally handicapped baby sister is forced to strangle the bird she loves at the behest of the Prophet, Rose frees the bird and runs away.

Adan Reyes will do anything to escape the abusive foster care system in Phoenix, even leaving his good friends and successful high school athletic career behind him. Ill-prepared for surviving the desert, Adan hits the road only to suffer heat stroke. Found by a local handyman, he catches a glimpse of a mysterious girl—Rose—running through town, and follows her into the mountains where they are both tracked and discovered by the men of the FLDS community.

With their fates now intertwined, can Rose and Adan escape the systems locking them into lives of abuse? Will Rose be forced to marry the Prophet, a man her father’s age, and be one of dozens of wives, perpetually pregnant, with no hope for an education? Will Adan be returned to the foster home where bullying and cruelty are common? Is everyone they meet determined to keep them right where they belong or are some adults worthy of their trust?

BUY LINKS
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Anne Montgomery has worked as a television sportscaster, newspaper and magazine writer, teacher, amateur baseball umpire, and high school football referee. She worked at WRBL‐TV in Columbus, Georgia, WROC‐TV in Rochester, New York, KTSP‐TV in Phoenix, Arizona, ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, where she anchored the Emmy and ACE award‐winning SportsCenter, and ASPN-TV as the studio host for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Montgomery has been a freelance and staff writer for six publications, writing sports, features, movie reviews, and archeological pieces.

When she can, Anne indulges in her passions: rock collecting, scuba diving, football refereeing, and playing her guitar.

Learn more about Anne Montgomery on her website and Wikipedia. Stay connected on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter.

Sloane said @ 12:35 am | Author Friend Promo | Comments are off

A Tasty Side Dish Any Time of the Year

March 6, 2019

This is an easy recipe that works great with roasted or sautéed chicken. Leftovers make a tasty lunch when reheated in a little butter and served with crusty bread and a cold glass of white wine.

Sloane’s Veggie Sauté

Photo Courtesy of Anelka Pixabay

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 zucchini, washed and sliced
1 red pepper, cleaned and sliced
1 yellow pepper, cleaned and sliced
1 small onion, sliced
8 oz. baby Bella mushrooms, cleaned and sliced in thirds
½ tsp. garlic powder, not garlic salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat oil in a medium-sized frying pan over medium heat. Do not let it smoke.

Add all the vegetables except mushrooms. Turn up heat to medium-high. Sauté about 3 minutes.

Lower temperature to medium. Stir in mushrooms, garlic powder, and black pepper.

Continue to cook 3 minutes or until the peppers are at the crispness you prefer.

May you enjoy all the days of your life filled with laughter and seated around a well laden table!

Sloane

Sloane said @ 12:50 am | Cooking | Comments are off

CARPE WHAT?

March 4, 2019

by Catherine Castle

The other day while perusing an antique mall, I came across a little wooden plaque engraved with what I thought were the words Carpe Diem. Reminded of the movie Dead Poets Society, in which the phrase carpe diem played a role, as well as one of my favorite actors Robin Williams who starred in the movie, I picked up the plaque. Upon closer inspection I saw the words were not carpe diem, but Carpe Diet.

What a clever play on the phrase, I thought, and good advice as well, especially since I have a need to seize my own diet. I put the plaque down, but continued to think about the word carpe and its importance in our lives. The idea of seizing something has a hopeful element to it. When we seize a day, a moment, or a job the chances of doing something special or having something important happen in our lives increases. The big prizes in life go to those who are willing to take a chance and seize the brass ring as they pass by it.

As writers we need to seize several things if we are to accomplish our goals. We need to:

• Seize the dream. Without a dream we have nothing to strive for. I love the song from the musical South Pacific called Happy Talk. The lyrics ask if we don’t have a dream then how are we going to make a dream come true? Good question.

• Seize the motivation. You can dream all you like, but without the motivation to make that dream a reality, it will never become more than a dream. Editors aren’t knocking our doors down. We have to knock on theirs. So do it.

• Seize the day. Find a day, or any part of a day or week or month or year, to work on making your dream come true. If you don’t write the words, no one can read them.

• Seize the prize. Before you reach the goal of publication there are many prizes you can reach for along the way such as contest wins, non-fiction sales to magazines or newspapers, invitations to blog on someone’s site, making friends with other writers who know what you are going through, discovering people who like your blogs or follow your blogs, and grabbing the prize of writing THE END! All are reasons for celebrating. So enjoy all the little accomplishments that come before your first book sale.

• Seize the success. Success can be a long time coming. While you’re waiting keep writing those books and sending out those queries. Sooner or later, if you’ve given it your all and learned your craft well, you will seize the success you’ve strived for.

So, don’t give up, and along the way, don’t forget to seize the chocolate—in moderation if you’re on that diet I referenced earlier.

Here’s a peek into my latest sweet romance. I hope you enjoy it.

One date for every medical test—that’s the deal. Allison, however, gets more than she bargains for. She gets a Groom for Mama.

Beverly Walters is dying, and before she goes she has one wish—to find a groom for her daughter. To get the deed done, Mama enlists the dating service of Jack Somerset, Allison’s former boyfriend.

The last thing corporate-climbing Allison wants is a husband. Furious with Mama’s meddling, and a bit more interested in Jack than she wants to admit, Allison agrees to the scheme as long as Mama promises to search for a cure for her terminal illness.

A cross-country trip from Nevada to Ohio ensues, with a string of disastrous dates along the way, as the trio hunts for treatment and A Groom For Mama.

EXCERPT
With a sweep of his hand, Jack spread the photos out on the table in front of Allison and Beverly. “Here’s a few I just grabbed from the database. Any of them interesting?” He studied Allison’s reaction. She didn’t bat an eyelash as she scanned the men’s pictures. Then, without warning, she scooped them up and shoved them at him.

“I told Mama I wasn’t going to do this. It’s a stupid idea.”

“I’ll admit it’s not the ‘some enchanted evening, see a stranger across the room’ romantic way to find a husband, but it’s not totally unacceptable. Several of the couples my company has brought together have married.”

“And lived happily ever after?” she retorted.

“It’s a new company, Allison. I don’t have the stats yet.” He pushed the photos across the table. “Just take a peek. What harm can it do?”

Beverly grabbed the photo of a particularly handsome man. “How about this one? His coloring complements yours. You’d have beautiful children.”

Mama!” Allison snatched the photo away. “We’re not going to discuss my possible, yet unlikely, progeny in front of Jack.”

A flash of Allison kissing this guy flew through his head. He grabbed the photo from her. “He’s not your type anyway.”

“And just how do you know?” she asked.

“I dated you, remember? You ditched me for some suave, corporate hotshot. At least it’s what you said.”
“Allison!” Beverly exclaimed. “You never told me that.”

Allison shot him a fierce scowl. “I’m not comfortable discussing my love life with you, Mama. Besides, what’s done and over with should be buried . . . in the past.” She picked up another photo. “What about him? Or him and him?” She pointed to two nerdy-looking fellows. “They seem corporate.”

Mama leaned over and checked out the pictures Allison had indicated. “Too ugly,” she said. “He’s got to be handsome. Like Jack. I want to know my grandbabies will be as beautiful as you two.”

He grinned. “Thanks for the compliment, but I know I’m not your daughter’s type.” He laid a sheet of paper on the counter. “Fill this out. Then I can get a better idea of what you want in a husband.”

“I don’t want—”

“I know,” he interjected. “But, for your mom’s sake, just pretend you do.”

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Multi-award-winning author Catherine Castle has been writing all her life. A former freelance writer, she has over 600 articles and photographs to her credit (under her real name) in the Christian and secular market. Now she writes sweet and inspirational romance. Her debut inspirational romantic suspense, The Nun and the Narc, from Soul Mate Publishing, has garnered multiple contests finals and wins.

Catherine loves writing, reading, traveling, singing, watching movies, and the theatre. In the winter she loves to quilt and has a lot of UFOs (unfinished objects) in her sewing case. In the summer her favorite place to be is in her garden. She’s passionate about gardening and even won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club.

Learn more about Catherine Castle on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to check out Catherine’s Amazon author page and her Goodreads page. You can also find Catherine on Stitches Thru Time and the SMP authors blog site.

Sloane said @ 12:37 am | Author Friend Promo | Comments are off

BREAKFAST GOODIES

February 27, 2019

When writing it is nice to have some quick & easy recipes to make for my family. Because of the fresh, local fruit and yogurt these muffins are healthier than most and go terrific with a cup of hot coffee.

The muffins are naturally sweetened with seasonal, local fruit (blueberries.) A touch of sugar is added to help cream the butter and is also sprinkled on top. You can eat them warm or prepare them the day before for a breakfast treat.

Chris Pavesic’s Quick & Easy Blueberry Muffins

½ cup butter, softened
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup vanilla yogurt
2½ cups fresh blueberries
1 tbsp. granulated sugar for topping
extra butter for greasing the muffin pan

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Grease muffin pan with butter.

Mix butter until creamy in a medium-size bowl. Add sugar and beat until pale and fluffy.

Add eggs, beating well.

Stir in vanilla, baking powder, and salt.

With spoon, fold in half of flour then half of yogurt into batter; repeat. Fold in blueberries. There is no need to over-mix it.

Spoon into muffin cups and sprinkle sugar topping onto each muffin.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown and springy to touch.

Enjoy a brief glimpse into my latest novel Travelers Zone , book two in The Revelation Chronicles series, while you delight in your muffins.

Above the tree line floats an airship close to three hundred feet long with a slightly rounded wooden hull. Ropes attach the lower portion of the ship to an inflated balloon-like aspect, bright white in color with an identification symbol, a red bird with white-tipped feathers extended in flight, inside a round yellow circle in the center of the canvas. The deck is manned with archers and swordsmen. There are two sets of fore and aft catapults.

What I don’t see are cannons or any other type of a gun large enough to account for the sound of the explosion.

The ship pivots in the air, coming around to point directly at what looks like an oncoming flock of five large birds. Or creatures. They are too big and too strange looking to be birds. They drift closer, flapping their wings.

A moment passes before I realize that they are not creatures either. They are some sort of gliders. A person hangs below each set of the feathered wings, which flap and move with mechanical precision in a sky washed out by the morning sun.

The archers nock their arrows and aim at the flock.

The gliders draw in their wings and dive toward the deck, covering the distance in a few heartbeats. Most of the arrows fly uselessly past the attack force and fall like black rain from the sky. The archers aimed and released the volley too late.

The forward catapult releases a torrent of small rocks at the lead glider. It is a scatter-shot approach that proves effective. There are so many missiles that it is impossible to dodge them all.

But at the moment the stones strike, the other four let loose with fireballs. Spheres of crackling flame spring from their hands, glowing faintly at first and then with increasing brightness. The balls of fire shoot from their hands like bullets from a gun and fly toward the ship, exploding. Pieces bounce off the hull and fall to the ground, throwing hissing, burning globs of magic-fueled fire in all directions, setting everything they touch aflame.

AMAZON BUY LINK
SMASHWORDS BUY LINK

Want to learn more about The Revelation Chronicles? Click HERE for updates on this and the other series by Chris. Watch the video on YouTube.

4eee6-chris2bpavesic2bauthor2bphotoChris Pavesic is a fantasy author who lives in the Midwestern United States and loves Kona coffee, steampunk, fairy tales, and all types of speculative fiction. Between writing projects, Chris can most often be found reading, gaming, gardening, working on an endless list of DIY household projects, or hanging out with friends.

Learn more about Chris on her website and blog.

Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, and her Amazon Author Page.

Sloane said @ 12:28 am | Author Friend Promo, Cooking | Comments are off

A Glimpse of Living with a Blonde

February 25, 2019

by Donald of C.D. Hersh

Now before anyone gets upset, this was approved, reviewed, critiqued, and edited by the “C” of C.D. Hersh, Catherine, who happens to be my wife.

Oh, did I mention she is blonde? There are all kinds of blonde stories, some good some bad, but you always wonder if they are really true. Well, the one I’m about to relate is true and Catherine will confirm it, if asked.

First, a bit of background. Several years ago while we were writing Blood Brothers, the second book in our series, The Turning Stone Chronicles, we made a trip to Cleveland, Ohio for a conference and research. Our series is based in Cleveland, so we wanted to get a look at the location. We spent a day driving around the city. Noting where various important landmarks were and what was close by. All to make the book more authentic.

Now for the story. That year’s Christmas letter, which Catherine always writes and I proof read, gave me a big laugh. Catherine came running into my office wanting to know what I found that was so funny. I told her she had stated we had been to Cleveland three times that year doing research on our book.

She said, “Yesssss?”

Me, “We didn’t go to Cleveland three times.”

“Oh yes we did,” she replied. “Once we drove all over downtown, then we went to the restaurant district and then to the shipping area where we staged the fight scene.”

“We only did the drive all over downtown.” I replied. “The other time we went via Google street maps in my office.”

“Huh, no we didn’t. I got street names and restaurant names on the second trip and the third helped solidify what the buildings looked like in the area for the fight.”

“No, dear,” I calmly replied. “Those other trips we sat in my office with the dual screens, one facing your side of the desk. We did spend most of two days, but we didn’t leave the house.”

“But, but,” my blonde wife replied.

“Here, look at our travel log for the year. One trip to Cleveland.”

“Oh,” she replied, defeated. “I guess I’m being blonde.”

And that folks is what a glimpse of living with a blonde is like.

Here is a little about our paranormal series, The Turning Stone Chronicles.
We hope you enjoy it.

Three ancient Celtic families. A magical Bloodstone that enables the wearers to shape shift. A charge to use the stone’s power to benefit mankind, and a battle, that is going on even today, to control the world. Can the Secret Society of shape shifters called the Turning Stone Society heal itself and bring peace to our world? Find out in the series The Turning Stone Chronicles.

The Promised One, book one:
When homicide detective Alexi Jordan is forced to use her shape shifting powers to catch a paranormal killer, she risks the two most important things in her life—her badge and the man she loves.

Blood Brothers, book two:
Shape shifter Delaney Ramsey’s daughter is missing, and she is bound by honor to protect the man she suspects of the deed. To bring him to justice, she must go against her code, the leader of the secret shifter society, and the police captain she is falling for.

Son of the Moonless Night, book three:
Thrust back into the world of paranormal huntress, Deputy Coroner Katrina Romanovski must unravel a string of murders she believes are vampire attacks. When she discovers the shape shifter she’s in love with is the murderer, she must reconcile her feelings for him, examine her life of violence against paranormals, and justify deceiving him in order to bring him to justice.

The Mercenary and the Shifters, book four:
A desperate call from an ex-military buddy lands a mercenary soldier in the middle of a double kidnapping, caught in an ancient shape shifter war, and ensnared between two female shape shifters after the same thing … him.

C.D. Hersh–Two hearts creating everlasting love stories.

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. Also a standalone novella, Can’t Stop The Music, in a collection with thirteen 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 @ 12:14 am | Author Friend Promo | Comments are off

Make Breakfast Special

February 20, 2019

These muffins are a frequent treat in Deadly Reflection, Book 1 in my Deadly Triad series. They add a comforting hometown touch amidst the danger within the story.

Raspberry Muffins

Photo courtesy of Anne-Sophie Benoit Unsplash

1½ cups unbleached flour
½ cup sugar
1 cup quick oats
1 tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 egg
¼ cup canola oil
1 cup milk
1 hearty cup raspberries – if you prefer moister, more berry filled muffins, add more.

Note: Berries of your choice can be used. For cranberries use orange juice in place of milk.

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Combine dry ingredients. Gently stir in berries to coat and distribute.

Whisk egg, oil, and milk together in a separate bowl.

Distribute mixture in a 12-muffin pan.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Delicious, healthy muffins!

A dead body…
A female suspect…
A detective on vacation.

Can he separate duty from desire? Can she trust his mind-blowing kisses? Or will her unknown past end their future together?

When homicide detective Nick McGraw encounters upscale spa owner Cassi Burke standing over a dead body gripping a bloody knife, Nick’s much-needed vacation slams to a halt. Instincts tell the seasoned officer she didn’t kill the man at her feet, but he’s duty bound to deliver her to local police never suspecting Cassi’s brief moment of fame will make her a target.

Cassi denies involvement with the murder, and Nick strives to distance himself from the case, but sizzling attraction between the detective and the suspect escalates, putting their feeling for one another, the ongoing investigation, and the threat to Cassi’s life on a collision course.

EXCERPT
“Hello, yourself, Cassi.” He skimmed his gaze over her. Eye candy might well describe the type of woman Nick was usually drawn to, but Cassi Burke wasn’t all frosting and fluff.

Oh no. She was taffy. Toned and sweet. No doubt providing melt in your mouth satisfaction when a little heat was applied.

“You must be exhausted, honey.” Ada’s voice cooled his thoughts. “Come join us and have some tea and raspberry muffins.

BUY LINKS

AMAZONBarnes & NobleKoboSCRIBD
iTunes

Nancy Kay resides near Lake Erie in Western Pennsylvania with her husband, a former member of the Marines and the Pennsylvania State Police Department who provides valuable insight for her stories. Nancy is a long time member of Romance Writers of America. Her stories are set in small towns and inland communities scattered along the shores of the Great Lakes. They focus on romance, intertwined with the love of hearth, home, and family. Yet, they are sprinkled with suspense, danger, and intrigue. Learn more about Nancy on her website and blog.

Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

Sloane said @ 12:02 am | Author Friend Promo, Cooking | Comments are off

ROMANCE AT ITS FINEST

February 19, 2019

with this new release from the incomparable Suzanne G. Rogers. This beautifully written sure-to-be-bestseller is an historical romance that will touch your heart as it sweeps you away to an era long gone.

Skylar flees a family scandal in Boston, expecting assistance in society from her English relatives. Once her plans fall apart, however, she is obliged to earn money with her skills as a seamstress. Just when she’s given up on the notion of marriage, her path crosses that of a charming laborer who inexplicably sets her pulse racing.

When wealthy Joe Fiddick hits a patch of bad luck, he seizes the opportunity to do something meaningful by helping a neighbor and her pretty granddaughter with repairs to their cottage. As it turns out, he has more in common with the granddaughter than he realizes…and what they share spells disaster for their budding romance.

Will Joe and Skylar be star-crossed lovers or can the rift between them be mended?

EXCERPT
“Let’s start with the window in your workroom,” Joe said. “It can’t open and close properly because the hinges are rusted?”

Skylar nodded. “Yes. I should dearly love to have fresh air, but I cannot seem to force it open.”

He recoiled. “Insupportable! You cannot perspire over a petticoat or suffocate over a seam!”

Skylar couldn’t suppress a giggle. “Or gasp over a gown.”

His eyes crinkled at the corners. “Or faint over a fichu.”

“Or swoon over a sash.”

Joe chuckled. “Or pant over a pantaloon.”

“Or…or…become clammy over a coat.” She wrinkled her nose. “I suppose that last one wasn’t very good.”

“On the contrary, I thought it was splendid. In addition, since I’d just exhausted my cleverness, you win the game.” He made a gesture of invitation. “Will you show me to the window in question?”

“Indeed, I shall. Follow me.”

As Skylar led him into the cottage and down the hall, she had a smile on her lips. Joe was only a laborer, perhaps, but obviously he was possessed of wit as well as good looks. Even though he was poor and lowborn, she imagined he must cause quite a stir in his neighborhood.

In the workroom, Joe unlatched the window, gave it an experimental push, and peered at the hinges. “I’m going to need to pop out the pins on these hinges and sand off the rust. After a drop or two of oil, the window will give you no reason to complain.”

“I hope you’re right.”

When she leaned in closer to examine the hinges, his physical proximity made the fine hair on her forearms stand on end. Her eyes met his and for several heartbeats it was if something unspoken passed between them

She cleared her throat. “I see what you mean about the rust.”

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The Star-Crossed Seamstress can be read alone or as part of The Mannequin Series.

The Mannequin (Book One) is available at your favorite bookstore here.
Grace Unmasked (Book Two) is available at your favorite bookstore here.

Suzanne G. Rogers lives with her husband and son in romantic Savannah, Georgia, on an island populated by deer, exotic birds, and the occasional gator. She’s owned by two Sphynx cats, Houdini and Nikita. Movies, books, and writing are her passions.

Learn more about Suzanne G. Rogers on her historical romance blog and her fantasy blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. Also, be sure to check out the website for the Sweet Romance written by Suzanne G. Rogers.

Sloane said @ 12:52 am | Author Friend Promo | Comments are off

HOW FRIENDS BECOME CHARACTERS

February 18, 2019

by Anne Montgomery

Authors are often asked how they create characters. In my case, as my friends and family now realize, they are sometimes inspired by people I know.

My long-time sweetie pie seemed shocked when he read his words coming out of a character’s mouth.

“Hey! I said that!”

“Yes, you did.” I admitted. “Thank you.”

As a former reporter, I tend to think everyone’s words are fair game. If you’re going to fling them out into the universe, don’t be upset if I catch them and keep them for my own.

At other times, I’ve incorporated friends’ stories into my characters. In my upcoming book, A Light in the Desert, which is scheduled for release on November 6, 2018, I borrowed numerous times from the life of my dear late friend Don Clarkson. I have written before about how Don and I met umpiring amateur baseball, a time during which I struggled with debt, a crumbling marriage, and joblessness following what would be the end of my TV-reporting career. That I spent a great deal of time feeling sorry for myself is an understatement.

Don, on the other hand, complained very little. This was astonishing in retrospect, considering the suffering he endured. Don was a decorated Green Beret, a sergeant who served alongside South Vietnam’s ARVN soldiers in the 9th Infantry during the war. His time in country was brutal and, like many servicemen and women, Don relived those experiences until he died at the age of 61 from a combination of Post Traumatic Stress and the myriad devastating effects of Agent Orange poisoning.

Don and I umpired baseball together for five years. During that time, he shared his stories with me. He was gravely wounded and left to die, but was saved by a South Vietnamese soldier who returned to the aftermath of a jungle fight to look for him. He was sometimes crushed by guilt, because of war-time life-and-death decisions and because – unlike many of the men he knew – he had managed to survive and come home. Tears would well in his eyes as he spoke about the soldiers – his brothers – that were lost.

And still, when we would sit in our folding chairs in a school parking lot, waiting for the second half of a double-header to begin, he sometimes spoke about the beauty of Vietnam and his love and admiration for the people who lived there.

One of the main characters in A Light in the Desert, is, like Don, a Vietnam veteran with memories that torment him. But Jason Ramm is also a sniper turned post-war governmental assassin, which Don was not. What they share is a deep desire for peace and forgiveness, which neither of them believe they deserve.

I wrote A Light in the Desert for Don. His wife Marie read the story to him before he died. I believe he understood Jason Ramm and recognized him as a brother. I also know that Don seemed appreciative that I shared some of his story and that I dedicated the book to him.

I miss my friend and the talks we used to have. Though he struggled mightily, Don always looked for the best in people and for beauty in the world.

When the Amtrak Sunset Limited, a passenger train en route to Los Angeles, is derailed in their midst in a deadly act of sabotage, their lives are thrown into turmoil. As the search for the saboteurs heats up, the authorities uncover more questions than answers. And then the girl vanishes. As the sniper struggles to maintain his sanity, a child is about to be born in the wilderness.

Here’s a little from my suspense novel based on a true incident. I hope it intrigues you.

As a Vietnam veteran and former Special Forces sniper descends into the throes of mental illness, he latches onto a lonely pregnant teenager and a group of Pentecostal zealots – the Children of Light – who have been waiting over thirty years in the Arizona desert for Armageddon.

When the Amtrak Sunset Limited, a passenger train en route to Los Angeles, is derailed in their midst in a deadly act of sabotage, their lives are thrown into turmoil. As the search for the saboteurs heats up, the authorities uncover more questions than answers.

And then the girl vanishes.

While the sniper struggles to maintain his sanity, a child is about to be born deep in the wilderness.

BUY LINKS
Amazon PaperbackKindleMidpoint Books

Anne Montgomery has worked as a television sportscaster, newspaper and magazine writer, teacher, amateur baseball umpire, and high school football referee. She worked at WRBL‐TV in Columbus, Georgia, WROC‐TV in Rochester, New York, KTSP‐TV in Phoenix, Arizona, ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, where she anchored the Emmy and ACE award‐winning SportsCenter, and ASPN-TV as the studio host for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Montgomery has been a freelance and staff writer for six publications, writing sports, features, movie reviews, and archeological pieces.

When she can, Anne indulges in her passions: rock collecting, scuba diving, football refereeing, and playing her guitar.

Learn more about Anne Montgomery on her website and Wikipedia. Stay connected on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter.

Sloane said @ 12:56 am | Author Friend Promo | Comments are off