Sloane Taylor - Sweet as Honey, Hotter Than Hell

February 15, 2017

A TASTY MEMORY FROM HOME

by Sharon Ledwith

When I began writing The Last Timekeepers Time Travel series, I wrote it with the intention of creating a nostalgic, good old days feeling to take tweens and teens (and hopefully many adults too) on an adventure in time that would keep them reading, smiling, and begging for more books. That said, I made sure that each book also included a scene involving food to allow my characters a chance to rest and mull over what has taken place so far during their Timekeeper mission—think family chats at the dinner table after a long day or those Sunday family get-togethers at supper. Call me sentimental, but there’s something about mixing food with a fun read!

This recipe is among one of my favorites my mother used to prepare for family get-togethers or the holidays. With a melt-in-your-mouth texture, this dish is sure to put a smile on any face—even those who cringe at the thought of broccoli or cauliflower on their plates. Easy to prepare with a prep time of fifteen minutes and cook time of approximately sixty minutes, this supreme cheesy feast serves around six of your famished family members or hungry guests.

Supreme Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Cheese Casserole
1 can cheddar cheese soup
1 can golden mushroom soup
1 can mushrooms (pieces and stems)
1 tbsp. butter
Half and half cream
Head of Cauliflower
Bunch of Broccoli
Dash of paprika

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cut broccoli and cauliflower into bite size pieces. Drop into a pot of cold water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Drain the vegetables well and set aside.

Fry mushrooms lightly in butter until browned.

Empty cans of soup into a saucepan and add one can of half and half cream. Stir until smooth. Set stove to medium heat. Stirring frequently, bring the mixture just to the boil.

Place vegetables in lightly greased casserole dish. Pour mushrooms and soup mixture over the vegetables. Garnish with paprika if desired.

Cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil to brown, then cook for another 20-30 minutes. Serve and enjoy.

Since you’ve got some wiggle room to relax, why not set your butt in the closest cozy chair, and crack open one of The Last Timekeepers books?

The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret, Book #2 Buy Links:
MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHINGAMAZONAMAZON.CABARNES & NOBLE

The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, Book #1 Buy Links:
MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHINGAMAZONBARNES & NOBLE

Legend of the Timekeepers, prequel Buy Links:
MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHINGAMAZONBARNES & NOBLE

BONUS: Download the free PDF short story The Terrible, Mighty Crystal HERE.

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 @ 1:29 am | Author Friend Promo,Cooking | Comments are off

February 13, 2017

NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK KICK ASS

That’s right! Jeanne De Vita and Marci Clark are the new kids who have a combined twenty-five years of experience in the writing and publishing industry. These experienced ladies are in the process of opening a new online e-bookstore that satisfies writers and readers alike. Here’s a peek at their logo.

Three Wishes Bookstore is slated to be an interactive site where readers can store unlimited numbers of audiobooks and e-books, engage with their favorite authors through interviews and featured content, and most of all, access their favorite books in a user-friendly, attractive online store with competitive pricing and perks for enrolling in their book clubs and programs. Learn more about this exciting new venture on kickstarter. You may well discover an exciting opportunity.

Jeanne De Vita attended her first RWA Conference at age 14. Jeanne has a B.A. in English from Iowa State University, and the MFA in Creative Writing from The University of Notre Dame. Jeanne has taught writing and rhetoric/composition at the college level as well as corporate courses in written communications. She has worked for a literary journal and spent more than 15 years in private industry. Jeanne has personally edited and acquired more than 50 books in almost every genre. Jeanne has hired, trained, and mentored several dozen interns and editors and has overseen the day to day operations of a publishing company. When she is not editing, Jeanne writes fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, and has published under the pen name Annie Anthony. Jeanne has presented at writer’s conferences and participated in panel discussions on various topics related to publishing and writing and is available for in-person speaking engagements, online classes, etc.

Marci Clark, who writes as Marci Boudreaux, is a freelance editor, book/cover art/promo materials designer, published author, and all around publishing nerd. She’s worked for Kensington Publishing since 2014, as well as several indie houses over the years. She is proficient in self-publishing and would love to help you with all your publishing needs, including pre-made or custom cover art.

Reach out to her at marci.clark.editing@gmail.com if you’d like to discuss your project with her.

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

February 8, 2017

Add a Little Wicked to Your Valentine’s Day

by Leigh Goff

The strawberry. Could there be a more perfect food for Valentine’s Day? It is as red and heart-shaped as a Valentine and also a symbol of the goddess of love herself, Venus. According to folklore, if a double strawberry is halved and shared with the target of your affection, you will fall in love with each other.

Here is a wickedly delicious recipe that even Sophie, my sixteen year-old witch protagonist from my debut fantasy romance, Disenchanted, would make for her true love using fresh strawberries picked from her aunt’s enchanted garden. Please enjoy the excerpt that follows.

Photo by Ambro

Wickedly Delicious Strawberries
2 pints strawberries, with stems if possible
1½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (or milk chocolate chips)
2 tbsp. corn syrup
6 tbsp. butter

Wash strawberries and pat dry. Place on paper towels until they reach room temperature.

Melt chocolate chips, corn syrup, and butter in a double boiler, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat and dip each strawberry into chocolate, coating ⅔ of berry. Allow excess chocolate to drip off into pan.

Place stem side down on waxed paper covered baking pan or cookie sheet. Refrigerate until set, about 15-20 minutes.

Yields approximately 28 strawberries.

Recipe courtesy of Food.com

Here’s the excerpt to enjoy while your strawberries are chilling.

He grinned his seductive grin, letting me glimpse his dangerous streak. Most likely a family trait and I had to make sure I didn’t forget it was there. He did seem different from them, not as affected from the poison running through their veins.

“I’m curious about you.”

My heart pleaded with my head to ignore the doubts and questions, to be in the moment and believe it was possible. “I love my garden, but this is what I like the most about Wethersfield. Right here. Where the star-crossed lovers are buried. Their story…well, it’s an interesting one.”

His lips pursed. He drew back, dejected. “Their story? Their story is a tragedy. One of many in the Mather family history.”

“The end is tragic, but it’s still a love story and this tree…” I raised my hand, admiring its lushness. “It’s a symbol of their forbidden love. Centuries with no berries and now look at it.” The mulberry swayed with the breeze as if it were dancing. The branches flaunted multitudes of pale, red berry clusters that had begun to ripen for the first time. I liked to think the tree was finally done mourning, but I had no idea why it picked this year of all its three hundred plus years.

“You sound like you believe in happy endings.”

“I want to. Don’t you?” He was kind of young to be tainted, I thought. My mind drifted to the possibility he had been jilted by a beautiful duchess during his time in London.

“Like I said, I come from a long line of tragedy in my family.”

I bit my lip for a second. He was right about that. For as long as we knew his family, they had been dropping dead, and usually in the prime of their lives, except for the really mean ones like the reverend, and his father and Zeke. “You know you have to fight for your own happy ending. You have to will it to happen.”

His eyes held mine, leaving me breathless again. I struggled to think straight.
“I’d bet you’re good at willing things to happen.”

A tendril of sable hair tickled my cheek. I brushed it away. “I’m good at making mistakes. Lots of mistakes.”

His eyebrows furrowed with disbelief. “You make it rain flower petals, yet you wallow in self-pity?”

He was aware I created the storm of blossoms. Crud. Of course, he was. There was no good explanation for it. My stomach sank. “I…uh…uh.”

He grinned, not fazed at all by what I could do. “How would you feel about having me as a friend, Sophie?”

My heart fluttered when he said my name, but I glanced at him curiously, not understanding what he was offering. “I choose my friends carefully.” I thought back to my dream last night. I wasn’t afraid of him, but how could I trust him?

He grimaced from my pause. His threw his hands out in front of him. “Look, I know you hate my family. And we haven’t exactly gotten along swimmingly, but I was thinking, it might be easier for both of us if we could find some middle ground.”

Incredulity colored my tone. “You want to be friends?”

“Why not?” he replied.

I shook my head. “Surprisingly weird.”

“Me?”

“Your suggestion.”

“It’s not weird at all.” He extended his hand to me as if he were serious. “Shake on it.”

My heart yearned for his touch, but it wrestled against the logic from my head. “I can’t.” I glanced around, knowing that since the Wethersfield Witch Trials, minus the rare exceptions, witches were forbidden to enter into any kind of a relationship with ordinaries, especially the Mathers. “This is crazy. Our families are enemies and…and I hate you.” My lips tingled from the devil’s bit, confirming what I already felt. It was a lie. I didn’t hate him at all. In fact, I feared it was the opposite. “Tell me what you really want from me.” I subtly pointed my finger in his direction. “Verum,” I whispered in a hushed voice, attempting to cast a truth spell on him. The magic trickled out. I watched for a change in his focus, but as I watched him, a heart shape carved into the bark of the mulberry’s tree trunk behind him. My eyes popped. I closed my mouth, still staring at the engraving. “Wha?” I uttered in disbelief. Mishaps were guaranteed when I was near him.

“What do I want from you?” he repeated back to me, unaware of my fail.

I averted my eyes, feeling ridiculous.

“I want you to be you. You’ve got everyone thinking you’re thoroughly
ordinary when you’re the farthest thing from it.”

I peered up at his beautiful face from beneath my lashes. Did he see
through me? Did he really know what I was? “What would your father think about you wanting to be my friend?”

“It’s no one’s business but ours.”

“Ours? Like you and me together?” My brow crinkled. “A secret friendship?” I tried to ignore my quickening pulse. Everything in me wanted to believe him. My head railed against the idea. I would be breaking rules and there would be consequences.

He stepped closer. “I think we’re both good at keeping secrets. Why not one more?”

I swallowed hard. “You seem to have everything, including a terror for a brother who’s got your back. Why do you need a friend?”

“Everyone needs a friend.”

He held his hand out, wanting me to shake it while his eyes held me tight. In that moment, dizziness crept in and an overwhelming feeling of falling from a cliff followed. The intensity of it scared me. I put my hand up in a stop motion and pressed my other hand to my stomach, hoping the plummeting sensation would pass. I backed away. My head and heart tore away at each other. “I can’t do this.”

His face bore a forlorn expression. “You’re right. I’m playing with fire, a bad habit of mine. This was stupid of me. I’m sorry.”

Curiosity creased in my brow. “What do you mean ‘playing with fire’?”

His eyes, holding tight to his secret, burned through me. “I mean you. I’m pretending I can control something that’s out of my control. I can’t be around you without getting burned, yet I’m completely drawn to you.” He parted his soft lips. “Like a moth to the flame.”

Buy Links:
Mirror World PublishingAmazon

Leigh Goff loves writing young adult fiction with elements of magic and romance because it’s also what she liked to read. Born and raised on the East Coast, she now lives in Maryland where she enjoys the area’s great history and culture.

Leigh is a graduate of the University of Maryland, University College and a member of the Maryland Writers’ Association and Romance Writers of America. She is also an approved artist with the Maryland State Arts Council. Her debut novel, Disenchanted, was inspired by the Wethersfield witches of Connecticut and was released by Mirror World Publishing. Leigh is currently working on her next novel, The Witch’s Ring which is set in Annapolis.

Learn more about Leigh Goff on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

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

February 6, 2017

London Theatre in Regency Times

by Kadee McDonald

By the early 19th century, The Industrial Revolution had made England the leading manufacturing and trading nation in the world. In 1800, London was already the world’s largest city, and its population would almost double over the next four decades, to approximately two million.

Large numbers of the working classes, drawn to jobs in commerce and manufacturing, began to attend the theatre for the first time, causing major changes to entertainments formerly reserved for more well-to-do patrons of the arts. Both Covent Garden and the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, were rebuilt in the 1790’s to accommodate about 3,000 and 3,600 people, respectively. Minor theatres were opened outside Westminster in the 1780’s and 1790’s; then, in 1804, when the Earl of Dartmouth became Lord Chamberlain, he authorized the licensing of minor theatres inside the City of Westminster, so long as they did not infringe upon the rights of the “patent houses” of Covent Garden, Drury Lane and the Haymarket. He also authorized longer seasons for the Haymarket, which had been restricted to a five-month season and, by 1812, it was open seven months of the year.

Attempting to retain audiences, the patent theatres began to include minor dramas in their offerings and extended the evenings to five or even six hours. By 1820, it wasn’t unusual for the evening’s bill to include two full-length plays, an afterpiece, and a number of variety acts.

Since only the patent houses could play regular drama, along with the minor genres, the other theatres found loopholes offered by the burletta and the melodrama, which was a three-act play with a musical score. Thus, a regular drama, such as a work from Shakespeare, could be performed in three acts with musical accompaniment and called “melodrama.” This game of ruse and subterfuge continued throughout the Regency and after, until the Theatre Regulation Act of 1843, which abolished the privileges of the patent theatres, and allowed any licensed theatre to perform works of any type, although all plays continued to be licensed by the Lord Chamberlain.

The upper classes might have worn their very best, but otherwise, theatre-going was an informal business, with members of the audience talking loudly and arriving or leaving at any time during the performances. Dandies strolled and mingled in the “pit,” taking snuff and showing off the latest fashions.

Most of the romantic poets of the day attempted drama, including Coleridge, Wordsworth, Keats and Shelley. George Gordon, Lord Byron, who was a member of the governing committee of Drury Lane, wrote more plays suited for the stage than the others, although only one was actually performed during his lifetime (and that one, “Marino Faliero,” in 1821, over his objections).

The best known actors and actresses on the London stage during the Regency included several members of the Kemble family, especially Sarah Kemble Siddons, who was considered the greatest tragic actress of her day until her retirement in 1812. The Kemble “classical” school of acting was continued by Charles Mayne Young (1777-1856), J. M. Vandenhoff (1790-1861), and Eliza O’Neill (1791-1827). Their classical approach was challenged after 1814 by the romantic school, perhaps best exemplified by Edmund Kean. Kean perfected the style, and exerted his “star power” frequently to demand £50 or more for each performance, an amount unheard of before his time. Other well-known performers, such as William Charles Macready (1793-1873) and Mme. Eliza Vestris (1797-1856), later went from the stage into theatre management.

Here is a brief introduction to my fitting story for February. I hope you enjoy it.

In the coldest days of February, can St. Valentine create enough heat to melt two hearts into one?

Miss Penelope Braxton has never met sensible George Harburton or his more dashing younger brother, Henry, but she agrees to grant her dying father peace of mind by considering marriage to one of them.

The advantage of the match for the brothers is evident in the form of Miss Braxton’s substantial dowry. However, her money takes second place when the brothers realize the extent of Penelope’s courage, wit, and devotion.

Henry doesn’t plan to give up his philandering to romance Penelope. George’s days are filled with the running of the family estate and he has never put aside his duties long enough to contemplate marriage. When one of the gentlemen changes his ways, will he be able to compose the perfect poetry to win Penelope’s heart?

AMAZON BUY LINK

Kadee McDonald grew up in Texas, but a piece of her heart will always belong to the muslin and lace of Regency England. She is a long-time reader, and now an author of Regency romance. Her books are available as e-books from Amazon.

Learn more about Kadee on her website. Stay connected on Twitter or Facebook.

Sloane said @ 12:17 am | Author Friend Promo | 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

January 30, 2017

IT’S ALL ABOUT LOVE

The incomparable Janis Lane has stretched out of her comfort zone into a new genre with her delightful new release Angels Abound with Love. Here is a brief introduction for your reading pleasure.

In a small town, a series of mysterious coincidences tests and strengthens the faith of a group of friends and neighbors. Love is in the air.

A coincidence is an angel-delivered message from God vows her vivacious nurse to young Doc Cathy. To a science educated person, this seems a bit far-fetched. On the other hand, is it? The doctor is in as episode after episode tests her faith and her education. To her delight, love enters her life in depths she could never have imagined.

A handsome detective is too busy with his good works to ask for help either from his church, friends or his God. When he encounters the lovely Doc Cathy his horizons expand beyond his wildest imagination, and he suddenly remembers to include his most powerful partner. Love is the message.

EXCERPT
“She’s a doctor just like Doc Smitty. I’m sure you can trust her. She probably goes to hockey games too.” Mark Mallory turned his attention to the delicate face gazing solemnly down at him and felt a slight jolt to his constitution as if he’d put his finger near an electric outlet. He hastily stood, tugged on his well-worn t-shirt and brushed his hand over his close-cropped hair. It immediately sprang back into curled disarray.

“I’m standing in for his mom,” he stated quickly. “She called and asked me to bring Robbie to you. She’s on her way.

“Oh, sorry–Detective Mark Mallory. I volunteer on Tuesday’s at the Boy’s and Girl’s Club.” He wiped his hand on his jeans and reached it out to her.

“How do you do,” the doctor returned.

“I heard there’s a new doctor taking over for Doc Smitty. Welcome to town.” He shook her hand, feeling foolish as she looked steadily up at him; her calm gray-blue eyes, heavily fringed with dark lashes, seemed to be taking his measure. She was a little bit of a thing, he thought absently, but somehow her height failed to diminish her authority. He hadn’t expected such an attractive young woman to be standing in for old Doc Smith and belatedly regretted his sweaty T-shirt and well-worn jeans. Was that his big toe peeking out of his sneakers? How did that happen? He tried to tuck one shoe behind the other and hoped she wouldn’t notice.

*

Driving home to Aunt Serena and little Elisa, who was hopefully to be her new foster child, Cathy reviewed her day–a quite extraordinary day. Meeting the congenial policeman put a smile on her face—he was one handsome hunk and… now was no time to be distracted by a good looking detective even if it was obvious he spent time working out. Policemen probably needed well developed muscles to help them catch criminals—and to keep themselves healthy. She, a new, and maybe temporary foster parent (she didn’t know yet) needed to keep her thoughts centered. No time for flirting with the local police.

She was still astounded by her impulsive offer this morning to take charge of a four year old orphan in need of a foster home. She almost gasped at her own temerity, but the thought of providing urgent shelter to the tiny girl-child pleased her. She knew her aunt would welcome the tot as well. There was lots of room in that comfortable, rambling older and well-lived-in home where she and her brothers had grown up.

*

“Where there is love, there also shall be God,” she sang softly, the tone of her voice pealing like the soft, tinkling tones of a far away, crystal bell.

Inside the woman leaned forward, her heart filled with empathy for the misery of the child. As the doctor spoke impulsively to the social worker, the angel smiled and floated upwards, the halo around her head fading as she ascended into the clouds and turned into a shining pallet of colors, which disappeared into the arch of a distant rainbow.

Inside the building the doctor wondered at her uncharacteristic and impulsive boldness, but would not rescind her offer. She had love to give and this little girl needed to be loved. Cathy became cognizant of an extreme sense of serenity and well-being. Briefly she wondered at it, but not finding a particular cause, blithely and casually accredited it, quite correctly, as a gift from God and went on with her work.

AMAZON BUY LINK

Read more about the books by Janis Lane on Amazon.

Janis Lane is the pen-name for gifted author Emma Lane who writes cozy mysteries as Janis, Regency as Emma, and spice as Sunny Lane.

She lives in Western New York where winter is snowy, spring arrives with rave reviews, summer days are long and velvet, and fall leaves are riotous in color. At long last she enjoys the perfect bow window for her desk where she is treated to a year-round panoramic view of nature. Her computer opens up a fourth fascinating window to the world. Her patient husband is always available to help with a plot twist and encourage Emma to never quit. 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 Emma’s 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. Be sure to check out the things that make Emma smile on Pinterest.

Sloane said @ 12:31 am | Author Friend New Releases | Comments are off

January 25, 2017

A WARM TASTE OF ITALY

A small bowl of hot soup is an excellent starter to any meal. You can also enjoy soup for lunch or dinner by adding a salad and fresh bread. This hearty recipe works great for all situations. Add a glass of crisp white wine and enjoy!

Minestrone (Vegetable) Soup

½ cup dry white beans, navy or Great Northern
4 tbsp. butter
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup zucchini, unpeeled, scrubbed and diced
1 cup carrots, diced
1 cup red potatoes, diced
⅓ cup celery, diced
5 strips bacon, diced
¼ cup onion, chopped
½ cup leeks (or substitute onions), chopped fine
2 cups drained diced tomatoes
2 quarts chicken stock, homemade or canned
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp. parsley
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ cup rice

Bring 1 quart of water to a boil in a heavy 3-to 4-quart saucepan. Add the beans and boil for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the beans soak for 1 hour. Return the pan to the stove, and over low heat simmer the beans uncovered for 1-1½ hours, or until they are barely tender. Drain the beans and set aside.

Melt the butter over moderate heat in a heavy 10-to 12- inch skillet. When the foam subsides, add the peas, zucchini, carrots, potatoes, and celery. Toss constantly with a wooden spoon to coat the vegetables. Cook 2-3 minutes. Set aside.

Fry the bacon in a heavy 6-to8-quart saucepan over moderate heat until crisp. Drain the bacon on paper towels, but retain the grease in the pot. Stir in the onion and leeks. Continue to stir until the vegetables are soft and lightly brown, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes, vegetables from the skillet, chicken stock, bay leaf, parsley, and pepper. Bring the soup to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer partially covered for 25 minutes.

Remove the bay leaf. Add the rice, beans, and bacon. Cook 15 – 20 minutes longer.

Garnish
½ tbsp. dried basil
½ tbsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. garlic, chopped fine
½ cup Parmesan cheese

Combine all ingredients into a small bowl. Stir well.

To Serve
Ladle into individual bowls. Sprinkle with herb/garlic mixture. Pass a bowl of grated cheese.

Leftovers freeze well.

Serves 8

May you enjoy all the days of your life around a well laden table!

Sloane Taylor
Twitter
Amazon Author Page

Sloane said @ 12:37 am | Cooking | Comments are off

January 23, 2017

IN THE NAVY

They never eat a Bean Soup as good as the one Regency Romance and Cozy Mystery author Emma Lane prepares. Emma brings us a delicious and easy recipe for a hearty soup sure to keep you warm. The kitchen is all yours, Emma!

Navy Bean Soup

2 strips bacon
1 med, onion, chopped
3 cups water
1 med. white potato, peeled and cubed
1 can navy or great northern beans, drained
1 clove fresh garlic, chopped fine (optional)

Sauté’ onion and bacon until onion is pearly-colored and bacon is crisp. Crumble bacon and add both to pot.

Stir in water, beans, potato, and garlic.

Simmer for at least an hour. Stir occasionally. Do not add more water before serving.

Top the serving with a spoonful of grated cheese or a dollop of sour cream.

Serve with a pear salad and a loaf of French bread or hard rolls.

Pear Salad
l can pears halves or slices, drained
lettuce
dollop of sour cream
sprinkle of nutmeg

Assemble on individual salad plates. Chill until ready to serve.

While you’re waiting for everyone to come home for dinner, here’s a teaser from one of my Regency books.

What happens when a strong heroine meets an arrogant, but handsome hero? Sparks fly. It’s a Regency Romance Romp!

Miss Amabel Hawkins acknowledges her unusual upbringing, but she thinks James Langley, the Duke of Westerton, might be a tad unbalanced when he protests her efforts to right his badly managed properties. The duke, who has been away on the king’s business, demonstrates no respect for the beautiful but managing Miss Hawkins. Amabel has taken refuge at Westerton, fleeing from a forced marriage to a man who claims to be her relative in order to gain control of her young brother’s estate.

The Duke arrives home to find his estate under the firm control of a beautiful but managing female. His suspicions are fueled by his recent task of spy-hunting and he wonders if Amabel Hawkins is just who she seems. While a dastardly spy lurks, a wicked man poses as her cousin threatening to take over the guardianship of her young brother. Amabel might be falling in love, but she knows for certain the duke would never approve of a meddlesome woman, and she decides to flee his estate. Will the duke finally realize the true value of the woman he loves or will his prejudice ruin his chances forever?

Amazon Buy Link

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 her son’s plant nursery. 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 @ 1:11 am | Author Friend Promo,Cooking | Comments are off

January 18, 2017

A HOT BEVERAGE FIT FOR THE QUEEN

by Suzanne G. Rogers

Whenever I’m writing Victorian-era English romance, I will often consult Mrs. Beeton’s The Book of Household Management (1861), for ideas on how things were done. Mrs. Isabella Mary Beeton was the Martha Stewart of the age, writing a highly-plagiarized cookery column for “The Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine.” Her book covers diverse topics such as household duties, dining, kitchens, servants, doctors, and the rearing of children, as well as detailed recipes for everything from soup to nuts. I’ve downloaded the manuscript onto my computer from Project Gutenberg, which makes it available to everyone in all different formats HERE.

Since it’s winter, I thought I would share one of Mrs. Beeton’s recipes for Hot Punch, which sounds perfectly delicious and terribly intoxicating.

TO MAKE HOT PUNCH

INGREDIENTS.— ½ pint of rum, ½ pint of brandy, ¼ lb. of sugar, 1 large lemon, ½ tspoonful of nutmeg, 1 pint of boiling water.

Mode.— Rub the sugar over the lemon until it has absorbed all the yellow part of the skin, then put the sugar into a punchbowl; add the lemon-juice (free from pips), and mix these two ingredients well together. Pour over them the boiling water, stir well together, add the rum, brandy, and nutmeg; mix thoroughly, and the punch will be ready to serve. It is very important in making good punch that all the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated; and, to insure success, the processes of mixing must be diligently attended to.

Sufficient.— Allow a quart for 4 persons; but this information must be taken cum grano salis; for the capacities of persons for this kind of beverage are generally supposed to vary considerably.

Enjoy the punch over a copy of my latest sweet Victorian romance, Spinster.

Staring down life as an old maid, newly jilted Clare flees to a country home she’s inherited from her grandmother. She doesn’t count on clashing with her handsome neighbor, whose gentlemanly manners and education are at odds with his workingman’s image. As their relationship unfolds, however, she discovers the mysterious Meriweather Holcroft is not what he appears to be.

Suzanne’s historical Victorian YA book is available January 31, 2017 for your Kindle at Amazon.

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 @ 1:34 am | Author Friend New Releases,Cooking | Comments are off

January 16, 2017

ACTION, ADVENTURE, FANTASY – HOT DAMN!

I am pleased and proud to bring you a new release by Elliott Baker, an exciting author who weaves fact with fiction to create a thrilling swashbuckler that plunks you right in the middle of the action.

Kirkus Review says it best.
“Alexandre Dumas meets Horatio Hornblower and The Mummy in this sweeping, swashbuckling tale.”

For three thousand years a hatred burns. In seventeenth century France two souls incarnate, one born the child of a prosperous merchant, the other, determined to continue an incarnation begun long ago.

In ancient Egypt, there were two brothers, disciples of the pharaoh, Akhenaten. When the pharaoh died, the physician took the knowledge given and went to Greece to begin the mystery school. The general made a deal with the priests and became pharaoh. One remembers, one does not.

The year is 1671. René Gilbert’s destiny glints from the blade of a slashing rapier. The only way he can protect those he loves is to regain the power and knowledge of an ancient lifetime. From Bordeaux to Spain to Morocco, René is tested and with each turn of fate he gathers enemies and allies, slowly reclaiming the knowledge and power earned centuries ago. For three thousand years a secret sect has waited in Morocco.

After ages in darkness, Horemheb screams, “I am.” Using every dark art, he manages to maintain the life of the body he has bartered for. Only one life force in the world is powerful enough to allow him to remain within embodiment, perhaps forever. Determined to continue a reign of terror that once made the Nile run red, he grows stronger with each life taken.

Bordeaux, France

Three men bled out into the dirt.

René stared at the hand that held the bloody rapier. His hand. Tremors shuddered through his body and down his arm. Droplets of blood sprayed the air and joined the carmine puddles that seeped into the sun-baked earth. He closed his eyes and commanded the muscles that grasped the rapier to release their tension and allow the sword to drop.
Years of daily practice and pain refused his mind’s order much as they had refused to spare the lives of three men. The heady exultation that filled him during the seconds of the fight drained away and left him empty, a vessel devoid of meaning. He staggered toward an old oak and leaned against its rough bark. Bent over, with one hand braced on the tree, he retched. And again. Still, the sword remained in his hand.

A cloud shuttered the sun. Distant thunder brushed his awareness and then faded. Rain. The mundane thought coasted through his mind. He wiped his mouth on his sleeve and glanced down hoping to see a different tableau. No, death remained death, the only movement, that of flies attracted to a new ocean of sustenance.

The summer heat lifted the acrid blood-rust smell and forced him to turn his head away. Before him stretched a different world from the one in which he had awakened. No compass points. No maps. No tomorrow.

The Maestro.

The mere thought of his fencing master filled him with both reassurance and dread. René slid the rapier into the one place his training permitted, its scabbard. He walked over to where the huge black stallion stamped his impatience, and pulled himself into the saddle.
Some impulse caused him to turn his head one last time. The sunlight that surrounded the men flickered like a candle in the wind, and the air was filled with a loud buzzing sound. Although still posed in identical postures of death, three different men now stared sightless.

Their skin was darker than the leather tanned sailors. Each wore a short linen kilt of some kind that left their upper bodies naked. As strange as the men appeared, their weapons were what drew René’s eye. The swords were archaic; sickle shaped and appeared to be forged of bronze. These men wore different faces and yet their eyes—somehow he knew they were the same sailors he had just killed. René blinked and there before him the original three men lay unmoved. Dead.

For an instant his mind balked, darkness encircled the edges of his vision.

Do not anticipate meaning. The Maestro’s voice echoed in his head. Meaning may be ignored, but it cannot be hurried.

The darkness receded, and he reined the stallion’s head toward home.

René approached the linden shaded lane to the château. The stately trees, their clasped hands steepled over the gravel drive, had always welcomed him. Now they were just a faded backdrop that moved past the corners of his eyes. Could it have been only hours ago that the anniversary of his sixteenth year had presented itself like a gaily wrapped gift waiting for his excited appreciation? The day had dawned as grand as any he had yet experienced, and he had awakened early, eager for the morning’s light.

“Henri,” he yelled, as he charged down the marble staircase and into the dining room. Breakfast was set and steaming on the polished mahogany table. Burnished silver platters and cream colored porcelain bowls held a variety of eggs, sausages, fruits, and breads. How Henri always seemed to anticipate his entry amazed René.

Oui, Master René.” Serene as always, the middle-aged major domo entered the dining room. Henri walked over to the table and poured a cup of tea for René. “ S’il vous plaît, be seated, sir.”

“I cannot. Maybe a roll and a link of sausage. Henri, do you know what today is?”

Henri paused as if deep in thought. “Thursday. Oui, I am quite sure ’tis Thursday.”

René took a still sizzling sausage from a tray and did his best to fold it within a baguette.

Non, ’tis my birth date,” he managed around a mouthful of sausage and roll.

“Which one is that, sir?”

“How do you not know? You were there.”

“Well, I remember ’twas after the end of the war. Let me see. The war was over in…”

“Very droll, Henri. Your memory works fine, ’tis your humor that leaves room for improvement. Today is… so… I cannot explain, it feels like anything is possible today.”

“Given that there is still plenty of day left, perhaps you might sit down and eat. I expect you will need all your strength for a day so filled with possibility.”

“I cannot be late.” René gulped his tea and shoved the rest of the roll and sausage into his mouth.

“Happy anniversary, Master René.”

Merci, Henri.” René checked his appearance in one of the grand foyer mirrors, and then strode toward the courtyard. The time had come to present himself to the Maestro.

René vibrated with excitement. He paused just inside the entrance to the training area. This was no way to face the Maestro. He sucked in a deep breath, exhaled, and reached for that quiet center. The torrent of chaotic thought stilled and that unique calm of intense focus settled around him. His friends Marc and Anatole sported their weapons in public. René had yet to earn that privilege. Disarming the Maestro was the only way, and since that possibility seemed as remote as the ability to fly, it generated a great deal of frustration.

Today, however, might be the day.

Amazon Buy Link

Award winning, international playwright Elliott B. Baker grew up in Jacksonville, Florida. With four musicals and one play published and done throughout the United States, New Zealand, Portugal, England, and Canada, Elliott is pleased to offer his first novel, Return, book one of The Sun God’s Heir trilogy.

A member of the Authors Guild and the Dramatists Guild, Elliott lives in New Hampshire with his beautiful wife Sally Ann.

Learn more about Elliot Baker on his website. Stay connected on Twitter and Facebook. Like Elliott’s Author Page on Facebook to learn all his latest news.

Sloane said @ 12:18 am | Author Friend New Releases | Comments are off