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Beat the Heat Summer Supper

June 3, 2020

When the days are muggy and hot, cool down with this light and refreshing meal. Add a loaf of crusty fresh bread and a bottle of chilled, crisp white wine to make dinner complete.

GAZPACHO – Cold Fresh Vegetable Soup

Image by Яна Тикунова from Pixabay

1 large cucumber, peeled and chopped
5 medium Roma/plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, seeded and chopped
1 tbsp. garlic, chopped fine or pressed
4 cups French or Italian bread chunks, crust removed
4 cups cold water
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 tsps. salt
4 tbsps. olive oil
2 tbsp. tomato paste

Combine cucumber, tomatoes, onion, green pepper, garlic, and bread in a large bowl. Stir in water, vinegar, and salt. Ladle mixture into a blender or food processor. Be careful not to overload either appliance. Set on high speed until you have a smooth puree. Pour the blend into a clean large bowl and whisk in olive oil and tomato paste.

Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 2 hours minimum. Just before serving stir well to recombine ingredients. Ladle into a chilled tureen or large soup bowls.

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

Sloane

Sloane said @ 12:29 am | Cooking | Comments are off

An Author’s Comfort Zone

June 1, 2020

by Sharon Ledwith

This post could have also been dubbed ‘Balance 101 for Authors’. It’s been almost eight years since the first novel in my young adult time travel series hit the cyber bookshelves. To this day, I remember that there was so much to do, and it felt like there wasn’t enough time to do everything. Sometimes, I still don’t. I needed a time portal just to get all my marketing and promoting put in place or at least a diary. This included getting a website up and running, ordering promotional giveaways, setting up blog hops (are they still a thing?), writing a multitude of blog posts, and joining the appropriate social media networks. The lists seemed endless, and when the date finally arrived for my book release, I was wearing my shoulders as earrings.

Needless to say, by the end of my first book blog tour, I was exhausted, spent, and bent out of shape. Even my eyelids ached.

What I learned from the whole experience years ago is that authors need to learn to structure their writing life, or their writing will take a nose dive. We need to learn to create balance so that the task of being a writer plus a marketer plus a promoter doesn’t wear us down. So, how do we do this when so much is expected of a writer nowadays?

Start with finding your comfort zone. Find your personal comfort level with promotion or marketing, do that and do no more. That’s it. Do it. Or you’ll get burned. If you don’t heed my advice, then sure as shooting, negativity will leach into your writing. And that’s the last thing a writer wants!

Need help finding your comfort zone? Go to the dollar store and buy a timer or download a timer app on your phone. It will be one of the most important investments (and cheapest) as a writer you will make. For less than two dollars you can purchase a piece of sanity to help you organize your writing life and keep you in your zone. Set your timer to check emails. Fifteen minutes? Twenty minutes? Then do the same for Facebook and Twitter. But keep in mind which activity will help you as an author in the long run. Apply the 80/20 rule. Write (produce) for 80%, promote and market for only 20%. After all—social networking is a marketing strategy—as long as you treat it as such. Then, once you have laid the timer law down, set it for how long you want to sit and just write, with no interruptions (unless the dog or you really need to pee).

So, stop pushing the zone. Relax. Let go. Breathe.

That doesn’t mean writers shouldn’t learn or try new things. By all means learn and try. Get your hands dirty if you must. But don’t burst a vein in your brain doing it. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself that you collapse into a quivering mass of writer goo. As writers, we must protect our work—and ourselves. It takes time to build an on-line (and off-line) marketing presence in this publishing world. Learn this, cut yourself some slack, and prosper.

Thank you for reading my article! How do you find balance as a writer? Do you use a timer, or have you tried other ways to create balance in your writer’s life? Love to read your comments!

Ready for a trip to Atlantis? Here’s a brief intro to one of my time traveler books.

There is no moving forward without first going back.

Lilith was a young girl with dreams and a family before the final destruction of Atlantis shattered those dreams and tore her family apart. Now refugees, Lilith and her father make their home in the Black Land. This strange, new country has no place in Lilith’s heart until a beloved high priestess introduces Lilith to her life purpose—to be a Timekeeper and keep time safe.

Summoned through the seventh arch of Atlantis by the Children of the Law of One, Lilith and her newfound friends are sent into Atlantis’s past, and given a task that will ultimately test their courage and try their faith in each other. Can the Timekeepers stop the dark magus Belial before he changes the seers’ prophecy? If they fail, then their future and the earth’s fate will be altered forever.

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

A Wonderful Taste from Germany

May 27, 2020

from Tina Griffith

I was born in Germany where my mother frequently filled our home with the most amazing aromas. This is one of my favorite recipes and I want to share it with you.

Rouladen – Braised Stuffed Beef Rolls
6 slices top round steak, 4 x 6 inches, sliced ½ inch thick
6 tsp. German or coarsely ground mustard
½ cup onion, chopped fine – divided
5 garlic cloves, chopped fine
3 dill pickle spears cut in half lengthwise
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Toothpicks or kitchen twine
3 tbsp. lard or vegetable oil
2 cups water
2 tbsp. flour
1 tbsp. butter

Preheat oven to 325° F.

Place meat between 2 pieces of cling wrap or waxed paper. Gently pound meat to ¼ inch thick. Be careful not to tear the meat.

Spread mustard along meat slices. Sprinkle on ¼ cup onion and garlic. Lay a pickle piece at the bottom of each roll or the narrow end.

Roll meat into a cylinder starting at the pickle end. Pierce with toothpicks to hold together or tie with twine.

Brown meat on all sides in a medium size frying pan. Lay rolls in a roaster pan.

Add water to the frying pan and bring to a boil, scraping the sides and bottom to collect all the meat bits. Whisk in four and butter. Pour this mixture over the meat rolls.

Bake 1 hour or until meat is fork tender. Remove toothpicks before serving.

If you prefer a thicker gravy, combine 2 -3 tablespoons flour in ½ cup water. Bring to a boil in a small saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, to your desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper then stir into roasting pan gravy.

Boiled potatoes or dumplings along with red cabbage make this meal complete.

Here’s a bit from The Elusive Mr. Velucci, a timeless romance, I hope you’ll enjoy while your dinner is cooking.

Enrico and Sadie were now standing alone, and it was their turn to say good-bye. They faced each other, he took her hands in his, and he spoke in an extremely compassionate tone.

“I didn’t realize how much you would mean to me when we first met”, he whispered with total sincerity. His eyes had filled up and he could hardly see, and with everything in his soul, he very much wanted to stay right where he was. He was miserable because he knew he couldn’t, so he promised to come back as soon as possible.

“Enrico”, she whimpered, as she looked lovingly into his eyes. Her voice had a gentle softness to it, with undertones of abandonment. She wanted to say a thousand more words, but they got stuck in her throat.

“I know”, he revealed, in a voice that was fragile and shaking. It was quite evident to everyone around them, that he wasn’t prepared to say good-bye to the beautiful girl standing in front of him. He brought his forehead forward until it was touching hers, and they cried with immense fear that they would never see each other again.

An announcement came over the P.A., which stated that all passengers must get checked in. It was in that moment when Enrico knew in his heart, that no miracle was coming and that he would have to leave. He pulled his head back from hers and looked deep into Sadie’s unhappy eyes. He had not expected to fall in love, and now he could feel his own heart breaking.

Enrico placed both of his hands against the sides of her face, and slowly closed his eyes. With all the love he had inside of him, he kissed her forehead, her cheeks, her nose, and then her mouth. It baffled him that this woman had provided him with the absolute need to love another living soul, for he would not have guessed that to be possible. He wanted to hold her, take care of her, know her whereabouts, and love her for the rest of his life, but he could not; he had waited too long to change the course of his immediate future.

Enrico was becoming frustrated that he had taken eight months to get to know her, but he had only had six hours to really love her. He pulled her body closer to his, and then held on tight. ‘If only I had known or acted sooner…’ he whispered.
Enrico needed to go, so he ended their embrace as hurriedly as it had begun.

A flash of wild grief suddenly ripped through her soul, as Sadie realized the true reality of what was happening. “Enrico!” she cried from every pore in her body. Her eyes were begging him to stay, while her heart was breaking into a million pieces. The whole thing suddenly felt very real, and severe panic began to fill every fiber of her being.

Enrico examined her face and he knew what she wanted. “I’ll be back”, he assured her, in a voice that was both soft and trying to stay strong. He picked up his suitcase with one hand, and he placed something in her hand with the other.

Without looking to see what it was, she swaddled the object safely in the palm of her hand, while keeping her eyes locked with his.

Enrico twisted his upper body to face his family and shouted, “Good-bye everyone!” He turned around to take one more look into the face of his beloved Sadie, and then he began to walk away.

“No!” she shouted loudly. The simple word dissolved into the air like a crispy leaf in the fall.

Enrico hadn’t gotten very far, and now it was him who was falling apart. He took one more look in her direction, put his hand to his mouth, and blew her a kiss. “Bye for now!” he said quietly. As he faced forward again, he began to cry. Not full-out crying like a small child who had gotten hurt on the playground, but a grown man’s frustration and enormous displeasure of things that he couldn’t fix or change.

Nothing in her mind or body was able to let him go, and now Sadie felt like she couldn’t breathe. Her muscles were paralyzed and she was experiencing numbness all over. Her eyebrows were raised, her eyes were wide open, and a look of extreme anxiety shot across her face.

While Enrico was moving his feet, he was trying to hide his appearance from the other travelers. He was utterly depressed and having a hard time forcing his emotions to stay down. He tried to make it look like he was holding back a sneeze rather than a flood of tears, but when one or two drops of salty water leaked out from their moist environment, Enrico wiped them off of his face with the sleeve of his right arm and kept going.

Sadie had been watching the man she loves walk away, and with an incredible amount of courage, she boldly took a few steps towards him. “En-ri-co!” She shouted his name as she extended her left hand far in front of her body, but he didn’t turn around. With sheer desperation gushing from the very core of her soul, she wanted to run after him, to hold him one last time, but she knew she couldn’t; their time was up.

Enrico heard her calling him, but he couldn’t bear to turn around again; he knew that if he saw her, he would run back into her arms and he would never let go. Instead, he made himself a promise to return to New York as soon as he could.

Sadie stood frozen in her tracks, while anxiety guided her every thought. She watched Enrico, as he continued to walk in a hurried pace, and she wanted him to come back. “Enrico”, she sighed, with little air passing through her trembling lips. “I love you.” Her head was bent in sorrow while the world was crashing down around her.

After Enrico boarded the large vessel, he made sure to stand on the very end of the large deck. He was facing her, but they were so far apart. His hand leaped high into the air and swayed back and forth, as he watched her wave back to him. He could tell that she was beckoning him to come back, and it was killing him that he couldn’t.

Sadie’s heart leaped in her chest when she saw him. “Enrico!” she called loudly. She saw him waving, and she waved back with as much energy as she could muster. She couldn’t take her eyes off of the handsome man, who only hours ago, had made passionate love to her. “I’m here!” she cried. Her voice had cracked and was full of raw emotion.

Enrico’s face was wearing the biggest smile of his life, and he waved with all of his might. “Sadie!” he called, as if she could hear him.

“Enrico!” she shouted. She knew in that instance that he was the man who she would love for the rest of her life.

The ship blew its horn a few times, and then it slowly pulled away from the dock.

“No!” she screamed, as her body went into an even bigger panic mode. Tears were trickling down her moist and flushed cheeks, as her soul was being smashed into a thousand different pieces. “Please don’t leave!” she pleaded at the top of her lungs. She was yelling with as much force as she had in her body, and was stunned that no-one was looking in her direction. ‘Why were they not helping me get him back?’ she wondered wildly.

“Sadie!” Enrico called, but the sound of his words were not as clear anymore. “I love you!” he added happily. “Can you hear me?”

With all the noise that was around her, Sadie’s ears didn’t get to receive his tender words. “How will I go on without you?” she cried, while choking on her own tears. Her heart was in her throat, her will to live had been taken away, and now there was a horrible, empty ache in her soul.

“Enrico!” Sadie shouted at full volume. She continued to step closer and closer to the edge of the platform, as the ship appeared to go further and further away from the shore. “No-o-o-o-o!” she screamed, as if that would somehow stop what was happening.

With each moment that passed, their hearts were growing heavier with the sadness that was now weighing them down. Minute-by-minute, their emotional pain was getting worse, and almost an hour later, the ship was nothing more than a mere dot on the large body of water.

Sadie had fallen to her knees before the ship had totally disappeared, and it was then when she discovered what Enrico had placed in her closed fist – a beautiful silver locket. On the left side of the elaborately engraved heart, was a picture of Enrico. On the right, was a picture of her.

AMAZON BUY LINKS E-BOOK PAPERBACK

Tina Griffith, who also wrote twenty-seven children’s books as Tina Ruiz, was born in Germany, but her family moved to Canada when she was in grammar school.

After her husband of 25 years passed away, she wrote romance novels to keep the love inside her heart. Tina now has eleven romance novels on Amazon, and while all of them have undertones of a love story, they are different genres; murder, mystery, whimsical, witches, ghosts, suspense, adventure, and her sister’s scary biography.

Tina has worked in television and radio as well as being a professional clown at the Children’s Hospital. She lives in Calgary with her second husband who encourages her to write her passion be it high-quality children’s books or intriguing romance.

Stay connected with Tina (Griffith) Ruiz on her Facebook group Tina Speaks Out.

Sloane said @ 12:17 am | Author Friend Promo, Cooking | Comments are off

Can You Find it in Your Heart?

May 25, 2020

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 @ 12:53 am | Holidays | Comments are off

HAIR PERILS

May 18, 2020

from Catherine Castle

My husband read something on Facebook that said by the time the shelter-at-home COVID-19 orders are finally lifted there will be 88% fewer blondes. I laughed out loud at the quip when he read it. It was especially funny to me since just last night I mentioned to my husband the female news anchor on the local channel we watch had a very dark streak at the top of her very blonde head. To my knowledge, I’ve never see dark roots on her before.

I’m a blonde. I was born a towhead blonde. I had lovely blonde hair most of my young life. I have always been a blonde. I will always be a blonde until such time as my hair comes in a beautiful silver shade, which is only happening at my temples right now.

After hearing the Facebook quip, I thought Why is that so funny? I’m beginning to resemble that remark. Then I pulled out my cell phone to take a picture of the top of my head.

I have a ½ inch dark streak at the crown of my head. It’s shot with silver, but not enough to lay claim to beautiful. In fact, it looks a bit like a reverse, skunk streak. No “Darling I am growing old, silver threads among the gold,” for me. It’s more like “Darling, I am growing old, dishwater blonde among the gold.” Not pretty. In fact it’s downright ugly. It looked much worse than what I could see in the bathroom mirror. And, no, I’m not going to show you that photo. I don’t want to give you nightmares. It’s bad enough that I saw it.

In this forced stay-at-home time, many people are thinking “When can I go back to work? When can the kids go back to school? When can I go see a movie or eat a sit-down meal at a restaurant?” Not me. My first outing thought is “When can I go to the beauty parlor?”

I just hope I don’t have to wait as long for an appointment as I’ve had to wait to buy toilet paper. A girl can only stand so much, after all.

If you’re waiting for your next beauty appointment, or any other non-COVID-19 event, check out Catherine’s multi-award-winning, inspirational romantic suspense The Nun and the Narc. This action-packed adventure will take your mind off your COVIS-19 troubles—for a while at least.

Where novice Sister Margaret Mary goes, trouble follows. When she barges into a drug deal the local Mexican drug lord captures her. To escape she must depend on undercover DEA agent Jed Bond. Jed’s attitude toward her is exasperating, but when she finds herself inexplicably attracted to him, he becomes more dangerous than the men who have captured them by making her doubt her decision to take her final vows. Escape back to the nunnery is imperative, but life at the convent, if she can still take her final vows, will never be the same.

Nuns shouldn’t look, talk, act, or kiss like Sister Margaret Mary O’Connor—at least that’s what Jed Bond thinks. She hampers his escape plans with her compulsiveness and compassion, and in the process makes Jed question his own beliefs. After years of walling up his emotions in an attempt to become the best agent possible, Sister Margaret is crumbling Jed’s defenses and opening his heart. To lure her away from the church would be unforgivable—to lose her unbearable.

Amazon Buy Link

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 @ 12:39 am | Author Friend Promo | Comments are off

A DEEP SOUTH SPECIALTY

May 13, 2020

from Leigh Goff

Here is a dessert I confiscated and made my own. This New Orleans treat is perfect on a special night for two as well as holiday gatherings and everything in between.

Here are a few tips to make preparing this dessert easier:

Soak the raisins in bourbon before you start this recipe. You can even soak them a day or two ahead.

The bread you use should be a little dry. If the bread you are using is fresh, after you cube it, spread it out on a sheet pan and put it in a 200° F oven for 10 minutes.

Go easy on the bourbon sauce. It is strong! But so delicious.

Bread Pudding
1 cup raisins
¼ cup bourbon whiskey
1 loaf French bread, at least a day old, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 qt. milk
3 large eggs
2 cups sugar
2 tbsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. allspice
¼ – ½ tsp. cinnamon
3 tbsp. butter, melted

Combine raisins and bourbon in a small bowl. Cover and soak for 1 to 2 hours or until the raisins have absorbed most of the bourbon.

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Pour milk into a large bowl. Add bread and press into milk with your hands or a large spoon until all the milk is absorbed.

In a separate bowl, whisk eggs until frothy. Whisk in sugar, vanilla, allspice, and cinnamon. Pour over bread mixture. Add bourbon-soaked raisins, with or without the remaining soaking liquid. Stir gently to combine.

Pour melted butter onto bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Coat the bottom and the sides of the pan well with the butter. Pour in bread mixture then egg mixture.

Bake 35 – 45 minutes, until liquid has set. The pudding is done when the edges are just brown and pulling away from the pan edge.

Bourbon Sauce
½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
½ cup Kentucky bourbon whiskey, amount according to taste

Make the bourbon sauce while the bread pudding is cooking.

Melt butter in a saucepan on low heat. Whisk in sugar and egg. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove pan from heat.

Do not allow mixture to simmer! Or the sauce will curdle. By the way, if your sauce curdles, just take it off the heat and blend it smooth in a blender.

Whisk in bourbon. Whisk again before serving. The sauce should be soft, creamy, and smooth.

Serve with whiskey sauce on the side. This dessert is best eaten the day it is made.

Please allow me to share a sneak peek of my Coming Soon Southern Gothic book while you enjoy your pudding.

Koush Hollow:
Where bayou magic abounds and all that glitters…is deadly.

After her father’s untimely death, Jenna Ashby moves to Koush Hollow, a bayou town outside of New Orleans, dreading life with her wealthy mother.

As the sixteen-year-old eco-warrior is introduced to the Diamonds & Pearls, her mother’s exclusive social club, she comes to the troubling realization that secrets are a way of life in Koush Hollow.

 How do the Diamonds & Pearls look so young, where does their money come from, and why is life along the bayou disappearing?

As Jenna is drawn into their seductive world, her curiosity and concerns beg her to uncover the truth. However, in this town where mysticism abounds and secrets are deadly, the truth is not what Jenna could have ever imagined.

Preorder at The Parliament House



Leigh Goff writes young adult fiction. She is a graduate from the University of Maryland and a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI).

Born and raised on the East Coast, she now lives in Maryland where she enjoys the area’s great history and culture.

Her third young adult novel, Koush Hollow, a Southern gothic set in New Orleans, will release on September 1, 2020 from The Parliament House.

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

Sloane said @ 12:25 am | Author Friend Promo, Cooking | Comments are off

Pigskins and Plot Twists

May 11, 2020

Written by the C.(Catherine) of C.D. Hersh

My writing partner (The D in C.D. Hersh who is my husband) and I were talking about the Super Bowl over dinner one night. He commented that the game of football was a lot like writing a book.

“How so?” I asked.

“Football is a series of scripted plays set within the rules of the game,” he said. “With the object being to win. Writers have a scripted set of plays to work within too—the basic structure of a plot—with the goal being a satisfying ending. Certain plays are designed to fool the defense. The team that does this the best, with twists in the plays the opposition doesn’t expect, ends up with the big score and wins the game. The writers who come up with the best plot twists, the ones that make you go ‘whoa, I didn’t see that coming’ are the writers who often succeed in the business. The ones who score big and win the game.”

I admit I hadn’t thought much about comparing football to writing, but after thinking about what he said, I saw the connection. For example, last night we watched the romantic comedy When in Rome that had plot twists that made us both say, “Didn’t see that coming.” And believe me, as writers we are always dissecting the movies we watch. See if you can figure out the plot twists in this fun movie.

While in Rome, Italy, at her sister’s wedding, Beth, who doesn’t believe in love, meets the best man Nick and discovers she’s attracted to him. During the reception the priest comes by and asks Nick if he’ll come play poker with him again, explaining to a shocked Beth that he’s new to the priesthood and is still working on getting a handle on some temptations. Nick declines, saying the padre cleaned him out already and whisks Beth off to dance.

Later, giving into her attraction, Beth follows Nick outside with a bottle of champagne and sees him kiss another woman. Disillusioned, and drunk, Beth picks up four coins and a poker chip from a lover’s wishing fountain in the town square. Legend says those who throw their coins in the fountain

will have their wishes come true. Love has never worked for Beth, and she decides to save the wishers from ill fated love by removing their coins.

When she returns home to the States, the men who threw the coins in the fountain begin appearing, professing their love. One of the guys is Nick, the best man at her sister’s wedding. As her relationship with Nick grows, Beth discovers the lovesick men stalking her have fallen under a spell cast by the fountain when she removed their coins. To remove the spell she must return the coins to each of the men.

While at Nick’s apartment one night she sees a poker chip on the table that is identical to the one she removed from the fountain. She breaks up with him, believing he is under the spell too. Beth returns the coins to the men and, as she does, they snap out of the spell, everyone that is but Nick, who professes his forever love for her.

At this point, any romance reader knows that Nick isn’t under the spell. It’s too contrary to the rules of romance. True love always wins out. But the writer hasn’t shown us who the poker chip belongs too. All along we are lead to believe the chip belongs to Nick. We’ve seen a poker game at his home using the same chips. He’s acted with the same lovesick impulses the other four men displayed. There’s a plot twist in the wings, but we haven’t quite figured it out yet.

A year later Beth and Nick are back in Rome, preparing for their wedding when one of the lovesick men, a magician who played sleight of hand with Nick’s poker chip, comes to her and says he gave her the wrong chip back. Beth now believes Nick is still under the fountain’s spell.

As the wedding scene plays out, it’s obvious the priest is having trouble with the wedding sermon. He draws out the invitation to object to the marriage. He gives the bride inappropriate compliments. He changes the vows to “will you have this woman as your awful wedded wife?” He’s clearly under duress performing this wedding. When he asks Beth, “Will you have this man as your awful wedded husband?”

She presses the poker chip into Nick’s hand and runs out of the church. Nick follows and she confesses to him that he’s under the spell of the fountain because she removed his poker chip from the water. He doesn’t really love her.

“This isn’t my chip,” Nick say and throws it back in the fountain. 


In the background, behind Beth and Nick kissing in front of the fountain, you see the priest whirling around on the square shouting, “I’m free from temptation!”

The second twist? The owner of the chip didn’t wish for love, but to be free of it.

Just like a football team’s defensive back is fooled by a play action pass, we have to admit—we didn’t see that one coming.

Here’s a sample of a miss-direction for the police and our main characters in our first book The Promised One. In this story a shape shifter is murdered and returns to the natural persona: a man. The problem was he had been shifted into a smaller female whose dress did not fit well over his muscular male body. Trying to keep the police from drawing the wrong conclusions keeps the main characters busy coming up with plausible explanations for a man in a dress that is too small for him.

EXCERPT
The woman stared at him, blood seeping from the corner of her mouth. “Return the ring, or you’ll be sorry.”

With a short laugh he stood. “Big words for someone bleeding to death.” After dropping the ring into his pocket, he gathered the scattered contents of her purse, and started to leave.

“Wait.” The words sounded thick and slurred . . . two octaves deeper . . . with a Scottish lilt.

Shaw frowned and spun back toward her. The pounding in his chest increased. On the ground, where the woman had fallen, lay a man.

He wore the same slinky blue dress she had—the seams ripped, the dress top collapsed over hard chest muscles, instead of smoothed over soft, rounded curves. The hem skimmed across a pair of hairy, thick thighs. Muscled male thighs. Spiked heels hung at an odd angle, toes jutting through the shoe straps. The same shoes she’d been wearing.

The alley tipped. Shaw leaned against the dumpster to steady himself. He shook his head to clear the vision, then slowly moved his gaze over the body.

A pair of steel-blue eyes stared out of a chiseled face edged with a trim salt-and-pepper beard. Shaw whirled around scanning the alley.

Where was the woman? And who the hell was this guy?

Terrified, Shaw fled.

The dying man called out, “You’re cursed. Forever.”

As you can see miss-direction can be quite startling when not expected. Do you have some memorable plot twists in stories that you consider winners? We’d love to hear them.

Following are the covers and back cover blurbs of the books in our series, The Turning Stone Chronicles.

The Promised One The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 1
In the wrong hands, the Turning Stone ring is a powerful weapon for evil. So, when homicide detective Alexi Jordan discovers her secret society mentor has been murdered and his magic ring stolen, she is forced to use her shape-shifting powers to catch the killer. By doing so, she risks the two most important things in her life—her badge and the man she loves.

Rhys Temple always knew his fiery cop partner and would-be-girlfriend, Alexi Jordan, had a few secrets. He considers that part of her charm. But when she changes into a man, he doesn’t find that as charming. He’ll keep her secret to keep her safe, but he’s not certain he can keep up a relationship—professional or personal.

Danny Shaw needs cash for the elaborate wedding his fiancée has planned, so he goes on a mugging spree. But when he kills a member of the secret society of Turning Stones, and steals a magic ring that gives him the power to shape shift, Shaw gets more than he bargained for.

Blood Brothers The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 2 
When Delaney Ramsey is enlisted to help train two of the most powerful shape shifters the Turning Stone Society has seen in thousands of years, she suspects one of them is responsible for the disappearance of her daughter. To complicate matters, the man has a secret that could destroy them all. Bound by honor to protect the suspect, Delaney must prove his guilt without losing her life to his terrible powers or revealing to the police captain she’s falling for that she’s a shape shifter with more than one agenda.

The minute Captain Williams lays eyes on Delaney Ramsey, he knows she’s trouble. Uncooperative, secretive, and sexy, he can’t get her out of his mind. When he discovers she has a personal agenda for sifting through all the criminal records in his precinct, and secretly investigating his best detective, he can’t let her out of his sight. He must find out what she’s looking for before she does something illegal. If she steps over the line, he’s not certain he can look the other way for the sake of love.

Son of the Moonless Night The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 3
Owen Todd Jordan Riley has a secret. He’s a shape shifter who has been hunting and killing his own kind. To him the only good shifter is a dead shifter. Revenge for the death of a friend motivates him, and nothing stands in his way . . . except Katrina Romanovski, the woman he is falling in love with.

Deputy coroner Katrina Romanovski has a secret, too. She hunts and kills paranormal beings like Owen. At least she did. When she rescues Owen from an attack by a werebear she is thrust back into the world she thought she’d left. Determined to find out what Owen knows about the bear, she begins a relationship meant to collect information. What she gets is something quite different-love with a man she suspects of murder. Can she reconcile his deception and murderous revenge spree and find a way to redeem him? Or will she condemn him for the same things she has done and walk away from love?

The Mercenary and the Shifters The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 4
When mercenary soldier Michael Corritore answers a desperate call from an ex-military buddy, he finds himself in the middle of a double kidnapping, caught in an ancient war between two shape shifter factions, and ensnared between two female shape shifters after the same thing … him.

Shape shifter Fiona Kayler will do anything to keep the shipping company her father left her, including getting in bed with the enemy. But when she believes the man trying to steal her company is involved with kidnapping her nephew, she must choose between family, fortune, and love. The problem is…she wants all three.

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 first four books of their paranormal romance series entitled The Turning Stone Chronicles are available on Amazon. They 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 novella, Can’t Stop The Music, with twelve other authors from various genres with a book coming out each month in 2017.

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.
Visit our Amazon Author Pagehttp://www.amazon.com/author/cdhershto check out our books to see if we have delivered the “didn’t see that coming” moment.

Sloane said @ 12:22 am | Author Friend Promo | Comments are off

COOL and REFRESHING

May 5, 2020

from Gina Briganti, B.S., Certified Nutrition Consultant

After trying every protein powder in the health food store and in my Urthbox delivery for the last three years, I know this is the best. Why? It’s organic. It’s hemp, which is a known superfood for its complete protein profile. It’s 100% hemp protein, no sugars or flavors added. I love the grind they use, which isn’t too fine, the way you often see with rice protein powder, which means that it blends well and has a nice texture. More bonuses – widely available, gluten-free, dairy-free, and there’s no bitter taste like you see with rice protein powder or pea protein powder.

Here’s an easy recipe to try out. Once you know the basics, you can take your smoothies as far as your imagination will go.

Freeze the strawberries if you want a chilled smoothie and freeze the banana, too, if you want an icy smoothie.

Banana Berry Smoothie
1 banana
1 cup strawberries
1½ cups milk of your choice, but one with protein*
¼ cup Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein Powder

Put the fruit into the blender cup. Add protein powder. Then add milk. If you like a thinner smoothie, you may want to add more milk at this point.

Blend for 45 seconds. Enjoy!

*We use Trader Joe’s Simply Almond and Good Karma + Protein. Both are unsweetened. If you use animal-derived milk, buy organic, grass-fed, and raw, if the laws where you live allow for it. If not, get as close to that standard as you can.

One handy reason why smoothies became and stayed popular is how versatile they are. You can put supplements in and never taste them. I use MSM powder (known for its bitter taste and for its effectiveness) for inherited arthritis. It helps me use my hands all day long without painful, forced rest breaks. Another supplement I put in my smoothie is liquid iodine, which I personally have a high need for to keep my thyroid happy.

Smoothies are fast, easy, and delicious. Pro tip: use only the best ingredients. The fewer toxins you take in, the fewer you have to detox. This way all the good stuff works extra well to give you longevity, happy taste buds, and the freedom to satisfy your cravings.

I have a delicious mocha smoothie recipe. If you want to see it, comment and I will share.

Do you have a favorite smoothie combination?

Nutrition is one of my greatest passions and it’s important for every living being. That’s why I love sharing easy, tasty ways to nourish yourself.

You know what else is important? Having lots of organized tools to turn to when you’re figuring out new parts of your life. Like the ones in this workbook.

One reviewer called it “A personal blueprint for happiness.” You can get your copy here.

I include a monthly workbook exercise in my newsletter, which you can sign up for here. You’ll get 6 Fast Vitality Boosters delivered to your inbox immediately.

In closing I have two questions for you.

What are your dreams?

How can I help you live them?

Thanks for the time we spent together today!
Gina

Gina Briganti is a Holistic Health Consultant, Reiki Teacher, graphic designer and author. You can find her in Dallas, TX enjoying life, following my passion, and helping others do the same.

But it’s called The Reiki Cafe. Where’s the food? Gina is writing a book with fabulous healthy recipes in it. She will share all the good food in her newsletter, which you can sign up for here.
Reiki class retreats are forming now in north Texas, where the food is done for you, and you receive a copy of all the recipes you ate during the retreat. Get on the list for the next retreat by signing up for the newsletter.


Connect with Gina through e-mail, on Facebook, her Amazon Author Page, YouTube channel, InstagramTwitterBookbub, and Goodreads.  There are exclusives and announcements that she shares only in her newsletter, which you can sign up for right here.

Sloane said @ 5:17 pm | Author Friend Promo, Cooking | Comments are off

NEW RELEASE for CAROL BROWNE

WYRD’S END, Book III in The Elwardain Chronicles series written by gifted epic fantasy author Carol Browne, is now live! The books in this trilogy may be read in order or at your choice. Whichever you choose, be sure to get your copy today!

Determined to spare Godwin the violent death shown to her in dreams, Elgiva uses the portal to cross over into his dimension.

Meanwhile, members of Godwin’s tribe seek sanctuary at the settlement. What has caused them to flee for their lives?

Disguises must be lifted and secrets revealed and wyrd will unfold as it should.

But time is running out…

For it is winter and the darkness is coming;

A darkness with teeth and claws.

BUY LINKS
Amazon USAmazon UK

Born in Stafford in the UK, Carol Browne was raised in Crewe, Cheshire, which she thinks of as her home town. Interested in reading and writing at an early age, Carol pursued her passions at Nottingham University and was awarded an honours degree in English Language and Literature. Now living and working in the Cambridgeshire countryside, Carol usually writes fiction but has also taken a plunge into non-fiction with Being Krystyna. This story of a Holocaust survivor has been well received.

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

Sloane said @ 3:36 pm | Author Friend New Releases | Comments are off

Coping – the Emotional Challenges of a Writer

May 4, 2020

from Sharon Ledwith

As an author, the number one emotional challenge I find is being overwhelmed. These days, writers must wear so many hats. Indie authors more so. If you’re lucky to score a contract with a publisher like I did, a lot of the work such as your book cover design, editing, formatting, and some marketing and promoting like book blog tours are taken care of for you. When you’re under contract with a publisher you’re part of a team, and are expected to participate fully. But if you decide to go with self-publishing you either learn the ropes and wear all the hats, or delegate and hire cover artists, editors, formatters, and book promotion or marketing specialists. And believe me it’s not cheap.

We live in a new time of publishing where the rules are not quite yet defined, and anything goes. So writers need to figure out what they can handle, and what they can’t. I hired a web designer. I’ve even hired a book promotion specialist company to help with my social media presence as an author. Writers are a tough breed. You must realize that you can’t handle everything. Or this business will break you. It’s humbling to understand you need to rely on others, and it will create a sense of peace. Balance what you can, and dole out the rest.

Writing is such a solitary profession. Humans need human contact. Period. Face it, we weren’t born to live a life of solitude. Like attracts like, and writers are no exception. I connected with other writers through courses, social media, my publishers, writing groups—I could go on, but you get the gist—because of our common love of books and writing. Writers know what other writers go through. They feel each other’s pain, know what it’s like to be rejected, and invest a lot of time, energy, and money into a profession that may or may not pay off in the long run.

Supporting other writers, and helping them out when the going gets tough, has helped me tremendously when I’ve felt down in the dumps and overwhelmed. And those awesome writers do the same for me. These emotional challenges happen to the best of us. So why not hang with like-minded souls, who can give you a hug—virtually or physically?

What are some of the emotional challenges you’ve faced as a writer? How did you deal with these challenges? Would love to read and respond to your comments! Cheers and thank you for reading my article!

Here’s a glimpse into one of the books from Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls, my teen psychic mystery series.

The only witness left to testify against an unsolved crime in Fairy Falls isn’t a person…

City born and bred, Hart Stewart possesses the gift of psychometry—the psychic ability to discover facts about an event or person by touching inanimate objects associated with them. Since his mother’s death, seventeen-year-old Hart has endured homelessness, and has learned ways to keep his illiteracy under wraps. He eventually learns of a great-aunt living in Fairy Falls, and decides to leave the only life he’s ever known for an uncertain future.

Diana MacGregor lives in Fairy Falls. Her mother was a victim of a senseless murder. Only Diana’s unanswered questions and her grief keeps her going, until Hart finds her mother’s lost ring and becomes a witness to her murder.

Through Hart’s psychic power, Diana gains hope for justice. Their investigation leads them into the corrupt world threatening Fairy Falls. To secure the town’s future, Hart and Diana must join forces to uncover the shocking truth, or they risk losing the true essence of Fairy Falls forever.

AMAZON BUY LINK


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 @ 12:36 am | Author Friend Promo | Comments are off