Blog

SOUP’S ON!

January 27, 2021 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

from Chris Pavesic 

My sister-in-law Breen loves to cook and occasionally works her magic in my kitchen. Just the other day she prepared one of our family favorites. We thoroughly enjoy a bowl or two during winter as lunch or dinner. For me the pepitas make this dish a hit. I love scooping them out one at a time with a spoonful of soup!

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

4 lbs. butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-in. cubes

2 tbsp. olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tbsp. unsalted butter

1 onion, roughly chopped

8 cups chicken broth

1 tsp. dried thyme

Pepitas (Shelled pumpkin seeds)

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Place squash on baking sheets; avoid overcrowding.  Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Roast for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large Dutch oven over medium-low heat, melt the butter.  Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Pour in the chicken broth and add thyme.  Bring to a boil.

Remove the squash from the oven and add to the broth.  Simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Using a regular or immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth.  Serve warm.  Top with pepitas if desired.

Why not read a good book while you enjoy your soup? 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.

Traveler's ZoneAbove 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 LINKS

Starter Zone

Traveler’s Zone

Chris 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 FacebookTwitter, and her Amazon Author Page.

 

 

Add A Comment

Age Doesn’t Matter

January 25, 2021 | Author Friend Promo

Just Ask Abraham’s Wife Sarah

from Catherine Castle

I got a text from my daughter the other day. It read, “You’re kind of like Laura Ingalls Wilder. She didn’t get published until 65.”

 I took a bit of umbrage to that statement, and pulled a bit of pride from it as well. I’d love to be an internationally well-known writer like Laura Ingalls Wilder, who was one of my favorite authors –as well as my daughter’s favorite author, now and when she was young. I wasn’t so crazy about the 65 bit, however. I was under 65 when my first book was published, and well under 65 in how-young-you-feel-and-look years. (And isn’t that what really counts?)

 However, my daughter’s statement got me to thinking about how our accomplishments aren’t limited to age. I was actually in my early 40s when I began writing professionally as a stringer for our local town newspaper. I’d always loved to write and had filled a notebook full of poems, written dozens of short stories that never made it past the Mom-thinks-it’s-wonderful stage, and composed countless school essays that always made great marks. The writing assignments that other students groaned about, I relished. I loved everything about them, from the research, to the actual writing, and even the editing—things that serve me well now as a published author.

Writing and reading have always been my passions, along with singing and acting. As a teenager I wanted to be a rock-and-roll singer or act on stage. At the time, writing never even entered my realm of careers. It was only a hobby I loved. I never made it to the limelight of center stage, in spite of the many times I tried out for school plays or musicals. I got chorus parts, but never the starring roles.

Ahh, but never give up. There’s a time and a place for everything and, for some of us, that time comes later in life. Today, I’m a published author—both as a solo author and co-authoring with my husband. I sing onstage at church, praising the Lord who gave me my voice. I’m also co-writing plays for our church (with my husband), acting and co-directing in plays for our church. Granted, it’s not Hollywood, which I have decided I wouldn’t want to be part of now anyway. Nor am I on the New York Times Bestseller list, to which I still aspire. But I’m doing what I’ve always wanted to. I’ve discovered doing what you love, at any age, is satisfying beyond belief.

Here’s the interesting thing about how everything turned out: I believe I’m right where God wants me to be, at the time of my life he wanted me to be there. After all, if he could give Sarah and Abraham a child in their old age, at just the right time to begin His plan of salvation for the world, who am I to question why my bit of success didn’t come when I was twenty?

Mine is not to wonder why, but just to do and be satisfied. So, if you’re bemoaning the fact that you haven’t “made it” yet in the publishing world, or with any other goal you’ve set for yourself, don’t. Just keep working toward that goal and relish the success, no matter how big or small, when it comes.

Catherine achieved her goal publication and also won several awards with her debut book, The Nun and the Narc. Check out the blurb and read a sample on Amazon.

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 inexplicable attracted to him he becomes more dangerous than the men who have captured them, because he is 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.

The Nun and the Narc is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Multi-award winning author Catherine Castle loves writing. Before beginning her career as a romance writer she worked part-time as a freelance writer. She has over 600 articles and photographs to her credit, under her real name, in the Christian and secular market. She also lays claim to over 300 internet articles written on a variety of subjects and several hundred poems. In addition to writing she loves reading, traveling, singing, theatre, quilting and gardening. She’s a passionate gardener whose garden won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club. She writes sweet and inspirational romances. You can find her award-winning Soul Mate books The Nun and the Narc and A Groom for Mama, on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Follow her on Twitter @AuthorCCastle, FB or her blog.

Add A Comment

PIZZA EXTRAORDINAIRE

January 20, 2021 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

from Sharon Ledwith

Ready for some comfort food? I bet you are! So, let’s go with a fan favorite – PIZZA! Not just any pizza, but one so extraordinaire you’ll toss all those take-out menus and never order in again. The sauce is superb and flavorful, and is worth adding the numerous ingredients. This pizza is perfect for game night and gatherings on those cool or damp days at your vacation or stay-cation home. Now that’s Amore!

SAUCE
1 – 6 oz. can tomato paste
6 oz. warm water (110° F/45° C)
3 tbsp. Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tsp. garlic, minced
2 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. anchovy paste
¾ tsp. onion powder
¼ tsp. dried oregano
¼ tsp. dried marjoram
¼ tsp. dried basil
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper
⅛ tsp. dried red pepper flakes
Salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Stir well, breaking up any cheese clumps.

Allow the sauce to sit for 30 minutes to blend flavors. Spread sauce evenly over the dough. Add any of toppings you like.

CRUST
2¼ tsp. active dry yeast
½ tsp. brown sugar
1½ cups warm water (110° F/45° C)
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. olive oil
3⅓ cups all-purpose flour
Vegetable or olive oil

Use a large bowl to dissolve yeast and brown sugar in the water. Let sit for 10 minutes.

Stir salt and oil into the yeast solution. Mix in 2½ cups of flour.

Turn dough out onto clean, well-floured surface, and knead in more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. You may or may not use all of the remaining 1⅓ cups of flour.

Place dough into a well-oiled bowl and then cover with a cloth. Let dough rise until double, approximately 1 hour. Punch down dough and then form it into a tight ball. Allow the dough to relax for a minute before rolling out.

Preheat oven to 425° (220° C).

If you are baking the dough on a pizza stone, you may spread the sauce and add your favorite toppings on the dough, and bake immediately. If you are baking your pizza in a pan, lightly oil the pan, and let the dough rise for 15 or 20 minutes before topping and baking it.

Bake pizza until cheese and crust are golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.

While you’re enjoying your slice of mouth-watering, made-to-order pizza why not put your feet up and relax on the couch with a good book? May I suggest a visit to Fairy Falls, or if you’re feeling really adventurous, a trip back in time with The Last Timekeepers? Whichever you choose, I assure you that either series will take you on a journey far away from the chaos and problems of your world.

Here is a brief intro from Book 2 of my Fairy Falls 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, 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.

Add A Comment

One Step Nearer the Epilogue

January 18, 2021 | Author Friend Promo

from Carol Browne

Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

The metaphor that likens life to a book is a common one. Viewing our progress through existence as a series of chapters appeals to our need to put things in boxes and compartments. Each chapter can be titled after a significant event or rite of passage: infancy; puberty; marriage; first job; and so on. There is no set number of chapters and each one may have different themes and moods. The length of each chapter is as variable as the length of the entire book; it is, however, generally assumed that a valuable lesson or learning experience should be included in the narrative.

The latest chapter in my own book of life is the one headed ‘Retirement’. I have longed to reach this chapter but I am fully aware of the potential dangers that lie within its pages. For many, retirement is the end of usefulness when we become a drain on society and not a contributor anymore. It can make us feel less important and rob us of our self-respect and purpose. We tell ourselves that we have nothing to look forward to but an eventual decline into infirmity. But, as with all previous chapters, we have a choice in how we approach this new status. It’s all a question of attitude.

We can embrace our new freedom because we have earned it, and we don’t have to let ourselves go or stop learning. We can still work if we want to, but now we can choose what work we do, and when. Retirement doesn’t have to mean bingo and chamber music, complaining about the younger generation, or behaving with dignity at all times. The contribution of the elders to society should be enormous because finally we have the time and financial freedom we need to change the world. It’s not just by doing voluntary work or becoming politically active. We are now more useful than ever before because we have a lifetime of knowledge and experience and we can use that to guide those who are still struggling through earlier chapters. I would encourage all my fellow oldsters to reject the idea that they are on the scrapheap, because the fun is only just beginning.

I’m hoping ‘the undiscover’d country’ is some way off for me yet, but when they come to write my epilogue I hope it will show me in a favourable light. I hope it will include my successes as well as my failures. I would like to think I had made a difference to the world and left it in a better condition than I found it, even if it’s in a small way. I have plans for this particular learning experience and trust that the epilogue will celebrate my success. Most importantly of all, once my book is finished, I hope those I leave behind me will give it a five-star review.

Just to prove to you sitting in a rocker all day is not in my future, here’s a peek at my latest epic fantasy. I hope you enjoy it.

His adventures in Elvendom left Godwin a changed man, and now bereavement has darkened his world.

In another dimension, a new Elvendom is threatened by the ambitions of a monstrous enemy. But who – or what – is the Dark Lady of Bletchberm?

And what has become of Elgiva?

Reeling from the loss of their Elwardain, the elves ask Godwin for help.

Transported into a strange world of time travel and outlandish creatures, will he succeed in his quest against impossible odds, or will the Dark Lady destroy everything the Elwardain fought to preserve?

EXCERPT
His heart thumping in his throat, Godwin took in all the details of the goblin’s appearance. The creature was probably four feet tall at most and was wearing a sleeveless leather tunic and short leggings over his skinny frame. His arms and legs were hard with thin bands of muscle; sinews moved like taut wires beneath the scant flesh. Godwin fancied that the goblin’s skin had a sickly, greenish tint, but in the firelight it was impossible to be sure.

The goblin moved in an awkward manner, not upright like a man or an elf, but slightly stooped and with bent knees, as though on the verge of pouncing. The dome of his head was as bald and smooth as a pebble, and his very long, pointed ears were attached on either side like those of a lynx. His large eyes glittered like wet malachite and between them a long, sharp nose protruded with all the aesthetic attributes of a small parsnip.

The goblin’s large eyes widened as they swivelled in Godwin’s direction, making his stomach curdle in fear and revulsion.

“Only two of you, then?” said the goblin with a smirk. “Not much of a challenge, is it?” He beckoned with his sword and others of his kind began to creep into the circle.

Godwin glanced around. There were six more of them, each carrying a sword of a curious design, the blade like a thin, metal spiral with a very sharp point. A visceral fear welled up inside him at the sight of these weapons, but he didn’t know why.

Amazon Buy Links USAUK


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.

Add A Comment

Appetizer? Lunch? Dinner?

January 13, 2021 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

from Tina Griffith

You decide. This recipe is easy to prepare and a favorite with my husband and me. We usually add a crisp salad and Voila! we have a complete dinner in a flash. Of course a bottle of red wine adds to the festivities.

CHEESY OLIVE BREAD
1 large crusty loaf French bread
1 – 6 oz. can pitted black olives, drained and sliced
⅓ cup red onion, chopped fine
2 ripe tomatoes, diced
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
½ – ¾ cup mayonnaise
Preheat oven to 325° F.

Cut bread in half lengthwise and then in half across the width. You now have four pieces, tops and bottoms. Set them onto an aluminum foil lined cookie sheet.

Add olives, onions, tomatoes, shredded cheese, and mayo into a medium size bowl. Mix together thoroughly. Use a spatula to smear the mixture onto the white part of the bread.

Now pop it into the oven. That’s it. When the cheese melts, 15 – 20 minutes, the bread is ready.

How about a peek into my erotic mystery for dessert?

Everyone has secrets that they’d rather keep hidden, but we all know that these private matters have a tendency of spilling out at the most inopportune moments. And when a privileged piece of information does leak out and is exposed, it can sometimes change our lives so drastically that there’s no turning back. For in that fleeting explosion when we first learn of the shocking deception, our world suddenly gets transformed into utter chaos and fear, and it typically has us running for shelter.

The four main characters in this story, are all hiding something that they’d rather not have anyone know. Regrettably, the terrible secrets which each one of them have buried deep in their past, begins to bubble to the surface. With deceit and murder lingering in the air, can any of them survive the consequences of their pasts being revealed?

AMAZON BUY LINK

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.

Add A Comment

COLLABORATIVE WRITING

January 11, 2021 | Author Friend Promo

How and Why it Works for Us
by C.D. Hersh


Lots of people we know look at us as collaborative writers and say, “I don’t know how you two do it. I’d kill my spouse if I had to work with him/her.”

Well, we’re both still alive and healthy and love working together.

So what’s our secret? For the inquisitive minds who want to know, here are a few reasons why our writing partnership works.

We like each other and respect each other—a lot. Respect is paramount in any working relationship.

We’ve been together more years that we’ve been apart. As a result, we know each other very well.

We have complimentary talents and we recognize that. Donald is a great idea and plotting person, and Catherine is good at the technical part of writing, the grammar, spelling, punctuation, and etcetera.

We laugh a lot when we’re working together, even if it’s a serious scene. Nothing brings people together like laughter.

We plot our stories in detail, but still allow room for the characters to take us to unexpected places. When they do what we haven’t planned, both of us have to sign off on what has happened before it makes it into the book.

We’re willing to throw ideas, scenes and whole sections of each other’s writing out. There are no sacred cows in our partnership.

Our methods of collaborative writing are fluid. Sometimes we create using a totally collaborative effort, literally writing together line-by-line (we’ve created a number of our plays using this method). We might revamp something one of us has created as a solo writer, or we might work with one of us functioning as the major writer and the other as editor. Changing things keeps our interests up and our egos in check.

And last, but certainly not least, we keep the lines of communication open. Writing is usually a solo job, but when you’re working with someone else, you have to let them know how you feel about what’s being plotted, written, and critiqued. If you don’t, then you can stifle the creative flow as well as the collaborative relationship. When we plot and one of us throws out a hasty, “I hate that idea!” (and we’ve done that) there are no hurt feelings on the part of the other person. We will ask for clarification as to why, and the protesting party must come up with a reasonable excuse, but we never get upset, want to quit working together, or get a divorce over it.

We can’t speak to the writing methods of other co-authors, although we have read that some write opposing chapters or each take a point of view, something we haven’t tried yet. However, as a married couple and co-authors, we do feel we bring something unique to the table—a spark we hope will take us a long way on our writing journey. A spark that enriches our personal relationship. For us, that’s enough reason to work together as C.D. Hersh.

Have you ever co-authored something? What worked for you in that relationship?

Following is a sample of our collaborative writing. An excerpt from The Promised One, the first book in our Turning Stone Chronicles Series.

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.”

Amazon buy links:
The Turning Stone Chronicles Series page

The Promised One (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 1)

Blood Brothers (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 2)

Son of the Moonless Night (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 3)

The Mercenary and the Shifters (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 4)

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.

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.

They are looking 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.

Social Media Info:

Website
Soul Mate Publishing
Facebook
Amazon Author Page
Twitter
Goodreads

Add A Comment

NUTS YOU SAY? YOU BET!

January 6, 2021 | Cooking

Edlyn, a wonderful friend to us who we don’t get to see often enough, came for dinner one Sunday with her family and a welcomed treat in hand – her homemade pecan pie. This delicious dessert is rich. Even so, a small dollop of ice cream on top sure tastes good.

Photo by nikohoshi on Unsplash

Bourbon Infused Pecan Pie
1 pie shell, frozen or refrigerated
1½ cup maple syrup
½ cup bourbon whiskey, triple distilled preferred
2 lg. eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup light or dark brown sugar
⅛ tsp. salt
2 tbsp. butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1½ cups pecans

Pour syrup into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook 8 – 10 minutes or until syrup has reduced to 1 cup. Stir occasionally. Cool to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Place pie shell on a cookie sheet. Use a fork to poke 3 sets of holes in shell bottom. Cover edge with foil to stop it from browning. Bake 15 – 20 minutes or until dough is pale gold.

Reduce oven temp to 350° F.

Combine all ingredients, except pecans, into a medium-sized bowl and then mix well. Blend in pecans.

Remove foil from pie shell. Pour mixture into shell. Use a fork to evenly distribute pecans.

Bake 30 – 35 minutes or until center is slightly puffed and firm to the touch.

Cool before serving.

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

Sloane

Add A Comment

MAMMA MIA!

January 4, 2021 | Author Friend Promo

I was so out of my league!

from Anne Montgomery 

Sometimes we do things that, as Forrest Gump would say, “Just don’t make no sense.”

 And I am guilty of such an act, mostly because I ignored the numbers and severely overestimated my abilities.

 I have written about the fact that I performed in a community theater production of the musical Company in the past. Though it was initially terrifying, in the end I made friends and had fun. So, it seemed rational that I give it another try. Mamma Mia was coming up and I wanted to give it a shot.

 I started singing along to the Mamma Mia CD in my car in February.  I thought I was ready. Even the cast descriptions didn’t deter me. Though, admittedly, the fact that the “elder” female characters were listed as “late 30s-early 50s” should have tickled my spidey senses.

 This time around, auditions were very different. Four times the number of actors showed up. And there was improv involved. Still, I thought I had a shot at making the cast, until I arrived at the dance callbacks.

 My first clue should have been the young lady spread-eagled flat on the floor, stretching in preparation. In fact, the stage was littered with bodies of those limbering up. I was a tad bemused, as I had seen the movie and didn’t notice too much complicated-looking dancing, at least not from the named characters. Had I considered that the stage version might be vastly different from the one with Meryl Streep and her pals, I might have been forewarned.

Those hoping for a spot in the cast filled the stage facing a thin, twenty-something with a high, tawny pony tail and black leggings. She announced that we would be learning a series of dance steps.

 “OK! Face the back,” she said, reminiscent of a drill instructor. ” Now, hips left, then right, and spin to the front. And … right arm up high. Good. Now side step. And back. Other side. Full turn to the left and drop to your knees.”

My head popped up. Drop to my knees? Did she mean the ones that have functioned for the last 15 years thanks to the miracle of modern science, infusions injected with big-ass needles that always make me wince? Those knees?

Not wanting to stand out, I dropped to the floor. I almost bellowed like a moose giving birth, but managed to stop myself.

“Now roll over on your butt and jump up.”

In my case, said roll did not occur. I just stared at the choreographer.

“Now … leap!” She took to the air.

Leap? The thing about leaping is there always tend to be landings involved.

The choreographer encouraged us to leap in this fashion. Don’t you agree it hurts just to look at this picture?

“Those of you who want to can bend your leg while leaping. Like this.” She launched herself skyward again. “Point your toes,” she said, alighting gracefully. “Second line, move up to the front.”

Hoping no one would notice, I melted into the back, which would be my primary strategy throughout the ordeal.

After an hour, we took a break. To my horror, five minutes later we were at it again.

“Let’s do another one,” she said. “This one will be easy. Even I can do it.” She smiled prettily.

What I wanted most was to go all Tonya Harding on her kneecaps. “See what you feel like when you’re over 60,” I muttered under my breath, as I mounted the stage.

Another hour passed. I longed for my chiropractor.

I know what your thinking. Why didn’t I just go sit down? Pride, I suppose. Or maybe just plain stubbornness. A few other older women had taken seats. I say “older” here with a caveat. If I had to guess, with the exception of my friend Scott, there was probably no one over 50 auditioning. Clearly, I was pretty much alone as a mid-sexagenarian.

Mercifully, the dancing finally ended. But my humiliation was not over.

Scott appeared. “Hey! You need to go in the back.”

I heard women’s voices singing Dancing Queen from backstage. “Why?”

“The mothers are auditioning,” he explained, using the term applied to the older adult women trying out for a part.

Not knowing how I could have missed the others being called away, I leapt – OK, in my mind, I leapt – onto the stage and bolted through a curtain and down a ramp toward the piano, where about eight women were lined up single file.

“I am so sorry I’m late!” I shouted.

All heads turned toward me. A woman looked up, paper and pencil in hand. “Your name?”

“Anne.”

She scrutinized the document.

The director rose from his seat.

“You’re not on the list,” he said. “You were called back only for a dancing part.”

I suddenly realized that if getting a part hinged on my dancing skills, I would need other plans for the summer. “I am … so sorry!”

I fled.

I found Scott in the seats and chastised him. It wasn’t his fault, though. He simply assumed I should be back there with the others, which in retrospect was sweet.

The director soon dismissed those of us who wouldn’t be invited to participate in any further auditions. Totally dejected, I sneaked out the back door.

When I got home, my sweetie pie stared at me. “I’m sorry,” he said without asking what happened.

I wondered if he’d had a premonition, since he already had a glass of wine poured and waiting for me.

“Maybe they did you a favor,” he said a short time later, as I sat in my jammies feeling sorry for myself, rubbing my aching knees.

I sipped my wine and pouted. “Maybe.”

Later that night, wrapped in two cold packs and a heating pad, I licked my wounds and considered whether I would ever try out for another play.

I’m thinking about it. I’ll let you know.

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.

Add A Comment

December 30, 2020 | Holidays

HAPPY NEW YEAR
To Everyone All Around the World

 

from Studs, Sloane, and all the Taylors
Add A Comment

A WRITER’S ALPHABET

December 28, 2020 | Author Friend Promo

from C.D. Hersh

Over the years we have learned a great deal about writing and what it takes to survive in this business. Today we would like to share those ABC’s with you.

Affirmation – As writers we get a lot of rejection.  It helps if we have some affirmation.  So, the next time you get a good comment from a critique partner, an editor, or even your child who says “You’re a good writer, Mommy,” tuck it away in a special file.  Then when you feel like chucking the computer out the window and giving up on writing, pull out those affirmations and tell yourself, “ I can do this.  I am a Writer!”

Brainstorming – Brainstorm without putting checks on your imagination.  Don’t be afraid to think of the most outrageous ideas when you’re brainstorming.  “What if” may be the best tool a writer has to stimulate his imagination.

Creativity – Never let anyone say you don’t have creativity.  The very fact that you want to write shows you have creativity.  Just keep thinking about your story, asking “What if”, and letting all your skills and thoughts take you into the world where your characters live.  Eventually, you’ll find, or create, what you need.

Discipline – Every writer needs it; most of us do not have it.  The discipline to sit down in front of the computer every day, even when you don’t feel like it, will get you through the rough parts of your stories.

Edit – ISSAC B. SINGER said, “The wastepaper basket is the writer’s best friend.”

Think of yourself as a writer first and an editor second.  Write, rewrite and rewrite some more.  Never, ever, send that first draft to an editor.

Fodder – Everything you see and hear and everyone you meet is fodder for a writer.  Writers have great excuses for eavesdropping on the world.  Ideas, character sketches, names, plot twists¾you name it and you can find inspiration for it among your family, friends and the guy sitting next to you in McDonalds. Don’t let them know what you’re up to, however.  If they recognize themselves in your next story they may never speak again when you’re around.

Grammar – Webster defines grammar as “a study of what is to be preferred and what is to be avoided in inflection and in syntax.”  When you present your manuscript make sure the grammar is correct.  Don’t depend solely on your computer grammar check; its suggestions are not always right.  Instead, invest in a good English or grammar handbook and use it.  The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual has a nice section on grammar and punctuation that I use all the time.  If you have trouble with grammar find a friend or an adult enrichment class that can help you brush up on your grammar.  You don’t have to be able to diagram a sentence, but you do have to be able to put it together correctly.  That goes for punctuation too.

Hope – Hope should spring eternal in the hearts of writers.  As long as you have something circulating among editors you should always have hope. Never give up, not even when you have enough rejection letters to wallpaper your office.

Ideas – There are no bad ideas.  Even the worst idea can provide a springboard for something better.  Keep all your ideas in a file so you can pull them out whenever you have a dry spell.  You’ll be surprised what new, and better, ideas might spring from an idea you considered trashing.

Journaling – Journaling is a great way to keep your writing flowing, especially on those days when you can’t, or don’t, get to the computer.  Write at night, in the morning, in the bathroom, or any place where you and your journal can go.  Put down your emotions, your thoughts, impressions, snatches of conversations, or visual images.  All these things can be story sparkers or sensory descriptions you might be able to use in some other writing.

Know How – Like every profession, writing is a job that takes skill.  You can’t be an electrician or a plumber without learning the ropes¾the skills and the tricks of the trade.  That’s true in writing too.  To become a success as a writer you have to study your craft, learn the best way to write an article, a scene, a chapter, a book.  You have to know how to structure your plots and characters, and you have to become knowledgeable about the business.  Learn all you can about writing and the writing business so you can succeed.

Laughter – Keep a sense of humor about yourself and your writing.  There will be plenty of times that you will get your feelings hurt as a writer¾someone won’t like your baby, a critique will rub you the wrong way, an editor might ask for umpteen revisions.  If you can face life, and writing, with humor you’ll be able to get through most anything¾and even have some good story material in the process.

Marketing – If you want to sell, then know your market.  Don’t waste your time, and an editor’s time, by sending manuscripts that aren’t suitable for the publication.

Networking – Do it!  Network with anyone in the writing business that you can.  Editors are besieged with unsolicited manuscripts.  Any time they can connect a face, organization, or conference to you, you are one step ahead of the game.  Take every opportunity to meet, talk with and mingle with editors.  Don’t forget networking with other writers too.  You can’t know all there is to know about the publishing world and what is going on.  Take advantage of any information other writers have to offer.  Getting published is not always about talent.  Sometimes it’s also about being in the right place, or submitting to the right place at the right time.

Organization – If you can’t find the computer, your copious notes, or the paper and pencil under the clutter in your office, then you can’t write. The more organized you are the less time you’ll spend hunting and the more time you’ll have for writing.

Perspiration – Don’t wait for the Muse.  Writing is one-percent inspiration and 99-percent perspiration.  If you wait for inspiration, you might as well be taking a nap while you’re sitting in front of you computer.

Query Letter – Queries can be more intimidating and frustrating than writing the whole darn book.  I know plenty of writers who dread the “Query Letter.”  The query is an editor’s first glimpse of you and your story.  Consider it an important, but necessary, evil of your craft, and learn to conquer it.  The Writer’s Market has great examples of how to write a good query.

Reading – “A room without books is like a body without a soul.” Cicero

A writer who doesn’t read will soon find himself out of touch with the very world for which he is writing.  Read, read, and read everything that you can.  Fiction, non-fiction, newspapers, magazines, cookbooks, cereal boxes, dictionaries, children’s literature, and certainly read in whatever genre in which you want to write.

Solitude – The life of a writer is a solitary one. “Family, friends, and society are the natural enemies of a writer.  He must be alone, uninterrupted and slightly savage if he is to sustain and complete an undertaking.” LAWRENCE CLARK POWELL  Learn when, and how, to shut the door and lock out the world.  Find the time and the place that works best for you.

Tenacity – “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” RICHARD BACH

Dr. Seuss had his first book rejected 64 times and was ready to toss it in the trash.  A friend convinced him to try just one more publisher¾the rest is history.  Seuss could have remained an amateur if he had given up.  Don’t give up.  You might miss your chance at a bestseller.

Universality – Want to sell?  Then make sure your stories and articles have a universal appeal. There is nothing new under the sun, just a different way to tell it.  Stories with universal appeal never go out of style.

Virgin Reader – Every writer needs one of these.  We get so close to our “babies” that we can’t see their flaws.  But, believe me, an editor will.  So, find someone you trust to give you fair, constructive criticism¾someone with a fresh set of eyes to look at your writing¾and let them be a Virgin.

Write – “Planning to write is not writing.  Outlining a book is not writing.  Researching is not writing.  Talking to people about what you’re doing, none of that is writing.  Writing is writing.” E. L.  DOCTROW

‘Nuff said.

Xercise – (Yes, I know it’s not spelled that way) Writing takes a lot of mental power but doesn’t exercise the other body muscle groups (except the fingers).  So, to keep yourself healthy¾and maybe even sneak in some writer avoidance time – take time to exercise.  You’ll come back to the keyboard refreshed and awake. A bonus – getting the endorphins revved can even kick your brain into gear and help you solve whatever writing problem you’ve been facing.

Ying and Yang—A writer needs balance, in his life and on the page. Too much time alone with the book isn’t a good thing. Neither are pages of narrative or back story with no dialogue or action. Find that happy medium in your life and your literary pursuits.

Zeal – “Writing is a dog’s life, but the only life worth living.” GUSTAVE FLAUBERT

If a writer’s “dog’s life” isn’t what you want, then you had just as well close your notebook, break your pencil in half, and find something else to do with your life.  Zeal, passion and a love of your work will keep your writing fresh and alive.  If you don’t like what you are doing you probably will not succeed at it.

Please allow us to introduce you to our paranormal suspense series The Turning Stone Chronicles.

The Promised One (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 1)

Blood Brothers (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 2)

Son of the Moonless Night (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 3)

The Mercenary and the Shifters (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 4)

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.

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.

They are looking 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.

Social Media Info:

Website
Soul Mate Publishing
Facebook
Amazon Author Page
Twitter
Goodreads
Add A Comment