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Bite into Something Delicious

February 26, 2024 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

From Sharon Ledwith

Cookies are high up on my family’s snack list. Heck, some would consider them a breakfast. These oatmeal cookies can be served as both. They are so easy to make, and you can use only chocolate chips, raisins, or leave out both if you prefer. Make the combo your own.

Did I mention these tasty morsels possess soft centers, crispy edges, and a mind-boggling chewy texture? Well, I just did. Wink. Face it. These cookies are a family favorite for a reason, and now they can be your family’s favorite, if you dare to wander into the uncharted territory of baking from scratch.

With a prep time of 15 minutes, chill time of 1 hour, and cook time of 10 minutes, they’re the perfect cookies for impromptu bake sales for your kids. Eat them either warm and fresh or prepare these treats in advance for family gatherings or a much-needed dessert when someone pops by unexpectedly. You’ll be glad you did.

Thumbs up Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup all-purpose flour, leveled

½ tsp baking soda

½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

¼ cup granulated sugar

½ cup packed light or dark brown sugar

1 large egg

1½ tsp vanilla extract

1¼ cups old-fashioned rolled oats

½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

½ cup raisins

Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium size bowl. Set aside.

Cream butter, sugar, and brown sugar in a large bowl, using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes.

Add egg and vanilla. Mix until creamy and well combined, about 1 minute.

Blend in flour mixture and mix on low speed just until incorporated, about 30-60 seconds. Stir in the oats until combined.

Then add the chocolate chips and raisins and mix until well distributed. Cover and chill for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Scoop 16 equal-sized balls (about 2 tablespoons/45g) of cookie dough, roll into even balls, and place 6-8 cookies, about 3 inches (7.5 cm) apart, on each prepared baking sheet. Flatten slightly with your fingers. Bake one sheet at a time for 10-12 minutes or until edges of the cookies are set and lightly browned, and the centers look under-baked, pale, puffy, and dry.

Remove baking sheet from the oven and let cookies cool on the sheet for about 5 minutes, or until firm enough to move. Transfer them to a wire rack and let cool completely. The cookies will stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

While you’re waiting for the cookie dough to chill, pop on the kettle or turn on the coffee pot and settle into your favorite chair with one of my books. May I suggest a nostalgic visit to mysterious Fairy Falls or perhaps go back in time with The Last Timekeepers? Just remember to keep some cookies for yourself. After all, you deserve a break from the craziness of the world.

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/young adult time travel adventure series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the award-winning teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, reading, researching, or revising, she enjoys anything arcane, ancient mysteries, and single malt scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her spoiled hubby, and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her WEBSITE and BLOG. Look up her AMAZON AUTHOR page for a list of current books. Stay connected on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, PINTEREST, LINKEDIN, INSTAGRAM, and GOODREADS.

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

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COVER REVEAL for STELLA MAY

February 23, 2024 | Cover Reveal

Romance author Stella May steps away from her time travel books to bring us a new series, The Rostoff Saga. Here’s the cover and intro for New Dawn, Book 1 of exciting four book seried, that releases March 8. Here’s hoping there will be more to follow.

Love wasn’t part of their agreement. Neither was being caught in a brutal web of lies.

International playboy and owner of a jewelry empire that spreads across three continents, Dmitry Rostoff holds a memory close to this heart that not even his best friend Vlad Albrecht knows. When Dmitry learns the Russian ballerina, he had a passionate affair with died in childbirth, bitterness and hate overrule all other emotions.

Taking the baby out of Russia is an impossible snarl of red tape, but Dmitry gets his way, even if he leaves a trail of chaos in his wake.

Natasha Sokolova planned to turn over the baby to Dmitry then walk away. Instead, she is on a plane to San Francisco with the baby and a cold, emotionless man who makes her heart pound with scorching attraction.

The family matriarch and evil to her core Elizabeth Rostoff plots to gain control of the baby, no matter what it costs or who it hurts, and will do anything to make that happen. She blackmails Marie Dubois, the manager of their elite Paris store, to seduce Dmitry. But Marie reneges on the deal when former Special Forces officer Vlad Albrecht storms into her life.

Once in America, Natasha finds herself entangled in a sticky web of lies created by the brutally calculating family matriarch. A web that forces Natasha to make a heartbreaking deal with the devil to protect the children—and man—she’s come to love.

Stella May is the penname for Marina Sardarova who has a fascinating history you should read on her website.

Stella writes fantasy romance as well as time travel romance. She is the author of ‘Till Time Do Us Part, Book 1 in her Upon a Time series, and the stand-alone book Rhapsody in Dreams. Love and family are two cornerstones of her stories and life. Stella’s books are available in e-book and paperback through all major vendors.

When not writing, Stella enjoys classical music, reading, and long walks along the ocean with her husband. She lives in Jacksonville, Florida with her husband Leo of 25 years and their son George. They are her two best friends and are all partners in their family business.

Follow Stella on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

 

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AGING GRACEFULLY

February 19, 2024 | Author Friend Promo

by Anne Montgomery

I have worked out most of my life. I started ice skating at five. I skied and swam. When I was 24, I started officiating sports and called football, baseball, ice hockey, soccer, and basketball games, an avocation I practiced for 40 years. When I was 30, I got my first health club membership and I have had one ever since.

So, I’m a long-time gym rat. I’ve lifted weights, utilized aerobics equipment, and practiced yoga, but I’m primarily a lap swimmer. I mention this because recently I turned the golden corner for those of us who spend time at the gym. The reason? Silver Sneakers.

For the uninformed, Silver Sneakers is a health and fitness program that provides gym access and fitness classes for people 65 and older. It’s covered by some Medicare plans. That means I no longer have to shell out those monthly fees to the health club.

The idea, of course, is to keep old people moving so they’re less likely to succumb to problems like heart disease, broken bones from falls, high-blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, and obesity. If people get exercise, chances are they won’t become ill or injured, which keeps those Medicare costs down.

I’ve been swimming laps regularly for 35 years, so I am pretty comfortable working out.
I was feeling pretty smug the day I walked into the club and asked to be moved to the Silver Sneakers rolls. I had just finished swimming a thousand meters – sadly, I used to swim two thousand, but as I’ve already intimated, I’m old.

“Of course! I’d be happy to help,” a tall, twenty-something smiled down at me. “Sit right here. Just show me your ID and your membership card, Ms. Montgomery.”

I noted he was very solicitous.

After putting the important bits of information into the computer and handing me my new key fob, he placed both elbows on the desk. “Now, we can provide you with a free one-hour counseling session.”

“What for?”

He tilted his head. “To help you learn how to work out.”

I squinted. Did I look like I needed help finding my way around the gym? Did I look like I spent my days on the couch eating Ding Dongs? Did I look like I didn’t know a free weight from a foam roller?

Then, I had an I-glimpsed-myself-in-a-store-window moment. I know you’ve done it. You walk by a reflective surface and the person you see staring back is not the one you always imagined. I was forced to consider how this nice young man saw me. He smiled sweetly. I stared back, realizing I might now appear to be a little old lady.

I said I’d think about the offer. It certainly wouldn’t hurt to see if there’s anything I’ve been missing. I thanked him and left. Though I stared at the floor whenever I got close to a window.

This is my latest release. It’s Native American Literature and U.S. Historical Fiction. Picking a genre definitely is not easy.

The past and present collide when a tenacious reporter seeks information on an eleventh century magician…and uncovers more than she bargained for.

In 1939, archaeologists uncovered a tomb at the Northern Arizona site called Ridge Ruin. The man, bedecked in fine turquoise jewelry and intricate beadwork, was surrounded by wooden swords with handles carved into animal hooves and human hands. The Hopi workers stepped back from the grave, knowing what the Moochiwimi sticks meant. This man, buried nine-hundred years earlier, was a magician.

Former television journalist Kate Butler hangs on to her investigative reporting career by writing freelance magazine articles. Her research on The Magician shows he bore some European facial characteristics and physical qualities that made him different from the people who buried him. Her quest to discover The Magician’s origin carries her back to a time when the high desert world was shattered by the birth of a volcano and into the present-day dangers of archaeological looting where black market sales of antiquities can lead to murder.

AMAZON BUY LINK

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.

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Enjoy a Bewitching February

February 12, 2024 | Author Friend Promo

from Leigh Goff 

February’s Featured Book is a witchy young adult historical fiction with more than a hint of romance thrown in the mix. Disenchanted is the perfect book to keep you spellbound through the rest of winter!

A forbidden love. A dark curse. An impossible choice…

Descended from a powerful Wethersfield witch, sixteen-year-old Sophie is struggling to hide her awkwardly emerging magic, but that’s the least of her worries. When a dangerous thief tries to steal her mysterious heirloom necklace, she is rescued by the one person she’s forbidden to fall for, a descendant of the man who condemned her ancestor to hang. He carries a dark secret that could destroy them both unless Sophie learns how to tap into the mysterious power of her diamond bloodcharm. She will have to uncover dark secrets from both of their families’ wicked pasts and risk everything, including her soul to save them from a witch’s true love curse, but it will take much more than that.

February is for bewitching romances–get Disenchanted, a YA witchy fantasy romance inspired by the historic Wethersfield Witch Trials–available in paperback and e-book at Mirror World Publishing and Amazon!

 

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 and her husband enjoy the area’s great history and culture.

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

 

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GIFT GIVING

February 5, 2024 | Author Friend Promo

from C.D. Hersh

The C of C.D. Hersh talks about

Valentine Gifts

Valentine’s Day is a short time away. Maybe you’ve received flowers or candy or jewelry or even a new electronic device for a past Valentine’s Day. In fact, what you got might just be the most memorable gift you’ve ever received, or perhaps it was the gift of your heart.

This year I have a date for breakfast out, a movie and dinner. My sweetie is a romantic that has done some special things over the years but, never the same thing two years in a row.

Several years ago, I got the offer of breakfast out and whatever gift I wanted. I’d been thinking a lot about it. A diamond tennis bracelet was high on the list until I saw the price. I wandered through the gift shop at Cracker Barrel where we had breakfast and a turquoise scarf caught my eye, but it wasn’t anything that said “That’s the gift!”, so we left with full tummies and empty hands.

Hubby had to get something at Home Depot, so I wandered through the seed section and purchased some peas, carrots beans, cucumbers and zucchini seeds for my garden, but those didn’t fall in the gift category.

Then, as we were leaving the store I saw it—the gift of my heart for that Valentine’s Day.

You might wonder what I’d find in Home Depot. In fact, if my husband told his friends he got me a Valentine’s gift from Home Depot, they’d probably hoot him out of the room. But there it was—an anthurium.

“You don’t have any more room for plants,” my husband said. And he’s right. My windowsills are crammed full. I tried to walk away, but the plant kept calling to me, so I went back and picked it up.

This Valentine’s Day gift didn’t cost a lot of money. But every time I look at it reminds me of my mother, who received an anthurium from Dad when I was young. I can see that flower so clearly in my mind’s eye. It’s the one Valentine image from my youth that has stayed with me.

Another Valentine gift that didn’t cost much also remains lodged in my memory: A jar of green olives for my mother and a second jar of black olives for me. If you think those are odd gifts, consider the fact that my husband and father were out together shopping for Valentine’s Day gifts. Mom had recently been diagnosed with diabetes, so candy was out. At the time neither my dad nor my husband had a lot of money to spend. While in the pickle aisle of the grocery store, one of them said, “They like olives, don’t they?” And so it came to pass that we got olives and cards for Valentine’s Day that year.

As romance writers it’s easy to stress the bigger than life aspect of love—the stars-in-their-eyes, hot, lustful can’t-keep their-hands-off-each-other part of romance. In our efforts to make the love stories passionate and keep things moving, I think we sometimes miss the heart of the love.

Olives for Valentines were strange gifts, I know, but the gift wasn’t the important issue that year. What counted was my husband and my father tried to give Mom and me something they knew we would like. That year I learned a big lesson about gifts, love, and Valentines.

Gifts don’t always come in fancy packages that have hefty price tags. Love doesn’t always have to be hot, lustful, or starry-eyed. And the best Valentine is about caring and being with the one you love, no matter what stage of life, love, or romance you are in.

When I look at my anthurium I’ll remember that … and two jars of olives.

Have you read a story where something has been inserted about a “special” day or gift that made the characters seem genuine?

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, and that’s why they write romance.

The first four books of their paranormal romance series entitled The Turning Stone Chronicles are available in e-book format on Amazon. Can’t Stop The Music, their standalone romance novella currently out of print, won the 2018 Uncaged Book Reviews Contemporary Music Raven Award.

Ghosts and Gardenias, the first book in their time slip romance series Ghosts of Garnoa Road, will come out in the spring of 2024.

In addition to writing Catherine and Donald love antiquing, traveling, singing, and going to the theatre. Catherine is also an avid gardener and has drawn Donald into her garden as a day laborer. They figure the couple who plays together and works together, stays together—and that’s just what they aim to do.

Amazon buy links:

The Turning Stone Chronicles series page

The Promised One (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 1) eBook

Blood Brothers (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 2): eBook

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

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

Learn more about C.D. Hersh on their Website, Soul Mate Publishing, Amazon Author Page. Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads. Be sure to follow their Blog.

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PICKING A GENRE IS NO EASY TASK

January 31, 2024 | Author Friend Promo

from Anne Montgomery

The moment I mention the impending arrival of a new book, prospective readers ask, “What’s the genre?”

“Well, um…it’s hard to say,” I respond, staring at my shoes, wondering why such a simple question has no equally simple answer.

I have a tendency to write stories without giving thought to where they might fit in literary culture.  So far, my titles have been variously listed as soft-thriller, contemporary fiction, romantic suspense, historical fiction, women’s fiction, and young adult fiction. So you can see why labeling my work tends to make my head spin.

Still, identifying a genre for your novel is important.

A Light in the Desert is a suspense novel.

“We use genre as a way to identify the category of a book. Where it should be sold in a store. Or who its competition will be,” long-time literary agent Steve Laub wrote in his blog article Does Genre Matter? “The best way to describe it is to say that publishers and booksellers sell books out of boxes. The boxes are labeled “Romance” “Thriller” “Mystery” etc. Before we resist that exercise I would claim that we consumers buy books out of those boxes. It is quite possible that the boxes were created by us (the consumers).”

 

 

Wild Horses on the Salt has been called women’s fiction and suspense with a touch of romance.

There is some dispute about which English book should be called the first novel. Some believe Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote of La Mancha, published in 1605, deserves the honor. Others opine that Daniel Defoe’s 1719 Robinson Crusoe should get the nod. Either way, neither author had to think too hard about genre.

“In 1719, when “Robinson Crusoe” appeared, many people considered “the novel,” in itself, to be a genre,” said Joshua Rothman in his The New Yorker article titled A Better Way to Think About The Genre Debate. “The novel was a new thing—a long, fictitious, drama-filled work of prose—and its competitors were other prose genres: histories, biographies, political tracts, sermons, testimonies about travel to far-off lands. What set the novel apart from those other prose genres was its ostentatious fictitiousness.”

Clearly, modern-day authors can find labeling their work infinitely more complicated than those early novelists.  Look at today’s overwhelming number of possible fiction genres. The Book Industry Study Group’s list of fiction topics includes approximately 140 genres, all of which can be combined in what seems like a never-ending number of possibilities.

 

The Scent of Rain was marketed as young-adult fiction.

I’ll admit, sometimes I’m jealous of my romance-writer friends, their covers bursting with muscled torsos and over-flowing bodices that leave not a hint of confusion about what type of story resides inside. Still, as difficult as pinning down that perfect genre might be, there’s no way around it, especially if you want to contact agents, or publishers, or editors, or reviewers, because those folks are pretty specific about the types of book they’re interested in. If you want to be considered an amateur in the publishing world, go ahead and send a query about your sci-fi, apocalyptic, young adult romance to someone who has made clear their genre of choice is Regency historical fiction. (And you were wondering why you hadn’t heard back.)

While some authors may be tempted to leave the genre decision to others, remember you wrote the book. You know the story and the characters better than anyone. Ultimately, you should choose. An article on the blog Rock Your Writing called How To Figure Out Your Book’s Genre suggests you consider, “who is the mostly likely to seek out this particular type of book, buy this type of book, and enjoy this type of book.”

While the decision on genre is yours, it’s the reader we authors need to consider, because, as Laub pointed out, if our “baby” is in the wrong box, maybe those readers won’t find it.

 

The Castle is contemporary women’s fiction/suspense

Ancient ruins, haunted memories, and a ruthless criminal combine with a touch of mystic presence in this taut mystery about a crime we all must address.

Maggie, a National Park Ranger, is back at the Castle – an ancient Native American pueblo carved into the face of a limestone cliff in Arizona. Maggie, who suffers from depression, has been through several traumas: the gang rape she suffered while in the Coast Guard, the sudden death of her ten-year-old son, and a suicide attempt. As part of her therapy Maggie volunteers at the local rape crisis clinic.

Maggie has several men in her life. The baker, newcomer Jim Casey, always greets her with a warm smile and fills pink boxes with sweet delicacies. Brett Collins, a scuba diver, is doing scientific studies in Montezuma Well, a dangerous cylindrical depression that houses a deep spring filled with strange creatures found nowhere else on Earth. Then there’s Dave, with whom she’s had a one-night stand, and her new boss Glen.

One of these men is a serial rapist, and Maggie is his next target.

This is my latest release. It’s Native American Literature and U.S. Historical Fiction. Picking a genre definitely is not easy.

The past and present collide when a tenacious reporter seeks information on an eleventh century magician…and uncovers more than she bargained for.

In 1939, archaeologists uncovered a tomb at the Northern Arizona site called Ridge Ruin. The man, bedecked in fine turquoise jewelry and intricate beadwork, was surrounded by wooden swords with handles carved into animal hooves and human hands. The Hopi workers stepped back from the grave, knowing what the Moochiwimi sticks meant. This man, buried nine-hundred years earlier, was a magician.

Former television journalist Kate Butler hangs on to her investigative reporting career by writing freelance magazine articles. Her research on The Magician shows he bore some European facial characteristics and physical qualities that made him different from the people who buried him. Her quest to discover The Magician’s origin carries her back to a time when the high desert world was shattered by the birth of a volcano and into the present-day dangers of archaeological looting where black market sales of antiquities can lead to murder.

AMAZON BUY LINK

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.

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A WRITER’S IMAGINATION

January 29, 2024 | Author Friend Promo

from C.D. Hersh

People frequently ask how and where we got our ideas to write one story let alone a series. Honestly, sometimes it’s not easy, almost like ramming your head into a huge cement abutment. Yet thankfully storylines and scenes magically appear in our minds. Sometimes more than we want.

Every book demands who, what, where, and why. The plotline. From time to time that necessity confuses those images into a gnarled mess. But we work through it.

So how do we find ideas that allow our imaginations to run rampant? Magazines and old telephone books are marvelous for coming up with character names. Be sure to follow the mix and match theory. That means do not use the full name of any one person or you might find you have a lawsuit in the making.

We love to travel and often our imaginations are sparked by a billboard or other people on the road, even pit stops offer fodder for a new story. Those diners and rest stops are a wealth of fodder too an author.

The grocery store is another great place to gain ideas. For example – the next time you’re in the store take a good look at the lady scanning your purchases or maybe it’s the bagger who draws your attention. Maybe on this trip you notice something different about one or the other. Maybe something different in her dark brown eyes as if they’re hiding a secret. Of course, you can’t ask, so you allow your imagination to take over. What if she’s a crime stopper by night? After a hard day on her feet, she shrugs out of her sweat filled uniform then into black jeans, a black turtleneck, and low-heeled boots. She shakes out her chocolate brown hair from its topknot and it cascades to her shoulders…You get the idea.

As writing partners, we bounce ideas off each other with the C in C.D. Hersh writing explicit notes. After a few days or we revisit C’s list and start the occasionally wonderful, but more often heart wrenching, practice of elimination. After all, what writer doesn’t love his/her words? We do our best not to judge or tick off each other too much since we’re married. Besides, I love my wife. Seeing her happy makes me happy.

Here is a little about our shapeshifter series on Amazon. We hope you enjoy reading about them as much as we did writing them.

TITLE: The Turning Stone Chronicles

GENRE: Urban fantasy, Paranormal, Romance

HEAT LEVEL: Sensual

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

Find out in The Series The Turning Stone Chronicles

Book one of the chronicles titled “The Promised One” available on Amazon
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.

Book two of The Turning Stone Chronicles titled “Blood Brothers” available on Amazon.
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.

Book three of The Turning Stone Chronicles titled “Son of the Moonless Night” currently available on Amazon.
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?

Book four of The Turning Stone Chronicles titled “The Mercenary & the Shifters” available on Amazon.

 

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

 

 

Putting words and stories on paper is second nature to the husband and wife co-authors whose pen name is C.D. Hersh. They’ve written separately since they were teenagers and discovered their unique, collaborative abilities in the mid-90s while co-authoring a number of dramas, six which have been produced in Ohio, where they live. Their interactive Christmas production had five seasonal runs in their hometown and has been sold in Virginia, California, and Ohio. As high school sweethearts, Catherine and Donald believe in true love and happily ever after. Which is why they write it!

The first four books of their paranormal romance series entitled The Turning Stone Chronicles Series page are available on Amazon. Their standalone novella, Can’t Stop The Music, is in the Soul Mate Tree collection with twelve other authors from various genres.

When they aren’t collaborating on a book, they enjoy reading; singing; theatre and drama; traveling; remodeling houses (Donald has remodeled something in every home they’ve owned); and antiquing. Catherine, who loves gardening, has recently drawn Donald into her world as a day laborer. Catherine is an award-winning gardener — you can see some of her garden on their website.

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.

You can see excerpts of their books, connect with, and follow C.D. Hersh at:

Website

Facebook

Amazon Author Page

Twitter

 

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Piping Hot and Satisfying

January 24, 2024 | Author Friend New Releases, Cooking

from Vonnie Hughes

This soup tastes great and is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

MINESTRONE SOUP

1 tbsp. butter
4 slices bacon, chopped or ½ lb. gravy beef, minced/ground
1 onion, chopped
½ lb. fresh tomatoes or 1 jar/can, chopped
1 carrot, scraped and chopped
1 potato, peeled and chopped
2 sticks celery or other seasonal vegetable, chopped
½ cup haricot beans that have been soaked overnight
3 tbsp. macaroni
3 tbsp. rice
3 tbsp. spaghetti
½ tsp. salt
Pepper to taste

Melt butter in a frying pan. Add bacon or meat and fry until crisp. Stir in onion and tomatoes.

Carefully pour mixture into a slow cooker or pressure cooker. Fill pot halfway with water. Stir in remaining ingredients.

Cook 2 hours in slow cooker or 15 minutes in pressure cooker.

Here’s a little from my latest romantic suspense. I hope you enjoy it.

Who can you trust if you can’t trust your own mother? Through the clammy fog, Celie Francis hears the chilling message. “I know who you are, Celie. I know where you live.” And in the terrifying aftermath she reconnects with her dysfunctional family in ways she had never imagined.

BLURB:
Abused and abandoned as a child, Célie Francis knows better than to trust anyone. But after she witnesses a murder, she’s placed in the Unit “New Zealand’s witness protection program” where she’s expected to trust strangers with her life.

It’s psychologist Brand Turner’s job to ease witnesses into their new identities, not to protect them, but Célie stirs feelings in him that are far from professional. When it appears someone is leaking critical information that could endanger Célie, Brand will do anything to protect her. But first he has to convince her to trust him.

Adrift in a frightening world, Célie would like to believe the handsome psychologist is everything he seems, but as witnesses are murdered and danger swirls around them, Célie must decide “can she trust Brand with her life?

BUY LINKS
AMAZON
The Wild Rose Press e-bookThe Wild Rose Press Paperback
Walmart

 

Vonnie Hughes is a multi-published author in both Regency books and contemporary suspense. She loves the intricacies of the social rules of the Regency period and the far-ranging consequences of the Napoleonic Code. And with suspense she has free rein to explore forensic matters and the strong convolutions of the human mind. Like many writers, some days she hates the whole process, but somehow she just cannot let it go.

Vonnie was born in New Zealand, but she and her husband now live happily in Australia. If you visit Hamilton Gardens in New Zealand be sure to stroll through the Japanese Garden. These is a bronze plaque engraved with a haiku describing the peacefulness of that environment. The poem was written by Vonnie.

All of Vonnie’s books are available on The Wild Rose Press and Amazon.

Learn more about Vonnie Hughes on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Goodreads.

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FREE – FREE – FREE

January 22, 2024 | Author Friend Promo

from Sharon Ledwith

Tips, Tools & Tricks for the Tenacious Writer is the perfect resource for writers who want to know the ins and outs of what it takes to be a published author. Available Free for download… https://www.sharonledwith.com/tips-tools-tricks-for-the-tenacious-writer/

Forward…

It begins with INTENT. Back when I started blogging, I was so green and didn’t have much to offer writers or even knew what to say. I was scared, insecure, and filled with tons of self-doubt. BUT I moved forward with tenacity and embraced the desire to be a published author, and dare I say, Bestselling author. I’ve built my blog, and my writing career brick by brick, word by word until I’ve amassed quite a collection of helpful and heartfelt content to assist anyone who is remotely interested in delving into the murky, yet exciting world of writing and all the challenges a writer might face. Today, I still have a long way to go, but I’m definitely on the right track with my goals and aspirations as a young adult author.

It is my hope that you find the following compiled content insightful, inspiring, and illuminating as you begin your writing journey or just need some tips, tools, or tricks to help you shine in this crazy publishing business. All the best. All the success.

All Systems Go…

First, let me introduce myself—my name is Sharon Ledwith and I write young adult fiction. My genres include: time travel mysteries (kind of like a mesh of fantasy with a splash of sci-fi meets Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys), as well as paranormal stories where teens deal with psychic powers like psychometry, telekinesis, animal communication—stuff like that.

My intention of this blog is to:

#1 Get you to know me as a writer, and post my experiences as an indie publisher of eBooks.

#2 Introduce and showcase my stories and characters.

In a nutshell—market myself and promote my work.

That’s it really. You see, writing is all about the reader. My goal is to influence and empower today’s youth—the next generation—through the stories I create. I believe everyone is here at this time with a mission and a purpose, and every child has something to add to our evolutionary advancement. Children truly are the keys to our future. It is my hope to unlock this portal.

To Grow or Not To Grow…

I am a dinosaur. I freely admit it. No, no, not the kind with fangs and scales—although my kids may have something to say about that—I’m talking about keeping up with the times. Technology is my biggest and scariest hurdle. It is harsh, unknown territory, and yet without computers, the internet, social networks, texting—I could go on, but you get the drift—there would be no growth, no challenges for our wonderful evolving lives. And let’s face it technology DOES make our lives a heck of a lot easier! Dinosaurs had to make way for humanity (actually, they had no choice in the matter), and so, I too must bow to the changes and challenges technology offers OR become like the scaly beasts of the past and disappear forever.

Here’s a glimpse of the premises of both my young adult series.

The Last Timekeepers Time Travel Adventures

Chosen by an Atlantean Magus to be Timekeepers—legendary time travelers sworn to keep history safe from the evil Belial—five classmates are sent into the past to restore balance, and bring order back into the world, one mission at a time.

Children are the keys to our future. And now, children are the only hope for our past.

Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls Teen Psychic Mysteries

Imagine a teenager possessing a psychic ability and struggling to cope with its freakish power. There’s no hope for a normal life, and no one who understands. Now, imagine being uprooted and forced to live in a small tourist town where nothing much ever happens. It’s bores-ville from the get-go. Until mysterious things start to happen.

Welcome to Fairy Falls. Expect the unexpected.

The Last Timekeepers Time Travel Adventure Series:

The Last Timekeepers and the Noble Slave, Book #3

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret, Book #2 Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, Book #1 Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

Legend of the Timekeepers, prequel Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls Teen Psychic Mystery Series:

Lost and Found, Book One Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

Blackflies and Blueberries, Book Two Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/young adult time travel adventure series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the award-winning teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, reading, researching, or revising, she enjoys anything arcane, ancient mysteries, and single malt scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her spoiled hubby, and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her WEBSITE and BLOG. Look up her AMAZON AUTHOR page for a list of current books. Stay connected on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, PINTEREST, LINKEDIN, INSTAGRAM, and GOODREADS.

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

 

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Do You Have This Human Weakness?

January 15, 2024 | Author Friend Promo

by Catherine Castle

Where is human nature so weak as in the bookstore?-

-Henry Ward Beecher

 When I read this quote I said, “Oh, that is soooo me.”

As a kid going into the library, I could never choose just one library book. Three was the minimum, and I’ve been known to go as high as seven, or ten, if I was checking out non-fiction for research or skimming.  I always returned before the two-week borrowing limit was over and checked out another armload of books. Of course, back then I had the luxury of time on my side. No housework, cooking, gardening, or other jobs to do. I don’t read books as fast as I did as a teen, but I still collect them. I haven’t lost my love of books, or my weakness for the written word.

That love of books bled into bookstores, and my pocketbook, as I grew older. My kindle is filled with books: books I’ve bought, free books I’ve downloaded, and books given to me by other authors to review. In fact, I’ve even got books on my phone—a place I never thought I’d read books on. I have a stack of snail mail advertising books that I think I might like to buy someday. And we won’t even mention the home bookshelves. Or maybe we will, since this post is about my human weakness when it comes to books, and bookstores. They, too, are crammed full and spilling onto the floor with fiction of all genres, non-fiction of all sorts, cookbooks, crafting books, research books, writing books and even dictionaries. A quick glance around the shelves in my office and I can find at least 5 different dictionaries.  Really, who needs that many dictionaries?

I am without doubt a confirmed bibliophile, a disease that apparently even Henry Ward Beecher had, as well as many of America’s wealthy homeowners, as witnessed by some of their great libraries.

Pictured above are the bookshelves in the living room of poet CARL SANDBURG. Every room, including the bathroom, and every hallway had shelves like these. All I wanted to do was stop and peruse them, but the docent wouldn’t let me. Sigh.

I’ve always thought it would be fun to work in a library or a bookstore. Being surrounded by all the tomes filled with historical knowledge, poetry, facts and tips about anything you were interested in, and stories that could carry you away to foreign lands, imaginary lands, and let you live vicariously through the characters’ lives has a great appeal. But as I grew older and the desire to own those volumes began to overtake me, I realized I wouldn’t make any money working at a bookstore, because I’d spend my entire pay on the store’s merchandise.

In fact, the disease, and the accompanying human weakness, is so bad that while signing my books at a bookstore, the author next to me mentioned a book that sounded interesting, and I popped onto my phone and downloaded it using my Kindle app. It was the only book bought at my signing table that day. LOL. When I attended the Lori Foster RAGT event and couldn’t find a book that interested me (which is a wonder in itself), I ended up buying books for my niece!

Here are just a few titles to which I’ve succumbed most recently. I’m in the process of reading some, some have been read, and others are on the TBR list.

  • Alienated by Melissa Landers
  • Gateway to Gannah series by Yvonne Anderson
  • Iced Chiffon by Duffy Brown (a cozy mystery)
  • Mama, I am Yet Still Alive: a composite diary of 1863 in the Confederacy, Jeff Toalson, Editor
  • Best of the Covered Wagon Women, editor Kenneth L. Holmes
  • Desperate Deeds by Patricia Gligor
  • Confederato de Norte by Linda Bennett Pennell
  • Hog Insane, by Carole Brown
  • Dating Cary Grant by Emelle Gamble
  • The Marital Bargain: Wife for Five Months by Eris Field
  • Recipes to Create Holidays by Sloane Taylor
  • Hair Calamities and Hot Cash by Gail Pallotta
  • My Fair Guardian  by Suzanne G. Rogers
  • A Season for Killing Blondes by Joanne Guidoccio
  • A Musket in My Hands by Sandra Merville Hart

This is only a sample of my 50 Kindle pages of books, plus a few print books from my shelves. I have many more on my wanta-buy-list.

What about you? Do you have the Bibliophile disease and the weak human nature that Henry Ward Beecher speaks of? Be honest and let me know how it has manifested itself in your reading life.

Catherine hopes you’d like to add her books to your list of  wanta-read-books. Here’s a teaser from her multi-award-winning inspirational romantic suspense The Nun and the Narc.

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.

Excerpt:

A drug deal! Of all the things Rafael could do, this was the worst.

Esperanza had fought so hard to keep her son away from bad influences. Now he appeared to be involved in the very thing she’d hated most. Margaret imagined Esperanza banging on the gates of purgatory, trying to get out and rescue her son.

She hesitated for a moment, hearing Mother Superior’s admonishment. Stay out of trouble while you are in Mexico, Sister.         

Silencing the nagging voice in her head, Margaret charged forward, protective instincts in full swing.

Stopping Rafael and talking to him about the dangers of drugs surely wouldn’t qualify as trouble. Bluntness, maybe, but not trouble. It was more like saving. Yes, that’s it. I’m saving him.

Margaret grabbed Rafael by the shirt. “I’ve been searching for you, young man.” She faced the stranger, giving him her best withering stare. “You should be ashamed of yourself.”

The man stuffed the plastic bag into his jacket pocket. “Who is this?”

“Some crazy gringa.” Rafael shrugged, hard, trying to escape her grasp.

The plastic bag contained something white. Heroin? Cocaine? Margaret tightened her hold and drew Rafael closer. She would save him whether he wanted to be saved or not.

“Get out of here,” Rafael snarled.

“What would your mother say if she saw this?”

Rafael’s expression darkened. “Leave my mother out of this!” He wrenched out of Margaret’s grip and spun around to face her. His expression morphed from anger to fear. “¡Madre de Dios!”

The man’s head jerked around. “Get down!” he shouted.

Rafael took off running down the street as the top row of pottery in the stand exploded like popcorn.

Margaret jumped at the loud noise and whirled around searching for the source. The man removed a gun from his jacket, swung around, and scanned the area.

Margaret’s knees buckled at the sight of the handgun. Her body tensed, her gaze frozen on his weapon. He fired off a couple of shots. Heart thumping like a jackhammer, she ran for cover behind the open car door. The window glass shattered as bullets whizzed over her head. She scrambled into the car and crouched on the floorboard. Another row of pottery shattered, sending fragments into the car like tiny projectile rockets. Sending up a quick prayer, she covered her head.

Slamming the door shut as he passed, the man leapt over the trunk. He jerked open the driver’s door then jumped behind the wheel. Jamming the car into gear, he roared out into the market street. Shoppers and vendors screamed, leaping out of the car’s path.

Margaret scrambled into the passenger seat. “Stop this car immediately!”

“Keep down,” he ordered, “unless you want to get shot.”

The rear window glass erupted into the car’s interior, punctuating his words. The man fired at the attackers through the shattered back window.

“Shot?” Her voice rose an octave. “Oh, dear Lord in Heaven, what have I gotten into?”

“Trouble, Lady.” He fired off another round. “Big trouble.

BUY LINK

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, FB or her blog.

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