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Complete Comfort Food Dinner

February 8, 2023 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

From Erise Field

It’s so easy to misplace things, well it is for me, so I thought I should share this recipe for a great meatloaf dinner before I lost it.

Meatloaf Veggie Dinner
1 lb. ground beef
1 egg, beaten
½ cup finely chopped onion
3 tbsp. ketchup
¾ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground pepper
½ can condensed Campbell’s tomato soup
¾ cup dry breadcrumbs ( I like Italian ones)
6 small red potatoes
4 garlic cloves, optional
1 tbsp. olive oil
½ tbsp. mixed Italian herbs
Cooking spray

Meatloaf Topping
½ can condensed tomato soup
3 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp. brown sugar
Combine ingredients in a small bowl then coat meatloaves with the mixture.

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Mix ingredients together, ground beef through breadcrumbs, I use my hands. Shape into 5 small loaves and place them (not touching) onto the center of the baking pan.

Wash, dry, and cut into about ½ inch pieces potatoes with skin on. Add garlic. Sprinkle lightly with olive oil and Italian herbs. Set aside.

Spray a shallow baking pan big enough to hold the meatloaves in the center and a mixture of vegetables around the edges.

Bake 35 minutes. Check to see that the meat loaves and veggies are done. Let stand 5 minutes and serve.

Enjoy!

Allow me to share a little of my latest novel, that is close to my heart, for your reading pleasure.

My historical novel– Lady Munevver: The Opium Merchant’s Daughter— is set in the Victorian period as England is preparing to enter the War in the East, the Crimean War, to support the Ottoman Empire that has been invaded by Russia.  Russia’s 1853 invasion of Crimea results in three Empires—England, France, and the Ottoman Empire– declaring war on Russia. It precipitates a disastrous marriage for Lady Munevver. It changes the world with advances in ships and military weapons, the development of the telegraph with its ability to deliver war news almost instantly, and the creation of modern nursing in Scutari Hospital.

In Surrey, England, the merchant father of beautiful but handicapped Munevver is obsessed with gaining acceptance by the Ton.  Refusing Munevver’s plea to marry her childhood love, William of Yorkshire, he arranges a marriage with James, the dissolute son of an impoverished, hard-handed Duke.

When England is drawn into the Crimean War, James joins the Light Brigade and sails to the Ottoman Empire to fight the invading Russians. After learning her husband has died in Scutari Hospital, an improvised hospital for English soldiers located across the Bosphorus from Constantinople, Munevver, terrified at what her father-in-law might do, flees England. Her destination: the ancient city of Aleppo in the eastern part of the Ottoman Empire where she hopes her uncle will shelter her in his vast trading compound.

Her escape ends in Constantinople when. the Sultan, irate at Queen Victoria’s command that he return the widow of one of her Lords, arranges a marriage for Munevver with Ari, a member of his court. Problem solved.  Munevver is now the wife of an Ottoman citizen. She is invisible.

Banished to the ancient, primitive city of Ankara, the young couple struggles to survive political intrigue, intense cold, and lack of medical care.  After Ari dies of tuberculosis, Munevver is desperate to return to Yorkshire, to her grandfather and to the man she loves, William. But how? Dare she accept the quid pro quo arrangement offered by the most powerful woman in the Ottoman Empire, the Sultan’s mother?

Available in e-book and paperback

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Eris Field was born in the Green Mountains of Vermont—Jericho, Vermont to be precise—close by the home of Wilson Bentley (aka Snowflake Bentley), the first person in the world to photograph snowflakes. She learned from her Vermont neighbors that pursuit of one’s dream is a worthwhile life goal.

As a seventeen year old student nurse at Albany Hospital, Eris met a Turkish surgical intern who told her fascinating stories about the history of Turkey, the loss of the Ottoman Empire, and forced population exchanges. After they married and moved to Buffalo, Eris worked as a nurse at Children’s Hospital and at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

After taking time off to raise five children and amassing rejection letters for her short stories, Eris earned her master’s degree in Psychiatric Nursing at the University at Buffalo. Later, she taught psychiatric nursing at the University and wrote a textbook for psychiatric nurse practitioners—a wonderful rewarding but never to be repeated experience.

Eris now writes novels, usually international, contemporary romances. Her interest in history and her experience in psychiatry often play a part in her stories. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Western New York Romance Writers. In addition to writing, Eris’s interests include: Prevention of Psychiatric Disorders; Eradicating Honor Killings, supporting the Crossroads Springs Orphanage in Kenya for children orphaned by AIDS, and learning more about Turkey, Cyprus, and Kurdistan.

Learn more about Eris Field on her website. Stay connected on Facebook

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4 Successful Ways to Promote Your Novel

February 6, 2023 | Author Friend Promo, Promotion

From Sharon Ledwith

It’s not all about book reviews when promoting your novel these days. Yes, book reviews are valuable and securing them should be on any author’s book promotion to-do list. However, your book deserves more widespread, long-term, and on-going exposure than it can garner through reviews alone. And every writer knows that getting your novel to be talked about month after month is no easy feat. So, what can authors do to get their books into the hands of their readers?

You need to generate the ongoing chatter your book deserves by seeing the publicity and promotion value in your fiction. There’s no question that promoting fiction is harder than promoting nonfiction—but because of that, it’s also more rewarding. Here are four ways to help you promote and manifest sales:

Find the nonfiction gems in your novel to use in creating newsworthy material for relevant media outlets. For example, in The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, I set the novel in Medieval Nottingham around the time Robin Hood was suspected to have lived. I found interesting tidbits that could be used for an opportunity to be featured on travel blogs. If you’re writing your novel now, make sure you work in some nonfiction gems you can capitalize on later.

Use your content to identify promotion allies. In Lost and Found, Book One of Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls, I wrote about the local animal shelter in the fictional town of Fairy Falls, and the tough task of continual fundraising to keep the shelter from closing. I contacted shelters and rescues in my area with the hopes of working with them and bringing awareness to the ongoing struggle of lost and abandoned pets. Don’t just send them a note that says, “I’ve written a book your members will love.” Meet with them or send a copy of the book with a letter outlining promotional possibilities and what’s in it for them.

Animal Rescue Promo

Engage first. Focus on one or two social media networking sites. My two preferences are Facebook and Twitter, but there’s a whole slew out there to choose from these days. Make sure you master the most effective and appropriate ways to use social media to promote your book before spreading yourself too thin on several sites. Sometimes less is more.

Make the connection. Help readers connect with you by blogging (you do have a blog, right?) about your writing process and experiences. Get excerpts up on your website (you definitely should invest in your own cyber real estate) and read portions from your books via podcasts or YouTube videos so potential readers can get a feel for your writing and decide if the story is worth their investment. Give readers enough online (website, blog, YouTube videos, podcasts, free downloads) to convince them they’d like your book enough to hit the buy button.

Authors—how do you keep readers buzzing about your books? Can you add anything else to this list? Readers—what makes you want to invest your time and money in a certain book or author? Would love to read your input and comments.

Cheers, and thank you for spending time with me by reading my post!

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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SHARE THE LOVE

February 1, 2023 | Cooking, New Releases

Ladies, Valentine’s Day is only days away. Give that special guy in your life a gift that will make him a hero in the kitchen and king of the grill! From delicious breakfasts to the delectable aroma of meat grilling, these 130 recipes create 72 complete meals to satisfy hungry appetites.

Men…Dare to Tie One On? 

An apron, that is…

Cuisines to satisfy any craving, from comfort food to looks-fancy-but-easy-as-pie delights. Raid your own pantry and get fresh (ingredients) at the grocery.

Prep can be done in advance, but why rush? Make the prep part of the fun with your honey! (Matching aprons optional. Clothing is recommended, especially for sautéing!)

Menu suggestions provided or get adventurous and create your own unique meal—and a memory to savor.

Wine and beverage selections make you an instant pairing expert.

Bonus: Tips/tricks that will make everyone think you’re a kitchen genius.

Extra bonus: Sloane’s secret recipe for Super Bowl Chili!

All recipes are indexed so you can find what you need in a snap.

And come on, who doesn’t like sausage? (For breakfast! What were you thinking?)

Lunch, dinner—or breakfast the next morning, Sloane has you covered! Because a steamy date night always starts in the kitchen.

Sloane Taylor is an Award-Winning romance author with a passion that consumes her day and night. She is an avid cook and posts new recipes on her blog every Wednesday. The recipes are user friendly, meaning easy.

To learn more about Taylor go to her website. Stay in touch on Blogger, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Taylor’s cookbooks, Date Night Dinners, Date Night Dinners Italian Style, Sizzling Summer, and Recipes to Create Holidays Extraordinaire are released by Toque & Dagger Publishing and available on Amazon.

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ARE WE NORMAL YET?

January 30, 2023 | Author Friend Promo

from Catherine Castle

While Ohio is mostly opened up from Pandemic status, I hear lots of newscasters asking, “When will we get back to normal again?”

This question now is mostly related to the economy, workers going back to work, restaurants having their normal hours and normal menus back, schools and businesses being fully opened again, hospitals, airlines and nursing homes going maskless, and whether a new wave from a variant virus will set us back to 2020 shutdown status again.

There is, however, one thing that has come back to normal in record speed—Scamming and Phishing!

I’ve talked about phone scamming and phishing in the past, but I received a couple of calls that I think bear repeating. This past week or so our phone has gone nuts with scam calls. I received a call from a local hospital where my sister had been admitted a while ago. Not thinking about scamming, but wondering instead if she was in the hospital, I answered the call. It was a Medicare scammer. I bawled him out and hung up with a threat to report him to the FCC.

I had another interesting and doozy of a call the other day from Beverly Hill, California. I didn’t answer, but they left a voice-mail message. Our voice-mail system forces us to listen to the messages in order to clear them. Most of the time they are truncated messages that don’t give us much of a clue as to what the caller wants. As I punched the replay button that day, a computer-generated voice said. “Sorry. You did not reveal yourself to be human.”

If that’s not the pot calling the kettle black, I’ll eat my garden hat! It’s too bad all the other scam phone calls don’t recognize my computer-generated message isn’t worth their time as well. That would solve my constant ringing phone issue.

I’d love to hear your craziest scam phone call message.

Catherine

There are no scam phone calls in Catherine Castle’s award-winning comedy with a touch of drama, A Groom for Mama, but there are plenty of scammy dates.  Follow the antics of Alison Walters and her mother Beverly as the pair works at cross purposes while gallivanting across the country—one wants a wedding, and one doesn’t.

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

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

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

Available from 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, FB, or her blog

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WARM UP YOUR WINTER

January 25, 2023 | Cooking

from Slone Taylor

This recipe is the perfect way to use veggies that have been around a while and leftover roast beef. Serve with crusty bread, a dry red wine and your dinner is complete.

BEEF VEGETABLE SOUP

2 tbsp. olive oil
1med. onion, chopped1
lg. garlic clove, chopped
12 baby carrots, cut into thirds
1 celery stalk, chopped
3 tbsp. butter
2 red potatoes, not peeled, diced
10 green beans, cut in 1-inch pieces
½ small zucchini, diced
½ lb. cooked beef, diced
3 cups beef stock, not broth
1 – 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
½ tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. dried basil
1 small bay leaf
2 pinches allspice
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Warm oil in a Dutch oven set on medium heat. Add onions. Sauté 3 – 4 minutes until lightly colored. Add garlic, cook 30 – 60 seconds, stirring constantly. Mix in carrots and celery. Adjust heat so onions and veggies don’t burn.

Swirl butter into pan. Add remaining veggies and meat. Sauté 5 – 8 minutes.

Combine remaining ingredients into pot. Bring soup to a boil. Cover pot, lower heat, and simmer 30 minutes.

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

Sloane

Sloane Taylor is an Award-Winning romance author with a passion that consumes her day and night. She is an avid cook and posts new recipes on her blog every Wednesday. The recipes are user friendly, meaning easy.

To learn more about Taylor go to her website. Stay in touch on Blogger, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Taylor’s cookbooks, Hot Men Wear Aprons, Date Night Dinners, Date Night Dinners Italian Style, Sizzling Summer, and Recipes to Create Holidays Extraordinaire are released by Toque & Dagger Publishing and available on Amazon.

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A Taste of Eastern Europe

January 18, 2023 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

From Stella May

Borscht is the most famous Ukrainian dish. It is kind of a sour soup common for Eastern Europe. It is low on calories, full of vitamins and minerals, and can be served hot or cold. And you can keep it in your refrigerator for several days. The flavor will only improve. Serve crusty rye bread and butter to complete a terrific dinner or lunch.

There are literally hundreds of different recipes for borscht. Here is my family’s favorite version. I hope you like it too.

BORSCHT

1 medium carrot, thinly sliced

1 bell pepper, thinly sliced (optional)

2 medium potatoes, cut into small cubes

1 celery stalk, diced (optional)

1 can diced tomatoes, drained

5 cups low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable stock

3 bay leaves

2 tbsp. fresh dill, minced, or 1 tsp. dried

2 medium beets, washed, peeled and shredded

1 small head cabbage, thinly sliced

salt/ pepper to taste

dill for serving

sour cream for serving

Arrange the ingredients listed above through the fresh dill into a large pot and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat, add beets and cabbage. Let simmer until the vegetables are tender. Stir occasionally.

When the soup is almost done, add salt and pepper.

Serve with additional dill and sour cream.

Enjoy!

Here is a little from my latest time travel romance for your reading pleasure.

The only way to save their future is risk a journey back to her past.

Time is running out. The message rings in Abby Coleman’s head as clear as the chime of the grandfather clock, her time portal on Amelia Island. Her instincts scream that she must move. Act. But where? And why?

Through she leaped forward a century in time to live an independent life, she reluctantly admits she needs Alex, the insufferable thorn in her side who had the audacity to make her hope. Dream. Yearn.

Alex is through waiting for Abby to come to her senses. And to his complete surprise, the maddening, beautiful woman admits she loves him. Yet to his everlasting frustration, she refuses to marry until she solves her mystery.

In a blinding flash of light, the portal spits out a desperate, heavily pregnant Nika, and the reason becomes all too clear. With Abby missing from her own time, Eli stands accused of her murder. The only way to clear his name is for Abby to go where Alex can’t follow—back through the portal. And one passionate night together may be all they’ll ever have.

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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 FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

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How Old am I Supposed to Look?

January 16, 2023 | Author Friend Promo

from Anne Montgomery

I like to think – in fact, I believe – that in olden times wrinkles signified wisdom and dignity. Today, not so much. Drug makers, who are looking to wipe our faces clean of those evil little lines, are frothing at the mouth to create a product that smooths our skin, an effort to pump up their profits in what is an almost one-billion dollar a year industry.

I became acutely aware of wrinkles as I approached 40. Unbeknownst to me, I was nearing the end of my on-camera sportscasting career, not because I wasn’t good at my job. After all, I’d worked for five TV stations, so, logically, I opined, I must have been a competent reporter. But then, my final contract was not renewed and not a single TV outlet in the country expressed an interest in me, despite my credentials, which included working at both the local and national levels with a stint anchoring SportsCenter at ESPN.

It took me a while to catch on. Glimpses of older on-camera women I’d worked with – especially those framed unforgivingly in HD – more than hinted that they’d had “work” done. Then I’d look in the mirror. Did I really look all that different than when I first took my place in front of the camera?

My answer finally came in rather shocking fashion, a situation caused by years of sports officiating. I began calling amateur games in 1979. I first became a youth ice hockey official, which lead to me being certified in football, baseball, soccer, and basketball. It was those outside sports and silly rules about perception that doomed me. Until relatively recently, sports officials were not allowed to wear sunglasses. In fact, many still eschew regular glasses, as well, opting for contacts, lest they set themselves up for the “What are ya, blind, ump?” retorts that are often flung at sports arbiters.

My loss of vision was gradual, but eventually it was clear something had to be done. Driving at night was difficult, the glare of oncoming headlights excruciating. I couldn’t see those line drives heading my way and would lose passes and kicks in the harsh stadium lights. I had cataracts, sadly, thirty years before the age my parents developed them.

The surgery was quick and simple. I remember thinking the inside of my eyeballs looked like Jackson Pollack paintings, all swirling lines and colors. A day or two later, I stood before the mirror. The haze I’d been looking through for so long had lifted, my sight clear for the first time in years. I reared back. When had all those wrinkles appeared?

It took a while, but I eventually adjusted. I had to admit that my face no longer mattered all that much. Neither my high school students, my beau, nor anyone I cared about gave a whit about whether I had lines on my face. In retrospect, it was rather freeing.

But then one day, while walking by one of those upscale salons in a fancy mall, I was stopped by a pretty twenty-something woman with an alluring accent and flawless skin. She stared at me, tilting her head, long hair cascading about her shoulders.

“Come in! Please.” She smiled, motioning toward the ornate open doors. “Let’s take a look at your face.”

As I had a little time to kill, I acquiesced. She put me in a pump-up chair and produced fancy bottles and jars of creams and elixirs guaranteed to make me look younger. Then she handed me that dreaded little round mirror that magnifies to the extreme. I’d like to say I had never succumbed to this particular sales pitch, but I suddenly recalled all those TV years when I thought nothing of dropping two or three hundred bucks on products like the ones she was showing me.

I gazed into the mirror, and then stared up at her. “How old am I supposed to look?”

She paused, tilted her head. “Younger.”

“How much younger?”

She squinted, seemingly puzzled by the question.

“Really? What age am I supposed to look like?”

She pouted, thinking. The smile returned as she dipped the end of her manicured pinky into a blue glass jar. “Younger.”

Then I noticed my long-time beau standing in the doorway of the salon, a bemused look on his face, a man who repeatedly, over two decades, had told me that he doesn’t care if I ever wear makeup or fix my hair or don anything but jeans and T-shirts.

Though she practically implored me to buy some of her magic creams, I declined. As I walked out the door, I couldn’t help but ask her one more time. “How old am I supposed to look?” When she couldn’t answer, I smiled and thanked her. Then Ryan wrapped his arm around my shoulder.

“I love you just the way you are,” he said.

 

Back when I worked in TV, the condition of my hair and makeup was, sad to say, the most important consideration of my day. Years later, I began dating a lovely man who had an artist draw my portrait. The picture he chose was from a day we’d been out rock collecting in the Arizona desert.

I had found a lovely stone, which I cupped in my hands to show him. No make-up. Hair a wild mess.

“You’re the happiest when you’re rocking,” he said. “This is my favorite picture of you.”

And now, it’s my favorite too.

Allow me to offer you a glimpse at my latest women’s fiction novel for you reading pleasure.

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.

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

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

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

 

 

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A NOMAD OF SPIRIT

January 11, 2023 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

From Linda Lee Greene Author/Artist

As I now firmly inhabit the classification of “senior citizen” there are moments in which my thoughts turn to what my family might inscribe on my tombstone when the time comes. Various labels come to mind, but I wonder how they would also include on that small slab of marble the fact that I am a collector of strays, not of stray animals, but of stray people, people adrift who show up in my orbit seemingly unsolicited. But the truth is that there is nothing random about it, because it is a matter of mutual attraction among kindred spirits—of wandering souls drawn one to the other.

Once upon a time, for a short time, I had a boyfriend who nicknamed me “Gypsy.” I think he might have been the only person in all these years who saw me for who I really am not a globetrotter in the physical sense, but rather a nomad of spirit. It’s a tough thing to go through life knowing that you don’t really fit in anywhere, knowing that you think about and feel things differently than others you encounter along your path. I have never been able to be just “one of the guys (or gals).” Not that I haven’t tried, and in the trying, I became a master quick-change artist: changing my persona to fit in this situation and then changing it again to fit in that situation, ad infinitum. It’s exhausting! There is little doubt that one reason I became an artist, and a writer, is because in those solitary exercises, I breathe a huge sigh of relief and shed the masquerades and be me with only me as companion. An enormous saving grace for me and others like me is social media. Lo and behold, it turns out that there slews and slews of strays the world over with whom I connect on the Internet. Oh, how I wish I could welcome them to my physical neighborhood.

I read a case study in psychotherapist M. Scott Peck’s The Road Less Traveled and Beyond that nailed me. A woman came to him for analysis. Her complaint was just like mine. She was a misfit. “Tell me what I’m doing wrong, please? Please fix me!” she entreated the doctor. Following extensive scrutiny of this patient, Peck finally informed her that there was really nothing the matter with her. He helped her to see that she was different and always would be different, and it was okay—and then they explored ways in which she might find comfort and satisfaction in her differentness, the way I find it in my art and writing, and in my relationships with the strays who have a taste for my world.

I lost my two best strays in the recent past—their last grain of sand fell to the bottom of their hourglass and the Grim Reaper cut them free of physical life with his razor-sharp scythe. Consequently, I’m keeping my door open to the next stray who ambles in. When that day comes, I will sit him/her at my table and ladle up my latest kitchen concoction, a mightily flavorful and easy-to-make soup, Butter & Cheese Celery Soup that makes 4 servings. The recipe is below for your pleasure and as a “thank you” for taking time to read my lonely little confession.

BUTTER & CHEESE CELERY SOUP

1 pkg. celery

¼ cup bacon bits

1 tbsp. grated garlic

1 envelope onion soup/dip mix

16 oz. vegetable stock

1 tbsp. dried thyme

1 tbsp. dried parsley flakes

1 tbsp. dried chives

4 generous shakes coriander powder

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

¾ cup butter

¾ cup mozzarella cheese

Chop celery into bitesize pieces, transfer to a colander, wash thoroughly, and then place in Crock Pot, or Slow Cooker, or stove top kettle.

Add bacon bits through salt and pepper. Adjust spices to preferred taste.

Cook until celery chunks are fork soft.

Remove lid and while soup is still hot, stir in butter until it is dissolved. Blend in mozzarella or any other type of grated cheese and stir well to dissolve.

Just before serving, place the soup in a bullet blender or free-standing blender and emulsify it to a creamy consistency.

Leftovers freeze well.

Enjoy!

Linda Lee

Here’s a peek at multi-award-winning author and artist Linda Lee Greene’s novel, Garden of the Spirits of the Pots, A Spiritual Odyssey. It is a blend of visionary and inspirational fiction with a touch of romance. The story unfolds as ex-pat American Nicholas Plato journeys into parts unknown, both within himself and his adopted home of Sydney, Australia. In the end, the odyssey reveals to him his true purpose for living. The novella is available in eBook and paperback.

Driven by a deathly thirst, he stops. A strange little brown man materializes out of nowhere and introduces himself merely as ‘Potter,’ and welcomes Nicholas to his ‘Garden of the Spirits of the Pots.’ Although Nicholas has never laid eyes on Potter, the man seems to have expected Nicholas at his bizarre habitation and displays knowledge about him that nobody has any right to possess. Just who is this mysterious Aboriginal potter?

Although they are as mismatched as two persons can be, a strangely inevitable friendship takes hold between them. It is a relationship that can only be directed by an unseen hand bent on setting Nicholas on a mystifying voyage of self-discovery and Potter on revelations of universal certainties.

A blend of visionary and inspirational fiction, and a touch of romance, this is a tale of Nicholas’ journey into parts unknown, both within his adopted home and himself, a quest that in the end leads him to his true purpose for living.

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Multi-award-winning author and artist Linda Lee Greene describes her life as a telescope that when trained on her past reveals how each piece of it, whether good or bad or in-between, was necessary in the unfoldment of her fine art and literary paths.

Greene moved from farm-girl to city-girl; dance instructor to wife, mother, and homemaker; divorcee to single-working-mom and adult-college-student; and interior designer to multi-award-winning artist and author, essayist, and blogger. It was decades of challenging life experiences and debilitating, chronic illness that gave birth to her dormant flair for art and writing. Greene was three days shy of her fifty-seventh birthday when her creative spirit took a hold of her.

She found her way to her lonely easel soon thereafter. Since then, Greene has accepted commissions and displayed her artwork in shows and galleries in and around the USA. She is also a member of artist and writer associations.

Visit Linda on her blog and join her on Facebook.

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Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

January 9, 2023 | Author Friend Promo

from Emma Lane

Robert Frost is one of my favorite poets. At this time of the year his poem Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening warms me and makes me long for spring. I hope you enjoy the poem and my short inserts.

Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village though.
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep

Of easy wind and downy flake.

Acknowledge we all long for warmer weather. In the depths of winter with no hope as yet for spring, we assess the year’s past.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

Take stock. What plan worked; what was a dismal failure.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

Taxes loom, but not yet as the spring catalogs have started to arrive. For this household, it’s time to plan, to dream, to make notes, to check budgets. While the snow whirls and the winds blow, the photographs of new varieties of plants sparkle on the brightly colored pages and wish lists grow down the page.

Out my window I see long whips of forsythia, buds protruding, waiting for the first peep of spring breezes. I feel a slight thump of adrenalin race through my veins. Am I already behind on my paperwork? Hard winter, after all, lasts only a few weeks. I finish the last stanza of my favorite poet, Robert Frost. He was an avid nature lover as am I. Best ignore those dark, snowy mornings and get to work. The upcoming warm breezes are sirens of temptation and I’ll want to be outside and doing soon.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Here’s a peek at Emma’s winter anthology for your reading pleasure.

A Wild Wicked Duke
After a cruel family betrayal, Caroline Engelson vows the wicked duke will never regain her love unless he first earns her respect, no matter how fervently she longs for his kisses.

A serious accident delivers the wicked duke into Caro’s care, but she is shocked and hurt when he refers to her teen years as the ‘brat with tangled curls.’ Caro is all grown up now when the wicked duke tries to take advantage of her emotions, even as he turns the orderly household into total chaos with his ducal roars. To his astonishment, his best friend’s sister is made of sterner stuff. The situation changes drastically when Caro learns of a shocking family secret..

A Duke Finds Love
Young love is disrupted and the couple parted, but their unsympathetic parents fail to extinguish the strong bond between the two.

Roseland, left pregnant by the duke’s son, weds a neighbor, mistaking that her lover has been forced to marry another. A war and five years later, the two face a second chance, but despite their deep love for one another, impediments must be faced before happily ever after will be theirs at long last.

Beloved Soldier Returns
A wounded British soldier faces amnesia and frustrating dreams, but is finally well enough to reclaim his fiancée and his heritage when a gypsy woman arrives to share an important secret.

Robert Cooper-Hanton, a soldier who fought against Napoleon at Waterloo, is seriously wounded and suffers amnesia but survives in a gypsy camp for three years. Pockets of memory are still missing, leaving him with dreams of people with no names, when he makes the decision to begin his journey home. He has no conscious remembrance of a fiancée he left behind but is not surprised to learn that a cousin has usurped his property. When neighborhood friends reveal the fact of his engagement to Lynda Clarington, his memory of her returns in a flash and he recognizes the woman of his dreams.

Lynda had struggled without much success to accept her loss and is overjoyed to learn that Cooper is alive. She has loved him since childhood, but can she adjust to a man who seems irrevocably changed? When a gypsy woman shows up searching for Cooper, Lynda is plagued with doubt. Will Cooper manage to reunite with his old life and the woman he loves or will he remain lost in his hazy memories, dreams and a changed reality?

Dark Domino
Sarah Louise and Ethan have loved each other all their lives, but a war and time apart may have jeopardized their relationship.

Ethan has been away at war for six long years—without a single letter to the young girl he left behind. He is certain she has forgotten him, but he is still drawn to her. Dressed for a masquerade in a dark domino, he leads her to the garden and tries to steal a kiss. Sarah does not know why the man in the dark domino is so familiar, and why a stranger should give her a feeling of home. When Ethan reveals his identity, Sarah’s anger and hurt overwhelm even her love. Can a new life be built on the foundations of a first love? Or will the Dark Domino remain alone forever?

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Emma Lane lives in Western New York where winter is snowy, spring arrives with rave reviews, summer days are long and velvet, and fall leaves are riotous color.

Emma is a gifted author who writes under several pennames. She writes Regency Romance as Emma Lane, but also delights in dipping into a Contemporary Cozy Romantic Mystery as Janis Lane.

Her day job is working with flowers at the plant nursery where she is part owner. Look for information about writing and plants on her new website. Leave a comment or a gardening question and put a smile on Emma’s face. Stay connected to Emma on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

 

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WINTER WARM UP

January 4, 2023 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

by Helen Carpenter

Some like it hot, some like it cold, some like it in a pot nine days old. Remember the Mother Goose “pease porridge” rhyme? While today we may think of porridge as cereal, in the sixteenth century, “porridge” was a derivation of “pottage” or “potage” meaning cooking pot. “Chowder” also comes from the word pot, via the French “cauldron.”

However you like your soup—hot, cold, or nine days old—combining savory ingredients in a pot and letting the flavors mingle is a time-tested menu favorite.

But what if you want your soup NOW? Well, you’re our kind of person, and we have just the recipe for you. Using already cooked ingredients makes this soup a quick lunch, ready in twenty minutes or less.

Corny Ham Chowder

1 cup milk
1 can cream style sweet corn
1½ cups cooked ham, cut into chunks
1½ cups cooked potatoes, drained and cut into chunks (canned works too)
1 tsp. onion powder
1 cup (4 oz) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Green onion or scallion slivers (optional)
Salt or chicken bouillon to taste

Mix milk, corn, ham, and potatoes in medium pot. Cook, be sure to stir occasionally until heated through.

Add cheese. Cover pot and let cheese melt completely.

Serve with a chunk of hearty bread.

Bonus Goodness:
Crave added richness? Substitute ½ cup of cream for ½ of the milk.

Are you a vegetable fan? Toss in the veggie of your choice, either frozen or fresh. We like frozen carrots for the added color—and the nutrition too of course.

No ham? Smoked sausage is a nice substitute.

Bland potatoes? Mix in sweet pickle juice. A teaspoon gives the soup zing.

Need more soup? Add more stuff. The converse works too.

Fighting off vampires? Switch out the regular salt for a teaspoon of garlic salt. If you have a bad infestation, add ½ teaspoon crushed garlic to the soup and serve with a wood spoon.

Once upon a time there was a mother/daughter author duo named Helen and Lorri, who wrote as HL Carpenter. The Carpenters worked from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, was unreal but not untrue. Then one day Lorri left her studio to explore the land of What-if, and like others who have lost a loved one the magical place lost much of its magic. But thanks to family, plus an amazing group of wordsmiths named Authors Moving Forward (AMF), the magic is slowly returning.

Helen Carpenter loves liking and sharing blog posts from other authors. She lives in Florida with her husband of many years and appreciates every day, especially those without hurricanes.

Stay connected on her blog and Facebook.

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