Archive for the 'Author Friend Promo' Category

How to Make a Zombie

October 18, 2021 | Author Friend Promo

from Sharon Ledwith

Much has been written about the walking dead we’ve come to know as ‘zombies’. Immortalized in movies, television shows, books, comics, and music videos (remember Thriller?), zombies have become so much a part of our culture that people can’t get enough of these brain-eating horror icons. When researching for The Last Timekeepers and the Noble Slave, the third installment of my young adult time travel adventure series, I wanted to incorporate a Voodoo ceremony that included creating a zombie. Oh, where to start, I asked myself, as there was so much information out there to glean, and only a chapter to fit it in.

Buried Zombie Rising Out Of Ground In Misty Cemetery

So do zombies exist? The people of Haiti certainly think so. Here they are considered to be more than spooky stories, but rather very real entities. Stories of zombies persist in Haiti right up to the modern day, with sightings of the poor, haggard creatures fairly common in many rural areas. In fact, cases are so prevalent that there have been wild estimates claiming that there are as many as up to one thousand new cases of zombies a year. Wow, that’s a lot of the undead roaming around a small island! Zombification is even a crime under the Haitian Penal Code (Article 246), in which it is considered to be on par with murder despite the fact that the zombified individual is technically still alive.

Bet you’re dying to know how to make a zombie? Read on…

The zombies of Haiti were said to be corpses that were reanimated through black magic by powerful Voodoo sorcerers or priests known as bokors, for manual labor on farms and sugarcane plantations. Zombies can allegedly be made from those who are still living if the bokor is powerful enough to wrest the victim’s soul from their body. The process of turning a living person into a zombie is said to follow certain steps. First, the bokor will place a hex on the target of the ritual, who will subsequently fall mysteriously ill and die soon after. The exact methods and concoctions used vary among the bokors, but many use a powerful neurotoxin derived from pufferfish. Some zombification processes use blood and hair from their victims in addition to using Voodoo dolls. Ohers involve a carefully prepared mixture called ‘coup de poudre’ (powder strike) made of mystical herbs, human remains, and animal parts. Administrating this mixture can also vary from ingestion, injection, or even a blow dart.

Once the family of the victim pronounces the victim dead, he or she is buried in the family tomb (usually above ground), where the responsible bokor will steal the body from its grave and set about reanimating it through dark sorcery. Next, the bokor performs an ancient Voodoo rite where he or she captures the victim’s ti bon ange (the part of the soul connected to an individual) within seven days following the death of corps cadaver, while it is still hovering over the corpse. This effects a split in the spiritual parts of the victim and produces two complementary types of zombies: the spirit zombie and the zombie of the flesh. The bokor then traps the spirit zombie in a small clay jar or container, and replaces it with the loa (Voodoo spirit) that the bokor controls. The container is hidden in a secret place and is wrapped in a piece of the victim’s clothing or some other personal possession.

After a day or two, the bokor then administers a hallucinogenic mixture called the ‘zombie cucumber,’ (made from the plant Datura stramonium) that revives the victim and is used to keep the zombie in a state of submissive confusion. In this brainwashed condition, the zombie cannot speak, has no memory, and no longer resembles its past human personality. Now easy to control, the zombie is completely under the control of the bokor who created them until the bokor dies. Once released from bondage, the zombies can finally return to their home village or place of burial, and die.

There seems reason to believe from work and research done in the past that there may possibly be a concrete, scientific basis for stories of zombies, so perhaps time will tell. For now, these mysterious creatures lurk along the fringes of Haitian villages and our imaginations. Whether drug addled slaves or corpses reanimated through dark sorcery, the enigma of real zombies beckons us. Perhaps one day we will bring them out into the light and have the answers we seek.

With that, I’ll leave you with this line in the song Thriller, by Michael Jackson: It’s close to midnight! Something evil’s lurking in the dark! Hopefully, it’s not a blood-thirsty corpse. Stay safe, my zombie-loving readers!

Here’s a glimpse at my latest time travel mystery.

True freedom happens only when you choose to be free.

Eleven-year-old Drake Bailey is an analytical thinker and the genius of the Timekeeper crew. However, no logic or mathematical acumen can change the color of his skin, or prepare him for this third Timekeeper mission in antebellum Georgia. To survive, Drake must learn to play the role of a plantation slave and when confronted with the brutality, hatred, and racism of the deep south, he’ll have to strategically keep one move ahead of his sadistic captors to ensure his lineage continues.

In a dark world of Voodoo, zombies, and ritualistic sacrifice, the Timekeepers must ensure a royal bloodline survives. Can Drake remove both literal and figurative chains to save both himself and a devout slave girl from a terrible fate? If he can’t summon the necessary courage, humanity could stand to lose one of its greatest leaders.

 Amazon Buy Link

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/YA time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter, and Smashwords. Look up her Amazon Author page for a list of current books. Be sure to check out THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS TIME TRAVEL SERIES Facebook page.

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NO TRICK TO ENJOY THIS DELICIOUS TREAT

October 13, 2021 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

from HL Carpenter

October is National Pumpkin month, but we think such a beautiful fruit should get more than just one month of notoriety. So smile, say cheese, and make your own yummy appetizer for any holiday get-together.

Cheese Ball Pumpkin

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese
4 ounces crumbled feta or blue cheese
4 ounces shredded sharp cheddar or pepper jack cheese
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. prepared mustard
½ tsp. onion powder
Paprika
The stem of a green bell pepper

Place all of the cheese in a large bowl and let soften to room temperature.

When cheese is soft, add Worcestershire and mustard. Blend with electric mixer or food processor on low speed. Scrape bowl and beat blended mixture on medium speed 1 or 2 minutes more until well mixed (do not over-beat).

Turn the mix onto plastic wrap. Pull the wrap up and secure with a twist tie. Shape the wrapped mixture into a ball. Score the pumpkin “ribs” onto the cheese ball with your fingertip or a flat knife.

With the plastic in place, set the cheese ball in a bowl and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

Before serving, sprinkle with paprika and add a bell pepper stem to top.

Keep refrigerated until the crowd arrives, then serve with assorted crackers.

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 everyday, especially those without hurricanes.

Stay connected on her blog and  Facebook .

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HER NAME WAS VERA

October 11, 2021 | Author Friend Promo

from Stella May

I’ve been thinking about writing this for a long time, but never put the actual words to paper. Something always stopped me. When the story is vital, and the memories are bittersweet, it’s very hard to transform into words your emotions. At least, it is for me.

So, the women of my family: my great-grandmother Tatiana, my grandmother Vera, my mother Karina, and my aunt Stella.  Even the names sound lovely, old-fashioned, and classy, don’t they?

Three generations, four amazing women who shared blood, but were as different from each other as night and day, or as only mothers and daughters can be. Four women, four fascinating life stories. Today, I will tell you about my grandmother.

Her name was Vera, but we called her Verunya. Even her daughters, my mother and my aunt, referred to her by that endearing nickname. No one in the family knew when exactly it started or who started it. But someone did, and it stuck. For three generations.

As a matter of fact, she had two names: Vera, which means “faith” in Russian, and Gulbahar, which means “spring flower” in Azeri. Why? My grandmother was unique in more ways than one. You see, her mother was from a prominent Russian family, and her father….. Well, here’s where we draw a blank. To this day, no one in the family knows who his ancestors were. But as the family lore goes, my great-grandfather was kidnapped as a child and raised in Iran in a Kurdish family. When he met my great-grandmother Tatiana (and no one is sure when or how he ended up in post-revolutionary Azerbaijan, a republic of former USSR) he was so lovestruck that he converted to Christianity to get permission to marry her. And so, Meshady Abbas became Artemy Kurdov. My grandmother Verunya was the only child of that unusual union.

To say that she was a complex woman is truly an understatement of the century. Stunning, strong-willed, capricious, multifaceted, she looked fragile like a china doll, but was stronger than steel. She was beautiful and knew it. She drove men crazy and enjoyed it.

But she wasn’t flighty, shallow, or mean. There was not a single humble bone in her body, but she never hurt anyone on purpose. She worshipped at the altar of high fashion, but sold without hesitation her favorite dress in order to buy her two little daughters Christmas gifts.

She had a huge heart, and loved all four of us, her grandchildren, to distraction. And every time one of us would visit her, before she would open the door, she’d call out, “My dearest one has come!”

She was not your traditional grandmother. She was not traditional anything, period, and that was a huge part of her charm.

For me, she was a personification of everything female. Always dressed to kill, sporting an impeccable manicure and pedicure, she could apply mascara and her famous cherry red lipstick even half asleep. And grey hair? She refused to even acknowledge its right to exist.

She fell in love at 16 with a man who was almost twice her age. Needless to say, no one could stop her from marrying this dashing hunk who happened to be a popular jazz singer. My aunt was born less than a year after, and my mother three years later.

Then, tragedy struck. My larger-than-life grandfather was diagnosed with cancer. He died three months later, leaving a 20 year-old widow with two toddlers on her arms, no income to support them, and no place to live in a strange city. You see, my grandfather Sergey Periev moved his family from Baku, when my Verunya lived all her life, to Yerevan, where he was offered a position as a lead singer in Armenian Jazz band. The apartment they were living in was a rental for the members of the band only, so after his death my grandmother was asked to vacate it. And the year was 1942, the second year of World War II.

But instead of falling apart, this young girl, a child herself, grabbed her two daughters and whatever meager possessions she had, and returned home. With no help from the well-to-do in-laws, who decided they didn’t need an additional burden, she struck out on her own.

I can only imagine how scared she was. She needed to support her family, but had no real profession or formal education. What she had in abundance was sheer guts and a spine of steel. And a true gift that fate bestowed upon her: her amazing voice.

So, shaking off her own fears and insecurities, my Verunya stuck her perky nose up, squared her fragile shoulders, and set to pursue a career as a singer. And the rest was history. She became a star. In my former country, USSR, the name Vera Perieva was familiar to millions.

In her early thirties, she met her second love. Mikhail Kauffman was her impresario. It was a long, happy, and content marriage. But then cancer struck again, taking away the man who became a true father to my mother and aunt, and loving grandfather to my cousins and I.

When in 1991 our family relocated to the USA, Verunya tried really hard to adjust to her new country, but that proved to be a challenge. The language barrier, failing health, advanced age—everything added to the load.

She passed away quietly in her sleep on one brutally cold October morning, wearing an impeccable manicure and pedicure, with not a single grey hair offending her trade-mark mahogany mane.

Last February would have been my grandmother’s 100th birthday. I’m sure the angels threw a huge party for our Verunya, with my mom and dad, and all our dearest departed friends and family in attendance. And then the birthday girl sang, and her deep rich soprano flew over heaven making the Almighty sigh with pleasure…..

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

Stella writes fantasy romance and time travel and is the author of the family saga/trilogy Once & Forever, 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.

She lives in Jacksonville, Florida with her husband Leo of 25 years and their son George. They are her two best friends and all are partners in their family business.

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

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TREAT YOURSELF to SOMETHING GOOD

October 6, 2021 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

from Catherine Castle

Halloween is coming and lots of people are planning parties. I thought it would be fun to share my recipe for popcorn balls. Most popcorn balls are made using corn syrup, but in our family we adjusted the recipe since we weren’t keen on how the corn syrup stuck to our dental fillings, especially after a corn-syrup-based popcorn ball pulled out a loose filling.

Additionally, this popcorn recipe brings back memories. The day our daughter was born I had made popcorn balls to take to a Christmas party. Instead of making the party, we ended up in the delivery room. Hubby missed most of the party, but he had the popcorn balls in the car. So, when after her birth, instead of passing out cigars (which he wouldn’t have done since he doesn’t smoke), he passed out popcorn balls to the hospital staff.

This is a simple and fast recipe and was a staple at our house for a long time at Christmas. It’s good other times, too, and will make a sweet treat for any time you need to reward yourself.

Catherine’s Popcorn Balls
¼ cup margarine
4 cups mini marshmallows
5 cups popped popcorn. Don’t use pre-bagged, pre-seasoned popcorn for this. Pop the whole kernel corn instead.

Pop the corn as directed on the package. Set aside each popped batch in a large bowl until you have 5 cups of cooled popped corn.

In a large saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows. Stir until melted.

Pour over the popcorn and stir well to mix.

Working quickly, with lightly greased hands and helpers if you can get them, form the popcorn and marshmallow mix into balls. Let balls cool completely.

Serve right away or store by wrapping each ball in a square of plastic wrap.

Serves: Who knows? It often depends on how much you, or your helpers, can resist eating as you
roll them into balls.

While you’re waiting for the popcorn balls to cool, check out Catherine’s romantic comedy with a touch of drama. There’s no popcorn in the book, but there are plenty of laughs.

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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Plant-Based Living

October 4, 2021 | Author Friend Promo

by Alicia Joseph

I’ve followed my plan to eat healthier for about eleven days as part of my thirty days of plant-based eating. I decided I’d been consuming too much processed vegan junk food. My body needed a break from the manufactured foods, and instead fill up with whole foods as close to their natural state as possible.

Most of the recipes I made came from a cookbook written by Dr. John McDougall. He preached a low fat/high carb vegan plant-based diet consisting mostly of potatoes, rice, pasta, beans, and multigrain breads. Although my previous diet consisted of plenty of fruits and vegetables, my snack choices of chips, ice cream, and pastries were counterproductive. To stick with the new diet, my snacks consisted of raw nuts and sliced veggies with hummus. To satisfy my sweet tooth cravings, I turned to fruit, smoothies, or fruit in yogurt. Okay, so I cheated one night with a piece of vegan dark chocolate, but I didn’t eat nearly as much chocolate as I usually did. That’s progress, right? Please say yes. 😊

The recipes I’ve made have been easy, convenient, and healthy, but there hasn’t been much change in how I look or feel, except that my face broke out in acne I haven’t seen since I was thirteen! I hope it’s a result of all those toxins exiting my body. Maybe? Could be?

It was unfair for me to judge the impact this plant-based diet had on me because I was experiencing a Myasthenia Gravis flare-up that began before I started the new diet. In fact, it was the flare-up that inspired me to clean up my eating to give my immune system a boost. I was sure the muscle weakness that limited my physical abilities would pass and I would be able to exercise again. And of course, see a more physical change in me.

I had over two weeks left to go when I decided wouldn’t abandon eating plant-based. It will always be the majority of my diet with just a splash of the vegan processed junk food I love so much.

Here is a glimpse into one of my books. I hope you enjoy it.

“When a train runs over a penny, the penny changes form, but it can still be a penny if I want it to be. Or, I can make it be something else.”

Lyssa and her best friend Abbey discover a hideout near the train tracks and spend the summer before sixth grade hanging out and finding freedom from issues at home. Their childhood innocence shatters when the hideout becomes the scene of a tragic death.

As they’re about to graduate from high school, Abbey’s family life spirals out of control while Lyssa is feeling guilty for deceiving Abbey about her sexuality.

After another tragic loss, Lyssa finds out that a penny on the track is sometimes a huge price to pay for the truth.

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Alicia Joseph grew up in Westchester, Illinois. She has many works-in-progress that she hopes to finish soon. Life permitting.

When she is not writing, Alicia enjoys volunteering with animals, rooting for her favorite sports teams, and playing “awesome aunt” to her nine nieces and nephews.

Learn more about Alicia Joseph on her blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

  

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GET YOUR GAME ON

September 29, 2021 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

from Sharon Ledwith

One of the favorite dishes of armchair warriors, chili has so many combinations and gastric consequences, I’m sure it could be deemed as a weapon of mass destruction. Sports fans absolutely love their chili, especially when tailgating with other like-minded souls. We’ve discovered one recipe that’s a sure-fire way to keep you warm inside and out, while waiting for your team to get the game started.

 Make ahead the day before and reheat or prepare on the fly, this spicy version takes 30 minutes to prep, cooks for 2 hours, and serves 12 of your closest blood-thirsty family or friends. A warning: have plenty of water or your preferred adult beverage on hand, along with a stack of napkins to not only wipe your mouth, but soak up your tears.

Game-Face Tailgate Chili

2 pounds ground beef chuck

1 pound bulk Italian sausage (use hot Italian if you love it spicy)

3 (15 ounce) cans chili beans, drained

1 (15 ounce) can chili beans in spicy sauce

2 (28 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with juice

1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste

1 large yellow onion, chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped

1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

2 green chili peppers, seeded and chopped

1 tablespoon bacon bits

4 cubes beef bouillon

½ cup beer

¼ cup chili powder

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce (e.g. Tabasco or Frank’s)

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon white sugar

1 bag of nacho chips

1 (8 ounce package) shredded Cheddar cheese

Heat a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Crumble the ground chuck and sausage into the hot pan, and cook until evenly browned. Drain off excess grease.

Pour in the chili beans, spicy chili beans, diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Add the onion, celery, green and red bell peppers, chili peppers, bacon bits, bouillon, and beer. Season with chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, oregano, cumin, hot pepper sauce, basil, salt, pepper, cayenne, paprika, and sugar. Stir to blend, then cover and simmer over low heat for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

After 2 hours, taste, and adjust salt, pepper, and chili powder if necessary. The longer the chili simmers, the better it will taste. Remove from heat and serve, or refrigerate and serve the next day.

Ladle into bowls and top with shredded Cheddar cheese. Serve with nacho chips for dipping.

After the game or while you’re waiting on the chili to simmer, take a timeout for yourself, and crack open one of my books. May I suggest a visit to Fairy Falls, or if you’re feeling really adventurous, a trip back in time with The Last Timekeepers? Whichever you choose, I assure you that either series will boost your mood, and take you away from the game of life.

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/YA time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter, and Smashwords. Look up her Amazon Author page for a list of current books. Be sure to check out THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS TIME TRAVEL SERIES Facebook page.

 

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Down on the Farm

September 15, 2021 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

from Catherine Castle

Some of my fondest childhood memories are of visiting my grandparents down on their farm.

Mom and Dad would pack us up in the car after Dad got home from work and we’d drive down into the hills of Kentucky for the weekend.

The house would always be dark when we arrived. Grandma and Grandpa didn’t have a phone, so they were never expecting us on our weekend trips. It was probably only nine or ten p.m. when we arrived, but my grandparents were farmers who went to bed with the chickens the minute it got dark outside.

The moment Daddy pounded on the door, my grandparents awoke and the lights came on. After hugs and kisses, we were hustled into the kitchen for hand pies, cornbread, leftover shucky beans, and meat. It never failed to amaze me how much food Grandma had on hand, especially since it was only her and Grandpa there. The hand pies were half-moon pastries made from dried apples Grandma had preserved. The meat varied, depending on whether she’d killed a chicken or they had purchased beef from someone. The shucky beans were the item my mouth always watered for—and still does today. It’s been years since I’ve eaten them, but I remember the salty, silky texture of the once-dried bean.

You say you don’t know what shucky beans are?

Shucky beans are green beans that have been dried in the shell. Shucky beans were always on the table at Grandma’s house. In fact, I don’t remember ever eating any other kind of green bean when we visited her.

Mom and Grandma always used white half-runner beans, although I do remember Mom using other green beans when she couldn’t get half-runners. Every summer we would visit Grandma and help her preserve the veggies from her garden. Getting the shucky beans ready was something I could do as a child, because Grandma preserved her beans the old-fashioned way. She strung them on cotton thread and hung them on the back porches until they dried.

The process was time consuming, but I don’t remember minding it at all. While the black-eyed Susans nodded in the breeze at the front of the yard, I strung my pan of beans sitting on the white porch swing, listening to the chains creaking softly above me and Mom and Grandma talk. There was something satisfying about watching the green column of beans grow on the thread, knowing I was going to enjoy the taste of them in the fall and winter. Grandma always shared some of the crop with us.

Below are the quick instructions for making Shucky Beans as given to me by my mother. Notice there are no amounts given for beans: Grandma and Mom just strung them until they were all picked from the garden. From my research I’ve discovered a bushel of fresh beans makes about 1 gallon of Shucky Beans.

Grandma’s Shucky Bean Recipe 

Pick white, half-runner beans when they have a bean in them. Do not wash beans. Break ends and remove the string from the beans. Using a sturdy needle and white cotton string, knotted on one end, string the beans. Pierce the bean pod and not the bean with the needle. When the string is almost full, tie the ends and place in a warm place to dry: an attic, porch, or in the direct sun.

Depending on how you plan to dry them, either tie the ends together to make a circle, or make a loop in one end, so they can be hung on a nail. You could also just knot the other end and drape over a clothes line.  I know Grandma hung hers on the back porch, but I’ve read about other cooks drying their beans on sheets laid on patio tables, car hoods, and even spread in the back window of a vehicle. If you don’t want to do this the old fashioned way, you can use a food dehydrator. I actually dried a few of them last year on a rack on the kitchen table. I stored them in a glass jar. I haven’t cooked them yet. I just like to open the pantry door and look at them. It reminds me of Grandma and those lazy summers as a child.

Once the beans have dried, they can be stored in the freezer in plastic freezer bags. Just be sure they are really dry before you store them. When you can run your fingers through a batch and hear a rattling sound, reminiscent of the sound dried corn shucks make, beans should be dry enough to store.

To Cook: Place the beans, strings and all, in a pot and boil for 30 minutes. Drain the water and rinse the beans. Take them off the strings and place in a clean pot with more water and seasonings. A cottage ham or slab of bacon works well as seasoning. Cook until tender, about 2-2 ½ hours.

Some recipes call for the beans to be washed before stringing.  Grandma didn’t use pesticides, so she didn’t have to worry about chemicals. If you wash the beans before stringing, make sure they are hung where the air can reach all sides to prevent spoilage. Other recipes also suggest removing the beans from the string before boiling. I’m not sure which method works best, since I can’t recall what I did the one time I cooked the beans.

Have you ever eaten Shucky Beans? How did you like them?

While your beans are cooking, check out Catherine’s Romantic comedy with a touch of drama, A Groom for Mama available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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.

 

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 Catherine on TwitterFB, and her blog.

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Time for Tea and Scones

September 8, 2021 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

by C.D. Hersh

A recurring character in our series The Turning Stone Chronicles and his favorite snack.

In our Turning Stone Chronicles paranormal romance series the Keeper of the Stone, an ancient Scottish man named Eli McCraigen, serves an ever-present cup of tea and scones when serious matters need to be discussed. You’ll see him in every book brewing his tea and serving scones or biscuits of some sort. Our character most likely does this because tea is a breakfast ritual at the C.D. Hersh house.

Catherine loves a good cup of Scottish tea and drinks either a robust cup of Scottish or Irish Breakfast tea every morning. Her Scottish and Irish teas of choice are Taylors brand, imported from across the pond. Donald prefers something with a bit more flavoring and brews a cup of Bigelow Carmel Vanilla tea. Most of the time we have high-fiber toast with our morning tea, but today we wanted to share an authentic Scottish recipe–scones (which when pronounced correctly rhymes with gone).

Catherine got the recipe a number of years ago from a lovely Scottish lady named Rhoda, who immigrated to America at the end of WWII after she fell in love with an American G.I.

We hope you’ll enjoy Rhoda’s scones!

Scottish Scones

    • 2½ cups buttermilk
      ½ tsp. salt
      6 tbsp. shortening
      2 tbsp. sugar
      3 tsp. baking powder
      2 cups flour
      • Preheat oven to 375° F.

Sift dry ingredients, cut in the shortening until mixture looks crumbled. Add buttermilk, enough to moisten the flour.

Turn mixture onto lightly floured board and pat in to a round 1 inch thick. Cut into 12 triangles. Place on greased cookie sheet.

Bake about 20 minutes. Serves 10-12

If you want to make this more festive, you can add chocolate chips to the mix or finely diced apples and some cinnamon, or other chopped fruits. The scones won’t be purely Scottish anymore, but they’ll be more dessert worthy, as scones are really just a Scottish version of what we Americans call biscuits.

To go along with your scones here’s a scene from The Promised One (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 1) that has Eli serving his tea and scones.

Alexi thumbed her cell phone off and shoved it into her pocket. “Rhys should be here in a couple of minutes. Are you sure we need to do this?”

Eli took the screaming teakettle off the stove and poured boiling water into a ceramic teapot. “Aye. We have tae make sure he’s included. We need him.” He dropped three tea bags into the water and set on the lid. “He may not be a shifter, but he has a gun and, unless I miss my guess, isnae afraid to use it. Besides, going off and doing things on our own, without keeping him informed twill only push him away. Tae get him tae accept who he is we need tae draw him in.”

She lined the three mugs on the counter next to the scones Eli had prepared. “I don’t know. He’s been very resistant.”

“So’s a salmon in a bear’s mouth. All that flopping about after he’s been caught is for naught. But if he’d heeded the shadow on the water he might have stayed in the stream.”

“So your strategy is to keep Rhys in water?”

“‘Tis tae make him see the shadow, lassie. That’ll keep him alive and hopefully coming tae our side.”

Alive was good. So was on their side. She rubbed the frown creases between her eyes. Worry deepened the two lines more every day.

“Dinna be afeart. I have a plan.”

That was good, because she was fresh out of ideas. The doorbell rang. Alexi answered it and ushered Rhys into the kitchen.

Rhys eyed the scones and teapot. “Tea party, for me?” He took a scone and bit into it. “I’m not easily swayed by sweets, old man.”

“Yer actions would say different, laddie. But ‘tis for me. I’m an auld man, set in his ways, and ‘tis tea time in Scotland.”

Now if your scones are ready and tea brewed how about checking out our series.

BIO: C.D. Hersh–Two hearts creating everlasting love stories.
Putting words and stories on paper is second nature to co-authors C.D. Hersh. They’ve written separately since they were teenagers and d iscovered their unique, collaborative abilities in the mid-90s. As high school sweethearts and husband and wife, Catherine and Donald believe in true love and happily ever after.

They have a short Christmas story, Kissing Santa, in a Christmas anthology titled Sizzle in the Snow: Soul Mate Christmas Collection, with seven other authors. Plus their paranormal series titled The Turning Stone Chronicles.

They are looking forward to many years of co-authoring and book sales, and a lifetime of happily-ever-after endings on the page and in real life.

Social Media Info:

Website

Soul Mate Publishing

Facebook

Amazon Author Page

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COVER REVEAL

September 7, 2021 | Author Friend Promo

for Stella May’s latest Time Travel Romance. This engrossing novel has wonderful moments of humor and honest soul-searching. This book contains a house flipper who talks to her projects, a beloved grandmother, a case of mistaken identity, and a slow-burn romance. Look for its release on Amazon and all major vendors September 27, 2021.

The twist of a key answers many questions…but could also break her heart.

BLURB:
Nika Morris’s sixth sense has helped build a successful business, lovingly restoring and reselling historic homes on Florida’s Amelia Island. But there’s one forlorn, neglected relic that’s pulled at her from the moment she saw it. The century-old Coleman house.

Quite unexpectedly, the house is handed to her on a silver platter—along with a mysterious letter, postmarked 1909, yet addressed personally to Nika. Its cryptic message: Find the key. You know where it is. Hurry, for goodness sake!

The message triggers an irresistible drive to find that key. When she does, one twist in an old grandfather clock throws her back in time, straight into the arms of deliciously, devilishly handsome Elijah Coleman.

Swept up in a journey of a lifetime, Nika finds herself falling in love with Eli—and with the family and friends that inhabit a time not even her vivid imagination could have conjured. But in one desperate moment of homesickness, she makes a decision that will not only alter the course of more than one life, but break her heart.

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

Stella writes fantasy romance and time travel and is the author of the family saga/trilogy Once & Forever, 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.

She lives in Jacksonville, Florida with her husband Leo of 25 years and their son George. They are her two best friends and all are partners in their family business.

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

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DECORATE YOUR GARDEN FOR FALL

September 1, 2021 | Author Friend Promo

from Emma Lane 

It’s that time of year again. Nothing is more refreshing than a vivid blue sky accented by fiery leaves of the hard woods, yellows of the aspens and some maples, and various reds of the underbrush. Many shades of orange and yellow are accented by the dark greens of spruce and pines. Autumn is foliage showing off and we love it. It’s nature’s last hurrah before the settling of winter time and rest.

The flower gardens are looking a bit seedy (they have cause as they are making next year’s seeds.) Have your Hibiscus, Rose of Sharon, Obedience Plant finished? Sunflowers are nodding their heavy heads with birds and rodents feasting on the bounty of oil rich seeds. For relief we turn to a plant we nicknamed, MUM, but it is so not mum as it speaks with rich fall colors on a plant that stays tidy and easily tucked into existing gardens. Chrysanthemum has been shortened to mum; the real name almost forgotten.

Are mums perennial? Do they survive the freezing temps and come back next year?

The answer is . . . maybe. Indeed, the plant is cold hardy at least to agricultural zone 4/5. So why have so many gardeners been disappointed when the mums succumb to the cold? Might be from too much love? Actually, mums are fairly tough plants that need little attention to thrive. The problem is a shallow root system. Simply put, it cannot stay in the ground during frost heaves which come and go with a changing temperature.

Give it up. You aren’t about to run out every time a warm day and a frost freeze night happens. It’s probably many more nights than you suspect. Mulch is the best remedy. A good mulch will cut down on the possibility of the shallow rooted plant being thrust out of the ground and left high and dry to die.

Two other remedies: Stick a pot or two of your favorite colors in a corner of the garage and give a sip of water occasionally. It might work; worth a try. Next is treat the low-cost mum plant like an annual and don’t worry about it. Just buy new next year.

I’ve done all of the above with various successes. I refuse to give up new and different colors so I buy every year. I, also, cover my favorite yellows with solid mulch and try to remember to trim until the 4th of July. (Otherwise they grow leggie and unattractive.) I’ve been known to pot up an unusual color I want to try and save and tuck it into a corner of the garage. It works maybe half the time. I don’t get upset with failures, as I remember mums are not expensive and I can replace them as autumn approaches. It’s a lovely plant; indulge and enjoy.

Here’s a glimpse into my new Cozy Mystery Release, MURDER AT THE LOOKOUT. It is 4TH in the Detective Kevin Fowler series.

When is it not fun to be a blond?

What happens when a blond beauty hits town like a tornado stirring up memories and causing turmoil? Detective Kevin Fowler and his wife, the former Beverly Hampton, owner of the local newspaper, are settling into blissful married life. Although Beverly is sanguine over the demand on Kevin’s time by the good people of Hubbard, she is more than dubious when his duties include the escort of a drop-dead gorgeous female from his past.

There is some concern over the persistent vandalism of residential mailboxes, but an infamous arsonist has decided peaceful but dull Hubbard would make a great place from which to operate. He brazenly locates down the block from the detective and his wife.

What bait and tackle shop in the village has a dual purpose? Kevin ponders why two goons have invaded town shooting at and attempting to kidnap and murder three women. A state patrolman, aptly nick named Rooster, teases Fowler at the riotous scene of a traffic accident where the press, not the police, wins the day.

Another mystery and adventure with a satisfying ending unfolds in peaceful Hubbard, New York, small-town Americana, where Detective Kevin Fowler keeps an ever-vigilant watch.

AMAZON BUY LINK

Emma Lane is a gifted author who writes cozy mysteries as Janis Lane, Regency as Emma Lane, and spice as Sunny Lane.

She lives in Western New York where winter is snowy, spring arrives with rave reviews, summer days are long and velvet, and fall leaves are riotous in color. At long last she enjoys the perfect bow window for her desk where she is treated to a year-round panoramic view of nature. Her computer opens up a fourth fascinating window to the world. Her patient husband is always available to help with a plot twist and encourage Emma to never quit. Her day job is working with flowers at Herbtique and Plant Nursery, the nursery she and her son own.

Look for information about writing and plants on Emma’s new website. Leave a comment or a gardening question and put a smile on Emma’s face.

Stay connected to Emma on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to check out the things that make Emma smile on Pinterest.

 

 

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