Archive for the 'Cooking' Category

EASY DESSERT for EVERY OCCASSION

September 21, 2022 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

From Stella May

This recipe for a classic meringue desert is easy to prepare and wonderful to eat. My family loves these cookies as a sweet after a good dinner. If you choose to use vanilla extract, you’ll have a classic méringue desert called La Bise (kiss in French). Bon appetite!

Almond Meringue Cookies
4 egg whites, cold eggs right from the fridge
Pinch of salt
¾ or 1 cup of white sugar (I use organic raw cane sugar)
1 tbsp. almond or vanilla extract
12 whole almonds

Preheat oven to 200° F.

You need a hand or standing mixer. Mix egg whites and salt on high-speed to the consistency of dense foam.

Add sugar by small portions, mixing well. Try not to stop your mixer while adding sugar.
Add almond extract.

Cover cookie sheet with parchment. Spoon mixture into 12 cookies. You can use an ice-cream scoop. Place one whole almond on top of each cookie.

Bake for 1 hour. Lightly touch the cookie. It will have a firm crust and a soft center. That’s ideal. Turn off the oven and leave the cookies inside the oven for 1 hour.

Remove them from the oven to cool completely. Enjoy!

Here’s a little to intrigue you on Stell May’s latest time travel romance.

After months of working like a woman possessed, Nika Morris kept her promise. Coleman House is finished. It’s gorgeous. Spectacular. Brilliant.

It’s breaking her heart.

Because once the new owners move in, she’ll be cut off from the time portal to 1909, where she met and fell in love with Eli Coleman. Now stranded in her own time, she’s waited months for the key to reappear in its hiding place. Only it hasn’t. Which means Eli must have believed the terrible things she was accused of.

Back in 1909, Eli is stunned at his best friend’s deathbed confession of a shocking betrayal. Nika—his Daisy, his time-traveling wonder—was innocent. Once he finds the key, he wastes no time stepping through the portal, determined to make things right.

But the moment Eli stumbles into her shiny, noisy, confusing future, he realizes reconciliation won’t be simple. There is more than one emotional bridge to rebuild before he and Nika can return to the time their love was born—and live their destiny out to the fullest.

AMAZON BUY LINK

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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GOOD FALL EATING

September 14, 2022 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

From Emma Lane

This is a favorite of mine to use when I have leftovers. Actually, I plan so I have the right ingredients, but don’t tell my secrets.

In late summer when veggies are in top form, the sparkling green of fat bell peppers has my mouth watering. Fry up a bit more summer sausage for breakfast than you need. Pull out of the freezer that small bit of ground beef you cooked up with onion. Add a bit of chopped green onion, a dash of garlic salt. Mix with tomato soup which is undiluted. Use a ½ can if you only make up two; a whole can for four peppers. Add 1½ cups of white or wild rice that you had left over and tucked into the freezer. Voila! You are ready to assemble. All ingredients are already cooked, so you are just baking the peppers, microwave or oven.

Now if you don’t have leftovers then this is the recipe, that serves 4, to follow.

STUFFED PEPPERS
4 green peppers, red or yellow are good too
½ cup summer sausage, cooked, drained
½ cup ground beef, cooked, drained
1½ cups cooked wild or white rice
1 can tomato soup, regular size
Dash of garlic powder
Pinch of salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp. chopped green onion
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Parsley garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Cut the top off peppers and discard stems, chop tops into small sizes and leave in bowl. Remove seeds from peppers and arrange in baking dish.

Mix remaining ingredients in bowl with chopped tops and then spoon into peppers. Cook for about 30 minutes. Sprinkle with the parm. May be refrigerated and served next day. Warm in oven or microwave.

Late summer harvest presents many choices for salads and dessert. A side dish of fruit and a slice of cheese (so many excellent selections). Corn bread is also a great taste with the peppers.

Enjoy!

Here is a brief intro to the cozy mystery series Emma writes as Janis Lane.

MURDER in the JUNKYARD sees the demise of a man no one likes, a romance, and plans for a wedding as Detective Fowler and his friends keep their small-town America free from danger.

Detective Kevin Fowler is furious that low life has targeted his town where people live in blissful safety. Brenda Bryant is out junkn’ for good things when she stumbles over the grotesque body of a man beloved by no one. Suspense heats up when large sums of money are found in two different places. Drug money is suspected, and Brenda targeted by someone who wants the money returned. Detective Fowler faces surprise after surprise as he peels back the surface of Hubbard, New York and deals with its shocking underbelly. Meanwhile romance infiltrates the group of friends with a wedding in the making.

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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A Perfect Pear Dessert

September 7, 2022 | Cooking

by Helen Carpenter

We like to bake here in Carpenter Country, and we love to eat what we bake. Today we want to share one of our favorite recipes with you. Hope you enjoy as much as we do.

Photo by rakratchada torsap

3-2-1 Pear-Up
3 pears, peeled and sliced
3 tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp. oatmeal
2 tbsp. pecan pieces
2 tbsp. flour
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon, if you prefer)
1 tbsp. butter
1 spritz nonstick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°F

Spritz the bottom of a 9″ round pie pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Toss the pear slices in the lemon juice and add them to the pie pan.

Measure the sugar, oatmeal, pecan pieces, flour, and spice into a plastic baggie. Shake to mix. Add the butter and knead the bag with your fingers until the mixture resembles soft crumbs.

Empty the bag of topping mixture into the pie pan on top of the pears.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the pears are soft.

Tips and tricks
Add a tablespoon of butter on top of the pears if you like a syrupy juice.
Experiment with different types of nuts for different flavors.
Raisins or dates add a sweet touch.
Top each serving with sweetened whipped cream for extra yum.

The last one is my personal favorite.

Helen

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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BUSY DAY DINNER

August 31, 2022 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

From Emma Lane

Busy days we look for easy but tasty quick main dishes. This is a family recipe that is sure to please both parents and kids (or grandchildren). The young ones will love the mac & cheese and barely notice they are eating veggies. Easy to add side dishes to round out the meal without much fussing. Serve ice cream for dessert.

Quick & Easy Mac and Cheese Casserole

1 small onion

1 small carrot, grated

⅓ cup frozen green peas

½ lb. ground beef

1 box mac & cheese

½ can cream of chicken soup

Melt butter in a frying pan. When the foam subsides, sauté onion, carrot, and peas until onion is translucent. Spoon mixture into a microwaveable dish.

Use the same pan to fry ground beef until browned. Be sure to break meat into small pieces. Drain fat.

Cook mac & cheese per package directions.

Combine meat, mac & cheese with vegetables. Stir soup gently into mixture. (Save other half of soup for eggs next morning.)

Warm casserole in microwave oven for two minutes or until steaming. Serve with green salad.

This casserole dish may be prepared the day before and refrigerated for easy warm-up.

Here are some tasty side options we enjoy with the casserole:

Pear Salad

Apple slices dotted with yogurt or sour cream

Apple sauce with cinnamon

Sliced melon

Green grapes

How about a peek at one of my cozy mysteries written under my pseudo name Janis Lane?

A blizzard blows in big-city crimes which spill into the peaceful small town of Hubbard, New York, catching the attention of Detective Kevin Fowler and staff. What unusual acts engage the Secret Service with the local cops? A young man is found badly beaten in the heated greenhouse of the Young Family Plant Nursery. Early spring melt reveals a sinister vehicle with a deadly cargo, even as the master of the greenhouse welcomes part-time alumni.

Romance swirls, tumbles, and produces surprising changes among the group of friends at Buddy and Rita’s diner. Beverly hires a young, ambitious reporter to work at the growing newspaper and starts a new adventure of her own, while Kevin watches over the townspeople of Hubbard. The mystery of a toxic skunk is finally routed by troublesome out-of-towners. An unexpected wedding shocks everyone but the Young Family. Spring has arrived and May is in full bloom in the Western New York small-town Americana, as another beautiful bride walks toward the flower-laded bower under the approving eyes of a group of fond friends.

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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BAKING FOR BRUNCH

August 10, 2022 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

from Emma Lane

Banana Bread

With or without nuts, who doesn’t love Banana Bread? I have cut the amount of sugar with successful results. It’s a matter of choice.

2 cups plain flour

1 tsp. baking soda

pinch of salt

½ cup chopped nuts, optional

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

3 ripe bananas, mashed

2 eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 325° F.

Sift flour with soda and salt, add nuts then set aside. Cream butter and sugar. Add bananas and eggs. Stir in flour blend. Pour batter into a loaf pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Serve warm with a pat of cream cheese.

Dill Muffins

My hubby loves this one and he slathers it with strawberry jam. I’m not so sanguine regarding the mixture of dill and strawberries, but perhaps your man of the house will like it too.

2 cups Bisquick

1 tsp. dill weed

1 cup sour cream

1 stick melted butter

Preheat oven to 425° F.

Lightly grease bottom of muffin cups. Mix all ingredients and drop into muffin cups halfway.  Cook for 12 to 14 minutes. Serve with butter.

Zucchini Bread 

A friend’s mother shared this unusual recipe for the ever-popular quick bread. I think you’ll love it too.

2 cups plain flour

2 cups grated zucchini

2 cups sugar

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. baking powder

1 cup chopped pecans

3 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

1 small can crushed pineapple

2 tbsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Pour batter into greased and floured loaf pans. Bake one hour. Makes enough for guests. So moist!

How about a peek at one of my cozy mysteries written under my pseudo name Janis Lane?

A blizzard blows in big-city crimes which spill into the peaceful small town of Hubbard, New York, catching the attention of Detective Kevin Fowler and staff. What unusual acts engage the Secret Service with the local cops? A young man is found badly beaten in the heated greenhouse of the Young Family Plant Nursery. Early spring melt reveals a sinister vehicle with a deadly cargo, even as the master of the greenhouse welcomes part-time alumni.

Romance swirls, tumbles, and produces surprising changes among the group of friends at Buddy and Rita’s diner. Beverly hires a young, ambitious reporter to work at the growing newspaper and starts a new adventure of her own, while Kevin watches over the townspeople of Hubbard. The mystery of a toxic skunk is finally routed by troublesome out-of-towners. An unexpected wedding shocks everyone but the Young Family. Spring has arrived and May is in full bloom in the Western New York small-town Americana, as another beautiful bride walks toward the flower-laded bower under the approving eyes of a group of fond friends.

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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Beat the Heat Dessert

August 3, 2022 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

from Helen Carpenter

If you like to have dessert on hand for those daily ice cream craving family members and guests, this cake keeps well in the freezer. It’s expandable, too. Just use a bigger pan, more ice cream and extra whipped topping. When it comes to ice cream, more is better, right?

No Bake Ice Cream Sandwich Cake

What you’ll need:
One package (12 bars) of ice cream sandwiches
One container (8 ounces or larger) of whipped topping (or make your own with a pint of whipping cream and 3 tablespoons of sugar)
Garnish of your choice: Sprinkles; chopped nuts; caramel, chocolate or other syrup
Glass or plastic pan with a lid

Directions:
Arrange six ice cream bars in a crisscross pattern in the bottom of the pan. (You may have to cut the bars to make them fit. Of course, then you’ll need to eat those little left-over pieces—who said chefs have an easy life?)

Spread a layer of whipped cream over the bars. *

Crisscross the remaining six ice cream bars on top of the whipped cream.

Slather another layer of whipped cream over the top and sides.

Decorate with sprinkles or chopped nuts, or drizzle with caramel or chocolate syrup.

Cover and freeze 2-3 hours or overnight.

Remove from freezer 10-15 minutes before serving to soften.

*For a richer cake, add a layer of syrup and/or chopped nuts over the whipped cream.

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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SUNDAY BRUNCH

July 27, 2022 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

from Emma Lane

I love Sunday Brunch and all the egg casserole dishes. This one is not for everyone, but I love onions and eggs. Perhaps you will too. It’s easy and fast. You can add small bits of bacon or ham for an extra interest. Shake a bit of Paprika to the top of the pie for a garnish with parsley.

I grew up in South Georgia not too far from Vidalia. Although the mild popular brand of sweet onion is named for the small country town, it’s actually the surrounding soil that is the reason for the tasty veggie. It lacks sulfur which causes the biting taste of other types.

Only 20 surrounding counties may name their onions Vidalia. (Vidalia Act of 1986.) You’d never know the difference driving through the area. Just pleasant, rolling country farmland with the occasional roadside stand selling—you guessed it—Vidalia onions. (And Pauline pecans, but that’s a story for another time.)  Now we can buy them most anywhere when in season. Vidalia onion! Conjures up the tasty memory of a drive-in hamburger laden with sweet onion and cheese, doesn’t it? With your steady BF, of course.

This pie is not a good keeper. Serve warm from the oven.

EGG and VIDALIA PIE

1 c. saltine or Ritz crackers, crushed (Club is okay too)

¼ c. butter, melted

2 ½ c. thinly sliced Vidalia onions

2 eggs

¾ c. milk

½ tsp salt and pepper to taste

¼ c. shredded sharp cheese

Optional: chopped ham, bacon bits, chopped parsley to garnish.

Preheat oven 350° F.

Mix crushed crackers with melted butter. Pat crackers and butter mixture to form a crust in 8- or 9-inch pie plate. Set aside. Sauté sliced onions in butter until opaque not browned.  In bowl mix eggs, milk, salt/pepper to taste. Pour over onions. Sprinkle with cheese and bake for 45 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean. Serve hot from the oven in pie slices.  Add thick slices of French bread to round off your breakfast. Orange juice, small glasses of champagne, a selection of jams, will turn this dish into gourmet.

I’m afraid this dish requires both a couple of y’alls and two Y’alls come backs.

Enjoy!

Here is a little from one of my cozy mystery books under my pseudonym Janis Lane. I hope you enjoy it.

Abby Naycomb, wildlife photographer, found more than scintillating images of the birds of Central Florida. A handsome park ranger turns her world upside down even as a criminal stalker seeks to threaten her life.

Who knew trespassing in the restrictive area of a Florida State Park to get the perfect shot of the sand hill crane family would wind up with Abby Naycomb, wildlife photographer extraordinaire, meeting the most handsome park ranger in the world? Mating/nesting birds were the subject of her quest but finding those intense blue eyes in the lens of her camera was distracting and hormone inciting.

Adam Rawlings, millionaire park ranger, was as shocked as Abby when she accidentally discovered a murdered man buried in a shallow grave in the sand.

Face to face with an exciting relationship with Adam, the perfect man, leaves her no excuse for backing away from a growing intimacy. Vagabond Abby must consider relocating if she wants to continue an invaluable relationship with Adam, the original hometown hero.

Abby struggles as she continues to work deep in the breathtaking wilds of Central Florida while trying to ignore the menace of a serious and threatening stalker. Her task was to reexamine long held premises and prejudices while admiring the southern flora and fauna through the lens of her camera. Bird and nature lovers alert.

SHORT TEASER
Busted in Bird land. Still…what a calendar he would make with that uniform, that smile, those shoulders. She stifled a sigh of pure visual pleasure.

You had better stop it, Miss Smarty. He has the authority to fine and kick you out of the park permanently if he so chooses. Holy Moly– love a uniformed hunk!

Stoppit!

She stifled a giggle which was riotously rolling around deep inside her, threatening to break out. He continued to loom, gazing thoughtfully while she fidgeted in her warm nest sheltered by the dune. Surrounding them, the sporadic wind blew the smell of something baking in the sun. With her face turned upward and her eyes half-closed against the glare, she awaited her fate. She offered a weak smile while trying to bring into focus his face which was back lit by the bright sunlight. It couldn’t hurt, she thought, and tried for puppy dog eyes pleading for mercy.

“Leave this area, and I’ll forget your lapse of good manners–this time. Don’t let me catch you trespassing on restricted lands again. This is a nature preserve. Visitors may not wander about– especially during nesting season,” he added giving her a stern look. “And that goes for well-meaning, good-looking, lady photographers as well.”

BUY LINK 

Janis Lane is the penname for gifted author Emma Lane who writes cozy mysteries as Janis, Regency as Emma, 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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A REGENCY WAY OF LIFE

July 20, 2022 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

from Vonnie Hughes

During the Regency era, and also most of the Victorian era, rout cakes were eaten at large gatherings called routs which were like afternoon teas that lasted long into the evening. Routs bore a marked resemblance to today’s cocktail parties where fashion was displayed, everyone stood, holding a drink and or some finger food in one hand. There was a little chatting then on you went to the next ‘rout’ after you’d sussed out whether your friends’ and neighbors’ fashionable garb was equal to your own. The upper echelon often attended more than one rout in a day.

So-called rout cakes were often consumed at these gatherings and were akin to drop cakes, quite plain by our standards – no ornate cupcake decorations or fussiness of that nature.

Below is a recipe for rout cakes borrowed from The Cook and Housekeeper’s Dictionary by Mary Eaton, 1822. Look at the HUGE amount of flour and butter! This mix would make many, many little cakes. Not, of course, that the lady of the house had slaved over a hot stove. No doubt her cook had that honor, baking in a kitchen so smoky she/he could hardly see.

ROUT DROP CAKES

2 lbs. flour

1 lb. butter

1 lb. sugar

1 lb. currants, cleaned and dried

2 eggs

1 lg. spoonful orange-flower water

1 lg. spoonful rose water

1 lg. spoonful sweet wine

1 lg. spoonful brandy

Preheat oven to 325° F.

Mix flour, butter, sugar, and currants. Moisten into a stiff paste with eggs, orange-flower water, rose water, sweet wine, and brandy. Drop the paste onto a floured tin plate, and a short time will bake them.

Some authors produce quality books year after year and I have the utmost respect for them. They don’t churn out something quickly for the Christmas trade and other celebratory dates. Instead, they research and work, work and polish.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Most books by Tami Hoag such as Down the Darkest Road and Live to Tell. I think my favourite is Still Waters. Why? Because her novels are so detailed and the solution of the mysteries is never obvious. In fact, the character of the antagonists and protagonists holds the key to the solutions each time. For example, in A Thin Dark Line, it is the generations-old warped solution of ways to protect a family that bubbles to the surface and the bloody mindedness of an ambitious female cop who stands up for her rights amongst male chauvinism that would chop most women off at the knees, that points the way to reasons for the crime and the discovery of the perpetrator(s).

Many books by Jayne Ann Krentz, not her very early ones where the hero was a dyed-in-the-wool MCP as was the fashion of the day, but her books from about 1998 onwards and also her historicals. Love the way her heroes say “huh.” It can mean so many things: they can be having a revelation, they may disagree with the heroine but they sure as hell are not going to say so, or it can be simply their version of a civil reply to modern discourse. My favourites are the Eclipse Bay series and her historicals written under the name of Amanda Quick such as Mistress (Regency) and The Third Circle (Victorian). Most of all, however, I enjoy her futuristic paranormals such as Siren’s Call set on Rainshadow Island and In Too Deep set in Scargill Cove. These appeal to me because of her light hand with the paranormal concepts and the quirkiness of the main characters. She creates otherworlds without belabouring the point. Sometimes writers create alternate worlds that require an immense investment on the part of the reader to learn the settings and morés of those worlds which can have the effect of having the reader skip pages and eventually put the book down. Not so JAK who, after many years of writing, knows just how far she can go to create a world not so very dissimilar to our own.

Obviously, I can’t go far without mentioning the greatest modern storyteller – Nora Roberts. I don’t like many of her earlier books which now seem dated, and I don’t feel that her paranormal ones are in the least bit convincing. However, I totally enjoy her recent single titles such as Tribute and Whiskey Beach. And I especially enjoy The Inn at Boonsborough series. I once saw a review where the reader criticised the Boonsborough ones because they had too much building detail in them. Now that’s the part I am intrigued with. I am not a purist romance reader so I like a bit of meat with my coffee froth. I wait for each new release of Nora’s, as do thousands of others, not all of them women by a long way.

Stieg Larsson, in particular his series of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Anti right wing extremist and magazine editor-in-chief, what a shame most of his books were only found after his death in 2004. I suggest for those who want a touch of reality watered down with a little idealism, read Larsson. Whether you see the movies first or read the books first, I promise you will enjoy Lizbeth Salander, the toughest cyber-expert on the planet.

Rick Mofina, a great suspense writer endorsed by the best suspense writers such as James Patterson, Dean Koontz, Sandra Brown, Tess Gerritsen etc. He is Canadian and so less inclined to use acronyms which can be a relief for a reader steeped in jargon which has to be researched. I thoroughly enjoyed Be Mine and my next choice is The Dying Hour. He writes about a crime reporter and unravelling detective in several of his novels, then switches to another team in his later books. If you like suspense and that ‘unable to put it down’ feeling, then choose Mofina.

Another one to keep an eye on: Going to read more by J.M. Gregson. Have just finished The Fox in the Forest about the murder of a well-liked town vicar. The murdered man is one of those rare characters whom everyone liked. Of course, the reader thinks “mistaken identity?” Gregson has an impressive writing record of both non-fiction and fiction. I enjoyed the British outlook to solving crime – stoic, authentic and painstaking – and the author’s writing experience showed by his excellent characterisations. No character was just a sketch. It was an in-depth exploration of people both likeable and unlikeable.

So what authors do you enjoy? Have you stopped to ask yourself Why do you like their writing?

Regency novels by Vonnie:

A TOUCH OF TREASON

wherein a woman forced into servitude meets a man struggling with family debt and they become embroiled in the world of espionage.

THE SECOND SON

The fate of second sons and the practice of primogeniture is at the basis of this novel where John, who has secretly despised his older brother for years suddenly comes face to face with the reality of ownership and responsibility for the lives of others.

DANGEROUS HOMECOMING

A follow-on from The Second Son. Originally published by Robt Hale UK and when they closed down after almost 80 years it was published on Amazon and Smashwords under the title Dangerous Homecoming. In this book Colly Hetherington and Juliana Colebrook leave Portugal to escape the ravages of war, but on their arrival in ‘safe’ England, face a vicious danger that neither had ever imagined.

MONFORT’S MARRIAGE

A bit hotter than my other Regencies.

Matthew Monfort has two excellent reasons for loathing members of the ton, but thanks to his father’s machinations, he finds himself inveigled into offering for Lady Verity Tristan. But she needn’t think she’s going to win him over.

ENTANGLEMENT (Novella)

Originally published by Musa under the title ‘Captive.’

When Alexandra Tallis discovers that her witless sister has imprisoned their father’s nemesis, Theo Crombie, in their attic, she quickly frees him, fighting an unladylike impulse to keep him as her own special captive. Despite the brutal beating she receives from her father, Alexandra continues to yearn for the delicious Mr. Crombie.

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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Magical Hands & a Refreshing Summer Lunch

July 18, 2022 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

from Linda Lee Greene, Author/Artist

Kay, my lovely physical therapist, received me most graciously on my first appointment, and then she led me to a private consultation room. One of those perpetually youthful, mature women, she also appeared as fragile as a feather, better suited to ballet than physical therapy. But appearances can be deceiving, as I was soon to find out. Following the question-and-answer session, she instructed me to lie down on her little couch, and then she went to work scrutinizing my body. It was then that I got the strong feeling that Kay is living her calling. Her immense strength and wisdom are in her hands. Her hands tell her things about her patients that go unrecognized by some medical professionals. For instance, mere moments into her exploration of my body, she said to me, “You are very strong, Linda. Did you grow up on a farm?”

“No,” I replied. And then I thought to myself, “Does she feel my history, my ancestry in my body?” I recalled then Carl Jung’s theory of the collective consciousness, which suggests that our experiences/knowledge/wisdom are inherited. Scientific experiments have revealed this phenomenon to be possible, and that the information is stored in the form of nucleic acid codes within cells. There is speculation (some call it evidence) that certain sensitive types can tap into this pool of material, person to person. Maybe Kay is one of those sensitive types.

Of course, while I technically did not grow up on a farm, I was born on my maternal grandparent’s farm, spent the first two years of my life there and was a frequent visitor during the rest of my childhood and into my adolescence and far beyond. While I have always been aware that I carry my farmer ancestors in my heart and mind, I didn’t understand until Kay’s inquiry the extent to which I also carry them in my body—how they are etched in me, blood, muscle, sinew, and bone. Further into the hands-on examination, Kay found and then probed certain hot spots on my body and proclaimed, “Ouch, that hurts!” Here I was trying to be all stoic and brave, and she voiced my pain. You have to appreciate a person like that.

This set my mind awhirl about Kay’s story, as well. Maybe I’m reading too much into her, but I’m wondering if she is a bona fide medical intuitive, like Caroline Myss. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Kay sees into my soul and knows how unmindful I am of my body most of the time. I bet she sees so clearly the love affair I have with my brain with its sparks of spirit that set it on fire so often. My brain keeps me company. It comforts me. It talks to me like a best friend, whereas my body delights in jabbing me at every turn with aches and pains and has been relentless in that pursuit since I was sixteen. No wonder I turn away from it whenever possible and romance my brain.

By way of Kay’s instructions in therapeutic exercises and meditation on the here and now, I have high hopes of easing into a healthier relationship with my body with its own brand of magical hands that are at the ready in the formidable gene pool of my ancestors.

Every Thursday morning through hot June and July, I have and will continue to trudge along to my physical therapy session. It is hard work and afterwards, I have been tempted to reward myself with a stop at Dairy Queen for a hot fudge sundae. However, I have come up with a better, healthier treat in the form of a refreshingly simple, cold soup sitting elegantly on a shelf in my refrigerator. It has been referred to as a smoothie masquerading as a soup. I like to think of as a soup topped off with sweet toppings such as sugar-free whipped cream, sugar-free vanilla custard, low-fat vanilla yogurt and the like. I often swirl in a scoop of Slimfast’s Rich Chocolate Royale Powder©.

Cold Strawberry and Yogurt Soup

1 lb. fresh strawberries or 3 packages (10 oz. size) thawed frozen strawberries in syrup

1 ¼ cups vanilla yogurt, divided

3 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar or equivalent amount of stevia sweetener

2 tbsp. orange juice concentrate

⅛ tsp. almond or vanilla extract, or ½ tsp. lemon juice

In a food processor, combine the strawberries, 1 cup yogurt, confectioners’ sugar or stevia, orange juice concentrate and extract, cover and process until blended. Garnish each serving with a dollop of remaining yogurt or other toppings. 

Multi-award-winning author Linda Lee Greene’s GUARDIANS AND OTHER ANGELS, which is a blend of historical fiction and memoir of her ancestors, receives rave reviews:

5 stars Wonderfully Written!

“This was a thoroughly enjoyable book. I loved the Americana. [It] reached out and touched my heart, mind and soul. [It] provided tremendous insight into what many American families endured during the first half of the 20th century. It captures you and draws you in. This is most certainly a five-star novel.”

GUARDIANS AND OTHER ANGELS is available in eBook and/or paperback.

AMAZON BUY LINK 

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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BERRY US BLUE

July 6, 2022 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

by Helen Carpenter

We have a confession to make. Sometimes…sometimes here in Carpenter Country I’m not actually sitting at my computer all day working diligently. That’s right. Sometimes I…I go OUTSIDE! Into the SUNSHINE!

One of those special occasions took place in early May when my husband and I headed out to the u-pick field. Because we are serious blueberry pickers, we brought home enough berries to enjoy a few bowls fresh-from-the-field, to put a couple of handfuls on top of cereal, and to make biscuits, bread, buckles, cheesecake, coffee cake, crumbles, cobblers, donuts, muffins, pies, pancakes, scones, and ICE CREAM!

Are you screaming yet for blueberry ice cream? Us too. In fact, we’re going to take a break and sample a bowl. Here’s the recipe in case you want a break from your own busy day. You will need an ice cream maker (ours makes about 1½ quarts) and a blender or food processor for this recipe.


HOMEMADE BLUEBERRY ICE CREAM
1½ cups fresh blueberries, washed, and dried (slightly less than a pint of fresh, or you can use frozen berries if you drain them well)
1 pint (2 cups) heavy whipping cream
1 cup milk (whole or reduced fat, your choice – coconut milk is a delicious substitute)
½ cup sugar (more or less to suit your own sweet tooth — or teeth)
½ tsp. vanilla extract

Place rinsed blueberries in the blender or food processor and process for a minute or less.

Add the whipping cream, milk, sugar, and vanilla extract to the pureed blueberries in the blender.

Process 10-20 seconds, just until mixed – not too long, or you’ll have whipped cream.

Pour the mixture into the ice cream maker and churn for 20 minutes.

If you like soft, milkshake-type ice cream, pass out the spoons and dig in. For firmer ice cream, scoop the ice cream into a container and freeze two hours.

Okay, break’s over – back to work!

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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