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DESSERT TIME!

September 28, 2022 | Uncategorized

from the “C” of C.D. Hersh

I (Catherine) have recently discovered avocado puddings. Never heard of them? Apparently, they are full of good fats, loads of fiber, have a low glycemic index (which is important for those watching their carbs, and they can be made without dairy products, if you are vegan or lactose intolerant). They have the creaminess of instant puddings without the unnatural ingredients that comes in that box. The extra bonus of avocado puddings–they taste good. The kiddos will never know they are eating something good for them. So far, I’ve experimented with chocolate, which was super chocolatey and not as sweet as it could have been since I skipped a lot of the sugar. I like to see how low-sugar I can possibly go.

I love pumpkin. Donald not so much. The other day I got a pumpkin craving, so I decided to play with avocadoes and pumpkin. This newest culinary invention is a Ginger Pumpkin pudding. I liked it, so I decided to share the recipe. Now I won’t guarantee this recipe that makes 4 servings is low calorie, but there is quite a bit of fiber in it to help offset some of the carbs.

Avocado Ginger Pumpkin Pudding

    • 1 ripe avocado
    • ¾ cup canned pumpkin
    • 1 ½ – 2 cups vanilla flavored yogurt, divided
    • ½ tsp. lemon juice
    • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
    • 8 small gingerbread cookies, crushed, with 4 tsp. reserved
    • Canned whipped cream or make your own
  •          4 tbsp. shaved chocolate from a candy bar

Cut avocado in half, discarding pit and skin. Put flesh in a food processer and blend until smooth.

Add pumpkin, and ½ of yogurt, lemon juice and spices to avocado and blend until well mixed.

Spoon remaining yogurt into small glass dessert cups, filling cups about ½ full. Spread evenly in cup.

Spoon pumpkin mixture over the yogurt, spreading evenly.

Cover dishes with plastic wrap, gently pressing the wrap onto the top of the pudding.

Chill.

When ready to serve, top the pudding with the crushed gingerbread cookies, sprinkling evenly on top of pudding.

Add a dollop of whipped cream to top of pudding. Sprinkle reserved cookies and shaved chocolate on whipped cream.

Enjoy!

While you’re waiting for the dessert to chill, check out The Promised One, the first book in our Turning Stone Chronicle series.

When month and day are the age that is the time
When day and month are the time that is the age
When time and age agree, trinity becomes unity

If a mark didn’t come out of the bar soon, he’d have to change his hunting spot.

Danny Shaw glanced at his watch. In the past hour, only two men—too big for him to handle—had staggered out of the Dew Drop Inn Bar and Grill. He needed someone rich and easy to take down. And soon. If he arrived late again, he’d get canned. And if he lost one more job, he’d lose Lulu.

The door opened, spilling crowd noise and blue haze onto the dimly lit street. He moved back into the shadow of the building. Waiting.

A slender woman walked by, her legs wobbling on spiked heels as the hem of her blue slinky dress swished around her thighs. Whiskey and perfume wafted on the air. As she reached to smooth back her blond hair, a prism flashed on her ring finger.

As his gut tightened, adrenalin pumped through him. Perfect. Tipsy and a rock too. A big haul could make this his last job this week, allowing him more time to spend with Lulu.

He pulled his ski mask down then took his gun from his coat.

Withdrawing a silencer from his left pocket, he screwed it onto the barrel, and stepped out. The woman didn’t notice him, so he scanned the street for witnesses. No one around. Closing the gap, he made his move.

Shaw jammed the gun barrel in her back and hooked her arm. “Don’t scream,” he whispered, “and I might let you live.”

Under his hold, she stiffened. Her high heels tapped rapidly on the pavement as he steered her into the dark, littered alley. When they were well into the shadows, hidden from passersby, he shoved her against the graffiti-covered building. “Gimme your purse and jewelry.”

The woman raised perfectly manicured hands above her head, her shoulder angling toward him as she started to twist around.

“Keep your face to the wall,” he ordered.

She mumbled something into the bricks and then lowered her left hand, dangling a bejeweled handbag behind her head.

“Now the jewelry.” He snatched the purse.

She unhooked her necklace, slipped off her watch and diamond ring, then held them out.

He stuffed them into his pocket. “The other ring, too.”

“That ring has no value. It’s costume jewelry my niece gave me.”

“Take it off.”

“You’ve got my cash and credit cards, and my diamond. Isn’t that enough?”

Damn. He hated when they resisted. “Give me the ring.”

She gave an almost imperceptible shake of her head. “No.”

He jerked her around to face him. “Dammit, woman. Give me the freaking ring or I’ll blow your head off.” He yanked on the band.

Without warning, she swung her hand up, connecting with his jaw. Stunned, he stumbled backward, still clutching the hand with the ring. They fell to the pavement. Her hands clawed at his, and her feet kicked his shins, scrabbling their legs together.

Fighting for control. Fighting for the gun.

Wrapping his legs around hers, he rolled her over and pinned her beneath him with his body. Freeing his hand from her grasp, he slammed her skull on the ground. Her head rolled to the side and she lay still.

Certain he’d knocked her out, he tried to remove the ring from her finger. Suddenly she bolted up, head-banged him, and grabbed his gun hand.

As he struggled to keep control of the weapon, the barrel twisted toward him. Heart pounding, he watched his life flash in front of him.

Abusive childhood. Lousy job. Lulu. The elaborate wedding plans she’d made. He didn’t want to die. Not now.

He wrenched the gun toward the woman. The metallic pfft startled him. Round-eyed shock reflected in the woman’s face.

Shaw’s heart stopped racing as she relaxed in his grip, then amped back up, pounding against his ribs. Shit. Assault, battery, and now . . . murder. Quick and easy money to pay for the wedding. That’s all he’d been after. They’ll put me away for life if I get caught. Lulu’s gonna be pissed if I screw up her wedding plans.

Pushing into a squat, he stared at the dark stain spreading across the dress front. He removed the ring from the woman’s finger. She should have just given it to him.

The woman stared at him, blood seeping from the corner of her mouth. “Return the ring, or you’ll be sorry.”

With a short laugh he stood. “Big words for someone bleeding to death.” After dropping the ring into his pocket, he gathered the scattered contents of her purse, and started to leave.

“Wait.” The words sounded thick and slurred . . . two octaves deeper . . . with a Scottish lilt.

Shaw frowned and spun back toward her. The pounding in his chest increased. On the ground, where the woman had fallen, lay a man.

He wore the same slinky blue dress she had—the seams ripped, the dress top collapsed over hard chest muscles, instead of smoothed over soft, rounded curves. The hem skimmed across a pair of hairy, thick thighs. Muscled male thighs. Spiked heels hung at an odd angle, toes jutting through the shoe straps. The same shoes she’d been wearing.

The alley tipped. Shaw leaned against the dumpster to steady himself. He shook his head to clear the vision, then slowly moved his gaze over the body.

A pair of steel-blue eyes stared out of a chiseled face edged with a trim salt-and-pepper beard. Shaw whirled around scanning the alley.

Where was the woman? And who the hell was this guy?

Terrified, Shaw fled.

The dying man called out, “You’re cursed. Forever.”

BUY LINKS
Amazon e-bookAmazon Paperback

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

Their paranormal series is 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.

Learn more about C.D. Hersh on their Website and their other social media pages, Soul Mate Publishing, Facebook, Amazon Author Page, and Twitter.

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POPPAW’S JUG

September 26, 2022 | Author Friend Promo, Uncategorized

From Linda Lee Greene, Author/Artist

In light of so many unspeakable tragedies in an out-of-control world, to put hopeful words of any kind to paper touches on the grotesque. However, life’s troubles concurrently remind us of our courageous ancestors who sacrificed so much to pave the way for us. They would roll over in their graves if we give into helplessness and are thus struck silent. To be human is to contend with disaster and the grief it leaves in its wake. We must express our grief even as we attempt to master our despair. We have learned through our everyday living that grief can be transformed as something bearable through acts of love. To honor our traditions is an act of love that celebrates and validates our forebears. It is also a comfort-seeking pursuit for us as we carry on in their absence. The following is a true story. It recounts such an act of love on the part of my family:

“My maternal ancestors were faithful to their generational commitment to express their respect and gratitude to their deceased relatives and friends by visiting their graves on every holiday and change of seasons. Each visit involved decorating and maintaining the graves.

Back when my mother and her siblings were youngsters, their old car of the day being too small to accommodate their large brood, their mighty team of broad-backed workhorses, Roger and Smoky by name, pulled the heavy, buckboard wagon on their visits to the various graveyards in the area. Mommaw and Poppaw, taking a rare break from the demanding duties of their farm, were at the helm of the wagon. Dean, the baby of the family, sat between his parents on the high seat of the buckboard, a vantage point that overlooked the ample rumps of the horses. In the back, the seven other children, my mother among them before she was my mother, sat on bound bundles of hay perched vicariously on the gaping floorboards that formed the flat bed of the conveyance. The group of them, in perfect harmony and at the top of their lungs, accompanied by Uncle Bob and Uncle Bussy on their mandolins, sang the old song, “On Top of Old Smoky,” while the groaning wagon appeared in danger of imploding from the weight of its human cargo and the strain of the rough terrain that suffered its challenged wheels and chassis. Years later and as the first grandchildren born to the family, my brother and I also rode on that wagon on similar excursions, singing that old song in unison with our aunts and uncles at the top of our voices. My brother and I then got to ride between Mommaw and Poppaw on the high seat that overlooked the broad backs of Roger and Smoky. I was a grown woman and married, with children of my own when suddenly one day it dawned on me for the first time that the song was about the Great Smoky Mountains rather than a horse named Smoky.

I still can see in my mind’s eye the wobbly wheels of the buckboard and the iron-shod hooves of the horses kicking up clouds of dust on the deeply rutted, mud-caked lanes that lead to the remote cemeteries. One of my prized possessions is the old, earthenware jug that contained the grease Poppaw used to lubricate the screeching wheels of the buckboard. The interior of the jug’s fissured walls are coated to this day with black and slick remnants of the grease. During those journeys, every once in a while, Poppaw yelled, “Whoa, Roger…Whoa Smoky,” and the buckboard came to a grating halt. While the horses snorted from their huge nostrils and pawed the ground with their heavy hooves, their hot bodies steaming and making auras of their perspiration all around them, down from the high seat on his long legs Poppaw jumped, pulling the jug from beneath the seat, a stick jutting from its open top. The working end of the stick was wrapped in a grease-blackened cloth, and he smeared the axles of the wheels with it.

At the entrance to the road that loops the community of Cedar Fork where my parents spent their formative years, although several new homesteads have sprung up over the years, still it feels to me as if I’m entering an evolutionary backwater, a safe haven cut off from the rest of the world. These days I come to call in my car rather than on a buckboard. I take the right turn in the loop that leads past “Greene Acres,” the location of the fallen log cabin where my father and his family lived back in those days. I pull my car into the area, park, and then walk to the edge of the property, its border high above Cedar Fork Creek.

In the canyon below, sunlight filters through the trees, winking gaily upon the rushing water of the creek. I stretch my eyes to get a glimpse of the footbridge by the ancient, mountain spring that was the source of drinking and cooking water for my father’s large family long ago, and a bright ray of sun, as if switched on for my benefit by the Hand of God, isolates it and sets it aglow. I take it as a “token” message, a greeting from the spirit of my paternal grandmother, and I smile and wave at her as if she is actually standing there. Satisfied that my presence has been acknowledged and welcomed, I return to my car. Over the decades, the markers of my deceased, maternal relatives have accumulated in the graveyard in Cedar Fork, and I am shocked, as always, at the increased number of them, as beneath the tires of my car the gravel on the lane to the small, country cemetery loudly pops and crunches. There exists a legend that birds shun other neighboring trees, preferring to gather en masse instead among the leaves of an ancient pipal tree in a shimmering land across the sea, the pipal that is said to be a direct descendant of the holy tree the Buddha sat beneath while attaining enlightenment during his days of contemplation there. It might be my prolific imagination at work, but I swear a similar phenomenon occurs in a venerable oak tree that arches above the burial plot of my family, where, among Civil War and other war veterans, upper-crust titans, and lower-caste farmers of the area, Mommaw and Poppaw, my mother and father, my sister and most of my nearest, deceased maternal kin now lie.

And as if in testimony to my childhood memories of such a phenomenon, while its abutting trees appear to be empty, huddled within the gnarled branches of the wizened, oak tree, the gathered birds are perched. As I approach the graves, my presence sets in motion the flight of the birds, their overlapped and snapping black wings, for those brief moments in time, blotting out the sun.

I have read that birds are manifest angels on earth, but I am less wise about such things than when a child. Knowing it will not be confirmed to me until I complete my own earthly journey, I leave it to the humming wheel of the universe, and to my elders, all of whom on my mother’s side of my family, are already there in Cedar Fork Cemetery, and where someday my remains will mingle with theirs.”

 

 

The above essay is an adaptation of an excerpt of Guardians and Other Angels, my novel of historical fiction and true family lore. It is available in eBook and paperback on Amazon.

 

 

 

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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WAHOO! SPICE UP DINNER TONIGHT

July 13, 2022 | Uncategorized

From Sharon Ledwith

I discovered this healthy recipe from an online diet and exercise program I purchased last year and loved it! It packs a different punch to your taste buds while providing a healthier choice to add to your personal menu. Who said a burrito needed to be unhealthy? This easy recipe provides anti-inflammatory properties from apple cider vinegar, immune boosting benefits from garlic, and healthy, inflammation-cooling fats from olive oil. Instead of heading to your local fast-food Mex-Tex joint, try making your own burrito at home.

Chipotle Chicken Wrap

1 garlic clove

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

Juice from ½ lemon

Pinch of salt and pepper

½ tsp. paprika

4-6 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced

1 cup romaine lettuce or spinach, chopped

1 tbsp. shredded carrots

½ cup quinoa, cooked, optional

Sliced avocado, optional

Salsa

½ tomato, diced

¼ onion, diced

2 tbsp. chopped cilantro

Squeeze of lemon juice

Note: you can use your favorite brand of salsa if you choose

Make your chipotle sauce first by blending blend together garlic, olive oil, chili powder, vinegar, lemon juice, paprika, salt and pepper until smooth (ideally in a blender). Use this sauce to marinate your chicken in a zip lock bag for a minimum of 30 minutes.

Mix together all of your salsa ingredients in a bowl.

Cook the chicken in a sauté pan until thoroughly cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Serve on a bed of lettuce with chicken and salsa on top. Add cooked quinoa and or avacado if desired.

While you’re waiting for your healthy wrap to digest why not put your feet up and relax on the couch with a good book? May I suggest a visit to Fairy Falls, or if you’re feeling really adventurous, a trip back in time with The Last Timekeepers? Whichever you choose, either series will transport you to another time and place, taking you away from whatever troubles you.

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

The Last Timekeepers Time Travel Adventures…

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

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

Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls Teen Psychic Mysteries…

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

Welcome to Fairy Falls. Expect the unexpected.

The Last Timekeepers Time Travel Adventure Series:

The Last Timekeepers and the Noble Slave, Book #3

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

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

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE

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

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE

Legend of the Timekeepers, prequel Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE

Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls Teen Psychic Mystery Series:

Lost and Found, Book One Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE

Blackflies and Blueberries, Book Two Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/young adult time travel adventure series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the award-winning teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, 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 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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July 4, 2022 | Uncategorized

Wishing all my American friends a fun, safe,

and sweet July 4th!

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CELEBRATE DAD

June 15, 2022 | Uncategorized

Father’s Day is June 19 this year. Show dad some love with this flavorful dinner fit for a king and definitely enjoyed by the queen and all the princes and princesses. Easy to make and oh, so good.

MENU

Grilled Sirloin Steak

Twice Baked Potatoes

Sautéed Mushrooms

Caesar Salad

Dry Red Wine – Burgundy

Grilled Sirloin Steak

Sirloin steak, cut 1 – 1½ in. (2.50 – 3.80cm) plan ¾ lb. (375g) per person

1 cup (240ml) garlic infused oil (recipe below) or 1 cup (240ml) olive oil and 3 lg. garlic cloves, sliced

½ cup (120ml) dry red wine

2 tbsp. (30ml) basil

2 tbsp. (30ml) oregano

Cut slits in fat around the meat so it doesn’t curl when cooked.

Combine all ingredients into a plastic bag or glass bowl. Marinade 5 – 12 hours in fridge. Sirloin can be tough. A long marinade is needed to make the meat tender and juicy.

Remove meat from fridge 1 hour before grilling.

Preheat grill on medium-high.

Pat meat dry. Discard marinade. Place steak on grill and close lid.

Grill first side 4 – 5 minutes. Turn meat (you only turn meat once) and final grill the second side as listed:

2 – 3 minutes rare

3 – 5 minutes medium-rare

5 – 7 minutes medium

6 – 9 minutes medium-well

Garlic Infused Oil

This is a wonderful oil to sauté vegetables or fry meat and poultry. It’s especially good to swipe a thin coating on burgers before frying or grilling.

2 cups (450ml) good quality olive oil

5 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced

Drop garlic into a glass bottle or jar. Pour in oil. Cover tightly.

Set the bottle on your counter, away from the sun, for at least three days before you use it. Remove garlic after 5 days and discard. The flavored oil is good for two months.

This method works well with all herbs. Be sure to cover the herbs with oil so they don’t mold.

Twice Baked Potatoes

The amounts of the following ingredients are left up to your taste, but don’t be sparing if you want great flavor.

1 baking potato per person

Olive oil

Butter

Extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Sour cream

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Paprika

Preheat oven to 400° F (200°C).

Wash potatoes under cool water. Pat dry. Rub skins with a little olive oil. Make a small slit across their tops. Lay on a cookie sheet. Bake 1 hour or until a toothpick is easily inserted.

Combine butter, cheddar cheese, sour cream, and pepper into a small bowl.

When potatoes are tender, lay them on a cutting board and slice them in half. They’ll be very hot so use pot holders for this. Scoop the pulp into the above mixture. Be careful not to rip the skins. Whip the mixture well.

Refill the shells and set them back on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with a little paprika for color.

Stop here if you plan to serve the potatoes the next day. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate. Remove from the refrigerator at least one hour before baking.

No matter which option you use, preheat reheat oven to 325° F (160°C).

Bake uncovered 25 – 30 minutes. You only want to heat the potatoes so don’t overdo the baking time.

Sautéed Mushrooms

8 oz. (250g) mini bella mushrooms

1 tbsp. (15ml) olive oil

2 tbsp. (25g) butter

½ small onion, sliced thin

2 tbsp. (30ml) dry vermouth or white wine

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Clean mushrooms with a paper towel to remove bedding soil. Slice them in half lengthwise if medium or into thirds if large.

Over medium heat dribble olive oil into a medium-sized frying pan and add butter. Stir in onions and mushrooms. Sauté until almost tender, 3 – 6 minutes.

Pour vermouth or white wine over the mushrooms and continue to heat.

To serve, grind pepper across the top and spoon into a warm serving dish.

This dish is best cooked and served on the same day. Leftovers are soggy.

Caesar Salad

1 egg, coddled
1 lg. clove garlic
½ tsp. (2.5ml) anchovy paste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tbsp. (15ml) lemon juice, preferably fresh
3 drops white vinegar or as close to as possible
¼ cup (60ml) olive oil
Romaine lettuce, 3 leaves per person, washed and dried
½ cup (37g) Parmesan cheese, grated

1 bag croutons, optional

Remove egg from refrigerator well before assembling all other ingredients on your counter. Eggs cook better for any recipe when at or close to room temperature.

Fill a small saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Place egg in water and boil 2 minutes. This process is called coddling.  Rinse under cold water, crack shell, and then scoop the runny egg into a small bowl. Break up the solid white pieces and lightly mix. Later, you will add some of this to the salad dressing.

In a large glass or wooden serving bowl, mash garlic with a spoon and fork into coarse pieces. Rub pieces against the sides of bowl to spread the oil they have released.

Add anchovy and pepper. Mix well. Pour in lemon juice and vinegar. Mix well. Add in ½ – ¾ of the coddled egg. Mix well. Blend in olive oil until the dressing thickens. Remove this mixture from your bowl and set aside to use right before serving.

Tear lettuce into bitesize pieces. Add to salad bowl. Pour in some of the dressing. Toss well. Add more dressing if the lettuce looks too dry. Sprinkle on ¼ cup (28g) or so of Parmesan. Toss again.

Arrange salad on individual chilled bowls or plates. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan and croutons. Serve immediately.

For a larger salad, increase ingredients proportionally, but do not exceed two eggs.

These recipes plus many more fun holiday menus are available in my Recipes to Cook Holidays Extraordinaire cookbook.

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NEW RELEASE for VONNIE HUGHES

June 13, 2022 | Uncategorized

Wild Rose Press is excited to announce a new Regency romance from well-respected, multi-published author Vonnie Hughes.

Here is a small bit from the novel to tease you Regency lovers.

Helena Marshfield is in hiding. Once the indulged daughter of a baronet, she is now governess/companion to a businessman’s daughters. Her family has been in disgrace since her father’s very public suicide. What if someone discovers she has another secret to hide, that her father had promised her to the revolting Lord Elverton as payment for a wager?

Ivor Stafford struggles to free himself from the mountain of debt his father left. Hiding his problems from the not-so Polite World, he takes solace in his membership of the committee formed by the Horse Guards to investigate how Peninsular campaign secrets are being spilled to the French. Also on the committee is Josh Yardley, Helena’s employer.

When Ivor and Helena meet, an unwilling but intense attraction has them both wishing…what if? But when Elverton discovers where Helena is living, she is in great peril. What price duty now, Helena and Ivor?

AMAZON BUY LINK

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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ANTICIPATION

June 1, 2022 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking, Uncategorized

from Helen Carpenter

Anticipation. That’s the title of a great song, the jingle for an ancient advertisement, and a marketing tool for authors. Oh, and anticipation makes good food better too. What more could you ask of a word?

You already know the classic song (thanks, Carly Simon!), and if you’re of a…ummm…certain age, you probably remember the ketchup commercial too. (Sorry if the jingle is now an earwig! Confess—you’re humming, aren’t you?)

As far as making good food better—our barbecue pulled pork recipe is DEFINITELY worth waiting for! Put all the ingredients together, then grab a good book to read while you’re anticipating the meal to come.

PULLED PORK

½ cup ketchup
1 ½ cups barbecue sauce, divided
1 cup water
1 onion, chopped (or a similar amount of frozen chopped onions)
1 tsp. garlic, chopped
3 ½ pound pork roast (a shoulder cut works well)
Hamburger buns

Mix ketchup, ½ cup barbecue sauce, and water in a small bowl. Stir in the onions and garlic.

Set pork roast in the crock pot and pour sauce mixture over it, coating the meat well. The liquid should almost cover the meat. Add more if necessary. Cook on low for 10-12 hours.

Remove the pork roast from the crock-pot, let cool, and shred with a fork. Set aside.

Empty the liquid from the crock-pot. Put the pulled pork back into the crock-pot, add the remaining barbecue sauce, and mix well.

Cook on low for two more hours; then reduce setting to warm until ready to serve.

Serve on buns.

Tips and Tricks
Crock pots are ideal for tenderizing less expensive cuts of meat. The longer the cooking time, the more tender the meat becomes.

Feel free to add more sauce to the first cooking; meat cooked in liquid is moister.

For an added crunch, serve chips of your choice as a side dish.

If you want to serve the pulled pork for lunch, set up the crock pot to cook overnight.

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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A PLACE AT THE TABLE

July 7, 2021 | Uncategorized

from Linda Lee Greene, Author & Artist

It was a foregone conclusion that eighteen year old Lee Greene of Peebles, Adams County, Ohio would be drafted, but like so many young couples living everywhere under the specter of World War II, his sweetheart Roma Gaffin and he got married anyway. The date was September 29, 1942. By Christmas of that same year they were pregnant for me. A few weeks before my birth, my father was drafted into the US Navy, with the expectation that following his training he would be shipped to somewhere in the Pacific Theater of the war. My mother stayed on at my grandparent’s farm in Peebles, and it was in a bedroom there that I was born, assisted into the world by Old Doc Ellison. My father first laid eyes on me a few weeks later—on the occasion of his return home after receiving an honorable medical discharge from the Navy.

There was little separation in my mind between my parents and my grandparents when I was a kid. Despite the fact that by the time of my toddlerhood, my parents, little brother, and I had settled in Columbus, Ohio, the farm and its inhabitants play central roles in the script of my childhood. We spent every weekend and holiday there, and my brother and I stayed at the farm during every summer until I was an adolescent. One of my most vibrant memories is of Lena, my grandmother, thick around the middle by then, her chestnut hair peppered with white, utilitarian apron tied around her waist, standing before her cook stove. With fresh peaches plucked from trees in the farm’s orchard or stash of canned goods in the cellar, and butter churned from the milk of resident cows, in her wood-filled cook stove, lacking the modern convenience of temperature control, my grandmother whipped up peach cobbler to rival any big city bakery. Breads, muffins, cakes, cookies, pies, cobblers—all the baked goods consumed by her large family were the products of her masterful hands. An abundance of her baked goods was the highlight of her high-holiday dinners.

~LENA’S PEACH COBBLER~

The Peaches

5 peaches, peeled, cored, and sliced*

1 cup sugar

¼ tsp. salt

Add peaches, sugar, and salt to a saucepan. Stir well to combine. Cook on medium heat for just a few minutes—until the sugar is dissolved and juices are drawn from the peaches.

Remove from heat and set aside.

*(If using canned or glass jar peaches in an amount of about 1 quart, skip the above step)

The Batter

6 tbsp. butter

1 cup flour

1 cup sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. salt

¾ cup milk

Ground cinnamon to taste

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Add butter to a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Place the pan in the oven while it preheats, to melt butter then remove pan from oven.

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a medium size bowl. Stir in milk until just combined. Pour mixture over melted butter and smooth to an even layer.

Spoon peaches and juice (or canned/glass jar peaches, if using) over batter. Sprinkle cinnamon generously over the top.

Bake for about 38-40 minutes. Serve warm topped with a scoop of ice cream, if desired.

I didn’t inherit my grandmother’s prowess in the kitchen but once in a while, I catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror, and I see fleeting fragments of her in me. I did inherit her affinity for storytelling. I hear her colorful depictions of local gossip so clearly in my mind’s ear. She was also a prolific writer of delightful and informative letters, the greater number of them penned during the Great Depression and World II. Many of them are transcribed in, and form the spine of, Guardians and Other Angels, my novel of historical fiction, based on the true story of three generations of my family. And of course, my formidable grandmother is a key figure of it.

 

One review of the novel states: “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.”

Read more on Amazon.

 

 

 

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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CELEBRATE DAD

June 9, 2021 | Cooking, Holidays, Uncategorized

Father’s Day is June 20 this year. Show dad some love with this flavorful dinner fit for a king and definitely enjoyed by the queen and all the princes and princesses. Easy to make and oh, so good.

MENU

Grilled Sirloin Steak

Twice Baked Potatoes

Sautéed Mushrooms

Caesar Salad

Dry Red Wine – Burgundy

Grilled Sirloin Steak

Sirloin steak, cut 1 – 1½ in. (2.50 – 3.80cm) plan ¾ lb. (375g) per person

1 cup (240ml) garlic infused oil (recipe below) or 1 cup (240ml) olive oil and 3 lg. garlic cloves, sliced

½ cup (120ml) dry red wine

2 tbsp. (30ml) basil

2 tbsp. (30ml) oregano

Cut slits in fat around the meat so it doesn’t curl when cooked.

Combine all ingredients into a plastic bag or glass bowl. Marinade 5 – 12 hours in fridge. Sirloin can be tough. A long marinade is needed to make the meat tender and juicy.

Remove meat from fridge 1 hour before grilling.

Preheat grill on medium-high.

Pat meat dry. Discard marinade. Place steak on grill and close lid.

Grill first side 4 – 5 minutes. Turn meat (you only turn meat once) and final grill the second side as listed:

2 – 3 minutes rare

3 – 5 minutes medium-rare

5 – 7 minutes medium

6 – 9 minutes medium-well

Garlic Infused Oil

This is a wonderful oil to sauté vegetables or fry meat and poultry. It’s especially good to swipe a thin coating on burgers before frying or grilling.

2 cups (450ml) good quality olive oil

5 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced

Drop garlic into a glass bottle or jar. Pour in oil. Cover tightly.

Set the bottle on your counter, away from the sun, for at least three days before you use it. Remove garlic after 5 days and discard. The flavored oil is good for two months.

This method works well with all herbs. Be sure to cover the herbs with oil so they don’t mold.

Twice Baked Potatoes

The amounts of the following ingredients are left up to your taste, but don’t be sparing if you want great flavor.

1 baking potato per person

Olive oil

Butter

Extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Sour cream

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Paprika

Preheat oven to 400° F (200°C).

Wash potatoes under cool water. Pat dry. Rub skins with a little olive oil. Make a small slit across their tops. Lay on a cookie sheet. Bake 1 hour or until a toothpick is easily inserted.

Combine butter, cheddar cheese, sour cream, and pepper into a small bowl.

When potatoes are tender, lay them on a cutting board and slice them in half. They’ll be very hot so use pot holders for this. Scoop the pulp into the above mixture. Be careful not to rip the skins. Whip the mixture well.

Refill the shells and set them back on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with a little paprika for color.

Stop here if you plan to serve the potatoes the next day. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate. Remove from the refrigerator at least one hour before baking.

No matter which option you use, preheat reheat oven to 325° F (160°C).

Bake uncovered 25 – 30 minutes. You only want to heat the potatoes so don’t overdo the baking time.

Sautéed Mushrooms

8 oz. (250g) mini bella mushrooms

1 tbsp. (15ml) olive oil

2 tbsp. (25g) butter

½ small onion, sliced thin

2 tbsp. (30ml) dry vermouth or white wine

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Clean mushrooms with a paper towel to remove bedding soil. Slice them in half lengthwise if medium or into thirds if large.

Over medium heat dribble olive oil into a medium-sized frying pan and add butter. Stir in onions and mushrooms. Sauté until almost tender, 3 – 6 minutes.

Pour vermouth or white wine over the mushrooms and continue to heat.

To serve, grind pepper across the top and spoon into a warm serving dish.

This dish is best cooked and served on the same day. Leftovers are soggy.

Caesar Salad

1 egg, coddled
1 lg. clove garlic
½ tsp. (2.5ml) anchovy paste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tbsp. (15ml) lemon juice, preferably fresh
3 drops white vinegar or as close to as possible
¼ cup (60ml) olive oil
Romaine lettuce, 3 leaves per person, washed and dried
½ cup (37g) Parmesan cheese, grated

1 bag croutons, optional

Remove egg from refrigerator well before assembling all other ingredients on your counter. Eggs cook better for any recipe when at or close to room temperature.

Fill a small saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Place egg in water and boil 2 minutes. This process is called coddling.  Rinse under cold water, crack shell, and then scoop the runny egg into a small bowl. Break up the solid white pieces and lightly mix. Later, you will add some of this to the salad dressing.

In a large glass or wooden serving bowl, mash garlic with a spoon and fork into coarse pieces. Rub pieces against the sides of bowl to spread the oil they have released.

Add anchovy and pepper. Mix well. Pour in lemon juice and vinegar. Mix well. Add in ½ – ¾ of the coddled egg. Mix well. Blend in olive oil until the dressing thickens. Remove this mixture from your bowl and set aside to use right before serving.

Tear lettuce into bitesize pieces. Add to salad bowl. Pour in some of the dressing. Toss well. Add more dressing if the lettuce looks too dry. Sprinkle on ¼ cup (28g) or so of Parmesan. Toss again.

Arrange salad on individual chilled bowls or plates. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan and croutons. Serve immediately.

For a larger salad, increase ingredients proportionally, but do not exceed two eggs.

These recipes plus many more fun holiday menus are available in my Recipes to Cook Holidays Extraordinaire cookbook.

 

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NO TRICK HERE

October 5, 2020 | Uncategorized

This is definitely a treat. Two Halloween books from children’s author Tina Ruiz. The amazing illustrations are done by Ishika Sharma. This creative duo knows how to put life and fun into children’s books to encourage young people to read. As with all of Tina’s children’s stories, there’s a moral at the end.

The story is about Peppa Roni and her twin brother, Reece A. Roni, who are having their 9th birthday party in the neighborhood restaurant. What makes this story different from any other children’s book, are the names which the author has given to her characters. Example: Tess Ding, Chris P. Bacon, Mr. Noah Lott, Harry Pitts, Miss Turi, Walter Melon, Judge Mental and his wife, Judy, etc…

The storyline is quite charming, and because you will try to figure out the double meaning of the fun names while you read, this is bound to become your child’s favorite book.

AMAZON BUY LINK

The pictures are bright and the story is fun. It was written not only to entertain kids, but also to challenge their minds.

Every character has a name with a double meaning. Such as: Mr. Noah Lott, Mrs. Faye Ding, Mrs. Frieda Livery, Upton O’Goode, Adam Zapel, and Ella Vader, to name but a few.

Here’s a hint to help you solve the puzzle, Ed Zortails is his name really heads or is it tails? You’ll have to buy the book to find out.

Solving the double meaning of the words will be delightful for children and adults alike. On the off chance someone can’t unravel a name, Tina supplied a cheat sheet at the back of the book.

As with all of her children’s stories, there’s a moral at the end.

AMAZON BUY LINK

Tina Ruiz was born in Germany, but her family moved to Canada when she was in grammar school. She began writing children’s stories when her own were little. Through the years Ruiz has now written wrote thirty books. Most of those stories went into readers for the Canada Board of Education. Two did not. Mayor Shadoe Markley is a story about a ten-year-old girl who becomes Mayor for a Day through a contest at school.

Little did Ruiz know that story would “change the world.” The book came out at early January 1988. By the end of that same month, everyone was calling the mayor’s office at City Hall, trying to get the forms to fill out so their children could participate in the contest. Thirty years later that same contest is still runs at full speed. And not only in Calgary, but all across Canada. The Mayor’s Youth Council is now in charge of the celebrated contest and invites Ruiz to attend and meet the lucky winner. It’s usually followed by a hand-written thank you card from the mayor himself. Recently Ruiz was invited to be part of the Grand Opening of Calgary’s New Library where the mayor shook her hand and introduced her to the attendees.

Tina has worked in television and radio as well as being a professional clown at the Children’s Hospital. She lives in Calgary with her husband who encourages her to write her passion be it high-quality children’s books or intriguing romance.

Stay connected with Tina Ruiz on her Facebook group Tina Speaks Out.

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