Sharing Excerpts

October 16, 2023 | Author Friend New Releases

from the Turning Stone Chronicles

By C.D. Hersh

Often, we are asked what is our favorite book or author. As writers there is another favorite that we have and that is certain sections of the books we have written. These favorite sections or excerpts become the lines shared to promote interest in the book. Today we thought we’d share some of our favorite lines from our paranormal romance series, The Turning Stone Chronicles Series.

Each of these books is a standalone in that there is a HEA in each. However, you will understand the continuing characters and their relationships if you start with the first book in the series.

With that said we will start our excerpts with the first book, The Promised One.

Tucking his gift under her arm, she started to leave.

“Hey.” He pointed at the other gifts. “Aren’t you going to add yours?”

“Nope. I’ll give it to you later, when we’re alone.”

“Ooh. Something special. Mineral or animal?” His right eyebrow raised, his smile growing.

Alexi laughed. “Just embarrassing.”

“For you or for me?”

“I’m not telling.”

Sidling close to her, he backed her against the wall. “Come on. Just a hint,” he said, a purr in his tone as he placed his hand on the wall next to her shoulder and moved into her personal space with the ease of a lover. One of his famous melt-the-girl looks smoldered in his gaze. The golden flecks in his green eyes lit up like fireworks. Hot fireworks.

Enjoying his closeness and the raw sensuality emanating from him, she lingered for a minute, then slowly moved away. Standing this close she could get burned, and she wasn’t ready to play with fire . . . not yet. She shook her head. “Not a chance.”

He crossed his arms, obviously irked that she hadn’t succumbed.

“My irresistible charms work on everyone else. Why not you?”

Oh, if you only knew. She had to fight to resist him. She flashed him a smile. “Because I’m special. And I’m your partner. Keeping your back safe is more important than getting you on your back.”

He laughed, a deep, throaty, and utterly sexy sound.

She locked her knees to keep from melting into a puddle.

“I like the sound of that.”

Of course you would. She felt her face flame.

Now for the second book, Blood Brothers, excerpt.

Sylvia Jordan Riley winced as Falhman dug into her shoulder and extracted a bullet. He dropped the bullet into the trash and swabbed the wound. “You want to tell me how you got injured?” he asked as he reached for the needle to stitch the gaping hole.

“Chasing Promised Ones.” And the man who murdered my ex-husband.

“I hope it was worth this.”

“It was.” She’d torn Baron’s killer to shreds, but that wasn’t the best part of her news. “I’ve found someone who shifted with me by using the power from my ring.”

Falhman stopped stitching and stared intently at Sylvia, his eyes glittering with undisguised interest. “Is he a rogue shifter?”

“I don’t think he’s any kind of shifter. He seemed startled when the shift occurred.”

“A non-shifter who can use the ring without the incantation? What’s his name?”

“Temple. Rhys Temple. There’s only one problem.” Sylvia paused then continued, “He’s in love with Baron Jordan’s niece, Alexi.”

“I thought that whole family was dead.”

“She’s the last one left, and I think she’s on track as a Promised One.”

Falhman went back to stitching Sylvia’s skin with practiced ease. “Get rid of her and get him. If we can control someone with that kind of power, we can control the world.”

Sylvia looked at her superior. He made it sound simple. Kill Alexi Jordan and lure Rhys to the dark side. Piece of cake? Not if a Jordan was involved. From her recent dealings with Alexi, she knew there would be one heck of a fight if she tried to take her man.

The third book in the series, Son of the Moonless Night, has some new characters but continues the underlying story. Here’s the excerpt:

A head of lettuce and a grapefruit escaped from the paper grocery sack as Katrina leaned sideways on tippy toes to get the topmost lock. The vegetables rolled across the small concrete patio at the bottom of the stairway well and stopped against a leg of the wrought iron café table. Whispering an expletive, she pushed the door open and placed her purse and grocery sack on the entryway table just inside the door. Then she swiveled to get the runaway vegetables.

A very pleasant and interesting sight greeted her. A pair of dark trousers caressed a toned posterior of the man bending over to retrieve her vegetables. She fought to rein in the path her mind started down. Been too long, Katrina, she said to herself as the vision straightened and turned around.

“Oh!” he exclaimed. “I thought you had gone inside.”

The way he held the vegetables out in front of him made her wonder what his hands would feel like if he held her breasts in that manner.

“Hello? Are you awake?”

“Ah, ah,” Katrina sputtered as she focused on his face to get her mind out of the gutter.

“Okay. Awake, but not here yet.” The corner of his lips started to rise.

“You,” she breathed when she recognized him. “Where’s my grandmother’s afghan and my Cleveland Brown’s hoodie?”

“Nice to see you, too, and thank you, I’m feeling fine.”

She crossed her arms tightly over her chest. “If you hadn’t run off I’d have known you were okay.”

The smile inched up the side of his cheek, lighting his electric blue eyes. “You worried about me. How sweet.”

“Sweet, my patootie. I just . . . You could have bled . . . Oh, crap. Where’s my stuff?”

He took another step closer to her. The deep blue ring around his amazing eyes seemed to darken.

She leaned back from him.

Without taking his eyes off her, he nodded to a brightly colored gift bag on the ground beside the door. “I got blood on the afghan so I had it cleaned. It wasn’t badly stained. The blood came out. The hoodie’s a different story. I couldn’t salvage it, so I bought a replacement.” Balancing the vegetables in one hand he lifted the gift bag to her. “Forgiven? Please?”

Book four, The Mercenary and the Shifters, gets more characters involved in the struggle. Here’s the excerpt:

Mike Corritore wheeled up the circular drive of the impressive house on Lakeshore Road and cut the engine on his motorcycle. After a quick glance around, he shouldered the bags containing his clothes, ammo, pump shotgun, and talwar sword. Then he headed for the carved front door. The doorbell echoed inside indicating the mansion had a cavernous entry hall. He searched the entrance stoop for security cameras and found none.

What the heck had he gotten himself into? A rich bitch, with no security on her home, mixed up with a bad syndicate spelled major trouble. With this chintzy level of security, it would take more time than he originally anticipated to make her house and business secure.

After a couple of minutes, the door opened.

“Can I help you?” asked an attractive redhead.

“I’m Mike Corritore. Here to see Fiona Kayler. Will you tell her I’ve arrived?”

The redhead looked him over, then braced her legs shoulder width apart and crossed her arms over her curvy bust. “Do you have identification, Mr. Corritore?”

Mike returned her once-over. Her porcelain complexion blushed pink at his bold examination, and she tossed her mane of wavy, mahogany hair defiantly.
Damn, she was gorgeous.

If she thought her insolent pose enough to keep him, or intruders out, she’d better reconsider.

“Hugh sent me.” He stepped forward but she blocked him.

“A driver’s license for your very expensive motorcycle will suffice,” she said, wiggling her fingers at him. When he didn’t comply, she stepped back and reached to the side of the door.

The distinct cachung of a gun cocking sent him flying to the right of the doorway.

“Identification, Mr. Corritore. Please,” she said as she leveled a pistol at him.

Mike dug in his rear pants’ pocket. “Hugh lied,” he said as he held out his driver’s license. “You don’t need protection.”

After inspecting his identification, she lowered her weapon and waved him inside. “For my business, Mr. Corritore. I’m capable of protecting my home, but I can’t draw my gun just anywhere.”

“You should get a conceal and carry license,” Mike said as he entered.

She put the safety on the gun and stashed the weapon in the table beside the front door.

“I take it you’re not the help,” he said, glancing around the entry hall.

She held out her hand. “Fiona Kayler. Nice to meet you, Mr. Corritore.”

“Mike,” he said, taking her hand. Her palm, warm and soft, told him she lived a life of leisure. But her strong grip screamed, No patsy. He held her hand a bit longer than he should have. She wriggled free and waved him to the left.

“Ladies first.”

With a nod, she led him toward a sumptuously decorated room. He followed, his eyes taking in the soft curves of her rear as she sashayed across the marble-tiled floor. Mike’s body reacted to the seductive wiggle of her bottom. She walked as sexy as she looked.

Keep your mind on the job, Corritore. He shifted his gaze away from temptation, searching the ceiling and corners of the entry for security cameras. If she had them, they were well hidden.

The measured click of her high heels on the hard marble tile floor disappeared as they stepped on the thick, white carpet of the living room. This room appeared cozier than the entry. A huge gold, gilt-edged mirror hung over the fireplace reflecting the scene outside the oversized plate-glass window.

She motioned to a seat beside the fireplace. Mike chose a location less exposed to the exterior, where he could watch the entrance to the room. Fiona dragged a side chair across the room to where he sat, positioning it at a right angle to his seat. Two vertical furrows appeared in the carpeting, bisecting their shoe impressions and the vacuumed paths in the thick fibers. Apparently, she didn’t use this room much.

“So, Ms. Kayler—”

“Fiona,” she corrected.

“Fiona, exactly what do you need me to do?” As he said the words, he had a lurid vision of what he’d like to do to this lovely woman. He shook it off. She was Hugh’s friend and in trouble. He had no business screwing around with damsels in distress. They were needy. The last thing he wanted.

“A couple of years ago I had a problem with smugglers. They brought in some hazardous materials which got me in trouble with Homeland Security and the FBI. They cleared me, but my business took a pretty big hit. To keep things afloat, I’ve had to get in bed with some rough characters recently.”

At the phrase get in bed with Mike cocked his eyebrow at her.

“Not literally,” she amended quickly, as a dusky pink blush crept over her pale complexion. “I need my security beefed up, so I don’t have a replay of two years ago.”

“Any good security company could upgrade you.”

“I also need someone I can trust implicitly. Hugh vouched for you, and I trust Hugh.”

“We should start with your home security. I didn’t see surveillance cameras at the door.”

“My home is perfectly safe. It’s my business I’m concerned about.”

Fiona crossed her arms over her chest, her body language closing off to further suggestions. Mike followed her motions. As he did, he spotted a red dot on her chest. The dot wiggled.

“Get down!” Mike shouted as he dove for Fiona.

They hit the floor as the pottery on the raised fireplace hearth exploded, sending shards across the room. Mike shoved Fiona behind the nearest chair then scrambled across the rug to the blown-out window. Removing his gun from his back-of-the-waist holster, he peered over the windowsill. Seeing no one in the driveway, he swiveled around to check on Fiona. The red laser point danced around the room, searching for a target.

We hope you enjoyed this look into some of our favorite lines from our books and maybe got interested to follow along with the story.

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

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

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

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

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

Website, Facebook, Amazon Author Page, and Twitter

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The Cassowary: Why We Should Care

October 11, 2023 | Uncategorized

from Anne Montgomery

It’s estimated that nearly 500 animal species have become extinct since the beginning of the 20th century. Among them the Passenger Pigeon, Japanese Sea Lion, Western Black Rhinoceros, Golden Toad, Caribbean Monk Seal, and Mexican Grizzly Bear, now gone forever.

And yet, for most of us, the absence of these creatures makes no difference in our daily lives. Perhaps that’s why some people roll their eyes when they hear about saving the tiny Snail Darter or the Polar Bear or the Gray Wolf.

But what if a creature existed that could change lives with its passing? And I mean change in a big way.

Meet the cassowary.


I first became aware of the giant, Australian bird that vaguely resembles an ostrich, but which sports a fabulously-colored keratin casque, while walking in the Daintree Rainforest – a UNESCO site like the Great Barrier Reef over which it hovers – that has one of the most complex ecosystems on Earth, hosting species whose ancestors date back 110 million years.

“The cassowary is extremely important,” our guide explained. “Without the bird, the forest would not exist.”

Daintree is primordial. Giant strangler figs crawl across the forest floor. Dappled sunlight sneaks though a thick green canopy. Massive ferns sprout from leaf-littered soil. The outside world is muted, and the sight of a dinosaur might not seem strange.

I learned the cassowary is a one-bird master gardener, a creature that combs the forest floor eating fallen fruits, even gobbling up plants that are toxic to other creatures. The bird consumes up to 150 different types of fruits. The existence of 70 to 100 plant species depends on the cassowary pooping out their seeds in a pile of protective, compost-like dung, the smell of which repels seed predators. The cassowary is a “keystone” species, which means a species on which others in an ecosystem largely depend, one that, if removed, would cause the ecosystem to change drastically.

So, no cassowary, no rainforest. But there’s more. Below Daintree are mangroves, a mucky area rich in bio-matter that filters down from the forest. All types of young creatures – crabs, jellyfish, snappers, jacks, red drums, sea trout, tarpon, sea bass, and even juvenile sharks – thrive in the protection of the fertile water of the mangroves.

Offshore, the Great Barrier Reef follows Australia’s eastern coast. There, too, the nutrients from the forest help feed the tiny creatures that build the reefs. This fertilizer promotes the growth of phytoplankton which nourishes the zooplankton on which the coral polyps dine. Without this sustenance the coral dies, losing the ability to protect the shoreline from waves, storms, and flooding, which leads to loss of human life and property.

Also consider that roughly 25% of the world’s fish species spend part of their lives on the reefs. If the Great Barrier Reef dies – note that half of the more than 1,400-mile structure has already perished – vast fisheries could collapse leading to starvation that could ultimately affect billions of people.

Which brings me back to the cassowary. It’s estimated that only 12,000 to 15,000 of the birds remain in the wild. Loss of habitat is decreasing their numbers, as are attacks by dogs.  Another problem is humans driving too fast.

Why should we care?

I think the cassowary is but one example of the interconnectedness of life. Perhaps that’s something we should think about.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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October 9, 2023 | Author Friend Promo

from Catherine Castle

I’m a blonde. Always have been a blonde.

Always will be a blonde.

If I had any doubt about that it was reinforced the other day when my husband brought me a new blonde joke.

You have to understand that I love blonde jokes. The dumber the blonde the funnier I think the joke is. That’s because at my core I know blondes are really smart, and we know how to work things to our advantage. That’s why so many women, and men, want to be blondes nowadays.

I have a collection of blonde jokes sent to me by friends and that I have garnered from the internet. One of my favorites is about the blonde driving down the highway knitting.

A highway patrolman pulled alongside a speeding car on the freeway.  Glancing at the car, he was astounded to see that the blonde behind the wheel was knitting!
Realizing that she was oblivious to his flashing lights and siren, the trooper cranked down his window, turned on his bullhorn and yelled, ‘PULL OVER!’
‘NO!’ the blonde yelled back, ‘IT’S A SCARF!’

I get that joke. I also get the one about the three construction workers, also one of my favorites.

Three male construction workers—an Italian, a Mexican, and a Swede—are sitting on a high construction beam eating lunch.

The Italian pulls a meatball sandwich from his lunch pail and says, “If I get another meatball sandwich for lunch, I’m going to throw myself off this high beam.”

The Mexican pulls a taco from his lunch pail and says, “If I get another taco for lunch, I’m going to throw myself off this high beam.”

Then the Swede pulls a sardine sandwich from his lunch pail and says, “If I get another sardine sandwich for lunch. I’m going to throw myself off this high beam.”

The next day, the Italian pulls a meatball sandwich from his lunch pail and throws himself off the beam. Then the Mexican pulls a taco from his lunch pail and throws himself off the beam. And finally, the Swede pulls a sardine sandwich from his lunch pail and throws himself off the beam.

At the funeral for the men the wives were commiserating. “If I’d only known he hated meatball sandwiches, I wouldn’t have packed them,” said the Italian’s wife.

“If I’d known he hated tacos, I wouldn’t have packed them, either,” said the Mexican’s wife.

Then the two women looked at the Swede’s wife.

“Don’t look at me,” she said. “He packed his own lunch.”

I get this joke. Duh…the Swede could have just packed something different and then he wouldn’t have to throw himself off the construction beam.

But the following joke stumped me, proving I’m a true blonde, even when my roots grew out 3 inches during the COVID-19 shutdown.

“Listen to this,” my husband said as he came into the kitchen and proceeded to tell me a new blonde joke.

A blonde answers the door and sees a census worker who asks her a variety of census questions. Then he says, “How old are you, ma’am?”

“Well,” says the blonde,” I was married when I was eighteen and my husband was thirty. He’s sixty now, which is twice his age, so that makes me … thirty-six.”

There was a pregnant pause in the kitchen, and then I said, “So what’s the punch line?”

My husband started howling with laughter.

“What’s so funny?” I asked.

“Her husband was thirty when they married and now he’s sixty.”

“Yeah,” I said, “twice his age.”

“And she’s how old?” he asked.

“Thirty-six. Eighteen plus eighteen is thirty-six, right?” I said.

“He’s thirty years older,” my husband said. “He’s now sixty. Do the math.” When I didn’t answer right away he started laughing even harder. “No wonder you were thirty-seven for so many years. You really are a blonde.” Then he turned and walked out of the kitchen.

“I didn’t add wrong,” I hollered at his retreating back. “I just forgot how old I was for all those years.”

As soon as he was out of sight, I pulled retrieved my phone calculator and did the math again. Eighteen plus eighteen still came out thirty-six.

Thank heaven for calculators, because I flunked word-problem math in seventh grade. Without my calculator I’d be lost doing higher math problems.

Are you a real blonde, too, or do you know the answer my hubby was after? I’d love to know.


Catherine may not be great at higher math, but she sure can write, as is testified to through her multiple book awards. Check out her romantic comedy, with a touch of drama, A Groom for Mama, for more funny situations.

A Groom for Mama

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 hilarious and 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 her on Twitter @AuthorCCastle, FB or her blog.


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October 4, 2023 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

From Linda Lee Greene Author/Artist

“Well, dog-gone,” my father replied when I told him my research on the subject revealed that hickories and pecans are in the same family of trees, and that pecans grow as far northeast as Southern Ohio, our original stomping grounds. While hickories grow in abundance there, neither my father nor I could recall seeing a tree giving forth pecan nuts in our area. It was also news to us that Native Americans were responsible for naming both of the trees. The word “hickory” is said to have come from the Algonquian Indian word “pawcohiccora,” while “pacane,” or “paccan,” or “pakan,” meaning “a nut so hard it has to be cracked with a stone,” evolved into “pecan.”

If we were sons and daughters of Nashville, Memphis, Dallas, New Orleans, and other warm places along the “Pecan Belt,” we would be familiar with the resumé of pecans—we would know, for instance, that pecan trees can grow to be one hundred feet tall and live to be one thousand years old—quite a bit taller and much older than hickories. Now that’s a lot of nuts! In addition, after peanuts, which aren’t tree-nuts at all, pecans are the most popular nuts in North America. In fact, the United States produces over eighty percent of the world’s crop of this indigenous commodity. This is true even though along with electricity, automobiles, airplanes, telephones and countless other good things from North America, with the help of humankind, pecan trees eventually set root in other places around the globe such as Australia, Brazil, China, Israel, Mexico, Peru, and South Africa.

Along with many other firsts credited to him, Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, is recognized as the person who introduced the pecan to areas east of the Mississippi Valley, its native ground. Having discovered them during a trip to the area, he carried some nuts and seedlings back to his home in Virginia. He also introduced them to his friend, fellow Virginian, and first president of their homeland, George Washington. Thereafter, both of the gentlemen grew the trees on their plantations, an enterprise that spread to the southern states of the country. Subsequent to the Civil War, Union soldiers transported the seedlings and nuts to the north, which increased the regard for the buttery-flavored nut even further. It was a black-slave-gardener named “Antoine,” at Louisiana’s Oak Alley plantation, however, who was responsible for developing the first cultivar of the tree. In 1876, it was dubbed, “Centennial,” in commemoration of the one-hundredth anniversary of the founding of the United States. Since then, in deference to the people who fostered them originally, many of the current, five-hundred cultivars of the plant have been named for Native American tribes including “Cheyenne,” “Kiowa,” “Sioux,” “Choctaw,” and “Creek.”

No overview of pecans would be complete without including pralines, the nutty confection originated in France using almonds rather than pecans. Stories abound regarding its appearance in the French cuisine. One account is that Clement Lassagne, chef of Marshal du Plesses-Praslin (1598-1675) concocted it after watching children in his kitchen nibbling on almonds and caramel. Or, it might have happened when one of his young and clumsy apprentices knocked over a container of almonds into a vat of cooking caramel. The most popular version involves Marshal du Plessis-Praslin himself. A notorious ladies man, he is purported to have asked Lassagne to develop an alluring treat for his paramours, which he presented to them in decorative little packets. For a time, the treat was referred to as “praslin,” after the lascivious gentleman, but evolved into “praline,”

Brought to Louisiana by French settlers, chefs in New Orleans eventually substituted pecans for almonds and added cream to the French praline recipe. The basic “Big Easy” recipe for this Creole treat comprises pecans, brown sugar, white sugar, cream, and butter added to either rum, vanilla, chocolate, coconut, or peanut butter. Pronounced “prah-leen” in Louisiana, it is “pray-leen” to the rest of us, but regardless of the way one pronounces it, it is a Southern delicacy. Having always been sold on the streets of New Orleans, passers-by are lured to the Vieux Carré-stalls of praline vendors by the mouth-watering aroma, as well as the Creole call, “Belles Pralines,” “Belles Pralines!

Pecans are rich in protein, vitamins and minerals. Clinical research has found that eating about a handful of plain pecans each day may help lower cholesterol as effectively as designated medications. They also are said to promote neurological health as well as delay age-related muscle-nerve degeneration. If you have a hankering for baked-goods, but want to avoid the unhealthy ingredients in traditional recipes, the following is a tasty and healthy substitute. It is also a better choice for people sensitive to gluten. This recipe batter can be used for baking basic bread, pancakes, crackers, crepes and cupcakes, but add maple syrup or Stevia to sweeten the batter.

The recipe normally substitutes almond flour for flours made from grains. I have found that by adding garbanzo/fava bean flour to the almond flour, a smoother and finer batter is the result. It also calms the rather strong flavor of almond flour. Cranberries are featured in this recipe, but any berry or fruit, will do.

Healthy Berry-Pecan Muffins


1 tbsp. (15 ml) ground cinnamon

2 tbsp. (25 ml) maple syrup

1 tbsp. (15 ml) unsalted butter

Combine ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.

Muffin Batter

2 ½ cups (625 ml) almond & garbanzo/fava flour mixture

1 cup (250 ml) chopped pecans

¼ tsp. (1 ml) salt

½ tsp. (2 ml) baking soda

1 tsp. (5ml) ground cinnamon

Combine the following ingredients in a separate bowl.

2 eggs

½ cup (125 ml) Yogurt

½ cup (125 ml) maple syrup

1 ½ cups (375 ml) cranberries, or berries or fruit of choice

Preheat the oven to 325° (160°C).

Line a muffin tin with large baking cups

Combine the wet ingredients in another bowl and pour into the first bowl of the dry ingredients. Mix well. Add enough water to make the batter about the consistency of toothpaste. Evenly fill each baking cup with the batter and drizzle the topping over each one.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.)

This is a good day for baking a delicious treat, and what can be better than baking with pecans and fruit? A delightful breakfast, snack, or dessert of Healthy Berry-Pecan Muffins and a cup of coffee awaits you. To soothe your tummy further, add a pinch of baking soda to your coffee grounds upon brewing. It cuts down on coffee’s acid. I do it! I like it! It works!

This is a good day for baking a delicious treat, and what can be better than baking with pecans and fruit? A delightful breakfast, snack, or dessert of Healthy Berry-Pecan Muffins and a cup of coffee awaits you. To soothe your tummy further, add a pinch of baking soda to your coffee grounds upon brewing. It cuts down on coffee’s acid. I do it! I like it! It works!

Was it chance or destiny’s hand behind a man and a woman’s curious encounter at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas? The cards fold, their hearts open, and a match strikes, flames that sizzle their hearts and souls. Can they have the moon and the stars, too? Or is she too dangerous? Is he? Can their love withstand betrayal?! Can it endure murder?! Amid the seductions of Las Vegas, Nevada and an idyllic coffee plantation on Hawai’i’s Big Island, a sextet of opposites converge within a shared fate: a glamorous movie-star courting distractions from her troubled past; her shell-shocked bodyguards clutching handholds out of their hardscrabble lives; a dropout Hawaiian nuclear physicist gambling his way back home; a Navajo rancher seeking cleansing for harming Mother Earth; and from its lofty perch, the Hawaiian’s guardian spirit conjured as his pet raven, conducting this symphony of soul odysseys.

A reader says, “I loved this book. I got lost in the realism and all that was going on, and it made me feel like I was watching a movie instead of reading a book. If you want to be left breathless in a sea of a million emotions, buy this book. It will captivate your senses on every level. I highly recommend, A CHANCE AT THE MOON.”

“Give me a ticket to Las Vegas, a big stack of poker chips at a table lucky as gold—oh, and a copy of A CHANCE AT THE MOON to refuel me when I fold.” Tina Griffith, multi-award-winning author of THE ELUSIVE MR. VELUCCI


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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October 2, 2023 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

From Stella May

There is a lot of debate about the origin of hummus; whether it’s Greek, Egyptian, or Lebanese. It is thought to have originated in Lebanon and traveled all over the Middle Eastern regions. This unique food has been prepared for hundreds of years and is well-loved around the world.

So, what is hummus? Hummus is a bean dip made primarily by blending cooked chickpeas, tahini (a creamy sesame seed paste), garlic, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, and seasonings. Once you make it at home, I promise you will never return to store bought.

There are wonderful foods you can dip into hummus. They include broccoli, carrot and celery sticks, cauliflower, cukes, pita chips, pretzels, radishes, and any other crunchy veggie. Let your imagination soar.

Stella’s Easy Hummus

5-6 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

1½ tsp. sea salt

2 lg garlic cloves, finely minced or grated

⅔ cup Tahini 

6-8 tbsp. ice water

3 cups of cooked (pre-soaked overnight) chickpeas or 30 oz canned chickpeas

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 pinch black pepper

paprika and freshly chopped parsley for garnish

In a food processor – combine 5 tablespoons lemon juice, salt, and garlic. Pulse to combine then let it rest for a few minutes.

Add Tahini and blend until thick and smooth, scraping down the bowl as needed with a spatula.

Add ice water 1 tablespoon at a time with the blender running. Stop and scrape down the bowl as needed.

Drain the chickpeas then pour them into the food processor along with the olive oil and pepper. Blend until completely smooth, about 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl a couple of times. Add more ice water to reach your desired consistency.

Season to taste with more salt and lemon juice if needed.

To Serve – transfer to a serving bowl, sprinkle the top with paprika and sprinkle parsley.


A jaded CEO. A fiercely focused ballerina. A love that defies all society’s rules.


JJ Morris, successful CEO, leads a secret double life, playing saxophone to his heart’s
content in his hole-in-the-wall dive bar. Yet he can’t escape the feeling he’s slowly petrifying into just another jaded millionaire.

Then a gorgeous blonde steps into his bar and shakes up his world. Certain this fierce
little swan of a woman is exactly what’s missing in his life, he maps out a plan to wed her by Christmas. With or without his snobby mother’s approval.

Most women would be thrilled to learn that the tall, handsome bar musician is, in fact, a wealthy prince charming. Verochka Osipoff is less than impressed. She’s focused on becoming a prima ballerina, and everything hinges on her next audition. She can’t afford distractions, especially a rich playboy slumming it in SoHo.

Yet the heat of their attraction melts Verochka’s heart like warm chocolate. But JJ’s world is a cold, glittering nest of vipers. And their venom could destroy their love song before the first movement ends.


The sound of a saxophone halted her steps. That deep, velvety voice grabbed her by her throat, and refused to let go. Holding her breath, mesmerized, Verochka stopped, then pivoted. Where did it come from? Straining her ears, she looked around, searching the almost empty street. Guided by her hearing, she glanced at the closed doors on her right. The Broome Street Bar.
Inside, the sax murmured its enchanting tale, sad, and touching, and 

Mon Dieu! What must one feel to play like that?

Verochka closed her eyes and swayed to the music. Her arms by their own volition lifted and moved in a lazy,
unhurried wave. She visualized the dance in her mind, something slow and sensual. Strange, but she never paid attention to jazz before. Then again, she was never partial to any music except classical.

To her there was nothing and no one compared to Tchaikovsky. But the soulful notes of that sax fascinated her as
much as the famous opening theme from Swan Lake. When the sound trailed off, she felt almost bereft. She craved to hear more. Will the musician play again? Oh, she hopped so. She’d wait for it.

Outside? On the sidewalk at almost ten at night?

Unwise, not to mention quite dangerous. Granted, this spot in SoHo was not prone to crime. But still. A young woman alone was bound to attract some attention.  Verochka looked at the closed door of the bar, biting her lip.

To go inside, or continue on her way? The wisest thing to do, of course, was to turn around, and go home, to her tiny apartment. It was late. She must rest before her wake-up call at 5:30 AM. All morning classes of Madame Valeska started at precisely 6 AM, and God forbid if any of the dancers were late even by a minute. The wrath of her teacher definitely equaled to her worldwide fame as a former principal dancer of The Royal Ballet.

Tired after the long day of classes and rehearsals, then cleaning the premises, Verochka barely kept upright. She hated her after- hours janitorial obligations, but promise was a promise. And Verochka Osipoff never broke her word.

No matter how spent she was, each and every evening, after all the dancers went home, and the school was closed, she headed to the closet for a broom and a bucket. At first, she didn’t mind it at all. It was an arrangement made in heaven. An eighteen-year-old orphan from France, determined to reach her dream, Verochka arrived at the doors of the famous New York ballet school with nothing but fifty dollars to her name and a small satchel that belonged to her father.

After her initial shock faded, the formidable Madame Valeska, the owner of the school, ordered Verochka to change into her leotards, and dance.

Her final verdict delivered in a grumbling voice was like a heavenly music to Verochka’s ears.

“You have a potential, Miss Osipoff. I’ll take a chance on you, and let you stay for a probationary period of three months. After that, we’ll see.”

Verochka’s elation was huge, but temporary. The school was obscenely expensive. No way she was able to afford the tuition. There was a stipend, but applying for it took only God knew how long, with no guarantee that it will be granted in the end.

On top of it, she was a foreigner, all alone in the strange country, and barely able to speak English.

Madame Valeska, quickly assessing the situation— more accurately, feeling sorry for her— offered Verochka a deal: the education in exchange for cleaning services. A tiny room in the attic as a temporary place to live was added to that offer. To Verochka, it was like a Christmas gift she could never have dreamt about.

Overwhelmed, moved to tears, Verochka grabbed the opportunity with both hands. After a while, she got her stipend for the gifted and unprivileged students, thanks to Madame Valeska’s help, and was able to cover most of her tuition.

The convenience of living on the premises saved her the expense of a rent, and occasional participation in corps de ballet’s performances made everything else manageable. She didn’t need a lot of food, as her extremely strict diet fell mostly into yogurt and fruit category. As to clothes— she learned at her dancing parents knee the skill to mend tears and repair pointe shoes.

Two years later, Verochka was still living in the attic, and still mopped the floors, and cleaned the premises. But it didn’t matter. Her main goal to become a prima ballerina of The Royal Ballet took the precedence over everything else.

Ambitious? Maybe. But, as her father always said, you must dream big. Otherwise, what was the point? So, she dreamed big, and worked like a woman possessed in order to reach that dream. She was content, and happy, and along the way, fell in love with New York, her new home. Her only home. She learned English, and became quite fluent in it, even though her accent stubbornly refused to be erased.

Of course, she missed
France, and Paris, and small street cafes, and long strolls along the Seine. Oh,
the aroma of freshly brewed coffee and sprinkled with powdered sugar beignets!
Sometimes, she could smell them in her dreams.

But most of all, she missed her parents. She was sure they were looking at her from heaven, smiling, proud of her accomplishments.

Her occasional nostalgia was usually sweet, and short, like a children’s lullaby.

But not tonight.

After finishing her duties, Verochka was ambushed by a sadness so huge, she almost doubled down with it. Suffocated in the large empty building that housed the ballet school, she was lonely, isolated, until she couldn’t bear another minute longer locked inside. Hence, her impromptu evening walk that brought her in the middle of SoHo, to the Broome Street Bar.

The plaintive sounds of sax reached her ears again.

Oh, yes, please.

Listening to those seductive low rumbles, she wondered about the player.

Who was he? Or was it a she? Why was that melody so sad, so sorrowful?


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

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

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

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

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Celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving with Family and Friends

September 27, 2023 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

From Sharon Ledwith

The one theme I love to weave throughout my two-book series is the importance of family. We hold each other tight when times are tough, and on the flip side we can tear each other apart during times of stress and worry. Food seems to be the source of comfort in all family matters.

Meals bring us together to celebrate, cry or support each other in so many ways. The characters in The Last Timekeepers young adult time travel adventure series were originally thrown together, despite their differences, and have had to learn how to act like a family by trusting and working with one another through each Timekeeper mission. In my Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls teen psychic mystery series, the main characters change with each book, but the setting remains the same, I focused on the tribal matters of the town, and what’s best for the whole. Again, my characters must overcome differences and obstacles in order to keep Fairy Falls’ sense of community safe and intact.

I recently came across my father’s lasagna recipe, and a wave of emotions and memories rushed through me. I loved his meaty take on a popular Italian dish. My dad’s been gone since 1983, and I still miss him deeply, especially when our family gets together over holidays, events or Sunday dinners. So, I thought I’d share his special family recipe with you with the hopes of adding this mouth-watering pasta entree to your menu one day. Bon appetite!

Dad’s Mouth-Watering, Meaty Lasagna

1 lb. lean ground beef
½ lb. ground pork
1 can (28 oz.) whole tomatoes
1 can (12 oz.) tomato paste
2 tsps. garlic salt or powder
1½ tsps. oregano leaves
1 tsp. basil leaves
2 cups cottage cheese
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 packages (4 ounces each) shredded mozzarella cheese
12 oz. lasagna noodles, cooked and well drained (we use precooked noodles)
½ cup grated Parmesan cheeseIn a Dutch over or large skillet, cook and stir meats until brown. Drain off fat. Add tomatoes; break up with fork. Stir in tomato paste, garlic, oregano and basil. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat, simmer uncovered 20 minutes or until mixture is consistency of spaghetti sauce.

Preheat oven to 350° F (175° C).

Stir together cottage cheese and Parmesan cheese. Set aside 1 cup meat sauce and ½ the mozzarella. In ungreased baking pan, 13 x 9 x 2 inches, alternate layers of ⅓ each noodles, remaining meat sauce, remaining mozzarella, and cottage cheese mixture.

Spread reserved meat sauce over top. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Scatter reserved mozzarella across lasagna.

Bake uncovered 45 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting. Cut into 3-inch squares.

Serves 8 of your hungriest family members or friends.

And there you have it! A feast fit for any family who loves getting together to share good food, and create happy memories. So, now that you’ve cooked to your heart’s content, and your belly is full, why not escape from the dishes and curl up with one of my books? May I suggest a visit to Fairy Falls or go back in time with The Last Timekeepers? Just remember to pack lightly.

The Last
Timekeepers Time Travel Adventure Series:
The Last
Timekeepers and the Dark Secret, Book #2
The Last
Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, Book #1
Buy Links:
Legend of
the Timekeepers, prequel
Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls
Teen Psychic Mystery Series:
Lost and Found, Book One Buy
Blackflies and Blueberries, Book Two Buy Links:

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

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

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


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Forget the Autumnal Equinox

September 25, 2023 | Uncategorized

from Catherine Castle

Fall begins with this…

It’s officially fall at my house!

Yes, I know the official date was September 23 this year, and I’m writing this post a little later. The official calendar date occurs on the autumnal equinox when and day and night are almost equal—in most locations. I also know that now it’s officially spring in the Southern Hemisphere. But I digress.

As you might have guessed, I don’t follow the notion that fall begins on September 22, or sometimes on September 21 or September 23, depending on the difference between the Gregorian calendar and the time it actually takes the Earth to complete its orbit around the sun. Because it takes 365 and ¼ days for the Earth’s orbit the September equinoxes shift about 6 hours later each year, eventually moving the date by a day.

So, if I don’t recognize the Equinox as the start of fall, when does it start? Fall begins for me in the grocery store, night or day, and it depends upon when I spot this beauty on the produce stand.

Yep, you see it right. Fall begins for me when I find caramel apples in the grocery. I start watching for them in early September, savoring the thought of a crisp apple covered in caramel and chopped peanuts.  They come in packs of three at my Kroger and when my daughter lived at home it was one apple for each of us.  Then when she moved out, I usually ate the third apple when the hubby was at work and then resisted getting another package and hiding it from the family. Now that Hubby’s retired I have to split the last treat. But that’s okay, because when they’re in season he always picks up an extra pack for us. Last night he brought three caramel and cinnamon streusel crusted apples home. Can you say apple pie on a stick?

I justify this sweet treat because apples and nuts in moderation are good for you. Caramel not so much. Apples are loaded with fiber and quercetin, a natural antihistamine. When eaten on a stick, or off the stick, apples are a raw food. Nuts have good MUFA fats (Mono unsaturated fat) which means the caramel apple has no saturated fats and lots of fiber. A great combo for lowering my high cholesterol. I ignore the sugar for this seasonal treat. It only happens once and year and I just eat more fiber to counter the sugar’s bad affects.

Have I made you hungry for a caramel apple yet?  Just in case, here’s a link to an easy recipe to make your own caramel apples. Enjoy, and welcome to fall!

Novice Sister Margaret doesn’t consume any caramel apples on her mission trip to Mexico, but she does eat some interesting things. Find out what in Catherine’s multi-award-winning inspirational romantic suspense, The Nun and the Narc.

Where novice Sister Margaret Mary goes, trouble follows. When she barges into a drug deal the local Mexican drug lord captures her. To escape she must depend on undercover DEA agent Jed Bond. Jed’s attitude toward her is exasperating, but when she finds herself inexplicably attracted to him, he becomes more dangerous than the men who have captured them, because he is making her doubt her decision to take her final vows. Escape back to the nunnery is imperative, but life at the convent, if she can still take her final vows, will never be the same.

Nuns shouldn’t look, talk, act, or kiss like Sister Margaret Mary O’Connor—at least that’s what Jed Bond thinks. She hampers his escape plans with her compulsiveness and compassion and in the process makes Jed question his own beliefs. After years of walling up his emotions in an attempt to become the best agent possible, Sister Margaret is crumbling Jed’s defenses and opening his heart. To lure her away from the church would be unforgivable—to lose her unbearable.

Available on Amazon

Multi-award-winning author Catherine Castle has been writing all her life. A former freelance writer, she has over 600 articles and photographs to her credit (under her real name) in the Christian and secular market. Now she writes sweet and inspirational romance. Her debut inspirational romantic suspense, The Nun and the Narc, from Soul Mate Publishing, has garnered multiple contests finals and wins.

Catherine loves writing, reading, traveling, singing, watching movies, and the theatre. In the winter she loves to quilt and has a lot of UFOs (unfinished objects) in her sewing case. In the summer her favorite place to be is in her garden. She’s passionate about gardening and even won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club.

Learn more about Catherine Castle on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to check out Catherine’s Amazon author page and her Goodreads page. You can also find Catherine on Stitches Thru Time and the SMP authors blog site.

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PROSIT! Celebrate Oktoberfest German Style

September 20, 2023 | Cooking

Oktoberfest is the festival to end all festivals and is celebrated around the world but started in Munich, Germany for a royal wedding in 1810. The citizens of Munich were invited to all the festivities held in fields just outside the city gates. And from there the world adopted this grand event. It runs from late September to the 1st Sunday in October. Be sure to include plenty of German music when you celebrate.

Sauerbraten – Marinated Pot Roast
Boiled Potatoes
Red Cabbage with Apples
Rye Bread
German Red Wine – Spätburgunder which is German for Pinot Noir

Sauerbraten – Marinated Pot Roast
5 black peppercorns
4 whole juniper berries*
1 med. onion, sliced thin
½ cup (120ml) dry red wine
½ cup (120ml) red wine vinegar
2 cups (450ml) cold water
2 small bay leaves
4 lbs. (2kg) boneless beef roast, top or bottom round or rump
3 tbsp. (43g) lard or solid shortening
½ cup onion, chopped fine
½ cup carrots, chopped fine
½ cup celery, chopped fine
2 tbsp. (30ml) flour
½ cup (120ml) beef stock, if needed
½ cup (50g) gingersnap cookie crumbs

Use a mortar and pestle or a baggie and hammer to crush black peppercorns and juniper berries together.

In a medium-sized saucepan combine peppercorn mix, sliced onion, wine, vinegar, water, and bay leaves. Bring marinade to a boil over high heat. Remove pan from stove and let cool to room temperature.

Trim excess fat from roast. Set beef in a deep flat bowl or pot just large enough to hold it comfortably. Pour marinade over the top. Add more wine if marinade is not halfway up the sides of the meat. Turn meat to moisten all sides. Cover pan tightly with foil or cling wrap. Refrigerate for 2 – 3 days. Be sure to turn the meat over at least twice a day.

Preheat oven to 350° F (180°C).

Remove meat from marinade. Pat dry with paper towels. Strain marinade through a fine sieve set over a bowl. Discard spices and onion, but reserve marinade.

Melt lard in a Dutch oven over high heat until it sputters. Add roast and brown well on all sides. Adjust heat so as not to burn the meat. Transfer meat to a platter. Pour off and discard all but 2 tbs. (30ml) of fat. Add onions, carrots, and celery to pot. Cook over moderate heat until they are soft and light brown, 5 – 8 minutes. Sprinkle flour over veggies. Cook, stirring constantly 2 – 3 minutes or until flour begins to color.

Pour in 2 cups (450ml) of reserved marinade and ½ cup (120ml) water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Return meat to pot. Cover tightly. Cook in the oven for 2 hours or until meat shows no resistance when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. Transfer meat to a heated platter. Cover with foil to keep warm.

Discard veggies. Pour liquid from pot into a measuring cup. Skim off fat. You need 2½ cups (570ml) liquid for the sauce. If you have more, boil briskly to reduce the amount. If you have less, add beef stock. Combine liquid and gingersnaps in a small saucepan. Cook over moderate heat, stirring often, for 10 minutes. The crumbs will dissolve and thicken the sauce. Strain sauce through a fine sieve. Keep warm on very low heat until ready to serve.

To serve, carve meat into ¼ inch (.64cm) slices. Arrange on individual dinner plates or a large platter. In either case moisten the meat with a little sauce. Pass the remaining sauce in a gravy boat.

*Rosemary is a good substitute for juniper berries. Use one fresh sprig.

Boiled Potatoes
1 red potato per person, peeled and quartered
Chicken stock
Tap water
1 lg. bay leaf
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Butter to taste

Add potatoes to a saucepan that holds them comfortably. Pour stock halfway up the potatoes. Top off with water, covering potatoes by an inch (1.25cm) or so. Add bay leaf. Set a lid on top.

You can do up to this point earlier in the day. Leave on the counter or stovetop until you are ready to cook.

Bring pan to a boil over medium heat. Adjust the lid and heat so the water continues a soft/light boil, but does not spill over. Cook 15 – 20 minutes, then test for doneness. A fork will insert easily.

Drain potatoes and discard bay leaf. Sprinkle pepper over potatoes. Add butter. Stir carefully so as not to smash potatoes.

Don’t have bay leaf? Add 1 tablespoon (20ml) or so of dried basil to the pot. When you drain the potatoes most of the leaves will be gone, but the good taste remains.

Red Cabbage with Apples
2 – 2½ lb. (1 – 1.5kg) red cabbage
⅔ cup (150ml) red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. (30ml) sugar
2 medium-sized apples, peeled and cored
2 tbsp. (25g) lard or bacon fat
½ cup (50g) onions, chopped fine
1 whole onion, pierced with 2 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
5 cups (1.2L) boiling water
3 tbsp. (45ml) dry red wine
3 tbsp. (45ml) red currant jelly, optional

Wash cabbage under cool water and then remove tough outer leaves. Cut cabbage into 4 pieces. Remove core. Shred easily by slicing each section into thin strips.

Place cabbage in a large mixing bowl. sprinkle with vinegar and sugar. Toss with a spoon to cover the shreds evenly.

Slice apple into thin wedges. Melt lard or bacon fat in a large pot. Add apples and onions. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until apples are lightly browned.

Add cabbage, onion with cloves, and bay leaf. Stir well while pouring in boiling water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat so cabbage does a slow simmer. Cover and cook 1½ – 2 hours, or until cabbage is tender. Check occasionally to be sure cabbage is moist. If it seems dry, add 1 tbsp. (15ml) or so of boiling water. When cabbage is tender there should be almost no liquid in the pan.

To serve remove whole onion and bay leaf. Stir in wine and jelly. This recipe freezes nicely.

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


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

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

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

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Making the Unfamiliar, Familiar

September 18, 2023 | Author Friend Promo

from Sharon Ledwith

Last Photo of my Buddy and Me

I’m sure you’ve heard that getting out of your comfort zone can be a painful, often scary experience, but the end results usually end in transformation and growth. Right? Well, I recently watched a YouTube video done by Canadian entrepreneur Evan Carmichael about trying to share an image of yourself on your social media accounts for 30 days straight, and then seeing what happens after the month has ended. The thought of doing that made me squirm inside. You see, I’m an introvert at heart, and like to keep my personal life…well, personal. Sharing an image of myself—with all my winkles and flaws—a day for an entire month seemed downright weird and just a little egostical. Besides, what kind of image would I post, and what would I talk about? Then, I approached my publisher, Justine with this idea, and she suggested that I share an image of a day in the life of an author and call it #authorlife.

My eyes widened, and I resonated with her suggestion immediately.

So, choosing the month of September 2019 for my #authorlife experiment, I decided to take a shot and put myself out there for 30 days sharing what it’s like to live in my ‘author’ shoes. And yes, it was scary, and yes it was painful, but I managed to complete this task, not missing a day, but one—September 10th, the day after we put our 12-year-old Labrador down. I dedicated that #authorlife spot to my yellow fellow, who went peacefully in my arms the day before. I was a mess and grieving for weeks after that, but plodded on, taking selfies and sharing what I was up to each day. It was awkward and hard, but I managed to make the unfamiliar, familiar, and I found it got easier to find things to share and talk about.

I miss you Lorri Carpenter

Using my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts, I shared book marketing ideas, books I’m reading, a dedication to my dear author friend, Lorri Carpenter who passed away the same week as my dog, my morning exercise regime, took you grocery shopping, for a walk, paying bills, researching for my work-in-progress, flashed shameless plugs, and the list went on. After all, life if full of mundane routines too. And a writer’s life is no exception. I’m sure Stephen King still takes out the trash or puts away the dishes. Makes us human, and more relatable.

One of the most cherished #authorlife images was taken on Labor Day with my dog just before I took him for his walk. It was the last photo I have of him before he passed on a week later. You can’t get moments like that back. Ever. So I would like to think that this little experiment was a success. Personally and professionally. I managed to get way out of my comfort zone, build up my social media platforms, engaged with people who seemed quite interested in my journey, had fun, got creative, and shared a piece of myself that I would have never shared before. Did this result in more book sales? Not sure, but I really don’t care. This was about growing as a person, getting more self-confident, and seeing how much I changed throughout the month. Especially when I wasn’t wearing any makeup! LOL! How brave was that? Wink.

One of the most commented-on posts!
Would I do it again? Not for 30 days straight, but I’ve decided to keep posting my #authorlife images at least once or twice a week. It’s an investment in my self-worth, and hopefully will help other writers by giving them ideas or letting them know that they’re not alone in this crazy publishing business. Plus, you put yourself out there, and connect with people on a different level where you’re not pandering to them, but giving them a smile or helping hand instead. And that’s what I call success in any vocation. I want to thank all those who traveled this #authorlife journey with me, and commented on, liked, or shared what I’d been doing that day. Your kindness and support are so appreciated.

Is this month-long social media experiment something that you would tackle? Please let me know in the comments, I’d love to read your thoughts. Cheers, and thank you for spending time with me by reading my blog! 

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


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


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


Legend of the Timekeepers, prequel Buy Links:


Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls Teen Psychic Mystery Series:

Lost and Found, Book One Buy Links:


Blackflies and Blueberries, Book Two Buy Links:


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

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

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


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September 13, 2023 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

from Linda Lee Greene

Raw, stewed, or sauced apples are rich in soluble fiber and act as a prebiotic, which feeds and multiplies the beneficial bacteria in the gut, thereby reducing inflammation. Inflammation is the main culprit in gut ailments such as IBS, IBD, bloating, pain and constipation. Apple consumption also increases the absorption of minerals like calcium, increases immune system tolerance, helps control appetite and balances blood sugar and cholesterol.

Apples contain polyphenols (micronutrients) found in plants, fruit, vegetables, tea, coffee and wine. It’s a good idea to eat the skins and core (remove seeds and their hard casings) of raw and cooked apples, because the skins and core contain more polyphenols, dietary fiber and minerals than the fleshy part of the fruit. One apple typically has about 100 million bacteria cells, and if you don’t eat the core, you only get about 10 million bacteria cells. One study showed that organic apples had better bacteria than conventional apples, and eating two apples a day instead of only one is better at keeping the doctor away.

Anyone educated about the harm that man-refined sugar reaps on the human body recognizes the truth behind William Dufty’s assertion that it is a “‘human pesticide,’ ‘white poison,’…and is more lethal than opium and more dangerous than atomic fallout.”  My applesauce recipe contains no sugar or sweetener of any kind, and the finished product is delightfully sweet all on its own.


16 unpeeled, whole and baked apples (preferably organic), chilled in fridge or thawed from freezer

1½ tbsp. lemon juice or apple cider vinegar (more or less to taste)

3 drops of a lemon essential oil

2 tbsp. vanilla extract

A few dashes each of ground cinnamon and ginger

¾ cup water (preferably filtered)

¼ tsp. salt

4 tbsp. salted butter (it gives a yummy, creamy consistency to the applesauce)

4 oz. natural cranberry juice

Cut whole unpeeled baked apples with cores intact into quarters. Remove the seeds and seed casings. Place in Crock Pot or equivalent appliance with water, lemon juice or vinegar, lemon essential oil, vanilla extract, cinnamon, ginger, butter, cranberry juice and salt. The acid in the lemon juice or vinegar and lemon essential oil brightens the flavor and balances the natural sweetness of the apples.

Cook on high until mixture is mushy (about an hour).

Puree the cooked apples with a potato masher or hand mixer or standing blender. (If using a standing blender, do only half the batch at a time, and do not fill the blender bowl more than halfway).

If the finished applesauce is not sweet enough, add stevia sugar substitute to taste. If too sweet, add more lemon juice or vinegar or lemon essential oil. However, if this recipe is followed faithfully, the level of sweetness should be just right.

This applesauce is delicious either warm or chilled. It pairs well with pork or other savory dishes. It’s wonderful with cottage cheese, vanilla ice cream or yogurt, and scrambled eggs or omelets.

This is a good recipe for canning. It freezes well and will last at least a year in a freezer. If freezing, make sure to allow enough headroom (at least an inch) in the container for expansion. It will keep well in the fridge for one to two weeks.

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

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

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

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


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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