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PIZZERIA PERFECT

April 8, 2024 | Cooking

from Sloane Taylor

This easy recipe is perfect for busy weekends when all you want is a tasty meal and a cold beverage. I use sausage, but don’t let that stop you. Add on whatever toppings suit you right after the meat. The cooking time remains the same. The secret to making this pizza extra good is the grated Parmesan cheese. Our grandson, Dakota, works at an Italian restaurant and offered this suggestion. GREAT addition.

MENU

Quick & Easy Pizza

Salad with Creamy Garlic Dressing

Dry White Wine – Pinto Grigio or Cold Peroni Beer

 

Quick & Easy Pizza
1 lb. Italian sausage, preferably bulk type

1 tube refrigerated pizza dough

2 oz. tomato paste, freeze remainder to use in other recipes

Chicken stock, not broth

1 tbsp. garlic powder, not salt

1 tbsp. oregano1 tbsp. basil

1 tsp. sugar

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Parmesan cheese, grated

Olive oil to drizzle

1 ½ cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 425°.

Place sausage in cold frying pan set over medium heat. Break into small chunks as you sauté it until no longer pink, about 15 minutes. Adjust heat so as not to burn sausage. If you use link sausage then squeeze it from the casing before frying.

Scoop tomato paste into a measuring cup. Stir in enough chicken stock to bring the blend to just under two-thirds cup. Mix in garlic, oregano, basil, sugar, and pepper until well blended. You may need a little more stock to make the mixture more sauce like. Don’t add too much or your crust will soggy.

If you use a pizza pan then sprinkle just a little cornmeal or flour on. This helps absorb the moisture while baking to maintain a crisp crust. It isn’t necessary with a pizza stone.

Spread out the dough on the pan/stone. Smear sauce on top and spread to the edges. Grate a healthy amount of Parmesan over the dough.

Cascade sausage and your other toppings onto the pie. Drizzle with oil. Bake 12 minutes.

Remove pan/stone from oven. Scatter mozzarella across the top. Turn off the oven then set the pizza inside. Allow pizza to remain until the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.

Cut into squares and enjoy!

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

Sloane

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

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

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

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C.D. Hersh Cover Reveal

April 1, 2024 | Author Friend Promo

from C.D. Hersh

Ghosts and Gardenias!

 

Where we live, in Southwestern Ohio, one of the most haunted cities in the area is Cincinnati, Ohio. Here’s a sampling of some haunted spots in that fair city.

Music Hall, in downtown Cincinnati, built on top of a pauper’s grave, is rumored to be haunted and was selected as one of the Travel Channel’s Most Terrifying Places in America.

Union Terminal
photo by Donald Hersh

Union Terminal, or the Cincinnati Museum Center as it’s known now, is said to be haunted by the ghost of a security guard named Shirley, who was murdered there.

At the Cincinnati Art Museum a seven-foot specter rises from a mummy sarcophagus.

Kings Island Amusement Park employees have reported sightings of a little girl in a period 1900s blue dress believed to come from the graveyard adjacent to the park.

Mother of Mercy High School has a nun, Sister Mary Carlos, who haunts the auditorium, which is named after her. The Sister interferes with performances unless she is asked for permission to use the space and is invited to the performance.

At the Cincinnati Zoo not all the animals are caged. A ghostly lioness prowls the park at night.

We haven’t seen any of these apparitions, and don’t plan on going ghost hunting to find them.

Now that we’ve thoroughly frightened ourselves by writing about all this spooky stuff at night, we think we’ll go double check the dead bolts, flip on all the lights, and look up some paranormal ghost busters … just in case.

Happy Haunting!

Have you ever had any spooky, paranormal encounters?

While you think about that here’s the blurb from the first book in our Haunting of Garnoa Road Series.

Susan Trowbridge is the victim of mistaken identity, trapped in the past by a ghost and a haunted wedding gown. To return home she must discover the identity of the ghost’s murderer. Can Susan stop the murder, or will history repeat itself, with her as the victim this time? And if she does stop the murder, must she return home and leave the man she has come to love?

Duncan Hawthorn is a man battling his own demons. But when Susan falls into his life, Duncan finds himself inexplicably attracted to a woman he thought he hated. Should he believe she is in danger? Should he believe her irrational claims that she is from the future? Either way, he realizes he will lose the woman who has become his salvation and his true love.

Amazon pre-sale link Ghosts and Gardenias

When your “goose bumps” disappear perhaps you might be interested in the links for our other paranormal books on our Amazon Author Page.

C.D. Hersh–Two hearts creating everlasting love stories.
Putting words and stories on paper is second nature to award-winning 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 titled The Turning Stone Chronicles can be found on Amazon.

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

Social Media Info:

Website

Soul Mate Publishing

Facebook

Amazon Author Page

Twitter

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Spy on Your Competition to Succeed

March 25, 2024 | Author Friend Promo

by Sharon Ledwith

Spying is a catchy way of saying “do your research and stay tuned in.” Regardless of what you call it, it’s a mandatory part of being successful. It’s also a great way to build connections. There’s an old saying that to be successful you have to stop obsessing about the competition. I agree with that to a certain degree, but to be unaware of what other authors in your genre are doing is never a smart idea.

Regardless of what you write you need to be dialed into the competitive landscape. Knowing what others in your target market are doing, writing about, and promoting can be key to your success as well. Not that I would ever encourage copying, but being in tune with your genre and market can be a fantastic idea generator, not to mention it gives you the ability to stay ahead of certain trends that haven’t even surfaced at the consumer level yet.

First rule of spying: study your target market, the books as well as other authors in the industry. It helps you to also differentiate yourself from them in products, services, and pricing. Again, you don’t want to copy, you just want to be aware. Another lesser known reason for doing this is that if you’re struggling with your social media (like me)—both from the aspect of what platform to be on to what to say to drive more engagement—keeping these authors on your radar will greatly increase your marketing ideas. Living in a vacuum never made anyone successful.

Whether you’re writing fiction or non-fiction, you want to know who else is writing on your topic or in your genre. Google search is a great place to start. The results will not just turn up names and book titles but also show you the best ways to interact with your reader.

Google is packed with names of authors who write about your topic or genre. As you begin to compile your list, I want you to do one thing: ignore big brands because it’s likely that they can do anything they want and still be successful. If you’re a middle grade writer, names like Rick Riordan and Brandon Mull come to mind. These authors are big, powerful brands. You want the smaller names—the people you may not immediately recognize. Why? Because they have to try harder. If tomorrow Riordan or Mull decided to put out a book on poetry, while their fans might be surprised, they would likely still buy it. But if a lesser-known author did that they’d look like they have writer-ADD. Not good.

So start putting your list together, as you do sign up for their mailing lists, and follow them on Twitter and any other social media site they use. That’s what I do. Aside from the obvious reasons why you want to do this, I’m a big fan of supporting other authors in my market. Share their Facebook updates, retweet their great Twitter posts, and like their Instagram images.

One of the hidden gems of this research is it will also show you what social media sites to be on. If you’ve been struggling to figure out where your market resides, this strategy should really clear that up for you. Why? Because if you’re plucking names off of the first page of Google you know one thing: whatever they are doing to show up in search, they’re doing it right. Google has made so many changes to their search algorithms that you simply can’t “trick” the system anymore to get onto page one. Look at their updates. What are they sharing and why? How often do they blog? Are they on LinkedIn instead of Facebook? Is there much going on for them on Pinterest or Instagram? Really spend some time with this. Not only will it help you tune into your market but it will cut your learning curve by half, if not more.

Successful authors leave clues. Are you following their bread crumbs?

Here’s a glimpse into one of the books from Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls, my teen psychic mystery series.

The only witness left to testify against an unsolved crime in Fairy Falls isn’t a person…

City born and bred, Hart Stewart possesses the gift of psychometry—the psychic ability to discover facts about an event or person by touching inanimate objects associated with them. Since his mother’s death, seventeen-year-old Hart has endured homelessness, and has learned ways to keep his illiteracy under wraps. He eventually learns of a great-aunt living in Fairy Falls, and decides to leave the only life he’s ever known for an uncertain future.

Diana MacGregor lives in Fairy Falls. Her mother was a victim of a senseless murder. Only Diana’s unanswered questions and her grief keeps her going, until Hart finds her mother’s lost ring and becomes a witness to her murder.

Through Hart’s psychic power, Diana gains hope for justice. Their investigation leads them into the corrupt world threatening Fairy Falls. To secure the town’s future, Hart and Diana must join forces to uncover the shocking truth, or they risk losing the true essence of Fairy Falls forever.

AMAZON BUY LINK

 

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

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

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We Hate When That Happens

March 18, 2024 | Author Friend Promo

By C. D. Hersh

Writing is full of challenges, from the perfecting the actual craft to getting the book published to mastering marketing. Along the way, if you’re like us, you’ve probably had your share of writing mishaps-things you hate to see happen.

Here are ten of our We-hate-when-that-happens moments.

1. When we miss the wrong word in a sentence that spell check didn’t catch and send the piece to the editor for publication. Sliver and silver—both are spelled correctly but can’t be used interchangeably.

2. When we see the transposed letters of a word in our blog comments AFTER the comment has been posted and you can’t get to it for a do over.

3. When our hero’s eye color changes mid-book because somebody forgot to check the character sheet. (No we won’t identify the “somebody”)

4. When the find and replace option in Microsoft Word replaces ALL the spaces between the words, instead of the one extra space after every sentence targeted, turning the manuscript into one loooooong run-on sentence. Yes,ithappenedtous. That’s why we don’t recommend using the replace all function.

5. When everyone in the critique group hates our favorite part of a scene. That usually means there’s going to be a lot of rewriting.

6. When your finger finds the delete key instead of the save key. Thank goodness for the UNDO function!

7. When you realize the whole chapter you just finished doesn’t go anywhere, doesn’t move the plot forward, and that chapter has to be slashed from the book.

8. When the critique partners love the secondary characters more than the hero or heroine. Ugh!

9. When we love a secondary character more than a hero or heroine. (One solution is that means a second book.)

10. When you close down the computer and it crashes the next time it‘s opened. This is why Catherine prints out a hard copy every time she creates new pages and stores them in a three ring binder. Paper is her friend. (She has the file drawers full to prove it. 20 at last count.

Do you have an I-hate-when-that-happens moment? We would love to hear it. Please share in a comment below so we don’t fell so inept. 😉

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, and that’s why they write romance.

The first four books of their paranormal romance series entitled The Turning Stone Chronicles are available in e-book format on Amazon. Can’t Stop The Music, their standalone romance novella currently out of print, won the 2018 Uncaged Book Reviews Contemporary Music Raven Award.

Ghosts and Gardenias, the first book in their time slip romance series Ghosts of Garnoa Road, will come out in the spring of 2024.

In addition to writing Catherine and Donald love antiquing, traveling, singing, and going to the theatre. Catherine is also an avid gardener and has drawn Donald into her garden as a day laborer. They figure the couple who plays together and works together, stays together—and that’s just what they aim to do.

Amazon buy links:

The Turning Stone Chronicles series page

The Promised One (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 1) eBook

Blood Brothers (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 2): eBook

Son of the Moonless Night (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 3) eBook

The Mercenary and the Shifters (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 4) eBook

Learn more about C.D. Hersh on their Website, Soul Mate Publishing, Amazon Author Page. Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads. Be sure to follow their Blog.

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Dinner the St. Patrick’s Day Way

March 11, 2024 | Cooking

from Sloane Taylor

Presenting the traditional St. Patrick’s Day meal most North Americans will enjoy with a cold Harp Lager, Guinness Stout, Killian’s Irish Red Lager, or Smithwicks Ale. But here’s a newsflash, Boyo, except for the beer you’ll never find corned beef served anyway on the Old Sod. That’s right. Our Irish brethren look at us in amazement, but that’s never stopped us Yanks from creating traditions. So pour another wee dram and let’s get cooking.

Corned Beef
Cabbage
Carrots
Potatoes
Bakery Rye Bread
Horseradish Sauce
Mustard
Irish Beer and plenty of it

Corned Beef

1 5lb. corned beef brisket*
2 med. onions, peeled and quartered
4 peppercorns
1 bay leaf
3 bottles of beer
water to cover

Preheat oven to 300 F°.

Place beef in a Dutch oven. Add remaining ingredients, including spice packet that comes with the beef.

Bring to a boil on stovetop. Place in oven and roast for 3 hours or until meat is fork tender.

*Don’t stint on the beef. It cooks down to approximately half. I learned this lesson the hard way.

Here’s a tip from my butcher Raoul. Always buy corned beef flat cut. It has less fat than the point. Therefore you get more meat for your money.

Vegetables
6 med. red potatoes, peeled and quartered
6 carrots, scraped and cut into 2″ pieces
1 celery stalk, cut into 2″ pieces
1 med. green cabbage, cut into 8 wedges
1 cup corned beef cooking liquid
water

You can prep all the veggies and store in a large container covered by cold water until you’re ready to cook them. Refrigerate so vegetables remain crisp.

Place veggies in a large pot. Stir in corned beef cooking liquid. Add water to cover vegetables by 2 inches. Cover pot. Set cooking temp at medium. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat so the pot doesn’t cook over, but maintain a soft boil. Cook about 30 minutes or until veggies are fork tender.

Horseradish Sauce

1 cup sour cream
2 tbsp. prepared horseradish
1 tsp. fresh chives, snipped short

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir well.

Transfer to a serving dish, cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Dea Ithe!

Sloane

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NEW RELEASE for STELLA MAY

March 8, 2024 | New Releases

Romance author Stella May kicks off her new series, Rostoff Family Saga, with New Dawn. This engrossing novel touches your heart as well as your spirit.

Love wasn’t part of their agreement. Neither was being caught in a brutal web of lies.

International playboy and owner of a jewelry empire that spreads across three continents, Dmitry Rostoff holds a memory close to this heart that not even his best friend Vlad Albrecht knows. When Dmitry learns the Russian ballerina, he had a passionate affair with died in childbirth, bitterness and hate overrule all other emotions.

Taking the baby out of Russia is an impossible snarl of red tape, but Dmitry gets his way, even if he leaves a trail of chaos in his wake.

Natasha Sokolova planned to turn over the baby to Dmitry then walk away. Instead, she is on a plane to San Francisco with the baby and a cold, emotionless man who makes her heart pound with scorching attraction.

The family matriarch and evil to her core Elizabeth Rostoff plots to gain control of the baby, no matter what it costs or who it hurts, and will do anything to make that happen. She blackmails Marie Dubois, the manager of their elite Paris store, to seduce Dmitry. But Marie reneges on the deal when former Special Forces officer Vlad Albrecht storms into her life.

Once in America, Natasha finds herself entangled in a sticky web of lies created by the brutally calculating family matriarch. A web that forces Natasha to make a heartbreaking deal with the devil to protect the children—and man—she’s come to love.

AMAZON BUY LINK and OTHER SUPPLIERS

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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SIP & SCRIBBLE

March 4, 2024 | Author Friend Promo

By Leigh Goff

 

Wine tasting and writing fiction may seem like two very different realms, but when you look closer, you’ll see that they share intriguing similarities. Both experiences involve sensory exploration and the art of storytelling.

 

I recently began a journey into wine tasting and am now studying for my level 2 certification (yes, the homework rocks). How wine tasting appeals to me was similar to how I feel about writing. After some research, I discovered there was a connection. Just as a wine taster engages their senses to explore the intricacies of a wine, a fiction writer harnesses the power of sensory details to bring their story to life.

A highly skilled winemaker tends to the grapes and the winemaking process to produce a wine like a Napa Cabernet that boasts flavors of ripe blackberries, velvety dark chocolate with subtle hints of cedar, culminating in a full-bodied magical experience on the palate. When I craft a story, I construct compelling plots, drawing on my sensory experiences to enhance them and then refine the work through editing and revision. In my first novel, Disenchanted, the story I created was filled with sensory details. I wanted to immerse the reader in the magic of Sophie’s world, her star-crossed romance, and the haunting history of Old Wethersfield.

Some writers through the centuries, such as Jane Austen, were known to imbibe on too much wine. Research from the University of Graz shows that drinking wine enhances creative thinking for writers. Of course, it does! Now winemakers are harnessing the art of storytelling to enhance their connection with consumers. Using a new phone app called Winerytale, the user can read the story about a wine of their choice and learn about the winemakers.

While wine tasting and writing fiction may seem unrelated, the parallels are undeniable. Both pursuits involve sensory exploration, layered complexity, subjective interpretation, storytelling, and a blend of artistry and craftsmanship. The next time you savor a glass of wine or dive into a captivating novel, take a moment to appreciate the shared essence of these two worlds, where sensory delights and imaginative tales intertwine.

Cheers!

Leigh Goff writes young adult fiction. She is a graduate from the University of Maryland and a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI).

Born and raised on the East Coast, she now lives in Maryland where she and her husband enjoy the area’s great history and culture.

Learn more about Leigh Goff on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

 

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Bite into Something Delicious

February 26, 2024 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

From Sharon Ledwith

Cookies are high up on my family’s snack list. Heck, some would consider them a breakfast. These oatmeal cookies can be served as both. They are so easy to make, and you can use only chocolate chips, raisins, or leave out both if you prefer. Make the combo your own.

Did I mention these tasty morsels possess soft centers, crispy edges, and a mind-boggling chewy texture? Well, I just did. Wink. Face it. These cookies are a family favorite for a reason, and now they can be your family’s favorite, if you dare to wander into the uncharted territory of baking from scratch.

With a prep time of 15 minutes, chill time of 1 hour, and cook time of 10 minutes, they’re the perfect cookies for impromptu bake sales for your kids. Eat them either warm and fresh or prepare these treats in advance for family gatherings or a much-needed dessert when someone pops by unexpectedly. You’ll be glad you did.

Thumbs up Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup all-purpose flour, leveled

½ tsp baking soda

½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

¼ cup granulated sugar

½ cup packed light or dark brown sugar

1 large egg

1½ tsp vanilla extract

1¼ cups old-fashioned rolled oats

½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

½ cup raisins

Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium size bowl. Set aside.

Cream butter, sugar, and brown sugar in a large bowl, using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes.

Add egg and vanilla. Mix until creamy and well combined, about 1 minute.

Blend in flour mixture and mix on low speed just until incorporated, about 30-60 seconds. Stir in the oats until combined.

Then add the chocolate chips and raisins and mix until well distributed. Cover and chill for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Scoop 16 equal-sized balls (about 2 tablespoons/45g) of cookie dough, roll into even balls, and place 6-8 cookies, about 3 inches (7.5 cm) apart, on each prepared baking sheet. Flatten slightly with your fingers. Bake one sheet at a time for 10-12 minutes or until edges of the cookies are set and lightly browned, and the centers look under-baked, pale, puffy, and dry.

Remove baking sheet from the oven and let cookies cool on the sheet for about 5 minutes, or until firm enough to move. Transfer them to a wire rack and let cool completely. The cookies will stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

While you’re waiting for the cookie dough to chill, pop on the kettle or turn on the coffee pot and settle into your favorite chair with one of my books. May I suggest a nostalgic visit to mysterious Fairy Falls or perhaps go back in time with The Last Timekeepers? Just remember to keep some cookies for yourself. After all, you deserve a break from the craziness of the world.

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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COVER REVEAL for STELLA MAY

February 23, 2024 | Cover Reveal

Romance author Stella May steps away from her time travel books to bring us a new series, The Rostoff Saga. Here’s the cover and intro for New Dawn, Book 1 of exciting four book seried, that releases March 8. Here’s hoping there will be more to follow.

Love wasn’t part of their agreement. Neither was being caught in a brutal web of lies.

International playboy and owner of a jewelry empire that spreads across three continents, Dmitry Rostoff holds a memory close to this heart that not even his best friend Vlad Albrecht knows. When Dmitry learns the Russian ballerina, he had a passionate affair with died in childbirth, bitterness and hate overrule all other emotions.

Taking the baby out of Russia is an impossible snarl of red tape, but Dmitry gets his way, even if he leaves a trail of chaos in his wake.

Natasha Sokolova planned to turn over the baby to Dmitry then walk away. Instead, she is on a plane to San Francisco with the baby and a cold, emotionless man who makes her heart pound with scorching attraction.

The family matriarch and evil to her core Elizabeth Rostoff plots to gain control of the baby, no matter what it costs or who it hurts, and will do anything to make that happen. She blackmails Marie Dubois, the manager of their elite Paris store, to seduce Dmitry. But Marie reneges on the deal when former Special Forces officer Vlad Albrecht storms into her life.

Once in America, Natasha finds herself entangled in a sticky web of lies created by the brutally calculating family matriarch. A web that forces Natasha to make a heartbreaking deal with the devil to protect the children—and man—she’s come to love.

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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AGING GRACEFULLY

February 19, 2024 | Author Friend Promo

by Anne Montgomery

I have worked out most of my life. I started ice skating at five. I skied and swam. When I was 24, I started officiating sports and called football, baseball, ice hockey, soccer, and basketball games, an avocation I practiced for 40 years. When I was 30, I got my first health club membership and I have had one ever since.

So, I’m a long-time gym rat. I’ve lifted weights, utilized aerobics equipment, and practiced yoga, but I’m primarily a lap swimmer. I mention this because recently I turned the golden corner for those of us who spend time at the gym. The reason? Silver Sneakers.

For the uninformed, Silver Sneakers is a health and fitness program that provides gym access and fitness classes for people 65 and older. It’s covered by some Medicare plans. That means I no longer have to shell out those monthly fees to the health club.

The idea, of course, is to keep old people moving so they’re less likely to succumb to problems like heart disease, broken bones from falls, high-blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, and obesity. If people get exercise, chances are they won’t become ill or injured, which keeps those Medicare costs down.

I’ve been swimming laps regularly for 35 years, so I am pretty comfortable working out.
I was feeling pretty smug the day I walked into the club and asked to be moved to the Silver Sneakers rolls. I had just finished swimming a thousand meters – sadly, I used to swim two thousand, but as I’ve already intimated, I’m old.

“Of course! I’d be happy to help,” a tall, twenty-something smiled down at me. “Sit right here. Just show me your ID and your membership card, Ms. Montgomery.”

I noted he was very solicitous.

After putting the important bits of information into the computer and handing me my new key fob, he placed both elbows on the desk. “Now, we can provide you with a free one-hour counseling session.”

“What for?”

He tilted his head. “To help you learn how to work out.”

I squinted. Did I look like I needed help finding my way around the gym? Did I look like I spent my days on the couch eating Ding Dongs? Did I look like I didn’t know a free weight from a foam roller?

Then, I had an I-glimpsed-myself-in-a-store-window moment. I know you’ve done it. You walk by a reflective surface and the person you see staring back is not the one you always imagined. I was forced to consider how this nice young man saw me. He smiled sweetly. I stared back, realizing I might now appear to be a little old lady.

I said I’d think about the offer. It certainly wouldn’t hurt to see if there’s anything I’ve been missing. I thanked him and left. Though I stared at the floor whenever I got close to a window.

This is my latest release. It’s Native American Literature and U.S. Historical Fiction. Picking a genre definitely is not easy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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