Saturday, November 29, 2014

Recipe for Black Friday

Did you or didn’t you shop on Black Friday? And why? And if you did – was it worth it?

My recipe for Black Friday is:
     -sleep in
- don’t drive or go anywhere near a shopping mall
- do your Christmas cards at home
- try the first taste of eggnog
- read a good book
- make Baked Hot Chocolate

Baked Hot Chocolate

9 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes
4 eggs
¼ cup granulated sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Arrange four 1-cup mugs or ramekins in a baking pan or roasting pan.
2. Melt chocolate and butter together in a double boiler set over barely simmering water. Whisk occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside.
3. Stir the eggs and sugar together in a bowl, then set the bowl over simmering water. Stir until warm to touch.
4. Remove from heat. Using an electric mixer, beat egg mixture on medium speed until fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Gently fold egg mixture in the chocolate mixture.
5. Divide the batter evenly into the cups. Add enough very hot water to the baking pan to come halfway up the sides of the cups. Bake until the tops lose their glossy finish, 15-20 minutes. Carefully remove the cups from the pan.
6. Serve warm or at room temperature with marshmallows or whipped cream. Enjoy.

What’s your recipe for Black Friday?

Oh, and don’t forget to check my website 
I’m giving away a book – Cardwell Ranch Trespasser by B.J. Daniels.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Do You Know Who Celebrates Thanksgiving?

After my last post I found myself wondering about this holiday and what countries actually celebrate Thanksgiving Day. It appears the traditional Thanksgiving, as we know it, is only celebrated in the United States and Canada.

In the United States it is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November with turkey, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. Plus potatoes and veges of course, and a large serving of all day football.

Canada celebrates Thanksgiving on the second Monday of October with turkey, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce and mincemeat or pumpkin pie. We usually serve mashed potatoes and broccoli and maybe one game of Canadian football.

Australia celebrates The National Day of Thanksgiving on May 30. As it is in the southern hemisphere the seasons are reversed so harvest celebrations would be April or May. The National Day of Thanksgiving is for Australians to give thanks for their God given heritage as a nation and demonstrate the God given values of honor, respect, thankfulness and gratitude to their fellowman. The National Day of Thanksgiving is a unique opportunity for Australians to celebrate and give thanks for our God given heritage as a nation and to demonstrate the God given values of honour, respect, thankfulness and gratitude towards our fellow man that have made us the great nation we are.

South America, New Zealand, Scotland, France and London and most other countries, as I understand it, do not celebrate Thanksgiving. Britain does not have an official holiday but American expats and tourists often come together and celebrate with a traditional Thanksgiving feast.

So there you go. Tomorrow is a special American holiday. Celebrate, but take time to appreciate and say thank you for all the good things in your life.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Thanksgiving and Other Cultures

Thanksgiving is almost here, what are your cultural heritages that fit with this American holiday?

I’m Canadian. We celebrate Thanksgiving the second Monday in October. We observe it with turkey, stuffing, sausage meat, cranberry sauce, brussels sprouts,, potatoes and gravy, and mincemeat pie. We don't watch football, which appears to be an American tradition. 

I’m curious, what about how the Americans celebrate? What are your traditions - beside football? Do the British celebrate Thanksgiving? If so how? Do any other cultures celebrate turkey day, and if you do, how do you fit it in with your culture?
I'd love to hear from you.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Favorite Food or Meal

Rhobin has picked an interesting topic for this month. What is your favorite food or meal? Why is it so scrumptious and how you got hooked on it, where you first had it. My choices have changed over time. Once I might have said roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, on Sunday.  My grandmother cooked it, then my mother and then me. But I’ve changed eating habits and eat less red meat now, so I’m going with turkey and Christmas dinner. It’s a family tradition again and I love turkey and only cook it once or twice a year. At Christmas it’s a big deal. I enjoy the atmosphere, the cooking and the left overs.

One year my wonderful husband decided I shouldn’t have to cook and clean. He took me out for a lovely Christmas dinner at an elegant restaurant, all decorated for Christmas and playing Christmas music. . It was a very nice turkey dinner, but there were no yummy cooking smells – and no leftovers. We decided we wouldn’t do that again. So I’m back to cooking – onion soup, shrimp cocktail, turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, sausage meat, cranberry sauce, brussel sprouts, mincemeat pie and Christmas pudding. (I can hardly wait).  I have special recipes for homemade stuffing, cranberry sauce and Christmas pudding – but no space to share.  Maybe I’ll post recipes closer to Christmas.

Anyone else want to share their favorite food or meal?  

Skye, tell us about your favorite food or meal. Check her out at Skye Taylor
And don't forget to check out what all the other people in our group love when it comes to food.
Marci Baun
A.J. Maguire
Fiona McGier
Judith Copek
Diane Bator
Ginger Simpson
Victoria Chatham
Margaret Fieland
Rachael Kosnski
Anne Stenhouse
Heidi M. Thomas
Helena Fairfax
Connie Vines

Thursday, November 20, 2014


Our guest author today is Anne B. Cole who is going to share some tidbits about the writing of her book that no one knows--until today.

Souls Entwined is Anne B. Cole’s debut release, combining sweet romantic suspense, time travel, and paranormal elements in a New Adult novel attractive to a wide range of readers.

In addition to writing, Anne teaches preschool and is raising three very active teenagers with her husband of twenty-two years. Her love for making fresh baked goodies, running, hiking, historical fiction, and her three pet cats continue to be her inspiration while working on the sequel, Souls Estranged, scheduled to be released early summer 2015.

Souls Entwined

Five Secret Things About Souls Entwined

Sharing secrets is fun! Here are my top five secrets behind Souls Entwined…

#5 Pirates! - Johnny Depp’s character, Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean Movies is the inspiration behind Souls Entwined pirate character, Kadir Haty….and yes…Kadir will return in the sequel, Souls Estranged!

#4 Grandmothers and Rings - My real life great, great, great, great grandmother’s name was Roxana, who gave her second granddaughter a garnet ring that was given to her by her brother, who was a US sailor in Europe during the early 1800s. It was passed down through the generations to my grandmother. She gave it to me (I’m also a second granddaughter) when I was about 12 years old. I’m not aware of any curses on my ring and I wear the heirloom often.

 #3 Runners - I enjoy running and once nearly tripped over a squirrel that darted in front of my purple sneakers. During Gretta’s run in the park, Sam watches her suddenly fall. He didn’t see the squirrel that tripped her…this was cut out during edits…Readers don’t know in Souls Entwined that Katarina’s spirit is entwined within the squirrel. In the sequel, Souls Estranged, Katarina’s presence within the squirrel will be revealed in true ‘Katarina style’.

#2 Deleted, but not forgotten - I wrote the first draft of Souls Entwined in composition notebooks. It topped at 150,000 words. In this original, Gretta and Sam don’t meet in the park until Chapter Eight! Needless to say, I have many deleted chapters and scenes to reveal in the future on my blog.

#1 Titles - Souls Entwined was originally titled Maledicta, which is the Latin word for ‘cursed.’ During edits, it was suggested that I change my title to something that is easier for readers to pronounce and remember. Authors tend to bond with their titles, especially their first novels. For weeks I referred to my novel as #1 because I already had the sequel written and was in the editing process. I asked everyone I knew for title ideas and finally came up with Souls Entwined. The #1 nickname stuck and I continue to call it #1 and refer to the sequel as #2. The (yet to be written) final book of the Soul Series is called, you guessed it, #3.

So there you have it. I hope you enjoyed Five Secrets from Souls Entwined!

I’m very happy to announce the sequel to Souls Entwined is in contract with an early summer 2015 tentative release date! Souls Estranged picks up right where Souls Entwined left off with Sam and Gretta back in present time and the Bad Luck curse following them.

Gretta’s favorite food in both books---chocolate chip cookie dough---is one of my kids’ favorites too. I know about the dangers of consuming raw eggs, so bake these cookies completely before consuming! And hide the dough from your teens!

Souls Entwined Blurb

When a tree crashes upon strangers, Gretta Dobbs and Sam Daggett - time suddenly freezes. A cursed family heirloom catapults eighteen-year-old Gretta back into the past with Sam, who reluctantly agrees to help, despite an instant infatuation with her. Their souls entwine within the bodies of young lovers, Anya and Lorenzo, on a Greek island in 1829. It becomes a race against time to discover the mysteries of Gretta’s ring, while avoiding revenge-seeking pirates.  Failure will cause them to become trapped in the past, and Gretta will be condemned to an afterlife in purgatory, continuing the evil cycle of the ring’s curse

Excerpt from Chapter Two of Souls Entwined

   Not a sound was heard as Sam’s eyes snapped open. Under the branches of the downed tree, Purple Shorts began to stir.
   “Sorry, are you okay?” Sam gently lifted his weight off her.
   “I think so,” she replied faintly. Sam released his hold on her shoulder, amazed her face wasn’t scratched. He wondered how bad he appeared.
   “Do you think you can stand?”
   She nodded. Together they rose to their feet, easily stepping out from the tangle of branches. Eyes growing wide, she began to sway.
   “Sit,” Sam commanded, steadying her.
   “No, look!” She pointed.
   Sam gazed over his shoulder. His mouth fell open. Beneath the tree, their bodies lay, motionless.
   “Are we . . .” Purple Shorts began.
   Sam shook his head slowly. Before she could say more, he interrupted, “I don’t know. Do you feel—”
   He scanned the area for help. Everything around them was still, as if they were watching a movie and someone hit ‘pause.’ No wind, no sound, no movement. He flinched when cold fingers clutched his hand.
   Squeezing gently, he lifted her hand in front of their faces. “Can you feel this?”
   Purple Shorts nodded.
   “I don’t think we’re dead,” Sam whispered, gazing into her blue eyes.

Buy Link:

To follow Anne’s publishing journey and connect with her, check out her website and find her on Twitter and Facebook.

Thanks for checking out Anne and her secrets. If you have any comments or questions, Anne will be around to answer them today.

And don’t forget to check back next Thursday to find out even more author secrets about their book.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Bonfire Night

   I haven’t blogged for a few days because I’m traveling. It’s out yearly sojourn south in our small motorhome to escape the cold, snowy winter of British Columbia. We head for San Diego for four or five weeks and then over to Tucson for a few months. This year the cold front came in a few days early, before we left. So we’ve been driving in below freezing weather. There’s snow on the ground, but the roads have been clear except for yesterday. We had about a twenty-five mile stretch that had ice on it.  We haven’t been able to hook up our water and sewer because it would freeze at night. Today I think we’re driving out of it. No snow on the ground, temperature in the low 40’s F and not going below freezing tonight. Life is good.

   Now about Bonfire Night—I have a friend in England who was telling me about it from her perspective. I enjoyed the history and thought I’d share it with you.
   Bonfire Night, Firework Night, Guy Fawkes Night or Guy Fawkes Day are all names for the celebration of the leader of the Gunpowder Plot. On November 5, 1605 Guy Fawkes was arrested guarding the explosives that had been placed under the House of Lords. Celebrating that King James 1 had survived an attempt on his life people lit bonfires around London. Months later the Observance of 5th November Act was introduced that enforced an annual day of thanksgiving for the plot’s failure. Things have changed since my friend was little.
   Firstly, children no longer make their own effigy of the leader of the Gunpowder Plot. In years gone by, these makeshift 'Guys' (old clothes, mostly stuffed with anything that came to hand!) would be propped up outside Stations, on street corners, and anywhere you care to think of! The kids were basically begging for coins to buy Fireworks with: calling 'Penny for the Guy'. (Not that a penny would have even bought one Firework, back then!) Also, everyone would have their Bonfires and Fireworks on the night of 5th November... whatever the weather. In modern times, most families now buy tickets to an organised display in a public park or recreation ground: much more pyrotechnics for your money. Usually these take place on the Saturday which is nearest to 5th November.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

More What's News in Writing This Week

1. New Release - Caught in the Spin by Sharleen Scott


     When bull rider Tom Black earned his business and psychology degrees, his goal was to manage his championship winnings and entertain his friends with intellectual psychobabble. Years after a near-fatal bull riding wreck ends his career, a spooky nocturnal visit from a former love has Tom wishing he’d paid more attention in psych class.
An attorney confirms his ex-fiancĂ©’s death and drops the news Tom is the father of a resentful eleven-year-old stranger. Tom isn’t sure he’s up to the task and thinks his recent acquaintance with sexy single mom Tallie Peters is his best hope for parental success.
Tallie Peters is up to her eyebrows in troubles. She survived her ex-husband’s attempt on her life and has kept her son safe. But budget cuts and phony good behavior put her ex back on the streets early, and he’s vowed to finish the job that put him in prison. Tom offers Tallie and her son refuge behind the gates of the Masterson-Black ranch, but he soon finds the best security measures are no match for a determined ex-con with nothing to lose.

Buy links:

2. Contest – RomanceBooks4Us runs a contest every month - for November, two winners will split all prizes...which includes each getting a $50 gift card to either Amazon or B&N. Visit: and enter today!   

3. I’m running a contest for the month of November to win an autographed book by an award winning author. Check it out on my website at under contest.

4. Advance notice of out suspense writers contest. It will run December 4th to 10th (Wednesday to Wednesday) with giveaways of gift certificates and lots of books. Watch for more information.  

5.  And don`t forget to check out the cookbook Bake, Love, Write. 105 recipes from 105 authors.

What do most authors have in common, no matter what genre they write? They love desserts. Sweets sustain them through pending deadlines and take the sting out of crushing rejection letters and nasty reviews. They also often celebrate their successes—selling a book, winning a writing award, making a bestseller list, or receiving a fabulous review—with decadent indulgences. And when authors chat with each other, they often talk about their writing and their lives. Recipes. Writing. Relationships. In this cookbook 105 authors not only share their favorite recipes for fabulous cakes, pies, cookies, candy, and more, they also share the best advice they’ve ever received on love and writing.

Buy links for Bake, Love, Write

Paperback CreateSpace -
  Amazon Ebook:
iTunes Nook

Monday, November 10, 2014

What's News in Writing this Week

1. New Release – An American Holiday by Bobbi Romans

    Ahh, Thanksgiving… complete with ghosts of holidays past. Those being humiliating memories of last year's revelry gone wild: jail cells, a tattoo and rose left on Kristi James pillow by someone she can't remember.
   Toss in two brothers who, while loving, had needled her with vivid imagery on what might have happened during that fateful rendezvous at the local HoJo's. Seriously, what's a girl to do? She'd run like hell from Harpers Ferry back to her apartment and job in Alexandria.
   She's praying this year's holiday ends a bit more traditional. But between exploding turkey's, cranberry fights, and the winter storm threatening to lock them all together for God only knew how long, she's fairly certain her Norman Rockwell hopes have flown the coop.
Adding another layer to this casserole of disaster, the high school boyfriend—who'd cheated on her two days before prom—returns, claiming to have made a horrid mistake all those years prior.
   Amid all this, what has her heart flip-flopping is catching her best friend Simon getting cozy with his latest girlfriend.
   Thing is, she isn't sure why its bothering her so badly.
   Sometimes it takes coming home again... to discover how lost we’ve really been.
Buy Link for An American Holiday:
                          *Available in BOTH Ebook & Print*

2. New Release Plotting and Planning--a #Writing Manual, Just in Time for #NaNoWriMo!  By Suz deMello
Another engaging, witty writing primer from Suz deMello, whose Write This, Not That! was an Amazon bestseller. Plotting, point of view, character creation, conflict and much more are examined in this brief but pithy writing manual.  A must for the serious writer who wants the basics without boredom. 
How does an author write a book?
Unfortunately for aspiring authors, this is not an easy question to answer. It's tantamount to asking, Where do authors get their ideas? which, believe me, is our least favorite question. I often tell people I get them at Sears—they're sold by the dozen in the basement between the barbecues and the bikes.
In reality, I get my ideas from almost anywhere. Maybe a magazine article about a place or event. Perhaps someone I meet or something a person says may trigger a train of thought that will eventually lead to a book. Maybe travel to someplace new ignites the creative spark that will inspire me.
Here's a better question: What are the building blocks of plot and story?
3. Something a little different.
The characters from Denise Grover Swank's THE CURSE KEEPERS will be on The Character Couch
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in the action-packed movie “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” are a husband and wife who don’t know each other are assassins. The movie opens with these two sitting in front of a therapist, squirming with discomfort. We guess this is as much from the possibility of having to bare their souls—something an assassin can’t do—as from the idea of talking about a marriage that has obviously been filled with lies. Either way, it’s going to be entertaining. And, oh, yes, the therapist kicks off the session with a bang.
    “How often do you have sex?” he asks.
“I don’t understand the question,” Angelina Jolie returns, dead-pan.
“Is this on a scale of 1 to 10?” Brad puts in.
“So is 1 very little,” Angelina continues, “or is 1 nothing? Because, technically speaking…zero would be nothing.”
So it seems that Brad and Angelina haven’t been having sex for a while.
We can hardly believe it.
The episode is funny, touching, and intriguing, which is exactly the tone of my reader-focused website, The Character Couch (, where fans can suggest their favorite romance couple to be brought into a lively therapy session. Yes, this is therapy, but these sessions are anything but angst-ridden. They are written in the same spirit as “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” drawing us in to be a fly on the wall and sneak a peek at something we normally wouldn’t be able to see.
Will there be amusing bantering in these sessions, a sense of firm, quiet resolve, poignancy? Sure. All of it. Every session is different, but always attention-grabbing.
Don’t you find that the best books always stick with you long after you’ve turned the last page, leaving you hungry for more? I know I go crazy waiting for the next novel in a series to come out, and I figured other readers felt the same. So I came up with an idea that would combine my two loves—of doing therapy and writing romance—in a way that would provide innovative, free entertainment for fans.
Today, I share about my unique endeavor.
What could we expect to see if you had “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” on The Character Couch?
LOL. Well, I think first you’d see the therapist secretly getting moon-eyed over Brad Pitt! And could we blame her?
I’ve had so much fun creating Therapist Regan Malloy. I’ve already morphed her to fit a multitude of romance sub-genres. She’s been a French ex-pat from a time travel romance, a bespeckled Brit from a contemporary romance, a saloon mistress in America’s old west, a wizened crone facing down a couple of vampires, and more.
I also think it’s interesting to have Regan bring her own struggles into the session, whether that’s fear or uncertainty, confusion about her clients, or maybe just a verbal blunder of some sort. Each month the therapist is as different as her clients.
It’s all about keeping the site dynamic and entertaining!
That does sound like a great deal of fun for readers.
Oh, definitely. I always pose questions at the end of the session, too, because fan involvement adds an extra layer of enjoyment to the experience. Readers get a chance to join the “analysis” and tell me and the participating author what they think. This month for New York Times Bestselling author Denise Grover Swank’s New Adult romance, THE CURSE KEEPERS, the hero and heroine are mired down by a lot of guilt, so the discussion has centered around how these two can get past that to have a relationship. I’m impressed at how thought-provoking and insightful people’s comments can be.
It’s a fantastic time.
It seems that this site also benefits authors.
Without question.
Readers want a more in-depth look at their favorite characters and authors want an innovative way to talk about their books, so The Character Couch is fun for everyone.
This month Denise Grover Swank launched the third book in her Curse Keepers trilogy, THE CURSE DEFIERS, so it was a great time for her to be discussing a book in this series.
The procedure for readers to nominate their favorite books is very user-friendly, too: people can just click on the “Suggest A Book” icon in the side bar of the site and input their choice.
Make a suggestion this month, in fact, through the Rafflecopter on site, and you’ll earn a chance to win one of Denise’s Curse Keepers books!
How does a session typically end?
Oh, there isn’t a “typical” with these sessions, except that the happily ever after is always assured. Every month it’s a new journey, and you never know at what point you might laugh or get a clench of emotion in your chest. Or where a surprise might pop out at you.
Like the ending of “Mr. and Mrs. Smith.”
During the course of the movie, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have discovered that each other are assassins. With the truth out, there’s hope for their marriage now. They end up in front of the therapist again, recapping, still spouting off to each other, but in a way that makes us chuckle; we know they’re going to be okay. The therapist seems to agree, talking about how marriage takes work, but—
Brad interrupts to say, “Ask us the ‘how many times did you have sex this week?’ question again.”
 “John,” Angelina Jolie scolds quietly, while Brad Pitt proudly flashes ten fingers outside of Angelina’s sight lines.
Oh, yes, expect fun surprises!
**DON’T MISS THE NEXT SESSION. Sign up to be notified!
*          *          *
books spanning genres across paranormal  (The Community series), military suspense (The Wings of Gold series), and Historical (The Baron’s War trilogy). During nearly twenty-five years spent as a military wife, she lived all over the United States and in Europe, enjoying seven years overseas in the diplomatic community, first in Rome then in Madrid, until she settled back in San Diego. Tracy holds a master’s degree in Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling, and has used this background to create a fan-based website called The Character Couch, where romance’s favorite couples are brought into a fun session with therapist, Regan Malloy. Her debut paranormal novel, THE BLOODLINE WAR, is a Bronze Medal winner for romance of the prestigious Independent Publishers Book Award (IPPY).

Buy Links: Amazon