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Friday Features’

We talk about

Poltergeists, Phantoms and Paranormal Presences!

photo from Microsoft Clip Art

May 3 is Paranormal Day, a day to talk about scary things like ghosts, vampires and other undead creatures that go bump in the night, and sometimes in broad daylight.

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, but Catherine has lived in a few places her family believed to be haunted.

As a young girl she lived in an old house that had been subdivided into apartments, and her parents believed the apartment they lived in was haunted. Pictures and items would be moved to different places when they came home; a cousin saw a man standing at the foot of her bed one night; and when the neighbor’s children would call at the door for Catherine and her sister to come out and play, a man’s voice would answer saying, “They aren’t home.” Funny thing was, no one was home when kids came calling … except the ghost.

In another home where Catherine lived a murder had taken place years before. Her folks kept the scary information a secret from the children. While she lived in the house, Catherine had a recurring dream of a woman who appeared at her bedroom door and urged her to climb out the second story bedroom. Catherine would always awaken before she made it out the window. When the family moved, she mentioned her dream to her mother, who told her about the murdered woman. She had died at the top of the steps by the door to Catherine’s bedroom. Her mother believed the ghost of the woman was trying to kill Catherine and that if she had ever gone fully out the window she would have died. That dream, no matter how hard she tried to replicate it, has never occurred in any other home where Catherine has lived.

Westwood Town Hall
photo by Donald Hersh

Catherine’s sister Carolyn lived in an apartment in the basement of Westwood Town Hall, in Cincinnati, Ohio, another reported hot spot for spooks. The town hall is reported to be haunted by the ghost of a former security guard who hung himself in the building after he was fired. Some resources say the ghost is known as Willy, others say his name is Wesley. There are many reports of stage sets, costumes and orderly things found in disarray. Water faucets turn on by themselves and locked doors are unlocked, lights turn off and on and children have reported seeing a man on the ground and in the building.

Carolyn and her husband were caretakers for the hall around 1971. “We had to clean the buildings,” Carolyn said, “and we would hear whispers around us.” Carolyn believes there is more than one ghost because of the multiple voices they heard. They would be in bed in their basement apartment of the town hall and could hear racket going on and what sounded like people bumping into the walls when they knew no one was there. “On one occasion we had to clean a room on the upper floor where a train group met. We could hear voices in the room and the door wouldn’t unlock. When we finally got the door open, there was no one inside.”

After Catherine’s sister learned the building was haunted she wouldn’t go into the main area by herself.

Can’t say that I blame her!

Now that I’ve thoroughly frightened myself by writing about all this spooky stuff at night, I think I’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 an excerpt from the first book in our Turning Stone Series, The Promised One.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Terrified, Shaw fled.

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

When your “goose bumps” disappear perhaps you might be interested in the links for our books that are on our book page, under the menu at the top of the page or on our Amazon Author Page

Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

Leigh Goff shares with us her Top Five signs he’s the one! Plus a “Hope Chest” recipe for a Chicken Dinner.

How do you know he’s the one? I’m a firm believer in one’s intuition. It’s the hidden sense that isn’t based on logic, but comes to us in rare moments of need. Call it a gut-feeling that many of us have had. It’s an understanding that comes from within and there’s no need to question it. I’m speaking from experience so when your inner voice says he’s a good guy, it might be worth listening.

In my latest novel, Koush Hollow, Jenna fall for the local bad boy, but he isn’t so bad once she gets to see him more clearly. He’s passionate about the bayou, he cares about Jenna because he see beyond her troubling environment, and he’s honest in how he speaks. Ultimately, he makes Jenna want to be a better person and to strive to be more than a Pearl in her mom’s superficial social club.

Here are my top five signs that he’s the one for you and if these signs aren’t obvious and your intuition isn’t talking, I’ll try to explain.

1- He’s interested. He makes romantic gestures to let you know he’s into you. He sends you a bouquet of your favorite flowers. He leaves notes on your car windshield to cheer you up. He holds your hand when he senses you’re nervous. This means he isn’t afraid to show you that he wants more time with you.

2- He makes you laugh. Laughter is one of life’s simple pleasures. It could be a funny comment he makes when you wake up, or a silly joke he tells your friends over pizza. He’s a funny guy and he looks at life with a great sense of humor. He makes you want to spend time with him. It’s another sign that he’s interested in you. What’s not to like about that?

3- He remembers what you like. This is a gimme. You mentioned your favorite flavor of ice cream months ago at a Christmas party, surrounded by friends and loud music. You didn’t even know he heard you. Then, when you least expect it and you’re hiding at home with a terrible sore throat, he shows up with a pint of blueberry cheesecake gelato and you know this guy is something special.

4- He’s a good communicator. He makes good eye contact, he listens, and he asks questions. He doesn’t let you walk away from an argument without resolution. He knows it’s healthy to have different opinions, but it’s really healthy to talk them through and meet somewhere in the middle, and if that’s not possible, he’s okay to agree to disagree. Life gets tough and you need someone with good communication skills.

5- He makes you want to be a better person. You watch how he interacts with children, animals, and waiters and his kindness inspires you to be a bit more patient, smile more, or give a bigger tip, if you can afford it. He makes the world a better place to live in and you want to be by his side doing the same thing.

Here is my Hope Chest Recipe just so you’re ready when the right he walks into your life.

Mr. Right’s Chicken Dinner
1 Whole chicken plus 2 chicken breasts
1 Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Classic Stuffing
1 stick of butter
1 can of Campbell’s Cream of Chicken
1 can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom
2 cans of chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Boil chicken and breasts for 20-30 minutes. Shred meat from the bone.

Melt butter in a pot, then add stuffing mix.

In a separate pot, add soups and broth and heat.

Use a 9 x 13 dish to layer half the stuffing on bottom, shredded chicken, soup and finally the remaining stuffing.

Cover dish with foil and then bake 20 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 20 minutes.

Here’s a little from my book to peak your interest.

Koush Hollow
Where bayou magic abounds and all that glitters…
is deadly.
After her father’s untimely death, Jenna Ashby moves to Koush Hollow, a bayou town outside of New Orleans, dreading life with her wealthy mother.

As the sixteen-year-old eco-warrior is introduced to the Diamonds & Pearls, her mother’s exclusive social club, she comes to the troubling realization that secrets are a way of life in Koush Hollow.

How do the Diamonds & Pearls look so young, where does their money come from, and why is life along the bayou disappearing?

As Jenna is drawn into their seductive world, her curiosity and concerns beg her to uncover the truth. However, in this town where mysticism abounds and secrets are deadly, the truth is not what Jenna could have ever imagined.

EXCERPT

Hayden shook his head. “I shouldn’t expect someone like you to care.”

“Like me? I’m not so different from you.”

He cocked his hands on his hips and stared into my eyes. He concentrated, searching for something. “Jenna, what if that were true? How would that fly with your Pearl friends?”

“What are saying?”

“The night of the beach party—you stayed under the water for minutes. I thought you were drowning.” His gaze lowered to my mouth, sending a warm flutter of butterflies inside me. “Maybe you’re more like me than you ever thought possible.”

Surprised, I pressed a hand to my stomach. I glanced back at the yacht club. “I-I have to go.” I stumbled into a walk. My mind raced. What was that look he gave me?

He followed after and grabbed onto my hand. Lightning flickered from his touch and ignited my nerves. The shiver ran the length of my arm and down to my toes. My heart raced. I turned and looked at him. I wanted to feel his eyes on my mouth again.

He held me fixed in his gaze. “Promise me if you decide to become a pearl girl, you’ll do it as an informed person.” His tone was deadly serious.

Right there, I felt the weight of his concern. I dropped my gaze. “Hayden, I’m too smart to be a part of something that is ethically bankrupt and environmentally dangerous, if that’s what you’re worried about.”

“Don’t let them change you into one of them.”

I touched my hand to his cheek and traced the line of his jaw. “Do you think my mother and her friends are really part of a pollution conspiracy and a murder cover-up?” I asked referring to his childhood recollection. “Do you think I’d ever want to be a part of that?”

He considered my argument for a brief second. “This is bigger than you, Jenna. It will suck you in, if you let it.”

Mama appeared behind me, interrupting the discussion. “Everything okay here?”

“Fine.” I breathed in and out as quietly as I could, waiting for my racing heart to settle down. “Hayden, this is my mother, Dr. Crossland. Mama, this is Hayden Black. We’re classmates and we were discussing a history assignment.”

She dissected him with her eyes and everything about her expression told me she did not approve.

BUY LINKS

Parliament House Press

Amazon

Leigh Goff is a young adult author with type 1 diabetes who is inspired by caffeine, enchanted spells, and unforgettable, star-crossed fates.

Although she’s terrible at casting any magic of her own, she is descended from the accused witch, Elizabeth Duncan of Virginia, who went to trial in 1695 for charges including bewitching livestock and causing birds to fall from the sky.

You can find more information at www.LeighGoff.com and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Tell Again Tuesday

A blog series where we shamelessly share posts from others that we have enjoyed.

 


 

Top 10 Tips for Writers

By Lynn Lovegreen

Since this month’s theme is “10” and we have a lot of followers who are writers, here are my top 10 tips for writers of any age or genre.

1. There are no rules, just guidelines. Never . . .

For the rest of the blog go to:

Romancing the Genres blog

Friday Features’

Guest talks about

The inspiration behind her book series

by

Carole Ann Moleti

My family has vacationed on Cape Cod since I was very young, and I have always been intrigued by the history of the Brewster sea captains and their wives

I had the sudden inspiration to write a story about a woman who finds a trunk of old clothes and learns sad truths about the person who they once belonged to. The Unfinished Business series begins with a ghost story (Breakwater Beach: Book One) and continues with how past life experiences influence our fears, fantasies, and choices (The Widow’s Walk: Book Two).

The inspiration for Storm Watch: Book Three came when I was siting on the real Breakwater Beach in Brewster, Massachusetts on the Cape and there was a fisherman in his beached boat, waiting for the tide to come in. Just like the hero Mike would have been. But one of my most favorite of secondary characters in Storm Watch is Harley, a hermit that lives in on Wing’s Island, which is cut off from the mainland at high tide.

I met Harley (not his real name) at a book sale. Tall and shockingly thin, he was wandering around the festival in the park barefoot and stopped to chat. About two hours into the conversation I learned that this 90ish year old gentleman had grown up in Brewster and lived in a yurt on a nearby beach. He told me about his adventures and experiences as child finding the ribs of an abandoned boat on the Brewster Flats at high tide. And his memories of serving in the Merchant Marine during World War II before he returned to the Cape.

I bought him lunch, and he invited me to come visit him. He directed me to turn right at the rusty mailbox with the crooked pole off a local road. I passed by it many times, but it was clearly marked as private and I was reluctant to wander in there unannounced. The mailbox disappeared last year, so my invitation expired. But that gentleman is immortalized as Harley–and I have a very soft spot for both of them in my heart.

I’ve hunkered down during many hurricanes myself. And if you think this excerpt foreshadows a terrifying, realistic, and characteristic scene you are correct.

Sandra retrieved her bike. “I need to get to Harley.” She was always alone, and had never once mentioned any friends or family.


“Who’s that?”


“My friend. He lives in a Mooncusser’s cottage on Wing’s Island. Ninety-six years old and been there longer than anyone can remember. And he says he’s not leaving no matter what comes along.”


“What’s a Mooncusser?” How could she not have heard about these cottages—and Harley—before this?


Sandra’s spaced out stare returned. “One room fisherman’s shacks built at the turn of the twentieth century. When Harley’s father and grandfather died, he just stayed there with no plumbing or heat other than a rain barrel and a coal stove. The bay practically laps at his door on moon tides.”


“Ah, that’s why they cuss at the moon.” How, in the midst of preparing for a Category 5 Hurricane approaching could this distract her?


“I’m going over there now to see if I can convince him to come stay with me until this whole thing blows over.”


“You’re not going to evacuate?” Liz’s gut roiled.


“Goddess no. Cape Codders are tougher than that.” Sandra bowed like she was wishing Namaste after a yoga class and hopped onto her bike.


Author Bio:

Carole Ann Moleti lives and works as a nurse-midwife in New York City, thus explaining her fascination with all things paranormal, urban fantasy, and space opera. Her nonfiction focuses on health care, politics, and women’s issues. But her first love is writing science fiction and fantasy because walking through walls is less painful than running into them.

The Unfinished Business series, Carole’s Cape Cod paranormal romance novels, Breakwater Beach, The Widow’s Walk, and Storm Watch were published by Soulmate. Boulevard of Bad Spells and Broken Dreams: Void of Course is forthcoming.

Urban fantasies set in the world of Carole’s novels have been featured several of the Ten Tales Series: Haunted, Seers, Beltane, and Bites as well as in the short horror anthologies Hell’s Kitties, Hell’s Heart and Hell’s Mall.

Excerpts of her memoirs, ranging from sweet and sentimental to edgy and irreverent, have been published in a variety of literary venues. Carole was awarded the Oasis Journal award for best nonfiction in 2009. She has a piece in the acclaimed Shifts and Impact feminist anthologies.

Find Carole at:

WebsiteAmazonFacebook Twitter Goodreads Newsletter Pinterest Boards for each Book

Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

The master in the kitchen and on the written page, Sloane Taylor who as a self-proclaimed romantic reminds us of just how easy it is to create amorous settings with our special someone on the patio or deck surrounded by gardens that are at their peak. She even includes a menu of the perfect meal for the occasion, as well as the link to her latest cookbook.

Spring is an amazing time of year and my favorite because that’s when the Earth comes alive. All sorts of beautiful things happen. Trees are budding, tender plants push through the ground, romance is in the air and warm weather is just a few weeks away.

I am a romantic through and through. Always have been and with any luck I always will be. Romance is much more than a quick trip to tangle the sheets. It is about being with someone you love and doing little things to show them how much they mean to you. In my case I cook because I love it.

When summer arrives and the gardens are ablaze in color, I want to move the romance outside. So why not share a summer night with your someone special? What better way than with a sizzling romantic dinner, candles, wine, and music. You don’t need much to set the mood and turn your patio, balcony, or kitchen into a lover’s nook. Make your night special with great food because it is the doorway to infinite possibilities.

A printed flat sheet is perfect for a festive tablecloth or set out placemats for the plates and serving dishes. Use plenty of candles in different sizes and a variety of holders scattered around the table to enhance the mood, but definitely avoid scented candles. Stemmed wine glasses sparkle in candlelight and add a festive feel to your dinner. Use your regular dishes or, for fun, mix it up with a number of different plates that don’t match but compliment each other for the different courses. Experiment and have fun.

Now that you have the perfect location and setting for you and that right person, may I suggest you spoil yourself with an intimate dinner meant for lovers. It is easy to prepare and leftovers make marvelous sandwiches. This recipe also works great in the oven.

Ask your butcher to dress the tenderloin. If he won’t, then you need to remove the excess fat and sliver out the silver strip along the side. Easy to do. Slide a sharp knife under the strip close to one end. Use a back and forward motion like sawing to ease your knife between the meat and the strip as you lift it away from the beef.

MENU

Marinated & Grilled Beef Tenderloin

Potatoes Baked on the Grill

Grilled Asparagus

Sautéed Mushrooms

Dry Red Wine – Valpolicella.

Marinated & Grilled Beef Tenderloin
2 – 3 lb. (1 – 1.5kg) beef tenderloin
½ cup (120ml) olive oil
½ cup (120ml) dry red wine
3 rosemary sprigs or 1½ tsp. (7.5ml) dried
6 thyme sprigs or 1 tsp. (5ml) dried
1 bay leaf
3 garlic cloves, chopped fine
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Oil to coat grill grate

Combine all ingredients in a long bowl or plastic bag and a shallow pan. Marinade in fridge 2 – 20 hours. Seems like a strange time span, but the longer the marinade the tastier the beef.

Remove meat from refrigerator 1 hour before grilling or roasting in oven. Meat needs to be almost room temperature.

Grill Instructions
Preheat grill to medium-high.

Pat tenderloin dry. Discard marinade. Add beef, close lid, and grill 15 – 20 minutes or until meat is done to your preference. Be sure to turn meat several times to avoid burning.

Oven Instructions
Preheat oven to 400° F (200°C).

Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil. Pat tenderloin dry. Discard marinade. Add beef to pan. Roast 30 – 40 minutes or until meat is done to your preference. Save the juice to moisten he meat when you serve.

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.

Learn more about Taylor’s cookbooks, Date Night Dinners, Date Night Dinners Sizzling Summer, and Recipes to Create Holidays Extraordinaire on Amazon.
Excerpts from her romance books and free reads can be found on her website, blog, and her Amazon Author Page. Connect with Taylor on Facebook and Twitter.

Tell Again Tuesday

A blog series where we shamelessly share posts from others that we have enjoyed.

 


 

5 Ways Ads Improve Your Book Marketing on Amazon

By Penny Sansevieri

Book marketing on Amazon is critical, and ads are more popular than ever.

But Amazon ads, when done right, have lots of advantages beyond the obvious ones! Let’s dig into a few examples that really inspire the work I do: . . .

For the rest of the blog go to:

A Marketing Expert blog

Friday Features’

Guest talks about

Ascribing human characteristics to an inanimate object

by

Linda Lee Greene

So often I think that if I keep my eyes closed, I can close out the ring of the wind chime that hangs just beyond my bedroom window from a corner beam of my patio roof. I can tell by the darkness beyond my shuttered eyelids that it is not yet dawn, possibly even the middle of the night. Like Tarzan the Rooster on my grandparent’s farm that proclaimed each rising morning when I was a youngster, this wind chime is pushy in its determination to heave me awake no matter the hour—for the reason, it seems, that it can no longer hold in its enthusiasm to have me embrace a new day. Call me nuts to ascribe human characteristics to an inanimate object, but it is nothing new in our history. In fact, the convoluted term for such a predilection is “anthropomorphism.” If nothing else, this time of isolation that is a condition of the coronavirus pandemic is likely to draw us into deeper contemplation than ever before—and in my reflections, anthropomorphism occupies me quite a lot in the configuration of one of my wind chimes. An inconvenient sidebar to my fascination with it is that it represents my most precious and yet challenging relationship.

Apart from the fascinating history that wind chimes enjoy in chronicles of ancient Rome, China, India, and Japan with which evil eyes, malevolent spirits, and even pesky birds were warded off by wind chimes suspended from roofs of temples, pagodas, and homes, members of those cultures also turned to them to draw power and good luck to themselves. It occurs to me that there is another application of these delightful instruments of sound that is less considered, one that hides within the universe’s quirky ways of forcing us to face our most troublesome bumps on our road to nirvana.

The oldest of the three wind chimes in my possession was given to me by my mother not long before her death 28 years ago. It is pared-down and less impressive than the other two, modest is a better word for it—a thing appearing undiminished by ego, like my mother. Also like her, it speaks to me only when I speak to it—primarily in my thoughts. When she was alive, my mother never gave me advice about anything. Her retort whenever I solicited her advice was, “Why are you asking me? You’re smarter than I am!” That seems a wholly inadequate response to a daughter from her mother. As you can imagine, owing to this reason if no other, my mother is my Everest, the mountain I must climb to make it to nirvana. I am not a mountain climber, and for that reason, I understand that we will continue to travel together throughout time until we smooth the path of our shared journey.

Meanwhile, I find a measure of comfort in having arrived at some understanding of her. I see that the classic battle between the heart and mind of human beings found no ground whatsoever within my mother. Not that she didn’t have a fine mind—she was as smart as a tack. But my mother had an intuitive sense that “the center of man is not the mind but the heart. The New Testament [of the Bible] teaches that the heart is the main organ of psychic and spiritual life…”[1] The Bible’s Song of Songs 5:2 tells us, “I sleep; but my heart keeps watch.” That is my mother.

My mother also was wise to the fact that she served me best in allowing me to get acquainted with my own substance, to learn the lesson of bearing my own pain, on my own. She knew me better than I know myself.

I have always believed that my mother’s spirit lives in the wind chime she gave to me. It is the talisman she left behind for me. My mother’s death was a slow but a certain one, and although she didn’t say as much, I think she knew I would discover its secret—its secret that I would hear her in the voice of that little wind chime after she was gone—if only I would heed it.

“2018 American Fiction Awards Cross-Genre Finalist” All #families have their secrets but some are much darker than others. Captivating psychological suspense in multi-award-winning author, Linda Lee Greene’s Cradle of the Serpent.

Greene weaves a tale that brims with unimaginable twists and turns in a long-term marriage. Enthralling journeys into the human psyche, romantic love, archaeology, and American Indian history carry the reader into archaeologist Lily Light’s quest to come to terms with the catastrophic consequences of her husband’s infidelity.

The trauma throws Lily into amazing episodes of past-life regression in which she takes on the persona of a young maiden named White Flower, a tribal member of the long-ago builders of Ohio’s Great Serpent Mound. White Flower’s life of thousands of years before reveals to Lily the unexpected path to her own salvation.

Lily Light is an archaeologist who works at the Great Serpent Mound in Ohio. Her work opened her to experiences, knowledge, and beliefs she never knew existed. Psychotherapist Michael Neeson is Lily’s therapist and guide in her dream travels.

AMAZON BUY LINK

Multi-award-winning author and artist Linda Lee Greene describes her life as a telescope that when trained on her past reveals how each piece of it, whether good or bad or in-between, was necessary in the unfoldment of her fine art and literary paths.

Greene moved from farm-girl to city-girl; dance instructor to wife, mother, and homemaker; divorcee to single-working-mom and adult-college-student; and interior designer to multi-award-winning artist and author, essayist, and blogger. It was decades of challenging life experiences and debilitating, chronic illness that gave birth to her dormant flair for art and writing. Greene was three days shy of her fifty-seventh birthday when her creative spirit took a hold of her.

She found her way to her lonely easel soon thereafter. Since then Greene has accepted commissions and displayed her artwork in shows and galleries in and around the USA. She is also a member of artist and writer associations.

Visit Linda on her blog and join her on Facebook.

Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

The inventive Sloane Taylor who brings us a meal plan for any special occasion.

Do something extra special to celebrate any occasion. This brunch will show how much you care. A few fresh flowers on the table are a nice touch.

MENU

Quiche

Fresh Fruit salad

Croissants

Raspberry Jam

Butter

Zucchini Bread for Dessert

Mimosas

Quiche

1 frozen deep-dish pie shell

1 tsp. (5g) butter

6 bacon strips, cut into ¼ in. (.64cm) pieces*

¼ cup (30g) onions, chopped

2 eggs

2 egg yolks

1¼ cups (230ml) heavy cream

3 pinches white pepper**

¾ cup (85g) swiss cheese, grated

2 tbsp. (25g) butter, cut in small bites

Preheat oven to 375° F (190°C).

Place pie shell on cookie sheet. Use a fork to poke several sets of holes in the bottom and around the sides of the shell. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

Melt butter in a heavy skillet. Add bacon, and ham if you’re including it, and onion when foam subsides. Cook until meat is lightly browned. Remove from skillet with a slotted spoon to paper towels.

Beat or whisk eggs, yolks, cream, and seasonings in a large bowl. Stir in cheese.

Scatter meat, into pie shell. Gently ladle in egg mixture. Sprinkle the top with butter bits.

Bake for 25 minutes or until a sharp knife inserted in the middle of the quiche comes out clean.

The dish may be served hot, warm, or room temperature. It also makes a wonderful appetizer. Leftovers reheat in the microwave beautifully.

*Diced ham, ¼ lb. (125g), is also good in this recipe in place of the bacon or along with. All other ingredients and process remains the same.

**No need to buy white pepper if you don’t have it. Use black pepper only a little more as it is not as strong as white pepper.

Fresh Fruit Salad

1 banana

1 pear

1 tbsp. (15ml) lemon juice

¼ pineapple

1 kiwi

10 seedless red grapes, halved

10 blueberries

10 raspberries, optional

Peel and slice banana into bitesize pieces. Scoop into a medium-sized bowl. Core and dice pear then add to bowl. Sprinkle lemon juice over fruit to stop it from turning brown and mix well.

Remove rind and core from pineapple then dice the fruit. Add ¼ to banana mixture. Store the extra pineapple in a glass bowl or plastic bag. Refrigerate for future use.

Peel kiwi and slice then stir into salad. Gently fold in remaining fruit.

Spoon into a glass bowl, cover with cling wrap, and chill until time to serve. Leftovers are still good the next day.

Zucchini Bread for Dessert

Make this bread a day or two in advance to free up your morning.

2 cups (200g) grated zucchini

2 cups (200g) sugar

3 cups (300g) flour

1 cup nuts, chopped, optional

¼ tsp. (1.25ml) baking powder

2 tsp. (10ml) baking soda

1 tsp. (5ml) salt

1 tbsp. (15ml) cinnamon

3 eggs

1 cup (250ml) vegetable oil

1 tbsp. (15ml) vanilla

Preheat oven to 350° F (180°C).

Grease 2 loaf pans with butter. Cut and fit a piece of parchment paper to the bottom of each pan. I do this because my pans are old and food sticks to the bottom. Nothing attractive about serving zucchini bread with a big hunk missing.

Combine all dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. This includes the zucchini. Adding fruit or veggies to a flour blend helps them to not sink to the bottom of the bread while baking.

Beat wet ingredients together in a large bowl.

Slowly stir dry mixture into wet mixture. Be sure to blend well.

Pour batter into pans. Bake 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool on a rack before slicing. This bread freezes great.

Mimosas

1 bottle sparking white wine or champagne, cold

1 carton orange juice, cold

Tall slender glasses

Fill glasses half full with wine. Tip the glass slightly as you pour to retain the fizz. Top off with orange juice. Don’t stir. That will destroy the bubbles.

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.

Learn more about Taylor’s cookbooks, Date Night Dinners, Date Night Dinners Sizzling Summer, and Recipes to Create Holidays Extraordinaire on Amazon.
Excerpts from her romance books and free reads can be found on her website, blog, and her Amazon Author Page. Connect with Taylor on Facebook and Twitter.

Tell Again Tuesday

A blog series where we shamelessly share posts from others that we have enjoyed.

 


 

Top Tips for writers to Overcome Doubt

By Lorraine Ambers

Hello fellow creatives!

We’ve all experienced the depths of our doubt, and boy, it’s not fun. So where does it come from and how do we combat it? People can say the cruelest of things, and yet, when we say those things to ourselves, about our own writing, we allow it. We even back it up with reasons to prove it’s rubbish. Let’s be honest, sometimes we are our own harshest critique.

How would you feel if a stranger said your writing was crap? Seriously, how? Hurt? Angry? Crushed? It’s time we learnt to be kind to ourselves.

If only we were taught . . .

For the rest of the blog go to:

Lorraine Ambers’ blog

Friday Features’

We talk about

Can gardening & writing have anything in common?

Henbit

The warm days this week enabled us to take a stroll through the yard, another put-our-butts-in-the-writing chair avoidance tactic. We found a slew of winter weeds scattered throughout the landscape. Some tiny-leafed, prostrate thing has taken over a portion of the easement making it the greenest it has been in years. Buckhorn plantain spills out between the path stepping stones. Flat rosettes of chickweed carpet the stone gully in the backyard, and henbit, with its scalloped leaves and purple stems, juts out of the grass—or at least what passes for grass in the lawn.

We’re letting the unidentified weed taking over the easement and the lawn. It’s green, low growing, and doesn’t look like it would need much mowing. But after an afternoon of surfing weed identification web sites (another avoidance tactic), we’ve come to the conclusion that we might have to dig out this patch of weeds and eradicate it every other spot we find. You see, if we’ve identified it correctly, we’re harboring shot weed, also known as hairy bittercress. Oh, it looks innocent enough, but when it sets seeds the slightest touch will send hundreds of seeds shooting out in a three-foot radius across the lawn into flowerbeds and pathways looking spots to hide and root.

Jimson Weed

Fighting weeds in the garden is a full-time task. It starts in early spring with digging out winter weeds like plantain, chickweed, and henbit from the paths and flower beds. By the time we get those eradicated the dandelions rear their yellow heads. After that it’s pigweed and purslane and nutsedge and Canadian thistles and Jimson weed and ground ivy and goose grass. Spring and summer progress marked by an army of weeds marching through the garden. We hoe and pull and mulch and spray, and they just keep coming. The only thing that keeps them under control is persistent daily effort—and maybe a hard, hard freeze.

Like the cycle of weeds in the garden, writers face different challenges along every stage of our careers. As soon as we think we have a handle on our craft and profession something new springs up and surprises us. The beginning writer’s weeds might be learning the basics of the craft or finding that story idea or dealing with writer’s block. For some it’s getting to the end of the book, or figuring out what to do with the sagging middle. For the more skilled, unpublished writers the weeds that need pulling could be social networking, getting an agent, or getting published. Whatever the weeds in your writer yard there’s one universal truth—they will always be there. Our job is to figure the best way to control them.

We’re not beginning writers. We know how to write. That has been reinforced with a number of contest placements. We have a good grasp of the skills and have been published. We know our stories and the characters. We even have books waiting in the wings to be written. But we still have writing weeds to pull—BIG ones.

We haven’t finished our series—yet.
We want to write in several genres, which presents branding problem and sometimes an identity crisis.
While we have some social networking and internet connections there isn’t a large following wanting our books—one of the biggest weeds for a lot of writers.
Currently, we spend more time blogging than writing the books.

Gertrude Jekyll, one of the most important British landscape designers and writers, once said, “There is no spot of ground, however arid, bare or ugly, that cannot be tamed into such a state as may give an impression of beauty and delight. It cannot always be done easily; many things worth doing are not done easily; but there is no place under natural conditions that cannot be graced with an adornment of suitable vegetation.”

Gertrude’s advice applies not only to the garden, and all those weedy patches, but to writing as well. The road to success isn’t easy, but we can accomplish it. We can transform those bare, ugly pages into something overflowing with suitable vegetation (the best words and story we can make). When we finally reach that goal it’s worth the work. So, pull those weeds out of your writing garden and create something beautiful!

We’re going to try this year to get rid of our biggest weed and finish our next book.

What are the writing weeds that are stopping you from creating your masterpiece? Do you have a plan to pull them out?

While you figure out what weeds to attack here’s an excerpt from the first book in our series.

In the wrong hands, the Turning Stone ring is a powerful weapon for evil. So, when homicide detective Alexi Jordan discovers her secret society mentor has been murdered and his magic ring stolen, she is forced to use her shape-shifting powers to catch the killer. By doing so, she risks the two most important things in her life—her badge and the man she loves.

Rhys Temple always knew his fiery cop partner and would-be-girlfriend, Alexi Jordan, had a few secrets. He considers that part of her charm. But when she changes into a man, he doesn’t find that as charming. He’ll keep her secret to keep her safe, but he’s not certain he can keep up a relationship—professional or personal.

Danny Shaw needs cash for the elaborate wedding his fiancée has planned, so he goes on a mugging spree. But when he kills a member of the secret society of Turning Stones, and steals a magic ring that gives him the power to shape shift, Shaw gets more than he bargained for.

EXCERPT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Terrified, Shaw fled.

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

If this peeks your interest then the links for our books are on our book page, under the menu at the top of the page or on our Amazon Author Page