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Friday Features’

Guest talks about

One of the reasons why she loves fall

by

Dominique Eastwick

One of the many reasons I just love about fall are pumpkins. I love to carve them, look at them, and eat them.

I love pumpkin muffins, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin bread, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin pie, pumpkin spice Latte…I could go on and on. But one of my favorite things is Pumpkin Soup. So celebrate the fall season with a bowl of the easiest soup ever, especially if you use canned pumpkin. And you can quote me on this – nothing tastes better on a cold day.

Pumpkin Soup

    1 stick butter or margarine
    2 clove garlic, finely chopped
    4 tsp. packed brown sugar
    2 cans of chicken broth
    1 cup water
    ½ tsp. salt (optional)
    2 cans (15 ounces) Pumpkin or 2 cups pureed fresh pumpkin
    2 cans (12 fluid ounces) evaporated milk
    ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
    Ground nutmeg to garnish

Melt butter in large saucepan. Add garlic and brown sugar; cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until soft.

Add broth and water; bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cook on low, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.

Stir in pumpkin, evaporated milk, and cinnamon. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

With real pumpkin you may need to puree your soup again.

Serve warm and enjoy.

serves 10

How about a hot read while you enjoy a warm bowl of soup?

The babies are coming… the Wiccan Haus will never be the same.

Things are not as calm at the Wiccan Haus as they usually are. The impending birth of Dana and Rekkus’ cubs has everyone on edge. The last thing anyone wants or expects is a series of uninvited guests.

Ashlynn Stone hasn’t spoken to her sister Dana since she left for the Wiccan Haus over a year earlier. But when a fluke accident on the fashion runway forces her to seek the healing of the Wiccan Haus, she has no choice but to pack her bags and take the ferry to the island with her family in tow.

Shadedor has been sent to the Wiccan Haus to assess the situation. But he soon finds more than he expected. His soul mate in need of healing. Can he negotiate the issues of the Wiccan Haus and overcome the walls Ashlynn has built to protect herself.

As the Haus prepares for the biggest event since it opened, can the siblings find harmony and manage to do what they do best, heal those in need? Or is it too much for them to take?

Welcome back to the Wiccan Haus.

EXCERPT

    He walked. This morning, he had been right next to her, and there had been constant contact. Now they would appear to anyone passing to be complete strangers. “You want to tell me what is going on?”

    “We are attempting to remove all stress from your life in hopes of easing the headaches.”

    “No, with you. If you would prefer to be elsewhere, I can go back to my room and lie down.”

    He stopped. “There is nowhere I would rather be.”

    “Then why are you acting like I have the plague? Was it the kiss earlier?”

    “I overstepped my boundaries this morning. I should not have done so.”

    “Do you regret it?”

    “I am assisting the staff here in your healing. It is inappropriate for me to come on to you.”

    “Are you on staff here?”

    “No.”

    “That settles it.” She smiled. Closing the distance between them, she wrapped her arms around his neck. “I do not know what is going on, but I do know my pain and fears ease when you are near. I don’t claim to understand how you discern all you do, but I am starting to see things here aren’t always black and white, and sometimes I have to have faith and trust.”

    After a brief second of him standing as still as a statue and her wondering if she read too much into this morning’s embrace, he relaxed. His arms snaked around her, pulling her against his hard body. His mouth came down on hers begging her to open for him, demanding she submit to his kiss. She might have started this dance, but he would damned well be leading it.

BUY LINKS


Award-Winning author Dominique Eastwick currently calls North Carolina home with her husband, two children, one crazy lab and one lazy cat. Dominique spent much of her early life moving from state to state as a Navy Brat. Because of that, traveling is one of her favorite pastimes. When not writing you can find Dominique with her second love…her camera.

Learn more about Dominique Eastwick on her website, blog, and Amazon author page. Be sure to join her Newsletter for up to the minute info on new releases, contests, and more.

Stay connected on Twitter, Tublr, and Pinterest.

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

Our guest Dianna Gunn sharing her thoughts about stories about the dead and her latest captivating book Moonshadow’s Guardian. Be sure to get your advanced copy today!

Few things are as universally human as our fascination with our own deaths. Stories about the dead, and what happens to them when they leave this realm, have permeated every human culture. And although they haven’t always been called necromancers, there have always been tales of people who could communicate with the souls of the deceased. Many cultures even have festivals to celebrate the dead, like the Day of the Dead or early Halloween celebrations.

In the many of the most well-known tales, these necromancers are cruel, evil people who abuse the souls of the dead. People who raise undead armies or use secrets they learn from the dead to blackmail the living.

Surely communicating with the dead is not inherently evil? These powers could be used to provide families with closure when a loved one dies suddenly, or if resurrection is possible to grant a second life to one dead too soon.

As someone who lost my father to cancer at the tender age of twelve, I have obvious reasons to be drawn to this idea. I can’t begin to explain what it would mean to me to actually communicate with my dad, to show him the books I’ve finally put into the world and see his big smile, to hear him tell me how proud he is of me.

So in Moonshadow’s Guardian, necromancy is a complex thing. It has potential to be evil, and indeed the greatest evil known to this kingdom is a necromantic curse. But necromancy also has the power to be used for good. Necromancy allows people to enjoy second chances at life, to communicate with their loved ones, and to gain closure. In some instances, it’s even used as part of murder investigations.

There may be no clear answers on the ethics of necromancy in Moonshadow, but one thing is for certain: they have the same fascination with death known throughout human cultures right here on Earth.

All Riana has ever wanted is freedom. Unfortunately, that’s the one thing her kind cannot have.

Bound by the curse in her demonic blood for millennia, Riana has tried several times to bend the rules and live out her life in the mortal realm. Now her consistent rule breaking has drawn the attention of Loki, God of Mischief, the main tormentor of Riana’s kind. But instead of punishing her, he offers her the escape she has always desired. All she has to do to is save the kingdom of Moonshadow from a mysterious magical plague.

Armed only with the inherent power of her own blood and Loki’s pet dragon, Riana is determined to fight for the right to create her own destiny.

However, when her mission forces her to destroy the last remnants of an ancient culture, Riana must ask – what is freedom really worth?

Moonshadow’s Guardian is a tale about the meaning of belonging, and the struggle to create a future not defined by your past.

Pre-order your copy on Amazon and Kobo now! Your copy will magically appear on November 17th.

Dianna L. Gunn is a freelance writer by day and a fantasy author by night. She knew she wanted to be a writer since she was eight years old. Dianna wrote her first novel for Nanowrimo at eleven years old. As an adult, Dianna quickly discovered writing books is not an easy way to make a living. So she decided to broaden her horizons, seeking another career that still allowed her to work with words.

Her freelance writing career started when she became a marketing intern at Musa Publishing in September 2011 and quickly became a staff writer in charge of multiple imprint blogs. Since then she has worked with a variety of small businesses and non-profits to improve their online brands and create long term marketing strategies. Some of her most notable work has been for the tech education non-profit STEAMLabs and natural dog care company ProPooch. She is dedicated to helping her clients build successful brands and making their dreams come true.

Need help creating awesome content for your business? Send an email to diannalgunn@gmail.com explaining what your needs are, and she will help you.

When she isn’t helping her clients bring their dreams to life, Dianna can be found working on her own dream of being a successful fantasy author.

Dianna blogs about writing, creativity, and books at The Dabbler.

Learn more about Dianna on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

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Tell Again Tuesday

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

 


 

Why You Need to Accept Some of Your Stories Are Being Written For The Future You #MondayBlogs #Writer

By Lucy Mitchell

Here’s a secret about writing which I have discovered – some stories you write will not turn out the way you expected them to because they are meant to be improved and perfected by the future you.

The future you will one day turn the story you are struggling with into something better.

The future you will be able to see why your current thriller isn’t working.

The future you will be better equipped to deal with that troublesome character in your romance novel.

The future you will do big things with that draft book you have just shoved into drawer.

Sometimes we just need to . . .

For the rest of the blog go to:

Blonde WriteMore blog

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Friday Features’

Guest talks about

Family Secret Recipes or parental respect

by

KD DuBois

I feel bad that I don’t have a recipe to share, but here’s why: my mother.

Anything I have worth sharing comes from a collection my mother handed to me when I left college and moved into my first apartment. On each card, in the top right corner and in bold, capital letters, she wrote FAMILY SECRET RECIPE and underlined the words—twice. During the hand-off, she didn’t let go of the stack until I had looked her in the eye and promised I wouldn’t share them. And you know what I stared into, the mom-glare that makes you squirm even thinking about it.

Nope, no way in hell am I going to incur the wrath of Mom. She may be over eighty, but I’m fairly positive she could still whup my butt.

Writing this post has made me think it may be time to get permission from Mom to share some of those recipes. You know, the way the military reviews classified information after 25-years and decides whether or not to downgrade it. She and Dad are coming to visit sometime this month—and I won’t know the exact date until they’re halfway here and decide to tell me they’ve hit the road—so it might be time to have our own declassification review.

I bet eighty percent get through and the rest fall under some type of exemption.

We’ll have fun, though, walking down memory lane for each one, reliving some special moment or remembering those in our family who are no longer with us and either loved or hated the dish. I bet we also remember the apple pie we never got to eat because of a tornado, much like Dawn’s family experienced in Daughter of the South Wind.

In a way, the process will be our own Thanksgiving for the rich lives we’ve lived. And I’ll make a few of recipes, too, because, duh, they wouldn’t be secret if they weren’t tasty.
All I can offer you is a yummy read, and my book (e-book) Daughter of the South Wind will be on sale for FREE from 12-16 Nov. Click on the link below to get it, and keep checking this blog or my social media for one of those recipes!

BLURB

As if grad school wasn’t hard enough, Dawn Wynham battles her bossy sister’s interference with her private life and resists divulging one secret—her very realistic dreams about tornados and the man who morphs out of them, Nino. After chasing twisters for her meteorology degree, why not indulge in a little sexy fantasy to enhance the adrenaline highs?

Nino’s visits tantalize Dawn, his mythological viewpoints mysterious yet familiar. When make-believe blends into real-life, she must choose between the practicality of her mind and the yearnings of her heart or else lose everything she holds dear.

The most desirable path holds the greatest danger. Dawn knows what feels right in the depths of her soul—and hopes her decision doesn’t cast Nino away from her forever.

Click here to buy Daughter of the South Wind

EXCERPT

    “Please stop calling me that. My name’s Dawn. I have no idea who Tira is.”

    “But you do, and I am here to aid your recollection.”

    “Yeah, well first, better tell me who you are.”

    The primitive shadows of my brain which governed fright or flight said I should call 911, but the modern and more practical recesses of my mind argued the responders would likely search the apartment for drugs, because the story of what I thought as reality played out more like a comedian’s recount of an acid trip. Truthfully, I didn’t feel threatened by him. A strange sense of peace had washed through me at his touch. Like I belonged with him.

    “You might as well sit.” I motioned to the bed. “Because I have more questions than the SAT exam.”

    He displayed perfect squat form to perch on the edge of the mattress. “How should I begin?”

    “Start with your name.”

    “Minninnos, but friends and family call me Nino.”

    I had no idea what to ask next. Too many questions spun in my mind, such as why he’d been in my dreams or what happened to Chrissy and Taran. Maybe what freaked me out the most should get priority.

    “How the hell did you survive the tornado?”

    He wore a pained expression, his eyes squinted, his lips parted. Silence indicated he either didn’t know how to explain it, or he didn’t want to. Count that one as a pass. Next question.

    “Okay, since it’s too hard to answer, why do your irises swirl?”

    His shoulders raised and lowered, and his breath exhaled in a loud rush. His mercurial whirling orbs caught my gaze and held it.

    “The answers to both inquiries are related. I hesitate because I do not know if you will accept the truth.” He propped his forearms on his knees, their long muscles defined as he clasped his hands. “It is important to me, and others, you do.” The orbital motion slowed, and he shook his head side-to-side once. “I do not want to frighten you. There is not enough time.”

    His intensity borderlined anguish. My acceptance of his explanation somehow played an important, albeit unknown, role in his life.

    “I’m a scientist and have to know why things happen. What occurred today defies all logic, so I’m curious and want answers. Just tell the truth. Don’t hold back.”

Click here to buy Daughter of the South Wind and find out the truth

READER COMMENTS:

“I laughed, I cried, I was happy, I was sad, I enjoyed reading this book so much!” -Angi T

“When I pickup a new book and yearn for the day to come to a close so I can pickup where I left off… or maybe even grab a couple chapters between workday tasks then I know it’s a good book, this was the case with Daughter of the South Wind.” -Chris W.

“I read this book in less than 48-hours because I had to see what crazy situation Dawn got herself into next, as well as where her fated encounter with Nino would take her.” -Lynnann L.

BIO

KD DuBois writes fantasy mixed with a touch of romance. Her current book delves into mythology, giving obscure gods and goddesses their own stories. It’s the first of a series in a world she created called The Immortal Dimension.

Twenty-eight years in a military uniform took KD DuBois to many unique places around the globe. But a few choice assignments in year-round mild climates spoiled any inclinations to retire where even a hint of snow might fall. Instead of settling down in her home state of Kansas, she planted roots in the perpetual sunshine of south-central Texas.

With the opportunity to start a second career, KD took a class and got inspired to write. Now she types away and takes an occasional break to ride her bike and enjoy the sunshine. Visit her website to learn more about her and what she’s working on.

SOCIAL LINKS

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Amazon author page

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

Book Two in the Deadly Triad series by Nancy Kay is now available on Amazon! This romantic suspense is filled with intrigue and plenty of twists to satisfy every reader. And the terrific thing is the books do not have to be read in order. Be sure to get you copy today.

A former Marine is captivated by an alluring widow until a sniper’s bullet shatters the illusion his covert past is behind him.

Culinary herb gardener Ada Blaine lost her husband at a tender age. To survive she channeled a family tradition into a successful business. Former Marine Rich McConnell left behind a nasty divorce and traded a promising military career for a hardware store with no complications.

After Ada shows up at a Christmas Eve bash looking drop dead gorgeous, Rich finds his can’t keep his hands off the elusive gardener, and his subtle charm weakens the wall around Ada’s heart.

Then a sniper’s bullet shatters a quiet spring morning. Rich fears his covert past has come back to haunt him, and Ada fights paralyzing fear to salvage their love amidst life threatening danger.

Nancy Kay resides near Lake Erie in Western Pennsylvania with her husband, a former member of the Marines and the Pennsylvania State Police Department who provides valuable insight for her stories. Nancy is a long time member of Romance Writers of America. Her stories are set in small towns and inland communities scattered along the shores of the Great Lakes. They focus on romance, intertwined with the love of hearth, home, and family. Yet, they are sprinkled with suspense, danger, and intrigue. Learn more about Nancy on her website and blog.

Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

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Tell Again Tuesday

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

 


 

Color Soothes the Creative Soul

By Nancy Kay

The list of fall activities is endless. Challenging corn mazes, pumpkins galore, and any number of craft fairs cover entire pages of the morning paper as soon as the first, red tinged leaf falls. Summer shot past in a heartbeat amidst beach events, bike events, and any number of creative ways to fund your favorite charity. Not that any or all events aren’t fun or a great contribution in one way or another, no, it’s the result of creative minds and so many needs around us.

But what about the quiet souls? Artists, musicians, and yes, writers who seek inspiration from natural beauty that evolves as the nights cool and the day grow short? . . .

For the rest of the blog go to:

Nancy Kay’s blog

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Friday Features’

Guest suggests a book

Bewitching Hanna

and

Pumpkin Slab Pie

for next book club meeting from

Leigh Goff

For your next book club, read Bewitching Hannah and serve these tasty fall treats to your guests that are timely and delicious.

PUMPKIN SLAB PIE

1 Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust, 2 crusts in a box
2 cans (15-oz. each) pure pumpkin
1 tsp. fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1¼ cup heavy cream
1¼ cup whole milk
4 large eggs
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. salt
Whipped cream, for garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Roll and shape both pie crusts on a lightly floured surface into two 12 x 10-inch rectangles. Gently wrap one pie crust around rolling pin and transfer to a 15 x 10-inch rimmed baking sheet, placing 10″ side of dough along longest side of pan and allowing dough to hang over 3 sides. Place the second pie crust on other half of baking sheet, overlapping slightly with first piece. Press seam together to seal. Trim any excess dough, leaving ½ inch overhang if possible. Crimp and press edges of crust to create even rim, using any trimmed dough to seal cracks or gaps. Cover with large sheet parchment paper and pie weights or dried beans.

Bake 14 minutes. Remove paper and weights. Bake another 8 to 10 minutes or until golden.

Meanwhile, in 4-quart saucepan, cook pumpkin and ginger on medium-high heat for 10 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat allow to cool slightly.

In medium bowl, whisk cream, milk, eggs, brown sugar, granulated sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and salt until smooth. Add pumpkin mixture, whisking until smooth.

Pour into pre-baked pie crust. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until set.

Cool completely before cutting. Cut into 12 to 16 pieces. Serve with whipped cream, if desired. Pie can be baked, cooled and refrigerated, uncovered, up to 1 day ahead.

Recipe and photo from Good House Keeping.

Here’s a little from my latest novel for your reading pleasure.

Hannah, the thirteenth great-granddaughter of the Wizard Earl Fitzgerald, has always known she was descended from a troubled legacy of alchemy and dark magic. Although a stranger to her coven in Annapolis, she is no stranger to grief and denial; however, when an ancient prophecy reveals the rise of a young, powerful witch and the impending death of another, she realizes she can no longer afford to suppress the magic that has taken away so much. She seeks out the frighteningly scarred, yet mysterious W who is destined to change her life, but even he cannot prepare her for the secrets she must unlock – including one that reveals the location of an unimaginably powerful elixir.

Enemies will hurt her. Loved ones will make her vulnerable. And the impending prophecy that drives her to unleash her magic will cause her to unearth the sins of the past and doubt any promise of a future. Without knowing whom her true rival is, Hannah isn’t certain she’ll survive the game Fate is playing, and if she loses, she may lose everything, including the ones she loves.

EXCERPT
The imposing entrance segued into the main part of the old family chapel. Shadows flickered across the white walls as candlelight streamed down from an ornate iron chandelier cradling clear-colored hurricanes. Angelic sculptures hung between the arched windows and beneath the cloud-painted ceiling that Michelangelo himself would have envied, four wooden pews graced each side of the aisle.

I tiptoed farther in and spotted another black-lined white envelope on the altar. I was definitely in the right place.

My fingers trembled as I traced the letters that formed my name. This was way beyond ordinary, but why and—more importantly—who?

“W?”

A hint of the Shadow’s amber and woods scent mixed with the faint candle smoke of the chapel. “No. Way.” I spun around ready to stomp right out of there.

In that moment, a heavy gaze fell on me and the air felt charged with electricity. I searched right and left, seeing no one. “W? Whoever you are, show yourself.”

“This will be the hardest thing you’ve ever done.” His potent voice reverberated off the walls and seemed to come from everywhere, including the inside of my head.

I locked my wandering gaze on the loft above the entrance where I spotted his silhouette. “Was leaving me in a burning wreck the hardest thing you ever had to do? Was it?” I raised my volume. “Who are you? Why did you leave me for dead?”

His intake of breath was audible. “I would never. I mean. I didn’t want to do that. I don’t.”

“Oh, lucky me.” I stuck my hands on my hips and tapped an impatient foot on the floor. “If you don’t want to finish me off, then you lured me here to do what, exactly?”

“To help you. I want to help you.”

“Ha!” The sarcastic laugh burst out before I could stop it. “You’ve done a bang up job inspiring my confidence and trust in that department.”

He simmered in silence for a moment. “What do I have to do to inspire you to follow my directions?”

Following someone else’s directions was definitely not my strength. I grimaced, but curiosity got the better of me. “What do you want?”

“You read the note.”

His desire to remain in the shadows was increasingly irritating. “I consider myself a very smart girl, so when a guy who left me in a burning car tells me he wants to help me take on a different deadly problem, I have to wonder if he’s not setting me up to fend for myself again. What’s your motive?”

I dropped my eyes to the envelope, turning it to and fro.

“Emme Blackstone is a mutual enemy and means us both harm.” A tinge of anger laced his tone.

The anger, I understood. After all, we were talking about Emme, but there was also a hint of sadness that intrigued me further. “Why do you think Emme means you harm?”
“It’s inevitable—because of what I am.”

What was he besides completely contemptible?

“It’s in her blood and I believe it’s in her destiny to wreak havoc, especially against someone who can challenge her in talent like you can.”

I dropped my hands to my sides, still clasping the enveloping. “Whoa. Like me? You don’t know me. You don’t know anything about me. How could you? I’ve been gone for the last year.”

A chortle caught in his throat. “What’s a year when you come from a bloodline with hundreds of years of history? A history that’s written down and available to certain people with the right—pedigree.”

Confused, I creased my brow as I continued to stare at his silhouette. “Have you been cyber-stalking me on Ancestry.com or something?”

“Hardly.” There was disdain in his voice as if he considered cyber-stalking to be worse than leaving a girl to die.

“Look, whatever you think you know about my family, I’m not like them. I’m not talented, and I don’t want to challenge Emme. I just want to live a normal life. Normal.” My voice escalated. “Do you hear me all the way up there?”

He huffed. “Normal? You don’t get to pretend to be normal when you’re not. It doesn’t work like that. Not in Annapolis. Someone always knows. Someone always unravels your secrets.”

I thought of the Witch’s Grave. I pictured the women’s slender figures dangling from sturdy, gnarled branches. Their tragic endings proved what I already knew. Magic only brought suffering and death. “You make it sound like I don’t have a choice. I’m telling you I do, and I won’t be a part of this.” I stomped my foot hard on the floor.

He shifted from the shadows into a dim ray of light, seething. “You read the note and you know Emme won’t stop. You need my help.”

I glared, trying desperately to make out the details of his face. “I don’t need anything from you.”

“You don’t have to like it, but that doesn’t change the fact that you are a part of this. You know you are or you wouldn’t have come here. However, if that’s how you feel then you should leave.” The cold in his voice crystallized.

My pulse escalated. “Yup. That’s how I feel. And I’m only leaving because that’s what I want to do, not because you suggested it. Bye.” I marched to the door and wrapped my hand around the knob. I yanked it open. From the moment I’d first laid eyes on him, he’d been nothing but trouble. Horrible, awful trouble. However, as much as I hated to think it, he knew about me and the other witches in town. He was full of answers—answers I needed. I shut the door and turned back around. “How do you know all this about Emme and me?”

BUY LINKS

Leigh Goff loves writing young adult fiction with elements of magic and romance because it’s also what she liked to read. Born and raised on the East Coast, she now lives in Maryland where she enjoys the area’s great history and culture.

Leigh is a graduate of the University of Maryland, University College and a member of the Maryland Writers’ Association and Romance Writers of America. She is also an approved artist with the Maryland State Arts Council. Her debut novel, Disenchanted, was inspired by the Wethersfield witches of Connecticut and was released by Mirror World Publishing. Leigh is currently working on her next novel, The Witch’s Ring which is set in Annapolis.

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

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