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Friday Features’

Guest talks about

A Greek salad for two.

by

Sloane Taylor

This fun recipe serves two for a terrific lunch. Add a loaf of crusty bread and a bottle of crisp white wine and let the afternoon take you where it will.

GREEK SALAD

3 tbsp. olive oil
½ tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. garlic, chopped fine
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 Roma tomatoes
½ green pepper, seeded
1 small cucumber, peeled
¼ red onion, sliced thin
1 tbsp. sliced black olives
Feta cheese to taste

Whisk first 6 ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside. Do not refrigerate.

Chop tomatoes, green pepper, and cucumber into medium-sized chunks. Toss into a large mixing bowl.

Add the black olives. Mix by hand to blend the flavors. At this point you can cover the bowl and set in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

When it’s time to serve, add just enough dressing to moisten the salad. Don’t drown it. Toss by hand or with two large spoons.

Transfer to a serving bowl or individual plates. Sprinkle feta cheese across the top and enjoy!

This salad also works great with dinner and will serve four.

May you enjoy all the days of your life around a well laden table!
Sloane

Sloane Taylor is an Award-Winning author with a second passion in her life. She is an avid cook and posts new recipes on her blog every Wednesday. The recipes are user friendly, meaning easy.

Taylor currently has seven romance novellas released by Toque & Dagger Publishing. Her first solo venture into non-fiction is a Couples Cookbook with eighty of her favorite recipes, DATE NIGHT DINNERSMeals to Make Together for a Romantic Evening.

Excerpts from her books and free reads can be found on her website, blog, and her Amazon Author Page.

Connect with Taylor on Facebook and Twitter.

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Friday Features’

Guest talks about

Her magical world.

Take it away

Sharon Ledwith

When I ‘built’ the mythical town of Fairy Falls over ten years ago, I drew from all of my childhood and adult experiences from vacationing and living in cottage country. When you think of a small, northern tourist town, what emotional cord does it strike? Vacationing with the family when you were young? Visiting your grandparents at their cottage? Camping in the backwoods with your friends? Whatever vision you conjure, I’m sure you have plenty of happy memories of that special place. That’s the basis of creating the town of Fairy Falls. I wanted to give my teen psychic mystery book series a nostalgic feeling coupled with a sense of adventure and…wait for it…the supernatural. Welcome to Fairy Falls. Expected the unexpected.

Fairy Falls has always been a magical place, but for some reason it seems to be a haven for those with psychic abilities. In Lost and Found, the animals at the Fairy Falls Animal Shelter need a champion to save their shelter, and find one in rebellious Meagan Walsh, who’s a bona fide telepathic animal communicator. There are others with different psychic powers who have been (or will be) drawn to Fairy Falls, not to hide, but feel that they have been forced here by circumstances beyond their control. Or could it be a matter of serendipity that has brought them to this small, tourist town?

Fairy Falls is like any small town with a mayor, deputy mayor, and a selection of town counsellors. At the moment, Mike MacGregor is at the helm as this town’s mayor. Unfortunately, Mayor MacGregor is in mourning with the loss of his wife, Joy, who sat on as one of the counsellors for Fairy Falls. She was viciously attacked and murdered, and her killer is still at large. These characters are featured in the next installment of Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls, Blackflies and Blueberries.

There are four long weekends during the summer months, and Fairy Falls relies on these holidays to boost their economy enough to keep the town running all year round. The first long weekend is in May where firework celebrations dominate the skies. The second is at the beginning of July which includes more fireworks, street parties, and begins the farmers’ market season. The long weekend in August falls on the first Monday of the month, and is one of the busiest times of the year for Fairy Falls. Festivals are usually held during this long weekend, with the bathtub races in the Vista River as the highlight. The fourth is usually on the first weekend of September (Labor Day Weekend), when Fairy Falls hosts their famous fall fair which includes concerts, carnival rides, and a smash-up car derby. A word of caution: make sure you book a hotel/motel room or campsite early if you plan to come during these long weekends!

Lacrosse is very popular in Fairy Falls. Even the local high school has a winning team that’s hard to beat. Summer swells in population with the tourists and cottagers, so fishing, boating, water skiing, and tubing are favorite sports and past times. In the long winter months, hockey is the staple along with curling, as well as snowmobiling across the network of frozen lakes and trails. And believe me, you’d better have a sport or hobby to keep you busy during a Fairy Falls winter, because sometimes the ice doesn’t come off the lakes until May. Brrrr!

So what would I recommend tourists see or do in Fairy Falls? When we used to live in cottage country, we’d visit the local bakery in the tiny town five minutes south of us. The smell of fresh baking does something to a body. Sometimes it takes you back to when life was simpler. The downtown core of Fairy Falls hosts such a bakery, and is situated so you can sit at one of the ample tables beside the Vista River and enjoy your sweet treat, while watching the boats slowly putt by. Or better yet, book a boat tour to go on a three-hour cruise that takes you through a lock system, and into Blueberry Lake. Don’t forget to wave at Gertie Ellis if you catch a glimpse of her on the shoreline while she’s inspecting her blueberry bushes.

Other draws to this tourist haven include The Court Jester, the local bar and grill, serving up down-home, mouth-watering food that you can’t get anywhere else. I suggest you try their Jester Burger, topped with a slice of Canadian back bacon and pepper jack cheese, piled high with onions, garlic, and mushrooms, all fresh from the Fairy Falls Farmers’ Market. Add a pint of locally brewed Blackfly beer, and this meal will bring tears of joy to your eyes! Sit on the patio and enjoy the view of the Vista River where it may transport you to back to those good old days, and happy childhood memories. Oh, and make sure you don’t forget to stop by the Fairy Falls Farmers’ Market on Saturdays to score a deal from one of the crafters, produce, or food stands. Tell them Sharon sent you…

Fairy Falls was bores-ville from the get-go. Then the animals started talking…

The Fairy Falls Animal Shelter is in trouble. Money trouble. It’s up to an old calico cat named Whiskey—a shelter cat who has mastered the skill of observation—to find a new human pack leader so that their home will be saved. With the help of Nobel, the leader of the shelter dogs, the animals set out to use the ancient skill of telepathy to contact any human who bothers to listen to them. Unfortunately for fifteen-year-old Meagan Walsh, she hears them, loud and clear.

Forced to live with her Aunt Izzy in the safe and quiet town of Fairy Falls, Meagan is caught stealing and is sentenced to do community hours at the animal shelter where her aunt works. Realizing Meagan can hear her, Whiskey realizes that Meagan just might have the pack leader qualities necessary to save the animals. Avoiding Whiskey and the rest of shelter animals becomes impossible for Meagan, so she finally gives in and promises to help them. Meagan, along with her newfound friends, Reid Robertson and Natalie Knight, discover that someone in Fairy Falls is not only out to destroy the shelter, but the animals as well. Can Meagan convince her aunt and co-workers that the animals are in danger? If she fails, then all the animals’ voices will be silenced forever.

BUY LINKS

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

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

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Friday Features’

Guest

Emma Lane

Is here with a refreshing summer beverage that is sure to beat the heat.

Photo by Taylor Grote on Unsplash

Emma Lane’s Every Event Punch
1 pitcher unsweetened iced tea
1 cup pineapple juice
¼ cup maraschino cherry juice
6 cherries, pitted and sliced
1 medium-sized chunk of pineapple
1 orange slice
sprig of spearmint
1 cup ginger ale

Pour tea into a large serving bowl. Add all the ingredients, except ginger ale, to the tea and stir gently. Allow the blend to sit in the refrigerator for several hours.

When you are ready to serve, pour ginger ale over the tea. Fill glasses with ice cubes and top with the tea blend.

Serves four. Having a larger crowd? Simply double or triple the recipe.

Here’s a teaser from one of Emma’s Regency books.

What happens when a strong heroine meets an arrogant, but handsome hero? Sparks fly. It’s a Regency Romance Romp!

Miss Amabel Hawkins acknowledges her unusual upbringing, but she thinks James Langley, the Duke of Westerton, might be a tad unbalanced when he protests her efforts to right his badly managed properties. The duke, who has been away on the king’s business, demonstrates no respect for the beautiful but managing Miss Hawkins. Amabel has taken refuge at Westerton, fleeing from a forced marriage to a man who claims to be her relative in order to gain control of her young brother’s estate.

The Duke arrives home to find his estate under the firm control of a beautiful but managing female. His suspicions are fueled by his recent task of spy-hunting and he wonders if Amabel Hawkins is just who she seems. While a dastardly spy lurks, a wicked man poses as her cousin threatening to take over the guardianship of her young brother. Amabel might be falling in love, but she knows for certain the duke would never approve of a meddlesome woman, and she decides to flee his estate. Will the duke finally realize the true value of the woman he loves or will his prejudice ruin his chances forever?

Amazon Buy Link

And a little from her cozy mystery.

Detective Kevin Fowler is baffled by the wall of silence that greets him from the relatives of two septuagenarians whose bodies are discovered in a country cemetery called Blake Hill. Even more upsetting is the unusual rash of vandalism reported nightly by the citizens in his peaceful community. Have the teenagers declared an uprising? Night patrols reveal a totally unexpected and shocking situation. When a poignant secret is revealed, Beverly Hampton weeps over the sadness of a long ago tragedy, but soon wedding bells are heard for the home town princess and the popular detective. At the local diner the alluring fragrance of fresh-baked, cinnamon sticky buns continues to reign over the peaceful citizens of Hubbard, New York.

About Emma

Emma Lane enjoys leaving her garden for a few hours to dip into the romance genre Regency era of history. Join her for a glimpse of a half selkie fairy as she teases a powerful duke and fights the curse of a lowly, evil warlock. Other Regency romances are available on Amazon and Wild Rose Press. As Janis Lane she writes a series of Cozy Mysteries for Soul Mate Publishing.

Look for information about writing and plants on her new website. Leave a comment or a gardening question and put a smile on Emma’s face.

Stay connected to Emma on Facebook and Twitter.

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Friday Features’

Guest talks about

Sweet with a Little Spice

from

Susan Lodge

These cookies are delicious and easy to whip up for that someone special in your life.

Ginger and Coconut Cookies

Photo courtesy of Kira auf der Heide unsplash

200 g (8oz.) plain flour
1 tsp. bicarbonate of soda, baking soda
1-2 tsp. ground ginger
100 g (4oz.) desiccated coconut
100 g (4 oz.) butter, softened
100 g (4oz.) castor sugar (fine sugar)
1 egg
4 pieces (3-4oz.) preserved stem ginger, chopped
1 tbsp. icing (confectioners) sugar
Food colouring to tint icing
100g (4oz) of good quality chocolate. (optional)

Preheat oven to 180° C / 350°F.

Sift flour, bicarbonate of soda, and ground ginger together. Stir in coconut.

In another bowl combine butter and sugar. Gradually add egg until all combined to form a soft creamy mixture. (Takes only a couple of minutes with an electric mixer.)

Stir in the chopped ginger.

Fold in half the flour/coconut mix with a tablespoon. Add the rest, and using your hands form the mixture into a soft ball of dough. If the mixture is too sticky, then add a little more flour. If too firm add a little liquid from the preserved ginger jar.

Wrap the dough in cling film and let it rest for a few minutes in the fridge.

Remove cling film and lightly roll out the dough on a floured surface until ¼ inch thick. Use a biscuit cutter to make your cookie shapes. I use a heart shaped cutter for Valentine’s day. Keep the rolling pin and cutter well-floured to prevent sticking.

Lightly grease 2 baking trays with a little butter. Arrange cookies on trays leaving a couple of inches between each one, as they may spread a little. Cook for about 10 – 14 minutes. The cookies should be a light golden colour and the base firm.

When the cookies have cooled dredge with the sifted, icing (confectioner’s) sugar.

Enjoy the cookies as they are, or decorate them further with chocolate.

Break chocolate into a small bowl and melt in the microwave. Use a teaspoon to drizzle over the cookies.

Now that your cookies are ready, brew yourself a cup of tea, relax, and enjoy a peek at my latest Historical Romance while you munch away.

Esmie Elstone is thrown into panic when she hears of Captain Rockford’s return. But she is determined that the days of him interfering with her life are over. Destroying her chances of a happy future on his last visit, had resulted in her being foisted on her Aunt for a third pointless season in London.

To alleviate the boredom of society life, Esmie helps run a discreet betting enterprise under the guise of a sewing club. But there are some things you just shouldn’t wager on, and Esmie’s integrity is soon put to a dangerous test.

Richard Rockford had known Esmie almost all her life. As neighbours, Admiral Elstone had depended on Richard to keep an eye on his daughter when he was away at sea. The responsibility he had always taken on willingly. But her cruel and thoughtless actions, from the day he had left four years ago, had shaken him. Now he was back and wanting answers.

But when Esmie tumbles into a treacherous conspiracy, can he really turn his back on her?

Susan Lodge’s first publishing success was a story purchased by a major UK magazine followed by a drawer full of rejections. Finally a breakthrough gave her the confidence to seek and secure a publisher for her historical romance novels Only a Hero Will Do and Rebellious Cargo.

After working in several cities including London and Bristol, she and her husband moved down to the Hampshire coast to raise their family.

Learn more about Susan and her books on her website and blog. Stay connected on  Facebook, Twitter and her Amazon Author Page.

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Friday Features’

Guest shares

a recipe for oatmeal cookies

by

Sharon Ledwith

These are the best oatmeal cookies you’ll ever eat. Perfect for serving with tea or coffee during unexpected (or expected) visitor drop-ins and it’s also great for a dad’s birthday surprise. This recipe is guaranteed to make you smile with each bite.

BIG DADDY’S OATMEAL COCONUT COOKIES

Photo by Monika Grabkowska on Unsplash

1½ cups brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
¾ cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
1 cup oats
1 cup crispy rice cereal (such as Rice Krispies®)
1 cup flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 350° F (175° C).

Beat sugars and butter together with an electric mixer in a large bowl until smooth. Add 1 egg at a time, allowing the first to blend into the mixture before adding the next. Add the vanilla.

Stir flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder together in a bowl. Beat into the butter mixture until just incorporated into the dough.

Fold oats, crispy rice cereal, and coconut into the dough. Mix just enough to evenly combine.

Drop cookie dough by teaspoonful onto baking sheets.

Bake until browned, 8-9 minutes.

Cool cookies slightly on baking sheets before moving to cooling racks to cool completely. Store in airtight containers.

I recommend you sample the cookies along with your favorite beverage and crack open the first book in my teen psychic mystery series, Lost and Found. You may just find yourself wanting to visit Fairy Falls.

Fairy Falls was bores-ville from the get-go. Then the animals started talking…

The Fairy Falls Animal Shelter is in trouble. Money trouble. It’s up to an old calico cat named Whiskey—a shelter cat who has mastered the skill of observation—to find a new human pack leader so that their home will be saved. With the help of Nobel, the leader of the shelter dogs, the animals set out to use the ancient skill of telepathy to contact any human who bothers to listen to them. Unfortunately for fifteen-year-old Meagan Walsh, she hears them, loud and clear.

Forced to live with her Aunt Izzy in the safe and quiet town of Fairy Falls, Meagan is caught stealing and is sentenced to do community hours at the animal shelter where her aunt works. Realizing Meagan can hear her, Whiskey realizes that Meagan just might have the pack leader qualities necessary to save the animals. Avoiding Whiskey and the rest of shelter animals becomes impossible for Meagan, so she finally gives in and promises to help them. Meagan, along with her newfound friends, Reid Robertson and Natalie Knight, discover that someone in Fairy Falls is not only out to destroy the shelter, but the animals as well. Can Meagan convince her aunt and co-workers that the animals are in danger? If she fails, then all the animals’ voices will be silenced forever.

BUY LINKS

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

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

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Friday Features’

Guest talks about

S’Mores

by

Chris Pavesic

This kid-friendly recipe is quick and easy to make. It’s a little bit like a s’more, a little bit like a bird’s nest, and 100% yummy. Get those marshmallows and chocolate chips ready!

Quick and Easy S’mores Treats

1 pkg. (12 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ bag (5 oz.) mini marshmallows
2 cups pretzel sticks
2 cups vanilla wafers, broken into pieces

Preheat oven to 250° F.

Pour chocolate chips into an ungreased baking pan. Pop it into oven for about 5 minutes or until the chips get shiny. They should still retain their shape.

Take the pan out and immediately add the other ingredients. Stir as fast as possible because the chocolate will cool quickly.

This can be a bit messy when stirring—you will get chocolate on your hands—but that’s part of the fun.

When the other ingredients are coated, spoon the mixture onto parchment paper in serving-size portions. Allow to cool completely and serve.

Enjoy a brief glimpse into my new novel, FIERCE!

In this wide-ranging collection of steampunk, dystopian, and fantasy short fiction, award-winning author Chris Pavesic presents vibrant female characters in compelling narratives. This rich compendium includes previously published stories as well as new fiction.

Praise for “Going Home“:
“This is an excellent short story that is full of surprises for the reader. Martial law is about to be imposed in the colony. A secret room, trips on a train and a clandestine meeting are all part of this superb steampunk short story. Most highly recommended.”–Off Grid & Loving It

Praise for “The World in Front of Me“: “This reminded me a lot of the Lakeside community in Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, but I won’t say anymore about that for fear of giving away spoilers. But fans of Gaiman should really enjoy this story. Fans of strong women who make tough choices should enjoy this as well.”–Karissa Sluss, Author.

Praise for “Heart & Mind“: “The author has managed to weave an intricate web about being true to yourself. One shouldn’t be guided or led by others. Above all, feel the magic in your own heart.”–Chief, USN Ret…VT Town

Chris Pavesic is a fantasy author who lives in the Midwestern United States and loves Kona coffee, steampunk, fairy tales, and all types of speculative fiction. Between writing projects, Chris can most often be found reading, gaming, gardening, working on an endless list of DIY household projects, or hanging out with friends.

Learn more about Chris on her website and blog.

Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, and her Amazon Author Page.

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Friday Features’

Guest shares her recipe for

Candy Bars

by

Sharon Ledwith

If you love Skor® bars, then this is one of those must-make treats to cook for all the holidays and special events. The buttery toffee, rich chocolate, and crunchy nuts create a party-in-your-mouth experience, and will make you beg for a second (or third) piece. Perfect for family gatherings or holiday parties, you’ll score BIG with these treats nestled on your table, or wrapped as gifts.

Sharon’s Score Big Bars

Photo by Elseneju Pixabay.com

1 cup sugar
1 cup butter
¼ cup water
½ cup semisweet chocolate
½ cup chopped pecans
Candy thermometer

In a heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, butter, and water. Set candy thermometer in place. Cook and stir over medium heat until the thermometer reaches 300° F (150° C).

Pour onto ungreased baking tray. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and spread with a knife when melted.
After one minute, pour chopped pecans over mixture. Let stand until set, about 1 hour.

Break into 2 inch pieces. Store in airtight container.

Add this tasty treat to gift baskets or wrap in see-through bags and place on dinner plates to be the hostess with the mostess.

Every cook should test their finished product before serving. Select a piece of candy, or two, then relax in your favorite chair and crack open the first book in my teen psychic mystery series, Lost and Found. You may just find yourself wanting to visit Fairy Falls.

Fairy Falls was bores-ville from the get-go. Then the animals started talking…

The Fairy Falls Animal Shelter is in trouble. Money trouble. It’s up to an old calico cat named Whiskey—a shelter cat who has mastered the skill of observation—to find a new human pack leader so that their home will be saved. With the help of Nobel, the leader of the shelter dogs, the animals set out to use the ancient skill of telepathy to contact any human who bothers to listen to them. Unfortunately for fifteen-year-old Meagan Walsh, she hears them, loud and clear.

Forced to live with her Aunt Izzy in the safe and quiet town of Fairy Falls, Meagan is caught stealing and is sentenced to do community hours at the animal shelter where her aunt works. Realizing Meagan can hear her, Whiskey realizes that Meagan just might have the pack leader qualities necessary to save the animals. Avoiding Whiskey and the rest of shelter animals becomes impossible for Meagan, so she finally gives in and promises to help them. Meagan, along with her newfound friends, Reid Robertson and Natalie Knight, discover that someone in Fairy Falls is not only out to destroy the shelter, but the animals as well. Can Meagan convince her aunt and co-workers that the animals are in danger? If she fails, then all the animals’ voices will be silenced forever.

BUY LINKS

Amazon KindleAmazon PaperbackBarnes & NobleMirror World Publishing ebookMirror World Publishing Paperback

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

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

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