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Archive for the ‘Friday Features’ Category

Friday Features’

Guest talks about

The script of her life

by

Linda Lee Greene, Author & Artist

It was a foregone conclusion that eighteen year old Lee Greene of Peebles, Adams County, Ohio would be drafted, but like so many young couples living everywhere under the specter of World War II, his sweetheart Roma Gaffin and he got married anyway. The date was September 29, 1942. By Christmas of that same year they were pregnant for me. A few weeks before my birth, my father was drafted into the US Navy, with the expectation that following his training he would be shipped to somewhere in the Pacific Theater of the war. My mother stayed on at my grandparent’s farm in Peebles, and it was in a bedroom there that I was born, assisted into the world by Old Doc Ellison. My father first laid eyes on me a few weeks later—on the occasion of his return home after receiving an honorable medical discharge from the Navy.

There was little separation in my mind between my parents and my grandparents when I was a kid. Despite the fact that by the time of my toddlerhood, my parents, little brother, and I had settled in Columbus, Ohio, the farm and its inhabitants play central roles in the script of my childhood. We spent every weekend and holiday there, and my brother and I stayed at the farm during every summer until I was an adolescent. One of my most vibrant memories is of Lena, my grandmother, thick around the middle by then, her chestnut hair peppered with white, utilitarian apron tied around her waist, standing before her cook stove. With fresh peaches plucked from trees in the farm’s orchard or stash of canned goods in the cellar, and butter churned from the milk of resident cows, in her wood-filled cook stove, lacking the modern convenience of temperature control, my grandmother whipped up peach cobbler to rival any big city bakery. Breads, muffins, cakes, cookies, pies, cobblers—all the baked goods consumed by her large family were the products of her masterful hands. An abundance of her baked goods was the highlight of her high-holiday dinners.

~LENA’S PEACH COBBLER~

The Peaches

5 peaches, peeled, cored, and sliced*

1 cup sugar

¼ tsp. salt

Add peaches, sugar, and salt to a saucepan. Stir well to combine. Cook on medium heat for just a few minutes—until the sugar is dissolved and juices are drawn from the peaches.

Remove from heat and set aside.

*(If using canned or glass jar peaches in an amount of about 1 quart, skip the above step)

The Batter

6 tbsp. butter

1 cup flour

1 cup sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. salt

¾ cup milk

Ground cinnamon to taste

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Add butter to a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Place the pan in the oven while it preheats, to melt butter then remove pan from oven.

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a medium size bowl. Stir in milk until just combined. Pour mixture over melted butter and smooth to an even layer.

Spoon peaches and juice (or canned/glass jar peaches, if using) over batter. Sprinkle cinnamon generously over the top.

Bake for about 38-40 minutes. Serve warm topped with a scoop of ice cream, if desired.

I didn’t inherit my grandmother’s prowess in the kitchen but once in a while, I catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror, and I see fleeting fragments of her in me. I did inherit her affinity for storytelling. I hear her colorful depictions of local gossip so clearly in my mind’s ear. She was also a prolific writer of delightful and informative letters, the greater number of them penned during the Great Depression and World II. Many of them are transcribed in, and form the spine of, Guardians and Other Angels, my novel of historical fiction, based on the true story of three generations of my family. And of course, my formidable grandmother is a key figure of it.

 

One review of the novel states: “5 stars…Wonderfully Written! This was a thoroughly enjoyable book. I loved the Americana. [It] reached out and touched my heart, mind and soul. [It] provided tremendous insight into what many American families endured during the first half of the 20th century. It captures you and draws you in. This is most certainly a five-star novel.”

Read more on Amazon.

 

 

 

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.

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Friday Features’

Guest talks about

What is valuable

by

Anne Montgomery

A while back, I returned home to find the front door ajar. My first concern was that my dogs had gotten out, but when I went inside, they both stared at me and wagged their tails. Did I spy a wee sense of guilt on their doggy faces?

Though I saw nothing out of place in the living room, something felt wrong. Then, I approached my bedroom and a chill ran down my spine. The mess inside showed I’d been burglarized. I briefly wondered if the perpetrator was still in the house, but since the dogs were sitting placidly, I realized I was alone.

“Really?” I squinted at my two cattle-dog pups. “You couldn’t bark or something?”

They responded by vigorously wagging their tails.

I turned back to the mess in my room. The drawers had been rifled. The decorative boxes on my dresser had been dumped onto the bed, what remained of my jewelry scattered in glittery bits on the bedspread and floor. It was easy to see that the good stuff was gone. That the really good stuff was in a safe gave me a moment of relief. But then I thought of my ring, the emerald and diamond piece my sweetie pie presented to me on a beautiful day in the desert, an adornment he purchased because of my love of emeralds and because he wanted us to be together forever.

The box where I kept the ring was empty.

It wasn’t until later that I noticed my office had been searched as well, but nothing appeared to be missing.

Sadly, I was wrong. “I can’t find my log.”

“I’m sure it’s here somewhere,” Ryan said.

But we searched and the book was gone. I was heartbroken.

What had disappeared was my dive log, a planner, of sorts, dedicated to those of us who scuba dive. The idea is that when you’re a new diver, reflecting on what happened underwater is a good way to become a better diver. Generally, we document the conditions: water and air temperature, dive site, date, and dive profile. Then we write down what we saw – beautiful jewel colored fishes on a sunlit reef, magnificent sharks, charming dolphins, sea turtles and star fish and eels and nudibranchs.

But we also revisit what went wrong on a dive: losing track of your partner, not paying attention to air consumption, getting caught in a current, misplacing the dive boat. The log contains stamps, as well, verifying special dives on wrecks and others where we descended below 100 feet.

So, the log is a reflection on our dive memories and underwater performance. The idea is to document your first one hundred dives, a milestone I was approaching.

The other day, Ryan and I were walking our dogs. I don’t recall how the question came up, but it hung between us. “Which do you miss more, your emerald ring or your dive log?” he asked.

I didn’t answer right away, but I couldn’t lie. “My dive log,” I said wistfully.

“I knew you’d say that.” Then he smiled.

I’m so glad he understood.

Now, I have a new dive log that Ryan bought me, one with lots of clean, white pages. I guess I’ll just have to start over, so I’ve got a lot of diving to do.

Yes!

Here’s a little from my latest women’s fiction book. I hope you enjoy it.

A woman flees an abusive husband and finds hope in the wilds of the Arizona desert.

Rebecca Quinn escapes her controlling husband and, with nowhere else to go, hops the red-eye to Arizona. There, Gaby Strand – her aunt’s college roommate – gives her shelter at the Salt River Inn, a 1930’s guesthouse located in the wildly beautiful Tonto National Forest.

Becca struggles with post-traumatic stress, but is enthralled by the splendor and fragility of the Sonoran Desert. The once aspiring artist meets Noah Tanner, a cattle rancher and beekeeper, Oscar Billingsley, a retired psychiatrist and avid birder, and a blacksmith named Walt. Thanks to her new friends and a small band of wild horses, Becca adjusts to life in the desert and rekindles her love of art.

Then, Becca’s husband tracks her down, forcing her to summon all her strength. But can she finally stop running away?

Amazon Buy Links

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

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

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

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Friday Features’

Guest talks about

Her new book

by

Carol Browne

High praise for Carol Browne’s latest book that is a beautiful anthology of poems and short stories.

No one says it better than an Amazon reviewer who describes the book as “atmospheric”:

“The poetry is steeped in a love of nature, magic and mythology. The short stories hold interesting twists. No spoilers! The Boomerang Effect (dabbling with a love spell, Martin Nevis finds himself having second thoughts) A Force to Be Reckoned With (an outcast with thoughts of being “destined for something great” wants to join the police force) and Transformation (once bullied, Patricia attends a school reunion and emerges victorious) were my favorites.

Give this anthology collection of short stories a read, you won’t be disappointed.”

BLURB

An elf laments a passing era,
But truth and beauty will survive,
For they live on in stories and verses,
And in our imaginations thrive.
Nature, nostalgia, mystery and magic,
In twisty tales and poems that rhyme,
Are here, with myth and fantasy blended,
To capture another place and time.

BUY LINKS

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Once upon a time a little girl wrote a poem about a flower.
Impressed, her teacher pinned it to the wall and, in doing so, showed the child which path to follow.
Over the years poems and stories flowed from her pen like magic from a wizard’s wand.
She is much older now, a little wiser too, and she lives in rural Cambridgeshire, where there are many trees to hug.
But inside her still is that little girl who loved Nature and discovered the magic of words.
She hopes to live happily ever after.

Stay connected with Carol on her website and blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

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Friday Features’

Guest talks about

Living with Type 1 Diabetes and The Cheesiest Spinach Casserole

by

Leight Goff

I am a young adult author with type 1 diabetes. Why is that little fact important? Maybe it isn’t, but it has shaped me as a writer, a mother, and a person, whether I wanted it to or not. I didn’t by the way. I have never shared this publicly as I am a very private person. However, this is important because I’m not the only person dealing with type 1. You see, my younger brother had been diagnosed at the age of fifteen with the same disease. I watched how it ravaged his body over a short period of time. I saw firsthand how it attacks—one tiny blood vessel at a time until there’s nothing you can do to reverse the damage. I also remember quite clearly my mother being afraid to help him. He was on his own and terrified.

Eight years after his passing, I was thirty-one, active, slender and continuing to lose weight even though my weekly running had slowed. I had developed an unquenchable, burning thirst, my fairly good vision was growing blurry, and my strong legs were cramping in the middle of the night. I knew in my heart what it was. I’d seen the symptoms in my brother a decade earlier. After three months of denial, I went to the hospital where I was diagnosed with what the doctors’ thought was type 2 diabetes. They explained I was too old to have type 1.

However, I was running twenty miles a week. I kept asking myself, “How could it be type 2?” My husband told me he could see how thin I’d gotten and was concerned the doctors were wrong. They insisted and put me on an oral medication that clearly wasn’t going to work. It didn’t. The antibody test came back positive and the fact was, my immune system had turned on me. The insulin producing cells in my pancreas were destroyed and would never return.

It was a death sentence as far as I knew. I, too, was terrified. I had a husband and two young children. I had a life I wanted to live for as long as I could. I knew the chronic disease would kill me, if I let it. If I let it. So, I committed to not let it destroy me like it had with my brother. I’m not kidding. I was scared to death, but the disease that had taken him wasn’t going to take me.

I went to my medical appointments, feeling so desperately alone. I also went to support meetings at my local hospital, which were actually the opposite of support. There I met with fellow type 1 patients who had refused to accept the disease and its mighty power and that scared the hell out of me. They hadn’t seen what the monster could do. After two meetings, I never went back. They seemed to be in denial and denial was not an option for me. If I encountered another type 1 at a social event, I latched onto them like they were a life raft, but none of them seemed to be on the same path as myself. I acknowledge that everyone with the disease has to come to terms with it on their own and figure out their own plan.

My plan was to respect the monster, and in return my diligence would keep the monster at bay so as to allow me to live as normally as possible. Day by day. Some days great. Some not so great. But good health was and continues to be my goal.

I started my healthcare regimen with old-fashioned syringes and vials, moved on to insulin pens, and finally graduated to wearing top-notch medical equipment in the form of an insulin pump and a CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitor) in one of arms (I switch it to the other arm every ten days). After almost twenty years, the last ten with tubes and gadgets attached to me, I’m pleased to say I have no blood vessel damage to my eyes or kidneys. This is my life. For the rest of my life, but I’m thankful to have the technology to maintain my good health and I’m most thankful for the years my brother didn’t have.

Am I scared? Every single day I wake up summoning courage to face the day. Type 1 is truly a monster that never quits. I’ve dealt with other beasts in my life, some of them in my own family, but this monster is a killer waiting to snatch another victim. However, like in a fairytale the point of a monster is that it is meant to instill fear and test the hero. Will the hero face her fear and defeat the it? In my own story, I have faced my fear, my greatest fear, but until they find a cure for type 1 diabetes, I won’t be able to defeat it. In the meantime, I will continue to battle it every single day with strength and steadfastness.

As far as writing, I’d love to craft a story that features a character with type 1. In the meantime, I am inspired by caffeine, enchanted spells, and unforgettable, star-crossed fates. Although I’m terrible at casting any magic of my own, I am descended from an 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. That’s pretty cool, right?

I am currently taking a charcoal drawing class and golf lessons to bring some new experiences to my writing. We’ll see how that goes! I have three published young adult novels, I am a member of SCBWI, and I graduated from the University of Maryland.

At present, I am working on a manuscript about a teen witch, Abigail, fighting for her right to practice witchcraft in a conservative southern town with a history of burning witches. As she finds herself irresistibly drawn to the tale of the Silver Moon Witch, trouble begins to find Abigail who’s discovering the witch’s story has dangerous parallels to her own life, especially when someone is watching, waiting to toss a match.

THE CHEESIEST SPINACH CASSEROLE

This is a healthy, low carb casserole that I enjoy making and it doesn’t raise my blood sugar levels!

20 oz. frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

4 oz. cream cheese, cut into small cubes

1½ cups shredded Monterey jack cheese

6 slices bacon, fried and crumbled

4 large eggs, beaten

¼ cup butter, melted

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Add all of the ingredients to a large mixing bowl and stir well to combine.

Spread mixture into an 8×8 baking dish and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the edges are golden and the center is set.

Serve immediately.

Recipe from THAT LOW CARB LIFE

Here’s a little from my latest novel 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.

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Friday Features’

Guest talks about

Gardens she loves and her new book

by

Caroline Warfield

If you check out my official biography, you will note I am a lover of gardens—but not necessarily the act of gardening. For that reason, I’m particularly fond of large public gardens, ones that don’t ask me to do anything other than admire and enjoy.

I have had the good fortune to visit many around the world, having wandered through the Tuileries Garden and the gardens at Versailles and Hampton Court. I enjoyed Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver, and toured both Auckland’s Hamilton Gardens and the Christchurch Botanical Gardens in New Zealand. I found delightful pocket gardens tucked into walled enclaves in Venice, and was awed on a private tour of the Vatican Gardens with friends. The National Orchid Garden of Singapore is a stunner.

I was reminded lately that we have treasures here in the urban wilds of eastern Pennsylvania as well. The University of Pennsylvania’s Morris Arboretum is a tree lover’s paradise. This week, however, I took a friend to Longwood Gardens, Pierre DuPont’s gem in Kennett Square. DuPont reportedly bought the land to preserve the rare and interesting trees collected by a previous generation in 1906, and immediately began laying out flower walks. Later came the spectacular Conservatory, opened to the public in 1921.

DuPont endowed a foundation to maintain and improve the place in 1937 and for many years it was free to the public. That is, alas, no longer true; it is a pricey ticket. However, once inside, I never doubt it is money well spent. At 1007 acres a visit takes all day and features numerous flower walks and secluded formal gardens, rose arbors and topiary, tree houses (yes, plural), meadow walk and lake, water features of every sort imaginable including the newest—absolutely spectacular—main fountains that draw hundreds to the place.

The conservatory has been well cared for, and its collections (orchid room, children’s garden, rotating seasonal displays, organ and music room, bonsai, central Mediterranean garden, orangerie, and much more) are worth a visit all by themselves. Its Green Wall, covered with plants, which is the entrance way for a series of bathrooms, was once voted America’s Best Restroom.

My personal favorite? The water lily ponds, with the dozens of varieties including giant lily pads.
I’ve not included many gardens in my novels, but in The Price of Glory , I needed to. When the heroine arrives in Khartoum, a provincial outpost more military base than city, in 1839, she would have found a newly built governor’s palace which would have assuredly had a garden—wouldn’t it? I had no idea, so I invented one.

To their right the governor’s palace rose along the river, an oasis of green surrounding it. The garden’s size, a pittance compared to the courtyards of the khedive in Cairo, relieved the heavy gloom of the surrounding walls. An artificial stream wound among Nile grass, dracaena and monk orchids, cooling the air.

About the Book: The Price of Glory

Richard Mallet comes to Egypt with dreams of academic glory. He will be the one to unravel the secrets of the ancient Kushite language.

Analiese Cloutier seeks no glory—only the eradication of disease among the Egyptian women and children of Khartoum.

Neither expects to face intrigue, unrest, and insurrection, to be forced to marry to escape death—or to succumb to amorous enchantment under a desert moon.

About the Author

Award winning author Caroline Warfield has been many things: traveler, librarian, poet, raiser of children, bird watcher, Internet and Web services manager, conference speaker, indexer, tech writer, genealogist—even a nun. She reckons she is on at least her third act, happily working in an office surrounded by windows where she lets her characters lead her to adventures in England and the far-flung corners of the British Empire. She nudges them to explore the riskiest territory of all, the human heart.

Find Caroline at:

Amazon Author Page

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Friday Features’

Guest talks about

Date Night Dinners Italian Style

from

Sloane Taylor

NEW RELEASE

Date Night Dinners Italian Style

The perfect date night at home—course by course.

From antipasti to dolci, everything you need to create a unique dining experience for an intimate date night in!

  • All recipes are proportioned for two.
  • No exotic or hard-to-find ingredients.
  • Easy recipes, from prep to presentation.
  • Mix-and-match courses to create a unique dining experience.
  • Wine pairing suggestions to complement each dish.
  • Cooking tips to effortlessly move your date-night agenda from the kitchen to…wherever you’ll most enjoy dessert!

Get your copy today on Amazon.

Available now on Amazon since June 21, 2021!

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,Recipes to Create Holidays Extraordinaire, and Date Night Dinners Italian Style 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.

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Most Viewed Post Series #3

Friday Features’

We talk about

Kissing fun!

800px-Defense_gov_News_Photo_040902-N-3228G-005

Photo from the U.S Navy files via Wikimedia

As we’ve mentioned before, we’re hooked on the Bachelor television show. Yes, we know 99 percent of the “in love” couples at the end of each season don’t make it past the screening of the series. Yes, we know it’s a lot of drama and cat fights. Yes, we know it’s probably all hokey. But deep down we are romantics who hope that some lucky couple will find true love.

This season’s Bachelor Sean has had a couple of romantic dates planned for his ladies. On week two there was a group date photo shoot with Harlequin, one of the most well-known publishers of romance novels. On week three Sean took Lesley Murphy to set a new Guinness World record for the longest onscreen kiss. The old record was 3 minutes and 15 seconds. Sean and Lesley set a new record with a live audience cheering them on.

Watching that long on-screen kiss made me curious. If two people who barely know each other can lock lips for over 3 minutes and 16 seconds, how long can a couple who are in love kiss? So, I did some research from a purely writer’s point of view. I set the timer and read a love scene from a romance book for 3 minutes and 16 seconds.

If you were reading a 3 minute 16 second love scene (referencing kissing only here) it would take approximately two pages of lip-locking description to break the world record, assuming you are not a speed reader. That’s an estimated 600 words in Times New Roman font. When I searched my computer’s thesaurus for alternate words for kiss and kissing—because you would surely not want to use the same verb each time you mentioned kiss—I came up empty-handed. Roget’s Thesaurus netted me a measly six synonyms: smack, buss, osculate (caress), brush, graze, and shave (touch). What shave has to do with kissing, aside from whisker burn, I have no idea. Roget forgot an obvious synonym, in my humble opinion—smooch.

On the hunt now, because I couldn’t believe how few alternate words I’d found for kiss, I went to my Romance Writer’s Phrase Book, by Jean Kent and Candace Shelton, where I found one hundred and five kissing related phrases. However, only 61 were suitable for use in 3 minutes and 16 seconds of lip-locking, record-breaking kissing description. To win the record both parties’ lips must be touching the whole time, and some of the phrases in the book involved kissing other body parts.

Next I did an internet search for synonyms for kiss and kissing. Here’s a few more that I came up with: snog (British slang for kiss), neck, canoodle, peck, suck face, make out, spoon, get to first base, french, plant one on, Yankee dime/nickel (a favorite of Catherine’s parents), bill and coo, cupcake, spark, make whoopee, hooch up, and mwah (onomatopoeia for the kissing sound).

The next step in the research is to write a 600 word kissing scene. Better yet, I think I’ll set the timer and create my own Guinness World Record for kissing the other half of C.D. Hersh. That’s bound to be more fun than struggling to write 600 kissing related words on the computer. ☺

Have you kissed someone you love today?

Here’s an excerpt from our book Can’t Stop the Music for you to read while you remember if you’ve kissed anyone today.

Tipping her chin up, he whispered, “Anything for you.” Then he lowered his mouth to hers and kissed her, savoring the sweet taste he’d only dreamt of. She leaned against him, their bodies molding together perfectly. In the strains of Woodstock music coming from the living room, he swore he heard the lyrics I’ll gift you forever, to have and to hold.

As their kisses grew more passionate, she mumbled against his lips, “We should drink our tea before it gets cold.”

“I hate chamomile tea,” he confessed.

She drew away and stared at him. “You lied?”

“Fibbed a little. But only to get my foot in the door.”

She punched him lightly on the chest. “Don’t do that again.”

“You have my word.” He grabbed her fist and kissed her knuckles one by one, lavishing his tongue over the flesh. A tiny moan escaped from her. He gazed at her in expectation. Her eyes dropped shut, her head dipping backward as an expression of rapture floated over her face.

The doorbell rang, startling them apart.

If this piques 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

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Most Viewed Post Series #1

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

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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

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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.

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