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Archive for the ‘Guest author’ 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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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

Caroline Warfield who shares her thoughts on writing plus an excerpt from her new book.

Sometimes you need a change of pace. Returning from a conference two years ago, I recognized an itch to do something different. I had been writing a series of books involving Victorian heroes working in and returning home from the far reaches of the British empire with a heavy dose of history. It was a familiar world with interrelated families and characters that wandered in and out of one another’s books, but it was wearying. They took time to write. Each required research—sometimes a lot. It was time for a change. I don’t know how other writers build new worlds, but this is what happened to me.

As the airplane sped cross country, I realized I wanted to write a Regency series, but what? Nothing about the marriage mart or London society rose to the surface. What did come into focus was a coaching inn, one of those warm, welcoming places. I let that image develop in my mind and eventually a village appeared around it, a river, a bridge, and a road leading uphill toward a manor, the seat of the local aristocratic family. I had begun world building.

Structures and roads, however do not make a world. It needed to populate it with interconnected families. I began to imagine the innkeeper’s sons. The aristocrat on the hill became an earl. Were they friends? Were they rivals? What if one of the innkeeper’s sons was in actuality the natural son of the earl? By the time the plane landed, I had the basics for the Ashmead world.

That’s where my muse left off and craft began. Step one is always character building. I use detailed character questionnaires to develop well rounded character sketches. I need to know their wounds and scars, their goals and talents, their appearance, their obsessions and event their favorite swear words. In this case I also needed to know what they thought of one another and how they related.

Setting comes next. I find contemporary county directories useful for identifying no end of detail: types of businesses, prices, surnames, assembly rooms, and so on. Books on travel from first decades of the 19th century were a rich source as well, especially for inns, and contemporary maps also helped me envision my village and the land around it. Soon I had created a general map of Ashmead on Afon, and a growing list of local folk: the vicar, grocer, physician, beekeeper, tenant farmers, and so on.

After dragging my previous heroes from Canton to Ottawa to Calcutta and back to London, it was a relief to give the new series a cozy home base. Once I know who my people were, and what their village was like, I could begin to think about plot and the conflicts and complexities that would give their stories life.

I’ve created a Facebook Group that provides a guide to the Ashmead people and places for my readers. While this is a work in progress, you can find it under Caroline Warfield’s Fellow Travelers .

About the Series, The Ashmead Heirs
When the Earl of Clarion leaves a will with bequests for all his children, legitimate and not, listing each of his bastards and their mothers by name, he complicates the lives of many in the village of Ashmead.

One sleepy village

One scandalous will

Four beleaguered heirs

About Book One, The Wayward Son
Sir Robert Benson’s life is in London. He fled Ashmead the day he discovered the man he thought was his father had lied to him, and the girl he loved was beyond his reach. Only a nameless plea from his sister—his half-sister—brings him back to discover he’s been left an estate with a choice piece of land. He will not allow a ludicrous bequest from the earl who sired him turn him into a mockery of landed gentry. When a feisty little termagant with flashing eyes—and a musket—tries to turn Rob off the land—his land—he’s too amused and intrigued to turn away. But the longer he stays, the tighter the bonds that tie him to Ashmead become, strengthened by the powerful draw of the woman rooted on land he’s determined to sell.

Lucy Whitaker’s life is Willowbrook, its land, its tenants, its prosperity, but she always knew it wasn’t hers, knew the missing heir would come eventually. When a powerful man with military bearing rides up looking as if he wants to come in and count the silver, she turns him away, but her heart sinks. She can’t deny Rob Benson his property; she can only try to make him love the place as she does, for her peoples’ sake. A traitorous corner of her heart wishes Rob would love it for her sake.

His life is London and diplomatic intrigue; hers is Ashmead and the land. How can they forge something lasting when they are torn in two directions?

Available on Kindle Unlimited or for purchase on Amazon.

Coming:
October 2021: The Defiant Daughter
January 2022: The Forgotten Daughter
May 2022: The Upright Son

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.

You can find Caroline here:

Website

Facebook

Amazon

Goodreads

Book Bub

Twitter

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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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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

The ever-engaging Sloane Taylor who brings us her latest menu that is delicious and filling!

Ready for some good down-home type cooking that’s finger lickin’ good but doesn’t splatter grease all over your stove? If so, then this is the menu for you.

MENU

Oven-Fried Chicken

Mashed Potatoes

Corn

Spiked Watermelon

White Wine – Chablis

Oven-Fried Chicken

3 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless – legs and thighs work great, too

    Milk

    ½ cup (50g) flour

    1 tsp. (5ml) dried thyme

    1 tsp. (5ml) dried marjoram

    ½ tsp. (2.5ml) garlic powder, not salt

    1 tsp. (5ml) paprika

    ¼ cup ((52g) shortening or lard

    ¼ cup (57g) butter or margarine

    3 tbsp. (45ml) fresh parsley, chopped or 1½ tbsp. (20ml) dried

Place chicken in a glass dish, cover with milk, and let sit for a minimum of 3 hours. This is a perfect way to use up milk when it is close to its expiration date. You can also marinade the pieces overnight. If you choose to go longer than 3 hours be sure to refrigerate the dish. I learned this tenderizing trick from a talented chef in Salzburg, Austria.

Combine flour, thyme, marjoram, garlic, and paprika in a plastic or paper bag.

Drain and pat chicken dry. Place pieces one at a time in bag and gently shake to thoroughly coat them. Lay chicken on a plate as you coat the remaining pieces. Set chicken in fridge for at least 20 minutes to set the coating.

Preheat oven to 425° F (220°C).

Add shortening and butter to a metal baking pan just large enough to hold the chicken. Place dish in oven until mixture is melted. Add chicken. Bake 15 minutes and then turn pieces over. Cook another 20 minutes or until juices run clear when pierced with a sharp knife.

REMEMBER – all meat continues to cook for 5 minutes or so after it is removed from the oven.

Remove chicken from baking dish to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any oil. Transfer pieces to a clean plate. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

You can also make this dish on your grill. Set the grill on medium-high. Watch carefully so the chicken doesn’t burn.

Mashed Potatoes

Chicken stock, not broth

    1 small russet potato per person, peeled and quartered

    3 tbsp. (43g) butter

    Sour cream, a very large dollop

    ¼ cup (60ml) milk, at room temperature

    Freshly ground pepper to taste

    Parsley, snipped or chopped for garnish

Preheat oven to 220° F (100°C).

Pour one-inch (2.5cm) chicken stock into saucepan. Place potatoes in saucepan. Add tap water to cover by at least one inch (2.5cm). Cover pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower temperature to a strong simmer. Cook approximately 20 – 25 minutes. Potatoes are done when a fork inserts easily into a section.

Drain potatoes. Stir in butter, sour cream, and pepper. Mash well. Drizzle in milk. Mash and continue to add milk until you achieve the consistency you prefer.

Keep the saucepan warm in the oven while you finish preparing dinner.

Canned Corn
Sometimes it’s good to go easy and nothing is easier than canned veggies.

    1 can of corn per 4 people

    ¼ tsp. (1.25ml) dried thyme

    Pinch of salt

    Freshly ground pepper to taste
    Butter

Drain corn, then pour into micro wave safe bowl. Sprinkle on thyme, salt, and pepper. Lay pats of butter across the top. Micro wave for 3 minutes, stir and serve.

Spiked Watermelon

An adult pleasure that tops off any summer dinner, especially when you dine al fresco.

    ½ watermelon

    2 – 3 cups (450 – 750ml) vodka

Remove the seeds from the watermelon. Cut fruit into chunks or use a melon scooper to form balls. Place the cut pieces into a glass bowl.

Pour vodka over the melon. No need to cover the fruit. You just want enough so all the pieces contact with the vodka. Stir gently. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for several hours.

Serve melon from the bowl along with forks or long spoons.

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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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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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

The prolific writer Sharon Ledwith who brings us her latest time-saving recipe plus where to find her books.

An Italian dish full of sausage and veggies that’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face, and a napkin on your lap. The preparation takes about half an hour, with a bake time of 25 minutes, a setting time of 10 minutes, and serves ten of your hungriest family or friends. This hearty meal is ideal for those weekend warriors set to do some renovations at their home or cottage. Serve with a side salad, garlic bread, and your choice of wine, and you’ve got the makings of a trip to Italy without leaving the comforts of your home.

Potluck Penne and Sausage Casserole

16 ounces penne pasta

1 lb. bulk Italian sausage

1 tbsp. butter

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 medium carrot, finely chopped

1½ tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. pepper

1 small zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced

1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms

6 garlic cloves, minced

15 oz. tomato sauce

14 oz. pasta sauce with meat

2 cups shredded part-skimmed mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Cook pasta according to package directions for al dente; drain and transfer to greased 13 x 9 inch baking dish.

Fry sausage in a large skillet over medium heat until no longer pink, about 6-8 minutes, breaking into crumbles. Drain and remove from pan.

In same skillet, heat butter and oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook 5 minutes and stir frequently. Add zucchini, mushroom and garlic. Cook 6 – 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Be sure to stir often.

Add tomato sauce, pasta sauce, and sausage. Pour the mixture over pasta. Sprinkle with cheese.

Cover casserole with foil coated with cooking spray. Bake 10 minutes. Uncover. Bake until golden brown and cheese is melted, 15-20 minutes longer. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Once dinner is done, and you’ve had your last sip of wine, I’m sure you’ll be ready to escape into your living room for some much-needed quiet time. Why not make a cup of tea, then relax with one of my books? May I suggest a nostalgic visit to Fairy Falls or perhaps go back in time with The Last Timekeepers? Just remember to breathe once in a while as you’re being led on a bumpy, unpredictable ride along with my characters.

Here’s a glimpse of the premises of both my young adult series:

Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls Teen Psychic Mysteries…

Imagine a teenager possessing a psychic ability and struggling to cope with this freakish power while trying to have a normal life. Now, imagine being uprooted and forced to live in a small tourist town where nothing much ever happens. It’s bores-ville from the get-go.

Welcome to Fairy Falls. Expect the unexpected.

The Last Timekeepers Time Travel Adventures…

Chosen by an Atlantean Magus to be Timekeepers—legendary time travelers sworn to keep history safe from the evil Belial—five classmates are sent into the past to restore balance, and bring order back into the world, one mission at a time.

Children are the keys to our future. And now, children are the only hope for our past.

The Last Timekeepers Time Travel Adventure Series:

The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret, Book #2 Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, Book #1 Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

Legend of the Timekeepers, prequel Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls Teen Psychic Mystery Series:

Lost and Found, Book One Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

Blackflies and Blueberries, Book Two Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE

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, 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

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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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

Emma Lane

The way I see it, it’s all about nature, selection of the fittest et al. Mother Nature is a clever old gal. She will coat her choice for you in pink clouds and rosy dreams of romance. Matter of fact, I’m convinced she invented romance. It’s the unidentifiable essence that attracts one gender to the other seemingly without reason or plan.

I mentioned her cleverness, right? What she wants is a balance, which, perhaps, is all about the continuation of the species. I can find no other explanation why I wound up with a mate the exact opposite of me. Couples are, by definition, two halves which make a whole. I have allowed for the attraction of natural curiosity, which is present in all humans, and perhaps all living things. I stare with blank shock at a man who will eat oatmeal every morning for 12 months of the year. And be content for that meal to continue indefinitely. Even if I ate the most delicious sausage link for six mornings, and loved it, the seventh day I would vomit. I have an innate need for variety. He is grounded in consistency. It plays out over most of our personal choices the same way. Our tastes are opposite.

I could attribute these differences to the male/female preferences, but must pay attention when, in the last coffee klatch, one lady swears she loves oatmeal for breakfast, but her husband needs variety. (He might be the one with the wobbly marriage, but you didn’t hear it from me.) No, I keep coming to the same conclusion.

On the whole, Mother Nature wants solidly conceived children, also a balanced family unit. So, she takes a person of a certain persuasion and a person with the opposite preferences and MATES them. For posterity. The glue that keeps these people in a constant tug of war is the very thing we call ‘romance.’ Sometimes we call it, ‘he’s driving me crazy.’ But it produces lovely well-balanced children, and fairly comfortable living conditions on a daily basis. He kills spiders and I deal with his mother. Mother Nature smiles benevolently down on couples grinding against one another (that’s not dirty, I swear) smoothing and rounding the obstinate edges, while romance acts as a sweet buffer.

The proof of my theory is when you see a couple in their waning days holding hands and deferring to their spouse’s tastes. He’s learned to eat oatmeal only three times a week and she joins him now and then. They smile at each other with fond memories of epic battles fought and won, mostly remembering only how sweet it was for the post-arguing make-up sex. Okay, that was a little risqué, but it was all the fault of Mother Nature.

The End (Flipping the pages of my pamphlet on how to introduce variety . . .)

Here is a brief intro to the cozy mystery series Emma writes as Janis Lane.

MURDER in the JUNKYARD sees the demise of a man no one likes, a romance, and plans for a wedding as Detective Fowler and his friends keep their small-town America free from danger.

Detective Kevin Fowler is furious that low life has targeted his town where people live in blissful safety. Brenda Bryant is out junkn’ for good things when she stumbles over the grotesque body of a man beloved by no one. Suspense heats up when large sums of money are found in two different places. Drug money is suspected and Brenda targeted by someone who wants the money returned. Detective Fowler faces surprise after surprise as he peels back the surface of Hubbard, New York and deals with its shocking underbelly. Meanwhile romance infiltrates the group of friends with a wedding in the making.

AMAZON BUY LINK

Coming soon in late summer:

Murder at the Lookout

Detective Flower with wife, Beverly, search for a killer when an exquisite blonde with a unique history shows up to cause trouble. Is it true that cats always land on their feet?

Emma Lane is a gifted author who writes cozy mysteries as Janis Lane, Regency as Emma Lane, and spice as Sunny Lane.

She lives in Western New York where winter is snowy, spring arrives with rave reviews, summer days are long and velvet, and fall leaves are riotous in color. At long last she enjoys the perfect bow window for her desk where she is treated to a year-round panoramic view of nature. Her computer opens up a fourth fascinating window to the world. Her patient husband is always available to help with a plot twist and encourage Emma to never quit. Her day job is working with flowers at Herbtique and Plant Nursery, the nursery she and her son own.

Look for information about writing and plants on Emma’s 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. Be sure to check out the things that make Emma smile on Pinterest.

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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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