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Archive for the ‘Wednesday Special Spotlight’ Category

Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

The ever-engaging Vonnie Hughes who brings us her latest recipe from the Regency era.

During the Regency era, and also most of the Victorian era, rout cakes were eaten at large gatherings called routs which were like afternoon teas that lasted long into the evening. Routs bore a marked resemblance to today’s cocktail parties where fashion was displayed, everyone stood, holding a drink and or some finger food in one hand. There was a little chatting then on you went to the next ‘rout’ after you’d sussed out whether your friends’ and neighbors’ fashionable garb was equal to your own. The upper echelon often attended more than one rout in a day.

So-called rout cakes were often consumed at these gatherings and were akin to drop cakes, quite plain by our standards – no ornate cupcake decorations or fussiness of that nature.

Below is a recipe for rout cakes borrowed from The Cook and Housekeeper’s Dictionary by Mary Eaton, 1822. Look at the HUGE amount of flour and butter! This mix would make many, many little cakes. Not, of course, that the lady of the house had slaved over a hot stove. No doubt her cook had that honor, baking in a kitchen so smoky she/he could hardly see.

ROUT DROP CAKES

2 lbs. flour

1 lb. butter

1 lb. sugar

1 lb. currants, cleaned and dried

2 eggs

1 lg. spoonful orange-flower water

1 lg. spoonful rose water

1 lg. spoonful sweet wine

1 lg. spoonful brandy

Preheat oven to 325° F.

Mix flour, butter, sugar, and currants. Moisten into a stiff paste with eggs, orange-flower water, rose water, sweet wine, and brandy. Drop the paste onto a floured tin plate, and a short time will bake them.

Some authors produce quality books year after year and I have the utmost respect for them. They don’t churn out something quickly for the Christmas trade and other celebratory dates. Instead, they research and work, work and polish.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Most books by Tami Hoag such as Down the Darkest Road and Live to Tell. I think my favourite is Still Waters. Why? Because her novels are so detailed and the solution of the mysteries is never obvious. In fact, the character of the antagonists and protagonists holds the key to the solutions each time. For example, in A Thin Dark Line, it is the generations-old warped solution of ways to protect a family that bubbles to the surface and the bloody mindedness of an ambitious female cop who stands up for her rights amongst male chauvinism that would chop most women off at the knees, that points the way to reasons for the crime and the discovery of the perpetrator(s).

Many books by Jayne Ann Krentz, not her very early ones where the hero was a dyed-in-the-wool MCP as was the fashion of the day, but her books from about 1998 onwards and also her historicals. Love the way her heroes say “huh.” It can mean so many things: they can be having a revelation, they may disagree with the heroine but they sure as hell are not going to say so, or it can be simply their version of a civil reply to modern discourse. My favourites are the Eclipse Bay series and her historicals written under the name of Amanda Quick such as Mistress (Regency) and The Third Circle (Victorian). Most of all, however, I enjoy her futuristic paranormals such as Siren’s Call set on Rainshadow Island and In Too Deep set in Scargill Cove. These appeal to me because of her light hand with the paranormal concepts and the quirkiness of the main characters. She creates otherworlds without belabouring the point. Sometimes writers create alternate worlds that require an immense investment on the part of the reader to learn the settings and morés of those worlds which can have the effect of having the reader skip pages and eventually put the book down. Not so JAK who, after many years of writing, knows just how far she can go to create a world not so very dissimilar to our own.

Obviously, I can’t go far without mentioning the greatest modern storyteller – Nora Roberts. I don’t like many of her earlier books which now seem dated, and I don’t feel that her paranormal ones are in the least bit convincing. However, I totally enjoy her recent single titles such as Tribute and Whiskey Beach. And I especially enjoy The Inn at Boonsborough series. I once saw a review where the reader criticised the Boonsborough ones because they had too much building detail in them. Now that’s the part I am intrigued with. I am not a purist romance reader so I like a bit of meat with my coffee froth. I wait for each new release of Nora’s, as do thousands of others, not all of them women by a long way.

Stieg Larsson, in particular his series of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Anti right wing extremist and magazine editor-in-chief, what a shame most of his books were only found after his death in 2004. I suggest for those who want a touch of reality watered down with a little idealism, read Larsson. Whether you see the movies first or read the books first, I promise you will enjoy Lizbeth Salander, the toughest cyber-expert on the planet.

Rick Mofina, a great suspense writer endorsed by the best suspense writers such as James Patterson, Dean Koontz, Sandra Brown, Tess Gerritsen etc. He is Canadian and so less inclined to use acronyms which can be a relief for a reader steeped in jargon which has to be researched. I thoroughly enjoyed Be Mine and my next choice is The Dying Hour. He writes about a crime reporter and unravelling detective in several of his novels, then switches to another team in his later books. If you like suspense and that ‘unable to put it down’ feeling, then choose Mofina.

Another one to keep an eye on: Going to read more by J.M. Gregson. Have just finished The Fox in the Forest about the murder of a well-liked town vicar. The murdered man is one of those rare characters whom everyone liked. Of course, the reader thinks “mistaken identity?” Gregson has an impressive writing record of both non-fiction and fiction. I enjoyed the British outlook to solving crime – stoic, authentic and painstaking – and the author’s writing experience showed by his excellent characterisations. No character was just a sketch. It was an in-depth exploration of people both likeable and unlikeable.

So what authors do you enjoy? Have you stopped to ask yourself Why do you like their writing?

Regency novels by Vonnie:

A TOUCH OF TREASON

wherein a woman forced into servitude meets a man struggling with family debt and they become embroiled in the world of espionage.

THE SECOND SON

The fate of second sons and the practice of primogeniture is at the basis of this novel where John, who has secretly despised his older brother for years suddenly comes face to face with the reality of ownership and responsibility for the lives of others.

DANGEROUS HOMECOMING

A follow-on from The Second Son. Originally published by Robt Hale UK and when they closed down after almost 80 years it was published on Amazon and Smashwords under the title Dangerous Homecoming. In this book Colly Hetherington and Juliana Colebrook leave Portugal to escape the ravages of war, but on their arrival in ‘safe’ England, face a vicious danger that neither had ever imagined.

MONFORT’S MARRIAGE

A bit hotter than my other Regencies.

Matthew Monfort has two excellent reasons for loathing members of the ton, but thanks to his father’s machinations, he finds himself inveigled into offering for Lady Verity Tristan. But she needn’t think she’s going to win him over.

ENTANGLEMENT (Novella)

Originally published by Musa under the title ‘Captive.’

When Alexandra Tallis discovers that her witless sister has imprisoned their father’s nemesis, Theo Crombie, in their attic, she quickly frees him, fighting an unladylike impulse to keep him as her own special captive. Despite the brutal beating she receives from her father, Alexandra continues to yearn for the delicious Mr. Crombie.

Vonnie Hughes is a multi-published author in both Regency books and contemporary suspense. She loves the intricacies of the social rules of the Regency period and the far-ranging consequences of the Napoleonic Code. And with suspense she has free rein to explore forensic matters and the strong convolutions of the human mind. Like many writers, some days she hates the whole process, but somehow she just cannot let it go.

Vonnie was born in New Zealand, but she and her husband now live happily in Australia. If you visit Hamilton Gardens in New Zealand be sure to stroll through the Japanese Garden. These is a bronze plaque engraved with a haiku describing the peacefulness of that environment. The poem was written by Vonnie.

All of Vonnie’s books are available on The Wild Rose Press and Amazon.

Learn more about Vonnie Hughes on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Goodreads.

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

Sharon Ledwith

Who shares with us a recipe for healthy
Chipotle Chicken Wrap.

I discovered this healthy recipe from an online diet and exercise program I purchased last year and loved it! It packs a different punch to your taste buds while providing a healthier choice to add to your personal menu. Who said a burrito needed to be unhealthy? This easy recipe provides anti-inflammatory properties from apple cider vinegar, immune boosting benefits from garlic, and healthy, inflammation-cooling fats from olive oil. Instead of heading to your local fast-food Mex-Tex joint, try making your own burrito at home.

Chipotle Chicken Wrap

1 garlic clove

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

Juice from ½ lemon

Pinch of salt and pepper

½ tsp. paprika

4-6 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced

1 cup romaine lettuce or spinach, chopped

1 tbsp. shredded carrots

½ cup quinoa, cooked, optional

Sliced avocado, optional

Salsa

½ tomato, diced

¼ onion, diced

2 tbsp. chopped cilantro

Squeeze of lemon juice

Note: you can use your favorite brand of salsa if you choose

Make your chipotle sauce first by blending blend together garlic, olive oil, chili powder, vinegar, lemon juice, paprika, salt and pepper until smooth (ideally in a blender). Use this sauce to marinate your chicken in a zip lock bag for a minimum of 30 minutes.

Mix together all of your salsa ingredients in a bowl.

Cook the chicken in a sauté pan until thoroughly cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Serve on a bed of lettuce with chicken and salsa on top. Add cooked quinoa and or avacado if desired.

While you’re waiting for your healthy wrap to digest why not put your feet up and relax on the couch with a good book? May I suggest a visit to Fairy Falls, or if you’re feeling really adventurous, a trip back in time with The Last Timekeepers? Whichever you choose, either series will transport you to another time and place, taking you away from whatever troubles you.

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

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.

Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls Teen Psychic Mysteries…

Imagine a teenager possessing a psychic ability and struggling to cope with its freakish power. There’s no hope for a normal life, and no one who understands. 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. Until mysterious things start to happen.

Welcome to Fairy Falls. Expect the unexpected.

The Last Timekeepers Time Travel Adventure Series:

The Last Timekeepers and the Noble Slave, Book #3

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

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/young adult time travel adventure series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the award-winning 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 spoiled hubby, and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her WEBSITE and BLOG. Look up her AMAZON AUTHOR page for a list of current books. Stay connected on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, PINTEREST, LINKEDIN, INSTAGRAM, and GOODREADS.

BONUS: Download the free PDF short story The Terrible, Mighty Crystal HERE

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

A recipe from Helen Carpenter for making blueberry ice cream

We have a confession to make. Sometimes…sometimes here in Carpenter Country I’m not actually sitting at my computer all day working diligently. That’s right. Sometimes I…I go OUTSIDE! Into the SUNSHINE!

One of those special occasions took place in early May when my husband and I headed out to the u-pick field. Because we are serious blueberry pickers, we brought home enough berries to enjoy a few bowls fresh-from-the-field, to put a couple of handfuls on top of cereal, and to make biscuits, bread, buckles, cheesecake, coffee cake, crumbles, cobblers, donuts, muffins, pies, pancakes, scones, and ICE CREAM!

Are you screaming yet for blueberry ice cream? Us too. In fact, we’re going to take a break and sample a bowl. Here’s the recipe in case you want a break from your own busy day. You will need an ice cream maker (ours makes about 1½ quarts) and a blender or food processor for this recipe.


HOMEMADE BLUEBERRY ICE CREAM
1½ cups fresh blueberries, washed, and dried (slightly less than a pint of fresh, or you can use frozen berries if you drain them well)
1 pint (2 cups) heavy whipping cream
1 cup milk (whole or reduced fat, your choice – coconut milk is a delicious substitute)
½ cup sugar (more or less to suit your own sweet tooth — or teeth)
½ tsp. vanilla extract

Place rinsed blueberries in the blender or food processor and process for a minute or less.

Add the whipping cream, milk, sugar, and vanilla extract to the pureed blueberries in the blender.

Process 10-20 seconds, just until mixed – not too long, or you’ll have whipped cream.

Pour the mixture into the ice cream maker and churn for 20 minutes.

If you like soft, milkshake-type ice cream, pass out the spoons and dig in. For firmer ice cream, scoop the ice cream into a container and freeze two hours.

Okay, break’s over – back to work!

Once upon a time there was a mother/daughter author duo named Helen and Lorri, who wrote as HL Carpenter. The Carpenters worked from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, was unreal but not untrue. Then one day Lorri left her studio to explore the land of What-if, and like others who have lost a loved one the magical place lost much of its magic. But thanks to family, plus an amazing group of wordsmiths named Authors Moving Forward (AMF), the magic is slowly returning.

Helen Carpenter loves liking and sharing blog posts from other authors. She lives in Florida with her husband of many years and appreciates every day, especially those without hurricanes.

Stay connected on her blog and Facebook.

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

An easy casserole recipe from

Emma Lane aka Janis Lane

This casserole may be prepared the day before and warmed up on a busy day when dinner should be quick and easy. A box of rice tucked in the pantry is always a great idea. Changing the flavor makes it your own personal recipe. I’ve made it with a can of stewed tomatoes and a bit of garlic. You’ll find your own favorites to add. Summer sausage gives this dish a Southern flavor. Don’t forget to call out at least two y’alls before the first forkful.

Sausage and Rice Casserole

1 box Wild Rice

2 onions, chopped

¼ cup green peppers, chopped

1 lb. bulk ground sausage

1 small can sliced mushrooms

Slivered almonds, toasted and drained

2 cans cream chicken soup

1 can mushroom soup

1 cup water

1 small can water chestnuts, drained

Slivered almonds, toasted and drained

Preheat oven 350° F.

Cook rice as directed on package, set aside.

Sauté onion, peppers and sausage until meat is browned. Drain. Stir remaining ingredients, except almonds, with sausage mixture; turn into 9 X 13 baking dish.

Bake 30 – 40 minutes. Sprinkle with almond slivers then serve.

Suggested Additional Sides

Fresh Green beans seasoned with ham bits

Lima beans

Stewed tomatoes

Fresh rye bread and butter

Dessert

Fruit cup with slice of pound cake and cheese

Iced Tea or coffee

Glass of wine

Here is an intro to one of Janis’s romantic cozy mysteries for your reading pleasure.

Snapshot Suspicions is an adventure with Abby, beautiful, vagabond wildlife photographer, and Adam, ruggedly handsome, millionaire protector of the environment.

A dangerous wildlife mystery requires the close attention of Adam and the local sheriff as Abby deals with two hired goons stalking her with a grudge. Basking in the rosy contentment of their love, Abby and Adam must trust each other as they encounter the first rift in their relationship. An engaging puppy presents a conundrum and a terrifying incident.

Abby discovers she can enjoy photographing subjects (AKC) other than wildlife and delights in setting up her own office, while Adam breathes a sign of relief when Abby makes a permanent commitment. Could she finally be thinking of a life time pledge to him?

EXCERPT
As she entered the room, a long arm snaked out and pulled her swiftly toward a broad chest. Her face was again covered with kisses that trailed down her face, sidetracked to explore a curled ear with a sip on a tiny lobe, and continued a path of kisses until it landed against her lips, which were blossoming into a reluctant smile.

“Adam.”

The sandy-haired giant lifted his head from the places he had been attending and settled his piercing blue eyes on her green ones with a satisfied sigh.

“Eve?”

He sat down in a kitchen chair and pulled her onto his lap, wrapping her in a warm embrace and tucking her head on his shoulder. She snuggled contentedly against him. What a wonderful way to greet the day, she thought. Everyone should have a handsome blond giant to cuddle with . . . She could feel herself drifting off.

“Good morning, Abby, my tree sprite. Did you sleep well? I thought you might stay snuggled in bed this morning after such a late night.”

“Adam.” She took a deep breath inhaling the familiar fragrance that she loved. It was all Adam who was so dear to her. She rubbed her face into his shoulder and allowed him to cuddle her for a minute more. Her body relaxed against him, her hand half encircled his rock hard forearm, but her mind struggled with her problem. She knew she had to nip this in the bud if she were ever to have peace. This was exactly what she had feared when she resisted moving in with him, even though she knew she loved him.

“Adam.” She turned her head to stare into his intensely blue eyes, and then shut hers. There was always the danger of falling into those loving pools of blue if a girl were not careful. She knew from experience how mesmerizing they could be.

“You’ve got to control that dog. I know he’s young and means no harm, but you promised to train him. I can’t keep buying new sneakers every single day.” She felt Adam’s deep chuckle before she heard it. His chest erupted in those sounds that brought a smile to her face in spite of her annoyance with the situation.

Janis Lane is the pen-name for gifted author Emma Lane who writes cozy mysteries as Janis, Regency as Emma, 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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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

A candy delight from Sharon Ledwith who brings us her latest recipe to sweeten up your celebrations.

Especially when it comes to candy. This wonderful peanut brittle has a WOW factor that adds to any celebration. Give as gifts or enjoy with family and friends. This recipe is a sure-fire crowd-pleaser! Make sure you have all the ingredients measured and ready to go, as it requires you to react quickly between steps.

FATHER KNOWS BEST PEANUT BRITTLE

1 cup white sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
¼ tsp. salt
¼ cup water
1 cup peanuts
2 tbsp butter, softened
1 tsp. baking soda
Candy thermometer

Grease a large cookie sheet. Set aside.

Bring sugar, corn syrup, salt, and water to a boil in a heavy 2 quart saucepan set over medium heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved.

Stir in peanuts.

Set candy thermometer in place, and continue cooking. Stir frequently until temperature reaches 300° F (150° C).

Remove heat. Immediately stir in butter and baking soda. Pour at once onto cookie sheet. With two forks, lift and pull peanut mixture into rectangle about 14×12 inches. Allow to cool.

SNAP candy into pieces and enjoy while you take a glimpse at my latest novel.

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

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

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

BUY LINKS


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

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

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

The word smith Helen Carpenter who brings us something to think about and to eat.

Anticipation. That’s the title of a great song, the jingle for an ancient advertisement, and a marketing tool for authors. Oh, and anticipation makes good food better too. What more could you ask of a word?

You already know the classic song (thanks, Carly Simon!), and if you’re of a…ummm…certain age, you probably remember the ketchup commercial too. (Sorry if the jingle is now an earwig! Confess—you’re humming, aren’t you?)

As far as making good food better—our barbecue pulled pork recipe is DEFINITELY worth waiting for! Put all the ingredients together, then grab a good book to read while you’re anticipating the meal to come.

PULLED PORK

½ cup ketchup
1 ½ cups barbecue sauce, divided
1 cup water
1 onion, chopped (or a similar amount of frozen chopped onions)
1 tsp. garlic, chopped
3 ½ pound pork roast (a shoulder cut works well)
Hamburger buns

Mix ketchup, ½ cup barbecue sauce, and water in a small bowl. Stir in the onions and garlic.

Set pork roast in the crock pot and pour sauce mixture over it, coating the meat well. The liquid should almost cover the meat. Add more if necessary. Cook on low for 10-12 hours.

Remove the pork roast from the crock-pot, let cool, and shred with a fork. Set aside.

Empty the liquid from the crock-pot. Put the pulled pork back into the crock-pot, add the remaining barbecue sauce, and mix well.

Cook on low for two more hours; then reduce setting to warm until ready to serve.

Serve on buns.

Tips and Tricks
Crock pots are ideal for tenderizing less expensive cuts of meat. The longer the cooking time, the more tender the meat becomes.

Feel free to add more sauce to the first cooking; meat cooked in liquid is moister.

For an added crunch, serve chips of your choice as a side dish.

If you want to serve the pulled pork for lunch, set up the crock pot to cook overnight.

Once upon a time there was a mother/daughter author duo named Helen and Lorri, who wrote as HL Carpenter. The Carpenters worked from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, was unreal but not untrue. Then one day Lorri left her studio to explore the land of What-if, and like others who have lost a loved one the magical place lost much of its magic. But thanks to family, plus an amazing group of wordsmiths named Authors Moving Forward (AMF), the magic is slowly returning.

Helen Carpenter loves liking and sharing blog posts from other authors. She lives in Florida with her husband of many years and appreciates everyday, especially those without hurricanes.

Stay connected on her blog and Facebook .

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

The Cheese Sandwich from Helen Carpenter who brings this simple-to-make chewy and crunchy cheese melt combo is the sandwich of choice for breakfast.

Cheese sandwiches for breakfast anyone? Oh yes—Chewy mozzarella, crunchy fresh green peppers and onions, spicy pepperoni, and Italian seasonings deliciously stacked on buttery English muffin rounds make breaking your night’s fast a pleasure.

Melted Cheese Sandwich
6 English muffins, store-bought or hand-baked
1 tbsp. butter, softened
12 slices (1-oz each) mozzarella cheese
1 sweet onion
1 large green pepper
6 oz. sliced pepperoni
Garlic salt
Italian seasoning

Split each muffin and lightly butter the outer side. Place one-half of each muffin buttered side down in frying pan.

Top each muffin half with 1 slice of mozzarella, 1 sweet onion ring, 1 green pepper ring, and 1 ounce of pepperoni. Season to taste with garlic salt and Italian seasoning. Add another layer of mozzarella. Place remaining half of muffin on top, buttered side up.

Fry sandwiches in covered skillet, turning once, until cheese melts and sandwich is heated through. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Once upon a time there was a mother/daughter author duo named Helen and Lorri, who wrote as HL Carpenter. The Carpenters worked from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, was unreal but not untrue. Then one day Lorri left her studio to explore the land of What-if, and like others who have lost a loved one the magical place lost much of its magic. But thanks to family, plus an amazing group of wordsmiths named Authors Moving Forward (AMF), the magic is slowly returning.

Helen Carpenter loves liking and sharing blog posts from other authors. She lives in Florida with her husband of many years and appreciates every day, especially those without hurricanes.

Stay connected on her blog and Facebook.

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

A new recipe from Stella May who brings us her favorite cookie.

This is my hubby’s favorite cookie. I must admit it is mine, too. I hope you like them as well. My recipe makes 10 – 12 medium cookies or 7 – 8 large ones.

Almond Cookies

4 egg whites, right out of the refrigerator*

⅓ cup organic sugar, or ½ cup for a sweeter taste

1 tsp. almond extract

1 cup almond flour (I use super-fine blanched)

Almonds, slivered or whole

Pre-heat oven to 250° F.

Cover cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Pour egg whites into a glass bowl. Set your mixer on high speed. Whip until whites are very firm.

Gradually add sugar, almond extract, and flour. Drop dough onto cookie sheet using a tablespoon or a scooper. Add an almond on top of each cookie, then set pan into oven.

Bake for 20-25 min, then turn off the oven, but leave cookies inside for another 40-45 min.

Remove and enjoy.

*Store the yolks in the fridge to scramble for breakfast the next morning.

Here is a peek at my latest time travel romance novel for your reading pleasure.

One key unlocks the love of a lifetime…but could also break her heart.

Nika Morris’s sixth sense has helped build a successful business, lovingly restoring and reselling historic homes on Florida’s Amelia Island. But there’s one forlorn, neglected relic that’s pulled at her from the moment she saw it. The century-old Coleman house.

Quite unexpectedly, the house is handed to her on a silver platter—along with a mysterious letter, postmarked 1909, yet addressed personally to Nika. Its cryptic message: Find the key. You know where it is. Hurry, for goodness sake!

The message triggers an irresistible drive to find that key. When she does, one twist in an old grandfather clock throws her back in time, straight into the arms of deliciously, devilishly handsome Elijah Coleman.

Swept up in a journey of a lifetime, Nika finds herself falling in love with Eli—and with the family and friends that inhabit a time not even her vivid imagination could have conjured. But in one desperate moment of homesickness, she makes a decision that will not only alter the course of more than one life, but break her heart.

’Til Time Do Us Part is available in Kindle and Paperback at AMAZON.

Stella May is the penname for Marina Sardarova who has a fascinating history you should read on her website.

Stella writes fantasy romance as well as time travel romance. She is the author of ‘Till Time Do Us Part, Book 1 in her Upon a Time series, and the stand-alone book Rhapsody in Dreams. Love and family are two cornerstones of her stories and life. Stella’s books are available in e-book and paperback through all major vendors.

When not writing, Stella enjoys classical music, reading, and long walks along the ocean with her husband. She lives in Jacksonville, Florida with her husband Leo of 25 years and their son George. They are her two best friends and are all partners in their family business.

Follow Stella on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

Air conditioning
The invention we can’t live without!

What to you is the greatest invention in human history? The wheel? Sliced bread? Electricity (not exactly an invention)? The light bulb? The list is endless of the various inventions in human history, but only one that helps when the temperatures move beyond 90 degrees, can there be any doubt that our most amazing piece of technology is the air conditioner?

In 1902 Willis Carrier created the Apparatus for Treating Air for a Brooklyn printing company—a break-through that, as it developed and spread over decades, changed the human condition. Today close to 87 percent of U.S. homes have AC, but we’re old enough to remember when it was a luxury.

During heat waves, people barely moved or did anything. You would sit in front of fans of all sorts to try to stay cool. Some even used tubs of ice in front of the fan to blow cooling air. Nights were a sleepless ordeal, with sweat pooling in various places of the body. Then morning came and you had to wash the damp sheets. Did we mention we lived through this? Carrier set us free from such torment with his invention. Why is he not honored with a special day on the calendar?

Air conditioning is not simply a comfort but has now become a part of modern life. Without it keeping people and computers working when the mercury climbs past 90 all activity would slow or even stop. Would computers even operate? Air conditioning has made it possible for millions of people to live in the Sun Belt states that nature intended for lizards, not humans. As the world warms, the demand for AC grows ever greater. Currently consuming 12 percent of U.S. home energy expenditures, some climate change warriors suggest we all wean ourselves from Carrier’s invention. They argue for a return to a more natural way of life. Been there, done that, not going back!

Sorry, we’d give up about everything else before we went back to living without conditioned air. If they come for our AC, as the saying goes, they’ll have to pry it out of our wonderfully cold, dead fingers.

Now, if your AC is working, settle into a comfy chair and check out some of our hot books on our book page, under the menu at the top of the page or on our Amazon Author Page

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

The heroine of our book, Son of the Moonless Night, with ten facts about her.

One of the fun things about creating characters is coming up with quirks, personality traits, and interesting tidbits about their personal background. Katrina Romanovski is one of our reader’s favorite characters. We’ve already been asked if she is going to appear in another book. Much to the reader’s dismay, we wouldn’t reveal the answer.

Here are ten interesting facts about Katrina Romanovski, the heroine from our new book, Son of the Moonless Night-The Turning Stone Chronicles, book three.

    1. She is from Transylvania but not Romania. We do solve this mystery in the book.
    2. She hunts paranormals. Hates vampires. And swears by Count Dracula.
    3. She wears a huge Celtic cross as a talisman against vampires.
    4. She not only hunts paranormals, but she’s had her share of paranormal boyfriends. No zombies please, they’re just too creepy.
    5. She is a blonde version of NCIS’s forensic scientist Abby but with a medical degree.
    6. She decided to leave her father’s paranormal hunting business because she was looking for normalcy in her life. Instead she found Owen, the hero of Son of the Moonless Night, a shape shifter.
    7. She is part gypsy, on her father’s side. Her mother is British. Prim-and-proper breeding war with Katrina’s gypsy walk-on-the-wild side. The gypsy usually wins.
    8. She has traveled the USA as an FBI agent but now likes Cleveland, the mistake by the lake.
    9. She loves Italian food but has trouble cooking it, especially when Owen is around.
    10. She spends a lot of time in alleys.

Here is a little more about Katrina from the book:

A crash in the alley stopped Katrina Romanovski mid-stride. Like the October mist swirling in off the lake, her gypsy blood stirred sending her intuition into high gear. Something unnatural was happening.

Go see what’s wrong. She heard her father’s voice as clearly as if he stood next to her.

On the heels of his words came her mother’s pragmatic warning in clipped British tones. You know what curiosity killed. Katrina pushed the ever-present warning aside. Mom never approved of Dad’s supernatural hunts and even less of his drawing her into them.

Pulling the oversized cross she always wore out from under her shirt, Kat looked around for a weapon. Please, not a vampire. I hate vampires! A piece of wood sticking out of the trashcan at the front of the alley caught her eye.

Grabbing it, she broke the end off into a sharp point. The mist-filled air filtered the light from the single bulb over one of the alley doorways. The wind swirled the loose trash around making a quiet approach difficult. Sidestepping the paper, with the stake in one hand and holding the gun she took from her purse in the other hand, she crept into the alley.

A roar echoed against the buildings, the sound nearly sending her running. That roar wasn’t a vampire. It sounded more like an animal. Kat inched closer. In the yellow pool of light from the back door of the building, a black bear, over seven feet tall, reared on its back legs and swung its paw at the man standing at the edge of the light. He crashed to the ground, shirt torn open from the slashing claws. Blood covered the fabric, and he clasped his left hand over his shoulder to stem the flow. The bear bent toward him, teeth bared in a smile. A wicked smile.

Kat aimed her gun, but before she could pull the trigger, a shot rang out. The flash of gunpowder lit the face of the injured man. The blast reverberated against the buildings. With an enraged bellow, the bear staggered backward against the wall. Shaking his head, the animal dropped to all four paws. Weaving like a drunk, he lumbered toward his attacker. The man took aim again, shooting the animal between the eyes. Animal and human collapsed on the dirty, littered pavement.

As she started to move forward, Kat’s gypsy senses crawled over her skin like angry red ants. As she slipped back into the shadows, the bear shed fur. Changing size. Then, finally, turning into a man.

Shape shifters. Her stake wasn’t any good against them, and her bullets weren’t silver. This one appeared dead anyway. Had the wounded man seen the shift? Tossing the stake aside, she paused by the shifter and quickly moved to the wounded man. Out cold. Still human.

When she touched him, his eyelids fluttered open. “Did I get it?”

“What?”

“The bear.”

If this piques your interest, then settle into a comfy chair and check out our books on our book page, under the menu at the top of the page or on our Amazon Author Page

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