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Friday Features’

Guest recipe for

Heavenly Honey Bun Cake

by

Sharon Ledwith

Some recipes take me back to a time when life was simpler—a.k.a. living with my parents, eating their food, and not having to any pay bills or a mortgage. As the name suggests, this cake tastes exactly like the honey bun I used to buy during my high school days. Trust me, just one mouthful of this sugary bliss propels you back to those days where all your happy memories and good times of the past, still exist.

A warning to the wise: it’s quite a sweet cake and not for those who are watching their waistlines, so wait until after you’ve blown your New Year’s Resolutions to try this delish dish. I’ve found this is the perfect cake to serve during holidays, celebrations, or perhaps as an indulgent dessert at your monthly book club.

Heavenly Honey Bun Cake

    1 package of yellow cake mix (432 g or 18.25 ounce)
    ¾ cup vegetable oil
    4 eggs
    1 (250 g or 8 ounce) container of sour cream
    1 cup brown sugar
    1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325° F (165° C).

In a large mixing bowl, combine cake mix, oil, eggs, and sour cream. Stir by hand approximately 50 strokes, or until most large lumps are gone. Pour half of the batter into an ungreased 9 x 13-inch glass baking dish. Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon, sprinkle over the batter.

Spoon the remaining batter into the cake pan. Be sure to cover the brown sugar and cinnamon well. Twirl the cake with a butter knife or icing knife until it looks like a honey bun or whatever design you want to make.

Bake 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Frosting

    2 cups confectioners’ sugar
    4 tablespoons milk
    1 tablespoon vanilla extract

In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, milk, and vanilla extract until smooth. Spread across the cake while fairly hot. Serve warm.

Tastes wonderful if served with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream.

While you’re waiting for the cake to bake, take a seat in your favorite comfy chair and crack open one of my books. 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, I guarantee either series will take you on a journey far away from thoughts of paying bills or putting in a load of laundry.

Here’s a glimpse into one of the books from Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls, my teen psychic mystery series.

The only witness left to testify against an unsolved crime in Fairy Falls isn’t a person…

City born and bred, Hart Stewart possesses the gift of psychometry—the psychic ability to discover facts about an event or person by touching inanimate objects associated with them. Since his mother’s death, seventeen-year-old Hart has endured homelessness, and has learned ways to keep his illiteracy under wraps. He eventually learns of a great-aunt living in Fairy Falls, and decides to leave the only life he’s ever known for an uncertain future.

Diana MacGregor lives in Fairy Falls. Her mother was a victim of a senseless murder. Only Diana’s unanswered questions and her grief keeps her going, until Hart finds her mother’s lost ring and becomes a witness to her murder.

Through Hart’s psychic power, Diana gains hope for justice. Their investigation leads them into the corrupt world threatening Fairy Falls. To secure the town’s future, Hart and Diana must join forces to uncover the shocking truth, or they risk losing the true essence of Fairy Falls forever.

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, Goodreads, and Smashwords. Look up her Amazon Author page for a list of current books. Be sure to check out THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS TIME TRAVEL SERIES Facebook page.

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Friday Features’

Guest review

Mr. Rogers

by

Elliott Baker

What Do You Do with the Mad You Feel?

A couple of days ago, Sally and I had the pleasure of watching A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood written by Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster and directed by Marielle Heller. In the movie, Tom Hanks portrays Mister Rogers. I am incapable of writing spoilers so I can’t speak about the plot of the film. Go see it. It’s different from what you think. Sally and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Fortunately, all of my generation had the privilege of watching “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” if not through our own child eyes, then through those of our children.

The first broadcast of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” took place on the National Educational Television network on February 19, 1968. I was already a teenager, and I remember thinking that the pace of the show was slow. I also remember thinking, “That guy can’t be for real.” Why did I think that, but perhaps more importantly, what caused me to change my mind? In 1980 I saw Mister Rogers through my son’s eyes and that image has stayed with me all my life.

“Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” was broadcast from February 19, 1968 to February 20, 1976, and again from August 20, 1979 to August 31, 2001. It was almost like he came back on the air for our three children. Our eldest was born in 1978. Two out of our three children watched the program and Sally and I loved the half hour we could use to do life other than children. Our daughter didn’t like The Neighborhood because she felt that Mister Rogers’ mother didn’t dress him properly if he had to change clothes every time he entered. Still, when I was home, the show would occasionally catch me and I’d sit with whichever little ones were glued to the set. My memory of those days was that Sally and I were both at a dead run juggling whatever momentous tasks that needed to be done. Why did I, a young adult, stop and watch Fred Rogers?

Most everything is new to the 2 to 5-year-olds which were the preschool ages Fred Rogers’ series was aimed at, even though it was labelled by PBS as “appropriate for all ages.” It might be said that children are unsophisticated about their choices of what to give their attention to. I don’t think that’s true, mainly because their choices followed a pattern and they often requested Mister Rogers. What they didn’t have was an unconscious experiential barrier to love, either giving or receiving. My first response to the show was “That guy can’t be real. He’s acting in order to catch an audience and maintain the success of the show in order to bring him more fame and money.” When I saw Mister Rogers through the eyes of my children and through their expressions, (I watched them watch him.) I saw the truth. Without the colors we add in through the bumps and mistakes of life, there’s just what is in front of us and we know it for what it is. The man in that sweater was exactly as my children saw him, a gentle soul teaching a child the benefits of kindness to oneself and others.

As children we lust after the power of the adults in our lives. We are hurt and the hurts scab over, but remain with us informing our lives and our search for acceptance. We learn what to do with mad from our heroes whether they’re heroic or not, whether we love them or hate them. Anger comes from fear and only from fear. We are never angry about the things we love. Anger is a signpost of an injury along the way. Acceptance leads to forgiveness which is the only true healing we can exchange.

That was Fred Rogers’ gift to us. His ability to surmount appearances and portray genuine acceptance. I wonder that the ability to accept others wasn’t the first and most powerful tool that allowed us to survive in a dangerous world. The only reason homo sapiens managed to survive a vicious primitive environment was their aggregation, not their aggression. Individually, tools notwithstanding, we were helpless. Together we were more powerful than the carnivorous fauna that surrounded us, more tenacious than the environmental disasters that beset us. Being accepted by the group implied the opportunity for survival, rejection was a guarantee of death. Those early motivations are still resident within each of us like old outdated programing, and in fear, we lash out at any attempt to challenge the group that has deigned to accept us. No matter the underlying motivation of the group originator. Even if the group’s destination is eventual destruction, we can’t seem to disobey that prime directive. Belong or die.

In his gentleness, Mister Rogers taught power, real power. There is such power in forgiveness and compassion. Forgiveness causes structural change, long lasting change whereas anger and its effects are always temporary. If compassion is forgiveness for the self you see in others, doesn’t its exercise release us from our own fears at the same time? Doesn’t it make our load lighter and the road easier to navigate? We all suffer from the belief that we are powerless no matter how many missiles we command. To an adolescent, adults have power in that they can compel behavior using the threat of bodily or psychological injury. And, as adolescents, we lust after that power. We use all kinds of behaviors to compel others to accept us. That strategy which often appears to work in the short term, always fails in the end because while we may have destroyed the self we see in others, that short lived victory has not given us the ability to accept ourselves. In fact, it reinforces our nonacceptance and without that self-acceptance, the world remains in ego colors of black and white, good and bad.

Fred Rogers was a shining light dispelling the darkness of that youthful inability. He wasn’t a saint. He was from our neighborhood. That we’re having difficulty accepting ourselves now does not mean that we can never do so. We do not live in a black and white world no matter how we choose to see it. Yet we all participate in thought conventions that use that limiting paradigm. Good or bad. My father-in-law, a man very much in the mold of Fred Rogers once told me a story about a young man in Russia at the turn of the century. I’ll shorten the story, but you’ll see the thread.

This is a universal story and my father-in-law set it on a Russian farm. One day, the farmer’s horse ran away. The neighbors commiserated with him saying, “Such bad luck.” “Who knows,” replied the farmer. The next day, the horse returned bringing three other wild horses with it. The neighbors came over. “Such good luck,” they said. “Who knows,” replied the farmer. The next day, while trying to rope one of the wild horses, the farmer’s son was kicked and his leg broken. “Such bad luck,” said the neighbors. “Who knows,” replied the farmer. The Russian army heard of the horses and came to collect them. While there they asked to see the farmer’s son who they intended to recruit. They needed more fodder for the front lines.

A world of color is so much more exciting. The complexity of our world is frightening because our personal knowable resources are shrinking against the total knowledge available. It is this fact that threatens our survival more than any carnivorous fauna could. It is also the reason why it’s imperative that we learn to accept each other in larger groups than our current tribes. No matter how it may look, the only way to accomplish this is one at a time until eventually the one becomes all.

There are many Mister Rogers among us. They don’t speak loudly. We have to quiet our egos and listen to hear them, but they all tell us the same message. What to do with the mad you feel. Thank you, Mister Rogers, for reminding me I can do better.

Award winning, international playwright Elliott B. Baker grew up in Jacksonville, Florida. With four musicals and one play published and done throughout the United States, New Zealand, Portugal, England, and Canada, Elliott is pleased to turn his skill to writing action adventure novels.

A member of the Authors Guild and the Dramatists Guild, Elliott lives in New Hampshire with his beautiful wife Sally Ann.

Learn more about Elliot Baker on his website. Stay connected on Twitter and Facebook. Like Elliott’s Author Page on Facebook to learn all his latest news.

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Friday Features’

Guest talks about

her family Meat Salad

by

Tina Griffith

Meat Salad is a European dish that I have grew up with and still enjoy to this very day. Throughout the years, I’ve learned to make it even more special. Now it’s my own recipe and I take it to almost every event my family has. Of course, there are no left-overs, and people have always asked me for the recipe and today I give it to you.

It’s not difficult to make and is a delicious bouquet of flavors in your mouth. It can be made in any quantity you wish. Simply scale the ingredients up or down to fit your need. Shall we begin?

MEAT SALAD

    5 packages of your favorite lunch meat such as: black forest ham, Lyoner sausage, beer sausage, roast beef, mortadella
    1 jar garlic pickles, cut off both tips
    3 dashes paprika
    Miracle Whip (it’s mayo on steroids) to taste
    Rye bread

Dice lunch meat and pickles into same-size pieces. Place into a glass bowl, because steel or aluminum seem to alter the taste.

Add paprika and 3 to 4 large tablespoons of Miracle Whip to the mixture.

Do not add salt and/or pepper, because the meat has enough salt already.

Mix together so every piece of meat is covered. Chill 1 hour. Serve on a slice of soft, rye bread.

Here’s a bit from The Elusive Mr. Velucci, a timeless romance, I hope you’ll enjoy while your salad is chilling.

Enrico and Sadie were now standing alone, and it was their turn to say good-bye. They faced each other, he took her hands in his, and he spoke in an extremely compassionate tone.

“I didn’t realize how much you would mean to me when we first met”, he whispered with total sincerity. His eyes had filled up and he could hardly see, and with everything in his soul, he very much wanted to stay right where he was. He was miserable because he knew he couldn’t, so he promised to come back as soon as possible.

“Enrico”, she whimpered, as she looked lovingly into his eyes. Her voice had a gentle softness to it, with undertones of abandonment. She wanted to say a thousand more words, but they got stuck in her throat.

“I know”, he revealed, in a voice that was fragile and shaking. It was quite evident to everyone around them, that he wasn’t prepared to say good-bye to the beautiful girl standing in front of him. He brought his forehead forward until it was touching hers, and they cried with immense fear that they would never see each other again.

An announcement came over the P.A., which stated that all passengers must get checked in. It was in that moment when Enrico knew in his heart, that no miracle was coming and that he would have to leave. He pulled his head back from hers and looked deep into Sadie’s unhappy eyes. He had not expected to fall in love, and now he could feel his own heart breaking.

Enrico placed both of his hands against the sides of her face, and slowly closed his eyes. With all the love he had inside of him, he kissed her forehead, her cheeks, her nose, and then her mouth. It baffled him that this woman had provided him with the absolute need to love another living soul, for he would not have guessed that to be possible. He wanted to hold her, take care of her, know her whereabouts, and love her for the rest of his life, but he could not; he had waited too long to change the course of his immediate future.

Enrico was becoming frustrated that he had taken eight months to get to know her, but he had only had six hours to really love her. He pulled her body closer to his, and then held on tight. ‘If only I had known or acted sooner…’ he whispered.
Enrico needed to go, so he ended their embrace as hurriedly as it had begun.

A flash of wild grief suddenly ripped through her soul, as Sadie realized the true reality of what was happening. “Enrico!” she cried from every pore in her body. Her eyes were begging him to stay, while her heart was breaking into a million pieces. The whole thing suddenly felt very real, and severe panic began to fill every fiber of her being.

Enrico examined her face and he knew what she wanted. “I’ll be back”, he assured her, in a voice that was both soft and trying to stay strong. He picked up his suitcase with one hand, and he placed something in her hand with the other.

Without looking to see what it was, she swaddled the object safely in the palm of her hand, while keeping her eyes locked with his.

Enrico twisted his upper body to face his family and shouted, “Good-bye everyone!” He turned around to take one more look into the face of his beloved Sadie, and then he began to walk away.

“No!” she shouted loudly. The simple word dissolved into the air like a crispy leaf in the fall.

Enrico hadn’t gotten very far, and now it was him who was falling apart. He took one more look in her direction, put his hand to his mouth, and blew her a kiss. “Bye for now!” he said quietly. As he faced forward again, he began to cry. Not full-out crying like a small child who had gotten hurt on the playground, but a grown man’s frustration and enormous displeasure of things that he couldn’t fix or change.

Nothing in her mind or body was able to let him go, and now Sadie felt like she couldn’t breathe. Her muscles were paralyzed and she was experiencing numbness all over. Her eyebrows were raised, her eyes were wide open, and a look of extreme anxiety shot across her face.

While Enrico was moving his feet, he was trying to hide his appearance from the other travelers. He was utterly depressed and having a hard time forcing his emotions to stay down. He tried to make it look like he was holding back a sneeze rather than a flood of tears, but when one or two drops of salty water leaked out from their moist environment, Enrico wiped them off of his face with the sleeve of his right arm and kept going.

Sadie had been watching the man she loves walk away, and with an incredible amount of courage, she boldly took a few steps towards him. “En-ri-co!” She shouted his name as she extended her left hand far in front of her body, but he didn’t turn around. With sheer desperation gushing from the very core of her soul, she wanted to run after him, to hold him one last time, but she knew she couldn’t; their time was up.

Enrico heard her calling him, but he couldn’t bear to turn around again; he knew that if he saw her, he would run back into her arms and he would never let go. Instead, he made himself a promise to return to New York as soon as he could.

Sadie stood frozen in her tracks, while anxiety guided her every thought. She watched Enrico, as he continued to walk in a hurried pace, and she wanted him to come back. “Enrico”, she sighed, with little air passing through her trembling lips. “I love you.” Her head was bent in sorrow while the world was crashing down around her.

After Enrico boarded the large vessel, he made sure to stand on the very end of the large deck. He was facing her, but they were so far apart. His hand leaped high into the air and swayed back and forth, as he watched her wave back to him. He could tell that she was beckoning him to come back, and it was killing him that he couldn’t.

Sadie’s heart leaped in her chest when she saw him. “Enrico!” she called loudly. She saw him waving, and she waved back with as much energy as she could muster. She couldn’t take her eyes off of the handsome man, who only hours ago, had made passionate love to her. “I’m here!” she cried. Her voice had cracked and was full of raw emotion.

Enrico’s face was wearing the biggest smile of his life, and he waved with all of his might. “Sadie!” he called, as if she could hear him.

“Enrico!” she shouted. She knew in that instance that he was the man who she would love for the rest of her life.

The ship blew its horn a few times, and then it slowly pulled away from the dock.

“No!” she screamed, as her body went into an even bigger panic mode. Tears were trickling down her moist and flushed cheeks, as her soul was being smashed into a thousand different pieces. “Please don’t leave!” she pleaded at the top of her lungs. She was yelling with as much force as she had in her body, and was stunned that no-one was looking in her direction. ‘Why were they not helping me get him back?’ she wondered wildly.

“Sadie!” Enrico called, but the sound of his words were not as clear anymore. “I love you!” he added happily. “Can you hear me?”

With all the noise that was around her, Sadie’s ears didn’t get to receive his tender words. “How will I go on without you?” she cried, while choking on her own tears. Her heart was in her throat, her will to live had been taken away, and now there was a horrible, empty ache in her soul.

“Enrico!” Sadie shouted at full volume. She continued to step closer and closer to the edge of the platform, as the ship appeared to go further and further away from the shore. “No-o-o-o-o!” she screamed, as if that would somehow stop what was happening.

With each moment that passed, their hearts were growing heavier with the sadness that was now weighing them down. Minute-by-minute, their emotional pain was getting worse, and almost an hour later, the ship was nothing more than a mere dot on the large body of water.

Sadie had fallen to her knees before the ship had totally disappeared, and it was then when she discovered what Enrico had placed in her closed fist – a beautiful silver locket. On the left side of the elaborately engraved heart, was a picture of Enrico. On the right, was a picture of her.

AMAZON BUY LINKS E-BOOK PAPERBACK

Tina Griffith, who also wrote twenty-seven children’s books as Tina Ruiz, was born in Germany, but her family moved to Canada when she was in grammar school.

After her husband of 25 years passed away, she wrote romance novels to keep the love inside her heart. Tina now has eleven romance novels on Amazon, and while all of them have undertones of a love story, they are different genres; murder, mystery, whimsical, witches, ghosts, suspense, adventure, and her sister’s scary biography.

Tina has worked in television and radio as well as being a professional clown at the Children’s Hospital. She lives in Calgary with her second husband who encourages her to write her passion be it high-quality children’s books or intriguing romance.

Stay connected with Tina (Griffith) Ruiz on her Facebook group Tina Speaks Out.

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Friday Features’

Guest talks about her new cookbook

Recipes to Create Holidays Extraordinaire

by

Sloane Taylor

New from Toque & Dagger Publishing an exciting cookbook filled with recipes perfect for celebrating life. Recipes to Create Holidays Extraordinaire, Book 3 in the Meals to Make Together series, is now available in e-book and paperback.

Liven up 2020 with this new cookbook. The 113 taste tempting recipes come together to celebrate 35 traditional, and far from typical, holidays with meals perfect for two or twenty. These complete menus are guaranteed to excite your taste buds and satisfy your most discriminating diner. Start a new tradition by inviting your family into the kitchen for holiday fun.

Entertain like royalty year-round on a working woman’s budget. No exotic or expensive products to buy. These delicious recipes use ingredients already on your kitchen shelves.

Recipes to Create Holidays Extraordinaire is a fun gift for every holiday celebration, hostesses, bridal showers, or the couple who wants to enjoy quality time together.

BUY LINKS

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

Taylor’s cookbooks, Date Night Dinners, Romantic Meals to Dine al Fresco, and Recipes to Create Holidays Extraordinaire are released by Toque & Dagger Publishing and available at all book vendors.

Excerpts from her books and free reads can be found on her website, blog, and her Amazon Author Page. Connect with Taylor on Facebook and Twitter.

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Friday Features’

Guest talks about

Liking cars

by

Anne Montgomery

I have never cared much about cars. Never understood why people spend so much to get the newest, fastest, sleekest version with the most gadgets. The last vehicle I bought came after my mechanic pointed at my ancient Geo Prism and ordered me to drive it one last time.

“Take it to a dealership and turn it in,” he advised. “Get a new car!”

The day I abandoned my Prism in a dealer’s parking lot, I found a vehicle that spoke to me. It was a black Ford Ranger pickup. Slightly used – I think I read 14 thousand miles on the speedometer. Black paint sparkled in the Arizona sun. I drove it around the block.

“That’s the one,” I said to my sweetie pie, who’d accompanied me on my car hunt. Following what felt like half a day of paperwork, I drove my new truck home.

Later, I stood proudly by my recent purchase. My mother squinted at the pickup’s bed where I’d installed a bright silver toolbox to hold my rock collecting gear, camping equipment, and emergency rations on the off chance I might find myself stuck in the wilderness for any length of time.

She stared at me. “Aren’t you afraid of what people will think of you?”

“I am a black pickup kind of girl, Mom.”

She shook her head.

“Really.”

My truck is now going on 19. I love my old truck. We share lots of memories: good, bad, and ugly. Together we’ve had countless adventures into the mountains and deserts, some wondrous, some difficult, and a few rather dangerous, in retrospect. Still, we always made it home. Eventually.

Then, my parents, in their nineties, mercifully decided to give up their car. I had been begging them for years to stop driving. Anyone who’s butted up against that major-life decision understands the complexities inherent in taking the keys away from mom and dad.

“We’ll sell the car,” my mother finally announced.

That vehicle, a blue 2010 Ford Fusion, now sits in my driveway. Though my mom continues to tell anyone who will listen that I took the car, Ryan and I wrote them a check for a little over seven grand.

A funny thing happened when I started driving the Fusion. I liked the built-in bells and whistles. Note that the vehicle is not high end, but compared to my truck, the little car is like owning a rocket ship. We call her Zippy. Now, when I drive my pickup, it feels only slightly more mobile than a covered wagon.

Then I got a letter in the mail: AIRBAG RECALL! I stared at the red triangle depicting a driver facing a steering wheel that had burst into flames. I read the section that said, “Until parts are available …your dealer is authorized to provide you with a rental vehicle.”

Today, a 2018 Ford Fusion Platinum sits in my driveway. The car boasts a power tilt/telescoping steering column with memory, dual integrated bright exhaust, premium leather-wrapped and stitched instrument panel and console rails, and myriad other extras I couldn’t possibly explain. The overall effect is…well…Wow!

I’ve had the rental for several months. It seems Ford is having a great deal of trouble getting the parts to fix the airbag that might explode and shred me with shrapnel. Apparently, 37 million vehicles have been identified as needing the fix, and more are expected to be added to the list. Takata, the maker of the defective airbags, announced it might take five years to install all the replacements.

I wonder sometimes, especially when those comfy leather seats are hugging me in their soft embrace, when I will have to return my pretty sedan. Neither Ford nor the rental company seem to care that the $40,000 vehicle is occupying space in my driveway day after day.

I have never cared much about cars. Never understood why people spend so much to get the newest, fastest, sleekest version with the most gadgets. Until now.

Perhaps Ford will forget about my cute little rental. I’ve grown quite fond of her.

Here is a brief intro to my novel dealing with abuse and it’s aftermath. I hope you’ll take a moment to peek into it.

Two Arizona teens find their fates intertwined. Are there any adults they can trust? Can they even trust each other?

Rose Madsen will do anything to keep from being married off to one of the men in her Fundamentalist Mormon (FLDS) community, even endure the continued beatings and abuse of her mother. But when her mentally handicapped baby sister is forced to strangle the bird she loves at the behest of the Prophet, Rose frees the bird and runs away.

Adan Reyes will do anything to escape the abusive foster care system in Phoenix, even leaving his good friends and successful high school athletic career behind him. Ill-prepared for surviving the desert, Adan hits the road only to suffer heat stroke. Found by a local handyman, he catches a glimpse of a mysterious girl—Rose—running through town, and follows her into the mountains where they are both tracked and discovered by the men of the FLDS community.

With their fates now intertwined, can Rose and Adan escape the systems locking them into lives of abuse? Will Rose be forced to marry the Prophet, a man her father’s age, and be one of dozens of wives, perpetually pregnant, with no hope for an education? Will Adan be returned to the foster home where bullying and cruelty are common? Is everyone they meet determined to keep them right where they belong or are some adults worthy of their trust?

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

Character interview with the

Hero of

The Turning Stone Chronicles

Moderator: Today we are talking with Rhys Temple, the hero in The Promised One and an important character throughout The Turning Stone Chronicles. There are several questions we would like to ask you today and then we will let the commenters ask some questions if that’s okay with you?

Rhys: Fire away.

Moderator: Was it difficult working with Alexi Jordan while falling in love with her?

Rhys: Difficult? No, I wouldn’t say it was difficult, especially with the way she looks and moves. Working with her was easy as we seemed to fit together very well, and as our love grew, going to work got easier each day. Things only became difficult when I found out about her secret and the Turning Stone Society.

Moderator: Did you suspect that Alexi had feelings for you?

Rhys: There were some signs, hints you might say, over the years. Alexi has a very intense way of looking and reacting when she is interested in something. I could see that appear in her when the other women in the office made any overtures toward me. Gladys said Alexi really went at a couple of the women when they were deciding who was baking my birthday cake. Glad I wasn’t in the squad-room for that.

Moderator: Were the consequences of admitting your love worth the risk?

Rhys: Well, that question hasn’t been fully answered yet through the four books in the series. Our authors, C. D. Hersh, don’t plan for us to come to fully grasp what all the risks are until the sixth and final book of the series. I have to say though; if you don’t take a risk on love then I’m sure you are going to miss out on a lot. Took me some time to understand that.

Moderator: How long have you known you loved Alexi?

Rhys: Ha! Everyone seems to ask that question. Of course, she looked great from the beginning, so I was attracted. But it was her drive, determination and, I think, dedication to the police work that really drew me in. If I have to pick a specific point that would be about a year after we started working together. There was a murder case, about a dock-worker, where she didn’t wait for me to get to her location before she charged in. For some reason something told me to go around to the back side of the warehouse to enter. That put me behind the guys who had tied Alexi up and were going to use her as a hostage. I was able to take one of them down but the other one almost stabbed me in the back. Even tied up, Alexi was able to block the knife, but she got sliced on her arm. From that point on I realized I loved her.

Moderator: What’s next for the two of you?

Rhys: I’m not the one you should be asking. I am aware that our authors are working on the fifth book of our series and, given what we’ve been through, I’m guessing there is more shape shifting and fighting the rogues. I’m hoping we get to settle back soon and let the youngsters take over but before that happens Alexi has to realize that our son has grown into a man.

Moderator: Okay, now that Rhys has answered some questions from us, what question would you like to ask him?

 

Excerpt from the Promised One:

No one knew what Rhys Temple liked better than Alexi Jordan. That’s what made them such good partners. That same intimacy would also make them great lovers, a thought that had crossed her mind many times.

Alexi retrieved Rhys’ birthday cake from the back seat of her car. The privilege of baking this momentous-occasion pastry had almost brought her to blows with the rest of the females in the precinct office. She scooped up his birthday gift and then dropped it as the cake box slid down her arm. A quick slap on the clear plastic lid stopped the perilous drop, but squished the yellow roses she’d so carefully crafted onto the German Chocolate cake.

She examined the decorations. Rhys’ name, age, and birthday salutation were intact. She sighed. “So much for presentation.”

A deep chuckle sounded behind her. “Need some help?”

“Hey, birthday boy.” Alexi motioned toward Rhys. “Get your gift.”

His eyebrows rose, and a seductive grin eased across his face as his arm circled Alexi’s waist.

Electricity shot through her causing her to shudder. “Not me.” At least, not for now. “The box. In the car.”

“Oh, that gift.” He released her, his hand trailing across her back.

She jabbed at him with her elbow.

He shrugged, his grin playful. “You can’t blame a guy for trying.”

He’d been “trying” for some time now. It was starting to get to her, but there was no way she could afford to give in. Too many things stood in the way.

As he maneuvered his tall body in front of her, his taut abdomen brushed against her in a way she felt was purposely seductive. Old Spice cologne mixed with a manly scent, uniquely Rhys, drifted past her. She loved the way he smelled.

She backed away. He made concentrating difficult. So much that in the year and a half they’d worked homicide, she’d often been tempted to ask for another partner. But the thought of not spending most days with him always changed her mind.

 

Now here is a little about the paranormal series, The Turning Stone Chronicles.

Three ancient Celtic families. A magical Bloodstone that enables the wearers to shape shift. A charge to use the stone’s power to benefit mankind, and a battle, that is going on even today, to control the world. Can the Secret Society of shape shifters called the Turning Stone Society heal itself and bring peace to our world? Find out in The Series The Turning Stone Chronicles.

 

The Promised One, book one:

When homicide detective Alexi Jordan is forced to use her shape shifting powers to catch a paranormal killer, she risks the two most important things in her life—her badge and the man she loves.

 

Blood Brothers, book two:

Shape shifter Delaney Ramsey’s daughter is missing, and she is bound by honor to protect the man she suspects of the deed. To bring him to justice, she must go against her code, the leader of the secret shifter society, and the police captain she is falling for.

 

Son of the Moonless Night, book three:

Thrust back into the world of paranormal huntress, Deputy Coroner Katrina Romanovski must unravel a string of murders she believes are vampire attacks. When she discovers the shape shifter she’s in love with is the murderer, she must reconcile her feelings for him, examine her life of violence against paranormals, and justify deceiving him in order to bring him to justice.

 

The Mercenary and the Shifters, book four:

A desperate call from an ex-military buddy lands a mercenary soldier in the middle of a double kidnapping, caught in an ancient shape shifter war, and ensnared between two female shape shifters after the same thing … him.

 

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Friday Features’

Guest shares

A recipe for a healthy dessert

by

Gina Briganti

C.D. Hersh invited me to their virtual kitchen today to share a clean, healthy dessert. Are you expecting twigs covered in carob? I won’t say I haven’t had yummy carob desserts, but I have serious chocolate on my mind.

Do you think you aren’t allowed to have chocolate pecan cheesecake? Not. True. You can have these. They’re also gluten-free.

One way you stay in balance while eating this treat is that they are decadent and you likely will not eat more than two.

Chocolate Pecan Cheesecake Popper

    ½ cup organic cream cheese, softened
    2 tbsp. organic unsweetened cocoa powder
    1 tbsp. organic raw pecans, ground, and another tbsp. for sprinkling on top

Mix all but the final tablespoon of pecans together (by hand works fine) in a mixing bowl until the cream cheese and cocoa powder are smooth and creamy.

Put the mixture in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Sprinkle your hands with water, then shape ½ tbsp. of the mixture at a time into balls.

Garnish with the ground pecans you held in reserve.

Keep refrigerated until party time.

Easy, creamy, deep chocolate flavor. That’s what I call holistic!

Here’s a peek into my fantasy romance where dreams and psychic connections become reality. This is the first book in the series. I hope you enjoy it.

Single mom Dana Carapelli wakes up in a parallel world called the Dreaming for the first time the night before she meets a handsome rancher. Soon after she wakes into the Dreaming again and finds that she is on his ranch. He knows all about the Dreaming because he wakes up there every time he falls asleep. When he tests their telepathy link she passes, plunging her into a psychic link with him. He admits that he has been promised a perfect partner for him and his teenage son, but doesn’t know if it’s her. Family and friends caution her to take it slow and that’s without her telling them what she knows will make them sound crazy. Joe is everything her dead husband wasn’t. What if it’s her turn to be happy? What if it’s real?

Start the journey into this fantasy romance today!

Amazon Buy Links


Gina Briganti is an RWA member who writes fantasy and sci-fi romance in north Texas.

She also writes holistic health non-fiction because real life can be magic, too. Her credentials in holistic health include certification as a Reiki Master Practitioner and teacher, certification as a nutrition consultant, and a degree in holistic nutrition.

When she’s not writing, eating delicious healthy food, reading (follow her on Goodreads to see the massive variety she finds appealing) or making videos, she is spending time with family and friends. Her constant companion is a special soul who masquerades as a dog.

Visit her website and blog for book trailers, newsletter sign up, for exclusives and announcements that are shared only in her newsletter.

Stay connected on Facebook, Gina’s Amazon Author Page, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram.

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