Posts Tagged ‘Friday Feature’

Friday Features’

Is Happy to share the news

Soul Mate Publishing is proud to announce the release of a

new book by

Janis Lane

Murder by Proxy, a Detective Kevin Fowler cozy mystery.

A blizzard blows in big-city crimes which spill into the peaceful small town of Hubbard, New York, catching the attention of Detective Kevin Fowler and staff. What unusual acts engage the Secret Service with the local cops? A young man is found badly beaten in the heated greenhouse of the Young Family Plant Nursery. Early spring melt reveals a sinister vehicle with a deadly cargo, even as the master of the greenhouse welcomes part-time alumni.

Romance swirls, tumbles, and produces surprising changes among the group of friends at Buddy and Rita’s diner. Beverly hires a young, ambitious reporter to work at the growing newspaper and starts a new adventure of her own, while Kevin watches over the townspeople of Hubbard. The mystery of a toxic skunk is finally routed by troublesome out-of-towners. An unexpected wedding shocks everyone but the Young Family. Spring has arrived and May is in full bloom in the Western New York small-town Americana, as another beautiful bride walks toward the flower-laded bower under the approving eyes of a group of fond friends.


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

Her dream job


Alicia Joseph

When I was in college, back in 1998, I took a creative writing course where I wrote two horribly written short stories and some really bad poems. The stories were called The Hideout and The Attic. Apparently, I wasn’t very creative with titles back then.

To this day, I don’t know why I didn’t toss those papers in the trash the moment the semester ended. But not only did those pages make the trip back home with me, they managed to survive a couple decades in a bin with so many of my other failed writing attempts.

About eight years ago, (damn time flies) I pulled out that dusty bin and went through those old writings. It had been a while since I’d written at that time, and I wanted to get back into it. After all, being a writer was always my dream. Life, with all of its distractions, had pulled me off course for a little while, but I found my way back to it, and I thought past writings was a good place to start.

Turns out, I was right.

Even though those old stories were really bad, as I read through them, I found a storyline in each I could build on. I turned The Hideout into a novel titled A Penny on the Tracks that was published in 2017. It’s an LGBTQ coming-of-age story about friendship, loyalty, and the struggles of coming out. The story revolves around two best friends, Lyssa and Abbey, who discover a hideout near train tracks. They spend the summer before sixth grade hanging out and finding freedom from issues at home. But their innocence shatters when the hide becomes the scene of a tragic death.

As for the other story, The Attic, that one went through many rewrites with two major plot changes and took me two extra years to write. It was frustrating and many times I wanted to give up, move on to another story, but it was contracted. The new name of that book is Annabel and the Boy in the Window. I’m unable to put into words the relief I feel in finally putting that story to rest.

I am now in the process of revising what was my first attempt at writing a full-length novel that I wrote shortly after graduating college. I had finished it, but as with the short stories, the writing was horrible.

So, in the bin those pages went. A couple of years back I fished the pages out of the bin. Just like the short stories, I found a storyline I could work with. I hope to be finished with the story my summer. After that, I have two more previous attempts at novels I will look at and see if there’s a storyline in them to work.

Despite having a drawer full of new story ideas, I can’t leave my old stories behind. They take up too much space in my head. I need them gone before I can fully concentrate on new projects.

If you’re a writer, do you keep old stories? How do you decide which ones to salvage and which one to let go? I now realize it’s not just old stories I have a hard time letting go. Past relationships, old friendships, cherished memories from a time that can never be lived again, all have a hold on me.

Here is a glimpse into my coming-of-age novel A Penny on the Tracks. I hope you enjoy it.

“When a train runs over a penny, the penny changes form, but it can still be a penny if I want it to be. Or I can make it be something else.”

Lyssa and her best friend Abbey discover a hideout near the train tracks and spend the summer before sixth grade hanging out and finding freedom from issues at home. Their childhood innocence shatters when the hideout becomes the scene of a tragic death.

As they’re about to graduate from high school, Abbey’s family life spirals out of control while Lyssa is feeling guilty for deceiving Abbey about her sexuality.

After another tragic loss, Lyssa finds out that a penny on the track is sometimes a huge price to pay for the truth.


Alicia Joseph grew up in Westchester, Illinois. She has many works-in-progress that she hopes to finish soon. Life permitting.

When she is not writing, Alicia enjoys volunteering with animals, rooting for her favorite sports teams, and playing “awesome aunt” to her nine nieces and nephews.

Learn more about Alicia Joseph on her blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

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Friday Features’

Guest talks about

Really, it was all my idea


Anne Montgomery

I became a sports official to learn about the games so that I might become a competent sportscaster. It seemed like a good idea, and yet, during my 15-year reporting career, I never met any other officials who became broadcasters.

A long time ago, back when I hoped to earn a paycheck in front of a TV camera, I had what I thought was a moment of brilliance. Why, I opined, wouldn’t TV networks want to hire sports officials and put them in the broadcast booth? The idea seemed like a win-win.

Of course, I was a tad biased. I had taken five years and learned to officiate five sports: football, baseball, ice hockey, soccer, and basketball. All with the hope that my new-found on-field expertise might wrangle me a job as a sportscaster. While blowing whistles and calling balls and strikes did eventually help me get my foot in the sports journalism world, I never in 15 years as a reporter meet any other broadcasters from the officiating ranks.

When I was a SportsCenter anchor at ESPN, I suggested it might be a good idea to put former officials in the broadcast booth. My colleagues thought I was crazy.

Fast forward to today, where former officials are now miced up and sharing their thoughts on calls with the viewing public. That makes me want to hop into Mr. Peabody’s Wayback Machine and confront my old colleagues at ESPN.

“It would be great,” I explained in the newsroom back in 1990. “You could put officials in the booth and they could explain why certain calls were made.”


“You know, clear up confusion for the viewers.”

My remarks, as I recall, were met by head shakes indicating that I was certainly out of my mind. Who would ever want to listen to sports officials speak? They intimated.

Fast forward thirty years and there they are, with the NFL leading the way. Former officials and now rules analysts Mike Pereira, Dean Blandino, and Terry McAulay, among others. Then there’s Gene Steratore, who along with his 15-year NFL career spent 20 years calling college basketball games and is now an analyst for both sports.

The question is, what took the networks so long? Sports rules are complicated. Don’t believe me? Ask someone to explain what constitutes a catch is in football. Or the reasoning behind and execution of an infield fly in baseball. Or the difference between a foul ball and a foul tip. Or when icing is waved off in hockey. Or how to tell a charge from a block in basketball. Or what constitutes traveling. Oh, wait. No one calls that anymore.

While fans might better understand their favorite sports by listening to former officials in the booth, maybe they’re happier just arguing about the rules.

Anyway, if you don’t believe me, pick up a rule book. Just read one page. I dare you. Rules and their corresponding diagrams can sometimes look like hieroglyphics with descriptions written by folks from MENSA. So why not hire people who study those books for a living? Then they can dumb down the rules to make them more digestible to the viewing public.

Then again, many fans thrive on controversy and arguing about calls is high on their list of entertaining things to do. Maybe if they actually understood the rules, some of the fun might be drained out of sports fandom.

As a purist, I think it’s better to truly understand the rules, but since I spent four decades as an amateur official, I’m clearly more than a little biased.

Here is a peek at one of my women’s fiction novels. I hope you enjoy it.

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

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

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

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

Amazon Buy Links

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

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

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

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Friday Features

We talk about

words and meanings

The difference between the right word and the nearly right word is the same as that between lightening and the lightening bug
—Mark Twain.

I (The C in C.D. Hersh) personally experienced Mr. Twain’s quote when the telephone company crossed our phone lines with that of another customer. Upon calling customer service, I explained the problem and noted something different about the employee’s accent.

“Where are you located?” I asked him.

“The Philippines,” he replied.

As he was unable to resolve my problem to my satisfaction I asked to speak to his supervisor. Big mistake, as the supervisor had a thicker accent. To make a long story short, I finally got through to the person on the other end of the line that they needed to check my phone records, or rather the phone records of the number I was calling from—which wasn’t my number, and they would see how to resolve the problem as this was the second time they had switched my phone line with this person.

After much checking and rechecking on what I’d said, the phone company employee gave me a time that they would attempt to fix the problem. He said the technician would come to our apartments and look in our phone boxes. I repeatedly told him neither of us lived in apartments and there should be no need for the technician to come into our homes. We lived in houses a mile apart and no one had been messing with our phone boxes. The problem was on their end, or rather in a relay box somewhere near where we live. I should have taken the hint right then that we weren’t on the same page, English-wise or culturally.

Then he said we should keep our phone lines open.

Now I don’t know what that meant to him, but to me it meant staying on the line. “Do you mean you want me to not hang up the phone?” I asked, wondering how that make any sense and how it was going to work for the allotted time to would take to fix the line.

“No,” he said, “keep it by your side.”

“Keep it by my side?” That made about as much sense as putting Godiva dark chocolates on a hot sidewalk. “Do you mean you want me to carry it around with me?” I asked.

“No,” he replied.

I searched my brain for another definition of keeping the line open. “Then do you want us not make any calls or take any calls on our lines?” I asked.

He said some other unintelligible phrase, obviously as frustrated as I was at his botched attempts. Finally, he blurted out, “Don’t unplug the phone.”

“Why would I do that?” I asked, completely bamboozled at his definition. That, I thought, would be a stupid thing to do, and had absolutely no relationship to the phrase “keep the lines open.” What he tried to express to me, with what appeared to be a very basic understanding of English, was as close to lightening as lightening is to a lightening bug.

Next time I have to deal with the phone company, I’m asking where the customer service employee is located, and calling back until I get someone in America. Hopefully, they’ll know the difference between lightening and the lightening bug.

Links for our books are on our Amazon Author Page

BIO: C.D. Hersh–Two hearts creating everlasting love stories.
Putting words and stories on paper is second nature to co-authors C.D. Hersh. They’ve written separately since they were teenagers and discovered their unique, collaborative abilities in the mid-90s. As high school sweethearts and husband and wife, Catherine and Donald believe in true love and happily ever after.

They are looking forward to many years of co-authoring and book sales, and a lifetime of happily-ever-after endings on the page and in real life.

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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Friday Features’

Guest talks about

The Value of an editor review


Sharon Ledwith

Do you want to know how to make your manuscript stronger? Polished? Close to publication? Psst…I can help with that. Correction—my former editor, Kathy Teel, can help with that. The following advice is gold to writers seasoned or new. Read on…

  • The word “as” is not your friend. It is almost never your best choice. In any MS, find all occurrences of it and cut at least half. This is especially true when it occurs near a dialogue tag.
  • You don’t need both an action tag and a dialogue tag. For example: Jojo sneered at him, saying, “That was helpful.” Those should look like this: Jojo sneered. “That was helpful.” (This is where many of those words were cut)
  • Dialogue tags go after the first clause in the dialogue, not at the end, unless it’s a short bit of dialogue and we know exactly who’s speaking. “Thanks,” Monkey said. “You never know when you’re going to need an antique bassoon.”
  • Avoid adverbs, especially around dialogue tags. “I hate you, you big fat jerk!” Merry screamed furiously. No, really, he’s furious? We got that from the dialogue AND the verb (scream), you don’t have to beat us with it by adding on an adverb.
  • People don’t usually use each other’s names very much when speaking together.
  • A sentence with 2 independent clauses does not have a comma: My daughter turned on Dr. Who and her friend rolled her eyes. NOT: My daughter turned on Dr. Who, and her friend rolled her eyes.
  • Use “said” 95% of the time. Delete your thesaurus’ entry for the word “said,” and don’t use replacement words for it, except in very rare absolutely necessary cases.
  • Don’t use dialogue tags at all unless it’s otherwise unclear who’s speaking. If you need to indicate who’s speaking, try to use an action tag instead of a dialogue tag: Jingle jumped out of his chair. “I know that elf!”

That’s it. Well, not all. There’s always something when it comes to polishing and gleaning your manuscript to share with the world. The above sage advice was passed on to me because I made these common mistakes. I thought I’d share them so that any writer reading this may in turn, better their best.

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


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


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


Legend of the Timekeepers, prequel Buy Links:


Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls Teen Psychic Mystery Series:

Lost and Found, Book One Buy Links:


Blackflies and Blueberries, Book Two Buy Links:


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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Friday Features’

Guest talks about

Planting for the spring


Emma Lane

Years ago, when we bought an old house, we promptly began the task of remuddling. Yes, not remolding, but muddling. We were careful to check out similar homes in the area, so we didn’t change it too much. But I had deck on my mind and no house like ours was showing anything similar to a deck. We had a lot of things to do before frivolous building could begin, but I was impatient. In my mind it was already there.

So, I picked out my first privacy plant. It was an ordinary lavender lilac, a puny thing I dug up from my better half’s childhood home. Only in my imagination was it a visible noise barrier from the busy highway out front.

Oh, I petted it and gave it water during that first hot summer. By the next year I had mostly forgotten about it. Too many other plants to tend and this one was surviving without me. Long story short, by the time the deck was finally number one on the task list, my lilac was blooming and looked like this.


I’m pleased I had the foresight to plan ahead. In the summer, we enjoy total privacy while lounging in gentle summer breezes directly off the kitchen. Originally, we thought to put a roof over it, but once we sat staring up through the foliage of an ancient maple, we allowed nature to coax us to leave it be.

Lilacs bloom in the early spring. I leave it to either your own experiences or your imagination how heavenly the fragrance is from these old-fashioned shrubs. Hardy and trouble free, they delight year after year. I highly recommend you plant one.

How about a glimpse into my latest cozy mystery? It is the fourth in the Detective Kevin Fowler series.

When is it not fun to be a blond?

What happens when a blond beauty hits town like a tornado stirring up memories and causing turmoil? Detective Kevin Fowler and his wife, the former Beverly Hampton, owner of the local newspaper, are settling into blissful married life. Although Beverly is sanguine over the demand on Kevin’s time by the good people of Hubbard, she is more than dubious when his duties include the escort of a drop-dead gorgeous female from his past.

There is some concern over the persistent vandalism of residential mailboxes, but an infamous arsonist has decided peaceful but dull Hubbard would make a great place from which to operate. He brazenly locates down the block from the detective and his wife.

What bait and tackle shop in the village has a dual purpose? Kevin ponders why two goons have invaded town shooting at and attempting to kidnap and murder three women. A state patrolman, aptly nick named Rooster, teases Fowler at the riotous scene of a traffic accident where the press, not the police, wins the day.

Another mystery and adventure with a satisfying ending unfolds in peaceful Hubbard, New York, small-town Americana, where Detective Kevin Fowler keeps an ever-vigilant watch.


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

We talk about

lip locking fun!


Photo from the U.S Navy files via Wikimedia

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

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

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

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

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

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

The next step in the research is to write a 600-word kissing scene. Better yet, we think we’ll set the timer and create our own Guinness World Record for kissing. That’s bound to be more fun than struggling to write 600 kissing related words on the computer. ☺

Have you kissed someone you love today?

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

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

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

“I hate chamomile tea,” he confessed.

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

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

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

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

The doorbell rang, startling them apart.

If this piques your interest, then 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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Friday Features’

Guest talks about her

mentor as a cook


Sloane Taylor

My obsession with cooking is his fault. No denying it. He was a carpenter until the Army sent him an invitation to join their illustrious ranks. He did and was made a cook. Go figure. Until then he had no clue about kitchen work, but he soon learned and loved his job. Fast forward to me age five. This quiet mountain of a man sat me in a chair close to the stove where he created magic with the merest of supplies. He was patient and answered every dumb question I asked while he encouraged me to toss in a handful of chives, parsley, or whatever else was available. He made cooking interesting and fun. Watching and working with my favorite uncle was a wonderful experience I cherish.

Time passed and I setup my own household. No longer did I have the ease of single dish prep. I had to concoct the entire meal and was expected to cook many entire meals. Fear struck so I beelined to the store and stocked up on cookbooks. And that led to frustration. All those delicious sounding recipes left it up to me to decide what to serve with them. Beans or peas? Fried or boiled potatoes? To salad or not. You get the idea. We’re not talking Haute cuisine, but a clue or two from those big-buck chefs, whose books I paid dearly for, would sure have helped. And that’s why I took matters into my own hands and wrote a cookbook, Date Night Dinners available on Amazon, with full menus minus desserts. I don’t bake and my family is grateful since my creations are horrible.

Back to hands, I use mine for most meal prep instead of spoons and spatulas. Therefore, I work with big pots, pans, and bowls. That means more washing by hand, but everything stays in the container, and I have room to work comfortably with the ingredients instead of them flying all over the counter.

We’re cooking here not baking, so no need to be precise. Change measurements to suit your taste. You love garlic – toss in more. Pepper isn’t your thing – leave it out. Make these recipes your own. Side dishes and beverages are suggestions not a rule of thumb. Those recipes are found in the Veggies section or Salads, Sauces, Sides, & Extras section at the back of my cookbooks.

So, grab your partners and don your aprons. Crack open a bottle of your favorite wine! Let’s take a giant step forward to ease the burden of overworked women and bring romance back into our lives with meals to make together for a romantic evening.

May you enjoy all the days of your life filled with good friends, laughter, and seated around a well-laden table!


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.

To learn more about Taylor go to her website. Stay in touch on Blogger, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Taylor’s cookbooks, Date Night Dinners, Date Night Dinners Italian Style, Sizzling Summer, and Recipes to Create Holidays Extraordinaire are released by Toque & Dagger Publishing and available on Amazon.

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Friday Features’

Guest shares a

Recipe from the home country


Stella May

This is an easy version of a very popular dish among Armenians and Azeris called kutab which is stuffed flat bread. In a classic version, you have to make a dough from scratch. But I am making my Kutabs with soft large flour tortillas you can find in any supermarket. This is so easy to make, any novice (and any man) can do it. Plus, it’s fast and a very filling dish.

There are several different stuffings for Kutabs. The most popular is Green Stuffing, a combination of different herbs. There is also Meat Stuffing that is delicious. The recipe I’m sharing makes 10 large or 12 medium Kutabs.

Kutab Green Stuffing

1 bunch cilantro

1 bunch parsley1 bunch dill1-

2 bunches green onions, depends on size

1 bunch baby spinach

2 – 3 tbsp. lemon juice½ cup olive or sunflower oil

Salt and pepper to taste

1 egg

Wash and dry all herbs, then chop coarsely. Sweep them into a large bowl. Add lemon juice, oil, salt, and pepper. Mix well.

Beat the egg in a small bowl. Fill half of a tortilla with stuffing, leaving a little bit space at the edges. I measure it by handfuls and use 2 handfuls for each Kutab. Use a brush to apply egg to the edges. Fold tortilla in half and then press with your fingers to make the edges stick together.

Pre-heat a large skillet. Add a little oil. The classic version calls for a dry pan, but my family prefers the Kutabs fried in avocado oil. Olive oil works well, too.

Cook on medium heat until both sides are golden brown. Makes perfect lunch or dinner. We eat it with feta cheese and plain yogurt.

Kutab Meat Stuffing

1 – 1½ lb. finely ground meat

1 large onion2 – 3 garlic cloves

Salt and pepper to taste

½ cup cold water

1 egg

Use a food processor mash onion and garlic. Add already ground meat. Mix well together. Add salt, pepper, and water.

Instead of greens, spread meat on half of the tortilla, seal with beaten egg, and then cook per the Green Stuffing instructions.

For meat Kutabs, you can use any sauce. Works perfect with marinara.


Here is a peek at Stella’s time travel romance 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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Friday Features’

Guest talks about

Learning a new way to eat


Alicia Joseph

My plan to eat completely plant-based food for thirty days lasted about seventeen days. Though I failed to eat one hundred percent plant-based, doesn’t mean I completely gorged myself on junk vegan processed foods, although I did overindulge a little. A while back Buona Beef, a local Chicago based fast food restaurant that specializes in Italian beef, debuted its Italian “beefless” sandwich.

It tasted just as I remembered how an Italian beef should. Even my omnivore neighbor couldn’t taste a difference. Italian beef sandwiches were one of my favorites once upon a time. They were more “Chicago” than hotdogs and deep-dish pizza. But vegan wise. There was nothing comparable to the real thing…until now.

In just weeks I had three of them. Don’t judge! I’m making up for lost time. At least I found the will to steer clear of my favorite vegan ice creams – and there are many. Still, despite my affinity for all things Beyond Burgers and Daiya pizzas, I do have my limits to the amount of delicious vegan processed junk I consume on a regular basis. I enjoy many simple vegan meals that are based around foods that were grown in the ground and not in a lab. Now if those labs grown foods replace animals from being torturously slaughtered, then I’m all for it…with some consumption limitations.

Here are some of the good foods I discovered. My non vegan friends like them, too.

Avocado on toast with giardiniera relish makes a yummy veggie sandwich.

Toasted bread with avocado, sautéed mushrooms, and sliced grape tomatoes.

Pasta seasoned with olive oil, black olives, cherry tomatoes, and a sprinkling of basil.

Although I failed the challenge, I made to myself, one habit that is now permanent is not filling my freezer with all my favorite vegan junk foods – pizzas. Burger, sausages, corn dogs, and ice cream. If it’s not in my house, I can’t eat it.

Here is one of my books. I hope you enjoy it.



Alicia Joseph grew up in Westchester, Illinois. She has many works-in-progress that she hopes to finish soon. Life permitting.

When she is not writing, Alicia enjoys volunteering with animals, rooting for her favorite sports teams, and playing “awesome aunt” to her nine nieces and nephews.

Learn more about Alicia Joseph on her blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

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