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Friday Features’

Guest talks about

Family Secret Recipes or parental respect

by

KD DuBois

I feel bad that I don’t have a recipe to share, but here’s why: my mother.

Anything I have worth sharing comes from a collection my mother handed to me when I left college and moved into my first apartment. On each card, in the top right corner and in bold, capital letters, she wrote FAMILY SECRET RECIPE and underlined the words—twice. During the hand-off, she didn’t let go of the stack until I had looked her in the eye and promised I wouldn’t share them. And you know what I stared into, the mom-glare that makes you squirm even thinking about it.

Nope, no way in hell am I going to incur the wrath of Mom. She may be over eighty, but I’m fairly positive she could still whup my butt.

Writing this post has made me think it may be time to get permission from Mom to share some of those recipes. You know, the way the military reviews classified information after 25-years and decides whether or not to downgrade it. She and Dad are coming to visit sometime this month—and I won’t know the exact date until they’re halfway here and decide to tell me they’ve hit the road—so it might be time to have our own declassification review.

I bet eighty percent get through and the rest fall under some type of exemption.

We’ll have fun, though, walking down memory lane for each one, reliving some special moment or remembering those in our family who are no longer with us and either loved or hated the dish. I bet we also remember the apple pie we never got to eat because of a tornado, much like Dawn’s family experienced in Daughter of the South Wind.

In a way, the process will be our own Thanksgiving for the rich lives we’ve lived. And I’ll make a few of recipes, too, because, duh, they wouldn’t be secret if they weren’t tasty.
All I can offer you is a yummy read, and my book (e-book) Daughter of the South Wind will be on sale for FREE from 12-16 Nov. Click on the link below to get it, and keep checking this blog or my social media for one of those recipes!

BLURB

As if grad school wasn’t hard enough, Dawn Wynham battles her bossy sister’s interference with her private life and resists divulging one secret—her very realistic dreams about tornados and the man who morphs out of them, Nino. After chasing twisters for her meteorology degree, why not indulge in a little sexy fantasy to enhance the adrenaline highs?

Nino’s visits tantalize Dawn, his mythological viewpoints mysterious yet familiar. When make-believe blends into real-life, she must choose between the practicality of her mind and the yearnings of her heart or else lose everything she holds dear.

The most desirable path holds the greatest danger. Dawn knows what feels right in the depths of her soul—and hopes her decision doesn’t cast Nino away from her forever.

Click here to buy Daughter of the South Wind

EXCERPT

    “Please stop calling me that. My name’s Dawn. I have no idea who Tira is.”

    “But you do, and I am here to aid your recollection.”

    “Yeah, well first, better tell me who you are.”

    The primitive shadows of my brain which governed fright or flight said I should call 911, but the modern and more practical recesses of my mind argued the responders would likely search the apartment for drugs, because the story of what I thought as reality played out more like a comedian’s recount of an acid trip. Truthfully, I didn’t feel threatened by him. A strange sense of peace had washed through me at his touch. Like I belonged with him.

    “You might as well sit.” I motioned to the bed. “Because I have more questions than the SAT exam.”

    He displayed perfect squat form to perch on the edge of the mattress. “How should I begin?”

    “Start with your name.”

    “Minninnos, but friends and family call me Nino.”

    I had no idea what to ask next. Too many questions spun in my mind, such as why he’d been in my dreams or what happened to Chrissy and Taran. Maybe what freaked me out the most should get priority.

    “How the hell did you survive the tornado?”

    He wore a pained expression, his eyes squinted, his lips parted. Silence indicated he either didn’t know how to explain it, or he didn’t want to. Count that one as a pass. Next question.

    “Okay, since it’s too hard to answer, why do your irises swirl?”

    His shoulders raised and lowered, and his breath exhaled in a loud rush. His mercurial whirling orbs caught my gaze and held it.

    “The answers to both inquiries are related. I hesitate because I do not know if you will accept the truth.” He propped his forearms on his knees, their long muscles defined as he clasped his hands. “It is important to me, and others, you do.” The orbital motion slowed, and he shook his head side-to-side once. “I do not want to frighten you. There is not enough time.”

    His intensity borderlined anguish. My acceptance of his explanation somehow played an important, albeit unknown, role in his life.

    “I’m a scientist and have to know why things happen. What occurred today defies all logic, so I’m curious and want answers. Just tell the truth. Don’t hold back.”

Click here to buy Daughter of the South Wind and find out the truth

READER COMMENTS:

“I laughed, I cried, I was happy, I was sad, I enjoyed reading this book so much!” -Angi T

“When I pickup a new book and yearn for the day to come to a close so I can pickup where I left off… or maybe even grab a couple chapters between workday tasks then I know it’s a good book, this was the case with Daughter of the South Wind.” -Chris W.

“I read this book in less than 48-hours because I had to see what crazy situation Dawn got herself into next, as well as where her fated encounter with Nino would take her.” -Lynnann L.

BIO

KD DuBois writes fantasy mixed with a touch of romance. Her current book delves into mythology, giving obscure gods and goddesses their own stories. It’s the first of a series in a world she created called The Immortal Dimension.

Twenty-eight years in a military uniform took KD DuBois to many unique places around the globe. But a few choice assignments in year-round mild climates spoiled any inclinations to retire where even a hint of snow might fall. Instead of settling down in her home state of Kansas, she planted roots in the perpetual sunshine of south-central Texas.

With the opportunity to start a second career, KD took a class and got inspired to write. Now she types away and takes an occasional break to ride her bike and enjoy the sunshine. Visit her website to learn more about her and what she’s working on.

SOCIAL LINKS

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Amazon author page

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Friday Features’

Guest shares her

Love of Crunchie® Bars

by

Sharon Ledwith

Who Doesn’t Love Crunchie® Bars? Those were my go-to chocolate bars when I was a kid, and I still love’em to this day. This angelic chocolate covered sponge toffee recipe will bring back memories of the good old days when a trip to the corner store armed only with a dollar bought more than just one candy bar. Create a batch for gifts or to add to the festivities, these melt-in-your-mouth treats will add life to any party.

CHOCOLATE COVERED SPONGE TOFFEE
1 cup white sugar
1 cup dark corn syrup
1 tbsp. vinegar
1 tbsp. baking soda
1 pound chocolate confectioner’s coating
Candy thermometer

Butter a 9×13 inch baking pan.

In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, combine sugar, corn syrup, and vinegar. Cook, stirring until sugar dissolves.

Set candy thermometer in place, and heat, without stirring until temperature reaches 300° F (150° C).

Remove from heat and stir in baking soda.

Pour into prepared pan. Do not spread. Allow to cool completely.

In the microwave (or over a double boiler) melt coating chocolate, stirring frequently until smooth.

Break cooled sponge toffee into bite sized pieces and dip into melted chocolate coating.

Place on waxed paper until the chocolate is set. Store in tightly covered container. Make sure to hide some pieces for yourself!

Every cook must taste test their finished product. Sit back, munch away, and 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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Friday Features’

Guest talks about

Red Salmon meal for all groups

by

Emma Lane

This meal may be served from ladies’ bridge to hefty dinner guests. Just increase the size of the proportions. Pop out this meal in a hurry and enjoy a cocktail with your company.

Red Salmon with Zesty Italian Dressing
Succotash or substitute Broccoli or Asparagus
Poached Pear Halves with Ricotta Cheese
Green Salad
Platter of Interesting Crackers
Dinner roles with Jam and Butter

SALMON

1 can red salmon, depending upon number of guests
Zesty Italian Dressing for drizzling

Clean bones and skin from salmon retaining pieces intact as possible. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate while finishing prep.

SUCCOTASH
Frozen lima beans
1 small can creamed corn
1 tbsp. butter

Cook beans until tender, 20 minutes from boil. Drain and mix in the corn and butter. Keep warm in a 210° F oven until ready to serve.

POACHED PEARS

½ fresh pear per guest (Increase to two halves for a dinner)
1 – 3 drops almond flavoring per pear half
1 tbsp. ricotta cheese per per half
Nutmeg
Sugar, optional

Remove core from pears. Turn flesh side down in two inches water in microwavable dish. Poach on high until tender, 2 – 3 minutes. Check for tenderness with a toothpick. Remove from oven, flip over and place in attractive dish, in custard cup, or on a bed of lettuce. Dribble almond flavoring on pears. Fill halves with cheese. Sprinkle lightly with nutmeg. Sprinkle on sugar.

TO SERVE
Arrange salmon on dinner plate and drizzle salad dressing lightly over fish. Add serving of succotash or other desired green vegetable. Garnish with lettuce or parsley. Offer a platter of interesting crackers. Serve poached pear halves on the side or scooped onto the plate. Pass basket of dinner roles and jars of jam.

Sounds like a lot of fuss, but it goes fast. The meal is light on calories so with guilt free conscience, serve a piece of your favorite pie or cake with ice cream or whipped cream. Some guests will decide poached pears suit them as a dessert.

Here’s a teaser from one of my Regency books while you wait for your guests to arrive.

What happens when a strong heroine meets an arrogant, but handsome hero? Sparks fly. It’s a Regency Romance Romp!

Miss Amabel Hawkins acknowledges her unusual upbringing, but she thinks James Langley, the Duke of Westerton, might be a tad unbalanced when he protests her efforts to right his badly managed properties. The duke, who has been away on the king’s business, demonstrates no respect for the beautiful but managing Miss Hawkins. Amabel has taken refuge at Westerton, fleeing from a forced marriage to a man who claims to be her relative in order to gain control of her young brother’s estate.

The Duke arrives home to find his estate under the firm control of a beautiful but managing female. His suspicions are fueled by his recent task of spy-hunting and he wonders if Amabel Hawkins is just who she seems. While a dastardly spy lurks, a wicked man poses as her cousin threatening to take over the guardianship of her young brother. Amabel might be falling in love, but she knows for certain the duke would never approve of a meddlesome woman, and she decides to flee his estate. Will the duke finally realize the true value of the woman he loves or will his prejudice ruin his chances forever?

Amazon Buy Link

Emma Lane enjoys leaving her garden for a few hours to dip into the romance genre Regency era of history. Join her for a glimpse of a half selkie fairy as she teases a powerful duke and fights the curse of a lowly, evil warlock. Other Regency romances are available on Amazon and Wild Rose Press. As Janis Lane she writes a series of Cozy Mysteries for Soul Mate Publishing.

Look for information about writing and plants on her 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.

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Friday Features’

Guest talks about

LINGUINE WITH PARSLEY & PARMESAN

Take it away

Alicia Joseph

Fresh Italian bread, crisp salad, and chilled white wine are the perfect additions for this easy, yet romantic, meal.

LINGUINE WITH PARSLEY & PARMESAN

Photo by Jakub Kapusnak on Unsplash

8 oz. linguine
1 tsp. butter
⅓ cup onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, pressed
8 oz. sour cream at room temperature
½ tsp. cracked pepper
2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
2 tbsp. Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Cook linguine as stated on package. Drain and set aside.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until softened. Stir often. Be careful not to let this burn or the sauce will be bitter. Remove from heat and cool.

Stir in sour cream, pepper, and parsley. Mix with linguine. Warm over medium-low heat.

Sprinkle with cheese and serve.

Here’s a little from Alicia’s latest book.


“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.

Prologue
1993

I was jerked from my sleep while the phone was still buzzing its first high-piercing ring. I glanced at the clock on the nightstand beside my bed. It read 4:17 a.m. I knew something was wrong.

The second ring was abruptly broken up and my mother’s muffled voice carried into my room. I was already sitting upright in my bed when my bedroom door squeaked open. My mother’s slight figure appeared as a shadow near my door.

“Lyssa? You up?” she asked.

“What’s wrong?” My voice was no louder than a whisper.

I watched my mother slowly make her way into the dark room. I couldn’t make out the expression on her face, but the stiff movement of the outline of her body was hesitant.

She turned on the lamp and sat down beside me. Her face was pale. She let out short, shallow breaths. It seemed difficult for her to look me in the eyes.

“What is it?” I asked. “What’s happened?”

Finally, my mother looked at me with pain in her eyes. “Lyssa . . .” She smoothed her hand gently across my arm. “Abbey’s dead.”

I took in her words without an ounce of denial. The reality of what my mother had told me was instant.

My best friend was dead.

AMAZON BUY LINK

Alicia Joseph grew up in Westchester, Illinois. Her first novella, Her Name, was published by Musa Publishing in 2014. Her Name is a sweet, romantic story about a woman who believes the beautiful woman she dreams about is the real love of her life.

Loving Again is her second published novella. Alicia is currently working on a new novel called A Penny on the Tracks, a coming of age story about love and friendship. Alicia has many works-in-progress that she hopes to finish soon.

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’

Released March 5 from

Chris Pavesic,

the author of Starter Zone: The Revelation Chronicles, the first book in a new steampunk mystery series. Looks like another best seller for this fine author. But you be the judge.

When the Temples north of Chiaroscuro are burned and followers of the Sun Goddess are murdered, Catherine, a bard of the Ealdoth Temple, sets out to find those responsible and to bring them to justice. With only the help of a traveling group of minstrels and a retired fae investigator, Catherine must solve the mystery before more people are killed.

So saddle up your clockwork mount, buckle on your electro-dagger, and join Catherine as she finds herself pitted against members of her own Temple, rogue members of the Seelie Court, and a seemingly unstoppable army of undead.

In Chiaroscuro it’s important to keep the faith.

EXCERPT
Services were scheduled to commence in an hour, and Ernest needed to be ready. He struck a match and lit the first gaslight, watching the flame take hold and flare up. The light pushed back the shadows so parishioners were able to find their way to the pews without stumbling. He would extinguish the artificial lights right before the service so the effect of the sunlight illuminating the darkness hit with maximum impact as it flooded through the skylights.

The parishioners would marvel at how the Temple filled with the Goddess’s Holy Light just in time for the service. Ernest would marvel at the fact that none of them were smart enough to realize he flipped a switch on back of the altar to swing open mechanical shutters.

There was a religious stirring in Grand Marsh more powerful than anything Ernest had experienced in his ten years as a Sacerd. The services at dawn, noon, and sundown were packed. Few of the farmers went out to the fields. They worked in town on community projects or sat drinking at the tavern. Their wives remained in the town square, full of chatter, instead of staying on their farmsteads. Their thin voices filled the air. The youngest children were kept close while the teens clustered in protective packs far enough away to keep their discussions out of reach of their parents’ ears. But close enough to be in sight at all times. None of them wandered off.

Three times a day they filled the Temple, ready to hear his words. Faces tilted up to him. Man and woman, young and old. And none of his parishioners would confess why they were so filled with the Holy Spirit that they were neglecting their farms. They were afraid of speaking blasphemy. But he knew the reason, and it caused a lift in his heart that was not due to religious inspiration. They were scared, plain and simple, and it gave him hope.

Since being assigned to the far parish almost five years ago, a posting he saw as an end to the upward progress of his career in the Temple, he struggled daily to swallow his disappointment. It wouldn’t leave, and it was bitter. Bitter.

In this remote village, far from the bustle and industry of Chiaroscuro, the quality of his life, the texture of his life, changed. He longed for life in the city. The world seemed to have shifted into two zones. The pace of life for the city dwellers increased while people living in the countryside were being left behind.

Time’s arrow struck fastest through the densest populations. Sacerds assigned to any of the major cities made more connections and accumulated more power in a single week than he did in a year. Exerting influence was impossible when the spheres of power were spinning outside of his reach, moving too fast for him to see, let alone have an impact.

The wound to his pride stung the most. The elders had hurt his feelings. To be dismissed so easily, passed along so casually—it was like the swatting of an annoying insect. The Temple elders did not treat him as if he mattered, as if his family ties were consequential. True he was a third son, but of a noble line. And they assigned him to a rustic Temple to attend to common folk far below his station.

Very little was required of him here. Or, more precisely, very little of what he did here interested him. He burned to return to the central Temple and to be part of the intrigues and power shifts. This attracted him more than caring for the simple souls of farmers and shopkeepers. Power was why he joined the Temple, and what he was now denied.

But not for long. The thought clanged in his mind with undeniable rightness. Not righteousness. It was an important distinction. Would the Goddess sanction his actions? Probably not, but he was past caring about her approval. During all of the ceremonies, all of the prayer and introspection, he had never felt any divine presence. He had never witnessed any miracles, and doubted their existence.

But power, oh he had seen the existence of power. Political. Social. Religious. Whatever you called it really didn’t matter. Get enough people to follow you. Enough people to believe in what you were selling. This was the belief that could move the world.

There was only one woman in his life he needed to please now, and she held no divinity. Merci had offered him a way out of this rural purgatory, and he had accepted. Truth be told, he had grabbed at it like a castaway might grab at a line from a passing airship. If the price were the damnation of his soul, so be it.

He glanced out the window at the transport coming down the lane. A high quality clockwork carriage with the Temple’s Crest stamped on the doors rattled over the boards strewn across the irrigation ditch and stopped, parking in the speckled light cast by the ornament trees planted along the lane. The carriage blocked traffic, but the driver did not seem to care. Elder members of the clergy, Hlytere, and above, felt they had the right of way. Others had to go around.

A pale, dark-haired woman emerged and stood for a moment looking around. She pulled the hood of her dark cloak over her hair and walked through the yard toward the Temple. Ernest’s gaze followed her, trying to imagine who this stranger was.

Her footsteps sounded in the aisle and, when he turned from window, she was almost upon him. Her speed startled him. When he saw her face to face he realized she was younger than he had supposed. Too young to be a Hlytere, but her use of the carriage meant she was favored by the Temple elders. The seed of jealousy radiated through him. He felt it in his chest and the pit of his stomach. He struggled to keep the emotion off his face.

“Greetings.” He shook her hand with a firm grasp. Her hands were small and smooth and white. “Will you come in for a moment?” He led her to the small reception room off the main area that contained a round table and several wooden chairs. He lit a cheroot, offered her one, which she declined, and they sat down.

“Please forgive me for calling on you so close to mid-day Services, Sacerd Ernest.” She paused. “You are Sacerd Ernest, correct? It’s not like me to presume.”

“Of course. I’m glad you came. I watched you drive up, you know, and I wondered who you were. We don’t get many visitors from the Temple here.”

“I’m surprised you don’t recognize me, cousin. Of course, I didn’t recognize you. So perhaps it’s not so surprising.”

“I’m sorry. I …”

“I’m from the cadet line of our family tree. My father is the elder son of the younger son of our line.”

His brow creased in thought. “Grace?”

“Yes,” she said with a smile, reaching out to touch his hand. Her fingers rested there for a moment too long. Lingered. And then she leaned back in the chair and crossed her legs, which were slim and bare beneath her robe.

Sacerd Ernest regarded his guest, wondering that her physical presence should suddenly dawn upon him so. She was more beautiful than he had thought at first. Her skin was clear and lovely, and her eyes and mouth were made up carefully and well.

What’s her game? He licked at the perspiration that appeared upon his upper lip.

“I would like your help in a small matter. And of course I wanted to meet you.”

“You did?”

“Our sponsor has spoken of you with such affection.”

“Our superior?” He used the wrong word to see if she would correct him.

“Technically, I suppose, she may be yours. I’ve never thought much of the rules of hierarchy in the Temple.” She cocked her head, listening to noises from the other room. Some of his parishioners had started to file in for the service. “It’s such a mercy, isn’t it?’

Ah, code words.

She must think she’s being clever, although he had no idea who could possibly overhear their conversation. It was only just dawning on him why she must be here. In his town. In his Temple. But he didn’t care. All he wanted to do was get out of Grand Marsh. Get back to Chiaroscuro. It didn’t bother him that people, his parishioners, may die, or suffer a fate worse than death. He just wanted to get out.

It’s not my fault if I’m following orders.

But that was a poor excuse, wasn’t it? Guilt flared, hot and strong.

Do you want to stay in Grand Marsh forever? Ministering to the townsfolk? Do you?

No … but he didn’t want to hurt people. Those conflicting thoughts pulled at him. There was the question of right and wrong. What was right for him might go wrong for others. But that was the way it had to be.

Thus he banished the guilt. When something inside of him tried to protest again, tried to tell him to think before he did this, he smothered it.

“When?” He didn’t have any time for nonsense. The quicker it occurred, the quicker he resumed his rightful place.

“In two days. I have some items in my transport that need to be set up in the Temple, but kept out of view.” She smiled and spoke a little louder so that the earliest arrivals overheard her. “I wish I could stay to help with the Mass, but I am needed back in Chiaroscuro.” She lowered her voice. “Officially I never left the city.”

“Of course.” He guessed that she had no desire to partake in the service. “I will help you with whatever you need.” Whatever may come of it, he had gone too far to stop now.

AMAZON LINK

Chris Pavesic is a fantasy author who lives in the Midwestern United States and loves Kona coffee, steampunk, fairy tales, and all types of speculative fiction. Between writing projects, Chris can most often be found reading, gaming, gardening, working on an endless list of DIY household projects, or hanging out with friends.

Learn more about Chris on her website and blog.

Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, and her Amazon Author Page.

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Friday Features’

Guest talks about

Marriage

by

Eris Field

Photo by Chris Sharp

Marriage is usually thought of as being brought about in one of two ways: love-based marriages and arranged marriages. Love-based marriages are easy to define. They are marriages arranged by the two people to be married–two people who are wildly, deliciously in love. Arranged marriages have greater variety. Traditionally, arranged marriages have been thought of as marriages orchestrated by others—parents, family members, matchmakers, or religious leaders. However, there is an atypical form of arranged marriage, dearly loved by novelists—the marriage of convenience—that is the marriage is arranged by the two people to be married but it is not based on love, definitely not on love or there would be no story. Finally there is the maverick form, On-line Dating, the method used by 40 million Americans to meet suitable partners for the purpose of matrimony. Overall, love-based marriages are more common in the Western World and arranged marriages more common in traditional societies.

In love-based marriages, it is the mutual attraction of the two people for each other that leads to marriage. Their goal is immediate, blissful happiness. Their motto is Love Conquers All. Issues such as expectations of their extended families, whose work with take precedence, how money will be managed, religious practices, where they will live, and previously acquired debts may or may not be discussed by the two of them prior to the marriage.

In contrast, in arranged marriages, the goal is not immediate happiness for the two people being married but long-term well-being and lack of problems for them and, equally important, for the members of both families that are being united by the marriage. It is accepted that, if the selection process is carefully carried out by people who know the couple well and have their best interests in mind, the bride and groom will be well-matched and will come to love each other. The motto in arranged marriages is Love Comes After Marriage. To increase the odds of a trouble-free marriage, it is common for the person arranging the marriage to present the following information about the prospective partner:

1) Reputation of the individual and of all the members of the family,
2) Vocation/career of the individual and how long employed,
3) Wealth of the individual and the family,
4) Physical appearance including grooming,
5) Values such as traditional beliefs or liberal beliefs,
6) Religion, and
7) Medical history of the entire family (possibly to rule out potential mates with a family history of genetically transmitted disorders).

In arranged marriages, it is generally accepted that the couple will have the final say in accepting or rejecting the proposed candidate.

There is a different type of arranged marriage, the forced marriage, in which the couple does not have the final say. Most frequently it is a young girl who is forced to marry against her will. If she refuses, she may face physical punishment, banishment, or death (honor violence). Forced marriages are more common in the Middle East, North Africa, South East Asia, and India; however, they do exist in other countries such as the U.S. and the U.K. among their immigrant populations. The reasons for forced marriages include:

1) To strengthen family or tribal ties,
2) To increase family wealth,
3) Parents’ cultural or religious beliefs,
4) To control behavior of young women (reduce chance of sexual activity),
5) Settle disputes between families/tribes,
6) Make retribution for an injury or insult,
7) Resolve tribal feuds, blood feuds.
8) To help someone gain entry to the U.S. i.e. to get a ‘green card.’

The United Nations views forced marriages as a form of human rights abuse and the practice has been outlawed by many countries.

In comparing the outcomes of love-based marriages and arranged marriages, it appears at first glance that the divorce rate is lower among arranged marriages. However, it should be kept in mind that the acceptance of divorce is lower in the parts of the world where arranged marriages are highest. There have been studies showing that couples who met through on-line dating were happy, loving, and committed. If there is any conclusion to be drawn in considering love-based marriages versus arranged marriages, it seems that the chance of a successful marriage may be increased by knowing more about the person before the marriage takes place.

In my book Lattices of Love Emine Wheeler, a 26-year-old Turkish-American professor of psychiatric nursing, has vowed to marry for love, like her American father. When Emine meets Marc van Etten, a reticent Dutch psychiatrist, at a conference in Amsterdam, she recognizes him as the man she has been waiting for and knows that she can’t live behind the lattices of old harem rules any longer.

Marc, who believes that his colleagues blame him for his wife’s suicide, restricts his life to work and caring for the troubled four-year-old girl he calls his daughter. But, when Emine runs into difficulties, he offers his assistance. Emine, ignoring the age-old harem rule that forbids talking or spending time with a man who is not a family member, accepts his help.

Later, when Emine must choose between accepting the family-approved proposal of a man she does not love or damaging her family’s honor, Marc offers a solution—marriage. It will save her family’s honor and provide a mother for his daughter.

Believing that her fierce love for Marc will be enough, Emine agrees, only to discover that it is not. When Marc erroneously accuses her of betraying him, she flees. Realizing belatedly that he loves Emine beyond everything in his life, Marc must find a way to win her back.

Here’s a little from Lattices of Love for you.

Emine Wheeler, a 26-year-old Turkish-American professor of psychiatric nursing, has vowed to marry for love, like her American father. When she meets Marc van Etten, a reticent Dutch psychiatrist, at a conference in Amsterdam, she recognizes him as the man she has been waiting for and knows that she can’t live behind the lattices of old harem rules any longer.

Marc, who believes that his colleagues blame him for his wife’s suicide, restricts his life to work and caring for the troubled four-year-old girl he calls his daughter. But, when Emine runs into difficulties, he offers his assistance. Emine, ignoring the age-old harem rule that forbids talking or spending time with a man who is not a family member, accepts his help.

Later, when Emine must choose between accepting the family-approved proposal of a man she does not love or damaging her family’s honor, Marc offers a solution—marriage. It will save her family’s honor and provide a mother for his daughter.

Believing that her fierce love for Marc will be enough, Emine agrees, only to discover that it is not. When Marc erroneously accuses her of betraying him, she flees. Realizing belatedly that he loves Emine beyond everything in his life, Marc must find a way to win her back.

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Eris Field was born in the Green Mountains of Vermont—Jericho, Vermont to be precise—close by the home of Wilson Bentley (aka Snowflake Bentley), the first person in the world to photograph snowflakes. She learned from her Vermont neighbors that pursuit of one’s dream is a worthwhile life goal.

As a seventeen-year-old student nurse at Albany Hospital, Eris met a Turkish surgical intern who she later married. He told her fascinating stories about the history of Turkey, about the loss of the Ottoman Empire, and about forced population exchanges. After they married and moved to Buffalo, Eris worked as a nurse at Children’s Hospital and at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

After taking time off to raise five children and amassing rejection letters for her short stories, Eris earned her master’s degree in Psychiatric Nursing at the University at Buffalo. Later, she taught psychiatric nursing at the University and wrote a textbook for psychiatric nurse practitioners—an endeavor requiring a great deal of hard labor.

Eris now writes novels, usually international, contemporary romances. Her interest in history and her experience in psychiatry often play a part in her stories. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Western New York Romance Writers. In addition to writing, her interests include Honor Killings, eradicating female genital mutilation, supporting the Crossroads Springs Orphanage in Kenya for children orphaned by AIDS, and learning more about the old cities of the world.

Learn more about Eris Field on her website. Stay connected on Facebook.

 

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Friday Features’

Guest talks about

Sangria

by

Vonnie Hughes

This is a lovely beverage to serve for any party. The color is festive and the taste refreshing.

SANGRIA

Photo by Helena Yankovska on Unsplash.com

2 cups boiling water
4 green tea bags
1 cup sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
3 cups red grapefruit juice, preferably fresh
1 cup orange juice
1 orange, sliced into thin rounds
1 lime, sliced into thin rounds
1 medium apple, cored and cut into chunks or/and wedges
2 peaches cut into wedges
3 cups carbonated water

Pour the boiling water over the tea bags and steep for 10 minutes. Discard tea bags and then stir in sugar.

In a large pitcher combine tea, cinnamon sticks, juices, and fruit. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour but preferably overnight.

Cheers!

Just before serving, stir in carbonated water. Serve in large glasses filled with ice.

THE ADULT VERSION
1 – 750ml bottle of your favourite red wine
150ml (5oz.) brandy
1 cup orange juice
½ grapefruit, sliced into thin rounds
1 orange, sliced into thin rounds
1 lime, sliced into thin rounds
1 medium apple, cored and cut into chunks or/and wedges
2 peaches cut into wedges
6 cinnamon sticks

In a large pitcher combine wine, brandy, juice, fruit, and cinnamon sticks. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour but preferably overnight.

Serve in large glasses filled with ice.

Now sit back and enjoy your drink while you scan my latest romantic suspense.

Who can you trust if you can’t trust your own mother? Through the clammy fog, Celie Francis hears the chilling message. “I know who you are, Celie. I know where you live.” And in the terrifying aftermath she reconnects with her dysfunctional family in ways she had never imagined.

BLURB:
Abused and abandoned as a child, Célie Francis knows better than to trust anyone. But after she witnesses a murder, she’s placed in the Unit “New Zealand’s witness protection program” where she’s expected to trust strangers with her life.

It’s psychologist Brand Turner’s job to ease witnesses into their new identities, not to protect them, but Célie stirs feelings in him that are far from professional. When it appears someone is leaking critical information that could endanger Célie, Brand will do anything to protect her. But first he has to convince her to trust him.

Adrift in a frightening world, Célie would like to believe the handsome psychologist is everything he seems, but as witnesses are murdered and danger swirls around them, Célie must decide “can she trust Brand with her life?

Please click a vendor’s name to read more from Lethal Refuge: 
The Wild Rose Press – Amazon

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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