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Friday Features’

Guest talks about

Savory, sautéed chicken

by

Sharon Ledwith

Picture this – savory, sautéed chicken cooked in a cheesy, creamy sauce with Roma tomatoes, served atop a bed of fettuccini pasta. Is your mouth watering yet? Mine is. One of my go-to meals I order at a restaurant includes this classic pasta dish. So, I thought I’d bring this Italian favorite from the restaurant into your kitchen to enjoy with 8 of your family or friends wherever and whenever you choose to get-together.

With a prep time of 30 minutes, and a cook time of 30 minutes, you can divvy up the duties and make it a culinary collaboration. Wine, of course, is optional, but encouraged.

Classic Chicken Fettuccini Alfredo
6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts halves, cut into cubes
6 tbsp. butter, divided
4 cloves garlic, minced, divided
1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
1 lb. (454 g) fettuccini pasta
1 onion, diced
1 – 8 oz. (227 g) package sliced mushrooms
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. salt
¾ tsp. ground white pepper
3 cups milk
1 cup half-and-half
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
8 ozs. (227 g) shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese
3 Roma (plum) tomatoes, diced
½ cup sour cream

In a large skillet set over medium heat combine chicken, 2 tablespoons butter, 2 cloves garlic, and Italian seasoning. Cook until chicken is no longer pink inside. Remove from skillet and set aside.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.

Meanwhile, melt remaining butter in the skillet. Sauté onion, remaining garlic, and mushrooms until onions are transparent. Stir in flour, salt, and pepper; cook 2 minutes. Slowly add milk and half-and-half, stirring until smooth and creamy. Blend in Parmesan and Colby-Monterey Jack cheeses. Continue to stir until cheese is melted. Stir in chicken mixture, tomatoes, and sour cream. Serve over cooked fettuccini.

IF by any chance you have leftovers, the Alfredo mixture freezes well.

Has all this cooking made you ‘stir’ crazy? After your guest have departed, may I suggest settling in with a good book and a glass of wine? How about 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 dirty dishes and messy pots.

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

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

a quick and easy lunch for a hot summer day from Chris Pavesic who’s dish requires no stove or oven!

This dish makes a quick and easy lunch for a hot summer day. No stove or oven required!

Tuna Hummus Pita Sandwich
1 5 oz. can tuna in water
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. red onion, chopped fine
⅓ cup cucumber, chopped
1 tbsp. chopped parsley
1 tbsp. golden raisins or dark raisins
3 tbsp. hummus, divided
1 mini whole-wheat pita
Parsley leaves, for garnish

Drain tuna then scoop into a bowl. Mix in lemon juice, onion, most of the cucumber, chopped parsley, and raisins.

Split pita in half horizontally so there is a top and bottom. Spread each half with hummus. Top with tuna salad. Garnish with remaining cucumber and parsley. Enjoy!

After you enjoy your meal, why not read a good book? May I suggest one of the books from my LitRPG series The Revelation Chronicles? ?

In Starter Zone Cami kept herself and her younger sister Alby alive in a post-apocalyptic world, facing starvation, violence, and death on a daily basis. Caught by the military and forcefully inscribed, Cami manages to scam the system and they enter the Realms, a Virtual Reality world, as privileged Players rather than slaves. They experience a world of safety, plenty, and magical adventure.

In the Traveler’s Zone magic, combat, gear scores, quests, and dungeons are all puzzles to be solved as Cami continues her epic quest to navigate the Realms and build a better life for her family. But an intrusion from her old life threatens everything she has gained and imperils the entire virtual world.

Time to play the game.

Above the tree line floats an airship close to three hundred feet long with a slightly rounded wooden hull. Ropes attach the lower portion of the ship to an inflated balloon-like aspect, bright white in color with an identification symbol, a red bird with white-tipped feathers extended in flight, inside a round yellow circle in the center of the canvas. The deck is manned with archers and swordsmen. There are two sets of fore and aft catapults.

What I don’t see are cannons or any other type of a gun large enough to account for the sound of the explosion.

The ship pivots in the air, coming around to point directly at what looks like an oncoming flock of five large birds. Or creatures. They are too big and too strange looking to be birds. They drift closer, flapping their wings.

A moment passes before I realize that they are not creatures either. They are some sort of gliders. A person hangs below each set of the feathered wings, which flap and move with mechanical precision in a sky washed out by the morning sun.

The archers nock their arrows and aim at the flock.

The gliders draw in their wings and dive toward the deck, covering the distance in a few heartbeats. Most of the arrows fly uselessly past the attack force and fall like black rain from the sky. The archers aimed and released the volley too late.

The forward catapult releases a torrent of small rocks at the lead glider. It is a scatter-shot approach that proves effective. There are so many missiles that it is impossible to dodge them all.

But at the moment the stones strike, the other four let loose with fireballs. Spheres of crackling flame spring from their hands, glowing faintly at first and then with increasing brightness. The balls of fire shoot from their hands like bullets from a gun and fly toward the ship, exploding. Pieces bounce off the hull and fall to the ground, throwing hissing, burning globs of magic-fueled fire in all directions, setting everything they touch aflame.

Want to learn more about The Revelation Chronicles? Click HERE for updates on this and the other series by Chris. Watch the video on YouTube.

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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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

A Yorkshire pudding recipe from Carol Browne today!

These Yorkshire puddings are easy to make and taste great even if you aren’t a vegan. Leftovers are wonderful when reheated in the oven at 200ᵒ C (400ᵒ F) for a few minutes. Don’t use a microwave as that makes the puddings soggy and chewy. This recipe serves 6.

Image by Shutterbug 75 from Pixabay

Vegan Yorkshire Puddings

    360ml (1½ cups) vegetable oil
    190g (1¼ cups ) self-raising flour
    ¾ tsp. salt
    ¾ tsp. baking powder
    270ml (1¼ cups) soya or almond milk

Preheat oven Gas Mark 7 (215ᵒ C) (420ᵒ F).

Pour 2 tablespoons oil into each cup hole of a 12 cup muffin tray. Put tray in the oven at least 15 minutes so oil becomes really hot.

Sieve flour, salt, and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Gradually add plant milk, whisking constantly.

Remove tin from the oven and quickly pour the batter into the holes – about 2 tablespoons each. Fill them as evenly and smoothly as possible for the best shape.

Bake 20 minutes.

Here’s a peek at my latest epic fantasy. I hope you enjoy it.

His adventures in Elvendom left Godwin a changed man, and now bereavement has darkened his world.

In another dimension, a new Elvendom is threatened by the ambitions of a monstrous enemy. But who – or what – is the Dark Lady of Bletchberm?

And what has become of Elgiva?

Reeling from the loss of their Elwardain, the elves ask Godwin for help.
Transported into a strange world of time travel and outlandish creatures, will he succeed in his quest against impossible odds, or will the Dark Lady destroy everything the Elwardain fought to preserve?

EXCERPT

His heart thumping in his throat, Godwin took in all the details of the goblin’s appearance. The creature was probably four feet tall at most and was wearing a sleeveless leather tunic and short leggings over his skinny frame. His arms and legs were hard with thin bands of muscle; sinews moved like taut wires beneath the scant flesh. Godwin fancied that the goblin’s skin had a sickly, greenish tint, but in the firelight it was impossible to be sure.

The goblin moved in an awkward manner, not upright like a man or an elf, but slightly stooped and with bent knees, as though on the verge of pouncing. The dome of his head was as bald and smooth as a pebble, and his very long, pointed ears were attached on either side like those of a lynx. His large eyes glittered like wet malachite and between them a long, sharp nose protruded with all the aesthetic attributes of a small parsnip.

The goblin’s large eyes widened as they swivelled in Godwin’s direction, making his stomach curdle in fear and revulsion.

“Only two of you, then?” said the goblin with a smirk. “Not much of a challenge, is it?” He beckoned with his sword and others of his kind began to creep into the circle.

Godwin glanced around. There were six more of them, each carrying a sword of a curious design, the blade like a thin, metal spiral with a very sharp point. A visceral fear welled up inside him at the sight of these weapons, but he didn’t know why.

Amazon Buy Links USAUK


Born in Stafford in the UK, Carol Browne was raised in Crewe, Cheshire, which she thinks of as her home town. Interested in reading and writing at an early age, Carol pursued her passions at Nottingham University and was awarded an honours degree in English Language and Literature. Now living and working in the Cambridgeshire countryside, Carol usually writes fiction but has also taken a plunge into non-fiction with Being Krystyna. This story of a Holocaust survivor has been well received.

Stay connected with Carol on her website and blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

The meal made from the pantry by Chris Pavesic who shares her recipe with us today!

This is a good “pantry” meal–which is a dinner where you use items from your refrigerator/pantry to create a healthy, tasty dish.

My recipe was created for substitutions. Any type of vegetables will do. You can even use canned vegetables if you drain them well. Also, any type of cream soup works. I am fond of cream of celery and mushroom for pot pies.

If you do not have fresh turkey/chicken, substitute chicken in a can or even tuna in a pouch.

Let your creativity be your guide.

Pantry Pie

    2 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
    1 cup cooked turkey or chicken, cut up
    1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
    1 cup milk, divided
    1 cup Bisquick Original Baking Mix
    1 egg

Preheat oven to 400° F.

In large bowl mix vegetables, turkey, soup, and ½ cup milk. Pour into ungreased baking dish.

In medium bowl whisk together Bisquick, ½ cup milk, and egg until blended. Spread over vegetable mix completely.

Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown.

After you enjoy your meal, why not read a good book? May I suggest one of the books from my LitRPG series The Revelation Chronicles?

In Starter Zone Cami kept herself and her younger sister Alby alive in a post-apocalyptic world, facing starvation, violence, and death on a daily basis. Caught by the military and forcefully inscribed, Cami manages to scam the system and they enter the Realms, a Virtual Reality world, as privileged Players rather than slaves. They experience a world of safety, plenty, and magical adventure.

In the Traveler’s Zone magic, combat, gear scores, quests, and dungeons are all puzzles to be solved as Cami continues her epic quest to navigate the Realms and build a better life for her family. But an intrusion from her old life threatens everything she has gained and imperils the entire virtual world.

Time to play the game.

Above the tree line floats an airship close to three hundred feet long with a slightly rounded wooden hull. Ropes attach the lower portion of the ship to an inflated balloon-like aspect, bright white in color with an identification symbol, a red bird with white-tipped feathers extended in flight, inside a round yellow circle in the center of the canvas. The deck is manned with archers and swordsmen. There are two sets of fore and aft catapults.

What I don’t see are cannons or any other type of a gun large enough to account for the sound of the explosion.

The ship pivots in the air, coming around to point directly at what looks like an oncoming flock of five large birds. Or creatures. They are too big and too strange looking to be birds. They drift closer, flapping their wings.

A moment passes before I realize that they are not creatures either. They are some sort of gliders. A person hangs below each set of the feathered wings, which flap and move with mechanical precision in a sky washed out by the morning sun.

The archers nock their arrows and aim at the flock.

The gliders draw in their wings and dive toward the deck, covering the distance in a few heartbeats. Most of the arrows fly uselessly past the attack force and fall like black rain from the sky. The archers aimed and released the volley too late.

The forward catapult releases a torrent of small rocks at the lead glider. It is a scatter-shot approach that proves effective. There are so many missiles that it is impossible to dodge them all.

But at the moment the stones strike, the other four let loose with fireballs. Spheres of crackling flame spring from their hands, glowing faintly at first and then with increasing brightness. The balls of fire shoot from their hands like bullets from a gun and fly toward the ship, exploding. Pieces bounce off the hull and fall to the ground, throwing hissing, burning globs of magic-fueled fire in all directions, setting everything they touch aflame.

Want to learn more about The Revelation Chronicles? Click HERE for updates on this and the other series by Chris. Watch the video on YouTube.

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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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

Eris Field who brings us her recipe for “Pink Bean Salad”.

I love to create recipes using foods I’ve never before eaten. This salad leans to Mexican cuisine and is always well-received by my family and friends. It’s easy to prepare and delicious to eat. I hope you like it too.

Pink Bean Salad

1 can Goya pink beans
½ cup Vidalia onion, chopped fine
½ cup roasted red pepper strips
½ cup olives, chopped
½ cup mozzarella pearls, more if desired
½ cup celery, chopped
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar, Artiston is my preferred brand
1 tsp. dried thyme
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
¼ teaspoon ground red pepper
Provide a bowl of coarse sea salt for those who want salt on top of their salad

Drain beans and rinse with cold water. Let them drain again while you mix other ingredients together in a bowl. Add beans to mixtures. Serve in a clear glass bowl.

Note: chick peas, croutons, or pepperoni minis can be added as desired.

Here is a brief intro to my latest contemporary romance novel for your reading pleasure.

For Laury, growing up on American Naval Bases in the Middle East resulted in a fluency in languages and a wariness of men. Now, after completing a psychiatric nurse practitioner program, she faces a mountain of student loans. While waiting to learn if she’s been accepted for her dream job, she works as a private duty nurse caring for Roberta, an elderly matriarch living alone in a 30-room mansion on Billionaires’ Row. Roberta’s granddaughter had agreed to stay with her while she recovered from eye surgery, but she has disappeared along with Roberta’s money and credit cards.

Damon, Roberta’s grandson who is volunteering with Doctors Without Borders, requests emergency leave to fly home from Iraq. After his wife divorced him, Damon had vowed never to marry again, but with only days to find a way to safeguard his grandmother, he offers Laury a bargain—a five-month marriage. She will protect Roberta while he returns to perform reconstructive surgery for child refugees and he will pay off her student loans. What could go wrong?

Readers who like novels with characters who must find strengths within themselves to overcome their difficulties will enjoy this story. They’ll learn different cultures’ approaches to families, marriages, and finances, about the Kurds who fought beside Americans in Iraq, about refugees, and about abuse. They will also learn about the power of love.

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 told her fascinating stories about the history of Turkey, the loss of the Ottoman Empire, and 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—a wonderful rewarding but never to be repeated experience.

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, Eris’s interests include: Prevention of Psychiatric Disorders; Eradicating Honor Killings, supporting the Crossroads Springs Orphanage in Kenya for children orphaned by AIDS, and learning more about Turkey, Cyprus, and Kurdistan.

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

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

The remembrance’s of Tina Griffith who shares a favorite recipe today!

I (Tina) was born in Germany where my mother frequently filled our home with the most amazing aromas. This is one of my favorite recipes and I want to share it with you.

Rouladen – Braised Stuffed Beef Rolls

    6 slices top round steak, 4 x 6 inches, sliced ½ inch thick
    6 tsp. German or coarsely ground mustard
    ½ cup onion, chopped fine – divided
    5 garlic cloves, chopped fine
    3 dill pickle spears cut in half lengthwise
    Freshly ground pepper to taste
    Toothpicks or kitchen twine
    3 tbsp. lard or vegetable oil
    2 cups water
    2 tbsp. flour
    1 tbsp. butter

Preheat oven to 325° F.

Place meat between 2 pieces of cling wrap or waxed paper. Gently pound meat to ¼ inch thick. Be careful not to tear the meat.

Spread mustard along meat slices. Sprinkle on ¼ cup onion and garlic. Lay a pickle piece at the bottom of each roll or the narrow end.

Roll meat into a cylinder starting at the pickle end. Pierce with toothpicks to hold together or tie with twine.

Brown meat on all sides in a medium size frying pan. Lay rolls in a roaster pan.

Add water to the frying pan and bring to a boil, scraping the sides and bottom to collect all the meat bits. Whisk in four and butter. Pour this mixture over the meat rolls.

Bake 1 hour or until meat is fork tender. Remove toothpicks before serving.

If you prefer a thicker gravy, combine 2 -3 tablespoons flour in ½ cup water. Bring to a boil in a small saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, to your desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper then stir into roasting pan gravy.

Boiled potatoes or dumplings along with red cabbage make this meal complete.

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


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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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

Banana Berry Smoothie from Gina Briganit , B.S., Certified Nutrition Consultant.

After trying every protein powder in the health food store and in my Urthbox delivery for the last three years, I know this is the best. Why? It’s organic. It’s hemp, which is a known superfood for its complete protein profile. It’s 100% hemp protein, no sugars or flavors added. I love the grind they use, which isn’t too fine, the way you often see with rice protein powder, which means that it blends well and has a nice texture. More bonuses – widely available, gluten-free, dairy-free, and there’s no bitter taste like you see with rice protein powder or pea protein powder.

Here’s an easy recipe to try out. Once you know the basics, you can take your smoothies as far as your imagination will go.

Freeze the strawberries if you want a chilled smoothie and freeze the banana, too, if you want an icy smoothie.

Banana Berry Smoothie

    • 1 banana

 

    • 1 cup strawberries

 

    • 1½ cups milk of your choice, but one with protein*

 

    ¼ cup Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein Powder

Put the fruit into the blender cup. Add protein powder. Then add milk. If you like a thinner smoothie, you may want to add more milk at this point.

Blend for 45 seconds. Enjoy!

*We use Trader Joe’s Simply Almond and Good Karma + Protein. Both are unsweetened. If you use animal-derived milk, buy organic, grass-fed, and raw, if the laws where you live allow for it. If not, get as close to that standard as you can.

One handy reason why smoothies became and stayed popular is how versatile they are. You can put supplements in and never taste them. I use MSM powder (known for its bitter taste and for its effectiveness) for inherited arthritis. It helps me use my hands all day long without painful, forced rest breaks. Another supplement I put in my smoothie is liquid iodine, which I personally have a high need for to keep my thyroid happy.

Smoothies are fast, easy, and delicious. Pro tip: use only the best ingredients. The fewer toxins you take in, the fewer you have to detox. This way all the good stuff works extra well to give you longevity, happy taste buds, and the freedom to satisfy your cravings.

I have a delicious mocha smoothie recipe. If you want to see it, comment and I will share.

Do you have a favorite smoothie combination?

Nutrition is one of my greatest passions and it’s important for every living being. That’s why I love sharing easy, tasty ways to nourish yourself.

You know what else is important? Having lots of organized tools to turn to when you’re figuring out new parts of your life. Like the ones in this workbook.

One reviewer called it “A personal blueprint for happiness.” You can get your copy here.

I include a monthly workbook exercise in my newsletter, which you can sign up for here. You’ll get 6 Fast Vitality Boosters delivered to your inbox immediately.

In closing I have two questions for you.

What are your dreams?

How can I help you live them?

Thanks for the time we spent together today!
Gina

Gina Briganti is a Holistic Health Consultant, Reiki Teacher, graphic designer and author. You can find her in Dallas, TX enjoying life, following my passion, and helping others do the same.

But it’s called The Reiki Cafe. Where’s the food? Gina is writing a book with fabulous healthy recipes in it. She will share all the good food in her newsletter, which you can sign up for here.
Reiki class retreats are forming now in north Texas, where the food is done for you, and you receive a copy of all the recipes you ate during the retreat. Get on the list for the next retreat by signing up for the newsletter.


Connect with Gina through e-mail, on Facebook, her Amazon Author Page, YouTube channel, InstagramTwitterBookbub, and Goodreads.  There are exclusives and announcements that she shares only in her newsletter, which you can sign up for right here.

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

The innovative Chris Pavesic who shares with us her recipe for homemade caramel corn.

Is there anything better than homemade sweet and salty caramel corn? Not only does it taste delicious, the aroma that fills the air when you are cooking it is heavenly.

Baked Caramel Corn
Nonstick cooking spray
24 cups air popped popcorn
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup light or dark corn syrup
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 250°F.

Coat bottom and sides of large roasting pan with nonstick spray. Place popped popcorn in roasting pan.

In saucepan, slowly melt butter. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Heat to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil without stirring 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in baking soda and vanilla.

Gradually pour over popped popcorn, mixing well. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

Remove from oven, and cool completely. Break apart and store in tightly covered container.

While you enjoy your treat why not read a good book? May I suggest one of the books from my LitRPG series The Revelation Chronicles? ?

In Starter Zone Cami kept herself and her younger sister Alby alive in a post-apocalyptic world, facing starvation, violence, and death on a daily basis. Caught by the military and forcefully inscribed, Cami manages to scam the system and they enter the Realms, a Virtual Reality world, as privileged Players rather than slaves. They experience a world of safety, plenty, and magical adventure.

In the Traveler’s Zone magic, combat, gear scores, quests, and dungeons are all puzzles to be solved as Cami continues her epic quest to navigate the Realms and build a better life for her family. But an intrusion from her old life threatens everything she has gained and imperils the entire virtual world.

Time to play the game.

Above the tree line floats an airship close to three hundred feet long with a slightly rounded wooden hull. Ropes attach the lower portion of the ship to an inflated balloon-like aspect, bright white in color with an identification symbol, a red bird with white-tipped feathers extended in flight, inside a round yellow circle in the center of the canvas. The deck is manned with archers and swordsmen. There are two sets of fore and aft catapults.

What I don’t see are cannons or any other type of a gun large enough to account for the sound of the explosion.

The ship pivots in the air, coming around to point directly at what looks like an oncoming flock of five large birds. Or creatures. They are too big and too strange looking to be birds. They drift closer, flapping their wings.

A moment passes before I realize that they are not creatures either. They are some sort of gliders. A person hangs below each set of the feathered wings, which flap and move with mechanical precision in a sky washed out by the morning sun.

The archers nock their arrows and aim at the flock.

The gliders draw in their wings and dive toward the deck, covering the distance in a few heartbeats. Most of the arrows fly uselessly past the attack force and fall like black rain from the sky. The archers aimed and released the volley too late.

The forward catapult releases a torrent of small rocks at the lead glider. It is a scatter-shot approach that proves effective. There are so many missiles that it is impossible to dodge them all.

But at the moment the stones strike, the other four let loose with fireballs. Spheres of crackling flame spring from their hands, glowing faintly at first and then with increasing brightness. The balls of fire shoot from their hands like bullets from a gun and fly toward the ship, exploding. Pieces bounce off the hull and fall to the ground, throwing hissing, burning globs of magic-fueled fire in all directions, setting everything they touch aflame.

Want to learn more about The Revelation Chronicles? Click HERE for updates on this and the other series by Chris. Watch the video on YouTube.

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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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

Author and Artist Linda Lee Greene who brings us her recipe for Blueberry-Blackberry Cobbler.

At my advanced age, a ‘mushy’ bottom pretty much comes with the territory. But to save your baked-goods from the same fate, there is a little trick you can use as a deterrent. Keep reading to find it.

Several months ago, I learned that victims of thyroid disorder, which I have been since the age of 16, should adopt a gluten-free diet. Carbs are also a problem for me. I looked around for a nutrition plan that would best suit my needs. I found it in the Keto Diet. A side benefit is that I am losing weight on this easy diet plan. Now when I look in the mirror, I see promise of the svelte and fit creature I was when young. It is a tremendous incentive to keep on keeping on.

A favorite gluten-free, low calorie, low carbs, high protein dessert that I stumbled upon by fooling with a recipe in Keto in 30 Minutes, edited by Jen Fisch of Ketointhecity.com, is one I call ‘Blueberry-Blackberry Cobbler’. I treat myself to a filling and satisfying 2-inch square of it drenched in icy-cold, Aldis’s Friendly Farms Original 30 calories per cup almond milk on many late evenings. Blue Diamond almond milk is also a good one. Neither of them is thick and greasy like Silk almond milk. Coconut milk works, if it is your preference. And no, this dessert will not go to your hips, unless of course, you gobble down the whole thing in one sitting.

Blueberry-Blackberry Cobbler

¼ cup gluten-cholesterol-sugar-free coconut flour
4 large eggs
4 oz. cream cheese, softened, I prefer Neufchatel, it contains less fat and has a tangy bite to it
1½ tsp. baking powder
¼ cup Erythritol or three packets of Stevia, plant-based, sugar-free sweeteners
1 tsp. vanilla extract (organic, if possible)
1 tbsp. lemon zest (I use four drops of ‘Young Living’ essential lemon oil)

Nonstick butter cooking spray
4 pats butter
¼ cup blueberries
¼ cup blackberries

Pre-heat oven to 425º F.

Combine all ingredients before cooking spray together in a mixing bowl.

Coat the sides and bottom of an 8-inch. x 8-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Place a thin pat of butter in each corner of the baking dish. Set dish in the oven until butter melt, about 2 – 3 minutes.

The thick batter spoons nicely into the warm baking dish. Now here is the trick to avoid turning your cobbler into a ‘mushy-bottomed-mess.’ Rather than mix your fruit into the batter, spoon blueberries and blackberries onto the top of the batter. You can use any fruit you choose, but be careful, most fruits outside the berry family are high in carbs and will go to your hips.

Bake about 20 minutes.

I whip up this delicious dessert in the evening so I can cut myself a warm square of it right out of the oven. It is a yummy soother to a gnarling, late-night tummy.

While your cobbler is baking, how about taking a peek at my latest romance/crime-thriller?

Amid the seductions of Las Vegas, Nevada and an idyllic coffee plantation on Hawai’i’s Big Island, a sextet of opposites converge within a shared fate: a glamorous movie-star courting distractions from her troubled past; her shell-shocked bodyguards clutching handholds out of their hardscrabble lives; a dropout Hawaiian nuclear physicist gambling his way back home; a Navajo rancher seeking cleansing for harming Mother Earth; and from its lofty perch, the Hawaiian’s guardian spirit conjured as his pet raven, conducting this symphony of soul odysseys.

Was it chance or destiny’s hand behind the movie-star and gambler’s curious encounter at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas? The cards fold, their hearts open, and a match strikes, flames that sizzle their hearts and souls. Can they have the moon and the stars, too? Or is she too dangerous? Is he? Can their love withstand betrayal? Can it endure murder?

While the cards at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas fail to distract them from their troubled pasts, on the side, the actress and the gambler play a game of ‘will they won’t they’ romance. Meanwhile, an otherworldly hand also has a big stake in the game. Unexpected secrets unfold brimming with dangerous consequences, and finally, a strange brand of salvation.

Amazon Buy Links PaperbackKindle

Multi-award-winning author and artist Linda Lee Greene describes her life as a telescope that when trained on her past reveals how each piece of it, whether good or bad or in-between, was necessary in the unfoldment of her fine art and literary paths.

Greene moved from farm-girl to city-girl; dance instructor to wife, mother, and homemaker; divorcee to single-working-mom and adult-college-student; and interior designer to multi-award-winning artist and author, essayist, and blogger. It was decades of challenging life experiences and debilitating, chronic illness that gave birth to her dormant flair for art and writing. Greene was three days shy of her fifty-seventh birthday when her creative spirit took a hold of her.

She found her way to her lonely easel soon thereafter. Since then Greene has accepted commissions and displayed her artwork in shows and galleries in and around the USA. She is also a member of artist and writer associations.

Visit Linda at her online art gallery and join her on Facebook. Linda loves to hear from readers so feel free to email her.

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

A vegan recipe from Alicia Joseph who says this recipe is also a fave for my meat-eating friends and family. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Vegan Baked Beans

    1 cup brown lentils
    ½ cup red lentils
    1 carrot, chopped fine
    2 stalks celery, chopped fine
    ½ med. red onion, chopped fine
    1 bell pepper, chopped fine, color doesn’t matter
    3 cups water + 6 tbsp. water
    3 tbsp. flaxseed meal (linseed), chia seeds work too
    1½ cups oats
    1 tbsp. dried chopped onion
    ½ tbsp. garlic powder
    1 cup ketchup

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Mix both lentils, carrot, celery, onion, and pepper together in a saucepan. Stir in 3 cups water and boil until has evaporated. Be sure to stir often.

In a separate dish, mix flaxseed with 6 tablespoons of water. Let it stand to thicken. This is your egg replacement.

When lentils and vegetables are cooked, slowly pour in oats. Break oats up as much as you can. Stir in lentils so it’s a nice thick consistency. Next add flax mixture, onion, and garlic. Mix well.

Pour contents evenly into a loaf pan. Bake 15 minutes. Pour ketchup over the top and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Here is a glimpse into one of my books. 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.

AMAZON BUY LINKS

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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