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Tell Again Tuesday

A blog series where we shamelessly share posts from others that we have enjoyed.

 


 

Not So Perfect

By Cindy Tomamichel

It is interesting to give some thought to the physical aspects of a character. We have become accustomed to heroes and heroines looking perfect, with bulging muscles and flawless skin. So many movies demand of their actor’s perfection in face and form, particularly if they are a love interest. For who could love a beast?

I think it’s time we moved beyond that impossible . . .

For the rest of the blog go to:

Soul Mate Publishing blog

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Tell Again Tuesday

A blog series where we shamelessly share posts from others that we have enjoyed.

 


 

Verbs paint the essence of your characters–a writing tips post.

By Sally Brandle

This page is from the 1906 “Text Book of Art Education.” Paintings evoke emotions, as should your books. How to compose like a painter? After attending an inspiring Master Class by Damon Suede, author of Verbalize: Bring Stories to Life & Life to Stories, I purchased the book and . . .

For the rest of the blog go to:

Soul Mate Publishing blog

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

Susan Varno who brings us her latest captivating book and a quick and easy desert.

Frozen Yogurt Recipe
This makes up to 36 popsicles

This makes frozen fruit yogurt soft enough to bite in to. It’s not quite ice cream texture, but it’s close enough. This is not low calorie, but the healthy ingredients are lower in carbs and sugar.

A pint whipping cream
2 cups Greek yogurt (whole milk if you can find it)
About a cup of fruit (best choices are banana, pineapple, blueberry and strawberry). Don’t use fruits that are mostly liquid like melons or grapes.
Flavorings (not all of these, and any other flavors you want such as:

    unsweetened coconut
    cinnamon
    stevia
    turbanado
    unsweetened cocoa
    lemon zest (no sugar)
    nutmeg

large bowl
hand mixer with whisk
blender
popsicle forms
small spatula
soup spoon
Large measuring cup

    Cut up the fruit and dump into the blender. Move up through speeds to liquefy.
    Pour the whipping cream into the large bowl. With the hand mixer whisk, gradually move up to highest speed. Keep mixing until the foam isn’t getting any higher.
    Dump in the yogurt. Add flavorings. Whip this together thoroughly.
    Dump in the fruit. Keep whipping until all is blended and fluffy.
    If you’ve used whole milk yogurt, the mixture will be so thick, it doesn’t pour. Spoon the mixture into each form. When you get each form full, use the other end of the spoon to push the mixture into the open spaces and then fill from the top.
    Freeze for at least two hours.

A REBEL AND HER ROGUE (A Regency Romance Novel from Soul Mate Publishing)

Excerpt
Sherwood Forest, 1815

Through the trees, Blake heard the wild rumbling of carriage wheels. Wood splintering. A horse shrieking. A man shouting.

Giving Valor his head, Blake raced through an opening in the trees. He burst onto the road and pulled sharply to a halt. Half in the ditch, a small carriage canted against a tree. The vehicle teetered. One wheel turned slowly in the air. While the coachman struggled to release the harness, the wild-eyed horse pawed the ground ready to bolt.

Blake leapt down from his horse Valor. The carriage door flew open. A head of lush black hair appeared followed by the most enchanting face he ever beheld. Dark brows, dark lashes. As he surveyed her freckled nose and cheeks, his gaze came upon the damsel’s plump red lips. They arched in a vicious frown.

He slid his hand around her waist and lifted her into his arms. She was lithe but endowed with graceful curves. She laced her arm around his shoulder. Her body pressed against his made sweat prickle in his most intimate places.

“Cassiopeia Valient?” he asked.

“Mister Durgan,” she snapped. “Is this any way to conduct a kidnapping?”

Durgan? The name pulled him up smartly. Did his potential bride-to-be mistake him for Dangerous Dan Durgan, the Gentleman Bandit? Beneath his leather jacket, Blake’s shirt collar stood open. His breeches were tucked into rough boots, and he wore his light blond hair tied back with a buckskin thong. Those details might explain her confusion.

What confusion? She expected him to kidnap her! Ransom must be her motive.

Amazon buy link

Susan Varno Bio:

Like many readers and writers, I watch stories inside my head. When I read a Regency romance, I imagine myself dancing at a London ball or racing through Sherwood Forest. When I write, I imagine an intriguing scene, always one with action and attraction. I watch how my hero and heroine act. That’s how I discover who they are and what they care about. I love researching their time and place in history almost as much as I love inviting these “strangers” inside my head.

For twenty-five years, I wrote columns and reviews for Video Views Magazine. I’ve seen almost every new movie release, especially the romances and anything with an historical setting. Though I was born and raised in Chicago and its suburbs, I married a country boy from rural Ohio. Richard insisted we retire to the hinterlands of the Arkansas Ozarks. Our post office was so remote you couldn’t find it on most maps. While we lived there, I interviewed more than a hundred people for articles in magazines and newspapers.

My husband died three years ago. I miss my hero every day. We have two grown sons and one grandson. I now live in a Chicago suburb. I volunteer in the local schools and help at my church. I’ve visited the western Caribbean and the western Mediterranean. Someday, England here I come.

Find Susan at:

WebsiteFacebook

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

An interesting recipe and book from Janina Grey who brings us a meal and good book.

Mama’s Sauce, Meatballs, and Baked Ziti
AKA Jane McCord’s Baked Ziti

The Sauce is the most important part:
For sauce:

    1-2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
    2-3 cloves of garlic
    1 medium onion
    Basil
    Parsley
    Red pepper
    Bay Leaf
    3 Beef Bouillon Cubes (omit if vegetarian)
    Parmesan Cheese

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 small can Tomato Paste
3 cans Crushed Tomatoes
1 Can Tomato Puree

Optional:
Extra raw onion, extra raw garlic, onion and/or garlic powder
Meat (Or if Vegetarian – peppers and onions)

Pork – either a country rib, pork neck bones or a pork chop.
Sausage – a nice hot Italian sausage gives you the best taste in the sauce, but I prefer a sweet Italian Sausage, as they are more flavorful.

Meatball ingredients
ground beef (chop meat) following ingredients based on one pound

    bread crumbs ½ (plus?) cups
    egg 2 eggs per pound of chop meat
    salt usually three quick sprinkles
    pepper same as salt unless you like pepper
    red pepper (sneaks up on you, be careful)
    onion powder (or freshly chopped onion) one or two shakes
    garlic powder (or freshly chopped garlic) one shake
    parsley lots of parsley – ¼ to ½ a cup
    parmesan cheese – season to taste

Directions:

Cover bottom of sauce pot with a thin (but not too thin) layer of olive oil.
Heat on low (like a 2 ish).
Simmer thin garlic slices until light brown.
(How much garlic you ask? As much as you want. More garlic for garlic lovers, less garlic for less of a garlic taste)

Slice a medium onion in thin slivers and after removing garlic and put in small bowl, simmer onion in oil until brown.

While garlic and onion are simmering, prepare the meat for browning.

Preparing Meat:
Remove onion. Turn heat up to medium low, so that the meat sizzles quickly when you put it in the pot. Start with pork first. Sear it so it browns quickly on both sides.

Lower the heat a bit (level 3 ish) and put the sausage in, slowly browning it, turning so all sides brown.

While the pork and sausage are browning, mix the meatballs in a large bowl.

Add chop meat, bread crumbs, parsley, egg and mix well.
Add salt, pepper, red pepper
(optional: garlic and onion powders and parmesan cheese.)
Mix well and make meatballs, set on side until ready to brown.

Brown meatballs in oil, set aside with other browned meat. Cook some meatballs thoroughly so people can snack. Cut sausage links in thirds

In residual oil, brown basil. Add tomato paste. Brown paste, parsley, salt and pepper.

Add crushed tomatoes, stir, simmer to boil. Add puree simmer to boil.

Add parsley, red pepper, black pepper, salt, bouillon cubes, cooked garlic and onion, cheese. Add water to desired thinness. Stir constantly while waiting for boil.

Add meat. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer, cover pot while leaving top tilted so that steam can escape and the sauce can thicken.

Cook 2-3 hours, stirring regularly. Main thing to remember: STIR CONSTANTLY! Make only when in good mood. Bad mood will ruin the taste!!!

Baked Ziti Recipe:

    1 lb of pasta of your choice. It can be ziti, shells, spirals, or rigatoni.
    1 medium container of Ricotta cheese
    8-12 ounces shredded mozzarella (depending on desired cheesy goodness)
    1 egg
    ¼ cup parsley
    Salt and pepper to taste

While the pasta is boiling in a large pot of salted water, use a large mixing bowl to add cheesy goodness ingredients together. mix ingredients together to form a paste.

Line bottom of baking pan with a thin layer of sauce.
When the pasta is done, drain and place in a baking or casserole pan. Add the cheese mixture and mix thoroughly. Then generously add sauce. Remember that it will evaporate a bit when cooking and you don’t want it too dry!

Cover with tin foil and bake a half hour to 45 minutes at 350. Take the tin foil off and sprinkle top with mozzarella cheese. Let melt. Serve.

While you are waiting for your Ziti to bake why not start a good book? Here’s a glimpse into Ten Bucks And A Wish:
All it took was one wish and ten bucks, and Deanna Drake was falling in love all over again with her high school sweetheart.

Returning to her Olde Westfield home ready to battle the proposed development of her family legacy, Deanna learns that the man she despises most is behind the takeover.

Cord stole her heart five years earlier and now plans to steal her rightful heritage and turn it into his next successful moneymaking venture.

Falling in love again wasn’t even on her radar as she boarded the LIRR and headed east out of Manhattan.

Michael McCord knew he messed up bad when Deanna moved away to the city, never to return. Since then, he has been dealing with the realization that he lost the only love of his life forever.

But when Deanna’s father dies and leaves Cord executor of the debt-ridden and failing Drake estate, the budding developer does what he does best—he takes something that is broken and molds and mends it back to life.

The only question now is what is he hoping to heal? The farm, Deanna’s heart, or both? And where does he even begin?

He soon decides the best way to find out is to start with ten bucks and a wish.

Excerpt from Ten Bucks And a Wish:
“You look great.”

It was a simple statement, without any underlying tones. But it made Deanna tremble all the same. Damn, how could he still do this to me?

“You don’t have to be nice to me now.” She hardened her voice as she climbed into the truck, forcing herself not to compliment his vehicle. Or his suit. Or his hair, or his eyes, or his smile.

“I want to be nice to you, if you’d let me.” Cord got behind the wheel and started the SUV.

She shook her head, then stared out the window and whispered, “I hate you.”

“Yeah. I remember. So. Where do you want to go?”

“I thought you were giving me a ride home?” Be still, oh traitorous heart.

“Nah. You don’t really want to go home, do you? You want to take a ride? Maybe head out east?” His grin was so broad his dimples were showing.

“If that means missing dinner, sure,” she said, stealing a glance at him.

“Besides, I thought we had things to discuss.” He cocked an eyebrow at her.

“Apparently, I have to talk to Trish.”

“I thought you already did.” Amusement filled his voice.

“So did I. But from what I’ve heard and seen this morning? Oh, hell. Never mind.” Her mind was racing as quickly as her heart. Something was off. And only Trish could clear things up.

“So you want to hear my plans for the farm?”

“My farm? No thanks.”

“So it’s your farm, huh?”

“I spoke with a friend. He gave me advice on how to deal with the situation.”

“Big city folk, huh? Us country folk ain’t good ‘nough fer the likes of a city slicker like you. Is that it?” He twanged at her, and a smile curved her lips despite her anger.

“I trust him.”

“You don’t trust me?” Cord’s voice softened as he reached out, his strong, tanned fingers closing gently around her soft, slender hand resting in her lap. It was as if they were making love right there and then, judging from the explosions in her heart and belly.

“Cord.” Deanna didn’t intend to whisper, but when she spoke she found that his nearness, his touch, the aloneness they shared, had stolen her breath away.

“Much better, Deanna. Much.” His voice, too, was barely more than a whisper.

Deanna swallowed thickly, staring at his broad hand, dark and roughened from years of hard work under the sun. Hands that could rip through hours of hard physical labor, or caress her skin with a touch as soft as a spring breeze.

She glanced up to find the truck hadn’t even left the parking lot yet. She wanted to be strong, to forget what it felt like to love him.

“It doesn’t have to be like this.” He removed his hand and placed it firmly on the steering wheel and spoke softly, his eyes never leaving her face.

Her skin cooled quickly with the absence of his touch. She shook her head and focused on the throng of parishioners mulling around, socializing with one another, as she unsuccessfully tried to loosen the lump in her throat.

“I don’t think you know the whole story. You don’t know how hard it’s been for me to not call you and warn you about what was going on.” He emphasized each word softly, his voice filtering through the SUV. “This wouldn’t be happening if we had been together this whole time.”

“You blew it.” She jutted her lower lip out in defiance and continued to stare out the window.

He shifted into drive and edged onto the highway. “Deanna. We’ve got two things to clear up between us. The past and the present. And the way I see it, once we settle these two problems it’ll be smooth sailing from there. So, what do you say, huh? Can you retract your claws and try to work out our differences?”

He studied the road as she studied his profile. He was headed east, as he had suggested earlier. “I’ll keep my claws to myself if you keep your . . . your paws . . . to yourself.” Her deliberate hesitation emphasized all too clearly the meaning of her words. Cord slipped her a quick glance, and their eyes locked. For that moment, everything was forgotten, and they laughed, just like old times.

***

Find Ten Bucks And a Wish at:

Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Janina Grey Bio
Janina Grey has been writing since she could hold a crayon, and there has been no stopping her since. Journaling, short stories, poetry, newsletters, news, feature, columns, Op/Eds, and press releases have kept her busy her whole life. But it was the sweet romances she read in her downtime that stayed forever in her heart and gave her the inspiration to write her own.

Growing up on Long Island and living periodically in Tennessee as a youth has given her the opportunity to meet many different types of people and experience many different lifestyles. After moving from Long Island to settle in upstate New York with her family, she found the support needed to pursue her writing endeavors.

When Janina is not writing, she may be marching for women’s rights, kayaking, camping, drumming, or dancing around the fire.

With her two children grown, she and her husband, David, share their 110-year-old Mohawk Valley farm house homestead with a few resident spirits and a very squawky murder of crows.

Check out more excerpts and get to know Janina Grey better by visiting her website, or following her on Instagram @janinagreyauthor, and Facebook.
You can also reach out to her at janinagrey143@gmail.com.

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Friday Features’

Guest talks about

Gardening in the Ozarks

by

Susan Varno

When my husband and I retired, we moved to the Arkansas Ozarks. We built our house in a forest meadow. I knew the land wouldn’t have the black loamy soil we’d enjoyed in northern Illinois. A neighbor recommended we put in raised flower beds.

I said, “Over the winter, I’ll cover them with black plastic so weeds and seedlings won’t grow up.”

He gave me that “you aren’t from around here” look and said, “That won’t be necessary. The beds will be fine until spring.”

He was right. After we had what passes for dirt delivered, mostly sand, some gravel, and crumbled clay, not a thing grew, not a weed, not a blade of grass. One brave acorn sprouted, looked around, and promptly died.

Spring came. I visited the garden department at Walmart. I didn’t care what the flowers looked like, only that they grew in partial shade and didn’t require much watering.

I bought bags of black top soil, some organic fertilizer, and compost. I mixed it into the sandy soil and planted marigolds, wildflowers, gladiola bulbs and some unidentified clearance flowers. They all drooped. I scattered pine bark mulch around them. The flowers still looked forlorn. Every time I watered, that night it rained. Then one night some critter ate my pansies, vinca, and moss roses. Just nibbled off the buds and left the leaves.

Back to Walmart for something to discourage the all night critter buffet. The ingredients included putrefied egg shells, cayenne pepper, dried blood, and cat urine. It smelled awful but seemed to work.

I planted hostas (too much shade), marigolds (weather too hot), gladiolas, (magnificent but kept falling over). The sole zinnia did well, though it seemed lonely for its own kind.

Then I made friends with Juanita Stowers. She told me to use manure for fertilizer but wear gloves. She gave me heirloom petunia plants she’d rescued 30 earlier from her mother’s garden. They not only bloomed but moved from one bed to another every year. Each spring I had to search for them. I told her I watered the yucca bulbs she’d gave me, but they didn’t bloom. She reminded me they are a succulent. I stopped watering. They grew four feet tall and shot forth with giant white flowers. Covered with an ice glaze, my violas gallantly bloomed. Coneflower seeds grew into a bush. English ivy engulfed a flower bed and headed up the outside of the house.

One day Juanita and I were driving in the woods. She suddenly stopped her SUV.

“I’ve got to have that fern,” she said. From her trunk, she lifted out a pot and small shovel.

“Watch for sheriff’s patrol cars,” she warned. “Digging up these heirloom plants is illegal, but I’m only taking one.”

I stood lookout while she explained that in the forest, many homesteads had been abandoned. When a family moved away, the cabin caved in or was taken apart to use the logs elsewhere. But the flowers the farm women had planted continued to come up every spring. For decades, even a century, they marked the places where a family, had farmed, survived, but been forced to move.

A REBEL AND HER ROGUE (A Regency Romance Novel from Soul Mate Publishing)

Excerpt
Sherwood Forest, 1815

Through the trees, Blake heard the wild rumbling of carriage wheels. Wood splintering. A horse shrieking. A man shouting.

Giving Valor his head, Blake raced through an opening in the trees. He burst onto the road and pulled sharply to a halt. Half in the ditch, a small carriage canted against a tree. The vehicle teetered. One wheel turned slowly in the air. While the coachman struggled to release the harness, the wild-eyed horse pawed the ground ready to bolt.

Blake leapt down from his horse Valor. The carriage door flew open. A head of lush black hair appeared followed by the most enchanting face he ever beheld. Dark brows, dark lashes. As he surveyed her freckled nose and cheeks, his gaze came upon the damsel’s plump red lips. They arched in a vicious frown.

He slid his hand around her waist and lifted her into his arms. She was lithe but endowed with graceful curves. She laced her arm around his shoulder. Her body pressed against his made sweat prickle in his most intimate places.

“Cassiopeia Valient?” he asked.

“Mister Durgan,” she snapped. “Is this any way to conduct a kidnapping?”

Durgan? The name pulled him up smartly. Did his potential bride-to-be mistake him for Dangerous Dan Durgan, the Gentleman Bandit? Beneath his leather jacket, Blake’s shirt collar stood open. His breeches were tucked into rough boots, and he wore his light blond hair tied back with a buckskin thong. Those details might explain her confusion.

What confusion? She expected him to kidnap her! Ransom must be her motive.

Amazon buy link

Susan Varno Bio:

Like many readers and writers, I watch stories inside my head. When I read a Regency romance, I imagine myself dancing at a London ball or racing through Sherwood Forest. When I write, I imagine an intriguing scene, always one with action and attraction. I watch how my hero and heroine act. That’s how I discover who they are and what they care about. I love researching their time and place in history almost as much as I love inviting these “strangers” inside my head.

For twenty-five years, I wrote columns and reviews for Video Views Magazine. I’ve seen almost every new movie release, especially the romances and anything with an historical setting. Though I was born and raised in Chicago and its suburbs, I married a country boy from rural Ohio. Richard insisted we retire to the hinterlands of the Arkansas Ozarks. Our post office was so remote you couldn’t find it on most maps. While we lived there, I interviewed more than a hundred people for articles in magazines and newspapers.

My husband died three years ago. I miss my hero every day. We have two grown sons and one grandson. I now live in a Chicago suburb. I volunteer in the local schools and help at my church. I’ve visited the western Caribbean and the western Mediterranean. Someday, England here I come.

Find Susan at:

WebsiteFacebook

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Tell Again Tuesday

A blog series where we shamelessly share posts from others that we have enjoyed.

 


 

Selected Insights from Julia Quinn

By Pamela Gibson

I write historical romance and Regencies have long been one of my favorite genres. Over the years, I’ve sat through several presentations at in-person conventions, learning different perspectives from some of my favorite authors. Here are a few I recently came across from Julia Quinn, the author of the Bridgerton series. She made them during a panel discussion in 2016.

Plot or characters, which comes first? . . .

For the rest of the blog go to:

SMP Authors’ blog

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Tell Again Tuesday

A blog series where we shamelessly share posts from others that we have enjoyed.

 


 

Dear Santa

By Gwen Overland

I can remember as a kid being excited about making out my Christmas list. I usually didn’t want a lot of things. Merely one big present would light up my world. I’ll never forget the year I got my . . .

For the rest of the blog go to:

SMP Authors blog

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Tell Again Tuesday

A blog series where we shamelessly share posts from others that we have enjoyed.

 


 

Promo Stacking

By Rebecca Heflin

n March of 2019 I struck gold, securing one of those rare BookBub Featured Deal spots and was astounded to see the impact on sales and rankings. I wrote about it in a blog post. They truly are the gold standard when it comes to free and bargain book newsletters. Problem is, they are hard to come by, especially if the book you want to submit isn’t sold wide, and they are pricey. Very pricey.

But do not despair, there are lots of free and bargain book newsletters out there with spots that are far easier to snag (and far cheaper). And while they don’t have the same impact on sales as a coveted BookBub Featured Deal, their impact is not insignificant. The key is promo-stacking.

When I decide to run a 99¢ promo, it’s . . .

For the rest of the blog go to:

SMP Authors blog

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Tell Again Tuesday

A blog series where we shamelessly share posts from others that we have enjoyed.

 


 

The Code of the West Hawaiian Style

By Gwen Overland

I never thought I would admit this, nor did I think I would parade it on the World Wide Web for all to see, but I’ve decided to write a cowboy romance series. I don’t know that much about cowboys except from watching television and reading other cowboy romance novels, yet I have had a few profound experiences observing the paniolos or cowboys of Hawaii. . . .

For the rest of the blog go to:

SMP Authors blog

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Tell Again Tuesday

A blog series where we shamelessly share posts from others that we have enjoyed.

 


 

Grammar Habits

By KD DuBois

Always one to enhance my knowledge, I signed up for a grammar course. I also took it as the initial requisite to complete an editing certificate. With some spare time on my hands, I thought I could fill the gaps in my days with some freelance editing work. I have a few degrees. I’ve authored many papers. I write novels. Grammar is second nature—grammar is easy.

I can’t remember the last time I’ve studied so hard.

As I struggle through the homework, I discover . . .

For the rest of the blog go to:

Soul Mate Authors blog

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