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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

Our suggestions to spot “telling” writing in your WIP.

We’ve all heard the admonition “Show, don’t tell.” When we show we are producing better writing that will capture our readers. Showing, instead of telling, lets editors and agents see you are not an amateur.

In spite of hearing the phrase over and over, many writers don’t know how to recognize “telling” writing. Writing that tells analyzes, generalizes, editorializes and summarizes instead of making the writing interactive and sensory for the reader. Naturally, there will be some generalizations and summarization in your writing, but you need to make sure these elements are in the minority, not the majority of your book. You need to show what’s happening so the reader can create in her own mind the picture you, the writer, want to share.

    To locate telling writing look for:
    • Passive sentences. Often passive sentences, especially those with the word was in them, are a tip-off you might be telling instead of showing. The sentence Sally was angry, is telling. Sally’s lips drew down into a thin, taut line, her jaw working side to side, shows us Sally’s anger. We can deduce from the picture that is painted how Sally feels because we know that look.
    • Passages that have very little sensory information. You can tell us the woman smelled good, was sexy, and she knew it, or you can show it by saying John turned to watch her as she strolled between the restaurant tables, her hips swaying like a belly dancer in slow motion. As she neared she tossed her hair behind her shoulder, casting the scent of violets and vanilla in waves toward him. The fragrance made him salivate. Her perfectly manicured nails trailed along his shoulder as she passed by. He shuddered under her touch and she smiled as he looked up at her. Here we know what the woman smells like, how she walks, how John reacts to her and how she reacts to him. Much stronger than just saying she was sexy.
    • “LY” adverbs. ‘LY” adverbs rob sentences of conciseness and force, making your writing weak. Which sounds stronger? The man yelled loudly or The man roared, the sound drowning out the radio. The dog’s tail wagged happily or The dog’s tail wagged in time to his barks as he bounded around the room. The taxi drove very slowly down the street, or The taxi crept at a snail’s pace down the street.

Get the picture? By adding active verbs, sensory information and using fewer “LY” adverbs, you are showing the reader a snapshot of what’s happening.

Here are a few telling phrases. Choose one, or two if you’re ambitious, and see if you can come up with a better picture.

    • skinny lunatic
    • fanatical nun
    • old paper
    • disgruntled employee.
    • frazzled mother.

Share in the comments what you’ve come up with so everyone can see what you created.

Links for our books are on our book page, under the menu at the top of the page or on our Amazon Author Page

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

suggestions from Us about ways to keep your characters in turmoil!

We recently came across an old email entitled Instructions for Life. The 45 positive recommendations on the list are meant to help make one’s life better. By turning some of the instructions upside down and we created bad life advice that will keep novel characters in turmoil.

Next time things are going too smoothly with your WIP try throwing one of these in the mix.

    1. Let them believe in love at first sight, but fight it like it can’t exist.
    2. If they make a mistake, don’t let them be too quick to acknowledge it.
    3. Let them fall in love deeply, passionately, and with people they would never choose. They might get hurt, but it’s the only way to live life completely.
    4. Make them fight to keep their values, but make sure they do keep them. No one loves an un-heroic hero.
    5. Remember silence is sometimes the best answer and unanswered questions are always suspect.
    6. Let them dredge up the past; it makes for good conflicts.
    7. Let them read between the lines … a lot. Miscommunication thickens the plot.
    8. Let them slowly discover that not getting what they want is sometimes the best thing that ever happened.
    9. Never let them mind their own business. You can’t get in trouble that way.
    10. Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risks, and make them willing to risk everything to get their goals.

Do you have a favorite trick for keeping your characters in turmoil?

Links for our books are on our book page, under the menu at the top of the page or on our Amazon Author Page

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

Anne Montgomery’s newest Contemporary Women’s Fiction/Suspense from TouchPoint Press releasing September 13, 2021!

Ancient ruins, haunted memories, and a ruthless criminal combine with a touch of mystic presence in this taut mystery about a crime we all must address.

Maggie, a National Park Ranger of Native American descent, is back at The Castle—a six-hundred-year-old pueblo carved into a limestone cliff in Arizona’s Verde Valley. Maggie, who suffers from depression, has been through several traumas: the gang rape she suffered while in the Coast Guard, the sudden death of her ten-year-old son, and a suicide attempt.

One evening, she chases a young Native American boy through the park and gasps as he climbs the face of The Castle cliff and disappears into the pueblo. When searchers find no child, Maggie’s friends believe she’s suffering from depression-induced hallucinations.

Maggie has several men in her life. The baker, newcomer Jim Casey, who always greets her with a warm smile and pink boxes filled with sweet delicacies. Brett Collins, a scuba diver who is doing scientific studies in Montezuma Well, a dangerous cylindrical depression that houses strange creatures found nowhere else on Earth. Dave, an amiable waiter with whom she’s had a one-night stand, and her new boss Glen.

One of these men is a serial rapist and Maggie is his next target. In a thrilling and terrifying denouement, Maggie faces her rapist and conquers her worst fears once and for all.

PREORDER YOU COPY FROM AMAZON

REVIEW COPIES OF THE CASTLE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST
Contact: Chelsea Pieper, Publicity Manager, Media Liaison

Review/interview requests: media@touchpointpress.com

Register & Order Online: TouchPointPress.com/Bookstore
Orders: info@touchpointpress.com


 

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

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

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

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

Our virtual kitchen with chief Sloane Taylor who brings us her latest cooking ideas and recipies.

I had the great pleasure of attending a cooking class with my friend Bonnie several years ago. We were in New Orleans when this bright idea hit us. That’s what enjoying too many Hurricanes at Pat O’Brien’s in the French Quarter will do to a person. 😊 The next day we were still hot to try our hands at Cajun cooking when we happened on The New Orleans School of Cooking. We enrolled in a class and, as our good luck would have, were the only two students. A great time was had by all!

Since then, I’ve used up all the Joe’s Stuff I bought to season the dish and had to devise a new recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

JAMBALAYA

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 cup onion, chopped

½ cup celery, chopped

½ cup green pepper, chopped

½ tbsp. garlic, chopped

¾ lb. andouille sausage, sliced to pieces 1 inch thick

2½ cups chicken stock, possibly more

½ tsp. dried thyme

¼ cup paprika

1 tsp. dried oregano

½ tsp. red pepper flakes

½ tsp. tabasco sauce2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 cup rice

1 cup green onions, chopped, include plenty of green

Warm a Dutch oven on medium heat. Pour in oil. When it shimmers add onion, celery, and green pepper. Sauté 7 – 9 minutes, or until onion is translucent. Adjust heat so onion doesn’t burn. Add garlic. Sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Stir in sausage and stock. Add remaining ingredients, except rice and green onions, and then stir well.

Add rice and bring to a boil. Cover then lower heat to simmer. Cook 25 minutes. Stir well after each 10 minutes so rice doesn’t stick to pan. Add more stock if the food looks dry.

Sprinkle green onions across the rice mixture when you serve.

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


Sloane

Sloane Taylor is an Award-Winning romance author with a passion that consumes her day and night. She is an avid cook and posts new recipes on her blog every Wednesday. The recipes are user friendly, meaning easy.

Learn more about Taylor’s cookbooks, Date Night Dinners and Recipes to Create Holidays Extraordinaire on Amazon.

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

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

Gardener extraordinaire Emma Lane who brings us her interpretation of ways to use tomatoes in various dishes.

Inside Greenhouse Three there are vigorously growing hanging nursery pots of tomatoes. These are cherry tomatoes and they come in red or yellow. Medium-sized, these fruits of the vines are just ripe for popping into you mouth without a smidgeon of preparation. Don’t ask me how I know; I’ll never tell.

Hanging Baskets of Tumbling Toms go out of the greenhouse for sale around the first of May and disappear quickly. They may need to be brought in at night, but they are already in bloom with some tiny tomatoes showing. It’s a way to get a jump start on the season for a delicious tomato taste.

Lately I’ve learned to use them in several different ways that liven up a quickly thrown together summer meal. Below are a few ideas. You’ll spin off into your own vivid imagination, I’m certain, adding salads and main dishes. This is quick and easy fixing that leaves plenty of time to enjoy the sunshine outside.

Tumbling Tom Tomato Appetizers

Party Picks Crackers of Choice

There are tons of choices for the bottom of your snack which will wind up being topped by half a cherry tomato. I like plain old saltine, but I do experiment with any and all of the offerings. I need to mention that a homemade loaf of bread makes a fantastic “cracker” cut into small squares. Also, just plain toast cut into squares works well.

Next the Spread

These are just a few of the spreads I’ve used:

(1) Canned potted ham (or a chicken spread) mixed with mayo or a touch of mustard. Occasionally I use a pear relish mixed in that is delish. Mix and spread on your crackers lightly. Don’t glob or your cracker will collapse. Still taste good, but not esthetically attractive so soggy.

(2) I’m mad for the whipped cream cheese. ‘Nuff said about that. It’s pretty simple to spread on your crackers. You can add any old spice that strikes you as interesting. I’ve used Season all Salt, cinnamon, Italian seasoning or just a piece of fresh basil. All good. If you use the basil leaf, add a swipe of creamed cheese to glue it to the cracker else it’ll slide right off.

(3) I’m wild for ricotta cheese, but hubby isn’t so we get to ‘decorate’ our crackers individually.

Meat?

Here I use whatever I’ve got in the kitchen. Sliced ham bits are lovely, a sprinkle of the sausage you had for breakfast is great, a bit of corned beef (just a bit because it’s strong), another cheese either cut to fit the cracker or shredded and sprinkled over. Like the crackers, cheeses come in a great assortment chosen to taste.

You’ll find your own preferences for thickness. Slice the cherry tomato in half or into four slices and top your masterpiece. Use a bit of spread to stick it if toppings tend to slide.

Now is the delicate operation that remains a mystery you might keep to yourself. A very small dot of “Zesty Italian Salad Dressing. Shake first and I promise you, you must use only a very small dot on top the tomato. Voila! You are fini.

A plateful of these colorful snack crackers will disappear in a flash. Be sure you get your share. Enjoy!

May I suggest a peek into one of my Regency releases?

Can an arrogant duke overcome his prejudice against a beautiful but managing female in time to find true love and happiness?

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?

EXCERPT
Fatigue and the effects of the brandy on top of the ale now gave his gait a distinct wobble. He chuckled, amused at his condition.

As he reached for the portrait of great Uncle Barney, he lurched into the back of the red leather sofa in front of the cosy fire. “Deuce take it,” he exclaimed when a rounded arm rolled into view. He spotted the gentle curve of a hip and walked around to the front, where he spied a tumbled haze of dark curls hiding a face. It is indeed a female—a sleeping female.

Who was she? The gown was too rich for his household staff. Curious, he knelt beside the sofa.
“Only one way to find out,” he whispered and moved one dark curl. He sat back, satisfied when a handsome face swam into view. She sighed and rolled over, revealing a generous figure and a pair of rosy lips. She might be Sleeping Beauty—but not one of my relatives. He leaned over and kissed those tempting lips.

As he lingered there, she sighed and came partially awake. He could not resist. He deepened the kiss and sounds of satisfaction like yum and umm came from those delicious lips. Her hand stroked his face, then reached around his head to pull him closer. Delighted with this turn of events, the Duke of Westerton complied enthusiastically and extended an arm around a slender waist. How much of the ale and brandy had he imbibed? Dizziness overcame his senses as he slid down on the floor and knew no more.

Emma Lane is a gifted author who writes under several pen-names. She lives with her patient husband on several acres outside a typical American village in Western New York. Her day job is working with flowers at her son’s plant nursery. 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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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

Author Sharon Ledwith who shares with us her thoughts about how to decide on what to write.

We’ve all heard it. Zero in on your target audience. Build your author platform according to who you’re writing for. Sage advice for sure. Books without identifiable potential readers do not sell. Let me repeat that. If you don’t have target market in mind—who you gonna call? To avoid creating a manuscript no one wants, successful writers consider who will read the fruits of their labors. They know their market, and that’s who they write for.

One of the most frequent mistakes made by beginner writers—a step above the writer who does not even bother to look at the publisher’s guidelines—is to assume that EVERYONE will enjoy what they write. You have to decide early on what posse you belong with. Pick your tribe, pick your team, pick where you roll.

A great first step toward knowing your readers is learning what they already like. Read what they read. Check book reviews. Go over the bestseller lists. What needs do these books fill? Who are the main characters? What emotions are dealt with in the story? Once done, you can find the parts that appeal to your strengths as a writer and your likes as a person, to make sure that your book is not just another version of a successful series, but rather a fresher, more vibrant work.

Probably the most important rule in writing is to know your readers, but do not become so obsessed with them that they interfere with your writing what you love. Let’s face it most of us start with ideas, not readers. Awareness is the key here. Perhaps the best way to start creating a reader profile is to start with your idea, and go through these series of questions: Who will this interest? Who will this help? Who needs to know this? Who wants to know this? Once you’ve answered those questions, you can start to identify the type of reader who will benefit.

And believe me, if your readers benefit, then you’ll benefit.

Here’s a glimpse of the premises of both my young adult series.

Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls Teen Psychic Mysteries…

Imagine a teenager possessing a psychic ability and struggling to cope with this freakish power while trying to have a normal life. Now, imagine being uprooted and forced to live in a small tourist town where nothing much ever happens. It’s bores-ville from the get-go.

Welcome to Fairy Falls. Expect the unexpected…

The Last Timekeepers Time Travel Adventures…

Children are the keys to our future. And now, children are the only hope for our past.

Chosen by an Atlantean Magus to be Timekeepers—legendary time travelers sworn to keep history safe from the evil Belial—five classmates are sent into the past to restore balance, and bring order back into the world, one mission at a time.

The Last Timekeepers Time Travel Adventure Series:

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

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

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

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

Legend of the Timekeepers, prequel Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls Teen Psychic Mystery Series:

Lost and Found, Book One Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

Blackflies and Blueberries, Book Two Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE

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, 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 meal from Vonnie Hughes who brings us her special Quiche recipe.

The perfect lunch or dinner that’s great for leftover vegetables. The extra bonus – it’s easy to make. Let your imagination rule on the veggies. Onion, broccoli, mushroom, cauliflower, courgettes, capsicums, corn kernels…whatever you have on hand tastes amazing in this recipe. Chopped, cooked bacon or a small can of salmon are welcome additions.

SELF-CRUSTING QUICHE

3 tbsp. butter

3 medium eggs

1 cup milk

1 cup flour

1 tsp. baking powder

Pinch of salt

Pepper to taste

2.5 cups mixed vegetables, chopped

1 cup grated cheese with a snappy flavor for oomph

Preheat oven to 350° F (180° C).

Coat an ovenproof dish large enough to hold all ingredients with butter. Set aside.

Mix eggs, milk, flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper together in a bowl.

Stir in vegetables and bacon or salmon if you’re using them.

Blend in cheese.

Pour mixture into a greased dish.

Bake 40 minutes or until a sharp knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Here’s a little from Vonnie’s Regency romance to perk your interest.

 

Matthew Monfort has two excellent reasons for loathing members of the ton, but thanks to his father’s machinations, he finds himself inveigled into offering for Lady Verity Tristan. Well, it’s time he married and she’s…well, she’s different; in fact, she’s quite delightful…and intelligent…and sweet… but she needn’t think she’s going to win him over.

 

AMAZON BUY LINK

 

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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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

Caroline Warfield who shares her thoughts on writing plus an excerpt from her new book.

Sometimes you need a change of pace. Returning from a conference two years ago, I recognized an itch to do something different. I had been writing a series of books involving Victorian heroes working in and returning home from the far reaches of the British empire with a heavy dose of history. It was a familiar world with interrelated families and characters that wandered in and out of one another’s books, but it was wearying. They took time to write. Each required research—sometimes a lot. It was time for a change. I don’t know how other writers build new worlds, but this is what happened to me.

As the airplane sped cross country, I realized I wanted to write a Regency series, but what? Nothing about the marriage mart or London society rose to the surface. What did come into focus was a coaching inn, one of those warm, welcoming places. I let that image develop in my mind and eventually a village appeared around it, a river, a bridge, and a road leading uphill toward a manor, the seat of the local aristocratic family. I had begun world building.

Structures and roads, however do not make a world. It needed to populate it with interconnected families. I began to imagine the innkeeper’s sons. The aristocrat on the hill became an earl. Were they friends? Were they rivals? What if one of the innkeeper’s sons was in actuality the natural son of the earl? By the time the plane landed, I had the basics for the Ashmead world.

That’s where my muse left off and craft began. Step one is always character building. I use detailed character questionnaires to develop well rounded character sketches. I need to know their wounds and scars, their goals and talents, their appearance, their obsessions and event their favorite swear words. In this case I also needed to know what they thought of one another and how they related.

Setting comes next. I find contemporary county directories useful for identifying no end of detail: types of businesses, prices, surnames, assembly rooms, and so on. Books on travel from first decades of the 19th century were a rich source as well, especially for inns, and contemporary maps also helped me envision my village and the land around it. Soon I had created a general map of Ashmead on Afon, and a growing list of local folk: the vicar, grocer, physician, beekeeper, tenant farmers, and so on.

After dragging my previous heroes from Canton to Ottawa to Calcutta and back to London, it was a relief to give the new series a cozy home base. Once I know who my people were, and what their village was like, I could begin to think about plot and the conflicts and complexities that would give their stories life.

I’ve created a Facebook Group that provides a guide to the Ashmead people and places for my readers. While this is a work in progress, you can find it under Caroline Warfield’s Fellow Travelers .

About the Series, The Ashmead Heirs
When the Earl of Clarion leaves a will with bequests for all his children, legitimate and not, listing each of his bastards and their mothers by name, he complicates the lives of many in the village of Ashmead.

One sleepy village

One scandalous will

Four beleaguered heirs

About Book One, The Wayward Son
Sir Robert Benson’s life is in London. He fled Ashmead the day he discovered the man he thought was his father had lied to him, and the girl he loved was beyond his reach. Only a nameless plea from his sister—his half-sister—brings him back to discover he’s been left an estate with a choice piece of land. He will not allow a ludicrous bequest from the earl who sired him turn him into a mockery of landed gentry. When a feisty little termagant with flashing eyes—and a musket—tries to turn Rob off the land—his land—he’s too amused and intrigued to turn away. But the longer he stays, the tighter the bonds that tie him to Ashmead become, strengthened by the powerful draw of the woman rooted on land he’s determined to sell.

Lucy Whitaker’s life is Willowbrook, its land, its tenants, its prosperity, but she always knew it wasn’t hers, knew the missing heir would come eventually. When a powerful man with military bearing rides up looking as if he wants to come in and count the silver, she turns him away, but her heart sinks. She can’t deny Rob Benson his property; she can only try to make him love the place as she does, for her peoples’ sake. A traitorous corner of her heart wishes Rob would love it for her sake.

His life is London and diplomatic intrigue; hers is Ashmead and the land. How can they forge something lasting when they are torn in two directions?

Available on Kindle Unlimited or for purchase on Amazon.

Coming:
October 2021: The Defiant Daughter
January 2022: The Forgotten Daughter
May 2022: The Upright Son

About the Author


Award winning author Caroline Warfield has been many things: traveler, librarian, poet, raiser of children, bird watcher, Internet and Web services manager, conference speaker, indexer, tech writer, genealogist—even a nun. She reckons she is on at least her third act, happily working in an office surrounded by windows where she lets her characters lead her to adventures in England and the far-flung corners of the British Empire. She nudges them to explore the riskiest territory of all, the human heart.

You can find Caroline here:

Website

Facebook

Amazon

Goodreads

Book Bub

Twitter

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

The ever-engaging Sloane Taylor who brings us her latest menu that is delicious and filling!

Ready for some good down-home type cooking that’s finger lickin’ good but doesn’t splatter grease all over your stove? If so, then this is the menu for you.

MENU

Oven-Fried Chicken

Mashed Potatoes

Corn

Spiked Watermelon

White Wine – Chablis

Oven-Fried Chicken

3 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless – legs and thighs work great, too

    Milk

    ½ cup (50g) flour

    1 tsp. (5ml) dried thyme

    1 tsp. (5ml) dried marjoram

    ½ tsp. (2.5ml) garlic powder, not salt

    1 tsp. (5ml) paprika

    ¼ cup ((52g) shortening or lard

    ¼ cup (57g) butter or margarine

    3 tbsp. (45ml) fresh parsley, chopped or 1½ tbsp. (20ml) dried

Place chicken in a glass dish, cover with milk, and let sit for a minimum of 3 hours. This is a perfect way to use up milk when it is close to its expiration date. You can also marinade the pieces overnight. If you choose to go longer than 3 hours be sure to refrigerate the dish. I learned this tenderizing trick from a talented chef in Salzburg, Austria.

Combine flour, thyme, marjoram, garlic, and paprika in a plastic or paper bag.

Drain and pat chicken dry. Place pieces one at a time in bag and gently shake to thoroughly coat them. Lay chicken on a plate as you coat the remaining pieces. Set chicken in fridge for at least 20 minutes to set the coating.

Preheat oven to 425° F (220°C).

Add shortening and butter to a metal baking pan just large enough to hold the chicken. Place dish in oven until mixture is melted. Add chicken. Bake 15 minutes and then turn pieces over. Cook another 20 minutes or until juices run clear when pierced with a sharp knife.

REMEMBER – all meat continues to cook for 5 minutes or so after it is removed from the oven.

Remove chicken from baking dish to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any oil. Transfer pieces to a clean plate. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

You can also make this dish on your grill. Set the grill on medium-high. Watch carefully so the chicken doesn’t burn.

Mashed Potatoes

Chicken stock, not broth

    1 small russet potato per person, peeled and quartered

    3 tbsp. (43g) butter

    Sour cream, a very large dollop

    ¼ cup (60ml) milk, at room temperature

    Freshly ground pepper to taste

    Parsley, snipped or chopped for garnish

Preheat oven to 220° F (100°C).

Pour one-inch (2.5cm) chicken stock into saucepan. Place potatoes in saucepan. Add tap water to cover by at least one inch (2.5cm). Cover pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower temperature to a strong simmer. Cook approximately 20 – 25 minutes. Potatoes are done when a fork inserts easily into a section.

Drain potatoes. Stir in butter, sour cream, and pepper. Mash well. Drizzle in milk. Mash and continue to add milk until you achieve the consistency you prefer.

Keep the saucepan warm in the oven while you finish preparing dinner.

Canned Corn
Sometimes it’s good to go easy and nothing is easier than canned veggies.

    1 can of corn per 4 people

    ¼ tsp. (1.25ml) dried thyme

    Pinch of salt

    Freshly ground pepper to taste
    Butter

Drain corn, then pour into micro wave safe bowl. Sprinkle on thyme, salt, and pepper. Lay pats of butter across the top. Micro wave for 3 minutes, stir and serve.

Spiked Watermelon

An adult pleasure that tops off any summer dinner, especially when you dine al fresco.

    ½ watermelon

    2 – 3 cups (450 – 750ml) vodka

Remove the seeds from the watermelon. Cut fruit into chunks or use a melon scooper to form balls. Place the cut pieces into a glass bowl.

Pour vodka over the melon. No need to cover the fruit. You just want enough so all the pieces contact with the vodka. Stir gently. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for several hours.

Serve melon from the bowl along with forks or long spoons.

Sloane Taylor is an Award-Winning romance author with a passion that consumes her day and night. She is an avid cook and posts new recipes on her blog every Wednesday. The recipes are user friendly, meaning easy.

Learn more about Taylor’s cookbooks, Date Night Dinners, Date Night Dinners Sizzling Summer,Recipes to Create Holidays Extraordinaire, and Date Night Dinners Italian Style on Amazon.
Excerpts from her romance books and free reads can be found on her website, blog, and her Amazon Author Page. Connect with Taylor on Facebook and Twitter.

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

The prolific writer Sharon Ledwith who brings us her latest time-saving recipe plus where to find her books.

An Italian dish full of sausage and veggies that’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face, and a napkin on your lap. The preparation takes about half an hour, with a bake time of 25 minutes, a setting time of 10 minutes, and serves ten of your hungriest family or friends. This hearty meal is ideal for those weekend warriors set to do some renovations at their home or cottage. Serve with a side salad, garlic bread, and your choice of wine, and you’ve got the makings of a trip to Italy without leaving the comforts of your home.

Potluck Penne and Sausage Casserole

16 ounces penne pasta

1 lb. bulk Italian sausage

1 tbsp. butter

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 medium carrot, finely chopped

1½ tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. pepper

1 small zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced

1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms

6 garlic cloves, minced

15 oz. tomato sauce

14 oz. pasta sauce with meat

2 cups shredded part-skimmed mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Cook pasta according to package directions for al dente; drain and transfer to greased 13 x 9 inch baking dish.

Fry sausage in a large skillet over medium heat until no longer pink, about 6-8 minutes, breaking into crumbles. Drain and remove from pan.

In same skillet, heat butter and oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook 5 minutes and stir frequently. Add zucchini, mushroom and garlic. Cook 6 – 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Be sure to stir often.

Add tomato sauce, pasta sauce, and sausage. Pour the mixture over pasta. Sprinkle with cheese.

Cover casserole with foil coated with cooking spray. Bake 10 minutes. Uncover. Bake until golden brown and cheese is melted, 15-20 minutes longer. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Once dinner is done, and you’ve had your last sip of wine, I’m sure you’ll be ready to escape into your living room for some much-needed quiet time. Why not make a cup of tea, then relax with one of my books? May I suggest a nostalgic visit to Fairy Falls or perhaps go back in time with The Last Timekeepers? Just remember to breathe once in a while as you’re being led on a bumpy, unpredictable ride along with my characters.

Here’s a glimpse of the premises of both my young adult series:

Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls Teen Psychic Mysteries…

Imagine a teenager possessing a psychic ability and struggling to cope with this freakish power while trying to have a normal life. Now, imagine being uprooted and forced to live in a small tourist town where nothing much ever happens. It’s bores-ville from the get-go.

Welcome to Fairy Falls. Expect the unexpected.

The Last Timekeepers Time Travel Adventures…

Chosen by an Atlantean Magus to be Timekeepers—legendary time travelers sworn to keep history safe from the evil Belial—five classmates are sent into the past to restore balance, and bring order back into the world, one mission at a time.

Children are the keys to our future. And now, children are the only hope for our past.

The Last Timekeepers Time Travel Adventure Series:

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

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

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

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

Legend of the Timekeepers, prequel Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls Teen Psychic Mystery Series:

Lost and Found, Book One Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

Blackflies and Blueberries, Book Two Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE

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, 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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