Monday, 28 August 2017

Guest Post: We're not talking Oreos by YA Author Anne Montgomery...

When Ruth Graves Wakefield invented chocolate chip cookies in 1938 – hence forth named Toll House Cookies for the inn she owned in Whitman, Massachusetts – the confection became an instant American classic. So, perhaps, no one should be messing with these gooey, nutty hunks of near perfection. Ah, but I couldn’t help myself. As I’ve gotten older my taste buds seem to dance less at the prospect of excessive sweetness and more for. . . something else. I began tinkering with Ruth’s invention – I hope she doesn’t mind – and came up with these jam-packed babies that I call. . .

Twisted Chocolate Chip Cookies

2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups dark chocolate chips*
1 cup nuts
Frequent chocolate chip cookie bakers will note that here is where the recipe goes off the rails.
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup dried blueberries
1 cup coconut, I prefer the type without added sugar, but either variety works.

PREHEAT oven to 375ºF

MIX sugars, butter, vanilla, and egg in large bowl. Stir in flour, baking soda, and salt (dough will be stiff).

STIR in chocolate, dried fruit, coconut, and nuts.

DROP dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet.

BAKE 8 to 10 minutes or until light brown round the edges (centers will be soft).

*NOTE: Chocolate chips retain their shape because they contain less cocoa butter than high-end chocolate, so purists may want to chop their own chocolate to get more of the good stuff. Enjoy!

Here's a peek into my latest novel while you nibble your delicious cookies.

Two Arizona teens find their fates intertwined. Are there any adults they can trust? Can they even trust each other?

Rose Madsen will do anything to keep from being married off to one of the men in her Fundamentalist Mormon (FLDS) community, even endure the continued beatings and abuse of her mother. But when her mentally handicapped baby sister is forced to strangle the bird she loves at the behest of the Prophet, Rose frees the bird and runs away.

 Adan Reyes will do anything to escape the abusive foster care system in Phoenix, even leaving his good friends and successful high school athletic career behind him. Ill-prepared for surviving the desert, Adan hits the road only to suffer heat stroke. Found by a local handyman, he catches a glimpse of a mysterious girl—Rose—running through town, and follows her into the mountains where they are both tracked and discovered by the men of the FLDS community.

With their fates now intertwined, can Rose and Adan escape the systems locking them into lives of abuse? Will Rose be forced to marry the Prophet, a man her father's age, and be one of dozens of wives, perpetually pregnant, with no hope for an education? Will Adan be returned to the foster home where bullying and cruelty are common? Is everyone they meet determined to keep them right where they belong or are some adults worthy of their trust?

Amazon Buy Link

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 Wikipedia. Stay connected on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Book Tour: Spellhaven by Sandra Unerman...

The Unseen Spirits must be entertained, so that the city may prosper......

About the Book:

In the summer of 1914, Jane Fairchild, a young English musician, is kidnapped by magic and sent to Spellhaven, an island city ruled by magicians. Here, peace and prosperity are maintained with the assistance of Unseen Spirits bound to the service of the Lords Magician. The Spirits must be kept in good humour by the performance of all kinds of shows, dance, drama and music. Jane is one of many people kidnapped from the outside world and forced to contribute to these entertainments for a set period of service.

Only Jane is having none of it. She will not perform for her kidnapper, Lucian Palafox, but agrees to undertake an apprenticeship with another magician impresario, provided she is taught magic in return. Jane's forays into magic lead her deeper within the mysteries of Spellhaven, her rivalry with Lucian escalates and the quarrels between them grow strong enough to shake the city to its foundations.

Genres: Fantasy, Adventure
Release Date:  August 17, 2017
Publisher:  Mirror World Publishing

Exclusive Excerpt:

Next morning, Jane woke with a headache and a restless twitch in all her limbs. When she looked at the clock, she was unreasonably distressed to see how early it was. She could not wake anyone else at 5 o’clock but she could not lie in bed so hot and feverish. She disentangled herself from the bedclothes and crept to the window. Mary, with whom she was sharing the room, did not stir. Jane pulled back the curtain to look out on a hazy view of fields and wooded hills. It would be cooler up in those woods, she thought, and a walk before breakfast would shake out her muscles.

She was at the bedroom door before she realised she ought to get dressed, but she could only see her outfit from last night, an expensive silk dress, specially cut to perform in. She could not remember where her day clothes were or take the time to look for them. She had been a supporter of the Rational Dress movement since she became a music student, so she never wore stays, but even in the country she could not go out of doors without underwear. So she put on her bodice, petticoat, and stockings, with her nightgown back on over the top. She left her hair in its wispy night time plaits. She went downstairs and found her walking shoes and an ancient tweed jacket, which went on over her nightgown. She collected her music bag, with the vague thought that she might find somewhere to practice while she was out.

After that she could stay indoors no longer. She let herself out of the cottage and went down through the garden. She had not been in this part of the Chilterns before. She and her friends had borrowed this place for a few days as a base for last night’s concert, and a weekend where they could practice together, but they had arrived the previous day and not done much exploring so far. All the same, Jane knew where she wanted to go; into the hills she had seen from upstairs.

An hour later, she climbed up a steep path between banks of beech trees. At the top, she came out onto a turf ridge and paused to catch her breath. When she looked back, she could not see the cottage, which must be tucked into a curve somewhere below, but it did not matter. She was not ready to turn back yet, though she wished she had brought a flask of tea with her, and maybe some bread and butter. If she diverted from the path, she could look for a farm to ask for a drink of milk, but she had no money with her and anyhow, her headache tightened its grip at the thought of any delay.

The sun was high overhead when she came to a small stream in the shade of some rocks. She knelt and scooped up the cold water in her hands, swallowing small grateful mouthfuls until her teeth hurt. Then she splashed her face and neck. She pushed back the sleeves of her borrowed jacket to bathe her wrists and saw a new mark on her left forearm. It was about the size of her palm, with a sharper edge than a bruise, like a sore shadow under her skin. It was the shape of a spider, with a round body and long, crooked legs. She stared at it, jolted out of the daze in which she had walked all morning.

She did not know where she was by now or where she was going. Her jacket was too hot, the other clothes too insubstantial to wear without it. She had seen nobody except at a distance and from here, high in the hills, she could see only stones and turf, or tangled scrub in the valleys below. Her headache was as painful as ever and grew worse every time she stopped, even for a few minutes. She thought she must be ill; in a fever, maybe about to come out in blotches all over her body. And if she was ill, she ought to go back to her friends or try to find a village with a doctor. But these possibilities made her nauseous and she sprang to her feet to hurry onwards instead.

Follow the tour to read guest posts, reviews, and exclusive excerpts!

Purchase Links:

Mirror World Publishing eBook:  

Mirror World Publishing Paperback:

Amazon US:

Meet the Author:

Sandra Unerman lives in London in the UK. When she retired from a career as a Government lawyer, she undertook an MA in Creative Writing at Middlesex University, specialising in SF and fantasy, and graduated in 2013. Since then, she has had a number of short stories published. In 2016, these included stories in Three Drops from a Cauldron, the Midwinter issue and Aurora Wolf, the September issue, both available online. She writes reviews and articles for the British Science Fiction Association and the British Fantasy Society. She is a member of London Clockhouse writers and other writing groups. Her interests include history, folklore and medieval literature.

Connect with Sandra :


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Monday, 14 August 2017

Guest Post: Back and Better by Elliott Baker...

2007 I began to write a story that had been in my head for years. A friend turned me on to NANOWRIMO a magical concept and creativity catalyst that I’ll write about in a later blog. In 2008, I attended my first New York conference armed with my one hundred and forty thousand word completed novel, (Insert laugh track here.) confident that the world would soon be at my feet and throwing money at me.

In 2013 (Yep, five years.) after numerous (Def. Too many to count) edits, and submissions to agents, someone suggested I submit to those publishers that accepted direct submissions. Many do not. So, I sent The Sun God’s Heir to four publishers and received back two contracts, both from smaller, but reputable publishers. I accepted with joy the one from Musa Publishing.

Now, people will line up and throw money at me. Nope, not yet. It took eight months of waiting, and then a couple months of edits before my masterpiece was ready to release. Now? Nope. SGH was released in late July, 2014 and Musa went out of business seven months later. First let me again thank the folks at Musa. They acted honorably with me and whatever regrets I might have came as much from my own ignorance as from their difficulties.

The Sun God’s Heir was back on the street. Still no folks lining up to throw money. I’ll admit the night I received the email from Musa to let me know they were closing in a week, was a dark and stormy night. Seven years.

A year has passed and I have completely re-edited RETURN, Book One, written REBIRTH, Book Two, and REDEMPTION, Book Three, in the trilogy and plan to release all three this year under the series name The Sun Gods Heir. The lesson learned: Do not rush to battle. The amount I’ve learned in this last year staggers me. More than in the first seven. Whether folks will line up and throw money is unknowable, but to all of the writers and creatives out there, I salute you. Work is work.

Here's a glimpse at RETURN...

For three thousand years a hatred burns.

In ancient Egypt two brothers are disciples of the pharaoh, Akhenaten. When Pharaoh dies, the physician takes the knowledge given and goes to Greece to begin a new mystery school. The general makes a deal with the priests and becomes pharaoh. One remembers, one does not.

Seventeenth century France has two souls incarnate, one born the child of a prosperous merchant, the other, determined to continue a brutal incarnation begun long ago.

The year is 1671. René Gilbert’s destiny glints from the blade of a slashing rapier. The only way he can protect those he loves is to regain the power and knowledge of an ancient lifetime. From Bordeaux to Spain to Morocco, René is tested and with each turn of fate he gathers enemies and allies, slowly reclaiming the knowledge and power earned centuries ago. For three thousand years a secret sect has waited in Morocco.

 After ages in darkness, Horemheb screams, “I am.” Using every dark art, he manages to maintain the life of the body he has bartered for. Only one life force in the world is powerful enough to allow him to remain within embodiment, perhaps forever. Determined to continue a reign of terror that once made the Nile run red, he grows stronger with each life taken.

Get your free copy of RETURN on Amazon.

And a brief intro to REBIRTH...

Set against the wave tossed years of white slavery and Barbary pirates, this is the epic story of René Gilbert and a journey that defies time as he draws on a larger awareness earned in previous lifetimes.

The plague’s dark fingers curl around Bordeaux. René must return home to save those he loves. But first he has to escape a Moroccan sultan’s clutches. In Bordeaux, an enemy waits, filled with a hatred three thousand years old. Only René can defeat this dark power, and only if he reclaims his own ancient past. In this arena, death is but the least of failure’s penalties.

Read more of REBIRTH on Amazon.

Award winning international playwright Elliott B. Baker grew up in Jacksonville, Florida. With four musicals and one play published and done throughout the United States, New Zealand, Portugal, England, and Canada, Elliott is pleased to offer his first novel, The Sun God’s Heir. A member of the Authors Guild and the Dramatists Guild, Elliott lives in New Hampshire with his wife Sally Ann.

Learn more about Elliot Baker on his website. Stay connected on Twitter and Facebook. Like Elliott's Author Page on Facebook to learn all his latest news.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Cover Reveal: Bewitching Hannah by Leigh Goff...

Being a witch is the last thing she wants…

Bewitching Hannah
Leigh Goff

Publisher:  Mirror World Publishing
Publish Date:  September 17, 2017
Genre(s):  YA, Fantasy, Romance

About Bewitching Hannah:

Sixteen-year-old Hannah Fitzgerald has always known she is descended from a troubled legacy of magic. Although a stranger to her coven in Annapolis, she is no stranger to grief and denial. However, when an ancient prophecy reveals the rise of a young, powerful Chesapeake witch and the impending death of another, she realizes she can no longer afford to suppress the magic that has taken away so much. She seeks out the frighteningly scarred, yet mysterious W, a Calvert descendant who is destined to change her life, but even he cannot prepare her for the danger that lies ahead. Engaged in a deadly game without knowing who her true rival is, Hannah isn’t certain she will survive, and if she loses she may lose everything, including the ones she loves.

Pre-Order Links:

Mirror World Publishing eBook: 

Mirror World Publishing Paperback:



Barnes & Noble:

Meet the Author:

Writing Enchanting Ever-Afters ♥

Leigh Goff grew up in Maryland where she resides today. Her writing is inspired by an eclectic childhood, a vivid imagination, and compelling historical events. After taking several writing courses in college and attending professional writing workshops after she graduated from the University of Maryland, she joined the Maryland Writers' Association and Romance Writers of America. 

Connect with the Author:



Amazon US:  

Goodreads Author Page: 



Publisher Website: 

Author Website: 

Monday, 7 August 2017

It's All Greek...

Practically everyone has heard of the idiom ‘It’s all Greek to me’ or ‘It’s all Greek’, meaning that something is not understandable. Another translation is "Graecum est; non legitur" ("it is Greek, [therefore] it cannot be read"). I believe William Shakespeare used this line or something close to it in his play Julius Caesar. Regardless of the origin, when people don’t understand people, words, cultures or even other species, there’s a breakdown in communication. And that’s not good. Wars can start, marriages break down, and relationships fail.

In the first book of Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls series, Lost and Found, the main character, Meagan Walsh has the psychic ability to talk to animals. Imagine possessing the ‘power’ to be a diplomat between animals? To bridge that gap, and find common ground. In the first book of The Last Timekeepers time travel adventure series,  The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, my main characters are given a ‘Babel’ necklace. The main purpose of this necklace is to break any language barriers while on a mission in the past so that my characters will be able to understand and talk to everyone they meet. Boy, I could have used one of those Babels in French class!

One thing we can all understand is food! It’s universal and we all need food to survive. So I thought I’d share this awesome recipe my hubby made for me recently. It’s called Greek Shepherd’s Pie, and trust me, your taste buds don’t need a translator for this dish! Opa!

BBC Good Food

Feta Potato Topping

5 cups (1.25 L) cubed peeled potatoes
¼ cup (60 ml) butter
¼ cup (60 ml) sour cream
¼ tsp. (1 ml) freshly ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. (1 ml) salt
¼ tsp. (1 ml) freshly ground pepper
1¼ cups (310 ml) shredded feta cheese

COOK potatoes in boiling salted water until tender; drain.

ADD butter, sour cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Mash until mixture is smooth. Stir in feta cheese.

COVER and set aside while you prepare the filling.

Meat Filling

1½ cups (375 ml) chopped onions
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp. (15 ml) olive oil
2 lb (1 kg) lean ground beef
1 can (14 oz/396 g) diced tomatoes
¼ cup (60 ml) dry red wine or canned beef broth
1 tbsp. (15 ml) mint, crumbled
1½ tsp. (7.5 ml) cinnamon
1 tsp. (5 ml) oregano, crumbled
¾ tsp. (4 ml) salt
½ tsp. (2.5 ml) allspice
½ tsp. (2.5 ml) freshly ground pepper
¼ tsp. (1 ml) freshly ground nutmeg
¼ cup (60 ml) freshly grated Parmesan cheese

PREHEAT oven to 400° F (205° C)

USE a large skillet or Dutch oven set over medium-heat. Saute onions and garlic in oil for 2 minutes. 

ADD beef and cook, stirring occasionally, for 7-10 minutes or until lightly browned.

STIR in the next 9 ingredients (tomatoes through nutmeg).

BRING the pot to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Stir in Parmesan cheese.

TRANSFER mixture to a greased shallow 3 quart (3 L) baking dish. Spoon feta potato topping over meat mixture and spread decoratively. Sprinkle with paprika. May be prepared to this point and refrigerated for up to 24 hours.

BAKE, uncovered, at for 40-45 minutes or until topping is lightly browned and filling is bubbly.

And there you have it! A feast fit for any family who loves to try culturally-flavored recipes, and dares to venture the road less traveled. Want more adventure and excitement in your reading life? How about a trip to Fairy Falls? Or jump into the Arch of Atlantis for a blast in the past? Just remember to pack lightly.