Monday, 30 March 2020

Our 2020 Lifestyle Reboot…


Being an author has its perks. You can work in whatever clothes (or none) you desire, get up at whatever time you wish, and the travel time from your bedroom to office is practically nil. Unless, of course, you decide to go write at your local coffee shop. However, sitting in a chair for a good portion of the day has its drawbacks. Our bodies were meant to move. Period. So I try to get up every so often, stretch and walk around. I get in a workout early in the morning at least five days a week, and have done so for many years. Yes, some days are harder than others and the recent December holidays added a little more to my frame than I’d like, but it never bothered me much. Until hubby was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes at the end of January.

That was our wake-up call.

Enter our lifestyle reboot. Thankfully, we had already started making healthier food choices just after New Year’s Day, using our son’s wedding in May 2020 as our incentive. Trust me, weddings are great motivators! More vegetables (raw and cooked), fruits, whole grains, protein like skinless-boneless chicken breasts, fish (salmon, sole, cod, and haddock) were our go-tos. I used the Mediterranean Diet as the basis for our meals, and created a two week rotating menu to use as a guide, adding different recipes from health-centered websites and cookbooks to keep our meals from getting…well, boring.

We met with a dietitian the beginning of February who helped us understand the Glycemic Index food guide to make better choices when grocery shopping. She also pressed that the portion size is important when you fill your plate. I always told hubby that size mattered! Wink. Exercise was discussed, and she gave us both a thumbs up for being proactive with our morning workouts. Hubby was prescribed a blood glucose monitor, and faithfully checks his blood sugar every day. We are both well on our way to investing in our health and wellbeing in this new decade, and so far, I’m happy to report that as of writing this post (mid-March), hubby has lost almost twenty pounds. I’ve lost almost five pounds, but in truth, was going for losing more inches, and toning those…um sagging bits, which I’m pleased to say have noticeably shrunk. Woohoo!

I’m including a couple of recipes with images from Sloane Taylor’s Date Night Dinners cookbook, because these meals were part of the menu I created in January, and they were just too darned delicious not to share!

Baked Salmon

Non-stick cooking spray
3 salmon fillets, no more than 1 inch (2.5cm) thick

¼ cup (30g) brown sugar
¼ cup Dijon mustard
½ tbsp. (10ml) white wine
2 tbsp. (30ml) butter
1 tbsp. pine nuts
3 scallions/green onions, sliced, be sure to include much of the green

PREHEAT oven to 425° F (220°C).

SPRAY aluminum foil and lay it on a cookie sheet. Place fish on foil.

COMBINE sugar, mustard, and wine in a small bowl. Whisk until smooth.

SPREAD mixture evenly over salmon to cover it. Bake 15 minutes or until fish flakes with a fork.

MEANWHILE, prepare green onion topping while salmon bakes. Melt butter in small fry pan. Add nuts, they give the dish extra crunch. Stir in onion. Saute until onion is soft and lightly colored. Set aside.

TURN oven to broil. Move fish to 4 inches from heat. Broil 2 minutes or until golden.

ADD a dollop of green onion mixture on top of each salmon steak and serve.

Easy Baked Chicken Breast

Non-stick cooking spray
3 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
½ cup (60g) mayonnaise
5 tsp. (25ml) Italian seasoned dry bread crumbs
½ cup (60g) Parmesan cheese, grated

PREHEAT oven to 425°F (220°C).

SPRAY a baking dish lightly with cooking spray. Rinse chicken and pat dry.

MIX mayo and bread crumbs together in a small bowl. Spread onto both sides of chicken.

LAY chicken in prepared dish. Sprinkle the top of coated chicken with Parmesan cheese.

BAKE for 20 minutes or until the juices run clear when chicken is pierced with a sharp knife.

So, that’s just a sampling of what we’ve been eating since the beginning of 2020. What recipe appeals to you? Or would you rather indulge in a vegetarian dish? What have you done to reboot your health in this new decade? Would love to read your comments. Cheers, and thank you for reading my blog.

Monday, 23 March 2020

Book Tour: The Demons of Wall Street by Laurence Raphael Brothers...


Welcome to the 1-Week Virtual Book Tour for The Demons of Wall Street (Nora Simeon Investigations #1), an Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Novella by Laurence Raphael Brothers.


About the Book:

Nora Simeon hates demons.

But as an investigator for the secretive Commission, the organization that regulates financial sorcery in New York City, she deals with the creatures a lot more than she'd like. Her latest case has her on the track of a rogue demon, escaped from magical bondage as an analyst for a leading investment bank.

On the demon's trail, Nora crosses paths with a beautiful young man named Eyre. He's too pretty and complaisant to be human, and too kind to be a demon in human form, but what else could he be? Together they become embroiled in the secret corruption at the heart of the financial industry. But before Nora can untangle a twisted skein of sorcerous murder and intrigue, she has to untangle her feelings for Eyre. And before she can do that, she has to find out who and what he really is.

Review for Demons of Wall Street by Laurence Raphael Brothers…

4 Stars for an entertaining mash that can only be described as, “Supernatural meets Wall Street meets Fight Club!”

Demons of Wall Street is a tongue-in-cheek detective romp with a paranormal spin, and one of my newest guilty pleasures. Kudos to Laurence Raphael Brothers who, with his imagination and literary spark in the mix, has created a cast of fresh characters and world so intriguing and fantastical, I can hardly wait for this novella’s sequel to be released.

Hard-ass, no-nonsense detective Nora Simeon is under retainer for the ‘Commission’, a big-brother-like organization who keeps a handle on demons coming into the world to be used as slaves. When a demon from a top financial company escapes, it’s up to Simeon, who possesses minimal magic abilities and detests demons of any kind, to capture and contain the creature before the ‘mundanes’ (ordinary humans) discover its existence. Forced to pair with Eyre, a magical being who Nora finds striking and mysterious, they must confront the real threat behind who is kidnapping the demon-slaves, even if it reveals the dirty truth about the Commission.  

Publisher Website:  


Purchase Links:

Amazon e-book
Amazon paperback

Please visit the tour hosts and share their post and/or leave a comment!


Meet the Author:



Laurence Raphael Brothers is a writer and a technologist. He has published over 25 short stories in such magazines as Nature, the New Haven Review, PodCastle, and Galaxy's Edge. His WWI-era historical fantasy novel Twilight Patrol was just released by Alban Lake. For more of his stories, visit https://laurencebrothers.com/bibliography, or follow him on twitter: @lbrothers.

Enter the Giveaway:

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Thursday, 19 March 2020

Cover Reveal: The Haunting Near Battlefield Ridge, A Nikki Landry Swamp Legend by Rita Monette...


Welcome to the Cover Reveal for The Haunting Near Battlefield Ridge!!

About the Book:

“I never believed in ghosts… until I met Oggie.”

Nikki Landry and her friends discover strange white smudges in photos Patti’s grandmother had snapped at an old gravesite. No one can explain what they are.

Did Nikki’s little brother mark them up with a piece of chalk? Did a low-lying fog move in just as she snapped the photos? Could it be just a smear on the camera lens?

Spikes insists it’s a ghost.

Then Mrs. LeBlanc remembers a legend her grandfather told her of a spirit that haunts the small family cemetery located near an old Civil War battle site. 

Will Nikki and her legend busting gang discover it’s just an old tale, or does the ghost really exist? If so, why is he there? What does he want?

Join Nikki and her friends as they go searching for the answers…and the truth behind the Haunting near Battlefield Ridge.

Book Information:

Publisher: Mirror World Publishing; 1 edition
Publisher Website: Mirror World Publishing
Publication Date: April 17, 2020
ASIN: B085MMZLFF

The Cover:


Pre-Order Your Copy:


Meet the Author:

Behind Every Legend Lies the Truth!


Rita Monette was born and raised in Southwest Louisiana. After retiring from her “real” job as an administrative assistant for the State of Michigan, Rita began doing what she always wanted to do…write and draw. Her stories are set in the beautiful, yet mysterious, bayous and swamps of her home state. The Haunting Near Battlefield Ridge is the fifth book in her Nikki Landry Swamp Legend series. Rita now lives with her husband, four lap dogs, and one lap cat, in the mountains of Tennessee.

Social Media Links:

Website

Facebook

Amazon

Goodreads

Blog

Monday, 16 March 2020

The Perfect Comfort Food and YA Mystery Read for March Break...

The perfect comfort food to serve your family or friends in late fall, the dead of winter or early spring, these melt-in-your-mouth chops are the most tender—dare I say succulent pork chops—you’ve ever tasted. Food seems to be the source of comfort in all family matters, and I’ve found that meals bring us together to celebrate, cry or support each other in so many ways. Call me sentimental, but there’s something about those family chats at the dinner table after a long day or weekly family get-togethers on Sunday that you’ll hold in your heart for years to come.

Succulent Sour Cream Pork Chops

6 pork chops
Salt and pepper to taste
Garlic powder to taste
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. (15ml) olive oil
1 large onion, sliced ¼ inch thick
2 cubes chicken bouillon
2 cups boiling water
2 tbsp. (30ml) flour
1 8 oz. (250 g) container sour cream

SEASON pork with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Dredge in flour.

HEAT a skillet over medium heat. Add oil. When the oil shimmers lightly brown chops.

PLACE chops in slow cooker, and top with onion slices. Dissolve bouillon in boiling water and pour over chops. Cover, and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours.

PREHEAT oven to 200° F (95° C).

AFTER the chops have cooked, transfer them to the oven to keep war. Be careful, the chops are so tender they will fall apart.

IN a small bowl, blend flour with sour cream. Stir into meat juices in slow cooker. Turn cooker to HIGH for 15 to 30 minutes, or until sauce is slightly thickened.

SPOON sauce on pork chops, and serve over rice or noodles.

With a prep time of 15 minutes and cook time of 8 ½ hours, there’s plenty of time to get some weekend reading done while you wait for your guests to arrive. May I suggest 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.

Monday, 9 March 2020

The Perfect Fish Recipe for Lent by Sloane Taylor...


You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the enticing aroma from this easy recipe and the taste is superb. Studs and I have served this menu to skeptical guests and they fell in love with it.

Cook pasta prior to starting fish. Re-warm by running hot water over the just noodles before serving.


Serve with Whole Grain Spaghetti, Tossed Salad, Italian Bread, 
and White Wine – Pinot Grigio





TANTALIZING COD

1 tbsp. olive oil
½ med. onion, sliced thin
2 garlic cloves, chopped fine
½ cup dry white wine
5 lg. Roma tomatoes, chopped
½ cup black olives, sliced
2 tbsp. parsley, chopped or 1 tbsp. dried
1 tbsp. capers, drained and chopped
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper
4 cod fillets, about 6 oz. each
½ tbsp. fresh basil, chopped or 1 tsp. dried

Heat a large skillet on medium-high. Add oil. Heat until it shimmers. Add onion, stir until translucent and lightly browned. Stir in garlic, cook 30 seconds. Add wine, cook 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes with the juice, olives, parsley, capers and red pepper. Heat to boiling.

Lay cod fillets over tomato mixture. Lower heat to medium. Cover skillet and cook until cod turns opaque throughout and flakes, about 9 minutes.

Sprinkle basil across the top.

Serve over whole grain spaghetti. Don’t prepare extra. Leftovers have a stale taste and tend to be tough.

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 author with a second passion in her life. 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, Romantic Meals to Dine al Fresco, 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.

Monday, 2 March 2020

Finding My Superpower by Author Carol Browne...

The day I discovered my superpower is a memory undimmed by time. It was a life-changing event and I doubt I will ever forget it. Some of the details are sketchy, though, like how old I was. I know I was in my first year of primary school so I must have been about seven.

Photo by Miguel Bruna on Unsplash
I can still see the classroom, the table where I was sitting when it happened, and the chalk-smeared blackboard, but apart from the teacher being female, I don’t recall much about her. I regret that because I have never been able to thank this woman for making me aware of a talent I didn’t know I had. She set me on a path I am still following almost sixty years later.

It all started when I wrote a poem. Where did I get the idea from to do that? It’s a mystery, and it seems strange to me now that I even knew what a poem was, or that it should have meter and rhyme. I also wrote it in verses of four lines each. The subject was a crocus, something I must have seen and wondered at, but again I’ve no idea why this little plant should have inspired me to put pen to paper the way I did, nor why I chose to present the poem to my teacher. Having composed this no doubt unsophisticated piece of doggerel, that was that as far as I was concerned. I didn’t expect what was to follow.

I was at my table, scribbling away with one of those thick blue biros they used to hand out, when the teacher announced that Carol Browne had written a wonderful poem and it was going on the wall so everyone could see it. In fact, she advised my classmates to look at it if they wanted to know how to write a poem. She came over to me and congratulated me on my work and I was astonished, delighted and taken aback by this praise and recognition. As a shy and lonely child with physical defects only time would cure, I found myself suddenly elevated to a status I could not have aspired to in my wildest dreams. I never received validation for anything before but now I was worthy because of a talent not everyone else possessed. I could manipulate words. I could bend them to my will. I could do this because I was a wordsmith. This was my gift, my specialty. This was my superpower.

From that moment on I was a writer.

Here's a brief intro to my latest fantasy released through dilliebooks. I hope you like it.


Elgiva, a young elf banished from Elvendom, must seek shelter among the Saxons as her only hope of surviving the coming winter.

Godwin, a Briton enslaved by the Saxons, is a man ignorant of his own inheritance and the secret of power he possesses.

A mysterious enemy, who will stop at nothing to wield absolute power over Elvendom, is about to make his move.

When destiny throws Elgiva and Godwin together, they embark upon the quest for the legendary Lorestone, the only thing that can save Elvendom from the evil that threatens to destroy it.

There is help to be found along the way from a petulant pony and a timid elf boy but, as the strength of their adversary grows, can Elgiva’s friends help her to find the Lorestone before it falls into the wrong hands?


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.

Monday, 24 February 2020

The 4 Types of Novel Writers. Which One Resonates With You...

Recently, I viewed a YouTube video done by Ellen Brock whom I personally knew as an editor when she worked for my former publisher. She now offers strategies and techniques geared to help writers with their particular writing process, and hopefully assist them in writing better books. In this video, she talks about the four types of novel writers, and frankly, I was intrigued. Now, I’m sure you’ve heard of writers prone to being either Pantsers or Plotters, or a hybrid of both, but Ellen offers a different take which I wanted to share with you on my blog. If you’ve got about twenty minutes of time to invest, I urge you to watch Ellen’s video below to find out what type of writer you resonate with. I really believe you’ll find this fascinating and worth the watch, so please enjoy!

BTW—I’m an Intuitive Plotter. Go figure. This makes perfect sense to me now! LOL! Hope this video helps you to plan and write your next blockbuster! So, what type of writer did you figure out you are? Would love to read your comments. Cheers, and thank you for reading my blog.