Monday 25 May 2020

Time to Play the Game and Pop the Caramel Corn with Fantasy Author Chris Pavesic...

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

Baked Caramel Corn

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

Preheat oven to 250°F.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Time to play the game.

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

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

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

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

The archers nock their arrows and aim at the flock.

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

The forward catapult releases a torrent of small rocks at the lead glider. It is a scatter-shot approach that proves effective. There are so many missiles that it is impossible to dodge them all. But at the moment the stones strike, the other four let loose with fireballs. Spheres of crackling flame spring from their hands, glowing faintly at first and then with increasing brightness. The balls of fire shoot from their hands like bullets from a gun and fly toward the ship, exploding. Pieces bounce off the hull and fall to the ground, throwing hissing, burning globs of magic-fueled fire in all directions, setting everything they touch aflame.

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

Chris Pavesic is a fantasy author who lives in the Midwestern United States and loves Kona coffee, steampunk, fairy tales, and all types of speculative fiction. Between writing projects, Chris can most often be found reading, gaming, gardening, working on an endless list of DIY household projects, or hanging out with friends. 

Learn more about Chris on her website and blog.

Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, and her Amazon Author Page.

Monday 18 May 2020

Rock Victoria Day with Your Family Fairy Falls-Style...

Are you ready to rock this Canadian holiday? I've always looked forward to the first long weekend heralding the upcoming summer season. Loved all the firework displays put on by the surrounding small tourist towns while we lived in cottage country. Hated those dreaded blackflies. One thing we became accustomed to was the rain that usually accompanied this particular weekend. It was usually 50-50 weather, getting rain on Saturday or Sunday, or both. Victoria Day Monday could be a mixed bag, as cottagers and campers would pack up and head home after opening their cottages or trailers. Ah, those good old days!

So that said, I'd thought I'd help out all my fellow Canadians who decide to brave this unpredictable long weekend with a quick and easy soup recipe, that will allow you more time to spend with your family...or fix those nasty problems around the cottage or trailer that seemed to have cropped up over the winter.

Who doesn’t love a hearty bowl of soup, especially on those cold or rainy nights? Makes for a wonderful meal at the cottage when unexpected guests pop in, or in the comfort of your home if it’s just you and your significant other. Easy to prepare, this delightful Italian cuisine takes about an hour to prep and cook. Perfect for a weekend lunch, and plenty of leftovers for the week, serve with half a baguette, sliced and buttered, and ready to dip! Bon Appetit!

Stick-to-your-Ribs Minestrone Soup

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large carrot, diced
⅓ lb. green beans, trimmed and cut into ½ inch pieces (about 1½ cups)
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
¾ tsp. salt freshly ground pepper to taste
1 28-ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 15-ounce can low-sodium kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup elbow pasta
⅓ cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
2 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped

HEAT olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add celery and carrot, and cook until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes.

STIR in beans, dried oregano and basil, salt, and pepper; cook 3 more minutes. Stir in diced and crushed tomatoes and chicken broth to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in kidney beans and pasta. Cook until pasta and vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Ladle into bowls and top with the Parmesan and chopped basil.

While you’re waiting for the minestrone soup to digest why not put your feet up and relax on the dock or couch with a good book? 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, either series will transport you to another time and place, leaving the busyness of life far behind.

Here's a glimpse into one of the books from Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls, my teen psychic cottage country 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.
Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls Teen Psychic Cottage Country Mystery Series:
Lost and Found, Book One Buy Links:
Blackflies and Blueberries, Book Two Buy Links:

Thursday 14 May 2020

New Release: WYRD'S END, Book 3 in The Elwardain Chronicles by Carol Browne...

WYRD'S END, Book III in The Elwardain Chronicles series written by gifted epic fantasy author Carol Browne, is now live! The books in this trilogy are packed with action and adventure. Be sure to get your copies today!

Determined to spare Godwin the violent death shown to her in dreams, Elgiva uses the portal to cross over into his dimension.

Meanwhile, members of Godwin’s tribe seek sanctuary at the settlement. What has caused them to flee for their lives? 

Disguises must be lifted and secrets revealed and wyrd will unfold as it should.

But time is running out…

For it is winter and the darkness is coming;

A darkness with teeth and claws.


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 11 May 2020

Recipe and Read of the Month by Alicia Joseph...

This vegan recipe is also a fave for my meat-eating friends and family. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Vegan Baked Beans

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

PREHEAT oven to 350° F.

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

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

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

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

Here is a glimpse into one of my books. I hope you enjoy it.

  “When a train runs over a penny, the penny changes form, but it can still be a penny if I want it to be. Or, I can make it be something else.”

Lyssa and her best friend Abbey discover a hideout near the train tracks and spend the summer before sixth grade hanging out and finding freedom from issues at home. Their childhood innocence shatters when the hideout becomes the scene of a tragic death.

As they’re about to graduate from high school, Abbey’s family life spirals out of control while Lyssa is feeling guilty for deceiving Abbey about her sexuality.

After another tragic loss, Lyssa finds out that a penny on the track is sometimes a huge price to pay for the truth.

Alicia Joseph grew up in Westchester, Illinois. She has many works-in-progress that she hopes to finish soon.

Life permitting. When she is not writing, Alicia enjoys volunteering with animals, rooting for her favorite sports teams, and playing “awesome aunt” to her nine nieces and nephews.

Learn more about Alicia Joseph on her blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday 4 May 2020

An Author’s Legacy…

Besides being ‘Luke Skywalker Day’—May the fourth be with you—it also marks the ninth anniversary of this blog: Sharon Ledwith: I came. I saw. I wrote. I started blogging—not really knowing anything other than reading Blogging for Dummies—on May 4th, 2011, before I even had a publishing contract. If you build it, they will come, right? Funnily enough, the contract came four months after I began blogging. It truly feels like a blur now, and I’ve learned so much since that inaugural date. That said, when I was trying to come up with a post to mark my blogversary (is that a word?), I found an article in our local paper that piqued my interest enough to pass on the wisdom I gleaned from it.

The headline read ‘MAGICAL MEMORIES’, with the subhead, ‘Disney letter among artifacts for Capitol Theatre’s 100th anniversary’. The article goes on to explain that, in 1938 Walt Disney himself sent a letter to the Windsor Daily Star, thanking it for helping promote a screening of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the Capitol. The article goes on to quote, “Disney is a thing unto itself. That fact that the person who was the head of the Disney empire took time to write a letter to the Windsor Star—Windsor Daily Star at that time—to thank them for their assistance in promoting a Disney film, it’s amazing. Incredible, actually.”

I couldn’t agree more.

The letter goes on to mention the newspaper’s “splendid cooperation” in spreading the word about the movie’s run at the Capitol. Disney continues to write, “May I take this opportunity to thank your staff and especially your artists for their many kindnesses?” Wow, just wow! The letter was ended with Disney’s handwritten signature in large, swooping letters.

Can you imagine that kind of correspondence happening in this day and age? Imagine say, trying to get through to George Lucas if you were showing a Star Wars film. Um, no. Wouldn’t happen. And neither would George sit down and write a personal letter, and send it to you. It just goes to show you Disney’s considerate gesture speaks to a very different time in our world. Kind of makes me sad, in a way.

Then, I thought about what kind of legacy authors can leave behind in this ever-changing, post COVID 19 world. How a small gesture like Disney’s would make a difference in a reader’s life? Kindness and manners still matter in my mind, and never go out of style. There’s a handful of authors I know who do go out of their way to thank others who help promote them, give them a shout out on social media, or read their books and leave reviews. Most good business owners show gratitude to their customers in one way or another. Why not authors? After all, we are the owners of our stories, and publish them out into the world (or cyber-world) to sell to prospective readers.

Which leads me to the point of this post. A small kindness or act goes a long way with people. Sending a thank you card or donating your book to a school you did an author visit at, or adding value to a reader’s day by answering their email or social media message. It’s a little boost that will go a long way in a person’s heart, and probably make their day brighter. So take a page out of Walt Disney’s business book, and take time to connect with and grow your audience. It’s a great investment in your future author-self. Never forget, the world needs YOU!

BTW— For May-June my publisher, MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING is going to promote a giveaway for new readers to try Mirror World books for the first time. The code is FREEBOOK and it can be used once per email address for a free ebook to try one of our books for free. Please click HERE to go to their online store. Happy reading!

Now that you’ve helped celebrate nine years blogging with me, let’s time travel a hundred years from now. What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind as an author? How would you want readers to remember you? Would love to read your comments! Cheers, be well, and thank you for reading my blog.