Sunday, 24 September 2023

Guest Post: Women Must Be Bold by Author Anne Montgomery...


When I was a high school teacher, I learned many young ladies were uncomfortable talking about their accomplishments. Part of my job was to encourage my students to think about the future. When it came to resume writing, I’d say, “What are you good at? What have you accomplished that you’re proud of?”

Often, I’d be met with blank stares, which was understandable because they were just kids. Still, I’d press on. “When you choose a career, it’s important to think about what you like to do, what you’re good at, and what someone will pay you to do.”

When the conversation stalled, I pointed out some of my own accomplishments. “When I was your age, I discovered I had a good speaking and singing voice, so I performed in a lot of plays. And I really enjoyed sports. I was an ice dancer and I loved swimming and skiing and watching ice hockey. Eventually, these things put me on a path to becoming a TV sportscaster.”

“Your bragging, Ms. Montgomery,” some child would blurt out. Others around the room—mostly girls—would nod their heads.

“So, you don’t think it’s right to talk about your accomplishments?”

“No!” a chorus of them would answer.

In the business world, the inability to discuss our successes is holding women back.

Then, I’d point at a boy who played sports. “How’d your game go? Which would lead the young man on a tangent about how well he’d preformed on the gridiron. Strangely, when I’d ask female athletes the same question, the response was rarely positive. “I could have done better,” one would say. “I missed an important free throw,” another might add.

Bragging, it turns out, is a habitat peopled mostly by males. A young man can walk into a job interview and wax on about his accomplishments, while women of all age groups seem to feel they must be demure, that identifying their skills and successes is unladylike and casts them in a bad light.

A perfect example is the way many women handle compliments. When someone says something nice about our appearance or a job well done, lots of us stare at the floor, or point out something we did wrong, or give credit to someone else in order to counter the accolade.  And this is a problem.

Just smile and say “Thank you!” when you receive a compliment.

I think denying our successes holds us back, especially in the business world where self-confidence and life experience say a lot about who we are and what we might be capable of in the future. Take participating in sports, for example. Business owners are delighted to hire those who’ve been on teams. They know athletes understand punctuality, working with others toward a common goal, following rules, and getting back up when you’ve been knocked down. (Note here that championships and won-loss records are not relevant. Just participating is all that’s important.) And let’s not forget those other “team players”: young people who’ve participated in choir, marching band, theater, debate, and other activities that are equally favored by many human resources departments. But those doing the hiring will not know about a person’s past if the applicant is unwilling to share the information, so it’s important that people speak up. That’s not bragging. It’s smart!

Today, I don’t hesitate to share stories about my past and the things I’ve experienced and exceeded at. And I’ve learned to accept compliments with a smile and hearty, “Thank you!” It was a bit uncomfortable at first, but now it feels great.

Don’t believe me, ladies? Just give it a try.

Please allow me to give you a brief intro to my latest women's fiction novel for your reading pleasure.


The past and present collide when a tenacious reporter seeks information on an eleventh century magician…and uncovers more than she bargained for.

In 1939, archeologists uncovered a tomb at the Northern Arizona site called Ridge Ruin. The man, bedecked in fine turquoise jewelry and intricate bead work, was surrounded by wooden swords with handles carved into animal hooves and human hands. The Hopi workers stepped back from the grave, knowing what the Moochiwimi sticks meant. This man, buried nine hundred years earlier, was a magician.

Former television journalist Kate Butler hangs on to her investigative reporting career by writing freelance magazine articles. Her research on The Magician shows he bore some European facial characteristics and physical qualities that made him different from the people who buried him. Her quest to discover The Magician’s origin carries her back to a time when the high desert world was shattered by the birth of a volcano and into the present-day dangers of archeological looting where black market sales of antiquities can lead to murder.

Former television journalist Kate Butler hangs on to her investigative reporting career by writing freelance magazine articles. Her research on The Magician shows he bore some European facial characteristics and physical qualities that made him different from the people who buried him. Her quest to discover The Magician’s origin carries her back to a time when the high desert world was shattered by the birth of a volcano and into the present-day dangers of archaeological looting where black market sales of antiquities can lead to murder.

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

Sunday, 17 September 2023

Recipe and a Read: Artist and Author Linda Lee Greene Shares the Fruits of her Labors...

HALLULAH! Cast-iron cooking is back on the burner of the world’s kitchens, its barbeque pits, and its campsite fires—and nothing fries up more delectably in the iconic cooker than green apples, or apples of any color, and even peaches. 

Dating back to the 18th century, apple and peach orchards have been a constant feature of farm-life of my American ancestors, and of my European forebears, I imagine. Apples picked right off the tree or hauled topside from underground cellars and fried up in an iron skillet, a vessel that was passed down from mother to daughter, has been a staple of my family through those generations and to the present. Store-bought fruit will do, too, of course.  


Down-Home Fried Apples & Peaches
½ cup butter
6 medium unpeeled firm apples, sliced
4 very soft unpeeled peaches, sliced 
¾ cup cane, coconut, or brown sugar
¾ tsp. ground cinnamon (optional)
¼ cup apple juice, 100% juice
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Over low heat, melt butter in a large cast-iron or heavy ovenproof skillet. Add apples and ½ cup sugar. Mix well, cover, and cook 20 minutes or until apples are fork tender. Stir frequently. 

Add optional cinnamon), remaining sugar, apple juice, vanilla extract, and peach slices. Cover and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes over medium heat.   

Serve with iron-skillet gravy and country biscuits at main meals, or with vanilla ice cream for dessert. 

The following is an excerpt of GUARDIANS AND OTHER ANGELS, my book of historical fiction blended with my family’s actual story. The selection depicts an amusing, true incident involving apples and my mother Roma before she was my mother. A delicious recipe for fried apples and peaches rounds out this posting. Enjoy! 

One of the most enchanting features of the farm was its peach and apple orchard. Disregarding the fact that green apples gave Roma the “runs,” and convincing herself that she would get away with it that time, in a fit of gluttony, she set about one hot summer morning to stuff her belly full of the sweet green teasers. Predictably, later in the day, she found herself in dire need of visiting the “path” as this family called their outhouse, whereupon she sat, for long intervals of time, for several visits in a row. 

This was back in the day before fluffy white “Charmin” or any other machine-perforated-roll-perfectly-into-your-hand toilet paper came on the scene; these were the days when pages from magazines, newspapers, and the Sears & Roebuck catalog were special favorites for cleaning the backside. And when paper products ran out, corncobs would do. 

This day, Sears & Roebuck were on duty, and Roma, having gone through a good portion of the catalog, pulled up her underpants, and confident her ordeal was finally behind her, pun intended, proceeded to walk to the back door of the house, the door opening onto the kitchen. She lighted into her piled-up kitchen chores, working away uninterrupted for an hour or more, enjoying that peculiar euphoria that comes to one with the release of all the toxins in one’s body, when she realized that the house was unusually quiet, a phenomenon never occurring in that filled-to-human-capacity household. Taking a mere glancing note of it, she continued to sweep away, when out of the distance she thought she heard what sounded like a snicker. She hesitated for a moment, listened, but when all was quiet again, she fell back into the rhythm of her swishing broom. But suddenly, there it was again – a snicker, then two, then three. She realized she had company in the room. She turned to look, and there they all were, all nine members of her family, snickering and pointing at her backside. Horrified, she realized what was the matter, and twisting her head to get a gander at her backside. 

Like a dog chasing its own tail, Roma took off spinning around and around in the middle of the kitchen, howling like a dog, and flapping her hand at the offending article protruding from her underpants. In her haste to vacate the outhouse, the tail of her dress had caught in the waistband of her bloomers, and with it, a page from the Sears & Roebuck catalog also had fastened itself there, the page waving like a flag flapping in the breeze and ironically hailing its vivid advertisement of women underpanties.

Available in paperback and in eBook on Amazon 


Multi-award-winning author and artist Linda Lee Greene describes her life as a telescope that when trained on her past reveals how each piece of it, whether good or bad or in-between, was necessary in the unfoldment of her fine art and literary paths.
Greene moved from farm-girl to city-girl; dance instructor to wife, mother, and homemaker; divorcee to single-working-mom and adult-college-student; and interior designer to multi-award-winning artist and author, essayist, and blogger. It was decades of challenging life experiences and debilitating, chronic illness that gave birth to her dormant flair for art and writing. Greene was three days shy of her fifty-seventh birthday when her creative spirit took a hold of her.

She found her way to her lonely easel soon thereafter. Since then Greene has accepted commissions and displayed her artwork in shows and galleries in and around the USA. She is also a member of artist and writer associations.

Visit Linda on her blog and join her on Facebook. Linda loves to hear from readers so feel free to email her.

Sunday, 10 September 2023

What’s an Author to do These Days…


“Please tell me I am not alone…”
an author lamented on a post I saw on Facebook a while ago. As I read through the comment, part of me deeply felt the frustration this writer was going through. I’ve been there, and done some of those tasks mentioned. However, another part of me wanted partake in a full-blown smack down to induce a well-needed writer wake-up call. Keeping this particular author anonymous, I’ll share snippets of the conversation below to give you an idea of why I reacted the way I did, and share my response with you.

 First part:

“Please tell me I am not alone…

Years of being a published author: 7

Number of titles: 16

Seven years of doing everything "they" said to do: Join this group and that group and do ads and write more books and do a series and write to market and do a newsletter, and have a strong social media presence, and take an ads course and read these books, and if your blurb and covers are right and you have a great book, you will see fruition. . .”

Response: Um. No. There’s no guarantee in this business. I’m not sure if the author is self-published or with a publisher, but seven years is not bad if you’ve published sixteen books! I’m also not sure how much sweat equity this writer has invested in before being published, but the author is efficient enough to craft a novel. Seven years in publishing does not equal fame and fortune. Oh, and listening to the “they” is the author’s fault, not theirs. The author is not taking any responsibility, and blaming others for their lack of success.

Second part:

“So, I listen to these experts and I get their feedback on my covers and blurbs and utilize beta readers and editors and take the classes and do the research and learn the ads and go beyond even all that. Every time I have applied what I have learned, I think “This is it, this will be the game changer that will make my career go into the black."

"I made a series. Now it will work." No.

"I wrote a nonfiction book to help others. Now things will change." No.

"I changed my covers for the fifth time and tightened the tropes to meet readers' expectations. Now my career will take off." No.

"I took all the classes, did all the research, did everything they said to do. This will all make a difference." No.”

Response:

Again, playing the blame game. No one held a gun to this author’s head. At least I hope not!
Since being a published author in 2012, I’ve never changed my covers. My reasoning? It confuses the readers looking for your books. To me, this author is doing way too much and not concentrating on what’s best for them. There’s an old saying around the time of the California Gold Rush that basically teaches there’ll be thousands of prospectors searching for gold, and many opportunistic businesses sprouting up to sell them picks and shovels. Who do you think will profit more? This author seems to have been sold a lot of picks and shovels, yet lacks something many authors need these days—staying power. Know that you must be in for the long haul (and work smarter) to accomplish your dreams and receive the ‘gold’.

Third part:

“I am heartbroken and tired of hearing people make blanket claims, knowing I apply their tried and true practices only to wind up steeped in the red, seeing little evidence that my books are being enjoyed as the numbers of reviews have essentially frozen themselves in time. Or, after getting #1 bestsellers to do my covers and blurbs and working with a coach to ensure I met the tropes and expectations of the audience, only to be told that it must be my covers or blurb.”

Response: Welcome to the reality of being part of the author club! It takes time and money to make this particular career work. Yes. It’s frustrating and sometimes soul-crushing, but at some point in your writing profession, you need to reevaluate what’s working, what’s not, and adjust. Be professional, and make decisions that are for your best interests. Seems like this author is being pick-pocketed and left hanging while those so-called ‘coaches’ are laughing all the way to the bank. To me, this author needs to reset their mindset.

Fourth (and last) part:

“I Love to Write. I always have. I am thankful that hasn’t gone away. But…I engaged with another writer--his words meant so much. He alluded to the ANXIETY pushed upon us, the demands of being a writer and being absorbed by the number of reviews, our rankings, our sales, etc. and how instead, it's best to market our craft and build our reputation from word-of-mouth. And I agree with him, especially since all of my efforts sizzle for a second before drowning in the big ocean of this giant indie world.”

Response: Okay. The author loves to write and is grateful. Good attitude. What I think needs to happen is that this person must stop running around like a chicken with its head cut off (sorry for the cliché) and do some heavy duty analyzing. The other author who engaged in the post tells it like it is. It’s tough being an author these days. The fact that he advises to build a reputation from word-of-mouth (best advertising) is gold. No need for picks or shovels. Just be authentic. Do what’s best for you and what you can handle (mentally and financially). It’ll all work out in the wash one day. Or in the prospector’s pan.


This author writes in a popular genre, where I’m guessing there’s plenty of competition out there. The genre has an established market, so there’s many readers waiting in the wings for books to devour. So what’s this author to do? Simple, though not easy. Be patient with the process and journey of a writing career. Stop hustling. That will stress you out even more. Anxiety is a product of being uncertain, of what’s lurking around the next corner. Be present. Write. Have fun. Even when you’re promoting or marketing. Trust me, it’s not worth it if your writing career is one big ball of frustration. In the end, this author seemed hopeful, which I was happy to find. I’ll leave you with the last line of this author’s rant: “I hope and pray that soon, very soon, all my hard work, all those countless hours of doing all the business side of things, will pay off so I don't feel like this has all been in vain.”

When I started writing almost thirty years ago, I had no clue about this writing business. I just muddled through, kept honing my craft, and yes, failing. A lot. But I kept going. Guess ignorance is bliss, after all! If you’re an author, do you resonate with what this writer conveyed? Have you changed tactics and readjusted your writing career throughout the years? Have you decided to toss out ‘Hustle Culture’ like I did, and just ‘do you’? If you’re a reader, did you realize what authors have to do to catch your attention? Would love to read your comments. Cheers and thanks for taking the time to read my blog. I appreciate you! 

Wednesday, 6 September 2023

Book Tour: The Demons of Montmartre by Laurence Raphael Brothers...


Mirror World Publishing and Sapphyria's Book Promotions present the 1-week virtual book tour for  The Demons of Montmartre by Laurence Raphael Brothers, book four in the Nora Simeon Investigations series.

About the Book:

Private Investigator Nora Simeon and her partner Eyre work for the Commission, the secret organization that regulates the summoning of demons in the financial industry. It’s the Commission’s job to suppress all public knowledge of sorcery. So when a mysterious letter from a person who calls themselves l’Invocateur threatens to expose the secret to the world, it’s Nora’s job to track him down.

In search of L’Invocateur, Nora and Eyre are off to Paris, but before they go, Madame Villiers, Nora’s mother and one of the Commission leaders in New York, reveals that Nora’s father may be in danger.

Nora has never known her father, a man named Simeon who disappeared when she was an infant. Spurred by her mother’s warning, Nora hunts both her father and l’Invocateur in France. From the elegant halls of the Société Générale to the altar of the Sacré-Cœur, Nora and Eyre find the threads of their search coming together in The Demons of Montmartre.

Follow the Tour:


Purchase Links:

Mirror World Publishing: 

Amazon

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.

Sunday, 3 September 2023

A Recipe and a Read: Tasty Tomato Chicken 'n Rice Soup and A Cozy Mystery by Janis Lane...

This is the fastest and tastiest soup you’ll ever throw together. Chicken with Rice soup and stewed tomatoes alone is tasty. For more tomato flavor, use a can of diced tomatoes, but careful. This tends to overbalance the tomato too much and obscures that lovely chicken rice childhood memory taste. Everything you add after that improves the mixture, or you can serve it just like that warmed. It is a tasty combination.  

You can, of course, make a much more complicated soup. I give you this recipe for the day when time is of the essence, and you are already tired.

Keep ready-made roles or biscuits in the refrigerator for just such an occasion and grab them to bake first. 

Tomato Chicken ’n Rice

1 can Campbell’s Chicken with Rice soup 
1 can stewed tomatoes 
1 med. onion, chopped 
½ stalk celery, chopped 
Dash salt to taste 
Dash dried oregano
1 small can corn kernels
1 small can green peas 

Optional Ingredients:

Any leftover veggies like green beans or asparagus, lima beans, cut small. Bits of leftover meat: pork, ground beef, and breakfast sausage, chicken. Whatever is left. 

Add water to desired consistency only at the beginning. 

Now put all your ingredients together and simmer until the onions and celery are opaque. Should be about ready when the roles are nice and brown. Serve with hot roles, biscuits and butter, and a lettuce salad with dressing. Garnish soup with grated cheese. Put a petite bouquet on the table and enjoy your lunch or light dinner. Plan for a renewing nap later. 

For dessert, two scopes of ice cream over half a banana drizzled with chocolate syrup. 

This luncheon can serve four to six medium bowls of soup for adults or a mob of small various sized children.

Here's a peek at my Cozy Mystery, Murder in the Neighborhood, a novel which introduces you to Detective Kevin Fowler and the intriguing murders which infect this small-town Americana. The series follows the detective, colleagues, friends, and lovers through a whirlwind of events, good and bad, over the next three novels.

A killer is attacking respectable citizens in picturesque Hubbard, NY, and leaving corpses on their front steps in the middle of the day. Detective Fowler isn’t certain who causes him to lose the most sleep, a certain sexy reporter with bouncing curls and sparkling black eyes, or the elusive psychopath creating panic in his small-town community. Together, the detective and the reporter race to find the monster in their midst and return the town to the desirable place where people come to raise their families in peace and contentment. Can they sort through their differences to find romance even as they search for a determined stalker with murder on his mind? The clock ticks down on a man in a rage with a deadly mission.


Amazon Buy Links Kindle - Paperback

Read more of the cozy mysteries by
Janis Lane on Amazon
Janis Lane is the penname for gifted author Emma Lane who writes cozy mysteries as Janis, Regency as Emma, and spice as Sunny Lane.

She lives in Western New York where winter is snowy, spring arrives with rave reviews, summer days are long and velvet, and fall leaves are riotous in color. At long last she enjoys the perfect bow window for her desk where she is treated to a year-round panoramic view of nature. Her computer opens up a fourth fascinating window to the world. Her patient husband is always available to help with a plot twist and encourage Emma to never quit. Her day job is working with flowers at Herbtique and Plant Nursery, the nursery she and her son own.

Look for information about writing and plants on Emma's 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. Be sure to check out the things that make Emma smile on Pinterest.

Friday, 1 September 2023

Special Free Ebook Offer: A Groom for Mama by Sweet Romance Author Catherine Castle...

FREE 3 DAYS ONLY!

 A Groom for Mama

is the Romance of the Day on Kindle Daily Nation Today, September 1, 2023

and…

Is free on Amazon September 1-3, 2023

Here is the link 

You have three days to get your FREE

fun, hilarious, award-winning, sweet romance,

from multi-award-winning author Catherine Castle.

 

The 2018 Contemporary Romance Raven Award Winning Book


What readers say about this book:

Castle writes with humor. The author excels at building romantic tension and also touching the hearts of readers with family drama. The novel moved me to tears a few times.

There are many twists that kept me turning pages when I should have been doing other tasks.

Definitely recommend this novel and this author! Sandy Hart

~

I immediately fell in love with these delightful characters and had a hard time putting this book down. From the start, I rooted for Allison and Jack and hoped Mama would live long enough to attend the wedding. But romantic journeys are unpredictable, and in this case, the path is filled with humorous (and disastrous) dates, misfortune, and sentimental moments. Joanne Guidoccio

~

You just know when there’s a loving mother involved everything is going to work out ... not always as planned ... but the end result will be exactly what you wanted. A Groom for Mama by Catherine Castle is no exception.

I fell in love with all the characters in the book, but felt especially close to Mama. This book is filled with a lot of love and heartfelt emotion. Beautifully written, it tugged on every one of my heartstrings and tickled my funny bone at the same time. AuthorLady 8

~

A Groom for Mama is a well written, delightful romantic comedy penned by author Catherine Castle. The story takes the reader for a ride—literally halfway across the country in search of the perfect man for Allison Walters.

Jack Somerset's selfless, loving care toward Allison's dying mother is tender and touched my heart. Catherine's creative word phrases such as she "mined a hole the size of Texas" pulls the reader into the narrative and holds one's interest.

I recommend this story if you're in the mood for a one-of-a-kind story that entertains as well as delivers a refreshing message. Virginia J Foster

Get your copy of this delightful romantic comedy read,

A Groom for Mama

before it’s too late!

Don’t miss your chance to get this

FREE for THREE DAYS ONLY!

September 1-3, 2023

Connect with Inspirational and Sweet Romance Author Catherine Castle on these social media outlets:

Catherine’s website: blog: Amazon author page: Goodreads page: Twitter  @AuthorCCastle:  Facebook


Sunday, 27 August 2023

A Free Road Trip to Scotland by Paranormal Romance Writing Duo C. D. Hersh...

Many books require research, and The Mercenary and the Shifters was no exception. We had to research a bunch of things for this book, but our favorite was the Hebrides Islands in Scotland. It’s a lot of fun when your book requires you to visit other countries. In The Mercenary and the Shifters-Book Four of The Turning Stone Chronicles, our hero goes to the Hebrides in Scotland.

We have never been to Scotland, but it’s somewhere Catherine has always wanted to go, so we set off to discover these remote islands with our hero, Mike Corritore, who lands in Benbecula airport in the Hebrides in the early dawn.

From the airport we headed south for South Uist, crossing a causeway lined on both sides with white boulders. Back on land, the road periodically narrowed into a lane and a half, the bulged-out lanes barely big enough to hold a vehicle. Houses dotted the landscape, surrounded by fields of low, green grass. Squat, wire fences penned in white sheep, grazing contentedly. Along the edge of the road, bushes leaned into the pavement, the tips of the branches sporting white blossoms.

En route for Loch Baghasdail, we crossed a second causeway. Just past the end of the causeway, a series of small, deep blue lakes dotted the countryside. As the road moved inland the landscaped changed. Fewer houses appeared along the roadside. Bleached, white boulders jutted from the ground like cemetery markers. The flat, slightly curvy road became straight, with low, rolling rises. Gray mountains, their tops ringed in matching gray haze, lay against the horizon on the left. The scenery was beautiful, bucolic, and stark at the same time.

Do you want to know the best part about this trip? It didn’t cost us a dime. We went via Google Maps to the Scottish countryside. Ain’t the internet wonderful? Maybe someday we’ll get to see the Hebrides in person. In the meantime, we hope you’ll enjoy our hero’s trip to Scotland, the exciting action-packed story, and the results from the fun research we did for this story.

BUY LINKS

  If this piques your interest, then settle into a comfy chair and check out our books on our website’s book page, or on our Amazon Author Page 

C.D. Hersh–Two hearts creating everlasting love stories.

Putting words and stories on paper is second nature to co-authors C.D. Hersh. They’ve written separately since they were teenagers and discovered their unique, collaborative abilities in the mid-90s. As high school sweethearts, and husband and wife, Catherine and Donald believe in true love and happily ever after. Their paranormal series is titled The Turning Stone Chronicles. They are looking forward to many years of co-authoring and book sales, and a lifetime of happily-ever-after endings on the page and in real life. 

Learn more about C.D. Hersh on their social media pages:

Sunday, 20 August 2023

Author in the Kitchen: Create the Perfect Picnic Compliments of Cookbook Author Sloane Taylor...

The incredible edible egg makes a perfect salad to spread across your favorite bread for a delicious sandwich served with sliced avocado, chips, dill pickles, and your favorite soft drink. Now if you want to fancy things up for a summer lunch or dinner, egg salad works great for Stuffed Tomatoes. Serve with croissants, seedless green grapes, a small wedge of sharp cheddar cheese, and crisp white wine.

 
TOMATOES STUFFED with EGG SALAD

4 large eggs 
2 ripe tomatoes
Mayonnaise to taste
¼ tsp. thyme
¼ tsp. marjoram
Lettuce leaves

Set eggs on the counter at least two hours before cooking. They are more tender when cooked if they are close to room temperature.

Lay eggs in a small saucepan, cover with water, add a lid. Bring to a full boil over medium heat. Turn off heat, leave covered, and set timer for 8 minutes. This method also keeps the eggs tender.

In the meantime, cut off a little more than the stem section of the tomatoes. Slice a very thin piece from the bottom so the tomato sits upright after it is stuffed. Scoop out the seeds and some of the pulp. Turn upside down on a paper towel to drain excess water.

Empty the hot water from the saucepan when eggs are done cooking. Add cold water and immediately peel the eggs. The simplest way is to crack both ends on your sink edge. Roll the egg along a hard surface while you apply pressure, but not hard enough to split the cooked egg, you only want to loosen the membrane from the white. The shell should come off easily. This procedure takes a little practice but it’s worth it.

Be sure to rinse the peeled egg to eliminate any bits of shell that may adhere. Lay egg on a paper towel to air dry. When the eggs are cool, chop them into a small bowl. Don’t make the chop fine. You want to see chunks of white in your salad. Stir in just enough mayonnaise to moisten the eggs to the consistency you like. Go easy so as not to overdo. The eggs should be coated but not swamped.

Stir in thyme and marjoram. Cover with cling wrap and then store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

When the time comes, fill tomatoes with egg salad, mound a little, and then set them aside. Place a lettuce leaf on each plate to hold the filled tomato in place. Arrange the other foods on the plate, serve, and enjoy!

This recipe serves two.

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

Sloane
 
Sloane Taylor is an Award-Winning romance 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.

Taylor's first solo venture into non-fiction was a Couples Cookbook with eighty of her favorite recipes, DATE NIGHT DINNERS, Meals to Make Together for a Romantic Evening. ROMANTIC MEALS TO DINE AL FRESCO is Taylor’s latest cookbook and contains 104 exciting recipes. 

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

Sunday, 13 August 2023

Are We Normal Yet Asks Sweet Romance Author Catherine Castle...


While Ohio is mostly opened up from Pandemic status, I hear lots of newscasters asking, “When will we get back to normal again?”

This question now is mostly related to the economy, workers going back to work, restaurants having their normal hours and normal menus back, schools and businesses being fully opened again, hospitals, airlines and nursing homes going maskless, and whether a new wave from a variant virus will set us back to 2020 shutdown status again.

There is, however, one thing that has come back to normal in record speed—Scamming and Phishing!

I’ve talked about phone scamming and phishing in the past, but I received a couple of calls that I think bear repeating. This past week or so our phone has gone nuts with scam calls. I received a call from a local hospital where my sister had been admitted a while ago. Not thinking about scamming, but wondering instead if she was in the hospital, I answered the call. It was a Medicare scammer. I bawled him out and hung up with a threat to report him to the FCC.

I had another interesting and doozy of a call the other day from Beverly Hill, California. I didn’t answer, but they left a voice-mail message. Our voice-mail system forces us to listen to the messages in order to clear them. Most of the time they are truncated messages that don’t give us much of a clue as to what the caller wants. As I punched the replay button that day, a computer-generated voice said. “Sorry. You did not reveal yourself to be human.”

If that’s not the pot calling the kettle black, I’ll eat my garden hat! It’s too bad all the other scam phone calls don’t recognize my computer-generated message isn’t worth their time as well. That would solve my constant ringing phone issue.

I’d love to hear your craziest scam phone call message.

Catherine

There are no scam phone calls in Catherine Castle’s award-winning comedy with a touch of drama, A Groom for Mama, but there are plenty of scammy dates.  Follow the antics of Alison Walters and her mother Beverly as the pair works at cross purposes while gallivanting across the country—one wants a wedding, and one doesn’t. 

Beverly Walters is dying, and before she goes, she has one wish—to find a groom for her daughter. To get the deed done, Mama enlists the dating service of Jack Somerset, Allison’s former boyfriend.

The last thing corporate-climbing Allison wants is a husband. Furious with Mama’s meddling, and a bit more interested in Jack than she wants to admit, Allison agrees to the scheme as long as Mama promises to search for a cure for her terminal illness.

A cross-country trip from Nevada to Ohio ensues, with a string of disastrous dates along the way, as the trio hunts for treatment and A Groom For Mama.

AMAZON BUY LINK

Multi-award-winning author Catherine Castle loves writing. Before beginning her career as a romance writer, she worked part-time as a freelance writer. She has over 600 articles and photographs to her credit, under her real name, in the Christian and secular market. She also lays claim to over 300 internet articles written on a variety of subjects and several hundred poems. In addition to writing, she loves reading, traveling, singing, theatre, quilting and gardening. She’s a passionate gardener whose garden won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club. She writes sweet and inspirational romances. 

You can find her award-winning Soul Mate books The Nun and the Narc and A Groom for Mama, on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Follow her on Twitter, FB or her blog.

Sunday, 6 August 2023

A Quick Supper for Those Lazy Hazy Days of Summer...

Summer's a busy time. Need a quick meal for the next long weekend or during the week? I’m talking insanely quick and economical to make. Got to get your child to a practice or activity? Perhaps there’s a Zoom meeting scheduled just after dinner. No problem. I’ve got your back with this tasty Roasted Red Pepper Pasta meal fit for a family of four. Add sausage or chicken into the mix, and you’ve got yourself a hearty Italian meal that fills you up for the night. This whole meal takes about 20-30 minutes to prepare, which gives you plenty of wiggle room to make that meeting or taxi the kids to their activity. Serve with a side salad and glass of your favorite wine (if that meeting was cancelled), to celebrate the end of the day in style.


Roasted Red Pepper Pasta
4 cups uncooked rigatoni or penne pasta
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion,finely diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can (284 mL/9.6 ounces) can of Campbell’s® Condensed Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup
½ cup milk
¼ cup 35% whipping cream, or heavy cream 
¼ tsp. fresh ground pepper 
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp. oregano, optional
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley, optional
¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves, optional

Other Optional Ingredients
1lb. Italian sausage or cubed boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Fresh red bell peppers
Red pepper flakes

Prepare rigatoni or penne according to package directions. Drain and keep warm.

Spray skillet with oil and sauté sausage (or chicken) over medium-high heat, about 5 minutes or until cooked through; remove from pan.

While pasta is cooking, prepare the pepper pasta sauce. In a nonstick skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high. Cook the onion and garlic for 3-5 minutes, stirring often, or until lightly browned.

Add soup, milk, cream, sausage (or chicken) and pepper (optional); gently whisk until smooth and simmering. Reduce heat, simmer 2-3 minutes or until sauce has thickened slightly.

Stir Parmesan and fresh basil, parsley, and oregano into pasta sauce. Toss sauce with hot pasta and serve with more Parmesan, if desired. Then, enjoy the fruits of your labors!

After your meeting is done and you’ve picked up the kids, take a seat in your favorite comfy chair and crack open one of my books. 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 Zoom meetings or shuffling the kids around.

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.

Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls Teen Psychic Mysteries

Imagine a teenager possessing a psychic ability and struggling to cope with its freakish power. There’s no hope for a normal life, and no one who understands. 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. Until mysterious things start to happen.

Welcome to Fairy Falls. Expect the unexpected.

The Last Timekeepers Time Travel Adventure Series:

The Last Timekeepers and the Noble Slave, Book #3

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

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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/young adult time travel adventure series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the award-winning teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, reading, researching, or revising, she enjoys anything arcane, ancient mysteries, and single malt scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her spoiled hubby, and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her WEBSITE and BLOG. Look up her AMAZON AUTHOR page for a list of current books. Stay connected on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, PINTEREST, LINKEDIN, INSTAGRAM, and GOODREADS.

BONUS: Download the free PDF short story The Terrible, Mighty Crystal HERE