Sunday 29 October 2023

Author in the Kitchen: A Halloween Feast Fit for Goblins and Ghouls by Cookbook Author Sloane Taylor...

Halloween October 31 -  Centuries ago ancient Celtics believed that at summer’s end the barrier between our world and the world of spirits thinned, allowing evil to cross over to us. Time passed and people dressed as saints and went door to door which is the origin for tonight’s ghosts and goblins to magically appear at your front door to trick you if you don’t treat them. 

Invite friends over and celebrate Halloween with this menu that will tame your creatures who go bump in the night.

Garlic Dip & Pretzels

Main Course
Braised Short Ribs
Mashed Potatoes
Veggie Sauté
Dry Red Wine – Pinot Noir

Barbequed Meatballs

This is an easy appetizer recipe you adjust to suit you. Add more jelly if you prefer a sweeter taste or cut jelly amount and increase barbeque sauce if you want a tangy taste. Plan on 4 – 5 meatballs per person.

1 12 oz. (340g) jar grape jelly
1 – 2 bottles barbeque sauce
50 precooked frozen Italian style meatballs
Toothpicks for serving

Scoop jelly into a medium-sized saucepan set over medium heat. Add 1 bottle barbeque sauce. Stir until jelly melts. 

Add meatballs. Stir in more barbeque sauce if needed. You want the meatballs covered but not swimming. Simmer 5 – 10 minutes, stir occasionally. 

Serve warm.

Garlic Dip & Pretzel Twists
8 oz. (226g) cream cheese, softened
1 tbsp. (15ml) garlic powder, not salt
Pinch salt
2 tbsp. (30ml) milk, possibly more 

Lay cream cheese in a medium-sized mixing bowl. I know this seems too large, but you need the room. Use a wooden spoon to mash the cheese against the sides of the bowl. 

Sprinkle on garlic. Stir well. Add salt and stir well. Taste for flavor. Add more garlic if necessary. Don’t add more salt. You’ll get plenty of that flavor from the pretzels. 

Drizzle in milk. Stir well. Carefully stir in milk until you reach a consistency soft enough to dip the pretzel without breaking it. 

Scoop into a serving bowl, cover with cling wrap, and refrigerate. Remove from fridge a half hour or so before serving. This dip lasts 1 week in the fridge. 

½ lemon, peel intact and sliced thin
½ orange, peel intact and sliced thin
½ lg. apple, cored and sliced thin
¼ cup (30g) superfine sugar
1 bottle dry red wine, Portuguese or Spanish preferred
¼ cup (60ml) brandy or cognac
1-liter club soda, chilled


Combine lemon, orange, apple, and sugar in a large pitcher. Stir in wine and brandy. Taste for sweetness. If the punch is still not sweet enough, carefully add another ¼ cup (30g) of sugar.

Refrigerate for several hours to intensify the flavors.


Just before serving gently stir in club soda. Fill wine glasses with ice and pour in Sangria.

Main Course
Braised Short Ribs
2 – 3 lbs. (1 – 1.5kg) beef short ribs, cut into 2 inch (5cm) or so pieces
freshly ground pepper to taste
½ cup (60g) flour
½ tsp. (2.5ml) thyme
2 tbsp. (30ml) lard or solid shortening
2 medium onions, chopped
½ cup (60g) carrot, chopped
1 tbsp. (15ml) garlic, pressed or chopped fine
1 cup (250ml) beef stock
2 small bay leaves
1 tbsp. (30ml) Worcestershire Sauce


Preheat oven to 325° F (160°C).

Pat ribs dry. Grind pepper over meat. Pour flour and thyme into a paper bag. Add 2 – 4 ribs at a time. Shake bag gently to coat meat. Remove ribs and set on a large plate. Continue until all ribs are coated.

Melt lard or shortening in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Carefully add ribs and brown them on all sides. Don’t crowd the pan. Best to brown meat in batches so the cooking temperature remains constant. Return ribs to plate. Lower heat to medium.

Add onions and carrots to the same pot. Sauté until onions are soft and transparent. Add garlic. Cook 45 – 60 seconds.

Stir in stock. Bring to a boil over high heat. Scrape in any brown bits clinging to the bottom and sides of the pan.

Reduce heat to medium. Stir in bay leaves and Worcestershire sauce.

Nestle ribs in pan and bring to a boil. Cover and then place in oven. Braise ribs for 1½ hours or until meat shows no resistance when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife.

Arrange ribs on a clean platter and tent with foil to keep them warm.

Strain braising liquid through a fine sieve into a saucepan. Press down hard on vegetables to extract juices. Discard vegetables. Skim off surface fat. Bring to a hard boil. Cook 2 – 3 minutes to intensify flavor.


Pour sauce into a gravy boat and serve alongside ribs.

Mashed Potatoes
Chicken stock, not broth
1 small russet potato per person, peeled and quartered
3 tbsp. (43g) butter
Sour cream, a very large dollop
¼ cup (60ml) milk, at room temperature
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Parsley, snipped or chopped for garnish

Preheat oven to 220° F (100°C).

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

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

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

Veggie Sauté

Leftovers from this easy recipe make a tasty lunch when reheated in a little butter and served with crusty bread and a glass of cold white wine.

8 oz. (250g) baby bella mushrooms
2 tbsp. (30ml) olive oil
1 zucchini, sliced thin
1 red pepper, seeded and ribs removed
1 yellow pepper, seeded and ribs removed
1 small onion, sliced thin
½ tsp. (2.5ml) garlic powder, not salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Clean mushrooms with a paper towel to remove bedding soil. Slice them in half lengthwise if medium size or into thirds if large. 

Dribble oil into a medium-sized frying pan set over medium heat. Do not let it smoke.

Add all the vegetables except mushrooms. Turn up heat to medium-high. Sauté about 4 minutes, stirring frequently.

Lower temperature to medium. Stir in mushrooms, garlic powder, and pepper.

Continue to cook 3 minutes or until peppers are at the crispness you prefer.

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.

Taylor's cookbooks, Date Night Dinners, Date Night Dinners Italian Style, Summer Sizzle, and Recipes to Create Holidays Extraordinaire are released by Toque & Dagger Publishing and available at all book vendors.

Sunday 22 October 2023

Guest Post: Inspiration by YA Paranormal Author Leigh Goff...

What inspires a writer?

For me, it was a perfect storm of three factors. Simultaneously, I suddenly had more time to devote to personal projects, I enrolled in a world mythology course at my university, and there was a story spiraling to life inside me. 

In the course, I learned about the common elements in myths across many cultures, the hero cycle, and how the characteristics of ancient heroes are the same as those of modern-day heroes.

It was fascinating to find out that nearly every culture has a flood myth to explain that there are consequences for disobedience and bad choices. I loved the course, and it inspired me to get my story down on paper—digital paper that is. 

The story I was working on was Disenchanted. My hero was a sixteen-year-old girl who had to break her ancestor’s true love curse carried down through generations onto a boy she was destined to fall in love with. The setting, Old Wethersfield, Connecticut, is the home of the first American witch trials (not Salem). Witch trials--talk about consequences for bad choices! I was inspired by one of those Wethersfield witches who went to trial, so I cast her as the ancestor that curses the family of the witch trial judge. 

Sources of inspiration are different for everyone. If you’re seeking inspiration for writing or creating, unplug from social media, take a class like I did, change your environment even for just an hour, visit a museum, or take a nap and dream. Let the wonders of the world around you spark your imagination!  

Leigh Goff
is an author of three published young adult novels. She is working on her next novel, a young adult thriller, while her current manuscript, Wicked Sweet, is on submission.

You can find her current published novels at Audible | Amazon | Apple   

Learn more about Leigh Goff on her website and blog. Stay connected on Instagram, Twitter, and LinkTree

Monday 16 October 2023

Cover Reveal: It Hurts Every Time by L.P. Mills...

Mirror World Publishing and Sapphyria's Book Promotions present the cover reveal for

It Hurts Every Time by L.P. Mills

About It Hurts Every Time:

“Death is not the end, sir,

No, sir, not the end of the line,

Just remember what I say to you;

It hurts, baby,

It hurts every time.”

Pluto Garcia is a lieutenant in the Community Militia of Morrisette, a post-communist city-state where a miracle drug has advanced enough to allow the dying a second chance at life by launching them into the nearest available universe in which they are still alive.

In his latest incarnation, Pluto is tasked with investigating the death of Krishna Klein, a brilliant but troubled philanthropist who has been found with a bullet in his head following a week-long bender. With the aid of his assigned partner, Esther Dupont, Pluto uncovers a techno-fascistic plot to plunge the flawed Utopia of Morrissette into authoritarian control once and for all.

Release Date:

LP Mills is an author, game designer, journalist, and beard owner. He currently lives in front of a computer screen in Nottingham, UK, where he feverishly tells stories in an attempt to ignore his day-to-day responsibilities. His dog, Jack Daniels, has yet to compliment him on his writing.

Find L.P. Online:


Author Website:

Publisher Website:

Sunday 15 October 2023

Author in the Kitchen: Ramp up Halloween with this Cheese Ball Pumpkin Appetizer by Helen Carpenter...

October is National Pumpkin month, but we think such a beautiful fruit should get more than just one month of notoriety. So smile, say cheese, and make your own yummy appetizer for Halloween or any holiday get-together.

Cheese Ball Pumpkin
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese
4 ounces crumbled feta or blue cheese
4 ounces shredded sharp cheddar or pepper jack cheese
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. prepared mustard
½ tsp. onion powder
The stem of a green bell pepper

Place all the cheeses in a large bowl and let soften to room temperature.

When cheese is soft, add Worcestershire and mustard. Blend with electric mixer or food processor on low speed. Scrape bowl and beat blended mixture on medium speed 1 or 2 minutes more until well mixed (do not over-beat).

Turn the mix onto plastic wrap. Pull the wrap up and secure with a twist tie. Shape the wrapped mixture into a ball. Score the pumpkin “ribs” onto the cheese ball with your fingertip or a flat knife.

With the plastic in place, set the cheese ball in a bowl and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

Before serving, sprinkle with paprika and add a bell pepper stem to top.

Keep refrigerated until the crowd arrives, then serve with assorted crackers.

Once upon a time there was a mother/daughter author duo named Helen and Lorri, who wrote as HL Carpenter. the Carpenters worked from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories was unreal but not untrue. Then one day Lorri left her studio to explore the land of What-If, and like others who have lost a loved one the magical place lost much of its magic. But thanks to family, plus an amazing group of wordsmiths named Authors Moving Forward (AMF), the magic is slowly returning.

Helen Carpenter loves liking and sharing blog posts from other authors. She lives in Florida with her husband of many years  and appreciates everyday, especially those without hurricanes.

Stay connected on her blog and Facebook.

Sunday 8 October 2023

What I Want My Readers to Know…

Since it’s the Canadian Thanksgiving today, I thought I’d make it all about my readers! Yay! Authors wouldn’t be anywhere without their readers, so me being me, I thought it would be fun to share what I think my readers would want to know about me, on this day of gratitude in Canada. Sending my readers a BIG thanks for hanging out with me, one book at a time. I appreciate you!

I want my readers to know something personal about me…

My sense of humor is my super power. Whenever I connect with people, I try to make them laugh, smile, or uplift them. I’m also an empath. Yeah, I feel you. Wink. I also love exploring anything arcane, attracted to unsolved mysteries, and enjoy single malt scotch.

I want my readers to know something about me as a writer…

Whatever I write is my journey—from seed idea to finished product—and all that’s happened in between. It’s the way I serve you, my readers. I want to deliver the best possible story I’ve got in me, while entertaining and inspiring my audience at the same time. In a nutshell, I want you to feel my journey through my characters’ stories.

 I want my readers to know where my motivation to write began…

I had an over-active imagination in school, and found it hard to concentrate on mundane subjects. I often drifted off into the land of story-making until the teacher called out my name. Yeah. I wouldn’t advise that. As I grew older I never thought I could channel those stories into something as concrete as a book, but one evening almost thirty years ago, I was inspired to do so by a deep, spiritual desire that whispered into my ear, ‘You can write’. True story. Now with six books and two series on the go, I’m glad I listened to that Divine voice, and haven’t looked back.

I want my readers to know the grand purpose I have for my work…

The young adult genre is my calling card, and I play in the realms of fantasy and supernatural. I’ve got two YA series on the go. I’ve planned for a total of ten books, plus the prequel for The Last Timekeepers time travel adventure series. So far, I have four books in this series published. For my Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls teen psychic mystery series, there are five books planned, two of which are already published. Currently, I’m working on the third book in this series, so as you can gather, I’ll be one busy gal for years to come.

I’ve learned never to rush the story. Even when you’re writing a series, each book has something to say in its own time, and that every book has a soul and purpose. So I step aside, and allow the story’s own unique voice to develop. After all, every author has their own unique voice too.

I want my readers to have a sneak peek of my work-in-process…

Presently, I’m working on the third installment of Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls, and is titled Sticks and Stones. It’s coming along great, and should be out sometime in 2024, if all goes well. Here’s the premise:

From an early age, Thane Berg found out that he can bend spoons when angered, then bend them back when calm. He has never told anyone about his psychic ability which has gotten stronger as he ages. Now fourteen-years-old, Thane is forced to live with his estranged father while his journalist mother goes off on an extended business trip around the world. To make matters worse, Thane must also start over in a new school—Fairy Falls High School—leaving his familiar life behind.

Trying to juggle high school, feelings for his father, paranormal lessons from an eccentric neighbor, hiding his psychokinetic abilities from his new friends, and steering clear from the school bully is no easy feat for Thane. In fact, it’s damned impossible most days.

Then, when Thane and his three classmates chance upon a huge illegal marijuana grow-op, things really start to get complicated. Thane is put to the test and must use his unique psychic powers to save his friends and himself from an uncertain future, and bring about a just outcome.  

I want my readers to know the dreams I have in my writing life for the future…

I would love to reach readers on an international scale. In other words, acquire a foreign rights agent to broker a deal with publishers from other countries in order to get my books translated into different languages. I also want to convert my books into audiobooks in the near future to make them more accessible on a grander scale. That said, what author wouldn’t dream of having a movie made from their book? Present company included. Living the dream!

I want readers to know my personal motto that keeps me going…

Slow and steady progress assures success.

Lastly, I want my readers to know the sage advice I’ve picked up on my journey along the road less traveled…

I’ve learned that a career in publishing is a dedicated path. There’s no short cut to fame or fortune, if you’re even lucky enough to get decently paid for your craft. However, seeing the finished product in my hands is an amazing feeling, and one that I’ll never tire of. So, whatever your heart calls you to do, jump in, enjoy, and be amazed at where it will lead you. Trust me, it’s so worth the journey!

Sunday 1 October 2023

Recipe and a Read: Down Home Thanksgiving Dressing and a Cozy Mystery by Emma Lane...

We’re from the South so my family loves corn bread stuffing with a variety of meals. Below is our family’s favorite recipe that is only served at Thanksgiving. Make your holiday dinner complete by serving giblet gravy with sliced turkey and cranberry sauce, steamed broccoli, and dinner rolls. Don’t forget the pumpkin pie with dollop of whipped cream for dessert! 

Corn Bread Stuffing

1 box Jiffy Corn Bread Mix
2 tbsp. butter1 celery stalk, chopped 
1 med. onion, chopped 
2 cups chicken stock 
2 eggs, beaten
½ tbsp. dried sage
½ tsp. dried rosemary
 3 whole walnuts, optional

Preheat oven 350° F. 

Bake corn bread mix according to box directions.  Allow to cool then crumble. 

Melt butter in a medium size frying pan. Sauté celery and onion to opaque stage, about 7 minutes. 

Combine all ingredients in bowl. Turn mixture into a greased pan. 

Bake 30 minutes. 

Place walnuts on top for garnish. 

Happy Thanksgiving,

Emma and Family

Here is a brief intro to the cozy mystery series Emma writes.

sees the demise of a man no one likes, a romance, and plans for a wedding as Detective Fowler and his friends keep their small-town America free from danger.

Detective Kevin Fowler is furious that low life has targeted his town where people live in blissful safety. Brenda Bryant is out junkn’ for good things when she stumbles over the grotesque body of a man beloved by no one. Suspense heats up when large sums of money are found in two different places. Drug money is suspected and Brenda targeted by someone who wants the money returned. Detective Fowler faces surprise after surprise as he peels back the surface of Hubbard, New York and deals with its shocking underbelly. Meanwhile romance infiltrates the group of friends with a wedding in the making.


Emma Lane is a gifted author who writes cozy mysteries as Janis Lane, 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