Category Archives: Foodie

One week from today!

Join me and many other Romance Authors next Saturday, July 29  at the Dolphin Resort in Walt Dinsey World for a mega book signing.I’ll be there from 3-5pm EST with copies of COOKING WITH KANDY and A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS to sign.  The money that’s paid for the books goes to the Nora Roberts Foundation for Literacy – so you not only get to meet your favorite authors, you get to support Literacy too! How cool is that?!!

 

Can’t wait to meet you all!

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under #Mfrwauthors, A kiss Under the Christmas LIghts, Author, Characters, community advocacy, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Family Saga, Food lover, Foodie, Kensington Publishers, love, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women, The Laine Women, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor

I hate my voice, but……

Recently, I was interviewed on the national radio program, THE AUTHORS SHOW. The interviewer, Linda Thompson, has a voice made for radio. It’s rich, engaging, accent-less, and just sounds warm and welcoming. My voice? Yeah, not so much. But I’m always up for book promotion, so I did the interview and I hope the crackle and rasp emanating from my voice box doesn’t put too many people off!

The interview is 10 minutes long – not too long, but long enough that I got to answer some really terrific questions. If you have a few minutes to spare, give it a listen and let me know what you think ( about the book, NOT my voice! I already know what people think about that!!!! LOLOLOLOLOLOL)


Yeah, NOT!!!!

When I’m not doing radio interviews you can find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

5 Comments

Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Author Branding, Contemporary Romance, Dialogue, Foodie, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, love, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Laine Women

A sweet summer treat with #author Margaret Ann Spence…

Talk about a summer treat! Strawberries, a fab new writer-friend, and new release all rolled into one!  Today I’ve got one of my Wild Rose Press sistahs, Margaret Ann Spence, visiting with me and she has a brand new book that released TODAY, titled LIPSTICK ON THE STRAWBERRY. What a fabulous, fun title!! Read on and find out about this lovely writer, then stick around for a little sweet, strawberry goodness as she gives you an excerpt from the book.

Margaret, The Writer 

  1. What drives you to write?  Can’t help myself, I’m afraid. If I don’t put words on paper every day I feel weird.
  2. What genre(s) of Romance do your write, and why? Everyone wants to love and be loved. I like my romance a little more textured, so I write stories about women with “romantic elements.” That’s what RWA calls women’s fiction.
  1. What genre(s) of Romance do you read, and why?  I love contemporary and historical. The characters have to develop and change in relation to what’s happening to them and to the world around them.
  1. What’s your writing schedule? Do you write every day?   I’m a morning person. Caffeine is needed to jump-start the brain cells. After I read Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way, I realized “morning pages” do really work. That is, grab a cuppa and write longhand in an exercise book for half an hour. Seems to free up something.
  1. Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table? Well, given my response above, you may not be surprised to learn I am writing this on my laptop propped up on pillows in bed. You will not ever receive a photograph of this. However, later in the day I will sit on the couch or a comfy armchair. With a laptop you can write anywhere. I do make an exception of airplanes. Travel is so uncomfortable today I can’t write on a plane. But the most productive authors do take advantage of that otherwise wasted time.
  1. Are you the kind of writer who needs total quiet to compose, or are you able to filter out the typical sounds of the day and use your tunnel vision? I get fairly focused but don’t like distractions. Then again, my kids are grown and it is blessedly quiet around here most of the time.
  1. Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not?  No. I don’t listen to music because I do find it distracting. What calms me is a peaceful view out the window of my garden.
  1. How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP?   My WIP – at an early stage- involves a botanist, an animal rights activist, and a medical researcher. It’s amazing what scientists are learning about genes – that plants and animals share so many and yet there’s so much diversity. As a gardener, I’m fascinated by new research that seems to indicate that plants communicate with one another. So I started to think, if animal rights activists believe eating meat is wrong, why is eating plants better? Of course everything eats everything else. The questions started to spin around in my head, and I thought of a conflict between the characters and started to plot it out.
  2. Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why?  In the case of the WIP, I had the core of the plot based on an idea. But in my debut novel, Lipstick on the Strawberry, published by The Wild Rose Press July 5th, the character came first. This character was in conflict with her family, particularly her father. Family life is full of conflict. I think in order to achieve independence a young person must strike out positions that are different from her parents’. But in a strict, respectable, and religious family, how can a daughter break convention without causing a rift? Shaming shadows a person, thwarting relationships until it is really confronted. That’s partly what I wanted to explore. Then I added food, for fun. My heroine is a caterer. Food is sensuous and messy and delicious, and a contrast to the cerebral. Plus, I made my heroine English because I wanted to play with the perception that British food is terrible and to show it can be good.  So, to the title: Photographers do weird things to make food more visually appetizing. They spritz a cake with hairspray, decorate a pie with shaving cream, and swipe a pale strawberry with lipstick to make it glisten. When I learned that, I knew I had my book title. My caterer, Camilla, always felt unable to live up to her family’s expectations. She finds that beneath the veneer of respectability lie imperfection and secrets.

  1. What 3 words describe you, the writer?  Writing: Helps me think. In more than three words, this means, I often don’t know what I think till I write it down.

Margaret,  The Person 

  1. Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing.  I love to travel, and when I was young did a lot of crazy things that were more foolish than brave. One time, in a youth hostel, a girl asked for volunteers to help smuggle her cousin out of East Germany. I put my hand up, only to have it smartly smacked down by my friend Gail who had more sense than I did.
  2. Who was your first love and what age were you?  I was eighteen and rebellious. My boyfriend and I would not have worked long term.
  3. If you could relive one day, which one would it be? Think GROUNDHOG DAY, the movie for this one – you’ll have to live it over and over and….    That’s a really great question. When I was in my twenties and living in London I signed up for a Peace Corps type of organization, thinking I must improve on my partying lifestyle. I didn’t hear for months and then got a notice informing me to bring lots of mosquito repellant because I’d be sent to help build a road for the people of Lapland. To be honest, I had to look up where Lapland was. It is in the Arctic Circle. I imagined myself up there, battling mosquitos while doing hard labor for a pittance and unable to return. I turned down this “job” offer. I sometimes think, what if I had gone up there? Could I have done some good? Or would I have been a victim of my own naivite?
  4. Do you like a guy in boxers, briefs, or commando?  For what? Why do they have them on at all? On the other hand, I love little guys in diapers, too.
  5. If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be?   My lipstick! I have dark hair and pale lips make me look ghostly.
  6. What three words describes you, the person?   Love babies, books and bright colors. (not exactly three words, I know.)
  7. If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be? I’ll have to stay up late enough to watch Jimmy Fallon. But I understand he talks about his kids a lot so we should sing Father and Daughter by Paul Simon.
  8. If you could hang out with any literary character from any book penned at any time line, who would it by, why, and what would you do together?As a kid I loved Little Women. Because she had the same name and was also the oldest of four siblings, I totally identified with Meg. Of course the conventional thing was to love Jo because she was the brave one who dared to be different. But there it is, I was Meg. As it happens, one of my own children lives in Concord, Massachusetts, and I’ve visited the Orchard House, the home of Louisa May Alcott. So I’ve often imagined living there, picking apples, playing the spinet, even sitting up there in that tiny upstairs space where Louisa did her writing. We’d sit up there and chat about writing. Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy all represent bits of Louisa May Alcott. Her characters are really alive to me.

I love the Actor’s Studio show on Bravo, so this is my version of it:

 

  1. Favorite sound Children’s laughter. 
  2. Least favorite sound Ring tone on a cell phone in a theater.  
  3. Best song every written Lady in Red by Eric Clapton. Sexiest song ever! 
  4. Worst song ever written By December 23, Jingle Bells is the last song I want to hear.                                                                       
  5. Favorite actor and actress Actor: Ethan Hawke. Actress: Meryl Streep without question, followed by Cate Blanchette. Ever notice how male actors often just play themselves, over and over, while these two actresses blend themselves into the characters they’re playing, like chameleons. Maybe because women are trained to hide their true feelings?
  6. Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? (It can be anyone living or dead)   At the moment I am enthralled with Emma Stone’s performance in La La Land. So I guess I’d like to be her the day she realized she’d nailed the tap dancing.   
  7. What turns you on? Someone with a sense of humor.         
  8. What turns you off? Someone who takes him or herself too seriously.
  9. Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date ( here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”)  “I hate when people are late.” Not only does it put the recipient of those words on the defensive – did I keep you waiting? – but it indicates a mean and judgmental person. Should have feigned a headache immediately.
  10. What’s your version of a perfect day? Planning, cooking and eating a wonderful dinner with friends, preferably on a patio with a water view. With or without the view however, there’s sheer sensual pleasure in setting a beautiful table, gathering and arranging colorful flowers from the garden, the sound of music selected by the music maestro of the house, my husband, the delicious waft of dinner from the kitchen, the hugs when the friends are greeted, the evening getting off to a great start.

 

Blurb: Lipstick on the Strawberry

Estranged from her English family, Camilla Fetherwell now lives in the United States and owns a successful catering business. Returning home for her father’s funeral, she reunites with her first love, Billy, whom she hasn’t seen since her father broke up their teenage romance.

Billy seems eager to resume their love affair. But after one blissful night together, things take a turn. Camilla suspects her father may have led a secret life, and when Billy reveals something he, too, has discovered, her apprehension grows. Billy holds her heart, but their relationship might be tainted by what her father hid. A reunion seems impossible.

Her life feels as splattered as her catering apron. As she watches her food stylist make a strawberry look luscious with a swipe of lipstick, Camilla wonders if a gloss has been put over a family secret? Can she and Billy survive what’s underneath?

Excerpt:

My fingers searched the back of the drawer and felt something glossy. I pulled, and saw in my hand a colored photograph of a woman who looked to be about the age I was now. She had hair the color of fallen leaves. Only the woman’s shoulders were visible below the head. Her blue and green scarf reflected the color of her laughing eyes. In the background was the blurred green of a field. I flicked the photo over. The penciled initials N.B. were the only notation.

A cold prickle ran down my back as I stared at it.

I tucked the photo into my pocket. How peculiar was it to find this woman’s image stuffed in the back of a drawer? Daddy had gone to pains to hide the picture.

In one hand, I lifted the plastic bags of trash, picked up the passport in the other, and went to find Tilda.

“Would you mind if I went home and rested?” I asked. “I feel a headache coming on.”

“Yes, of course. What did you find in there? Oh, good, Daddy’s passport. I’d like to keep that. How thoughtful of you. Anything else of interest?”

I turned so Tilda couldn’t see and fingered the pocketed photo. The letters N.B. intrigued me. Was this just the acronym to remind our father of something important? Or did it mean something else?

“No,” I said and hurried toward the door.

Buy Links:

Amazon /// Wild Rose Press // B&N // Kobo

A little more about Margaret:  

Margaret Ann Spence was born in Australia and has made the United States home for many years. In Lipstick on the Strawberry, she takes as backdrops Boston, Massachusetts and Cambridge, England, cities she’s lived in and loved. Lipstick won First Place, Romantic Elements Category, in the 2015 Beacon Contest, sponsored by the First Coast Romance Writers.

You can find Margaret here:

Facebook // Twitter // Blog& website // Goodreads //

Peggy here: Margaret, thanks so much for joining me today. Your book – and you! – sound fabulous! Much luck and keep writing.

 

7 Comments

Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Food lover, Foodie, Life challenges, love, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, WIld Rose Press AUthor

In praise of, well…praise!

There’s this thought among writers that you shouldn’t read your reviews. The reason is a sound one: no one likes to hear (or read) negative things about themselves, their work, their words.

I get that. I’m the type of person who will brush off 1000 nice things that have been said about me and zero in on the one negative comment. It will consume me. I’ll analyze it inside out, upside down and right side up, backward and forwards to try and glean whether the person who gave it or wrote it had a valid point or a hidden agenda or is just a vicious nasty bitch with no life.

Paranoid much, you ask? Well, duh! yes, I am, thank you for asking.

Anyway…I digress.

I’m trying to do better about not allowing the negativity to worm its way into my soul.  Everyone has an opinion and a right to their opinions. That’s the basis of free speech, after all. So in honor of my new found ( hopefully lasting) endeavor to ignore negativity, I wanted to share this snippet of praise I received from a reader last night – one whom I don’t know. It literally made my week.

“Boy meets girl, the fall in love and then live happily after – such is the standard fare of romance novels. However, very not so with Cooking with Kandy. This novel has a unique story line, and some of the most intriguing characters I’ve met in some time. Kandy is a self-imposed super woman. Josh is the hunky PI hired to ferret out who is threatening her. Much to the surprise of both, there’s a whole lot of heat in the kitchen and it’s not coming from the oven. But once you meet Kandy’s mother, Hannah, all bets are off – this is one gal I admire to the hilt. She’s not afraid to say what she thinks, is written off as ditzy by a lot of people, but much more astute than anyone (except Josh) gives her credit for. I loved the characters and I loved the plot line. Jaeger’s descriptions of not only the set of the cooking show, but of Kandy’s homes made me feel I was there with them. A wonderful start to the new series Will Cook for Love. But there’s an empty place in my heart wondering if we will ever hear from these wonderful characters again. I’m definitely recommending Cooking with Kandy to all my bookworm friends.”
I feel like Sally Field: She likes me, she really likes me!!! ( Or at least my book!)
 Okay, enough tooting my own horn..at least for today.
When I’m not trying to banish negativity you can find me embracing the positive here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

 

Leave a comment

Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Food lover, Foodie, Kensington Publishers, love, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Laine Women

Books are my thing…

I can go in so many directions with this blog choice. My favorite books to read over and over; the type of books I like to read; my favorite genres and subgenres. So many avenues to explore. Sooooo, I guess I’ll tackle them all and see what happens.

I. My favorite books to read over and over. I’ve read Gone with Wind 42 times.

I know…I’m a little obsessive. But every time I’ve read it as an adult I find something fresh or a connection I didn’t see before.

I’ve read Pride and Prejudice 27 times.

In fact, I’m re-reading it right now!

I”ve read the Thorn Birds 16 times. I only saw the miniseries once, so that tells you how much more I like the book!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve read each Harry Potter book twice. The first time along with my daughter, the second time on my own.

And because I find reading the JD Robb IN DEATH series is like taking a master class in writing a series, I’ve read each of the 45 books at least 3 times. You do the math on that one!

II. The types of books I like to read. Well romances, of course! Duh! I’m such a sucker for that whole Happily Ever After thing. I love a heroine who’s snarky and a little obsessive; a hard worker, and a strong believer in family. Give me a hero who’s part alpha/part beta; one who can be a leader or a follower or both at the same time! He has to be committed on every level to the heroine – emotionally, physically, spiritually and intellectually. Once he meets her there’s no one else he can envision himself with EVER! The same goes for the heroine. I love to cook and I love to laugh, so witty, engaging characters who eat like normal people and not super models getting ready for a photo shoot are my favorite people! I want to read about folks I could see myself being friends with. Make me laugh, make my cry, and feed my soul and I’m your reader for life.

III. MY favorite genre and subgenre books. This is gonna look a little like an Amazon key-word line! Stick with me here, folks: Romance-contemporary romance- foodie-humor -strong heroine- family. Let me esplan it, Lucy, in better terms.

Favorite genre: romance. Favorite subgenre of romance: contemporary romance. Elements of contemporary romance books – humorous stories about families with strong women. Add a dash of cooking into the mix and serve!

And just for full disclosure here, I also like the erotic contemporary romances of Jennifer Probst and Christina Lauren

   

and Regency romances ala Lisa Kleypas and Elizabeth Hoyt.

   

So, there you have it. My reading pleasures.

And because this is blog hop, click on over to these other romance writers to see what they consider their favorite books. You just might find a new author or series you’ll enjoy.


9 Comments

Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Alpha Hero, Alpha Male, Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Family Saga, Food lover, Foodie, Friends, Historical Romance, Literary characters, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

Coming soon…

Cooking with Kandy, the first in my Will Cook For Love Series, released on 4.4.17. I’ve got the next two to tell you about and I’m wicked excited.

Book 2, A SHOT AT LOVE releases on 10.3 17. Here’s a little sumthin’ sumthin’ about it:

Nothing’s impossible when love is on the menu. In Peggy Jaeger’s luscious series, the only thing more tempting than a delicious meal is a truly delectable romance . . .
Look for exclusive recipes in each book!  
 
Photographer Gemma Laine is looking for arresting faces on the streets of Manhattan when her camera captures something shocking—a triple murder. In that moment, she becomes a target for the mob—and a top priority for a very determined, breathtakingly handsome, FBI special agent. With deadlines to meet and photo shoots on her calendar, Gemma chafes at the idea of protection, but every moment she spends under his watchful eye is a temptation to lose herself in his muscular arms . . .

With two of his men and one crucial witness dead, Special Agent Kyros Pappandreos can’t afford to be distracted. But Gemma is dazzling—and her connection to Kandy Laine’s high-profile cooking empire makes her an especially easy mark for some very bad people. Keeping her safe is much more pleasure than business, but as the heat between them starts to sizzle, Ky is set to investigate whether they have a shot at love . . .

Excerpt:

His St. Michael medallion dangled between the cavern of his pecs, swaying as he moved closer to her, so close she cold smell the clean, fresh scent of the soap he’d used in the shower. So close, she could see his eyes darken as he looked at her, those gorgeous seafoam orbs roaming over her face and turning stormy. So close, she did what she’d been dreaming of doing since she first saw him without a shirt, drenched in sweat and looking like a warrior: she leaned in and trailed her tongue along the angle of his jaw. He didn’t move, but did hiss in a breath, his abdominal muscles contracting inward.

A fine line of spikey stubble tickled her tongue and made her want to explore more.

Ky choked. “Did you just…lick me?”

When she pulled back there was surprised mirth crinkling in the corners of his widened eyes, his lips twisting up at the corners.

“Yeah.” She sighed. “I’ve been wanting to do that for days.”

Ky’s mouth straightened. “You’ve been wanting to…lick me…for days?”

She nodded, feeling her cheeks burn like wildfire. Oh well, here goes nothing…

She kept her gaze steady, and said, “Well, yeah. Ever since that morning in the basement when we worked out together.”

Something in his eyes loosened; eased.

“You were all sweaty and…hot.”

And then they darkened again, but this time not in anger. No. This time the heat in his eyes wasn’t to be laid at fury’s door, but at something deeper, more primal. Sensual.

“And to be honest,” she added, “I want to do more than just lick you. But, yeah. Days.”

Buy link: COOKING WITH KANDY

PreOrder link: A SHOT A LOVE

I’ll be blogging about book 3, CAN’T STAND THE HEAT? next time!!!

When I’m taking a break from writing about romance, you can usually find me hanging out here:  Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

Leave a comment

Filed under Alpha Hero, Alpha Male, Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Food lover, Foodie, Kensington Publishers, love, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Laine Women

A little something new…Guest Hostess Karen C. Whalen

Today, something a little different. I’m turning my blog over to one of my Wild Rose Press sistahs, Karen C. Whalen, for the day. Karen has new book out in her culinary cozy mystery series, the dinner club murder mysteries, titled  NOT ACCORDING TO FLAN. As a writer, Karen is going to talk to you today about that wonderful thing every writer needs to establish in their stories and between their characters: CONFLICT.

She’s also giving you a litte sumthin’ sumthin from her book, so stayed tuned to the end!

Please welcome, Karen C. Whalen.

Conflict has been called the most important element in fiction, an essential crafting tool every writer must master. Novels demand conflict and tension to compel readers to keep turning the pages.

Adding conflict was the subject of a writing exercise in a workshop I attended a few years ago. The first step was to jump to the middle of our WIP (work in progress). My middle was at page one-hundred. Then, we were instructed to add conflict on that very page by having the characters argue. They were not to have a nice, gentlemanly disagreement, no. The characters had to insult each other and call one another names. The instructor required a knock-down fight of the blow-out variety, not a puny squabble. When I started the assignment I wondered how in the world my main characters could argue. They were friends in a cozy gourmet dinner club in a cozy murder mystery. How was I going to toss in the kind of verbal exchange that would endure to a final draft?

I started reading the scene on page one hundred. Even before I finished the page, an argument popped into my corrupt and depraved mind. I let it all hang out, the taunting and the mud-slinging, all of it. The scene was much improved. The conflict added depth to the dialogue, enhanced the theme of the book, and brought the characters to life. Even I wanted to read to the end to see how the characters resolved their issues.

Why? Because in real life friends do not talk to each other that way. Friends don’t insult each other; they don’t call each other names. Friendships, in reality, are fragile. But friends think those angry thoughts, they just don’t say them out loud. Not if they want to stay friends. Admit it, you’ve played such an argument out on the pages of your imagination many times. The reader’s fantasy is fulfilled in the conflict on the written page.

Not only do readers crave the conflict, they need a satisfactory resolution as well. End results are impossible to control in real life, but the creator of the characters can control the outcome. At the end of my new and improved scene, the first character apologized to the second character who said, “No, I totally see your point of view.” Not every clash of character is going to resolve this way, nor would we want it to. At least not every time. But, hey, wouldn’t our lives be wonderful if we could resolve our arguments so happily?

That’s not reality. That’s why it’s called fiction.

Like everybody else I had a best friend growing up. We were best buds from grade school to high school to college. We swore we’d always be best friends. And you can guess what happened. She said I said something that hurt her feelings. I don’t even remember saying what she said I said. As I said, friendships are fragile. And how I would like to rewrite that dialogue!

And I can.

I can create my own comfy world in my own cozy murder mysteries. My characters are friends, good friends. When they argue, they kiss and make up (usually) and the reader keeps turning those pages to make sure.

In the last part of the writing exercise, we were instructed to examine every page of our WIP, every single page, not just every scene, and add conflict to each page, to create a page-turner, can’t-put-it-down novel.

When I heard that, I wanted to punch out that instructor. Not really, because he was so right. And besides, I live in reality where people restrain themselves most of the time. But in fiction, there are endless opportunities for confrontation and clash…and conflict.

Blurb: NOT ACCORDING TO FLAN

Jane Marsh wants to shake off the empty nest syndrome, plus the notoriety of the death of her first and second husbands, by starting over in a new place. She sells her family home to move to a far northern suburb of Denver. At the same time, Jane’s dinner club is undergoing a transformation, and a new man—a gourmet chef—enters her life. But, things turn sour when, on the day Jane moves into her new home, she discovers a dead body. She cannot feel at home in this town where she’s surrounded by cowboys, horse pastures, and suspects. Not to mention where a murder was committed practically on her doorstep. How can she focus on romance and dinner clubs when one of her new friends—or maybe even her old ones—might be a murderer?

Excerpt :

Slam! Chink. The brown packing box fell off the dolly with the tinkling sound of glass on glass. Jane sighed as the mover stacked the box labeled “kitchen” back on the dolly and thumped down the basement stairs with it.

Never mind. She’d sort it out later. She slipped outside into the warmth of the early September, blue-sky, Colorado day to check on her puppies sniffing around their new territory in the backyard. Leaning over the deck railing facing the lot to the east, she gazed into the bottom of an open excavation where a basement was being poured. Someone had parked a tractor down in the dirt, and near it a white cowboy hat lay on the ground. A man’s hand stretched toward the hat’s brim. Had someone fallen into the pit?

Jane bounded down the deck stairs and out the wooden gate, only stopping for a moment to secure the latch. She rounded the corner of her new house and rushed to the adjoining lot, pausing near the edge of the concrete that formed the basement’s foundation.

A man was shoved against the corner of the foundation wall. His torso and legs were partly covered with dirt. The cowboy hat concealed the top of his head. His left hand almost touched the brim, as if he were about to take off his hat and say “Howdy do.” A large manila envelope lay a foot or so away from his other outstretched hand.

On the envelope tall, block letters spelled out: “Jane Marsh—welcome to your new home.”

Jane’s hands flew to her throat. “Ethan,” she breathed.

Her eyes took in the three cement walls rising out of the dirt floor and at the rear, a crumbling slope of dirt spilling into the pit. Starting toward the back slope, she hesitated. The soil might not be stable. She lifted two planks, plunked the long ends of the boards into the pit, and climbed down.

The smell of turned earth filled her nose as she skirted the tractor, a small, front-end loader. Falling to her knees, she lifted the cowboy hat, then dropped it. She felt the man’s wrist for a pulse. It wasn’t there. Then her hand moved toward the envelope with her name on it, but she drew back.

After yanking a cell phone out of the back pocket of her worn jeans, she punched in 9-1-1. “A man fell into a construction pit… I’m pretty sure he’s dead…no, he’s beyond help.” The dispatcher asked for the address, and she gave it to him in a shaky voice. “Yes, I’ll stay on the line.” The makeshift bridge was harder to get back up than it was to get down. After making it to the top, she crossed the lot and rushed through her front door.

“Caleb!”

“Yeah? Whatzup, Mom?” Her grown son appeared from the kitchen. He was almost a foot taller than she, but with the same slim build and a cap of the same rich brown hair.

“Ethan Valrod. The construction manager for the builder. He fell into the basement pit next door. He’s dead.” Breathless, she took a deeper breath to stop her ears buzzing and her heart pounding.

“What the?” Caleb’s eyes widened and his mouth dropped open.

“Ethan Valrod’s dead. I’ve called 9-1-1 already and they told me to stay on the line.” Jane lifted the phone to her ear, but the operator was silent. Legs shaking, she led the way, and Caleb followed her out the door.

Her son stationed himself on top of the foundation, hands clenched to his sides, while taking in the sight below. She plucked at his sleeve. “Are you going down to look?”

He nodded his head and descended the plank. In only a few moments he was back, dragging her by the elbow over to the concrete curb where they sat together facing the street.

After hearing a voice spluttering from the phone, Jane spoke into it. “I’m all right. I’ve got my son here with me now. We’ll wait together.” She hit the mute button and shifted the phone from her right hand to her left.

Caleb slid a folded piece of paper out of his tight jean pocket and handed it to her. “I forgot to give you this.”

In a tremulous voice, she read out loud, “Mrs. Marsh, I stopped by to give you a welcome packet with the keys. I’ll come back later.” Ethan Valrod’s signature was scrawled across the bottom. She gazed into the distance for a moment.

Caleb lifted his hands, palms up. “It was on the counter when I got here. The movers set a box on top of the note, and I didn’t want it to get lost, so I put it in my pocket.”

“Okay, thanks.” Swallowing hard, she darted a quick glance over her shoulder, but no one else was around. “It looked like someone used the tractor to cover the body with dirt.”

“I noticed. And there were marks on the ground, like someone rolled his body into the corner first.”

“Did you see the blood on the tractor bucket?”

“Yeah.” Caleb gave his mother a pop-eyed stare and she returned the look.

Her ears seemed sharper than usual. The dogs barked from the other side of the fence. A plane’s engine droned from overhead. Police sirens approached from the next block.

Buy links:

Book 1: Everything Bundt the Truth

Wild Rose Press // Amazon // B&N 

Book 2: Not According to Flan

Wild Rose Press // Amazon // B&N

A little about Karen:

Karen C. Whalen is the author of a culinary cozy series, the “dinner club murder mysteries.” The first three in the series are: Everything Bundt the Truth, Not According to Flan, and No Grater Evil. Her books are similar to those written by cozy authors Jessica Beck and Joanne Fluke. She worked for many years as a paralegal at a law firm in Denver, Colorado and has been a columnist and regular contributor to The National Paralegal Reporter magazine. She believes that it’s never too late to try something new. She loves to host dinner clubs, entertain friends, ride bicycles, hike in the mountains, and read cozy murder mysteries.

You can connect with Karen here:

Facebook // Website // Twitter // Goodreads // Amazon

 

12 Comments

Filed under Author, Cooking, female friends, Food lover, Foodie, Friends, Life challenges, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor

How many courses is too much?

This blog entry is gonna kill me….literally!! I lovelovelove to cook. I have almost 130 cookbooks in my house, many dog-earred and marked up with notes. How in the name of all that’s holy can I pick one meal that I’d have for my very last meal on earth?

Okay. SO let’s look at this the way a hostess with the mostest would. A meal consists of COURSES. A typical meal would have at least 5-7 courses, so if I go with the principle that MORE IS MORE, my last meal will have 7 courses. And they won’t be the typical cheese, salad, meat, yadayadayada courses. I’m reinventing the courses. I can do that. I’m a writer and this is MY last meal, so there!

Course #1. Forget the salad. If I’m gonna die, I ain’t eating salad. This course is going to be a full blown appetizer course consisting of my favorite appetizers: coconut shrimp, artichoke dip with Ritz crackers, pigs-in-a-blanket, scallops wrapped in bacon, asparagus wrapped in bacon with maple syrup and brown sugar. To Die For!

Course #2 The soup course. My favorite is good old fashioned TOMATO SOUP and I’ve got a recipe that just soothes the soul. Of course, along with the tomato soup I will have to have a grilled cheeses sandwich because, you know…they go together. My grilled cheese consists of thick homemade potato bread, slathered with real butter on both sides and a mix of mozzarella and provolone cheeses on the inside. Delish!

Course #3: Fish. Going all out here, folks. I lovelovelove fish. So, I’m gonna have to make my seafood scampi. Scallops, jumbo shrimp and lobster in a white wine sauce with mushrooms and served over bowtie pasta. I’m hungry just thinking about it.

 

Course #4: Pasta. You might say the previous course of scampi fits the pasta bill. No f**king way! I’m eating an entire course of  my penne ala vodka, served with yards of garlic bread.

Course #5: Main meal: You’re probably wondering why I’m not in the Emergency room by now with a ruptured stomach from ALL that food!  But if this is my last meal, I’m gonna keep going. So, For the main meal there really is only one option for me: Lobster macaroni and cheese with bacon. I know…………

Course #6: Cheese. A little palette refresher here. I love baked cheeses, so I’ll prepare my baked brie in puff pastry with apricot and serve it with little bullets of baked challah bread and fruit.

 

Course #7: Dessert. Lordy, Lordy, so many to choose from. Cheesecake? Chocolate mousse pie? Cannolis? All favs, but I’m gonna make an entire Chocolate trifle and eat it all by myself.

And, yes…that’s my Trifle, recently made for a party.

If any of this sounds good to you ( and why wouldn’t it??) You can get a few of the recipes in my WILL COOK FOR LOVE series from Kensington/Lyrical Shine Publishers. COOKING WITH KANDY is available now and had the lobster mac and cheese. A SHOT AT LOVE releases on 10.8.17 and there are even more recipes in that one,

Bon appetite!

Since this is a blog hop. you might want to click over to some of these other authors and see what constitutes a last meal for them.

19 Comments

Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Food lover, Foodie, Kensington Publishers, love, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

The Happiness challenge…

 

I was conducting research the other day — okay, full disclosure: I was scrolling through Facebook– when I came across a shared message called the HAPPINESS CHALLENGE.

 

It’s a little difficult to read here, but some of the things to do on any given day are: Go for a drive with no destination; watch a funny movie; take a nap;  start a new book( my favorite one!)

Has it really come to this? do we need to challenge ourselves to be happy? To schedule something to do to try to smile? To find our joy again? To experience bliss?

Unfortunately, I think we do.

So many people trudge through their days just existing. Work issues and stress, getting the kids to school on time – or any of their overscheduled events, trying to live a healthy lifestyle in a fast-paced world, family issues, the destruction of our economy…our environment…our way of life.

It’s enough to cause any happiness we can garner to take a seat in the wayback of the car. Remember the wayback? Not the second seat, or the third seat in minivans, but the one in the station wagon that faced the opposite way from where you were going? The one that, as a kid, you loved to ride in?

The very first item on this list is a NO SOCIAL MEDIA DAY. I’m all for that one. My question, though, is can it be done? ( remember – I found this challenge on face book!) Psychiatrists are actually espousing now that there is such a thing as social media and device addiction. If this is true, it’s a pandemic in teens and kids, for sure.

Item number two is CALL A FRIEND ( not a text). Does anyone remember that our phones are – first and foremost- PHONES? What do you do with a phone, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you: YOU CALL PEOPLE. You actually speak to them. It’s a sad commentary on our humanity that we can’t devote any time to looking at one another and engaging with each other face to face instead of device to device.

A really sad commentary!

 

Down the list is another of my favorites ( in addition to START A NEW BOOK!): NO COMPLAINING ALL DAY. Think about that one….yeah. I know. Can you do it? What would happen if you suddenly let every little piddly – and all the big puddly – things that stress you out and piss you off – just ….go? Not engage in the negativity of complaining about them? Keep your cool? I think you’d find inner happiness pretty fast because your soul would appreciate the quiet!

If you think you need to be challenged to get your happy back, click on the link above and read the article about the happiness challenge. If this resonates with you, then, a. I feel bad for you, but b. here’s a way to fix it.

This is the way I think we should all be going about life every day. Every. Day. Every friggin’ day!:

I’m usually pretty happy in  any of these places:

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Contemporary Romance, Food lover, Foodie, Friends

Some Girls Like It Hot Facebook Hop

Welcome to the Some Girls Like It Hot Mega Gift Card FB Hop, where you can enter to win a gift card at every stop. With over 100 authors participating, that’s 100+ chances for you to win.

In the event of a broken link in the hop, you can always find the complete list of authors and links to their FB pages here: http://somegirlslikeithot.blogspot.com/p/the-hop_29.html

For this hop, I’m giving away AN E-COPY OF COOKING WITH KANDY. Please read and follow the instructions below very carefully. I don’t want to have to disqualify anyone!

  1. Like my FB page and this post.
  2. Follow me on TWITTER
  3. Comment below this post: I Love Hot Guys!

Winners will be chosen at random when the giveaway closes at 12 pm EDT (9 am PST) on June 12.

Kristina Knight is the next stop on the hop. Visit her/his Facebook page for a chance to win another gift card here: Kristina Knight FB page

BONUS GIVEAWAY! If you visit every page on the hop and enter all 100+ giveaways, you are eligible to enter to win an Amazon Echo Dot or Kindle Fire. Here’s the Rafflecopter:

http://somegirlslikeithot.blogspot.com/p/bonus-giveaway-for-facebook-hop-visitors.html

*******Have you entered our two grand prize giveaways? That’s right, we’re running two big giveaways at the same time. Enter for your chance to win a Kindle Fire HD 10” tablet ($299), plus additional kindles and Amazon gift cards.

Giveaway #1

http://somegirlslikeithot.blogspot.com/p/the-hop.html

Giveaway #2

http://somegirlslikeithot.blogspot.com/p/june-9-12-giveaway.html

Good luck and have fun on the hop!

Facebook giveaways are in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. By entering this giveaway, participants release and indemnify Facebook from all liability. Information collected is not collected by Facebook.

List of Participating Authors and Links to Their Facebook Pages

Cheryl Matthynssens* https://www.facebook.com/dragonsgeas
Melissa McClone* https://www.facebook.com/MelissaMcCloneBooks/
Hunks to the Rescue* https://www.facebook.com/HunkstotheRescue/
Olivia Wildenstein* https://www.facebook.com/owauthor/
Nancy Segovia* https://www.facebook.com/segovia.nancy/
Tamara Ferguson* https://www.facebook.com/Tammysdragonfy/
Emily Leigh* https://www.facebook.com/emilyleighbooks
Constance Phillips* https://www.facebook.com/ConstancePhillipsRomanceAuthor/
Cynthia A. Clement* https://www.facebook.com/CynthiaAClement/
Cailin Briste* https://www.facebook.com/cailinbriste/
Enigmatic Books** https://www.facebook.com/enigmaticbooks/
Elizabeth Rose* https://www.facebook.com/Elizabeth-Rose-Author-515495781845391/
Gayle Parness* https://www.facebook.com/GayleParnessAuthor/
Marie Booth* https://www.facebook.com/marieboothbooks
Alyson Hale* https://www.facebook.com/AlyHaleAuthor
Victoria Pinder* https://www.facebook.com/victoriapinder1/
Jody A. Kessler https://www.facebook.com/Jody-A-Kessler-USA-TODAY-Bestselling-Author-230863640353761/
Astrid Arditi* https://www.facebook.com/Astridarditiauthor/
Amy Knupp* https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAmyKnupp/
Jennifer Allis Provost* https://www.facebook.com/copperraven/
Stephanie Queen** https://www.facebook.com/StephanieQueenAuthor/
Stella Marie Alden* https://www.facebook.com/stellaMarieAlden
Jenna Barwin* https://www.facebook.com/jennabarwin/
Joanne Dannon https://www.facebook.com/joannedannonwrites/
Siera London* https://www.facebook.com/authorsieralondon/
Felicia Beasley* https://www.facebook.com/feliciabeasleyauthor/
Venom and Vampires* https://www.facebook.com/VenomAndVampires/
Sidney Valentine https://www.facebook.com/sidneyvalentineauthor/
Mia Ford* https://www.facebook.com/authormiaford/
Michelle Jo Quinn https://www.facebook.com/MichelleJoQuinnAuthor
Romance Author Quinn https://www.facebook.com/RomanceAuthorQuinn
Saint Brothers Series https://www.facebook.com/SaintBrothersSeries/
Soraya Naomi https://www.facebook.com/sorayanaomi.author
Sarah Williams* https://www.facebook.com/SarahWilliamsWriter/
Katie O’Sullivan https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKatieOSullivan
Josie Litton** https://www.facebook.com/josielittonauthor
Debbie White https://www.facebook.com/DebbieWhiteBooks/
Christa Paige** https://www.facebook.com/ChristaPaigeAuthor/
Stacy Gold** https://www.facebook.com/AuthorStacyGold/
Kris Michaels* https://www.facebook.com/Kris-Michaels-746901612054241/
Margo Bond Collins https://www.facebook.com/MargoBondCollins/
Peggy Jaeger** https://www.facebook.com/PeggyJaeger.Author/
Kristina Knight* https://www.facebook.com/KristinaKnightRomanceAuthor/
Elizabeth SaFleur* https://www.facebook.com/elizabethsafleurauthor
Lynda Haviland* https://www.facebook.com/lyndahaviland/
Jeanne St. James* https://www.facebook.com/JeanneStJamesAuthor/
Sophia Knightly* https://www.facebook.com/sophiaknightly/
Eden Rose* https://www.facebook.com/EdenRoseSmooches/
Sydney Aaliyah Michelle* https://www.facebook.com/SydneyAaliyahMichelle/
Laura Marie Altom* https://www.facebook.com/LauraMarieAltom/
SorchiaD* https://www.facebook.com/SorchiaD
Stephanie Julian* https://www.facebook.com/author.StephanieJulian/
Jennifer Wilck https://www.facebook.com/Jennifer-Wilck-201342863240160/
Sheila Seabrook* https://www.facebook.com/SheilaSeabrookAuthor/
Lana Campbell https://www.facebook.com/foreverandanight.lanacampbell
Erica Lynn* https://www.facebook.com/Erica-Lynn-Erotic-Romance-Author-1671551313094553/
Whitley Cox* https://www.facebook.com/CoxWhitley/
Amy L. Gale* https://www.facebook.com/Amy-L-Gale-540928695977160/
PG Forte* https://www.facebook.com/AuthorPGForte/
Lila Felix* https://m.facebook.com/AuthorLilaFelix
Melissa Belle* https://www.facebook.com/authormelissabelle
Laura Greenwood https://www.facebook.com/authorlauragreenwood/
Lumi Daoi* https://www.facebook.com/LumiDaoiAuthor/
Nikki Lynn Barrett https://www.facebook.com/NikkiLynnBarrettauthor/
Josie Riviera https://www.facebook.com/Josie.Riviera
Amanda Uhl* https://www.facebook.com/amandauhlauthor
Jacquie Rogers* https://www.facebook.com/JacquieRogersAuthor
Victoria De La O* https://www.facebook.com/victoriadelao1/
Lane McFarland* https://www.facebook.com/LaneMcFarlandAuthor/
Lauren Wood https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLaurenWood/
Calinda B* https://www.facebook.com/CalindaBauthor/
Ashlyn Chase* https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAshlynChase/
Deb Marlowe* https://www.facebook.com/DebMarloweAuthorPage/
Elisabeth Barrett* https://www.facebook.com/ElisabethBarrettAuthor/
Angelica Kate* https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009904514836
Bailey James* https://www.facebook.com/authorbaileyjames/
Holly Cortelyou** https://www.facebook.com/HollyCortelyouAuthor/
Ashlee Price* https://www.facebook.com/AshleePriceRomanceAuthor/
Author Mia Kayla https://www.facebook.com/authormiakayla
Allyson R Abbott* https://www.facebook.com/AllysonRAbbott/
Emory Gayle https://www.facebook.com/emorygayle/
Shelique Lize https://www.facebook.com/Author.SheliqueLize/
Helen Scott* https://www.facebook.com/helenscottauthor/
JC Andrijeski* https://www.facebook.com/JCAndrijeski/
Catherine Banks* https://www.facebook.com/catherinebanksauthor
Isabella Thorne** https://www.facebook.com/isabellathorneauthor/
Fanny West* https://www.facebook.com/fannywestauthor/
Arwilda Allshouse* https://www.facebook.com/Arwilda.Allshouse.Author/
Shaniel Watson https://www.facebook.com/AuthorShanielWatson/
N.D. Jones** https://www.facebook.com/ndjonesparanormalromanceauthor/
Ani Gonzalez* https://www.facebook.com/AniGonzalezAuthor/
C.A. King* https://www.facebook.com/ThePortalProphecies/
Connie Dave** https://www.facebook.com/authorconniedave/
Tena Stetler* https://www.facebook.com/TenaStetlerAuthor/
Katherine Lowry Logan** https://www.facebook.com/KatherineLowryLogan/
Tamra Lassiter* https://www.facebook.com/tamralassiterauthor/
Veronica Blake* https://www.facebook.com/Veronica-Blake-Writer-266206860220484/
K.N. Lee* https://www.facebook.com/KNycoleLee/
Bree Dahlia* https://www.facebook.com/BreeDahliaWriter/
Vella Day* https://www.facebook.com/Velladayauthor/
Bianca DArc** https://www.facebook.com/BiancaDArcAuthor/
Hope Worthington* https://www.facebook.com/hope.worthington.127
Shelley Munro* https://www.facebook.com/ShelleyMunroAuthor
Lisa London* https://www.facebook.com/lisalondonauthorpreneur/
Karen Michelle Nutt* https://www.facebook.com/authorkarenmichellenutt/
Aileen Harkwood* https://www.facebook.com/AileenHarkwoodAuthor/

27 Comments

Filed under Alpha Hero, Alpha Male, Author, Author Branding, branding, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Food lover, Foodie, Life challenges, Literary characters, love, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women