Category Archives: Friends

Week 2 of the #BookTour wrap-up

Just in case you missed any of the tour stops for week 2, here’s a listing with links. Be sure to drop by, leave some love, and be entered for a chance to win an Amazon GC at the end of the tour.

Monday, October 2 Danita Minnis

Tuesday, October 3 Up ’til Dawn Book Blog

Wednesday, October 4 Hearts and Scribbles and Nickie’s Reviews and Interviews

Thursday, October 5 Nancy Fraser

Friday, October 6  Fabulous, and Brunette   and Two Ends of the Pen

 

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Family Saga, female friends, Food lover, Foodie, Friends, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, love, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women, The Laine Women

#Release day and more of my #GoddessFishBlog tour


Pardon me, but I’m a little giddy today! A SHOT OF LOVE is out in the book reading world and the reviews have been amazing so far!!!!

I’m on Up ‘Til Dawn Book Blog today talking about my favorite movie scenes. This was a fun blog to write, so stop by and tell me yours!

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Filed under Author Branding, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Family Saga, Food lover, Foodie, Friends, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, love, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Laine Women

I miss Jerry…

and Elaine, George, and even krazy Kramer.

The Seinfeld show went off the air in 1998, but there are still so many ways the show impacts our society to this day.  Let me explain the history behind this blog piece.

Yesterday morning at the Gym I got into a discussion with the lovely Planet Fitness worker I see every morning when I check in, about watching television. We both stated how much we like Seinfeld. Now, this young lady is a good 25 -30 years younger than I am. She watches reruns of Seinfeld. I watched it when it actually ran, from 1989-1998. Yeah…I know. I feel a little old too.

But I digress…

We talked about how that show had so many relevant and timely sayings and situations that still hold up today and are even used in today’s vernacular. For example, Seinfeld introduced us to the annoying and embarrassing fact of “shrinkage.” 

Remember that one?
How often do you use the phrase “yada yada yada?” Well, it came from a Seinfeld episode.

 

Ever heard of the forgotten and wildly misrepresented holiday Festivus? 

And speaking of holidays, have you ever Re-gifted? Or ever been accused of being a re-gifter? Thank Elaine for that one.

 

And remember the first time you ever heard of the “BRO?”

Would you consider yourself Spongeworthy?

Have you ever double dipped?

 

God, there were so many words, phrases, holidays, expressions that show made popular, it’s a wonder Jerry Seinfeld and the writers didn’t get royalties from Webster’s dictionary for all the new words they made trendy.

In addition to Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer, the other wacky neighbor – Jerry’s archenemy Neumann

 

– also had some tidy tidbits and knew how to turn a phrase. 

The true test of classic work of art- be it music, a television show, a powerful book – is how it plays to future generations and how they can see its relevance in their lives. I can watch an old episode of I Love Lucy and quote the entire thing from beginning to end. Lucy still makes me laugh out loud almost 70 years after her show went on the air! Seinfeld in almost 20 years out of the box but an entirely new generation is enjoying it and understands the lexicon the show invented.

And you know what? THAT’S what I want to do with my writing. I want to be relevant in the future. Being relevant right now would be nice, too, I have to say! But I want to – in some small way- have an impact on the people who discover my books in years to come. A positive impact, for sure, but an impact all the same. I want them, when they read the words I’ve written, to get it.  Just like we still get Jerry…and Lucy…and Abbot and Costello, and all the greats that came before.

When I’m not -yada yada yada – (you know the drill!)

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

 

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Filed under Characters, Dialogue, Friends, Strong Women

A day in my life….is not for sissies!!

I retired in 2015 when I got a book contract. I’d worked for about 150 years as a nurse in varying specialties, then as a contact lens technician. By the time I left the nursing profession I was dog tired, emotionally wrung out, and psychological drained. Having a full time job that could be at the same time uplifiting and soul-sucking was difficult. I figured retirement – and the oppportunity to write full time  – would be much more relaxing and enjoyable.

What’s that old saying? You make plans and God laughs?
yeah…story of my life.

I figured writing full time would be a cake walk. Hey, I didn’t have to get dressed in professional clothes everyday any more, do my makeup, hair, and coordinate my wardrobe. I could stay in my pj’s all day and not even put on deodorant if I didn’t want to. ( I do, just for full disclosure here!)

That easy, carefree life of a writer I imagined? yeah..not so much. A few months ago I did a blog piece about a simple question my husband asks me every day at dinner: “So, what did you do today.” My usual response? “Worked.”
One night I figured he really needed to hear what I actually do under the definition of “work,” so here’s what I told him.

4am, Finally got out of bed after lying there for an hour, wide awake.

405am – 530 am Checked email, answered 16 messages. Wrote 2 blogs, uploaded one then posted on social media outlets and HootSuite for the day. Social media sites included uploads of blog on twitter, Triberr, Tumblr, Linked in, Goodreads, google+ and Pinterest. Hootsuites were posted for every 2 hours.

530-6. Got hubby up, ate breakfast. Got ready for the day. Made bed.

630-930 am Gym, followed by grocery shopping for the week, Target, the post office and the bank. Got gas and went to the dump.

930-1030am put the groceries away then started laundry, vacuumed bedrooms and living area. Started dishwasher.

1030-1pm wrote in current wip; worked on Copyedits just received for Book 3 in new cooking series.

1pm-130pm ate lunch then answered emails and checked social media sites. Changed laundry and started another load.

130-500 worked on wip; and worked on Copy edits for book 3 in new cooking series, plus plotted out book 4. )  Folded dried laundry and put it away. Ironed shirts.

5-545 walked on treadmill and read current NetGalley book for review. Folded the remainder of done laundry, put it away.

545-630 cooked dinner, cleaned up the kitchen, set table, worked on copy edits.

630-7pm dinner and conversation ( questions!) with Hubby. Cleaned up the dinner dishes.

7-830 worked on wip, answered email, worked on blog posting for the morning. Did a few pages of the copy edits for book 3

830-10 read Netgalley again

10pm-midnight. Slept

Midnight-2 am. wide awake in bed, reliving yesterday, planning today.

Now, mind you: I have no children at home who need to be tended to, ferried places, or shown love and attention. I don’t currently, have a pet. My friends all work at full-time jobs out side of the home, so ladies who lunch is not on my menu. I don’t get manicures, pedicures, or have spa days. The last time I went to a mall my daughter was in college and I had a panic attack from the crowds. I simply write all day long.

But there’s nothing simple about a day in my life.

So, how do you think the other authors in this blog challenge spend their days? Find out by clicking on the links below


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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Author Branding, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Family Saga, female friends, Foodie, Friends, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, Lyrical Author, Netgalley Reviewer, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, Uncategorized, WIld Rose Press AUthor

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.


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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

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

 

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

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:

 

 

 

 

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Cooking and Baking…the secret to happiness, one loaf at a time!

So, in my non-writing life, I love to cook and bake.  And I love to eat what I cook and bake. So much so, that I should be on that show My 600 pound life. Luckily, I’m not because, you know…exercise!

When I was dreaming about my current series WILL COOK FOR LOVE, I knew I wanted to incorporate some of the cooking and baking knowledge I’ve gleaned over the years into the books, so each book has specific recipes targeted for that story. In COOKING WITH KANDY, I added some baked goods and even made a recipe card for reader swag for Grandma Sophie’s Banana Walnut muffins. For my October 3 release, A SHOT AT LOVE, there’s a scene in the book concerning french toast, so I made another recipe card for swag for that.  To make sure the recipes hold up for the reader, I made a batch of Challah french toast this past weekend to ensure it did.

On Thursday, I made the bread. These are pictures I took to document the bread baking cycle. Start with the dough, cover it and let it rise for three hours until it doubles:

           

Then, divide the dough in half, slice into 6 ropes and braid it to make 2 loaves. Let it sit for another hour.

    

Cover with an egg wash, and bake:

    

Now I had my bread for the french toast, but I had to let it get a little stale. 2-3 day old fresh bread gone stale  is best for french toast. Sunday morning I made the actual breakfast.

     

I took pictures and made a new swag recipe card that I’ll be giving out at RWA this year when I do the Kensington Book Signing.

For those of you not going to RWA, here’s the recipe:

Ingredients to make the Challah

  • 1 1/8 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 Tbs dry yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten, plus 1 whole egg for glazing
  • 1/2 Tbs salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

Directions

  1. Dissolve the yeast in the water with 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Beat well and let set for 10 min., until it’s frothy and bubbly.
  2. In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Then add the salt, sugar, and oil and beat again. Add the frothy yeast mixture and beat well. Now add the flour gradually, cup at a time, and just enough to make a soft dough that holds together, mixing well. Turn out onto a bread board and knead for about 10 minutes, until it is smooth and elastic, adding flour if the dough is too sticky.
  3. Pour a little oil in the bowl and turn the dough around the bowl, so that it is greased all over.
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in a warm place to rise for 3 hours, or until it has doubled in bulk. Punch the dough down and knead again, then divide into 2 pieces to make 2 loaves. Divide each into 3 long strips to make 2 bread braids.
  5. Braid challah into desired shape and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Allow them to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
  6. Brush the tops with the beaten egg.
  7. Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 25-30 minutes or until the loaves are golden-brown. They are done if they sound like a hollow drum when you tap the bottoms.

To make the French toast:

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup whole milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon each: cinnamon, nutmeg, apple pie spice

3 tablespoon brown sugar

butter, syrup, confectioner’s sugar to taste

Directions: You need a griddle for this or a cast iron frying pan

Heat griddle to medium heat, grease top.

Beat the eggs, add the milk and vanilla. Mix well. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, apple pie spice and brown sugar.

Mix very well. Cut the Challah into 2-inch widths. Dip each piece in the above mix to completely coat- do not saturate!

Place each piece on the griddle and cook on each side 1-2 minutes, until each side is golden brown. Serve hot and add your own butter, maple syrup , and confectioner’s sugar to taste.

Book One in the WILL COOK FOR LOVE SERIES is out now. COOKING WITH KANDY:

Sugar and spice and everything sexy make the perfect recipe for romance in this brand-new series by Peggy Jaeger. Look for exclusive recipes in each book!

Kandy Laine built her wildly popular food empire the old-fashioned way—starting with the basic ingredients of her grandmother’s recipes and flavoring it all with her particular brand of sweet spice. From her cookbooks to her hit TV show, Kandy is a kitchen queen—and suddenly someone is determined to poison her cup. With odd accidents and threatening messages piling up, strong-willed Kandy can’t protest when her team hires someone to keep her safe—but she can’t deny that the man for the job looks delicious. . .

Josh Keane is a private investigator, not a bodyguard. But with one eyeful of Kandy’s ebony curls and dimpled smile, he’s signing on to uncover who’s cooking up trouble for the gorgeous chef. As the attraction between them starts to simmer, it’s not easy to keep his mind on the job, but when the strange distractions turn to true danger, he’ll stop at nothing to keep Kandy safe—and show her that a future together is on the menu. . .

 

My 3 favorite things: cooking, baking, writing. Oh, and eating. I need to include that, too, so 4!

When I’m not doing any of the above 4, you can find me here:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

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Filed under Author, Cooking, Food lover, Foodie, Friends, Kensington Publishers, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Laine Women

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner

So, Dancing with The Keene Stars 2017 has come and gone and this year was one that will go down in my memory banks and diary as one to remember for the rest of my life. For so many reasons.

Project Graduation is an event held in our town’s high school the night after the kids graduate. And yes, I did just call them kids. They are. All under legal age, mostly 17 and 18. And what do 17 and 18 year old kids like to do to celebrate, test boundaries, and prove their cool factor is off the charts? Some drink and/or engage in illegal drug use. Project Graduation provides every single graduate a safe haven for the entire night after graduation, and engages them–not in illicit, illegal behavior — but good, fun, funny, and memory making behaviors with their fellow graduates. It is a smoke-free alcohol-free, drug-free night where the kids (!) are locked into the high school and not allowed to leave without a parent picking them up and escorting them out. Keeping them off the streets and at parties where they could get into potential trouble is one sure fire way of keeping every graduate alive to get to the next stage of their live. In the 100 days between high school graduation and college start-up more kids this age die in alcohol and drug related ways than at any other time. That pre-frontal cortex of theirs hasn’t fully developed yet, so they still make stupid decisions thinking they are sound ones. Project Graduations helps keep this number down with a goal toward eliminating it from the statistical curve.

Now. PSA complete. Back to DWTS.

I saw my first DWTS show four years ago when it was brought to my town as a fundraiser for Project Grad, and I wanted to participate within the first 10 minutes of the show. I actively – and I mean ACTIVELY pursued a spot on the next year’s roster and was -Yippie- given one! I was a STAR! I thought I knew how to dance before being picked. Yeah…not so much. The 8 weeks of preparation were grueling and oftentimes frustrating. I’d just undergone surgical removal of a melanoma from my stomach and was in constant pain, worried about my deep incision line, and frustrated because I wasn’t doing well in practice. When all was said and done, I loved the experience.

The next year I was a judge.

This year I was partnered with a STAR and the Gods above gave me the perfect one. I call him my brother from another mother, although in truth I could have agewise been his mother! We were in sync from the first 5 minutes of meeting. Every rehearsal was a shear joy – physically testing – but shear joy.And when all was said and done, we came in first place both nights!

The backstage moments of the competition, though, are the memories I’ll cherish the most. All 20 dancers formed a solid wall of friendship and camaraderie, knowing we were doing something good for the community and for our kids. I met community leaders I’d never met before and found some true, lifelong friends among them.

Volunteerism is a facet of this country that more people aspire to than actually engage in. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of not knowing where to go to offer your time, your money, or your expertise. I’ve always thought that to have a strong community, you need to be engaged in that community, so ever since my daughter started school I volunteered for room mother, snack mom, to be a chaperone on trips, etc. She’s been out of the house for 10 years and I still feel a responsibility to my community to give back. Participating in annual 5ks for local charities; attending auctions to raise money for school upgrades. Heck, even saving the box tops on tops of cereal boxes all contribute to making my community a better, safer, healthier place to live and grow. Hence, Dancing with the Stars.

So. I said this last year when I wrote my after-dancing blog experience and I’ll say it again this year: VOLUNTEER. There are so many opportunities within your community to make a difference. And believe me, you may not think you’re making a big one, but you are. For me, keeping that one kid who had the idea to go to a graduation party, drink, and then get behind the wheel of a car to head on home off the road makes a huge difference. Just think of all the people effected if he crashes and dies: his parents and loved ones, friends, anyone else involved in the crash and their loved ones and friends, the response teams, medical personnel and grief counselors pulled in to care for the survivors, and the kid himself who has just now lost his future. All because he wanted to go to a party and celebrate his high school graduation and didn’t make wise choices about drinking.

If I am asked to perform or judge next years’ DANCING WITH THE STARS fundraiser for our town high school, you can put money on the fact I will say “Hell, yeah!” Whether I dance, judge, or just sell tickets, it will be one of the highlights of my year.

When I’m not dancing you can find me here:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

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Filed under Author, community advocacy, Contemporary Romance, Dancing with the Stars, female friends, Friends, Life challenges, Project Graduation, Strong Women, Uncategorized

#Dreaming Big; #MFRWauthors #Blogchallenge

 

OMG! I could so totally take pages and pages and reams of paper to write this one!!! After debating with myself for the entire week about my choices, I narrowed it down to the following:

  1. Meet Matthew MacFadyen ( don’t laugh! Lovelovelove him!!!)
  2. Be a size 4 for the rest of my life no matter what I eat. ( Okay, you can laugh at this one because I don’t have the body frame to be a size 4!!)
  3. Star in a Broadway play ( again, laughter is okay because this is a PIPE dream!!! I can’t act, sing, or emote!)
  4. Make the NYT bestseller list, or the USA Bestseller list, or ANY FRIGGIN’ BOOK LIST!!!!
  5. Get a publishing contract for MMP and/or Hardcover.

After numerous hours of time wasting – er, I mean, debate (!) with myself, I figure 1-3 ain’t gonna happen in my lifetime. 4 is a slim-to-none possibility, especially since the NYTimes has recently changed and only lists HARDBACK books in their list, no more mass market one. ( DOPES! The NYT, that is)

So, number 5 is the winner-winner-chicken dinner!

I can actually SEE myself someday ( hopefully before I die!) getting a mass market paperback book deal, or even a hardcover deal. And I always think that if you can actually SEE your goal in your mind, give it weight, and do something about it, the dream will come true. In fact, because I give such weight to physical things, I actually make book boxes for my book giveaways. Here’s the latest one for Cooking With Kandy:

 

As you can see, it’s Hardback sized, has my picture on the back “cover” and it looks like a book!

There’s an old saying that “seeing is believing.” I’d rather say, “Seeing it makes it happen.”

So that’s my biggest dream!!!

And because this is a blog hop, here are some other authors who are dreaming big. Stop by their blogs today and find out all about they’re big dreams.

 

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Contemporary Romance, Foodie, Friends, Life challenges, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women