Category Archives: Strong Women

The Declutter Challenge…

Recently on Facebook, I saw a post that was shared hundreds of times called THE DECLUTTER CHALLENGE,  a 30-day challenge to get rid of clutter and stuff in your life. A random sampling of the days’ tasks includes: purging 2 kitchen cabinets (day 7); cleaning out your wallet (day 9) and your purse ( day 10); cleaning out the freezer ( day 18); donating unused toys ( day 25). The challenge ends on day thirty with the simple task of CLEAN. I guess what you clean is up to you, but I took it to mean, clean your house.

This challenge, naturally, got me to thinking about how I could declutter my writing.  All writers have catch words or phrases they like to use, especially when writing dialogue. If we actually wrote how we spoke, the readers would be bored out of their gourds. For instance, would you seriously want to spend money on a book where every dialogue started like this:

#1. Hey, Bill. How are you?

#2. Fine, Jim. How are you?

#3. Can’t complain. How’s the family?

#4. Doing well. Yours?

#5. Same, same. So how, about those Red Sox?…

you get the idea. This is drivel. We may speak like this in real life, but in fiction, it’s a death knoll.

So that’s one way to declutter your work: check the dialogue. Can you get the idea across without all the folderol of “hi, how you doing’s?”

Another way I know I personally clutter up my writing is by using too many extraneous words to convey my thoughts. A quick search of my current work in progress yielded this:

the use of THAT – 89 times

the use of To her/to him/ for her/for him -56 times

the use of adverbs ( the bane of my writing existence) 91 times. EEK!

I really need to work on decluttering these words, don’t I! Hee hee

Other things that writers should declutter are phrases like “seemed to,” “tried to,” “began to.” Writing is much stronger and moves quicker when sentences are declarations and use an active tense.

For example: Her natural, spicy scent seemed to surround her body.

Better example: Her natural, spicy scent of ginger and peach, surrounded her.

Other words that can probably be eliminated a fair amount of time and still allow the sentence to convey what it needs to are:

move, push, reach, bring, pull, went, brought, press and came( to denote going  or coming from somewhere)

It’s a good practice to utilize the SEARCH for options in your word processing program to nit pick and eliminate words you use excessively after your first draft is written. This will make the editing process more about the story line and capturing what you intended to say instead of needing to remove excess words.

Oh, about that 30-day Declutter challenge. yeah, I survived for three days. Then I was exhausted. Maybe I should develop a 12 month declutter challenge. You know…do one thing a month instead of 30 in 30 days? Thoughts? LOL

When I’m not decluttering my life and my writing, 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, Contemporary Romance, Dialogue, Life challenges, Pet Peeves, Strong Women, Uncategorized

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

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

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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

 

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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

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.

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

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/
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Sorchia Dubois, a tasty salad, and a little visit with Zoraida Gray

Today, in my constant attempt to bring you great authors and even better food (!) author SORCHIA DUBOIS is visiting me. She’s brought along a tasty summer salad recipe and an even tastier sample of her newest book ZORAIDA GRAY AND THE FAMILY STONES. 

Here’s Sorchia to tell you all about it….

In my Zoraida Grey series, Zoraida and her BFF Zhu are women of many passions. Food and drink come in about third on their list (magic and men being numbers one and two, not necessarily in that order.) From curly, cheesy fries at the local eatery in their hometown of Bear Hollow, Arkansas, to the tempting fare at a formal dinner in a haunted Scottish castle, they eat and drink their way through one magical adventure after another.

Self-depravation may be coming through in my writing since I often reward myself for meeting a deadline or word count with a wee dram. My first book, Just Like Gravity, contained so many references to a particular brand of Scotch that my publisher dedicated the entire book to the distillery and one of my reviewers says she gets thirsty every time she reads a passage about whiskey.

The format of a Gothic novel seldom allows for the inclusion of recipes, so I use my blog—Sorchia’s Universe—to cater to my own passions with an irregular feature I call the Writer’s Scotch and Salad Diet. The Writer’s Scotch and Salad Diet came about when a friend and I surmised that it should be possible to build a healthy diet around alcoholic beverages (it isn’t) and set out to prove it (We didn’t—don’t remember what went wrong, but something did go horribly, horribly wrong and I just thank the Powers That Be it happened before cell phones.)

Not to be deterred by common sense or nutritional science, to this day I continue the search for the elusive balance between healthy food and booze. Let me show you what I mean. Here’s a salad recipe and suggestions for drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) to accompany it, followed by an excerpt from Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones.

Let me hear from you! What is your favorite combination of food and drink?

 The Writer’s Scotch and Salad Diet: The Couscous and Black Bean Fiesta Salad.

Black Beans—2 cans or 1 cup of dried beans

¼ cup of minced fresh cilantro

½ tsp cumin

4 T Olive oil

3 T Lime Juice

1 tsp red wine vinegar

1 ¼ cup broth—any kind but chicken or veggie broth work nicely

1 cup raw couscous

1 chopped green pepper

1 chopped red pepper

1 cup frozen corn

8-10 chopped green onions

Sliced tomato

Shredded cheddar cheese

Method:

  1. If you use dried beans, cook until tender and cool.
  2. Prepare the couscous using the broth and cool.
  3. Mix everything except the tomatoes and cheese together and salt and pepper to taste. If you use frozen corn and mix in the rest, the corn will chill it down quickly.
  4. Chill for at least half an hour.
  5. Garnish with cheddar cheese and tomato slices.

A nice Speyside Scotch might go well with this salad—Glen Livet, Balvenie, or Glenfiddich. Something light and a little sweet. I love Rob Roys—especially smoky Rob Roys made with Laphroaig––which would be a good finisher to nearly any meal.

While I am enamored of Scotch, the salad does have a Mexican tang to it, so a Marguerita wouldn’t be amiss. Being a purist in all things, I advise against a mix. Get your bar book out and make it from scratch—not hard and much, much better. As always, avoid the cheap stuff. Patron Silver is touted as the best by many tequila aficionados in my acquaintance but I am not of their number so I can’t say anything beyond that.

If you don’t drink alcohol, then a sparkling white grape juice would be perfect. Go for something not loaded down with sugar or make your own:

  • 2 bottles well chilled Welch’s Sparkling Strawberry Lemonade. (This stuff may include sugar so you could make your own strawberry lemonade to create a healthier drink.)
  • 3 cups Welch’s 100% White Grape Juice. (You can get the unsweetened variety which is only 45 calories per serving.)
  • 2 cups peach juice.(Unsweetened!)
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced.
  • 1 peach, thinly sliced.
  • In a large punch bowl or pitcher stir together Sparkling Lemonade, White Grape Juice, Peach juice, lemon slices, strawberries, lemons, and peaches.

Here’s a little excerpt from Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones which shows Zoraida and Zhu in action at a formal dinner in a haunted castle.

Ursula moves her soupspoon—the one on the far right, I note—from front to back. Her manner looks much more civilized than the shoveling motion Zhu and I employ at home when we eat Campbell’s Chicken and Noodle soup on the porch. I catch Zhu’s attention and cock an eye at Ursula. Zhu sets her mouth grimly and copies the motion. Shea watches first her and then me. His eyebrows arch high and his mouth twists with suppressed laughter.

“I heard about the renovations.” I take a sip of soup, trying not to slurp. I could lap the savory chicken broth like a dog if I wasn’t trying to impress my new relatives. “That tower looks like it could withstand a hurricane.”

“The outer rockwork is as perfect today as it was when Lorne Logan built it in the fourteenth century.” The corners of Shea’s lips turn up slightly. Miss Watson Part Deux told us he is a murderer, a dangerous fellow likely to gut us in our sleep. He crackles with magic like the rest of them, hiding something from me and from the others. His voice is a delicious blend of rolled l’s and burred r’s, more Scottish than Michael’s clipped English accent. “We’re repairing doorways and excavating an old part of the interior that has been in ruins for nearly two centuries. Old tunnels and dungeons. Michael wants to make it part of the tour and charge an arm and a leg for the privilege. Always thinking ahead is our Michael.”

Michael shrugs. “One must do what one can to ensure the family’s security.” He smiles at me, but his words are for Shea. “We must make difficult choices and utilize our resources wisely. Shea and I have a disagreement about how to do that. Ours is a family of great diversity, and so we seldom agree on any course of action. I’m afraid family history is fraught with such disagreements, ranging from minor arguments to full-fledged feuds.”

The servants clear away the soup and bring in platters of fish ringed with lightly toasted Brussels sprouts. Fresh basil and rosemary leaves sizzle on the surface of fillet. It’s a far cry from the fried catfish they serve at Hofstedler’s in Bear Hollow.

Again, I survey the choices of implements at my disposal and wonder which one is for the fish. Who knew eating could get this complicated?

Across the table, Shea unobtrusively touches the fork on the outside left with his index finger. He shoots me a pointed glance, the smartass. With another quiet gesture, he indicates the knife on the outside right. I pick up my fish knife and fork and narrow my eyes at him. I can see enough of his mind to know he finds me hilarious.

 

To buy your very own copy of Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones—now a finalist in the Prism Awards offered by the Fantasy, Futuristic, & Paranormal Romance Writers chapter of Romance Writers of America, here are the links to purveyors of fine literature as close as your computer screen:

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

You can connect with Sorchia here:

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

 

Bio – A little about Sochia…

Sorchia Dubois lives in the piney forest of the Missouri Ozarks with seven cats. She edits technical writing part time, but she spends a number of hours each day tapping out paranormal romance, Gothic murder, and Scottish thrillers.

A proud member of the Ross clan, Sorchia incorporates all things Celtic (especially Scottish) into her works. She can often be found swilling Scotch at Scottish festivals and watching kilted men toss large objects for no apparent reason.

 

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“After a hurricane, comes a rainbow”

I put the title in quotes because it’s from the Katy Perry song Firework.    The reason I’m quoting that song today is because I need to say something about what’s been going on in the UK for the past 2 weeks.

While I won’t address the atrocities–they’ve been given enough coverage by the mainstream media–I do want to honor the courage, strength, and fortitude of the British people. A people, so kind, so good hearted, so friendly, that their uniformed police officers don’t even carry guns to police the populous.

I’ve been lucky enough to visit London and the UK several times with my daughter and husband. London itself is a metropolis filled with thousand-year-old English history but is a veritable Babel of languages and cultures all living, working, existing together. And every single Englishman I’ve met on my travels, no matter what their color, religion, or political party affiliation, has been polite, courteous, friendly, and–to use a British euphemism–Brilliant. One of my brothers-in-law is from the UK and he is just as kind, loving, and,  yes (again!) brilliant as his homeland mates.

During World War II when Britain was getting bombed and gassed by its enemies, Winston Churchill told his people “..never flinch, never weary, never despair.” That well known British stiff upper lip and backbone of steel has served the people of the UK well for generations and will continue to do so.

The outpouring of love for the people of Manchester and the victims, families, and citizens of the London attacks, from around the world is an example of what never giving into evil can accomplish; of remembering that love is unbreakable like a diamond whereas evil is like a deadly virus that must be isolated, treated, and eradicated for the good of all.

In a game of rock, paper, scissors, love is always the rock, the winner. Love crushes everything else – every evil, every terror, every atrocity. Love always wins.

Always.

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Wonder Woman and mad men….#WTF??

Just read an article about a group of men who are super pissed that many theaters around the country hosted WOMEN ONLY screenings of the new WONDER WOMAN movie this weekend. I don’t want to copy the article in its entirety, so here’s the link. Men were tweeting that this is discriminatory and that they think someone should sue the theater chain holding the all female screenings for sexism,  gender discrimination, and male bashing which they equate to a hate crime.

Seriously?

With all the horrible shit currently happening – the Manchester and London bombings, North Korea’s nuclear tests, the US’s pullout of the climate accord, not to mention healthcare, welfare, hate crimes, and EVERYTHING ELSE important, some men are complaining because a movie about the first and only FEMALE SUPERHERO is catering to a female-only clientele? For real?

My only comment to these misguided, misogynistic men is, get a friggin’ life!

Male superheroes abound. Every weekend of the summer it seems a new male superhero movie opens up. Tony Spark (Ironman), Thor, SpiderMan, Batman, Captain America, the list goes on and on. And lest these knuckleheads who are protesting say something stupid like “what about Black Widow? She’s a superhero.” Yeah – a SECONDARY CHARACTER superhero. THAT’S IT!  There’s no movie in which Black Widow is the end all- be all. No storyline that a major movie company funded for her.

Diana Prince is the first female superhero to have her very own big budget, top studio-made movie. She is the star, the storyline is hers and hers alone.

The back story is hers. She’s female, she’s the protagonist, the movie was directed by a woman, and the cast features some of the baddest-assed women in entertainment today ( Anybody watching HOUSE OF CARDS want to debate that point about ROBIN WRIGHT?) This movie is showing girls everywhere, all girls – from toddlers to teens to middle aged and beyond – that girls have power. Girls are smart. They can think deductively. They can make a difference through their strength, their intellect, their courage, their compassion. This movie is a prime example of female empowerment in its purest form – and it relies on Diana Prince’s sense of inner humanity and her desire for the downtrodden of the world to have a voice. SHE is their voice.

 

I can’t possibly believe these men feel threatened in any way by the movie houses catering to women only for this release. Men, unfortunately, still rule the world in every way. They make more money than women for doing the same job, they hold the vast majority of political offices in the US and abroad, they manage most of the major corporations on the planet. Why are they so pissed off about a movie theater chain catering to a women-only audience for a few days?

Do they think that the message in the movie — that WOMEN — can fend for themselves, physically, economically, emotionally, and defensively without the help of men, is true? That a  society where women rule with peace and understanding, yet physical acumen, is a threat?  A potential future event? Are they so scared of a woman who believes it is her duty to right the wrongs generations and eons of men have thrust upon the world, is a bad thing?

Or are they just acting like bratty children who want something someone else has and can’t have and feel left out?

I’m gonna take a wild guess and say those same male protestors didn’t vote for a woman in the 2016 election…. just saying.

Oh, and BTW, the movie grossed $100,000,000 + in its opening weekend. That’s a huge chunk of change. Hollywood ( male dominated and run Hollywood) take notice. Again…just saying.

 

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Book Pet Peeves…I’ve got a million!


Dialogue that doesn’t ring true to the characters. Misplaced modifiers. Sex just for sex sake. Hunky guys who don’t know they are. The alpha whose entire personality and being is changed overnight by the love of a good woman.

The list could go on and on and…you get the picture. I’ll pick one just for space saving sake ( that way this blog won’t be 50,000 words long!)

The one that really gets me is the last one. You’ve got an alpha male who basically is a walking, talking, take-no-prisoners-be-the-leader kinda guy. He rarely smiles. He’s built like a combat tank. He vows never, ever, EVAH to get close enough to anyone that he’d feel any kind of emotion for them. Your basic misanthropic hunkadoodle. I have a writing friend who calls these types of guys ALPHAHOLES. Perfect description.

Enter the heroine. In 250+ pages she does one thing  – it could be anything from biting her bottom lip to punching the hero – that miraculously changes everything that has gone into this man’s internal makeup for 30+ years. Overnight. One thing.

And he’s a changed human for the rest of his natural days. He’ll never again be the silent, sacrificing all for the mission, defender of the world at the sake of his own happiness kind of guy. His entire demeanor changes. His way of thinking evolves. Overnight.

Overnight.

I’m just not feeling it, peeps.

I read a lot. A LOT! And I’m a wicked fast reader. I’m a Netgalley reader/reviewer, plus my Kindle has more books loaded onto it than I think it was constructed for. I can read a book a day – and not the Harlequin 200 paged ones, either. I just finished the hardback version of COME SUNDOWN by Nora Roberts in a day and that baby topped out at 468 pages.

So, I read a lot and I’m a widespread reader. I’ve seen an awful lot of these silent but deadly alphas written lately by traditionally published and self-published writers. Some of the story arcs make sense and give a reason the male transitions his entire makeup when he realizes his love for the heroine – many do not. Actually, A LOT do not.  There’s no justifiable reason this guy turns from hating mankind to kissing babies in the street and adopting orphan kittens. And that just burns me because people don’t change over night. People, basically, if truth be told, don’t change. I understand this is fiction and we have a great deal of literary license when it comes to characters/people. I get that and believe me, when it’s written correctly, this situation can happen in romantic fiction.

 

Give me a redeemed criminal who’s rehabilitation is believable, that there’s a legitimate reason he went straight( JD Robb’s Roarke, for instance ) and I’m hooked. Show me how a wounded soldier who thinks he has nothing to live for works through that emotion -logically – with the heroine and I’m hooked( Marianne Rice’s WOUNDED LOVE for instance).

Don’t just give me an alphahole and have him change overnight because the heroine is spunky or cute or a ballbreaker! That just doesn’t ring true, folks. Not in romance, and not in life. Not in my experience, any way. IF you like these types of heroes and stories, then YAY. Have fun reading them. I don’t and when I realize I won’t get that hour or two I invested in reading an implausible character back, well, I’m not a happy camper.

‘Nuff said….

Because this is blog hop there are a bunch of other writers who have their own peeves. Stop by and visit them.

 

 

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