Monday, September 18, 2017

NEW RELEASE FOR LEIGH GOFF

Hot off the press is Leigh Goff's exciting YA Fantasy release by Mirror World Publishing. Wizards and witches prevail in this can't-put-down novel. A must read for everyone, no matter your age, who loves to curl up with a captivating book.

Hannah, the thirteenth great-granddaughter of the Wizard Earl Fitzgerald, has always known she was descended from a troubled legacy of alchemy and dark magic. Although a stranger to her coven in Annapolis, she is no stranger to grief and denial; however, when an ancient prophecy reveals the rise of a young, powerful witch and the impending death of another, she realizes she can no longer afford to suppress the magic that has taken away so much. She seeks out the frighteningly scarred, yet mysterious W who is destined to change her life, but even he cannot prepare her for the secrets she must unlock – including one that reveals the location of an unimaginably powerful elixir.

Enemies will hurt her. Loved ones will make her vulnerable. And the impending prophecy that drives her to unleash her magic will cause her to unearth the sins of the past and doubt any promise of a future. Without knowing whom her true rival is, Hannah isn’t certain she’ll survive the game Fate is playing, and if she loses, she may lose everything, including the ones she loves.

EXCERPT

The imposing entrance segued into the main part of the old family chapel. Shadows flickered across the white walls as candlelight streamed down from an ornate iron chandelier cradling clear-colored hurricanes. Angelic sculptures hung between the arched windows and beneath the cloud-painted ceiling that Michelangelo himself would have envied, four wooden pews graced each side of the aisle.

I tiptoed farther in and spotted another black-lined white envelope on the altar. I was definitely in the right place.

My fingers trembled as I traced the letters that formed my name. This was way beyond ordinary, but why and—more importantly—who?

“W?”

A hint of the Shadow’s amber and woods scent mixed with the faint candle smoke of the chapel. “No. Way.” I spun around ready to stomp right out of there.

In that moment, a heavy gaze fell on me and the air felt charged with electricity. I searched right and left, seeing no one. “W? Whoever you are, show yourself.”

“This will be the hardest thing you’ve ever done.” His potent voice reverberated off the walls and seemed to come from everywhere, including the inside of my head.

I locked my wandering gaze on the loft above the entrance where I spotted his silhouette. “Was leaving me in a burning wreck the hardest thing you ever had to do? Was it?” I raised my volume. “Who are you? Why did you leave me for dead?”

His intake of breath was audible. “I would never. I mean. I didn’t want to do that. I don’t.”

“Oh, lucky me.” I stuck my hands on my hips and tapped an impatient foot on the floor. “If you don’t want to finish me off, then you lured me here to do what, exactly?”

“To help you. I want to help you.”

“Ha!” The sarcastic laugh burst out before I could stop it. “You’ve done a bang up job inspiring my confidence and trust in that department.”

He simmered in silence for a moment. “What do I have to do to inspire you to follow my directions?”

Following someone else’s directions was definitely not my strength. I grimaced, but curiosity got the better of me. “What do you want?”

“You read the note.”

His desire to remain in the shadows was increasingly irritating. “I consider myself a very smart girl, so when a guy who left me in a burning car tells me he wants to help me take on a different deadly problem, I have to wonder if he’s not setting me up to fend for myself again. What’s your motive?”

I dropped my eyes to the envelope, turning it to and fro.

“Emme Blackstone is a mutual enemy and means us both harm.” A tinge of anger laced his tone.

The anger, I understood. After all, we were talking about Emme, but there was also a hint of sadness that intrigued me further. “Why do you think Emme means you harm?”
“It’s inevitable—because of what I am.”

What was he besides completely contemptible?

“It’s in her blood and I believe it’s in her destiny to wreak havoc, especially against someone who can challenge her in talent like you can.”

I dropped my hands to my sides, still clasping the enveloping. “Whoa. Like me? You don’t know me. You don’t know anything about me. How could you? I’ve been gone for the last year.”

A chortle caught in his throat. “What’s a year when you come from a bloodline with hundreds of years of history? A history that’s written down and available to certain people with the right—pedigree.”

Confused, I creased my brow as I continued to stare at his silhouette. “Have you been cyber-stalking me on Ancestry.com or something?”

“Hardly.” There was disdain in his voice as if he considered cyber-stalking to be worse than leaving a girl to die.

“Look, whatever you think you know about my family, I’m not like them. I’m not talented, and I don’t want to challenge Emme. I just want to live a normal life. Normal.” My voice escalated. “Do you hear me all the way up there?”

He huffed. “Normal? You don’t get to pretend to be normal when you’re not. It doesn’t work like that. Not in Annapolis. Someone always knows. Someone always unravels your secrets.”

I thought of the Witch’s Grave. I pictured the women’s slender figures dangling from sturdy, gnarled branches. Their tragic endings proved what I already knew. Magic only brought suffering and death. “You make it sound like I don’t have a choice. I’m telling you I do, and I won’t be a part of this.” I stomped my foot hard on the floor.

He shifted from the shadows into a dim ray of light, seething. “You read the note and you know Emme won’t stop. You need my help.”

I glared, trying desperately to make out the details of his face. “I don’t need anything from you.”

“You don’t have to like it, but that doesn’t change the fact that you are a part of this. You know you are or you wouldn’t have come here. However, if that’s how you feel then you should leave.” The cold in his voice crystallized.

My pulse escalated. “Yup. That’s how I feel. And I’m only leaving because that’s what I want to do, not because you suggested it. Bye.” I marched to the door and wrapped my hand around the knob. I yanked it open. From the moment I’d first laid eyes on him, he’d been nothing but trouble. Horrible, awful trouble. However, as much as I hated to think it, he knew about me and the other witches in town. He was full of answers—answers I needed. I shut the door and turned back around. “How do you know all this about Emme and me?”

AMAZON BUY LINK


Leigh Goff loves writing young adult fiction with elements of magic and romance because it's also what she liked to read. Born and raised on the East Coast, she now lives in Maryland where she enjoys the area's great history and culture.

Leigh is a graduate of the University of Maryland, University College and a member of the Maryland Writers' Association and Romance Writers of America. She is also an approved artist with the Maryland State Arts Council. Her debut novel, Disenchanted, was inspired by the Wethersfield witches of Connecticut and was released by Mirror World Publishing. Leigh is currently working on her next novel, The Witch's Ring which is set in Annapolis.

Learn more about Leigh Goff on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

FRESH FROM THE RIVER

As a woman of a certain age I’ve finally come to enjoy fish. This was no easy transition, believe me. We’re talking years of cringing or clamping my nose. The years passed and now I find it a wonderful challenge to create easy recipes for the various types. I hope you enjoy this menu.

Pan-Fried Catfish
Snazzy Sliced Tomatoes
Remoulade Sauce
French Fries
Dry White Wine or Cold Beer


Pan-Fried Catfish
⅓ cup all-purpose flour, might need a little more
½ tsp. freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp. water
2 eggs, beaten
½ cup seasoned breadcrumbs
¼ cup cornmeal
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
⅛ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. dried sage
½ tsp. dried thyme
4 catfish fillets, cut into serving pieces
2 tbsp. lard, solid shortening, or vegetable oil
1 tbsp. butter

Combine flour and pepper in a zip-top plastic bag or paper bag. Mix well water and eggs in a shallow dish large enough to hold a fillet. Blend breadcrumbs, cornmeal, and remaining dry ingredients in a different shallow dish.

Place one fish in the bag and shake gently to coat. Remove and dip it in egg mixture. Dredge in breadcrumbs mixture. Lay on a plate. Do the same with the other pieces. Do not stack or overlap the fish. Set in the refrigerator for 20 – 30 minutes. This dries the breading a little and helps it adhere better while frying.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add oil and butter to pan. Swirl pan to melt butter. Be careful not to burn it. Add fillets to pan. Cook 5 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Remoulade Sauce
⅓ cup green onion, sliced
¼ cup celery, chopped fine
1large glove garlic, chopped fine
1 ½ tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp. capers, drained, chopped
½ tbsp. horseradish
1 ½ tbsp. whole grain mustard
½ tbsp prepared mustard
1 tbsp. ketchup
½ tbsp. Worchester sauce
1 tsp. Frank’s hot sauce or ¼ tsp. Tabasco sauce
½ tbsp. lemon juice
½ tsp. paprika
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup mayonnaise

Place all ingredients except mayonnaise in a food processor. Process until semi-smooth. Scrape down the sides. Continue to process until smooth, about 30 seconds to 45 seconds in all.

Add mayonnaise. Blend well.

Pour sauce into a serving dish, cover, and refrigerate until dinner.

Snazzy Sliced Tomatoes
2 Romaine lettuce leaves per person
1 tomato per two people
Red wine vinegar
Olive oil
Garlic powder not garlic salt
Chives, fresh snipped fine or dried
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Prepare this dish at least an hour before serving.

Place lettuce on each salad plate. Slice tomatoes ½” thick and arrange atop lettuce.

Drizzle vinegar over the tomatoes, then lightly lace with olive oil. Dust with garlic. Add pepper. Sprinkle plenty of chives across the top.

Set on the counter away from sun or heat to flavor through.

French Fries
I’m a fan of Ore-Ida brand fries. Not only are they easy, they taste great!

May you enjoy all the days of your life around a well laden table!

Sloane Taylor
Twitter
Amazon Author Page

Monday, September 11, 2017

It’s Finally Here! A Groom for Mama has Released!

Hi! It’s Catherine Castle here, and I’m excited this week because my sweet romantic comedy, with a touch of drama, has been released! Our book babies never get old, do they?

Sloane gave her readers a peek at the cover and the blurb in August, and now I’m going to give you an excerpt and bit of background on this story.

The book originally started as a radio play that my husband and I wrote for a contest. The play was filled with lots of fast, quick dialogue, and humorous date situations. The judges thought it was funny, and the play made the finals, but didn’t win. So we put it aside as an exercise in playwriting. We were doing a bit of that at the time because we were involved in a drama group at our church.

Well, fast forward a few years—quite a few in fact, because I was busy co-authoring with my hubby. I was looking for something to work on after I finished my multi-award-winning inspirational romantic suspense book, The Nun and the Narc, from Soul Mate Publishing. The inspirational romantic suspense had finaled in several contests: ACFW Genesis Finalist, a 2014 EPIC finalist, and the Carolyn Reader awards, and then it won the 2014 Beverly Hills Book Award and the 2014 RONE Award. A number of readers who reviewed The Nun and the Narc thought there was a lot of comic relief humor in the book, so I’d thought I’d try my hand at a romantic comedy. Remembering our radio play, I asked my husband if he’d mind if I used the basic premise for a new book. He graciously agreed, and A Groom for Mama was born.

In A Groom for Mama readers will find a feisty mother who is determined to marry her daughter off before she dies, and, much to the pair’s chagrin, Mama’s even picked the groom. Here’s a peek at some of the fun.

One date for every medical test—that’s the deal. Allison, however, gets more than she bargains for. She gets a Groom for Mama.

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

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

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

EXCERPT
With a sweep of his hand, Jack spread the photos out on the table in front of Allison and Beverly. “Here’s a few I just grabbed from the database. Any of them interesting?” He studied Allison’s reaction. She didn’t bat an eyelash as she scanned the men’s pictures. Then, without warning, she scooped them up and shoved them at him.

“I told Mama I wasn’t going to do this. It’s a stupid idea.”

“I’ll admit it’s not the ‘some enchanted evening, see a stranger across the room’ romantic way to find a husband, but it’s not totally unacceptable. Several of the couples my company has brought together have married.”

“And lived happily ever after?” she retorted.

“It’s a new company, Allison. I don’t have the stats yet.” He pushed the photos across the table. “Just take a peek. What harm can it do?”

Beverly grabbed the photo of a particularly handsome man. “How about this one? His coloring complements yours. You’d have beautiful children.”

Mama!” Allison snatched the photo away. “We’re not going to discuss my possible, yet unlikely, progeny in front of Jack.”

A flash of Allison kissing this guy flew through his head. He grabbed the photo from her. “He’s not your type anyway.”

“And just how do you know?” she asked.

“I dated you, remember? You ditched me for some suave, corporate hotshot. At least it’s what you said.”
“Allison!” Beverly exclaimed. “You never told me that.”

Allison shot him a fierce scowl. “I’m not comfortable discussing my love life with you, Mama. Besides, what’s done and over with should be buried . . . in the past.” She picked up another photo. “What about him? Or him and him?” She pointed to two nerdy-looking fellows. “They seem corporate.”

Mama leaned over and checked out the pictures Allison had indicated. “Too ugly,” she said. “He’s got to be handsome. Like Jack. I want to know my grandbabies will be as beautiful as you two.”

He grinned. “Thanks for the compliment, but I know I’m not your daughter’s type.” He laid a sheet of paper on the counter. “Fill this out. Then I can get a better idea of what you want in a husband.”

“I don’t want—”

“I know,” he interjected. “But, for your mom’s sake, just pretend you do.”

Amazon Buy Link

Multi-award-winning author Catherine Castle has been writing all her life. A former freelance writer, she has over 600 articles and photographs to her credit (under her real name) in the Christian and secular market. Now she writes sweet and inspirational romance. Her debut inspirational romantic suspense, The Nun and the Narc, published in 2013 from Soul Mate Publishing, has garnered multiple contests finals and wins, including:
2014 Beverly Hills Book Award Winner for Inspirational Romance
2014 RONE WINNER for Inspirational romance
2014 EPIC finalist for Action/adventure romance
2014 Carolyn Readers Choice Award finalist

Learn more about Catherine Castle on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to check out Catherine’s Amazon author page and her Goodreads page. You can also find Catherine on Stitches Thru Time and the SMP authors blog site.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

FRESH FROM THE OVEN

from Chris Pavesic

This is one of my family favorites for breakfast. Served with fresh fruit, it can even be considered a somewhat healthy weekend breakfast treat.

COFFEECAKE
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup brown sugar, packed
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ cup butter or margarine
1 cup milk
1 egg

TOPPING
⅓ cup brown sugar, packed
1 tbsp. butter or margarine, softened
¼ tsp. cinnamon
2 tbsp. All-purpose flour
¼ cup walnuts, chopped fine*
Extra butter/margarine and flour to coat the pan
Powdered sugar, optional

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Butter a 10-inch Bundt pan and then lightly coat it with flour.

Add flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon into a large bowl and stir well to blend.

Mix or whisk butter/margarine, milk, and egg into the flour mixture until it forms a batter.

Pour in the batter into the prepared pan.

In a small bowl combine the sugar, walnuts, butter/margarine, and cinnamon. Mix until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly on top of the batter.

Bake 35 - 65 minutes until a sharp knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar.

Serve warm.

Makes 9-12 servings.

*If you use a food processor to chop the nuts, process them until they are a coarse powder but do not let them form a paste.


Chris Pavesic is a fantasy author who lives in the Midwestern United States and loves Kona coffee, steampunk, fairy tales, and all types of speculative fiction. Between writing projects, Chris can most often be found reading, gaming, gardening, working on an endless list of DIY household projects, or hanging out with friends.

Learn more about Chris on her website and blog.

Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, and her Amazon Author Page.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

PEANUTS! Get Your Hot Nuts...

Today’s guest is one of my awesome cousins, Nancy Conley Burke nee Carter. Yep, those Carters. Nancy is here to share her recipe for roasted peanuts. Told you it was those Carters.

Okay, Cuz, the kitchen is all yours.


HOMEMADE ROASTED PEANUTS
2 lbs. raw peanuts*
Water
½ cup salt

Shell the peanuts. Drop them into a large pot and cover with at least an inch of water. Stir in salt. Allow this brine to sit for 1 hour. The nuts will absorb some of the water.

Preheat oven to 315° F.

Drain the nuts. Spread them out on a pan lined with aluminum foil. Bake for 12 minutes.

Remove pan from the oven. Roll the nuts from the outside in.

Return to the oven and bake 15 minutes more. Again, roll the nuts from the outside in.

Try a peanut to test if it is done. The nut should not be spongy. It should stick to your teeth and be crunchy. If your batch does not meet the criteria, pop the pan back in the over for another 10 minutes. Repeat process until the peanuts are properly roasted.

Store in a plastic bag or airtight container in the refrigerator.

*Store the peanuts in the freezer for at least 4 hours before you begin. The shells will peel away easier.

Happy snacking!

Nancy

Monday, August 28, 2017

NEW RELEASE for DOMINIQUE EASTWICK

And a fabulous new book it is. This Zodiac Shifters Paranormal Romance is definitely another best seller for Dominique Eastwick. Here, see for yourself.

When Kalista’s father suffers a stroke just hours before making an important payment on a loan, she rushes to Greece to make amends before the billionaire tycoon swoops in to take the family business. She is convinced if she gives him the check in person, all will be fine and she can return to help her father on his long road to recovery. She did not anticipate Leonidas Karatasos.

This is not the first time Mr. Vidal has missed a payment, but it would be the last. Leonidas would let no one take advantage of him or his family, but when he steps off the boat on his family’s island, his mate is waiting for him check in hand. Kalista Vidal is everything he wanted and nothing he expected.

With the moon rising into the reign of Leo, Leonidas has one month to woo and bond with Kalista, or he must wait until the next Leo cycle. But with the world’s prides convening on the island for the month, he must deal with dangers his mate could never imagine. All the while figuring out how to let his lion out of the bag.

EXCERPT
“Look at me,” he demanded and something compelled her to listen. The golden orbs searched hers, his jaw locked and his breathing was shallow. He reflected all the things she was. His kiss, gentle at first, built until she thought she would expire if she didn’t touch him. Hours could have passed as they lay in each other’s arms. His kiss both soothed and excited. Finally, he lifted his head. “I understand. Your needs are mine. But you can’t go into this relationship without knowing everything about me.”

Her thigh muscles started to shake. She fought to keep her legs together while desperate to rip the silk from her body so she could wrap herself around him. “I promise nothing you say will change my desire for you.”
“You’re in the midst of the mating fever. It came on far quicker than I expected.”

“Then, help me,” she begged. Her hands the only tool she had to work with. She worked the buttons of his tuxedo shirt, inflamed to find a T-shirt blocking her ability to touch him. Frantic she worked the shirts from his waistband and replaced them with her touch. He hissed as she gripped his ass, pushing his erection into closer contact with her. With one knee in the sofa and a foot on the floor, he made a move to sit up. She took the opening to grip his long, hard cock. He flexed his hips so she could touch him more.
He threw his head back with a moan. She worked the length of him from base to tip. With every move, she adjusted him the way she wanted. He would be putty in her hands. With her free hand, she worked the button and zipper until his pants released and his cock sprang free.

Desire to taste him, to show him she could hunt and make him her prey infused her. She brought her lips down to the red angry tip, glistening with precum, and sucked. She savored the salty flavor, taking as much of him as she could into her mouth. She didn’t have to be an expert to know it wasn’t much. His hands, which had been fisted at his sides, shot up and tangled into her golden locks, urging her to take more and creating a rhythm to follow.

She might not have experience, but she had an inner sense of what he desired. With every flex of his hips, she took a little more of him into her mouth. When she cupped his balls, he growled and pulled out of her mouth. His lips came down on hers, bruising and demanding.

“Please help me,” she whispered against his lips. She needed release only he could give.

“Boss, sorry to interrupt. You have a challenge,” a gruff voice interrupted through the double glass doors leading outside.

“Ten minutes. Give me ten fucking minutes,” he growled never taking his eyes off her. When the sound of footsteps retreated, he lifted the hem of her dress. “I would give anything to taste you right now. But, if I did, we would never get out of here.”

“Please,” she begged again. If he left her like this she would never forgive him.

BUY LINKS
Amazon - Books 2 Read



Award-Winning author Dominique Eastwick currently calls North Carolina home with her husband, two children, one crazy lab and one lazy cat. Dominique spent much of her early life moving from state to state as a Navy Brat. Because of that, traveling is one of her favorite pastimes. When not writing you can find Dominique with her second love…her camera.

Learn more about Dominique Eastwick on her website, blog, and Amazon author page. Be sure to join her Newsletter for up to the minute info on new releases, contests, and more.

Stay connected on Facebook Twitter, Tublr, and Pinterest.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Summer days with Summer Squash

from Emma Lane

Yellow Summer Squash has much potential for food creativity. I’m not a gourmet cook, but I love the fat yellow squash that will zoom past ripe if you so much as turn your back on them for a moment. Searching in the huge leaves to find the small tender ones is the ticket. If too big, discard the seeds and use the still tender outside.

This is my modified recipe and I heartily encourage you to create your own. For me the addition of Ritz Crackers is the secret to a tasty, easy meal. I presume any sort of crackers will do, but do try for the Ritz-only the best, ya know. Humming while I execute a fancy step or two around the kitchen. This recipe makes a perfect side dish for four.


Summer Yellow Squash Casserole
5 medium yellow summer squash (washed and parboiled)
½ onion, chopped fine
1 carton unflavored and unsweetened yogurt
½ cup cream cheese
1 egg slightly beaten
¼ cup milk
1 stick butter melted
1 package Ritz Crackers
Black pepper and salt to taste

Arrange squash and onion in casserole dish. Set aside.

Combine yogurt, cream cheese, and egg in a small bowl. Crumble crackers in a separate bowl, pour melted butter over and stir.

Pour liquid ingredients over squash and onion. Spread cracker mixture over the casserole evenly.

Cover and cook in microwave oven for approximately 15 minutes on high. Remove cover after 10 minutes and finish.

If desired, add small amount grated carrot, Parmesan cheese combined with Ritz Crackers, crumbled cheddar cheese over squash added before crackers.

FOR A COMPLETE MEAL
Oven baked pork chops covered with mushroom soup
Summer Squash Casserole
Corn bread (or biscuits)
Sliced tomatoes drizzled with Italian Zesty dressing on bed of lettuce
Peaches a la mode sprinkled with fresh blueberries

While you're waiting for everyone to come home for dinner, here's a teaser from one of my Regency books.

What happens when a strong heroine meets an arrogant, but handsome hero? Sparks fly. It's a Regency Romance Romp!


Miss Amabel Hawkins acknowledges her unusual upbringing, but she thinks James Langley, the Duke of Westerton, might be a tad unbalanced when he protests her efforts to right his badly managed properties. The duke, who has been away on the king's business, demonstrates no respect for the beautiful but managing Miss Hawkins. Amabel has taken refuge at Westerton, fleeing from a forced marriage to a man who claims to be her relative in order to gain control of her young brother's estate.

The Duke arrives home to find his estate under the firm control of a beautiful but managing female. His suspicions are fueled by his recent task of spy-hunting and he wonders if Amabel Hawkins is just who she seems. While a dastardly spy lurks, a wicked man poses as her cousin threatening to take over the guardianship of her young brother. Amabel might be falling in love, but she knows for certain the duke would never approve of a meddlesome woman, and she decides to flee his estate. Will the duke finally realize the true value of the woman he loves or will his prejudice ruin his chances forever?

Amazon Buy Link


Emma Lane enjoys leaving her garden for a few hours to dip into the romance genre Regency era of history. Join her for a glimpse of a half selkie fairy as she teases a powerful duke and fights the curse of a lowly, evil warlock. Other Regency romances are available on Amazon and Wild Rose Press. As Janis Lane she writes a series of Cozy Mysteries for Soul Mate Publishing.

Look for information about writing and plants on her new website. Leave a comment or a gardening question and put a smile on Emma's face.

Stay connected to Emma on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, August 21, 2017

COVER REVEAL for CHRIS PAVESIC

Coming September 25, 2017 , a LitRPG by Chris Pavesic. For those who may not be familiar with the genre, LitRPG is a subgenre of science fiction and fantasy which describes the hero's adventures within an online computer game. Here is a glimpse of this fascinating new story.

When hydrologists inscribe the consciousness of a human mind onto a single drop of water, a Revelation sweeps the land. The wealthy race to upload their minds into self-contained virtual realities nicknamed Aquariums. In these containers people achieve every hope, dream, and desire. But governments wage war for control of the technology. Terrorist attacks cause massive destruction. The Aquariums fail. Inscribed human minds leech into the water cycle, wreaking havoc.

Street gangs rule the cities in the three years since the fall of civilization. Sixteen-year-old Cami and her younger sister Alby struggle to survive. Every drop of untreated water puts their lives in peril. Caught and imprisoned by soldiers who plan to sell them into slavery, Cami will do anything to escape and rescue her sister. Even if it means leaving the real word for a life in the realms, a new game-like reality created by the hydrologists for the chosen few.

But life in the realms isn’t as simple as it seems. Magic, combat, gear scores, quests, and dungeons are all puzzles to be solved as the sisters navigate their new surroundings. And they encounter more dangerous enemies than any they faced in the real world.

Time to play the game.

PROLOGUE
I was born into a world where silicone still ruled. Where the products of the earth outshone those of the sea. Integrated circuits ran all electronic equipment and scientists strove to make the conducting lines smaller and smaller. Silicon Valley tried, and failed, to make chips fast enough to upload human consciousness.

The Revelation came a few years later from the hydrologists. They designed a system that did not use silicone, but instead worked with water molecules. The hydrologists managed to imprint the consciousness of a human mind on a single drop of water.

The water was to be kept in self-contained, sealed aquariums—pure, undiluted, eternal—where virtual realities were constructed to meet every need and desire. All of human knowledge encoded and stored in literal pools of data and integrated with the drops of human consciousness. It was, the hydrologists claimed, utopia achieved.

The obscenely rich were the hydrologist’s first clients, many taken near the end of their lives. The procedure did not always work, but there were enough successes to spur people’s interest. People suffering from terminal illnesses volunteered to be inscribed, and the hydrologists worked and refined their process. Private companies formed and competition forced price wars. Hundreds of customers grew to thousands, and then to millions. There were landmark court cases arguing whether or not health insurance should cover the cost of the inscription—whether or not this was a medical procedure designed to save lives or a form of physician assisted suicide. The law struggled to decide if life ended when the body was drained to a dry, leathery husk, or if life continued inside those glowing, sealed aquariums.

I was thirteen when the governments seized control of the laboratories, first in the Eastern European countries. Then the labs of Europe and the Middle East were swallowed up. Terrorist attacks soon followed and destroyed most of the civilized world over the next three years. The United States, Canada, and Greece, those bastions of democracy, did not fall until the very end. Of course, by then no one cared whether or not the government or the private companies ran the uploading programs. Many of the aquariums ruptured in the strife and the droplets, imbued with human consciousness, re-entered the water cycle of the planet.


Chris Pavesic is a fantasy author who lives in the Midwestern United States and loves Kona coffee, steampunk, fairy tales, and all types of speculative fiction. Between writing projects, Chris can most often be found reading, gaming, gardening, working on an endless list of DIY household projects, or hanging out with friends.

Learn more about Chris on her website and blog.

Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, and her Amazon Author Page.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

An Annapolis Treat that Can't Be Beat

from Leigh Goff

BEWITCHING HANNAH, an enchanting young adult fantasy set in Annapolis, Maryland, will release its magic on September 17th. Look for it in print and e-book on Amazon, BN.com, and MirrorWorldPublishing.com.

In the story, sixteen-year-old Hannah Fitzgerald enjoys her carb-loaded snacks, including an Annapolis comfort food favorite—crab dip pretzels piled high with creamy crap dip that incorporates fresh jumbo lump crab from the Chesapeake Bay. This recipe is a Maryland classic that even fictional characters love!

Crab Dip Pretzels
@sallybakeblog
1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese
½ cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp. horseradish
½ tsp. minced garlic
2 tbsp. minced onion
1 tbsp. lemon juice
½ tsp. hot pepper sauce
1 (8 ounce container) jumbo lump crabmeat (not canned)
white pepper to taste
4 soft pretzels
2 cups shredded Colby-Jack cheese

Preheat oven to 350° F (175° C).

Beat cream cheese, mayonnaise, and horseradish in a large bowl until smooth. Stir in garlic, onion, lemon juice, and hot pepper sauce.

Gently fold in the crabmeat, and season with white pepper to taste. Spoon mixture evenly over the pretzels, and sprinkle each with ½ cup shredded cheese.

Place pretzels in oven until cheese is melted and the topping bubbles, about 20 minutes.

Enjoy!

Here's a peek at both of Leigh Goff’s exciting novels.

COVER REVEAL COMING SOON
Hannah, the thirteenth great-granddaughter of the Wizard Earl Fitzgerald, has always known she was descended from a troubled legacy of alchemy and dark magic. Although a stranger to her coven in Annapolis, she is no stranger to grief and denial; however, when an ancient prophecy reveals the rise of a young, powerful witch and the impending death of another, she realizes she can no longer afford to suppress the magic that has taken away so much. She seeks out the frighteningly scarred, yet mysterious W who is destined to change her life, but even he cannot prepare her for the secrets she must unlock – including one that reveals the location of an unimaginably powerful elixir.

Enemies will hurt her. Loved ones will make her vulnerable. And the impending prophecy that drives her to unleash her magic will cause her to unearth the sins of the past and doubt any promise of a future. Without knowing whom her true rival is, Hannah isn’t certain she’ll survive the game Fate is playing, and if she loses, she may lose everything, including the ones she loves.



Sophie Goodchild is a sixteen-year-old witch living with her eccentric aunt in the small town of Wethersfield, Connecticut—the sight of the first American Witch Trials. She is descended from a powerful black witch, but struggles with her erratic white magic while dealing with a mean girl witch clique known as the Glitterati, who love to make Sophie feel like she is less than they are.

Sophie is beautiful with wild waves of sable-colored hair, eyes the color of dark blue sapphires, and heart-shaped pillowy lips. More importantly, she is beautiful on the inside, although she hides it well behind her impatience and impetuousness, which makes her very relatable.

It is those heart-strong characteristics that lead her into trouble, and since she is ruled by her heart, she’s all in once she finds trouble. She is fiercely loyal, determined, and fearless and there is nothing she wouldn’t do or sacrifice for the ones she loves, especially when she learns of the true love curse her ancestor cast on the Mather family.

When Judge Mather, a descendant of the reverend who condemned Sophie’s witch ancestor to hang, finds out his handsome son (who has recently returned to Wethersfield with a sexy British accent and a face that could melt a black witch’s heart) has fallen hard for Sophie, things get even more dangerous for her. Dark secrets come to light and impossible choices are made as Sophie sacrifices everything, including her soul to save her forbidden true love.

Buy Links:
Mirror World Publishing - Amazon


Leigh Goff loves writing young adult fiction with elements of magic and romance because it's also what she liked to read. Born and raised on the East Coast, she now lives in Maryland where she enjoys the area's great history and culture.

Leigh is a graduate of the University of Maryland, University College and a member of the Maryland Writers' Association and Romance Writers of America. She is also an approved artist with the Maryland State Arts Council. Her debut novel, Disenchanted, was inspired by the Wethersfield witches of Connecticut and was released by Mirror World Publishing. Leigh is currently working on her next novel, The Witch's Ring which is set in Annapolis.

Learn more about Leigh Goff on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Monday, August 14, 2017

COVER REVEAL for CATHERINE CASTLE

Coming September 2017 A Groom for Mama, a sweet romantic comedy by Catherine Castle, from Soul Mate Publishing.

One date for every medical test—that’s the deal. Allison, however, gets more than she bargains for. She gets a Groom for Mama.

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

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

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


Multi-award-winning author Catherine Castle has been writing all her life. A former freelance writer, she has over 600 articles and photographs to her credit (under her real name) in the Christian and secular market. Now she writes sweet and inspirational romance. Her debut inspirational romantic suspense, The Nun and the Narc, published in 2013 from Soul Mate Publishing, has garnered multiple contests finals and wins, including:
2014 Beverly Hills Book Award Winner for Inspirational Romance
2014 RONE WINNER for Inspirational romance
2014 EPIC finalist for Action/adventure romance
2014 Carolyn Readers Choice Award finalist

Find The Nun and the Narc on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Learn more about Catherine Castle on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to check out Catherine’s Amazon author page and her Goodreads page. You can also find Catherine on Stitches Thru Time and the SMP authors blog site.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Gingerbread? In Summer? YOU BET!

from Chris Pavesic

Many people tend to think about gingerbread around the winter holidays with good reason. The tradition of decorating a gingerbread house began in Germany during the 16th century and was associated with Christmas. Queen Elizabeth I is credited for the idea of making ornaments out of gingerbread men, gilding the dough with gold leaf and decorating them to resemble the dignitaries visiting her court. Yet during this era gingerbread was also served in the spring and summer with shapes that changed with the seasons. Spring cookies were shaped into flowers while summer cookies featured birds.

Why is this type of dessert so popular? The fact that ginger has a history of relieving digestive problems, such as nausea and indigestion, may be a factor, especially since it’s served on traditional “feast days” after a large meal. So these cookies could be a nice addition to your next backyard barbeque or picnic when your guests have overindulged.

These cookies go great with coffee or French vanilla ice cream!

Spring Fling Gingerbread Cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground cloves
¼ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup (1 Stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
⅓ cup brown sugar, packed
⅓ cup unsulfured molasses
1 large egg
decorating sugar or sprinkles

In a medium-sized bowl, sift the dry ingredients together into a medium-sized bowl.

Use an electric mixer to beat butter and brown sugar in a large bowl until smooth. Beat in molasses and egg. Set the mixer on low, and then add dry ingredients slowly. Mix until dough is formed.

Place dough on floured plastic wrap. Wrap well and chill in the refrigerator until firm. (Between 1-2 hours)

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Divide dough in half. Working with one half at a time (rewrap and refrigerate other half), place dough on floured parchment or waxed paper. Roll it out to ⅛ inch thick, turning, lifting, and flouring dough (and rolling pin) as needed. Freeze dough (on paper) until firm, about 20 minutes.

Repeat this process with the second half of the dough.

Loosen dough from paper. Cut out shapes and transfer to baking sheets. Decorate as desired.

Bake until firm and edges just begin to darken, 10 to 18 minutes, depending on the size of the cookie. Cool completely on baking sheets.

What’s Next?
I am currently working on two projects. I have a two book epic fantasy in the draft/beta reading stage and I am working on a LitRPG novel concept. For those who might not be familiar with the genre, LitRPG is a subgenre of science fiction and fantasy which describes the hero's adventures within an online computer game. Finally my love of gaming and writing are coming together! I knew all of those nights I stayed up playing MMORPGs would pay off someday. Right now my LitRPG is in the hands of my editor.

It all boils down to more time in front of the computer and putting words on the screen. Over the next few months I will make more announcements as events warrant. Until then my short stories are available on Amazon.com and are free if you have Kindle Unlimited.


Praise for Heart & Mind
“The author has managed to weave an intricate web about being true to yourself. One shouldn't be guided or led by others. Above all, feel the magic in your own heart. As the fairy godmother believes sometimes it is best not to mess with destiny.” –Chief, USN Ret...VT Town—a Top 500 Reviewer on Amazon.com

Praise for The World In Front of Me
"Picked up this short story because I noted it was previously published in Penumbra, which was a pretty high quality publication. And this story lived up to my expectations for a professional quality piece.

The story's main idea reminded me a lot of the Lakeside community in Neil Gaimon's American Gods, but I won't say anymore about that for fear of giving away spoilers. But fans of Gaimon should really enjoy this story. Fans of strong women who make tough choices should enjoy this as well"—KSluss—Review on Amazon.com

Praise for Going Home
"This is an excellent short story that is full of surprises for the reader. Martial law is about to be imposed in the colony.

A secret room, trips on a train and a clandestine meeting are all part of this superb short story.

Most highly recommended"—Off Grid . . . And Loving It—a Top 500 Reviewer on Amazon.com

Praise for Wonderland
"The writing is beautiful, the characters are complex and thoroughly developed and the story is fascinating. All of it together creates a world you don't want to leave when the book ends. I am so glad I discovered this author and I cannot wait for her next book"—Mary—Review on Amazon.com

Read excerpts from all of the books written by Chris Pavesic on Amazon.


Chris Pavesic is a fantasy author who lives in the Midwestern United States and loves Kona coffee, steampunk, fairy tales, and all types of speculative fiction. Between writing projects, Chris can most often be found reading, gaming, gardening, working on an endless list of DIY household projects, or hanging out with friends. Learn more about Chris on her website.

Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, August 07, 2017

DIANNA GUNN TELLS IT LIKE IT IS

Canadian author Dianna Gunn is here today to discuss her hot-selling YA fantasy and what the future holds for her. So let's get to it.

Welcome, Dianna. Please describe Keeper of the Dawn in three words.
Passionate, hopeful, magical.

What part of the story came to you first?
Lai started out as a character in a fantasy parody project which will never see the light of day. She quickly became the most interesting thing about the book, so I scrapped it and wrote her story instead.

What was the biggest surprise when you were writing Keeper of the Dawn?
That it was a book at all. I started with a short story of about 6,000 words, focused mostly on the priestess trials that are now the first third of the book. Every draft made it longer, sometimes only a couple thousand words longer, once or twice 10,000 words longer. The final edits brought it almost to 40,000 words. So it's still a short book, but it's a book. It's still kind of weird to me, to be honest.

If you could have lunch with any one person, alive or dead, who would it be?
Definitely Sir Terry Pratchett. I haven't read anything close to the entire Discworld series, but I've read enough to be astounded by the quality of his work. Being funny in fiction, especially novels, is hard, which is why I never wrote that parody project. I am astounded by his ability to remain funny until the very end.

What's next for you?
So many things! I've actually started writing a non-fiction book with the working title Self Care for Creative People and I'm editing an adult fantasy novelette (around 10,000 words) for self publication hopefully in October. And I'm about to start editing Moonshadow's Guardian, a full length fantasy novel I plan to release next fall.

Here's a little about Keeper of the Dawn for your reading pleasure.

All Lai has ever wanted is to become a priestess, like her mother and grandmother before her, in service to her beloved goddess. That's before the unthinkable happens, and Lai fails the trials she's trained for her entire life. She makes the only choice she believes she can: she runs away.

From her isolated desert homeland, Lai rides north to the colder, stranger kingdom of Alanum – a land where magic, and female warriors, are not commonplace.

Here, she hears tales about a mountain city of women guardians and steel forgers, worshipping goddesses who sound very similar to Lai's own. Determined to learn more about these women, these Keepers of the Dawn, Lai travels onward to find their temple. She is determined to make up for her past failure, and will do whatever it takes to join the sacred order.

Falling in love with another initiate wasn't part of the plan.

Keeper of the Dawn is a story of new beginnings, second chances, and the endurance of hope.

EXCERPT
Lai practiced until well after dark, ignoring the call for supper. She tore a massive hole into one of the dummies with a training sword in her rage, but it didn’t make her feel better. She had spent most of her life training for this day, and Kaiden ruined it with a few words about their father.

Eventually she gave up and collapsed in a heap on the ground, pulling her knees up to her chest so she could rest her chin on them. She forced herself to breathe deeply, using all her willpower to push the rage into the ground. Bit by bit it drained into the soil around her, dispersing harmlessly.

She sat like that in the clearing until clouds engulfed the stars and rain started pouring, one of the last rains before the dry weeks of summer. Lifting the hood of her robes to cover her head, she rose and hurried towards the temple.

Her left foot caught on something and Lai flew through the air, losing her grip on her sword and landing face first in a puddle. Her nose shattered when it smashed into the tough ground, and when she grabbed it to feel the damage her hand came away covered in equal parts mud and blood. Her stomach churned as she picked herself back up, her whole body aching.

Something sharp pierced her back, tearing into her skin and muscles like sharp fire. She screamed and fell face first to the ground. She caught herself on her forearms, avoiding bashing her head against the rocky path.

Lai's attacker pulled the knife out of her shoulder. She screamed as warm blood flowed freely down her back, mixing with the rain. Fiery agony filled her body, blurring her vision. She gritted her teeth and flipped over to face her attacker.

She froze at the familiar sight of white robes with golden cuffs. Another initiate. Her hood hid her face completely.

Lai gathered her strength with a deep, ragged breath and reached for her training sword. The initiate kicked Lai in the back then stomped on her wrist, grinding bone under her boot, sending sharp waves of pain up Lai’s arm.

“You understand, it has to be me.”

Lai knew that voice, but she couldn’t focus on it through the pain, couldn’t remember who it was.

The initiate seized a clump of Lai’s hair and yanked her head backwards. She knelt and raised her knife towards Lai’s exposed throat.

Something knocked the initiate into Lai’s back. Black spots appeared at the edges of her vision as agony surged outward from her wound. The other initiate didn’t move, suffocating Lai with her weight. Lai tried to lift herself up with her elbows, but a fresh wave of pain knocked the wind out of her. She col¬lapsed onto her stomach and closed her eyes, willing her body to die quickly.

BUY LINKS
AMAZON
E-book - Paperback
GOODREADS Ebook - Paperback
GOOGLE - KOBO - SMASHWORDS

Dianna L. Gunn is a freelance writer by day and a fantasy author by night. She had known she wanted to be a writer since she was eight years old. Dianna wrote her first novel for Nanowrimo at the age of eleven years old, but quickly discovered that writing books is not an easy way to make a living. So she decided to broaden her horizons, seeking another career that still allowed her to work with words.

Her freelance writing career started when she became a marketing intern at Musa Publishing(now defunct) in September 2011 and quickly became a staff writer in charge of multiple imprint blogs. Since then she has worked with a variety of small businesses and non-profits to improve their online brands and create long term marketing strategies. Some of her most notable work has been for the tech education non-profit STEAMLabs and natural dog care company ProPooch. She is dedicated to helping her clients build successful brands and making their dreams come true.

Need help creating awesome content for your business? Send an email to diannalgunn@gmail.com explaining what your needs are, and she will help you.

When she isn’t helping her clients bring their dreams to life, Dianna can be found working on her own dream of being a successful fantasy author. Dianna blogs about writing, creativity, and books at The Dabbler.

Learn more about Dianna on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

GRASS SKIRT OPTIONAL

When you prepare this easy and delicious crock-pot supper from Vonnie Hughes. You and your family are sure to enjoy this island dish.

SWEET HAWAIIAN CROCK-POT CHICKEN
2 lbs chicken tenderloin chunks
1 cup pineapple juice
½ cup of brown sugar
⅓ cup of soy sauce

Combine all ingredients together and cook on low in your crock-pot (slow cooker) for 6 hours. That’s it!

Because this does not contain vegetables you need to serve this either with a crisp green salad that contains red bell peppers for colour, or with a couple of vegetables such as kale and shallots tossed for a minute in garlic infused olive oil so that the crispness contrasts with the chicken.

Here is a peek at Vonnie's latest romantic suspense.

Who can you trust if you can’t trust your own mother? Through the clammy fog, Celie Francis hears the chilling message. “I know who you are, Celie. I know where you live.” And in the terrifying aftermath she reconnects with her dysfunctional family in ways she had never imagined.

BLURB:
Abused and abandoned as a child, Célie Francis knows better than to trust anyone. But after she witnesses a murder, she's placed in the Unit "New Zealand's witness protection program" where she's expected to trust strangers with her life.

It's psychologist Brand Turner's job to ease witnesses into their new identities, not to protect them, but Célie stirs feelings in him that are far from professional. When it appears someone is leaking critical information that could endanger Célie, Brand will do anything to protect her. But first he has to convince her to trust him.

Adrift in a frightening world, Célie would like to believe the handsome psychologist is everything he seems, but as witnesses are murdered and danger swirls around them, Célie must decide "can she trust Brand with her life? 

Please click a vendor's name to read more from Lethal Refuge The Wild Rose Press and Amazon.

Vonnie Hughes is a multi-published author in both Regency books and contemporary suspense. She loves the intricacies of the social rules of the Regency period and the far-ranging consequences of the Napoleonic Code. And with suspense she has free rein to explore forensic matters and the strong convolutions of the human mind. Like many writers, some days she hates the whole process, but somehow she just cannot let it go.

Vonnie was born in New Zealand, but she and her husband now live happily in Australia. If you visit Hamilton Gardens in New Zealand be sure to stroll through the Japanese Garden. These is a bronze plaque engraved with a haiku describing the peacefulness of that environment. The poem was written by Vonnie.

All of Vonnie’s books are available on The Wild Rose Press and Amazon.

Learn more about Vonnie Hughes on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Goodreads.

Monday, July 31, 2017

UNLEASHING MAGIC IN ANNAPOLIS

Leigh Goff’s next enchanting novel, BEWITCHING HANNAH, is on its way from Mirror World Publishing! The magic will unleash on September 17th. The young adult fantasy set in present-day Annapolis, Maryland (lots of scenes are set at the historic sites in the author’s hometown), focuses on Hannah Fitzgerald, a sixteen-year-old Chesapeake witch. And even if being a witch sounds super cool, it’s the last thing she wants.

Hannah, the thirteenth great-granddaughter of the Wizard Earl Fitzgerald, has always known she was descended from a troubled legacy of alchemy and dark magic. Although a stranger to her coven in Annapolis, she is no stranger to grief and denial; however, when an ancient prophecy reveals the rise of a young, powerful witch and the impending death of another, she realizes she can no longer afford to suppress the magic that has taken away so much. She seeks out the frighteningly scarred, yet mysterious W who is destined to change her life, but even he cannot prepare her for the secrets she must unlock – including one that reveals the location of an unimaginably powerful elixir.

Enemies will hurt her. Loved ones will make her vulnerable. And the impending prophecy that drives her to unleash her magic will cause her to unearth the sins of the past and doubt any promise of a future. Without knowing whom her true rival is, Hannah isn’t certain she’ll survive the game Fate is playing, and if she loses, she may lose everything, including the ones she loves.

Here's a brief intro to DISENCHANTED, Leigh's first novel.

Sophie Goodchild is a sixteen-year-old witch living with her eccentric aunt in the small town of Wethersfield, Connecticut—the sight of the first American Witch Trials. She is descended from a powerful black witch, but struggles with her erratic white magic while dealing with a mean girl witch clique known as the Glitterati, who love to make Sophie feel like she is less than they are.

Sophie is beautiful with wild waves of sable-colored hair, eyes the color of dark blue sapphires, and heart-shaped pillowy lips. More importantly, she is beautiful on the inside, although she hides it well behind her impatience and impetuousness, which makes her very relatable.

It is those heart-strong characteristics that lead her into trouble, and since she is ruled by her heart, she’s all in once she finds trouble. She is fiercely loyal, determined, and fearless and there is nothing she wouldn’t do or sacrifice for the ones she loves, especially when she learns of the true love curse her ancestor cast on the Mather family.

When Judge Mather, a descendant of the reverend who condemned Sophie’s witch ancestor to hang, finds out his handsome son (who has recently returned to Wethersfield with a sexy British accent and a face that could melt a black witch’s heart) has fallen hard for Sophie, things get even more dangerous for her. Dark secrets come to light and impossible choices are made as Sophie sacrifices everything, including her soul to save her forbidden true love.

Buy Links:
Mirror World Publishing - Amazon


Leigh Goff loves writing young adult fiction with elements of magic and romance because it's also what she liked to read. Born and raised on the East Coast, she now lives in Maryland where she enjoys the area's great history and culture.

Leigh is a graduate of the University of Maryland, University College and a member of the Maryland Writers' Association and Romance Writers of America. She is also an approved artist with the Maryland State Arts Council. Her debut novel, Disenchanted, was inspired by the Wethersfield witches of Connecticut and was released by Mirror World Publishing. Leigh is currently working on her next novel, The Witch's Ring which is set in Annapolis.

Learn more about Leigh Goff on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

ELEGANT and REFRESHING

from Chris Pavesic

This is a quick and easy recipe that is perfect for summer. There is very little preparation involved in this 4-ingredient dish and you have a beautiful looking dessert for your family and friends.

Reverse Strawberry Cheesecake
1 quart fresh strawberries
1 8 oz. package cream cheese
1 tbsp. vanilla
1 package of Animal Crackers, my family likes the chocolate ones

1 Icing Decorator

Wash the strawberries and cut off the stem/leaves. Use the largest berries for the containers, reserving the smaller ones for the filling. Cut the bottom off of the berries so they sit flat on a plate and hollow out the center so it can hold the filling.

Place the “container” berries on paper towels. This helps to dry them a bit so the juices do not run onto the plate after they are filled.

Blend the cream cheese, vanilla, and small strawberries well in a bowl. Put the mixture into the icing decorator and fill the container berries.

Place the filled berries on the plate and top with an animal cracker of your choice.

Serve immediately.

What’s Next?
I am currently working on two projects. I have a two book epic fantasy in the draft/beta reading stage and I am working on a LitRPG novel concept. For those who might not be familiar with the genre, LitRPG is a subgenre of science fiction and fantasy which describes the hero's adventures within an online computer game. Finally my love of gaming and writing are coming together! I knew all of those nights I stayed up playing MMORPGs would pay off someday. Right now I am in the world-building stage for my LitRPG.

It all boils down to more time in front of the computer and putting words on the screen. Over the next few months I will make more announcements as events warrant. Until then my short stories are available on Amazon.com and are free if you have Kindle Unlimited.


Praise for Heart & Mind
“The author has managed to weave an intricate web about being true to yourself. One shouldn't be guided or led by others. Above all, feel the magic in your own heart. As the fairy godmother believes sometimes it is best not to mess with destiny.” –Chief, USN Ret...VT Town—a Top 500 Reviewer on Amazon.com

Praise for The World In Front of Me
"Picked up this short story because I noted it was previously published in Penumbra, which was a pretty high quality publication. And this story lived up to my expectations for a professional quality piece.

The story's main idea reminded me a lot of the Lakeside community in Neil Gaimon's American Gods, but I won't say anymore about that for fear of giving away spoilers. But fans of Gaimon should really enjoy this story. Fans of strong women who make tough choices should enjoy this as well"—KSluss—Review on Amazon.com

Praise for Going Home
"This is an excellent short story that is full of surprises for the reader. Martial law is about to be imposed in the colony.

A secret room, trips on a train and a clandestine meeting are all part of this superb short story.

Most highly recommended"—Off Grid . . . And Loving It—a Top 500 Reviewer on Amazon.com

Praise for Wonderland
"The writing is beautiful, the characters are complex and thoroughly developed and the story is fascinating. All of it together creates a world you don't want to leave when the book ends. I am so glad I discovered this author and I cannot wait for her next book"—Mary—Review on Amazon.com

Read excerpts from all of the books written by Chris Pavesic on Amazon.


Chris Pavesic is a fantasy author who lives in the Midwestern United States and loves Kona coffee, steampunk, fairy tales, and all types of speculative fiction. Between writing projects, Chris can most often be found reading, gaming, gardening, working on an endless list of DIY household projects, or hanging out with friends. Learn more about Chris on her website.

Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, July 24, 2017

BIAGGI'S - A CUT ABOVE

Throughout the year Studs works with disabled swimmers. He's happy to volunteer his time every Tuesday. The athletes are wonderful and so are the other coaches. Everyone’s hard work shines in June at the Special Olympics in Normal, Illinois. Studs and most of coaches are there to support the athletes and make sure their swimmers are ready and pumped for their events on Friday and Saturday.

Studs and I started a tradition eight years ago. We celebrate the wins and mourn the losses with a well deserved dinner at a classic Italian restaurant on Veteran’s Parkway in Bloomington, Illinois. The food is amazing and the waitstaff is always great. Reservations aren’t required, but recommended.




This year was the ultimate in dining and service. Allow me to introduce you to Colleen, bartender, and server extraordinaire. This young woman is knowledgeable about the complete menu, personable, concocts fabulous adult beverages, and makes it a point to not be intrusive. She has the gift of timing that few servers ever acquire.

On Colleen's recommendation we shared a Caesar Salad and then a beautiful bottle of Placido Chianti to accompany the Spaghetti with Wild Boar Ragu Studs chose and my Short Rib Ravioli. Talk about perfection!



Colleen introduced us to Kyle her co-bartender whose blending techniques are awesome. Kyle is also a server when necessary. He's talented and handsome and intelligent. What more can anyone want from a bartender? Oh and did I fail to mention that his smile is a knockout?

Biaggi's is a casual dress restaurant even though the tables are set with crisp linens. They offer superb fresh food and have a flair for creating an intimate atmosphere with subdued lighting and plenty of space between tables. It is a beautiful experience and one we will enjoy many times. It's a must, their menu's too tempting!



They have twenty restaurants around the country. To find the one closest to you click HERE. I guarantee you'll love the food at any of them. Unfortunately, you won't have Colleen or Kyle, and that's a real shame.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

COOKIES WITH A TWIST

and we're not talking Oreos.

from Anne Montgomery

When Ruth Graves Wakefield invented chocolate chip cookies in 1938 – hence forth named Toll House Cookies for the inn she owned in Whitman, Massachusetts – the confection became an instant American classic. So, perhaps, no one should be messing with these gooey, nutty hunks of near perfection. Ah, but I couldn’t help myself. As I’ve gotten older my taste buds seem to dance less at the prospect of excessive sweetness and more for. . . something else. I began tinkering with Ruth’s invention – I hope she doesn’t mind – and came up with these jam-packed babies that I call. . .

Twisted Chocolate Chip Cookies
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups dark chocolate chips*
1 cup nuts



Frequent chocolate chip cookie bakers will note that here is where the recipe goes off the rails.

1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup dried blueberries
1 cup coconut, I prefer the type without added sugar, but either variety works.

Preheat oven to 375ºF

Mix sugars, butter, vanilla, and egg in large bowl. Stir in flour, baking soda, and salt (dough will be stiff).

Stir in chocolate, dried fruit, coconut, and nuts.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light brown round the edges (centers will be soft).

*Note: Chocolate chips retain their shape because they contain less cocoa butter than high-end chocolate, so purists may want to chop their own chocolate to get more of the good stuff.

Enjoy!

Here's a peek into my latest novel while you nibble your delicious cookies.

Two Arizona teens find their fates intertwined. Are there any adults they can trust? Can they even trust each other?

Rose Madsen will do anything to keep from being married off to one of the men in her Fundamentalist Mormon (FLDS) community, even endure the continued beatings and abuse of her mother. But when her mentally handicapped baby sister is forced to strangle the bird she loves at the behest of the Prophet, Rose frees the bird and runs away.

Adan Reyes will do anything to escape the abusive foster care system in Phoenix, even leaving his good friends and successful high school athletic career behind him. Ill-prepared for surviving the desert, Adan hits the road only to suffer heat stroke. Found by a local handyman, he catches a glimpse of a mysterious girl—Rose—running through town, and follows her into the mountains where they are both tracked and discovered by the men of the FLDS community.

With their fates now intertwined, can Rose and Adan escape the systems locking them into lives of abuse? Will Rose be forced to marry the Prophet, a man her father's age, and be one of dozens of wives, perpetually pregnant, with no hope for an education? Will Adan be returned to the foster home where bullying and cruelty are common? Is everyone they meet determined to keep them right where they belong or are some adults worthy of their trust?

Amazon Buy Link

Anne Montgomery has worked as a television sportscaster, newspaper and magazine writer, teacher, amateur baseball umpire, and high school football referee. She worked at WRBL‐TV in Columbus, Georgia, WROC‐TV in Rochester, New York, KTSP‐TV in Phoenix, Arizona, ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, where she anchored the Emmy and ACE award‐winning SportsCenter, and ASPN-TV as the studio host for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Montgomery has been a freelance and staff writer for six publications, writing sports, features, movie reviews, and archeological pieces.

When she can, Anne indulges in her passions: rock collecting, scuba diving, football refereeing, and playing her guitar.

Learn more about Anne Montgomery on Wikipedia. Stay connected on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter.