Tasty Tuesday: Potato Pudding #colonial #American #history #recipe #sidedish #whatsfordinner

Art of CookeryTasty Tuesday brings us to my adaptation of Potato Pudding from The Art of Cookery. The original recipe seems fairly straightforward until you consider the methods of cooking available then versus today. So let’s start with what Mrs. Glasse would have us do, shall we?

Boil two pounds of potatoes, and beat them in a mortar fine, beat in half a pound of melted butter, boil it half an hour, pour melted butter over it, with a glass of white wine, or the juice of a Seville orange, and throw sugar all over the pudding and dish.

The first stumbling block for me is that I do not own a mortar. But I do own an electric mixer that I use to make mashed potatoes for special occasions like holidays.

IMG_2150I’m going to guess that I used about one pound of potatoes, but to be honest, I did not weigh them. I used these four because I thought it would be enough for two to four servings, which it ended up being.

The second boiling of the potatoes would have been done in a tightly woven cloth placed in a kettle of boiling water over a fire. After thinking about the options, I decided to spoon the whipped potatoes IMG_2152into a casserole dish and then I could bake the final casserole instead of boiling it again.

Notice that she also blended butter, wine or the juice of a Seville orange, then threw sugar over everything, which was intended to counter the bitterness of the wine or orange. I chose to use butter and sweet orange juice to approximate the blend of flavors she was aiming for. My hubby is not fond of wine in sauces, so I didn’t choose to use it but feel free to try some if you’d prefer.

IMG_2154Be careful when you go to melt the butter! I put it in the microwave for what I thought was a short amount of time, but the butter ended up exploding. I had to clean up the mess and try again to achieve the desired result.

The resulting casserole was indeed a hit around here. It was fairly easy to make and again included only whole, fresh ingredients readily available at my local grocery store. I hope you try it and enjoy it as much as we did.

IMG_2157Ingredients

4 medium-large baking potatoes

4 T butter, melted

1 T butter, melted

¼ cup OJ

Instructions

Wash, peel and cut up the potatoes into large pieces

Cover with water in a saucepan and boil until just tender

Drain the water from the potatoes.

Add 4 T melted butter.

Beat with mixer until creamy but sticky

Put in a casserole dish and bake at 300 deg for 15 minutes.

Combine 1 T melted butter and ¼ cup OJ. Pour over casserole and warm through.

I think this may become a new favorite dish to make. What do you think about wine in the sauce? Should I have tried it anyway?

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and opinions!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. Also, I’ll be sharing one chapter each month in 2017 of a new historical romance novella, Elizabeth’s Hope, the prequel to my A More Perfect Union series, with my subscribers. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit my Website for more on my books and upcoming events.

The second book in the A More Perfect Union historical romance series, Amy’s Choice, continues the saga of women seeking personal independence during the American Revolution.

Amy's ChoiceWhen Amy Abernathy’s childhood sweetheart, Benjamin Hanson, leaves to fight in the American War for Independence without a word of goodbye, Amy picks up the pieces of her heart and chooses independence. When Benjamin returns unexpectedly, Amy flees to the country to help her pregnant sister and protect her heart.

Benjamin Hanson knows he hurt Amy, but he also knows he can make it up to her after he completes his mission. Then he learns that Amy has been captured by renegade soldiers. Now Benjamin faces his own choice: free the sassy yet obstinate woman he’s never stopped loving or protect Charles Town from the vengeful British occupation.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1COKdqg

Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/ZHT9Pl

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1zlf2Vk

iBooks: http://bit.ly/1FCoy5L

Google: http://bit.ly/1ocTIfL

Serendipity related to writing The Touchstone of Raven Hollow #writerslife #newrelease #paranormal #romance

Do you believe in serendipity or coincidence? Do we have a brand new idea, or have we just picked up on a subtle repetition of a word or image that then wiggles into our conscious thought? I’m always intrigued how once you focus on a new topic or area of interest, you start seeing it everywhere. Was it there already surrounding me, or did the new word or image start appearing after the fact?

It’s also true of new places, I have found. As in, if I, out of the blue, need to go to a town or take a different route to go to a familiar place, suddenly I need to go back that same way or to that new place two or three more times in quick succession. I don’t know why, or how that happens, but it’s been true for me all of my life.

For example, when my daughter joined the local Pony Club, the leaders suggested a site for a new competition they wanted to start hosting. I was invited along to visit and assess the suitability the place, a new-to-me part of the area we lived in that was far out in the country northwest of the nearest town. Within a week or two, I had to go back through that same area on an errand. And then I made a friend who happened to live in the same vicinity. I discovered new roads and ways to get from one place to another. After a while, though, I rarely go through there as I have few reasons to do so any longer. Things just seem to come in clusters for me.

The same kind of thing happened while writing my latest release, The Touchstone of Raven Hollow. Once I chose to use ravens in the title, and then in the story as a symbol and allusion to Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “The Raven,” suddenly ravens were everywhere!

One day, while writing Touchstone, an email popped into my inbox from the Audubon Society. Now, I’m not a member and did not subscribe to their mailings, so this was rather surprising to me. Even more so was the fact that the lead article included how to tell the difference between crows and ravens! Naturally, I had to go find out what they had to say, and they even had the sound of the raven’s croak. If you’re curious, you can listen to the difference yourself here. Useful details for my story!

When I settled on the title of The Touchstone of Raven Hollow I didn’t think about whether the state park where the story is set on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee would have a population of ravens. I figured I’d have to make one up as part of the enchantment of the hollow. But then when I was researching the wildlife and birds of the state, I came across the fact that ravens do live there. And in the area of the plateau where Grant takes Tara hiking. How cool, right? I thought I’d have to invent an “unkindness” or flock of ravens living up there. But nope! Hubby and I will go hiking up there this summer when the weather is nicer. I wonder how closely my descriptions match the real hills and vales, based on my memory of hiking in other forests and the online pictures and descriptions. Should be interesting to find out! I’ll probably blog about that trip, so stay tuned.

I know a lot of people do not believe in coincidence. I do to an extent. We open ourselves to a new possibility and then we see/hear the themes and symbols around us through a new filter. How about you? Have you experienced this phenomenon I’m talking about? Do you believe in coincidence?

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. Also, I’ll be sharing one chapter each month in 2017 of a new historical romance novella, Elizabeth’s Hope, the prequel to my A More Perfect Union historical romance series, with my subscribers. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit my Website for more on my books and upcoming events.

The Touchstone of Raven Hollow (Secrets of Roseville Book 3) is available now! Grab your copy today!

The_Touchstone_of_Raven_Hollow_600x900He dug for the truth and found her magic.

Tara Golden has hidden her healing power all her life. But occasionally, she uses her abilities on people passing through town, sure they’d never figure out what saved them. Now a tall, sexy geologist is asking questions she doesn’t want to face, and he isn’t going to take no for an answer. There’s no way she would reveal her abilities and her gifted sisters for a fling.

The latest medical tests divulge geologist Grant Markel’s fatal condition is cured, but the scientist within him won’t accept it’s a miracle. When he meets the sexy, mystical witch who may hold the answer to his quest, he’s determined to prove she’s full of smoke and mirrors despite their mutual attraction.

When they are trapped in an enchanted valley, Tara must choose between her magical truth or his scientific beliefs. Can she step from the shadows to claim her true powers before it’s too late?

B&N: http://bit.ly/Touchstone-BN

Kobo: http://bit.ly/Touchstone-Kobo

Amazon: http://bit.ly/Touchstone-kindle

Amazon AU: http://bit.ly/Touchstone-Amazon-AU

Amazon CA: http://bit.ly/Touchstone-Amazon-CA

Amazon UK: http://bit.ly/Touchstone-Amazon-UK

iBooks: http://bit.ly/Touchstone-iBooks

Tasty Tuesday: Spinach & Eggs #vegetable #recipe #historical #American #whatsfordinner

Time for Tasty Tuesday and the first of my adapted recipes from The Art of Cookery! The original recipe was called Stewed Spinach and Eggs. But it’s more than just those two ingredients. Here’s the complete recipe from the 1802 edition:

Art of CookeryPick and wash your spinach very clean, put it into a saucepan, with a little salt; cover it close, shake the pan often; when it is just tender, and whilst it is green, throw it into a sieve to drain. Lay it in your dish. In the mean time have a stew pan of water boiling. Break as many eggs into cups as you would poach. When the water boils put in the eggs, have an egg-slice ready to take them out with, lay them on the spinach, and garnish the dish with Seville orange cut into quarters, with melted butter in a cup.

So the first thing I had to do was interpret the intent behind the cooking and figure out what exactly the finished dish would look like.

IMG_2147It’s obvious what “pick and wash” the greens means, and then to put them in a saucepan – it would have to be a big pot by our standards with a lid. I chose a large soup pot with a lid.

Then to drain it in a “sieve” or colander before putting it in a “dish” of some kind. I imagined the finished dish to present nicest on a small platter but any kind of bowl or casserole dish would suit.

IMG_2145Then in a “stew pan” break eggs into cups to poach them, or boil them until done to your liking. Hmm, I thought. Hubby and I are not fond of poached eggs, so that had to change. Hard boiled eggs would also serve the purpose, and allow for slicing to provide even more color and thus improve the presentation while staying close to the taste combinations.

IMG_2148Then lay the cooked eggs on the spinach and add quartered “Seville” oranges, which I discovered are known for being bitter/sour. I can’t get Seville oranges easily in my area, anyway, so I’d have to adapt that as well. I chose a lovely navel orange and used it to provide a contrast to the other flavors.

IMG_2146I also do not cook with salt due to previous health concerns (diabetes and heart disease for my dad, and kidney stones for my hubby), so that would also need to go. Then the bit of melted butter to dip the green into. I wasn’t sure about the butter being needed either, but I could see some kind of moisture was needed to cook the spinach greens. So instead of butter and salt, I used some extra virgin olive oil and minced garlic. By cooking the greens this way, the need to drain the spinach was eliminated. I simply spooned the cooked greens onto the platter and garnished with the eggs and orange.

Here’s my adapted recipe for Spinach and Eggs. We really enjoyed it, and I hope you will also!

IMG_2149Ingredients:

2 pkgs 6 oz each baby spinach leaves

1 T olive oil

Minced garlic to taste

2 hard boiled eggs, sliced

1 naval orange, segmented

Instructions:

Heat the first three ingredients in a large covered pot until the spinach is tender.

Arrange spinach on a platter. Add sliced eggs and orange segments. Enjoy!

While I don’t always add the orange and eggs, I have found I really enjoy cooking the spinach this way every time. The greens taste so fresh and yummy with all natural ingredients that are easy to purchase at my local grocery.

What do you think? Sound good to you? Do you think any other greens would also work in this kind of recipe?

Next week, Potato Pudding, which isn’t what you’re probably thinking it is… Until then!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. Also, I’ll be sharing one chapter each month in 2017 of a new historical romance novella, Elizabeth’s Hope, the prequel to my A More Perfect Union series, with my subscribers. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit my Website for more on my books and upcoming events.

Emily's Vow Finalist SealEmily Sullivan’s greatest fear is dying in childbirth, as did her twin sister and their mother. Then she’s thrown in a loyalist prison for her privateering father’s raids on the British, and her accuser—a former beau—promises to recant if she will marry him.

Frank Thomson always loved Emily despite her refusal to return his affections. A patriot spy posing as a loyalist officer, when Frank learns of Emily’s plight, he challenges her accuser to a duel.

Freed from prison, Emily ponders returning the affections of her rescuer—the only man she’s ever loved and who married her twin to save the Sullivan family’s reputation. But Frank cannot afford to be discovered. For the sake of young America, he must deliver his secrets.

Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1wZML3a

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1obL3tT

iBooks: http://bit.ly/1FCoy5L

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1t75sMh

Google: http://bit.ly/13Bll94

On Birthing a Book #writerslife #newrelease #paranormal #romance

Releasing a new book for sale, which is often likened to a book birthday, involves quite a few moving pieces and many more decisions. When I decided to indie publish my paranormal romance series, Secrets of Roseville, I did so knowing this fact. I’d researched the process, the options, and then discussed the overall concepts and the associated costs involved with my loving hubby.

What I didn’t know was that the choices and decisions never end! <grin> I thought I’d share a bit about how I work through the entire cycle from writing to release. And a few ah-ha moments of my own. Here goes!

The first step for me when beginning a new story project is to create the premise, the characters’ GMC (goal, motivation, and conflict) statements for both internal and external GMC. At this point, I also contemplate the title as a focus for the writing. For The Touchstone of Raven Hollow, it took a working lunch with an author friend to nail down the keywords and then the title. I also decided to retell an Irish myth as part of the core to the story, which helped focus the telling of Tara and Grant’s romance and the situations they would face and have to conquer.

With the premise and GMC and title nailed down, then it was on to drafting what I call scene beats, but actually is much more than that. I create a Word document that is an extensive table with columns for Chapter/Scene, Action, Characters & Setting, Relationship & Emotions, and Timeline. The first entry, including the Inciting Incident, for Touchstone looks like this:

Touchstone Scene Beats ImageI drafted the scenes I knew had to be included in the story, and then moved them around to make sense, adding others as I slowly built the story logic. This is not set in stone, however. As I write, the action changes, other scenes are added, some combined. Once I’m satisfied with the overall story, then I ask my critique partner for her opinion and suggestions on upping the tension, the motivation, the action, etc. Then I start writing, one scene each morning until the first draft is completed. Then I start again at the beginning, fleshing out the motivation, the emotional connections, and setting details to weave in the back story and its impact on the characters as they face their challenges.

Then it’s off to beta readers, those handful of readers I ask to be guinea pigs as far as what they like and don’t about the story, the characters, whatever feedback they care to give me. I pick my betas based on whether they are readers only or writers also, choosing some of each. I make sure the people I ask to read enjoy the genre in general, so they have a feel for what is expected in the story. Once I have all their comments, then I do another revision pass before sending it off to my editor.

While the story is being edited, I focus on the business side of the story. For The Touchstone of Raven Hollow, I actually failed to do my normal routine because of the interfering household move from Tennessee to Alabama. A fact I realized while writing this blog, actually. So now that it’s launching this week, I better get busy! So I pulled out a blank Book Launch Checklist and quickly started figuring out what I have done and what I need to do. I’ve done some of it, from memory, but here’s the complete list. The generic checklist is one I created based on a class I took on how to do a book launch, and also from other tips and hints I’ve learned from reading and talking to other indie pubbed authors over the last year. Here’s my list, and if it helps another author prepare for a launch, then that’s cool with me. You’ll note that I’m behind on this schedule, but I’m getting there. I still have a few days, right?

When to Complete Task Completed Notes
6 months prior Establish goals for this book launch 1/5/17
6 months prior Brainstorm what makes this book unique in the marketplace 1/5/17
6 months prior Create the budget (money and time) for this launch 3/19/17
6 months prior Research and schedule advertising opps 1/5/17
3-6 mths before release Create book cover – hired out to cover artist 3/20/17
4 months prior Review and update as necessary online profiles 4/1/17; 5/9/17
4 months prior Query book reviewers 1/5/17 Part of book tour with BPIC Promotions
4 months prior Schedule online book blog tour 1/5/17
4 months prior Schedule a launch party or online event 4/1/17
4 months prior Assign ISBN to digital and print editions 1/5/17
4 months prior Create media kit 1/5/17; updated as info available Include book cover, blurb, description, pre-order/buy links; author pic, author bio, social media links; excerpt
2 months prior Order swag for prizes and giveaways 4/10/17
2 months prior Upload file to IngramSpark and Amazon 5/4/17
2 months prior Format digital and print editions of book 5/4/17 Include teaser scene at end for next/another book at end; also link to newsletter and/or website
1 month prior Create a list of tweets and posts
1 month prior Send out newsletter to announce cover and preorder link 5/10/17
When preorder live Pin cover and buy links on Pinterest 5/11/17
1 month prior Plan a contest or giveaway 4/10/17
3 weeks prior Promote your launch party, blog tour, and/or contests/giveaways 4/6/17
1 week prior By launch day, review and update online profiles again
Release day Send out newsletter to announce release
Release day Celebrate release day!
After release As book goes live on retailer sites, add link to master list, verify book page information accuracy
1 month after Continue launch efforts for up to 30 days
6 months after Monitor book sales or ranking
After release File copyright with LOC

This release is coming quicker than previous ones due to several factors. The primary one is that I had not anticipated moving when I decided to release the book, originally in June. See, hubby and I had thought to put the farm on the market in May, not February, so I had made my plans based on having time between January and May to do all the book launch tasks as laid out. Then we listed the farm February 1, and it sold in 6 weeks, and we moved 6 weeks later. So much for my carefully laid plans, right?

Additionally, my intent to release the first week of June moved back to May 20 so I could make sure to have print copies of Touchstone for the Heart of Dixie Romance Readers’ Luncheon which had originally been slated for June 10 had to move to June 3 due to hotel luncheon room availability. I’m in the process of ordering my table gifts for the readers who join me for this annual event in Huntsville, Alabama. It’s always a great time and I hope my table is filled by my readers, so I hope to see some of there!

I managed to finish writing The Touchstone of Raven Hollow before we sold the farm, so at least the creative part was done. The business and marketing tasks fell before and during the move. We sold the farm on April 28, and then on May 5 we took a week’s vacation in Maryland. A working vacation, since I had to continue with the release day promo and planning for the Facebook party on May 20. I hope you’ll come join the virtual party and help me celebrate my book’s birthday! The other authors and I are doing 12 Days of Giveaways leading up to the event, and you have time to like and comment and share the posts for a chance to win some pretty cool swag and books in addition to the games and giveaways on the event day itself this coming Saturday afternoon.

Keep in mind that the release tasks are only part of my writerly life. I also have some fiction editing to do this week, and contest entries to judge, as well as my other writing projects and research to get back to. Oh, and I have to organize my new office, which currently is a mess of boxes and piles of swag and miscellaneous other items. (I plan to share more in a future blog on what it looks like after the redecorating and settling is done.) Then there’s the house to clean, and more boxes to unpack, and books to read. <grin> One day at a time. One priority at a time. No matter what else, Touchstone will release on Saturday, and for that I’m very grateful and excited!

Do you have any tips for me on how to juggle multiple priorities? How do you balance work and personal chores and goals? How do you set your priorities?

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. Also, I’ll be sharing one chapter each month in 2017 of a new historical romance novella, Elizabeth’s Hope, the prequel to my A More Perfect Union historical romance series, with my subscribers. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit my Website for more on my books and upcoming events.

The Touchstone of Raven Hollow (Secrets of Roseville Book 3) is available now for pre-order! Grab your copy today!

The_Touchstone_of_Raven_Hollow_600x900He dug for the truth and found her magic.

Tara Golden has hidden her healing power all her life. But occasionally, she uses her abilities on people passing through town, sure they’d never figure out what saved them. Now a tall, sexy geologist is asking questions she doesn’t want to face, and he isn’t going to take no for an answer. There’s no way she would reveal her abilities and her gifted sisters for a fling.

The latest medical tests divulge geologist Grant Markel’s fatal condition is cured, but the scientist within him won’t accept it’s a miracle. When he meets the sexy, mystical witch who may hold the answer to his quest, he’s determined to prove she’s full of smoke and mirrors despite their mutual attraction.

When they are trapped in an enchanted valley, Tara must choose between her magical truth or his scientific beliefs. Can she step from the shadows to claim her true powers before it’s too late?

B&N: http://bit.ly/Touchstone-BN

Kobo: http://bit.ly/Touchstone-Kobo

Amazon: http://bit.ly/Touchstone-kindle

Amazon AU: http://bit.ly/Touchstone-Amazon-AU

Amazon CA: http://bit.ly/Touchstone-Amazon-CA

Amazon UK: http://bit.ly/Touchstone-Amazon-UK

iBooks: http://bit.ly/Touchstone-iBooks

Tasty Tuesday: Historical Cooking Techniques and Dressing Veggies #colonial #recipe #sidedish #whatsfordinner

It’s Tasty Tuesday once again. Time to dive into the ins and outs of cooking techniques and the preparation of various vegetables available on typical dinner tables of the colonial and Early American period.

We’ve all seen campfires and open hearth cooking fires, if not in person then in a movie or documentary, right? Have you ever thought about how you’d cook dinner or breakfast? I think maybe one day I’ll enroll in one of those colonial or primitive cooking classes to find out exactly how they managed over an open flame.

For now, I will rely upon the guidance of Virginia Elverson and Mary Ann McLanahan who wrote Revolutionary Cooking. They note that:

Revolutionary CookingMost cooking was done in large iron pots; in the fireplace the pots were suspended over the fire or raised above the embers by means of little legs. Lug poles of wood or iron were built into the fireplace wall, providing a rack on which to suspend the cooking pots. These poles were later replaced by a more practical swinging crane. The distance from the fire was adjusted by S-shaped hooks, adjustable trammels and chains. Though utensils had long handles, the cook in her long full skirt had to be extremely careful to avoid live coals and spitting grease. The floor was swept constantly and scrubbed around the hearth to prevent the house catching fire. (p9-10)

Apparently, most foods were cooked by stewing, slow boiling, or roasting. A dish that combined both meat and vegetables was known as a “made dish,” which was easier to make. Frying was avoided due to the inherent danger of fire from spitting grease. Roasting was done on a spit which was turned by hand, most often the job of one of the children in the family. A pan beneath the skewered meat caught drippings to be used in making other dishes.

Art of CookeryI was amazed by the variety of vegetables that were available to American cooks in the 18th century and beyond. The Art of Cookery gives specific directions on how best to prepare spinach, cabbage and “young sprouts,” carrots, turnips, parsnips, broccoli, potatoes, “cauliflowers,” French beans, artichokes, and asparagus.

The overall directions from The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy for how to dress “greens, roots, etc.” I think is good advice yet today:

ALWAYS be very careful that your greens be nicely picked and washed. You should lay them in a clean pan, for fear of sand or dust which is apt to hang round wooden vessels. Boil all your greens in a copper or sauce-pan by themselves, with a great quantity of water. Boil no meat with them, for that discolours them. Use no iron pans, &c. for they are not proper, but let them be copper, brass or silver.

The techniques used in the 18th century really were similar but at the same time very different from our options today. The directions for “dressing” the vegetables all steer the cook toward boiling them, greens in a “great deal of water” and potatoes in “as little water as you can, without burning the sauce-pan.” Interestingly, for both broccoli and asparagus Mrs. Glasse recommends the following presentation:

Broccoli-MorgueFileWhen the stalks are tender it is enough [they are ready to eat], then send it to table with a piece of toasted bread soaked in the water the broccoli is boiled in under it, the same way as asparagus, with butter in a cup.

It took me a little while to figure out why the butter is put in a cup. The melted butter is to be used for dipping the stalks with your fingers before eating them. Keep in mind that forks weren’t a common utensil in America until the second half of the 18th century. (More on the history of forks can be found here.) Then they would have been more frequently used by the upper echelons of society. The Art of Cookery is geared more toward the middle and upper class since the cook needed some education in order to read and understand the instructions. Literacy was not necessarily a priority when building a new society, at least not for the working men and women laboring to literally build farms and towns.

Next time I’ll share the first adapted recipe, Stewed Spinach and Eggs. For the complete schedule of what I’ll be sharing in the weeks and months ahead, check out this post.

Do you find it interesting to think about how our abilities, habits, and things we take for granted have evolved along with the new technologies? What else do we take for granted as having been around forever, like forks, but actually have not been around all that long? I can think of hot pads, since the early cooks used their long skirts often times to pick up hot vessels. What else?

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and opinions!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. Also, I’ll be sharing one chapter each month in 2017 of a new historical romance novella, Elizabeth’s Hope, the prequel to my A More Perfect Union series, with my subscribers. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit my Website for more on my books and upcoming events.

Between the Lines: The Life and Art of Vinnie Ream #womenshistory #American #history #artist #sculpture

Researching for each of the girls’ stories in Hometown Heroines: True Stories of Bravery, Daring, and Adventure led me across America. I traveled a good bit—exploring sites in Maryland, Virginia, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Kansas, New York, Georgia, and Alabama, to name a few—but was not able to visit every site I would have liked to have reached. Mainly out west and northwest, but other places as well. The story of Lavinia Ream, known by those close to her as Vinnie, is one such example.

Lavinia Ellen Ream, known as Vinnie, was born September 25, 1847, in Madison, Wisconsin. I’ve vacationed in Madison but did not have a chance to search for any sites associated with her. Partly because I went long after I had written Hometown Heroines, and partly because it was a family vacation for Christmas.

Vinnie’s earliest playmates were Winnebago Indian children because there were few if any other white children to play with. In fact, her sister Cynthia Ann Ream, known as Mary, was born in 1844 in Madison, Wisconsin. Mary was one of the first white girls to be born in the Wisconsin area. The Winnebagos taught Vinnie how to draw and paint, a skill she put to very good use throughout her lifetime. I wonder what games they played and how this experience affected Vinnie’s view of diverse peoples she met.

The following is an excerpt from Hometown Heroines, the biographical facts I included:

Vinnie’s childhood was spent moving around quite a bit. Her father was a surveyor, and so would travel to find work. They lived at various times in Madison, Wisconsin; Little Rock and Ft. Smith, Arkansas; St. Joseph, Missouri; Wyandotte and Leavenworth, Kansas; and Washington, D.C.

When they moved to D.C. at the beginning of the Civil War, they settled in a cottage at 325 B Street North. Her father joined a Capitol guard unit. Her brother Bob had enlisted in Woodruff’s artillery regiment. To earn money to support the family, Vinnie, her mother, and her sister, all sewed epaulets for the officers uniforms.

After studying sculpture with Clark Mills for a while, she began making medallion reliefs of politicians. Then she had the idea of creating a bust of Lincoln. She was given permission by Lincoln only because she was poor, like he had been when he was younger.

I came for half an hour every day. I was the merest slip of a child, weighing less than ninety pounds; and the contrast between the raw-boned man and me was indeed great. I sat demurely in my corner and begged Mr. Lincoln not to allow me to disturb him.

She went to the White House frequently, watching him. Trying to capture his personality in clay.

I think that history is particularly correct in writing Lincoln down as the man of sorrow. The one great, lasting, all-dominating impression that I have always carried of Lincoln has been that of unfathomable sorrow, and it was this that I tried to put into my statue.

The death of Lincoln caused his memory to be locked in hers forever.

Vinnie Ream Lincoln StatueThe success of the statue that I subsequently made was attributed to its trueness to the actual Lincoln. My ability to produce it was unquestionably due to those half-hours in the quiet of the President’s office, and to the searing in of the image by the great tragedy.

In April 1866, Vinnie was encouraged to apply for the commission to create a life-size marble statue of Lincoln. With help from friends, a petition was written and circulated, and signed by many of the most powerful men in Washington. The commission was granted to her on July 28, 1866, and the contract for the statue was written and signed on August 30, 1866.

I enjoyed visiting D.C. and seeing her work in person in the Rotunda. While I was there, I also went to see her statue of Admiral Farragut. Here’s more on it from Hometown Heroines:

Vinnie Ream Farragut StatueVinnie was commissioned, again after much debate, to create a statue of Admiral David Glasgow Farragut. The contract for the statue was written and signed January 28, 1875. The statue was cast from the bronze propeller of his flagship, the Hartford, in which he had achieved his best success. The statue, resting on a base made out of Maine granite, stands on Farragut Square, on K Street between 16th and 17th Streets in Washington, D.C. It faces south and stands ten feet high, with Farragut holding a marine glass in his left hand, and resting his left foot atop a block and tackle. Vinnie was paid twenty thousand dollars to create the statue.

During the six years she spent making the Farragut, First Lieutenant Richard Hoxie proposed to her. She refused him, saying her work must come first. Only after Mrs. Farragut advised her to go ahead and marry, that the statue would wait, did Vinnie accept the proposal. She married Lieutenant Richard Leveridge Hoxie on May 28, 1878. Lieutenant Hoxie was assigned to the Corps of Engineers, United States Army.

The Farragut was unveiled and dedicated on April 25, 1881, amidst much ceremony. An account of the day was found in a local paper:

It was an inspiring sight. Besides the vast multitude of civilians; the host of soldiers and sailors, in their glittering uniforms; the rainbow hues of the Spring appareling of thousands of women; the decorated houses surrounding the square, glinting with flags and filled with bright faces from basement to roof–all were framed in the delicate interlacing of the young leaved trees and mounted by the snowy tracery of the delicate clouds, that fluttered like feathers against the warm blue of the April sky. President Garfield’s speech was happy, as his speeches always are.

Vinnie’s art and sculpture were not her only talents, though. She also wrote songs and poetry. Others dedicated their songs and poetry to her. Her life was filled with people who admired her enough to seek her out and praise her art and talents. Her example inspires me to live my life the best I can, and to strive to create stories that touch my readers in some way.

After she died at her Washington home in 1914, she was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Her husband erected a monument to her in 1915. Here’s more on it from my book:

VinnieReamMonument-ArlingtonCemeteryBrigadier General Richard Hoxie had a monument built in 1915 to Vinnie in her memory. It stands in Arlington Cemetery, in Section 3, on Miles Drive. The statue is a bronze likeness of her marble Sappho statue. His sense of loss is felt in the inscription “Words that would praise thee are impotent” engraved in the bronze plaque in the base along with her bas-relief profile. A stone bench faces the monument, inviting visitors to linger, as Vinnie would have wanted.

When I visited her grave, I sat down on that bench and thought about all this wonderful woman had accomplished in her life. I thought about how much her husband mourned her but also how much he loved her. I decided to try to include those ponderings in the short story I wrote for the book. Then when I got up, distracted by my musings, I actually left behind my Dayrunner calendar/address book. Which then my brother-in-law had to track down and return to me, but that’s another story you can read here.

Vinnie Ream Display in Vinita OKI wish I had been able to visit so many places associated with Vinnie. I did manage to get to Vinita, Oklahoma, though, and it’s small display of her art, guitar, and other memorabilia. The town itself is named for Vinnie by her friend Col. Elias C. Boudinot, a Cherokee. She had some fascinating friends, didn’t she?

Each story in Hometown Heroines includes a list of places you can go to related to the girl’s life and accomplishments. Have you read the inspiring and amazing stories of these girls who lived in the 1800s in America? Have you traveled to any of the parks, monuments, or statues dedicated to them? Would you like to?

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and opinions!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. Also, I’ll be sharing one chapter each month in 2017 of a new historical romance novella, Elizabeth’s Hope, the prequel to my A More Perfect Union series, with my subscribers. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit my Website for more on my books and upcoming events.

Literary Classics International Book Awards - Youth Award Winning Book
Literary Classics International Book Awards – Youth Award Winning Book

Hometown Heroines won the 2014 Gold Medal for Best Gender Specific Young Adult Book from Children’s Literary Classics and makes a great gift! Here’s more about it:

During the 1800s, daring and courageous girls across America left their unique mark on history.

Milly Cooper galloped 9 miles through hostile Indian Territory to summon help when Fort Cooper was under attack.

Belle Boyd risked her life spying for the Rebels during the Civil War.

Kate Shelly, when she was 15, crawled across a nearly washed-out railroad bridge during a ferocious thunderstorm to warn the next train.

Lucille Mulhall, age 14, outperformed cowboys to become the World’s First Famous Cowgirl.

These are just a few of the inspiring true stories inside Hometown Heroines—American Girls who faced danger and adversity and made a difference in their world.

B&N: http://bit.ly/2em4lh9

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2eNm5Ap

Amazon ebook: http://amzn.to/1nY0qXH

iBooks: http://apple.co/2em5Iw5

Google: http://bit.ly/2fFEQ6w

Tasty Tuesday: Adapting American 18th Century #Recipes #cooking #history #whatsfordinner

I’ve been talking a lot lately about my paranormal romances, but don’t forget my first love is historical fiction! As I wrote the 5 books in the A More Perfect Union series, and am writing some other historical fiction stories to share with my readers soon (I hope!), I found myself wondering about what folks enjoyed eating during the 1700s when my series takes place. They didn’t have processed foods and some of the other not-so-healthy options we have today.

So on a recent research trip to Virginia, I came across two cooking books that contain “receipts,” or what we call recipes today, for colonial era meals and desserts. I figured I’d try some of them. Maybe they would prove healthier alternatives. Something new and different to tempt our palates.

Art of CookeryThen one night my husband and I were watching the 2009 movie Julie and Julia and it dawned on me. I could do the same sort of thing as the Amy Adams character, Julie, did but on a modified basis. Julie, after all, decided to make all of Julia Child’s dishes. I’m not that dedicated! Doing so would take all my time, and I need to be writing after all. And after reading through the contents of both books, I knew there were limits as to what my husband would be willing to try. Me, too, but I’m more adventurous than he is.

The two books are The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy; Excelling any ever yet published by Mrs. Hannah Glasse, and Revolutionary Cooking: Over 200 Recipes Inspired by Colonial Meals by Virginia T. Elverson and Mary Ann Revolutionary CookingMcLanahan.

My plan over the next 6 months is to try to make a variety of sauces, meats and fish, vegetables, and maybe some of the desserts. The two books together provide me context and equivalencies so I can more easily adapt the ingredients and quantities needed. If I can adapt the desserts to reduce the quantity, since many of the receipts seem to make quite a large amount of cake/pie/cookies. Specifically, here’s what I’ve laid out to attempt to adapt to something that my hubby and I – and my readers – might enjoy:

May 9 Veggies and cooking techniques
May 16 Stewed spinach and eggs
May 23 Potato pudding
May 30 Meats and cooking techniques
Jun 6 Brown gravy
Jun 13 Oyster sauce
Jun 20 Force-meat balls
Jun 27 Scotch collops
Jul 4 Beef collops
Jul 11 Lamb pie
Jul 18 Fish types and cooking techniques
Jul 25 Salmon – broiled, and baked
Aug 1 Salmon au Court-Bouillon
Aug 8 Lobsters
Aug 15 Fowl and other birds
Aug 22 Brown Fricasey with chicken
Aug 29 Roast chicken with chestnuts
Sep 5 Stewing chickens
Sep 12 Duck with green peas
Sep 19 Collops and eggs
Sep 26 Salmagundy
Oct 3 Apple pudding
Oct 10 Apricot pudding
Oct 17 Stewed pears
Oct 24 Pound cake

The cooking techniques described in the two books are very different from today’s abilities with our ranges and ovens, mixers, and even cooking surfaces to work on. As I work through these receipts, I will talk about what the differences are. For example, boiling a pudding then meant putting it into a closely woven fabric and tying it tight at the top, then lowering it into a kettle of boiling water over an open fire. Obviously, that is not a method I’d employ in my own kitchen, so I’d make some adjustments and tell you how it worked out.

AMPU Covers-4Have you read any of the A More Perfect Union series? The latest story, Elizabeth’s Hope, will release in time for Christmas and is actually the introduction to the rest of the series. In order, the rest of them are Emily’s Vow, Amy’s Choice, Samantha’s Secret, and Evelyn’s Promise. But as noted below, I’m sharing a chapter of Elizabeth’s Hope each month with my newsletter subscribers, including a link to all the chapters new subscribers may have missed up to that point.

So are you with me? Shall we try some new wholesome, whole foods from centuries old recipes? I think it will be an interesting and enlightening journey to make. I wonder whether the lady characters in my historical romance series would be surprised at how cooking has changed since their time.

What do you think? I hope you’ll take this adventure with me! I’m heading to the kitchen now…

Betty

Elizabeth's HopeP.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. Also, I’ll be sharing one chapter each month in 2017 of a new historical romance novella, Elizabeth’s Hope, the prequel to my A More Perfect Union series, with my subscribers. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit my Website for more on my books and upcoming events.

The most recent release in the A More Perfect Union series is Evelyn’s Promise (January 2016). Here’s more about her story…

Evelyn's PromiseDetermined to make her own way in the newly independent America and live free of the dictates and demands of another husband, widow Evelyn Hamilton faces soaring post-war inflation as she struggles to provide for herself and her infant son.

Militiaman Nathaniel Williams visits Charlestown, where his heart is ensnared by a smart, beautiful widow, forcing Nathaniel to make the hardest decision of his life.

B&N: http://bit.ly/1SCcwTJ

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1nW5AEd

Amazon ebook: http://amzn.to/1nifyz4

iBooks: http://apple.co/1UVyy1p

Google: http://bit.ly/1XbQsyc

Surprising Inspiration for Haunted Melody #paranormal #romance #WritersLife #IARTG

Sometimes a story is inspired by true life events. Sometimes by a “what if” pondering. Haunted Melody* sprang into being when my editor at Liquid Silver Books asked for a Halloween story.

At the end of Undying Love**, Paulette is pregnant and expecting a child to arrive around Halloween. So I decided to tell her story as she approached delivering her baby. How she had become somewhat depressed after her boyfriend dumped her and she had lost her joy, expressed through singing.

She needed a nudge to make her realize that she’d stopped singing during her daily activities. But how? Or rather, who would give her the hip-bump toward her happiness? She needed to face her past as she planned her future, so one day she’s exploring the attic and discovers a book of spells. When she reads a “poem” from it, she is surprised to confront her grandfather’s ghost. The spirit refuses to leave until she figures out why she’d summoned him.

Enter Zak Markel, a chemist who is desperate to save his brother Grant’s eyesight. Desperate enough to try a mystical alchemical recipe for the Elixir of Life from an ancient journal even as he knows there’s little hope of succeeding. Then he catches an eyeful of Paulette and his pursuit turns more personal as he endeavors to get to know her despite her reluctance and his brother’s annoyance. <grin> Together they rediscover what’s missing in her life and his, and find their happiness together, though not without a few struggles along the way!

The fun part of telling Paulette and Zak’s story was including an actual play list, which I’ve shared in this earlier post. But also in imagining a fun and chaotic costume party with costumes and themed food. I even tried some of the recipes when the original book* first released in October 2014. Now you can read Haunted Melody (March 2017), to see what fun is had at the party, and the ensuing chaos her grandfather’s ghost causes.

Have you read Haunted Melody yet? I hope you have! But if you haven’t, you may want to before the third book in the Secrets of Roseville series releases on May 20, 2017. The Touchstone of Raven Hollow tells the story of Tara, the midwife/healer, and Grant Markel, Zak’s brother, as they learn a few lessons about life and love. And ravens, too!

Keep an eye out for info about a Facebook release day party I’m throwing with the help of several author friends! Lots of fun, prizes, giveaways, and book talk. More details coming soon…

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and opinions!

Betty

*Haunted Melody originally released as Remnants (October 2014, Liquid Silver Books) and is an updated/revised edition of the story.

**Undying Love originally released as Traces (April 2014, Liquid Silver Books) and is an updated/revised edition of the story.

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. Also, I’ll be sharing one chapter each month in 2017 of a new historical romance novella, Elizabeth’s Hope, the prequel to my A More Perfect Union series, with my subscribers. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit my Website for more on my books and upcoming events.

haunted_melody_600x900Paulette O’Connell needs to build her home decorating business in order to give her unborn child a stable home. While exploring the mysterious attic of the antebellum plantation where she lives, she accidentally summons her grandfather’s ghost. But he won’t leave until she figures out why she needed him in the first place, putting her plans in serious jeopardy.

Zak Markel has been searching for the last ingredient to create the Elixir of Life he hopes will save his brother’s eyesight. But he discovers the woman of his dreams in the smart and beautiful Paulette, distracting him from his focus at the worst possible time, even though she staunchly refuses to allow him past her defenses.

Can he convince Paulette to open her mind to possibilities and follow her heart to true happiness before it’s too late?

Amazon USA: http://bit.ly/HauntedMelody

Amazon AU: http://bit.ly/HauntedMelody-AU

Amazon CA: http://bit.ly/HauntedMelody-CA

Amazon UK: http://bit.ly/HauntedMelody-UK

B&N: http://bit.ly/HauntedMelody-BN

Kobo: http://bit.ly/HauntedMelody-K

iTunes: http://bit.ly/HauntedMelody-iTunes

Tasty Tuesday: Cajun Shrimp Étouffée by #romance #author Linda Joyce #recipe #dinner #whatsfordinner

Tasty Tuesday brings a delicious Cajun dish, Shrimp Étouffée, by romance author Linda Joyce. Boy, does this sound delicious! I know her stories are tantalizing. Take it away, Linda!


By way of introduction, let me begin by saying I’m a southern gal and my heritage is Asian-Cajun-Irish. I love food as much as I love books. My husband and I have organic raised beds and grow vegetables—he supplies the green thumb. I supply the cooking. I have one bed dedicated solely to herbs. I make enough pesto with my organic basil to freeze and last me through the winter. I love farm-to-table restaurants, trying new food combinations, and discovering new flavor profiles. Let’s face it, if you watch any cooking shows, even cupcakes are getting into the act with daring combinations.

etouffeeWhen it comes to my books, my characters usually eat what I eat. For example, in Behind the Mask, Chalise Boudreau’s favorite food is Shrimp Étouffée. In Bayou Bound, Biloxi Dutrey can’t get enough of Red Beans and Rice. I haven’t written a character yet who craves sushi, but it’s coming. The Irish part of me blends well with the Japanese and Cajun—Irish seafood, I’m told, is exceptional. All parts of me love oysters and prawns.

But you might be wondering, just exactly how I chose which food to mention in my books. It’s a closely guarded secret—not. It’s simple: my stomach is in charge of the picking. In Behind the Mask, Chalise’s Shrimp Étouffée was served to her at her first romantic dinner date with Chaz Riboucheaux because it’s what I had for supper. In the book, Chaz remembers from years ago that it was her favorite, and he has the chef make it just for Chalise.

In my recipe for Shrimp Étouffée, I’ve included a few notes to help the preparation go smoothly. When reading over the instructions, if you have questions, please let me know.

As you can see from the list of ingredients, though this is a Cajun dish, there’s a nod to my heritage in the shrimp—Irish (and Cajun of course), and the short grain rice—Japanese.

Gluten Free FlourOne last little note about the ingredients: flour for the roux. I use gluten-free flour. In my family, I’m known for my gravy. It always begins with a roux. My husband will tell you he could eat my gravy like soup. (My secret is I add a bit of cream sherry and cook off the alcohol, leaving just the richness of flavor.) When I make it, he puts it on everything. Yep, even vegetables like carrots and peas. I’ve tried many types of gluten-free flours to make roux with varying degrees of success (okay, most of them were failures), however, this is the one that most closely gives me the consistency and flavor I seek—Gluten-Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour by Bob’s Red Mill. And if gluten isn’t an issue for you, then any all-purpose flour will work.

Happy Reading and Bon Appetite!

Shrimp Étouffée

By Linda Joyce

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

4-6 servings of cooked rice (Since I’m Asian-Cajun-Irish, I use Japanese short grain rice, but please use what you prefer.)

2 pounds shrimp already shelled and deveined (I do buy frozen large shrimp in the bag when I am unable to get them fresh.)

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup of butter for roux

(Another 1/4 cup at end of dish. See instructions)

1/2 cup flour

1 onion, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

1-2 stalks of celery, chopped (equal amount of onion)

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 tsp white pepper

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 tsp smoked paprika – optional

1 pint seafood stock (or add bottled or canned clam juice)

1 Tbsp Cajun seasoning

1 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes

Salt (only as needed because Cajun Seasoning usually contains it.)

3 green onions chopped

Crystal SauceHot sauce (Crystal is my choice) to taste

Directions:

1) Cook your rice as you normally would now so it will be ready when Étouffée is ready.

2) Make roux – melt butter with oil, then add flour in heavy frying pan. I use cast iron. Don’t let the flour burn. Cook low and slow. Whisk continuously. There are videos on YouTube about how to make a roux if a visual helps. Cooking takes about 15 minutes. You want a nutty aroma.

3) Add onion, green pepper, celery, and garlic to roux. Cook on low heat for about 5 minutes. You want vegetables to be limp. Add the black and white pepper, Cajun seasoning, green onions, and parsley. Stir together.

4) Add seafood stock and tomatoes with juice to the mixture above. Stir together.

5) Bring the mixture just to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. You’re looking for the consistency of gravy.

6) Taste for salt. Add if needed.

7) Add shrimp. It will take 3-6 minutes to cook. Don’t overcook! Then remove from heat.

8) Stir in final 1/4 cup of butter and mix well.

9)  Serve over warm rice.

Behind_The_Mask_AdjustedFormer model Chalise Boudreau returns to Louisiana after ten years and faces an uncertain future. Watching her budget, she’s living with her mother and plans to open a luxury salon, but she fears the community sees her homecoming as a failing, and she knows any malicious gossip will jeopardize her success.

Once bad-boy, now entrepreneur Chaz Riboucheaux is home and trying to rebuild his old reputation. He believes one of his companies, the Magnolia May, a pirate ship, can make Ascension a tourist destination, but the mayor refuses to grant him a lease at the city’s dock.

Chalise and Chaz come face to face at a Twelfth Night party. Years ago, he stood her up and left her brokenhearted. Now her brain is at war with her heart, but her body has a mind of its own. As Chaz leads her across the dance floor, he knows when the music stops it won’t be the end of their waltz. He has questions only she can answer, and he won’t stop until he gets what he wants.

Linda_Joyce_0342Amazon Best Selling author and 4-time RONE Award Finalist, Linda Joyce writes about assertive females and the men who can’t resist them. She has penned the Fleur de Lis series, Fleur de Lis Brides series, and the first book in her Sunflower series. Her other books include Behind the Mask and Christmas Bells. She has more books in the works.

A big fan of jazz and blues, Linda attributes her love of music to her southern roots, which run deep in Louisiana. Courtesy of her father’s Air Force career, she has lived coast to coast in the U.S. and wrote her first manuscript when she was twelve while living in Japan. In addition to being a book addict, Linda’s a foodie, an RVer, loves to kayak, and binge watch movies. Now she lives in Atlanta with her husband and General Beauregard, their four-legged boy who thinks Linda is his pet.

You can find Linda at http://www.linda-joyce.com/


Awesome and tempting recipe! I really enjoyed Behind the Mask when it came out last year. Linda’s stories have an exotic feel to them because of the locations where they are set and the intriguing characters she’s brought to the page. I hope you enjoy both.

Linda is the last guest author for a few months as I transition to a new Tasty Tuesday series of recipes. Look for the introduction of my new cooking related series next week. I think you’ll find it interesting and maybe even inspiring!

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and opinions!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. Also, I’ll be sharing one chapter each month in 2017 of a new historical romance novella, Elizabeth’s Hope, the prequel to my A More Perfect Union series, with my subscribers. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit my Website for more on my books and upcoming events.

Tasty Tuesday: Steak Marinade #recipe by #contemporary #romance #author Lesia Flynn #whatsfordinner #grilling

Tasty Tuesday time! How about a delicious marinade for some grilled ribeye steaks by the fabulous romance author Lesia Flynn! You’ll love her recipe almost as much as her light-hearted romances. This lady can really cook. Help me welcome my dear friend, Lesia!


Thank you, Betty, for allowing me to visit your Tasty Tuesday Blog again. What a treat to be with y’all!

Due to a series of unexpected events, I recently discovered several stories that I thought were long gone, out the door, lost inside a computer no longer in my possession. Imagine my surprise when I stumbled across them! WooHoo! (Yes, I danced like a little girl!)

I’m super excited to announce that Cash & Lila, the first of these lost short romances, is scheduled to release in June. Here’s a little bit about their predicament . . .

Cash and Lila Coverart for KDPThey say a picture is worth a thousand words. Lila Joone should have taken that to heart when she watched the love of her life drive away with his hand waving high above his sporty convertible, headed to his new post-graduate job in Atlanta. Nope. Gullible, naive Lila didn’t pay one mind to that gesture. That was five years ago. With her own career now secure, all she wants is a happily ever after. But how can she, when the only man she ever wanted was Cash Bonner?

Fast living under the big city lights of Atlanta wasn’t Cash Bonner’s plan and living large damned sure wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. He had a front row seat to witness that fact and a few hard-earned scars to boot. It was high time he made a U-turn and got back to where he took a wrong turn, leaving Lila in the rearview mirror. He’s confident he can find her, but will she have anything to do with him after all this time?

Can life offer Cash and Lila a unique encounter, a second chance, the possibility of…

A happily-ever-after?

Why do I love this sexy short story? Maybe I’m a weirdo, but there’s nothing sexier than a man willing to admit when he’s wrong and make it right!

grilled meatThe backdrop of the story is set around cooking dinner for two on the back porch grill. What better to cook than a juicy steak? Yum! And while my easiest recipe is for wine (Frontera Cabernet Sauvignon. Find it. Buy it. Drink it. Tehehe…), I give to you a recipe for the steak marinade I’ve used most of my adult life. I was told it originated at a restaurant in my hometown. My husband taught me their trick and we’ve used it ever since. It’s fool-proof and easy-peasy, too!

Marinade for the Perfect Ribeye

Ribeye Steaks (with beautiful marble)

Adolf’s No MSG tenderizer (Indo Tenderizer [by the same people that make Spike] is my favorite, but I have difficulty finding these days.)

Freshly Minced Garlic

Fresh Cracked Black Pepper

Kitchen Bouquet (a browning sauce, usually found near the steak sauce at the grocery store)

Place steaks in a large Ziploc bag. Sprinkle with tenderizer and cracked pepper. (Note of caution: tenderizers are usually pretty salty.)  Add as much minced garlic as you like and cover ingredients with enough Kitchen Bouquet to coat the steaks. Seal the bag, removing any extra air. Massage the bag to cover every side of the steaks with your marinade. Set aside for at least 20 minutes; overnight is fine, too.

Grill to your liking or broil in the oven. If you’re throwing it on the grill, I’m not the grill master of this family, so you’ll have to take it from here. If broiling? I have an electric stove. I usually broil on high for about 2-4 minutes per side (depending on the thickness of the cut) for a medium cooked steak. An iron skillet steak is probably delicious, too!

Remove the steaks from the fire and let them rest for a few minutes to render their perfect drippings. Drizzle the steak drippings onto a loaded baked potato for a little extra yum! Toss a salad and your meal is complete!

Lagniappe

There’s nothing more frustrating than shopping for steaks only to find that Ribeyes are a gazillion dollars per pound. My response? Improvise! So, if you find yourself in a pickle, New York Strip and Pork Tenderloin Steaks are great substitutes.

Also, if you want to take it south of the border, squeeze a wedge of lime over your Ribeye. That, my friends, is delicioso!

Happy grilling, y’all!

Lesia Flynn first fell for romance when her mother gave her a paperback novel. One book later and she was hooked on love. It wasn’t until she had children that she realized she wanted to write stories of love, romance, and happily ever afters.

Lesia Flynn BioLesia was born and raised in Louisiana. She studied Graphic Design at Louisiana Tech University. She currently lives in Alabama with her husband, children, and a rescue cat who believes his mission in life is to keep Lesia safe and out of harm’s way. She loves libraries, gardening, travel, art of all kinds, and playing some really bad guitar for her neighbor’s cows.

Lesia is an active member of the Heart of Dixie Chapter of Romance Writers of America. She writes fun, contemporary romance. Connect with Lesia Flynn at www.LesiaFlynn.com, Facebook, Pinterest, and @LesiaFlynn.


See, what did I tell you? If you’ve haven’t read any of Lesia’s stories, take a moment and pop over here and pick one up. You won’t regret it! It’s grilling season around here, so I hope you enjoy this marinade recipe frequently!

Thanks for visiting with us today, and I hope you have a tasty day ahead!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. Also, I’ll be sharing one chapter each month in 2017 of a new historical romance novella, Elizabeth’s Hope, the prequel to my A More Perfect Union series, with my subscribers. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit my Website for more on my books and upcoming events.