Fun Friday with Ruby Caldwell from Santa School by #romance #author Melinda Curtis #Christmas #smalltown #holiday #crafts

We’re only a month or so away from Christmas! So for Fun Friday I’d like to introduce you all to Ruby who runs a school to teach folks how to play a department store Santa. But I’ll let Melinda fill you in on the details!


Thanks for inviting me and my heroine Ruby Caldwell to drop by for Friday coffee. Ruby is a resident of Christmas Town, Maine – a small town created by Harlequin Heartwarming authors with over 50 clean romances in the backlist.

Ruby’s father loved Christmas. Growing up, he used to wake her up on Thanksgiving weekend wearing a Santa suit. They’d spend the morning decorating for Christmas, not shopping. He’s gone now, but Ruby started a company on the side – Holiday Cheer. Her first offering is Santa School, where she trains men and women to be a department store Santa Claus. This holiday season she’s running Santa School for Busy Elves. Her program is targeted to men who need confidence and ideas for executing Christmas. She covers everything from tree decorating to stocking stuffing to ideas for gift giving and gift wrapping. Now that her position at Christmas County Memorial Hospital is being eliminated, she’s got to make Holiday Cheer a year-round business. Yikes!

Ruby is a crafter. She believes Christmas trees can be simply decorated with paper chain, popcorn garland, and paper snowflakes. She writes names on store bought Christmas stockings with glue and dots it with glitter. She makes her own paper party invitations and holiday cards. And she does it all because she’s in love with the simplicity of Christmas. Me? I probably haven’t made a decoration or card by hand since my kids were in elementary school.

You can read an excerpt of Santa School here.

SantaSchool 500x750

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MelindaCurtis (574x640)Prior to writing romance, award-winning, USA Today bestseller Melinda Curtis was a junior manager for a Fortune 500 company, which meant when she flew on the private jet she was relegated to the jump seat—otherwise known as the potty. After grabbing her pen (and a parachute) she made the jump to full-time writer. Between writing sweet romance for Harlequin and indie-pubbed sweet romantic comedy, Melinda finds time to bond with her husband over home remodeling projects. She recently came to grips with the fact that she’s an empty nester and a grandma, concepts easier to grasp than jet-setting on a potty. You can sign up for Melinda’s mailing list here and receive two free reads.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MelindaCurtisAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MelCurtisAuthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18124.Melinda_Curtis

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Melinda-Curtis/e/B001HCZ1D6/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1486681485&sr=8-1

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/melinda-curtis


So if you ever wanted to play a Santa, now you know a great school where you can learn how! Thanks, Melinda, for sharing this delightful holiday story just in time to nab it for Christmas.

One last thing I’d like to remind you all about. Speaking of holiday-themed stories, Thanksgiving is the perfect time to read The Touchstone of Raven Hollow as Tara and Grant discover the real meaning of the holiday and why it’s such a beloved and special day. I’ll share details below.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing the love of reading and all things books!

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. Thanks and happy reading!

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

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?

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Fun Friday with Tara Golden from The Touchstone of Raven Hollow #Thanksgiving #holiday #paranormal #romance #fiction

For Fun Friday today, I’m sharing Tara Golden’s favorite things to do to relax and have fun. She’s one of three sisters who run the Golden Owl Books and Brews store in Roseville, Tennessee.

As a result, it’s pretty obvious she must love books and reading them. Her favorite place to read is in the conversation corner in the backyard of their ancestral home. Cozied up with an afghan on chilly days, or enjoying the shade on warm ones, she spends some quiet time alone with a good story.

She also likes to dress up for costume parties, especially for Halloween. Mainly, she wears a sexy witch outfit, which honestly is more reality than costume for her. She hides her special talent, healing through touch, by being a healer and midwife by avocation. When she healed Grant Markel in Haunted Melody little did she know it would open up a whole new problem for her in The Touchstone of Raven Hollow! She couldn’t sit by and watch her future brother-in-law lose his eyesight, though. So she surreptitiously worked her magic on him without him being aware. But now he’s come back to Roseville looking for answers during the week of Thanksgiving.

Here’s an excerpt of when they see each other again when he comes back into town:

Edna’s Grocery bustled with customers in the late afternoon, the parking lot a steady stream of cars and pickup trucks coming and going. Tara strolled along the sidewalk, pulling a small wagon rattling over the seams and cracks as she made her way to pick up the ingredients for dinner. Since most of what she needed was perishable, she didn’t buy them until the day she would use them to have them at their freshest. Mulling the possibilities, she left the red wagon by the soda machines and grabbed a grocery cart. She had two hours until everyone would converge upon her, expecting a delicious dinner. She had an abundance of time, and yet she hurried inside as though chased by demons. Cooking demons.

Gripping the plastic handle of the metal cart, she strode to the produce section. Tomatoes, lettuce, avocado. She quickly snatched up the fresh vegetables and added them to the basket. What else? Ah yes. She turned the cart and headed to the international foods aisle, scanning the shelves for what she needed.

“Tara?” Grant’s voice sounded behind her. “Is that you?”

Stopping, she looked over her shoulder and then angled her body to watch him approach. Goodness. How had she forgotten how ruggedly handsome he was? His lithe, easy gait carried him to her side in moments. She swallowed, aware of a tingling in her entire body as his gaze skimmed her head to toe and back to meet her nervous regard. What was he doing in the grocery? She was not ready to face him. Not prepared to experience the rush of awareness that overwhelmed her when he stood so close.

A wave of memory swept through her mind. Beginning with the instant she’d met him and sensed the potential for a deep connection with him. Then Paulette’s revelation of his illness and why he’d ventured to the small town. She couldn’t bear the thought of him suffering, so had chosen to heal him without his knowledge. Or anyone else’s. Only, Paulette had guessed and confronted her after Grant had departed for his big city life. She’d hoped he’d stay away and not question the change in his health. What if he had found out what she’d done?

“Grant.” She swallowed again, her voice weak and breathy. Calm. Breathe. She could be an adult and talk with another one. Even if he was the most alluring man on earth. “What brings you to town? I thought you didn’t enjoy the quaintness of Roseville.”

“Small towns have never interested me because too many people know too much about everybody else’s business.” He raised both brows as a smile hinted he recognized just how unsettled she was around him. “I’m only here to do a little sleuthing. Do you mind?”

Mind? Absolutely. “Of course not. How long will you stay?” Really, Tara? How inane and rude can you be? She must restore her composure, her equilibrium, or she’d mortify herself before the man. “I mean, how long will you be able to stay?”

“I’ll leave after Thanksgiving. Head to the city and civilization.” He glanced at the package of taco shells in her hands. “Is that for dinner tonight?”

Placing the box in the cart, she reached for a second one and added it to the growing pile. “Taco dinner is one of the few meals I can usually fix without incident.”

Grant chuckled and rested his hands on the metal frame of the cart. “Sounds like you don’t much enjoy cooking.”

“We take turns, so I only have to do it a couple times a week.” She shrugged and pushed the basket into motion, forcing Grant to straighten and walk beside her. Dawdling would limit the time she had to chop and dice and, worse, prolong the amount of time she’d be alone with him. “Simple fare is my specialty.”

She paused to select bottles of mild and medium taco sauce and placed them into the basket. Pushing on, she slowed her pace when she saw a sudden roadblock ahead in the form of a mini family reunion. Annoyance shot through her. She needed to finish her shopping and retreat to her home, away from this man until her sisters could provide a buffer of sorts. His presence shook her to the core with awareness and longing. Beth had already as much as claimed him. As such, Tara wouldn’t interfere with her older sister’s choice. But that meant Tara must defend herself from his nearness.

“What kind of meat will you cook tonight?” He shot a sideways look her direction and then focused on the aisle ahead of them where the boisterous family had blocked their way.

She paused, waiting for the small group of animated people to notice her and Grant, and then with a word of thanks, she continued. Turning into the condiments aisle, she picked up the pace, skimming the bottles and cans of olives and pickles until spotting what she searched for. She selected a small can of sliced black olives and a can of sliced jalapenos. “Do you have a preference?”

Grant shook his head, watching her drop the cans into the cart. “What do you usually fix?”

She spun the cart around to head up the aisle toward the meat counter. Grant fell in beside her, much like a married couple. Whoa. Get a grip. She might be in a market but not in the market for a husband. And definitely not Grant. So stand down, libido, because the man beside her, no matter how lovely to look at and how smart, was not for her.

“Lean ground beef or chicken, most often. Sometimes I use steamed shrimp, but only when I’m feeling fancy.”

“You know how to steam shrimp?” Grant tilted his head as he glanced at her. “That’s impressive.”

Her cheeks warmed at the unwarranted compliment, and a flush of pleasure swept through her. She wished. “No, I buy them already cooked.”

“Keeps it simple, like you said, and yet still healthier than red meats.” He smiled at her, taking control of the cart. “You lead, and I’ll follow.”

Tara and Grant go on a memorable hike and stumble upon the mystical Raven Hollow where they discover each other as well as the true meaning of the holiday. I hope you enjoy The Touchstone of Raven Hollow! And for those of you in America, Happy Thanksgiving!

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. Thanks and happy reading!

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

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?

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Fun Friday with Agnes from The Sea Prayers by #author Normandie Fischer #mustread #WomensFiction #sailing #singlemom

Another Fun Friday finds us hoping for a bit of fun for stressed out and overworked single mother Agnes. She does have some fun, doesn’t she, Normandie?


What does Agnes do for fun, you ask? Is that a rhetorical question?

Because, honey, as far as I can tell, she’s laser-focused on carving out enough of her measly waitress’s earnings to pay the bills on a too-big house her mama left her and on making sure her girl has clothes. It’s amazing how quickly an almost-twelve-year-old can use up a pair of sneakers.

The mess started back when Agnes, a college freshman, stepped out of her nerdy comfort zone to go with dorm mates she barely knew to a New York club where she’d have to lie. She was fool enough to accept a drink (who knew it was drugged?) from the gorgeous lead singer when he slid in beside her.

One night of bad choices pretty much taught her that fun has no place in a world consumed by the aftermath of that night. But even without “fun” in her vocabulary, a few things remain essential to survival as a single parent with no college degree: reading anything she can put her hands on and exorcising stress (when she has the energy) by jogging along the waterfront. And she does dream of possibilities—of Henry (an ex-addict and sous chef at the chic restaurant where she waits tables) and his sailboat (his home and a work in progress), of banks ponies and the nearby ocean (which she and her daughter ought to visit more often), of her daughter at peace in spite of not having a daddy (and not knowing the music she listens to is his). Dreaming is sometimes all there is.

Of course, when disaster happens, dreams flee, don’t they? And all Agnes can do is hold on to friends, including Henry, and pray.

Her daughter—the daughter who loves nothing more than crabbing off her best friend’s dock and roaming the small town in that friend’s wake—has her sights set on a daddy and his promises of adventure and fame. Oh, yeah, Brisa’s on her way, and her mother is shell-shocked.

The question Agnes has to be asking herself is if fun will ever be part of her vocabulary again.

Sea Prayers ebook 9A waitress, a megastar, and an ex-addict wage war for the heart of a young girl.

Thirteen years ago, a spiked drink left Agnes with a permanent reminder of the man who date-raped her.

Her daughter looks like him, sounds like him, and even listens to his platinum records (of course, the dude’s a mega star because nothing is fair) but Brisa is everything Agnes has in the world. At least, she is until the day this music star sets his sights on getting himself a ready-made family.

He’s got millions of dollars, millions of fans, a high-powered legal team, and half Brisa’s DNA. Agnes has a run-down house, a friend who’s almost three years sober and afraid to say he loves her, and a lawyer willing to work pro bono.

Oh, and the whole town of Beaufort. That’s right. She’s got all those Beaufort folk at her back, praying to the God she has rejected, and not one of them is going to let Brisa go without a fight.

The Sea Prayers releases 11/13/2018

On Pre-order now at 40% off

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Carolina Coast Novels Series: Amazon

Author PicNormandie studied sculpture in Italy before receiving her BA, summa cum laude with special honors in English. Known for her women’s fiction—Becalmed (2013), Sailing out of Darkness (2013–Maggie Finalist 2014), Heavy Weather (2015–Maggie Finalist 2016), and Twilight Christmas (2016)—she ventured into the realm of romantic suspense with the release of Two from Isaac’s House. From Fire into Fire, continues the Isaac House saga. She and her husband spent a number of years on board their 50-foot ketch, Sea Venture, sailing in the Sea of Cortez, Mexico. They now live in coastal North Carolina, where she takes care of her aging mother.

Website:  www.normandiefischer.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/NormandieFischer/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WritingOnBoard

Amazon: amazon.com/author/normandiefischer

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/normandie-fischer


It looks like Agnes and Brisa do find some time to have a bit of fun together. Whew! I’m glad to hear it. We all need a little down time to relax and unwind. So tell me, folks, what do you like to do for fun? Read? Walk? Shadow box? I’m curious…

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. Thanks and happy reading!

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

Fun Friday w/ the Duke of Wolferton from The Blue-Eyed Black-Hearted Duke by #romance #author Sandra Masters #histfic #regency #paranormal

Today I have a real treat for you for Fun Friday! How about a Regency paranormal romance? With a Duke who is into cultivating unique flowers! I’ll let Sandra Masters explain. Take it away, Sandra!


Hello, everyone! Hope this finds you in the best of health and that we all have a good year ahead of us.

My special thanks to Betty Bolte for allowing me to share my story with all of you. For me, it has been a year of awakenings and for that reason, I am thrilled to announce the November 5th release of Book Six in the Duke Series – THE BLUE-EYED BLACK-HEARTED DUKE.  This novel idea came to me in a dream of a red wolf aside Radolf, The Duke of Wolferton. In the background were images of a stained glass piece in a chapel featuring said red wolf and an archangel wielding a blazing lightning bolt sword. This book also represented a departure from my more traditional Regency stories in that the characters led me into the FANTASY world of Regency Paranormal. There are no vampires, werewolves, or shape shifters, but these are spiritual guardians of my beloved duke according to a Legend and the Prophecy in the prologue.

If you go to my website: https://www.authorsandramasters.com, and subscribe to it, you will receive a free download of the entire First Chapter. To entice you further, below is the blurb.

TheBlueEyedBlackHeartedDuke_w12389_750.jpgHow do you tempt a sinner?—Offer him a saint!

Dark, dangerous, brooding and in his eyes unredeemable, Radolf Wolferton, Duke of Wolferton, doesn’t fear death but welcomes it. Guilt-ridden because of his sinful past, the tormented hero of the Waterloo wars, honor-bound, believes he is undeserving of love and closely guards his black heart against love though the family prophecy predicts otherwise.

Powerfully drawn to him, Jaclyn Moreux, his ward, cannot deny his allure and the sizzling attraction that grows. Lured by his seductive pull, there are danger and passion in his embrace.

Can Jaclyn help Radolf conquer the internal demon who threatens their future and recognize that a higher supernatural power destines their love?

Can Radolf surrender to the supernatural power that speaks through the stained glass portrait of his red wolf persona and the archangel to fight for the woman he loves despite the pitfalls?

Available for pre-order now. Official world-wide release is on November 5th.

Amazon U.S.:  https://amzn.to/2QqJPug

The Wild Rose Press: http://bit.ly/2ybd4ts

Amazon U.K.: https://amzn.to/2Rnb9e4

Amazon Australia: https://amzn.to/2NmHRsW

A unique fact about this character is that Radolf discovered in his ten years traveling the Ottoman Empire a unique flower. With a love of all things Turkish, he cultivated…

The Turkish Halfeti Black Rose

Halfeti RoseHalfeti Rose appeared to verify that Halfeti, Turkey, was the only place in the world where these unusual roses prospered. The pitch-black rose appeals to women because of its rarity and also its association with darkness. It depends on whether you seek the dark side of the rose in its morbidity or the light side in its magic.

We are told these roses appear black to the naked eye, and are grown only in small quantities in the village of Halfeti, Turkey, which our hero, Radolf, Duke of Tremayne, visited on occasion.  Water seeps in from the Euphrates River which has a unique pH level. On a first viewing, the rose is black unless one takes a magnifying glass to inspect it.

Black roses aren’t a natural variation that you can purchase from your local nursery; they’re much more elusive and EXPENSIVE than that.  Sometimes called Black roses, they are also known as the Turkish Halfeti Rose, Arab Bride or Arab Beauty, and bloom in small numbers.

Visit www.authorsandramasters.com and click on the dashboard BLOG, and you can scroll down to learn everything about this mysterious rose.

Here’s an excerpt for your enjoyment, entitled THE KISS:

Before he could think, fingertips skimmed each other. A smile opened slowly, her upper lips a single breath away, her tongue a slither of invitation one moment, stilled the next, only to venture closer again. Slippery, dazzling the senses, forbidden, but desirable in its implication, the thrill spiraled higher and higher into a mad vortex of lust, pure, and—simple. A sin so delightful, it spun around to make one unable to resist, to give everything for her touch—the infinite pleasure. She moved her mouth closer until there was no space left to hide—only to join in a kiss of blissful ecstasy. Ahh, he never believed it possible for him to feel such sensations again.

Sandra MastersFrom a humble beginning in Newark, NJ, a short stay at a convent in Morristown, NJ, to the boardrooms of NYC, and a fantastic career for a broadcasting company in Carlsbad, California, to the rural foothills of the Sierras of Yosemite National Park, Sandra Masters has always traveled with pen and notebook. It’s been the journey of ten thousand miles with a few steps left to go. She traded NYC boardrooms for Regency ballrooms, left her corporate world behind and never looked back. Nothing she expected, but everything she dreamed. She lists her occupation as Living The Dream.

She is a storyteller. Gather round her and allow yourself to become transported you to Regency England in the early 1800’s where the men were charmingly arrogant and the women were there to tame them.

She has more yesterdays than tomorrows and has known many things…content to look through the lens of make-believe to bring Regency Romance into your life.

Website: https://www.authorsandramasters.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/sandra.mMasters

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sandramasters10


Sounds like quite a fun story to both write and to read! I don’t think I’ve read any Regency paranormal stories. Cool idea, though! I’m developing a historical supernatural series myself, but a different time period than Regency. More on that to come! Happy reading, everyone!

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. Thanks and happy reading!

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

Fun Friday with Camilla Fetherwell from Lipstick on the Strawberry by #author Margaret Ann Spence #mustread #womensfiction

Today’s Fun Friday includes a little lesson in photographic technique. Here is author Margaret Ann Spence to explain.


Thank you, Betty, for the opportunity to introduce your readers to Lipstick on the Strawberry, a book about food and family secrets.

A little salt, a little sugar and more than a dash of vinegar characterize caterer Camilla Fetherwell’s relationships with her family – and the men in her life. As for love, the main ingredient, will it be burned to a crisp, or served tender and delicious?

What Camilla loves to do for fun is to travel and sample the food of other countries! When the book starts, she’s already relocated “across the pond”, to Massachusetts. She may have gone from the frying pan to the fire as, newly divorced, she struggles to keep her business afloat. But experimenting with new dishes keeps her clientele happy and all her senses engaged.

Camilla is English. She chose her profession because she feels unable to live up to her family’s academic expectations in the storied, historic, university town of Cambridge, England. She feels excluded from the academy, and learned to cook in the kitchen of one of the university colleges, horrifying her snobby parents.

This photo of one of the famous university colleges shows how our Camilla feels about her home town. Not welcome!

Kings College

Camilla was cut off from her family for a youthful indiscretion. She’s always wondered why her teenage relationship with a boy who came to live with the family was so taboo, and escaped her family’s stifling respectability to live in Boston. Returning to England for her father’s funeral, she finds he had a secret that upends her assumptions and threatens her reunion with her first love. Her father is not the only one with a secret, however, and Camilla is the catalyst for their uncovering.

In family relationships, are things ever really what they seem?

That thought led me to my title. It’s a food photographer’s trick. Just as a freshen-up of lipstick can do wonders for a face (especially mine!) so a photographer can swipe a lovely red over an unripe strawberry to make it look perfect. What truths lie under a supposedly unblemished life?

One reviewer said, “This story moves along at a cracking pace. I found it hard to put down…We are led down some tantalizing paths, until the final resolution. Appropriately, food features a great deal in this book, in fact, the writing itself is quite luscious.”

I imagined Camilla when we lived in Cambridge for a year. While in England I discovered a surprise – British food has had a bad rap! Says Camilla, “We’re long past the stodge and school-dinner stereotype.” I started researching and cooking British specialties, and many of them appear in the book as Camilla’s adaptations from the originals, using American measurements.

In keeping with Camilla’s feeling like a “fish out of water,” here she introduces a Scottish fish soup with a funny name – Cullen Skink.

This mouth-watering chowder is from the fishing town of Cullen. The word “skink” means “shin” in the Scots dialect. How we got from shin, which implies meat, to smoked fish is a mystery. But the word also means soup. It’s a great dish for a cold winter’s night, which is exactly when its eaten in Lipstick on the Strawberry.

Camilla’s Cullen Skink

Ingredients

1½ pints whole rich milk, 1 oz. butter, 1 bay leaf, 1 lb undyed smoked haddock or any smoked white fish*, one large onion, diced finely, one leek, washed and thinly sliced, two large potatoes, diced into quarter inch by half inch cubes.

Method

Poach the fish and bay leaf in milk, very gently, until fish is cooked through, about five to ten minutes. Turn off the heat and remove fish with slotted spoon and reserve.

In a pan, melt the knob of butter and cook the onions and leeks gently until translucent, add potatoes and sauté till they are golden all over. Add the potatoes and onion to the milky fish stock. Poach the liquid mixture until potatoes are tender – this could take up to 40 minutes, because the milk should never boil.

In the meantime, as soon as the fish is cool, skin it (skin should lift right off), flake the fish meat, and chill in refrigerator until the rest of the soup is ready.

When potatoes and onions are tender, remove the bay leaf, replace fish into the soup, bring gently to the simmer, and pour into bowls, garnishing with parsley or chives.

Traditional cooks mash the potatoes to make the soup thick. I find chunks of potato poking out of the soup with the fish to be more interesting.  An option is to mash half the potato to thicken the soup and chunk the rest. This is the most delicious chowder with a wonderful smoky flavor. Serve with crusty bread and a salad for a complete meal.

*Smoked fish is hard to find in the U.S. I found a delicious compromise by using canned smoked trout I found at World Market together with a fillet of cod. Drain the trout of oil before using.

LipstickontheStrawberry_w11172_750Estranged from her English family, Camilla Fetherwell now lives in the United States and owns a successful catering business. Returning home for her father’s funeral, she reunites with her first love, Billy, whom she hasn’t seen since her father broke up their teenage romance. Billy seems eager to resume their love affair. But after one blissful night together, things take a turn.
Camilla suspects her father may have led a secret life, and when Billy reveals something he, too, has discovered, her apprehension grows. Billy holds her heart, but their relationship might be tainted by what her father hid. A reunion seems impossible.

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

Author photo- Margaret Ann SpenceAs a child, Margaret wanted to run an orphanage or be an author. Perhaps the Madeline books inspired both ideas. Debating whether to do good or have fun, she gave up studying to be a social worker and pursued a life around the written word. High heels, tight skirts and makeup won over sensible shoes, though publishing promised a permanently low salary. She worked as an editorial assistant for a major publishing house, for a magazine and for a university. She earned a master’s degree in journalism, wrote a slew of press releases as a publicist, and as a freelance writer when her children were small, published feature articles in newspapers and magazines.

In the past few years, she’s turned to writing fiction and essays. Her essay, The Dog Catcher of Jabiru, won the Tara L. Masih Intercultural Essay Prize in the Soul-Making Keats Literary Competition in 2014.

Get to know her at www.margaretannspence.com.


I love to cook and to read, so reading about cooks and recipes is always a good fit for me. Thanks for sharing, Margaret!

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. Thanks and happy reading!

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

Fun Friday with Rachel Thompson from The Rancher’s Redemption by #romance #author Melinda Curtis #cowgirl #quilter #singlemom #fiction

Today’s Fun Friday post features a very busy woman who is helping to run a ranch while fighting for a divorce and to remain close to her young daughter. But I’ll let Melinda Curtis introduce you to Rachel Thompson and all she’s up to!


Thanks for inviting me and my heroine Rachel Thompson to drop by for Friday coffee. Rachel is featured in The Rancher’s Redemption, Book #3 in the Return of the Blackwell Brothers series.

Rachel is a small town lawyer who’s trying to rebuild her life. Her divorce is final but she can’t get her ex to sign a final custody agreement regarding her baby. Her father died a few years ago and she’s helping her mother and grandmother run the Doubt T, which means she basically running the ranch with an elderly foreman who should really be retired. Five years ago, her family lost river water rights to the Blackwell Ranch and she’s brought a lawsuit against them to try and win back much-needed water.

TheRanchersRedemptionFinalEssentially, Rachel is like most single moms, sandwiched between caring for a child and parents/grandparents, struggling to juggle balls in the air. Rachel was raised to be a rancher’s princess by a father who doted on her. She knows how to ride and the fundamentals of roping, but she’s unsure of her skills. However, her horse, Utah, is awesome. The kind of horse a father would give a daughter because he knew that horse would take care of her. This may sound cliché, but she enjoys long rides on her ranch, often taking her daughter, Poppy, who rides on the saddle in front of her. Three generations of Rachel’s family are crafty. Quilting is another way Rachel slows down, stays in tune with her mother and grandmother, and feels connected to the family ranch, which the Thompsons have owned for generations.

Having raised three kids and juggled two careers – writing and being a marketing manager – Rachel and I really bonded. It’s challenging to figure out which hat you need to put on first or even the longest every day – mom, daughter, rancher, lawyer, individual. I enjoy long walks with my dogs and have a group of women friends at the gym, but like Rachel, I lean heavily on my man to keep me grounded and in touch with what’s important in life.

You can read an excerpt of The Rancher’s Redemption here:

http://www.melindacurtis.net/bookshelf/171-the-rancher-s-redemption

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2kRiymM

Harlequin: http://bit.ly/2kP7vuw

BN: http://bit.ly/2Jzwpwp

iBooks: https://apple.co/2JjmUhr

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2JvxPb2

KOBO: http://bit.ly/2LqyffZ

 

MelindaCurtis (574x640)Prior to writing romance, award-winning, USA Today bestseller Melinda Curtis was a junior manager for a Fortune 500 company, which meant when she flew on the private jet she was relegated to the jump seat—otherwise known as the potty. After grabbing her pen (and a parachute) she made the jump to full-time writer. Between writing sweet romance for Harlequin and indie-pubbed sweet romantic comedy, Melinda finds time to bond with her husband over home remodeling projects. She recently came to grips with the fact that she’s an empty nester and a grandma, concepts easier to grasp than jet-setting on a potty. You can sign up for Melinda’s mailing list and receive two free reads here.


Sounds like a pretty cool way for Rachel to relax with her daughter, out riding the range together. Not that I’ve ever been to a real ranch, just horse farms and such with my equestrian daughter. I cross-stitch and so does she, so we have that in common, too. Reading is also a shared love! Keeping in sync with my son is more of a challenge for me. I think I do that through Sunday dinners. I get to see him each week that way! How do you stay connected with your child? What challenges do you face with regard to maintaining the relationship?

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. Thanks and happy reading!

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

Fun Friday with Becky Hollister from An Innocent Man by #romance #author Augustina Van Hoven #PNR #ghosts #journalist #fiction

Fun Friday is here again, this time bringing Augustina van Hoven and her investigative reporter Becky Hollister in An Innocent Man. I’ll let Augustina introduce her properly…


Thank you, Betty, for the opportunity to introduce my character, Becky Hollister from AN INNOCENT MAN.

Becky is an investigative reporter with the Idaho Statesman.  She is a close friend with time traveling Jessica in my first two books of the Love through Time series and appears in both books.  Due to a devastating heartbreak she experienced, Becky moves from Boise to Lewiston and starts working for a new newspaper, The Lewiston Tribune.  She rents a small house and that simple thing changes her life, forever.

For fun and relaxation, Becky loves to garden, but being on the go makes a backyard garden impractical.  She also loves to cook.  This gives her a great opportunity to enjoy both things by growing herbs and vegetables indoors in mason jars and a hydroponic grower.

LETTUCEHerbs are easy to grow in a well-lighted area in quart mason jars. You place a half inch of small stones in the bottom of the jar to help with drainage then add potting soil and a plant or seeds.  Fresh herbs really add to the flavor of any food dish.  And by growing them in the house, you are guaranteed fresh herbs year round.  A good hydroponic grower runs around $120.  You can grow lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, herbs or even flowers in them year round.

Becky keeps her herb jars on shelves in front of a southern facing window.  Her Aero hydroponic grower currently sits on her counter and she’s growing lettuce in it.  She can have a great salad by grabbing her scissors.

AugustinaVanHoven_AnInnocentMan_HRAfter being jilted at the altar, journalist Becky Hollister moves to a new city to try to put her life back together and ease the heartache.  She’s surprised to find her new home is already occupied by a man who died 20 years ago.  Will solving his murder help her to learn to love again?

Sheriff’s deputy, Mark Collins, is intrigued by the feisty reporter and her determination to unlock the truth behind a crime that happened when he was a kid.  But every time he tries to get closer to her, she runs away like a wounded animal.  If he can help her solve the cold case, can he also help heal her broken heart?

Amazon      Barnes & Noble     Apple     Kobo

Tina small - CopyAugustina Van Hoven was born in The Netherlands and currently resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, two dogs and three cats. She is an avid reader of romance, science fiction and fantasy. When she’s not writing she likes to work in her garden or in the winter months crochet and knit on her knitting machines. Get to know her at www.augustinavanhoven.com.

Twitter:  @augustinavhoven

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Augustina-Van-Hoven-Author/336028986575129

Pinterest: Augustina Van Hoven, Author


This one is right up my alley! I love a good ghost story! And fresh herbs in my cooking. I may have to try growing some—but then again, I do not have a green thumb. It’s probably safer for the plants if I buy what I need. How about you? Do you grow your own herbs or other plants? Without killing them, like me?

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. Thanks and happy reading!

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

Fun Friday with Patricia O’Neill from Going Through the Change by #author Samantha Bryant #superhero #humor #fiction #menopause

Fun Friday is really going to be a “super” fun one today! Meet Patricia O’Neill from Samantha Bryant’s Going Through the Change. I’ll let Samantha take it from there!


Thanks, Betty for inviting me and my character Patricia O’Neill to drop by and introduce ourselves! Patricia is one of the Menopausal Superheroes from my series. She’s featured in three novels and one set of short stories now, all available on Amazon or at your favorite book store upon request.

PATRICIA
Image by Charles C. Dowd

Patricia O’Neill, aka “the Lizard Woman of Springfield,” was hard as nails even before she became bulletproof. Her climb up the corporate ladder began in the 1970s, and she smashed more than one glass ceiling on her way to the top. Her thick skin protected her from the slings and arrows of men who would have preferred to keep her “in her place” and helped her ignore the usual insults and threats hurled at women who make their way in a man’s world.

Until recently, Patricia’s idea of a good time involved expensive theater tickets, high priced wine, and conversations that last until dawn. Well, at least at night. By day, she always liked kicking butt, whether metaphorical butt in the boardroom, or actual butt in the gymnasium.

As a younger woman, she was a field hockey champion nicknamed “The Amazon” by her teammates for her amazing athleticism and six feet of height. As an older woman, she had taken to kickboxing and other forms of martial arts for release.

In Going Through the Change, when Patricia first goes through her more unusual changes, gaining the ability to transform into a bulletproof lizard woman, superheroic antics were the last thing on her mind. As she told her intern, who was trying to talk her into using her new abilities to make a difference, “I’m not Peter Parker. I don’t buy the whole ‘great power comes with great responsibility’ racket. I didn’t ask for this, and I don’t owe anyone anything.”

In Change of Life and Face the Change, the second and third books of the series, Patricia learns to be a little more of a team player. As she joined forces with the other Menopausal Superheroes, she learned to value the friendship of other women. She may even make room in her life for love. She said it herself: “I’ve got a big closet. There’s more than one surprise in there.”

all coversI can’t wait to find out what else Patricia has in store for me and for our readers as this series continues to develop! You can keep up with us both by signing up for my author newsletter (one email per month, maximum): http://eepurl.com/bwgsxD

Contest! To enter for a chance to win an e-book of whichever of my novels you choose, please leave a comment telling me about a heroic woman you admire.

600-800GOINGTHROUGHTHECHANGE-COVERGoing through “the change” isn’t easy on any woman. Mood swings, hot flashes, hormonal imbalances, and itchy skin are par for the course. But for these four seemingly unrelated women, menopause brought changes none of them had ever anticipated—super-heroic changes.

Helen discovers a spark within that reignites her fire. Jessica finds that her mood is lighter, and so is her body. Patricia always had a tough hide, but now even bullets bounce off her. Linda doesn’t have trouble opening the pickle jar anymore… now that she’s a man.

When events throw the women together, they find out that they have more in common than they knew—one person has touched all their lives. The hunt for answers is on.

BUY LINKS:

BOOK ONE: Going Through the Change

Samantha’s Amazon Author Page

meandbatman copySamantha Bryant believes in love, magic, and unexplainable connections between people. Her favorite things are lonely beaches, untamed cliff tops, sunlight through the leaves of trees, summer rains, and children’s laughter. She has lived in many places, including rural Alaska, Kansas, Kentucky, Vermont, England and Spain. She is fierce at heart, though she doesn’t look it.

She’s a fan of Charlotte Brontë, William Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, Neil Gaiman, Shirley Jackson, and Joss Whedon, among many others. She would like to be Margaret Atwood when she grows up, but so far it doesn’t look like she’ll be growing up any time soon.

Samantha writes blogs, poems, essays, and novels. Mostly she writes about things that scare or worry her. It’s cheaper than therapy. Someday, she hopes to make her living solely as a writer. In the meantime, she also teaches middle school Spanish, which, admittedly, is an odd choice for money-earning, especially in North Carolina.

When she’s not writing or teaching, Samantha enjoys time with her family, watching old movies, baking, reading, and going places. Her favorite gift is tickets (to just about anything).

Her Menopausal Superhero series is available on Amazon or by request at your favorite bookstore. It now includes three novels and a set of short stories. You can find her online on at http://samanthabryant.com, on Twitter as @mirymom1, or on lots of other procrastination toys, um, social media.


What a fun series to read! I hope you all enjoy Samantha’s stories. Remember to leave a comment for a chance to win one of her books, too. Good luck!

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. Thanks and happy reading!

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

2018 Reader Survey Report

I always find the results of this reader survey enlightening and interesting. Enjoy!

A Writer of History

This year’s survey report is now available. It’s taken me quite some time to compile the results because … as you know I spent the last five weeks recovering from a plane crash.

The survey attracted 2418 participants from around the world – 84% female and 16% male.

A few highlights to whet your appetite.

  • AS IN PRIOR YEARS, THE SURVEY ATTRACTED HIGH VOLUME READERS– 72% read more than 20 books a year; 55% read more than 30
  • 49% of participants USE SOCIAL MEDIA REGULARLY TO SUPPORT THEIR READING 
  • GENDER MAKES A DIFFERENCE– among the differences—women read more than men and use social media more regularly in support of reading; men and women prefer different types of stories and different non-fiction
  • PRINT BOOKS REMAIN POPULAR– Of 2418 participants, 75% frequently or exclusively use print books
  • Not surprisingly, ENTERTAINMENT IS THE DOMINANT REASON FOR READING…

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Between the Lines: Visiting an Indoor Shooting Range #research #shooting #pistols #guns #PNR #paranormal #mustread #supernatural #romance #fiction

When my characters get wild ideas, I sometimes have to go beyond my own comfort zone to help them achieve their goals. So it was with Beth Golden in Veiled Visions of Love when she decided she needed to learn how to shoot a pistol to protect herself and others.

I have fired a pistol before, and way back in the dark ages a BB air rifle. In fact, I love to tell the story about when I asked my father-in-law, a retired brigadier general, to teach me to shoot his pistol. He took me out back of his lakeside home and propped a target on the dirt cutaway wall of his steep driveway. Then he instructed me on how to hold the pistol, how to aim, and then let me have at it. I squeezed the trigger gently and it fired a bullet that was just off the center red circle. I adjusted my aim and fired again, hitting the bull’s eye. When we went back inside the house, he told my husband to not let me get angry with a gun nearby. I haven’t ever had any desire to own a gun let alone shoot it at anyone or anything for that matter. So my dear loving hubby is perfectly safe!

In order to have a better understanding of what a new shooter would need to do and learn, I took a deep breath and went to visit the Bullet and Barrel indoor shooting range near my home in Huntsville, Alabama. This place was awesome, too! I walked in the door to a huge retail store of clothing and accessories for hunters and everyday people who want to carry a gun safely. The salesman proved to be very helpful indeed when I told him I was there to research for my novel.

We talked about what kind of pistol my character was most likely to find useful for her situation—becoming an airplane repo agent. Something she could easily handle and manage. He helped me choose the right semi-automatic pistol, then talked about the ammunition and cartridges. I was offered the opportunity to take a free shooting lesson but declined. I know what a gun sounds like when it’s fired and while I’m pretty sure there are people who can detect the differences and then identify the weapon, my characters are not that savvy. So I didn’t need to know that bit of information. He did show me several styles of purses designed to conceal a pistol, which was something that never would have occurred to me. I’ve also found out since that several of my friends carry a gun. I’m honestly of mixed feelings about that, but of course, it’s not my decision. I can see pros and cons to carrying a gun, and I personally have decided it’s not for me.

I did watch the gun safety video required of all people who want to get a carry permit of any kind. That proved insightful for the kind of training Mitch would give to Beth, the kinds of cautions, too. I also asked about the licensing laws in Alabama vs. Tennessee. It’s rather intriguing how much they vary from one another but I suppose not all that surprising. In case you’re wondering, it’s easier to get a conceal carry permit in Alabama.

I was given a tour of the entire facility and was surprised to learn that they’d held a wedding reception in their conference room available for rentals. They also had a virtual shooting range where you could shoot laser-aimed “bullets” at various characters on the blue screen. That sounded kinda fun, actually, but I didn’t have time to take them up on the offer of a trial.

I came away from the Bullet and Barrel with new understanding and insights into the world of guns and those who choose to carry them. I hope you enjoy Veiled Visions of Love and the dangerous situations that Beth gets into—and out of. Thanks for reading!

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. Thanks and happy reading!

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

Veiled_Visions_of_Love_600x900His search for a home led him straight to her heart…

Psychic Beth Golden longs to live the life of a heroine in a suspense novel but knows she’ll die of boredom working in the bookstore in the small town of Roseville. Until a pilot rolls into town on his motorcycle with a secret mission. When he introduces her to a whole new world of daring and romance, she’s captivated by a lifestyle filled with unexpected and dangerous surprises.

Major Mitch Sawyer, currently serving in the Reserves, has lived all over the world and wants nothing more than to have his own home with a wife and family. Forced to complete one more airplane repo job before he can afford to resign his commission and make his dream a reality, he entices a sexy book lover to help him by becoming an undercover biker chick. Only Beth’s hunger for excitement endangers both herself and an innocent bystander. Can he protect them—and his heart—before it’s too late?

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