Tasty Tuesday: Tarte de Santiago (#almond #cake) #dessert #recipe from #romance #author K.C. Bateman

almond-cakeDo you enjoy cake? Almonds? Then you’re in for a real treat from author K.C. Bateman. I think it’s time to bake a cake while Kate introduces you to her characters and intriguing story! I’ll be right back… Kate, you’re on!


Hello everyone!


In A Raven’s Heart, the second book in my Regency-era Secrets & Spies series, my codebreaking heroine Heloise and smuggler-spy hero Raven set off on an adventure around Northern Spain. Not all Regency romances are set in London ballrooms—in my books I like to show people that there’s a whole world out there to explore, even if it’s only within the pages of a book as an armchair traveler!

This delicious almond cake is made in cities across Northern Spain, and is called Tarta de Santiago. Pilgrims who visit the great Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia see it in the windows of every pastry shop and restaurant. It’s made in all sorts of sizes, and is often marked on top with the shape of the cross of the Order of Santiago. It’s sometimes made with a pastry tart base, but this version is without a base. It’s really easy to make and even gluten-free! A definite way to impress your dinner guests.

I spent quite a bit of time in Spain as a child, so the descriptions of the landscape and food in my books come from personal experience. One of my favorite scenes in A Raven’s Heart has Raven and Heloise bickering over almonds, carobs and pomegranates. I hope my affection for the country shines through and gives those who’ve never been there a hint of what it’s like.

With the wonderful Spanish combination of oranges, lemons, and almonds, this recipe should put you in the mood for a fiesta! Enjoy!


  • 1/2 pound (1 3/4 cups) blanched whole almonds
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 1 1/4 cups superfine sugar
  • Grated zest of 1 orange
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 drops almond extract
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting


Finely grind the almonds in a food processor.

With an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks with the sugar to a smooth pale cream. Beat in the zests and almond extract. Add the ground almonds and mix very well.

With clean beaters, beat the egg whites in a large bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold them into the egg and almond mixture (the mixture is thick, so that you will need to turn it over quite a bit into the egg whites).

Grease an 11-inch springform pan, preferably nonstick, with butter and dust it with flour. Pour in the cake batter, and bake into a preheated 350°F for 40 minutes, or until it feels firm to the touch. Let cool before turning out.

Just before serving, dust the top of the cake with confectioners’ sugar. If you like, cut a St. James cross out of paper, place it in the middle of the cake, and dust with confectioners’ sugar, then remove the paper. Optional: serve with a scoop of cream or ice cream and top with toasted slivered almonds. Yum!

kate-bateman-author-picKate Bateman (writing as K. C. Bateman) wrote her first historical romance in response to a $1 bet with her husband who rashly claimed she’d ‘never finish the thing.’ She gleefully proved him wrong with a historical set in the Italian Renaissance. Now writing for Random House Loveswept, her latest ‘Secrets & Spies’ Regency-era trilogy features her trademark feisty, intelligent heroines, wickedly inappropriate banter, and heroes you want to alternately strangle and kiss—all mixed up in the intrigue and turmoil of the Napoleonic wars.

When not traveling to exotic locations ‘for research’, Kate leads a double life as a fine art appraiser and on-screen antiques expert for several TV shows in the UK. She splits her time between Illinois and her native England and writes despite three inexhaustible children and a husband who has flatly refused to read any of her books ‘unless she hits the NY Times Bestseller list.’ It is—naturally—her fervent desire to force the semi-illiterate, number-loving cynic to do so. He still owes her that dollar.

Kate loves to hear from readers. Contact her on Twitter @katebateman, Facebook, Pinterest, or via her website at www.kcbateman.com


When a bookish codebreaker and a dashing spy are reunited in this steamy historical romance from the author of To Steal a Heart, their lives depend on their ability to resist temptation. But fate is a mistress who cannot be denied…

England, 1815.

In the war against France, Heloise Hampden is a high-value asset to the Crown, but when she cracks the enemy’s most recent communication, French agents are sent to kill her. It’s the agent assigned to protect Heloise who poses the greatest threat to her heart, however: William de l’Isle, Viscount Ravenwood. Heloise has quarreled with the man they call Raven since childhood, yet always maintained a chaste distance. She’s sure nothing will change, thanks to the disfiguring scar on her face.

Nothing has changed. Raven still wonders how Hell-cat Hampden’s lithe body would feel pressed against his, but for the mission he must remind himself that the woman takes more pleasure in ancient languages than she does in seduction. His imprisonment six years ago broke him in a way that makes the prospect of love impossible—he’s a shadowed Hades pining for sun-kissed Persephone. Still, his heart beats like mad whenever he’s within ten paces of Heloise, and he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her safe—even if that means taking her to Spain as an unwilling hostage.

Protecting her from danger will be a challenge; protecting her from desire will be pure agony. . .

Love this recipe! And her story sounds wonderful, too! Thanks again, Kate, for sharing your tasty recipe with us.

Stay tuned for more information in the upcoming weeks about my new haunting, bewitching love story series, Secrets of Roseville, which will be launching soon!


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.

Where do story ideas come from? #writerslife #amwriting #fiction

ideas-2One question I get asked frequently is where my ideas come from. I’m not alone in being asked this question, either. So, let’s chat today about inspiration for stories in general.

Ideas spring up all around me, every day. But not every idea is created equal. In fact, a lot of individual ideas are too weak to sustain a novel-length story. Sometimes they need to be combined with others in unique ways to make a strong enough hook to hang a book upon.

For example, perhaps a news story about a devastating house fire caused by a gas explosion prompts thoughts of what the family would do to recover and start over. Then I’d play with the “what if” scenarios. What if there was something in the house vital to one of the son’s career? Or future in general? What might it be? While I pondered that, I’d start looking for what that “something” could be that would resonate with the characters and with readers. A family heirloom? Or the design for a new medical breakthrough that the son tinkered with in his spare time and finally gotten a patent for?

Ideas can also be sparked by people I meet, or even just see in a crowd or along the road for that matter. Case in point was the man I saw while I was driving through a Virginia neighborhood recently. He was medium height, sporting a full, white beard, and wearing a tan floppy hat and coveralls as he walked down the sidewalk to get his mail from the rural mailbox. He struck me as a model for a secondary character in a story I’m mulling around.

Another idea generator is reading history books. Really! I read about situations and solutions from the past and imagine how it came about. What were the people involved thinking, feeling, hoping? How can I bring their story to life for a modern day reader, to make it meaningful and interesting? Not every intriguing “scene” from the past will pass the test of being of interest or relevance to today’s readers, but some most definitely do.

I’ll talk later about the specific inspiration for some of my books because they stem from different kinds of sources you all may find interesting.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and opinions!


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.

Tasty Tuesday: Green Chile, Pork, & Potato Burrito #dinner #breakfast #recipe from #romance #author Amy Rivers

pork-chile-burritoAnother Tasty Tuesday brings some spice to our meals! Help me welcome Amy Rivers and her tempting burrito recipe, one her main character inspired for her. I’m off to find some green chilies… Take it away, Amy!

Being a New Mexico girl, I’ve always believed that everything is better in burrito form. Just wrap it up in a tortilla and enjoy! In my novel, Wallflower Blooming, Val Shakely starts nearly every morning with a breakfast burrito and a cup of coffee from her favorite local dive. This isn’t a far cry from my own mornings when I worked in marketing. We had a great burrito bar across the parking lot where you could choose from dozens of delicious combinations of proteins, veggies and toppings to create the perfect burrito to match your mood.

My favorite burrito is a green chile pork and potato burrito that was inspired by a restaurant in my hometown. Here’s how it goes:cooking-the-burrito

1 lb. lean pork loin, diced into ½ inch cubes

2 large russet potatoes, diced

1 tsp. minced garlic

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

I can green enchilada sauce

Sea salt


Cooking spray

Flour tortillas

Shredded cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F
  2. Spray cooking sheet (or cover in tin foil) and distribute diced potatoes in a single layer. Sprinkle sea salt and pepper liberally over potatoes. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until potatoes are brown and crispy.
  3. Spray skillet and cook diced pork, onions and garlic over medium heat until pork is done (about 10-15 minutes).
  4. Reduce skillet heat to low and add green chile enchilada sauce to pan and let simmer.
  5. When potatoes are done, add them to the skillet. Serve immediately.

This mix makes a delicious burrito and it also works well as taco filling and over rice. Top with shredded cheese, sour cream, salsa, or all of the above.

Our local burrito stop had everything from traditional breakfast burritos with eggs to tasty carnitas with all the fixings. When I was writing Wallflower Blooming, I always pictured Val with a ground beef and potato burrito, another of my favorites. I spent a lot of time hungry while I was working on this book!

amyAmy Rivers was born and raised in southern New Mexico and currently resides in Colorado. She had an idyllic childhood despite a severe visual impairment. Perhaps because of her disability, she learned a lot about compassion and empathy from a young age. Her interest in social issues and violence prevention led to a Master’s degree with concentrations in Psychology and Politics. She was the director of a sexual assault response program and remains an advocate for social justice. Amy has been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Nurses, Novelty Bride Magazine, ESME.com and Splice Today. Her first novel, Wallflower Blooming, was published in August 2016.

Website: Learn more about my work and sign-up for my monthly newsletter at www.amyrivers.com. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads!

41dfzbhdo1l-_sx331_bo1204203200_Val Shakely is a list-maker. Daily routine. Check. Calm, quiet (but successful) business. Check. No drama. No excitement. Some might call it boring, but it’s precisely the way Val likes it. She loves her hometown of Cambria, nestled in the mountains of Colorado, and runs a fruitful PR firm. And that’s more than enough for Val. So what if she doesn’t have a social life? Then, her cousin Gwen decides to take on the local political bully, the Mayor, in head-to-head combat for the Mayoral seat and Val takes her company reluctantly, and against her better judgment, into the fray. The minute Val takes on Gwen’s campaign, the safe world that she has carefully constructed begins to unravel. She feels the pressure of the campaign and the personal attacks by Gwen’s opponent. And as if that wasn’t complicated enough, Val finds herself falling in love. Val’s desire to stay on the sidelines is put to the test and she’s forced to reexamine the life she’s built as she trudges toward a new and more exciting future.

Did you find that recipe as tempting as I do? And her story sounds wonderful, too! Thanks again, Amy, for sharing your yummy recipe with us!


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!

p.p.s. I’m gearing up to release several new books over the next year so be sure to sign up to be on the inside scoop for when they’ll be available!

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

When Lunch Is More than a Meal #writerslife #amwriting #fiction


Celebrating a new release with authors Crystal Lee and Christine Glover

I eat lunch every day like most everyone. Usually alone since I work at home and my husband is at work. My children are grown and have their own busy lives. As a creative person, I don’t mind the quiet to let me concentrate. In fact, I often crave it when I’m not at home in my usual routine. But I also have enough of the extrovert in me that I need to get out of the house and be with people. In particular, I find a working lunch, or even an after work drink, with author friends to be important to me. Why?


It’s not just about forcing myself to wear proper clothes for a change. You know, a bra under my shirt, and jeans/slacks in lieu of sweats or capris. The comfy clothes are a big perk about working at home!

It’s not just about eating someone else’s cooking, either. Having something more than leftovers or a sandwich is a nice break in my routine. Even if I do have to be careful as to the nutritional values of the food, especially salt and total calories. Writing is a sedentary activity which I have to balance with exercise and caloric intake. I’m trying to be better to myself… Eating a bit less. Exercising a bit more.


Sharing lunch with Rhenna Morgan and Gemma Brocato

No, the main reason that I find lunch with author friends valuable is the networking, the sharing of ideas, and the sanity check on other ideas. It’s way too easy to think you have a fantastic new approach only to discover it’s been done. Having another person who understands the character voices in my head, or who can discuss answers to marketing questions, and much more, is what draws me to sharing a meal with a friend. A myriad of concerns swirl in my head every day, from specifics about a new release, deciding which contests to enter, sorting out the motivation for a character, or even what should I fix for dinner. So having a simple meal with a good friend becomes a highlight in my week.


I aim for at least once a week, but that doesn’t always happen due to my deadlines and theirs. I also try to ask a variety of friends to meet me over the weeks and months to keep my support network alive and vibrant. I hope that the thoughts and opinions I share with them is of equal value as to what I receive during our chats.


Me and Collette Cameron finally meeting in person!

After all, writing a book takes a long time – months to a year depending on whether I’m writing a romance or a historical fiction. That’s a lot of time to spend alone at my computer. Then the business side kicks in when it comes to marketing and promoting each new title as well as keeping alive the backlist. As I venture into the world of indie publishing with my next series, the support of my author friends becomes ever more valuable. I’ve run a small business – freelance editing both nonfiction and fiction – but it’s very different from essentially running my own publishing house for my own books. So there has been a lot for me to learn and understand before I publish the next book. Whether to indie publish or traditionally publish each series/story is another decision, and perhaps the topic of a different post.


Oops! I’ve got to run. I’m meeting a fellow writer/librarian friend for lunch today. Her view of the world of books is a bit different from mine, which makes our conversation all the more interesting.

Stay tuned for more information about my new haunting, bewitching love story series, Secrets of Roseville, which will be launching soon!


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.

Tasty Tuesday: Butter Pecan Pumpkin Pie #recipe from #romance #author Sandra McGregor #dessert

headshot-img_0100Are you ready for some delicious fall pie and a fabulous story? Help me welcome Sandra Elzie today and prepare for awesome! Take it away, Sandra…

Sandra Elzie, writing as Sandra McGregor, started writing when she was ten. Her efforts produced a three-page masterpiece that, fortunately, will never be seen outside her immediate family. Sandra told her husband in 2000 that she couldn’t wait to write for submission and, hopefully, publication, after she retired in 2005. He threw down a gauntlet, challenging her to start right then and not wait five years. Her first “sweet” romance sold in 2007 after she and hubby moved from California to Georgia, spending six months along the way to see the United States in a 39′ 5th-wheel travel trailer.

Baby, No Baby is a Stephanie Bond Kindle World novella in the Southern Roads series. Everyone knows the best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach and in Baby, No Baby, Abby Chandler entices Brock Alexander with her delicious pies. Below is one of his favorites.

Butter Pecan Pumpkin Pie 

1 qt Butter Pecan ice cream (softened)

1 cup heavy cream, whipped (or Cool Whip)

1 pastry pie shell (baked) OR ½ cup chocolate ice cream topping, optional

1 Graham cracker crust

Additional whipped cream for garnish

1 cup canned pumpkin

½ cup sugar

¼ tsp each: cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg

Spread ice cream into crust; freeze for 2 hrs or until firm. In a small mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg; fold in whipped cream. Spread over ice cream. Cover and freeze for 2 hrs or until firm. May be frozen for up to 2 months. Remove from freezer 15 min before slicing. Drizzle with ice cream toppings; dollop with whipped cream.


Sandra is a member of RWA and Georgia Romance Writers where she served two years on the board as treasurer. She is a graduate from University of California at Sacramento with a BS in Business. Born in Tillamook, Oregon and raised in North Carolina and California, Sandra lives now as an empty-nester in south Atlanta with her husband of several decades and the resident feline, Jack, who rules the roost and any lap he chooses to occupy. When not closeted in her home office, aptly named The Muse, she can be found reading, connecting with her readers, or traveling anywhere in world she and hubby get the urge to see.

Get to know more about her and her books at http://sandramcgregor.com/

baby-oblong-cvrThe quaint southern town of Sweetness, GA is a perfect fit for Abby Chandler. Everyone knows she makes the best pies in the state, but even the small-town grapevine doesn’t know everything. There’s a past just waiting to ruin her new life—and her new chance at love.

Brock Alexander works for the Armstrong brothers, surveying to build family homes, something a confirmed bachelor, like himself, doesn’t need—or want. He doesn’t know how to be a good husband and definitely not a father. After hearing his mother’s lies and seeing her weakness when choosing to remain with an abusive husband, can he move on? Can he learn to trust enough to find love and have a family of his own?

Sounds like both a great treat and a delicious read to boot. Thanks, Sandra, for swinging by with your recipe and 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. Thanks and happy reading!

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

Tasty Tuesday: Meet the McCades and their Mexican Cornbread #recipe from #western historical #romance #author Kim Turner

Are you ready for a real Western treat? Kim Turner is taking over today to share her sizzling McCade brothers’ stories and some hot Mexican cornbread! Take it away, Kim…

The McCade brothers know it’s an expectation of their meddling mother that they show up to dinner at the ranch on Sunday evenings. When Dodge is cooking all must be at the table.

mexican-cornbreadSawyer McCade oldest of the brothers and Sheriff of Cheyenne isn’t too concerned over what’s for dinner what with keeping his mother and brothers out of trouble—never mind the mail order bride his mother just dropped on him.

Wyatt McCade is anything but interested in dinner what with chasing down bounties in order to forget the broken heart Dr. Tess Sullivan left him to mend on his own.

And where the heck is Dawson McCade brother number three and an Indian agent who misses Sunday dinner more times than not? He might just have fallen for the woman he rescued who now offers him a safe Haven.

Evan is already at the table with his hands on the biscuits. It takes a lot to fill up this hard working McCade brother that runs the ranch at least until an unforgiving secret runs him right into Charlie Ransom’s arms.

Anyway dinner around the McCade table might be anything from old fashioned fried chicken and fixin’s to heaping piles of corn and potatoes…but toss in the fact that living at the ranch is Dodge’s best friend Mei Ling and sometimes the McCade boys know a bit about Asian spices and cuisine.

But for today’s recipe I have pulled out a part of the meal that spices things up a bit where Dawson’s girl, Haven, is concerned. Mexican cornbread can be an unexpected surprise to the unsuspecting and things might just get a little hot. And since I am currently writing this story you’ll just have to read what happens later on.

For more recipes from the ranch check out my blog for THE CHUCK WAGON…RECIPES FROM THE TRAIL.

slice-of-mexican-cornbreadDodge’s Mexican Cornbread
Buttermilk cornmeal 3 cups
Whole Cultured Buttermilk 2 cups
Eggs 2
Jalapenos-chopped or sliced to taste (We add half a jar of sliced)
Mexican corn mix 1 can drained
Cheese: cheddar or mixed 2 cups

Mix all ingredients together stirring until well mixed or the consistency of cake batter
Pour into greased hot iron skillet (11 inch skillet in picture)
Place in over at 350 degrees until firm in center and lightly browned on top
Butter entire top and serve

If you want to make this a complete meal add a half pound of ground beef cooked, stirring it into the mix before cooking.

kim-cowgirlAbout Kim Turner

Kim Turner writes western historical romance, and discovered her passion of writing at the age of eight by writing poems, short stories and journals. Kim graduated from Clayton State University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing and holds a Master’s Degree in Adult Education from Central Michigan University. Working as a registered nurse educator for over twenty-six years, she enjoys studying the medical treatments of the old west as well as keeping up with the latest western movies and television series. While she loves reading anything from highlanders to pirates, she claims to have an unquenchable thirst for the American Cowboy when choosing her reads. Kim lives south of Atlanta with her husband and calls her greatest accomplishment the birth of one daughter and the adoption of another from China-neither of which came easy. Kim is a member of Romance Writers of America and Georgia Romance Writers and calls her critique group from Southside Scribes the best thing that ever happened to her writing, that and a pretty wonderful group of beta readers. Kim’s Motto: It’s All About A Cowboy and the Woman He Loves.

You can get to know her better at her Blog or Website.

wyattsbounty_w11232_750Bounty hunter Wyatt McCade is taking down outlaws one at a time. He’s been in love with Tess Sullivan for years, but she refuses to give in to her feelings. Reeling from the rejection of his marriage proposal, he chases bounties with little concern for his own safety. When word reaches him that Tess never left for Boston, he rides for Cheyenne to confront her. Instead, he is ambushed and left for dead.

Doctor Tess Sullivan shattered her heart by refusing Wyatt McCade’s marriage proposal and making the biggest mistake of her life, by holding onto a secret. Pining for his return, she blames herself when he arrives in Cheyenne near death. Forgiveness comes quickly in his arms, but she finds herself a pawn in a deadly game of revenge.

When McCade lands are threatened, Tess is caught in the balance. On the bounty hunt of his life, Wyatt will risk everything to rescue the woman he loves.

Thanks for playing today, Kim! And thanks to everyone else for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and opinions!


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.

Thank the Support Crew during Breast Cancer #writerslife #sendalittlelove #breastcancerawarenessmonth #bestrong

Template frame design for baby announcement or greeting card
Feel free to visit the site and send a book out of love and caring to someone touched by breast cancer.

This year, I’m proud to participate in the second Send A Little Love outreach campaign for those touched by breast cancer. Essentially, 200+ authors, including me, donated more than 2000 books to be given by someone on behalf of someone they know touched by cancer during October. Breast Cancer Awareness Month evokes mixed feelings for me. First and foremost, gratitude. Second, though, comes the remembered fear coupled to determination. Let me explain.

In December 1995 I had everything to look forward to. I’d completed the degree requirements to earn my Bachelor of Arts in English. We’d just moved into a new house in a suburb of Indianapolis. My two young children were growing and thriving. Life was good!

The next month, however, I found a lump in my left breast. Immediate concern choked me. My maternal grandmother and mother both died from breast cancer. As a result, I routinely performed the self breast exam every month. I contacted a doctor nearby and scheduled an appointment. She examined me, felt the lump, ordered a mammogram. The results came back clean. Really? But there still remained a palpable lump. Off to see a breast surgeon, who ultrasounded the area but that proved inconclusive. So he did a needle biopsy and sent me home to wait for the results.

And they came back… malignant.

The surgeon outlined my choices and recommended a complete mastectomy, bilateral being his preference. Not mine, though. I chose a lumpectomy, which was performed within a few weeks due to my family history. The surgeon removed the tumor and several nodes under my left arm. Back at home, the next day my daughter had her birthday party, with the help of a dear friend who stepped in to play me for the day so that my little girl didn’t miss out because her mother couldn’t supervise the fun. I’m sure my hubby was very glad for her help, too!

Then the surgeon called to tell me that I had to go back in a week later because the excavated tissue didn’t come back with “clean margins” or noncancerous tissue on the outside. They’d left some behind. Another trip to the operating room. After that surgery, the doctor told me that he recommended chemotherapy and radiation along with oral chemotherapy in the form of Tamoxifen daily for 5 years. My heart sank but my children needed me as much as I needed them. That coupled with the fear of dying, of never seeing my hubby again, of leaving my children before they had learned to be independent people motivated me to do everything in my power to keep life as normal as possible during the ordeal.


Note the lovely turban beneath the cap. My son loved to tell everyone I had no hair! He was a huge help…

So, my daughter was in a pageant. My son “graduated” kindergarten in May. My son’s baseball team played their games, and my daughter’s soccer teams did as well. I had surgery to install a portacath for the chemo, and then another surgery to remove it and my gallbladder later in the spring. I walked for graduation at the School of Liberal Arts but not the university graduation because I was too tired to do both. In other words, life went on.


And throughout those many months of treatments (February through July) of one kind or another, friends dropped off dinner or took the kids to the park. My hubby was truly amazing, listening when I expressed my fears, or holding me while I wept. Carrying on in his usual rock solid way. We all worked as a team to get me through. And when it was all over, we took a vacation to Wisconsin over Christmas to relax together.

The other activity that helped me immensely was writing. I worked on the research for and drafting the stories of the inspiring girls included in Hometown Heroines: True Stories of Bravery, Daring, and Adventure. Those girls also became part of my team with their courage in the face of danger, their creativity in the face of adversity. My proudest moment related to that book was receiving a gold medal last October for Best Gender Specific Young Adult Book by the Children’s Literary Classics organization. Those girls saw me through a very dark time in my life but showed me that there most definitely is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Lessons learned from this ordeal:

  • Teach my children everything they needed to know in order to be capable adults as soon as I could since I didn’t know how long I had.
  • Never take a day of living for granted.
  • Show others how much they mean to me each time I see them.
  • Thinking positive helps the healing process.

So with all of that behind me, I’m happy to offer a ray of sunshine to others who either are going through breast cancer themselves or are caring for someone who is. For a few hours, those wonderful people can escape the cares of the moment. Recharge and be prepared for whatever comes next.

Writing books got me through my ordeal, and I hope reading some of my books will help others do the same.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and opinions! I love hearing from my readers!


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.

AMPU Covers-4

Tasty Tuesday: Potato Pierogies from Sophia Kimble #dinner #recipe #romance #books

pierogiPlease help me welcome Sophia Kimble with her delicious recipe for potato pierogies, a recipe from her husband’s grandmother. Sophia has some tempting stories to share as well. Take it away, Sophia!

Pierogies are a popular Polish dish, and were traditionally served as a meatless main course during Lent. However, you can add just about any filling you’d like. In my novel, Protect Her, Krzysztof Pietka is a 3rd generation immigrant from Poland, hero, and, of course, gorgeous. His matka (mother) makes pierogies in the book. In the second book, Avenge Her, they also enjoy this wonderful dish.

I’m giving you my husband’s babci (grandmother’s) coveted recipe.

Dough recipe:

6 cups all-purpose flour

2 Tbsp salt

4 eggs (beaten)

1 ¾ cup cold water

1 stick melted and cooled butter

Mix flour and salt in large bowl. Make a well in center of flour, add eggs, butter, and one cup of water. Work into dough, adding 2 Tbsp on water at a time until dough is smooth and round. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for ½ hour.


7 ½ pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into small pieces

1/3 cup sour cream

1 ½ sticks butter

2 small onions

Salt and pepper

Boil potatoes until done. Drain. Add 1 stick of butter, and sour cream. Beat with hand mixer. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add more sour cream as needed until smooth consistency.

Peel and chop onions. In saucepan, sauté onions in ½ stick of butter for about 5 minutes. Add to potato mixture.

Roll dough onto well-floured surface until an 1/8 inch thick. Cut into circles with glass or cookie cutter. (Dough is bouncy, so after you cut into circles, you may need to re-roll until thin) Add about a Tbsp. of potato mixture to middle of dough circle. (The amount will vary depending on how big your circles are. Fill it as full as you can without potato squishing out the edges when you close.) Wet edges of dough with small amount of water. Fold circle in half and seal edges together. (Very important to get a good seal, if you don’t the potatoes will leak into boiling water.)

Add about 6 pierogies to boiling water at a time. When they bounce to the surface, remove with slotted spoon and smother in melted butter. (This keeps them from sticking to each other.)


*While potatoes boil, make dough.

*Keep a large pot of water boiling during the whole process. Make about a dozen, boil, then make a dozen more, and so on. Or enlist some help and get an assembly line going.

*Once you’ve boiled them, you can eat them, but they are much better fried in butter until golden brown.

*These freeze extremely well. Just defrost and fry them up when you want.

*Serve with sour cream.

anne-perryAbout the Author:

Sophia Kimble has always wanted to be an author, but for years, life got in the way. She wouldn’t change a thing about how her life turned out, though. Her family keeps her laughing and loving. Her wonderful husband and two extraordinary children stand beside her every step of the way and make this journey called life worth living.

Sophia has worked as a nurse for twenty years, but has put that career path aside to devote her time and imagination to writing down the stories that keep her up nights.

She takes her love of the paranormal, history, and genealogy, and weaves them into tales of family, fated love, and supernatural occurrences.

Connect with Sophia at http://sophiakimble.com

avengeher_w9799_2_850Avenger Her – The Druid’s Curse Book 2

As a Highland Warrior cursed with immortality, Malcolm Campbell fought many battles, but staying away from a beautiful witch is proving to be the greatest of his life. But when a blizzard traps them together in his castle and dark energy shrouds his home, her closeness ignites buried desires and tests the vow of celibacy he made to his wife’s broken body centuries ago.

Izzy Alexander embraces being an empath and a witch—until she falls for a man she can never have, a man who hates the very essence that is her. When Tarot cards mysteriously appear, and Izzy experiences disturbing visions featuring their godchild in company with a demonic visitor, and the impending deaths of her sister and brother-in-law yet again, she secretly uses her powers to uncover the dark threat.

Without acceptance and trust, love is impossible. Somehow, Izzy and Malcolm must learn to do both before black magic claims another victim.

By letting go of the past, they can ensure their godchild’s future and break the inevitable cycle of death each life time. As a storm rages, desire burns—and ancient evil lurks.

Wow, that sounds like a truly awesome story, Sophia! And you’ve made me hungry to boot. Guess it’s about time for lunch, eh? Thanks for stopping by!

Next week, I’ll feature another author and her recipe for a good story! See you then!


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!


The Winding Road to Success #writerslife #amwriting #business #plans

successI love to write. To put words on a page that express exactly what I want to say. I’ve written a lot of different documents, too. Fiction, like short stories and novels, as in my historical romances and paranormal romances. Those are the most fun to write, by the way!

But also nonfiction, like essays and reports. Books for young adult readers on school clubs and horse sports, too. Then there’s the technical documentation that I’ve edited—as in rewrote—to make clearer and convey the precise meaning needed. But there’s one document that I’ve created that is a living one: my business plan.

Did you know that authors need a business plan? I didn’t until last year when I drafted my first one, though didn’t adhere to it. That was a mistake, especially now that I’m going to indie publish my next paranormal romance series.

I think many readers picture an author in rather romantic terms. Kind of like Castle or the author character in Romancing the Stone, where life is exciting and adventurous and the writing comes easy. The words flow onto the page like milk on cereal. And in no time a book is published and the author sits back and watches the money roll in. I wish!

In reality, writing a novel takes a lot of time and effort and many people to transform the manuscript into a book. The longer the book, the longer the writer has to sit in a chair and write. Some books take a couple months, others six to eight months. Then the revisions begin, which can take another month or more, depending on how fast an author can make them. Many authors I know work full-time jobs, too, and have young families and a spouse to factor into their time. Add in time for edits by a professional editor and then more revisions. Cover art has to be created for both the digital and the print editions. The book has to be formatted to upload to the various retail sites. And there’s more but I don’t want to bore you with all of that.

business-planSo it became very necessary to create a plan—my business plan—as to what my goals are for this series that will see the first book launch in January. I had to take the time—which for me was nearly one solid week—to figure out exactly what I needed to do to research and write each book, how long it would take, and then map out when I had to have the many tasks completed to reach my launch day goal. I also had to factor in trips for signings, conferences, and vacation with my husband (he deserves my undivided attention from time to time, too) which would delay or prevent any progress on writing a manuscript.

But after this painful process, I emerged with a comprehensive plan for when I need to complete a first draft, second draft, and then have beta readers and my editor read the story and provide feedback. When I need the covers done, the formatting done, and when I need to start planning the book launch celebration. I feel empowered by doing all of this.

One of the quarterly tasks on my business plan’s schedule is to review my business plan to make adjustments when and where necessary. Making the plan was great for my confidence in my ability to succeed in this new endeavor for me: indie publishing. But I also realize that it’s not engraved in stone and that unexpected circumstances or opportunities may require changes be made to accommodate them. That’s me being flexible.

You may remember that a few weeks ago I had some serious doubt about whether I could pull this off. Having a plan I can modify when I need to really helped me see a road, albeit perhaps a bit winding, to the kind of success I’ve defined for myself. It calmed me down and helped me move forward.

How do you plan for success? Or do you? What do you think?

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and opinions! I love hearing from my readers!


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.

AMPU Covers-4

Tasty Tuesday: Strawberry Pretzel Salad #recipe #dessert #fiction #author

Today I’m happy to welcome my friend and fellow author, Amy Boyles. She’s here to introduce you to her favorite dessert recipe and to her super fun series, Bless Your Witch. Take it away, Amy!

pic-of-strawberry-pretzel-saladHey y’all, if you haven’t tried Strawberry Pretzel Salad, boy are you in for a treat. It’s like eating a slice of heaven topped with a little more heaven. Seriously. It’s sweet, it’s savory, and salty, all good things in food, and even better if we’re talking about qualities to be found in a good man. That’s if you ask the heroine of my Bless Your Witch series, Dylan Apel.

Not that she has time for men, as she’s too busy learning how to be a witch. Dylan’s a good ole’ Southern gal who likes her tea sweet, her biscuits smothered in sausage gravy, and her shrimp cooked with a side of grits. Of course, she would still have time for potlucks if she weren’t so busy trying to avoid being murdered in the first book in the series, Scared Witchless.

Which reminds me, Strawberry Pretzel Salad is perfect for any kind of get together—a party, church function, even a holiday—it is without a doubt a solid-hit sort of dish—the kind where everyone goes home happy and two pounds heavier.

Oops. There goes that diet I’ve been trying to start since New Year’s. Oh well. If you’re like me and haven’t started shedding those pounds, what’s one more dessert going to hurt? Nothing! So get started putting together this recipe. I promise, you wont’ be disappointed. And if you’re like my sweet Southern sister witches, be sure to have a nice tall glass of sweetened iced tea on stand by. It’ll make this dish all the merrier, especially since the blistering dog days of summer are coming up. So get to swinging on your front porch, slap a slice of dessert on a plate, and watch the sun shrink into the horizon as you enjoy yummy goodness.

Strawberry Pretzel Salad:

Total Time: 42 min

Prep: 30 min

Inactive: 2 min

Cook: 10 min

What y’all need to round up (also known as Ingredients):

2 cups crushed pretzels

3/4 cup melted butter

3 tablespoons sugar, plus 3/4 cup sugar

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese

1 (8-ounce) container whipped topping

2 (3-ounce) packages strawberry gelatin dessert mix

2 cups boiling water

2 (10-ounce) packages frozen strawberries

1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple

Whipped topping or whipped cream, to garnish


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

For the crust, mix the pretzels, butter, and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Press this mixture into a 9 by 13-inch pan and bake for 7 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool.

In a mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and 3/4 cup of sugar. Fold in the whipped topping, and spread over the cooled crust. Refrigerate until well chilled.

In a small bowl, dissolve the gelatin in the boiling water, and allow to cool slightly. Add the strawberries and pineapple, and pour over the cream cheese mixture. Refrigerate until serving time.

To serve, cut slices and serve with a dollop of whipped topping.

About Amy Boyles

authorpicAmy Boyles grew up reading Judy Blume and Christopher Pike. Somehow, the combination of coming of age books and teenage murder mysteries made her want to be a writer. After graduating college at DePauw University, she spent some time living in Chicago, Louisville, and New York before settling back in the South. Now, she spends her time chasing two toddlers while trying to stir up trouble in Silver Springs, Alabama, the fictional town where Dylan Apel and her sisters are trying to master witchcraft, tame their crazy relatives, and juggle their love lives. You can find Amy on Facebook at www.facebook.com/amyboylesauthor or email her at amyboylesauthor@gmail.com. She loves to hear from readers.

scared-witchlessBook Synopsis

Dylan Apel is having one heck of a summer. She just learned she’s a witch—and she’s hardly the only one in town.

She knows her hand-made clothing is special, but magical? Discovering that she’s a witch is bad enough, but when Dylan realizes there are folks who’ll kill to possess her witchy powers— that’s enough to make a girl want to hide out in the back of her boutique. Only problem is, Queen Witch is in town, itchin’ to make sure Dylan learns to cast spells, and this witch won’t take no for an answer.

Dylan must learn fast—someone just killed her best client with a poisoned gown meant for Dylan. Was it the tall, mysterious hottie in black, who’s suddenly everywhere she goes? After all, the first thing Roman Bane says is he doesn’t like witches. Is he here to save her, or kill her?

Dylan is barely getting a handle on her new powers when she finds herself surrounded by witches bossing her this way and that, local police nosing about, and wary clients—death by clothing is not good for business. And the solstice is coming … a time when witch powers are at their peak. Can Dylan survive the chaos long enough to figure out her new life?