Rediscovering a piece of my own past #writerslife #amwriting #fiction

The mystery of my cedar chest has been solved. I’ve been pondering for months what exactly was in the chest sitting at the foot of my bed. See, I tend to put things in there that I don’t use very often with the intent that the cedar wood will help preserve the items, especially from moths and bugs. So last weekend I lifted the lid.


Me and my teddy in the 1960s

I found a lot of what I expected to find. Several crocheted afghans, including the infamous baby blanket that I worked and reworked and reworked when I was expecting our first child. For some reason, I kept dropping stitches so that it narrowed the longer I worked on it. Sigh. So I’d rip it out to the point of less width and try again.


There were also some throw pillows and a huge silver platter that won’t fit in any of my cabinets. Some special cloths for wrapping silver plate to prevent corrosion/oxidation, but they had actually blackened with mold. So they got pitched and I cleaned up the bottom of the chest.

But most importantly I rediscovered my “teddy bear.”

I carried this stuffed animal everywhere with me. At least around the house. Probably in the car whenever we left home for other places. I just remember it was always with me. I loved my stuffed bear!


Still hug worthy today!

Overtime, naturally, it suffered from my little girl hands. Bits and pieces of its expression fell off or wore away. The little peas or beads in the ears to weight them down fell out because I rubbed them around until the fabric wore thin and tore. The many washes faded and softened the fur.


Then one day I realized as I grew older that it wasn’t a bear at all. My teddy is actually a long-eared dog! Who knew? <grin>

I laid my teddy bear back inside the cedar chest on top of all the afghans, so he has a nice soft bed to rest on. There is no way that I will ever give him up. He meant safety, security, comfort, and home.

What about you guys? Do you have a treasured childhood stuffed animal or other memory-laden item you hang onto for sentimental reasons?

Thanks for reading!


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Tasty Tuesday: Conkies #dessert #recipe from #romance #author Sandra Masters

Tasty Tuesday has arrived along with a decadent dessert recipe from Barbados by author Sandra Masters. Take it away, Sandra!

sandra_2014-50-percent-picturea-3Many thanks to Betty Bolte for offering me the opportunity to post on this blog. Many of my books feature recipes relevant for either my hero or heroine.

In this case, the Conkies are a favorite of my hero, Thorn Wick, THORN, SON OF A DUKE, as a young West Indies native who finds himself summoned to England to meet his father, The Duke of Althorn.

This 15,000-word prequel teaser is Book Three in The Duke Series. This story covers the hard life Thorn, and his mother has on the island of Barbados, where he’s considered a half-breed, even though his mother is descendent of the royalty of the Taino Tribe. She dies in his arms and tells him of his heritage and swears him to promise he will visit his father, the Duke of Althorn, who never knew of his existence.

The story covers Thorn’s trip from Barbados to London, England, and the rather large chip on his shoulder at the stunning revelation that he is a son of a prominent Duke. His father’s best friend, Sir Tomas, transports him and explains that the Duke never knew of his son’s existence, but that he wants him now that he knows.

A short excerpt:

“Sir Tomas, how long did you say you resided in Barbados when you first came?”

“About four months.”

“Just enough time to get a taste of our food?”

“Yes, my favorite was Cou Cou, Cornmeal, and Okra.”

Thorn smiled. “I especially like Conkies. It is a favorite treat.”….The thought of his beloved island rained over him. He closed his eyes for a moment and then relaxed. “What does my father look like?” he asked.

“Very much like you, but with a lighter skin color. You both have the same eyes. I’d know you anywhere in the world.”

thorn-cover-ok-use-thisThe last chapter of this prequel fast-forwards three years where Thorn meets the Duke’s ward, Alicia, and the twenty-one-year-old hero admires her from afar. The chemistry sizzles. Her fire, His ice, Collision bound.

Alicia’s and Thorn’s multi-cultural story continues in Book Four, THE DUKE’S MAGNIFICENT BASTARD by Sandra Masters, with a release date of November 4, 2016. Available at Amazon for pre-order now.

I include recipes in most of my books and those recipes can be found on my website. If you’re worried about carbohydrates, you might skip this recipe, but it sounds decadently delicious.

Recipe for Conkies (Barbados)


2 cups corn flour                                                                                            1 egg (beaten)

1 cup plain flour                                                                                             ¾ lb brown sugar

I cup grated coconut                                                                                      4 ozs raisins

¾ lb grated pumpkin                                                                                    1 tsp spice

½ lb grated sweet potato                                                                             1 tsp almond essence

6 oz melted butter or margarine                                                                1 tsp grated nutmeg

1 cup whole milk                                                                                              1 tsp salt

Fresh banana leaves

Substitutions: The Banana leaves can be substituted with wax paper or foil.

Mix the coconut, pumpkin, sweet potato, sugar, spices, raisins, flour, corn flour, and salt together in a large bowl.

Add the beaten egg, melted butter/margarine, and milk. Mix thoroughly by hand to combine. You should have a thick mixture that drops slowly from a spoon. Add more flour if the mixture is not thick enough. Add a bit more milk, if it is too thick

Fresh green Banana leaves are traditionally used to wrap the Conkie mixture. If you have these, strip leaves from the stalk with a sharp knife, then briefly singe them over an open flame to make them more pliable. Cut the leaves into individual 8” squares.  Spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons of the mixture into the center of the banana leaf. Fold the leaf around the mixture, taking care not to rip the leaf.

Steam the Conies on a rack over boiling water in a large saucepan for 1 hour or until they are firm.

Unwrap and enjoy!

Recipe Compliments of Barbados.Org

Wow to both the story and the Conkies! Did you find that recipe as tempting as I do? Thanks again, Sandra, for sharing your amazing recipe with us! I think I put on weight just reading the list of ingredients!


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.