Tasty Tuesday: Sweet Potato #Muffin #recipe from #romance #author Michelle Stegman

Ready for another Tasty Tuesday featuring a tempting muffin recipe by author Michele Stegman? I love sweet potatoes, so I’m going to have to try this one. Take it away, Michele!


Thank you so much, Betty, for letting me return for a second blog on your site! I love cooking and baking and it is so much fun to share recipes and history with your readers!

Food is an integral part of just about any romance, modern or historic. In Fortune’s Foe, the hero and heroine meet over a pan of sweet potato muffins.

The time is 1740, and the place is Spanish St. Augustine, just after the English attack on the city. Mariette has come to rescue her twin brother who was captured in the battle. The hero, Alexandro, is charged with keeping the English prisoners safe or he will forfeit his life. Disguised as a Mestizo, she is selling sweet potato muffins in the market hoping to find enough information to help her save her brother.

Alexandro is enthralled with the muffins, as well as this lovely woman, and hires her as his maid and cook. She is thrilled to get the job because it will give her a way to find out what she needs to know. Only one problem. A friend made those muffins. Mariette is a disaster in the kitchen.

As I was writing this story, I wondered what Mariette could be selling in the market that would lure the hero to her side. I decided on sweet potato muffins because they would have been a food eaten at the time. I love to cook and bake, but I must confess, I’ve never made sweet potato muffins. But I did get the recipe at Colonial Williamsburg, from Christina Campbell’s tavern so it should be authentic. You can find the recipe at either of these sites, or just Google Christiana Campbell’s Sweet Potato Muffins.

Sweets to Impress – Sweet Potato Muffins

Food.com – Christiana Campbell’s Tavern’s Sweet Potato Muffins

As for Fortune’s Foe, Mariette finds some help in the kitchen from a woman who ends up as the heroine in the next book in the series, Fortune’s Pride. You can find both books on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other sites. To check out my other books and to read excerpts, go to my website: www.MicheleStegman.com or connect with me on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/MicheleStegmanAuthor.

fortunes_foe_hiresFortune’s Foe

In the midst of a raging war, Mariette Fortune is torn between saving the life of her brother or the enemy Spaniard she has come to love.

Mariette Fortune knows her brother will die if she doesn’t rescue him–especially if the Spanish discover they hold captive the son of the infamous privateer, Sean Fortune. But she didn’t count on fallin in love with the man whose life depends on keeping the English prisoners from escaping. Now she has to choose between them.

Alejandro de Silva knows there is more to the lovely Mestiza woman he has hired to keep his house…more than she will admit. Regardless, he cannot help that he is falling in love with her. But he never dreams she is an English spy and that her presence in Spanish St. Augustine will put both their lives in deadly peril.

Visit www.MicheleStegman.com for information on her other books and to read excerpts. Or connect with her on Twitter or on Facebook.


Sweet potatoes are so good for you, too. I think I’ll be doing some baking soon. How about you? Do you have a favorite muffin recipe? Are you going to try these?

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.

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Between the Lines: Solving #Alchemy Riddles in #Haunted #Melody #paranormal #romance

 

alchemist-bega
Courtesy Alchemy Pictures

In Haunted Melody (Secrets of Roseville Book 2), Zak Markel has arrived in Roseville, TN, in search of the missing ingredient to make the Philosopher’s Stone, or Sorcerer’s Stone. According to legend, the resulting substance has the power to cure among other properties. He’s hoping, a Hail Mary attempt, that it will cure his brother’s brain tumors threatening his eye sight. Zak is following the steps within an ancient alchemist’s journal, but does not adequately understand what he should be doing.

 

There’s a very good reason why this present-day chemist is struggling. Here’s a bit about the ways alchemists obscured and hid the procedures and ingredients from the “unworthy.” I’ve pulled from a paper I wrote for grad school, but have tried to make it less academic and thus easier to read.

First, Decknamen or cover names served an important function for the alchemist. They are code words that replaced the usual name for a given substance with a word “that has some link, literal or metaphorical, with the substance intended.”(1) Such as, a symbol for silver might be the moon because of its light properties, and a symbol for gold might be the sun since the sun has golden light. This practice enabled the alchemist to protect the valuable content of his writings so that only the true alchemists could access the knowledge. The American alchemist, George Starkey, for example, protected his findings by using secretive language in his literature as well as employing his own Decknamen, writing many of his books under the name of Eirantheus Philalethes. Starkey is a very interesting person, by the way, who used all of these techniques in his own journal, much like the journal Zak is referring to in Haunted Melody. See what I did there? <grin>

The secrecy that obscures alchemical literature is well known, if not well understood. Secretive writing is often associated with activities before the advent of modern science and people often view these writings “as nonscientific or …largely or purely fictitious.” Yet for the alchemical writers, like Starkey, “secrecy…marked out the items of greatest value.”(2) The alchemists’ wanted to protect the information from those who were not worthy as well as from those who could profit from the knowledge. Not too different from today, don’t you think? Protecting our discoveries from others who could copy it and sell the resulting products or whatever?

Alchemistic language has always used words and symbols in such a way that they created a complex allegorical language. Other devices alchemists used to obscure yet reveal their meanings include riddles linked to images; riddles answered by a conundrum; and “dispersion de la science”—providing pieces of the whole solution in separate sections of one work: “At a crucial point of the discussion, the alchemist would break off or change the subject, only to resume it at some seemingly unrelated or distant locus.”(3) That left the reader to solve the riddle through careful reading of the texts, a process fraught with the specter of misinterpretation and thus failure.

Alchemical authors also used syncope and parathesis. Syncope shortened the actual process, often leaving out one or more steps or ingredients. Parathesis used the idea of multiplication of ideas, seemingly needlessly calling a specific item by a multiple of synonyms. Often these techniques are used in tandem.

  1. Principe, Lawrence M. The Secrets of Alchemy. 18.
  2. Newman, William R. and Lawrence M. Principe. Alchemy Tried in the Fire. 179.
  3. Newman, William R. Gehennical Fire. 116–17.

For Zak, it takes quite some time for him to find a book at the Golden Owl Books and Brews store that solves the riddle for him. TOnce he understands, how will he use his new-found knowledge? Will he succeed in his desperate attempt to help his brother? Find out when the book releases March 28. See below for where you can pre-order your copy so it will be in your inbox as soon as possible.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and opinions!

Betty

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

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

Haunted Melody is now available for pre-order and will release on March 28, 2017. Here’s more about the story…

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

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

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

(Updated and revised edition; originally published in 2014 as Remnants.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tasty Tuesday: Quinoa & Vegetable Pilaf #sidedish #dinner #recipe from #paranormal #romance #author Lynn Crandall #shifters

Tasty Tuesday brings a healthy side dish to enjoy for dinner, Quinoa and Vegetable Pilaf, by Lynn Crandall. Enjoy!


Thank you, Betty, for having me on your fun blog for Tasty Tuesday!

Probabilities, Book 4 in my Fierce Hearts series, is included in a new Crimson Romance bundle, Hot for Teacher. It’s a fun set of 10 couples, 10 authors, and 10 romances. Probabilities follows the story of two were-lynxes, Tizzy Sands and Quinn Arons, who belong to a colony of shifters.

What I especially enjoyed writing about this couple is that these characters featured contrasting personalities. While teacher Tizzy is a vivacious, outgoing party girl, Quinn is a reserved brainiac with several PhDs. As a genius, Quinn has lived a life of rejection. I like featuring his genius as a problem because I have geniuses in my life and though I enjoy them, sometimes they feel misunderstood and challenged to connect with others. It can be a lonely situation. Our society tends to be so prone to criticizing, some very nice individuals who have something different about them, suffer. For highly intelligent people, their genius doesn’t protect them, it singles them out.

2015-03-29-16-39-51Though Quinn respects Tizzy for her social skills and her vitality, he expects her to reject him as anything more than a friend and co-colony member. But she’s perky, not shallow. They find things they each enjoy and share them, thereby expanding their individual worlds. For instance, Quinn is an environmentalist and practices a number of conservation measures. Tizzy likes to set an appealing table with different, healthy kinds of foods, and incorporates nice touches to the setting. She’d be the one to drape twinkly lights around a room for a romantic atmosphere and Quinn would be the one to contribute fresh asparagus and herbs from his organic garden to the meal. The healthy side dish could be Quinoa and Vegetable Pilaf. Here’s the recipe. I hope you enjoy it.

Quinoa and Vegetable Pilaf

Ingredients

1 ¾ chicken broth

1 cup of quinoa

3 Tbsp olive oil

1 c diced orange bell pepper

1 c diced green pepper

½ c sliced fresh mushrooms

1 cup chopped asparagus

1 c diced zucchini

½ crumbled feta

2 tsp minced garlic

1 Tbsp lemon juice

 

  1. In a saucepan, bring broth (or water instead) to a boil. Add quinoa, cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, fluff with fork.

  2. While quinoa cooks, heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Add garlic, peppers, mushrooms, asparagus, and zucchini. Sauté until tender, about 7 to 8 minutes. Add cooked quinoa (there shouldn’t be any water because the quinoa absorbed it.), lemon juice, and feta. Serve.

hot-teacher-bundle-coverBubbly were-lynx Tizzy Sands thought she knew the path of her life: teaching kindergartners, eventually marrying, and starting a family. But when cancer stole her dream of having children, she fell into a dark place where she believes her life would be too short and too empty to engage in a lifelong relationship. As a member of a were-lynx colony that faces constant danger from nefarious The Nexus Group, she focuses on helping the colony defeat them and tunes out any developing feelings for colony mate Quinn Arons.

With his genius IQ, Quinn isn’t the most socially skilled were-lynx in the colony, and can’t imagine party girl Tizzy could give him a place in her heart. Though his past of molestation as a boy and alcoholism as a young adult haunts him, he cares deeply for Tizzy and can’t accept her attitude that cancer will return and claim her life soon. Instead of persuading her she’s wrong, he patiently shows her life is what you make it.

When working as partners to prevent powerful TNG from launching its Project Powering and changing the world, Tizzy and Quinn begin to wonder whether their individual paths lead them together or send them apart.

Excerpt:

“I still have nightmares and want to douse them with alcohol. That’s when I turn to Lara and her healing touch. But times when I’m keenly aware I’m different, I’m back in my childhood when being different made me a target.”

His shoulders hunched over, he still stared at the table, his head in his hands, as he seemed to struggle with regaining his composure.

Tizzy let down her walls and felt the entire room, the whole house, vibrate with energy. It streamed through her, grounding her in the moment alone with Quinn and his pain.

Gently, she touched Quinn’s shoulder. “You’ve been through so much and still you’ve been so very successful at remaining true to yourself. I’m proud of you, Quinn.” She took his hand and pulled him to his feet, then tenderly cupped his face in her hands. “You bring so much good to the world. You’re beautiful.”

Love, the kind that can bear anything, powered through her. Slowly, she leaned up to his face and placed a soft kiss to his lips. She stood back, breathless, and sought his eyes.

Bright and clear, his eyes welcomed her in. Tizzy lifted her lips to his, and he pressed them to hers, hard and needy.

Her legs got weak, but she wanted more of him. Leaning against him for support, she ran her fingers through his hair and savored his presence, so strong yet vulnerable.

my-best-author-picLynn Crandall lives in the Midwest and writes in the company of her cat. She has been a reader and a writer all her life. Her background is in journalism, but whether writing a magazine or newspaper story or creating a romance, she loves the power stories hold to transport, inspire, and uplift. In her romances, she focuses on vulnerable, embraceable characters who don’t back down.

Amazon http://a.co/8RIQpS9

http://lynn-crandall.com/

https://www.facebook.com/LynnCrandallAuthor/

https://twitter.com/lcrandallwriter @lcrandallwriter


I love healthy recipes, so thanks for sharing that one, Lynn! And the story is intriguing, as well. Although I’m not a fan of quinoa despite its healthy qualities. It may be the one time I tried it, it wasn’t cooked right. It seemed tough to chew to me, at least. Anyway, the sautéed veggies sound really yummy. Is there another healthy substitute for quinoa?

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and opinions!

Betty

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

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

Getting to know V-Mail #writerslife #research #WWII #letter #writing #familymatters

img_2120I have begun transcribing my dad’s V-Mail letters, which is very interesting. I talked about the mass of correspondence I’ve begun sorting and working my way through here. I decided to start with the V-Mail because I’m curious about what my grandmother and other wrote to my dad while he was in the U.S. Army during WWII. I think there must be at least 100 of the letters that my dad punched holes in and bound together with a metal clasp. The clasp left some rust marks on them, unfortunately, but they are still legible. Even after 70+ years.

As I’ve deciphered and typed the contents, I wondered about how the Victory Mail system worked. What did the original look like? How did each letter get transformed into a picture? So to the internet I went!

The history of this efficient and inventive system proved fascinating. The U.S. Postal Service created a standardized form that served as both letter and envelope. The letter writer filled in the To and From address within designated sections on the form, and then wrote a short letter within a specific box. You can see an example of a blank form here. Then the letter writer would fold and seal the paper and write the address again on the outside of the paper, or the envelope. Then affix 3 cents postage and pop it into the mail.

V-Mail was routed to specific stations in the United States where a new machine would convert the paper letter into a microfilm image. Based on the British Airgraph system, Kodak invented the Recordak machine that would take a picture of each standardized letter and save it on a synchronized 16 mm movie film. The rolls of film were then put into a mail sack and transported by the military planes to their destinations, where they were “blown up” to their original size as pictures and sent to the recipient. You can find out more about the entire system at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum site. If you visit New Orleans, Louisiana, you can also stop in at the National WWII Museum to see an exhibit about the war and V-Mail. The Museum is a great place to learn about life at home as well as the fighting.

img_2121The contents of the letters I’ve transcribed so far, which includes only 4 of the approximately 100+ V-Mail, are filled with what my grandmother was doing, what my dad’s siblings were doing, what she got for Mother’s Day, what she made for dinner, etc. Everyday happenings that gave my dad a sense of what life at home was like while he was away. As I read up on the need and use for V-Mail, I realized my grandmother was basically following the guidance from the War Department and the Postal Service regarding keeping the soldiers’ morale up by maintaining close connections to home and family. By giving the men a nuanced reminder of what they were fighting to protect. Home and hearth and all the people in our country and allies’ countries.

Grandmother often told Dad how much she loved him (“My dearest Murray”), how she looked for letters from him and worried when she didn’t hear from him, and often closed with “Be sweet”. She also frequently told him she’d send an “air mail” soon. I found the terminology interesting as well. She didn’t say she’d send a letter, but an “air mail” which cost twice as much as the V-Mail, at 6 cents postage. So, just like we send an “email” she sent V-Mail and air mail (two words back then).

img_2119See, for me, it’s not just the words on the page that is of interest, but also the methodology of how the overall mail system worked during war time, the innovations that enabled that system, and how people used them. One interesting side note, is that enclosures were not allowed at first. But then they did permit a picture of a baby under one year old or that was born after the father had gone back to his unit. Morale was all important during those terrible, trying years.

I’m sure our men and women in uniform today are ever grateful for email and cell phones that enable them to communicate much more readily than via the mail. But I’m so grateful to have this historic record to delve into, something that future and present historians don’t have access to with email and phone calls. Trade-offs always exist as technology morphs and improves.

I’m really looking forward to discovering what new information to me all the hundreds of letters contain. I should be entertained for quite some time.

One more thing. Three of the four books in the A More Perfect Union historical romance series are discounted through the end of January at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Amy’s Choice is only 99 cents, Samantha’s Secret is $1.99, and Evelyn’s Promise is $2.99. If you haven’t gotten your copy yet, now is a good time to do so.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and opinions! Happy 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. Also, I’ll be sharing one chapter each month in 2017 of a new historical romance novella, Elizabeth’s Hope, the prequel to my A More Perfect Union series, with my subscribers. Thanks and happy reading!

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

Tasty Tuesday: Lane Cake #recipe by #contemporary#romance #author Alicia Hunter Pace #dessert #cake

Tasty Tuesday brings us a divine cake fit for any celebration, including the holidays, from author Alicia Hunter Pace. Actually, you’re getting two authors for the price of one since she is two writing partners. But I’ll let her tell you more about that later. Take it away, Alicia!


If you have read any of our books, you know about Lou Anne’s Diner. It first popped up in our first book, Sweet Gone South, and since has been the setting for first dates, black moments, public shamings, and reconciliations. With her iced tea pitcher in hand and a pot of chicken and dumplings on the stove, Lou Anne dispenses advice along with the some of the best comfort food in Merritt, Alabama.

In our latest book, Mistletoed in Merritt, Lou Anne has the Christmas spirit and our hero, Bennett Watkins, couldn’t be happier about how she expresses it. He loves to eat. Here, Bennett and Hélène-Louise Soileau pass the time of day outside the diner with Brantley and Lucy Kincaid, the beloved hero and heroine from Simple Gone South.

From Mistletoed in Merritt:

“We need to get in there and order our secret Christmas cake,” Bennett said. “It’s already after one. I’m afraid we might have already missed out.”

“Secret Christmas cake?” Hélène-Louise said. “What’s that?”

As a New Orleans native, she knew about king cake, of course—a yeasty confection with a plastic baby inside. Whoever found the baby brought the cake to the next party. She and her mother had made dozens of those cakes for Bennett’s mother’s parties during carnival season.

“That’s the thing. It’s secret Christmas cake.” Brantley brought her back to the present. “You have to guess, though today it’s lane cake—you know, with the raisins and the whiskey and the icing that tastes like divinity. I was hoping for Japanese fruitcake, but lane is almost as good.”

Lucy said, “It’s this little eccentric thing Lou Anne does at Christmastime. Starting December first, she makes a different traditional Christmas cake every day—German chocolate, red velvet, fresh coconut, Lady Baltimore. But she won’t tell in advance what the next day’s cake will be.”

Brantley took Lucy’s hand. “We’d better let these folks get to their cake-eating. It might already be too late.”

Lucy put a hand up in mock horror. “That would be terrible.” She met Hélène-Louise’s eyes. “Brantley is very devoted to cake, but even more so pumpkin pie. See you soon.”

So, Christmas is over, but who says you can’t have “Christmas” cake anytime? After all, Valentine’s Day is coming. I might whip up this special cake for the the people I love in my house. I won’t lie. It’s a little trouble to make, but aren’t they worth it? Lou Anne would say they are! 

Lane Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 8 egg whites
  • Lane Cake Filling
  • 1/2 7-Minute Frosting

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; add to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition.
  2. Beat egg whites at high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold one-third of egg whites into batter; fold in remaining egg whites. Spoon batter into 3 greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans.
  3. Bake at 325° for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks, and cool 1 hour or until completely cool.
  4. Spread Lane Cake Filling between layers and on top of cake. Prepare 7-Minute Frosting; spread onto sides of cake.

Lane Cake Filling

  • 12 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped pecans
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped raisins
  • 1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preparation

  1. Pour water to depth  of 1½ inches into a 3½-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer.

  2. Beat egg yolks at medium speed with an electric mixer 3 minutes; gradually add sugar, beating until blended. Beat 3 minutes. Gradually add butter, beating at low speed until blended.

  3. Transfer mixture to a 3-qt. heatproof bowl. Place bowl over simmering water. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and an instant-read thermometer registers 170° (about 30 to 35 minutes). Remove from heat; stir in pecans and remaining ingredients. Cool  1 hour.

Just as it’s always the right time for a Christmas cake, it’s always the right time for a Christmas story. We’d love for you to get to know Bennett and Hélène-Louise!

mistletoedcoverBennett Pontellier Watkins and Helene-Louise Soileau had a secret, youthful love affair – until their mothers found out. Helene-Louise, the housekeeper’s daughter, was sent to France to study lacemaking while a bereft Bennett drowned his sorrows on the beach with beer and sorority girls.

Eight years later, Helene-Louise, now a master craftsman, owns a shop in Beauford, Tennessee, and teaches a series of workshops at the Cultural Arts Center in Merritt, where Bennett is the director. It isn’t long before they fall into each other’s arms once more.

But old patterns begin to re-emerge, and despite Bennett’s declarations of love, it’s clear to Helene-Louise that he still has no intention of coming clean with his upper-crust parents about their relationship. Is she willing to give up everything she’s built for herself in Beauford for a man who may never see her as more than the hired help’s daughter?

Or will Christmastime in Merritt reveal love to be the greatest present of all?

About the Author

Alicia Hunter Pace is the pseudonym for the writing team, Jean Hovey and Stephanie Jones. They are USA Today best-selling authors who live in North Alabama and share a love of old houses, football, and writing stories with a happily ever after. Get to know them and their stories at www.aliciahunterpace.com.


Wow, what an amazing cake recipe that will make dessert an experience! And I know their books are fun reads! These ladies really know how to work together to give readers a fun and moving tale set in the South. So be sure to pop over to their website and choose one of their many books to add to your to-be-read pile!

Thanks for stopping by!

Betty

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

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

Between the Lines: Playlist for #Haunted #Melody #paranormal #romance

I have a confession: I love music! Not every kind, but a wide variety. So when I started writing Haunted Melody (Secrets of Roseville Book 2, I was happy to discover that my heroine Paulette and I share one thing in common: we both react to situations by thinking of songs. As a result, when she gets into her car to start driving, she hums “On the Road Again.” Sounds very familiar! With that in mind, I thought I’d share the playlist (linked to Spotify) from Paulette’s story, Haunted Melody, in the order in which they appear:

On the Road Again – Bob Dylan

It’s Raining Men – The Weather Girls

Good Morning from Singing in the Rain

I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor

You Are My Sunshine

Getting to Know You from The King and I

Witchy Woman – Eagles

Sunshine on My Shoulders – John Denver

Singin’ In the Rain – Gene Kelly

Shall We Dance from The King and I

Celebration – Kool and the Gang

Back Home Again – John Denver

Unchained Melody from Ghost – The Righteous Brothers

I love the blend of ballad and musicals in this list. Some of my favorite singers and groups are included, especially John Denver and the Eagles.

In reviewing this list, it occurred to me that the song titles actually mirror the emotional journey that Paulette finds herself making. Very interesting! Do you have a go-to song that pops into your mind in certain situations? Or if you did, what would it be?

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and opinions!

Betty

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

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

Haunted Melody is now available for pre-order and will release on March 28, 2017. Here’s more about the story…

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

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

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

(Updated and revised edition; originally published in 2014 as Remnants.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tasty Tuesday & Undying Love Book Birthday! Southern #Cornbread #recipe #paranormal #romance #mustread #fiction

It’s here! The release of Undying Love! I feel like celebrating! So I am happy to share Meredith and Max’s story with you along with a favorite recipe from my childhood that is included in the story. Southern cornbread features crisp bacon for added savory flavor. Everything is better with bacon, right?

Cornbread was one of my dad’s favorite breads. He used to grease the pan with bacon grease and add some cooked corn kernels and of course crumbled bacon to the batter. Sometimes he’d toss in chopped pimento for added color. Here’s a typical recipe from Betty Crocker that you can use to tinker with to suit your taste.

Here’s what Undying Love is about:

undying_love_600x900When architect Meredith Reed inherits her family’s plantation after the devastating loss of her own family, she must choose how to move on with her life. Keep the plantation? Not a good idea. Sell it? Better. Turn it into a memorial park? Better yet. But can she go against her family traditions and the hunky but irate lawyer?

Max Chandler needs two things to complete his life plan: become a senior partner and find his soul mate. He’s due a promotion once his legislation to protect the county’s historic properties is approved. The wife part he finds more challenging, having never met the right woman. If only the talented, attractive, aloof Meredith didn’t want to destroy the very property he cherishes.

While Meredith struggles to reconcile her past and future, will she learn a lesson from the spectral Lady in Blue in time to save both her family and home from destruction?

B&N: http://bit.ly/2fF4QTf

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2fnRyHK

Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2fOyEdQ

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2eYDp5w

Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2eYzWUS

iTunes: http://apple.co/2fF4mfT

And here’s a short excerpt:

“What is it you do again?” Max aimed mirrored sunglasses in her direction.

“I’m an architect.” She slid her purse strap more securely onto her shoulder. She snatched the manila folder off the hood of the vehicle, a file Max had handed to her at his office. Inside were copies of the legal papers he’d reviewed with her across his massive mahogany desk. “Why?”

“Your grandmother said you were the perfect heir for this property.” He let his gaze drift away from her to scan the hundreds of acres of fields and trees, across the lake, and on to the various outbuildings surrounding the plantation house.

A circle of trees nearly hid the old gazebo from view, but they couldn’t stop the surge of memories of afternoons spent with her sister playing under its roof. Glimpses of white painted boards and black wrought-iron trim appeared through the dense branches and limbs sprouting with new growth.

Meredith dropped her attention to the folder, severing the thread of the past, and turned a page without reading it. Why did Max care what she did? She slanted a questioning glance his way. “I enjoy designing beautiful yet useful buildings.”

“Listen, I hate to rush this,” Max said, his words clipped, “but I have a client to meet in an hour. Let me show you around.” He indicated for her to lead up the steps.

Bristling at his tone, Meredith pinned him with a stare. “Look, you don’t need to. It’s been a while, true, but I have been here before. I know the layout. We can go.” Then she wouldn’t have to go inside and relive the happy, carefree days of her childhood through the weary eyes of an adult while Max watched.

He shook his head, his dark chocolate hair touched with gray sweeping his collar, watching her. “Things have changed. You may be surprised by what you find inside.” He tapped a hand against one thigh and cocked his head to gaze at her for a long moment. “Either way, you should take stock of what you’ve inherited.”

He didn’t appear much like a lawyer, truth be told. Didn’t lawyers wear prescription glasses and look nerdy? Not that she believed in stereotypes, but all that studying must make their eyes weak. Max was the other end of the spectrum. Perhaps her grandmother had a need for eye candy when she chose him as her estate planner.

He was delicious to contemplate, that’s for sure. Probably a couple inches taller than a cornstalk with a soccer player’s physique, Max could double for a cover model. She appreciated his classic good looks, straight nose, and strong jaw. Dressed in khakis and a deep red polo shirt, he seemed more ready for a round of golf than a client meeting. He represented the unattainable type of man for her. The kind embodying something too smart, too handsome, too much for her taste. Even if she were in the market for a man, which she was not. None of that mattered since she would be staying in the area for a short while. Despite her hard shell of indifference to the opposite sex, she couldn’t help a moment of succumbing to the temptation of drinking her fill of his appearance. But only for an instant. If she let her guard down, her personal destruction would soon follow.

Thanks so much for sharing in my happy release day! Hubby is bringing home Chinese takeout for our celebratory dinner this evening. A real treat indeed! Happy 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. Also, I’ll be sharing one chapter each month in 2017 of a new historical romance novella, Elizabeth’s Hope, the prequel to my A More Perfect Union series, with my subscribers. Thanks and happy reading!

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

Unveiling My Family History One Letter at a Time #writerslife #research #family #history

 

rms-letters-2016
Letters to/from my father spanning 1940-1950

How well do you know your parents’ family history? My father lived with me and my hubby and children for 17 years before he moved into assisted living. That gave me plenty of time to hear his tales of growing up, of surviving bombings during World War II, and more. I’m fortunate to have inherited my father’s correspondence after he died in 2011. This year I’ve decided to transcribe all of his letters for posterity, which means reading each and every letter and typing what they say, along with the notations on the envelopes and postmark information. As I’ve started perusing a few of them, I’m amazed at how much is written on the exterior of what I’ve read to date. I’m also anxious to get to the letters to and from my parents during their courtship. What new insights will I gain from those love letters?

 

First, there are other aspects of the correspondence to ponder. Consider the postmarks for example. They vary somewhat by city and state as to what they contain. Some have the day of the week including the date. Others do not. The earliest letters start in 1940 and the postmark doesn’t include a zip code. Curious, I had to find out when the U.S. postal service began using them. Turns out it wasn’t until after I was born! Not until 1963 did they begin to appear and even then not uniformly. Click here for more information if you’re curious like I was.

Another curiosity regarding the envelopes was the stamps. Or more specifically the missing stamps on many of the letters, though not all. I figured my dad must have cut them out, but why? I didn’t recall him collecting stamps. Maybe he tried to reuse them? Or gave them to someone else? While I was pondering this mystery, I happened to have a phone conversation with my oldest sister. I mentioned the missing stamps and she fessed up. Apparently Dad had given her permission to cut out the stamps she wanted for her collection! So that little mystery was solved quickly. The stamps themselves are also interesting, especially the price. It cost 1 cent to mail a “postal” or small postcard (left), and only 3 cents to mail a letter (right) in 1940 and 1941. And yet, the lady writing to my dad had to borrow a stamp from a friend in order to mail her letters because she didn’t have the money to buy one herself.

The stationary used is also varied and revealing at the same time. Lined note paper, folded pages written on like a booklet, letterhead from the nursing school where one of my dad’s girlfriends, or rather fiancée, attended (before he met my mother). Often the pages are numbered which was a necessity since the contents didn’t necessarily flow left to right as we’re accustomed today. The first letters are all handwritten, but some of the letters from my dad to his mother are typed on a typewriter while he was in the U.S. Army during World War II.

rms-letters-sorted-nov-2016

I’ve sorted the letters by year, except for the biggest collection which all were written the year my parents married in 1948, the two tall stacks in the back center of the above picture. Sometimes two letters a day from/to each of them! Those are sorted by month since my rubber bands had limits as to how far they’d stretch.

I wonder what I’ll learn about their courtship, about my family history, and about their plans and hopes for the future after their marriage. Obviously, this is a long-term project which will keep me occupied for months to come as I won’t be able to work on it every day. After all, I have books to write and research to do, trips to take and other family obligations. But my curiosity is truly piqued!

I may share some of my dad’s letters written during the war if they appear interesting. I imagine family doings would not be of interest, but his descriptions of where he was stationed and what happened on Guadalcanal would have more potential I think. We shall see as I go through them over the upcoming year.

Wish me luck! Tell me if you ever wonder about your parents’ courtship and how they met, etc. How much do you know about them?

I’m off to start typing!

Betty

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

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

Tomorrow is the official release of Undying Love! I am happy to share Meredith and Max’s story with you. Happy reading!

undying_love_600x900When architect Meredith Reed inherits her family’s plantation after the devastating loss of her own family, she must choose how to move on with her life. Keep the plantation? Not a good idea. Sell it? Better. Turn it into a memorial park? Better yet. But can she go against her family traditions and the hunky but irate lawyer?

Max Chandler needs two things to complete his life plan: become a senior partner and find his soul mate. He’s due a promotion once his legislation to protect the county’s historic properties is approved. The wife part he finds more challenging, having never met the right woman. If only the talented, attractive, aloof Meredith didn’t want to destroy the very property he cherishes.

While Meredith struggles to reconcile her past and future, will she learn a lesson from the spectral Lady in Blue in time to save both her family and home from destruction?

B&N: http://bit.ly/2fF4QTf

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2fnRyHK

Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2fOyEdQ

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2eYDp5w

Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2eYzWUS

iTunes: http://apple.co/2fF4mfT

Tasty Tuesday: Saffron-Scented #Seafood #dinner #recipe from #romance #author Rose C. Carole

It’s Tasty Tuesday again and this week’s recipe is brought to you by author Rose C. Carole. She’s sharing her character’s steamed seafood dinner, the one intended to seduce her man. Take it away, Rose!


Food provides nourishment for the soul as well as the body. And nowhere is food more an expression of love than when it is made for that special person in your life. Sharing food you can eat with your hands, that you can feed each other, and that bombards the senses of smell and taste with exquisite pleasure are as much foreplay as any touch can be. In my book Catering to His Needs Rebecca is the owner of a catering company. She goes away for the weekend with Ethan and makes this wonderful dish of Saffron-Scented Seafood, which she hopes will entice him in more ways than one. It works.

Rebecca’s Saffron-Scented Seafood

2 Tbs. olive oil

1 small shallot, minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbs. minced fresh thyme

1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes

Pinch saffron

4 oz. chicken stock

1 dozen clams, cleaned

1 small pkg. mussels (about 20-30 mussels), cleaned

½ lb. 26/30-size shrimp, peeled and deveined

Kosher salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute shallot and garlic 1-2 minutes until soft. Add thyme, tomatoes, saffron and chicken stock. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add clams and mussels and cook for 4 minutes. Add shrimp and cook till clams and mussels open and shrimp becomes opaque, about 4 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over rice or linguine.

Rose C. Carole has been an avid reader all her life and pursued that obsession into the publishing business, where she worked in both production and editorial for books and magazines. When her son went off to college, she decided to fulfill another dream and went to culinary school, thinking she would write a cookbook but loving the cooking so much she became a caterer. But her love for books is ever present, and she finally decided it was time to reconnect with her own creative muse and write the kinds of books she enjoys reading. She hopes her readers enjoy them as well. Find out more about her and her books at her website.

catering-to-his-needs-coverCatering to His Needs by Rose C. Carole

Book 1 of the Kitchen Confessions series

Published by Totally Bound

Ethan is at his wit’s end. Gina, his brother’s ex-wife, has threatened to reveal that Ethan is a member of the Playground, an exclusive BDSM club, unless she gets more alimony from the family trust fund. The scandal that would arise from such a revelation must be avoided at all costs–not only for the sake of Ethan’s reputation, but for the future of his relationship with his treasured sub, Rebecca.

Rebecca is a single mother working hard to expand her catering business. The only peace she finds from her building stress is in the handcuffs of her strong Dom, Ethan. But Rebecca’s life is not her own. Her teenage son is not handling Rebecca’s divorce well, and Rebecca feels the responsibility for her son’s happiness like a weight on her shoulders. Between her business and her son, she has little time for herself–or the growing emotional demands from her Dom.

Ethan is determined to take their relationship to the next level, and Rebecca is equally determined not to upset her son further by revealing that she has a new man in her life. Fortunately, Ethan is a Dom with a passionate interest in seeing that his sub is happy–even if he has to whip some sense into her. He’s making progress until suddenly his own problems take a turn for the worse. His brother Zach has gone missing under suspicious circumstances and now it’s all Ethan can do just to keep himself out of jail. The cat, as they say, is out of the bag.

As their lives spiral out of control, will Ethan and Rebecca be able to find a way back into each other’s arms?


Seafood is one of my favorite foods! Blue crab, shrimp, and lobster in particular. Thanks, Rose, for sharing this delectable recipe and I think the book sounds like a real treat, too! What about you? Do you have a favorite seafood? Do you enjoy reading novels with food preparation and eating as a main course?

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. As a special treat to my fans, I’m sharing a new novella exclusively to my subscribers one chapter each month through 2017 so you can read it before it goes on sale next December. I’ve already started sharing, so sign up now!

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

Also, grab your copy of Undying Love while it’s discounted for only $1.99 before it releases on January 10. Here’s more about the first story in my new Secrets of Roseville series.

undying_love_600x900When architect Meredith Reed inherits her family’s plantation after the devastating loss of her own family, she must choose how to move on with her life. Keep the plantation? Not a good idea. Sell it? Better. Turn it into a memorial park? Better yet. But can she go against her family traditions and the hunky but irate lawyer?

Max Chandler needs two things to complete his life plan: become a senior partner and find his soul mate. He’s due a promotion once his legislation to protect the county’s historic properties is approved. The wife part he finds more challenging, having never met the right woman. If only the talented, attractive, aloof Meredith didn’t want to destroy the very property he cherishes.

While Meredith struggles to reconcile her past and future, will she learn a lesson from the spectral Lady in Blue in time to save both her family and home from destruction?

B&N: http://bit.ly/2fF4QTf

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2fnRyHK

Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2fOyEdQ

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2eYDp5w

Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2eYzWUS

iTunes: http://apple.co/2fF4mfT

Planning for Success in 2017 #WritersLife #amwriting #amreading #romance #history #fiction

Happy New Year! I know you’ve heard that a lot over the last few days, but I truly hope 2014-11-12-13-41-282017 proves to be both happy and prosperous for each of you. Of course, how you define happiness and prosperity will vary based on your goals and desires.

As I look forward to the upcoming year, I am planning for success on several fronts. First, I’ll release 4 books this year. That’s one kind of success as an author. If you’ve been following my blog, you know that Undying Love releases in just a few days on January 10. I plan to release two more books in the Secrets of Roseville series, Haunted Melody in March, and The Touchstone of Raven Hollow in June. Then in December I’ll release the prequel novella for my A More Perfect Union historical romance series, Elizabeth’s Hope. I’m taking a page out of Charles Dickens’ publishing plan by serializing the novella to my newsletter subscribers throughout 2017, one chapter each month, leading up to the release of the entire book for sale in December.

Second, I’ve planned to attend several book signings where I hope to meet my readers in person. June will find me in Huntsville, Alabama, and Portland, Oregon. July I’ll travel to Orlando, Florida, and then in October I’ll head to Portland, Maine. Details of where and when can be found on my website. See, I write stories to share them with others and enjoy chatting with those of you who enjoy reading them. So if you can make it to any of the signings or luncheons that would be such fun!

successThird, I posted last year about my business plan and I intend to work to the plan as closely as possible in order to achieve my intended goals for the upcoming years. Doing so is another kind of success to my mind. However, I also realize that plans must shift at times, so I’ve built into my plan optional routes to reach the desired destination. I’ve learned to be flexible in my planning to avoid unnecessary stress and to stay on track to my ultimate goal.

Fourth, I’ll continue to read across several genres and nonfiction books in order to keep the writing well fresh and deep. Books will include research for my historicals as well as reading for fun. I intend to average one book a week this year, depending on the length of the books I choose. I know I want to finish reading the Outlander series, for example, and those books are on the longer side.

Finally, this year my loving hubby and I will begin the downsizing process by putting our 22-acre farm up for sale and looking for a house in a neighborhood closer to where he works and to where his father lives. I’ll miss our sanctuary in the country but am looking forward to a new home with more conveniences. The unknowns associated with moving always provide new opportunities as well as new challenges, so this year should be interesting if nothing else. Success on this front will be defined by finding a house with a view and an office for me. Right now I write in my family room which has worked but I’m craving some desk space to spread out on and walls to hang a write-on calendar and a bulletin board for plotting books. Or at least to hang inspiring pictures and any awards I might win over the years. I’m thinking positive!

What are you looking forward to this year? Do you have any big plans or changes ahead?

Wishing you all the best in the New Year!

Betty

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

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

News! Books 2-4 of the A More Perfect Union historical romance series set in Charleston, South Carolina, during the American Revolution are on sale through the end of January. Now is a great time to catch up on the fight for independence in Amy’s Choice, Samantha’s Secret, and Evelyn’s Promise.

Amazon   Barnes and Noble

Amy's ChoiceAmy’s Choice

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

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

SamanthsSecretCOVERSamantha’s Secret

Midwife and healer, Samantha McAlester returns from the front lines to find Charles Town under British siege and the town’s new doctor at war with its citizens.

Dr. Trent Cunningham intends to build a hospital staffed solely with educated doctors. What he doesn’t need is a raven-haired charlatan spooning out herbs and false promises to his patients, while tempting him at every turn.

Then a mutual friend develops a mysterious infection. Trenton is stumped. Samantha suspects the cure but knows treatment will expose her long-guarded secret, risking all she holds dear… including Trenton.

Evelyn's PromiseEvelyn’s Promise

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

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