Learning to Shoot a Flintlock Pistol #amwriting #histfic #historical #fiction #history #research

After an attack at the Fury Falls Inn in my story, Flint Hamilton decides he needs to defend the property. He asks the deputy sheriff for his help in learning how to shoot a flintlock pistol accurately. In order for me to be able to portray what he learns, I had to do a bit of research. Thank goodness for online sources I could access to understand the process!

By the way, it is a happy coincidence that I chose to name my character Flint and then he wants to use a flintlock pistol. He’s named Flint because he has a solid sense of responsibility and conscience. So like the rock he’s named for, Flint is a hard man to fool and is dedicated to protecting those under his care.

Back to figuring out how to shoot a flintlock pistol. I went to the science website, How Stuff Works, where Marshall Brain details the parts and the process of shooting this type of gun. Loading and firing the pistol is rather complicated to detail but I imagine once you’ve learned how, doing so would flow rather easily.

According to Marshall Brain, the flintlock consists of four main parts: a hammer, mainspring, frizzen, and pan. The hammer is powered by the mainspring. The hammer’s purpose is to hold a piece of flint and make it move quickly to create a spark off of a piece of steel, the frizzen. The pan holds a little bit of gunpowder awaiting the spark to detonate it. These four parts work together to fire the lead ball (bullet).

There are seven steps Brain lists for loading and firing the pistol. Since I’m writing from Flint’s point of view, I needed to key on the steps as he would. But without boring my readers. Here’s how it unfolds in The Haunting of Fury Falls Inn:


“Careful with that thing.” Parker waved a hand toward the flintlock pistol in Flint’s hand. “You said you’re not so good with it.”

Flint pointed the muzzle away from the deputy with a smirk. “That’s why you’re here. So teach me how to handle it and shoot straight.”

“First you need to load it properly.” The deputy held out his hand until Flint handed him the weapon. “Do you know how?”

He seemed to recall it took some special steps, and if you fouled them up then the contraption could explode in your hand. His father had tried to teach him how to handle a pistol years ago. After several near catastrophic missteps, he’d decided Flint would be safer using a rifle or even a musket. They weren’t quite as tricky as the smaller weapon, at least for Flint. But now Flint wanted something smaller he could carry with him instead of the larger, bulkier guns. Still, he approached the weapon with extreme caution.

“It’s been a while. Remind me.” Flint folded his arms while Parker talked him through the process. He forced himself to pay attention as the deputy explained and demonstrated each step, making the entire process look easy. Flint knew better.

Half-cock the hammer to pour in some gunpowder down the barrel. Wrap a lead ball with a bit of cloth and ram it down the barrel on top of the gunpowder. Add some gunpowder to the pan and snap the frizzen on as a cover. Fully cock the hammer and then squeeze the trigger to fire the gun. For each shot of the pistol, he had to do every step. With any luck, he wouldn’t need to do it at all. But he must be prepared.

“Your turn.” Parker handed him the gun. “Let’s see what you’ve got. Shoot the bull’s eye. Or try, anyway.”

With a grunt, Flint clumsily loaded the pistol. He raised the gun to point at the target, then steadied his shaking hand by briefly supporting it with his other one. Dropping the second hand, he aimed at the center red circle and jerked on the trigger. The blast of sound rang in the confines of the cavern, slowly echoing into silence. The odor of gunpowder lingered longer. Parker strode to the paper target and examined it. He spun around to smirk at Flint.


While Flint isn’t perfect on his first shot—he missed the target—he improves rapidly. I’ve fired a modern pistol but not any from the 1800s, so I appreciate the information Marshall Brain shared. I learned enough about how the pistol mechanism functions to be able to weave it into my story to help put the characters in context with the time in which they live. As I’ve said before, I am writing historical stories not to teach a history lesson but to entertain. Happy reading!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I send out most every month, including news like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers, along with recipes and writing progress. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit www.bettybolte.com for more on my books and upcoming events.

Innkeeper’s daughter Cassie Fairhope longs for only one thing: to escape her mother’s tyranny. But in northern Alabama in 1821 marriage is her only escape. Even so, she has a plan: Seduce the young man acting as innkeeper while her father is away and marry him. He’s handsome and available. Even though he has no feelings for her, it is still a better option than enduring her mother.

But Flint Hamilton has his own plans and they don’t include marriage, even to the pretty temptress. Securing his reputation in the hostelry business and earning his father’s respect are far more important. He did not count on having to deal with horse thieves and rogues in addition to his guests.

When tragedy strikes, Cassie and Flint must do whatever it takes to rid the inn of its newly arrived specter—who has no intention of leaving…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. Thanks and happy reading!

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

The_Touchstone_of_Raven_Hollow_600x900He dug for the truth and found her magic.

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

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

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

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Fun Friday with Sophie Dubois from The Pirate’s Bride by Cathy Skendrovich #sailing #pirates #historical #fiction #romance

Today I’m kicking off a new series I call Fun Fridays, where guest authors will share the cool and fun adventures of their characters with you. Starting the series, is Cathy Skendrovich with some sailing fun from her book, The Pirate’s Bride. Take the helm, Cathy!

“I want to become a pirate. My father was a pirate captain under your leadership. I want to replace him. There is nothing left for me at home, thanks to my father’s death, my husband’s desertion, and my lack of children. I repeat, I want my own ship.”

So states one of my favorite heroines I ever created, Captain Sophie Dubois, from my historical romantic adventure, The Pirate’s Bride. Sophie has always wanted to sail ships more than marry “advantageously.” In my book, she gets that chance, through a “series of unfortunate events,” to quote a famous kids’ author. She also becomes a female pirate.

2014-08-08 08.47.40                I love the ocean. I love looking at it, walking along the shore, and yes, sailing on it. In a very large vessel, mind you. You see, I’m also afraid of the water. But large boats, or ships? They’re okay.

I took my love of the ocean and gave it to Sophie. The wind streaming through her hair, the bright sunlight dancing on the waves, even the thrill from the gentle bobbing of her ship beneath her; all that came directly from me. Sailing over the waves, looking back at where I’ve been and forward to where I want to go, there’s nothing better. Add no seasickness, and you can see why my husband nicknamed me “Captain Jack,” for a certain pirate we all are familiar with.

One vacation, we took the ferry out of Seattle (the faster one, without cars) to go to Victoria, B. C. My husband downed some Dramamine and lolled about in his seat for most of the trip, while I gambled and took nothing. I’d never had motion sickness before, I reasoned.

I didn’t need any drug. Once we hit the open water, lots of people began visiting the restroom. Not me. I went out on deck and embraced the speed, the salt spray, the breeze. I walked the ship, enjoying every moment of the three-and-a-half hours it took across the ocean to get to our destination.

Sophie compares sailing a ship to freedom, and I think she’s right. Isn’t that why we like to drive our own cars, after all? But streets have rules, while the ocean, especially back in the days of pirates, had no rules except to stay afloat.

Sophie’s in charge of her own destiny when she sails a ship, and that was unheard of in the 1700s for a woman. She doesn’t want to rely on a man, and for good reason, which you’ll have to read the book to find out. Sailing gives her that escape and empowerment that I think we all crave, and she embraces it.

I tried like heck to bring out this love affair I have with the ocean in the book. I researched and researched, as well as relied upon my own experience. Pirating was only one facet of Sophie’s story. Becoming a strong, free woman who could protect herself and make her own decisions was so much more important to me. And it all started with a love for the sea.

Here is an excerpt from The Pirate’s Bride, the scene when Sophie’s pirate father-in-law finally gives her the helm of her ship. Read her reaction. I hope it makes you want to read more. Enjoy!

Finally, the reward was nigh on hand, and she would be sailing the ship out into the open ocean at last.

 

The next day it really was everything she’d dreamed of, and more. With the wind blowing her hair free from its plait and drying the tears straight out of her eyes, standing at the helm was heaven on earth. Louis Dubois actually steered the ship, but she was close enough to feel the freedom, the power of being in command.

 

The old pirate appeared to enjoy the sail as much as she did. He pointed out places of interest along the rapidly disappearing coastline, jabbering away at her. Soon only sun-drenched, sparkling swells surrounded them.

 

 “Take her.”

 

Her gaze snapped to his. “Now? Really?”

 

At his nod, she gingerly placed her hands on the smooth spokes of the helm, felt the ship shudder and sway as if alive and sensing her trepidation. She snatched her hands back and stared at Dubois. “It…it feels alive.”

 

He hooted. “Of course it does, girl. Isn’t the ocean a living thing? Now, get your hands on it and keep us at a southerly direction. Tell the crew what you want done, sail straight ahead until the sun hits the horizon, then drop anchor. Philippe and I will be below, wishing not to be disturbed during our card game. Unless, of course, we come under attack.”

 

He paused in his departure, looking over his shoulder at Sophie. “Oh, and Captain Dubois?” Was he talking to her? He must be. He continued, “Figure out on my charts where we are when you drop anchor, and come tell me. Now, ‘Ta.” He strolled away.

PB CoverFollowing a disastrous Coming Out season, Sophie Bellard vows never to become intimate with any man, preferring to sail the seas like her father before her. But an arranged marriage to a dangerous pirate changes her course forever.

Captain Andre Dubois enjoys pillaging, plundering, and seducing women. Settling down and producing an heir to continue his lineage in the Confederation of Pirates has never been important to him. Only when his inheritance is threatened does he reluctantly take a wife, a dark-haired beauty hiding a disheartening secret.

After a ruinous wedding night, Andre and Sophie spurn the attraction that ignites between them and go their separate ways, seeking the lifestyles they each gave up, and making enemies along the way. But, in a twist of pirate fate, their paths cross again, and they rediscover that spark, only to have it threatened by someone from Andre’s past. Can they fight off a murderous adversary, and rekindle an attraction too strong to be extinguished by time? Or, has it, and luck, run out for these two pirates?

Literary Wanderlust

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2018 headshotCathy Skendrovich has always loved a good story, and spent her formative years scribbling what is now called Fan Fiction. The current heartthrob of the time featured heavily in all her stories. Unfortunately, once she went to college, her writing took the form of term papers, written on typewriters instead of computer keyboards.

Upon graduation, Cathy took a job as an English teacher in a middle school. Along the way, she married her husband of now thirty-three years, had two sons, and moved to southern Orange County, California. She chose to work part-time in the school system there.

Now she has returned to writing. Prisoner of Love is her first published novel, followed closely by The Pirate’s Bride. The sequel to The Pirate’s Bride, The Pirate Bride’s Holiday Masquerade, came out Oct. 1, 2017. Undercover with the Nanny, came out on April 23, 2018.

She likes writing romance because she feels it’s lacking in today’s technological world. While she enjoys writing contemporary stories, creating romance in bygone times fascinates her. She hopes her ability to write in both genres will be the beginning of a long and satisfying writing career.

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Tasty Tuesday: Chicken Divan from #contemporary #romance #author Meg Benjamin #dinner #recipe #fiction #books

Gather round for a Tasty Tuesday sure to tempt your senses! Meg Benjamin serves up a brewery based romance, Love on Tap, along with a delicious recipe for Chicken Divan. Sure looks easy to make and you can read while it bakes. Okay, Meg, the stage—or blog—is yours!


I love writing about food because I love to cook. Most of my books have a scene in which the hero or heroine does some cooking, and I’ve done several books (Fearless Love, Hungry Heart, Love in the Morning) in which either the hero or the heroine is a chef—sometimes both! My Brewing Love trilogy for Entangled Publishing (Love On Tap, Saison For Love, Wild Love coming in June), however, centers on brewing beer rather than cooking. At the heart of the trilogy is a struggling craft brewery—Antero Brewing. But as a Colorado resident (the state has over 300 craft breweries), I can guarantee that beer goes well with food, and cooking is definitely part of the Antero, Colorado, scene.

In the first book in the trilogy, Love On Tap, the hero, Wyatt Montgomery, needs to convince the heroine, Bec Dempsey, that he’s a good cook. It’s all part of Wyatt’s plan to purchase Bec’s last barrel of imperial stout for his Denver gastropub. To convince her of his cooking chops, Wyatt promises to cook her a great dinner based only on the ingredients she currently has in her refrigerator. To make things even more interesting, Bec herself is only a rudimentary cook and she’s living in a makeshift apartment above the brewery.

Bec hadn’t been kidding about the inadequacy of her kitchen. Wyatt managed not to grimace as he checked out the equipment. He had indeed worked with worse—he hadn’t been lying. On the other hand, he hadn’t done a great job with worse, and he sure as hell hadn’t been happy doing it. Still, right now he needed to impress her with his skills, and he couldn’t do that by whining.

 

He opened the smallish refrigerator, checking the meat drawer and the hydrator. Chicken breasts, lettuce, a few stalks of broccoli.

 

“Where do you keep the rest of the food?” He gave her an encouraging smile. Not a criticism, so help me.

 

She gestured toward the wall cabinets. “First one on the right is sort of the pantry. I’ve got dishes and pans in the others.”

 

He nodded, pulling open the pantry door. Sandwich bread, peanut butter, a half-empty jar of blackberry jam. And—oh, thank you, kitchen gods—a bag of noodles. “Okay, one chicken divan coming up.”

Wyatt manages to find all the ingredients he needs in Bec’s kitchen except for sherry—Bec’s a brewmaster, not a wine drinker. But necessity being the mother of invention, he improvises, using a bottle of wheat beer she happens to have on hand. He cooks dinner on Bec’s two-burner hotplate, then watches her reaction as she takes her first bite. If she doesn’t like his cooking, he won’t get her imperial stout, and if he doesn’t get that stout, his gastropub may go under. Which is to say, there’s a lot riding on that first bite:

He carried the plates to the table, sliding into the chair opposite her. “Okay, I’ve never made this with beer before, so I can’t absolutely guarantee it. But it should be edible.”

 

She gave him a quick smile. “It smells a lot better than that.”

 

Actually, it was a lot better than that. The beer didn’t have the nutty flavor of the sherry, but it gave the chicken a slightly toasted taste and worked with the cheese sauce. Not bad. Not bad at all.

 

“This is terrific,” Bec murmured after a couple of bites. “I’m sorry I ever doubted you. You definitely know what you’re doing. You can make dinner for me anytime.”

Wyatt does cook for Bec again, and they have a few more bumps, some of them major, before they seal the deal. But it’s the chicken divan that gets things going. Here’s a modified version, made with sherry since I’m assuming, unlike Wyatt, you’ve got access to a few more ingredients.

CHICKEN DIVAN

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 bunch broccoli, chopped

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 T extra virgin olive oil

3 T butter

3 T flour

3⁄4 c chicken broth

1⁄2 c milk

1⁄3 c sherry

1 c shredded cheese (cheddar or Swiss)

Salt and pepper

Nutmeg

Noodles or rice for serving

Directions

Preheat oven to 325°F.

 

Steam broccoli for 5 minutes until crisp-tender. Drain in colander.

 

In a medium frying pan, sauté chicken breasts in olive oil until lightly browned. Remove from heat and drain on paper towels.

 

In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook for 1-2 minutes. Then gradually whisk in chicken broth, sherry, and milk until incorporated. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer until the sauce is slightly thickened. Add dash of nutmeg. Add 3/4 of the cheese and whisk until combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.

 

In a 9×13 dish arrange chicken breasts (either whole or sliced) and broccoli. Pour sauce over top and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover with aluminum foil with slits to allow steam to escape.

 

Bake for 30-45 minutes, taking off the aluminum foil for the last 10.

 

Serve over egg noodles or rice

MegBenjaminMeg Benjamin is an award-winning author of contemporary romance. Her newest series, Brewing Love, is set in the Colorado craft brewing scene. Meg’s Konigsburg series is set in the Texas Hill Country and her Salt Box trilogy is set in her new home, the Colorado Rockies (both are available from Entangled Publishing). Along with contemporary romance, Meg also writes paranormal romance, including the Ramos Family trilogy from Berkley InterMix and the Folk series to be published by Soul Mate Publishing in 2018. Meg’s books have won numerous awards, including an EPIC Award, a Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Holt Medallion from Virginia Romance Writers, the Beanpot Award from the New England Romance Writers, and the Award of Excellence from Colorado Romance Writers. Meg’s Web site is http://www.MegBenjamin.com. You can follow her on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/meg.benjamin1), Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/megbenjamin/), and Twitter (http://twitter.com/megbenj1). Meg loves to hear from readers—contact her at meg@megbenjamin.com.

LoveOnTapFinal CoverWyatt Montgomery knows a barrel of legendary Zoria imperial stout will help his Denver gastropub stay on top. The only problem is the brewery that made it is no longer in business. When Wyatt hears the brewmaster has only one barrel left, he won’t stop until it’s his. He doesn’t consider what this mythical barrel might cost him. And he certainly doesn’t anticipate his reaction to the heart-stoppingly beautiful brewmaster he needs to convince to sell him the beer.

When Wyatt rushes into Bec Dempsey’s small-town cooperative offering to buy the last barrel of her precious Zoria, she’s thrown for a loop. She’s been burned by city-slickers before, and she’ll be damned if she’ll let it happen again. But when things start heating up between them, Bec decides to make Wyatt a counteroffer. One she hopes he won’t refuse.

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Thanks so much, Meg! That sounds like my kind of recipe, and the story sounds tempting, too! I’ve used wine in cooking, and even some gin or beer, but never sherry. Hmm. I guess I’ve been missing out on using the warmth and robust flavor of the sherry in my recipes. I will have to try it!

That wraps up this round of Tasty Tuesday posts, but please enjoy the new series of Don’t Say That! posts on Mondays about words I had to avoid in my A More Perfect Union historical romance series and other historical stories set in the 18th and 19th centuries. I’ll be looking at how language has changed along with the technological advances and the words that would be anachronistic (futuristic, in a sense) for my characters if I used them. It’s intended to be a fun and light-hearted exploration into the evolution of words and language. Enjoy!

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.

Tasty Tuesday: Chicken Enchilada Casserole from #romance #author Cathy Skendrovich #dinner #recipe #romancebooks

I have a little spicy treat for you all on this Tasty Tuesday! Not only is Undercover with the Nanny a hot dish, but contemporary romance author Cathy Skendrovich shares a hot Chicken Enchilada Casserole dish, too. Take it away, Cathy!

Thank you, Betty, for hosting me on your “Tasty Tuesday” blog. I love writing, and I love cooking, so being able to talk about both is a win-win for me.

Food is always featured in my books. It doesn’t matter if it’s breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a midnight snack, I invariably have my characters breaking bread together. It may be because I love to cook (and eat it), but I think it’s also true that when you sit around a table with friends or family, you naturally share more about yourself while in the process of eating. Table conversation can be enlightening, from lovers to parents.

In my upcoming romantic suspense release, Undercover with the Nanny, due out on April 23, 2018, the characters share several meals together. Our hero, Sawyer Hayes, is a DEA agent investigating Kate Munroe and her boss for possible drug trafficking. In one scene he invites Kate out to dinner in order to pump her for information. He’s unprepared for the slam-to-the-gut chemistry they share in the Mexican restaurant. Kissing her becomes more important that feeding himself. And kissing his suspect is dangerous, as well as unprofessional. Will he give in to the urge, and jeopardize the case, as well as his career? You’ll have to purchase the book on April 23rd to find out.

UwtN_1600When Kate Munroe is smacked in the head by a beach volleyball, she has no idea that the hunky guy responsible is a well-trained DEA agent sent to investigate her. She just thinks he’s a schmuck who can’t play very well. And when she discovers he’s moved in right next door, she’s not overjoyed. He makes her feel…edgy, when he looks at her. Like he knows what she looks like under her clothes. And she doesn’t trust a guy who throws her off balance. She doesn’t trust, period.

DEA agent Sawyer Hayes came to the southernmost tip of California in search of Mexico’s dangerous drug cartel leader, Armando Ortiz, who slipped through his fingers in El Paso. The link to finding Ortiz is Kate Munroe, a nanny for one of Ortiz’s henchmen. But does the dark-eyed beauty with the smart mouth know who she works for, or is she an innocent pawn in this high stakes game of cat-and-mouse? It’s Sawyer’s job to find out. And Sawyer won’t rest until he knows, because he’s falling for the sexy babysitter and isn’t sure if he can throw her in jail when the time comes.

Here’s an excerpt:

Just one more knock.

 

She gave what she thought was one last, good rap. Silence.

 

Fate—or God—had provided a reprieve for her common sense. She could go back home without having embarrassed herself with her momentary sexual weakness. She turned to go. Just as she did, she heard the rattle of the doorknob, along with the swish of the front door opening. Scrunching her eyes shut, she pivoted, and then opened them one at a time. She choked on a strangled gasp.

 

Sawyer Hayes stood in the open doorway, gloriously naked, except for the towel slung low on his hips. Really low. Mouthwateringly low. She dragged her gaze away, up that corrugated abdomen, past that chiseled chest where stray water droplets dotted the wide expanse of male skin, up to those glittering emeralds that pinned her in her place.

 

There was no Southern charm in his expression now. Only a palpable expectancy that snapped between them like an electrical current. Without losing eye contact, he leaned one brawny shoulder against the doorjamb. She fought the urge to check out how that towel remained around him in this new position. He had such narrow hips, after all—

 

“I don’t imagine you’re here to borrow a cup of sugar, are you?”

 

Her gaze popped up to his face, where humor had replaced that avid anticipation of a moment before. What could she say? That, now that the decision was left in her hands, all she could think of was being with him? Touching him, tasting him, doing unmentionable things more in keeping with a certain Mr. Christian Grey than with what she’d ever done in her rather beige sexual past.

 

A questioning look crossed his face, and she realized she’d been silent too long. What should she say? Tell him she’d changed her mind? Excuse herself and run home? He wouldn’t follow her. But, she hadn’t changed her mind, that was the problem. Seeing him almost naked only underscored that realization.

 

Her pulse sped up as she admitted to herself: she wanted to have sex with Sawyer Hayes. She needed to know if that instant spark that came to life whenever they were together would transfer to the bedroom. That maybe, just maybe, he would rock her world when others hadn’t. She wouldn’t question what that meant if he did.

 

“I do have sugar, Munroe, though you don’t strike me as the type to use that manufactured—”

 

“Can I come in?” Without waiting for his answer, she pushed past him, brushing against his body while half-hoping that tenacious towel would lose its battle and land on the floor. That would make her decision so much easier.

 

“It depends on how long you plan on staying,” he drawled, stepping aside and shutting the front door with a decisive click. She moved closer, close enough she could smell the soap he’d washed with, could hear each measured inhale and exhale that he took. She studied his face, had to tilt her head only a little because he was barefoot.

That sexy tidbit may not have you craving food, but here’s an enchilada casserole recipe I make for my family that’s easy and tasty and is similar to what I describe in the book. I use chicken, but turkey or beef can be substituted.

enchilada casseroleChicken Enchilada Casserole

Ingredients

2-3 cups cooked, shredded chicken

1 15-oz. can tomato sauce

1 15-oz. can enchilada sauce, mild

Corn tortillas (10-20 count package)

Sliced or chopped olives to taste

Shredded Mexican cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚
  2. Grease 9×13 baking dish
  3. Pour and mix tomato sauce and enchilada sauce in bowl
  4. Dip enough tortillas (usually 2) in the sauces, and place in bottom of dish
  5. Sprinkle some chicken on top
  6. Sprinkle olives and cheese on top of chicken
  7. Dip more tortillas in sauces and cover the chicken, olives and cheese
  8. Continue layering ingredients until there’s no more chicken
  9. Top the casserole with at least two more dipped tortillas, and sprinkle cheese on top
  10. Optional: May dribble sauce over top
  11. Cover tightly with foil and bake at 350˚ for 20-30 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

Good with Mexican rice and beans. Serves 8-10

2017 Profile PicCathy Skendrovich has always loved a good story, and spent her formative years scribbling what is now called Fan Fiction. The current heartthrob of the time featured heavily in all her stories. Unfortunately, once she went to college, her writing took the form of term papers, written on typewriters instead of computer keyboards.

Upon graduation, Cathy took a job as an English teacher in a middle school. Along the way, she married her husband of now thirty-three years, had two sons, and moved to southern Orange County, California. She chose to work part-time in the school system there.

Now she has returned to writing. Prisoner of Love is her first published novel, followed closely by The Pirate’s Bride. The sequel to The Pirate’s Bride, The Pirate Bride’s Holiday Masquerade, came out Oct. 1, 2017. Her next contemporary romantic suspense, entitled Undercover with the Nanny, is due out on April 23, 2018.

She likes writing romance because she feels it’s lacking in today’s technological world. While she enjoys writing contemporary stories, creating romance in bygone times fascinates her. She hopes her ability to write in both genres will be the beginning of a long and satisfying writing career.

You can reach Cathy at the following sites. She loves hearing from readers.

http://www.cathyskendrovich.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Cathy-Skendrovich-249667925220631/

https://twitter.com/cskendrovich

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14232546.Cathy_Skendrovich

https://www.instagram.com/cathyskendrovich/

https://www.amazon.com/Cathy-Skendrovich/e/B015JJZZOW/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1
 

Thanks so much for sharing both your story and your recipe, Cathy! A bit of spice can really make a meal and a romance special. The combination seems like a fine idea to me.

Next week will be the last guest post for Tasty Tuesday for a while. I’m starting a new blog series of Between the Lines posts on Mondays and I hope you’ll all enjoy them. Watch for more recipes and stories to return later this year, though. I know how much you all have loved reading about the many different books and foods.

Until next time! 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. Thanks and happy reading!

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

Tasty Tuesday: Triple-Chocolate Romeos by #romance author Lucinda Race #cookie #recipe #todiefor

Most everyone loves chocolate, and this week’s Tasty Tuesday brings you a triple-chocolate treat from contemporary romance author Lucinda Race. Enjoy!


Romeo… where are my Romeos?

Hello!

It’s a pleasure to share with you one of my favorite recipes, Triple Chocolate Romeos. I‘ve written a seven-book series based on the McKenna family who live and love in a small town in Western Massachusetts.

Cooking has always been central in life with my daughters. When my youngest daughter was in middle school she dreamed of becoming a baker. Often, I would come home from work and the kitchen counters would be smeared with egg shells, melted chocolate and so many other ingredients. This final recipe is the product of her earlier attempts and the inspiration for Kate McKenna Donovan who is featured in Ready to Soar, book five in The Loudon Series.

Magic Cover Art Only Amazon 2560x1600-2            Lucas saw the troubled look flit over Kate’s face. “Hey, I’m sorry, I guess I shouldn’t have brought it up. For what it’s worth, I think Cari liked taking control of the kitchen. She made these triple chocolate cookies that were to die for, I think she called them Romeos. Have you ever had one?”

            Kate laughed. “Not only have I had them, but I’ll confess I made them up when I was about eleven. Mom had to tweak the recipe a bit to make them actually taste good, but the basic idea was mine.”

            “Cari made them on two different days and they sold out before lunch. I had to save one from the second batch just so I would get a sample. Sounds like you’ve always had a knack for being in the kitchen.”

 

Triple Chocolate Romeos

Ingredients

2 sticks butter softened

1 cup packed brown sugar

½ cup white sugar

½ teaspoon baking soda and salt- each

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons half and half or light cream

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate- melted

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 ¼ cups flour

1 cup white chocolate chips

Instructions

Cream, butter, sugars baking soda and salt for 3 minutes. Beat in eggs and half and half and vanilla. Then combine melted chocolate, cocoa and baking powder. Add flour and white chocolate chips. Dough will be soft.  Drop onto ungreased cookie sheets and bake at 375 degrees for 9-11 minutes. Cool and enjoy.

Coffee and Romeos

I hope you enjoy the cookies. They freeze great and if you can wait, let them come to room temperature and enjoy.

For more on the Loudon Series visit my website at www.lucindarace.com.

Until next time,

I wish you happiness.

Lucinda


This recipe will be added to my cookie recipes. Yum! Thanks so much for sharing this cookie recipe, Lucinda! Do you guys have a favorite cookie?

Until next time, 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. Thanks and happy reading!

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

Tasty Tuesday: Meatballs and Sausages #appetizer w/ #romance #author Lynn Crandall #recipe

Let’s talk about appetizers on this Tasty Tuesday, shall we? With all the parties of the holiday season, this might be one you’d enjoy to contribute. Romance author Lynn Crandall is here to share her story Nutcracker Sweet and a recipe for meatballs and sausages. Take it away, Lynn!


I’m happy to be on Betty Bolte’s Tasty Tuesday to share a little bit about my new release, Nutcracker Sweet, and a recipe mentioned in the story. Thank you, Betty!

My mom was making chocolate Christmas cookies and gathering all the family around the kitchen table to stretch out a blob of hot candy into a platter of peanut brittle. It was a tradition, and one in which we all bonded together.

We were not unique. When the holidays come around, many of us celebrate with family traditions. According to Amy Griswold, Family Life Educator at the University of Illinois County Extension, traditions are part of the fabric of family.

Research shows that these traditions are important in building strong family relationships between generations,” Griswold wrote on the Extension’s website. “Traditions are stories, beliefs, rituals, and customs that are passed from one generation to the next. Keeping traditions for the holidays as well as the ordinary days help teach children the things their family values. These traditions help fill the individual’s need to belong. Being a part of the special things our family does, helps us to have that sense of belonging.”

In my story, Nutcracker Sweet, Noël Hartley is facing the holiday season burdened with sorrow over her sister’s death. Family holiday traditions, including attending a performance of the Nutcracker ballet each Christmas with her older sister, Reggie, are painful reminders that her sister is no longer around and her family is falling apart. Her parents have left town, her younger brother and sister are looking to her to hold the family together, and on top of everything, the firefighter Jonah Grant, the man who didn’t save Reggie from the fire, keeps trying to make pathways into her life. Ugghh.

Rather than trying to ignore Christmas, Noël plans a holiday get-together for the three of them, and turns to traditional foods to help create a sense of belonging. Her contribution to the festivities is a zingy cheddar cheese ball. Her sister, Brie, supplies the peppermint mocha coffees, and her brother, Oliver, brings the hot meatballs and sausages in a family-favorite, tangy sauce. Unexpected guest, Jonah, adds his homemade apricot liqueur eggnog and a whole lot more than Noël expects.

Nutcracker Sweet FINALcover

Here’s the blurb:

A year after her sister’s death, Noël Hartley is haunted by memories of Christmas past. All around, life is going on, including all the happy celebrations of Christmas. Noël is having nothing of it, or the firefighter who failed to save her sister Regina from the deadly fire.

Firefighter Jonah Grant is going through the motions of working and living his life. The night he fought a fire in Regina Hartley’s house replays over and over, but always ends the same. He went into a fire to save her, but came out without her.

A wall of pain keeps Noël and Jonah apart and alone in their suffering, though in mid-size Cranberry Cove they’re finding it challenging to avoid one another. But when a stalker puts Noël’s life in danger, Jonah has to find a way to prevent another tragedy and prove to her that their futures rely on facing the past.

Amazon: http://a.co/at5I5sm

Here’s an excerpt from Nutcracker Sweet:

“Excuse me, could you help me get that box of crackers on the top shelf?”

The female voice sounded familiar and Jonah looked up, ready to assist. His heart stopped. Please floor, open up and swallow me now.

It was Noël Hartley, standing two feet away and asking for help. She blinked, twice, and swayed a tiny bit. It was a very quiet sound, but he heard her gasp.

“I’m sorry.” The words just fell out. “I mean, sure.” He couldn’t move.

She held his gaze, silently, for a full, frozen minute. “Hi, Jonah. Do you mind?” She pointed to a box of seven grain, sea salt crackers. “Please?”

He grabbed the box and handed it to her, his arms were heavy logs. “Just one box?”

She slanted her head, and his pulse sped up. Cute was not a strong enough word to assign to her face. Cad.

“No, two would be better.”

He gave her another box and paused, their eyes meeting again. His mouth went dry. Words, where were his words? Nerves rattled in his head. “I came in to get something for dinner, but I don’t know…” He let the sentence drop and twisted as though searching for something to buy.

She chuckled lightly, and it steadied his rambling thoughts. “Me too. I have to pick up things for a meal, anyway.” She chewed on her lip, drawing his attention to them.

His heart ached for her. The apologies he had made to Noël and her family just after the fire were the last words he’d spoken about the tragedy with them. His words had been so inadequate that thinking of them now he felt his skin blanch. He lifted his gaze and found Noël searching his face.

“Jonah.” Her expression got very somber. “I don’t hold any hard feelings for you. Don’t feel uncomfortable for what happened.” She dropped her gaze, but not before he saw her eyes reveal her pain. Then her expression perked up. “It’s been almost a year. I’m fine. I hope you are too. Now, I need to finish my shopping. Good luck with finding your dinner.”

So we’re going to gloss over everything wrong. She was not fine, and that crunched his heart. But he wouldn’t press, not here, not in the grocery store. “Thanks. I’ll find something.”

She pushed her cart away from him, but he stood watching her retreat, helpless in her despair. He couldn’t just go on as he’d been over the months since the fire. Noël had graciously let him off the hook, but the truth was in her eyes. It had pierced his soul and he couldn’t continue as though nothing had happened but he didn’t yet know what to do either.

Now for the recipe Oliver made for Brie and Noël.

Meatballs and Sausages in Tangy Sauce

Ingredients

1 pound ground beef

1 16 ounce bottle Catalina dressing

1 20 ounce can pineapple chunks in pineapple juice

1 package cocktail sausages

Directions 

  • Shape ground beef into small meatballs and brown on all sides.

  • When meatballs are done, pour full bottle of Catalina dressing and  entire can of pineapple chunks with juice in a crockpot. Stir, and add meatballs and sausages to the crockpot mixture. Stir again.

  • Cook over low heat in crockpot  until meatballs are done, about two or three hours, depending on your crockpot.

  • Keep mixture warm in pot  to serve.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as an appetizer for any kind of gathering this holiday or any time you throw a party. Check out Nutcracker Sweet to read how I used the dish in the story.

May your holiday season be full of peace, love, and joy!

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. She hopes that readers discover, over and over, stories of ordinary people who face ordinary life challenges and are transformed by extraordinary love.

 

Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Lynn-Crandall/e/B00AX9OA40/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1511570977&sr=8-1

Website http://lynn-crandall.com/

Facebook Author Page https://www.facebook.com/LynnCrandallAuthor/?ref=settings

Twitter https://twitter.com/lcrandallwriter

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6198966.Lynn_Crandall

Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/lynncrandallwriter/

Instagram lcrandall246


That’s an easy and tasty appetizer, isn’t it? The story sounds tempting as well. Do you have a favorite pitch-in dish you take to gatherings?

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.