Tasty Tuesday: What I learned about #colonial #cooking #recipes #American #history

Well, Tasty Tuesday fans, the adaptations have come to an end, so I thought I’d sum up a few lessons I learned about colonial cooking. But just because my adaptations are done doesn’t mean you’ll miss out on some new delicious recipes! I’ve invited some other authors to share a recipe from one of their stories, to introduce their characters to you. That will start next week. Today, I’d like to recap a few of the more interesting things I discovered in this adventure.

The_Touchstone_of_Raven_Hollow_600x900Before I do, I want to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving, if you’re in America. It’s the perfect time to read my latest paranormal, The Touchstone of Raven Hollow, which happens during Thanksgiving week in the Cumberland Plateau of southeastern Tennessee. Tara and Grant have quite an adventure when they escape Roseville to take a day hike in the woods! See below for the description and links where you can buy your own copy. I hope you enjoy it!

So, let’s turn to, in bullet form, the lessons and observations I think are worth sharing:

  1. Ground mace is too strong for my taste buds, so I needed to substitute with ginger, or cloves, or nutmeg, or even herbs at times. I used my judgment based on our preferences.
  2. Adding chopped up oysters into fish sauce makes it taste really good!
  3. Adding diced mushrooms adds richness to sauces. Note that I hadn’t previously cooked with mushrooms except in ground beef stroganoff, so this was a revelation to me.
  4. Many of the meat recipes called for sauce, which we grew rather tired of after a while. They were fairly rich and heavy, so I ended up serving them on the side to add as desired.
  5. The “gravy” they used is more similar to what we call broth or bouillon. I recommend using one of those instead of making the gravy from the recipe, which proved time-consuming and rather expensive.
  6. The ingredients which seemed readily available to 18th-century cooks are now not quite as at hand and expensive when they are. Veal, chestnuts, and truffles and morels come to mind as examples.
  7. Cooking with lettuce was an entirely new concept to me! It never crossed my mind to use to thicken sauce.
  8. I was reminded that I shouldn’t try to fry! Ever.
  9. Meat recipes with gravy and/or force meat balls were too rich and heavy for our taste, even though they tasted good to begin with. Perhaps omitting the force meat balls would have made them a bit more palatable.
  10. One of the recipes called for fish liquor, so I bought some Fish Sauce in the oriental aisle of the grocery store. Used it twice, then discarded. The taste just hung on my tongue for way too long!
  11. Adding cut up oranges to salad really perks up the flavor.
  12. Sautéed spinach with garlic and olive oil is a tasty and healthy way to cook it. I’ve done that repeatedly since “discovering” that technique.
  13. Cake pans must have been huge back then. The quantity of flour, sugar, and eggs is at least twice what today’s cake recipes called for. I’m grateful to the ladies who wrote Revolutionary Cooking for adapting the pound cake recipe for me!
  14. Women must have been really strong and/or traded off the work of beating a cake batter literally by hand for an hour. Can’t imagine!

So there you have it! I hope you’ve enjoyed this little journey as much as I have. Here is the complete list of blogs and recipes in case you missed a few:

Veggies and cooking techniques https://wp.me/p6TEhM-rW
Stewed spinach and eggs http://wp.me/p6TEhM-sn
Potato pudding https://wp.me/p6TEhM-sU
Meats and cooking techniques https://wp.me/p6TEhM-ts
Brown gravy (Strong Broth for Soup/Gravy) http://wp.me/p6TEhM-u1
Oyster sauce http://wp.me/p6TEhM-vN
Force-meat balls http://wp.me/p6TEhM-we
Scotch collops http://wp.me/p6TEhM-wG
Beef collops http://wp.me/p6TEhM-xS
Lamb pie http://wp.me/p6TEhM-ys
Fish types and cooking techniques http://wp.me/p6TEhM-yX
Salmon – broiled, and baked http://wp.me/p6TEhM-zB
Fried Fish; Shrimp Sauce http://wp.me/p6TEhM-A5
To Dress A Crab http://wp.me/p6TEhM-Aw
Fowl and other birds http://wp.me/p6TEhM-AT
Brown Fricasey with chicken http://wp.me/p6TEhM-B3
Roast chicken with chestnuts http://wp.me/p6TEhM-Bs
Stewing chickens http://wp.me/p6TEhM-BN
Duck with green peas http://wp.me/p6TEhM-Cw
Collops and eggs http://wp.me/p6TEhM-Cb
Salmagundy https://wp.me/p6TEhM-D1
Apple pudding https://wp.me/p6TEhM-Dv
Stewed pears https://wp.me/p6TEhM-Er
Pound cake https://wp.me/p6TEhM-EK

Do you have a favorite recipe from the batch of adapted ones? Did you try any of them? Will you?

See you next week when we start the guest author recipes! See you then.

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 tests divulge geologist’s 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?

Amazon: http://bit.ly/Touchstone-kindle

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

Kobo: http://bit.ly/Touchstone-Kobo

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

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

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

iBooks: http://bit.ly/Touchstone-iBooks

Google: http://bit.ly/Touchstone-GoogleBks

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Tasty Tuesday: Apple Pudding #pie #colonial #dessert #cooking #recipes

Today’s recipe features the first of four desserts I’ll be adapting from colonial era receipts. This Apple Pudding treat is worth a try! Ready to get started?

The first thing we need to consider is the definition of “pudding.” According to Jane Tennant in Our Founding Foods, “’Pudding’ usually signified the course offered at the end of the meal, in the place of what we now recognize as dessert. And so pies, cakes, and tarts could all qualify as ‘pudding’ in that sense.” That cleared up my confusion on using a pastry dough to cook a pudding! Which only raised other worrisome questions for me. My attempts at making pie crust from scratch have not yielded the best results in the past…

Let’s take a look at what Hannah Glasse recommends for an apple pudding…

Art of CookeryTo make an Apple-Pudding

Take twelve large pippins, pare them, and take out the cores, put them into a sauce-pan, with four or five spoonfuls of water; boil them till they are soft and thick; then beat them well, stir in a pound of loaf sugar, the juice of three lemons, the peel of two lemons, cut thin and beat fine in a mortar, the yolks of eight eggs beat; mix all well together, bake it in a slack oven; when it is near done, throw over a little fine sugar. You may bake it in a puff paste, as you do the other puddings.

Remember that I’m trying to scale down these recipes to be easier to do and more appropriate for a smaller group, as in two people whenever possible. A pie is a bit of a challenge to reduce too far, but I think it’s safe to say twelve large apples would make quite a large pie. So I decided to use 3 Granny Smith apples instead.

Did you notice she called for a pound of loaf sugar? A pound! After some thought, I decided to use honey, which has a more concentrated sweetness but doesn’t need quite the quantity. My only concern was bulk or quantity of the resulting filling since it took less mass in the form of honey versus sugar. The results seemed fine to us, so at least it worked out.

I have to wonder if the lemons they had then were smaller than the ones we have now. It seems to me using the juice of 3 lemons to 12 apples would be a lot of tartness to add. Then again, with a pound of sugar involved, perhaps it offset each other at that rate. But since I reduced the sugar, I also reduced the lemon. I also took a short cut and used lemon juice (not fresh from the lemon) and omitted the peel. I’m not a fan of the texture of the peel in baked goods.

She also called for 8 egg yolks. I talked this over with my hubby as to why she’d only want the yolks and not the whites. We agreed it’s to make it more like a custard filling without the fluffiness associated with the whites (I’m thinking meringue here). That may be true, but I really don’t like wasting the whites. I decided to try using a whole egg and see what I got. Again, the results turned out fine, at least for our admittedly homespun tastes.

The question of the puff paste worried me for some time. Use it or not? How do you make one? What did she mean by “bake it in a puff paste” anyway? I did some online searching and also through my colonial cookbooks and even my Joy of Cooking. You wouldn’t believe how many different ways there are to make puff paste! I found it in my Joy of Cooking and they were quite thorough and elaborate on the process, taking 3 full pages to details the steps. I had no time nor patience for such an involved process, so searched until I found this Puff Pastry recipe. Still, I kept looking at my colonial cookbooks for clues as to how to use the pastry once I’d made it. Assuming I made it. Which I eventually did. The link includes a video of how to roll out the pastry and prepare it to use, which was very helpful, too. It turned out just fine and tasted wonderful!

The very last question to answer was, what exactly do they mean by a “slack oven”? After a little digging, I found out it’s the cooling oven after baking bread. Wonderful! But what temperature do I set my oven at to bake this? I decided to go with the typical baking temperature of 350°F and monitor it closely.

Here’s what I ended up with…

Betty’s Apple Pudding

Ingredients

3 Granny Smith apples, pared and cored

2/3 cup water

1/8 cup honey

1 T lemon juice

1 egg, beaten

Ground cinnamon, to taste

Puff Pastry

Instructions

Make the puff pastry well enough ahead to allow sufficient time to chill.

Line a pie pan with the puff pastry; trim excess pastry and set aside the pie pan in the refrigerator until needed.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place apples and water in sauce pan; boil and stir until softened. You may need to beat it some, but I left some chunks in mine.

In a separate bowl, beat one egg then add lemon juice, honey, and cinnamon (optional).

Add egg mixture to apples and stir well.

Pour mixture into pie pan.

Bake 45 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Serve warm.

Ready to eatWe enjoyed this, and had it for breakfast the next morning with scrambled eggs. <grin> The consistency reminds me of homemade mashed potatoes. The combination of flavors was very appealing to us, especially since I added a dash or two of ground cinnamon. I had feared it would taste rather bland without some spice. Hubby agreed with my choice to add the cinnamon.

This recipe did take some effort and time to pull it together. The end result is a yummy single crust pie everyone can enjoy. Stay tuned for next week’s dessert: apricot pudding. Should be an interesting challenge!

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.

Elizabeth’s Hope releases November 3, so pre-order your ebook copy today! Or you can order the paperback now, both exclusively at Amazon.

Introducing the lives, loves, and dangerous times of the men and women in the A More Perfect Union historical romance series! This prequel novella takes place when Charles Town, South Carolina, is about to face the British enemy during the American Revolution.

Elizabeth's HopeCAUGHT BETWEEN DUTY AND LOVE

Joining the revolutionary army was the honorable thing to do—but Jedediah Thomson hadn’t realized how long he’d be away from the lovely, spirited Miss Elizabeth Sullivan. They’d only begun their courtship when the occupation of Charles Town, South Carolina, trapped her in the city, making it dangerous to get to her.

Elizabeth Sullivan feared for her brothers, fighting for American freedom; for her father, pretending to be a loyalist; for family and friends, caught between beliefs; and most of all for Jedediah, the man she loves, who was doing his duty. She cherished every moment they had together, knowing how swiftly it could be taken away.

And that made her willing to risk everything to claim a piece of him forever….

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

Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2yoixg2

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2wDNmv3

Tasty Tuesday: Making Broth for Soup & Gravy #colonial #recipe #howtomake #broth #soup

It’s Tasty Tuesday time again! One of the basic ingredients for many of the meat and made-dish receipts, or recipes, Hannah Glasse’s The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy is a broth to use as a base for soup or gravy. This proved to be one of my first real challenges to adapt because the ingredients needed to be interpreted and then located. Or at least find something that was a close approximation so I could make something with a similar taste and consistency.

Here’s what Mrs. Glasse tells the 18th-century cooks to do:

Art of CookeryTo make strong Broth for Soup and Gravy

Take a shin of beef, a knuckle of veal, and a scrag of mutton, put them in five gallons of water; then let it boil up, skim it clean, and season it with six large onions, four good leaks, four heads of celery, two carrots, two turnips, a bundle of sweet herbs, six cloves, a dozen corns of all-spice, and some salt; skim it very clean, and let it stew gently for six hours; then strain it off, and put it by for use.

So the first thing I had to do was understand what a “shin,” a “knuckle” and a “scrag” meant. Also what constitutes a “head” of celery. Thank goodness for the internet! A shin is the same thing as a shank today. A knuckle refers to the lower inside back leg (who knew?). The scrag is the lean end of the neck. A head of celery is the entire thing with all its stalks.

Last week I talked here about the assumed knowledge Mrs. Glasse expected of her cooks. This recipe is a good example of that belief in her reader. The specific terms for these cuts of meat have changed since the 1800s. Or at least, I had never heard of them. She also gives little direction as to what to do with the vegetables before adding them to the pot. Leave them whole or cut them up? I suppose that since she was making 5 gallons of broth, she likely was using one of the big kettles so you wouldn’t need to cut up the vegetables to add them. But of course, I was not going to make 5 gallons of broth. First, I don’t have a pot that big. Second, what would I do with so much broth? Especially in the spring when we don’t consume as much soup.

It became quite apparent that I’d need to reduce the quantities and adjust the amount of each ingredient. So let’s take a look at what I ended up with.

A shank of beef at my local grocery store weighed probably 8 pounds or more. I asked the butcher to give me about one pound. I figured I’d never find a neck of a sheep, lean or not, so I bought one shank of lamb to serve the purpose of flavoring the broth. They did not sell veal, so I had to go to a Whole Foods store to pick up organic, pasture-raised veal slices that weighed less than half a pound and cost ten dollars. I decided I needed to find some way to use the meats after they flavored my broth; I wasn’t going to waste them. More on what I did later.

For the quantity of water, I added enough to the pot to about an inch below the top, which ended up being 12 cups total.

 

Meats in pot
Meats in the pot before covering with water

I roughly reduced the quantity of vegetables to about one-third to one-fourth. Note that I didn’t use nearly as much onion because my hubby isn’t a huge fan of it, and I want to add onion and garlic to the recipes I make with the broth. You can adjust to suit your taste when you try this adaptation.

 

I forgot to add in any carrots or the herbs! Something I realized as I’m writing this post. I should have put in half a whole carrot, or four baby carrots. I’ll be sure to add them and other herbs when I make soup or stews with the broth. I’ll include it in the ingredients here so you don’t forget to put them in yours…

The 6 cloves became 2; the 12 corns of allspice was a little trickier to figure out. 5 whole corns equals 1 tsp ground allspice. So 12 corns would be about 2½ tsp, so I used ½ tsp.

 

Onion-Leek-Celery-Allspice-Cloves
Veggies and spices for the broth – don’t forget your carrots and herbs!

See what you think…

 

Broth finishedBetty’s Strong Broth for Soup and Gravy

Ingredients

~1 pound beef shank

~½ pound (I used .4) veal slices

1 lamb shank

12 cups water

1 large yellow onion, cut into large pieces

1 leek, cut into pieces, green leaves discarded

1 head of celery, cut into large pieces

½ whole carrot, or 4 baby carrots

2 whole cloves

Herbs to taste

½ tsp ground allspice (or 3 whole corns)

Directions

Place the meats in a large pot. Add water and bring to a boil.

When the meat is cooked through, remove it from the pot and skim the water. I used a handheld tea strainer to swish gently through the water and remove the bits and pieces that came off the meats.

Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2½ hours.

Remove the vegetables and skim the broth again to remove any stray bits and pieces.

Pour broth into a container and refrigerate until needed.

Note: If you’re not going to use the broth for a while, you can do like I did. I divided it into 1-quart Ziploc bags, 2 cups per bag, and stood them up in the freezer to keep until needed. Once frozen, then you can lay them flat for more compact storage.

StewThe resulting broth really smelled yummy! I couldn’t wait to use it to make something like soup or gravy for one of the upcoming recipes I’ll share with you. What I ended up doing is taking four cups of the broth, adding in some garlic and carrots (right?!) and some of the stewed savory veggies. I let that simmer while I diced the lamb, beef, and veal and set it aside. Then I peeled and diced two baking potatoes and added them to the stew. Tossed in a bay leaf or two, some Italian herb seasoning and let it all simmer for about 45 minutes. So very good! Hubby and I both enjoyed dinner that night. And I had enough to spoon into two quart-sized Ziploc bags to freeze for later.

Now that I have the basic broth to use, next week’s recipe is something I’m curious to try: oyster sauce. I may even have it with grilled steak. Sound good to you?

I think if I make the broth again, I will leave out the veal because it is very expensive. What do you think might be a good substitute for the sweet flavor of the veal? A bit of pork chop perhaps? Or increase the amount of beef shank to keep the flavor in the same family of meats?

Thanks for swinging in and helping me figure out these new ways of cooking. I’m having a blast and I hope you’re enjoying the results as well.

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.

The third story in the A More Perfect Union historical romance series reveals what Samantha has been keeping from her friends and the world at large.

SamanthsSecretCOVERMidwife 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.

B&N: http://bit.ly/1akvryM

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1HkamyG

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1AVKyna

iBooks: http://apple.co/1BOdiiB

Google: http://bit.ly/1Dqj7tF

Tasty Tuesday: Cucumber Sandwiches by #contemporary #romance #author Lesia Flynn #sandwich #recipe

Tasty Tuesday time! Fun and fresh cucumber sandwiches by the fun-loving and humorous romance author Lesia Flynn! You’ll love this lady’s recipe almost as much as her light-hearted romances. Help me welcome my dear friend, Lesia!


Thank you, Betty, for inviting me to post on today’s Tasty Tuesday Blog. I am thrilled to be here and meet all of you!

With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, I can’t help but think of romance and proposals. Happily-ever-afters usually come with weddings to plan and prepare, too. Book world is no different. I’ve planned so many weddings in real life, it goes without saying that I love to plan book weddings, even if they never make the printed page. . . there’s no manual labor, after all.

In my latest book, Remembering Skyline, Skyline Mountain Book 3, Ben has lost his mind, thanks to Dicker, the local pain in everyone’s arse. Of course, in the end, Ben finds his heart and the love of his life. But whoa! Is it a fast-paced ride to get there!

cucumber-sandwiches-depositphotos-english-cream-cheese-and-cucumber-sandwichesI loved writing these characters because they are crazy, zany fun!  And who doesn’t love a Scottish tale? While it is tempting to offer you the recipe for Ben’s not-so-favorite drink (Glenlivit, straight from the bottle…or was it Cassidy’s hangover remedy?), instead I give you one of my go-to recipes for any event, whether a wedding, a shower, or even a ladies luncheon. Cucumber Sandwiches are always a hit and easy-peasy to make. I have no idea where I gathered this recipe from or when I started making this particular yum, but it’s a mainstay in my household for any kind of celebration.

Cucumber Sandwich Spread

Ingredients

2-3 large cucumbers, peeled and seeded

1 medium sweet onion (or less as the onion can overpower the flavor of the cucumbers)

8 ounces cream cheese, softened (Neufchatel)

1 cup mayonnaise

1/4 teaspoon of salt

A dash of cayenne pepper

Preparation

Peel, seed, and chop cucumbers and onions finely (I use the food processor).  Drain the mixture well, squeezing out the liquid through cheese cloth or a fine colander. You won’t need the liquid. Combine the cucumber and onion mixture with the remaining ingredients.

Spread over bread for sandwiches or use as a dip for crackers, chips or vegetables.  You can also add thin slices of cucumber on top of the spread for additional Yum! Use heart shaped cookie cutters to make finger sandwiches even more spectacular fun!

Enjoy!

Lagniappe

A dash of cayenne can be a great thing. It often adds that unexpected little zing without burning down the house. Try a small hint of it to add that little something extra. I even add it to my hot cocoa mix for the warmth it yields to the chocolate yum!

Are you a wedding planner, too? Do you have occasions on the horizon to make these yum-ilicious sandwiches?

remembering-skyline-cover-ben-and-cassidy-3Remembering Skyline, Skyline Mountain Book 3

Benjamin Murray has everything a man could want on Skyline Mountain . . . land, business, and all the adventure his heart desires. But, after an unfortunate accident leaves him with no memory of his previous life, Ben mistakenly assumes he’s Scottish. Off he goes, swaggering his sexy Highland self about town, on an adventure to discover his identity.

Cassidy Spencer has had enough and Benjamin Murray is at the top of her list. All she wants this post-Christmas season is a winter getaway to revise her happily-ever-after-plan, one without Ben and his stubborn disinterest in anything beyond business. But before she can hightail it out of town, life takes an unexpected turn. Now Cassidy can’t get away from Ben or his randy affections, and he doesn’t even remember his own name.

lesia-flynn-bioLesia Flynn first fell for romance when her mother gave her a paperback novel. One book later and she was hooked on love. It wasn’t until she had children that she realized she wanted to write stories of love, romance, and happily ever afters.

Lesia was born and raised in Louisiana. She studied Graphic Design at Louisiana Tech University. She currently lives in Alabama with her husband, children, and a rescue cat who believes his mission in life is to keep Lesia safe and out of harm’s way. She loves libraries, gardening, travel, art of all kinds, and playing some really bad guitar for her neighbor’s cows.

Lesia is an active member of the Heart of Dixie Chapter of Romance Writers of America. She writes fun, contemporary romance.

Connect with Lesia Flynn at www.LesiaFlynn.com, Facebook, Pinterest, and @LesiaFlynn.


See, what did I tell you? If you’ve haven’t read any of Lesia’s stories, take a moment and pop over here  and pick one up. You won’t regret it! And don’t her cucumber sandwiches sound divine?

Thanks for visiting with us today, and I hope you have a tasty day ahead!

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: 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.

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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!

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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?

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Tasty Tuesday: Traditional Lamb Stew #dinner #recipe from #romance #author Cara Marsi

Last week I talked about how I learned I enjoy eating lamb. This week, Cara Marsi is going to share how her character fell in love over lamb stew.

cara-marsi-enhanced


Thanks, Betty! In A Catered Romance, when Mary Beth explains to Tom that the lamb stew is for an engagement party for a couple who’d had lamb stew on their first date, Tom says that’s romantic. Mary Beth answers that she no longer believes in romance. Since Tom broke her heart once, this helps set up some of the conflict.

Traditional Lamb Stew

TOTAL TIME: Prep: 10 min. Cook: 1 hour

MAKES: 4 servings

Ingredients

1-1/2 pounds lamb stew meat

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

3 large onions, quartered

3 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces

4 small potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 can (14-1/2 ounces) beef broth

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1-1/2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley

1-1/2 teaspoons minced chives

½ teaspoon minced fresh thyme

Directions

In a Dutch oven, brown meat in 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Remove with a slotted spoon; set aside. Add the onions, carrots and remaining oil to pan. Cook for 5 minutes or until onions are tender, stirring occasionally. Add the potatoes, broth, salt, pepper and lamb; Bring to a boil.

Remove from the heat. Cover and bake at 350° for 50-60 minutes or until meat and vegetables are tender.

With a slotted spoon, remove meat and vegetables to a large bowl; set aside and keep warm. Pour pan juices into another bowl; set aside.

In the Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour until smooth. Gradually whisk in pan juices. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in the parsley, chives, thyme, and meat and vegetables; heat through. Yield: 4 servings.

a-catered-romace-resized-for-sw-goodIn A Catered Romance, Mary Beth tells Tom she likes to roast the lamb first. You can do that if you want. Roast the lamb with some of the broth for about an hour, either the full roast or the cut-up pieces. Season as you like. Let the lamb cool before you cut it up. Follow the rest of the instructions. Also, you’ll probably want to double the broth and double the spices. I find that recipes are never quite spicy enough for me, and the amount of broth used in this recipe isn’t enough. Experiment. That’s what I do.

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I love to experiment with recipes, adapting them to our tastes. Thanks for sharing that amazing recipe for lamb stew, Cara! I’m always up for a new tempting lamb recipe, especially one so integral to a romance story. After all, we all have to eat, right?

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

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


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

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

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

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

A short excerpt:

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

“About four months.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recipe for Conkies (Barbados)

Ingredients:

2 cups corn flour                                                                                            1 egg (beaten)

1 cup plain flour                                                                                             ¾ lb brown sugar

I cup grated coconut                                                                                      4 ozs raisins

¾ lb grated pumpkin                                                                                    1 tsp spice

½ lb grated sweet potato                                                                             1 tsp almond essence

6 oz melted butter or margarine                                                                1 tsp grated nutmeg

1 cup whole milk                                                                                              1 tsp salt

Fresh banana leaves

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

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

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

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

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

Unwrap and enjoy!

Recipe Compliments of Barbados.Org


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

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.

Between the Lines: She wrote what? #American #women #history #research

Ann Frobel CW DiaryThe inspiration for the A More Perfect Union series of historical romances came from reading early American literature. An essay by Judith Sargent Murray, specifically, in which she argued for equal education for girls, and argued against the mistaken notion that females would become sick with too much education. Looking back on how our understanding of human capabilities has morphed over time, it’s difficult to imagine anyone would believe the brain couldn’t learn without making the person—female, that is—ill.

One symptom of this idea is the denial of women to write for publication without being criticized for “manly” behavior. But by the end of the American Revolution women had started to write for publication. Even young slave Phillis Wheatley wrote poems and had them published.

One thing I’ve noticed in my research is the expansion of available written materials for women’s lives over the last 240 years of our country’s existence. What’s interesting to me is that the earliest written record is usually in the form of letters between women and their friends and family. Few colonial women had the time, the materials, or perhaps even the interest in documenting their day-to-day existence in a diary. I can think of one that is famous for the very fact that it was written by a lady in South Carolina during the Revolution. Add to the dearth of materials available the fact that these women often had a sense of privacy they held dear. Which often led women to burn their letters before they died, like Martha Washington is known to have done. (Sadly…)

Mary Chesnut CW DiaryBy the time of the Civil War, however, it’s easier to find the histories of women. For example, both Mary Chesnut, wife of a Confederate general, and Anne Frobel, a Virginia lady, kept diaries specifically to document their lives during the conflict, recognizing that others may actually want to know what they had to endure after the fact. Which they were indeed correct to presume!

I found myself pondering the expansion of women writers of all kinds over the centuries. From writing letters, to keeping diaries, to writing essays and novels and nonfiction books, to the vast array of writing we enjoy today. Even this blog is an example of a woman voicing her thoughts to others. I think all this stems from women having more education, less manual labor around the house, more “leisure” time as a result. (Note that although I’m calling it leisure time, we all know that most people fill every waking hour with something to do!) And of course, the materials are always at hand, whether it’s paper and pen or some form of keyboard. But also because women are people who have a voice and thoughts worth sharing.

So I thank those courageous women like Judith Sargent Murray who stood up to be counted and helped to open the door to the world of writing I enjoy today.

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. Thanks and happy reading!

My American Revolution series of romances begins with Emily’s Vow, which was a finalist in the 2015 International Book Awards contest. The stories each feature a strong woman who declares her own independence for a variety of reasons, but ultimately they each find and fall in love with their soul mate. You can purchase the 4-book series for Kindle, or for Nook. They are also available in paperback if you prefer. Happy reading!

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Between the Lines: Sermon with a View #romance #research #churches

IMG_1508Last week I shared about the pulpit in St. Michael’s Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Today, I’d like to share the description of the chancel and nave in the church, and then let you see it through Emily’s eyes, as I wrote it in Emily’s Vow. Like I mentioned last time, George W. Williams wrote and published a bicentennial account of the history of the church, complete with descriptions and, even better, pictures. I’m going to refer to his pages again.

Each of us notices different aspects of the world around us. So I had to “become” Emily when I wrote her story, to show what she’d focus on in the church while listening to the dreaded loyalist rector’s sermon. All she really wanted was to leave the church, but her father would never allow such disrespect on the Sabbath. So she sits still, with an effort, and endures the lesson.

I’ll touch on the history of the interior of the church, for your information, and then I’ll share the description I used in the book, so you can see how I worked in the details from Emily’s perspective.

IMG_1527According to Mr. Williams, the chancel is “Architecturally as well as devotionally the focus of attention” in the church. Thus, the design and decoration of the space received the most attention. In 1772, Corinthian pilasters and a wrought iron rail were added to the area at the front of the church. The chancel is described in great detail in the pages of Mr. Williams’ book.

From St. Michael’s, Charleston, 1751-1951:

“The Chancel is handsome, and is ornamented in a neat and appropriate manner. It is a paneled wainscot, with four Corinthian Pilasters supporting the proper cornice. The usual Tables of the Decalogue, Lord’s Prayer, and Apostles’ Creed, are placed between them.”

And then:

“It seems that then or later the wainscot, the pilasters, and the entablature may have been painted a dark brown against a solid plaster wall, quite possibly blue. The tablets, two to each side in a unit, were in gilded frames with gilt lettering. Decorating the head of each frame was a golden cherub’s head and wings. The half-dome was a thing of simplicity and beauty. It was blue, representing the firmament, with clouds floating in it. At the peak was a ‘glory,’ a golden sun with golden beams radiating into the dome. The entire aspect must have been at once handsome and harmonious.”

The details of this description informed what Emily notices as she gazes about the church. But there are changes that have been made to the church in the years since my story took place, which Mr. Williams notes.

Again from Williams:

“A dwelling immediately to the east of the chancel offered the constant threat of fire to the church, and in 1788 the dignified Palladian window was ‘shut in with brick.’ The large blank area in the chancel thus produced was painted over a dark brown to resemble a curtain and draperies with gilt tassels and fringe.”

Over the years, other changes occurred, such as repainting and regilding, and repairs had to be made after the Civil War when “damage inflicted by Shells” had to be corrected, but the interior was restored “in keeping with the original design.” Then in 1866, the central window was reopened and “filled with colored glass of hexagonal panes with a curling ivy-leaf design.” Not to belabor my point, I’m sharing these details on the changes to show how having the historical description of what the chancel and nave looked like originally and in 1782-83, the years of my A More Perfect Union series, allowed me to accurately reflect on their appearance.

With that detailed description in mind, let’s look at how Emily viewed the chancel and nave in Emily’s Vow:

“She let her eyes stray to the white plaster ceiling with its intricately carved border known as the Wall of Troy, with its four double roses centered on each of four sides of the rectangle above her. She tried projecting the piety of the other women surrounding her though she only wanted to move, to be outside in the sunshine, to dissipate the energy agitating her. The nave felt cool in the dim light. The sun shone through the Palladian glass window at the rear of the chancel, situated some twenty feet behind the pulpit, and brightened the dark blue walls as well as the four brown Corinthian pilaster columns. The half dome above was blue to represent the firmament with white clouds floating on it and a “glory” at the peak, a golden sun with radiating beams spreading across the dome. Two tablets hung on either side of the window containing the words of the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer and the Apostles Creed in gilt lettering in gilded frames with a golden cherub’s head and wings at the top. She appreciated the simple elegance of the chancel, but today she had no patience. None.

Outside, the sun shone warmly on the churchyard with its tombstones covered by fallen leaves, and she imagined birds hopped among them searching for dinner. But she remained trapped inside yet again, albeit in a different place.”

Poor Emily! She wants to enjoy the service, but simply misses the familiar rector who fled when the British occupied the city. But don’t worry. She’ll once again go willingly to church, after the enemy departs America’s shores in December 1782.

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!

Emily's Vow Finalist SealAnd of course, if you’d like your own copy of Emily’s Vow, you can buy it at the following links. Thanks!

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