Fun Friday with Avery Coleman from Her Snow White Christmas by #romance #author Cara Marsi #Christmas #magic #snowglobe

I have a special treat for the last Fun Friday post! Author Cara Marsi has allowed Avery Coleman from Her Snow White Christmas to stop by for a visit. Without further ado, here’s Avery…

Hi, I’m Avery Coleman. I write a style blog and sell Christmas trees for fun. The blog is fun. Selling trees in Vermont, not so much.

I grew up on a farm in Vermont. My parents, to make ends meet, ran a Christmas tree lot every year. My sister and I worked at the lot. Growing up, through the Christmas holidays I smelled like pine and couldn’t get all the sap off my hands until February.

I dreamt of escaping the small-town life for the big city. I imagined myself as an editor of a high fashion magazine. After college, I moved to Manhattan to work for a top magazine, but not as editor, as the assistant to the editor, a wicked witch of a boss. Writing my blog keeps me sane while I try to convince my boss to let me write a column or two.

Overworked and healing from a bad breakup, I agreed to help my sister at the Christmas tree lot so my parents could go on a cruise they’d won. Surprisingly, my boss gave me the time off. Sorry to leave Manhattan, which is magical at Christmastime, I trekked to Vermont, planning to work on my blog when I wasn’t selling trees. After all, nothing exciting happens in Vermont, right? Fate didn’t agree.

Mix Christmas trees, a hunky Santa, a very pregnant sister, seven extremely short male cousins, and a whimsical snow globe that may or may not be magic, and you just might believe in fairy tales.

I want to thank Betty Bolte for having me today and allowing me to tell you about my life-changing Christmas story. I also want to say I love Vermont. It’s a beautiful state.

WINNER 2016 EPPIE Award for Best Short Work.

A Christmas snow globe from a mysterious stranger swirls holiday magic for a sophisticated New York woman with a broken heart and a handsome Iraq War vet with a secret.

As a child, Avery Coleman loved Snow White and dreamed of Prince Charming. The adult Avery no longer believes in fairy tales. She’d settle for a handsome prince as ambitious for success as she is. Then an eccentric woman gives Avery a Christmas snow globe, advising her that princes come in many disguises. But when family obligations call Avery from Manhattan back to her small hometown in Vermont, she finds there aren’t many princes to be found in the forest of her family’s Christmas tree lot. At least it’s a vacation from her wicked witch of a boss.

Iraq War veteran Josh Huntsman always did what was expected of him. Believing there had to be more to life than chasing money and prestige, he’d left the corporate world for life in the Army. But his stint in the military cost him more than expected. Back from Iraq, Josh hides his past, volunteering at the homeless shelter and working at a Christmas tree lot. He isn’t ready to rejoin the rat race, and definitely has no use for a bright-lights-big-city girl like the ambitious fiancée who dumped him.

Leaving New York to spend the holidays selling Christmas trees in Vermont might sound magical to some, but for Avery, it’s a return to the place she worked hard to escape. But it’s Christmas and magic swirls in the air like glitter in a snow globe. And a single kiss might awaken a lifetime of happily ever after.

Her Frog Prince Holiday (Snow Globe Magic Book 2), is now available.
Her Red Riding Hood Valentine (Snow Globe Magic Book 3) is now available.
2015 Finalist Oklahoma Romance Writers International Digital Awards
2016 EPPIE finalist (under original title Snow Globe Tales–Avery)

Buy Her Snow White Christmas (Snow Globe Magic Book 1) here:

An award-winning and eclectic author, Cara Marsi is published in romantic suspense, paranormal romance, and contemporary romance. She loves a good love story, and believes that everyone deserves a second chance at love. Sexy, sweet, thrilling, or magical, Cara’s stories are first and foremost about the love. Treat yourself today, with a taste of romance.

When not traveling or dreaming of traveling, Cara and her husband live on the East Coast of the United States in a house ruled by two spoiled cats who compete for attention.

Connect with Cara at:

Sign up for her newsletter and read about all her books at

I love a good Christmas romance, especially one with a touch of magic! I hope everyone had a magical holiday season and is looking forward to a prosperous and happy New Year!


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.

Fun Friday with Cara di Montessori from The Devil to Pay by #romance #author K.C. Bateman #Italy #medieval #arrangedmarriage

Today we’re traveling back in time to medieval Italy to find out how Cara di Montessori from The Devil to Pay by romance author K.C. Bateman has fun! Take it away, Kate!

Hello everyone and thanks to Betty for hosting! Today I’m going to imagine what the hero and heroine of my #1 medieval romp The Devil to Pay do for fun…

The Devil to Pay is set in the early 1400s in Renaissance Italy, a time of feuding city states, uneasy political alliances, and a huge wealth of artistic creativity. Think the Borgias, Leonardo Da Vinci, and the Medici.

Heiress Cara di Montessori is quite the tomboy. Educated at the monastery near her home, she loathes doing all the things a “proper” chatelaine of a castle should do, like sewing and cooking, and instead likes to dabble in alchemical experiments, especially those which contain gunpowder! Some have been less than successful; she’s infamous throughout Italy as “the girl who blew up the monastery.” In her defense, only the east wing was actually reduced to rubble…!

Cara’s determined to prove herself capable of running her own keep without a husband by her side, and she’ll do anything to gain the advantage over the sinfully sexy (but downright irritating) Alessandro del Sarto. She might need the handsome mercenary’s help to remove her murderous uncle from her childhood home, but that doesn’t mean she has to like it. We’ll probably find her in the bailey, learning hand-to-hand combat—so she can knock del Sarto on his far-too-attractive posterior.

Alessandro del Sarto, on the other hand, is a cynical, hardened mercenary. Now retired (thanks to a shoulder injury) and incredibly wealthy, he hates the political maneuvering he has to put up with at court. He’d much rather be spurring his trusty horse Saraceno into battle than dealing with the petty disputes of his subjects or fending off the not-so-subtle flirtations from the women. He longs for a challenge to relieve his boredom. Impetuous Cara di Montessori, the daughter of his old mentor, is the one woman he’s never been able to forget. She’s also the one woman in Italy guaranteed to drive him crazy.

Cara’s disobedience is utterly frustrating, but Alessandro loves thinking up ways of making her lose her temper. He finds her passion and ferocity both amusing and completely irresistible. He’s already thinking up ways he can maneuver her into a kiss…!

The Devil to Pay is a sexy, witty, romantic adventure set in Renaissance Italy.

A ruthless mercenary skilled in the art of conquest. 

An heiress who refuses to be tamed. 

The Devil’s own bargain . . . 

Cara di Montessori has a price upon her head. Her traitorous uncle has murdered her father and seized her home. Her only hope of survival, and of regaining her birthright, is an alliance with her childhood nemesis, the infamous mercenary Il Diavolo. The most irritating—and seductive—man Cara’s ever met.

Battle hardened and world-weary, Alessandro del Sarto has earned the sobriquet Il Diavolo. He needs a politically expedient marriage to secure the lasting peace he craves, but the simpering ladies of court hold little interest. More than anything, he longs for a challenge.

Headstrong beauty Cara has always been Il Diavolo’s only weakness, the one woman he’s never been able to forget. When she appears at his door begging for help, the two strike a devil’s bargain. In return for his assistance, for two weeks Cara must entertain his guests, relieve his boredom—and warm his bed. 

Cara has no intention of succumbing to del Sarto’s studied seduction, but the passion that simmers between them is more potent than her paper twists of gunpowder. Surrounded by danger and intrigue, she must choose between what she’s always thought of as her destiny, and what could be the greatest prize of all—her heart’s desire.

Barnes & Noble:

Kate Bateman, (writing as K. C. Bateman), is the #1 bestselling author of Regency, Victorian, and Renaissance historical romances. All her books feature her favorite feisty, intelligent heroines (badasses in bodices!), wickedly inappropriate banter, and sexy, snarky heroes you want to strangle and kiss. 

Kate wrote her first historical romance in response to a $1 bet with her husband who rashly claimed she’d “never finish the thing.” She gleefully proved him wrong. When not traveling to exotic locations “for research,” she leads a not-so-secret double life as a fine art appraiser and on-screen antiques expert for several TV shows in the UK, each of which has up to 2.5 million viewers. She splits her time between Illinois and her native England, and writes despite three inexhaustible children/monsters and a number-loving husband who still owes her that dollar.

Author Website:



Amazon Author Page:


Goodreads Author Page:


A marriage of convenience story that sounds intriguing and loving all wrapped up together for the holidays… Thanks for sharing, Kate!

And to everyone, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!


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.

2018 Reader Survey Report

I always find the results of this reader survey enlightening and interesting. Enjoy!

A Writer of History

This year’s survey report is now available. It’s taken me quite some time to compile the results because … as you know I spent the last five weeks recovering from a plane crash.

The survey attracted 2418 participants from around the world – 84% female and 16% male.

A few highlights to whet your appetite.

  • AS IN PRIOR YEARS, THE SURVEY ATTRACTED HIGH VOLUME READERS– 72% read more than 20 books a year; 55% read more than 30
  • GENDER MAKES A DIFFERENCE– among the differences—women read more than men and use social media more regularly in support of reading; men and women prefer different types of stories and different non-fiction
  • PRINT BOOKS REMAIN POPULAR– Of 2418 participants, 75% frequently or exclusively use print books

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Tasty Tuesday: Bajan Rum Punch by #historical #romance #author Sandra Masters #beverage #recipe #books #fiction

Tasty Tuesday brings you all a tempting rum punch recipe to sip in the shade on a hot summer’s afternoon while you enjoy a good book! Sandra Masters writes historical romance and enjoys sharing historical recipes much like I do. Welcome, Sandra!

We’re sure that by now you must be aware of the fact that rum has been a favorite of Barbados since the days of the British settlers. To this date, rum is still very much a favorite with both locals and visitors to the island as it is continually held in high esteem as the strongest and smoothest rum in the world.

While the modern version of this punch is best served over ice, in the 1800’s, ice was not available. However, this drink was the favorite of Thorn Wick, the hero of THE DUKE’S MAGNIFICENT BASTARD, Book Four, THE DUKE SERIES. He favored drinking it straight in a tankard or metal cup. He particularly liked the bite of straight rum, but also drank it with lime and nutmeg. Heavy on the rum. For island parties, the punch was a favorite of the men. Thorn Wick was a man who could hold his liquor and did not over-imbibe since malicious islanders could waylay a careless half-breed.

Glass of Rum PUnchBajan Rum Punch Recipe


1 cup of freshly squeezed West Indian green lime

2 cups bland sugar or syrup (equal portions of white sugar and water, heated until sugar dissolves)

3 cups strong, aged rum (preferably good ole Barbados rum)

4 cups water

A few dashes of bitters

A few sprinkles of grated nutmeg

Combine the lime juice, syrup, rum, water, and bitters, and stir well in a tall pitcher. Pour into glasses with grated nutmeg to garnish and don’t forget to tell the world that the best rum punch can be found only in Barbados.

THE DUKE’S MAGNIFICENT BASTARD — A Regency Romance with an Element of Suspense

DMB-CoverDuke_resize !After three years in England, Thorn Wick, the duke’s bastard son, perfectly flawed, still fights for acceptance in his father’s world as a renowned Argamak Turk  horse trainer. Just when he starts to believe in fairy tales, another obstacle looms to thwart his plans: on a dangerous mission to Barbados, Thorn is stunned when secrets are revealed about his mother. Will he exact revenge for the foul deed?

Alicia Montgomery, ward of the duke, is in love with Thorn. Strong willed and adventurous, she determines she can convince him to admit his feelings. But the reality of loving Thorn too much almost destroys her.

Can Alicia quell Thorn’s demons and prove love can pave the way to their happiness to fulfill their destiny?   Amazon US     Wild Rose Press  UK    Barnes and Noble

Of course, there’s the 15,000-word teaser prequel to Book Four, 99 cents, which depicts Thorn’s life on the island of Barbados as the half-breed until the rock-hauling malice boys suffered the fury of the young lad and gave him a wide birth.

THORN, SON OF A DUKE, BOOK THREE      US   UK     Wild Rose Press     Canada

SANDRA REDONEFrom a humble beginning in Newark, NJ, a short stay at a convent in Morristown, NJ, to the boardrooms of NYC, and a fantastic career for a broadcasting company in Carlsbad, California, to the rural foothills of the Sierras of Yosemite National Park, Sandra Masters has always traveled with pen and notebook. It’s been the journey of ten thousand miles with a few steps left to go. She traded boardrooms for ballrooms, left her corporate world behind and never looked back.

Nothing she expected, but everything she dreamed. She lists her occupation as Living The Dream.

I grew up as an only child where both my parents worked. In those days, it was acceptable to have your child come home from school and wait for you to return. After doing homework, I would go to the bookcase. My reading material included the book “Heidi,” and the Encyclopedia Britannica, which my mother purchased from a door-to-door salesman. You can imagine how dry it was to read the Encyclopedia. At least, it had some graphics.

Fast forward to 2015, after five years of studying the craft of writing and networking with organizations of like-minded people fevered me. In July 2015, when I was offered the first contract of my life with The Wild Rose Press, I was over the moon, danced on the ceiling, and scared my dogs with the whoops and hollers. Five books later and Book Six at my publishers, I’m still writing my fairy tales and loving every minute of it.

To me, writing is not a hobby. It is not a career. It is an obsession.

If you want to more about the themes of my novels, visit my website at Subscribe to my newsletter which I try to publish quarterly. Read a book? Have a question or comment?  Email me at

I try to make myself available for book signings, presentations, video events, and local TV screenings.

Thanks, Sandra! That’s both tempting and easy to mix up for a refreshing adult beverage. Thanks so much for sharing both the recipe and the story!

Have you all been enjoying learning about the recipes/foods these authors’ fictional characters gravitate toward? What’s your favorite so far?


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: 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
Stewed spinach and eggs
Potato pudding
Meats and cooking techniques
Brown gravy (Strong Broth for Soup/Gravy)
Oyster sauce
Force-meat balls
Scotch collops
Beef collops
Lamb pie
Fish types and cooking techniques
Salmon – broiled, and baked
Fried Fish; Shrimp Sauce
To Dress A Crab
Fowl and other birds
Brown Fricasey with chicken
Roast chicken with chestnuts
Stewing chickens
Duck with green peas
Collops and eggs
Apple pudding
Stewed pears
Pound cake

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.


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 AU:

Amazon CA:

Amazon UK:



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


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


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!


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.


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 CA:

Amazon UK:

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.


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


~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)


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.


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.






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


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


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!



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, 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!


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


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.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amazon @lcrandallwriter

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

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and opinions!


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: 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?


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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