Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Source: Release Blast~~~> “Food & Romance Go Together” Volume 1: An Anthology

Source: This is Why She Rescues German Shepherds

Exciting news! “Food and Romance Go Together, Vol. 1” is now available for Pre-order and officially releasing May 16th. I am included as one of the six contributing authors in this food-themed romance anthology offered by Melange Books. In celebration, I am offering this wonderful gift basket full of food and kitchen related items. Check this out:


Look at what all is included: Designer Desserts adult coloring book, blank recipe journal, Unicorn cupcake kit, Dough-notes 12 pack note cards, handmade cork-and-stone trivet, hand-painted ombre 3-piece wooden spoon set, orange segments salt & pepper set, Starbucks 2-pack hot cocoa, (drink them both or share with your favorite love) and a thankful mini-gift basket crock containing measuring spoons, a butterfly cookie/dough cutter and miniature storage container. Wow!

To win this awesome gift basket, simply sign up for my newsletter. That’s it. Just leave an email in the comments below, I will add you to my newsletter service with Mailchimp. (You can adjust your preferences later and I absolutely promise you will NOT get flooded with constant mailings. Maybe two or three a year, unless something terrific is going on I need to share). I like Mailchimp because it will only have your email in the header, not those of everyone subscribed so I can ensure some privacy for subscribers. Anyhow–once I have an email in the comments, you are entered into a random drawing to win this basket.  *Due to the high foreign postage costs, I am restricting this to US readers only. Sorry.

Six food-themed stories, with recipes found in each one, but six different talented authors.

“Coffeecake Chaos” by Ryan Jo Summers

Avianna Goodman and Sawyer Steele had been young lovers. Now she is a caterer, building her own business. Right now she needs cash to help her family. He’s being ordered to stop his wild ways and settle down to take over the family empire. His controlling mother has picked out the perfect heiress for him. Now they need the right caterer to launch the perfect engagement celebration.

Old sparks rekindle as Avianna and Sawyer reunite.

Amazon buy link: http://amzn.to/2pIjNbG

Smashwords buy link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/720457

Lulu paperback print buy link: http://bit.ly/2p65MAP

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Food and Romance Go Together,
Vol. 1
Pumpkin Blossoms by Sue Stewart Ade
Jillian yearns for love and falls for a dog and her sister’s former boyfriend. But
the dog bolts and the boyfriend seems to still have feelings for her sister. Can she
find love with a man who can’t see who she really is?
Coffee Cake Chaos by Ryan Jo Summers
Avianna Goodman needs cash. That’s why she agreed to cater her ex-boyfriend’s
engagement party. Seeing Sawyer again confirms Avianna still isn’t over him.
The biggest mistake Sawyer Steele ever did was walk away from the one girl he
was crazy about. Now Avianna’s back in his lifeand he can’t have her.
Apple Pie Delight by Sonja Gunter
Lost loves reunite after forty years of deceptions. Can a Sun-Kissed Apple Pie
bring Toril Swanson and Erik Sutton together again?
Peanut Butter Kisses by Jody Vitek
Beth Canton attends her ten-year class reunion to catch a glimpse of her long-
time, school-girl crush, Hank McGrath, but doesn’t hope or even dream of
anything more. She leaves with more than a glimpse, while Hank can’t get
enough of her peanut butter kisses.
Boston Crème Breakdown by Randi Perrin
Kestin just wants to return to life as normal after returning home from the war,
but there’s no way his life will be the same again. Looking for easy money to
make bills, he stumbles over an ad to teach perpetually-single Erica to cook, and
can’t resist answering it. He never expected to actually get the job—or to be
attracted to her.
The Chocolate Queen by April & Holly Marcom
In a world sprinkled with superheroes, you never know when the person beside
you is one of these few elite. When Clarissa begins to fall for a guy who harbors
a super secret, it feels like she’s not good enough. But he may just help her
discover a super sweet secret of her own.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I love to cook, and when I wrote the story of a caterer, she naturally had to create a menu for her ex-boyfriend’s engagement party. That is part of the fun of being a writer! Each author has a recipe listed that is featured in their story.

 


This coffeecake is a real dessert I used to make for my husband to take to his work to share with his co-workers. It is super quick and easy to make, and very flexible to tailor to your own preferences.

 

Streusel Coffeecake

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Filling: Mix below items together with fork in small bowl before mixing cake:

½ C brown sugar, 2 Tbls. flour, 2 tsp. cinnamon, 2 Tbls. melted butter  and ½ C nuts (optional)

Batter:  1 ½ C sifted flour, 1 ½ tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. salt and ¾ C sugar. ¼ C shortening,

½ C milk and one egg (Well beaten)

3. Sift dry ingredients. Cut in shortening with pastry knife or fork. Blend in egg and milk.

4. Spread half of batter in greased, flat 8 X 8 or 6 X 10 inch pan.

Sprinkle with half of filling. Add rest of batter and sprinkle remaining filling on top.

5. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.  Good served warm or room temp.

Optional topping: warm maple syrup and mix with brown sugar and drizzle over top. Or blend a few teaspoons milk with powdered sugar until runny and drizzle over top. Crumbled, cooked bacon or chopped nuts are good sprinkled over this too

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

In full disclosure, I received an ARC from the author’s publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This is third in the Wind River Ranch series by Lindsey McKenna, each one telling the story of different characters who come to the Bar C Ranch in Wyoming and soon call it home. Each is a stand-alone book, however, there are numerous references to people from previous books.

Publisher’s blurb: Kira Duval was part of a Special Forces team that got caught in an ambush–leaving only two wounded survivors: herself and Weapons Sergeant Garret Fleming. Losing her team was traumatic, and in the chaotic aftermath, she lost Garret too. But she never lost her secret yearning for him.

Finally she gave up trying to find him back in the states. But as she settles in at the Bar C cattle ranch in Wyoming, a place where veterans can find a home and a place to heal, she’s introduced to her housemate: none other than Garret Fleming.

They’re a long way from Afghanistan–and a long way from the people they used to be before tragedy changed their lives. But as Kira earns her keep by care-taking for the ranch owner’s bedridden, alcoholic father–a task that sometimes feels more challenging than any black ops mission–she finds that even in peacetime, Garret still has her back, and that in this warm, welcoming place, the passion she resisted in the heat of battle may finally have a chance to flourish..

*  * * *

There was  much I enjoyed about this story, but before that, my two pet peeves. First, was the head-hopping of the two main characters–Kira and Garret–between paragraphs. Once upon a time I never used to notice that, until enough editors preached to me about it, so now it glares at me whenever I encounter POV in both characters heads in the same few lines of each other.

Second was the redundancy in the beginning between Kira and Garret’s secret feelings for each other. Clearly, while working in Afghanistan, and part of a team unit, they could not have shared nor demonstrated their true emotions or interest in each other beyond “just friends”. It is a common sense thing to me, however, it felt like the author was belaboring the point repetitively for more chapters than necessary.

Now, all the main characters that reside at the Bar C Ranch suffer some degree of PTSD as a result of their experiences in the military. The severity and complexity and everyday challenges were all well handled. I like how the author researched the various ways it can manifest and emphatically wrote the character’s experiences. I felt I could experience it right alongside them.

Around the middle of the book, the characters really started to shine. Garret’s protectiveness of Kira felt real and remarkable. I do wish they’d spent less page time internally dwelling on their true feelings now, instead of excusing to themselves why they still could not be honest with the other. They are ex-military now, no more reasons to hold back. I felt they should just take the chance, and be open and honest with each other much sooner. However, that can be a manifestation of the PTSD, so I chalk it up to that.

The situation between Kira and the ranch owner’s ailing father was also wonderfully done. It showcased PTSD in it’s most honest form, and I caught myself gritting my teeth and wincing right alongside Kira sometimes.

What I did love was the way Garret, and another soldier buddy, Reese, tenderly protected and looked after their lady loves. These are big, strong, warriors, yet Ms. McKenna wrote splendidly of their wonderful job in portraying their softer, gentler, nurturing personalities. It was lovely to read.

Other than a few minor typos and one case of a wrong name used, and the aforementioned issues, I thought this latest edition of the Wind River Valley saga was a very good read.

I will add this: the cover is a bit misleading, as is the title. Garret is not a cowboy, he does not handle horses in the story with the exception of two lines toward the ending. He spends his time working on ranch machinery, running an odd errand here and there, and spending most of his time with either Kira or the Ranch people, never the horses. He is never astride a horse. Also, the reason for the dog is a mystery as there is no dog mentioned anywhere in the story. Just a head’s up not to be looking for dusty cowhands who spend their time talking to their horse or the loyal dog. Perhaps in other Wind River stories, but not this one.

I know, what an odd thing to be thinking about. I remember when I was a youngster, and a budding author wannabe, I adored my family’s encyclopedia set. The pages were thumb worn from how often I’d skim over them, looking for something or another. I loved research. The more I wrote, the more I needed to research and learn. I’d peruse the school library to scour every resource I could for my latest topic. Dewey Decimal was my friend.  I was as familiar with card catalogues as some people were of sport scores.

card catalogue at the Library of Congress

 

It was a cornucopia of goodness when I became a librarian’s aide in my junior year (or somewhere in those latter high school years) I had a wealth of knowledge at my fingertips! Or so it seemed.

Then came the advent of computers–everywhere. We had this neat butler called Jeeves and we could ask him just about anything and he’d scurry off to find the answer.  Before that there was something called Infoseek, though I only used it a few times before Jeeves. They each made researching in a library or book for that matter, almost obsolete. Librarians everywhere surely mourned.

I’m not sure what happened to ole Jeeves, maybe he retired, but now we have Google. And I must admit, for a Luddite, I have become fascinated at how endless Google seems. I can ask it anything, and so far it has never failed to instantly show me a list of items fairly close to what I was looking for.

For example, not long ago I was writing a scene in which the hero mowed the heroine’s lawn. She came home and discovered what a sweet guy he was. Trouble is, while I’ve always heard fresh mown grass smells good, I’ve never experienced it. (Google anosmia) So off I dashed to google “How does cut grass smell?”. Darn if I didn’t get at least a few descriptions I could use to describe the scene. Pretty cool.

And more recently I was working on a scene in which another hero kisses the heroine. He sports this full beard and mustache. Now, admittedly, it’s been more than a decade since I’ve kissed a man with facial hair, and I’ve kind of forgotten the details of how it feels. Not having a suitable model about to try kissing, I headed over to Google and typed in my query. Well, sure enough, instant answers. Not the greatest but sufficient to give me some words for the heroine to use to describe what she is experiencing.

It seems weekly I am dashing over to Google to inquire about some random thought for a book. I research locations, occupations, house plans, and so much more. And it’s so quick and easy, no need to rifle through card catalogues, prowl aisles and racks of books, and lug stacks of books and notes home to compile all in the name of research.

Now I google, and then save or copy and paste. I can print it for the hard folder or drop it to a virtual folder, depending on what it is.

I sure miss my old encyclopedia set though, and wonder if anyone ever saw this day coming. Maybe Jeeves did.

The cover, plot, and setting drew me in. I received this story from Reading Alley in exchange for an honest review.

Blind since birth, Abbey Morrison is confident and proficient in her world, the only world she’s ever known. Despite the family and friendships she has in the small fishing village, and her father’s unfailing love, she is still lonely.

Disfigured and scarred from war injuries, Irish immigrant Jeremy McKetcheon, finds work and solitude in self-isolation as a lighthouse keeper on a lonely island. His only companion is a loyal dog and the periodic visits of the kindly mail carrier, Morrison, from the mainland, bringing him supplies and news.

A tragedy brings Abbey to Jeremy’s isolated island. Soon, romance blooms between the two lonely hearts.

Because this is a historical novel, the author did spend a fair bit of time describing food, activities, and period details, thus creating a developed and believable setting, even if the factual timeline was off a little bit. It’s fictions and she is entitled to stretch dates a small amount for the story.

I enjoyed the language of the Irishman, Jeremy. It felt true to his heritage and made him more dimensional. Likewise with his hobby of carving wood figures. I wish Abbey had more depth to her. She seemed a little too perfect, with her only flaw in that sometimes she made a poor choice.

The pacing, however, was awkward in many places. Sometimes it felt jerky or rushed. Characters spanned large periods of time within the same paragraph, leaving a feeling of leaping forward and missing things. A smooth transition between time could have eliminated this.

The reprobates  were believable and thoroughly unlikable, which was the intention. While Abbey didn’t always behave in the wisest of ways, the evil behaviors of the bad guys certainly came across as genuine.

Abbey’s Tale is a good story. It could have been better with more development of Abbey Morrison and better pacing overall and more development between scenes.

 

I am delighted to have another contributing author visit, and bring their story for the Soul Mate Tree Collection of stories. Today I have the pleasure of hosting Steven Mitchell. His book is a delightful and fun Science Fiction Romantic Comedy, called “Between Venus and Mars”.

smtree-series-baner

An ancient legend spanning eras, continents, and worlds. To some, it’s nothing more than a dream. To others, a pretty fairy tale handed down through the generations.

For those in critical need of their own happy ending, a gift.

betweenvenusandmars3_830x1250

HEAT LEVEL: Steamy **  An intergalactic adventure filled with laughs, love, and adventure.

Once Upon a Galaxy . . .

Zana Starchild is on a mission to restore her tribe’s livestock and save herself from one more meal of kelp. Sure, it’s technically illegal to visit Old Earth, but to a rim rat like Zana, galactic laws are really just guidelines. Her wrecked starship just means she’ll need to use her backup plan to get off the abandoned world, an old Earth legend her uncle passed down to her.

Pulled from a relaxing shower, across the galaxy to Old Earth, Galactic Marshall Kyle Kepler finds himself naked and marooned with a quirky rim rat. Zana’s broken more laws than Kyle can count, and he plans to arrest her, just as soon as he can find transport off the planet and a pair of pants.

A junk heap of a starship, a magical tree, and a roving gang of mutant kangaroos are just the beginning of rollicking intergalactic journey filled with laughs, love, and adventure.

Book Videos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rV0BQCcwhfk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pdtFXXlGvbk

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/Between-Venus-Mars-Soul-Mate-ebook/dp/B01N7OXSND/

Author S.C. Mitchell has this to say: When series collide: Between Venus and Mars is not only set the multi-dimensional worlds of the Soul Mate Tree legend, but also ties into my Hearts in Orbit series, a futuristic universe filled with starships, aliens, and new technologies. And, of course, romance. The Soul Mate Tree project offered me a great way to play with some new characters and further develop my universe, while partnering with some of the best authors in the business.

The Hearts in Orbit universe is a place where galactic marshals keep the peace in the cosmopolitan Core Worlds as well as the wild-west type rim world planets. While this book works as a standalone, and you don’t have to have read any of the others, I consider it Hearts in Orbit 2.5, fitting nicely between Pirates of the Dark Nebula and my soon-to-be-released Hearts in Orbit 3 novel Captives of the Kratzen.

Series Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B016DF63JM/

 

                              Hidden strengths, adventurous hearts.

S.C.Mitchell grew up an avid reader of comic books, science fiction and fantasy literature. He’s been writing stories for over thirty years. In 2010 he left his job as a computer desktop support specialist to pursue his passion for writing full time. He is a member of the Romance Writers of America as well as the Wisconsin chapter.

As a writer of paranormal and sci-fi romance, fantasy, and science fiction, Steve crafts unique and wondrous worlds where his characters explore, romp, and fall in love. Whether traveling through dark, demon filled dimensions, the edge of wild space, or ancient mythological heavens, his heroes and heroines, guided by their adventurous hearts, discover hidden strengths on their pathway to enduring love.

scmitchell2

You’ll find him at:

http://scmitchellauthor.com/

Blog: http://scmitchellauthor.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorSCMitchell

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorSMitchell

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007D0Z1MW

Videos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rV0BQCcwhfk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pdtFXXlGvbk