Thursday, September 21, 2017

Mom's Gift

Posted by: Joshua Roots
Last night my wife and I were playing with our 15 month-old daughter, Hope, and we started using phrases from one of the silly, charming books we read to her. Our little squeal-machine looked at us, walked over to her “Library of Congress”, and pulled out the title we were referencing. She brought it over to us, then flopped in my wife’s lap and pointed at the cover.

I have socks older than this kid, yet this story has already imprinted on her.

What’s even more impressive is to watch her “read” on her own. Granted, that mostly involves her flipping pages and babbling at the pictures, but she’s flying solo. She seems genuinely love reading, so I hope she continues enjoying it for many years to come.

I know I have.

Roger's Umbrella was the first book I can remember my mother reading to me. A tale about a young tiger whose undisciplined umbrella drags him to the yard of some ladies who teach him how to talk to his umbrella. It was a silly, charming story, but at 4-years old, I begged her to read it to me every night. Thankfully, she obliged.

Several years later, my Uncle Ed started sending me books for my birthday. These were “big books” from the era of fancy reading club subscriptions and each came with an elegant binding and cardboard protector. All of them were “classics”, from Dickens and Shakespeare to the Jungle Book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and just about every Mark Twain story ever penned. I gobbled them up, voraciously tearing through book after book. Some were great reads. Others were…not. Especially for a kid.

As I grew, my tastes changed, but the passion for reading never diminished. I devoured every Gordon Korman title* I could get my hands on, then Dave Barry, then Clive Cussler. When I started making my own money, the local book shop knew me on a first name basis. Even as an adult, whenever I’d come home to visit, Mom and I would make a trip to the bookstore. Reading was one of our shared joys and one of the many things I miss the most now that she’s gone.

That’s the power of books. They offer life-long access to infinite worlds filled with wondrous characters. Introducing kids to this universe of storytelling is a gift that continues giving long after the batteries have died in an expensive toy or the soles have worn out on a pair of fashion-forward shoes. It's wellspring of imagination and creativity that will last from their first memories until their dying day.

Hope never met her grandmother, but cracking open the same book every night, I can’t help feeling Mom’s influence. She introduced me to the joy of reading and now that I have a daughter, I’m introducing it to Hope. Maybe it’ll ignite the same passion in her and maybe, like with Mom and I, it’ll be something she and I can share when she’s grown.

And if so, it will all have started with one silly, charming book.







*”Who is Bugs Potter” is still one of my favorites.


Bio:

Joshua Roots is a car enthusiast, beekeeper, and storyteller. He enjoys singing with his a cappella chorus, golf, and all facets of Sci-Fi/Fantasy. He's still waiting for his acceptance letter to Hogwarts and Rogue Squadron. He and his wife will talk your ear off about their bees if you let them.

His Urban Fantasy series, The Shifter Chronicles, is available wherever digital books are sold.

He's always willing to read that book to you again if you want....

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The unhelpful muse

Posted by: Shona Husk

The year is rapidly coming to an end (someone said it was less than 100 days to Xmas—eeek!). Assuming we’re all still around in 2018 and that the dystopian survival fiction I read as a teen isn’t now a survival handbook, I need to start thinking about what I’m going to be writing and where I’m going to be submitting next year.



I make a list every year, and it always changes but I need that plan to start with.



This year I don’t know what I want to write next year—I have ideas. I have more ideas than I could possibly write in year…or even five. But the market is weird and I don’t know where my time will be best spent. Call me mercenary but while I love writing I also need chocolate and my kids need to go to school and I don't want to spend months writing something that will sell three copies.


This year I dabbled in contemporary and paranormal but also in urban fantasy (under my other pen name). I’ll probably do the same again, hedging my bets until something breaks out and gives me a clear path.



Or I could start writing post-apocalyptic survival fiction just in case…

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Rock Star Romance in Outer Space? STAR CRUISE SONGBIRD

Posted by: Veronica Scott
I LOVE rock star romances. I can't get enough of them, in books or movies. Nalini Singh's Rock Kiss series is one of my favorites and "Beyond the Lights" was a good movie in the genre. Of course I cried over "The Bodyguard" with Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner but didn't love the ending. I always need that HEA to happen. I even enjoyed George Strait's venture into the genre with "Pure Country," taking the backroads to Las Vegas. I also devour backstage documentaries like the one on the making of the Backstreet Boys (hey, no judging!) and the two on Katy Perry’s tours…

But I never thought I could write a rock star romance because everything I write turns to science fiction. Contemporary romance is just not me. I’m the co-organizer of the Pets In Space anthology, about heroes, heroines, scifi romance tales and heroic pets, and when it came time to write this year’s novella, I had just read an article about cruise ships on Earth running special cruises where a rock band or singer would do a gig for their fans, on the ship during the cruise. I thought the concept translated perfectly to my interstellar cruise liner the Nebula Zephyr.

And so my story Star Cruise: Songbird came to life! Here’s the blurb:
Grant Barton, a Security Officer on the Nebula Zephyr, is less than thrilled with his current assignment to guard an Interstellar singing sensation while she’s on board the ship. It doesn’t help that he and his military war bird Valkyr are dealing with their recent separation from the Sectors Special Forces and uncertainty over their future, with their own planet in ruins.

Karissa Dawnstar is on top of the charts and seemingly has it all – talent, fame, fortune and devoted fans, but behind her brave smile and upbeat lyrics she hides an aching heart. When a publicity stunt goes wrong, Karissa finds herself in the arms of the security officer assigned to protect her – and discovers a mutual attraction she can’t ignore.

Trouble continues to plague the pair, driving a wedge between them and leaving Grant certain that Karissa is in more danger than she realizes, from overzealous fans and her own management. Grant is determined to protect Karissa whether she wants his help or not. Can he discover the truth behind what’s going on before he loses Karissa or is there someone else plotting to keep them apart – permanently?


Purchased from DepositPhoto
The excerpt:
When the singer emerged from the room where she’d been getting ready, he was astounded. She looked as if she’d stepped straight from a trideo, her sexy costume elaborate and glittering in the lights, her multicolored hair caught up in coils by all manner of elaborate, bejeweled accessories. Even he could tell her shoes were works of art, with heels designed to resemble stacked planets, standing six inches high. She smiled, obviously enjoying his reaction. “Well?”

Pirouetting on those absurd heels, she laughed and held out her hand. “Escort me,” she said like a queen.

He did so, surrounded by her team, including the backup singers and the six dancers, all of whom joined Karissa when she reached the backstage area. Gently she let go of Grant’s arm and stepped away, gathering her team around her for a pep talk. He stayed alert, watching everyone else in the area, ready to challenge anyone acting suspicious.

The show was already going on at full volume. Karissa’s was the final set of the evening and when she ran onstage, her dancers bouncing and doing acrobatics around her, the roar was astounding. Grant stood in the wings, as close to the stage as he could, and watched the performance. Karissa strutted, she danced, she teased, she brought a child on stage for a brief chat, she sang full throated. The crowd loved it all. He had a hard time keeping his eye on the audience, watching for problems, because she was so riveting.

“First time at a show?” asked an older woman standing next to him. “This is nothing compared to what she’ll do at the big concert on Calillia next week. There’ll be multiple costume changes and aerial components. And maybe some new songs, although she’s been quiet about that. She doesn’t want Ted getting the rights to any more of her stuff if she can help it. Things are really sour between them now.” She laughed self-consciously and held out her hand. “I’m  Desdusan, by the way, her chief makeup artist. Chief busybody too. I try to look out for her as much as I can. Been with Karissa for nine years, ever since she hit the bigtime with ‘Twisted Comets’. She’ll probably sing that for the encore.”

“I hate to admit it but I’ve never heard her music before—it’s all new to me,” he said as they shook.

The woman did a double take. “Really? You’re probably the only person in the Sectors who hasn’t heard at least one Karissa song.”

“I have now,” he pointed out, annoyed to feel so defensive.

As expected, Karissa left the stage briefly at the end of her set and returned to deafening applause to sing the encore. Then she waved to the crowd and danced off. Grant followed her as Desdusan gave her a bottle of water and the two women headed for the dressing room. “Did you like it?” Karissa asked him over her shoulder.

“Full of energy and feeling,” he said. “Clearly I missed a lot while I was on active duty.”

She seemed pleased with his answer. “Give me a few minutes to freshen my makeup and then we’ll be off to the official afterparty.”

The gala was held in one of the Zephyr’s big ballrooms and attendance was restricted to high rollers who could afford the steep ticket price for mingling with the members of the various bands. Karissa’s group was in the far corner, with an extra cordon of security staff in dress uniforms, who verified the eager passengers had paid the extra rider to spend time in her orbit. Grant’s job was to stay close to her but unobtrusively, which he did.

Blurb for Embrace the Romance: Pets In Space 2:
The pets are back! Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2, featuring twelve of today’s leading Science Fiction Romance authors brings you a dozen original stories written just for you! Join in the fun, from the Dragon Lords of Valdier to a trip aboard award-winning author, Veronica Scott’s Nebula Zephyr to journeying back to Luda where Grim is King, for stories that will take you out of this world! Join New York Times, USA TODAY, and Award-winning authors S.E. Smith, M.K. Eidem, Susan Grant, Michelle Howard, Cara Bristol, Veronica Scott, Pauline Baird Jones, Laurie A. Green, Sabine Priestley, Jessica E. Subject, Carol Van Natta, and Alexis Glynn Latner as they share stories and help out Hero-Dogs.org, a charity that supports our veterans!

10% of the first months profits go to Hero-Dogs.org. Hero Dogs raises and trains service dogs and places them free of charge with US Veterans to improve quality of life and restore independence.

Buy Links:  

We have a free coloring book you can download from our website while you wait till October 10th! Here’s the link: http://www.petsinspaceantho.com/


What’s your favorite rock star romance?

Monday, September 18, 2017

Here Be News

Posted by: Veronica Scott
Other News:

Cover Revealed for STORM CROSSED
Book 4 of the Grim Series by Dani Harper 



A fae who doesn’t believe in love. 
A mortal who has no time for it. 
And a desire that defies everything they know.

"The latest standalone novel in Dani Harper’s Grim Series, Storm Crossed, will delight both old and new fans alike, transporting them to the ancient fae realm beneath the modern human world, where magic rules and menace abounds . . . "

STORM CROSSED releases January 9th, but you can pre-order it in Kindle ebook, paperback, or audiobook at https://www.amazon.com/Storm-Crossed-Grim-Book-4-ebook/dp/B073TTTGZD 

The Grim Series currently includes Storm Warrior, Storm Bound, Storm Warned, and now, Storm Crossed. A fifth book is underway.


>>>>><<<<<

Bring It Back(list):

SECRET IDENTITY is my 99c Special for the Month of September!

This offer valid only on Amazon and my website.

SECRET IDENTITY
(Book 1 of the Identity Trilogy)
Urban Fantasy Romance
Word Count: 54K
$0.99 e / $9.99 p

Brenda McKay has no man in her life, and she really doesn’t have time for one. That’s not a problem, since Brenda’s new job responsibilities keep her too busy for any sort of social life. But the day she is saved by a strange man who calls himself The Defender is the day her heart will never be the same.

Lorne Palmer has loved Brenda since they were in grade school. Shy, introverted, and the middle brother of two over-achievers, he has never really approached her for anything other than to help her with her homework. And to be there for her when her other boyfriends deserted her.

It wasn’t until he finally acquired his super powers and became The Defender that Lorne finally decided enough was enough. If he couldn’t work up the courage to claim her as himself, perhaps The Defender could.

Warning! Contains sabotage, weird chemical names, smiley boxes, floating root beer, corporation hanky-panky, isolated safe houses, chocolate-covered strawberries, and things that go BOOM! in the night. 

Excerpt and buy links.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Bring It Back(list) - SECRET IDENTITY, Book 1 of the Identity Trilogy, a Sensuous Urban Fantasy Romance

Posted by: Linda Mooney
Have you ever noticed that superheroes are almost always only children with no siblings to grow up with? That got me to wondering...what if a superhero had siblings? And what if each sibling had his or her own power?

What emerged from that will become the Identity Trilogy.

SECRET IDENTITY is my 99c Special for the Month of September!

This offer valid only on Amazon and my website.

SECRET IDENTITY
(Book 1 of the Identity Trilogy)
Urban Fantasy Romance
Word Count: 54K
$0.99 e / $9.99 p

Brenda McKay has no man in her life, and she really doesn’t have time for one. That’s not a problem, since Brenda’s new job responsibilities keep her too busy for any sort of social life. But the day she is saved by a strange man who calls himself The Defender is the day her heart will never be the same.

Lorne Palmer has loved Brenda since they were in grade school. Shy, introverted, and the middle brother of two over-achievers, he has never really approached her for anything other than to help her with her homework. And to be there for her when her other boyfriends deserted her.

It wasn’t until he finally acquired his super powers and became The Defender that Lorne finally decided enough was enough. If he couldn’t work up the courage to claim her as himself, perhaps The Defender could.

Warning! Contains sabotage, weird chemical names, smiley boxes, floating root beer, corporation hanky-panky, isolated safe houses, chocolate-covered strawberries, and things that go BOOM! in the night. 

Excerpt and buy links.

Friday, September 15, 2017

COVER REVEAL - Storm Crossed by Dani Harper

Posted by: Dani Harper, AUTHOR
A fae who doesn’t believe in love. 
A mortal who has no time for it. 
And a desire that defies everything they know.


Available for pre-order as Kindle ebook, paperback, or audiobook at
https://www.amazon.com/Storm-Crossed-Grim-Book-4-ebook/dp/B073TTTGZD
The latest stand-alone novel in Dani Harper’s Grim Series will delight old and new fans alike, transporting them to the ancient fae realm beneath the modern human world, where magic rules and menace abounds . . .


Heir to a noble fae house, Trahern is forced to watch helplessly as his twin brother is cruelly changed into a grim—a death dog—as punishment for falling in love with the wrong person. Trahern doesn’t believe love exists, but he will do anything to keep his brother alive—even join the Wild Hunt and ride the night skies of the human world.

Lissy Santiago-Callahan believes in love but has no time for it. She’s busy juggling her career as an academic and her home life as a single mom to a young son with Asperger’s. Her hectic life in sleepy Eastern Washington is made even more chaotic with the sudden arrival of a demanding fae and his unusual “dog.”

Mortal and immortal have nothing in common, and the attraction between Lissy and Trahern surprises them both. But when their desire places Lissy and her child in the path of a deadly faery feud, will the connection last, or will their separate worlds prove too great a divide?

* * * * *


Storm Crossed releases January 9th
Now available for PRE-ORDER in Kindle ebook, paperback, and audiobook at https://www.amazon.com/Storm-Crossed-Grim-Book-4-ebook/dp/B073TTTGZD



Legend, lore, love, and magic...
Other books in The Grim Series by Dani Harper


STORM WARRIOR, STORM BOUND, and STORM WARNED
Note: Every book in this series is designed to stand alone.
It's more fun to read them in order, but not necessary.

See ALL my novels on my Amazon Author Page
or go to my website at https://daniharper.com/

>>>>><<<<<

Thursday, September 14, 2017

A Very Celebratory Month

Posted by: PG Forte
I had the hardest time settling on a theme for this month’s post. And for once the list of “Bizarre and Unique Holidays” that I tend to consult was no help at all. For instance, did you know that today is National Cream Filled Donut Day? Yeah, me, neither. And given that cream-filled has never been my go-to donut, I didn’t really see what I could do with that. Last Sunday was National Grandparents’ Day. Um...I’m not saying I have any kind of big announcement to make or anything just yet, but it is entirely possible  I will have reason to be very excited about that particular holiday next year. But it’s a tad premature right now.  
“Maybe,” I said to myself, “I’ll have better luck if I check out the monthly holidays rather than the daily ones?” So that’s what I did. And, ladies and gentlemen, I’m happy to tell you I struck gold.   
Where’s a drumroll when you need one? Oh, wait; here it is.


So September, it turns out, is National Honey Month, National Chicken Month AND National Little League Baseball Month. Which probably means nothing whatsoever to most of you. To me, however, it’s a total trifecta, a hat-trick of holidays, if you will.
See, there’s this little book I wrote a gazillion years ago (okay, it’s not that little, really, and maybe it wasn’t quite that long ago) called Taste of Honey. It’s always been one of my favorites...but, shhh, don’t tell the other stories that I said so.
The heroine of A Taste of Honey, Lucy, keeps bees, raises chickens, and has a teenage son who plays Little League Baseball. And those three things are absolutely critical to her story. I mean, seriously, if it weren’t for the bees, the chickens and the son, she wouldn’t even have a story. So that requires an excerpt, right?
If you’d like to read more about Lucy and Dan but don’t want to commit to a whole book (or a whole series) I’ve made the prequel to their story free to anyone who joins my Facebook group, The Crone’s Nest. https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheCronesNest/
Unfortunately, there are no bees, chickens or son in the prequel, but young Lucy and Dan are still pretty hot. At least, I’ve always thought so.
EXCERPT:
Lucy drove out to the nursery early that afternoon, with the windows rolled down.  No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom, an album she’d ‘liberated’ from her teenage son’s music collection several years earlier, was blasting from the Explorer’s CD player, and a plan for fixing the deteriorating relationship between her husband and her son was cooking in her head.  In fact, if things worked out the way she hoped they would, she might even be able to give her own relationship with Dan some added spice. 
            It was a glorious Spring day.  The air along the coast was warm and lushly scented with yerba buena, eucalyptus and sage.  Fat, majestic puffs sailed across the sky, casting cloud-shaped shadows onto the earth and sea below, further mottling the already variegated landscape.  When she turned off the coast road onto the canyon drive that led to the nursery, she saw that the  hills that lined the way, gray-green, emerald, and gold for most of the year, had been transformed.  They’d blossomed overnight into an almost endless expanse of  orange and blue--mostly California poppies and lupine--disrupted only where the spiky silver foliage and dried flower heads of wild artichokes broke through to tower above them. 
            It was the same thing that happened every year, but, as always, the beauty of it took her by surprise and made her catch her breath.
            It was a perfect day for a picnic, she had decided after leaving Marsha and Scout that morning; and so she had gone home and packed a basket with which she hoped to tempt Dan to join her at Seth’s ball game this afternoon. 
            The relationship between the two men in her life had become so strained of late.  And, even though she had taken care to pack all of Dan’s favorites--marinated artichoke hearts, olives stuffed with sun dried tomatoes, roasted eggplant and goat cheese sandwiches on fresh foccacia bread, and a mint-mango salad--she wasn’t sure that even that would do the trick.
            It wasn’t so much that she feared her husband’s relationship with their son was in any real danger of becoming irrevocably damaged, as had happened to Dan’s relationship with his own father; although the possibility had certainly occurred to her, and more than once.  It was just that it was so very obvious how much both he and Seth were suffering from their estrangement.  And it would be good for Seth to see that, annoyed as he often was with him, his father still supported his efforts. 
Besides, she knew very well that her own attendance at his games was almost more frustrating for Seth than supportive.  Despite all her years as a spectator, Lucy still seemed to be missing the finer points of the game.  Their mutual interest in baseball had always been a passion that Dan and Seth enjoyed sharing.  And really, what was the point of sports, if not to allow men the opportunity to renew their bonds with one another without shedding too much blood?
She pulled off the road before she reached the nursery’s main entrance, unlocked one of the gates that led directly into the fields, and detoured through the back of the nursery’s grounds to check on her hives.  Sunlight shimmered in the air, and as she walked through the field she breathed in deep lungfuls scented with the heady fragrance of flowering plants and warm earth.  The bees were everywhere; crawling on the flowers, filling the air with their busy flights, and clustering around the hives’ entrances in a carefully choreographed confusion.  Lucy reminded herself to keep all her movements slow as she moved among them.  She was entranced by their gentleness as they detoured around her.  Even without the honey, she’d enjoy keeping them.  Of course, she hadn’t been stung yet, although everyone who worked with bees assured her that it was inevitable, and she hadn’t yet been forced to contend with a swarm, either.  Perhaps she’d feel a little less enthusiastic after either of those occurred.  But for now, it was a terrific little sideline business.
            She watched the bees for several minutes longer, observing their activity, trying to take a count of the bees as they moved in and out of the hives, as she’d been taught to do; looking for anything unusual, any suggestion that the hives were ailing.  Finally, satisfied that all was well, she slowly turned and walked back towards her car.  She’d come back out here this weekend, with all her equipment, so she could inspect the hives properly, but right now, she had an even more interesting project to work on. 
            Seth was not the only one whose bonds with Dan could use a little renewing, she thought.  It had been months since she and Dan had enjoyed the kind of romantic adventure she had planned for them.  Altogether too many months.  And man could not live by sports alone.
            She’d included a jar of her honey in the picnic basket.  If she and Dan could find a private, secluded little spot for their picnic, perhaps she’d find a way to increase his appreciation for her new hobby.
* * * * *
For Lucy Greco Cavanaugh, life is a dream come true. She has it all, the perfect family, the perfect husband, the perfect marriage. What more could she wish for other than the chance to do it all again? To experience once more the agony and ecstasy of falling in love with the man of her dreams. To recapture the joy and uncertainty that comes with starting over. Sometimes you get exactly what you wish for... and it's more than you ever dreamed. 

https://www.amazon.com/Taste-Honey-Oberon-Book-ebook/dp/B00143YIEQ



Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Fall TV Season is Upon Us and I’m Not Ready

Posted by: Nicole Luiken




Every fall there is a host of new TV shows premiering and even more returning. Usually my husband and I go over summaries and trailers for the new crop and choose three or four to sample.

This year the very idea makes me fatigued.

The problem is that we haven’t caught up on last year’s viewing yet. We still have two episodes of Supergirl, seven episodes of Shield and eight of Twin Peaks to plow through. We’ve all but given up on Outlander season two.

I blame the invention of the PVR (? Perhaps called DVRs in the States?) Once upon a time you had to watch a show on the day that it aired or miss it until summer repeats or possibly forever. Then came the VCR and taping shows that played at an inconvenient time. Which was great. But we never had more than one ‘scratch’ tape so we never fell that far behind. Our PVR has a LOT of memory and so there’s less urgency to finish. (The only one we watch in a timely fashion is Game of Thrones to prevent spoilers.)

We really don’t watch that many shows. However the ones we do watch tend to have an over-arching plotline so we’re fanatical about watching them in order and not missing an episode. It ought to be possible to keep up or at least catch up over the summer. But each year we fall behind.

It’s my fault, really. There are a lot of evenings where we could have watched TV, but I chose to read instead.

Shows We’re Still Watching

1/ Timeless. New last year, this show took a few episodes to really hit its stride and we almost dropped it. I’m so glad we stuck with it and even gladder that it’s been renewed. Cool time travel and good characters with an over-arching plot.

2/ Supergirl. I love that we can watch this as a family. We’re only two shows behind so I’m still hoping to be caught up by the time season three starts.

3/ Big Bang Theory. This is the only sitcom on our list. (I often find sitcom humour hard to take because I hate watching characters I like do stupid things.) However, it’s much easier to block off time to watch a half-hour show, so we are caught up on this one.

4/ Shield. This one is on the bubble. I’m still enjoying most of the episodes, but we’re hopelessly behind. Not only that but it’s spinning off a new show The Inhumans, which sounds cool, but I don’t know that we have time for.

5/ Twin Peaks. We loved the original series but this one mostly has us shaking our heads. We’re eight episodes in and Lynch keeps introducing new characters and plotlines--and ignoring earlier plotlines. We watched ‘Gotta Light’ last night and only the very first scene had anything to do with the plot. Sigh. I’m not quite ready to give up yet, but I may watch the next one with the fast forward button in hand.

New Shows to Try:

1/ Star Trek: Discovery
2/ The Orville
3/ The Inhumans
4/ The Dark Crystal
5/ Krypton

There are also dozens of older shows I would love to try: The Librarians, The Flash, Jessica Jones, Stranger Things, but there’s just no time. Not without cutting into my reading time and that, my friend, isn’t happening.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

National Chocolate Shake Day

Posted by: Ruth A Casie
Georg Ludwig was born May 1660 in Hanover, Germany. His grandmother was the daughter of James I, King of England, Ireland, and Scotland. After the deaths of his cousins and Queen Anne, there was no direct bloodline to the throne. George ascended to the throne and changed his German name (Georg Ludwig) to George R(ex).

Changing his name would not be enough to win over his new subjects. He came tonEngland wireless, but with his mistress after being held in prison in Hanover for adultery. His new subjects called him the turnips king. They thought that was the only produce in Hanover.

He kept his own servants much to the chagrin of the English aristocracy. He spoke little English preferring French and Latin. He dined in public at Hampton Court. Like Henry VIII, George I used food, festivities, and entertainment as a sign of power.

The Tudor building in disrepair was repaired. A key part of the renovation were the three new kitchens, a confectionery kitchen, a spice kitchen, and a chocolate
kitchen. Usually the kitchen was hidden, but with this renovation the kitchens were in the midst of the buildings. Food was a symbol of royal status and power. The aromas emanating from the nearby kitchens enticed guests as the strolled.

Chocolate was a key component of the entertainment and was embraced by King George I. The king even hired his own personal chocolate maker. the Chocolate Kitchen and the Chocolate Room were located near the king's back stairs, a short trip to present the delicious treat to the royals.

Chocolate was a status symbol, only for the elite and those that worked with chocolate were highly respected.

The Chocolate House on Chocolate Row (now West Grove) in Greenwich London was very popular with London society and frequented by the wealthy. Taxes on chocolate were higher than taxes on tea and coffee. Chocolate Houses were almost as exclusive as clubs.

One of the recipes the wealthy enjoyed was Chocolate Wine

To make 4 cups
4 1/2 oz dark cooking chocolate
16 oz ruby port
2/3 tsp caster (extra fine) sugar
1/2 oz rice or plain flour

Instructions
1. Pour the port into a sauce pan.
2. Break up the chocolate into small chunks and add it to the sauce pan.
3. Add the sugar to taste.
4. Whisk in the flour.
5. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes until small bubbles form around the edge. Do Not Boil.
6. Whisk the chocolate mixture together until smooth.
7. Pout into cups.

This may not be a chocolate milk shake, but how much better can it get... chocolate and wine!!!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Here Be News

Posted by: Veronica Scott
Other News:
Now Available as an Audio Book!

GHOST OF THE SWAMP
Subwoofers, Book 2
Contemporary Fantasy/Paranormal Romance (deer shifter)
by Linda Mooney
Word Count: 32.8K
$2.99 e / $9.99 p / $6.98 a


Narrated by Jack Nolan
Length: 2 hrs, 58 min

Hear a Sample


Alligator, Bear, Cougar, Deer, Eagle
They found each other by accident. They became a team for life.


Shot by illegal poachers, Patrick "Pud" Davies finds himself alone and severely injured in the middle of the woods. He's discovered by Billie Crowne, an agent with the EPA, whoe takes him to her campsite where she tends to his wounds.
 
As the days pass, Pud finally allows himself to open up for the first time. With Billie, he finds he's able to talk about the horrors of his past, and begins to purge the blackness that has haunted him ever since his tour of duty, and his time as a POW, ended. Because of her, he becomes stronger emotionally and physically. And before he can comprehend his growing feelings for this woman, he realizes she's managed to break through the protective emotional shell he had erected around himself. 

Once he's finally able to contact the others of his team at Bag It and Tag It Excursions, together they try to find the people responsible for attacking him. What they discover will force Pud to make a heartbreaking decision. Because of what he is, he will have to walk away from the only woman who has ever touched his heart.  


Warning! Contains cream of wheat with honey, running naked in the swamp, a covert identity, a hankering for acorns, flying airboats, and the one chance for an emotionally-damaged man to find love...if they both survive.

Excerpt and buy links.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Heart Fire

Posted by: Joely Sue Burkhart
Pumpkins on the front porch, witches on the wind, frost on the fields, colorful leaves... All things I love about fall. But I *especially* love bonfires. Or weenie roasts as my Beloved Sister calls them.

We drive up to my dad's farm about 1 1/2 hours away, out in the middle of nowhere (literally, he barely has cell or Internet services). He drags up a bunch of old stumps or fallen trees that he wants to get rid of. And we sit around the fire as long as we can.

Of course there's hotdogs on sticks and flaming marshmallows to go around. My kids love burning everything they can find. Their paper plates, cups, wrappers, anything lying around in Papa's garage that's not nailed down. It starts out too hot, and we're all complaining about hot cheeks and smoky eyes as we try to cook our hotdogs enough, but inevitably we start to get chilled. Those chairs draw closer and closer to the fire.

Someone asks for a ghost story. A real ghost story. Molly will tell us about the time she sneaked into the Old Plantation with her friends and felt something... dark... inside that definitely didn't want them there. We'll laugh about the daytime trip we took there a few years ago, and I'll say again that my blood has forever tied me to the house (I slipped on some junk in the upper floors and tore a hole in my favorite jeans and my thigh). We'll talk about the old cemetery outside.

And draw our chairs a little closer to the warmth of the fire.

I catch myself staring into the flames after awhile, listening to everyone talk around me. The flames are mesmerizing and I imagine them burning away all my problems and fears. The snap and crackle a mystical accompaniment. If we're very lucky, we'll hear some coyotes in the distance, or maybe a barn owl. The crickets and locusts sing in the background. We stare up at the night sky that's so clear and gorgeous -- full of the stars we can't see at home in the city.

I finally saw my first falling star this year at our first bonfire of the season. We stayed up until 3 AM talking around the fire. It was glorious. I didn't want the fire to ever go out.

I can already smell the smoke and feel the night air chilling on my skin.

I can't wait to get there again. The fire burns, still, but only in my heart.

Sitting around the bonfire, I remember that I have a spark inside me, and that it only takes a spark to start a wildfire. That I need to tend and feed that fire. I need to listen to it crackle (cackle) as it burns up my fears and indecision. I need to stare into those flames and read those secrets that only I can see.

I laugh at myself for thinking that I have an affinity for fire. That I can find answers in those flames.

I probably just have a weakness for s'mores, right?

But I feel that tiny flame inside, waiting for the chance to rekindle glowing embers into red-hot flame. It's bonfire season and there's plenty of old, dead wood to burn.


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Is Reading a Way to Procrastinate?

Posted by: Maureen
By Maureen L. Bonatch

My mother is an avid reader. She taught me about the joy of books at a very young age. I have fond memories of her reading a chapter or two from novels like the Little House on the Prairie series to my sister and I before bed each night. Our cherished library cards were worn from repeated use.                  
A Photo I took of My Daughter's TBR Jar :) 
There was nothing better than spending an afternoon escaping to the world captured between the pages.

It was hard for me to imagine anyone not deriving the same pleasure from a good book. But I knew those people existed. Because our household validated that there are two types of people. Readers and the non-readers. And my father fell into the second group.

I Have Better Things to Do

As a non-reader oblivious to the benefits of a book, my father always felt there were better things to do than ‘waste your day’ reading a book. He viewed reading as a form of procrastination to avoid doing other necessary tasks. These things usually involved extra chores since obviously we’d turned to reading as a last resort to defeat overwhelming boredom.

It’s unfortunate I wasn’t outspoken enough to retort with many of the benefits of reading such as:

·      Increasing your knowledge base and vocabulary with a wealth of topics and worlds to explore
·      Improving your health by exercising your brain with mental stimulation and improving memory
·      Reducing stress by embracing the tranquility a book can provide

I Don’t Have Time to Read

I still encounter many non-readers and often hold my tongue as they insist that it isn’t that they don’t want to read, it’s just that they don’t have the time to read. We all have the same 24 hours in a day. Readers realize that there is always time to read because when you love to read you make the time. Whether it’s by:
  •       Making productive, positive use of wasted time while waiting for an appointment
  •       Choosing to read a book over watching television
  •       Bringing a book with you to capture spare minutes while your kids are in an activity or during your lunch break 

Read a Book Day or Fight Procrastination Day

Today (September 6th) is Read a Book Day. Why not promote reading to try to convert the non-readers and welcome them to the wonders of reading.

  •       Social Media- Take a minute to share #ReadABook
  •       Donate Books- Local libraries and schools often accept books.
      • Make a book basket for a charity auction featuring either your books, your favorite authors or author friends.
  •       Give a Book as a Gift- I always give a book as a gift at a baby shower and have found many people are thrilled to receive a special author autographed copy of a book.
                       *Check out an author’s website to see if they offer 
                 autographed copies.  
  •      Introduce them to Different Forms of Books and Genres. The glorious thing about books is that there really is something for everyone.

o   Whatever you like to read- romance, paranormal, fantasy, crime, young adult etc.  
o   Whatever format you prefer- audiobook, paperback, ebook etc.

Raising a New Generation of Readers

I’ve instilled a love of reading in my girls. I’m thrilled that their gift lists are always predominantly books and the walls of their rooms are filled with their cherished treasures.

Today is also Fight Procrastination Day today. I don’t consider reading as procrastination. I consider it a necessity. But if I did, it would be my favorite form of procrastination.

What Are Your Suggestions to Welcome Non-Readers to the World of Books?


My Latest Release Evil Speaks Softly is Now Available for Pre-Order.

Everyone has a story to tell. Even the dead.

They were never supposed to meet. Fame came easy for Liv by following in the footsteps of the female writers in her family. The cycle repeated for decades…until Liv changed the story. Her villain doesn’t like the revision—and he isn’t a fictional character. In his story, the bad guy always wins.

They were never supposed to find love. Liv never questioned her demanding nocturnal muse, or the strange incidents in her old, family home until she met Gage. His job was to watch her from afar, not reveal the truth about the curse and the stories of the dead.

They’ve broken all the rules. Together they unravel secrets as they strive to stop the cycle. Liv’s ability to find love, and protect her loved ones, hangs on the fickle whims of the dead—and they’ve got nothing to lose.


Author Bio: Maureen Bonatch grew up in small town Pennsylvania and her love of the four seasons—hockey, biking, sweat pants and hibernation—keeps her there. While immersed in writing or reading paranormal romance and fantasy, she survives on caffeine, wine, music, and laughter. A feisty Shih Tzu keeps her in line. Find Maureen on her websiteFacebookTwitter


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