Monday, August 29, 2011

Musings From the Archives

Being a little on the tired brain side this morning decided to wander through past things I'd written. This is from several years ago and made me laugh. Since then the two girls discuss are now a tweener and a teen, and a Toddler is part of the gang. Think how much fun I have these days when I'm called into service!

Last week I moved into my daughter’s house to care for her six and eight year old girls while her and husband took a break. All of my great plans on how to organize my day went by the wayside. My hat is off to the mothers of the world. How quickly we empty-nesters forget the investment of time and energy in raising children.

Mornings consisted of balancing a cross between, cook, referee and nag. Make breakfast, make lunches, demand they stop fighting and get them upstairs to get dressed. Once the school bell rang and I escaped, then I had to work in my plans (or forget them) in-between the shopping, cleaning and laundry. Before I’d made a dent in my list, it was time to go pick the girls up at school, rush home for a snack and then off to their next activity.

The morning the eight year old discovered her fish floating belly up was traumatizing. After kissing away tears and promising a new fish, we finally made it to school. By the time I handed them over to their Aunt on Saturday afternoon, I was ready for a vacation myself.

They’re really good kids and listen pretty well, but I’m not use to the energy levels created when you’re around so much activity. My life is quieter, my days spent spinning tales in a make believe world that I can walk away from when the need arises. Once again, I say. My hat is off to the mothers who do this on a daily basis, twenty-four/seven. All I can promise is there is an end in site and recommend you enjoy your children as much you can now.

The day will come all too soon when your children will be leaving their off-spring with you so they can escape for a few days. Then you too will be wondering how you ever managed all those years.

Have a great week!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Dominique Eastwick Heats It Up!

I'm delighted to welcome my friend Dominique Eastwick today. She shares an excerpt from her latest release with us and you gotta love the strawberries and champange incorporation. Congratulations on the new book, Dominique and thank you for taking time from you hectic schedule to share with us~

Strawberry Kisses by Dominique Eastwick

Decadent Publishing
Buy at
Contemporary Rubenesque Erotic Romance

Are they ready to gamble on a 1 Night Stand?

Mia hides behind her computer

Gavin hides behind his numbers.

Can Madame Eve bring these two together and show them that two is always better then one.

“Do you want the next strawberry with chocolate, or champagne?” He popped the cork.

“I, um....” She slowed her breathing, trying hard to concentrate on his words. “I’ve never had champagne and strawberries.”

“Really?” As he smiled, the first real smile she’d seen on his face was breathtaking, She could only nod since somewhere between her mouth and her brain she’d lost the ability to form simple words.

Pouring one glass of the bubbly wine, he took a sip, smiled then grabbed another plump berry. He rubbed it slightly on her lower lip. “Take a bite.”

He didn’t have to tell her twice. She bit, then savored, as he raised the flute and tilted it just enough for her to get a swallow of the liquid. Her eyes widened as the tastes of the fruit and champagne fused in her mouth.

“Another bite then?” He didn’t wait for her answer, giving her another piece and let her enjoy the fruit for what it was, savoring and treasuring as some of the best she’d ever had.

She opened her eyes just in time to see his close, and his mouth settle over hers. Her lips parted and a rush of champagne from his mouth filled her own. The fizzy liquid overwhelmed her senses. If she could have let out an ooh, she would have. But all she could think about was his tongue dancing with hers. His left hand still holding the flute, he wrapped it around her waist, pulling her closer. She felt the heat of his erection at the same time his rigid cock pressed against her belly.

Pulling away enough to wind her arms around his neck, she prevented any escape on his part. She had him where she wanted him no matter how good the strawberries or the champagne, wanted him right there, kissing her. He didn’t fight her, instead deepening the kiss. She breathed in, his scent acting like an aphrodisiac on her already hyper libido, bringing her to the brink of ripping his clothes off and jumping his cock right then.

His arm left her waist for a minute—she heard the clink of the flute on the table, but his lips never left hers. She melted into him as his warm palms cupped her heated cheeks, forcing her mind back to the kiss.

“Tell me what you want?” His breath was warm against her lips.

“I want you.”

“How? Give me permission, tell me it’s okay to strip you naked, kiss you wherever the need takes me.”

“Yes, yes, please, all of that.”

It was all the encouragement he needed. His warm hands palmed her breasts, weighing them, his thumbs working the nipples to hard nubs under the layers of clothing she wore. Letting her head fall back, she savored the feel of his hands on her, of a man’s hands, warm and strong on her long-starved body.

Link to Dominique's website
Link to Dominique's blog
Friend on Facebook
Twitter @dominieastwick

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Recipe Wednesday -- Easy Croissants

Saw this recipe on the Food Network over the weekend and had puff pastry in the freeze not ear-marked for anything. Decided Toddler could have fun with such an easy creation. Yes, there were non-perfect rolls and my definition of lightly sprinkling the sugar and hers are not the same. At 3, she feels half an inch is light and also had to test some of the chocolate used to make sure it was good enough before any went on the puff pastry. Anyway, let her go with the flow and we both enjoyed the end result with a glass of milk and of course, her PopPop thought they were wonderful when he sampled.


• 1 (17.3-ounce) package or 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
• Flour, for dusting, if needed
• 4 (1/2-ounce) mini milk chocolate bars, each broken into 4 equal pieces (recommended: Hershey's)
• 1 large egg, beaten
• Sugar, for sprinkling
• 1/2 (7-ounce) package almond paste, divided into 1/2 to 1 teaspoon pieces, shaped like a log or rolled into a ball
• Almond slices, for garnish

Special equipment: pizza cutter or kitchen shears, ruler
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Place 1 sheet thawed puff pastry on the work surface like a sheet of paper or portrait (not horizontal or landscape). If the puff pastry is very sticky, very lightly flour the work surface. Using a pizza cutter or kitchen shears, cut the puff pastry in half, widthwise. Using a ruler as a guide, make an indentation at 2-inch intervals (for the base) across the bottom of each puff pastry half. Cut each half into 8 triangles, with the base of each triangle measuring 2 inches. (They will be very long isosceles triangles.) You'll end up discarding the 2 end pieces to get the most out of your puff pastry piece. This sheet of triangles will be reserved for the chocolate croissants. Repeat the cutting for the second puff pastry sheet that will be used for the almond croissants.

For the chocolate croissants: Place 1 chocolate piece just above the 2-inch edge of 1 pastry triangle, folding the dough over the chocolate as you tightly roll up the dough, enclosing the chocolate. Repeat with the remaining puff pastry and chocolate. Place the pastry rolls on the baking sheet, seam-side down. Cover the croissants with plastic wrap and place the baking sheet in the refrigerator until the dough firms up. (You can make these croissants 1 day ahead up to this point.)FYI: WE DIDN'T DO THIS AND OURS CAME OUT FINE

Just before baking, remove the croissants from the refrigerator, brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle lightly with sugar.

For the almond croissants: Place 1/2 to 1 teaspoon almond paste, shaped like a small log, just above the 2-inch edge of 1 pastry triangle, folding the dough over the almond paste as you tightly roll up the dough, enclosing the almond paste. Repeat with remaining puff pastry triangles and almond paste. Place the pastry rolls on a baking sheet, seam-side down. Cover the croissants with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until the dough firms up. (You can make these croissants 1 day ahead up to this point.)
Just before baking, remove the croissants from the refrigerator, brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle lightly with sugar and sliced almonds.
Bake until the pastries are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Cook's Note: These croissants are so easy and so good you'll want to stuff them with practically everything. They are perfect as is-chocolate croissants and almond croissants, but if you're feeling a little adventurous combine the chocolate and almond paste (scale back just a touch on the almond paste) in one croissant for a decadent treat. But don't stop there, you can stuff these mouthwatering minis with savory fillings too. Ham and cheese croissants are crazy good!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Weekend Mini-Con Fun!

The first joint mini conference between Colorado Romance Writers and Heart of Denver Romance Writers happened Saturday, October 22nd. A fun event with strong support from both groups, from the facial expression and the buzz of conversation in the room during breaks, a grand time was had by all.

Laura Baumbach, (yes, she's my PIP publisher) shared information on her background and about the three publishing houses she owns and the reasons behind the variety. She started with Man Love Romances which is coming up on five years in January and has grown leaps and bounds. Next came Feather Weight Press, a children and young adult press where the focus is exactly what the name implies and where the doors opened two years ago. Last, but not least (in my book for sure) is Passion in Print Press. She opened it to meet the needs of her m/m authors who also wrote m/f romance and PIP just celebrated its first birthday. Not bad for a lady, who six years ago had no intention of becoming a publisher.

After she spent the morning talking and answering questions, Laura moved over to pitches in the afternoon. She came away most impressed with the quality of writers, both published and aspiring that are in the two groups. In addition, she gave kudos on the strong programs the groups support to help members hone their writing skills and learn the realities of the publishing world before they wake up published and unprepared.

After lunch, the most informative Tamela Burkhe, educated and inspired us to get our marketing and social meeting houses in order. She focused primarily on the benefits of Facebook and Twitter, showing different features we can use after going through a session on how to identify your readers. Seeing the actual screens helped a lot of us understand exactly what we can do with menus on the social sites and incorporate them into our sites, as well as organize friends or the people we follow on Twitter. Tamela answered questions (and there were lots) not only by explaining, but also demonstrating. Visuals in my world are always good!

And speaking of visuals…guess who forgot to dig out their camera and take pictures! Duh…that would be me on Saturday. But at least I did get a shot of the group gathered for dinner on Friday night. The names are below the picture.

From Left to right starting with the lady in red:
Lori Corsentino, Kathy Matzen, Laura Baumbach, Mary Guida (co-organizer)
Otherside of table: Tamela Burkhe and yours truly.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wednesday's Recipe

The uphill deadline battle continues. Yes, I am having second thoughts about committing to other tasks while writing a book with a deadline!

Anyway, hope you enjoy the recipe if you give it a try!

Almond crusted Chicken

Makes 4 servings
Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
• Canola oil cooking spray
• 1/2 cup sliced almonds
• 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
• 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
• 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
• 1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 4 large egg whites
• 1 pound chicken tenders, (see Ingredient Note)


1. Preheat oven to 475°F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Set a wire rack on the baking sheet and coat it with cooking spray.

2. Place almonds, flour, paprika, garlic powder, dry mustard, salt and pepper in a food processor; process until the almonds are finely chopped and the paprika is mixed throughout, about 1 minute. With the motor running, drizzle in oil; process until combined. Transfer the mixture to a shallow dish.

3. Whisk egg whites in a second shallow dish. Add chicken tenders and turn to coat. Transfer each tender to the almond mixture; turn to coat evenly. (Discard any remaining egg white and almond mixture.) Place the tenders on the prepared rack and coat with cooking spray; turn and spray the other side.

4. Bake the chicken fingers until golden brown, crispy and no longer pink in the center, 20 to 25 minutes.

Tips & Notes
• Ingredient note: Chicken tenders, virtually fat-free, are a strip of rib meat typically found attached to the underside of the chicken breast, but they can also be purchased separately. Four 1-ounce tenders will yield a 3-ounce cooked portion. Tenders are perfect for quick stir-fries, chicken satay or kid-friendly breaded “chicken fingers.”
Per serving: 174 calories; 4 g fat (1 g sat, 2 g mono); 66 mg cholesterol; 4 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 27 g protein; 1 g fiber; 254 mg sodium; 76 mg potassium.
Nutrition Bonus: Selenium (31% daily value).
Exchanges: 3 very lean meat, 1/2 fat

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Blogging Slow

The past two weeks have been detrimental to blogging. Drop dead deadline staring me in the face combined with a conference that was waaaay too much fun have put me in a time crunch. No one to blame, but ME...still, there are things I want (need) to do that get pushed back on the list.

Anyway, here's another picture from RomCon

Monday, August 8, 2011

RomCon Recap

And fun was had by all, or at least it appeared that way from what I saw. For some maybe a little too much fun (me, me!). Yes, I confess to late hours and early mornings at the RomCon Conference. I’m going to blame my roommates for the late hours since they’re the ones who drug their butts in after midnight Saturday (as in Sunday morning) and wanted to finish off the open bottles of wine. Yes, I joined in consuming a little of the grapes and laughed so hard at times tears flowed. Apologies to anyone who had the misfortune of being in the rooms on either side of us if we disturbed your slumber.

I met some really great people. The readers at this conference are delightful and you have the opportunity to really visit. A big shout out to the book clubs I had the opportunity to hang out with. Look forward to connecting with you soon.

Met some new authors and reconnected with several old friends. It was great to hang out during Saturday’s schedule breaks with Lynda Hilburn and Jeanne Stein. Had fun visiting with Melissa Mayhue Friday night before we both reached the ‘need to turn in’ moment and yesterday, rode over to an after conference book signing with Melissa, so yet more yakking.

Told you I partied too much! From left to right: Hillary Seidl, me, Tiffany James, Mary Guida and Lori Corsentino.

All in all, a VERY good weekend!! But now back to the real world and a drop-dead, deadline. If my editor doesn’t have this book in her hands by next week I’m on her hit list. So don’t look for a lot of my smiling face on the social sites. Retreating into the cave!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Today's Fun

Today is packing. I'm off to RomCon later and look forward to attending an event I've not been too. Saturday's schedule is packed with lots of fun things paranormal...a panel, a tea and a chat, plus just meeting all the readers and other authors attending will be a blast. Saturday night, a PJ party...can't remember the last one I attended!

So have a fun weekend and I'll update about RomCon happenings on Monday and if I remember to take my camera, I'll post some pictures from it.

Me, I'm off to pack and finish off another chapter in the current WIP.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

July Winner

The winner of a signed copy of Beyond Magic is

Amy Toohey!

Congratulations, Amy and thanks for your comment!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Reaching Out Can Help You Too

I did something Sunday I’ve never done before. Sure, I’ve tossed change into cups of panhandlers on the street and I used to do it more often until someone pointed out they may be using the money to support their drug or alcohol habit.

I noticed Ben (I don’t know his name, but he seems like a Ben to me) last week at my book signing. He wandered around the store aimlessly looking at books like a lot of us do. The thing that caught my attention was the fact he wore a coat…a hooded winter coat. It was in the 90s outside, so yes, he appeared out of place.

At the bookstore yesterday for my husband’s weekly book fondling outing, Ben came into the coffee shop while I waited in line and I got a closer look at him. The coat covered the seat of his pants, but when he bent over a little to peer at something, I saw all the tears and worn spots. Does he wear the coat to hide the poor condition of his pants, I wondered.

It occurred to me, if ever a man looked like he could use a friend, it was him. I kept looking in his direction wanting to catch his eye and ask if I could get him a coffee, but he only stood there and seemed to sniff the aromas before he turned and walked out. Later as we were getting ready to leave Ben walked by and I got a look at his eyes. Dejection pretty much sums it up. I turned to my husband and told him to go check out that I needed to buy someone a cup of coffee.

Not waiting for his response, I chased down Ben and tapped him on the arm. “Sir, would you allow me to buy you a cup of coffee?” The stunned look on his face was priceless.

“Yes ma’am,” he stammered.

I tugged his arm and said, “Come on.”

All the way into the coffee shop he kept thanking me to point I was close to tears. To have someone so grateful for the offer of a cup of coffee drove home how blessed I truly am. At the counter I asked if he’d like a donut to go with the coffee and he nodded yes. After he selected the donut, I spied the sandwiches and had him pick out his choice.

The barrister caught on to what I was doing and her puzzled expression when I first walked up with Ben, changed to a megawatt smile. Her eyes glistened a little too.

When she handed me the change from the twenty I’d given her, I passed it along to Ben with his sandwich. Sure, he may have used it to get a cheap bottle of booze, but I hope he used it on the dinner I suggested. At least he had lunch and could sit in the coffee shop out of the heat for a while and enjoy being a customer without fear of being asked to leave.

His repeated “thank you” echoed in my ears and in my heart long after we said good bye. Here’s hoping for a moment, be felt someone cared enough to notice him and made his day a little brighter.

We all need a little help at times, if nothing more than to acknowledge we exist. There are days when a stranger’s smile or “hi” can turn around a negative one, at least for me. Isn’t it amazing something so simple, yet so important, can make a difference in this world of rushing past each other as we tend to do.

Have you made a reached out to someone recently? It doesn’t have to be something as extreme as mine, but have you connected in some small way? And how did it make you feel?