Friday, March 30, 2012

Chocoalte Diva Friday

Guess what, our Chocolate Diva is out of town at a fun convention and forgot to get her info to me so I decided to take matters into my own hands!!  I'm sure that shocks you!  Thought this recipe sounded yummy since I'm into salads with the warm weather.  And I have the fixings!!

Mixed Green Salad with Chocolate-Balsamic Vinaigrette
1 bag spring mix/mesclun greens,
Your favorite mixed vegetables/herbs, (shredded carrots, sliced mushrooms, onions, cherry tomatoes, yellow peppers, basil, dill, etc)
¼ cup walnuts, toasted,
¼ cup feta cheese, crumbles,
¼ cup chocolate balsamic vinaigrette, recipe follows,
Shredded chocolate to garnish, optional

Chocolate-Balsamic Vinaigrette
1 cup of your favorite store-bought balsamic vinaigrette,
¾ cup Dove Chocolate Martini Mix

In a large bowl, combine the sprint mix/mesclun greens with the mixed vegetables/herbs, walnuts, and feta cheese. Slowly pour in the chocolate balsamic vinaigrette, and toss lightly. Serve with a garnish of crumbled feta cheese and shredded chocolate, if desired.

Chocolate-Balsamic Vinaigrette
In medium bowl, whisk together balsamic vinaigrette and Dove Chocolate Martini Mix. Pour into a sealable container and store in the refrigerator.   
To get the Dove Chocolate Martini Mix mentioned in the above recipe visit.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Recipe Wedensday - Chicken Pot Pie

Dr. Oz had a lady on his show last week with a healthier version of chicken pot pie with a biscuit crust (fewer calories and less fat).  The Honey suggested we try it...he love chicken pot pie.  I made it yesterday and have to admit the filling is great...the crust, not so much.  The crust tasted fine, but too thick even after making it thinner than recommended on the show.  Also, a lot of work and I think my next effort will be with store bought biscuits, but will need to check out the content information on a package before making that decision.  Also, for the filling think I'm going to kick it up a notch with more spice...we're spicy eaters!

And in case you don't know (like me) fennel is 'anise' in a lot of grocery stores.

The Topping
3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus some additional for rolling
1 tbsp, plus 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 scant tbsp honey
2 1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
The Filling
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups 1/2-inch thick peeled carrot rounds
2 cups peeled yellow onions, halved and sliced
1 bulb fennel, outer layers removed, halved and sliced into 1/2-inch thick rounds
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp paprika
1 cup dry (cheap) white wine
1 1/2 cups medium white button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 cup celery stalks, sliced into 1/2-inch thick rounds
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, seared and cubed
3 cups vegetable stock
1 large egg, lightly beaten, for egg wash
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, for topping

Gather 6 (8-oz) ramekins. Make the biscuit topping first. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, black pepper, and salt. Sifting not only assures that the dry ingredients will be free of lumps, but also mixes them together. Add the honey and cream to the dry ingredients. Here’s where it gets messy; use your hands to mix together the wet and dry ingredients. Take care there is not remaining flour in the bottom of the bowl. Turn the biscuit mixture onto a lightly floured flat surface and with floured hands, pat the biscuit mix down until it is about 1-inch thick.
Note: if the outside edges start to show cracks, cup the outer edge with your hands and push the dough towards its own center. Pat the edges so the dough is about 1-inch thick. Lightly flour a knife (to avoid sticking as you cut) and cut the dough into six 6-inch (in diameter) rounds. The dough should be a few inches larger in diameter relative to the baking dishes. Transfer the rounds to a baking sheet and refrigerate while making the filling.
Preheat the oven to 375° F.
Heat a large skillet and add the olive oil. When it begins to smoke lightly, add the carrots, onions, fennel, flour and paprika. Season with salt, and stir to blend. Add the white wine and cook until all of the liquid has reduced and the vegetables are translucent and tender, 5-8 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms, celery, chicken and stock. Cook an additional 5-8 minutes over medium heat to allow the liquid some time to reduce. Season with salt to taste.
Fill each ramekin 3/4 with the vegetables and liquid. Don’t fill all the way to the top. You need to leave a little room so that steam can build up inside the pie as it bakes and allow the biscuit to cook. Spooning some liquid into each is important so they have enough moisture within to create steam and be juicy once cooked. Allow them to “rest” 15 minutes so the vegetables cool slightly.
Brush the outside edges of the ramekins with egg wash and fully brush the biscuit rounds. Top each ramekin with the “egged” side of the biscuit and gently press it to all sides so it seals the ramekin shut. Place them all somewhat apart on a baking sheet and place it in the center of the oven. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour or until the biscuit dough is puffed and browned. Remove from the oven and top with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately. 

Recipe courtesy of Alex Guamaschelli via the Dr. Oz show

Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday Welcome's B.J. Hayes's Debut into Sizzle the Male Way!!!

Today's guest is a new author in the world of male/male romance and someone I've known for a number of years.  Oh the stories I can tell, but won't...(g).  Nuff to say, I love this woman...her sense of humor, her quick mind and the fact she is a friend I can turn to when needed (hope she knows I'm here for her too) and I'm happy for her new venture.

B.J. Hayes writes gay erotica in the majestic Rocky Mountains of Colorado.  The release of Oral Invitation with Wild Rose Press has taken this talented author on a new journey.

And to celebrate the release, B.J. will select a lucky winner from comments left here, so make sure to leave one!

Dylan Lindstrom has always loved women and always will. At least that's what he thinks until free spirit Jackson Carter invites him back to his place for a beer. Jackson is athletic, outgoing, good-looking, loves motorcycles—a man’s man—and Dylan feels an instant connection with him. But when Jackson offers him more than a bike ride through Denver, Dylan must decide if he’s ready to accept Jackson’s oral invitation.
Read an exerpt at:
Buy Link:

Monday, March 19, 2012

Monday Musing - Meet Sadie Sue, A Woman of Of Opinions

The times they are a changing, at least here!  This year I’m tackling several new genres in addition to getting another Magical Love series released.  The new lines will be under yet to be determined author names in order to separate them from the Romance, and thought of new territory is exciting and scary. 

So for grins today, I thought I’d introduce one of the characters in a new genre.  I’m not sure if this story will fall into Women’s Fiction of Fantasy…or as someone told me, Fantasy Women’s Fiction.  The character in this book, Sadie Sue Evans, has been screaming in my head for a while demanding her story be told.  Her life’s journey has come to an end at 90 plus.  She’s feisty, funny, determined and at times down right difficult.  Anyway, here is Sadie Sue to share a few of her thoughts and a glimpse into the opening of her story.

Hello Lizzie followers!  I’m Sadie Sue Evans.  I’m not going to bore you with all my other names since I’ve been married more than once (okay, lots of times), plus it would take up a lot of space here.
Now to get down to business.  Okay, I can go along with my hostess’s description of me, except for the difficult.  I just have my own thoughts on the way things need to be done and if Lizzie (or whoever she ends up calling herself) think’s I’ve been in her head before, she needs to hang on for what lies ahead.
Anyway, the fact of the matter is…I’m dead.  That’s right, at ninety-eight my body decided it had enough of the pain from the crap cancer that assaulted it over the past year and just quit.  That spelled relief in my book! 
I won’t bore you with the details of my life here (saving the good ones for the story), but suffice it to say my time on earth proved interesting.  What did you expect from such a long worldly span…existing?  Not on your life!  The way I viewed it, one didn’t know how much time they had on earth and they needed to get into the living…and I did.  Sometimes good, other times not so good.
But why don’t we just give you a glimpse into my story.  Remember, this is Lizzie’s (or whoever she is) work and you’re looking at an unedited version that may also be subject to revision if I feel inclined at some point to suggest she change something.   
And I'm sure as my book progresses you'll hear from me again.

Pearly Gates
Chapter 1
Some would say a lot of the choices I made in life weren’t always the best ones.  Some would be probably be right, but that’s all behind me now.
I’m Sadie Sue Evans, hovering above the wrinkled carcass of what was my body for the ninety-eight plus years.  If I had any doubts about being dead, seeing my earthly remains just lying there, confirmed it; that and the smirk of joy on my bitch daughter-in-law’s face.
Her arms are wrapped around my son, Edwin Thomas in what is supposed to be sympathy, but I see the gleam in her eyes and grin on her face.  Oh yeah, she’s as glad to be rid of me as I am her.  If there was any grief coming from her, it was that I didn’t go earlier so she could get her hands on my money.  Is she ever in for a surprise when the will is read.  Darling son’s allowance will continue to be paid out from a trust, but once he dies the balance goes to charity.  Screw her!

Did I mention my son, my only child, is a complete fool—especially when it comes to that woman?  He didn’t marry until his mid-fifties and then his choice of a wife was a twenty-two year old manipulating bleached blonde.  I hated her the minute I laid eyes on her, but obviously from the way he drooled over here, that was just me.
I floated there for a little while watching the doctor attempt Herculean efforts to resuscitate me.  Growing bored with the whole thing I drifted down a dark tunnel toward the beckoning light and now here I am in front of some kind of gate.  A damned impressive gate too, with its gold bars embedded with pearls and diamonds.   I do believe I’m at the Pearly Gates and I always wondered if such a thing existed.  There were lots of times when I did believe they did, but never thought I’d stand in front of them given my track record. 
“So what do I do now?”  In answer to my question, the gates swung open and a gust of wind nudged me forward.  I gawked at the opulent buildings and manicured landscape.  This place made the frickin’ Palace of Versailles look like a dump.
Before me a sign states, ‘Knock on the door directly in front of you.’  I look ahead and see a set of double doors as ornately decorated as the gate through which I’d just entered.  Okay, I can handle that.
Stepping forward, a niggling of doubt as to what was on the other side plays through my thoughts.  What if this is actually Hell and the Devil’s idea of good joke?  Get Sadie Sue Evans to knock on the door and have it fling open with a greeting of, “Surprise and welcome to Hell.”
Knowing that idea plays through my head, you can probably understand why my first knock was a little on the timid side.  Maybe too timid since I’m not getting a response.  Okay, one more time.  I rapped harder this time, sure someone would at the very least stick their head out and ask what I wanted.
Nothing.  Getting a little annoyed with the game, I form a fist with my right hand and pound against the golden door.  If this doesn’t get a response, either no one is home or Satan is as deaf as my next to last husband.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday's guest - V. Mark Covington

Today we get a glimpse into a little Southern humor from V. Mark Covington.  His thoughts on how people in the south connect made me laugh...yep, been to a few reunions and parties where discovering the distant connection brings into play an update on the current realatives.  The last family reunion I attended in my 'growing up' state brought out a lot of information I didn't know as well as memories that had slipped into the subconscious.

Y'all enjoy Mark's post and if you have favorite "southern sayings" share them with us! 

From Gone with the Wind to Confederacy of Dunces to the The Sookie Stackhouse series the southern gothic style has appeared in almost every type of fiction since its inception. The first gothic novels were born on the banks of Lake Geneva in the summer of 1816 when Lord Byron hosted a ghost story competition between himself, Percy Shelly, Mary Shelly and John William Polidori. That contest produced both Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein and Polidori’s The Vampyre. Almost 200 years later the vampire novel has evolved but is still as popular now as it was when it first sunk its teeth into the reading public. The heart of the gothic novel is extremes; greatness turned tragic, lofty affluence fallen to social squalor, heroic acts of bravery ending in madness and death. And few places can you find more examples of great ventures turned disastrous than the American south. The image of the old southern plantation fallen to ruin; aristocrat turned root-eating beggar, great beauty turned grotesque (or at least put on a few pounds and gone to seed). These themes captured the feeling at the heart of the post civil war south. But the southern gothic novel is not simply an author telling his or her story in a southern setting. No, the southern gothic novel has characters that are bigger than life, nuances of southern culture that are unique to the southern way of life, great battles between good and evil, killer Bar-B-Que and tempestuous, tube top ripping sex.

Southern Gothic Characters - Characters in southern gothic novels have to be bigger than life and, of course, a little crazy; the damaged soul, rising out of the wreckage of lost love, lost lifestyle or lost sanity. The aging debutant hanging on to Baby Jane delusions of youth; the wife-beater wearing, bad-boy who’s always a car chase away from the county jail. And southern writers write these characters so well because they have all known lots of real characters like this in their lives. Also, many southern writers tend to be a little crazy themselves. Seriously, William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, Flannery O’Connor, John Kennedy Toole, Eudora Welty - all born and raised southern and every one as crazy as a soup sandwich. Take my own town, Richmond Virginia, home to Edgar Allen Poe, not exactly the poster boy for sanity, Tom Wolfe of the perpetual ice cream suit, Tom Robbins, proof there is a fine line between genius and insanity. And I still have the image in my head of Richmond’s own David Robbins standing on the deck of a ship in pirate waters off the coast of Somalia waving a hundred dollar bill as research for The Devil’s Waters. Somehow, I just don’t see Woody Allen or Gore Vidal doing that. So, let’s take a look at some of the things that make southern characters stand out:

Nothing says southern like excess - If your character is going to be poor, make him tobacco row, stained wife beater, dirt poor. If rich, make him ‘owning most of Atlanta rich. So rich he buys a new boat each time the old one gets wet. If male, put the testosterone into overdrive and give your readers a cross between Rhett Butler and Stanley Kowalski. Female characters in the southern gothic have evolved over time, from Scarlet O’Hara to Sookie Stackhouse but they share a common thread, they are always vulnerable and in-charge at the same time, both soft and yielding yet, able to crawl out of the dirt, root in hand and take on the Yankee army with a vengeance. Picture Jessica Rabbit totin’ an Uzi wearing a hoop skirt, flak jacket and a picture hat.

Crazy elevated to an art-form- There is always a crazy character in the southern gothic novel. Some aunt or uncle or cousin, who “just ain’t quite right.” Aunt Earline’s little eccentricities, like perpetually dressing her dog like country singers, provides your other characters with opportunities to come up with great southern expressions like “her driveway don’t go all the way to the road” or “crazy as a pack of peach orchard boars.” (more about southern euphemisms later). Embrace your characters’ eccentricities and get creative. I loved the character in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil who tied live flies to his clothes and constantly carried around a bottle of poison earmarked for the city’s water system. Remember the banjo playing boy in Deliverance? Or the story of Boo Radley plunging the scissors into his parent’s leg in To Kill a Mockingbird. Of course, most main characters should only flirt with insanity enough to make them quirky and interesting. It’s too hard to get your readers to like them if you make them barking mad.

Hold my beer and watch this - A recent study - I think conducted at U of Michigan - tested how quick people were to anger when provoked. They found that the northerners angered more quickly but the southerners were the first to throw a punch. Southern characters don’t tend to be introspective; they jump first then figure out how the parachute works. And when they are introspective it is in the form of brooding, seething, or contemplating some stupidly brave or despicably heinous act. Violence, or the threat of it, is usually an undercurrent in southern gothic, but it is usually expressed more in bravado than brawl. Then again, they don’t call those sleeveless white undershirts ‘wife beaters’ for nothing.

Who are your people? - Attend any southern gathering and the second thing you will be asked is ‘who are your people?” Of course, the first thing you will be asked is “what would you like to drink? Finding common ancestors is how southerners connect. They find some mutual, distant relative and spend the rest of the evening talking about the time great uncle Colonel Beaumont Carter rode his horse into the lobby of the Jefferson Hotel (of course, if every old family in Richmond that claims their ancestor rode a horse into the Jefferson actually had a ancestor that did it, the Jefferson would have been the biggest stable in the south). Family is important in the south so trot out that freak show in your southern gothic. Mummah, Big Daddy, Great Aunt Bessie who’s so fat it takes two dogs to bark at her, should be showcased or at least have walk-on parts. And not just your main characters immediate family, there needs to be at least a couple minor characters, like double cousins, that are at least a ‘half a bubble off plumb’.

Ya’ll come - Southerners love any excuse to get together for a party so any southern gothic should have a scene featuring a local Dew Drop Inn, a barn dance or a cotillion, anywhere where folks are getting drunker than Cooter Brown and dancing like Baptists with nobody watching. This is a good place for violence, drunkenness and sex. And don’t exclude funerals as a party venue. I don’t know what it is about funerals that make southerners both thirsty and horny but southerners host great post-funeral parties with lots of liquor and distant cousins, which makes for a situation where anything can happen.

Act like you got some raising -
My favorite southern expression is “bless his (or her) heart” which means “you poor (ugly, ignorant, fat, stupid trashy- take-your-pick) thing.” It’s right up there with “hold your mouth right,” which is said when someone is attempting a tricky maneuver and the only way to accomplish it is to hold your mouth right…OK some of these southern expressions just have to be experienced. But suffice it to say no southern gothic novel would be complete without a few colorful euphemisms. If you can’t come up with an enigmatic, yet homespun, analogy on pretty short notice you won’t be able to write southern gothic worth a huckleberry up a bear’s ass and your novel will come across like something the dog’s been keepin’ him under the porch.

Just for grins I looked up what Wikpedia had to say about southern gothic and they used words to describe southern characters like racial bigot, egotistical, self-righteousness. Bless wiki’s little pea-pickin’ heart, he must be a Yankee and he just don’t get it.

Southern Gothic Plot - Most early southern gothic novel plots were basically a combination of romance and horror like the secret vampire lover or the seductive ghost haunting the old manse. But over time the plots of southern gothic novels have gotten more complex and urbane. While the plot of the southern gothic still contains certain commonalities such as flawed characters overcoming the forces of evil the novels now take on more sophisticated issues;

Homegrown Evil VS ‘Come-heres’ - In southern gothic novels the worst evil usually comes from out of town. Evil forces that just show up in town, usually in disguise, are called ‘come-heres’ and they are the worst kind of evil in a southern gothic. The term ‘come-heres’ can be used for anything from an invading army of vampires to just a yankee with a U-haul. In Gone with the Wind the Yankees are the ‘evil come-heres’. In To Kill A Mockingbird Atticus Finch battles homegrown racists. In A Confederacy of Dunces the whole world constantly conspires to keep Ignatius Riley down, and in the The Sookie Stackhouse Series there is an interesting twist, the home-grown vampire, Bill Compton, teams up with heroine Sookie Stackhouse to battle both “come here’ supernatural creatures and home grown, anti vampire bigots. In my book Heavenly Pleasure I mixed it up a bit. My hometown-hero characters, including Goth stripper, a fiction writer, a physicist and two life partners who run a dirty book store. These are joined by come-heres such as God, in the form of an Ice Cream man, and a fallen angel. The heroes square off against a hometown Fundamentalist preacher and Richmond city officials joined by a come-here demon (who has possessed a local vampire), and the devil himself. Sooner or later in the gothic novel the town will join forces to fight the evil led by one brave homegrown soul that ‘knew it was evil in disguise the whole time.’

Imprisonment and Freedom - This is often both literal and figurative. Many southern gothic novels open with someone getting out of either prison or a county jail. Cool Hand Luke is unique in southern gothic in that it begins with Luke being sentenced to work on a southern road gang. But this prison is only a microcosm of his greater prison, the world filled with rules, religion and mendacity that he rejects. Often, characters in southern gothic literature feel trapped in their social station, their small town, their families or even their sexuality. In Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Brick is injured and his injury has imprisoned him in Big Daddy’s house, but he is also imprisoned by his wife, Maggie the Cat’s sexuality and his own.

Grandeur fallen to Ruin - This Property is Condemned begins with a young girl walking down the railroad tracks which run by an old hotel fallen to ruin. She stops to reflect on the hotel’s previous splendor and the rest of the movie is a flashback about a “come here,” named Owen Legate, who arrives to close the local train station and doom the hotel to ruin. Grand houses fallen to ruin are typical in the southern gothic, picture Tara Plantation in Gone with the Wind before and after the Yankee invasion. Sookie Stackhouse’s grandmothers’ house is another beautiful old house that has seen better days. And this theme doesn’t stop at property. Blanche DuBois, once beautiful and affluent is forced to rely on the kindness of strangers, some not so kind.

Southern Gothic Setting - It just wouldn't be southern gothic if you didn't feel like you'd been thrust into a hot, sticky southern night replete with the drone of cicadas, sweat beading up on your tall glass of something sweet and alcoholic, the scent of honeysuckle in the breeze as it wafts across your front porch rocking chair. But there is an undercurrent, a strange feeling that something about to happen. The very air is pregnant with the first tremors of trouble beginning to rise with the waves of heat rising up from the street. Does that give you the feeling of a southern night?

Smell those Magnolias - The south has flora, fauna, smells, feels and tastes all its own (there’s nothing like that first bite of North Carolina Bar-B-Que). Incorporate them into your scenes, but don’t overdo it, subtle is better than overkill. You want to capture the feel of the south but give your image a distinct look and feel that is all your own. Bon Temps in The Sookie Stackhouse Series has the feel of a small Louisiana town, but with resident vampires and werewolves. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and To Kill a Mockingbird both capture the towns of Savannah, Georgia and Maycomb, Alabama, respectively, while most of the story is set in a courtroom. In Heavenly Pleasure I have a typical Evangelical Preacher and my characters do some ‘porch sitting” but I made it unique to Richmond centering life around the James ‘Rivah’ and Richmond’s English/Southern architecture but I did something that I doubt any Southern Gothic novelist has ever done - I made it snow.

Danse Grotesque Flannery O'Connor once remarked; "anything that comes out of the south is going to be called grotesque by the northern reader, unless it is grotesque, in which case it is going to be called realistic.” What northerners call grotesque, we southerners call normal. Fortunately, most southerners have an arsenal of grotesque personal experiences to draw from so damn the Yankees and add that touch of the grotesque to your novel. When I was a kid I was terrified of my grandmother’s house. It was a large, rambling farmhouse built in the mid-1700s. Heat came from fireplaces, my grandmother cooked on a wood stove. Oh, did I mention that upstairs there was a baby in a jar and a rocking chair that rocked by itself? Apparently the baby was left on the doctors’ doorstep and had died from the cold before the doctor found it. My grandmother was his first patient that day and the doctor asked her if she would bury it. Instead of burying it she pickled it. I don’t know why, I guess she just had a little too much character, bless her heart. The rocking chair is still a mystery. You can bet though somewhere down the line one of my books will feature that crazy old woman, the baby in the jar and the rocking chair that rocks by itself.

So good luck with the southern gothic, and remember, while you are composing the next Gone with the Wind to ‘hold your mouth right.”

V. Mark Covington is the author of four published novels, Bullfish and Heavenly Pleasure, 2012 Montezuma’s Revenge, and Homemade Sin.  His fifth novel, “Khamel Towing,(a Southern Gothic Comedy)  is due out in the fall of 2012. His play, Shakespeare in the Trailer Park will be produced by Richmond Shakespeare on April 10, 2012.  
You can contact Mark at

Check out his website at:

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by V. Mark Covington

What do a racing greyhound with multiple doggie personalities, an obsessive compulsive prize fighter, and a Bull Rider with a debilitating fear of clowns have in common? They are all better off dead.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Recipe Wednesday - Chicken Casserole

Saw this recipe at the I've Become My Mother blog and it sounds so yummy (and I'm not hungry) I wanted to share.  Also, check out this blog  I had to laugh at the latest post on her promise to her kids since I had a coversation along those lines with Toddler matter how old your children are (get) as their mother, they are always your babies. 

Cream Cheese Chicken Casserole

6 Chicken breasts
2-10 oz packages frozen broccoli
2 cups of milk - I used non-fat - tasted good
2- 8 oz packages cream cheese - I used low fat - tasted great
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Cook the chicken and then break into bite size pieces. Cook broccoli in salted water. Place the broccoli in a 9x13 greased (I used Pam) casserole dish. Heat the milk, cream cheese, salt, garlic powder, and Parmesan cheese over low head, stirring till the mixture is smooth. Pour 1 cup of sauce over the broccoli. Add the chicken into the pan and pour the rest of the sauce over it. Sprinkle the top with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minute.... And enjoy!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Friday's Guest - Lori Wilde!!!

  The amazing Lori Wilde shares a bit of insight into how a scene in her upcoming release of The Cowboy Takes a Bride came to be.  It's alway fun to read how other authors incorporate tidbits from real life into their work.  So think you for sharing Lori and thank you for a terrific post!  Look foward to your new release.
Also, Lori's drawing of a winner from comments left here is a $10 gift card to Amazon...Can I enter Lori?
                                                TRUTH IN FICTION  
                                                    By Lori Wilde
            Usually, when I plot a book, I go do research, but once in awhile, something happens in my life that leads to a plot point in the story. That’s the case with THE COWBOY TAKES A BRIDE, due to hit store shelves on March 27th. It’s the first book in my new Jubilee, Texas series about cutting horse cowboys.
            Let me set the scene.
            It was a nice fall evening in North Central Texas. My husband and I had been out and about for the day. We were gone longer than planned and we’d neglected to leave the porch light on. I was wearing a pair of flip-flops, because in October in this part of the county the temperatures can range anywhere from 30 to 80 degrees. The day had started out warm, but it had turned cold with nightfall.
            As my husband was parking the Jeep (he likes to back into the garage), I hurried toward the back door in the dark.  I reached for the doorknob and at the same moment felt a stinging pain in my ankle. Stunned, I looked down to see a snake sitting up, swaying back and forth behind me.
            My freak-out-o-meter hit panic. I threw open the door and stumbled inside, my heart racing. I turned to shut the door behind me, but the snake was coming after me!
            I slammed the door on him. He wavered back and forth, half of him in, half of him out my kitchen, his tongue flicking wildly. My mind was racing. I’d been snakebite! Simultaneously screeching to my husband that a snake had bitten me, I examined the creature. He looked like a rattlesnake. Diamond shaped head. Check. Dirty brown coloring. Check.
            And phew! Did he stink to high heaven.  An odious cross between old copper, stale blood and stagnant mud.
            Terror was ripping through me as I thought of the snakebite victims I’d taken care of when I was a nurse--skin gone necrotic and rotted out. Scar tissue. Painful skin grafts. Eeeps!
            While the snake was still trapped in the slammed door looking particularly perturbed, I glanced back down at my heel. Blood trickled over my flip-flop.
            This is it, I thought. A rattlesnake got me and I don’t have health insurance.
            “Calm down,” my husband—always the rational one—called through the door.  “Are you sure it’s a rattlesnake?”
            I realized I hadn’t heard the snake rattle. Then I realized something else. While the wound stung, it didn’t hurt that badly. I remembered hearing patients say that being bitten by a rattlesnake was like getting hit with a sledgehammer. I took another look at the wound and saw a ring of perfect tiny teeth marks encircling my ankle. Um, rattlesnakes struck with fangs, not teeth, right? Relief poured over me.
            By this time, my big strong hero had opened the door and dispatched with the snake. Hubby tended my wound and then we got out his reptile book and discovered I’d had a run in with a harmless rat snake. They’re very aggressive and when they bite, they emit a foul odor.
            I have to admit I was a little sheepish for the freak out, but my mind was already churning and I just knew I had to use the incident in the book.
            They say everything is grist for the writer’s mill. In this case, I know it’s true. So when you read the snakebite scene in THE COWBOY TAKES A BRIDE, do know that sometimes truth and fiction can be the same thing.
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Releases March 27, 2012

Ex-champion bull rider turned cutting horse cowboy Joe Daniels isn’t quite sure how he ended up sleeping in a horse trough wearing nothing but this Stetson and cowboy boots. But now he’s wide-awake and a citified woman is glaring down at him. His goal? Get rid of her ASAP. The obstacle? Fighting the attraction he feels towards the blond-haired filly with the big, vulnerable eyes.
When out-of-work wedding planning Mariah Callahan learns that her estranged father has left her a rundown ranch in Jubilee, she has no choice but to accept it. Her goal? Redeem her career by planning local weddings. The obstacle? One emotionally wounded, hard-living cowboy who stirs her guilt, her heartstrings, and her long-buried cowgirl roots…

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Recipe Wednesday - Green Chili Dip

I grabbed a tub of Green Chili dip and a bag of baby veggies to serve as one of the snacks for a get together at my house recently.  The dip turned out to be ‘very spicy’ and the ladies didn’t eat a lot of it, but my husband loves it.  He even uses the vegetables without my nagging. 

This led to me studying the contents since I’d just grabbed and not read at the store which caused a lot of wincing…not the healthiest.  Then I decided I can health this baby up by using low fat sour cream and putting in the flavors he enjoys.  This eliminates all the 'not great stuff' in the store bought variety.  As fast as he goes through it, shelf life isn't a issue.  If I do make it for company the medium heat chili will work, but for my man it’s heat all the way.

And since he’s a nighttime snacker this gives him a option from the chip & dip he loves if he keeps substituting the veggies for chips.

Green Chili Dip – My way        

8 ounces low fat sour cream
1 teaspoon garlic powder
4 ounces chopped green chili (medium or hot)
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon chili powder (use chipotle for a smoky flavor)
 1 teaspoon onion powder

If you want a smoother dip, puree chili in the blender and add the rest of ingredients.   Serve with veggies of your choice.  Also a dollop is good on top of a bowl soup.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Monday Musings - The Power of I AM

 I AM verses I can/should/will.  That’s my new mindset as far as writing folks.  The “I can do it” will be saved for volunteer projects and those will be fewer, the “I should will focus on the housework that can be put off a little longer (heck, its only dust, right) and I will goes on a list that yes, I’ll get to and it becomes I AM doing it.

But my focus for now is I AM WRITING or editing or revising…the things that go into the end product of a book that will end up available at my publisher’s website.
In addition to I AM WRITING, the I AM manta will apply to me.  I AM a good person, I AM blessed in my life, I AM happy.  Forget the “I should be or I need” to be thoughts and words.  From now on the power of I AM is my focus!
With those words, I am going to end this blog and get to work on the current edits/revisions that my editor is waiting for.  And next week, I am going to share with you tidbits from the book because I AM going to have the edits back to said editor by then.
Have a great week and I’d love to hear what your “I AM” goal is for this week or your life in general.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Guest Friday - The Chocolate Diva Celebrates!

This month our Chocolate Diva is trying to O.D. us with not one, but two chocolate recipes.  She uses National Chocolate Week as the excuse, but I know she’s really trying to feed our addiction to a food that needs its own food group.  Now if she’d share a recipe that combines this group with my other one…ice cream…Hint, hint—do you hear me Diva? 

National Chocolate Week
Let all chocoholics rejoice!  We live in a wonderful country where we are able to celebrate all of the glories of Chocolate during National Chocolate Week.  That’s right – seven days to savory, drink, smell, eat chocolate!  This year National Chocolate Week is March 19 – 25, 2012 and it always falls on the third week in March. 
All across the country, chocolate shops will be having sales and celebrations in honor of this sweet week and many factories that are usually closed to the public will open their doors during this week to give free tours and samples.
But don't worry that you will also have to get on that treadmill after National Chocolate Week until you hear this: Eating chocolate every day can be ... healthy?!

We've long since known that chocolate contains those healthy things called antioxidants, but now, researchers have discovered a long list of other potential health benefits.

A recent study in the Netherlands showed that eating the equivalent of one-third of dark chocolate bar every day could lower blood pressure and also reduce the risk of death by up to 50%.  
Chocolate also contains three chemicals that are good for your brain, and can make you feel better.
  1. Anandamine: can extend your feelings of happiness and make you laugh more often.
  2. Phenylethylamine: raises blood pressure and blood sugar levels just enough to make you more alert, and gives you that "love" feeling.
  3. Theobromine: similar to caffeine. It causes relaxation, but also acts as a stimulant by increasing your brain activity.

All that in a piece of a chocolate bar?  Yes – and eating dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate will give you an even stronger effect. Some companies, such as Mars Inc., are starting to take note of these new studies and market healthier products.

Now don't let the hype completely fool you. Chocolate can be healthy - if kept in moderation. Eating too much of the good stuff (as with all good stuff) can lead to obesity, which causes more health problems than all the chocolate in the world could combat.

Remember to keep everything in moderation during National Chocolate Week and make us proud fellow chocoholic. 
In honor of National Chocolate Week here are some amazing and easy chocolate delights:
Aunt Teen's Creamy Chocolate Fudge


  • 1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow creme
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.      Line an 8x8 inch pan with aluminum foil. Set aside.
2.      In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine marshmallow cream, sugar, evaporated milk, butter and salt. Bring to a full boil, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
3.      Remove from heat and pour in semisweet chocolate chips and milk chocolate chips. Stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in nuts and vanilla. Pour into prepared pan. Chill in refrigerator for 2 hours, or until firm.  

Chocolate Lovers' Favorite Cake


  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package devil's food cake mix
  • 1 (3.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips


1.      Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 10 inch Bundt pan.
2.      In a large bowl, stir together cake mix and pudding mix. Make a well in the center and pour in sour cream, melted butter, eggs and almond extract. Beat on low speed until blended. Scrape bowl, and beat 4 minutes on medium speed. Blend in chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan.
3.      Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 55 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.