Friday, June 26, 2015

Spotlight Friday: Sara Daniel #recipe #series

by Sara Daniel 

I created this flavorful recipe in celebration of my new series One Night with the Bridal Party. This is the perfect dessert for a bridal shower or post-wedding brunch. It's also delicious with a cup of tea and a good book. 

Pound Cake with Fresh Strawberries
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
¼ tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. baking powder
2 cups flour
Fresh Strawberries – sliced 

Preheat oven to at 325° F.  Grease and flour a 9 X 5 loaf pan. 

Beat butter with an electric mixer for 1 minute.  

Add sugar to butter, a bit at a time, beating on medium/high for 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. 

Add eggs one at a time, beating for one minute after each egg, and scraping the bowl. Add vanilla and beat for another minute.

Gradually add nutmeg, baking powder, and flour, beat on low/medium until just combined. 

Pour into prepared pan. Bake 1 hour. 

Cool and slice. Serve with fresh strawberries. 

Here's a little about my One Night with the Bridal Party series.

Whether the one-night stand occurs a week before their scheduled wedding or seven years later, meet six couples for whom one night will turn a fairy tale wedding from a mistake into a happily ever after. 

2. One Night with the Bridesmaid   

6. One Night with His Wife (coming 6/12/15) 

To read excerpts from more books by Sara Daniel please click a vendor's name

Sara Daniel writes what she loves to read—irresistible romance, from sweet to erotic and everything in between. She battles a serious NASCAR addiction, was once a landlord of two uninvited squirrels, and loses her car keys several times a day.  

Learn more about Sara on her website and blog Subscribe to Sara’s newsletter   

Friday, June 19, 2015

Spotlight Friday: Christian Jensen #Horror #ebook #zombies

One man. One Bigfoot. One billion zombies.

In the land of the dead, reanimated corpses hunt through the shadows. Man has turned against man in an unforgiving apocalypse where only death can thrive. When there is no one left to trust, nowhere left to turn, you have to fight to make it another day just to become the Lone Survivor.

Jim has been making through the apocalypse on his own. A chance encounter with the mythical creature known as Bigfoot gives him an inadvertent ally, but Jim quickly learns that friendships made after the end of the world don’t last long.

After Bigfoot gets bitten by a zombie during a bloody fight, the man-ape begins to turn. Now there’s more dangerous things out there than the festering corpses of man, and it’s eight feet tall and weighs more than four hundred pounds.

When fate throws Jim yet another curve ball, this time in the form of two damaged female survivors, Jim must decide if he is going to help them survive, or leave them to fend for themselves. Will Jim finally become part of a group, or remain a Lone Survivor?

About Christian:

Christian Jensen is a horror, thriller, and erotica writter living in central New Jersey. He spends his days writing about things that make his grandmother cry, and his evenings reading. After dinner he likes to walk his dogs; a loud mouthed Jack Russel named Max, an overly loyal and overweight mutt called Grimm, and the newest edition, the cute little shit he took from his dead father.

He is obsessed with things that go bump in the night, and in any supernatural creatures that should be but probably aren't. He writes erotica for the most obvious reason; he is a perverted nymphomaniac with an insatiable need to spread lust throughout the world. Some of his books have been banned by Amazon for being too graphic and naughty. Find them on or at Barnes and Noble.


Friday, June 12, 2015

Spotlight Friday: Carol Browne #speculativefiction #poetry

My Favourite Book

by Carol Browne

I keep few books in my house. I prefer to pass them on to my friends. However, there is one special book I will never part with and that is my 1945 hardback edition of Precious Bane by Mary Webb.
The book features an introduction by Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, written at 10 Downing Street in 1928, in which he says of the author, “Her sensibility is so acute and her power over words so sure and swift that one who reads some passage in Whitehall has almost the physical sense of being in Shropshire cornfields.”
First published in 1924, Precious Bane tells the story of flawed heroine, Prudence Sarn, whose ‘hare-shotten lip’ means that as far as her neighbours are concerned she is cursed with ‘the devil’s mark’. It is only weaver Kester Woodseaves who can see beyond this disfigurement to the true beauty of Prue’s soul.
Prue’s goodness and gentle nature are in sharp contrast to her brother Gideon’s ruthless striving for worldly success, and descriptions of the landscape that sustains them are woven into the dramas of their lives to create a rich tapestry. Thanks to the author’s skill with words, it is safe to say that Nature is not merely a background to the story but also seems to be a character in it too. The narrative is, says Prue, “the story of us all at Sarn, of Mother and Gideon and me, and Jancis (that was so beautiful) and Wizard Beguildy, and the two or three other folk that lived in those parts…”
How to describe the style of the book? It depicts a rural England around the time of Waterloo (1815), a place of meres, country lore, dragonflies, looms and spinning-wheels. There is a fair scattering of dialect words (fascinating rather than baffling!) and curious customs such as ‘sin-eating’ and ‘telling the bees’. It is reminiscent of Larkrise to Candleford, had it been penned by a committee of authors that included Thomas Hardy, Dickens and Emily Bronte. It is a book to relax with and savour. The pace was slower in 1924 and they liked their paragraphs LONG! But the story is well paced, the heroine immensely likeable, and there’s plenty of dramatic conflict and jeopardy to keep you hooked throughout.
I have read this book many times and, having just opened it and looked at the first line of Chapter One – “It was at a love-spinning that I saw Kester first”, – I know I am going to read it again very soon! (If you want to try this book, please don’t spoil it for yourself and look at the last page. The ending is perfect!)

Mary Webb née Meredith was born in the village of Leighton on 25th March, 1881. She and her husband worked as market gardeners for a time and had their own stall on Shrewsbury market. She wrote five novels and a volume of essays on nature. Mary died on 8th October, 1927 and was buried in Shrewsbury.
Authors die but they are never forgotten. They live on in the work they leave behind. As Mary Webb said herself in her Foreward to Precious Bane:
“We are to-morrow’s past. Even now we slip away like those pictures painted on the moving dials of antique clocks – a ship, a cottage, sun and moon, a nosegay. The dial turns, the ship rides up and sinks again, the yellow painted sun has set, and we, that were the new thing, gather magic as we go. The whirr of the spinning-wheels has ceased in our parlours, and we hear no more the treadle of the loom, the swift, silken noise of the flung shuttle, the intermittent thud of the batten. But imagination hears them, and theirs is the melody of romance.”

Carole Browne writes speculative fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. She is also a ghost blog writer, proofreader, copy editor, and copywriter. Along with a passion for gardening, Carol is an avid animal lover. Stay connected with Carol on Facebook.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Spotlight Friday: Michael Weitz #novel #mystery

The Straight Martini
by Michael Weitz
Let’s talk about olives. Specifically, green olives. I’ve always been a fan of green olives, the kind with the cheery red pimento stuffed inside; they have a flavor that can’t be compared to anything else, they’re just…olivey. As a kid I remember pictures, posters and TV ads for restaurants, depicting perfectly stacked and delectable looking sandwiches, their sharply cut triangular halves topped with a perfect green olive, all of it held together by a toothpick.
I don’t think that’s where my love of the green olive came from though. There’s a story in my family of how I ate an entire jar of green olives (pimentos included) when I was 3 years old. I hid under a table and gorged until the jar was empty and then promptly vomited all over the living room wall. To this day my mother still thinks they used green olives in the famous scene from The Exorcist. But I wasn’t deterred. My love of green olives lives on.
Which brings us to today. While the ubiquitous orb is no longer prominently featured as a sandwich topper, it is integral to a good straight vodka martini. It’s here that I need to make a confession. I don’t particularly like martinis. My wife, however, does, and she says I make a pretty good one, so I’m going to tell you my secret.
Actually, it’s not much of a secret and by now I’m sure you’ve figured it out. Olives. Mmmm, green olives.
Okay, obsession moment over.
The Fixings
martini shaker
good, non-flavored vodka
dry vermouth
green olives
I know flavored vodkas are all the rage, but imagine eating raspberries and green olives together in the same bite. Exactly. We’re making a straight martini here, a la James Bond.
Prepare the Glass
Ideally, though not necessary, you have a classic martini glass (an inverted cone on a stem). Why? Because martinis are served cold and holding the glass by the stem prevents your hand from warming the drink. There are a couple of ways to prepare your glass. The one I prefer is to keep your favorite martini glass in the freezer so it will be nice and frosty. Another way is to put some ice and water in the shaker, mix them up a bit to get the water super cold and then pour it all into your glass and let it sit a few moments. I don’t care for this option though because any water in the shaker can dilute the drink, but I’ve seen bartenders do it so maybe I’m just being picky.
The Method
Fill the shaker half way with ice cubes.
Add two (2) jiggers of your favorite vodka (remember, non-flavored).
Next add a splash of dry vermouth. This is really all about personal taste so you’ll need to experiment. When I add a splash, I tilt the bottle down and back up again rather quickly. If I’m too speedy I repeat the process. If you like your martinis dry, once may be enough! But you must add vermouth in order for this drink to be a martini. I have a friend who likes his martinis so dry, he waves an open bottle of vermouth over the shaker like a voodoo shaman so only the fumes will settle on the ice cubes. That, my friends, is not the driest of martinis, it’s vodka on ice. So, again, add a splash or two of vermouth to taste.
Cap the shaker and get your groove on! Shake that shaker! Shake it until it turns frosty and your hands hurt from the iciness. This will ensure your martini is completely mixed and at a nice cold serving temperature.
Once you’re satisfied with your shaking, quickly spear a couple of olives with a toothpick; personally I like three olives on the stick. Place the skewered olives in the martini glass and then gently pour your drink over them. If you’ve never used a martini shaker before, the ice stays in it. Depending on the model you have, the top may have a built in strainer, or if you prefer a hand held one, that’s cool too.
This martini is basic and straightforward to make, but the secret is all in how it’s prepared. Just like a chess game in my book, Even Dead Men Play Chess, there’s an art to preparing something that’s to be appreciated.
All my best,
Michael Weitz
Sit back and enjoy your martini while you glimpse into Michael's novel.
Making house calls or meeting people in public places is how Ray Gordon makes his living. He’s not a doctor. He’s not a prostitute. Ray Gordon is a chess teacher.
When one of Ray’s students, Walter Kelly, is found dead in his shop, the police and his family let it go as an accident. Ray, however, doesn’t buy it. As a former cop with a lingering curiosity, Ray snoops around and stumbles into the murky world of methamphetamine, the worst drug epidemic of our time.
The problem? Walter Kelly was sixty-five years old and his only addictions were woodworking and chess. How does a sixty-five-year-old man become involved with illegal drugs? Why is a neighbor glad Walter’s dead? And just how do dead men play chess?
To take my mind off the task at hand, I thought about Brian Kelly. Was it just the cabin going to waste that rubbed him the wrong way or was it the land value he was afraid of missing out on? Real estate assessments had been big news over the last month or two. Housing prices and land deals had gone berserk and sellers were making massive profits. Maybe Brian was in trouble financially and he just couldn’t take it anymore? Walt refused to sell and Brian killed him for it, knowing the cabin would eventually come into his hands or he would at least be able to talk his mother into putting the land up for sale.
Outside, I heard Ed Carter’s back door creak open and closed. I poured fresh water over the floor and started mopping it up. If Ed planned on being neighborly again, I didn’t think he needed to witness the clean-up process. But after several minutes passed without an appearance from the Kellys’ neighbor, I began my attack on the table saw with a scouring pad.
Just as I got into a nice scrubbing rhythm, Morphy growled low in his throat and raised his head off of his paws. I stopped and watched him. His ears were erect and his gaze was on the window behind me. Goose flesh erupted on my arms. To hide the shiver that ran down my spine, I resumed wiping down the table saw with calm casualness. I kept my attention focused on Morphy, though, and he growled again. This time, the hair over his shoulders stiffened and rose up as his emotions kicked in. Someone was watching or trying to look in the window. Morphy wouldn’t get so angry over something like a skunk or a cat.
I twisted around just as Morphy leapt to his feet and barked. Someone ducked down before I could see a face. I ran to the door and pulled it open. Morphy tore around the corner, barking after the intruder and I followed as close as I could.
In the darkness of Margie Kelly’s backyard, I saw Morphy’s blond fur disappear into the black shadow of Walt’s shop. He chased a dim figure, which ran toward the back of the property, to Helen Parker’s house. I ran full out once I saw the shadowy form of the person who had been spying through the window. Gone were the trepidations of twisted ankles and bloodied shins from unseen objects lying hidden on the grass.
I ran.
For a limited time, the bestselling book that started the Ray Gordon series, Even Dead Men Play Chess, is available for only $0.99 on Kindle
Even Dead Men Play Chess
Michael Weitz is an award-winning author who grew up in the Pacific Northwest, usually reading anything he could get his hands on. He wrote his first novel in the 6th Grade -- an eight page rip-off of Star Wars.
A variety of jobs including waiter, gas station attendant, truck driver and a host of others, helped shape his world. After college he landed in the television industry where he wrote and produced a multitude of award-winning commercials, two documentaries about Mt. St. Helens and various other projects.
After a few years in Phoenix, AZ, Michael, his wife, and their dogs are back in the Pacific Northwest. Currently working on the next Ray Gordon mystery, Michael may also be found reading, playing chess or shooting pool. As an avid photographer, he enjoys traveling anywhere picturesque with his wife. 
Learn more about Michael Weitz on his website and Goodreads.
Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Number 6 in the Top !0 Favorites #travel #Iceland

A cruise to Iceland a couple of summers ago resulted in meeting a group of terrific people on the ship and nice ones off. Added to that, the breathtaking sights.  Here are a few pictures of what we saw and did.

The hot springs spa outside Reykjavik

The lava fields on the way to the spa

Can you say moonscape?

A view from the plane on the way to Grimsey Island to see the Arctic Circle

The plane we took to Grimsey Island from Akureyri

The Grimsely fishing fleet

A map to give an idea of the location

Husband & I at the Arctic Circle

A memorable trip for sure. What is one of the favorite spots you've visited?

Monday, June 1, 2015

Denver Comic Con #DCC2015

Memorial Day weekend was spent at Comic Con with a stack of books in front of me. During the lulls spent the time gawking at all the happenings passing by and gabbing with Cynthia Vespia, an author friend who invited me to share her table. To be honest, I wasn't sure how hot romance would sell, but to my surprise sold more than I thought I would.

But enough of the boring and let's get onto some of the pictures snapped at the event. Of course, I have to start with our table setup :)

Trying to fit in. The mask got hot so had to go.
The talented Cynthia Vespia
Works for me, how about you?

A fun group~

 Watched a talented body painter in action for the three days. She created some amazing work!

Her first creation...took most of Saturday, but terrific!

Spent time wondering where the green face she was putting on would lead, then suddenly she appeared in front of our table!

She was hot, so decided a good model for Nordic Heat.
All in all a fun three days. If you've never been to a Comic Con need to add one to your "must do" list. A true experience!!!