Tasty Tuesdays–Valentine’s Day Pizza Casserole from Sloane Taylor

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Valentine’s Day is coming up this week, and if your significant other loves pizza, we have treat for them.

Today’s Tasty Tuesday guest blogger is Sloane Taylor, author of spicy romance books, and, most recently, the author of the cookbook Date Night Dinners- Meals to Make Together for a Romantic Evening Cookbook for Two.  Sloane has a passion for cooking, and today she’s serving up an easy Valentine’s Day menu of Italian Pizza casserole, salad, and dessert.

I’ve tried a few of the recipes in her cookbook, and have loved them—especially the Mock Chicken Legs recipe. I’m never going back to my old way of cooking them, that’s for sure. I’ve got my fork and knife ready for today’s treat!

Welcome, Sloane!

Thanks, Catherine.

Photo Courtesy Ignacio Meseguerso Carra Pixabay

 

Let’s go Italian with a fast and easy menu perfect for Valentine’s Day dinner. Set the mood with lots of candles then grab your special someone by the hand and together create a beautiful night to remember.

Menu

Pizza Casserole
Salad with Creamy Garlic Dressing
Orange Granite – Flavored Ice
Dry White Wine – Pinot Grigio
or
Cold Peroni Beer

Pizza Casserole
1 lb. bulk Italian sausage
1 tube refrigerated pizza dough
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
6 oz. water
1 tbsp. garlic powder
2 tbsp. oregano, divided
1 tbsp. basil
1 tsp. sugar
Freshly ground pepper to taste
6 oz. mozzarella cheese, grated
Parmesan cheese to taste
Olive oil to drizzle

Preheat oven to 425° F.

Break sausage into chunks. Sauté over medium high heat until the meat is no longer pink, about 15 minutes.

Spray a 9 x 13-inch pan with cooking spray. Spread the pizza dough into the pan.

Combine tomato paste, water, garlic powder, oregano, basil, and sugar in a small bowl. Stir well. Pour onto the dough, spread to the pan edges.

Lay sausage on sauce. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 12 minutes.

Remove pan from oven. Scatter mozzarella cheese over casserole, and then sprinkle with oregano. Bake 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

To serve cut in squares.

Salad with Creamy Garlic Dressing
Red leaf lettuce
Romaine lettuce
Head lettuce
Tomato, cut in chunks
Cucumber, peeled and cut in chunks

Plan 2 leaves of each type lettuce, ½ a tomato, and ⅓ of a cucumber per person.

Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Cover with a damp paper and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Creamy Garlic Dressing
1½ cups mayonnaise – it must be real mayo
½ cup vegetable oil
Scant ¼ cup white vinegar
3 tbsp. onion, chopped
¾ tsp. sugar
¼ tsp. salt
4 big gloves garlic, pressed or finely chopped

Combine all ingredients into a blender or food processor. Mix on high until smooth.

Keeps two weeks in refrigerator. Store on bottom shelf.

To serve either toss with your salad or arrange the salad on individual chilled plates and ladle a dollop on top.

Orange Granite – Flavored Ice
2 cups water
¾ cup sugar
1 cup orange juice
3 tbsp. lemon juice

In a 2-quart saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil over medium heat. Stir only until the sugar dissolves. Timing from the moment the sugar water begins to boil, cook the mixture for exactly 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the syrup to cool to room temperature.

Once cooled, stir the orange and lemon juices into the syrup. Pour mixture into a shallow metal pan.

Freeze the granite for 3 to 4 hours. Every 30 minutes, stir and scrape in the ice particles that form on the sides of the pan. The granite should be a fine, snowy texture. For a coarser texture, which I prefer, freeze the flavored syrup in ice cube trays until solid, then drop cubes into a plastic bag and smash with a heavy wooden spoon or mallet.

Mangiar Bene!

Sloane

Sloane Taylor is an Award-Winning author with a second passion in her life. She is an avid cook and posts new recipes on her blog every Wednesday. The recipes are user friendly, meaning easy.

Taylor currently has seven romance novellas released by Toque & Dagger Publishing. Her first solo venture into non-fiction is a Couples Cookbook with eighty of her favorite recipes, DATE NIGHT DINNERS, Meals to Make Together for a Romantic Evening.

Excerpts from her books and free reads can be found on her website, blog, and her Amazon Author Page.
Connect with Taylor on Facebook and Twitter.

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Unwanted Hiatis

Hi, everyone.

You may have noticed I’ve been absent from the blog: no guest posts this past week sharing tasty recipes or books.
I had a fall and shattered my right shoulder. Yep. I’m right-handed‎. I’ll be recovering from total reverse shoulder replacement surgery for a while.  Computer work is not in the near future.
If I can figure out how to repost, via my phone, with my left hand, I can provide some content for you.
I’ll return as soon as possible, so please hang in there with me.
Thanks,
 Catherine

Wednesday Writers–The Soul Searcher by Erin R. Howard

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Today’s Wednesday Writers guest is Erin R. Howard, author of the urban fantasy series The Kalila Chronicles. Erin will be talking about names and their importance to your book characters. She also sharing an excerpt from book 2 of the series, The Soul Searcher. Welcome, Erin.

 

 

 

Thanks, Catherine.

With my first two children, it wasn’t hard to decide on their names. We both agreed on the names before we even went in to find out whether we were having a boy or a girl. When we got pregnant with our third child, my husband and I couldn’t agree on a girl’s name. We had the boy’s name ready, but nothing seemed to feel right for a girl’s name. The ones that did, we already knew little girls with that name. I remember feeling out of sorts the day of the ultrasound because if we were having a girl, we had no clue what to name her. At the ultrasound, we were told that the baby was a boy, and somehow deep down, maybe I knew, and that’s why I couldn’t settle on a girl name.

When I got serious about writing and began plotting my book, I didn’t think naming my characters would be harder than it was to name my children. But it was! Every name that I liked was either a name from another book that I loved, someone we knew, or it wasn’t the right fit for the character’s personality. I would sit and stare at the blank page, then switch to searching through baby name websites. My husband suggested that I put any name in for the moment and change it later, but that didn’t work for me. I had to have the perfect name.

If you’re not familiar with urban fantasy, it has all the elements of fantasy, but instead of a fictional world, it’s set in our world. In my debut novel, The Seer, I have three main characters. Viktor, Matthias, and Thea. Viktor is a demon, and his mission is to destroy Thea, who is the last of the seers’ bloodline.

I love old fashioned names and ones that are spelled differently. Since Viktor is a demon and tasked with the job of destroying Thea, I wanted to find a name that had that type of theme. When I saw that Viktor means, “conqueror” I switched the “c” to “k,” and now I can’t imagine his name being anything else.

There are a few more hidden meanings scattered throughout the series. The Kalila, an ancient society that trains humans who have supernatural gifts, means “my beloved” and Bethesda, the sanctuary city they are trying to escape to, means “house of mercy.”

In the second book of the series, The Soul Searcher, one of the new main characters name is Elnora. She is named after my Nanny, who passed away while I was writing the first book. She even has my Nanny’s red hair and sometimes fiery temper. I know that she would have been excited to see that I have a character named after her.

What is one book that you’ve read and loved the name of the character? Or what about one that you didn’t like? Did it stop you from finishing the story? Tell me in the comment section, I would love to know!

 

The Soul Searcher

by Erin R. Howard

 

Elnora’s parents gave her one rule:

Stay hidden away at all costs.

Elnora Scott is used to her survival depending on the decisions of others. Locked away in her safe house, it is easy to follow her parents’ dying wishes until an angel, demon, and seer show up on her doorstep. Now, waking up in a dirty cell, she wishes she would have gone with them when she had the chance, because the very ones who unknowingly ushered the kidnapper to her location may be the only ones who can save her.

 

When Thea learns that Elnora may be in danger, she doesn’t hesitate to go find her. Thea thought stepping through the portal would be her greatest obstacle, but it only reveals a more sinister threat.

 

Excerpt from The Soul Searcher:

“A red blinking light from the safe room door caught her attention as she placed her toothbrush in the holder and left the bathroom. Purple, silk pajamas slipped through her fingers and landed at her feet. The smooth fabric tickled her toes as she tried to get her legs to cooperate and move towards the door, but she couldn’t move.

This was not a drill.

Someone was in her house.

She was such a fool. She shouldn’t have let hope come in and take root, because it came in and caught her with her guard down. This hope turned her whole world upside down. Forcing her feet to move this time, she took a step closer to the door, hoping it was an accident, that Markus made a mistake and triggered the alarm without meaning to. This hope kept her taking another step, and another, even though her heart knew what her mind didn’t want to accept yet. Markus didn’t make those kinds of mistakes. The silent, blinking red light taunted her, beckoned her to come to the door and see for herself. To come and see if this was all a mistake.” -Elnora,

Want to read more? Click Pre-Order/Purchase Link below.

https://www.amazon.com/Soul-Searcher-Kalila-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B07MLXTYJT

 

About the Author:

Erin R. Howard is a developmental editor, fantasy author of The Kalila Chronicles, and has earned a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing/English from Southern New Hampshire University. When she’s not writing, Erin enjoys spending time with her family, fueling her craft addictions, and teaching writing workshops. Erin is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the KenTen Writers Group. She resides in Western Kentucky with her husband and three children.

Social Media:  Website: Facebook: Instagram:

 

 

 

 

Tasty Tuesdays–Minestrone Soup from Vonnie Hughes

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Continuing National Soup Month on Tasty Tuesdays, we have a delicious
MINESTRONE SOUP from Vonnie Hughes who says this soup tastes great and is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Vonnie’s from New Zealand, so some of her ingredients are named differently than those in America. I’m not sure what she means by 3 TBSP of spaghetti, unless she’s talking about a smaller pasta like orzo (which has a shape similar to rice), occhi di pernice (small pasta rings) or conchigliette (small shell-shaped pasta). I also had to look up haricot beans. It’s another name for Navy beans. You could probably substitute any small white bean for the haricot bean, but I do notice a taste difference in the various beans. It’s not an issue for me as I haven’t met a bean I don’t like. As for gravy beef, I’m guessing ground beef would be a good substitute for us American cooks.
We’ve been having some cold days here, so I’m ready for a hot pot of soup.

MINESTRONE SOUP

1 tbsp. butter
4 slices bacon, chopped or ½ lb. gravy beef, minced/ground
1 onion, chopped
½ lb. fresh tomatoes or 1 jar/can, chopped
1 carrot, scraped and chopped
1 potato, peeled and chopped
2 sticks celery or other seasonal vegetable, chopped
½ cup haricot beans that have been soaked overnight
3 tbsp. macaroni
3 tbsp. rice
3 tbsp. spaghetti
½ tsp. salt
Pepper to taste

Melt butter in a frying pan. Add bacon or meat and fry until crisp. Stir in onion and tomatoes.

Carefully pour mixture into a slow cooker or pressure cooker. Fill pot halfway with water. Stir in remaining ingredients.

Cook 2 hours in slow cooker or 15 minutes in pressure cooker.

Here’s a little from my latest romantic suspense. I hope you enjoy it.

Who can you trust if you can’t trust your own mother? Through the clammy fog, Celie Francis hears the chilling message. “I know who you are, Celie. I know where you live.” And in the terrifying aftermath she reconnects with her dysfunctional family in ways she had never imagined.

BLURB:
Abused and abandoned as a child, Célie Francis knows better than to trust anyone. But after she witnesses a murder, she’s placed in the Unit “New Zealand’s witness protection program” where she’s expected to trust strangers with her life.

It’s psychologist Brand Turner’s job to ease witnesses into their new identities, not to protect them, but Célie stirs feelings in him that are far from professional. When it appears someone is leaking critical information that could endanger Célie, Brand will do anything to protect her. But first he has to convince her to trust him.

Adrift in a frightening world, Célie would like to believe the handsome psychologist is everything he seems, but as witnesses are murdered and danger swirls around them, Célie must decide “can she trust Brand with her life?

BUY LINKS

 

Vonnie Hughes is a multi-published author in both Regency books and contemporary suspense. She loves the intricacies of the social rules of the Regency period and the far-ranging consequences of the Napoleonic Code. And with suspense she has free rein to explore forensic matters and the strong convolutions of the human mind. Like many writers, some days she hates the whole process, but somehow she just cannot let it go.

Vonnie was born in New Zealand, but she and her husband now live happily in Australia. If you visit Hamilton Gardens in New Zealand be sure to stroll through the Japanese Garden. These is a bronze plaque engraved with a haiku describing the peacefulness of that environment. The poem was written by Vonnie.

All of Vonnie’s books are available on The Wild Rose Press and Amazon.

Learn more about Vonnie Hughes on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Goodreads.

Authors Dish on Coffee Time Romance- Are you in your books?

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Ever wonder how much of herself an author puts in her books?

I’m talking about that very subject over at Coffee Time Romance Authors Dish blog.

A bunch of us authors are dishing out the secrets about how much of ourselves end up in my books and how we feel about that. So, get yourself a cuppa coffee (or tea since it’s Hot Tea Month) and join in the conversation with me.

Follow the link below and see just how much I tell readers about myself in my books.

https://coffeetimeromance.com/CoffeeThoughts/adjan2019-catherine-castle/

You might be surprised to learn some new things about me and my book A Groom for Mama.

I’d love to see you over there.

 

Catherine

Wednesday Writers–Devotion by Olivia Rae

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Today’s Wednesday Writers guest is Olivia Rae who will be talking about her Inspirational Historical Romance, Devotion and giving us some background on the book’s setting and how it came to be. Welcome, Olivia!

 

A Setting Can Lead to a Series

By Olivia Rae

            I love to read about the past. If something is written over 50 years ago, I’ll pick it up to read. Once I read a story about a golden knight that saved the Cross of Solomon from the Muslims. I don’t know if the story was true or not, but it got me thinking. So I began to write Revelation, which is the second story in The Sword and The Cross Chronicles (Yes, the second story came before the first.).

            However, the story did not have the depth that it needed until I went to London with my daughter and we went to the Temple Church. The Templars started building this church, which was their headquarters, in the 12th century. Walking into the church, it didn’t take me long to realize just how powerful the Templars were back then. At one time, the Templars were even in control of the royal treasury. This might be the kernel of truth that started so many Templar rumors and myths you hear about today.  

            As fascinating as all those stories might be, it was the stone effigies that are found in the floor of the church that really had an impact on me. Now I had a clear visual of what a Templar knight probably looked like. Granted my series takes place before the oldest effigy (William Marshall 1146-1219) was ever put into the floor. Yet, I couldn’t get their images out of my head. These knightly effigies gave testament to a very tumultuous time in history. The Templars originally were a warrior monk order whose main goal was to offer protection to pilgrims going to the Holy Land. Many of these early pilgrims were the infirmed and ill looking for healing in the water of Bethesda, and in some cases, the Sea of Galilee. As more and more Europeans came to the area cultures began to clash. More importantly, who was going to control the trade routes from the East? Like now, back then, power was everything. There were saints and sinners on both sides during the Crusades and which may explain why some were immortalized in effigies.  

            My book, Devotion doesn’t have an effigy, but it does tell the story of a knight who was severely wounded and disfigured (check out book five in the series) and a woman whose heart is hard and locked away in a stone, kind of like an effigy to her miserable life. But that is nothing a little faith and love can’t remedy. I do so hope you will check out Devotion. I really did save the best for last.

 

About the Author:

Olivia Rae is an award-winning author of historical and contemporary inspirational romance. She spent her school days dreaming of knights, princesses and far away kingdoms; it made those long, boring days in the classroom go by much faster. Nobody was more shocked than her when she decided to become a teacher. Besides getting her Master’s degree, marrying her own prince, and raising a couple of kids, Olivia decided to breathe a little more life into her childhood stories by adding in what she’s learned as an adult living in a small town on the edge of a big city. When not writing, she loves to travel, dragging her family to old castles and forts all across the world. Olivia is the winner of the New England Readers’ Choice Award, the Golden Quill Award and the American Fiction Award. She has also been a finalist in many other writing contests, including the National Readers’ Choice Awards and the National Excellence in Romance.

Connect with Olivia at WebsiteFacebookTwitter :

You can find Olivia’s book at  Amazon:  B&N:   AppleKobo:

 

 

Tasty Tuesdays–Fresh Vegetable Soup from Janis and Emma Lane

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Cook Up Something Good

with Janis and Emma Lane.

No, they’re not sisters or even cousins. Today’s guest blogger on Tasty Tuesdays is an author with a split personality and man can she cook! Since it’s also National Soup Month (in addition to Hot Tea Month) I thought I’d share Janis and Emma Lane’s yummy veggie soup recipe. Here’s Emma with the recipe. Enjoy!

Hi everyone, this recipe is only a guideline for making a delicious lunch or main dish with fresh vegetables. The list of veggies is easily amendable to whatever your grocer has in stock. No beets, please! Be sure to add nurturing bread like corn bread or crackers for a more substantial meal. Okay, I used corn Chex Mix one time, but that was an emergency. A green salad is always a welcome addition.
FRESH VEGETABLE SOUP

1 onion, diced
½ green pepper, cleaned and diced
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 fat carrot, peeled and chopped
1 – 2 ears fresh corn kernels, scraped from cob
1 can diced tomato or 1 lg. fresh, chopped
1½ cups fresh green beans, strings removed and chopped
3 cups beef or chicken stock
½ pound ground chuck
1 med. potato, diced
Sprig fresh thyme or ¼ tsp. dried
Sprig of oregano or ¼ tsp. dried
Small sprig of basil or ½ tsp. dried
Sprig of parsley, flat not curly

Sauté meat and set aside.

Pour stock into a large pot. Add onions and celery. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes.

Add carrots, corn, tomatoes, potato, and herbs. Return soup to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

Add meat. Simmer 10 minutes more.

Veggies will be somewhat crisp. Cook longer if desired. As it sits the flavor will increase. But cool and refrigerate if it’s going to be longer than a few hours before serving.
Optional Veggies: okra, green peas, yellow squash, small can chick peas
Optional herbs/spices: pinch of chili pepper, tiny clove of garlic, sprig of cilantro.

Tip: if you use fresh herbs tie together with kitchen string and remove before serving.

Here’s a peek at my Cozy Mystery, Murder in the Neighborhood, a novel which introduces you to Detective Kevin Fowler and the intriguing murders which infect this small town Americana. The series follows the detective, colleagues, friends, and lovers through a whirlwind of events, good and bad, over the next three novels.

A killer is attacking respectable citizens in picturesque Hubbard, NY, and leaving corpses on their front steps in the middle of the day. Detective Fowler isn’t certain who causes him to lose the most sleep, a certain sexy reporter with bouncing curls and sparkling black eyes, or the elusive psychopath creating panic in his small-town community. Together, the detective and the reporter race to find the monster in their midst and return the town to the desirable place where people come to raise their families in peace and contentment. Can they sort through their differences to find romance even as they search for a determined stalker with murder on his mind? The clock ticks down on a man in a rage with a deadly mission.

Amazon Buy Links KindlePaperback

 

Read more of the cozy mysteries by Janis Lane on Amazon
Janis Lane is the pen-name for gifted author Emma Lane who writes cozy mysteries as Janis, Regency as Emma, and spice as Sunny Lane.

She lives in Western New York where winter is snowy, spring arrives with rave reviews, summer days are long and velvet, and fall leaves are riotous in color. At long last she enjoys the perfect bow window for her desk where she is treated to a year-round panoramic view of nature. Her computer opens up a fourth fascinating window to the world. Her patient husband is always available to help with a plot twist and encourage Emma to never quit. Her day job is working with flowers at Herbtique and Plant Nursery, the nursery she and her son own.

Look for information about writing and plants on Emma’s new website. Leave a comment or a gardening question and put a smile on Emma’s face.

Stay connected to Emma on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to check out the things that make Emma smile on Pinterest.

Wednesday Writers-Writing the Backstory for Troubled Writers by Eris Field

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Eris Field is today’s Wednesday Writer’s guest and she’ll be talking about

Writing the Back-Story for Troubled Characters

from Eris Field

Photo Courtesy of geralt pixabay.com

In reality, psychiatric disorders are similar to physical disorders in that they have predisposing factors (risk factors), protective or buffering factors, and an impact on the family as well as the patient.

Recently, I’ve been reading novels that include a family member developing early onset dementia (onset before the age of 60 years) and the necessity of one of the characters (usually the son or daughter) to take over the care. The information seems to be plunked down with no description of possible risk factors—certainly a big cause of fear for every other family member—and little description of the effect on the person’s life and on the caregiver. Just think of someone younger than 60 years. An energetic time for most and certainly too young for retirement. They’ve got things to do and places to go. The person’s children are in their 30’s and there are probably young grandchildren.

As a retired psychiatric nurse I turn the pages frantically looking for the writer to provide more information about the afflicted member and the impact on the family member assuming the caregiver role.

It occurred to me that readers want to know and writers need to address three vital questions:

1. What are the predisposing factors? What in the character’s backstory might have contributed to his developing the illness? Do I have those risk factors?
2. What are the protective factors? Family members wonder what can I do to avoid the same illness?
3. What is the effect of the illness? What would the effect be on me: my career, my savings for the future, my children’s educational funds, my marriage, and my plans for retirement.

In writing about early onset or late onset dementia, it should be remembered that it is a gradual process. Mild cognitive impairment is believed to be a preclinical phase of dementia. People with mild cognitive impairment have impaired memory for recent events but they also frequently have apathy, depression, irritability, and anxiety. They may appear to be agitated without cause. The onset of mild cognitive impairment may be followed by dementia, often within three to five years.

Predisposing factors for developing mild cognitive impairment include:
• Lower level of education
• Fewer stimulating mental activities
• Less physical exercise

Protective factors include:
• Higher level of education achieved
• Being employed or volunteering
• Engaging in physical exercise
• Maintaining good health
• Having an active social support network
• Not smoking
• Having one glass of alcohol a day

Effect on Others
Family members often notice that the person has difficulty remembering future commitments and the family begins to compensate for person’s inability to remember things.

Dementia is an impairment of cognitive functioning—thinking, reasoning, knowing, and memory– that is severe enough to cause problems with communicating, self-care, and functioning at work, within the family, and within social situations.

Predisposing factors for dementia that occur in middle age:
• History of trauma to the head: repeated injuries to the head, concussions
• Hypertension
• Diabetes
• Obesity
• Cigarette smoking
• Physical inactivity
• High cholesterol,
• Depression

Protective factors for dementia that occur in middle age
• High levels of academic achievement
• Mediterranean diet
• Engaging in intellectually challenging activities
• Engaging in physical exercise
• Moderate use of alcohol (one glass a day)

Predisposing factors for dementia that occur at old age
• Stress
• Cigarette smoking
• Depression
• Head injuries, especially head injuries from falls
• Social isolation and loneliness
• Medications with anticholinergic effects

Protective factors for dementia that occur at old age
• Following a Mediterranean diet
• Drinking wine daily in moderation (one glass)
• Maintaining physical activity
• Engaging in cognitively stimulating activities
• Engaging in leisure activities: music, walking, visiting friends, reading, volunteering, playing games with friends
• Maintaining social networks
• Spirituality

Effect of dementia on others
Grief over the loss of a partner, a relationship, and a shared dream of the future,
Guilt over losing patience with the person with dementia.
Guilt for not being able to keep promise to care for them at home,
Anger over changes, financial burden, and lost opportunities associated with caring for the ill person.
Fear of being at increased risk of developing dementia, and
Fear that dementia in the family may jeopardize chances of marriage for younger family members.

Writers often hint at a genetic influence as the cause of the development of dementia, but if they would include the presence of other risk factors or absence of protective factors in the back stories of their troubled characters and would describe broader effects on the caregiver, their stories would be richer, more compelling.

Here is a brief intro to one of my romance novels that deals with some of these issues. I hope you enjoy it.

 

At some time in our lives, many of us will be refugees–people fleeing from traumatic situations such wars, earthquakes, fires, floods, or the aftermath of debilitating illness, death, divorce or betrayal. Help for some may come from family members, friends, and spiritual leaders. Within the medical profession, it is often psychiatrists who help those who have been traumatized by such events. No Greater Love is a contemporary, international romance featuring a psychiatrist and a nurse who help those who are refugees only to discover that they are the only ones who can save each other. The story moves from East Aurora in Western New York to Leiden and Amsterdam in The Netherlands.

Descended from legendary Circassian beauties once sought for Sultans’ palaces, Janan, a survivor of an earthquake in Turkey that killed her family when she was eight years old, was adopted by an older, childless couple in East Aurora. Her adoptive father was raised with a cousin, Carl, who, in 1939 at the age of 5, had been sent from his home in Leiden by his Dutch-Jewish father to his uncle in the US to save him from Nazi occupation of The Netherlands. Now, 28 years old, Janan has spent her life working as a nurse, caring for her parents, and, after their deaths, helping the aging Carl.

When Pieter, a young Dutch psychiatrist who Carl mentored, comes to Buffalo to be evaluated at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, he meets Janan and knows the sweet power of love for the first time. He also knows that, even if he lives, treatment for leukemia may leave a man unable to father children.

Realizing she has fallen in love with Pieter and fearing that life is passing her by, Janan asks him for one night. During that one night, cloistered in Room 203 of the venerable Roycroft Inn, Pieter teaches Janan the eight different kisses of seduction. It is a night that changes the lives of all.

Buy Links KindlePaperback

 

Eris Field was born in the Green Mountains of Vermont—Jericho, Vermont to be precise—close by the home of Wilson Bentley (aka Snowflake Bentley), the first person in the world to photograph snowflakes. She learned from her Vermont neighbors that pursuit of one’s dream is a worthwhile life goal.

As an impoverished student nurse at Albany Hospital, Eris met her future husband, an equally impoverished Turkish surgical intern who told her fascinating stories about the history of Turkey, the loss of the Ottoman Empire, and the painful experience of forced population exchanges.

After years of working as a nurse, teaching psychiatric nursing, and raising a family, Eris now writes novels–international, contemporary romances that incorporate her interest in psychiatry, history, people from different cultures, and the problems of refugees.

Although the characters in Eris’s novels are often from other countries—The Netherlands, Turkey, and Kurdistan— her novels are usually set in Western New York–The land of Father Baker, Jericho Road Refugee Center, the Buffalo Bills, Wings, and snow–chunky rain snow, lake-effect snow, horizontal snow, the snow of thunder snow storms, dry, fine snow, curtains of wet heavy snow, and whiteouts.

Learn more about Eris Field on her website. Stay connected on Facebook.

Tasty Tuesdays–Good Morning Breakfast Bread from HL Carpenter

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Good Morning Bread

from HL Carpenter

It’s week three of Hot Tea Month and I have another recipe for you to celebrate tea. Today’s Tasty Tuesday’s blog recipe isn’t a tea recipe, but it doesn’t have tea in it. The recipe is courtesy of mother and daughter writing team HL Carpenter who are sharing their Breakfast Bread recipe. While I don’t make yeast breads often anymore, because of the kneading process, this bread looks easy, tasty, and festive. I think when I try it I’ll use a flavored herb tea from my stash.

While you’re enjoying your breakfast bread, why not settle back with their newest cozy mystery release Murder by the Books, available from Amazon.
Books and Bread. What more can the soul want? Enjoy!

Breakfast Bread

1½ cups dried mixed fruit (we used one 5-ounce package of mixed cranberries, cherries, blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries, and filled in the remainder with dried cranberries)
½ cup warm tea, any flavor
1 package regular yeast
½ cup warm water
2 tbsp. butter
½ cup coconut milk
3 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. salt
1 egg
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup nuts of your choice (we used pecans and pistachios)

Spray 2 loaf pans with cooking spray or line with parchment paper.

Soak dried fruit in bowl with warm tea. Set aside.

In separate bowl, add yeast to warm water. Set aside in a warm draft free location.

Melt butter.

Mix coconut milk, sugar, honey, salt, and egg. Add melted butter and stir. Next, add yeast and water mixture and stir.

Mix cinnamon and flour. Add to liquid ingredients and mix well.

Drain fruit. Add fruit and nuts to dough. Use your hands to mix, adding additional flour by tablespoons if necessary.

Let dough rise 1 hour. Punch down, divide in half, and shape into two equal loaves. Put loaves in prepared pans and let rise 40 minutes.

Heat oven to 350° F. Bake loaves 30 minutes. Cool in pan 5 minutes and remove to rack.

Serve warm or cold with butter or topping of your choice.

While you’re enjoying your bread, we invite you to sample an excerpt from our soon-to-be-released mystery.

Certified public accountant Fae Childers is not an embezzler, despite the belief of the accounting firm that fires her for stealing. But proving her innocence is harder than convincing an IRS agent to allow a deduction. She’s lost her mother, her job, her fiancé, and her self-respect. She’s running out of money and the lease is about to expire on her apartment.

Then the fortune-telling grandmother Fae never knew existed, whose name and psychic abilities she now learns are also hers, issues a challenge from beyond the grave—a challenge that brings Fae face to face with murder, embezzlement, romance, and a hidden family legacy.

When the mystery of Fae’s past collides with the troubles of her present, the situation veers out of control. Her very life is threatened. Who can she trust? The man she’s falling in love with? The former fiancé who has already betrayed her once? Or only herself?

With justice, romance, and her future at stake, Fae must overcome personal and professional obstacles to save herself and those she loves. And she’s going to have to do it fast, before someone else dies.

Mother/daughter author duo HL Carpenter write family-friendly fiction from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, they enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity. Visit their website to enjoy gift reads and excerpts and to find out what’s happeni
ng in Carpenter Country.

Stay connected on Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin, Google+, GoodReads,
and their Amazon Author Page.

Tasty Tuesdays–Mandarin Orange Spice Tea from Catherine Castle

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Welcome to Tasty Tuesdays!

 

In keeping with the Hot Tea Month theme, today I’d like to share a spiced tea recipe I developed.

Years ago, in the 60s, Tang—the orange juice of the astronauts—put out a spice tea recipe using Tang (a powdered orange juice drink) and instant tea. Instant tea was a favorite of my mother-in-law’s. She served it all the time. I can say with absolute certainty that instant tea isn’t my favorite cup of tea, but when the Tang spiced tea recipe came on the scene, it wasn’t bad. Probably the sweet, orangey flavor of Tang made the difference. Back then my husband and I drank Tang all the time because it was much cheaper than real orange juice and we were on a tight budget.

As the years have gone by, Tang, which is full of sugar and off my diet now, is no longer an option for spiced tea. So, I came up with this spiced tea flavored with mandarin orange juice and warm spices.

Here’s my by-the-cup recipe. It, too, goes great with cookies and a good book read beside the fireplace. If you need to cut the sugar, feel free to substitute an artificial sweetener, or leave it out if the real juice makes the tea sweet enough for you.

 

Mandarin Orange Spice Tea (by the cup) 

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 1 black tea bag
  • 3 mandarin oranges, juiced
  • 1/16th teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8th teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Directions:

  • Place the tea bag in a cup and add boiling water.
  • Steep 3 minutes (or less for a weaker tea)
  • Remove tea bag and add the mandarin orange juice and spices.
  • Stir well to mix spices into the tea.
  • Grab a copy of Catherine Castle’s award-winning sweet romantic comedy A Groom for Mama, a blanket, and settle into your favorite reading spot for a great cup of tea and a great read.

A Groom for Mama

By Catherine Castle

Beverly Walters is dying, and before she goes she has one wish—to find a groom for her daughter. To get the deed done, Mama enlists the dating service of Jack Somerset, Allison’s former boyfriend.

The last thing corporate-climbing Allison wants is a husband. Furious with Mama’s meddling, and a bit more interested in Jack than she wants to admit, Allison agrees to the scheme as long as Mama promises to search for a cure for her terminal illness.

A cross-country trip from Nevada to Ohio ensues, with a string of disastrous dates along the way, as the trio hunts for treatment and A Groom for Mama.

You can find A Groom for Mama at Amazon and Barnes and Noble

About the Author:

Multi-award-winning author Catherine Castle has been writing all her life. Before beginning her career as a romance writer she worked part-time as a freelance writer. She has over 600 articles and photographs to her credit, under her real name, in the Christian and secular market. Besides writing, Catherine loves traveling with her husband, singing, and attending theatre. In the winter she loves to quilt and has a lot of UFOs (unfinished objects) in her sewing case. In the summer her favorite place to be is in her garden. She’s passionate about gardening and even won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club.

Her debut inspiration romantic suspense, The Nun and the Narc, from Soul Mate Publishing was an ACFW Genesis Finalist, a 2014 EPIC finalist, and the winner of the 2014 Beverly Hills Book Award and the 2014 RONE, as well as placing in several other contests. Her sweet romantic comedy/drama A Groom for Mama, also from Soul Mate Publishing, is the recipient of the 2018 Raven Award.

Connect with Catherine at here on her blog or at:

Goodreads Twitter @AuthorCCastle or Facebook