Sunday, March 31, 2019

RAMBLINGS & RECIPES - Diet is a Four-Letter Word

I can't even begin to tell you how many different diets I've been on! I've tried them all. Low calorie, low carb, the grapefruit diet, the cabbage soup diet, Weight Watchers (although I did lose on that one), the paleo diet, the keto diet, and so many more. I have come to the conclusion that I am meant to be fluffy.  Perhaps I need to ponder the diet information I've been harboring. Diet information like:

1.  You can eat anything that is green.  Lettuce, broccoli, spinach, brussel sprouts, pistachio ice cream...
2.  Calories are afraid of height. So you need to store your cookies and cakes on top of the refrigerator so that all the calories jump out.
3.  Always break your cookies before eating them. That way, the calories will fall out before the cookie hits your mouth.
4.  Eat while standing. The fat will not settle on your rear end like it does when you eat while sitting. It will just drain down to your feet and then out to the floor.
5.  If you want to try a low carb diet, just lay on the floor when you eat pasta. The lower, the better.
6.  If you eat something and no one saw you eat it, it has no calories. 
7.  If your movie ticket comes with a free bucket of popcorn, it doesn't count as food.  It's free.
8.  When ordering pizza, ask that the pizza not be cut, especially if you are only allowed one slice.

I once heard that a good way to lose weight is to eat while standing in front of a mirror... naked.  I tried that once, but the manager of the restaurant asked me to leave.

Apparently these diet tips did not work because I actually GAINED seven pounds while binge-watching Game of Thrones!

In all seriousness, I am going to try again. I really want to lose weight before our trip to Europe this summer. Here is how I will start:

My fitness tracker is set. I will start out at 6,000 steps per day with 30 minutes on the exercise bike.  Every day. No excuses. I will gradually increase the daily steps to 10,000 or more.

No more sugar. 

That means no more Girl Scout cookies (darn those little demons in green who accost me in front of Publix with their sweet little smiles and innocent looks!) ***Here's a hint*** If you just can't resist those sweet little smiles, you can always donate them to our military (the cookies, not the little girl scouts)!

Eat smaller portions. Use a smaller plate. Only half a bagel if I absolutely MUST have one. Use fat free milk in my coffee instead of those wonderful flavored sweet coffee creamers (sigh).

Getting on the scale now. I'll let me know how I'm doing. If anyone wants to join me on this adventure into the salad world, let me know! We can do this together.

The recipe I'm including today is:


This recipe is copied directly from a cookbook I wrote several years ago for my family.  "Recipe's From Home, Volume II" was created from hand-me-down recipes from family members and recipes I received from good friends and neighbors. This particular recipe was given to me by Phillipa Lewis, one of my granny friends from Wales. She got it from her slimming class.  It tastes a bit like potato soup and is low in calories. 

* Pam cooking spray, or olive oil mister
* One onion, chopped
* One head of cauliflower, cut into florets
* 2 cups fat-free chicken broth
* 1/2 cup fat-free milk
* 12 triangles Laughing Cow light swiss cheese
* 1/2 teaspoon paprika
* Salt & Pepper to taste
* Spring onions for garnish

Spray a large saucepan with olive oil or cooking spray; heat. Saute onion until tender. Add chicken broth and cauliflower; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes or until cauliflower is tender.

Add the milk and simmer for another 5 minutes. Stir in the Laughing Cow cheese triangles; transfer to a food processor and blend until almost smooth.

Pour the mixture back into the pan and reheat, adding salt and pepper to taste.  Serve garnished with a little paprika and shredded green onion.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Book Review - THE TENTACLE AFFAIRE by Jeanne Adams

Title: The Tentacle Affaire
Author: Jeanne Adams
Genre: Science Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Golden Gryphon Press
Release Date: August 31, 2014

About the Book:

She doesn't believe in magic.

When human Slip Traveler Cait Brennan’s routine mission to retrieve a lost interstellar pet goes FUBAR, she ends up hip-deep in a plot to kill five US Senators that puts Earth’s entire population at risk. If she can’t uncover who’s behind the conspiracy and keep her alien employers a secret, she’ll be terminated—permanently.

He doesn't believe in aliens.

Haunted by a devastating failure in another city, magical Enforcer Aiden Bayliss is relentless in protecting the DC area from dark entities. He’ll destroy the powerful force that’s taking out key politicians, whoever—or whatever—it is. And, in spite of the white-hot attraction sizzling between them, his main suspect is one curvy mystery named Cait. 

With everything Aiden believes in question, and Cait squared off against a deadly assassin, both must choose. Uphold their oaths and lose each other forever, or stand together and die. 
Buy Links: Amazon 

My Review:

Very creative plot line! This book had just about everything in a mashup of genre's. SciFi, Urban Fantasy, Romance, Murder Mystery and a hint of Military, all rolled into one.  Nice build-up to the romance part of the book with the chemistry between Cait and Aiden.

Jeanne Adams created some great, and quite unusual, characters! And the storyline was quite unique.

A Tentacle Affaire is book one in this series but since it was released in 2014 I'm wondering if there are going to be more adventures for Cait and Aiden.

My Rating:

About the Author:
Hello Readers! 

My newest release is out this SEPTEMBER - it's called THE WITCHES WALK. I'm so excited to have this book go live. It was SUCH fun to write.

The next newest book is a "sort of" anthology - CAPITOL DANGER. This fascinating book, written with authors Nancy Northcott, Suzanne Ferrell and JD Tyler, is meant to read as one integrated novel. And it's right on target, with a female presidential candidate! CAPITOL DANGER features characters from my forthcoming books Dead Reckoning, a Faithful Defenders novel, and Deadly Charms. 

My Urban Fantasy/Romance, features the a race to save five senators and the "fight" between tech and magic! That's THE TENTACLE AFFAIRE, a Slip Traveler Novel. The next book in this series, THE RUM RUNNER INCIDENT, should arrive here on Amazon around March 15.

So go, read!! Enjoy!! You'll also find my Thanksgiving Novella, DEADLY DELIVERY and a Christmas novella, BEHIND ENEMY LINES, here on Amazon. BEHIND ENEMY LINES is my first historically set book, with all the action taking place just as WWII breaks out.

I also write thrilling suspense novels, full of action, adventure and romance. Right now, you can buy all of my suspense novels here on Amazon! My last two suspense novels, DEADLY LITTLE SECRETS, and DEADLY LITTLE LIES are connected, although you don't have to read them in order. 

I hope you enjoy my books. I've been a full-time writer for 10 years, and have loved every minute of it. I live in DC, have a fabulous family and three ridiculously silly, big dogs, and I like movies and books where things blow up. No wonder I write suspense, right? As one of my favorite authors, Anne McCaffrey is wont to say, the rest is pretty much subject to change without notice! Grins.

Find me at, @JeanneAdams on Twitter and JeanneAdamsAuthor on Facebook

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Book Review - THE CLIFF HOUSE by RaeAnne Thayne

Title: The Cliff House
Author: RaeAnne Thayne
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction
Publisher: Harlequin Books
Release Date: March 26, 2019

About the Book:

Three women—two sisters and their aunt—and the cliff house on the northern California coast that served as a beacon to them all…

After the death of their mother, sisters Daisy and Beatriz Davenport found a home with their aunt Stella in the beautiful and welcoming town of Cape Sanctuary. They never knew all the dreams that Stella sacrificed to ensure they had everything they’d ever need. Now, with Daisy and Bea grown, it’s time for Stella to reveal the secret she’s been keeping from them—a secret that will change their family forever. 

Bea thought she’d sown all her wild oats when she got pregnant far too young. The marriage that followed was rocky and not destined to last, but it gave Bea her wonderful, mature, now eleven-year-old daughter, Marisol. But just as she’s beginning to pursue a new love with an old friend, Bea’s ex-husband resurfaces and turns their lives completely upside down. 

Then there’s Daisy—sensible, rational, financially prudent Daisy. She’s never taken a risk in her life—until she meets a man who makes her question everything she thought she knew about life, love and the power of taking chances.

In this heartwarming story, Stella, Bea and Daisy will discover that the path to true happiness is filled with twists and turns, but love always leads them back home.Age Range: Adult
Buy Links: Amazon 

My Review:

RaeAnne Thayne has given us another sweet romance with complex characters and real life struggles.  This is a story of second chances, and finding one's self as well as finding that true love.

The Cliff House is a novel containing three gripping love stories and the relationship between two sisters, and their aunt who had taken them in and raised them as if they were her own. 

Disclosure:  An Advance Reading Copy was provided by the Publisher and NetGalley. All thoughts, opinions and ratings are my own.

My Rating:

About the Author:
I'm not one of those people who knew from birth she was destined to become a writer. I always loved to read and throughout my childhood I could usually be found with a book in my hands. To the disgust of my friends, I even enjoyed creative writing assignments that made them all groan. But I had other dreams besides writing. I wanted to be an actress or a teacher or a lawyer.

Life took a different turn for me, though, when my mother made me take a journalism elective in high school (thanks, Mom!). I knew the first day that this was where I belonged.

After I graduated from college in journalism, I took a job at the local daily newspaper and I reveled in the challenge and the diversity of it. One day I could be interviewing the latest country music star, the next day I was writing about local motorcycle gangs or interviewing an award-winning scientist.

Through it all -- through the natural progression of my career from reporter to editor -- I wrote stories in my head. Not just any stories, either, but romances, the kind of books I have devoured since junior high school, with tales about real people going through the trials and tribulations of life until they find deep and lasting love.

I had no idea how to put these people on paper, but knew I had to try -- their stories were too compelling for me to ignore. I sold my first book in 1995 and now, more than 30 books later, I've come to love everything about writing, from the click of the computer keys under my fingers to the "that's-it!" feeling I get when a story is flowing.

I write full-time now (well, as full-time as I can manage juggling my kids!) amid the raw beauty of the northern Utah mountains.

Even though I might not have dreamed of being a writer when I was younger, now I simply can't imagine my life any other way.

I love to hear from readers. You can reach me at my email address,

#BookReview, #SeasonOfWonder, #RaeAnneThayne

Monday, March 25, 2019

Book Blitz & Giveaway - A TALE OF TWO HOUSES by Susan Harris

A Tale of Two Houses
Susan Harris
(Defy the Stars, #1)
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: March 25th 2019
Genres: Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Young Adult
Centuries ago, the royal house of witches in Vernanthia split into two factions: House Cambridge and House Montgomery. These two houses warred with each other for an age, causing widespread bloodshed and death. Those without magic—the Nulls—suffered the most. One day, a favored daughter of the Nulls was slain. With her dying breath, she cursed the covens to know no peace until love was possible between the houses.
That curse had long since been forgotten—until now.
Julian Montgomery is the reluctant Prince of House Montgomery and Rowan Cambridge is in no rush to become the Queen of House Cambridge. Both heirs long for freedom from their birthright obligations. When fate throws these two star-crossed lovers together, it sends them on a collision course with destiny that neither could have predicted.
Shakespeare’s classic Romeo & Juliet is reimagined in this compelling drama about two young people drawn by fate into an unwinnable situation. If you think you know how this story ends—think again!
“Go talk to her already.”
I jumped at the sound of Toby’s voice, who was grinning at me so much, I could see the white of his teeth.
“Go talk to her already,” he repeated, inclining his head toward the person I’d been staring at. “You’ve been standing there staring at her for quite a while. It’s starting to get weird.”
“I haven’t been staring,” I said with not much conviction as I took a large gulp of my ale.
“Yes, you have. Now is the perfect opportunity to go and ask her to dance. Considering she’s been eyeballing you when she thinks no one is looking, I do not think she will refuse you. Besides, I’m pretty certain the gorgeous creature beside her is the future queen of the Cambridge coven. You go romance her attack dog. Leave the princess to me.”
There was a hint of menace in his tone, a wolfish smile on his face. I put a hand on Toby’s arm. “We will not insult Ashbridge’s invitation by waging war here. It is horrid enough that we are stealing under his nose. Promise me, Toby. No bloodshed here.”
“Unless provoked, my Prince, there will be no bloodshed.”
I lift my arm from Toby’s as the seriousness fled his features. “Now, go get the girl.”
He pushed me forward and I almost stumbled in the dim light, causing me to glare at him for a moment before I rolled my shoulders and prayed that I don’t make an absolute fool of myself. My heart thundered like a drum as I made my way toward the girl, noticing that her eyes were the same color as her dress. My palms were sweating, and I licked my lips to try and rid myself of the dryness.
I stood a mere breath away from her when she turned in my direction, and I could not find the words to speak. Her companion, the girl Toby thought to be the Cambridge heir, giggled, even as Auggie chuckled, a dash of mischief in his eyes. But I blocked them out, my steely focus on the girl with the green eyes and a smile made of sunshine.
“I was wondering, M’lady, if you would dance with me?” I held out my hand, trying to ignore the tremble.

Author Bio:
Susan Harris is a writer from Cork in Ireland.
An avid reader, she quickly grew to love books in the supernatural/fantasy and Dystopian genre. She writes books for young adults and adults alike.
When she is not writing or reading, she loves music, oriental cultures, tattoos, creepy snow globes, DC shoes, stationary, anything Disney, Marvel movies, psychology and far too many TV shows. If she wasn't a writer, she would love to be a FBI profiler or a PA for Dave Grohl or Jared Leto.


Sunday, March 24, 2019

RAMBLINGS & RECIPES - A Murder in the Backyard


Don't get your tail feathers in a spin!

I don't mean the bodies-buried-here kind of "murder". No, I'm talking about a group of crows. Apparently, the term "murder" was used to describe a flock of crows as far back as the 15th century. 

These birds are not the evil omen that some people think. Some cultures actually consider a crow to be good luck... unless you are a farmer with a crop of corn that the crows have taken a liking to.

Crows (along with ravens and parrots) are actually very intelligent birds, with the biggest brain-to-body size ratio of all the living birds. In lab experiments, they show a degree of cognition similar to that of the great apes. In fact, research has shown that they have a much higher density of neurons in their forebrains than primates do. Huh! Interesting!

I've been here at my daughter's house for the past couple of weeks. These crows show up several times a day, peering in her windows, and sometimes calling her with that familiar "Caw! Caw!". That's because she feeds them. And now they have started to bring her gifts! Little things. A pretty little rock. A bottle cap. I'm just waiting for them to bring her some bling. A diamond earring? A ruby ring?  Hmmm...

Anyway, these crows have very distinct personalities. "Greedy" as she has named him, can fit up to four peanuts in his beak before he flies off. He's the boldest of the bunch... and the biggest.

"Starlight" has a little white spot on the underside of one wing. We haven't named the rest, but there seem to be about six crows in this particular murder. One seems to be nesting, so we haven't seen much of her lately, but Greedy takes food to her. Did you know that crows mate for life? And they make so many different sounds! Sometimes they immitate her dog's barking. And sometimes they sound like they are purring.

There is a lot I didn't know about crows including some interesting Indian legends.  

I found several books about crows. Here are just a couple...

In the Company of Crows and Ravens 
by John Marzluff and Tony Angell 

From the cave walls at Lascaux to the last painting by Van Gogh, from the works of Shakespeare to those of Mark Twain, there is clear evidence that crows and ravens influence human culture. Yet this influence is not unidirectional, say the authors  of this fascinating book: people profoundly influence crow culture, ecology, and evolution as well. Examining the often surprising ways that crows and humans interact, John Marzluff and Tony Angell contend that those interactions reflect a process of “cultural coevolution.” They offer a challenging new view of the human-crow dynamic—a view that may change our thinking not only about crows but also about ourselves. 

Featuring more than 100 original drawings, the book takes a close look at the influences people have had on the lives of crows throughout history and at the significant ways crows have altered human lives. In the Company of Crows and Ravens illuminates the entwined histories of crows and people and concludes with an intriguing discussion of the crow-human relationship and how our attitudes toward crows may affect our cultural trajectory. As the authors state in their preface: “Crows and people share similar traits and social strategies. To a surprising extent, to know the crow is to know ourselves." 

Gifts of the Crow 
by John Marzluff and Tony Angell 

Stan Coren’s groundbreaking The Intelligence of Dogs meets Bernd Heinrich’s classic Mind of the Raven in this astonishing, beautifully illustrated look at the uncanny intelligence and emotions of crows.

Playful, social, and passionate, crows have brains that are huge for their body size, which allows them to think, plan, and reconsider their actions. They also exhibit an avian kind of eloquence, mate for life, and associate with relatives and neighbors for years. And to people who care for them and feed them, they often give oddly touching gifts in return. 

The ongoing connection between humans and crows—a cultural coevolution—has shaped both species for millions of years. Scientist John Marzluff teams up with artist-naturalist Tony Angell to tell amazing stories of these brilliant birds. With Marzluff’s extraordinary original research on the intelligence and startling abilities of corvids—crows, ravens, and jays—Angell’s gorgeous line drawings, and a lively joint narrative, the authors offer an in-depth look at these complex creatures and the traits and behaviors we share, including language, delinquency, frolic, passion, wrath, risk taking, and awareness. Crows gather around their dead, warn of impending doom, recognize people, commit murder of other crows, lure animals to their death, swill coffee and drink beer, design and use tools—including cars as nutcrackers—and windsurf and sled to play. 

With its abundance of funny, awe-inspiring, and poignant stories, Gifts of the Crow portrays creatures who are nothing short of amazing.

Sorry, but no recipe today! When I looked through my vast supply of recipes, all I could think about was the term "eating crow", and although I actually found a couple of recipes for crow, I just couldn't do it. These crows have become pets at my daughter's house! I can't even print out my mother's recipe for pigeon pie. Nope! Not going to do it! 

See ya next Sunday for more Ramblings and Recipes!

Friday, March 22, 2019

Book Blitz & Giveaway - MIMIC by C.L. Denault

C.L. Denault
(The Prodigy Chronicles #2)
Publication date: March 22nd 2019
Genres: Dystopian, Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult
In 2012, one cycle of an ancient calendar system came to a close. Humanity predicted its downfall, but it wasn’t the end of their evolutionary climb. It was the beginning.
Willow Kent is discovering that life as a second-phase prodigy comes at a price. Trapped in the London Core, her choices are limited, made difficult by her forbidden romance with Reece and the presence of a new commanding officer who establishes harsh rules. With unpredictable skills and a growing distrust in her birth parents, she is struggling to play the Core’s game. But when opportunity arises in the form of a mysterious shapeshifter, Willow realizes there’s more to her own evolution than meets the eye. She soon learns that keeping secrets is a key move, and the more dangerous they are, the greater her need to evolve into the powerful prodigy nature intended her to become.
But those closest to her have their own secrets, and her status has made her an easy target for betrayal. Who will she turn to, when nothing is as it seems?
Sequel to:
The blow shouldn’t have stunned me. I’d grown up in a tavern, defending myself, and had spent plenty of time training with Kane and Tem. I knew how to take a hit.
This was more than a hit. Kristoffe’s swing was fast and brutal, with a force behind it that rivaled my own—enough to knock me off my feet and send me flying down the hall.
Sensations took over. There was the feel of backward motion. Loss of control as my body hit the floor. More motion from sliding, and the hot sting of my flesh scraping tile. Ceiling lights blurred into white lines. Pain throbbed in my cheek.
But it was the tightness in my throat that hurt most. The tiger clawed like mad as we slid. Her screams pierced the fog in my brain, parting it, carving out a path. If I didn’t stop her, she would use it to climb up and take control.
Let me in!
I managed to shake my head.
You need me!
“No,” I whimpered, bumping into the limp body of an elevator guard. One of his arms stopped me, and I sat up quickly, recoiling. He was spread-eagled, face down among his comrades, his fingers wrapped around a retinal scanner. I cringed. Was he dead? Had the tiger killed them all? Then my eyes fell on the laser resting at his hip.
Take it.
I couldn’t. I’d never fired one before.
He’ll kill us!
Not sure who she meant, I jerked my head around. The man with the sabre was still gone. But Kristoffe and his patrol were marching in my direction, dragging Toby with them. He struggled violently until one of them drove a fist into his stomach. A savage tug tore through my belly. Gasping, I leaned over, fumbling for the guard’s laser.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” Kristoffe signaled for his men to stop, but continued walking toward me. He didn’t waver, not even when I grasped the laser in both hands and aimed it at him.
“That’s far enough,” I said.
He kept coming.
“I’ll shoot.” My finger instinctively hugged the trigger. “I mean it.”
Spreading his arms, Kristoffe made a target out of his broad chest. His smile was icy. “Go ahead, then. Shoot.”
Was he bluffing? I couldn’t tell. He might have a defensive shield. On the other hand, he might go down with one shot. There was no way to know. But somehow, he’d survived the tiger. This laser was my only hope.
Do it, the tiger spat.
My pulse spiked. “I will shoot.”
He kept coming.
Shoot him!
“Stop,” I cried, my hands shaking.
But he didn’t stop, and the closer he came, the harder I choked on the tiger’s fury. Her strength was more than I could handle. He was only a few feet away when her hissing cry forced me to pull the trigger. A matching cry left my lips. The laser clicked, shuddered—
—and died.

Author Bio:
C.L. Denault is a speculative fiction writer who loves dreaming up tales of adventure and intrigue. A former systems analyst, she gave up her nerdy code-writing skills to care for her family (including a son with special needs), and currently lives among the vast stretches of cornfields in Illinois.
Writing and working out are her biggest passions, along with drinking coffee and watching sci-fi. When she’s not hanging out with her husband and kids, she can usually be found at a library or tucked away in the shadowy corner of a hip coffeehouse. She’s also been glimpsed sneaking into her garage, late at night, to work on her time machine.
She enjoys connecting with people—especially those from other planets, nearby dimensions, and the future. To find her, just visit her website or social media pages. Or use a Stargate. Whichever is easiest.


Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Book Blitz & Giveaway - THE VIRGIN CLUB by Kayley Wood

The Virgin Club
Kayley Wood
Publication date: March 19th 2019
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Romance
Challenge: Lose my virginity before my 24th birthday
Time Left: 23 days
Appletinis, a semi-meltdown, and a ‘Lose My Virginity Challenge’ post. That’s all it took for my little blog to go viral.
The realization that I’m the lone virgin left from my club’s original pact ignited my not-so-genius idea. But what else could I do? With my two best friends happily un-single (and having plenty of sex), I’ve become an outcast—the anti-Hester Prynne, walking the streets with a giant V attached to my chest.
I’m going to be fine. I’m anonymous. I can just delete the post and pretend it never happened. No big deal, right?
My co-worker crush, Logan—gorgeous, yummy and out of my league—found out about my secret deadline-driven cherry popping quest.
Humiliated would be an understatement.
Fortunately, my besties come to the rescue with a brilliant plan that involves my trending blog. If all went smoothly, I’d not only win over the untouchable Logan but also live my dream of becoming a full-time writer.
The plan isn’t just brilliant, it’s perfect… until my new boss, Alexander Freeman comes into the picture with his Brooks Brothers suit and Tom Ford briefcase.
So what if the Stiff is hot? I will not ruin my one chance with Logan or my dream career.
But I’m in more trouble than I originally thought.
Turns out Alex has a few intentions of his own and a huge secret I’m totally unprepared for.
Blog: The Virgin Club
Subscribers: 738
Entry # 138
Title: My First Job Interview
There is but one constant, inevitable truth in my life: What goes up, must eventually come crashing down.
My first memory of this recurrent theme happened when I was six years old. I was angry at my mother for putting me in time-out. Believing I was too grown up for such punishments, I set out to prove how self-reliant I was by running away from home. Most kids at that age would end up walking in circles because they know they aren’t allowed to cross the street.
Not me.
My incident involved hiding in our neighbor’s old tree fort nailed between two pine trees. By the time they found me, my entire ponytail was drenched in pine sap. No matter how many times my mother washed my hair, the sap remained. She had no choice but to cut my hair off… all seven uneven inches of it. Of course this all happened a day before I started the first grade.
Needless to say, my first day of school wasn’t a pleasant one.
When I started this blog in college, the Virgin Club had a mission and a purpose we believed in: to never let the complications of sex and relationships sever the bonds of girl empowerment. To raise each other up as individuals who supported our own personal and professional goals.
The five of us made a pact to remain virgins until graduation.
Only three remained in the club by senior year, but we ended up as best friends. We were proud graduates who knew what we wanted and were ready to take on the world. Right?
Not so fast.
Keeping to my inescapable what goes up, must come down philosophy, it seems only fitting that during my first job interview, I tripped over a cord and face-planted into someone’s desk, breaking my nose. You wouldn’t believe the amount of blood that can come out of your face. By the horrified gasps of those in the office and their reluctance to come anywhere near me, you would’ve thought I had transformed into a hideous zombie, unsteady on my feet, reaching out for help and gurgling through the faucet of red flowing out of my nostrils.
Thankfully, someone did eventually come to my rescue. With watering eyes and searing pain, and in a state of panic from the amount of blood on my shirt and hands, I could put girl power on the wayside. Adrenaline doesn’t give a crap about your sense of independence or not wanting someone to be your “savior.” It has only one job—survival.
I took his help without shame.
Although I couldn’t see his face through blurred vision, I still remember his voice, calming me and telling me that I’ll be fine and how he had had his nose broken twice. My heartbeat eventually slowed to a more normal rate as he waited with me for an ambulance. There’s something reassuring about having someone by your side who understands you. Someone who had been through it and was willing to go through it again with you.
I never got his name, and I sure as hell won’t go back for a second interview.
So if you’re out there, I just wanted to say thank you.

Author Bio:
Kayley has three simple rules in life:
1. Surround yourself with some incredible, kick-ass women you call friends.
2. Don’t worry about failure or mistakes. It’s how you respond to them that makes all the difference.
3. An appletini is never complete without two cherries.


Monday, March 18, 2019

Book Blitz & Giveaway - IMMERSE by Tobie Easton

Tobie Easton
(Mer Chronicles, #3)
Published by: Month9Books
Publication date: March 19th 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Immerse is the spellbinding and breathless final installment of the Mer Chronicles series where descendants of the Little Mermaid must face deadly magic, shifting alliances, and the dangers of forbidden love.
Lia can’t wait for her parents’ coronation. Now living in the sparkling palace beneath the waves, she sneaks off to Malibu whenever possible to see Clay. Tucked away in an abandoned seaside mansion, Lia and Clay devise a plan to ensure they can stay together forever.
But when an old enemy resurfaces and Lia is restricted to the palace for the safety of all Merkind, she and Clay are ripped apart once more.
She fears not only for Clay, but for her best friend Caspian, who seems to be swimming down a dangerous path. He has invited the conniving Melusine to the coronation ball, convinced she’s capable of change. And no matter how hard Lia fights it, showing up on Caspian’s arm is just the start of Melusine’s insidious return to her life.
With threats Below growing more ominous by the day and a powerful ancient ritual looming, soon the two girls can’t escape each other. As their fates grow increasingly intertwined, Melusine might be the only one who can help Lia find the answers she desperately needs to save everyone she loves and to achieve her happily ever after. But can Lia trust her?
Previous books in the series:
The library doors are my favorite in the castle. Unlike all the other doors, made of sculpted sea glass in colors ranging from pastels to deep jewel tones, the doors to the varellska (Mermese for library) are made of the coated wood of a sunken Victorian ship. Mounted to the frame between the double doors is a handcrafted mermaid from the ship’s prow, her wooden hair blowing around her in carved curls, her face proud. She puts a smile on my own face as I open one of the doors and swim into the room that may hold the answer I need among its secrets.
Shelves stretch up the walls high above my head, each lined with shells of every conceivable size and pattern, from short volumes of poetry in tiny sundial shells to hours-long research tomes in giant diadema shells. Between the shells stand various treasures for decoration: an antique spyglass, a bronze-rimmed compass, an old brass lantern. I inhale the scent of shell polish and whalebone styluses.
I’ve come on the librarian’s day off and have the whole place to myself. I swim up to the highest shelves, where there rests a large, gilded starfish, the symbol of balanced justice. What’s happened to Clay at the hands and fins of Merkind has been anything but just. I’m hoping that means justice is on our side throughout our quest to make him a Merman. I rub the starfish for luck. “Help me find a way,” I murmur into the varellska’s quiet stillness.

Author Bio:
Award-winning author Tobie Easton was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, where she's grown from a little girl who dreamed about magic to a twenty-something who writes about it. Her debut novel, Emerge, is a Gold Medal Winner (Young Adult - Sci-Fi/Fantasy) of the Moonbeam Children's Book Awards and is Book 1 in the acclaimed Mer Chronicles series. The trilogy follows the descendants of the Little Mermaid and offers fans a peek into a world where Mermaids aren't just real, but live secretly among us on land.
She and her very kissable husband enjoy traveling the globe and fostering packs of rescue puppies. Tobie loves chocolate chip cookies and Oxford commas. A summa cum laude graduate of the University of Southern California, Tobie splits her time between Los Angeles and Boston. Learn more about Tobie and her upcoming books on


Sunday, March 17, 2019

RAMBLINGS & RECIPES - Happy St. Patrick's Day 2019

Everyone's Irish on St. Patrick's Day!  We boil our corned beef and cabbage, add a few drops of green food coloring to our beer or grab a bottle of Bailey's Irish Creme. 

And when we've drunk enough, we venture out into the world in search of the leprechauns... those wee people who can lead us to that pot of gold... enough gold to allow us to buy more green beer and Bailey's.

And of course we search for shamrocks.  Legend has it that St. Patrick used the three-leaf shamrock to explain the Christian Holy Trinity, but there's no evidence that he ever really did that. 

So instead, people wear shamrocks on their coats and hats and close the day by "drowning the shamrock". That's where they place it in a glass of whiskey before drinking.

Our Irish blessings are many. 

May the dreams you hold dearest be those which come true. And the kindness you spread, keep returning to you. 

May your troubles be less and your blessings be more, and nothing but happiness come through your door.

May your joys be as deep as the ocean, your troubles as light as the foam. And may you find sweet peace of mind, wherever you may roam.

And then there are a few sayings that say it all...

If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with blarney.

Yes, everyone is Irish on St. Patrick's Day.  But when March 17th is over, please resume your normal nationality. See you all on May 5th when we're all Mexican.

Corned Beef and Cabbage

Corned Beef with seasoning packet
New potatoes
Baby carrots
Salt & Pepper to taste
Fresh grated Parmesan cheese and/or mustard is optional

Place the corned beef in a large pot and cover with water. Sprinkle in the seasoning packet. Surround the meat with small new potatoes and baby carrots. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat and simmer on low for the time indicated on the corned beef package.  Cut cabbage into wedges and place in the water 15 minutes before you are ready to eat.

Remove meat and vegetables from water. Allow meat to sit for a few minutes before slicing. Sprinkle potatoes with parsley and sprinkle cabbage with parmesan cheese if you like. You can also add a bit of mustard on the side if you like that with the meat.

Friday, March 15, 2019

The Novel Lady Interviews Author Deborah Cooke a/k/a Claire Delacroix

We are so excited to be here with one of my personal favorite authors, USA Bestselling Author Deborah Cooke.  Deborah sold her first book, a medieval romance which was published under the pseudonym Claire Delacroix, in 1992. Since then, she has published over fifty romance novels in a wide variety of subgenres, including historical romance, paranormal romance, time travel romance, fantasy romance, contemporary romance, fantasy with romantic elements and paranormal young adult with paranormal elements.   She makes her home in Canada with her husband. When she isn't writing or reading, she can be found knitting, sewing or hunting for vintage patterns.

Scherry:  Welcome Deborah!  Thanks for joining us here at The Novel Lady.  Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Deb:  Well, I love to tell stories, and my stories are often about people falling in love. :-) My books often reflect my interest in fairy tales and also in medieval history and legends. I live in a house full of books (and knitting yarn) and am happily married. I sold my first book to a publisher in 1992, then in 2012, after selling 45 books and a number of novellas to New York publishers, I decided to go indie. Being my own publisher been a fabulous experience - it’s a lot of work, but I love it.

Scherry:  What do you do when you’re not writing?  Do you have any hobbies or guilty pleasures?

Deb:  I knit a lot, but I also sew and quilt. I like playing with the textures and colors. It seems to exercise another part of my brain and helps me to solve plot puzzles. I also like to cook and to garden.

Scherry:  What were you like at school?

Deb:  I pretty much always had my nose in a book. I read all the time and was called out for doing it in class when I was supposed to be listening. :-) I would even read the dictionary if there were no fiction books around. I’ve noticed that a lot of writers were avid readers as children, and believe that reading widely is the best foundation for becoming a writer.

Scherry:  When and why did you begin writing?

Deb:  Because I read a lot, I was always writing stories and poems. My first attempt at writing a book was in high school when I wrote a murder mystery. (I was in an Agatha Christie phase at the time.) I was always told, though, that writing was better as a hobby than a career choice. After college, I had a number of jobs but none of them really thrilled me. The last one was so frustrating, actually, that I started to write a book to entertain myself. I wanted to lose myself in a fictional realm! I decided to try to write a romance, since it seemed that the market was really large and diverse. I dove right in without learning much about reader or publisher expectations, and while I learned a lot writing that book, it was never published and is best forgotten. Ultimately, I had three book manuscripts in rotation. One was a medieval romance, which is the book that ultimately sold. One was a long contemporary romance with paranormal elements and a mystery, probably closer to a women’s fiction book and undoubtedly beyond my abilities at the time. It never sold, but I have thought about digging it out and revising it because I liked the story. The third was a short sexy contemporary romance targeted at Harlequin Temptation, which never sold either. I’d revise one book and send it out to agents and editors, then revise the next, etc. By the time I finished revising the third one, the rejection letters for the first one would be coming in. In those days (the early 1990’s), it was more common for editors and agents to send long rejection letters that were really critiques. I learned a great deal from my many rejection letters - I think the file was about an inch thick by the time I sold my first book. My first editor was the one actually who came up with my pseudonym, Claire Delacroix. Harlequin Historicals was my first publisher and ultimately I wrote eleven books for them.

Scherry:  That’s great information for any aspiring writers. We readers are so glad you didn’t give up! Learning from those rejection letters was the right way to go, because that knowledge made you the kind of writer you are today.  Along that route, which writers inspired you?

Deb:  I admire writers who have built enduring careers and also those who surprise me. I read established and favorite authors like Agatha Christie and Georgette Heyer, Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, J. R. R. Tolkien, Minette Walters, and more, as well as always looking for new authors (or new-to-me authors). I really liked Paula Hawkins’ Girl on the Train and also David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks because they both surprised me, in different ways.

Scherry:  Your Dragonfire series is immensely popular.  What inspired you to write that first book in the series, Kiss of Fire?

Deb:  I’ve always loved stories with paranormal elements. Maybe that’s because I was such a fan of fairy tales as a kid. Heroes with a little bit more are particularly intriguing. In 2008, I wasn’t writing medieval romance anymore because the market for historicals had shrunk, and I was looking for another opportunity. There were a lot of vampire books available then, but vampires aren’t really my thing. I read some wolf shifters, I wrote some fallen angels, then I thought it would be really cool if the hero could become a dragon. I’ve always loved dragons and thought this would be an ideal combination. At the time, there weren’t any dragon shifters in the romance market and it was interesting to see editorial reactions. One editor, though, who had edited my Claire Delacroix books at Bantam, loved my dragon shifters and bought the series. I think there were still doubts inhouse, but the first book did really well. I have so much fun with my dragon shifters. While Dragonfire is a complete series now, I’m currently working on a series called DragonFate which continues the story of the Pyr after the end of Dragonfire.

Scherry:  Oh!  I will definitely be keeping an eye out for that one!  I’ve also enjoyed the Coxwells books and the Flatiron Five series. Gosh!  I love them all!  Just curious… Have you ever based your book or characters on actual events or people from your own life?

Deb:  I’m so glad you enjoy my books!
Hmm. That’s a tough question. I never deliberately model a character on someone I know or have known. They’re all residents of my imagination, although they seem very real to me. (I talk to them, and even argue with them.) I do think it’s important that characters have emotional truth as that’s what allows them to step off the page. So, I can write about someone with a totally different background and nature than mine, but if that character is grieving, for example, I can draw on my own experience to make that reaction have more emotional truth. I believe that characters with emotional truth are the ones that readers find resonant. Deep down inside, we all have a tremendous amount in common and I think fictional characters should share those commonalities.

Scherry:  Can you tell us a bit about your most recent release?

Deb:  I wrote some short stories in my existing series and published them this fall. Part of the reason was that I’d like to get better at writing shorter, but also, there were events happening in each series that didn’t fit neatly into any book. So, in Flatiron Five, Going to the Chapel includes two weddings as well as the birth of Ty and Amy’s son. It happens between Cassie’s book (Some Guys Have All the Luck, #4) and Theo’s book (Bad Case of Loving You, #6). It ended up being longer than I expected (of course! I always write long!) but publishing it as a separate story was a good solution. In the Coxwell Series, Christmas with the Coxwells brings us to the present day with the kids all grown up, and catches us up with what’s been happening in that world. That came out of a suggestion from a reader that I write about the next generation, so we needed a bridge between the original books and the new ones coming. Those novellas were a lot of fun to write and I’ll probably do more of them. 

On the Delacroix side, my most recent release is The Runaway Bride, which is Ross’s story. Ross is the eighth sibling of the family introduced in The Beauty Bride (The Jewels of Kinfairlie #1) and readers have been asking about his HEA for a long time. Once again, there was a big reunion at the end of that story, as all the siblings came for the wedding - with their spouses and their kids. There were a lot of people to keep track of but it was very satisfying to revisit them all again.

My next release in April is Theo’s book, Flatiron Five #6. It’s a second chance romance and a secret baby story and has been a bit of a fighter. There were so many elements to juggle (plus Lyssa and Theo were both somewhat stubborn) that it took a bit for this one to come together in a way that satisfied me. The result is quite emotional, at least to me, and I hope readers like it.

Scherry:  If you had to write this one all over again, go through the whole editing and publishing process from the beginning again, is there anything you would do differently?

Deb:  I’m going to take a break from second chance stories for a bit. As much as I love them, I’m ready for a couple with a more straightforward story! McKenna and Aidan meet for the first time at the beginning of their book and immediately challenge each other’s expectations. I love when that happens, so am looking forward to writing their story.

In terms of my writing process, I’ve settled into a routine that works for me. I don’t work in drafts, but am always refining what I have before I move forward. So, I’ll start my day by reviewing and editing what I wrote the day before, then write the next scene or two. When I have a bigger change, I have to go back to the beginning and work it through the story before I can go forward. That’s the way I’ve always written and I doubt that will change. It feels sometimes as if I get mired down in the middle, but the great thing is that when I write the last scene, the book is pretty clean.

One thing I’m trying to improve is my publication process. I’d love to get more ahead of myself, so that there’s a longer period between finishing the book and its publication date. In traditional publishing, that’s usually a year, although that year also includes the editorial process and packaging. I’d like to get to the point that each book was finished and loaded to the portals six months before publication.

Scherry:  How much research did you do for your latest novel?

Deb:  Theo’s novel is a challenge for me, as he’s black and I’m not. He’s also British and I’m not. So, I’ve been doing a lot of research for his background, and I have a sensitivity reader lined up to make sure I get the details right. One of the other fun details about Bad Case of Loving You is that it starts at Christmas in Manhattan. The first time I visited New York City was at Christmas and I found it absolutely magical. It’s probably part of the reason I love the city so much. So, it’s been fun to research the things I did there over the holidays, all those years ago, as well as find some new ones for Theo and Lyssa.

Scherry:  What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever researched for one of your books?

Deb:  I did a lot of research on radiation poisoning and nuclear bombs when I was writing the Prometheus Project series of urban fantasy novels - plus motorcycles, alternative fuels, and fallen angels. It was a strange mix, but fascinating.

Scherry:  How long does it normally take you to write a book?

Deb:  It depends on the length of the book, although most of my stories to date have been close to 100,000 words. It also depends whether I’ve written in that world already - for the first book in a given series, I need to build the world, which takes longer. Once the world is established, though, it usually takes me 3 months to write a full-length book. Sometimes it’s faster, depending on how cooperative the characters are. And the last book in a series always takes longer, because I have lists of characters to revisit and ends to tie up.

Scherry:  Thinking about the characters in your books…  Do you have a favorite?  Which one would you most like to go have a beer or glass of wine with… or wake up next to?

Deb:  Oh, I wouldn’t mind meeting any of my heroes. :-) I have a particular fondness for Merlyn in The Rogue (my editor and I called him “mmm-mmm-Merlyn”), as well as Erik in Kiss of Fate (and also leader of the Pyr throughout the Dragonfire series). But then there’s Rafferty and Donovan in Dragonfire, and I think it would be fun to go for a beer with Thorolf, too. I love James in Double Trouble, and currently, I’m completely smitten with Theo in Bad Case of Loving You.

Scherry:  What is next for you?  Do you have any scheduled upcoming releases or works in progress?

Deb:  In the Flatiron Five series, after Theo’s book (Bad Case of Loving You), I have another release in that series planned for July (Some Like it Hot). In the Secret Heart Ink series, which is set in the F5 world, I’m hoping to finish Chynna’s story, Under the Mistletoe, before we end up having Christmas in July. Her story is a little bit tangled with Theo’s so I had to finish Theo’s book first. I’m also working on Here Be Dragons: the Dragonfire Companion, and there are boxed sets of Dragonfire being published this winter. I have a medieval romance release in the spring, One Knight’s Return by Claire Delacroix, and then, I’m going to write DragonFate, the next paranormal romance series featuring the Pyr. There’s always a line in my office!

Scherry:  Looks like we have a lot to look forward to with all of these upcoming books!  I, for one, am super excited about that!  How can fans contact you/learn more about you?


   Website: (This site has everything.) (This site features my Claire Delacroix titles.) (This is the site for Dragonfire.) (This is the site for the Dragons of Incendium     series.)

Scherry:  Deborah, thank you so much for joining us here at The Novel Lady! 

Deb:  Thanks so much for inviting me!

Readers, if you haven't experienced Deborah's writing yet, here's a little hint...   
Book #1 of her Flatiron Five series, SIMPLY IRRESISTABLE, is currently a 99cent 
read at all portals.  Or delve right into one of her newest adventures.  
Check out the books listed below!

Bad Case of Loving You (Flatiron Five #6)

Theo knows what's possible...
Because he's learned the hard way what's not. The internationally successful supermodel known as Angel stole his heart forever when she was Lyssa Monroe. There's never been another woman who could compete—even though her life proves that the Lyssa he knew was just an illusion. When Angel makes an appearance at F5, Theo’s sure he won’t see her again for another ten years. When she kisses him at midnight, Theo can't say no to temptation—even though he knows a night together will just make him hope for more all over again.

Lyssa has tasted forbidden fruit...

And she can't forget it, no matter how hard she tries. Theo's love is a touchstone for all that is pure and good in the chaos and solitude of her high-octane life. She’s determined to start fresh and repair the mistakes from the past, but the secret she’s kept from Theo could turn him against her forever. How much will she sacrifice to ensure that her son knows his father—and how far will Theo go once he discovers the truth?

Coming April 16
Pre-order available at all portals!

Some Like it Hot (Flatiron Five #7)

Aidan Connaught has a dream…

He’s spent his whole life working for his big acting break but time is running out. His plan is to win the contest at Flatiron Five to be their next billboard model for visibility, then to ace the lead role in an amateur production of Romeo and Juliet. He hopes the combination will catapult him to success. But when he discovers that his director doesn’t even believe in love, Aidan knows he has to change McKenna’s mind, no matter what it takes…

McKenna Singer no longer believes in dreams…

Being abandoned at the altar once is enough to teach anyone that love and romance is for other people. McKenna’s all about making a difference, so she’s seizing the chance to turn Romeo and Juliet upside down and inside out—until Aidan Connaught’s audition casts a spell over the entire cast. If he thinks seducing the director will encourage McKenna to compromise, she’s is more than ready to surrender. It’s just a fling and a play—at least until McKenna has to step into the role of Juliet, and realizes she wants so much more.

Coming July 31!
Download a free sample from BookFunnel. Pre-order available at some portals.

One Knight’s Return (Knights & Rogues #2)

Knight and crusader Quinn de Sayerne vowed never to return home while his villainous father drew breath. Twenty years after his departure, he is notified of his father’s death and summoned by his liege lord to claim his family holding. But his overlord has a stipulation: Quinn must wed Melissande, the beauteous heiress of neighboring Annossy. Quinn hoped to make a match based on more than mutual animosity, but he is resolved to win the heart of his lady wife, at any cost.
Melissande cannot believe that her liege lord has not only compelled her to break an old betrothal but wed her to a ruffian—and granted the seal of Annossy to him, despite her expertise. It is the dream of Quinn’s father brought to fruition, for the holdings will be merged just as he long schemed. But her overlord cannot be defied and she finds herself the chattel of this rough knight, despite her every protest.
Can Quinn win his lady’s reluctant heart? Or is he doomed to lose Melissande forever when her betrothed returns?

Available April 26
Pre-order available at some portals


The Novel Lady Published @ 2014 by Ipietoon