Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Ringing in the New Year: Traditions Change

Welcome to another edition of Romance Weekly Blog Hop.

Romance Weekly is a fabulous group of romance writers who work together to encourage each other and to bounce ideas off one another. If you are looking for new authors to follow, you can find us on our facebook page ... https://www.facebook.com/RomanceWritersWeekly

Today we're talking about New Year's traditions.
I know people whom make lists of goals and aspirations for the upcoming year and revisit them the next year. I used to do this.

This year, I'm mixing things up.
I'm making two simple goals. Excercise more. Eat less. Nothing fancy. Just a small step on the way to better health.

The major change comes in that I am adding something new. I am going to make a blessings jar.
I'll start with a plain mason jar, decorate the crap out of it. Each time something good happens to me, or to my family this year, I'll write it on a slip of paper and add it to the jar. Next year, on New Year's Eve, we'll open the jar and revisit this years fondest memories.

This is part of my new strategy to find the good in everything. Each day has a blessing, no matter how small. I want to find them, and find the joy in my life.

What New Year's traditions do you have? Leave a comment below. And please, carry on with the blog hop go visit the talented Brenda Margriet at  http://www.brendamargriet.com/blog  She has some New Year's traditions of her own and can't wait to share them with you!

Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY NEW YEAR!


Tuesday, 16 December 2014

What Rings Your Christmas Bells?

Yes, here we go again ... another blog hop post that includes the fabulous girls (and boys) from Romance Writer's Weekly. I hope you've stopped by from Betty Bolte's page. http://www.bettybolte.com/blog.htm

Today's topic comes from Carrie Elks this week:
We all love a bit of romance at Christmastime! Tell us about your favorite Christmas story—it could be a book, a movie or a true-life romance. What makes it so memorable?

Seems Simple enough .... right?

The main tree, for Grandkids.
I've put some thought into this, some serious thought. It isn't easy to pick just one special day or occurrence. So, in my typical, obstinate, non-conformist fashion, I'm going to do what ever I want.

The best part of Christmas is of course, spending time with family and friends. I consider Christmas the time to renew friendships and remind people how important they are to me. So I try to do nice things and find time to catch up with those who have drifted away during the year.

Bears 3 or 3 for every step.
Gifts? I can take them or leave them. I'm happy without gifts, but when I see something special that screams a loved one's name ... I have to buy it. I don't spend much, its not about the money, it is about reminding them how important they are.

And the decorating? Good grief, I LOVE the decorating. My house looks like Christmas exploded here. I was obsessed before, but now I have grandbabies to share with. So look out world! I've got two trees, one of which has a serious lean due to a crappy stand. I won't undecorate to replace the stand, so I've tied it to the railing to keep it upright. There are countless wreaths hanging everywhere, fake presents on the front step, teddy bears, a huge village, and lights strung up around every room on the main floor. I would have them upstairs too, but it is currently under renovation. No sense having lights when you have no carpet.

I'm adding a few pictures ... just to give you the idea.
Fragile ornament tree. Leaning Tower of Treeza.

Village, part one of three.
Santa's Workshop

Village ... my grand daughter loves the people.

I've got quilts on tables, walls and floors. And the beds.
12 days of Christmas Quilt

Star Trek Ornaments.

There are Star Trek ornaments on the table ... to heavy to hang. And Jim Shore ornaments on tables and the mantle.
The best part are all the ornaments on the tree that my children made when they were young. Toilet paper angels, one eyed reindeer. Felt trees with their candy decorations eaten off, macaroni angels... you get the idea.  Each is flawed, precious and perfect. (Some are so hideous they are cute.)
And we won't even get into the mess that results from partially wrapped presents. With three grand kids, I may have gone overboard on the gifts.
For more on the important topic of Christmas memories, please visit Veronica Forand at http://veronicaforand.com The blog hop officially starts at two, but I'm up early. Please stop by and visit the other hoppers.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Chocolate Crack

Welcome to the Romance Weekly Blog Hop. This week we're talking cooking and favorite holiday recipes. If you came from Betty Bolte's blog, thanks for continuing on.

I don't know where this recipe originated. I received it from a friend, who got it from her Aunt. Isn't that the way it is with all of the best recipes? Handed down from friends and family members until nobody knows where it started at. (If it is your recipe, I apologize for stealing it. If it is yours, let me know and I'll update this post to give you appropriate credit.)

Sadly, I can no longer eat this due to a new-found peanut allergy. :(

Chocolate Crack


60 ounces milk chocolate,  chocolate chips or coarsely chopped chocolate
2 cups of crushed potato chips
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons water
22 squares of carmel (5.8 ounces)
2 tablespoons heavy cream, warmed
1 (12.25 ounce) jar caramel ice cream topper, warmed

Line a 17.25 x 11.5 x 1-in. cookie sheet with either tin foil or parchment paper. Set aside.

Place whole potato chips in a zip lock bag. Using a rolling pin, roll over chips until chips are in small pieces. Set aside.

In a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat add peanut butter and water until melted and combined. Add caramel squares and heat until smooth, stirring frequently. Turn off heat and stir in warm cream until well incorporated. Set aside.
In a large heat proof bowl add chocolate and melt over boiling water (the pot rim needs to be smaller then your bowl slightly so the pot will keep the bowl suspended above the boiling water). Continuously stir until chocolate has reached between 115 degrees to 118 degrees F. Once chocolate reaches proper temperature immediately remove from heat. Fold in crushed potato chips until well incorporated. Pour onto prepared cookie sheet. Smooth out evenly over cookie sheet and add large dollops of peanut butter mix. Drizzle 1/2 to whole jar of caramel ice cream topper over chocolate and peanut butter. Using a butter knife, pass over chocolate several times over the length of the pan (going up and then down). Repeat, passing the knife over the width of the pan (going back and forth). After somewhat incorporating toppings over the chocolate, pick up the pan and firmly tap the bottom of the pan on the counter (don't just let go when dropping pan, or else you'll have a mess). This will help to smooth out any rough areas in the chocolate. Place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to let set. Cut into squares and serve. Yield: 100-160 individual squares.


Now, hop on over to  Eden Ashe's blog for more fun.  http://edenashe.com
You can check out all the fun of Romance Weekly here .....

Deceptively Sweet New Release by Angel Nicholas

Today I am excited, no I am beyond excited, to welcome my friend and author Angel Nicholas to my blog. She has a fabulous new book coming out this week. (And I promise you that this one is on the top of my to-be-read pile.)

Her boring existence seems perfect until a charming detective threatens Ally’s heart and lethal contract killers jeopardize her happily ever after.

Sweet Deception Blurb

Ally Thompson’s life is perfect. Calm, quiet, some might even say boring. The sole survivor of a tragic accident, she’s not the adventurous type—something she’s decided to change.

One roller-coaster ride…
A murder and a detective in disguise shatter Ally’s first attempt at “fun.” Detective Greg Marsing is everything Ally knows better than to want. The gun-totting, tattooed scumbags trying to kill her are almost a welcome distraction from her pointless attraction.

Blows her world wide open…
A contract on Ally has every lowlife for miles gunning for her. Sparks fly while she and her unlikely hero scramble to unravel clues. As the deadly game escalates, Greg has to decide if self-preservation rates higher than a love worth dying for.

Oh, God! He was shooting at her. Actually shooting. In broad daylight. In her neighbor’s backyard. Didn’t they have rules about that sort of stuff?

Nerves shredded, Ally gritted her teeth. Three more feet. Two. Another crunch. She swore the heat of the bullet singed her shoulder. Arms extended, she jumped for all she was worth. Up, braced her arms and pushed off. She landed with an oomph on the other side, followed by another crunch and a hole in the wood fence.

For a split-second, she crouched panting, staring in disbelief at the fence towering over her head. Had she really done that?

Cursing from the other side got her up and moving again. Squealing tires and a revving engine brought her head around. A car tore into the alley and raced toward her. More bad guys? Had he called in reinforcements?

Ally froze.      

Did I do something horrible in a past life to deserve this?

Truly, I’ll help the poor. Serve food at the soup kitchen. Go to church every Sunday. Donate money to the shelter. I’ll even babysit my friend’s bratty kids.

Just please, please, please get me out of this alive.

The shiny black Camaro careened to a stop with the driver’s side door facing her. Heavily tinted windows revealed nothing. In a last desperate bid for freedom, she darted past the door. Strong arms encircled her waist and dragged her back toward the idling car.
“No!” Ally screamed like a banshee, flinging out her arms and legs, scrabbling for purchase. Hard hands sent her flying across the front seat.


“Let me go!” She dove for the door handle.

“Ally!” He grabbed her elbow and pulled her back, away from the passenger door. “Damn woman, you are way more trouble than you’re worth.”

Almost blind with panic, she twisted around and crouched on the seat, prepared to draw blood.

Shocked hazel clashed with furious aqua. Her mouth fell open. Muttering under his breath, Detective Marsing threw the car into gear and spun out of the alleyway. She whipped her head around in time to see a blocky head pop up over the privacy fence as they disappeared around the corner. She’d done it. Escaped. Stayed alive. Like an atomic bomb, the events of the past hours and the emotions she’d worked so hard to control mushroomed up, exploding inside. Tears stung.

“Can’t you stay out of trouble for five minutes?”

 BUY LINKS:  Amazon    Barnes & Nobles    Google play    Kobo    iTunes
Author Bio
The only girl in the midst of four brothers, Angel Nicholas spent her childhood hiding behind romance novels. Now the mother of four overly-energetic children, a Whimsy kitty and slobber-flinging Great Dane, fiction is still her refuge. Excessive caffeine fuels her typing, stiletto heels maintain her sass, and the splendors of Idaho alongside its gregarious people inspire her muse.

Find Angel on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and on her website! You can also favorite her Amazon Author Page to receive emails when new books are available!
Be sure to comment on today's post for a chance to win an Amazon gift card! I know Angel would love to hear from you.


Monday, 17 November 2014

Gemma Brocado: Exposed to Passion

Today I am featuring a wonderful novel by my good friend and fellow writer Gemma Brocado. It is a wonderful read and I highly recommend it. Later in the post, she shares an embarrasing moment we can all relate to. Check it out. One lucky commenter will win a secret prize from me.

Exposed To Passion (Five Senses Series Book #3)
Gemma Brocato      
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: Kensington Books/Lyrical Press, Inc
Date of Publication: October 20, 2014
eISBN-13: 978-1-61650-616-2
eISBN-10: 1-61650-616-4
Number of pages: 329
Word Count: approx. 85,000
Cover Artist: Renee Rocco
Available in Digital and Print Formats

Book Description:
They walked through the shadows individually. Will they emerge into the light together?
Leading a vagabond life as a curator for a traveling photography exhibit translates to a lot of bad days for Rikki Salerno. But her trouble doubles when a careless high school student shoves her into a marsh. Being rescued by teacher Sam Kerrigan should have made things better, but Rikki’s inability to confess her true identity casts a shadow over their budding affair.
When Sam refuses an overly aggressive parent’s marriage proposal, she’s determined to ruin him. Not only does she doctor photos to make it look like Sam’s behaved inappropriately in front of students, she hacks the foundation website to reveal Rikki’s true identity. Faster than the blink of a shutter, Rikki’s focus changes from pursuing her full-color future to the black and white necessity of clearing Sam’s name.

Sam’s attention wandered yet again off the homework papers he was supposed to be correcting. The universal law of gravitation wasn’t nearly as riveting as the memory of Rikki Salerno wearing a purple jacket and tight running shorts in the early morning sunlight. He’d resisted the urge to wrap her in his arms when he’d run up on her in the park that morning. A fiery halo had lit her hair, glints of red winking in her messy ponytail. The sight of her when she turned back toward town and ran ahead of him! He’d have been happy to follow her for all twenty-six miles of a marathon. But, his need to talk to her overruled his desire to watch her spectacular behind, so he’d quickened his pace to catch her.
Rikki had tensed when he’d started ranting about Marguerite Sims. Without knowing how, he’d made her angry again. He didn’t understand it, but she seemed defensive when he’d made disparaging remarks about her boss. He was going to have to watch his comments about the pampered princess when he was around Rikki.
And, if wishes did come true, there would be a whole lot of around Rikki time. Her image in his mind’s eye—exotic, interesting, and intriguing, all wrapped up in one sexy package…. He fidgeted in his hard teacher’s chair, suddenly uncomfortable with the tightness of his khakis. Thank God, there weren’t any students in the room. That’d be a hell of a thing to explain to a bunch of horny teens.
Buy Links

Rafflecopter Giveaway for one US Winner Only.
One Digital Copy of Exposed To Passion, One Leather Brighton London Flat Pouch, Assorted Picture Frames, $25 Amazon Gift Card, $15 Starbucks Gift Card. For one US Winner only. Prize package valued at $185.00
Runs 10/20/2014 - 11/20/2104
<a id="rc-f618a2567" class="rafl" href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/f618a2567/" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>
<script src="//widget.rafflecopter.com/load.js"></script>

Gemma Tells All: Her embarrassing moment

Thank you for inviting me to be here on your blog today. I’m excited to share a little about myself, and my new release, Exposed To Passion. In the story, something very embarrassing happens to my heroine, Rikki Salerno when she meets the hero, Sam Kerrigan. This particular something was not based on a one of my real life experiences, but I started thinking I’d gone out of my way to put my character into several awkward situations. Turn about is fair play, right? I’m going to share an embarrassing story about myself today.

I used to have a part-time job as a night manager at a health club. At the end of each evening, I’d jog through the club, taking one last turn around all 100,000 square feet to make sure the club was ship-shape for the next business day. As I sped around, I’d stop to pick up towels and water bottles patrons left behind, re-rack weights that hadn’t made it back where they belonged and double check I’d locked all exterior doors. This usually happened between 10 and 10:15 pm, after all members had exited the building.

One night, as I completed my circuit, I passed the housekeeping manager on my way to pick up towels left by the racquetball area. Now, in case you’ve never seen a racquetball court, it’s a large, rectangular concrete enclosure with floor to ceiling windows. One of the plexi-glass panels has an access door members step through to play their matches. I spied a towel on the floor of one of the courts and turned sharply to walk onto the court to pick it up.

Except I misjudged which panel had the door. Let me tell you - I bounce when I hit a wall at full speed ahead. The sound of my forehead smacking the window wasn’t pleasant. I stumbled backward (thankfully still upright) and clutched my hand to my head, trying to comprehend what had happened. I was too stunned to move. It was the first time all evening I’d stood completely still.

Remember the housekeeping manager I’d just passed? Yep, he witnessed the whole thing. It was worse than if someone had caught me tripping up the steps (I’ve done that too.) After he checked to make sure I was okay, he started laughing at me. I did not laugh with him then, or again the next day when he pointed out the bruise on my forehead to the club owner. I’d like to say he embellished the story, but he didn’t. Everyone referred to me as Grace after that.

So that’s my embarrassing story. Think you can top it? Feel free to share. Please.

About the Author:
Gemma's favorite desk accessories for many years were a circular wooden token, better known as a 'round tuit,' and a slip of paper from a fortune cookie proclaiming her a lover of words; some day she'd write a book. All it took was a transfer to the United Kingdom, the lovely English springtime, and a huge dose of homesickness to write her first novel. Once it was completed and sent off with a kiss, even the rejections addressed to 'Dear Author' were gratifying.
After returning to America, she spent a number of years as a copywriter, dedicating her skills to making insurance and the agents who sell them sound sexy. Eventually, her full-time job as a writer interfered with her desire to be a writer full-time and she left the world of financial products behind to pursue an avocation as a romance author.
Social Media Links:

Also By Gemma Brocato:
Cooking Up Love
Hearts In Harmony

Thanks for stopping by everyone.