HAVE A MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Friday, August 30, 2013

BOXED SET LAUNCH PARTY!


We’re having a huge launch party on Facebook at NINE WAYS TO FALL IN LOVE at https://www.facebook.com/events/567696843290957 and you're invited! 

Beginning September 1st, we will have prizes daily—some large, some small but fun—through September 30th. We’re giving away a Kindle on the first day, and other prizes include a second Kindle, a Coach backpack purse filled with books, a silver good luck necklace, cubic zirconium ear studs, signed print books, a survival tin and necklace, a silver Celtic necklace and earrings, e-books, Gift Cards from $10 to $50, and more. 

To enter, leave a comment on the Facebook party page given above, or go to the newsletter site at www.southerncomfortromance.com and subscribe to the newsletter.

Easy peasy, right?

As they say on TV, but wait, there’s more. Don’t think you have to wait until September 1st to buy NINE WAYS TO FALL IN LOVE. It’s available now at 


Beware: On October 1st, the price goes to $8.99. That’s still a bargain for nine books, but not as good as 99 cents.

Early reviews are great.

This boxed set contains nine fascinating takes on romance. Each book is very different, but all satisfy the wish for a good romance. . . but there isn't a bad book in the set. If you love romances, you will love this boxed set. It is a spectacular deal at only $.99.”

9 Ways to Fall in Love is a wonderful collection of romance novels. The stories are very entertaining, and well written. Of all the books my favorite is Out of Shadows by Geri Foster. Out of the Shadows is fast paced, suspenseful, and yet still full of romance.”

What a great buy! Every single one of the nine books was a satisfying read. I've only read two of these authors before, but was happy to discover the other seven. And when they say " NINE WAYS TO FALL IN LOVE," they aren't kidding. Whether it's a sexy gambler in SLEIGHT OF HEART, or a 200-year-old painting in SOMEWHERE MY LOVE, or a hot-blooded DEA agent in SECRETS OF A MAYAN MOON, each book makes you fall in love all over again. I had already read THE TEXAN'S IRISH BRIDE but was happy to read it twice. There's not a bad or even average book in the bunch--I enjoyed them all.”


The authors and their books:

Caroline Clemmons, THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE. Cenora Rose O’Neill knows her father arranged the marriage trap for Dallas McClintock but she’d do anything to protect her family. Wounded rescuing Cenora from kidnappers, rancher Dallas learns his wife has a silly superstition for everything. But passion-filled nights with her make up for her annoying habits and family.

Carra Copelin, CODE OF HONOR. Graeme McAlister returned home to discover why his foster brother supposedly overdosed on morphine and crashed a company jet. When Graeme McAlister comes back to McTiernan, TX and stirs up widow Maggie Benning’s old memories and feelings, can she overcome past pain to accept the a new love in her life? Can Graeme and Maggie fight the evil threatening their family?

Geri Foster, OUT OF THE SHADOWS. Falcon Securities Agent Brody Hawke sees the world from a tilted angle. A.J., who saved Brody’s life, is captured and diplomats are getting nowhere in his rescue. Brody takes over even though he knows his impetuous actions will ruin his career. CIA agent Kate Stone’s life is torn apart when Brody kidnaps her. When she and Brody reach A.J., they learn the situation is more serious and far-reaching than they’d imagined. Brody, Kate and Falcon Securities must rescue A.J. and stop the assassination of the President of the USA. Will Brody and Kate discover love along the way?

Kathy Ivan, LOSING CASSIE. Welcome to Destiny's Desire Lodge, where The Fates manipulate and the Fate-Keeper battles to unite predestined souls. The arrival of a mysterious letter draws Jake Stone to Destiny's Desire. Cassie Daniels has been running for seven long years. To find happiness she must face past evil. When Fate and Destiny collide . . . can Love survive?

Paty Jager, SECRETS OF A MAYAN MOON. Doctor of Anthropology, Isabella Mumphrey, is about to lose her university job. Her mentor’s request for her assistance on a Guatemalan dig is the opportunity she’s been seeking. DEA agent Tino Kosta, is deep undercover as a tracker and jungle guide. Isabella’s appearance heats his Latin blood, taking him on a dangerous detour that could leave them both casualties of the jungle.

Anna Jeffrey, SWEET RETURN. When Dalton Parker is summoned home to handle a family crisis, the last thing he expects is a prime pasture of his family’s ranch taken over by stinking chickens. The explanation is Joanna Walsh, his mother’s best friend. He can’t keep from admiring Joanna’s caring nature and common sense, not to mention her great body. The dumbest thing he could do is try to lure her into his bed, but he’s never been smart when it comes to women.

DeLaine Roberts, TWO SIDES OF A HEARTBEAT. After a beautiful proposal, Dr. Grayson Brooks pleads with his fiance, Alexandra Morrison, not to get on the plane. Once the plane is in the air, events turn their lives upside down. Secrets and the past once again haunt both families. Alexandra is so close to having it all: a baby, a gorgeous husband, and a family united. But is she strong enough to fight for what she wants?

Jacquie Rogers, SLEIGHT OF HEART. Starched-up Lexie Campbell, more comfortable with neat and tidy numbers than messy emotions, must find the man who ruined her little sister and make him marry her. When his lookalike brother Burke appears, she greets him with a gun and forces him to help her. Smooth-dealing Burke O’Shaughnessy, riverboat gambler and prestidigitator, must find his brother Patrick to claim the family fortune. But when Lexie shows an astounding talent for counting cards and calculating odds, he figures she might be useful after all. Can he resist the queen of hearts? 

Beth Trissel, SOMEWHERE MY LOVE. Two hundred years ago Captain Cole Wentworth was murdered in his chamber where his portrait still hangs. Presently the estate is a family owned museum run by Will Wentworth. As spirit-sensitive tour guide Julia Morrow begins to remember the events of Cole's death, she must convince Will that history is repeating, and he has the starring role in the tragedy. The blade is about to fall.


 STREET TEAM?
Thanks for your support in the past. Here’s a fun new way to offer support: Join my street team. What does that mean? Only that you tell others about my books and projects. As part of my street team, you will share details about my books, be the first to read scenes and completed books, be asked for input regarding my writing. You’ll get little gifts from time to time, such as a free ebook or a signed print copy. Sound like something you’d enjoy? If so, go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/166434743542470/ and join!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

CADENCE OF GYPSIES BY BARBARA CASEY - BLOG TOUR



THE CADENCE OF GYPSIES
By
Barbara Casey

BLURB:  

Three high-spirited 17 year olds, with intelligent quotients in the genius range, accompany their teacher and mentor, Carolina Lovel, to Frascati, Italy, a few weeks before they are to graduate from Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women. Carolina's purpose in planning the trip is to remove her gifted, creative students from the Wood Rose campus located in Raleigh, North Carolina, so they can't cause any more problems ("expressions of creativity") for the headmaster, faculty, and other students – which they do with regularity. Carolina also wants to visit the Villa Mondragone where the Voynich Manuscript, the most mysterious document in the world, was first discovered and search how it is related to a paper written in the same script she received on her 18th birthday when she was told that she was adopted – a search that will take them into the mystical world of gypsy tradition and magic, more exciting and dangerous than any of them could have imagined.


The author will be awarding a $25 gift card to either Amazon or Barnes and Noble to one person who leaves a comment on this tour.




EXCERPT
THE CADENCE OF GYPSIES

"Ouch!  You're standing on my fingers!"  This from the petite girl with a long, blond ponytail, wearing a nightgown, most of which was pulled up between her legs and tied into a knot at her waist to keep it from getting tangled on the limb where she was perched.   Somewhere above her the sound of a saw and splintering wood filled the darkness followed by a stream of profanity repeated in several foreign languages for emphasis.

"It doesn't look right.  It's supposed to have a rim and a dent."  Clinging to a 12-foot ladder as she pointed the flashlight first this way and then that, the heavy-set girl wearing a nightshirt buttoned at the neck offered this with a slight lisp.

The girl with the blond ponytail giggled.

"What do you mean--dent?!  Let me see that picture."  The tall black girl completely hidden aimed her flashlight toward the magazine that was being thrust upwards through the thick branches in her direction.

"And the top is supposed to be rounded--like a button mushroom," the girl in the nightshirt added, the word "mushroom" sounding more like "muthroom."

"That's because it's circumcised," supplied the girl with the ponytail, from which she removed a small twig and a handful of leaves.

"Shekoo, baboo!”  More profanity.  “Okay.  I know what to do."  The tall black girl disappeared back into the upper-most branches of the tall plant that was more tree than bush.  After several additional minutes, the sawing, crunching, and clipping sounds finally gave way to the more gentle sounds of tiny snips.  And then, silence.

"That's it; everybody down."

The petite girl, with the magazine that had been overlooked in the last confiscation and now wedged firmly under her armpit, started the perilous descent first since she was nearest to the ground, followed by the tall girl.  The girl in the nightshirt eased her way down the ladder juggling pruning shears, a hand saw, and scissors.  Once on the ground, the three girls stood back to admire their work.

"That is one honkin' Peni erecti," said the tall girl causing a fresh explosion of giggles.  "Let's get out of here."  After quickly rolling down the legs of her pajama bottoms, the tall girl grabbed one end of the ladder and, along with her two friends, lugged it and the other tools back to the shed that housed lawn maintenance equipment.  Task accomplished, they returned to their rooms, and to their individual beds, careful not to disturb the other dorm residents, the floor monitors, their suitemates and, most importantly, their slumbering dorm mother, Ms. Larkins.  Within minutes, they fell into a deep, peaceful sleep--the sleep of innocent angels.

It would soon be light; and Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women would start another day.

Barbara Casey

AUTHOR INFORMATION:

Originally from Carrollton, Illinois, Barbara Casey attended the University of North Carolina, North Carolina State University, and North Carolina Wesleyan College where she received a BA degree, summa cum laude, with a double major in English and history. In 1978 she left her position as Director of Public Relations and Vice President of Development at North Carolina Wesleyan College to write full time and develop her own manuscript evaluation and editorial service. Since that time her award-winning articles, short stories, and poetry for adults have appeared in several publications including the AMERICAN POETRY ANTHOLOGY, the SPARROWGRASS POETRY FORUM, THE NATIONAL LIBRARY OF POETRY (Editor’s Choice Award), the NORTH CAROLINA CHRISTIAN ADVOCATE MAGAZINE, THE NEW EAST MAGAZINE, the RALEIGH (NC) NEWS AND OBSERVER, the ROCKY MOUNT (NC) SUNDAY TELEGRAM, DOG FANCY, BYLINE, TRUE STORY and THE CHRISTIAN RECORD. A thirty-minute television special which Ms. Casey wrote and coordinated was broadcast on WRAL, Channel 5, in Raleigh, North Carolina. Ms. Casey's award-winning science fiction short stories for adults are featured in THE COSMIC UNICORN and CROSS TIME short story anthologies. Her essays, also written for adults, appear in THE CHRYSALIS READER, the international literary journal of the Swedenborg Foundation, and A CUP OF COMFORT ANTHOLOGY by the Adams Media Corporation.

Her two middle-grade/young adult novels, LEILANI ZAN and GRANDMA JOCK AND CHRISTABELLE (James C. Winston Publishing Co.) were nominated for awards of excellence by the SCBWI Golden Kite Award, the National Association of University Women Literary Award and the Sir Walter Raleigh Literary AwardSHYLA'S INITIATIVE (Crossquarter Publishing Group, 2002), a contemporary adult novel of fiction, received the 2003 Independent Publisher Book Award and received special recognition for literary merit by the Palm Beach County Cultural Council. Ms. Casey’s novel THE COACH’S WIFE (ArcheBooks Publishing), a contemporary mystery, was listed as a Publisher’s Best Seller and was semifinalist of the Dana Award for Outstanding Novel. In 2007 her novel, THE HOUSE OF KANE (ArcheBooks Publishing), also a contemporary mystery, was considered for a Pulitzer nomination, and in December 2009 her novel, JUST LIKE FAMILY (Wandering Sage Publications), was launched by the
7-Eleven stores in St. Louis, Missouri. Her young adult novel, THE CADENCE OF GYPSIES (Gauthier Publications), was released in March 2011 and considered for the Smithsonian’s Most Notable 2011 Books.  It has also been selected by Amazon for its 2013 List of Best Books.  THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO PRISSY (Strategic Media Books), a novel for adults, was released in March 2013 and received an IPPY Award for Best Regional Fiction.  It has also been listed as a “2013 Best Summer Read” by Conversations Live Radio and has been placed in nomination for a Pulitzer Award.

Ms. Casey is a frequent guest speaker at writers’ conferences and universities throughout the United States. She is former director, guest author, and panelist of BookFest of the Palm Beaches, Florida; and for thirteen years she served as judge for the Pathfinder Literary Awards in Florida.  She held the position of Florida Regional Advisor for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators from 1991 to 2003.

Ms. Casey is president of the Barbara Casey Agency. She represents clients nationally and internationally in fiction and nonfiction for adults. Her past and present professional associations are numerous and include being editorial consultant for The Jamaican Writers Circle in affiliation with the University of West Indies and Mico Teachers College in Kingston. She also received special recognition for her editorial work on the English translations of Albanian children’s stories.

LINKS




Remember to leave your email with your comment to be entered in the drawing for a $25 gift card from Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Thanks for stopping by!





Monday, August 26, 2013

WHAT I LEARNED IN MY RESEARCH FROM CYNTHIA WOOLF



What I Learned in My Research

By Cynthia Woolf



First, I should tell you that I chose to set my latest series, Matchmaker & Co, in Golden, Colorado because I grew up in the mountains west of there.  It’s my hometown.

Now you would think that because it’s my hometown, I’d know some of its history but I didn’t know much.  I left Golden in my twenties knowing only that it was the Jefferson County seat, the headquarters of Adolph Coors Brewing Company and the home of the Colorado School of Mines.

I didn’t know that the School of Mines was first opened under the auspices of the Episcopal Church in 1873.  Who knew it had been around that long?

Founded in 1859, did you know that Golden was the territorial capital of Colorado from 1862 – 1867?  I didn’t.  It lost its bid for state capital to Denver when the territory became a state on August 1, 1876.

When the first railroad came to Golden, it carried only freight, no passengers.  Passenger service began in 1890.  Now we’re back to having no rail passenger service but there is freight service to the Adolph Coors Brewery.

I found out that Golden sits in the caldera of an extinct volcano and that it was a hub for agriculture in the late 1800’s.


Doing the background research for my books gave me a new understanding of my hometown.  I recommend that everyone research their town’s history. You may be surprised at what you find.







From well known author Cynthia Woolf, comes a new instalment of the Matchmaker and Co series. 

You haven't read the previous books yet? Don't worry! this amazing book, can also be read as a stand alone, in fact it's the perfect place for you to start! What are you waiting for?


FIERY BRIDE
by Cynthia Woolf




Quick Facts                                        
                                           


Released Date: July 5th, 2013                                 




Genre: Western Historical Romance                                            
Formats: All ebook formats and paperback 






SYNOPSIS


After a disastrous marriage, Matchmaker Maggie vowed never to marry again.  She will never give another man the power of life and death over her body and soul. Unfortunately, that doesn't keep her lonely heart from fantasizing about her newest client, Caleb Black. She made the mistake of starting a flirtatious correspondence with the clever devil, believing they would never meet. But when his new bride abandons her mid-way to Colorado to elope with another man, Maggie is forced to face the devastatingly handsome Caleb and explain.  Now she'll have to stay long enough to make things right and find him a new wife.  But Maggie better hang on to her vow with both hands, because Caleb has other plans for the fiery matchmaker...and a very seductive kiss.







EXCERPT:


“What do you mean, you quit?  Mr. Sinclair, you just can’t quit.”  Margaret “Maggie” Selby put her pen down on the desk.  She would not raise her voice.  She would not lose control.

“I’m sorry, Mrs. Selby, but I got no choice.  There’s an opening at the sanitarium in Albany and my Mary, she needs to go right now.  The doctors there might be able to help her.  We leave on the morning train.”

Maggie took a deep breath and nodded.  She understood.  She really did, but it didn’t change the fact that she was now in a difficult situation.  “Of course, you must go.  I know how poor Mary’s health is and any help that can be obtained for her, must be.”


“I wish I could give you some notice, but we just received the letter in yesterday’s post.”


“It’s fine, Mr. Sinclair.  I’ll manage.”


He handed her an envelope.  “Here are the train tickets.”

“Yes, well, I’ve wanted to see the frontier I’ve been sending my these girls to.  I’m simply going to see it sooner than I anticipated.”
“I’m truly sorry, Mrs. Selby.”

Maggie got up, came around the desk and held her hand out to him.  “You just take care of Mary.  That’s your job now.”

He shook her hand, nodded.  Mr. Sinclair put on his hat and wiped his brow with his kerchief before venturing back out into the already hot and sunny morning.  

She went to her desk, grabbed Caleb Black’s file, put the closed sign on the door and then went upstairs to her apartment to pack.  Her bride, Jenny Talbot would be by in an hour or so to pick up her tickets.  Maggie would tell her then that she’d be accompanying her, not Mr. Sinclair.  It was just as well.  Jenny was nervous as a kitten and Maggie worried about the union, but both Mr. Black and Jenny had been adamant that it take place.  If truth be told, Maggie herself was a better match for Mr. Black than Jenny.  But she was here to find matches for others, not for herself.

Jenny’s reasoning she understood.  Jenny was the oldest of the seven Talbot children.  At twenty-two years old, felt she was a burden on her parents even though she worked and helped out with the bills.  She hated her job and wanted to get married.  Her chances were growing slim.  Most men of marriageable age were either already married, old or widowers with hellions for children. 

Jenny was a tall, slim girl with pale blue eyes and dark blond hair.  Her lips were full, her nose long and straight.  Just a plain young woman from a struggling family who wanted a better life.  One that the wild frontier might be able to offer.

Mr. Black’s reasoning was less clear.  He was successful and wanted children. Maggie had presented him with several other possible candidates, some more attractive, some younger, some older, all of whom he’d rejected.  The reasons he gave were weak.  Brown hair.  Too short.  Too fat.  Too thin.  Too young. Too old.  There seemed to be a reason for rejecting every one she sent him.  
Finally, he’d settled on Jenny with the proviso that Maggie herself accompanied the girl.  


She’d agreed, but stated only that Jenny would be accompanied.  With her full intention having been to send Mr. Sinclair in her place.  Maggie’s time was much more well spent here in New York.  Finding clients, assigning candidates that is where her mind, body and commitment lay.  Yes, running her business is where she belonged more than on a trip to the wild West.  She didn’t feel bad about her decision.  Really she didn’t, she told herself over and over.  But she was lying.  If she were honest, deep down she was afraid to meet Mr. Black.  Afraid her image of him would be wrong, but even more afraid it would be right and he really was the man he depicted in his letters.


She shouldn’t have allowed it, the private correspondence, but it had been innocent enough.  In the beginning.  A simple flirtation with someone she’d never meet.  But now, the thought of actually meeting him terrified and thrilled her at the same time. Now she had to go.  Maggie released a rather breathless sigh.  She blinked repeatedly against the harsh sunlight.  So Mr. Black was getting what he’d asked for after all.  Much to her dismay.





Check the rest of the stops to find more teasers, guest posts, top ten lists, reviews and a lot more!




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Cynthia Woolf was born in Denver, Colorado and raised in the mountains west of Golden. She spent her early years running wild around the mountain side with her friends. Their closest neighbor was one quarter of a mile away, so her little brother was her playmate and her best friend. That fierce friendship lasted until his death in 2006.

Cynthia was and is an avid reader. Her mother was a librarian and brought new books home each week. This is where young Cynthia first got the storytelling bug. She wrote her first story at the age of ten. A romance about a little boy she liked at the time.


She worked her way through college and went to work full time straight after graduation and there was little time to write. Then in 1990 she and two friends started a round robin writing a story about pirates. She found that she missed the writing and kept on with other stories. In 1992 she joined Colorado Romance Writers and Romance Writers of America. Unfortunately, the loss of her job demanded she not renew her memberships and her writing stagnated for many years.


In 2001, she saw an ad in the paper for a writers conference being put on by CRW and decided she'd attend. One of her favorite authors, Catherine Coulter, was the keynote speaker. Cynthia was lucky enough to have a seat at Ms. Coulter's table at the luncheon and after talking with her, decided she needed to get back to her writing. She rejoined both CRW and RWA that day and hasn't looked back.

Cynthia credits her wonderfully supportive husband Jim and the great friends she's made at CRW for saving her sanity and allowing her to explore her creativity.


Find more about her at: www.cynthiawoolf.com


GIVEAWAYS:


Check these amazing giveaways:


Giveaway 1

a Rafflecopter giveaway



  • Prize: A $50 Amazon GC
  • International
  • There will be one winner.
  • The winner will be notified via email and has 48hs to respond, otherwise a new winner will be drawn.

a Rafflecopter giveaway





GIVEAWAY 2


  • Prize: A Paperback copy of FIERY BRIDE by CYNTHIA WOOLF.
  • U.S ONLY
  • There will be one winner.
  • The winner will be notified via email and has 48hs to respond, otherwise a new winner will be drawn.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway







GET IT HERE:


Friday, August 23, 2013

COMING SOON!

Every author wants to gain more readers. To accomplish this goal, many authors are joining together to produce a boxed set of their books which they offer at a bargain price for readers. It’s not a trick, not exactly.

Readers, we need you. Without readers, our efforts to produce book after book would be futile.  We love writing, love having our books read and appreciated. If we can gain more readers, we’re game for almost anything . . . well, almost anything.

Eight friends and I have united to produce what we think is a wonderful boxed set, NINE WAYS TO FALL IN LOVE.  We will release the set on September 1st for only 99 cents at Amazon. What a deal!  Each book is a romance, but some are suspense and some are humor. 


Here’s a rundown of the authors and titles:

Caroline Clemmons, THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE, a western historical romance.

Carra Copelin, CODE OF HONOR, a contemporary romance with mystery

Geri Foster, OUT OF THE SHADOWS, a contemporary, sexy, romantic suspense

Kathy Ivan, LOSING CASSIE, contemporary paranormal romantic suspense

Anna Jeffrey, SWEET RETURN, contemporary romance

Paty Jager, SECRET OF A MAYAN MOON, contemporary, an Isabella Mumphrey mystery/romantic suspense

DeLaine Roberts, TWO SIDES OF A HEARTBEAT, a contemporary romance with mystery

Jacquie Rogers, SLEIGHT OF HEART, a western historical romance

Beth Trissel, SOMEWHERE MY LOVE, a paranormal romance


To introduce our boxed set, we will be giving away lots of prizes all through September. Giveawys include a Kindle FireHD, a Coach backpack purse filled with books, gift cards, jewelry, and many other prizes. To sign up for the prizes, go to www.southerncomfortromance.com and sign up for the newsletter.

Thanks for stopping by! 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

COMFORT FOOD RECIPE - CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS

What are your comfort foods? By that I mean the particular foods that carry more than taste; they carry happy memories. Yes, we eat not only with our eyes and mouth, but with our minds.

Bowl of Chicken and Dumplings

One of my comfort foods is Chicken and Dumplings, one of the dishes my maternal grandmother prepared. She raised chickens until she moved to town, so she used a hen she'd killed, plucked, and then cut into pieces. I remember the horrid smell of the plucking process. Terrible..Ugh. I'd never brave through it on my own. 

My mom made the same recipe, especially in winter. Mom bought a chicken at the supermarket then cut it up and stewed it. Much easier than my grandmother's method. 

Except once, when I was about six, she decided the grocer's hens were not fresh enough. She drove into the country and bought a hen from a farmer. We drove home with the chicken in the back seat, hopping around and clucking. At home, mother killed the chicken--after we caught it again. Smart hen did not want any part of us. Mom been away from the farm so long she'd forgotten how onerous the steps were. Next came the tub of scalding water to dip the chicken in to pluck the feathers. By the time that chicken was on the stove stewing, my mother sat on the back steps, exhausted. She said brushed a feather off her house dress. "I'll never go through that again, even if I have to do without chicken for the rest of my life." From then on, it was the grocer's meat market for her.

I love chicken and dumplings any time of year, but have never been able to make them taste like Grandmother’s. Fortunately, my husband has a knack for cooking and has duplicated them for me. He uses skinless chicken breasts instead of the whole chicken. Times change, so do our outlooks on fat and calories.



Here’s the recipe, which also appears in my book THE MOST UNSUITABLE WIFE, prepared by the heroine, Pearl Parker, the day she meets the hero, Drake Kincaid:


                                                          Chicken and Dumplings
                                                                             
1 large stewing hen
2 cups flour                                                                 1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup shortening                                                      1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk                                                                   Optional: sliced carrot and celery

Choose and prepare a nice fat hen.  Cut it up, with the meat on the bone.  Stew the chicken in a large pot with plenty of water.  After the chicken has cooked, you may want to remove the bones so people do not have to deal with them when they eat. 
 
Cook the chicken until it is tender (about an hour).  You can put slices of carrot and celery in the broth as the chicken cooks.  Season broth with salt and pepper.  When the chicken is tender, cook on very low simmer while you make the dumpling dough.

To make the dough:  

Mix the flour, shortening, baking powder, salt and milk.  Roll dough out thin and add more flour if it is not stiff enough.  Cut it into strips about 1" to 2" wide.  Keep heat low under chicken.  Drop half of dumplings into broth, pulling strips of dough into pieces as you drop them.  After about five minutes, push those dumplings to the side of the pan and drop in the rest of the dough in the same way.  Cook another five minutes or so.  Stir. Take a little fresh milk or buttermilk and drizzle it around the edges of the pan.  Stir.  Cook another ten minutes.  Test to make sure dumplings are cooked through and serve.   Enjoy.  

Thanks for stopping by!


Monday, August 19, 2013

REVIEW OF CODE OF HONOR BY CARRA COPELIN



Graeme McAllister has been summoned home by his foster mother. His foster dad had a bout of heart trouble and has not rallied as hoped. He learns that is only an excuse: his foster mom wants him to do some investigating. Graeme loves this couple who had one son and took him in with five other boys. The foster parents live on a large ranch in North Central Texas and the family owns half interest in a small airline.

Previously, Graeme’s foster brother died in a plane crash, supposedly under the influence of morphine. The death was ruled a suicide. Graeme cannot believe his brother would take his own life, especially not leaving a beautiful wife and young son, nor would his brother do drugs. Graeme was in Afghanistan when his brother died and received a leave barely long enough to attend the funeral before returning to duty. Shortly after he returned to duty, he was severely injured on patrol and spent months in a hospital before returning to his apartment in Washington DC.

Maggie Benning and Graeme were an item, or so Graeme believed until she married his foster brother.

Maggie has finally worked up her courage and returned to her home on the ranch. She was accused of stealing the morphine used by her husband and suspended from her job. Since the investigation failed to prove her responsible for the theft, she is seeking reinstatement as a nurse. In the meantime, her son Andy is on vacation with her mom and stepdad at Disneyland. He’s having the time of his life while she sweats moving back into the home she had shared with her late husband. She also works as a waitress at the restaurant and bar owned by her mom and stepdad.

Maggie is wracked with questions. Dare she voice them? If so, to whom? Certainly, she does not want to believe her husband committed suicide. Was he involved with another woman? What caused his withdrawal and long work hours the few months before he died?

When a break-in occurs her first night home, she is rattled. Did she imagine the noise? Could it have been a cat? Hmm, a cat who leaves human footprints? But what would anyone want from her home?

Graeme and Maggie rekindle the attraction as they battle unknown villains to discover what really caused the plane crash as well as other “accidents” that happen recently.  I can’t reveal more of the story without spoilers, so I suggest you read CODE OF HONOR.


Carra Copelin, Author of CODE OF HONOR

Carra Copelin delivers a well-paced, satisfying romance filled with mystery and a touch of humor. Her characterizations bring the characters to life so that a reader views them as alive and friends (or foes in the case of the bad guys). I give CODE OF HONOR a 5 out of 5 and look forward to future books in the Texas Code series. The book is available at Amazon and Smashwords in ebook and at Amazon in print.

Thanks for stopping by.

  

Friday, August 16, 2013

HOW MUCH OF WHAT WE WRITE IS REAL?

By Velda Brotherton

Stephen King writes through his character in his novel JOYLAND, that the writer who writes history writes fiction. When I first read this I thought how untrue that was. Then I began to think about how we research. How we go back to other writings of historical happenings and the people who lived them. Or we interview people whose stories have been passed down through the generations.

The dictionary says fiction is a product of the imagination, the category of literature with imaginary characters, and events…

And so, in a way, King is correct. For we never can quite get it exact. There will be several versions of the same story, or the source won't be accurate even though many researchers use it. In the newspaper business they told us to go to at least three sources for our research, the caveat being that each of those sources must come from independent and reliable sources. Otherwise, we could be perpetuating what King calls fiction, which is something that is untrue.

For more years than I care to count, I've been a professional writer of both fiction and nonfiction. In that time researching has become second nature. In my interviews, I would often speak to several people about the same event. Each would tell the story a bit differently. Eye witness accounts of an event are notoriously unreliable. So how can we expect all those sources we consult to steer us in the right direction?

What can we get right? Recorded dates of events and locales are generally correct. What about the characters involved? Ask for stories about Jessie James. Notice how folks in every town in Arkansas, Kansas and Missouri lay claim to the James Brothers either riding through, or committing a robbery there? No way could they have done all the things it is claimed. The best we can do is have some idea when they pulled off a big robbery that was written up in some newspaper. Can we completely trust that story? No, we can't, because eye witnesses were interviewed.

The best we can do as writers is find historians we can trust and use them. We are, after all, not historians, but writers, and most of us writers of fiction. As such we don't have the years it takes to dig deep enough to come close to the truth, and is it really necessary?

As a western writer, I know how many discrepancies there are. One of the latest so called facts of history in question is, did Pat Garrett really kill Billy the Kid?

When I was researching for my Kindle novella, THE LEGEND OF THE ROSE, based on the Rose of Cimmarron, I was surprised to learn that much of her legend was created in 1915 for a movie titled The Passing of Oklahoma Outlaws, and most of it never happened. Still, the legend was written and rewritten in both fiction and nonfiction books until it's impossible to tell where the truth left off and became fiction. Some today even claim she never existed at all. Rose disappeared into history the day of the famous battle in Ingalls, Indian Territory in 1893 between members of the Dalton/Doolin Gang and 13 United States Deputy Marshals. My choice, after reading several different versions of this tale, was to create my story around her legend, but write my own fictional tale of what happened to her after that fateful day based on what I could learn about the legendary character.

Since I write mostly western historical romance, research is very important to my work. Where was George Armstrong Custer on a certain day when I chose to have him lying with a Cheyenne woman who would bear his child? A child who would grow up to be Stone Heart in my book STONE HEART'S WOMAN? All I knew for sure was that, as a young man, he was on his way home on leave from the military academy, and he would have been in the right place at the right time to fit my story. The rest is pure conjecture.

Custer's life is pretty well documented as to when he was where and what he did. But can we ever truly know his motivation? Can we understand how a woman like Libby Custer could come to so love him that she protected his reputation long after his death? Those things, if we write about them, will be fiction. What we imagine them to be.

My latest project is The Victorians, a three-part series about three young women who emigrate from an orphanage in England to Victoria, Kansas. One has agreed to marry a titled property owner. The small town was begun by George Grant when he bought tracts of land from the railroad and resold them to the English who were eager to own land when no more was available in England. This much is well documented. My three books are fiction, yet they are based on something that really happened. So I have to decide how much of what I write will be true and how much I can invent. In the background of my tales are a few real characters who settled in Victoria, including George Grant. All the rest are figments of my imagination. But they remain true to the Victorian mores. One of my sources stated that the 1860-70 era was much like the 1960-70 era with flower children and free sex within the more prudish population. Fit right in with my romances.

My great-great-grandmother was a Victorian and she and her husband migrated to Kansas when my great-grandmother was thirteen. I was sixteen when she died, so I remember her well, and I remember how even my grandmother clung to some of the rules of that age.

Any writer, no matter the genre in which they work, must research certain facts and get them right. Even those writing fantasy and the related genres have certain restrictions.
Only you can decide where you'll draw the line, but you'd better not include real life characters who were known to be elsewhere at the time. Or get dates wrong on factual happenings. Most importantly, do not use slang or phrases from today in your historicals. 

Happy researching, and thanks for visiting me here on Caroline Clemmons' blog.
 
Author Velda Brotherton
Velda Brotherton writes of romance in the old west with an authenticity that makes her many historical characters ring true. A knowledge of the rich history of our country comes through in both her fiction and nonfiction books, as well as in her writing workshops and speaking engagements. She just as easily steps out of the past into contemporary settings to create novels about tough women who conquer life’s difficult challenges. Gutsy heroines, strong and gentle heroes, villains to die for, all live in the pages of her novels and books.



WILDA'S OUTLAW, the first of the series, The Victorians, is her latest book.

Excerpt:

“You want me to kidnap you so you don’t have to marry this remittance man?”

“Remittance…? I…never mind, that is essentially it, yes. I don’t wish to marry Lord Prescott.”

“What do you think they’ll do to me if they catch us?”

She shrugged, then remembered he couldn’t see her in the dark. “Well, but they are already going to hang you if they catch you. Is that not so? So what difference would it make?”

He uttered some words under his breath that she didn’t understand, but she decided it was best that way.

“I suppose that’s true,” he finally said. “But tell me one reason why I ought to do this. Just one would do, two would be better.”

“Reason?”

“Or are you uppity English so used to having your way you thought all you had to do was ask? What’s in it for me, lady?”

Uppity? How dare he? Her tongue stuck to the roof of her dry mouth, and it was a moment before she could go on. Afraid to reply to his second question, for fear he might be getting at something she wouldn’t want to deal with, she answered the first.

“No. I don’t recall ever having my way. Not since my parents were killed and they sent me to that orphanage.”

A short silence, followed by a snort. “Oh, that’s good. Make me feel sorry for you. I watched my father murdered and my mother died of the pox when I was off fighting the damned Yankees, who burned down our house and killed both my brothers. Nobody’s ever given a damn about any of that, and they sure as hell won’t give me any breaks when they go to hang me, so why should I give you any?”

She thought about that. He was right of course. She had said nearly the same on occasion. “I’m sorry about your family, but at least I didn’t start robbing and killing people.”

“No, you just sold yourself to a man and now you want out of it."

"That's not exactly true."

"And it's not true I've killed…well, except in the war, and that doesn’t count. Where'd you get that idea anyway?"

“I suppose I…oh, I have no idea. I just thought – ”

“Thinking’s not good. Tell me, what do you suggest I do with you…that is, if I agree to this crazy idea?”

“Do with me?”

“Well, I can’t carry you around on the back of my horse the rest of my life, or stuff you in my saddle bags and only let you out to…uh, do your business once in a while.



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