Sunday, August 29, 2010

Summer Recipe - Grandma's Yummy Banana Bread

Good Sunday morning, one and all.

When I saw that we were sharing our favorite summer recipes this week, I wanted to jump in and offer up my grandmothers yummy Banana Bread recipe and a humorous tidbit about the very first time I made this recipe.

Now I should tell you, I am not much of a cook, baker or in the kitchen type person, but when I first tried out this recipe I was seriously considering a career in the culinary arts with a focus on baking. I mean who wouldn't want to be able to create those fabulous confectionery delights. Wedding cakes, truffles and trifles, just to name a few.

So I thought to start with an easy banana bread...

I was fine mashing the bananas. Mixing the dry ingredients - a snap. Cracking eggs, not a problem. Then came the sour milk. Where did one find such a thing? Did they sell it somewhere? Should I leave some milk out of the fridge...did that make it sour and for how long?

Determined to do this on my own and not call my dad (he's awesome with food) I went back to the recipe. And there in small scribbled script was a note - sweet milk plus 1 tsp vinegar. Vinegar? In banana bread? Ooh, ick! LOL Some baker huh. Now I did call my dad, sure the recipe must be faulty and wondering at all of the banana bread I'd had over the years at my Grandma's house...had there been vinegar in those yummy slices?

Yep, indeed. Per my old man, vinegar sours milk. So I trudged on and finished making the bread. It was good, but it got me thinking about all the sweet delights I enjoyed...did they have weird things in them too? Did I want to know what was in them or did I just want to enjoy them?

Needless to say my life's calling did not include professional baking, but that's okay. My dad still cooks a bunch for family get-together and my hubby rocks in the kitchen so I'm covered. :)

Enjoy the recipe!

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Mix and sift dry ingredients together

1/2 cup shortening (Crisco)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
l/2 cup sour milk (or regular milk with 1 tsp vinegar added)
1 cup mashed bananas

Cream sugar and shortening. Add sifted dry ingredients and eggs. Add mashed bananas alternately with the sour milk. Mix well.

Add 1/2 cup walnuts if desired.

Pour into well-greased (one large or 2 small) pans.
Bake at 350 degrees.
1 hour for large pan, 40-45 mins for small pans

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Romance of Creamy Fruit Kisses

Yes, recipe fans, never fear, there is one in this *sweet heat level* scene between Sedona and Volcano, my heroine and hero in WHEN A GOOD ANGEL FALLS.

This is one of my favorite summer treats of all time. And, since, I like revisiting my Happily Ever After couples, I took advantage of the opportunity.

Summer, 2013

Sedona marveled at the bright, nearly blinding light of the late afternoon sun. Sol’s rays captured the mountaintops making them appear like a distant shimmering land, one inhabited by fairytale characters.

Smiling, she shaded her eyes and luxuriated in the full sunlight. Sedona still had trouble believing the Earth had recuperated this quickly from all of the horrors inflicted upon her.

Silently blessing the Mother, she closed her eyes and let Sol’s healing light saturate her entire body. Two decades ago, she’d been a sun worshiper of sorts – laying in the sun even though her skin was fair – spending lots of time outdoors, gardening.

Sedona spun in slow motion absorbing all the glorious, golden-tinted rays.

“My Sundance Angel,” Volcano crooned from the back door of their cozy cabin.

Halting, she gave him a flirtatious smile. After all the timbre of his voice did the most delightfully wicked things to her. “I know what you want, you bad boy cherub.”

“The sweet cream of your body beneath mine?”

His tease had her playfully rolling her shoulders and giving him a smirk. “No, you want the sweet cream fruit salad I promised to make.”

With a careless move, he folded his arms and leaned lazily against the door frame. His smile beamed toward her, brighter in its own way, than the lowering sun.

“You win. You win.” Sedona strode toward him, her steps feeling ethereal, as if she danced on sunbeams. “Is the manna scintillating?”

Volcano moved before her. A hunk to be reckoned with, he stopped her entry into the kitchen. “The manna store is open, my woman. I have set out the bowls and the mixer.”

“I’ll give you credit, you do make it easy to give you what you want. Now, get out of my way, unless you want me to kiss you senseless.” Sedona heard her tone as way too dreamy – not commanding at all. She frowned.

As he allowed her inside, Volcano’s gaze met hers. Their intimate feelings for each other flared, hot and intense.

“After.” His growled promise shuddered through her.

Pivoting smartly, Sedona walked toward the counter where the bowls waited. “Strawberries, fresh and plump, please.” Her eyes widened fast as she recalled how he’d passionately used the word strawberry during their lovemaking. She added, “Don’t you say it.”

“At your manna service, my Sedona.”

From the corner of her eye, she watched him wave his hand in a gallant fashion. The ripe red strawberries appeared before her. Their delectable perfume enticed her to sample, but she didn't.

Instead, she shut her eyes for an instant, inhaling, then picked up the knife and began slicing the berries into the largest bowl. Joining her, Volcano did his share. “I do love how helpful you are, Mr. Sexy Kitchen Man. Next, I need some manna pineapple...”

She’d barely spoken it before the gorgeous whole pineapple appeared. Volcano held it up for both of them to admire. Again, the sweet-as-candy smell had her breathing deeply, had her filling her nostrils.

Volcano set the prize pineapple on the cutting board, then swept up a large knife and in under a minute he had the yellow fruit exposed. Soon, they both cut the juicy strips into smaller pieces, adding them to the strawberries.

“Bananas,” Sedona instructed. She licked the scrumptious pineapple juice off her fingers.

Volcano’s heated gaze caught her mid-lick. “Bananas,” he repeated, all too meaningfully.

Caught off guard for seconds, she blinked. “If you want a satisfied banana later, behave.”

Grinning in that seductive way of his, the one Sedona adored, Volcano raised his hand and opened his palm. Two luscious ripe bananas appeared.

“That’s better.” Snatching the nearest one, Sedona peeled it. Slicing the beautiful length of fruit, she added the thin pieces to the main bowl. The banana’s aroma enchanted her as much as the combined scents of strawberry and pineapple. Uplifted by the sight and smell of the cut fruit, she sighed with happiness. “Oh, I am loving this manna fruit.”

“And I’m loving you,” Volcano huskily whispered near her ear.

“Oh, oooooh... you’re distracting a woman with a knife in her hand.”

“You whip the cream, my precious woman. I’ll cut up this banana.” Volcano gently removed the paring knife from her fingers, and they switched positions.

Mentally shaking herself, Sedona ignored her lusty yearnings. “The celestial cows do give the best cream.” Dipping in a fingertip, she relished the thickness, then tasted the tiny bit on the end of her finger. “Yum... even without the vanilla and honey in it yet.”

“Yum,” Volcano echoed in a rasp.

Making herself focus, Sedona took hold of the seventies style portable mixer, preparing to whip the cream. “Slice,” she reminded. ‘Oh, and add some cloud flavoring.”

“How about pink sunset cloud?”

“Yes, oh yes.” Turning the mixer on high, Sedona created her own brand of magic, patiently whipping the cream in the cold bowl as she’d done since her teenage years.

“Dribble some honey on the fruit and stir?” Volcano asked, reaching for the honey bear container they kept on the counter.

“Mind reader,” she accused. “Yes, please. Then you can put in a splash of vanilla. The cream is beginning to stiffen... just right.”

Keeping one eye on the peaking, snowy-white cream, Sedona observed the deft way Volcano stirred the fruit. “Perfect,” she praised, then lowered the mixer’s speed.

Volcano poured in about half a teaspoon of the pure vanilla they’d found in a deserted warehouse recently. “Ready for the honey, honey?” he playfully asked.

“Ready.” After slowing the mixer’s speed even more because the peaks had become noticeably higher, Sedona positioned the bowl for him. The thin line of dark golden honey Volcano carefully squeezed onto the cream gradually changed the color to a richer, slightly amber shade.

“Enough.” Sedona turned off the mixer and set it down. “I’ll give it the taste test.” Before she could scrape a bit from the edge of the bowl, Volcano held out his whipped cream covered fingertip.

“Bad, bad Mr. Kitchen Man,” she murmured throatily. The blaze of his dark purple eyes held her in sensual thrall as she slowly sucked the cream from his finger.

Cocooned by their passion, they gazed into each others' eyes, and remained motionless, that is, until Volcano leaned toward her. He pressed a swift sweet kiss on her lips.

Turning, he placed the bowl of ambrosia fruit near the whipped cream. “May I?”

Sedona reined in her rampant desires. “You’re so good at stirring, why not? However, you need to fold the cream into the fruit... like I showed you.”

Big spoon in hand, he waited for her to scoop out the whipped cream. Once she’d scraped the bowl clean with the soft spatula, he carefully blended the fruit and the whipped cream together.

As she watched, the whipped cream became delicate pink in color. Sedona loosed a sigh and allowed her good memories to surface. Once she'd released the beaters from the mixer, she took her time licking one of them clean.

“Done. And well done, handsome.” She offered the other beater to him.

With his usual irrepressible joy, Volcano made short work of it. He collected hers placing them both in the sink.

Sedona bent over the bowl and drew in the tantalizing ephemeral aromas of cream, strawberries, pineapple and bananas. “That does smell divine.”

“Heavenly because your love is one ingredient, my beautiful woman.” Volcano slipped the spoon in, presenting the first bite to her.

Sedona savored the spoonful, closing her eyes. “Yum, double yum. Manna ingredients are the best.”

When she opened her eyes, the fierce glow of his gaze caused her to sizzle deliciously. With her body molten desire, she moved close, and took the spoon from his hand.

Twisting at the waist, she scooped up a generous portion and slowly brought to his lips. “Taste.”

Sedona watched him enjoy. It was as though he relished every particle. “Is the cloud flavor to your liking?” she breathy-inquired, and knew her eyelids were at half-mast.

Volcano swept her against him, hard. The spoon clattered on the floor. Sedona wrapped her arms around his neck as he planted a long swashbuckling kiss on her lips.

Only gradually did their mouths untangle. Volcano loosened his hold, but kept her embraced, tenderly rocking her.

“You taste exquisite, like cloud ambrosia, my beloved Sedona.”

Standing on tiptoe, Sedona clung brushing her lips against his for what felt like endless moments. “Nothing like the romance of creamy fruit kisses. Let’s eat, handsome.”

Happy Summer Feasting


Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Rebecca J. Vickery Shares Summer Squash

Yellow Summer Squash are among my family's favorite veggies.
We don't care for them frozen or canned, but we eat bunches of them when they are in season. The yellow crookneck are our favorite variety.
I am always on the lookout for recipes that are a bit different, easy to prepare, and yummy. But the following recipes are old ones, passed down from mother to daughter (or to daughter-in-law in my case) for several generations. They have been tested repeatedly on my family and given a stamp of approval as favorites in my recipe box. 

Squash Patties
1 cup grated squash
1 teaspoon sugar (or Splenda)
1 egg (or equivalent egg substitute)
1/2 teaspoon minced onion
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
A dash of cayenne pepper or Louisiana Hot Sauce (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients except salt and pepper. 
Prepare a skillet by covering the bottom with vegetable oil or if using a non-stick skillet spray with cooking spray and heat on medium high. Drop mixture into skillet by large tablespoons. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. When edges are brown, flip patties and brown other side. Take them up and drain for about five minutes on paper towels to remove any extra oils, then serve. These do not freeze well, but will keep for several days in the fridge and are microwavable for reheating. 
Serving suggestion:
The grandkids love these patties served with a beautiful slice of tomato on top and a dab of sour cream or ranch dressing.

Dilly Panned Summer Squash
(This recipe was published in a Better Homes & Gardens cookbook in 1930 after a family member submitted it to the magazine for a contest. Though the original recipe book was lost, I do have a reprint from 1981.)
1 pound yellow crookneck or zucchini squash
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 tablespoon snipped parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried dillweed
Dash pepper

Wash and slice unpeeled squash. In a medium skillet melt butter. Add squash slices and sprinkle with parsley, salt, dillweed, and pepper. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender. Stir frequently. Makes 3 to 4 servings.  
Hope you enjoy these recipes as much as we do.

A Summer Collection

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Simple Summer Outdoor Food for Friends and Family

I love summer and I also love food, so a combination of the two is bliss for me. Summer weekends mean precious time with family and friends, so simple food that's easy to prepare, fun to cook and that tastes delicious is what I like best, and if it can be cooked outside, so much the better. I've put together some of my favourite marinades for food, things you can prepare well in advance then just take outside to cook on the grill or the barbecue when everyone's starting to get hungry. I think I've 'translated' all the ingredients correctly for my American friends!

I've found that kids really love to help make marinades, maybe because there's no real 'cooking' involved but they still get to do all the chopping and measuring. It's a nice way to introduce them to different ingredients and another way of preparing food. You'll see I don't use precise measures much but just go with what feels right for the amount of food to be cooked and personal preferences. If you love heat in your food, use chillies with their seeds and all, or leave out the seeds and use just a small amount of red chilli peppers if you only like the tiniest bit of kick. Pile on or remove the garlic as you prefer, it's up to you.

It's a pinch of this and a handful of that, my favourite way to cook with lovely summer ingredients.

Citrus marinade for prawns/shrimp.

Allow 6 or 8 jumbo prawns/large shrimp per person, peeled and ready to cook. Pour around half a glass of good olive oil into a shallow dish together with half a glass of white wine. Add:
- a tablespoon of French mustard
- 2 or 3 cloves of chopped garlic
- 1 medium size chopped red chilli, seeds left in if you like
- juice of 1 large fresh orange and 1 lemon
- a small handful each of chopped fresh coriander/cilantro and flat leaf parsley. You can substitute fresh basil for the coriander/cilantro if you prefer.

Mix the marinade well and add the prawns/shrimp, turning them over in the mixture to coat them. Leave covered in the refrigerator for 45 minutes to 1 hour, turning occasionally. Thread them onto bamboo skewers and cook on the outdoor grill or in an iron skillet in the kitchen till they're done, about 5 minutes or so depending on the size, basting occasionally with the remaining marinade as they cook. TIP: if you soak bamboo skewers in warm water for an hour before you need them, they won't burn when you put them on the grill.

This citrus marinade also works well with chicken strips, but here's another good one for chicken, invented by my husband.

Soy, honey and ginger marinade.

To about half a glass of olive oil in a shallow dish, add a tablespoon each of dark soy sauce and runny honey, a couple of cloves of chopped garlic, a tablespoon of grated fresh ginger and the juice of 1 orange. Add strips of skinless chicken and marinate for at least 1 hour. Thread onto skewers as above and cook on the grill until the chicken is thoroughly cooked through.

Here's a couple more, for your vegetarian family or friends.

Marinated Mediterranean Vegetables.

Prepare a marinade of olive oil, chopped garlic, juice of 1 lemon and some torn fresh basil. Add some aubergine/eggplant cut into 1" dice, some courgette/zucchini cut into 1/2" slices, some yellow and some red bell peppers cut into 1" chunks, some white or red onion also in 1" chunks, and some baby button mushrooms, left whole if small. Marinade for an hour then cook in an iron skillet over the grill. About 5 mins before the veggies are done, add some small, whole cherry tomatoes just to warm through. This is delicious served on crusty ciabatta bread topped with slices of creamy mozarella cheese.

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms.

Prepare a marinade of half a glass good olive oil, a couple of tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, chopped garlic, a twist of black pepper and a tablespoon of chopped fresh parsley. Pour over cleaned Portobello mushrooms, one or two per person depending on the size, and marinate for half an hour or so, turning occasionally. Cook for 5 - 10 minutes on the grill, basting with the remaining marinade. These are scrumptious served in crusty bread, topped with your favourite soft blue cheese crumbled over them just before you take them off the grill.

Pull up a chair, grab a plate and a glass of something crisp and cold - and enjoy!

Jane Richardson

Monday, August 23, 2010

Scrumptious Rhubarb Crisp

I love to cook, but especially to bake. But when it comes to pie crusts, I absolutely suck. So when friends brought over some of their freshly ripened rhubarb, I decided to do a crisp instead my husband's favorite pie.

Since we had to empty our den to turn it back into a living room while we remodel our living room, I had to pack up all my cookbooks. I could have sworn I did keep my favorite one out, but where I put it, I had no clue. So, I looked around online and I found several similar Rhubarb crisp recipes. This one stood out, because it had me making a sauce for it rather than sprinkling ingredients over the rhubarb. I sent it to the printer and set out to make it.

It was to die for. A perfect blend of tart and sweet. The topping was the best I've ever had. My husband, isn't huge crisp fan, but he raved. Jesse couldn't get enough of it, so he filled a bowl and took it back to his appartment.

Rhubarb Crisp

Preheat oven. 350 degrees

4 cups sliced Rhubarb


1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup quick cooking rolled oats
1/2 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon


1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla

I had 12 cups of Rhubarb, so I laid it out in a 9x12 pan. A single batch, you'd use a 8x8 pan.

In large mixing bowl, mix with a fork, all the dry topping ingredients then add the butter and continue to mix with a fork until you have a crumbled mixture, then set aside. I trippled the topping recipe, but doubled the cinnamon per recipe and added a quarter teaspoon of cloves per recipe.

In a saucepan, I mixed the sauce ingredients, trippling the batch. You then cook, stirring contantly until it thickens. Pour over Rhubarb, cover with crumbled topping and cover with foil until the last fifteen minutes.

Bake for about 40 minutes.

Give it a try when Rhubarb season comes around again. I'm not so sure frozen Rhubarb would be a tasty.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

No Bounds and No Boundaries ~ Sci Fi Romance

~Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo in the first STAR WARS movie~

The more I think about it, sci fi is a natural for romance novels. Why? Love, romance, passion ~ Knows no bounds and knows no boundaries. It fills the universe, so why not these OtherWorld stories between our heroines and heroes?

Also, come on, being a romantic at heart I wanted all the characters in Star Trek, and the following spin-off shows, to have their happily ever after. And, omy! In a galaxy far, far away ~ Star Wars, the first in a subgenre of science fiction now called space opera... well, I swear I lived each one of those movies as I watched them. And, at least, the get-it-done Princess Leia and the redeemed bad boy, Han Solo, discovered their love for each other. ~sigh~

In the Westerns I grew up on as a kid, it was darn upsetting when the handsome strong cowboy rode off into the sunset, no woman beside him. Sci Fi, as a genre, has long been guilty of refusing what comes naturally between a woman and a man, and that’s one reason I didn’t get into reading it a whole lot. I mean how much disappointment can you take?

Yet, sci fi stories, and space ~ the very idea of traveling among the stars, the possibility of other worlds, of other civilizations, has always fascinated me. I’ve loved looking up at the night sky ever since my dad and I would stand out in the front yard, and simply gaze at the wondrous celestial vault above us. He was a voracious reader of sci fi novels.

Space, the final frontier, where no man has gone before ~ the opening to the original Star Trek. There was something soul-compelling about that line for me, for many of us. Oh, how my imagination soared with the infinite possibilities whenever I heard William Shatner say those words.

But, hauling myself back down to Earth before I make this post too long... so far, I have two sci fi erotic romance novellas that are e-published ~ RED LIONESS TAMED and TANGERINE CARNAL DREAMS. Although, given Linda Banche’s explanation of sci fi, according to the EPPIE contest guidelines, I probably have elements of sci fi in all of my published books.

If you’re in the mood for a taste of how I write sci fi, here’s Part One of a new *prequel* scene I began penning for the two year anniversary of TANGERINE CARNAL DREAMS, released on August 8, 2008.

Yes, it is x or r-rated.

The Intergalactic Chase ~ Corporal Kattalonia and Prince Zio

Part One ~

“Asteroid crapola!” Katta muttered. Impatience sliced through her with a viciousness unusual to her. From her intel-alliance with other intergalactic law agencies she knew Zio, the sky horse, as she thought of him, practically stud-nipped at her butt. Once again.

His private vessel was due to dock shortly. True to his equine race’s mating behavior, he’d chased her to every spaceport, his pursuit annoyingly relentless.

Slinging her lightweight travel bag onto her back, Katta entered the stream of disembarking passengers. Distracted with thoughts about how to escape the stud not-of-her-dreams, she remembered to smile at the star cruiser’s steward as if she merely enjoyed her vacation.

The tiger-shift Huugosox man smiled engagingly in return. His direct gaze suggested he found her more enticing than the women ahead of her, now passing through the ship’s opulent, holo-generated exit.

Yeah, that’s what she so needed, a sex-clawing tiger instead of a wild-to-mount-her-ass stallion.

Not that she blamed the steward. To make herself appear like a fun-girl tourist, Katta had donned her outrageously pink bodysuit, the one that gleamed like water over her curves and served to sexually stun many alien-race men. Always an advantage when it came to protecting herself from numerous enemies, plus the other vermin-like villains she encountered on her assignments.

Resisting the urge to extend her palm and shoot her flame at will, Katta flattened her hand on her thigh. Star hole hell! She hated being in the midst of crowds. Yet, here she was temporarily trapped. Taking deep breaths of the good-quality atmosphere, she moved with the other passengers along the corridor that led to a three-layered complex. Filled with shopping areas and galactic-cuisine eateries, the accommodations also ranged from simple to extravagant.

Katta’s palm itched nastily, ready to fire. Even though the area was spacious, she instinctively wanted to clear a path so she could flame Zio’s ass. Or his front. Whatever she could flash-fast target.

Once she reached the ultra-enormous sphere that was the spaceport complex, she strode onto the center walkway because it cut straight through like a diameter. Briskly moving, Katta scouted for a strategic place to hang out until she could hop onto the space jet she’d chartered. Not available for another quarter of the day.

By now, her stallion shifter pursuer knew the type of places she favored for food, for entertainment, and for gear. Seeing a large selection of possibilities, she ignored the inviting gaze of a Gracc man and leapt onto one of the stairway gliders. Used to various levels of gravity, her body automatically adjusted, and she landed lightly. In no time, she stepped onto the second level. Spotting a lingerie shop that only allowed women inside, she practically jogged toward the entrance.

“Nova-sex wow!” Katta slowly rotated, gaping at the gorgeously presented displays of exotic and beautiful lingerie. From dreamy ethereal to hardcore I-want-it-rough, each collection had its own setting that was mood perfection.

When she noticed how tightly she clutched the strap of her bag, Katta brought it before her and slipped her hand inside the weapon’s pocket. Her tiny pulse pen could blind most races with one strike.

Sci Fi Happily Ever After ~


Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Science Fantasy Romance

Actually, I write Futuristic Erotic romances. My latest—Courting Kel—released July 28, 2010. Yes, this is shameless plug. At any rate, this story is about an Amazonian princess who thinks she’s been sold into sexual slavery to the prince of Ondrican. She doesn’t mind the sex, but she does resent the fact that the prince thinks they’re married.

The fun part of writing futuristics is that virtually anything goes. Made up worlds let the author’s imagination run wild. Amazonia, for example, is technologically challenged, while Ondrican has every gadget a person could wish for—including a touch of the paranormal like telekinesis in its residents. And there’s also a touch of whimsy in pegagryphs that fly all over the place.

I’ve also written two other futuristics that involve a meddlesome hermaphrodite. See? I told you imagination runs wild in this genre which, obviously, has little foundation in the laws of science—at least for me.

Check out my website at

Monday, August 16, 2010

Science Fiction Romance

If you're like me, you'd never heard of science fiction romance. I came across the category last year when I read the submission guidelines for the 2010 Eppie as preparation for submitting Lady of the Stars, my Regency time travel.

The Eppie guidelines don't have a specific time travel category. So, I sent an email to the Eppie coordinators, and they very promptly replied.

I thought time travels were paranormals. According to the Eppie, the time travel mechanism determines the genre. A SF has a mechanical mode, while a fantasy or paranormal uses magical means.

As a further wrinkle, for a magical mode, the setting of the book determines whether its category is paranormal or fantasy. A paranormal exists in the real world, while a fantasy exists in an imaginary world.

Lady of the Stars uses a wormhole as the transport mode, and a wormhole has some basis in modern physics. My story is also set in the real world, so Lady of the Stars is science fiction romance. I never would have known.

And how did my entry fare? Last year, Lady of the Stars was a finalist in the Science Fiction Romance category in the 2010 EPIC Ebook Competition.

Blurb and excerpt here.
Buy link here.

Thank you all,
Linda Banche
Enter My World of Historical Hilarity

Sunday, August 15, 2010

April Morelock - Contest

Thanks HEA for letting me take over your blog for the day. Wow… all these people. Captive audience… Whahhhahahahahahahahaaawwwww. My plans are all coming together ;>

LOL. No worries. I’ll be gentle. What I want to talk about today is real life drama!

You know it – it happens over the Thanksgiving turkey each year. Aunt Ruth can’t stand Margies stuffing; Granpa can’t keep his dentures in and has the kids laughing in the corner while everyones trying to eat and your own mother is driving you nuts because she’s bent on making everything perfect and just right when all you’d like is for her to sit down and just enjoy the company instead of throwing little fits in the kitchen. Sigh.

Then there’s the everyday drama – the kids daily struggles in school, the highs of a championship game or well executed performance, to the daily grind of work and whatever new fire has happened.

All of these things keep us from concentrating on what we want to accomplish in our spare time. You certainly don’t want to miss the big events in your family’s lives but carving out time for yourself and prioritizing (and then making sure everyone else prioritizes too) is tough for everyone.

For me, it’s my writing. HEA’s don’t just happen in fiction, you have to stick your butt in the seat and see to it that it happens.

With fall coming, I’m reevaluating my writing goals and refocusing --- just as the kids are getting excited about school… I’m getting excited about my next project.

Whether my hero’s are everyday men intent on being a hero for their daughter or a Grim Reaper saving a soul from a death squad of angels or trying to tame gay ninja assassin elves from destroying a bookstore, drama is what a writer’s life is about --- keeping it in our heads and out of our lives is paramount to keeping on track.

Do you have any advice??? Thoughts about your own life dramas that are getting in the way and the antedote.

Comment below for a chance to win a copy of my new release The Best Little Spin Wash in Texas; or email me at and I’ll enter you into the contest and send you a copy of one of my free reads.

Now, if I can just explain my priorities to my husband. He has his own honey-do list for me…. Oh, sweetie?????? About this list…

The Best Little Spin Wash in Texas

Introverted, timid quantum physicist Molly Timmons knows her way around a twenty-first century lab; but give her a hot, sexy male capable of turning her world upside down, and she's all thumbs... Until she meets a sexy stranger at the local Spin Wash and Go.

When the lights go out, John St. James is happy to oblige the sexy scientist and fulfill her every fantasy. For a few brief hours, he can grab hold of a moment of happiness before going back to the reality of his daughter's desperate illness.

The Spin Wash has secrets that could keep them apart. Secrets that could save his daughter and make Molly's career, or destroy their relationship. Time is running out... Can they unravel the secrets, save his daughter, and their love? If a government agency has its way, time and space may separate them forever.

Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content and graphic language.

Cover Art by Valerie Tibbs

April Morelock

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Guest Author-Poet ~ Get Bent! with K. A. M'Lady

Welcome to K. A. M’Lady!

The power of her ‘get bent’ poetry tickles my dark-humor funny bone, and inspires my creative imagination. It’s my fantasy-island vacation with Edgar Allen Poe and Rod Serling. We leisurely sip absinthe, perhaps a frothy tropical drink as well, and indulge in profound conversations. Of course, we take a mental walk on the dark and bizarre side of life. Gales of laughter erupt every now and then. Why not?

Dark humor is part of our human nature, a survival mechanism against the threats we face, the terrible times we all live and love through.

I don’t write the dark-humor realm well, but K. A. M’Lady pens it with saucy verve, pixie dust and exceptional cleverness.

Today, she is here to talk about her poetess journey and her book ~

Ramshackle Castle - Bent Poetry & Other Altered Verse – K.A. M’Lady

Hello HEA – thanks so much for inviting me today. Well, I pondered how to start this blog so you could get to know me a bit and, like much of the works I sit down to write I figured the best way for me to start is to just start. My name is K.A. M’Lady and I am a serious word junkie. It doesn’t really matter where the words come from; I get a new one daily from I also get a poem a day from the Writer’s Almanac. I have a horrible tendency to throw them out randomly at my youngest son – sometimes to drive him nuts, sometimes in an attempt to teach him something new. But, words are my thing, my gig, my addiction. And poetry… well, poetry has always been my first true love.

Like most long suffering teens I loved the darkness and drama of E.A. Poe. Took drama class once just to hear Shakespeare roll around in a head so far in the clouds I wasn’t sure where the spirits ended and my dreams for more began. All I was certain of was that I was hooked. Drawn to the beauty of words, the angst, the turmoil and the tragedy they stirred within me.

I began to write stories, poems and of course, the occasional rock star-wanna-be death metal songs of my own tragedies. I sucked in each word like a four year-old Pepsi addict stealing momma’s soda; every word a sweet, sugary bit of bliss. Then, life interrupted. Reality commenced and the writing stopped.

One day, beyond that empty darkness, I returned to the page as a means of escape from my own personal demons. I began to write again. About everything; colors, weather, pizza, burnt offerings and lamented souls. And oh, the e-zines I found online. The new poets who captivated me – Billy Collins, John Sweet, Kris T Kahn, Arlene Ang, John Amen, Sharon Olds, etc, etc. How they taught me to feel, to see, to despair. I related and it was beautiful. And, with a bit of encouragement I took that first step - I submitted a poem and then another. One journey led to the next and the poems became prose and the prose full works of fiction – paranormal fiction.

Keeping in tune with my dark, off-beat, paranormal, fantasy side and my love for poetry I put together my newest book, a book of poems that tells a side of the story of some of the characters from our favorite childhood fairytales and limericks, as well as a few remakes of some of the classic poets of all time. With titles like Another Dumb-Ass Lost in the Snow, Dead Birds and the Ghosts of Psycho Ex-Girlfriends and What Becomes of Falling Snow you’ll find a wide variety of verse to wander through. Here’s just a taste:

Get Bent! at the castle...

Ramshackle Castle - Bent Poetry & Other Altered Verse
K.A. M'Lady
ISBN: 1-60180-126-2
Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved – Mojocastle Press

Come, walk the night road through your memory of childhood fairy tales, limericks, ghostly apparitions and the lingering breath of classic poetry gone awry. At the Castle, magick and mayhem are a lyrical delight spun with fairy dust. It may at times be dark, dusty and a bit bent but every word is a glamorous enchantment.


Dime Store Candy

did you think it were easy
deciding to be a cooker of
children than a maker of
sweets? try as I might I didn’t
choose to toss them into me oven;
the heat set ta swelter; possibilities of
melting me sugared delights running
amok in me head, but that damn
Hansel boy -- what with his lapping
of me lollies and nibbling of me gingers
all through the night; and don’t get me
started on that sister of his -- Gretel,
she be the worst o’ the two -- with the smacking
her lips as she devoured half
of me window o’ pixie-stix edging and
two of me best lolly trees, neither
taking into consideration the countless hours
mixing and turning and folding the sugar
and spices, the separating of yolks,
twas a dash of me very soul in the
gummies lining the walkway, a drop of
me essence in every whorl of
frosting bordering me roof; you ask me they
probably teased those poor crows mad, tis
no wonder they gobbled up
all o’ the bread crumbs -- each caw echoing
throughout the dark forest -- as if to say,
“yer day is coming. yer time is spent.”

If you would like to read more of my dark tales you can wander through my dark fantasy series Realm. Its accolades include this detail -

Let's see if you can picture this scenario, Barbie, (totally soft, completely blonde, but an expert with a .45 auto) goes walking through a forest filled with creepy, slimy, icky things that would love to melt her down and ship her back to Mattel (TM); got that picture in your brain? Well this book from K.A.M'lady, is beautifully written - total talent here - but scares the shit out of me!
– Desiree - Enchanting Reviews
Currently available:
Realm Bk I ~ To Tell of Darkness
Realm Bk II ~ Shadow Slave
And my new release – Realm Bk III ~ Illuminated Death
Or, if you’re into darker things like angels and demons you can take a spiritual journey for the salvation of mankind with Faith Savage – Demon Huntress.
Steph from Bitten By Books says, “This angel/demon world K. A. M’Lady has made is very addictive, and I definitely want more.” ~’Lady
Faith Savage – Bonus Story ~ Faith’s Temptation
Bk 1 Glow
Bk 2 Fear No Evil
Bk 3 Transgressions
Book 4 When Angels Fall
Coming Soon – Bk 5 The Ash Collector
Bk 6 Wicked’s Kiss
And my new WIP – Bk 7 Sinner
For more information on me and my books look me up on the web –
Or you can find me on Facebook and Myspace.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Romance Publishing World Goes KABOOM!

Hey, romance lovers, here's some sort of hot-off-the-e-presses news...

Kaboom!!! The romance publishing world, Dorchester Publishing to be specific... has just news-exploded in a way I, and others, have been predicting for a couple of years now.

This is courtesy of the erotic romance author, Renee Bagby, on the Siren-BookStrand author’s loop:

Here is the full article on it from PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY’s daily emailed update:

Dorchester Drops Mass Market Publishing for E-Book/POD Model
by Jim Milliot
Aug 06, 2010

Mass market romance publisher Dorchester Publishing has dropped its traditional print publishing business in favor of an e-book/print-on-demand model effective with its September titles that are “shipping” now. President John Prebich said after retail sales fell by 25% in 2009, the company knew that 2010 “would be a defining year,” but rather than show improvement, “sales have been worse.” While returns are down, the company has had a difficult time getting its titles into stores as shelf space for mass market has been reduced, Prebich explained. Dorchester recently let its field sales force of seven go, although Tim DeYoung remains with the company as v-p of sales and marketing.?The editorial team remains intact, although Prebich said the number of titles released monthly will likely be reduced from over 30 to 25. He said the schedule for 2011 is set and Dorchester has books in the pipeline through June 2012.

Dorchester will continue to do print copies for its book club business and has signed a deal with Ingram Publisher Service for IPS to do print-on-demand copies for selected titles. According to Prebich, some e-books that are doing well in the digital marketplace will be released as trade paperbacks with IPS fulfilling orders; the company, however, will not do any more mass market paperbacks for retail distribution.

Prebich said Dorchester’s e-book business has had “remarkable growth” which he expects to double again in the next year. Still, digital sales accounted for only 12% of total revenue prior to the company making the transition to the e-book/pod model. Prebich conceded that Dorchester will have lower revenues, but he expects margins to improve. He said the company is working out a new royalty rate with authors that he expects to announce next week. Editors are talking to authors now about the changes. “We hope they’ll stay,” Prebich said. Dorchester’s e-books are available at most major vendors and compatible with most platforms at an average price of $6.99. Trade paperbacks will be priced in the $12 to $15 range.

On his decision to drop the mass market format Prebich explained: “These are like pioneer times in publishing. We felt like we needed to take some chances and make a bold move."

Here's a better article from PW:

~ ~

Note: This Big Cat author can’t say she’s exactly surprised... however, it does send shock waves through the ole system. How many more of the so-called BIG PUBLISHERS are about to jump into the digital selling pool?

Furthermore, how do we, as authors, protect ourselves from the impending Wal-Mart like invasion? That is, the BIG BOY publishers are used to dominating the romance market and intend to get rid of any and all competition... once they move in...


Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Blogging - Outside the Circle

Many authors are already doing many of the right things when it comes to blogging. Many of us don't for various reasons. Don't think it helps sales; don't think it's pertinent to writing; afraid to step out into a world unknown; don't have time. In some cases these are legitimate reasons. For someone like me who has mega time on her hands, there is no excuse. Although, I could come up with dozens of reasons. lol

Whatever your reason, my reasons, we need to get over it. Oh, I post on a few blogs, I comment on a couple of blogs here and there. I follow a lot of blogs officially and unofficially.

Blog marketing is a valuable tool if you have a following; are posting on the right blogs; realize marketing as we think it is, is not what the readers want. The consumer doesn't want blatant sales in the face posts. They don't care what they can do for you. They care what you can do for them. They want something from you when you post. In most cases, it's valuable information they can relate to and/or use. In other cases, they want to win something, like an e-reader, or free books. If you're doing nothing but promoting books at various blogs, you're probably getting few comments unless you have friends following you around which is cool, but you want new followers.

I've watched blogs I frequent, checked out others. I started paying attention at the blogs I follow. I have seen tons of comments for some, none or few for others. There are so many factors involved in this. One, lack of advertising of the blog poster; wrong topic for the blog; people simply aren't interested in yet another stale interview or promo.

One of the blogs I've been following for a couple of years has changed. I loved it because it was personable; the posts were relatable topics to both the writing community and to me as a person. In the last six months I noticed a change in posts and number of people posting on the blog had gone up. I found I was skipping posts, and many weren't worth commenting on. What were these posts I was skipping, blatant promotion or some personal story that doesn't belong on an author blog as it didn't pertain to any aspect of writing and too personal for me as a stranger to know about. I'm not crazy about the simple things I can get in my group digests daily. I want a blog post to be interesting, fun and if a promotional bit is included, that's cool. I love the behind-the-scene-look into the authors making of the story. That's a hook to bring me into the post, but depending on the content, I may or may not comment.

Also, many who follow your blog aren't going directly to your blog to see what's going on. They are reading the headlines of all the blogs they follow. So, headlines can be a draw or not. But keep the headlines relatable to the blog post. I've come across some there were simply to get you there. Enough of this from the same blog site or blogger and you'll lose followers.

I don't like to comment on posts I don't feel really interested me. I only like to post when I have something to say. Commenting on a blog should be real communication, not simply to say you like the post or don't like the post. Each time you post a comment, you are saying something about you and leaving a link back to your blog - it's called in inbound link. One would hope those who read the comments would like what you had to say and go check out your blog, leaving an outbound link for you to go check them out. It sounds like a game of tag, but who knows what you'll find doing this. And another thing you want is to have interesting content on your blog to keep them returning. That's a whole other issue.

The real reason I'm posting this post on blogging is because I heard this great idea in an older class I listened to last week and it's something I'd already been doing.

Limiting your time to author/reader blogs can get old, stagnant and downright boring. For me, at times, I feel closed in and need to get away. It's kind of a like having a job where your boss expects you to put the place of business first in your life. That is so wrong. You have to have a three-dimensional life or your life is going to eat you alive. I know I get agitated, I get fed up and I get witchy. It means my life has become one-dimensional and I need to back off and widen my path to include other things I enjoy. Either that or I've not been listening to music. lol

We need to get out of the cocoon and step into a new arena.

What are your hobbies, interests? Do you like to crochet, knit, scrapbook, garden, do pottery, anything that doesn't include writing and reading? If you do, Google blogs on those topics. Look at the top five that come up. Check them out to see if one or two of them would be a great place to hang out. Read a few back posts that seem interesting then start commenting on their posts. After a while, if they take guest posts, offer yourself to do one here and there on the topic.

What are your books about? Do they have a general topic; do they pertain to community or world issues? Whatever they may be about, Google blogs on those topics and check out the first five. Hang out, comment and post if they'll let you.

In these new guest posts, if you've written a book about the topic, or included the hobby in a story, it's ok to mention the book once, but don't do any blatant promotion. You're not there as an author, you're there as a person with the same interest. Become a part of their community. Let the post interest them enough to want to follow your link back to learn more about you. I think if we do this with a genuine interest of simply sharing with like-minded people, we'll find sales will eventually follow.

My first two books are set around the food service industry, and since this is my profession, I find the blogs especially gratifying. I like getting in there and talking with people who go through the same ups and downs I do. I couldn't say if anyone has followed me back or bought my books, it'd be nice, but that's not really important right now. Building a trust, a relationship is what is important. The one thing I don't want them to think is that I'm there for research for another book, because geese, I don't need more research on this topic, I have enough stored information to fall back on.

So, what do you think? Are you doing this already? Do you think it'd be something you'd be willing to try? Any other ideas?


Blogger tip: We all have busy schedules and sometimes find ourselves in a pinch to write a blog for the day we're scheduled. Blogspot has two features to help ease that burden. Write and save it in draft mode or schedule it for the day you're supposed to post.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Then Came Love - Patricia Pellicane

Could they survive the pain only those who love deeply can know? She hated him beyond measure. After a year of torturous separation her feelings had only grown in strength. When would he leave? She couldn’t allow him to know her most carefully guarded secret. She couldn’t allow him to ever know.

He was tired of waiting for her to come to her senses, to return to him, to realise she’d made a mistake. She was the love of his life, he was taking what she refused to give. Fight him or not, she was his and was always going to be only his.


“How much are you paying him?”

She pulled back and narrowed her gaze. “What are you talking about?”

“Is he an escort?”

“Would it soothe your ego if he were?” She laughed, partly in shock at his accurate guess and partly to cover her sudden nervousness. “What’s the matter, Rick? Is he too handsome? You really are obnoxious, aren’t you? I’m not allowed to have an attractive boyfriend, but you can show off a harem of bimbos. Where do you get them? Sluts R Us? Don’t they have any with less than a double D cup?”

Rick grinned. “Is that what you think they are? Bimbos? I’ll have you know Tracey is a very nice girl.”

Jackie wiggled her brows in unhappy sarcasm. “I’ll bet.”

“You want to know how nice?”

“No, I don’t want to know how nice,” she repeated nastily. “I don’t want to talk about her or you for that matter.”

“How very Jackie of you.”

She pulled back just a bit and frowned. “What the hell does that mean?”

“It means just as long as you get to say what you please, there’s never a need to hear another’s side of the argument, is there?”

“What other side?”

He glared down at her, his gaze narrowing in anger. “You know what other side.”

She stiffened. “If you insist on talking about this, I’m leaving you on the floor.”

“Fine, we won’t talk. We won’t do anything but dance.” Jackie easily read the anger in his dark gaze. She didn’t care. He could rage at her from now until forever and she still wouldn’t care.

She wanted to pull out of his embrace and run, but to do so would tell him this meant more to her than it should. There was no way she would show this liar the slightest bit of weakness. As far as she was concerned, he was a nonentity, and she felt nothing towards him.

“There’s no point in trying to be romantic. You said yourself this is only a dance.”

“I love the way you smell.”

“Do you? You mean I smell better than Monica? How has she been, by the way?”

Rick stiffened as the mention of the woman. “Damn, but you really are a bitch, aren’t you?”

She glanced up, her features hard with hate. “It’s ‘a fucking bitch’, if I remember correctly.”

“Fine,” he said, knowing she referred to their last argument, the hateful things that were said. The frustration he’d known the night she’d left him, the first night in an endless year of curses. He moved her deeper into the crowded dance floor. Bodies swayed smoothly around them, enclosing them in almost total darkness.

Her head pounded; a pulse throbbed in her throat as his mouth lowered to her cheek. She took a deep calming breath. Her lips tingled. She needed to feel his mouth on hers. She strove to keep her gasping breath as smooth and silent as possible. She felt like crying as she struggled to breathe, while he hadn’t done anything more than brush his lips against her skin in whispery soft promises of pleasure. His mouth lowered again. Now his lips grazed the edge of her mouth. She wanted to turn into the kiss. God, she wanted it more than she wanted to live, but she somehow managed to keep to her control.

“Have you fucked lately, Jackie?” he asked on a low, warm breath. “Has your man been taking care of you?”

“What do you care?”

His hand on her hip slipped down her leg, around the front of her, between their bodies, inside her thigh and up. Under her short skirt, in the near total blackness of the dance floor, his hand moved higher. She didn’t stop him. She didn’t even try. He needed to know nothing he did could make a difference. Higher. His fingers moved higher and higher again.

Under her skirt, inside the tiny wisp of panties she wore, her pussy felt heavy, aching and soaking wet. She trembled with the need she knew for his touch, she was hotter than she could ever remember. Every nerve ending screamed for more, straining towards the coming pleasure. Pleasure only he knew how to give. His hand was inches from her heat. Inches from touching her, inches from where she wanted most to be touched. She forced back the moan that threatened.

Bodies pressed close. No one could see them, and they saw no one as they watched only each other. Eyes glittered with raw emotion, hate, anger, betrayal but most of all lust, a desperate want, until finally his fingers reached under the leg of her panties.

He groaned and closed his eyes in pleasure at the warm creaminess he found, while her knees trembled almost buckling beneath her. She reached an arm around his neck, her cheek against his chest and held on. This was going to be wild. She knew it and hadn’t the power to stop it.

He held her tightly with one arm, while the other under her skirt explored the folds of her body and centred at last upon her clit. “I love it when you cream for me, Jackie.”

“It’s not for you. It’s you and a hundred others.”

She felt his body tense against hers as he asked, “Has there been a hundred, Jackie?”

She hissed a low sound that was almost lost in the music surrounding them, even as she glared her hatred. He had some nerve. How did he dare to question her after all the women he’d been with?

What he was doing meant nothing. They both knew it meant nothing. He had no right to question her. He was a man, and she’d been too long without. It was as simple as that.

She wouldn’t turn away. He couldn’t make her turn away. It had been a year since he’d touched her last. A year of loneliness and pain, but she wasn’t about to whimper, to cry, to beg this liar, this cheat for more. “I don’t know. I never counted.”

God, why couldn’t other men feel like this? Why couldn’t they touch her like this? Why didn’t they smell like this? How did he alone have the power? It had been a year, but had it been ten she knew not one could do the things this man could. Damn him, damn his lying, cheating soul to hell.

Again his mouth brushed against the edge of her lips. “Just a kiss, Jackie. No one will ever know.”

“You will.”

“What? What will I know? Will I know you want me if you kiss me? Is that it? Is that what you’re afraid I’ll find out?”

She didn’t respond.

“I already know it, Jackie. I know you want me.”

“It doesn’t mean anything.”

“I know.”

“It doesn’t. Wanting isn’t love so don’t get your balls in an uproar.”

Rick grinned. “If I promise not to get my balls in an uproar, will you kiss me?”

Erotic Rating Total-e-burning
Genre Contemporary/ Romance
Cover art by Natalie Winters
Book Length Short Story
ISBN# 978-0-85715-250-3

Patricia Pellicane
for romance that sizzles
Total-e-bound 7/5/10
Heat Wave
Resplendence 7/14/10
Tell Me You Love Me (In Print)
Total-e-bound 6/14/10