The Ghost in the Gardens by HL Carpenter


Today on the blog  I want to give a shout out  for  the new release of a  wonderful Middle Grade Paranormal .  It’s  written by  mother/daughter,  author team  HL Carpenter and published  by Mirror World Publishing.   

Here is a taster  from the dynamic  duo.

Until the first spooky visit, ten year old Chrysantha Howe doesn’t think about ghosts. She thinks about plants.




She has her future planned out, and that future includes plants. Chrys is going to be a plant scientist like her uncle and her favorite teacher, and she’s determined to find the very rare Coralroot orchid.

The ghost is not in the plan.

But when her teacher disappears and the police suspect her uncle was involved, Chrys has to figure out what the ghost is trying to tell her—before it’s too late.



Florida-based mother/daughter author duo HL Carpenter write sweet, clean fiction that is suitable for everyone in your family. The Carpenters write from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, they enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity. Visit their website to enjoy gift reads and excerpts and to find out what’s happening in Carpenter Country.

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


Sloanes Scallops – An introduction to her ‘Date Night Dinners.’


On books and cooks today I am delighted  to welcome  from the USA the fabulous Sloane Taylor.  As well as a multi published romance writer, she is also a  popular on line cook . Here she gives us a delicious taste of her  new recipe book due out soon  – DATE NIGHT DINNERS, Meals to Make Together for a Romantic Evening  

Ill hand you over to Sloane to talk you through her delicious scallops.

Here is a quick and easy meal that is sure to impress your special someone, family and friends. Serve with sliced tomatoes, orzo, and a bottle of dry white wine. Be sure to drizzle plenty of sauce over the pasta.

Allen0417 Pixabay

1 lb. sea scallops
1 ½ tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. butter
2 tsp. garlic, chopped
Freshly ground pepper to taste
¼ cup dry white wine
1 tsp. chives, snipped for garnish

Have everything measured and ready to go before you start cooking. This recipe only takes a few minutes so you must be prepared.

Preheat oven to 210° F.

Rinse and pat dry the scallops.

Add olive oil and butter to a frying pan set on medium-high heat. Add the scallops when the foam subsides. Sear 2 – 4 minutes per side. Make sure they are golden edging into brown before you turn them.

Add garlic when you turn the scallops.

When they have reached the proper color, remove the scallops to a bowl and set in the oven to keep warm while you make the sauce.

Spoon out the garlic from the frying pan. Skim off some of the fat that has floated to the top. Carefully add the wine, all the while scraping in any browned pieces on the sides and bottom of the pan. Cook until the mixture reduces by about ⅓.

Lay the scallops on a bed of orzo either on a platter or individual plates. Lace the sauce over the dish, top with chives and serve.

May you enjoy all the days of your life filled with laughter and seated around a well laden table!


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

Taylor currently has seven romance novellas released by Toque & Dagger Publishing. Her first solo venture into non-fiction is a cookbook with eighty of her favorite recipes DATE NIGHT DINNERS, Meals to Make Together for a Romantic Evening releasing June 5, 2018.

Excerpts from her books can be found on her website, blog, and all popular vendors. Connect with Taylor on Facebook and Twitter.

Cheers! Celebrating the launch of Captain Rockford’s Reckoning.


Cheers ! And welcome to my blog where today I am toasting the release of my latest Regency novel with a well known historical beverage. CELEBRATION 2

Versions of  syllabub have been around for centuries and I have been experimenting with the basic ingredients to share a glass (or two ) at the launch of Captain Rockford’s Reckoning.

During the seventeenth and eighteenth century syllabub was  served as an alcoholic drink, topped with a  creamy, foamy layer.  I have heard it said that the foamy effect was originally achieved from squirting the milk on to the beverage, fresh from the cows udder. But we won’t dwell on that thought.

Heading into the nineteenth century, syllabub evolved into a light, creamy lemon concoction which was often served at Regency tables alongside trifles and blancmanges. This was a favourite dish of Esmie Elstone whilst enduring her tedious season in London Society.  More about her later.

Even now, syllabub is still a popular desert, and there are many versions of the original concept, concocted by today’s celebrity chefs.

Here is my, simple, version of the old fashioned alcoholic beverage  Traditionally a sweet white wine or sack  would have been used – but use whatever wine you prefer. I haven’t tried it with cider, but have been told it works just as well. For a non-alcoholic version you could use fruit juice.

First pour your chosen wine into glasses, add a teaspoonful of caster sugar to each one and stir until dissolved. (You might not need this step if you have a very sweet wine.)

Now for the frothy topping  (enough for 4/6 glasses of wine)

Combine a further  100 ml of wine with the juice and  grated zest of a lemon.  Add about 50g of caster sugar.  Pour in half a pint (300 ml) of double cream and using an electric whisk, combine all all the ingredients until you have a  light creamy mixture. Taste and add more sugar if desired.  Be careful not to over whisk. The mixture should be thick and light enough to  form a layer over the wine, without sinking. CELEBRATION 5

Carefully spoon the topping  on to the wine. The two layers should remain separate. But if  the worse happens and they don’t – it still tastes great. Decorate  with a small piece of lemon peel and a  good sprinkling of cinnamon (or grated nutmeg).

And if you prefer the later version of syllabub as a creamy desert, and not a drink,  just follow the same steps  for the topping,  but use a little extra cream and whisk a little longer for a firmer  consistency.  Spoon the mixture into small bowls or  layer with fruit.  Really, you can adapt to what you like.

Then sit down and enjoy with a good historical tale.

Talking of which, here is a taste of Captain Rockford’s  Reckoning.

Rockfrod clear cover

Esmie Elstone is thrown into panic when she hears of Captain Rockford’s return. But she is determined that the days of him interfering with her life are over. Destroying her chances of a happy future on his last visit, had resulted in her being foisted on her Aunt for a third pointless season in London.
To alleviate the boredom of society life, Esmie helps run a discreet betting enterprise under the guise of a sewing club. But there are some things you just shouldn’t w
ager on, and Esmie’s integrity is soon put to a dangerous test.

Richard Rockford had known Esmie almost all her life. As neighbours, Admiral Elstone had depended on Richard to keep an eye on his daughter when he was away at sea. The responsibility he had always taken on willingly. But her cruel and thoughtless actions, from the day he had left four years ago, had shaken him. Now he was back and wanting answers.

But when Esmie tumbles into a treacherous conspiracy, can he really turn his back on her?

Captain Rockford’s  Reckoning is available for Kindle, KU and paperback  at 

 Amazon UK       Amazon US  

Please visit my web site  at or find me on  facebook and Twitter  




Captain Rockford’s Reckoning- Sassy Book Lover’s verdict


I loved this review from  the Book Reviews And More From A Sassy Book Loving Southern Belle

“This was my first book by Susan Lodge and I couldn’t put it down and was hooked from page one! Were they going to kill each other or kiss?”

Take a look at the full report  via Review: Captain Rockford’s Reckoning by Susan Lodge

Captain Rockford’s Reckoning – A brand new Regency.

Delighted to announce  Captain Rockford’s Reckoning,  my latest publication with Crooked Cat Books is now available for pre-order from Amazon.

Here is a little taster  –

Rockfrod clear coverEsmie Elstone is thrown into panic when she hears of Captain Rockford’s return. But she is determined that the days of him interfering with her life are over. Destroying her chances of a happy future on his last visit, had resulted in her being foisted on her Aunt for a third pointless season in London.
To alleviate the boredom of society life, Esmie helps run a discreet betting enterprise under the guise of a sewing club. But there are some things you just shouldn’t w
ager on, and Esmie’s integrity is soon put to a dangerous test.

Richard Rockford had known Esmie almost all her life. As neighbours, Admiral Elstone had depended on Richard to keep an eye on his daughter when he was away at sea. The responsibility he had always taken on willingly. But her cruel and thoughtless actions, from the day he had left four years ago, had shaken him. Now he was back and wanting answers.

But when Esmie tumbles into a treacherous conspiracy, can he really turn his back on her?

Captain Rockford’s  Reckoning is available for pre-order at  Amazon UK   Amazon US 

Please visit my web site  at or find me on  facebook and Twitter  


Valentine food from authors who cook

Great news on cooks and books today.  A free cookbook to celebrate Valentine’s day from some international authors who love to cook (including me).

But let me hand you over to the lovely Sharon Ledwith, my Canadian friend and author, to explain a little more.

Love is in the Kitchen with a Free Cookbook Offer: Sweets and Treats for Someone Special… 

Remember the old adage, ‘The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach’? There may be some truth to that, though I would update the phrase to say, ‘The way to a person’s heart is through his or hers’ stomach’. After all, food is an intimate experience. Good food creates memories, forges friendships, makes the heart grow fonder, and makes for good dinner table conversations. And food is one of the ways you can show someone that you care for them.

If the thought of cooking a romantic meal or baking a sweet treat for your true love makes you tingly all over, then have I got a gift for you! Cue a romantically-inspired cookbook written by the following fourteen proficient authors, of various ages and genres: Vonnie Hughes, Alicia JosephEmma LaneLizzie T. Leaf, Sharon Ledwith, Marci BoudreauxCarol BrowneHL CarpenterSara Daniel C.D.Herssh  Susan LodgeAnne MontgomeryChris Pavesic, and Sloane Taylor. These wonderful writers have created an array of tantalizing recipes that will make your loved ones beg for more, and even offer to wash those dirty dishes.

Sweets and Treats for Someone Special is your go-to recipe book for entertaining on Valentine’s Day, hosting bridal showers and engagement parties, or celebrating that special event with your true love. Compiled by Sloane Taylor—a gourmet cook in her own right—and designed by mother-daughter duo HL Carpenter, the included recipes offer a wide variety of mouth-watering treats, indulgences, and meals to satisfy your loved ones’ cravings and insatiable hunger.

Oh, and did I mention that it is FREE?

So why not have your just desserts? Literally. You’ve got nothing to lose and sultry memories to gain when you download Sweets and Treats for Someone Special. There’s a recipe for even the fussiest lover in your life. Give yourself a gift during the season of love with a sensual cookbook from fourteen writers who would love nothing more than to share their favorite recipes, and fulfill your deepest desires. Bon Appetit!

Download your FREE cookbook at SMASHWORDS

 Books and Cooks – Sharon Ledwith finds pleasure from the past

Delighted to welcome the talented YA author Sharon Ledwith, back to my blog.

Sharon shares a hearty soup recipe – and whilst she stirs the pot, reveals the flavor of her latest novel.

Over to you Sharon .

FIND PLEASURE from the PAST by Sharon Ledwith

When you think of a small, northern tourist town, what emotional cord does it strike? Vacationing with the family when you were young? Visiting your grandparents at their cottage? Camping in the backwoods with your friends? Whatever vision you conjure, I’m sure you have plenty of happy memories of that special place. That’s the basis of my new series, Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls. I wanted to give this teen psychic mystery series a nostalgic feeling coupled with a sense of adventure and…wait for it…the supernatural. Welcome to Fairy Falls. Expected the unexpected.

One of the mainstays of cottage and camping life is soup on those rainy, damp days. Soup not only warms you through, but fills you up. So I thought I’d share a favorite family recipe with you, that will hopefully bring out those good-old-days feelings inside you again. This hearty, easy one dish meal cooks itself while you’re out and about. Prep time is approximately 30 minutes, with a cook time of 10 hours, this soup serves around 8-10 of your hungriest minions.

Best Beef-Barley Soup Ever
2 lbs beef round steak or 2 lbs beef chuck, diced
2 cups chopped carrots
1 stalk celery, diced
½ green pepper, diced (we prefer to use a red pepper)
1 large onion, chopped
1 (16 ounce) can of tomatoes, cut up (we prefer stewed tomatoes)
½ cup frozen corn
½ cup frozen green beans
⅔ cup barely
1 tbsp. dried parsley flakes
1 tbsp. beef bouillon granules or 2 beef bouillon cubes
2 tsp. salt
¾ tsp. dried basil
5 cups water

Brown beef in a skillet over medium heat.

Lay carrot, celery, green pepper, onion, corn, and green beans in crock pot.

Place meat on top.

Combine tomatoes, barley, parsley, bouillon, salt, and basil in a bowl. Pour over meat.

Add water.


Cover and cook on LOW for 10-12 hours.

The secret to this soup is in the layering. Serve with salad and bread, and your favorite wine or beverage.

So while the soup is cooking, I’ll let you in on another secret from Lost and Found, Book #1 of Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls.

Fairy Falls was bores-ville from the get-go. Then the animals started talking…

The Fairy Falls Animal Shelter is in trouble. Money trouble. It’s up to an old calico cat named Whiskey—a shelter cat who has mastered the skill of observation—to find a new human pack leader so that their home will be saved. With the help of Nobel, the leader of the shelter dogs, the animals set out to use the ancient skill of telepathy to contact any human who bothers to listen to them. Unfortunately for fifteen-year-old Meagan Walsh, she hears them, loud and clear.

Forced to live with her Aunt Izzy in the safe and quiet town of Fairy Falls, Meagan is caught stealing and is sentenced to do community hours at the animal shelter where her aunt works. Realizing Meagan can hear her, Whiskey realizes that Meagan just might have the pack leader qualities necessary to save the animals. Avoiding Whiskey and the rest of shelter animals becomes impossible for Meagan, so she finally gives in and promises to help them. Meagan, along with her newfound friends, Reid Robertson and Natalie Knight, discover that someone in Fairy Falls is not only out to destroy the shelter, but the animals as well. Can Meagan convince her aunt and co-workers that the animals are in danger? If she fails, then all the animals’ voices will be silenced forever.

Amazon KindleAmazon PaperbackBarnes & NobleMirror World Publishing ebookMirror World Publishing Paperback

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/YA time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and Smashwords. Look up her Amazon Author page for a list of current books. Be sure to check out THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS TIME TRAVEL SERIES Facebook page.

Hetty Avebury’s Eight Essential Travel Tips (whilst sailing on a man-of-war)

I  have a very special visitor today to kick start the blog. hetty blog july

Hetty Avebury, Regency heroine from Only a Hero Will Do has just arrived.

Welcome Hetty , perhaps you could  tell the guests something about yourself  whist I go and see to the tea.

Of course, Susan. Off you go, I will look after the visitors. Oh! Where are my guests precisely?

Trust me, they are out there listening, just talk  – you’re good at that. But don’t give away too much of the plot before I come back. 

Good! She has gone. I really do fear for my author.  I think she has become quite addled brained. Blog !  She told me I would have an audience.  Ah, well, I hope she at least brings back some scones, as I have a weakness for scones. In fact I have a few weaknesses. Gambling is one – luckily I am very good at it. My scheming family do not realize that I am able to gain funds this way. Therefore you might say it is also a strength.

Another weakness is books. I do love books! I can never get enough of the exciting informative kind (if you understand my meaning). The attendant at the library back home always examined my choices, so they were limited to the mundane. However, whilst I was at sea, Dr Withington lent me some books which were very informative.

But I must return our attentions to this umm… blog, where I will share some useful tips about sea travel. I gained this knowledge after I inadvertently found myself sailing from Portsmouth to Gibraltar on board a Man of War.

So here we go .

1. Make sure you know which is the leeward side (the sheltered side) of the ship. It is important to know which way the wind is blowing when you are prone to seasickness. It was a shame about Doctor Withington’s coat-but luckily it was only his second best.

2. Do not stray from the quarterdeck. The stern end is the civilized end of the ship. Although it is a lot more colourful down the pointed end.

3. Prepare for your sleep to be interrupted. The ringing of the ship’s bell and the beating of drums occur at regular and unsociable times.

4. Do not complain of boredom, believe me that is a good sign. If you see a French ship approaching things will get very unpleasant, and you will soon wish to be bored again.

5. If you have a chance to pack for the journey (which I did not) include warm clothing. Also a supply of lemon juice is useful to bathe freckles,which multiply like a plague of insects across your skin once exposed to the sea air.

6. Prepare to be stoic. You will witness the misery and sacrifice of war. Even If you are lucky enough to avoid battle, deaths on board from injury and disease occur frequently.

7 Do remember to knock the weevils from the ships biscuits, and do not try to cut biscuits into delicate pieces; they resist all attempts.

8. If there is a tall, dark, sombre physician around, whose job it is to keep you out of trouble, and looks at you with eyes … Oh, no – Susan is coming back with the tea.

There is much more to tell dear guests, and if you feel like indulging in a romantic adventure and discovering what happened during and after my unscheduled voyage, please take a look at Only a Hero Will Do. ( I haven’t even begun to tell you about Doctor Withington and you need to know about him.)

Here is a little taster.

Hetty Avebury’s desperate gamble to avoid an odious match lands her all at sea. Can a stuffy ship’s physician really be the hero she needs to escape her treacherous family?.

Marriage to a cruel dandy, is not how Hetty Avebury envisons spending the rest of her life. Determined to avoid the match she raises funds the only way she knows how – gambling .Her plans go astray and she finds herself on board a man-of-war under the care of its high handed physician. But Hetty soon realizes that Doctor Withington is not quite the stuffed shirt she had first imagined.

If it wasn’t bad enough declaring one of the pressed men as a woman, Robert has been tasked with the tiresome job of returning her safely back to her dysfunctional family. It was ten years ago when his father gambled away his inheritance, home, and any chance of marrying the woman he loved. So when Robert discovers Hetty gambling he takes drastic action to cure her of the habit.

Now available at 99p/99c   for limited time.   Amazon UK   Amazon. com   Kobo  Nook  and Smashwords

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