This gallery contains 4 photos.
Originally posted on JO LAMBERT – A WRITER'S JOURNEY :
Good morning Susan and welcome. Can I start, as always, by asking you a little about yourself? Hi Jo, and thanks for inviting me to your blog. I live near…
I loved this review from the
“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
Nothing like waking up on Monday morning to find someone has written nice things about your book .
Take a look –
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.
DO NOT STIR.
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.
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.
I welcome to the blog today talented US author Emma Lane. As well as turning out great stories she is also an expert on gardening matters. So if you want a great display of blooms read on … over to you Emma.
By Emma Lane
Bring the outside in with a Fall bouquet. Not sure how, then let me help you. Here are a few tips to help make it easier.
Native and ornamental grasses: What fun to gather them on one of those perfect Fall days when the skies are vivid blue, a soft breeze tumbles your hair, and tick seed clings to your jeans. Best to do your hunt and gathering just before the leaves are all off the trees. Anything interesting is fair game, but do learn to identify dried ragweed and seeds. Not one to bring into the house; it will still make you sneeze. I’ve used the seed tassels of ornamental grasses and a wild reed which is listed as a nuisance plant. It overtakes our native cattails apparently. Even so I love the tassels which are free for the taking. Spot a batch where your sneakers will stay dry.
Love cattails? Pick when they turn brown, most likely mid to late summer. If you bring a ripe cattail inside to the warmth, it will explode with a predictable mess. Trust me; I’ve had the experience. Grab a handful in summer and dry them in a dark, dry place. Pull them out in the fall for a perfect addition to the dry bouquets.
Chinese lanterns (physalis) are perfect for Fall. They’ll last and last, but eventually lose their color. I’ve been known to spray them lightly with red paint, but the odor of fresh paint is not pleasant. Tend well ahead of time and let dry in the garage.
The purple flowers are grown under a hoop house which protects from the early frosts. They won’t stand up to a real freeze, but are perfect for Fall bouquets. Lisianthus is a favorite of florists because they last so long in the vase. Any late bloom will perk up a Fall bouquet. I’ve used long stems of mums, stray daisies, and geranium. Use your imagination and have fun with Fall bouquets. They’ll keep you cheerful until it’s time to decorate for Christmas.
Don’t worry about which flowers to use. Anything and everything will be perfect because you chose it. The important ingredient in creating your bouquet is to have fun.
Now here’s a little from my latest Regency Romance to enjoy along with your lovely bouquet.
Elisabeth is a lively young lady ripe for adventure. She’s lived the sheltered life of the privileged during the Regency era of the 1800’s and is on the cusp of entering society when she joins her older sister at a house party. On the enormous estate in the spreading mansion of a duke, she mistakes her host for the fat squire down the road. Thus begins an adventure which is against all her training. She knows her mother would not approve. Was that half the intrigue of meeting a stranger in private?
The handsome but incognito Richard Hawlester, Duke of Roderick, weary of toad-eating house guests, engages in a serious flirtation with young Elisabeth Barrows, who is primed for an exciting adventure. Mistaking the fat squire for the duke, she holds her secret relationship with a man known only as Richard, Nobel Rescuer, close to a tender heart while discovering love for the first time.
Elisabeth’s trust seems irrevocably lost when the duke’s actual identity is revealed. Realizing his mistake, Roderick begins an earnest, dangerous, and often hilarious campaign to convince her of his love. Elisabeth ponders whether true love can overcome the loss of trust between two people, even as danger presents in the guise of a vile, undesirable suitor, while a wicked assassin makes an attempt on the life of the duke. Trust broken can never be regained, or can it?
Emma Lane is a gifted author who writes under several pen-names. She lives with her patient husband on several acres outside a typical American village in Western New York. Her day job is working with flowers at her son’s plant nursery. Look for information about writing and plants on her new website. Leave a comment or a gardening question and put a smile on Emma’s face.
My blog today gives a warm welcome to author Anne Montgomery who discusses the fascinating question –
Shopping: Is it in Our Genes?
by Anne Montgomery
I’ve been a teacher for 15 years and, when meeting new high school students, I often ask them about their interests. Without fail, numerous kids list shopping as their favorite hobby. These students, so far, have been female.
I try not to roll my eyes and then explain that a hobby is generally something where one might engage in creative or artistic pursuits, collect themed objects, or perhaps play a sport. Still, the girls smile and insist that shopping is their hobby.
I read recently that the average woman spends approximately 400 hours each year shopping. Conversely, men quickly get board with those trips to the mall, losing interest after just 26 minutes, while women can shop blissfully for two hours before tedium strikes.
I know what you’re thinking. It’s the women who usually spy the empty cupboards and resupply the milk and toilet paper and dog food and all of the other stuff needed to run a household. So, of course, they spend more time at the store. But, even when we discount those we gotta have it now moments, women are still in shopping mode much more than men.
I wondered why. I put on my history teacher cap and thought about our ancient ancestors: those hunter-gatherers who foraged for food and resources until they started to settle down in permanent communities about 12,000 years ago. The hunters, we suspect, were generally men. The gatherers: women. It’s estimated that 80% of our ancestors’ diet consisted of wild fruits and vegetables. While the men were out looking for something to kill and drag home, women and girls were peering intently at foliage and digging in the ground, looking for groceries. And their rummaging probably wasn’t restricted to foodstuffs. No doubt a pretty rock or feather might have found its way into a woman’s basket, perhaps to use for barter later on when food ran out.
What does this have to do with the modern female shopper? Here I have a completely unscientific hypothesis, though one that makes perfect sense to me. Human beings – and all creatures alive today – had to adapt in order to survive. So, perhaps, buried in our DNA is a “shopping” gene, passed on from our ancient female ancestors. Those women, who had to examine fruits and berries and roots and leaves, were forced to take great care and time to make sure they selected items that didn’t poison their families. They also had to stock up enough goods to make it through the harsh times of the year. So hunting and gathering were probably their main pursuits. Thanks to their abilities to pick the best available provisions, they were able to survive and pass their genes down to us.
So, don’t feel too badly about enjoying that time at the mall, just leave your beau at home. I, in the meantime, will try to stop rolling my eyes at my students.
Here’s a brief introduction to my women’s fiction for your reading pleasure.
A Light in the Desert traces the story of a pregnant teenager who bears an odd facial deformity, a Vietnam veteran and former Special Forces sniper who, as he descends into the throes of mental illness, latches onto the girl, and a group of Pentecostal zealots – the Children of Light – who have been waiting over thirty years in the Arizona desert for Armageddon.
The Amtrak Sunset Limited, a passenger train en route to Los Angeles, is derailed in their midst’s, a deadly act of sabotage. Their lives are thrown into turmoil when local and state police, FBI investigators, and a horde of reporters make camp by the twisted wreckage of the Sunset Limited. As the search for the saboteurs continues, the authorities find more questions than answers. The girl mysteriously vanishes, the assassin struggles to maintain his sanity, and a child is about to be born in the wilderness.
Anne Montgomery has worked as a television sportscaster, newspaper and magazine writer, teacher, amateur baseball umpire, and high school football referee. She worked at WRBL‐TV in Columbus, Georgia, WROC‐TV in Rochester, New York, KTSP‐TV in Phoenix, Arizona, ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, where she anchored the Emmy and ACE award‐winning SportsCenter, and ASPN-TV as the studio host for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Montgomery has been a freelance and staff writer for six publications, writing sports, features, movie reviews, and archeological pieces.
When she can, Anne indulges in her passions: rock collecting, scuba diving, football refereeing, and playing her guitar.
Marriage to a cruel dandy is not how Hetty Avebury envisions spending the rest of her life. Determined to avoid the match, she raises funds the only way she knows how – by gambling. When her plans go astray, 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 Whitington has been tasked with the tiresome job of returning Miss Hetty Avebury safely back to her dysfunctional family. Ten years earlier, his father had gambled away Robert’s 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.
Yet with her self-proclaimed betrothed hot on her heels,can Hetty really trust the doctor?
Learn more about my books at susanlodge.com
The Alternative CV this week welcomes exciting new author Astrid Arditi. Her fabulous romantic suspense A Cunning Plan has just been released.
Hi Astrid, it’s great to meet you. Make yourself comfortable because we have a few questions.
One quality you have which other people who know you might question?
I’m strong. Most people around me see my insecurities and shyness and think I’m weak, but comes a crisis and I’m surprisingly resilient.
A fictional character you fantasise over/ fell in love with? (One of your own preferably.)
My heroine’s male counterpart, Ethan Cunning. He comes off as annoying and cocky but he’s a good man at his core, faithful, honest and fiercely protective of the woman he loves.
One item you would consign to Room 101?
Make up. I use it sometimes but it feels like a massive waste of time.
One line that sums up your WIP this week? Progressing! It was all locked up in my head till the book launch, waiting in line, but now I finally got to reconnect with my keyboard, which feels fantastic!
One sentence that sums up your thoughts about social media?
Time consuming, frustrating at times but a great source of support and inspiring stories.
Kindle, tablet or paperback. Which one do you go to bed with and why?
Kindle. I’m an avid reader so I really appreciate the number of books I can stow away in it. Plus both of our kids sleep in our room these days so using a bedside table lamp is out of the question.
One thing lurking on your writing desk that shouldn’t be there? Everything! I work on my coffee table, which is at the best times littered with toys, cookie wrappers and half empty water bottles. I’m a mess!
Where do you see yourself as a writer in five years’ time?
Exactly where I am now but in another city. We’re moving to New York in the summer. My kids are young so I’ll still be a mother to them first and a writer when they spare me the time. Hopefully it will be enough so I can write many more Sloane Harper books
We hope so as well Astrid. Your writing space sounds a bit like my own. Thanks for being my guest today.
Now, let’s read a little about your recent release.
Determined to put her family back together, Sloane Harper stalks her ex husband and his annoyingly stunning mistress, Kate. But she’s not the only one. Handsome IRS agent Ethan Cunning is surveying them too, but not for the same reasons. He is attempting to nail Kate’s playboy boss.
Ethan and Sloane decide to help each other, which sends Sloane’s wobbly life spinning out of control. She’ll have to face danger, humiliation, and scariest of all, the dating scene, to lure her daughters’ father home.
Losing control was the best thing to happen to Sloane… until it turned lethal.
Astrid Arditi was born from a French father and Swedish mother. She lived in Paris and Rome before moving to London with her husband and daughter back in 2013.
After dabbling in journalism, interning at Glamour magazine, and teaching kindergarten, Arditi returned to her first love: writing.
She now splits her time between raising her kids (a brand new baby boy just joined the family) and making up stories.
A Cunning Plan is Arditi’s first published work.
Amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cunning-Plan-Astrid-Arditi-ebook/dp/B01D7H7O42/
Amazon US http://www.amazon.com/Cunning-Plan-Astrid-Arditi-ebook/dp/B01D7H7O42/
My guest today is Sharon Ledwith, the author of an exciting series of young adult books. Today she tells us about how her love of legends influences her stories.
Welcome Sharon and over to you.
Time Travel 101
by Sharon Ledwith
Legends. We love them. We can’t get enough of them. In fact we NEED them. Legends connect humanity in ways we can’t fathom. A legend, by definition is a story handed down for generations among a people and popularly believed to have a historical basis, although not verifiable. In book one of my time travel series, The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, Amanda Sault, her four classmates, and two tag-along adults are whisked through an arch they find buried in an overgrown garden, and transported to the mythical continent of Atlantis. They’ve been summoned to become Timekeepers—legendary time travellers sworn to keep history safe from an evil force known only as Belial. Oh, BTW—they’re not just any Timekeepers—they’re the Last Timekeepers. No pressure, right? Well, maybe a smidgen.
The Timekeepers first mission involves going back to 1214 England, actually Nottingham to be precise. There, Amanda and her time traveling cohorts meet an adolescent Robin Hood, although he is known as Robyn Hodekin to the people of Nottingham. So here’s the rub—in The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, what’s myth and what’s made-up? That’s when it’s up to the reader to seek the truth and dispel the lies.
Here’s a little help:
Robin Hood—if he did exist—was known by many names. Robyn Hode, Robert Earl of Huntingdon, Robert Fitz Ooth, and Robert fitz Odo to name a few. The first written references to our hero are brief. The earliest comes in the poem Piers Plowman, written in 1377 by the London cleric William Langland. One of his characters, an idle priest, says in passing, “I know the rhymes of Robin Hood,” but that is all. The oldest surviving substantial account of Robin Hood in his wider setting was printed in 1510, and is called A Geste of Robin Hood, the word Geste probably meaning a tale of heroic exploits. BTW—“Robin Hood in Sherwood stood” was one verse found preserved in a scrap of manuscript from Lincoln Cathedral, and was dated around 1410.
Mortimer’s Hole—The Mortimer and his hole in my story is fictional. The real Mortimer’s Hole is a 98 metre long man-made tunnel that takes you from the foot of castle rock up to the Upper Bailey in the castle grounds. It is named after Roger Mortimer. On the night of 19th October 1330 one of the most dramatic events in the history of the castle took place when the supporters of 15 year old King Edward III entered the castle through a secret passage —now named Mortimer’s Hole. They captured Queen Isabella and her lover, Roger Mortimer, who had usurped the young King and were ruling England in his place. Mortimer was taken to London where he was executed. Mortimer’s Hole was probably used as a food chute in medieval times.
Nottingham caves—Totally factual! Beneath the houses, shops and offices of Nottingham lie hundreds of caves. Few people in Nottingham are aware of this labyrinth, which exists underneath the city streets, and fewer still have visited them. Nottingham has more man-made caves than anywhere else in Britain. People have worked and lived in them for over 1,000 years. None of these caves were formed naturally. They were all cut into the sandstone by the city’s inhabitants for use as houses, cellars and place of work. Each cave in unique and created for a specific purpose, some have elaborate carvings, pillars and staircases. Take a virtual tour if you dare: http://nottinghamcavessurvey.org.uk/
Knights Templar— The Knights Templar trace their origin back to shortly after the First Crusade. Around 1119, a French nobleman, Hughes de Payens, collected eight of his knight relatives, and began the Order, their stated mission to protect pilgrims on their journey to visit the Holy Places. Knights of the Order wore white mantles, assigned to the Templars in 1129 at the Council of Troyes and surcoats quartered by a red cross, a symbol of martyrdom, probably added at the start of the Second Crusade in 1147, and were heavily armored knights from the aristocracy with war horses. Knights had to wear their white mantles as all times, even when eating and drinking.
The Rockyard Inn—The name is fictional. Much of the history of the Inn is very poorly recorded. An archaeological dig in 1974 proved conclusively that the location of the original Brewhouse could only be that of the caves of Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem, the Inn that exists there presently. This established that the Castle Brewhouse existed prior to 1189AD but the first dated reference is to be found is in the records of the City Council for the year 1618. The parochial rights to the area now known as the Brewhouse Yard did not in fact belong to the Castle but passed backwards and forward over time between the Priory of Lenton, The Knights Templar and the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem.
Here’s an excerpt from The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis:
Amanda Sault silently studied the words she just scrawled: May 1st, 1214—Games and songs and revelry, act as the cloak of devilry. So that an English legend may give to the poor, we must travel to Nottingham to even the score.
She frowned. She was the Scribe. Amanda knew that meant she was supposed to understand what this riddle meant. But she didn’t have a clue. All she knew was that she, her four annoying classmates, and two offbeat adults were standing in what was left of the lost continent of Atlantis and they were supposed to be the Timekeepers, the legendary time travelers handpicked by destiny to keep Earth’s history safe from evil. But no one had told them how they were supposed to do it.
Their problem: no matter what happened—good or bad—they weren’t supposed to mess with the past. Period. Dot. End of story. Amanda felt hot liquid build in her throat. Her thumb traced the words of the arcane riddle. Their first Timekeeper mission. Amanda knew this wasn’t the end of the story.
This was just the beginning.
Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/YA time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, available through Mirror World Publishing, and is represented by Walden House (Books & Stuff) for her teen psychic 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.
Check out THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS TIME TRAVEL SERIES Facebook page.
My guest author today is the talented Sloane Taylor who regularly posts delicious meals on her Wednesday blogspot.
Are you one of those people who stare at the fridge blankly wondering what the heck are we going to eat tonight ? Over to you Sloane…
Once in a great while I’m compelled to cook a Sunday afternoon sit-down dinner like the one mom used to make. These aren’t her recipes, but they are close. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.
Braised Pork Loin
Crisp White Wine
Braised Pork Loin
3 – 4 lb. boneless pork loin
3 tbsp. lard or solid shortening
2 med. onions, peeled and sliced
1 lg. shallot, peeled and sliced
2 med. carrots, scraped and chopped
1 cup dry white wine
½ cup chicken stock
¾ tsp. dried thyme
½ tsp. marjoram
½ tsp. paprika
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Pat the roast dry with paper towels. Melt lard in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add pork and brown on all sides, about 20 minutes. Adjust the heat so as not to burn any part of the roast.
Set the meat on a plate. Reduce heat to medium. Sauté onions until they are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Add remaining ingredients to the pot and bring to a boil. Return the roast to the pot along with any accumulated juices on the plate. Cover tightly and braise in the center of the oven for 1½ hours or until a sharp knife inserts easily.
Set the roast on a cutting board and tent with foil. Skim fat from the braising liquid. Strain the liquid and vegetables through a sieve, pressing down hard with the back of a spoon to extract as much juice as possible before discarding the pulp.
Slice the pork into serving pieces and lay them on a platter. Moisten meat with a little of the sauce. Pour the remainder in a gravy boat and serve on the side.
1 small russet potato per person
Parsley, snipped or chopped for garnish
Pour one inch chicken stock into saucepan. Peel and quarter the potatoes, then place in saucepan. Add tap water to cover by one inch. Put a lid on the pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower temperature to a strong simmer. Cook approximately 20 – 25 minutes. They are done when a fork inserts easily into a potato.
Drain potatoes. Stir in butter, sour cream, and pepper. Mash well. Drizzle in the milk. Mash and continue to add milk until you achieve the consistency you prefer.
6 lg apples cored, peeled, and coarsely sliced*
1 cup sugar
4 tbsp. water
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1½ tbsp. soft butter
Combine all ingredients except butter in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat, cover pot, and simmer 15 – 20 minutes or until apples mash easily with a fork.
Stir in the butter.
Mash with a potato masher. For a smoother texture pour the sauce into a blender or food processor and puree for a minute or so.
Turn into a serving bowl, cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve. This recipe also freezes well.
*Mix it up with a variety of apples to improve the flavor. Use six different types
|Photo by SOMMAI|
1 bunch asparagus
½ cup chicken stock
¼ cup dry vermouth or white wine
2 tbsp. butter
Metal vegetable steamer
Add chicken stock and dry vermouth or wine to a medium size saucepan. Insert vegetable steamer, then add water to just below the bottom holes.
Snap off the ends of the asparagus and trim the spears to fit your saucepan. Add spears and cover. Bring to a boil over medium heat, adjusting the heat to a strong simmer. In 4-5 minutes the asparagus should be crisp tender.
Lay asparagus in a serving bowl. Spread the butter over them and serve.
I’m already looking for leftovers!
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 http://sloanetaylor.blogspot.com every Wednesday. The recipes are user friendly, meaning easy.