Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Tuna nuggets

Tuna nuggets

We're eating cheap lately. No meat, no frills. But I had a couple cans of tuna in the cupboard, & some salad, I found a bag of limes on sale and I splurged on a small tin of coconut milk, so I decided to make tuna nuggets. It's a big hit with the kids too, and it's pretty delicious.

Can of tuna, one lime, some garlic powder, bread crumbs, and coconut milk. Crumble bread in a bowl, stir in tuna and add lime juice and coconut milk to make a thick paste. Add some flour to make it stick together better and some salt and garlic powder to taste. Heat oil in a frying pan (not much - you want to fry the nuggets not have them swim...) shape nuggets with a spoon and fry until brown all over. Flip over once with a spatula.You can make them small or large and flat, like potato pancakes.

Put on paper towels to dry and serve hot or warm. Delicious with salad. The best sauce with them is a tomato, diced, mixed with more lime juice to make a quick salsa.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Marquis and I by Ella Quinn

The Marquis and I
by Ella Quinn


GENRE: Historical Romance



Trouble is no match for a lady of the extended Worthington family—except when it comes in the form of a most irresistible gentleman . . .

Lady Charlotte Carpenter’s brother-in-law has put an infamous brothel owner out of business—yet it is Charlotte who suffers the consequences. Abducted by thugs and held at an inn, she is plotting her escape when she’s suddenly rescued by a dashing gentleman. Only afterward does she realize she’s seen him before—with two courtesans! Unwilling to tarry with such a man, Charlotte makes her second escape. But it is too late to repair her reputation . . .

A known gossip has spied Charlotte’s movements, and his report is speeding through the rumor mill. Soon, everyone knows that Charlotte spent the night with Constantine, Marquis of Kenilworth. And everyone agrees the only answer is marriage—including Constantine himself, his overjoyed mother—and his mistress! But Charlotte’s abductors aren’t finished with her yet. Now Constantine will do anything to protect the spirited woman he loves and win her heart . . .


Wife? Wed? No, no, no! Being betrothed was bad enough. But she could get out of that. But
married! Lord Kenilworth was the last man in the world she would wed. Just the idea that he would touch her with the same hands he used to mistreat other women made her stomach lurch.

Charlotte quickly shoved the memory of his kiss aside. If she had known who he was, she would never have kissed him.

Taking a deep breath, she said with as firm a voice as she could muster, “Despite what his lordship said, I do not wish to marry him. There must be a way to—”

That is neither here nor there, my dear.” Lady Bellamny waved away Charlotte’s complaint in a voice so composed it made her want to slaughter someone. Preferably Lord Kenilworth. “I stopped by Stanwood House to inform your sister I intended to be out of Town for a few days. Instead, I found your cousin Jane, Mrs. Addison. Knowing that I am a trustworthy friend of the family, she told me what had occurred. Unless I am mistaken, you were with Lord Kenilworth at least overnight, and you were seen entering the inn with him.” She raised a brow. “In a rather disheveled state.”

Charlotte decided to ignore her creased, dusty gown, and address the most important issue. “I did not exactly spend the night with him.” Not all night and, technically, she had entered the inn first. “He followed me into the inn. I—”

Close enough, my lady.” His tone was as dry as sand. “We were seen together walking toward this place, and I held the door open for you.”

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Bestselling author Ella Quinn’s studies and other jobs have always been on the serious side. Reading historical romances, especially Regencies, were her escape. Eventually her love of historical novels led her to start writing them.

After living in the South Pacific, Central America, North Africa, England and Europe, she and her husband decided to make their dreams come true and are now living on a sailboat cruising the Caribbean and North America. Europe is next!

She loves having readers connect with her.

Blog http://ellaquinnauthor.wordpresscom

The Marquis and I Buy Links
Barnes & Noble

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION:   Ella will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, February 26, 2018

Excerpt from Storms Over babylon

Exclusive excerpt from "Storms Over Babylon" - coming June 2018!

Kalanos, who had been with us since India and who had been with Nearchus on the sea voyage, now rejoined us. He was growing frail, and I worried to see him losing his appetite. He said it was old age.
Old people don’t sleep, and they don’t eat,’ he said, waving the bowl of lentils away. ‘We’re turning back into the dust that we came from.’ He chuckled; to him death was just another door he would enter.
I told him not to be silly, that he was still a young, handsome man yet, and to eat his soup, please.
He peered at me from under his brows, his black eyes half-mocking, half-sad. ‘You will never learn to accept fate.’ He sighed. ‘For you, life is a battle to be won, not a river to carry you peacefully along. I have tried to tell you this for months. Why will you not listen? When will you learn? We all have to meet our fate.’
I frowned and stared at the steaming bowl of soup, then sighed and ate it myself. ‘What if …’ I began slowly. ‘What if you knew the future? Would it still be fate? If you could change something, would that mean that fate doesn’t exist?’
Kalanos narrowed his eyes. He had the shrewdest stare. He brought to mind the canny gaze of Alexander sometimes, and he’d gotten that look from Aristotle. ‘You cannot cheat fate,’ he said. ‘What changes you think you have wrought would in fact already be written in the great book of fate. Nothing can be changed. Everything has been ordered since the beginning.’
But what if I told you I knew what was going to happen?’ I cried.
Kalanos smiled gently. ‘You think you do, child, but it’s like seeing the rapids in the river. You know what rapids are and what they look like, but you’ve never really been in rapids. You know you’re on a river, and perhaps you’ve seen the whole river in a dream, but it will never be the same until you actually navigate upon it. You will see the people, the boats and the fish that the dream cannot show you. You will feel things that knowledge itself cannot make you feel.’
I shook my head stubbornly. ‘It’s not like that at all,’ I said. My eyes were burning. I was in front of an insurmountable wall of belief, and I couldn’t get past it. What I wanted to know I couldn’t ask outright.
But it is, and you will see, some day. You must learn to live one day at a time as it comes to you. You must greet each sunrise as a new miracle, and live each instant of each new day as if it will be your last one. Only then can you go forward. Only then can you begin to accept. Once you do, you will find that everything is as easy as breathing. Even dying. From one world to the next, you must learn to go as easily between breathing in and breathing out. Do you remember our breathing lessons?’ He leaned forward anxiously. These lessons had been among the first he’d taught us, sitting cross-legged on the rug, taking smooth, deep breaths. Alexander’s asthma had improved dramatically since he’d learned to breathe.
I remember,’ I said bleakly. Two tears rolled down my cheeks and fell with audible plops into my soup.
Lentils not salty enough?’ he asked, his eyes twinkling.
I want to save those I love,’ I said. ‘It has nothing to do with me. I could let myself go downriver, but I couldn’t go and leave those I love behind.’
Kalanos patted my hand. ‘You’re such a new soul.’
I laughed shakily. I was younger than he by a good three thousand years. My soup got saltier as the tears fell faster.
I love too,’ he said. ‘But I have learned to let go. That is the final lesson. You are still too young. No one can ever teach you. It has to be learned alone. When you have learned to let go, then you will be free and you will see that everything that ever held you back from the river’s flow hurt you, and everything that let you go forward was beneficial. Love can be both. Will you listen to an old man who has come to the end of his journey?’
Of course,’ I said.
Let go. Don’t try to change what cannot be changed. You will just be swimming against the current and you could drown. Who will look after Chiron when you are gone? I told you once before, gold and silver are not the riches of the earth – the real treasures are children.’
I thought of Paul and my sobs redoubled. Kalanos shook his head pityingly. I was a backward, recalcitrant pupil but his patience knew no limits. ‘Child, child. Dry your tears. Perhaps I am wrong. Real knowledge is believing that you know nothing.’
I looked up at him and tried to smile. ‘Well, that’s a relief,’ I said.
He shook his head some more. ‘Ah, I can see that you will do what you believe is right. Didn’t you hear me?’
I did.’ I leaned over and kissed his cheek.
Hey!’ He rubbed his cheek, glaring at me. ‘You’re not supposed to kiss holy men! ’His eyes were twinkling though.
That’s my present to you,’ I said. ‘It’s the only thing I have to give to you.’

That’s what you think,’ he said. He took my hand, kissed the inside of my palm and folded my fingers over it. ‘You keep that. That’s the only thing I will give you. You can take it with you downriver, and it will not weigh you down.’

Sunday, February 25, 2018

What's in a name?

I just got a horrible review for one of my books. It bothers me (of course) but the reviewer didn't say anything contructive, so I can't use it, and I can only guess at why she hated the book. In her (or his - it could be a man) comment, she mentions that Plexis - the word, was the reason the book tanked for her. I hguess she didn't get further than the name that struck such a bad note she had to stop reading.

So why did I choose the name Plexis for one of my character's nickname?  I had Usse - which was a wink at the Greek's fondness for names ending in  "us" - and I used some of the French spellings for some of the names (this is fiction - a time travel book - so I took a few liberties...) Anyhow. Plexis. Why? Well, I liked the sound of the name. Hephaestion is stuffy, and the Greeks had nicknames, just like anyone else, so why not Plexis?

The word Plexis comes from the Proto-Indo-European "pleḱ"- (“to fold, weave”).  It's associated with the Latin plicō, Ancient Greek πλέκω (plékō). I thought the folds and weave of a cloth would suit Plexis's character - he comforts Ashley, he's Alexander's best friend, he is quixotic, but at the same time he has a practical side to him. He's a complex character, with many layers to his personality.

And there you have it. A name, just a name, and a reviewer crucifies the story. Maybe the name wasn't at all what the reader hated - but the whole review, just one sentence - only mentioned the word Plexis as if it were the worst thing the reader had ever come across, so I felt I had to explain in case someone else reads the book and wonders where I found the name - now you know, Plexis is a name I made up from an ancient word that means the fold or weave of cloth. It's nothing too deep, just a sound I happened to like with a meaning that spoke to me.

A bronze head once in the Farnese Collection, then in the Collection of king Philip V of Spain, in San Ildefonso, Palacio Real, now at Madrid, Prado, which has been recognized as the portrait of Hephaestion

Saturday Seven

Seven deadly sins, seven days in the week - and now, Saturday Seven!

The Long and Short Reviews had the idea, so herewith, my Seven Best Ways to Procrastinate for an Author!

1) Research. It's what I do when I decide I need to know more about something in the book I'm writing. But it's not writing. It's spending hours looking up things like how the ancients made toothpaste. What the travel time was between Alexandria and Marsalla. What kind of food did they eat, and what subjects did they study in school...were there schools back then? I better look it up...

 2) Chocolate. Because you need chocolate for inspiration, but there isn't any, so you have to go out and buy some.

3) Shopping. You need to buy chocolate so you go to the store. Once there, the promise you made to yourself that you would not get distracted evaporates as you browse around in the fruit and veggie section pretending you are going to eat something healthy, and as you leave the store you notice there is a sale in your favorite deco store, and why not stop and get some fresh bread? And there is the Turkish shop that is so fun to go to...

4) Housework. Why can't I just sit down and write when there are dust bunnies on the floor and dirty dishes in the sink? Why should I care? Why? But I get out the vacuum cleaner and clean, Anyhow, my characters were not listening to me.

5) Hearthstone. My son't fault. I love to play Hearthstone. I get a tiny bit frustrated with how a chapter is going, and I decide to play a round of Hearthstone cards. I finally stop when I realize I have to go to bed or I will not be able to get up the next day.

6) Facetime. It's fun to chat, and even more fun to chat with Facetime. "Hello! Are you busy?" I always say no!

7) Walk the Dog. If it's sunny, I can't stay inside and write! I have to go out and walk the dog. And if it's raining, I have to walk the dog, because dogs don't melt. And he has to go out, rain or shine. And so I ignore my characters' screams of frustration becuase I'm not telling their story - I'm out the door, with Auguste - but I'll be back later! I promise!

What are your best ways to procrastinate?

Friday, February 23, 2018

The brand new covers!

The Time for Alexander series got some brand new covers, and a spiffy new look (does anyone use the word spiffy anymore?)

I love the bright colors, and the design is more fun - what do you think??

And below is a cover reveal, for Storms Over Babylon, which will be out in June! (Yay!)
I just got done with edits for it, and I'm so pleased. (Sending a huge Thank You to David, my amazing proofreader/editor) Publishing a book is a group effort. Yes, I wrote the book, but after there is the line editor, and the final edits, and another proofread - some writers have beta-readers, and then there is the cover artist, the publisher, and the most important person of all - the reader! I want to thank every reader who helped me make The Road to Alexander a best seller (Yes!) in Australia!

Storms Over Babylon

Book Four - Babylon! Alexander tours his new kingdom and Ashley gets a taste of life as a Persian princess. As the time for Alexander to die draws near, Ashley decides to defy the Time-Senders and save her husband and lover –  but she must convince Alexander to leave his crown and all he has worked so hard to gain.
In the fourth book in the Time For Alexander series time time-travelling Ashley has married her beloved Alexander the Great, and he is now king of all Persian and Greece. But his reign will be short. Ashley knows when her husband will die, but she isn't isn’t willing to sit still and let it happen. She is determined to cheat fate, and save not only Alexander but her children, who are rivals for his throne, no matter the consequences. Following Alexander on the tour of his new kingdom, she plans her moves, and bides her time. From the scorching plains of Persia, to the opulent city of Babylon, Ashley and Alexander continue their sensuous, passionate journey through history.

Coming Soon!!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

In Unison

There is something terrifying about the North Korean cheerleaders. Have you seen them? Sitting straight, tight smiles on their faces, their eyes wary. They sing and clap in perfect unison, but have no reactions to the people around them. They are surrounded by "minders" - older men and women, and plainsclothes policement keep anyone away. When the South Koreans ask them questions, they smile brightly but do not respond. They are like robots, and truth is, they frighten me. They scare me because they represent a State where people have been culled, constrained, ad forced into one single mold. There are no differences. There is no diversity. It is an incredibly fragile State.  And so, for your reading pleasure, I have dug out an old Kurt Vonnegut story about a world where everyone must conform. Enjoy! 


by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

French Translation from Avice Robitaille.

THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren't only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General.
Some things about living still weren't quite right, though. April for instance, still drove people crazy by not being springtime. And it was in that clammy month that the H-G men took George and Hazel Bergeron's fourteen-year-old son, Harrison, away.
It was tragic, all right, but George and Hazel couldn't think about it very hard. Hazel had a perfectly average intelligence, which meant she couldn't think about anything except in short bursts. And George, while his intelligence was way above normal, had a little mental handicap radio in his ear. He was required by law to wear it at all times. It was tuned to a government transmitter. Every twenty seconds or so, the transmitter would send out some sharp noise to keep people like George from taking unfair advantage of their brains.
George and Hazel were watching television. There were tears on Hazel's cheeks, but she'd forgotten for the moment what they were about.
On the television screen were ballerinas.
A buzzer sounded in George's head. His thoughts fled in panic, like bandits from a burglar alarm.
"That was a real pretty dance, that dance they just did," said Hazel.
"Huh" said George.
"That dance-it was nice," said Hazel.
"Yup," said George. He tried to think a little about the ballerinas. They weren't really very good-no better than anybody else would have been, anyway. They were burdened with sashweights and bags of birdshot, and their faces were masked, so that no one, seeing a free and graceful gesture or a pretty face, would feel like something the cat drug in. George was toying with the vague notion that maybe dancers shouldn't be handicapped. But he didn't get very far with it before another noise in his ear radio scattered his thoughts.
George winced. So did two out of the eight ballerinas.
Hazel saw him wince. Having no mental handicap herself, she had to ask George what the latest sound had been.
"Sounded like somebody hitting a milk bottle with a ball peen hammer," said George.
"I'd think it would be real interesting, hearing all the different sounds," said Hazel a little envious. "All the things they think up."
"Um," said George.
"Only, if I was Handicapper General, you know what I would do?" said Hazel. Hazel, as a matter of fact, bore a strong resemblance to the Handicapper General, a woman named Diana Moon Glampers. "If I was Diana Moon Glampers," said Hazel, "I'd have chimes on Sunday-just chimes. Kind of in honor of religion."
"I could think, if it was just chimes," said George.
"Well-maybe make 'em real loud," said Hazel. "I think I'd make a good Handicapper General."
"Good as anybody else," said George.
"Who knows better than I do what normal is?" said Hazel.
"Right," said George. He began to think glimmeringly about his abnormal son who was now in jail, about Harrison, but a twenty-one-gun salute in his head stopped that.
"Boy!" said Hazel, "that was a doozy, wasn't it?"
It was such a doozy that George was white and trembling, and tears stood on the rims of his red eyes. Two of of the eight ballerinas had collapsed to the studio floor, were holding their temples.
"All of a sudden you look so tired," said Hazel. "Why don't you stretch out on the sofa, so's you can rest your handicap bag on the pillows, honeybunch." She was referring to the forty-seven pounds of birdshot in a canvas bag, which was padlocked around George's neck. "Go on and rest the bag for a little while," she said. "I don't care if you're not equal to me for a while."
George weighed the bag with his hands. "I don't mind it," he said. "I don't notice it any more. It's just a part of me."
"You been so tired lately-kind of wore out," said Hazel. "If there was just some way we could make a little hole in the bottom of the bag, and just take out a few of them lead balls. Just a few."
"Two years in prison and two thousand dollars fine for every ball I took out," said George. "I don't call that a bargain."
"If you could just take a few out when you came home from work," said Hazel. "I mean-you don't compete with anybody around here. You just sit around."
"If I tried to get away with it," said George, "then other people'd get away with it-and pretty soon we'd be right back to the dark ages again, with everybody competing against everybody else. You wouldn't like that, would you?"
"I'd hate it," said Hazel.
"There you are," said George. The minute people start cheating on laws, what do you think happens to society?"
If Hazel hadn't been able to come up with an answer to this question, George couldn't have supplied one. A siren was going off in his head.
"Reckon it'd fall all apart," said Hazel.
"What would?" said George blankly.
"Society," said Hazel uncertainly. "Wasn't that what you just said?
"Who knows?" said George.
The television program was suddenly interrupted for a news bulletin. It wasn't clear at first as to what the bulletin was about, since the announcer, like all announcers, had a serious speech impediment. For about half a minute, and in a state of high excitement, the announcer tried to say, "Ladies and Gentlemen."
He finally gave up, handed the bulletin to a ballerina to read.
"That's all right-" Hazel said of the announcer, "he tried. That's the big thing. He tried to do the best he could with what God gave him. He should get a nice raise for trying so hard."
"Ladies and Gentlemen," said the ballerina, reading the bulletin. She must have been extraordinarily beautiful, because the mask she wore was hideous. And it was easy to see that she was the strongest and most graceful of all the dancers, for her handicap bags were as big as those worn by two-hundred pound men.
And she had to apologize at once for her voice, which was a very unfair voice for a woman to use. Her voice was a warm, luminous, timeless melody. "Excuse me-" she said, and she began again, making her voice absolutely uncompetitive.
"Harrison Bergeron, age fourteen," she said in a grackle squawk, "has just escaped from jail, where he was held on suspicion of plotting to overthrow the government. He is a genius and an athlete, is under-handicapped, and should be regarded as extremely dangerous."
A police photograph of Harrison Bergeron was flashed on the screen-upside down, then sideways, upside down again, then right side up. The picture showed the full length of Harrison against a background calibrated in feet and inches. He was exactly seven feet tall.
The rest of Harrison's appearance was Halloween and hardware. Nobody had ever born heavier handicaps. He had outgrown hindrances faster than the H-G men could think them up. Instead of a little ear radio for a mental handicap, he wore a tremendous pair of earphones, and spectacles with thick wavy lenses. The spectacles were intended to make him not only half blind, but to give him whanging headaches besides.
Scrap metal was hung all over him. Ordinarily, there was a certain symmetry, a military neatness to the handicaps issued to strong people, but Harrison looked like a walking junkyard. In the race of life, Harrison carried three hundred pounds.
And to offset his good looks, the H-G men required that he wear at all times a red rubber ball for a nose, keep his eyebrows shaved off, and cover his even white teeth with black caps at snaggle-tooth random.
"If you see this boy," said the ballerina, "do not - I repeat, do not - try to reason with him."
There was the shriek of a door being torn from its hinges.
Screams and barking cries of consternation came from the television set. The photograph of Harrison Bergeron on the screen jumped again and again, as though dancing to the tune of an earthquake.
George Bergeron correctly identified the earthquake, and well he might have - for many was the time his own home had danced to the same crashing tune. "My God-" said George, "that must be Harrison!"
The realization was blasted from his mind instantly by the sound of an automobile collision in his head.
When George could open his eyes again, the photograph of Harrison was gone. A living, breathing Harrison filled the screen.
Clanking, clownish, and huge, Harrison stood - in the center of the studio. The knob of the uprooted studio door was still in his hand. Ballerinas, technicians, musicians, and announcers cowered on their knees before him, expecting to die.
"I am the Emperor!" cried Harrison. "Do you hear? I am the Emperor! Everybody must do what I say at once!" He stamped his foot and the studio shook.
"Even as I stand here" he bellowed, "crippled, hobbled, sickened - I am a greater ruler than any man who ever lived! Now watch me become what I can become!"
Harrison tore the straps of his handicap harness like wet tissue paper, tore straps guaranteed to support five thousand pounds.
Harrison's scrap-iron handicaps crashed to the floor.
Harrison thrust his thumbs under the bar of the padlock that secured his head harness. The bar snapped like celery. Harrison smashed his headphones and spectacles against the wall.
He flung away his rubber-ball nose, revealed a man that would have awed Thor, the god of thunder.
"I shall now select my Empress!" he said, looking down on the cowering people. "Let the first woman who dares rise to her feet claim her mate and her throne!"
A moment passed, and then a ballerina arose, swaying like a willow.
Harrison plucked the mental handicap from her ear, snapped off her physical handicaps with marvelous delicacy. Last of all he removed her mask.
She was blindingly beautiful.
"Now-" said Harrison, taking her hand, "shall we show the people the meaning of the word dance? Music!" he commanded.
The musicians scrambled back into their chairs, and Harrison stripped them of their handicaps, too. "Play your best," he told them, "and I'll make you barons and dukes and earls."
The music began. It was normal at first-cheap, silly, false. But Harrison snatched two musicians from their chairs, waved them like batons as he sang the music as he wanted it played. He slammed them back into their chairs.
The music began again and was much improved.
Harrison and his Empress merely listened to the music for a while-listened gravely, as though synchronizing their heartbeats with it.
They shifted their weights to their toes.
Harrison placed his big hands on the girls tiny waist, letting her sense the weightlessness that would soon be hers.
And then, in an explosion of joy and grace, into the air they sprang!
Not only were the laws of the land abandoned, but the law of gravity and the laws of motion as well.
They reeled, whirled, swiveled, flounced, capered, gamboled, and spun.
They leaped like deer on the moon.
The studio ceiling was thirty feet high, but each leap brought the dancers nearer to it.
It became their obvious intention to kiss the ceiling. They kissed it.
And then, neutraling gravity with love and pure will, they remained suspended in air inches below the ceiling, and they kissed each other for a long, long time.
It was then that Diana Moon Glampers, the Handicapper General, came into the studio with a double-barreled ten-gauge shotgun. She fired twice, and the Emperor and the Empress were dead before they hit the floor.
Diana Moon Glampers loaded the gun again. She aimed it at the musicians and told them they had ten seconds to get their handicaps back on.
It was then that the Bergerons' television tube burned out.
Hazel turned to comment about the blackout to George. But George had gone out into the kitchen for a can of beer.
George came back in with the beer, paused while a handicap signal shook him up. And then he sat down again. "You been crying" he said to Hazel.
"Yup," she said.
"What about?" he said.
"I forget," she said. "Something real sad on television."
"What was it?" he said.
"It's all kind of mixed up in my mind," said Hazel.
"Forget sad things," said George.
"I always do," said Hazel.
"That's my girl," said George. He winced. There was the sound of a rivetting gun in his head.
"Gee - I could tell that one was a doozy," said Hazel.
"You can say that again," said George.
"Gee-" said Hazel, "I could tell that one was a doozy."

"Harrison Bergeron" is copyrighted by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., 1961.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

End of Winter burn out

I think I run on solar power - at the end of winter, my energy levels are so low I can hardly get out of bed. When the alarm rings, I just feel like crying - if I had the energy. Instead, I drag the covers over my head and wait for the five minute warning - sometimes I fall asleep waiting, and the reminder alarm wakes me up all over again. Those are the days I know nothing will go right. I can't hold two ideas in my head at once. I start getting dressed, then remember I have to shower. I get out of the shower, and find I've not rinced my hair. I start to brush my teeth, and then do something else. Each one of my chores is interrupted by something else, until, at the end of the morning, nothing is done and I'm late for work.
At work it takes all my concentration to keep on track. Usually by then I've had a coffee or two, and I'm waking up. But depending on the day, things can get better. Usually, if it's a sunny day, I'll perk up and find myself becoming more alert. But if it's dark and raining, I need cup after cup of tea and coffee to keep me going.
And then spring arrives - suddenly the forsythia are in bloom. Yellow flowers shining on bushes and trees - as the poem by Robert Frost goes, "Nature's first green is gold..."

Nothing Gold Can Stay
Robert Frost, 1874 - 1963

 Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Widow 1881 by Sara Dahmen

Widow 1881
by Sara Dahmen


GENRE:   Women's Historical Pioneer Fiction


Boston widow Jane Weber moves to the Dakota Territories to save her respectability but finds her proper views challenged every step. Rooming with the last Blackfoot Sioux in Flats Junction and navigating a mercurial friendship with the fiercely independent town grocer leaves Jane reeling as she stumbles to understand the town folk and the unwritten rules of the west in 1881. Everyone has a story, including Jane herself and her unpredictable physician employer. 
 Excerpt :

Suppose it is not real. I have not yet felt the quickening. It is early yet – too early to really discuss it. For this employer to know, when my lover had not and my husband could not, feels as if I am exposing my private bedroom to a stranger. 

Terror shoots into me. I hadn’t wanted him to find out! Not so soon and not like this! Damn the Widow! I’d asked her not to speak! Now he will send me back home to be a widowed mother alone in the quietness of my parents’ house and the sharp stigma of the loose widow. No one back east will truly believe the child is Henry’s. They might think I went wild in the west.

No one knows me here. There is some safety in it, and I must convince him to let me stay. And I must tell him the same lie. There’s no other way. Everyone here in Flats Junction must think I was as married and settled as I say. And the Doctor too – what would he think having hired such a loose woman? The shame of my brief, quick desire for Theodore, and the self-loathing I carry rises up and tries to choke me. The Doctor walks away from me, fuming and vibrating with anger and I feel I must follow him to hear my fate.

My heart is beating slowly, pulsing with each step. Will I faint? Will I be able to hold my head to his and beg him? Can I spit out the story I’ve told myself so often that it almost feels true? And will he believe it?
AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Sara Dahmen is a metalsmith of vintage and modern cookware and manufactures pure
metal kitchenware in tin, copper and iron. She is the owner and operator of House Copper & Housekeeper Crockery: American-made cookware created with pure and/or organic materials featured in Food and Wine and Root + Bone magazines, among others. She has published over 100 articles as a contributing editor for Veil Magazine and writes for many book and review blogs. She has spoken at TEDx Rapid City in 2016, speaks across the country at multiple writer conferences such as the Writer’s Institute and RWA Nationals, and co-chairs the Port Washington Literary Festival since its inception in 2013. Prior to her writing gigs, Sara was a print, radio and TV producer before owning and operating a nationally award-winning event planning company for ten years. When not writing or sewing authentic clothing for 1830’s reenactments, she can be found hitting tin and copper at her apprenticeship with a master tinsmith, reading the Economist or hanging out with her husband and three young children.


Twitter: @saradahmenbooks
Instagram: @housecrockery
!Buy link unavailable but can be found through websites above!


Sara Dahmen will be awarding a set of American-made pure maple wooden spoons from the author's kitchenware line (www.housekeepercrockery), valued at $60 (international) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This is a first-person narrated story about a widow who goes out west to the Dakota Territory in 1881 to be a housekeeper for a doctor. She travels to Flats Junction, where we are also introduced to a feisty general store owner, Kate, and to Jane's Sioux landlady, Widow Hawks. Jane's work for the doctor includes some nursing, cooking, working in the house and garden, and secretary.  To the reader, it is obvious the doctor has fallen for Jane, but she has a secret that must be revealed - she's carrying a child, the fruit of a passionate fling that she had after her husband's death. The author has done her research and the patterns of speech, the settlers' prejudices against the Native Americans, and the settings are brought to life in this captivating story. There are details about everyday life on the frontier,  but most of all, this is a love story between a woman who is stronger than she thinks she is, and a man who will give up everything to win the heart of the one he's chosen. I think all lovers of historical fiction and historical romance will enjoy this book!

Monday, February 5, 2018

One Unforgettable Friday by Robena Grant

One Unforgettable Friday
by Robena Grant


GENRE: Contemporary Romance



Lizzie York, a young paraplegic, has the chance to teach at a new school in Oldcastle. On a quest for independence, and to live alone, out from her brother’s watchful eye, she encounters discrimination from narrow-minded villagers. Toss into the mix: a school employee who sets her heart racing, a home of her own, and work she is passionate about.

Peter Barrington, a London solicitor, invests in Bright Academy. Having experienced pain and loss in his past, he became a workaholic. He now desires a quiet life in the country. He meets Lizzie, is immediately smitten, but respects her need for independence. As they work together, their mutual respect and love grows.

When someone hides in the woods and photographs them, Peter does everything in his power to protect Lizzie. But Lizzie is up for a fight. Will their love be strong enough to overcome hatred, and intent to harm, so they can forge a future together?


“Maybe he has a secret life? Doesn’t like women?” Sara said, keeping her voice low.

“You. Are. Kidding. Right?” Naomi leaned forward. “He’s so darn hot.” She fanned her face. “He’s every woman’s dream. Did anyone else notice that he
looks like Dev Patel’s older brother? If he had a brother.”

They all spoke over each other in whispered tones. Of course, many had observed his resemblance to the British born actor of Indian parents. She had too. “Shush,” Lizzie said, and frowned. “He might return, and well, it seems rude.”

Everyone snickered, but returned to their work. Lizzie glanced around the table; nobody had made much progress. When Peter left, she’d have to get tough

with them. An old saying, things come in threes, popped into her mind. Good and bad.

This would be three weddings. All good. She hoped the nosey villagers would leave handsome Peter Barrington alone. She couldn’t bear to watch his wedding. Especially to a woman from the village. And that would start another round of three.

Were there even three single people left in Oldcastle?


AUTHOR Bio and Links:  Robena Grant writes contemporary romance and romantic
suspense about ordinary women thrust into extraordinary circumstances. Travel and discovering new places brings her great pleasure, and she often includes these discoveries in her stories. She is Australian by birth, lives in Southern California, and has two grown children. Robena may be contacted at: where she blogs frequently, or follow her on social media:

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION: Robena Grant will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. RAFFLECOPTER CODE: a Rafflecopter giveaway

REVIEW: (This is the third book in a series - it can be read as a stand alone, but I am going to get the first two, because I enjoyed this one so much!) 

Lizzie, who is in a wheelchair after a car accident, wonders if any man, could ever love her and doubts she’s capable of having a relationship.  She's about to start teaching again, and she's facing the daunting prospect of trying to live a normal life. Her brother is overprotective of her, and she decides she needs to get away from him and his new wife, and live by herself. Not an easy thing to do, when everyone seems to be determined to tell her that she's bound to fail. At a wedding, she meets a tall dark stranger, who doesn't seem to notice her infirmity, who asks her to dance with him, and who kisses her - but Lizzie panics, sure that she doesn't deserve such a man, and tries to push him away. 
The story isn't as cliché as it sounds - true, there is the "love me, love me not" daisy theme running through it, but the characters are very well drawn, and you will find yourself rooting for Lizzie, for Peter, her handsome prince with painful secrets of his own, and for the whole cast of wonderful characters. Set in a charming English village, with passion and heartbreak - this story is definitely on my keeper shelf - give it a try!

Juche 1-4 Box set by Adria Carmichael

 Juche 1-4 Box set by Adria Carmichael ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ GENRE: YA Dystopian ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ BLURB: Just when Areum - daughter of a privileged fam...