December 30, 2008

Wednesday's Chow: Southern Black-eyed Peas

Note: I really didn’t like black-eyed peas, but as it’s a southern New Year’s Day tradition to eat them for good luck, I tried this recipe I found in a local newspaper. It’s delicious and tastes nothing like those canned peas I grew up with.

Southern Blacked-eyed Peas

1 1-pound pkg dried black-eyed peas
2 quarts water
1 onion, chopped
¼ green pepper, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
Ham bone, piece of salt pork or
Several slices of bacon

Wash the peas; soak overnight or at least five hours in fresh, cold water. Drain off soaking water; put peas in a large pot containing at least 2 quarts of fresh water. Add onions, green pepper, celery and ham bone or bacon. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook about 2 hours or until peas are tender to mash easily. Add water as needed while cooking.

Serve will freshly cooked rice and cornbread.

Anna Kathryn Lanier
A COWBOY'S DREAM - Top Ten Best Seller

December 28, 2008

It's That Time Again!

That's right, it's that time again. You know, that time that we all decide to suck it up and determine we're going to do all those things we've ignored all of the last year. We're going to get healthy, get rich, get motivated, get a clue. All those things. It's tradition. Wimping out is not accepted. A new year is calling our name so we try and figure out how to make it different from the last year. Well, I've thought about how I want to do that and I've come up with a slogan. Rock the New Year with Romance. That's Romance with a capital R. I"m going to put on my rose-colored glasses, break with my cynical uber-feminist side and watch the world around me for signs of love. Of the real thing. Romance with a capital R. It's out there if we look. That old guy sitting on the bench in the mall waiting for his wife to finish shopping. Teenage girls giggling and whispering as they watch the hottest thing in high school walk by with his buddies. The young couple linked hand to hand by their children walking in between them. Romance comes in all ages, sizes and dimensions. All of us can do it. All of us need a bit of it in our lives. So don't think, hey, she's a romance writer, of course she looks for romance. Instead, take a look around you and see what's blooming right beside you. You never know when Mr. or Ms. Right will walk your way and if you're not looking, well then, you could miss all Romance has for you. Or, if your right one is already walking beside you, spark something new this year. That's what we romance writers live for. Think of us as the "idea" people. We don't think this stuff up just for you to read it. Start living Romance and see what changes for you. Pick up a romance novel to spark some new ideas for your New Year. Like, say, The Prize, by Debra Doggett (yours truly!). Take a peek at The Prize on my website, Or you can go ahead and order a copy in print or ebook at Just a thought.

December 24, 2008

Wednesday's Chow - Ham and Cabbage Skillet Dinner

Here's a good recipe for that left over Christmas Ham. We really enjoy having this. Fix some dinner rolls to go with it and you have a warm, wintry dinner.

Ham and Cabbage Skillet Meal

3 quarts boiling water
1 teaspoon salt
8 oz. medium egg noodles
½ pound cooked ham
1 cup chopped onions
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 small head of cabbage, sliced then
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons butter
black pepper

Add salt to rapidly boiling water. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain.

In a large skillet, sauté onions in oil until tender. Add ham and cabbage. Cook, covered, 10 minutes or until cabbage is just tender, stirring occasionally. Combine sugar and vinegar in small bowl; add to skillet. Add noodles and butter. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4 or more.

Anna Kathryn

December 23, 2008

December 21, 2008

To Rescue or Not to Rescue...that is the question.

By Teri Wilson, Author of Do You Hear What I Hear?, Hoofbeats & Heartstrings Book One.

Finally the astonished prince came to an inner chamber, where was the fairest sight his eyes had ever beheld. A young girl of wonderful beauty lay asleep on an embroidered bed, and she looked as if she had only just closed her eyes. Trembling, the prince approached and knelt beside her. Some say he kissed her, but as nobody saw it, and she never told, we cannot be quite sure of the fact. However, as the end of the enchantment had come, the princess awakened at once, and looking at him with eyes of the tenderest regard, said drowsily, “Is it you, my prince? I have waited for you very long.”

The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood from “The Fairy Book” by Miss Mullock


I’ll be the first to admit it. This scene, in all its various versions, makes me swoon. I even have the song Someday My Prince Will Come on my I Pod. (Give me break, okay. I bought the CD while I was at Disneyworld in a fit of Disney-esque nostalgia.)

I know it’s old fashioned – this antiquated notion of the Prince coming along to rescue the Princess. Nowadays there is a strong trend toward the modern romantic heroine. Many readers prefer a heroine who can kick some butt and take names. She doesn’t need rescuing. In fact, sometimes she does the rescuing herself. Remember the positively adorable movie Enchanted, starring Amy Adams and Patrick “McDreamy” Dempsey? At the beginning, Amy’s character is rescued by the handsome (albeit animated) Prince. Near the end, she rescues Patrick Dempsey from the evil queen herself. And that’s all in the same story.

Anyone who has read my own blog knows that I’m a big fan of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series. Recently, I was urging one of my writer friends to read the first book, Twilight. My friend said she didn’t want to read it because she’d heard the lead female character was wimpy. While I have reason to argue with this statement (After all, she hangs around with a bunch of vampires. How wimpy can she be?), I also wondered what was so wrong about a heroine who needed to be rescued. I’m not talking about real life. I’m strictly referring to romance novels. We all love these books because they’re about our fantasies, the most perfect, happy endings we can imagine. Sometimes it’s okay to want to be rescued, or awakened, by the handsome Prince. Or vampire, or cowboy, whatever you prefer.

In my new Hoofbeats & Heartstrings series from The Wild Rose Press, I really explore the theme of rescue from all angles. All the books take place on a horse rescue farm and all the lead characters are involved in rescuing unwanted animals in one way or another. The best part is, as the hero and heroine come together, their unique talents and abilities mesh collectively in such a way that they can accomplish more than they ever thought possible. Their love makes them stronger, both as a couple and as individuals. True love rescues them both, and a whole slew of horses and dogs too!

And now, back to Sleeping Beauty for a moment. It wasn’t until I started working on this blog that I realized I have two Sleeping Beauty moments of my own in my two most recent books. Honestly, I had no idea. It was strictly a subconscious writer thing. I guess you can take the girl out of the fairy tale, but you just can’t take the fairy tale out of the girl. You’ve got to take a peek at these two very short excerpts. I think you’ll be both surprised and amused.

From Love, Lilies & the Unbroken Straw, Hoofbeats & Heartstrings Book Two (releasing in March from The Wild Rose Press):

Declan gathered the daisy chains and draped them on his arm while he looked down at Christabel’s serene form on the sleeping bags. If they were married, or even engaged, he would have bent down and wakened her with a kiss. Felt her body rouse to life beneath him.

Maybe someday. His heart stirred with hope. Maybe someday soon.

Pretty traditional as far as the Sleeping Beauty theme goes. Right? Now, check out the next one.

From Cup of Joe (manuscript still in progress, nearly complete!):

Goldie supposed she really should wake him. That was her intention when she leaned toward him. But as the distance between them closed, her heart beat faster and more furious. She was honestly stunned that he couldn’t hear it, that it didn’t wake him with a start.

When she was close enough to whisper in his ear, she said simply, “Joe.”

He didn’t move. A lock of his chocolate hair rippled under her breath, but he remained perfectly still. Sitting this close to him, Goldie noticed for the first time the impossible length of his dark eyelashes. With her gaze, she traced his strong jaw line and the gentle curve of his bottom lip and had the sudden urge to wake him, not with a whisper, but with a kiss.

Ha! Sleeping Beauty in reverse. How do you like that?

Okay, I can’t leave you without a little morsel from Do You Hear What I Hear? This book is the first in the Hoofbeats & Heartstrings series and is out now. And you can win a free download of the book here! All you need to do is leave a comment on this blog entry and you’ll be entered in the drawing to win. Good luck and happy reading!

Now get a glimpse at Chet and his feelings for Simone. He doesn’t want to rescue her, but to take refuge in their love. This is a hero who really gets it.

From Do You Hear What I Hear?, Hoofbeats & Heartstrings Book One (available now from The Wild Rose Press and Fictionwise, print release in February 2009):

Chet’s temples throbbed. It had been a long night. They had decided to drive straight back to San Antonio instead of stopping for the night. The horses needed to be settled into a safe environment as quickly as possible. Plus, if they arrived under the cover of darkness, he and Ted could wipe away all evidence of where they had been. Someday they might tell Elizabeth and Simone about their rescue mission, but not now. Or anytime soon. The memory of the grisly slaughterhouse was too fresh in their minds and both men were eager to put it to rest. Besides, as Ted had mentioned more than once, Elizabeth would have thrown a fit. Mexico. Bribes. Carrying wads of cash. They weren’t the ingredients for safe travel.

Although weary to the bone, once Chet was back on the farm he was keenly aware of Simone’s presence on the family land. His gaze traveled to his little cottage, dark, quiet and unassuming. To anyone else it looked the same as it always did. But he knew she was inside, her head resting on his pillow. Her long legs tangled in his sheets. What he wouldn’t give to step right out of the truck, strip the bloody, grimy clothes off his back and crawl into bed next to her. Take comfort in her warmth, rest his head on her breast and forget all about the places he had been.

“Bro, what are you waiting for?”

Ted’s voice drug him away from his fantasy and he found himself back in the truck instead of in bed wrapped around Simone.

He cleared his throat, dry and scratchy from a night without sleep. “Let’s get to it.”

Thanks Anna, for having me here today. It was a blast.

To learn more about me, or the Hoofbeats & Heartstrings series, come visit me at

Blessings, Teri

Teri Wilson ~ Romancing the pet lover's soul

December 19, 2008

December 22nd's Guest Blogger - Teri Wilson

Come on over on Monday, December 22nd and meet author Teri Wilson. She'll discuss "Rescue" as a theme in Romance Novels:

Ever since Prince Charming slayed the dragon and woke Sleeping Beauty with a kiss, romantic heroes have been coming to our rescue. Not so much lately, as more and more readers seem to prefer the heroine who can not only kick butt, but also rescue her own Prince Charming. Which do you prefer – fluttering your eyes open to the feel of your Prince’s lips drawing you out of your slumber, or holding your own against the very real dragons of this world? Or perhaps there’s room in modern romance for a middle ground. Maybe it’s time for true love to rescue us all.

Leave a comment and be eligible for a copy of her new story "Do You Hear What I Hear?"

Teri Wilson ~ Romancing the pet lover's soul
"Do You Hear What I Hear?", Book One of Hoofbeats & Heartstrings
Read a book, fall in love, save a horse!

The Friday Record - A Christmas Carol

On December 19, 1843, one of the holiday's most recognized stories was born – Charles Dickens released his novel “A Christmas Carol.” Taking only a few weeks to write the story, Dickens then self-published it. He ordered lavish binding, gilt edging and hand-colored illustrations. He then set a low price for the book so people could afford it. While this helped sell out his first run print of 6,000 copies, it was not very profitable for Dickens.

A Christmas Story tells of a miserly soul, Ebenezer Scrooge, a man who hates Christmas and forces his sour opinion of it onto everyone else. On Christmas Eve night, he is visited by four ghosts, including that of his old partner, who has been sent to warn him to change his ways. The other ghosts are Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Future. The ghosts help to open Scrooge's eyes to the true meaning of Christmas and do, as Marley wished, change his ways.

Several movies have been made of A Christmas Carol, I believe my favorite is the one with George C. Scott as Scrooge. Though Capt. Picard, aka Patrick Steward, also does a nice presentation of Scrooge.

So, if you have a chance in the next few days, treat yourself either to a reading of A Christmas Carol, or to a viewing of one of the many movies made of it.

The drawings are of the original prints ordered by Dickens. The colored prints were the largest expense of the book and accounted for the low profits he made.

Merry Christmas, and God bless us everyone!

Anna Kathryn Lanier

December 18, 2008

Christmas Carol Blog Train

Merry Christmas! Welcome to my stop on the Christmas Carol Blog Train. I hope you enjoy your visit. I'll be giving way several prizes during the day, so be sure and leave a comment. The prizes will include copies of my two Christmas stories: A COWBOY'S DREAM, just released yesterday and THE PRICELESS GIFT, a November 2007 release. Below is an excerpt from A COWBOY'S DREAM. It has the title of my song in it. Have fun and good luck.

Marcus stared at her hand a moment, then cleared his throat. Raising his gaze to her face, he smiled. “So, how are you going to celebrate?”
“Celebrate? Oh, I hadn’t thought about it.” Leah glanced around the kitchen. She hadn’t shopped in over a week. When on a deadline, fast food worked best. She lifted her hands palm-up and frowned. “I don’t have a beer, let alone a wine cooler.”
He went slack-jawed. “You don’t have a beer?”
“No, not even a light beer. Though I might have some tequila about.” She glanced toward a cabinet near her bare Christmas tree, then back.
He stared, squint-eyed, at her Christmas tree. “Expecting elves to decorate for you?”
She came around the counter to stand beside him, then wished she hadn’t. Forget the tequila. His body heat warmed her through the jogging suit and his aftershave intoxicated her. She blew out a slow breath. “No, aside from the fact I’ve been under a deadline, I’m a traditionalist.”
He glanced her way, blue eyes sparkled with curiosity. “A traditionalist?”
“Hmmm, yes. I decorate on Christmas Eve and celebrate the Twelve Days of Christmas, December twenty-sixth through January sixth.”
He leaned a hip against the granite bar. “Do you exchange gifts every day then, too?”
She shrugged. “When I have someone to exchange with.”
“And you won’t this year?”
Great, now she not only appeared to be a waif, she’d sound like one, too. “No. My parents are in Australia doing an archeological dig. They won’t be back until the middle of February. I’m an only child.”
“An archeological dig?”
“Let’s just say I had a very unusual upbringing. I suppose that’s why I enjoy writing historical novels. I’ve been to many of the places I write about in my books.”
“No kidding? That sounds exciting.” He propped an elbow on the bar and leaned toward her. “Growing up on the ranch as I did, I never went anywhere outside Texas until I played ball for college.”
She chuckled. “Not me. By the time I started high school, I had more stamps in my passport than most people have underwear.”
His gaze slid lazily down her body. A hot shiver of desire swept through her at the glimmer of interest in his eyes.
“Well, I know one way to celebrate.”
Had his voice dropped an octave? “Do you now?” Had hers risen one?
He pushed off the counter and stepped toward her. “Hmmm, yes, ma’am. Change into some celebrating clothes and I’ll be back in an hour. I know a great restaurant to celebrate grand well as book births.”

Holiday recipes:

Here's a copy of recipes that go with my stories. In THE PRICELSS GIFT, Christina loves to bake, and this bread recipe is one of her family's favorites.

In The Priceless Gift, Christina loves to bake at Christmas. One of her favorite recipes to make is Grandma Scott's Pumpkin Bread. I hope you enjoy the recipe as much as she does.

Grandma Scott’s Pumpkin Bread

3 C sugar 1 C oil
4 eggs, beaten 2 C cooked pumpkin (1 16-oz can)
3 ½ C flour 1 tea baking powder
2 tea salt 2 tea baking soda
½ t ground cloves 1 tea ground cinnamon
1 tea ground nutmeg 1 tea ground allspice
¾ C water 1-1 ½ C chopped nuts

Combine sugar, oil and eggs until light and fluffy. Stir in pumpkin.
In another bowl, combine dry ingredients. Stir into pumpkin
mixture. Add water and nuts. Spoon batter into well greased and
floured pans (2-3 depending on size). Bake at 350º for 60-70 minutes.

***NOTE: If you use 1 pound bread pans, you can get 6 loaves....perfect for teacher, neighbor, co-workers or family gifts.

And in A COWBOY'S DREAM, Leah makes Angel's on Horseback for her Christmas Eve party:. That recipe is just a couple of posts below. But here's a recipe for Peanut Butter Balls.

Peanut Butter Balls

1 pound powdered sugar
1 stick butter or margarine
8 ounces peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
12 ounces chocolate chips *
1/2 block paraffin wax *

Mix sugar, melted butter, peanut butter, and vanilla. Roll into balls and place in refrigerator. Melt wax and chocolate chips in double boiler. Dip balls in chocolate and place on wax paper to cool.

*In place of the chocolate chips and paraffin wax, you can use the chocolate candy melts found in hobby stories in the cake decorating area. They work just as well.

Enjoy. And now, for tomorrow's Blog Train stop:

Hywela Lyn at

Anna Kathryn

P.S. I forgot to tell those who haven't played in the blog train what to do....since November 29th, a different author has hosted the blog train for the day. Each author has a Christmas song listed on their blog. You need to find the songs of all the authors and keep a list of them. On December 24th, the last author will have her song, as well as where to send the list of songs (putting in the comment section of the blogs doesn't need to mail the list in). All those with the correct titles will be in a drawing for a $75 The Wild Rose Gift Certificate. If you've not played yet, no need to worry, just start at Blog No. 1 and follow the links until you reach me. Then you'll have the list of titles. Start with:

Good luck!

December 17, 2008

I'm Blogging, but YOU can Win

Join me as I blog with Paty Jager today. I'm discussing my two Christmas stories, last year's "The Priceless Gift" and today's release "A Cowboy's Dream." Also, if you a comment, you'll be eligible to win one of the two stories that I'll give away today.

Paty Jager

And tomorrow, I'll be blogging as part of the Christmas Carol Blog Train. So, stop by and get the title of my Christmas Carol. Then if you haven't been participating, you can backtrack and get the list of all the Carols, so you can enter to win a $75 The Wild Rose Press gift certificate. Plus, I'll be giving away prizes ALL DAY to those who leave comments.

Anna Kathryn Lanier
Compelling, Sensual Tales of Love and Forgiveness

December 16, 2008

Wednesday's Chow - Angels on Horseback

In A COWBOY'S DREAM, Leah hosts an annual Christmas Eve party for her friends, who help her decorate her house for the Twelve Days of Christmas. As part of the buffet, she serves Angels on Horseback. I really like these, though it's been years since I had any. I hope to change that this Christmas!

1/2 cup dry white wine
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper
12 shucked oysters, washed and dried
6 slices lean bacon

Mix the white wine, garlic, salt and pepper together.
Add the oysters and marinate 10 to 20 minutes.
Preheat the broiler.
Cut each bacon slice in half, and wrap each oyster with a piece of bacon and secure with a toothpick.
Broil on both sides until the bacon is crisp.
Keep warm on a heating tray.
A COWBOY'S DREAM is now on sale at The Wild Rose Press. Get your electronic copy today at:
Merry Christmas and may you find a cowboy in your stocking.....
Anna Kathryn

December 15, 2008

My first Review for A COWBOY'S DREAM

I've recieved my first review for A COWBOY'S DREAM, coming out on Wednesday, December 17th. Between the Lines posted the following:

Ms Lanier, has delivered a heartwarming, yet sexy story about how love can be so close and you may not even know it. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story. A great Christmas read with fantastic lead characters.

Who wouldn’t love a cowboy in their life and one that plays baseball and reads romance novels is all the better.

Reviewed by Sandie Hudson
WRDF Review

~Anna Kathryn Lanier

December 12, 2008

Contest on my Website - Win a $15 Gift Certificate

As usual, I'm holding a monthly contest on my website. Just go to my home page, scroll down to the bottom of the page for the link to my guestbook. (At this moment....either my computer, the net or Tripod is not cooperating and letting me change my Contest Page information...thus the November question is still up on my Contest Page...but I was able to change my guestbook page....go figure).

Anyway, sign in on my guestbook, and tell me the name of your favorite Christmas/holiday carol and you'll be eligible for the drawing for a $15 gift certificate from my publisher The Wild Rose Press. I'll draw for the prize on or about January 1st.

Anna Kathryn

December 10, 2008

Wednesday's Chow - Hot Buttered Rum & A Cowboy's Dream Contest

1 lb real sweet butter (unsalted)
1/2 box brown sugar
1 box powdered sugar
1 quart high quality soft vanilla ice cream
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg

Melt butter and mix w/ sugars, add spices, ice cream. Keep in freezer. Consistency should be soft.

To serve: Measure good quality Rum into a mug. Place 1 heaping Tbsp batter into mug. Add hot water to top. Sprinkle nutmeg on top. ENJOY!
Great for warming up during the holidays!

Check out A COWBOY'S DREAM - coming on December 17th through The Wild Rose Press. Leah hosts an annual Christmas Eve party....and though I think I have her serving cider in the story, Hot Butter Rum would be a good substitute for that recipe. Will pro baseball player Marcus go for the grand slam of his life and crash Leah's annual Christmas Eve party in hopes of convincing her she’s this Cowboy’s Dream? Or will he let his past pitch him a strike out instead?

Leave a comment about your favorite holiday drink and you could win a 2009 TEXAS Calendar and a copy of A Cowboy's Dream when it comes out next week!

~Anna Kathryn

December 7, 2008

Michele Hart blogs: Hooray! Song of the Muses is out!

What an exciting time for the muse authors of Song of the Muses. All 3 novella anthology paperback books are out, and I’ve had a great time reading all the stories. The Wild Rose Press rocked and treated us wonderfully.

Fans of Greek Myth! Don't miss this anthology! Writing, Tragedy, Music! Astronomy, Erotic Love, Dance! History, Comedy, Glorious Praise! Read the stories of the muses who inspire you!
Follow the links in this blog entry.

Talkin' Shop
It’s been a pleasure being a part of this big anthology project. I've never written anything as short as a novella, so it was a challenge, indeed. I’ve become close friends with several of the muse writers, and we call one another “sis” after the 9 muse sisters of Greek myth for whom we write. That felt good and uniting. You’ll just love the stories that came from the collaboration. I wrote the story for Thalia, the Muse of Comedy, No Funny Stuff!, nestled in the middle of Book III along with Alisha Paige (A Love Beyond Time)and Valerie Everhart (The Victory of Lugh). I’m particularly lucky my story was placed between two great writers.

Writing, Writing, Writing. Blogs are always filled with advice for new writers and published authors, and that’s important. Take all the good advice. Instead of dishing out good advice, I’d rather share something that was passed onto me and I'm still learning. Here are two positive Nevers.

Parts of being an author just plain stink. Submissions, synopses, rejections, and book trailers. Just keeping up with promotions and e-mail fills my day much of the week. (Can I hear an amen from my published sisters?) Finely tune your perseverance, the power to go on writing, no matter what obstacles or opinions lay in the way. It's so easy to get stuck in the business of writing that you're taken away from writing. Never forget the pride of publishing overcomes all the difficulties.

And then, never take it all too seriously. : - )
(Thalia gave me that last Never.)

Happy Holidays,
Michele Hart
~Walk Another World~
NO FUNNY STUFF!-The Wild Rose Press

Okay, here’s my commercial. You know it’s against the law not to do this.


Links Galore! No Funny Stuff! hit The Wild Rose Press’s Bestsellers List and stayed there for 2 months.

For No Funny Stuff! -
Here’s a super review, 5 out of 5 tombstones, from Bitten By Books. Please stop by and give it a quick read.

For a mere $3, you can buy my novella No Funny Stuff! and a lot of laughs in e-book right here:
Buy Link:

For you passionate lovers of Greek mythology:
Song of the Muses Anthology in Paperbacks!

Book I: stories for The Muses of Writing, Tragedy, and Music:

Book II: tales of the Muses of Astronomy, Erotic Love, and Dance:

Book III: stories for the Muses of History, Comedy, and Glorious Praise:


Happy Day to All!

December 5, 2008

December 8th to the 14th -- Come one, Come all to a special Christmas Book giveaway event. Make sure to pop in everyday for a chance to win. There will be lots going on everyday--all day long.

White Christmas Book Jubilee
14 Authors ~ 14 Holiday Book Giveaways
December 8th to December 14th
Free Books, Holiday Recipes, and Excerpts to warm you to the tips of your toes
Don’t miss the celebration!

Monday, December 8th – Rose Ross Zediker & Jan Scarbrough
Tuesday, December 9th – Pamela Thibodeaux & Linda Swift
Wednesday, December 10th – Cindy K. Green & Sarita Leone
Thursday, December 11th – Kara Lynn Russell & Anna Kathryn Lanier
Friday, December 12th – Marianne Arkins & Stacey Joy Netzel
Saturday, December 13th – Nan Jacobs & Teri Wilson
Sunday, December 14th – Stacy Dawn & Carla Rossi

Christmas Carol Blog Train - 23+ Prizes

Here's your chance to win a $75 gift certificate, plus one of 25+ other prizes. Just follow the blog train each day to its new the song of the day and keep track of them. On December 24th, you'll learn where to send your song titles to so you'll be eligible to win the $75 The Wild Rose Press Gift certificate. In additional, posting a comment on the daily blog will make you eligible for daily prizes! Here's a list of where to start. They've already held their daily drawing, but checking out their blogs and discovering their song will get you in the running for the the $75 G.C. Good luck and have fun!

Nov 29
Nov 30
Dec 1 WRP at **
Dec 2
Dec 3 2 today!--
Dec 4 Roni Adams at **

**There are TWO different posts at The Wild Rose Press, one on the Dec.1 and one on Dec. 4th. So be sure to look for both of them.

And for the record....I blog on the 18th of December!

Anna Kathryn

December 4, 2008

The Friday Record - December 6th - The Feast of St. Nicholas*

*Also know as Little Christmas

I first learned of Little Christmas in 1978, when I was an exchange student in Finland. My host family celebrated it with a party and the exchange of small gifts. December 6th is the Feast Day of the Roman Catholic Saint Nicholas, a fourth century bishop of the city of Myra in what is now Turkey. He is one of those the legend of Santa Claus is based on.

According to the website Women For Faith and Family “Saint Nicholas was renowned for his great kindness and his generous aid to those in distress. Among the kind and miraculous acts attributed to him are saving three young girls from prostitution by secretly providing them with dowries, raising three murdered boys from the dead, and saving sailors caught in stormy seas. For these reasons, he is considered the patron saint of children, unmarried girls, and sailors, among others.”(1)

But it is wrong to assume that he is the legend of Santa Claus. He is one of many, including the pre-Christian Scandinavian legend of Odin, who rode throughout the world in winter on his eight-footed horse, Sleipnir, giving out gifts or punishments. (2) Other legends include Knecht Ruprecht, Sinterklass and Father Christmas.

The custom of hanging stockings also derives from these legends. Dutch children would put out their wooden shoes for Sinterklass to leave them goodies – apples, candies, cookies and sometimes money to represent the dowries of the three young girls whose dowries St. Nicholas paid. Of course, those who were bad received coal or switches instead.

All of this information is in no way to say that there is no Santa Claus. There is always truth in every myth Besides,the Feast of St. Nicholas a wonderful way to celebrate the coming holiday season, but I think we sometimes forget the reason behind the celebration. People get upset thinking Santa Claus has taken over the holiday, but the truth is, he is part of the holiday and we should embrace that. Just as The Sun says we should:

Dear Editor,
I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says "If you see it in The Sun it's so." Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?

—Virginia O'Hanlon, 115 West 95th Street

Your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

~ Francis P. Church

Here's a great site about both letters and their writers:

And the sites I gleaned information from:


What is your fondest memory involving Santa Claus?

~Anna Kathryn

December 3, 2008

December 2, 2008

Wednesday's Chow - Shrimp and Oyster Gumbo

Here's a great winter recipe. This isn't my usual quick and easy recipe, but it's also not overly complicated or time consuming. And it is delicious!

Anna Kathryn

Shrimp and Oyster Gumbo

8 tbsp butter – divided
1 16-oz pkg frozen, sliced okra, defrosted
1 cup chopped onions
½ cup chopped green pepper
1 tsp finely chopped garlic
2 tbsp flour
2 15-oz cans chicken broth
3 cans Del Monte Cajun-styled stewed tomatoes
2 bay leafs (remove these before serving gumbo)
½ tsp dried thyme
2 tsp salt
black pepper
1 ½ to 2 lbs raw, shelled shrimp (30-50 per pound)
24 shucked oysters
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
½ tsp cayenne pepper (less if you don’t like it hot)
Freshly cooked rice

In a heavy 10-inch skillet melt 4 tbsp of butter over moderate heat. When foam subsides, add the okra. Stirring constantly, cook until okra stops ‘roping’ (I’ve never had it stop ‘roping’, so I cook it for 10-15 minutes. You’ll know what ‘roping’ means when you cook it). Remove skillet from heat and set aside.

Over moderate heat, melt remaining 4 tbsp of butter in heavy 4-qt soup pot. When foam subsides, add onions, green pepper and garlic. Cook 5 minutes or until vegetables are soft, but not brown. Add flour, cook 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly with a wire whisk.
Still whisking, add chicken broth in a slow, thin stream.

Then add okra, tomatoes, bay leafs, thyme, salt, and black pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, partially cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

At this point, if you are making it the day ahead, you may cool the soup and keep refrigerated until 30 minutes before serving. Then reheat and continue:

Add shelled shrimp and simmer for 5 minutes. Add oysters, simmer 2-3 minutes, until they plump up and edges curl. Remove from heat. Discard bay leafs. Add lemon juice, Worcestershire Sauce, and cayenne. Stir to mix in seasonings. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Serves 10-12, with white rice.

***Be sure and remove the bay leafs before serving. Bay leafs should not be eaten, as their pointed spines can cause perforations of the intestines and, thus, medical problems (I know, not a pretty thought, but just for those who don’t know and wonder why they should be removed).

December 1, 2008

Sweet Holiday Romance - Tempt Me Twice

Seven years ago, Meghan Shelton fell in love with Peter Bourne, Duke of Prestwick, only to learn his seduction was a means to win a bet. Ashamed and pregnant, Meghan flees England. On her return, she literally runs into Peter. This time she has more to protect than her heart, she has a daughter, too.

One look at Meghan and Peter knows he was foolish to think he could seduce her and not love her. Now he has to gain her forgiveness and work his way back into her heart. Will Meghan be tempted twice by the man she loves?

Tempt Me Twice unedited excerpt

“I hope I am not disturbing you, Meghan.”
Meghan jumped at the voice and whirled to face Prestwick. He stood in front of the closed door, blocking her exit.
“Your Grace.” She gave a curtsey.
“Your Grace,” he taunted. “I recall a time you called me Peter.”
“Yes, well, that was an age ago, was it not?”
His dark, steady gaze held hers. “A lifetime ago, Meghan.” He seemed to shake himself. “I owe you an apology for the way I treated you back then.”
If he’d kicked her, she wouldn’t have been more surprised. She realized the apology, so long in coming, made no difference. He’d not cared for her back then. It was merely his mature years forcing him to regret his past actions. Was she so pathetic that she would accept his hollow regret? She gave a humorless laugh.
“Oh, really, Your Grace, do not tell me you have dwelled on that all these years. I assure you, you did not take anything that wasn’t offered.”
“Winston believes differently.”
She arched a brow. “You men are such odd creatures. You think you must protect the women of your family from the very things you encourage women of other families to do. Winston keeps a mistress and yet he would tell you I suffered greatly because you chose to dally with me for a short time.” She stuffed her hands into the pockets of her dress when she noticed they trembled. “I assure you, Prestwick, my emotions are not so fragile as that. They never were.”
“You were too young to know—“
“But you were old enough to know my mind?” she interrupted. “How condescending, Your Grace. I begin to see why you men think you must control us. We are too foolish to make up our minds.”
She prayed he couldn’t detect the wild beating of her heart.
He stared at her. “I never meant to imply you do not know your own mind, Meghan. I only wished to tell you I regret the way I treated you.”
She blew out a breath. In what way, she wanted to ask. Instead she said, “And so you have done. I am meeting Lady Sarah for a game of cards, Your Grace. Please excuse me.” She tried to step around him.
“I think not. You are keeping a secret from me, are you not?”
Panic gripped her. She drew in a shallow breath, clinching a hand to her abdomen. “N-no, Your Grace, I am not.”
“No? Are you sure, Meghan? Did you think I would not realize the truth?”
Shear black fright swept through her. How had he found out about Marissa? Did he plan to take her daughter from her? She would die first.
“I know not what you speak of. I have no secret from you, Your Grace.”
He moved from the door with long, purposeful strides and stopped in front of her. “It has taken me a few days to work it out, but trust me, I have finally discovered the truth of the matter.”
Meghan’s lungs seized in her chest. “You cannot have her. Do you hear me? She is mine and you cannot have her. Have not you taken enough from me, Peter? Do you plan to also take my daughter? I would fight you to the ends of the earth first.”
He stared, complete surprise on his face. “What are you talking about? Why would I take your daughter, Meghan?”
Too late she realized her mistake. Already she could see the wheels of his mind working. Tears burned her eyes. A deep moan rose in her breast. “Nooooo.”
He gripped her painfully by the shoulders. “Dear God, Meghan, do not tell me she is mine.”

BUY TEMPT ME TWICE NOW from Coffee Time Romance:

Anna Kathryn