November 30, 2011

Holiday Cheer Returns Tomorrow

It's that time again for Holiday Cheer...daily recipes and holiday quotes.  I'll re-post some old stand-by recipes, along with some new ones during the month.  AND I'll be giving away prizes periodically, too. So if you leave a comment with your email you'll be entered in the drawing. The first prize up will be Kohl's Cares Good Housekeeping "A Very Merry Christmas" Cookbook. It "features hearty dishes, mouthwatering cookies and traditional table centerpieces the entire family will enjoy." I'll draw a winner for it next Wednesday, Dec. 7th.

In the meantime, here's a little Holiday Cheer for you to enjoy now.  BTW, there's a recipe, too....try to get past the man candy for the candy recipe.

Candy Crunch


4 c pretzel sticks or pretzel twists
4 c (24-oz) white chocolate chips
1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 c dried fruit (dried cranberries, raisins, etc.)


Line a 15X10 jellyroll pan with tinfoil.

Place pretzels in a large bowl.  In a large saucepan, melt chips with milk over low heat.  Stir until smooth.  Pour over pretzels, coating well. 

Immediately spread mixture into pan.  Sprinkle with dried fruit, press down lightly with back of spoon.  Chill 1 to 2 hours.  Break into chunks.  Store loosely covered at room temperature.

November 28, 2011


by Cheryl Pierson

Only two Native Americans on either side of the States’ War rose to the rank of brigadier general. Standhope Watie (Uwatie), fighting for the Confederacy, was one of those two. Yet, what makes this accomplishment so incredible is the fact that while he was fighting for the Confederate States of America, he was also fighting other Cherokee tribal leaders who held opposing political views and very different visions for the Cherokee nation.

Stand Watie commanded the Confederate Indian Cavalry of the Army of the Trans-Mississippi. While the cavalry unit was comprised mainly of Cherokee, some Muscogee (Creek) and Seminole tribal members also served.

Born in Oothcaloga in the Cherokee Nation, State of Georgia, Uwatie (or Oowatie) was also known as Isaac. He was educated in a Moravian mission school. In his early adulthood, he occasionally wrote articles for the Cherokee Phoenix newspaper. The State of Georgia confiscated Cherokee lands in 1832 when gold was discovered, including the thriving plantation owned by Stand’s father and mother. Stand and his brothers, part of the powerful Ridge-Watie-Boudinot faction of the Cherokee council, stood in favor of the Cherokee Removal. Their signing of the Treaty of New Echota facilitated the removal of the Cherokee people to Indian Territory—what is now Oklahoma.

Another faction of Cherokees following John Ross refused to ratify the treaty signing. This segment was known as The Anti-Removal National Party. Members of this group targeted Stand Watie and his brother, Elias Boudinot, along with their uncle, Major Ridge, and cousin, John Ridge for assassination. Stand was the only one who survived the assassination attempt. Although Watie’s family had left Georgia before the forcible removal of all Cherokees in 1838, another brother, Thomas, was murdered by Ross’s men in 1845.

In October, 1861, Watie was commissioned as colonel in the First Mounted Cherokee Rifles. Besides fighting Federal troops in the States’ War, his men also fought opposing factions of Cherokee, as well as Seminole and Creek (Muscogee) warriors who supported the Union.

In 1862, Stand Watie was elected principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, through dissension continued among John Ross’s supporters.

On June 15, 1864, Watie’s troops captured the Federal steamboat J. R. Williams on the Arkansas River off the banks of Pleasant Bluff near Tamaha, Indian Territory. The next morning, Colonel John Ritchie’s men, who were stationed at the mouth of the Illinois River near where the two rivers met, engaged Watie’s men as they attempted to confiscate the cargo. The river was rising, and they fought to a standoff. When Watie learned of the advance of Union troops from Fort Smith, Arkansas, (within about 40 miles), he burned the ship and much of the remaining cargo, then sank it.

Watie surrendered a year later in June of 1865, the last Confederate general to lay down his arms.

Stand Watie fascinates me, probably because he's part of the history of Oklahoma, my home state. I wove the burning of the J.R. Williams into my debut novel, FIRE EYES. Most recently, I used his character in my short story, MEANT TO BE, that appears in A 2011 CHRISTMAS COLLECTION.

Robin Mallory is facing another Christmas all alone when she decides to surprise her aunt and uncle several hours away. She becomes stranded near a desolate section of interstate. With a snowstorm on the way, Robin has no choice but to walk, looking for a house to provide shelter.
Jake Devlin is shocked when the "spy" he jumps turns out to be a girl. She's dressed oddly, and talks like a Yank. Where did she come from, and what is he going to do with her?

EXCERPT FROM MEANT TO BE:He turned to motion toward one of his men, calling to him in Cherokee. “We’ll get some food in you, Miss Mallory,” he said to her. “You’ll be warm in no time.”

“Thank you, General.”

He nodded. “Lieutenant, would you be so kind as to go fetch the extra cup I have in my quarters for the young lady? She’d like some coffee, I’m sure.”

Jake saluted and turned to go, but not before he gave Robin a reassuring look.
The feeling of safety crumbled in the next instant, as the general gave her a look of his own, one that clearly let her know all pretence was over.

“Where do your aunt and uncle live, Miss Mallory?”

“Oh…uh…not—not very far from here. I mean, as the crow flies. It’s just a few miles—”

He smiled, as if at some private joke. “There have been…others…like you. The portal opens and it closes. But it doesn’t remain forever, Miss Mallory. So you have a life-altering decision to make.” His eyes bored into hers. “You either stay…or you go. But my advice, although you haven’t asked, is this: Don’t let time make the decision for you. Make it for yourself, because it’s what you want to do.”

“I—I don’t know anyone here. It was all a mistake. My truck had a flat tire—”

“Listen to me, because time grows short. Follow your heart, Miss Mallory. Make your own choice. I don’t know what or who you left behind in that other world, but if you decide to stay in this one, I’ll see you get to safety. After that…your future is your own.” His gaze held hers, then moved to where Jake would be returning soon from his quarters with the cup.

“How—long do I have? Do you know?”

“Let’s hope you have until midnight, Christmas night. I…can’t let you go anywhere before then.”

Robin drew herself up, his words like a slap in the face. “You can’t—but—why not?”

“For your own safety, Miss Mallory. We’re carrying out a mission here—”

“But—it’s Christmas! No fighting. Truce.”

“I’m afraid the holiday doesn’t preclude troop movement. Now, the subject is closed.”

Just then, Jake stepped out of the General’s tent, stopping by the coffee pot to pour a cup full of the dark liquid. General Watie’s expression was suddenly shuttered, the kindness Robin had seen there earlier, gone. As Jake neared with the cup, the General turned back to her. “This will be a very cold night, Miss Mallory. I’m quite sure you aren’t accustomed to sleeping out in the elements, and you are, of course, not equipped with your own bedroll. I’m putting Lieutenant Devlin in charge of your well-being. Though I know it’s not proper, you will share his bedroll tonight.”

When she started to protest, the General held up a silencing hand. “Pride does you no good if your fingers and toes are taken by frostbite, young lady. In these times, we do what we must to survive. I assure you, Lieutenant Devlin is completely trustworthy. If he were not, I would not give you into his keeping. That is all there is to be said.”

He turned away abruptly and walked toward the coffee pot himself, leaving Robin speechless. Jake was silent a moment, then reached for her hand.

“Here. Take this. It’ll warm your hands up to hold the cup.”

I hope you have enjoyed this look into a "most uncommon" soldier. To purchase any of my novels, stand alone short stories, or anthologies, please visit my website at or click HERE from my Amazon page.

November 26, 2011

Saturday's Salacious Suggestions - Holiday Stories

Okay, we had some great recipes last week.  Check them out HERE if you missed them.  Today, we're back to blurbs. For today, I'm limiting the blurbs to Holiday Stories, so post your blurb and links for buying the book and/or to your website.  Then spread word.

Anna Kathryn Lanier

November 25, 2011

Christmas Romance - A Cowboy's Dream

Author Leah Smith has fantasized about her neighbor, Houston’s pro baseball player Marcus Slade, for years, but thinks it’s unlikely she’d catch the cowboy’s interest since her IQ is bigger than her bra size. Having already been hurt by a man who wanted size over substance, she’s not in a hurry to play in that ball field again. When an unexpected opportunity gets Marcus inside his favorite author’s apartment, he’s not about to let a second chance at love pass him by. Their attraction is quick and electric and has him instantly thinking about something more long-term. But when a woman from his past intrudes, his hopes of a cozy Christmas with Leah are buried beneath her cold shoulder. Risking a strikeout, Marcus has one chance left...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.

Four Angels from Fallen Angel Review
This story is worth the read in order to see him (Marcus) get the happy ending that he deserves. ~Whitney

Unedited excerpt:

The mouthwatering scents of seared steak wafted around Leah as Marcus escorted her into the world famous Kemah Boardwalk Steak House. Her stomach grumbled, a reminder she hadn’t eaten since early morning.

The hostess greeted Marcus by name and smiled warmly at her. Leah glanced at him, wondering how often he came to the restaurant.  Celebration dinners should be rare, not weekly—unless you found an excuse to celebrate every little thing.  But what made them special then?

She slid into the booth and mentally shook her head.  No matter what Marcus did in the past, this was her celebratory dinner. She smiled as he sat opposite her and determined to enjoy his company for as long as she had it.

The hostess handed them menus. “Would you like something from the bar, Mr. Slade?”

Marcus placed his Stetson beside him on the booth cushion and raised a brow at her.

“Whatever they have on tap will be fine,” she said.

He grinned and nodded.  “Two beers, please.”

Glancing  at his "celebration clothing,” she was glad she’d summed him up right.  She’d nearly put on the $900 designer gown she planned to wear to next month’s charity fund raiser and made her look hot as hell, but at the last minute went over what she knew about pro ball player Marcus Slade.

Celebrity though he may be, he was obviously still a cowboy at heart.  Instead of the silk and satin confection, she'd pulled on blue jeans and a simple blouse.  She matched his jeans and western-styled shirt quite well.

Leah opened the menu and looked it over.  “You’re a man after my own heart.  There’s nothing better to celebrate with than a beer and a good steak.”

He jerked back as if surprised.  “You mean to say you’ll actually order a steak?”

“Well, of course.” She laughed, brushing her hair behind her ear. “What’s the point of going to a steak house and not ordering a steak?”

He opened his mouth, but then shut it for a moment before uttering, “Truth be told, most of the women I know don’t eat much meat.”

That was no surprise.  Most of the women she’d seen him with were the size of twigs—except in the bosom area—and probably ate weeds.

“Well, I hope you brought along your charge card, because I haven’t eaten much today and I’m starving. I plan to get a really big steak with all the fixings to celebrate.”

Marcus laughed. “Honey, the day I can’t afford to buy a pretty lady a steak is the day I’ll hang it up for good.”

Her heart fluttered at the endearment. Sure, it was common enough for Texans to drop honey and darling like hello and good-bye, but still, hearing it from Marcus made her insides quiver.

He wagged his brows, then glanced down to study his menu. She released a small sigh. Since she was a Roughrider’s fan and had held season tickets for years, she’d known who Marcus was before he moved into The Towers. To say she had a crush on him was probably an understatement, but she’d never suffered from delusions, either.  Leah Smith, plain, average daughter of nomad archeologists just wasn’t the type of woman the major league outfielder  dated.  As much as she wished differently, she shouldn’t read more into this ‘date’ than what it was—a friendly, celebratory meal.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of A COWBOY'S DREAM. I'll draw a winner for the PDF copy on Monday. Good luck.

November 23, 2011

Wednesday's Chow - Figgy Pudding

Happy Thanksgiving!  From this week's guest blogger, Debra St. John comes a yummy holiday recipe for Figgy Pudding.

Check out Debra's Panster or Plotter blog HERE.

Figgy Pudding

You probably remember it from the old Christmas song. Figgy pudding is a spice cake-like souffle made with figs and walnuts. It is moist, delicious, and easy to make. In A Christmas to Remember, Heather and Sam enjoy it at the ski resort.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
·         1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
·         2 eggs
·         1 cup molasses
·         2 cups dried figs (about 1 pound), stems removed, chopped fine
·         1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
·         1 cup buttermilk
·         1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
·         2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
·         1/2 teaspoon baking soda
·         2 teaspoons baking powder
·         1 teaspoon salt
·         1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
·         1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
·         Garnish: Whipped cream
In an electric mixer, cream the butter until fluffy. Add the eggs and molasses and beat again. Add the figs, lemon peel, buttermilk, and walnuts. Blend 1 minute. Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Blend until everything is incorporated.

Grease and flour and 8 by 4-inch souffle dish and pour in the batter. Bake in a 325-degree F. oven for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Spoon the pudding out onto plates or cut it into wedges. Garnish with the whipped cream.

Yield: 12

A Christmas to Remember: available now from The Wild Rose Press

November 21, 2011

Pantster or Plotter?

This seems to be an endless debate in the writing world.

In the past when asked this question, I would have immediately responded with 'pantster'. I am one of those who writes a synopsis after the story is complete. (I'll be in big trouble if I ever have to sell on a proposal.) Oh, I always have a general idea of where the story is going. In fact most times I have the ending in mind before the beginning. However, what comes in the middle often comes in fits and spurts and flashes of inspiration as I go. I rarely write a story straight through from beginning to end. I write what I have spinning in my head at the moment and then connect the dots later. Toward the finish line of a manuscript, I'll make a detailed play by play of each chapter so I can see where there are holes and such, but this doesn't happen until I'm far, far along in the process.

However, in the very recent past, I've discovered I have a bit of 'plotter' in me. I tend to get inspired by songs. One in particular by a favorite artist has always made me think, "Wow, that would be a great start to a story." But I never really did anything about it beyond that. Until the other day. I actually sat down and wrote two pages of notes about my story idea.

Then out of the blue on another day, an idea for a Thanksgiving story came to me. I was a little surprised by its arrival...usually something triggers an idea...but this one quite literally started niggling in my brain all by itself. So, I plunked myself down at the keyboard and wrote three pages of notes about this one.

And you know what? These pages of notes? They looked suspiciously like a synopsis. There's character development, plot, conflict (both internal and external), and a few basic scene outlines. I've also started making some detailed notes for a re-write I need to work on. Hmn? Have I gone over to the other side?

I guess every author has to find what works for him or her. And maybe the technique is different from book to book. So what about you? Are you a pantster, a plotter, or somewhere in the middle?

Debra St. John
A Christmas to Remember: available now from The Wild Rose Press

November 19, 2011

Saturday's Salacious Suggestions

I really like letting my fellow authors post their blurbs on keeps the blog busy and isn't a lot of work for me!  But I am doing a twist today, my friends.  With Thanksgiving just a few days away, let's post one of our favorite recipes for the holiday.  Please include a link to your website or own blog...we do want to promote ourselves.  But let's share some recipes this week.  Next week, we'll be back to posting our blurbs and info on books! 

HAPPY TURKEY DAY to my USA friends.

Anna Kathryn

November 18, 2011

Christmas Romance - THE PRICELESS GIFT

By Anna Kathryn Lanier


The last thing Christina Scott expects Santa to bring her is a sexy—and very familiar—cowboy. Gavin Holloway’s just as shocked to discover she’s the woman he’s sent to pick up from the airport for a Christmas visit with her brother. They'd spent one hot week together months ago—a week where they both left their identities and individual problems behind. Neither ever expected a reunion.

Little do they know, Santa's elf has more than coal up his sleeve. Ho ho ho and a badgering we'll go before reindeer two-step on their rooftop and deliver THE PRICELESS GIFT that will leave their snowy days sizzling.

What People are Saying About

Anna Kathryn Lanier's romantic novella is a perfect read for the Holidays. It was filled with warmth and love that would melt all of the snow in Montana at Christmas time. Fabulously detailed characters and scenery made The Priceless Gift enjoyable to read. It ended so soon, I was left wanting more. Ms. Lanier has a way with touching the reader's heart, which is why she is getting 5 Hearts from me.

Read the whole review at:

The Fallen Angels 4 Angel Review:
This is a very short story, but Ms. Lanier quickly gets the reader into the crux of the problem and twists your emotions with sympathy for these two wounded souls. ~ Stephanie B

Read the whole review at:

Ms. Lanier hooked me from the first sentence. Gavin is larger than life, sexy and hot. Christina is a perfect match for his don’t-mess-with-me character. I felt their emotions and passion and wished the story was a full-length novel. Ms. Lanier wove real life into her hero and heroine. I recommend The Priceless Gift to anyone who is a hopeless romantic and believes in a Happily Ever After. ~ Reviewed by Jannine Corti Petska, THE LILY AND THEFALCON

Unedited excerpt:

Gavin Holloway was a leg man and the legs standing beside the information desk had more than his attention on alert. A short skirt showed off nearly all of her sexy, lightly tanned legs and molded the cutest ass he’d seen in quite a while…not since he’d been with Lynn on that cruise in June.

He adjusted the Stetson on his head and stepped further into the small municipal airport waiting room. He was fifteen minutes late and hoped Jacob’s sister didn’t mind the delay.

Michael Martin Murphey sang Two Step 'Round The Christmas Tree through the overhead speakers as Gavin scanned the waiting area decorated with holiday greenery. The other six occupants were either male or too old to be the woman he’d been sent to pick up. His eyes landed on the long-legged blonde. She had to be Christina Scott.

His boots pounded out a tattoo as he crossed the concrete floor. The attendant behind the information desk turned his way, an appreciative look in her eyes. Gavin tipped his hat but turned his attention to the blonde. The familiar scent of lilac swirled around him. He closed his eyes briefly and thought of Lynn. Shaking his head, he pushed away the memories and concentrated on the present.

“Christina Scott?” he asked a moment later. She turned and his back stiffened. It couldn’t be. “Lynn?”

Hazel eyes widened in surprise. “Oh, my God. Paul?” She threw her arms around his neck and hugged—tight. He wrapped his around her waist and held her close, the feel of her body against his awaking memories he’d relived many a night in the past six months.

Her lips brushed his neck, then she pulled back to look into his face. “What on earth are you doing here?”

Holding a dream.

What the hell was she doing here? Reality crashed in and he stepped out of the embrace.

“Are you Christina Scott?”


Scalding rage swept through him. What was Jacob about?

He glanced up and noted the girl behind the desk watched with avid interest. He gripped Lynn by the arm and pulled her across the room. He might’ve had the best sex ever in his life with this woman. He might’ve even tried to find her after they’d gone their separate ways when the ship docked. Yet, he never thought he’d run into her at a municipal airport in the middle of nowhere Montana. Nor did he ever imagine to discover she was his friend’s sister.

“You lied about your name,” he accused.

Her gaze narrowed. “No, I didn’t. I am Christina Lynn Scott.”

“What are you and Jacob up to?” he demanded.

Her face drained of color. “You know Jacob?”

“Don’t play me for a fool, Lynn. You know I know Jacob.”

“How would I know that? Why would I know that?”

“Because I own the Triple H Ranch—where your brother’s lived for the last two years.”

She sat hard on a plastic molded chair. “No, no. Gavin Holloway owns the Triple H Ranch.”

“Yep.” He tapped his chest with his fingers. “Gavin Paul Holloway.”

Luminous eyes looked at him. “You told me you were a businessman.”

He stuffed his hands into the pocket of his jeans. “I am. I own a working ranch, with cattle and horses. You told me you were a…actually, you didn’t tell me anything about you, did you? Including the fact you had a brother named Jacob.”

She jumped to her feet, forcing him to step back. A well-manicured finger jabbed him in his chest.

“You were the one who approached me, remember? You said no strings. You didn’t want to share stories about ourselves.”

He stared at the finger poised to poke him again. It curled into a fist and the hand dropped. He let silence fill the air, mainly because, damn it, she was right. He was the one who made the first move in the ship’s bar after he’d followed her there. He was the one who didn’t want to know more than her name. Every time she’d started talking about herself, he’d stopped her—usually with a kiss.

Jesus, how’d he get himself into this mess? There were two kinds of women a man just didn’t get involved with. One was the married kind; the other was a friend’s sister.

But Jacob was the one who talked Gavin into taking the non-refundable cruise ticket when Jacob decided to go to Paris with his girlfriend instead of on the cruise. What the hell was going on?

“Does Jacob know?” she asked in a near whisper.

“Does Jacob know what?” he taunted. “That I had a week of mind blowing sex with his sister? How could he? I didn’t know you were his sister.”

Alarm danced in her eyes. “But he knows you had…‘mind blowing sex’ with someone?”

Unbidden memories flashed through his mind and he rubbed a hand over his face to blot them out. This was neither the time nor the place to relive those moments. “Yeah, he knows,” he said in a low voice. “A guy just can’t keep something like that a secret.”

But it seemed one guy could—Jacob. Suspicion narrowed his eyes. His ex-fiancée Stephanie and her brother had been good at keeping secrets and it nearly cost him everything he held dear. So what secrets were Christina Lynn and Jacob keeping from him?

“Was it really?” She blushed.

Confusion whirled around him. “Was what really?”

“Was the sex mind blowing?”

“You have to ask?” he growled. Had she forgotten already? He sure hadn’t. He doubted he ever would.

She shrugged. “You’ve had time to reflect, to rethink, to adjust to the real world.”

“I haven’t had that much time, lady.”

She blushed again as her gaze moved around the room, then stopped on him. “Where’s Jacob?”

“He had an emergency and sent me to get you.”

Her brows knitted. “What sort of an emergency does a mineral rights lawyer have?”

“Hell if I know,” he replied. “He called me this morning and said he had to get to Helena and file some brief with the Supreme Court. Then he asked if I’d pick up his sister at the airport and bring her to the Triple H.”
She blinked a couple of times and chewed her lower lip. He’d watched her do that several times during their week together. She was mulling something over. Was she going to confess she was in on this...whatever it was Jacob was up to?

After a moment, she let out a sigh. “Jacob said it was a two hour drive. I guess we’d better be going.”

She sounded as if that was the last thing she wanted to do and spending two hours alone with her right now wasn’t his idea of fun either. Unfortunately neither had a choice.

She waved a hand at a pile of luggage to her left. “Those are my bags.”

He retrieved two large suitcases and a computer case. His gaze slid over her body, a body he knew every inch of intimately. Not for the first time since he’d recognized her, his body reacted. The form-fitting pink shirt hugged her body, while the gray skirt showed more leg than it covered. She was dressed for a Hawaiian summer, not a Montana winter.

“Put your coat on. The heater went out on my truck last week and I haven’t had time to get it fixed.”

She looked at him as if he had two heads. “I lived in Hawaii. I don’t own a coat.”

“You don’t own a coat? Didn’t Jacob tell you Montana’s frigid in December? Hell, the forecast is for six inches of snow by tomorrow evening.”

“I’m aware of the weather conditions here. Jacob said he had one I could use.”

He shifted her luggage in his hands. “He didn’t say anything to me about a coat.”

“Great,” she mumbled, slipping into a lightweight jacket that matched her gray skirt.

“You didn’t think to at least wear jeans?” he asked.

Flashing hazel eyes met his stare. “I had a job interview in San Diego this morning before flying here. Jeans just didn’t seem appropriate.” With a flip of her hair, she turned and defiantly walked out of the terminal.

Anna Kathryn Lanier 2009 Copyright

Buy it now at The Wild Rose Press, The Wild Rose Press, Kindle, Nook ,,

WIN A COPY OF 'The Priceless Gift.'  Just leave a comment and I'll draw a name on Monday, November 21st for a PDF copy.

November 16, 2011

Wednesday's Chow - Chcolate Cake

Today, this week's guest, Caroline Clemmens (see her post National Literacy Month HERE)  shares a recipe from HOME, SWEET TEXAS HOME, a chocolate cake heroine Courtney made for a party--a formerly secret recipe her housekeeper shared with her.

Chocolate Cake

2 cups sugar sifted
2 cups flour, sifted
1 stick butter
4 Tablespoon cocoa
1/2 cup Crisco
1 cup water
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 Tablespoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon soda

Bring butter, Crisco, cocoa and water to boil. Pour over sugar and flour. Add other ingredients. Pour into greased, floured pans. Bake 20 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

1 box powdered sugar
1 three-ounce pkg. Philadelphia cream cheese, softened
1 stick margarine, softened
1/2 package or more chocolate chips, melted and added to above
1 Tablespoon milk, or as little as needed to cream mixture

Spread on cooled cake and enjoy.

Thanks, Anna Kathryn, for hosting me today. I’ll be giving away a pdf. of HOME, SWEET TEXAS HOME to one person who leaves a comment, either today or on Monday's post....or both to increase your chance to win!

Caroline Clemmons writes Romance and Adventure
Visit my blog
Team blog

November 14, 2011


By Caroline Clemmons
November is National Literacy Month. Obviously literacy is important to you or you wouldn’t be reading this. Celebrate literacy by volunteering to help someone learn to read—whether encouraging an adult or tutoring a child. Give yourself a break and curl up with a good book. If you don’t have one handy, please let me recommend any of mine at For those of you with an e-reader, my backlist is now available on Amazon Kindle and Smashwords for 99 cents each. Blatant self-promotion, but I feel compelled.

 Can you remember the first book you read? The first one I read alone—not counting the newspaper comics my dad used to teach me to read—was a small Golden book of prayers. At the time, my mom wasn’t a reader, so she didn’t buy me books. Occasionally she’d let me buy a comic book. My dad read the newspaper and any book he could get his hands on, but didn’t buy books or use the library. I have no idea why. Still, he loved to read and encouraged me to learn at an early age. Probably he tired of me nagging him to read me the funny papers and comic books. At the time, I thought Bugs Bunny was the funniest thing on earth. I was five, okay? (All right, I admit I still like Bugs.)

 Do you remember the first book you chose to read from a library or bookstore? Can you remember the first book you purchased on your own? Mine was a Nancy Drew mystery, but I don’t remember which one. Using my allowance, I bought one book each week at the dime store next to where my mom bought groceries. After I’d combed through the available Nancy Drew books, I moved on to Louisa Mae Alcott and LITTLE WOMEN, LITTLE MEN, and ROSE IN BLOOM. Shopping for and reading those books resurrect fond memories. Fortunately, after that I was old enough to ride the city bus to the county library and check out books for free. Well, not counting bus fare.

I especially have fond memories of reading to our children, even long after they could read themselves. It was a cozy bedtime ritual whose memory I wouldn’t trade for any amount of money. They’re both avid readers now and were good students in school. In fact, one has her PhD in clinical psychology and one her Masters in Library Science.

The ability to read is necessary to excel in any field, even math. If you don’t read well, you don’t even pass the personnel application test—now always given on a computer—necessary to get a job. So, if you don’t read to your children or grandchildren, do yourself and them a lasting favor and start right away.

On to business, my business, that is. My latest romance, HOME SWEET TEXAS HOME, is now available from The Wild Rose Press and is quite a departure for me. Instead of sensual, it’s sweet, which means that there is no consummated sex. Lots of sexual tension exists between the heroine, Courtney Madison, and hero, Derek Corrigan. Plus, it’s set in West Texas near where I grew up. Courtney has a teenaged brother for whom she’s guardian since their mom’s death. Derek is a widower with two young kids. Oh, you see where this is going, don’t you? Maybe. Maybe not. No one dies, no one is kidnapped, but there is a little larceny involved. There’s also humor, pathos, and romance. I’m happy to share that HOME, SWEET TEXAS HOME has received excellent reviews. Here’s a blurb:

Courtney Madison has battled poverty her entire twenty-five years but is determined to make a safe and happy home for her teenaged brother Jimmy after the recent death of their mom. Her mom’s illness left Courtney with a mountain of hospital bills, her formerly sweet brother is now cutting class and hanging with a rough crowd, and she’s just learned she’s being downsized in two weeks. Hanging on by the threads of a fraying rope, she learns she’s inherited two million dollars from a kind elderly man she befriended when he was in the hospital across the hall from her mom. She thinks her inheritance in West Texas is the answer to all her prayers--but Courtney learns that while money improves her life, it doesn’t guarantee happiness. This modern Cinderella encounters problems even a fairy godmother couldn’t imagine.

Rancher/entrepeneur Derek Corrigan has incredible instincts for flourishing in the business world. With women, not so much. In fact, his friends bemoan he’s King Midas where money is concerned, but his judgment of women is pathetic--evidenced by his late wife and by the flamboyant woman he’s been escorting of late. His life is devoted to his children. Meg is aged five and Warren is aged eight. Derek suspects the worst of his new neighbor and vows to fight his attraction for her. He knows what women do to him--they always leave and take chunks of his heart with them. He's been there, done that, had the vaccination and is cured. Or is he?

Here’s a short excerpt after Courtney has been injured while stuck in a window, and Derek has taken her home and is sitting with her when Courtney’s brother gets home from school. Jimmy believes he is Courtney’s protector, since he’s the man of their two-person family.
When Jimmy saw his sister in bed, he rushed over. “Sis, what happened? What’s with the towel and the ice packs?” He frowned at Derek. “What’s going on?”
She opened her mouth to explain, but nothing came out.
Derek figured the bizarre situation defied description. He patted Jimmy on the shoulder. “Don’t worry, she’s okay now. We were at the cemetery putting flowers on Sam’s and Maggie’s graves and your sister got trapped in the bathroom.”
Jimmy shook his head. “I don’t understand. How could that hurt her?”
Courtney sighed. “The knob came off in my hand and I couldn’t open the door. So, I climbed out the window.”
Derek held out his hands to indicate the small rectangle. “A small, high window.”
Jimmy looked from his sister to Derek. “I still don’t understand what happened.”
Courtney snapped, “I got stuck, okay?”
Now that he knew her to be okay, the week’s tension suddenly snapped in Derek and he lost his perspective on the whole situation. He grimaced at Jimmy. “She, um…” He coughed to keep a straight face. “When she tried to go out the window, she got stuck with her head and one arm sticking outside and the rest of her inside.” He stood like a bird with a broken wing to imitate Courtney’s position. A grin spread across his face in spite of all his efforts not to smile.
Jimmy gaped at his sister. “Courtney? But she’s always so sensible. She’s never does anything stupid.” He began to smile also.
Both males burst into laughter.
“Listen, if you two are so amused, go into the other room to discuss my apparently hilarious antics and leave me to suffer in peace.” In spite of her strained muscles and injuries, she threw a box of tissues in their direction. “Go on, get out of here. Now.”
Derek glanced over his shoulder before he left.
She’d stuffed a pillow over her ears, to block out their laughter.

Thanks, Anna Kathryn, for hosting me today. I’ll be giving away a pdf. of HOME, SWEET TEXAS HOME to one person who leaves a comment.

Caroline Clemmons writes Romance and Adventure
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November 12, 2011

Saturday's Salacious Suggestions

Post your blurb, share your links....promote your story.  Just leave the information as a comment and then spread the word.

Anna Kathryn

November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day

Today is Veteran's Day in the U.S..  I often ask the students I sub for, why is November 11th Veteran's Day.  It's surprising how many high school children don't know. No matter the subject I'm teaching, I give them a mini lesson. How many of you Americans know why today, November 11th is Veteran's Day?  No peeking below for the answer.

Before the answer though, I want to salute my father, TSGT. R. D. Sager, USAF.  Dad spent 21 years serving and ended his career as a tailgunner in a B-52. He served in Vietnam and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, a high honor for Air Force personal.  Daddy died while living at the Louisiana War Veteran's home on March 29, 2006.   He is buried at Port Hudson National Cemetery in Louisiana.  Buried along side him are soldiers who died during the Civil War Battle of Port Hudson, as well as veterans from every war since.

So, why is today Veteran's Day?  It's the day that World War I ended in 1918. In 1919 President Wilson proclaimed today the first Armistice Day.  Many other countries celebrate today as Armistice Day.  The U. S. Army of Military History has a great article on the history of Veteran's Day. Click HERE to read it.

And no Veteran's Day should go by without listening to The Ballard of the Green Berets.

November 9, 2011

Wendesday's Chow - Hearty Oat Loaf

This week's recipe comes from guest blogger Paty Jager. She's sent in a yummy bread recipe, great to bake on these coming cold days!

Since my husband has to watch his cholesterol and I try to stay true to the Eat Right For Your Blood Type diet I changed up the flour. And my mother-in-law whose Dutch, LOVES this bread. She said it tastes like bread in Holland.

Hearty Oat Loaf

2 C all purpose flour (I use spelt)
1 C whole wheat ( I use oat)
1/2 C plus 2 TBSP quick cooking oats
1/4 C sugar
3 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1 1/2 C fat-free milk (I use 2%)
3 TBSP canola oil

In a large bowl combine the flours, 1/2 cup oats, sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl combine the egg, milk, and oil; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Spread batter into an 8 or 9 in. round baking pan coated with non-stick cooking spray. Sprinkle with remaining oats.

Bake at 350degrees for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. Serve warm.

I slice it thin and toast it for breakfast too. Yummy!

Paty Jager

November 7, 2011

How My World Shapes My Writing

by Paty Jager

I’ve dabbled in different venues of writing over the course of my lifetime. First as a child writing plays for stuffed animals, then at thirteen writing stories of love and lust that my friends and I passed back and forth adding scenes, to witnessing what words can do when an English teacher read one of my assigned fiction projects to the class- all the way through writing children’s stories for my kids, writing murder mystery when I wanted to kill someone (killed that person off in two manuscripts), writing for the local paper when it fit my lifestyle, and then to finally settle into historical western romance.

Each stage of my writing had to do with what was going on in and around me at the time so it only makes sense that I find myself writing about history- American History, specifically the 1800’s has always been my favorite subject. I love museums, historical sites, and finding bits of history that were so integral to life when this country was spreading and growing.

I think having grown up in a semi –isolated part of the state that was slow to get technology it brought out the pioneer spirit in me. Until I was twelve, my paternal grandparents lived with us. There were seven people in a three bedroom, one bath farmhouse. We had a woodshed where we chopped kindling and stored the wood for the cookstove. When we did get an electric range we still had a wood heating stove and used the wood cookstove when the power went out which was fairly often. When the power went out we used kerosene and oil lamps, the outhouse, and hauled buckets of water to the house from the ditch. Looking back, it was usually in the winter when we were forced to relive the pioneer days. And on many occasions the pipes from the well to the house froze, and we had to haul water to the house.

My family had a small herd of dairy cows and used an old hand crank separator to separate the milk from the cream. We used the milk for ourselves and the hogs we raised. We made our own butter from the cream and sold the rest to the creamery. We raised 100 chickens every year, butchering all but thirty, which were laying hens. I hated the smell of the wet feathers after you dunked them in the boiling water to loosen the feathers. And disemboweling them and cutting them up- I’d always offer to fold clothes, clean the bathroom, or whatever other chore I could think of than spend hours smelling the feathers and butchered chickens. My grandmother sold extra eggs to neighbors and the local grocery store.

These are all events in my life that easily happened in the era that I write about. I can feel the woodstove, hear the clank of the metal plates as grandma put more kindling in the fire. Smell the acrid smoke that slipped through the chimney that went through my bedroom. I more or less lived the life I write about in my historical westerns.

My love of the west and the area where I grew up, led me to write the Christmas Novella I’m giving away free. Christmas Redemption came about from my reading a story about a man from Joesph, OR who robbed a bank as a young man and twenty-seven years later became the vice president of the same bank.

Van Donovan doesn’t become the bank president but I used the premise as the catalyst for the story.
Christmas Redemption Blurb
Van Donovan returns to Pleasant Valley, Oregon where twelve years earlier as a boy of fifteen he left in handcuffs after standing guard for a bank robbery. He's learned a trade and excelled at it and is ready to prove to his father and the town he can amount to something.

Upon his return he learns the fate of the daughter of an innocent man who died in the robbery crossfire. To make amends he takes her out of the saloon and gives her a job, not realizing she'd been squatting in the very building he'd purchased for his business.

Can two battered hearts find solace or will the past continue to haunt their lives?

You can download Christmas Redemption Free at all ebook outlets but Kindle. (If you want to go there and click the “I found this cheaper elsewhere” button they might eventually drop it to free there.)
Also available at Apple iBooks

What is your favorite genre to read and why? I’ll pick a name from the comments and send the winner a $5 Amazon GC.

Paty Jager

November 5, 2011

Saturday's Salacious Suggetions

Wow, I let the last TWO Saturday's go by without doing Saturday's Salacious Suggestions!  Not sure how that happened.  So, I'm back.  Now is your chance to brag about your baby.  Post your BLURB (not and excerpt, but your book BLURB) as a comment. Include links to buy your book, as many as you like, as well as a link to your website or own blog.  Let yourself shine!

Anna Kathryn

November 4, 2011

Blog Drawing Winners

Congrats to my blog drawing winners: Joanne and Calisa.  Joanne won a copy of WILD, WICKED & WANTON: 101 Ways to Love Like You're a Romance Writer by Christie Craig and Faye Hughes (autographed by Christie).  While Calisa won a bundle of romance books.

Be sure and leave a comment with your email for your chance to win my November blog drawing....prize to be announced, cause I have to figure out what it will be.

Anna Kathryn

November 3, 2011

Seduced by History - What's new in Historical Romance

Seduced by HistorySeduced by History
Monthly List of Historical Romance Releases by Hearts through History's published authors. Hearts through History (HHRW) is an on-line chapter of Romance writers of America.
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November 2011 Dear Historical Romance Reader,

By subscribing to Seduced by History, each month you will receive a list of books written by members of the Hearts through History Chapter, from which you can make your selections.

We will also give you a peek at what is coming next month and remind you of last month's offerings. If you have questions or comments or suggestions, please don't hesitate to let your editor know by writing to

All the best,
Ashlyn Macnamara

Available November

Knight of RunesRuth A. Casie
Carina Press 978-14268-9258-5
Medieval Time Travel
When Lord Arik, a druid knight, finds Rebeka Tyler wandering his lands without protection, he swears to keep her safe. But Rebeka can take care of herself. When Arik sees her clash with a group of attackers using a strange fighting style, he's intrigued.
Rebeka is no ordinary seventeenth-century woman—she's travelled back from the year 2011, and she desperately wants to return home. She poses as a scholar sent by the king to find out what's killing Arik's land. But as she works to decode the ancient runes that are the key to solving this mystery and sending her home, she finds herself drawn to the charismatic and powerful Arik.
As Arik and Rebeka fall in love, someone in Arik's household schemes to keep them apart and a dark druid with a grudge prepares his revenge. To defeat him, Arik and Rebeka must combine their skills. Soon Rebeka will have to decide whether to return to the future or trust Arik with the secret of her time travel and her heart.

Surrender to HonorJanine Corti Petska
Wild Rose Press ISBN 1-60154-989-X
Prima Ranieri seeks retribution for her family's death and the loss of home and land. Her plans go awry when the handsome heir of the powerful Massaro family returns home. After only one glance, Prima's attraction to him undermines her furor at those she blames for her plight.
After a fifteen-year absence, Antonio Massaro returns to Palermo to a war between his family and the evil Falcones. His refusal to accept his rightful position as head of the Honored Society carries serious consequences. The welfare of the people in Palermo is at stake. But one look at the beautiful woman Prima has become costs him his heart. She's a deadly that jeopardizes her life as well as his own.

The SinnerMargaret Mallory
THE SINNER (Return Of the Highlanders)
Grand Central Publishing, ISBN 978—0446—58310—7
"…will leave readers breathless." 4 1/2 stars RTBookReviews
"…will steal your heart." 5 Hearts, The Romance Studio
"…has met his match in a feisty angel may have to mend his ways." Fresh Fiction
"The chemistry...was explosive." Top Pick! Night Owl Book Reviews
Chart Topper, 5 stars! The Seasons
"[S]izzling and captivating." Publishers Weekly

Still Available

Caroline Clemmons
Availble through Amazon Kindle
Civil War
Parmelia Bailey promised to keep her family safe until the men in her family return from War. That includes bringing her brother's fiancée, Sarah Hardeman, and Sarah's mother and sisters to stay at the home of Parmelia's grandmother home in Witherspoon, Georgia. Maybe she shouldn't have stolen back her horses from the Yankees, but she could think of no other way to rescue the Hardeman women.
Darrick McDonald has struggled four years to return to Witherspoon and Parmelia. Who would have dreamed war would bring him back, and in Union blue? He has to protect Parmelia from a renegade who's vowed to make her sorry she turned down his proposal. Darrick prays he isn't too late.
Annabelle Weston
Ellora's Cave, 9781419935930
There are some things a man can't walk away from. Nathan Bender is on a quest for vengeance. What he finds is sexy saloon-dolly O'Dell Murphy. She holds the information he needs—and becomes a temptation he can't resist.
O'Dell longs for a respectable life outside the saloon. When the man Nathan is searching for steals O'Dell's savings, she has no choice but to go after him.
Torn between passion and revenge, Nathan reluctantly accompanies O'Dell through the Sonoran Desert. There are some things a man can't walk away from—and Nathan is finding it's not revenge that binds him. It's O'Dell and the wicked, sinful pleasures she provides. Reader Advisory: This book contains violence and a brief depiction of rape.

Coming in December
Ann Lethbridge
Harlequin Historical Undone
Regency Novella
Alone on Christmas Eve, the disgraced Lady Eugenie has no wish to meet her rakish neighbour after listening to his debauchery through the paper thin walls of the house they share, does she? But the messenger who delivered the letter to the wrong door did say it was urgent. Lord Richard can't quite believe his luck when the woman he's been fantasizing about for weeks lands on his doorstep. But will he make all her wishes come true?

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