February 29, 2012

Wednesday's Chow - Sea Salt Brownies

Oh, chocolate brownies!  Thanks Jennifer Ann Coffeen for sharing this recipe with us!  I really, really can't wait to make it! Be sure to check out Jennifer's post, too. It's good reading!

If you haven't stopped by Jennifer's Monday post, do so now,  Second Book Jitters.

Sea Salt Brownies


1 ½ sticks unsalted butter
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened dark cocoa
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon sea salt

1. Start by preheating your oven to 350°. Next, line a 9-inch square metal cake pan with foil or wax paper. You can also lightly butter the foil or spray with cooking spray.
2. In a medium sized saucepan, melt the butter with the unsweetened chocolate over very low heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat.
3. In a large mixing bowl begin stirring together the dark cocoa, flour, and sugar. Slowly add in your eggs and vanilla extract to the dry ingredients and mix them well. Slowly add in your cooled chocolate.
4.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Sprinkle the salt evenly over the batter. Using a butter knife, swirl the salt into the batter. Bake the brownies in the center of the oven for about 35 minutes, until the edge is set but the center is still a bit soft and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out coated with a little of the batter. Let the brownies cool at room temperature in the pan for 1 hour, then refrigerate just until they are firm, about 1 hour. Lift the brownies from the pan and peel off the foil. Cut the brownies into 16 squares. Serve at room temperature.

February 27, 2012

Second book jitters

By: Jennifer Ann Coffeen 

When I first began writing the goal was always on finishing the novel. I was told (rightly so) to keep my eye on the prize, and did this through countless revisions, edits, critiques, and writing days. There were times when I thought it would never be done and then suddenly – it was finished!

Next came all the polishing, querying, and more editing. Then, after Priceless Deception was accepted by Wild Rose Press I was engulfed by marketing, promoting, and selling.  It’s been a crazy ride since August (did I forget to mention I also had a baby last year?) But the time has finally arrived when I had to get back to the writing desk for….the second novel. (Cue scary music here.)

60,000 words in, Novel #2 is proving to be just as challenging as the first. One main difference is that I am both more confident and more terrified. When I started writing Priceless Deception I felt free to write anything I wanted. Why not?  I didn’t really think anyone was going to read it. With this novel every kiss that turns just a little too hot becomes a potential embarrassment when I imagine my mom, my friends, even my neighbors reading it! So how to combat those second book jitters? Here are a couple of suggestions.

  1. Go back to the basics. The second book must be easier to write than the first, right? WRONG. I still struggle over plot, word choice, and structure, not to mention forcing myself to sit in the chair every day.  Instead of fighting it, I decided to go back to square one. I set a daily word count, created a sacred writing time, asked for feedback and all those little tricks that got Priceless Deception finished.
  2. Change up your story. If you find yourself paralyzed, try writing a contemporary or paranormal romance instead. It just might be the jolt you need to get the creativity flowing. I decided to write a couple of regency short stories last year. It was fun and gave me a little writing distance from a full length novel.
  3. Block out the world. You can worry about your 2nd grade teacher reading that scandalous wine cellar scene later. Don’t think about pleasing agents, editors, or fans. Write the book you want to write and the rest will fall into place.

Of course all this is much easier said than done! I would love to hear from other writers. How do you combat second (or third, or eighth) book jitters? 

Jennifer Ann Coffeen is a published author currently living in Chicago. Her novel Priceless Deception and novella Lover's Gamble are both available now from The Wild Rose Press. Her work has been featured regularly at the kates, a group of women solo performers who perform the last Saturday of every month at the Book Cellar in Lincoln Square. Jennifer is a founding member of the kates, and has also written and performed original work as part of Numbskull, the Human Blockhead; The Muffin Basket Cases; and Beastwomen Female Cabaret. She is a graduate of Columbia College, and has studied at Story Studio Chicago, where she also works as part of the Chicago Literary Alliance.

“The French Blue diamond must be destroyed.” 

Haunted by the words of her dying father, Lady Madeline Sinclair arrives for the London Season with more than parties and the latest fashion on her mind. She has sworn a vow, and the beautifully headstrong and fearless Madeline will allow nothing to distract her…until she meets the infamous Lord Colin, Duke of Douglas, a man known for his scandalous past engagement. With a dark grin and stormy eyes, he threatens to make her forget her duty, along with her manners.

Bound together by the mysterious diamond, Madeline and Colin soon succumb to the passion raging between them, even as the diamond eludes their grasp. But the true threat lies in the hands of an enemy whose dangerous obsession with the past has the power to destroy them both.

Priceless Deception available at The Wild Rose Press.
Visit Jennifer online at JenniferAnnCoffeen.com, and www.facebook.com/JenniferAnnCoffeen.

February 25, 2012

Saturday's Salacious Suggestions: Contemporary Romances

Got a contemporary romance you want to share?  Here's your chance.  Just post your blurb and buy links in the comments sections, then promote this blog.  Any and all contemporary romances are welcomed.

Here's the coming attractions for Saturday's Salacious Suggestions:

Mar.  3 - Young Adult
Mar. 10 - Historical Western
Mar. 17 - Regency
Mar. 24 - Sci-Fi
Mar. 31 - Erotica (historical or contemporary)

February 21, 2012

Wednesday's Chow - Cheese Puff Appetizer

Once again, my guest for the week has come through with a delicious-looking recipe.  Chris Redding shares an appetizer with us today.  If you haven't stopped by Chris's blog post on Story Structure, be sure to do so today. It's a wonderful synopsis on how to plan out your story.

I'm going to make these Cheese Puffs soon!

Cheese Puff Appetizer

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

2 cups shredded Cheddar Cheese
2 cups shredded low-fat Cheddar Cheese
1 cup melted butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 dashes either Worcestershire Sauce or Chipotle Tabasco Sauce
1 jar of olives or about a cup of Kalamata olives (or your favorite)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet.

In a small bowl, mix together cheese, butter, four and Worcestershire (or Chipotle) sauce. Knead the dough. Roll and pinch the dough into small balls, flatten them in the palm of your hand, then roll each circle of dough around one olive.  Arrange the wrapped olvies on the prepared cookie sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly brown.
I take these everywhere and am always asked for the recipe. I find using full-fat and low-fat cheese makes the best texture. If you have a gluten problem, you can use quinoa flour. I’ve also stuffed them with sun-dried tomatoes instead of olives. 

Chris Redding
Incendiary 2010 A View to a Kilt 2011
Blonde Demolition 2011

February 20, 2012

Story Structure


by Chris Redding
            The structure is how it all fits together.  This includes the different parts of a story including the characters, the story world and the events. I’m going to talk about several ways to structure your story. This way you can choose which one you want or make a hybrid of your own. One method is outlined by Jule Selbo in his book Gardner's Guide to Screenplay.  He maps out an eleven step story structure which will be a strong skeleton for your story.
1.      What are your hero’s overall wants and needs.
The more the character wants or needs something the better the story. The hero should be consumed by his desire. The immediate goals the hero sets are part of the plot.
2.      The hero attempts to get what he wants and needs.
This needs to be done logically or in character. If you want to win the lottery, you must first buy a ticket. The hero must pull out all the stops and have them fail before he can make a decision to do something he’s never done before this.
3.      The hero is denied it.
So our hero took logical steps to gain what he wants, but he is denied. This denial is an obstacle and will now set the hero on a new path to get what he wants.
4.      The hero gets a second chance to get what he wants and needs.
After the hero is denied, another method for getting what he wants opens up. Most of this time this opportunity does not look like a good idea, but our hero is running out of options.
5.      The hero encounters conflict surrounding going for what he wants and needs.
The hero realizes that if he takes this second opportunity, it isn’t necessarily what he wants or he has to pay a price to get what he wants.  More conflict here. More is at stake here. You have to build and build the stakes. The more conflict, the better the story.
6.      The hero decides to go for it anyway.
The hero decides the cost of getting what he wants is worth it.
7.      Everything goes as planned (for a bit).
Let your hero have a taste of success.
8.      Everything falls apart.
Your hero will now be severely tested. This usually a series of incidents that shows more obstacles in the hero’s way.
9.      There is a crisis.
The hero is now questioning his abilities. This is his black moment. Will he be able to move forward to get what he wants?
10. There is the climax.
The hero digs deep and realizes he can reach his goal. He has the fortitude.
11. The truth is revealed to make everything right.
In Cinderella, she had to reveal she went to the ball against her step-mother’s wishes or she won’t be able to try on the glass slipper. The truth comes out and reveals a new ordinary world.
(This is an excerpt from my workshop Lights! Camera! Bestseller! which I will be offering March 26 at www.savvyauthors.com and October 1 at www.writersonlineclasses.com)

Chris Redding lives in New Jersey with her husband, two kids, one dog, and three rabbits. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism. When she isn't writing or teaching workshops, she works part time for her local hospital. She had three novels published in 2011.

You just can't hide from the past...

Mallory Sage lives in a small, idyllic town where nothing ever happens. Just the kind of life she has always wanted. No one, not even her fellow volunteer firefighters, knows about her past life as an agent for Homeland Security.

Former partner and lover, Trey McCrane, comes back into Mallory's life. He believes they made a great team once, and that they can do so again. Besides, they don't have much choice. Paul Stanley, a twisted killer and their old nemesis, is back.

Framed for a bombing and drawn together by necessity, Mallory and Trey go on the run and must learn to trust each other again―if they hope to survive. But Mallory has been hiding another secret, one that could destroy their relationship. And time is running out.

Amazon in print: http://tinyurl.com/87qdaam

February 18, 2012

Saturday's Salacious Suggestions - Historicals

Got a historical you want to share?  Here's your chance.  Just post your blurb and buy links in the comments sections, then promote this blog.  Any and all historicals, including time-travel or paranormal elements, are welcomed.

Traveling Through Time

Here's the coming attractions for Saturday's Salacious Suggestions:

Feb. 25 - Contemporary
Mar.  3 - Young Adult
Mar. 10 - Historical Western
Mar. 17 - Regency
Mar. 24 - Sci-Fi
Mar. 31 - Erotica (historical or contemporary)

February 17, 2012

Romance Through the Ages Writing Contest

The love of story runs deep in our souls. From tales around the campfire to a great book that makes us stay up all night, we long for narrative that makes us laugh and cry, that makes us believe and hope,that makes us eager for the resolution and yet dread we never want to reach the end.
A story is greater than the sum of its parts. A story that sweeps us along is what editors and agents look for; it's what readers crave.
Hearts through History, a Special Interest Chapter of Romance Writers of America (RWA) is focusing on story for its 2012 Romance Through The Ages (RTTA) contest.
The contest is open to both published and unpublished writers. Entries will be accepted today through the deadline and must be original works of Historical Romance or Romantic Historical Fiction not contracted for publication by the contest deadline of March 15, 2012. Entrants do not need to be members of Hearts Through History or RWA. Check guidelines on the website for full entry criteria. Entry categories:
  • Ancient/Medieval/Renaissance
  • Georgian/Regency/Victorian
  •  Colonial/Western/Civil War
  • Post-Victorian/World War 2
  • Time Travel/Historical Paranormal
  •  Historical Erotic
All entries must be submitted electronically and cannot exceed 30 pages. Entries must include a one- or two-page synopsis, which will not be judged. Entry fee is $20 for HHRW chapter members and $25 for all others.
Winners will be announced during RWA's annual conference, July 25-28 in Anaheim, CA, during the Hearts Through History's Annual General Meeting.
For more information or to enter, go to: http://www.heartsthroughhistory.com/rtta-contest/

February 15, 2012

Wednesday's Chow: Individual Frittatas

Oh, what a yummy looking recipe!  Thanks to this week's guest, Tara Manderino (More Than Cowboys), for sharing her Individual Frittatas recipe with us:

I started making these several years ago for Easter brunch, then other brunches, but they are great to make ahead and keep in the fridge. Just grab one or two on your way out in the morning. You can wrap them in a paper towel and heat in the microwave for a minute. (Heating is optional.) Aside from the grab and go aspect, I love this recipe for it’s flexibility. Mix what you want into the batter. It all tastes great.

Individual Frittatas

12 eggs (or 1 1/2 cups egg substitute, such as Egg Beaters)
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage
1 (10 oz.) package frozen chopped spinach
3/4 cup of shredded cheese
1 cup jarred roasted red / yellow bell peppers, chopped


·  Crumble the sausage and brown it.
·  Drain off any fat left in the pan.
·  If you haven't defrosted the spinach, place it in a mesh colander and run hot water over it; drain well, pressing out excess liquid. I add the flour if the mixture seems more watery than usual. You can omit it.
·   Beat the eggs and add the rest of the ingredients.
·  Bake in greased silicone muffin pans at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or in a 9 x 13 inch greased/no-stick spray prepared pan.
·   Variations: use ham, bacon (or real bacon bits), or vegetarian sausage. Substitute canned asparagus for  the chopped spinach.
·   Add chopped mushrooms, peppers, chopped, drained tomatoes.

You can also bake this in a baking dish and cut it up into individual squares once it's cooled.

This recipe can be made in a regular muffin tin, one ideally lined with parchment paper. This is one instance where a silicone muffin pan is best. 

Adventurous heroes. Audacious heroines.
Tara Manderino books.

February 13, 2012

More Than Cowboys

by Tara Manderino 
The west was more than cowboys.
I love cowboys. But there are more people who lived in the west than the men who ran the ranches and kept the herds in line. I admit I am one of the people who used to watch Big Valley, not just to see Nick and Heath. My favorite episodes featured Jarrod, the lawyer. I have been totally fascinated with the life of the school teacher, the shopkeeper, the lawyer, the preacher --everyone in the town. What made the mail order brides come west? What about the sheriff? The Civil War heroes? The newspaper man? The banker?

The openness of the western territories drew many types of people, not just cowboys. For many, it was a chance to start a new life, to leave their old ways behind and reinvent themselves.  Some went because they craved a challenge, some for the cheap land, and others because they simply had nowhere else to go.

The first two titles in my series, President’s Orders, takes place in the west -- Oklahoma Territory and Colorado. As agents for the relatively new Secret Service Agency, Simon Barr and Luke Hayden travel across the country, wherever they are needed, solving crimes that could affect national security, and dealing with their respective love interests. Think Wild Wild West meets Romancing the Stone.

The Secret Service was the last act signed into effect by President Lincoln, hours before he left for the Ford Theater, although it did not officially receive its first commission until 1865. Interestingly enough, the Secret Service was not originally created to protect the President, but rather to investigate counterfeit currency.  Later, it was expanded to include any issue threatening national security. The first book in the President’s Orders,False Notes, deals with counterfeiting, while the second, Heart Quest, has the men searching for a stolen stone from the Heart of Egypt, and returning it to its rightful owner before an international incident occurs. 

As partners, the men rely heavily on each other, in turn, giving strength to others around them. Both men have a deep sense of integrity and wide moral streak, making them among the best at what they do. Simon is definitely a man of action, quite happy to ask questions later, whereas Luke tends to think things through, often providing a voice of reason, at least when his heart’s not involved.

Here is a brief excerpt of the beginning of False Notes, giving you an idea of Simon'’s opinion on the west.

            The night was clear; he swore the stars were only inches from his head and he only had to reach out a finger to touch them. It was one of the things he so enjoyed about the territories. He had no complaints when assignments took him this far west, although he knew a lot of the other government agents didn’t care for the area, or the people. They weren’t civilized enough, he often heard.
            He snorted aloud at that; the people he had encountered were a lot more civilized than their eastern counterparts. And that included the Indians. When his horse snorted
back, he chuckled and reached over to pat the horse’s neck. “You agree, I see.”
            He put one booted foot in the stirrup, started to heave himself into the saddle, and then stopped, his right foot still touching the ground. He cocked his head to the side,
listening again for the sound, and sure enough, it came—a slight scraping noise. When Pride turned his head, as if questioning just what Simon intended to do, he pushed aside the big horse's head and removed his left foot, then quickly and quietly looped Pride's reins around the nearby hitching post. Rubbing the horse’s nose, indicating that he should be quiet, he swiftly pressed himself up against the wooden wall of the building and into the shadows, trying to gauge the direction of the sound. There was nothing sinister about it, but it was out of place. Finding what didn’t belong was part of his job.

False Notes is available on Amazon ,  Barnes and Noble and other premium distribution sites.

In Heart Quest, Maj, Luke’s love interest, tries to calm a young student’s fear of moving west:

“Uncle Albert said I have to leave here. I have to go west.”
And Maj couldn’t wait to go back. Tamping down her excitement, she waited to hear the girl’s concerns.
“All of those savages live out west,” Deidre said from her lofty age of ten years. Since her easel was next to Annabelle’s there was no chance the child wouldn’t have heard her.
Annabelle cried harder and Maj sighed. Standing, Maj reached in her pocket for a freshly laundered handkerchief. Taking Annabelle’s chin in her hand, she turned the child’s face toward her as she dabbed at the girl’s tears. Putting both hands on Annabelle’s shoulders she made sure she had the child’s complete attention before speaking.
“Annabelle, did you know I am going to go with you?”
The girl stopped crying for a moment and stared at her.
“Really? You’re coming with me?”
“Not for always, but I will be with you on the train out west and stay with you at your aunt’s for a few days.”
“Aren’t you afraid of the Indians?” Deidre asked.
Maj refrained from scowling at the girl. “Not at all.” No need for the girl to know that was a lie. Some of the tribes terrified her. “I know a lot of Indians,” she said not quite truthfully. Leaving her hand on Annabelle’s shoulder, she stood and realized she had a little audience, mostly made up of girls ten and under. She suspected the older ones were listening but wouldn’t be caught dead admitting to it.
“I used to live out west, you know. In Oklahoma. It’s really not too different from the east,” she told them.
“I heard houses had dirt floors.”
“True, some of them do.” The house she had shared with her sister in Minnesota when they were children was one of them. “But there are also grand houses as fine as any I’ve seen here. A lot of people who live in the west used to live back here, so they’ve brought their ways with them. And now that the railroad goes across the country, I’m sure people will be visiting more and more.”
“Do you really think so?”
“Yes, I do.” In spite of the harum-scarum way she had traveled east, it had still been relatively easy. Certainly much quicker than her trip from Minnesota to Oklahoma when her uncle had come for them. He hadn’t been one to spend any extra money; they traveled by wagon despite the fact they had few possessions to bring with them.
“But what about the Indians?”
Maj tried not to heave too loud a sigh. “What about them, Deidre? Some of them go to school back here, you know. Some even go to other countries for schooling.”
 “My father said the savages don’t have any schooling,” Deidre sniffed and turned back to her painting.
Maj refrained from commenting. It wasn’t her place to get into an argument with the students, and she certainly didn’t intend to negate what the girl’s father said, but as far as she was concerned, some of those savages were much more polite than Deidre.

Heart Quest is available on AmazonBarnes and Noble and other premium distribution sites.

Adventurous heroes. Audacious heroines.
Tara Manderino books.

February 11, 2012

Saturday's Salacious Suggestions-Paranormal Romance

Starting this month, I'm going to do genres on my Saturday's Salacious Suggestions.  This week is Paranormal Romance...it does need romance in it.  Just post your blurb and buy links in the comments section.

Here's the coming attractions:

Feb. 18 - Historical
Feb. 25 - Contemporary
Mar.  3 - Young Adult
Mar. 10 - Historical Western
Mar. 17 - Regency
Mar. 24 - Sci-Fi
Mar. 31 - Erotica (historical or contemporary)

February 10, 2012

The Hero's Journey and the Mythological Woods Workshop

COMING SOON - a month-long online class on THE HERO'S JOURNEY AND THE MYTHOLOGICAL WOODS. March 5-31, 2012.
Presented by Anna Kathryn Lanier

Hearts Through History RWA Chapter Campus

But, wait, you can also take THE HERO'S JOURNEY AND THE MYTHOLOGICAL WOODS at Yellow Rose Romance Writers RWA meeting on April 14th. In person and only 60-90 minutes long!

Online Workshop and In Person

Whether you’re a plotter or a panster, knowing The Hero’s Journey will help you with your story’s plot.  Using Joseph Campbell’s guideline, Anna Kathryn will lead you through a month-long journey of your own online.  Lectures, discussions and homework on The Hero’s Journey and The Mythological Woods that your hero and heroine should take during your book.  

To better participate in the class, students should watch James Cameron’s TITANIC. Also watching THE LION KING, and if possible STAR WARS IV, will help the student with understanding The Hero’s Journey, as these movies will be discussed.

Join this month-long class at Hearts Through History’s online campus March 5-31st. Click HERE to register. OR join me at Yellow Rose Romance Writer's monthly meeting on April 14, 2012.  Click HERE for information on Yellow Rose RWA.

February 8, 2012

Wednesday's Chow Irish Potato Soup

This week's guest, J. D. Faver (My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys) is sharing an old family recipe.  As she says, "this is the recipe for potato soup that came over on the boat from Ireland. I seriously updated it when the kids were little. It's a sure cure for what ails you. We call it Irish penicillin." 
Family Recipe Irish Potato Soup
The Irish version of chicken soup came over on the boat with ancestors during the Potato Famine. I updated it as I rarely have time to milk the cow and skim the cream off the morning's milk. 
3 pounds peeled russet potatoes cut into chunks
1 medium onion, diced
3 stalks celery with leaves, chopped
3 cans chicken stock or water with chicken bouillon cubes
White pepper
1 tall can evaporated milk
1 stick butter or margarine
Place potatoes, celery and onion in a large stockpot. Add enough chicken stock or water (with bouillon cubes) to generously cover. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and mash the vegetables, slightly. I just use a potato masher or a fork against the side of the pan. You still want it to be chunky, but mashing part of it makes it rich and creamy. Add entire stick of butter and can of evaporated milk. Add white pepper and salt to taste.
J.D. Faver
Bad Girls Need Love Too....

February 6, 2012


by J.D. Faver

If my title brings to mind a Willie Nelson song, then you might be a redneck, a country girl or a cowboy. I was raised on a farm in southwestern Oklahoma and moved to Texas as a teen. When I say a farm, I'm talking four sections of land on which my family farmed and ran beef cattle. For those not in the know, a section of land is 640 acres, so this was a sizable farm. In Texas however, the preferred term is "ranch", even if it's just a few acres.

Of course, as a writer I call on every mega-byte of early memory to write about ranches, horses, and farming. The smell of horses, hay and fresh turned dirt is unforgettable. The taste of home-made biscuits with clover honey is not the same as those that come in a tube and have something out of a plastic bear squirted on them. Not the same. Likewise, the guys who go to the western wear store to get duded up for rodeo once a year are as close to real cowboys as the little plastic bear.

Yep, I'm quite fond of cowboys. They don't gush out flowery speeches. They play the cards close to their vests, but the real cowboy is a rare breed and definitely worth cultivating. Who do you picture in your mind when you think of a cowboy? John Wayne? Clint Eastwood? Tough guys with a tiny little soft core and a set of staunch values they would rather die than sacrifice. And if you're lucky enough to be the wife or sweetheart of one of those cowboys, you have yourself a real prize.

One of my favorite movies is Legends of the Fall, with Brad Pitt as Tristan, the younger brother who crossed the line and paid for it by banishing himself to a life of loneliness, living out in the wilderness. What a waste!

One of my first novels to be released was BADLANDS, which is set in the Texas panhandle not too far across the state line from my Oklahoma roots. I like lots of conflict in my novels, and one of my favorite themes is opposites attract. My heroine, Cameron Carmichael, is a doctor from Houston with a new license who inherits her great-aunt's humongous cattle ranch. The hero, Breckenridge T. Ryan, is a neighboring rancher who happens to also be the small town lawyer. So he's handling the estate and has the task of telling the heroine that she has to live on the ranch for a year to inherit. The following is a short excerpt in which Breck converses with his father after he has finagled an invitation to supper at the heroine's home.


       Breck was grinning when he got back to his ranch that afternoon.
       His father was leaning back in his recliner, his usual position. “What’s going on, son? How come you’re smiling from ear to ear?”
       “I’ve got a date, Dad.”
       “A date?” Zachery Ryan drew back in mock amazement. “Who’d of thought? Is this someone I know?”
       “I don’t think so. I’m going to dinner at Silky Carmichael’s house and I’m taking her great-niece to the Eagle’s hall for a little opportunity to polish my belt buckle.”
       The elder Ryan raised his brows. “I think I met her one summer when she was a teenager. Pretty little thing, but shy. She wouldn’t say a word.” He pushed his glasses up on top of his head. “As I remember she was a mite skinny.”
       Breck considered. “She may have filled out a bit since then, Dad. She’s slim, but she’s got some nice curves going for her now...How come I didn’t meet Silky’s niece before?”
       Zachery frowned in recollection. “I think that was your freshman year at The University of Texas. You were doing two-a-days at that time.”
       Breck ran his fingers through his hair. “I wouldn’t have noticed a teen-age girl back then anyway. My head was into football and making the grades.”
       Zachery shook his head. “I think even you might have noticed this little one. She had the prettiest blue eyes, but she always looked so sad and lonely. Quiet as a mouse. Kind of tugged at my heart. Silky told me the girl’s parents had been killed in a car wreck and that she was seeing to the girl. I remember thinking, ‘What does a wild woman like Silky Carmichael know about raising a young girl?’”
       Breck felt a pang of sympathy for Cami. Silky was a dear friend, an astute rancher and a local charmer, but he didn’t think her character was filled with warmth and compassion. She’d probably have done better fostering a boy. He figured the shy, sensitive girl left in her care hadn’t experienced much in the way of motherly love.
       He headed for the shower, thinking that his imposed invitation to dinner hadn’t been exactly the smoothest thing he’d ever wrangled, but the important thing was that he’d have a good reason to be holding the enigmatic Cami Carmichael in his arms all night long.


        And here's a little peek at the couple after dinner when Breck is driving her in his pick up through the small town to the Eagle's Hall where a live band will be performing. 

        Cami stared out the windshield, admiring the million stars flung across the black velvet sky. She realized how rare it was to see stars in Houston where the city lights outshone any display the heavens might offer.
        The town of Langston had closed up for the night. Only a convenience store, the Mexican restaurant and a steak house stayed open until ten. Otherwise, the businesses were darkened.
         The Eagle’s Hall was located on the far edge of town. When they pulled up, Cami saw that the unpaved parking area was filled with row after row of pickup trucks.
        “I’ll let you out in front.” Breck idled by the wooden double doors at the entrance.     
        He leaned over her to swing her door open and she felt a surge of desire as his muscular torso pressed momentarily against her thighs. A rush of cold air gave her a much needed reality check. “Go on inside where it's warm,” he said.
       Watching the truck drive away, she felt bereft. Suddenly shy, she was loath to walk inside by herself. They weren’t dating. They weren’t a couple. She shouldn’t have any attachment to Breckinridge T. Ryan at all.
        “Hey, Miss Cami.”
        She spun around to find Frank trudging toward her across the gravel parking lot.    
        “Frank! I didn’t know you’d be here.”
        He flashed his dimpled grin. “I told you this was the place to be. Can I walk you inside?” He held out his arm to her.
        She glanced around, but didn’t see Breck and decided not to brave the elements any longer. Taking Frank’s arm, she felt steely muscles under his jacket. She realized the brown-eyed boy escorting her was a full grown man of approximately her same age.
        Entering the hall, she encountered a blast of heated air by the front door. She hurried inside and looked around. The lights were low and the band hadn’t yet mounted the raised stage. She was aware of a room full of people. Most were sitting at long tables ringing the dance floor. Others milled about visiting from group to group.
        A small table was set up close to the entrance and Delta Ruth Peabody sat behind it with a roll of tickets in her hand. “Come right on in here, Doctor Carmichael,” she said.      “Frank, are you dancing with your boss tonight?”
        The door opened again with a rush of cold air and Breck appeared by her side.
        “This one is mine.” He slapped some cash on the table and received two tickets in return.
        Cami raised her eyebrows, meeting Frank’s amused expression with one of her own. She wasn’t sure if this was the time to remind Breck that she was most definitely not his.


BADLANDS is available on Kindle http://amzn.com/B005341WX2

J.D. Faver
Bad Girls Need Love Too....

February 4, 2012

Saturday's Salacious Suggestions: Western Romances

Starting this month, I'm going to do genres on my Saturday's Salacious Suggestions.  This week, just cause it's what I write, we'll do Westerns, historical or Contemporary.

Let's see, let me make a schedule right fast:

Feb. 11 - Paranormal
Feb. 18 - Historical
Feb. 25 - Contemporary
Mar.  3 - Young Adult
Mar. 10 - Historical Western
Mar. 17 - Regency
Mar. 24 - Sci-Fi
Mar. 31 - Erotica (historical or contemporary)

February 1, 2012

Wednesday's Chow - Bacon Pinwheels

Well, the Super Bowl is just a few days away, so I decided a 'snack food' for the big day would be good.  Since none of the teams I was really rooting for made it all the way, I'm undecided for who I want to win.  Good luck to both the Giants and the Patriots.

Bacon Pinwheels


6 strips bacon, diced
6 oz cream cheese, softened
½ cup mayonnaise
1 can (4 oz) mushrooms, steams and pieces, drained
½ tsp garlic powder
1 tube (8 oz) refrigerated crescent rolls


Heat oven 375⁰.

In a large skillet, cook bacon until crisp.  Using slotted spoon, remove to paper towel to drain.  In a small bowl combine cream cheese and mayonnaise until smooth. Add mushrooms, garlic powder and bacon.

Separate crescent dough into four rectangles, seal the perforations.  Spread cream cheese mixture over each rectangle to within ¼-inch of edges.  Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a short side.  Pinch seams to seal.  Cut each roll into six slices.

Place side down on greased baking sheets.  Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.  Serve warm.  Refrigerate leftovers.