The Valentine Grinch Cover Reveal!

Last year I wrote a short story for the WG2E All-For-Indies Anthologies: Viva La Valentine Edition, a series which was initiated by the incomparable D.D. Scott. Since then, I’ve expanded the story into a novella.

The Valentine Grinch will be the first novella in my new Home for the Holidays series. I’m excited about this series because each book will contain two of my favorite things … family and weddings.

Hearts, cupids, and diamond rings … bah humbug!

Amanda Goodwin inherited her Valentine grinchness from her Grandpa George, so when she returns home for her Grandma Elvira’s Valentine’s Day wedding, it’s bah humbug all the way. Until, that is, she encounters her grandpa’s ghost.

Fortunately, she’s not in this alone.

Long time friend, Dane Weatherby, totally gets her grinchly attitude. Between Grandpa’s demands for her to stop the wedding, Grandma’s inability to let go of her dearly departed husband’s urn, and Amanda’s parents acting friskier than a couple of newlyweds, she’s ready to give in to her grinchness and head back to the city.

Only true love can stop Amanda. And if Dane has his way, he just might convince her to say I do instead of bah humbug.

My cover designer, Kim Killion of Hot Damn Designs nailed the cover and I’m totally over the moon with joy. 🙂

If you haven’t had a chance to read the short story, then you’ll definitely want to check out the novella. Stay tuned for the upcoming release date.

Banana Nut Bread

My guys love bananas. I however do not. I have a vivid memory of eating a banana as a young girl but near as I can figure, I had sunstroke and the end result wasn’t pretty – or discussion for a food post. To this day, I can’t stand the smell of bananas. Whenever any of my guys eat them, they’re not allowed near me with their banana breath.

This recipe started out as a labor of love but turned into a healthy favorite family snack.

In our house, we have bananas around for breakfast or lunches. However as soon as the bananas get spots, my guys won’t eat them. Needless to say, there’s always several bananas left on the counter that either get thrown away or turned into my version of Banana Nut Bread.

This recipe makes a single loaf with 1 to 2 bananas, doubled with 3 bananas or quadrupled with 6 bananas. You can also play fast and easy with the amount of white or whole wheat flour you use. My preference is half and half, originally because I didn’t want to scare my guys off with an all whole wheat flour concoction. In the end, it’s what suits our taste buds, so that’s the mixture I’ve stuck with.

Because I can easily make 4 loaves at once, I’ve always got a few loaves frozen for lunches or to pull out to take to my mom or my parents-in-law’s house, saving them the trouble of baking for themselves or guests.

Banana Nut Bread (makes a single loaf)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease a 9 X 5 X 3 inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, sift together:

1 cup white flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup granulated sugar

3 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

Put the following ingredients into a blender:

3/4 cup skim milk

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 egg

1 to 2 ripe bananas (when doubling recipe, use 3 bananas)

Blend until smooth, then add a handful of walnut halves and blend using the chop or grind function. (This saves on the time consuming task of chop-chop-chopping!)

Pour liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix well.

Turn into the prepared pan and bake for 65 to 70 minutes or till a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 to 20 minutes, then turn out of the pan to let cool on the counter.

Eat the loaf while it’s warm or freeze it for later use. And even if you’re like me and can’t stand bananas, give it a try because once it’s cooked, the banana smell and taste are totally gone, replaced by something far more delicious.

Enjoy!

So what’s your least favorite food and is there a reason why you can’t stant to eat it?

Originally posted on Women Unplugged.

 

 

Screaming into the Night

Recently, the Bandit Creek authors had a discussion about our parents reading our books which led to – of course – their reactions to the sex scenes each of us had written. There were reports of no reaction at all to parents ignoring the sex scenes in favor of discussing character development. Even an “I thought they were never going to have sex!”

This discussion reminded me of the very first book I ever completed. It was a romance titled No Way Out which was targeted toward the Harlequin Superromance line.

No Way Out contained two or three sex scenes. Before I sent it off to the publisher, I wanted to ensure it was edited, so I asked my mom if she would edit it for me. She said yes, of course.

When she was done, I picked up the manuscript and asked my dad if he’d read it too. He answered with a resounding “No!” and wouldn’t look me in the eye.

His reaction has always puzzled me. You see, my dad loved to read and back then, he read everything. Sweet romance, steamy romance, mysteries, thrillers. The only genres he didn’t read were science fiction and horror.

It was during the aforementioned Bandit Creek author discussion that I finally came up with an answer to his perplexing reaction to reading my book. This is my theory and I’m sticking to it…

So I gave my mom the book to edit. She read the first sex scene, got a little turned on, but couldn’t put down the book and continued to read. By the time she reached the next sex scene, she decides to spice up her sex life and read the sex scene to my dad.

My dad was so horrified by the thought of his baby girl and sex that he not only refused to read this book – and anything else I might happen to write in the future – but he turned down my mom’s overtures and ran screaming into the night.

Yeah, it all makes logical sense now. And that’s my 2012 Halloween horror story.

Happy Halloween everyone!

Happy Anniversary To My Beautiful Husband

You may have noticed the revamped logo at the top of my website … or not. This week, we’re celebrating our 37th wedding anniversary. It makes me sound old, doesn’t it? But we were young when we got married, practically babies, and because of that, we had to grow up together. I’ve learned a lot from my husband:

1) How to wash clothes: The washing machine was THE ONE THING my mother didn’t let me touch. So when I moved out of the house, I didn’t have a clue how to wash clothes. Fortunately, my husband – at the time he was my boyfriend – knew a thing or two. He taught me how to wash clothes, mixing colors all together so I can run through as few loads as possible. It was years later that I discovered this wasn’t how women washed clothes but it was too late. I was hooked on the fast, easy method. Yes, sometimes all of the white socks in the house are pink but at least they’re clean.

2) How to cook a roast: Although I could bake anything, my pre-marriage cooking skills were limited. My specialty was chili, fire hot chili. My brother used to say we could eat my leftover chili without bothering to heat it up. Needless to say, the first time I wanted to cook a roast, my husband had to show me how. For years I struggled. My roasts were so tough, they were like chewing leather. I resorted to cooking them twice and our kids actually grew up believing everyone cooked their roasts twice. Eventually, I left the roasts for my husband to cook and every time, he would patiently instruct me on his method. Frozen roast in the pan, a little water in the bottom, 300 degrees for 3 hours. How hard could it be, right? I finally caught on that it’s all in the direction you cut the roast. My roasts still aren’t as tender as his and I still have to confirm with someone that I’m cutting it the right direction, but at least I no longer have to cook them twice.

3) How to build almost anything: Okay, so I’d never actually build anything on my own because it would be terribly crooked but my knowledge now covers a wide area. After building two houses on our own, after years of always living in a house that’s under construction, I’ve learned enough to get me by. In a pinch, I can even change the bathroom taps, although they might leak a little … I’m just saying.

4) How to commit to one person: When we got engaged, his father told us that there were a thousand and one people out there who were right for us, but it was our responsibility to make sure we found THE RIGHT ONE. Years later, I finally understood what he meant. Our dreams, desires, and values mesh. My husband may have a trait that I can’t tolerate in another person but in him, it makes up the whole of who he is and I love all of his good qualities and bad.

Happy anniversary, babe! May the next 37 years be as wonderful as the first 37!

Dear Debra Kristi – A “Dear John” Letter From Thor

My dearest Debra Kristi,

Oh how I miss you … let me count the ways. I miss your wonderful smile and the bubbling joy of your laughter.

Sept 6:
I am miserable without you but have arrived safely in England for my visit with CC MacKenzie. Let me tell you a little bit about that sod CC. To ease my heartache, I called her Mum, but instead of cuddling me to her breast, she told me to man-up, then forced me to pose in her greenery. You know how plants make my eyes water and my nose run. I miss your care, dearest Debra. May I call you Mum when I return home?

Oct 1:
After a long lonely journey across the vast ocean, I have reached the shores of Canada and entered Lisa Hall-Wilson’s domain where I’m fighting for my life…and my dignity. Remember the days when you tickled my tummy and called me “your boy”? Oh Mommy, dearest Debra, when will this torture stop so I can come home?

Oct 8:
From the Great Lakes to the Prairies, I’ve arrived at my next destination in time for the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. Unfortunately, I’m stuck in a post office bin, freezing my tushie off. <sob> I’m so lonely for your arms!

Oct 9:
Am finally at the Seabrook residence. No doubt, you weep for my safe return. Serves you right! I’m sucking it up, being your brave boy and dreaming of the day when I’m once again nestled in your arms. Sheila took me to town where we got massages. Separate rooms, of course.  Even though I’m mad at you, I would never cheat on you, my dearest Debra. Goodnight, my love. Dream of me and I will dream of you. {photo deleted}

Oct 10:
My heart still aches for your smile, my dearest Debra, but this morning I woke muchly refreshed and decided I may never speak to you again. Next trip, you’re packing your bags and I’m staying home. Sheila introduced me to my new neighbors whom I’ve nicknamed Babs 1, 2, and 3. While the fireplace warmed my feet, the three Babs read me Sheila’s latest release Wedding Fever, a spellbinding tale of lost love, buried treasure, and a ghost that will steal your heart. Best story ever!

Oct 11:
Today, I wiped you from my mind and spent a lovely morning writing in quiet solitude with my new BFF Sheila, then headed out to visit with her mother who, incidentally, let me call her Mum (take that CC MacKenzie!). Mum served me milk and cookies and called me HER boy. I may never leave…

Oct 12:
Today Sheila showed me her rock quarry, in case I wanted to wield Thor’s hammer, but seeing as how it’s a wee bit nippy out there, I chose to stay inside and spend my time with Babs 1, 2, and 3. I’ve made the decision to extend my stay at the Seabrook residence, maybe indefinitely. Not that you’ll even notice I’m gone.

Oct 13:
Just time to dash off a quick note. Dear Debra Kristi, I’m in heaven and am writing to tell you that I’m moving on. Please pack my things and send them to the Seabrook residence (address enclosed). Sheila has promised to make me feel like one of the family. I’m in love!

Oct 14:
We had brussel sprouts for supper tonight, Debra. You know how I hate those green things. It’s like I’m eating feet…

Oct 15:
The men here are sissies. Apparently I’m expected to wield the vacuum with the same finesse I wield my hammer.

Oct 16:
My dearest, darling, beloved Debra … Please forgive my peevish attitude of these last few weeks and take me back.

Oct 17:
The honeymoon is over. Last night, I escaped the Seabrook house and made it as far as the corner post office. Although my box is securely taped shut, I live in constant fear that crazy Seabrook bitch will discover my betrayal and force me back home to wash her floors and dust her cobwebs. I live for the day when you and I are finally reunited.

P.S. Have I told you how much I love you? And I promise not to call you Mommy … ever!

P.P.S. I’m digging through the post office mail, searching for a U.S. stamp so I can mail myself home. I’m about to commit a felony, all in the name of our love. If I get caught, please promise you’ll come visit me in jail. Sheila will certainly give you directions.

P.P.P.S. Unable to locate the proper postage, I’m resigned to continue my journey to the western coast of Canada. But first I must hide the evidence of my betrayal. I have burned this letter along with all the other letters in the post office. I’m unharmed, thanks to my protective shield.

P.P.P.P.S. As you can see, I really didn’t burn the letter. I’m saving it in case I change my mind. For now, the mailman has arrived and saved me. North Saanich, here I come…

Your loving he-man, Thor

 

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