Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Virtual Cookie Blog Hop!

You know those cookie exchanges that are so popular during the holiday season? The ones where you bake  dozens of the same kind of cookies to take to a party where you give them away by the dozen to other participants in exchange for a dozen of theirs?

Well, it turns out you can't really do one of those on the internet, but you can host a Virtual Cookie Exchange, and that's exactly what I'm a part of this month. A Cooke Blog Hop courtesy of my lovely friend and author at Gemma Halliday Publishing, Ellie Ashe! This is my Peppermint Cookie recipe...my Gingerbread Recipe will appear on my blog Dec 20 so be sure to come back for that one as well!
Peppermint Christmas Cookies

Sift together in bowl and reserve:
         2 3/4 cups flour
         1 tsp baking powder
         1/2 tsp salt

Put:  3/4 cup soft margarine in large bowl

Add:  1 cup sugar
         2 eggs
         1 tsp peppermint (or any other flavor extract)
Beat with mixer or wooden spoon  until mixture is light and fluffy.

Beat in flour mixture, blending until smooth.
Chill 1 hour or until firm.

Roll out onto floured surface to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutters.
Put on cookie sheets and bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes.
Decorate as desired.

Merry Christmas to All....

Monday, December 1, 2014

Dec 1 2014 until January 31, 2015

    19 holiday short stories by 19 New York Times, USA Today and award winning authors!
Enjoy these tales of mystery, romance, and laughter

amid the backdrop of pine trees, gingerbread men, and Santas galore!

The perfect short bites for cozying up by the fire with a cup of 
cocoa...or waiting in line at gift wrapping!

Stories include:

Rosolio Red (Franki Amato Mysteries) by Traci Andrighetti
Chasing Tinsel (Miranda Vaughn Mysteries ) by Ellie Ashe
Death of a Christmas Witch (A Crewel to be Kind Mini Mystery) by Diane Bator
Queenie Baby: Pass the Eggnog (Queenie Baby Mysteries) by Christina A. Burke
The Holiday Inside Job by Mary Jo Burke
Hard to Catch a Christmas Thief (Hard Targets) by Wendy Byrne
A Christmas Ghost & Zero Regrets (Dead by the Numbers Mysteries) by Jennifer Fischetto
Christmas Canap├ęs & Sabotage (Culinary Competition Mysteries) by Janel Gradowski
Christmas in High Heels (High Heels Mysteries) by Gemma Halliday
Christmas Al Dente (Southern Pasta Shop Mysteries) by Jennifer L. Hart
Santa Claus, Lies, and Murder (Amber Fox Mysteries) by Sibel Hodge
A (Gingerbread) Diorama of Death (Helen Binney Mysteries) by Gin Jones
Mini Pie the Christmas Spy! (Mini Pie Mysteries) by Libby LaManna
Have Yourself a Deadly Little Christmas (Greatest Hits Mysteries) by Leslie Langtry Ornamental Danger (Working Stiff Mysteries) by Kerri Nelson
Motion for Mistletoe (Jamie Winters Mysteries) by Kelly Rey
Christmas in Venice by Maria Grazia Swan
Baby, It's Cold Outside (Tahoe Tessie Mysteries) by T. Sue VerSteeg
Santa's Little Mistake by Stacey Wiedower
This book will only be available December 1 – January 31, 2015
Get your Copy Today Here!


Monday, November 24, 2014

"Knot in My Backyard" by Mary Marks

I was lucky enough to receive and advance copy of "Knot in My Backyard" from Kensington Books in exchange for an honest review BUT I was already a big fan after Mary's wonderful first book "Forget Me Knot." So what's Mary Marks' new book about?

Baseball may be America's official pastime, but for Martha Rose and her friends, quilting is far more fun...and a lot less dangerous.
A diamond brocade pattern is more quilter Martha Rose's style than a baseball diamond--especially when it comes to the new eyesore of a stadium ruining her lovely San Fernando Valley neighborhood. Martha doesn't know a bunt from a bundt cake, but when she stumbles upon the battered body of baseball coach Dax Martin, she doesn't need a scorecard to know it's foul play. LAPD homicide detective Arlo Beavers is convinced one of her neighbors is responsible. But Martha and her fellow quilters Lucy and Birdie soon discover a whole field of suspects who might have wanted to take the coach out of the game permanently...

When Martha Rose stumbles across a dead body while on a walk one day as part of her latest weight loss plan, she stets off a chain of events that involves a group of homeless people, a motorcycle gang, and a giant of a man she refers to as a golem. Martha is a middle-aged, down to earth character who is thrust into several situations her conscience can't let her back out of and she is determined to discover who killed the baseball coach - in spite of the advice of her boyfriend Arlo Beavers. While she doesn't always make the safest decisions, Martha pokes her nose into a few dangerous situations and is lucky there is always someone there to save her.

Not being Jewish, I found I did stumble over some of the words Ms. Marks uses, but the charm and "homey" sense of the novel made it work and answered any questions I may have had. "Knot in My Backyard" neatly answers the question of who killed Dax Martin, but it also leaves us with a graceful lead in to Ms. Marks' next book to find out what will happen next in Martha Rose's romantic life.

You can find "Knot in My Backyard" on Amazon. Simply click on the book title!

Find more books by Mary Marks here.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

November 2014 Round Robin Blog Fest

Welcome back to another episode of the Round Robin Blog Fest!! This month's topic is:

What is your favorite food or meal?

Hmmm....this wasn't an easy one. I love all kinds of food, except cabbage rolls, I don't like cabbage rolls. (Sorry, Mom.)
When I think about foods that mean a lot to me, the two tops are my favorite Christmas treats: Gingerbread and Baked Caramel Corn. YUM! There is a good reason why I only make them to enjoy at Christmas and give most of it away. I've discovered it's the one treat a lot of my friends won't make since it is a finicky recipe, but they all love receiving along with both gingerbread and peppermint cookies. Yes, my house smells amazing around this time of year!
My late mother-in-law came across this recipe long before my kids were born and it quickly became a family favorite. Sweet and crunchy--especially when you add nuts!--as the cookbook says "WARNING - it's addictive!" Many a waistband has exploded after consuming copious quantities of the stuff!

I do hope you'll try my recipe. Make sure to follow the directions carefully, the caramel has to be just right or it won't work.
Baked Caramel Corn

1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
6 quarts popped corn

Preheat oven to 250F (120C)
Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt.
Bring to a boil for 5 minutes (this is the finicky part!!) DO NOT STIR!
Remove from heat and add baking soda and vanilla.
Put popped corn in a well-greased roaster. 
Gradually pour syrup over, stir well and bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
Happy Munching!!

Still hungry? Why don't we go over and see what Beverley Bateman enjoys to eat?
And if you have a large appetite, drop on by the other authors in the Round Robin Blog Fest to see what they like to munch...

Skye Taylor:  http://skye-writer.com/
Ginger Simpson:  http://mizging.blogspot.com/
Helena Fairfax:  http://helenafairfax.com/

Happy Reading!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Death of a Jaded Samurai Available Nov 3 2014

I am so excited to announce the release of my new novel DEATH OF A JADED SAMURAI
November 3!

Gilda Wright thinks she's landed a dream job managing a karate school. Sure, her boss, Sensei Mick Williams, is almost as demanding as he is sexy, but Gilda is inspired by the strength of people around her and hopes to absorb some of that into her own life. But when Gilda finds the body of one of the instructors laying in the dojo with a sword though his chest, suddenly she must find her own inner strength and fast! The police see everyone as a suspect, including her boss, and it's up to Gilda to find out what really happened. She follows the clues of the missing scroll of the Four Possessions of the Samurai down a deadly path filled with lies, deceit, and poisoned ninja stars! If she doesn't watch her step, she just may become the killer's next sparring partner.

To order your copy today, go to: http://www.gemmahalliday.com/Halliday_Publishing/ourauthors/Diane_Bator/

Saturday, October 25, 2014

October Round Robin Blog Fest

Welcome back to another spooky episode of the Round Robin Blog Fest!
This month's topic is:
What's the scariest thing that has happened to you?
I had to think about this one. There are many scary things that have happened to me, but I decided to write about a lighthearted spook I met.

I was about 12 years old at the time and babysitting a herd of kids who had long gone to bed. I was at the age horror movies were beginning to fascinate me and staying up late while babysitting was the only opportunity I had to watch one.

The hour was late on the farm in the middle of nowhere and the only light in the yard came from a bright yard light in front of the house. Since the parents weren't due home for another hour or two, I had a movie on television. I'd taken the opportunity at commercial break to find a snack to enjoy the rest of the movie with. On my way back to the livingroom, I was careful to turn out every light in order to savor the movie in darkness.

As I came around the corner and caught a glimpse out the front window, I saw something that made my heart nearly stop. A large white, shapeless object glided across the yard. I shrieked and nearly dropped my snack. The object moved slowly then came to a stop beneath the light post.

The family's white--very much alive--horse shook then lowered its head to eat.
I wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry.
Needless to say, it wasn't a story I shared with very many people until now! Hope you'll jump over to visit Fiona McGier and see what her scariest thing is!

Feel free to check out the other participating Authors: 
Heidi M: http://heidiwriter.wordpress.com/
Skye Taylor  http://www.skye-writer.com/
Anne Stenhouse  http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com/
A.J. Maguire  http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/
Rachel Kosnski  http://the-doodling-booktease.tumblr.com/
Margaret Fieland http://www.margaretfieland.com/blog1/
Geeta Kakade http://geetakakade.blogspot.com/
Marci Baun  http://www.marcibaun.com/
Beverley Bateman  http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Victoria Chatham  http://victoriachatham.webs.com/
Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com/
Rita Karnopp  
Ginger Simpson  http://mizging.blogspot.com/
Rhobin Courtright  http://rhobinleecourtright.com/

Thursday, September 25, 2014

September slipping away...

Wow has September slipped away! Between training a new employee, learning a new job, having company from the US & Alberta, and getting three kids off to school, writing time has been at a premium. That doesn't mean the ideas aren't churning.

This fall I was blessed to be part of a team who ran 100km as part of the Sears Great Canadian Run to raise money for kids cancer. None of us are real runners (well, there was that one guy...), but we all came together to run, raise money, and have a great time. What an amazing experience. From cheering on people who ran the whole 100km and anyone else who ran the course, to high fives and hugs at the finish line, we became not only this great martial arts family, but a team to the core. No one was left out or left behind. No one was chastised for being too slow or having to just walk a majority of their leg (that would be me!). We were all amazed when our ragtag team came in 4th out of 50 teams running. I still get goosebumps.

I have much this same experience working for a new magazine out of the US called BTSeMag. I have to say I applied on a bit of a whim to be an Author Liaison, but this past month has taught me a lot about myself and my stubborn streak.

No matter how hard things became - both on my 5km leg of the run and in my new job - I don't give up. I persevere. Which is why I sit here with three books published, one on the way this fall, one or two on the way next year, a short story due in January to the magazine, AND I'll be gearing to grade for my brown belt in karate next year.

The moral of the story? When things get tough and look their worst, don't fold. Don't give in. Don't let life beat you down.