Wednesday, December 5, 2018

from Nancy Kay

Nothing says Holiday to me better than my mom's famous cake. Every year she filled the house with the beautiful aroma of baking and we all loved it. This year I'd like to share a little of our family tradition with you.

MOM’S ORANGE CAKE
1 orange
1 cup raisins
⅓ cup walnuts, chopped well
2 cups four
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
½ cup shortening (Crisco)
¾ plus ¼ cup whole milk
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Grease a rectangular cake pan (aprox. 11 x 15 inches).

Peel orange, but save the skin. Juice orange in a small bowl. Seed and quarter the orange.

Combine orange, skin, raisins, walnuts in a blender or food processor. Blend only enough to break up the skin.

Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Blend in shortening and ¾ cup milk. Add eggs and remaining milk. Mix well.

Fold in the orange raisin mixture.

Spread mixture evenly into prepared pan.

Bake 40-50 minutes.

Remove cake from oven and while still hot drizzle with reserved orange juice.

FROSTING
⅓ cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ cup walnuts, chopped

Mix three ingredients together. Sprinkle mixture over the warm cake.

You know every cook should taste their masterpiece before they serve it. Therefore, pour your favorite beverage and then slice off a piece of cake. Sit back and enjoy while you take a peek at my romantic holiday story.

Federal Wildlife Officer Michael Donovan faces a dilemma. Christmas is days away, a blizzard looms, and Mike must either track an injured moose or deliver bad news to Samantha Gates about her grandfather.

Samantha is determined to reach her grandparent's cabin for Christmas. She'll soon be off to veterinary school and this holiday is special. Hampered by driving snow, Sam ditches her SUV avoiding an injured moose. Mike discovers her aiding the wounded animal, and they get the ungainly patient to shelter, but as Sam doctors the moose the blizzard traps them.

As the storm rages outside, alone inside attraction sizzles between Sam and Mike. Outside danger escalates. Sam insists all will be fine by Christmas. Mike isn't so sure. Will the storm end and bring a Christmas miracle? Or will Mike's news ruin the holiday and their chance for a future together?

BUY LINKS

Nancy Kay resides near Lake Erie in Western Pennsylvania with her husband, a former member of the Marines and the Pennsylvania State Police Department who provides valuable insight for her stories. Nancy is a long time member of Romance Writers of America. Her stories are set in small towns and inland communities scattered along the shores of the Great Lakes. They focus on romance, intertwined with the love of hearth, home, and family. Yet, they are sprinkled with suspense, danger, and intrigue. Learn more about Nancy on her website and blog.

Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Straight from Carpenter Country is an exciting new book by HL Carpenter. This intriguing cozy mystery keeps you engrossed and is sure to deliver reader satisfaction. It's an ideal holiday gift for everyone on your Kindle list.


A letter from beyond the grave brings accountant Fae Childers face to face with murder, embezzlement, romance, and a hidden family legacy.

Certified public accountant Fae Childers is not an embezzler, despite the belief of the accounting firm that fires her for stealing. But proving her innocence is harder than convincing an IRS agent to allow a deduction. She's lost her mother, her job, her fiancé, and her self-respect. She's running out of money and the lease is about to expire on her apartment.

Then the fortune-telling grandmother Fae never knew existed, whose name and psychic abilities she now learns are also hers, issues a challenge from beyond the grave—a challenge that brings Fae face to face with murder, embezzlement, romance, and a hidden family legacy.

When the mystery of Fae's past collides with the troubles of her present, the situation veers out of control. Her very life is threatened. Who can she trust? The man she's falling in love with? The former fiancé who has already betrayed her once? Or only herself?

With justice, romance, and her future at stake, Fae must overcome personal and professional obstacles to save herself and those she loves. And she's going to have to do it fast, before someone else dies.

EXCERPT
The letter arrived on the last Thursday in April, two weeks to the day after I got fired from the accounting firm where I worked for the past decade. August Palmer, my landlord, hand-delivered the letter in person, saying, "The mail carrier stuck this in my box by mistake, Fae."

I took the envelope without bothering to look at it and glanced past Gus, at the patch of brilliant cloudless blue sky framing his shoulders.

Tampa, Florida on the cusp of summer, full of birdsong and the scent of warming pavement.

"Beautiful morning," I said, as if I cared.

"Afternoon," Gus said, his voice a low rumbly growl, the product of too many cigarettes and whiskeys in his happily misspent youth. He stood outside the tiny apartment my mother and I rented from him for the past two years and eyed me. "Still mopin', girl?"

He had shown up on my doorstep every day since the firing with the same question.

Adhering to our new routine, I answered the same way I always did, except this time I didn't bother pasting on a fake smile to accompany the words.

"Nope. Not my style."

"'Scuse me." His tone was as dry as the month he was named for. "Forgot you've been hidin' in the apartment, tap dancing with glee."

I met his gaze. "For hours at a time. Any complaints about the noise?"

He clicked a nicotine pellet against tobacco stained teeth and kept his silence. I regretted my sarcasm. In my forbidden childhood game of describing people in colors, I would have painted Gus early-morning-yellow, the shade of the summer sun before the friendly sheltering coolness of night gave way to the brutal heat of day.

The description would have horrified him.

"How are the treatments going?"

He grunted. "They tell me I ain't gonna croak this week."

"Glad to hear it. You might want to keep your distance from me, though. I'm jinxed."

Gus shook his head. "You gotta get over them fools, girl."

"That's no way to talk about my former bosses." Especially since I looked at the real fool in the mirror each morning. I had believed dedication, loyalty, and hard work were appreciated by the partners of Slezia + Fyne, CPA, PA.

Ha, ha.

"Anyway, I am over them. Way over."

"Yeah?" He was not convinced. "You over the suit, too?"

"Sure am." Once again, I stuck with our new routine and gave him the same answer I always did. "I have moved on."

Once again, the lie carried the bitter taste of betrayal. The suit was Scott Piper, former co-worker, fiancé, and man of my dreams. The suit dumped me the day of the firing.

Gus snorted. "Funny how much movin' on resembles standing around feeling sorry for yourself."

In my opinion, wallowing in self-pity was marginally more mature than throwing a temper tantrum. Even if it hadn't been, I didn't have the energy for a tantrum. I barely had the energy to maintain my half of the daily conversation with Gus.

"Have you been watching that big bald guy on television again?"

He stuck out his chin. "Don't get smart. You know I'm right. You're mopin'."

"Only because I can't tap dance."

He was right. In the eight months since my mother's death, I had slogged through an ever-darkening morass of the malady Gus called moping, and what his favorite celebrity psychologist might consider the early stages of depression. The firing and the accompanying fallout shoved me even closer to the edge of a black abyss.

My moping was self-absorbed, given the burdens others faced, but what could I say? One woman's detour was another's stop sign.

"You ought to call your girl pal, that one you worked with. What's her name? Sarah? Have you heard from her?"

No. And I didn't want to hear from her, much less call her.

I shook my head.

"Your ma would have been annoyed with you."

A lump in my throat closed off my voice and I could only nod. He was right about that too. My irrepressible mother believed in taking the positive approach to life. To her, saying negative words or thinking negative thoughts was the same as asking them to come true. She had little patience for pity parties.

Focus on your strengths, Fae, and always keep moving.

My ability to follow her advice vanished with her death. I was slowly turning into the type of recluse the Japanese call hikikomori. Even the simple task of cleaning out Mom's bedroom was beyond me.

"So? You gonna open the letter?" Gus asked.

I turned over the envelope in my hand.

Heavy, officious, dirty white, and mildly threatening, the envelope shrieked of the intimidation perfected by lawyers and the Internal Revenue Service and jolted me right out of my apathy. My breath hitched in my throat.

Had Gary Slezia and Richard Fyne gone back on their word? Had they decided to forego their distaste for publicity and press charges against me?


Mother/daughter author duo HL Carpenter write family-friendly fiction from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, they enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity. Visit their website to enjoy gift reads and excerpts and to find out what’s happeni
ng in Carpenter Country.

Stay connected on Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin, Google+, GoodReads,
and their Amazon Author Page.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

An exciting new release from the ever popular Eris Field. This contemporary romance is sure to please all discerning readers. And it makes a terrific gift!

A Life-changing Second Chance at Love.

Discarded by a husband she loved and trusted, nurse Jamie is determined to rebuild her life. She’ll never be a victim again! While her belief in love has been destroyed, she refuses to give up her dream of having a home of her own. But first she must climb out of the mountain of debt her ex-husband left her.

On the outside, Rauf is an arrogantly handsome Army doctor with the lean, hard body of a desert warrior. On the inside, battered by years of war and loss of those he loved, he feels like a failure. His purpose in life now is to help the survivors but before he can help others, he must overcome his own demons.

When assigned to assist the reclusive Rauf, Jamie agrees reluctantly. As they work together, they share their painful life experiences and discover that feelings they believed dead are very much alive—throbbing, hot, and tantalizing feelings.

Will the scars they carry prevent them from accepting a second chance at love?


Eris Field was born in the Green Mountains of Vermont—Jericho, Vermont to be precise—close by the home of Wilson Bentley (aka Snowflake Bentley), the first person in the world to photograph snowflakes. She learned from her Vermont neighbors that pursuit of one’s dream is a worthwhile life goal.

As an impoverished student nurse at Albany Hospital, Eris met her future husband, an equally impoverished Turkish surgical intern who told her fascinating stories about the history of Turkey, the loss of the Ottoman Empire, and the painful experience of forced population exchanges.

After years of working as a nurse, teaching psychiatric nursing, and raising a family, Eris now writes novels--international, contemporary romances that incorporate her interest in psychiatry, history, people from different cultures, and the problems of refugees.

Although the characters in Eris’s novels are often from other countries—The Netherlands, Turkey, and Kurdistan— her novels are usually set in Western New York--The land of Father Baker, Jericho Road Refugee Center, the Buffalo Bills, Wings, and snow--chunky rain snow, lake-effect snow, horizontal snow, the snow of thunder snow storms, dry, fine snow, curtains of wet heavy snow, and whiteouts.

Learn more about Eris Field on her website. Stay connected on Facebook.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Color Soothes the Creative Soul

The list of fall activities is endless. Challenging corn mazes, pumpkins galore, and any number of craft fairs cover entire pages of the morning paper as soon as the first, red tinged leaf falls. Summer shot past in a heartbeat amidst beach events, bike events, and any number of creative ways to fund your favorite charity. Not that any or all events aren't fun or a great contribution in one way or another, no, it's the result of creative minds and so many needs around us.

But what about the quiet souls? Artists, musicians, and yes, writers who seek inspiration from natural beauty that evolves as the nights cool and the day grow short?

The grape harvest in Northwestern Pennsylvania this fall is touted as better than average. Good news for local grape farmers. The beauty unfolding in vineyards and hillsides of rolling color is inspiring, and inspiration is the lifeblood of artists.




Whether your tool of choice is a camera, a paint brush, a keyboard, ….or maybe an instrument to fill the air with soft sounds as mother nature fills our minds and hearts.

Everyone experiences mood lifts, or sometimes mood shifts, by their surroundings. I'm driven to absorb autumn's painted trees, to take the winding road beneath a colorful canopy, and to pause and listen to the dry rustle of cornstalks. I hold them inside and draw on each when a story twists or turns or demands a reader to see, feel and hear.

So I welcome autumn. I'll sip fine wine and sample aged cheese. The crisp, tart taste of new harvest apples and the sweet cider they produce will fill lazy autumn days. Sights, sounds, tastes. The goal of all artists is to bring these senses to life whether on a canvas, in a perfectly captured photo, or between the pages for all who seek the harvest of their talent.

 
 
      However...as you sip, sample and enjoy the season....read and relax!
 
October is also release month for book two of the Deadly Triad!
 
Deadly Revenge
 
 
A former Marine is captivated by an alluring widow until a sniper's bullet shatters the illusion that his covert past is behind him.
 


Thursday, October 11, 2018

A Cold Case Mystery

Acclaimed journalist Anne Montgomery weaves her latest mystery/suspense novel around one of the most enduring cold case crimes in Arizona history.

Following in-depth research into the deadly 1995 cold-case derailment of an Amtrak train in the wilds of the Arizona desert, novelist Anne Montgomery penned the story of Jason Ramm, a broken former Special Forces sniper, and Kelly, the lonely pregnant teen who appears to be his salvation in the 2018 suspenseful mystery A Light in the Desert releasing November 6, 2018 from Treehouse Publishing Group.

Set in Hyder, Arizona, Montgomery’s A Light in the Desert details the crumbling world of a former soldier whose crimes assault his conscience and an isolated child who, in the guise of love, falls victim to abuse. Is Ramm her savior or something more insidious? Montgomery suffuses the tale with heartbreaking melancholy, both from the point of view of a rejected child who understands little of the outside world and the assassin who’s descending into the grips of an odd mental illness, the Jerusalem Syndrome, that threatens to replace who he is with something else.

A former ESPN sportscaster, Montgomery, a foster mom to three sons, works in Arizona as a football referee and high school teacher at a Title I school where many of her students live in poverty, some are abused, and others are relegated to foster care. On why she wrote the book, Montgomery says, “I have seen the suffering of neglected and abused children first-hand. Often, their voices go unheard. I believe child abuse needs to be a topic we address with ardent regularity, loudly and often, so that someday, perhaps, this cruelty can be relegated to the past.”

This novel is a definite must read!

As a Vietnam veteran and former Special Forces sniper descends into the throes of mental illness, he latches onto a lonely pregnant teenager and a group of Pentecostal zealots – the Children of Light – who have been waiting over thirty years in the Arizona desert for Armageddon.

When the Amtrak Sunset Limited, a passenger train en route to Los Angeles, is derailed in their midst in a deadly act of sabotage, their lives are thrown into turmoil as local and state police, FBI investigators, and a horde of reporters arrive on the scene. As the search for the saboteurs heats up and the authorities question members of the cult, they uncover more questions than answers.

And then the girl vanishes. As the sniper struggles to maintain his sanity, a child is about to be born deep in the wilderness.


BUY NOW from MIDPOINT BOOK SALES

Anne Montgomery has worked as a television sportscaster, newspaper and magazine writer, teacher, amateur baseball umpire, and high school football referee. She worked at WRBL‐TV in Columbus, Georgia, WROC‐TV in Rochester, New York, KTSP‐TV in Phoenix, Arizona, ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, where she anchored the Emmy and ACE award‐winning SportsCenter, and ASPN-TV as the studio host for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Montgomery has been a freelance and staff writer for six publications, writing sports, features, movie reviews, and archeological pieces.

When she can, Anne indulges in her passions: rock collecting, scuba diving, football refereeing, and playing her guitar.

Learn more about Anne Montgomery on her website and Wikipedia. Stay connected on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The Perfect Spot for Crime

Sometimes story ideas come from strange places. Since I write Romantic Suspense, naturally there must be a crime scene to launch the suspense aspect. I love hands-on research, and when a story in the local paper caught my eye I was off and running.

The title of the article was Bogs Worth Exploring and Protecting by Evelyn Anderson. The article informed me that bogs are among Pennsylvania's most valued habitats. I learned a glacier once covered the northwestern part of the state, the basis and foundation for bogs. The area I was considering for my story's setting was referred to as a fen because of its alkalinity. Yet each bog is unique.

I don't wish to bore readers with technical data about bogs, although personally I found it interesting, but as I read the article, the word swampy grabbed my attention. More details got my imagination churning: floating sphagnum and glacial pools. I tweaked the image with shadows, winding paths, and the lingering odor often associated with a damp, swampy setting.

Hmmm...or a dead body, maybe?

Since my stories are set in places within easy access to the Great Lakes and all the wonderful sights bordering their shores, a crime within this rich, fertile, shadowy environment got me off and running....or, typing.

Here are two excerpts from Deadly Reflection. The first is my hero's encounter in the bog, the second is my heroine's shocking introduction to the shadowy, swampy environment that changes her life forever.

Enter: Nick McGraw: Vacationing police detective.

Perspiration trickled down Nick's spine, and a steady breeze molded his tee shirt to his damp skin. Swirling up from the bog were smells he'd almost forgotten.

         Moisture laden peat, thick as plush carpet, and an underlying hint of decay.

Then the wind shifted, and an all too familiar stench permeated the air around him. The hair on the back of Nick's neck rose and out of habit, he reached for his Walther PPK.

Enter: Cassandra Burke: An innocent bystander, maybe....

She swiped a hand across her eyes, crouched low, and peered into the surrounding shadows.

What is that smell?

Rufus lurched away, disappearing into the gloom.

"That's it." She scrambled after him. As she pushed through dense foliage, the swampy ground gave beneath her feet and seeped between her toes. Finally, frustrated and spitting mad, she caught sight of the retriever's golden coat.

"Rufus, come here."

He spared her the flick of one ear. He'd heard her, but he made no move to obey. Instead, he crept forward, heading straight for a pile of sticks, leaves, and God knows what else. Something reeked to high heaven, and the hum of insects droned in her ears.
 
            Thanks for stopping by my Blog about the Bog!

 
Available now:
Deadly Reflection