Food Friday: Death By Chocolate Ice-Cream Cake by Chris Pavesic

Death By Chocolate Ice-Cream Cake by Chris Pavesic

 

Aug Death By Chocolate CakeThis is a special cake that I make for friends/family who love chocolate.  It is a perfect treat for a birthday.  This is a big cake, so be sure to invite a lot of people to celebrate!

 

For this recipe you will need three 8-inch cake pans.  I use the disposable aluminum ones (eco friendly brands of course) because I have yet to find 3 glass ones that are the right size.

 

Ice Cream Filling

Use any type of ice cream or frozen custard that you want.  For the cake pictured here, I used cherry vanilla.  A single half-gallon will fill the pan completely.

 

Take the ice cream out of the freezer and let it soften for a few minutes.  Line the cake pan with Saran Wrap before adding the softened ice cream so it is easier to remove after it re-freezes.

 

Spoon ice cream into the cake pan and smooth until it is level.

 

I place another piece of Saran Wrap over the top before putting it back in the freezer.

 

The ice cream should be placed back in the freezer for several hours.  (You can even do this step the night before to ensure that it is frozen completely.)

 

Chocolate Cake

2 cups organic cake flour

2 cups organic white sugar

1 tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

2 sticks butter

4 tbsp. cocoa

1 cup water

1 cup whole milk or 1 cup Silk (Almond Milk)

2 eggs

1 tbsp. vanilla

1 package semi-sweet chocolate chips

 

Preheat oven to 350°F.

 

Sift together the cake flour, sugar, soda, powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

 

In a saucepan set on medium heat, mix the butter, cocoa, and water until the butter is melted.  Bring to a boil and then pour the mixture over the dry ingredients.

 

Blend the milk, eggs, and vanilla together and gradually add to the mixture, stirring constantly.  (You can also use a hand mixer on low at this stage.) The batter should be fluffy and form stiff peaks.

 

Add in the package of semi-sweet chocolate chips.  Stir with a spoon at this point until they are distributed evenly.

 

Divide the mixture between the two remaining baking pans.  The pans should be lightly buttered and floured prior to pouring in the batter.

 

Bake 20 minutes or so.

 

Let the cake cool completely.   Remove the two layers from the pans and place on plates.

 

About an hour before serving, place the two cakes in the freezer.

 

Whipped Cream and Chocolate Topping

1 can Redi-Whip Whipped Cream

1 bar dark chocolate 80% or higher cocoa

 

Using a knife or vegetable peeler, chop/shave the chocolate bar.  It may tend to crumble a bit if you shave it—this is OK.  (This step is a bit messy so you may want to do it in advance and just save the chocolate shavings/pieces in a plastic baggie until you add it to the top of the cake.

 

To Assemble

You have to work quickly.   Remove the bottom cake from the freezer and place it on the platter/plate you intend to use for serving.  Remove the ice cream from the freezer.  Remove the Saran Wrap from the top and invert it onto the frozen cake.  Remove the bottom of the Saran Wrap.  Take the second cake from the freezer and place on top, pressing lightly to level.  “Frost” the cake with the Redi-Whip, creating a border on the top.   Inside of the border, sprinkle the chocolate pieces/shavings.  Serve immediately.

Cheers!

Aug Pavesic Books and Logo-1Here is a brief introduction to Wonderland, the latest fantasy book by Chris Pavesic. Enjoy!

 

You may think you know her story.

 

You don’t.

 

Throughout her life Alice has faced fear and isolation, but she has never given up hope. In the City by the Bay she has one last chance to find happiness; one last chance to find friendship; one last chance to find Wonderland.

 

Watch the YouTube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzqSaBVmEoU&w=854&h=510.

 

Read excerpts from all of the books written by Chris Pavesic on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_12?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=chris+pavesic&sprefix=chris+pavesi%2Caps%2C401.

 

 

Chris PavesicChris Pavesicis a fantasy author who lives in the Midwestern United States and loves Kona coffee, steampunk, fairy tales, and all types of speculative fiction. Between writing projects, Chris can most often be found reading, gaming, gardening, working on an endless list of DIY household projects, or hanging out with friends. Learn more about Chris on her website http://chrispavesic.com.

 

Stay connected on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chris-Pavesics-Author-Page/1443492975862082 and Twitter https://twitter.com/ChrisPavesic.

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Food Friday: FRESH VEGETABLE SOUP by Emma Lane

Creative author Emma Lane is here to share her latest culinary creation that can be served hot or cold and her new Regency release. The kitchen is all yours, Emma.

This recipe is only a guideline for making a delicious lunch or main dish during harvest time when fresh vegetables are available. The list of vegetables is easily amendable to whatever your harvest brings. (Not beets!) Be sure to add nurturing bread like corn bread or crackers for a more substantial meal. (Okay, I used corn chex mix, but that was an emergency) A green salad is always a welcome addition.

FRESH VEGETABLE SOUP

1 diced onion (not mild and NOT garlic.)
½ diced green pepper (sweet)
2 chopped celery stalks (all sand removed)
1 fat carrot peeled and chopped
Corn kernels (1-2 ears fresh)
1 can diced tomato or 1 lg. chopped fresh
1½ cups fresh green beans chopped (strings removed)
1 can Campbell’s Chicken and Rice soup or 1 cup soup stock, beef or chicken
½ pound hamburger (I use ground chuck) or left over 1 cup chopped meat or chicken*
1 med. potato chopped into small cubes (or 2 small)
1 beef or chicken bullion cube (or 2 if stronger broth is desired.)
Sprig fresh thyme or pinch or two dried
Sprig of oregano or pinch of dried
Small sprig of basil or pinch of dried
Sprig of parsley (flat not curly)

Optional Veggies: okra, green peas, yellow squash, small can chick peas
Optional herbs/spices: pinch of chili pepper, tiny clove of garlic, sprig of cilantro.

Tip: if you use fresh herbs tie together with kitchen string to make removal easier.

*Omit the meat if you plan to serve the soup chilled.
Sauté meat and set aside.

Wash and chop vegetables.

Fill large pot halfway with water (more or less as needed, but NOT at the last minute as it weakens the broth). Add onions and celery. Bring to boil and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add carrots, corn, tomatoes, potato, soup stock or Campbell’s, bouillon cube, sprigs of herbs (remove before serving). Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

Add meat. Simmer for 10 more minutes.

Veggies will be somewhat crisp. As it sits the flavor will increase.

If serving hot, refrigerate if it’s going to be longer than a few hours before serving, and then reheat.

To serve cold, refrigerate and chill for several hours. Just before serving add thinly sliced cucumber.

Sit back and enjoy a brief introduction to my new release.

Can an arrogant duke overcome his prejudice against a beautiful but managing female in time to find true love and happiness?

Miss Amabel Hawkins acknowledges her unusual upbringing, but she thinks James Langley, the Duke of Westerton, might be a tad unbalanced when he protests her efforts to right his badly managed properties. The duke, who has been away on the king’s business, demonstrates no respect for the beautiful but managing Miss Hawkins. Amabel has taken refuge at Westerton, fleeing from a forced marriage to a man who claims to be her relative in order to gain control of her young brother’s estate.

The Duke arrives home to find his estate under the firm control of a beautiful but managing female. His suspicions are fueled by his recent task of spy-hunting and he wonders if Amabel Hawkins is just who she seems. While a dastardly spy lurks, a wicked man poses as her cousin threatening to take over the guardianship of her young brother. Amabel might be falling in love, but she knows for certain the duke would never approve of a meddlesome woman, and she decides to flee his estate. Will the duke finally realize the true value of the woman he loves or will his prejudice ruin his chances forever?

EXCERPT
Fatigue and the effects of the brandy on top of the ale now gave his gait a distinct wobble. He chuckled, amused at his condition.

As he reached for the portrait of great Uncle Barney, he lurched into the back of the red leather sofa in front of the cosy fire. “Deuce take it,” he exclaimed when a rounded arm rolled into view. He spotted the gentle curve of a hip and walked around to the front, where he spied a tumbled haze of dark curls hiding a face. It is indeed a female—a sleeping female.

Who was she? The gown was too rich for his household staff. Curious, he knelt beside the sofa.
“Only one way to find out,” he whispered and moved one dark curl. He sat back, satisfied when a handsome face swam into view. She sighed and rolled over, revealing a generous figure and a pair of rosy lips. She might be Sleeping Beauty—but not one of my relatives. He leaned over and kissed those tempting lips.

As he lingered there, she sighed and came partially awake. He could not resist. He deepened the kiss and sounds of satisfaction like yum and umm came from those delicious lips. Her hand stroked his face, then reached around his head to pull him closer. Delighted with this turn of events, the Duke of Westerton complied enthusiastically and extended an arm around a slender waist. How much of the ale and brandy had he imbibed? Dizziness overcame his senses as he slid down on the floor and knew no more.

Amazon buy link

Emma Lane is a gifted author who writes under several pen-names. She lives with her patient husband on several acres outside a typical American village in Western New York. Her day job is working with flowers at her son’s plant nursery. Look for information about writing and plants on her new website. Leave a comment or a gardening question and put a smile on Emma’s face.

Stay connected to Emma on Facebook and Twitter.

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Guest Author: Disenchanted’s Bewitching Main Character, Sophie Goodchild by Leigh Goff

Disenchanted’s Bewitching Main Character, Sophie Goodchild
by Leigh Goff

Sophie Goodchild is a sixteen-year-old half-witch and the star of my new release Disenchanted from Mirror World Publishing. She lives with her eccentric aunt in the small town of Wethersfield, Connecticut—the sight of the first American Witch Trials. Sophie is descended from a powerful black witch, but struggles with her erratic white magic. All the while she is forced to deal with a nasty group of full-blooded witches known as the Glitterati. These evil beings love to make Sophie feel like she is less than they are.

Sophie is a natural beauty with long, unruly waves of sable-colored hair, dark blue sapphire eyes, and heart-shaped pillowy lips. More importantly, she is beautiful on the inside, although she hides it well behind her impatience and impetuousness, which makes her easy to relate to.

Those heart-strong characteristics are what lead Sophie into trouble and, since she is ruled by her heart, she’s always finds trouble. She is fiercely loyal, determined, and fearless and there is nothing she wouldn’t do or sacrifice for the ones she loves. That hold even more true when she learns of the true love curse her ancestor cast on the Mather family.

Things become more dangerous for the beautiful half-witch when Judge Mather, a descendant of the man who condemned Sophie’s ancestor to hang, learns his son has fallen hard for her. The mysterious, handsome young man recently returned to Wethersfield. His sexy British accent and face that could melt a black witch’s heart, sweep Sophie off her feet. Dark secrets come to light and impossible choices are made as Sophie sacrifices everything, including her soul, to save her true love.

Here is a brief intro to my novel that appeals to people of all ages. I hope you like it, too.

Disenchanted
A forbidden love. A dark curse. An impossible choice…

Descended from a powerful Wethersfield witch, sixteen-year-old Sophie is struggling to hide her awkwardly emerging magic, but that’s the least of her worries. When a dangerous thief tries to steal her mysterious heirloom necklace, she is rescued by the one person she’s forbidden to fall for, a descendant of the man who condemned her ancestor to hang. He carries a dark secret that could destroy them both unless Sophie learns how to tap into the mysterious power of her diamond bloodcharm. She will have to uncover dark secrets from both of their families’ wicked pasts and risk everything, including her soul to save them from a witch’s true love curse, but it will take much more than that.

Buy Links:
Mirror World PublishingAmazon

Leigh Goff loves writing young adult fiction with elements of magic and romance because it’s also what she liked to read. Born and raised on the East Coast, she now lives in Maryland where she enjoys the area’s great history and culture.

Leigh is a graduate of the University of Maryland, University College and a member of the Maryland Writers’ Association and Romance Writers of America. She is also an approved artist with the Maryland State Arts Council. Her debut novel, Disenchanted, was inspired by the Wethersfield witches of Connecticut and was released by Mirror World Publishing. Leigh is currently working on her next novel, The Witch’s Ring which is set in Annapolis.

Learn more about Leigh Goff on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

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Food Friday: Chicken Tetrazzini with Sloane Taylor

A Taste of Italy

This dish may seem like a lot of work, but it really isn’t. Besides, you will love the beautiful blend of flavors. This recipe serves 2, maybe 3, people. Double it and freeze for a later meal. Serve with a Caesar salad and a crisp white wine.

Chicken Tetrazzini
Chicken Casserole with Noodles and Mushrooms

Chicken
2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
1 medium onion, peeled and halved
1 whole clove
1 stalks celery, including leaves
1 bay leaf
1 medium-sized carrot
5 cups chicken stock

Combine chicken and all remaining ingredients in a 3-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce temperature to low and simmer, partially covered for 15 to 25 minutes, or until the chicken is tender but not falling apart.

Transfer the chicken to a cutting board. When cool enough to handle cut the chicken into 1-inch pieces. Set aside.

Strain the cooking liquid through a fine sieve set over a bowl. Press down hard on the vegetables with the back of a spoon, then discard them. Skim and discard the greases that rises to the top. Reserve the stock to use later in this recipe.

Noodles and Mushrooms
½ pound broad egg noodles
6 tbsp. butter
½ pound baby Portobello mushrooms, sliced

Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil in a 4-quart saucepan. Drop in noodles and boil for about 9 minutes or until just barely tender. Be careful not to overcook them.

Drain the noodles in a colander and rinse under cold water. Set aside.

Melt butter in a small skillet set on moderate heat. Stir in mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes, or until barely tender. Set aside off the heat.

Sauce
6 tbsp. butter
6 tbsp. flour
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup dry sherry
2 egg yolks
½ tsp. Frank’s Hot Sauce

Melt butter in a 2-quart saucepan set on moderate heat. Whisk in the flour and mix thoroughly. Gradually add 2 cups of reserved stock, cream, and sherry. Cook over high heat until this blend comes to a boil. Reduce heat to moderate.

Whisk the yolks in a small bowl. Slowly add about ½ cup of the hot liquid while whisking constantly. Now stir this egg mixture into the saucepan. Cook for 1 or 2 minutes, then stir in hot sauce. Remove pan from heat.

To Assemble and Bake
2 tbsp. butter, softened
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Coat the bottom and sides of a 8-by-10-by-2-inch baking dish, or a dish as close as you can get, with the butter. Pour in 1 cup of sauce and scatter half the noodles over the bottom. Spread on half the mushrooms, then cover with half the chicken. Repeat the layers and top with remaining sauce. Sprinkle cheese over the dish.

Bake for 30 minutes.

This recipe freezes beautifully. Thaw and add a little cream to the leftover. Bake for 15-25 minutes at 325°F.

Mangiare Bene!
May you enjoy all the days of your life around a well laden table!

Sloane Taylor
Twitter
Amazon Author Page

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Food Friday: The Straight Martini with Michael Weitz

The Straight Martini

by Michael Weitz

Let’s talk about olives. Specifically, green olives. I’ve always been a fan of green olives, the kind with the cheery red pimento stuffed inside; they have a flavor that can’t be compared to anything else, they’re just…olivey. As a kid I remember pictures, posters and TV ads for restaurants, depicting perfectly stacked and delectable looking sandwiches, their sharply cut triangular halves topped with a perfect green olive, all of it held together by a toothpick.

I don’t think that’s where my love of the green olive came from though. There’s a story in my family of how I ate an entire jar of green olives (pimentos included) when I was 3 years old. I hid under a table and gorged until the jar was empty and then promptly vomited all over the living room wall. To this day my mother still thinks they used green olives in the famous scene from The Exorcist. But I wasn’t deterred. My love of green olives lives on.

Which brings us to today. While the ubiquitous orb is no longer prominently featured as a sandwich topper, it is integral to a good straight vodka martini. It’s here that I need to make a confession. I don’t particularly like martinis. My wife, however, does, and she says I make a pretty good one, so I’m going to tell you my secret.

Actually, it’s not much of a secret and by now I’m sure you’ve figured it out. Olives. Mmmm, green olives.

Okay, obsession moment over.

The Fixings
martini shaker
good, non-flavored vodka
dry vermouth
ice
green olives

I know flavored vodkas are all the rage, but imagine eating raspberries and green olives together in the same bite. Exactly. We’re making a straight martini here, a la James Bond.

Prepare the Glass
Ideally, though not necessary, you have a classic martini glass (an inverted cone on a stem). Why? Because martinis are served cold and holding the glass by the stem prevents your hand from warming the drink. There are a couple of ways to prepare your glass. The one I prefer is to keep your favorite martini glass in the freezer so it will be nice and frosty. Another way is to put some ice and water in the shaker, mix them up a bit to get the water super cold and then pour it all into your glass and let it sit a few moments. I don’t care for this option though because any water in the shaker can dilute the drink, but I’ve seen bartenders do it so maybe I’m just being picky.

The Method
Fill the shaker half way with ice cubes.

Add two (2) jiggers of your favorite vodka (remember, non-flavored).

Next add a splash of dry vermouth. This is really all about personal taste so you’ll need to experiment. When I add a splash, I tilt the bottle down and back up again rather quickly. If I’m too speedy I repeat the process. If you like your martinis dry, once may be enough! But you must add vermouth in order for this drink to be a martini. I have a friend who likes his martinis so dry, he waves an open bottle of vermouth over the shaker like a voodoo shaman so only the fumes will settle on the ice cubes. That, my friends, is not the driest of martinis, it’s vodka on ice. So, again, add a splash or two of vermouth to taste.

Cap the shaker and get your groove on! Shake that shaker! Shake it until it turns frosty and your hands hurt from the iciness. This will ensure your martini is completely mixed and at a nice cold serving temperature.

Once you’re satisfied with your shaking, quickly spear a couple of olives with a toothpick; personally I like three olives on the stick. Place the skewered olives in the martini glass and then gently pour your drink over them. If you’ve never used a martini shaker before, the ice stays in it. Depending on the model you have, the top may have a built in strainer, or if you prefer a hand held one, that’s cool too.

This martini is basic and straightforward to make, but the secret is all in how it’s prepared. Just like a chess game in my book, Even Dead Men Play Chess, there’s an art to preparing something that’s to be appreciated.

All my best,
Michael Weitz

Sit back and enjoy your martini while you glimpse into Michael’s novel.

Making house calls or meeting people in public places is how Ray Gordon makes his living. He’s not a doctor. He’s not a prostitute. Ray Gordon is a chess teacher.

When one of Ray’s students, Walter Kelly, is found dead in his shop, the police and his family let it go as an accident. Ray, however, doesn’t buy it. As a former cop with a lingering curiosity, Ray snoops around and stumbles into the murky world of methamphetamine, the worst drug epidemic of our time.

The problem? Walter Kelly was sixty-five years old and his only addictions were woodworking and chess. How does a sixty-five-year-old man become involved with illegal drugs? Why is a neighbor glad Walter’s dead? And just how do dead men play chess?

EXCERPT
To take my mind off the task at hand, I thought about Brian Kelly. Was it just the cabin going to waste that rubbed him the wrong way or was it the land value he was afraid of missing out on? Real estate assessments had been big news over the last month or two. Housing prices and land deals had gone berserk and sellers were making massive profits. Maybe Brian was in trouble financially and he just couldn’t take it anymore? Walt refused to sell and Brian killed him for it, knowing the cabin would eventually come into his hands or he would at least be able to talk his mother into putting the land up for sale.

Outside, I heard Ed Carter’s back door creak open and closed. I poured fresh water over the floor and started mopping it up. If Ed planned on being neighborly again, I didn’t think he needed to witness the clean-up process. But after several minutes passed without an appearance from the Kellys’ neighbor, I began my attack on the table saw with a scouring pad.

Just as I got into a nice scrubbing rhythm, Morphy growled low in his throat and raised his head off of his paws. I stopped and watched him. His ears were erect and his gaze was on the window behind me. Goose flesh erupted on my arms. To hide the shiver that ran down my spine, I resumed wiping down the table saw with calm casualness. I kept my attention focused on Morphy, though, and he growled again. This time, the hair over his shoulders stiffened and rose up as his emotions kicked in. Someone was watching or trying to look in the window. Morphy wouldn’t get so angry over something like a skunk or a cat.

I twisted around just as Morphy leapt to his feet and barked. Someone ducked down before I could see a face. I ran to the door and pulled it open. Morphy tore around the corner, barking after the intruder and I followed as close as I could.

In the darkness of Margie Kelly’s backyard, I saw Morphy’s blond fur disappear into the black shadow of Walt’s shop. He chased a dim figure, which ran toward the back of the property, to Helen Parker’s house. I ran full out once I saw the shadowy form of the person who had been spying through the window. Gone were the trepidations of twisted ankles and bloodied shins from unseen objects lying hidden on the grass.

I ran.
For a limited time, the bestselling book that started the Ray Gordon series, Even Dead Men Play Chess, is available for only $0.99 on Kindle
Even Dead Men Play Chess
Amazon
CreateSpace

Michael Weitz is an award-winning author who grew up in the Pacific Northwest, usually reading anything he could get his hands on. He wrote his first novel in the 6th Grade — an eight page rip-off of Star Wars.

A variety of jobs including waiter, gas station attendant, truck driver and a host of others, helped shape his world. After college he landed in the television industry where he wrote and produced a multitude of award-winning commercials, two documentaries about Mt. St. Helens and various other projects.

After a few years in Phoenix, AZ, Michael, his wife, and their dogs are back in the Pacific Northwest. Currently working on the next Ray Gordon mystery, Michael may also be found reading, playing chess or shooting pool. As an avid photographer, he enjoys traveling anywhere picturesque with his wife.

Learn more about Michael Weitz on his website and Goodreads.

Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

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Food Friday with Sara Daniel

Top 10 Foods to Improve Your Memory

by Sara Daniel

Most of us are probably not going to end up with amnesia so severe our memory of the past ten months is completely wiped out as happened to my heroine Gwen in Loving the Amnesia Bride. However, if you’re anything like me, you walk into a room intending to do something, which had to be important since you went there with a purpose. But now you’re standing inside the doorway with no earthly idea what you walked all the way across the house to do.

Or you’re all ready to run some errands…if you could just find where you left your darn car keys. Really, how far away could they have disappeared in the two hours since you last drove the car??? Clearly, it’s time to address the problem. And the problem is not the keys.

Below are ten foods which have been scientifically proven to deliver health benefits to your brain—improving memory, focus and concentration. So, let’s start eating!

1. Blueberries – All berries are good options, but blueberries are the superhero food choice! Blueberries protect the brain from oxidative stress and may reduce the effects of Alzheimer’s, dementia, and premature aging.

2. Salmon – Salmon is high in Omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for brain function.

3. Broccoli – Broccoli has nutrients for healthy blood flow, protection against free radicals, and removes heavy metals that can damage the brain.

4. Beans/Legumes – These excellent sources of complex carbs and fiber provide a steady supply of glucose for the brain without the risks of sugar spikes. They are also packed with folate, a B vitamin critical to brain function.

5. Avocados – Although high in fat, the avocado is a monounsaturated fat, which promotes healthy blood flow to the brain. Their antioxidants protect the brain from free radical damage. They also contain potassium and vitamin K, which protect the brain from the risk of stroke.

6. Pomegranates – Either the seeds or the juice will do, protecting the brain from free radicals with their strong antioxidants.

7. Sunflower Seeds – These, along with other seeds, are packed with protein, omega fatty acids, B vitamins, and tryptophan, which the brain uses to boost mood and combat depression.

8. Whole grains – If you’ve ever bought whole grain bread, the advertising on the package probably shouted that whole grains reduce the risk of heart disease. And if your heart’s healthy, that’s good news for your brain.

9. Almonds and other nuts
– Nuts are extremely good for the brain and nervous system. High levels of vitamin E protect against dementia and cognitive decline by protecting the brain against free radicals and improving brain power.

10. Chocolate – Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, has strong antioxidants and can improve concentration and focus. It also stimulates the production of endorphins, putting you in a good mood.

Now, excuse me while I munch on some chocolate-covered almonds and look for my car keys!

 

 

If she remembers the past, they won’t have a future.

Gwen Fairfax awakens in a hospital, deluged by stabbing head pain and unable to remember anything about her past, especially the man who claims to be her fiancé. A trip to the Wiccan Haus is her only hope to discover the woman she used to be, her mysterious dreams about a resort, and the man who’s supposedly the love of her life.

Tucker Wilde is willing to do anything to stop his stepmother’s land development schemes from ruining the natural habitat he’s dedicated his life to preserving. But he never expects he’ll have to go so far as to pretend to be engaged to the woman his brother left at the altar. He knows better than to trust anyone in cahoots with his stepmother. But he feels an overwhelming need to protect the sweet, vulnerable woman who has no one to turn to but him. Soon, he’s losing sight of the fact that the engagement isn’t real.

Gwen tempts him at every turn, hoping physical contact between them will jog her memory. If she never remembers the past, Tucker begins to believe they could make a life together. But if the Wiccan Haus delivers on healing her memory, it will destroy any hope for their future.


Sara Daniel writes what she loves to read—irresistible romance, from sweet to erotic and everything in between. She battles a serious NASCAR addiction and was once a landlord of two uninvited squirrels. She lives her own happily-ever-after romance with her hero husband, and she gets amnesia at least three times a day because she can never remember where she left her keys!

Learn more about Sara on her website and blog. Subscribe to Sara’s newsletter.

Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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The Island Cover Reveal with Clarissa Johal

I’m so excited to have Clarissa Johal here today sharing the amazing cover of her latest release: The Island.

“Exploring a remote island can sometimes get you into trouble.

Especially when you stumble upon a cave and awaken two demons.”

 

 The Island cover art

   

Book Details:

Title: THE ISLAND

Genre: Paranormal Horror

Author: Clarissa Johal

Editor: Marisa Chenery
Booktrope, Forsaken Imprint (2015)

ISBN-13: 978-1-5137-0161-5

ASIN: B010TE7W1G

Number of Pages: 210

About THE ISLAND:

Emma Keller’s estranged grandmother has been missing for seven years. Emma journeys to her grandmother’s private island with the task of readying it for sale. Local rumors say it’s cursed, but she dismisses them as superstition. While there, she unearths a hidden cave, and is visited by two men soon after. Itu is well-spoken, though he hides his face in shadow. The other is more of a worry; with skin of alabaster, Thim’s feral presence sets her on edge. Emma discovers the island has a dark past. The two men aren’t human, but awakened demons…and they have their sights set on her.

Excerpt from THE ISLAND:

She was jarred awake by a cry. The vestiges of her nightmare dissipated as she orientated herself. Nightmare. Emma let out a sigh of relief. The cry sounded again. A distant sound, high and wailing. A baby’s cry. Her heart quickened. Good god, surely that can’t be a baby?

The fire in the stove had burned down, its embers lending a glow to the living room. Emma looked out the front window. The yard was still. She unlocked the door and opened it a crack. The cry drifted in with the breeze, faint but unmistakable. She ran through her mind what possible bird or animal could make the sound and came up with nothing. Characteristically, the island was blanketed with silence, almost like a vacuum. She stood, uncertain. After several minutes, the sound started again—the unmistakable high wail of a baby. She slipped on her boots and parka.

Fog trailed like cobwebs in her wake. The mournful cry threaded through the trees and came from the direction of the house ruins. In spite of a growing anxiety at what she’d find, she quickened her pace. If that is a baby, it’s still alive, and I need to get to it. If it’s not a baby… She blocked out the possibilities of what else it could be.

She approached the ruins and the sound stopped. Her heart raced. I know it was coming from here. The area held an unnatural heaviness. A branch cracked behind her and she turned with a start. Something dark darted through the trees.

“Hello?” Her voice sounded muffled in the fog. Emma’s attention snapped to the left. The dark figure ducked out of sight. She took one step backward, and fled.

Heavy footsteps echoed from behind as she plunged through the trees. They were catching up with her. Emma pushed herself to run faster, terrified she’d lose her footing on the uneven ground. The cabin loomed large, a haven in the thick fog. Stumbling across the cabin’s porch, she hurdled through the door and slammed it shut, locking it.

Emma rooted her feet to keep from running around in circles. Straining to hear, she was greeted with eerie silence. Several moments passed before the baby’s cry started again. And this time, it sounded from right outside the door.

***

THE ISLAND Buy Links:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

About the Author:

Clarissa Johal

Clarissa Johal is the author of paranormal novels, THE ISLAND, VOICES, STRUCK, and BETWEEN. When she’s not listening to the ghosts in her head, she’s dancing, taking pictures of gargoyles, or swinging from a trapeze. She shares her life with her husband, two daughters, and every stray animal that darkens their doorstep.

*Member of the Horror Writers Association

*Member of the Authors Guild

THE ISLAND

Coming August 5, 2015 from Booktrope

VOICES

(May 2015) Permuted Press

STRUCK

(2014) Musa Publishing
(2015) Clarissa Johal

*Second place in the Preditors and Editors Readers Poll 2014
*Winner of the Indie Book of the Day Award

BETWEEN
(2012) Musa Publishing
(2015) Clarissa Johal
*Second place in the Preditors and Editors Readers Poll 2012
*Winner of the Indie Book of the Day Award

PRADEE
(2010) Clarissa Johal
*Second round finalist in Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Award Contest 2012

Short stories:

PIGEONS (Susurrus Literary Journal)

THE ROPE (Susurrus Literary Journal)
Find Clarissa Online:

Author Website

Blog

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

Amazon Author Page

Pinterest

 

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Food Friday: Orgasmic Chocolate Martinis with Sara Daniel

by Sara Daniel

Orgasmic Chocolate Martinis
1½ shots Godiva® Chocolate Liqueur
1½ shots crème de cacao
½ shot vodka
2½ shots half-and-half

1. Pour all of the above into chilled martini glass or mix in a shaker with ice and then pour into glass.

2. Garnish with chocolate shavings, whipped cream and/or chocolate syrup.

3. Enjoy an orgasmic experience.

Sara Daniel writes what she loves to read—irresistible romance, from sweet to erotic and everything in between. She battles a serious NASCAR addiction and was once a landlord of two uninvited squirrels. She lives her own happily-ever-after romance with her hero husband, and she gets amnesia at least three times a day because she can never remember where she left her keys!

Learn more about Sara on her website and blog. Subscribe to Sara’s newsletter.

Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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Guest Author: Carol Browne

My Favourite Book
by Carol Browne

I keep few books in my house. I prefer to pass them on to my friends. However, there is one special book I will never part with and that is my 1945 hardback edition of Precious Bane by Mary Webb.

The book features an introduction by Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, written at 10 Downing Street in 1928, in which he says of the author, “Her sensibility is so acute and her power over words so sure and swift that one who reads some passage in Whitehall has almost the physical sense of being in Shropshire cornfields.”

First published in 1924, Precious Bane tells the story of flawed heroine, Prudence Sarn, whose ‘hare-shotten lip’ means that as far as her neighbours are concerned she is cursed with ‘the devil’s mark’. It is only weaver Kester Woodseaves who can see beyond this disfigurement to the true beauty of Prue’s soul.

Prue’s goodness and gentle nature are in sharp contrast to her brother Gideon’s ruthless striving for worldly success, and descriptions of the landscape that sustains them are woven into the dramas of their lives to create a rich tapestry. Thanks to the author’s skill with words, it is safe to say that Nature is not merely a background to the story but also seems to be a character in it too. The narrative is, says Prue, “the story of us all at Sarn, of Mother and Gideon and me, and Jancis (that was so beautiful) and Wizard Beguildy, and the two or three other folk that lived in those parts…”

How to describe the style of the book? It depicts a rural England around the time of Waterloo (1815), a place of meres, country lore, dragonflies, looms and spinning-wheels. There is a fair scattering of dialect words (fascinating rather than baffling!) and curious customs such as ‘sin-eating’ and ‘telling the bees’. It is reminiscent of Larkrise to Candleford, had it been penned by a committee of authors that included Thomas Hardy, Dickens and Emily Bronte. It is a book to relax with and savour. The pace was slower in 1924 and they liked their paragraphs LONG! But the story is well paced, the heroine immensely likeable, and there’s plenty of dramatic conflict and jeopardy to keep you hooked throughout.

I have read this book many times and, having just opened it and looked at the first line of Chapter One – “It was at a love-spinning that I saw Kester first”, – I know I am going to read it again very soon! (If you want to try this book, please don’t spoil it for yourself and look at the last page. The ending is perfect!)

Mary Webb née Meredith was born in the village of Leighton on 25th March, 1881. She and her husband worked as market gardeners for a time and had their own stall on Shrewsbury market. She wrote five novels and a volume of essays on nature. Mary died on 8th October, 1927 and was buried in Shrewsbury.

Authors die but they are never forgotten. They live on in the work they leave behind. As Mary Webb said herself in her Foreward to Precious Bane:

“We are to-morrow’s past. Even now we slip away like those pictures painted on the moving dials of antique clocks – a ship, a cottage, sun and moon, a nosegay. The dial turns, the ship rides up and sinks again, the yellow painted sun has set, and we, that were the new thing, gather magic as we go. The whirr of the spinning-wheels has ceased in our parlours, and we hear no more the treadle of the loom, the swift, silken noise of the flung shuttle, the intermittent thud of the batten. But imagination hears them, and theirs is the melody of romance.”

~Carol

Carole Browne writes speculative fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. She is also a ghost blog writer, proofreader, copy editor, and copywriter. Along with a passion for gardening, Carol is an avid animal lover. Stay connected with Carol on Facebook.

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Release day!

Saying things like “Today is release day!” never gets old when you’re a writer. So guess what? Today is release day!

Welcome my new little beauty to the world.

friends-without-benefits_final

 

This book made me laugh. Made me cry.

Made my editor send me a picture of her tears as she sat in the airport terminal weeping over her laptop.

Release days feel a bit like birthdays. You feel like the world should stop and celebrate your awesome achievement. Alas, the world barely notices, but you know it’s a special day and I’m going to celebrate by eating not one…but two…peanut butter cookies!

Blurb:

Dianna Friedman never expected her husband to leave her. Who does? But she’s making the most of what she has left–a sarcastic near-grown son and a mountain of bills that just keeps growing. She’s in over her head, but she is determined to survive.

Everyone else may have seen it coming, but Paul O’Connell was blindsided by his wife’s betrayal. Determined to prevent her from bleeding him dry during their divorce, he turns to the only person he thinks can help him—the wife of his wife’s lover.

Dianna and Paul become fast friends and maybe a tad bit over-dependent on each other, but who are they hurting? No one. At least not until Dianna’s life takes yet another unexpected twist and she and Paul have to step back and reevaluate everything…including what they mean to each other.

Linky dink!

 

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