Review: That One Summer by Maddie James from Last Chance Beach: Summer's End

I'm reading the stories in Last Chance Beach: Summer's End, and I'm reviewing them, one story at a time. 

So far, I've reviewed:




Today, I have the pleasure of reviewing That One Summer by Maddie James.

It's the typical annual week on the beach with the girls—until her summer fling from 20 years back shows up. He's the one who got away. She's the one who couldn't commit.

There's nothing quite like a group of friends who have history. You know, the friends who have stuck with you through thick and thin? That's this group of girls, well, women, who have spent part of every summer together since college, at Last Chance Beach. That was 20 years ago, and there's a lot of life that has passed since then.

Lia Langston has had one major regret for all of those 20 years. She didn't end up with the love of her life. Instead, she "meandered" through her life and now finds herself facing the biggest regret of her life—Zach Allen.

They're back in the place where everything started and where everything fell apart. Can they go back to that beginning? Can they make a new beginning, or is it too late? Have they missed their shot at happiness?

Like the other stories I've read in Last Chance Beach: Summer's EndThat One Summer is a sweet romance with well-formed characters who leave you wanting more. 

You'll be pleased to know that open-ended tidbits about some of Lia's friends at the beach hint at future stories so I think we'll be seeing some of these characters again.

Did you get your free copy of Cocktails on Last Chance Beach

This companion book has a  drink recipe from each author with some remarks about why she chose her recipe to share.

You'll also get to read an excerpt from each story in the boxset.

Takeaway Truth

As a author, I enjoy writing for boxsets because it gives me an opportunity to connect with new readers. As a reader, I love boxsets because I get to try new authors and discover some great stories. 

Review: The Man in Gull Cottage by Caroline Clemmons from Last Chance Beach: Summer's End

I'm reading the stories in Last Chance Beach: Summer's End, and I'm reviewing them one story at a time.

Thursday I reviewed Something New by Liz Flaherty

Sunday I reviewed I Do...Again by Nancy Fraser.

Today, I'm reviewing The Man in Gull Cottage by Caroline Clemmons.

She faces a hard decision; he encourages her to choose with her heart. Will the solution drive them apart or into one another's arms?

I was glad to see a Contemporary Romance by Caroline Clemmons. I've read her western historical romance novels before and enjoyed them, but I'm mostly a contemporary romance reader.

The Man in Gull Cottage is Carter Harte, a reclusive famous person, but I won't tell you what the source of his fame is. No spoilers. Carter is one of the lucky few who actually owns beachfront property. Everything about him says wealth yet Zara Webb initially sees him as a beach bum because of the worn clothes he wears on his daily runs. 

Despite this, Zara finds herself attracted to Carter. Everything about him appeals to her—his intelligence, kindness, his charm. 

Everything she feels is reciprocated by Carter, yet he remains secretive about his identity.

Ms. Clemmons weaves a story that seems to be the perfect romance, but nothing is really perfect, is it? 

Zara is at a crossroads with a decision to make that will determine the course of the rest of her life. Carter's advice to Zara only complicates her decision.

What will Zara do? 

That's a nice surprise you'll enjoy discovering. Last Chance Beach: Summer's End is only 99cents so grab a copy today.

Also pick up a free copy of Cocktails on Last Chance Beach with a recipe from each author and why she chose that recipe. You'll also get to read an excerpt from each story in the boxset.

Takeaway Truth

Boxsets are great beach reads at only 99cents for 14 all-new romance short stories. Get a copy today!

Review: I Do...Again by Nancy Fraser from Last Chance Beach: Summer's End

I've started reading the stories in Last Chance Beach: Summer's End.

I'm reading and reviewing one story at a time.

Thursday I reviewed Something New by Liz Flaherty

Today, I'm reviewing I Do...Again by Nancy Fraser.

At a high school reunion; old flames meet again. Can they re-ignite what they once had and take a last chance on love?

Ah, the high school reunion! That's the event that sends women to the gym, the spa, and the shopping malls in an attempt to look their very best. Guys? I don't know what men do to get ready for that stressful event—probably nothing.

Nancy Fraser opens the story of Lily and Mitch with Meatloaf's song, I'd Do Anything for Love. The song is appropriate for what happened to this couple who loved each other in school. If you know the line that follows, you realize that doing anything for love apparently has limitations.

Those limitations derailed this couple who should have ended up together. Seeing each other again after so many years apart brings back familiar feelings.

But is there anything deeper there other than nostalgia? After all, a high school reunion is a few days away from reality. What happens when the reunion is over?

That's the question, and the author skillfully takes us through the uncertainty and vulnerability each of the lovers feel as they try to find an answer to that question.

Cocktails on Last Chance Beach

Remember to claim your free copy of the Companion Book Cocktails on Last Chance Beach.

Takeaway Truth

All of these romance short stories can be yours for only 99 Cents. Get your copy of  Last Chance Beach: Summer's End today.

How to Store Fruit & Vegetables


Do you buy expensive organic produce, put it in the fridge, and in a few days, it's just green fertilizer for the compost pile?

There really is a proper way to store all produce. Some like it in the fridge; some don't.

Some things should not be store together—like onions and potatoes. Potatoes excrete moisture which makes onions decay faster.

Never Store in a Refrigerator

1. Potatoes. Cold temperatures convert the starch in them to sugar. That doesn't make them a sweet potato; it makes them a yucky weird tasting potato. Place potatoes in a cool dry place in a plastic bin. I keep mine in a bin under the folding shelf in my laundry room.

2. Onions and garlic. They come in those mesh bags for a reason. They need air circulation. Leave them in the mesh bag and hang in a cool, dry space. If that's not possible, put them in a bowl in your pantry.

Store These in a Refrigerator

1. Green onions, scallions, carrots, parnsips, turnips, and beets. Be sure if you have humidity control on your refrigerator to turn it to the dry setting.

2. Apples and other fruit keep well in the refrigerator, and they need humidity. Just get out what you need day by day and set them in a ventilated spot on your counter. 

3. Be careful about putting apples in a bowl on a table especially if you put other fruit with it. Apples emit a lot of ehtylene gas which causes fruit to ripen. At 70 degrees F., the low-end of usual for an air conditioned house, an apple can quickly become overripe. Knowing this is one way to quickly ripen something that's picked too soon. Put the unripe fruit in a brown paper bag with an apple for about a day. The unripe fruit will ripen really fast.

4. Leafy greens. Wow, do these rot fast! Best thing to do is get a big salad spinner. When you bring these home, immediately wash, rinse, and spin these dry to get every bit of moisture out. Then take a long length of plain white paper towels and lay the greens on these. Carefully bundle them up and put them in a huge Ziplok bag. They'll keep longest this way.

Herbs

The best way to store herbs is to put the bunch of cilantro, parsley, or whatever in a glass of cool water on your kitchen counter. If the kitchen is really warm, place the glass in the fridge. I actually use a small crystal vase so it looks as if I have a green bouquet on my kitchen window sill.

Takeaway Truth

Good produce is expensive. Take steps to make it last.


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Review: Something New by Liz Flaherty, from Last Chance Beach: Summer's End

I've started reading the stories in Last Chance Beach: Summer's End.

Since my reading time is limited, I decided to read one story each night and review it the next day.

Liz Flaherty wrote Something New, the second short story in the Romance Collection.

I'm starting with Liz's story because my story, Hot August Night, is first in the box set. I can't very well review my own story if for no other reason than I'm an extremely harsh critic of my own writing. 

Something New by Liz Flaherty

Their lives are planned out...until they're not! Are they in love or just stuck in a habit?

Manhassett Applegate and Zeke Merriweather have been best friends since they were children. Their relationship is comfortable and for years, everyone—including Hass and Zeke—have assumed the two would marry when they were adults and finished with their respective educations.

Their relationship is like a comfortable old sofa—with spontaneity, passion, and romance falling between the cushions and getting lost in the day to day mundane issues of life.

When push comes to shove, Hass begins to wonder if Zeke really loves her. 

She loves him, or she thought she did, but she begins to question everything about their relationship.

She takes all or her  worries with her to Last Chance Beach, needing solitude and the peace of the island community to answer the question that plagues her and keeps her from planning her wedding.

Are they really in love or just stuck in the habit of being together?

Something New is a heartwarming story about two people who need to learn to communicate better and voice their concerns rather than let a small concern grow into a barricade keeping them apart.

The story is beautifully told by Liz Flaherty. I absolutely give it 2 thumbs up. This is just 1 of 14 romance short stories in Last Chance Beach: Summer's End, only 99 cents for the entire box set. I think you'll love it


This little recipe book is a companion to Last Chance Beach: Summer's End. It's totally FREE. Get your copy today. Send one to a friend! 

Takeaway Truth

I love that a short read like these stories is something I can finish in a few hours—even with interruptions. 

Have a wonderful weekend! I'll see you tomorrow with How to Store Fresh Produce to make the most of your food dollar.

From Seeds to Salad Bowl

Release day for Last Chance Beach: Summer's End was 2 days ago. 

If you bought that 14-romance short story collection, I thank you.

If you didn't, I hope you will. Just click the title above to buy from Amazon where it's only 99cents.

This boxset is a limited edition collection and will be removed in November after it completes it Kindle Unlimited run.

Also, if you didn't get the free companion book, Cocktails on Last Chance Beach, click the title now to grab a copy, and please tell your friends about our great little drink recipe book.

Onward and Upward

My attention is now directed toward writing my next book, Heat Kills, Book 3 of Outlaw Ridge, Texas. I continute the stories of the Galloway brothers and the family lakehouse on Outlaw Ridge. 

All writers incorporate bits and pieces of themselves in their books. In the case of Heat Kills, the romantic suspense I start today, the heroine is into the simplest kind of indoor gardening—sprouting seeds.

As you may remember, I'm into gardening of all kinds. No matter how small your space is, you can garden.

When I lived in Japan, bean sprouts were easily available at every market. They're delicious in salads and also stir-fried with onion and other veggies. When I returned to the states, bean sprouts weren't found anywhere! (This was many years ago.)

I learned how to sprout seeds and beans then. Actually, it's really easy.

Equipment Needed

  • a measuring cup
  • a 1-quart wide mouth jar
  • cheesecloth or nylon netting
  • seeds such as mung beans, lentils, barley, alfalfa, pumpkin, rye, or wheat
  • water
I'd say try sprouting first. If you like the results, invest in a couple of sprouting lids instead of using cheesecloth or netting. They're relatively inexpensive and last a long time. You can find them online at many places.

These reusable Sprouting Lids fit wide-mouth Mason jars, and I found them at Amazon.

What Kind of Seeds

You're probably wondering what kind of seeds you can use. If a seed or a bean is sold as edible, it can be sprouted. If you don't believe me, try it with a few dried beans. They'll sprout.

You can buy seeds and beans especially for sprouting, but, like I said, most seeds work. There's one thing to avoid though. 

NEVER
use seeds intended for planting in soil because they've been treated with chemicals that are poisonous.

Where to Buy Sprouting Seeds

You can buy seeds at organic groceries, some health food stores, or online. Amazon has an excellent selection of sprouting seeds.

I prefer the Non-GMO, organic seeds, and I like a mixture of seeds like the ones in the package shown at left. A mixture gives a nice depth of flavor.

How To Sprout Seeds

  1. Wash and pick over 1/4 cup of seeds or beans. Discard damaged or imperfect ones.
  2. Put the seeds of beans in the jar and add 2 cups of warm water.
  3. Fasten a double layer of cheesecloth or net over the mouth of the jar with a rubber band.
  4. Soak the seeds or beans for 8-12 hours.
  5. Pour the water out and refill the jar with the same amount of warm water. (Btw, you don't have to remove the net from the mouth of the jar. Just drain with it in place and refill with it in place.)
  6. Place the jar on a pantry shelf or other dark spot at a temperature between 70 to 80 degrees F. (Sprouts grown in the dark will be whitish. If you want sprouts that are gree, put the jar in the light for the last couple of days of growing.)
  7. Rinse with warm water twice a day until the spouts are as large as you wish.
  8. In 2 to 3 days, wheat, barley, and rye seeds will be ready to harvest. Munb beans, pumpkin, and lentils take 4 to 5 days. Soybeans take 5 to 6 days. Alfalfa takes 6 to 7 days.
Takeaway Truth

I find with sprouts, I always have an easy vegetable at meal time whether I toss a handul in a salad or do a stir fry with hearty greens, onion, red bell pepper, and a dash of soy sauce.

10 Things Authors Do on Release Day

Today is the big day! 

What do authors do on the day a book is published.

This is what I usually do on release day. 

I'm pretty sure the 13 other authors who created Last Chance Beach: Summer's End will be doing the same.

1. Check my Kindle to see if the book looks good or if something happened and the file blew up, and it's nothing but line after line of HTML code. (I lose sleep over that nightmare.)

2. Grin like an idiot when I look at all my hard work displayed on a webpage on Amazon.

3. Click the refresh button constantly to see number rating in the book's category.

4. Nervously dither about, unable to focus on anything more than a few minutes.

5. Email the other authors in the box set to see if they know something you don't.

6. Wait, with fingers crossed, for the first reviews.

7. Wait, with breath held until I'm ready to pass out, while I read the first few reviews.

8. One of two things. Laugh in exultation at good reviews. Or, feel like crying at bad reviews.

9. Repeat all of the above numberous times throughout the day.

10. Finally, have a glass of champagne while I email the other authors at the end of a long day of waiting.

Takeaway Truth

The last thing I'll do is go to bed exhausted from the all-day adrenalin rush, knowing I survived Release Day—whether the release was a winner or a loser—and will write again.