Code Redhead: Sales Go to Children's Cancer Research Fund

I'm pleased to welcome the authors of Code Redhead: A Serial Novel. The 13 authors involved in this project are donating the sales of Code Redhead to The Children's Cancer Research Fund so buy--it's only $2.99! Be sure and tell your friends too!


Valentine #Giveaway

Happy Valentine's Day!

I have 2 Amazon Giveaways for you today, and they're both Instant Wins.

Just click the link to enter and you'll see immediately if you win.

(No Purchase Necessary. Official Rules.)

(1) For a chance to win an Amazon Kindle copy of my new release, Last Chance New Year, A Moment in Time Romance Short Story, just click here to enter and see if you win.

Ends the earlier of Mar 1, 2017 11:59 PM PST, or when all prizes are claimed.

(2) For a chance to win an Amazon Kindle copy of FRIDAY IS CAKE DAY, a collection of 52 cake recipes from 3 generations of family bakers,
plus a dozen frosting recipes to mix and match, click here to enter and see if you win.

Romance Culminating on Valentine's Day

Since it's Valentine's Day, I thought I'd mention my romantic comedy, Scents and Sensuality, because the plot revolves around a perfumer who's desperate for a date to her cousin's wedding, scheduled for Valentine's Day of course.

Amazon Reader Review

Amanda is a beautiful perfumer who can't seem to find a man. She needs one desperately as a date for her cousin's wedding.

Harrison has no trouble attracting women, but his mother is tired of waiting for him to settle down and believes Amanda could be Ms. Right. When she offers her son as Amanda's date, Harrison resents her matchmaking and sets out to sabotage her efforts--until he meets his date and realizes he's made a mistake that he can't easily put right.

Meanwhile, Amanda is pretending to be someone she isn't in order to hold his interest. As they grow closer, being honest with each other means discovering truths about themselves.

Great fun to read, this novel crackles with delicious sexual tension and humour. Joan Reeves has a flair for snappy dialogue and creating characters that come alive on the page. Vivid descriptions make you feel like you're in the room watching it all unfold. A satisfying romance.

Takeaway Truth

Celebrate today with someone you love.

Last Chance New Year #NewRelease

I'm only a month and a half late in publishing Last Chance New Year, my second A Moment in Time Romance.

I'd planned to have this romance short story published before New Year's, but it seems Life has a way of twisting my plans up and throwing them to the four winds.

At any rate, I finished this story that had been calling to me so I decided to publish it regardless of the fact that it is now Valentine's Day almost and New Year's Eve is just a memory.

About Last Chance New Year

In 2015, I thought it would be nice to start a short story series for all those little ideas that pop into my head. Thus A Moment in Time Romance short story series was born.

After all, A Moment in Time is all the heart needs for Love to blossom.

The first story was LuvU4Ever, and it was about Noelle and David Morales at a crisis in their marriage.

Last Chance New Year has David and Noelle playing matchmaker for two of their employees. Here's a blurb about this highly sensual romance with adult sexual situations.

Cheyenne Smith, better known as C. A. Smith to her co-workers, decides New Year’s Eve is the perfect time to give in to insanity and throw herself at Luke Harper, the man she loves, and hope that he catches her.

Add These Romance Short Stories to Your Library

LuvU4Ever is free at all ebook sellers: Kindle * Apple iBooks * Kobo * Nook * Smashwords.

Last Chance New Year is only 99cents. Eventually, it will be at all ebook sellers. For now though, you can find it at Smashwords and Kindle.

Takeaway Truth

A Moment in Time is all the heart needs for Love to blossom.

Writing Thought for Today

One of my works in progress is a romantic suspense.

Yes, one WIP. I currently have 3 things I'm working on. Don't ask me why. I guess I'm just a glutton for punishment.

I was stuck on an action scene so I turned to Raymond Chandler, the master of mystery, for some words of wisdom.

Chandler once said: "When in doubt, have two guys come through the door with guns."

Takeaway Truth

After I finished chuckling, I decided to try that. I'll let you know how it works out.

P. S. A note about the image above. This is a postcard I bought from 826 National Stores several years ago to give as gifts to writing friends. I kept one for myself and always have it near my computer monitor. I just looked online with the thought of buying more as gifts, but the link to this item doesn't work. Maybe I'll do my own version of this and give it to friends.

Saturday Share: Chocolate Strawberry Bundt Cake Recipe

Since Valentine's Day is rapidly approaching, I thought I'd share an easy chocolate cake recipe with you. Bake this for your sweetheart because it's super easy and super delicious.

This recipe is from Friday Is Cake Day, my collection of recipes from 3 generations of my family. At the end of this post, you'll find buy links for this one-of-a kind bake book.

Excerpt, Chocolate Strawberry Bundt Cake

This is an easy to make and really easy to eat Bundt cake. In the 1960s when Bundt cakes ruled the dessert table, home cooks created recipes by the dozens. Most of these recipes used a box of cake mix which made them really easy to put together.

The Bundt cake became passé or a bit of a joke over the last few years—remember the hilarious scene in My Big Fat Greek Wedding when the groom’s mother gave a Bundt cake to the bride’s mother? Home cooks are once again discovering the convenience of a Bundt cake plus a box of cake mix.

When cake mixes are on sale, I usually buy several. That way, I always have the makings of a dessert in my pantry.

Ingredients: Cake

1 box of devil’s food or dark chocolate cake mix
1 small box of chocolate instant pudding and pie filling
1 cup of sour cream
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup water
3 eggs
1 cup of semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips (choose according to your personal taste)

Directions: Cake

• Preheat oven to 325 F.
• Prepare a Bundt pan.
• In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except the chocolate chips, and mix well.
• Increase the speed and beat on medium for 2 minutes. Stir in the chips and mix until well blended.
• Pour into the pan and bake 45 to 55 minutes. Do the toothpick test to make sure it’s done.
• Cool 15 minutes in the pan then turn out onto a wire cooling rack.
• Cool completely then place on a serving plate.
• When completely cool, frost with the Strawberry Frosting.

Ingredients: Strawberry Frosting

2 tablespoons butter or 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon cream cheese, softened (if you love cream cheese frosting, do the combo)
2 tablespoons strawberry preserves
1 1/3cups of powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk

Directions: Frosting

• Place the softened butter and/or cream cheese in a mixing bowl. Beat until smooth then add the preserves.
• Add the milk and blend well.
• Slowly add the powdered sugar a little at a time to prevent a white dust cloud.
• Beat well. The consistency should be like a thick pourable glaze. If necessary, add another tablespoon or two of milk.
• Pour the glaze over the cake and let it drizzle down over the sides.

Add Friday Is Cake Day to Your Cookbook Library

In a world where you can get cake at a fast food restaurant for a relatively cheap price, why bake one?

I can think of many reasons beginning with the incredible taste of a home-baked cake--not to mention the tantalizing aroma as it bakes--and ending with the Zen of cake baking.

Amazon * iBooks * Kobo * Nook * Smashwords.

Takeaway Truth

Make this Chocolate Strawberry Bundt Cake, and you'll create a Valentine treat to be remembered.

Music History

I was listening to the soundtrack from the first John Wick movie (in preparation for seeing John Wick 2 which released today) and started looking up the titles and artists of the music from the new movie.

Fun Music Website

In doing that, I came across This Day in Music, a website with music history events. The first fact I read was: "1942, Chattanooga Choo Choo by Glenn Miller and his Orchestra became the first recording to be awarded a Gold record."

Glenn Miller's big band sound was the music of my mom's youth. Even when she was in her eighties, she'd dance around to big band music or Jerry Lee Lewis records.

My family just loved music. In his youth, my maternal grandfather was called Fiddler John. My dad picked guitar and sang. The radio or the stereo was always playing so music has always been part of my life.

My mom played her favorite big band music, Dean Martin, Elvis Presley, or early rock and roll from Sun Records. My dad played old time country music. If a record wasn't playing on the stereo, my dad picked guitar and sang.

Soundtracks to My Books

When I started writing, I always listened to music. In fact, I created soundtracks for most of my books. Sometimes, I published the list of songs on SlingWords. I haven't done that in a while, but I think I'll start again this year.

I love using music with the video book trailers I make. I'm very selective about that music and always try to match the music to the mood or premise of the story, or the main character's emotional state.

On This Day in Music History

From This Day in Music, I learned these things happened on this day in the past:

1937, Born on this day, Roberta Flack, US singer, songwriter, who had the 1972 US No.1 single The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, 1973 US No.1 & UK No.6 single Killing Me Softly With His Song.

1968, The Four Tops Greatest Hits was at No.1 on the UK album chart, the first No.1 album for the Tamla Motown label.

1973, Elton John had his first UK No.1 album when Don't Shoot Me I'm Only The Piano Player started a six-week run at the top of the charts.

1979, Rod Stewart started a four week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with Da Ya Think I'm Sexy, his third US No.1.

1984, Frankie Goes To Hollywood were at No.1 on the UK singles chart for the third week with Relax.

2008, Amy Winehouse won 5 prizes at the Grammy Awards, including song of the year and record of the year, both for her single Rehab, and Best New Artist.Three years later she was dead from alcohol poisoning.

Takeaway Truth

You might want to add This Day in Music as a resource for excellent music facts and trivia.

Pizza Memories

Did you know today was National Pizza Day?

That's what I heard this morning on the news as I was driving across town. That brought back memories of the best pizza I ever ate.

Not surprisingly, my best pizza memories are from Italy.

When darling hubby and I went to Italy, we ate pizza just about every day. That's not what we'd planned to do, but once we'd had an Italian pizza for lunch, we were hooked.

Difference in U.S. and Italian Pizzas

Pizza in Italy is worlds apart from pizza in the U.S. No matter where you are in Italy, you can go into a shop, order a pizza, and in about five minutes, your pizza is served.

The crust is super thin but has a wonderful fresh-baked bread flavor--not the taste of unleavened crackers as so many thin-crust pizzas in this country have. Instead of a sweet marinara sauce on the pizza, there are thinly-sliced fresh tomatoes.

Best-Tasting Tomatoes Ever

Let me talk about those tomatoes for a moment. They taste amazing. An Italian told me it's because of the volcanic ash in the ground from Vesuvius eruptions over the centuries. I don't know if that's true, but the Italian tomatoes are sweet and flavorful with a depth of flavor that awakens your taste buds.

Unique Fresh Cheese

Instead of being covered by a carpet of shredded mozzarella, the pizzas in Italy are usually garnished with little chunks of pomodoro cheese, a white cheese similar to fresh mozzarella but having a better taste. Pizzas are finished with chopped fresh basil.

One might say, "Where's the beef?" Or "Where's the meat?" Italian pizzas aren't covered with slabs of pepperoni or any of the other meats one is accustomed to at your local Domino's or Pizza Hut. In fact, not much meat is served at meals.

From Rome to the smallest village in Italy, great pizza can be found. One afternoon, on the way to Venice, we stopped at this little hole in the wall cafe in a small town and had one of the best pizzas ever. It was so good, we ordered another after we finished the first one.

Then we rolled on to Venice with full tummies and smiles, ready to see a city I'd wanted to see for as long as I could remember.

Takeaway Truth

Travel not only broadens your horizons but also introduces you to some amazing foods.