YouTube: Hidden Killers of Victorian Homes

Want to watch couple of fascinating videos?

Try Hidden Killers of Victorian Homes on YouTube. 

This video is 5 years old, but I just stumbled upon it yesterday. The documentary details how the enlightened Victorians killed themselves and their children with all the new discoveries from richly colored wall paper (arsenic) to corsets to make all women have hour-glass figures (internal organ damage and respiratory disease).

Those are just a couple of the so-called advances that led to illness and death. It's horrifying to think of all the people who died because they lacked the common knowledge about elements touted as beneficial for people and/or desirable for homes.

New Hidden Killers of the Victorian Home

A second video was made 2 years ago with more hidden killers! In fact, there are several documentaries posted on YouTube that detail Victorian life. Each, from the video on food adulteration to how pharmacists made condoms from sheep intestines, is correct and historically accurate—and many were rather gross. 

Takeaway Truth

If you're a history buff or a reader or writer of Victorian romance novels, this will give you a different perspective on that era. If a writer, these documentaries will certainly spark your imagination.

Review: DOE

Today, it rained—a lot—courtesy of Tropical Storm Beta. Since we'd planned to work in the yard this week, the weather derailed our plans. We ended up watching movies instead. 

One we watched which was worth the time was Doe, directed by Justin Foja.


Timothy Davis starred as the man who awakes with no memory of anything. Complete global amnesia.

Eight years later, the man with no memory has married, fathered a child, and built a great life as a professor of languages since he has an uncanny ability to be fluent in 37 languages.

Tatyana Ali stars as his wife who redeemed him with her love, and Mathew St. Patrick as his best friend who tries to help him put together the pieces of a mysterious, fragmented life.

After finding a clue about his former self, Doe—now called John—races against time and a predestined Fate to discover the truth about his identity.

My Thoughts

The movie was suspenseful and gripping as it presented the compulsion John felt to know his  true identity. The acting was superb, and the story had the immediacy of an action flick and the poignant emotions of a character piece.

Takeaway Truth

Put DOE, now on Prime Video, on your watchlist. It's definitely worth it.

Thought for Today: Be Present

Live today.

Don't get caught in the trap of regretting what you missed.

Don't regret what you didn't get done yesterday.

You missed the opportunity gravy train because you weren't prepared or the timing was wrong or whatever reason kept you from hopping aboard.

Stuff happens. Get over it. Put it behind you.

Avoid thinking that you can't be happy until you get this special thing or you accomplish that thing.

Be happy now. Tomorrow may be too late. You may be dead tomorrow!

I hate to use talk show buzz words, but be present in your life. Live in the now. Be happy now.

Takeaway Truth

Enjoy the journey, because time spent on that road is longer than time spent at the destination.

Saturday Share: Yeast-Raised Waffles

Best waffles I ever ate? These Yeast-Raised Waffles

I've had this recipe for years, but I make these only on special occasions because they must be mixed up the night before and left to rise.

Since the kids are grown and gone, I no longer have to plan every meal in advance so I usually fix a simple breakfast.

You can serve these fancy with powdered sugar, whipped cream, and berries. Or, you can simply add maple syrup. Personally, I like only maple syrup, but suit yourself.

I use a traditional waffle maker. My new one, which is actually several years old, is exactly like my oldest one which is at my house in the country. The old one is probably 30 years old and still makes delicious waffles. It's a Black and Decker as is the new one from Amazon.

The difference between my two waffle makers, other than age, is weight. The old one weighs more because the steel used many years ago was heavier and higher quality than what is used in today's appliances. 

My "new" one weighs 8.57 pounds according to the Amazon description. My old one probably weighs 10-12 pounds or more. Both have removable grids. 

First tip: do not wash grid plates in a dishwasher. When cool, place in a sink full of hot, soapy water. Soak about five minutes, then wash well.

Second tip: Never oil or grease the grid plates. The Teflon-coated grids will remain stick-free unless you coat it with oil before baking as some people do. This bakes that grease onto the grids and is  impossible to clean completely. From then on, they will stick.

Third tip: If you're using a waffle-maker like mine, there's a Waffle setting. Use it. If it doesn't have a heat setting, make sure it's hot.

Yeast-Raised Waffles

This recipe makes a very think batter so don't be dismayed and think something is wrong. The end result is super light and crispy. Serves 4.

Note: I guess this recipe will work on a Belgian waffle maker, but I'm not making any promises.

Belgian Waffle irons have deeper "indentations" and the raised "teeth" are wider and fewer than on a traditional waffle iron. 

Use cautiously because cleaned stuck batter from a waffle iron is not a pleasant chore.

Ingredients for Night Before

  • 1/2 cup warm water, 105-115 degrees F.
  • 1 package of yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons if you're measuring from a jar)
  • 1/2 cup butter at room temperature
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
Directions for Night Before
  • Place 1/2 cup of warm water in a large glass, ceramic, or chinal bowl (not plastic).
  • Stir the yeast into the warm water and let stand for 5 minutes.
  • In a sauce pan add the milk and the butter. Melt the butter over low to medium heat. You do not want it hot because it will kill the yeast.
  • Add the salt and sugar to the milk mixture and stir well.
  • Add this mixture to the yeast mixture and blend.
  • Stir in the 2 cups of flour and beat until smooth.
  • Cover the bowl with a cotton dishtowel or a piece of wax paper with a plate on top.
  • Place in a draft-free area of the kitchen counter.
  • Let stand overnight at room temperature.
Ingredients for Next Morning

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Directions for Next Morning
  • Turn on your waffle iron to heat.
  • Whisk together the 2 eggs in a small bowl. Add the eggs to the batter. Stir.
  • Add 1/4 teaspoon baking soda. (Be sure the baking soda is loose and sprinkled over the batter, not a clump of it dumped in. If it's "clumpy," I use a tea strainer to "sift" it onto the batter. Then beat well.
  • About 1/2 cup of batter makes a large square waffle. I use the waffle setting. When the red light goes out, it's ready. Pour the batter evenly over the grid plate. Close. The light comes back on. When the red light goes off again, the waffle is done.
  • Remove carefully. Don't get burned because these bakers generate very high heat.
  • Pour the batter for the next one, etc.
  • If you're trying to serve all of the waffles together, place the baked waffles on a non-stick foil lined cookie sheet in a 250 degree F. oven to stay warm.
  • Each 1/2 cup batter waffle is 301 calories of deliciousness.
Takeaway Truth

This probably sounds like a lot of steps to go through, but once you've done it, the process seems much easier. The time in making these waffles is repaid in taste.

Porch Lifestyle

Darling Hubby and I arrived at our house in the country before noon today. It was ten degrees cooler than in Houston and breezy.

For a long while, we haven't been coming up here regularly. We decided to put it up for sale.

That meant we have been here more lately, polishing it up so it will sell quickly.

As we drove up here, with 4 Adirondack chairs in back (simulated picture of chairs on our porch), we started talking about how much we love it up here.

The air smells clean, the stars at night really are big and bright, and the sky is just bigger here. If you're not accustomed to being in the wide open spaces, you may not know what I mean by "the sky is bigger."

Big Sky Perception

In the country, where you see mostly woods, rolling hills, and sky, there are no buildings obstructing your view of the horizon so you really do see more of the sky.

In cities where tall buildings or hundreds of houses proliferate, all of that can block miles of sky. You never get that upside down bowl-shape view of the sky.

That type of view is what we see when we're sitting on our back porch here. We can look out and feel as if we're looking from one side of the horizon to the other.

Country Chores

When we arrived, DH changed clothes, jumped on his riding lawn mower, and started mowing the 2 acres around the house.

I cleaned out the kitchen cupboards and drawers, did my bit of weekly housecleaning, and went outside to arrange the new chairs on the porch and do some gardening.

After we'd each finished our "chores," we sat on the porch in the new chairs. (It was too dark to take a picture by the time I decided to write this blog.) 

We shared a Coca-Cola. We buy the Mexican Cokes because they come in glass bottles and are made with sugar, not HFCS. We get ours from Costco or our local Randalls. You can also get them from Amazon, but they're rather pricy.

The windows in the living room were open, Pandora was playing on the TV, and we listened to my Italian Dinner Music station. 

The afternoon was sublime. Good music. Good company. Doing nothing but talking a bit and watching the mockingbirds in the pistach tree, the doves on the highlines, and the bluebirds and cardinals in the fruit trees. 

We watched a storm roll in, huge billowy white clouds changing to smoky gray and midnight blue. Thunder rumbled, and then huge raindrops poured down. We saw the horses in the pasture just east of our house start running, as if they relished the sudden rain and raced for the sheer pleasure of it.

TheOtherKey from Pixabay
The storm raged for about five minutes then moved westward. 

A few minutes later the sky cleared, the white clouds were just as white and puffy as before, then the sun came out. 

The grass, the fields, the trees—every growing thing looked greener, as if cleaned and refreshed.

Tonight, the big sky is populated by millions of bright stars. We returned to the porch. Crickets are chirping, night birds are calling. In the distance, a dog barks. Later, we'll probably hear a coyote or two. The evening is perfect. We really love it here—especially the porch lifestyle.

Takeaway Truth

We decided NOT to sell our little piece of heaven in the country.

P. S. Photo is what twilight looks like as we look from our back porch with a lone live oak tree across the way. Next time, I'll take a picture with my digital camera which does a better job than a cell phone at night.

7 Tips for Urban Survival Today

You need to sharpen your situational awareness.

Do you know the definition of situational awareness?

If you watch suspense movies involving special operatives you probably know.

If not, here's a definition.

The perception of environmental elements and events with respect to time or space, the comprehension of their meaning, and the projection of their future status.

In other words, it means be aware of where you are, who's there with you, what's going on around you, and what might happen in the very near future based on these observable facts.

For instance, if you're walking down a dark sidewalk, and there's a strange man following you who slows down when you slow down and speeds up when you speed up, what does your gut tell you might happen in the very near future? You might be attacked.

That's situational awareness—knowing you're being followed and deciding that might not be a safe thing, and thinking about what might happen. 

Right there, you've exhibited the 3 levels of situational awareness: perception, comprehension, projection.

Most women instinctively practice situational awareness if they're walking down a dark street or traveling alone. 

What too many don't do is carry that situational awareness into their everyday life.

In this time when masks are more or less mandatory, your situational awareness should be at DefCon 2—high alert. You can't see peoples' faces which we depend on to read someone's mood and/or intention. 

I subscribe to many newsletters. One of them is The Well-Armed Woman which is all about women defending themselves.

A recent newsletter addressed the issue of masks and situational awareness. Some of the points it made were so important, I wanted to pass them on. Please read the full newsletter regardless of your personal belief about women carrying guns because it has great information about why masks affect your situational awareness and what you can do about it.

Stay Safe

1. Hone your situational awareness and be alert to what's happening around you. The world seems like a powder keg ready to explode at the least provocation so don't be caught unaware.

2. When in public, pay attention to the people around you, the chatter if you're in a crowd, and the general mood of the crowd.

3. Have a plan before you need one. Each of us needs to think about what we'll do if we're caught in an explosive situation. Always look around you and see where the exits are whether you're in a mall, a school, or a city street.

4. If you see a lot of people congregating, leave the area. I was once in an anti-American riot in Japan back in the day. People were filling up Coke bottles with gasoline at a nearby service station and throwing them at cars with license plates that identified them as American. 

5. NEVER stay in a crowded place where the mood is ugly. A crowd can quickly become a mob, and mob mentality is a real thing. People fueled by emotion and adrenaline can do things they'd never do in their ordinary normal lives.

6. If you walk into it, turn around and walk out as quickly as possible. If you drive into it, do the same thing. Leave as soon as possible.

If you're in a car, practice what driver's education taught you. Never pull up close to the car in front of you. Always be able to see the vehicle's rear wheels. That way you can pull out of the line of cars if something happens.

7. If someone cuts you off in traffic, blasts their horn at you, or shows a Mr. Digit hand puppet, don't engage. Don't say or do anything that might set someone off. You never know who that driver is. There's been shootings in many states that began with a rude driver. Take the high road.

Takeaway Truth

Plan ahead. Think smart. Be safe.

Choose Apples Based on Use

Apples in Apple Orchard
Image by lumix2004 from Pixabay

 September is apple season.

 Did you know September was usually the month         when   apples were harvested? 

 Of course, that was before fruit was imported from     countries all over the world and stockpiled for   months     on end. But fruit in season tastes better.

 How to Choose an Apple Variety

 Many varieties of apple are available, but not all are   good for cooking.

 Here are some tips for choosing the right variety based on whether you want to eat it or make a pie.

We have 2 apple trees at our place in the country. We needed 2 for cross-pollination. The two we chose, a Gala and a Pink Lady, were chosen because each is a good eating apple. The Pink Lady is excellent in apple pies and crisps.

In making apple pie, it's best to have a sweet apple like a Pink Lady and a tart apple like a Granny Smith.

Apple Facts

1. 1 pound of apples = 2 large or 3 medium or 4-5 small apples

2. 1 pound of apples = 3 cups peeled and sliced apples

3. Best and most easily available apples for pies: Cortland, Fuji, Granny Smith, Jonagold, Winesap.

4. Best and most easily available for making cider: Gala, Rome Beauty, Winesap.

5. Best and most easily available for making applesauce: Braeburn, Jonagold, Jonathan, McIntosh, Winesap.

Takeaway Truth

Wish you were here to share a slice of apple pie!

Review: Quotes Generator

Want to post a quote-image but don't have the time to look up a suitable quotation?

Quotes Generator is the answer.

This app generates thousands of quotes from a huge collection of quotes with just a few clicks of the mouse.

The quotes are divided into categories to make it easy to find an appropriate one.

To find more, click New Quotes, and more will be generated and displayed.

Scroll to the middle of the home page to find Quotes Categories. Click a category to get started.

I clicked HOPE, and a new window labeled Hope Quotes opened. I scrolled down past the ads. Below the Sponsored Links, I saw: Hope Quotes were successfully created for you. You can now find a variety of different quotes. Go with the mouse or on the Smartphone with the fingers over a quote and with one click you can copy it. Do you want new quotes? Simply click on "New Quotes" at the top of the page and let us generate even more quotes for you. you'll see  Try it now and find the right quotes for you!

There were at least 6 pages of quotations. I clicked one I liked, the word copied appeared. I pasted it below.

"You'll be okay. No matter what shape reality takes, you can handle it." —Shiro Amano

Note

When I pasted the quote in, it was white text on purple background, no quote marks, and no attribution. I added the missing elements, highlighted the quote, and clicked the Clear Format icon in the Blogger menu bar.

This is what it looks like without editing:

If the affluent cannot afford hope, you cannot expect the destitute to pay for desperation.

(David Mitchell said it.)

Takeaway Truth

If you don't mind doing a bit of editing and adding the name of the person who said the wise words, this Quote Generator is a good resource.

You Are Your Muse

A lot of authors—even some who are published—subscribe to the idea that writing is some how magical.

Okay, it is in part. By that, I mean taking a vision in your head, using words to make it possible for someone else to see that same vision by reading your words.

What I'm talking about is the idea that one cannot write unless The Muse, that magical, mystical being, is with them. 

I've hosted a lot of writers on SlingWords. I've always been surprised when I ask, "What are you working on?"

Surprised because so many said they didn't know. They were waiting for their Muse.

Granted, that may be a way to excuse a tempoerary hiatus from writing, but in a lot of cases, the writer actually meant what they said. 

The Truth About Writing

A lot of people seem to want to write books. Many never do because once they sit down and start putting words onto the monitor screen, they realize that this is hard work. I think many are surprised when after a page or two or a day or two, they run out of words. They have no idea what comes next.

Often they stare at the monitor screen until they give up and get up and go do something easier and far more pleasurable than sticking it out until they get the words flowing again. They'll say, "I'm waiting for my Muse.

Idealistic View of Writing

These people have an idealistic view of writing as a career because they think you only write when inspired.

Ask any writer—freelance technical writer or novelist—who has signed a contract if that's how they work. They'll tell you, as soon as they stop laughing, that the business doesn't work that way. If you're under contract, you don't wait for the Muse to pay you a visit. You write.

Got a deadline and got the flu? You write. Depressed and weepy? You write. Don't know what this scene or even this chapter is about? You write, and you learn very quickly that it's much easier to write when you have some kind of basic outline or even "what happens next" notes.

You Are Your Muse

Writing demands the same kind of dedication as careers in teaching, law, accounting, or any  job that pays you money.

If you're a tired and sleepy teacher, you don't sleep in. You go to school and teach.

If you're an accountant, tired of the same old grind, day in and day out, you don't skip work and go to the ball game or a spa. You go to the office at your appointed time.

Writers, if you want to be successful, adopt the work ethic of your peers out in the job force. They punch in and out at the same time every day. You emulate that. Put your butt in your chair at your chosen appointed time and write.

Your consistency of effort transforms you into your Muse, and that enables you to be creative on a regular schedule. Some days your words may be less than brilliant, but it's a heck of a lot easier to fix a page of mundane writing than to fix a blank page.

The true genius of writing lies in the editing process. That's when you turn crap into gold.

Oh, my. This sounds like a real job. True. You have to be disciplined and consistent in your productivity. 

BUT

You get to do the work in a location of your choice, dressed—or undressed—however you please. No makeup, hair styling, high heels, or dress for success suit required.

Takeaway Truth

The only thing required is that you, the Muse, show up. Place your butt in a chair and stay there however long it takes to meet your daily word quota. 

Saturday Share: Tex-Mex Cornbread

Today, I'm sharing my mom's recipe for a family favorite, Tex-Mex Cornbread.

This is so delicious and accompanies tacos, enchiladas, King Ranch Chicken, beans of any variety, or a tossed salad.

Guess what? This is delicious when eaten by itself with a splash of your favorite salsa, picante, or pico de gallo on it.

This recipe makes 2 batches of Tex-Mex Cornbread. Either cut the recipe in half, or freeze the second half. Let it cool

Mom's Tex-Mex Cornbread

Prepare a 13"x9" glass baking dish by spraying with a cooking spray like Pam or brush all 
surfaces of the dish with a small amount of vegetable oil.

If you don't have a Pyrex baking dish, you can get 2 at Amazon with Prime shipping for $26.00. 

These will last you for decades—literally. I've got Pyrex baking dishes in various sizes and have had them for, gee, probably 40 to 50 years. Unless you drop the dish on a ceramic tile or similar floor. *g*

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups corn meal (not corn meal mix)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup cream corn, any brand. (If you're trying to eat organic, it's difficult to find a canned NonGMO corn. You can get an organic frozen sweet corn like 365 Everyday Value Organic Sweet Corn that Amazon sells or find a similar product at your local supermarket. Pulse the thawed frozen corn in a food processor with a tiny bit of milk so the end results looks like lumpy oatmeal. Freeze the rest for the next time you make this recipe.) 
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 small fresh jalapena pepper, finely chopped (or 2 tablespoons of bottled sliced jalapena peppers, chopped. Add more if you like it really hot.)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh green or red bell peppers (or canned chopped green chiles, drained)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
Directions

With your baking dish prepared and your ingredients assembled, set your oven on 350 degrees F.

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl. In a larger blow, mix the sour cream, cream corn, oil, and eggs. Blend well.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet, a little at a time, blending well after each addition.

Add the chopped jalapena and bell peppers to the batter. Blend well.

Add the grated cheese last. When blended well, pour the batter into the prepared baking dish.

Bake 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Remove from oven and serve while warm. If you're a cheese lover, sprinkle more cheddar over the top.

Takeaway Truth

This light, delicious cornbread will get rave reviews every time. Leftover mini-slices served with salsa or picante sauce make a great snack.

Our favorite picante is Pace, created many years ago in San Antonio. Great fresh taste, as if someone grabbed tomatoes and peppers from their garden and whipped up this picante. Comes in mild to hot.

In Remembrance on Patriot Day

Where were you on the day we all remember?

I was upstairs vacuuming the den when Darling Hubby called and told me to turn on the TV.

I did—just in time to see the second plane crash into the other tower.

We—no, not just we Americans—have endured much since that day. Respect the sacrifices and bravery of first responders who run toward disasters to save others. 

Respect soldiers who are sent into the fray and give them the appreciation they deserve.

Takeaway Truth

Remember how on that horrific day, we drew together as Americans, not as rich or poor; black, brown, or white; Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist, Muslim, or atheists. Always remember, there is more that unites us than separates us.

Review: The Silent Corner by Dean Koontz

Since I've been having some problems with my left hand after an accident, I've been reading more than writing.

It had been some time since I read a new Dean Koontz book so I grabbed The Silent Corner, the first book in his Jane Hawk series.

The book is new to me, but it was published in 2017 so you may have read it already.

I loved all of Mr. Koontz's early books, but my delight for his mixed genre stories waned in the late 1990's. I think it was the increasing theme of "end times" that turned me off combined with several deaths in the family and increasing health problems for my daughter.

Real life tragic events made me stay away from books and movies that might make me even more discouraged about life, and that pretty much described the increasing grimness in Mr. Koontz's books.

I found stories that pitted a lone hero/heroine against international consortiums involving government, law enforcement, pharmaceutical companies, military, and "normal" people who willingly carried out their evil deeds grim indeed.

I hoped The Silent Corner would be somewhat different since it had a woman helming the series.

Ripped from the Headlines

I'll say up front that the book was depressing given the state of the world today. The way the author ties current events to the conspiracy in the book that cost Jane Hawk everyone dear to her is ingenious and scary. Doubly so when you realize the book was probably written in 2016 since it was published a year later—3 years before COVID, the civil unrest that's paralyzing so many countries, and the financial upheaval afflicting just about every country.

I had just read a bunch of things on the internet about the desire by some to introduce nanites into the human genome and the dangers and fears of this made the book even scarier to me.

The Silent Corner is a page-turner that freaked me out because, like many of Mr. Koontz's books, the premise is all too possible. 

I've read about the research and development at too many international conglomerates that involve nanobot technology. 

The upside is always presented: the ability to eradicate genetic disease, the promise of great health, higher intelligence, and longer lives.

Not much is ever presented about the downside and the moral issues not to mention the fact that the human genome would be forever changed, i.e., we would no longer be completely human. 

Scientists seem to think because something is possible that it should be done. I do believe there are too many people in the world who lack a moral compass, and characters like that populate this book. Maybe more research scientists should read this book and others like it and view it as a cautionary tale.

Blurb

“I very much need to be dead.”

These are the chilling words left behind by a man who had everything to live for—but took his own life. In the aftermath, his widow, Jane Hawk, does what all her grief, fear, and fury demand: find the truth, no matter what.

People of talent and accomplishment, people admired and happy and sound of mind, have been committing suicide in surprising numbers. When Jane seeks to learn why, she becomes the most-wanted fugitive in America. Her powerful enemies are protecting a secret so important—so terrifying—that they will exterminate anyone in their way.

But all their power and viciousness may not be enough to stop a woman as clever as they are cold-blooded, as relentless as they are ruthless—and who is driven by a righteous rage they can never comprehend. Because it is born of love.


My Thoughts

When I finished the book and briefly reviewed it for Darling Hubby, he asked what I was reading next. When I told him the second book in the series, he asked why. 

Like him, you may be wondering why I was reading another book in the series when it sounds as if I didn't care much for the first. Two reasons.

1. Dean Koontz is a master storyteller. Despite being freaked out, I'm compelled to find out if Jane Hawk escapes all of the evil people and their plots and exposes them. Of course, there are 5 books in this series so I know that won't happen until the last book—if it happens at all.

It may end up in a stalemate situation where she survives only to go further underground and unite with others concerned about the fate of the human race.

2. Dean Koontz has a way with language that's elegant and beautiful. I am in awe of his abiity to describe anything and everything in unique memorable ways.

I go back and re-read passages just to absorb the way he does this.

Although many readers fault him for the sheer volume of words that gush forth in a scene, I don't because it's a delightful avalanche of prose.

Takeaway Truth

If you've not read The Silent Corner or any Dean Koontz book before, do yourself a favor and grab one. My 3 all-time favorites are Watchers, Lightning, and Phantoms

You'll see daybreaks, storms, people, buildings, evil doers, and just about everything else described differently. Oh, and don't read right before bedtime. You may have nightmares.

Free & 99¢ Bargains for Labor Day

I hope everyone is having some fun this Labor Day Weekend.

To add to the fun, I have a free ebook to offer, a 99¢ sale on another ebook, and some 99¢ box sets. 

HEAT LIGHTNING - FREE!!! Sept. 6—8

Her husband found her, claimed her, rescued her. David’s touch makes Tessa throb. Desire flashes between them like heat lightning on a summer night. 

Her body knows David, but when she looks at him, he is a stranger to her. Not a flicker of memory is left of him or their life together since she awakened from a coma.

Amnesia has left her with nothing but questions. Who is she? Why does David seem to hate her even as he pulls her into his arms? What is he hiding? How can she trust him when her gut says, Trust no one?

As her love for David grows, so does her feeling of foreboding--as if something awful is watching and waiting. 

HEAT LIGHTNING is FREE until midnight Sept. 8, PDT.

SECOND CHANCE BRIDE only 99¢ Labor Day Sale

He was the only man she wanted—and the one man she could never have.

Alex if off-limits, but she can't stay away from him. 

What will happen if he learns her secret? 

Grab your bargain copy of SECOND CHANCE BRIDE before it goes back to $3.99, the regular price, on Sept. 9.

LAST CHANCE BEACH: Summer's End

What better way to celebrate Labor Day, the end of summer, with a box set of 14 amazing romance short stories?

Only 99¢ gets you this exclusive Limited Time collection, created especially for this box set by NY Times and USA Today bestselling authors, Amazon bestselling authors, and award-winning authors.

LAST CHANCE BEACH, the island paradise where Dreams go to live again, and Wishes may come true.

There's still time to find love, new romances, second chances, hot alpha males, heartwarming heroes, love at first sight, and romantic delight—still time left for enemies to become lovers and opposites to attract. 

Some stories are sweet: some are sizzling! Some are humorous; some are serious. All will make you want to book a vacation to this island of legend and love—where soul mates find each other and love at first sight happens all the time!

Get LAST CHANCE BEACH: Summer's End today.

Another FREE Ebook: COCKTAILS ON LAST CHANCE BEACH

This is a Companion Book to LAST CHANCE BEACH: Summer's End

Browse through the cocktail recipes, read what each author said about her special recipe, and read an excerpt from her story in the Romance Collection.

Fun photographs, great cocktails—just what you want on the beach—and a story excerpt too. All free. 

Mix up a batch of cocktails for the holiday weekend and enjoy reading deeply romantic, sexy romance novels!

Takeaway Truth

Wishing you a great Labor Day celebration with some time to read and relax.

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Review: Can't Buy Me Love by Hannah Rowan 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:






Blue Sky Summer by Kathleen Lawless.







Today, I'm reviewing the last story, Can't Buy Me Love by Hannah Rowan.

She has a big secret. She won the big lottery, but doesn't want anyone to know. He's a fixer-upper
specialist with a big secret too.

You already know what Moira Campbell's big secret is. What you don't know is Noah Ramsey's secret. He's the fixer-upper specialist who's been buying old beach cottages and flipping them.

When this story opens, Moira is having an adventure despite all of the well-meaning advice from family and friends. She's roaming around the country, going where fancy takes her. Gosh, haven't we all wanted the freedom to do that?

One day she finds herself pumping gas when her senses are teased by the scent of salty sea air. When she goes in to pay for the gas, she finds a brochure for Last Chance Beach. The photographs in the brochure and the sea air is a combination that teases her imagination.

Before you can say sandy beach, Moira arrives at the island. If she'd been looking for something specific instead of following her fancy, she might have missed this fork in the road.

It's been too long since Hannah Rowan published, and I'm delighted to say this easy-reading, easy to like heroine and hero mark a wonderful return to romance publishing. This is the kind of story you want to read while swinging in a hammock on a beach somewhere, but it's also the kind of story that speaks to the reason we read romance: a woman finding just the right man in all the world, and the right man knowing she's the right woman for him.

Lovely romance that reads fast, but is paced leisurely—which doesn't mean it drags. It doesn't. You'll love it.

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

This companion book has a drink recipe from each author with some remarks about why she chose her recipe to share. It must be five o'clock somewhere. 

Find a recipe to try and stock up on ingredients so you'll be ready for a cocktail party of your own—even if you and your significant other are the only guests!

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

Takeaway Truth

I'm sad because I've finished all the stories in Last Chance Beach: Summer's End

If you haven't bought your copy yet, why not? it's delightful. This box set will be unpublished the first week in November. Each author will probably publish her own story on her own publishing account, but this is your chance to get all of the stories for only 99¢. Happy reading!

Cover Reveal: Mistletoe, Mobsters, & Mozzarella by Peggy Jaeger

Let's have some fun today.

My friend Peggy Jaeger is debuting the cover of her Christmas romance, Mistletoe, Mobsters, & Mozzarella, this morning.

Ta-dah! Isn't it cute?

Yes, readers, it's September 1, and that means that many of the holiday books and box sets will begin dropping like pennies from heaven!

About Mistletoe, Mobsters, and Mozzarella

  

Finding a body in the freezer of the family deli isn’t the way Madonna San Valentino planned to start her day.

 

Adding insult to injury, the investigating detective is the one guy she’s never been able to forget. After seven minutes of heaven in the back seat of his car when they were teenagers, Tony Roma skipped town without so much as a thanks for the memory.

Just when Madonna thinks the present situation can’t get any worse, Tony is ordered to go undercover at the deli to ferret out a killer. Forced to work together, she vows to keep their relationship cool and professional. But with the sexy, longing looks he tosses her at every turn, Madonna’s resolve is weakening.

With Christmas drawing closer and Tony’s investigation taking an unexpected turn, Madonna is at her wit’s end. Can she really be falling for him again? And will he wind up leaving her broken hearted and alone like the last time? 

Takeaway Truth

You can pre-order Mistletoe, Mobsters, & Mozzarella now, and it will automatically be downloaded to your device on Oct. 14. 
 








Review: Beach Kisses & Sunset Wishes by Nora LeDuc 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:






Blue Sky Summer by Kathleen Lawless.






Today, I'm reviewing Beach Kisses & Sunset Wishes by Nora LeDuc.

He's handsome and in town for only 2 weeks. She wants someone interested in a fling. He wants someone interested in a ring.

Frankie is tired of faithless men who break her heart like the last guy just did. Okay, maybe he only dented her heart, but she's taking a break from men like him. 

At her friend's urging, she decides to have a summer fling. That's when she spies Scott, the perfect man to fulfill her new resolution.

Her words are braver and more brazen than Frankie though. She finds it difficult to follow through on her stated goal, but Tikki, her BFF, lends a hand.

Before she knows it, Frankie has a date with Scott. Frankie isn't a fling kind of girl. After spending time with Scott, she admits to herself that she wants more than a fling. Uncertainty about how he feels keeps her silent.

When he turns out to be much more than she bargained for, she wonders if he was just having a summer fling of his own.

This is a lovely, sweet romance that will make you smile, and probably laugh at the dive-bombing seagull and at Frankie's grandmother, a great character who reminds me of someone I know.

Cocktails on Last Chance Beach

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

This companion book has a drink recipe from each author with some remarks about why she chose her recipe to share. It must be five o'clock somewhere. 

Find a recipe to try and stock up on ingredients so you'll be ready for a cocktail party of your own—even if you and your significant other are the only guests!

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

Takeaway Truth

I hope you're enjoying the opportunity to meet authors you may not have read before. That's what's great about box sets like Last Chance Beach: Summer's End, still only 99¢. 

Review: Dreams of the Past by Laura Hunsaker 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:






Blue Sky Summer by Kathleen Lawless.





Today, I'm reviewing Dreams of the Past by Laura Hunsaker.

Can dreams of the future erase her nightmares of the past? She's looking for a fresh start, but he’s rented the same beach cottage. One bed, two people? Whatever will they do?

This was a sweetheart of a story. Jenny has driven away from her home in California and hopes to be leaving behind her painful past. Destination? Seaglass Cottage, the beachhouse her godmother owns at Last Chance Beach. 

She's looking for peace and sleep uninterrupted by nightmares. With her past a disaster, she's hoping she can figure out what she wants of the future.

Also heading for Sea Glass Cottage is Navy S.E.A.L. Scott Gordon. He's at a crossroads in his life too and needs some peace and quiet to figure out his next move now that he can no longer be a S.E.A.L.

Although Jenny is fleeing from emotional trauma, humor in the beginning softens the mood and adds just the right note to set up a "falling in love" story—if not at first sight, definitely after a couple of days in each other's presence.

Jenny finds the strength she needs from alpha male Scott, a hero who is sensitive to Jenny's needs. Together, they figure out a future neither expected.

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

This companion book has a drink recipe from each author with some remarks about why she chose her recipe to share. It must be five o'clock somewhere. 

Find a recipe to try and stock up on ingredients so you'll be ready for a cocktail party of your own—even if you and your significant other are the only guests!

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

Takeaway Truth

I hope you're enjoying the stories in Last Chance Beach: Summer's End. If you haven't bought your copy yet, it's only 99 cents. 

Review: Paradise Perfume by Connie Vines 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:






Blue Sky Summer by Kathleen Lawless.




Today, I'm reviewing Paradise Perfume by Connie Vines.

Tempest Javid returns to Last Chance Beach to begin a new life. Sam Bennett is a single dad on vacation on the island with his pre-teen daughter. He's worried Abby, his daughter, may become too attached to Tempest, but maybe Sam is the one whose heart is at risk.

Tempest has a business as unique as her name. She grew up as a military brat and never had permanency in her life until her widowed mother remarries and deeds Rose Cottage to Tempest.

Her life seems complete. Then she meets Abby Bennett, a tween who is vacationing with her dad. Abby is sweet, vulnerable, and a little lonely. She reminds Tempest of herself.

Abby is fascinated by Tempest and by her perfumery. She's also eager for her single dad to meet Tempest. When Tempest finally meets Sam, she is immediately attracted to him. 

Paradise Perfume gives you a delightful picture of a girl ready to grow up, and a heroine willing to help her navigate that journey. The romantic short story also offers a lesson in perfume and scents.

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

This companion book has a drink recipe from each author with some remarks about why she chose her recipe to share. It must be five o'clock somewhere. 

Find a recipe to try and stock up on ingredients so you'll be ready for a cocktail party of your own—even if you and your significant other are the only guests!

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

Takeaway Truth

I hope you're enjoying the stories in Last Chance Beach: Summer's End. If you haven't bought your copy yet, it's only 99 cents.