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Saturday, December 20, 2014

13 free books from Dana Marton and friends!

What a holiday treat for romance readers!  Dana Marton and 11 bestselling romance author friends have joined together for a fantastic promotion.  Each of the 13 authors have offered a book for FREE.  No catch, no gimmicks.  Simply visit the website and click on the buy links for each book.

But wait!  There's more!  Readers can vote on the best cover or best blurb, and they'll be entered into a $100 gift card raffle.  Contest ends 1/1/15.

The authors are trying something new and neato, and they would love the help of bloggers - they're using Thunderclap to help get the word out about these free books. Thunderclap is a way to harness social media for maximum effect.  Readers can support these authors and the promotion by clicking on the Thunderclap link below and Thunderclap will post for them on the social media of their choice on 12/24 at 12pm.  This will be the ONLY time Thunderclap will post for them - it's a one-time deal.  Think flash mob for posters and tweeters!
Here is the Thunderclap link:

Friday, December 19, 2014

Through His Eyes by Deborah Camp (spotlight, excerpt, GIVEAWAY and review) GFT

Through His Eyes
by Deborah Camp



Someone is stalking women and murdering them in Key West.

Psychics Levi Wolfe and Trudy Tucker join forces to help identify the murderer and stop him. Levi can channel the deceased victims and Trudy can tap into the mind of the killer. As a psychic detective team, they're formidable. As lovers, they discover that they're insatiable.

As they grow closer, Trudy wonders if Levi will ever completely trust her and let her know his heart. Levi struggles with his new, tender feelings toward Trudy and worries that she might be in over her head with him and with the case they're working on.

Because if Trudy can see through the killer's eyes, can the killer see her?



Trudy blinked and blinked again. A shudder convulsed through her and then life blazed in her green eyes again. A whimper escaped from her.

“Thank God.” Levi pulled her into his arms and rocked her back and forth. “Jesus, that scares the shit out me, so I can only imagine what it does to you.”

“What?" Her voice was muffled against his chest.

Reluctantly, he held her a little away from him and met her questioning gaze. “What did you see? What does she look like? Do you know her name?”

Trudy drew in shaking breath and closed her eyes. “She’s about my age, taller than me, white-blond hair and it’s piled up on her head in a high ponytail. She’s stacked. Big boobs – probably double D’s – small waist, small hips, tanned legs. She’s wearing cutoffs and a white t-shirt and she’s barefoot.”

“Is she with anyone? Is Zelda with her?”

She puckered her brow, deep in thought. “I think she’s with a group of people, but I’m not sure.”

“Let’s go find her.” He stood up, pulling her to her feet. “We’re only two blocks away.” Bending his knees, he ducked down to capture her gaze. Her cat eyes were swimming with unshed tears. “Are you okay?”

She nodded and wiped the moisture from her lashes. “I’m fine now. My head was foggy there for a minute, but I feel okay, I think.”

Slipping an arm around her shoulders, he set off with her toward the crowds at Key West’s most famous square where a woman had been marked for death by a madman.



AUTHOR Bio and Links:

 Author of more than 45 novels, Deborah lives in Oklahoma. She has been a full-time writer since she graduated from the University of Tulsa. She worked for a few years as a reporter for newspapers before becoming a freelance writer. Deborah's first novel was published in the late 1970s and her books have been published by Jove, New American Library, Harlequin, Silhouette, and Avon. She has been inducted into the Oklahoma Authors Hall of Fame and she is a charter member of the Romance Writers of America. She is also a member of the Author's Guild.

Lover of the west and the people who tried to tame it, Deborah likes to write about strong, independent women and the men who are their equals. She grew up on a diet of TV westerns which have served her well. Since she appreciates men with devilish twinkles in their eyes, she likes to mix laughter in with the love scenes in her books. Also widely published in non-fiction, she writes and edits for a magazine focused on small businesses. Deborah taught fiction writing for more than 10 years at a community college. She is currently working on her next historical romance set in the wild, wonderful west.

Her books have been re-issued on Amazon for Kindle Direct and have attracted tens of thousands of new fans.







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 4 out of 5 stars

Through His Eyes by Deborah Camp is the first story in the ‘Mind’s Eye’ series and centers around psychic Trudy Tucker as she struggles to find a way to use her powers and make a living. Forced to work with an expert in the field, Levi Wolfe, Trudy fights her attraction to the self-assured and showy psychic, even as she struggles to deal with the change in her powers. They will need to find a way to balance their personal and professional interactions if they are going to be successful at catching the killer who is terrorizing the women in the Florida Keys.

This entertaining paranormal tale blends descriptions of intriguing powers with a chilling mystery story.  I liked the buildup of suspense as the race to find a killer before he takes another victim alternates with the enhancement of power as the main characters find a way to work with each other.  The interaction between the psychics heats up nicely as the story progresses but the uneven relationship is a little uncomfortable to me since he is so confident and forceful and she is tentative and being forced out of her comfort zone.  It was a little surprising that the ‘guide’ wasn’t more clear but I did like some of the twists and turns that the case took and I think that this is a good start to the series, although one should use caution if one is a bit squeamish.  The ending is quite a tease and makes one look forward to reading more about this couple and the unexpected turns their relationship is undoubtedly going to take.

A copy of this title was provided to me for an honest review.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Cowboys of Copper Mountain (book blast, excerpts and GIVEAWAY) GFT

The Cowboys of Copper Mountain: A Christmas Collection
by Jane Porter, Melissa McClone and Katherine Garbera

ON SALE for only $.99Amazon link
(Sale is for a VERY limited time, don't procrastinate!)


Three novellas and an unforgettable short story, now available together in one festive package!

A Cowboy For Christmas by Katherine Garbera

Annie Prudhomme never expected to be back in Marietta, MT and her family is fond of reminding her that she left them and the town behind in search of better things. A humiliating divorce that cost her everything she’d gained has driven her back home and her family isn’t about to welcome her back into the fold. She’s in town to rebuild the old home that she inherited and to move on once again.

Carson Scott never forgot Annie or the way she left. Now that she’s back in town he’s realizing that the old flame still burns hot but he can’t risk his heart the way he did last time now that he has his son to think about it. Being trapped together during a December snowstorm gives them a chance to rekindle their romance but is Annie back for good or is she just looking for a cowboy for Christmas?

Christmas At Copper Mountain by Jane Porter

Since the loss of her family in a plane crash, Harley Diekerhoff has led a quiet life and keeps to herself. Taking the temporary job at the Copper Mountain Ranch as widower Brock Sheenan’s housekeeper seems perfect for her. But her calm cocoon is invaded with the arrival of Brock’s pre-teen twins, Mack and Molly, who’ve never experienced a proper Christmas, and before she knows it, Harley’s determined to make their holiday perfect.

Annoyed at first by Harley’s interference, Brock is secretly pleased she’s changed Mack and Molly’s world. It doesn’t hurt that he finds Harley incredibly attractive, fierce, smart and passionate. It’s also an added bonus that she’s not afraid to challenge him and get his blood heated! But when sparks fly and the attractions sizzles between them, Harley’s not so sure she can handle something permanent with this dark, taciturn cowboy who doesn’t know how to let her in. But Brock is determined to hold on to her and praying for a Christmas miracle…

Home For Christmas by Melissa McClone

Ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon.

Rachel Murphy loves the scent of gingerbread baking almost as much as she enjoys creating custom edible houses at Christmastime. But she needs a bigger kitchen if she wants to make the most of her impromptu holiday business.

Enter Nate Vaughn, handsome venture capitalist turned Montana dude ranch owner and her brother’s boss. Nate’s commercial kitchen is perfect for the baker. And he thinks she might be perfect for him…as a business partner.

After being burned by a celebrity baker, Rachel’s wary of Nate’s interest in her gingerbread houses, not to mention his mistletoe kisses. She should leave the Bar V5 ranch and return to Arizona. Or can Nate convince her she’s already home?

Mistletoe Magic by Melissa McClone

Spending a quiet Christmas housesitting and reading novels about hot cowboys sounds perfect to Caitlin. Until a stray kitten brings her face-to-face with Noah, her crush from college. Watching the handsome vet in action melts Caitlin's heart and brings back long-forgotten emotion. She would be safer back at the house lost in the pages of a book. But a toe-curling mistletoe kiss tempts her to stay. Maybe she won't be spending this Christmas… alone.

Veterinarian Noah Sullivan isn't a Scrooge, but the Christmas Eve tradition of hanging mistletoe in the clinic's waiting room annoys him. Kissing doesn't belong at the Copper Mountain Animal Hospital. Noah rethinks his position when Caitlin Butler arrives with a stray kitten she found freezing in the snow. All he wants now is to maneuver the pretty preschool teacher under the mistletoe. If he's not careful, he'll wind up on Santa's naughty list.


Excerpt from A Cowboy For Christmas:

Marietta, Montana did Christmas in a big way with all the storefronts on Main Street draped in garland and twinkle lights.  The Main Street Diner wasn’t any different with its rustic wreath made with layers of old ropes and decked with red poinsettia leaves and Rocking Around the Christmas Tree playing merrily on the jukebox as Carson Scott opened the door.

No one was exactly sure how the Wednesday night tradition had started, not even Carson, but he knew that his brothers had done it for him.  It had been in the dark time right after Rainey had been killed in a head-on collision out on highway 89 on her way back from Livingston.  He’d sat at home every night with baby Evan drinking too much Red Bull.  His oldest brother Alec had insisted that they all meet in Marietta at the diner for dinner.

Alec had thick blond hair like their momma and piercing blue-gray eyes that Carson had heard more than one girl describe as colder than the glaciers in Glacier Park.  But Sienna, Alec’s wife, had said that she knew how to warm him up.  Which had led to a lot of ribbing by Carson and his other brothers.  Alec needed to be taken down a peg or two at times.

But not on Wednesday nights.  Carson showed up here after he dropped Evan off at his maternal grandparents’ house and ate chili and cornbread with his brothers.  There were five of them all together and sometimes Flo, who ran the grill, gave them a hard time about being carbon copies of their dad, but that didn’t bother any of them.  Their old man cast a long shadow and had a reputation for being honest and hard-working.  There were worse things a man could be known for.

There were only five weeks left until Christmas and Evan was being cagey about what he wanted from Santa this year.  He’d hinted he wanted a mommy that wasn’t in heaven.  And the last thing that Carson was interested in was dating any woman, much less one to become Evan’s new mommy.

 “Isn't that Annie waiting tables?” Alec said as they entered the diner.  The walls were heavy red brick and the floor solid wood.  There was a counter with red leather-covered stools bolted to the floor in front of it, and for as long as Carson could remember beehive-haired Flo was standing at the grill cooking delicious food, trading gossip, and flirting with any man who entered.

“Annie who?” he asked.  He was holding the door open for his younger brother Hudson who had a shopping bag from The Mercantile in one hand and his Stetson in the other.

“Prudhomme.  Is there another Annie you’d care about?” Alec asked.

“I thought she'd left town for good,” Hudson said.

Annie.  Here.  Wow.




It didn’t make sense.  He ate here every Wednesday with his brothers.  She hadn’t been here last week.  Why was she here now?

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AUTHORS Bios and Links:

 Jane Porter’s bio:

USA Today, and New York Times bestselling author of 47 romances and women's fiction titles, Jane Porter has been a finalist for the prestigious RITA award five times, with her Tule Publishing novella, Take Me, Cowboy, winning the Novella Category July 2014. Jane today has over 12 million copies in print, including her wildly popular Flirting with Forty, a novel picked by Redbook Magazine as it's Red Hot Summer Read in 2006 before being turned into a Lifetime movie in 2008 starring Heather Locklear.
Jane holds an MA in Writing from the University of San Francisco and makes her home in sunny San Clemente, CA with her surfer husband three sons, and two dogs. You can learn more about Jane at




 Bio for Katherine Garbera

USA Today bestselling author Katherine Garbera is a two-time Maggie winner who has written more than 65 books. Writing is the chief focus of her time after her family and the only thing she likes more than working on her own books is reading other authors.  She is a frequent speaker at conferences and loves the opportunity to talk about writing with anyone who'll listen. A Florida native who grew up to travel the globe, Katherine now makes her home in the Midlands of the UK with her husband, two children and a very spoiled miniature dachshund.





 Bio for Melissa McClone:

Melissa McClone has published over thirty romance novels with Harlequin and Tule Publishing Group. She’s also been nominated for Romance Writers of America’s RITA® award. When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her driving her minivan to/from her children’s swim practices and other activities. She also sends care packages to deployed service members and fosters cats through a local no-kill animal shelter. Melissa lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three school-aged children, two spoiled Norwegian Elkhounds and cats who think they rule the house. They do!





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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas Bliss by A.S. Fenichel (Book blast, excerpt and GIVEAWAY) TBT

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Emma is running from a tyrannous uncle bent on killing her young brother, just to gain his fortune. John, the Earl of Compton, is looking for something to change his unfulfilling life. When they meet on a dark street, nothing can change their fate.

John is so instantly smitten and socially inept, he proposes in less than twenty-four hours. Emma’s plight to save her brother has her so shaken, she agrees to the hasty Christmas wedding.

The threats to Emma’s life, and John’s fierce defense of her, demonstrate to both that the match might be more than just a convenient arrangement. If only they can thwart her uncle’s devious assault and live to enjoy each other.

Blush sensuality level: This is a sweet romance (kisses only, no sexual content).

A Blush® romance from Ellora’s Cave


Christmas Bliss

Chapter One

John Scarborough was just beginning to feel as though he was himself again. The troubles of politics had left him in a bad temper, but the walk in the cold of December brought him back to civility. He could almost imagine his troubles falling away with each step that drew him closer to home. He no longer wished to wring the neck of a certain political opponent.

Yes, the man was an idiot, but he felt he could return to his seat without committing murder.

At least that was a relief. He laughed at his own sarcastic thought.

Most men of his wealth and position would have taken their carriage home, but a brisk walk always made John feel better after a long day of arguing in the House of Lords. His carriage was generally only a few minutes behind him, since the footman and driver refused to leave him completely alone at night on the streets of London. 

A shadow could easily be seen crouching beneath the hedge that fronted his home in the West End of London. Pickpockets and thieves often skulked around in the finer residential areas, hoping to earn a nights work. Often these villains beat their prey and left them for dead.
John took a better hold of his walking stick, prepared to fend off the trespasser if necessary.

“You there, what is your business?”

He heard a woman gasp. When she stood up from her hiding place, the light of the full moon gave enough illumination for him to see she was well dressed in a fashionable walking costume.

His eyes narrowed. “Were you going to accost me as I entered my home, wench?”

“Certainly not.” Her tone was crisp, as if she was offended. It reminded him of when he was a boy and had insulted his nanny.

She turned back to the hedge, crouched down and lifted something out of the bushes.

John raised his staff. “I am not above striking a woman. Whatever nefarious plan you have, I advise you to desist.”

When she turned, the bundle she’d picked up and held to her shoulder turned out to be a small child of five or six.

John was rarely surprised by people. In fact, he found most people quite predictable.

Everything about this girl had caught him by surprise. Exhaustion must have gotten the better of his senses. He lowered his arm and weapon and gaped at the girl.

Her voice was educated and cultured. “I’m sorry we frightened you, Lord Compton. We shall be on our way now.”

“You know me?” He didn’t know why that should bother him. Quite a lot of people knew him on sight and he was standing in front of his own home.

“Of course.”

He could hear the smile in her voice, though the night did not permit him to see her face clearly enough to verify if the sound translated to her lips.
Embarrassment washed through him. His neck felt hot, reminding him of when he’d been at school, and was unsure of an answer demanded by the instructor. “Why are you hiding in my shrubbery?” he demanded.

She lifted the sleeping child higher. It was a boy from the look of his clothes. It was past nine and the child slung his arms about her neck and rested his head on her shoulder. He looked as if he was a very heavy sack of potatoes.

“That is a very long story, my lord. I apologize again for our intrusion. We shall move along.”

“Wait,” he commanded.

A.S. Fenichel gave up a successful career in New York City to follow her husband to Texas and pursue her lifelong dream of being a professional writer. She’s never looked back.

A.S. adores writing stories filled with love, passion, desire, magic and maybe a little mayhem tossed in for good measure. Books have always been her perfect escape and she still relishes diving into one and staying up all night to finish a good story.

Multi-published in erotic paranormal, contemporary and historical romance, A.S. is the author of the Mayan Destiny series, Christmas Bliss and many more. With several books currently contracted to multiple publishers, A.S. will be bringing you her brand of romance for many years to come.

Originally from New York, she grew up in New Jersey, and now lives in the East Texas with her real life hero, her wonderful husband. When not reading or writing she enjoys cooking, travel, history, and puttering in her garden.

Find A.S. Fenichel Here

Monday, December 15, 2014

Ruthless Perfection by Susie Warren (VBT, guest post, excerpt) GFT

Interview with Susie Warren

ELF:  What advice do you have for an aspiring author?

SWKeep reading. There is so much to learn about the craft of writing that it is crucial to study how other writer’s tell a great story. Pay attention to the elements of the novel that draw you in and notice where you attention wanders.

Spend time on your craft. Even after you have been writing for years, you can become re-energized by how someone else thinks about a topic. For example, I came across a writer who wrote a blog post about productivity. She had three useful strategies, when combined together enable writers to consistently write 1,000 words an hour or 8,000 words a day. I tried her technique and it worked beautifully. If you find me on twitter, I retweeted the link to her blog.

Learn how to plot. Most writers have read either The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers by Christopher Vogler or The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell. Vogler’s book is based on Campbell’s earlier work and it is considered more accessible. These books do an amazing job of explaining the structure of a story.

Spend time considering the emotional life of the characters. For me, the hardest part of being a romance writer is the willingness to explore the emotional core of the story. I get lost in intriguing plots and the structure of the story and have to push myself to fully investigate the emotional life of the characters. But the reader ultimately is looking for the emotional impact in the story so the setting and plot details in a well told romance will be somewhat invisible.

Writing is rewriting. I find the most challenging aspect of writing to be printing out the first draft and knowing what to do next. Once I read the entire manuscript and make notes then I begin to know what to do in terms of changes and revisions. But to take a story from good to great, you will need to learn how to tighten and polish.  This can only be accomplished by rewriting each scene several times.

Seek feedback. I enjoy being part of a critique group. The direct feedback is helpful in understanding aspects of writing that may have eluded me. For example, I was always showing and telling and it took several sessions for the group to get me to understand the issue. In a group situation, when everyone has read the same pages, an interesting discussion can result. I think it can move a writer closer to understanding the elements of their own writing.
Learn how all the pieces fit together. Writing a great book is just the beginning. There is a tremendous amount that you will need to know about branding, marketing, publishing, contracts, publicity etc… Most successful authors will cultivate relationships with other authors and industry professionals to get first- hand knowledge about the market, to understand what is changing and how to best position themselves. There is no right answer for every author but instead you will need to weigh your goals and strengths against what is happening in the publishing world.

Attend Writing Conferences. I highly recommend attending writing conferences and workshops to learn new skills and network with other writers and industry professionals. I try to reach out of my comfort zone and attend a few workshops that I’m not naturally drawn to instead of just sticking with my favorite topics. As a romance author, I attend RWA conferences but there are many local and regional writing workshops as well.

Ruthless Perfection

by Susie Warren



A filmmaker wanting to honor her family’s legacy approaches a reclusive billionaire for help

Isabel Neri’s innocence captures the attention of a well-known Italian marble mogul, Marc Santoro, when she approaches him against her family’s wishes. Wanting to honor her disgraced grandfather, Isabel needs Marc’s permission to produce a film about the Carrara marble industry.

Faced with honoring an old family obligation, Marc allows Isabel to travel to Italy with him but seeks to limit her exposure to his family’s tragic past. Isabel discovers the untold story and challenges Marc to reveal the truth. She is forced to expose her own secret as their desire sparks out of control.


Isabel couldn’t believe she allowed herself to get drawn into this conversation. It was none of her business. She needed to go home and work on the schedule for tomorrow.

He looked at her and she could feel her heart race. “I have a completely different feeling about you. You are incredible at getting people to open up and, if anything, you tempt me to say and do things that I wouldn’t normally do.”

Without thinking she said, “What do I tempt you to do?”

He stepped closer and she could feel the nerve endings in her spine become heightened with anticipation.

Unconsciously, she bit her lower lip. She watched in fascination as he moved closer to her. Knowing that she should break the spell and step away, she felt powerless to do so. Her body felt hot all of a sudden and she waited for his touch without drawing a single breath. He traced his thumb over the sensitized area where her lower lip met her skin, causing her to draw in much needed air. His hand moved to the back of her neck, pulling her forward, and his mouth came down on hers. His kiss was gentle and coaxing until she opened her mouth fully and moved closer to him and then his kiss become more demanding.

Suddenly his hands were on her back, urging her closer, and his tongue deliciously explored her mouth. His body felt warm and solid as she pressed against him. The sound of their harsh breathing echoed in her head as she ran her hands over the taut muscles in his shoulders. She felt a tremor go through his body and it excited her.

She moved closer yet and luxuriated in the feel of his hard, strong body. He kissed her again and she moved onto her toes to fit her body against his perfectly.

He began to unbutton her shirt and she froze. Breaking away, she said, “We need to stop.”

“We are completely alone, cara. And you are driving me insane.” His voice was soft and coaxing as he gently touched a strand of her hair.

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Susie Warren writes contemporary romance. Besides being an avid reader, she spends much of her free time crafting intense and complex stories about falling in love. When she is not writing, Susie works as an administrator in a small, independent school while caring for three teenagers and keeping tabs on her inventor husband. With the launching of her first book, The Forgotten Heiress, she has slowly begun to navigate the social media realm.

Susie loves to hear from readers and responds to each email and Facebook post. Please reach out to her via Facebook at or Twitter @susiecwarren

For more information on her upcoming releases, new excerpts and other related postings, or to sign up for free promotions, please visit her website.



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Elf Hills by S.S. Dudley (BBT, excerpt and GIVEAWAY) GFT

What better book for an Elf to feature?
And even better...PLEASE NOTE: This book is free on Amazon from Dec 15 – 19, 2014.  If you prefer print, the paperback is available through Createspace here. This is a code for a 15% discount off of the retail price ($8.99): 9DSCQ3UU.

Elf Hills
by S.S. Dudley



Something strange, something magical, is going on in the dusty hills behind the small town of Villaloma. Yet each time Linda Peters puts on her running shoes and sets out to find the enchanted kingdom she imagines—full of dancing elves, unicorns, and more—something stops her. And with school starting soon, she only has a few more chances to really search the hills.

While Linda’s frustration and doubt grow, her cousin, Nugu, looks for answers in his books and wonders if maybe, just maybe, Linda’s stories are for real.

The day finally arrives when Linda can run far, the day she is sure she will find her magic city. But when she and Nugu feel their goal must lie just beyond the next hill, they only find more hill.

Is it all a figment of an over-active imagination; a wistful fantasy?

Or is there truly something magical in those hills that only the strong of heart—and leg—can discover?



From Elf Hills © 2014 by S. S. Dudley

Chapter 1:

Crack! Like a firecracker, the screen door’s sharp retort pierced the tranquility of the warm summer afternoon. With it appeared a girl, beautiful as all five-year-olds are: tousled hair, rosy cheeks, a smattering of freckles, and a flowery dress dancing around healthy legs bruised and scraped by kicking balls and climbing trees. Her hair was the color of honey, her skin tanned by long days in the sun. Her bright, green eyes exuded wonder and vibrancy. By all measures, Linda Peters was a perfectly healthy, perfectly normal girl only days into kindergarten.

The flowered dress danced about her anxious feet as they thumped a rhythm on the wooden planks of the big porch. Before the old screen door could bounce again off the doorframe, her bare toes reached the cool, green grass of the lawn. They gently touched the ground as she ran and giggled. Soon she was in the garden amidst the flowers. She stopped and looked around, breathing only slightly heavier than normal. A strand of loose hair drifted across her eyes. She tucked it behind her ear, reflexively. Around her were flowers of every color: reds and pinks and whites and purples; but she wasn’t so interested in them, rather…

“Linda!” a small voice called. Linda looked to her left and saw an orange and black butterfly gracefully drift toward her. She held out her hand and the butterfly landed on her finger, its long proboscis gently probing her skin. Butterfly kisses. Her dad called this kind of butterfly a "Monarch" and said it was special. Linda knew about butterflies. They were insects: head, thorax, abdomen; six legs, four wings! And they ate nectar, while the babies, the caterpillars, gobbled leaves to grow big and fat before becoming beautiful butterflies.

Only this wasn’t an ordinary butterfly.



AUTHOR Bio and Links:

 S. S. Dudley grew up in Wyoming, USA, an avid reader and lover of the outdoors. He studied at the University of Wyoming and the University of Illinois. He started his first book (an epic fantasy hand-written in with a blue fountain pen…) when he was 13, but never finished it. At some point (as his mother recently reminded him), he decided that he needed to go do something (like get a job) for a while before he could, or should, write. He did, and spent time in Colombia, Panamá, Antarctica and the dark recesses of large science buildings on college campuses. That done, he now writes, lives and runs in Northern California with his wife and two children. He can be found at:



Twitter at @SS_dudley.



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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Easy-to-Make Soup and an announcement for a friend

It's been a kind of blah week for me.  I don't have a full-blown cold, but I am definitely not normal (no comments from the peanut gallery) and don't have a lot of energy.  I made the mistake of visiting the person who I think I picked up my virus from in the first place (an elderly friend who we help out when we can), and that second exposure resulted in my having a slightly sore throat to go with the rest of my complaints.  So...I started thinking about soups (no, nothing wrong with the appetite yet, lol).  I have a very basic approach to cooking...if it interferes with my reading too's too long a recipe, lol.  Last year, I looked for a recipe for soup to use up some of the stray ham pieces we ended up with after a family meal...and I have used the basics of that to make my creamy soups ever since.

3 1/4 cups of water plus whatever is being used (in this case, I used about 1 1/2 cups of fresh broccoli florets), bring to a boil and let simmer until tender (about 15 minutes), then add two tablespoons of chicken bouillon (or a little less if you are not a fan of salt or you can probably use vegetable bouillon if you prefer).  Allow to simmer while working on the cream portion.

Have 2 cups of milk poured and ready.

In a different pot, melt 5 tablespoons of butter over low heat.  Turn heat up slightly, stir in 5 tablespoons of flour (I use a whisk), stir constantly because you don't want lumps.  Allow to cook about 2 minutes, constantly stirring, then gradually add milk...DON'T stop stirring, allow to cook over medium heat (STILL stirring), until thick (for me, it usually takes about 15 minutes or so).  I have altered the time that I have stopped...if you want REALLY creamy soup, this mixture has to be fairly stiff.  Add this mixture to the original pot, still stirring (do you sense a theme?)...and once it is well-mixed...serve.

Ok, I am a no-frills, you could have put celery and onion in the original pot, or potatoes, or all manner of things.  But, I just served my broccoli with some shredded cheddar cheese and bacon crumbles...and enjoyed.  And, today, I started the entire process over again with sliced mushrooms.  It's quick and tasty...and I adjust the amount of bouillon the next time if I think it came out too salty (particularly if you are adding ham or bacon or something of that nature).


Those of you who attend the Night Owl Reviews weekly chat or the ones on Writerspace probably have 'met' the author and veteran, Jerry Race.  Unfortunately, he had a heart attack on Thanksgiving and needs to move into new housing, so there is a fundraising campaign for him.  If you can, please help spread the word!