holiday

Time to Write-Lynn Chantale

Happy New Year and all that jazz. This year started off well enough. Already our family is dealing with the death of a couple of beloved family members. That’s the bad news. The good news — yes, there’s good news — is I’m writing again.

I’ve a few projects to finish. A really cool thing that’s happening is I’m writing for a Web series slated to debut in March. While I’m taking the next six weeks off from school. I plan to make good use of that time. I managed a day job. I’m a blogger now. Pretty cool and not the direction I saw my writing career going.

However, I haven’t forgotten my roots. Romance is in my blood, even if I’m not romantic. So I got to poking around my laptop and realized I had a Valentine’s story waiting to be re-released. Remember The Designer’s Bride? It’s okay if you don’t. It was in an anthology a few years ago and the publisher closed that same year. Anyway, it’s up on Amazon for pre-order and I was able to add back the paragraph that was cut because it was too erotic.

Here’s a little snippet of The Designer’s Bride.

Jordan has planned the perfect wedding, only one catch, the bride hasn’t said yes.

Pre-Order Link: Amazon

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Jordan Carlisle wore a groove in the oak floor, the glossy finish scuffing each time he rocked back on his heels to change directions or paused to mutter. He frowned, turning his attention to the outdoors and away from the small box in his hand. A perpetual flow of white poured from the sky. The crisp, clean scent of winter air drifted through the open window and a few flakes settled on the sill. He hoped Elisabeth wasn’t out in this weather. But he couldn’t wait to see her.

The past two weeks of missing the love of his life had been sheer hell. Even with the numerous fashion shows, gathering samples, or being interviewed by various media outlets, he still felt the pang of her absence. Emails and video-conferencing couldn’t diminish the ache of loneliness. Traveling was part of being a successful clothing designer, but what he really wanted was to hold Elisabeth close to his heart, and whisper how much he loved her in her ear. Of course, if she was naked and beneath him, all the better.

Jordan had sent her flowers this morning. She had yet to let him know if she received them. If anything, he hoped she remembered the last time he gave her roses. A smile creased his lips. He couldn’t wait to see her…which brought him back to the box in his hand. This evening needed to be special. No matter what else happened, their time together had to be perfect. Maybe once he proposed and Elisabeth accepted, her father would leave her alone.

He drew in a breath. “Women are to be cherished and respected.  Pampered and pleased.  Never made to cry and above all else, loved beyond any rational belief.” He ran his agitated fingers over his close-cropped curls, sighing. Those words were so lame.

The hinge creaked when he opened the lid and stared at the three-stone, Asscher-cut diamond. Tiny baguettes framed the center jewel, making the brilliance and fire of the ring much more potent. Elisabeth made him feel like this ring, endless, classy, and rich. He closed the lid with a snap and resumed pacing. He loved her. He knew from the first time he laid eyes on her, but would she still love him after she learned the truth?

Pre-Order Link: Amazon

Until next time, Indulge Your Inner Desires

Lynn Chantale

 

Categories: Excerpt, holiday, pre-order, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

RAISE A GLASS- Talina Perkins

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2015 was crazy in just a few words. With only a few hours left in the year it’s hard not to take a moment and reflect on what has passed, but also look forward to what is in store for you and myself as the clock rolls over. I’ve never been a big believer in new years resolutions, but I do think that a mental reset is always a good thing. A fresh start, a chance at starting over, and a full 365 days of making sure this year is better! It’s exciting to think about, right? There are a lot of plans in motion for me and I’m biting my nails to keep from pouring everything out on the page right now! Since I have to be a good girl, let’s talk about what you have planned for the new year. I’d love to hear anything you want to share. 🙂

Wherever the new year finds you, may your wishes and dreams come true! Happy New Years my friends and thank you for hanging out with me and inviting me into your hearts with my stories and characters. I have so many more to tell and I can’t wait to share them with you soon. I’ll be back on January 4th with a special post and maybe a giveaway. 😉

Be safe, raise a glass, and welcome the turn of the clock with a smile and a wink!

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Categories: holiday, Love, magic, magick, Talina Perkins, Uncategorized, writing | Leave a comment

Cooking tips for the holidays by Alice Gaines

People who try to do the holidays “just right” often find themselves stressed out by all the work.  That’s such a shame for a time of the year that’s supposed to be merry.  Because so much of holiday cheer revolves around food, it’s helpful to have tips to deal with common problems.  Let me share a few that I’ve gleaned from my cooking over the years.

 The holiday turkey.  Thanksgiving dinner revolves around this difficult bird.  Why difficult?  Because it’s basically two kinds of meat that cook at different speeds.  The white meat gets done before the dark meat, and when turkey breast gets overdone, you might as well be eating sawdust.  The only way to choke it down is to douse it in gravy.  But if you don’t cook the turkey long enough, the dark meat isn’t safe to eat.  What to do?

Cooks Country has come up with a marvelous way around this problem.  Cut the turkey into three parts:  two legs and one huge breast portion.  You can roast them separated in the same pan, but now, the leg pieces are so much smaller than the breast piece, they cook at relatively the same amount of time.  You could also pull one out of the oven and keep it covered with foil while the other pieces continue to cook.  You can check out the recipe here.  http://www.cooksillustrated.com/recipes/4516-slow-roasted-turkey-with-gravy?extcode=MKSCZ00L0&ref=search_results_4  (You can get a free trial subscription if you’re not a member.)  I tested this recipe for them, and the house smelled wonderful!

Pie crust.  Pie crust is the bane of a cook’s existence!  To make it flaky and tender, you’re told Thou Must Not use more water than whatever the recipe states.  When I used to try to stick with this commandment, I invariably ended up with something that broke apart when I rolled it out, and the best I could do was make a patchwork of dough on the pie plate.  Finally, I gave up and only made pies with crumb crusts.

The problem is you need enough liquid to keep the crust together for rolling, but adding more water develops the gluten in the four, and that keeps the finished product from being tender.  (Gluten is the protein in wheat that develops strands as you work it.  Great for bread, bad for pie crust.)  Again the folks at Cooks Illustrated/America’s Test Kitchen/Cooks Country have come up with a solution.  Instead of water, use a 1 to 1 ratio of vodka to water.  Vodka is only partly water, with the rest being alcohol.  Alcohol doesn’t develop gluten, so you can use more liquid in your crust.  The alcohol burns off during cooking.  Now, sprinkle that on your crust until you have something you can work with.

Hollandaise.  Hollandaise isn’t traditional at the holidays, but it’s very elegant and delicious.  Besides, it sounds like holiday, doesn’t it?  The problem is getting the egg yolks to thicken the sauce without scrambling them.  You do this by whisking in the melted butter in a slow stream.  There are a few tricks you can us to make sure the yolks don’t get too hot and curdle the sauce.  I used to use a double boiler, but it’s hard to get the whisk into the corners.  Instead, I read somewhere (I think The Joy of Cooking) that you can set a bowl over boiling water in a pan.  Now not only do you have the water as insulation from the heat of the burner, but you have no corners to try to get into.  Another tip, from the wonderful Julia Child—cut a tablespoon of butter into tiny pieces and put it into the egg yolks at the beginning of the cooking.  This evens out the temperature as the butter melts.

I don’t have any tips on keeping hollandaise once you’ve made it, though.  Serve it immediately, and enjoy the holidays!

 

DSCN0488By the way, I’m raffling off this scarf to someone on my newsletter mailing list to celebrate my birthday on November 15.  If you’d like to enter to win, sign up for my newsletter at my blog:  http://www.alicegaines.blogspot.com

Categories: Alice Gaines, cooking, holiday, raffle | Leave a comment

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