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Hobby Reads

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 “A delightful Regency romance, full of passion, humor, and love.” –Ella Quinn, USA Today bestselling author

With the dowries of all the season’s debutantes exposed in its scandalous pages, The Bachelor’s Bible is a handy tool for an earl in need of an heiress . . .

Edward Lovell, newly minted earl, bears a weighty responsibility: to restore his family’s estate to its former grandeur. The task requires not simply a wife, but a wealthy one. Thanks to The Bachelor’s Bible, he already has a particular lady in mind. He has only to convince her sponsor that he will make a suitable husband. There’s just one complication: the sponsor is none other than the only woman he’s ever loved—and inexplicably lost. Now a young widow, Lady Anne Howard is more beautiful than ever . . .

Anne is not about to be taken for a fool a second time. When they last met, Edward was Lord Bredon, the man she adored—the man who destroyed her dreams of a happy future. Now he is pursuing the hand of the young lady Anne must keep safe from unscrupulous suitors. But who will protect Anne from the earl who still possesses her heart?. . .

“Mia Marlowe is the mistress of saucy historical romances.” —Books Monthly

“Mia Marlowe is a rising star!” —New York Times Bestseller Connie Mason

“Mia Marlowe proves she has the ‘touch’ for strong heroines, wickedly sexy heroes!” –Jennifer Ashley, USA Today bestselling author of Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage

“Her three-dimensional characters truly steal readers’ hearts and keep the pages flying.” –Kathe Robin

“A delightful Regency romance, full of passion, humor, and love.” –Ella Quinn, USA Today bestselling author

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Recipe for A Killer Book Club by Ellery Adams

Let’s say you’re in a book club. Let’s say that the members of your book club take turns playing the host.  And let’s say that you’d like the meeting at your place to be the best one ever.

If you read my article on book club cocktails, you already have the beverage selections for your bookish evening covered.  But what about the food? You don’t want to serve frozen chicken tenders and a lifeless crudité. So what’s a host or hostess to do? Order pizza? Fix a plate of sandwiches and dump a bag of potato chips in a bowl? Nah. You can do better than that.

Start by visualizing memorable feast scenes as depicted in Jane Austen or Harry Potter novels. Or think of the famed feast in A Christmas Carol. Food is a practically a character in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Maurice Sendack’s The Night Kitchen, and The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. Think of all mouth-watering treats presented in Chocolat or Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory? Continue reading “Recipe for A Killer Book Club by Ellery Adams”

Long Winter Days

The Creative Corner

While our days are long and a tad dreary in our New England winter weather, and if you’re not an outdoorsy person, these days afford us time to be creative. What could be more fun than that?

After fighting off a three week bout with bronchitis, I’m back to work on a new Zentangle book, and I’ve been creating mandalas. They’re so delightful to make. All it takes is a little ingenuity, a few tools, and there you are!!

This was done using a circle made with a protractor, a sketch pad, a pencil, and a pen. The circumference is 7.5″. Once I finished tangling the second mandala, I added color.

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These two projects took quite some time. First, because they are large, and secondly, due to color choices and placement. I have yet to shade each of them with graphite.

Over the weekend, I played with small squares for…

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A Hobby for People Who Are Terrible at Hobbies by Tamara Berry

I’ve always wanted to have a hobby. One of my favorite things in the whole world is when people find something that brings them joy, and then they commit to doing it with their whole hearts. I’m often a spectator at things like Renaissance Fairs, quilt shows, bicycle rallies, ghost hunting tours, and the like because I adore seeing people unapologetically doing their thing.

…which is what makes it so difficult that I’ve never been able to find a “thing” of my own. I could cheat and say that reading is my hobby (hey, it counts!), but it’s hardly the stuff that makes for a good cozy mystery backdrop.

It’s not like I haven’t tried to find the right hobby. Last winter, I took up knitting. The winter before, it was cross stitching. There’s a sewing machine somewhere in the deep recesses of my storage closet, languishing alongside a miniature Victorian dollhouse I tried to build from one of those kits. I’ve baked (not very well). I’ve played sports (see above). I even took up jogging for a while (that one was a mistake). In the end, it turns out there’s only one thing I return to time and time again: extreme dot-to-dots.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Dot-to-dots don’t count as a hobby, even if you put the word EXTREME in front of it. (Not even if you write it in all capital letters.) But these books have been my tried-and-true way to relax and unwind for years. Like the adult coloring book craze (which, yes, I’ve also tried), you can detach your brain and create something from nothing without any sort of skill or training. And because my mind isn’t fully engaged on the task, I can often work out tricky mystery plotting problems while I do it.

Someday, I’d like to find a more traditional—and productive—way to spend my downtime, but while there are kids in the house and books to be written, I find that this fills in the gaps just fine. Plus, I’m now amazing at drawing straight lines between two points.

 

“Don’t miss out on this first in a promising series!” —Juliet Blackwell, New York Times bestselling author

When something goes bump in the night . . . it’s most likely a plumbing problem, or something equally mundane. But fake medium Eleanor Wilde is happy to investigate and cleanse your home of spectral presences—for a fee. Hey, it’s a living . . .

Ellie has an ailing sister to care for, and working as a ghost hunter who doesn’t believe in ghosts helps cover the bills for both of them. When she’s lucky, it also pays for the occasional tropical vacation. Her brother doesn’t exactly approve, but Ellie figures she’s providing a service. On her latest job, though, she may be in for some genuine scares.

The skeptical, reserved, and very rich Nicholas Hartford III has flown her all the way to his family’s ancestral estate in England—supposedly haunted by a phantom named Xavier. Nicholas thinks it’s all just as much a crock as Ellie’s business is, but the fact remains that something is causing the flashes of light, mysterious accidents, and other apparent pranks in the chilly, eerie castle. His mother is sure that Xavier is real, and he’s willing to employ Ellie if she can get to the bottom of it and put a stop to the nonsense.

While the food and accommodations are somewhat disappointing (dorm-room furniture? Really?), Ellie is finding it an adventure to get to know this eccentric family and their houseguests, and to poke around in the nearby village for clues. But when an actual dead body appears—and subsequently disappears—at Castle Hartford, she’ll have to apply her talent for trickery and psychological insight to solve a flesh-and-blood murder.

“When a saucy pseudo-psychic is hired to rid an ancestral estate of its alleged resident ghost, things are bound to get interesting. Add to that a charming English village, an eccentric family, and a killer on the loose, and Séances are for Suckers delivers a winning blend of mystery and the paranormal, with a little humor and romance thrown in for good measure. Don’t miss out on this first in a promising series!” —Juliet Blackwell, New York Times bestselling author of the Witchcraft Mystery series

“A mystery with a haunted castle? What’s not to love? Tamara Berry weaves a fun story with likable characters and a plot that kept me guessing until the end.” —Rose Pressey, USA Today bestselling author of the Haunted Vintage Mystery series

Fall Traditions by Lena Gregory

It’s hard to believe how quickly summer came and went. It seems like only yesterday I was shopping for sunscreen and beach chairs. Now the stores are filled with hay bales, scarecrows, and pumpkins. It’s time to switch my Sun and Sand candles for Sparkling Cinnamon and Home Sweet Home, break out my flannel shirts and boots, and snuggle up in my favorite soft, comfy blankets. Before we know it, the holidays will be upon us. As much as I love the Christmas season, I have to admit, my favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. Actually, I love everything about fall.

In my All-Day Breakfast Café Mystery series, fall is one of the things Gia misses most about New York. I’ve lived most of my life on Long Island, except for a couple of years when I lived in central Florida. Like Gia, I missed things about New York, especially fall, when the leaves change colors, the air feels crisp and clean, and we get to do all of our fun fall activities.

Every fall, my kids and I drive out east on the north shore of Long Island to visit farm stands. We pick pumpkins and apples, work our way through corn mazes, buy mums, gourds, and cornucopias to decorate, and stuff ourselves with roasted sweet corn and apple cider. Continue reading “Fall Traditions by Lena Gregory”

Elsie’s Coconut Cake by G.A. McKevett

 

CAKE
Cream Together
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 stick butter (I use Kerrygold Irish butter, salted) or margarine

Add
5 egg yolks
2 cups flour
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt

Fold In
2 cups Baker’s Angel Flake coconut
1/2 cup chopped nuts
5 egg whites (beaten stiff but not dry) Continue reading “Elsie’s Coconut Cake by G.A. McKevett”

The Holiday When We Ran Away from Home

via The Holiday When We Ran Away from Home

A Killer Book Club-Putting a Literary Spin on Drinks By Ellery Adams, author of Murder in the Locked Library and The Whispered Word

I’ve seen a funny motto about book clubs embroidered on tote bags and pillow covers. It says, “My book club can outdrink your book club.” Another one reads, “I was delighted to discover that book club is a euphemism for wine club.”

There’s no doubt about it. Food and drink are important elements of any social gathering, so when a friend of mine said that she wanted to start a book club—the kind of book club where we casually discussed a book while also socializing, drinking wine, and eating chocolate—I immediately asked, “When’s our first meeting?”

But what happens after a few months of rounding up friends, picking book titles, and opening a few bottles of wine? Good things, I hope.  But they could be even better. You could kick things up a notch at your next book club meeting by serving exciting cocktails to complement your book pick. Continue reading “A Killer Book Club-Putting a Literary Spin on Drinks By Ellery Adams, author of Murder in the Locked Library and The Whispered Word”

Why I Write About Animals by Kristin Von Kreisler

As I’ve been promoting A Healing Justice, people have asked why I write about animals.  My answer is simple:  There’s no way I could not write about them.

I was born on October 4, the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, and I have always been supremely sensitive to creatures.  My father took me as a child to western movies; and when cowboys dug their spurs into horses’ sides, I cried so hard that he had to take me to the lobby.  During a drought in Texas, where I grew up, I worried the whole summer after third grade about the thirsty deer, raccoons, and squirrels.  All my life I rescued dogs and kitties.

As an adult, I became a freelancer for magazines but never thought of writing about animals.  Then I had an accident and injured four disks in my spine.  Unable to work for months, I lay on my office sofa with Beatrice, my beloved beagle, loyally cuddled up beside me, and I didn’t know if I’d ever be pain-free enough to write again.

When your career is hanging in the balance like that, you do some serious thinking.  And I slowly realized that I’d been frittering away my life, writing about subjects that had meant nothing to me – and I’d left my heart behind in the dust.  I wondered, what’s the meaning of my life?  Beatrice reminded me that, no matter our species, meaning comes by loving and helping others.  One day it occurred to me that I had always loved animals more than anything — so I should write about them and try to improve their lives. Continue reading “Why I Write About Animals by Kristin Von Kreisler”

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