Cover Reveal: Reecah’s Gift – Written By Kathryn Jenkins

On the KJ Magical Design Blog I found the reveal of two of Richard H. Stephens books: Reecah’s Gift and Reecah’s Flight. KJ Magical Design did a phenomenal job with the covers. I love them both. Well done!


Happy Tuesday everyone. Today I have a special cover reveal featuring author Richard H. Stephens two books. We had the honor to do both of them and they are some of our favorite dragon covers to date.
The most recent cover we did is Reecah’s Gift. This is book 2 in Richard’s Legend of the Lurker Series. The designer was Katie Jenkins and features the use of stock images.

REECAH’S GIFT

Fleeing from the only life she has ever known, Reecah Windwalker sets out to avert a terrible tragedy. One that will force the dragons to the edge of extinction. But first, Reecah must find herself.
Braving the perils of a cutthroat city, Reecah discovers that as bad as life may have seemed, nothing had prepared her for what her future had in store. Surviving hardships no one should ever have to endure, she finds herself face-to-face with those seeking her demise.

Continue reading here and check out the second cover

What to Share on Social Media Before Your Book Is Written – Written By Jenn Hanson-DePaula

Today I came across another great blog post, written by our wonderful Jenn Hanson-dePaula of Mixtus Media. She informs us about sharing on Social Media before our book is written. Thank you so much, Jenn.


When it comes to growing an audience on social media, every single author faces a time that I refer to as “The Gray Area.”

It’s that time between when you start writing a book and when it is released, and it’s often met with much trepidation from authors. The Gray Area is the time of needing to grow your audience but not knowing how to talk about your book early on in the process without giving too much away.

To see the results you’re looking for on social media, you have to be consistent. If you only post around the time your book comes out, you will probably be disappointed by the response.

If you think about social media as any relationship you have in life, this will make more sense. If you only talked to your friends when you needed something but ignored them the rest of the time, you won’t hear much from them.

Social media wasn’t created for marketing – it was created to build relationships.

And like any relationship, it takes time to establish trust. So as an author, it’s important to start that process as soon as possible. Even before your book is completed.

But how do you do that? How do you start that process before you’ve even started writing your book? Let’s jump in and find out!

Continue reading here

Soul Taker Secrets – The Council Of Twelve PicNic (Vegetarian)


In several of my ‘The Council Of Twelve’ books the members of the Council, together with their consorts meet to spend some time together, relax, talk, enjoy nice conversations, jokes and laughter. Sometimes they meet in one of the member’s houses for dinner, but occasionally they organize a picnic. Today I decided to provide you with the recipes of the latest ‘Council Of Twelve’ picnic. Enjoy! (And feel free to try out the recipes!)

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Fruit Platter

Ingredients
Figleaves
Golden pineapple, peeled, cut in 8ths lengthwise, core removed and sliced crosswise
Cantaloupe, peeled, cut in half and sliced
Fresh blueberries
Fresh strawberries
Fresh raspberries

Directions
Arrange the fig leaves on a platter. Place the pineapple and cantaloupe on top of the fig leaves, and artfully arrange the blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries over the top of the pineapple and cantaloupe.

(Source: Foodnetwork.com


Cheese Plate

Cheese of your choice:

Roquefort
Camembert
Cotija
Chèvre
Feta
Mozzarella
Emmental
Cheddar
Gouda
Taleggio
Parmigiano-Reggiano
Manchego
Monterey Jack

1. Brie. Brie is a soft ripened cheese with a rind that helps to preserve the interior. Brie has a very creamy texture and a strong aroma that develops with age. Brie is great with fruit, crusty bread, crackers or toasted fruit bread.

2. Camembert. Camembert is also a soft and creamy cheese with a powdery rind. Similar to Brie, there are some differences as they are ripened differently.

3. Blue Cheese. Traditional Blue Cheese has cultures added to it so that the final product has fine blue veins running through it. Blue cheese has a distinct smell and can be crumbled or melted over other foods. Types of blue cheese include Gorgonzola, Blue Stilton, and Bleu de Gex.

4. Gouda. Gouda is a yellow cheese mainly produced in Holland. It is made in a round mold and has a distinct taste and a complete rind. Gouda can be aged for varying periods of time so the taste and texture depend on how long it is aged.

5. Maasdam. Maasdam cheese is creamy, but a bit sweet and fruity. Great for sandwiches, grilled cheese or eaten with fruit.

6. Grana Padano. Grana Padano is one of Italy’s most popular cheeses. It is a hard cheese and very tasty shaved over pasta or salad.

7. Smoked Cheese. Smoked cheeses are smoked in a traditional way so the outer skin is usually a brownish color. It has a smoky flavor and is sliceable, great on toasted sandwiches or with crackers. Types of smoked cheese include Gruyère, Smoked Gouda, and Provolone.

8. Edam. Edam cheese comes in a sphere, it is pale yellow and has a red paraffin wax coating. Edam is a semi-soft cheese with a mild taste and little smell but as it ages the taste and smell increase.

9. Swiss Cheese. Swiss Cheese is an ‘eye cheese’ or ‘hole cheese’, it has a smooth satiny texture and is slightly sweet in taste. It is a firm cheese which has a wide appeal so it is great for cooking, sandwiches, or a cheese board.

10. Feta. Feta has a deliciously soft and creamy texture. It has a slightly savory flavor and crumbles easily so it is good for salads, antipasto, savory pastries or served with crusty bread and crackers.

11. Cheddar. Cheddar cheese if a hard cheese with a sharp taste. It is one of the most popular cheeses and can be used in a variety of ways such as cooking, for sandwiches or with crackers and wine.

(Source: Weekendnotes.com)


Bread

Ingredients

1 to 1 1/8 cups lukewarm water*
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey, molasses, or maple syrup
3 1/2 cups 100% Whole Wheat Flour, White Whole Wheat Flour, or Organic White Whole Wheat Flour
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast, or 1 packet active dry yeast dissolved in 2 tablespoons of the water in the recipe
1/4 cup Special Dry Milk or nonfat dried milk
1 1/4 teaspoons salt

*Use the greater amount in winter or in a dry climate; the lesser amount in summer or a humid climate.

Instructions
In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and stir until the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. For easiest, most effective kneading, let the dough rest for 20 to 30 minutes in the bowl; this gives the flour a chance to absorb some of the liquid, and the bran to soften.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased surface, oil your hands, and knead it for 6 to 8 minutes, or until it begins to become smooth and supple. (You may also knead this dough in an electric mixer or food processor, or in a bread machine programmed for “dough” or “manual.”) Note: This dough should be soft, yet still firm enough to knead. Adjust its consistency with additional water or flour, if necessary.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl or large measuring cup, cover it, and allow the dough to rise till puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 1 to 2 hours, depending on the warmth of your kitchen.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface, and shape it into an 8″ log. Place the log in a lightly greased 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan, cover the pan loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the bread to rise for about 1 to 2 hours, or till the center has crowned about 1″ above the rim of the pan. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

Bake the bread for 35 to 40 minutes, tenting it lightly with aluminum foil after 20 minutes to prevent over-browning. The finished loaf will register 190°F on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center.

Remove the bread from the oven, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. If desired, rub the crust with a stick of butter; this will yield a soft, flavorful crust. Cool completely before slicing. Store the bread in a plastic bag at room temperature.

(Source: Kingarthurflour.com)


Yogurt

Ingredients
4 cups whole milk, the fresher the better
¼ cup heavy cream (optional)
3 to 4 tablespoons plain whole milk yogurt with live and active cultures

Instructions
Rub an ice cube over the inside bottom of a heavy pot to prevent scorching (or rinse the inside of the pot with cold water). Add milk and cream, if using, and bring to a bare simmer, until bubbles form around the edges, 180 to 200 degrees. Stir the milk occasionally as it heats.

Remove pot from heat and let cool until it feels pleasantly warm when you stick your pinkie in the milk for 10 seconds, 110 to 120 degrees. (If you think you’ll need to use the pot for something else, transfer the milk to a glass or ceramic bowl, or else you can let it sit in the pot.) If you’re in a hurry, you can fill your sink with ice water and let the pot of milk cool in the ice bath, stirring the milk frequently so it cools evenly.

Transfer 1/2 cup of warm milk to a small bowl and whisk in yogurt until smooth. Stir yogurt-milk mixture back into remaining pot of warm milk. Cover pot with a large lid. Keep pot warm by wrapping it in a large towel, or setting it on a heating pad, or moving to a warm place, such as your oven with the oven light turned on. Or just set it on top of your refrigerator, which tends to be both warm and out of the way.

Let yogurt sit for 6 to 12 hours until the yogurt is thick and tangy; the longer it sits, the thicker and tangier it will become. (I usually let it sit for the full 12 hours.) Transfer the pot to the refrigerator and chill for at least another 4 hours; it will continue to thicken as it chills.

(Source: Cooking.nytimes.com)


Cajun Nuts

Ingredients
2 tablespoons bacon grease
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups unsalted peanuts
1 cup unsalted cashews
1 cup whole unsalted almonds
1 cup pecan halves
1/2 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon black pepper
Cajun Seasoning
1/4 cup Lawry’s seasoned salt
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

Instructions
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
In a small bowl, combine all ingredients for Cajun seasoning. (You will only use 1/2 tablespoon of this mixture. Save the rest for other uses.)
In a small pan heat bacon grease over low heat. Add garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
Place nuts in a large bowl.
Drizzle bacon fat/garlic over nuts and toss to coat.
Sprinkle 1/2 tablespoon of cajun seasoning, salt, sugar, and black pepper over nuts. Toss to coat evenly.
Pour nuts onto a large baking sheet and place in oven for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.

(Source: Spicysouthernkitchen.com)


Devilled Eggs

Ingredients
10 hard cooked eggs, peeled and halved
½ cup homemade mayo
4 tablespoons melted butter
salt
paprika

Instructions
Scoop out the yolks of each egg and set aside.
Arrange the whites on a platter.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend together the yolks, mayo, and butter until smooth.
Season to taste with salt.
Put the yolk mixture in a piping bag, and pipe the mixture into the halved whites. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Sprinkle with paprika before serving.

(Source: Yummly.com)


Ranch Salad Bites

Ingredients

16 slices French baguette
1 cup arugula
1/2 cup roasted red peppers, drained
1/4 cup green onions (finely chopped)
40 sprays salad (wish-bone, spritzers ranch dressing)

Instructions
Combine arugula, roasted red peppers and green onions in medium bowl. Spritz with 24 sprays Wish-Bone® Salad Spritzers® Ranch Dressing.

Evenly top bread with vegetable mixture, then spritz with remaining Dressing. Serve immediately.

Arrange bread on serving platter; set aside.

(Source: Yummly.com)


Beet, Goat Cheese, and Grapefruit Salad

Ingredients
1 cup roasted beets
2 ounces of goat cheese (crumbled)
1 grapefruit (cut into segments)
1/4 cup hazelnuts
2 sprigs fresh mint
4 cups mixed greens
balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon EVOO

Directions
Preheat the oven at 350F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper, and spread the hazelnuts over the tray. Roast for 5 -10 minutes until golden. Allow the hazelnuts to cool and then chop roughly.
Remove the peel from the grapefruit and cut it into segments.
Crumble the goat cheese, and finely chop the mint.
Cut the beets into small wedges.
Layers the greens, beets, grapefruit, goat cheese, hazelnuts and mint on a large serving platter. Dress the salad with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. Serve immediately.

(Source: Yummly.com)


Super Fruity Beet & Pear Salad

Ingredients 
1/2 cup wish-bone superfruit berry vinaigrette dressing
2 beets (large, peeled, cooked and cut into 1/2-inch cubes)
2 pears (large, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes)
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 head Boston lettuce (torn into bite-sized pieces)
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon goat cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped pecans

Directions
Toss Wish-Bone® Superfruit Berry Vinaigrette Dressing, beets, pears, tomatoes and parsley in large bowl.
Arrange boston lettuce on serving platter, then top with beet mixture, goat cheese and pecans. Sprinkle, if desired, with freshly ground black pepper.

(Source: Yummly.com)


Wedge Salad Platter

Ingredients
2 heads of iceberg lettuce look for light weight heads
4 ounces blue cheese crumbled
1 cup chopped cooked bacon
3 boiled eggs see below for perfect boiled egg instructions
1 1/2 cups store bought blue cheese dressing

Instructions
Boil eggs: Put eggs in large sauce pan. Fill with cool water about an inch higher than the egg. (Add 1 tablespoon vinegar which will make them easier to peel). Bring to boil. Remove from heat, cover pan and let sit for 10 minutes for a perfect medium hard boiled egg. Remove eggs to a pan of cool water to stop cooking process. Peel when cool
Slice both heads of lettuce into 4 equal size portions for a total of 8 wedges and place on tray.
Sprinkle with blue cheese dressing, bacon, eggs and cheese crumbles. Add an additional bowl of dressing in the center.

(Source: Laughingspatula.com)


Chocolate Lava Cakes

Ingredients
Baking spray, for spraying custard cups
1 stick butter
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
2 whole eggs
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Vanilla ice cream, for serving

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Spray four custard cups with baking spray and place on a baking sheet.
Microwave the butter, bittersweet chocolate and semisweet chocolate in a large bowl on high until the butter is melted, about 1 minute. Whisk until the chocolate is also melted. Stir in the sugar until well blended. Whisk in the eggs and egg yolks, then add the vanilla. Stir in the flour. Divide the mixture among the custard cups.
Bake until the sides are firm and the centers are soft, about 13 minutes. Let stand 1 minute. Invert on individual plates while warm and serve with vanilla ice cream.

(Source: Foodnetwork.com)


Blackberry Cheesecake Squares

Ingredients
Crust:
Cooking spray, for spraying foil
One 11-ounce box vanilla wafers
1/2 cup pecans
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted
Filling:
Three 8-ounce packages cream cheese
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
Topping:
4 cups blackberries
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
For the crust: Line a 9-by-13-inch rectangular baking pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.
Place the vanilla wafers and pecans into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the mixture becomes crumbs. Add the melted butter and pulse again until combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan. (If they come up the sides, that’s okay!)
For the filling: Beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla together in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the sour cream and mix again.
Pour the filling into the crust, smooth the top and bake for 50 minutes. Turn off the oven, open the oven door and allow the pan to sit in the open oven for 15 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.
For the topping: Add the blackberries, sugar and 1/4 cup water to a saucepan or skillet. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until the juices thicken slightly, 4 to 5 minutes.
In a small bowl, make a slurry by stirring together the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water until smooth. Add the slurry to the berries, return to the boil and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and cool the mixture.
Pour the blackberries over the cheesecake and place the pan into the fridge to cool and set for at least 2 hours (several hours is better).
When ready to serve, remove the cheesecake from the pan by lifting the edges of the foil. Slice into 15 pieces with a long serrated knife.

(Source: Foodnetwork.com)


Lime Poke Cake

Ingredients
Cake:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing pan
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk, well shaken
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
One 3-ounce box lime gelatin
Topping:
2 cups heavy cream, cold
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Green sanding sugar, for sprinkling

Directions
Position an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch pan.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Whisk the buttermilk and vanilla in a spouted measuring cup; set aside.
Beat the granulated sugar and butter in a stand mixer (or a large bowl if using a hand mixer) at medium speed until very light in color and fluffy, about 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. With the mixer still running on medium, slowly add the eggs and beat until fully incorporated. Reduce the speed to the lowest setting; with the mixer running, add 1/3 of the flour mixture, then 1/2 of the buttermilk mixture, then 1/2 of the remaining flour mixture, then the remaining buttermilk mixture, then the remaining flour mixture. Scrape down the sides and beat until well mixed.
Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center of the cake, about 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Let cool for 30 minutes in the pan. Use a large fork to poke holes an inch apart in the top and all the way through the cake.
Bring 1 cup water to a boil, pour over the gelatin in a medium bowl and stir until completely dissolved about 2 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup cold water. Pour the mixture evenly over the cooled cake. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Put a large bowl (for whipping the cream) in the refrigerator.
Remove the cake from the refrigerator. Whip the cream with the granulated sugar and vanilla in the chilled bowl until fluffy. Spread it over the cake and sprinkle the sanding sugar on top. Slice and serve.

(Source: Foodnetwork.com)


P.S. Don’t forget that these lashings of food are calculated for 17 people, 12 of them huge and strong warriors.

A Kiss – A Memory – A Scene In The Book

It’s been a long, very long time I’ve been kissed the last time. I already started feeling like an old withered shed on the edge of the woods.

But last month, exactly April 18, at about 1 pm, after lunch, I experienced the sweetest, cutest kiss in about ‘a century.’ It wasn’t an ‘intimate’ French kiss, as some would suspect. It wasn’t a long, lustful, greedy ‘smooching,’ nor was it just a peck.

It was a gentle, soft touch of lips, filled with affection and attraction, tender and delicate.

Someone else might think: “Where’s the point? What’s the big fuss about it?”

That kiss, however, didn’t go out of my head. In silent moments I remember it and catch myself wistfully smiling at the memory.

Currently, I’m writing book seven in ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series and yesterday the story turned into a situation where a kiss like that would be just the perfect thing to happen.

But for some reason, I cannot describe what I felt when I got that kiss. I’m at a lack of words for my emotions.

Now I’m lost. I’m writing paranormal romance. In the six books, I wrote for ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series, I described several scenes with wonderful loving and tender kisses – and each one of them is good the way it is.

But in this case, I don’t know how to describe my own experience and wake the feeling I had when I got that particular kiss a month ago.

What am I doing wrong?

Does anyone have a hint or tip for me how to do that? Did anyone try to interlace their own experiences into their stories, and how did you do that? Let me know in the comments. I need your help. Thank you.

P. S. I was asked about the man who kissed me that day – I hope you’ll understand I won’t mention any names here. That’s my secret.

picture courtesy of: pexels.com

Yecheilyah’s 3rd Annual Poetry Contest 2019: Rules, Guidelines, and Prizes

Check out Yecheilyah’s 3rd Annual Poetry Contest 2019!


It’s that time of the year again!!!

Submissions Accepted

Now – August 1, 2019

Winners Announced:

Friday, November 1, 2019.


Theme:

The purpose of this year’s theme is to use words that empower and inspire us to be the best version of ourselves. We talked about Self-Love last year and now it’s time we spoke it into existence and live it through our actions.

Choose any one of these words to dedicate your poem to.

Strength, Courage, Wisdom, Faith

Guidelines:

Continue Reading HERE

 

Six Superb Ways To End A Novel – Written By Lorraine Ambers

Lorraine Ambers provides us with six different was to end a novel, a blog post I immediately fell in love with and decided to share. Thanks for this article, Lorraine.


The ending of a novel needs to leave the reader satisfied and should reflect the pace and tone of the rest of the story. The truth is, endings are hard. The writer must conclude all subplots and bring clarity and resolution to the conflicts the characters face.

I’m going to share six of the most effective methods for concluding your novel.

To be continued…

This method is often used to entice the reader into continuing on with a series. So that the ending creates anticipation instead of resolution. I think this works best when the overarching plot remains and the characters continue onwards with their journey, for example, a looming war.

Warning: Conclude the subplots and character journeys set out for this particular story or the reader will feel cheated.

Continue reading HERE

Self-Publishing and Entrepreneurship – Written By Jami Gold

Jamie Gold tells us about Self-Publishing and Entrepreneurship. What are we – authors or entrepreneur? Thank you for your post, Jamie.


In many ways, a writing career has a lot in common with being an entrepreneur.

Even if we’re with a traditional publisher, we still have to manage our own branding, contracts, and acceptance of risk in ways that corporate employees usually don’t.

In the realm of self-publishing, the comparison to entrepreneurship is spot on.

Our writing and publishing endeavors create our own little company.

We’re responsible for assembling our team of editors, cover artists, and everything else—and we won’t succeed if we drop the ball.

Continue reading HERE

How To Help Stop Somebody Stealing Your Blog Posts – Written By Hugh W. Roberts

On Hugh’s Views and News I found an important blog post about how to help stop somebody stealing your blog posts. Thank you very much for all your efforts to help us bloggers! We really appreciate it!


I recently stumbled upon a blog where the author had copied and was using my blog posts. No pingbacks or mention that I was the original author, just plain copy and pasting of some of my posts and images. It left me feeling angry, yet I also felt honoured that my work must be good enough if somebody wanted to copy it.

Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

Unfortunately, with the internet being such a vast and open space used by billions of people worldwide, the chances of that happening to any one of us who publishes anything on the internet is a distinct possibility. Whether it be photos, fiction, reviews, poetry, recipes or gardening tips, everything faces the chance of being copied and somebody else taking full credit for your hard work.

Read the entire blog post HERE

 

…’S’TRODN’RY!’ – Written By Seumas Gallacher

Read Master Gallacher’s blog post about the ‘birth’ of a new word. With all his humor and wisdom, Seumas Gallacher provides us with a wonderful blog post I just had to share. Thank you, Seumas.


…it’s not often that this ol’ Scots Jurassic scribbler has been present at the birth of a new word… but one such memorable occasion presented itself many, many moons ago… it happened during that part of my career when I was part of the legions of Financial Masters of the Universe, as the embodied historical photograph of the yesteryear money market/foreign exchange maestro in the dealing room in Hong Kong here indicates…

…part of the role of being a prominent F.M.U. entailed, (naturally), whizzing around the globe, ostensibly arranging mega-billions worth of deals (Master Soros, eat yer heart out!)… a trip from the Far East had my itinerary taking in financial institutional visits in London, then carrying on to Noo Yawk in ‘Murica, to repeat the exercise with some of our American banking friends…

Read the entire blog post HERE