Friday, October 31, 2014

October Fave Fives: Monster Mash!



October’s Fave Fives is all about that one magical evening when things go bump in the night. Do you have any special traditions? Maybe it’s all those yummy treats? Do you love decorating with cobwebs and jack-o-lanterns? Or maybe you can’t wait to hit the haunted houses and costume parties? 

This month I asked my fellow authors what their favorite parts of Halloween are, and you don't want to miss what they had to say!








Most kids spend the entire year looking forward to their birthdays and Christmas. After all, those are the typical gift-giving holidays. Halloween has always been my favorite holiday, though, even when I was little, and it had very little to do with the candy. 


  • The decorations. My house looks like Halloween exploded in it. Ghosts, vampires, skeletons, spider webs (some might be real, don't judge me) and jack-o-lanterns. I have purple and orange lights strung from one end of my living room to the other, and our front yard is probably the coolest and spookiest on the block. We really dig Halloween around here. 
  • The costumes. I don't dress up much anymore, but I love to live vicariously through my children. They've gone trick-or-treating as everything from hobos to pirates, and it's as much fun for me to dress them up as it is for them. I also love seeing all the inventive costumes from the other kiddos in the neighborhood! 
  • Supernatural. No, not the CW show, though that's awesome, too. :) I've been fascinated by the occult since before I even knew what the word meant. There are so many legends and myths and stories that revolve around Halloween and Samhain, it's hard not to get excited. 
  • The movies! Scary movies are a rare indulgence for me. I don't typically like being scared or startled, but there's something about Halloween that makes me unable to resist curling up in the dark to watch a Friday the 13th marathon. However, not all of my favorite Halloween movies are terrifying and gruesome. I mean, who can resist watching Hocus Pocus half a dozen times during the month? 
  • Makeup. Okay, this one seems a bit odd, but there's a strange since of deviousness that overcomes me when I get to smother my husband's face in shadow and eyeliner. Thankfully, he's a pretty good sport about it, even when it won't completely wash off for a couple of days. *wink* 

Sometimes, new beginnings come from unexpected places.
To Cecily Baker, being unattached means making her own decisions, living by her own rules, and never answering to anyone. So when her sister drags her to a singles night at a local club--and then ditches her--it only strengthens Cecily's conviction that dating just isn't for her.
Pulling double duty as a bouncer and a bartender, Rafe Serento has seen a parade of beautiful women walk through the doors of Electric Mist, but he's never met anyone like Cecily. Lovely in every sense of the word, and just as stubborn, she challenges everything he thought he wanted in a relationship.
The more Cecily pushes him away, though, the harder Rafe pushes back, and unless they find some common ground, they'll both end up Alone.









N.J. WALTERS

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N.J. has always been a voracious reader, and now she spends her days writing novels of her own. Vampires, werewolves, dragons, time-travelers, seductive handymen, and next-door neighbors with smoldering good looks—all vie for her attention. It’s a tough life, but someone’s got to live it.

  • Pumpkins! I love carving Halloween pumpkins. The designs are limitless. I don’t even mind having to clean out the guts first. :)
  • Movies. I’m not a fan of slasher/horror films, but I love films like The Crow, Underworld, Dracula and Lost Boys.
  • Candy. Okay, so they’re as sweet as sin but I love candy corn.
  • Decorations. As a kid, I couldn’t wait to put up decorations for Halloween. They’ve come a long way since the cardboard cut-outs we’d tape to the living room window. Now there are lights and elaborate outdoor displays to enjoy.
  • Trick or Treat. I really enjoy giving out candy to the kids. They have the best costumes and enjoy themselves so much.


Wolf on the Run 
Salvation Pack, Book 3 

Considered an abomination for her inability to shift, Cherise Michaels has been on the run from her
pack since she was a teenager. After her mother is murdered by her former packmates, Cherise is alone, grieving and out of options. Until a dream puts her on course toward her last hope—Salvation, North Carolina. 

She makes it to Salvation only to be cornered by her pursuers and then rescued by the biggest, baddest werewolf she’s ever seen. 

Cole Blanchard has no trouble dispatching the intruders trespassing on pack land. Convincing their skittish quarry she’s safe is another story. Cole senses she is his mate and he’ll protect her to his last breath, even it means risking everything to face her former pack. 

In Cole’s arms, Cherise learns there’s something in this world more powerful than fear—desire and love. She knows loving her is a death sentence for Cole, so she plans to store up a lifetime of memories before she lets him go…









EVANGELINE ANDERSON


Evangeline Anderson is a registered MRI tech who would rather be writing. And yes, she is nerdy enough to have a bumper sticker that says “I’d rather be writing.” Honk if you see her! She is thirty-something and lives in Florida with a husband, a son, and two cats. She had been writing erotic fiction for her own gratification for a number of years before it occurred to her to try and get paid for it. To her delight, she found that it was actually possible to get money for having a dirty mind and she has been writing paranormal and Sci-fi erotica steadily ever since.


  • Dressing up--both myself and my son. It's so much fun to make up the craziest costumes we can think of 
  • Trick-or-treating with family and friends who have kids. There is nothing like the look on their faces when they walk up to the door and say "trick or treat" 
  • Fall weather--even here in Florida it's usually a bit cooler by Halloween. I love being outside in the brisk air at night--chilly and magical. 
  • Halloween decorations--we love it all. Skeletons, ghouls, spiderwebs with huge hairy spiders in them--we go crazy! 
  • Carving jack-o-lanterns. We all get our own pumpkin and scoop out the guts and see who can make the scariest one. Then I soak the seeds in salt water and roast them. Yummy!

Commander Stavros Rii of the Kindred is a Sin Eater--thick black lines cover his back and neck causing him to feel the pain of others. It is a curse that threatens to shorten his life and makes him unable to bond with a female--not that he's ever found one he wants to bond with. Until he meets Charlie.

Charlie Sayers is an agent with the Earth Protection Bureau-- and anti Kindred agency dedicated to ridding the world of the big aliens. Charlie joined the EPB out of a sense of patriotism but she has her own reasons to hate the Kindred.

But she has bigger problems than the Kindred at the moment--the Enhanced Ones have come to Earth and they're planning to take over the planet, enslave the inhabitants and strip them of all emotion. Charlie can't have that so she agrees to go undercover with Stavros to find the Heart of Love--an artifact which can destroy their mutual enemy forever.

On their dangerous and difficult mission, Charlie learns that going undercover with your worst enemy can rapidly turn him into your best friend...or your lover. Can she hold on to her beliefs and stay true to herself, or will she lose her heart to Stavros? And even if she gives in to desire, will Stav be able to bond her to him?

Or are they Cursed to be apart forever?









ERIKA REED


Erika Reed lives in Southern California with her loving husband and two beautiful daughters. She is very thankful for her family and friends that have been there, supporting her from the beginning of her writing career. 

When she is not writing or running her busy household, she enjoys sitting down with her Kindle, reading one of her favorite authors. She enjoys her writing and will continue to surprise her readers with more exotic stories in the future. She loves to hear from her readers and can be reached at erikareedauthor49@gmail.com.

  • I look forward to the time change during this time of season when the autumn leaves and colors of Halloween change so dramatically as they become so vibrant and beautiful. Watching the way leaves turn to brilliant colors of orange, yellow, and even some red during the month of October. Mother Natures way of preparing us for the up and coming winter. 
  • My husband and I enjoy sitting down at the kitchen table with my daughters and helping them carve out their pumpkins. After we’re done, I then attempt to cook the leftover seeds in the oven. Which I can never seem to get right each year. 
  • I like seeing all the Halloween decorations that people display in their front yard, accented with different color pumpkins, spiders, ghosts and scary figurines that I will quickly avoid. I love to drive by or walk and look at all the cool displays on Halloween. 
  • Classic Halloween movies marathons are my absolute favorite. You can always find plenty to watch the month of October for all ages. I am a huge fan of the Friday the 13th, Halloween, Nightmare on Elm St. or just about anything that has scared the bejesus out of me at one time or another. And then there are the family movies I like to watch with my daughters, such as Hocus Pocus, Hotel Transylvania and Beetlejuice. 
  • And last but not least the best thing about Halloween is raiding the kids candy bags after a night of trick-or-treating. I make sure to hide the Snickers and Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups all for myself. ;)

Five years after running away from the man she loved, Peyton Montgomery is coming home.


With nowhere to live, no money in the bank, and still stinging from being served her divorce papers, Peyton is returning to help her mother care for her father after a heart attack. Being back means eventually she’ll run into the man that broke her heart and ruined her for anyone else. When they do cross paths, Peyton soon discovers she wasn’t the only one that lost so much after she left. 

Because of one drunken mistake, Jackson Holt lost the woman he loved. Now he has a second chance at mending the relationship he once had with Peyton, but he has a confession he needs to get off his chest before they both can move forward and claim the life and the love they lost the night Peyton left.











JADE LEE


A USA Today Bestseller, JADE LEE /KATHY LYONS has been scripting love stories since she first picked up a set of paper dolls. Ball gowns and rakish lords caught her attention early (thank you Georgette Heyer), and her fascination with the Regency began. And as a Taurus, she lives to pit a headstrong woman against a tortured hero just to watch them butt heads on the way to true love. Flesh wounds are rare, but the healing and laughter are real. 

Now an author of more than 40 romance novels, she finally gets to set these couples in the best girl-heaven of all: a Bridal Salon! This way she gets to live out all her wedding fantasies, one by one. (Let’s be honest, what girl has only one idea for her dream wedding?) 

But don't forget KATHY LYONS, That’s Jade’s lighter, contemporary side. She writes for Harlequin Blaze merging hawt sex and funny relationships into really great reads.


My mother was a Chinese immigrant, and she never understood Halloween. Why send your children out to act like beggars? So she never liked Halloween, therefore, I LOVED IT! So my favorite things about Halloween (in backwards order, because that’s who I am) are below. And I have to confess that these are from my 10 year old perspective because some holidays call for a child-like (childish?) attitude. 

  • Staying out as long as possible–to the very last second–just because I can and it drives Mom nuts. 
  • Make-up! Gimme glow-in-the-dark scars that drip blood! I’ve attached a picture of Squidge and my favorite Halloween mask. No dripping blood, but that stuff gets everywhere. As I mature, I find I prefer sparkles! 
  • Seeing all the great costumes everyone else has. Honestly, it’s always more fun talking about what you’re going to wear with your friends than actually going through the work. But still...those who make the effort are admired by all! 
  • Prizes! There’s always a costume contest somewhere. 
  • Candy, candy, candy…CHOCOLATE!

What the Groom Wants

An honest love…

Radley Lyncott has been in love with Wendy Drew as long as he can remember. When he went to sea, she was too young to court. Now that he’s returned to take up his Welsh title, he is appalled to find that debt has ruined the Drew family, and—even worse—Wendy is being courted by another man.

Or a dangerous attraction?

Family comes first for seamstress Wendy Drew, who is forced to settle her brother’s debt by working nights at a notorious gambling den. But her double-life hasn’t gone unnoticed—she has captivated none other than Demon Damon, a nefarious rake who understands Wendy’s darkest desires and is hell bent on luring her into his arms.










LAURIE ROMA


Laurie Roma lives in Chicago and mainly writes contemporary, romantic suspense, and sci-fi romance. She has always loved immersing herself in a good book and now enjoys the pleasure of creating her own. She can usually be found tapping away on her keyboard, creating worlds for her characters while she listens to music. Of course her playlist depends on her mood...but then again, so does her writing. 

An avid reader of the romance genre, nothing bothers her more than annoying characters. Seriously, who wants a happy ending for someone that pisses you off? She loves tough alpha-male heroes and strong heroines that have brains as well as beauty. Her novels are filled with both passionate romance and down and dirty lust-driven interludes, as she believes both are essential to a good love story. She loves to hear from her readers and can be reached at laurieromabooks@gmail.com.


  • I love costume parties! It's so fun to dress up and get a free pass to act totally crazy for one night. 
  • Hey, did you know if you fly on Halloween you get free drinks? I didn't, until I flew to Vegas on Halloween last year and my flight attendant loaded me up. LOL 
  • Candy...candy, and oh, did I mention candy? 
  • Scary movies, haunted houses and ghost tours to get in the mood... 
  • And Halloween means the other holidays are right around the corner!

Daryk “Dare” Nyght is a man on the edge. As a trauma surgeon in the Army, he has seen his share of combat, but his high-risk lifestyle has left him burnt out and in desperate need of some peace. A man without a home, Dare heads to the small town of Breakers to get some rest and spend some time with a few friends, but what he finds there is more than he ever expected... 

Evelyn Beaumont is a woman who seems to have it all. Evie has grace, beauty and wealth, but she hides from painful memories by burying herself in her work at the rescue center she runs. When these two lost souls come together in a clash of wills, the sparks between them are undeniable. Will passion be enough or can they find a way to open their hearts for a chance at true love?











SUSAN HAYES


Susan lives out on the Canadian west coast surrounded by open water, dear family and good friends. She’s jumped out of perfectly good airplanes on purpose and accidently swum with sharks on the Great Barrier Reef. 

If the world ends, she plans to survive as the spunky, comedic sidekick to the heroes of the new world, because she’s too damned short and out of shape to make it on her own for long. 

To contact her about her books or to arrange end of the world team-ups, you can email her at susanhayesromance@gmail.com


I should confess that Halloween is one of my favourite holidays. 

  • The costumes. It’s the one day of the year that I can dress up however I wish and no one bats an eye. I love getting to flit around the office in a witch’s hat and a cape all day. (There may be cackling involved too…) 
  • Carving pumpkins. This was a time honoured family tradition when I was growing up. We’d break out the black Jiffy marker, discuss just how we wanted the faces to look, and argue over who got to cut what bit while the scent of roasting pumpkin seeds filled the house. 
  • Scary movies on television all month. Growing up, monster movies and horrors scared me too badly to watch them, but as an adult they’re one of my guilty pleasures. Not the slasher films, but the monster movies. Werewolves, vampires, spiders, zombies, you name it, I’ll watch it. Also, Ghostbuster movie reruns! 
  • Trick-or-Treating. No, I don’t go out anymore (though I still miss the magic of running house to house all dressed up.) Now I just watch as little spooks and superheroes charge up and down the street. 
  • It’s the eve of Samhain. A time to honor friends and family who have passed on. Many believe this is the night that the veil between this world and the afterlife is at its thinnest, which makes it a good night to light a candle and speak to those we’ve lost.

Nick Wilde is a man content with his life. Business at his tattoo shop is booming, and he’s never
lacking for friends or female company. But when he meets Lia, he knows everything will change... 

A moment’s flirtation and a kiss in the dark leaves Nick wanting more. When his Cinderella vanishes before the night is over, she leaves him nothing but her name and the memory of a kiss he can’t forget. 

Chicago Police Detective Lia Archer’s life doesn’t have room for distractions, and that’s exactly what Nick Wilde is. He’s sexy, charming, and a threat to everything she’s worked so hard to achieve. She ran out on him once, but when Nick reappears in her life, he’s determined not to make it easy for her to vanish on him again. 

When past decisions and old secrets come back to haunt them, will the fairytale end, or will they find a way to reclaim their Happily Ever After?





Saturday, October 4, 2014

Carb Wars: Beef and Broccoli Soup



Ah, the art of leftovers. In a house with three boys, you'd think leftovers wouldn't happen, but alas, they do with alarming frequency. And of course, my boys (including the hubby) find second-day food an insult to their delicate palates.

My kids when I suggest leftovers.

My husband when I suggest leftovers.

Needless to say, I've had to come up with some pretty creative ways to make new meals out of old ones. This recipe comes from left over pot roast -- delicious left over pot roast, if I do say so myself, but we'll talk about that another time.

It's easy, it's quick, and it's pretty much idiot proof.

Ingredients

Leftover pot roast, shredded
10 oz beef broth (low sodium if you can find it)
1 cup water
2 tbs soy sauce (again, go for the reduced sodium)
12 oz package of chopped frozen broccoli
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
1 package Lipton Beef and Onion Soup mix
1 package Lipton Onion and Mushroom Soup mix
1/2 tsp pepper (or to taste)

Directions

Dump everything into a stock pot and mix well. Cook covered on low heat for about half an hour or until the broccoli is tender. Seriously. that's it! 

Enjoy and don't forget to tip your waitress.