Thursday, February 28, 2013

A NEW book is one you haven't yet read!

by Byron and Kay McAllister

Set in 1964, this is the story of world-famous sleuth Tim Rinnissen’s first introduction to detective work. The crime, five years’ old, is an old-fashioned bludgeoning, with traces of attempted poisoning, corruption of officialdom, and an introduction to investigation sponsored by a couple of nudists, locally famous for their gourmet cooking. Tim’s youth and inexperience lead him into trouble, but the nudes rescue him by solving the crime-- feeding him a Malaysian dinner as they analyze how they did it.

Malaysian Sticky Pork Chops

Servings: 2  (Double or triple the recipe and use a larger pan for more people)

4 pork cutlets, of chops trimmed
1/3 cup Chinese wine or 1/3 cup sherry wine
1 tablespoon soya sauce
1 tablespoon grated ginger
2 tablespoons chili sauce or 2 tablespoons chili flakes
2 tablespoons honey


1 Heat frying pan over medium heat.

2 Cook meat for 2 minutes each side, or until meat is well browned.
3 Remove meat, set aside - Keep warm -
4 Add cooking wine, soy sauce, ginger, chili sauce/flakes and honey to the same pan without washing the pan.
5 Cook for 3 minutes.
6 Return the meat to pan and cook on each side for 1 minute.
7 Simmer until the sauce thickens, and pork is cooked through.
8 Serve with rice and greens.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Vampires on the Eastern Shore

By Andy Nunez

An eerie, hair-raising story of everyday people who become both the prey and preditor. Handsome young men were dying in the dark alleyways, expressions of bliss on their faces. Old women, prostitutes, and policemen, all were disappearing in a reign of terror, blood drained from their bodies. The problem was, they wouldn’t stay dead. Police Sergeant Junior Gale was caught up in a web of deceit and destruction as two powerful forces battled in the dark streets and sewers of his city. Who was the mysterious High One unleashing a wave of undead creatures in a small town, where bored adulteresses and powerful businessmen mixed with evangelical revivalists and the dregs of society? Junior Gale had an eclectic mix of allies, but any one of them could be the High One, or the next victim. No place was secure from the evil that pervaded the city at night, not homes, not prisons, not even churches! Love, lust, revenge and murder mix in this tale of vampires and victims, all to satisfy the High One’s Crimson Need.

Vampire's Favorite Red Velvet Cake


3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoon sugar
6 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks (see Cake-Baking Tips)
2 large eggs, at room temperature (see Cake-Baking Tips), separated
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 ounce red food coloring (4 teaspoon), optional (see Ingredient note)
1 cup nonfat buttermilk
12 ounce soft light cream cheese
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2-1 ounce chocolate, grated, for garnish (optional)


1. To prepare cake: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat two 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray.

2. Whisk all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.

3. Beat sugar and butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until crumbly, about two minutes. Beat in egg yolks one at a time, then add vanilla and food coloring (if using) until smooth.

4. Beat in half the buttermilk on low speed until smooth, then half the flour mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat in the remaining buttermilk. Beat in the remaining flour mixture just until combined.

5. Clean and dry beaters. Beat egg whites in a clean medium bowl at high speed until soft peaks form. With a rubber spatula, gently fold the whites into the batter until just incorporated, using long, even strokes. Divide the batter between the prepared pans, spreading to the edges. Gently rap the pans against the counter once or twice to settle the batter.

6. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert the layers onto the rack, remove the pans and let cool to room temperature, about 45 minutes more.

7. To prepare frosting & assemble cake: Beat cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and vanilla in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Place one cake layer top-side down on a serving plate; cover with half the frosting, spreading just to the edges. Set the second layer on top, top-side down. Spread the remaining frosting on the top only. Sprinkle with grated chocolate, if desired.

Cake-Baking Tips:
When using cake pans, they must be greased and floured to create a thin layer of protection against the oven's heat. For greater convenience, use a cooking spray that has flour in the mix, such as Pam for Baking, Baker's Joy or Crisco No-Stick Flour Spray.

Whole-wheat pastry flour has less gluten-forming potential than regular whole-wheat flour, making it a better choice for tender baked goods.

To properly measure flour when baking, use a spoon to lightly scoop flour from its container into a measuring cup. Once in the measuring cup, use a knife or other straight edge to level the flour with the top of the cup. If the measuring cup is dipped directly into the container”a common mistake”the flour will be packed into the cup and result in extra flour being added to the recipe, yielding tough, dense baked goods.

Room-temperature butter for a batter is one of the biggest culinary missteps. In fact, butter must be below 68°F to trap air molecules and build structure. Otherwise, the fat will be liquefied and the cake will be flat. To get "cool" butter: Cut refrigerated butter into chunks and let them sit in a bowl for 5 minutes before beating.

Eggs must be at room temperature for the proteins to unwind enough to support the cake's crumb. Either set the eggs out on the counter for 15 minutes or submerge them in their shells in a bowl of lukewarm (not hot) water for 5 minutes.

Although you cannot overbeat the eggs, sugar and butter, you can overbeat the flour. If you do, you'll develop the gluten and create a quick bread rather than a layer cake. Beat the flour just until there are no white grains of undissolved flour visible but not until the batter is smooth.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tension and Suspense -- writing tip

by Kathryn Flatt

Artist Stefanie Durant never expected trouble on her return to Windsong Lake after her Uncle Hank was killed by lightning, making his house in the small town hers. As soon as she arrives, clues indicate that Hank had feared for his life and he had developed an interest in weather and mysticism. She also learns two of her old friends have adopted a pagan religion and dabble in magic. The connection is impossible to ignore, especially in light of the Ken, the psychic ability Stefanie had suppressed for more than twenty years and kept secret from everyone. It tells her something very wrong surrounds Hank’s death when she begins doing “sleep pictures,” crude sketches she never remembers drawing that foretell of danger. Although she would rather keep her secret, the Ken becomes increasingly difficult to control as danger arises out of Stefanie’s search for answers about her uncle. Who killed Uncle Hank and why? Was it the friend who has embraced dark magic, or was it the builder of the mysterious altar-like structure in the woods behind Hank’s property? And will releasing the Ken help solve the mystery or will it drive Stefanie to the brink of madness?

Building Tension and Suspense

Question from the e-mail:  You have, or used to have, a handout on how to build in tension and suspense. I've moved three times since then, but would really like to see that again.  Can you help?

Answer:  Sure do.  See below:

One way to write page-turner fiction is to build in tension and suspense into every scene..
Without those two elements, there is no real story. Someone has to want  something – usually, it’s the main character – and wondering whether  they will get it or not is the definition of reader suspense.  For tension to be present, the reader has to care about that character, to be rooting for him to succeed.

One way to make the reader care is to use motivation  (why the character wants the something) to increase the tension.

All characters act for reasons of their own. Good characters have a good reason for acting as they do. Bad characters have a bad reason, but ALL characters MUST have a reason. That reason is called motivation.

The term tension, in fiction writing, has to do with the amount of stake the reader has in your characters.  The more the reader cares what happens to your protagonist, the more tension there is. Good motivation increases tension. Tension can be increased by inserting action that magnifies the danger to the main character, or that makes it look less likely the character will get what he or she wants. Any scene that makes it look like the main character is in danger of losing what he or she wants in the story will  increase tension.

To a fiction writer suspense isn’t just for mystery writers. Suspense means keeping readers guessing what will happen next. The term suspense, denotes how involved the reader is in your plot.  If he or she already knows (or can guess) what is going to happen, there isn't any suspense (critics call it "predictable"), and little reason to continue reading. Readers begin to feel “tired” when you tell them something they already know. Hooks help increase suspense. To avoid trite plots, make a list of 10 things that might happen next and pick the least likely. Or brainstorm with friends to come up with suggestions for unusual and exciting twists. Remember, keep the readers guessing .Don’t tell them everything at once. Feed them little bits of information in dribs and drabs, to keep them guessing what will happen next. YOU have to know everything, of course, but you don’t have to TELL everything at once. A good place to put that information is in your end of scene hooks, where you would ordinarily plant a question in the reader’s mind about what will happen next or what secrets from the past the character is concealing.

Having defined both terms let me give you an exaggerated example:

Your detective, Sam Shovel, a hard-drinking, insensitive, bigoted lout, is being held at gunpoint by an equally nefarious antagonist. Whether he gets shot or not is suspense – a plot turning point. Whatever happens, SOMEthing will be different afterwards. Whether the reader cares if Sam gets shot? That's tension.... Since Sam is such a louse, we may not care at all.

Now suppose Sam is working for Tess Trueheart, and (for an exorbitant fee – which is Sam’s motivation) is trying to find evidence that will prove her innocent of killing the man who sold her an unsafe used car, raped her sister, and kicked her dog. Tess is a teacher in a school for the blind, takes care of her invalid mother, and helps little old ladies across the street. If Sam is shot, Tess will be found guilty for we care now whether Sam gets killed? 

Now I DID say it was an exaggerated example, but do you see how motivation affects tension? Tess (a good character) is in danger of losing her freedom, perhaps even her life, if she is convicted of murder. The reader will care about Tess, even if Sam is a louse. Now no “real” character will be as big a louse as Sam. No real woman will be as pure-hearted as Tess. But even “real” characters must have a reason for what they do. And if your reader is going to root for your  Pro-tagonist it must be a good reason.

Monday, February 25, 2013

"Forgotten" Dog Biscuit Recipe

By Nancy Madison

In this romantic comedy, the rocky road to love just got rougher. Jake Malone's dead sure he doesn't need anyone to complete or complicate his life.

Meeting the self-assured loner, Carly Anderson disagrees and vows to pursue Jake until he catches her. In her quest, Carly's helped or hindered by a wanna-be Stallone, a larcenous film producer who preys on lonely women and a granny with a black Labrador and a Harley.

"Forgotten" Dog Biscuit Recipe

Neither overtly salty nor sweet, and with a pleasantly grainy texture, these biscuits won a loyal following among dogs — as well as humans.


  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 cups cornmeal
  • 1 1/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon pieces
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 large egg
  • Special equipment: a pastry or bench scraper;
  •  If you don't have a dog-biscuit cookie cutter, you can use a glass and make plain round ones.


Pulse flours, cornmeal, oats, wheat germ, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt in a food processor until combined. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal with pea-size butter lumps. Add 1 cup water and pulse until a coarse, dense dough forms. 

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead . Gather, then halve dough with scraper. Form into 2 balls and flatten each into a 6-inch disk. 

Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 2 large baking sheets. 

Roll out 1 disk of dough into a round (1/3 inch thick) on a well-floured surface with a well-floured rolling pin. (If dough becomes too soft to roll out, wrap in plastic and chill until firm.) 

Cut out as many biscuits as possible and arrange about 1/4 inch apart on 1 baking sheet. 

Gather scraps and reroll, then cut out more biscuits. Repeat with remaining dough, using other baking sheet. 

Whisk together egg and 1 tablespoon water. Brush biscuit tops with egg wash and bake, switching position of sheets halfway through, until tops are golden brown, about 35 minutes total. 

Turn off oven and "Forget" to take the biscuits out until tomorrow morning. 

Cooks' note: Biscuits keep, layered between sheets of wax paper or parchment, in an airtight container at room temperature 1 month. Or indefinitely in a zip lock bag in the refrigerator. But if your Pooch is like ours, they won't last long.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Sharp Writ Book Awards

At the end of Ozark Girl, Charlene Ridley had finished eighth grade and finished with life in the Ozarks, or so it seemed. We meet her again in Getting Smart, following her along the bumpy roads of life in the Ozark hills. We share with her those experiences — happy, confusing, painful— that continue to shape her life. We see her figuring out the new rules—her mother’s and those unwritten rules of high school life. Bobby Ray is back, as are Leitha, Jeannie, Fig, Jerry, and most of the Boogey Flats residents we met earlier. But there are also new people entering Charlene’s life, and they play an important role in helping her to "get smart."


I know some of our authors are Mensa Members have not heard of most of the other organizations. Also this seems costly, but...

Submissions for the 2012
Sharp Writ Book Awards are Now Open!

Super Early:  April 30th - US $40.00 or equivalent in foreign currency
Early Bird: June 30th - US $55.00 or equivalent in foreign currency
Regular: August 31st - US $70.00 or equivalent in foreign currency
Books authored by members of the recognized high IQ societies* – August 31st  - US $55.00 or equivalent in foreign currency
*Recognized High IQ Societies:
  • Mensa Internationaland various Mensa National Organizations
  • Ingenium HIQS
  • Uniq Society
  • Logiq Society

Ready to submit an entry?   Download and entry form in either fillable PDF or MS Word format.  Entry form can be mailed with submission OR emailed to

Friday, February 22, 2013

Catching UP!

by Newton Love

When Nick Schaevers takes the case, his client is already in prison, convicted of murdering a business partner. If ever there was a need for St. Jude--the Patron Saint of desperate situations--to intercede, this was it. To discover who framed his client, Nick must break laws, both statute and spiritual, and wager his life in a dangerous bet before he is through. What's a good Catholic boy doing in the killing business anyhow? Can Nick stay in the business without irreparably staining his soul? In the course of the investigation, Nick meets Wendy Crooks, who may be the soul-mate he had almost given up on meeting. The psychological strain of his life and work circumstances crossed with a new woman causes him to grow but develop new neurosis, too.

Catching UP!
Things are moving a bit slowly this week. Shelley is still away at a family wedding. Sure hope she is having fun.  Meanwhile Roger is feeling better and we are hoping he recovers soon.

Author Judy Reveal reports that someone has sent spam from her e-mail address (as can happen to anyone) and reminds us all never to open an e-mail for ANYONE that contains just a link with no message.

 Books that went to press this week: 


Galleys that went out this week:
MAICAH'S JEWEL: Moretti Men Series, Vol. 1, by Anna Dynowski
GAME FACES: Faces Series, Vol. 2, by Kathryn Flatt
DR. SHABBAZ, by Dan Klefstad.
Work began or continued on the following:

FREE FALL, by Ann Nolder Heinz

TRANSIT OF VENUS, by Moishe Garfinkle.

Books waiting for information from the authors:

TIME: A Seasonal Short Story Collection by Gianni DeVincenti Hayes

CHANGELING KILL, by Kathryn Flatt

SNIPER ON THE ROOF, by Warren Graffeo

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Mystery- writing tip

One by one neighborhood dogs disappear. One by one the ransom notes arrive. When Toby Martin and her best pal, Freddy, discover Toby’s dog is the next intended victim, they become first-rate detectives. Who is the pooch pilferer? Will Toby and Freddy rescue the dogs and capture the criminal?

While Toby is investigating, she is also writing a series of mystery stories in the Sherlock Holmes’ tradition. These stories are critiqued by the delightfully nasty Mrs. Trattles, a hard-nosed, straight-arrow English teacher who forces Toby to improve her writing.

Writing Mysteries Question

Question from Arline's e-Mail:  A member of my writer's group said she doesn't like my mystery, not because of the writing, but because she is not fond of "closed" mysteries and also thought my characters were "too cardboard."  I didn't take offense. I know she's trying to help me. But what is she trying to say???  Your old student, Lilianne.

Answer: Good to hear from you, Lillianne. As you know, I'm a mystery reader and sometime writer. In an “open” mystery, the reader is given the clues right along with the fictional sleuth and tries to solve the mystery as the story unfolds – think Jessica Fletcher. In a “closed” mystery, the reader already knows who did the crime, but whether or not the sleuth will be able to prove it is in doubt – think Columbo. Personally, I love a puzzle and like to get the clues along with the sleuth, if the writer plays fair.

As a reader, I always prefer characters who grow and change as a story progresses. Characters who do not change are sometimes referred to as "cardboard." But that doesn't mean they are badly written. Superman is always Superman and only becomes interesting to me when Kryptonite enters the scene. That's when he changes. I find a character who is in danger more interesting than one who we know is not vulnerable to any danger and is only there to save the day.

I've never read a really bad open mystery. Take Dick Francis's  ODDS AGAINST for instance. It had a horrible hole in the plot) but the writing was terrific and Francis gave his readers all the clues.  The solution was revealed in a dinner-table scene where the character's embarassment by his ex-wife masked the clue nicely.

Usually, plot drives most of the closed or  puzzle-based mysteries  and the characters are chess pieces, moved about to accomplish an end.  Think about it. What do we know of Hercule Poirot except that he is Belgian and fond of his "little gray cells?" Miss Marple is elderly, a bit cynical on the subject of human nature, and knits. Their presence as characters is only to facilitate the answer to the puzzle. We rarely know what they're thinking, which way they'd vote in an election, or what issues are important to them.

And Sherlock Holmes? Well he certainly became more interesting  to me when Irene Adler entered the picture.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Tiger Butter, Recipe

Set in Los Angeles, teacher Brenda Finnegan and her animal-trainer boyfriend, Bob Zebrinski (proud owner of the Title Character), witness a kidnapping. Brenda decides she must do what she can to find the people behind the crime and the victim's subsequent murder.

Tiger Butter, Recipe

  • 16 ounces white chocolate, chopped

  • 3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips


  1. Butter a 10x15 pan. Set aside.
  2. Place white chocolate in a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on High until melted, stirring frequently. Stir in peanut butter.
  3. Spread into prepared pan. Drizzle with melted milk chocolate chips, using a spoon to create a the tiger stripe effect. Let stand or cool in refrigerator until set. Cut in squares or break into bite-sized piece

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Blog Tour Question -- writing tip

 A Bonanza Novel by Monette Bebow-Reinhard
and a treat of a read for Black History Month

Lincoln's haunted by ghosts of dead soldiers and Hoss is in "love,” that Hop Sing calls an unhealthy obsession. Adam's missing, Joe thinks Ben is dead and Ben follows the trail of a slave's suspicion that Lincoln is a traitor. In a departure from FELLING OF THE SONS, MYSTIC FIRE separates the Cartwrights into four misadventures, involving Lincoln, Mark Twain, slavery, greed, and Victorian Spiritualism. A Civil War-impacted adventure that tears the Cartwrights apart even as they try to cling together, demonstrating that in the Civil War, there were more than two sides to every battle.

Blog Tour Question -- writing tip

Question:  I have a new book out and someone suggested a blog tour. My PR person contacted several bloggers who agreed. Some of the bloggers sent a questionairre for me to fill out. Five just said, "Give me 300 to 500 words on the subject of your choice and we'll plug your book at the bottom.  I feel like I'm up that well-known creek. Can I use the same piece for all of them? What do I write about? And how do I write them???

Answer: You can't use the identical piece for all of them, but you can use similar subject matter if you can find a fresh angle to make your point.

First write about something dear to you. When the emotions are involved, the writing takes on a life of it's own. It's easier and if you are not bored, your readers won't be either.

Subject matter might include something interesting that happened while you were writing the book; if there are background stories from research you did; if there are funny stories about people who saw themselves as characters (change the names of the people).

Remember, any blog is essentially a Personal Essay or Opinion Piece. Write it just like you would an op-ed piece for a newspaper. Just like newspapers, the important information goes at the top.

The lead: Make a statement about something
    The price of baloney is_____. (and write a couple of paragraphs about what it is now and how it used to be 10 cents a pound back in the Great Depression, and was still expensive in a time when the average man’s salary was $1 a day.

The body: Give examples and tell anecdotes
    People used to say they were spreading baloney when people told what wasn’t the truth all the time.  (And give some examples of people who have told lies, some amusing, some serious. Girls who’ve lied, or to whom guys lie, politicians and how many lies they tell, the way government cuts medicare, and SSI, but buys $800 toilet seats. Shows where their priorities are.)

Make your point:
    Lots of people will hand you baloney.

The conclusion: Use the lead to confirm your point and make the piece come full circle
    Think about the baloney people slice for you every day. Even when people give it away for nothing, baloney can be very expensive.

One caviat, if they ask for 300 words, don't send 500 and make sure the plug for you book is counted within that. If something is too short, the editor or web-master can easily deal with it. If it's too long, they may find themselves up that well-known brown creek along with you.

Monday, February 18, 2013

'Gator Tail Recipe

Deputy Amy Donovan puts her life on the line every day as a law enforcement officer, then she realizes that the danger is coming from within the ranks. Gulf shrimp fishermen, a bunch of their do-gooding wives, and the members of a religious cult add spice to a mystery set in a sleepy Florida town.

Gator Tail Picadillo

  • 2 pounds ground Gator tail meat
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 3/4 cup sliced drained pimiento-stuffed green olives (from 5-ounce jar)
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 cups cooked white rice
Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, and bay leaves; sauté until onion are soft, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste stir to incorporate an cook for two minutes. Add gator meat; sauté until cooked, breaking up with back of fork, about 7 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients. Simmer until picadillo thickens, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Discard bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Serve picadillo warm on top of white rice. Makes 6 servings

Friday, February 15, 2013

Catching UP!

                                    An Oldie, but a Goodie, by Elena Dorothy Bowman

People vanishing 10 years before the new millennium, the first space-exploration starship, Earth Star-I, lost in deep space fifty-one years later - Is there a connection between these unexplained disappearances and a village along the rocky coast of New England, a place called Sarah's Landing? Joshua Morgan is the Astronaut/Biologist searching for answers and is unaware his quest will take him to the far reaches of space and to an alien planet no one knew existed. Joshua's finds love for two different woman on two different worlds, light years apart. His love for these women results in the birth of two sons - one from the alien planet, one from Earth, and both empowered with mind-linking capabilities.

Shelley is on Vacation for the Next Two Weeks. 

She will be out of the country, visiting her family, so if you send her e-mail she will not respond. Please let me know of any problems, or if she is needed. be patient. She will come home to her husband and my grand-puppy soon. 

Catching UP!

Things are moving a bit slowly this week, due to illness in the family. Dear Hubby is feeling better every day, but meanwhile we are taking things one at a time and jumping through all the DRs hoops!

 Books that went to press this week: 


Galleys that went out this week:


Work began or continued on the following:


FREE FALL, by Ann Nolder Heinz

DABBLERS, by Kathryn Flatt

TIME: A Seasonal Short Story Collection by Gianni DeVincenti Hayes

MICAH'S JEWEL: Moretti Men Series, Vol. 1, by Anna Dynowski

TRANSIT OF VENUS, by Moishe Garfinkle.

SNIPER ON THE ROOF, by Warren Graffeo

STAR WOLF, by Warren Graffeo

MICAH'S JEWEL: Moretti Men Selrlies, Vol. 1, by Anna Dynowski



Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!!

by Tonya Ramagos

Someone is sneaking anonymous letters in Alexis Berkley's locker. Could it be the boy of her dreams?

Since the day she laid eyes on him, Alexis has been infatuated with Kip O'Ryan. Suddenly, the letters begin to appear and Kip finally begins to show interest in her. Alexis's friends try to warn her that Kip O'Ryan is not what he seems but when a girl's dreams are about to come true it's difficult to listen to reason.

Happy Valentine's Day
We Love You All -- Readers and Writers!

Double-Devil Delight Valentine Brownies!  

This calls for Duncan Hines but any brand double fudge brownie mix and any canned white frosting will do.

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare brownies according to package directions, adding nuts as the final step. Bake in a 13 x 9-inch baking pan for 22-25 minutes.
  2. Cool completely. Using a 3-inch heart shaped cookie cutter, press 8 hearts out of baked brownies. Carefully remove brownies from pan.
  3. Blend together frosting and food coloring to desired shade. Combine 2 tablespoons colored frosting, 1/2 cup whipped topping, cherries and cherry juice, to make fluff filling. Spread 2 tablespoons fluff filling on four brownie hearts. Top each with remaining brownie. Ice top of brownie sandwich with colored frosting. Garnish with remaining whipped topping, Maraschino cherries or candy decorations and sprinkles. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentine Cookie -recipe

When 16-year-old Teresanna sees her step-father beat her mother to death, she runs, and runs again, leaving the fearful adolescent behind to become "Tanya," a sophisticated and artistic stripper, better known as "The Lady Tigre." But inside, she is still a frightened and innocent child, still running from the man who knows the only way for him to be safe, is if the witness is dead.

Will a long-haired trucker named, Kyle Benton, be a man she can trust, at last? Or will Tanya's fears return to destroy their love?

Valentine Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 3 3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 4 drops red food coloring
  • White sanding sugar
  • Maraschino Cherries


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a microwavable bowl, melt butter and stir in sugar until light and fluffy. When cool, add egg yolks, flour, salt, food coloring, almond extract, and vanilla. Mix thoroughly. Dough should be pink in color.

  2. Fill a cookie press with the dough, and using the heart shape template turn out cookies 1 to 2 inches apart onto an unbuttered baking sheet. Sprinkle cookies with white grandulated sugar or white sugars sparkles. Garnish each cookie with one marrachino cherry centered.

  3. Bake until the cookies are lightly browned, 7 to 10 minutes. Allow sheet to cool before removing cookies.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Like a heat-seeking missile, his gaze burns her from across the room. Tall, blond and muscular, he's perfect. They meet and start to fall in love when Cyndia Simmons discovers the awful truth. Todd Whitlow is a Sheriff's Deputy and she doesn't date men in law enforcement. Ever!
Sweetheart Oysters


24 Large Chesapeake Bay oysters, raw in shells

Dipping sauce:

1 large red bell pepper
1 cup olive oil
1/8 cup lime juice
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 cup grated Romano cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp. Coarse Ground Black Pepper


1 lemon sliced
1 package of favorite crackers or Melba toast

Aluminum Foil

1 bottle of Pully-Fuisse, chilled


Preheat oven to 450 degrees
First, scrub and wash oysters thoroughly. 

While oven heats, prepare the dipping sauce. Wash red bell pepper and slice into large pieces. In a blender, pulse red pepper pieces, olive oil, lime juice, chopped parsley, and grated Romano cheese together. Set aside for dipping the cooked oysters, crackers, and toast.

Cook the oysters:

Line baking tray with aluminum foil and place the washed oysters in it. No need to open the oysters or struggle with an oyster knife. They will open all on their own inside the hot oven, making them easy to access afterward.

Bake about 10 minutes.  Once they open their little mouths, they are ready to eat.

Remove top shells (Careful! They will be hot.) Garnish quickly with lemon slices and serve with oyster forks.  They are all ready to eat, just remove them from the half-shell and dip them in the sauce, or sprinkle with lemon juice, before eating.

Serve with wine and crackers or toast.

Makes 2 Servings.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Owen Fiddler
by Marvin Wilson

OWEN FIDDLER wants to tell you his story! (Everybody sing along to the tune of the Beatle's "Nowhere Man." Has a selfish point of view, why he's such a fool no clue, isn't he a bit like me and you? Owen, man, please listen. You don't know what you're missing. Owen, man, your world is at your command! Meet Owen Fiddler…just an average kind of guy who takes no responsibility for anything, and everything going wrong in his life is someone else's fault. He's no role model for you or your kids, but reading his story will learn ya a thing or two, and that's a fact. This is an entertaining, thought-provoking, humorous and spiritually insightful book which will surely have you thinking about your own life.

Nowhere Man Pie

For the crust:
1 7-ounce package graham crackers
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup whole, roasted hazelnuts

For the sweet milk filling:
1 ½ cans (21 ounces total) sweetened condensed milk (Eagle Brand)

For the coffee whipped cream:
1 ½ cups whipping cream
1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee
2 teaspoons sugar
½ envelope unflavored gelatin powder
2-3 ripe bananas, sliced
finely powdered instant coffee for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

2. Grind the digestive biscuits into fine crumbs in a food processor, then place them in a medium mixing bowl.

3. Put the hazelnuts in the food processor and pulse them until they are finely chopped but not powdery. Add them to the bowl with the crumbs, along with the melted butter.

4. Combine the melted butter thoroughly with the crumbs and butter, then press the mixture firmly along the sides and bottom of a 9-inch pie pan. Press firmly with your hands or the back of a spoon so the mixture will adhere and form a layer of even thickness.

5. Bake the crust for about 15 minutes, or until nicely browned and fragrant. Remove the crust from the oven and set it aside to cool.

6. Meanwhile, make the  condensed milk filling: cook the sweetened condensed milk in the top of a double boiler over simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the milk has caramelized and turned golden. This will take about an hour and a half.

7. While the condensed milk filling cools, make the whipped cream: Heat ½ cup of the cream, along with the instant coffee and sugar, just until it feels hot to the touch. Stir to dissolve the coffee completely.

8. Remove the cream from the heat and sprinkle the gelatin evenly over the surface of the cream.  When the gelatin has softened, stir it into the cream until it is fully dissolved. Set the cream aside to cool to room temperature.

9. When the coffee-flavored cream has cooled, add it and the remaining cup of cream to a mixer fitted with a balloon whip. Whip the cream at high speed until stiff peaks form.

10. Spread the condensed milk filling evenly over the bottom of the baked and cooled pie crust. Top it with an layer of banana slices (they should cover the condensed milk filing completely). Then top the bananas with the coffee-flavored whipped cream as if it were meringue.

10. Chill the pie for at least an hour before serving. Garnish with a sprinkle of the ground instant coffee just before serving.

One bite and you will be transported by a sensation of earthly delight.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Romantic Times Ad space available from

Some people march to a different drummer and Paul Bowen heard his calling from an early age. The world just wanted him to do the right thing, but Paul had to follow his country music rainbow. It wasn't about being a star, really .... just ask any picker.

Romantic Times ad space available through:

Romance writers who publish with us, should be aware their books are posted for sale at

They are now booking spots for their June 2013 ad with RT BookReviews Magazine as well as a few more spots for the May 2013 issue. Both of these issues will be handed out at the RT Convention in May.

The ad will be a full page/color and contain 24 covers on the flame background with our logo, tagline, and web-address. A review is not guaranteed.

We would need a minimum 300 dpi 600X900 color cover in jpg or pdf format by March 10th for the June issue and immediately for the May issue. 

Write words can create cover images to this printable format if anyone decides to participate. Just contact and ask.

**Please note we have changed our payment procedures to simplify the process.

Please query via email to to discover if space is available.
Once you have queried and reservation is confirmed, you will need to provide us with your paypal email so that our accounting department can provide you with an easy to pay invoice. Payment will be expected at time of invoice to proceed.

Cost of ad is $105.00  

So for $105 your book cover can be featured in the ARE full page ad.  They feature 24 covers in full color on the page and use the revenue generated to pay for the full-page color ad in the magazine.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Catching UP!

Faces Series, Vol. 1

For Tracy Wiley, life is smooth sailing. Armed with a sharp wit and sharper mind, she has everything under control, taking things as they come. At least until her boyfriend breaks up with her and she takes a singles' cruise to Jamaica to get over him. On the ship, she meets a charismatic rogue who seems to seek only platonic companionship. Back home in Miami Beach, however, her vacation friendship sweeps her into a dangerous world of international intrigue where everyone has two faces, including Tracy. Except her other face is on someone else's body and might just get her killed.

Catching UP!

Books that went to press or back to press this week: 

TWO FACES: TWO-FACED, by Kathryn Flatt


Galleys that went out, or went out again, this week:


TRAPPED BY TERROR, by Anita Dumont

Work began, or continued on the following:


FREE FALL, by Ann Nolder Heinz

DABBLERS, by Kathryn Flatt

TIME: A Seasonal Short Story Collection by Gianni DeVincenti Hayes

SNIPER ON THE ROOF, by Warren Graffeo

STAR WOLF, by Warren Graffeo

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Black Raspberry cheesecake -- Recipe

Plagued by religious friction, violent fights and a belief, "the grass is always greener,"my peripatetic parents dragged their five children in search of the next good farm. From upstate New York to the Mississippi Delta, to the hills of Ohio and West Virginia their dreams led us forward to disillusion and defeat. I was the middle child, unwanted from birth and over-looked while growing up. Though all five of us are deeply scarred, sometimes being the least-loved can be your salvation.

Black Raspberry Cheesecake 
1/3 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
1/4 c. unsalted butter, melted
1 1/4 c. chocolate wafer crumbs
2 lb. 9 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. flour
6 eggs
17 oz. black raspberry preserves
1/2 c. sour cream
1 1/2 tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tbsp. Chambord (black raspberry liquor)
Crust: Combine melted chocolate and butter. Cool slightly. Stir in crumbs. Pat in bottom of a greased 10 inch spring form pan. Chill 1 hour.

Filling: Cream together cheese and sugar. Add flour and continue creaming, scraping down sides of bowl. Add eggs, 2 at a time, beating on low until blended. Blend in black raspberry preserves. Pour into prepared crust and bake in a 325 degree oven for about 60 minutes or until edge of cake is dry and rounded and begins to pull away from sides of pan. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes.

TOPPING: While cake is resting, combine topping ingredients until well blended. Gently pour over cake, using back of spoon as not to crack the top of the cake. Smooth evenly over top of cake. Return to oven and continue baking for 8 more minutes. Remove cake from oven, cool and refrigerate.

NOTE; This cake is best if made the day before serving.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Turtle Cake -- recipe

Teddy Weiss is sick of it all: the jerks who constantly bully him because he is smarter than they are, being poor, and the frustration of being so close to changing lives with an incomplete invention because he is too poor to afford the materials.

When Teddy’s uncle comes into a lot of money, Teddy is nearly able to finish his invention at last, until wrongfully accused, Teddy is beaten severely by those who are constantly bullying him and he seeks revenge; to dire consequences. He is spurred to finish his invention but not to use it for its original purpose. Instead he and an accomplice decide to give his attackers a taste of their own medicine.

Teddy finds himself a suspect in a triple homicide and the second time he uses his invention he receives the greatest shock of his life: A chance to make it or break it on another planet, in another galaxy, with other humans, and the Omniscients.

To open a Portal on delight,
try Eleanor's Turtle Cake Recipe.

  • 1 box of Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Cake Mix (Any chocolate cake mix will do I just prefer Dark Chocolate)
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 3/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 (12oz) jar caramel syrup
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • Chocolate frosting (optional)
  1. Combine cake mix, 1/2 cup evaporated milk, and melted butter in a bowl. Make sure you mix well. Spread half of the batter into a greased 13X9 pan. Bake it at 350 for 6 or 7 minutes. Remove from oven.
  2. In a bowl combine 1/2 cup evaporated milk and caramel syrup. Pour this over cake. Sprinkle chopped pecans and chocolate chips over mixture. Then pour remaining batter atop. Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Once its done, remove and cool. At this point you can frost it with the chocolate frosting if desired. I also top my piece with a dollup of whipped cream. Yeah I know sooo bad!!!!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Word Count -- writing tip

by Ann Nolder Heinz

****First Place Winner Dragonfly e-Book Awards Competition, Historical Fiction Category****

A desperate flight from brutal oppression—and everything to lose if it fails...

Two women, one white, the other black, find themselves trapped in bondage on a South Carolina plantation in 1850's America. Their unique friendship gives each the strength to endure until circumstances threaten not only to rip them apart but to place their very lives in jeopardy. They undertake a harrowing flight with the aid of the Underground Railroad. Will slavery’s powerful tentacles hold them? Or will they find the freedom they crave?

Question from the e-mail:  I  got a return from a publisher, saying my book was too long (457 double-spaced pages) and that they didn't take anything longer than 100,000 words. I knew that. I read the directions! But Grammatik says it only has 98,527 words.  So what makes them think it is LONGER?????

Answer: Well the way publishers, typesetters and other such people count words, to use the words per page method. And at 250 words per ms page, it would be  114,250 words. The discrepancy comes when an author has lots of dialog (a GOOD thing, for readers LIKE dialog!). Because a line with one word, takes up just as much space in the book as a full line with many words.

The first thing any editor needs to know is whether your story will fit in his printable space. Or, if he is going to print it, how much the paper will cost to produce. If it won’t fit, or will cost too much, he can’t buy your story, no matter how good it is. Let me explain how typesetters count words, which is very different from the way your computer does. The computer knows exactly how many words you used. But the publisher has to know how much paper (or how many column inches for newspapers and magazines) it will take to print it.

A line is 60 spaces long. Six spaces equals 1 word, or 10 words per line. If you have (as most people do) 25 lines per page, that gives you 250 words per manuscript page. Now the following dialogue--






    "Well, maybe...."

-- counts as 70 words, though only 8 are used. This way of calculating space, rather than words, is used throughout the printing industry.
Now if something is too short, that doesn't bother the editor. He can use a larger sized font, increase the leading, and has other ways to stretch things out and make it work. But if it's too long, the only way he can fix it is to cut some of your carefully chosen words, or to use type so small nobody can SEE it. He doesn't want that. YOU don't want that. Our job is to keep the reader's interest, not to make them squint!

So the best thing you can do for yourself, as an author, and for a good working relationship with your publisher, is to use the old 250 words per ms. page way to count, and to make sure that every word you have written is needed to tell your story. As someone who once followed her characters around for 140,000 words (before I learned to leave out the boring parts), I can tell you from experience that something important has to happen in every scene.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Southern Peach Cobbler -- Recipe

Whether it is coincidence, fate or predestination, 53-year-old author, Heather Masterson’s life changes in Asheville, NC, when a man lays a book in front of her and says, “Please sign this to the real Alex Hargrove.” Alex, a 56-year-old pursued widower has avoided the women in the community who think they can be the next Mrs. Hargrove. None of these women have interested him, but for some reason he finds himself fascinated by Heather. Heather, divorced for twelve years, is not interested in getting serious with any man and is surprised to meet a man with the same name as the lawman in her novels. Finding herself attracted to this six-foot-four cattleman, makes her wonder if she could possibly find happiness this late in her life.. Unbeknownst to Heather, Rachelle Albright, an unstable alcoholic fancies herself in love with the fictional Alex in Heather’s books. She writes a book of her own with Alex marrying a woman named Rachelle, but when the publishing company rejects her book, she is livid. She decides she must kill Heather Masterson and the character of Alex will be hers

Peach Cobbler Recipe

  • 8 fresh peaches - peeled, pitted and sliced into thin wedges   (2 large cans of peaches, drained, may be substituted.
  • 1/4 cup white sugar  
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar  
  •  1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice 
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch 
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1/4 cup white sugar  
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar  
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces 
  • 1/4 cup boiling water  
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 


  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
  • In a large bowl, combine peaches, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Toss to coat evenly, and pour into a 2 quart baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine flour, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Blend in butter with your fingertips, or a pastry blender, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in water until just combined.
  • Remove peaches from oven, and drop spoonfuls of topping over them. Sprinkle entire cobbler with the sugar and cinnamon mixture. Bake until topping is golden, about 30 minutes.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Just after private detective Jack Watson vowed not to be choosy about taking any case to end a lull in business, who walks into his office but his ex-wife. Dr. Victoria Pressler, the famous psychologist also known as The Mind Bender, had once made Jack’s life pure hell, and now she wants him to figure out if her new lover, a handsome young tennis player, loves her or her money. Jack accepts the case, hoping to find some dirt on Clayton “Butch” Anderson to take Victoria down a peg, and also to prove to himself that Victoria no longer retains her old power over him. Soon, however, Jack learns that Butch may be fronting for an elusive assassin known as The Changeling, a nameless enigma who traps innocents to shield him, and through Victoria’s position on an organizing committee, getting the killer access to a gala show in Chicago. Even as Jack navigates his way down some dark paths of his past, he must race against the clock to identify both the killer and his target before the show and keep its star performer, Jack’s one-time client Tabitha Solo, out of the crosshairs.

Paper books that went to press, or back to press this week:


e-Books that went to press this week:

EXTREME INFLUENCE: Book 4 in the Fox River Valley Series, by Ann Nolder Heinz

STRANGER FACES: Book 3 of the Faces Series, by Kathryn Flatt

Paper Galleys that went out, or went out again, this week:

GAME FACES, by Kathryn Flatt

CHANGELING KILL, by Kathryn Flatt

Work Continued or began on the following titles:

TRAPPED BY TERROR, by Anita Dumont

DABBLERS, by Kathryn Flatt

TIME: A Seasonal Short Story Collection by Gianni DeVincenti Hayes

SNIPER ON THE ROOF, by Warren Graffeo

STAR WOLF, by Warren Graffeo