featuring guest authors; crafting tips and projects; recipes from food editor and sleuthing sidekick Cloris McWerther; and decorating, travel, fashion, health, beauty, and finance tips from the rest of the American Woman editors.

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Monday, March 30, 2020

MYSTERY AUTHOR SHARON DAYNARD ON ROCKS, MINERALS & MURDER

Sharon Daynard’s writing runs the gamut from light and quirky to downright dark and troubling. Her debut novel, Murder Points North, puts a humorous spin on murder in a small town. Her short stories include “The Boss of Butler Square” which received Honorable Mention for the Al Blanchard Award and “Widows Peak” which was short-listed for a Derringer Award. She’s been offered the services of a professional hitman, crossed paths with a serial killer, testified before grand juries, and taken lie detector tests. Learn more about Sharon and her various works on Facebook

Rock Paper Murder
Looking back, I’d have to say my rock and mineral collection started when I was on a 2nd grade field trip to the Museum of Science in Boston. The only souvenir the gift shop offered in my price range was four very small samples glued to an index card—a piece of granite, a piece of quartz, a piece of obsidian and a piece of sandstone. The next day during show-and-tell, no one, including me, was very impressed with it. The index card was unceremoniously retired to the junk drawer in my parent’s kitchen.

It was another ten years before I gave my “collection” another thought. I needed to pick a major for college. I wanted to study Environmental Sciences, but the college of my choice only offered a B.S. in Environmental Geology. Thinking maybe it was kismet all those years ago when I bought those four rock and mineral samples, I went with my gut and picked it. Worst-case scenario, I’d change majors at the end of my first semester. As it turned out I loved geology. My favorite subject was mineralogy and rock and mineral identification being my favorite lab. 

That rock and mineral collection on an index card has grown into boxes and crates stuffed with rock and mineral field samples neatly wrapped in newspaper and bubble wrap. My favorite rocks and minerals adorn my bookshelves and credenzas. About the only place you won’t find them is in a jewelry box. I think of it along the lines of a veterinarian wearing leather pants and a fur coat—it just doesn’t feel right. 

Fast forward a few years and degrees later and I decided I wanted to write a novel—a mystery novel. As the adage goes, “write what you know.” For me, that meant geology. I knocked around the idea of a female geology professor happening upon crimes and solving murders. I thought it was a great idea, I just didn’t know what geology had to do with murder, let alone playing into solving one until I was teaching a hands-on rock and mineral session to a group of Cubs Scouts. While I was passing around a field sample of my favorite mineral, galena, one of the boys commented that it was small but “super heavy.” I agreed and added, he had to be extra careful with it because even though it was heavy it was fragile. All of a sudden, I had an idea for a mystery novel. I knew who my protagonist was, who the killer was, what the murder weapon was and how the murder would be solved.

When writing Murder Points North, the similarity of IDing a rock or mineral and solving a murder wasn’t lost on me. With a rock or mineral, you start with one sample and a long list of possibilities. You narrow that list down based on hardness, luster, color, streak, specific gravity and cleavage to determine what your sample is. With a murder a detective/amateur sleuth has a long list of suspects and based on motive, means, and opportunity, they systematically narrow that list down to one person—the killer. 

If it wasn’t for that index card with four tiny samples of rocks and mineral in my parent’s junk drawer, I might never have majored in geology, and I certainly never would have written Murder Points North. The next time you come across an interesting rock or mineral while you’re walking along the beach, hiking through the woods, or even planting a flower, take a closer look at and imagine the stories it could tell you…

Murder Points North
With one week until Christmas, picturesque Points North, New Hampshire, hasn’t seen as much as a token flurry and the temperatures are almost as high as local tempers. The lack of snow, however, is the least of Liesl Alan’s worries.

Liesl teaches geology, collects rocks, minerals and ex-husbands—three at last count. On the brink of turning forty, she finds herself living amongst a group of eccentric “innmates” at the Muddled Moose, an inn her family has owned for generations. Hardly in the Christmas spirit, the last thing Liesl’s looking forward to is a night of wearing a too tight, too ruffled, too plaid gown for the village’s annual Home for the Holidays open house celebration.

When the event ends in a fiasco and someone from the Muddled Moose is found murdered, Liesl becomes the prime suspect of everyone from the lead homicide detective to her own mother. Fellow residents at the inn are even offering fashion tips for her inevitable perp walk and mug shot.

Determined to prove her innocence and find the real killer, Liesl teams up with a private eye wannabe. With a list of suspects that might as well include all of Points North, she has her work cut out for her, especially when each new clue points her in a different direction.

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Friday, March 27, 2020

BOOK CLUB FRIDAY--GUEST ROMANCE AUTHOR HELEN LYNCH

Today we sit down with romance author Helen Lynch. A former hometown newspaper reporter for nearly twenty years, Helen left embark on a career as a romance writer. She now spends her days writing sweet contemporary romance in a small town in Western New York. Learn more about Helen and her books at her website. 

What made you decide to become a writer?
Like many writers, I started out as a book lover. I was five years old when I got my first library card and have been reading voraciously ever since. Looking back it makes sense. I’ve always felt it was a natural progression to go from reader to writer. 

What, if any, is your day job?
Before retiring to write full time, I worked as a reporter for a major metropolitan newspaper, the Buffalo News, as a general assignment reporter. That basically means I covered whatever was happening that day. Never knowing what to expect, and being in the moment was fun and exhilarating. In addition, I wrote a weekly feature called Neighborhoods, which focused on communities and what made them unique, which was good preparation for my small town settings. I have to say, except for writing fiction, reporting was the most fun I’ve had professionally. 

What drew you to write romance?
Once I decided to pursue writing as a career, it was a no-brainer. Who doesn’t love a happy ending? It’s my favorite genre to read, whether it’s a romantic suspense, a historical romance or a contemporary romance. One of the best pieces of advice I ever received from an editor was to always focus on the romance and just “tell me a love story.”

What sub-genre do you prefer?
I’m presently writing sweet, small town contemporary romance. I love the small town feel, the sense of community, the bond of family and friends, everything that makes up life in a small town, or community. A reader recently told me they would love to live in my fictional town. That made my day! 

What are you working on now?
My latest offering, The Innkeeper’s Bride, is up for preorder now at most retailers. It’s the first book in my new series, White Lace and Promises, which follows one family and a special country inn in the small New England town of Blossom Creek. Bellamy and Declan O’Neill have come home to Blossom Creek to finalize their divorce, but their late grandmother has other plans for them. And Grandma Rosie always gets her way.

What do you do for fun when you’re not reading or writing?
I’m just now returning home from wintering in Florida. Whether it’s Cape Cod, where we spent our summer vacations when my kids were growing up, or the semi-tropical beauty of the sunshine state, I could happily live by the beach forever. Watching it roll in, endless and almost infinite, coupled with sunshine and blue skies, has both a calming and nourishing effect on me. 

Then of course, there is wine and music, and seafood and chocolate. And always, my grandchildren.

The Innkeeper’s Bride
White Lace and Promises, Book 1

Bellamy and Declan O’Neill return home to the small New England town of Blossom Creek to deal with a bequest that neither of them wants: joint ownership of his late grandmother’s country inn.

Bellamy immediately sees the bequest for what it is: Declan’s grandmother’s last attempt at matchmaking. She knows Grandma Rosie died believing that she and Declan still loved each other and belong together.

As they arrive in town, the estranged couple is convinced of two things: their marriage needs to end, and the last thing either of them wants is to be in business together. But, the terms of the will are clear: they must run the inn together at least until the estate is settled.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

SUSPENSE AUTHOR DONNELL ANN BELL'S GRANDMOTHERLY CONFESSION & ROLE REVERSALS

The Author and her Grandson on the Night in Question
Award-winning suspense author Donnell Ann Bell gave up her non-writing fiction career in newspapers and magazines because she was obsessed with the notion she could write a mystery or thriller. Black Pearl, her latest release, is a finalist in the 2020 Colorado Book Awards for Best Thriller. Learn more about Donnell and her books at her website

Role Reversal and Grandmotherly Confessions
My mother used to say she’d never be a mother-in-law or a grandmother. She also claimed she had three only children. So, when it came to family, I think she may have had issues. I thought the mother-in-law/grandmother statements rather odd as one doesn’t generally get a choice in the matter. 

Don’t get me wrong; my mother isn’t a selfish human being. She’s a retired registered nurse who genuinely loves helping people. She just didn’t enjoy the stigma that went along with the older woman titles.

As I got older and approached the mother-in-law stage and grandmother title, I understood a bit of what she was trying to say. I was also correct that my children didn’t consult me when the time came, and made me a mother-in-law and a grandmother, without so much as a by your leave.

Here’s the clincher, with the title of grandmother, my children asked me to babysit. I was happy to do it if they remained close by and I could ask for guidance. I mean, have you seen all the changes that have occurred in the last thirty years?  Babies no longer sleep on their stomachs; car seats are designed straight out of NASA. There are monitors everywhere that I’m told the FBI envies. What if I did something wrong?

My grown children laughed at me. “Mom, you’ll be fine. Here’s the monitor. Text us if there’s a problem.”

I paid attention to all of my, “Mom, these are your instructions,” which brought back a little PTSD as I remember asking the nurse before leaving the hospital when my daughter was born…”Could you show me how to put that diaper on one more time?”

Okay, I wasn’t born with a maternal gene—there I’ve said it.
  
Anyway, my instructions were simple. As soon as my grandson took his bottle, I was to change his diaper, put him in his sleep sack, lay him face up in his crib, tell him goodnight, turn on the nightlight, the white noise, the monitor, and slip out of the room. Simple instructions, right?

You might as well have told me I would be performing open-heart surgery. My son and daughter and their spouses are so regimented. And get this, their systems work. They can put their children down at night and leave the room! Can you believe it?

Me? My grandson must’ve sensed my anxiety because I followed my instructions to the letter. Bottle, check. Diaper, check. Sleep Sack…. This is where I may have messed up. Poor grandson, he wasn’t the least bit sleepy after I got through trying to get that contraption on. He was wide-eyed and petrified that this woman didn’t have a clue what she was doing.

At that, I did what any grandmother in her right mind would do. I reverted to my old ways. I took that little boy out of his crib, walked him for a solid two hours, then collapsed in the rocking recliner. My son texted me to see how things were going. Grandson and I were so proud, we sent him a selfie. Then my daughter came home, smiled sadly, shook her head at me and took a picture as well. 

All right. I may not have a grandmother gene, but I love these children fiercely and nothing’s going to happen on my watch. 

My kids have taught me so much. I am blessed to have amazing daughters-in-law. They’re pretty patient with me. As the children get older, I’m the best Grammy in the world as far as playing with them and keeping them entertained. But that newbie business is downright terrifying.

Clearly, a bit of role reversal has happened in the last thirty years. 

Black Pearl
A cold case heats up when a 9-1-1 call puts police at a Denver murder scene pointing investigators to the abduction of a Colorado teenager fourteen years before. The connection? A calling carda single black pearl—is found on the newest victim. Is the murder a copycat? Or has a twisted serial killer, thought dead or in prison, returned to kill again?

The hunt for a multi-state killer is on and brings together an unexpected team: a Denver Major Crimes police lieutenant; an FBI special agent who investigated the previous murders, a rookie FBI agent with a specialty in psychology; and the only living victim of the Black Pearl Killer is now a cop.

For Special Agent Brian DiPietro, the case is an opportunity to find answers. For Officer Allison Shannon, the case will force her to face down the town that blamed her for surviving when another did not. And for both DiPietro and Shannon, it’s a chance to find closure to questions that have tormented them both for years.

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Monday, March 23, 2020

AUTHOR JUDY ALTER WRITES ABOUT THE SECOND BATTLE OF THE ALAMO

The Alamo
You may Judy Alter know her as a mystery author, but Judy wears several literary hats, as the prolific author of fiction and nonfiction for adults and young adults. She’s focused much of her career on writing about women of the American West and has been honored with the Western Writers of America Owen Wister Award for Lifetime Achievement. She’s been inducted into both the WWA and the Fort Worth Public Library Literary Hall of Fame. Learn more about Judy and her books at her website and her two blogs: http://www.judys-stew.blogspot.com and http://www.gourmetonahotplate.blogspot.comToday Judy joins us to tell us about the latest addition to her books on American West women.

The Second Battle of the Alamo

Every year over two million people visit Mission San Antonio de Valero, better known as the Alamo, site of the massacre by Mexican soldiers under Santa Anna of heroes of the 1836 Texas Revolution--Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie, and William B. Travis, along with more than two hundred men other men. If you haven’t visited, the Alamo should be high on your bucket list. There’s something breathtaking about standing in front of that iconic chapel or looking at the adjacent long barracks.

When you visit this shrine, you should know the story not only of the siege but also of the second battle of the Alamo. In 1903, the threat of demolition hung over the remaining portions of the mission. Two women combined their efforts to preserve the historic site. 

Adina De Zavala had the passion for historical accuracy; Clara Driscoll had the money. Neither could have saved the Alamo alone, but together they bought the long barracks, where the Battle of the Alamo was actually fought, from private owners and turned it over to the Daughters of the Republic of Texas to manage. 

Although they were very different—one was a young Anglo woman with untold wealth who had been on grand tours of Europe, the other of Hispanic descent, approaching middle age, who had never traveled beyond Texas—theirs was a natural union. 

However, hard headedness—sometimes a Texas trait—turned what was once a friendship into bitter rivalry that reached a zenith when Adina barricaded herself in the long barracks for three days. The ladies’ fight to save the mission and their own fight has come to be known as the second battle of the Alamo.

Clara wanted the chapel to stand alone, in a park-like setting, as a shrine to the martyred heroes. She offered to pay for the demolition of the long barracks. Adina held firm that the fighting took place in the barracks, and the building must be preserved for its historic significance. Both women were members of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, and their enmity tore the organization apart. 
The Long Barracks 
Eventually, Adina won the battle but lost the war. The long barracks was preserved, but she and her followers were expelled from the DRT. For almost a hundred years, Clara was hailed as the “Savior of the Alamo,” while history ignored Adina. 

Clara was never involved in another historic preservation project. Adina, on the other hand, devoted her long life to historic preservation, exploring missions in East Texas and saving the Governor’s Palace in San Antonio. An early member of many of Texas’ history-oriented organization, such as the Texas State Historical Society, she tirelessly collected information and fought for her cause, Not until the 1990s did historians begin to look with any depth at her part in saving the Alamo.

The Alamo has withstood many battles since it’s eighteenth-century founding and today stands as a symbol of heroism and loyalty. It has inspired everything from movies to jigsaw puzzles. The cry of “Remember the Alamo” is known throughout the world. But few people know that without these two women, the Alamo might well be just another shabby shrine—or worse yet, a parking lot.

So go visit the Alamo, stand outside the barred windows of the long barracks and maybe, just maybe, you can see Adina peering out from the room where she took her stand, the very room where, it is said, that William B. Travis died.

The Second Battle of the Alamo
By 1900, the tale of the 300 Texans who died in the 1836 battle of the Alamo had already become legend. But to corporate interests in the growing City of San Antonio, the land where that blood was shed was merely a desirable plot of land across the street from new restaurants and hotels, with only a few remaining crumbling buildings to tell the tale. When two women, Adina Emilia De Zavala, the granddaughter of the first vice-president of the Texas Republic, and Clara Driscoll, the daughter of one of Texas’s most prominent ranch families and first bankers, learned of the plans, they hatched a plan to preserve the site—and in doing so, they reinvigorated both the legend and lore of the Alamo and cemented the site’s status as hallowed ground. These two strong-willed, pioneering women were very different, but the story of how they banded together and how the Alamo became what it is today despite those differences, is compelling reading for those interested in Texas history and Texas’s larger-than-life personality.

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Friday, March 20, 2020

BOOK CLUB FRIDAY--A.R. KENNEDY TAKES HER SLEUTH ON SAFARI

A R Kennedy lives in Long Beach, New York, with her two pups. She works hard to put food on the floor for them. As her favorite T-shirt says, “I work so my dog can have a better life”. She’s an avid traveler. But don’t worry. While she’s away, her parents dote on their grand-puppies even more than she does. Her writing is a combination of her love of travel, animals, and the journey we all take to find ourselves. Learn more about A.R. and her books at her website. 

Safari Lingo
As a writer, I’m fascinated by words. Did you know safari is Swahili for journey?

As an author, trying to be profitable, I read a lot about keywords—for advertisements, marketing and selling. Did you know a safari has keywords, too?
The Big Five — The Big Five represents the five animals that most tourists are seeking to see while on safari—lions, leopards, elephants, African buffalo and rhinoceroses. This isn’t originally a tourism term. During colonial times, the term was used to list what trophy hunters considered the most challenging and dangerous animals to hunt on foot. 

The Little Five — These are five small animals that a traveler can seek out in Africa – the Elephant Shrew, Ant Lion, Rhinoceros Beetle, Buffalo Weaver and Leopard Tortoise. Did you notice they all have the Big Five in their name? They can be looked for on a bush walk.

Bush Walk — A bush walk is also known as a safari walk or a game walk. Most safaris spend most the time on game drives but this short walk is a great way to find animal tracks, to take you where vehicles can’t go, and to get up close to local geology and plants. 

Game Drive — It’s the highlight of any safari. It’s how you search out the Big Five and experience Africa’s beautiful landscape. Many tours will have two game drives a day, one in the early morning and one in the late afternoon. During the heat of the day, it’s best to be out of the hot African sun, lounging in the shade at the pool or taking a nap in your room.

Sundowners — Some of you may know this term as it relates to people with dementia. But on safari it is an extremely positive event. It’s HAPPY HOUR! While watching a magnificent sunset, your guide provides you with the drink of your choice—champagne, wine, beer, or juice. Light snacks are also served. It is a safari tradition, dating back to colonial times.

In Sleuth on Safari, the first in my new The Traveler Cozy Mystery Series, main character Naomi learns all these terms while on safari with her sister Charlotte. Join them on an adventure of a lifetime! Available 3/24/2020. Now on pre-order.

Sleuth on Safari

A bargain deal on a safari + one dead body = An adventure no one could plan for.

Naomi and her estranged sister are off on a trip of a lifetime—an African safari, a bucket list trip for Naomi on which she got a last-minute deal. Naomi thinks traveling with her sister will be the worst part of her African safari until she finds one of their fellow travelers, the unlikable Dr. Higgins, dead. She gets more adventure than she bargained for when she starts investigating what she thinks is murder but the luxury lodge says was a tragic accident. She only has a few vacation days, and a few game drives, to find the killer. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

#COOKING WITH CLORIS--AUTHOR GWEN MAYO WHIPS UP HISTORICAL STRAWBERRY CHARLOTTE RUSSE

Author Gwen Mayo is passionate about blending the colorful history of her native Kentucky with her love for mystery fiction. Her stories have appeared in anthologies, at online short fiction sites, and in micro-fiction collections. She co-writes The Three Snowbirds Mysteries with fellow author Sarah E. Glenn. (Interesting side note: Gwen was a brakeman and railroad engineer from 1983 – 1987.) Learn more about Gwen and her books at her website.  

At the time of our story, refrigerator cakes were all the rage and almost any top restaurant had at least one on the dessert menu. Charlotte russes were among the most popular in the 1920s and contained a variety of fruits and berries. Thanks to the television series Downton Abbey, they have made a resurgence in this decade. Of course, the Strawberry Charlotte on Downton Abbey was made of soft lady fingers and filled with strawberry ice cream.

Anyone who has read the Three Snowbirds series knows that I am a stickler for historical accuracy. In the Roaring Twenties in America, almost every recipe for a Charlotte russe starts with the traditional sponge cake. For Murder at the Million Dollar Pier, we are at the height of strawberry season, and I am sure the Professor, Teddy and Cornelia would have delighted in devouring this Strawberry Charlotte Russe. My family and friends certainly did.

Sponge Cake
Ingredients:
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup cake flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 10-inch cake pan. Then line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. 

While the oven is heating, beat the eggs and sugar until thick, fluffy, and pale yellow in color. When beaten to the right consistency, the mix should flow off the beater into the bowl in a smooth ribbon. 

Add the vanilla and stir until blended. 

In a small bowl, mix the flour and salt, then slowly fold the blend into the batter about one third at a time. 

Bake until slightly golden, about 12 minutes. The cake should spring back when touched. 

Turn the cake out on a wire rack to cool. Remove and discard the parchment paper. When cooled, place in spring form pan to assemble the rest of the Charlotte.

Strawberry Layer
Ingredients:
1/3 cup of strawberry sauce (below)
1 quart of strawberries 

Spread 1/3 cup of strawberry sauce on top of the sponge cake. Halve about 10 evenly sized strawberries, enough to go around the edge of the cake, and turn cut side out in the cake mold. Slice the remaining berries and layer them into the center of the strawberry ring. 

Strawberry Sauce
Ingredients:
12 ounces of strawberries, about 30 medium sized berries
1/3 cup of sugar

Puree or crush the berries. Add sugar and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Chill until ready to use.

Strawberry Cream
Ingredients:
3/4 cup strawberry sauce (recipe above)
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1 cup cold heavy whipping cream 
1-2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Chill your mixing bowl and whisk at least 15 minutes. Dissolve gelatin in 1/4 cup of boiling water. Stir the gelatin into the pureed strawberry sauce. Set aside while you whip the cream. 

Beat the cream and sugar until stiff peaks form. Add the strawberry sauce mixture and beat until thoroughly blended. Taste and fold in a little more sugar, if needed.

Spread the strawberry whipped cream over the cake, garnish with a fresh berry or two. Cover loosely and chill overnight to allow the cream to set. 

Remove the spring form pan and refrigerate the cake until ready to serve. 

Murder at the Million Dollar Pier
A Three Snowbirds Mystery, Book 2

"Never waste good rum on a bad night." - Teddy Lawless, February 1926.

There are many bad nights ahead for Teddy. Shortly after she arrives at the newly opened Vinoy Hotel in Saint Petersburg, she comes face to face with her ex-fiancé, Ansel Stevens, in the dining room. Cue the slap that was thirty years in the making.
Unfortunately, her ex-fiancé dies during a yacht race shortly thereafter. Conclusion of the authorities: poison.

His family closes ranks, leaving Teddy as the prime suspect. Worse, Teddy's hair comb is found on the deck of Ansel's boat, leading to her swift arrest. Can Cornelia Pettijohn and Uncle Percival save fun-loving Teddy before she goes from the grand hotel to the big house?

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Monday, March 16, 2020

#COOKING WITH CLORIS--AUTHOR GINNY B. NESCOTT'S ST. PATRICK'S DAY ROMANCE & COCKTAIL

Author Ginny B. Nescott is a sucker for laughter, mystery, romance, a wonderful kiss, warm hugs, flowers and chocolate—not necessarily in that order. She said someone called her a hopeless romantic on Twitter, she prefers referring to herself as a hopeful romantic who wants love to touch everyone’s life. Learn more about Ginny and her books at her website.

Paige’s Lucky Charm  A St. Patrick’s Day Romance
St. Patrick’s Day is almost here! This year though, it feels different doesn’t it? If we were to go to Ireland, we might find a more austere parade and celebration. Not dour by any means, but quieter compared to the drinking and dancing in the streets sort of time the US has been known for, replete with green beads, hats, green beer, and shirts that say “Kiss me I’m Irish” when you’re clearly not. 

With green-wearing St. Patrick’s Day almost upon us, the question is…Do we really want to go kissing strangers and drinking from pub to pub? Okay. Pretend you were a good twenty years younger. Would you still want to do that with the news that floods us these days and causes us to wash our hands nonstop?

My proposal. Yes, green it up! Send greetings to friends. Whip up a batch of something with cabbage in it. I’ll not stop you. But if you want to immerse in the holiday, do what we love: read! In the last of my trilogy, the Southern-born Paige finds a new cadre of friends and does just thathits a bar complete with Irish ballads, dancing and the choice between the boy back home who shows up and her new one, Michael. Besides, what good Irish person wouldn’t like a tale or two upon the day?

Now for a quick Irish recipe. I thought long and hard on this one. No cabbage, soda bread, or whiskey cake since you must have those recipes already. Something different. Gin has been produced in Cork, Ireland since 1793 and seem to be all the rage in Ireland (here too).

Gin of My Dreams 

Ingredients:
2oz Gin
.75 oz Green Chartreuse 
.75oz Elderflower 
Squeeze of lime 
Lime wedge

(Alternate recipe without Chartreuse: 2 jiggers Gin, 1 jigger Elderflower, 1 jigger lime juice, 1 jigger simple syrup, green food coloring)

Mix all ingredients together. Serve well-iced, preferably in a gimlet glass. A slow sipper perfect for reading.

Paige's Lucky CharmA St. Patrick's Day Romance

Temporary job, temporary home...will her hot new guy be temporary, too?

With a bounce to her step, southern-bred Paige Meyers looks like she has it all together. Far from the truth. Her family’s inherited farmstead is a snow-covered shamble and a hoarded mess. Each touch from her man, Michael Lukas, sends her reeling, but he’s only in town on business. She can’t keep track of the growing renovations, her free-spirited aunt or the crazy cat, let alone tight schedules and her own wits. Her funds are shrinking, and the clock is ticking away to the possible end-date on her heart-pounding time with Michael.

Everything collides with weighty decisions made lighter with green drinks and new friends on St. Patrick’s Day. If only her luck will hold.

Friday, March 13, 2020

BOOK CLUB FRIDAY--MEET DEBUT ROMANCE & SUSPENSE AUTHOR ODALYS MUNOZ

Today we sit down for a chat with debut romance and suspense author Odalys Munoz. Learn more about her and her books at her website. 

When did you realize you wanted to write novels? 
People have always told me that I should, but I never actually considered it until last year when my family came into financial trouble.

How long did it take you to realize your dream of publication? 
When I started writing Once Upon a Time, is when I realized that writing could help me on a personal level, as well as hopefully financially.

Are you traditionally published, indie published, or a hybrid author? 
I am independently published.

Where do you write? 
At home on my computer whenever I have the chance.

Is silence golden, or do you need music to write by? What kind? 
I concentrate better in silence and in my own head.

How much of your plots and characters are drawn from real life? From your life in particular? 
The first book has very little about my real life.  In my upcoming book, however, the main female character is very much like me physically and personality wise.

Describe your process for naming your character? 
Since I do come from an Hispanic family, I try to stick with Spanish names as much as possible.

Real settings or fictional towns? 
I tried to keep the settings as fictional as possible.

What’s your quirkiest quirk? 
Probably to like being by myself than with people.

Everyone at some point wishes for a do-over. What’s yours? 
Probably 8th grade when I made a mistake with a boy I really liked, and I never heard from again.

What’s your biggest pet peeve? 
Being lied to by the people I’m closest to.

You’re stranded on a deserted island. What are your three must-haves? 
Computer, phone, and milk.

What’s the best book you’ve ever read? 
Running Wild, by Linda Howard and Linda Jones.

Ocean or mountains? 
Mountains because I can’t swim.

City girl/guy or country girl/guy? 
City girl

What’s on the horizon for you? 
I’m in the process of finishing my next book, which should hopefully be out soon.  Other than that, we’ll see where life and God take me.

Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself and/or your books? 
I’m an open book. Feel free to contact me through my Facebook, or my website to ask me any questions that you may have, or if you simply need someone to talk to.  I believe that anything is possible with the help of God.

Once Upon a Time
The story involves a young prince who falls in love with a wonderful woman that he wishes to marry, but his powerful father has her secretly killed and tries to have the girl's family killed off as well. The son vows revenge and justice and he sets off to bring an end to the people who took his true love from him. This tragic yet captivating story is one of love, romance, suspense, and thriller. Will he ever get the justice that he wants for his lost flame, or will he ever love again? 

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