Monday, December 11, 2017

Chestnuts Roasting on An Open Fire by Josie Riviera

Well, how about chestnuts just roasting?

Here’s a quick and easy recipe for roasting chestnuts in the oven:

1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
2. On the flat side of the chestnut, cut a large X with a sharp paring knife to the skin.
3. Place your pared chestnuts on a shallow baking pan. Roast in oven for 30 minutes and shake pan to rotate chestnuts for even roasting.
Peel chestnuts as soon as they are cool enough to handle, because once they cool completely, they will be difficult to peel.


And, did you know that in Europe, Asia, and Africa, chestnuts are often used as a substitute for potatoes?

In Candleglow and Mistletoe, my sweet romance novella set in the mountains of North Carolina, the hero and heroine stop for roasted chestnuts at a street side vendor.

Here’s the blurb:

Noelle Wentworth doesn’t mind getting away from St. Augustine to fill in at her ailing aunt’s candle shop. A few weeks in Snowing Rock will help her get past the humiliating memory lapse that ruined an important piano concert—and, ultimately, her marriage to her overbearing duet partner.
She’s mentally rehearsing for her comeback performance when the bus she’s riding in slides off an icy mountain road.
And one deep, calming voice emerges from the confusion to slow her racing heart—right before his ruggedly handsome face kicks it back into allegro.
Gabe Waters is usually prepared for anything—as a professional stuntman, his life depends on it—but nothing prepared him for Noelle, the unattainable high school crush whose bravery saved him from more than just a bully’s flying fist. There’s no hint she recognizes him, but Gabe knows that face, those eyes…and he sees something that wasn’t there before. Distrust and apprehension.
Their unexpected attraction kindles something as warm and sweet as a holiday candle. But the weight of their pasts could turn the promise of love to ashes.

Candleglow and Mistletoe is also available in paperback and audiobook.

Check out the video here.

Josie Riviera is a USA TODAY Bestselling Author of contemporary, inspirational, and historical sweet romances that read like Hallmark movies. She lives in the Charlotte, NC, area with her wonderfully supportive husband. They share their home with an adorable Shih Tzu who constantly needs grooming and live in an old house forever needing renovations.

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A sincere Happy Holidays to you and your family.
May the good will of this special season bring you peace, hope and joy.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

The Sweetest Season by Shanna Hatfield

Years ago, not long after Captain Cavedweller and I wed, we decided to host his extended family for a Christmas Eve celebration. His Dad loves ice cream, so I found a recipe for a dessert that was frozen, featured ice cream and, best of all, looked really simple to make. After all, how can you mess up ice cream and pudding?
I followed the recipe, pouring the concoction into a spring form pan, envisioning the look of pleased surprise on my father-in-law's face at this special treat. With no experience with a spring form pan, I didn’t make sure the bottom was secure before I lifted the pan to set the the dessert in the freezer.
I picked it up and turned away from the counter heading toward the fridge when the bottom fell to the floor and I had a combination of cracker crust and runny, gooey filling all over the kitchen. It splashed so spectacularly, it dripped from the ceiling and oozed down the walls. The dog, who had quietly watched the proceedings, thought Santa arrived early and eagerly dashed around the kitchen lapping up all the sweet goodness she could before she was banished outside.
Luckily, I had enough ingredients to start over and the dessert turned out beautifully. So I share it with you today – with a reminder to make sure your spring form pan is completely secure before you move this from counter to freezer. I like to place it on a cookie sheet and then there are absolutely no worries about spills!
Where the name for this dessert comes from, I don’t know, but the wonderful thing about it is you can substitute any flavor of ice cream or pudding and have dozens of creamy, delicious combinations!
Frozen Fast Forward
1 1/2 cups finely ground graham crackers
1/3 cup sugar
6 tbsp. melted butter
1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, softened
1 large box of instant pudding
2 cups milk
1 pint of ice cream, softened
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix graham cracker crumbs, butter and sugar. Press into bottom of spring form pan and bake for 7 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely before adding filling. Once crust is cool, mix cream cheese, pudding and milk. When thoroughly combined, mix in the ice cream. Pour filling on top of crust and freeze overnight or for several hours until firm. Garnish with toppings of your choice.
Here are some combination ideas:
•Vanilla pudding and butter toffee ice cream. Top with caramel sauce and bits of crushed Heath Bars before serving.
• Vanilla pudding and Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream. Substitute chocolate cookies for graham crackers in the crust. Garnish with chocolate sauce, chocolate chips or sprigs of fresh mint and crushed peppermint candy.
• Chocolate pudding and turtle ice cream. Top with dollops of whipped cream and a toasted pecan.
• Pumpkin pudding and vanilla ice cream. Substitute gingersnaps for the graham crackers in the crust. Garnish with dollops of whipped cream and sprinkles of cinnamon.
My latest release is a sweet historical romance about a baker who does her best to soften a hardened man's heart with her confections and warm heart. 

Confection long

Will a sweet baker soften a hardened man’s heart?

 Born to an outlaw father and a shrewish mother, Fred Decker feels obligated to atone for the past without much hope for his future. If he possessed a lick of sense, he’d pack up and leave the town where he was born and raised, but something… someone… unknowingly holds him there. Captivated by Hardman’s beautiful baker, Fred fights the undeniable attraction. He buries himself in his work, refusing to let his heart dream.
Elsa Lindstrom adores the life she’s carved out for herself in a small Eastern Oregon town. She and her twin brother, Ethan, run their own bakery where she delights in creating delicious treats. Then Ethan comes home unexpectedly married, the drunks in town mistakenly identify her as a missing harlot, and a mishap in the bakery leaves her at the mercy of the most gossiped-about man in Hardman.
Mix in the arrival of three fairy-like aunts, blend with a criminal bent on dastardly schemes, and sprinkle in a hidden cache of gold for a sweet Victorian romance brimming with laughter and heartwarming holiday cheer.

“Well…” Fred gave her an odd look as he stood in the doorway with autumn sunshine spilling all around him.  “There are two other things I’d like.”
“Two?” Elsa asked, wiping her hands on her apron and facing him. “What might those two things be?” She anticipated him asking for a batch of rolls or perhaps a chocolate cake.
“My first request is simple. Please call me Fred. I’d like to think, after all this, we’re friends and all my friends call me Fred.”
Elsa nodded in agreement. “We are friends, Mr. Deck… er, I mean Fred. If you want me to call you Fred then you best refer to me as Elsa.”
The pleased grin on his face broadened. “Very well, Elsa.”
Her knees wobbled at the sound of his deep voice saying her name, but she resisted the urge to grip the counter for support. “You said there were two things you wanted, in addition to cookies. What is the second?”
“It’s a tiny little thing really,” Fred said, tightly gripping his hat in both hands.
“A tiny little thing? Then I shall take great honor in bestowing whatever it is.” Her gaze roved over the kitchen, trying to imagine what in the world Fred could want. She kept a jar full of assorted candy. Sometimes, she used the sweets to decorate cakes and cookies. Perhaps he wanted one. “A piece of candy?” she asked.
Fred shook his head. “No, Elsa. It’s sweeter than candy and far, far better.”
Intrigued, she took a step closer to him. “What is it?”
He waggled his index finger back and forth, indicating she should step closer. When she stood so her skirts brushed against the toes of his boots, he tapped his cheek with the same finger. “A little sugar right here would be even better than ten batches of cookies.”
~ Giveaway ~

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Make sure you enter this drawing for a chance to win a mystery box of Christmas goodies!

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After spending her formative years on a farm in Eastern Oregon, hopeless romantic Shanna Hatfield turns her rural experiences into sweet historical and contemporary romances filled with sarcasm, humor, and hunky heroes.

When this USA Today bestselling author isn’t writing or covertly hiding decadent chocolate from the other occupants of her home, Shanna hangs out with her beloved husband, Captain Cavedweller.

Shanna loves to hear from readers.

 Follow her online at:
ShannaHatfield | Facebook | Newsletter | BookBub | Pinterest

Her books are available at:
Amazon | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords | Apple | Audible

Friday, December 8, 2017

Give a Great Gift.... by Christine Bush


Christmas is coming, and we’re writing the gift list…for lots of people we love.

Here’s an extra thought.. maybe you’re in the position to give the gift of a home to a pet who needs one.  Shelters and foster homes are stretched to the limit.  Every day animals lose the battle of time in waiting to be rescued.

I had the joy of rescuing two VERY frisky cats a few years back, and despite the fact that today they will NOT leave the newly decorated Christmas tree alone…they are a cherished part of the family.  They bring so much joy!
How about you? Any good rescue stories out there? I’d love to hear.

Any chance you are thinking of adopting a new furry family member? 

I know sometimes we’re not in place where we can offer a home.  But a financial contribution can go a long way to our animal non profits who struggle to balance the books and save as many animals as possible while they await “forever homes.” 

It’s a Christmas gift that means a lot!

Christine Bush is the award winning author of over 20 stories of romance, romantic mystery, and suspense. She also writes Middle Grade Fiction.  When she’s not writing, she can be found teaching Psychology at a local college, working with clients as a Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice, having fun with her husband and 12 grandchildren, and (currently) chasing two rambunctious, Christmas ornament stealing cats around the house.  Life is grand!

Her newest novella, “Christmas with the Cat Lady”, is a sweet romance available in ebook or print. It makes a great gift!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Sweet Romance Christmas Kristin Wallace

This month we celebrate Christmas. It’s a wonderful time of joy when the world seems to get a little nicer (hopefully). It’s also a time when many enjoy snuggling up with a good book in front of a roaring fire (if it’s cold enough, which it rarely is where I live in Florida.) I thought I would provide a few suggestions for good reads from some pretty wonderful authors. They are my fellow Sweet Romance Authors.

I'm going to be sneaky and start with my own book, a Shellwater Key holiday tale...

Annaliese Matheson once had the perfect life, with a successful career on Broadway and a loving husband who was her greatest champion. Then her husband died. Devastated, she left the stage behind and only returned when her best friend, Grayson Kendall, asked her to perform at The Paradise Dinner Theatre in tiny Shellwater Key, Florida.

Annaliese is convinced she’ll never love again, but when she steps in to direct to Middle School Christmas Show, nothing will ever be the same. A man unlike any she’s known awakens her buried heart, giving her a second chance at forever with the last person she would have expected. It will take a miracle for Annaliese to let someone else in and embrace happiness again...but then it is Christmas.

Links:  Amazon  /  iTunes  /  Barnes & Noble   /  Kobo

More Sweet Romance Holiday Reads

Venetian Tangle by Beate Boeker

Blurb short
This contemporary sweet romance will plunge you into the heart of mysterious and foggy Venice during Christmas time, entertaining you with a delicious mix of humor and romance.

Royal Talisman by Raine English

When college student Giselle Galloway leaves Boston over Christmas break for the tiny kingdom of Monterra, a country nestled between Switzerland and Italy, to help cheer up a childhood friend, she encounters much more than she expected. Will her love for the Duke of Tularia help lift the depression that has been plaguing him since a debilitating accident? And with the help of a little magic, can she restore him to the man he used to be?

Love's Guiding Light by Raine English

When Savannah Wright begins her interior design job straight out of college, she believes only good things are in store for her. She never imagines someone might be out for revenge. Or that the handsome contractor she has to work closely with would be so infuriating. Will she find the happiness she so desperately craves? Or will all bets be off when she falls for a guy who might only bring her heartache?

The Christmas Confection by Shanna Hatfield

Born to an outlaw father and a shrewish mother, Fred Decker feels obligated to atone for the past without much hope for his future. If he possessed a lick of sense, he’d pack up and leave the town where he was born and raised, but something… someone… unknowingly holds him there. 

Elsa Lindstrom adores the life she’s carved out for herself in a small Eastern Oregon town. She and her twin brother, Ethan, run their own bakery where she delights in creating delicious treats. Then Ethan comes home unexpectedly married, the drunks in town mistakenly identify her as a missing harlot, and a mishap in the bakery leaves her at the mercy of the most gossiped-about man in Hardman. Mix in the arrival of three fairy-like aunts, blend with a criminal bent on dastardly schemes, and sprinkle in a hidden cache of gold for a sweet Victorian romance brimming with laughter and heartwarming holiday cheer.   Buy Link 

Chasing Christmas Shanna Hatfield

Professional bull rider Chase Jarrett has the world on a string. The only blight in his idyllic existence is his nosy cousin’s nonstop nagging about his need for more publicity. Tired of listening to her suggestions, he gives her free rein when she hatches a plan to skyrocket his popularity. All he has to do is show up for a phony wedding in Las Vegas. Then Chase discovers the wedding was real, the surprise bride is beautiful, and his sponsors are demanding he remain married.

Shy and introverted, the last thing Jessie Pierce wants is to find herself in the spotlight. But thanks to a meddling so-called best friend, that’s exactly where she’s at. The promise of an all-expenses paid vacation to Las Vegas lures her on an adventure that ends with her unexpectedly married to a hunky bull rider who would draw her out of her shell if she’d let him.

A business proposal leaves the two of them committed to a year of marriage. How hard could it be to remain wed in name only?  Buy Link

Tropical Kiss and Tell by Liwen Y. Ho
99 cents

Micah Chan has loved Lucy Choi ever since they were kids, but life—and some regretful decisions—stopped him from pursuing her. Now he has a choice to make: Let her marry another man or break up her engagement to make this Christmas the most memorable one of their lives?

First Street Church Romances: Love's Christmas Wish by Cindy Flores Martinez
(Kindle Worlds Novella)

Justin is much too young to become the town Santa Claus. Hope's dream never involved playing the role of Mrs. Claus. But they both need the money. Desperately. And then a little girl comes along with a Christmas wish that they both feel inspired to help make come true. Their lives will never be the same.

In Time For Christmas by Mona Risk

Five-month-old baby Clem cries for a bottle and loving care. Her uncle James needs to deliver her to grandma and rush to his meeting. Dr. Sylvia promised her parents to be home for Christmas. But a blizzard strands all flight passengers and ruins the best plans.

Holiday Hearts: A Sweet and Wholesome Romance Bundle by Josie Riviera

A sweet, heartwarming story is the hallmark of a romantic holiday season. With this exciting offer exclusively from USA Today Bestselling author Josie Riviera, enjoy three emotionally satisfying sweet holiday romances, a trio all wrapped up and delivered directly to your inbox—just in time for Christmas! Bundle up and save!

A Cowboy for Christmas by Magdalena Scott
(Serendipity Book 9)

For Hannah Kincaid, it was love at first sight when she met Jacob Hollingsworth, the handsome co-owner of Serendipity’s new (and only) dude ranch. When she lost her job at the Standish family’s Christmas Tree Farm, Jacob’s sisters hired her at the Rocking H. Sure, she’s afraid of horses, but she’ll overcome all obstacles to achieve a goal. The unexpected arrival of Jacob’s bossy brother Michael turns everything at the Rocking H on its head--including Hannah’s plans.  Buy Link

Home for Christmas by Magdalena Scott
(McClains Book 9)

Maureen McClain’s life changed on the night of her cousin’s art gallery opening in downtown Legend, Tennessee--she realized her perfect career was event planning, and she met Damien Phillips. That was a lifetime ago, back when Maureen believed in happy endings. Now her cousin has scheduled a showing of Damien’s work, and Maureen can’t turn down the job. She and Damien have even less in common than before, yet something is drawing them together. And it isn’t only the meddling McClains. Buy Link

Prayers Answered By Christmas by Pat Simmons

Christmas is coming. While other children are compiling their lists for a fictional Santa, eight-year-old Mikaela Washington is on her knees, making her requests known to the Lord: One mommy for Christmas please. Portia Hunter refuses to let her ex-husband cheat her out of the family she wants. Her prayer is for God to send the right man into her life. Marlon Washington will do anything for his two little girls, but can he find a mommy for them and a love for himself? Since Christmas is the time of year to remember the many gifts God has given men, maybe these three souls will get their heart’s desire. 

The Christmas Sparkle Test by Alicia Street

When the three Abbott sisters agree to return to Peconic Bend for one last Christmas in their childhood home before their dad sells it, Heidi knows it means facing memories she’d rather forget. Like Connor James, the guy who stole her heart, then broke it. Will seeing him again reopen a wound that still lingers? Does a spark still burn between them? Or will the magic of Christmas make that spark turn to sparkle?    

Kristin is a USA Today Bestselling author of inspirational and sweet contemporary romance filled with “love, laughter and a leap of faith”. Growing up she devoured books like bags of Dove Dark Chocolate. Her first Golden Book led to Laura Ingalls Wilder, Nancy Drew, C.S. Lewis and the Sweet Valley High series. Later, she discovered romance novels and fell in love all over again. It’s no surprise that Kristin would one day try her hand at writing them. She is the author of two bestselling series, Covington Falls Chronicles (inspirational romance) and Shellwater Key Tales (contemporary romance).

Get more information about all of her books at her website, Kristin Wallace Author

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