Friday, October 30, 2015

Do you hate to cook? Me, too! Here's an easy meal for tonight!

I love to eat, but I hate to cook. It’s not that I don’t like the process of cooking; it’s just that I don’t have time. My two favorite ways to cook are 1) grilling and 2) throwing a bunch of ingredients into a pan and shoving it into the oven to cook itself. Over the years, I’ve put together a three-ring binder of easy dishes to make. Here is one of my newest favorites (because my husband really likes this one and it’s super easy to prepare). I guarantee you’re going to love it, too!
1 lb extra lean ground beef
½ onion, chopped or minced
½ cup green pepper, chopped or minced (optional)
1 jar (24 oz) spaghetti sauce
1 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
2 lb (approx) frozen cheese ravioli
1 ½ cup shredded cheese, any kind

Heat oven to 350 degrees – use a 13 x 9 baking dish – bake for 1 hour

Brown meat, onion and green pepper in skillet. Stir in spaghetti sauce, sour cream and Parmesan cheese. Simmer until bubbling.

1.  Spread half the meat/sauce mixture on the bottom of the baking dish
2.  Sprinkle with ½ cup of the shredded cheese
3.  Spread out all of the ravioli to make one layer
4.  Sprinkle with ½ cup of shredded cheese
5.  Cover the top with the last half of meat/sauce mixture
6.  Sprinkle with the last ½ cup of shredded cheese
7.  Cover dish with tin foil

Bake 50 minutes or until heated through, uncovering for the last 10 minutes to brown the cheese on top. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before spooning to serve.

*    *     *
Denise Devine is a USA TODAY bestselling author who has had a passion for books since she discovered Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder in second grade. She wrote her first book, a mystery, at age thirteen and has been writing ever since. Her newest publication, A Christmas To Remember, is on sale now for 99 cents. And, yes, it includes a pet!

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Children in my books

Homework was done and Nine-year-old couldn’t watch her usual fun shows as grandpa was monopolizing the TV with his boring news about some hearing. So what can a Nine-year-old do when she has nothing to do and it’s not yet bedtime?

Play of course. Except that Grandma doesn’t know many games. One wonders how Grandma had graduated from school and college without learning some simple games as Money-Money and Master Brain. So be it. Nine-year-old  took a few minutes to teach Grandma, not thoroughly, because this way, Nine-year-old could beat Grandma so easily.

Then we played Monopoly. Now that was annoying because Grandma obviously knew this game and started winning. Honestly, the game became boring. Can you enjoy a game when you are losing to your old Grandma? Okay, so Nine-year-old took a break to put her pjs and then to eat an ice cream, but Grandma kept winning. So frustrating! That’s when Nine-year-old decided she was tired and stopped the game before we knew who won.

Now you know why I love writing about children and babies, and where I found my inspiration.

Tomorrow is RELEASE DAY for Book 5 in the Holiday Babies Series.
CHRISTMAS PAPA reached the USA Today bestseller list as part of Sweet Christmas Kisses 2.

Available at Amazon
99 cents

Single  mother, Monica Roland, is pretty enough to attract any man she wants, but to keep him is a different ballgame. The moment a serious boyfriend learns of her past or meets her adorable twins, he feels the urge to move two-thousand miles away, like Jake Carlton, a doctor who works in Alaska and is “dating” her long distance.
Until Michael kisses her…
But Michael Wheeler is a playboy who hates commitment. Fed up with the men around her, Monica moves forward with her life, putting her children and education before anything else.
Can Michael convince her that having a career doesn’t preclude love?


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Taking my Writing on the Road - by Magdalena Scott

The last few weeks have been super busy, but I’m wrapping up projects and heading out.

Book 4 of my Serendipity series is with my editor, and Book 3 - Christmas Wedding - has been published. I’m so fortunate to be able to write the stories I love and share them with readers. Thank you for making that possible!

A few months ago, a friend invited me to accompany her on a tour of Ireland, a place I’ve always wanted to visit. For me it’s a trip of a lifetime, and completely unexpected.

As you might guess, I’m planning to pack light. The photo above is my purse, one of the tiny notebooks I will carry in it each day, and a larger notebook for writing on the plane, bus, and in the hotel room at night. Who knows? Maybe I’ll even have opportunity to hang out in a pub soaking up the atmosphere and setting the writing Muse free.

I may be the only person on the tour who doesn't have a laptop in tow, but partly because I've been glued to it these last few weeks, I’ve decided to leave mine at home. So this will be a digital holiday as well as an amazing research trip. I'm jazzed about it.

Book 4 of my series is about Alice Williams, whom you’ve met if you have read any of the Serendipity stories. Alice takes her writing on the road one day, and the result is magical. In my experience, that’s the way life is. When we open ourselves to possibilities, amazing things happen. In fact, that's one of the reasons I created the Serendipity, Indiana series.

Have you ever had a wonderful surprise pop up when you set plan-making aside?


Magdalena Scott is a USA Today Bestselling Author, and writes sweet romance and women's fiction with small town settings. Connect with her on social media, sign up for her newsletter, and read about her books on her website:


December. 1st: Jim Standish has proposed, and he’s ready—right this minute—to marry the love of his life, with a quick trip to the courthouse. But Melissa Singer wants the event to be beautiful, romantic, and memorable. And on Christmas Day!

Everyone in the Standish family is doing their best to help. But they're also busy with the holiday season on the Standish Family Christmas Tree Farm. An unwelcome reminder of the past appears, the dress designer is working overtime, and nothing seems to go right.

They just have 25 days to make this event happen. Is it possible to create the perfect Christmas Wedding?


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Monday, October 26, 2015

Heroes, Heroines and Ghosts… Oh, my! by Ginny Baird

Do you like ghost stories? As a kid, I used to love them. No sleepover or Girl Scout campout was complete without hearing (or telling) some spooky tale. When I got older, I became fascinated with Agatha Christie novels, as as well as the television show “Alfred Hitchcock Presents.” I was further captivated by several episodes of “The Twilight Zone.” Soon, I came to realize that what intrigued me most was that sense of mystery, and never quite knowing whether the “reality” portrayed was factual or imagined. Or even—at times—otherworldly.

All these ideas come into play in my Romantic Ghost Stories series. I never intended to write paranormal romance, but my early fascination with mysteries and things beyond our realm caught up with me. When I started The Ghost Next Door, I was actually supposed to be writing Book 4 in my Summer Grooms novella series. The Summer Grooms books are lighthearted romantic comedies—each breezy, cute and funny. Not anything like a haunting autumn tale set in a small Virginia town. But the characters from The Ghost Next Door took over and demanded that I write their story.

I wasn’t entirely sure where that story was going until I was three quarters of the way through the first draft. That’s when the story twist hit me and left me shouting, “Of course!” Looking back through the manuscript, I saw that everything I’d written had been pointing me in that direction all along. The early scenes were peppered with breadcrumbs leading precisely down this trail. Only, it was easiest to spot them in retrospect.

The response to The Ghost Next Door both surprised and delighted me. Since it was so different from my other work, I wasn’t sure how my readers would take it. Happily, they loved it and wrote me asking for more ghostly tales. When I set out to write a second ghost story, The Light at the End of the Road, I knew it had to be different from the first. Once readers had experienced the surprise ending in Book 1, they’d be anticipating something similar in Book 2, so I had to try a fresh approach.

Book 3, The House at Homecoming Cove, presented an even bigger challenge. I needed to concoct a plot that was like neither of the first two books. It had to be unique and stand on its own, yet contain the same spooky and utterly romantic overtones as the first two novels. From the initial response to The House at Homecoming Cove (which released in October), I’m hopeful I’ve succeeded.

If you enjoy ghost stories and romance, I hope you’ll check out the books in my Romantic Ghost Stories series and let me know how you like them. Each is a stand-alone read and perfect for curling up with during a chilly fall evening. Who knows what you’ll encounter? Rest assured, you’ll meet heroes and heroines…and at least one—or two—things that go bump in the night.

Ginny Baird is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of several books, including novellas in her New York Times bestselling Holiday Brides Series. Her most recent release is The House at Homecoming Cove (Romantic Ghost Stories, Book 3). To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website You can also view her current book list on her author page at Amazon.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Unexpected Pleasures

Have you ever awakened and gone over a mental list of your day, then rolled over and wished you could go back to sleep? Unfortunately, you have no choice but to get out of bed, because who else is going to work ten hours, run errands, cook dinner, run a load of laundry, pick up dry cleaning, and take the kids to soccer practice. You think it’s going to be the worst day EVER, but then something unexpected happens and you end the day with a smile.

How about that family reunion you’re dreading, because you know your cousin’s, sister’s, aunt’s, brother is going to make a snide remark about the weight you’ve gained? Yep, that’s not so fun.

Sometimes we even have vacations we go on with family, but you don’t really think they’ll be all that amazing, only to be completely surprised when you come home planning another trip next year.

Well, last month my husband earned a trip to Hawaii. I know, I know, I get no sympathy after the word Hawaii. J Still, I was in Hawaii a year ago for two weeks. Also, it would be a five day trip, with two days of travel time. I kept thinking there was no way the trip would be worth it. I have deadlines, and kids, and blah, blah, blah. That being said, when we found out he’d earned the Platinum Award for top sales, I knew I had to go with him to show my support.

Let me tell you, the minute I stepped off that plane I was in bliss. The company set us up with all expenses paid at the Ritz Carlton in Maui. We were also allowed to pick an excursion, so we went waterfall repelling. We had breakfast overlooking the ocean each morning that tasted amazing, sat by the pool and had some beverages and sushi, and even watched a private concert with Keith Urban. Oh, and while on our way back from waterfall repelling, I discovered Christmas Kisses 2 Boxed Set hit the USA Today list. Woot! Yep, I was happy and had to act normal while on the Road to Hana in a fifteen-passenger van, with a bunch of my husband’s corporate associates.

Moral of the story, you never know when you’re going to experience an unexpected pleasure. J I’ve learned my lesson. How about you? Have you ever been urged to do something you didn’t think would be worth your time and effort, only to have the best time?


Ciara Knight is a USA Today and Amazon Bestselling author who writes 'A Little Edge and A Lot of Heart' that span the heat scales. Her popular sweet romance series, Sweetwater County (rated G), is a small town romance full of family trials, friendly competition, and community love.