Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Easy Cheesy Baked Rigatoni by Denise Devine

This is my newest creation for a chilly winter night. I threw it together one night when I couldn't think of anything to make that we hadn't eaten lately. It was an immediate hit. My husband loves it and always eats too much. It's super creamy and so good!

Easy Cheesy Baked Rigatoni

1 box (16 oz) rigatoni
1 jar spaghetti sauce (any of the cheese-added variety)
½ ring of sausage (such as Hillshire, etc.)
1 can cheddar cheese soup
1 soup can of milk
1 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded cheese (parmesan or mozzarella)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Cook rigatoni in a large saucepan, drain and pour immediately into a lasagna pan.
Pour spaghetti sauce, soup, milk and sour cream into large saucepan and heat, stirring occasionally. In the meantime, thinly slice sausage and add to mixture. When sauce is smooth and bubbly, pour over rigatoni noodles, top with shredded cheese and bake for 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted and pan is bubbling.

Let sit for 10 minutes then serve.

As always, any recipe can be modified to your tastes. Feel free to experiment!

Note:  This recipe makes a lot of sauce, but trust me, it’s not too much. Rigatoni absorbs a lot of moisture when baked and this casserole (or hot dish, as we call it in Minnesota) will come out of the oven very creamy, but that is what makes it so good. As it begins to cool, it will thicken.
~   ~   ~

Denise Devine is a USA Today bestselling author who wrote her first book, a mystery, at age thirteen and has been writing ever since.
Her newest publication, A Merry Little Christmas, is on sale now for 99 cents. And, yes, it includes a pet!

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Monday, November 28, 2016

Prepared - by Magdalena Scott

I'm glad I already had Wellies on hand. These tall, rubber boots are perfect for tromping through the high grass in the fields and along the cliffs of Cornwall, and later, Scotland.

And thank goodness for my wind-proof coat with the hood, and the thick, red alpaca-wool scarf and gloves. I'll be sure to stay warm and dry, won't I, while on this excursion?

I'm grateful too, for the variety of tea bags in my cupboard, and the tea kettle's merry whistle each time I prepare a cup.

And for handkerchiefs.

The truth is, I've been in my apartment almost constantly, for several days, alternately blowing my nose, sleeping, and drinking plenty of fluids.

My constant companion? Rosamunde Pilcher and Winter Solstice. I wanted to re-read it this year, and the day after Thanksgiving, I didn't feel up to accomplishing much else.

You probably realize now that the outdoor things weren't needed in reality, just in my mind, as I vicariously traversed a bit of the world I've never visited in person.

But I can dream, and a good book is a huge help.

I hope you find a book that takes you where you want to go this season. Is there a part of the world you especially like to visit by reading?



Magdalena Scott is a USA Today Bestselling Author of small town romance and women's fiction. Her most recent releases are books 6 and 7 of the Serendipity, Indiana Series.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Merry Sunday aka Christmas is coming

Christmas is finally here. I don't know about you but this weekend, I'm excited for the first time since I was a little girl myself. Why? I'm a mom now and I want to give my daughter the best Christmas I can. I know she won't remember, but she could ask questions. I want her to be able to see pictures and for us to tell her all about her first Christmas. As a single woman, I often simply went to my parents. My own apartment was pretty bare and hardly any Christmas. What was the point? 

Even after I married, my husband and I had a Charlie Brown Christmas tree and that was at my insistence. I can't even find any pictures worthwhile though I know they exist, somewhere. We talked about going on vacation somewhere. Last year it was supposed to be San Franscisco. Then a week before the trip, I found out I was pregnant. I absolutely refused to go through those machines at the airport where they do a full body scan. I needed to protect my unborn, even if they say it's safe.

So this year, it's the season where my daughter gets to see and hear about Christmas. I'm trying to get my husband to take us to Disneyworld as that's the only place that can make faux snow here in Florida. He's balking because of the money I'm spending this year.
 However here is what is on my list.
1: Christmas Tree stand for real tree.
2: Christmas Tree
3: Christmas Lights
4: Christmas Wreath
5: Ornaments
6: Stockings
7: Christmas Tree Skirt
8: Presents, including the Christmas eve nightgown and book tradition.
9: Christmas Dinner
10: Inviting my parents to my house

So yeah I have big plans. It will cost this year because we don't have any of the trimmings. If anyone has any money saving tips to ensure some of the above mentioned things all stay in budget, that would be awesome.

I'm so excited this year. I hope each of you is doing amazing. I'm going to be taking this weekend to get myself in gear.
Merry Christmas!!!!
Oh and duh, if you've not read Sweet Christmas Kisses 3 and want to take time out of your busy schedule, please go and read this amazing boxed set.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Family Ties

As most of us celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends today, imagine the relatives we have yet to meet. Who are they? What’s their name? Where do they live?
It’s no secret I enjoy genealogy, and I incorporate discoveries as plots in my Guilty/Jamieson Legacy series. I’ve uncovered identities, scandals and even connected with black and white descendants. One particular day, my family research took a surprising turn.
One of my kinfolks was sitting at the desk next to me. The revelation came when she mentioned Sikeston, Missouri, a small city a few hours from St. Louis.
I said, “I have cousins there,” and gave Annada my maiden name.
She had Coles in her family too.  I started calling off names, but when I mentioned elderly cousin Earl from Mobile, Alabama, the connection was made.
Annada got on the phone and called cousin “Goat,” someone I had never heard of.
When I went home that night, I pulled up the family tree chart and was able to connect the dots. The names she mentioned were descendants of one of my grandfather’s many siblings.
Amazing. For years, I’ve tracked down kinfolks for my genealogy research by visiting different cities, making strange phone calls, and pouring over censuses and other documents from the 1800s.
It’s still mind boggling that a short term job assignment in my home town brought me face-to-face to an unknown cousin.
A similar situation happened to another cousin in Chicago. Birda had worked with a woman for years. When her coworker died, and she attended the funeral, Birda was in for a shocker. The deceased was actually a cousin. Imagine passing by a person every day and not knowing you’re related. Eerie.
When we told our supervisor about the discovery, she said, “Keep it down, I’m not supposed to have relatives working in the same department.”
That cracked both of us up. After all, we hadn’t been kin until a day earlier.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone from some of my cousins after church service this morning.

Pat is the multi-published author of more than thirty Christian titles, and is a three-time recipient of the Emma Rodgers Award for Best Inspirational Romance. She has been a featured speaker and workshop presenter at various venues across the country.

As a self-proclaimed genealogy sleuth, Pat is passionate about researching her ancestors and then casting them in starring roles in her novels. She describes the evidence of the gift of the Holy Ghost as an amazing, unforgettable, life-altering experience. God is the Author who advances the stories she writes.
Pat currently oversees the media publicity for the annual RT Booklovers Conventions. She has a B.S. in mass communications from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts.
Pat converted her sofa-strapped, sports fanatic husband into an amateur travel agent, untrained bodyguard, GPS-guided chauffeur, and administrative assistant who is constantly on probation. They have a son and a daughter. 

Her newest release is Love Led By the Spirit. Minister Rossi Tolliver is ready to settle down. Besides the outward attraction, he desires a woman who is sweet, humble, and loves church folks. Sounds simple enough on paper, but when he gets off his knees, praying for that special someone to come into his life, God opens his eyes to the woman who has been there all along. There’s a slight problem. Jesetta “Jet” Hutchens lives by her own set of rules. Love is the farthest thing from her mind. But Rossi, the man and the minister, is hard to resist. Is Jet ready to allow the Holy Spirit to lead her to love?

Read more about Pat and her books by visiting or on social media.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thanksgiving Survival Guide

Are you hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year? If so, take a deep breath and don't forget to thaw the turkey. :)

Here are a few steps to keep your sanity this holiday season.
1) Don't forget to thaw the turkey.

2) Don't forget to remove the innards of the turkey.

3) Allow yourself plenty of time to cook the turkey.

4) To survive the first three, go to the Butterball calculator by clicking here  to look check that you've got it all right. ;)

5) Delegate cooking and do it wisely. If your Aunt Rose hasn't baked a dessert in her life, don't ask her to bring a pie. No one wants to taste her experiment.

6) Don't skimp on traditions. Thanksgiving is all about family and traditions. Make sure to have everyone participate in old tradition, and invent some new ones.

7) Have everyone arrive early enough so you can socialize while finishing up dinner. Perhaps have some pre-dinner snacks out on the counter. That way you draw them in and then give them an apron. No reason you should do all the work.

8) Spend time with family. The holiday can be hectic, make sure if you do all the cooking some else does the dishes. Every year we travel to another state for a family Thanksgiving dinner. I make pumpkin bread, but I'm unable to help with much more, so I'm always dish girl. I think that's why they invite me. ;)

9) Before you go or after you return, have a 'friendsgiving'. Invite people who may not be able to travel home for the holidays, and share your joy with them.

10) Today is not the day to diet. Yep, forget it. Enjoy the food, family, and friends. After all, that's what it's all about.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Do you have any great tips for surviving the holidays? If so, please share.

Jenna Mitchell Grayson returns to her hometown to run a center for children with autism. Divorced and raising a child diagnosed with special needs, she tries to put her life back together in the one place she’d sworn never to return.

Confirmed bachelor, Deputy Walker, has a reputation for being a playboy, but he’s never found the right girl to capture his heart. Not since the girl-next-store, Jenna Grayson, moved away. Now the woman who stole his heart has returned, and he is determined to discover why she left without an explanation or even a goodbye.

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

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

How early is too early? by Julie Jarnagin

Thanksgiving is around the corner, but if you turn on the television or walk into any store, you will think we've skipped straight to Christmas.

I'm torn.

I love the decorations, the movies, the food, and the spirit of Christmas, but I also hate skipping right over Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because we get food, family, and a reminder of everything we have to be thankful for, but without the shopping (I'm not a fan of the crowds), stress, and busyness that can come with the Christmas season.

This weekend, I spent a few days away from home at a writing retreat. It was wonderful. I learned a lot and spent time with some great friends. When I got home, my husband, who is normally a no-Christmas-until-after-Thanksgiving purist, had set up the Christmas tree. He'd caved to the excitement of our eight-year-old.

In this rush, rush, rush world, it can sometimes feel like we've forgotten how to be in the moment--how to enjoy this fall season with the changing leaves and Thanksgiving meals with family.

But even though our Christmas tree still doesn't have ornaments, I have to say that I love turning on the Christmas tree lights when I get up in the morning. Maybe we're rushing it a little bit, but who can resist an eight-year-old who just wants to spend a few extra days celebrating Christmas.

So whether you like to wait or you've already put up the tree, I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving and a very Merry Christmas.

When do you decorate for Christmas?

New Release! 
Cowgirl in the Kitchen

Just as she's about to make her dream come true, disaster strikes. The only way she can get back in the saddle is to strike a bargain—with a man her family despises. 

Jentry Lawson's dream of becoming a world-class barrel racer is about to happen—until she and her horse are injured in a terrible accident. Forced to move back home to Texas to recuperate, her Dallas-based brother makes her an offer she can't refuse. He needs someone he can trust to oversee the renovation and grand opening of his new restaurant. If she'll take that on, he'll finance her return to the arena. It doesn't take Jentry long to discover she bit off more than she can chew. Swallowing her pride, she asks for help from Gavin Easton—a man her brother despises. But he's the one person who can make the restaurant succeed. 

People in Glover never thought Gavin Easton would amount to anything. Ever since his own restaurant in town burned down, he's taken odd jobs to provide for his niece, whom he is raising alone. When beautiful and stubborn Jentry offers him the perfect job, his first reaction is to turn her down flat. No way he's going to do anything to help her brother! But there's more at stake than his pride. Can he trust his future to the woman whose brother tried to ruin his reputation—and his life? 

Besides, how can he manage a restaurant, when he can't manage his heart?

USA Today Best Selling author Julie Jarnagin writes sweet and inspirational romance. She grew up in a small Oklahoma town where her family farmed and ranched. These days she lives in a not-so-big city with her amazing husband and two young sons who tolerate all her nerdy quirks. Julie earned a B.A. in Journalism / Professional Writing from the University of Oklahoma and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. www.JulieJarnagin.comSign up for her newsletter for a FREE Christmas novella

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Monday, November 21, 2016

Why I Named a Book after Kampala, Uganda, by Milou Koenings

Today is the release day for my holiday novella, The Kampala Peppermint Twist.
I know, I know. It's a strange name for a Christmas story.

A road in Uganda. Jack Stimpson, cc-by-2.0.

Why would I send my heroine away from her picturesque Midwestern small town, with its blanket of snow and pine tree forest, all the way to East Africa for the holidays?

Crazy, right?
But Kampala, the capital city of Uganda, in East Africa, is where I grew up. And this is the first time I've written about it.

Homes in Kampala. Yes, people live like this.
Brian Wolfe, cc-by- 2.0.

Sometimes, we need a certain distance before we can write about a place. Ernest Hemingway supposedly said he had to leave Paris to be able to write about Paris. Whether he really said that or not, maybe there's a certain truth to it. Perhaps distance gives us perspective.
It's been a while since I've been back and I really miss it. My sister and I were recently hanging out and all we could talk about was Uganda. Until finally we just looked at each other and said at the same time, "We should just go together."
Thus plans are in the works. (Although my sister, who writes almost exclusively about Africa, is, in fact, heading there before me — for Christmas.)
So I thought I'd take this post to fill in a bit about the setting of my book.

Most people seem never to have heard of Uganda. But its nickname is "The Pearl of Africa." It is on the equator, on the shores of Lake Victoria, the largest lake in Africa (and second-largest freshwater lake after Lake Superior). It's where the Nile River is born.

Jinja, the source of the Nile River.
Of course, my characters had to take a trip on one of these boats. Niels Js, cc-by-2.0.

It's the most ethnically diverse country in the world. And the climate is just — perfect.
Parasol and rain gear and you're set for Uganda!
My sister and I in Kampala, so many years ago I'm not dating this pic.

I could wax poetic about the lush vegetation, the fertile soil, the vibrantly colored flowers and birds. Birdwatchers, this is your kind of paradise.
Crested cranes, Uganda's national bird.
Luz Montera Espuelo, cc-by-sa-2.0.

And people are so friendly and courteous; it's like coming home every time.

R to L, my grandmother, sister and I on the back deck (a few years ago ;) .
The elephants are a lot rarer these days.

I could also bemoan the fact that the large herds of elephants of my childhood have been decimated by poachers.
Or that it remains one of the poorest countries in the world. And I mean poor beyond your worst nightmares.
I actually went to a school like this, only ours was wealthier:
We had slates and a piece of chalk to take notes. Also, the teacher had a  chair.

I could also say that this is where I've known some of the most remarkable, courageous, giving people ever — and you'll meet composites of some of them in my story.
But the first thing I think of when someone mentions Uganda is joy. The very word makes me smile. Because what Uganda taught me is that no matter how bad things get — and they can get plenty bad — that's no reason not to be happy. No one laughs and smiles and rejoices and, yup, parties, like in Uganda. There's an infectious joie de vivre that still carries me through when I'm not there.
Lake Victoria. JJ, cc-by-2.0.

So if you've ever felt the urge to visit Africa, put Uganda on your list. You won't regret it.

Milou Koenings is a USA Today bestselling author. She writes romance because, like chocolate, stories with a happy ending bring more joy into the world and so make it a better place. 

Her Green Pines sweet romances, The Kampala Peppermint Twist, Reclaiming Home and Sweet Blizzard are available on Amazon and

You can find Milou on her website,, on TwitterFacebookPinterest, or Instagram.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Thanksgiving Is Coming!

I love Autumn. I know I’ve said that before…many times. One of the best things about Autumn is Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. The gathering of family and friends, the food, the tryptophan, and football playing on TV in the background ~ makes me remember many, many years of happy Thanksgivings. 

Traditionally, of course, we expect turkey and stuffing and gravy and cranberries, but what else? Is there some dish that you always make for Thanksgiving and rarely have any other time during the year? Mine is Spoon Bread. 

I love Spoon Bread. It’s simple and it’s bread and you put lots of butter on it and eat it with a fork (or spoon, if you prefer). I use my grandmother’s recipe (and who knows how many generations before her). It’s very simple and basic, but it’s easy and good, and I’m sharing it with you in case you don’t already have your own:

Spoon Bread

·        Put one cup of white corn meal in a glass or metal bowl.
·        Pour two cups of boiling water over the white corn meal.
·        Beat in the following ingredients (which you should already have handy so it goes quickly):
o   One cup milk
o   One-half teaspoon salt
o   Three teaspoons baking powder
o   Two tablespoons softened butter (take the stick out the night before so it softens)
o   Four eggs, well-beaten.
·        Pour the hand-beaten mixture into a buttered two-quart baking dish.
·        Bake in a pre-heated oven at 400 degrees for twenty to twenty-five minutes. The top and edges should be golden brown.
·        Enjoy.

What is your special dish? The one you yearn for on special holidays? Share if you will (I know some old family recipes are Top Secret!). And have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Grace Greene is an award-winning and USA Today bestselling author of women’s fiction and contemporary romance set in the rolling hills and forests of her native Virginia (Kincaid’s Hope, Cub Creek) and the breezy beaches of Emerald Isle, North Carolina (Beach Rental, Beach Winds). Her debut novel, Beach Rental, and the sequel, Beach Winds, were both Top Picks by RT Book Reviews magazine. She is the also the author of The Happiness in Between (release date: January 31, 2017), a standalone also set in Cub Creek. For more about the author and her books, visit or connect with her on Twitter at @Grace_Greene and on Facebook at