Leigh Goff

Author


2 Comments

Short & Sweet: A Halloween Treat

from HL Carpenter

October is National Pumpkin month, but we think such a beautiful fruit should get more than just one month of notoriety. So smile, say cheese, and make your own yummy appetizer for any holiday get-together.

Cheese Ball Pumpkin
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese
4 ounces crumbled feta or blue cheese
4 ounces shredded sharp cheddar or pepper jack cheese
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. prepared mustard
½ tsp. onion powder
Paprika
The stem of a green bell pepper

Place all the cheeses in a large bowl and let soften to room temperature.

When cheese is soft, add Worcestershire and mustard. Blend with electric mixer or food processor on low speed. Scrape bowl and beat blended mixture on medium speed 1 or 2 minutes more until well mixed (do not over-beat).

Turn the mix onto plastic wrap. Pull the wrap up and secure with a twist tie. Shape the wrapped mixture into a ball. Score the pumpkin “ribs” onto the cheese ball with your fingertip or a flat knife.

With the plastic in place, set the cheese ball in a bowl and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

Before serving, sprinkle with paprika and add a bell pepper stem to top.

Keep refrigerated until the crowd arrives, then serve with assorted crackers.

Once upon a time there was a mother/daughter author dup named Helen and Lorri, who wrote as HL Carpenter. the Carpenters worked from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories was unreal but not untrue. Then one day Lorri left her studio to explore the land of What-If, and like others who have lost a loved one the magical place lost much of its magic. But thanks to family, plus an amazing group of wordsmiths named Authors Moving Forward (AMF), the magic is slowly returning.

Helen Carpenter loves liking and sharing blog posts from other authors. She lives in Florida with her husband of many years  and appreciates everyday, especially those without hurricanes.

Stay connected on her blog and Facebook.


Leave a comment

The Importance of Pacing

C.D. Hersh is here to talk about pacing and its importance to a better story. They offer six ways to keep a train from rolling through your scenes.

We’re not talking about stories about locomotives or the walking back and forth you do when waiting for someone. Pacing in writing is determined by the length of the scenes, how fast the action moves, and how quickly the reader is provided with information. Have you seen the movie “The Descendants” starring Nick Clooney? If you like panoramic views of Hawaii and lots of close-ups of Clooney, then hunt it up on your favorite streaming service. If, however, you prefer a faster paced story, this movie is not the one for you. When we belonged to a drama group our director was always talking about pacing. She hated pauses that were longer than it took for a ping pong ball to drop from a coffee table. In “The Descendants” you could have driven trains through some of the pauses in the scenes. Can you say sloooooow? Try as we might, we couldn’t figure out why so many sluggish scenes were needed. Some of the unnecessary scenes included close ups of an angst-ridden Clooney staring out into space, for way too long; pedantic scenes of him buried behind piles of paper at his office desk; more than one silent, plodding hospital scene with Clooney and his family, while the camera panned the room; long camera shots of Hawaii you could have fit four commercials into; and a closing movie scene where the characters spent minutes staring wordlessly at the television. The only thing in the last scene that made a point was the quilt they all snuggled under. Come on, already. Pick up the pace. Even sad stories need to move along at a clip that keeps the viewer, or reader, engaged. Pacing is such an important part of any story. Too slow and you lose the reader’s attention. Too fast and you leave them wondering what just happened. Here are a six tips to help you keep your story’s pacing moving along.
  • Use more dialogue for faster pacing. We’re not talking about dull “How’s the weather” conversation, unless the story’s about a tornado. Make every word count and tell the reader something new.
  • Don’t repeat information. There’s no need to beat the reader over the head with information. Telling them once that Aunt Millie is dying is sufficient. They’ll remember it. They’re smart.</li
  • Use action instead of tags in dialogue. You’ll not only speed up the pace, but you’ll show the reader what’s happening.
  • Keep two or more characters on the scene. Think Tom Hanks in Castaway, versus The Transformers.
  • Use narrative or description sparingly. Nothing stops a story like a side trip down memory lane or descriptions of setting and characters. Drop that kind of information into the story in short bites. The reader will still get it.
  • Create tension in the scene. Donald Maas says every scene should have tension, even every page. If you don’t have tension there’s no reason for your reader to turn the page.
Check your work in progress. Are your scenes tight and exciting, or can you drive a train or a semi-truck through them? Scenes don’t have to be action packed, just tension packed. Keep those ping pong balls bouncing around to stir up the pace. Here’s a scene from book four, The Mercenary and the Shifters of our series, The Turning Stone Chronicles, to give you an idea of fast pace.

My home is perfectly safe. It’s my business I’m concerned about.”

Fiona crossed her arms over her chest, her body language closing off to further suggestions. Mike followed her motions. As he did, he spotted a red dot on her chest. The dot wiggled.

“Get down!” Mike shouted as he dove for Fiona.

They hit the floor as the pottery on the raised fireplace hearth exploded, sending shards across the room. Mike shoved Fiona behind the nearest chair then scrambled across the rug to the blown-out window. Removing his gun from his back-of-the-waist holster, he peered over the windowsill. Seeing no one in the driveway, he swiveled around to check on Fiona. The red laser point danced around the room, searching for a target.

Mike followed the trajectory of the beam. The shot came from across the street in something high. He remembered seeing a tree house in the yard across the road from the mansion.

“Who lives across from you?” he asked.

“No one right now. The house is for sale.”

“I didn’t see a ‘For Sale’ sign.”

“We’re in an exclusive neighborhood. The HOA forbids sale signs.” Another shot rang out.

Mike whirled around in time to see Fiona’s head sticking out from behind the chair. The image of her head reflected in the fireplace mirror. “He’s using the mirror to target us. Do these curtains close?”

“Yes. The cord’s on the other side of the window.”

“I’m going to crawl under the window and close them. He’ll probably see my reflection in the mirror and start shooting, so stay hidden. As soon as the curtains close, crawl to the window as fast as you can and follow the wall to the entryway. Then get the hell out of the front of the house. Got it?”

“Got it.” Fiona’s voice quavered up the scale.

“You okay?”

“Scared, but okay.”

As Mike crawled along the floor, a volley of shots rang out. The remainder of the pottery displayed on the hearth shattered. When he reached the other side of the window, he yanked the drapery cord. The curtains billowed closed.

“Now, Fiona!” he shouted.

As she belly crawled across the floor, Mike held his breath. Bullets sprayed the room, punching through the heavy draperies, the shots veering from floor to ceiling.

Don’t ricochet! he commanded.

Fiona reached the cover of the exterior wall, and he let his breath out in a whoosh.

“Hurry!”

When she came within arm’s reach, he grabbed her hand and yanked her the rest of the way across the room and into the entry.

“Do you have a panic room?”

She nodded, her eyes filled with fear. “In the basement, behind the trophy wall.”

“Get in it, and don’t come out until I tell you to.”

“Where are you going?”

“To get the SOB who’s trying to kill you.”

Now when your heart rate slows down how about checking out our books? C.D. Hersh–Two hearts creating everlasting love stories. Putting words and stories on paper is second nature to co-authors C.D. Hersh. They’ve written separately since they were teenagers and discovered their unique, collaborative abilities in the mid-90s. As high school sweethearts and husband and wife, Catherine and Donald believe in true love and happily ever after. They have a short Christmas story, Kissing Santa, in a Christmas anthology titled Sizzle in the Snow: Soul Mate Christmas Collection, with seven other authors. Plus their paranormal series titled The Turning Stone Chronicles. They are looking forward to many years of co-authoring and book sales, and a lifetime of happily-ever-after endings on the page and in real life. Stay connected with C.D. Hersh on social media:

Website

Soul Mate Publishing

Facebook

Amazon Author Page

Twitter


3 Comments

Cover Reveal for The Last Timekeepers and the Noble Slave!!!

The Last Timekeepers, Book 3

by Sharon Ledwith



Welcome to the Cover Reveal for The Last Timekeepers and the Noble Slave
The Last Timekeepers, Book 3
by Sharon Ledwith



About the Book:

Eleven-year-old Drake Bailey is an analytical thinker and the genius of the Timekeeper crew. However, no logic or mathematical acumen can change the color of his skin, or prepare him for this third Timekeeper mission in antebellum Georgia. To survive, Drake must learn to play the role of a plantation slave and when confronted with the brutality, hatred, and racism of the deep south, he’ll have to strategically keep one move ahead of his sadistic captors to ensure his lineage continues.

In a dark world of Voodoo, zombies, and ritualistic sacrifice, the Timekeepers must ensure a royal bloodline survives. Can Drake remove both literal and figurative chains to save both himself and a devout slave girl from a terrible fate? If he can’t summon the necessary courage, humanity could stand to lose one of its greatest leaders.

Book Details:

Genres: Young Adult, Time Travel, Fantasy  

Release Date is September 17, 2021

Author Tagline:

Escape to the past and have a blast.

Meet the Author:

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/young adult time travel adventure series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the award-winning teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her spoiled hubby, and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her WEBSITE and BLOG. Look up her AMAZON AUTHOR page for a list of current books. Stay connected on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, PINTEREST, LINKEDIN, INSTAGRAM, and GOODREADS

Publisher Website:

Mirror World Publishing 


Leave a comment

An Elf’s Lament Upon Leaving

High praise for Carol Browne’s latest book that is a beautiful anthology of poems and short stories. No one says it better than an Amazon reviewer who describes the book as “atmospheric”: “The poetry is steeped in a love of nature, magic and mythology. The short stories hold interesting twists. No spoilers! The Boomerang Effect (dabbling with a love spell, Martin Nevis finds himself having second thoughts) A Force to Be Reckoned With (an outcast with thoughts of being “destined for something great” wants to join the police force) and Transformation (once bullied, Patricia attends a school reunion and emerges victorious) were my favorites. Give this anthology collection of short stories a read, you won’t be disappointed.”

BLURB

An elf laments a passing era, But truth and beauty will survive, For they live on in stories and verses, And in our imaginations thrive.

Nature, nostalgia, mystery and magic, In twisty tales and poems that rhyme, Are here, with myth and fantasy blended, To capture another place and time.

BUY LINKS

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Once upon a time a little girl wrote a poem about a flower. Impressed, her teacher pinned it to the wall and, in doing so, showed the child which path to follow. Over the years poems and stories flowed from her pen like magic from a wizard’s wand. She is much older now, a little wiser too, and she lives in rural Cambridgeshire, where there are many trees to hug. But inside her still is that little girl who loved Nature and discovered the magic of words. She hopes to live happily ever after.

Stay connected with Carol on her website and blog, Facebook, and Twitter.


2 Comments

The Koush Hollow Audiobook is Available Now!

Screen Shot 2021-09-23 at 8.33.12 AMFive-star review from Jessica Julien-Audiobook Reviewer
🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟”Today, I have a  great audiobook for you to check out that is dark & mysterious, witty & charming, & downright Southern Gothic…overall it was an awesome listen that you should all check out!!

BUY LINKS: | Amazon | iBooks | Audible


Leave a comment

Finding Mr. Right

FINDING MR. RIGHT

from Leigh Goff

How do you know he’s the one? I’m a firm believer in one’s intuition. It’s the hidden sense that isn’t based on logic, but comes to us in rare moments of need. Call it a gut-feeling that many of us have had. It’s an understanding that comes from within and there’s no need to question it. I’m speaking from experience so when your inner voice says he’s a good guy, it might be worth listening.

In my latest novel, Koush Hollow, Jenna falls for the local bad boy, but he isn’t so bad once she gets to see him more clearly. He’s passionate about the bayou, he cares about Jenna because he see beyond her troubling environment, and he’s honest in how he speaks. Ultimately, he makes Jenna want to be a better person and to strive to be more than a Pearl in her mom’s superficial social club.

Here are my top five signs that he’s the one for you, and if these signs aren’t obvious and your intuition isn’t talking, I’ll explain.

1- He’s interested. He makes romantic gestures to let you know he’s into you. He sends you a bouquet of your favorite flowers. He leaves notes on your car windshield to cheer you up. He holds your hand when he senses you’re nervous. This means he isn’t afraid to show you that he wants more time with you.

2- He makes you laugh. Laughter is one of life’s simple pleasures. It could be a funny comment he makes when you wake up, or a silly joke he tells your friends over pizza. He’s a funny guy and he looks at life with a great sense of humor. He makes you want to spend time with him. It’s another sign that he’s interested in you. What’s not to like about that?

3- He remembers what you like. This is a gimme. You mentioned your favorite flavor of ice cream months ago at a Christmas party, surrounded by friends and loud music. You didn’t even know he heard you. Then, when you least expect it and you’re hiding at home with a terrible sore throat, he shows up with a pint of blueberry cheesecake gelato and you know this guy is something special.

4- He’s a good communicator. He makes good eye contact, he listens, and he asks questions. He doesn’t let you walk away from an argument without resolution. He knows it’s healthy to have different opinions, but it’s really healthy to talk them through and meet somewhere in the middle, and if that’s not possible, he’s okay to agree to disagree. Life gets tough and you need someone with good communication skills.

5- He makes you want to be a better person. You watch how he interacts with children, animals, and waiters and his kindness inspires you to be a bit more patient, smile more, or give a bigger tip, if you can afford it. He makes the world a better place to live in and you want to be by his side doing the same thing.

Here is my Hope Chest Recipe just so you're ready when the right he walks into your life.

Mr. Right’s Chicken Dinner
1 Whole chicken plus 2 chicken breasts
1 Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Classic Stuffing
1 stick of butter
1 can of Campbell’s Cream of Chicken
1 can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom
2 cans of chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Boil chicken and breasts for 20-30 minutes. Shred meat from the bone.

Melt butter in a pot, then add stuffing mix.

In a separate pot, add soups and broth and heat.

Use a 9 x 13 dish to layer half the stuffing on bottom, shredded chicken, soup and finally the remaining stuffing.

Cover dish with foil and then bake 20 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 20 minutes.

Here's a little from my book to peak your interest.
Koush Hollow
Where bayou magic abounds and all that glitters...
is deadly.
After her father’s untimely death, Jenna Ashby moves to Koush Hollow, a bayou town outside of New Orleans, dreading life with her wealthy mother.

As the sixteen-year-old eco-warrior is introduced to the Diamonds & Pearls, her mother’s exclusive social club, she comes to the troubling realization that secrets are a way of life in Koush Hollow.

How do the Diamonds & Pearls look so young, where does their money come from, and why is life along the bayou disappearing?

As Jenna is drawn into their seductive world, her curiosity and concerns beg her to uncover the truth. However, in this town where mysticism abounds and secrets are deadly, the truth is not what Jenna could have ever imagined.
EXCERPT Hayden shook his head. “I shouldn’t expect someone like you to care.” “Like me? I’m not so different from you.” He cocked his hands on his hips and stared into my eyes. He concentrated, searching for something. “Jenna, what if that were true? How would that fly with your Pearl friends?” “What are saying?” “The night of the beach party—you stayed under the water for minutes. I thought you were drowning.” His gaze lowered to my mouth, sending a warm flutter of butterflies inside me. “Maybe you’re more like me than you ever thought possible.” Surprised, I pressed a hand to my stomach. I glanced back at the yacht club. “I-I have to go.” I stumbled into a walk. My mind raced. What was that look he gave me? He followed after and grabbed onto my hand. Lightning flickered from his touch and ignited my nerves. The shiver ran the length of my arm and down to my toes. My heart raced. I turned and looked at him. I wanted to feel his eyes on my mouth again. He held me fixed in his gaze. “Promise me if you decide to become a pearl girl, you’ll do it as an informed person.” His tone was deadly serious. Right there, I felt the weight of his concern. I dropped my gaze. “Hayden, I’m too smart to be a part of something that is ethically bankrupt and environmentally dangerous, if that’s what you’re worried about.” “Don’t let them change you into one of them.” I touched my hand to his cheek and traced the line of his jaw. “Do you think my mother and her friends are really part of a pollution conspiracy and a murder cover-up?” I asked referring to his childhood recollection. “Do you think I’d ever want to be a part of that?” He considered my argument for a brief second. “This is bigger than you, Jenna. It will suck you in, if you let it.” Mama appeared behind me, interrupting the discussion. “Everything okay here?” “Fine.” I breathed in and out as quietly as I could, waiting for my racing heart to settle down. “Hayden, this is my mother, Dr. Crossland. Mama, this is Hayden Black. We’re classmates and we were discussing a history assignment.” She dissected him with her eyes and everything about her expression told me she did not approve.

BUY LINKS

Parliament House Press

Amazon

Leigh Goff is a young adult author with type 1 diabetes who is inspired by caffeine, enchanted spells, and unforgettable, star-crossed fates. Although she’s terrible at casting any magic of her own, she is descended from the accused witch, Elizabeth Duncan of Virginia, who went to trial in 1695 for charges including bewitching livestock and causing birds to fall from the sky. You can find more information at www.LeighGoff.com and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.


1 Comment

It’s Time to Read Local Authors

04-flag-1024x683We shop local and eat local, now it’s time to read local! There is a social trend of ‘local first’ movements spreading around our nation.

Reading local benefits the community and highlights what makes it unique. Most local bookshops have sections dedicated to local authors. Independent booksellers spend a lot of time connecting with their community and its authors. If you want to find a book you’ll like, ask them for suggestions. And bonus, by supporting these shops, you’re providing jobs and supporting the local literary arts. Unknown

Many authors love to participate in neighborhood book clubs, too. Don’t be afraid to research writers in your area and reach out. If you’re putting together a list of books for your club or for summer reading, add a few local authors to it. You never know, they might just Zoom into your next meeting!

Local literary events are a great way to discover authors near you, including those hosted at libraries. There are many libraries that recognize the significance of reading local. Cascades Library in Northern Virginia is one of them and they are hosting their annual Eat Local/Read Local event this October 16th from 10am to 1pm (I’ll be there!). It’s free, there are lots of food trucks, and signed books galore, which make for fantastic birthday or holiday gifts.

bhcoverartbevel-2Reading local authors helps you learn amazing new things about the town you live in. When I wrote my second YA novel, Bewitching Hannah, historic downtown Annapolis inspired me. I wanted to highlight what makes my town unique with the hope of making it more of a destination than it already is. I included intriguing details about popular sights and historic houses as the settings where much of the action takes place. The feedback I received from my readers was that they wanted to visit these places. I created a literary tour for them that included all the sights I used in my novel. Here’s a link to the self-guided tour: https://leighgoff.com/2017/08/31/a-bewitching-tour-around-historic-annapolis/

Literary artists need their community and the community needs its artists. As Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Start READING LOCAL!


BUY LINKS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I love writing young adult fiction with elements of magic and romance because it’s also what I like to read. Born and raised on the East Coast, I now live in Maryland where I enjoy the area’s great history and culture.

I am a graduate of the University of Maryland, University College and a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). I am also an approved artist with the Maryland State Arts Council. My debut novel, Disenchanted, was inspired by the Wethersfield witches of Connecticut and was released by Mirror World Publishing. My second novel, Bewitching Hannah, is a young adult fantasy set in historic Annapolis.

Stay connected with me on Facebook, Instagram and Goodreads.


Leave a comment

Finding Mr. or Mrs. Right-for-Your-Life

from Catherine Castle

How do you know it you’ve met Mr. or Mrs. Right—the one true love of your life? Couples-hands

Now that’s the question of the century. Sometimes you know right away with a “zing” goes the heart strings. Sometimes you don’t know until certain dramatic things happen in your lives. And sometimes true love is revealed only after the loved one is gone. I saw all three of these in the lives of my parents.

Let me tell you a story about my parents, who apparently got it right.

My parents met after WWII, right before Dad was going to enlist in the Foreign Legion. He came to visit Mom’s uncle. Mom peeked at Dad from behind a newspaper during that visit and her interest in him was obvious enough that he asked her on a date. Their courtship was a short one. They met in October and by Thanksgiving the following month they were married. All Dad’s family said, “Don’t marry him. You don’t know what you’re getting into. He drinks. He gambles. He carouses around with his brother.” But ‘Love is blind.’ And Mom didn’t listen to the naysayers. That’s the “zing” goes the heart strings moment.

The dramatic happening for my folks occurred early on in their marriage. True to the warning of his family, Dad did drink and gamble and run around with his brother, leaving Mom at home with two small children.  After about two years of this kind of behavior, Mom gave Dad an ultimatum.  “It’s me and your daughters or carousing with your brother. You can’t have both. Choose what you love most,” she told him.  Dad chose us. He walked away from his old life and built a life around his family.

It took the remainder of their lives together to discover the last expression of love.

Dad was a meat and potatoes kind of guy. Dinner fare for us was always a meat, which ran the gamut from pickled pigs’ feet and cow brains to fried chicken and smoked pork. Some form of potatoes (usually fried) sat next to the meat platter. Then green beans and another vegetable filled out the menu. We’d often have bread, too, from sliced store-bought bread to homemade cornbread or biscuits. Dessert was rare and saved for company. Without fail, meat, potatoes, green beans and a second vegetable appeared on every dinner table.

No matter what combination of those four dishes Mom put on the dinner table, Dad ate it. He wasn’t choosy about what meat Mom served, or how the potatoes were fixed, or what alternate veggie she served beside the green beans. He ate it all, and as I remember it, with gusto. In all the years I sat at the table with them, eating Mom’s down-home meals I never once heard Dad complain about or critique Mom’s cooking. I thought he loved everything she made, even though I always didn’t.

Then, in 1987, Mom died of complications from pneumonia. After the funeral Dad was wandering around the house saying, “You girls should take this, or this. It belonged to your mom and I can’t look at it now that she’s gone.”  We obliged him and took the offered items, because, as I’ve since learned, guys can’t deal with looking at stuff that belonged to their deceased wives.

When Dad walked into the pantry where Mom kept all her home-canned goods, he said, “Take all these green beans home with you.”

“I can’t take food off your table, Dad,” I protested.

“I hate green beans,” he replied.

I’m sure my mouth dropped open, because it still does when I think of this story. “But you ate them almost every night,” I said. “If you hate them why did you eat them?”

“Because your mother served them.”

For thirty-seven years and four months, my father ate a hated vegetable every day just because Mom served it. And he ate it without letting anyone at the table know he hated green beans. Now, if that isn’t true love, I don’t know what is.

Ain’t love grand?

Unknown-1Catherine loves to laugh at herself and loves to write comedy. Check out her award-winning romantic comedy, with a touch of drama, A Groom for Mama.

Take your mind off the sound discrepancies between men and women with a copy of Catherine’s award-winning romantic comedy that has a touch of drama. You’ll laugh as Mama searches for a husband for her daughter.One date for every medical test—that’s the deal. Allison, however, gets more than she bargains for. She gets a Groom for Mama

Beverly Walters is dying, and before she goes she has one wish—to find a groom for her daughter. To get the deed done, Mama enlists the dating service of Jack Somerset, Allison’s former boyfriend.

The last thing corporate-climbing Allison wants is a husband. Furious with Mama’s meddling, and a bit more interested in Jack than she wants to admit, Allison agrees to the scheme as long as Mama promises to search for a cure for her terminal illness.

A cross-country trip from Nevada to Ohio ensues, with a string of disastrous dates along the way, as the trio hunts for treatment and A Groom For Mama.

Amazon Buy Link

Multi-award-winning author Catherine Castle has been writing all her life. A former freelance writer, she has over 600 articles and photographs to her credit (under her real name) in the Christian and secular market. Now she writes sweet and inspirational romance. Her debut inspirational romantic suspense, The Nun and the Narc, from Soul Mate Publishing, has garnered multiple contests finals and wins.Unknown

Catherine loves writing, reading, traveling, singing, watching movies, and the theatre. In the winter she loves to quilt
and has a lot of UFOs (unfinished objects) in her sewing case. In the summer her favorite place to be is in her garden. She’s passionate about gardening and even won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club.

Learn more about Catherine Castle on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to check out Catherine’s Amazon author page and her Goodreads page. You can also find Catherine on Stitches Thru Time and the SMP authors blog site.


2 Comments

Chocolate & Cherry Heaven

from Sharon Ledwith

A real crowd pleaser at small gatherings such as book clubs or intimate bridal and baby showers, this chocolatey, sweet treat will tempt even the most disciplined of us. If cherry is your go-to fruit that makes your mouth think you’ve swallowed a piece of heaven, then read on if you dare to concoct this sinful chunk of bliss.

CHOCOLATE CHERRY CHUNK LOAF

A bit of butter for greasing the loaf pan 
1¼ cups + 1 tsp. all-purpose plain flour 
¼ cup cocoa 
2 tsp. baking powder 
¼ tsp. salt 
¾ cup granulated or caster sugar 
1 cup cherry yogurt 3 large eggs lightly beaten 
1 tsp. vanilla ½ cup mild vegetable oil 
1 cup cherries 
¼ cup sweet chocolate chips 
1 cup walnuts, chopped, use less if you prefer

Preheat oven to 350° F (175° C or 165° for fan ovens, Gas Mark 4).

Grease a 2 lb. (8 ½ x 4 ¼ x 2 ½ inch) loaf pan.

Remove the pits from the cherries and cut each one in half. Place cherries in a small bowl, sprinkle the 1 teaspoon flour over top and toss gently.

Sift 1¼ cups flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl.

Stir in sugar, chocolate chips, and walnuts. Set dry ingredients aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together yogurt, eggs, vanilla, and oil.

Add yogurt mixture to dry ingredients. Beat with a wooden spoon until all the flour is mixed in and the batter is smooth.

Gently fold in the flour-coated cherries.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Cool in pan for 20 minutes, then remove cake and place it on a wire rack to cool completely.

 THE GLAZE

1 cup icing sugar, confectioner’s sugar 
2 tbsp. maraschino cherry juice 
1 tbsp. water 
Drop of pink food coloring, optional

Pour icing sugar into a bowl. Whisk in maraschino cherry juice.

Gradually whisk in water, a drop or two at a time, until a smooth, drizzle-able consistency is reached.

Whisk in food coloring, if using.

While you’re waiting on your loaf to bake and cool, how about taking a break by delving into one of my books? May I suggest a visit to Fairy Falls, or if you’re feeling really adventurous, a trip back in time with The Last Timekeepers? Whichever you choose, either series will entertain and engage, pulling you into another time and a different place.

The only witness left to testify against an unsolved crime in Fairy Falls isn’t a person…

City born and bred, Hart Stewart possesses the gift of psychometry—the psychic ability to discover facts about an event or person by touching inanimate objects associated with them. Since his mother’s death, seventeen-year-old Hart has endured homelessness, and has learned ways to keep his illiteracy under wraps. He eventually learns of a great-aunt living in Fairy Falls, and decides to leave the only life he’s ever known for an uncertain future.

Diana MacGregor lives in Fairy Falls. Her mother was a victim of a senseless murder. Only Diana’s unanswered questions and her grief keeps her going, until Hart finds her mother’s lost ring and becomes a witness to her murder.

Through Hart’s psychic power, Diana gains hope for justice. Their investigation leads them into the corrupt world threatening Fairy Falls. To secure the town’s future, Hart and Diana must join forces to uncover the shocking truth, or they risk losing the true essence of Fairy Falls forever.



Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/YA time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter, Goodreads, and Smashwords. Look up her Amazon Author page for a list of current books. Be sure to check out THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS TIME TRAVEL SERIES Facebook page.


1 Comment

Romance Novels: Why Are They So Popular?

 from Anne Montgomery

Once, after reading one of my manuscripts, my agent said, “I really like the historical part of the story. Why don’t you write it as a stand-alone romance?”

I winced. A romance novel? Me?

I have a pretty good idea about
where this book is going. Don’t you?

I’ll admit here that I’ve been a bit of a snob in regard to that particular genre, which I was surprised to discover is the number one book-selling category on the planet. Not sure why I’ve often scoffed at romance novels. Perhaps it’s the covers: the swooning women with their heaving breasts, the muscular men, all sixpacks and flowing hair. Those books just never sang to me and I never understood why other people wanted to read them.

So, in an effort to learn, I contacted some of my lovely romance-writing friends. I put on my old reporter’s cap and grilled them like a detective looking for clues, my goal to understand why anyone would want to read a romance novel.

Boy, did I learn a lot!

“Romance gives us a glimpse into another world,” said author Tina Ruiz. “Sometimes it’s a world that we don’t have around us. Romance novels are like fairy tales to grown up women, where the men are nice, cater to our every whim, and shelter us from everything that might make us sad or hurt.”

“It’s possible the diversity of romance novels is a magnet for diverse individuals,” said romance author Nancy Kay. “From contemporary, to historical, to mystery and thrillers there are any number of themes to attract a number of tastes.” 

Okay. But why are these stories tops in sales department?

“In my humble opinion it’s because we live in a shattered world that is full of bad stuff and romance is the ultimate good stuff,” said author Catherine Castle. “True love, loyalty, people who care about each other’s happiness.”

“Simple answer – escape,” said author Sloane Taylor. “Escape from the husband/wife who takes you for granted. Escape from the kids demanding all your time with not even a thanks. Escape from the boss who is a major ass. Escape from the bills that keep mounting. And especially in today’s world – escape from the pandemic and it’s personal repercussions.”


“The mainly happy endings in a frequently bitchy world,” Australian author Vonnie Hughes explained.

Hughes went on to say that romance novels don’t cost as much as other genres and they tend to be shorter, so don’t require a big investment of time.

I have certainly read books that contained romance, though that part of the story was mostly secondary to the plot, so I was curious as to what exactly defines a romance novel. Of course, my first thought in our post Fifty Shades of Grey world was sex. But Ruiz pointed out that actual sex is not always the big draw.

“It is the illusion of sex that grabs our hearts,” she said. “In a lot of movies, the man and woman don’t even kiss until the very last scene.  That moment gets built up from the moment they meet until the end of the book or movie.  It’s the part we are all waiting for, so when it happens, it is absolutely wonderful.”

Still sex is often part of the format.

“Reading a book where sex is prominent is pretty awesome,” Ruiz said. “Because it gets portrayed in a different way than we have it in real life.  Some men…are not perfectly, let’s say, kempt, when they walk into the bedroom.  The men in the books and/or movies are like a Prince Charming. Every hair is in place, his teeth shine, his eyes twinkle, and his breath is probably minty fresh.”

Another rather obvious requirement in a romance novel is that romance needs to be the most important part of the story.


“The main plot centers around individuals falling in love and struggling to make the relationship work,” Kay said. “There can be subplots as long as the love story is the main focus of the novel.”

And, there’s something else I learned. Romance novels apparently should not end on a depressing note. There must be an “emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending,” Kay said. “In a romance, the lovers who risk and struggle for each other and their relationship are rewarded with emotional justice and unconditional love.”

That sounds nice, doesn’t it? I can now see the appeal of romance novels. Perhaps it’s time I gave one a try.

How about you?

Here’s a little from my suspense novel based on a true incident. It’s not romance but I hope it intrigues you.



As a Vietnam veteran and former Special Forces sniper descends into the throes of mental illness, he latches onto a lonely pregnant teenager and a group of Pentecostal zealots – the Children of Light – who have been waiting over thirty years in the Arizona desert for Armageddon.

When the Amtrak Sunset Limited, a passenger train en route to Los Angeles, is derailed in their midst in a deadly act of sabotage, their lives are thrown into turmoil. As the search for the saboteurs heats up, the authorities uncover more questions than answers.

And then the girl vanishes.

While the sniper struggles to maintain his sanity, a child is about to be born deep in the wilderness.

BUY LINKS

Anne Montgomery has worked as a television sportscaster, newspaper and magazine writer, teacher, amateur baseball umpire, and high school football referee. She worked at WRBL‐TV in Columbus, Georgia, WROC‐TV in Rochester, New York, KTSP‐TV in Phoenix, Arizona, ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, where she anchored the Emmy and ACE award‐winning SportsCenter, and ASPN-TV as the studio host for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Montgomery has been a freelance and staff writer for six publications, writing sports, features, movie reviews, and archeological pieces.

When she can, Anne indulges in her passions: rock collecting, scuba diving, football refereeing, and playing her guitar.

Learn more about Anne Montgomery on her website and Wikipedia. Stay connected on Facebook, and Twitter.