Seeking a bay fort

West Metro Mommy Reads

I’ve been in Pensacola, the last week, running around like a madwoman, erm, that is, scouting future installments in my Antique Magic series of paranormal fantasy novels. Where was I scouting, you ask?

Fort Pickens Road sign

Yep. I finally got to Fort Pickens–and it was fantastic! So, for this Saturday Snapshot, I’ve got some site-seeing photos to share.

Dunes

Santa Rosa gnarled Tree by Juli D. Revezzo

Once you get on the island, there are just miles of these gorgeous sand dunes, and signs everywhere that warn drivers to watch out for nesting seabirds (unfortunately, we didn’t see any though. I guess it was too hot for them). Then the Gulf Islands National Seashore sign, but we’re still seeking out the fort.

Fort Pickens Gulf Islands National Seashore sign

Then finally, we come around a corner and see… (eep!) This:

Battery Langdon

Battery Langdon

Getting a little excited now! *rubs hands* We must be close. Yes. Once inside we see…

Guarding the bay

Guarding the bay

Was that all? Oh, no. But, patience, my friends. I’ll show you more next week! Have a great weekend.

To see more participants in Saturday Snapshots, go here.

And if you’d like to sample the (currently) freebie novella, see the post here for details on how to get it.

The fireworks are right here

Several weeks ago, everyone celebrated July 4th. So, how was your holiday? Mine was great! (–> understatement)

I didn’t get a chance to mention anything here on the blog like I usually do around holidays. Why? Because I was in the mountains with no access whatsoever to email or wordpress—that didn’t require a trip down the mountain.  This was quite weird to me, and a bit exciting, because I *ducks* am not much  of a traveler—in fact, I have to say I think I’d rather have my nails pulled out than fly, most of the time—and so haven’t been out of state for ages.  I’m just a homebody, what can I say? The furthest I’ve gone in years is Orlando.

But because I have an ageing grandma in North Carolina, I wanted to go. I spent time with family members I haven’t seen in a long time, *waves to cousins I missed*. Yes, not one was within shouting distance. But aunt and uncle, it was really nice to see you. I enjoyed the stay–and the mountains were just amazing! I will not subject you, my readers, to all the bazillion pictures. But there are a bazillion pictures.

The holiday was a complete wash out, though. Well, no. I won’t say washout but no fireworks. Yes, it rained—and rained, and rained.

And rained. “You want fireworks?” says Mother Nature. “I’ve got some fireworks for you.”

fireworks_2_bg_070402copy

Photo courtesy PDPhoto.org

BOOM! :)

So, we didn’t get to do half the things I wanted to, no Civil War battlefields or anything (though I did end up with a plan for a visit to Fort Pickens before too long here. Gotta get a glimpse of where Roland and Caitlin traipse around, for a forthcoming follow up to The Artist’s Inheritance after all. ;) But that’s in the future.)

Ah well.  Let’s see. Mountains. I’d been back and forth through the Smoky Mountains (Blue Ridge) a time or two as a child but was always bored as heck by the time we went through. This time, I don’t know, something about them just had me in awe. They reminded me of the Misty Mountains (and yes, the song did play in my head the whole time, why do you ask?).

mountains

misty mountains

mountains by Juli

misty hills rain

I want to say that’s not because of the rain but since it rained almost the entire time I was there, I don’t have the proof to show you. ;) You’ll just have to take my word for it, there’s mist in those mountains about 90% of the time.

Amazing–isn’t it amazing? My grandparents had a house up there years ago but I guess I was too young to appreciate it. Even with the dreary weather and rain (did I mention it rained? About five days out of the seven I was gone.) I think it made the view even better. In fact I have a book I’m working on for my editor at The Wild Rose Press that I’m sure the view will work into. So that was my vacation and my Saturday Snapshot.

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Summer solstice news

I hope you all are having a lovely day. So far, so good here. It’s *hot*! Well, heck, it’s been hot since March, hasn’t it? That’s what we get down here in ye ole Florida. That and mosquito bites. Yep. I spent yesterday outside helping hubs fix the car and getting bit up. Grrr….

But, on the good side, there’s the summer Solstice dinner hop below, I had a dinner with some good friends, and my first steampunk apocalyptic story has been published in the latest issue of Eternal Haunted Summer (along with my good friend author Jolene Dawe :)) Do check them out. http://eternalhauntedsummer.com/
I hope you enjoy the stories.

Image And, oh yes. Heart concert? :) Was totally made of AWESOME! I was way back in the end of the venue, but they played four (count ‘em four) of my all-time favorite songs, stuff they’ve added back to the setlist recently,  and two I wasn’t expecting at all. They were just to die for! *happy little fangirl dance* Oh yes, that was me singing my head off. Half the city must of heard…or not.

Ahem. Their final “special Zep” set wasn’t, in my opinion, mixed right (What happened????) but to hear them do “Kashmir”, “The Ocean”, and all the others was totally cool. The Jason Bonham band was neat too. Loved the stories Jason told of his dad and they pulled the songs off wonderfully.

T’was all around awesome. So glad I went. *sigh* I’ve seen Heart, now, we think, seven or eight times. However, I have a friend who’s seen Dylan on every tour, she says, and I’m looking at my hubby going, “What the heck’s wrong with us? How many Heart tours have we missed? ” *lol* Next year! >:) But this, this was so cool. Totally worth the heat and mosquitoes. On my solstice playlist…Kick it Out!

Yeah, I’m a geeky little fangirl, I know. :)

Special: Summer Solstice Supper and Summer Reading List

Welcome! My friend, romance author Linda Joyce, got together with some of the romance authors she knows, and decided to cook up–erm, post–a little virtual dinner party. And she invited me *smiles*  Linda chose the theme of  the Summer Solstice to offer you a sumptuous supper and a buffet of books to satisfy your reading hunger. A good meal and a great book—summer doesn’t get any better than that.

Each author is sharing a favorite dish, and the menu is chock-full of mouthwatering delights. The buffet of books offers a flavor for everyone: Romance of many genres, historical stories, cocktails made simple, and secrets to an enriched life. Also, the menu contains the title of one of the author’s books and a web link.

Keep scrolling down for the eye-candy book covers and some insights about each author.

I invite you to visit each author, make a new friend or two, and celebrate the summer with us.

Happy Reading!

***

My contribution to this little summer dinner party is an old favorite around our house: Peach baked chicken.

In in my series, Antique Magic, my heroine Caitlin lives in Florida so, even despite the heat of the oven *gasp* she would likely make variations of this tasty summer dish from time to time.
Ingredients are on Linda’s blog here.

And now for the preparation:

Preparation:

Heat oven to 350 degrees

Instructions.

1) Defrost your chicken.S/W Ver: 97.04.30R

2. Cut off the fat and those bits of tendons the store sometimes leaves in (eww), dip the chicken in some egg beaters will keep it moist, believe it or not.

Once you’ve done that, put tin foil in your pan, Crisco the bottom so (hopefully) the chicken won’t all stick.

defrostedchick

3. Put the chicken breasts/pieces in and pour over the peaches.

S/W Ver: 97.04.30R

You can either pour the juice with the peaches or save it to marinate with*

4. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to your taste.

This time out we also added some cinnamon–which made it very tasty indeed!

5. Cover with foil and  bake for one hour, flipping the chicken a few times, and marinating with the juice.

*I cover mine with foil to make sure the juice doesn’t spit all over the oven.

When the chicken’s finished (I always check it with a knife just to make sure the middle is “white and cooked”) like sochickdinner3

serve with whatever your favorite sides are. I usually serve  potatoes, mashed or, baked with some sea salt as well would be tasty, if you have the time or are lucky enough to have one of those dual ovens, and of course veggies of some sort. Mmmm….I think it’s lunch time!

Now on to the books!

theartistsinheritbjdr700THE ARTIST’S INHERITANCE.

The balance between good and evil can be an art… or a curse.

Trevor and Caitlin were once happy newlyweds, profiting from Trevor’s art. Until Trevor inherits his brother’s house, and with it, his part of a family curse. Now, Caitlin will stop at nothing to save her beloved husband from insanity and suicide, even if it means she must embrace her destiny and become a witch.

If you’d like to check out the novel it’s available at:

Amazon, Barnes and Noble. Createspace, and Smashwords

Caitlin's Book of ShadowsThe follow up story to The Artist’s Inheritance, called Caitlin’s Book of Shadows, takes place a little later in the year, but Caitlin would no doubt make the chicken then too…and the heat of the oven in the winter is particularly useful, towards fall and winter, isn’t it? That story goes something like this:

Something terrifying stalks Caitlin and her beloved Trevor. Something the bits and pieces she left claimed she had to make sense of–or so legend says. When the curator of their collection finds Caitlin’s long forgotten diary, she wonders will it tell the whole tale? Will it tell why Caitlin seemed so determined to tell the difference between reality and nightmare even as she continued the fight to defend her family from evil? Will it explain why she thought her world twisted? If she really became a witch?

Perhaps the answer lies between the lines of her story, one of lessons, struggles, and the hopes she carried like a warrior’s shield.

**This is a side (or supplemental, if you will) short story in the Antique Magic series, a companion to The Artist’s Inheritance (Antique Magic, Book One).

It too is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords

Check out more authors and tasty dishes:

Cocktails

Blackberry Gin and Tonic by J.K. O’Hanlon -Three Ingredient Cocktails ~ www.thirstyjane.com

Pomegranate Martini by Kathy L Wheeler – Quotable ~ http://kathylwheeler.com

Appetizer

Japanese Chicken Wings by Jan Morrill -The Red Kimono ~ www.TheRedKimono.com

Sweet & Sour Hawaiian Meatballs               by Vonnie Davis – Rain Is A Love Song ~ ttp://www.vintagevonnie.blogspot.com

Easy Stuffed Mushrooms by Alicia Dean – Liberty Awakened (Isle of Fangs, Book 1) ~http://aliciadean.com/alicias-blog/

Salad

7 Layer Salad by    AJ Nuest -  She’s Got Dibs ~ http://ajbooks.blogspot.com/

Mandarin orange & spinach salad by Barbara Barrett – And He Cooks Too ~www.barbarabarrettbooks.com

Entrée

Pesto Chicken by Nancy Parra – Gluten for Punishment ~ www.nancyjparra.blogspot.com

Taquitos    by Calisa Rhose – Risk Factors ~ http://calisarhose.com/chit-chat/

Linda’s Summer Shrimp Boil by Linda Joyce – Bayou Born ~ http://lindajoycecontemplates.wordpress.com/

Oven Fried peach chicken by  Juli D. Revezzo – The Artist’s Inheritance ~ http://julidrevezzo.com/blog/

Betty’s Nutty Pork Chops by Betty Bolte – Hometown Heroines ~ www.bettybolte.com/blog.htm

Dessert

Kolaches by Gina Hooten Popp – The Storm After ~ https://www.facebook.com/ginahootenpoppauthor

                Chocolate-Cherry-Coconut Cupcakes by Luna Zega -author of Tokyo Tease

Fruit Compote by Brenda Sparks – A Midsummer Night’s Demon ~http://www.brenda-sparks.com/blog.html

After Dinner Drinks

After Dinner Iced Coffee by Sandra Sookoo – Winging It ~ http://sandrasookoo.wordpress.com/

Light it up blue 2–cruelty free

paintitblue

For today’s light it up blue segment.

bluenailsApril4

I’ve officially run out of blue nail polish choices now, but I hope to remedy that this weekend. For years I’ve loved funky nail colors—honey, I was painting my nails black back when it wasn’t chic to do so, because it wasn’t chic. Remember when Lita Ford was doing it?

Yeah. That far back.

That the fashion designers latched on to it burns my britches. (It was my little goth girl color first. Give it back!! hehe)

I’ve moved on to testing the look of other colors, white, meh. I’m okay with white. But I love dark so I use a lot of deep blackish blues and dark greens these days—and my dear favorite deep purples. *Cue Smoke on the Water* hehe The stormier the shade the better.

Now, here’s the hard part. I ran across this article last night and it said that there are three nasty ingredients some add to nail polish—DBP, Toulene and Formaldehyde. (You know, the stuff morticians embalm bodies with?) Well, these three ingredients were banned for nail polish production in 2006. Because they are toxic to humans.

Whoa. Being a nail chewer, and more importantly, having lost many family members the last few years to cancer, this gave me extreme pause. I went through my collection of polishes (I’m a polish nerd, I admit it). I had to get a magnifying glass out to read some of the lists (yeah, remember that line up there that ends “back when Lita Ford was big”? I’m officially old). Turned out, all but seven of my current collection had these pesky chemicals.

To add insult to injury a few of my favorites are bound to companies that test on animals.

Yes, I did. How did I not know this all these years?

Luckily, the company I’ve always looked to for my funky colors Wet N Wild, dumped that toxic soup and they’re animal friendly (with a name like Wet N Wild I’d be disappointed if they did any less.) and they’re readily available at the grocery store I shop at.

Point two, convenience is everything! So, hopefully I’ll find a pretty couple blues to replace the two I just had to dump. I may even look into some over at Etsy but that’ll depend on ye ole credit card. (eep!) I’ve found roughly seven other Name companies  that meet both these cruelty-free, chemical free criteria, and lots of ones on Etsy that claim the same.

(FYI just assume all my book heroines know this—especially my witches Caitlin, Beryl, Sealya, and Heather—and that they just forgot to tell Mommy, the Writer).

My jury’s out on one company I love but I don’t have any blues by them. I’m still looking into the question do they/don’t they test on animals. I hope not, but I don’t know.

In the meantime, while I figure all this out, go check out Tammy’s Light it up Blue posts. She’s hosting a giveaway, ladies. Have a happy blue day.