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 ~ https://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 Zegaauthor 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/

Friday Flowers–Fennel Failure

Forgive the alliteration, coffee hasn’t kicked in.

You know what I’ve always wanted? An herb garden. Unfortunately, I am admittedly a  failure at it. I had a slight success with some rosemary a couple years back. Kept it alive for about five years. The basil did okay, but I don’t recall it lasting for more than maybe two seasons. But it went to pot and I’ve never tried it again.  I had lemon balm, it died, tried dill, ditto. (again with the alliteration!)

Recently, I went to this place my mom likes and was tickled pink to find they had herbs. So I found some fennel and thought what the hell.

Fennel, so says Grieves’ Modern Herbal, is: a hardy, perennial, umbelliferous herb, with yellow flowers and feathery leaves, grows wild in most parts of temperate Europe, but is generally considered indigenous to the shores of the Mediterranean, whence it spreads eastwards to India. It has followed civilization, especially where Italians have colonized, and may be found growing wild in many parts of the world upon dry soils near the sea-coast and upon river-banks. It flourishes particularly on limestone soils and is now naturalized in some parts of this country, being found from North Wales southward and eastward to Kent, being most frequent in Devon and Cornwall and on chalk cliffs near the sea. It is often found in chalky districts inland in a semi-wild state.

For the medicinal use of its fruits, commonly called seeds, Fennel is largely cultivated in the south of France, Saxony, Galicia, and Russia, as well as in India and Persia.

Okay, good. If it’s been around in temperate areas for centuries how hard can this be?

I brought it home and repotted it, rocks in the bottom for drainage and such, just like dad taught me. At first, it did well. By the end of the first week, it looked like this:

fennel1

This is from week one, back in May, with watering it whenever it felt dry. Its previous owner is an organic genius so I figure it’s me and my yellow thumb (yeah, not so good for the druid thing, eh?)

Herm…. A good friend of mine says the stuff grows wild around her but she’s in the Northwest. I asked her advice and followed it…and the conventional wisdom around the web says likewise:

Moreover, it demands little attention from its host or hostess after having been made to feel at home; once sprouted in only moderately fertile, chalky soil, it requires little watering or feeding.

Okay so I snipped the dead piece off (it’s in my herb cabinet right now) and I tried the “dribble when I got worried” method, leaving the soil mostly dry. Yet still. It’s doing it again:

fennel614

Does this look, like Modern Herbal says:

4 to 5 feet or more in height, erect and cylindrical, bright green and so smooth as to seem polished, much branched bearing leaves cut into the very finest of segments. The bright golden flowers, produced in large, flat terminal umbels, with from thirteen to twenty rays, are in bloom in July and August.

To you??

I wish I had my heroine Caitlin’s touch. Brother, if that don’t make her books fantasies I don’t know what does. 😉 Because she’s better than me, and what I wish I could garden like!

So, I gotta ask, if watering normally (’til the soil’s wet to the touch) is causing it to do this, and if dribbling it with water though letting the soil remain 90% dry  is causing it to do this….how do I save this plant? When you read the conventional wisdom it says “this plant’s easy to care for” and “watch out because it’ll take over!” but …uh, herm. I’m not seeing that in my little plant.  For the gardeners out there: any suggestions? I’m thinking this poor thing ain’t going to make it to the end of August let alone July, at this rate–or the second year that Florida Gardening says it should get to. And surviving to get me some of the seeds? Yeah, good luck with that. I know I’m in zone Hot as Huh…mmm… (that would  be zone 9) but you’d think a plant that’s suppose to take over would be harder to kill. What do I do besides call this another failure?

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Freaky Friday–vampires, witches, and plague victims, oh my!

 

For today’s freaky Friday installment….

This could be filed under lots of things I suppose. What’s odd about is the evolution of how our species looked at their neighbors. That at one time we considered old age a mark of witchcraft just feels that way now. At least to my modern eyes.  The other thing that’s odd is how we at one time in history buried our dead to appease our own fears. Take this poor woman, for instance: A plague victim in 16th century Europe. Was she a witch or a vampire? Imaginations can go wild. For a writer, even more so. 😉

If you’d like to read the article, it’s here: via National Geographic.

Thankfully, we live in a more modern age….right?

Spooky Saturday

This article I ran across, a little old now, talks about a local theater….

http://brandon.patch.com/articles/ghosts-at-james-mccabe-a-test-for-paranormal-enthusiasts

ghostFlareWhat do you think? If you heard a local theater was haunted, would you want to join the hunt? Or find a new place to take your date on a Saturday night? 😉

The fact of the matter is, yeah, I probably would. My husband used to work at a theater in our hometown (not the one mentioned in the article, but a different theatre) that he and some of his co-workers swore was haunted. They’d hear footsteps when they were cleaning a theatre, and find no one else around. There was even one time they found some old lady had died in the bathrooms, poor thing. That really ramped up the stories about ghosts.

Is it really haunted? *shrugs* I don’t know, but I tell ya, despite not letting it ruin a date night, I never wanted to hang around by myself after the lights went out! *lol*

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Reading required….

Okay, maybe required isn’t exactly correct, but it sure recharges the ole batteries sometimes. I’ve been revising the heck out of two books, and writing a third something, (heh. Threes. She does things in threes. Gee…wonder why…) and reading a fourth novel. So I needed a little break from fiction.

redhairedgirlbogI’ve been reading a lot about Druids–well, have been for years but have dipped my toes, or nose, rather, back into the books of late. I’m skimming through the first chapter of The Celts by Nora Chadwick (having enjoyed Imbas Forasnai a while back [thank you, Erynn Laurie Rowan for making it available again!]  I thought I’d give it another look…more on that later when I finish it, maybe).  Meanwhile, does anyone know of any books like Patricia Monaghan’s Red-Haired Girl from the Bog that I can add to my must read list? I just finished her book and though I’ve read mixed reviews of it, I enjoyed it. The basis of it is that Ms. Monaghan found herself in Ireland one year, chasing her roots, so to speak, and a deep love of the land emerged that had her going back to Ireland, year after year, picking out threads of the ancient Celts stories of the land and the gods/goddesses. She even mentioned some that are near and dear to my heart. *sigh* I, for one, loved it and would like to find more like it. (If I had one criticism of the book, I only wish she’d have included some photographs of the places she mentions in the book. I’d like to have seen what some of the landscapes look like without resorting to Google.) I took a lot of notes. Who knows if I’ll ever use all of them in a story. Never say never though!

Speaking of books, thanks to everyone who bought my books (The Artist’s Inheritance, Caitlin’s Book of Shadows or House of Cards)  in the Fantasy sales last month. I hope you enjoy them. And don’t forget to leave a review somewhere if you did. 🙂 I’m currently about to set about hitting the revisions for the follow up to The Artist’s Inheritance, so hope it can get out by my projected date. Maybe early summer at this point.  We’ll see. I’m still working on it, in between the one for TWRP that I mentioned below. 🙂