Friday, September 30, 2011

This I Know For Sure...

A good book can make you forget your troubles even if it's just for a little while.  And sometimes when you need it most.

Sarah Grimm whose novel, Not Without Risk, is a 2011 Readers Favorite Award Winner will be guest blogging here on Wednesday, 10/5/11.  


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What I'm Reading Wednesday...Or Not

It's a little cooler today than it's been lately and it's supposed to be around 50 degrees on Saturday so I'm making my favorite banana bread.  Well, that and I have some bananas that are turning brown.  :o)  

                   Banana Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup Crisco shortening
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup mashed banana
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix the first 4 ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.  Cream the sugar and Crisco together in a separate bowl until it is light and fluffy.  Add the eggs and beat well.  Combine the banana and milk in a separate container.  Add to the creamed mixture alternating with the flour mixture, mixing after each addition just until smooth.  Stir in nuts if you're adding them. Grease a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan.  Pour banana bread mixture into the loaf pan.  Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean.  Makes 1 loaf.

This is a big hit in my house.  I hope it will be in yours.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Pets in Books and Movies

I enjoy reading books or watching movies that have a pet of some sort.  Or even movies that are just about the animals themselves such as “Homeward Bound” or “Milo and Otis.”  

One thing I hate though is if something terrible happens to the pet or worse if the pet is killed.  Maybe it’s because I saw “Ole Yeller” when I was a kid and remember bawling my eyes out when Travis has to kill Yeller.  As I grow older and more sentimental, I try to avoid movies and books where the pet is hurt.  

With books it’s a little harder to do, but for movies, if the trailer suggests something that makes my pet antenna quiver, I wait until I read the review or someone I know has seen the movie and ask them if anything happens to the pet.  One example is “I Am Legend.”  When it was playing at the theater, the movie trailers looked interesting, but they included a dog.  Uh oh, my pet antenna quivered.  Once I found out that Will Smith’s character has to kill the dog, his pet, I decided right then I wouldn’t ever see the movie.  While I have been told, the killing was done tastefully (is that possible?) and is central to the storyline, it still keeps me from wanting to see the movie.

How do you feel about this?  Does it bother you or do you just accept it as part of the plot and enjoy the book/movie as a whole?


Friday, September 23, 2011

This I Know For Sure...

Rejection in any form can break your heart. 


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What I'm Reading Wednesday

This week I'm reading two books. 

I'm reading Goodnight Tweetheart by Teresa Medeiros for pleasure.  I need to take the plunge and sign up for a Twitter account but I'm so intimidated by it, I keep putting it off.  I thought maybe reading about it first might help or so I keep telling myself.  :o)


I'm reading The Man Who Broke Napoleon's Codes by Mark Urban for research purposes.  I hope to have my current manuscript finished by the middle of October so I'm working on laying the ground work, jotting down ideas, sketching out characters, and the like for my next book. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

I'm being interviewed

Today I'm being interviewed at "Escape to an Erotic Fantasy" the official blog of author Marie Tuhart. 


Friday, September 16, 2011

This I Know For Sure...

Exercising and writing are a lot alike.  It's hard to find the time to fit them into my day, but when I manage to do them 5 days out of the week, I feel great.

The ebook giveaway winner of A Beautiful Cage by Alyson Reuben is Calisa Rhose.  I'd like to thank Alyson once again for allowing me to interview her heroine, Rebecca.  And a special thanks to everyone who stopped by Wednesday and left a comment.

On Monday, 9/19/11 I'll be guest blogging at "Escape to an Erotic Fantasy" the official blog of author Marie Tuhart.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Please welcome my guest

Today, I'm honored to welcome Rebecca Hadassah Bloomberg, the brave heroine from Alyson Reuben's debut novel, A Beautiful Cage.

Good morning, Rebecca.  Would you tell us a little about yourself?

Rebecca:  I live in Berlin, Germany, 1938.  It's a very difficult year for us Jews.  The Holocaust has began.  And I’m hiding in Gustav von Furst‘s home after narrowly avoiding capture during Kristallnacht, Night of Broken Glass, when Jewish-owned businesses and synagogues were burned and plummeted, and innocent civilians were terrorized and arrested.

 I'm glad you're in a safe place now.  Do you have any siblings?  Are they currently with you?

Rebecca:  I have two younger brothers, Matthew and Peter.  I’m separated from them now, but they play significant roles in my back-story.

You must be incredibly brave.  How would you describe yourself?

Rebecca:  As a banker's daughter, I was used to the finer things in life before the Nazi regime began limiting my family's lifestyle by putting restrictions on us.  Growing up, I loved pretty dresses and dance class, but was equally at home playing boy's games.  Known to have a sharp temper, I also used to get in trouble for fighting, mainly taking up for underdogs.  In fact, I guess you can say my temper is why Gustav first took notice of me.

I used to love everything about mingling with society.  I also enjoyed using the business etiquette my father taught me, conversing with his regular customers.  I imagined myself  one day holding a position in the banking world.  Let's just say now that I'm on the run for my life, mixing with society doesn't have the same appeal.  And money?  What money?  What little the Nazis didn't confiscate they're now hunting me down for, although I honestly have no idea where it is.

I always imagined myself marrying a nice Jewish man.  A German journalist who writes lies for a Nazi propaganda paper, while wearing a veil of espionage as naturally as his tailored clothes, doesn't quite fit my ideal.  Too bad my brain and heart can't reach the same verdict.

Given that you are currently in hiding, what is a typical day like for you?

Rebecca:  I rise early to fix breakfast for Gustav and his aging Grandmother Bertie, because I love to cook, and it makes me feel like I'm earning my keep.  Since I'm confined to the inside of the house, and only to certain parts of it, I keep myself entertained by reading, making crafts, playing poker with Bertie (a regular cardsharp), searching through old pictures and mementos, and occasionally dancing to phonograph records.  I'm faced with Gustav at every turn, making it impossible for me to ignore him.  In fact, these encounters of ours are getting trickier every day.

What was your first impression of Gustav?  Did it change as you grew to know him?

Rebecca:  My first impression of Gustav?  Um... not too good.  He's a huge blond god of a man, outwardly beautiful.  And inwardly cold as ice.  Well, I thought so at first anyway.  But what I'm discovering is that there's more to Gustav von Furst than meets the eye.  Much more.  Though he's my enemy in many ways, he's also my protector.  And a damned mysterious one, which makes him all the more appealing to my annoying sense of curiosity. 

If you could do something forbidden, what would it be?

Rebecca:  Forbidden?  You mean besides spitting in the face of Hitler and his goons?  How about simply walking down the street in broad daylight? Or going out to a restaurant, or the theather?  And I'd almost kill to go on a shopping trip.

Also, searching through Gustav's many mysterious possessions, including the secret machine he does some kind of spy code with, is strictly off-limits for me.  But, it hasn't exactly stopped me from snooping.

And, lately, my thoughts are increasingly preoccupied more than the man who is inside the house with me, than with any of the ones on the outside.  My fantasies about him are absolutely forbidden.  Trust me.

What is your favorite time of day?

Rebecca:  It's not when Gustav comes home from his questionable job.  At least, that's what I keep telling myself. 

Hmm.  I know exactly what you mean.  Thanks, Rebecca, for spending time with us today.  I enjoyed getting to know you.  I'm looking forward to reading more about you in Alyson Reuben's book, A Beautiful Cage, which is available now.

Alyson will be giving away an ebook copy of her novel to a random commenter.  The winner will be notified tomorrow, 9/15/11, by Alyson. 


Wanted by the Gestapo, Rebecca Bloomberg is on the run for her life. Sheltering in the home of a reporter who writes absurd lies for a Nazi propaganda newspaper is hardly an ideal solution. Irresistibly drawn to the man, she dares not trust him, until she discovers his journalist position is a mask for involvement in an anti-Nazi resistance ring.

Gustav Von Furst has done all he can to perfect his mask. Neither his family nor his close friends know the truth. Hiding a Jewish girl is the most foolish risk, yet there is something about her that makes him want to protect her.

Eager to forget the outside world, Rebecca and Gustav are caught up in a private world of forbidden passion—until unexpected danger lands on their doorstep and they’re faced with a decision that will change everything. Will love demand a sacrifice too great to give?

Sounds intriguing, doesn't it.  Read on for an excerpt.


Splaying his hands across her bottom and mid-back, he pinned her tight.
She froze, motionless, staring up into his shadowed face, into eyes that glittered in the low light. How did he manage to look both irritated and roguish at the same time?

“Let me go, I—” But the words were smothered in her mouth as his lips plunged down over hers. She pushed at him, but he was unmovable. And with each passing second his lips ravished hers, she grew weaker, reserves fading. Even while she thumped his shoulders with her fists, her traitorous mouth opened wide for him.

At what point had she started losing control of her life? Was it when she lost her family? Lost James? When she was assaulted in the alley? Or when it was decided she must stay inside the von Furst home?

Well, there were some things she could still control. And this was one of them. With that resolve, she shot up on tiptoe, angling to bite his lips, digging her fingers into his back. She was going to take control of this kiss, dammit, whether Gustav liked it or not.

You can buy A Beautiful Cage at The Wild Rose Press and Amazon .

About Alyson Reuben:
Determined to become an author while still in elementary school, Alyson Reuben frequently found herself in trouble for writing stories while she should’ve been studying for math tests. Some years later, by combining a love of history with her enthusiasm for storytelling, she seeks to entertain readers with passionate accounts of vintage romance. Occasionally, she still find herself in trouble for writing when she should be cooking dinner. Alyson enjoys small-town life in Indiana with her husband and daughter.

Alyson can also be found on Facebook, Goodreads, and twitter.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Strange Sleeping Places

Update #2:  Teresa will be on Silver James' website this afternoon.  Sorry again about all the mix up.

Update #1:  Sorry, Teresa isn't guest blogging on Silver James' website, Penumbra, today.  I guess there was a mix up in communication.  I'll let you know when I get a new date.  Thanks.

Today Teresa, the heroine from my debut novel, "Impetuous," is guest blogging on Silver James' website Penumbra -  Please stop by and visit.

Have you ever noticed the strange places your pets find to sleep?  My female cat likes to sleep in normal places like the back of the sofa or chair or on the bed  in an open window, or even in the cat bed, but my male cat…  He likes to sleep on the hard, wooden dining room chairs after pushing the seat cushions onto the floor or in the basement on the cold cement floor and now his newest favorite place – the small space between the DVR and the edge of the TV stand.  Mind you, he's a pretty big cat, about the size of a small dog, has big feet because he has 6 toes on each paw and weighs 20 pounds, but he manages to jump up into the tiny opening, turn around, and make himself comfortable all without moving anything out of his way.

Do your cats or dogs sleep in strange places?

Alyson Reuben will be my guest on Wednesday, 9/14/11. 


Friday, September 9, 2011

This I Know For Sure...

We all have our detractors, whether they're people we know personally or not, we shouldn't let their harsh words get us down.  I know easier said than done.  So if someone is trying to cut you down, please remember this:

         Those who discourage your dreams have 
                likely abandoned their own.

 (This is a well-known quote, but I'm sorry to admit I don't know who to attribute it to.)

On Monday, 9/12/11, I'll be guest blogging at Silver James' website Penumbra -

Also, Alyson Reuben will be my guest on Wednesday, 9/14/11.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What I'm Reading Wednesday...Or Not

It’s been in the mid-60’s in my area the last couple of days and while it’s great weather to curl up with a good book, my mind has been dwelling on another thing I like to do during cool weather.  Bake!  I’ve been dying to make a loaf of nice crusty bread.  So instead of posting what I’m currently reading, I thought I’d post one of the many bread recipes I have. 

This recipe doesn’t require you to wait hours while the dough rises.  It’s quick and easy and tastes great.  You just mix it, put it on a pan, and put it in the oven.  It reminds me of sourdough bread, not the same thing, but I think it’s close.

Beer Bread

3 ½ cups of all purpose flour  (I have used whole wheat flour too.)
3 Tbsp white granulated sugar
1 Tbsp baking power 
1 ½ tsp salt
1 12 ounce can of beer  (Don’t use light beer.)
1 egg, beaten

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees, making sure the rack is in the center.  Mix all of the ingredients except the beer and egg together in a large mixing bowl.  Stir to combine.  Add the beer and stir until just combined.  Don’t over mix.  Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead to form a ball.  Place on a slightly greased baking sheet and cut an X in the center of the loaf.  Brush with the beaten egg.  Bake 45 minutes or until golden brown.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

The bread never seems to cool at my house before we cut it and slather it with butter.   I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

On a separate note, on Thursday, 9/8/11 I'll be guest blogging at "Off the Keyboard" the official blog of award winning author Sarah Grimm.


Monday, September 5, 2011

Facebook and Blogging and Twitter, Oh My

Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only technologically inept person my age left on the planet.  I’m not old.  Okay, I don’t think I’m old but my many nieces and nephew more than likely do.  I’m part of Generation X but when it comes to tweeting, texting, or anything remotely related to social networking technology, you’d think I was born during the Stone Age.  Sometimes just the thought of trying to figure this stuff out on my own without step by step instructions (yes, I am one of those people who actually read and refer back to instruction manuals) is enough to make me run screaming into the night.   

I have a Facebook page because I was told it was necessary as an author to have one.  A dear friend spent most of her Saturday night helping me set it up and I haven’t been on it since.  Why, you ask.  Because after I sign into the account, I get a completely blank page except for the blue Facebook bar at the top, nothing else no matter what I try.  I figure I need to call my internet provider but I keep putting it off because that usually ends up being an exercise in frustration.  Most of the time when I call, I know more than the person who is supposed to be helping me and believe me, I know next to nothing.

Twitter is another thing I’m told I should be doing as an author as a way to get my name out there.   I have some really great instructions on how to set up the account, how to manage it, and how to tweet or retweet something thanks to fellow writers on both the Guppies loop and The Wild Rose Press Author loop.   I haven’t set up the account yet because I have no idea what I’d tweet.  I hate to admit it, but I live a pretty boring life.  I can’t see anyone caring that I had a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch.  :o)   So what to post is what’s holding me back.

Now blogging, I enjoy.  As you can tell by looking at earlier posts, I’ve only been blogging a short time and it’s been a learning process.  There are still things I haven’t figured out how to do such as post as picture within the confines of a post and have it actually show instead of a little box with jpeg written in it, but I have to admit it’s been interesting to learn. 

Now if I could just figure out how to get over my dislike of abbreviating, I might be able to learn how to text.  LOL  :o)

On a separate note, on Thursday, 9/8/11 I'll be guest blogging at "Off the Keyboard" the official blog of award winning author Sarah Grimm.


Friday, September 2, 2011

This I Know For Sure...

The answer to a story problem will always come to me when I'm in the shower or don't have access to pen and paper. 

I solved the second issue by buying a bunch of 3 x 4 spiral memo pads and some golf pencils.  I have a pad & pen/pencil in my purse and if I'm not going to carry my purse, the small pads and pencils fit easily into my back pocket/coat pocket.

I haven't figured out how to solve the first issue though.  Either I make a water mess trying to get out of the shower to write the thought down (and dripping all over the paper making it nearly illegible)  or by the time I get out of the shower and dried off, whatever solution that came to me is gone. 

Do you have the same problem?  How do you handle it?