What’s Cooking? Chicken Espagnole (Hanging By A Moment)

Various herbs and spices on black stone plate

By her own admission, Quinn Russell isn’t much of a cook–or at least she’s not very interested in the kitchen. (Will that change in Days of You and Me? Hmmm . . . stay tuned . . .) But her friend and college roommate Zelda Porter does love to cook and is something of an amateur chef. In this scene from Hanging By A MomentQuinn catches her friend making a special occasion meal . . .

“What’re you doing?” I closed the dryer and started it up, stepping away from it so I could hear Zelda.
“Uh, I’m cooking.” Her voice held a faint tinge of . . . I couldn’t read it. Embarrassment?
“Cooking? For you and Gia? Well, aren’t you a good roommate?” I flopped onto the sofa. “You never cooked for me.”
“No, doll, I’m not cooking for Gia. I have a . . . date. I guess. Sort of.”
If she had told me that she was a spy who was cooking for the head of the CIA, I wouldn’t have been more surprised. Zelda was predictable only in her cynicism about romance and relationships. She had regular sex with an abundance of men, and she liked men, but she didn’t trust them.
“Uh . . . okay. Can I ask the name of this date?”
“You can ask, but I’m not going to tell. This is way outside my comfort zone, Quinn. It’s probably not going to amount to anything. If I’m wrong and it does . . . then you and I can talk. I’ll tell you all the down and dirties. But until then—if there is a then—I’m going to play it close to my chest.”
When I didn’t respond right away, she hurried to continue. “It’s not that I don’t trust you, Quinn. I just don’t trust me. I’m going out on a limb here, and I’m actually scared shitless.”
“Zelda.” I crossed my legs at the knee and kicked one foot in the air. “I’m not insulted that you want to be, um, discreet. It’s your business. But don’t be scared, okay? You are the most incredible woman I know. You’re beautiful, you’re funny and you’re smart. Any guy would be lucky to date you. So don’t mess this up just because you think you’re not the relationship type, okay?”
Something sizzled on Zelda’s side of the phone. “I appreciate everything you said, Quinn. I don’t necessarily agree with you, but still, I’m grateful. I can only promise to do my best.”
“Good. Have fun, and don’t think I’m going to forget this. When I get home next month, you are so cooking for me.”
She laughed. “You got it, doll. We’ll be in our new apartment with a real kitchen, not this lame ass kitchenette. So I’ll make you something special to celebrate moving in, okay?”
“It’s a date.” I giggled at my own joke.

So who was Zelda cooking for, and what did she make? Well, no spoilers here–though you may have guessed the who–but I can tell you that for her mystery date, the enigmatic Ms. Porter prepared Chicken Espagnole, a dish that tastes fabulous and looks elegant but is actually fairly simple to prepare. This recipe was adapted from one served at The Gumbo Shop in New Orleans, where I’ve enjoyed all their food on multiple occasions.

If you want to know more about Zelda’s secret lover, preorder Days of You and Me–and then get ready for her spin-off standalone book, Wildest Dreams, coming in 2017.

Zelda’s Chicken Espagnole

2 small chickens, backs removed, cut in half

CHICKEN SEASONING:

3 tsp Italian seasoning

2 tsp cayenne pepper

4 tsp black pepper

4 tsp white pepper

5 tsp onion powder

5 tsp garlic powder

2 Tbs paprika

4 Tbs salt

***

3/4 cup butter

3/4 flour

VEGGIES:

2 medium  onions, roughly cut

2 ribs of celery, chopped

1 medium green pepper, chopped

SAUCE SEASONING:

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tsp Italian seasoning

1/2 tsp sage

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp white pepper

1 tsp salt

***

4 cups chicken stock

6-7 baby bella mushrooms, sliced

5 green onions, diced

Directions:

Place chicken halves in roasting pan with sides at least 3 inches. Sprinkle CHICKEN SEASONING over chicken and roast in 400 degree oven for 40 minutes. Remove and set aside.

While chicken roasts, in a large pot melt butter and add flour to make a medium roux. Add VEGGIES and stir until coated. Cook about 20 minutes, then add SAUCE SEASONING. Cook until combined, then add chicken stock slowly, stirring well. Bring to a boil and cook on low for about 20 minutes. Add mushrooms and green onions, mix well and remove from heat.

Spoon sauce over chicken in roasting pans and return to the oven, roasting at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until chicken is tender. Serve over rice.

Endings are hard. And I don’t like them.

STORIES

It’s late, I’m bleary-eyed and exhausted, but I felt compelled to write this tonight, when it’s still August 27th in some time zones.

One month from today, on September 27th, Days of You and Me, the third and final book in the Keeping Score Trilogy, will release. The book is finished, has been beta’d and is going through its final stages (fun stuff like dedication, acknowledgements and last minute-tweaks) before it heads off to formatting.

Like a mom reluctant to let go of her final baby as he heads off to college, I find that I’m perhaps dragging my feet a bit. Could I add more here? Explain more here? Elaborate more there? To be completely honest–and I’m too tired to be anything else just now–this book is probably the best-constructed one I’ve ever written. Usually in the weeks after I finish a story, I’m thinking of things I wished I’d added, even if they’re not always in the best interest of the plot. But with Days of You and Me, I’m not doing that. I feel that I’ve given everything to this one.

But I’m still not ready to let it go.

I’ve finished a series before. I remember when I sent off Endless, the final book in The King Quartet, my daughter asked if I were sad to see it end. I answered, “No! I’m done with them. I’ve written everything I have to say about this group of characters.”

(Incidentally, I was wrong, as Tasmyn, Michael and company will be back next April in Age of Aquarius. Stay tuned.)

Since that day, I’ve finished trilogies, but usually, I end up writing more in the same world. The One Trilogy continued in the Always Love books. Neither the Perfect Dish Romances or The Crystal Cove Romances have come to a conclusion yet.

Hmmm. Maybe I don’t like endings.

The Keeping Score Trilogy is different than anything I’ve ever written, and as such, it is precious to me. This story began to take root in my mind back in 2009, although it didn’t hit paper until November of 2010. Back then, it wasn’t what it is now. The characters had different names, and it was intended to be one book. But over the years, as I thought about it, the true plot began to emerge, and Leo, Quinn and Nate came to life in a way I’d never expected. They’ve become more than just characters.

These three have been with me for nearly seven years. They are dear to me. And ending their story was hard. It made me cry, like, a lot. More than I cried writing Joss’s scene in Undeniable. (No spoilers, but yeah, I cried.) See the graphic above: as the Prophet Chuck says, Endings are hard.

Yup. It’s official. I really don’t like endings.

But I’m proud of this book and of this trilogy. It is completely what it was always meant to be: the story of three people, three flawed, normal people, who encountered more than their share of life’s pain and challenges. Or maybe it wasn’t more than their share; perhaps they paid for later happiness with their early heartache. They were friends from birth, and between Leo and Nate, there was always Quinn, who was called on to make hard choices that very nearly broke her heart.

My beta readers have been sending me messages like . . .

OMG, thank you for sharing this with us. Thank you for letting me beta read for you. You are such a wonderful story teller. I admit I cried in a few places. 

How am I supposed to beta read if I keep tearing up?

I absolutely loved the book.  There are no other words to describe it than a perfect ending to an amazing love story.

I haven’t had a book make me cry in a really long time, and this one got me 3 times.

So much emotion reading this one. Today at work everyone kept asking me if I was okay my eyes were so swollen from crying.

Gah… I’m crying again. You’re killing me, Smalls… In a fantastic way.

I started reading slower and slower as I felt I was nearing the end, because I wasn’t ready to let go of Mia and Leo. And the epilogue…. What was the line in Steel Magnolias? Something along the line of “laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.” My reaction through the epilogue was just like my reaction to M’lynn during the cemetery scene in Steel Magnolias….crying so hard I could barely see, laughter, more tears. Tears of happiness, tears of tenderness, and I’m sad to see the end of the trilogy but looking forward to the spinoffs.

Hey, at least I’m not crying alone. No doubt - endings are hard. But then again... nothing ever really ends, does it-

PS: No, nothing really ends. There will be three spin-offs of this trilogy, three Keeping Score Romances. The first chapters of two of the three are included in DOYAM. 🙂

PPS: Days of You and Me is available for exclusive preorder on iBooks. You can also get a sneak peek chapter there. Check it out on iBooks’ very cool promotion, sitting pretty as the very first book in the same row with, oh, you know . . . Roxanne St. Clair. JD Robb. Susan Mallery. Whatever.

Screenshot 2016-08-28 00.35.18

HANGING BY A MOMENT Release Day!

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If you read

WHEN WE WERE US

then you’ve been waiting to read the next chapter

in Leo, Quinn and Nate’s story . . . and today, you can.

When life shatters, it helps to have friends. I don’t know what I’d have done without Leo and Nate to comfort me, to hold me up and to keep me sane in face of sudden and terrible loss.

And if one of those friends happens to be the love of my life, the one guy I thought I’d never be close to again . . . I’m not going to complain. After all, in a vast sea of things that aren’t fair, being with Leo again feels like the only shining beam of hope.

I know there aren’t any guarantees for us. Leo’s heading south to play football, rocking a full-ride at one of the top colleges in the nation. Meanwhile, all of my plans have fallen apart, and I have to figure out what comes next. Having Nate by my side is more important than I could have imagined.

The next four years were supposed to be the most exciting time of my life. Instead, they turn into a rollercoaster of uncertainty, complete with breathtaking highs and lows that threaten to break my heart.

In the end, the decisions we make now could change everything for the three of us, forever.

~~~***~~~

Buy your copy of HANGING BY A MOMENT right here!

 Amazon/iBooks/Google/Nook/Kobo

Read an exclusive sample right here.

And join me today at our Happy Hour Release Party!

The Keeping Score Trilogy is a New Adult contemporary romance. The first two books may notHanging by Moment give you complete closure, but hang in there for Book 3; I promise the pay-off is worth it.

The release dates, all in 2016, are:

When We Were Us April 7th

Hanging By A Moment May 24th

Days of You and Me September 27th

 

 

If you haven’t read WHEN WE WERE US yet, grab it now!

iBooks/Amazon/Nook/Kobo/Google Play/Goodreads

 

2015AuthorPhoto (1539x1800)Tawdra Kandle writes romance, in just about all its forms. She loves unlikely pairings, strong women, sexy guys, hot love scenes and just enough conflict to make it interesting. Her books include YA paranormal romance,  NA paranormal and contemporary romance, and adult contemporary and paramystery romance. She lives in central Florida with a husband, kids, sweet pup and too many cats. And yeah, she rocks purple hair.

 

 

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One Week Until Hanging By A Moment Releases!

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One week!

Seven days!

168 hours!

Yes, I’m literally

HANGING BY A MOMENT

waiting for this release.

Book 2 of the Keeping Score Trilogy

comes out May 24th,

and I can’t wait.

 Amazon/iBooks/Google/Nook/Kobo

So since it’s #TeaserTuesday, I thought I’d give you a little sneak peek.

Young sensual couple during romantic evening

“Babe, you awake?” Leo’s voice was low and husky, murmuring against my ear.

I snuggled a little closer to him. “Mmmmm. Kind of.” My bedroom was dark except for the faint glow of the streetlight just outside. Tonight, for the first time all week, I hadn’t dropped right off to sleep after I’d laid my head on Leo’s broad chest.

“I talked to my mom a little bit tonight before they all left.” His fingers moved in small circles on my upper arm. “She didn’t push, but she suggested I give you and your mother some space tomorrow.   She said you two need to talk about some stuff and make decisions.”

Panic welled up inside me, and it was on the tip of my tongue to argue. But I knew deep down that Leo couldn’t stay glued to my side forever. We both had to figure out what was going to come next for us, just like my mom and I had to do the same.

“Yeah.” I swallowed hard. “She’s probably right.” I turned a little, resting my chin on Leo’s sternum, staring up into his face. “But don’t go far, okay? I’m not sure I’m ready to go cold turkey on my Leo addiction.”

He brushed his hand over my hair. “If it’ll make you feel better, I’ll sit in the car outside, just in case you need me.”

I sniffed. “You don’t have to do that. Maybe after breakfast, you could just go home for a little bit.”

“That works.” He crunched up, bending so that his lips could reach the top of my head. “Hey, Mia? We haven’t really talked about anything serious yet. I mean, about us. But I wanted to say this now, before anything goes any further.”

Trepidation gripped my gut. “I’m not sure I’m ready to deal with this.”

“Babe, no.” Leo slid me off him, rolling to lay on his side so that our faces were close together. “Nothing bad. I just wanted to say . . . I love you, Mia. I didn’t say it to you last week. I hoped you understood it, but I thought I better be clear. I love you. I loved you before, and I never stopped.”

I traced his jaw with one finger. “I love you, too, Leo. Still. Always. Forever.”

He released a breath as though he’d been holding it. “Okay. Good.”

I frowned. “Did you doubt that I did? That I do?”

“No, not really.” He nuzzled my neck. “But I wasn’t sure if you were ready to deal with me again. I know you needed me this week, but I was afraid once things started to settle down, you’d think that maybe I wasn’t worth the effort.”

Following my finger with my lips, I kissed his chin. “You’re worth everything, Leo. And I hate that it took my dad—what happened, I mean, to get us back together, but I’m not going to have any regrets anymore. Loving you is part of me, and so are you. I wouldn’t have made it through this week without you.” I paused, enjoying the feel of the late-night scruff on his neck. “That first day, before you got here, I wanted to die, too. It hurt so bad, and I felt like nothing was ever going to be right again. But then you came to me, and I’ll never forget that you were here for me.”

“I always will be.” He tipped up my chin and kissed my lips, softly. “Nothing in my life works without you.”

Want MORE? You can read a sample chapter here . . .

And if you preorder, the full book will show up magically in your ereader next week!

Amazon/iBooks/Google/Nook/Kobo

If you haven’t read WHEN WE WERE US yet, grab it now so you’re ready for next week!

iBooks/Amazon/Nook/Kobo/Google Play/Goodreads

When We Were Us

Hanging By A Moment Tease and Giveaway!

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HANGING BY A MOMENT

releases on May 24th!

Are you ready for the next chapter in

Leo, Quinn and Nate’s story?

If you want a sneak peek–just a little taste!–a sample chapter is here for you to read.

And don’t forget to preorder your copy from Amazon/iBooks/Google/Nook/Kobo.

When We Were Us

 

 

 

Have you read WHEN WE WERE US yet? If you did, I’d love for you to review it! You can leave your review on iBooks/Amazon/Nook/Kobo/Google Play/Goodreads.

 

 

 

And last but certainly not least . . . we have a fun giveaway going on through release day.

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