#AprilReadingChallenge: A Cover You Love

Welcome to April! It’s my favorite month of the year . . . for many reasons. First, of course, it’s spring. When I lived in a more season-oriented climate, April was the first month when we could count on more warm days than cold ones. And it was the month of daffodils, tulips and forsythia. The air was filled with fragrance.

And April is *my* month–I celebrate my birthday on the 7th!

This year, I also have a huge release on that same day. AGE OF AQUARIUS goes live on the 7th.

So when I saw this reading challenge for April, I thought . . . why not?

April 4: A Cover You Love

I love so many covers! Eeeek, decisions, decisions . . .

Okay, let’s start with this one by Olivia Hardin. A Dangerous Season is one of my favorites of her books, and I just adore this cover.

And then there’s this one by Violet Howe. I love all three of the covers in this series!

 

 

And of course, I’m a little biased toward THIS cover, too! 

#AprilReadingChallenge: Favorite Children’s Books

Welcome to April! It’s my favorite month of the year . . . for many reasons. First, of course, it’s spring. When I lived in a more season-oriented climate, April was the first month when we could count on more warm days than cold ones. And it was the month of daffodils, tulips and forsythia. The air was filled with fragrance.

And April is *my* month–I celebrate my birthday on the 7th!

This year, I also have a huge release on that same day. AGE OF AQUARIUS goes live on the 7th.

So when I saw this reading challenge for April, I thought . . . why not?

April 2nd: Favorite Children’s Book

This is not easy! I’m going to fudge a little and give three answers:

  1. Favorite grade-school book: Mr. Pine’s Mixed Up Signs by Leonard P. Kessler (The book that taught me how to read!)
  2. Favorite middle-grade/chapter book: (This was REALLY tough!!) Look Through My Window by Jean Little. I fell in love with this story and read it over and over . . . I’m not sure if it was the idea of the big old house they moved into, or maybe the cousins coming to live with them (I always wished for a bigger family), but this story is warm, wonderful and amazing. If you haven’t read it, grab it NOW. Seriously. Life changing stuff here.
  3. Favorite young adult book: When I was in high school, we really didn’t have young adult books. We went from Laura Ingalls Wilder to the classics or adult lit. Of course, we had Judy Bloom and her forbidden book Forever, but that is in a class by itself. (Ahem.) My favorite young adult that I’ve read in the last five years would have to be Jesi Lea Ryan’s Arcadia series. I love book #2 especially.

#AprilReadingChallenge: April TBR

 

Welcome to April! It’s my favorite month of the year . . . for many reasons. First, of course, it’s spring. When I lived in a more season-oriented climate, April was the first month when we could count on more warm days than cold ones. And it was the month of daffodils, tulips and forsythia. The air was filled with fragrance.

And April is *my* month–I celebrate my birthday on the 7th!

This year, I also have a huge release on that same day. AGE OF AQUARIUS goes live on the 7th.

So when I saw this reading challenge for April, I thought . . . why not?

APRIL 1st: April TBR

This is always complicated, because often reading time is hard to find. *But* I know some of my favorites are releasing amazing books this month, so . . .

Man Candy by Melanie Harlow I discovered this author very recently, reading her latest release If You Were Mine and then the one before it, After We Fall. (Yes, I’m reading them backward, but it doesn’t make any difference.) Man Candy is on this month’s list, for sure! These are terrific, well-written romances with tons of heat and well-developed characters (you know how important that is for me!). I highly recommend them

The Hot Shot by Kristen Callihan Yes, I am a sucker for all things KC and especially her Game On books. These are consistently well-written, amazing football romances, and I am counting the days until April 18th! 

All in the Landing by Olivia Hardin This is not an exact link as it’s not up for preorder yet, but I happen to know it’s coming April 25th . . . and I’ll have it in MY hot little hands even sooner! Wahooo! This is a new book in my favorite Rawley Family series by Olivia, and since I got hooked in the prequel, All in the Takeoff, I can’t wait for this one. 

What’s on YOUR April TBR? Well, along with the above, might I suggest . . .

Age of Aquarius Coming April 7th

 

Zone of Action: Career Soldier Book #4 Coming April 18th (Cover in the newsletter this week!)

 

Can we chat?

14183769_10154105636729145_3475893206531129845_nSo this is how it works.

I finish writing a book. I have about two minutes of absolute euphoria, and then reality hits.

This wonderful story, the one I’ve just dedicated my life to writing, the one that has wrung every emotion from my heart, now must be shared with the world, which means I need to work on the dreaded P word: promotion.

If you ever become exasperated, feeling you’ve seen the same post over and over or perhaps different posts about the same book . . . trust me, we authors feel the same way about promoting. It’s not our favorite part of being an author.

In my perfect world, I’d finish writing my book and then sit down with a group of my favor readers to chat with them about it. We’d get lost in characters and plot lines and so on . . . and at the end of our lovely tea, they’d go out and tell their friends about the book, who would in turn tell their friends . . . well, you get the gist.

Meanwhile, I’d sit back and work on the next book.

Now, though, my chatting takes place on social media. When I post a picture or a link, it’s my only way of telling people when to expect the next book. Live events are lovely and give me a chance to talk to readers in person, but there’s a limit to how many of them I can do. And so the internet it is.

Of course, I’m very lucky that I have my dear Temptresses with whom to speak. They let me go on and on about characters and stories, and I’m grateful. (If you enjoy my books and want to join us on the Temptress group, go here.) If only we could mystically meet up each time I finish a book and talk it out in person! They’re also awesome about sharing and twisting friends’ arms to get them to read my books . . . I adore their enthusiasm. It’s what keeps me writing.

Regardless of the opportunities offered on the web, nothing beats word of mouth when it comes to books. You telling a friend about a story that captivate you is more effective than fifty Facebook ads. Sharing your favorite reads is so important!

Well . . . since it seems no one is going to come bring me tea and chat about Days of You and Me just now, I guess you’ll keep seeing the pictures, the promos and the posts. If you feel spunky, shares are always appreciated, as are posts and tweets and emails . . . whatever does the trick.

That’s part of this author’s life.

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.

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