Tag Archives: chocolate

Green Monster Mash

Hello my lovelies, Suze here. Today’s post is a Monster Mash(up) of fun stuff. I’ve got a squillion things to do, but I’ve got a few thoughts for you.

game[1]First, I’m off to Punkin’ Chunkin’ in Delaware. Click here for more information–and seriously, if you can get yourself to Delaware and you love pumpkins and machines that can make them fly, do it. What’s not to love about a festival whose mission is to support various charities, and whose motto is “We’re Gonna Hurl” ? If you go, let me know and maybe we can meet up over a cup of pumpkin chili.

th[1]Second, How ’bout them Sox? I didn’t get to see the final game of the World Series last night since Sister Scribe Katy Lee and I were at the Citizen’s Police Academy last night. I grew up in Yankees country but now live in the Red Sox Nation so I, ahem, swing both ways when it comes to my baseball loyalty. But seriously, folks. After the horrible tragedies in and near Boston over the past few months, no city deserves a World Series win more. Let’s all put on a beard and sing Sweet Caroline!

Reese's-PB-Cups-Wrapper-Small[1]And third, of course today’s Halloween. How will you be celebrating this most funnest of holidays? At our house we rarely get trick-or-treaters, but I buy candy just in case. The teenaged Crown Prince of Hardydom is officially too old for the mobile costume candy extortion plot, so we will have significantly less goodies in the house this year. I guess that’s okay–I only bought candy we like. My candy of choice is anything with peanut butter and chocolate–Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Payday, Nutrageous–or dark chocolate like Dove or Lindt.

What’s going on in your world? What’s your favorite crazy festival? Who’s your favorite baseball team? Would you wear the beard? And what’s your favorite candy? So many questions…

Here’s my favorite Halloween song for your listening pleasure (click here). Have a great day, friends!

I’m Number One

Hey, my peeps, Suze here. Welcome!

Today I thought I’d talk about something a bit more serious than my usual offerings (What? More serious than giant pumpkins and my summer vacation? Yup!)

Do you make your health, both physical and mental, a priority?

As writers and readers we do A LOT of sitting at the computer. It takes time, large blocks of it, with our butts slowly expanding and fusing to the upholstery, to write and do all the other things associated with it: planning, plotting, storytelling, editing/revising, critiquing other people’s work, submitting (hopefully selling), reading widely, blogging, getting together with writer friends to share the journey, attending meetings of professional groups and serving those groups, attending conferences; the list goes on and on and on. And let’s face it–many of those things are fun!

But these “activities” are not very active, and they often involve copious quantities of caffeine, chocolate, Deep River Salt & Vinegar potato chips, and wine. What they so often don’t involve is … I’m gonna say a dirty word here, so get ready … exercise.

I know I’m guilty of living in my head and finding every excuse in the book (haha! “in the book!” Get it?) not to take care of myself. As women we are trained and ingrained to put others first. We care for our families, we reach out to help others, we volunteer, and we love/live to be needed.  That’s what makes us women and that’s great! But the flipside is that if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. And it’s hard to be happy when you’re overextended, out of shape, and out of time.

So today, I’m asking you to do something to take care of yourself. Just one little thing. Go take a long walk (if you load an audio book on your phone, iPod or MP3 player, you get to double dip!). Make one better food choice — a fresh, crunchy apple instead of a bag of processed (yet crunchy!) Fritos. Think about giving up an outside obligation (or at least give yourself a day off from it). Tomorrow, repeat.

And for goodness’ sake, if you haven’t scheduled your yearly physical and annual boob-squishing (mammogram), make that the one thing you do today and pick up the phone. The procedure is uncomfortable, but it won’t kill you. Not getting it done might.

Hugs and love to all of you out there.

Do you have trouble putting yourself first? How do you take care of yourself?

Cal’s Double Chocolate Cherry Cookies

Good day, 7 Scribes fans!

Calder Quinne here, stepping in for Casey Wyatt. She’s busy writing her next novel, Mystic Storm about Zephyr. Seriously, I don’t understand why the old wind bag, excuse me, God of the West Wind needs his own novel.

Whatever.

In case you don’t know me, I’m a demigod son of Ares and am madly in love with Nix, my sexy, sea nymph wife (see Mystic Ink for more details). Since my retirement from the Delian League (supernatural police force for all you newbies out there), I’ve become the proprietor of a bake shop – S’more to Love.

One thing I quickly learned was that women (and a lot men too) love chocolate with an almost fanatical obsession. Chocolate is worshipped to the point that I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn there is a Goddess of Chocolate -Ixcacao. Supposedly, she’s part of the Aztec pantheon, but no one’s seen her in centuries.

I’m here to share one of my wife’s favorite recipes. I can vouch these cookies will put a smile on any chocolate lover’s face.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter or margerine, softened
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (if don’t have it, substitute 1 teaspoon vanilla extract instead)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup quick cook oats
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup dried cherries

1. Heat oven to 350 F. In a large bowl, beat sugar, butter, milk, egg, and almond extract with an electric mixer until smooth. Stir in remaining ingredients. Drop dough by rounded tablespoons on an ungreased cookie sheet. I use parchment paper – the cookies bake more evenly and it’s easier to clean. Remember to leave about 2 inches between the dough.

2. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until surface is no longer shiny. Another way to check for doneness – touch the center and if it barely leaves an indent – they’re done. Immediately remove the cookies onto a cooling rack.

Yield: about 4 dozen. But seriously, they won’t last that long.

Thanks for having me today. If you’re ever in Mystic, CT be sure to stop by and say hi. Remember to support your local businesses!

Got any questions? Shoot’em my way!

Kung-Fu Ya!

Happy Friday everyone! Casey Wyatt here!

I’m briefly poking my head out of the writing and editing cave to share a few thoughts with you.Let’s talk guilty pleasures! Also, I want you to imagine the song – “Everybody was Kung-Fu Fighting” playing in the background.

Got that song stuck in your head?

Good. Consider it my gift to you today!

One of my favorite things is martial arts movies. They are bold, fast and action packed. Kind of what I strive for in my books.

Kung Fu movies don’t spend a lot of time on back story or beat around the bush when it comes to plotting. Most of them get right to the point. Hero or Heroine versus the world!

That doesn’t mean the movies don’t tell a story. The drama is there in between the flying fists and swinging swords. Modern martial arts movies tend to be more fantastic than their predecessors with amazing high-flying wire work action.

I also love Jackie Chan movies. He combines a sense of danger (he’s famous for his own stunts) along with humor (his Buster Keaton style of Kung Fu).Chan, raised in Chinese opera (check out his biography for a riveting tale) balances a compelling every man hero thrown into extraordinary circumstances. In his movies, sometimes there’s a love interest. Or the world to save. And if a few bad guys get their butts kicked in the process, even better.

Like the romance genre, I think there is a tendency for martial arts movies to be looked down upon (oh, you watch those movies). The badly dubbed versions don’t help. But still, like a romance novel (oh, you read those novels), I find them to be fun, satisfying and a worthy way to spend my free time.

Remember – to the tune of “Kung-Fu Fighting” – tell me your guilty pleasure! (Bonus points if you mention – chocolate, Downton Abbey or Zombies!)

Interview: Donna Shields – Secrets of Jenkins Bridge

Happy Friday everyone! Casey Wyatt here. Please welcome my fellow Soul Mate sister – Donna Shields. She’s here to answer our favorite questions and tell us about her latest book – SECRETS OF JENKINS BRIDGE.

How do you battle the doubt monster?

The only way I can get past the doubt monster is a good two to three day break from writing. I’ll read a book instead. When I come back to the story, my mind is refreshed, and I can move on.

Have you thought about writing something that is completely different for you? Perhaps writing in a new genre or just taking a story someplace that you haven’t done before.

Oh yeah. I really want to write a steampunk one and maybe one day I’ll start one. I have a couple ideas kicking around.

What would you do if you couldn’t be a writer any longer?

First, I’d cry. I couldn’t imagine not being a writer. But, if I couldn’t I’d go back to college to become a nurse.

They say that every author has a partially completed, quite-possibly-terrible half a story shoved in a drawer somewhere. What is yours? What is it about? What makes it terrible? Would you ever consider picking it up and finishing it?

Yes, I actually have a couple. I don’t think there’s really anything terrible about the stories. I’m stuck where they have been left at. One is about a woman and a child in hiding from her now ex abusive husband and he’s on the hunt for her. He hired a PI (my hero) whom doesn’t know why this man is really looking for her. Slowly it comes out and all he wants now is to protect her. I will eventually finish this story because I believe it will be one awesome romantic suspense story to tell.

Author Jane Haddam says that anyone who seriously annoys her gets bumped off in her next book. How do you incorporate your real-life experiences into your stories?

Well, just between you, me and your entire readership (LOL), when my husband and I were having some serious marital issues I’d just begun writing Boneknapper (one I’m currently working on). I felt the need to punish my husband through my poor hero who has a deadly Voodoo curse placed against him. Let’s just say it’s wonderful therapy.

Your first book, THE SWAN COVE MURDERS is a novella. Is writing a shorter story, easier or harder? And is your new book – SECRETS OF JENKINS BRIDGE also a novella? And please tell us about your new book.

I think it’s easier to write a novella. With a novella you only have a short amount of words and I find I write with ease being direct. With a novel, you have to meet a minimum word count and I don’t even come close.

With Secrets of Jenkins Bridge, I just barely made the 50K word count needed to be considered a novel. Secrets of Jenkins Bridge is Katherine and Mitchell’s story. They used to be high school sweethearts until tragedy struck and Mitchell abruptly left Addison, unknown to him that Katherine was pregnant. Years later, he returns chasing down a mob boss who is a partner is his father’s company and to clear Mitchell’s deceased best friend of murder. Katherine has been run off the road, and her and Mitchell’s daughter has been kidnapped. They race against time to find their daughter and discover they still love one another.

Here’s the blurb:

Hunting down a dangerous mob boss has brought FBI agent Mitchell Donovan home, reawakening an old flame, resurrecting a dead best friend, and discovering fatherhood. As if those aren’t enough, his new case will push everything else aside: finding the kidnappers who took the daughter he never knew he had.

Katherine Delaney never forgot the heartbreak Mitchell had caused with his abrupt departure all those years ago. With her dead ex-husband accused of murder and her daughter kidnapped, she will place her trust in the one man who could trample her heart again if she gets too close. But, will the resurrection of Katherine’s ex-husband and Mitchell’s chase for a killer destroy their second chance at love and happiness?

This is your second book with Soul Mate Publishing. Please tell us about working with a smaller, digital press. How has the experience been for you? And what led you to go with a smaller press?

Since I’ve never worked with a big press, I can only assume. I get more one on one with my editor with quick responses to my concerns and questions. I feel like it’s more of a personal relationship. The experience has been great. I absolutely love my editor and am so excited to be starting my career with Soul Mate Publishing as they are beginning this great voyage into the publishing world.

What is your junk food of choice?

Why chocolate of course 🙂

What is your guilty pleasure? 

 I would have to say Ben and Jerry’s ice cream or Pizza Hut’s cheese stuffed crusted meat lovers pizza.

Excerpt:

They followed the paramedic toward the ambulance while Gladys and the other woman continued to talk.

He’d had a nightmare in the early hours before Gladys’ call had awakened him. The Camaro from his dream sat in the same exact spot. Aidan pointed out the car and told Mitchell he had to save ‘her’, whoever that might be. He figured he was about to find out. If, in fact, he wasn’t losing his marbles.

As they rounded the corner to the back of the ambulance, Gladys stopped short causing Mitchell to nearly colliding into her. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah,” he croaked, and then cleared his raw throat. “What’s the victim’s name?”

The paramedic shook her head, blonde ponytail swishing. “We don’t know. Haven’t found any ID yet, and she’s a little confused. Has a nasty bump to the head.”

He let Gladys climb aboard. Her upward movement stopped in midair, one leg dangling a little too close to Mitchell’s jewels. He jumped back as she whipped around, almost losing her balance. In a barely audible tone, she said, “I know her.”

“You know practically the entire town.” Mitchell gestured toward the victim. “Say something. Who is she?”

Her gaze stared off in the distance above his head. “It’s just so weird. It’s the widow whose husband drove off that bridge.” She pointed toward Jenkins Bridge, the old wooden-covered overpass in the distance.

An icy chill ran up his spine. Gladys moved aside, giving him full view of Katherine Delaney. She may be battered and bloody, but Mitchell could never forget her face, her high cheekbones, or the tiny, turned up nose. S**t.

Their eyes met, and his chest instantly tightened, his throat constricting. Something was wrong. She seemed to stare through him. Surely, she recognized him. He hadn’t changed that much. He managed to find his voice. “Hello.”

Katherine closed her dazzling emerald eyes. “What happened?”

He put his trembling hands behind his back interlocking them. “You were in an accident. What’s your name?”

She shook her head, the confusion apparent..

“It’s all right. This is Detective Freeman and I’m Detective Donovan.” Would the name register?

If it did, she didn’t react. She closed her eyes and turned her head away from them.

The paramedic announced, “Gonna have to finish this at the hospital after the doctor examines her.”

Mitchell reluctantly backed away allowing Gladys to jump down. Once the ambulance left, Mitchell said, “She didn’t recognize me.” Hundreds of miles apart and fifteen years later, and none of that mattered anymore. He wanted to wrap his arms around her and protect her. What was her life like now? Did she still live on the ranch with Aidan’s mother? Or did she have another whole life somewhere else?

Would she be okay? What if something happened to her? He couldn’t think like that. He wouldn’t.

“You know her?”

Of course he had. When he left Addison, he had been running from the hurt they’d caused one another. And his mother’s death. And his own demons.. “You keep forgetting. I grew up in this town.”

“What’s your connection?”

He didn’t want to get into his and Katherine’s complicated past at the moment. “We went to school together. Her husband, Aidan, and I were best friends.”

Gladys’ milk chocolate eyes grew large. “Oh wow. I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be. That was a long time ago.” Life goes on.

About Donna:

Donna Shields grew up on romance and scary stories. With her love for suspense and the slightly unusual, she enjoys tying these elements together to create stories full of love, danger and the paranormal.

She lives in the beautiful upstate of South Carolina with her husband, her children, and some great haunts. She’s a mom, a ‘gramma’, a wife, a friend, an avid reader and writer. When she’s not occupied with all that, she loves traveling to Playa del Carmen and Jamaica.

You can find me:

At my blog: http://donna-realworldwriting.blogspot.com
On facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/#!/shieldsdonna
On Twitter: @Donna_Shields
On SMP’s Author Blog: http://smpauthors.wordpress.com/
You can buy Secrets of Jenkins Bridge at: http://soulmatepublishing.com
Coming soon to Amazon and Barnes and Noble also.

Thanks Donna!

Since we Scribes love secrets – who’s got one to share with Donna? Which do you prefer long novels or shorter novellas?