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Lavender Biscuits – a New Taste Treat

My thanks to author Sloane Taylor for hosting me on her blog today …
https://sloanetaylor.blogspot.co.uk/2018/02/a-new-taste-treat.html

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Love & Authors are in the Kitchen (and there’s a FREE recipe book!)

Free Cookbook: Sweets & Treats for Someone Special

Leigh Goff

Love is in the kitchen with the Free Cookbook Sweets & Treats for Someone Special.

Remember the old adage, ‘The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach’? There may be some truth to that, though I would update the phrase to say, ‘The way to a person’s heart is through their stomach’. After all, food is an intimate experience. Good food creates memories, forges friendships, makes the heart grow fonder, and makes for good dinner table conversations. And food is one of the ways you can show someone that you care for them.

If the thought of cooking a romantic meal or baking a sweet treat for your true love makes you tingly all over, then have I got a gift for you! Cue a romantically-inspired cookbook written by the following fourteen proficient and prolific authors, of various ages and genres: Marci Boudreaux, Carol Browne,

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A Series in the Making by Marci Boudreaux

A SERIES IN THE MAKING

by Marci Boudreaux

Never before have I felt the need to make a series bible. Maybe because I’ve only written one series before and had no idea what the hell I was doing!

On to series two…the title is still a work in progress, but I have some ideas that I’m just waiting for my editor to tell me are crap so I can start over. (She’d say it very nicely, though.)

This new series is about a detective agency run and operated by some pretty kick ass dames who don’t take crap from nobody—especially the men in their lives. This is also completely out of the norm for me, so we’ll see what (if anything) happens to it.

Meet the ladies of the yet to be named agency that will be doing awesome to be determined kick ass things! Also known as Em’s imaginary friends for the next year or so.

Problem is, unlike my last series, I’m dropping all the characters into book one. Most will be in the background so I don’t boggle anyone’s brain with a huge cast. But, even so, my brain gets boggled so I gotta keep all these people and their nuances straight in my head.

And, that right there, folks, is what that whole series bible thing is for.

I get it now.

Since I’ve never done this before, I’m totally winging it. Pinterst pages. Word docs. Notes in two different notebooks that will eventually all be put in one place. I have pictures. Descriptions. Quotes. All kinds of things that someday, I’ll look at and go “DAMN! I totally forgot she’s got blue eyes not green!”

I’m working on getting organized enough to have all this in one place. I’ll get there. I’m just a wee bit slow, but I am taking this whole thing very seriously, y’all.

I’d love to introduce you to the ladies, but book one is still with my editor and I don’t want to jinx this series before it is even out of diapers, but keep an eye out. I think you’ll be hearing about them soon!

Until then…any suggestions on how to keep all this stuff straight?

As a teen, Marci Boudreaux skipped over young adult books and jumped right into the world of romance novels. She’s never left. Marci lives with her husband, two kiddos, and their numerous pets. Until recently, she was a freelance writer appearing monthly in a variety of local magazines. She now focuses on writing and her work as a content editor.

Romance is her preferred reading and writing genre because nothing feels better than falling in love with someone new and her husband doesn’t like when she does that in real life.

Learn more about Marci Boudreaux on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

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The Power of Words

ac248-nov2bcarol2bbrowne2bcoverWords are powerful weapons for politicians with an agenda. Despotic leaders can blame any section of society they choose for the ills in that society and the ordinary person on the street might not have the discrimination, knowledge or courage required to challenge them. When Hitler used stereotypes of rapacious Jews to embody all that was wrong in 1930s Germany, he was doing what countless others have done before, and since, to provide a scapegoat for a nation of people who felt impoverished and disempowered. There has to be someone to blame for it all! In the UK in more recent times it is immigrants who have been singled out for this kind of hatred and resentment. The rhetoric is always black and white. People who hate cannot see shades of grey. They do not realise they are being manipulated by the clever use of words.

But while words can damn us, they can also redeem us. They can be a vehicle for the truth and in the right hands they can turn us back towards the light. In Being Krystyna, reluctant biographer Agnieszka confronts the reality of evil in the world and realises the importance of the written word in the fight against lies and ignorance. It is up to people like her to make sure the truth is never forgotten.

Extract:
We left Lavender House together and made our way back towards the busy city centre. My eyes saw the crowds of people, innocently going about their business all around us as we walked along, but my mind was seething with the images of the Holocaust I had seen over the years. The harsh contrast between these two situations was striking and, where a few hours ago I had felt calm and at peace with the world, now I experienced a sense of unreality and menace. A notion came to me that the great evil which had in the past arisen to terrorise our world was merely biding its time, waiting for a chance to return and wreak havoc once again. I knew instinctively that this dark force used ignorance as its primary weapon; it made people gullible and easy to manipulate. It followed that the more people who know about the truth, the better. Krystyna’s story was an important part of that truth.

“Mum and her older sister, Eda, were the only members of their family to survive the war, you know,” said Chris. Each revelation only served to increase my anxiety. Krystyna’s story was going to be far more harrowing than I had even imagined. “Who was it who said they who forget history are condemned to repeat it? I can’t remember, but it’s so true, Agnieszka.

“Mum once told me how it all started in Germany before the war. Resentment against the Jews had simmered in Europe for centuries, but then the Nazis stoked the fires up and a new kind of hatred took over. It started in small ways at first—people telling jokes about the Jews, making fun of them, making them into stereotypes. Next thing that happens is people are treated differently, seen as inferior or bad in some way. Then they are dehumanised and excluded from society. They get sent to camps and gas chambers. We mustn’t forget what happened in Germany, but we mustn’t blame the Germans. It can happen anywhere and it must always be challenged. We can all make a difference just by choosing how we treat the people around us. Mum thinks her story is no different to all the others, and the sad thing is, she’s right. There were millions like her—but she survived, Agnieszka. She defied Hitler’s so-called master race. And perhaps her example is a lesson for the future.”

Being Krystyna – A Story of Survival in WWII
Blurb:
In 2012 when young Polish immigrant Agnieszka visits fellow countrywoman Krystyna in a Peterborough care home for the first time, she thinks it a simple act of kindness. However, the meeting proves to be the beginning of a life-changing experience.
Krystyna’s stories about the past are not memories of the good old days but recollections of war-ravaged Europe: The Warsaw Ghetto, Pawiak Prison, Ravensbrück Concentration Camp, and a death march to freedom.
The losses and ordeals Krystyna suffered and what she had to do to survive are horrors Agnieszka must confront when she volunteers to be Krystyna’s biographer.
Will Agnieszka be able to keep her promise to tell her story, and, in this harrowing memoir of survival, what is the message for us today?

Buy Links:
Amazon UK: http://tinyurl.com/gm4d9qy
Amazon USA: http://tinyurl.com/z66aalk

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Heartfelt Romance from Author Sara Daniel

Jan Captivating the CEO_LGHEART SURGERY ROMANCE

or Sara Daniel Finds her Niche
by Sara Daniel.

Write what you know, they say. But what happens when you’re a romance author and congenital heart defects and their repair surgeries are what you know?

You end up accidentally creating your own heart surgery romance niche.

To be clear, the books I’ve written that involved heart surgery aren’t a series and don’t have much in common at first glance.

Captivating the CEO is an all-in serious look at a woman facing her own mortality, daily health struggles and—yes—open heart surgery. A Model Hero is a story of derailed dreams and post-surgery body image struggles. At the other end of the spectrum, Once Upon a Marriage is a romantic comedy based on an obscure fairy tale, where the heroine’s uncle receives a heart transplant…from a pig!

I’m not a heart expert, but when I write about heart defects and heart surgery it comes from a place of deep emotion, personal turmoil and love. No matter how many times I reread Willow’s surgery updates in Captivating the CEO, I cry because it is real and raw for me.

I don’t expect congenital heart defect romances or heart surgery romances will ever become a trending or sought-after genre, and that’s just fine with me. I only want to read the stories that come from a place of authenticity and love.

~Sara

He’s all about the future. She might not have one…

When live-for-the-moment massage therapist Willow Jeffries bursts into Colin Vanderhayden’s office, she makes it her mission to loosen up the future-focused CEO, knowing each moment of the present is too precious to waste. Despite her immediate attraction, the only future she can offer is one full of heartache.

The last thing Colin needs is a flighty woman messing up his carefully-constructed plans, but her heavenly massages and addictive personality prove hard to resist. But he has no idea how sick she is.

No longer able to ignore her life-threatening medical condition, Willow slips away to spare Colin a miserable future with her. Is Colin willing to sacrifice his well-laid future plans to get Willow back?

BUY LINKS
AmazonBarnes & NobleiTunesKobo

AUDIO VERSION – Narrated by Nina Price
AmazonAudibleiTunes

Sara Daniel writes what she loves to read—irresistible romance, from sweet to erotic and everything in between. She battles a serious NASCAR addiction, was once a landlord of two uninvited squirrels, and loses her car keys several times a day.

Learn more about Sara on her website and blog. Subscribe to Sara’s newsletter.

Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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Help Me Raise £250 For The Dogs Trust By Leaving Me A Link To Your Blog

Help Hugh Raise Money for Dogs Trust

Hugh's Views & News

The Christmas tree is up, but something is missing. There are no gifts under it, and I need your help to put that right.

#charity #appeal #christmastree #christmas

For this year’s Christmas charity appeal, I’m asking you to help me raise up to £365 for The Dogs Trust.

The Dogs Trust, formerly known as the National Canine Defence League, is an animal welfare charity and humane society in the United Kingdom which specialises in the well-being of dogs. Click here to go to their website.

Want to get involved? Here’s what you need to do.

  1. In the comments section of this post, leave the name of your blog and a link to it. This can be a link to your ‘about me’ page, a favourite blog post you’ve published, or the home page of your blog.
  2. If you’re an author, you’re also welcome to leave me a link to any books you have published. So, for…

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Christmas in Ravensbrück

holocaust.epa (photo the Independent.co.uk)
Imagine Christmas in a concentration camp in 1944. It is wartime Europe and one of the coldest winters in recorded history. You are starving, frozen and filthy. Your thin clothes are riddled with lice, and malnutrition sores cover your body. Snow is piled up against the bleak barrack walls and the grey sky looms overhead. You have been taken from your home, your family, your friends. You have been imprisoned and abused and you are still a young woman whose only crime is to be the victim of racial hatred. What reason is there for hope? What joy could possibly be found in such horrendous circumstances?
For Krystyna, even in the hellish surroundings of Ravensbrück concentration camp there are some small things that stand out as memorable. Things she would remember all her life.

Extract:
“Only one good thing I remember during my time at the camp,” said Krystyna. “That was Christmas 1944. The women had parties and a puppet show for the poor children. Somehow they got permission to do that. It made me think of my own childhood in Warsaw. I remember once that my sisters and I brought home a Christmas tree and we shouldn’t have had one, being Jewish, but my parents allowed us to keep it. Then my uncle came to visit and he was very angry. There was a terrible row and the tree was thrown out. I remember at the camp there was a tree. Someone on a work detail had cut it down, a lovely little Christmas tree, just perfect. They made decorations for it out of tin foil that they got from the Siemens factory—that was where some of the women had to work. For once the SS were in a good mood. They even gave small gifts of food to the children. But some of us thought it was because they were afraid.”
“The SS? What were they afraid of?”
“The Soviet army approaching from the east.”
“Did you get news of what was happening elsewhere?”
“We heard things, rumours mostly. I got the feeling that the Germans were getting nervous. There was a different mood in the camp. Something was happening in the outside world and it had unnerved them.”

ac248-nov2bcarol2bbrowne2bcover

To read more of Krystyna’s story and how she survived the Holocaust why not download the book this Christmas and curl up in your favourite armchair with your kindle.

Blurb:
In 2012 when young Polish immigrant Agnieszka visits fellow countrywoman Krystyna in a Peterborough care home for the first time, she thinks it a simple act of kindness. However, the meeting proves to be the beginning of a life-changing experience.
Krystyna’s stories about the past are not memories of the good old days but recollections of war-ravaged Europe: The Warsaw Ghetto, Pawiak Prison, Ravensbrück Concentration Camp, and a death march to freedom.
The losses and ordeals Krystyna suffered and what she had to do to survive are horrors Agnieszka must confront when she volunteers to be Krystyna’s biographer.
Will Agnieszka be able to keep her promise to tell her story, and, in this harrowing memoir of survival, what is the message for us today?

Buy Links:
Amazon USA: – https://tinyurl.com/jesnssb
Amazon UK: https://tinyurl.com/js4d2ab

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Why My Elves Are Vegetarians


Back in 1977, when I wrote the first draft of The Exile of Elindel, I was an omnivore. I aspired to be a vegetarian but had yet to take that step. In those days vegetarians were considered to be cranks, nutters, Hippies and weirdos who consumed their own weight in lentils every week. Joining this band of social pariahs was a daunting prospect.

I put my aspiration into my main character, the elf Elgiva. She manifested what I wished to become. It seemed logical to me anyway; elves lived in forests surrounded by animals so surely they would have a deep affinity with all natural creatures. I decided they should go one step further and be able to talk to animals as well. It gave me more opportunities to convey my own regard for animals by depicting them as intelligent beings with thoughts and emotions they had every right to express. And this added an extra dimension to the story. There was the human world, the elven world and the natural world: the interaction between them is enriched by interspecies communication. It frequently came in useful for plot purposes too.

Naturally, once the elves were gifted with the ability to understand animals, they stopped eating them. For me it worked the other way round. Once I stopped eating them, I felt a deeper understanding for animals—in fact a greater empathy for all life generally.

I finally became a vegetarian in 1983. Over the years I have seen the vegetarian lifestyle become easier and easier. There are more meat substitutes now than you can shake a breadstick at and every pub, café, restaurant and hotel usually has a vegetarian option on the menu.

Vegetarians today are no longer regarded as lentil-eating subversives. Increasing numbers of UK consumers are moving towards a more plant-based diet, while more than 20% of sixteen to twenty-four year olds claim to be vegetarian. Astonishingly, one in five British households now avoids dairy. Globally, the number of vegetarian food products available doubled in 2013.

Six years ago I became a vegan. During that time, there has been a 360% increase in the number of vegans in the UK. Being a vegan is a challenge at first but it’s second nature to me now and a lifestyle choice I wish I’d adopted earlier. It’s a good feeling that no animal has to suffer or die to keep me alive—but I’m wary of appearing self-righteous. Everyone has their own path to follow.

If a reader reviewed their attitude towards animals or nature after reading The Exile of Elindel, I’d be delighted, of course. A work of fiction should have something important to say even if the message or moral conveyed is just a background theme. But the main purpose of the book is entertainment. It’s a fantasy, an adventure. If readers get nothing more from it than enjoyment, at least I will have succeeded as a storyteller.
Exile double

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Amazon UK

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New Release for Author Alicia Joseph

Another bound-to-be best seller for Alicia Joseph has just hit the stands in e-book and print. This young author’s style and voice tear at your soul. Joseph delivers more than a pretty tale. Her words create a web that wraps around the reader and draws them into a compelling story.


“When a train runs over a penny, the penny changes form, but it can still be a penny if I want it to be. Or, I can make it be something else.”

Lyssa and her best friend Abbey discover a hideout near the train tracks and spend the summer before sixth grade hanging out and finding freedom from issues at home. Their childhood innocence shatters when the hideout becomes the scene of a tragic death.

As they’re about to graduate from high school, Abbey’s family life spirals out of control while Lyssa is feeling guilty for deceiving Abbey about her sexuality. After another tragic loss, Lyssa finds out that a penny on the track is sometimes a huge price to pay for the truth.

Prologue
1993

I was jerked from my sleep while the phone was still buzzing its first high-piercing ring. I glanced at the clock on the nightstand beside my bed. It read 4:17 a.m. I knew something was wrong.

The second ring was abruptly broken up and my mother’s muffled voice carried into my room. I was already sitting upright in my bed when my bedroom door squeaked open. My mother’s slight figure appeared as a shadow near my door.

“Lyssa? You up?” she asked.

“What’s wrong?” My voice was no louder than a whisper.

I watched my mother slowly make her way into the dark room. I couldn’t make out the expression on her face, but the stiff movement of the outline of her body was hesitant.

She turned on the lamp and sat down beside me. Her face was pale. She let out short, shallow breaths. It seemed difficult for her to look me in the eyes.

“What is it?” I asked. “What’s happened?”

Finally, my mother looked at me with pain in her eyes. “Lyssa . . .” She smoothed her hand gently across my arm. “Abbey’s dead.”

I took in her words without an ounce of denial. The reality of what my mother had told me was instant.

My best friend was dead.

Alicia Joseph grew up in Westchester, Illinois. Her first novella, Her Name, was published by Musa Publishing in 2014. Her Name is a sweet, romantic story about a woman who believes the beautiful woman she dreams about is the real love of her life.

Loving Again is her second published novella. Alicia is currently working on a new novel called A Penny on the Tracks, a coming of age story about love and friendship. Alicia has many works-in-progress that she hopes to finish soon.

When she is not writing, Alicia enjoys volunteering with animals, rooting for her favorite sports teams, and playing “awesome aunt” to her nine nieces and nephews.

Learn more about Alicia Joseph on her blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

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Wednesday Special Spotlight Epic Fantasy

Thanks to CD Hersh for hosting me today

C.D. Hersh

Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

Carol Browne

Burning Willow Press is excited to present the epic fantasy The Exile of Elindel, The Elwardian Chronicles Book 1, by Carol Browne. This exciting novel is filled with action and adventure and will keep you glued to your e-reader to the last page.

Elgiva, a young elf banished from Elvendom, must seek shelter among the Saxons as her only hope of surviving the coming winter.

Godwin, a Briton enslaved by the Saxons, is a man ignorant of his own inheritance and the secret of power he possesses.

A mysterious enemy, who will stop at nothing to wield absolute power over Elvendom, is about to make his move.

When destiny throws Elgiva and Godwin together, they embark upon the quest for the legendary Lorestone, the only thing that can save Elvendom from the evil that threatens to destroy it.

There is…

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