Thursday, November 29, 2012

Why Do Heroines Never Eat? Tell Me Why for a Chance to Win A Pre-Pub Copy of Saving Maggie!

Glenys O'Connell @GlenysOConnell

This is something that has bothered me for a long time, so I'm reposting from an earlier blog. Tell me what you think - would you like to see better fed heroines?
I read a lot of ‘woman in jeopardy’ and romantic suspense novels, and it really bothers me how emaciated and malnourished those heroines must all be by the end of the book.

Now, maybe it’s just those few extra pounds on my rear, caused by too much computer time and too little exercise, so I could just be bitter about this, but have you ever noticed how little these usually over-active heroines ever eat?

It’s not unusual for them to have coffee for breakfast, be stalked, run off the road, shot at, sprint through miles of woodland, swim a lake, have wild sex with the hero, have a massive fight with the hero, rush home to run into the arms of a crazed kidnapper, be rescued or get themselves out of a scrape, and then remember that they’ve not eaten since coffee at breakfast the day before.

Yeah, really. I’d be chewing off my own foot, I’d be so hungry.
Lovely Food from My Daughter's
 Wedding Reception!
And what do they do then? Set up a good meal with all the foodgroups? No, it’s usually just another coffee and maybe a bit of unbuttered toast. And the coffee’s not a Tim Horton’s double-double – it’s almost always black.

How do they do it? Why do they do it?

Is it the wild sex that keeps them going? Or fear that interfers with normal digestive processes?

Sadly, I get really cranky if I miss a meal, so I guess I’m just not good heroine material. I’d be more likely to shoot the first person to annoy me, rather than solve the crime, save my skin, and bring everything to a happy ending.

So, what do you think? Should we start a campaign to provide a healthy breakfast and organic snacks for malnourished heroines?

Certainly, I’ve been reading some of the neat cozy detective series that are around, and a few more writers are making their heroines a bit more gastonomically realistic, so maybe there’s hope yet.
By way of protest, and to do my bit for starving heroines, I'm adding two yummy recipes to my upcoming release, Saving Maggie, from Crimson Romance. The recipes are for a chicken stir fry delux and some decadent byut healthy cookies. You just gotta see them!

Let me know what you think – should heroines have normal meals like the rest of us, or is starvation an important part of their diet? One lucky commenter will receive a pre-pub galley copy of Saving Maggie!

Glenys O’Connell admits to a love affair with food, and isn’t above a junk food meal when she’s pushed on deadline. Her heroines eat well, everything from home made macaroni tuna and cheese casserole in Judgement By Fire to an elegant three course meal at an expensive Dublin hotel, in Winters & Somers, while Maggie Kendall & Detective Josh Tyler make a wonderful chicken stir fry together in upcoming release Saving Maggie.(Crimson Romance, December 31, 2012)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Guest Babette James' Lemon Meringue Pie

Babette James
Thanks so much to the Roses of Prose for letting me visit here today. I wish everyone a happy and blessed holiday season!

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays for cooking. Normally, I’m just cooking for two, but Thanksgiving lets me pull out the all stops and enjoy preparing a meal for a crowd, from the turkey with Grandma’s dressing recipe to all the fancy desserts, appetizers and snacks, and best of all, sharing with family and friends.

One of my favorite desserts to bake is pie. Everyone has their traditional Thanksgiving favorite: pumpkin, mince, apple, pecan… but, when I was growing up, the traditional holiday pie in my family beside pumpkin was lemon meringue. Lemon meringue pie was my dad’s favorite at any time of the year and I’ve always enjoyed it for a light, bright finish to a meal. Who doesn’t have at least a little room after a big meal for a bite of tart creamy filling and a cloud of sweet, airy meringue?

While my contemporary romance, Clear As Day, takes place in July at a backcountry campsite on the shore of Lake Mohave, a reservoir downstream from the Hoover Dam, one thing its characters and I share in common is a love of getting together with friends and enjoying good food. Pie isn’t normal camping fare, but a slice of lemon meringue does play its part in the romance between Kay and Nate.

What’s your favorite dessert for a holiday gathering of friends and family?
My Lemon Meringue Pie

Baked 9” pie shell:

Use your own favorite crust or-

1 1/3 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

3 to 4 tablespoon cold water

Mix the flour and salt in a bowl. Cut in the shortening. Sprinkle with water 1 tablespoon at a time and toss with a fork until the dough holds together but not sticky. Press into a ball and wrap with plastic wrap or waxed paper and refrigerate for a half hour. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Roll the crust out until it fits your pie plate, ease gently into the plate, press out air pockets and crimp the edge. Prick the entire surface with a fork. Bake 10-15 minutes. Cool.


7 tablespoons cornstarch

1 cup sugar (This is a tart recipe, if you like sweeter, add ¼ to ½ cup more sugar.)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cup hot water

3 egg yolks, beaten

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

½ cup fresh lemon juice

Mix the cornstarch, sugar and salt in a saucepan. Gradually stir in the hot water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick and clear. Remove from heat, turn heat to low. Stir about a 1/2 cup hot filling into the egg yolks, stirring briskly. Stir this mixture back into the hot filling. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the butter. Add the lemon juice and peel and stir until smooth.  Cool and pour into the baked pie shell.


3 egg whites, room temperature

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

6 tablespoons sugar (superfine, if you have it)

Beat the eggs whites and cream of tartar until frothy. Gradually add in the sugar. Beat until the meringue forms firm peaks. Spread the meringue on the filling and make sure the meringue touches the piecrust all around. Bake at 350 degrees 15 minutes or until a delicate brown. Cool, chill in the refrigerator, and enjoy!


Here’s an excerpt from Clear As Day sharing a little glimpse of suppertime at camp:

Dave frowned at the catch. “Got a lot of catfish in here. Knew I should have gone out with you three.”

Kay always wondered how an adrenaline junkie like Dave could hold still long enough for such a peaceful pastime as fishing, but he did. She’d done a portrait of him fly-fishing several years back for a birthday gift and the painting remained one of her favorite works.

Chuck whacked him with his Tigers cap. “Don’t complain to me, Mr. Fish Snob. Fish is fish. I’ll take anything legal that bites. I think we did damn good for the afternoon.”

Lloyd hoisted a catfish. “You want more bass, next time you come along and coax them.”
Margie grimaced, looking pale. “I didn’t know catfish were so big and ugly.”
“This one’s just a little baby.” Lloyd patted his “little baby.” The channel catfish weighed eight pounds, easy. “Have to be careful when you go swimming out in the deep water, Margie baby.” His voice dropped to a rolling old-pirate, tall-tale cadence. “They say there’s some out there a couple a hundred pounds, could just slurp a little thing like you right up.”
Margie looked wide-eyed at Christopher. 
Christopher was choking down a laugh and trying to look serious and supportive at the same time, and failing miserably.
JoAnn rolled her eyes and flicked the back of Lloyd’s head.
“Ouch! Damn it, Jo.” He rubbed his head. 
JoAnn grinned. “Margie, sweetie, don’t listen to Lloyd. He’s just pulling your leg.”
“Oh.” Doubts still flickered over her face. “What do you need pliers for?”
“You don’t scale a cat, hon. You got to skin them. Watch how Scott’s doing it.” Christopher dispatched his own bass.
“Oh, that’s the old way. Try it this way.” With a brisk, sure slip of his knife, a snap of the backbone, and a smooth pull head to tail, Dave had the smaller catfish in his hands neatly peeled and gutted.
A kittenish cry escaped Margie as she turned seriously green. Christopher quickly rinsed off his hands and hugged her close, murmuring something soothing. 
She hid her face in his chest, and a hiccupping sniffle squeaked from her. “But there it’s wrapped and everything.”
He smiled and patted her back as he whispered into her ear, his craggy, lined face transformed by tenderness into something exquisite.
Kay stared, transfixed.
Christopher whispered more. Margie’s gentle laughter rippled out, and she tipped her face to him. He kissed her and her smile bloomed.
Patti and Olivia deftly fileted and portioned the cleaned catch, and Dave and Rich manned the fry pans.
Food was served up, seats taken, and the lively banter, jokes, and catching-up conversation flew around Kay.
Lloyd handed Kay the tomato salad. “Kay, we put this trip together per Nate’s request so we could all get some serious fishing in, and what does he do on the first day? Deserts us!”
Nate laughed. “Hey, I caught four fish today. Tell them, Kay.”
Kay merely smiled as she scooped the savory tomatoes onto her plate and passed the bowl to Nate.
“Took you all afternoon to catch four fish? You said you’d be right back with Kay for lunch.” Dave rolled his eyes and gave Kay a friendly wink.
“Got sidetracked. The fish, lunch…you know.” Nate grinned smugly.
A flaming blush rushed over Kay.
JoAnn laughed dryly. “Uh huh. ‘You know’ always takes some time, when done right.” She leaned over to whisper in Lloyd’s ear and, as Lloyd choked and flushed, turned smoothly to Nate. “Nate, honey, pass that salad on down here.” 


What’s a girl to do when her summer lover wants forever? 

Haunted by dark memories of her parents’ volatile marriage, artist Kay Browning keeps her heart locked behind a free-spirit facade and contents herself with the comfortable affair she has every summer with easygoing photographer Nate Quinn.

The only trouble with her plan? This summer Nate’s come to Lake Mohave to claim the lover he can’t let go. He’s done with the endless traveling and settling for temporary homes and temporary loves. Kay’s always been more than just a vacation fling, and now he must convince this woman, who sees love as a course to certain heartbreak, to take that leap of faith and learn how safe love with the right man can be. 

Bio: Babette James writes contemporary and fantasy romance and loves reading nail-biting tales with a satisfying happily ever after. When not dreaming up stories, she enjoys playing with new bread recipes and dabbling with paints. A teacher, she loves encouraging new readers and writers as they discover their growing abilities. Her class cheers when it’s time for their spelling test! She lives in New Jersey with her wonderfully patient husband and three extremely spoiled cats.
You can find Babette at:

You can find Clear As Day at: – Paperback & Kindle
Come fall in love at the river.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012



1 cup milk
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
2 cups flour
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup dark brown sugar—packed into measuring cup
1 cup sugar
1 cup vegetable shortening 
3 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
2 cups sugar
½ cup milk
¼ cup light corn syrup
8 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract


1. For the cake: Bring milk to a boil in a 1-qt. saucepan. Remove from heat, add chocolate, and cover; set aside for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. Heat oven to 350°. Grease and flour three 9" cake pans; set aside. Whisk together flour and salt in large bowl; set aside. Dissolve baking soda in ⅓ cup hot water; set aside.

2. In a large bowl, use mixer to beat both sugars and shortening until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each, until smooth. Add flour and chocolate mixtures alternately, beginning and ending with flour mixture, and beat until smooth. Beat in soda water and vanilla. Divide batter evenly among pans, and smooth tops. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cakes comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes, then invert cakes onto a wire rack to cool completely.

3. For the icing: Heat chocolate, sugar, milk, corn syrup, and butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat; attach a candy thermometer to side of pan, and cook until mixture thickens and reaches 220° on thermometer.
4. Pour icing into a mixing bowl; beat on medium speed of mixer until slightly cooled. Add vanilla, increase speed to high, and beat until consistency of frosting. Working quickly, place 1 cake on a cake stand; spread about ½ cup icing on top. Cover with second cake; spread with ½ cup icing. Cover with last cake, and spread icing over top and sides of cakes. Let cool to set icing before cutting and serving.

Releasing today is my short story from Still Moments Publishing. "A TASTE OF CHOCOLATE" kicks off their Matchmaker Series. Freya, a magical woman, runs a coffee shop and matches her special men with woman she deems appropriate. In a conversation with my heroine, she offers her a slice of of Curl Your Toes Chocolate Decadent Cake and this piece of advice. “This is how a man should taste when you kiss him. His flavor should burst in your mouth and do sensual things to your system. You should moan in appreciation, and your toes should curl in your shoes. It should be a magical chocolate kiss. And one taste is never enough.” -- Freya, the Match Maker.
Hope Morningstar has the worst luck with men. One boyfriend wrote her a “Dear John” letter while serving overseas. Her latest romantic interest broke up with her in a text. When a traffic detour puts her in an unfamiliar neighborhood, she stops at Freya’s Coffee Shop where she gets more than directions. She gets another chance at finding love.

Declan Fleming, scarred by a cheating ex-wife, has given up searching for love. He’s taken the route of a few other men and engaged the services of Freya, the matchmaker. Still, he’s been waiting for a year and he’s just about given up hope. Then Freya sends him Hope.

When feelings of insecurity and trust issues come into play, can finding love stand a chance? Can the magical influence of this matchmaker create a happy ending? After all, finding that one special love often involves a bit of special magic, does it not?
What in God’s name was she doing? How crazy was it to sit in a mall, waiting for a strange man to approach? Hope chewed her bottom lip and tore more pieces from her paper napkin. Really, did she want another man in her life? Every male thus far had brought his own style of pain and rejection.
Her stomach cramped, and she couldn’t seem to take one deep, complete breath. She eyed the paper bag she kept in her purse. If she hyper-ventilated, she’d need it. Oh, God. Oh, God. Oh, God, I am freaking insane.
Once he came, if he came, she’d give him ten minutes, and then she was out of here. She didn’t care how good looking he was. Wait, she’d decided to go for content of character, not looks. This change in priorities would take time. Old habits were hard to break. Her gaze swept the area. With any luck he wouldn’t show.
“Don’t turn around.” A deep voice behind her sent chills up her spine. “I’m Declan, the man Freya sent. I know you’re scared, but don’t be. There’s no need.”
Why couldn’t she look at him? Was he butt-ugly? Short and fat? What? Remember, I’m not going to concentrate on his looks. I’m making wiser choices this time. I’m looking at the man on the inside, not the hunk on the outside. She exhaled a long, slow breath. “Okay.”
“Close your eyes for just a second.”
Oh, this was just too weird. Even so, she closed them. Something satiny soft rubbed over her cheek and she jerked. Roses. She smelled roses. Velvety softness caressed her chin.
“Rose petals are very soft, aren’t they?”
“Yes.” They were also very sensual when rubbed over her face. “I’m opening my eyes now.” Enough playing games. Every person in the food court had to be watching them.
“As you wish.” He held a small bouquet in front of her. “Purple roses are for love at first sight. Purple irises are the flower of hope.”
There were two purple roses and two irises snuggled in a bed of baby’s breath and tied with a pink ribbon. What a charming gesture. Don’t weaken. Be strong. Don’t let him suck you in.
“And the baby’s breath?” She’d yet to look at him, but took his sentimental offering from his calloused hand. “What does that flower mean?”
“Sincerity.” He stepped to her side, and her gaze lifted. “Hello, Hope. I’m Declan Fleming.” 

Monday, November 26, 2012

The best potato soup

I used to make "real" potato soup until I discovered this recipe:

Threemie’s Easy Potato Soup

(1) 32 oz. bag frozen southern style hash browns (diced potatoes)
(2) 14 oz. cans chicken broth (low sodium)
(2) 10.75 oz. cans cream of chicken soup
1/3 cup chopped onions                (1) 3 oz. jar Hormel Real Bacon Bits
Salt & pepper to taste                      (1) 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened

In large crockpot, stir together frozen potatoes, onions & bacon bits.
In mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, chicken broth, chicken soup, salt & pepper. Pour into crockpot & mix with rubber spatula.
Cover & cook on low, 6-8 hours.
This recipe is from one of my book (Homicide, Hostages, and Hot Rod Restorations). For the "real" recipe card, go to my web site here and check it out!

Have I got some recipes for you ...

I create recipe cards for each of my book. In every story, there's a special meal or a treat, so I make a recipe card for that. Rather than put them here, I'll send you to my blog so you can see them all --

One of my favorites is Dorothy's Delectable Dirt Dessert, created by Dorothy in my Oz story, Twistered.

Do you want a really excellent soup recipe for a cold winter day? Check out Threemie's recipe from Homicide, Hostages, and Hot Rod Restorations.

And some scones to go with that? How about No-Fail Scones, from Daisies, Deadly Force, and Disastrous Divorce Disputes. That one is right here (a bit blurry, but readable).


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Guest Sherry Gloag's Lemon Turkey Tenderloin

Since in the UK Thanksgiving is not celebrated in any special way, I decided to go trolling the net for a slightly different recipe from the traditional.

This one sounds scrumptious.

(Found on Busy Cooks through about .com)

Lemon Turkey Tenderloin
Linda Larsen

Lemon Turkey Tenderloin is an easy and flavorful four ingredient recipe. You can marinate this for just 20 minutes on the counter, or up to 12 hours in the fridge.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour


·         1 (1-1/2 pound) turkey tenderloin

·         Salt and pepper to taste

·         3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

·         3 tablespoons lemon juice

·         1 tablespoon olive oil

·         1 teaspoon lemon zest

·         1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

·         1/4 teaspoon garlic powder


Cut tenderloin in half crosswise. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. In small bowl, combine remaining ingredients and mix well. Spread over all sides of the turkey. Cover and marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes, or refrigerate up to 24 hours.

When ready to eat, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place tenderloins on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Roast turkey for 45-55 minutes until internal temperatures registers 160 degrees F. Remove from oven, cover with foil, and let stand 8-10 minutes before slicing to serve.

Multi-published author, Sherry Gloag is a transplanted Scot now living in the beautiful coastal countryside of Norfolk, England.  She considers the surrounding countryside as extension of her own garden, to which she escapes when she needs "thinking time" and solitude to work out the plots for her next novel.  While out walking she enjoys talking to her characters, as long as there are no other walkers close by.

Apart from writing, Sherry enjoys gardening, walking, reading and cheerfully admits her books tend to take over most of the shelf and floor space in her workroom-cum-office.  She also finds crystal craft work therapeutic.

Tagline for Vidal’s Honor

Faced with accusations of treason, Honor, Lady Beaumont, wonders which she will lose first, her head or her heart.

Vidal’s Honor Blurb:

When plunged into a world of spies, agents and espionage during the Peninsula wars, Honor, Lady Beaumont, flees for her life when the French capture her husband at Salamanca, and relies on his batman to arrange her safe passage back to England.

Viscount Charles Vidal is ordered by Robert Dumas, the First Lord of the Admiralty, to travel to Spain and escort the only woman he’s ever loved, Lord Devlin Beaumont’s widow back home before the French discover her whereabouts.

Their journey is fraught by danger, least of all knowing whether they are surrounded by friends or foe. Will they survive long enough to explore the possibility of a future together or will whispers of treason be enough to see Honor dispatched to Tyburn first?


While Vidal joked with his cousin, the viscount scanned the room. The smell of fine wine, whiskey and cigar smoke blended into a rich aroma that was as much a part of Whites as the card games, the background chatter, and outbreaks of lewd laughter from the younger members of the club.
One member in particular interested Vidal tonight, and he watched Robert Dundas, second Viscount Melville, and First Lord of the Admiralty, take leave of his friends and head in his direction.

He wondered why the man spent the best part of the night watching his every move, and paused in the act of fobbing his snuff box while he waited for the viscount to join him.

“Take a walk with me?” Although couched as a question, Vidal noted the quiet steel of command in the other man’s voice. Dundas laid a hand on his arm; a companionable gesture for anyone interested enough to observe the two men leaving the club together. “I believe I live not far beyond your own house. I’d appreciate your company, and this is not the place for such a discussion. ”

With an indolent twist of the wrist Vidal returned the modish lacquered box, unopened, to his pocket and nodded agreement. A man’s club was no setting for private conversation, and it was plain the man wanted to talk about something away from flapping ears.

Together they strolled across the room stopping to take leave of several mutual friends.

To Buy links

Twitter: @sherrygloag