Tuesday, February 19, 2019

From Cari's Kitchen by Lucinda Race #RomanceGems

As with many authors my early books had a lot of who I am sprinkled within the pages. 

In the Loudon Series I have a café, What’s Perkin’ where Cari McKenna starts her life over after losing her husband and best friend. It’s within those fictional walls where Cari perfects her recipes for blueberry muffins, which happen to be a favorite of Ray Davis along with many other treats. 

As Cari is passionate about friends and helping those in need one young woman in need of a job comes to town. Of course, Cari immediately comes up with a plan to start by giving her a job on a trial basis for two weeks. During the two weeks Dani wins over not only Cari but her customers with delicious and decadent cupcakes. 

Since I can’t invite each of you into my kitchen for a cup of coffee and a cupcake I wanted to share with you one of Dani’s special creations. 

S’Mores Cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes with Graham Cracker Crumb
1 Sleeve Graham Crackers
1 Stick Butter

Place graham crackers in a 1 gallon plastic bag and crush with your hands, or use a rolling pin to crush the graham crackers into crumbs. Once a nice crumb has been reached, transfer crumbs to a bowl.

Melt butter in a sauce pan, keeping a close eye to make sure it doesn’t burn. Once butter is melted, allow to cool for two minutes. Then, pour butter over crumbs and mix until all crumbs are moistened.

Line your cupcake tins with your liners of choice, and then scoop approximately 1.5 tablespoons of the crumb mixture into the base of each muffin cup patting down slightly to form a layer in the bottom of the cup.

Prepare your cake batter, either homemade or store-bought mix, and pour over the crumb layer, filling each cup about 2/3 full. 

Bake as the directions indicate, to when a toothpick comes out almost clean, with perhaps a few crumbs attached. Allow to cool for 5-8 minutes in the pan, and then transfer cupcakes to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Layer
4 ounces Semisweet Chocolate Chips
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon honey

In a saucepan, melt together the chocolate, butter, and honey over medium heat and stir until completely combined, then allow to cool to room temperature. Chocolate should be at a point where it is easily spreadable, but not runny.

Marshmallow Meringue
4 egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar

In a double boiler (pot of boiling water with a metal mixing bowl set on top, but not touching the water’s surface), whisk together the egg whites and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved and the egg whites are just warm to the touch, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat, transfer to a medium mixing bowl or to a stand mixer with whisk attachment, and beat the egg whites until they form stiff, shiny peaks, which should take about 5-8 minutes.

The Final Step
Using a spatula or knife, apply a thin layer of chocolate to the top of each cupcake, then, add a dollop of meringue to the top. This can be done by either using two spoons, or a piping bag, or even a gallon size bag with the corner cut off to create a piping bag. To finish, use a kitchen torch to toast the tops to give it that fresh from the campfire s’more look.


If you’re interested in other sweet treat ideas check out The Loudon Series where e-books are sold and don’t forget to visit www.lucindarace.com for details on upcoming releases and my newsletter. 

As a reminder enter the Romance Gems’ “Comment and Win” weekly drawing for a $5 Amazon gift card. The drawings are on Friday! Just comment on any of our posts throughout the month and you’re automatically entered.

And, of course, enter the Rafflecopter drawing for a chance at winning a Kindle Fire or one of six bundles of books by the wonderful authors of this blog!

Until next time, 
I wish you happiness. 


Monday, February 18, 2019

WRITER ON THE ROAD by @karilemor #RomanceGems

Last June, after 30 plus years of teaching, I retired and we sold the house we’d lived in for over 22 years. My husband had a great idea to get in an RV and travel for six months. Not having anywhere else to live at the moment, I said, “Sure!”

Even though I’ve retired, I’m still working every day on my writing. I gave myself a goal of a thousand words a day average and have been great about doing that. Well, until I finished the book I was working on. I’ve taken a few weeks off to do edits for an upcoming release (no publish date yet, unfortunately) and do more promotion.

In between all this writing and promoting and whatnot, we’ve been playing tourist. Tomorrow will be 100 days that we’ve been on the road. So many people have mentioned how envious they are that we can do this. It has been an experience, that’s for sure. Some good, some bad, but all details I can use in a book someday! (Oh, yeah, I am definitely doing a forced proximity story that takes place in an RV!!)

 I thought I’d give you some pros and cons of our trip so far. Especially if any of you are thinking of doing this. There’s lots to consider before you jump in and head out for months at a time.

The Pros are fairly easy to list:

See new things
Visit new places
Try new food (I don’t get to do much of this as hubby is very frugal!)
Experience life
Be spontaneous
Live life now
Better weather (especially since we headed south)

These are all fabulous things!  But as an FYI, you do need to be prepared for the reality of it.  

The Cons are stuff you need to be aware of too:

$$$$   Yes, this trip will cost you money. And lots of it. 

First, you need to buy or rent an RV. Not cheap.

RVs use gas. Lots and lots of gas. Ours gets like 6 miles a gallon. But it has a 75 gallon tank. Yup,  that’s an ouch when you hit the gas station.

RV Parks. These can be anywhere from $20 – over $100 a night. The more touristy area, the higher the price will be. Sure, you can boondock (use your generator and water tanks) but they only last so long and need to be refilled – and boy is it inconvenient.

Food. You still need to eat. If you dine out every night, you will be broke in weeks, unless you start the trip as a gazillionaire. But even grocery shopping and cooking in still costs the price of groceries.

Attractions. You want to go to Disney or do that swim with dolphins thing (and that crap is expensive) or even the smaller ones like touring a plantation or doing a Trolley tour around a historic city? It all adds up.

Itty Bitty Living Space – Even the largest (and most expensive) RVs don’t have much more than a few hundred square feet of living space. Be prepared to leave those thirty pair of shoes behind. Privacy when you need to use the bathroom or shower, nope, not much here. Sure, there’s a sliding door, but it’s still very close. Need to work or want to read, but your partner chews too loud or listens to talk radio and you hate it. Better get yourself a good pair of ear buds. I listen to classical piano far too often now.

Who? Along with living space, is who you’re sharing the space with. It better be someone you can really, really get along with. Sure, you’ve been living together in a big old house for many years. But you’ve been working or your partner has been at work for much of the day. But now you are together All. The. Time. There is such a thing as too much togetherness.

Mechanical problems. You are driving a huge piece of equipment (or pulling an RV using a huge vehicle) and that needs to be kept up. At any time, something could break, leak, or just stop working. And you are in the middle of nowhere with no one you trust to make it work again. That’s not just the moving vehicle. You have a microwave, toaster, fridge, A/C unit, heater, plumbing, etc. And that all needs to stay in working order.

Social. When you’re on the move all the time, you don’t get to socialize as much as you typically might. For the introvert, this is probably a definite plus. But I haven’t seen my children and grandchild in 100 days!! Many people say, oh, you meet new friends. But when you’re only staying at a place for a week or less, how friendly can you get? Personally, I’m what might be considered an introverted extrovert. Once I get to know people and trust them, I am quite social and don’t shut up. But I’m not the type to insert myself into an already established group and start chatting up a storm. So, for me, this trip has been difficult because my extroverted side isn’t getting fulfilled. Luckily, we have had the chance to stop and see friends and family who live along the way.

Hopefully I haven’t scared you. It certainly has been the adventure of a lifetime. Are there things I would do differently? Sure, but we still have about 70 days left before we head back to New England.  We’ll see what those days bring.

My book RUNNING TARGET is about a man who's also gotten around a bit. Unfortunately it's because he's on the run from a mob hit. Can he figure out a way to end his nightmare and get back to his family?
ONLY 99c right now!!

If you want to keep tabs on my adventure, you can check out my Instagram account for daily pictures.  Check out where you can stalk me below:

 Remember the Comment & Win and Rafflecopter Contests!

To be entered in Comment & Win, all you have to do is read the post of the day—or any post you may have missed.

Then leave a comment with your email address written out. That means like Mary at yahoo dot com. (Don't leave your email as a "hot link" or web crawlers will harvest it and flood your Inbox.)

The more comments you make; the greater your chance of winning.

Grand Opening Rafflecopter

Be sure and enter the Rafflecopter for a chance to win a Kindle Fire and Ebook Gift Bundles.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Book Covers by Karen Whiddon #RomanceGems

As part of my journey into the oft-perplexing waters of self-publishing, I've been trying to learn Photoshop Elements.  But, because I'm impatient, and I have a lot of back list books I wanted to get up, I purchased three covers from different sources.

I've learned that cover prices - and quality - vary greatly.  However, I do know what I love in a cover and once I found what I was looking for, I jumped on it.

The first cover I purchased was for Secrets of the Wolf. I like this cover a lot.  It fits the mood of the story and makes me happy.    The second cover I purchased (from a different artist) was for Touch of the Wolf.  Similar theme, different colors.  I still love it.

And the third cover - for Cry of the Wolf - I was looking for something different.  I wanted a female shape-shifter, since the story belongs to my heroine.  I found the perfect cover and purchased it.

What do you think?  Which cover do you like best?  What draws you to a book cover?  I'd love to hear the answers, as I have more books for which I need to purchase covers.

Purchase Secrets of the Wolf on Amazon here          Purchase Touch of the Wolf Here

Remember the Comment & Win and Rafflecopter Contests!

To be entered in Comment & Win, all you have to do is read the post of the day—or any post you may have missed.

Then leave a comment with your email address written out. That means like Mary at yahoo dot com. (Don't leave your email as a "hot link" or web crawlers will harvest it and flood your Inbox.)

The more comments you make; the greater your chance of winning.

Grand Opening Rafflecopter

Be sure and enter the Rafflecopter for a chance to win a Kindle Fire and Ebook Gift Bundles.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Elkhorn In The Moonlight by @Constance Bretes #RomanceGems

Before I moved to Alabama last Spring, I lived in a tiny little town called Basin, in Montana. The population was about 250 people. I made some really nice friends there, and a few of my friends became my readers who enjoyed reading my romance books. They asked me if I’d consider writing a romance centered around a small town in Montana, like Basin.

Basin sits in a valley at 5,700 feet surrounded by mountains. Off to the north of Basin sits Boulder, Montana, and Elkhorn Mountains. Basin is also known as a miner’s town. At one point, there were three mines in operation, searching for gold and silver, and the town grew to over a thousand residents. When the mines dried up, it reduced the population, and left some empty buildings in its wake. Some of those empty buildings were at one time, considered brothels. The only things now operating in Basin, is a pizza place, a restaurant and bar, a post office, two radon mines and a grade school.

Rail Tunnel in Basin, Montana
In addition to all this, there is a railroad tunnel that went through Basin. The rail track actually at one point, came from Helena and traveled down to Butte. The rail tracks are long gone, but the tunnel remains. Not too far from Basin, is a ghost town called Comet. The pictures attached are the Comet mine, and the old tunnel that is in Basin.

Gold Mine in Comet, Montana
The story, Elkhorn In The Moonlight, was generated from this information. I changed the name of the town to Mason, and I added one more business to the town, a small motel, which I situated at the same location of what is now currently called Earth Angel Radon Mine. A few of the characters represented are some of the residents that lives there, including my husband and I, but all the names are different. The restaurant and bar, along with the pizza place, the post office and the school are in the story, as well as the three mines. Everything was renamed so to not put anyone on the spot or violate anyone’s privacy.

While I loved it in Basin, I had a serious problem with breathing and ended in the hospital in Helena, three times with hypoxia, and bronchitis. A few doctors felt that I had COPD and Asthma. The hospital, St. Peter’s, is in Helena, and also plays a part in my story. I received excellent one-on-one care there.

My favorite place to hang out was the Silver Saddle Bar and Restaurant, with the owner there. At the time of the writing of this book, Mr. Hale was still alive, but had since past away and it is now run by Gail, his wife. The bar and restaurant was a great place to hang out and meet your neighbors. They included us in their lives right from the get-go, and was always offering information, suggestions, or directions.

This book, Elkhorn In The Moonlight, is dedicated to my friends at Basin, Montana. Without them, the story would have never been written.

Elkhorn In The Moonlight

The search for stolen Sacred Arrows leads to much more.

Marcus Blackhawk is on a mission to locate the Sacred Arrows that were stolen from the Cheyenne Nation. When he learns that someone has seen the arrows he leaves immediately to track the person down and get more information.

Nicole Lancaster ekes out a living in a small town by helping her brother run a motel and working part-time in a restaurant. Her mundane life suddenly becomes more exciting when Marcus arrives in town asking about some arrows that she came upon years ago while hiking in the Elkhorn Mountains. The gorgeous man makes her heart beat fast, but she knows he’d never be interested in a Plain Jane like herself.

When Marcus offers Nicole a large sum of cash to lead him to the cave where she saw the arrows, she takes him up on the offer. After a three-day hiking trip through the mountains they locate the cave, but then the unthinkable happens, and they find themselves trapped inside. As they wait, hopeful they’ll be rescued, they give into the passion that’s been simmering between them.

Will help arrive in time to save them? And if so, can their night of passion ever be anything more? Marcus has no interest in an actual relationship, and Nicole wants the whole nine yards.

Friday, February 15, 2019

It's A Chocoholic's Dream Day! by Nancy Fraser #RomanceGems

Today's the day 'chocoholics' everywhere dream of ... 50% off Valentine candy!

Unlike the mad rush on November 1st for leftover Smarties and Peanut Butter Kisses adorned with ghosts and skeletons, today's rush will be for the ultimate prize ... chocolate!

As much as I love chocolate (and I do), I prefer to get my Valentine fix with a good book! Plus, of course, there's no "I can't believe I ate the entire box", sugar-induced hangover the next day. I make it a point to curl up with a good book, a nice decaf coffee, laced with a shot of Baileys, and maybe one or two pieces of chocolate.

What the middle of February also marks, at least for me, is a promise of spring. I've never really put much stock in the ground hog, but I do know that if I ration that 50% off chocolate to one piece (or two) per day, I can usually make it to the first thaw!

Mid-February also seems to be the time I get my second writing wind. My projects for the current year are already outlined and in place. I can start thinking about new projects. Maybe even something outside my comfort zone ... not that there are many things I haven't already done in romance.

Most people (authors and non-authors) make their lists at the beginning of the year. Some call them resolutions, some just name them plans, or goals. I prefer to get a bit farther into the year ... recoup the energy that leads to the second wind.

So today, at some point, I'll start making my lists. I'll begin with the obvious...projects leftover from last year such as the continuation of a series. I'll add something from one of my four publishers' wish lists. I'll finish with a challenge ... something I've always wanted to do but haven't...yet.

One year, the challenge consisted of writing my first erotic romance. The year after, it was my first fantasy. Last year's challenge was my first children's book (which was published just last month). This year???? This just might be the year for that cookbook I've been wanting to write.

In the meantime though ... here's a peek at my upcoming April 1st release. It's a short story for The Wild Rose Press' new "quick reads" line. And, because it's story one of a proposed five, it's also the catalyst for the first thing on my list ... continuation of a series.
~ ~ ~

High school teacher Maggie Lewis has decided to start looking for lust instead of love, and the right place for that is through Lusty Liaisons, a unique and exclusive dating service.

Her friends are always bragging about their fantastic sex lives, and Maggie wants a man who will ignite the fire that burns deep inside her, a man who'll satisfy her every desire…without the hassle searching for him through the tedious dating process. She's hesitant but excited to give in to temptation and agrees to a one-night only liaison with a sexy suit, a virtual Greek God who immediately puts her at ease. Maggie only hopes he's half as good in bed as he looks.

Business mogul Evan Steele is a workaholic. His recent sexual conquests have left him wanting something more, something different. He longs for a lusty, no-holds barred night with a woman who still borders on inexperienced. The demure teacher might be exactly what he needs. But can he break through her shy shell to delight in the fire that simmers below the smooth surface?  

~ ~ ~

Now is also a good time to remind you that we still have our weekly "Comment and Win" contest going on. A $5 Amazon gift card can be yours just for commenting on this or any other Romance Gems post! Don't forget, when posting a comment, to leave your email address. And, to avoid those dratted email harvesters, please write it out like this: romwriter96 at gmail dot com.

Congratulations to our first two gift card winners:

Week #1 - Iris Tseng
Week #2 - Mary Preston

And, of course, remember to enter our Rafflecopter draw for a chance at a Kindle Fire or one of six book bundles from our wonderful authors!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Until later this month, stay happy, stay healthy (despite the chocolate), and stay well read!


Thursday, February 14, 2019

VALENTINE DAY SALE! Bold Seduction by @KarynGerrard #99Cents #historical #RomanceGems #Giveaway

Happy Valentine's Day! ♥ Do I have a sale for you! Book one of The Hornsby Brothers Series is on sale for 99 cents. This is an unlikely pair, a hermit virgin professor (youngest son of a duke!) and the madam of a brothel. But it is also a story of two very lonely people who find they have more in common than not. The third and final book is up for pre-order. Enjoy your day, and pass the chocolate :)

And Don't forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom of this post!!

BOLD SEDUCTION (The Hornsby Brothers #1)

The Hornsby Brothers #1
Karyn Gerrard
Kensington Publishing/Lyrical Press

No offer is more daring…


An Intriguing Proposition

Passion. Seduction. Pleasure. These are the qualities of any courtesan worth her salt. As owner of The Starling Club, London’s most notorious house of ill-repute, Madame Philomena McGrattan has seen it all, heard it all, done it all. There is little that surprises her anymore, and even less that excites her. So when she is presented a chance at an irresistible seduction, she can’t help but rise to the challenge.

A Dangerous Game

Studiousness. Practicality. Discipline. Such are the attributes of a good scholar, and such are the principles Lord Spencer Hornsby has built his life around. Alone in the Welsh countryside, with only his wolfhounds for company, Spencer has thrown himself into his work. There is little time for the pleasures of society, not even to think of the joys of the fairer sex. But when an unexpected guest arrives at his isolated hunting lodge, Spencer cannot help but be baffled by the presence of this dangerously beautiful woman. And when he discovers the reason for her arrival, and the pleasures she promises, he cannot help but find himself irresistibly intrigued . . .


The Vicar's Frozen Heart By Karyn Gerrard

Book #2 The Hornsby Brothers
approx 55,000 words
Heat Level: Sensual
Kensington Publishing/Lyrical Press

NOTE: This is not an inspirational romance.

His heart begins to heal…

He gave her shelter from the storm, nursed her back to health, just as any good man might do for a damsel in distress. But Tremain Colson is more than just a small town vicar performing a gallant duty. He’s an ex-soldier whose spirit has been ravaged by war, a nobleman hiding his aristocratic heritage. Yet despite his secrets, he cannot help but feel drawn to the fallen beauty and soon asks her to stay and care for the orphan in his charge…

And hers is lost…

Disgrace sent Eliza Winston out into the world, a governess in ruin. But once she finds herself in Tremain’s home—and in his bed—she realizes her handsome rescuer is the one in need of healing. No sooner does Eliza thaw the vicar’s heart than she realizes her own is in danger. For Tremain is not only the man she dreams of marrying, but a blueblood whose noble birth makes him an impossible match…


Amazon/AmazonUK/KOBO/Barnes and Noble/iTunes

COMING 2019!
The Marquess of Secrets 
(Hornsby Brothers #3 and conclusion to the series)

A secret life
For years Harrison Hornsby, Marquess of Tennington, heir to the Duke of Gransford, has been a scandalous rake. Unbeknownst to all he’d been leading an entirely different and secret life as physician to the poor. Though his younger brothers held out for true love, as the heir, Harrison feels he doesn’t have that luxury. The time has come to marry an appropriate bride. One who in society’s eyes is worthy to become a duchess. But fate has other plans.

A damaged woman

Life for Lydia Chesterton has not been kind. Once a respected nurse at a London hospital, she is alone and homeless due to disastrous decisions with regard to love and trust. Living on the streets and deathly ill, Lydia finds temporary sanctuary with Harrison. Her rescuer is hard to resist especially when he proposes a trade of secrets. With her dangerous past threatening her future, and Harrison bound by duty, a lasting love appears to be out of reach…unless they toss aside all obstacles and risk their hearts.


Karyn Gerrard, born and raised in the Maritime Provinces of Eastern Canada, now makes her home in a small town in Northwestern Ontario. When she’s not cheering on the Red Sox or travelling in the summer with her teacher husband, she writes, reads romance, and drinks copious amounts of Earl Grey tea. 

 Even at a young age Karyn’s storytelling skills were apparent, thrilling her fellow Girl Guides with off-the-cuff horror stories around the campfire. A multi-published author, she loves to write sensual historical and contemporaries. Tortured heroes are an absolute must. 

 As long as she can avoid being hit by a runaway moose in her wilderness paradise she assumes everything is golden. Karyn’s been happily married for a long time to her own hero. His encouragement and loving support keeps her moving forward.

“Looking for a swoon-worthy read? You can’t go wrong with the lovely and emotional romances from Karyn Gerrard.” ~Vanessa Kelly, USA Today Bestselling author 

"Karyn Gerrard writes very enjoyable, richly textured historical romances." ~Kate Pearce, New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Valentine’s Day Love Potions by Connie Vines #RomanceGems

As we learned in Harry Potter, it is impossible to create love -- even in the wizarding world. But, as the Weasley brothers discovered, you can concoct a potion that causes the drinker to become powerfully infatuated with the person that gave it to them.

Love potions were a favorite amongst the girls at Hogwarts, but what about real life? Do love potions truly exist?

Yes and no.

The history of love potions and love spells is of interest to me.  Why?  Love potions are a part of every culture today and throughout history.  My husband is from Louisiana and as you know New Orleans is peppered with Voodoo, superstitions, gris-gris, wonderful cuisine, and love potions. 

I’ve collected books, articles, and even spoken to those who swear a love potion worked for him/her. However, I’ve learned some potions are harmless, some are bizarre, and some are very deadly.  Still, I am an author of romance novels.  What romance author doesn’t believe in true love? And, doesn’t everyone (deep down inside) wonder if there are really love potions?

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, I’ll like to share a potion or two that you can whip up in your kitchen.

Love Potion Number One

Collect rainwater in a crystal glass or vase the next time it rains.
Slice an apple into thin slices. Place the apple slices, rosemary, thyme, sea salt and cinnamon in a saucepan.
Pour the rainwater over the ingredients in the saucepan. If there is not enough rainwater to cover the ingredients, supplement the rainwater with spring water.
Cook slowly over low heat. Once the ingredients start to simmer, stir them while reciting aloud the ancient love poem, Song of Solomon.
Simmer the love potion for 90 minutes.
Strain the potion and place in a glass vial or jar.
Dab the potion onto your pulse points every day during next week. If the object of your desire is near, the potion will draw them to you.

Love Potion Number Two

Love Potion Cocktail
1 – Sweetened Lime Juice.
2 – Raspberry Vodka.
3 – Cranberry Juice Cocktail.
4 – Grenadine.

There is also an ancient love spell that requires ‘the object of your affection’s” sweat to be bake into a cake and then to be consumed (email me if you are interested). 

While it is impossible to replicate true love, since it's an emotional, cognitive process that's based on experiences and memories. It has been proven that there are specific chemicals related to emotional states similar to love.

A chemical hormone called a pheromone stimulates the part of our brains that increases our feelings of longing and attraction. Based off of that, various oils and perfumes have been created that include these pheromones, which supposedly attract the opposite sex.

The success rate of many of these types of so-called love potions is due to the placebo effect. Sure, the pheromones are likely to send off some sort of chemical signal, but the idea that you're more attractive initially makes you, well, more attractive. You're confident, carry yourself better, and are more sociable. Thus, you get more attention from the opposite sex.

True love is our real-life magic.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

My question to you, "If  love potions were real, would you use them?"

Remember even Zombies Celebrate Valentine's Day!!