From my kitchen to yours, best wishes for a very Merry Christmas! May you be blessed by the love of Christ.
Tart the New Year Off Right January 5, 2014
I’m in heaven with my ripe lemons. This evening my mom asked what we could have for dessert. All of the Christmas cake and pie was gone, there was no more ice cream, and the cookie jar is nearly empty. I told her not to worry, I have lemons and a new recipe to give a whirl. To the backyard I went, plucking three giant beauties.
I zested and juiced only one of these beasts, yielding 1/2 cup of juice and at least as much zest. I whisked together the few ingredients and filled my tartlet pans, in 15 minutes we would have dessert to feed my hard-working man. You too can have these lovely tarts in no time flat, just grab a few things: (more…)
Clean Reads Authors Launch Big Sale September 14, 2013
Are you tired of blood, guts, gore, and scenes that might make grandma (or even grandpa) blush?
The authors of Clean Indie Reads have joined together to promote books you’ll be happy to share without blushing.
We’re running a one-week sale from September 18-25. My book, Julianne, along with a number of other books, will be on sale at 99 cents or even FREE.
No contests to enter or hoops to jump, just click and buy. Worry-free reads at rock bottom prices. Support Indie authors by buying a clean read. All of the books in the sale will be available here.
Christian Book Lovers Blog Hop June 25, 2013
Welcome to my kitchen. I hope you’ll take a break from all your hopping and have a cup of coffee. I write what I like to call real life fiction, stories that we can all relate to, and that I hope will inspire you. I’m giving away a copy of each of my books via Smashwords to one lucky winner. Just leave a comment and you will be entered into the drawing. Here’s a little about each book.
Julianne Finnegan lives in the shadow of her adored but wildly successful brother, Michael. Her professional life is a disaster, she has no sense of herself outside her family, and she can’t face another Monday. A chance encounter with Oliver, a handsome young actor, gives her the courage to leave her job and prove her real potential. Julianne’s confidence soars as she meets the challenges of revitalizing the failing community theater. The time she spends with Oliver opens her eyes to a certainty she’s never known before, even in her successful brother. But as she starts to open her heart to Oliver, an old crush returns. Gavin, a famous movie director, has been Michael’s best friend for years and loved her as a little sister. The excitement and passion Julianne has developed for the theater shocks him into realizing she is a child no longer, but a beautiful talented woman who has captured his heart. Julianne is faced with some difficult choices. Will she choose glitz or a steadfast love?
Book One of the Seasons of Faith Series Thanks to the love and support of friends and a renewed commitment to her faith Elizabeth Reynolds has moved past the hurt and anger of her parents death. Her job as concierge at Hotel Lago, a boutique hotel in downtown Orlando is challenging and fills her need to be successful but one thing is missing. She loves the historic homes in the downtown area but fears she will never be able to afford one. When a once in a lifetime opportunity to renovate a broken down home comes along she snaps it up. Sparks and clashes with her handsome, but deeply troubled contractor, Jeffrey Robbins threaten to slow the renovation but they fade as Orlando becomes the target of three summer storms, hurricanes Charlie, Frances and Jeanne. In the aftermath of the storms what be the fate of Lizzie’s home and heart?
Musician Michelle Burton just had the best night of her life. Her band Tangled Web opened for Wonderland in downtown Orlando and the crowd loved them. Too excited to sleep she makes a fateful decision to go to work early. The best night of her life turns into the worst day of her life. Nearby, at boutique Hotel Lago, Stephen Longbottom, acting concierge manager, is anxiously awaiting the arrival of the board of directors for Silken Pleasures, a multimillion dollar company based in New York and specializing in high end cosmetics, fragrances and lingerie. Their incessant demands before they even arrive are driving him to distraction. Meanwhile Lizzie Reynolds, his boss is on a romantic ski trip in Vermont leaving him to manage his first solo event. Hope, forgiveness and love are an integral message throughout the book and like a fine tapestry the threads of God’s master plan for the character’s lives are woven into a fabric of great storytelling, conflict and humor. Readers who came to know and love the characters of Summer Storms will enjoy catching up with Lizzie, Stephen, Michelle, Jeffrey and Ian.
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Sample Saturday- Julianne March 30, 2013
The rippling water flickered like hundreds of camera flashes at a rock concert, causing Julianne to squint as she walked past the marina. She came to a stop in front of a bright yellow door and checked the address on the business card, hesitating. She was nervous about what waited on the other side.
Get a grip, she thought, you are going to have to be brave and confident if you want to impress Cameron. Tucking her hair behind her ears, she raised a hand and knocked.
The door flew open and Peter Raphael’s face lit up as he recognized Julianne. “You came. I am so happy! Come in.”
Julianne stepped into a spacious studio lit by floor to ceiling windows along the north wall. Four easels were evenly spaced in a straight line in front of the windows, all but one covered by old, spattered sheets.
The concrete floor was a work of art itself with splashes of paint around each easel. To her right, Julianne saw paintings leaning against the wall; six columns containing eight to ten canvases each. To her left there was an old refrigerator, a microwave, a small wooden table, and a deep sink.
“You were the only person who took notice of Sunburst last night,” Peter said, a look of sadness flickering in his eyes.
“Maybe they were just overwhelmed by the number of pieces being shown.” Julianne tried to sound reassuring but knew her words were hollow. “You do seem to be quite prolific.” She waved her hand toward the stacks along the wall.
Peter gave a dismissive shrug. “Those are okay, but nothing special. I can paint those in my sleep and yet that seems to be what everyone wants to buy. Can you believe Sabastian sold eight of my paintings last night?”
“That’s amazing. Congratulations.”
Peter shrugged again. “I only sell those so I can work on the ones I truly love.” He took Julianne’s hand and led her to the easels. Before placing her in front of the first, he stopped. “Close your eyes.”
She hesitated, but after studying Peter for several seconds, she consented. She felt him take her by the shoulders and guide her steps, then she heard a swoosh of fabric as the sheet was removed and dropped to the ground.
“Now open,” Peter said and Julianne could hear his excited smile.
She opened her eyes to find a canvas similar to the one at the gallery, but in purples, whites, and blues. At the heart of the swirling colors was a shape of a house like the one she had discerned in Sunburst.
“It’s beautiful,” Julianne whispered. Where Sunburst had made her feel energized, this piece relaxed her, reminding her of the peace she’d felt in the park only a week ago.
“It’s the view through the moon, right?” Julianne turned to find Peter practically shaking with joy.
“I knew you would understand. I call it Moonglow.” He slipped an arm around her shoulder and guided her to the next canvas. This time he didn’t make her close her eyes, but whipped the sheet off with a dramatic flourish.
This canvas was darker, predominantly black and grey with pricks of gold. Julianne studied it, looking for the now familiar house, but not seeing it. Peter stood slightly behind, waiting for her to speak. Julianne could sense him bouncing in anticipation
and feared disappointing him. She allowed her eyes to lose focus and then she saw it. Two of the pricks of gold were perfect squares, like lights shining through windows. With that realization, she was able to make out the faint outlines of the house in pale grey swirls.
“It’s almost like looking into a black hole and finding its core,” Julianne finally said, turning to face Peter. His expression assured her she hadn’t disappointed.
“Actually, looking from the black hole down on Earth, but you had the general idea. This one is Darkness.” Peter moved her on to the final covered canvas. When he removed the sheet, Julianne gasped.
The scene was completely different, but she understood right away that the house she could barely see in the other paintings was now before her, although obscured by a haze, as if she were flying over it and a thin layer of cloud spread between her and the scene below. But what truly took her breath away was the building itself. It was Garner House.
March Madness March 26, 2013
Welcome to March Madness!
Where You Can Get Discounts, Free Books and More!
March 27th-28th only
99 Cent Bargain Books
Bodyguard to the President.
Tested faith and personal troubles–
How will Brian Atwood face the End Times?
A booby-trapped tunnel.
A baby squirrel gone missing.
—Pibbin needs a team for this one.
Shunda: the orphan.
Mookori: the prince.
99 Cent Bargain Books
sophomore, CJ gave up running for nearly 20 years before being drawn back into the sport.
God has created each one of us with unique abilities, unique talents and a unique personality. As women we are influencers and God has given us that role and our beauty to share with others. Yet so often we settle for a counterfeit. The enemy has counterfeited our idea of beauty, convincing us to share our beauty with the world in a distorted way. Today that often means that we see our beauty as what we look like on the outside.
Love is in the Air February 14, 2013
An excerpt from Winter’s End
When they reached a small alley with white lights crisscrossing overhead, Lizzie followed as Ian turned and they walked toward a small courtyard. Snow crunched under their feet, not having been cleared after yesterday’s shower. The narrow walls of the alley made it impossible to see anything in the courtyard other than a fountain, now silent, with icicles hanging from the three levels. When they emerged into the courtyard, Lizzie was surprised to find an elegant bistro at the far end. Topiaries stood on either side of the large plate glass window in the shape of hearts, with red silk roses woven into the greenery. Bistro Amore was written in black letters across the front door.
“I hope you’re hungry,” Ian said, stopping in front of the bistro.
“Famished actually,” Lizzie replied, stepping through the door he held open for her. Inside, the restaurant was dimly lit with hundreds of white, votive candles in small glass vases scattered on the tables and tall pillar candles perched in sconces along the walls, but only one table, in the center of the room, was set, ready for service.
“It doesn’t look like they are open yet,” Lizzie whispered, turning back to Ian.
“I don’t know, maybe you should ask the hostess.” Ian pointed.
Lizzie turned back around to find a young woman with long black hair, wearing a red velvet skirt that flowed to her ankles coupled with a white blouse standing before her, holding two menus.
“Good evening, Ms. Reynolds, Mr. Cavanaugh. Your table is ready for you.” The hostess led them to the center table and pulled the chair out for Lizzie, waiting until Ian was seated to hand out the menus. When she did, Lizzie gasped.
The front of the menu had Lizzie and Ian’s names on it, with the date, and a photo from their first date at the Samba Room.
“Happy Valentine’s Day, Lizzie,” Ian said.
“But Valentine’s Day isn’t until Monday.” Lizzie gave him a confused look.
Ian reached across the table and took her hand. “I know you aren’t the biggest fan of this Hallmark holiday, but I wanted to do something special for you. I thought maybe if it wasn’t on the actual day, you wouldn’t think it was just part of the commercialism.”
Lizzie felt walls built up over years of disappointment crumble in her heart. She wrapped his hand in both of hers and gazed into his eyes, hoping he understood how much his words meant to her.
“Do you want to look at the menu?” Ian asked
“I don’t know if I can take my eyes off you,” Lizzie whispered.
“Maybe I should read it to you then. There aren’t many choices, though. To start, a butternut squash soup, followed by a Caesar salad, then maple glazed salmon, mashed potatoes, and asparagus, and for dessert, well, I’ll let that be a surprise.”
“My favorites,” Lizzie said, her heart racing.
“I’m happy to hear that,” Ian replied with a laugh.
“How did you do this?” Lizzie asked.
“I just made a reservation,” Ian replied innocently. ”Isn’t that something you do all day at work?”
Lizzie looked around the restaurant and laughed. “Hardly. I don’t think I have enough pull to get an entire restaurant for one guest.”
“I guess you just don’t know all the right people then.”
“Come on, you have to tell me.”
“I went to school with the owner, and I have to be honest, they will open to everyone else at eight. He agreed to open early for me as a favor.”
“Very impressive favor.”
“A high compliment coming from the queen of making the impossible happen,” Ian replied.
A waiter approached with a tray containing their soup and a bottle of wine. Lizzie leaned over the bowl of soup and breathed in the warm aroma, feeling any lingering chill in her bones fade away. The server poured a taste of wine into Ian’s glass. He swirled it around, gave it a good smell, swished a bit in his mouth, and gave his approval. When their glasses were filled, the waiter retreated. Ian raised his glass.
“A toast. To the first of many Valentine’s Days together.” They clinked their glasses and took a sip of the chilled Riesling.
Lizzie slurped at the hot soup, her taste buds going wild as the liquid slid over them. She closed her eyes, allowing her sense of taste to take over as she picked out the flavors of saffron, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
“You can never repeat this, but this soup is so good, I may have to suggest Chef Gustave visit your friend for some pointers.” Lizzie opened her eyes to find Ian watching her with pleasure.
“I’m glad you like it,” Ian said, dipping his own spoon into the creamy yellow soup.
The salad and then the main course were served, each bite seemingly better than the last. Lizzie cleaned each of her plates and sat back with a sigh of contentment as the waiter removed the empty dishes.
“I know you said there was dessert, but I don’t think I could eat another bite,” Lizzie said and dabbed at the corners of her mouth with her napkin.
A look of disappointment clouded Ian’s face and Lizzie regretted her words.
“But, I could probably share with you,” she quickly added.
“I understand if you are too full. We can always have something later. The night is still young.” Ian pushed his chair back. “Wait here a minute.” He turned toward the kitchen and slipped through the door.
Lizzie rubbed her stomach as if that would speed along her digestion, and glanced around the restaurant. She could see twenty other tables, each covered in a black cloth. She could hear more voices from the kitchen as they prepared to open to the rest of their patrons. Without warning, the hostess appeared at Lizzie’s side.
“How was everything?” the hostess asked.
“It was perfect. Please send my compliments to the chef. I can’t remember a better meal.” Lizzie smiled and extended her hand. “Thank you all for making this such a memorable evening.”
“It has been our pleasure. Ian has been such a good friend to my husband. When he called us, we were happy to help him.”
“You and your husband are the owners?” Lizzie jumped up from her chair and pulled the woman into a hug that nearly knocked them both over. “This truly has been the best night of my life.”
The woman’s eyes sparkled. “Ian is always full of surprises.” With that, she faded into the darkness.
Lizzie sat down again and pulled her phone from her purse. As she was typing a text message to Emma, Ian returned and pulled her to her feet, wrapping her in his arms and holding her close to his chest. She rested her ear over his heart and listened to the steady thump.
“Where to next?” she murmured.
“That would ruin the surprise wouldn’t it? Let’s just see where our feet take us.” Ian led her out of the restaurant back to Main Street.