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Sample Saturday- Julianne March 30, 2013

edgar allen penguin buttonThe 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 new book cover

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.

 Want to read more? Julianne is currently on sale for .99cents for Nook, Kindle, Kobo, Diesel, iBooks, & Sony readers

 

Yum Yum Crab Cakes June 25, 2012

Filed under: Baking,Books,Cooking,Family,Recipes — itsrebekahlyn @ 11:55 AM
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I hope you enjoyed the last excerpt and recipe.  Did anyone try it out over the weekend?  If so I would love to hear what you thought.  Today’s excerpt has Julianne being comforted by Gavin, the man she has loved from afar for years.

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Julianne sat in shocked silence. Hearing Gavin praise her work like this was the last thing she could have imagined this morning. Her heart swelled with pride and tears stung her eyes.

“Thank you,” was all she was able to whisper through her constricted throat.

“You know, I gave Oliver a script the other night that I think he is right for. I’d really appreciate it if you could run some research on it for me before anything gets set in stone. I could give you a copy at dinner tomorrow night. I’d pay you of course.”

A tear trickled down her cheek then she was bent over with laughter over her earlier hysteria. Gavin sat awkwardly not quite understanding what was happening but suddenly longing to hold her. How had he overlooked her for so long? For the first time he saw how truly beautiful, intelligent, and passionate she was. Deep in thought, he sat beside her and wiped her tears away.

Julianne stopped laughing. Her eyelashes sparkled with droplets of water. He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close. She leaned into him and inhaled his familiar scent. His heartbeat was strong and even against her ear.

“Thank you for taking me seriously Gavin instead of just appeasing me because I am Michael’s little sister.”

“You are certainly more than that,” Gavin breathed into her hair. “You’re a force to be reckoned with, Julianne Finnegan, and I think you just hit your stride.” He gently kissed the top of her head sending shivers down her spine.

Julianne felt safe in Gavin’s arms. So many nights she had dreamed of this moment and now the reality seemed impossible. She buried her head in his shoulder and basked in his warmth wanting the moment to last forever.

Gavin gently ran his hand down Julianne’s hair in a hypnotic motion. He tried to think back to the first time he had met her, but he couldn’t. He remembered his first meeting with Michael in college, but Julianne had just appeared. No grand moment, nothing that made an impression on him. She had been quiet and shy, seemingly content in her brother’s shadow. Not once had he taken the time really to get to know her.

“Gavin, are you going to answer that?” Julianne pulled away wiping her face with her hands.

“What?” he looked at her distractedly.

“Your cell phone.” She pointed at his jacket pocket where the ringing sound came from.

“Oh, yeah,” he reached in and flipped it open. “Hello?”

“I’m getting ready to head out for lunch and thought I would see if you were interested in joining me.”

“Sure, Michael,” Gavin replied leaning away from Julianne. “Lunch sounds good. How about I meet you in twenty minutes? I’m over at Julianne’s”

“The Downtowner okay with you?”

“Actually, would you mind the Ocean Market? I have been craving their crab cakes.”

“See you there.”

 Crab Cakes

1 egg

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

4 teaspoons lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon dried tarragon

1 tablespoon minced green onions

8 ounces crabmeat

1/2 cup crushed buttery round crackers

1 tablespoon butter

In a medium bowl, whisk together egg, mayonnaise, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, tarragon, and scallions. Gently stir in crabmeat, being careful not to break up meat. Gradually mix in cracker crumbs, adding until desired consistency is achieved.

Heat butter in a skillet over medium heat. Form crab mixture into 4 patties. Place patties in skillet, and cook until golden brown, about 5 to 6 minutes on each side.

 

Chicken Tortellini Recipe from Julianne June 22, 2012

Filed under: Books,Fresh Foods — itsrebekahlyn @ 11:55 AM
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This week I am sharing excerpts from my new novel, Julianne.  Each excerpt comes from a chapter that involves food and, of course, I am going to share the recipes.  Today you will be treated to Michael’s Roasted Chicken with Creamy Cheese Tortellini and Asparagus.  Michael and Julianne Finnegan are siblings in the small coastal town of Alexandria, NC.  Michael is a successful owner of several resorts and restaurants, while Julianne is floundering in one dead-end job after another.  The excerpt below takes place when Michael comes over to check on his sister and makes her dinner.

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“What do you want for dinner?

“I hadn’t even thought about it. What time is it anyway?”

“Four thirty. I thought I would make you something to eat before running over to the Serenity Beach Resort to check on a family reunion group.”

“You don’t have to do that.”

“I know, but I want to. Let me see what’s in the kitchen to work with. You put up your feet and watch some TV.” Michael handed her the remote before disappearing into the kitchen.

Julianne flipped through the channels disinterested in any of the afternoon fluff TV. She listened to Michael rattling around in the kitchen, humming to himself as he cooked.

“Did Gavin tell you Oliver came by earlier?” She called out to Michael. The humming stopped and the kitchen was silent.

“I haven’t talked to him since this morning,” he finally replied. Julianne wandered into the kitchen and leaned against the counter.

“He came to tell me about the trouble he got into in L.A. He said you already knew about it.”

“We talked last night. I remembered Gavin mentioning it to me several years ago.”

“It’s so hard to believe he was into the drugs and all that. He seems so together.”

“He was lucky to be working with a director who saw the talent he was throwing away and was willing to step in. All his friends disappeared during rehab, giving him a lot to think about.”

“If he hadn’t told me himself I wouldn’t believe it. The person he described just doesn’t match what I have seen of him. I wonder why he felt he had to tell me.”

Michael stopped stirring the sauce he was making. Slowly he turned to face his sister.

“He told you because of me.” Michael watched her face change from confusion to horror.

“What did you do?” she cried.

“When we talked last night I warned him not to get you involved in any of that garbage.”

“How could you?”

“Wait. Let me finish. I admit I was trying to be rough and intimidate him. I wanted to get his reaction. He told me he understood where I was coming from, and didn’t try to hide anything. I told him I wouldn’t share any of it with you, that he could choose if you needed to know or not.”

“So he was afraid I would find out from you or Gavin eventually.” Julianne sat on a bar stool and rested her head in her hands. For the second time her idea that a bond was forming with Oliver was shattered.

Oven Roasted Chicken Breasts

chicken breasts (Michael used boneless, skinless breasts)

5 carrots (peeled quartered halfed)

1 onion (quartered)

¼ cup margarine (butter)

2 tbsps minced garlic

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp rosemary (chopped fine)

1 tsp paprika

salt

pepper

Pre heat oven to 400 degrees.

Clean and debone chicken, season with salt and pepper, peel and quarter carrots and then split quarters in half place in aluminum foil lined roasting pan. Place chicken on top of carrots. Quarter and onion and place in roasting pan. Melt quarter stick margarine or butter and add all spices.

Drizzle over chicken.

Bake chicken for 35-40 minutes until skin is golden brown.

 

Creamy Cheese Tortellini and Asparagus

4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth

2 garlic cloves (smashed)

3 thyme (sprigs)

2 strips lemon zest (2 by 1 inch)

18 ozs cheese tortellini (refrigerated frozen or dried)

2 tsps cornstarch

2/3 cup heavy cream

1 bunch asparagus (¾ pound trimmed and thinly sliced diagonally)

½ cup parmigiano-reggiano (grated)

Boil broth with garlic, thyme, zest, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large heavy skillet until reduced to about 1 cup, about 6 minutes. Discard thyme sprigs and zest.

Meanwhile, cook tortellini in a pasta pot of boiling salted water (1 1/2 tablespoons salt for 4 quarts water) according to package directions. Drain.

Stir cornstarch into cream, then whisk into broth. Bring to a simmer, whisking, then continue to simmer 1 minute. Add asparagus and simmer until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Stir in cheese and tortellini and cook, gently stirring, until heated through.

 

Launch of the Coastal Chronicles June 20, 2012

Yesterday was the digital release of my second novel, Julianne.  I have been writing most of my life.  I was the kid in school who new book coverdidn’t cringe when a term paper was assigned; I relished the idea and delved into my research.  However, when it came to my personal stories, I had a problem with actually finishing them.  Julianne was one of those stories.  I started it in 2003, got about halfway through and then life got in the way.  I let it drop by the wayside.  Six years later I picked it back up, determined to actually complete one novel.  The day I wrote the last sentence was one of the proudest moments of my life.  I had finally completed a full novel.  I then promptly put it away and moved on to another story.

When I managed to complete and publish Summer Storms in two years, I decided to go back to Julianne and see if there was actually anything there worth working on to publish.  I was appalled to see how much repetition there was in the story and began stripping it down to its bare bones in order to build it back up.  It was an interesting experience to see how much I personally have changed since I first wrote Julianne.  I looked at the whole story with new eyes and even questioned if I needed to change the main characters to make them more appealing.  Then I realized the things that made them appealing to me in the beginning was they were reflective of where I was in my life at that time, and maybe there are other people who are in that same place now. Will they relate with Julianne, Oliver, Cameron, Michael, or Gavin?  Maybe their original flaws were more of a ministry to my future readers than anything I could create now.

One of my favorite things about writing this book though, was all the food.  My next couple of posts will share recipes and snippets from the book.  If you are a member of Amazon Prime you can borrow Julianne over the next 3 months.  Stay tuned for more details.

 

 
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