Category Archives: Life

In a sharing mood…

My favorite George Michael songs as a small tribute to a wonderful musician. I remember when Wham! came out with their first songs here in the U.S. I was in high school and didn’t miss a Friday night skating to this music. As a musician myself, it always hits home when we lose someone like George…or Prince, or David Bowie. *sigh* This has been an extraordinarily tough year.

UPDATE: Just learned that the links to the videos are not displaying correctly. Working on it…

UPDATE: All fixed!

Freedom ’90

Father Figure

I Knew You Were Waiting

Careless Whispers

Come on 2017

I don’t usually share too much of my personal, day-to-day information online. Today I’m going to make an exception. Why? Because I think it’s important to remember that we’re all human, we all have ups and downs and we all have great and awful times.

My life isn’t much different than yours. I love reading. I love my family. I’m a total geek who loves food and playing with the grandbabies.

I’m also SO happy that 2016 is almost over!

I lost my job earlier this year. It was a horrible and completely unexpected situation. It was the first time in almost 20 years that I didn’t have a day job to fall back on and we almost lost everything. And I mean EVERYTHING. I was totally stressed and while I love writing, it doesn’t pay the bills, so a day job is important for my, and my family’s sanity.

I did a lot of talking to myself this year:

  • “Yo, T.J., don’t flip your wig woman. Things will work out!”
  • “Hey you, uh, I mean me, keep a positive outlook. The money will come. You will pay your mortgage. Everyone will eat and the lights will stay on, damn it!”
  • “Don’t worry about your family. They will leave the house and return again safely.”
  • “Have faith in humanity! Not everyone is shortsighted and full of hate.”
  • “Not all of your favorite musicians and actors are dying this year! Relax!”

And it went on and on. Needless to say, this year has sucked in so many ways that I’m seriously counting down the days to next year. Oh, and I’m not even going to get into the nutball politics this year. I’m glad to say that I didn’t think I’d be motivated to write a single thing, but that’s changing and the plot bunnies are hopping around like crazy *YAY!*

Also to celebrate the landing of a new day job, we are going to feast like there is no tomorrow. This is part of the plan. Ever had it? If so, share your favorite recipe for…PORCHETTA! Click the picture to hop to the recipe.

Oh, and 2017, hurry up already.

 

I just had to share!

cheesecake-bars-with-wine-gelee-4-600x900

I’m not a big drinker but I do enjoy a glass of wine every now and then. And with the holidays coming up, we are always looking for a way to put a bit of a different spin on the usual culprits…such as red wine.

I saw this recipe a few days ago and I can’t get it out of my head. So I figured I’d share the love and drive you just as nuts as I am right now at wanting to try this delicious looking dessert. I would say I’m sorry…but I wouldn’t mean it! So let’s enjoy it together, shall we?

Cheesecake Bars with Wine Gelée

yield: 16 squares

prep time: 25 min
cook time: 25 min
total time: 7 hours (including chilling)

INGREDIENTS:

For crust:

  • 8 full sheets (140gr) graham cracker
  • 4 tablespoons (55gr) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

For cheesecake filling:

  • 12oz (340gr) cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup (60gr) plain Greek yogurt, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (300gr) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

For wine topping:

  • 1 envelope (8gr) unflavored gelatin
  • ¾ cup (180ml) red wine (such as Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • 2 tablespoons hot water
  • 4 teaspoons sugar

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line 8×8 square baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving two sides hanging over the edges.
  2. In a food processor, pulse the graham crackers into fine crumbs. (If you don’t have a food processor, place the graham crackers in a ziplock bag and roll a rolling pin over the graham crackers.) Add sugar and melted butter and pulse until the crumbs are evenly moistened with butter. Transfer the mixture into the prepared baking pan. Evenly spread it, lightly pressing into the pan. Bake for 10 minutes and cool on wire rack.
  3. In a large mixing bowl with whisk attachment, beat cream cheese, Greek yogurt and condensed milk until creamy, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the egg, flour, vanilla extract and salt. Continue to whisk until well combined, about 2 minutes.
  5. Pour the cream cheese mixture over the crust. Bake it until the filling is set but not browned, for about 25 minutes. Cool the cheesecake to room temperature (about 2 hours), then refrigerate for at least 2 hours to chill.
  6. To make the wine gelée, sprinkle the gelatin over ½ cup of wine and let it sit for 5 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, stir in the sugar in the hot water. Add the sugar water into the wine with gelatin. At this point, the mixture will be a little cloudy. Mix well until gelatin is completely melted. (If needed, microwave for 30 seconds to warm the mixture up. The mixture should become clear.) Add the remaining ¼ cup of wine and cool the mixture to room temperature, about 5 minutes. Gently pour the wine mixture using a back of the spoon over the cooled cheesecake. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight, until the wine topping is set completely.
  8. Cut into 16 squares (or even smaller, if desired), before serving.

    Recipe is courtesy of Sweet & Savory by Shinee
    There were so many ads on the original post, I could barely get to the recipe. So rather than taking you through that madness, I posted the details here. To see the original ad, uh I mean post, visit http://www.sweetandsavorybyshinee.com/cheesecake-bars-with-wine-gelee/

30 Day No Bullshit Challenge

…is coming!

I see all these challenges, like the 30 Day Plank Challenge, 30 Day Squat Challenge, 30 Day Journal Challenge. 30 Day Whatever-The-Heck Challenge. How about a 30 Day No Bullshit Challenge? Well, it’s coming people.

NoBS

A Certified Master Life Coach is going to take us through 30 days of true life-changing challenges to our own status quos. Want to kick dysfunction? Want to better your personal relationships? It doesn’t matter what kind, whether it’s friendship, marriage, family or whatever. She’s prepping…then we’re coming for you.

Stay tuned – start date will be announced soon. ‪#‎30DayNoBS‬

Our coach’s name is Tamara Mays-Sheeley. Her area of expertise is polishing women into the gems that we are. If you want personalized instruction, you can enroll in her classes directly.

If you’re in the Savannah, GA area in August, drop into the Authors After Dark reader convention where we’ll both be signing!

Links:
Info on Authors After Dark
Info on The Polished Gem Academy
Link to Tamara’s book on Amazon

 

A Different Kind of Yum!

Okay, I’ll be completely honest here — when I first heard of this recipe my first reaction was “EWWWW!” But after reading what’s in it, it sounds absolutely delish and perfect for a holiday picnic or outing.

If you make this, let me know how it turns out!

Layered Cornbread Salad (courtesy of The Food Network)

FNM_050113-Layered-Cornbread-Salad-Recipe_s4x3.jpg.rend.sni12col.landscapeTotal Time: 20 min
Prep: 20 min
Yield:6 servings
Level:Easy

Ingredients
4 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Kosher salt
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 scallions, minced
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
2 cups crumbled cornbread
2 15 -ounce cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 cup shredded cheddar or Mexican-blend cheese

Directions
Toss the tomatoes, bell pepper, cilantro and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Whisk the sour cream, mayonnaise, scallions, lime juice, chili powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small bowl.
Assemble the salad: Sprinkle half of the cornbread in a glass bowl or trifle dish. Top with half each of the black-eyed peas, corn and the tomato-pepper mixture, then half each of the sour cream mixture and cheese. Repeat the layers with the remaining ingredients, ending with cheese. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
Photograph by Con Poulos

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/cornbread-salad-recipe.html?oc=linkback

Seafood Cravings

The other day I tweeted about a certain need I had. And it was a need that hit me hard. I mean, I was almost shaking with anticipation at the thought of getting this particular thing.

I’m talking about…LOBSTER!

Yes, it’s true that I’m having a forty-year affair with seafood, and lobster is one of my favorites. There are only two things that beat out a good steamed lobster, drenched in real butter — sashimi and king crab.

So what does this have to do with books? From one foodie to another, not a darn thing! However, my Twilight Teahouse series does have an amazing sushi chef named Landon. You can read his story in Luscious, Twilight Teahouse Book Two.

Here’s the book cover, followed by an easy recipe that my fellow lobster-lovers will enjoy!

LuciousIngredients
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 lemon, juiced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 stalk finely chopped celery
1 finely chopped shallot
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
3 lobster tails cooked (about 1 pound lobster meat), chopped
Lemon slices & dry rub, for garnish
Lobster SaladDirections
1) Combine mayonnaise, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper, celery, shallot, tarragon and chives in a bowl.
2) Add lobster meat to mayonnaise sauce and combine.
3) Rub the rim of 4 martini glasses with a lemon. Dip the rim in some dry rub. Divide the lobster salad between the 4 glasses. Garnish with dry rub and lemon slices.

Recipe courtesy of The Neelys and The Food Network: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/lobster-salad-cocktail-recipe.html?oc=linkback

Music Monday: 06-Oct-14

I got this idea from fellow author and all-around cool chic, Selena Illyria to post what music is on my mind.

I’m a Lord of the Rings nutball, but this song has been on my mind like crazy. I mean, almost down to the gut level of my consciousness. I’m not sure why. It could be because of all the current “crazy” going on in the world today or…I’m just really not sure. Ever have that feeling that something is coming, but you’re just not sure what? It could be good, bad or otherwise, but you know it’s SOMETHING. Hmmm…

I’ve embedded the video on my blog, but if it’s not showing, here’s a link:

I See Fire by Ed Sheeran from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Snippet Saturday – Heat Wave

Blog-Header-option2

I don’t think this week’s theme needs any introduction, do you? Heh!

SeekersSolace72lg

Jovon’s gaze rolled toward the ceiling. Why were vamps, the most sexual beings on earth, so narrow-minded in this area? She sighed, and then spoke slowly as if teaching a kindergartner. “No sex happens. That’s why I’m there. Basically, the escorts cater to men and women who haven’t had or made time for relationships but enjoy companionship. Besides, why show up at a high-dollar charity event alone when you can take runway-model material instead?”

“So here you are, a fashion doll’s muscle, headed into the investigation from hell. And single. I wonder…”

“Wonder what?”

“If you can handle it, Jovon.”

“Handle what? The mission?”

“Handle me.” He licked his lips as he watched her closely. “If you let me, I’ll rock your world.”

Oh my God. Had the man just said he would rock her world?

“But, but why me?” she sputtered. “You don’t even like me, remember?” Reminded him of their little spat last night that, in the light of day, didn’t make any sense whatsoever.

“Oh, but that’s where you’re wrong, sweetheart.”

Then he was all up in her space—something she’d normally react to quickly with words sharp enough to cut skin. So why wasn’t she taking his head off?

“What the hell are you doing?” It was all she could force her brain to tell her mouth to squeak out. His answer pushed her even farther back on her emotional heels.

“I’m doing what you want me to, of course.”

He moved so fast it actually startled her. Not because he felt dangerous. Well, no, wait, he did feel dangerous, but not on a physical level. This shock was more because Jovon had worked with some of the most skilled soldiers, both human and vampire, as a kick-ass Marine, and even with all her training she still hadn’t been able to track Reis’s movement. One second she was smacking his hands away from her nachos. The next, she was in his lap, chest-to-chest, with strong arms wrapped around her body and his lips pressed to hers.

Though his kiss was smooth and practiced, it still felt as if he devoured her. How many other women had he kissed like this? What if he just wanted to kiss and tell? Or worse, kiss and haul her ass into a Hatsept harem? What if…?

“Oh, no you don’t. No throwing up nutty-ass reasons to pull away from me,” he snarled into her head. “Just feel,” he insisted, the sound so sinisterly sexy it was like having her bare skin stroked all over as a big kitty cat rubbed against her. Only the kitty purring in her head was a saber-toothed tiger with a fetish for designer clothing. His kiss blew all thoughts of pushing him away out of her mind like a crush of dry leaves tossed into the wind of a coming storm. And God, she wanted that wind to blow harder, hotter.

Crazy to want a man so much.

 

Snippet Satuday Authors

<a rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank” href=”http://www.mylajack.blogspot.com”>Myla Jackson</a>
<a href= “http://www.laurendane.com/blog”> Lauren Dane</a>
<a href=”http://LeahBraemel.com/blog” target=”_blank”>Leah Braemel</a>
<a href=”http://carisroane.com/?page_id=645″>Caris Roane</a>
<a href=”http://elizagayle.net/blog” target=”_blank”>Eliza Gayle</a>
<a href=”http://mandyroth.com/blog/” target=”_blank”>Mandy M. Roth</a>
<a href=”http://maricarr.com/blog/” target=”_blank”>Mari Carr</a>
<a href=”http://mckennajeffries.com/blog/” target=”_blank”>McKenna Jeffries</a>
<a href=”http://shilohwalker.com/website”;>http://shilohwalker.com/website</a>
<a href=”http://taigecrenshaw.com/blog” target=”_blank”>Taige Crenshaw</a>
<a href=”http://www.delilahdevlin.com/blog/”>Delilah Devlin</a>
<a href=”http://www.helenkaydimon.com/blog”>HelenKay Dimon</a>
<a href=”http://www.felicityheaton.co.uk/blog/” target=”_blank”>Felicity Heaton</a>
<a href=”http://www.tjmichaels.com/the-scoop” target=”_blank”>TJ Michaels</a>

ZART Countdown T minus 19 and counting

SURVIVAL KIT ITEM #4 is up for grabs

CONTEST CLOSED


Click here for the rules, the list of prizes and the huge bunch of authors who are donating books

Today’s challenge: For warriors new and old,

we invite you to be bold!

Declare your bad-assness to one and all!

Scouts, Warriors and Spys,
You’ve worked hard so we’ve made it easy for you to play this week. Simply put your name here in the comments and declare you’re an experienced ZART member! List a speciality if you like, but it is not required. We know you’re all awesome.

Noobies,
New to the Zombie Apocalypse Response Team? Though you are not quite ready for missions be a proud noob and shout it loud! To prepare for combat training your first exercise is to flex your index finger and click the Like button! *Noobs who hit that Like button will be automatically entered for this weeks random drawing!* Spread the word!

In the words of that famous poet, The Rock,

“We layeth the smacketh DOWNETH!!” #ZART