Joking Around with Cynthia Ellingsen

I don't think I'm funny. Honestly. I can't tell a joke to save my life.

There are 3 things that always go wrong:

1. Details: As a writer, I want to add too much detail. Explain to my friends exactly where the bar is that the man walks into and where he's at emotionally at the time. Inevitably, I'll start making comparisons to the bar in Crazy Stupid Love, blathering about Ryan Gosling's abs and my husband will nudge me. "Just tell the joke."

2. Early Altzheimer's: My memory sucks. This means that halfway through a joke, I'll forget where I was in the actual punch line part and either repeat something or forget it altogether. This whole, "Wait. I forgot to say the part where the man was with three friends," results in that glazed over, polite smile from the audience.

3. Timing: I have no rhythm. I can't play the piano, do that Gangnam Style horse thing or successfully deliver a punch line. So, even though I do my best, punch lines result in awkward silence, much like the time my friend and I walked into a sorority fundraiser at the age of 35. (The DJ screeched the music to a halt, screaming something about "The Cops".)

Due to this, I'm thrilled that Publisher's Weekly has called my work "inexplicably hysterical" and that Romantic Times selected MARRIAGE MATTERS as an April Mainstream Read pick under the humor category.

This is a big deal. This vindicates me. This means that, the next time I do my darndest to repeat that skit on SNL at a cocktail party, I have the right to stop mid-sentence and say, "Oh, forget it. Just go read my books."

I very much hope you will.

Visit Cynthia at: cynthiaellingsen.com
Friend Cynthia at: facebook.com/cynthiaellingsen
Buy Cynthia at: Amazon

 

Excerpt from MARRIAGE MATTERS:

Chloe, the granddaughter, has not heard from her grandmother in three days. Concerned that June has had a heart attack or fallen, Chloe enlists the assistance of her fiancé, Geoff, to search her grandmother house.

      Geoff searched the entire house from top to bottom. Nothing. In the kitchen, he walked over to the counter and eyed an apple on the cutting board. "This seems . . ." A note of hope crept into his voice. "Decently fresh." He held it up. The apple was cut in half and only slightly brown at the edges.
      Chloe's heart pounded with relief. There might still be time to save her.
      Geoff's eyes darted to the window. "I think I just saw something move outside."
      Of course! June would have been working in her garden. Maybe she'd fallen out there. Chloe rushed for the back door. It was dark outside and she couldn't see a thing, but she could hear the faintest muffle of laughter. "Grandma?" she called.
      Abruptly, the laughter stopped. There was the sound of shuffling and nervous whispers. Chloe squinted. Through the dark night, she could swear she saw Charley Montgomery dart across the lawn. But he wasn't wearing a shirt. And his hands were crossed in front of his . . .
      Chloe froze. Her eyes fell on the wrought-iron table where her grandmother typically ate her breakfast. A checkered gardening shirt was neatly draped across it like a napkin. A few feet away, something white was suspended over a rosebush. Chloe put her hands over her mouth.
      It was a brassiere.
      She gasped in horror. No. This couldn't be . . .
      Geoff rushed into the yard, the beam of a flashlight bobbing in front of him. "Did you find her?"
      With one hand, Chloe shielded her eyes. "Yes," she whispered. "But something terrible is happening. Please turn off the . . ."
      "Chloe?" June called, her voice high pitched and nervous. "Is that you?"
      Geoff shined the light in the general direction. June was peeking out from behind a tree, a branch pulled over her form. Even though the tree was covering her, it was perfectly obvious that she was naked.
      Chloe dove for the flashlight, turning it off. "Oh, no." She clutched it in her fist, maintaining eye contact with Geoff, afraid of what else she'd see if she dared to look away. "Oh, no."
      "Chloe?" June called again. The leaves on the tree rustled.
      "Don't," Chloe shrieked. "You stay right there!"
      Geoff's eyes widened as he, too, finally figured out what was happening. "Oh, no."
      Chloe closed her eyes, shaking her head. "Apparently," she said, "my grandmother is not dead. Not even close."
      There was silence. Out in the garden, both June and Charley chuckled.
      "Sorry," June sang. "Didn't mean to scare you. We just . . . um . . ."
      "Got attacked by fire ants," Charley said. "Had to wash the clothes out. But I think everyone's okay now."
      "Yup." June's voice was cheerful. "Doing just fine."
      A small smirk settled at the corner of Geoff's mouth. Raising his eyebrows, he said, "Fire ants. Is that what the kids are calling it these days?"

 

Your Magic Touch

Why do we like reading about people who are out of the ordinary? Probably because we’d like to believe we’re special in some way too, different than others around us (and face it, better.) Maybe that’s one reason Harry Potter struck such a chord. We’ve all had the fantasy that we were more than anyone (especially our parents) thought we were, more powerful. More special.

That’s probably why I write paranormal romance. I can make my characters REALLY special. I’ve written about vampires, time travelers, Saxon witches, and brilliant hackers who fall in love with the artificial intelligence they’ve created, to name a few. Some know they’re different from the start, and some discover it along the way, much to their delight - or their horror.

The other reason writing about special people is rewarding, is because being special is also hard. Knowing you’re different, perhaps that people think you’re evil, maybe coping with the downside of living forever or moving through time or being in love with someone who (at least temporarily) doesn’t have a body, can put some real conflict into a story. Being a vampire isn’t a misunderstanding that can be resolved just by having a ten-minute conversation.

In my new series, The Children of Merlin, the Tremaine family is very special. They have magic in their DNA. When a Tremaine meets another with the magic gene, the attraction is instant, the true love lasting, and a unique magic power manifests itself. What could be dandier? Seven children in the family don’t all think it’s dandy. And even those who do soon find that the path of true love does not run smoothly. The first book in the series, DO YOU BELIEVE IN MAGIC?, follows the bad boy brother, Tris, who thinks he’s so different than the rest of his family the magic will pass him by. In HE’S A MAGIC MAN, the oldest Tremaine daughter, Drew, is certain of her destiny, only to find that, while she can see the future, she’s paired with an alcoholic still in love with his dead wife. Not smooth.

At the request of readers, I’ve just released a novella, YOUR MAGIC TOUCH, detailing how the Tremaine saga began. I returned to the days when Brina Duncan met Brian Tremaine, long before they started their large and boisterous family. The realization that they were not normal, and neither was the intense attraction they felt for each other, was more frightening than wonderful. Right up until, of course, it was very wonderful.

What does it take to be happy when you’re special? Sometimes it takes embracing what you most fear about yourself. Not an easy lesson to learn. Maybe that’s why I keep writing about it.

Happy reading. And don’t forget to embrace what makes you special.

susansquires.com

 

FAR IN THE WILDS

FAR IN THE WILDS introduces Ryder White, one of the most dynamic men I’ve ever written. Canadian by birth, Ryder makes his home in British East Africa, earning his living as a jack-of-all-trades. He owns farms and a string of small stores that keep his colonial neighbors supplied with the basics, but his passion is guiding, and he is the most sought-after hunter in all of Kenya. He’s also the most sought-after bed partner, with scores of seductions to his credit. From safari clients to colonial wives, Ryder has had his pick of beautiful women and the one he encounters in FAR IN THE WILDS is a pale prelude to the scandalous and outrageous Delilah Drummond, a disgraced flapper with a string of broken hearts and a pair of dead husbands to her credit.

But Ryder is a match for her with his own larger-than-life personality--a personality inspired by the real-life men who settled British East Africa. Some were aristocrats, some criminals, some farmers, and some lovers, but they were all men with ideas too big for anything smaller than Africa to hold them. One of the most intriguing was Denys Finch Hatton. Aviator, hunter, and lover of Karen Blixen, he was immortalized by Robert Redford’s portrayal in "Out of Africa". He was a golden boy, handsome and charming, with a taste for danger and an uncompromising spirit. He was also, I found out during my research, a distant cousin of mine. Something about that blood connection made his story all the more interesting and poignant, and I read every book I could get my hands on about Finch Hatton and his short life. He was a pioneer and a buccaneer, a wanderer with the soul of a poet, and I hope that a little of him lives in Ryder.

A sixth-generation native Texan, New York Times bestselling author Deanna Raybourn graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a double major in English and history and an emphasis on Shakespearean studies. She taught high school English for three years in San Antonio before leaving education to pursue a career as a novelist. Deanna makes her home in Virginia, where she lives with her husband and daughter and is hard at work on her next novel.

Deanna’s debut novel, Silent in the Grave, published in January 2007. Silent in the Grave went on to win the 2008 RITA® Award for Novel with Strong Romantic Elements and the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best First Mystery. The Lady Julia Grey series has been nominated for several other awards, including an Agatha, three Daphne du Mauriers, a Last Laugh, four additional RITAs, and two Dilys Winns.

Deanna’s next release, A Spear of Summer Grass (May 2013), chronicles the adventures of a scandalous flapper heroine in Africa and the lives she changes along the way. It is listed as one of Goodreads’ most highly anticipated books of 2013 and was preceded by Far in the Wilds, an exclusive digital prequel novella (March 2013). A Spear of Summer Grass received a starred review from Library Journal.

deannaraybourn.com

 

Remote Control Freaks Anonymous

I can’t help it, basically I’m lazy and just a tad bit slow (we’re talking mentally here, although in the interest of full disclosure the same is true when it comes to my physical self as well).

Essentially, when it comes to technology, I’m that person about whom other folks from the Southwest—especially my fellow Oklahomans—will say “. . . bless her heart.”

EXAMPLE: “That Jaycie Cash doesn’t know come here from sic ‘em when it comes to anything technical, bless her heart.”

See, around these parts when you bless somebody’s heart, you’re just trying to state the truth about that person without coming across as hateful. And Lord knows referring to me as technologically challenged is nothing but the absolute and total truth.

It’s not that I can’t figure techno stuff out. I just don’t want to. Meantime, I find it incredibly frustrating and resent the need to do so. So it takes me awhile. This is why I keep things two and three times longer than most of the other folks I know.

I’m not somebody who rushes out to buy the latest and greatest. Uh uh, I’m the one who keeps using what she’s got so she doesn’t have to learn how to use something new. If it ain’t broke, Jaycie’s not going to the store. Sadly, though, as I mentioned in a post a few weeks back, my ten-year-old TV recently bit the dust. So, this weekend I bought a new one, along with a BlueRay player with streaming video. I think eventually I’m going to like my new setup a lot.

But right now I’m in that ugly learning phase. I’m pouting and rolling my eyes a lot when what I should do with the remote control isn’t immediately apparent to me. Color me bratty.

I’m thinking about starting a whole new support group: remote control freaks anonymous. One problem: I don’t think I could stand to be around other people who act as badly as I do when they’re trying to learn something new.

Plus, I sure don’t wanna have to listen to them talk about their techie issues, bless their hearts.

HOW ABOUT YOU? ARE YOU QUICK TO GET NEW TECHNICAL STUFF OR DO YOU AVOID IT AS MUCH AS I DO? A FREE COPY OF MRS. GOODFELLER WILL BE RANDOMLY AWARDED TO ONE PERSON WHO LEAVES A COMMENT BELOW BEFORE THE NEXT WRITERSPACE BLOG IS POSTED.

Jaycie Cash blogs on a regular basis for Writerspace.com. Her debut novel, MRS. GOODFELLER, is available through most major e-Book outlets, including Amazon and Barnes and Noble. She’d love for you to like her Facebook Author page.

 

Family Bonds

How important are your friendships? We read many girlfriend books where friends are an integral part of the character’s lives. They are confidants. They are available to them when needed. They do many activities together. And in this generation, lives seem to revolve around friendships.

In some friendships the relationship is comprised of mere acquaintances. Friends can be someone you do activities with. An example may be book clubs where some of the members are not necessarily confidants. Many book clubs do other activities such as see plays or travel.

Some choose friends who make them look good. Whether they are thinner or think they are smarter than the other person.

Sometimes men or a significant other might feel friendships interfere with the marriage or their relationship. How do you handle that? Do you spend less time with friends? Do you carve out more time with your husband?

There are any number of reasons we pick friends. It could be as simple as two people connecting. They have much in common. But are most friendships close? Do you feel you can reveal your most intimate secrets with your friend? Or do you keep confidential matters to yourself?

In FAMILY BONDS Melia Lucas’ friendship with her adopted family is tested. What category do your friends fall into?

Taylor Harrison goes to Seattle to find out why his grandfather’s partner tried to murder him. He feels the answer revolves around the older man’s desire to keep the much younger Melia Lucas in glitter and money. To get to the bottom of the mystery, he gets close to her. But he soon finds himself ensnared by Melia’s charms as much as his grandfather’s partner obviously had been. Will he end up a casualty as well?

When Melia’s parents died in a murder/suicide eight years ago, she never believed that her father murdered her mother and took his own life, leaving her an orphan and alone. But she doesn’t completely trust Taylor, either, although she has fallen for him in a totally unexpected way. As they work together to uncover the truth, they find the two cases are connected and danger lurks around Melia. Will they find the answers in time to save her?

Have you ever been betrayed by your closest friend? Have you discovered the person you trusted as a friend wasn’t a friend at all? Are your friendships close? Do you feel you can reveal your most intimate secrets with your friend? Do you feel as if your friend is using you? Do friends interfere with your marriage or significant other? What is your definition of friendship?

Please comment on any of the above questions and you will be included in a random drawing. The prize winner will receive a $20.00 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card. Please visit my web page at www.CandicePoarch.com

Take a trip with me in SHATTERED ILLUSIONS later this month when it will be reissued in e-books.

 

Welcome to the Future

Recently, I happened upon my spouse watching Logan’s Run, one of the (if you’ll forgive the repetition) run of futuristic movies that popped up in the 70s, in which everyone is clad in shiny tunics and dwells in cities with the sort of automatic doors favored by Bond villains.

"Why don’t you ever wear your nice future clothes?" he asked me.

This got us talking about the odd breaks between expectation and reality, about the imagined futuristic worlds in which there were food pills and beam ‘em up machines - but nothing resembling a computer, a mobile phone, or a DVD.

As a small child, circa 1980 or so, I had a picture book which solemnly prophesied future colonies under the sea and out in space, complete with snazzy, Jetsons-type gear. About ten years after that, I remember an image of the future in which hovercrafts would whizz down the street and parking problems would be eliminated by cars that packed up into a compact, handy dandy, easy to carry briefcase.

Needless to say, the hovercrafts haven’t happened, but iPhones have.

I was particularly struck by this dichotomy when I was researching my last book, THE ASHFORD AFFAIR, which zigzags back and forth between the 1990s, Edwardian England, and England and Kenya in the 1920s. That post World War I era is another one of those periods in which the world was in flux and all sorts of futures seemed possible. While I was reading up on early aviation (one of my characters was practicing for her pilot’s license), I stumbled across an instructional video from the 1930s, in which a smartly dressed female wheels her biplane down the street to her local flying field, puts on her goggles and scarf, waves jauntily, and whisks away. The video promised a future in which every household had its own little plane. And why not? Automobiles had been a mere glint in the eye forty years before and look at the inroads they had made.

It’s not just technology. The 1920s were alive with utopian visions of a future of universal cooperation and political reorganization. My heroine is, at one point, mocked by the hero for joining a group that extols the virtues of politics and prosody: bringing world peace through the propagation of poetry. As the hero points out, rather sarcastically, "How would one know if Mr. Lenin likes Keats? He might be a blank verse sort of man. It seems a shame to precipitate another war all for the wrong sort of poetry."

Of course, we know how it all turned out, historically speaking. We know that the age of individual aviation gave way to great jumbo jets and that poetry didn’t bring peace - at least, not in the 1930s. But, as a historical novelist, it’s these roads less traveled I find just as interesting as the ones that eventually came to be.

And it’s kind of fun to imagine a world where there’s a family bi-plane in every backyard....

What are your favorite "future-land" predictions that never came to be?

I’ll be giving away a copy of THE ASHFORD AFFAIR to one person who comments on this post.

laurenwillig.com

Lauren Willig is the New York Times bestselling author of eleven works of historical fiction. Her books have been translated into over a dozen languages, awarded the RITA, Booksellers Best and Golden Leaf awards, and chosen for the American Library Association's annual list of the best genre fiction. After graduating from Yale University, she embarked on a PhD in English History at Harvard before leaving academia to acquire a JD at Harvard Law while authoring her "Pink Carnation" series of Napoleonic-set novels. She lives in New York City, where she now writes full time.

 

April Showers Bring Great Reads

It’s springtime and that means some great new releases are sprouting all over the place. Glance below to find the veritable bouquet of fantastic reads awaiting you this month, all written by Writerspace Top Shelf authors.

 

A Wanted Man: A Stone Creek Novel
By Linda Lael Miller
Reprint edition
Mass Market Paperback
Harlequin HQN
Released March 26, 2013

Arizona ranger Sam O'Ballivan, from The Man from Stone Creek (2006), sends for Rowdy Rhodes to help hunt down a gang robbing trains. Now a lawman, Rowdy shows up in Stone Creek with his old dog, Pardner, even though he has a price on his head due to his family's train-robbery business. Rowdy finds his pa running a saloon and making plans for his youngest son, who never knew his family were notorious outlaws, to go to college. Lark, Stone Creek's new schoolteacher, is terrified when Rowdy turns up because she is hiding out from her ex, an abusive railway baron.

 

The Wanderer, A Thunder Point Novel #1
By Robyn Carr
Mass Market Paperback
Harlequin MIRA
Released March 26, 2013

From Robyn Carr, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the popular Virgin River novels, comes Thunder Point - the highly anticipated new series that will make you laugh, make you sigh, and make you fall in love with a small town filled with people you'll never forget.

Nestled on the Oregon coast is a small town of rocky beaches and rugged charm. Locals love the land's unspoiled beauty. Developers see it as a potential gold mine. When newcomer Hank Cooper learns he's been left an old friend's entire beachfront property, he finds himself with a community's destiny in his hands.

Cooper has never been a man to settle in one place, and Thunder Point was supposed to be just another quick stop. But Cooper finds himself getting involved with the town. And with Sarah Dupre, a woman as complicated as she is beautiful.

With the whole town watching for his next move, Cooper has to choose between his old life and a place full of new possibilities. A place that just might be home.

 

Lady in Black
By Christina Dodd
Reissued from 1993
E-book format
Self-published
Released March 29, 2013

A straitlaced lady-butler, A powerful billionaire, And kidnapping, conflict, and steamy sex in the shower. New York Times bestselling author Christina Dodd brings you her classic full-length novel of cool suspense and hot romance...

Margaret Guarneri had found sanctuary managing the home of a rich, elderly man ... until the day he received a threat of kidnapping. Enter Reid Donovan, dynamic, wealthy in his own right, and suspicious of the gorgeous young widow who so diligently cares for his grandfather.

Distrust, extortion, and the shadows of the past drive Reid and Margaret apart. Wild, uninhibited passion brings them together. They must learn to trust each other before they can vanquish a killer...and in the process, they discover a passion more powerful than anything either of them could imagine. But has love come too late for the handsome billionaire and his lady in black?

LADY IN BLACK is a full-length novel of 70,000 words/300 pages, rewritten and updated for your reading pleasure. Readers of Nora Roberts and Jayne Ann Krentz will enjoy LADY IN BLACK.

 

Dreams, Parts 1 & 2
By Jayne Ann Krentz
Reissued from 1992
Purple Papaya LLC
Released March 13, 2013

Diana Prentice and Colby Savagar are overcome by dreams linked to the past, and their destined love for each other is soon used to fulfill the ancient prophecy of the Chained Lady.

 

Dangerous Refuge
By Elizabeth Lowell
Hardcover
William Morrow
Released April 9, 2013

Murder and mystery spark unexpected romance in this captivating new tale from the beloved New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Lowell
On the surface Shaye Townsend has little in common with Tanner. He's a hard-edged big city cop come home to the historic Davis family ranch to settle his uncle's estate. She's working for an environmental conservancy that acquires and protects old ranches - and she wants to preserve the Davis homestead.
When the suspicious death of Tanner's uncle at his ranch throws the two opposites together, tempers flare and sparks fly. While they have trouble seeing eye to eye, Shaye and Tanner agree on one thing: They need to uncover the truth.
Combining their unique skills - Shaye's low-key approach and local connections and Tanner's experience as a homicide detective - the unlikely pair share long nights in the pursuit of justice. Before they know it, the friction they generate turns to heat, igniting a love neither ever expected to find.
They believe passion this intense cannot last. But when Shaye becomes a killer's target, Tanner realizes he'd give up anything to protect her - including his life.

 

The Great Escape
By Susan Elizabeth Phillips
First time as Paperback
William Morrow
Released April 2, 2013

Perennial New York Times bestselling author Susan Elizabeth Phillips now provides her fans with The Great Escape from ordinary women’s romantic fiction.

One of today’s most beloved writers, the incomparable Phillips follows up her utterly beguiling hit, Call Me Irresistible ("Phillips at her very best. Romantic, funny, sexy, and poignant" - Kristin Hannah) with a sequel that’s equally impossible to resist.

Returning in The Great Escape are some of Phillips’s most adored characters, including headstrong, impetuous ex-president’s daughter, Lucy Jorik, who’s just abandoned her fiancé, Ted "Mr. Irresistible" Beaudine, at the altar. Now she’s looking for adventure-and perhaps a little romance-embarking on a wild and hilariously unpredictable road trip that begins on the back of a rather menacing-looking stranger’s motorcycle. The winner of more Favorite Book of the Year Awards than any other romance author, including Nora Roberts, Susan Elizabeth Phillips offers her fans an Escape to remember, and they’ll certainly want to come back for more!

 

Crystal Gardens "A Ladies of Lantern Street Novel #1"
By Amanda Quick
Reprint edition
First time in Mass Market Paperback
Jove
March 26, 2013

New York Times bestselling author Amanda Quick delivers "a promising start to a new Victorian-era series" (The Seattle Times) with the Ladies of Lantern Street"

Evangeline Ames has rented a country cottage far from the London streets where she was recently attacked. Fascinated by the paranormal energy of nearby Crystal Gardens, she finds pleasure in sneaking past the wall to explore the grounds. And when her life is threatened again, she instinctively goes to the gardens for safety.

Lucas Sebastian has never been one to ignore a lady in danger, even if she is trespassing on his property. Quickly disposing of her would-be assassin, he insists they keep the matter private. There are rumors enough already, about treasure buried under his garden and occult botanical experiments performed by his uncle-who died of mysterious causes. With Evangeline’s skill for detection, and Lucas’s sense of the criminal mind, they soon discover that they have a common enemy. And as the energy emanating from Crystal Gardens intensifies, they realize that to survive they must unearth what has been buried for too long.

Some things are worth a little effort

I am a bit of an uncertain cook. I have a few dishes I (quite modestly!) claim are fantastic but in general, I stick to the same tried-and-true recipes. My family can be picky eaters. When I try to experiment, my husband and son often end up eating peanut butter sandwiches later, which tends to discourage my culinary creativity.

One of the great things about being a novelist, though, is the chance to create characters who can do things I wouldn’t dare. Alex McKnight, the heroine of my fourth Hope’s Crossing book CURRANT CREEK VALLEY, loves her job as executive chef at a new restaurant in town. She finds great joy in experimenting with flavors and ingredients - and in watching the reaction of people savoring her food.

Here is one of the recipes Alex shares with those she loves in the book. These are not your typical brownies. Okay, the recipe is complicated but like so many things, a little effort is worth it. I was able to taste these for the first time when my friend Linda Johnson made them and all I can say is, Wow!! They are out-of-this-world fantastic (but not diet food. Obviously!).

Alex probably would have made the caramel sauce from scratch and the fudge with gourmet cocoa and fresh-churned butter and a candy thermometer. Most people just use the fudge recipe from the marshmallow creme bottle and it’s still delish.

ALEX MCKNIGHT’S TO-DIE-FOR BROWNIES

(via my friend Linda Johnson and her friend Shelly Otte)

TOPPINGS:
1 cup toasted, chopped pecans (melt 1 Tbsp butter in microwave, mix with pecans, toast in 350-degree oven for 11-12 minutes. Cool, chop).
8 oz fudge from your favorite recipe, cut in small chunks
1 cup caramel sauce (recipe below)
1 cup chocolate fudge sauce (recipe below)

CARAMEL SAUCE

Melt approximately 12 oz caramels with 2 Tbsp water. Cool before drizzling on brownies.

FUDGE SAUCE
Can use any butter cream chocolate frosting recipe, like this one:

2 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar 
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
6 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, sift together the confectioners' sugar and cocoa, and set aside. Cream butter until smooth, then gradually beat in sugar mixture alternately with evaporated milk. Blend in vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy. Adjust consistency with milk or sugar.

For brownies, warm it on stove or at lower power in microwave, just until it can be drizzled over the top.

BROWNIE RECIPE
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate
1 1/2 cubes butter (3/4 cups)
3/4 cups light brown sugar
3/4 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

Melt chunked up chocolate and butter. Stir. Mix in both sugars. Mix in eggs, one at a time. Stir in flour, salt and vanilla until blended. Pour into sprayed 9x13 cake pan. Bake at 325 for 40-45 min. Cool completely.

Put fudge chunks on top of brownies. Sprinkle chopped pecans over. Drizzle caramel, then the fudge frosting. Let sit until frosting has set. Savor every bite (in moderation!).

What about you? Are you an experimental cook or do you stick to the tried-and-true? Do you have a go-to recipe? I’d love to hear. I’ll give a copy of CURRANT CREEK VALLEY and a hand-beaded bookmark to one person who responds.

RaeAnneThayne.com

 

Color Me Conflicted Times Three

Know the first rule of watching television? It’s that your two favorite programs will air at the same time on the same day.

This season I’m doing one better: I’ve got three shows I particularly like to watch on Tuesday nights and they’re all on at 9:00 p.m.: Justified, SMASH and The Millionaire Matchmaker.

Go ahead, say it, those are some wwwaaaayyyyy different shows. Still, there’s no denying, mama likee all three. I can think of no better way to explain this than the immortal (and in his case, creepy) words of Woody Allen: the heart wants what it wants.

So do my eyes.

I’m too budget challenged—or maybe just too cheap—to pay for a DVR any longer. So, I’m not set up to record anything while watching something else.

As a result, lucky for me, two of these three programs are on cable. That means those two are repeated ad nauseum throughout the night. Therefore, all I have to do is stay up long enough and I can see all three shows on the same night they originally air.

Sure, I may end up a little sleep light . . . but I’m definitely viewing happy when I finally crank my chocolate browns closed Tuesday nights . . . or early Wednesday mornings.

HOW ABOUT YOU, DO YOU SUFFER FROM CONFLICTING PROGRAMITIS? A FREE COPY OF MY DEBUT NOVEL, MRS. GOODFELLER WILL BE RANDOMLY AWARDED TO ONE PERSON WHO LEAVES A COMMENT BELOW BEFORE THE NEXT WRITERSPACE BLOG IS POSTED.

Jaycie Cash blogs on a regular basis for Writerspace.com. Her debut novel, MRS. GOODFELLER, is available through most major e-Book outlets, including Amazon and Barnes and Noble. She’d love for you to like her Facebook Author page.

 

Cowboys and Vampires

Now that AGAINST THE WALL, a contemporary cowboy romance, has been released, I’ve been asked if it’s difficult to maneuver between genres. To be honest, not really. The Dark Protectors are dark, sexy vampires with strong family ties, and the Montana cowboys are dark, sexy cowboys with...you got it...strong family ties. The genres are different, but the underlying themes of love, tension, and romance are similar. So, for my blog today, I’d like to compare vampires and cowboys for you.

1) If you tick a vampire off, he’ll just rip off your head. If you irritate a cowboy, he’ll hogtie you and leave you in the desert for the wolves to take your head.
2) Vampires dance smooth and slow. Baby, cowboys do the two-step, and while it may be smooth, it’s never slow.
3) A talented vampire can create or control the weather. A dedicated cowboy fights the weather and wins.
4) A vampire mate often trips over swords or double-edged knives. A cowboy’s woman often trips over saddles, spurs, and boots.
5) Vampires find one true love and stay loyal forever. Cowboys find one true love and stay loyal forever.
So, there may be some differences, but an Alpha male in love is an Alpha male in love...regardless of the species.

AGAINST THE WALL is the first book in the Maverick Montana series from Entangled Brazen.

Never challenge a cowboy in the courtroom...

Surveying the proposed site for a high-end golf course should have been a breeze for spunky Landscape Architect Sophie Smith. But when this born-and-bred city girl is suddenly-and quite literally-swept off her feet by a sexy cowboy on horseback, she realizes that the country life has some serious (and seriously steamy!) possibilities. That is, until she finds out exactly who her smokin'-hot wrangler really is.

Cowboy and Tribal lawyer Jake Lodge is desperately trying to block the development. And if that means playing hardball—and being every inch the shark lawyer-so be it. But Sophie is a distraction he didn’t expect. A distraction that makes his blood burn.

Two different worlds. Two opposing sides. And when they finally give into the exquisite temptation, the consequences will shake the foundations of both of their lives...

USA Today Bestselling Author Rebecca Zanetti has worked as an art curator, Senate aide, lawyer, college professor, and a hearing examiner - only to culminate it all in stories about Alpha males and the women who claim them. She writes dark paranormals, romantic suspense, and sexy contemporary romances.

Growing up amid the glorious backdrops and winter wonderlands of the Pacific Northwest has given Rebecca fantastic scenery and adventures to weave into her stories. She resides in the wild north with her husband, children, and extended family who inspire her every day--or at the very least give her plenty of characters to write about.

Please visit Rebecca at: rebeccazanetti.com
Facebook: facebook.com/RebeccaZanetti.Author.FanPage
Twitter: twitter.com/RebeccaZanetti

 

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