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Thursday, November 23, 2017

Messages of Gratitude from the #RB4U Authors #HappyThanksgiving #Thanks




Hello everyone, 

While we here at Romance Books 4 Us realize that not everyone is from the U.S., nor do they all celebrate Thanksgiving, we still wanted to take a moment to reach out and offer a small thank you, a wish of gratitude and a hug and a smile. Because Romance Books 4 Us is nothing without all of you. 
Please read some special messages to you from our authors below.


Marianne Stephens ~ 
Thank you to all our faithful, wonderful romance book readers from all of us at Romance Books '4' Us!




Jean Hart Stewart ~ 
May this special holiday bring joy to you and your loved ones!!!!!!



Tina Donahue ~ 
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Enjoy your day off with loved ones and a great feast. Remember, food has no calories on holidays. It's a rule!



Melissa Keir ~ 
I wish all of RB4U readers a blessed Thanksgiving filled with Wranglers, Stetsons and hard-working cowboys. I am grateful for all the amazing people in my life. 



Cara Marsi ~ 
Treat yourself to a taste of romance from Cara Marsi.



Sabrina York ~ 
This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for you, my readers, who make my work so joyful! Thank you for making it all possible!



Nicole Morgan ~
So many times we get caught up in life that we forget it is the simple things that matter the most. Because of this, I ask you all to take a moment to recall what you are thankful for.
May you all have a blessed day, week, month, year and lifetime.
XOXO




HUGS, LOVE & SMILES


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Falling into Winter


I'm still surrounded by all things fall. The big arrangement of silk flowers in brown and gold and orange, a kabocha squash on the shelf, soon to go from decoration to dinner, a swag of multi-hued leaves on the front door  and a Cinderella pumpkin on the front porch.  It's bittersweet to know that in a few days all those things will be gone and it will be time to turn to the winter holidays. My folks have arrived for Thanksgiving a few days early and the TV is already turned to Christmas movies, but I am not ready! Even the calendar says it's fall for weeks yet! I protest, I drag my feet and I can't wait for Charlie Brown Thanksgiving tonight! But I think part of why I love the fall is that it is the beginning of a very special time of year. A time when our family gets together, when I get out my grandmother's grocery store collected china from the 1960s for just that one night, its gold rimmed splendor gracing only the Thanksgiving table, and the next day I fill the hutch with her Spode...collected a few years later and entirely without coupons. And then I try to make everyone use them every day until New Years. I swear that it doesn't matter if they get broken because they should be used...but the looks they turn on me indicate they don't believe me.  Coming next is Black Friday...when I will go out and shop because my mother loves it. Did I mention the Christmas movies already on my TV?





But for all my foot dragging and protests, I'm as big a sucker for Christmas as anyone and if you check back with me next week, you'll find me covered in tinsel and making huge cookie trays for all the neighbors. Because the season of love and giving is irresistible in the end. With Christmas movies on TV and bellowing carols at the top of my lungs. 

As we teeter on the brink of the holiday rush, I want to wish everyone in the US a Happy Thanksgiving, and to the rest of our lovely readers a special happy weekend. May your family and friends gather around the turkey, the tree, and every symbol that means warmth and love to you and yours. In a couple of days I'll be willing to let go of fall and embrace the winter holidays. I have a special holiday story releasing right after Thanksgiving to help me into the spirit. 


Monday, November 20, 2017

Thanksgiving Menu - One new, One Old

Sharon Hamilton here.

I used to cook for 30-40 people every Thanksgiving. These days, our family is so scattered, we rarely do this, except for a big family gathering every 10 years or so. This year, we're going to my brother's house, but I'm making the turkey and the stuffing. I am also making Butternut Squash Soup, as soups are my specialty.

And then I was looking over some of my author friends' newsletters, and came up with a new cranberry sauce from Cat Johnson. I asked her permission to post it here. I finished making it today and boy is it yummy!!

So, from my household to yours, here are a couple of recipes that will enhance your Thanksgiving celebration. Love to all of you and may your families be safe, wherever they are. This will be the first time ever all 4 kids and their spouses, and all 6 grandkids will be here for Thanksgiving.

DRUNKEN CRANBERRY SAUCE

3# Fresh Cranberries (whole)
1 1/2 cups bourbon
1/2 cup orange juice
2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
Grated orange peel from one fresh medium orange

Rinse and pick through cranberries, discarding any berries that are split, soft or discolored.

Put cranberries into a medium bowl and cover with 1 1/2 cups bourbon and 1/2 cup of orange juice. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

THE NEXT DAY...

Pour the marinated cranberries and all liquid into a medium saucepan and add all remaining ingredients.

Bring just to a slow boil, and then lower heat.

Simmer until mixture reduces and gels (about a half our), while stirring occasionally.

Cool and serve.





BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP

One large butternut squash
2 cups 1/2 and 1/2
1 cardboard carton Turkey Broth (large) or Vegetable Broth
1/2 cup butter
2 T flour
2 heavy shakes Nutmeg
2 heavy shakes Cinnamon
1/2 cup dry Sherry or Bourbon
(optional) large can peach or apricot halves
Pink Himalayan Sea Salt

Halve the butternut squash, remove seeds. Place on cookie sheet, baste with butter, lightly salt,  and bake @ 400 for 45 mins.

When cooked tender (should be like mashed potatoes), remove the yellow meat, place into blender. Discard rind.

Add Turkey or Vegetable broth, 1/2 and 1/2, flour and optional peaches or apricots, blend until smooth and creamy. Sometimes you have to split the liquid and the squash ingredients into 1/2 if your blender is small. Idea is to have a fully blended soup mix after blending. No lumps!

Return mixture to large soup pan, heat until begins to thicken, adding one cube butter. You can add more 1/2 and 1/2, or broth if you want it thinner. Add salt, shakes of Cinnamon and Nutmeg to taste, and dry Sherry or Bourbon.

Serve with drizzle or dollop of Creme Fraiche, garnish rosemary and cranberry. Sprinkle with Pink sea salt.

This soup can be made ahead of time and is actually better the second day!  Enjoy!




Now all you need is my new book, Bachelor SEAL, which is available on all retailers.  This is Book 5 in the popular Sleeper SEALs Series built around the same theme. Enjoy!

Sleeper SEALs are former U.S. Navy SEALs recruited by a new CIA counter-terror division to conduct solo dark ops missions to combat terrorism on US soil.
Medically discharged from the Teams, notorious bachelor SEAL, Morgan Hansen, is approached to lead the biggest undercover operation of his career. For credibility, he is tasked with training and partnering with his ex, from a breakup that made news headlines and nearly ended is career.
Women’s empowerment guru, Halley Hansen, has built an empire around her live televised events and seminars. But her world-wide message for women has put her in the cross-hairs of some radical terrorist cells operating within the United States. The last person she wants to turn to or trusts is Morgan, her ex.
They bury their pain to work together for a cause bigger than the both of them. And if they don’t implode in the passion of their re-connection, they just might have a chance to save the women of the world.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Stupid Stuff!

Not much room for advertising here, but I love this cover, of my latest book, now available on Google, et, etc, and soon to be available in print. He looks sexy and she looks bewildered, just as it should be. Got to leave room for these words of wisdom.

But on to the column, Spread the Stupidity!

Only in this Stupid World do drugstores make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front.

Only in this Stupid World do people order double cheeseburgers, large fries and a diet Coke. 

Only in this Stupid World do banks leave vault doors open and chain pens to the counter.

Only in this Stupid World do we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in the driveway and put our useless junk in the garage. 

......do we buy hotdogs in packages of ten and buns in packages of eight. 

......do we have drive-up ATM machines with Braille lettering.

......Wonder why the sun lightens our hair but darkens out skin?

......Why don't you ever see the headline  'Psychic Wins Lottery?'

......Why is 'abbreviated' such a long word?

......Why is it that Doctors call what they do 'practice'?

......Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavor, and dishwashing liquid made with real lemons?

......Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?

......Why is the time of day with all the slowest traffic called the rush hour?

.......Why isn't there mouse-flavored cat food?

.......Why didn't Noah swat those two mosquitoes?

......Why do they sterilize the needle for lethal injections?

......You know that indestructible black box that is used on airplanes? Why don't they make the whole plane out of that stuff?

.......Why don't sheep shrink when it rains?

.......Why are they called apartments when they are all stuck together?

.......And  my favorite.....If con is the opposite of pro, is Congress the opposite of progress?

.......One more..If flying is so safe why do they call the airport the terminal?

OK, I've already told you my favorite  now tell me yours!

 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Love Regency Romance? Here's a Great One! by Suz deMello

Will he choose love or honor?

Orphaned Kate Scoville is trapped in a tower prison by her scheming uncle, who plans to wed her to his loathsome son in order to gain control of her fortune. Plucky and resourceful, Lady Kate escapes to London to ask for help from her guardian. She's sure the elderly Earl of Devere will help her in her plight.

Kate is astounded to find that the Earl has died, and his son has become her guardian.

Quinn, the present Earl, remembers Kate from his childhood as an awkward child he loved to taunt and tease. But now his ward has grown into a beautiful young woman. Though honor prevents Quinn from making Kate his, their attraction is irresistible…

Will Kate tempt Quinn into abandoning honor? Will the wicked uncle trap Kate, compromise her and steal her fortune?

First published as Hopelessly Compromised by Kensington/Zebra Books. Winner of the Beacon Award for Best Historical Romance.

What readers said about previous editions:

Five Stars! Regency Romance is Alive!
--B. Berry

Five Stars! Thoroughly Engaging Regency Romp
--Catherine Cavendish

Five Stars!
--Pandora

Five Stars! …so charming and lively…
--ldsfrost

Five Stars! Regency at Its Best!
--Judith Dedek

Here’s a snippet to pique your interest:

Kate smiled at Quinn. "I believe I've won your prize, my lord."

"So what shall you demand of me, sweet Kate?"

She tipped her head to one side and regarded him, still flirting with her eyes, her smile. He could tell she was nervous, yet expectant. He did not know if he should encourage her.

"I'm not quite sure yet." She touched the tip of her tongue to her upper lip. "What do you have to give me, my lord?"

His voice rasped in his throat. "Quinn. Please, call me Quinn."

"My lord Quinn," she said, with just a trace of mocking good humor in her tone.

"Kate," he said, taking her chin gently between his long, strong fingers. She quivered slightly but did not pull away as he stroked her cheek. Her response rippled through her body as he drew her into his arms.

Yes. The first kiss was as sweet as he had known it would be. For a few moments, he forgot why he had denied his desire, and hers, for so long.

As he touched his lips to hers, it was as though a spark flashed between them, igniting their emotions. Their mouths caressed and danced. When his tongue sought admission, she did not refuse him entry. He groaned as his embrace tightened, pulling her onto his lap. She reached up, touching his shoulders, tentatively at first, then with more confidence as their kiss deepened. Her arms wound around his neck as he held her close. He could feel her breasts, barely confined by the flimsy muslin, pressing against his chest. Her heartbeat was quick as a rabbit's, and knowing she was excited aroused him all the more.

When they finally parted he regarded her with amazement. "My darling Kate. Where did you learn to kiss like that?"

Want to score a copy? 

Buy links:




(and why Smashwords, you ask? You can purchase any format you please there, and we authors get a bigger cut of the profits. So...Go, Smashwords!)

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Why EDITING is SO Important! by Marianne Stephens

Here's a great example of why editing is so important...and keep in mind, I actually bought this decoration!



Other editing funnies:





And my favorite:



Happy Thanksgiving!
Marianne Stephens

photos: from Flickr or seen on Internet

Monday, November 13, 2017

Thanks for Giving

November is a wonderful time for giving thanks. Here in the US, last Saturday, we thanked our veterans for their service, while in less than two weeks we'll be celebrating Thanksgiving, which embodies both our gratitude for harvests, the foundinIn g fathers of our country, and our love for family. Right now, stores are putting up Christmas and New Year displays, but I like to take time out for these other holidays first and give them the attention I think they deserve.



Today I'd like to express a few of the things I am most thankful for:

  1. In honor of Veteran's day, I'd like to thank those who have served in our armed forces, including my father, brother, husband, uncles and cousins.
  2. Shelter, clothing, and food to eat.--This past year was rough for my family and we came close to losing a lot. Right now, we've consolidated households, but it works, and we all have a place to sleep and enough to eat.
  3. The love and support of my family, I couldn't do what I do without the understanding and encouragement of my husband, father, in-laws, and my wonderful kids, along with my adorable granddaughter. Add on a brother, nephews, nieces and cousins.
  4. Romance: Now I want to single out my husband--my best friend and my own personal happily-ever-after.
  5. Friendship--it's what keeps us sane and moving forward. I love that I have friends as goofy as I am and who are always ready to get up to shenanigans. Special hugs to my steampunk, pirate and Rennaisance families.
  6. Writer friends. Without other people who understand my crazy career, I'd go off the rails. Thanks to the other RB4U authors, the Untitled Writer's Group, Here be Magic,  the Writer's Pond, among so many others.
  7. Pets: Right now we have 4 dogs, 2 lizards, 2 ferrets, 2 newts and 2 tarantulas in the house. Mostly I'm thankful for the cuddly dogs who keep me company while the others are at work.
  8. Relative good health: I'm not in perfect shape, but I'm up and about, and have the health care coverage to keep working on getting all the pesky things better.
  9. Writing again. For the last few years, I've been off-track with my writing. I am so very grateful to have been able to get back into a daily writing habit. Thank you to everyone who has continued to encourage me.
  10. Finally, I'm thankful for readers. Without you, I wouldn't be living my dream come true. Thank you, everyone.
Wishing everyone in the US a Happy Thanksgiving, a safe Black Friday and holiday shopping season and to everyone, a late autumn (or spring) filled with warmth, love, and laughter.

***

Multi-Award winning, Amazon best-selling author Cindy Spencer Pape firmly believes in happily-ever-after and brings that to her writing, which blends fantasy, adventure, science fiction, suspense 
and romance. Author of 19 published novels and more than 40 shorter works, Cindy lives in southeast Michigan with her family and a houseful of pets. When not hard at work writing she can be found restoring her 1870 home, dressing up for steampunk parties and Renaissance fairs, or with her nose buried in a book. Learn more at www.cindyspencerpape.com

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Honoring Veterans at Romance Books 4 Us



To those who have served... 
The authors of Romance Books 4 Us would like you to know that we appreciate your service.


Veteran US Marine Patricia Wheeler

and all veterans, we sincerely thank you.



"There is a certain enthusiasm in liberty, that makes human nature rise above itself, in acts of bravery and heroism." 

-- Alexander Hamilton


Friday, November 10, 2017

MYTHS and LEGENDS OF THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA



Posted by R. Ann Siracusa


Because the Great Wall of China plays both physical and metaphorical roles in my soon-to-be-released novel Destruction Of The Great Wall  (third novel in the romantic suspense series Tour Director Extraordinaire), I want to share some information about this historic site and an excerpt from the novel.

In my novel, the heroine, Harriet Ruby, is the catalyst that helps destroy the metaphorical "great wall" blocking the hero's emotions and part of his memory from his consciousness. She also does some physical damage to the physical wall with an assault rifle.

But it wasn't her fault. Really!
 MYTHS
A myth is widely held but false belief or idea.

Myth 1: The Great Wall is 13,000 Miles Long
The Great Wall of China does stretch across northern China, but the idea that it is one unbroken wall is incorrect. Segments of walls were built by different rulers at different periods of time in Chinese history. Under different dynasties, some of the preexisting walls were connected. Others weren't built because the natural terrain made them unnecessary.

The first part of the wall was built in the 7th century BC by King Xuan of the Western Zhou dynasty, the second from part 475 to 221 BC. Those two segments were connected by the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, to protect the territory of the Qin dynasty from invasion by nomads from the north.

The wall that we see today dates from the Ming Dynasty (1600s), because they rebuilt much of the wall in stone and brick rather than rammed earth. The fortification currently extends 5,500 miles, although still in segments.

Myth 2: The Great Wall Can Be Seen From The Moon
The best know myth is that the great wall can be seen with the naked eye from the moon. Could that be true? NASA says, "no." The wall is an average of 30 feet wide. According to calculations, it would have to be 70 miles wide to be seen by the naked eye from the moon, and then only under certain conditions.

There are varying stories about how the rumor got started going as far back as William Stukeley in 1754, all the way to Halliburton's 1938 Second Book of Marvels.The claims that it can be seen from "outer space" may or may not be true. It depends on how far from the earth one is talking about and still be in what is considered "outer space."

China's first astronaut Yang Liwei, said he didn't see the wall during an orbit of less than 24 hours in October, 2003 but there are many structures which can also be seen, such as the Pyramids in Egypt if the atmospheric conditions in outer space [defined as about 350 kilometers in altitude] and perfect and the observer is in exactly the right spot at the right time.

The first photographic evidence of sections of the wall from outer space were taken by Chinese American astronaut Leroy Chiao from the International Space Station [at 360 kilometers] in 2005.

LEGENDS
A legend is a nonhistorical or unverifiable story handed down by tradition from earlier times and popularly accepted as historical.

Legend 1: The Legend Of Meng Jiangn├╝
This legend of love and devotions tells of a young man of the Qin dynasty named Liang Fanqi who was sent by the Emperor to work on the great wall

He escaped, ran, and hid in a private garden. There he met the property owner's daughter, Meng Jiangn├╝. They fell in love and married, apparently never leaving Meng's house. Eventually, the Emperor's guard found Liang Fanqui, captured him, and sent him back to work on the construction.

The young bride waited day after day for him to return until winter came. Resigned, she made some warm clothes to take to her husband. When she arrived at the construction site and couldn't find Liang Fanqi, she was told he had died and his body was built into the Great Wall.

 Another version tells that the angry Emperor of Qin Dynasty (221 B.C. - 206 B.C.) came to survey the damage done to his project. But when he saw Meng Jiang, the cause of the damage, he was enchanted by her beauty and wanted to marry her.

Meng Jiang said she would only marry him on three conditions - first, her former husband was to be given a grand burial; second, the emperor and his court must go into mourning for Xiliang; and third, she wanted to visit the ocean. Much as the emperor hated the idea of officially mourning a commoner, he agreed so he could gain this rare beauty.

After Meng Jiang got her third wish, she scolded the Emperor bitterly and cast herself into the ocean. The Emperor sent his men to dredge the ocean but the waves chased them away. It so happened that the Dragon King of the Sea and his daughter the Dragon Princess felt sympathy for Meng Jiang and spirited her away to their underwater Dragon Palace. Then they commanded their army of shrimps and crabs to raise a storm, repelling the Emperor's men.

Neither version is exactly a Cinderella story. Operas and plays are based on this legend throughout China. There are many temples built in her memory, including the one at Shanhai Pass, which is still in good condition.

Legend 2: "Metal Soup" Great Wall
This story tells of the construction of the Huanghuacheng section of the Great Wall on the outskirts of Beijing. The name means Yellow Flower fortress because in the summer these hills are covered by yellow flowers.  
During the Ming Dynasty, a general name Cai Kai was ordered by the emperor to build this section of the wall. General Cai Kai was meticulous regarding quality control and expenditures and it took years of hard labor to complete the section.

When the Ministry of War heard of the cost to build the Huanghuacheng section, they beheaded Cai Kai. Soon after, the emperor realized that this portion of the wall was exceptionally solid and steep, and knew he had wronged Cai Kai. He later built a tomb to commemorate the General's great contribution and had someone engrave Jintang (Metal Soup) into a rock to describe the strength of this part of the wall. So, today the Huanghuacheng wall is also referred to as "Metal Soup" Great Wall.

Legend 3: The Story Of Jiayuguan Pass
The story goes that Yi Kaizhan, a workman who was proficient in arithmetic, calculated that it would take 99,999 bricks to build the Jiayuguan Pass. His supervisors told him that if his calculation was wrong he, along with other workmen, would be punished for three years.

After the construction, it was found that the one brick lay unused behind the Xiwong City gate. When asked, Yi Kaizhan said that the brick was kept there by supernatural force and, if removed, would result in the collapse of the wall. The brick was never moved and it can still be found at the exact same spot!


DESTRUCTION OF THE GREAT WALL
This the third book of the Tour Director Extraordinaire Series. Published by Desert Breeze Publishing, it is due to be released in January, 2018.

Blurb
I'm Harriet Ruby, Tour Director Extraordinaire. At last, one of my fondest wishes has come true! Will Talbot, my favorite Super Spy and the love of my life, wants to include me in his covert mission to recover a list of double agents for the US government.
Wow! Usually, I want to know everything, and he can't tell me anything. Now, I'll be part of the action. I am so-o going to love this!

Not that I have a big role. I only have to pretend we're husband and wife when he accompanies me on my China tour. The tour group members are strangers we'll never see again, and we can spend three intimate weeks together. I mean, how hard can that be?
 
Surprise, surprise! My parents show up on the tour as replacements for some cancellations. Now, we have to lie and tell them we're married to protect Will's cover. Other problems erupt when someone tries to kill me and terrorists kidnap me and my mother to lure Will into a trap. Not to mention the damage my assault rifle does to the Great Wall...
 
Oh, man. It wasn't my fault. Really!
 
Excerpt

Will fired a six-shot burst and yelled over his shoulder. “Get down!”
He dropped prone into the tall grass and out of sight. There was no other cover here — nowhere else to go.
I dove onto my stomach after him, but not before I took a heavy painful blow to the chest.
“Aii!” My body slammed into the ground hard enough to knock the wind out of me. The soft wet earth sent splatters of mud across my goggles. With all the air whooshed out of my lungs, I couldn’t breathe and lay there gasping for oxygen. I couldn’t think.
Three projectiles whizzed past my head in rapid succession.
Ohmigod! Time to get out of here. Vision impaired, I scrambled in the direction I thought Will had gone. My elbows and knees dug into the ground, dragging my body on my stomach through the wet grass, my automatic weapon clutched in both hands in front of me.
Zing. This was no fun at all. Where was he?
My heart pounded against my ribcage. Sharp pain stabbed through me with each breath. My aching hands knotted around my rifle. Black dots cavorted in front of my eyes and everything had fuzzy edges. I sucked in a big gulp of air ― along with it a small bug.
“Aah-ugh!” I tried to spit it out but already the critter fluttered its wings in my throat. Coughing, I buried my face against my arm to muffle the sound. Before I could stop hacking, a hand grasped my ankle and pulled me into a pit behind a bunker.
“Eek!” I smashed down on top of a warm body. A A nice hard, well-muscled body. One I recognized by feel and scent. “You did that on purpose.”
“Shh.” Will waited long enough for both of us to relish our position, then rolled me off onto my rear end.
I pulled away and sat up, then collapsed with my back against the dirt wall of the ditch. He studied me for a long moment ― although I couldn’t see his expression through the protective gear ― then pulled some sort of spy instrument out of his backpack and fiddled.
Will crouched behind the bunker, peering into the tool, which now looked like a small periscope. He whipped around.
“You’ve been hit.” His tight voice conveyed alarm.
Jeez, did he need to lighten up, or what?
I threw down my automatic Spyder MR2, pulled off my facemask and helmet, sent them rattling to the ground beside the weapon, and then stared down at the damp red stain on the front of my shirt.
“Right. And it hurts like the devil.”□




Travel to Foreign Lands for Romance and Intrigue with a Novel by
AUTHOR R. ANN SIRACUSA


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