Sunday, September 27, 2015

Addicted to Outlander



When no one else will listen, I talk to myself. This is one of those times. Only another Outlander obsessed fan will understand. Here's how it all started.

I read Outlander for the first time in 1992. Outlander obsessed fans will understand what I mean by my first read. No one reads the series just once. I instantly fell in love with Jamie and Claire's story. And then, after book 4, Drums of Autumn I stopped reading.
I didn't want to read about the lives of the other characters and I didn't want Jamie and Claire to start a new life away from Scotland.

The books were keepers and stayed on my shelf for years. When Starz announced they were making a TV series, I reread Outlander and waited for the season to start. I was hooked. I never expect much from TV or movie adaptations, but the casting and script exceeded my expectations. Sam and Caitriona gave life to the characters I remembered so vividly.

I know there are purist out there who are saying that the TV script and characters swayed from the books. They did at times, but it was okay.

When the season ended I crashed. What was I going to do? That's when I decided to give the rest of the series a chance. I reread book 4, Drums of Autumn (DOA). Over two decades had passed, but  everything came back to me like I had just read the books. I was hooked again. As soon as I read the last page, I ordered the next 4 books in the series and read three of the four books in a month. I'm holding off on book 8.


There are others out there who feel the same way I do about reading book 8. The idea of finishing the series to this point without the possibility of the next book being available for awhile is more than I can handle. According to Diana Gabaldon, book 9 is not complete and has no scheduled publication date. I check her website often for updated excerpts from book 9. I don't mind spoilers.

As part of my Outlander withdrawal I've joined several wonderful groups where we discuss the books, the TV series and men in kilts. Everyone has suggestions on how to fill your time while waiting for the next book and the new TV season. 
Diana Gabaldon has a site that explains the Chronology of the Outlander Series and the sub-series.
Her site makes more sense than the convoluted way I reread the first 4 books.

Here's how I did it. When I finished book 7, I reread book 2, Dragonfly in Amber (DIA). The TV season for book 2 is already in production. Next I read one of the novellas, The Space Between. It explains what happens to the characters in DIA and characters that appear in the later books. 
 I started to reread book 3, Voyager and paused to read one of the Lord John Grey books, The Scottish Prisoner. 

When I completed Voyager, I read two of the short stories. A leaf on the Wind of All Hallows explains what happened to Roger's parents. 
A Plague of Zombies is a Lord John Grey story.



These books are on my kindle and I started them on my lunch break and finished them later in the evening. 


Technically, I've read and reread the series except for book 8, Written in My Own Heart's Blood. It's difficult, but I'm still holding out. I'm thinking I might reread books 5, 6 and 7 again before I break down. 

Still on my to be read pile.


Thanks for visiting my blog. 


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Things You Didn't Know About March Madness/Spring


Good-bye February, hello March Madness. 
The term “March Madness” started at a  high school basketball tournament in Illinois in 1908.  I'm not a big fan of the sport so for me the month of March is all about Spring. 

To help celebrate the longer days, vivid colors, and packing away your heavy winter coat, I'm joining forty authors who have contributed books to create an awesome Year of Reading for one lucky reader! All you need to do is click on the link below and visit as many of the blogs listed as you can.




Fun Facts About Spring


During the Spring (Vernal ) Equinox, Earth's two hemispheres receive the sun's rays equally.  Each hemisphere has 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of dark.

For the next four decades the equinox will be on March 20.

It's the only day you can get an egg to stand on its end. Place it large end down on a flat surface and be patient.

Spring fever is not just a saying. Experts say the body’s makeup changes due to different diets, hormone production, and temperature.


Blog Hop Prizes

What are you looking forward to most in the month of March?
Leave a comment for a chance to win a Peace, Love, and Chocolate bag. The perfect way to carry all your Spring favorites.



Discover some new and exciting authors at great prices. (Free and on Sale) 
Visiting as many blogs as you can and filling out the secure google form will increase your chance of winning the March Madness Book Bundle Grand Prize


Link for Grand Prize

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1chGQK8xf2WP6GFvCciebBBltedZyH1igU8sIDrfMaI8/viewform?usp=send_form

Wishing you baskets full of Spring flowers and chocolate.



Saturday, February 14, 2015

Every Romance Needs a Cute Meet





Every romance writer knows that there are certain elements needed to create a story. They must establish time, place, and setting, plus create a cute meet for the hero and heroine.

The first meeting is an event that will irrevocably change their lives. How often have you been asked,  "How did you two meet?"

How I met my husband


In a movie while the credits are rolling the time and place would be established. It's the 1960's, the decade of Woodstock, Kent State, and peace and love.

My heroine is at a peace rally or Woodstock.
The hero is in Germany, knee deep in snow while on practice maneuvers with the US Army.



Cute Meet


The story starts on Brighton Beach in Brooklyn, NY.
She's wearing cut off shorts, has long hair she ironed that morning, and there's a closed physics text book on her beach blanket.

He has shoulder length hair, wide sideburns, and a commitment problem.

They talk for hours and he takes her phone #.

His Point of View - One week later


He's resting on a beach blanket. She walks by, kicks sand on the blanket, and keeps walking. He pretends to ignore her.
His friend comments,  "Isn't that the girl you met last week?"
"It is."
"You going to talk to her?"
"I guess I will." The sand is hot and he jogs over to her blanket. He asks permission to step on her blanket.
She says, "No."
Maybe she's pissed that I didn't call. In spite of the hot sand, he stays there and starts a conversation.
She relents and invites him to sit down.
He likes to talk and she's a good listener. The sun starts to set. His friend leaves our hero his car key so he can drive her home.

Happily Ever After


She's easy to talk to and he tells her about the places he's visited. She dreams of traveling and knows this is the guy she wants to do it with.


***End  Scene***








Monday, February 9, 2015

Make Your Relationship Sizzle With Laughter





We all know chocolate is good for you, but laughing isn't so bad either. Laughing is more contagious than a sneeze or a cough.  It has health benefits that are free and all that's needed is a good joke, a funny story, or playing with pets or children.

Love and laugh

A shared humorous experience keeps a relationship alive.
It puts you in a good mood.


Stay fit

Fifty-three facial muscles are used when laughing
Laugh so hard that your stomach hurts.

Need a good laugh, read a romantic comedy.

Meet Brooke Williams

I write romantic comedy because I want to give readers a break from everyday life and big stresses. My books are a chance to take a breather and forget the world for a few hours. That's what writing them does for me so I hope the same can be said for what it does for readers!


Accept This Dandelion

Renee Lockhart has her eye on a lofty goal…to fill the open position of morning radio show host at the station where she works. When her co-workers sign her up for a local TV version of The Bachelor, Renee goes along with it in order to raise her profile. Upon seeing her bumbling audition, Ben McConnell, one of the most eligible bachelors in town, insists that Renee be placed on the show. But Ben gets much more than he expected in Renee… he gets a girl who can’t seem to do anything right…and a girl he can’t seem to resist.

For a good laugh check out Brooke's books
Amazon US http://www.amazon.com/Accept-This-Dandelion-Brooke-Williams-ebook/dp/B00R54MUXY/ref=sr_1_
Amazon UK  http://tinyurl.com/lrlngzo

What makes you laugh and smile?


Eat chocolate, read romance, and stay young and healthy 


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Secrets of a Romantic Suspense Writer - Keely Keith





It's the second week into January and so far I have been true to my New Year's resolution. I've established a writing schedule, I finished the two books I started reading last year, and I'm posting the first in a series of blogs that will introduce writers from all genres. I hope you'll discover some new and exciting writers.


Meet Keely Keith

Keely is a bass guitarist and lives on a hilltop south of Nashville. When she isn’t writing stories or playing bass, Keely enjoys dancing, having coffee with friends, and sifting through vintage books at antique stores.
Author of the Land Uncharted


Why did you decide to write romantic suspense?

That's a good question! I love a good suspense story and I'm a sucker for a slow-burning romance. When I started writing the Uncharted series, I wanted to create three books with each telling a separate and complete love story and also have an suspenseful story-arc over the series.


Cover Reveal - Unchartered Redemption


Uncharted Redemption is the second book in the Uncharted series. 




Title: Uncharted Redemption
Author: Keely Brooke Keith
Release Date: February 24, 2015
Publisher: Edenbrooke Press

Levi Colburn, resentful of his father, haunted by his mother’s tragic death, and pained by his love for the unattainable Mandy Foster, breaks from the Land’s tradition and begins to build a life of his own. When rebels tear through the village of Good Springs, Levi vows to deliver justice and restore the woman he loves. As tradition stands in the way of redemption and threats from the outside world begin to appear, Levi must learn his greatest battles cannot be fought with his fists. Romantic, suspenseful, and filled with adventure, Uncharted Redemption weaves dramatic new layers into life in the Land.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you'll add Keely's new book to your reading list. I'm looking forward to the release of Uncharted Redemption. 

Keep reading and eat chocolate everyday.

Zelda



Friday, December 12, 2014

Not Just Holiday Cookies, There are Cupcakes Too




I love the buttery goodness of holiday cookies as much as anyone. They're convenient to make ahead and fun to decorate. However, let's not forget the cupcake. How cute is this reindeer?

My go to dessert for this year is going to be champagne flutes filled with candy and topped with a cupcake. The possibilities are endless.

Chanukah


I filled the flute with blue and white M&Ms. Stores like It'Sugar and Party Stores carry a huge selection of colors.

Christmas


Red, white, and green chocolate covered sunflower seeds fill this base.

New Year's


White and silver will be my color theme for New Year's.

Let your creative juices flow. Please share photos of your creations. Feel free to post them on my fb page.

Wishing you health, happiness, and a year filled with chocolate.

Don't forget to gift books for the holidays.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Sipping Chocolate vs Hot Chocolate

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To say that writing about chocolate has been fun, is stating the obvious. The research was an adventure that teased my taste buds with exciting new flavors and textures.  One of my favorite discoveries is the different ways to prepare hot chocolate beverages

Sipping Chocolate

Sipping chocolate, also called drinking chocolate is a European concept. Usually it's made by blending chopped chocolate into hot milk. I've tasted it with a small chocolate bar melted in. It's so thick and chocolatey you're forced to drink it slowly. Trying to describe the sensation as the thick chocolate assaulted my taste buds is almost impossible.
My favorite is Trader Joe's Sipping Chocolate. You can add milk to the powder to get the texture you prefer. I suggest drinking it slowly from a small cup.


 Hot Chocolate

Many of us grew up drinking our hot chocolate from a packet. Add hot water and a favorite topping and we had cup of hot chocolate. Not much has changed. Hot chocolate is ground cocoa powder mixed with sugar and dry milk. Different brands might appeal to different taste buds. 


Hot Cocoa

Blend in hot milk or cream to your favorite cocoa powder and Voila! - hot cocoa. Sweeter blends appeal to drinkers who prefer milk chocolate over dark chocolate. My personal favorite is Godiva Hot Cocoa. The preparation instructions are explicit - prepare with milk only.

Cozy up with your favorite hot chocolate beverage and a good book.
Just in case you haven't had enough chocolate - Chocolate Couture is on sale http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00H0L1HAO
Here's an excerpt:

Lily Peradou watched as a tray of her lime-elderflower cupcakes toppled to the floor. Like a line of ballerinas falling into an orchestra pit, two-dozen of her most popular pastries now lay at her feet.
“Oh, Chef. What a mess.” Olivia, her assistant looked down at the floor. “I tried to warn you. It all happened so fast.” Friends and co-workers, embarrassed by Lily’s clumsiness, often tried to minimize the experience with excuses.
Lily knew better, she had no one to blame. She had caused the cupcakes’ demise. “I’ll clean up. You open the shop.”
Olivia stepped over the squished chocolate cakes and inched her way between Lily and the prep counter. A plethora of pans and mixing bowls hung from every available inch of wall space. Ovens, coolers, and baking appliances covered the opposite wall. In this cramped, but organized narrow kitchen, Lily managed to create the finest cakes in Brooklyn.
The shop at 4 ½ Smith Street would be considered limiting to anyone. No one suspected that the showcases filled with the sweetest desserts ever created held hidden dangers for a klutz like Lily.
Many years ago her brother, Zach had appropriately nicknamed her Clum,“a sticky matter in the universe that makes things go wrong. Being near Lily had the potential of a dormant volcano waiting to erupt. This morning’s big bang proved that not much had changed since that day when he bestowed the name on her.
This was not the time to think about past events. The mess at her feet needed immediate attention. She reached over the fallen sweets and grabbed her broom and dustpan. In minutes, the work-area sparkled.
Miraculously, two halves of the cupcake hung precariously at the edge of the counter. Lily worked best under pressure. Could she still make something out of this mess?”
 

Excerpt From: Zelda Benjamin. “Chocolate Couture.”