Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Marcia's Perfect Margarita Recipe

Today's guest blogger, Marcia King-Gamble talks about her latest release and her perfect margarita recipe. Thanks for stopping by.

Where is Last Chance Beach?  It’s an island paradise. It’snowhere and everywhere, and the setting for the 14 short stories written by award-winning authors.  I’m fortunate to be one of them.

Last Chance Beach is the island getaway everyone wants to go to. Think Kokomo.

When I was first asked to be a part of this boxset, I jumped at it. I’m an island girl and writing an island story just spoke to me. So, let me tell you a bit about the island’s background. Better yet pick up a copy of the boxset on Amazon at the bargain price of 99 cents.

Legend has it that back in the day a poor man booked passage on a wealthy ship owner’s boat, fell in love with the tycoon’s daughter and got banished to the hold. The poor fellow managed to escape and swim ashore to the island. The distraught daughter goes in search of him to no avail. Running out of money, she ends up on Last Chance Beach and is taken in by the same minister and his wife who’d earlier rescued the battered and bruised fellow. Now they get a second chance at love.

Don’t you just love a second chance romance?

My contribution is titled One Last Shot. Just imagine what happens when a rising sitcom star’s sex tape goes viral, and she escapes to Last Chance Beach only to discover, renting next door, is a disgraced celebrity photographer. And heaven forbid she’s attracted to him.

Here’s an excerpt from my story.

       Kael Huntington was hotter than a firecracker and someone she could be interested in, that’s if she were anyone other than Dania Browne. But sitcom-star, Madeline Miller was off limits. She was now considered damaged goods, making a relationship impossible.

Dania gulped back tears and hugged her knees to her chest. A nap hadn’t helped her mood one bit. How had she gotten herself into this mess? Bob lounging on the bed next to her, made a mewling sound, and gave a sympathetic lick to her face. She was the only one who believed Dania had been set up.  Well, her agent, Maya Rosenstein believed in her too. Even her own family, the righteous pastor, Aurora Browne thought the video of her was a publicity stunt, done to further her career.  Her mother had labeled Dania the devil’s spawn.

Who would have thought that low key John Lewis would act like a jerk when she broke things off? He’d sent a sex tape to the media; one she did not make. He’d been shrewd enough to photoshop the video, placing her head on another woman’s body. No one had even questioned why her size B ta-tas had ballooned into voluptuous triple D’s.  As far as she was concerned, John deserved to rot in hell.


 To get you in the mood, we offer a free drink recipe book you can download here:


Last Call     

Marcia King-GambleIngredients: 

1 12 oz. can of Minute Maid Frozen Limeade

2 cans of water

2 tbsps. of sugar

2 cups of ice

2 ozs. of triple sec or Cointreau

6 ozs. of tequila or to liking

¼ cup fruit (strawberries, peaches, mangos) optional


Directions: Add ice to blender, frozen limeade, water, sugar, tequila, triple sec. Then blend about 30 secs. Add additional tequila, water, limeade as needed.

Serves: 4

Serving Suggestions: Pour into a margarita glass or mason jar. Use sea salt for the rim of glass if preferred.


While this may taste like a Margarita, it’s like no Rita you’ve ever tasted. The Last Call came about when a fisherman from the mainland, sleeping aboard his boat, challenged the Rods bartender to invent a refreshing drink for mainlanders. The fisherman’s boat broke down and he swam ashore, blender in hand, making it to Rods just seconds before Last Call. The bartender was then forced to whip up a batch on the fly. The patrons already on their way to La-La Land, pronounced the Fisherman’s drink the best they’d ever had. And so, his drink became The Last Call. 


So, sit back, make yourself a cocktail, and enjoy the stories of romances found or rekindled on Last Chance Beach.

Thank you so much Zelda for having me.


Romance writer, Marcia King-Gamble originally hails from a sunny Caribbean island where the sky and ocean are the same mesmerizing shade of blue. This former travel industry executive and current world traveler has spent most of life in the United States. A National Bestselling author, Marcia has penned over 34 books and 8 novellas. Her free time is spent at the gym, traveling to exotic locales, caring for her animal family, and trying to keep sane.


Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Secrets of Star Bakers

Trial and error, time and a good reason are all you need to perfect your baking. Research for my new romance series was my reason to perfect my haphazard baking skills. Not only has it been the most tasty, but also the most rewarding of all my fact-finding adventures.

Trial and error means that sometimes your recipe will fail. I watch a lot of baking shows and see professional bakers make amateur mistakes that often have me talking to the TV. They should know that cake is not cool enough to frost. Of course, time is often not on the bakers' side in a competition. I once gave myself a time limit to bake a batch of cookies and failed miserably. 
Tip-don't rush the process you'll have a better chance of succeeding.

My cakes are most often semi-home sponges that I make ahead of time and put in the freezer. I make everything from log rolls to multi-layers with a simple recipe I found while doing my research.

Frosting and fillings are easier to spread on frozen layers.

Tip-Always preheat before starting 
Preheat oven to 350 
Tip - Have all your ingredients ready to go - butter needs to be softened and eggs may need to be at room temperature.
Sometimes I'm all set to go and realize I don't have enough sugar or eggs. My husband's a good sport about going to the supermarketer for something I forgot, but he's not always available. I also prepare my pans by spraying with a non-stick spray then cover the bottom with parchment paper.

1 BOX ANY FLAVOR CAKE MIX  All commercial brands work for this recipe, but my favorites are Duncan Hines yellow, white or devil's food.
These companies have been making these mixes for decades and have it down pat. 
6 eggs  beat on high until lemon color
add 1/2 cup of water 
1/4 cup oil I like the hint of olive oil especially in chocolate cakes

Add cake mix

The recipe states to bake for 15-20 min until the center springs back.
Depending on your oven, the type of pan and altitude, baking time is definitely a trial and error moment.

I use 6" pans. I prefer more layers.

Don't be afraid to experiment. I recently made a 3 layer Biscoff cake where I substituted 1 tablespoon of cookie butter for an egg. It gave the cake a subtle hint of flavor with most of the flavor coming from the Biscoff frosting and cookie crumbs between the layers. 
I'm definitely lacking in cake decorating skills. Sprinkles, cookie crumbs and nuts can be very forgiving. The smaller layers make it easy to roll the frosted sides in the topping of your choice.

Happiness is homemade. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Baking the Perfect Sponge Cake

Let's start with a short history of my favorite sponge - a Victoria Sponge. The cake was named after Queen Victoria who always ate a slice with her afternoon tea. If you don't have the luxury of afternoon tea - it makes a great dessert cake too.

What makes this simple sponge cake different from other sponges is that the top of the cake is not iced or decorated. I'm not much of a decorator so this works well for me. All it needs is a dusting of powdered sugar. It traditionally has raspberry jam and clotted cream between the layers. Purist will say that if the cream is not Devonshire or Cornish cream it's not a true Victoria Sponge. If you don't live in the UK and have access to the cream - no worries. I've used fresh whipped cream, butter cream frosting and even a layer of Biscoff frosting.
I'm not a fan of raspberry so I'll use any jam I have on hand as well as chocolate ganache. Peach Prosecco preserve by Mrs. Bridges is my favorite.

I use a simple semi-homemade recipe for all my sponges. The traditional cake calls for 6" tins, but any size will do. I use the same recipe to make chocolate log rolls.

Preheat oven to 350 
1 BOX ANY FLAVOR CAKE MIX  My favorites are  Duncan Hines yellow, white or devil's food. 
6 eggs  beat on high until lemon color
add 1/2 cup of water 
1/4 cup oil I like the hint of olive oil especially in chocolate cakes
Add cake mix
Bake for 15 - 20 mins or until the cake springs back when touched in the center

Devil's Food sponge log for July 4th
apple almond sponge
I've made the sponges more than a week ahead. It freezes great. I usually add my center or fill my roll before freezing. Wrapped in a layer of plastic wrap then tin foil and another layer of plastic wrap it comes out fresh. If I'm frosting the cake, I do it while it's frozen and leave it in the fridge until a couple of hours before I serve. It tastes even better the next day.

I want to thank my friend Alyssa Maxwell for the first photo with one of her lovely tea sets.


Monday, July 31, 2017

5 Things I Learned at RWA 2017



#5 Pick Five Things You Learned and Apply Them to Your Writing

Everyone comes home with a long list of things they're going to do to make them a more efficient and prolific writer. Seriously, how many of those things did you accomplish or still practice after your last conference. By keeping it simple and making your five choices realistic you're more likely to meet those goals. 

#4 Create a FB Author Page / Update Pinterest boards

I've been meaning to do this for some time.  You need to have a profile page first - which I had. It wasn't difficult to do an author page. You create a banner, pick your audience and start posting. Followers will come.  

The most difficult thing about going on Pinterest is getting off. Update your Pinterest boards and make your books or writing info the first board.  Make sure you add a description to each board and pin. It will help send traffic your way. Always include your website or blog address.

#3 Check Out Neflix and Amazon Prime for Research.

My current WIP is targeted for Intrigue. I found a great show on Neflix for understanding what goes into being a bodyguard for celebrities and dignitaries. Prime has a list of documentaries on Military History direct from the men and woman who experience it.

#2 Make a Productivity Chart

I always liked lists. Some lists are floating around in my head while others, I actually write down. Keep your expectations realistic for your life style, writing ability and goals.  Know what you're capable of. I'm not a fast writer so I set my daily goal for 500 words. Aim higher if feel you need to, but don't discredit a lower limit. In a week you can have a chapter. Meeting those goals will help you understand when you expect to complete your 1st, 2nd and 3rd drafts.
I like to do my stuff (exercise, social media and blog) in the mornings.  I restart my day at 2pm when I sit down and write for 2 - 3 hours.



Nothing will get done if you don't put your butt in the chair and your hands on the keyboard.
It's approaching the 2:00 hour so I'm off to reach my goal for the day.


#1 1/2  Eat Chocolate Everyday


Friday, May 5, 2017

Conception of a Sweet Romantic Series

Writing series romance was not something I planned to do.

When I wrote the first book in my Love by Chocolate series, I never imaged I would create a four book series plus one novella. 

Somewhere in the first book I realized one of the minor characters, Chloe had a chocolate story to tell. Since the heroine in Chocolate Secrets, Alex an ER nurse had no intention of continuing on with the family business someone had to tell the next story. The chocolate was calling and Kooky Chloe was the one to tell it. Book 2, Chocolate Magic was born.

Chloe's life is a puddle of melted chocolate, but help is on the way. Alex is back and a new friend Maddie is introduced along with a sexy hero who has no time for chocolate. Maddie, a trained pastry chef has her own puddle to wade through. Book 3, Chocolate Muse became Maddie's story.

An editor once told me that the nice thing about reading a series in order is that the reader meets old friends when previous characters make a cameo appearance. Readers who have been introduced to  characters also their share secrets. For readers who are picking up the book out of sequence a short paragraph intertwined into the story can explain their role in the hero or heroine's life.

The setting, a rejuvenated Brooklyn neighborhood was already there for Book 4 when I placed Lily's little pastry shop at 4 1/2 Smith Street.  Chocolate Couture steps out of the setting and crosses the bridge opening the potential for a different backdrop for another story. I haven't gone there yet. 

Doing chocolate research is the best part of writing a series where chocolate becomes a character. But what to do with all that info? That's how the idea for my novella, Chocolate and Sensibility came about. 
Topical rainforest walk at Fairchild Gardens.
I took the information I had about chocolate production and set the story in the topics. The story belongs to Luis and Sophia, but it's a prequel to Lily's story. 

When writing a stand alone story, I'm never sure where the story will take me. Imagine the places you can go when writing a series. 

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

Wishing you baskets full of Spring flowers and chocolate.