Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tidbits Welcomes Tanya Stowe!

I'm so happy to introduce my "doppelganger" from White Rose Publishing, the wonderful Tanya Stowe. I hope Tidbits makes her feel welcome! 

Howdy! It’s such a thrill to spend the day at Tanya’s Tidbits to tell about my new release, Tender Trust,
from White Rose Publishing.

California Gold played an important part in the Civil War. It was gold from California and the newly found Colorado mines that kept the Union army afloat when the Confederate army began to flounder in debt. But California gold almost didn’t make it to the Union.

One of the pivotal scenes in my new novel, Tender Trust, occurs when word about hostilities at Fort Sumter reaches the small mining town of Harperville. Emotions run high and a group of Union sympathizers turn into a mob that drives a small band of Southern men out of town. One of the Southern men is Royce Darnell’s best friend and mine foremen, Alex Marsden. Alex and his friends barely escape Harperville with their lives and head to Southern California where Confederate sympathizers had already issued a call for cession from the Union to form the Pacific Republic which would have included Oregon, Washington and possibly New Mexico.

In reality, it took almost 10 days for news of war to reach California by telegraph and Pony Express. When it did, outbreaks of violence like the scene in my book took place everywhere. Pro-Union Democrats rallied in San Francisco and had to be controlled with Federal troops … commanded by a Southerner, Brigadier General Albert Sidney Johnston. Rumors ran rampant that General Johnston was part of a Confederate conspiracy to take over California but he remained true to his Oath to the Federal government by reinforcing the garrison at San Francisco and quelling the riots. His actions insured that California gold made it back to support the Union cause.


I hope you enjoy the excerpt of Tender Touch, my first Western-set work. My first novel, Time’s Embrace, a time-travel adventure, was released in the United States in 1993 and internationally released in 1995. Most recently I have contributed to a collection of women’s survival stories titled, Triumph! The Beautiful Face of Courage and collaborated on at full-length play, a Christmas musical titled The Night Before Christmas.

I have been a member of Romance Writers of America since 1992, and I have taught writing at conferences and workshops, and have held seminars throughout California. I’d love for you to follow the workshops, classes and ups and downs of writing at http://www.creativewritingforces.blogspot.com/.

"Lacy--look at me," Royce commanded. She looked up. "Feel the music, Lacy. Just move with me."

Her muscles eased. Her breathing slowed. She seemed to sense the rhythm of his body and took her cues from the slight touch of his hand. He dipped, she followed. He swept, she flowed, her skirts swinging in a graceful arc behind them. They sailed around the room in perfect motion.

Royce smiled. "I knew you could do it."

"Thank you for teaching me," she murmured.

Royce looked at the woman in his arms. He'd known the minute she'd entered the room. He was shocked to see her, knowing instinctively that the crowd and the noise would not be to her liking. But, when he'd seen the pink of her cheeks and the high color of her eyes, he knew she was enjoying herself ... and that made him happy. He liked the little giggle she tried to suppress and the way her eyes lit when the dancers came near her. So he’d asked her to dance.

“Thank you," Lacy repeated.

"My pleasure, ma'am. Is there anything else I can do for you?"

Her features turned somber. "You can let me go, now, before it's too late.”

She was asking him to do what he'd vowed to do. But looking at her lovely features, he knew he wouldn't do it.

"I can't, Lacy. I've tried and I can't."

The truth of his words flowed over both of them. They stood still in the middle of the dance floor. He wondered where the words had come from, and how he could take care of this fragile, beautiful creature in his arms.
Thanks, Tanya, for inviting me here today!

You're so welcome, Tanya! Come again, for sure! oxox

Available White Rose Publishing

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Nominated for Best Book of 2010: Marrying Mattie YEE HAW

Wow. I'm over the moon about this one. Getting nominated by Love Western Romances for the best book of 2010 has got to be a highlight of an already amazing year.

I hope you'll do me the honor of riding on over yonder to http://www.lovewesternromances.com/ and casting your ballot for my little novel. I'm facing stiff competition and need all the votes I can get. Voting commences today through January 11...but don't y'all take too much time.

Thank you so very much!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

FIVE SPurs for Marrying Mattie at Love Western Romance

One of the most venerable review sites of all, Love Western Romance, has awarded Marrying Mattie FIVE Spurs! I am over the moon!

"This book is a sweeping tale with a plot that kept me glued to the edge of my seat. More than once I imagined how this story would plan out on the big screen...the author treats the reader with a great deal of respect, tearing you with little snippets of information...but leaving you to try to figure out the whu's and how's along the way in this wonderful tale."

To check out the whole review, please visit this wonderful site! Love Western Romance rocks!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Marrying Mattie: treat yourself!

Marrying Mattie, avail. print, digi and Kindle...

Mattie and Call's love story steams up the pages. Yeah, I know. I'm concentrating on Christian romance now (Please visit Hearts Crossing Ranch...)  but the folks in Paradise, Nebraska circa 1880 need love too.

I hope you enjoy your trip back in time!

(Marrying Molly and Marrying Marguerite are in the works...)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Spicy and Sweet...at The Romance Studio

Hop on over to The Romance Studio for a peek at my latest releases, and see if "spicy" and "sweet" conflict with each other..or make it work like Sweet and Sour Chicken.

Hope you enjoy Marrying Mattie, available now at The Wild Rose Press and Amazon...Kindle version, too. Sign my guestbook at my website to enter a name draw for a signed copy.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Marrying Mattie is here, here, HERE

Jumping the gun a bit, my second book in the Paradise Brides series, Marrying Mattie,  is already available at http://www.thewildrosepress.com/ and http://www.amazon.com/   Yee-haw!

All along, I've thought the Big Day was August 27...but while I was up in the Tetons on a wagon-train trip (more details to follow...or you can check out http://heartscrossingranch.blogspot.com/ ) my dream came true. Sincere thanks to my editor Helen Andrew for making it all happen.

The hero, schoolmaster Call Hackett, makes an important appearance in my current release, Marrying Minda, when he woos mail-order bride Minda during her troubled marriage. But her reluctant hubby, hottie cowboy Brix  Haynes mans up and falls hard for his woman. So I reckoned Call deserved a love story all his own.

My free short story His Christmas Angel introduces him --now a self-described horse "doctor"--to Minda's sister, Mattie, and this new longer book shows their road to a marriage interrupted by her rich, evil ex-husband.

I hope you enjoy getting to know the folks of Paradise, Nebraska, their toils and tribulations, their triumphs and loves.

Don't be a stranger at http://www.petticoatsandpistols.com/

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Five-Star Review at The Romance Studio!

Praise the Lord! Hearts Crossing Ranch has received a five-star review at The Romance Studio!
I still find myself drawn to the ranch and the wagon-train vacation even though they're fictional...but so much so that hubby and I are off on a similar adventure this summer...a real one...around the Tetons.

I can't wait to get inspiration from God's incredible nature, from the close family members sharing the experience with us, and from the wranglers who'll lead us.

In the meantime, Hooper Martin's story is in the works!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Something nice...

A four and a half star review from Novel Editions--yee haw, and thank you, God!

This was truly a book that forced the characters to dig deep within themselves and to confront the things that may have shaken their walk with the Lord. Both Kenn and Christy were raised to be a child of great faith. However, in both of their lives one event --Kenn's guilt over "letting down" his brother Bragg, and Christy's unexpected loss of her father-- seemed to have them turning their backs on God.

Ms. Hanson's ability to paint a picture and tell a compelling story kept me interested until the last page. I also loved her clever references to things that relevant to everyday of an average person's life -Michael Phelps, a horse named Joe Montana, etc.
My biggest hope is that Ms.Hanson will continue to tell the Martin Family story by using the other Martin siblings in future books!

Check out my 4/12-star review for Hearts Crossing Ranch at Novel Editions.

Novel Editions a book review site featuring reviews of books rated G or PG.

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Small Request....please, God?

Cancer is a strange cell.
You can go along for years in remission
and then one day it pops its head up again.
If you ever have it you will never be free of it.
Pray for the day there will be a permanent cure.


Dear God,
I pray that You will guide someone to find a cure for cancer. Amen

In memory of my twin brother Mike and our dear friend Karen who have been
struck down by cancer and to my hubby and family still living with the specter of testicular cancer...

A Candle Loses Nothing by Lighting Another Candle.
If you're reading this, please Keep This Candle Going

Friday, July 9, 2010

Redeeming Daisy and Faithful Danger

I'm excited that the first round edits for Redeeming Daisy are in the can. Editors simply make one's writing better...noticing a word order or sentence structure that a second set of eyes knows can be slightly improved. Redeeming Daisy is the second story set at Hearts Crossing Ranch and features Pike Martin, large animal vet and brother to Kenn.

I'm grateful for such a talented editor, Nicola Martinez, who has a nose for the details...or is it eyes LOL? As well as one who calls Redeeming Daisy a "lovely story." Sigh.

I'll keep you informed as to the progress. I've also submitted to her TV Guide-like blurbies about what happens to the entire Martin clan!
Right now, though, I'm finishing up what I call March 9 Prompt, aka Faithful Danger. White Rose Publishing selected random details and posted them on March 9 to see what kind of story a writer can come up with in 10,000-20,000 words.

Two puppies, a woman in hiding, a mysterious man, and a pair of pink polka dot pumps.


“Dead guys don’t usually show up for breakfast,” she said, staring at the very-much-alive man who stood in front of the pastry counter.

I'm in the closing stretch of Faithful Danger...I'll let you know how it turns out. Yeah, my mysterious man is a cowboy turned private investigator. And our heroine falls for him spur, lariat and Stetson even though she's in hiding in a small Central California ranch town from very bad Soprano-esque people...

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Fourth of July...God Bless the USA!

God Bless America,

Land that I love.

Stand beside her, and guide her

Thru the night with a light from above.

From the mountains, to the prairies,

To the oceans, white with foam

God bless America...my home sweet home!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Eric Pettis: 5 Scoreless Innings

Don't think Eric would mind me spreading the word. He's the nephew of very good friends of ours and just got drafted by the Williamsport PA CrossCutters. In his first game--Father's Day, no less, the Cutters extended their extended their record in the all-time SawBuck Series to 27-24.

Starting pitcher Eric Pettis pitched five scoreless innings surrendering only four hits, striking out three and walking none.

Yay, Eric! Hope to see you in action someday soon!. Congratulations!

It's been a good week all around...with Redeeming Daisy getting contracted b White Rose Publishing. Which reminds me: I got work to do.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Redeeming Daisy...

Wow, today I got the contract for Redeeming Daisy, the second Martin story of the clan at Hearts Crossing Ranch, available now at White Rose Publishing. I'd thought to go with another title using Heart or Cross or some variant thereof, but after a brainstorm, my terrific editor Nicola Martinez came up with the present title.

Now comes the delicious "work" involved in a new release: composing blurbs, taglines, gathering reviews and comments about previous books to add as teasers to the frontispiece. So exciting! Esp. tossing out ideas for covers. (Nicola is a master artist as well. Boy, did I get lucky!)

I hope you'll stay tuned. I'll get the blurb posted as soon as...I think of it LOL.

Don't forget to visit my blog dedicated to the folks at Hearts Crossing Ranch  And a chance to win!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Happy Father's Day

The fathers in my life have totally rocked.

My own precious dad died in a tragic car accident when my son, his first grandchild, was four months old. I'll never forget seeing both spectrums of life--birth and death--so close together, but his influence and love made me the woman I am. I'm married to my own personal hero who successfully fought wildfires for his career and successfully fought cancer two years ago and gave me the two greatest children ever.

My son is now a daddy himself, and his little boy is the latest love of my life. And my brother-in-law Tim, who stood by my side during those terrible testicular cancer days has given me two amazing nieces.

God bless you, all, everyone!

Friday, June 4, 2010


Yeah, things have been a tad nutso. But HCR is here, here, HERE!

And featured today at White Rose Publishing.

The cover design is to-die-for, my editor Nicola Martinez absolutely the best. I thank her again for taking this chance with me--my first contemporary and my first inspirational. I hope you enjoy Christy and Kenn's journey of faith and path to love.

Visit my Hearts Crossing Ranch blog once in a while for summer contests going on. I'm trying to get things updated at my website....wish days were 25 hours long. Yesterday I had the great pleasure of being invited to The Romance Studio June release party, and my "behind the book" blog at Petticoats and Pistols last Wednesday was a ton of fun.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Write Stuff: Win a copy of Hearts Crossing Ranch

Join me at Petticoatsandpistols
today, Wednesday, June 2, and The Romance Studio tomorrow, Thursday, June 3...

I'll be drawing some winners for copies of Hearts Crossing Ranch.

Yee-haw. See you there!

P.s. Please visit Hearts Crossing Ranch and leave a comment once in a while...summer contests going on!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I AM POEM--Georgie, always in our hearts

Georgie left us all too soon. When you see a homeless person with a dog at his/her side, don't be stingy. Last November, this beautiful young man helped out such a pair, rescuing them from some abusive teens...paying for a hotel room so the homeless guy had a shower and a bed, giving the guy the last twenty-dollar bill in his pocket.

His generous heart has touched so many others. Hearts that broke into a million pieces when the Lord called Georgie home just after New Years.

"I Am Poem"

by: George Anthony


I am a football player in pain
I wonder if war is the answer
...I hear the struggling people
I see pain in the heart of America
I want peace between others
I am a football player in pain

I pretend that I am the best
I feel emotion in my heart
I cry when being a different color matters
I am a football player in pain

I understand everything doesn't come easy
I say be a leader not a follower
I dream of too many things
I try with all my heart
I am a football player in pain

Monday, May 24, 2010

Silver Spur Ranch: Yee-haw. I've love to go again...

Just got this e-mail from the Silver Spur. If you're still finalizing plans for Memorial Day Weekend, give the ranch a whirl. One of the funnest times I've ever had!

"Hey everyone,

There are still a few rooms available THIS weekend for Memorial Day. We are offering ALL our subscribers a last minute 15% discount on adults rates.....that is 3 times the Lifetime Discount!!

There are LOTS of fun activities planned on and off the ranch. In town there is a parade down Main Street you won't want to miss with lots of entertainment and venders, Mansfield Park has rodeos going on 3 full days, the weather is great and the river is open for tubing and all the Saloons have great music going on!!

On the ranch we will be doing a Scavenger Hunt on horseback.....prizes to the winners!! Evening rides after supper will be available and you wont want to miss out on our Star Gazing after dark down by the campfire area.....see incredible views of the Universe!! You might even want to try your hand at Karaoke!! And of course we will serving root beer floats and the pool is OPEN!!

Be sure to mention "Memorial Special" when making reservations!! Your friends and family are welcome to this same discount!

Your Friends at the Silver Spur"

Friday, May 21, 2010

Weekend Recipe GAME: Texas Tantalizers

I'm still in Texas mode. Here's a Texas Chili GAME to help you pass your time...while you imagine just what the last photograph suggests!


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Saddle up and Write: Bandera, Texas

Howdy! I sure hope you'll scoot on over to Petticoats and Pistols today, the all-Western romance site, where I'm blogging about my experiences as a cowgirl at the Silver Spur Ranch in Bandera, Texas. Hey, I found out I'm not too fat and old to learn to ride a horse...or too dumb shoot a gun! The "Saddle up and Write" retreat sponsored by my publisher The Wild Rose Press totally rocked from beginning to end...

...and those days as a Texan will live forever in my heart and memory.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Glen Ivy Mudbath...what a way to spend a Saturday with my posse

Yowza. Who'd ever thunk it, a playdate in the mud at our age. Well, it happened, it was weird and cool at the same time. Mostly it was some good old-fashioned girl bonding.

Daughters, sister, friends, cousins.

Oh, and I can't forget the massage! Good time, good people.

Good memory!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Weekend Recipe: Aunt Grace's Killer Banana Bread

Well, I know I've posted this one before, but it's such a keeper that I'll keep on doing so LOL when I'm rushed and out of other ideas. Top Chef I am not! Have a great weekend.


½ cup shortening
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 medium mashed bananas
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon soda

Cream shortening and sugar and add eggs and cream well. Sift flour and soda together. Fold flour and bananas into above misture. Add ¼ cup chopped nuts.

Bake in greased floured loaf pan, 1 hour, at 350º.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Writing Stuff: Blurb for "Hearts Crossing Ranch"

My wonderful editor Nicola Martinez helped tweak this a bit. Blurbs are not my strength. But I hope it intrigues you enough to get Hearts Crossing Ranch when it's released. (Date still to be determined....we're working on the "galleys" right now. And I'm in the closing stretch of another Hearts Crossing story, about brother Pike and Kenn's ex, Daisy. Yikes! Can they make it work?

A beautiful city slicker and a rugged cowboy…The perfect Wild West adventure.

Cowboy Kenn Martin bears the guilt for allowing a coach to ruin his younger brother’s bright athletic future. Feeling unworthy of any happiness, he’s lost his faith in relationships and in God. When he meets Christy Forrest, he begins to hope for redemption but soon learns his past mistakes aren't something she'll easily forgive.

On the Colorado wagon train adventure planned by her late father, landscape designer Christy Forrest seeks to find peace in the nature she loves. However, she can't let go of her anger at the drunk driver who killed her dad—or the woman who did nothing to stop the man from driving. Falling for Kenn Martin begins to lighten her heart…until she realizes the handsome cowboy carries heavy a burden all his own—a burden she’s not sure she can accept.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Revlon Cancer Walk...Los Angeles

Whre was I last Saturday? One of my favorite places, University of Southern California along with the historic Los Angeles Coliseum. But I wasn't at a graduation or a football game.

Along with 50,000 others marching on various teams, I had the honor to walk with the CVS team around the LA Coliseum and USC ("fight on"--my kids are alums) to raise money with Revlon to find cures for women's cancers.

Many folks wore signs on their backs to acknowledge loved ones fighting breast cancer..."my lovely wife Elaine"..."my sister AND my mom"..."our friend Candice."

Others wore memorial signs. One man memorialized his mom, two aunts, and a sister who had lost their fight. And--his other sign supported three more relatives fighting breast cancer!

We marched for our dear friend Karen, our neighbor Sherry, and my writer pal Susan...all who lost their valiant battles against the evil breast cancer last fall.

Thrilling were the signs many women wore with claims of triumph: "I am six months cancer-free." "I'm a 13-year survivor." "Yes, I had cancer. But it never had me!" Too many more, praise God, to write down.

Teams had delightful names. Our favorites:

Hikers for Hooters
Walkers for Knockers
Hello Tittys
Bergens for Boobies.

Save the Tatas

One family wore signs with the picture of an adorable baby girl wearing a big pink hat. The caption read:

"Find a cure before I grow boobs."

Wow. My own personal hero is a two-year survivor of testicular cancer, so I kinda know. We celebrated this event with the two of the most important people during his battle...

To all who journey with this awful disease cancer...to those to fight it, have won their fight, and to those who walk at your side:


Sunday, May 2, 2010

Special Edition: BE KIND TO ANIMALS WEEK ®

May 2-8, 2010

Join the event that’s been celebrated every year since 1915 -- American Humane’s Be Kind to Animals Week. If you’ve known me for longer than ten seconds, you’ll know I’m a critter freak.

Since I’m in Texas most of this week, I wanted to keep this posted on my blog until I get back to the regular "schedule." One thing…I’m going to visit the Alamo and dear to my heart is getting my grandbaby a coonskin cap. Reminiscent of my childhood and Disney’s Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier.

But I won’t unless it’s synthetic fur.

I support wolves and polar bears with Defenders of Wildlife, household pets at Humane, and donkeys at the Safe Haven for Donkeys in the Holy Land.

Even though this special week includes shelter adoptions, information, terrific merchandise and a kids’ contest, it’s only celebrated once a year.

Here’s how we can appreciate all animals, domestic and wild, every day, our whole lives through.

Speak out for animals
Get informed about policies and legislation that can impact the animals in your community and throughout our country.

Report animal abuse
Animal cruelty and abuse is not only tragic for animals, but also an indicator that other forms of abuse such as domestic violence could be happening. Report anything suspicious…a dog chained in the yard, underfed pets…small children being mean to an animal. Let someone know.

Appreciate wildlife
All animals deserve to be treated humanely -- family pets and animals in the wild. Create an inviting space in your yard and garden for butterflies, hummingbirds and other creatures. If wildlife comes too close to home, look for ways to coexist with animals or to protect your property humanely. (Here in the suburbs that used to be wild terrain,, too often bears, coyotes and mountain lions are routinely killed by the Fish and Game.)

Adopt a pet from a shelter or rescue
Help animals find a second chance at happiness by adopting your next pet from your local shelter or rescue group. My hubby and I have said good-bye to our two black Labs in the past year or so and our next sweetheart is definitely going to be a rescue pup.

Take care of your pet
Pets are like your babies who never grow up. Keep them healthy. But….don’t prolong their lives because of your own selfishness. I’m totally about compassion and dignity when our sweet critters age and life isn’t ideal for them anymore.) Make sure the pets wear an ID.

And if you have a dog or cat, give them a special hug from me.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Weekend Recipe: Texas Toast!

Honoring my sojourn to TEXAS, here's a little snack to spice up your weekend. Enjoy!

2 Servings Prep/Total Time: 15 min.


2 tablespoons butter, softened
4 slices French bread (1 inch thick)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
Chopped green onions or parsley, optional

Spread butter over bread. Sprinkle with garlic powder and cheese. Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 5-7 minutes or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with onions or parsley is desired. Serve warm. Yield: 2 servings.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wild Rose Press Writers Retreat--Bandera, Texas, here I come!

Howdy! Sorry to miss Monday's Places I've Been. I'm waiting on the pix of the mud bath I took last weekend, (honest!) so be patient LOL (Remember my Wine Jacket Posse...well, we took a sojourn to a spa...but that's another blog...)

Right now, my imaginary spurs really are jiggling. I'm doing last-minute shopping and laundry so I can pack up for TEXAS! My publishing house is holding a writers retreat an hour out of San Antone on a real ranch, the Silver Spur, with real cowboys, horses, and rodeo. When I got the invitation, there was no keeping me away! Looks like I'll be staying in the Wild Bill Hickok cabin. Can't get any mow cowgirl than that!

Stay tuned, of course, for my pictures and accounts of my adventure.

In the meantime, here are some pix I lifted from their website.

With Lone Star temps in the 80's (we're full of gloom and fog here at home...) I'll likely be needing a dip in the pool after a long stretch of creating.

Most of all, I get to cross something off my Bucket List. I'll be learning how to ride a real honest-to-goodness horse!

See ya'll soon.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Weekend Recipe: Concord Grape Jelly

Yes, the Concord grape was developed and grown in Concord, MA. In fact, the company made and provided schools with a terrific video depicting a restless eenaged Louisa May Alcott on the Fourth of July that Henry David Thoreaou set up cabin-keeping at Walden Pond. Other characters were, of course, her mom Abba, Waldo, Nathanal Hawthorne. Oh, I miss that movie. (Thanks to Epicurious for the recipe.)

Yield: Makes 6 or 7 (1/2-pint) jars

Active time: 2 3/4 hr
Total time: 1 day (includes time for flavors to develop)

Use Concords at their peak for kid-friendly sweetness, lovely floral notes and a thick consistency.


5 lb Concord grapes, stemmed
5 cups sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Special equipment: 7 (1/2-pt) canning jars with lids and screw bands; a boiling-water canner or an 8- to 10-qt deep pot; an instant-read thermometer; a food mill fitted with fine disk


Sterilize jars:
Wash jars, lids, and screw bands in hot, soapy water, then rinse well. Dry screw bands. Put jars on a rack in canner or deep pot and add enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, covered, then boil for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, leaving jars in water. Heat lids in water to cover by 2 inches in a small saucepan until thermometer registers 180°F (do not let boil). Remove from heat, leaving lids in water. Keep the jars and lids submerged in hot water, covered, until ready to use.

Cook jam:
Chill 2 small plates (for testing jam).

Slip skins from grapes and purée skins with 1 cup sugar in a food processor, then transfer to a 4- to 6-quart wide heavy pot. Stir in lemon juice, peeled grapes, and remaining 4 cups sugar and boil over moderate heat, stirring frequently and skimming foam, until pulp is broken down, about 20 minutes. Force jam through food mill set over a large bowl. Discard remaining solids. Return jam to pot and cook at a slow boil, skimming foam occasionally and stirring frequently as mixture thickens to prevent scorching, 35 minutes, then test for doneness.

To test jam, remove from heat, then drop a teaspoonful on a chilled plate and chill 1 minute. Tilt plate: Jam should remain in a mound and not run. If jam runs, continue cooking at a slow boil, testing every 5 minutes, until done, up to 25 minutes more.

Seal, process, and store jars:
Drain jars upside down on a clean kitchen towel 1 minute, then invert. Ladle jam into jars, leaving 1/4 inch of space at top. Wipe off rims of filled jars with a clean damp kitchen towel, then top with lids and firmly screw on screw bands. Put sealed jars on rack in canner or pot and add enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, covered, then boil 10 minutes. With tongs, transfer jars to a towel-lined surface to cool.

Jars will seal; if you hear a ping, it signals that vacuum formed at the top of cooling preserves has made lid concave. Remember that you may or may not be around to hear that ping (some jars make the sound after you remove them from water, and others in same batch may take a few hours); the important thing is for jars to eventually have concave lids. Preserves will thicken as they cool.

After jars have cooled 12 to 24 hours, press center of each lid to check that it's concave, then remove screw band and try to lift off lid with your fingertips. If you can't, lid has a good seal. Replace screw band. Put any jars that haven't sealed properly in the refrigerator and use them first.

Cooks' notes:
· Let jam stand in jars at least 1 day for flavors to develop. · Jam keeps in sealed jars in a cool dark place 5 to 6 months.

Read More http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Concord-Grape-Jam-232813?FORM=BING#ixzz0lqnpFkQZ

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Author and the Frog: Mark Twain at Petticoats and Pistols

Hey, don't miss my blog today on Mark Twain at the all-Western romance site, Petticoats and Pistols. Today marks the centenary of his passing on April 21, 1910. And The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County is the one that started his fame going.

Hope to see you there!

What Twain works have you read?

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Shot Heard Round the World...Concord, Massachusetts

Current read: Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter, Seth Grahame-Smith


By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.

The foe long since in silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.

On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set to-day a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.

Spirit, that made those heroes dare
To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.

Yup. April 19, 1775. Yet still so real.

And being there, on the North Bridge, seeing the gentle flow of the Concord River...feeling the heroism that still lingers...seeing the Old Manse where Waldo's grandfather watched those first fired shots was a moment to encapsulate in my head and relive over and over.

Oh I loved this poem the first time I read it. Taught it. When a student essayed on the "Conquered" Hymn on a test, I hardly minded.

Forever and ever. Amen.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Christmas for Ransom...available November 5, 2010

Well, if you don't know what to get that special someone for Christmas, the perfect stocking stuffer will be available on November 5, 2010. I'm thrilled to announce the release date for the Lawmen and Outlaws Christmas Anthology, of which my novella Christmas for Ransom is a part.

The happy news arrived in my inbox during our recent vacation to Point Arena! The book will also be available in e-form for those of you with Kindles and iPads.

Mercy me, was I ever excited when the editors at The Wild Rose Press asked me to contribute to this holiday, even more excited to write the story during the last holiday season! Really got me in the mood.

Here's a teaser:

Outlaw "Canyon" Jack Ransom grows a conscience after thieving
horseflesh from a sweet old lady who reminds him too damn much of his own gram-maw.

The deathbed promises he made to her --to live a good life and
learn to read-- have come back haunt him.

Taking a holiday break from the outlaw gang that's been his family for a dozen years, he heads to Pleasure Stakes in West Texas, and hires Eliza Willows, a beautiful schoolmarm, to get himself some learnin'.

Turns out she's the old lady's granddaughter. Believing the handsome cowboy is a "tracker", Eliza hires him to find Granny's missing horses.

Ransom has to decide…
run away or run straight into her arms.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Up in the Air at Point Arena

It's a Bucket List thing...climbing up a lighthouse. I've visited several in my life but none let me up into the tower. Not until Point Arena.

That's where we spent Easter after several days in San Francisco. Yep, hanging out with two of our favorite people. Hubby's sister (well mine too!) and bil, Roberta and Tim who helped us through his cancer ordeal. It was more than significant, more than a miracle, that they were with is on April 8th. His second "birthday". Year #2 of his remission anniversary. Glory hallelujah!

Well, back to the lighthouse. This "smokestack" style light in northern California, first built of bricks and lit in 1870, was devastated by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Hence its modern construction in concrete. It's 115 feet to the top, and I made every single step.

Well, the going up wasn't too bad. I didn't even mind walking around outside at the tip-top. It was the going down that had me white-knuckled and sweating buckets of ice...

But I made it!

One more thing to scratch off my list!
The northern Coast is so glorious, so wild and craggy and full of wind and dreams. There's a ton more to tell about those ten wonderful days but hey, I've got a ton more Mondays left to tell you of places I've been.

Good-night now.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Tidbits is Taking a Spring Break....

He is risen indeed!

Have a blessed Easter, a glorious Springtime, and (if you're a writer...), happy creating!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Weekend Recipe: Russian Easter Bread

In honor of my Russian heritage, I thought I’d share a recipe today for Paska, otherwise known as Easter Bread.

2 1/2 cups bread flour
1/4 cup light cream or half and half
1/4 cup milk
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoon yeast
1/2 cup raisins and glazed cherries, mixed

Heat milk, half and half and butter till butter melts. Add to
remaining ingredients in the order your machine requires. Add the
raisins/cherries when your machine stops for adding "extras".

Use the dough setting. Punch down. Traditional way to bake is to place dough in a coffee can to make the traditional "top hat" shape to bake, but it also works as a round loaf when baked on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350F., about 25 minutes. Cover top with foil for last 10 minutes if it appears to be browning too quickly.
Will make two small loaves, or one large one.


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

My First Inspirational Sale: Hearts Crossing Ranch

I've been busy editing--
my first contemporary Western inspirational, Hearts Crossing Ranch! Every new contract is a gift, a blessing, an affirmation, but to sell my very first attempt at not just a contemporary Western but an inspirational one has me over the moon!

And the cover, designed by the amazing Nicola Martinez, is to die for. Hearts Crossing Ranch will be released by White Rose Publishing at a soon-to-be-announced date.

White Rose Publishing held a contest last summer, and I decided to keep my mind busy in a romantic way while we got ready for our daughter's wedding. The editor had a template with a few elements each submission had to have, including the title. Well, I reckoned Hearts Crossing was the perfect name for a ranch! My heroine Christy Forrest has come to the ranch for a city-slicker wagon train adventure and sparks fly when she meets Kennedy Martin, the hottie cowboy wagon master. Of course each is experiencing personal issues that lead to crises of faith, so their journey involves both their developing love for each other and their renewed trust in God.

(With us going on a similar wagon train adventure about the Tetons next summer, the setting and timing were irresistible.

Well, to make a long story short (too late?), I was runner up in the contest and my story found a home!

Hearts Crossing Ranch: "the perfect Wild West adventure...a beautiful city slicker. A handsome cowboy. ...covered wagons and campfires. And a would-be wedding grotto healing two hurting hearts."

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Special Edition: The Donkey, by G.K. Chesteton

To honor Palm Sunday and the celebration of our Lord Jesus' triumphant procession into Jerusalem, I can't resist sharing one of my favorite poems. I read it as a teenager, and it's never left my heart.

I totally love donkeys.

The donkey is such a patient, humble and intelligent beast of burden...such a precious part of a petting zoo and so terribly mistreated in many third-world countries. Some years ago, I learned of the Safe Haven for Donkeys in the Holy Land, and the selfless young woman Lucy Fensom who rescues these sweet animals. I've supported Jake, Jordie, and Burnie. Enjoy the poem and then visit her site and see up close the wonderful work she does, along with her caring staff and volunteers the world over. I promise you'll both weep and rejoice. Lucy's nothing less than a Mother Theresa for needy equines. God bless her!

The Donkey

When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born;

With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil's walking parody
On all four-footed things.

The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.

Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet

~~G.K. Chesterton (1874–1936)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Weekend Recipe: Barbara Edwards' Cake in a Cup

My name is Barbara Edwards. Thanks for having me as your guest.
Since I have a large sweet tooth, I’ve found this recipe to be perfect for the “can’t do without’ moment. Its used by my daughter-in-law although I’ve seen it on the web.

Cake in a Cup baked in a microwave

4 Tablespoons flour
4 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoon cocoa ( or1 Hershey's Instant chocolate packet instead)
1 egg
3 Tablespoon milk
3 Tablespoon oil
3 Tablespoons chocolate chips (optional) I’ve tried M&Ms, too

Mix dry ingredients; add egg and mix well; add milk and oil and mix again. Add chips. Put in a coffee mug and cook for 3 minutes at high. Cake will rise and puff over top like a muffin. Cool before removing from cup.
The recipe has nothing to do with my book Ancient Awakening and everything to do with my love of chocolate.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Welcome to the Tidbits today Barbara. Give us the scoop on your current release, Ancient Awakening!

Okay. Some tidbits for you:
Paranormal, strong romantic elements, sensuous
Available at The Wild Rose Press, a Black Rose

The Wild Rose Press: Ancient Awakening, a Black Rose

Tell us about the story:

In Ancient Awakening, Police Officer ‘Mel’ Petersen investigates a death only she believes is murder. By disobeying direct orders from the Rhodes End Chief, she risks her career to follow clues that twist in circles to her backyard and lead the killer to her.

Her neighbor Stephen Zoriak is a prime suspect. Steve worked for a major pharmaceutical company where he discovered a weapon so dangerous he destroys the research. He is exposed to the dangerous organism. He suspects he is the killer and agrees to help her find the truth.

In the course of their investigation Mel and Steve find the real killer and a love that defies death.

* * * *

Sounds terrific. I always enjoy love and death themes LOL. How about an excerpt?

“Don’t touch me, Mel, not unless you’re willing to do a lot more,” he warned as her hazel eyes flared golden.

“Don’t threaten me, Steve. You’re…”

He pulled her into his arms despite the alarm bells clanging in his head.

Danger! Danger! Danger!

Her widened eyes met his. Mel’s hands were trapped against his chest, but she didn’t push him away. Instead, her fingers curled into his shirt.

Her mistake. His mistake was to crush her mouth under his.

Mel’s soft lips parted. Need exploded. The taste of black coffee didn’t hide her sweet flavor. As her tongue tangled with his, her arms slid around his neck and her fingers burrowed through his hair.

Steve hungered to peel the starched shirt off her soft shoulders, lay her on the thick turf and ease his desire. He tasted her brows, her cheek, along her throat, seeking the source of her call. Her pulse whipped under his mouth, awakening another need.

His teeth gently closed on the vulnerable vein.

He wanted, wanted, wanted…

Cold alarm chilled his pounding blood.

Steve gasped for air. He’d forgotten his own ironclad rule. Mel’s eyelids flittered open to reveal the molten glow of desire but he forced himself free.
He had no right to touch any woman. Not until he knew he hadn’t become what he had set out to destroy.

* * * *

How can we get in touch with you?

Here are links to my website and Barb'Ed Comments.

Barbara, thanks for spending a few days at Tanya's Tidbits. And you out there, don't forget to come back for Barbara's weekend recipe!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Weekend Recipe: Chicken in Red Wine Sauce

Current read: Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter (Sound lame? It's pretty good.)

Since the posse and I recently went wine-tasting, I thought I'd share a chicken with red wine sauce this time. Mostly I see recipes with white wine for chicken. I haven't tried it...so let me know.

Prep Time: 10 Min
Cook Time: 45 Min
Ready In: 55 Min
Servings 12


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 tablespoon paprika
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup red wine
salt and pepper to taste


Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Cook garlic in oil until tender. Place chicken in the skillet, and cook about 10 minutes on each side, until no longer pink and juices run clear.

Drain oil from skillet. Sprinkle chicken with paprika and 1 cup brown sugar. Pour red wine around chicken. Cover, and simmer about 15 to 20 minutes; lightly baste chicken with wine sauce while cooking. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Eagle Has Landed!

Please join me at Petticoats and Pistols today and learn about a very special couple.

They’re American bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) about to become parents. On February 26, they laid their first egg at Pelican Harbor on Santa Cruz Island, off California’s coast not far from my homestead. Egg #2 came about on March 3. The parents have mated for life and will come back to this nest year after year.

These birds represent the first generation of naturally raised bald eagles in the Channel Islands in 50 years. The last “wild” bald eagle was seen on Santa Cruz in 1949 and wiped out due to DDT.

I've posted the link to Eagle-Cam. You can witness them incubating their eggs, and by the end of the month, bear witness to their hatchlings! The link is posted at Petticoats.

It's beyond inspiring...and Eagle-cam has folks, especially schoolkids, excited all over the world!

Come join us!

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Wine Jacket Club Goes to Temecula

Ah, here we are last weekend in the wine country a bit north of San Diego. Me and my posse. Oh, it was grand. I joined the wine club at Wilson Creek and found some cool antique candlesticks in Old Town Temecula...and a heart-shaped pillow for a T.C. fundraiser basket I'm donating. (More on this next Thursday..."Something Serious." I'm waiting on the Geek Squad right now and can't upload pix from the camera. Long story...on hubby's laptop right now and he hates me to muck up his equipment LOL.)

And had a marvelous time with my dear, dear friends. We've all been friends (and relatives!) for such a long, long time. We finally decided on a name for our little group: The Wine Jacket Club.

Because...if you've got wine on, you're all warmed up.

After visiting three wineries (ooh la la, the chocolate port!), we got pizza in our hotel room, played "Apples to Apples" and wined it up some more.

A good time was had by all. Next up, next month: Massages.

P.s. So why am I the only one without a sombrero after our yummy Mexican lunch? Because, fortunately LOL, there were only three.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Weekend Recipe: Eggs Margarita

I know, I know. I didn't name this grub and there doesn't seem to be a margarita in the mix, but you can make a pitcher and serve them together! This recipe is from my pal Nancy. She's tried adding lots of different things and says browned sausage is really good, asparagus is good, or add whatever you want to put in. You can make and refrigerate the day before, but it will take longer to bake if straight from the fridge to the oven.

10 eggs
1 lb Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1/2 stick butter, melted
medium container cottage cheese
1/2 cup flour
small or large can diced green chilies

Mix together, Bake 375 degrees, 30-35 minutes.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Writing Retreat: Yee-haw...Silver Spur Ranch, Here I Come!

Well, guess where I'm spending the last days of April and first days of May?

This California girl is heading for Texas! The Silver Spur Ranch in Bandera, outside of San Antone. Writing, plotting, brainstorming, meeting fellow authors. A rodeo and gun show. Wow.

And I'll spend a couple of days afterward, seeing the sites such as the Alamo and River Walk.

It's a writers retreat sponsored by my publisher, The Wild Rose Press and I can't wait. It's a bit of a distance and a little bit of money, but hey, I'm worth it.

I'll be sharing pictures and all the good parts of the retreat a bit later on. But I just had to share my good news!

Stay tuned!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Fillmore (CA) Historic Railroad Featuring Thomas the Train!

Ah, who can resist a trainride? Not me. I've been taking the Amtrak to visit my sister whenever I can. Sure beats hours on Southern California's wretched freeways.

This one, however, wasn't just a train. It was Thomas the Tank Engine. No cardboard cutout, but a real engine built like you-know-who. And I mean built, not just a train wearing a costume.

And boy, oh boy. Did the grandbaby ever have fun with his gramma and grampa!

A day to treasure and hold close in my heart. Wish you could have joined us.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Weekend Recipe: Lemon Drop Martini

The signature drink at our daughter's wedding. Yummo. I'm a lemon-o-holic in the best of times, so it was the perfect drink. And the picture really is one from the wedding.


Lemon Drop Martini

1 1/2 ounces vodka
1/2 ounce orange liqueur (Triple Sec, Grand Marnier, Cointreau, etc.)
1 teaspoon superfine sugar*
3/4 ounce freshly-squeezed lemon juice
Ice cubes
Superfine sugar for dipping
Twisted peel of lemon

Mix the vodka, orange liqueur, sugar, and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice; shake well (supposedly the cocktail is to be shaken 40 times to make sure the sugar is well blended).

Pour strained liquor into sugar-rimmed martini glass and garnish with a twisted peel of lemon.

NOTE: To create a sugar-rimmed glass, take a lemon wedge and rub the drinking surface of the glass so it is barely moist. Dip the edge of the glass into the superfine sugar.

Makes 1 serving.