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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Look What's Cooking

Since Easter is coming up I thought I'd share a dessert recipe with you. It's good, and it's also easy to take to Grandma's house when you get together. My family always has an Easter picnic so I'm considering this cake. It's good with strawberries and whipped cream on it! Enjoy.

The picture was taken in 2003 when my granddaughter and I were making the cake to take with us on vacation. The picture was taken before I got my new Kitchen Aid mixer. The one you see in the picture belonged to my father who could rival any baker you ever saw.

Pound Cake

1 ½ cups Crisco or butter
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
3 ¾ cups all purpose flour
¾ cup self rising flour
1 ½ cup milk
2 Tbsp. vanilla

Cream Crisco and sugar 10 minutes. Add eggs, then flavoring, milk, and flour. Grease and flour tube pan. Bake at 325 for 1 ½ hours.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Paranormal Readers Take Note

Are there any paranormal readers in the house? If so, you're in for a treat. Let's welcome paranormal author Liz Strange.

1.Liz, tell us a little about yourself and your writing.

I am a single mother of four, living in the beautiful city of Kingston, Ontario. By day I work as a secretary at a local hospital, and by night I write about all things fantastic, frightening and paranormal. I enjoy reading mysteries, paranormal romance, fantasy and horror.

2.Your upcoming release is a paranormal romance. What attracted you to this genre?

I love having a few scares in my romances, and I am a nut for anything about vampires. So I thought I’d try and combine some of my favourite genres into one series, and hopefully the end result is enjoyable for the reader.

3.Okay, I can't resist. As a paranormal writer are you on Team Jacob or Team Edward?

Edward of course! I’m not a big fan of werewolves or shifters.

4.How did you celebrate your first contract offer?

First thing I did was jump out of my seat and screech. Then I took my kids out for dinner.

5.What is your favorite scene from your new book?

My favourite scene is the main character’s change. I love how sensual and yet still cringe-worthy it turned out!

6.If you could meet any author in the world who would it be? Why?

Oh, that’s a hard one. From the past I’d have to go with Oscar Wilde, since he was such a character and entertainer. In the modern day I’d love to chat with Anne Rice, Clive Barker, Tanya Huff or Sue Grafton.

7.Where can we find you on the web?

You can check out my website at:
Author Profile:
The Dark Kiss Trilogy Fanpage:!/liz.strange?ref=profile

8.Would you share an excerpt from your book with us? Be sure to tell us where we can buy it.

The book will be available as an an e-book on March 15th and in print July 1st. It will be available through the publisher at : and will be on Amazon, many other sites and in bookstores.

Here’s a small excerpt:

He looked back to my solemn face. “We shouldn’t feed here.”

“I don’t want to feed yet,” I said. “I want you.”

With smooth, feline grace he came to the bed, his coat dropping to the floor. Slowly he removed his clothing until he was standing completely naked before me. I wrapped my arms around his waist, and licked along his bare stomach. His hands found my arms, and he gently raised me to my feet. Slowly, teasingly he removed my clothing, kissing me deeply between each item. By the time I was undressed I was shaking with need. I throbbed with the desire to have him inside me.

We fell back against the bare mattress, with no need for words. His urgency met mine as he pushed himself inside my body. I cried out. He took his time, savouring each kiss, each thrust. This time there was no violence, no painful memories to flash over my pleasure. We were lost to each other. I drank in ecstasy from his body, and love and desire from his mind. It was a connection so intensely intimate and primal I knew there could only ever be him.

Thanks for stopping by, Liz. Your book sounds perfect.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Retro Renovation

A few years ago in Lenox, Mass., a lady by the name of Pam Kueber bought a 1951 colonial ranch house that needed some renovations. She had already renovated a Victorian house in period detail, so she set out to do the same thing in her new home. Hmm. Where do you go to find either vintage or vintage reproduction items? And what are we talking about when we talk about the 1950’s? Pink bathrooms? Flamingos? Steel kitchen cabinets?

Pam spent a lot of time researching fifties design, and to her surprise she found a lot of nice vintage items on the market. She also found companies that reproduce fifties wall and floor covering and other items.

Realizing that a lot of people lived in similar homes, Pam started a blog called Retro Renovation and told about her renovation experience. People sat up and started to take notice. Readers sent pictures and their own renovation stories. Suddenly, people realized that a retro renovation was exactly what their own homes needed. Some shed tears that back in the day they ripped out some features they’d kill for now.

Her blog has lots about modest, mid-century, middle-class homes as well as the ‘mid- century modern’ designs that usually make the pages of sleek design magazines. Pam even added a forum where people can buy and sell mid-century items.

I came across the blog by accident when I was playing around on the computer. You know how one click leads to another… Anyway, the first time I saw the blog I was fascinated. I remembered some of those things she had pictured. They were in my mother’s house when I was a child.

I didn’t plan on going back, but next day there I was reading the new post and looking at pictures. Did the same thing the next day too. And most every day since then because my own home fits right in. I live in a 1962 split level which has a few original features but not many because I ripped them out. What did I rip out? Oh, some wallpaper, bathroom tile, one bathroom, a brown kitchen (I think they called it copper.), and a light fixture that people would kill to have. On the positive side, I kept the original bathroom fixtures and kitchen cabinets as well as some of the light fixtures.

My kitchen is up for a remodel this summer. I had a modern design in mind, but you know what? It really wouldn’t match my home’s style. I’m thinking now that I’ll check out some of those resources on Pam’s blog and do a retro renovation myself.

Last Friday Pam spoke at the Charlotte Southern Spring Home and Garden Show. Charlotte’s only two hours from where I live so my husband and I drove up to listen to her. A lot of her fans did the same thing. One lady came from Charleston, SC; two more from Atlanta, and one even drove from Philadelphia! Pam was so gracious and so much fun. We all had our picture made with her and went back home inspired to chase those retro decorating gods until our homes looked as wonderful as they did the day they were completed.

Pam’s blog is located at She also has a companion blog called Save the Pink Bathroom which you can access from the retrorenovation site. (At Charlotte the audience stood up and took a pledge to save pink bathrooms. Not a problem for me. I love pink bathrooms and put pink tile in my powder room years ago. Do check out her blog, and tell her Elaine sent you.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Welcome Fran Shaff

Today's guest is award winning author Fran Shaff. Fran has a new book coming out in March from Wings ePress, and she's here today to talk about it and her writing career. Welcome, Fran. Thanks for coming. I do have a couple of questions to ask you.

1.Tell us how you got involved in writing. Did you always dream of being an author?

While I have always had an interest in writing, I more or less dabbled in it without a clear focus for years. I looked upon it as more hobby than anything else. It's importance was way down on my list behind all responsibilities.

Then my cousin, a clergyman, told me if God gives us a talent, we should use it. Those words changed my entire outlook. I began to make writing my focus. I studied, wrote and researched constantly. Within a couple of years of that change of attitude, I had my first book contract from Avalon Books of New York. I dedicated that book to my inspiring cousin.

2.How do you think being a published author has changed you?

While being a published author hasn't changed me as a person, I do get a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment every time I hear from readers who have enjoyed my books. Thank you, Readers!

3.What do you think makes a book a page turner?

Great characters make or break a book. If a reader REALLY cares about the characters, she won't be able to put the book down. How many readers would have plugged along through books as long as Gone With the Wind if they didn't just have to know what would happen next with Scarlet O'Hara?

4.To date, which one of your books was hardest to write? Why?

"A Partner's Promise" was the book that gave me the most difficulty. It went through many transformations before I finally finished. "A Partner's Promise" is a young peoples' novel about an eleven-year-old homeless boy who is forced to take the orphan train from New York to Iowa in order to avoid going to jail for stealing a loaf of bread.

"A Partner's Promise" received an EPPIE nomination for young peoples' literature which I really appreciate. Even more rewarding have been the wonderful comments I've received from young people, teachers and parents. "A Partner's Promise" was definitely worth the years of work it took me to write it.

5.To date, which is your favorite book? That you've written, I mean.

When it comes to favorites, I am torn between "For Love of Maggie" and "The Trading Game."

"For Love of Maggie," which won the Write Touch Readers Award, More than Magic Award and a CataRomance Reviewers' Choice Award is the book closest to my heart. "Maggie" is a little girl with Down Syndrome who reminds me very much of my sister who also has Down Syndrome. The heroine, who is her mother, and the hero present different societal attitudes of children with handicaps. These attitudes are reconciled in heart-felt ways during the story. "For Love of Maggie," a contemporary sweet romance, will be in reprint beginning in July, 2010.

"The Trading Game" is another young peoples' novels. The characters in this story make it a favorite of mine. Set in the late 1890s it's a story about two eleven-year-old girls from opposite ends of the economic spectrum discovering the importance of love and family. I am in awe of the courage the poverty-stricken Lacey has in facing the horrible things life has given her. And I can't help but want to throttle spoiled, rich Salina, her polar opposite. Any story which evokes strong emotions like this one does, is going to be a favorite to me.

6.What future goals have you set for yourself?

I hope to keep on writing, and I hope readers who continue to enjoy my work.

7.Where can we find you on the web?

My main website is located at:

I hope your readers will join me at Twitter where, beginning in March, I will be having "Tidbit Tuesdays" and "Website Wednesdays" on a weekly basis. Fellow writers will be interested in a big event I'll be having on Twitter on April 10 at 10 a.m. Central time---100 Writer Tip Tweets in 100 minutes on the 100th day of the year.

I'm also on MySpace, Facebook, JacketFlap and LinkedIn.

Readers can reach me by e-mail at

My books are in libraries and at,,, and other places on the Internet.

8.Would you share an excerpt from one of your books with us? Don't forget to tell us where we can buy it.

MONTANA MAGIC is a March, 2010 contemporary sweet romance e-book from Wings ePress. It is a fun read with the sweetest happy ending... I don't have a link to Fictionwise or other Internet sites yet so I'll just give the publishers link for purchase information.

Buy link:


Deanna Worthington spends her respite in Montana working on her Master’s thesis until C.R. Whitmore convinces her that all work and no play makes her life a bit too dull.

Below is an excerpt. To find more excerpts, go to:

CR shows Deanna around the ranch....

A few miles from the ranch yard stood a cliff among the rocky ground. When they reached it, C.R. suggested they dismount and look at the view.

Deanna was pleased to be getting off the horse. They’d ridden for miles, and she wasn’t used to it. She was beginning to hurt all over.

“Are you okay?” he asked. “You’re walking like you’re a little stiff.”

“Don’t be silly,” she said, keeping her gaze on the view before her, “I’m perfectly fine.”

He walked with her to the edge of a cliff. “What do you think?”

Her breath caught in her throat as she beheld the scenic rolling hills before her. “I think you should have brought me here first. I’ve never seen anything so truly beautiful in my life. Have you?” she said enthusiastically as she turned to look up at him.

His Adam’s apple quivered, and he cupped her cheek with his hand. “I think the view from this part of the ranch is absolutely breath taking, but it’s like a trash heap compared to your beauty, Deanna.”

His unexpected touch and the tone of his words nearly stopped her heart. It took her a long moment to regain her ability to speak.

“Cade, don’t,” she said, pushing his hand away from her cheek.

“You are beautiful. I don’t see a thing wrong with telling you so.”

She turned away from him. “It’s not what you say; it’s how you say it. And it’s the look in your eyes when you say such things.” She looked up at him. “Just don’t, okay?”

He stared down at her intently. “The look in my eyes? The tone in my voice? I don’t know what you think you see in my eyes or what you think you hear in my voice, Deanna, but I don’t mean anything more than what I say.” He touched her chin with his finger. “You are beautiful.”

She batted his hand away. “You said it again with that same intonation and that same look in your eyes.”

“What tone? What look?”

“That look you give me when you say I am beautiful. It makes me think you might be falling in love or into infatuation or something like that.” She shook her head vigorously. “I don’t want a relationship with you.”

He lifted his shoulders and his hands at the same time. “Who said anything about a relationship?” He put his hands by his sides. “I thought we were friends. I hoped we could have some fun together.”

“We haven’t been acting like we are merely friends, C.R. If we were only friends we wouldn’t have been kissing like we were at Catherine’s the last time we were alone together, and you wouldn’t have taken me into your arms the way you did back at Becky’s today. Friends don’t indulge in the passion we were a part of in both of those instances.”

The look of confusion he’d shown her a moment before was quickly replaced by a rakish smile. “Sometimes they do,” he said casually.

“You’re a frustrating man.”

“Come on, Deanna,” he said, putting his hand on her forearm. “You don’t hate me. And I don’t think you want to spend all of your time cooped up at Catherine’s ranch taking care of children and working on your thesis anymore than I want to spend all of my time working on the ranch. We’re both young. Let’s have some fun. There isn’t a whole lot to do here socially, but Carington does have dances, movies and a restaurant or two. They’ve even got a golf course and a brand new bowling alley. Wouldn’t you like to go out and kick up your heels once in a while?”

She gave him a perplexed look. “Is that really what you want, C.R., just a little fun?”

“Yes,” he said.

She bit her lip and thought a moment before she responded. “After you kissed me back at Catherine’s you told me you hoped we would grow to care more and more for each other. That didn’t sound to me like you were looking only for a casual relationship. It sounded rather serious.”

“So that’s why you’ve been putting me off every time I’ve called you since then?” The look that flooded his eyes seemed a reflection of guilt. “If that’s what I said, then I was wrong to make such a statement. I know you’re here for only a few weeks or months at the most, Deanna. I don’t expect anything from you outside of friendship and fun.”


He gazed at her intently. “Deanna, I understand you’ve been hurt in the past.” He cupped her cheek. “I’m not Greg. I won’t make you fall in love with me and hurt you the way he did. I’d die before I’d ever hurt you.”

As his words sank into her heart she decided, perhaps, she could trust him. Maybe the two of them could have a casual relationship of dating and fun.

And if they indulged in kisses and caresses from time to time, what was the harm in that? After all, they were normal, healthy, young adults, weren’t they? It was their right to enjoy each other in every way they wanted.

“I believe you, C.R.,” Deanna said.

In the next moment she surprised him as much as she surprised herself.

She rose on tiptoes, put her hands around his neck and drew him close so she could kiss him.

She loved kissing him, so why shouldn’t she kiss him?

He took her into his arms, and she knew at once she was right where she wanted to be.

For now.


Read more excerpts at:

Fran, thanks for coming. Your book sounds wonderful. In fact, all of them do. Come back any time.