Friday, September 30, 2016

Last Friday of the Month Recipe Featuring Author Claire Gem's Lasagna Recipe


YUM!  I minute I knew Claire was going to post a Lasagna recipe, my taste buds tingled in anticipation. And when I found lasagne is featured in her latest book, The Phoenix Syndrome, it was  a perfect fit.

Recipe of the Month: Mama’s Homemade Lasagna



Hi Claire, welcome to the blog.  Tell us why you love making this recipe!

Hi, L.A. Thank you so much for hosting me, the timing couldn't be more perfect. This is one of those all-day cooking affairs that usually requires a special occasion—and a crowd to eat it! Although my mother cooked many Italian dishes, I will admit, she didn’t make lasagna often, nor did she have a specific recipe for the dish. So the first time I attempted the feat, I studied numerous recipes, and then came up with my own.

The reason I chose this dish to highlight for Recipe of the Month is because in my new release, The Phoenix Syndrome, (which came out just yesterday!) my heroine Lannie Marvin constructs this “stratified feast” in anticipation of a family dinner with her husband and son. I describe exactly how the kitchen looks after such an endeavor! Then, as Lannie is getting ready to put it in the oven, her son announces he has other plans for dinner and her husband texts from the office to say the same. Lannie considers tossing the entire pan at the wall, but decides to just pour herself a glass of wine and cry instead.

Recipe: Mama’s Homemade Lasagna


1 pkg (lb) lasagna noodles
1 small carton ricotta cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 egg
3 tablespoons dried parsley
2 lbs. shredded mozzarella
1 lb. ground beef
3-4 links Italian sausage, hot or sweet (you choose or mix)
Sauce: you can either make your own favorite homemade sauce, or purchase 1 large jar Prego or Ragu Homestyle or Old World Style.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
If you choose to make the sauce from scratch, begin that early in the day (a recipe for another time ). If not, about 3 hours before dinner time, steam sausage, covered, until done through in a pan with a small amount of water. Then uncover and brown. Remove sausage from pan and brown ground beef until done. Slice sausage into 1/4 inch medallions and mix with drained ground beef.

Beat egg in medium bowl, add ricotta and blend until smooth. Stir in parmesan and parsley. 

Boil large pot of water with 1-2 tablespoons of salt and add 1 Tablespoon of olive oil. Add lasagna noodles, one at a time. Stir often to avoid sticking. Boil 6 minutes only. The noodles will be just starting to get limp. Dump out hot water and fill with cold.

Using a large, deep lasagna pan (needs to be at least 3 inches deep), spray with cooking spray. Coat bottom of pan with about 1/2 cup of the sauce (does not need to be hot at this point). Remove lasagna noodles one at a time, allowing excess water to drain, and place four noodles on the bottom of the pan, overlapping slightly.

Dot noodle layer with dollops of ricotta mixture, smoothing with spoon. Use about 1/3 of the mixture. Add 1/3 of the meat mixture, spreading evenly. Ladle 1/2-3/4 cup of sauce over top, then top with 3/4 cup of mozzarella cheese. Cover with another layer of lasagna noodles.

Repeat twice. Once the top layer of noodles is in place, ladle with sauce to cover lightly, and seal with foil. Place in 375 degree oven for 1 1/2 – 2 hours. Lasagna should be bubbling along the edges and hot in the center. Once this occurs, uncover, spread with 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella and raise oven temp to 400 degrees. Bake an additional 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted and slightly browned.

Allow to cool 15-20 minutes before attempting to slice. Serve with additional sauce, bread, and salad. Mangia!


Short Book Blurb: 
Research technician Lannie Marvin has a very rough birthday. Turning forty is bad enough, but she discovers her husband is leaving her, & then is bitten by an experimental mouse at work. Lannie snaps, taking off to chase her old dream of a music career & her new crush: the drummer of a heavy metal band.

Tristan Allard holds a benefit every year for his late wife, who was also his muse. He's beginning to have doubts about his ability to write the band's music. Plus, he's damn lonely. So when Lannie nearly plows him down at the backstage reception, he's ready to learn more about her--and her long-abandoned dream of music composition.
But reality invades their hot weekend fling, as Tristan is headed back to the UK, & Lannie discovers, to her horror, that the experimental mice have gone deaf.

Buy Links: 
Amazon | Book Trailer


Bio: Claire writes intensely emotional romantic novels. Her vision is to transport her readers into another place and time, creating characters so real, readers miss them when they reach The End. Her heroes are hot, & her heroines strong and brave: a combination producing the spark to fan the flames of your most intense romantic fantasies. Claire's characters are human, just like you & me. They make mistakes, they get clumsy sometimes, & they're not too proud to laugh at themselves & each other.

The keyword here is EMOTION. Big on the *Sigh* factor, Claire's stories aim to hit you straight in the heart and leave you smiling through happy tears.

She writes in two genres: romance w/a ghostly twist, and sexy contemporary. Claire's books are like a thrill ride at a theme park. Whether it's spooky-scary, angst-ridden relationships filled with gut-wrenching turmoil, silly chuckle moments, or hot-flash-inducing sex, Claire guarantees to take you on an emotionally intense romantic journey.

Find Claire: 
Website | Facebook | Twitter





Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Take Five with Author Fran Thomas


It's always a joy to find a new-to-me author. And doesn't the title,The Lady Is A Mayor, pique your interest? It sounds like a fun read. And her answers are a hoot. 

Welcome to An Indie Adventure, Fran Thomas.  Tell us, what inspired you to write your book, The Lady Is a Mayor?

Hi L.A. Thanks for having me as your guest today. I am originally from Pittsburgh and read an article about their electing a new, very young mayor. I wanted to write a romance, so I decided to make my mayor a female to be the protagonist.

What were your experiences as a child or adult that contributed to you becoming a writer?

I have always been an avid reader. As a child, I walked to the library frequently with my mother. She would go into the stacks where the books for adults were shelved and I would have to stay in the children’s room. I think I was about twelve when I was finally allowed to check out a book from the adult section.My first choice was Gone with the Wind.

The first writing I remember doing is the play I co-authored when I was in the fourth grade, mostly so that I could cast myself as one of the leads, I’m afraid. Since then, I have written nonfiction and lots and lots of news releases and publicity material  until now.  This is my first work of fiction.

What is most difficult for you to write?  Characters, conflict or emotions?  Why?

Probably conflict. I am non-confrontational by nature. I often wish I had a magic wand to wave over everyone to give them a happily ever after. Writing lets me do that for my characters. I guess that’s the main attraction.

What is the first thing you do when you begin a new book?

I try to create at least a rough outline of the plot. I am really new to this authoring business, so I am still learning my way around how to proceed.

If you were a TV, film or book character, apart from one you've created, who would you be?  And why?

Harking back to my early library days, I’d want to be Scarlett O’Hara- smart, courageous, and a man-magnet. My real personality is closer to Melanie Wilkes.

Give us a brief summary of The Lady Is a Mayor
A young woman unexpectedly becomes the acting mayor of a small, quirky Florida town when the elected mayor disappears after emptying the town’s bank account. When a handsome northerner arrives with plans to build a hotel, the business owners are for the idea, but the nature lovers are opposed.  My Lady Mayor has to find a way to bring both sides together, save the town, and follow her heart.

Buy:

Bio: I am a native of Pittsburgh now living in a town in Florida not unlike the one I write about. A couple years as the editor of the local newspaper gave me plenty of material to work with. My favorite pastime is singing with a symphonic choral group. I also enjoy watching Dancing with the Stars and Project Runway.

My alter ego is a lot more serious. I have a graduate degree in educational psychology and
have written a couple nonfiction works, one to introduce middle schoolers to career exploration, and the other to help college freshmen understand emotional intelligence. I’m currently teaching a class in academic and career success skills at my local community college for the first time.

Find Fran:


Monday, September 19, 2016

Author Spotlight Featuring Candee Fick's New Release: Dance Over Me


Candee Fick's Latest Release: Dance Over Me

Hi L.A., thanks for having me as your guest today. 
I'm addicted to stories, especially the ones that linger in my imagination long after the final page. Even better are the nuggets that resonate deep inside before they even find a voice. My newest release started as a vivid dream that was fed by a Scripture, then a song, followed by a variety of smaller ideas that gradually wove together into a solid story about a dancer looking for a place to belong...and the God who was working behind the scenes in her life.
It is with great joy that I'm thrilled to finally introduce readers to The Wardrobe Dinner Theatre. Be prepared to experience rousing musical numbers, Big Band trumpet playing, and the rhythm of tap dancing feet along with romance, an adoption reunion, and plenty of backstage diva drama.  I fell in love with this setting and these characters so completely that I've since written a sequel and started work on a third book. How's that for an imagination that won't let go?

Blurb:
Danielle Lefontaine, a fledgling actress raised to the lullaby of Broadway, searches for her long-lost brother and her place on the stage, but a jealous cast member and numerous fruitless leads threaten to drop the curtain on her dreams and shine a spotlight on her longing for a place to belong. 

Meanwhile, Alex Sheridan is living his dream except for someone to share it with. When Dani dances into his life, he hopes he’s found the missing piece to his heart but fears the bright lights of a bigger stage could steal her away.

Will the rhythm of dancing feet usher in their deepest desires or leave them stranded in the wings?


Excerpt:
(Partway into the Prologue)
After introducing herself, Miss Amy put her hand on Dani’s shoulder. “Mrs. Johnson, this is Danielle Barker.”
Dani reached out her hand to Mrs. Johnson the way Mommy had taught her. “Nice to meet you.”
Mrs. Johnson’s hand felt warm as they shook hands. “Welcome to our home.”
“Dani’s joining her brother, Jacob.” Miss Amy squeezed Dani’s shoulder.
“Jacob?” Mrs. Johnson’s face got really white. “He’s gone.”
Gone? That’s what they said about Mommy and Daddy. Dani’s heart stopped beating for a moment and then pounded under her sweater.
“Nobody told us there was a sister. The Wilsons took him home yesterday.” Mrs. Johnson sounded mad.
Dani’s arms tingled and a noise like a waterfall echoed inside her head. “Why did the Wilsons take him?”
The grown-ups got that look like when they forgot kids were listening. Mrs. Johnson pulled them inside the house and shut the door. Miss Amy left to use the telephone. Trembling, Dani stood by the wall. Mrs. Johnson sat on a chair and covered her face with her hands. Down the hallway, music played and children laughed.
After a long time, Miss Amy returned. Her eyes looked sad as she got on her knees in front of Dani. “You’re going to stay here with Mrs. Johnson. But your brother’s being adopted. He has a new family now.”
A new family?
Dani shook her head and tears filled her eyes. No. J. D. was her family. They couldn’t take him away. Not with Mommy and Daddy gone to heaven. She had to take care of him.
She pushed Miss Amy away and screamed.

Chapter 1

Danielle Lefontaine wiped sweaty palms on her short skirt. Auditions always put her off balance.
“Next up. Number seventeen.”
Dani rolled her shoulders once, gave each leg a shake, took a deep breath, and clicked her way up the three steps to the polished hardwood. Approaching center stage, she scanned the house and zeroed in on the older couple seated behind a table on the second level.
“And what will you be showing us this morning?”
Dani’s gaze skipped over the tall woman who’d checked her in earlier and focused on the middle-aged director who was busy rolling a pen between his fingers. She swallowed hard to dissolve the cotton-like feeling in her mouth.
“I’ve prepared a series of tap combinations.” Dani did a quick shuffle step to draw attention to her footwear and break the tension that seemed to have paralyzed her body.
A snort of laughter erupted from an area to the right of the judges’ table.
Dani shifted her gaze to the critic. Female. About her age. The blonde bombshell diva-type leaned over to whisper something in the ear of the dark-haired man beside her as two other women giggled behind them. Based on the logo on their T-shirts, they were part of the theater company and therefore in a position to enjoy watching the auditions without the fear of dashed hopes.
“Do you have accompaniment?” The director rested his chin on folded hands.
“I do.” Heat from the stage lights sent a trickle of sweat down Dani’s back.
“Whenever you’re ready.”
She glanced at the cluster of actors. The diva picked at her nail polish, and the others looked equally bored. Time to let her feet do the talking.
She stepped into position and nodded in the direction of the soundboard on the third level at the back of the room.
Okay, God. Here we go.

Buy: 
Print |  Kindle

Bio:
Candee Fick is the wife of a high school football coach and the mother of three children, including a daughter with a rare genetic syndrome. When not busy with her day job or writing, she can be found cheering on the home team at football, basketball, baseball, and Special Olympics games. In what little free time remains, she enjoys exploring the great Colorado outdoors, indulging in dark chocolate, and savoring happily-ever-after endings through a good book.

Find Candee:

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Five Secrets from Author Patricia Preston




It's my pleasure to reveal Five Secrets From Patricia Preston! She's going to introduce herself in just a second, but I gotta tell you, I'm adopting her motto.
And she has a giveaway. 

Thanks for having me on your blog today, LA! I’m all about living the dream and literally tend to live in a dream world when I’m writing. My motto is be happy, have fun, don’t sweat the small stuff, watch good movies, read good books, and above all, eat plenty of chocolate! 

Patricia, please tell us Five Secrets we may not know about ONE WEEK IN YOUR ARMS or you, but will after today!

1) The writer in me budded early. I wrote my first short story in the sixth grade for a class project. I still remember the teacher told the class that a fellow artistic student who drew monsters and I would both end up in Hollywood. Of course that didn’t happen but it was like a special moment that has always been with me. Teachers can make a difference. I only wish I had a copy of that story now. I would love to see what I wrote. I only remember the title. “Priscilla’s Christmas.” What a winner. BWHAHAHA

2) I had no game plan when I wrote ONE WEEK IN YOUR ARMS. I just decided I wanted to write a contemporary mainstream romance. Thanks to the editor that bought it, it has evolved into a series, Love Heals All, and now I’m working on the third book. By the way, I never have game plans. I just roll with whatever.

3) I love writing different things. I’ve written historicals and I love the epic feel of them. I’ve also written humorous short stories and writing them was such a needed joy at the time because I was a bit depressed at the time. Sometimes I had to quit writing because I had tears from laughing. All my stories have happy endings. They may have some dark moments and drama, but they will end happy.

4) I channel my characters. Like a medium. LOL!!! I especially do it when I’m writing in first person. I have a character, Darlene Higginbottom, in Laid to Rest and she is my redneck Marilyn Monroe wannabe. I was surprised that some readers became fans of hers. People want to know how I change my voice when I write and I have no idea other than the channeling thing.

5) ONE WEEK IN YOUR ARMS will open a new chapter in my life as a writer. I will be writing on this series of stand-alone books throughout 2017. I’m excited about the books, especially the next book, EVERYTHING HIS HEART DESIRES, coming in Jan 2017. Out of all the work I’ve done, this is my favorite. It was a joy to write and for me, that is the most important thing. Enjoying the process. I don’t know what will be next after these books but new chapters are always exciting, so we’ll see!


Blurb
:  
IT STARTED WITH A FLING...

Six years ago, ambitious med student Marla Grant gave into temptation with a gorgeous man. Now a busy doctor and a loving single mom, the only thing that matters to Marla more than her adorable daughter is the Lafayette Falls Community Clinic. When its funding is threatened, Marla is determined to find out why until she learns the person responsible is none other than the powerful, persuasive man of her long ago fling and the unsuspecting father of her child...

Carson Blackwell has never forgotten bright, beautiful Marla. When he discovers that she runs the clinic his grandmother's foundation funds, it's the perfect chance to put an end to his ongoing infatuation and use his leverage to cement a new business deal. He needs a fake girlfriend for one week in Hawaii, and Marla is just the woman for the job. It's a win-win situation until they realize the attraction between them isn't feigned and the heat has never died down. Only the secrets they're both keeping stand in the way of a future together and a love that could last a lifetime.
  
Buy Links:

Author Bio:
Patricia Preston writes fun, passionate romances with a feel-good atmosphere where love matters most. Currently, she has a new series coming from Kensington Books starting in September. The series, Love Heals All, features some amusing characters and single doctors from the town of Lafayette Falls, Tennessee where love creates plenty of havoc and happiness. 

She also loves the French Quarter in New Orleans and she has a wonderful romantic historical adventure, To Save a Lady, set in the Quarter in 1814 available on Amazon as well as a Western novella, Almost an Outlaw, set during the week of Jesse James's wedding.

Besides romantic fiction, she writes funny Southern short stories.

Please visit her website, www.patricia-preston.com, for more information about her books and sign up for her newsletter. Represented by the Seymour Agency, she has won the William Faulkner Award for Short Fiction, the Lone Star Writing Competition for Historical Romance, and Harlequin’s World’s Best Romances Short Story Competition.

Besides writing, she loves visiting historical sites and homes, photography, movies, clearance sales, flea markets and getting together with writing pals. She’s a fangirl of the Walking Dead and Supernatural.

Find Patricia:

**Giveaway**
I’m celebrating the coming of fall and the release of ONE WEEK IN YOUR ARMS by giving away a batch of my Kindle ebooks and a $20 Amazon gift card. You can enter by leaving a comment and email address on this blog and add extra entries by going to my Giveaway post on my blog: http://patricia-preston.blogspot.com/2016/09/celebrating-release-day-for-one-week-in.html  Drawing will be on Sept 30th. Winner notified via email and posted on my blog.


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Take Five and Meet Karen M. Bryson ~ Writing As USA Today Bestselling Author Dakota Madison



Today I have the pleasure of introducing a new-to-me author to the blog. 
You all know I love finding new authors to read!
And wait until you see her "other" job.  Read on...


Welcome to An Indie Adventure, Karen M. Bryson.  Tell us, what inspired you to write your book The Killer in You?
Thank you, L.A., for having me as a guest on your blog!
I was born and raised in New Jersey, and was a huge fan of the television show The Sopranos. I wondered if I could make a light “mob romance” work as part of my Love in Midlife series (writing as USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR Dakota Madison). That’s how the idea for THE KILLER IN YOU was born.
If you were not a writer, what vocation would you pursue?
I’m not a writer all the time! I also work full-time as a psychology professor at a small liberal arts university.

Do you prefer to read in the same genre you write in, or do you avoid reading that genre?  Why?

I read a lot of romance novels because I enjoy them, but I also read in other genres and non-fiction as well.

How do you create internal and external conflict in your characters?  I find conflict often the hardest to create when I start planning a book.

For me the best thing to do is set up an initial circumstance is which is seems unlikely the characters will ever get together. In THE KILLER IN YOU a mob underling falls for the mob boss’s wife. That’s a dangerous thing to do!

Here are some other examples. In AFTER ALEX DIED, I asked the question, could a young woman fall for one of the bullies who caused her brother to kill himself if she met him several years later?

In THE NINES, I asked the question, could a young man, who was severely injured in a school bombing, fall for the sister of the bomber?

With very strong setups like these the conflict comes automatically out of initial circumstance.

If you could live during any era of history, which one would you choose?

I wrote a children’s time travel adventure that brought them back to the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. I always thought that would be exciting to see.


Give us a brief summary of THE KILLER IN YOU:
Falling in love with your boss's wife is never a good idea, especially when you're a mobster.

Mia Corrado can't remember the last time she had sex with her husband, Nicky. He's been preoccupied with his job as the head of New Jersey's most powerful crime family, and all of the wild oats he sows on the side. 

When Nicky tells Mia he's too busy to attend her college reunion, and wants to send one of his underlings to accompany her, Mia is completely fed up.

Until she discovers it is Luka Russo who will be escorting her. He's handsome, charming and sensitive, definitely not the typical mobster.

Mia is completely captivated by him.

And Luka is just as smitten with Mia.

But if they act on their feelings for each other Luka may end up sleeping with the fishes.

Buy Links:

Bio:
Karen M. Bryson writes new adult, love in midlife, and contemporary romance with a little spice and lots of heart. She is a winner of the prestigious RONE Award for Excellence in the Indie and Small Publishing Industry.

Karen is also an award-winning/optioned screenwriter.

When she's not at her computer creating new stories, Karen enjoys spending time with her husband and their bloodhounds.

Karen writes under the pen names SAVANNAH YOUNG, SIERRA AVALON, REN MONTERREY and USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR DAKOTA MADISON.

Find Karen: 


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