Posts tagged with: Jeanne Adams

Welcome to Haven Harbor – an Anthology!

hhsneakpeekHey everyone!  I am so psyched to introduce my co-conspirators in an anthology set in my Witches Walk world!!  I had wanted to reveal the final cover art, but alas, it’s still in process with some last minute tweaks.  However, here’s a sneak peek!!

That said, WELCOME TO HAVEN HARBOR! 

The anthology will feature five fabulous stories by amazing authors – and all set in the world I created in The Witches Walk.  

The anthology is set to come out October 20th, just in time fofb-logo-3r my favorite holiday!

A you know, if you’ve read the blurb for – or read the book – The Witches Walk takes place in the fictional town of Haven Harbor, Massachusetts.  This lovely New England town is the home of the renegade witches who fled Salem prior to the infamous Witch Trials.

The Witches Walk takes place during the annual Walk which recreates the flight of those renegades.  During Witches Walk, it’s September, at the Solstice…perfect!  Now…We move to my favorite season…drumroll please….HALLOWEEN!!

All the Welcome to Haven Harbor novellas have an October setting, and most finihh-ellensh at the annual Haven Harbor Halloween Ball.  Grins.

You just KNEW I had to do that, right?  This is me we’re talking about, the Halloween Queen.  Bwahahahah!!

So in this fun new anthology in Haven Harbor, you’ll meet Ellen Dugan’s Gypsy at Heart, Nilah.  There’s some Romany mischief with Madame Sabina’s granddaughter and you won’t want to miss it…  (She’s posted a quick blurb on her Facebook page, so go check it out!!)hh-barb

Then you’ll meet Bandita Donna’s Chelsea, in Hollywood Ghost – and for those of you who loved Donna’s Bound By Moonlight, you’re in for a treat!!

Frequent Bandit Lair guest, bestselling and amazing historical author, Barbara Devlin, is taking her first venture into the modern-day with Magic, Straight Up.  This is one couple who’ve got the best mix ever and they’re having fun shaking up Haven Harbor!

Rae Latte is joining us with Stirring His Interest.  This is Rae’s debut novella, and we’re all looking forward to her hero, who’s a pastry chef…yum!!

hh-raeAnd last but not least, I’ll be entertaining you with Adele and Dan’s story, A Midnight Promise.  As I wrote Witches Walk, Dan and Adele kept popping up.  I just knew they had to have a story, but I wasn’t sure they could carry a whole book.  So…here you go!

These fabulous collages are done by Ellen Dugan, and this one gives you some hints about Librarian Dan and Adele, the town Vet!  Grins.

I’ll be traveling today, so I won’t be able to check in on the blog as much as I’d like to, but feel free to comment and I’ll check in and answer when I can.  I hope you’ll leave a hello, as I’ll pull three people’s names (randhh-jpaomly, of course) for a copy of The Witches Walk!

So, what’s your favorite way to carve a pumpkin – scary, silly, not at all, fancy faces/patterns?

Have you ever used a pattern to carve a pumpkin in a fancy way?

How many jack-o-lanterns do you carve each year?

Do you use real pumpkins or do you have the cool foam ones that you can carve?

The Witches Walk is HERE!!! C’mon to the Launch Party!

fb-logo-3It’s here!  It’s here!

The Witches Walk, my latest story, is finally here!  It’s up on Amazon, Nook, iBooks and Kobo.  Walk…har,har,har, don’t run…no wait…RUN and get it!  Then come back here to the Lair and snuggle into one of the well-worn, soft and comfy reading chairs, grab a drink from Sven or Paolo or one of the Hockey Hunks and enjoy!

What’s your drinking pleasure?  Just for the occasion, Sven’s got a special Witches Walk punch in the big Cauldron over there.  There are witch-hat, broom, and black cat cookies.  Sven made pumpkin bread, pumpkin and chocolate slice, a pumpkin-shaped banana bread bundt cake with orange icing.  I tell you, the man’s been baking for DAYS.

There’s also all the usual delicious beverages.  Wine?  How about Vampire Fang Merlot?  Or maybe a smoking cauldron shooter?  Grins.  He’s taken the theme to the limit, I assure you.

Oh, and the cobwebs are not real.  Snork!  (Really, did you think Sven had slacked off in keeping this place up, even though most of us are spending our waking hours writing?  Oh, no.  Clean as a whistle and no real spiders allowed!)

Some of the Witches from Haven Harbor are going to drop by later.  If you had a chance, what would you askwwlogo a witch?  I assure you, most are just like you and me – baseball moms, carpool drivers, executives, clerks, and so on – and I’ve seen very few with warts or fangs.  Grins.  That’s the basis of The Witches Walk.  Real people who live real lives, and just happen to have a little extra whammy.  Ha!

You got to read an excerpt the other day, but I’ll pick three winners at the end of the day, to get a free copy of The Witches Walk!!

So…

If you could have one power, like the witches in Haven Harbor, what would you choose?  Talking to Ghosts? Seeing the future? Influencing the weather? Reading the cards, the runes or the scrying mirror? Growing herbs and plants for spells?  Or something completely different?

masquerade-ball-gownsIf you were throwing a Gala, what would you wear?  Pull a cool picture of your ideal dress and put it in your comments!

Who would your idea date be for a Gala at the end of the Witches Walk?

And, last but not least….COME BACK TOMORROW FOR MORE ANNOUNCEMENTS!!

Come….Walk with the Witches of Haven Harbor!!

Well, its been a while, but I’m finally ready to release a new book!  What, you say?  A new BOOK???  It feels like it’s been ages since Banditas Suz and Nancy and I released Capitol Danger – but wow, between the first Woman Candidate and all the brou-ha-ha, we were hot on the trail of current events with Capitol Danger, weren’t we??

But back to the NEW BOOK!!!  I was supposed to have this cover reveal last week, on my regular day of September 8.  But alas, my hard drive crashed.  **Wince**  I have such a love/hate relationship with computers, don’t you?  Arrrrrgh!!

But I’m back online and rarin’ to show you what I’ve been up to!  I’m so excited, as I said. Here’s the fabulous cover by designer Lyndsey Lewellen!  Don’t you just love it?  It’s so atmospheric and fun.  The story is set in the fictional town of Haven Harbor, Massachusetts…

Here, the blurb tells it better than I could.

thewitcheswalkfinalWelcome to Haven Harbor, Massachusetts!
In 1691, a group of renegade witches fled Salem in the dark of night, escaping the desperate evil that spawned the Witch Trials. They struck out to form their own town, with their own rules. Three hundred years later, their descendants celebrate by retracing those steps, but this year, a new evil stalks the Witches Walk…

It’s Time for The Witches Walk!

She’s got a plan. Burned out, beaten down, and on the brink of a career implosion, event management dynamo Mari Beecham bypasses the contract of a lifetime to take a job in a community known for its strange, spooky happenings. She doesn’t buy into the story line about the witches founding the town, but it’s great publicity. Bottom line? If she can make the annual Witches Walk a top destination event, she’ll save her career and, maybe, find some balance. She’ll do it, too, if “First Son of Haven Harbor” Peregrine Hestworth will stop interfering.

He’s in her way. As Town Council chair, Pere is serious about the safety and welfare of his people. He doesn’t want to like Mari. Even if he didn’t suspect his meddlesome mother of weaving a matchmaking spell, he still would have voted against hiring the petite whirlwind with a spine of steel. His visions of fire and death moving to Haven Harbor along with Mari are too deadly to ignore.

As trouble brews and the event stalls, the attraction between Mari and Pere bubbles like a cauldron. When a woman is attacked, and another disappears, Pere knows his unreliable foresight has hit the mark this time. An old evil is rising, with a new vendetta, and if they can’t work together, the devastation Pere foresees will take his town, along with the woman he’s coming to love.

The Witches Walk
A Haven Harbor Romance, Book 1

I’m so excited about this story.  It was fun to write and all my beta readers have said that I surprised them.  Ifacebook-icon LOVE doing that!!  Here’s a little excerpt from the beginning chapters of the book.  Mari is settling in to the Walk office, and Pere Hestworth stops by to make a little trouble….The current Walk director, Gus Wilkerson is trying to make Mari uncomforatble enough to leave, and he’s furious that she and the Town Council have authorized and audit of the Walk’s books. Carol is the Walk secretary. Ready? Here goes!

“Oh, hey, Ms. Beecham?” Carol hurried over as she came out of the ladies room, anxious to impart her news. “Mr. Gus had to leave. Something about his one of his other businesses, you know, the No Colds Barred Urgent Care Centers? He has a couple, and the U-Store-It and the car wash too. Anyway, he said he’d meet you here tomorrow morning, nine sharp. Um, if that suits you, of course.”
The last had been added for her benefit, Mari was sure. She’d lay odds Gus had said no such thing.
“Thank you Carol, and please, call me Mari. Save the Ms. Beecham for when the sponsors show up. Otherwise, we’re working this together, right? You’ve got a lot to teach me, and I’m ready to learn.”
Carol straightened, and her nervous hand twisting disappeared.
“I thought you’d be mad,” she blurted, then blushed. “That he left.” She blushed even more. “And then he gave Ms. Geneva your office.”
Mari made a snap decision, based on that look in the office. “Power play,” she stated and watched Carol’s eyes widen.
“Really?”
Mari just smiled, letting the young woman work it out. Gus wanted to give her a thimbleful of information, then deny her any more until he was ready to dole it out. Damned if she’d let that stop her.
“Let’s get some lunch,” she suggested. They invited Geneva along, but she demurred, waving at two dusty boxes. “If I can get through these first two years today, I’ll have made progress.”
Still wide-eyed at being invited, Carol walked with her to the nearby deli. They came back to the office to eat. In that short hour, Mari got more information from a bubbling, enthusiastic Carol than she’d gotten in nearly three hours with Gus.
“Time for more meet-n-greet,” Mari said when they finished. She slipped her purse out of her briefcase along with her car keys. “I’ll be back before you leave at five. I’m going to stop at Lydia Webb’s shop, then drive out to Mr. Hestworth’s Micro Mechanics Gaming Company to see the Walk’s end point.”
“I’ll wait till you get back then,” Carol said with a smug look of her own, turning back to her desk, “before I lock up and all.”
“Sound’s good,” Mari said. “I’ve got meetings in Boston tomorrow with Boston Chamber, and with the Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce people. Their promotions committee is having a dinner and they invited me.”
Carol looked shocked. “They’ve never asked Mr. Gus to come to Boston.”
“Gus didn’t run an event at the Fogg Museum for four hundred of the country’s top CEO’s. I made some friends in Boston last time I was here.”
“Wow.” Carol’s grin about split her face. “That is majorly awesome.”
“Yeah, it was pretty cool. And on that happy note, I’ll head out.”
Mari turned to the door and ran right into the solid, sexy form of Peregrine Hestworth.

Visions of smoke, fire and blood assaulted him the minute Marisol Beecham’s hands hit his chest. Off balance and startled, her attempt to back away warred with the forward motion of her pivot, leaving them both stumbling, and with her nearly helpless in his arms.
He smelled expensive perfume and lush, powerful woman. It reinforced the echo of the vision’s smoky warning.
fb-logo-3What the hell?
The hint of foresight passed as quickly as it had come, as they all did, leaving him breathless and hyperaware of the woman in his arms. She was a tidy package of femininity and force. Fairly petite, she’d emphasized her gorgeous legs with stylish heels and a slim skirt. He didn’t know what the fashion was called, but it made the most of every curve.
His body’s instant reaction to her shape, and scent could be chalked up to recent celibacy, he was sure. Still, she was attractive with a wealth of dark hair and snapping dark eyes.
“I beg your pardon, Mr. Hestworth,” she said, untangling herself and pushing away. It wasn’t a shove, but it was a sure warning that she stood on her own two feet.
“No, I should be begging yours, Ms. Beecham,” he replied, and enjoyed the confusion that washed over her mobile features. “I brought you these,” he dangled a ring of keys, shiny and newly cut, between them.
“And these are?”
“Oh!” Carol, who had come to the door when she saw them collide, interrupted, pointing at the keys. “The office, the four temporary storage spaces over at the U-Store-it, the supply closet, and,” she frowned and came forward to tap the last brass key on the ring. “What’s this one? Is that to the big closet in Mr. Gus’s office?”
“It is,” Pere confirmed, resisting the urge to ruffle Carol’s hair as he had when she was younger. She’d hate him for treating her like a kid so he smiled, and nodded his approval. “Keen eye, Carol. Ms. Beecham, you had asked to look at all the financial records, as well as the list of vendors from the past couple of years. Has Gus gotten you those?”
“Yes and no. While I did see the modified version that was used for the Request for Proposal, I’d like to see the final you actually used.” It surprised him that she turned to Carol with the explanation. “Looking at the financials will tell me where we can maximize profits, looking at vendor lists can tell me who’s come before that we might entice back.”
He caught the undercurrent of excitement from Carol. Marisol Beecham had somehow managed to see what few others had, that Carol was brilliant, but it was overshadowed by her need to please and her nervous fear of doing the wrong thing. Pere had tried to hire her at MicroMechanics, thinking some of his staff could encourage her, but Carol had stubbornly clung to her position at the Walk office.
“Ah, that seems…logical.” Carol said the last bit almost as a question.
“I think it will prove to be, if the records are good.”pumpkin-carvings
“I’ve asked Gus to be sure you have them before the end of the week.” Pere approved her proposed methodology. “The records are a good place to start. How was your morning? Did you find everything you needed?”
Puzzled by the almost fearful look Carol shot Marisol’s way, he frowned. “Office not to your liking?”
“The auditor is using the second office at this point. She’s in there now with the first two years of the Walk’s records, so I’ll take them next. Is that the office you meant?” Marisol inquired with a tilt of her dark head. He could see something in her eyes, but whether it was temper or amusement, he couldn’t tell.
“She’s using your office?” he said, going around her to open the door to the office behind them after a brief knock.
Obviously her look had been suppressed temper, because his own temper flared in an instant at the sight of the box-filled room and the startled looking woman who sat at the desk now covered with stacks of paper in manila file folders.
“Good afternoon,” he said, modulating his irritation to a smile. No need to antagonize the woman just because he was pissed with Gus.
“Well hello,” she said, with a surprised note in her voice. “You must be Mr. Hestworth.”
They exchanged introductions and pleasantries, with her assessing him the whole time. Everyone expected him to be older, or weirder, given that he ran a gaming company. It irked him, but he let it pass. He’d had a full plate of that throughout his morning meetings regarding a buyout. He’d escaped as fast as he could, using the keys and the Walk as an excuse.
“I’ll let you get back to it then, Geneva,” he said, using the given name she’d encouraged him to use. “Thank you for being here.”
“Of course, I’m happy to help,” she said, smiling as she sat back down. She might be surprised at his age or his lack of gamer-vibe, but she was serious about her own work. He was pretty sure she’d already forgotten his presence before the door shut.
“Damn it,” he growled as he turned to the two women watching him. “Carol, where’s Gus?”
“Uh, he’s gone, Mr. Hestworth, had something at No Colds that needed his attention he said.”
“He left while I was in the ladies room,” Marisol added, that same tilt to her head, that same watching gaze. Now, he realized, she was waiting to see if he was on her side, or on Gus’s team, since he hadn’t voted for her.
“Idiot,” he murmured, turning away from the door. He shot a look Carol’s way. “Don’t repeat that, Carol.”
Mutely, she shook her head, shifting her nervous gaze from him to Marisol and back again.
“This is ridiculous.” He tapped a finger on his chin, then stopped when he recognized the habit again, one he’d adopted from his father. A solution occurred to him, and he snapped his fingers, making Carol jump. “Perfect. Carol, get Truett Powers on the phone, please.”
“The space next door?” Carol said, going on alert. He nodded, appreciating her quick jump to understanding what he’s decided on the spur of the moment.
“Exactly. Then, call Marcus.” When Carol looked puzzled, he added, “Tell him he’s got a job waiting over here, and to call me for confirmation.”
Carol cocked her head to one side for a moment, an imitation of Marisol’s waiting pose. It was such an obvious hero-worship move that he had to repress a grin. True to form, Carol got his plan within seconds.
“Oh,” she said, glee echoing in her voice. “I get it. Mr. Powers to rent, Marcus to renovate. Should I call your main office or mobile?”
“Mobile. Thanks. Now,” he said, turning to Marisol. “I heard you say you say you were headed out to MicroMechanics after visiting Lydia’s place. Mind reversing the order? I’ll get you back before Lydia closes.”
“That would be fine.” He could practically see her running possible scenarios in her mind. But all she said was, “Where is Mr. Power’s space?”
Before he answered, Carol piped up. “Over on that side, back of the conference room. It’ll make a great office for you for now, and storage, and a second conference room, and then, uh, maybe for an assistant next year.” The last bit came out in a rush and Pere caught a glimpse of Carol’s ambition. Gus would never have considered an assistant, or given a thought to Carol as a candidate.
Interesting.
“Ah, I see,” was all Mari Beecham allowed. He was pretty sure she did see, both the politics and Carol’s hopes. He hoped Mari took his immediate action to solve the problem as him being on her side.
He was. Sort of.

 

So?  What do you think??? 

I finally wrote a Jeanne-Halloween-y story!  Let’s celebrate!  fall-foliage

SVEN!!! Pumpkin punch and pumpkin pie, all around!  You have to taste Sven and Paolo’s special September Cocktail…OMGosh, it’s GOOOD!!

The book will be out September 20th – so come back for the LAUNCH PARTY that day!!

In the meantime, what’s your favorite thing about FALL???

All Hail Fall! September in the Lair…

apple-basketIt’s the best time of the year!  Fall!  School’s back in session!  Yay!  All Hail September!  I know, I know, you’re sad to put your shorts and short sleeved tops away, and the pool is closing in most places as school comes back into session.

But hey….Leaves!  Apples!  Pumpkins!  Halloweeeeeen!  Grins.

This month Banditas have some great stuff going on.

Bandita Jeanne will use her usual day on the 8th to do a cover reveal for her new book, The Witches Walk!

On September 15, Bandita Jeanne will do a Launch Party with prizes for The Witches Walk.

On September 23rd, Donna will post a recap of her trip to France!!!  Lots of pics – be sure to stop by.

And toward the end of the month, Bandita Jeanne will reveal her October Release as well!school-bus-2h1o76t

It’s the Little Things….

austin_home_staging_freshtowelsYou know, it’s August.  In the US, it’s freakin’ HOT, humid and, unless you’re in the pool, fairly miserable.  As you ALL know, I’m a winter girl, not a summer one.  I don’t love the hot weather, never have.

I remember growing up in the Carolinas, with no air conditioning.  Wearing as little as possible, and having a very hard time sleeping because it was so hot and still.  Even in the mountains, you get those days and nights that are just impossibly hot, sticky and still.

We had a week of those here last week.  I spent a lot of time reading and working indoors and thanking Willis Carrier, the inventor of air conditioning.  My boys, considerate men that they are, actually took themselves off to the beach so I could get a big chunk of my WIP finished.  Yippeee!!  (I’ll be doing a cover reveal soon!!)  It was realllllllly quiet in the house without the three male-type people here, I must say.Sincero

Between bouts of writing, I worked in the yard a little.  That was…wow…faint-inducing-hot.  Just standing out to water all the flowers was something that could turn you into a dripping Popsicle in about three seconds flat.  I was not only watering my own flowers, but looking after the neighbors yard as well, since they were away.  I couldn’t NOT water.  Lordy dee, I thought I was gonna die.

Which brings me to those “little things.”  I’ve been reading a great, and very funny, book called You Are A Badass.  It’s a success book. To be honest, I feel like I need to read another one of these kinds of books like I need a hole in my head.  But, but I sat down with it in the bookstore, amused by the title and before I was done with the first chapter, I was laughing out loud.  Yep, that Jen Sincero, she’s funny.  I approve.  So I bought it.

One of the things Jen Sincero talks about is Gratitude.  

A lot of success coaches talk about this, so do a lot of religions, pseudo-scientific guru-types, and pretty much all the people who are into meditation.  Grins.  But it IS a good thing, this Gratitude.  So I thought I’d focus on what I’m grateful for.

Not the HUGE things, like family, and faith, and love and the world and stories, but outdoor-shower-design-ideas-3the simple, everyday things.  The stuff you and I sometimes just pass right by and take for granted.

So on this very hot day, I realized there were a LOT of simple things, besides air con, that I was unutterably thankful and grateful for.

Showers.  In this case, cool, refreshing ones.  I LOVE the shower.  I do some of my best thinking there.  Ahhhhh…..  One of these days, I want to own a house with an out door shower.  Wouldn’t that be decadent and delightful?

I’m sure everyone around me was really grateful for showers too.  Grins.  Digging in the garden and dumping mulch and standing around watering plants on a 90-degrees-at-9-am-day gave my antiperspirant an unmitigated FAIL status, so showering was mandatory as well as delightful.king sized bed

Great towels.  Continuing the theme, I realized I was deeply and happily grateful for big fluffy bath towels sitting on my towel warmer.  I got the towel warmer for the Darling Husband a few years ago, kind of as a joke.  We’d had one at a resort we’d stayed in and loved it, so I got one as a prezzie for him for Christmas.  Now everyone wants to use it.  It’s great.  And sitting on that scrumptiously warm towel warmer were new, fluffy towels.

How long has it been since you bought yourself new towels?  I’m serious.  This is one of those little luxuries that isn’t hugely expensive, but makes you feel like a queen in a spa every morning.

Years ago after my first marriage broke up, and I was on my own again, I decided that I was buying new towels.  I SO did not want anything in MY new sanctuary of a house that had been used while in that former relationship.  Now some things I couldn’t afford to replace, but the towels?  Ohhhhh yeah.  Those went, right away.

That started a total love affair with big, fat, fluffy, wonderful towels.  Now I replace my towels regularly, which Good Housekeeping actually recommends!

Somewhere in that journey, I realized I grew up with the Depression-era mentality of “use it till it has no more usefulness.”  Now, in a towel, means it’s in rags.  SNORK!!  No more!  I have great towels, and I’m grateful for them.

fancysoapAn Awesome Bed with Great Linens.  This is another one where I realized that I needed “ME” linens and a “ONLY MINE” bed and that started me on a life of really great linens.  Now I make sure the sheets are high quality and pleasing to all the senses, and the bed…well, y’all remember the saga of the new King Sized Bed, I’m sure!  Hahah!!

Three years later, we STILL don’t have an actual headboard.  We haven’t found one on which we agree, but the bed?  Divine!!  (That’s the kind of bed I want, the DH wants something a little less…imposing.  Grins)

Another thing for which I’m grateful, one of those little things, is Great Soaps and Shampoos.  Again, this seems like such a little thing, but when you go from using the ever-average bar soap you grew up with (in my case, cheap, utilitarian & unscented) to a delectable Shea Butter Body Bar from Bath and Body Works, or some lovely lemon scented confection from Caswell & Massey, or some other wonderful product that makes you feel like you get to go to the Spa every time you shower, it just makes a difference in your day.  Ditto with great hair products.  Using the cheap stuff saves money, sure, but sometimes, feeling like a female, and smelling like one, when you live in a houseful of men is just the BEST FEELING EVER.  Grins.outdoorshower

Last but not least, my Gratitude for the Simple Things that fine, unbearably hot day, came down to one thing.  A very, very simple thing.

Watermelon.

Is there ANYTHING more refreshing on a hot, hot day, than a wonderful slice of watermelon?  Ahhhhhhh!!!  I had some for dinner tonight.  They’re coming in from local producers now and they are just scrumptious.  The peaches are coming in too, by the way.  I just made peach pie tonight….nom!!

So what are some little things, some summer things, that you’re grateful for?  Give me five that you love….just the little stuff, simple stuff….

READY????  GO!!!

PS – bonus round question….what do YOU think of outdoor showers???

(images are either property of the author or Yahoo Images)

 

John Adams for President….No, not really…

blog - teddy Now don’t get worried or gear up for a political discussion here….

I absolutely refuse to talk politics in my favorite place to escape, The Bandit Lair.

PLEASE do not bring this current election here.

Okay, thanks.

That said, I was rereading the John Adams Biography by David McCullough and thinking that things have changed, and yet not.  There was plenty of mudslinging and downright lies back in the “good old days” too, when it came to politicking.  Adams and his rivals were just that, rivals, and had little good to say about one another.

A friend recently said – and please, Lord, I DO hope she was joking – that I should run for President of these United States.

“You’re honest, you already live there, so no relocation costs, you’ve never been arrested, you even drive blog - grinchsafely.”

As if these were the qualifications most needed.  Grins.

I wouldn’t touch the job with a 39 and a half foot pole, to quote Dr. Seuss’s Grinch Song.

In fact, I love the job I have.  Really, really love it.  And I think I’m very qualified for it too.

And I love the job perks.  Nobody tells me what to write, what to think, what’s politically correct for my “position” in the (non-blog - bookstackexistent) Writers’ Party.  I can write as little or as much as I can or want to.  I can write a book a year or ten books a quarter if I could manage the time in the writing chair.  Grins.

When it comes to marketing and publicity, I don’t have to worry about where or with whom I advertise.  If the book fits, it’s gonna sell to that market and I’ll see sales.  If it doesn’t, I won’t and I’ll stop going to that Con or Event or stop advertising in that venue.  Pretty simple.  I like that.blog - ravencon

One thing is for sure, going to Cons is not only great for sales, but freakin’ FUN!!!  Bandita Nancy and I attended two different reader/sci-fi-fantasy Cons in the last month.  The first was RavenCon, in Williamsburg, VA.  What a great Con!  Such friendly people, super accommodations, and other than the flat on the way home, a great time was had by all!

blog con carolinasThe second Con was this last weekend in Concord, NC.  Nancy and I were happily bouncing about ConCarolinas, listening to great panels on writing shared worlds, and participating, in  my case, in one about how writing and stories have changed in a post-9/11 world.  I also got to be part of a panel on medicine after the fall of civilization.  Whoa, talk about apocalyptic!  I was surprised to be on this panel, given my normal optimistic outlook, but Nancy reminded me that the Con folks didn’t know I wasn’t a big post-apocalyptic fan.  Ha!  I’m actually glad about that, since doing this panel with Faith Hunter and Darin Kennedy and Jake Bible was just a hoot!

Later this month, Nancy and I are going to be hosting some of the authors in the boxed set Modern Magic.  As one of the participants labeled it, it’s “10 metric tons of fabulous stories” – it’s blog - modern magicactually not that heavy, but it IS a monster boxed set for the outstanding intro price of $1.99.  Yes, you read that right.  One dollar and 99 cents.  Holy COW, that’s a steal!!  You can get it here:  http://amzn.to/1OQMMC4  You can get The Tentacle Affaire in this set, along with AMAZING stories from some of Sci-fi-fantasy’s best authors!!

But I digress.

As I see it, the biggest problem with politics today is that the people who really SHOULD be doing the job – great leaders and thoughtful men and women who have experience and intelligence – don’t WANT the job.  The people who DO want the job…well….let’s just say I don’t love any of the candidates.

This isn’t true with writing.  In the Writing Party, the candidates for Awesome Writer of the Year are so vast, we could never choose just one.  Ha!

So, here’s today’s fun….

blog - allegianceGive me your FIVE NOMINEES for the Writer’s Party’s Summer Beach Read Extraordinaire (This can be a current fav, a forthcoming summer book, or a longtime take-it-to-the-shore-for-sure favorite!)

Mine are:

Any “In Death” Book by JD Robb; Anne of Green Gables which I re-read every summer; forthcoming Allegiance of Honor by Nalini Singh; Any Bandit Book, but especially Bandita Nancy’s forthcoming Herald of Day, Bandita Anna C’s latest novella, and Bandita Kate’s new Bibilophile mystery!  And last, but never least, Illona Andrews Kate Daniels books.

Give me your FIVE NOMINEES for the Writer’s Party’s Book I’m Most Dying to Read (What books are you jonesing for that aren’t yet out?)blog - Lackey

OMGosh, I’m jonesing for Allegiance of Honor by Nalini Singh due out next week, and Archangel’s Heart due out November 1; Herald of Day by Bandita Nancy; Mercedes Lackey’s Study in Sable (due out tomorrow! Squee!) and Closer to the Chest, which isn’t out till October. (Sigh)  Oh!  And Barbara Devlin’s latest Brethren of the Coast story and her venture into Piracy with The Black Morass, due out July 4.

Give me your current Favorite Read of the Week

Mine is a book I picked up at ConCarolinas by author Ursula Vernon called Castle Hangnail.  It’s a Middle Grade story about a witch, a school and the fact that the school needs a wicked witch or else the Board of Magic will blog - castle hangnaildecomission them.  Molly is a very polite witch, and at 12 years old, she’s a bit young for the job, but she assures the Castle Keepers that she’s up to the task.  Hijinks ensue and I’ve yet to discover just how they’re gonna make this work, but I’m loving the journey!  Grins.

Can’t wait to hear what you’re reading as Summer starts, and get more ideas for filling up my Kindle!

May Coming Attractions….

WeCherry Blossomslcome to MAY!!  It’s supposed to be Spring in the USA, but I just saw Bandita Susan posting about how cold it is where she lives.

And a Bandita Buddy posted from Colorado, showing snow on the ground.  OMGosh!!

Mother Nature is NOT happily bringing spring.

It was 56 degrees at Bandita Jeanne’s son’s baseball game today.

Not.  Even. Close. To. Warm.

However, we’ve got warmth in the Lair, as usual.

Bandita Jeanne will be on on the 8th, for her usual post.  She’ll also be hosting two guests this month… One is a fabulous author and media consultant Amy DeLouise, who’s going to chat about how to talk to the media – and not end up as a Facebook Meme!

Second will be a wonderful group of authors who’ll be coming in to announce a heretofore secret project….bwahahahah!!  Stay tuned!

 

The RITAs are coming! The RITAs are coming!

Can you feel the anticipation?

This Friday, March 25th, Romance Writers of America will announce the finalists for the various RITA and Golden Heart categories.  Every author on this blog knows how it feels to be a Golden Heart finalist (Ahhh…those were the days!) as it was through the Golden Heart contest that we all met.  However, the RITAs, the peer-judged contest for published Romance, is a step above as the entire book is judged and the competition is fierce.

RIta statueSo that’s what I’d like to talk about today.  The RITA  contest and the quest for the golden statue on the left.  How it all works and which of us are in the running this year.  I’m scattering the bandita books entered throughout the post.  Be sure to look for your favorites.  If you click on the title, it should take you straight to Amazon for purchase 🙂 .

Everything starts in October of the preceding year.  That’s when the entry process begins.  Registration opens promptly at 9:00 am central time and there’s a mad crush to get one’s book entered.  You see, the contest can only accomodate 2,000 entries.  Everyone with a book that has a copyright date of 2015 is eligible to enter.  This is the only opportunity to enter the RITA contest, as a 2015 book can’t be entered in a later year.  Self-published titles as well as traditionally published titles are eligible to enter one of 11 different categories.  Those are Short Contemporary Romance, Mid-length Contemporary Romance, Long ContemporaryCharming the Professor final Romance, Erotic Romance, Historical Romance Long, Historical Romance Short, Inspirational Romance, Paranormal Romance, Romance novella, Romantic Suspense, and Young Adult Romance

This year, I’ve entered my New Orleans time-travel, Charming the Professor, in the Paranormal category.  In the past, I’ve had books in the historical categories so this is a bit of a first for me.

The next step is to turn in five printed books (no ebooks are accepted) so that five published author judges can read the work.  An author can not judge a book entered into a category they’ve entered themselves, so it’s possible that one CapitolDangerfinalrevisedforBarnesandNobleis assigned a judge that is not a fan of your particular genre.  Hopefully, the book is strong enough to win them over.  A cone of silence surrounds the books one is assigned to read.  A judge can’t divulge the titles or the authors so no one knows who is reading what.

Jeanne Adams entered her novella Death Under Glass in Capitol Danger. A connected series of novellas by banditas Suzanne Ferrell, Nancy Northcott and bandita friend JD Tyler.

Each of the five judges is allowed to give a score from 1.0 to 10.0 (with 10.0 being the highest).  Currently, no guidelines are given on how to judge the works.  Each judge makes up their own system, but, in general, if the book is excellent, it will receive all high scores.  Currently, the top score and the lowest score are dropped, so only the three median scores count.  In 2014, I about cried when my one 10.0 score was tossed out for The Whisky Laird’s Bed but as Turner's+Visionthe top scores are tossed out on all books, the work must be excellant to more than one judge.  In addition, each judge must answer two questions:  Does the story contain a central love story?  Is the resolution of the romance emotionally satisfying and optomistic?  if the story receives three negatives responses to either question, the book is disqualified.

Taking a turn from her normal thrilling romantic suspense books, Suzanne Ferrell has entered  Turner’s Vision  in Long Historical.

The scores must be turned into RWA by Early March where they tabulate the scores.  The top 4% become finalists. However, no category can have fewer than four finalists, and no category can have more than 10 finalists.  That means that in the popular categories, those scores have to be super high, while there’s some leeway in the less popular categories.  This pool of the top 4% make up the finalists that will be announced this Friday.  Truly being a finalist is a distinct honor as being Doctor's Cowboythe best of the best, but this is not the end of the contest.

Trish Milburn has three books in this year’s RITAs.  All are entered in Contemporary Cowboy GroomCowboy HeartRomance- Short  The Doctor’s Cowboy,  Her Cowboy Groom, and The Heart of a Cowboy  Those are some great looking cowboys!

Which is a good thing as a great cover is important in winning a judge’s favor.

After the finalists are announced, a panel of judges takes over.  All the finalists books in a category are read and scored in ordinal order: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.  The books winning the 1st designation are a highly guarded secret and isn’t unveiled until the bigTime for Trouble final ceremony in July.

Susan Sey has entered Time for Trouble in Long Contemporary.  Love this cover as well 🙂

I’ll tell you all right here that my dream is to win the golden statue, but I’d really be content with the finalist’s flag.  You see, at the Literacy Signing on the Wednesday before the official start of the July convention, this year in San Diego, all the finalist get a red flag.  I’ve been lucky enough to sit by RITA finalist during the signing (Sarah MacLean, and Sally MacKenzie – lovely, lovely ladies) and the line of people wanting to purchase their books is always long.  Being a RITA Ruarcfinalist is truly a distinct honor that follows you everywhere in your writing career.

Joan Kayse has entered her Irish Fantasy, Ruarc: Bound by Stone in the Paranormal category.

Finally, the Saturday night award ceremony arrives.  There’s numerous parties before the actual ceremony.  The ceremony offers the chance to dress up in sequins and glitter.  The award presenters are often the winners from the previous year.  Nora Roberts always presents the RITA statue to the winner of the Best First Book category.  We’re talking major drum rolls while the presenter opens the envelope and announces  THE WINNER IS…A Perfect Catch

Man, I hope it’s one of us.  One really cool thing, as a member of the RWA board, I get to call the finalists and let them know that their book was chosen as one of top 4% of all the books entered in their category.  Not a small feat, but an excellent feeling.  Cross your fingers for us.  Let’s not forget:

Anna Sugden has entered A Perfect Catch in Contemporary…but I’m not sure what length.  Anna?

My question to you:  If you were a RITA judge, what quality would you look for in a finalist?

 

 

The Gravy Games: A Jeanne and Cassondra Fifth Day of Christmas Food Fight

Turkey 2014Have you ever been faced with an unexpected challenge where you’ve gone “Oh sh** can I pull this off?”

That happened to me this Thanksgiving.

We were lucky enough to get asked to Thanksgiving dinner this year at the home of two dear friends. The couple was newly married, and a group of us descended on their house as the final meal preparations were in full swing.

It was a pitch-in dinner, so we had a bit of everything. But the main entre’ was oven-roasted turkey. And contrary to Duchesse Jeanne’s ideology, if you’re having turkey, you must have mashed potatgravy5 mccormickoes and gravy. But that’s a whole nuther story.

Jeanne: Yes! To the mashed potatoes.  A resounding NO WAY to the gravy.  Nope.  Slimy madness, I tell you.  What is this passion people have for pouring fowl grease over everything on their plates??

Cassondra:  Excuse me…it’s about…you know…taste….flavor. And I was trying to tell a story here.

Jeanne:  *looking abashed* Oh.  Sorry.  Pray, continue!

gravy9Cassondra:  Alrighty then.  The cook of this couple is a young man who took on the challenge of a big group for Thanksgiving, and he handled it perfectly. In the final few minutes, with the stand mixer whirring the mashed potatoes into creamy goodness, he pulled the perfectly browned, perfectly moist turkey out of the oven with a flourish, transferred it to a platter to be carved, turned back to the roasting pan and…hesitated.

I was helping wash up the prep dishes because pitch-in dinners are just that way—I can’t sit around and not help if there’s stuff to be done—when I caught the slight panic in his eyes. His gaze landed on me and he said, “Cassondra, can you make the gravy?”

“Absolutely!” I forced confidence into my voice.

Truth? I’ve made gravy a bunch. And I’ve failed a bunch.

Jeanne: *whispers* That’s because good gravy is hard, and bad gravy is awful!  I can make good gravy, but why?

Cassondra: *glares*  For you who aren’t aware, gravy is one of the gravy10pinnacle dishes for the successful southern woman who plans to call herself a cook, because no holiday meal is complete, whether it’s ham or turkey, without a side of mashed potatoes made into a perfect pond, filled with yummy, slurpalicious gravy.

Jeanne:  Ick.

Cassondra:  *squints at Jeanne* Whether it’s white gravy (we call that breakfast gravy around these parts) or brown gravy (that’s dinner gravy), bottom line, it’s the nectar of the gods.

Jeanne: *harrumphs* No matter what you call it, its as nutty as yesterday’s fudge to drown perfectly magnificent biscuits in white gravy, and equally superb potatoes in brown gravy.  But you have to finish the story.  What did you do?

gravy13Cassondra: *rolls eye*  In a minute.  Breakfast gravy is not just for biscuits.  I don’t eat it that way, though I have complete respect for a good plate of hot homemade biscuits smothered in freshly made white gravy.

Anyway…Breakfast gravy, for some of us, is to hide the eggs, so we can get our protein without actually…you know…tasting the bird embryos.

Jeanne: Snork!  Loooooove me some bird embryos.

Cassondra:  *wrinkles nose*  I want so much to like them, but I don’t really. The gravy smooths the way.  *glances at Jeanne’s “ain’t givin’ in” look*  I see we have another food fight brewing here, don’t we?

Jeanne: *looks smug*  Well, it IS our little Evil Twin, holiday tradition!

Cassondra:  Okay fine. Let’s just stop right here and settle this.

Jeanne:  Pistols at dawn?  *grins*

Cassondra:  No. Mashed potatoes at dinner.  *taps foot a few times, contemplating*  How can this be?  You grew up in the south.  I mean, surely your mama made gravy.  How can you not like it?  What’s not to like about gravy?

Jeanne:  I’m totally down with mashed potatoes.  LOVE them.  Any kind of gravy8potato – Irish, Yukon, Sweet, red-skinned – can be mashed in my presence and I will rejoice and sit down to eat.  It’s the drowning in grease that I loathe.

Cassondra:  Noooo–

Jeanne: *holds up hand, stopping the interruption* Gravy is just….what was it you said yesterday?  Ah, yes, *clears throat to produce the perfect sound*  “EWWWWW!”  It’s neither liquid nor solid – a perpetual confusion of form – and it’s frequently too salty and lumpy to be borne.  Mostly, however, it’s the texture for me.  I’m pretty much okay with the salt part, but it’s just…slimy.  Sorry can’t come up with a better word.

sausagegravyCassondra:  *squares shoulders, shakes finger back and forth*  It’s neither liquid nor solid because it’s sauce.  You know…..that stuff that elevates good food to excellent?  Good gravy is sauce, and is neither greasy nor slimy.  That’s bad gravy.  Explain.

Jeanne:  In a minute.  Not only is it greasy AND slimy, people really do put it on everything on their plates.  Seriously!  You know that, right?  OMGosh.  They drown the dressing, the turkey, the potatoes, the casseroles (whatever those may be) and suddenly their plates look like a lake with protruding boulders of meat and veg.  Bleech.

Cassondra:  *considers*  Casseroles are a whole nuther argument.  Okay I’ll give you that a sea of gravy with protruding food lumps is gross.  But that’s not the gravy’s fault.  That’s the error of the user.  Blaming the gravy for that mess is like blaming the pencil for accounting errors! It’s like blaming the spoon when you gain weight!

Jeanne: *ignoring all this*  It’s not just the lumps on the plate.  The gravy boatlumps in the gravy itself…*shudders*

Cassondra:  Give us all a break here.  NOBODY makes lump-free gravy the first time.  It takes good technique and lots of practice.  And even excellent cooks fail now and then.

Jeanne:  Lumpy gravy is gross.  But you’re right.  It takes practice getting that whisk going just right and making sure your flour doesn’t clump.

Cassondra:  Yeah, and about that….you said you make good gravy.  If you don’t like gravy, how do you know you make good gravy? Gravy is an art form. What exactly does “good gravy” mean to a woman who doesn’t eat it?

Jeanne:  Well, good gravy is, like your mama’s fudge, acceptable in one format only.  I think it is only good on stuffing.  Not dressing, which is a solid, usually cube-like mass, but dressing, which is fluffier, breadier, and, well, better.  Grins.  (I do believe we never settled that whole dressing/stuffing thing, did we?)

Cassondra: We settled that one.  We agreed to disagree.  Good stuffing is not *grimaces* cube-like.

Jeanne: *ignoring the cube comment* And as to what good gravy IS, it’s smooth, light, and well blended, having only moderate or minced pieces of meat in it.  These would be from the pan drippings, of course, which you use to make said gravy.  If it’s from a jar?  Bleeech.

Cassondra:  Well at least we agree on that.  I understand busy moms and gravy 1harried cooks feeding their families have to sometimes resort to quicker alternatives.  But gravy is so fundamentally easy

Jeanne: *raises eyebrow*

Cassondra:  It is.  Once you get the hang of it, it’s quicker to make gravy from drippings than it is to make it from some envelope of powder.  And I can taste premix gravies a mile away. Same as I can taste fake mashed potatoes, which are, by the way, abomination. *steps back, takes a moment*

Mikasa gravy boatJeanne:  Well, we definitely agree there, for sure.  *shudders*  Fake mashed potatoes.  Who thought that was a good idea?  Anyway, I guess I don’t know that I DO make good gravy other than that people who’ve been with us at holiday meals where I’ve made it say I do, and then promptly empty the gravy boat.  Grins.

Cassondra:  You own a gravy boat?  *hesitates*  Wait. What am I saying?  You’re almost as much of a dish whore as I am. Of course you own a gravy boat.

Jeanne:  *looks smug yet again*  I have several, actually. The Mikasa one there is the “big” gravy boat I use.  I have a silver and a Limoges and, I think, a plain white one.  Ha!  But I only make gravy because there’s bound to be a mutiny at my table if I don’t, given that my darling husband and I’ll-eat-anything-not-nailed-down son are fans.

Cassondra:  *studies nails*  Gentlemen of refined taste, I’d say.

Jeanne: Snork!  Not disagreeing, but snork! Can I continue?gravy12

Cassondra:  Sorry. I get a little carried away about gravy. *waves hand* Proceed, proceed.

Jeanne:  Ahem.  My youngest, he’s a texture guy, like me.  He steers wide and clear of the gravy.  Now the cranberry sauce, on the other hand….if you want any, get it before my youngest does.  Grins.

Cassondra:  *shakes head*  Likes slimy, ooky cranberry sauce but doesn’t like nice, smooth gravy.

Jeanne: *quirks a smile*  Likes tasty, fruity, tangy delicious cranberry sauce and abjures gravy.  (Have to confess, I think he suspects I will try to hide food he doesn’t like with said gravy, which he already doesn’t like the texture of, even when it’s GOOD gravy.)  And you nearly turned me green with that can of “gluten-free-vegetable-gravy” – As my mother would say, “What in tarnation are they thinking?” Vegetables do NOT make gravy. Furthermore, most gluten-free stuff is like most organic stuff – it isn’t.  SNORK!  (But that’s a fight for another day!)

limoges gravy boatCassondra: Ha!  We have the truth of it!  You gravy haters actually fear what’s hidden UNDERNEATH the gravy! Muahahahaha!  The truth comes out!

Jeanne:  *rolls eyes* You never did tell us how your gravy turned out.

Cassondra:  It actually rocked.  Good homemade drippings plus a little thickening…POOF!  Good gravy!

Now it‘s up to you, Bandits and Buddies. I lost yesterday’s food fight in a terrible rout. 

What about gravy?

Do you like it?

Brown gravy? Or White gravy?

If it’s white gravy for breakfast, do you like sausage in yours? (I don’t, but it’s very popular here in the south)

At the holidays, does your gravy go on your potatoes?  Your turkey or ham? Your dressing?  Do you drink it with a straw? I just about could….ahem.

Can you make your own gravy?  What’s your secret to getting it to come out smooth?

Do you use a mix as a starter base?  Or do you make it from scratch? Share  your gravy secrets!

And do you own a gravy boat?  More than one?

It’s that time of year for savory sauces. Let’s dish on gravy.

One commenter today will receive a $10 Barnes & Noble gift card from Cassondra, plus a copy of DEAD RUN, Jeanne’s latest Faithful Defenders romantic suspense, and a German Shepherd ornament!

photos courtesy of Wikipedia and the authors

Are you NUTS? A 4th Day of Christmas Cassondra and Jeanne Holiday FUDGE Fight!

ChristmastinDo you ever give gift tins at the holidays?  Or get them?  Those cute little round or square tins with holiday motifs that some wonderful friend has filled with home baked goodies.  I LOVE those!!

Cassondra:  *drools*  Oh Yumm!  I love to get foodie presents!

Jeanne:  *smiling pleasantly* My favorite to get – and give – is fudge.

Cassondra:  Ewwwwww.

Jeanne: *ignoring that, still smiling*  It’s one of the best things about the holidays.  Now you can get fudge in the summer, sure, you can, right there at that place at the beach or resort, where they make it in humongous batches.  But there’s nothing better than homemade fudge at the holidays.  I love making fudge as prezzies for people, I like getting the colored wax paper and filling gift tins full of yummy, nutty, slurpy, chocolate fudge.  Yum!!

bc71ff31cb762ad6dcd11d52773b8638Cassondra: Yuck.

Jeanne:  *glaring now*  Will you hush?  I’m having a moment here.

Cassondra:  Fine, fine.  Wax sentimental, why don’t you?

Jeanne:  Thank you.  And it’s wax paper.  (Snork!)

Cassondra:  *rolls eyes*

Jeanne:  Anyway.  My mom used to make fudge, but only at the holidays.  Perhaps that’s why I love it so much this time of year.  I got to cut up the pecans to go in it, but I also got to pick out those perfect pecan halves to put on top.  YUM!

Cassondra:  You already said that “yum” part.

P1100727-32Jeanne: Did I? Yeah, I did!  Still, it bears repeating.

Cassondra: *rolls eyes harder*  Whatever.  Sounds like you should’ve married a tin of fudge, romance girl.

Jeanne:  Hmmm… maybe…WAIT!  Are you telling me you don’t like fudge with nuts on top?

Cassondra:  Oh I love the nuts just fine. In fact, I love nuts period.  In even more fact, the nuts are the only thing about fudge that allows the stuff to be considered actual…you know…food.  I generally don’t like nuts in things, but most especially chocolate fudge. It’s an abomination to put those wonderful nuts in such a disgusting mixture.

Jeanne:  You’ve got to be kidding me. You don’t like fudge?  What happened to our evil twin love fest with food?

Cassondra: It got cooked to soft ball stage.

Jeanne: *snork*

Cassondra: And nope.  I don’t like nuts in or on things as a rule.  There are only two exceptions.

Jeanne:  Ha!  I knew it!!  th

Cassondra:  *holds up hand in STOP motion*  Here’s the thing.  Chocolate fudge is so rich-sweet that I can eat exactly one bite of it before I keel over and start to turn all gooey pink and sicky-sweet like Glinda, that fluffy witch from the Wizard of Oz who flew around in a damn soap bubble waving her sparkle wand.  How sickeningly sweet is that? *makes barfing sounds*

Jeanne: *speechless for a moment at this spew of vitriol…Finally she raises her eyebrow* Sparkle wand?  It turns you into a glitzy blonde with a sparkly crown and sparkly wand??

Cassondra:  I’m much more akin to Elphaba.

glindaJeanne:  Who?  Oh, right.  The other one…

Cassondra: The green one. You know…the one who died so unfortunately. *whispers* Death by melting. *shivers* Ahem.  She was a good person at heart.  Misunderstood.  But she was not sicky sweet.  That’s fudge.  Glinda-sicky-sweet. So sweet you can’t stand it.

Jeanne: *raises other eyebrow* I’ll give you that part about misunderstood.  I mean, seriously, you grow up green it does something to your perspective, you know?

Cassondra:  Totally.  But back to the point.  Let’s get real here.  More often than not, fudge resembles sand. Mixing chocolate with it does not make it viable food. It’s grainy and the sugar is still granulated and just….gross.  You can’t even taste the chocolat-ey-ness of it because it’s so darn rich-sweet that it’s just a big sweet attack (you know…kinda like the pink froo froo witch with the big glittery tin foil crown thing, and the eyelashes out to here and the sparkle wand) The only thing even remotely food-like in said chocolate sugar-sand is the nuts. Sand was made to walk on.  On the BEACH. pecans

God made nuts after all.  The almighty did not mean for sand to be taken as food, and the whole thing is a waste of perfectly good nuts.  Nuts were not meant to be mixed into sandy goo and cooked up into concoctions.

Jeanne:  I love nuts in food.  And fudge is NOT sand, or sandy!  I protest!  Fudge is smooooooooth.  It’s as smooth as a flying monkey’s….uh…flight pattern!  It’s delicious, fudgey, chocolaty goodness wrapped around the most divine nuttiness ever.  Nuts, and chocolate.  It’s a tradition.  Almond Joy. Fudge Snickers.  100,000 dollar bars.  FUDGE!!!  WOOT!!  And it doesn’t have to be that ooogy sickly sweet stuff you get at the fair.  Besides, adding the nuts makes it better and tones down the sweet.

Cassondra: *shakes head, taps foot, waiting for the end of the happy dancing* Ick.  Nine times out of ten, fudge is a sandy, sicky-sweet, so-rich-you-can’t-taste-it, gross waste of perfectly good nuts.  I bet you like nuts on your ice cream too.

Jeanne:  *smug*  Yep!  CHOCOLATE ice cream.  Like fudge, everything is improved with nuts.   Bread (as in banana bread, pumpkin bread, etc), dairy products (you know, like ice cream) and I’ve even been known to add walNUT oil to other baking to improve the flavor.  So there!ice cream

Cassondra: Oil doesn’t count. It never did have any inherent crunchiness.  But as to the rest? Ewwww.

Jeanne:  Wait.  How can you not like nuts on ice cream, at least?  I know it makes them cold…SNORK…wait, cold nuts.  SNORK!  Okay, so while that’s not good in a partner, it IS good on ice cream!!

Cassondra:  What can I say?  I’m picky about nuts.

Jeanne: Snork!!!!

Cassondra: On ice cream they’re waaaaaaay too much of a contrast. Ice cream is supposed to be smooth. Smooth is part of ice cream’s nature. Same with peanut butter.  Putting nuts on it–or in it–is just wrong.  Ruins the ice cream. Ruins the nuts.  It’s wrong I tell you.

03-jif-crunchy-peanut-butter-lgn-jpg_001036Jeanne:  Nuh-uh.  It gives that smooth, cool goodness an extra boost of texture and warm, nutty deliciousness.  Kinda like crunchy peanut butter.

Cassondra: OMG!  Even the photo of that JAR of crunchy peanut butter makes me ooog out.  EWWWWWW!

Jeanne:  *tapping foot* You said there were two exceptions.

Cassondra:  Yes.  My mom made this stuff that’s technically called fudge, but has no similarity to any fudge I’ve ever eaten.

Jeanne: Ha!  Your mom made fudge and you liked it!

Cassondra: No!  This stuff was an island amid other disgusting fudgey-ness.

Jeanne:  Okay Miss “my fudge is an island” fudge hater.  How was it different?33608

Cassondra:  Look, I’ve had all kinds of fudge.  The chocolate kinds are all just disgusting disgraces to everything that is chocolate.  I can’t even look at that ring thing you posted on the right.  What’s worse than fruitcake? One made of fudge.  It’s basically mud disguised as dessert. Gah!

I can tolerate the peanut butter fudges a little better because they generally have a very high ratio of peanut buttery-ness.  Even so I would never choose those over, say, a shortbread cookie, which is a far more subtle, gently textured, perfectly balanced bit of yum–

Jeanne: Ha! You used the word yum!

Cassondra:  *closes eyes, reaches for Zen*  My mom’s recipe is for sour cream black walnut fudge.  It’s incredibly mild.  Really subtle and not at all overpowering.  Because of this, the flavor of the black walnuts really shines. It’s the most prominent flavor in the candy, with the semi-sweet sour cream base as a backdrop.  It’s amazing.  It’s…yum.

Jeanne: *sing-songs* Cassondra likes fuuu-dge, Cassondra likes fuuuu-dge!  With NUTS.  WALL nuts.  BWAHAHAHAHAH!!!  Gotcha!!!  So, since you’ve made the concession of saying that there is ONE – albeit ONLY one – type of fudge that will willingly pass your lips, WITH NUTS, I’ll concede that I cannot STAND crunchy peanut butter.  Grins.  Peanut butter needs to be smooth.  But anything else?  Bring on the nuts!  What’s your second exception?

Cassondra:  Ha!  And yet you posted that jar of vile crunchy peanut butter just to taunt me!

Jeanne:  *looks smug, bats eyelashes*

Cassondra *sigh* My second exception is MotherGrant’s German Chocolate Cake, made from the recipe on the actual label from a bar of Baker’s German Sweet Chocolate from the 1920s. Takes 18 eggs.  *looks smug right back*

Jeanne:  German chocolate cake icing is total goo. With nuts.

Cassondra: Yes. Yes, it is.  But it has coconut too, which doesn’t actually COUNT as a nut cuz it isn’t crunchy, and homemade German Chocolate Cake icing is not just good.  It’s Goo from God. And I love it.  But that’s the ONLY nutty goo I like.  Chocolate fudge is disgusting and just out.

Jeanne:  Goo from God. The title is perfect. You are nuts.

So what about you Bandits and Buddies?  Do you like foodie gifts?  Towers of snacks, tins of cookies or fudge WITH NUTS?

What about fudge in general?

Chocolate fudge or flavored fudge?

Nuts or no nuts?  Ever?  In anything?  Or just in some things?

Cold nuts? (On ice cream, you perverts!)

Crunchy peanut butter or smooooooooooth only?

Here’s my favorite fudge recipe to date, I’ve made it several years running (WITH NUTS) and love it: Aunt Teens Chocolate Fudge

(Photos are the authors, Wikimedia commons, and Yahoo Images. )

Jeanne will be giving away a signed copy of Dead Run and a German Shepard ornament!  Cassondra will give away a $10 Barnes & Noble gift card to the same winner!

 

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