Tuesday, December 12

Rolling Along and a Holiday Giveaway!

My holiday recipe is for rolls that melt in your mouth. We're doing favorite holiday recipes this week here in the round pen and honestly, these crescent rolls are favorites of all my neighbors and friends and family. I make a crazy number of them and send them to my clients and then make a crazy bunch more and pass them out all up and down my road. Try them--they're time-intensive, but man so worth it!

Nan's Butterhorns

In a small bowl, lightly beat 3 eggs, then set the bowl in a sink of hot water to warm the eggs.

In a large bowl, put:
4 1/4 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 Cup Butter-Flavor Crisco

Mix the above together until it's crumbly. I use a pastry blender--it's work, but it turns out best.

In a small saucepan, heat 1 Cup of Milk to 117-120 degrees F. When you've warmed the milk to the correct temperature, whisk in 1 packet of Rapid-Rise Dry Yeast. Use a candy thermometer to make sure you get the temperature right--you can kill the yeast if the milk is too cool or too warm.

When the yeast is thoroughly dissolved, add the warmed eggs and the milk/yeast mixture to the dry ingredients. Blend it all together with a large wooden spoon. When it's well-mixed, cover the bowl with a tea towel and set it someplace warm to rise. I usually turn on my oven to 350 degrees before I start the rolls and then set the bowl on top on the stove. That's plenty warm. Or you can place it on your dryer if you're doing laundry that day.

After the dough has doubled in size, dump it onto a floured board and knead a little flour in very lightly--just enough to make the dough not too sticky. Cut the dough into 3 equal pieces and roll each piece out into a 10-12-inch circle. Cut the dough like a pizza into 8 equal triangles. Starting with the wide edge, roll each slice into a crescent and place them on a cookie sheet. When you're all done cutting you should have 24 rolls.

Cover the cookie sheets with a tea towel and let the rolls rise a second time, until about doubled in size. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes until they're slightly golden in color--like this. Serve warm with lots of butter. YUM!!

We're doing a Rafflecopter giveaway here this week; I'm giving away an e-set of the Women of Willow Bay (all four books!) if you'll go follow me on Bookbub! 

Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, December 11

Have a cookie...or a book...or... @Liz Flaherty

One of the best parts--and the laaaargest parts--of the holiday season, is the baking and eating of cookies. Lots of cookies. This year, I am once again dancing with Weight Watchers as my partner, and the recipes below are Weight Watchers friendly, costing only two Smart Points per cookie. The bad part of it is that I haven't tried them. I'm so sorry to admit it, but it has so far been an eventful season and none of those events have involved baking. Sigh.

Anyway, these look delicious to me. I have borrowed these recipes from Weight Watchers.

Crackle Spice Drops

·         1/2 cup(s) reduced-calorie margarine, soft
·         1/2 cup(s) unpacked brown sugar
·         1 large egg(s)
·         1 Tbsp vanilla extract
·         2 cup(s) all-purpose flour
·         1/2 tsp baking soda
·         1/4 tsp table salt
·         1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
·         1/4 cup(s) powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 375°F.
In a mixing bowl, on medium speed, beat margarine with brown sugar until creamy. Add egg and vanilla extract; beat until light and fluffy. Stir in flour, baking soda, salt and spice.

Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into powdered sugar to coat. Place onto baking sheet. Bake until golden, about 7 to 8 minutes. Yields 1 cookie per serving.

Toffee Butterscotch Drops

  • 1/2 cup(s) reduced-calorie margarine
  • 3/4 cup(s) unpacked brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup(s) fat free egg substitute
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup(s) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp table salt
  • 1/4 oz chocolate candy, chocolate covered toffee, or other variety

Heat oven to 375°F. Cream margarine and sugar until soft. Add egg substitute and vanilla to sugar mixture.
Whisk flour and salt together; add to sugar mixture. Stir in candy and mix well.
On parchment-lined baking sheets, place 1 tablespoon dough 1 1/2 inches apart for each cookie. Bake until golden, 8 to 10 minutes.
Cool on baking sheet 5 minutes. Place on rack; cool completely. Yields 1 cookie per serving.

In keeping with the season, we're having a giveaway. Please join us each day in our celebrations and be entered to win a prize!

Saturday, December 9

Dirty Santa Blog Hop! by Jana Richards

There's one more week to go in this blog hop, so hop on over to my blog and enter for your chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card and one of five copies of my humorous contemporary romance RESCUE ME. There are prizes at every stop, so begin your journey at Journeys with Jana -https://janarichards.blogspot.com/2017/12/dirty-santa-blog-hop.html  See you there!

Friday, December 8

The End of the Beginning

By Ava Cuvay
Winner Notification: Molly Daniels is my winner from last week’s Word Wrangler giveaways! Molly, please pm me with your mailing address so I can get your copy of “The Lake House” Anthology and your mer-pug socks to you!
A few weeks ago, I attended my local chapter’s fall retreat, and enjoyed a momentous moment: I typed “The End” on my Blood King manuscript! I ran through the building, shouting it to the world, struck a few triumphant poses, fist pumped... Then returned to my computer and hung my head in gloom.

While coming to the end of a story is huge, and worthy of celebration, “The End” is by no means the end. “The End” is just the end of one aspect of crafting a worthy story. For a pantser like me, it really means "The End" of the beginning, which is to write the darn story. “The End” means the next phases of editing, critique partners, beta readers, hair-pulling begin. It reminds me of the scene in the Brendan Frasier version of “The Mummy,” when the defeated and dying Egyptian mummy Imhotep steps backward into the black, inky pool of souls and declares “Death is only the beginning.”

So it is with “The End.”

I have admittedly struggled with this particular story, and even upon reaching “The End,” I know I have so much work still to accomplish. More than simply tightening up the writing, reducing my passive sentence structures, replacing filler words with vibrant descriptors, and even wrangling any dangling participles. I have serious plotting, story, and character issues to address. So my celebration of “The End” was short-lived because I knew the bulk of my work still lay ahead of me.

I have taken a week (or four) off, and will take more off as the holiday festivities gear up. But I’m ready to tackle this. The mulling of thoughts in my brain is energizing my fingers, and when I have big chunks of time after Christmas, I’ll be ready to dive into my edits and fix what I know is broken.

So “The End” is only the beginning of bringing a book to life. And I’m ready for the next leg of this journey!

Wednesday, December 6

Christmas in a Small Town by @AuthorKristina Knight

Christmas in a Small Town is LIVE - you can pick it up in print and e formats, from your favorite book retailer, so go forth!

I'm super excited for this book, it's my first 'official' Christmas-themed book, and it's my fifth Slippery Rock title...and it's my 7th Harlequin Suprromance...but it's also bittersweet, because this is my last Superromance title. I'm still so sad that Harlequin has decided to close this line of rich, deep, thoughtful books, but I'm also feeling blessed that I've been able to write these books for the past three years. It has seriously been one of the best times in my life - I've learned a LOT from my editors, and I think I'm a better writer after it all. And Christmas won't be my last book - I've got more coming for you guys, and I can't wait to share that news!

For now, here's a little bit about Christmas in a Small Town:

Running out on her wedding was the best decision ever!

A cheating fiancĂ© sends Camden Harris fleeing to her grandparents’ home in Missouri. When her ex follows, determined to win her back, Camden makes a deal with neighbor Levi Walters: they’ll pretend to be in love and she’ll support his plan to buy her grandparents’ land.

The boy from her childhood has grown up into an impressive man. His charm, good looks and sweet gestures make it difficult for Camden to remember this is fake. And Levi’s kisses only confuse her more.

Buy Christmas in a Small TownAmazon  B&N  iBooks  Kobo  Harlequin/paperback  Harlequin/e-copy

Here's a little snippet from the book: 

“It’s a nice-looking dress, though.”
“Not my style.”
“I find that hard to believe. You wear it too well.”
Because she’d been trained to wear it well. Her mother had started her on the pageant circuit when she was nine, and after her father died, the pageants had become almost weekly occurrences. Still, having a stranger comment on her appearance was nice. Maybe a little stalkery, but nice. “Yeah, well, it’s not like it takes a special set of skills to wear designer clothing.”
“I don’t know about that.”
Okay, that upped the stalker level a little too high. She was not going to let some cowboy in a small town take her to his trailer just because she’d walked out on her old life.
“I’m going to finish this glass of wine and be on my way. You can scurry back over to your buddies now and tell them what a hateful witch I am.”
“You don’t seem all that hateful. Maybe a little sad. But not hateful.” His voice was kind, kinder than she probably deserved after walking away from everything and everyone the way she had done. But she still wasn’t letting a stranger talk her into bed. No matter how sexy his voice sounded in the darkened bar. “You’re wearing a ring you didn’t pick out, and a dress that isn’t your style. Seems to me like this has not been your day.”
“Try lifetime,” she said and twirled the stem of the wineglass between her fingers. And she was not going to keep talking to a perfect stranger about her life. She was not feeling like herself, but she wasn’t completely desperate.
“How much do I owe you?” she asked Merle, who was looking from Camden to the man at the bar and back again.
“Ten dollars,” the older man said.
“I’ll take care of it.”
“I pay my own bills,” Camden said and turned to look at the man standing beside her.
He was tall, built like a football player. His skin was a rich brown, and there were golden flecks in his brown eyes.
And she knew him.
He was taller than she remembered. His shoulders wider. His voice deeper. But the laughter in the gaze was the same, as was the crooked tilt to his mouth. Camden clapped her hand over her mouth. Oh, god, she wanted to sink through the floor of the bar.
Of all the bars, in all the world, why did she have to walk into Levi Walters’s?

If you're ready for a fun, holiday read, pick up Christmas in a Small Town. Happy holidays!  ~Kristina