Reading All The Things!

Or at least, that’s what I feel I’ve been doing. I’ve been immersed in reading lately. Mostly fanfic (Teen Wolf got its teeth in me – haha, see what I did there?). Not quite ready to give a recommendation yet, as the one I’m currently reading is part of a very (very!) long arc and I want to see where it goes before giving a link.

We’ve been listening – for the umpteenth time, seriously I can’t remember how many – to Harry Potter in the car now that I’ve gotten my hands on a doohickey that’ll let me play audio books. We no longer have a subscription for Audible, which is what we used to get our books in the past, and I was lamenting the fact we couldn’t get new ones yet. Lo and behold, I got an e-mail from Amazon about updates to our Prime membership.

Did you know that you get free Audible channels now? Not quite all audio books, like with a membership, but still a fair amount of choice. I’ll admit, I did a little happy dance when I saw that. I also looked into (not sure how long that’s been around, but I had not seen it before) the Prime Reading thing. So. Many. Books! Including some with free Audio! Now I want to read all the things!!!

Where do you get your audio books from? The library is out for us since we listen to books together in the car and it takes us much, much longer than the limited time they let you have them.

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The Creative Efforts of a Frustrated Artist

Good morning everyone! I’m Shae, here at Karin’s invitation to talk a little about myself, my writing, and my crafty endeavors. First, a little about me. I’m a Georgia native, born in south Georgia but an Atlanta transplant for the past 20 years. I’m the daughter of a writer and an artist, so the creative genes run deep, but I inherited much more of the writing talent than the artistic ability.

I’ve been through a lot of different kinds of creative outlets over the years, and the only ones that have stuck have been writing and cooking. I’m a bit of a frustrated artist overall. I have a pretty good eye, and I can appreciate good art and design. Creating it myself is another story. So I tend to dabble.

Here’s one example. Many long years ago, my sister was a huge fan of New Kids on the Block. She’d also inherited a wooden toybox that our grandfather built for me when I was a kid. I decided to paint NKOTB designs on the toybox. It turned out pretty well, I think, and she’s kept it all these years! A little dinged up…

Shae1NKOTB

I also did cross-stitch back then, but I don’t have anything now to take a picture of. I only finished a few small pieces and some gifts. I sewed some, too. Both were mostly because we didn’t have much money, and it was much cheaper to buy some shiny blue satin and make myself a dress to wear to the honors banquet at school.

I still try the painting thing from time to time. When I moved to my new apartment this year, I decided to use a sort of space-age/mid-century modern look in my bathroom. I bought a shower curtain and some prints to hang, but then I decided to get crafty again, and I painted a canvas. Turned out not too bad, I think, though don’t look too closely at the raggedy edges of the circles.

Shae2bathroom

And I mentioned cooking, so now and then I have a little fun with that. At Christmas, I baked and decorated a chocolate cake. We’ve decided to make that an annual tradition.

Shae3cake

Maybe next time I’ll actually draw the lights and not just the cord. 🙂

When it comes to writing, I mostly stick to the words and leave the cover art to the experts. I have done a few covers for self-published re-releases, though. I was pretty happy with how my cover for my short story “Fringes” turned out.

Shae4Fringes

For my original self-pubbed releases, though, I turned to the fabulous AngstyG. She has more graphic art talent in her little finger than I have in my entire body. She does absolutely gorgeous work. I mean, look at this lineup:

Shae5covers

AngstyG also created the cover for the bundle of all four novellas, Hands On. Here’s a little more about the set and how you can get a copy for yourself:

Shae6HandsOn

Four novellas, four couples, four romances.

Rhythm & Blues
When life tears apart your dream, build a new one.

Former Broadway dancer Pate Hawkins meets model-gorgeous contractor Ace Samson when he answers as request for an estimate on renovating his studio space. The two men develop a fledgling relationship, but then the siren song of the stage calls Pate back…

Tongue & Groove
Sometimes home is what two hearts make of it.

While healing from a vocal cord injury, rock singer Saul Wilder decides to restore home his grandmother left him. When home renovation specialist Perry Abrams arrives to assess the job, Saul’s on board with mixing business with a little pleasure…

Heart & Soul
Love can sneak up on you in the last place you’d expect.

Pianist Kellen Grady meets former pro football player Terrence Harvey when he and his brother buy the bar where Kellen plays at night. A quick friendship develops, but their relationship takes an unexpected turn when Terrence surprises Kellen with a kiss…

Graphite & Glitter
All that glitters might just be gold.

On the night of her best friend’s bachelorette party, architect Adrienne Michaels has a scorching one-night stand with Tessa Smith, bass player for an all-female glam rock tribute band. Then Tessa surprises her by asking her on a real date…

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
iBooks
PayHip*

Happy crafting, all, and happy reading!

Shae200pxShae Connor lives in Atlanta, where she’s a lackadaisical government worker for a living and writes sweet-hot romance under the cover of night. She’s been making things up for as long as she can remember, but it took her a long time to figure out that maybe she should try writing them down.

Shae is part Jersey, part Irish, and all Southern, which explains why she never shuts up. When she’s not chained to her laptop, she enjoys cooking, traveling, watching baseball, and reading voraciously, and she’s an annual volunteer as director of the Dragon Con on-site publication, the Daily Dragon. You can find her hanging out on Twitter most any time @shaeconnor, but for the more direct route, you can email her at shaeconnorwrites@gmail.com or visit her website at shaeconnorwrites.com.

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Who Knew!

I’ve started feeling more like myself again, thankfully. Still a bit on the fuzzier side, but physically doing better. I’ll take it.

So of course, what do I do? I join a gym. And go work out. For the first time in years. Yeah, I’m sore in places I had forgotten I could be sore at. But I will say it was fun, especially being on the elliptical. Why, do you ask? Because it’s the closest I’ll ever get to running and apparently I actually like it (when I’m not in too much pain or having to reach for my asthma meds), who knew?! I sure as hell didn’t. As for why it’ll be the closest to running I’ll get, I’m not supposed to do anything high impact like that due to my back; having herniated the same disc five times over tends to make the doctors make very frowny faces about certain things.

So yeah, I’m going to the gym now. We’ll see how well that goes, but I’m hopeful that it’ll help me feel better in the long run, even if it’s uncomfortable on several levels right now.

Does anyone else feel really self-conscious about being in the gym and working out at first?

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Inspired to Cook Something Delicious

Hello, my name is Rae. I am a Twihard and I love to cook and bake. Now you know why Karin invited me to do a guest post on her blog this week. Here is what you don’t know about me. I am a 7th generation Texan, a daughter of the Republic of Texas and a daughter of the American Revolution. I am a disabled Air Force veteran who is married to a retired Air Force veteran. I live in a total power exchange relationship, think 1950’s household with kink thrown in, therefore, I consider myself a slave-wife. I have been with my Master/Husband for 27 years, we’ve been married for 25 years and have been living the Lifestyle for 21 years. I grew up in the Panhandle of Texas in Lubbock, a medium sized town, home of Texas Tech University. My high school was different than most. We started at 7:50 am and ended at 4:00 pm. Our classes were 70 minutes long. Fridays were called activity day because we only went to school til Noon and classes were not your normal classes. This is where I discovered my passion for Ceramics, Cake Decorating, and Flower Arrangement. My mom was a single mother to 3 kids and we all lived with her parents, my Granny and Pop. Pop loved his sweets and my Granny was diabetic so she taught me how to bake so she would not be tempted plus there was no alternative for refined sugar in the early 80s.

My love for the Twilight series is all thanks to my niece and all her friends. Of course being the good Girl Scout leader I was I had to find out what all the hoopla was about. So I read all 3 books in a couple of months in early 2008. I had to finish those before the 4th and final book came out in August. Needless to say, I did but I did not want to wait so I discovered FanFiction.net and then about a year or so later found TWCSlibrary.net, which is now STARSlibrary.net. I don’t write, yet but I do read and read a lot. You can find me as InspireRae on FFN and STARS, plus on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr.

I have picked up reading again thanks to all the wonderful people I have met within the Twilight Fandom. Although I have not been brave enough and branched out of my little circle of friends that I have accumulated over the years. Due to my Lifestyle I do help out a few authors, who have become great friends of mine. So if you like Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance, BDSM Romance, MC Romance, and Military Romance. I may have missed a few genres but please give my friends a look see.

RE Hargrave
Sherri Hayes
Tara Sue Me
Aden Lowe
Sierra Cartwright
Al Daltrey

Being the Texan that I am and one who loves to cook and let’s not forget married to a man who loves hot food. I’m not talking so hot you can’t taste the food. I am talking very hot food but you can still taste the food. I like the heat that builds up. That layering heat. But I also like flavor in my food. I don’t just want to taste the heat. Therefore you will never ever find me cooking with jalapeños. They are too acidic and overbearing. I love using Serranos, Habaneros, and Chile Pequins. While they are hot they are not acidic and overbearing.

So here is one of my favorite go to meals for something quick and easy.
Pulled Pork in the crock pot. You can make this, then add BBQ sauce later or make tacos or enchiladas. One of the reasons why I love this dish. I can cook once but get 3 separate meals if needed.

With the pulled pork, I am going to make my coleslaw with some Texas flair and why not add some Borracho Beans to the mix. If we have time I will also throw in my salsa recipe.

Pulled Pork

Borracho Beans

Coleslaw

FYI ….. this coleslaw is amazing with fish tacos!

Finally here is my Salsa recipe. There are no measurements for the spices as I just add and then taste and add more if needed.

20170814_213203Salsa

In food processor add
1 Can (28oz) of Petite Diced Tomatoes
1 bunch of Cilantro
2 Serranos (deseed if you don’t want heat)
1 small onion
Cumin
Garlic
Oregano
Salt
Pepper

After blended, may have to do in batches if you have a small food processor.
You can blend more petite tomatoes in or you can add straight from the can if you like your salsa a little chunky. I’ve done both. You can add more peppers if you want. I usually add Chile Pequins to it after I get what I want out for me, the wimp.

Just remember that the day after you make the salsa it is milder for some reason but then starts to get hotter the more it sits.

20170815_175441(red dots every where is BBQ sauce. Husband sat it upside down, I opened, it exploded)

Thank you for letting me share my favorite recipes with you all.
Thank you, Karin for asking me to do a guest post, it was a first for me.

 

 

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If It Isn’t One Thing…

It’s another. It took me about a week to recover from my party, only to feel human for a day before auntie Flo came knocking. Here we are, a week later and I’m still not quite what I’d call ‘human’. At least I’m not fit for anything other than read or sleep.

I’m all caught up on watching Teen Wolf (okay, maybe I haven’t seen last week’s episode yet, so shhh no spoilers, please). After chatting with a friend, she pointed me toward a couple of stories in that fandom and I’ve been happily glutting myself with them since.

Float Until You Learn to Swim, by Sylvesterelle is a sweet story wherein Stiles… well, the title pretty much says it all, I guess.  It’s a series (incomplete) but still worth reading because they stand fairly well on their own (but do read in order for it to make more sense). It’s M/M, no real warnings. A bit of fluff with a hint of angst to liven things up.

The next one I will warn for, because when I started reading it I was very skeptical. Why? Because it’s Professor Hale, Student Stiles and to be quite honest those kinds of stories tend to weird me out a little. Mostly because of the power imbalance thing that’s generally implied between student/teacher. Put Down Into Words, by Paintedrecs however, I ended up enjoying a lot. Derek’s a little older (hitting the big four-oh, actually), while Stiles is early twenties, so there’s the whole May/December thing there, obviously. Paintedrecs managed to make the story unfold naturally, despite the whole teacher/student thing. Without giving it all away, (or at least, I’ll try not to) things progress in such a way as to avoid the squick-factor. For me, at any rate, but your mileage may vary, obviously.

While I do enjoy reading fics, I kind of miss being able to sit outside on my patio and read on my Kindle. Due to smoke being in the valley from several fires (not near enough to be worrisome, but smoke and valleys are not good friends, usually), it’s been too hazardous for one’s health to be outside more than strictly necessary if you’re an asthmatic, which I am.

I know, I know, I can read on my Kindle just as well inside, but it isn’t the same, somehow. Yes, I’m weird.

Another thing I’m really missing is crafting. I just haven’t had the energy or the wherewithal to do anything and it sucks. One of these days I’ll manage to craft again, right? Right? (please just nod and say ‘yes’, even if it’s a lie)

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The Marriage of Food and Romance in My Work: A Guest Post from Rick R. Reed

Shakespeare said, “If music be the food of love, play on…” I agree with him, except I would paraphrase him “If food be the music of love, cook on…”

People ask why I marry food with love in so many of my stories. One, I believe that food and love, next to air and water, are two very essential things for a happy life. 

Dinner at Jack’s shows how food bridges the gap between love and memory and how providing the care and comfort of good food can solidify a relationship. That’s not just something I believe as a writer, but as a human being.

In the excerpt below, you get a ‘taste’ of the kind of comfort food you’ll find in Dinner at Jack’s and get an insider view into the tenuous relationship between our two lovers, Beau and Jack and how a simple pasta dish begin to forge a spark of recognition and tenderness….

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT (and a recipe!)

Beau neared the bed. He set the tray down not on Jack’s lap, but next to him.

“I have a feeling you’re going to love this,” Beau said softly, staring into Jack’s eyes.

Jack allowed himself, for only a second or two, to stare back, noticing the rich green of Beau’s eyes, which were the color of moss. He tore his gaze away. Something told him it wasn’t right to stare into another man’s eyes that way. There was something shameful in it.

Instead he looked down at the tray. On it was a white bowl filled with little pillows of pasta he remembered were called gnocchi. They glistened with olive oil, dotted here and there with flakes of red pepper. The tang of the cheese, although barely visible on the pasta, rose up to Jack’s nostrils to remind him it was there. Next to the pasta was a plate upon which was piled a mound of greens, it too glistening with a light dressing. Jack could smell the lemon in it, acidic, tangy, making his mouth water.

He gripped his fists together so tightly he could see his knuckles whiten in his mind’s eye. A sudden urge, powerful, rose up, to push the tray very gently, and while smiling all the while—off the edge of the bed.

No! Why did he want to do such a thing?

He couldn’t bring himself to say anything, especially not anything like “This smells amazing” or “Oh my God, this looks so good.” But he could fight the impulse to fling the food, a gift really, to the floor. Or at least he thought he could….

He looked at Beau, then away quickly, to level a glance at his mother, who was all expectancy and hope. Her hands were clasped together, almost as though she were praying. And maybe she was.

Staring down at the tray at last, he lifted it up and onto his lap. He grabbed the paper towel on its surface and tucked it into his collar. Finally he lifted the bowl up and took in a gnocchi.

The flavors danced, truly danced, on his tongue, an explosion of savory heat. He closed his eyes and reveled in how this simple bite of food transported him, made him one with his body in delight… and again, weirdly, nostalgia. He forced the latter away and continued eating, without realizing right away he was also keeping his eyes closed.

When it dawned on him that he was sitting there, gobbling his food down with his eyes shut, his eyelids snapped up. His mother hovered over him, shifting her weight from one foot to the other. Beau stood in the background, wearing a subtle but visible smile of triumph.

Those two ignited a tiny flame of rage within Jack. He glared at them. “Do you think a guy could eat in privacy?” he asked.

“Of course,” Beau said. He grabbed Maisie’s hand and led her from the room. They closed the door softly behind themselves.

And Jack found himself eating every bite. And wanting more….

Damn Beau!

Jackson’s Spicy Gnocchi

(Serves 4)

You Need:

8 oz. potato gnocchi
¼ cup good olive oil, more or less
3 large garlic cloves, minced
3 anchovy filets
1 t red pepper flakes, more or less
¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
¼ cup pasta cooking water
Salt and pepper to taste (seriously—to taste! With the salty anchovies and the red pepper, you may not need either)

To Make:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add plenty of salt when you first see bubbles appear.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add in olive oil and allow it to get warmed up, a couple of minutes. Throw in your minced garlic and lower the heat. Allow the garlic to simmer and become aromatic, but be careful that it doesn’t begin to brown—you don’t want that bitterness. Add in the anchovy filets and cook for a couple more minutes. You should be able to break up the filets with a wooden spoon, and they should magically vanish into the garlic-flavored oil. Trust me, this will not taste fishy. Throw in your red pepper flakes.

Add gnocchi to boiling water and cook until they rise to the surface of the water. Do not overcook! This will only take a couple of minutes. Remove from water with a strainer and set aside. Reserve ¼ cup of the water you cooked the gnocchi in.

At this point, you can dump the gnocchi in the pan with the seasoned olive oil. Toss pasta to coat with the oil and add your Parmesan. Toss some more, so every gnocchi is coated.

Add in your reserved pasta water a little at a time. You want to loosen up the sauce a bit with this, make it creamier. Your eye will guide you when to stop adding water. You won’t need the whole ¼ cup.

Serve hot.

BLURB

Personal chef Beau St. Clair, recently divorced from his cheating husband, has returned to the small Ohio River town where he grew up to lick his wounds. Jack Rogers lives with his mother Maisie in that same small town, angry at and frightened of the world. Jack has a gap in his memory that hides something he dares not face, and he’s probably suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Maisie, seeking relief from her housebound and often surly son, hires Beau to cook for Jack, hoping the change might help bring Jack, once a handsome and vibrant attorney, back to his former self. But can a new face and comfort food compensate for the terror lurking in Jack’s past?

Slowly, the two men begin a dance of revelation and healing. Food and compassion build a bridge between Beau and Jack, a bridge that might lead to love.

But will Jack’s demons allow it? Jack’s history harbors secrets that could just as easily rip them apart as bring them together.

BUY

eBook

Paperback

Amazon Kindle

Amazon Paperback

 

Rick R. Reed Bio

Real Men. True Love.

Rick R. Reed draws inspiration from the lives of gay men to craft stories that quicken the heartbeat, engage emotions, and keep the pages turning. Although he dabbles in horror, dark suspense, and comedy, his attention always returns to the power of love. He’s the award-winning and bestselling author of more than fifty works of published fiction and is forever at work on yet another book. Lambda Literary has called him: “A writer that doesn’t disappoint…” You can find him at www.rickrreed.com or www.rickrreedreality.blogspot.com. Rick lives in Palm Springs, CA with his beloved husband and their Boston terrier.

FIND RICK ONLINE

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/rickrreedbooks

Twitter: www.twitter.com/rickrreed

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+RickReedWRITER

Blog: http://rickrreedreality.blogspot.com/

Website: www.rickrreed.com

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/rick-r-reed

Email: rickrreedbooks@gmail.com

 

 

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Aftermath

So last week was my birthday party. It was fun, most of the family came, and the food was great. I’m really glad we had it.

That said, I’m not so glad about the aftermath. Both hubby and I have been dealing with massive flare ups since. I’m finally (you know, a week later) feeling human again, for the most part, he’s not quite there yet. Basically, this past week has been one spent in a state of vegetation. Never fun, really.

Today, though, was fun. I got to meet the ever so lovely Krysten for lunch. She and her family were in my neck of the woods and so, after many years, we finally got the chance to meet face-to-face; no more imaginary-internet-friends, us 😉 Lots of food and conversation were had, both good, and I’m really glad we were able to hang out for a while.

Being out and about, especially in the heat, has gotten to me though, so I think I’ll sign off and see if I can find myself something to read. I’ve been binging Teen Wolf lately, so I think some fic reading is in order 😉

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