I’m excited to send out my first newsletter. If you are reading it, this means you like my writing or have a masochistic streak. Either is okay. My hope is you get to know me.
In case you missed the exciting news, Smoke Screen, Book 2 of the Blue Trilogy, released today. I plan for the last installment, Dead Heat, for release in mid-February 2021. If you want to be in the ARC group, message me on Facebook, there’s a questionnaire to fill out.
I’m so stoked about a novel in the works for later next year. Here are five things about the Work in Progress besides the fact it has no title.
- Genre: Historical romance, enemies to lovers, multicultural
- The character (s) journey to America
- It’s dark, tragic, and violent, including human trafficking, and a heavy dose of misogyny because those were the times.
- Have a HEA or at least an HFN.
- A standalone novel
The inspiration for this book came to me while working on our Ancestry family tree. Documents were supporting the folklore passed from one generation to the next by word of mouth. The photos of the faces touched my heart, and the pull of their story so strong, I haven’t stopped thinking about them. I recognized terror in their eyes when there should have been innocence and happiness.
This month’s RECIPE is Quick and easy, navy bean soup.
As a foodie, I would like to leave you with a soup recipe. It’s a go-to cold-weather favorite. It takes less than an hour to make from start to finish.
About this past year, I never wish to relive it again. If you can spare a moment, please tell me a little about yourself.
All the best,
2 Cans of navy beans
I quart of chicken stock, your choice of brand. But I always get organic stock or keep my own stock in the freezer.
1 package of sliced, peeled carrots
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons of olive oil for sautéing the onions
Pre-chopped onions and/or chopped celery
Black pepper and salt to taste.
I have everything handy before starting to cook.
- Add olive oil to the stockpot and ook the onion over medium heat, until translucent or slightly caramelized.
- Add beans––I drain the juice out of the can and sometimes rinse them in the colander before putting them in the pot.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and cook over medium heat until carrots are fork-tender
- I use the ham to flavor the soup, then take out the slice and give it to the dog.
- To make the soup heartier, I add a serving of cooked pasta to my bowl of soup.
any additional beans
chopped spinach or kale
¼” of deli ham (diced or whole)
short tube-like pasta like elbow macaroni or ditalini
top with grated parmesan
fried onion rings, i.e. Durkees
crisp diced bacon, lardon, or pancetta
December 2020 edition
I used to send out an annual summary to friends and family at the end of the year. This season, I couldn’t.
Instead of writing the update, I created Christmas ornaments from photographs of past years. It took a week to do it.
Setting the mood, I turned on holiday jazz playlists from Spotify that included traditional holiday music sung by Nat King Cole, Dean Martin, and Bing Crosby. I prepared hot cocoa and added a handful of mini-marshmallows to float on top because the best part of the hot chocolate ritual is consuming the melted goodness at the bottom.
Then I cleared off the kitchen table and set up my workspace. Photocopies of my siblings, parents, in-laws, husband, and children, stacked next to the craft supplies. I glued each photo to craft paper squares and fixed them in place with Elmer’s glue. I embellished them with glitter and looped the twine through them for hanging.
The collection sparked memories. I put the ornaments on a memory tree. It is in the family room––I can look at it every day.
As youngsters, we went to midnight mass and sang carols with the choir. The church docents took snapshots of us, our mouths open in song instead of conversation.
I had photos of the anemic trees dad got on Christmas eve. They were sparse and resembled twigs. We filled in the bare spots with tinsel, hand-crafted ornaments, glittered pinecones, and strings of popcorn. The topper was an angel my mother and her sisters passed on to each other year after year.
Christmas morning, my parents fussed over us when we gathered to open presents in our flannel pajamas, rubbing the sleep from our eyes. Each had something in our stockings.
But before opening presents, we had to pose for the annual picture in front of the tree. The eldest stood in the back row while the rest sat cross-legged on the floor.
Mom cooked pot roast and all the fixings for dinner. Afterward, our cousins came over to visit, and we played board games, drank hot cider, and ate cookies.
Once we started our families, we still celebrated with my parents. More people meant more chaos. The children added many moments of happiness and memories to the holidays.
We still took those photos under the tree. Thanks to modern technology, dad could get us all in the picture with the panorama feature on his cell phone.
In our home, we have our tradition as well. My husband purchases a full spruce tree right after Thanksgiving. The kids help decorate it with ornaments, some they made when they were in school, candy canes, glittering ribbons, and blinking white lights you can see from the street.
For 2020, we will take a photo with masks in front of our tree. Bah Humbug COVID.
Here’s a link to mom’s recipe for the Pot roast
What I’m reading:
My Dear Hamilton Historical Novel about Alexander Hamilton from his wife’s POV
by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoi
Beauty in the Broken a Stockholm Syndrome Romance by Charmaine Pauls https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2836536101
The Cloister Trilogy by Celia Aaron If you like dark stories, this series is for you.
Author’s note: If you have a trigger, this series will pull it. https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2326726244
What I’ve been streaming:
Netflix: 365 It’s a cheesy story but overall, it is a blueprint for romance sex scenes.
HBO: The Undoing, Euphoria
Showtime: Your Honor
Starz: Escape from Praetoria, P-Valley
As a special Christmas deal for you, I’m selling paperback copies of my books. The covers are glossy and have a nice feel. You can get them with or without an autograph or request a personalized message with the signature.
Free shipping to destinations in the USA.
The Confessional $12
Blue Book 1 of the Blue Trilogy $10
Smoke Screen Book 2 of the Blue Trilogy $10
Dead Heat Book 3 of the Blue Trilogy, not available. It will be released by May 10, 2021
Blue Trilogy 1 and 2, $15 if purchased together
All three books, $25.
I accept PAYPAL only.
If you want to treat yourself with a copy of the book, you can reply to this email.
All the best,