Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tempting Tuesdays ~ Whoopie Pies with Buttercream Filling


Let me take you back. These babies are an oldie but such a goodie. Whoopie Pies have been around in one form or another for decades, yet I had never attempted them on my own. My fear was I couldn't get the cake in those perfect round pieces. A circle cookie cutter solved that problem so I was able to take the recipe from Everyday Occasions and give it a whirl.

Ingredients

For Cake
1 chocolate cake mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil

For Filling
2 sticks butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar


Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat.



In a mixer, combine cake mix, eggs, oil, and water. Whip until completely mixed, about 2-3 minutes.



I had several circle cookie cutters on hand. I took the one that was a little smaller than what I wanted my finished product to be and set it on the baking sheet. With a small ice cream scoop or spoon, place batter inside circle and smooth with the back of a spoon. I got six of my desired size on a baking sheet to make three pies. Once completed, I had a total of twelve pies. You may have more or less depending on the size you choose.



Bake for eight minutes then cool on wire rack.



Now, get you filling ready. Combine your butter and powdered sugar in mixer until fluffy, about 5 minutes. You can add up to another cup of powdered sugar if you want, but three cups was plenty for me and I had extra.



You can pipe filling onto the bottom of a pie with a pastry bag or spread it on with a knife or spoon. I find if I'm piping it on, I use more, so I just spread the filling on with a knife.

Place the other half of a pie on top and you've got your Whoopie Pie! These are an easy treat and a nice alternative to cupcakes. Enjoy!








Sunday, May 25, 2014

Sneak Peek Sunday ~ Lindsey Gray


Celebrate the third anniversary of the release of Lindsey Gray's Paranormal Romance sensation, Redemption.






Lily is one of only three vampires in known existence. After falling in love with a human, sexy and talented musician Ian, she realizes their love is putting him in mortal danger. She flees from her life in Boston to the solace of her frozen waste land.

As her past continues to haunt her, Ian seeks out the only family Lily has ever known. Becca introduces Ian to a world he never thought possible as they embark on a search for Lily, starting in the bowels of a mysterious company called The Manchester Group.

Will Ian and Becca find her? Or will the reemergence of a long lost love take a hold of their future?

Add to Goodreads.






Excerpt


"Did you know the Ahbmonites had resurfaced?”

If Lily could have gone any paler at that moment, she would have. Flashes of the man with jet black hair and pure blue eyes flooded her mind. The small symbol on the inside of his wrist burning its way into the permanent recesses of her brain.

“I wasn’t sure, but I guess you are telling me they have.” Lily lolled her head to the side, cupping her jaw with her hand propped up on the arm of the chair.

“They called him Liam, if that helps,” Renee spoke up cautiously, obviously realizing the severity of the situation.

“I never knew his name, but I felt it – the pull that Martin told me about. It scared the hell out of me, if I’m being honest. Once I realized what was happening, I got out of there as fast as I could.” Ryan gently began massaging her shoulders in attempt to ease the tension of the conversation.

“Well, this guy is one of them, markings and all and he has Becca, Sam, and Ian.”

Lily sat straight up in her chair. “What! How?!”

“An Anarcori. Remember that little gold box with the red orb that was lost in the twenties?” Lily nodded. “He’s got it and he knows how to use it. I don’t see how he can be alone on this one.”

“Hold on just a moment.” Ryan came around the side of Lily’s chair to face her. “What exactly is an Ahbmonite and why would he take your friends?”

Lily looked to Abe for any sort of explanation, but he had none. She then rose from her chair and pushed Ryan down into it.

“There are so many legends about how vampires came into existence; some even saying that Judas Iscariot was one of the first, after his transgressions with Jesus of Nazareth. From all that I learned from my sire, Martin, the line we come from started long ago in Jerusalem.” Lily took a deep unnecessary breath before moving on.

“According to Martin and all the books that we have held over the years, the Ahbmonites were basically food for a quartet of vampires. The four, all males, found the odd race of humans fascinating. They were drawn to them unlike any other human, not to kill them but for them to nurture each other.  The vampires fed from a type of blood they never had tasted before and the Ahbmonites acquired vampire traits strengthened in them with each feeding. When their human bodies could no longer handle the vampire traits, they were either killed or turned. After a few centuries, the families began branding their children with the mark of the black flame. Martin’s sire was one of the Ahbmonites, but he believed that it was time for their race to end. Stop using humans as cattle and learn to live off the blood of animals. That fight eventually led to the practical extinction of the vampire race. Now, only three of us remain.”

Ryan held out his hand in invitation. She took it and snuggled into his lap as visions of blue eyes and black flames raced through her mind.

“He took them to use as leverage against you?” Abe looked up at Lily as her gaze met his.

“I’m not sure of any other explanation. If this Liam is the same man I encountered in Las Vegas, he knew all about me and wanted to be my companion.” She felt Ryan’s hand moving up and down her spine attempting to soothe the strained muscles.

“So, you drank from this guy and now he’s got some vampire traits, enough that he could take all three of them?” Renee inquired.

Lily turned to Ryan and nodded shamefully. “I’d never felt that kind of pull ever in my existence as a vampire. It was truly some sort of biological connection, like somehow we were made for each other. As though our existence depended on one another.”

“What now? We just sit around and wait for him to call?” Renee was full of questions, yet all completely relevant.

“I’d need to get to Martin’s library. All of his books are stored there. It’s just outside of Reading.”

Renee straightened up in her seat. “You mean the Reading that’s in the UK? I’ve never been to the UK.”

“Looks like today’s your lucky day.” Abe took Renee’s hand, lacing his fingers through hers before patting her hand.


Author Bio

Lindsey Gray dreamed of several different careers as a child. On the short list were doctor, chef, and actress. None held her attention as much as putting pen to paper and creating her own world through words. Since 2010, she has published three novels and one short story with The Writer's Coffee Shop Publishing House. In 2013, she went on her first self-publishing adventure and produced her novella, Fireworks, and joined the ranks of Renaissance Romance Publishing with their winter anthology, Melting the Snow.

A mid-west native, Lindsey enjoys spending time with her husband and two children, rooting for the Green Bay Packers, reading whatever she can get her hands on, and making life interesting at every turn.





Find Lindsey Gray

Giveaway

In celebration of Redemption's third anniversary and Armchair Book Expo of America, Lindsey Gray is giving away an eBook copy of Redemption and a $10 gift card from Amazon or Barnes and Noble.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Saturday, May 24, 2014

Saturday Snapshots: 5/24/14


Saturday Snapshots is a picture prompt brought to you by Author to Author, meant to inspire the creative genius within you.

Maybe you'll be moved to write flash fiction for it, perhaps it will kick start an old idea for a novel, or it may inspire a new short story. Whatever it does, we hope you'll enjoy these images around the web.

If inspiration does hit, we hope you'll post a snippet in the comments.

Today's image: Beach Love


http://24.media.tumblr.com/ba6406fa173ab6fd4ca9069b745dbbc5/tumblr_mv82fnWOxE1remv1so1_500.jpg
Photo credit: 
http://24.media.tumblr.com/ba6406fa173ab6fd4ca9069b745dbbc5/tumblr_mv82fnWOxE1remv1so1_500.jpg

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Wednesday Word

Wednesday Word

Author To Author’s Newsletter                                                    

June 19, 2014

Virtues of a Writer

 Humility in Writing

Humility: Being able to respect one's own limitations.

Doesn't sound very motivating, does it?

In the writing world, we are told by our peers to put our best foot forward and have no fear. To try, try, try, and never give up. Though it might seem confusing and contradictory, humility can play an essential role in your writing process.

Let's break down that definition a bit and see what value we can derive from it.

Respect.

Respecting yourself is key to any success you seek to achieve in life.

Respect one's own limits.

You know your limits. You know what tires you out or turns you off from the work you love.

Pushing yourself too hard by setting unrealistic expectations for yourself can lead to writer burn out pretty quickly. If your word count goals are dragging you down, take a break. If your promotional activities are too taxing, back off for a while. (Professionally, of course. If you have others depending on you, you need to be clear with them by letting them know what you are going through and notifying them of any changes you plan to make.)

Take a moment to sit down and accurately assess what you can and cannot do on a daily basis. Jumping on every opportunity that comes your way may seem like the road to success, but more often leads to unnecessary burdens that can put quite a damper on your fiery love of writing.

As a writer, I sometimes have trouble following my own advice. There have been plenty of times when I felt burnt out and needed a break. It's normal, you don't need to feel badly about it or let fear of failure consume you.  Respecting yourself enough to have humility means that you're giving yourself what you need in order to succeed.

By respecting your own limits, you can ensure that writing continues to be an enjoyable activity.

Do you have a hard time respecting your own limits?

What activities tend to lead to your own "burn out" as a writer?



By A2A Member and Contributor, Andrea Goodson. http://www.andreagoodson.wordpress.com   

Exciting News for Author to Author Group Members


Sydney Logan Releases Soldier On

Check out Sydney's website for the release of Soldier On this weekend!


 

 

 

 

 

Download Fireworks for Only 99cents


Lindsey Gray has permanently lowered the price of Fireworks to 99 cents! Check it out! http://lindsey-gray.blogspot.com/2014/06/birthday-celebration-fireworks.html

 T.M. Franklin Hosts Blog Tour and Giveaway

The How to Get Ainsley Bishop to Fall in Love with You Blog Tour and Giveaway continues through June 19th.  Up for grabs: TWO signed copies of Ainsley, THREE eBooks of the winners' choice from the TWCS library, a t-shirt, notebook and pen, and some other fun prizes!

Jennifer Garcia to Visit Long Beach Library


If you're in California this weekend, stop by and visit Jennifer at the Long Beach Library this Saturday, the 21st for a signing and panels with Jami Denise, Lorenz Font, and many others!

Jennifer was also chatting books on Hummingbird Place Blog Talk Radio this week. Click here to listen: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/.../2014/06/16/sweet-romances


Wednesday's Weird Word


Frigorific

Something frigorific causes cold or is chilling



Thank you for reading this edition of Author to Author's The Wednesday Word! Visit us again in two weeks for more news and savings to refresh your bookish pleasures! As always, feel free to share and spread the word! Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Tempting Tuesdays ~ Paula Deen's Lemon Bars


This week it is time to use some lemons! I love the smell of freshly squeezed lemon juice. With this recipe, I only squeezed 2 lemons, but it was enough to make my house smell wonderful for the entire day.

Originally, this recipe is from Paula Deen, but I found it on Only From Scratch. I'm so glad I did. Most of the time if the family want lemon bars, we just grab a boxed mix. These are so much better when made this way.

Ingredients

For the crust:
2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces at room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup powdered sugar, plus more for dusting
Pinch of salt

For the filling:
4 large eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (I got this much from 2 medium sized lemons)








Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 inch casserole dish with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray or grease with butter.



For the crust, whisk flour, powdered sugar, and salt together. Cut in the butter with your fingers or a fork until crumbly.



Press mixture into your prepared dish. Bake for 20 minutes, then let cool slightly.



While the crust is baking, make the filling. Mix eggs, sugar, and flour with a fork. Add lemon juice and mix.



I just stick a fork in half of a lemon and move it up and down while I squeeze out the juice. It's easy and all you need is a fork, a lemon, and a bowl.



Pour filling over the crust and bake for 25 more minutes. Transfer to rack and let cool completely.

Once cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar. Lift out of the pan and cut into pieces. Enjoy!








Sunday, May 18, 2014

Sneak Peek Sunday - Sandi Layne

Coming in 2015

The final novel of Sandi Layne's Éire's Viking Trilogy:  Éire's Devil King

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 Currently a work in progress, this final book completes the telling of one way that the Northmen—the vikingr—came to settle in Éire and how one of their number, Tuirgeis, claimed the title of High King of that island.

 Based in history, Tuirgeis's story will complete the story Sandi Layne began to tell when Tuirgeis captured Cowan and Agnarr captured Charis the healer in Éire's Captive Moon.

Blurb Idea:

A man of ability and ambition, Tuirgeis has nurtured the desire to carve a place of leadership for himself on the Green Island, Éire, that he has raided multiple times. After the death of his wife, he takes his surviving son to Éire and comes to learn that there is more to claiming a kingship than merely overpowering the locals.

While he is attracted to an Éire-woman for his new wife, Tuirgeis seeks to find ways to not only settle in this new land but also to learn to live with the people there, not just overthrow them.

Having connections with his adopted brother, Cowan, and Agnarr, his former countryman, Tuirgeis feels he has the support he needs to make his claims strong.

Bloodthirsty tyrant? Overly ambitious leader? Prideful warrior? The histories tell one tale of Tuirgeis, acknowledged usurper and High King of Ireland; I am telling another.
 

Sneak Peek of the Work in Progress:

Ide spoke. “The Ostmen will be gone in the morning.”

 “Well, perhaps,” Charis murmured as the sweet scents of mead and ale wafted through the evening air ahead of Cowan and Tuirgeis. She did not care for ale, but did find mead to be a pleasant beverage. It never interfered with her senses as it did with others, but she liked the mellow flavor. “They might be leaving closer to midday if their heads are as heavy as the smell of their drinks.”

 The women chuckled softly just as Cowan called, “What is it, wife?”

 “We came to spend time with Aislinn and the baby,” Charis replied, moving toward Cowan until she could look him squarely in the eye. “Why are you away from the fire?” she asked in Gaeilge. Cowan translated.

Tuirgeis shook his head and rolled his shoulders as if he felt stiff from inaction. “I have spent enough time with men,” he stated through Cowan. “I wished for other, softer company.”

A challenge was in his gaze as it clashed with Charis’s and she felt as if her spine was iron. Cowan drew her to him and she allowed herself to sidle away from the Northman. After dropping a kiss to the top of her head, her husband blew out a breath. “Softer company, Tuirgeis? Well, you remember my daughter Aislinn, of course.”

 Against her will, Charis took it upon herself to translate the tongue for Ide and Aislinn. If there was any luck in her world, she would not have to spend another evening doing so. Tuirgeis snorted to hear her, a smile in his eyes before they moved to Aislinn.

Ja. Aislinn. How many children do you have?”

 Aislinn understood him to an extent. “Two.”

 “And this is Ide. She used to live on the west coast, a bit north of where Muiredach recommended you go,” Cowan said, nodding to the red-haired woman.

 Tuirgeis’s smile widened. “I remember you,” he said while Charis moved to stand next to Ide. Cowan translated; Charis refused to do so for the moment. “I saw you when Agnarr wed.” He indicated Ide’s rich curls with a quick gesture of his hand. “Your hair. I like red hair.”

About the Author:

Award winning author of short Celtic fiction, Sandi Layne is the creator of the Éire's Viking Trilogy, as well as works of contemporary Christian romance.

She began by self-publishing her novels in 2000, garnering a loyal group of readers whom she continues to appreciate to this day.

Married for more than twenty years to a very tolerant (and brilliant!) man, she has two sons, no pets, and a plethora of imaginary friends. Her interests range from ancient civilizations to science fiction for both reading and research. With degrees in English and Ministry, she also claims Theology’s crimson Masters collar which she has been known to don on rare occasions. 

If you drive by her window before dawn, it is likely she’ll have a light on for you. Or at the very least, she’ll be alert on twitter.
Find her on her website, Goodreads, Facebook, Tumblr, and Pinterest.

The first two books in the trilogy are already available. Click on the book covers here to be taken to Sandi's website where you can link up to purchase Éire's Captive Moon and Éire's Viking editions. ECM small Eires_Viking_Low-Res_Cover

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Tempting Tuesdays ~ Best Peach Cobbler EVER


Keeping with my May theme of decadent desserts made with luscious fruit, I give you a twisted version of Peach Cobbler adapted from Rachel Schultz.

Ingredients

1 box yellow cake mix
1/3 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
30 ounces of canned peach slices or 4 peaches peeled, pitted,  and sliced
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
vanilla ice cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.



In a large bowl, combine dry cake mix, butter, and one egg with a fork until a crumbly consistency is reached. Set aside 1/2 of mixture for crumb topping.



Press other 1/2 of mixture into prepared 9 x 13 pan and bake for ten minutes.



While bottom layer is baking, mix cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and remaining egg.



Once bottom layer is done, layer peaches on top.



Pour cream cheese mixture on top of peaches and spread evenly.



Sprinkle crumb topping on top and bake for 30 minutes.

Let cool for 30 minutes. Add a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream for an added treat.

If you are really ambitious and want an extra punch, soak peaches in peach-flavored Vodka the night before you plan to make this recipe. Gives it an extra zing!







Sunday, May 11, 2014

Sneak Peek Sunday - Sydney Logan

Today's Sunday Sneak Peek is an excerpt from Sydney Logan's upcoming military romance, Soldier On.
Summary:
Will his call of duty break both their hearts?
Losing her father in Desert Storm has left Stephanie James a bitter soul when it comes to the military. As a college senior juggling a full course load, Steph's only goal is to graduate with honors at the end of the semester. She’s focused, determined, and a firm believer in all work and no play. Then she meets Brandon Walker at a New Year’s Eve costume party. Despite his disguise, Steph finds herself attracted to the camouflaged soldier who curls her toes with a scorching midnight kiss.

Brandon is an engineering major and ROTC student from the hills of Kentucky. Growing up as the son of a major general has given Brandon firsthand knowledge of the struggles military families sometimes face. Now that his father’s memory is fading, Brandon is even more determined to make his dad proud and graduate as an officer in the United States Army. Then he meets Stephanie, and suddenly, his focus is less on his military service and more on the pretty brunette who has stolen his heart. When he becomes aware of Steph’s resentment toward the military, he worries their relationship is doomed.

When faced with the realization that she's fallen in love with a soldier, can Steph’s wounds from the past be healed with love in her present . . . and in her future?
Release Date: June 20, 2014
Genre: New Adult/Military Romance
 
With a disgusted sigh, I toss my cup into an overflowing trash can before maneuvering my way through the dancers and up the stairs in search of my best friend. Bravely, I try a few of the rooms, but all are locked except for a set of open double doors at the end of the hallway.

Curious, I step inside, and I’m instantly mesmerized.

Frat houses have libraries?

This one does, complete with ceiling-high bookshelves. Laptops line one wall, and a giant multimedia screen is attached to another. While all of it is impressive, nothing excites my book-loving heart more than to see the library ladder.

Secretly, I’ve always wanted to climb one—the tall ladders that roll from one end of the shelves to the other. Ironically enough, library ladders always remind me of Beauty and the Beast. Or the love scene in Atonement.

One of those movies is G-rated. The other most definitely is not.

Suddenly nervous, I look over my shoulder before making my decision.

YOLO. Carpe Diem. Whatever.

Slipping off my shoes, I reach for the ladder and slowly begin to climb. Sadly, this is the most adventurous thing I’ve done in a long time, and I can’t stop smiling. I’ve made it to the fifth rung when I hear someone clear his throat.

Crap.

I hold on tightly and manage to turn myself around without falling off. When I’m sure I’m steady, I turn and find myself looking into the eyes of a soldier. Possibly Army. Maybe Marine.

Not that it matters. I accepted long ago that my hatred for anything military related is a little unhealthy, but when the service strips a girl of the privilege of knowing her father, it sometimes makes a person bitter.

I am the epitome of bitter.

This particular solider is smiling at me, and I can’t lie, the smile is kind of beautiful. Despite that, my first instinct is to roll my eyes at his outfit. But then, I remember this is a costume party, and he probably just needed a quick and totally uncreative disguise.

“I don’t think this room is open to visitors,” he says, his tone soft and deep.

I wonder if that’s his natural speaking voice or if he’s just playing his role as a badass. The guy certainly looks like a soldier, dressed in his head-to-toe camouflage and smeared-on face paint. 

“It was actually the only room that wasn’t locked, which is kind of stupid if you ask me. This is the one room in the house you guys shouldn’t want trashed. Drunken idiots could really do some damage in here.”

He grins, and my breath catches in my throat as he steps closer. I tighten my hold on the ladder, because a smile that makes a girl’s heart race isn’t the best thing when she’s trying to maintain her balance.

“I noticed you downstairs.”

Embarrassed, I glance down at my ridiculous dress. “I’m a little hard to miss in canary yellow. I’m going to kill Tessa—”

“That’s not why I noticed you.”

He’s closer now, with one hand pressed against the shelf behind me. He’s tall, but thanks to the ladder, we’re practically nose-to-nose. Normally, I would be frightened of a complete stranger invading my space, but honestly, this is the most relaxed I’ve felt all night. With his athletic build, there’s no doubt he could hurt me if he wanted, but I’m not afraid. For one thing, his breath doesn’t stink and his speech isn’t slurred. For another, he’s gazing at me with a pair of big brown eyes that make my stomach do this weird somersault-thing, and my stomach hasn’t done somersaults in a very long time.

Before I can ask why he noticed me, shouts erupt from downstairs.

“Ten, nine, eight . . .”

“Do you have someone to kiss at midnight?” he asks.

I simply shake my head. He steps closer, pinning me between his body and the bookshelf.

“You do now.”

Horns blare below, but I barely notice because in the next second, his mouth covers mine. His lips are featherlight and sweet, causing warmth to spread through my veins and settle in my heart. I sigh, causing my lips to part slightly, allowing him to deepen the kiss. One of his hands stroke my cheek as he leans in, pressing his body tighter against mine. His quiet groan vibrates through me, and I’m ready to let go of the ladder and wrap my arms around him when he suddenly pulls away.

“Wow,” he whispers.

I’ll say.

I open my eyes, and all I can see is his smile.

“Happy New Year,” he says.

Then he’s gone, sprinting from the room before I can even formulate a coherent response.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20828066-soldier-on


Amazon bestselling author Sydney Logan holds a Master's degree in Elementary Education. With the 2012 release of her novel, Lessons Learned, she made the transition from bookworm to author. Her second book, Mountain Charm, was released in 2013. She is also the author of three short stories. A native of East Tennessee, Sydney enjoys playing piano and relaxing on her porch with her wonderful husband and their very spoiled cat.
Please visit her website at www.sydneylogan.com.