Monday, September 26th, 2016
A few years ago my husband organized a golf trip to the Gold Coast of Australia for members of the local New Zealand RSA (Returned Services’ Association). I’m not a golfer, but the lure of sunshine, half naked lifeguards on the surf beach, great shopping, and the chance to relax and do a little writing was all the incentive I needed. I packed my bags, ready to tag along.
Most of the group was a lot older than us, although I hasten to add, very fit and lively and definitely switched on. Our group consisted of couples plus three elderly bachelors. We called them “the boys”.
On the first day we arrived late morning and checked into our holiday apartments. We lazed around, deciding to meet up in the bar later that evening before going out to dinner in a group. The three boys were in the bar when we arrived for drinks. We purchased beer and wine and sat down outside to enjoy them while waiting for everyone else. The boys had already been out exploring.
“We’re going to the Burleigh Bowls Club for dinner,” one of the boys said.
“Yes,” another agreed. “Cheap meals. The beer is a good price as well.”
“And,” said the third boy, “There’s a dance at the Bowls Club tonight.” He paused to waggle his eyebrows. “We’re gonna grab us a granny!”
We roared with laughter. Not terribly P.C., I know, but I still grin each time I think of the three elderly men going off to the dance.
The next day, while the others were out playing golf, I pulled out my laptop and started pondering about what to write. The phrase “grab a granny” popped into my head and refused to leave. I decided to blend fact with fiction and write about a woman on a golf trip meeting with a younger man. Of course, the phrase “grab a granny” was in the story, although it wasn’t in relation to my heroine. I called my story, Grab a Granny.
Of course, the title Grab a Granny isn’t terribly romantic, so after consideration, my story became Summer Encounter.
Believe me, ideas are everywhere!
Here’s the blurb for Summer Encounter:
Sophie Walker is on holiday in Australia when a hot and handsome cutey kisses her right in the middle of the Burleigh Bowls Club. The man fires slumbering sensual fantasies and sends her hormones swooping. Sophie wants to take a bite before she realizes it’s Isaac Shepherd—one of her daughter’s ex-boyfriends. Chastened, Sophie tells herself to forget the younger man, but it seems the attraction is mutual.
Sunshine. A hot, young stud. Steamy sex. The perfect recipe for total relaxation until the end of the vacation looms and Sophie doesn’t want to let Isaac go.
Purchase or Borrow at Amazon
Gold Coast Beach
Taking in some sun on the Golf Course
Wednesday, September 21st, 2016
The first time I tried Koshari (a vegetarian dish) was during a visit to Egypt. It was a lunch staple on our river boat as we cruised down the Nile from Luxor to Aswan.
This is our small river boat. The larger, more luxurious boats dwarfed ours, but our smaller size meant we passed through the locks first.
The Nile river brings life to the area. The grass is a vivid green and the crops thrive in the soil with plentiful water, but once away from the river, it’s very dry.
Here is the recipe for Koshari.
1 cup basmati rice
50 ml olive oil
2 1/4 cups of vegetable stock – water is okay if you don’t have stock
250 grams brown lentils
100 grams small macaroni
20 gram butter
2 onions, thinly sliced
Baharat Tomato Sauce:
1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped or grated
2 1/2 teaspoons baharat
1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
400 grams canned cherry tomatoes
200 grams canned chopped tomatoes
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
You can buy this online or from specialty stores. I made mine since I had all the available spices in the cupboard.
2 teaspoons smoked paprika, 2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon ground coriander, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves.
To make the sauce:
1. Heat the oil in the saucepan, add the onion and garlic and sauté until tender.
2. Stir in the baharat spice and chilli
3. Add the tomatoes and season to taste. Simmer until thickened. Stir in the vinegar and keep warm.
To make the base:
1. Heat 1 Tablespoon of oil in a pan, add rice and stir to coat. Season to taste, then add the stock. Cover with lid and cook on a low heat until the rice is tender and the stock absorbed.
2. Cook the lentils until almost tender, then add the macaroni. Stir until the pasta is al dente. Drain and combined with the cooked rice.
3. Heat the butter and cook the onion until golden brown and crispy.
4. To serve, divide the rice mixture into bowls and spoon over the tomato sauce. Garnish with the crispy onion.
1. We added spinach leaves to our tomato sauce. We also had some kidney beans in the fridge, so we added those as well.
2. We didn’t have cherry tomatoes. I used a 800 gram can of chopped tomatoes.
3. I think I’d garnish with parsley or fresh coriander in the future, rather than the onion.
Verdict: Delicious! I will definitely make this dish again.
Tuesday, September 6th, 2016
Summer is ALMOST OVER!
It is time to get ready for Fall
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Sunday, September 4th, 2016
The latest release in the Middlemarch Shifters series is My Stray Cat.
Here is the blurb:
I met a male lion shifter in the pub last night. Not that my father would approve since it reinforces my gay status, but Lucas is incredible. Tall. Golden. Sexy. Our gazes met and we clicked. The evening turned into night. The sex was hot. Intense. Real magic that doesn’t happen every day. Hell, it electrified me. By the time the night was over I craved more…I hungered for a future because it’s no fun living alone like a stray cat. I’m just like every Middlemarch shifter, gay or not. All I want is love.
Note – this book was previously published as Stray Cat Strut.
Purchase your copy: Amazon | Kobo | ARe | iBooks | Nook |
Friday, September 2nd, 2016
Welcome to the Labor Day Facebook Hop,
hosted by Boxed Romance Bargains!
With tons of prizes from over 100 authors and bloggers, including Amazon gift cards, it’s a great way to spend your Labor Day Weekend!
Don’t miss out! Visit one, or all to participate. Easy entries.
Meet some new authors! Discover some awesome blogs.
Most of all…have fun!
The Labor Day Hop starts here!
Monday, August 29th, 2016
Any visitor to Norway knows how expensive it is to travel and sightsee in the country. When our cruise ship stopped at Tromso, we discovered the Arctic-Alpine Botanic garden, which was a short walk from the port. Even better, admission was free.
It was in a gorgeous spot, overlooking the valley of Tromsdalen and the mountain Tromsdalstind in the background.
All the plants come from alpine regions of the northern hemisphere, and the garden is open from May to September. It is run by the Tromso University Museum.
I love tulips, and these ones made a stunning display. There were also black tulips.
These blue Himalayan poppies were in full flower and absolutely beautiful. Such a pretty color. I’d never seen blue poppies before.
The day turned fine and hot. This is me posing with the blue poppies.
There is a small cafe in the gardens, and hubby and I purchased a waffle and coffee. In Norway, the waffles are served with jam and cream or Brunost, which is a brown cheese made from goats’ milk. I expected the cheese to be strong but it was quite sweet and soft and went perfectly with the waffle.
If you’re in Tromso, a visit to the Arctic-Alpine Botanic garden is the perfect way to while away an hour or longer. I highly recommend a visit.
Friday, August 26th, 2016
Grab a paranormal bargain for 99c or less! Today and tomorrow only.
Lynx to the Pharaoh is my contribution to the Heat Wave sale, and it is available at all online book stores for 99c. Here’s the blurb:
Sethmet Khalil comes from a line of shapeshifters who protect the pharaoh from tomb robbers. It’s a sacred duty handed down from father to son—a duty he’s determined to carry out successfully so his family retain the shapeshifter powers they cherish. Failure means death at the hands of a deadly curse.
Desperate to escape the strictures of mourning, Charlotte Webster travels to Egypt with her stepbrother. The freedom of Patria Oasis is heady after the stuffy rules of the London season. It’s full of temptation. Sethmet, their guide, is handsome and sparks forbidden desire in Charlotte. Risking censure, she embarks on a passionate affair, secret rendezvous full of lingering caresses and explosive pleasure.
Charlotte pleases both man and feline, but she’s with the men Sethmet suspects are hunting for the pharaoh’s treasure. If Charlotte is involved, he can’t protect her from the pharaoh’s curse and she’ll die with the others. Love, danger and betrayal battle beneath the blood-red desert moon as the lovers steal moments together and fate works its wiles.
Purchase at: : iBooks | Kobo | Amazon | All Romance | Nook
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Thursday, August 25th, 2016
A female cop apprehends a jewel thief…
“We caught you trespassing,” she snapped. “What were you doing there? What did you take?” Her gaze slid down his body toward his crotch.
Jonno laughed, not even trying to control his unruly body. The steal of color across her cheeks charmed him. A blusher. He wondered how big an area the flush covered. “I’m not hiding any jewels there, aside from the obvious, although you’re welcome to investigate.” A sly grin slid across his lips. He hadn’t had so much fun with a woman in ages.
“You’re trying to embarrass me.”
“Is it working?”
“Yes,” she hissed. “Are you satisfied? You’re making me behave in an unprofessional manner.”
“I’m not making you do anything, sweet cheeks.”
Here is the blurb:
Middlemarch Mates, Book 8
Laura Adams is a cop with ambition, and a job in Middlemarch isn’t what she wants for her future. Hooking up with the wrong man is responsible for the wrong turning, and she refuses to repeat the mistake, especially with a sexy thief.
Leopard shifter Jonno Campbell takes one look at Laura and desires her as his mate. He’s enthralled with the fiery cop, and when she arrests him, he’s ready for a strip search. Convincing Laura he’s innocent and that they should work together to capture the thieves stealing from Middlemarch residents isn’t easy. A kiss laced with his easy charm does the trick and sparks fly. Passion escalates into primitive hunger. A night of hot loving convinces Jonno. He wants forever with the gorgeous Laura, but her ambition, his feline heritage and a gang of thieves stand in the way of his progress. Then there’s the ex-boyfriend who wants Laura back. This time charisma and erotic promises mightn’t be enough to win the lady.
Purchase your copy today!
Amazon | All Romance ebooks | Nook | iBooks | Kobo |
Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016
The North Cape on the island of Magerøya in Norway is in the Arctic Circle, and it is the farthest land point before the North Pole (Apart from the Svalbard archipelago). During the summer months, the sun doesn’t set and daylight is constant for two and a half months.
On the day we visited, it was cold, even though it was mid-summer. This is the view we saw on our arrival. About half an hour later, the sea and cliffs were shrouded by fog.
There were hundreds of people and dozens of buses at the cape. I decided to purchase and post a postcard with the special North Cape postmark. Service at the souvenir shop – slower than a snail. I swear I was in the line for half an hour.
We saw a few herds of reindeer gazing on the side of the road. They are not wild, but are released to graze the area during the summer months. The cape area is popular for bird watching and hiking.
This is the globe right on the point in front of the visitors’ center. Not much of a view with the fog obscuring the sea beyond.
Hubby took this photo at midnight, as you can see by his watch. The sun set at midnight and it rose at midnight.
This is me at midnight. While it was fun seeing the midnight sun, I’m not sure I could handle the lack of daylight during the winter months.
How do you think you would cope with only a few hours of daylight per day?
Monday, August 15th, 2016
During our recent cruise we stopped for a day in Dublin. We’ve visited Dublin before, but it was fun reacquainting ourselves with the city. Drummers welcomed us as we disembarked from the cruise ship.
Our first stop was to the Georgian House Museum in Fitzwilliam Street. Mrs Beatty, the widow of a wine merchant, was the first occupant of the house. The house is furnished and appears as it would have during 1790 – 1820 period. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to take photos, but it was well worth the visit. Dublin has lots of Georgian buildings, and I enjoy the elegance of this time period.
Two doors for Georgian townhouses.
Our next destination was The Book of Kells and the Long Room at Trinity College. The queue was long but I passed the time chatting with the man in front of me in the line. He was there with his wife and two adult children in a family reunion of sorts. My advice to anyone intending to visit in the future is to buy your tickets online before you go. It makes the wait much shorter!
The Book of Kells exhibition was crowded, but the illuminated manuscripts are beautiful – so much artistry in the illustrations. It was exacting work and done by more than one scribe. Due to the delicate nature of the manuscripts, no photos were allowed.
My book lover’s heart was looking forward to the Long Room, part of the Trinity College library. It is floor to ceiling with books and so impressive. It thrilled me.
This is me in the Long Room. Check out those ladders to get to the top shelves.
Dublin is full of history. Dublin Castle is mainly 18th century in origin, although a castle has stood on this site for much longer. It is open to the public, apart from during state functions. We merely admired the exterior.
A view of Dublin Castle
Temple Bar is the cultural and entertainment center of Dublin. It’s full of pubs, expensive drinks and tourists. U2 own a bar here.
The weather for our day in Dublin was fantastic. The locals were out in force too, and I’ve never seen so many people with red hair. A lot of pale skin was on display due to the heat. I managed to get a bit burned and I had sunscreen, so I imagine there were lots of sunburnt people that night.
If you’re in the market for knitwear, there are some beautiful jumpers, hats and scarves available to purchase. I dragged hubby around several stores in my search for an Irish green scarf. Mission complete. I’ve worn it a lot this winter and get lots of compliments since it is a bit different to those in New Zealand.
We had a fantastic day, did heaps of walking and got enough culture to make me happy. Dublin is a fun city to visit for a day or longer.