2012-08-31

Sneak Peek: Finders, Keepers

Finders, Keepers is a sexy new sci-fi menage story (couple of firsts there!) and I'm thrilled to announce that Loose-Id will be releasing it this December, just in time for the holidays. Here's the blurb and a very unedited excerpt. Enjoy!

Blurb:


Sometimes finding what you want is the easy part.

Caleb is a bionic soldier with little-to-no memory of his past. He’s traded pieces of himself for some very highly classified, high-tech hardware, but he’s not always sure how he feels about that bargain. Could be he’s lost far more than he’s gained. He’s not even sure the choice had been his to make. He’s seeking the truth. About himself. About his past. About those missing memories.

Aldo’s an undercover cop who just might have the answers to Caleb’s questions. But Aldo’s already lost one love too many. The same truth that could set Caleb free could also send him running—as far from Aldo as he can get. That’s an unacceptable risk. Because if it turns out Caleb’s the man Aldo thinks he is, how can he even think about letting him get away from him a second time?

Then there’s Sally, she’s an ER physician who used to be married to Aldo’s late partner, Davis. Although she does her best to hide it, Sally’s not really coping very well with widowhood. She’s used to compartmentalizing her emotions, staying calm in an emergency, burying herself in her work, but it’s getting harder every day to find a good enough reason to keep getting up. She cares deeply about both Caleb and Aldo, and she knows they both care about her—one as a lover, the other as a friend—but she needs something more. If the truth about the men’s shared past comes to light, she could lose them both. Along with her last, best reason to continue living.

This holiday season, chance will bring these three together and give them an opportunity to help one another find what they each want most. But every gift comes with a price. And keeping what they’ve found once they’ve found it? Yeah, that’s gonna be the hard part all right.   


Excerpt:

 “Are you fucking kidding me?” Aldo’s arm tightened instinctively around her. He was startled by the blast of anger, by the raspy growl that emerged from his throat. “Are you saying some sonofabitch got ticked off and walked out on you because you wouldn’t sleep with him? Who is he? Tell me where to find him and I’ll fucking kill him.”
“Aldo.” Sally turned her head to glint up at him. “Would you stop it? You would not.”
The words were matter of fact, but Aldo wasn’t certain if that was confidence he heard in her voice, or a hint of challenge, either way, it pissed him off. He arched one brow. “Oh, no?”
“No. I know you. And I wouldn’t want you to anyway.  That’s not what happened, okay? It just… It didn’t work out, that’s all. No harm, no foul.”
“You don’t even know what that means, do you?” He hated that plaintive tone in her voice. She sounded like a lost little girl when she used it. And she clearly didn’t know  him anywhere near as well as she thought she did. He wasn’t always the nice guy she imagined him to be. Davis hadn’t been either, for that matter. He doubted anyone was. She was still too na├»ve, too innocent. And he’d be damned if he was going to be the one to change that. She was the only good thing in his life. And their friendship was still the only relationship he had yet to fuck up. It was damn sure gonna stay that way, if he had anything to say about it. Still, it made him mad. “What the fuck is wrong with this guy?” he groused. “He couldn’t cut you some slack, give you a little time? Doesn’t he realize how much you’ve been through lately?”
Sally sighed. “Of course he doesn’t. How would he know?”
“You didn’t tell him? How come? I thought you said you’d known him for a while?”
“A few weeks—yeah. And, of course I didn’t tell him? How would that go? What was I gonna say? ‘I know you think you want me but what you don’t understand is I’m a pathetic little widow who can’t figure out what she wants’?”
“Stop that. You’re not pathetic.”
“Oh, babe.” She shook her head. “I am, you know. I’m not blind. My life is running away without me and I can’t seem to stop it and…half the time, I don’t even care. I’m tired of fighting it, tired of feeling lost. If that’s not pathetic…”
“It hasn’t been that long,” Aldo pointed out, a little desperately. “You have to give yourself time. Maybe you’re the one who needs to cut yourself some slack?”
Sally chuckled weakly. “So says the man who, just last week, told me—yet again—that it was time for me to move on.”
“Yeah, well…” he broke off, sighing. “Sometimes I don’t always think things through before I speak. You know that.”
“Or before you act.”
“Yeah. That too.” Davis had made the point frequently, had given Aldo hell on a regular basis for his hot-headed, impulsive ways. He’d always claimed Aldo would get himself killed one day, if he didn’t change. And yet, it was Davis who was gone too soon.
“I miss him.”
Aldo nodded. Eyes closing for a moment as a wave of pain crashed over him. “I know, honey. I do too.”

2012-08-27

Simple Stuffed Figs

It's another Tasty Tuesday and a couple of my fellow authors and I have gotten together to share some sexy, fun recipes for you to try out.

My contribution this week is stuffed figs. 

The fig is a very sexy fruit, just ask DH Lawrence. And Dan and Lucy Cavanaugh (two of my favorite characters from the Oberon series) would certainly agree. Check out This Week's Excerpt for more about that!

In the final scene of the fourth Oberon book, A Taste of Honey, Lucy makes this dessert.


"Lucy was still in the kitchen, carefully drizzling a thin stream of warm thyme honey over the platter she’d arranged, when Dan came up behind her. 
            “Hey,” he murmured softly, and between the sound of his voice and the feel of his hands, clasped around her waist, she found it hard to breathe. 
            She put the jar of honey down on the counter and leaned back against him, closing her eyes as she said, “Hey, yourself.  You just get back?”
            “Mm.”  He leaned down to kiss her neck.  “Sorry it took so long.  Did I miss much?”
            “Yeah.  Me.” 

Fresh Figs With Goat Cheese and Honey 

Ingredients

  • 12 fresh figs, I like black mission figs, but fresh green or brown figs will work just as well.
  • 4 oz log of Chevre goat cheese (preferably organic)
  • 4 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons honey, I like using either lavender or thyme honey for this


Optional Ingredients


  • 1/4 cup shelled pistachios, chopped
  • 12 whole almonds, walnuts or pecans
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • chopped fresh herbs: rosemary, thyme or lavender

Directions


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2 In a small bowl, mix cheese and mint together to form stuffing
3. Quarter each fig, approximately 3/4 of the way through.
4. Fill figs with cheese. If using almonds, walnuts or pecans, insert 1 nut into each fig.
5. Place figs in baking dish. If using pistachios or pine nuts, sprinkle over and around figs at this point, and drizzle with small amount of a mild oil like grapeseed.
6. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.
7. Remove figs from oven and transfer to plates or serving platter. Drizzle with honey and, if desired sprinkle chopped herbs over figs.

Be sure to check out these other yummy treats:

Antioxidant Little Pricks by Selena Robins  

Suicide Chicken Wings by Nancy Lauzon 

And now, the rest of the excerpt I started above...

[Dan] slid his arms all the way around her then, hugging her close.  She placed her own hands on top of his, where they lay across her stomach.  His skin was warm from the sun.  She wanted to stay wrapped up like that forever.  “So, how did it go?”
            “Well, let’s see,” he sighed, rubbing his cheek against her hair.  “I think I spent pretty much the entire afternoon watching your son eat.  He scarfed down two chili cheese-dogs, some garlic fries, an order of nachos, a bag of peanuts,  popcorn, a pretzel, a frozen malted, a hamburger and two of the largest cups of root beer you’ve ever seen in your life.  I swear I do not know where he puts it, Luce.  Oh, and the team we were rooting for lost ten to six.  So--”
            “So, you had a good time, huh?”
            “Yeah,” he chuckled, slipping one arm free and brushing her hair back behind her ear.  “I really did.  We got a chance to talk, and…we cleared the air.  About a lot of things.  It was good.  I’m afraid it wasn’t much of a Mother’s Day treat for you though.”
            “S’okay.  The day’s not over yet.  I held dessert up for you.”  She sighed happily as she felt him nibbling on the edge of her ear.
            “Yeah?”  His voice was a warm, contented rumble in her ear.  “So, what’s for dessert?”
            “Stuffed figs,” she told him.
            “Figs, huh?”
            “Mm-hm.  With honey.”
            “You know,” he said, his grip around her tightening.  “I’ve been thinking.  There are a lot of things we could maybe do with all that honey of yours.”
            “Are there?”  She twisted around and looked up into bright blue eyes.  “I’m sure I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
            “Oh, you don’t, huh?”  He smiled, wickedly.  “Well, that’s too bad, babe.  ‘Cause, what I’m thinking of could be a lot of fun.”
            “Mm.  I guess you’ll just have to show me.”
            He leaned down to just brush his lips against hers.  “Why, Ms. Greco, it would be my pleasure.”
            “I know, Cavanaugh,” she sighed, as she pulled him back in for a real kiss.  “Mine, too.”

For more about Dan, Lucy and their love of figs check out this week's excerpt.


2012-08-21

Blood and Moonlight: Special Guest Moira Keith


I'm very pleased to welcome fellow author Moira Keith to my blog today. Moira's here  to talk about her new release, Blood and Moonlight (check out an exciting excerpt HERE)

"Though she shares the bloodlines of both Fae and Wolf, Kiara Morrigan O’Conaill refuses to claim her place in the Fae courts or submit to the animal within. Witnessing the murder of her Fae mother two years ago drives her back into those worlds, to search for answers and revenge.

Devlin McClure lives for one thing—the Pack. When their leader, the Cadeyrn, disappears, desperation sends Devlin to the last person he should be asking for help—the Cadeyrn’s estranged daughter, Kiara.

Kiara and Devlin are drawn to each other by fate and destined to embrace the very thing that threatens to rip their worlds apart. Now, Kiara will have to decide which is stronger, blood or moonlight?"


Sounds great, right? Here's Moira with more on her new book, writing in general and a little about herself as well...
PGF: Hi, Moira. It's a pleasure to visit with you here today. Please tell us a little about your new release.  
MK: What would you like to know? Let's see...the story is about a woman who is of mixed heritatge. She is both fae and wolf and yet not really accepted by either. Exiled after the death of her mother, Kiara is on the hunt for answers. This leads her to Las Vegas and the local wolf pack. When Devlin McClure, the right hand of the pack leader, shows up asking for her help, she finds herself getting a little more up close and personal to her own inner wolf and the one who came seeking her aid. Kiara quickly finds herself looking for a father she thought was dead, fighting attraction to a wolf, and trying to unravel the threads of a mystery that bring both the worlds of the fae and wolves closer together. 

PGF: Mmm. Wolf-shifters and Celtic Fae--it doesn't get much better than that! What inspired you to write this book?  
MK: I've always had a deep love for the paranormal and urban fantasy genres. This story combined elements that I've always been infatuated with - shapeshifters, faeries, and a little dose of Celtic mythology. It was a great opportunity for me to explore a genre that fueled my love of writing and reading. 
PGF: I hear that! What do you like best about your hero? Your heroine? Can you see yourself in any of your characters?  
MK: Devlin McClure, my hero, has a past. There are things we don't learn about in great detail early on in the series. Things that are merely hinted at. They've made him who he is, given him a strength of character if you will. In many ways, he and my heroine are the same in that respect. Kiara Morrigan O'Conaill constantly struggles with who she is. She longs to fit in, yet she doesn't really. I relate to that in many ways. So I think that is what I like most about her. Oops. Guess I unintentionally answered the rest of the question. 

PGF: I think a lot of us can relate to that! And I love me a hero with a mysterious past! Do you have a dream cast for your book?  
MK: Not really. I've tried 'casting' my book and I just can't see anyone particular person in either part. I think perhaps someone that has that Gerard Butler quality to him for Devlin and maybe hmmm... someone like Emilia Clarke for Kiara? I'm horrible at this - especially when the characters are so distinct and alive in my head, putting a living person in their place makes it difficult.  

PGF: Yeaaahh...I think Mr. Butler would be a very busy man if all our books were made into movies (when! when! I meant when--not if!) I'd want him for at least two of my characters as well. ;) Is there a particular song you think of as being the theme song for your book or any of your characters?  
MK: There is a scene in the book that I find to be a huge moment for Kiara and it brings her a little bit closer to feeling accepted. One song played over and over again in my head (and eventually on my iPod) as I wrote it - The Voice by Celtic Woman.  
PGF: Oh, that's such a great song. Please tell us in one sentence why we should read your book.  
MK: You know I asked my sister this question and she said "Because it's freaking awesome!" - Knowing that isn't what you were looking for, I would have to go with - "The characters make you feel for them, they pull you in and take you along for the ride, and refuse to let go until the very end." 
PGF: Well, I can already feel that just reading the excerpt! Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?  
MK: Too many to list actually, however I am currently working on book two for the Moonlight Trilogy. I also have a contemporary western romance in process as well. Those are the two main focuses at the moment.  

PGF: Well, I'm certainly looking forward to those! Now, let's get personal. ;) What's the best advice anyone has ever given you? Or what's the one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?  
MK: I struggled with trying to force my stories to be what I believed the market, the editors, and publishers wanted. What was selling. The best advice I was ever given was actually given to me by several people (writers and non) and was given in regards to this book. "Write your story. Not the story you think the world wants." I think that is sound advice that I would pass on to aspiring writers as well. The thing is, when you write something you are basically putting yourself onto paper. Your thoughts, ideas, hopes, and dreams. When you force those, I think it is evident in the writing. The manuscript lacks passion that readers tend to notice. 

PGF: What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen? 
MK:  I read so many books that it is really hard for me to name a favorite. However, there was a scene that I remember reading over and over again. It was the scene where the jogger was hit by the car in Pet Cemetery. The descriptiveness in which Stephen King describes the wounds left such an impression on me. It was gross, real, and utterly perfect. I was in awe. Since then, a writer who can pull me in and set the scene ranks high on my list. 

PGF: What's your favorite season?  
MK: Fall. Summers are too hot here in Sin City and winter is kind of well...cold believe it or not. 
PGF: Favorite places to travel?  
MK: Any place where there are family and friends. Anywhere you travel, the connection to the place deepens when you see it through the eyes of the people that live there. To me, that is the best. Go somewhere where there are people you know that can show you the local side of things. Makes a vacation far more interesting. The usual tourist stuff gets boring after a while.  

PGF: Favorite music?  
MK: This changes frequently. I love everything from punk music to country. 
PGF: Favorite color? 
MK: I have two actually. Green and Blue. No particular shade as I find the range in both to be quite lovely. Like the ocean. 
 PGF: Favorite time of day?

MKDepends on the day. Some days I'm totally a morning person. Other's I'm more of a night owl. One thing is for certain...my favorite time of day is anytime I can sit down and write or spend time with my lil zombies.

PGF: Favorite quote?  
MK: I've always loved Marilyn Monroe and believe she was far more intellectual than the image she projected. This is a quote that hangs over my desk.
“I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they're right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.” 
PGF: I love that quote too! I actually used the last part of it to open one of my own books.  Okay, one more: If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future and why?  
MK: I would go back into the past I think. To be able to experience Scotland and the Highlands, maybe fall for a handsome Laird with a nice thick brogue. 
 PGF: Mmm. Can't argue with that. Thanks so much for stopping by and congratulations on your release. I wish you lots of sales! 

Blood and Moonlight is available now at Amazon Barnes and Noble and Smashwords 

2012-08-20

The Sexy Spellcaster

Welcome to another Tasty Tuesday!

[Adam] had spent most of the last two weeks preparing for this spell. He had chosen peach for the candle--color and scent--for peach was the fruit of eternity. He had encased it in a thick coating of white sugar scented with rose water, to symbolize the sweetness and purity of love. He had adorned it with a string of pearls, and set it upon a bed of dragonfly wings. 


He’d purchased the pearls as a Valentine’s present for his lady.  But she had not arrived, and now they must go to serve another purpose; they would form a part of the offering that would accompany the spell he was attempting to weave tonight.


That's an excerpt from the opening scene of Touch of a Vanished Hand, the fifth book in the Oberon series. My hero, Adam Sasso, runs a winery--when he's not casting spells. He's also eager to open a Bed & Breakfast in the renovated farmhouse where he lived as a child. From the moment he meets Sinead Quinn, the woman he eventually hires to manage the B&B, he's pretty sure she's his soul mate--the woman he'd been attempting to summon when he cast his spell the previous Valentine's Day. 

The first dinner she cooks for him that really convinces him of this fact, especially the white peach galette she makes for dessert. By the end of that dinner, it's a little hard to tell who's cast a spell on who.

This recipe uses puff pastry--just to make things easier--but any pie crust will do. The custard filling is also optional. I prefer it for its creamy texture, but it can be omitted if you're feeling pressed for time, although I would probably double the amount of almond paste, if that were the case. 

Ingredients

1 sheet of puff pastry
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 powdered sugar
6 white peaches 
(white nectarines can be substituted for the peaches, or a combination of summer fruit--plums, apricots, berries, etc)
1 tablespoon sanding sugar

Optional Custard Filling 

1 lightly beaten egg
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon either vanilla or almond extract
1/4 cup half and half

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Unfold pastry sheet and place on buttered baking sheet
Place almonds and powdered sugar in food processor and grind until they form a paste
Spread almond paste on pastry, leaving a 1/4 border
Slice peaches and arrange over almond paste
Moisten the edges of the pastry and roll up or fold over to form a crust around the outside of the galette
Sprinkle pastry border with sanding sugar

For custard variation: Bake galette for 20-25 minutes. Meanwhile assemble custard by mixing ingredients listed above. Remove galette from oven and carefully pour custard over fruit. Depending on how much juice you have, it might not all fit. Return galette to oven and bake for another 20 minutes, or until custard is set. If not using custard, bake for 45-50 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool for 15 minutes on pan before transferring to wire rack.


* * * * *

And now, here's another quick excerpt from Touch of a Vanished Hand:


Picking up his fork again, he took a bite of the galette; and then he didn't say anything else. 

 The taste of ripe peaches, combined with the scent of the roses blooming unseen in the darkness that surrounded the terrace propelled his mind back through time to the night, almost six months earlier, when he'd performed his summoning spell. His eyes squeezed shut as a feeling that went way beyond deja vu swept over him. Past and present melded, then split apart. For an instant, so did he. He found himself in two places at one and the same time. And then, like an elastic band that had been stretched too far, he was all at once snapped back to the present. 


 He opened his eyes to find her staring at him again, her expression one of alarm. He pushed the plate away from him, and alarm changed to dismay. 


 “You don't like it?” 


 “Like? No.” He shook his head. After one taste he was ready to declare his undying love, either by getting down on one knee and begging her to marry him, or by grabbing her up in his arms and ravishing her with kisses. Either one would work just fine for him. But, certainly neither would be the kind of response she expected. He wasn't sure if he could come up with an answer that would express how he felt and not sound deranged, but he figured he had to try. “Like is...too insipid a word. I think I could fall in love with it.” 


 She set down her fork and gaped at him. “In love? With your dessert?” 


And with you. But it was probably best not to say that yet. He nodded. “Why not? It's very possibly the best thing I've ever tasted.” 


 “Oh.” She stared at him a moment longer. “Well, thanks, but...all the same, I think that would be a bad idea.” Seeing the question in his eyes, she added, “It's a pastry, Adam. It will never love you back.”



Be sure to stop by the rest of the Tasty Tuesday blogs to check out these other fabulous recipes: 

Pesto Making Season by Selena Robins 

A Little Sumpin' Sumpin; Sausage and Peppers by Moira Keith

Sinful Cinnamon Pinwheels by Nancy Lauzon

2012-08-16

Love's a Beach

Aloha, bloghoppers! Welcome to my private beach!  

 

Why not grab a little refreshment...


Okay, I saw that! I meant one of the drinks. Sheesh. Then sit back and enjoy the scenery...


You know the beach is also the perfect place to do a little reading...

      

...and Moira Keith has a new book (Blood and Moonlight, available August 19th at Smashwords) that sounds fabulous...

Though she shares the bloodlines of both Fae and Wolf, Kiara Morrigan O'Conaill refuses to claim her place in the Fae courts or submit to the animal within. Witnessing the murder of her Fae mother two years ago drives her back into those worlds, to search for answers and revenge.

Devlin McClure lives for one thing-the Pack. When their leader, the Cadeyrn, disappears, desperation sends Devlin to the last person he should be asking for help-the Cadeyrn's estranged daughter, Kiara. 

Kiara and Devlin are drawn to each other by fate and destined to embrace the very thing that threatens to rip their worlds apart. Now, Kiara will have to decide which is stronger, blood or moonlight? 


Here's an exciting excerpt from Blood and Moonlight :

From the corner of my eye I watched Reese and Keenan walk a circle around us. The low murmur of their voices made the words difficult to make out, though I knew when they closed the circle, because the suffocating power that came with it was unmistakable. Now I was trapped in the circle with Reese and Devlin. Keenan stayed outside of the circle merely to ensure that if something went wrong, we had a link outside. 

Devlin stood just behind me. "Kiara, listen to me." 


The wolf paced inside me and the feeling of claws raked across my insides, tearing a scream from me. My arms flung out. I tried to grab onto something—anything—for support, but there was nothing but air. Devlin moved to kneel in front of me and caught my face in his hands, forcing me to look at him. His eyes were glowing, an ethereal blue, with the light blue shade mixing and swirling with a darker shade of sapphire I hadn't noticed before. His very presence demanded I take notice. That I allowed him control. No! I scraped my nails across the bare skin of his arms. 


My wolf did not want to be tamed, she wanted retribution. Anger built, driving the need to destroy something. I reached behind me and drew my mother's dagger from the sheath at my back. Odd that I'd failed to remove it and that neither of my guards called attention to it. Devlin caught my arm as it arced around to his right, but not before the blade sliced him across the chest, cutting through his shirt and where I knew the crescent moon on the lower right side of his ribcage sat. I glared at him. A rich coppery scent filled the air and I reveled in the knowledge that I'd drawn first blood. 


"Back off." I snarled. 


Without turning his attention from me, he called out to Reese. "Something is feeding the wolf's need for release." 


"She is blessed by God and Goddess and a direct descendant of Morrigan. Who decides to come to her aid when she works magic depends on their will. Kiara's control has never been strong enough for it to be any other way. Normally, when the wolf comes it is the result of the deities of war and hunt, though I'm not really sure how that will help you." 
Reese's voice reverberated off the magic holding us captive within its circle. 


"Morrigan is counted among the deities of war and hunt as well so it makes sense that Kiara, being of the same lineage, would draw their aid. This could backfire—" Devlin sucked in a breath— "but here's hoping she doesn't kill me." 


"What are you going to do?" The note of concern in Reese's voice was unmistakable. 


"Try to calm her wolf."    (excerpt continues  HERE)



My own book, Waiting for the Big One, doesn't actually take place at the beach, but it does have a very beachy cover--and an equally beachy trading card, which I'm happy to send to interested readers. 

Just email me with your name and snail mail address!
"Gabby Brown refuses to consider her best friend Derek for the role of soul mate because she fears sex will ruin their friendship. When she meets Zach, she’s convinced that he could be The One. But, Derek has ideas of his own, and they don’t include sharing Gabby with anybody."

Waiting for the Big One is also available as an audiobook. Here's an excerpt for your listening pleasure...



Enjoy the rest of your blog hop! And, remember, if you lose your way, just go to JustRomance.Me to get back on track.


2012-08-13

The Automatic Reboot

Welcome to another Tasty Tuesday...

There are days when your brain just needs a reboot.

Maybe you've had a sleepless night. Maybe you've had a busy day. Maybe your eighty-five-year-old mother-in-law who insists on wearing her reading glasses for non-reading-related activities is convinced there's a flock of sheep grazing on your deck...

Please note the picture at left. These are not sheep.

Maybe it's all of the above and you'd been so preoccupied dealing with everything--plus a couple of dozen other things that didn't even make the list--that you forgot about the promo-spot you had scheduled on blogtalk radio until hours after the fact. Awesome!


Days like that, all you really want to do is go to bed and worry about it tomorrow. But those sheep won't feed themselves, you know! And with a wound-up, elderly in-law wandering about the house... Well, to mis-quote a famous apron I once read in a Tacky Souvenir Shoppe, "If Mama can't sleep, can't nobody else sleep neither." Or use proper grammar. Obviously.

When the words of that bedtime classic, Go the Fuck to Sleep, are muddled up in your brain with the final lines of Robert Frost's poem Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, and it all begins to seem Just Too Much, take heart because I have just the cure for what ails you.





The Automatic Reboot.

Step #1. Take your largest coffee mug.
Step #2. Combine 1 shot cinnamon schnapps, 1 shot Kahlua and 1 shot Irish whiskey in said mug.
Step #3. Fill mug to the brim with very, very, very strong coffee. I like Wake the Fuck Up! for this.
Step #4. Dust with cinnamon. Or nutmeg. Or cinnamon and nutmeg. Whipped cream is also nice.
Step #5. Drink.
Step #6. Immediately begin to feel better.

May also be chilled overnight and enjoyed cold the next day...although, in retrospect, 8 a.m.might have been a little early to indulge.

For more coffee-related cocktails, check out Starbucks' coffee-ice cream martini or these favorites from Starbucks' Secret Menu.

And please stop by the following blogs to check out these other tasty treats:

Recipes from my Erotic Garden by Selena Robins 

"The Quickie" by A. Catherine Noon



Check back later this week for the Love's a Beach blog hop!

2012-08-06

Chocolate Cherry Dream Pie

Welcome to another Tasty Tuesday. The inspiration for this week's recipe comes from a few sources, including the chocolate-amarena gelato my daughter enjoyed in Venice last week (that's it over there on the left) and Nick Greco, one of the heroes of my Oberon series, who has an abiding love of all things chocolate-and-cherry, especially as they pertain to his wife...

            [Nick] kissed her until he felt her knees weaken.  Until the sun had begun to heat the back of his neck.  Until Cole, half forgotten in his arm, began to squirm and whimper fretfully.  And still, he could not quite identify that flavor.  “Okay, I give up,” he broke off the kiss to ask.  “What the heck have you been eating?”
            “Huh?”  She frowned at him uncomprehendingly, automatically taking the baby from him.  A curious smile played over her lips.  “What are you talking about?”
            Man, he loved that smile.  He kissed her several times again just because of it.  “What.  Have you.  Been eating?  It’s driving me crazy.”
            “Oh.”  Eyes darkening, she kissed him again.  “You like that, huh?  I stopped on the way out here and got a milkshake.”
            Ahh.  A milkshake.  Of course.  “Chocolate?” 
            “Well, of course chocolate.”
            “With a cherry?”
            “And whipped cream, yes.  Is there any other way?”
            Not as far as he was concerned.  Chocolate and cherry.  He hadn’t tasted that combination on her lips in twenty years.  He kissed her once more.  “Mm.  Come on, let’s go home.”

That snippet came from book five in the series, Touch of a Vanished Hand, by the way, but it's not the first time Nick's preoccupation with this had been mentioned. The first time was in book three, Sound of a Voice That is Still (yes, there's a pattern there *g*) and that excerpt is currently posted on This Week's Excerpt

Nick happens to be Italian. In fact, his last name, Greco, was my grandmother's maiden name. I'm only half Italian myself, being Irish on my mother's side. Why do I feel the need to mention this here? Simply because the Irish eat more chocolate (per capita, I believe) than any other country in the EU. So, this recipe is also a nod to my family heritage because while I'm using Italian cherries, I'm also adapting an Irish recipe for chocolate mousse. Oh, and I'm also specifying Irish butter because it's the best and what's the point of using anything else? 


Just as a side note, this recipe is gluten free because I couldn't resist adding a hint of almond to the mix.

Super Simple Almond Pie Crust

Ready? It's got just three ingredients 1 1/2 cups almond flour, 3 Tbs sugar and 3 Tbs Irish butter. If you can't find Irish butter, I'd suggest substituting coconut oil and 1/2 a tsp of Celtic sea salt. I also like to add a splash of Amaretto, but that's just me. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and hand mix until crumbly. Then press into a greased, nine-inch pie plate and bake empty at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. 

Pie Filling

4 1/2 ounces extra dark chocolate, chopped into pieces 
2 tablespoons kirsch 
2 tablespoons Irish butter 
1 tablespoon sugar 
1 1/2 cups Amarena cherries in syrup (Fabbri
3 large eggs 
1 cup heavy cream

 Combine chocolate, kirsch, sugar and butter in saucepan. Melt over very low heat, then scrape into a bowl and allow to cool a little. 

 Separate eggs. Whisk whites until they reach soft peak stage. 

Whip cream. 

Beat yolks into slightly cooled chocolate mixture. 

Next, fold in 1 cup of the cherries and syrup (reserve remaining 1/2 cup for garnish). 

Finally, fold the egg whites and cream gently into chocolate mixture, alternating, 1/3 at a time, until it's all incorporated. 

 Spoon mixture into cooled crust and chill for several hours. Serve with more whipped cream if desired (or with grated white chocolate, dark chocolate or a combination of the two) and drizzle with the reserved cherries. 

As a variation,  this may also be made with white chocolate in place of the dark chocolate and with an addition of 1/3 cup of grated dark chocolate folded into the mixture. 

Ready for another short excerpt? This one is from book eight, Dream Under the Hill. Yeah, that's where the 'dream' in the recipe came from. So now you know. ;)

             [Nick] set the tray on the table, along with a plate of chocolate dipped biscotti, Lucy’s predictably perfect Tiramisu, a large bowl of very early strawberries from one of Dan’s 
greenhouses, and the cherry tart Sinead had baked specially for him.
           “I used Amarena cherries to make it,” she’d said, smiling wickedly as she handed him the 
pie plate. “Imported from Bologna.  I don’t know what those Italians do to them, but the flavor 
is...exquisite.  Out of this world. Enjoy.”
           Nick had nodded, feeling almost dazed by the sweet cherry scent that was rising from the pastry
 shell. Cherries had always been his favorite fruit, and just the smell of these—dark, intense, almost 
sinful––was enough to make him drool.  “Thank you,” he murmured, as he gave her a hug.  “I’m 
sure I’ll love it.”
            “Oh, I know you will,” Sinead had replied, laughing softly as she whispered, “it’ll make 
a great bedtime snack.”
           “Good to know,” he’d said, returning her smile. The woman certainly knew his tastes––