Tag Archives: Action/Adventure

#HobbyCareerPassion: The Mint Invasion: Out Of Chaos Comes Jelly…And Romance by M.S. Spencer

Welcome to my weekly feature where authors share about the hobbies, careers, or passions of their characters.

I’m pleased to introduce today’s guest, M.S. Spencer…

 

The Mint Invasion: Out Of Chaos Comes Jelly…And Romance

Up until my thirties, I traveled a great deal, living in many countries with amenities that many would consider below standard. So it wasn’t until I married and settled down in an old farmhouse with an acre of land that I could indulge my fantasy of growing my own food. We planted apple, plum, peach, fig, hazelnut, and cherry trees; gooseberries, strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries; all kinds of vegetables, including an ill-fated attempt to grow artichokes; and finally, lots and lots of herbs. I built a formal herb garden and planted thyme, lovage, rosemary, chives, tarragon, sage, and lemon balm. The one thing I couldn’t get to grow was mint. Yes, the gardeners among you will scoff, but it took me years to get a plot to flourish. Be careful what you wish for. When it finally got going, I had to do something before it took over the entire acre.

So I called upon my sister-in-law, to whom Whirlwind Romance is dedicated. She directed me to an old recipe for mint jelly. Once I’d mastered it, I went on to work up jelly recipes for all my herbs. Good thing we had a basement.

In Whirlwind Romance, my heroine, Lacey Delahaye, moves to an island in Florida and wants to reestablish the herb store she’d owned up North. Florida boasts innumerable ecosystems, from pine uplands, to coastal plains, to palm hammocks—all of which are host to many wild fruits, most of which can be made into jelly. Whirlwind Romance opens as she returns from a foraging trip, unaware that a hurricane had swept through, leaving an unexpected visitor in her mangrove swamp.

Woven throughout the story are descriptions of the wild fruits of Florida and the western Caribbean. For fun, I added recipes to each chapter. Here’s one for a common tropical wild fruit:

 Cocoplum Jelly

The cocoplum is native to South Florida and occurs naturally in cypress hammocks and wetland areas. Evergreen, it forms a dense, clumping bush. Fruit is a dark purple drupe one to two inches in diameter, and ripens May through August. The nut is also edible.

200 cocoplums to make 2 cups juice

2 cinnamon sticks

4 cups brown sugar

1 box (1.75 oz.) powdered pectin

Place peeled plums and cinnamon sticks in water to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 1 ½ hours, or until liquid is dark purple. Remove from heat and strain, reserving the nuts. Add water if necessary to make 2 cups of liquid.

Shell the nuts and chop. In a jelly pan add the juice, nuts, and pectin and bring to a rolling boil. Pour in sugar all at once and bring back to a rolling boil. Boil exactly one minute. Remove from heat, skim off any foam, and ladle into hot, sterilized jelly jars to within ¼ inch of the top. Wipe rims and place the two-piece canning lids on the jars but do not tighten completely. Turn the jars over and leave upside down for five minutes on a padded rack. Turn upright and tighten the lids completely.

Alternative method: Process filled, tightly closed jars in boiling water for 15 minutes.

Cool.

Makes about 4 pints.

I give other jelly recipes in the book for Sea grapes, Kei apples, Beautyberries, Passionfruit, Roselle, and Shining Sumac.

Pirates, Puritans, propaganda, and princes—pieces of the puzzle in the whirlwind romance between a beautiful jelly maker and a mysterious castaway:

Whirlwind Romance by M. S. Spencer

Blurb:

In the aftermath of a hurricane,  jelly-maker Lacey Delahaye discovers a man washed ashore in her mangrove swamp, and tumbles into a sea of troubles. Kidnapped along with her shipwrecked sailor, she is taken to a tiny island in the western Caribbean. There, the two must escape from pirates, defeat a power-made ideologue, deflect a jealous ex-husband, and prove her companion’s birthright.

Excerpt (PG): Slipping Briskly

As she turned to leave, he touched her arm. “Stay a minute?”

How could she admit she had to get out of there quickly or she wouldn’t be able to go at all? His handsome face—the strong chin covered with stubble, the pearly teeth contrasting with his tan skin, not to mention the long, graceful fingers he held out to her—all conspired to lure her closer. Her heart led the way, propelling her to his side. She sat down. “What is it?”

“Lacey…um.”

Her body tensed as desire fought to get out, and she fought just as hard to keep it in. I have to go. I have to…go. “What?”

His words came out in a rush. “Lacey, the other day—the first night—when you rescued me. When we…we…”

Don’t say it. Don’t say it. Christ.

“I…uh…want you to know I don’t do that on a regular basis.”

His air of shy ambivalence gave her courage. “I see. You don’t have sex on a regular basis?”

“No, no, it’s not that.” He stopped, flustered. “Er, I mean… I don’t sleep with women indiscriminately.”

Should she let him off the hook? Nah. “But you do sleep with a lot of women?”

“No! Lacey, you’re being difficult on purpose. I meant, that I didn’t mean to…you know. It just happened. Forgive me?”

“I—”

Armand interrupted her. “Not that it wasn’t enjoyable.” He seemed distracted, running a finger down her arm. “Wonderful. Fantastic. Too short.” He peered at her. “Lacey, you must know how beautiful you are. You have the most perfect cheekbones I’ve ever seen.”

“Cheekbones?” What the hell is he talking about?

“I’m an amateur photographer. Those cheekbones could belong to a supermodel. Perfectly sculpted. And your nose…” He tapped the tip. “A little pixie nose. It even turns up slightly. Your long, fine hair is the russet-gold of burnished copper pots I once saw piled high in a shop on Martinique. Your eyes…” He closed his. “Your eyes are the blue-green of a freshly mowed cricket field, of the emeralds that grow deep in the mountains, of the lagoon near my home on a blustery day.” He touched her hand. “Then there’s your body—as I remember it—a soft, comfortable, pillowy—”

“Hey!” Lacey shook her head to break the spell. “I think you’ve said enough. Get some sleep.”

She tried to rise, but he slipped his arms around her and drew her close. She wanted to struggle. She tried to struggle. It was no use. The long kiss filled her with a warmth that matched a fire on a cold night, a cup of cocoa, or a hot bath. When he lay back, the warmth turned to blazing passion. The power of it frightened her. I’ve got to go. She ran out of the room before he could stop her.

Whirlwind Romance

Wild Rose Press (2016)

Contemporary romance/Action Adventure
Rating: Hot (R)
358 p.

Buy links:

Wild Rose Press 

Amazon

Bookstrand

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

Google

ITunes

Walmart

Indigo

About the Author

Librarian, anthropologist, Congressional aide, speechwriter—M. S. Spencer has traveled the globe. She holds a BA from Vassar College, a diploma in Arabic Studies from the American University in Cairo, and Masters in Anthropology and in Library Science from the University of Chicago.  All of this tends to insinuate itself into her works.

Ms. Spencer has published thirteen romantic suspense or murder mystery novels, with two more on the way. She has two fabulous grown children and an incredible granddaughter. She divides her time between the Gulf Coast of Florida and a tiny village in Maine.

Blog: https://msspencertalespinner.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/msspencermysteries

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/msspencerauthor

GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/msspencer
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/msspencerauthor/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/msspencerauthor/

Linked in: www.linkedin.com/in/msspencerauthor

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/m-s-spencer

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/M.S.-Spencer/e/B002ZOEUC8/

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Filed under Author Blog Post, Hobbies...Careers...Passions

“Ever Since” – New Release by Dorothy Callahan – #99Cents

Please help me welcome Dorothy Callahan with her latest release…

 

Thank you for having me! I’m excited to be sharing a bit about my new release, which is a slight diversion from my normal writings. I tend to write action/adventure/romance, but with Ever Since, I felt Cora had a different story to tell. After all, she’s stuck home with her family over the holidays, hiding the fact she just lost her job, and who did her Nana invite to stay with them but the one man who broke her heart? Add a Nor’easter and the biggest bash of the year, and you’ll see why Cora is all sass and crass when it comes to Matty.

If you love animals like I do, you’ll be happy to see them pop up in all my stories. Cora is no exception; she’s a licensed veterinary technician with a rescued bunny who finds herself roped in to taking care of all the family’s pets while she’s there.

Cora is first introduced in my book “IMPENETRABLE: Let No One In,” which is available for FREE right now on my website, www.dorothycallahan.com. All I need is the email address to send it to and it’s yours! (She shows up again in “CRAZY LITTLE FLING,” too.)

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Blurb:

Gorgeous. Scottish. A musician—but not in the traditional sense. No, Matteu MacKenzie is one of the best bagpipe players around—a Master Piper. And Cora had given her heart to him, only to have him break it by choosing his music over her. But a secret they share is tearing them apart, and unless Cora is willing to acknowledge what happened, Matty feels their love can never be redeemed. And by midnight on New Year’s Eve, their chances will expire.

EVER SINCE

they met as teens, they clicked. Completely.

EVER SINCE

they started dating, they knew they belonged together.

EVER SINCE

the car accident that ended innocent lives, Cora has been on her own—abandoned, bereft, betrayed by the only man she’d ever loved.

EVER SINCE

the day Matty’s distracted driving almost cost Cora her life, he’s been unable to cope with how deeply he failed her.

They have not been the same

EVER SINCE.

Interested to see how they interact? Here’s one of the first scenes with them together, having come in from the cold after wrangling Cora’s mom’s horses back into the barn:

Perhaps he sensed her thoughts, because once more Matty leaned in. “Roll in to me, mo chridhe. Yer family is starting to find yer actions a wee bit cold to me.”

Cora hissed, “Just because Nana and Mom haven’t told anyone doesn’t give you carte blanche to pretend nothing is wrong between us.”

“Aya, everything is wrong. We’re but inches apart, yet I canna see over yer walls.”

“Walls you put there.”

“Aya. Walls I intend to knock down.”

“Intend away, but you made your choice. These are the consequences.”

“Aya, but a decision made in panic, mo chridhe, is no decision at all. I was blind with fear and pain and desperate to prove maself to ye.”

Despite his pathetic attempt at a plea, it was his familiar endearment that made Cora turn to glare at him. “Stop calling me that. I mean it. And panic or no, you had fourteen months to contact me. Which you didn’t. Which means we’re done.”

She couldn’t read his expression, but it seemed guarded. “No, lass. We’re na done until death has stolen me.”

“Stolen me. I could have died in that hospital, but you left anyway.”

His eyes swept down, the long lashes fanning against his cheeks, sending shadows along his high cheekbones as the fire undulated before them. “Aya, I’ve failed ye.”

“Yes. You have.”

Her declaration made his lips curl. “Ye never mince words, Cora. It’s what I’ve always admired so about ye. Life is black and white to ye. No gray. Ever.” He nodded once and got up, tucking the wool blanket around her as he left the living room.

And Cora finally got to sit before the fire in absolute silence to enjoy her cocoa.

Funny, it seemed so much hotter only seconds ago.

***************************

Right now, the ebook is available at pre-order price of $0.99 at most online retailers, including Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Ever-Since-Dorothy-Callahan-ebook/dp/B01N4FH5E6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1484403591&sr=8-1&keywords=ever+since+dorothy+callahan

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ever-since-dorothy-callahan/1125361916?ean=2940154214244

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dorothy Callahan is one of those authors who annoys other authors by refusing to be tied down to one genre. If a tale demands to be told—even if she’s never read a single story like it—she’ll find a way to write the book of her heart. This is the only way to quiet those demanding characters begging to be heard.

She lives in New York with her wonderful husband, a pride of demanding cats, and two loyal dogs, all rescued from shelters (well, not the husband). Her love of both animals and writing prompted her to start READ AND RESCUE, an organization where animal-loving authors and readers can find one another. The unique aspect to this group is that each author pledges a portion of proceeds to his/her favorite animal cause.

When Dorothy is not writing, she enjoys shopping for antiques and renovating their pre-Civil War house. If you are interested in learning more about Dorothy or how to help other animals in need, please visit her at dorothycallahan.com, dorothycallahanauthor@gmail.com, Facebook at Dorothy Callahan Author, or Twitter under Dorothy Callahan@Callahanauthor.

Thank you, Alicia, for letting me join you today! I hope you had fun getting to know these two characters a bit. I enjoyed the chance to share.

 

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Filed under Author Blog Post, New Release