Who’s your mama?

I’m the mama because I create people and decide where they live in the real world! And every mama wants her children to have friends. And readers are our babies’ best friends.
My first baby (Naked in the Winter Wind) came to me in 2008. I wondered what would it be like if I could interact with fictional characters, something like those in Outlander? The idea (okay, obsession) wouldn’t leave, so I started writing it out, thinking that by typing it out, I would quiet the thoughts. Nope. What it did was give my thoughts fertile ground for germination, runners now able to spread to new genre territories, a forest of tales from Alaska to Australia, involving everyone from cops to kids, heat levels from sweet to saucy. I was hooked on writing, now a fertile mama to dozens of babies.
The rest, as they say, is history and a rapidly expanding backlist.
One of my latest is a sweet stand-alone romance based in Oregon. BE MY ANGEL is part of UNFORGETTABLE WEDDINGS, a bundle of eight romances (all heat levels) available now for 99 cents or read for free with your Kindle Unlimited account.

Dani Haviland

Dani Haviland, formerly of Connecticut, Arizona, and Alaska, recently semi-retired from selling tractor parts, tools, and roses. She moved to a more temperate climate in western Oregon to pursue her passions: writing, gardening, and photography.
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Life Lessons From a Pitbull (Pit Bull)

Today my post is by my granddaughter, Kira. She wrote this two years ago when she was twelve. I think I have a legacy, an heir who feels that same compulsion to write on random subjects. Kira is passionate about her two pet pitbulls. I left this as she wrote it (it should be pit bull) but other than bulleting her points, this is all hers. Read on:

The Life of an Abused Pitbull
I am a survivor. I never lost my heart. They tried to take it and nearly ripped it apart, but I refused to break. I am not as weak as those men. They would beat me daily, but I never bit their hands. That’s what makes me different from the men who turned on me. They are the ruthless killers and that’s something I’d never be.

• There will be people who judge you just by how you look. They won’t give you a chance, but don’t be discouraged — just wag your tail and give all the love in your heart. Know that some are ignorant but love them anyway.
• It’s true that pitbulls grab and hold on, but what they grab and hold onto and not let go of is not your arm but your heart.
• If you think pitbulls heads are big, then why can’t you know how big their hearts are?
• I can’t count how many friends have betrayed me, lied to me, used me, but I can count the ones who will never do any of these things: my pitbulls.
• I am terribly afraid of pitbulls. They always give me face washes when they’re not needed and they will always steal your heart. They have a way of making you share your food and dessert, but I have never been afraid of being hurt by one.
• Keep calm and hug your pitbull!
P – rotective
I – ntuitive
T – ender
B – eautiful
U – nconditional
L – oyal and
L – oving

As far as her Nana goes, I have a new box set available today! Unforgettable Suspense – Danger and Trouble has EIGHT stories sure to keep you flipping the pages on your Kindle. Check out a quickie YouTube preview here: https://youtu.be/4DT3OOFbQRs 

Full of fire and beauty, but this hot set won’t bite, either!

(Disclaimer: I know some dogs are mean, but it’s seldom the critter’s fault. I’m so glad a twelve-year-old could see that there is potential good everywhere)

Dani Haviland

Dani Haviland, formerly of Connecticut, Arizona, and Alaska, recently semi-retired from selling tractor parts, tools, and roses. She moved to a more temperate climate in western Oregon to pursue her passions: writing, gardening, and photography.
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Winter Flu by Mona Risk

Winter may evoke beautiful scenery of snow and Christmas time, but winter is also the time when cold and flu spread; the time for sweaters and coat; and probably hat, gloves and snow boots on certain days.

We spend more time indoors in the winter, meaning that we are in closer contact with other people who may be carrying germs. In planes, buses or trains, at work or in school, we are pressed against spluttering commuters, misting up the windows with their coughs and sneezes. It is easy to see how this could send us over a tipping point that allows nasty germs to spread through a population.

A cold can leave us with the strange feeling that we’ve swallowed a scratchy throat, a running nose and a mild headache; if we’re unlucky, our body is wracked with a high fever and aching limbs for up to a week or longer.

The flu season arrives so predictably when the mercury drops that it is an integral part of winter. In the short days of winter, without much sunlight, we run low on Vitamin D, which helps power the body’s immune system, making us more vulnerable to infection.

This winter season brought a virulent epidemic of flu. I heard that a hospital in California put tents in the front yard to accommodate the flow of patients rushing to the ER and organize an efficient triage.

I was sick too. After three days on home remedies, my cough escalated and I visited my doctor who put me on antibiotics, cough medicine and even steroids. Stay on bed rest and a lot of fluid.

How can you protect yourself and avoid becoming one of the flu victims? I have developed my own preventive system based on doctors’ recommendations, on reading various books and on my grandmothers’ wise advice.

  • Get a flu shot I have been taking it for twenty years. It doesn’t guarantee that you won’t catch the flu but it helps avoid complication such as bronchitis and pneumonia. Avoid shaking hands and hugging too many ‘friends’ and young relatives. Children spread germs much faster than adults!
  • Keep a scarf in your handbag to wrap around your throat if it’s suddenly cold. When I fly I surreptitiously cover my mouth to avoid breathing the germs that the plane fans generously distribute.
  • Gargle with Cepacol morning, night and during the day. When I worked as a pharmaceutical analyst at Dow Chemical, the company placed bottles of Cepacol in the restrooms and insist that all employees gargle after washing their hands. I haven’t been sick during my years at Dow Chemicals.
  • Swallow a Vit C 500mg daily. It boosts your immune system.
  • Swallow a pill of Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc. Excellent to improve your immune system.

And now a few tips from my grandmothers —useful tips that really, really work:

  • Suck on ginger candies such as Ginger Chew from Trader’s Joe. They may taste bitter the first time. Some of my friends spat them right away and yelled at me, but others got used to the taste and liked them.
  • Snack on pumpkin seeds from Publix or Kroger supermarkets–very rich in zinc that boosts the immune system.
  • Savor a tablespoon of honey with a few drops of lemon before you sleep.

Do you have any special suggestion to avoid catching a nasty cold? Please share with us?

You can follow Mona Risk at BookBub and join my newsletter.

While you rest and relax enjoy a few good books by New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors.

Mona Risk

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, Mona Risk, received an Outstanding Achiever Award from Affaire de Coeur Magazine. She’s a two time winner of Best Contemporary Romance of the Year from Readers Favorite; a winner of Best Romance Novel of the Year from Preditors & Editors Readers Poll; and an EPIC Award finalist.
Mona Risk’s name has often been posted on the Amazon.com 100 Most Popular Authors in Romance list, and her books have garnered: Top Pick, Outstanding Read, Sweetheart of the Week, and Best Book of the Week from various reviewers, and received two mentions in Publisher’s Weekly.
Mona lives in South Florida and has traveled to more than eighty countries on business or vacation. She writes contemporary romances, medical romance, romantic suspense, and paranormal fantasy. Sprinkled with a good dose of humor, her stories are set in the fascinating places she visited or more simply at home.
If you like to travel and love to read, come and enjoy her international romances. Meet the spirited heroines and special heroes who share irresistible chemistry in stories that simmer with emotion.
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Christmas Candy by @JoanReeves #mgtab

I love Christmas — the music, the decorations, the Salvation Army bell ringer, wrapping presents, the food — everything!

Every year I say, “I’m not scheduling anything from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day.” I say this because I want to be free to dive into the holidays and all the fun stuff.

But…that never happens. Instead, I drive myself — and my husband crazy — trying to finish a book or short story, participating in FB parties, etc. To make matters worse, this year I took off a week to go on a cruise which puts me not 1 week behind, but 2 weeks behind— if that makes sense.

What’s a girl to do?

Forget about all of it and make Christmas Candy, of course. This is the month that I allow myself to cook — and eat — foods I normally avoid. As if it wasn’t enough to scarf down Chocolate Melting Cake and other delights on the cruise!

One of the things I love to make — and eat — are those high fat/sugar concoctions beloved in the South. I’m talking about Pralines. (Pronounced praw-leen, not pray-leen.) If you’ve ever visited New Orleans, you’ve probably had a praline.

They’re made of caramelized brown sugar, butter, and pecans, and they’re delicious, fattening, and irresistible. By the way, the nut pecan is pronounced puh-con. Not pee-can. (I always tell non-southerners that the latter is a vessel in which to collect urine.)

Cookbook author Nathalie Dupree wrote in Southern Memories: “I can’t imagine a world without pralines.”

Me either! You just can’t grow up in the south without learning how to make pralines. Today, I’m going to share my secret family recipe for those yummy melt-in-your-mouth confections.

Joan’s Christmas Pralines

Photo by Angele J from Pexels https://www.pexels.com/photo/candy-caramel-nuts-pecan-pralines-128405/

You need: heavy flat-bottomed saucepan, candy thermometer, heavy cream or Pet Evaporated Milk, brown sugar, butter, pecans, something to spoon them onto like parchment paper, foil, granite, or a silicone mat already spread on the counter and ready to go.

In the saucepan, combine:

2 cups brown sugar
1 cup cream (or 1/2 cup cream and 1/2 cup Pet Milk)

Clip the candy thermometer to the side of the pan so that the bulb rests in the liquid. Turn the heat on and bring mixture to a boil. Cook on medium heat to 238 degrees on the candy thermometer.

When 238 is reached, add:

1 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 cups pecans, coarsely chopped (Some people use pecan halves as in the picture above, but I find when they are broken into big pieces, you get more blobs of candy filled with pecans.)

Keep on the heat, and stir until butter melts and pecans are coated. Continue cooking until candy thermometer reaches 245 degrees.

At 245, remove immediately from heat. Quickly — before mixture seizes — spoon dollops of the mixture onto a silicone mat or parchment paper or whatever you planned on. The pralines will spread so try to use small spoonfuls until you get the hang of it and can make the size you want.

They crystallize as they cool. When completely cool, wrap each praline in a small paper doily or wax paper and store in airtight container. These make a wonderful gift, and they are simply scrumptious.

If you want to make some more Christmas goodies, try the recipes in my cake cookbook, Friday Is Cake Day, only $0.99. This collection of 52 family recipes has something for every level of cook. Some are super easy; some are intricate. All are delicious.

Whatever you make during the holidays, have fun doing it and sharing with family and friends.

Remember all the wonderful bargain box sets from our bestselling authors here at Authors’ Billboard.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Joan is a New York Times and a USA Today bestselling author of Contemporary Romance. All her fiction have the underlying premise:  It’s never too late to live happily ever after. Joan lives her happily-ever-after with her hero, her husband, in the Lone Star State. Join Joan’s Reader Friends and be the first to know about new books and giveaways. Get a free ebook just for signing up!

Joan Reeves

NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Joan Reeves makes her home in the Lone Star State with her hero, her husband.

They have 4 children who think they are adults and a ghost dog, all the ingredients for a life full of love and warmed by laughter.

Joan lives the philosophy that is the premise of her romance novels: “It’s never too late to live happily ever after.”

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