Irish Tea Traditions: From a Cozy Morning Brew to Afternoon Chats

Whether you’re starting the day or winding it down, the art of crafting the perfect cup of Irish tea is simple.

Here’s your cheat sheet:
  1. Boil fresh water and warm the teapot. Fresh water is the foundation.
  2. Measure the tea leaves (or tea bags): A teaspoon of loose tea leaves per person, plus a little extra for the pot.
  3. Pour and Steep: Hot water takes center stage, dancing with tea leaves for 3-5 minutes. Go bold or go home—your call.
  4. Warm Your Cup: Splash some hot water into your cup; think of it like prepping a cozy nest for your tea.
  5. Customize with Milk and Sugar: Choices, choices. Black, strong, with milk and a bit of sugar—make it your own. I prefer my tea black.

Irish Tea

 

Now let’s set the scene: Picture your friend’s kitchen, perhaps with the delicious aroma of warm scones.

Tea Selection: Irish breakfast tea is no-nonsense and reliable. A bit strong, but perfect.

Delightful Treats: Serve scones and sandwiches that fill you up, and maybe a bit of cake.

The Art of Conversation: Tea is poured, treats are passed around, and stories flow. No fancy formalities; it’s all about catching up, laughing, and sharing tales from the local pub.

Enjoying the Ritual: There is no rush during an Irish Afternoon Tea. Take your time and enjoy the simple pleasures of good company.

Sláinte!

It’s a 99 cent Amazon Kindle Countdown for my sweet “Irish” romance, 1-800-IRELAND (US only).

A strong-minded Irishwoman is pursuing her dream. A disillusioned businessman is ready to retire.
Can two determined people find true love at the end of an Irish rainbow?

Irishwoman Kathleen Kelly wants to renovate her new teahouse in America to a sparkling shine, enticing droves of customers to Roses, NC. But the project quickly takes a turn for the worse when her hard work falls flat.

Rob Taylor knows a thing or two about running a business. He’s built Rob’s Marvelous Muffins into a thriving business. With Rob in Miami and Kathleen in Roses, a May-December romance isn’t part of Kathleen’s carefully laid-out plans. Besides, they’ve both admitted to each other how unlucky they are in love. It’s better to leave romance out of the picture and stick to friendship and hard work. However, Kathleen has no choice but to face what she is most afraid of … commitment.

And it will take more than hot tea and marvelous muffins to bridge the gap between them.

Grab your copy of 1-800-IRELAND today before the price goes up.

 

Available in ebook, paperback, large print paperback, hardcover, and audiobook.

Crafting Your Unique Love Story This Valentine’s Day by Josie Riviera

With Valentine’s Day behind us, let’s turn the spotlight inward and get on board a journey of self-discovery and self-love. Let’s break free from the traditional notions of romantic love and focus on crafting a unique love story that celebrates individuality, personal growth, and the beauty of embracing the present moment.

Valentine's Day

  1. Love as a Personal Journey: View Valentine’s Day as an opportunity for personal exploration. Acknowledge the highs and lows that have shaped you. Embrace self-love as an ongoing adventure rather than a destination.
  2. Mindful Self-Care Rituals: Engage in mindful self-care rituals that nurture your body and soul. Whether it’s a rejuvenating skincare routine, a peaceful meditation session, or a long walk in nature, prioritize activities that promote self-love and well-being.
  3. Gratitude for Self: Create a gratitude list focusing on the aspects of yourself that you appreciate. Celebrate your strengths, resilience, and unique qualities. This exercise fosters a positive self-image and a deeper connection with the essence of who you are.
  4. Artistic Expression of Emotions: Channel your emotions into artistic expression. Whether through writing, painting, music, or any other creative outlet, allow your emotions to flow freely. This process not only serves as a cathartic release but also deepens your understanding of self-love.
  5. Solo Date Night: Treat yourself to a solo date night tailored to your interests. Whether trying a new recipe, watching a favorite movie, or exploring a hobby, revel in the joy of your own company. This solo date becomes a celebration of your individuality.
  6. Setting Personal Intentions: Set intentions for personal growth and self-love. Identify areas in your life where you can nurture yourself more and commit to fostering a positive relationship with yourself. These intentions become the building blocks of your evolving love story.
  7. Acts of Kindness to Self: Practice acts of kindness toward yourself. It could be as simple as affirming mantras, treating yourself to a favorite treat, or taking a break to relax. These acts create a compassionate and supportive internal dialogue.
  8. Cultivating Self-Compassion: Embrace self-compassion by acknowledging that imperfections are part of the human experience. Treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding you would offer to a dear friend.
  9. Embracing Present Moments: Shift your focus to the present moment. Allow yourself to fully experience and savor the joys, challenges, and beauty of now. In doing so, you cultivate a deeper connection with your own narrative.

Appreciate the growth you’ve achieved, and reflect on the chapters of your own extraordinary love story.

It’s a 99 cent Kindle Countdown (US only), for my sweet Valentine’s romance, 1-800-CUPID.

1 800 Cupid

A house flipper looking for quick profit. A survivor with a dream. Can two broken hearts find a place to call home?

Grab your copy today before the price goes up. Available in ebook, paperback, large print paperback, hardcover, and audiobook.

A New Hands-Free Way to Enjoy Books! Audiobooks!

Do you multitask: drive, clean house, garden, knit, or crochet while listening to audiobooks or podcasts?

If you do and haven’t heard about Audible Plus yet, you’re in for a treat!

This new monthly subscription program from Amazon is a great bargain! Not only books and podcasts, but Amazon originals, too.

I was introduced to Audible Plus when Kindle Direct Publishing invited me to join Amazon’s beta program for it using their Virtual Voices. I jumped in with both feet. Now over half my catalog of single titles is available to listen to for one low monthly fee. Oh, and the first month is free so it’s a great time to catch up on the Haviland Universe of stories.

I produced/directed every one of the titles I uploaded. When needed, I added a pause or corrected the pronunciation of words read by my personally selected Virtual Voice narrator. I felt that some of my stories sounded best when narrated by a man. The guy I chose has a rich voice, sort of a cross between Sidney Poitier and James Earl Jones. Perfect for my sports-themed stories and That Twin Thing.

An English woman’s voice sounded better for my time travel audiobooks. I also used it for a couple of RomComs and Triplets: Three Aren’t One.

 

If you’d rather buy and keep an audiobook, many times you can buy the corresponding ebook for only $1.99.

#FREE on Friday, February 16th only, then on special low price of 99 cents for the rest of February is AYE, I AM A FAIRY.  This book is also available to listen to for free with your Audible Plus subscription. Over twenty hours of action, romance, and intrigue, narrated by the soothing voice of Number Eight. Check both the ebook and audiobook for ‘take me away’ entertainment. A time travel romance novel, the first of fifteen in The Fairies Saga series:

For a bundle of action, romantic suspense of all flavors to read on your Kindle reader, check out UNFORGETTABLE GUARDIANS. A veritable banquet of themes and characters. Enjoy for only 88 cents or #Free with Kindle Unlimited.

How many reindeer did Santa have?

For most of us, visions of Santa’s magical reindeer fleet begin dancing in our heads as soon as the holiday decorations hit the store shelves. But have you ever wondered about the real-life animals behind the fairy tale?
Reindeer, also known as domestic or semi-domesticated reindeer, are a subspecies of the wild caribou. These hooved mammals inhabit the Arctic and subarctic regions of the northern hemisphere, covering areas like Scandinavia, Russia, Alaska, and Canada. Both reindeer and caribou boast amazing adaptations that allow them to not just survive, but thrive, in some of the planet’s harshest weather conditions. They possess incredible stamina and adaptations for living in extreme northern climates. Their wide hooves act as snowshoes to walk on snow. Special nasal passages warm cold air entering their lungs. Thick, dense fur insulates them against temperatures as low as -50°F. Their seasonal migrations traverse huge ranges as they continually seek out lichen and other sustenance.

One very interesting fact about caribou and reindeer is that the female of the species also gets antlers! Both genders drop the antlers in early winter (painlessly) and regrow them every spring, Do You know what that means? All those pictures of Santa’s sleigh being pulled by reindeer are wrong! Or they’ve been cleverly modified.
As it turns out, reindeer have a truly captivating connection to Christmas. Centuries ago, legends recounted that shamans harnessed the mystical flight powers of reindeer to traverse different spirit worlds. When emerging Christian traditions overlapped with existing pagan yuletide celebrations, the image of a sleigh led through the winter night by flying reindeer took hold in the public imagination.
The famous 1823 poem by Clement Clarke Moore “A Visit from St. Nicholas”- also known as ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ – introduced and popularized the enduring image of Santa and his reindeer to the public consciousness. Their names – Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder (later Donner), and Blitzen – have become part of the Christmas tradition. Thus reindeer have come to symbolize the Christmas season through their connection to Santa Claus aka Saint Nicholas aka Sinterklaas.

Oh, and how many are there? Well, there are the original eight (named above), Rudolph, and ‘the other’ reindeer, Olive. What? You don’t know about her? Surely you recall the stanza in the song, “Olive the other reindeer, used to laugh and call him names…” That makes ten reindeer.

If you’re ready to tackle the tough side of life, and are ready for some tough gals who come out winners despite adversity, check out RECLAIMING ME, an intense collection of women’s fiction stories by some of your favorite authors. Inspiring! New Release.