Daufuskie Delights: A Culinary Journey Through Gullah Flavors by Josie Riviera

Welcome to Daufuskie Island, where time slows down and the rhythms of Gullah culture come to life. This inviting getaway off the South Carolina coast is more than an island; it’s a testament to the resilience and creativity of the Gullah people, descendants of West African slaves. These people were brought to work on the plantations of the American South and founded communities in the Sea Islands, particularly Daufuskie.

I live in the Charlotte, North Carolina, area, which is about four hours away from Hilton Head Island.

When my family and I visit the island…

We board a ferry from Hilton Head Island to Daufuskie, which takes about an hour. The ferry runs four times a day. Once we arrive, wandering the sandy path beneath moss-draped oaks is one of my favorite ways to explore the island. Or, you can rent a golf cart.

Today, I have a simple recipe for you to recreate a taste of Daufuskie at home:

Daufuskie

Ingredients:
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 cup stone-ground grits
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Green onions for garnish
Instructions:
  1. Cook grits according to package instructions, using a mixture of chicken broth and heavy cream for added flavor.
  2. In a skillet, cook chopped bacon until crispy. Remove the bacon and set it aside.
  3. Sauté onions in the bacon fat until softened, then add minced garlic.
  4. Add shrimp to the skillet, cooking until pink and opaque.
  5. Stir in cooked grits, shredded cheese, and half of the crispy bacon. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Serve the shrimp and grits, topped with the remaining bacon, and garnish with chopped green onions.

Stay tuned for the next blog post, where I’ll share another delicious Daufuskie Island recipe.

Kindle Vella

I’m thrilled that my sweet beach romance novel, Pink Coral Island, is available on Kindle Vella. I was thrilled to explore this episodic format, and I hope you’ll enjoy it, too.

I spent many months researching this book and the Gullah culture, which takes place on a fictional island off the South Carolina coast. The culture is an important part of the book, and becomes almost like another character.

Kindle Vella is available here, and the first three episodes are free! Start reading today.

 

More Puppy Adoption Tips by Josie Riviera

Continuing from last month’s puppy adoption tips blog, prioritize your furry friend with essential tips for the winter season.

Puppy Adoption

Invest in winter-ready essentials:

Create a cozy haven for your pup by investing in snug outerwear for outdoor walks.

Indoor playtime:

Engage your pup with indoor playtime and training sessions.

Health and Wellness Check:

Prioritize your puppy’s health by consulting your vet about their winter diet and hydration needs.

Winter Safety Outdoors:

Keep your pup safe during outdoor walks, avoiding harsh winter elements and harmful elements.

Create a Cozy Haven:

Designate a warm and inviting indoor space with warm blankets, plush beds, and soft lighting.

Adventure-Proof Paw Protection:

Invest in protective booties to shield your pup’s paws from icy surfaces and harmful substances often found on winter walks.

 

Now that your puppy is winter-ready, don’t forget to grab my newest three book boxed set:

Pawfect Christmas Hearts, a special introductory price.

Pawfect Christmas Hearts

Each book in this boxed set is a delightful gift wrapped in the spirit of the season, tied with a bow of adorable puppies. These stories are more than holiday romances; they highlight the power of love, second chances, and the enduring warmth of small-town communities.

In A Christmas Puppy To Cherish, discover that love knows no boundaries, not even those of communication, as an open heart leads to a heartwarming connection.

Christmas In The Air  takes you on a journey where secrets shared on an airplane come to light under the twinkling holiday stars.

And in Cocoa’s Christmas Love, the magic of the season is reignited through the gentle touch of a florist’s Wishing Blooms, a rescued pup’s unconditional love, and the transformative power of Christmas itself.

Download today! Available in ebook, paperback, and large print paperback. Audiobooks for each book sold separately.

Ai: Are you listening?

Audiobooks continue to surge in popularity, with listeners craving everything from epic fantasy sagas to meditation guides, soothingly narrated in their ears. Traditionally, creating these audiobooks required actual voice actors to record themselves reading page after page – often exhausting work requiring days sequestered in studio booths, reading copy, editing out clicks and other errata, costing authors a LOT of money. Now, Ai voice cloning is shaking up that process.

I was invited to Amazon/KDP’s beta program to supply content for free to The Audible Plus Library (unlimited listening that uses Virtual Voice). I jumped at the chance, I used three (of the offered eight) Virtual Voice narrators for several (okay, fifteen) of my books. I matched the tone and genre of the story with the pitch and inflection of the VV narrator. I carefully curated every word in the books, correcting pronunciation, adding pauses, and slowing down or speeding up the VV’s speech to match the mood of the story. Was I satisfied? You betcha!

The earthy, masculine voice I chose for the Arlie Undercover series was a great match, even better than using my own voice. I used ‘his’ voice for Too Fast For You and The Polar Xpress, also. That Twin Thing romantic suspense series needed someone with more seriousness. An American woman’s voice was the answer.
For my romantic comedies, I went with a female British voice. I liked ‘her’ sprite inflection more than any of the others. Check out samples of The Purebred and the Mutt and The Wizard of Odds samples and let me know what you think.

I’m waiting to use my own voice, professionally cloned by Eleven Labs, for The Fairies Saga books. To do that, I need to produce three hours of cleaned-up narration files for them to plug into their algorithms so they can create a clone. My cloned narrator will not only match my pitch and tone, but will also incorporate the inflection and pacing I use when speaking. I want to use it for Triplets: Three Aren’t One series, too. However, production costs for Ai Voice audiobooks are still high. Converting doc to MP3 files when charged by the character is spendy. Plus, I will still have to listen to over one MILLION words of text, making sure my clone pronounces every word correctly before I release it. Are there enough hours in the day? I think so. And the great thing is even if I get laryngitis, once my cloned voice is created, I can read aloud for hours and hours!
For more info on getting the most out of the new unlimited listening program by Audible (Amazon), check out: https://www.audible.com/mk/l/lto (limited-time offer ends January 16, 2024).

If you want more Holiday Romance, check this out. It’s the only place you’ll find my latest book
KINKY BOOTS AND ME.

Tips for Adopting a Puppy at Christmas by Josie Riviera

Considering bringing a furry friend into your home this holiday season? Remember to prepare your space, invest time in training, and ensure the commitment matches the festive spirit. A puppy’s love is the gift that keeps on giving.

Here are some puppy adoption tips:

  • Remove hazards and create a safe environment.
  • Start with basic commands and positive reinforcement.
  • Set consistent feeding, play, and bathroom schedules.
  • Introduce your puppy to various environments and people.
  • Consult your vet for a suitable diet based on age and breed.
  • Monitor health, vaccinations, and preventive care.
  • Provide safe and durable toys for teething.
  • Designate a cozy space with a bed and familiar toys.
  • Be patient, understanding, and consistent in training.

I’m so excited about my newest release: Cocoa’s Christmas Love

Adopting a Puppy

Step into the world of Evergreen Valley, where Ivy Bennett’s Wishing Blooms weave their magic and rekindle the spirit of Christmas in the most unexpected way. In Cocoa’s Christmas Love, Ivy, a spirited florist, finds herself facing challenges that threaten her flourishing flower shop. But when fate introduces her to Blake Shepherd, a disillusioned hometown photographer, the magic of the season begins to unfold.

Fall in love with the irresistible charm of a puppy for Christmas. A Happily-Ever-After is guaranteed, making this sweet, small-town romance a perfect holiday read.

Grab your copy today.

Cocoa’s Christmas Love is available in ebook, paperback, large print paperback, and hardcover.

Audiobook coming soon.

FREE on Kindle Unlimited.