FALL INTO THANKSGIVING #mgtab

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and because my family is divided throughout the Midwest, it’s easier for most of us to get together then as opposed to Christmas.

Fall foliage makes for a brilliant display here in Illinois, and decorating for the holidays is a pretty big thing in our area of the country. So, as both a former wholesale and retail florist, I’m sharing some methods for preserving greens.

PRESERVING FALL FOLIAGE

Glycerin/Water Method keeps the leaves fairly flexible. This preserving method works because the natural moisture present in the leaves is replaced by the glycerin solution, maintaining the leaf’s texture and form.

  • Glycerin
  • Water
  • Flat pan or disposable plates
  • A weight or something to keep leaves submerged
  • Leaves
  1. Mix the glycerin and water so that it is one part glycerin and two parts water. You only need enough to submerge the leaves — about one cup.
  2. Pour the solution into a flat pan, place the leaves in the solution, and then put the weight on the leaves to keep them submerged. (Tip: try using two Styrofoam or other disposable plates. Put leaves and enough glycerin solution to just lightly cover the leaves in the bottom of one plate. Then put the other plate on top of the leaves and solution. Now you can put a weight of your choosing on the top plate without getting the weight in the solution.)
  3. Keep the leaves submerged in the solution for 2-6 days.
  4. Dry the leaves gently with a paper towel. They should feel soft and pliable.

Pressing between wax paper.

  • Leaves
  • Wax paper
  • Thin towel or paper
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  1. Place a leaf between two pieces of wax paper.
  2. Put a towel or a piece of thick paper over the wax paper.
  3. Press on the towel or paper with a warm iron to seal the wax sheets together. This takes about 2-5 minutes on each side, depending on how moist the leaf is. Once you have finished one side, flip the leaf over and do the other side.
  4. Cut around the leaf, leaving a small margin of wax paper to ensure that it will stay sealed.
  5. Rather than cutting out the leaves, you may want to try to peel the wax paper off the leaves, leaving a coat of wax behind to protect the leaves. Try this on one leaf first to see if this method works for you.

Using a microwave:

  • Fresh leaves that have not dried out
  • Paper towels
  • Microwave
  • Acrylic spray from a craft store
  1. Arrange the leaves on top of two paper towels. Lay another towel over the leaves to cover them.
  2. Microwave the leaves for 30-180 seconds. Be very attentive and careful. Leaves that are cooked in the microwave too long can catch fire. The drier the leaves, the less time they will need. Leaves that curl after removal from the microwave have not been in long enough. Leaves that are scorched have been in there too long. Only dry them for a few seconds at a time.
  3. Let the leaves sit for a day or two and then finish by spraying an acrylic sealant on both sides of the leaves.

Learn more (includes some other cool projects): https://learning-center.homesciencetools.com/article/how-to-preserve-leaves/

And how does something like designing relate to my writing?

Sometimes the easiest way to come up with a new story is to write about what you know, and since I have a degree in Ornamental Horticulture, Tales of Dragonfly includes a heroine who’s not only a florist, but a wedding planner and designer.

In Flight: A Tales of the Dragonfly Novel

A woman who’s afraid to trust. Successful designer, Penny Wentworth has arrived from New York to take charge of the wedding flowers for the new owners of the Dragonfly Pointe Inn. As a single parent of a severely autistic and mentally impaired son, she has no romantic illusions; her experience with an abusive husband has left her wary of relationships.

A man who’s afraid to love. Haunted by his past since discovering a six-year old girl brutally murdered at Dragonfly Pointe over twenty-two years ago, Sam has intentionally avoided returning home. But after resigning from his job as a homicide detective in New Orleans when his marriage fell apart, Sam is now the chief of police in Crystal Rock, Wisconsin.

An undying passion that’s endured throughout the years. Penny’s escort for the wedding, Sam had once been the object of every single one of her teenage fantasies.

When Sam’s search for a killer leads him back through his tarnished past, will a woman who’s afraid to love be able to forgive a man who feels undeserving of her love?

My newly revised story, In Flight, is also included in the Bestselling Hotshot Charmers for only 99c.

I hope everyone has a beautiful Fall-

And a fantastic Thanksgiving to those of you in the U.S.!!

Connect With Tamara Ferguson

Newsletter Sign Up

Blog

Amazon

Goodreads

Bookbub

LinkedIn

G+

Pinterest

Tumblr

Kissed by Fate homepage

Tales of the Dragonfly homepage

Twitter @Tammysdragonfly

Twitter @KissedByFate2

Facebook

Kissed by Fate Facebook

Two Hearts Wounded Warrior Romance on Facebook

Tamara Ferguson

Writing steamy yet sweet compassionate stories of fate that are wonderfully romantic, Tamara Ferguson is the multi-award winning, #1 international bestselling author of the Tales of the Dragonfly romance suspense series, the Kissed By Fate new adult romance series, the Two Hearts Wounded Warrior Romance series and the Daydreams and Dragonflies sweet romance series.

The Birth of A #Hero #mgtab #Inspiration @jacqbiggar

17841780_667887290084508_1151115451_n

Readers often ask where do writers come up with ideas for their characters? In my case, the birth of a hero comes from a variety of sources. News reports, television programs, books I’ve read; all are great resources.

cropped-cup-of-coffee-1280537_1280.jpg

But my favorite characters grow organically from stories I’ve already written. For my new release, Missing: The Lady Said No, the idea for my hero, Augustus Grant, came to me from a previous book where the main character was a mystery writer suffering from writer’s block.

Gus is the character my hero, Joel Carpenter, (in the holiday romance novel Silver Bells) was writing about. I fell in love with the bumbling detective and decided then and there he needed his own story!

16466420_10211613245151079_1174612553_o

Gus is smart, irreverent, a little bit clumsy (okay, a LOT clumsy!) and still in love with the girl he let get away.

Rebecca Hayes.

Here’s a short excerpt. Gus is investigating a murder at a horse ranch and runs into the one person he never thought he’d see again.

Becky stood at the top of the grand staircase and felt the world give way.

Augustus.

It had been too long.

And not long enough.

She couldn’t believe he was here. Or maybe she could. It had always been his dream to become a detective. After all, that was the reason they had split up, wasn’t it? He’d craved the excitement, and she’d needed stability. Safety.

Well, it was too late now, on many levels. The best thing she could do would be to put on a brave face and escape with her pride.

“Hello, Augustus,” she called. Careful not to let him see her trembling, she gripped the banister and reluctantly went to join the man who had stolen her heart. He was every bit as tall as she remembered. Still just as handsome, too. A few more lines around the eyes and mouth maybe. She shied away from his lips, focusing instead on the crooked tie and wrinkled shirt. A wry smile touched her mouth.

“I see you still haven’t figured out the right side of an iron,” she murmured.

He glanced down and ran a strong, tanned hand down his chest. Something fluttered to life in hers.

He met her gaze with a grin that slowly faded away. “I looked for you,” he said.

Oh, God.

This wasn’t what she expected. After leaving Bourbonville and moving here, to Balmoral, she’d second-guessed her decision often, but never realized maybe he did too, just a little.

“You’re the cop. You could have found me if you tried.”

As you can see, there are a lot of unresolved feelings between these two. The question is, can Gus make it right? You’ll have to read on to find out. 🙂

missing-the-lady-said-no-ebook

Get Your Copy Here

Add To Your TBR List

This is part of a branded series set around the running of the famous Kentucky Derby. I hope you’ll enjoy my story and give the other books in the Chandler County series a try!

CC-1

Jacquie Biggar

JACQUIE BIGGAR  is a USA Today bestselling author of Romantic Suspense who loves to write about tough, alpha males and strong, contemporary women willing to show their men that true power comes from love.

Jacquie lives on Vancouver Island with her husband and loves to hear from readers all over the world!

Free reads, excerpts, author news, and contests can be found on her web site:

http://jacqbiggar.com

 

I Dream In Chocolate

chcolate strawberries

 

A little over a week ago I did a blog on #gratitude and my experience with Parkinson’s over on the #RSSOS blog I also blog on.

I can’t speak to how others experience Parkinson’s, only on my own experience. Right now I have a slight tremor and that’s about it. It’s beginning to seem it may stay like that for quite awhile and I appreciate that, I truly do.

I will say, however, I think you get treated differently as a patient, when you’re older. I say this, because, besides giving birth, my only other experience with being injured and the health care system, happened over 20 years ago.

I was hit driver’s side, head on by a garbage truck coming around the corner who lost control and came onto my lane going about 45 mph. The front of my car, a Cricket if I remember correctly, crunched down like a thin tin can, until it hit something around the wheel, or close to it.

The truck stopped, everything shuddered and it continued forward. The window shattered into a zillion small pieces held together, by what seemed afterwards to be something like the mac-tac we had used to cover our schoolbooks as a child. It then wrapped around my head. The seatbelt shoulder restraint gave way and it felt as if my body was thrown sideways. One hip hit the gear shift and my right arm seemed to turn into spaghetti, allowing me to touch the car door on the other side briefly, while maintaining a death grip on the steering wheel. Thankfully the car, along with me, was thrown free from the garbage truck.

I was extremely lucky since I walked out of it. But I didn’t escape unscathed. I had constant migraines for months afterwards along with neck and back problems that have continued over the years. Still, I was lucky. I survived and was able to start a family and, basically, have a life.

So what does that have to do with Parkinson’s ? We’ll skip over the fact that the areas of my body most affected by Parkinson’s are the same areas injured most during the accident. The big difference is doctors and therapists assumed I would recover and lead a normal life.

The ER doctor referred me to a physiotherapist that worked outside the hospital, so he ‘could push me harder.’ The physiotherapist’s mantra seemed to be, “I’ve worked on football players that have played football with a broken neck. You can do it.” I was worried about driving because I had constant headaches and felt dizzy sometimes. “Keep driving,”” I was told. If you give up you’ll stop trying and it will be harder to recover. Out of respect for my fellow drivers I wouldn’t follow that advice now. I worried about mixing up words and was told it was within normal limits and just act as if I’d never been injured.

It felt as if I was in some weird type of bubble, divorced from real life. Somewhere I heard of cervical fusion operations which seemed like a great idea at the time. Not so fast. No way was anyone going to do that surgery on me until at least two years of constant, unstoppable pain, that stopped me from doing pretty well anything.

Fortunately, within a year I was much better. And at this stage in my life I don’t think anyone would suggest I have a neck operation.

Parkinson’s was different. I think it took two years before the doctor stopped asking if my balance was off, if I felt dizzy. No, maybe sometimes? Did I drool yet and a pack of other questions that made me go, “God no,” and wonder if I could just shoot myself now. Truly, it wasn’t a future I wanted to think about.

So I focused on my chocolate mysteries and a world filled with chocolate. Maybe it was a cop out but I couldn’t see where focusing on my doctor’s vision would help anything at all. I pictured my heroine, Maxine. In her mid-twenties, she’s given up a career in banking to follow her dreams. I visualized a chocolate shop filled with chocolate delights. I saw her catering events

Maxine

in interesting locals and I pictured Heath, her sidekick along with Detective Patrick Shannon, a hot detective who is in and out of her life. I figured if I was going to drool it might as well be over something worthwhile.Detective Shannon

That doesn’t mean I ignored my illness. I read everything I could about it and took some of the medications my doctor suggested. When I questioned him about others he couldn’t give me a good, concrete reason to take them and there were some pretty big downsides. I asked him about yoga and dance but he really didn’t know anything. I did yoga for years for my back, though, so except for a period to heal my rotator cuff shoulder, I kept doing it. Then I added dance exercise classes. Because I enjoy them and I can.

Some of what I’ve learned helped me come up with a medical romantic suspense series which I’m working on now. But even things inspired by actual experiences won’t necessarily be recognizable. That’s what makes fiction interesting. It’s not bound by the rules of normal life.

To share some of Maxines favorite chocolate recipes, click on the booklet.

recipeBook (1)

The latest book in my Death by Chocolate series is Soul Mates. Click on the cover for further information.

Soul Mates Cover

Love In The Time of Chocolate

Soul Mates Cover

Have you ever wondered how Valentine’s Day would look through the eyes of a chocolatier and caterer?

For Maxine,Valentine’s Day and the weeks leading up to it are busy times. It seems she can’t make enough chocolate. From catering a wine and truffle party for her friends’s new dating service to making a chocolate torte for a couple who have been happily in love thirty plus years, the one constant in her life is chocolate.

It looks as if there might be something more going on than just dating at Soul Mates though and will she get her own HEA with a certain detective or is she in for a broken heart? And she’s stepping out of her comfort zone to take part in Victoria’s answer to So You Think You Can Dance complete with it’s very own mirror ball trophy.

In case you’re looking for a dessert to wow that certain someone this is Maxine’s special recipe.

Chocolate Lave Cakes For Two

4 Tbsp unsalted butter

2 tsp unsweetened cocoa

2 oz bittersweet chocolate (I recommend Callebaut)

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

1/3 cup superfine sugar (put regular sugar in food processor and pulse a few times to make fine if necessary).

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

——————————————————————–

Heat oven to 325 degrees F

Chop chocolate into pieces along with butter.

Melt butter and chocolate in microwave doing 10 seconds at a time and stirring together until smooth and melted.

Cool for 10 minutes

Whisk together eggs and sugar

Sift flour over your chocolate mixture and then gently fold in.

Grease two three inch ramekins (I use Pam butter spray) and divide your chocolate mixture evenly between the two.

Bake at 325 for 11 – 13 minutes depending on oven

Turn your chocolate lava cakes out and serve immediately

Soul Mates is available on Amazon.com. More of Maxine’s Chocolate recipes can be found on my website, www.patamsden.com.