What kind of Trouble can Trouble solve?

Today is the book birthday for my very first Cozy Mystery: Trouble’s Wedding CaperI’m so excited to share with everyone this romantic mystery with a local Sheriff, Ethan, and a Treasure Hunter by the name Annabel who with the help of a great cat detective, solve the biggest bridal caper to hit Jupiter, Florida!

I started off writing a combination of Romantic Suspense and Contemporary romance. I later branded out into Paranormal and Fantasy romance. But it’s always been heavy on the romance, so when Laura Benedict introduced to me Carolyn Haines who invited me into the wonderful world of Trouble and Cozies, I thought I’d give it a whirl.

The first challenge I had was writing in a cat point-of-view, and not just any cat! I had to make sure how I wrote Trouble was in line with how every other author in the series wrote the black cat with mad detective skills who thinks he’s British. I thought it would be my hardest challenge.

What I think when it comes to writing is often not true. LOL Trouble came easier to me than I thought it, but writing in first person, that was very difficult. I have trouble with tenses to begin with, so writing in first person present tense and then shifting back to third person past tense made me nuts. It made my editor even nuttier! However, we muddled through that pretty well.

Suspense and mystery are very different beasts. When I write romantic suspense, I focus more on the romance than the suspense. The romance is driving the story. In a Cozy, I had to focus on the mystery, putting the romance in the background and that became very difficult, even though there is a big romantic component.

Writing to the cozy reader was also a challenge. I’m used to using colorful language in my romantic suspense novels, but really had to keep that from this novel. Now, not swearing isn’t all that hard, but what was a challenge was not using that as a character trait. It took a few rounds of editing to get all this just right.

And what I ended up with, I’m pretty darn pleased with. I think this is one of the best books I’ve ever written. I hope you’ll check it out!

I also participated in a couple of boxsets this month. Check them out!

Lemon Tree Very Pretty by @JoanReeves #mgtab

You’re probably wondering why there’s a picture of a lemon on top of a can of tuna.

That’s the only thing I could think of to show perspective for this giant lemon my husband picked from our lemon tree today. This was our last lemon of the season, and it’s a whopper.

Since we really like lemon desserts, this beauty will be turned into one that will please us all. It won’t exactly be a cake, and it isn’t quite a pudding.

I call it my Fake Lemon Souffle. Whatever you want to call it, make one. You’ll love it if you like light citrus desserts. Here’s the recipe.

Fake Lemon Soufflé

Ingredients
· 1 cup white sugar
· 1/4 teaspoon salt
· 4 tablespoons plain white flour
· 1 lemon (just a normal size lemon)
· 2 eggs
· 1 cup milk
· 1 tablespoon melted butter

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Select an ovenproof baking dish that will make a lovely presentation since you’ll be serving directly from the baking dish. Also put on some water to boil for step 6.

2. Grate the rind of the lemon until you have 2 teaspoons of rind. Squeeze the lemon to yield at least 3 tablespoons of lemon juice. In a bowl, mix sugar, salt, flour, rind, and juice.

3. Separate the eggs, putting the whites in a glass or metal bowl, not plastic. (Egg whites won’t beat well in plastic.) In a large measuring cup or small bowl, beat the yolks, milk, and butter. Add this to the flour mixture. Then beat the egg whites until stiff. Fold carefully into the flour mixture so you won’t lose the lift.

4. Pour the mixture into the ovenproof bowl. Set the dish in a larger ovenproof pan. Pour hot water in the outer pan. (This technique is called a water bath, and it keeps soufflés and puddings from burning or getting hard on the bottom and sides.) The water should come up about an inch on the side of the baking dish holding the pudding.

5. Bake at 325 degrees F. for about 50 minutes. You know it’s done when you insert a knife around the sides and there’s no liquid left because it’s all been absorbed.

6. Serves 4-6. This delicate lemon dessert is as light and delicious as any soufflé you’ve ever had. Best of all, it can be served warm or cold.

If you’d like a sweet treat with no calories, try Brianna’s Season for Miracles, an Man and woman embracing in the winter snow forms the Cover art of Brianna's Season for Miracles by Joan ReevesAmazon exclusive, free read on Kindle Unlimited or buy for $2.99 and keep forever.

About Brianna’s Season for Miracles

Brianna Walker. She hated her life. Too much whisky, too much misery, and too much loneliness had resulted in a very public embarrassment. Vowing never to return to her hometown, she left for Vegas, a city where she could be anonymous instead of grist for her hometown’s gossip mill.

Brianna faced the fact that if she wanted her life to be different, she had to change. Instead of partying all night and sleeping all day, she ditched her so-called friends and the seductive persona she hid behind and vowed to do whatever was necessary so she could look at herself in the mirror without being disgusted. She knew that changing her actions wouldn’t do a darn thing to “fix” her, but she had to start somewhere.

When her father demands she come home for the holidays, she’s devastated and afraid she’ll revert to old habits to deal with social situations that have always terrified her. Then she meets Daniel Kelly.

His warmth and kindness—qualities she’d never found in any of the men she’d dated—attract her. To her surprise, she finds his intelligence, courtesy, and “niceness” enormously appealing—and sexy. Best of all, he’s a stranger in town and doesn’t know her reputation, but she’s learned it’s safer to avoid men like him for fear she might want forever out of the relationship. A man like Daniel would never want forever with her once he knew her true self, but believing that doesn’t stop her from falling for him.

Daniel already knows the secret Brianna is hiding. He knows he shouldn’t complicate the situation he’s in, but the attraction between them is hot and sizzling.

What will happen when Brianna realizes Daniel has a secret too?

Hope you enjoy my Fake Lemon Soufflé and Brianna‘s story too. Happy January!

Word Spinning on the Road!

Last weekend, my husband and I took a day trip (from Oregon) to Washington. He was driving, so I figured I’d work on the two novellas I have due in March. Of course, my brain split focus and distracted me with ideas and scenarios for a third story! The more the merrier, I guess.

I opened a file (turned to the first page of notebook paper in my dollar store binder) and started entering data (writing with pen). When my inspiration evaporated, I fast-forwarded (dog-eared a dozen pages or so) and wrote the title of my next WIP (Work In Process), automatically date stamping, titling, and page numbering each sheet.

I realized a few interesting things during the trip. First, my cursive writing has degenerated. I could barely read it! I switched to printing. Not too bad, but not neat and consistent as it was in high school or my early invoice-writing days. I think typing has atrophied the fine motor skills required to produce the round and rhythmic script my elementary school teachers worked so hard to get me to master.

After penning my first blast of ideas on paper, I did something I had to laugh at. My ring fingers automatically reached down to hit control and s keys at the same time: the shortcut to saving a file. Not a keyboard in the truck other than our smartphones, but my well-conditioned (experienced?) brain wanted to make sure data wasn’t lost. Backing up my work? That would have to be a quick snapshot of each page, just in case I lost (as in misplaced) the in process manuscript before transcribing it to Word and saving in Dropbox.

And that’s how this author writes on the road.

How about a sweet romance with a surprise ending? Check out THREE ARE ONE, part of SWEET AND SASSY BRIDES.

 

Looking for a few great books for this weekend? I have loads of stories Free to Read with Kindle Unlimited or you can download one or both of these Single Daddy Club stories by Donna Fasano. I’m curious to know if Team Jason is more popular or do readers favor Team Reece. Either way, once you’ve finished reading, remember to write a review: the best way to thank an author and let her know what you like about her work.

*Remember: Book Bites are always FREE! Enjoy the first chapter of scores of stories by The Authors’ Billboard writers. A comprehensive list of books is here but the books are also available on Nook, Kobo and Apple.

Brand New Novella in The Collective Order series!

I never thought I’d ever write a book with any kind of paranormal element, even though I enjoy watching movies and reading books such as True Blood. My latest release, THE LOST SOUL dives into remote viewing, telepathy, visions, and other psychic abilities.

This is one of the few series I’ve written where it’s a good idea to read them in order and because of that I’m offering the first book for free. This offers ends tonight at midnight EST.  I’m also offering the second book for .99 through the 7th of this month.

I got the idea for this series when I was talking to a friend of mine about my days at Camp Chingachgook and a group called: the Order. This was a special group of campers and staff members who have a strong bond with the traditions of Chingachgook. While I was talking some of the traditions and the stories we used to tell around the camp fire. I knew the series would include psychic abilities, but I wanted to create a legacy of some kind.

So, I came up with a prophecy about four quadruplet boys, separated at birth, who will meet and fall in love with four special sisters and they will form The Collective Order, the most powerful group of psychics. The goal of this group will be to protect psychics and make sure that these skills are used only for good. Now, yes, that is a far cry from my days at camp, but that is where the concept started.

And what was really fun is in the first book, THE LOST SISTER, I use the setting of Camp Chingachgook for part of the story. That was so much fun to write. I can close my eyes and be back at camp, seeing and remembering every detail! Setting is so important to me. I almost always write about places I’ve been or lived.

I hope you’ll give this series a try!

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