Smart Girls Read Romance -- so do the bestselling and award-winning Authors who write this blog.
Join them as they dish about Books, Romance, Love, and Life.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

A Gift From Me to You by Kimmie Easley

I'm sure you've heard this a hundred times ... but I'm going to say it anyway.

Where has the year gone? 

Where has the Year Gone?I can't believe December starts tomorrow, leaving 2014 in the blink of an eye.

We've all survived Thanksgiving and the holiday bustle is in full swing. What do you do to relax? Where do you find your 'me' time? A good bottle of wine? A steamy read? 

Taking time for yourself is

How about a FREE BOOK? A little gift from me to you, to say Happy Holidays. 
(Link at the bottom)


You've been running around cooking, washing dishes, cleaning, and hosting the ultimate family feast. OK, even if you didn't, you still deserve to put your feet up for an hour or two and pamper yourself with a hot groundskeeper nestled in the Smokey Mountains. 

 Tinsel, Tidings, and Temptations on KINDLE

(BLURB) Naomi Compton has spent her life making everyone else happy, only to drive her husband into the arms of his busty, blonde assistant. Needing to get out of town for the holidays, she rents a luxury cabin nestled in the Smokey Mountains that just so happens to come with it's own hunky groundskeeper, Henner Willliams. He's more than happy to show Naomi what she's been missing out all these years. Not to mention how she can do it for herself when she gets back home. 

WARNING: Adult content (18+) 

Tinsel, Tidings, and Temptations on KINDLE

Happy reading, and Happy Holidays! 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Gluten-Free Butternut Squash Bread Recipe for the Holidays

This recipe is made with our homegrown butternut squash, but you can buy some in the fresh produce section of your grocery store or from a farmer’s market. Canned pumpkin may be substituted but the consistency will be a little different, so adjust your flour accordingly and check to be certain the pumpkin is gluten free. I use Jules Gluten free flour (ordered from the Jules website) and it’s fabulous, but there are other gluten-free flours. (***Image of bread and squash from our garden by my talented daughter Elise)
The first step in the process is to cut one large or several smaller butternut squash in half and spoon out the seeds. Place the halves in a rectangular glass or metal baking pan with the open sides facing up and drizzle them with olive oil. Bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven until well done, approximately 45-60 minutes. The time all depends on the size of the squash. Remove from oven to cool. You can stop right now, sprinkle the halves with salt, add some butter or pure maple syrup, and eat them as they are. But for the purposes of the bread, we forge ahead. I always bake extra. (***Image of the bread baking by Elise)
Dry Ingredients: Mix together: 1 2/3  cups Gluten Free flour (I use Jules) ¼ tsp. gluten-free baking soda (I used Bob’s Red Mill) 1 tsp. gluten-free baking powder (I used Rumford) ¾ tsp. salt, ½ tsp. cinnamon, ¼ tsp. cloves (I use McCormick spices which are gluten-free). The amount of flour may vary with the consistency of your squash so you may need a little more or less. A whisk does a good job of mixing these together.
Moist Ingredients: Whisk together: ½ cup shortening or oil (I used Smart Balance Omega), 1 cup granulated sugar, 2 large eggs, 1 cup of mashed up squash, ¼ cup dark molasses (I used Brer Rabbit Full Flavor but have used other brands). The molasses is my secret ingredient. If you use the same cup you measure the oil in for the molasses, it will slide right out. Another tip, blend your moist ingredients in a bowl large enough to accommodate the dry because they’re going in next.
Stir the dry ingredients into the wet mixture until well blended, never the other way around. I use a large whisk to blend  them. Yes, the same whisk used above. Pour the mixture into a greased bread pan and bake at 350 for one hour or until a sharp knife comes out clean. This recipe makes one large loaf, but I always double it and make three medium loaves. This is a delicious, moist bread reminiscent of gingerbread, on the dense side, but gluten-free bread is denser. It also freezes well. Everyone in the family loves it, even those who can eat gluten. I’m gluten intolerant, as are my two young nieces and my sister, so we are always seeking good gluten-free options. I gave the brand names because some companies are far more conscientious than others about avoiding cross contamination, and anyone with Celiac or gluten intolerance knows what a problem that is, so the chatter is frequently about which brands are ‘safe.’ You can use any brands that are approved for this recipe. 
And Happy Holidays to you all.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

How Do Writers Show Body Language by Vonnie Davis

Writers have various ways of expressing emotion. I mostly use dialogue. Maybe because I like to talk, my characters talk a lot too. But, as writers, we also show emotions through body language. We all know hands on hips indicates a bad mood or anger. Think back to when your children were small. What things did they do to indicate they were fibbing or getting ready to plead for something they knew they shouldn't have?


Anger is one expression of fight-or-flight mode. It's an automatic, instinctive reaction to a threat. In many cases, there is an underlying fear of being harmed. Thanks to autonomic nervous system arousal, the heart rate increases, pupils dilate, and the face may flush. I have trouble remembering to use all these. I often add them on my second or third round of edits. Other signs of anger are:
  • Balling the fists
  • Crossing the arms tightly
  • Clenching the fists once arms are crossed
  • Tight-lipped smile
  • Clenched teeth
  • Shaking a finger like a club.
  • Stabbing or jabbing a finger at someone
  • Pupils dilate
  • Women will cross and uncross legs to draw attention to them
  • Mirroring (usually unconsciously) mimicking the other person's body language
  • Keeping the hands in the pockets (esp. men)
  • Arms and legs crossed
  • Sitting back
  • Folding the hands together on a table (creates a barrier)
  • The "figure-four" leg cross (setting the ankle of one leg on the knee of the other) and then grabbing the lower half of the top leg with both hands.
  • Exposure of the palms
  • Arms and legs unfolded
  • Leaning forward
  • Smiling, which is why some people smile when they're upset or afraid
  • Slumping the shoulders
  • Do anything to appear smaller
  • Men in particular have a tendency to stroke or rub the nape of the neck when they're upset. It acts as a self-soothing gesture to deal with a "pain in the neck."
  • Crossed arms, which act like a protective barrier.
  • Self-hugger--arms are crossed, hands gripping upper arms
  • Clutching a purse, briefcase or bag with both arms
  • Adjusting cuffs or cuff-links
  • Folding the hands together in front of the crotch (men)
  • Lying causes a subtle tingling in the face and neck, so the gesture below are attempts to eliminate that feeling.
  • Covering the mouth--can be like a shh gesture, or they may cover the mouth completely, perhaps by coughing. My ex used to yawn. Didn't take me long to figure that tell out.
  • Touching or rubbing the nose or just below the nose, often a quick, small gesture...not a scratch.
  • Rubbing the eyes...usually the men.
  • Scratching the neck with the index finger
  • Steepling of the fingers
  • Folding the hands behind the back
  • Thumbs sticking out from pockets when hands are in pockets...can be front or back pockets
  • Hands on hips
  • Straddling a chair
  • Hands folded behind the head while sitting up (in men; in women, this thrusts the breasts out and becomes sexual)
Now, as you read body language in books, you'll have a better feel for the language being conveyed. You'll be drawn more into the action.

For more about Vonnie Davis, she blogs at

Monday, November 24, 2014


We women are suckers for the wounded hero. It's in our nature to believe we can "fix" the brooding hero and live happily ever after. This idea is nothing new. Beauty and the Beast is a very old French fairy tale with a hero with a physical flaw and the mother of all attitude problems.  Enter Belle. A little love, patience and persistence and we have a transformed prince.

I enjoy writing characters who have quirks and flaws. They are so much more interesting than the perfect hero who always has the answer and never takes a wrong step. Can you imagine James Bond being attracted to plain little Jane Eyre? Mr. Rochester tried harder. Well, he did lie and manipulate, but it was all for love. She managed to change him for the better. Wait, that's Beauty and the Beast again.

The perfect hero would be difficult to live with. St. George slayed the dragon and saved the girl. Then what? Did he go out dragon hunting for the rest of his life or settle down and raise little princes? Imagine him sitting around polishing his armor and reminiscing about the good old days. The alpha male needs constant action.

As a writer, we want interesting characters with problems we can relate to. The hero's journey is much more interesting when life isn't simple or easy. Maybe it's because, in reality, we have so many wounded warriors returning home. We love these men and women who did their job to protect us and paid the price. They return with baggage we all want them to have a happily ever after.

Thursday, November 20, 2014


By Geri Foster

Fall is a hectic time. Can you believe Black Friday sales have already begun? Every year the sales start earlier. Not that I mind a bargain, but really?

One of the things for which I'm thankful is that I can write what I wish and many of you wonderful readers help by buying my books. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

What are you doing for Thanksgiving? This year, we’re having Thanksgiving at my daughter’s house, so I’m off the hook as hostess. I’ll still bring some of the food, but I won’t have to prepare turkey or get the house ready for the invasion. Yes, invasion is the right word because we’re a large clan.

My daughter acting as Thanksgiving dinner hostess leaves me more time to write. And I’ve been writing up a storm. No, don’t blame me for the cold front—not that kind of storm. I’ve released my latest Falcon Securities novel, OUT OF THE DEPTHS. I love writing romantic suspense, action-packed novels, but they leave me exhausted. By the time I finish a Falcon novel, I am limp as a wrung out dishrag and feel as if my brain has exploded. 

But I have no plan to stop writing, and am already at work on the next Falcon novel, OUT OF THE BAYOU. In the meantime, here’s the 411 on the latest Falcon novel, OUT OF THE DEPTHS:

Falcon Securities Agent Jake Taylor has been sent to protect a young woman who’s out to avenge the murder of her DEA brother . . . Trouble heightens when an Afghan extremist is involved, along with politicians and government employees trusted to protect the country.

Tessa Adams is out to kill Antonio Ramirez, the Mascota Cartel drug king who murdered her brother. While working undercover on her own, she not only steals the drug lord’s money, but uncovers valuable information that can either put the killer away for life . . . or send her to a watery grave. The only person she can trust is the Falcon agent who promises to protect her.

Can Jake and Tessa find the homegrown terrorist who threatens American shores in time to save the lives of millions? Can Jake bury the past and find happiness? Will love break the hold revenge has on Tessa’s heart? In the midst of destruction, corruption, and lies, can these two people who deserve love find it, or will they lose everything?


Jake swam as fast as possible. His eyes stung and his lungs hurt, still he couldn’t find her in the opaque water. He dove further knowing if he ventured much deeper he wouldn’t be able to surface for air.

Scissoring his legs, he clawed through the water descending deeper and deeper. Then he caught a glimmer of long auburn hair swaying beneath him. He thrust harder.

Jake instantly regretted there was no way to apply brakes underwater. Below him, sharks circled Tessa while she bobbed helplessly. 

Ramirez must have really hated her. Obviously her cover as their accountant had been blown, and they’d only taken him because he was in her company. They didn’t know he was from Falcon. At least, they hadn’t mentioned anything.

A Tiger Shark headed in Jake’s direction. He allowed his body to drift. The killer nosed around a little but soon lost interest when Jake tried to appear more like debris and less like a meal. That didn’t mean he hadn’t wanted to scream like a girl.

His head pounded and vision blurred. Jake ignored the sharks and continued toward Tessa. Reaching her, Jake saw her entire body shaking with terror.

Her eyes wider than a window, her gaze darted between him and the pod of Tigers circling them. She grabbed for him, but Jake stayed clear for a moment. He put his finger to his lips to calm her. By now, he was completely out of air and close to passing out.

Buy link:

Coming soon to other sites.

Whether your family is large or small, have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Carra Copelin's Family Traditions

We all have family traditions. Some we develop with new families, some are carried down through generations. In November 1621, after the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved successful, Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast and invited a group of the fledgling colony’s Native American allies, including the Wampanoag chief Massasoit. Such was the first Thanksgiving, although it's doubtful they called it that.

This week we began planning our own Thanksgiving dinner. We lean toward a more Southern menu, I think. Starting with the oven roasted turkey, we add mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, kernel corn, green beans, cranberry sauce, giblet gravy and dressing -- not stuffing -- cornbread dressing. Dessert includes pumpkin and pecan pies. In the last few years, my daughter has been making cheesecakes that would give any one's efforts a run for their money.

 All of our immediate family will be coming to our house, including our daughter and her husband, our son and his wife and our three grandchildren. Each family will contribute to the meal. The atmosphere will be chaotic and tremendous fun. Family.

Usually on the day after, when everyone has gone home and my husband has left for the deer lease, I begin decorating for Christmas. Putting up the tree and all the decorations usually takes about a week. It seems I'm always finding additional trinkets to put out. Thankfully last year we bought a pre-lit tree. Best decision we've made in a long time.

I'm fairly certain that our family traditions, including the decorated tree, started, at least, as far back as the late 1700's to early 1800's. The trees through the years have come in all shapes and sizes. Growing up we had short ones, tall ones, fir, white plastic and a cedar that my dad cut for us late one night. It was such an adventure having daddy cut down our own tree, that is, until we saw the sign saying we were on land belonging to a state park!

My husband and I started our family's tree tradition with a Lionel train set, and a town consisting of a farm, train station and Santa with reindeer. While the placement and additions have changed throughout the last 40 years, it's content remains circa 1955. The following shots are from our tree last year.

This year the Hubs and I are starting what we hope will be a new family tradition. Our seven year old grandson will be with us on Friday after Thanksgiving and we will put the tree and decorations up with him. He loves to run the trains and I think he'll really enjoy placing the buildings and accessories where he wants them to be.

I'd like to share with you, now, my short story on Amazon called, A SANTA FOR CHRISTMAS. It takes place in San Antonio, Texas in and around the River Walk.

Merry Hernandez has lost both her father and her brother in the last year to unfortunate circumstances, and, due to a bad economy, stands to lose her business, Very Merry Events, as well. No one is spending unnecessarily for parties they can plan themselves. While that is bad, she regrets most not participating in the  Riverwalk Christmas Pageant in San Antonio, Texas, where her father always played Santa and handed out toys to the children. Will the handsome stranger and his father be able to help her fulfill her dreams?

Sam Claus has journeyed to Texas with his father to help him make a young woman's Christmas wish come true. Due to the older man's illness, Sam doesn't see a way to help Merry Hernandez. Throughout their evening together on Christmas Eve, too many circumstances occur that he can't explain. Will Sam be able to turn the tide of events in her favor?

Will Sam and Merry realize their special connection and reach their Happy Ever After?

A SANTA FOR CHRISTMAS is available on Amazon,

Thanks for visiting with me today. I wish the happiest of Thanksgiving traditions to you all!


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Already in the Holiday Spirit!

It's hard not to get in the Holiday spirit when I have two Holiday releases this month! The first one is a free novelette with two short historical western stories. Every year about this time I like to give a gift to readers. This is year it is a bit smaller of a gesture because we are in the middle of building a house and trying to get in before the new year, so writing related things haven't been my first priority, but I wanted readers to have something.

Western Holiday Duets 
Two historical western romance short stories.
Christmas Eve Promise
Sheriff Jubal Denton promises Suzie Harper they’ll marry Christmas Eve. Two weeks before Christmas a breakout at the Willow Bend jail sends Jubal across the state in an attempt to capture the outlaw. Christmas Eve arrives. Other members of the posse have returned, but where is Jubal?
New Year’s Kiss
Edda Rae Bartlett is pacing back and forth on New Year’s Eve waiting for her beau, Cort Haywood. He said he had something important to tell her before the end of the year. And there are only a few hours left to this year. Her best friend arrives, dragging her to a party and into a game her friend learned while traveling. Edda Rae likes the fact she is elbow to elbow with Cort, but soon learns everyone in the room knows something about the game but her.  

And I have a Christmas story in the Windtree Press The Gift of Christmas An Anthology. My story "Isabella's Christmas Box" is about Anthropologist Isabella Mumphrey and her Latin lover and DEA agent, Tino Constantine. It's their first Christmas together and Isabella's father calls with a mission for her. 

The Gift of Christmas An Anthology

“Metro’s Mountain Cabin” by Susie Slanina (Children’s Story)
“The Cancer Christmas” by Melissa Yuan (Non-fiction)
“Christmas Miracles” by Pamela Cowan
“The Nest” by Courtney Pierce
“Isabella’s Christmas Box” by Paty Jager
“The Mermaids Treasure” by Anna Brentwood
“Don’t Forget the Mistletoe” by Christy Carlyle
“First Love” by Judith Ashley
“Christmas with You” by Jane Killick
“Career Conundrum Christmas” by Jamie Brazil
“The Hogmanay Stranger” by Maggie Jaimeson
“A Marine’s Christmas Proposal” by Susan Lute

Print ISBN: 9781940064727
eBook ISBN: 9781942368007
Publication Date: October 13, 2014
Price: $3.99 ebook, $14.99 print

A former Marine, desperate for employment, takes a temp job that leads to a life-changing decision on Christmas Eve. A family locket with magical powers saves the life of its wearer during the holidays. A doctor’s nonfiction reflection of her father’s cancer diagnosis reveals the spirit of Christmas.

Add in a little dog’s snowy adventure, magic realism, and a touch of mistletoe, and readers will delight in these 12 diverse and heartfelt stories exploring the love, messiness and miracles of Christmas.

Check out the book at Windtree Press. You may purchase it at the website or use the links to major venues.

With so many Christmas and holiday books out there, I hope you take a moment and check these two out.

Award-winning author Paty Jager and her husband raise alfalfa hay in rural eastern Oregon.  On her road to publication she wrote freelance articles for two local newspapers and enjoyed her job with the County Extension service as a 4-H Program Assistant. Raising hay and cattle, riding horses, and battling rattlesnakes, she not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.

All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. Her penchant for research takes her on side trips that eventually turn into yet another story.

You can learn more about Paty at her blog; Writing into the Sunset  her website; or on Facebook;!/paty.jager , Goodreads  and twitter;  @patyjag.

Monday, November 10, 2014


By Susan Sheehey, Guest author

Susan Sheehey, Author

I’m going to start by stating the obvious. The most important factor in romance novels are the characters. They set the tone, drive the plot, and build the drama. Characters are the key in readers turning the page.

The not so obvious: I’ve realized they are also the key on how fast I write.

The stronger and clearer the character, the faster I write. It’s like I can’t get the words out of my head fast enough. I wrote my debut novel Audrey’s Promise in only 6 months. (Yes, that’s fast for me).

Then I wrote the first book in my romantic suspense trilogy, Prince of Solana, in 5 months. Speed record!

But the second book in the trilogy, Jewel of Solana, is taking forever. Not including the last 6 months where I’ve given birth to my youngest son and had my gall bladder removed, Jewel has taken 10 months. And I’m still not finished with it.

Strictly because of a character issue (it took me a while to identify that as the problem).
Flynn, the hero, has Asperger’s. Asperger’s is on the Autism Spectrum (high functioning) where the person is very awkward in social interactions and has a hard time connecting with others. They are normally incredibly intelligent people with an extreme passion for certain subjects, and can invest an enormous amount of time and concentration in tasks they like. Examples of people with Asperger’s are Steve Jobs, Dan Aykroyd, and Bill Gates.

The hero in Jewel of Solana, Flynn, has certain quirks and idiosyncrasies that appear awkward to everyone. But in the chapters where I write in his point-of-view, I get stuck.
Bottom-line, because I don’t understand him.

I’ve done a lot of research on ASD, because my eldest (6 years old) has Autism. He has extreme passion for trains and Legos. His verbal skills are delayed and he has a hard time recognizing emotions in others. When he was younger, haircuts and brushing his teeth would throw him into unmanageable tantrums and self-injury.

So I can identify the symptoms of Autism, even understand the generic why he does certain things. He likes linear things and color-coding, because he finds them comforting. But why are those comforting?

Much like with my hero. Yes, Flynn likes putting engines together and doesn’t comprehend sarcasm, but why? It’s very difficult— almost impossible— to write in his point of view if I don’t fully understand what he feels about those things. Particularly the sensory processing stuff.

He hates people touching his ears and can’t stand nightclubs. What does it feel like when he’s in that environment? How can I properly show the readers what physically happens inside him when he’s bombarded with all of the sights and sounds?

The closest I can get to it is my aversion to large crowds. I can describe how I feel when I’m at a football game or concert, but I know that’s merely a fraction of the discomfort Flynn feels, who literally cringes and covers his ears. So how I can vividly portray him in my story if I can’t fully understand how he feels?

Keep in mind this is a romance novel. If I don’t fully understand him, how can Alanna look through all of those quirks and fall in love with him just the way he is? How can they move past the physical barriers that Flynn feels to people touching him?

Perhaps I’ve bitten off more than I can chew with Flynn. Perhaps I’m not as talented a writer as I need to be in order to do him justice. Which is why it’s taking so long to finish this manuscript.

Or maybe I’m overthinking again, which tends to happen when I’m chronically sleep-deprived. I’d love to know your thoughts. Any Aspies, or anyone else care to weigh in?





All Romance:


Susan writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense and women's fiction.
Her next novel, PRINCE OF SOLANA, is a romantic suspense with the Wild Rose
Press due out early 2015. After spending six years in the corporate world,
Susan's true passion wouldn't let go and she's been writing ever since. She
lives and laughs in Texas with her husband and two sons. Follow Susan's page
at or on Facebook ( and
Twitter @SusieQWriter.

Saturday, November 8, 2014


By Mary Adair

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. I give thanks every day for my blessings, but to have a day set aside for thanks giving is truly special.  Knowing many  (if not all) Americans celebrate by remembering all the good things and wonderful people in their lives for which they are thankful adds to the festivity.

I decided to look into the roots of the celebration, and this is what I learned. According to some scholars, before coming to the new world, the Pilgrims lived for a decade among the Sephareic Jews in Holland.  Holland was considered a safe haven from religious persecution at the time.  

The Pilgrims, being devout Calvinist and Puritans considered themselves as “new Israel”. I can see where they likely learned that Sukkot commemorated Israel’s deliverance from the religious persecution in ancient Egypt and thought of it as a parallel to their own situation.

After they immigrated to the promised land of America, it is not surprising to me that the Pilgrims may have considered the festival of Sukkot when planning their own celebration. The Pilgrims considered their perilous journey to the new world as a type of exodus and wanted to associate their new celebration to the appropriate Biblical holiday.

It is interesting to me that the Jewish observance of their holiday always falls on Thursday and there is a special prayer of “Thanksgiving” before eating the meal.  It is also interesting to note that the Hebrew word for turkey is tarnegol hodu, literally “Indian chicken”.  Is it a happy coincidence that we customarily eat turkey on thanksgiving?

We all have times of ups and downs. We all have something and someone (probably more than one someone) to be thankful for. My Thanksgiving wish for all my friends and family is well expressed in this:

Cherokee Prayer Blessing

May the Warm Winds of Heaven Blow softly upon your house.
May the Great Spirit Bless all who enter there.
May your Moccasins Make happy tracks in many snows,
and may the Rainbow Always touch your shoulder.

Mary Adair is the author of the bestselling Passion series in which Cherokee heroines are featured. You can learn more about her books on her Amazon Author Page and on her website

photos from Google commons

Thursday, November 6, 2014


By Guest Author Callie Hutton

Thank you for having me here today on your blog.

In my Western Historical book, A Chance to Love Again—the fourth book in my Oklahoma Lovers series—the heroine, Rachel Stevens, is a widow with a small child. She lives on a cattle ranch and works as the cook. It was fun doing the research on what life on an early 1900s cattle ranch was like, and how hard the cooks had to work to keep all those hungry cowboys fed.

During my research, I ran across some interesting recipes that the cooks used. Here is one for soda biscuits that any ranch hand cook would be making every morning:

Soda Biscuits
Take 1lb flour, and mix it with enough milk to make a stiff dough;
dissolve 1tsp carbonate of soda in a little milk;
add to dough with a teaspoon of salt.
Work it well together and roll out thin;
cut into round biscuits, and bake them in a moderate oven.
The yolk of an egg is sometimes added.
Doesn’t seem too hard, does it? Except the cook probably made three or four dozen at a clip. Think of all that kneading!  My arms get tired just thinking about it. Another favorite for the sweet tooth that the cowboys had was for Fried apples:

Fried Apples
Fry 4 slices of bacon in a Dutch oven. Remove bacon.
Peel and slice 6 to 8 Granny Smith apples.
Put apples in Dutch oven with bacon grease,
cover and cook down the apples, but not to mush.
Serve topped with butter or cream and crumbled bacon.
They're great for breakfast or dessert!
Of course, if you’re cooking for 15 or 20 hungry cowboys, 6 to 8 apples won’t cut it. So I imagine our cook was peeling and slicing an entire bushel for that crowd. And, of course, no cattle ranch cook could leave out the famous Cowboy Beans.

Cowboy Beans
1 pound dried pinto beans
1/2 yellow onion, peeled
2 cloves garlic, peeled
3 ounces beef jerky, diced
1/2 cup brewed coffee
2 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
1 tablespoon chili powder
Salt and black pepper

Most of the recipes for Cowboy Beans that I found used some type of beef, but I liked this one because I know beef jerky was pretty plentiful on the range. This next one, however, was by far the most interesting one I discovered.

Boy in Bag
2 cups raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts (black walnuts are fine)
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup chopped suet
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
1 ½ cups milk
1 cup chopped dried fruit of any kind.
Chop suet into small pieces no pieces being larger than a bean.
Combine with raisins, nuts, brown sugar, and chopped dried fruit.
Then mix flour, spices, and salt with baking powder.
Add gradually to fruit mixture with milk, beating well.
Put in flour sack or tie in large square of cloth. Put in kettle of boiling water and boil 3 hours, always keeping enough boiling water, and put on cloth to drain.
After about ½ hour, untie cloth and turn pudding onto dish. Let chill.
Slice and serve with hard sauce.
This pudding will keep well and is similar to plum pudding.
This can be made in camp with molasses instead of brown sugar. Or can be made with white sugar instead of either brown sugar or molasses. 
This was a great favorite with chuck wagon cooks.

Think of the work! We are indeed spoiled today. Now it’s time for y’all to get some cowboy feeling into your next meal and try a recipe or two. But of course, drag out the crock pot, mixer, and food processor before you do.

Widow Rachel Stevens is very happy with her job as a cook for the Lazy Sunset ranch where she is raising her son. However, the new foreman, Rusty McIntyre, is turning her life upside down. She could overlook how her son has begun to idolize Rusty, but she’s having a heck of a time ignoring the flutters in her stomach every time the man smiles at her.

But Rusty has problems of his own. His previously unknown fourteen year old daughter has just arrived to live with him. Used to always being on his own, now he has a young boy following him around imitating his every move, and a surly young lady glaring at him. Throw into the mix the tug he feels toward the ranch cook—who wants no part of him—and life is no longer as easy as it once was.

Buy links: Amazon:; Barnes & Noble:

I will offer a copy of any of my ebooks to one commenter, along with a $5 gift card to either Amazon or Barnes & Noble (winner’s choice.)

Callie Hutton, Author

USA Today best selling author of The Elusive Wife, Callie Hutton writes both Western Historical and Regency romance, with “historic elements and sensory details” (The Romance Reviews). She also pens an occasional contemporary or two. Callie lives in Oklahoma with several rescue dogs, two adult children, and daughter-in-law (thankfully all not in the same house), and her top cheerleader husband of thirty-eight years. She also recently welcomed twin grandsons to her ever expanding family. Callie loves to hear from readers, and would welcome you as a “friend” on Facebook. You can contact her through her website:

If you would like to keep informed on sales, contests and new releases, sign up for her newsletter, Callie’s Comments here:  or join her street team, Callie’s Cohorts, where fun, gossip, contests, and general mayhem lives and flourishes.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

What Happened to 2014? Monster Cookies! @JacquieRogers #holiday #recipe

Yummies for Winter
by Jacquie Rogers

Here we are—November! I’m just getting used to writing 2014 and next thing you know, it’ll be 2015. But there’s a lot to do in these last two months. There’s the big Thanksgiving doin’s, Christmas shopping (my credit card is already screaming), baking, cleaning, decorating... It seems like you never run out of things to do this time of year.

Oh wait, you got stuck on the baking part, didn’t you, and now your mouth is watering for... drum roll please... Monster Cookies! And do I have a recipe for you. These are soooo good. My grandkids love them. I have no idea where this recipe came from, but we’ve been making them for years.

Monster Cookies

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees

Blend these ingredients until smooth:
1 cup butter (softened)
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Mix together:
2½ cups flour (I use spelt)
1½ tsp soda
½ tsp salt

Blend dry ingredients to sugar mixture.

Add and blend:
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup M&Ms (without peanuts)
1 cup chopped pecans
Or whatever tickles your taste buds!

To bake:
Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Use an ice cream scoop to dip out cookie dough. Roll dough in your hands to make a ball. Place it on the parchment paper and squish it out some. Leave plenty of room between cookies for the dough to spread.

Bake for 10 to 14 minutes, depending on cookie size and oven temperature (all ovens are different).  Let cool for 10 minutes (5 if you're impatient) before you take the cookies off the sheet or they'll fall apart.

You can generally reuse the parchment paper for the next batch or two. If you use oil instead of parchment paper, recoat before placing second batch on the sheet.

YUMMY to my tummy!!!

Ahem. Back to the serious stuff. I’ll certainly have plenty to do. I have to write a chapter and a few other scenes in a collaborative novel, a short story, and three-fourths of a novel. That puts me at about 110,000 words before the end of the year. Not sure that’s all going to happen considering all the other things going on this time of year, but I’ll give it a whirl.

Someone asked me if I was going to participate in NaNoWriMo. Frankly, I’d like to take November off! I think the whole setup is great for writers who want a little extra push, or who aren’t confident in their ability to produce pages.

But enough of that—let’s get back to the turkey.

Mr R and I wish you all a 
Happy Thanksgiving!

Sleight of Heart
by Jacquie Rogers

A gamblin' man with magic hands
A strait-laced spinster
A missing brother
A crazy adventure