Grandmother’s Red Velvet Cake Recipe

sknicholls:

I’m revisiting this post because it’s the season and this is an irresistible cake that is a southern tradition. I’ll probably pull this forward every year just so it’s handy to share at baking time :) Enjoy!!!

Originally posted on S.K. Nicholls:

What's left of Grandmother's red velvet cake this morning. I wanted a pic before it was cut but nobody could wait.

What’s left of Grandmother’s red velvet cake this morning. I wanted a pic before it was cut but nobody could wait.

Grandmother, Barbara Holland Koone, never made anything by a recipe. It was a handful of this and a pinch of that, a cup, a spoonful and a dribble. Everything was made from scratch. In her late eighties, we granddaughters convinced her to measure her favorites and write down the recipes for us. She agreed to give us one recipe each. We had to choose only one.  I had not planned to post this week, but this is my gift to you.

Being the best cook in three counties, with the County Fair ribbons to prove it, picking just one recipe was difficult for some. Not me, I wanted the Red Velvet Cake recipe. I watched her pinch and pour and measure as she prepared this recipe for me and…

View original 412 more words

Supporting Your Author Friend

sknicholls:

Great post on what readers, family and friends can do for writers.

Originally posted on Laura Best:

This post could have been written by my family and friends. It’s all about how to support your authorly friends out there, and since my friends and family have been awesome enough to support me through the publication of two books I wanted to let others in on their tips for supporting an author friend. (I bet most of them didn’t even know they had such tips!) Through the years my friends and family have come up with some ingenious ways to put the word about my books “out there.” I thought I would share these with everyone else out there who would like to know ways to support a certain author but are a bit uncertain about how to do that. Believe me there are plenty of ways, and my friends have done a super, stupendous job.

1. Buy the book-– A lot of my friends bought the…

View original 945 more words

Flagler Beach Fun on the way to The Nation’s Oldest City

The RS and I took a notion to travel on Saturday and headed out to St. Augustine for an overnighter. We usually travel south for Old World Florida fun but this trip took us a bit north. The highlight was a detour off I-95 across Hwy. #100 to Flagler Beach where local authors were having a book signing at Change Jar Books. All of these authors write their stories set in Flager Beach and are local celebrities. They should be regional or national celebrities. When they are, we can say, “We knew them when…”

The RS knows the work effort that went into writing and publishing Red Clay and Roses and he really appreciates independent authors. One of our favorite writers, Tim Baker was at the signing. We picked up a collection of Tim’s crime thriller/adventure books about Ike and Associates to gift a friend. We met Becky Meyer Pourchot and got a copy of the first in her Hungry Ghost series (which I’ll tell you more about later). I don’t think Becky always wears pink hair or dresses like the Snow Princess, but it was fitting for the season. (photo op)

St Augustine and Flager Beach 002

You can follow Tim Baker on Twitter @blindoggbooks, drop by and show some love. He’s almost at 10,000 followers. You can read my review on Eyewitness Blues and get a sneak peek about Path of a Bullet here.

We also picked up a shiny, colorful, hardback book for our grandchildren by Marybeth Jeitner and Heather Chalmers, Saving Libbie the Lobster. This is about one special lobster, and has rhyming passages that the kids and grandkids will cherish. Saving Libbie the Lobster is based on true events. In the back are some interesting facts. (another photo op)

St Augustine and Flager Beach 005

We left Change Jar Books loaded with good reads and gifts and then stopped into Flagler Beach Gifts run by Michelle, where the RS found a nifty boating hat, the kind he likes but can never find.  It fits the rocket scientist better than it fits Captain, the pug.

002

While in Flagler Beach we couldn’t resist the opportunity to dine at The Golden Lion. If you have read any of Tim’s books you’ll know why this place is so very important.

St Augustine and Flager Beach 008

First, we wanted to cross A1A and get an uncluttered view of the beach. There’s nothing quite like the feeling that you get when you’ve been traveling and you come upon an ocean view, the breeze, open blue skies, and vastness of the water before you. Flagler Beach is one of those sleepy little seaside villages that’s not inundated by commercial enterprise. Independently owned and operated ice cream shops, cozy coffee cafes, beach bars, and quaint hotels are sprinkled along the west side of A1A, and the most gorgeous views of the Atlantic are to the east.

Then, back across A1A to The Golden Lion.

St Augustine and Flager Beach 012

Of course we dined on the upper deck so we could keep an eye out for Ike and Brewski possibly passing by on their Harleys.  It was a chilly day at 65 degrees, but that just served to keep the oysters cold. After the appetizers, we were served steaming crocks of delicious New England clam chowder. The soup warmed us up perfectly. If you’re ever touring Florida’s east coast, you’ll want to stop in here.

Flagler Beach is definitely one of my new favorite Old World Florida places.

Another day I’ll tell you about St. Augustine, the Nights of Lights, and Castillo de San Marcos.

Have you chanced to meet any of your favorite authors?

Do you have a favorite Florida place?

What did you do over the weekend?   

New Release: Curse of the Darkwind by Charles Yallowitz

Dive into the newest adventure of Luke Callindor, Nyx, Fizzle, & all their friends.
LEGENDS OF WINDEMERE: CURSE OF THE DARK WIND
IS LIVE!

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

What’s the Story?

After their battles in Gaia and surviving the Island of Pallice, the champions of Windemere are off on their next adventure.

In his quest to be a hero and help others, Luke Callindor has jumped into danger countless times and would do so again without hesitation. So when he is infected by the toxic Dark Wind, it is up to his friends to find a cure and keep his courage alive. With time running out and their enemies in the shadows, one ally will make the decision to share in Luke’s suffering and forge a bond that runs thicker than blood. Such a sacrifice might not be enough when the truth behind this living curse comes to light.

Will Luke find the strength to defeat the Dark Wind? What ghosts from his past will appear during his weakest hour?

You can find this epic fantasy adventure on:

Amazon!
&
Goodreads!

New to Windemere? Then check it Volumes 1-5 of this exciting series by CLICKING ON THEIR COVERS!

COVER ART BY JASON PEDERSEN (CLICK COVER FOR AMAZON SITE)

COVER ART BY JASON PEDERSEN (CLICK COVER FOR AMAZON SITE)

COVER ART BY JASON PEDERSEN (CLICK COVER FOR AMAZON SITE)

COVER ART BY JASON PEDERSEN (CLICK COVER FOR AMAZON SITE)

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

COVER ART BY JASON PEDERSEN (CLICK COVER FOR AMAZON SITE)

COVER ART BY JASON PEDERSEN (CLICK COVER FOR AMAZON SITE)

COVER ART BY JASON PEDERSEN (CLICK COVER FOR AMAZON SITE)

COVER ART BY JASON PEDERSEN (CLICK COVER FOR AMAZON SITE)

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Art by Jason Pedersen (CLICK COVER FOR AMAZON SITE)

Art by Jason Pedersen (CLICK COVER FOR AMAZON SITE)

AN EXTRA TREAT!
Check out an interview with Charles E. Yallowitz on N.N. Light’s Blog: Princess of the Light!

AUTHOR BIO:

Charles author photo B&WCharles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn’t working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. ‘Legends of Windemere’ is his first series, but it certainly won’t be his last.

.

ENJOY THE ADVENTURE & BEWARE THE DARK WIND CURSE!

27 Author Recommendations for Holiday Gift-Giving …

sknicholls:

Susan Toy has given a few of us authors the opportunity to recommend a few more authors for your reading entertainment pleasure. Take a look and see if there is a book you might like to have or to gift!

Originally posted on Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing:

No, wait! I didn’t mean you should wrap up an Author and give THEM to your friends, although I’m sure any of us mentioned below are flattered for having been considered gift-worthy … Let’s start over.

What could be better than giving or receiving A BOOK (or several) – at any time of the year and for any occasion? If you’re stumped as to what to give people on your list, or if you’re looking for something new for your own reading pleasure, please allow me to make a few suggestions …

I highly recommend the writing and books published by the following six Authors who have previously been featured on my other blog, Reading Recommendations:

Tim Baker and another book (featuring contributions from 6 Reading Recommendations Authors, including ME!)
Kevin Brennan and another book
Seumas Gallacher
Dylan Hearn and another book
Rebecca Heishman
S.K. Nicholls

But wait! There’s…

View original 751 more words

Just in Time for the Holidays: Barb Taub has a new book release, special sale pricing, and a benefit for homeless pets!

If you haven’t yet been introduced to Barb Taub and her fascinating Null City Series of Mature Young Adult fiction, now is the time.

You can read my book review for

Book One: Null City: One Way Fare Here.

IT’S HERE!  

Tales From Null City  released today!

Tales_from_Null_City-Barb_Taub-1563x2500 (3)For those not familiar with the series, Barb tells us a little about “Book Two: Don’t Touch” and how her sale will save lives.

As the villain of Don’t Touch, the Krampus is a monster who literally feasts on the fear and terror he inspires in children. The demon who threatens Stefan and Lette is a cornered beast, an anachronism whose ever-diminishing influence only makes him more desperately dangerous.

The other inspiration for this story is the image of Rapunzel. But in Don’t Touch, Lette isn’t the helpless girl awaiting rescue by her prince. Instead, I go back to the origins of the folk story in sources such as Giambattista Basile’s Tale of Tales  from 1616, where she is actually the hero who rescues herself and her children, and then saves her lover. Like her earliest predecessors, Lette is a tough, self-reliant young woman who tells her would-be prince, “If I need rescuing, I’ll do it myself.”

Krampus and St. Nicholas visit a Viennese home in 1896 [photo credit: public domain]

Christmas in Austria is not for the faint hearted. While a familiar St. Nicholas does make the rounds, in many Germanic traditions he’s accompanied by a terrifying beast called the Krampus whose job is to punish – and even take away – naughty children. With his curling horns, long red tongue, and tail, the Krampus is enough to chill any heart. [Krampus and St. Nicholas visit a Viennese home in 1896 photo credit: public domain]

Hope flares each morning in the tiny flash of a second before Lette touches that first thing. And destroys it. Her online journal spans a decade, beginning with the day a thirteen-year-old inherits an extreme form of the family “gift.” Every day whatever she touches converts into something new: bunnies, bubbles, bombs, and everything in between. Lette’s search for a cure leads her to Stefan, whose fairy-tale looks hide a monstrous legacy, and to Rag, an arrogant, crabby ex-angel with boundary issues. The three face an army led by St. Nicholas' legendary dark shadow, the Krampus, who feeds on children’s fear. But it’s their own inner demons they must defeat first.

Hope flares each morning in the tiny flash of a second before Lette touches that first thing. And destroys it. Her online journal spans a decade, beginning with the day a thirteen-year-old inherits an extreme form of the family “gift.” Every day whatever she touches converts into something new: bunnies, bubbles, bombs, and everything in between. Lette’s search for a cure leads her to Stefan, whose fairy-tale looks hide a monstrous legacy, and to Rag, an arrogant, crabby ex-angel with boundary issues. The three face an army led by St. Nicholas’ legendary dark shadow, the Krampus, who feeds on children’s fear. But it’s their own inner demons they must defeat first.

My final message in Don’t Touch is that we build our own towers. They can provide safety; they can even be gorgeous and appealing, but if they keep us from truly living our lives or cut us off from others, they are still our prisons. I think that’s one of the things I love the most about the holiday season. No matter how often we hear them, those messages of peace and goodwill just keep reminding us of our connections to each other. More sophisticated folk can turn up noses at the consumerism and the crowds, but I believe the reason we all come back for more every year is that basic gift of hope and belief.

It’s that belief that inspires my holiday appeal to you. In most of my stories, an animal companion plays a prominent role—from George, the grumpy cat in Don’t Touch to Bygul, the bitchy feline goddess of Payback is a Witch. My own life has been immeasurably enriched by my dog Peri who came from a shelter in eastern Washington State, and by the friends (feline, canine, and the occasional rodent) rescued by the dedicated members of many shelters.Cat and dog

In thanks, therefore, I will donate all royalties on sales between now and January 1, 2015 from Don’t Touch as well as the newly released set (Payback is a Witch and Just For The Spell Of It) to the following wonderful organizations:

  • USA: No Kill Advocacy Center. Headed up by Nathan Winograd, the No Kill Advocacy Center movement is revolutionizing shelters across America.
  • United Kingdom: DogsTrust. Active since 1891, this no-kill shelter rehomed almost 15,000 dogs last year.

 

As a special incentive, both Don’t Touch and the brand new release set, Tales From Null City (containing Payback is a Witch and Just For The Spell Of It), will be listed at the sale price of $0.99 in the USA, and £0.77 in the UK.

Both make wonderful holiday reads, while at the same time supporting the work of the no-kill shelter movement. Please help ensure that animals are not left unsheltered during the very difficult winter months to come. To help, please order a book by selecting one of the following links:


Claire Danielsen is a young witch whose goddess is house cat of unusual size. Peter Oshiro is a Warden policing a delicate truce between those who are human and those who... aren't. It just would have been nice if someone told them the angels were all on the other side.

Claire Danielsen is a young witch whose goddess is house cat of unusual size. Peter Oshiro is a Warden policing a delicate truce between those who are human and those who… aren’t. It just would have been nice if someone told them the angels were all on the other side.

Liam is an ungodly soccer-playing card sharp on a mission from God. Eirie is a beautiful punk fairy princess with her own daytime radio talk show. They’ve worked cases for the Accords Agency before, but with war between realms looming and her baby sister as the bargaining chip, partnering just got personal.

Liam is an ungodly soccer-playing card sharp on a mission from God. Eirie is a beautiful punk fairy princess with her own daytime radio talk show. They’ve worked cases for the Accords Agency before, but with war between realms looming and her baby sister as the bargaining chip, partnering just got personal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contact Barb: blog | twitter | facebook

 

Author Bio:

In halcyon days BC (before children), Barb Taub wrote a humor column for several Midwest newspapers. With the arrival of Child #4, she veered toward the dark side and an HR career. Following a daring daytime escape to England, she’s lived in a medieval castle and a hobbit house with her prince-of-a-guy and the World’s Most Spoiled AussieDog. Now all her days are Saturdays, and she spends them consulting with her daughter on Marvel heroes, Null City, and translating from British to American.

 

Null City Series Blurb

Superpowers suck. If you just want to live a normal life, Null City is only a Metro ride away. After one day there, imps become baristas, and hellhounds become poodles. Demons settle down, become parents, join the PTA, and worry about their taxes. But outside of Null City, now that the century-long secret Nonwars between Gifts and Haven are over and the Accords Treaty is signed, an uneasy peace is policed by Wardens under the command of the Accords Agency.

 

 

Book Review: Eyewitness Blues by Tim Baker and Path of a Bullet by Tim Baker and Friends

The rocket scientist used to ride a Harley. He made up his mind to sell it after an accident involving both of us which was too embarrassing to write about here. Suffice it to say, it happened in our driveway (nobody in the neighborhood was watching, we checked) and resulted in major neck surgery for the rocket scientist to prevent him from becoming a quadriplegic.

I poke fun at the rocket scientist because he’s not always the brightest rocket scientist at the bomb factory, but I love him dearly and he’s always been good to me. I introduced him to an author I had seen in an online interview who writes the sort of crime fiction/adventure Florida has become famous for, and the kind the rocket scientist loves to read.

Back in May, I mentioned this author whom I think is quite clever, Tim Baker. He had a short story contest and published one of the stories in the back of one of his books that the rocket scientist was reading. It made me laugh out loud. It also warmed my heart to see an author actively promoting the work of other authors. You can read about that here and get links to purchase all of his books.

After hearing a few excerpts from Tim Baker’s books, I was hooked and convinced that I needed to read all of them. There were six at that time. I immediately saw the rocket scientist’s appeal in this author and his characters. Eyewitness Blues is his latest full length novel.

Book Review:

I have had the pleasure of reading all seven of Tim Baker’s full-length novels and loved them all. Like all of them, this is a character-driven story. I do think Eyewitness Blues is one of the best. Like many, I have fallen in love with his iconic character. “Ike” is a Harley-riding, down-to-earth, charismatic, ex-Navy Seal who works for Ralph Donebedian.  Quickly becoming my favorite anti-hero, Ike is compassionate and honorable, but is quite capable of eliminating threats any way that becomes necessary. Ike says it best, “I always remember my friends…but my enemies never forget me.” Ralph, a wheelchair-bound bookie, Ike, and their “associates” deliver their own brand of justice in the seaside village of Flagler Beach, Florida.

In this novel, a terribly depressed young man, Martin Aquino, has become entangled with a mob boss in Rhode Island. His life sucks and he is at his wit’s end when he decides to report witnessing a murder to get enrolled in the witness protection program. Baker draws his characters with a deft hand and we see early on why Martin has to make the choices he does. In an action-packed series of events, Martin ends up on Ike’s boat, The Knight’s Mare, in St. Augustine. Almost immediately, Martin senses his life has turned around for the best…but has it? There is so much more yet to come.

Martin’s not always so bright, but that’s okay, Ike has his back! There’s a whole other cast of colorful characters in Flagler Beach for the mob to deal with. If you are looking for a fun read that will keep you turning pages just to see what craziness is going to happen next, this book is a great choice. There is a rare hilarity to the antics of Ike and his “associates” that is certain to keep you entertained.

5 of 5 Stars

An Added Bonus:

If, like many us, you quickly fall in love with Ike, there is an even newer book, a collection of short stories written by Tim Baker and a select few talented authors that tell all about what Ike does to keep himself busy between his full length novels. It’s a fun collection that can either introduce you to Ike and his Flagler Beach associates, or give you a little more to hold onto while you’re waiting for that next full-length novel. Contributors are: Rebecca Heishman, Susan M. Toy, Gi Arena, Anne Marie Vancas, L.F. Young, and Becky M. Pourchot. This is another book you will want to pick up. Your’s truly wrote the Foreword to Path of a Bullet and Seumas Gallacher wrote this blurb:

There are plenty of heroes in the world of crime-fiction, each with their own personality and style.

Ike has earned a seat at that table, but, being Ike, he prefers to find his own table…and let others sit with him.

A former US Navy SEAL, Ike’s current position as an enforcer for a local bookie often puts him in close contact with an element of society most of us fortunately never see. These encounters usually lead to trouble and Ike routinely inserts himself at the center of it all to make sure innocent people aren’t hurt. Ike has a tendency to…shall we say…bend some of the rules…and even break a few on occasion, but his moral compass is always strong and true.
It’s this very behavior that has readers of Tim Baker’s novels calling him “Robin Hood on a Harley” or “…an off-white knight in shining armor.”

Thirteen Stories.

One hero.

Path of a Bullet explodes from the barrel with the first tale about Ike’s encounter with a not-so-scrupulous Santa and follows a deadly trajectory until it hits a bull’s-eye with a Thanksgiving story that has Ike questioning his purpose in life.

Ike dispenses justice at a rapid-fire pace until the only danger in Flagler Beach is a traffic jam on A1A.

Promo Results

I always like to put up a little note after a promo to let folk know what’s working and what’s not.

Ereader News Today has always been good to me. I have sold between 100 and 400 books each time I have done a promo with them. I have done four promos.

A few things have changed since my last promo in July:

The way Ereader News Today works, they post to their site, which only brings a few sales, then the  books get posted to their Facebook followers of which they have nearly half a million. That’s when the real sales start kicking in.

For one thing, Facebook has started limiting newsfeeds to those people who “like” or “comment” on posts frequently. Others remain in the background unless you visit their page. You’ll not see everything from pages you have “liked” unless you respond to the posts regularly.

So those half a million followers from ENT are a dribble compared to what they used to be. That’s why ENT is begging people to “like” or “comment” on their posts all the time. They want to be seen.

The other thing is Kindle Unlimited. And not JUST Kindle unlimited. There are quadzillion little sites posting free and bargain books all over the net. Kindle Unlimited has taken a significant number of folk who are regular readers and given them an opportunity to keep plenty of books on hand, so those people aren’t browsing for books in other places so much anymore.

Bottom line: This promo fared worse than any I have done in the year I have been doing them.

Though I managed to get onto three best sellers lists, I only sold 44 books on that first day. That was a shock. I have sold that many before just moving the book to 99 cents without doing ENT.

Yesterday, I moved 7 books with the Read Tuesday promo going on. So, just over 50 for the two days.

But, I sold books! I have new readers. Yay!!!

It would be wonderful if they all wrote a quick review!

Mildly disappointed in results though, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that.

BTW, ENT is working on improving exposure. They have been posting on Facebook to all of their followers to join up for receiving promos directly to your inbox like BookBub does. Subscribers will get instant daily emails to tell them about books they might be interested in. If you are a reader, be sure to subscribe. I think, ultimately, they will be as formidable as BookBub and not nearly as expensive. 

There is a new five star review on the page. Thanks for that! (Bit of a spoiler, but nice to know the reader liked the story.) Also, a very good example of how different readers take away different things from the writing.

Working quietly on a few new projects, and Naked Alliances is sitting still. I’m about halfway finished with the editing.

Red Clay and Roses will remain at 99 cents until Sunday, December 14th.

When, exactly, is Read Tuesday? (Time Zones & Delays)

sknicholls:

Today is the day! Browse the catalogs. Get ‘em while they’re hot!

Originally posted on ReadTuesday:

Conor Kelly by Ali Isaac

TIME ZONES/DELAYS

Read Tuesday is a Black Friday type of event just for book lovers on Tuesday, December 9, 2014.

But when, exactly, does Read Tuesday start and when does it end?

That, of course, depends on which time zone you’re in.

What really matters is when the book will go on sale and when the sale will end.

The Read Tuesday catalog shows the start and end dates and times for each sale. However, it doesn’t clarify the time zone, which is up to the author.

Many of the books went on sale prior to Read Tuesday and go off sale after Read Tuesday. (This is a wise practice, as it reduces the chances for time zone issues or delays interfering with potential sales.)

Another issue is that there are sometimes delays in making price changes (even when the price change can be scheduled…

View original 685 more words