Friday, November 27, 2015

When Black Friday Comes

I'm not much of one for shopping in general, and I'm definitely staying put on this day of all sales and crowds. I'd rather experience Black Friday through YouTube (thanks, Steely Dan) from my own home.

But if you're a homebody like me, we don't have to miss out on great deals! Barnes & Noble is running a Winter Romance Sale, with--as of this writing--77 books on deep discount. You can view them all here. Don't have a Nook? The deals are being price-matched at other retailers.

Two of my books are on sale right now: Season for Temptation, my first-ever historical romance, and Secrets of a Scandalous Heiress, which is my most recently published novel. (I've had two novellas out since then, but my next novel won't be out until February.) You can get them both for $1.99 per book.

Season for Temptation_small      SOASH web res 2

If you prefer to read in print, there's something today for you too. On my Facebook page, I'm giving away a beautiful paperback copy of Christmas in the Duke's Arms, a historical romance anthology with four novellas--including two by Casablanca authors Grace Burrowes and Shana Galen. I thoroughly enjoyed this anthology, and it seemed like a great way to kick off the holiday season. 

However you're spending Black Friday, I hope you have a good time--and, of course, some good books!

Theresa Romain is the bestselling author of historical romances, including the Matchmaker trilogy, the Holiday Pleasures series, the Royal Reward series, and the Romance of the Turf trilogy. Praised as “one of the rising stars of Regency historical romance” (Booklist), her highly acclaimed novels have been chosen for the Smart Bitches Trashy Books Sizzling Book Club, featured in the DABWAHA tournament, and deemed “Desert Isle Keepers” by All About Romance. A member of Romance Writers of America and its Regency specialty chapter The Beau Monde, Theresa is hard at work on her next novel from her home in the Midwest. Please visit her online at . 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

In honor of Thanksgiving tomorrow, we at Sourcebooks Casablanca are sharing some of the blessing for which we're so grateful.

Shana Galen
I'm thankful for good health, good friends, and my wonderful family. I'm grateful to have the opportunity to do what I love--write!

Gina Conkle
I'm echoing Shana's thanks for good health, dear friends, and my loving family. Thanksgiving is special this year because it falls on my husband's birthday. He'll get some souped up exercise equipment (likely a rowing machine). That ought to go well with the pecan pies I'll feed him, right?

Mr. Conkle is one of those faithful exercisers. For years we planned to get the rowing machine, but put it off because "We need new tires" or "The hot water heater went kaput" happened. This year, Mr. Conkle will get his longed for gift.

Ashlyn Chase
I have so much to be thankful for, but I saw a post on facebook that about sums it up. I may paraphrase a bit:
I woke up. I had clothes to wear. I had food to eat. I had hot and cold running water and an indoor bathroom.
LOL. You didn't expect me to leave you without a smile on your face, did you?


I wish you a

 Terry Spear: I had Thanksgiving with my daughter and SIL early because they're going to see grandparents for turkey day. So we had cornish hens instead. Delicious!
 And that means that next, I'll be decorating for Christmas for the whole family to get together then! Oh, and yes, I'll be fixing a turkey breast on Thanksgiving to properly enjoy the day, while writing and editing, like usual!

So it's a festive time of year! Happy Thanksgiving!!

Jane Ashford
I'm so grateful for all the stories that comfort and delight and transport us through all the challenges of life.

Samantha Chase
As crazy as it seems, I am thankful for my health.  It has been a wild year and after having surgery about 4 weeks ago, I think things are finally good.  My doctor had warned me that I might not be able to have Thanksgiving dinner this year and I was a little devastated by that.  I am one of those crazy people who LOVES to cook a big feast like that and I don't want anyone helping.  Well, the good news is that I CAN enjoy it this year and even though there will only be five of us at the table, I'm cooking for twenty!
Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!!

Theresa Romain
Our holiday started a little early, when Little Miss R and my mom made these turkey cookies this past weekend. Sure, we SHOULD have saved them until Thanksgiving, but...nah, there'll be enough other goodies that day.

Little Miss R is my baking buddy too, and we'll be making pies and looking forward to a meal with family. Hope your Thanksgiving holiday is excellent, however you choose to celebrate it.

Linda Broday
My heart is full of gratefulness. I'm thankful I live in a country where I don't have bombs exploding around me, where I can walk down the street without having to show papers, where I can worship as I want and have freedom to write the kind of books I desire. In this year, I've seen three book releases. That's a lot and I'm extremely thankful for my readers who love what I'm doing. It's going to be cold many places on Thanksgiving Day. Enjoy a warm fire, a cup of something hot and curl up with a good book--if you're not in a coma from eating too much. I'll be one of those in a coma.

Asa Maria Bradley
My debut book just released earlier this month and I am so thankful for seeing a dream come true. The support and encouragement has been amazing and I'm thankful for the wonderful team at Sourcebooks and the authors here on the blog who has welcomed me with open arms. Tomorrow I'm celebrating with family and friends, counting my blessings. Hope all the readers of the blog will have an opportunity to do the same.

Cheryl Brooks

I'm thankful that my family is here at home, all happy and healthy. You don't realize how important that is until you send your husband off to work one morning and the next time you see him is in the hospital. Yeah. I'm grateful for every hour since then (and beyond) that I still have him and my two sons.

Brooklyn Ann

TurkeyTurkeyTurkeyTurkeyTurkeyTurkeyTurkeyTurkeyTurkeyTurkey..... TURKEY!!!

I like turkey. I am also very thankful for my friends and family and my readers.

And I'm very sad that my vampires can't eat turkey.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Brooklyn Ann's Turkey and Gravy recipe


And I confess I love it so much I will make this in the middle of summer.

Required Materials:
Roasting Pan
Aluminum Foil
Turkey Baster
Meat Thermometer

1: 15-20lb turkey (If larger may need to increase other ingredients)
1-2 stalks celery
1 large orange
1 onion (I prefer sweet)
1/2 to 1 clove of garlic
1 big carrot or 8-10 baby carrots
1 1/2 to 3/4 bottle of ginger ale (2 liter)
1 can chicken broth
1 bay leaf
2 tbs. thyme
2 tbs. parsley
2 tbs. sage
1 tbs. lemon pepper
1 tbs. Seasoned Salt (Johnny's or Lawry's is best!)

(I know it's a long list, but it's totally worth it!)
Okay, here we go.

Preheat oven to 350
Mix thyme, sage, parsley, lemon pepper, and seasoning salt in a small bowl
Chop the onion, carrot, and celery
Peel the garlic and split into segments
Peel the orange and split into segments

Line the roasting pan with enough foil to cover the turkey.
Remove the neck and giblets from turkey
Rub the herb mixture inside both neck and rear cavities of the turkey and a little on the outside.
Stuff turkey with chopped onion, carrot, celery, garlic, orange segments, and bay leaf.
Place turkey in roasting pan.
Pour all chicken broth and half required ginger ale into the cavity.
Truss the turkey and pour more ginger ale over bird and around it.

Make a foil tent over the bird, but try not to have the foil touch it.
Baste periodically and remove foil to allow turkey to brown 45 min to 1 hr before done.
Turkey is done when thermometer inserted into thickest part of the thigh reads 180 degrees.

Here is estimated cooking time by weight:
10-15 lbs = 3 3/4 -4 1/2 hrs. 15-22lbs = 4 1/2- 5 hrs
22-24lbs = 5- 5 1/2 hrs. 24-29lbs = 5 1/2- 6 1/4 hrs

When turkey is done, remove from oven, cover, and let stand 10- 15 min before carving. This allows the juices to resettle.

Bonus Gravy Recipe:
Ingredients: (To taste and as needed)
Turkey drippings/ marinade
Salt (if needed)
Black Pepper

Using the turkey baster, remove as much liquid from turkey as you need and heat it to boiling in a medium saucepan
Mix cornstarch with milk and add to boiling turkey drippings,
Slowly lower the heat and blend with a whisk.
thicken to desired texture and in the meantime season to taste with herbs and pepper. Try not to burn your tongue!

Monday, November 23, 2015


When the pantry jars are full of mince-meat and the shelves are laden with sweet spices for a cake,
When the butcher man sends up a turkey nice and fat to bake,
When the stores are crammed with everything ingenious cooks can make,
It's Thanksgiving Time!

--Langston Hughes, from “Thanksgiving Time”

It’s Thanksgiving Week, and for those of us who celebrate it, I’m not even going to pretend it’s not All About The Food.

OK, it’s also about community, family, closeness, and finding things to be thankful for in trying times. And food!

Mashed potatoes will be on a lot of menus, and, despite their being such a simple dish, there must be a million and one variations on how to prepare them! And countless debates on which way is best. Electric mixer, ricer, or hand-held potato masher? Russets, Red Roses, or Yukon Golds? Skin-on or skin-off? Milk, broth, or cooking water? Hot milk or cold?

My earliest memories of making mashed potatoes involve Russets: starchy potatoes that whip up nice and fluffy. But over the years, I’ve come to appreciate the qualities other kinds of potatoes add to the mix.

Red (and White) Rose potatoes are “boilers”: waxy potatoes that hold their shape well in soups and stews. Adding a few of those to mashed potatoes lends a firmer, pleasantly creamy texture, especially helpful if the Russets get overcooked and emerge a little softer than the ideal. Yukon Golds are all-purpose spuds with a slightly waxy consistency and a mildly sweet flavor.

So, when we assemble the ingredients for our version of Mashed Potatoes, we use a variety. Russets still predominate, but at least a third of the potatoes are Roses or Yukons.


6-8 medium to large potatoes (Russets, Red/White Rose, Yukon Golds)
¼ cup of milk (you can use less or more according to preference)
3 Tbsp. butter or margarine
Salt, pepper, onion powder

Peel potatoes and cut in chunks (the smaller the chunks, the faster they’ll cook).  Place in pot with enough water to cover the potatoes by several inches.  Heat to boiling, then turn down to medium heat. Cook until potatoes are tender, then remove from heat.

Drain potatoes, then place in large mixing bowl.  Add butter, salt, pepper, and onion powder to taste. Heat milk in small saucepan until scalded, then add to potatoes. Using electric mixer, whip potatoes to desired consistency—fluffy or creamy. 

Serve immediately.

Enjoy, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

'Tis the Season by Victoria Roberts

What's your favorite season? Winter? Spring? Summer? Fall? How about football season?

You know what I'm talking about. This is the time of year when husbands, sons, boyfriends, fathers, brothers and uncles control the TV remote 24/7. Although I'm a die-hard Pittsburgh Steelers fan, I grow tired of watching every other NFL team under the sun. All I care about is my home team, and yes, I'll watch the Superbowl. There is something quite nice about rugged men battling on the field for sport.

But I don't like when the games interfere with my shows like The Walking Dead. I never miss an episode. That's when my husband and I create our own sport. Even though we both have home field advantage, I've been very creative about hiding the remote. We battle over who gets the big TV. Most times I win because there's no way I'm watching Rick Grimes and Daryl Dixon on a wee screen. Am I right?

So until February 7, 2016, I'll cheer on my boys and give holiday thanks when the season finally comes to an end.  

Are you a die-hard football fan, or would you rather hide the remote?


Buy links:

Friday, November 20, 2015

Starting to Look a Lot Like Christmas

by M.L. Buchman

Which out here on the Oregon Coast means that we just had four days in which we more inches of rain fell than there were days. (One blast dropped almost 2 inches in less than six hours. During that time the winds were gusting up to sixty, eighty in the hills. I know that it's weird to think this way... but it's kind of wonderful to have real weather again, even when it is a little foul tempered. (We don't count it as really obnoxious until the four inches falls in one day and it falls sideways because the winds are gusting high enough that it tends to break the anemometers.) Yep! We're weird on the coast, but that's what the holiday season looks like on the coast and we welcome it.

Quarry Cove by Rhiannon Boyle (Flickr cc)
Along with the wind we also get immense beauty, like these 30'+ waves that can roll in for days after a good storm. This was shot just south of where I live (not by me). Me? I'm busy in a corner writing and I must say it is being an absolute blast this holiday season.

Things to watch for:

Hot Tip: On 11/24 check your Bookbub promotions e-mail for an M.L. Buchman one-day sale at an awesome price!

Next week (11/25): A brand new Night Stalkers Christmas novel. Returning again is the Navy crew on the USS Peleliu. They once again face: African terrorists, horrid storms, and the truth about their hearts. Don't miss this one, it made me feel very merry!

Did you miss last year's adventure? Don't worry, Christmas romances never go out of style.

Right after that (12/1): Look for a brand new M.L. Buchman series, the first women of Delta Force!

The most dangerous elite counterterrorism force on the planet:
• The best shooters •
• Known for gathering misfits and rule breakers •
• Will die to get the mission done •
• The best of the new recruits •
• The first woman to attempt Delta Force •

Surviving potentially lethal training is just the start of the path to Delta…and the hottest passion either Kyle Reeves or Carla Anderson has ever known. Then the call comes to take down the powerful Cartel de los Soles drug-smuggling ring, and Delta’s newest team leaps into the void. They know how to give duty their all—giving their hearts is going to take a new kind of courage.

Critics are already raving:
"Who needs food? Or sleep? Not when I can be reading Buchman!" Target Engaged,

"The romance equally as breathtaking as the action." – RT Book Reviews   4 1/2 stars

"Memorable characters and pulse-pounding action.” – Publishers Weekly, Target Engaged

“Buchman cannot write a bad book, and this, possibly his best yet, is another great example of what military romance should be.” – Booklist, Target Engaged, Starred Review

Some come enjoy Christmas...I certainly have already!

Information on these and other books can be found at and find retailers everywhere.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

A Diplomatic Twist...Dark Ages Style by Gina Conkle

I've shared my Viking-nerd side in previous posts. If you'll indulge me, I'd like to share a little more in this post and the next.

Vikings had their own brand of democracy: one voice, one vote through their annual Thingvellir meeting (also called Thing or Althing).  Independence and rule of law are their hallmarks. But in all Vikingdom, volcanic Iceland bred a fierce style of self-governance.

The near-arctic Vikings lived by their own set of rules on remote Iceland.  They never had a king in residence, rather a "Law Giver" or "Law Speaker" led the island who answered to a distant king.*

Iceland's democratic spirit was tested in what I call "The Great Vote of 1000."  Discord brewed between two factions --- Christians versus pagans. The surprise? The two groups had lived peacefully most of the time.

From early settlement, leaders divided Iceland into four main sections. One person oversaw his or her region, but all of Iceland met once a year for the Thingvellir to settle disputes and hear decrees.

Approaching AD 1000's Thingvellir, Thorgeir Thorkelsson (the Law Speaker) caught wind of trouble. No one narrowed down the heart of the conflict...but the air carried grumbles. Violence erupted. Agitated Icelanders threatened civil war. The well-respected Thorgeir knew if this malcontent wasn't resolved soon, the gathering of 1000 would be the end of self-governance, because Olaf "Crowbone" King of Norway had threatened to intervene. 

Fearing Olaf's brutal interference, Thorgeir travelled around Iceland, section by section, listening to grievances. He promised a fair ruling at the Thingvellir but demanded oaths of obedience first, whatever the ruling. So trusted was Thorgeir that each faction vowed to honor the Law Giver's pronouncement at the gathering. 
What were the sticking points?
The Christian faction wanted baptism en masse for the entire populace.  The pagan faction wanted the right to continue eating horse meat and practice infant exposure.

Both sides agreed, knowing full well pagans would close their doors and practice their religion.  Peace spread throughout the island. Even better, Olaf Crowbone kept his kingly rear in Norway and didn't intrude in Icelandic affairs.

The other interesting fact?  Despite being a practicing pagan, Icelanders regarded Thorgeir as an honorable leader before the ruling and doubly so after it. He held the position for a longer than usual time. 

The following year Thorgeir was replaced (after serving 15 years as Law Giver).  The 'old ways' were abolished peacefully a few years after that, but not without leaving the indelible impression of democracy on Dark Ages history.
*** Note: Much of Iceland was settled by people of Norway

Coming soon...a look at 300 warriors in history ---not those hot Spartans at Thermopylae--- but women! Viking women.

Cheers to you, Reader!
If you had fun with today's post, let's connect.
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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

I'm honored to announce that THE LADY OF THE STORM and THE LORD OF ILLUSION were included... By Kathryne Kennedy

in Booklist's 101 Best Romance Novels of the last TEN years! Just one book making the list would have been thrilling. That two of my novels from THE ELVEN LORDS series were included is such an honor. I would also like to congratulate all the other Sourcebooks Casablanca authors who also made the list.  Did your favorite author make the list? You can view it here:

Here are the beautiful covers designed by Sourcebooks for these novels:

Why did Booklist call THE ELVEN LORDS series "superb"? You can try out this amazing magical world for just 99 Cents with the latest short novelette THE ASSASSIN'S LOVER, available at your favorite on-line retailer:






Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Something for Nothing?

By Cheryl Brooks

I spent this past weekend with my writer pals at IRWA's annual retreat at the Bradford Woods manor house near Mooresville, with the special added attraction of having my pals and former Sourcebooks authors Kendra Leigh Castle and Sharon Lathan join in the fun.

I first met Sharon and Kendra at the 2009 RWA National Conference in Washington DC when we were brand new authors, full of hopes, fears, and excitement at finally seeing our books in print.

They have both moved on to other publishing houses or indie publishing, but our friendship has remained steadfast, even if we do have a few more gray hairs than we did back then.

Our local RWA chapter's retreat is something we look forward to every year, mainly because we get to spend the weekend with people who understand us better than anyone else. At times, we were laughing our heads off. Other times we were soaking up new information. Brainstorming and venting were also popular, as was the traditional burning of nasty reviews and rejection letters in the fireplace.

All in all, we had a terrific time together, but the one thing that put a damper on the fun is the steady decline in author income since the introduction of Kindle Unlimited. Now I know that for many readers, KU is probably the neatest thing to come along since the e-reader, but it's putting the hurt on your authors. Granted, some writers seem immune to this malady, but the rest are suffering. One of our members has seen a 90% drop in her income since KU was introduced, and she isn't the only one.

In many ways, it's our own fault. We host giveaways all the time, and in the past, when a title was put up for free, it sold our backlist (or frontlist, as the case may be). Unfortunately, we are now starting to see a reversal of that trend. Free downloads do not necessarily equal increased sales anymore. To put it bluntly, we've taught readers expect to get our books for free.

Now, I'm well aware that not all readers subscribe to KU, nor do they expect us to give away books all the time. However, when I ran across this Facebook meme a while back, I liked and shared it on my timeline. Interestingly enough, that post only received a total of nine "Likes" and no comments whatsoever.

To be honest, I'm not surprised. Maybe it hit too close to home for many readers, or maybe writers were afraid to agree for fear of offending their fans. But whatever the reason, the message was largely ignored.

Ignore it if you will, but the bottom line is this. Writers write because it's what they do, but the vast majority are paid even less than the clerks at Walmart. There are no benefits. No retirement plans. No group health insurance. No taxes are withheld from their pay, and there is no guarantee that a publisher won't drop an author if their sales aren't up to par. Many authors are only paid twice a year with no idea how big the next royalty check will be.

That being said, my question is this: How many people would be willing to do their job for free? I'm not talking about volunteering at the local homeless shelter. I'm talking about the work that is done in order to put food on the table and a roof on the house. I'm guessing there aren't many who would be willing to do that.

So I'm not doing a giveaway with this blog post, which is the surest way to get more than one comment. I'm challenging everyone to get online or go to their local bookstore and BUY A BOOK. It doesn't have to be one of mine. I don't care whose books you buy. What you read is a matter of personal choice. Just don't expect something for nothing, because eventually, nothing is exactly what everyone will get.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Fabulous Facts About France!

Fabulous Facts About France!

I’m sure, like me, you were shocked and saddened by the events that took place in Paris a few days ago. For me, it was almost surreal because for the past few weeks I’ve been heavily steeped in the events leading up to and during the French Revolution. I feel like I spend a good part of each day in Paris, even if it is the Paris of the past.

As writers, we often have to limit how much research we can include in our books. I find out so many cool things, but I can only use about a tenth of them and only those that fit in the story. So I thought I’d share here 5 of the fabulous facts about France I’ve discovered through my research.

Chocolate and Coffee=Yum!
If you love your mocha latte at Starbucks, you are not alone. Parisians have been adding chocolate to coffee since at least the 1700s. Know what the prisoners drank in the Bastille? Coffee with chocolate.

The Bastille
At one time it probably did house political prisoners who did nothing more than anger the king or look at a nobleman the wrong way. But by the time of its fall in 1789, the Bastille held only 7 prisoners, who all deserved to be there. One was the marquis de Sade, who was moved to an insane asylum before the prisoner was stormed. Many aspiring writers made an effort to be imprisoned in the Bastille because being able to say you were a prisoner there gave you a certain cachet and could make your career. If you had money, your stay didn’t have to be unpleasant. A few livre bought furniture, books, paper and pen, a fire, and don’t forget that coffee with chocolate.

The Eiffel Tower
Here’s something I love about the French. They are masters of resistance. When Hitler visited Paris during World War II, the French cut the lift cables on the Eiffel Tower so Hitler would have to climb the steps to go to the top.

The French are Polite
The French very much have a café culture, especially in Paris. During the French Revolution, the café you frequented mattered. Jacobins drank coffee in one café while royalists in another and those in favor of a constitutional monarchy in another. The stereotype of the French is that they’re rude, but there’s a coffee house in Nice where it pays to be polite.

The French Fry Almost Wasn’t
It was illegal for humans to eat potatoes from 1748 to 1772. The bad harvests that led to famine (and ultimately to the French Revolution) made the potato, which had been considered a food for livestock only, more appealing. In 1794 Madame Merigot published The Female Republican Cook, which was the first potato cookbook.

What are some interesting facts about your favorite city?

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Why I'm grateful to be an author

Favorite things about my job as a writer – top ten style

1.            Working in my bathrobe and slippers
2.            The commute
3.            Making my own hours (and being able to take frequent breaks with no one the wiser)
4.            Eavesdropping on people (for realistic dialog, of course!)
5.            Going on adventures and spending time in places I love without leaving the house
6.            Knowing my POV character’s thoughts and feelings, and it’s not weird
7.            Making my characters say things I, as a polite person, would never say
8.            Making nasty people from real life into fictional villains, then killing them.
9.            Writing a happy ending, knowing I’m going to leave some reader with a smile.
10.          Hearing from fans who love and appreciate my work
11.          Getting my next contract

Okay, technically, that’s 11 things, but I love my job too much to choose only 10.
I especially LOVE my latest book. Definitely in my top 10.  It’s an erotic paranormal comedy that I wrote as a short story several years ago. It’s Mr. Amazing’s favorite. I actually heard him laughing out loud as he read it. When he finished, he gave me his best compliment. He said, “It’s so dirty, I love it!” He usually just says, “The story is good, but it needs more sex.”

So how did I turn a short story into a short novel? I enlisted the help of my BFF and sometimes writing partner, Dalton Diaz!

If you're willing to help a sistah, please support my Thunderclap to advertise our Black Friday sale--just $0.99 for two weeks! Here's the link: Thank you!!!
Two Gods are in big trouble with Zeus. Gods will be gods and when these two taunt the wrong fire Goddess for their own entertainment, she erupts, literally, creating a whole new Hawaiian island. But Zeus is not amused and must teach them a lesson they won't forget. Who knew their punishment would lead to finding the loves of their lives?

Great Zeus! (Dalton Diaz)
Epimetheus knows he screwed up. Well, he knows it since Zeus pointed it out with a lightning bolt or two. He’s willing to take his punishment like a Titan, but all bets are off when his beloved dead wife Pandora shows up. Pandy has no memory of him. Epimetheus has no powers, and no forethought. What could possibly go wrong?

Oh My God (Ashlyn Chase) Rewritten and expanded version of a 2009 CAPA and Eppie Award nominee, same title
The Greek God of wine, women, and party, falls off a balcony during Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Now he has amnesia. All he knows is that they call him 'Big D', and he drinks too much and ought to give up alcohol for Lent.
Mandy and Brenda flashed Dionysus right before he fell. They're nice enough to take him to an AA meeting, and then back to their homes until he recovers his memory. Fortunately, they're not too nice to be naughty.

This book will be published by my own company Imagination Unlimited L.L.C. on 11/24. My wacky story will be in paperback for the first time, and it will only cost $7.99...the same as my mass market paperbacks! That makes me enormously happy.