Sunday, March 17, 2013

Author Lynette Sofras: Interview and Giveaway!

Welcome to my blog again, Lynette Sofras! Lyn is a very dear friend and my all-time favorite blogger ! I can highly recommend her witty and entertaining blog, ManicScribbler. You could also visit her author's website here to learn more about herself and her books.

But Lyn is also a very talented writer, whose books often remind me, humour-wise, of Jane Austen's. She has that clever, ironic and sometimes black British humour I adore so much. However, she has agreed to do an interview for my blog, along with a giveaway of her latest novel, "Killing Jenna Crane"! To win one of three e-book copies, please leave a comment who, in your opinion, incorporates the infamous English humour at its best (Monty Python,  maybe?).






Welcome to my blog (again), Lynette! A lot has happened since you've last been here - you went from Indie to published, while you still release self-published books. Knowing both worlds now, which way do you prefer (and why)?
Thank you, Deborah.  It's wonderful to be here again - I've always had a special soft spot for your lovely blog.
     It's true I've now dabbled in both worlds and while it's good to have the affirmation from a publisher that your story is worth reading, I prefer self-publishing hands-down.  I like being in control and able to see trends when trying new avenues for promotion etc.  I also like the fact that I can make changes to my stories to try to improve them whenever I have ideas or receive useful suggestions from readers that I think will work - readers should never underestimate the value of their opinions. 
     On the downside, it is hard work and can be a lonely business, but then I think being a writer is quite a lonely lifestyle anyway.  Sadly a lot of readers are suspicious of self-published authors and many are (understandably) wary of giving us a chance. 

You've recently published a science fiction story, "Surveillance". How on earth did you move from romances to sci-fi?
I used to enjoy reading science fiction and one day my son and I were discussing how certain aspects of the genre always seemed to be portrayed in one particular way.  It's difficult to explain this in detail without giving our story away, but we simply thought it might be interesting to explore a different side of this sci-fi sub-genre - and one I think everyone ought to find fascinating.


Your son, Alexander, co-authored "Surveillance" with you. Isn't it difficult for mother and son to write a story together?
Not at all.  In fact it couldn't have been easier and it was great fun working together and bouncing ideas back and forth.  I'd love to write more short stories with him.

Please tell us a bit about your other new book, "Killing Jenna Crane".
I'm very excited about this because it's another genre-shift for me in that it contains far more than simple romance.  It's quite a dark, speculative fiction about a very successful but not very likeable author who becomes torn between two women and starts to lose his grip on reality.  Here is the blurb:
    This is not a story about a murder, but a dark journey inside a writer's mind.  Commitment-shy Ellis Crawford, creator of the famous and highly successful Jenna Crane mystery series, finds his comfortable life swept away when he meets Emily, his perfect woman. 
     Despite his deepening love for Emily, Ellis finds himself haunted by painful memories of a previous love whose heart he broke, and begins to regret his past behaviour.  On top of that, Emily wants him to kill off his beloved heroine Jenna Crane - against fierce public opinion.
     But life is too short for regrets and when his own rapidly spirals out of control, taking his reputation as an author with it, where will Ellis turn for help?

Any upcoming projects?
I'm almost ready to release a story that's been many years in the making.  It's called 'Unworkers' and is a good old-fashioned ghost story, though very much a story for women of today.

What are you privately reading at the moment? Which TV show(s) do you watch?
I have a huge list of unread books on my Kindle that I'm gradually working through.  These are mainly from indie writers of a variety of genres.  I love discovering talented new authors and doing whatever I can to help promote fellow indies.
TV programmes:  I'm thoroughly enjoying 'Mr Selfridge' - very good TV drama which filled the gaping hole left when 'Downton' Abbey finished.  I'm sure a great part of its success is thanks to the lovely and talented Katherine Kelly.  I actually went into Selfridges this week for the first time in many years and found it changed practically beyond recognition.

Which future release are you looking forward to?
Well this may end up sounding like a nag, but like all your fans and friends, I'm very much looking forward to the second instalment of your Bound trilogy.  It's long overdue…hint, hint.

Traditionally, my "favorite bloggers of the month" share a personal recipe with my readers. How about you?
Of course - though I can claim absolutely no credit for this recipe myself.  I love experimenting with low-carb recipes and am always excited when I find new non-sinful dessert ideas such as this one from my friend Jacqueline Hopper.  It's a Low Carb, Sugar Free Chocolate Pecan Torte and you can find the full recipe here:  
http://jacquelinedhopper.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=chocolate+pecan+torte  
I have made it and it's quick, easy and tastes every bit as good as it looks.  




Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Prince's Secret, A Thorin Oakenshield Fanfic, Chapter 1




Every Iron Day, she secretly watched Prince Thorin as he came down to the village to the annual fair and market, strolling along the main street with his young nephews, Fili and Kili. His manly beauty took her breath away, just like every time she had seen him before. Not that she'd ever had a chance of catching his eye. Even if the villagers tolerated her well enough, every time a male dwarf directed his gaze to her, he quickly turned away when he noticed her hideous appearance. Some managed to hide their repulsion politely. Others stared at her with open disgust. They thought her painstakingly thin, with long, ugly limbs, hands and feet that were far too small for their taste. Her height didn't matter much, although she was taller than most dwarves. Only very few, among them the prince, towered over her. But the worst thing was that she didn't have a beard - not even the tiniest wisp along her jawline.

Keyla Slatestone, about twenty years old since she never learned the day of her birth, was named after the place her dwarven parents had found her: A massive block of slate near Erebor, where she had lain as a baby, left back to die by her own kin. Eldur, a merchant who had been on his way back home, had come across the tiny, wailing human that had been draped in dirty rugs. He couldn't bear the thought that the child would be eaten by some passing animal, or die of hunger and thirst. Deciding to bring it to the next human settlement the next day, he took the little girl home to his wife, who was childless and convinced her husband to raise her as their own daughter. Sadly, her parents died only a few years later, both lost to the same fever that took a third of the dwarves' population in a matter of weeks.

Afterwards, she was sent from house to house, raised by the whole village who felt obligated to her deceased father and mother. However, no one seemed to care for Keyla, since she didn't talk much and was deemed dumb. In fact, she wasn't talked about at all, and no one ever dared to mention her to King Thrór, or to those close to him. For who would want to bring shame on himself and his family by raising a human in his household? As soon as Keyla was old enough to live on her own, she was placed in an old, abandoned hut outside the village, at the forest's edge. She went to the market once a week, earning a meager income by selling vegetables she grew in her garden, and eggs by some chicken he had managed to buy. Apart from that, she was an outcast, and lived on her own.

Today, she had her own little both at the market, neatly stocked with the goods from her small farm. Many people had come to the village, dwarves and humans. She loved this day - it was the only time of the year she didn't feel so awkward but vanished in the crowd. Nevertheless she wore a wide cloak over her dress, and had pulled her hood forward to cover her human features. It was better for business anyway. One day, when she had saved enough coins, she would leave this place for good and settle down in one of the humans' cities, far enough to start anew. Maybe she could buy a little shop in some market town. No one would miss her here. Her parents were long dead, and the few friends she had made among the other children were grown up now. Even they didn't dare to recognize her anymore, for they feared their parents' disapproval.

When Prince Thorin drew near her booth, she made sure to hide deeply in her overcoat, but underneath watched him with wide eyes. Gods, he was a handsome man. She was sure that no warrior, male or human, possessed the width of his shoulders, or such strong arms. His whole being seemed to radiate power, strength and integrity. But he also held himself with a quiet dignity that made everyone accept his authority. People succumbed easily to his will, even if he was just a young dwarf, his beard not even long enough to touch his chest but cropped closely to his handsome chin.

His clear blue eyes were constantly scanning the place as he walked, taking in every detail he saw. There was a fierce intelligence in their depths, and definitely a spark of humor. While his younger nephews constantly chatted about, making jokes and flirting with the blushing women who were selling their wares, the prince kept himself quiet, apart from occasional remarks to his companions. It was a tradition that the royal family went to the village that day, spending Iron Day with the peasants. They even joined the famous dance around the fire at midnight, since this late summer's day, shortly before the harvest, was a celebration of fertility.

Every year, the heir to the throne chose a maiden among his subjects and opened the dance with her. Keyla had never seen it herself, but quickly packed up her goods and went home before the evening's festivities started. Without knowing why, she had never wished to watch the prince dancing with one of the prettiest girls. However, she'd heard that whomever he chose, this one dance would bestow a great honor upon the girl and her family, and from that day, she would be a prize to all the men who wished to marry. Usually, the woman quickly found an eager, wealthy suitor who bid for her hand. The villagers hoped the prince would choose his own bride among their daughters one day. However, none of them had caught his attention for longer than just this one dance.

When Thorin finally walked by her stand, an unexpected crowd gathered around him and his nephews. Everyone wanted to catch a glimpse of the young princes, maybe get the chance to bow to them and present themselves. The two guards, who had been subtly following Thorin, Kili and Fili in case they needed protection, quickly stepped into the peasants' way, making the princes step back. All at once, Thorin stood right at Keyla's booth. They were only separated by the narrow table she had stacked her eggs upon, and for a moment, their arms brushed. It was a hot day, and besides his trousers, boots and sword belt, he wore just a deep-blue shirt that hugged his strong shoulders and chest. It clung a bit to his wide back, and she caught a sniff of moss, mingled with a hint of the clean, musky essence of his fresh sweat. Keyla's arms beneath her cloak were bare, and she felt the warmth of his skin all the way through the fine silk that covered his arm. His face was averted, his attention drawn to the gathering people who had suddenly began to push forward, all-too-eager to see him. But he was close, so close.

His long, dark brown hair fell openly over his shoulders. As usual, he wore it in a simple style, with only two braids at his ears. She just couldn't help herself. Everyone was looking elsewhere, especially the prince himself. Cautiously, she stretched out her hand and touched his hair, very lightly. It was surprisingly soft, and smelled heavenly, emanating the fine, male scent she already recognized as his very own. With a small sigh, she retrieved her hand, glad that he hadn't felt it caressing his tresses. But he still didn't look her way. What if she …?

Before she knew it, she leant slightly forward and placed a soft kiss into the dark, silky mass, inhaling his wonderful, seductive smell. Smiling, she closed her eyes, savoring the moment. This might be her only chance in life ever to touch him, to come so close just once, and she had seized it.
She had already begun to draw back when she opened her lids, but was abruptly jerked back into reality by a sudden movement. The heavenly mass of hair brushed over her arm as the prince moved his head …

… and directly stared into her eyes, his face close to hers. He had caught her.
She gasped, wanted to run, but felt herself unable to move at all. His eyes pierced her, looked right into her soul. He knew. She blushed to the roots of her hair when she became aware that he realized what she had been doing.
Gods, what had she been thinking? It was forbidden to touch a member of the royal family without their consent, or talk to them without being asked to. She knew that it would be just a few moments before he'd call his guards and have her arrested.

Instead, he just continued staring at her, so close that their breath mingled. "Now, what have we here?" he murmured in a deep, low voice that sent shivers down her spine. She couldn't utter a single word, just held her breath while her heart was racing, pumping her blood through her veins so hard it hurt inside her chest. Surely he must hear the wild, frantic beating, too. It was the only sound she heard, thundering in her ears.
His hand went up to her hood, lifting it from her head. His sharp eyes were on her, taking in her pale, fine-boned face, her beardless cheeks, her curly, sun-streaked hair. She stared at him wordlessly, mesmerized by his intense gaze. His eyes seemed to light up for a moment, but she couldn't tell how he felt about her unexpectedly human appearance. But it wasn't disgust what she saw, nor anger for her shocking behavior. She just looked at her, looked into her.

Then, very slowly, his gaze dropped to her mouth. Without knowing why, she quickly licked her lips and opened them a bit. His eyes widened, and she realized that his breathing had become fast and shallow, too. A sound escaped from his chest, a deep, low rumble. She didn't know what it meant, but it made her feel so weak that she grabbed the table in front of her, steadying herself before she humiliated herself even more and dropped to the ground right before him.

He opened his lips again to say something, but right at this moment all hell broke loose. There seemed to be some riot in the crowd as more and more people rushed down the narrow street, forcing the guards and the prince's nephews to retrieve. Suddenly, Thorin was pushed over the table, right into Keyla. She was so surprised that she didn't even notice when he grabbed her, slung a strong arm around her waist while they went down to the floor, landing in a heap of broken eggs. During the fall, he had somehow managed to turn around so he landed on his back, with Keyla lying right on top of his body. Completely in shock, she just breathed deeply, trying to recover for a while. She didn't have the faintest idea how this had happened, but her face was buried in the crook of the prince's neck, against his warm, heated skin while his arms were all around her, protecting her. Only faintly she heard his voice asking if she was all right, felt his hands touching her back as if he wanted to check if she was hurt.

Seconds later, she was roughly grabbed from behind and thrown to the ground. Two spears were pointed right at her throat, and she stared up into the faces of two particularly furious palace guards.
"Damn," she murmured, hardly aware that this very word had escaped the prince's lips at exactly the same moment.

(To be continued …)

To read more chapters of this story, click here. Enjoy! ;)

*****
All rights belong to their respective owners. No monetary gain for the author. This story is for entertainment purposes only; a hommage to Professor Tolkien's work and the awesome movies by Peter Jackson.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Guilty Indulgence: What inspired me to write a Thorin Oakenshield fanfic

Click on the pic to read "The Prince's Secret", my Hobbit fanfic story!




Dear Readers,

It's me, the humble writer of "The Prince's Secret". Just wanted to thank you for all that awesome support and reviews. I was amazed how many of you liked my first two chapters. Since it's not professionally edited like my other books, you'll read what I have spontaneously written, and I hope you'll forgive me the occasional small flaws. Writing fanfic is my little guilty indulgence, but it comes directly from the heart since I don't think much about plots. I just write what I feel, the kind of tale that originates from day dreams and secret fantasies. This is why I love fanfiction so much (I am also an avid reader, by the way) - it's real, uncensored, raw and wild.

The foremost reason that I felt like writing a Thorin fanfic was, of course, Richard Armitage's brilliant portrayal of Thorin Oakenshield in "The Hobbit". The powerful, dignified way this dwarf holds himself, the stunning blue eyes and dark chocolate voice doesn't fail to impress the female audience. It's amazing how RA nailed that role, despite wearing heavy make up and a prosthetic nose. However, being the romance writer that I am, I'm always looking for a love story. So after watching the movie, I decided to re-read the appendices of "The Lord of the Rings". Tolkien definitely was a romantic soul. He dedicated whole chapters to beautiful love stories (Aragorn and Arwen, Luthien and Beren), so I was very hopeful to find out more about Thorin's amorous adventures.

My pulse rapidly quickening (if I may use this highly used phrase), I opened my beloved illustrated (by Alan Lee) edition of LOTR and started to read Appendix A, III: "Durin's Folk". Very interesting, it's about the history of the dwarves, with a brief summary of what happens in "The Hobbit" (I think I'll break down in tears at the end). I even found two fascinating paragraphs about dwarf women, and I particularly liked the fact that the men were very jealous and possessive if they took a wife. It was also mentioned that many of them didn't want to marry at all, because they were, according to Tolkien, "too engrossed in their crafts" *wink, wink* (don't believe it for a second). Dis, Kili and Fili's mother and Thorin's sister, was also shortly mentioned, but not what had happened to her. I like to believe that she and her unknown husband died (probably during Smaug's attack), and that Uncle Thorin looked after them, taking their father's place.

However, this is what I finally found about Thorin Oakenshield's love life. I'm glad I wore my contact lenses - I found it in a tiny, tiny footnote after having scanned the text for the second time.

Thorin had no wife.

Say what? Are you kidding, Professor Tolkien?

I read it again, turned to the next page to see if there was more. Maybe something like:

"Thorin had no wife, for he had loved a girl in his youth, but she died under tragic circumstances. Afterwards, his heart was broken and he never loved another."

This would have made sense, at least. But simply "Thorin had no wife"? Well, let's admit that Tolkien couldn't know that in later years, Thorin would be played by "Look back at me"-Smoldering-Mr-Thornton-Shirtless-Guy-of-Gisborne Richard Armitage. I am very sure that he didn't imagine his dwarf that attractive. 

Knowing the hard facts now, I couldn't help but think about this very strange sentence, turning it around and around in my mind. "Thorin had no wife." Why the heck didn't he? Wouldn't a handsome prince, the heir to the throne, have found a woman who wished to marry him? I mean, look at him!

Reasons why Thorin should have a wife (or other love interest):

1. Thorin is the king's grandson. The most important thing that dwarf must do (apart from defending his people, working as a lowly blacksmith to feed them etc. etc.) is to make sure that the line of Durin won't be broken. He must simply grab a woman, take her to his huge four-poster bed, take off his clothes to reveal that strong, brawny, chest-dusted-with-dark-hair warrior's body and cover her naked body with kisses while pleasuring her with his skillful dwarf hands before rising over her to plunge deep into … 
Sorry, I got taken away. Heir. He must produce an heir (and a spare, as they say) to secure his blood line, of course.

2. He is effing handsome, intelligent, brave and loyal.

3. He has proven that he'll make a good father by caring for his nephews, Fili and Kili (as stated above).
(Pic by Lornet, check out her beautiful art here)

4. He can sing sad songs about lost treasure by the fire, and play the harp.

5. He has great hair.

6. He might be a poor, homeless prince now, but will be filthy rich once he has defeated Smaug and reclaimed Erebor. (Not that we really care - as long as a dwarf looks so good while swinging his hammer over the anvil)

7. He can glower like no one else. Every woman should have a glowering husband. Comes in handy to scare away unwelcome salesmen from your doorstep, or the neighbor's mean dog.



Reasons why Thorin should not have a wife (or love life, at all):

1.

2.

3. Well, he's busy. I mean, really busy with fighting battles, saving his people from certain death-by-incineration and leading them to the Blue Mountains to create a new life for them. But surely he could spend one night or two a week for that heir-producing I mentioned earlier? Besides, dwarves have a very long life. I guess a hundred years or more will be sufficient to enjoy one's bachelorship and settle down with wife and children, at last.

But seriously: Deep in my heart, I believe that a great man, a warrior and king who lived his whole life with so much passion, must also have had some love life. The only thing I could imagine why he didn't marry is that

a) he has loved and tragically lost a woman he loved in younger years.

b) he had a secret lady love and couldn't marry her for some reason.

c) he secretly had a faible for halflings but simply wasn't lucky enough to meet any for a very long time (this was for you Thilbo shippers out there! ;) ).

By the way, I used one of these possibilities as an inspiration for my story! But I won't tell which. ;-))

For now, farewell and thank you for reading through all of my tiresome post!

xoxoxo
Deborah

*******

All rights to the movie, pictures, characters and books "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" belong to their respective owners. No monetary gain for the author. This post and fanfiction was written for entertainment purposes only.






Friday, January 4, 2013

Favorite Blogger of the Month (January)

Dear Readers,

First, I'd like to wish you a very happy, successful new year ! ;)

My favorite bloggers of January - yes, they are two ladies this time! - are Amber and Amber, who created the indeed awesome and entertaining "AwesomeSauce Book Club". So if you like books, make sure to check out their site! (Click on the pic below)


Welcome, Amber and Amber! Tell us a little bit about yourself and your blog. Why did you start your own book review blog, and which genres do you feature?

Amber R: Amber I. started blogging before I did, so I'm going to let her take this question.

Amber I: I started blogging because I freaking loved books. I am obsessed with books and I had no one to talk to about all the books I read. I tried to get people I knew to read the books I read but they just were not keeping up. So somehow I stumbled across goodreads. Then when I was there I found out about blogging and decided to give it a try. I thought maybe if I had an outlet for my obsession it would be cool. I never ever thought it would be become what it has. Its just so crazy!

Our blog mainly features books in the Paranormal genre whether its just Paranormal Romance a YA Paranormal, Urban Fantasy or an Erotic Paranormal. Of coarse a few others sneak in there.

What genres do you read in private? What are your most favorite books of all time?

Amber R: I basically read urban fantasy, paranormal romance, that kind ofstuff. But I do read mysteries, contemporary, and sometimes historical romance but that's very rare.

Amber I: I am not ashamed of any books I read so there is really nothing I read in private. Maybe the newspaper. lol. And to pick a favorite book is like asking a mother to pick a favorite kid.  its just too hard.

With all those books being offered to you, you surely must be a bit picky about what you read. What intrigues you most in a story? Are you influenced by a good blurb or cover?

Amber R: You know I've never really paid too much attention to covers. But since Amber I. and our friend Autum are really into them, I have noticed myself paying more attention to them. I love a good blurb. A little mystery and some laughs will get me every time.

Amber I: Really I need both a good cover and a good blurb. It seems silly that a cover could make or break a book for me but it does. Covers to me are important. This is what visually catches a reader. If I am in a bookstore browsing would I go to a cover that looks amazing or one that is cheaply done and looks like crap? Obviously the good cover. A cover should really capture a reader. This is what they will first see and it needs to be good, if I see a bad cover before I know what the book is about I might skip it. But of coarse a blurb needs to be awesome too. You could have an amazing cover but the blurb sucks so I wouldn't read it.

How on earth do you find the time to manage such a busy blog besides your job and family life?

Amber R: Well, I think that there being two of us helps. We're reading double the books and setting up double the posts. Honestly if it wasn't for
Amber I: I'm certain I wouldn't be able to get this much done on my own. Plus, it's fun for me to do it so it's still a hobby rather than something I feel I HAVE to do.

Amber I: I notice the bigger the blog gets the harder it is. I want to be social and I think its important but sometimes its so hard. I try to keep up on my reading and my posts then also try to comment on other blogs and be active on twitter and facebook and all that stuff. But I also am working and have 3 kids. I am never totally put together. If I am ahead on reviews then I am behind on emails or something like that. Its never perfect but I love it!

Be honest: Is it easy or difficult to deal with us writers? I know that we can be an unorganized, sensitive lot sometimes. (You don't need to tell names …)

Amber R: Honestly, every author that I've personally dealt with so far has been pretty great. Amber might have some horror stories though. Haha

Amber I: I don't have really any horror stories. I have had some authors piss me off for whatever reasons but I told them about it and we ended up working it out. Of corse I have had last minute posts and all that and its annoying but I am usually understanding. But I let authors know that if you don't give me enough time then your post might not be posted or it will be late. I try to be honest with authors so we all know where we stand. I know authors are busy so usually no matter what I am understanding. I know I get behind on things and that I may get interview questions in late or something like that, I try not to but it happens so I completely get it when that happens with an author.  But I have seen so many author and bloggers fighting lately that I have created some new policy's on my blog to try and avoid any of that (ex. The No Douche Bag Clause).

You will be attending the first Indie Romance Convention next year! Please tell us what you've planned for the event.

Amber I: You know I am as excited to meet some of the bloggers as I am the writers. But I must say that I am going to be a total fan girl when I meet Eve Langlais!! She is my rock star!

Just for fun - some quickies:

Favorite movie:
Amber R:Hm. Ever After with Drew Barrymore or the newest Batman saga.
Amber I: The Wizard of Oz

Favorite TV series:
Amber R: Veronica Mars, I want to be a p.i. so bad because of this show.
Amber I: When I was little The Wonder Years then as a teenager Beverly Hills 90210 early Adult Friends older adult The Office and The Walking Dead.

Favorite singer/band:
Amber R: Sara Bareielles
Amber I: NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK! haha seriously they are awesome. But I guess you could mark me down as a 90s alternative fan. I am stuck in my decade of music.

Most beautiful male celebrity:
Amber R: Hmm. Jason Mamoa
Amber I: Oh gosh I don't know.. Lets think... James Franco keeps popping up in my head so I will say him. This is in no way a final answer.

Sexiest fictional hero ever:
Amber R: Dorian from the Dark Swan series by Richelle Mead, I'm in love.
Amber I: Oh this is so hard... I will go with Ian from The Night Huntress series ( I have even made people call me poppet because of him.) Or Dageus from Karen Marie Monings Highlander series (book 5) (which I took another nickname Amber-Lass) Again though this is too hard of a question as is in no way a final answer.

Best fictional villain ever:
Amber R: Voldemort for sure.
Amber I: I must agree that he who must not be named is an awesome one! I mean he made people fear him so much that they wouldn't even say his name! That is pretty bad ass.

Best fictional heroine ever:
Amber R:There are so many great ones. I love Charley from the Charley Davidson series by Darynda Jones.
Amber I: I agree Charley is an awesome one. Riley from Riley Jenson Series, Elena from The Otherworld series, Cat from Night Huntress, Mercy from Mercy Thompson. I know there are so many more but from where I am sitting and what I can see on my shelf I will stick with these ones. But I have more.

Your secret beauty tip:
Amber R: I'm a basic makeup lady but mascara is a go to.
Amber I: hahahahaha!! I have never ever been asked this once. Never! Oh man this is just funny. I am just not a girly girl. I don't even wear makeup. I say my secret tip is just not caring. lol

Your secret favorite cooking/baking recipe: 
Amber I: My husband's grandmother's homemade pasta and meatballs. I would share the recipe but they might kill me. Seriously we just got it a year ago. Its on a need to know basis. They are a big italian family and just trust me that its amazing. But I think she has purposely left off some info because it never tastes exactly the same as hers. We have been making it a lot trying to perfect it! It was like Christmas the day we got this recipe, I have been trying for years.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Legend of the Christmas Pickle

Some years ago, a friend from America (hiya, Abby!!!) asked me something that left me totally baffled. It was a few weeks before Christmas, and she wanted to know if I followed the "well-known German tradition" of placing a pickle ornament on the Christmas tree. It was supposed to be hidden between the branches, and whoever found it would receive an extra present. I was truly baffled, since I had never even heard of it! But it seems that you can buy those ornaments in US shops - I never saw anything like that anywhere here.

But then I did some online research and asked friends from different parts of Germany if they used to hide pickles (or any other vegetables) in their trees, and no one knew of this "tradition". I thought that it probably was some cheap trick to sell those ornaments, which was very true, but then I found out more - the manufacturer of these ornaments is located in Germany! They ship the "pickles" to the USA and use a fake tradition to sell them. It's outrageous! Now at least half of America believes that we hit our heads or something because we hang cucumbers on our trees. Let me assure you that this isn't true. Well, at least it wasn't.

I was very delighted that back then, my friend actually sent me one of those pickle ornaments, and I proudly place it on my tree every year since then! So in the end, the rumor might be true, after all ...

Wishing you a very merry Christmas, and a happy new year!

Love,
Deborah


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Favorite Blogger of the Month (December)

Hi folks,

aaand ... here's my favorite book blogger of December; it's Alicia Hall from Mortality Bites! Readers, make sure to check out Alicia's wonderful and entertaining blog. She'll also be an attending blogger at the First Indie Romance Convention 2013.





Welcome, Alicia! Tell us a little bit about yourself and your blog. Why did you start your own book review blog, and which genres do you feature?

I'm just a small town country girl.  I found a passion in reading at a very young age.

My blog is called Mortality Bites because I secretly wish that I was an immortal.  Being mortal bites because I'm not going to live long enough to read all the incredible books out there.

I started my blog because I wanted to be more than just a reader.  I wanted to get to know all of you amazing authors and I wanted to help promote your books.  Being able to experience a little bit of the action behind the scenes has been a blast.

I mostly feature paranormal romance and urban fantasy but on my blog anything goes!    

What genres do you read in private? What are your most favorite books of all time?

I read everything.  I find that I love a good contemporary romance occasionally.

I have to say that to this day one of my favorite books is still Kiss of Shadows by Laurel K. Hamilton.  I have read it a least ten times over the past decade.  It was the first paranormal romance book that I ever picked up and it holds a special place in my heart.

 With all those books being offered to you, you surely must be a bit picky about what you read. What intrigues you most in a story? Are you influenced by a good blurb or cover?

I get books offered to me?  What?  Do you know something that I don't?  Just Kidding.

My blog is still fairly new so no one is breaking down my door for my opinion.  I'm going to get there someday but right now if an author contacts me and they have a book in the PNR or UF genre I usually accept them.

I am intrigued by a good romance.  I want strong leads with personality and I want the couples to have a hard time at first.  I hate when characters just fall in love right off the bat and they have no trouble at all.  For me a good story has to be real. 

I will be honest I am the world's worst about judging a book by its cover.  If the cover doesn't catch my eye then the book never even gets a chance.  I know I'm missing out on great books but that's why I love the blogging community, they always let me know when I have messed up because of a bad cover.

How on earth do you find the time to manage such a busy blog besides your job and family life?

Let's see I work on a farm and we have 15 cows and over 20,000 chickens.  We work a lot around here but I am still working on a way get those hens to stop laying eggs 7 days a week! I really could use a weekend off every now and then.

I have a two year old little monster running around but I have an amazing husband that understands my need to get blogging done before bed most nights so we make it work. 

Most of my posts get typed and scheduled ahead of time during nap time and all of my reading is done at night.  I gave up sleep a long time ago!

Be honest: Is it easy or difficult to deal with us writers? I know that we can be an unorganized, sensitive lot sometimes. (You don't need to tell names …)

Easy!

I have had nothing but good experiences with all the authors I have worked with so far.  They have all been easy going and very quick to answer questions.  It has been wonderful!

You will be attending the first Indie Romance Convention next year! Please tell us what you've planned for the event.

I am so excited about this event!  I think it is going to be great exposure for everyone, author and bloggers alike!
We have been tossing some ideas around but not sure of all the details yet.  I know we are going to put together a charity basket.


Just for fun - some quickies:

Favorite movie: Gattaca
Favorite TV series: Bones and The Vampire Diaries
Favorite singer/band: I like it all!
Most beautiful male celebrity: Justin Hartley
Sexiest fictional hero ever: Zsadist from the BDB series by JR Ward
Best fictional villain ever:  Lex Luthor
Best fictional heroine ever:  Princess Buttercup
Your secret beauty tip: Sunscreen (I'm not planning to have wrinkles or skin cancer when I'm old!)

Your secret favorite cooking/baking recipe: (full recipe or maybe online link)

My Cherry Cobbler is always a favorite at my house.  It's a quick one of everything recipe.


Cherry Cobbler:

1 Stick of Butter
1 Cup of Flour
1 Cup of Sugar
1 Cup of Milk
1 Can of Cherry Pie Filling

Melt butter in a 9"x11" dish
Mix flour and sugar in med bowl.  Add milk and mix well.  Pour mixture into pan.  Spoon in Cherries.  Bake at 350º for about 40 minutes or until golden brown.