Fiction Faith & Foodies

Fiction Faith & Foodies: November 2011

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Gotta love Goodreads...

The winner of the Goodreads Giveaway is...

Morag Buchan
Congratulations, Morag!
Your copy of Journey's End is on its way. 

A giant thank you to the 639 people who entered the giveaway. I appreciate your interest and hope that you'll consider purchasing Journey's End

Stay tuned for a release date for Journey's Edge. Coming soon with White Rose Publishing.

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Here's a fun quiz to see if you know your Thanksgiving history. Answers

Fact or Fiction: Thanksgiving is held on the last Thursday of November each year.
Answer: Fiction. The date designated for Thanksgiving celebration is the fourth Thursday of November, never the occasional fifth Thursday.

What was the name of the ship that brought the Pilgrims?
Answer: The Mayflower

How many passengers were on board? 
Answer: 102

What were they seeking?
Answer: Religious freedom

What was the name of the Indian who taught the Pilgrims important tasks and what were they?
Answer: Squanto taught the malnourished Pilgrims how to plant corn, the best locations to fish and hunt beaver, extract syrup from maple trees, and which poisonous plants to avoid. He also introduced the settlers to the Wampanoag tribe.

When was the first Thanksgiving feast? 
Answer: In the fall of 1621, after the first successful corn harvest. Although earlier thanksgiving ceremonies have been documented, this feast is celebrated as the first.

Was turkey on the menu?
We don't know. Edward Winslow, one of the original colonists, journaled that the Indians provided deer. They celebrated their first successful corn harvest, so most likely the menu featured corn. Also goose, codfish and lobster were probably on the menu. Unlike our custom now, because of a dwindling sugar supply, they didn't enjoy pies that day. Awww...

That was fun. How did you do?

The Pilgrims honored God whether they were fasting during difficult times or celebrating in times of plenty.
What about you?
Do you honor God during your difficult times? 
What about when times are good? 
What are you thankful for today?
God, thank You for being my Rock in all the seasons of my life. Thank You for the Pilgrims who went in search of a land where they could enjoy religious freedom, and that I enjoy that privilege today. Thank You for the men and women who have fought, and died, defending our religious freedom.
Help me to honor You today and all days. Amen.

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Holiday Recipe

Stuffing or dressing? Cornbread or bread? Everybody has their favorite, right? My fave is bread dressing like my mom used to make, but my hubby likes cornbread. After moving to NC and experiencing more cornbread dressings, I finally decided to give cornbread dressing a try last year. Here's a recipe that made it back on this year's Thanksgiving menu.

Corn Bread Sausage Dressing

10 cups corn bread cubes (about 18 corn muffins)
1 pound sweet italian ground sausage
Chopped onion (as much or as little as you like)
1 can corn, drained
3 – 3½ cups chicken stock
1½ teaspoons dried thyme
1½ teaspoons ground sage
½ teaspoon dried rosemary
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Fresh parsley
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Step 1: Spread the corn bread cubes on a baking sheet to partially dry at room temperature for 4 hours or up to overnight. Then transfer them to a large mixing bowl.

Step 2: Brown the sausage in a large, heated skillet or sauté pan, breaking it up, until it is fully cooked. With a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked sausage to a platter lined with paper towels. Drain all but about 1½ tablespoons of fat from the skillet. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Step 3: Add the onion to the pan and sauté over moderate heat for 7 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the corn, 2 cups of the chicken stock, and the herbs, salt and pepper. Continue stirring until it comes to a simmer, then ladle it over the corn bread and toss well. Add the reserved sausage and parsley and toss again. (Don’t be afraid to use your hands, but only if the sausage is cooled!)

Step 4: Whisk together the eggs and 1 more cup of chicken stock. Drizzle the liquid over the dressing and toss well (the dressing should be quite moist; if not, add more chicken broth). Bake the dressing in a large, tightly covered casserole dish for about 30 minutes, until steaming hot throughout. Makes 8-10 servings.

The original recipe can be found at This recipe is a modified version based on my family’s likes/dislikes.

If you try this recipe, stop back by and let me know how your family liked it. Enjoy your holiday season! 

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

TRAPPED by Carol Ann Erhardt

She’s a woman who doesn’t trust cops. He’s a cop. She’s determined to keep her past a secret. He’s determined to find out what she’s hiding. 
High school bus driver, Summer Grant, flees from death threats and winds up trapped in Havens Creek, a small town not far enough away from danger. With a broken leg and no transportation, she is forced to accept the hospitality of strangers. Staying with the police chief’s sister and five-year-old daughter in an isolated mountain home might be the ideal place for her to hide until she can get back on her feet, but if the man she’s hiding from learns her whereabouts, no one will be safe.
 Havens Creek Police Chief, Jake Taylor, always protects his own. He feels duty-bound to help Summer when she ends up in his small town claiming she has no family. He has a soft spot for strays, but this two-legged one is hiding something, and he’s determined to solve the mystery.
 An unwanted attraction draws them together. Evil threatens to rip them apart.
Summer got out of the car and patted the dog. He wriggled sideways bumping her leg.
Jake smiled. “He’s glad to see you. Come on in.”
“Do you mind if I wait here?”
He gave her a puzzled look. “If you want.” He pointed to the canopy swing. “Have a seat. I’ll only be a couple of minutes. Do you like pizza?”
“The best pizza around these parts is Pizza Haven. Sound all right?”
“Sure.” Though she didn’t think she’d be able to eat. Not with the way her stomach was churning.
“Be right back.”
Jake walked into the house and Summer sat in the swing.
In just a few minutes, he returned. He handed her a bottled water and sat beside her.
She took a drink, grateful for his thoughtfulness.
 He placed an arm across the back of the swing.
“Do you mind if we talk before we leave?” he asked.
She took a deep breath. “No. What did Michael say?”
He pulled her close against his side. “Tom Beery, one of my officers stopped at the diner to eat. He spotted the Impala and a man I’m assuming was Michael getting inside. They had a conversation about the car. Then Michael mentioned he was in town looking for an old friend.”
He looked at her. “You.”
Summer felt a chill despite the heat.
“Said he had left the directions to where you were staying at home.”
Summer flinched. “And I suppose Tom told him how to get to Becca’s place.”
“You suppose right,” Jake said. “I’m not happy about it and I’ve reprimanded him for his actions. He had no business disclosing the information to a stranger no matter how convincing he was.”
“Michael has a knack for manipulating situations to his benefit. I hope you weren’t too hard on him.”
“No more so than necessary. Tell me more about Michael.”
“Where should I start?”
“At the beginning. I want to know everything about this creep.”
Summer looked at Jake. “You mean you believe me?”
“Of course I believe you.”
She stared at him looking for a reason to doubt his words. She found none. He believed her.
Like an overflowing fountain, she spilled out everything that happened. “When I moved to Pine Cove I rented a small house only two doors from Michael’s place. He didn’t seem like a friendly neighbor, but after I was there a few months I learned everyone knew and respected him. He kept busy working in his garage. He’s a mechanic. A good one from what I hear. After I turned down an offer to have dinner with him, he never gave me the time of day. His son, Dylan, was a great kid. He liked to sit on my front steps and we’d talk in the afternoon after school. Sometimes Michael would finish work early and if he saw Dylan with me, he yelled for him to get home where he belonged.”
“That kid’s dad has a serious problem.”
That kid’s name is…was Dylan.”
He took her hand. “I’m sorry. Dylan’s dad has a serious problem.”
She sniffed. “Dylan was a good kid, a star football player. I really liked him. He was the opposite of his dad—warm, outgoing. He shouldn’t have died.”
“What happened was a terrible thing, but it was an accident. You weren’t to blame for his death, no matter what his dad thinks.”
She’d finally accepted that as fact after her therapy sessions. “I know. But I was a bitter reminder to Michael of what had been stolen from him. His only child.”
“That must have been tough, but it doesn’t give him the right to harass you. What he did was illegal.”
“Worse,” she said. “When I was in the hospital, Michael came to see me.” She shivered, reliving that horrible moment. “He brought me a vase of dead roses.”
Anger crossed Jake’s face, tightening the muscles around his mouth.
She took a drink of water.
“I tried to talk to him,” she continued. “I told him how sorry I was. I asked him to forgive me but he…he just stared at me…and then walked away. That hurt so bad.”
“What about his wife? Or would that be ex-wife?”
“His wife died when Dylan was little.”
Jake shook his head. “Poor kid.”
He laced their fingers together. She took a deep breath and continued.
“About four weeks after the accident, I started receiving phone calls late at night. I didn’t have to recognize the voice to know it was Michael. He said one word. Murderer.”
Jake’s fingers tightened on hers.
“A few months later, things got worse,” she said. “I found a note on my windshield that said I should kill myself before someone did it for me.”
He released her hand. “What? The sheriff didn’t tell me about the note,” he said.
Bereft of his touch, she folded her arms across her chest.
“After the sheriff found nothing to verify the phone calls, I didn’t tell him about the note. I couldn’t prove Michael typed it. He didn’t sign it.”
“It was proof that somebody was threatening you,” he said.
She would not cry. “I didn’t think he’d believe me.”

Click here to Purchase from Amazon

Inspirational romantic suspense writer, Carol Ann Erhardt, touches the hearts and emotions of her readers. Fans categorize her books as emotional, suspenseful and inspirational. Carol Ann spent her early writing years working at a corporate job and writing late at night. Her first novels, contemporary romantic suspense, sold well, but she didn’t feel fulfilled—in fact, felt as if she’d compromised on what her heart wanted to write. She began praying for God’s guidance in her writing. In the quiet solitude of prayer, God showed her the path He wanted her to take. Her third novel was an inspirational romantic suspense. Now she writes each and every day hoping to bring messages of hope, happiness, and inspiration to those who read her novels. She gives all the glory to God. Visit Carol Ann Erhardt

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Monday, November 14, 2011

My review of HIGHLAND BLESSINGS by Jennifer Hudson Taylor

The blurb:
Scotland, 1473
Highland Blessings is the story of a highland warrior who kidnaps the daughter of his greatest enemy and clan chief to honor a promise he made to his dying father. Bryce MacPhearson, a highland warrior, kidnaps Akira MacKenzie on her wedding day to honor a promise he made to his dying father. While Akira's strength in the Lord becomes a witness to Bryce, she struggles to overcome her anger and resentment when he forces her to wed him, hoping to end a half-century-old feud between their clans. While Akira begins to forgive, and Bryce learns to trust, a series of murders leaves a trail of unanswered questions, confusion, and a legacy of hate that once again rises between their families. Clearly, a traitor is in their midst. Now the one man Akira loves no longer trusts her, and her own life is in danger. Can Bryce look beyond his pain and seek the truth? Will Akira discover the threat against her before it's too late? How will God turn a simple promise into bountiful Highland blessings?

My review:
I'm not really a historical romance lover, although I do enjoy reading one occasionally.  I don't remember ever reading a Scottish historical. But, as the founder and past president of Carolina Christian Writers, Jennifer Hudson Taylor has addressed the group on many occasions, always impressive. So when Amazon offered Highland Blessings free on Kindle, I snatched it up. Why not?
Why did I wait so long?? Highland Blessings hooked me from the beginning. Jennifer Hudson Taylor weaved the story together so well, I was immediately drawn into Scotland in 1473. At first, I was a little nervous about the Scottish dialog, but she managed to make me feel like I talked, lived, and breathed in that generation, until I no longer noticed the difference. I thought she did a great job developing the characters. Bryce, painted as a tribal warrior at first, then later, you witnessed his tender side as he battled allegiance to his tribe with love for his bride. And Akira, initially apprehensive and confused, grew strong and brave, a female who stood up for what she believed in. Heavy on the action and mingled with faith, this book contains enough sweet romance to leave you emotionally satisfied.  
Jennifer Hudson Taylor's second book, Highland Sanctuary, is available now. I won't wait until it's offered free on Kindle to read it! Congratulations, Jennifer Hudson Taylor. Five stars from this reader!

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Friday, November 11, 2011

Holiday recipes and memories...

Usually by this time of the year, my shopping is well under way and my Christmas cards ready to mail. 
I'm so far behind on my to-do list, 
it's beginning to scare me. Eeek!

The other day I wrote out our Thanksgiving menu. We're doing two turkeys this year.
A fried turkey, because that's MY fave, and a smoked turkey, which hubby wants to try. Then the usual favorites. 
Stuffing, cranberry salad, sweet potato casserole. I'm thinking I might like to add some new recipes to the menu.
Anybody care to share your favorite holiday recipes? Along with holiday memories to go with them?
Email them to me at If you'd like, I'll post them here. 
And how about you?
How are you doing on your holiday to-do list?

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Today I'm hanging out with Lena Nelson Dooley at 
‎"If you were an animal, which one would you be and why?" Hmm...
Fill up that giant coffee mug and click on over to share your answer. 
You might even win a copy of Journey's End
I hope to see you there.

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A reminder to vote...

I consider myself blessed to have a say in who leads our country and local government. 
Whether the person I vote for gets elected or not, my vote makes a difference.
So does yours.
Have you voted today?

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Monday, November 7, 2011

Window or aisle?

When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which You have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him? (Ps 8:3-4 NIV)

Do you prefer a window or aisle seat when you fly?
I love to plaster my face against the window and watch the cars grow smaller until they look like tiny ants from several thousand feet in the air.
Until all I can see is blue sky.
Endless universe.

In the big scheme of things, we're small, insignificant. Little blips.
Yet God cares for us and loves us beyond what we can possibly imagine. 
Amazing, isn't it?

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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Christmas shopping?

Do you enjoy reading?
How about a book that won't embarrass you if your children or grandchildren pick it up? 
A book without cuss words or graphic bedroom scenes, where you'll meet characters dealing with real life issues. 
Characters who live out honor, courage and faith and move mountains to attain true love. 
Laugh with them, maybe cry with them, but just sit back and enjoy the ride because you're guaranteed a happily-ever-after.
Enter the Goodreads giveway for Journey's End.
Who knows? You might get it for free.
Giveaway ends November 30, 2011.

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Friday, November 4, 2011

My Review of Cassie's Wedding Dress by Clare Revell

When was the last time you read a book about an ex-jockey? Or a royal wedding? Yeah. Me, too. I was intrigued from the start. 

Clare Revell takes you on a sweet ride in Cassie’s Wedding Dress. You’ll meet characters struggling with real issues, like Cassie Hinton, an ex-jockey battling bitterness and reeling in her faith, and Jack Chambers, a single father doing his best to raise his daughter while still trying to come to grips with his wife’s death.

When long-time friends Jack and Cassie reconnect, you think the ride is almost over, but Ms. Revell has a few surprises left in this short, sweet, and emotionally satisfying story. I’ll be watching for Clare Revell’s next book. Five stars for Cassie’s Wedding Dress!

Check out the blurb:

Steeplechase jockey Cassie Hinton's dream was to walk down the aisle in her medieval wedding gown to become Mrs. Jack Chambers. Injured in the Grand National, she returns home...only to find Jack is now the Pastor of her parent's church. Jack Chambers, now a widower and single parent, still has feelings for Cassie, but she sees him as nothing more than a Pastor. Even if he could change her mind, there is still his position to consider. With the Royal Wedding fast approaching, Cassie makes her dress, little dreaming of the consequences of doing so.

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Key to Charlotte by E.A. West

Making an Average Character Unique 
by E.A. West

When I decided to write The Key to Charlotte, I knew I wanted to highlight some aspect of autism. While choosing to make a character autistic may seem like an arbitrary decision, there is actually a good reason behind it.

I’m on the autism spectrum.

One thing I’ve come to realize is that adults on the autism spectrum are rarely mentioned unless there is something particularly spectacular about them (Temple Grandin comes to mind here). Like any other segment of society, autistics are varied in their abilities, intelligence, and talent. The majority are just as average as anyone else. I chose to make the heroine in The Key to Charlotte an average autistic and give all of us average people out there a moment in the spotlight.

What makes an average heroine shine? A hidden talent or two doesn’t hurt, but you’ll have to read the book to learn about Charlotte’s talents. The most important part of any heroine, however, is her personality. She has to be likeable, someone readers would like for a friend. And of course the hero has to be attracted to her. This is a given in any romance, no matter how average or extraordinary the heroine.

But with any character, it is important to make them real. In the case of Charlotte, I had an entire lifetime of experience as an autistic to rely on to make her realistic. I still had to do some research, since I’ve never been completely mute, but a lot of Charlotte came from my own experience and talking to others on the autism spectrum. In case you’re wondering, no, Charlotte is not based on a real person. That would be cheating, since she’s a fictional character and therefore a figment of my imagination. I just did the same thing any other author would do and used personal experience and research to create a three-dimensional character.

Autism is a complex and often misunderstood neurological disorder, one that is usually attributed only to children or seen as a devastating diagnosis. While it can be devastating to some, particularly parents of autistic children, it is my hope that The Key to Charlotte will help bring understanding of what life is really like for an adult autistic. Most of all, however, I hope readers enjoy the story for what it is: an inspirational romance between two unique characters.

To celebrate the release of The Key to Charlotte, I’m giving a copy to two lucky commenters on this blog tour. The rules are simple. Between October 28 and November 6, leave a comment on any of my blog tour stops (including this post) with your name and email address letting me know you want to be entered into the drawing. You can find a complete list of the blog tour stops on my blog I will draw two names at random from all of the entries and announce the winners on November 7 (winners will also be contacted by email). The two winners will each receive a free PDF of The Key to Charlotte. Good luck to you all!

Wow! Thanks for sharing, E.A.! Now that we're totally intrigued, let's find out more about The Key to Charlotte:

Charlotte Harris can't speak due to a quirk in her autistic brain, but that doesn't stop her from communicating with others. Unfortunately, it prevents her from achieving two of her dreams--to praise God through singing and to carry on a simple conversation with her own voice.

Zakaria Rush is the new Director of Children's Ministries at Charlotte's church, and he can't keep his thoughts off the partially mute blonde with a love for guitar music. Her innocence and love of the simple things in life intrigue him and make him long to give her what she wants more than anything: her voice.

Can Zakaria help Charlotte find the key to unlocking her ability to speak, or will his attempt to help her only lock away their chance for love?

Who is E.A. West?
E.A. West, author of sweet and inspirational romance, is a lifelong lover of books and storytelling. In high school, she discovered the wonders of sharing her stories with others through writing. She picked up her pen in a creative writing class and hasn’t laid it down yet. Her love of writing encompasses not only the romance genre but also a variety fiction and non-fiction styles.

Born and raised in Indiana, she still resides there today with her family and a small zoo of pets that includes the typical dogs and cats, and the more unusual African water frogs and a ribbon snake. Her interests are as varied as her critters. She has been known to carry on conversations about everything from politics and current events to gardening and theology. When she’s not writing, you can usually find her working on her latest knitting or crochet project.

Thanks, E.A.! Congrats on the release of The Key to Charlotte.

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